I should have known better.
It started earlier in the week at work with a conversation.
“You know food prices are going to go up,” the worker asked me.
“No. Why,” was the honest reply back.
“Well it has been so hot and there has been no rain that the crops are going bad and that means food will be harder to come by,” she said.
I should have known that would be a precursor to the rain that would ensue the next three days, Wednesday’s batch I was involved in a hail storm without a hat, coat or umbrella.
So with the constant rain on Friday, it meant one thing no BP, and a lot of the ballhawks planned accordingly. Erik smartly went to Cleveland en route to a 10 ball day. If I was not working, I likely would have gone with him. Nick was texting me back and forth and smartly avoided this game of 186 games and counting as of prior to today’s game with one ball. Rick also skipped the game which was a smart call, although I wonder if he regrets not playing outside the park as he likely would have snagged Neil Walker’s game winning homer. Jim Saylor also sat it out leaving only three.
Only myself, Ian Weir and Robbie Sacunas were brave enough to ballhawk, knowing full well that there was almost no chance of BP. Of course we were right.
We were the only three to stand out and with the Pirates pitchers already in and having thrown and any possible easter eggs already confiscated, it was a lot of waiting and watching the Marlins few relievers throw. I was forced into the game as I worked and would be attending the last Pittsburgh Power game of the season. I had long odds as I had to leave PNC Park at 6 and with no BP or help in sight, it looked like my streak was finally over.
So I decided to take some pictures to pass some time.
I did pay close attention to the Marlins relievers as there were two kids and two adults that threw by us in left field. None of those balls would or should count as they are not players, coaches or employees, but whatever. Anyways, I kept my eye on the Marlins relievers as I said before and they took the balls on the middle of the field and tossed them to the ushers. I figured I would try and ask them for it but then I saw a lefty reliever, likely Michael Dunn, wind back and threw a ball onto the third deck. It was 5:20, so I tracked the section and waited a few minutes to make sure it wasn’t pocketed. None of the ushers saw it as they were cleaning it. I knew what I had to do.
So I went to the gate to go up to the 300 level and ran into ballhawks Quinn and Danny who made the trip. Poor Danny has come here twice on days where conditions were crappy and not optimal. We said quick hellos, but I was in save my skin mode at that point.
5:30 came and it was time to go. I knew I had to act quick as I was unsure if anyone else had seen the ball.
I immediately ran up and had a lead on any pursuer. It looked as though Quinn saw the ball as well and was a full staircase behind me, a comfortable margin. I am unsure if he gave up due to this deficit or if he got lost due to an unfamiliarity to the ballpark. Either way, as I continued speeding up the steps and being careful with the rain, I continued to look down occasionally, and saw I was the only one.
I immediately played guesswork with the section based on appearance. I gazed over the section and knew the area was right but could not find the baseball. Dang, I thought, an usher must have picked it up during the five minutes I was stuck waiting for the gate to open.
I was getting ready to leave the area when I decided to look one more section over as it had the same appearance from below.
I quick went up a few rows, saw this and smiled.
It wasn’t just any ball though, let’s get a close up on that:
Then I celebrated my catch with a few fist pumps. This was a huge snag and I knew my streak would continue.
Before leaving, I went to the seats and got a picture of this Pirates fan:
Lastly time for the thing that disgusts me about PNC Park. I will go with the yellow boots the grounds crew wears. It makes them look like first graders and they seem to struggle walking in them too. Just a mess and wearing those boots this season has meant either they or PNC Park operations has made a bad call about BP. Sorry… ok not really. Honesty is the best policy.
That was it for this crappy day. Back at it later today and the conditions are definitely much more encouraging.
Posing here hours later at the Power game with today’s output: