The days weather prediction for Wednesday was bleak Tuesday night, but I woke up to sunny blue skies, mostly cloudless so I was turned up to get back to work.
There was a threat of dark purple clouds from around 330 to 415. We dodged the rainout by a narrow margin. I don’t know if it stormed elsewhere but we entered at 430 to the tail end of the clouds headed eastward.
I decided to give a shout out to Herbie Andrade who wizzed one in for Ball #1, but he responded with a loud WHAT! before the throw. Something to think about, think Im going to lay low on Herbie for a while. Its getting a little ridiculous.
Ball #2 was a scrum, nothing special in any way.
Ball #3 though was probably the coolest scrum Ive been in that can remember. Phenom Marte lifted a high deep shot that landed in foul territory, bounced around, hit a rail, hit something else, and somehow found its way back into the left most portion of the bleachers. To top it off the ball bounced away from me and rolled toward the front row where Rick was posted. I kept chase and hoped it would hit one of the bleachers steel bases. Luckily it did or that was all Rick.
Ball #4 a scrum, Ball #5 a clean catch of a homer. Ball #6 a scrum, Ball #7 scrum as well. A lot of running around with the surprisingly good Cubs bp for the second day in a row. Good exercise, legs felt great.
Ball #8 was a treat, a close up toss up from Alfonso Soriano, the ball smashin no defense havin primadonna. I don’t know I kinda like him, he tossed me two balls last year, I have numerous caught homers from him one of which was a Houston 50th commemorative last year. And in a small crowd he spotted Cubs gear and tossed it up, Woop! Cant field for shit. Cant dance for shit either.
Ball #9 a scrum, Ball #10 a clean catch of a homer which I gave to a girl who fell on her ass somehow in the front row.
I then went over to play left field.
The Great One, Arriba, Roberto Clemente, 21 forever, the right field wall in memory of a player never to be forgotten, a humanitarian. My favorite statue at the CF gate where ballhawks wait to play.
Some Cub lefty hit a high shot that didn’t have what it takes to be a homer, I was behind the handicap seats waiting for a bomb. This ball had some tail toward center to it and was high enough that I considered it to have a chance to bounce high enough up to me. I weaved my way through the few seats, and posted up close to where I pictured the bounce would go. As I got to the spot it bounced high up against the fence right as I approached. I made an extended reach for it just as it bounced off the fence basket style, unsteady as shit when it landed in my glove, and I carefully pulled it in. Look Im not trying to brag, but that was definition of Web Gem shit. Ball #11.
If you know sports you know that team mates feed off of each other, hitting is contagious type of things and theories, well that’s how we do it at PNC. Seconds later, maybe on the next pitch, Erik leaped high for a ball that likely would have landed two rows behind him to make a snow cone grab.
Cheers everywhere, and calling out to ballhawks everywhere, if you like to have a good challenge, swing through, not on a day game, Wooooop!!!!
Day-11, 2 given away
Well I don’t know what the fucc is wrong with WordPress giving me this error box to load this pic of the former world series champion and BIIIGGG TRUUUCCCK driva Jose Contreras on a sunny day in the burgh but fucc the visuals for today it was Ball #1 on the toss up from Contreras.
Gaby Sanchez slammed a homer as he has been all year that found its way onto the crosswalk, which I was able to scrum for Ball #2.
I felt hyped to be at PNC again after two rough games to end the last homestand and I needed to do well to keep pace with my goal to reach 2000 career baseballs by years end.
So after two quick ones to start I felt good.
What I thought I had an easy play on, a ball that bounced into the upper bleachers which I had a good jump on would turn sour. I raced up not concentrating enough, thinking it would be easy to spot. I heard footsteps and when I missed it for those few seconds Erik scooped it up. That how it is at PNC. I was glad Erik got it over any one else, that’s how it is at PNC, scrums always contested. Anyway, I took a minute to sit down and re-focus as I was kinda mad at myself for the lack of concentration.
