Time wise, I probably couldn’t have gone to a baseball game at a worse time. School was wrapping up and I had multiple projects that would be due at the end of the week, and also final exams to study for. On Friday my family and I would also be leaving for a weekend stay at a cabin, which made everything a little more hectic. To top it all off, Minneapolis was expected to get rain all of Wednesday afternoon.
Surprisingly the rain had stopped at about 3 o’clock and held off until after the game. This was completely unexpected because the weather reports had predicted constant rain all day. Hey, I’m not complaining! Around 4:30 my dad and I arrived at Target Field:
As you can see from the previous picture, there was a “small” crowd outside the gates. My initial thoughts were that the rain had kept more people from coming out to the ballpark.
The gates opened at 5:30, but for the first time in more than 2 years I wasn’t in a hurry to be one of the first into the seating bowl. I knew there would be no batting practice today because the ground had soaked in so much rain that afternoon. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about not having BP. When I purchased tickets to this game I was fully aware that there would most likely be no batting practice. When I got inside I saw that there was no activity on the field:
I found a nice comfortable seat next to the Twins dugout. I sat down for a few minutes and just enjoyed observing the beautiful ballpark:
For a short time it had looked liked a few Brewers players were going to play catch so I moved near the camera well:
No one ever did play catch. I made friendly conservation with the blonde haired guy in the next picture. I don’t know his name, but he is an autograph collector. He doesn’t sell them, he is just a big fan of autographs. The man to the left is his father.
They both had a good sense of humor and we all joked around for the remaining time slot that batting practice would normally fill. I was able to teach them both a lot about both Target Field and the Twins just from the things we talked about. I wasn’t intentionally teaching them anything either. It was just surprising.
Eventually I noticed that there was a ball under the standing platform in the camera well:
I was going to ask the camera man to grab it for me but I didn’t because he was getting read to film an interview with Chili Davis. I didn’t get a good picture of Chili Davis because people were standing in front of him and were blocking my view. Davis is the guy wearing a suit on the left side of the previous picture.
I stayed here until the ushers came around and kicked everyone out who didn’t have a ticket for the section. I didn’t end up getting the chance to ask for the ball. Rules are rules. I’m not complaining here, I was genuinely satisfied with how the day had gone so far. I didn’t think I would ever say this, but it sure is relaxing to not ballhawk during batting practice. It was VERY nice to just sit down, relax and observe everything in Target Field.
Shortly before the game started I found an open seat along the aisle next to the bullpen out in section 131. This section provides me with one of my favorite views to the ballpark:
I don’t know why, but I love looking at the field from section 131. Soon the Brewers bullpen coach Lee Tunnell made his way into the bullpen with a few baseballs in hand:
We made eye contact, I flashed my glove and then he hooked me up! The only thing I said the whole time was “Thank you!”. The ball had some sticky stuff on it that I had absolutely no clue as to what it was except for the possibility that it was chewed up, spit out, and dried out chew.
I got to my actual seat at the beginning of the bottom of the 1st inning, and found that my dad was already there. We were in section B of the Legends Club (I found a good deal on stubhub. They’re great seats!).
The Brewers had gone quietly during the top of the 1st Inning. Eduardo Escobar got a lead off single for the Twins to start off the bottom of the first inning. As soon as Escobar stood on base I said to my dad, “I should get my glove on. Early in the game foul balls are usually hit to the sections right around here because when the batters aren’t use to the pitchers then they usually swing late and underneath the ball. Here is a visual about what I’m talking about when a right handed batter is in the box:
The yellow represents where foul balls usually go during the first few innings. I’ve circled our section and drawn a line to show the path of a ball. By this time Brian Dozier settled into the box, and Marco Estrada had already worked an 0-1 count on him. I was AMAZED when it all played out in front of me less than 5 seconds after I finished explaining it to my dad. Dozier lined the second pitch of the at bat directly to my section. I knew it was going to land 3 rows ahead of me so I hopped over the row of seats in front of me because they were unoccupied. The ball hit someone’s hand who was reaching for it 2 rows below me, and then I caught the ball before it hit the ground. I took the next 2 pictures before Estrada even threw another pitch.
My favorite part of the game was getting to see Carlos Gomez and Aaron Hicks battle back and forth very competitively. Hicks had robbed Gomez of a homerun in Milwaukee the night before. Then tonight in the second inning Gomez hit a deep fly ball to centerfield, way over Hicks’ head. Hicks leapt, almost caught the ball and then he dropped it. Gomez got to second, but could’ve easily gotten to third if he had been running full speed. For whatever reason he wasn’t running full speed. He probably thought the ball was either caught or a homer. In the fourth inning Aaron Hicks sent a high fly ball into the bullpens for a solo shot.
In the 5th inning Aramis Ramirez hit a ground rule double to center field. This was significant to me for 2 reasons. First, I think that it was the first ground rule double that I’ve seen in a game. Now I said there were two reasons… more on this in a bit!
In the middle of the 7th inning I went to find my history teacher who was at the game with his wife. Since the beginning of the week we had both been talking about this game. We would even check the weather before class would start. He LOVES the Brewers so that is why he was at the game. It didn’t take me to long to find him because I knew where he would be sitting. I was able to find a seat right in back of them and got to chat for a few minutes. We spotted Larry Fitzgerald in the Champions club! Greg Jennings was also there because he got to throw the first pitch. I’m a Packer fan so it was very cool to see Jennings in person. On the other hand, he does play for the Vikings now…
Before I left that spot I said, “do you see those seats behind the dugout that are padded? The ushers don’t let you down there without a special ticket. Watch, I’ll be down there in 5 minutes.” He asked, “oh, you know a guy?” I responded, “No, I just know how to get in.” Both he and his wife laughed a little because they thought I was joking. Less than 5 minutes later I was in the dugout box behind the Brewers dugout:
As soon as I got inside the moat I found some extra tickets on the ground. I looked around for my teacher and his wife but couldn’t see them anymore. I wish I would’ve been able to find them because I was going to give them the extra tickets in case they wanted to sit behind the dugout. Oh well. Life goes on.
When I walked into the classroom the next day he looked at me with an astonished, amazed, and dumbfounded look on his face and said, “dude, how did you do that?! I saw you down there and couldn’t believe it! did you see me waving to you?” Hah, fun stuff!
There wasn’t much action the rest of the game. At the end of the game I did not get a ball from Angel Hernandez, the home plate umpire. He gave all the balls to the attractive young women. I found this to be absolutely hilarious because the dude is a total player! …But hey, don’t hate the player, hate the game!
