2014 Goal 1-418 Balls, I wanted to beat my season high but fell short by 58 balls. Within the next two years I would like to get to 3,000 total baseballs. Two solid seasons should get me there so I am shooting for 400 balls at least this year.
2015 Total Ball Goal-400
2014 Goal 2-Get to two new ballparks. Well, this one exceeded my expectations for traveling to new parks as I got to NYY, COL and STL in the year.
2015 New Ballpark Goal-3 new parks (CHC, CHW, BOS)
2014 Goal 3-Attend 80 games. I fell 5 short of this goal, and got to one more game this year then last.
2015 Games Attended Goal-80
2014 BPG goal-5.75, this I fell well short of at 4.80.
2015 BPG goal-5.25
2014 Game HR goal-3, this was the first year I did not get a single game home run.
2015 Game HR goal-3
And of course, stay injury free, have a lot of fun being a part of the great American past time, and document my experiences well,
Its been a long time.
Its getting close to the start of baseball but prior to that I need to recap the year of 2014 in pictures.
For starters I reached 2000 balls this year. Jayson Werth provided the work in getting this one deep over the left field bleachers at PNC. After some weaving through a small crowd, and a chase into the concourse it was in my hands. All smiles.
On the Road, like Jack Kerouac is how I like to envision things.
A lot of traveling occurred this season. Traveling to new ball yards, seeing different cities, cultures, and people is always exciting to me.
A look at St. Louis from the Arch.
This year its time for the Bucs to dethrone the Red Birds and take over the NL Central. The Pirates enter this season with a strong roster from top to bottom.
Looking in from home plate at a Bucs v Cards game, Andrew Mccutchen taking a cut.
New York, New York
Running alongside a giant of a city, she is beautiful, always moving, always growing. Loved this site where I got some good runs in.
Derek Jeter said goodbye to the game, I was happy to see him in NY during my first trip to Yankee Stadium. That classic pose.
Walking upon Yankee Stadium from the Bronx. Walking in from a distance was good as the distance closed with each step.
Taking it in from home plate.
Out West in the friendly state of Colorado.
Buddhist art and wisdom. GRACE
Pirate flag blowing in the wind a mile above.
World Series Gem
Back in the Twin Cities for the Futures Game and Home Run Derby.
We Are Family, I came up with a HRD commemorative early on.
The view from here, with a double rainbow in play was fantastic, baseballs just missed my range on several plays. I got some nice views on TV with the shirt though. Was fully ready for a moment of glory, but it wasn’t to be.
Pittsburgh skyline the best of all still..
Always wanted to get a Mothers day commemorative.
St. Louis All Star Game Commemorative
King Felix toss up was a moment, in Cleveland..
Ducks hanging with Jon Jay
Hangin with my baby
Hangin with my children..
Hangin with my mom..
Baseball brings us together, so I hope to see yall soon at the ballyard….
Baseball is just about back….
The Pirates had their opportunities to grab a hold of the Division late in the season but lost out to the Cardinals in St. Louis in sweep fashion. I wont complain about making the playoffs like this after the streak of losing seasons this organization has put up in the recent past; but there comes a time where you got to take over. These Pirates have yet to do that versus the St. Louis Cardinals, the Cardinals pedigree as a championship ball club-no matter how much I hate them, will be something it takes a while for the Pirates to overtake, if ever, truthfully.
So we drew the Giants, and their ace Madison Bumgarner. We all know how it turned out, I guess it takes away some of the sting when Madison Bumgarner just mowed through all the rest of the contenders like Mike Tyson in his early days.
As I watched the Brandon Crawford homer just clear the top of the Clemente Wall for a grand slam it was hard to fathom the Pirates finding a way to win this with the dealing that occurred.
What the Pirates need to shoot for is the number one spot next year, period. One and done WC games are tough.
I began the festive, and beautiful day up top.
I got the attention of Jon Axford who is a stiff when your down below for a long and high toss up. He put it right on the money, I let it pass through the sun and caught it clean. I would later also get Heberto Andrade to throw one up high.
In the bleachers upon entrance I got a toss up from Jared Hughes, which would be the final baseball of the year.
Stay tuned for my hi-lites of the year blog in pictures and goal review……..
See you next year PNC, hopefully in October as well.