Jason Grilli the league leader in saves with 18 spotted me, I first thought he was laughing at me as he knows our ways and how we play, but turns out I musta looked dejected so he threw me a baseball for Ball #3. I thanked him and threw it back to him to save for someone else. It got me psyched though, because he made the one ball per ballhound rule and has stuck to it. For me it was my third ball thrown by Grilli as I scrummed a toss up from him into the upper bleachers which he threw to watch ballhounds chase.
Scrum for Ball #4, ground rule double Ball #5 and #6. I was using the third row well as I got one to left and one where I was leaning against the bullpen door by the North Side notch, good range.
Back to that Grilli rule, well, I got a new goal to see how many I can go over the rule, Im going to say ten, it will make things fun and interesting with Grilli. Ball #7 on the day was a toss up that I think was just a lob into the bleachers near the foul pole to see the ballhounds run, well I ran to it well and fielded it off the steps. That’s 4 from Grilli on the year,,,,hope he isn’t reading this.
Ball #8 was a clean catch of a homer.
Ball #9 cleared my glove and the bleachers but came back to me room service style, can of corn ricochet catch.
Ball #10 a clean catch of a homer that a Cubs fan gave me props for, I gave it to his girl.
Ball #12 and Ball #13 were toss ups, one from Shawn Camp the other IDK.
The Cubs were a pleasant surprise and helped boost up the stats well for the day and year. Kinda like just typin up a short blog with a few stories, nuch quicker too. Hope yall keep reading, thanks for subscribing.
Very Well, Very Blessed in Life. To be a part of a great game!!
Day-13, 5 given away
Today was a boring bp from both the Pirates and the Brewers, stale as hell.
Ball #1 was a toss up from Herbie,,,I wasn’t even requesting a ball I was calling out to him to let him know he was on the radio translating for Wandy after his performance the night before, he whipped a baseball at me anyways and then chatted.
Ball #2 was a scrum for a ground rule double which tipped off the top of my glove.
Ball #3 was a caught homer from an unidentified Brewer.
Tough day, but these are the ones you just go through and then get back on it, the ball simply couldn’t find me today or I couldn’t find the ball. Whatever the case Ill be back with the same perspective and the same flight shoes on.
Francisco Liriano was in left center again, and my excitement level was up to get on the board with a toss up from the often injured, but often nasty pitcher who has a no hitter under his belt. One interesting stat I have been keeping is thrown balls from pitchers with no hitters. When I first saw Liriano in this series he wasn’t throwing up anything. Today I didn’t do anything special just calling out Cisco loudly and he tossed it up, WORD, Ball #1.
That makes toss ups from AJ Burnett, Homer Bailey, Edwin Jackson, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Francisco Liriano.
I was even more amped when I was able to get him to sign it when the autograph hounds got him to come and sign.
Gaby Sanchez provided a homer in left center that I extended out for over Jim Saylor, he was upset for a second, but that’s how it goes, I gave him Ball #2 and he was cool, it got signed by Liriano so he was forgiving and thankful at the same time.
WTF WTF why do I keep finding dead birds.
I have no explanation for this, but if I find another I know one thing, something weird is going on.
Ball #3 was another caught homer off the bat of Gaby Sanchez.
Herbie Andrade hooked up yet another toss for Ball #4. $$$$$man
After many opposite field cuts which hasn’t been Ryan Brauns case in the past at PNC, we have all caught bunches of his homers, I was in the right spot to catch a homer off his bat for Ball #5.
Ever heard of Brandon Knitzler, well he was going hard on the track, covering a large portion of left and left center. He was ultra determined to get every baseball back into the bucket. Apparently he was onto the Brewers gear being worn, he taunted and ran and blocked ball after ball from hitting the track, and denied every polite request for a toss up.
