Category: 2012 – 2013 Off Season

Opening Day Trivia!

Because Opening Day is less than a week away, I thought it would be fun to host a trivia contest in honor of the special occasion! This trivia contest will take place from March 28th – April 1st. I have many prizes for the winners!

Opening Day Trivia

Guidelines:

  • From March 28th – 30th I will be posting 4 trivia questions per day, that will NOT be multiple choice.
    • I will post 2 questions at 4 PM CT, and an additional 2 questions at 9 PM CT.
  • On March 31st, I will be posting 6 questions.
    • Because it is Easter Sunday, I will be having family at my house. I will wait until evening to post the questions. I will post 3 questions at 9 PM CT and an additional 3 questions at 10 PM CT.
  • On April 1st, I will be posting 7 questions.
    • This is Opening Day! I will be leaving my house at 7:30 AM CT to go to Minneapolis. Because of this I will post 3 questions at 7:30 AM CT and an additional 4 questions at 10 PM CT.
  • EVERY question will be posted on THIS entry.
  • Each question will be related to MLB’s Opening Day(s).
  • Each question is worth 1 point.
  • Whoever is the first to correctly answer a question gets 1 point.

Answering Questions:

  • You MUST answer in the comments of this entry. I will not accept answers via Twitter, Facebook, etc…
  • Each day, each person will have 10 (ten) TOTAL guesses.
  • If you use 2 guesses for the 1st question, you have 8 left for the rest of the questions, etc…
  • If you guess more than 10 times, it will be deleted and will not be counted.
  • DO NOT make extra or fake accounts to play trivia. You will be immediately disqualified from the trivia/contest.
  • When you answer a question, make sure you include what # question you are answering. Example: if the answer to question number 1 is Prince Fielder, then you need to answer like this –> 1. Prince Fielder
  • To be acknowledged for participating in this trivia contest you must be following this blog.

Other Notes:

  • I threw this contest together last-minute, so for the most part I formatted this entry like Nick Badders did with his February and March Giveaway entries.  I thought it would only be fair if I gave him credit, so thank you Nick! By the way, you can read his blog by clicking his name…
  • I will announce the winners at the end of each day by updating the standings in THIS entry.
  • There will be a total of 25 questions and 25 points from the questions..
  • You can earn 1 bonus point for Retweeting this tweet:

twitter bonus point

  • The Tweet is just a screenshot, so to RT it you actually have to go to Twitter.com
  • You can earn 1 additional bonus point for sharing this Facebook post:

Facebook bonus point

    • Once again, this Facebook post is just a screenshot, so to share it you actually have to go to Facebook.com

Prizes:

  • Minnesota Twins hat – Genuine Major League Merchandise

Twins hat

  • 2 packs of 2013 Topps baseball cards

Topps cards

  • 2 packs of 2013 Topps baseball cards (This is not a mistake – I wanted there to be 2 separate prizes for baseball cards)

Topps cards

  • Bill Schroeder autographed Baseball Card (Milwaukee Brewers) 1985 Topps 176

BillSCard

Winners: 

  • There will be 3 winners
  • Each winner will get their choice at 1 (one) of the prizes.
    • Just a reminder –> Twins Hat = 1 prize /// 2 packs of cards = 1 prize /// 2 packs of cards = 1 prize /// Bill Schroeder card = 1 prize
  • 1st place winner gets to pick a prize FIRST.
  • 2nd place winner gets to pick a prize SECOND.
  • 3rd place winner gets to pick a prize THIRD.

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Standings:

1. Harrison Tishler – 15 points (RT, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 25)

2. Quinn Imiola – 6 points (RT, 1, 3, 4, 15, 17)

2. Kameron S – 6 points (RT, FB share, 10, 11, 15, 24)

4. Brendan W – 4 points (RT, FB share, 7, 21)

5. Max – 2 points (RT, FB share)

5. Joe Webster – 2 points (RT, 2)

5. Jared Serre – 2 points (RT, FB share)

8. Nick Badders – 1 point (RT)

8. Gabe Nisker – 1 point (RT)

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Trivia Questions!

1. Who threw the only no-hitter in Opening Day history, who was it thrown against, and what was the date?

ANSWER: Bob Feller, Chicago White Sox, April 16, 1940 (Answered by Quinn Imiola)

2. Who has started the most Opening Day games in history, and what teams did he throw them for?

ANSWER: Tom Seaver, Mets, Reds, and the White Sox. (Answered by Joe Webster)

3. Who made their MLB Debut on for the Yankees on Opening Day of 1950?

ANSWER: Billy Martin (Answered by Quinn Imiola)

4. Of the NEWEST 5 Major League ballparks, which is the only one that didn’t have its Inaugural Game on Opening Day/Night of its Inaugural Season?

