Pirates vs Dodgers, PNC Park, 7/21-22-23/2014

7/21

I was excited to see the likes of Puig, Kershaw, Kemp, Adrian, Brian Wilson, all the big stars.  Feels good to put the Dodger blue on.

After the drive back to Pittsburgh, Monday was a rough day back at work, when I arrived at bp the line for a Monday was out of control in length as well.

Things got off to a frustrating start, Gerrit Cole overthrow and a few homers that found one of the lone early fans.  People kept on rolling in, the bandwagon summer crowd was in full effect right.

Heberto Andrade was a double connect for me on toss ups helping with Ball 1 and 3.

Ball 2 was a catch of a ground rule double.

Ball 4 a toss up by Paco Rodriguez.

This wasn’t the kind of start I wanted to set off on after the break.  Tuesday turned out to be no better, the crowd no smaller.

7/22

On Tuesday I got the attention of Euclides Rojas early on a toss up, Ball 1.

Heberto Andrade toss up ball 2.

Chris Perez, man has he gained some weight since leaving Cleveland.  I wonder why he is eating so many snacks, dude needs to get his exercise on.  Well he is still friendly with toss ups apparently as I connected with him for Ball 3 at the bullpen on the way over to CF seating.

In CF I got the attention of Scott Van Slyke, son of ex Pirate Star CF Andy Van Slyke.  Ball 4.

7/23

The final game of this series Wednesday turned out to be the best one.  Ball 1 was a Heberto Andrade early toss up.

Ball 2 was toss up by Clint Barmes who tossed up 4 balls after he got done fielding grounders on the warning track.  Ball 3 a caught homer by Jordy Mercer.  Ball 4 was a one bounce that nearly struck a young boy in his skull, barely tipping off the top of the wall and falling in my glove.  I hate more then anything seeing children get hit, and it pisses me off when people aren’t paying attention to baseballs zipping in.

Ball 5 and 6 were found in CF, a rare occasion.  I noticed as bp went on that there were no ushers looking for baseballs as they had some sort of employee ceremony on field.

Ball 7 was a toss up by Brian Wilson, my favorite all of the series easily.  Brian got into a verbal sparring match with a fan talking smack, Brian remained calm and countered all the hatred and bullshit being spewed at him and eventually quieted the fan.  On a lighter note he then chased baseballs around the field, took a youngsters hat to wear when he field a ball at the wall.  Brian wore it, fielded a ball, then gave the hat and a ball to the kid.

I caught up to Brian in CF, asked loudly for a ball in a brash manner hoping it would get his attention. It did, but he stated something about catching a homer, and he plays the good defense in the field.  He noticed a ball on the track and said I was lucky a ball was sitting there.  He tossed me one, a Pirate fan one, and a Nationals fan one.  To end it he loudly screamed, “Yea, and were all Winners.” Brian had more fun in LF throwing up baseballs and pumping up the crowd with his antics, love seeing this type of shit.

Love Action

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Don’t talk shit.  Be Kind.

Year-236

Career-2118

 

 

 

 

Futures Game and Home Run Derby, Target Field, 2014

 

 

This was my first view of the Minneapolis skyline as I pulled in on the Metro for the 2014 Home Run Derby at Target Field.  The construction is for the Minnesota Vikings new football stadium to be opened in two years.  Until then you can tune in to see some wild snow and freezing cold games for the Vikes.

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This Metro may have been hit by that 515 foot moon shot by Stanton as Target Field is tightly packed into the city by a parking garage and Metro line.

We stayed in St. Paul with family.

St. Paul skyline.

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Arrival at the RF gate.  Talked with Tony Voda, a good home town host and ballhawk as well as Erik.

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Kirby Puckett, seems me and my brother in law always end up talking about Kirby Puckett’s World Series heroics, he wore this jersey to the Derby.

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Ryan loves family, hockey, construction work, ice fishing, camping, beer, cheese curds.