Normally at this point I would stick around the dugout to get a ball from the dugout attendant, but there was something else on my mind that I didn’t want to miss out on. Remember when I mentioned the ground rule double that Aramis Ramirez hit? The ball was still sitting in the grass below the batters eye! I knew that eventually someone from the grounds crew would retrieve the ball so I wanted to be there when it happened. Surprisingly there were only 4 other guys who tried to get the ball after the game. Except they were trying to get it via the glove trick. If you are familiar with Target Field you might know that using the glove trick is near impossible here because of the angles and overhangs. We had a competition to see who’s technique would win the ball. Their technique failed already. My technique was to wait for the groundskeepers. After waiting for a total of 16 minutes after the game, a groundskeeper finally climbed onto the batters eye and threw the ball to me!
Just like that I had gotten my second gamer of the night… a ground rule double! I was very surprised that I got 3 balls with out batting practice.
The Twins won 4-1. It was really a great game to be at because these are my two favorite teams. It didn’t even matter to me who won! Here is the box score and the scoring plays from the game:
A Piece of The Game MVP:
Twins Groundskeeper: This was the first time a groundskeeper has thrown me a baseball… but it was special because it was a ground rule double hit by Aramis Ramirez!
Player of The Game:
Sam Deduno: He pitched 7 innings and only allowed 4 hits. He had an absolutely great outing. Hopefully he can string a few together for the Twins!
Here is my final haul from the game:
(Left to right: pregame toss up, foul ball, ground rule double)
(Left to right: pregame toss up, foul ball, ground rule double)
Did you see the bat mark on the foul ball? It is huge!!
- 3 balls in this game
- 20 balls in 5 games this season = Avg. 4 balls per game
- 15 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
- 15 consecutive games with at least 2 balls
- 9 consecutive games with at least 3 balls
- 13 consecutive Twins home games with at least 1 ball
- 11 consecutive Twins home games with at least 2 balls
- 6 consecutive Twins home games with at least 3 balls
- Gotten at least 1 ball from 11 different teams
- 63 total balls
Chase Stevens was drafted in the 30th round of the 2012 MLB draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Chase attended college at Oklahoma State University. During the 2012 season he played with the Missoula Osprey, an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Chase pitched 33.2 innings in 26 games and compiled a 3-2 record with a 3.21 ERA. Chase struck out 59 batters while ONLY allowing 12 earned runs, 23 hits, and 17 walks (That’s 1.77 strike outs per inning). Those are some pretty good stats! His future looks very bright as a young ballplayer.
During the 2012-2013 off-season I got the chance to talk with Chase. I told him about my blog, and he kindly agreed to do an interview with me. Here is what he had to say during the interview:
Q1. So Chase, Tell us a little about yourself
Chase Stevens: “I’m a small town kid from Blanchard Oklahoma. I have lived there my whole life. I started playing baseball when I was 4 years old and loved the game ever since. I have a twin brother named chance. I played Junior college baseball at Seminole State college in Seminole OK. From there I went on to play my junior year at Oklahoma State University.”
Q2. In 2012, you were drafted in the 30th round by the D-backs. What was it like to be drafted to play pro baseball? What feelings or emotions did you feel on draft day?
Chase Stevens: “I was extremely anxious to see where I got picked. It was my first time going through the draft process so it was all very new to me and my family. When I got the call that I had been selected I felt like there was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, and that all my hard work had finally paid off.”
Q3. Last season you pitched for the Missoula Osprey, an affiliate of the D-backs, in the Pioneer League. What role did have in your teams’ pitching rotation and how did you contribute to your team’s success?
Chase Stevens: “I was a 7th, 8th inning guy. A set up guy for the closer. My job was to come in and have a clean inning and hand the ball off to the closer.”
Q4. Did you have any coaches in high school who gave you tips that you feel have really helped your pitching? And what advice would you give to kids who hope to improve their pitching?
Chase Stevens: “I have been blessed with great coaches at every level I have played at. My junior college pitching coach really emphasized the importance of mental toughness. This is one thing I stress the most to younger guys.”
Q5. Did you have a strategy on the mound that you felt really helped you pitch well?
Chase Stevens: “I tried to focus on getting ahead of hitters. It was very important for me to stay away from walks that late in the game.”
Q6. What do you expect from yourself in order to have a breakthrough season into the Majors?
Chase Stevens: “Too stay consistent, work hard, and make the most of the opportunities that are given to me.”
Now I’m going to shift the focus away from on the field matters, and I’ll ask about off the field matters.
Q7. Do you collect memorabilia of any kind?
Chase Stevens: “I like to collect my hats from every team I play on.”
Q8. Are you familiar with the term “Ballhawk”? Odds are that you will run into a few Ballhawks at the ballpark next year, if you haven’t already. In your opinion, are they good guys or bad guys?
Chase Stevens: “From what I have heard it is a fan that collects home runs and foul balls. I haven’t really ever experienced one, but I think it is pretty cool that someone values a baseball that I have played with that much.”
Q9. Do you have a favorite band/song whom/that you would choose to walk out to the mound to?
Chase Stevens: “I enjoy a lot of different genres of music. It really depends on what I am doing while I am listening to the music. When I chose a walk out song I usually tried to pick something that I knew the fans would like. It would be hard to pick just one.”
Q10. Do you have a specific routine that you follow during the offseason to help prepare you for baseball?
Chase Stevens: “This being my first off season I am just trying to get the feel for being away from baseball this long. I returned to school this fall, and will finish my degree this coming fall. Staying in the routine of going to the field daily and working in the weight room have been key for me this offseason.”
Thank you very much Chase, for answering all my questions! I greatly appreciate your generosity and getting to talk with you!
You can follow Chase Stevens on Twitter @ChaseStevens.
I wasn’t planning on going to this game, but ended up getting free tickets on the day of the game. Mr and Mrs Berg, some friends of my family, were giving away their two tickets because they couldn’t go to the game. Mr Most (We went to a few games with each other last year) was actually the one who got the tickets from the Bergs. Thank you very much to the Bergs for the tickets!
Mr. Most and I rode the light rail system from Fort Snelling station to Target Field. It was about 5:00 when we stepped off the train. As we were walking to Gate 34 I noticed that this was the first game of the season where I didn’t see ice on the ground outside the stadium. However, there were still piles of snow on the sidewalks:
Mr. Most and I were planning on going to Gate 34 but then we changed our minds when we passed gate 29:
We changed our minds because our tickets were part of a 20 game plan – thus they were season tickets. Season ticket holders can enter gate 29 before the gates are scheduled to open. Ticket holders get to watch batting practice from the bleachers right field until the gates actually open. That is what we did… we got inside Target Field early. I took this picture as soon as we got inside:
Recognize anyone from that last picture? That would be Tony and Mateo. Tony was hanging his head in shame because we were already inside, and Mateo was taking a picture of us taking a picture of him. This is one of the pictures that Mateo had taken of Mr. Most and I:
They knew that we were coming to the game, but they were in shock when they saw us on the other side of the gate. The looks on their faces were truly priceless. Its ok though, they both got plenty of baseballs at the game
Shortly after, Mateo introduced me to his friend Jonathan who was also standing at the gates. He’s a Cardinals’ fan and goes to the University of Minnesota with Mateo. It was nice meeting him.When the Angels were getting ready to hit we all grabbed a drawstring bag (the game day promotion) and were on our way to left field. I was really considering staying in the upper deck in LF for all of batting practice but I’m glad I started in the LF bleachers. After a few short minutes Mike Trout hit a ball our way. Mateo and Mr. Most were a section to my right and there weren’t too many people around me. However, Tony was two rows in front of me. Tony barely missed the catch (he had to jump but it still cleared his glove) which resulted in me getting the ball. I didn’t catch it on the fly because honestly I was a little scared of standing directly behind Tony in case the ball tipped off of his glove into my face. All I had to do was pick it up once it landed in my row. This was sweet especially since I had come really close to a Mike Trout foul ball last September. I waited around for a few more minutes before I headed to the second level. As I was leaving the bleachers Jonathan snagged a homer.
