PNC Park is a beautiful stadium. However, the two times that I’ve visited Pittsburgh the weather has been iffy. On June 26th 2013, I sat through a 2.5 hour rain delay at PNC Park. My more recent visit consisted of on and off rain, which wasn’t an issue because both teams ended up taking bating practice.
Instead of lodging at one of the three North Shore hotels, my father and I staying at the Renaissance. Arriving in Pittsburgh at around 2:45, we checked in at the hotel and got situated in our room. The hotel is much nicer than any of the hotels right next to PNC Park. Rooms are spacious and offer great views of the city. The only downside to this is that the the price for one night at the Renaissance is more expensive than any of the North Shore hotels.
The view from the room was decent. (Nothing compared to the one I had while visiting Alaska or even Niagra Falls.)
In order to get to the stadium, I had to walk across the Clemente Bridge.
From one vantage point, I could see that the Pirates were taking batting practice, though it was drizzling.
I did a quick lap around the stadium…
Soon after the weather worsened. Rain began to pour down, so I seeked shelter in the Pirates team store. On the second floor of the store, you can look into the stadium. I noticed two Pirates players throwing long toss. Though, appeared as if the Pirates had stopped batting practice.
Erik Jabs, a regular at PNC Park, graciously let me into the LF bleachers with the season ticket holders. (The stadium opens up 2.5 hours before the start of the game, but only season ticket holders can get into the main seating bowl. Fans aren’t allowed into the the center field and right field bleachers.) Without his help, I probably wouldn’t have snagged as many balls. A huge thanks goes out to him.
At 4:30, Erik and I sprinted into the LF bleachers. For myself, I shouldn’t say sprint.
While packing for the trip, I forgot to take along a pair of sneakers. This proved to be a huge disadvantage for me because I spent the majority of the night slipping along the concrete walkways in the stadium. Plus all the squeaking noises coming from the flip flops that I was wearing annoyed the people in the section that I was sitting in.
Please note that the wall between the field and bleachers in left field at PNC Park is low. Because of this a lot of baseballs that bounce onto the warning track end up far back in the left field seats. An usher, who was standing in a handicap section, picked up a baseball that Andrew McCutchen had hit and had done exactly what I just mentioned in the sentence prior to this one, and gave it to me.
The Rockies then came out to throw at the other side of the stadium, so I moved over there.
I saw on Twitter that some other ballhawks had snagged some Rockies 20th Anniversary baseballs from 2013 this year. I snagged one last year albeit the logo is scuffed up. My goal for the time was to snag another one of the commemorative baseballs that would *hopefully* be in better condition.
After seeing me in my Rockies gear, Charlie Blackmon tossed me a ball that had been lying in the wet grass.
Batting practice was soon underway. Despite the drizzling rain, both the Pirates and Rockies ended up taking BP. The only issue that I had with the rain was that it made everything in my backpack wet. All of the baseballs that I snagged that day, my print-at-home ticket, and iPhone were soaked.
A friendly usher who came into the section after I received a baseball from Charlie Blackmon. The usher retrieved a bunch of baseballs that to the right of the handicapped section. He chucked two of the three baseballs back onto the field and then handed one to me. (If you need any help visualizing how I obtained the ball, look at this photo for further assistance.)
Ball five was a tossup from Brooks Brown, (the guy in the photo above touching his face.)
For the end of the Rockies portion of batting practice, I stayed in the tiny section of the center field bleachers. All of the players kids ended up fielding most of the baseballs, so nothing from here. (At least children whose fathers play for the Red Sox, give baseballs away. The Red Sox Nation is generous and has class. :) )
As for the game, I sat in foul territory. Two baseballs came my way, but I wasn’t quick on my feet.
The game was interesting. Much better than anything you’ll see in Philly. The Pirates and Rockies ended up going into extra innings with the score at 2-2. The Pirates ended up winning in walk-off fashion. With Neil Walker on second base, Jordy Mercer hit a double, which brought the scoring run home. Once again, another day in Pittsburgh where there’s rain and the Pirates end up winning through a walk-off.
By then, I was at the umpire tunnel and ended up getting rejected by Tim Welke. A photographer saw this and proceeded pulled out a very dirty baseball from his bag, which he placed in my glove.
