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
- 21 balls in 5 games this season = Avg. 4.2 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 12 different teams
- 65 total balls