As soon as I reached the 200 level I took this photo:
Ball #2 came when Jerome Williams threw a ball to me in the second level. I was in the first row when I asked him for the ball. I could see he was about to throw it up but suddenly he said no. I realized it was because he didn’t want me to fall over the edge. Upon this I yelled, “Throw it far! Throw it over my head!” He smiled at me and then chucked it so far over my head that it actually went into the concourse. This was the first ball I had ever snagged in the second deck:
The next group of batters was hooking balls down the left field line so I relocated here:
Do you see what appears to be two baseballs in the last picture? If you click the on the picture then you will see that it is just a water bottle.
My next ball was from Jerome Williams, again. This time he showboated his throw, much like he did when he tossed me a ball last September at Kauffman Stadium. He ran towards me to field a ball that lay dormant on the ground. He then flipped it backwards through his legs, over his back, and right to me. I thanked him and said, “You’re the man!” He liked that. In the next picture Williams is just to the right of my glove:
Less than 10 minutes later a line drive was sliced down the left field line. It bounced once in the dirt and then shot right to me. It was an easy catch.
At the very end of batting practice Coach Steve Soliz threw me my 5th ball of the day behind the Angels dugout. Soliz is always very nice to fans and enjoys giving baseballs away. At Kauffman Stadium I saw him give 8 balls away… one of which he threw to me. Anyways, this was the dirtiest ball I had ever seen. It was very weird because I was the only one who was even paying attention and trying to get a baseball. There were lots of people in the dugout box, but it was like they were all in their own little world.
After batting practice I met up with Mr. Most and Tony in the bleachers near the bullpen. After getting some food to eat, Mr. Most and I snuck down to the 6th row behind the plate (right behind the Champions Club).
We watched most of the game from there. The Bergs were awesome for giving us their tickets. Their tickets were in section 324, but we took advantage of the fact that there were only 23,000 people at the game.
We would’ve watched the whole game from the 6th row but we both decided it was a good idea to leave after the 6h inning. The game was getting long and we didn’t want to get back to our homes to late. It was already 10:00 at the end of the 6th inning so we didn’t feel like sticking around for another 45-60 minutes because it takes at least an hour and a half to get back to my house. I took this picture in the concourse as we were leaving:
In the picture above do you see the bright lights? Those are heat lamps and they surround the whole seating bowl in the concourse. They do a good job of keeping you warm. They’re so bright that you can see them from across the whole stadium.
Once we got on the train we started talking to an older couple. The man was wearing a red Rangers hat. As we chatted we learned that he and his wife are from the Dallas, TX area and were traveling to all 30 stadiums. There usually see 5 new stadiums per year. They estimated that they would see their 30th stadium in 3 or 4 years. They were heading to Milwaukee and Chicago by the end of the week.
The Twins game was still going on 30 minutes later when we got into Mr Most’s car so we were able to listen to it on the radio. The Twins won 8-6 in 9 innings. Way to go Twins. It was really a great game to be at. Both teams kept battling back when the other team scored. Here is the box score and the scoring plays from the game:
A Piece of The Game MVP:
Jerome Williams: It isnt very often that the same player throws you 2 balls at the same game, but Jerome did it tonight. He is also a very fan friendly player. He interacts with the players a lot during batting practice and even has conversations with people. I always like seeing him at the ballpark!
Player of The Game:
Joe Mauer: He went 4-5 on the night, and also collected 3 RBI. He had a huge night at the plate which ultimately helped earn the Twins a victory.
Here is my final haul from the game:
My fourth ball of the day was stamped “PRACTICE” on the back of it:
Thank you once again to the Bergs for the tickets and thank you to Mr. Most for going to the game!
- 5 balls in this game
- 17 balls in 4 games this season = Avg. 4.25 balls per game
- 14 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
- 14 consecutive games with at least 2 balls
- 8 consecutive games with at least 3 balls
- 12 consecutive Twins home games with at least 1 ball
- 10 consecutive Twins home games with at least 2 balls
- 5 consecutive Twins home games with at least 3 balls
- 4 consecutive Twins home games with at least 4 balls
- 2 consecutive Twins home games with at least 5 balls
- Gotten at least 1 ball from 11 different teams
- 60 total balls
My dad and I got to Miller Park at 4:40 because I was headed to TGI’s to catch part of the Brewers portion of batting practice. Actually, my dad dropped me off and met me back at Miller Park for the start of the game. It was another cold day as the temperature was somewhere in the high 20’s to the low 30’s. Unfortunately the weather would only get colder as the night went on. Fortunately Miller Park has a retractable roof which meant that I would be inside a climate controlled environment. Oh, how I love Miller Park. I’d like to mention that this was the 3rd day in a row where I had spotted ice at the ballpark!
Once I got inside TGI’s and to the “Front Row” I was greeted by Shawn and his girlfriend. They had had no luck so far because of the Brewers hitters’ lack of power during batting practice. Eventually though, there were a few balls that made it up to the restaurant area. I was the first of the three of us to snag a ball on Wednesday. Khris Davis chased a ball to the wall and then tossed it up. However, it wasn’t intended for me, it was intended for Shawn. Because it was intended for Shawn, I moved 6+ feet behind him to let him have his space on the catch. Khris Davis threw it way over Shawn’s head, which was directly to me.
Not more than 10 minutes later Rickie Weeks hit an absolute bomb to left center field. In case you forgot, WE were in left center field. The ball cleared all of our heads. The first thing it hit was a stair case that was 10 feet behind us.
The second thing it hit was the inside of my glove, because I caught it when it bounced back.
As the time got closer to 5:40 I started to plan where I would go for the Rockies portion of bp I knew the sun would be a very big problem just like the day before so I didn’t even think about going to the Loge. When the gates finally opened at 5:40 (read 5:45), I positioned myself here:
I watched the pitchers warm up on the field and then got completely ignored as I asked for a ball when they had finished throwing.
