I got off to an early start. I left my hotel around 8am and headed to Maryvale Baseball Park. I arrived at the park around 8:30 and started wandering around. Only a few of the big leaguers were out in the cages. Fielder, Gwynn, Jr., Rottino, Hall, Sveum and Yount. There was no potential for snagging so I wandered some more.
I found the Single A Brewers team hitting on one of the side fields, so, I set up camp.
A young player by the name of Rapoza #55 tossed one over the fence to me. Upon further inspection, it was a Florida State League baseball. Very cool.
About 20 minutes later, I spotted #14 PASCUAL, a minor leaguer for the Brewers. So, I yelled, “dame la bolla, por favor, senor!” He snapped his head in my direction and flashed a toothy grin. Between us, was a high netted fence that prevents baseballs from leaving the park in left field. Behind the fence is a parking lot, so, you can imagine how many windshields this net saves. But, it was now standing between me and baseball #2. So, I pointed over the top of this 80 foot fence. I then held up my glove for #14 PASCUAL. He looked up and fired it high into the sky. I took a few steps back, reaching the end of the sidewalk and the start of the curb and caught it. “Gracias!” To both #14 and baseball snagger Zack Hample for his bi-lingual snagging tactics.
It’s hard to see, but the baseball above (#2) was an Official Minor League Baseball with President Pat O’Conner’s stamped signature.
BASEBALLS #3 and #4
The stadium gates opened @11 am and I raced to the left field berm to claim my turf. The first Brewers group to hit was FIELDER/HARDY/WEEKS/KENDALL. The first 3 are BP studs. Prince jacked one to deep center and I took off after it. I chased it down on a bounce when I heard another one land about 100 feet away. I ran toward the sound and gloved it on a high 1st bounce. Two baseballs in 10 seconds!!
A few minutes later, I gloved one on the fly off the bat of J.J. Hardy.
It should be noted that there were a lot of people present with baseball gloves.
A few minutes later, Rickie Weeks hit a smash that I gloved on the fly.
J.J. Hardy hit another one I gloved on the fly.
The next group to hit included Bill Hall. Hall usually is a BP stud. Not this day. Although, he did manage to hit one in my direction. I took off after it and caught that one on the fly, too!
Upon closer inspection of the Bill Hall BP homer, I noticed it was an ’08 All Star game baseball. Cool stuff.
The 2008 All Star baseball used in Brewers BP at Maryvale Park 3-28-09. Ball was hit by Brewers 3B Bill Hall and caught on the fly. That unique blue mark was most likely from the hitter’s eye at Maryvale Park. (They have a blue metal backstop-this baseball must have been hit by another player beforehand).
The rest of the Milwaukee Brewers hitters did their best Pittsburgh Pirates imitation and failed to reach the warning track.
I decided to go down to the box seats for the 9th inning and a different view. While above the Brewers dugout, a baseball came popping over the dugout roof. I was in the 2nd row and reached out my hand and claimed it before it hit the ground.
Right place-right time.
Brewers won 4-2.
- 4 baseballs snagged on the
- 2 snagged on the bounce
- 3 toss-up baseballs
9 baseballs total 3/28/09
6 baseballs from 3/27/09
15 baseballs (2 days)
Okay…so, the laptop came with us to Arizona. Wouldn’t ya know it, our internet connection would not allow me to log into mlblogs! You can imagine how ticked off I was.
But, better late than never, right?
Here it goes…
We left our home around 5 am on this day. The Milwaukee Airport is approx. 10 minutes from our home. When I pulled up to the baggage drive to drop off my family, my 3 yr. old daughter said to me, “are we in Arizona?” (I guess that 10 minute car ride felt like an eternity to her)
I didn’t think I was driving that slow 🙂
Our flight was on time. When we boarded and settled in, my daughter looked up at me with her big tear-filled brown eyes and yelled, “I wanna go home, now!” I thought we were about to have a meltdown. When the plane finally started to move, tears were replaced with a familiar smile. We’re about 30,000 feet in the air when my daughter asks me, “why are all the clouds on the ground?” Inquisitive 3 yr. old minds want to know, I guess.
Our 2 month-old infant, Jack, was crying and screaming for a majority of the flight. I know, I know. You’ve all been on a plane with a crying infant and you thought to yourself, please…just shut that kid up! But, come on…give them a break next time. If you have kids-you understand. If you don’t and you’re still judgmental, put on earphones, talk to yourself, do whatever…just suck it up, willya?
We finally arrived, got settled into our hotel and grabbed some lunch.
Finally…I was about to make my 2009 ballhawking debut. Look the hellout.
I arrived at Maryvale Baseball Park at around 2:30 pm for the open practice. I proceeded to head to the left field berm area. After about 3 minutes, Brewers 3B Casey McGehee hit one high into the Arizona sky. I ran about 10 feet to my left and about 10 feet down the grassy hill where I camped underneath it and caught it cleanly on the fly.
They say you can tell how you’re season is going to go by the 1st one of the year.
I hope so.
A few minutes later, Bill Hall hit one that was a ways from me. I ran it down on the bounce.
At this time, an employee informed me no one was allowed on the berm during practice…what? Whatever. She was only doing her job. It’s the people in charge that need their heads examined. Way to go Brewers. Take away the one fun thing left.
While the nice security lady was telling me this, McGehee hit another one. I snagged it on the bounce and kept it. Ha! That’ll show ’em.
I had moved over to the 1st base side when I yelled to Brewers pitcher Jeff Suppan. I asked him if he had an extra. He looked down at the baseball in his hands and fired it high in the air to me. I was standing over 100 feet away with no glove on (I took it off because I was no longer out in home run territory). So, I bare-handed it cleanly. I prefer the glove. Besides, bare-handing baseballs is over-rated. Guys want to look cool bare-handing a ball, but there’s too many little bones in the human hand to be screwing around doing that.
6:05 – first pitch Brewers @ Texas (Surprise Stadium)
In the bottom of the 6th inning, Rangers 1B Chris Davis smacked one to left and I snagged it on the first bounce. 1st game home run of 2009! Not an official stat, but cool just the same. I love the rush of snagging a game home run baseball.
Spring Training or not, on the fly or not, that feeling never gets old.
After the game concluded, the umpire trick paid off. Home plate ump Dan Bellino tossed me one near home plate.
- 1 baseball snagged on the fly (BP)
- 2 snagged on the bounce
- 1 toss-up ball
- 1 game home run baseball (Chris Davis)
- 1 ump game ball
- 6 baseballs total 3/27/09