The day ended with an awesome fireworks show.
The next game that I’m going to will be at Safeco Field in Seattle. As Perry Como once said, “The bluest skies you’ll ever see are in Seattle.”
The Phillies were holding some kind of event, so only people with special tickets could enter the RF bleachers at 5:00. This made the LF seats a madhouse.
My day did not get off to a good start.
The following photo shows the size of the crowd in the left field bleachers. I don’t know why a ton of fans showed up for the game because there wasn’t any giveaway. I’ll give it to the Phillies. Despite having a horrible season, they still are able to draw more fans to their games than the Marlins, who are playing pretty well this year, but nobody attends games at Marlins Park.
Mike Adams was being very generous and threw me my first ball of the day.
The LF bleachers became a madhouse plus Mario Hollands wasn’t throwing up any baseballs, so I relocated to the Phillies bullpen.
I noticed a baseball lying in the bullpen and got a nice groundskeeper to toss it to me.
When the RF bleachers finally opened to the normal fans, I claimed the pizza wedge spot.
Because of the heat, the Nationals bullpen coach walked into the Phillies bullpen and got some water. (I don’t know why he couldn’t have gone into the Nationals bullpen.) While in the bullpen, he picked up three baseballs that batters had hit into there and lobbed one at me.
That was it for batting practice. Before the game, I hung around the Phillies bullpen and noticed that the sky was getting darker and darker.
Larry Larson, a ballhawk from Chicago was also at the game. It was cool being able to talk and hang out with another fan, who like yourself goes after baseballs during the game and batting practice. While you’re at it you can follow Larry on Twitter here.
I think Larry got one baseball that day. Larry, if I’m wrong please say so below in the comments.
Before the game started, Jesus Tiamo didn’t throw ANY baseballs up into the stands. This was super disappointing and I thought that the days of him adding baseballs to my collection were over.
Disappointed, I scurried over to my seat for the game:
At least if it rained, I’d be sitting under an overhang.
In the bottom of the first inning, I noticed that Jayson Werth, the right fielder for the Nationals, would throw his warmup ball into the crowd. At the bottom of every inning from thereon, I’d rush down to the bottom of the staircase, and pray that Jayson would toss a ball to me.
In the fifth inning, I hatched a new plan. Instead of going to the staircase on the far right side of section 104, I’d move to the left, where the was less competition.
My move paid off and for my reward I received this beauty:
The Phillies were actually playing very well. They ended up hitting a couple of home runs during the game, (Jimmy Rollins had two.) Plus all of their players had a base hit except Ryan Howard. The home runs were hit right into my section, but I was trapped in the middle of a long row, so I wouldn’t have been able to snag them or at least I tell myself that.
Later in the game, I moved by the Phillies bullpen because the Nationals pitchers were being stingy.
Ken Giles was warming up in the bullpen. After he was finished, Jesus Tiamo ended up with the ball. Tiamo looked around for any younger recipients, but there were none, so he tossed the ball to me.
Gracias Jesus! Even though you didn’t throw any balls up in the he beginning of the game, you eventually came through!
Goodbye Citizens Bank Park, I won’t be seeing you again until early September. Next stop, PNC Park and Safeco Field!
Out of the ten MLB stadiums that I have visited, Fenway Park has to be my favorite. I’m not just saying this because I like the Red Sox. Just a walking around the ballpark can make you feel as if you’re traveling back to 1912, when the stadium first opened.
During my visit to Boston, I was staying at my aunt and uncle’s house. Since she lives 10 minutes from Fenway, my aunt volunteered to drive my father and I to the stadium around 3:00. After dropping my father and I off at Fenway, she picked up my cousin and uncle from their respective workplaces and finally dropped them off at stadium. So essentially, she drove to Fenway six times on Wednesday. Special thanks goes out to her.
Earlier in the week, I had purchased a Red Sox Nation membership, which would get me into the ballpark 2.5 hours before the start of the game.
At about 3:30, I arrived at the stadium. There were to a lot of Cubs fans at the game, so I wanted to situate a good spot in the line at Gate C.
