Pirates v Twins, PNC Park, 5/19-20/2015

5/19

I entered PNC Park today to be greeted by Jose Tabata who was recently called up from Triple A ball.  At the wall he flipped me up Ball #1 on the day.

tabata

Heberto Andrade despite witnessing this still tossed up Ball #2 on the day.

Pirates batting practice began at 405 today and ended at 457, leaving a large chunk of time to sit around and watch the grass grow, watch the water spray onto the dirt.

When the Twins finally were prepared to get things going it was obvious from the start that Kyle Gibson would be the man to target for a toss up.  It didn’t take long to make eye contact with him in Twins gear and he kindly threw me Ball #3 on the day.

This picture doesn’t do much in showing Kyle himself but I liked how it turned out.

gibson

The Twins were hitting the ball hard but all over the place in LF making it hard to get much going, I was able to scrum one for Ball #4, and caught a homer during the last group from an unidentified Twin for Ball #5.

5/20

This one began with a towering Andrew Mccutchen homer that I misjudged going up the steps and into the handicapped section where I pictured it to land.  It sailed about five feet over, so my judgment sucked but I was able to close in on it pretty quick for Ball #1.

Heberto Andrade threw me a strike for Ball #2.

Ball #3 was a wacky scrum on a ball that bounced around the bleachers and ended up rolling around in the wheelchair section where I reached over the rail from below and scooped it up with my glove.

Ball #4 was another wild chase, although I would be the only person to notice the foul ball take a large hop up in the seats and bounced down to the narrow entrance you see to the left of the rotunda.

scrum

Ball #5 was a scrum of a ground rule double, the Pirates then attended some sort of quarterly meetings which wiped out the final bp group.

Kyle Gibson again hit me up for Ball #6, very friendly and fan fun kind of player.

Things began to really slow up in LF, I decided to play the rest out in the CF seats.  Nothing was going good over in CF, I was pretty much inclined to end on 6 for the day, until things picked up rapidly in the last five minutes of bp.

Although CF seats were searched at 530 and I presumed the ivy was searched as well, I gave the ivy a look.  I came upon these two hanging together.  Ball #7/8.

ivy balls

Ball #9 was a caught homer from Aaron Hicks, and for Ball #10 a Ricky Nolasco toss up.

nolasco

Jim Saylor kindly wrote a bunch of Andrew Mccutchens career stats and accomplishments on a Cutch toss up I had given him recently.  I thought it to be a nice gesture.

jim and i

2 game total-15,,,,,5 given away

Year-140

Career-2382

showcase

Indians v Cardinals, Progressive Field, 5/13/2015

It was a cold, and breezy day on the shore of Lake Erie.

skyline

Lauren and I visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the first time, I was excited to see what was showcased inside, Lauren as well.

lauren

Some of my favorite parts of the R n R hall of fame are as follows…….

The man in black, Johnny Cash…”I hear the train a comin, its rolling round the bend, and I aint seen the sunshine since, I don’t know when, Im stuck in Folsom Prison and times keep draggin on..”

cash

“I am the Lizard King, I can do anything.”

Jim Morrison

lizard king

Jimi-“Purple Haze all in my brain, lately things just don’t seem the same, actin funny and I don’t know why, excuse me while I kiss the sky”

jimi

Hip Hop don’t stop..

hip hop

Two of my favorites from the Grunge era.

Nirvana “Here we are now, entertain us”

“I think Im dumb, maybe just happy”

nirvana

Alice in Chains “If I would, would you?”

alice in chains

After a good bit of time browsing through the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame we walked toward Progressive Field, and had a bite to eat at the Winking Lizard on the way.

Things look a lot different as you walk up with the new gates, statues, and security scanners.

cle walkup

New Security Gates, no more of the old Gate C with the old, and towering large gates.

gates

Jim Thome statue, not a hard stance to replicate.

thome

Upon the entrance there was Ball #1 to be found which was a bit disappointing as I had seen at least two to three touch down in the RF seats from the line.

