BALLHAWK FEST PLUS Pirates vs. Royals June 9th 2012 PNC Park

Well, I was going to wait a few days to type this but I’m probably headed to Baltimore for the Pirates Series this week and won’t have much free time. I apologize in advance but this post might be a tad bit long. Please try not to fall asleep while reading it. Here goes… BALLHAWK FEST 2012!! I was so pumped the night before that I could barely sleep. I did end up getting a few hours of sleep and arrived at Officer Paul J. Sciullo III Memorial Field in Bloomfield around 9:00 am. I was expecting a traffic jam and well as packed dugouts upon my arrival. Sadly, the following is what I arrived to.

20120611-203644.jpg

20120611-203853.jpg. Where the heck was everybody? I forgot my cooler at home so I headed to Getgo and grabbed an AMP Energy Drink and a few bottle of H20.

20120611-204333.jpg I’m hooked on these things… Anyways, when I arrived back at the field, I noticed a few members of the Ballhawk Fest Crew warming up. Yippee, I wasn’t going to be the only one who showed up. I was now joined by Hunter from Pittsburgh and a Father-Son Duo from New Jersey. Sorry guys but I forget your names. :(. Instead of throwing, I figured I’d get loose by taking some quick BP before the crowd arrived. Previously, I had promised to a few people that I would put on a “Josh Hamilton Yankee Stadium HR Derby” type of display during Ballhawk Fest. Well, my quick BP session turned into me hitting close to 100 baseballs. I was deff innately warmed up and now all we needed were some more people. 10am came and I believe there were only 6 of us at the field. Finally, at around 10:15 am, a group of people emerged from the CF Parking Area. I spotted Mariners Gear and knew it had to be the Cook Family from http://www.MyGameBalls.com. I’ve read their blogs and was looking forward to meeting them. In addition to the Cook Family, we were also joined by some kid from Kansas City. I think his name was Garrett. Well, after chatting for a few minutes and discussing what we wanted to do as far as a game, everyone settled on a HR Derby Format since we were lacking the turnout everyone had hoped for. I was highly disappointed that Mr. 6000 Zack Hample wasn’t in attendance. From what I’ve heard, Zack could probably run around the Outfield blindfolded and still snag a dozen balls. I was really looking forward to seeing the master in action. Hopefully I’ll run into him somewhere this season. Back to the HR Derby… Rules were pretty simple. 5 Outs per person, anything that hits the OF Grass without being caught 1 point. HR = 5 points. Looming over the OF fence was the Bloomfield Bridge. Below are a few photo from the field and also from the bridge.

20120611-211427.jpg

20120611-211506.jpg

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20120611-211628.jpg. The Bloomfield Bridge may appear close, but looks can be deceiving. I’m guessing that a baseball must be hit at least 340 ft to land on the Bloomfield Bridge and at least 410 ft to clear it. I did the majority of the pitching so I wasn’t able to take many photos of people batting. I believe one of the Cook Boys got quite a few nice shots of us batting. Below are a few of the photos from my camera.

20120611-212635.jpg King Felix took the mound and dominated.

20120611-212756.jpg Hunter sprayed a few nice Line Drives but just wasn’t at the top of his game today…

20120611-212949.jpg The kid from Jersey came to play…

20120611-213057.jpg CRUSHED!! You can kiss that ball Good Bye. Home Run.

20120611-213433.jpg Hunter hard at work in the Dugout trying to keep track of everyones score…

20120611-213926.jpg Garrett from Kansas City drives a ball to Deep RF

20120611-214100.jpg Ichiro stepped to the plate…

20120611-214258.jpg CRUSHED!!

20120611-214604.jpg Round One I used the Wood and attempted to hit the guy standing up on the bridge watching us. Close but no Cigar…

20120611-214908.jpg Round Two I switched to the Metal Bat and it was BOMBS AWAY… I’d also like to note that “King Felix” who I believe is the Cook Grandfather put on an impressive display of power during the HR Derby. In addition, Todd Cook also put at least a dozen balls over the fence as well as a majestic shot that landed on the Bloomfield Bridge. Todd, I really wish I could have taken some photos while you were batting. Sooooo, who won the HR Derby? With an impressive Round Two of 19 Home Runs, Rick Sporcic was crowned 2012 Ballhawk Fest HR Derby Champion. LoL

20120611-221345.jpg By the time the HR Derby wrapped up, everyone had worked up an appetite so we headed over to the Spaghetti Warehouse in the Strip District.

