As I walked up to gate 34 an eery feeling came over me. Could it have been because the sky was dreary, maybe because gate 34 was practically abandoned, or possibly because everything was unusually quiet for mid afternoon? I ended up entering the stadium through Gate 6 because I actually had friends who were there. I know that only Mateo and I are in this picture, but Jonathan was the photographer:
I got shut out during the Twins portion of batting practice, but I snagged multiple baseballs early in the Indians portion. Since the Indians were playing catch in left field I headed to the unoccupied wheel-chair section in the dugout moat. When he finished throwing with his partner, Ryan Raburn threw me ball #1. Shortly after, Kelly Shoppach did the same thing by hooking me up with ball #2. Most of the players near me finished up around the same time so I didn’t have time to pull out my phone to take pictures. Afterwards though, I did have time to get a picture of Jonathan and Mateo in action:
When I saw a chance for a third ball I lined up behind Ubaldo Jimenez:
I wasn’t lined up directly behind him, but this spot ultimately provided the most opportunities. Mateo had the same idea, so he lined up in back of me. When Jimenez finished I got his attention, but his movement and body language indicated he was going to throw to Mateo. As I lowered my glove Ubaldo faked us out and threw a heater to me from very close range. His throwing motion was so tricky that I barely got my glove in front of my face in time to catch the ball. Ubaldo let out a little shriek and looked scared senseless. You should have seen the look on his face… but then again, I was sporting the same look. Ubaldo, Mateo, Jonathan and I glanced back and forth at each other until we comprehended that my face almost got smashed in. I could be wrong, but I think that was the last ball that Ubaldo gave away for the rest of the day. At least I walked away with something positive:
Later during batting practice I would’ve made a great catch at the wall near the bullpen, but one of the outfielders robbed the home run – just shy of landing in my glove. That was frustrating. On the flip side, Justin Masterson signed my ticket near the end of batting practice:
It was really cool to see Justin up close in person. Justin the one of the only Indians players who I can name off, so that made the experience that much more memorable. His signature was the first I’ve gotten that references a Bible verse. I thought that was pretty neat too.
After meeting up with Mateo and Jonathan we all headed for the bullpens. I believe Mateo was up to 5 baseballs at this point but since I can’t remember exactly, you should find out by reading his entry from this game. Mateo gave me his Indians shirt to wear for a few minutes, and I’m pretty sure the shirt was the only reason Armando Camacaro threw this ball to me:
Just as soon as I had put the Indians shirt on, it seemed as if it was time to take it off. That’s because the Twins’ bullpen staff was on their way to the bullpen. Things went very well and I came away with a signed baseball from not only Josh Roenicke, but also Shairon Martis. Once again, I neglected to take a picture of these baseballs, but there will be a picture of all the baseballs at the end of the entry. Those were my 5th and 6th baseballs on the day.
We watched the first inning and a half from center field, but we all stopped watching the game when Mateo brought something exciting to our attention. To summarize, this is what Mateo told us:
When we started playing in the second inning, we used a bit of strategy. The three of us split up on three different sections of the ballpark in order to increase the odds that at least one of us would win.
Here are all of the Tweets from the giveaway:
As soon as the Twins tweeted the fourth location I sprinted up the steps to the 200 level, raced past four sections of seats, and then climbed another set of stairs before arriving beneath the Minnie and Paul sign. When I got there I couldn’t find the Twins rep. I looked around everywhere and I finally spotted her walking towards me. It turned out that I arrived before she did! I was still exhausted from sprinting when Mateo took my picture with the Arcia ball:
Near the end of the fourth inning we all took our spots again and got ready for the next announcement.
The mini donuts stand was only about 150 feet away from where I was standing, but I still got there as fast as I could because I didn’t want to waste this great opportunity. I almost bought some mini donuts to celebrate, but I decided that I was happy enough with the Scott Diamond autographed ball:
As soon as Mateo arrived I brought up an interesting thought that was swirling in my head. I was trying to decide whether or not to count these in my collection. There is a case to count them. After all, they are “Official Major League Baseballs”, and the players obviously had to sign them. Plus, I didnt purchase them, and I received them from employees of the Twins. After giving it some thought, I decided to count them in my collection. I’d love to hear whether you would’ve counted the balls or not, so please leave a comment for me in the comment section below.
During the rest of the inning we discussed where we would go next. We all agreed to take the same spots again.
Earlier in the game Jonathan had predicted that the Giant T.C. would be a possible location. So, for most of the 7 innings he was staked out near Gate 29. His patience finally paid off in the 7th inning when he won this Kent Hrbek autographed baseball:
One of the reasons the Twins activity was so fun was because it made me more familiar with Target Field. Before this I was unaware of some of the attractions that Target Field had to offer. The other thing I really enjoyed was having the time to just wander around the stadium and take pictures of new perspectives. Here are a few:
When the Twins’ Twitter activity ended we watched some players warm up in the bullpen. Can you spot Jonathan and Mateo?
For the game itself, the Twins chances of winning decreased every inning. At one point the Indians were ahead 7-0. The Twins ended up losing 12-6. This was the second game in a row that I’d been to where the Twins allowed more than 10 runs.
After the game Mateo and I each got a ball from Umpire Tony Randazzo. There is no sound to it, but I happened to get it on video:
This was my 9th ball of the day and the second time I’d gotten a ball from Mr. Randazzo. The first was back in April at Miller Park. Shout out to Shawn Bosman!
As I promised, here are the pictures of all nine baseballs:
A Piece of The Game MVP:
Ubaldo Jimenez: It’s not everyday you almost get hit with a baseball. Trying new things can be fun.
Player of the Game:
Indians Offense: It’s not a single player, but the Indians batted .395 throughout the game. That’s kind of impressive.
- 5 autographs at this game
- 9 balls in this game
- 68 balls in 18 games this season = Avg. 3.77 balls per game
- 28 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
- 5 consecutive games with at least 2 balls
- 3 consecutive games with at least 3 balls
- 3 consecutive games with at least 4 balls
- 3 consecutive games with at least 5 balls
- 2 consecutive games with at least 6 balls
- 2 consecutive games with at least 7 balls
- 2 consecutive games with at least 8 balls
- 2 consecutive games with at least 9 balls
- 24 consecutive Twins home games with at least 1 ball
- 6 consecutive Twins home games with at least 2 balls
- Gotten at least 1 ball from 16 different teams
- 112 total balls