When the gates opened at 4:40, I sprinted to the center field bleachers. The RSN membership enabled me to also go on the Green Monster. However, I neglected to use this perk. I had no interesting in going on the Green Monster because it looks like a horrible place to snag baseballs. I would love to watch a game from that location, but not attempt to get baseballs there.
Literally a minute after I entered the center field bleachers, a Red Sox player’s kid threw my first ball of the day to me.
Ball two was a tossup via Junichi Tazawa.
Quickly after scouring the bleachers for Easter eggs, I noticed that there were four glove trick-able balls lying in the Red Sox bullpen.
I ran over and found this awaiting me:
I considered using the glove trick to pluck the baseballs from the bullpen, but decided not to. Later, a groundskeeper walked over and picked all of the baseballs up. I asked for one and he handed it to me for my third of the day.
At the end of the Red Sox portion of BP, an unidentified player chucked a ball at me.
Ball five was a home run hit by a Cubs player. The reward for standing in deep center field and out running some 50+ year old beer drinking loonies.
The Cubs players that were tossing baseballs out were in left field by the Green Monster. I didn’t feel like going on the Monster. With my fear of heights, the last thing I wanted to do was plunge to my death after attempting to snag a tossup from a Cubs player.
I stood by the Cubs bullpen while Travis Wood was warming up. During that time, the bullpen coach for the Cubs, Lester Strode, said hi to me. He and Justin Grimm saw me switch shirts at a Phillies game the month beforehand. Grimm, who was also in the bullpen at the time, asked me how shirts I had on. I replied one and he gave me a thumbs up symbol. (It’s nice to be recognized by an MLB player, even if he plays for the Cubs.)
Right before the game started, a Cubs pitcher walking into the bullpen from the dugout tossed me a ball.
I sat here for the game:
Red Sox tickets can get expensive. Though you can get a fair price for seats in the bleachers, (where I sat.) Just don’t get seats too far in the back of sections because as you get away from the front the fans seem to get rowdier and drunker.
I took this photo of my sixth ball of the day:
(The picture is from my Instagram page. Feel free to ffollow itollow it.)
Around the middle of the eighth inning, I moved here:
(Notice the lady giving me the evil eye.)
My goal was to get an umpire ball. In the bottom of the ninth, I thought that the Sox were going to walk it off. However, this didn’t happen and they lost 16-9.
The home plate umpire for the game, Jerry Meals, handed me my final ball of the day. I asked him for the lineup cards for the game and he replied that he couldn’t give them out. Darn.
Special thanks also to Jacqui Reynolds for telling me where the umpires tunnel is located at Fenway. While you’re at it, go follow her on Twitter here
A Cubs player also handed out a broken bat to a fan. I’m certain that if I would’ve been wearing my Cubs hat, than I would be in possession of that bat.
Good times never seemed so good at Fenway.
My goal for the day was to snag an Orioles 60th Anniversary Commemorative baseball. Since I failed to snag one at the last Orioles game I attended, I had to obtain one at this game. If anyone asked me, I gladly would’ve traded getting eight regular baseballs for one commemorative.
My Mom was accompanying me to the game. She had never driven to OPACY before, so we got lost looking for parking by the stadium. By 4:45, we situated our car and quickly proceeded to the gate.
I usually don’t go to weekday games, so this was a new experience for me. On top of that, my Mom had never been to an Orioles game before.
For the game I neglected to buy tickets from a season ticket holder, so I had to stay in the center field bleachers when the gates opened.
The Orioles player, pictured on the right in the photo above, wasn’t throwing out any balls. When a home run landed in the center field area, I got a police officer to toss the baseball to me.
After I placed the ball from the police officer in a plastic ziploc bag, an usher asked, “Are you like the other three guys who catch baseballs here during batting practice and then place them in ziploc bags?” I replied, “yes,” and he actually gave me a few tips about ballhawking at the stadium. The guy was super nice and I had a good conversation with him. If only all ushers were like this.
Ball two almost hit my Mom. The bright mid-afternoon sun made it very hard to see balls going into the stands. Mom had lost track of a deep, fly ball that was heading right towards her. Fortunately, the ball landed two rows in front of Mom. I ran over and picked it for my second of the day.
