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In Pittsburgh, catching a baseball is serious business

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Pete Schell keeps his neck back, his eyes looking up as he stands still on a sidewalk in front of the Allegheny River outside PNC Park for about two hours a day before Pirates home games.

"Do baseballs ever make it out here?" is the question posed to a tailgating family nearby.

"Oh yeah," someone shouts. "What do you think he's doing?"

They all point at Schell.

Schell was particularly focused on Sunday. The Pirates were hosting their first National League Division Series game in 21 years and Schell, who estimates he's collected well over 100 baseballs over the 13 years PNC Park has been open, really wants to add to his collection.

"I usually get at least one," he says, holding his glove while strategically positioned at a spot on the sidewalk behind right-center field. "They come out all the time you just have to be in the right place."

Usually it's just him and a few others. But Schell had more competition Sunday, as a few dozen boats were perched in the water and groups of people had camped out on the sidewalk.

If the ball bounces in the water, someone will surely jump in to chase it. They sink fast on a warm day. Schell won't be diving in.

He'll do just about anything else.

"I got one in the Wild Card game against Cincinnati," he said. "I had to fight a guy for it and he scratched my arm with his neck brace. I turn around, I look and there's this guy with a big huge neck brace and he's in there fighting for fly balls."

These Pittsburgh fans sure are passionate.


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