I screamed to him not to get hurt like MO did, and wanted to start some more shit with him but declined, and out of the blue, at the end of bp, I looked at him, he looked at me, and he threw up Ball #6. He then targeted Erik for a toss up as well…………..Weird
Day-6, 1 given away
Love the Cisco signature, nice and clean.
Starling Marte got things started off with Ball #1, he hesitated for a sec after seeing me again, then through a breaking pitch with a little velocity on it.
Jeanmar Gomez threw a high toss at the wall for Ball #2. Both are below Starling in the ready, Gomez chilling.
After a misplay on a ball at the wall which was tough to reach Wandy Rodriguez hooked up Ball #3.
Michael Mckenry would provide access to a long chase for a homer that sailed over the North Side notch and out onto the concourse, being a low crowd not a soul was close. Ball #4.
Ball #5 was a scrum for a ground rule double near the pens.
Ball #6 a caught homer, and Ball # 7 was my best of the day, a high homer in the sun, I had a good read, took eyes off and ran to the handicap section right in time for a clean catch. The view.
Day-7, 3 given away
After a brief break from ballhawking it was back to PNC with the Brew Crew in town. Right off the bat the coolest guy in baseball got things rolling with Ball #1, Herbie Andrade. Jim is up to something in this pic.
After this I went for a toss up from the Dominican bred phenom Starling Marte, it wasn’t your average toss up as he wizzed one in to me for Ball #2.
Today was a big day for scrums, six total, the first, Ball #3 was hit by Starling Marte which Erik and myself both broke for, I narrowly made the play. One of them bounced off this beer tub for Ball #4.
Two of them, Ball#5-6 were scrums which I gave away to the two guys in the pic below.
This pic shows how nice of a day it was to start the homestand.
Ball #7 was a scrum which Ian challenged for, but I came came through with narrowly, all the scrums were close as ballhawks were having free range in the bleachers to close in on homers.
Ball #8 was a scrum which was a milestone ball, after changing into Brewers gear someone was off to a quick start and I scrummed ball 1600 on the crosswalk.
And then I found a dead bird.
More to come on the dead bird phenomenon later.
Ball #9 was another scrum, a lot of action on the down and dirty side of things, but nothing else too exciting, the homestand was off to a good start for sure.
Day-9, 2 given away
In Cleveland today, a man named Charles Ramsey stole the show and became a hero for taking a necessary action to save two adult women and a child. He then gave one of the realest and most uncut raw interviews about the events that I have seen. If you haven’t watched his interview about the events that unfolded you are missing out.
As I stood at the gates I do recall hearing a massive amount of sirens which I dismissed as usual city shit, but it did seem that they were going for a good while, on the way home from Cleveland they broke into the pre game with the reports of the girls being saved.
Also at the gate I took some sky pics.
Inside the gates Rick Gold and myself put on a show. A combined 23 balls. Each on double digits.
Action began for me with a two scrums and a caught homer in the area of the pic below, notice Rick in his A’s gear. Through the whole bp, A’s gear was worn by me and Rick. Way to stick out in green and gold. Balls #1-3.
I made several attempts to hit up Chris Perez, an always generous closer who failed to find me. However a ball he tossed to a girl in the front row did as he over threw her, Ball #4, I gave it up to the intended target and moved on.
Scott Kazmir found me as he retrieved a ball near center as I played the corner spot. Ball #5.
Ball #6 was thrown to me by this A’s pitcher.
Waiting for more toss ups as I stood out so well I got a ground rule double room service bounce in the front row. Things were going great. Ball #7.
This serious looking self pic shows the gear that did the job in helping with a nice day.
Grant Balfour, the wild Aussie closer would throw me Ball #8.
This long hair tossed up Ball #9.
In LF later on he attempted to hit me again but missed me by hitting the railing, all good though.
Following this would be two caught homers off the bat of Seth Smith, thanks to Rick for pointing this out as I did have some trouble identifying their pitchers and hitters. Ball #10-11.
