In the previous day’s entry I mentioned that I stayed overnight at my Uncle and Aunt’s house, but I didn’t mention why. I stayed there so I could go to the Twins game today, on the 4th of July! Since it was a day game on a holiday, the gates were scheduled to open at 11:00. My uncle dropped me off at Fort Snelling around 10:15 so I could ride the train. I arrived at the stadium around 10:45 and was extremely surprised to see there were no large crowds! Take a look at “all” the people:
When I entered the stadium, this was the only action on the field:
Caleb Thielbar was warming up solo in shallow right field. As more fans entered the seats, more and more kids begged him to sign autographs. When he started signing autographs I took advantage of the chance:
Caleb happily signed my ticket (the one in the previous picture). Thanks Caleb! One of my goals this season is to get 10-15 autographs at games… This was the first one all year. After he signed for a little while he retreated to the dugout. While all this was happening I noticed that there was some activity in the Twins bullpen. I headed over to section 131 and discovered Scott Diamond was warming up with Nate Dammann:
Did you see the ball on the ground in the previous picture? Nate threw it to me when he finished with Scott.
After this point everything slowed down… a lot. Many of the Twins came out to warm up in right field, but there were so many people that I couldn’t get close at all:
The same thing happened when some Yankees players came out to warm up:
Eventually I finally got close enough to maybe get a ball:
…but I didn’t get a ball. However, I did get some more autographs!
Adam Warren was the first Yankees’ player to sign autographs down the line in left field. I placed my ticket and a sharpie inside my hat and handed it to Adam. He signed my ticket and then asked me if I would like him to sign my hat. For whatever reason my stupid self said, “No thanks Adam, thanks for signing my ticket!” To be fair to myself I’ll mention that I prefer to not get hats signed. If I get a hat signed then I stop wearing it because I want to keep it in decent condition. Here he is signing my ticket:
As Adam Warren made his way up the left field line, Preston Claiborne also came over to sign. Both he and Adam were really good about signing for everybody. I’m not huge on autographs anymore, but I still think its cool to see players interact with the fans in such a way that fans enjoy. Anyways, Preston signed my ticket and my hat… my HAT??
The lady in front of me offered to hold my hat for me because she was in the front row. This was very nice of her. Without her kind gesture I probably wouldn’t have gotten my ticket and hat signed… Thank you whoever you are!
I was surprised a short while later when Chris Stewart also came over to sign. He was telling everyone that he was only signing one item per person… which was absolutely fine with me. There was a little boy next to me who wanted an autograph so I asked Chris if he would sign the ticket and the ticket receipt. He signed my ticket, but only the ticket. I wasn’t angry with him and I don’t blame him for anything because there are lots of people who lie about things like that just to get an extra autograph. I think he probably got annoyed with me just for asking.
After I stopped recording I was going to give my ticket to the little kid but I quickly realized that there were other autographs on the ticket and that I would also need it for the game. I thanked Chris for the autograph and then headed back to the Twins side of the field. By this time it was only 12:19 pm!
Around 12:30 I found a seat near the first base side of the Twins dugout because I knew that Jamey Carroll usually signs autographs before his pregame warm-ups. I was right, and ended up also getting his autograph on my ticket:
Because I handed him my ticket before I started recording, I didn’t get it on camera. If you listen closely when the video starts you can hear me say, “He signed the ticket”. A few minutes later I noticed he was talking to a fan who he knew. I was just surprised there was no longer a crowd of people huddling around him. When he finished catching up with his friend he continued to stand near the seats, yet there was no one crowding around him. I took advantage of this somewhat rare opportunity and started talking with Jamey. We chatted for a minute or two and then I asked him a question that had been on my mind for a few games.
I asked, “I saw that there is a second bullpen catcher besides Nate. He was wearing a jersey that said ‘Richardson 56’. Who is it?”
Jamey responded, “Ben. The other bullpen catcher is Ben Richardson.”
I was thrilled to have talked with Jamey, especially since he answered the question that was being pondered by Tony, Mateo and myself (Yeah, I linked myself to my own blog. How many people caught that? You can click it anyways). By this time there were more autograph seeking kids so I thanks Jamey and found a seat behind the dugout. Before I knew it, it was game practically game time:
When the game started I left the dugout box and found an empty aisle seat next to the bullpen. I sat there for 2 1/2 innings and then went to get a brat. After I got a second brat I watched the game from the standing room in right field. David, the usher from the night before, was not ushering in that section today. Instead there was a different usher who kept standing in everyone’s way while we were trying to watch the game.
I could’ve sat down somewhere to watch the game, but I wanted to get a home run ball. I know it’s pretty unlikely that it will happen, but there are ways to increase the odds. Sit in left field for righties and stand in right field for lefties… its a pretty basic concept. For the rest of this year I’m going to play the odds a much as possible. In the forth inning Justin Morneau hit a home run 1 section to my right, but it didn’t have enough distance to reach me. There was also no possible way for me to climb over 4 rows of occupied seats.
In the 7th inning i decided that home runs were a lots cause today. Because the Twins were losing 9-1, it was pretty easy to get here:
I got to the second row just in time to see the Twins go on a mini offensive tear. They scored 3 runs in the 7th inning, and I had a front row view of it. The Twins never caught up to the Yankees, who had been on their own tear all game. The Yankees won 9-5.
Just like I mentioned this in yesterday’s entry, I don’t usually do “Thank Yous”. However, there are multiple people who deserve thank yous:
- Uncle Mark and Aunt Michelle – Thank you for opening up your home to me while I went to 2 games!
- Uncle Mark – Thank you for the transportation you provided me. It means more than you know!
- My Parents – Thank you for letting me go on this 2 game adventure – and for everything else you let me do baseball related!
- Unknown Lady at the game – Thank you for assisting in my autograph collection. Holding my hat was a very kind gesture.
- Caleb Thielbar, Nate Dammann, Adam Warren, Preston Chlaiborne, and Chris Stewart – Thank you for the baseball and autographs.
- Jamey Caroll – I didn’t forget you… Thank you for the autograph AND for being a super fan friendly player. Now I know the name of the second bullpen catcher for the Twins (Ben Richardson) . I’m sure Tony and Mateo would thank you too.
Want to know a little more about the game? Kyle Gibson, the Twins starting pitcher, let up 8 runs on 11 hits in only 5 1/3 innings. The Yankees offense was moving quickly, but it really wasn’t too exciting. Vernon Wells doubled and Ichiro tripled, but otherwise the Yankees hits were all singles. Brian Duensing relieved Gibson in the 6th inning. Morneau ended up having a multi-homer day at the plate – homering again in the 7th inning. Those were the highlights, but here is the box score and scoring plays from the game:
A Piece of The Game MVP:
Nate Dammann: He kept my “consecutive games with at least 1 ball” streak alive. Now its up to 19.
Player of The Game:
Justin Morneau: He had his 19th multi-HR game of his career. He went 2-3 and collected 2 RBI despite the Twins falling to the Yankees.
Here is my final haul from the night:
- 1 balls in this game
- 32 balls in 9 games this season = Avg. 3.55 balls per game
- 19 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
- 17 consecutive Twins home games with at least 1 ball
- Gotten at least 1 ball from 13 different teams
- 76 total balls