A friendly Cleveland coach threw me Ball #2 without a request, I then went to the bullpen box where for the entire time was occupied by my wife and I only.

This is the view of what you have to work with.

IMG_4930 (2)

I was able to get two ground rule doubles for Ball #3/4, and to end things caught a homer from Jason Heyward, Ball #5.

We planned to stay for at least 5 innings, but ended up watching until the 7th when ex Indian Jhonny Peralta broke up Corey Kluber’s no hitter.  It was an awesome performance to see with 18 K’s on the board.

Our View

seat view

Despite all the changes we had a good day in Cleveland with rock and roll, a good lunch, baseball and time together..

Day-5

Year-125

Career-2367

Pirates v Cardinals, PNC Park, 5/10/2015 Mothers Day

I expected today to be a fun day, although no batting practice, I had Lauren, Shianne, Dominik, mom and mother in law in hand to request some toss ups for.  It was a nice card in my back pocket to revert to, but I was able to arrive on the RF line for the Pirates warm up at about 1140am.

As I walked in slowly I watched Tony Watson deposit his warm up ball into the seats.  I stood over it for a while as I was the only person there and the Pirates were all just about wrapping it up.  Charlie Morton would toss me up Ball #1.

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Euclides Rojas was gathering balls together for women and kids, but nobody was around.  He generously threw me Ball #2, and then waited around to toss a ball to my daughter and mother.

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After all this I picked up the ball from Watson that was tossed into the empty seats, Ball #3.

IMG_4788 (2)

Here we all are enjoying each others presence on Mothers Day.

IMG_4803 (2)

Over at the bullpen Herbie tossed up a baseball for Dominik, Ball #4.  During the game we connected with Andrew Mccutchen toss ups in the 3rd and 5th inning, Dom was pretty excited.  Ball #5/6.  Thanks Cutch…

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Boats and kayakers on the Allegheny

IMG_4799 (2)

Day-6

Year-120

Career-2362

Pirates v Cardinals, PNC Park, 5/9/2015

Arriba..

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Things were a getting a little crowded on this firework Saturday with the nemesis St Louis Cardinals in town.  I was kind of eager to get things going as it was slow to start.  Pedro Alvarez would make it deep enough into the North Side Notch to give me a chance to get started.  Jim was standing nearby, and by the looks of him in CF the other day I was pretty sure that he wasn’t going to be able to make a play on this shot coming in which required a lean over the wall.  I felt as though at any moment he would attempt to go dirty as he often can with a hip check or some other trickery but he played fair, I made the catch for Ball #1.

IMG_4754 (2)

Herbie was on time and kind as usual, with a toss for Ball #2.

J-Hay provided a shot that made it down the line and into the bleachers and with a good chase Ball #3 was in hand.

Matt Belisle warming up with the high, striped sock look, I would be a high sock wearing dude if I was in the MLB.  Things didn’t go to well though with any toss up opportunities, true to Cardinal form, all requests were denied with arrogance and a rude demeanor.

IMG_4757 (2)

Dom C and myself had decided to leave for the CF seating area after a long, fruitless effort.  We arrived just as the gates were opening, a hr ball that nearly struck Erik on the way in that neither of us saw landed next to me on a step for an easy scrum of Ball #4.

In the corner spot of CF I was lucky to get Trevor Rosenthal to toss up Ball #5.

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To end things for the day I finally got a hr that was a can of corn from Matt Adams, Ball #6

I stayed for a good portion of the game and was able to connect with ball #7 on a toss up of the outfield warm up ball from Andrew Mccucthen.

I was generous today and came home with 3 baseballs.

IMG_4784 (2)

Pirates v Cardinals, PNC Park, 5/8/2015

A wild chase of an Andrew Mccutchen homer got me on the board for Ball #1.

Heberto Andrade decided to toss up Ball #2.

Caught homer on a ball hit by Jordy Mercer Ball #3.