Shortly afterwards I noticed this:
Did you see it? In the previous picture there was a ball that had been stopped by the net. I moved over to the first row of section 127 and was in the perfect spot to get the toss-up.
Here’s a closer look at it:
Coach Jim Wright threw it to me as he was heading off the field. Batting practice wasn’t over yet, but for whatever reason he left the field early. Anyways, here was my new ball:
That was all the action in batting practice. Now let’s fast forward to the game. Our seats were in section 112 on the aisle. This was the view:
I would’ve played for 3rd out balls the whole game, but most of the ushers don’t even want you to stand in the aisle for the duration of 1 out. For some reason I didn’t mind this as much as I had the night before. I didn’t even try to stand in the aisle tonight; I just enjoyed sitting down and watching the game with my dad. My dad and I both noticed that 1st base was occupied by both Gonzalezs’ at least once throughout the game:
In the fourth inning I got up to get some Nachos. While I was waiting for the nachos to be made I thought I should get a picture looking towards the field. At that point I was photo bombed by person #1 who you can see in the next photo:
Persons 1, 2 and 3 in the previous picture were all drunk, but they were in a good friendly mood. They were all friends who came to the game together. You might have noticed that he was pointing at something in the picture. Yeah, he was pointing at my Rockies hat. He started to jokingly reprimand me for being a Rockies fan. I let him have his fun and then we had a conversation while we ALL waited for our food. As we were talking, person #3 spilled her beer on person #1 and #2. I did my best not to laugh. About a minute before I finally got the Nachos person #1 started yelling, “YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL!! YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL!!” I turned my shoulder to see who he was yelling to and discovered he was hitting on a 15 or 16 year old girl. The girl only blushed, laughed, and tried to ignore him. Not surprisingly she thought it was hilarious and couldn’t help giving him her attention. Person #3 said, “Stop! She’s like 14!” Person #1 then continued, “SHE’S BEAUTIFUL!! ISNT SHE BEAUTIFUL?! SHE’S SO BEAUTIFUL!!” Oh the memories of Miller Park.
In the 8th inning I was returning to my seat from getting a napkin when I was asked to take a picture for 4 guys. I gladly took a few pictures of them, and then they rewarded me with a ticket for behind the Rockies’ On Deck Circle. They were awesome guys!
Starting in the bottom of the 8th inning this was my new view:
The game lasted 3 hours and 31 minutes. My favorite part of the game was seeing Rickie Weeks’ home run in the second inning.
Here is the box score and the scoring plays from the game:
Once the game ended I was the first to get a ball from Umpire Tony Randazzo. That ball concluded my visit to Miller Park.
On our way out of the stadium my dad and I got our picture taken by an usher:
I took somewhat of a patriotic photo on our way to our car:
A Piece of The Game MVP:
Rickie Weeks: He provided me with my first hit ball at Miller Park.
Player of The Game:
Wilin Rosario: He went 3-5 on the night, collected 2 RBI, and also crossed the plate for a run.
Here is my final haul from the game:
- 4 balls at this game
- 12 balls in 3 games this season = Avg. 4 balls per game
- 13 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
- 13 consecutive games with at least 2 balls
- 7 consecutive games with at least 3 balls
- 4 consecutive games @ Miller Park with at least 1 ball
- 4 consecutive games @ Miller Park with at least 2 balls
- 3 consecutive games @ Miller Park with at least 3 balls
- 2 consecutive game @ Miller Park with at least 4 balls
- Gotten at least 1 ball from 11 different teams
- 55 total balls
The previous day I had been at Target Field for Opening Day. Immediately following the Twins game I packed for Wisconsin. My family and I left our house the next morning (Tuesday) on our way to Wisconsin. We were staying near Milwaukee at our relatives’ house for a few days. After eating an early dinner at my grandparents’ house, my dad and I drove to Miller Park, the home of the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers have been my favorite baseball team since I was very little, so I kind of adore Miller Park.
We arrived at Miller Park at 5 (2 hours early) because I was going to go into Friday’s to talk with Shawn Bosman while my dad bought a new Brewers hat from the team store.
I noticed two things as my dad and I walked up to the stadium from the parking lot:
- The roof was closed because the temperature outside was no higher than 30 degrees.
- For the second day in a row I saw ice on the ground outside the ballpark (the previous day at Target Field) as I walked to a gate. This was a little depressing.
Friday’s Front Row Grill is located in left field of Miller Park.
There is a “Front Row” that actually overlooks the field. Friday’s has an hour time limit on those tables, and you also have to spend a minimum amount of money to sit there.
I got in free by saying that I was meeting Shawn, who was already inside. In the picture above, he is standing up facing the camera. Shawn is Milwaukee’s number 1 ballhawk. He has snagged over 1,650 baseballs over the last 9 years and 23 of them are game home run balls. Shawn had already been there for an hour or two, and had caught a bp homer on the fly that was hit by Ryan Braun. This is the view from behind the tables:
The Left Field Loge overhangs to the right:
There is also a bit of an overhang to the left from the Harley Davidson Deck, so in order for a ball to be hit here it has to be placed perfectly. Unfortunately, the Ryan Braun homer was all the action either of us were going to get while at Friday’s.
Shawn gave me a few tips to use around Miller Park and we talked until the gates opened. In case you are interested you can follow Shawn on Twitter by following @BallhawkShawn. Shawn also writes the blog The Inherent Dangers of Watching Professional Baseball, so you should probably check that out! We were already inside the park, but were contained to a small area of the concourse in left field until the other gates opened.
When the gates finally opened, the Rockies were just getting in the cage so we both went to the left field loge. Shawn caught two home runs in the first 5 minutes, but that was most of the action. After the first 10 minutes had passed, the sun was shining in through the windows on the first base side in the 400 level onto the left field loge. The sun was so bad that even when I used my glove to block the sun, I could still barely see the field. Just to give you an idea of how bright the sun was, here is a picture that I took 30 minutes later:
One of the reasons I like Miller Park so much is because of the left field loge. Unlike Target Field, Miller Park offers outfield seating that is somewhat ballhawk friendly. I would much rather go for hit balls over toss ups any day of the week. But because of the sun, there was no way I could see the ball.
Every time the sun pierced my eyes, I felt my chances of getting a baseball were deteriorating. So, a few minutes later I decided to relocate here:
I got my first ball of the day there from this member of the Rockies:
I’m fairly certain that it is the same ball that he was holding in the picture above.
Since I know I’d be pushing my luck by trying to get another ball in this same spot, I decided to move to the Rockies dugout. I got my second ball from another “member” of the Rockies:
By the way, this was my 50th lifetime baseball! I just wish I knew who I got it from too!
Just before batting practice ended I got my third ball from Rick Matthews – the Rockies Baseball Operations Assistant. Here is that ball:
I typically don’t like mooching off the dugouts because I know there are other baseballs to be snagged in other parts of the stadium. However, much like the day before, this was a very slow batting practice. Even though I prefer hit balls rather than asking for toss ups, I’m still fine with asking for toss ups. If I need to mooch off the dugout to get a ball, then I probably will.
