8/23/09 Pirates vs. Reds

            I wasn’t sure whether there’d be batting practice considering it was a day game after a night game. From the Roberto Clemente Bridge I could see that the nets weren’t set up. It wouldn’t matter if there was no BP when the gates opened, I would only be allowed on the Riverwalk for the first 30 minutes, or as I have heard on Sunday for the first hour. I believe that the Left Field Bleacher area is the only outfield section opened for the first hour, so I waited outside the area that connects the Riverwalk to Left Field. I was standing right above the Pirates bullpen where some pitchers were throwing.

Bullpen Session1

And from that area I could see that BP cages and nets were being put into place:

BP Cages and Nets

            The first person to throw there was Charlie Morton. He finished his bullpen session and started walking in. I asked for the ball and he tossed it over the fence which was about 2 feet taller than me. But I reached up with my glove (which extended beyond the fence) and grabbed my 1st ball. It took me a bit to realize that it was my 250th baseball of the season, so when I did I posed for a photo:
250th Baseball

That was about 10 minutes after I got there. Another pitcher threw in the bullpen, but Ballhawk Nick from yesterday got that ball. Then Erik showed up a bit later and got a ball from Ross Ohlendorf who came into the bullpen. Every ballhawk had gotten a ball, and a little bit before the gates opened Jeff Karstens finished up his session with Herberto Andrade. I called his name and he tossed the ball over, which bounced off Erik’s head and landed on the ground, which I picked up for my 2nd ball.
Ball No. 251

            By the time the gates opened BP wasn’t going on. But the Pirates pitchers were throwing at the foul line.

Pirates Pitchers Throwing

            There were about 10 people in the stadium when it opened (as apposed to the about 2,000 people in New Yankee Stadium when it opens). So there was basically no competition where the Pirates were throwing. It was basically a guaranteed ball. There were maybe 5 in use, but I got distracted by watching other players finishing up first. So I got distracted when the pair I was focusing on, Steven Jackson and Chris Bootcheck, finished up. Chris Bootcheck was the player further from me and he ended up with the ball. There was no noise, so I called out and got Chris to throw me the ball from 100 feet or so away. I leaned down, scrapped my ankle, and caught my 3rd ball.

Ball No. 252

            That was the only ball I got from the Pirates pitchers. A little bit later the Pirates fielders started throwing. I caught up on some notes and then started walking over there. I had taken a couple steps pass the pair of Jason Jaramillo and Brandon Moss when I saw Brandon throw a ball low. The ball hit of the warning track and had an extremely high bounce into the air. It ended up skipping over Erik (who was positioned directly behind them, a bit to the left of the trashcan in the photo below) and landed past the handicap seating and it landed in about 6th row up.

Empty Seats along Foul Line

            I was the only one near it so I went over, found the ball and picked it up for my 4th ball.

Ball No. 253

After I got that ball the Pirates started taking some cuts, so I went over to the Left Field Bleachers.

And it was dead. There were few balls hit out there during BP. The other Ballhawks pretty much had the area covered, except over by the foul pole, so I played closer to there. Pretty soon a ball was hit over there and I made a nice play on the ball.

            Well I guess it was more luck. That ball was hit by Lastings Milledge and it was hooking towards the foul pole. The ball hit off a bench before I got there (I was about 10 feet away) and then it took a bounce towards me, well right towards me. In fact it was heading exactly for my glove. The ball hit off the bench so fast that I barely moved my glove at all and the ball was wedged in my glove. That ball was my 5th ball and unfortunately that was my last ball from BP, or BP wrap-up. It was incredibly sucky. There was a round of all lefties, so I went over to Right Field, but I couldn’t get anything up there. It is extremely hard to get baseball up there. I went back over to Left Field after that round was finished and along the way I stopped at Manny’s grill and got him to sign a ticket for my 1st autograph.

Manny Sanguillen and I

Now while I was stuck in the dead bleachers my brother was over at the Reds foul line (where they were throwing) and he got some autographs for me, Daniel Ray Herrera (who is the first major leaguer that I am as tall as), Justin Lehr, and Kip Wells for my 2nd, 3rd and 4th autographs respectively. That was it until about 10 minutes before the game started, autographs or baseballs.

            At the dugout Kevin Barker started signing, so I got his autograph for my 5th autograph.

Kevin Barker Signing1

And about as soon after he signed that autograph for me Jonny Gomez started signing over by the foul line, so I ran over and got him for my 6th autograph of the day.

Jonny Gomez Signing1

            From the spot that I got Jonny’s autograph I could see that Paul Janish had a ball that he was going to bring out to play catch. I asked him for the ball when he was done and he said “Sure”.

Paul Janish throwing

            He kept his promise and he tossed me my 6th ball. I turned around and saw a little kid that I almost bumped into. He had a glove and couldn’t have been more than 6, so even though I got the ball tossed to me I gave him the ball thinking I would get another baseball during the game, it would give me 80 for the trip, a number that I was shooting for.

But just my luck I didn’t get another ball during the game or after the game. I did get three more autographs where they were stretching: Scott Rolen’s signed my 7th autograph.
Scott Rolen Signing1

Paul Janish signed my 8th autograph. And Brandon Philips signed my 9th autograph.

 I was mad, mostly at myself for giving away the last ball that I got on this trip. But at least I got the line-up cards from Dusty Baker after the game…


Dusty Baker Line-Up Cards



Haul from 8/23/09

  • 6 MLB Balls Today
  • 9 MLB Autographs Today
  • 185 MLB Autographs in this Season
  • 224 Total Autographs in this Season
  • 255 MLB Balls in this Season
  • 276 Total Balls in this Season
  • 5 Thrown, 1 Hit
  • 5 BP, 1 Pre-Game
  • Attendance: 21,209 People
  • Competition Factor: 127,254
  • 6.375 Balls / 1 Game
  • 40 Consecutive Games with at least 3 MLB Baseballs
  • 30 Consecutive Games with at least 1 MLB Autograph
  • 25 Consecutive Games with at least 4 MLB Baseballs



  1. bettencourt

    alex, i understand that your brother is getting those Autographs on YOUR ball but i dont think that you should count those sigs because you are not the person acutally getting the autographs. that is just my opinion on the way you count your autographs.

  2. Alex

    Bettencourt – I understand that that is your opinion and that would be your way, but I count those autographs because everyone counts things different ways. Some people count balls given to them. Some people count only batted balls. Some people only count game home runs. Some people only count game home runs they catch on the fly. Everyone counts different things.
    Howie – I was there, but I did not see you.

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