ANSWER: Target Field (Answered by Quinn Imiola)

5. Which Minnesota Twin was the starting catcher on Opening Day for the last 3 years?

ANSWER: Joe Mauer (Answered by Harrison Tishler)

6. In 2008 who was *supposed* to make an Opening Day start on his birthday until the game was called off because of rain?

ANSWER: Chien- Ming Wang (Answered by Harrison Tishler)

7. When is Opening Night 2013, which teams are playing, and in what city?

ANSWER: March 31, Rangers vs. Astros, Houston (Answered by Brendan W.)

8. When the Rockies lost on Opening Day of 2002, they started off the season on the wrong note. What was their record after the first two weeks of the season had passed?

ANSWER: 4-9… [4 wins, 9 losses] … (Answered by Harrison Tishler)

9.  Over the last 5 years the Blue Jays have a record of 3-2 on Opening Day. How many runs did they score in those 5 games?

ANSWER: 38 Runs (Answered by Harrison Tishler)

10. On Opening Day 2004 there was 1 player in Major League Baseball who was from Aruba. Who was he and what team was he a part of?

ANSWER: Sidney Ponson, Orioles (Answered by Kameron S)

11. How many Opening Day/Night games have been played in this stadium?

Photo from en.wikipedia.org

Nationals Park

ANSWER: 3 Opening Day/Night games (Answered by Kameron S)

12. What is Corey Koskie’s batting average from the Opening Day/Night games from 2001-2006?

ANSWER: 0.071 AVG (Answered by Harrison Tishler)

13. Which 2 teams are scheduled to play at 10:10 PM ET on Opening Day 2013?

ANSWER: Cardinals and Diamondbacks (Answered by Harrison Tishler)

14. Stephen Strasburg is the Nationals’ probable pitcher for Opening Day 2013. This will be his first game since ______ (insert date: Day/Month/Year)?

ANSWER: 9/7/12 (Answered by Harrison Tishler)

15. Justin Verlander is the Tigers’ probable pitcher for Opening Day 2013. This will be his ______ (insert number) consecutive start on Opening Day/Night.

ANSWER: 6th (Answered by Quinn Imiola & Kameron S)

16. As of 3/31/13, how many Home Openers have been played at this stadium?

Orioles Park at Camden Yards

Orioles Park at Camden Yards

ANSWER: 21 Home Openers (Answered by Quinn Imiola)

17. What is Matt Kemp’s avg. slugging percentage from the Opening Day/Night games from 2008-2012?

ANSWER: 0.836% (Answered by Harrison Tishler)

18. How many home runs has Carlos Santana hit on Opening Day/Night throughout his career?

ANSWER: 1 Home run (Answered by Harrison Tishler)

19. Throughout his career, how many RBI has Jayson Werth collecting on Opening Day/Night?

ANSWER: 2 RBI (Answered by Harrison Tishler)

20. Coming into Opening Day 2013 the Yankees had a ____ (insert #) game winning streak on Opening Day/Night.

ANSWER: 0 game win streak (Answered by Harrison Tishler)

21. As of 3-31-13, how many Opening Day/Night games have been played at this stadium?

Great American Ballpark

Great American Ballpark

ANSWER: 10 games (Answered by Brendan W.)

22. Which pitcher started Opening Day 1996 for the Minnesota Twins?

ANSWER: Brad Radke (Answered by Harrison Tishler)

23. Who was the only team to get shutout on Opening Day 2009?

ANSWER: Oakland Athletics (Answered by Harrison Tishler)

24. Who did the Cubs play against on Opening Day 2001 and what was the final score?

ANSWER: Montreal Expos beat the Chicago Cubs 5-4 (Answered by Kameron S)

25. The Rockies won their first game at Coors Field on Opening Day 1995 (April 26th). When did they lose their first game at Coors Field and who did they lose to?

ANSWER: May 5, 1995 VS. Los Angeles Dodgers (Answered by Harrison Tishler)

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Things to remember when answering a question:

Remember to answer the questions in the comments of this entry. Make sure you spell the answer correctly. I will reveal the correct answers and update the standings at the end of each day.