When bp ended I moved to the Rockies bullpen, but was unsuccessful in my quest for ball #4. I met my dad back at our seats – on the aisle of section 218, directly behind home plate on the second level.
This was PRIME foul ball territory. Unfortunately, the moment I got up to stand in the giant cross aisle I was yelled at by an usher. This usher was extremely jumpy and aggressive. He said (yelled), “STOP ROAMING, YOU CAN’T ROAM THIS AISLE! Let me see your ticket! Go sit down, you can’t stand here!” He was very unreasonable and I didn’t want to deal with him so I went to talk to the other usher near my section. This usher was NOT aggressive or jumpy. Yet, our conversation didn’t really go anywhere. I explained that I was hoping to catch a foul ball and that I had read the rules for Miller Park. There was no rule that said there was no standing in the cross aisles. This usher didn’t get mad at me, but he didn’t know how he should respond. When I asked why I couldn’t stand there he responded, “There are little signs on the wall that say no autographs.” I wasn’t talking about autographs. I clarified myself by saying, “I’m not trying to get the broadcasters’ autographs. I’m trying to catch a foul ball.” Again, he responded, “You can’t be here because there are no autographs.” This was really frustrating me so I decided to let it go. I’m not exaggerating about the ushers either. I was never rude to either of the ushers but they still thought that they should be grouchy and angry with me. The first usher seemed genuinely furious.
In the third inning something incredible happened. As Ryan Braun settled into the box, my dad leaned over to me and said, “Watch this, he is going to hit a home run!” Less than 5 seconds later Braun sent the ball to right field for a 2 run blast. That was the only specific baseball prediction I have ever heard my dad make. Wow, just wow. I just sat there and didn’t know what to say.
I sat with my dad for the first 5 innings and then watched the next inning and a half from the right field bleachers directly behind the Rockies bullpen. While I was there I encountered the most drunk and obnoxious people I have ever seen in my life. There were 5-7 guys who must have been just passed legal drinking age. They were absolutely hammered. I had already seen a bunch of really drunk people at the game, but these guys had to the most to drink by far. They had been heckling the bullpen catcher the whole time:
They kept yelling crude and sexual insults at him – insults that I won’t share with you because they are so messed up. I really have no idea why they didn’t get ejected because a security guard talked to them twice, and the usher talked to them on at least 3 different occasions. On top of that, the few other people who were actually in the section were getting very annoyed with them. I don’t know why I stayed there for an inning and a half, because I couldn’t wait to sit by my dad instead of those idiots.
At the beginning of the 9th I went to stand at the top of the aisle nearest to the Rockies dugout in order to get to the dugout as soon as the game ended.
While I was standing there I met a kid named Cole. Let me just say that I knew right off the bat that Cole was going to be a cool kid to talk to. I was right! Cole is 14 and is a grapher (autograph collector) at Miller Park. He has collected autographs since he was 4 years old and now he has hundreds of them.
He goes to as many Brewers games as he can with his family. Last year he attended 35 games. We also talked a little about myself and ballhawking. I gave him my card and told him we should say in touch. Later that night he emailed me and told me he made an MLBlog called Cole’s Hot Corner. Don’t hesitate to check out Cole’s blog. He is a great writer! You can also follow him on Twitter by following @coleshotcorner.
Once the game ended we hustled to the dugout. I tried to get a ball from the umpire while Cole tried getting autographs from the same spot. We were both unsuccessful because the ushers pulled us both aside. The first usher yelled, “What the hell do you think you’re doing?!” Cole and I looked at each other in confusion. The ushers continued, “That’s the ownership right there!” I said, “Yeah, ok?” The usher seemed to get way more furious when I said that. He responded, “You two just hopped over his row of seats and you’re scaring the ownership away! You are pissing him off!” I defended Cole and I by pointing out that we weren’t even in the same row as the owner. The owner was 2 rows ahead of us. They were yelling at the wrong people. Instead of yelling at Cole and me, they should’ve been yelling at the fans who actually did something wrong. Because of this, I had missed my 1 chance at getting one final baseball.
On our way out my dad and I had an usher take our picture.
Cole and I said goodbye and planned on seeing each other the next day at the game. Just like the previous day, the game was very long. The Brewers lost 8-4. Here is the box score:
A Piece of The Game MVP:
Rockies Trainer: He threw me my 50 lifetime ball!
Player of The Game:
Carlos Gonzalez: He went 2-5 and had 2 RBI. He helped his team win.
Here is my final haul from the game:
Those booklets were left over from opening day, so I grabbed a few on my way out of the stadium.
- 3 balls at this game
- 8 balls in 2 games this season = Avg. 4 balls per game
- 12 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
- 12 consecutive games with at least 2 balls
- 6 consecutive games with at least 3 balls
- 3 consecutive games @ Miller Park with at least 1 ball
- 3 consecutive games @ Miller Park with at least 2 balls
- 2 consecutive games @ Miller Park with at least 3 balls
- 1 consecutive game @ Miller Park with at least 4 balls
- Gotten at least 1 ball from 11 different teams
- 51 total balls
Because it was Opening Day, tickets were hard to come by for a reasonable price. I thought that $15 was alright for a ticket in the 300 level so I bought 2 tickets there. My friend Asher and I left my house early and we got to the Mall of America around 9 a.m. If you haven’t ever been to the Mall of America, I would recommend checking it out sometime. There are hundreds of stores, two food courts, an underground aquarium, a movie theatre, Lego land, and an indoor amusement park called Nickelodeon Universe. Of course, that’s not all there is to do at the Mall of America. I’ll show you a few pictures to give you an idea what it looks like. If you have any questions about the mall be sure to ask me in the comments.
The mall of America was built on the same land where Metropolitan Stadium used to be. In Nickelodeon Universe there is a replica of home plate that marks the spot where home plate had been at the Old Met.
There is also a red seat on the wall from Metropolitan Stadium:
The seat marks the spot where Harmon Killebrew’s monstrous home run landed in the Old Met.
Speaking of Killebrew’s monstrous home runs… we arrived at the Giant Glove at 11:40.
Did you notice the people in the last picture were wearing winter coats and gloves? Yeah, that’s because it was 25 degrees when I got to Target Field. Later I would learn that this was one of the coldest Opening Day games in the history of Major League Baseball. This wasn’t the only cool thing about this game though; it was also the first Opening Day game to be played at Target Field.
Asher and I were greeted by Tony and his friend Jared. I believe that they have a tradition of attending the Twins home openers ever year.
In an effort to stay warm, Tony was wearing his big foot costume. He also wore it because it helps get the players’ attention. He wore it last year when he and his wife went to Kauffman Stadium. You can read his entry about Kauffman Stadium by clicking on this sentence. While you’re clicking links, you should read about THIS game from Tony’s perspective by clicking here.