Rare Cardinals toss up from Jason Heyward who has been kind to me in the past, seems like he didn’t lose that by going to the Cardinals which was cool, Ball #4.

heyward

To end the day a man using a goaltenders glove missed out on a homer that bounced right out of the improper equipment into my awaiting glove for Ball #5.

Day-5

Year-107

Career-2349

Pirates vs Reds, PNC Park, 5/5-6-7/2015

Tuesday 5/5

The Reds were in town, and seemed to provide a decent amount of action throughout this series, the weather stayed nice for all three games of this series.  The real boost in action has came from the Pirates as they are usually just getting started at 430 giving a lot of time to see the first group, and all groups have provided good opportunities.

Upon entrance the crowd on this Tuesday was pretty low, I had the opportunity to interact with Antonio Bastardo who has proved to be a tough customer who rarely moves much during batting practice.  I caught him at the wall and ended up having to use the, “it would be cool to get a toss up from you” line when he tried to tell me to just wait a bit.  He reluctantly lobbed up Ball #1.

bastardo

Herbie got me for Ball #2 on the day.

Ball #3 a caught homer, and Ball #4 a rare caught homer off the bat of Chris Stewart.

Caught Corey Hart hr for Ball #5.

Billy Hamilton tossed a ball to Lauren which I caught for her for Ball #6, she has a difficult time catching and all the players love her.

billy h

Todd Frazier, for all his power was all over the place but I was able to scrum one of his homers for Ball #7.

To end the first game of this series I got a toss up from Mike Leake, Reds pitchers were throwing up lots of balls, all of them kind of used up looking Bud Selig balls.

leake

Wednesday 5/6/2015

Wednesday began with a toss up from Rahadmes Liz who has rarely thrown baseballs into the crowd, same situation at the wall, early, and a reluctant lob for Ball #1.

Ball #2 was a toss up from Francisco Liriano near the North Side Notch.

Customary Heberto Andrade toss up, Ball #3.

First Jung Ho Kang caught homer for Ball #4 which I had to turn on, get up the steps for, and find again in the PNC sun for the catch.

Ball #5 was a ground rule double.

Ball #6/7 both via scrum.

To end the day, Dustin Hughes, new Reds bullpen catcher threw me his final ball prior to heading in for Ball #8.

Thursday 5/7

Ball #1, scrum

Ball #2, Heberto Andrade toss up

Ball #3, caught home run front row.

Ball #4/5, scrum.

Caught Starling Marte who has been coming around to LF more often for Ball #6.

Ball #7 scrum.

Ball #8 caught homer from Brandon Phillips.

Marlins v Mets, Marlins Park, 4/29/2015

This was the last day and game at Marlins Park, I wanted to at least get into the 70’s for the year so far and it would prove to be a nice day.  Prior to this I did a little more exploring through Miami, taking a different route to the park.

I first came upon a statue of Ponce de Leon.

ponce de leon

Old Courthouse

courthouse

Science Graffiti

graffiti

A piece of the Berlin Wall

berlin wall

Rooster in a yard

rooster

Chicken walking the sidewalk

chicken

Hanging around, happy to be in Miami

me out front

Orange Bowl letters that used to stand atop the stadium which used to stand in the area, a very abstract design.  They were nice to sit on.

bowl letters

Jose Fernandez was out for a throwing session, I remembered how cool he was in Pittsburgh two years back and went in for a toss up and got it from for Ball #1.  Jose seemed to be in an excited mood as he ran around doing sprints, shagged some balls, and chatted with several team mates.

jose

Ball #2 was a scrum, I believe a hr hit by Marcell Ozuna.

Ball #3, and #4 were found in the Clevelander upon entrance.

Prior to getting in I took a few pictures of Marlins history.

Beckett’s CG shutout in Game 6 of 2003 WS, and Hanley Ramirez batting title.

beckett and hanley

Edgar Renteria walk off winning hit of 1997 WS.

pudge and renteria

This spot was money and helped me get to double digits for the first time in a while.