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Crowd view from the RF gate.

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Target field prepped for All Star Game.

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When the gates opened for the Futures Game the USA team was warming on the 1B side, I noticed that a lot of people went over right from the bat.  I considered this option, and thought otherwise given the amount of people already in place there.  I decided to look for easter eggs in LF lower deck and upper deck.  I quickly found that there were none in the lower deck and ran up top.  I searched all through initially and began to give up.  As I was up there I decided to ask an usher about the standing rook territory and as I did I noticed a ball to the section stationed next to the foul pole.

It turned out to be a 2014 HRD commemorative.  2 for 2 on HRD baseballs.  PNC 2006 MIN 2014, Cincinnati next year sounds great.

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Ball 2 was a Futures Commemorative tossed up by Meyer.

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Ball 3 was tossed up by Harvey in RF.  Ball 4 tossed by Owens.  I had little interest in looking up these guys, but the Futures commemoratives were pretty cool looking.

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Left Handed power hitter prospect Joey Gallo got my attention quickly and I decided to head up to the second deck in RF.  This worked out well as I got one of his hit balls via scrum on a ball that took a gentle landing.  Ball 5.

I tracked one of his homers until I had no room left on the RF stair case, so I just watched it shatter the trucks windshield, pretty cool moment.

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USA

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A beautiful day for baseball, I headed back to the Metro to get back to St. Paul for a nice Minnesota cookout and party.

View for the HRD in a standing room spot and later on a spot three rows in with an aisle seat.

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BP itself ended up being tough, I came away with nothing.  Got close to a couple homers in LF lower deck but that was it.  There were two rain delays to bp, the crowd kept growing and the little kids took the players out of the toss up game.

I was cool with the way things happened, no worry, glad I had my hands on the commemoratives I got, but still had big hopes of catching something on the fly from the spot in the pic above.

Rain Intimidation

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This years HRD contestants, I chose Giancarlo Stanton, he didn’t come through but his 515 foot homer was a mammoth blast that pretty much soared over our heads in the second deck. I honestly turned around to see if it was going to make it over the third deck and either hit or clear the Minneapolis Metro.

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View to my right, it was painful watching several homers continue to land directly to my right out of reach.

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View to my left, where I got within reach of  a few Jose Bautista homer, one resulting in two beer spills and a knee scrape.

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In a yellow We Are Family shirt I got on TV several times, but I didn’t get to hold up a HRD commemorative.  Did everything I could, had a great time regardless and was thankful to have each commemorative.

Double Rain Bow

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2014 Futures Game and HRD commemorative baseballs..

733

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indians vs Royals, Progressive Field, 7/5/2014

With another dreaded day game on a Saturday for the Bucs with Philadelphians crowding up the place making things more difficult, Erik and myself went up to Cleveland.

The home away from home, CLE always provides action and opportunity.

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Making about 6 or more Cle games throughout he season is going to be instrumental in meeting my goals for the year, and today was a good start with the remaining games left I have for Cleveland.

Ball 1 was found, followed by Ball2/3 via scrum as I was still searching around for found balls in the large RF area.  Erik had found what had to have been an ushers collection of balls neatly placed in a row of 3, good for him, and F the ushers.  The first 2-3 minutes were wild and filled with adrenaline with the found balls and hit balls raining in.

Ball 4 was a caught homer up the steps near the man in the picture below.

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Royals players were avoiding toss ups on the RF side, but after a lot of hollering a ball came to the wall below me where I got Casey Coleman to connect with me for Ball 5.

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Billy Butler didn’t provide much, but the one bomb he shot out to left center about 5-10 rows up was right in line with me, and stayed nicely where it landed, Ball 6.

Back over in RF for Ibanez, and Moustakas I backhanded a homer off the bat of Moustakas for Ball 7 which would complete the day.

