9-28-12 @ Target Field – Tigers vs. Twins

Since the beginning of the 2012 season my goal was to attend ten games while maintaining a streak of at least one ball per game. This game was my 10th and final game of the season, and I was perfect through nine.

Remembering this season as a whole, it seems like it ended very quickly. However, remembering each game and moment individually, the season seems like it has lasted for a very long time. There are many individual moments in a season that make it great. Nothing can beat looking at those moments as a whole, when everything seems worthwhile. Those moments are what make a season memorable. Whether you’re hanging out at the ballpark, making new friends, strengthening current friendships, or even just adding another baseball to the collection, you are always bringing home A Piece of The Game. Hopefully I do a well enough job expressing those moments in this blog, because I enjoy sharing them with you.

“Celebrate endings—for they precede new beginnings.” – Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Celebrate the end of the 2012 baseball season because come next year there will be a new season! But before you do that, here is my account of 9-28-12:

According to Tony (follow him on twitter @TonyV433) I arrived at Gate 34 right around 4:15 (thank you Tony, I forgot to check when I actually arrived). We talked for a little while and waited for a homer to be hit to the gate. Pretty soon Mateo showed up. When I saw Mateo with Tony I walked over to them and found out that I had just awkwardly walked in on Mateo filming for his blog. Mateo (follow him on twitter @observebaseball) introduced me to his video “audience”. I’m sure I looked pretty funny in the video, but I’m still eager to see it.

Once the gates opened I headed for the right field corner in foul territory. Tony and I had somewhat of the same idea, but he was three sections closer to home plate. The Twins’ portion of batting practice was pretty slow, but I managed to snag a ball just before everyone left the field. The last ball that the pitcher threw in batting practice was hit down the right field line and stopped in the corner. Tyler Robertson picked up the ball and wound up to throw it to an infielder, but everyone had already jogged off the field. Then, he wound up again, but there still there was no one he could throw it to. So instead, he tossed it to me.

One notable thing from the Tigers’ portion of bp was that I was 6 inches or less away from catching a Prince Fielder home run.

In the previous picture the arrow shows the path of ME, and the box shows where the ball hit the wall. The ball basically came right towards me, but it started to fall short. I reached over the railing and then over the flowers as far as I could. If I could’ve reached 6 inches more, I would’ve caught the ball in the webbing of my glove. Instead, the ball bounced off the wall and landed on the field.

Once the last group of Tigers players started batting I headed over to the Tigers’ dugout. Soon batting practice ended and the balls were gathered together into a ball bag. When Coach Jeff Jones walked passed me I asked, “Coach, do you have an extra ball for a Tigers fan?” He responded, “Why yes I do!”, while he grabbed a ball and tossed it to me.

About 5 minutes later the Tigers’ equipment/ball guy came out of the dugout to finish putting the balls away. Mateo and I each asked for a ball, but he continued putting them away and eventually took the ball bag with him into the dugout. He returned a minute later holding two baseballs. For a split second he looked around to find us and then he hooked each of us up with a ball.

Following this, Mateo and I relocated to left-center field near the bullpens. Mateo covered the Tigers bullpen and I covered the Twins bullpen. This was well before the game was scheduled to begin, but the usher made his way down the aisle to talk to us. He had recognized us from previous games. We all ended up having a nice conversation. The usher has been a Tigers fan for 60 years, and used to work at the old Tigers Stadium. He went to fight in Vietnam, and when he returned home to the United States he moved to Minnesota. He has been here for 30 years. He is a very, very nice man. He even told us that we could sit in his section any time we would like to during the game.

It wasn’t too long after the National Anthem that Tyler Robinson threw another ball to me, but this time from across the Twins’ bullpen. In the next picture the yellow shapes signify the bullpens, I am signified by the red circle, and Tyler Robertson is signified by the red X.

Here he is shortly before:

This ball was different:

(I took the previous two pictures during the game)

This was part of the Twins’ giveaways that take place every year on Fan Appreciation Weekend. The Twins players each sign a tee ball and then throw it to a fan before the game.

For the game itself, my dad and I sat in the Legends Club. While I was inside of the club I saw something a bit out of the ordinary:

I know the picture is blurry, but can you see the fish on his helmet? The man’s friend also had one.

In the 5th inning my dad and I got some food:

I have never gotten this many nachos before, and I probably won’t again. Don’t get me wrong, they were delicious. I would say that I’m a fast eater, but it took me close to 20 minutes to finish these. Just to give you an idea of how big the helmet dish is, I took this picture at home:

Eight baseballs fit inside. That says it all.

