I wasn’t planning on going to this game, but my Pastor and I made plans the night before. This wasn’t just any old game for him, this was his first time to Target Field. I knew it would be crowded because it was Dairy Queen hat day, but I was hoping the crowds wouldn’t put a damper on the day. I wanted his first time to Target Field to be memorable!
When we entered the stadium we went straight to the bleachers and caught the last 15 minutes or so of the Twins portion of batting practice. Within that time I missed a ball due to misjudgment, got robbed of a ball when someone stepped in front of me at the last second, and eventually got on the board by snagging a homer hit by Josh Willingham right before BP wrapped up. I gave it to my Pastor and took his picture when we sat down a few minutes later in foul territory:
He has been to many baseball games before, but I didn’t know if he’d been to many batting practices. I explained the concept of ballhawking and how I’ve managed to keep adding to my collection of baseballs. By this time the Astros had started playing catch in left field while the first group of lefties started hitting:
When Jordan Lyles finished playing catch with another teammate I got his attention and he threw me my 2nd ball of the day:
Then I sat back down and we watched the rest of batting practice from those seats. Ballhawking wise, I didn’t miss ANYTHING because the Astros were not playing up to par (not that they usually do). I was glad when BP finished because it gave me some time to show Pastor around the ballpark. I showed him the concessions, team stores, and basically everything on the 100 and 300 levels.
At about 5:30 I made my way to the bullpens. My quest was to get a 50th anniversary ball from the Astros. I don’t know if Javier remembered me or not from the day before, but once again I got the cold shoulder. Was it something I did? I have no idea.
As I headed to my seat in section 320 I took this photo:
Every time I have sat in the 300 level I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I love the great view, and usually the people are very friendly and talkative. That wasn’t the case with the lady who was sitting to my left. She would take a bite of food, then drink a sip of beer. Take a bite, sip, bite, sip and so on. She would simultaneously put her beer in the cup holder, take it out, put it back, and so on. I wouldn’t have cared, except that she was using my cup holder, the one on the back of the seat in from of me – in between my legs. Every time she used the cup holder I had to move so she could access her beer. This was very uncomfortable and annoying. I told her that since our seats were so close together I might accidently tip her beer over. Apparently she couldn’t handle the stress of holding two things at once because she got worked up about it and kept on using the cup holder. So what did I do? I stopped moving out of the way when she reached for her beer. Every time she wanted to grab her beer she had to reach around my leg to grab it and then bring it back without spilling. Ha, ha, ha I win. Oh, but I didn’t. As she bit down into her hotdog the burning grease squirted onto my face! I contained myself form yelling, but it felt like my face was on fire! Some people.
Later in the game I took this sort of artsy photo:
Towards the end of the game my Pastor went to look around the stadium while I headed to the dugouts. As soon as the last out was recorded I raced down the steps to the umpire tunnel. I don’t know why, but I was the only person remotely close to the umpire tunnel. When I politely called out to umpire James Hoye he either ignored me or didn’t hear my until the last second. He saw my glove and tossed me my 3rd and final ball of the day. That was the only ball that James Hoye gave away after the game.
GAME TIME! The game was 3 hours and 24 minutes long. This is way to long for a 9 inning game of baseball. Because they won tonight, the Twins had won back to back games against the Astros. In the first inning the Astros scored off a ground rule double to center field. The Twins tied it in the bottom of the first and took a 3-2 lead when Clete Thomas stole home in the second inning. The Astros took a 4-3 lead during the next inning off of a homer, a double, and 3 singles. Surprisingly the Twins retook the lead after a big 7th inning. Dozier and Thomas both doubled, Mauer and Morneau both walked, and Ryan Doumit singled. By this time the Twins were ahead 5-4 with the bases loaded. After Plouffe popped up, Arcia walked and got an RBI in the process. No one scored the rest of the game — The Twins won!
Here is the box score and scoring plays from the game:
A Piece of The Game MVP:
No one seemed to be an MVP today.
Player of The Game:
Anthony Swarzak: He relieved starting pitcher Kyle Gibson to start the 4th inning. He pitched 3 innings in which the Astros were hitless. He struck out 5 men and only allowed 1 base runner.
Here’s my final haul from the day:
- 3 ball in this game (2 pictured because I gave 1 away at this game)
- 39 balls in 12 games this season = Avg. 3.25 balls per game
- 22 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
- 20 consecutive Twins home games with at least 1 ball
- Gotten at least 1 ball from 14 different teams
- 83 total balls