Pirates vs Nationals, PNC Park, 4/23/2011

Mother Nature had been being a real pain as of late.  Yesterdays game was totally rained out which actually turned out okay as it was rescheduled as a night game this coming Monday.  But there was rain forcecasted today at 4pm, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, all with games scheduled.  At this point in the year we have had two rain outs and seemed as though there would be at least two more in the next homestand with the current forecasts and relentless rain.

Today we would luck out, and it would be a huge day for me.

BP was on as the clouds passed over without erupting more rain.  Today my goal was to get 7 balls to reach the milestone of 800 career balls.

When I got in I checked all around the bleachers but there was nothing to be found, and then took off for the foul territory area along the left field line, Erik Jabs had a really good jump as he was headed there before me, he got there and found a ball against the fence, as he was looking for others I was able to spot a ball right up against the fence a little further down for Ball#1 here.  There also was a whole bag of Pirate baseballs up against the fence and it was tempting to reach my hand in there and grab a bunch, I decided not to as the Pirates were all nearby in LF shagging balls, if they had seen me do that they may really blacklist me.

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My second ball of the day would be a ball that was destined to hit off the top of the LF wall off the bat of catcher Chris Snyder, Ball#2.  I ran to where the ball was going, with a convenient space on the wall where I was able to lean over and make the catch here.

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The next ball was another catch on the fly, this time off the bat of Matt Diaz, who seems to be picking up a little of the slack during the slow pace of the Pirates bp, it was destined to land about a row back, the lady in the pic at the end of the row is where I had to stop and reach high over her and the bleacher without bumping into her, I made the catch with two hands as it seemed the ball may have been a snow cone catch, Ball#3.

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Things really started to get crowded in the LF bleachers, I was involved in alot of plays where I got right to where I needed to be to make plays, but there were simply too many people.  I decided to get set up for the 530 gate time for the RF/CF seats.  When I got onto the Clemente Wall I was unable to find any balls from the previous Pirates lefties.

Things would get alot better though on the Clemente Wall, which makes me think I may be playing there more then I do CF.  First a hr ball that was like ten rows behind me hit a seat and bounced right back to me room service style for Ball#4.

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Adam Laroche would later hit a hr ball right at me which was an easy catch for Ball#5 followed by a hr by Rick Ankiel which required some difficult navigation in that I had to get around the rail go down the steps and range a little to the left for the catch of Ball#6.  Both occurred in this row.

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I was now one ball away from the milestone of 800, and BP king Matt Stairs was now taking his heavy cuts.  In his first round he was already blasting the seats on the Clemente Wall.  By the time he came up for his second round I knew to go about ten more rows back from where I was, and it paid off.  Stairs lifted a can of corn to me near the top of the Clemente wall for Ball#7 and milestone career ball #800.  Here is a pic of where I was.

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Here I am after bp in Nats gear with ball 800, the Matt Stairs caught hr.

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The Groundscrew decided to put the tarp on before the game was to start and the game ended up being delayed until 815, which likely means, with Easter Sunday being considered as well that there would be no bp coming up on tomorrows day game.  The delay was retarded though, it was barely raining at all and never did rain for the rest of the night.

For the mean time I walked around talking to various PNC friends and had a slice of pizza with Zac Weiss.  Zac and I stopped to talk to Irene, who is a PNC legend, she has been going to games since Forbes field, she is an elderly woman who sits under the Clemente Wall and religiously puts up all her Pirates trinkets, posters, coins, dolls, bobbleheads, you name it, she is putting it up at the game for good luck.  Here she is.

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Zac and I then saw a squirrel running wild around PNC park, Erik Jabs’ girlfriend would have loved this, she is a huge animal lover, and particularly likes squirrels.  Here it is.

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I then noticed a tribute that PNC park was doing tonite for the Laroche Red Hawk head basketball coach, Scott Lang, who recently died of a heart attack at basketball practice this year.  Scott was a really good person who I was lucky enough to meet when I worked at La Roche last year.  The Red Hawks went on to win their first AMCC conference title.  Scott was a big baseball fan who I got to watch a few day games with last year.  Here is a picture of him coaching on the scoreboard.

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The game would finally start at 815.

During the top of the fourth, I had stopped briefly chatting with Erik Jabs, and the next thing I knew a majestic like bomb by Jayson Werth was headed right at the two of us.  This is the game time home run situation that you dont want to have with a good friend.  There was no time to consider anything else but making a play on the ball, with Erik being taller then me, I was unsure if I could out jump him so I just stayed where I was and planned on jumping.  The ball seemed to sail just enough over Erik, and with a full extension I made the clean catch of Jayson Werths 123rd career hr, and 3rd of the season, Ball#8.  I got a real nice round of boos, and chants to throw it back, I smiled, and decided to get out of the area.

Here is a pic of Werth on the scoreboard with his solo home run on the board.

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Here I am at the spot of the catch.

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Here is the link to the video of the Jayson Werth home run.

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=14110869

There would end up being one more interesting thing to happen tonite, I wasnt even playing the Garrett Jones toss up I was out on the riverwalk near the gates to the CF seats.  I watched as Garrett Jones launched a toss up to a guy in the last row on the Clemente Wall, the guy let it bounce off his hands and it bounced down onto the riverwalk where no one was standing, I quickly ran to it and caught it on a bounce for Ball#9.  That is the first time I have ever saw that happen on a toss up on the Clemente Wall.

At the top of this section in the pic below is where the ball fell onto the riverwalk.

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Here are todays baseballs, 1 ball given away.

Day-9

Year-51

Career-802

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One comment

  1. happyyoungster

    Congrats, bud!
    When I was watching the highlights, I knew that had to be you making that play.
    Keep snaggin…

    “Happy”

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