Ill start right off with this, I would love to have the NL Central Astros back, because these ones are not the least bit friendly, and put on a crappy display of hitting. Carlos Lee, and Hunter Pence used to lite the place up with homers to LF, and the often fun and non chalant wild bunch of the Astros bullpen tossed up a lot of baseballs. Wilton Lopez got to know Erik J and I and would always connect with us at PNC or on the road. These Astros, meh, at best…
On a Monday after a three game home losing streak to the fish, and kids returning to school the crowd was kind of big.
CF was opened for business though, the Pirates reporting they are giving it a try, still no RF entrance however until 530. Makes a lot of sense since they keep offering more and more early entrance packages with no where to put the people but packed into the LF bleachers for an hour.. This did clear out LF enough though for me to come up with a homer catch off the bat of Eric Fryer, a running catch with a little lean through an open aisle. Later on, a caught homer from an unidentified Astro in the second row.
Heberto Andrade was finally back and hooked up a baseball to make three on the day..
Of all the MLB gear I have or have had for each team, there are no other team logo’s or color combinations that I like to wear more then the Miami Marlins.
Marlins players, no matter the venue I have seen them play (PNC, Marlins Park, Arlington) have always been generous with toss ups.
Without Mike Stanton a lot of the excitement about the Marlins batting practice went out the window, and they were all around pretty bad for hit balls.
Both Friday and Saturday looked like this.
It was also cool to have an unexpected appearance from Dennis Mora from Miami, we got to catch up, have a good throwing session and have fun during batting practice.
Friday I came away with two baseballs, a scrum during the Pirates shortened bp, and a toss up from Jose Urena on the RF wall. Urena is extra friendly with toss ups as he threw several baseballs into the stands.
This was set up to be a good day, the right ticket checker in place, good weather, full Pirates, and friendly Marlins.
Things started off good with a caught homer of Starling Marte, scrum of a David Freese homer that went into the concourse under the bleachers and a toss up from a Pirates staff throwing a ball to PNC Lauren that she botched. 3 baseballs to start things off was nice with the Marlins to come.
Over on the Clemente Wall I connected with Fernando Rodney.
Urena again, here he is a cool pic of him warming up prior to his W Sunday.
And another Marlin who had a pullover on for Ball #6 on the day. The corner spot on the Clemente Wall worked well.
Reeling in some fish.
On the way back over to LF I noticed Jose Fernandez who has hooked me up x 3 now between MIA and PGH tossing every ball he got into the stands, underhanded and deep. Above the bullpen with the MIA gear I got Jose’s attention. He impressively underhanded one right to me on the walkway behind the Pirates bullpen, Ball #7 of the day.
Closer pic back over in LF as he tossed up ball, after ball after ball.
Juan Nicasio, after warming up with his pal Neftali Feliz tossed a ball that sailed over Dominik’s head in the front row which was an easy catch for Ball #1.
Andrew Mccutchen saw me and my pretty girl Shianne for a between innings warm up ball toss up in CF.
We had a great time watching a game prior to their first day of school for 2016.
Another hi-lite of the Marlins series was being able to see Ichiro post 3000 hits, one of the most incredibly disciplined and well prepared players there has been.
Dominik and I watched his throwing warmup, and stretching routine along with plenty others hoping for an autograph, I was just glad to see him in preparation.
And quickly trotting off the field after his warm up to many peoples demise.
And this baseball from Juan Nicasio lived a lot longer then most…..
This one began well with a first toss up from Pirates pitching prospect Tyler Glasnow who was throwing lots of baseballs into the crowd.
I also came up with a scrum of a Jung Ho Kang homer, and a caught homer from Alex Dickerson on the RF river walk.
This game was supposed to be a good one with the Pirates full bp in store and another shot at Alex Dickerson and the other Padres who were putting on a good show on the river walk. The good ticket checker was lined up for duty also.
And this happened which was all the action to see.
I took a stroll in the upper deck on the chance that a Pirates pitcher dumped a wet warm up ball high up.
I did find a baseball to avoid a shutout, not up top however, in LF after entering the bleachers. A nice rubbed up baseball.
Nothing much to see here, the Pirates didn’t take bp, but Herbie Andrade was on his way in from the bullpen as we entered the bleachers, he didn’t fail to hit up me and Erik for a baseball to get on the board.
After this I came away with a scrum of a deep Eugenio Suarez homer in LF.
Back to the LAND with Dominik for the first time since the Cleveland Cavaliers became the first NBA team to come back from a 3-1 finals deficit on the strength of an otherworldly performance by King James.
Sunshine, Dominik, and Lebron James
A lot going on here in this cool mural we stumbled upon.
We headed first to the Cavaliers gift shop which was a much anticipated event, coming away with a championship pennant, championship hat, and an LBJ shirt for me. After this we had a nice lunch at the Tilted Kilt.
At batting practice the Indians would finish up early prior to game time, the Twins may as well have not hit either as they provided nothing in the way of hit balls, we focused on thrown balls throughout.
Dominik and I both got a toss up from fan friendly Kyle Gibson, Ball #1.
Jose Berrios tossed me up Ball #2, and an unknown Twins reliever came over near the end of bp to throw myself and Erik Jabs a baseball to end things at a total of 3 baseballs for me one for Dominik.