The highlight of the game was getting to see Ryan Doumit absolutely dominate on offense. The Play-by-Play scoring plays are next, enjoy:

  • In the bottom of the 7th inning Ryan Doumit homered to left field. Justin Morneau scored.
  • In the top of the 8th inning Omar Infante homered to left field. A Jackson scored.
  • In the bottom of the 8th inning Ryan Doumit doubled to center, Denard Span and Joe Mauer scored. Justin Morneau to third base.

Tigers 2, Twins 4

  1          2          3          4          5          6          7          8          9          R         H         E

DET     0          0          0          0          0          0          0          2          0          2          6          1 

MIN    0          0          0          0          0          0          2          2          -           4          4          2

When the game ended, I stood where the “X” is in the next picture.

Now, do you remember the Tigers equipment/ball guy from before the game? He was cleaning up the dugout and putting away the bats and balls (I was waiting because usually a team’s equipment guy throws a ball or two to a few fans after a game ends). As I waited, a boy who was decked out in Twins gear (who looked like he was 10-13 years old) ran towards me and stopped right next to me. He asked me if it was alright for him to stand in that spot too. I assured him it was ok, and then we started talking a little bit. Over the last few years he has gotten to know the Tigers equipment guy from coming to so many Tigers versus Twins games. Pretty soon he finished cleaning and walked towards me to exit the dugout. I thought it would be nice to let the kid ask for a ball so I just stood there and watched. This was their conversation:

Kid:                           “Mario!”

Equipment Guy:     “HEY! How’s it going?”

Kid:                           “Good, do you have anything for me tonight?”

Equipment Guy:     “Sorry, I don’t have anything for you tonight, but I do have something for him.”

When he said that, he pointed at me. He reached into his pocket, pulled out a ball and threw it to me. I thanked him and then took his picture.

I felt bad for the kid so I offered the ball to him. He thought about it for a second and then he and his father both said no because he had already gotten a ball earlier in the day.

On my way out of the stadium I found a bunch of promotional calendars scattered amongst the seats so I picked up three that were not damaged. As I exited the gate an usher offered me two calendars so by the time I left the stadium I had six promotional calendars!

Here are some “Pieces of The Game”:

A Piece of The Game MVP:

Mario (Dugout Attendant): He was the first person to give me two baseballs in one game.

Player of The Game:

Ryan Doumit: He provided all the RBIs for the Twins. If he wouldn’t have had such a good day at the plate, then Twins would’ve lost.

Minnesota

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

LOB

AVG

Doumit, DH

4

1

2

4

0

1

0

.277

  • 5 balls at this game
  • 41 balls in 10 games this season = Avg. 4.1 balls per game
  • 10 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
  • 10 consecutive games with at least 2 balls
  • 4 consecutive games with at least 3 balls
  • 3 consecutive games with at least 4 balls
  • 3 consecutive games with at least 5 balls
  • 10 consecutive Twins home games with at least 1 ball
  • 8 consecutive Twins home games with at least 2 balls
  • 3 consecutive Twins home games with at least 3 balls
  • 2 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
  • 44 total balls

10 Comments

Now that I’ve finished editing the video together, I’d say it’s not that funny. I’m not that good at making videos. They’re kind of boring even to me. Oh well, we’ll see how other people like it anyway. I’m trying to read through the entry, but didn’t you more than three baseballs at this game. (You have four pictured, but only have three in the stats.) Glad to have gone to a couple of the same games as you, and I’ll hopefully see you in 2013.
-Mateo
http://mateofischer.mlblogs.com

Mateo-
Thanks for pointing out my error, good catch! I’m eager to watch your video, it should be fun. Today I went over the 2013 schedule once again, and made a general list for games next season. If all goes well I’ll see you next season!
-Paul

That helmet is ridiculous haha. Nice snagging. I’m going to miss it until April for sure!
- Chris
http://ballhawker.wordpress.com/

Chris-
It’s going to be a long winter, thats for sure. Come April we will all be back at it. Congrats on your first “official” season ballhawking, I enjoyed reading about your experiances throughout the year.
-Paul

Thanks, Paul. Same goes for you. Heres to 100 for each of us in ’13!

Pingback: 9/28/12 Tigers at Twins: Target Field « Observing Baseball

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