When the 2013 Twins schedule first came out, this game was not scheduled for September 9th. It was supposed to be played on Wednesday April 17, but weather caused the game to be rescheduled to this date. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you might recall I had been to the game on April 16, 2013. Because I went to the game on the 16th, this was technically my second game in two days.
Today I was accompanied by my friend Matt, who also accompanied me to the game on July 31st when the Royals were in town. We knew the attendance would be low because (1) the game wasn’t on the regular schedule, and (2) most people forgot that the game from April was rescheduled to today. Besides us, there were only 10 people at gate 34 shortly before the gates opened:
About a minute before the gates opened an employee handed Matt a ball that had been hit to the gate:
After promptly running to the bleachers we saw that the Angels had already started hitting. Matt quickly got the attention of one of the players in center field, but the player didn’t have a ball to throw at the time. I forget why, but for some reason Matt turned his attention elsewhere for a moment. At that exact time a ball was hit to the center fielder who instantaneously turned to throw the ball to Matt, but Matt wasn’t paying attention anymore. I tried getting Matt’s attention, but then the player pointed at me and fired a bullet from more than 100 feet away. Look at this beauty:
Just as soon as Matt turned his attention back to the center fielder, a ground rule double was hit to deep left center field. It was either hit by Mike Trout or Mark Trumbo, but I don’t know which one. While it was sailing towards the bleachers I positioned myself a few rows in front of where I thought it was going to land. After bouncing on the warning track the ball landed two rows behind me and I had no problem grabbing it for ball my second of the day:
Right after I grabbed the ball a guy wearing a yellow U of M shirt came running over and congratulated me on my grab. For some reason he was trying to snag baseballs with out a glove. When I asked him where his glove was he told me he forgot it at his apartment, but his friend (who was running late to batting practice) was bringing an extra glove for him. We introduced ourselves… his name was Brandon. It turns out that the friend he was referring to was Mateo Fischer. In case you’re a new reader, Mateo is a household name on this blog. He even has his own link on the blog roll on the right side of this page. Mateo isn’t known to be one who is late to baseball games… it was strange. I’m sure he will have an explanation when he publishes his entry for this game.
Mateo showed up about 20 minutes late, but had snagged an impressive number of baseballs while he was just running into the stadium. After we chatted for a bit Mateo and Matt both snagged another baseball. Then I did too. While Coach Steve Soliz was shagging a few baseballs in center field he was kind enough to throw me my third of the day. Soliz is in the background of the next photo:
Towards the end of batting practice Matt and I went to the Powerball Pavilion for a group of lefties. I came close to catching a homer, but I judged it wrong because I didn’t think it would carry enough. It ended up hitting a seat and bouncing back onto the field. So we didn’t get any home runs, but an Angels player (I’m unsure who) did toss a ball to me. It would’ve been my fourth of the day, if Matt had not robbed me. Right as the ball was about to land inside my glove, Matt slapped his glove inside of mine and caught the ball. When I asked to see the ball I pretended to throw it back on the field, but I didn’t have any hard feelings. Matt is still new to ballhawking and doesn’t know the unspoken rules (Such as not catching baseballs intended for others), but whatever.
After batting practice ended the three of us met back in section 131 on the aisle next to the bullpen. We all hung around because there were 3 baseballs sitting in the Twins bullpen. As we waited for someone to come to the bullpen we got a “group” picture:
I glanced over at the bullpen a few minutes later and the baseballs were gone:
The only person who entered the bullpen during that time was a security guard. I have never seen a security guard pick up a baseball at Target Field. Eventually Nate Dammann came to the Twins bullpen with a few baseballs. I timed it perfectly and was the first to ask if he had any extra baseballs, but he didn’t say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. He said, “Not now, I will later.” I was glad he didn’t say ‘no’, but I wasn’t sure if he would actually hook me up later or not. Nate is pretty truthful though, he has never let me down before.
By the time Jared Weaver was finishing up in the Angels bullpen, the three of us accounted for half the people in the section. When Weaver finished in the bullpen he lobbed the ball over all of our heads, to an empty spot in the bleachers. The ball bounced on the bleachers, hit a guy’s head (softly, he didn’t get hurt), and kept rolling until I picked it up on the other side of the section. Looking back on it I should’ve kept the ball, but I felt obligated to give it to the guy who got hit by it (even though it barely hit him). The only reason I say this is because I could’ve given the ball to a kid instead.
It was pretty packed by the time the game started. This was what things looked like in the first inning:
There were maybe 8,000 people in the stadium. It was AMAZING. I’m really jealous of the A’s, Astros, Marlins and Royals for having such low attendance. I really enjoy going to low attendance games. Everything seems more relaxed and enjoyable.
The first run came in the 3rd inning when Pedro Florimon scored off of Pinto’s RBI double. The Angels took a 2-1 lead in the 4th inning and extended their lead to 3-1 in the 5th inning. Because the Angels were teeing off against the Twins, Ryan Pressly started warming up in the Twins bullpen in the bottom of the 5th inning:
When he finished warming up with Nate Dammann, Nate kept his word and threw the baseball to me. It felt great to get out of my ballhawking slump of 1-2 baseballs per game (I’m not trying to come across as spoiled or ungrateful, I’m just saying it was really fun to get 5 baseballs at this game). Shortly after this, the Twins scored 2 runs to tie the game 3 runs a piece. The Twins strung some hits together in the 7th inning and took a 5-3 lead.
In the 8th inning Matt and I took off for the Angels dugout, but Mateo stayed behind in the bleachers for a few extra minutes. Not more than 5 minutes after we left, Josh Hamilton hit a ground rule double into the Angels bullpen. Had we stayed in the bleacher for 5 more minutes, we would’ve had the best chance at getting the ball from Steve Soliz (in the bullpen). I was frustrated that we’d been so close, but my frustration went away when I found out who ended up snagging the baseball. I was actually really excited for him. (Take a hint and go visit Mateo’s blog).
Matt and I got some great seats for the last 1.5 innings, but neither of us snagged another baseball for the rest of the game.
The Twins scored their 6th run in the 8th inning. Not a bad day at the ballpark! The final score was 6-3, Twins.
Here is the box score and scoring plays from the game:
Did you see the attendance was listed at 21,826? Keep in mind that that’s the number of tickets that were sold, not the number of people who actually attended the game. At the games climax, there might have been 10,000 – 12,000 people. That might be pushing it though.
A Piece of The Game MVP:
Nate Dammann: He told me he would hook me up with a ball ‘later’, and he did! About an hour an a half later. Thanks Nate.
Player of the Game:
Trevor Plouffe: He went 2-4 on the night, and had 3 RBI. Ultimately, his great performance was the deciding factor in this game.
Here is my final haul from the game (four balls pictured because I gave one away. The draw string bag was the giveaway from the game) :
- 5 balls in this game
- 49 balls in 16 games this season = Avg. 3.06 balls per game
- 22 consecutive Twins home games with at least 1 ball
- 4 consecutive Twins home games with at least 2 balls
- 26 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
- Gotten at least 1 ball from 15 different teams
- 93 total balls