Day-7

Year-215

Career-2097

Pirates vs Phillies, PNC Park, 7/4/2014

With my work completed and not much else happening on a slow day at work I got the go ahead to leave when requested.  Originally I had no plans of attending this game, but we were overstaffed at work.

Good thing I was able to make it, the gates operated on an evening game status, but what was bad is the Pirates were off from bp.  The bleachers were a ghost town leading up to the Phillies bp, would have been very nice.

Anyway I got Ball 1/2 via scrum.

Ball 3 a toss up from Bob Stumpo who I believe is a Phils bullpen catcher.

Ball 4 a caught homer.

Pirates v D’Backs, PNC Park, 7/2-3/2014

I miss chasing game home runs more often, a Gem of the Diamond is something I wish I could chase more often.  Having two little ones to spend time with is bigger then that though, but I try to get as many chances as I can to stay for games.  Whats better then being at the game with them.

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First we hung out at the bullpen as Dominik wanted to say whats up to Herbie and try for a ball.  Herbie has talked with Dom many times and waved to him then followed with a baseball over the fence, Ball 5 on the day as I caught it for Dom bare handed.  Not sure he is ready to bare hand one.

Back to the start of bp, I ran late due to an issue with a volatile client about housing and such, never a good move when its close to leave time.  A goal of mine is to never leave work in a stressed or anxious mood.  Things ended smoothly to the day and I made it to the gates.

Ball 1 of the day was a toss up by Heberto Andrade.

Ball 2 a caught homer.

Ball 3 a caught homer, a guy from above in the handicap section tried to like pull it out of my glove, I had to rip downward to get him off me.  Thankfully things ended smoothly.

Ball 4 a toss up again by Josh Collmenter, made a connection with him yesterday.

Prior to the game Dominik wanted to get his baseball signed by Manny Sanguillen, I got a fat burger, and asked Dominik to ask Manny if he knew Roberto Clemente.  Manny signed his baseball and replied, “He was my best friend!”

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I got to witness in person a Gregory Polanco Homer for the first time, and later we settled into seats under the Clemente Wall.

Gregory Polanco is a specimen, long, rangy, quick, powerful.  Let him put on some muscle!!

Stardom Awaits

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Shianne laughed when he spit, commented on his dirty pants, and asked if Mccutchen could come home with us.  Dominik and I were able to talk baseball for a good bit, and I reviewed with him a lot he learned in instructional baseball this year, I was happy to see his understanding and interest grow.

They both had some good Ritas and they both went wild for the Pierogi Race.  Best time I had at a game in a while.  My mother was there as well, and she was able to enjoy a good game with good times as well.

With Shianne in my arms, we were able to catch the fifth inning toss up from Andrew Mccutchen.

Ball 6

July 3, 2014

Ball 1, #200 on the year was a toss up from Jeanmar Gomez.

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Ball 2 a toss up from Heberto Andrade.

Ball 3 scrum

Ball 4 Edinson Volquez toss up, giveaway to a little guy.

Ball 5 found.

Two games-11

Year-204

Career-2086

 

 

 

Pirates v Snakes, PNC Park, 7/1/2014

To start the month of July the Diamondbacks were in town, it was a hot one too.  US Soccer was on at 4pm, so maybe some people had intentions of watching, Josh Collmenter was all draped up and decked out in red, white and blue.

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Josh would toss me Ball 5 of the day, he was one of the more easy to recognize Dbacks despite the red, white and blue.

July began however with a nice, crisp throw from Heberto Andrade.  Ball 1.

Ball 2 was an adventure, a Jordy Mercer ball touched down on the lf crosswalk and found its way onto the concourse through some concrete and metal that blocks things off, somewhat.  I like obstacles and tough scrums, and was mindful of one of those guys without a glove that is determined, and quite clueless on how to get a baseball.  I knew this was his chance and he would have a beat on it, so instead of going around and losing time I jumped up over some concrete and crawled through some metal structure to grab the ball at an ushers feet.  Cool scrum it was.