Ball #5 scrum, Ball #6 caught hr, Ball #7 and #8 scrum, Ball #9 and #10 caught hr, Ball #11 scrum.

I kept some fans and one of the half naked waitresses from getting hit with incoming homers, it was an exhilarating few groups I played here and it payed off well.

the spot

Bartolo Colon started this one, such a physical specimen.

bartolo

Ball #12 another toss up by Ricky Bones.

“The Kid” at the bobblehead museum.

the kid

The Marlins would win this game and the series to cool the hot Mets down a bit.  The highlight of the game was a towering homer by Giancarlo Stanton and an Ichiro homer that made the crowd go wild.

They leave little to the imagination in the Clevelander.

Front View

painted lady 2

Rear View

painted lady 1

Day-12

Year-77

Career-2319

final pic

 

 

 

Marlins v Mets, Marlins Park, 4/28/2015

I was eager to explore on a run when I got up and had a good breakfast on day 2 in Miami.  I headed out early, for South Beach which was about a 6 mile run from my hotel.

Here is the American Airlines arena which also has a very contemporary feel to its design.  Chris Bosh, alien.

aa bosh

Dwayne Wade, always going to be an NBA legend with the 3 rings.

d wade

I liked this view here of an old building in the foreground with all the recent Miami architecture.

old and new

Contemporary Miami architecture

contemporary arch

All of Miami downtown has a unique feel to it, everything is built to please the eye.

This is Biscayne Blvd which my hotel was on.

the strip

Heading across a bridge to get to South Beach, the Miami Skyline.

skyline with aa arena

More interesting design on this hotel.

sexy hotel

After taking a swim in the warm South Beach ocean waters I headed back for the 6 mile run, first stopping in this relaxing and inviting park next to the beach to meditate for a few.

place to meditate

After my swim it became windy and dark in the clouds with a strong, brief storm.

I sought shelter for a bit then returned to the hotel, then headed to Marlins Park.

Ex Pirate closer Bryan Morris was closing up his warm up on the LF line upon my entrance and kindly threw me Ball #1 for the day.

Ball #2 came via a scrum.

Ball #3 was tossed up by new Marlins catcher JT Realmuto.

jt

This was my view from the Clevelander after a toss up from Jacob deGrom, Ball #4.

degrom

As the game went on I was able to get a toss up from Ricky Bones after Alex Torres finished his warm up which must have been a good one as Alex Torres fanned the side in his appearance.  Thank you Ricky Bones for Ball #5.

bones

The Mets were shut down in this game as well until the 7th inning where Juan Lagares lifted a deep fly over Marcell Ozuna’s head scoring three to tie the game off AJ Ramos.

The Marlins would get the win with an RBI single by Michael Morse in the bottom of the 8th and a solid save, redemption performance by Steve Cishek.

Got the toss up from Jeurys Familia on his way out, Ball #6.

familia

Day-6

Year-65

Career-2307

 

Marlins v Mets, Marlins Park, 4/27/2015

I touched down in Miami with a few hours to spare and began my trek of a nearly 2 mile walk to Marlins Park.  The sun was shining, sky blue, and palm trees surrounded the park which isn’t hard to spot from a good ways away on the residential blocks of Little Havana.

nice park view

Marlins Park is something to see, almost space like in its design, circling around the park I took a closer pic showing the giant columns the roof slides out upon.

spaceship

Banner of Livan Hernandez as a World Series champion, 1997.

livan champ

2003 Champions

03 champs

Coming around to the Clevelander to get situated in line this is the view from the outside, you can see directly in to see what’s going on in bp.

clevelander outside view

I noticed after standing here for a bit that a line was gathering rather early, I figured it must be a season ticket line.  I was going to try to make a quick friend, but I ended up noticing Florida Joe, a ballhawk I had met at PNC Park.  Joe is a home run chaser who snagged Ken Griffey Jr’s 600th homer at the old stadium, whatever it was called at the time.  Joe was willing to let me in with him but my tickets scanned, this would occur the next three days which was Awesome.

