JULY 20th, 2014:
Ball number one came on the third pitch of the game when Jacob May, of Winston Salem, fouled of behind me and hit the white plastic roof in the center of the photo: I scooped it up just before it rolled under a gate.
For my second ball; I was standing in my usual spot for lefties when Cleuluis Rondon, of Winston Salem, flared a foul ball directly to me. I had to back up only a few steps to make an easy catch. A woman standing at the condiments area, thanked me when she realized she was in the balls path. I gave the first ball to a young kid, who stands with his glove in hopes of a ball.
When Courtney Hawkins, crushed a home run over the left field wall, I ran after it but was once again beat to the ball by a kid/guy named Brandon. I’m not quite sure if he’s a ball hawk or not, but I do know he’s cost me two home runs recently. More on him later…On the way back in I noticed a foul ball hurling over the roof and land on the grass. I ran over a picked it up. I didn’t take any photos during this game, but trust me I got the ball.
I got a fourth ball when some left handed batter fouled off outside the park and I went out a found it in the grass.
After the game we stayed for the firework show:I must say, the Keys sure do put on a good firework display. Afterwards, fans can stay and help pick up the mess for a free ticket. Awesome!
On the way to our car in the parking lot, we saw Brandon and he gave my son a broken bat from the game that he got from one of the Winston Salem players: The photo shows the bat and three balls I kept.
JULY 21st, 2014:
As I entered the stadium, a friendly security guard named Tom, informed me that a low attendance was expected for this day game. Look at the room to run:Before the game started I sat close to the visiting bullpen in hopes of getting a toss up from Courtney Hawkins. This was the view:Hawkins is the guy on the right with the ball in his hand. I watched him like a hawk, but he dropped the ball and walked away before I could get his attention. As the team was finishing warm ups, I noticed Nick Basto, pick up a ball, possibly the one Hawkins dropped and started tossing the ball up in the air to himself. When Basto tried to throw the ball to a teammate, who wasn’t paying attention, I stood up and yelled out to him, then flapped my glove to give him a target. He ignored me at first, but kept looking back at me so I pounded my glove with my fist in attempt to persuade him. He just looked at me with a smirk and then began conversing with a coach. I assume it went somewhere along the lines of “Can I throw him a ball?” Yeah, just give him a old one!” Because Basto dropped the ball and dug another one out of the bag and chucked it to me. Check it out:I knew that I would have prime opportunity during the game with so much room to move as long as the hitters did their part. They did!
I believe it was the second inning, and I’m not exactly sure who hit it, but a lefty from Winston-Salem sent a missile about ten feet to my right. I attempted to get in position to make the catch but the ball was coming in too hot. I got the tip of my glove on it but I was just a step behind. I picked up the ball as it ricocheted off a wall and rolled to me. I handed it to the nearest kid before I could take a photograph.
While standing in the same spot during the next inning, Michael Burgess, of Frederick sent one in my direction, that was going to land behind me and to my left. Check out this photo to get a description of what happened:Okay, do you see the black bottle shaped recycling can to the right? Well, I was standing next to it when the ball was hit. I had to drop back and to my left where the cluster of people are standing to make a leaping back handed catch. I didn’t have to run far but the trajectory of the ball made it very difficult to get there in time. In fact, the last thing that went through my mind was “It’s too far”…Then BAM! I had the ball in my glove. I raised my arms to acknowledge the round of applause by the other fans. Then, I happened to look at the jumbo screen and I was on it! This made me wonder if I’m on it every time I catch a ball? I hope not because I can get excited sometimes and I probably look like a total fool. Anyway, I was bummed out about missing the first opportunity so this made me feel a little better. Also, Michael Burgess got the call up to Double A Bowie Baysox after the game, so it was cool to catch a gamer from him as he is one of the standout players for the Orioles farm system.
My fourth ball came when Trey Mancini, of Frederick, fouled off a low blooper that was floating to my right. Check out this photo:I was standing where the photo was taken. Do you see the kid in the orange shirt to the right? Well, that’s where I made an underhand catch in between a couple of kids that were walking by. Here is the ball, along with the Burgess ball on top:This is the first time I’ve caught two game balls on the fly in the same game. Also, two games in a row with on the fly catches… In case you’re wondering, I forgot to look if they showed me on the jumbo screen.
My last ball of the day was in the eighth inning when Keenyn Walker, of Winston-Salem, hit a high pop up. My initial read made me think the ball was leaving the park, but I tracked the ball around the corner of the concession building and was a step or two behind the ball to catch it on the fly, but I did pick it up next to the little white gate.I tossed the ball to a kid with a glove.
That was it for this weekend three game home series. The Keys are back home this weekend so I will most likely be there in attempt to add to my on the fly catch streak, and snag a few home run balls. I’m falling behind on the MyGameBalls.com leader board, so I need to pick up the pace. Until then…….