I was in Philadelphia to run the Rock n Roll Half Marathon, do some more sightseeing with my wife and kids, and to see a game at CBP. The race was flat and the weather was cool, although not in full training mode I put up a 1:31 timing.
CBP is not on my list of favorites, you get in at 5:05 and it usually is fairly crowded with a difficult to manage LF. The ushers also go to work to get every possible would be easter egg.
There’s not much to see on the walk around CBP, except for this view of their flags which is cool.
We sat way up top to watch the game, the Liberty Bell and the Philadelphia skyline are miles apart but made for a good pic from our seats.
During bp I was able to get in first into LF for a scrum of maybe the last homer of the Phillies bp, Ball #1, after I got it the Phillies hit for a minute or two more.
Although the Phillies are deep in the cellar and the A’s are also in the cellar somehow it was pretty crowded, the line stretched across the street outside the LF gate.
I came away with one more for the day, a toss up from an unidentified A’s player in RF, Ball #2.
I was excited to take in a game and relax with my wife Lauren, son Dominik and daughter Shianne but rain hit hard after the second inning causing a long delay which eventually prompted us to leave.
We had a good time altogether. Dominik worked a toss up from one of the A’s in LF.
Shianne got in some dancing during the rain delay.
Lauren and I were able to spend two innings enjoying a game together for once.
Labor Day, Monday 9/4
It was a beautiful Labor Day, I took my early run along the banks of the Allegheny and then headed to the gates hoping for some action on this holiday day game.
Chicago would take bp today, which was a pleasant surprise, with the extra half hour wait I decided to go straight to the only opening into the field and hope that it wasn’t manned yet with staff.
It worked as planned, I did have to lay low for a bit with Erik Jabs until the Cubs finished throwing. Pedro Strop, Justin Grimm and others had a good throwing session.
I got Ball #1 on an overthrow that I was able to pick up off the track, and Ball #2 tossed by Justin Grimm.
Cubs hanging out and Erik J.
During the Cubs first bp group I came away with a scrum for Ball #3 in RF, and a toss up by Lester Strode who comes through every now and then for Ball #4.
I caught a homer from an unidentified Cub in LF for Ball #5, and got another toss up from an unidentified Cub in RF, Ball #6 and final of the day.
Things got going on another warm, cloudless day with a Heberto Andrade toss up for Ball #1.
Andrew Mccutchen launched one onto the LF crosswalk for an easy catch of Ball #2. This was followed by a scrum also on the LF crosswalk, Ball #3, and another caught homer for Ball #4.
Javier Baez was back after an injury for a bp session, he launched quite a few homers as well, two of which I was able to scrum for Ball #5, #6.
Another nice day with both teams taking bp, this one again started with a Heberto Andrade toss up for Ball #1.
I scrummed a ball hit by Andrew Mccutchen for Ball #2, then went on a thee caught homer run off the bat of Starling Marte-Ball #3, Anthony Rizzo-Ball #4, and an unidentified Cubs batter for Ball #5.
It was too good to be true to see four batting practices in a row from the Cubs and three in a row from the Pirates. The Pirates had an optional bp which led to a found ball for Ball #1 which would be the only baseball of the day for me. Some rain then came and it was a wrap for this one and the series.
With the September call ups out on the field there were a few more opportunities for a toss up, I got the attention early on as I entered of Angel Sanchez for Ball #1. Angel threw a few others and generously signed for fans after bp.
Heberto Andrade tossed up Ball #2.
With kids now in school, the Pirates basically out of contention for the playoffs, and miserable moves and lack thereof of the Pirates regime the left field cross walk was open for business.
I was able to come away with two caught homers off the bat of Andrew Mccutchen, and another caught homer unidentified. Balls #3-4-5-6, including a scrum that made its way under the concession stands.
Cincinnati is just a miserable team to watch for bp, they were worse then earlier in the season.
I scrummed one ball during the last swings of the last round of Reds bp, Ball #7, on the steps up to the upper bleachers.
There would be no bp today, I decided to go directly over to the RF gate area where I was able to walk right in and through the tunnel to get into foul territory where some Reds players were warming up early. No one was manning the post so I had a half hour to myself.
Reds bullpen catcher Dustin Hughes tossed me up Ball #1. After this I had to sit around for a bit until some more Reds players came out to warm up.
Dustin Hughes hanging out in the stands.
Kevin Shackelford came out next, and it would become the first time I was able to have a short throwing session with an MLB player despite many attempts in the past. Shackelford threw with me for a few minutes then went into his calisthenics workout, Ball #2.
At the bullpen, while chatting with a few PNC regulars, a ball was tossed up way over the fence, I made an easy reach back and made the grab for Ball #3. I gave it away to a young kid it was likely intended for.
After having missed three games of the Pirates v Cardinals series I was back in town after vacation hoping to continue my goal of getting to 300 baseballs on the year.
The Dodgers steam rolled into town, without two key figures I was hoping to see, Bellinger (hurt), and Pederson (sent down).
There was no Pirates bp on the 21st of this series, thanks to the Pirates playing at Williamsport vs the Cardinals the prior night. Making things harder was a surprisingly large bp crowd. The Dodgers were overall underwhelming, I came close to one scrum and came away with zero baseballs for the first time in 150 games or so.
Thunderstorms cancelled bp.
Despite photo day going on the Pirates surprisingly were taking bp, when I entered the first group was winding down. I was able to get on the board quickly with a Starling Marte home run scrum as I entered, Ball #1.
Ball #2 was a scrum on the LF crosswalk of a Jordy Mercer hr.
Ball #3 was a caught homer off the bat of Josh Bell also on the LF crosswalk with Bell taking cuts right handed.
Heberto Andrade was a no show for this Pirates bp, and the Dodgers were underwhelming in the bp homer department again.
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.