Well this entry would have been much nicer but my camera is lost and there appears to be no way of tracking it. Pictures will not be nearly what they should. This will be an indepth post, so I will upload later. I went to try and get a Marlins commemorative baseball.
I met Erik and together we picked up Nick and were off to Progressive Field. I was excited as this was my first trip ballhawking and knew it would be a blast.
We made a couple of pit stops where I blew nearly all of the money I brought on the trip. Whoops. Oh well, at least I had an awesome Dairy Queen blizzard before getting to Progressive Field.
This is the part where any of the 150 camera shots I took would have come in handy. It was awesome seeing the ballpark and I was clicking my camera left and right.
Mind you I was not feeling my best and earlier in the week got sick for the first time all year. I still was okay enough to go but my throwing by the Bob Fellar statue was erratic and I knew it could be a long day.
I had no idea what to expect, so when Erik told me he expected 10 baseballs from me, even I said, “geez slow down. I have no idea what to expect”. It was the truth, I had never been in the ballpark so I did not know my way around.
The gates opened after the wait, and of course I found no easter eggs.
Pittsburgh was well represented at this game, as in addition to Erik, Nick and myself, ballhawks Rick and Hunter made the trip as well. By the way I guess as a footnote, Rick and I have talked our differences out, and as he said on his blog have “kissed and made up”. We understand where the other is coming from and he generously said on his blog that he would help me out with my charity initiative, which is a very kind gesture. I am glad I reached out to him and was glad that he returned the favor. I am glad that there are no hard feelings, and that we can move on.
Back to being at Progressive. I was just excited to be there although I quickly realized there was a lot more room to run.
Initially, nothing was being tossed up. I decided to gauge the situation and pretty much try to figure things out. As I did, I saw Chris Perez coming to the centerfield wall to retrieve a baseball. From what I have heard, he was great for toss ups. I received some advice on Perez and used it when he approached the wall.
“Chris, could I please have that baseball,” I asked.
Chris then looked up to see who made the request and just like that, ball #1 came my way. I was disappointed that it did not have the BP [gas station] logo on it or I would have been able to get a gas card, but still a ball was a ball and I was happy for that.
It took a while for ball number two to come, but towards the end of Indians BP, reliever Nick Hagadone retrieved a ball. There were people in the front row asking for the ball and I randomly just held my glove up several rows back. It was almost an apologetic gesture but I knew in a row of fans, being way back by myself made me stand out. Hagadone’s throw was not too great, but I got to the ball first. Another regular baseball for ball #2.
That would be it for me with Indians BP.
The Marlins began throwing and I changed into my Marlins gear and knew that operation try to get a Marlins commemorative would be in effect.
When most of the Marlins finished throwing, I tried to get a toss up. It did not work out until about a minute later when Marlins reliever Steve Cishek came to the wall. I asked him nicely for a toss up and got one. Another standard ball. Dang. Oh well, still ball #3.
When the ballpark opened up, I made my way to where a couple of Marlins were still throwing. Erik was on the same mission, but it did not work out for him and I guess he left.
The last two throwing were pitcher Anibal Sanchez and bullpen catcher Jeff Urgelles. If my memory serves me correctly, Sanchez would start the next day and thus was getting in some extra work.
As their session was coming a close, they drew closer. A Sanchez toss slowly rolled past Urgelles’ glove and into mine. Upon quick inspection it was ball #4, but again no commemorative.
I quickly hid this ball and neither saw this. I then quickly called Jeff over and I think he was surprised. I asked him if he had any Marlins commemoratives (this took a few tries since my voice was shot) in the bag they used to throw. Upon inspection and a little digging, Urgelles found the only ball in that bag with one and tossed it my way. Ball #5 and success! I was so pleased.
While I did not snag any other baseballs, I was still pleased.
I ran back into centerfield and got in position for the Progressive t-shirt toss. I got three shirts and tossed two of them to the fans. I was told they were Shin Soo Choo t-shirt jerseys but these shirts were “Peace, Baseball, Indians” with a mediocre design. Oh well, still a cool extra snag.
With BP over, Nick, Erik, Amy, Olivia and I all met up before Nick and I hung out and the other three went to the kids play area for Olivia.
I bought an Indians Media Guide, something I really wanted. I was bummed out that they did not have the spiral bounded ones. I am spoiled with those, but in all seriousness, they are so much easier to read. As a note, the guide was $10, $2 less than the Pirates media guide. I thought the price was very fair and have already skimmed through it and enjoyed it.
Then it was off to the bullpen where I was determined to help Nick get a Marlins commemorative.
Very quickly it became clear that much like with me, Urgelles would be Nick’s best case to get one.
At first it did not look too good as Urgelles confused Nick for me. He pleased for me to fix the misunderstanding which I did. Jeff looked in the same bag he looked for me and did not find one. He then went to the other part of the visitor’s bullpen where he found one.
The first toss was one Nick wants to forget, while the second was short. The third one was a charm and with a big assist from me, Nick got his Marlins Park commemorative and both of us were extremely happy. We have been helping each other this season and I was a big help to him all day and he returned the favor on a couple of occasions as well on the trip.
We left Progressive Field shortly after. Despite getting further sick and extremely tired on the trip back, and of course losing my camera, the trip was a great one.
I will definitely come to Progressive Field at least once or twice more assuming everything works out like I plan.
While some of the surrounding area was not too great, the ballpark is much easier for ballhawks. There is much more room and more of the ballpark open than PNC Park. The bummer is that during Indians BP all you can hope for is help from Carlos Santana and Travis Hafner. Hafner is now on the DL for a while and Santana has been a bit banged up as well, and that is not great. Hopefully Johnny Damon and others can pick up Hafner’s slack.
I am excited to go back and maybe I will buy a camera for this trip so I can actually upload some solid pics.