Play ball! 10,800 of them

March 3, 2014 

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Baseball season is finally in bloom. Fans of all ages are gathering to take part in what has become known as America's favorite pastime. Whether playing the game or just watching, it is a sport like no other. Just holding a baseball in one's hand brings back memories and creates a sort of magic unique to each individual. It is amazing that a baseball in the hand can never be still. Feeling the smooth hide automatically causes the fingers to twirl it around. Then there is the toss in the air, catch and smile, bringing a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment in catching the stitched-rawhide ball. So it is no wonder Pittsburgh Pirate infielder Chase d'Arnaud was captured in this very process recently during a spring training practice at Pirate City in Bradenton. Being a professional, he is able to toss two baseballs at once. The moment captured also brings to mind one of the classic utterances barked to young players by tough weather-worn coaches from the beginning of time, baseball's No. 1 rule..."Keep your eye on the ball!" or in this case, both of them. And there will not be a shortage of balls to watch. Pat Hagerty, minor-league equipment manager at Pirate City, ordered 10,800 baseballs for use during the Pirate's spring training season. So "Play ball!"

GJEFFERIES@BRADENTON.COM Buy Photo

Baseball season is finally in bloom.

Fans of all ages are gathering to take part in what has become known as America's favorite pastime. Whether playing the game or just watching, it is a sport like no other.

Just holding a baseball in one's hand brings back memories and creates a sort of magic unique to each individual.

It is amazing that a baseball in the hand can never be still. Feeling the smooth hide automatically causes the fingers to twirl it around. Then there is the toss in the air, catch and smile, bringing a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment in catching the stitched-rawhide ball.

So it is no wonder Pittsburgh Pirate infielder Chase d'Arnaud was captured in this very process recently during a spring training practice at Pirate City in Bradenton. Being a professional, he is able to toss two baseballs at once.

The moment captured also brings to mind one of the classic utterances barked to young players by tough weather-worn coaches from the beginning of time, baseball's No. 1 rule..."Keep your eye on the ball!" or in this case, both of them. And there will not be a shortage of balls to watch. Pat Hagerty, minor-league equipment manager at Pirate City, ordered 10,800 baseballs for use during the Pirate's spring training season. So "Play ball!"

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