We had the bullpen reserve tickets, no game home run, but we had a good time watching and talking baseball with a nice view.
Baseballs, and Tony our Boxer puppy of 3 months.
Well the Mariners sure came with the thunder for bp, this first one on Tuesday was the shortened version of Pirates bp with the first game of the series meetings, I came away with one ball on a scrum by hurdling some bleachers on a hit ball by I believe Jung Ho Kang, Ball #1.
Excitement was in the air for the Mariners as Erik Jabs came away with a Toronto 40th season commemorative baseball, which are gems. I was eager to add this to my Cubs 100th commemorative’s I got earlier in the year.
I felt pretty good about getting a caught homer on the right center portion of the river walk with Seattle having Cano, Seager, Seth Smith, Adam Lind,etc still to come from the left side of the plate. I especially hoped to get the Toronto commemorative off the bat off Robinson Cano who remains one of my favorite current MLB Players, of which I had yet o catch a homer from or get a toss up from.
Robby Cano did end up hitting me a towering can of corn behind the handicap seats which turned out to be a Toronto 40th commemorative baseball, clean too.
Toward the end of the Mariners bp another lefty who I couldn’t identify hit a homer that just missed landing on the Roberto Clemente wall, it took a big bounce, almost over the back wall of the stadium. I was able to get to its landing spot and reach up on it for a snag of another Toronto 40th commemorative to end the day with 3 baseballs.
Cole Adkins was in town, and I was with Cole when I got the Cubs 100th commemorative earlier this year in Cincinnati, he brings good luck.
Here we are at the end of the game with Erik Jabs also..
It was another beautiful summer night in Pittsburgh, the skyline shined with a gold tint as the sun set.
The Pirates would hold a full bp which helped matters, I was able to come up with a caught Jung Ho Kang homer on the left field crosswalk handicap seats, as well as a Heberto Andrade toss up for Ball #1/2.
On the way into the CF seats usher Jim was in the act of tossing a baseball to the fans at the gate, with perfect timing I intercepted it bare handed for Ball #3. I gave it to the nearest kid at the CF gate and continued into the seats.
Ball #4 was a caught homer behind the handicapped seats on the right center portion of the river walk, and Ball #5 a scrum I gave away to a nearby kid.
Two game set-8
This one would prove to be no better then the previous two ballgames that were shortened and eliminated by the heat. Today the gates opened at 2:00pm, with another half hour wait to get into the seating areas.
I decided to play for a toss up at the CF gate since the Pirates were already off the field by 2pm. It worked out, the Phillies were not fielding for the early portion of bp. When the pitchers finally started fielding the baseballs 5 plus sat on the track which were all tossed up to the fans. One of them I was able to scrum for Ball #1.
Then this occurred..
Which allowed for me the chance to get into the CF seating and find a baseball that the ushers didn’t get to from the pouring rain, Ball #2, I gave this away to a young kid afterwards. A thankful kid, which often isn’t the case.
This one would be the shortened Pirates bp with it being the first game of the series, the struggle goes on..
No luck with any Pirates bp opportunities and the Phillies would prove to be a poor bp team without much character from any of their players doing the fielding.
Luckily I was able to avoid a shutout again as I caught up with former Pirate and super nice guy to fans; Jeanmar Gomez, who tossed me up my lone ball of the day.
It was over 90 degrees on the last game of this Pirates/Brewers series, which meant that the Pirates weren’t taking bp, that’s for sure anymore, but the Brewers would stay out of the heat as well.
I was able to enter the LF bleachers with Erik Jabs just as Heberto Andrade was exiting the bullpen to go back to the clubhouse for the next two hours or so..
He flipped Erik a baseball and myself, without having my glove on it was a bare hander but no big deal, except that the baseball had two wet chew tobacco stains on it. No complaints thought, it kept me from taking a shutout.
To start the series I was able to catch a ground rule double full extension on a bleacher, Ball #1, followed by two caught homers in LF, one off the bat of Eric Fryer, the other an unidentified Pirate.
It was a first game of series shortened bp, and the Brewers continue to be a sad bp team with few friendly players for toss ups. Craig Counsell, the Brewers manager, while patrolling around RF told a fan, “I cant throw them up I’m not allowed.”
This second game of the series was a full Pirates batting practice and a good one, I was able to navigate quickly to two scrums toward the back of the bleachers early 0n, Ball #1/2.
There would be no Herbie today, he was seen coming out to LF but was called back in for something and not be seen again.
Up on the LF crosswalk during the third group Eric Fryer nailed a baseball right at me with authority for Ball #3, not a very big crowd.
I made the transition to the CF gate a little early to get a quicker jump into CF to search for a baseball that looked to have gone into the ivy in CF. After entering things fell into place well, Ryan Braun was hammering baseballs into the CF seats.
I came up with a Ryan Braun scrum and caught homer in CF, then found a baseball that the ushers missed in the top corner of the CF seating area.
A nice day in CF, and a good one to be had in the left center alley of the river walk at the gate as well.
I believe that it was Kirk Nieuwenhuis that hit a can of corn at me on the riverwalk for Ball #7 and a homer that bounced room service style between the gate and the handicapped seating area, Ball #8.
Ball #9 was a scrum near the top of an empty top section of the CF seating.
I gave away a handful of baseballs today to kids and sold a few..