7/10/10: Catching Back-to-Back Game Homers

The day had begun rather
uneventfully. I hadn’t taken any pictures until things heated up, so bear with
me. Upon arrival at the ballpark, my traveling party and I had attempted to
book a table at Friday’s Front Row Sports Grille in left field. The host rudely
instructed us otherwise.

 

“In ten minutes they’ll be
ready. Go away and come back later.” Shocking. The thing that really got on my
nerves is that I would be forced to spend valuable BP time indoors, in the
confines of the roofed restaurant.

 

Whilst waiting and steaming,
I counted 4 baseballs that landed in the vicinity of our table. Twenty minutes
later, we returned to the host’s podium.

 

“Come back in 10 minutes,
we’re having a meeting,” she quipped. Without having a chance to give her a
piece of my mind in regards to her unprofessionalism, she turned around and
swiftly vacated the public part of the restaurant. After waiting another 10 minutes, we were seated
outdoors in deep left field, prime and ready for a big day of ‘hawking… until I
realized that instead of having a “meeting” as previously stated, the Friday’s
staff cleared the area of Easter eggs, while failing to remove bird feces from
diner’s tables. Amazing. Don’t eat at anything “Friday’s”. They’re extremely
unprofessional and flat out rude. My view during the meal:

ALL JUNE-JULY2010 066.jpg
(The picture is from last homestand… Its the only one I could find of my view!)

 

Anyways, with the lack of
Easter eggs combined with early gate times, my (crappy) Friday’s experience was
cut short and I remained baseball-less. Upon the opening of the stadium, I
positioned myself in right center field, where the tempo was upped. Nearly
immediately, my request for a baseball en
Espanol
paid off. Brewer’s shortstop and extremely overrated prospect
Alcides Escobar whipped a ball, #1 of
the day and 989 of my career
.

 

And that would be all the
Milwaukee Brewers would provide for me today… during batting practice. More on
their in-game gifts later. Upon
assuming the batting cage, the Pittsburgh Pirates wasted no time in upping my
totals. Ryan Doumit lifted two line drives in my direction, which I snared
rather easily, providing me my 2nd and 3rd
baseballs of the day, and the 990th and 991st of my
career
. Pedro Alvarez send the 4th
and 992nd
to the pocket of my glove 5 minutes later, and Delwyn
Young batted me my 5th and
993rd
. Once again, the day was rather ordinary, so I failed to
take detailed pictures until this point. I’m sorry; you’ll just have to bear
with me on this.

 

Towards the end of batting
practice, I heard my mother calling my name from about 20 feet behind me. She’s
surprisingly and avid ballhawk and proficient memorabilia collector. Last
season, she was pegged in the chest by an errant Octavio Dotel throw to Jose
Contreras. Long story short, Octavio has taken care of my mom since with
autographs and baseballs and whatnot. After a brief conversation above the
dugout, Dotel departed to the outfield at the same time Garrett Jones was
entering the dugout. After getting to the top step, Jones placed his bat on the
roof of the dugout and attempted to push it to Sue, my mother. It stopped a bit
short, and Pirates bullpen catcher and all around great guy Herbie Andrade gave
the bat a final nudge, directly to us. Score! A few shots of the bat:

ALL JUNE-JULY2010 607.jpg
ALL JUNE-JULY2010 614.jpg
ALL JUNE-JULY2010 608.jpg

ALL JUNE-JULY2010 615.jpg

 

After inspecting the bat for
cracks and marks and anything else interesting, I put the bat down and picked
my glove up. I’d need it shortly.

 

During the bottom of the 3rd
inning, Brewer’s LF and All-star Ryan Braun stepped to the plate. Two seasons
ago, in 2008. I caught his 55th career home run and his first as an
All-star. His making of the team was announced in the top of the inning, and he
bashed me the baseball in the bottom of the inning. Tonight, I would snag his 116th career home run and my 994th
career baseball
. Brauny lifted a line drive to deep left center. Check the
video out HERE. The ball took
a miracle bounce here:

1.jpg

Rolled here:

2.jpg

 And was thrown to me by
Andrew McCutchen here:

3.jpg

 The ball:

ALL JUNE-JULY2010 626.jpg

 After I snapped back into
reality, I began to inspect the ball. It was the standard game home run… the
special rub, the bat mark and the landing abrasion. My day couldn’t get any
better, could it? Oh, it could get MUCH better. And it did, a mere 6 pitches
later. Prince Fielder lifted a moon shot about 30 feet to my left. I set
Braun’s gem down, throw the glove on, and sprint to my left. In a group of
about 4 people vying for the sailing ball, I was the tallest fan, as well as
the only one with a glove. Second’s after Prince sent the ball into orbit, it
crashed directly into the web of my glove, right here:

5.jpg

 

 I proceeded to go absolutely bananas. I hopped and jumped like crazy, fist pumped
like a champion while screaming “F**k yeah” at the top of my lungs. If you
watch the video (HERE),
you’ll see me raise two fingers. That’s not to say “peace” or “victory” that’s
to say “two gamers”. Watch my mouth, I’m saying “that’s two!”