Not too long after I took the picture, this happened:
The usher farthest to the left in the previous picture walked over to the gate and put the ball in my glove. This wasn’t how I thought I would get my first ball of the season, but I was on the board!
Then Mateo showed up out of nowhere and we were all engaged in conversation while trying to keep warm.
… and once again Mateo was reunited with big foot… You can read about it by clicking here.
A half hour before the gates opened a ball was laced to right field. It cleared the wall and zipped across the plaza inside the gate. Tony and I both had a beat on the ball and were lined up perfectly, but it bounced off the gate and rolled just out of our reach. An usher hurried to the gate and placed it in my glove.
This was only the second game that I got a ball outside the gates. This was the first game that I got two balls outside the gates.
When the gates finally opened at 1:00, the Tigers were just starting to warm up so I hurried to center field to speak with the usher from last year.
John is a very nice man. He has been a Tigers fan for all his life. He served in the Vietnam War when he was young. When he got back to America he got a job as an usher at Tigers Stadium. Just a few years ago he became an usher for the Twins at Target Field. He was surprised when I asked to take his picture. Maybe I’ll tell him about this blog next time I see him.
When John and I finished talking, I positioned myself here:
Do you see the arrow in the last picture? It is pointing to Al Alburquerque. More on him in a moment.
Asher wanted me to put his magnet schedule (the giveaway for Opening Day) in my backpack, so I turned around to do so. I had turned around for not more than 5 seconds when Al Alburquerque overthrew the ball and hit me in the back of my leg. I quickly snatched up the ball and looked at my new gem. Had I been looking, I would’ve caught the ball. His throwing partner asked for the ball back so I tossed it to him with the request of getting it back when he was done playing catch. He said he would give it to me when they finished throwing, but he never did. Shortly after this I got my third ball from Brayan Villarreal:
I gave this ball away to a family friend a few days after the game. He seemed to really appreciate the gift, so I was glad to do it.
This was the slowest batting practice I have ever witnessed. I saw a total of 3 homeruns the whole time. Plus, no matter where I went the Tigers were being frisky with their baseballs. Towards the end of batting practice I went to the Tigers dugout and talked with Ben Lacher and his dad. Ben is a pretty cool kid. In case you don’t know who he is, listen to/watch the interview I did with him. By the time I had gotten there Ben had already got 4 autographs.
As soon as bp ended, Asher and I went to the Dugout Box seats behind the Twins’ dugout. Tony had the same idea as we did, so we enjoyed each other’s company for the whole game.
The best part of the game itself was getting to see my favorite pitcher pitch for the first time:
He was electric. He fanned 7 batters in 5 innings without allowing a run.
Tony and I both tried for warm up and 3rd out balls, but neither of us were successful. In the top of the 7th inning I left the Dugout Box on the Twins’ side of the field, and went to the Dugout Box on the Tigers’ side of the field.
While I was running back and forth for foul balls in the cross aisle I noticed that Ben and his dad were sitting in the first row behind the dugout. I found a seat right behind them and started talking with them again. Somehow Ben or his dad had also snagged a baseball. As I got up to return to the cross aisle I was surprised to also see that Mateo was in the same section.
The Tigers beat the Twins 4-2 in 9 innings.
As soon as the game ended I got a baseball from the umpire, Jim Joyce, at the umpire tunnel. This was AWESOME because it was an Opening Day commemorative baseball!
The whole game Tony and I were getting worked up because the Twins weren’t allowing the players or coaches to give away the game balls. Not even the bat boy could give any away. All of the special balls were being sent to the authenticator to get authenticated. The Twins were *trying* to be frisky and save some money by selling the balls for $50 each. Anyways, I was thrilled to get a commemorative.
Following this I went to the 3rd base side of the dugout with Ben Lacher to see if Mario (the Tigers equipment man) could hook us up with something from the game. It didn’t look like Mario was going to hook us up so Ben and his dad left. Asher and Tony showed up and we all waited for Mario to finish cleaning the dugout. Tony and I got his attention by calling his name loudly. Mario indicated that he would come over soon. When he finally came over to us he was holding 3 baseballs. He tossed the first to me, the second to Tony, and the third to Asher.
Mine and Tony’s were each commemorative! Asher’s wasn’t commemorative, but it was his first ball! Asher doesn’t ballhawk and has no interest in starting, but he was still happy to get the ball. Mario is in the background of the previous picture.
This is Asher and me after the game:
And here are my two new gems that are being displayed on my shelf:
I don’t usually do this in the entry itself, but I feel it is necessary for this game. Big thanks go out to the following:
- Both Twins employees. Thank you for putting me on the board for 2013 and for doing it before the gates opened. Brilliant.
- Brayan Villarreal. Thank you for rewarding fans who wear Tigers apparel to Tigers’ road games.
- Jim Joyce. Thank you for my first umpire ball and my first Opening Day Commemorative.
- Mario. Thanks for being awesome and hooking me up with a commemorative. You have hooked me up with 3 balls in 2 games.
- Asher. Thanks for going to the game with me! You made all of this possible.
- Ben Lacher. Thank you for the insight about Mario. I owe many thanks to you. You’re the man!
- Tony Voda. Thank you for the tradition of “Thanks” at the end of your entries. Thanks for chilling at the game!
- Mateo Fischer. It’s always great seeing you at the ballpark. I enjoy your company.
A Piece of The Game MVP:
Umpire Jim Joyce: He gave me my first umpire ball, which was also an Opening Day commemorative. This was an awesome ball!
Player of The Game:
Justin Verlander: He only allowed 4 hits in 5 innings while fanning 7 batters. Solid start for Opening Day. If it were later in the season he would’ve pitched more than 5 innings. He had a very strong start and earned the win.
Here is my final haul from the game:
As you can see, I grabbed a few ticket stubbs on my way out of the Stadium. I also found an extra magnet schedule off the ground on my way out.
- 5 balls at this game
- 5 balls in 1 games this season = Avg. 5 balls per game
- 11 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
- 11 consecutive games with at least 2 balls
- 5 consecutive games with at least 3 balls
- 4 consecutive games with at least 4 balls
- 11 consecutive Twins home games with at least 1 ball
- 9 consecutive Twins home games with at least 2 balls
- 4 consecutive Twins home games with at least 3 balls
- 3 consecutive Twins home games with at least 4 balls
- Gotten at least 1 ball from 10 different teams
- 48 total balls
After nearly 6 months without baseball, Opening Day is finally here! Opening Day is a very special day because it is the first day of the season. It gives players and teams another chance to prove themselves in Major League Baseball. Fans are always anxious to get out to the ballpark and attend Opening Day. The Organizations of Major League baseball do their best to entertain fans on Opening Day with a wide variety of Festivities.
