Sep 24, 2009
Prior to Wednesday night, Erik Jabs had only a single game ball in his 522-ball collection. But considering he often attends batting practice and then leaves before the game even starts, it's not all that surprising.
But Jabs decided to stay for the duration on Wednesday, seeking to win back his PNC Park single-game record that had been broken earlier in the week by fellow ballhawk Nick Pelescak. He ended up tying the record, and in the process also snagged his second career game ball and first career foul ball.
The foul ball came at the very end of the game, when Jabs had made his way behind the dugout in preparation for the end of the game. Jason Nix fouled off a pitch in his direction and the ball landed in the aisle. "As soon as the ball was hit, I was off," Jabs wrote on his blog. "The ball bounced off the concrete, and took a high hop in the air. I was closing in on the ball and reached out and caught the ball out of the air. It was my first career foul ball, and my first game ball of 2009."
Almost as satisfying as the foul ball was the very next ball he snagged, a toss-up after the game from bullpen catcher Herbie Andrade. It was his 14th of the day, tying him with Pelescak for the PNC Park record.
14 balls in one game is certainly a remarkable feat at any ballpark, but Jabs is quick to recognize that Pittsburgh doesn't offer a ton of competition. "You might wonder how Nick and I manage to catch so many batted balls," he wrote. "Simple. NO one comes to batting practice."