Over to LF I was glad that no ushers were cleaning things up and scored an easter egg up high in the bleachers for Ball #12, a few other people found some as well so it was nice that they weren’t all pocketed.
Ball #13 was a gem of a catch I would say, Mike Taylor laced one to the top of the 19 foot wall, knowing the dangers of LF, which I am always cautious of I ranged to it and reached down over the railing to make a backhanded grab, long hair was down their and gave me some props on the catch.
That was the show. Time to go. Said peace to Rick and hit the highway.
Cmon get happy, Cleveland always has made me happy, always good numbers and always good fun there. Ill be back soon.
Day-13, 1 given away
Dreaded Sunday game, Kids day, kids everywhere, the vibe is so low on Sundays.
The extra half hour wait is like watching paint dry.
A day after a day game, and no bp. Pitchers from both teams warmed up as we stood locked out from the seating bowls from 1130 to Noon.
As I stood at the gate I surprisingly noticed a ball near the corner of the section next to the bullpen. Because there was no bp, shockingly, the ushers weren’t in the seats pretending to wipe down the bleachers.
The ball stayed put for that long long half hour and I was able to jog in to pick it up for Ball #1, that was it.
This game was a 405 start so due to daytime rules we would enter the gates to see about 3/4 of the Nationals bp.
I got in to the center field seats and got to a ball that none of the ushers noticed in the corner for Ball #1 I also had a caught homer from an unidentified National for Ball #2. I had two in a row coming to me until some Brave girl, dolled up, nails and all decided to try to make the one handed catch of the scorching long distance homer. I could see it coming as I was camped for it, it smacked hard off her hand and took a bounce over to Jim Saylor. All good, nothing you can do about that.
I got to spend the game hanging with Dom and talking baseball in between dancing and being a cool guy chatting with everyone.
He made it to the big screen.
Felt good to be back to PNC after the Pirates long road trip. Getting inside I was first in and while looking for Easter Eggs someone clanged one of a bleacher which rolled down to me. It hit right around that guy in the picture above.
Black and Yellow Black and Yellow Black and Yellow Black and Yellow
Not too long after fielding that ball as it rolled down the steps Mark Melancon, big 8th inning man in Pittsburgh was cool to toss me up Ball #2 on the day.
Herbie Andrade was walking past after catching a side session, I walked to the pens to just chat with him about his first homer in the minor leagues which Erik had shared with me on our Cleveland trip. He then left, when he came back with no intention of asking him for a ball he flipped me one up for Bal #3. Such a cool dude, he then went to chatting it up with the groundscrew.
What would come next felt great, in the upper bleachers one of the Pirates deposited one which bounced around on impact, well a concessions worker was up there. He took off for the ball, f this I thought these workers do enough damage now this fool was going to go running after one. I took off up the steps and located it quickly as he looked around aimlessly. Ball #4. Ya Buddy
Look at him.
With Old Mcdonald winding things down for the Pirates bp I played him down the line in left where he lofted one that bounced off the track, off a guys glove and rolled to me for Ball #5.
The Nats were using a load of older commemorative baseballs, Angels 50th, Shea Commemorative, and Inaugural season for Nationals Park (which I do not have).
Ryan Zimmerman was up and began belting homers quickly, I had seen a bunch of commems so far and when I had a chance to range to my right and get underneath a high bomb by Zimm I was glad to make a clean catch of a Shea commem which looked close to new for Ball #6.
Ball #7 was a bounce off the track near the pens which was an easy play.
Ball #8 was just the same, except for some guy trying to rip the ball out of my glove, I wrapped it up and ripped it away from his hand, and was delighted to see a Nationals Park Commemorative.
Here are the two.
Jayson Werth, a man who has provided a lot of bombs in the time Ive seen him hit, I made the decision to play him to deep left center as the bleachers were beginning to be too crowded for comfort. On one of his last cuts he crushed one right at me that smacked hard in my glove from here. Long Distance.
Day-9, 1 given away