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The Fans of Target Field

I know that a lot of my readers will be going to target field this year, and many of them for the first time. Whether you will be visting Target Field or not, I still thought I should introduce you to a few fans who attend games frequently at Target Field. They are all good friends of mine, and each took the time to let me interview them for this entry. Hopefully if you watch/listen to the interviews, then you will become familiar with them. I also hope that in watching/listening to the interviews that you will learn more about Target Field and the game of baseball itself.

The first interviewee is Ben Lacher. I havn’t mentioned Ben too much on this blog yet, so I will quickly tell you a little bit about him. We ran into each other a few times at Target Field in 2012 before we actually met each other and knew who each other was. On Memorial Day (5-28-12) we had a brief conversation about autographs as we were standing next to the A’s dugout in batting practice. Later in the season, at a Tigers vs. Twins game on September 28th, we had another short conversation near the Tigers dugout after the game. However, we had no memory of each other from Memorial Day. I wasn’t expecting to, but a few months later (by complete chance) we met on Twitter… and the rest was history! We chat daily, and let me tell you, he is a baseball super fan! He and his dad have season tickets and attend Target Field frequently. Here is the interview:

The next interviewee is Sean Bigness. I have known Sean for three months now and have mentioned Sean a few times in my two entries from TwinsFest, so I will go right ahead with sharing our interview. Sean will be getting mentioned more frequently as 2013 progresses. Here is the interview:

Interviewee number three is none other than Mateo Fischer. Most of my readers are already familiar with Mateo because we went to two Twins games together in 2012 and we also met up at Twins Fest 2013. In all likelihood we will be seeing each other a lot at Target Field this year. Here is the interview:

Last but not least, is the final interviewee, The one and only Tony Voda. Tony is another household name on A Piece of The Game, so I’m confident that most of you (the readers) know who Tony is. However, I will leave you with one note. As Tony ballhawks this year, he will also be donating money to NAMI.org – the National Alliance on Mental Illness. If you are interested in donating with him, don’t hesitate to contact Tony. It is an excellent cause! Here is the interview:

Like I said at the beginning of this entry, I hope these interviews helped introduce you to Ben, Sean, Mateo and Tony. I also hope that you will come out to Target Field this year and enjoy some Twins baseball! If you’re planning to visit Target Field then don’t hesitate to let me know. I’d love to come out and watch a game of baseball with you!

On a closing note, I would like to thank everyone who I interviewed. Ben, Sean, Mateo and Tony, thank you for your time and for letting me interview you. I’ll be seeing you all at Target Field this season!

Jacque Jones Interview

Jacque was drafted by Minnesota in the 2nd round of the 1996 Draft. He made his Major League debut in 1999 with the Twins. Jacque Jones played for the Minnesota Twins, Chicago Cubs, Detroit Tigers, and Florida Marlins during a 10 year career.  Throughout his career he played left, right, and center field. Lifetime, Jones hit .277 AVG with 165 home runs, 630 RBI, and scored 632 runs in 1,302 games. Jacque currently lives in San Diego with his wife and children. In 2012 he was the batting coach for the Padres Single-A affiliate, the Fort Wayne TinCaps.

jaque jones

Jacque Jones @ TwinsFest 2012

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A few weeks ago, I got the chance to talk with Jacque. I told him about my blog, and he kindly agreed to do an interview with me. Here is what he had to say during the interview:

Q1.  What was it like coming up through the Twins organization; from talking to other players, how did it differ from other organizations?

Jacque Jones:  “It was cool. We had a good time and worked hard. We formed a brotherhood.”

Q2.  What was the best part of STARTING and ENDING your career playing for the Minnesota Twins?

Jacque Jones:  “Best part getting drafted, and then getting the standing ovation in the exhibition games.”

Q3.  How did the game of baseball change, if at all, during the 10 years you played in the Major Leagues?

Jacque Jones:  “Didn’t change much.”

Q4.  What aspect of Target Field do you enjoy more than the Metrodome, and vice versa?

Jacque Jones:  “It’s outside. That’s the best part.”

Q5.  What was the most memorable part of your career?

Jacque Jones:  “My whole career is the best part. I fulfilled a childhood dream.”

Q6.  Is there one particular accomplishment of yours that you are most proud of?

Jacque Jones:  “Playing for as long as I did was a great accomplishment.”

Q7.  You were the batting coach for the Padres Single-A affiliate, the Fort Wayne TinCaps, in 2012. Will you be coaching in 2013?

Jacque Jones:  “I will be coaching in San Antonio.”

