Tony and I have had tickets for this game since back in March or April. We splurged and decided to buy dugout box seats behind the Twins dugout because this would be one of our final games of the season. There weren’t very many people at the gates when I arrived at 4pm. Actually, there were only two other people:
That would be Tony Voda on the left, and Waldo on the right. Are you wondering why I got to Target Field at 4:00 when the gates weren’t supposed to open until 5:30? Well, about a week prior to this game Tony had told me that we were scheduled to get inside the gates early for batting practice. This was one of the wonderful perks that came along with Tony’s season tickets. Thank you for the invitation to join you, Tony! We entered the stadium at 4:15 and stepped into the right field seats around 4:30. We were pretty excited to be inside so early:
We got to watch most of the Twins players play catch in right field. This provided me with my first opportunity to get a baseball. When he finished playing catch with his partner, Oswaldo Arcia threw his ball to me. Ball 1 – Check.
My second ball of the day came when a Twins player hit a home run into the Powerball Pavilion. I was going to chase it down, but I was contained to sections 136-138 (the seats in front of the flag poles) until the gates opened. One of the only downsides to the early viewing of batting practice is that you can not wander the stadium freely. Otherwise, it would be a ballhawker’s dream come true. Regardless, I was still ecstatic to already be in the stadium. But I digress! Anyways, Tony’s ticket rep hurried into the Pavilion and threw the ball over to me:
My third ball of the day was a bp homer that was hit off the bat of Pedro Florimon. At the time I was standing in the wide open plaza, so it was pretty easy to move around in order to get to the ball while it was in the air. When I turned towards the gates Waldo and Mateo were both grinning (maybe frowning in frustration?) at me, because of my catch. If i wouldn’t have caught the ball, it would’ve bounced right to them at the gate. Oh well! Here it is:
At 5:15, when the Twins left the field, the ticket reps thanked us for coming out to the ballpark and then dismissed us to go freely wander around the stadium. I changed into my A’s gear and SPRINTED to the left field bleachers, where I was all alone for 15 glorious minutes. 15 minutes is a very long time in an empty ballpark. It was AMAZING. I got two balls within a minute of getting into section 129. First an A’s player threw a ball to me, and then I snagged a homer that landed in section 131. Here’s a picture of those 2 balls:
A few short minutes later I was in the perfect spot to snag my 6th ball of the day – another homer that was hit by another A’s player:
I could’ve grabbed at least 4 more baseballs before the gates opened, had they not bounced back to the field before I could get to them. Those were the balls that were hit 2-3 sections away. Once the gates opened at 5:30 I didn’t snag another ball for a while. At this point I had lost track of how many baseballs I had snagged today. I was completely unaware that my next ball would be my 100th baseball lifetime.
I noticed Pat Neshek was talking to some fans near the left field corner so I made my way over there and waited for him to finish, because I wanted to thank him in person for the interview we did together last winter. He talked to the same three fans (probably friends of his) for 30 minutes. I wasn’t missing out on anything though. Only one ball was hit into the bleachers and it wasn’t even playable. While Neshek was busy conversing with those three people he was almost hit by a line drive. I knew it would hit him so I yelled, “Heads up Pat!”. Neshek got out of the way just in time and the ball passed him and rolled to the wall beneath me. He was so appreciative of my warning that he walked over to the wall, grabbed the ball and tossed it up to me. For those of you who are paying attention, that was my 100th ball!
That was Pat Neshek in the background of the previous pictures. Eventually I got to talk to Pat for a few minutes, which was really cool. He’s a great guy – and super fan friendly. I’m a Pat Neshek fan for life. I didn’t think about it at the time, but it would’ve been cool to have Pat sign the ball, since it’s my 100th.
I got my 8th ball of the day in the Powerball Pavilion. Ariel Prieto threw a ball to one of the kids next to me, but it flew over their heads and hit a seat. I bare handed it as it bounced back towards the field and then immediately handed the ball to the kids:
If either of you are reading this, leave a comment down below. I’d love to catch up.
Afterwards, I stuck around in the Pavilion for a few minutes. I’m glad I did because I met a really cool kid named Nick, who was at the game with his dad. I’m not sure how often he collects baseballs from games he goes to, but he already gotten three from batting practice:
It was nice to meet you, Nick. Drop a comment at the end of this entry, maybe we can meet up at a game sometime next season!
Today kept getting better and better. First I snagged 6 baseballs before the gates opened, then I snagged my 100th lifetime. Now, I set a new personal record of 8 baseballs in one game! However, my day didn’t stop there. When batting practice ended Tony, Mateo and I all met up by the bullpens, where there were plenty of batting practice homers sitting around. Tony and I each got one of them from Casey Chavez when he cleared out the extra balls from the A’s bullpen.
As game time was drawing near, I got a picture with Mateo before I left for the A’s dugout:
I made it behind the A’s dugout just in time to get the A’s warm up ball from coach Tye Waller in the first inning. That was ball #10! I finally hit double digits!
At the beginning of the 2nd or 3rd inning I got a t-shirt that T.C. Bear had shot out of his t-shirt gun. I was in my A’s hat and Jersey at the time, so naturally he made a big deal about it. He put the Twins shirt over my A’s jersey and did his best to cover up my A’s hat:
The rest of the crowd got a kick out of it. I will admit, it was pretty funny.
As for the game, it was BY FAR THE MOST EXCITING game I have been to all year long. The A’s offense got off on a quick note – they scored three runs in the first three innings. Pretty good, right? Wrong. They scored TEN (10) RUNS in the fourth inning! That is insane!
The A’s offense went ballistic on the Twins all game long.
I have seen it a number of times before, but once again I got to see Gardy get tossed:
This was the 67th ejection of Gardy’s managerial career. GO TWINS!
Because it was a school night (Wednesday) I left the game at 10 o’clock because I wanted to get some sleep for the next day of school. Unfortunately, that meant leaving at the end of the 6th inning. The game was so slow that it had only gotten through the 6th inning by 10 o’clock. Wow. The game only lasted for another 42 minutes after I left (amazingly fast for 3 innings of baseball) and the A’s won 18-3. Courtesy of ESPN, here is the box score, scoring summary, and info from the game:
A Piece of The Game MVP:
Pat Neshek: He threw me my 100th lifetime baseball, and even took the time to talk to me towards the end of batting practice.
Player of the Game:
Jed Lowrie: He went 2-4 on the night, and had 4 RBI. By hitting a home run and a double, he hit for half the cycle.
Here is my final HAUL from the game (Nine balls pictured because I gave one away) :
As I wrap things up from this end, I have a few notes to share. This was my first actual “Haul” from a game. At the game I was actually running out of space in my back pack for the balls. No, the bats from the previous picture were not from the game. Those bats are very special gifts I’ve gotten from some friends. A few days after this game I gave away the second ball i snagged from this game. Last but certainly not least, go visit Tony and Mateo’s blogs and read their entries from this game. Mateo had nothing short of a great day ballhawking, and Tony also snagged double digits for the first time! Between the three of us we collected 28 baseballs at the game!
- 10 balls in this game
- 59 balls in 17 games this season = Avg. 3.47 balls per game
- 23 consecutive Twins home games with at least 1 ball
- 5 consecutive Twins home games with at least 2 balls
- 27 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
- Gotten at least 1 ball from 15 different teams
- 103 total balls