I was really excited to be back at PNC Park and although the crowds would increase just because of this, I was up for the challenge.
I started with the usual stretching. Then I went onto the bridge to throw and my arm was ready. I was making throws from about halfway across the bridge without any bounces.
Then it was time to brave the over 90 degree heat and try to snag some baseballs.
We all went in to look for easter eggs, I went into the second deck and there hiding under the seat portion was a ball for ball #1. It’s about time I found an easter egg over there. Ushers, prize wheel members and pizza shop owners have been going in and pocketing the baseballs for their own personal benefit. While some are being given to kids, many are kept and that is not right. Remember we are watching and if we catch you then you will have to deal with Dennis and that may mean termination. Think about that.
The highlight of Pirates BP for me was when Pedro Alvarez was hitting. He hit an opposite field ground rule double, and I was two sections over, but quickly ran over and got it for ball #2.
Pirates BP doesn’t usually result in too many baseballs since the first group which contains Andrew McCutchen has already hit.
Twins BP was more promising with their lefties.
Still it wasn’t 5:30 yet so I had to stay in left or play a crowded riverwalk. I went with the first option and since I was the only who knew who pitcher Liam Hendriks was, I got ball #3.
Ball #4 occurred after 5:30 in centerfield. Twins Alex Burnett and the other Twin who I think was Brian Duensing were generous with tossups and Duensing gave me a nice toss up. Assist goes to a random kid who asked them to sign the ball. It made Duensing turn around and got me the ball.
I tried my luck at first base, but it was not to be. So I went to the dugout. It was a packed area but I was the only one with a glove. Perfect.
Twins coach Joe Vavra had baseballs and he was looking for people to throw them too. Ball #5. Can of corn.
That would be it or Tuesday and the Pirates were able to get a win in Ryan Doumit and Matt Capps’ returns to Pittsburgh. I left after the first inning in order to beat the heat.
I would not attend Wednesday’s game due to an appointment and instead went to Greentree to watch summer league basketball.
I did the exact same routine as Tuesday and the throws were still great. In even better news, I finally got my camera so from here on in, you will get to see actual game pics.
I expected big things for this game but when I came in and saw no easter eggs, I looked on the field and the cage was not up yet.
Honestly, my first thought was, “You’ve got to be ******* kidding me!”
Jason Grilli could see the grim looks on everyone’s faces and told us it was hot and the Pirates would not hit. The Twins would though.
I would not get any of the relievers baseballs although I tried to solve a rumor. Quinn a commentor on here said that Doug Slaten would dougie during his time in AAA so when my water accidentally fell and Slaten retrieved it, I asked him and he said he didn’t. Interestingly enough it led to an enjoyable conversation.
Randomly my buddy Euclides Rojas at the very end long tossed me a baseball that landed in the glove for ball #1.
Taking a break from ballhawking I have set out on a mission. I am trying to get my glove signed by as many Pirates as possible. Why? Barring a setback, I intend on this being my last full season of ballhawking. While I definitely enjoy it and would continue doing select road trips, my passion is journalism and I would love to work as an intern with them or cover the team from that perspective all season. I think this will be a cool way to remember what has been a part of my life since July 2009.
Here was the progress thru this game:
Back to the ballhawking portion of this entry. I tried the first base area and was able to get Jared Burton to throw me a ball for the second snag of the day.
That was it for Twins BP so I went to the dugout and try a Joe Vavra toss up again. He tossed a high one so I looked back and judged and made a circus catch for ball #3. Thanks Joe!
From there, it was off to the bullpen for James McDonald vs Liam Hendriks.
Here is a random shot I got. Poor Euclides. I was trying to take a picture of him and this happened.
Meanwhile in the Twins bullpen, Hendriks was still warming up but the relievers were all already in the bullpen and apparently fans of Fifa Soccer as evidenced by this photo which reminded me of the wall in soccer. Also as a reference the first reliever on the left was Burton who threw me ball #2.
Ultimately, Rojas threw me another ball for ball #4 which was awesome.
The bullpen then came in.
Speaking of awesome, the Pirates got off to a fast start, and I left early again and left any hope of the Twins winning with me.
All in all, not a bad series and the Pirates took care of business against the Twins and James McDonald pitched his first ever complete game. McDonald has been a different Pirates pitcher this season and even when I watch him from the bullpen, he is much more confident in himself and his stuff and it is a complete transformation. I would say that getting McDonald at the deadline a couple years back was Neal Huntington’s best move as Pirates GM.
As for me it was on to the Tigers series and more triumphs and frustrations.
Speaking of frustrations, I have decided to challenge myself. PNC Park is considered by many to be the “Best Ballpark in America” however no ballpark is perfect and PNC is far from it. I have decided that for each of the remaining home games starting with the Tigers game on Friday, I would come up with one thing about the ballpark that digusts me and will put it in the entry. At the end of the season there will be a master list compiled. These opinions are mine and mine only with no outside influence.
Well I guess you’ll have to wait for the next entry to see the debut of that as well as how I did in the first game of the Tigers series.