With the Pirates out of town for the entire week, a trip to Cleveland to see them play the Twins was in the works for a while. My brother Bryan would attend the Fri/Sat games with me. Bryan took a pic of Progressive Field as we took the exit to enter downtown Cleveland.
We checked into our hotel around 2pm, and headed over to Progressive. We sere happy to see that there was an early bp session going on so we stood outside of the home run porch gate in left field and waited.
Bryan would get on the board first when a ball was hit onto the home run porch and bounced out nicely through the gate and rolled into the street.
Not too much later another ball would be hit onto the home run porch, it hit the gate and rolled parallel to the gate, and just out of reach for my arm if I had reached in. Luckily this ball kept on rolling until it hit a turnstile, and gingerly rolled out of the gate for Ball#1. Here I am pretending to have backhanded it.
Bryan would end up getting a second ball on the home run porch. Ball#2 for me would come from a Progressive employee named Lamont. When the early bp finished we were on our way to gate C, I noticed him cleaning and started some small chat about the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Lebron James since there was an NBA playoff game the next day in Cleveland. This was my strategy, and then I asked him nicely if he could check the left field bleachers and snag me a ball. Lamont reached into his pocket and handed me one that he had already found.
This is where I spoke with him , right outside of Heritage park.
When Bryan, and I were on the home run porch another thing we did was watch for balls being hit into the right field seats for easter eggs, there would be at least ten balls that we saw hit over there so we were excited to get in there and grab them. This would not be the case. I noticed through my binoculars a man in the bleachers with a Twins uniform on who must have been a coach who was collecting them up and throwing them back onto the field.
He must have missed a few because Erik Jabs, and myself would snag an easter egg upon entering right field. Ball#3.
You can see from this picture that the potential for easter eggs is awesome. Too bad that coach was being overprotective of his balls! I once found 7 eggs in there, bryan 5 eggs, and erik jabs 5 eggs at a game at Progressive.
Ball#4 was a high home run to right center field that I had a beat on quickly. I picked the right route to it, but not perfectly, I got there in the knick of time to smother it with my glove as another guy had closed in and tried to grab it.
Ball#5 was a toss up from Indians relief pitcher Rafael Perez. Unfortunately I was not able to get a picture of him as the Indians finished bp shortly after the toss up, and he headed off the field, thanks Rafael.
Ball#6 was from a caught hr about 10 rows back in right center. I had to pick a good route to the ball, and take my eyes off of it for a moment to navigate through the seats to where it was coming, Erik Jabs and Bryan had closed in on it as well but were too far back. The more I have been going to Cleveland the better I have gotten at catching home runs there in RF where the many seats can make it difficult.
Ball#7 would be a toss up from Twins relief pitcher Ron Mahay. Here he is chatting with Twins closer Jon Rauch.
At this point I was at career ball 399. My goal was to get to 400 on this trip, and I had gotten there closer then I thought I would. I still did not have a Target field commemorative ball, and the Twins had Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and Jim Thome taking bp. I was hoping that ball 400 would be a caught hr target field commemorative from one of those three guys. That would have been ideal. That was not to be.
Ball 400, and Ball#8 of the day would show up by trickling gingerly through the row in front of me nice and slowly. I didnt even know where it came from. Not what I was hoping for in ball 400, but of course I picked it up. This ball had been thrown to a man with his teenage daughter which they missed, being that this was ball 400, and they already had at least two balls that I saw, I snagged it. Here is where the ball was intended to go.
It was almost 6pm, and time for the left field bleachers to open up so I headed over to that gate in order to snag some easter eggs that had been landing in that section. I had been scouting that throughout bp and knew where at least 2-3 balls were waiting. When the horn rang to go in I sprinted to that spot and was rewarded with Ball#9/10/11. One of these, the first that I found was a Twins Target Field Commemorative. Here they are.
That would be it for today. Erik Jabs would snag a Justin Morneau game time home run that landed in the trees in Heritage park which he was able to snag with his Cleveland stick. Awesome.
Here are the baseballs that I snagged at this game.