 

The ball:

ALL JUNE-JULY2010 631.jpg

 A few interesting things
happened immediately after I caught Prince
Fielder’s 180th career home run, my 12th career blast,
and 995th career baseball
. A woman who has season tickets a few
seats down from mine and I have a little history. She’s got a passion against
ballhawks and a vendetta against yours truly. She hates to see me get batting
practice balls, let alone game home runs. As soon as I came down with Fielder’s
blast, (off camera) she punches me in the
arm, back and neck region 5-10 times
. I’m not sure if she was trying to jar
the ball loose or what. She swore at me a few times and told me it isn’t fair I
caught it. She told me I threw her kid out of the way. After (un)politely
letting her know she was full of S**t, I walked away, hands raised in jubilee.
Upon turning my back, she kicked me pretty hard in the back of the knee cap.
Upon review of the play, no children were knocked down. In fact, they were
running scared of the baseball. Watch the video and decide for yourself. Lady,
you know who you are, you’re probably reading and you know you’re a wench. I
win. You lose. Deal with it and act like
the adult you claim to be.
Don’t worry, she didn’t ruin my day. She isn’t
even a blip on my radar.

 

A shot of the
baseballs:

ALL JUNE-JULY2010 664.jpg

 

After catching the two
gamers and completing my second career two-home run game, I attempted to track
down an MLB authenticator. Long story short, I was unsuccessful in getting my
baseballs authenticated, but I did make it pretty far up the ladder. The
Brewers staff actually handled the situation uncharacteristically
professionally.

 

I’ll leave you with a few
random thoughts and pictures from my mammoth day:

 

During the broadcast, Bill
Schroeder gave me a shout out and said “and that’s a nice catch!”. Thanks,
Rock! You’ll be seeing me do that more, I promise!

 

Billy’s partner, Craig
Coshun, wondered if the “P” on my Pirates hat stood for “Prince or power”.
Whatever floats your boat, Craig. I know you think I’m a Pittsburgher, but I’m
just a ballhawk. Common mistake. You’ll see me catch a few more relatively
soon.

 

If you text messaged me or
called me after my back to back plays and I didn’t respond, I’m sorry. My phone
just went too ape and I turned it off.

 

7.jpg

 

8.jpg

“Thats two!”:

6.jpg

Towards the end of the game, I found a few youngsters and their father with empty gloves. I took care of that (NOT with the gamers, of course):

ALL JUNE-JULY2010 658.jpg

Me with my end of the day haul:

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10 Comments

Amazing and congrats!! I saw a highlight of the Prince homer before I saw this entry. It was clear that you didn’t push anyone, and that you also knew what you were doing. You tracked the ball beautifully and reached up above everyone fair-n-square. Willie Mays, in his prime, could not have played it any better (if he’d been in the stands).

Congrats on the 2 homerun gamers!

-James
http://gatheringbaseballs.mlblogs.com/

Congrats on the 2 homerun gamers!

-James
http://gatheringbaseballs.mlblogs.com/

Hi Shawn!! Congratulations! Dude, I saw the Fielder catch on MLB channel. You read it all the way. A total clean catch. That lady is crazy. I want to catch two in a game so bad. Way to go on your second Braunie as well. Can anyone catch you this year? Continued success in the second half.

Leigh

That’s very cool, dude! Congrats!
~Matt
http://bloggingboutbaseball.mlblogs.com/

If someone did that to me, I’d sue them in a heartbeat.

Nicely done, Shawn!

“Happy”

ZACK- Thanks for the vote of confidence! All those years of little league and high school ball payed off! JAMES- Thanks! Thanks! Good luck on tracking down your first career baseball. LEIGH- I appreciate your kind words. Pulling off a two-fer is an amazing experience and I’m blessed to have done it again. And I’ve padded my lead a little bit more, I managed to snag a 3rd gamer in two days. I’ll blog about that one a little more tomorrow. MATT- Thank you sir, much appreciated. Maybe I’ll see you doing the same during the ASG? CHASICLE- You raise a good point. I may have to follow up with Miller Park officials, my legal team and the perpetrator on that. HAPPY YOUNGSTER- Thank you very much, Nick. You had a good catch/pickup of your own a few nights ago! Its only fitting that it was Nelson Cruz, the former Brewer. Once again, thanks for reading everyone. I’ll have an entry about my 1000th career baseball, ANOTHER game home run I snagged and my first career ground rule double… and they all happened on the same day!

Congrats on your two homers that is quite an accomplishment and something to be proud of. In regards to the old lady, she needs to get over it. Last Sunday was my first two homer night and like yours were back to back. I also had a lady talk to an usher and she too complained about me snagging the two home run balls. I really don’t see what the problem is. Of the 30 people out on the berm I was the only one out there with a glove. The usher pretty much told her it’s fair game. I have no problem giving up a foul ball or a BP ball. My only requirement is that the person has a glove.

http://thehooks.mlblogs.com/

Shawn, I would definitely go to a minor league game. While the opportunities might not be as great as a Major League park you get the chance to see guys before they make it to The Show. The players are more friendly and take the time to talk with the kids. With our ballpark we never get a chance to catch batting practice with the home team. The visiting team is hit and miss. Some parks within the Texas League you don’t get a chance to see BP at all. Last night we did have two players go back to back. One was to left field and the other to dead center. I had already left for work when those two were hit.

http://thehooks.mlblogs.com/

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