On the final game of the year we engaged in a nice throwing session on the Roberto Clemente Bridge. I took a final pic of Jim who has spoken again on the topic of retirement. I hope he will be back personally, all in all he makes things fun, competitive, and he buys me a beer every now and then.
Anyway, I think I got like 6-7 balls on the final regular season bp.
Hanging out in Left Field, gracious for another awesome season filled with many more memories, and action.
Peace, Love, Happiness, Baseball….
This was the start of the last series of the year with much playoff implication involved.
I arrived early and admired the Roberto Clemente Statue for a moment, took a close up pic to start the day.
With the Brewers having a long night Erik, Dom C and myself were wondering if we would see the Brewers take bp.
In the meantime I worked the North Side Notch area shouting out to Stolmy Pimentel, Volquez, Liriano, and Jose Tabata. After some persistence I got a toss up from Stolmy Pimentel, Ball 1.
Ball 2 was fired to me by Heberto Andrade, it had a little tail on it as it whipped in.
Tony Sanchez tossed up a ball that was off the mark to some people in the front row, I was close enough to pick up the overthrow and give it to the intended target, Ball 3.
Ball 4 was a scrum of a homer from an unidentified Brewer.
After patiently waiting for Mark Reynolds to provide some homers to LF he finally lifted one onto the LF cross walk. Playing deep in the last row of the bleachers, I took a good route up the steps out of the bleachers and onto the crosswalk in time to make an extended grab of the Reynolds bomb, Ball 5.
Ball 6 was a caught homer in LF.
Ball 7 a toss up at the end of bp by an unidentified Brewer bullpen pitcher.
The Pirates returned from a long road trip for the final home stand of the season to face the Boston Red Sox. Unlike past years the Red Sox fans were few and far between as they are in last place.
I looked forward to leaving everything I had at the ballyard for a good finish to the season, and up until today this home stand has been very good.
Beginning on the 16th, Tuesday.
Brent Morel toss up connection for Ball 1.
Ball 2 was a ground rule double which I grabbed after the Morel toss up.
Ball 3 was a Heberto Andrade toss up.
Ball 4 was a toss up from an unidentified Red Sox reliever.
David Ortiz put on a show at each of the 3 games this series. I caught a hr from him each of the days, and one off the roof of the Rita’s stand way out on the riverwalk. Hell of a time tracking his monster home runs.
This was a scene of plenty action.
And the Rita’s stand catch off the roof for Ball 6.
Over in LF I got a toss up from Junichi Tazawa, Ball 7, and a caught homer for Ball 8.
Heberto Andrade toss up for Ball 1.
Tony Sanchez toss up for Ball 2.
The Pirates picked things up at the end of their bp resulting in two scrums, Ball 3-4.
That was it for the Pirates, over in CF I caught a home run of the bat of Cuban Defector, Rusney Castillo way out in CF. Just noticed he is listed as 5’9, 185, well he must put everything into his swing.
I was 3 rows back from straight away center for the Castillo home run catch, Ball 5.
And then the Big Papi show again.
Ball 6 was a scrum for a Papi hr, Ball 7 a caught Papi homer.
Ball 8 was a caught homer in CF, player unidentified.
Ball 1 Heberto Andrade toss up.
Ball 2 scrum.
Ball 3 Big Papi caught homer.
Ball 4 scrum.
Good times seeing the Red Sox in town, even though I cant stand them. Lots of action.
Three Day Total-20
The Cubs were in town and the crisp fall air was coming around. I took a pause to take a pic of Willie Stargell’s statue en route to Friday’s game against the Cubs, the last homestand of the season.
I arrived nice and early to an empty line, aside from Erik Jabs and Baseball Joe. My legs felt good, I was excited to chase some baseballs after a long break from ballhawking.
Sadly though I found out from Erik, who was eyeing things up from the Roberto Clemente bridge that no cages were set up.
This was due to Clint Hurdles bp off day after a road night game deal. The stands were bare as hell and it hurt to wait and wait for what would be a shitty Cubs bp.
I watched Edwin Jackson throw a lengthy side session, I think I have like 2-3 balls from him in the past, so with things limited on the Pirates side I waited, waited, waited….
Edwin appeared to finish the session, talked game with Lester Strode, and paced around, and,,,returned to the mound to throw more. I left for good.