Common Opening Day Festivities
The performance of The National Anthem:
The extension of the American Flag across the outfield:
The Raising of the United States Flag by War Veterans:
The Pregame Flyover:
The Ceremonial First Pitch:
This year I will be attending my first Opening Day game, and I am extremely excited! The Twins are hosting the Detroit Tigers at Target Field on April 1st. The weather will be very cold (mid 30′s) but I know that I will still enjoy it very much. I am eagerly looking forward to seeing all of the Opening Day Festivities that the Minnesota Twins Organization has prepared for their fans. I know that the Twins will put on a great show!
Have a great season!
Because Opening Day is less than a week away, I thought it would be fun to host a trivia contest in honor of the special occasion! This trivia contest will take place from March 28th – April 1st. I have many prizes for the winners!
- From March 28th – 30th I will be posting 4 trivia questions per day, that will NOT be multiple choice.
- I will post 2 questions at 4 PM CT, and an additional 2 questions at 9 PM CT.
- On March 31st, I will be posting 6 questions.
- Because it is Easter Sunday, I will be having family at my house. I will wait until evening to post the questions. I will post 3 questions at 9 PM CT and an additional 3 questions at 10 PM CT.
- On April 1st, I will be posting 7 questions.
- This is Opening Day! I will be leaving my house at 7:30 AM CT to go to Minneapolis. Because of this I will post 3 questions at 7:30 AM CT and an additional 4 questions at 10 PM CT.
- EVERY question will be posted on THIS entry.
- Each question will be related to MLB’s Opening Day(s).
- Each question is worth 1 point.
- Whoever is the first to correctly answer a question gets 1 point.
- You MUST answer in the comments of this entry. I will not accept answers via Twitter, Facebook, etc…
- Each day, each person will have 10 (ten) TOTAL guesses.
- If you use 2 guesses for the 1st question, you have 8 left for the rest of the questions, etc…
- If you guess more than 10 times, it will be deleted and will not be counted.
- DO NOT make extra or fake accounts to play trivia. You will be immediately disqualified from the trivia/contest.
- When you answer a question, make sure you include what # question you are answering. Example: if the answer to question number 1 is Prince Fielder, then you need to answer like this –> 1. Prince Fielder
- To be acknowledged for participating in this trivia contest you must be following this blog.
- I threw this contest together last-minute, so for the most part I formatted this entry like Nick Badders did with his February and March Giveaway entries. I thought it would only be fair if I gave him credit, so thank you Nick! By the way, you can read his blog by clicking his name…
- I will announce the winners at the end of each day by updating the standings in THIS entry.
- There will be a total of 25 questions and 25 points from the questions..
- You can earn 1 bonus point for Retweeting this tweet:
- The Tweet is just a screenshot, so to RT it you actually have to go to Twitter.com
- You can earn 1 additional bonus point for sharing this Facebook post:
- Once again, this Facebook post is just a screenshot, so to share it you actually have to go to Facebook.com
- Minnesota Twins hat – Genuine Major League Merchandise
- 2 packs of 2013 Topps baseball cards
- 2 packs of 2013 Topps baseball cards (This is not a mistake – I wanted there to be 2 separate prizes for baseball cards)
- Bill Schroeder autographed Baseball Card (Milwaukee Brewers) 1985 Topps 176
- There will be 3 winners
- Each winner will get their choice at 1 (one) of the prizes.
- Just a reminder –> Twins Hat = 1 prize /// 2 packs of cards = 1 prize /// 2 packs of cards = 1 prize /// Bill Schroeder card = 1 prize
- 1st place winner gets to pick a prize FIRST.
- 2nd place winner gets to pick a prize SECOND.
- 3rd place winner gets to pick a prize THIRD.
1. Harrison Tishler - 15 points (RT, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 25)
2. Quinn Imiola - 6 points (RT, 1, 3, 4, 15, 17)
2. Kameron S - 6 points (RT, FB share, 10, 11, 15, 24)
4. Brendan W - 4 points (RT, FB share, 7, 21)
5. Max – 2 points (RT, FB share)
5. Joe Webster – 2 points (RT, 2)
5. Jared Serre - 2 points (RT, FB share)
8. Nick Badders – 1 point (RT)
8. Gabe Nisker – 1 point (RT)
1. Who threw the only no-hitter in Opening Day history, who was it thrown against, and what was the date?
ANSWER: Bob Feller, Chicago White Sox, April 16, 1940 (Answered by Quinn Imiola)
2. Who has started the most Opening Day games in history, and what teams did he throw them for?
ANSWER: Tom Seaver, Mets, Reds, and the White Sox. (Answered by Joe Webster)
3. Who made their MLB Debut on for the Yankees on Opening Day of 1950?
ANSWER: Billy Martin (Answered by Quinn Imiola)
4. Of the NEWEST 5 Major League ballparks, which is the only one that didn’t have its Inaugural Game on Opening Day/Night of its Inaugural Season?
ANSWER: Target Field (Answered by Quinn Imiola)
5. Which Minnesota Twin was the starting catcher on Opening Day for the last 3 years?
ANSWER: Joe Mauer (Answered by Harrison Tishler)
6. In 2008 who was *supposed* to make an Opening Day start on his birthday until the game was called off because of rain?
ANSWER: Chien- Ming Wang (Answered by Harrison Tishler)
7. When is Opening Night 2013, which teams are playing, and in what city?
ANSWER: March 31, Rangers vs. Astros, Houston (Answered by Brendan W.)
8. When the Rockies lost on Opening Day of 2002, they started off the season on the wrong note. What was their record after the first two weeks of the season had passed?
ANSWER: 4-9… [4 wins, 9 losses] … (Answered by Harrison Tishler)
9. Over the last 5 years the Blue Jays have a record of 3-2 on Opening Day. How many runs did they score in those 5 games?
ANSWER: 38 Runs (Answered by Harrison Tishler)
10. On Opening Day 2004 there was 1 player in Major League Baseball who was from Aruba. Who was he and what team was he a part of?
ANSWER: Sidney Ponson, Orioles (Answered by Kameron S)
11. How many Opening Day/Night games have been played in this stadium?
ANSWER: 3 Opening Day/Night games (Answered by Kameron S)
12. What is Corey Koskie’s batting average from the Opening Day/Night games from 2001-2006?
ANSWER: 0.071 AVG (Answered by Harrison Tishler)
13. Which 2 teams are scheduled to play at 10:10 PM ET on Opening Day 2013?
ANSWER: Cardinals and Diamondbacks (Answered by Harrison Tishler)
14. Stephen Strasburg is the Nationals’ probable pitcher for Opening Day 2013. This will be his first game since ______ (insert date: Day/Month/Year)?
ANSWER: 9/7/12 (Answered by Harrison Tishler)
15. Justin Verlander is the Tigers’ probable pitcher for Opening Day 2013. This will be his ______ (insert number) consecutive start on Opening Day/Night.