20120611-221914.jpg. I have always been a fan of the Spaghetti Warehouse so I figured we were in for a nice relaxing lunch while enjoying a nice meal and talking baseball. WRONG!! The service at the Spaghetti Warehouse was ABSOLUTELY PATHETIC. I’m not usually one to put people or businesses on shout but I’d like to warn anyone reading this to stay far far away from the Spaghetti Warehouse in Pittsburgh. TERRIBLE TERRIBLE TERRIBLE IN ALL ASPECTS. First off, I arrived and decided to head to the Rest Room to wash my hands. No Soap! WTF? Secondly, the Men’s Room smelled like straight shit. Not poop, shit. I told the hostess at the front door but she just rolled her eyes and walked away. I almost walked out then and had the group go somewhere else but I was thirsty and starving and decided to stay. What a mistake! We were directed to our seats and waited at least 10 minutes for a waitress to show up. I was so thirsty, I almost got up and went and got my own drink. Pathetic. Anyways, when the waitress finally did decide to show up, I asked if she could start us off by bringing a few Pitchers of Water and some glasses. 20 minutes later, the water arrived. Apparently she had to climb the mountains of Fiji or something to find it. I was so mad. A little while later, she took our orders. After sitting at the table for 45 minutes or so without seeing any signs of our waitress, one of the guys from New Jersey had enough and went to find someone to complain to. Finally, a Manager walked over and apologized offering to give 50% off the check. Ehhhh, that’s OK. Our food then started to arrive shortly after that. Only problem is, only half the people at the table got their food. What about the rest of us? Well, our food arrived about 20 minutes later. I don’t know about everyone else but my food was terrible. A funny side note. The guy from Milwaukee, Happy Gangster? Well, Happy boarded a plane in Milwaukee at around the same time we walked in the door at the Spaghetti Warehouse. Happy and his Wife arrived in Pittsburgh a few hours later at the Spaghetti Warehouse and we were still waiting for our food. Maybe our food was being flown in from Italy?? Another note, I knew the waitress. I’m not going to post her name on here for a few reasons but I will say she went to Valley High School. You wanna know who else went to Valley High School? Pittsburgh Steelers Draft Pick Toney Clemons. Why do I mention this? Well, earlier this week, I was at the Steelers OTAs getting some stuff autographed. Every year, I get a few helmets signed by the whole team. I was making fairly good progress on my first helmet this season until I handed it to you guessed it, Toney Clemons.

20120611-224442.jpg Silver Marker, Really? Are you kidding me? Apparently this moron didn’t see the other 23 Signatures signed BOLDLY in Black Marker. Also, what the hell do you call that? A Signature? What a joke! I hope your ass gets cut during Training Camp. Back to the Spaghetti Warehouse. I ended up nibbling at my food real quick then headed home to get showered up and ready for the game. I don’t know what happened when I left but hopefully someone spoke up and complained about the service. Now… Pirates vs. Royals June 9th 2012 PNC Park. I arrived at the Ballpark extra early today because I was expecting a big crowd . To my surprise, Rocco from Cincy was already first in line. I chatted with Rocco for a few minutes them we proceeded to throw for a little bit. Rocco is probably one of the most prepared Ballhawks in MLB. I’m relatively new to this whole chasing baseballs thing and I’m always down to learn a new trick or two. One thing I learned from Rocco that should have been common sense is, PITCHERS LOVE TO THROW AT CATCHERS MITTS. You’re probably thinking, durrrrrr… Well, who is always in the outfield shagging balls during BP? Pitchers. Ding Ding Ding. Well guess what, in addition to the 3 gloves I normally bring with me to each game, I will also be bringing a Catcher’s Mitt from now on. I think I should be able to snag at least 2-3 more toss ups each game as result of it. Giant Glove on the Left Hand, Catcher’s Mitt on the Right Hand. It’s going to be hard to compete against me in the coming weeks. :). Back to BP, all of the out of town Ballhawks were worrying about getting in early to BP. Kudos to all the Ballhawks from Pittsburgh for helping out and getting everyone in the gates early. I was too busy running around during BP to take many photos. Below are a few of the shots I was able to take.

20120611-230828.jpg Jonathan Broxton with Giant Glove

20120611-231140.jpg Jose Mijares with Giant Glove

20120611-231247.jpg Orioles Commemorative

20120611-231406.jpg Military Member wanted photo with Giant Glove. I believe this is also worth a few points in Scavenger Hunt. :). After BP, I headed home because I didn’t feel like dealing with all the idiots who were coming in for the Boyz 2 Men Concert. I probably should have stayed because after leaving the Ballpark, I had to deal with a broken Serpentine Belt on my Camaro. I guess one of my pulleys is bad, not sure which one and really don’t care either. I plan on buying something new very shortly anyways.

20120611-231941.jpg Bad Belt…

20120611-232036.jpg Pretty sure this is the Bad Pulley…

20120611-232128.jpg New Serpentine Belt.

20120611-232319.jpg Hunter approves my job and says “Take me home!”. Hunter had a date at 8pm and wasn’t too happy about my belt situation. Take a look at the photo below. That’s Hunter’s Shirt…

20120611-232739.jpg SOME CALL IT FARMING, I CALL IT FUN… Now see below for a photo of Hunter’s Date…

20120611-233322.jpg. SOME CALL THEM FARM ANIMALS, HUNTER CALLS THEM FUN. ;). On that note, I’m out. Hope you guys enjoyed the blog. I’m still working on making these shorter and to the point. Check back soon for blogs about my upcoming trip to Baltimore this week.

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