When I entered the stands Giancarlo Stanton was in, it didn’t take long for me to glove one of his long homers in the last row of the lf seats.  Ball #1.

stanton long one

This is behind the section but a fun place to play Stanton during bp as it is empty and allows much tracking, it took me a few hits to get used to tracking the ball on the Marlins Park roof.

Ichiro came out to loosen up and track baseballs during bp, I have noticed Ichiro always to be friendly so I knew a toss up from the future hall of famer was likely, and with the low crowd it didn’t take long to get the throw for Ball #2.

ichiro toss

Marlins v Mets on the RF scoreboard, the Mets came into this series with much hype and the best record in baseball.

marlins v mets 2

AJ Ramos rifled one to me, as he was to others with a glove, Ball #3.

Ball #4 was out of the Clevelander pool, a cool security guy got the pool skimmer and scooped it up off the bottom of the pool for me.

pool ball

I got one other ball that came down from the awnings above the Clevelander, Ball #5.  Its definitely a claustrophobic kind of feeling trying to get around to a baseball in here.

claustrophobic

For all three games I sat next to the Mets bullpen which would prove to pay off each day, for this one I got a toss up from Dave Racaniello, always friendly Mets bullpen catcher.  Ball #6.

Picture of Marlins Park behind home plate nearly.

home plate view

Miami Life

cf miami life

Miami skyline through the windows behind LF.mia skyline from lf

It was a good first day, I looked forward to watching the game from the Clevelander.  Daniel Murphy was the man of the game as he knocked a 3 run homer in the top of the 9th off Marlins closer Steve Cishek.  Jeurys Familia with the save.

Day-6

Year-59

Career-2301

Pirates v Cubs, PNC Park, 4/20-21/2015

Heading into this Pirates v Cubs series the weather was looking dismal.  I felt as if at least one of the three would have a rained out batting practice, today would be the one for that.  As for the Monday and Tuesday v Cubs I felt like we dodged rain narrowly, but the wind was wicked both days.  Chicago is retooled with youth and the arrival of Kris Bryant coincided nicely for this series.  Jorge Soler put on a nice show, Bryant as well, and the Cubs lefties were fair with Rizzo providing the usual high action levels he can display.  One thing about the Cubs is it seemed the lefties and righties both were continuously going opposite field.  Possible a Joe Maddon thing…

Here is how the flags looked high above CF, whipping around the field..

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4/20 began with a shot from Andrew Mccutchen that went down the line, over the bleachers and onto the Rotunda, I turned on the jets for it and got there quickly for Ball #1.

Mccutchen launched a few more homers during this bp, another one of which I was able to scrum, Ball #2.

Heberto Andrade tossed up Ball #3.

Corey Hart then hit a high homer to the second row of left field, despite the wild winds I was able to settle under it for the catch with no troubles.  Ball #4.

Kris Bryant was taking that center to right field approach often but one of his crushed homers went into the upper bleachers and took a room service bounce into my glove for Ball #5.

Ball #6 was a ball that took another kind bounce off the top of the wall right at me for Ball #6.

4/21

Today I set  my mind to go over to CF after seeing the Cubs approach in bp, plus the wind was whipping again more toward CF.  Upon entering LF Andrew Mccutchen provided a homer which was caught midway up in the bleachers, Ball #1.  Andrew Lambo threw a ball to a lady named Lauren in the front row, it sailed over her and I scooped it for Ball #2, I gave it to the kind lady who was thankful for the assist.

Ball #3 was thrown by Heberto Andrade.

Ball #4 was thrown to me by Tony Watson up onto the riverwalk behind the CF seating area.

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Once CF was opened I surprisingly found a ball in there, somehow overlooked by the ushers, Ball #5.

Finally, to end things I caught a Kris Bryant homer in CF near the batters eye, this was a cool ball to get, and I think I may have been the first MGB member to get a ball from Kris Bryant with the one yesterday.

A fun two days of bp indeed..

With much wind..

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Two game total-12

Year-53

Career-2295

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