The Nationals were in town. Would the infamous training balls be coming with them?
I was about to find out.
I was watching the Brewers take BP…the time was 5:10 pm. Before I knew it, the Nats players were on the field and the Brewers were exiting.
The Brewers usually hit until approx. 5:35 pm. What gives?
More on this later.
After about 5 minutes of dead-time/stretching, Nationals’ BP began.
Yes, the Nationals were once again using this lousy imitation of a baseball.
It appears smaller than an MLB ball.
It has larger laces than an MLB ball.
It feels like plastic.
Can the usage of training balls be compared to using training wheels or training bras??
You know-things that one would use when they’re not quite ready for the next step up?
Kind of like…the Nationals!!
Remember the International League balls I snagged in Toronto during Opening Week of the 2009 season??
The training balls are very similar…CHEAP!
Once the stadium opened, I ran over to right field. I knew the big lefty would be coming up soon. As I cleared the staircase to the loge bleachers and headed back down into the actual seated area, I saw a lefty in the cage. It was not Adam Dunn. When I made it down to around the 3rd row, the lefty lifted one in my direction. I ranged over to my right about 10 feet, jumped down 1 row of bleachers and leaned forward.
10 seconds in the bleachers=clean catch off the bat of Nick Johnson.
Austin Kearns followed Nick Johnson in the cage. How that guy is still in the league baffles me. Hitting after Kearns was the man I had been waiting for.
Adam “the Donkey” Dunn.
(doesn’t he look like a big ol’ donkey?)
When he stepped into the cage, I looked around. The majority of my competition was still standing in the 1st three rows of bleachers! Did they not know Adam Dunn hits bombs?
Soon, one was lifted high into the air. It was a bomb to my right. I put my head down and began to sprint through the empty row of seats (around the 7th row). It was hit a whole section to my right. I nearly got to the baseball before it hit the bleachers. Luckily, it took a friendly bounce higher and even farther away from everyone else.
I claimed the ball in row #10.
I would claim another one off the bat of Adam Dunn before he was finished. That one on the bounce, as well. Hooray for Adam Dunn and his big stick.
The buzz wore off when Dunn left the cage. What followed one of the greatest BP hitters of all-time? A bunch of punching-Judy hitters. Great.
I would wrap up BP by trying for a few toss-ups.
Garrett was extremely friendly and very willing to give away a few souvenirs.
After asking me where I was from, he tossed me BALL #5 on the day.
So, do you recall me telling you the Brewers finished their portion of BP a whole 20 minutes early? Well, so did the Nationals. The time was 6:05 and the cage was being taken down.
They deserved the opportunity to be up-close. What a cool treat that must have been.
BTW, do you see that baseball in the above picture?? The one lying in the bullpen??
There were exactly 7 baseballs lying in the bullpen when Randy arrived. Exactly 7 baseballs were tossed into the stands. Thanks, Randy.
Right before the game was about to start, I headed over to the Nationals dugout for a warmup ball. Christian Guzman and Alberto Gonzalez were warming up. When they finished, Guzman tossed the ball to my waiting glove.
I figured another pair of Nats players would pop out and warmup. I figured right.
Ryan Zimmerman and Nick Johnson began to toss. After a brief intermission for the National Anthem, Nick Johnson tossed that ball to me, too!
I, in turn, tossed it to a nearby youngster who was a bit late in getting down to the front row.
The Brewers were thoroughly spanked 14-6. Largely, due in part, to Nats rightfielder Josh Willingham. Mr. Willingham sent two balls over the fence each with the bases full of Nats. Only the 14th time in Major League history that feat had been
That’s even rarer than the Perfect Game.
2009 BALLHAWKING STATS
- 8 total balls 7/27/09
3 batted baseballs
5 tossup baseballs
2009 TOTAL BASEBALLS
4/7/09 = 5 baseballs
4/8/09 = 10 baseballs
4/9/09 = 10 baseballs
4/10/09 = 3 baseballs
4/11/09 = 5 baseballs
4/12/09 = 5 baseballs
4/13/09 = 11 baseballs
4/14/09 = 6 baseballs
4/21/09 = 5 baseballs
4/27/09 = 15 baseballs
4/28/09 = 9 baseballs
4/30/09 = 4 baseballs
5/01/09 = 7 baseballs
5/02/09 = 4 baseballs
5/08/09 = 11 baseballs
5/09/09 = 1 lousy ball
5/12/09 = 14 baseballs
5/13/09 = 12 baseballs
5/19/09 = 8 baseballs
5/22/09 = 3 baseballs
5/23/09 = 2 baseballs
5/26/09 = 3 baseballs
5/29/09 = 6 baseballs
5/30/09 = 5 baseballs
6/01/09 = 1 baseball
6/02/09 = 9 baseballs
6/09/09 = 4 baseballs
6/10/09 = 0 baseballs
6/11/09 = 2 baseballs
6/12/09 = 9 baseballs
6/23/09 = 6 baseballs
6/24/09 = 9 baseballs
6/26/09 = 9 baseballs
6/27/09 = 4 baseballs
6/29/09 = 3 baseballs
6/30/09 = 5 baseballs
7/07/09 = 6 baseballs
7/10/09 = 3 baseballs
7/20/09 = 7 baseballs
7/24/09 = 6 baseballs
7/27/09 = 8 baseballs
255 baseballs (41 games)
6.22 average per game