The return of some images could make this a more fun although the entry will already be long if all goes according to plan.
First before I get into the games. Here are some pics from earlier in the month.
1. During a BP earlier in the month, the sprinklers came on in the infield. A few of the pitchers cheered and it was just a funny thing to watch.
Has this ever happened at your ballpark during BP?
2. 200th baseball
Here I am with baseball #200 on the season.
3. What? Clint Hurdle looks a little too excited here
4. In the final game of the Milwaukee series I found out it was PNC ballhawk Jim Saylor’s last game of the season so I had to take a picture with him.
I was pumped coming into this series knowing I needed one snag to reach my season goal and obviously an additional baseball to surpass it.
I ran into the ballpark first and thought I saw a baseball coming around the corner but it was a mirage.
I then saw Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan and said hello and he said a ‘hi Zac’ to me.
I decided to start off the game with a different strategy staying closer to the bullpen instead of far left field.
Immediately I saw Joel Hanrahan chasing down a baseball and then he looked up and saw me clearly getting the baseball if he didn’t get it. He pulled up and the ball went over to the fence where I beat ballhawk Ian Weir for ball #1 and the goal was officially met. Thanks Joel, it was especially great to reach my goal because it was you who helped me out.
That would sadly be it for Pirates BP and technically Pirates baseball, but more on that later.
During Reds BP I saw Todd Frazier in left field. He tossed the ball way low and my re-strained back failed to reach it. Todd Frazier made like Chris Berman and the Monday Night Countdown crew and let out a ‘come on man’ before re-tossing it to me, giving me ball #2. Frazier would then run in to take his cuts.
This is the same Frazier that saved a life earlier in the season, and I guess he saved my ballhawking life for the day as my head was back in the game. Now I was at 209 snags on the season which meant I had surpassed my goal.
I thought I saw a ball on the third base line at 5:30 and I was first over in the tunnel so that was ball #3.
I then played the first base side and there were two cute kids next to me and it was the final hitting group so Miguel Cairo was playing the first base line and he tossed me balls #4 and 5 in a 10 minute period to give to the kids. One required a back hand reach up much like a first baseman scooping up a short hop.
Ball #6 was the final snag of the day and it was of course from the man Euclides Rojas.
As for the game. I honestly was unaware that Homer Bailey was in the process of a no-hitter. I was in the Hall of Fame Club getting my picture taken with former American Idol contestant Scott MacIntyre.
The no-hitter itself wasn’t surprising. Justin Verlander should have no-hit this team in May and this was karma. Plus Bailey had two shutouts before this no-no. I was pleased to witness that no-hitter and wish him and the Reds well in the playoffs, what an accomplishment to see in person.
Now I am going to switch it up. For each game, I will link up a youtube video of a song that us ballhawks hear in BP. Here is one right now [profanity is in this video]
I was at Point Park all morning and early afternoon covering volleyball for my school paper and now I needed a little bit of food to pump me up for ballhawking.
What I did not say in the previous entry was that my right leg was in real pain. While pursuing a ball in BP I banged my right knee cap really hard off the edge of a bleacher. Three years ago, that knee cap actually required physical therapy and I felt this pain for the rest of the homestand as because of the PT it takes longer for an injury there to heal.
Any ways, I was ready to eat but not too much so here was what I went with.
Now I was ready. I struggled through a throwing session trying to put weight on my knee when throwing and it was not that great on my end, but at least it wasn’t harming my running.
I searched first for easter eggs in left field and came up empty. I knew that was my last chance to play first base so I took advantage but the run to first base was a little slower than normal.
On my jog, I saw Neal Huntington by the Pirates clubhouse. He has had a tough end of the season as the media blew his comment dumbing down the fans out of proportion. I was tempted to say a few words but with Erik Jabs in front of me, I could not.
Thru two Pirates groups, I was seriously questioning my decision. Hishinori Takahashi’s translator was in right and he is not fan friendly with baseballs so I rolled my eyes as some annoying old grumpy man continued talking to himself and continued to be a pain in the ass as he has been all season.
Finally, Jose Tabata hit a one hopper that I was able to easily catch in my glove for ball #1.
I then got another ball hit that was well over my head and between myself and Scrooge. The race was on and I was not letting that scumbag get that ball, so I got it for ball #2.
Things then got a bit easier for me as the Reds came out and Todd Frazier mixed it up with me as we both laughed. He is such a cool guy, the kind of guy you would want to take a drink with.
Mat Latos came out and threw with one of the two Reds bullpen catchers. He randomly dropped a ball that rolled closer to the wheelchair area. I eyed it for a minute before the duh factor set it. I took a look at it and then asked the coach if they needed it. No was the response. Easy ball #3.
Latos then went back pretty deep on his throwing, probably right by the warning track or at least the very far grass and threw the ball as hard as he could. I could immediately tell it was going over the bullpen catcher’s head. I gauged where it was going to land and I was right. I was in the general area right before the barrier on the wheelchair section and made the catch. It was the hardest ball I have ever caught. I felt nothing. The bullpen catcher asked for it back and I gave it back. Ball #4.
Ballhawks Erik and Robbie then came up and I got ball #5 from an usher I befriended last year. We tried together to get Homer Bailey’s attention but he never responded.
Balls #6-8 went this way. Six was a toss up from an unidentified Red on the first base side. Ball #7 was hit shortly after on the first base side. Eight was a hit ball in center field.
That was it for BP, but I still had a chance to get double digits and I knew it.
Ball #9 came from Herbie Andrade. He played his usual trick of tossing up the ball high enough to make fans go for it but low enough that they wouldn’t get it. He tossed the baseball right to me.
Double digits became a reality as Kyle McPherson tossed up his baseball right after warming up.
In short, I love when the Reds come to town, especially weekends. Double digits happen.
Captain Morgan was also in attendance for the game taking pics with fans. Since I am not 21 yet, I asked if I could just take a pic of him and he was game and appreciated my honesty.
Last thing for this entry is another PNC Park BP song.
This was a Sunday game but it was Fan Appreciation Day and a chance to take pictures with the players.
Despite many delays where I live due to The Great Race, I got to the ballpark about 20 minutes before it opened.
Now about the pictures. The bandwagoners were in full force and the whole thing was horribly organized, but I still got a few pics.
This is what happens when I smell cigars. Can’t stand that smell.
Now onto the player pictures:
He immediately asked if I could come to the next day’s game and I couldn’t. Still we caught up and I thanked him for the help he gave me.
Good ole Chris Leroux. Oh and my backpack is on because things were so cramped and there were no organized lines. Leroux was great for me this year. It was because of him that I got my snagging record earlier this season.
By the way, Leroux took that pic himself. Then much like Evan Meek he goes, “have you met Chad Qualls” [Meek said Daniel McCutchen]. We shook hands and got this picture.
If I didn’t get a picture with Euclides Rojas then something would have been wrong. Gregg Ritchie to the right, resigned as Pirates hitting coach to accept the manager’s job at George Washington.
All of the Pirates arrived late and most left early. Jason Grilli stayed the full time for the fans. He had a rough finish to the season but I wanted him to know the true fans still have his back and I hope to see him in a Pirates uniform next season.
I would get one baseball from Rojas at this game. Here are a couple more pictures.
I just think the Luis Tiant part of his delivery is awesome.
Pretty much sums up the Pirates season.
Here is the BP song:
That is just about it for this entry, although there were still two Braves games for me before the season and possibly my ballhawking career came to a close. How would I do, you’ll have to see to find out.