Today we narrowly escaped a rain out of bp, it was wet for a while with the grounds crew on standby for a bit but things worked out.
I got off to a quick start with a rare Starling Marte home run scrum, it has been rare lately that we have seen any of the Pirates first bp group with the Pirates early bp starts. Ball #1.
Heberto Andrade provided Ball #2.
Things would get a little tough after this as the place was crawling with Tigers fans and a lot of kids both Pirates and Tiger fans.
Andrew Mccutchen hit one homer onto the LF crosswalk but Erik J. had positioning on me to make the grab. Jordy Mercer was unheard of as well. I needed to get things going a little with the rarely seen Pirates third group which was on the field today.
Jose Osuna would be the guy to key on in the third group. He provided just enough for me to make two catches on homers into the bleachers one near the bullpen and one up top on the crosswalk, Ball #3-4.
Chad Kuhl finally tossed me a baseball after many requests, Ball #5, and I caught an unidentified Tiger homer on the LF crosswalk for Ball #6.
That’s when the rain came and the crowd really got tough, and Miggy Cabrera hit in two groups of bp, putting on an impressive display of power to all fields, although I couldn’t get to one.
This would be the only game of the three game set I would be able to attend.
Good weather for the day was at hand.
Thing got under way for me with a scrum in the upper bleachers, Ball #1, followed by a Heberto Andrade toss up, Ball #2.
Ball #3 was a Pirate scrum.
After the Padres warmed up, I got a toss up from one of their position players on the first base line for Ball #4.
Thing got crowded near the end of Padres bp but I made a nice catch moving to my right and going up on the steps to the upper bleachers to make a reaching catch of an unidentified Padre homer, Ball #5.
August got off to a hot start for me with the Pirates second groups consisting of Andrew Mccutchen and Jordy Mercer who were on.
I started off with a caught homer from Mercer followed by a pair of caught homers by Mccutchen. Ball #1-2-3.
Heberto Andrade tossed me Ball #4.
After the Pirates I knew the Reds were coming, and they were pretty poor the first time around at PNC, this time would be no different.
I ended up with a hit ball scrum in LF from an unidentified Red and a toss up from Patrick Kivlehan, Ball #5-6 to end the day. I felt lucky to come away with two balls from the Reds with how soft their bp is nowadays.
Early scrum for Ball #1 followed by a caught homer off the bat of Andrew Mccutchen, Ball #2. Heberto Andrade toss up, Ball #3.
The Reds were quiet again for bp, but I did catch a Scooter Gennett homer on the river walk for Ball #4.
No Pirates bp, but I did come away with a Heberto Andrade toss up for Ball #1 and a long toss by AJ Schugel, Ball #2.
The Reds continued to suck, I came away with a scrum for Ball #3 to end the misery of Reds bp.
For this series versus the Brewers my goal was to make it to 200 baseballs by the end of the month, starting this series with 187. The weather continued to be warm and sunny with no threat of rain.
Andrew Mccutchen has been on fire at the plate lately, resurrecting his season and revitalizing the Pirates to the point where we currently stand 5 gb the Brewers. Currently, the Pirates have won two straight against the Brew Crew and are currently tied with them in game 3 of the series.
Mccutchen went away from LF for a bit of time but has came back to mashing a lot of homers into the LF bleachers. During this series, with two bp’s (todays Pirates bp cancelled due to heat) versus the Brewers I came away with a total of 4 hit balls by Cutch, 2 scrummed, 2 on the fly.
I got on the board with an on time Heberto Andrade toss up for Ball #1, followed by two scrums off Cutch homers, Ball #2-3.
Max Moroff, who has been struggling with the Pirates hit a long ball to the LF bleachers close to the foul pole which was an easy catch, Ball #4.
I finished up with a scrum on the crosswalk behind the CF seating and a scrum back over in LF from an unidentified Brewers in the third group, Ball #5-6.
Again, Heberto Andrade with the on time toss up which has been four in a row in the home stand, Ball #1.
Followed by, two caught Cutch homers on the LF crosswalk, for Ball #2-3.