But Edwin would connect with me later on, helping me get on the board. Ball 1, Pic below is Edwin and Lester talking more mechanics.
Straight outta West Germany to
LAD, TB, DET, ARI, CHW, STL, WASH, CHC
Won a ring with the Red Birds, and threw a no no with the Snakes.
And Ball 2 was a scrum where I locked up on a ball with a Cubs fan, my grip was just enough to hold on.
I arrived early for the game, I took this picture.
We had a nice throwing session on the bridge prior to entrance.
Great place for a throwing session.
Things inside were slow moving for me again, I got the steady toss up of Ball 1 from Heberto Andrade.
I came up with ball 2 on the riverwalk in right center while playing Gregory Polanco, and Andrew Lambo.
Sunday I decided to head to the game with my brother, it was my birthday, 33 y/o. We witnessed the triple play initiated by Josh Harrison which sparked a nice inning of smacking the ball around. Witnessed a nice win in a playoff run, also got into some action with no bp occurring.
Ball 1 I got on a toss up from Stan Kyles, minor league bullpen coach.
This was the angle.
When the clock finally struck 12 I ran over to the left field line to catch the Pirates pitchers after their warm up. In good timing, no kids had arrived on the scene so I had a good chance, I saw Jared Hughes come off the field first and connected for Ball 2.
Prior to the game when Edinson Volquez was ready to pitch I checked out the bullpen. A few moments later a ball was tossed high to some kids against the fence. I reacted to the wild toss and grabbed it,then gave it to the intended recipient, Ball 3.
Pittsburgh Skyline, PNC, Train Tracks
Fox had this one, so game over for Bucco bp, and toss a wratchet into the Reds as well. They used to be tops on my list for hit balls, they have dropped vastly.
Erik and I were on a mission today, with the gate time to the stands being 2:30, as we waited out on the riverwalk area imprisoned.
We made some moves, striking with precision to put ourselves into positions that benefited us both on a day of limited action.
Ball 1 for me was tossed by this Red guy in foul territory.
Hit ball, sliced down the line by Billy Hamilton was my 2nd and final ball of the day on this one of limited action, time, opportunity…
Always in a rush to get in for good reason. Roberto Clemente Bridge, Arriba. Speed is always important to me, and things got off to a speedy start for the first three minutes today.
I got in quick enough to see a ball waiting in the deep part of the bleachers by the bullpen for Ball 1.
Andrew Mccutchen has been awesome to see, and provided much stats to add when he is mashing at bp. Ball 2 was a scrum of Mccutchen hr, Ball 3 a caught homer off the bat of Mccutchen. Love playing him, always hits the ball nice and high to make plays on.
Ball 4 was a connect with Heberto Andrade.
Ball 5 a found ball near the top of the upper bleachers, either hit by Mccutchen or Martin.
The Reds bullpen carries a big man by the name of Jumbo Diaz, fitting, as he weighs in on the roster at 315lbs. A former Pirate farmhand who I don’t believe ever surfaced with us proved to be a jolly major leaguer with the Red Legs as he tossed me Ball 6, and 7. One in LF, one in RF.
Ball 8 was a caught ricochet home run ball.
I almost decided to leave my Cardinal gear at home, I despise them, and they are usually stiffs who don’t even consider that your present in the stands. I don’t know what it is but its always been their way.
Things began with a toss up at the wall from a more fun, interactive pitcher by that of Edinson Volquez. Been generous throughout the year, Ball 1.
Volquez with Searage and Rojas
Ball 2 was a toss up by Heberto Andrade.
Jordy Mercer placed one nicely in the North Side Notch which took a high bounce, I had more then enough time to get there from left center and caught the ground rule double for Ball 3.
Here is why I was glad I stuck with the Cardinals gear for the last game of the series.
Ball4 toss up by Trevor Rosenthal at the gate to the CF seats on riverwalk.
Upon entrance to the center field seating I saw one generous Red Bird, Pat Neshek, he threw long tosses to Josh H and myself earlier in the season. I said whats up All Star and gave him some positive reinforcement for his work in the previous evenings game, without asking for the ball he tossed it to me for Ball 5.
And I got Shelby Miller, Ball 6, always looking to improve on my toss up game, and today was good.
Slay the Red Birds