I only got to the ballpark 10 minutes early, but I still got a great spot in line. That’s because I got to jump in with Tony! Since it was Friday and the gates opened 2 hours early we were expecting to see part of the Twins portion of batting practice. Disappointingly the Twins left the field before the gates opened. Around 5:30 the Astros took the field:
After they got all stretched out they played some catch:
Matt Dominguez threw me my first ball of the day after he finished playing catch with another teammate.
Less than a minute later Javier Bracamonte, the Astros bullpen catcher, was about to throw me a ball but a kid’s dad suddenly yelled, “He already got a ball today!” Yeah that’s cool, ruin my chances… especially when I watched his son snag 3 baseballs 10 minutes earlier! Things got weird after that. Javier dissed me, and then made fun of my Nike shirt. A very special thank you goes out to that random dad in the crowd. This ended up hurting my ballhawking opportunities later in the day.
When batting practice started I moved to section 125 because baseballs were being hit into foul territory. I was paying very close attention the whole time, but eventually I turned my attention elsewhere for a few seconds. In that few seconds a ball was hit to my section. It was so close that it almost hit me! Luckily I saw it coming out of the corner of my eye just in time to catch it after it bounced off a seat a few feet to my right. That was almost really bad, but I was unharmed and I got the ball:
Nothing worthwhile happened during the Third group of batting practice. Lets face it, this is the Astros. The Astros and “power hitters” are rarely used in the same sentence. You just can’t say that the Astros are a power hitting team… it doesn’t work. Its kind of like saying that the Milwaukee Bucks are good at basketball.
This was my view at the end of batting practice when the Astros jogged off the field:
I raised my glove as Coach Doug Brocail walked past me and he threw me this:
I know its not a great picture, but It will work. On an unrelated note, this is a better picture:
You get brownie points if you can spot Tony in the previous picture. He even posed and made a facial expression for the picture.
Tony and I migrated to the bullpens in hopes of obtaining one of the 50th anniversary baseballs that the Astros were supposedly using during batting practice. Up to this point I had only seen one today, but that changed when the bullpen ball bag was brought out:
Eventually the catcher practiced fielding wild pitches so I was able to get a look at EVERY ball in the bag. EVERY ball was commemorative, but I didn’t get a single one. No one did. YET. This is where you should visit Tony’s blog to see what happened next! Am I doing a decent job at building suspense? Go ahead and click here to read it! As for me, Javier bluntly ignored me because he instantly recognized me from earlier in the day.
Shortly before the game started Tony headed to his seats. I found a nice aisle seat next to the Astros bullpen and watched most of the game from this spot:
Unfortunately I didn’t get to stay for the whole game. I watched the first 9 innings, but I didn’t have enough time to stay when the game went into extra innings. I was kind of bummed because I absolutely LOVE extra innings. I like it because (1) its EXTRA baseball and (2) its FREE baseball! That’s sounds a bit funny, but I like it for more than just those two reasons.
Lets drift back to the game. The Twins scored the first run of the game in the third inning when Joe Mauer hit a sac fly to score Clete Thomas. The Astros took the lead in the fifth inning and then the Twins tied the game in the ninth. There weren’t a lot of hits, but it was an exciting game. Ron Gardenhire must have been a little confused In the 13th inning because he sent Mike Pelfrey (a pitcher) to the On Deck Circle (in the DH spot). Correia, another pitcher, was sent to pinch-hit for Pelfrey before he reached the plate. It all worked out and it even helped lead the Twins to a vicory.
Here is the box score and scoring plays from the game:
A Piece of The Game MVP:
Matt Dominguez: He restored some of my ballhawking confidence, that I had lost due to the cold streak I had been on in July, by getting me on the board early in the day.
Player of The Game:
Brian Dozier: He went 3-7 and had 2 RBI. Most importantly his 13th inning hit won the game for the Twins (and snapped their losing streak)!
Here is the final haul from the game:
- 3 ball in this game
- 36 balls in 11 games this season = Avg. 3.27 balls per game
- 21 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
- 19 consecutive Twins home games with at least 1 ball
- Gotten at least 1 ball from 14 different teams
- 80 total balls