At 5:30 non season ticket holders could enter the seating bowl. Then, I made my way over to left field. The White Sox where being very selective to whom they were giving baseballs away.
Thereafter, I relocated to the left field foul line. A White Sox hit a ball that slowly trickled towards the warning track. I called out to the player who was closest to the ball and asked for it in Spanish. (Earlier, I overheard a conversation between the players and found out that they were speaking in Spanish. My Spanish accent is very horrible, I take French, but my accent for that language is bad too.)
The player on the far right chucked a ball to me after I asked for it in Spanish. Gracias!
During the BP, a few baseballs landed in the Orioles and White Sox bullpen. Before the game, a Orioles coaches entered the bullpen, Dave Wallace threw a baseball to another ballhawk, who gave it to me.
This was my view for the game: ( To put it simply, I needed to get a commemorative baseball. In order to increase my chances of getting one I purchased seats behind the visiting team’s dugout. I don’t like the concept of seat-hopping and if I was caught doing so, then I would be kicked out of the section.)
For the final out of the third inning, J.J. Hardy hit a line drive to right field. Moises Sierra caught the ball…
and tossed it to moi. MY DAY WAS COMPLETE!!! The logo on the baseball is beautiful. Absolutely perfect.
Satisfied, I didn’t ballhawk until the top of the eight inning, when I walked to the White Sox bullpen. I tried getting their pitching coach to throw me a baseball, but came out empty handed.
During the top of the ninth inning, I sprinted over to the Umpires tunnel. After I took the photo below, an usher tapped my shoulder. I was expecting him to tell me to go back to my seat or kick me out of the section. Instead, he let me sit in an empty seat right by the Umpires tunnel! The workers at OPACY are awesome.
By then, the O’s were trailing the White Sox 3-4. In the bottom of the ninth, two men were on base with Chris Davis up at bat. After fouling a couple of pitches, Davis crushed (no pun intended) a line drive to center field for a home run and made the score 6-4: a walk off for the Orioles. The stadium went nuts. All of the fans around the umpires tunnel were focusing on the Orioles players, who were bombarding Chris Davis as he touched home plate. Because of that, only I and a boy who looked to be 10 years old were going for an umpire ball.
The home plate umpire handed me my final ball of the day, which was also a commemorative! The guy was generous and ended up giving away all of the baseballs in his possession.
It was a great day in Baltimore.
With the gates opening at 1:05 for a 3:05 game, I arrived at the CBP around 11:15. After situating a parking space, I did a lap around the stadium…
and found myself at McFadden’s, a bar and restaurant located inside the ballpark.
I ate lunch at the restaurant and decided to try their chicken fingers and fries.
The chicken was tender and crispy, just how it should be. The fries were a little bland, but after sprinkling some salt on them and then dipping them in honey mustard, they were fine.
After lunch, I did another lap around the stadium. I peeked through the one gate at saw that the Phillies were taking batting practice.
My first ball of the day was a tossup from Mario Hollands. Immediately after he threw the ball to me, a Phillies batter hit a homerun into the LF bleachers, so I didn’t take a photo of it. (BTW, I lost the homerun ball in a scrum.)
Tony Gwynn Jr. proceeded to lob my second ball of the day. Special prayers go out to his family. One of the greatest MLB players has died. (Tony Gwynn senior died today.)
I got a photo of Jake Diekman right before he hurled a ball to me. (Notice his face in the photo :D. )
For the game, I brought my DSLR camera with a new lens that I purchased. I managed to take some pretty good photos during the game. (You’ll see some of them at the end of the entry.)
My fourth baseball was from a groundskeeper, who wandered into the Phillies bullpen during batting practice and picked up a bunch of baseballs in the area.
Ball 5 = reward from Wesley Wright. (I neglected to take a photo of the ball after I caught it.)
Right before the game started, I wandered over to the Left Field foul line.
The trainer gave me a baseball, which was my 6th and final ball of the day.
I sat right behind the Cubs dugout during the game and got no baseballs. Why? To put it simply, all of the Cubs players were being jerks. The team has enough money to give away some baseballs.
During the game, Jimmy Rollins reached his 2,235th career hit. I managed to get a photo of him right after he hit the ball:
The forecast for this game was looking iffy with scattered thunderstorms throughout the night.