ANSWER: 6th (Answered by Quinn Imiola & Kameron S)
16. As of 3/31/13, how many Home Openers have been played at this stadium?
ANSWER: 21 Home Openers (Answered by Quinn Imiola)
17. What is Matt Kemp’s avg. slugging percentage from the Opening Day/Night games from 2008-2012?
ANSWER: 0.836% (Answered by Harrison Tishler)
18. How many home runs has Carlos Santana hit on Opening Day/Night throughout his career?
ANSWER: 1 Home run (Answered by Harrison Tishler)
19. Throughout his career, how many RBI has Jayson Werth collecting on Opening Day/Night?
ANSWER: 2 RBI (Answered by Harrison Tishler)
20. Coming into Opening Day 2013 the Yankees had a ____ (insert #) game winning streak on Opening Day/Night.
ANSWER: 0 game win streak (Answered by Harrison Tishler)
21. As of 3-31-13, how many Opening Day/Night games have been played at this stadium?
ANSWER: 10 games (Answered by Brendan W.)
22. Which pitcher started Opening Day 1996 for the Minnesota Twins?
ANSWER: Brad Radke (Answered by Harrison Tishler)
23. Who was the only team to get shutout on Opening Day 2009?
ANSWER: Oakland Athletics (Answered by Harrison Tishler)
24. Who did the Cubs play against on Opening Day 2001 and what was the final score?
ANSWER: Montreal Expos beat the Chicago Cubs 5-4 (Answered by Kameron S)
25. The Rockies won their first game at Coors Field on Opening Day 1995 (April 26th). When did they lose their first game at Coors Field and who did they lose to?
ANSWER: May 5, 1995 VS. Los Angeles Dodgers (Answered by Harrison Tishler)
Things to remember when answering a question:
Remember to answer the questions in the comments of this entry. Make sure you spell the answer correctly. I will reveal the correct answers and update the standings at the end of each day.
I know that a lot of my readers will be going to target field this year, and many of them for the first time. Whether you will be visting Target Field or not, I still thought I should introduce you to a few fans who attend games frequently at Target Field. They are all good friends of mine, and each took the time to let me interview them for this entry. Hopefully if you watch/listen to the interviews, then you will become familiar with them. I also hope that in watching/listening to the interviews that you will learn more about Target Field and the game of baseball itself.
The first interviewee is Ben Lacher. I havn’t mentioned Ben too much on this blog yet, so I will quickly tell you a little bit about him. We ran into each other a few times at Target Field in 2012 before we actually met each other and knew who each other was. On Memorial Day (5-28-12) we had a brief conversation about autographs as we were standing next to the A’s dugout in batting practice. Later in the season, at a Tigers vs. Twins game on September 28th, we had another short conversation near the Tigers dugout after the game. However, we had no memory of each other from Memorial Day. I wasn’t expecting to, but a few months later (by complete chance) we met on Twitter… and the rest was history! We chat daily, and let me tell you, he is a baseball super fan! He and his dad have season tickets and attend Target Field frequently. Here is the interview:
The next interviewee is Sean Bigness. I have known Sean for three months now and have mentioned Sean a few times in my two entries from TwinsFest, so I will go right ahead with sharing our interview. Sean will be getting mentioned more frequently as 2013 progresses. Here is the interview:
Interviewee number three is none other than Mateo Fischer. Most of my readers are already familiar with Mateo because we went to two Twins games together in 2012 and we also met up at Twins Fest 2013. In all likelihood we will be seeing each other a lot at Target Field this year. Here is the interview:
Last but not least, is the final interviewee, The one and only Tony Voda. Tony is another household name on A Piece of The Game, so I’m confident that most of you (the readers) know who Tony is. However, I will leave you with one note. As Tony ballhawks this year, he will also be donating money to NAMI.org – the National Alliance on Mental Illness. If you are interested in donating with him, don’t hesitate to contact Tony. It is an excellent cause! Here is the interview:
Like I said at the beginning of this entry, I hope these interviews helped introduce you to Ben, Sean, Mateo and Tony. I also hope that you will come out to Target Field this year and enjoy some Twins baseball! If you’re planning to visit Target Field then don’t hesitate to let me know. I’d love to come out and watch a game of baseball with you!
On a closing note, I would like to thank everyone who I interviewed. Ben, Sean, Mateo and Tony, thank you for your time and for letting me interview you. I’ll be seeing you all at Target Field this season!
Jacque was drafted by Minnesota in the 2nd round of the 1996 Draft. He made his Major League debut in 1999 with the Twins. Jacque Jones played for the Minnesota Twins, Chicago Cubs, Detroit Tigers, and Florida Marlins during a 10 year career. Throughout his career he played left, right, and center field. Lifetime, Jones hit .277 AVG with 165 home runs, 630 RBI, and scored 632 runs in 1,302 games. Jacque currently lives in San Diego with his wife and children. In 2012 he was the batting coach for the Padres Single-A affiliate, the Fort Wayne TinCaps.
A few weeks ago, I got the chance to talk with Jacque. I told him about my blog, and he kindly agreed to do an interview with me. Here is what he had to say during the interview:
Q1. What was it like coming up through the Twins organization; from talking to other players, how did it differ from other organizations?
Jacque Jones: “It was cool. We had a good time and worked hard. We formed a brotherhood.”
Q2. What was the best part of STARTING and ENDING your career playing for the Minnesota Twins?
Jacque Jones: “Best part getting drafted, and then getting the standing ovation in the exhibition games.”
Q3. How did the game of baseball change, if at all, during the 10 years you played in the Major Leagues?
Jacque Jones: “Didn’t change much.”
Q4. What aspect of Target Field do you enjoy more than the Metrodome, and vice versa?
Jacque Jones: “It’s outside. That’s the best part.”
Q5. What was the most memorable part of your career?
Jacque Jones: “My whole career is the best part. I fulfilled a childhood dream.”
Q6. Is there one particular accomplishment of yours that you are most proud of?
Jacque Jones: “Playing for as long as I did was a great accomplishment.”
Q7. You were the batting coach for the Padres Single-A affiliate, the Fort Wayne TinCaps, in 2012. Will you be coaching in 2013?
Jacque Jones: “I will be coaching in San Antonio.”
Q8. Which current non-MLB pro athlete would he most like to see play baseball?
Jacque Jones: “LeBron James. I would love to see him play baseball.”
Q9. What advice do you give to kids who play baseball?
Jacque Jones: “Don’t let people tell u that you can’t achieve your dreams or goals. Keep playing until they take the uniform off.”
Q10. What did you most enjoy about being a part of TwinsFest last year (2012) ?
Jacque Jones: “The fans are the most enjoyable part of the TwinsFest experience.”
Thank you very much Jacque, for answering all my questions! I greatly appreciate your generosity and getting to talk with you!
You can follow Jacque Jones on Twitter @JacqueJones11