I scrummed a ball up on the LF crosswalk for Ball #4.
Toss ups with the road gear have continued to be difficult, but I was able to catch a toss up in Brewer gear from an unidentified Brewers who tossed one to me that I didn’t request. Two kids in the front row were nagging him, I don’t know if he overthrew them or threw it to me because of the irritating kids. Erik J deserved an assist though as I was turned around when the ball was thrown until he alerted me to it. Ball #5.
Ball #6 was a scrum on the LF crosswalk which has been a good place for me through out the home stand for caught homers and scrums.
Standing at 199 for the season, I needed one ball to meet my goal of finishing July with 200 balls, with one more possible game in Cleveland on 7/25.
Sadly, the Pirates bp was cancelled due to heat, on Buccaroo kids day which gets all kid members into bp early once a month. Too bad for the kids, it was too hot for Clint Hurdle to hold an on field bp.
So the place was flooded with kids, and extra crowded for a Wednesday evening game.
Things looked pretty shaky for a while, the Brewers were poor from the plate again, and toss ups were tough with the big crowd.
Although I would come up short on my idea to play Eric Thames homers on the river walk, on the way over, I noticed a baseball in the visitors pen. While considering to ask the grounds crew worker for a toss up, a long homer was smacked into the Pirates bullpen. I gave both the workers a good heads up, and was rewarded with a toss up from below, which was my only baseball of the day and got me to the goal of 200 baseballs by the end of July.
To get things going after the All Star break I found a baseball in the LF bleachers which was clearly from a practice the prior day, it was wet, and Erik J came up with one in CF. Nice to find a ball in LF for once. Ball #1.
Heberto Andrade was back to his kind ways after the break providing a toss up for Ball #2.
I caught a Cutch homer for Ball #3, and got a scrum for Ball #4 to end my day.
This one started with an early scrum of a homer by Cutch, Ball #1, and another toss up from Heberto Andrade, Ball #2, who has been right on both games so far after the break.
That was all for the Pirates, Clint Hurdle has been back to having the third group hit indoors which has been happening more often the same was as the last two years.
On the way over to check out the St. Louis Cardinals stretch and throw I finally got hooked up by a friend who now works as a supervisor at PNC, Ball #3. When I arrived on the RF line I found Ball #4 which must have been a foul ball from the first Pirates group.
In LF for the Cardinals portion of bp I caught two homers on the LF crosswalk, Ball #5-6.
Great weather for the series..
This was my second trip to Cleveland on the year after a few other planned trips were foiled by rain or other reasons.
It was great to be back at my second home, Progressive Field.
In the pre renovation days of Progressive field you could almost count on coming away with 2-3 easter eggs, today, no chance. The new Progressive field gate is 5:00pm, and the workers take away all the eggs, today I needed to run and jump over a few seats to beat one worker trying to pick up a ball, Ball #1.
Ball #2 was a toss up from Kevin Quackenbush.
Ryan Buchter tossed me Ball #3, and Jose Torres tossed up Ball #4.
Ball #5 was a bit of an adventure, I made a quick break on a ball approaching Heritage Park that would go over the fencing into a tree, then take a room service bounce for an easy grab.
Ball #6 was another toss up from a Padres player, the Padres turned out to be a pretty friendly team.
I was pretty excited to see the Giants, especially Hunter Pence, who has provided several long caught homers for me as an Astro and Giant. This series started with a threat of rain, which turned out to pass after an afternoon shower.
During the Pirates portion of bp I didn’t get much going with only a Jordy Mercer scrum and Heberto Andrade toss up for Ball #1-2.
Rain seemed to be a possibility but the path of the clouds seemed to suggest that rain would pass when the Pirates left the field after bp. It would rain for no more then 5-10 minutes and the Pirates grounds crew called for the tarp. The tarp stayed on for a brief time after as the sun came back out and the clouds cleared.
This was a 4:05 start which was a packed house, I came away with one scrum on the steps to the upper bleachers by an unidentified Giant player. Ball #1.
A late and brief rain Friday coupled with Sat/Sun day games to follow made this a disappointing series.