Ball 3 was a ball that was smacked down the line near the foul pole, I backhanded it off the track on a bounce.

Ball 4 was a rare toss up from Stolmy Pimentel.

Ball 6 a toss up in CF from an unidentified Snake.

Ball 7 a toss up from a random Snake that I gave to a kid I believe it was intended for.

Mismatched Snakes gear helped net 3 Snake toss ups.

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Day-7

Year-193

Career-2075

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Pirates vs Mets, PNC Park, 6/26-27-28/2014

Amazin Mets were in town to close out the month of June at PNC Park.  I was hoping to get to 200 balls at this point of the season but with increased crowds and a day game things were tough.  Both the Pirates and Mets put on poor showings, and a day game gate time for Saturday.  Im still happy with where I ended up at to this point, and with what is to come.

26th

Ball 1-Herbie Andrade toss up

Ball 2-Scrum

Ball 3-Caught homer off the bat of Chris Young in the handicap section.  This is up there with personal best catches of homers, no doubt.  Playing in the bleachers, I had to track it up the steps, jump over chain to handicap section, find it in the sun, and extend out with a nice reach to get it.  Web Gem..

It was a good day, my baby finished her last day of nursing school, and a bunch of PNC ballhawks showed up adding to the fun.

27th

Ball 1-Scrum of Andrew Mccutchen hr upper bleachers.

Ball 2-Herbie Andrade toss up

Ball 3-Scrum

28th

Ball 1-Found

Ball 2-Chris Young toss up

Total-8

Year-186

Career-2068

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Pirates vs Reds, PNC Park, 6/17-18/2014

Both of these games were predicted to collide with thunderstorms yet neither did, the Reds however are now a poor bp team as seen and have little intention of throwing any baseballs into the stands.

17th

Ball1-Herbie Andrade toss

Ball2-scrum

Ball3- ricochet off railing to handicap seats

18th

Ball1-Herbie Andrade toss

Ball2-Jeanmar Gomez toss

Ball3-Matt Latos toss

2 game total-6

Year-178

Career-2060

Indians vs Angels, Progressive Field, 6/16/2014

Made it to Progressive Field with Zach W today.

Approach to Gate C where they were set up nicely for some increased security.

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My thought is why cant some willing citizens be trained to efficiently wand you and check your bags over this long, and drawn out, irritating process.

Got to meet Shawn B, and Ken K on this trip.  Always good to meet up with other ballhawks, have a throwing session, talk baseball, and hang.  I never mind competition, it makes you better.  And more competition would come in the form of Pgh ballhawks Scoonz, Ian W, Josh H.  That made 7 of us.

Good time it was.

That’s a nice number of ballhawks getting together.  With the crowds I have noticed in pictures taken by Erik J at Progressive Field to include the poor attendance my thought was we may have been running around freely.  This was early.

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School is out, and the Angels have a lot of stars so this may have been why the crowd took over good portions of RF making lanes and maneuvering somewhat of an issue.

I got on the board with 3 found balls, after having missed 2 that Shawn B ended up getting as he entered along a similar path.

Got close on a few during the entire Indians bp but came up short after the found balls, I switched into Angels gear to try to work toss ups.  I got one players attention, I did a little familiarization at the gate but drew a blank with this guy who tossed me ball 4.

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More toward CF I thought I had a sure toss up from Mike Trout waving and calling him out in all red Angels gear.  Not sure if the young kid in front of me made any mention at all, he had an Ohio State shirt on, but the ball was sent briskly at him a row in front of me despite my ability to get Trout’s attention. This was disappointing as that toss up would have been such a gem.  I also missed out on a Trout bp hr that landed in the row I had been playing when I took a risk on finding a ball that landed in Heritage Park.  Cool that Josh H came up with it on the ricochet.

