Apr 26, 2010
Nick Pelescak's Blog
Those over 30 may remember the 1988 Slam Dunk contest between Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins. In what some contend was the greatest dunk contest ever, Jordan and Wilkins went back and forth, each trying to outdo the other with a more spectacular, gravity-defying dunk.
In the ballhawking world, a similar scenario seems to be unfolding between Pittsburgh ballhawks Erik Jabs and Nick Pelescak. They've been matching each other almost ball-for-ball this season (Jabs has 51, Pelescak 60), and last Wednesday night while Jabs was snagging 2 foul balls and 12 total balls, Pelescak was having a career day of his own.
Pelescak grabbed 12 balls during batting practice, and then continued where he left off last season (3 game home runs) and snagged his first gamer of the year from Brewers' All Star Ryan Braun. His season total of 60 balls is now 3rd highest on myGameBalls.com.
Pelescak began ballhawking before the gates even opened, hanging out on the riverwalk and trying to snag balls that were hit completely out of PNC Park. Moonshots were plentiful during this portion of BP, and by the time the gates opened he had already collected 5 balls. As he arrived in the bleachers he picked up where he left off, snagging 5 BP homers, 2 toss-ups, and 1 easter egg. Jabs was there as well, and by the end of BP the two had combined for 22 baseballs.
As the game began, Jabs snagged a first-inning foul ball, and just like Jordan watching Wilkins complete a dunk, Pelescak decided it was his turn. Playing the left field bleachers, he played the carom perfectly on Ryan Braun's home run ball. Describing the snag on his blog, Pelescak wrote, "Ryan Braun would rip a home run that just cleared the left field bleachers that would hit off a chair, then a rail, then land directly into my glove with ease. Gem of the Diamond!!"
Pelescak is now well on his way to matching his total of 3 game home runs from last year. In all, he has snagged 5 in his career. Having attended over 100 games at PNC Park, he knows the ins and outs of the bleachers and has become skilled at positioning himself for gamers. The Braun home run was actually in almost the exact same spot as the Lastings Milledge homer he snagged last year.
Pelescak's time in the ballhawk spotlight didn't last for long, however, as Jabs snagged his second foul ball later in the game. Pelescak's response? Snagging 10 balls at Great American Ballpark two days later. The ball is now back in Jabs' court.