Upon leaving the hotel that I was staying at, the sky looked nice. In the back of my mind, I told myself that the Phillies and Cubs would take batting practice.
However, getting closer to the stadium, my hopes diminished.
Ten minutes after I arrived at the ballpark it started pouring. Quickly, I found shelter under a ticket window and stayed there for 30 minutes.
The stadium opened at 4:55, ten minutes earlier than usual. (Presumably to get fans out of the rain.) Since nothing was going on, I decided to eat dinner at Harry the K’s. My meal consisted of a cheesesteak, pickle, and some chips. Overall, the food was okay. The cheesesteak wasn’t even close Gino’s caliber, but it filled me up for the night, which was what I needed.
15 minutes before six o’clock, Mario Hollands and Jake Diekman began to play catch in front of the Phillies dugout. When they were done, Hollands threw me a ball from his back pocket. He actually gave away seven or eight balls to all of the fans around the Phillies dugout. Very nice guy.
Ball two was a tossup from the Cubs bullpen coach. Unfortunately, the Cubs didn’t bring any of the commemorative baseballs with them to Philly. This means in order to obtain one of the baseballs I’ll either have to hope for the best when I see the Cubs play the Red Sox in July or fly down to Chicago and see a game there. Hmph.
Right before the game started, I ran over to third base side of the visiting team’s dugout. A bunch of players had played catch and left all of the baseballs that they had used with a coach/trainer. The Cubs trainer rolled a baseball to me for my third of the day.
My final ball of the day was a tossup from the Phillies bullpen catcher in the third inning. At the moment, I cannot identify the player/coach who threw me the ball. The baseball was, in fact, my 100th lifetime ball.
Near the end of the game, I decided to hang around the Cubs dugout. I attempted to get an umpire ball. But, by the time I arrived at the spot where the umpires where exiting it was too late. Overall, I thought it was a solid game. I still got four baseballs even without any batting practice. Though the Phillies lost to the Cubs, which is pretty depressing.
For this game, my mom would be accompanying me. Initially I thought she would have trouble driving me to the stadium, but that wasn’t the problem. The main issue was that my streak of snagging at least one ball for 22 games was at stake. Game time was at 1:35 with the gates opening at 11:35. Teams rarely hold batting practice before a day game which is one of the reasons why I hate attending them.
When I entered the stadium, a couple of Dodgers pitchers were throwing along the left field foul line. One of the players threw a ball to me. However, the guy’s aim was off so the ball bobbled around a group of fans and ended up three sections away from where I was standing.
Later, I sprinted over to the other side of the stadium where a bunch of Phillies were playing catch. I again, had no avail.
Since the area around the Phillies players was getting crowded, I moved back to left field. There a pair of Dodgers pitchers came out. When they were finished throwing I was rewarded with my 1st ball of the day.
Fast forward to 1:15ish. A.J. Burnett was warming up in the Phillies bullpen.
While I was by the bullpen, I received my 2nd ball from none other than, Jesus Tiamo!
Josh Beckett was pitching very well and ended up throwing a no hitter. Congratulations to him.
During the second inning, Justin Turner hit a home run that landed in the center field “jungle.” Keep this in mind.
At the end of the game, Mike Adams tossed me my third ball of the day.
However, I had my eyes set on the Turner home run ball. A couple of groundskeepers entered the bullpen after the Phillies pitchers exited. I called out to the one and our conversation went like this:
Me: During the game, a Dodgers player hit a home run that landed in the center field bushes. I was wondering if you could please get the ball.
Groundskeeper: I think somebody already got it.
The guy proceeded to ask his buddies if someone had retrieved the ball. Nobody did, so the guy hopped into the bushes…
picked up a baseball…
and threw it to me.
OH MY GOSH.
Looking closer at the ball I realized it:
a) was not rubbed with Lena Blackburne mud
b) had bird poop on it.
I think the ball was a batting practice homer. The groundskeeper probably picked up the first baseball he saw in the bushes. In the following video, you can see that the Turner home run landed more towards the left field seats. The ball that the groundskeeper threw to me was obtained closer to right field.