Long balls were coming in pretty well and despite the growing crowd I was able to catch Ball 5 and Ball 6 in the right center portion.  Ball 6 was made possible as this guy was too absorbed in what Trout was doing at the time.  Up side down too.  A homer sailed in right over him, he had a decent glove on and could have made this one go foul.  I asked him if he saw it coming in, his answer was no, and something about Trout.

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Scoonz with orange hair, Pirates hat and Cleveland shirt.

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Sunset over Home Run Porch

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Post BP pic

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During game on Home Run Porch, left to right; Shawn B, Josh H, Ian W, Scoonz, Zach W

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Ball 7 can be credited to an assist to Shawn B after I tried to assist him in getting a ball that was about 4-5 deep in Heritage Park trees.  Shawn had a Cleveland Stick and drew the ball close enough to the wall to grab.  If you haven’t seen the added monuments in Cle yet it is much harder to get MLB balls out of there.  Shawn didn’t have the reach and neither did Scoonz.  My reach was able to just get enough of my pointer and middle finger on it to pull it up over the concrete divider.

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A good day for all.

Day-7

Year-172

Career-2054

photno 3 (16)

 

Pirates vs Cubs, PNC Park, 6/11-12/2014

Ill start with being happy we got two batting practices in that forecasted tornado’s, heavy rain, and more and more rain on and off on and off.

Somehow between the hours of 3-7 on both Wednesday and Thursday the rain evaded PNC Park, hitting heavy and causing much delay later in both evenings.

Wednesday began with the opportunity to see Cutch who is hot like fire right now take a few rounds of bp, I was able to scrum Ball 1-3 off his bat.

Heberto Andrade connected with me for Ball 4.

Storyline of the day is that PNC staff are now having a security staff, white shirt type watch over season ticket holder time.  It is now being enforced that no fan is to step over, or jump over a bleacher, never have I seen this in any of the 15 ballparks I have been to.  Truthfully, myself and Erik Jabs have probably prevented more injuries now by catching flyballs in front of yinzers in la la land then we could ever as a group cause even the least bit of harm to.   I cant understand why, as there are hardly ever collisions, bad contact or injuries caused by any of the most vigilant season ticket holding crew that calls PNC Park home.  Im eager to see how they handle a large crowd of yinzers fresh off a few beers cause chaos on hit balls.  Cant wait to see how that turns out.

Ball 5 of the day was a caught homer.

Ball 6 a double connect from the coolest dude in baseball as per a ballhawks view.

Ball 7 another caught homer.

Church on Arch Street corner.

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Thankful for the game of baseball.

Again, Thursday was another dodged storm, and turned out to be another productive day.

Heberto Andrade hit me for Ball 1.

It was a good day for the ground rule double for me even though the track was heavy with soaked up water and contraindicated for a nice bounce.

Ball 2 was the first ground rule double.

Ball 3  a caught homer underhanded style at the wall.  I get nervous as shit on these, especially with the sun that beats down on PNC.

Ball 4 was a ground rule double catch backhanded that Jose Tabata hit, Eucy Rojas with his catchers glove out in LF as usual went to make a nice catch but the ball sailed enough to bounce into ballhawk play.

Ball 5 was ball two thrown by Andrade.

Jeff Samardzija put on a show, one like no other pitcher Ive seen as of yet when taking bp cuts.  One was deep into the bleachers to CF, 450 plus.  One of his hits was right in line with me for an easy grab off the ground rule double, Ball 6.

I kinda like getting hit balls from pitchers and now have a caught homer from Adam Wainwright, Johnny Cueto and now the ground rule double from Samardzija.  Jeff was hitting balls harder and way farther then all other Cubs in the group.

Junior Lake got his act together and finally started hitting some balls into the stands, one of which clanged around in the bleachers for an easy scrum for Ball 7.

Starling Marte was going hard in LF today, made some impressive, speedy grabs in LF.  Starling Marte, Heberto Andrade, Eucy and Ray Searage.

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Two game total-7 and 7, 14 total

Year-165

Career-2047

 

 

 

 

 

 

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