- 4 balls at this game
- 24 Balls in 2014
- 4.80 balls per game in 2014
For the greater part of the Reds batting practice, I couldn’t find my phone. I knew that I had placed it in my backpack, but I just couldn’t remember which compartment it was in. I held off from searching for it because:
a) I did not want to get hit by a ball from not paying attention to the field
b) it might cost me a baseball or two
Eventually, I discovered that my phone was bundled up in a jacket that I had brought with me to the game. The result of this was a lesser amount of photos taken during the Reds portion of batting practice, in which I snagged the majority of my baseballs for the day.
Most of the Phillies players in right field were Scroogelike in terms of giving baseballs out. However, Kyle Kendrick came through and threw me my first ball of the day.
Balls 2 and 3:
When the Reds came out for batting practice, I relocated to left-center field. Out there, Matt Latos was shagging baseballs. Can you guess the result of being the only person in the section who was wearing Reds gear?
Soon after, a string of left-handed batters started to shag balls in the right field area. I headed back to the Pizza Wedge, where I had been standing earlier in the day. An unidentified Reds coach t my fourth ball of the day.
A nice reward from Jesus Tiamo, all rubbed up with Lena Blackburne Mud .
During the game, I helped myself to some Chickies and Pete’s crabfries.
- Four games attended in 2014
- 5 balls at this game
- AVG = 5.00 balls per game in 2014
Be sure to vote for this year’s All Star Game starters! I would highly recommend electing Trevor Plouffe for the AL third baseman and David Oriz for the Designated Hitter.
OPACY is a beautiful. However, with a new wave of ballhawks that attend almost every game at the stadium, snagging a baseball can be somewhat difficult.
When I arrived at the ballpark, there was already a large group of people at the gates.
For the game, I had bought season tickets season tickets off of an online seller. The tickets gave me a 30 minute early entry into the left field bleachers. Non-season ticket holders were restricted the the center field bleachers.
Ten minutes after entering the stadium, Brian Matusz handed me a ball.
I was relieved to be on board for the day.
I then relocated down to by the foul pole where another Oriole hit a ball. This guy walked over and threw me the ball.
The Orioles were hosting their kids’ club and the stadium was packed by the time the Royals came out for BP. I was completely shut out for the Royals’ portion of batting practice.
Before the game, I wandered over to the Royals’ bullpen and watched Jeremy Guthrie, the starting pitcher for the game, warm up. After Guthrie finished, the Royals’ bullpen coach, Bobby Ramos, threw me one of the balls that he used.
As for the game, I sat behind the Royals’ dugout. I mainly went for third out balls. I was praying that I would snag one with the Orioles 60th Anniversary logo. However, the Royals were being very very very very very very very very very very very very very stingy. Despite being one of the only Royals “fans” in the section, they barely threw any balls out.
Eventually, the game went into extra innings. I relocated to the umpires’ tunnel in the 10th…
but I didn’t snag a ball.
It was still a fun game.
* 3 balls at this game
* 20 straight games with at least one ball
* 10 balls in 2 games this season = 5.00 balls per game
For this game, I arrived at Citizens Bank Park much later than I expected, Initially, I thought that the gates would be opening at 4:35, which was 2.5 hours before the start of the game. When I got to the ballpark at 4:40, I saw that the gates to the stadium were closed. A stadium employee then told me that the gates would be opening at 5:05. Hmph.
Five minutes after entering the stadium, Mario Hollands threw me my first ball first ball of the season.
Immediately after, a Phillies player hit a ball into the stands, which ricocheted off a seat and rolled to feet. I picked it up for my #73rd lifetime.
My third ball of the day was given to me by Cody Asche. Before tossing the ball to me, he asked, “If I could catch it.”
When the Marlins started taking BP, I relocated to RF. This was the scene:
The Marlins were hitting bombs. Unfortunately, I didn’t snag any. Balls 4-7 were tossups.
Ball 4: Thrown to me by Tom Koehler
Ball 5: Tossup from A.J. Ramos
Ball 6: Thrown to me by Michael Dunn
Ball 7: Tossup from the Marlins Bullpen Catcher
7 balls caught (78 Lifetime)
1 Game attended in 2014
2014 AVG – 7.00 balls per game
Lifetime AVG – 4.11 balls per game