Q8.  Which current non-MLB pro athlete would he most like to see play baseball?

Jacque Jones:  “LeBron James. I would love to see him play baseball.”

Q9.  What advice do you give to kids who play baseball?

Jacque Jones:  “Don’t let people tell u that you can’t achieve your dreams or goals. Keep playing until they take the uniform off.”

Q10.  What did you most enjoy about being a part of TwinsFest last year (2012) ?

Jacque Jones:  “The fans are the most enjoyable part of the TwinsFest experience.”

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Thank you very much Jacque, for answering all my questions! I greatly appreciate your generosity and getting to talk with you!

You can follow Jacque Jones on Twitter @JacqueJones11

MLBlogs Latest Leaders (Feb 2013)

Every month MLBlogs publishes a blog entry ranking people according to how many views their blog had during the previous month. February was a fairly busy month for “A Piece of The Game”, and I ranked in the Top-50 Latest Leaders – February 2013 on MLB.com Blogs Central. This was the second time I had made the Top-50 list during 2013.

February 2013 Latest Leaders

As you can see from the picture, I ranked #27 on the list. I moved down on the list by 3 spots since last month, but I continue to be amazed by all of the support I am getting from so many people. Thank you so much, it means a lot. Thank you to everyone who has been reading, commenting, or just browsing on this blog! I’m proud to be a part of the latest leaders list, it is always encouraging to see that people like to read what I’m writing about! I am also proud to have my blog mentioned with so many great blogs on the same list. Congratulations to everyone who made the list, and keep up the great work!

-Paul K

Greg Swindell Interview

Greg Swindell was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 1st round (2nd pick) of the 1986 amateur draft. He signed with the Indians on July 31, 1986 and made his MLB Debut on August 21 of the same year. During his rookie year, Greg compiled a 5-2 record, with a 4.23 ERA and 46 SO. Over his 17 year career Swindell played for the Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds, Houston Astros, Minnesota Twins, Boston Red Sox and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Greg was an American League All-star with the Indians in 1989, and a World Series Champion with the Diamondbacks in 2001. Over his career he pitched 2233.1 innings in 664 games, compiled a 123-122 record. He had a 3.86 ERA, 1542 SO and only allowed 501 walks. Greg’s final game was on September 23, 2002.

Greg Swindell

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A few weeks ago, I got the chance to talk with Greg Swindell. I told him about my blog, and he kindly agreed to do an interview with me. Here is what he had to say during the interview:

Q1 (Me):   Tell me a little about yourself

Greg:         Live in Austin tx. Raising 3 children. 1 is out of college. Broadcasting longhorn baseball on longhorn network. Engaged to Lauren

Q2 (Me):   Do you have any hobbies, or collect memorabilia of any kind?

Greg:         Crossword puzzles. Jeopardy. Trivia. Golf a little. I don’t collect too much.

Q3 (Me):   What was the most fulfilling thing that you got from a 17 year career in Major League Baseball?

Greg:         Winning World Series in 2001. And just having a 17 year career was fulfilling!!

Q5 (Me):   You have almost 9 years of Major League experience in both the National and American leagues. What challenges did each league present, and how did they differ according to which league you were playing in?

Greg:         National league was faster paced and I got to hit. I liked that. American League as a pitcher you just sit around and wait.

Q5 (Me):   You were an All Star in 1989 with the Indians, and a World Champion in 2001 with the Diamondbacks. What were those experiences like?

Greg:         Winning World Series is indescribable. Until you’ve done it. You can’t describe it. All-star was in same team with Nolan. My hero growing up. It was a lot of fun to see his experience e up close.

Q6 (Me):   Often times we hear about players who play for 1 team during their career. What did you most enjoy about being able to play for six teams during your career?

Greg:         Just experience the diff philosophies of coaches and org. I liked it. Also lived the cities I played in.

Q7 (Me):   What was it like breaking Sandy Alomar’s 30 game hit streak in 1997?

Greg:         He was my catcher for 4 years. I gave him 3 fastballs down the middle and he popped one up. I tried!!!! To extend it. Haha

Q8 (Me):   Is there one particular accomplishment of yours that you are most proud of?

Greg:         Starting for 10 years and relieving for 7 more. Making the adjustment from one to the other.

Q9 (Me):   When you look down the road, can you see yourself as a manager or coach in either the Major Leagues or minors?

Greg:         I would like to coach yes. I have 5 team mates that are managers right now from 1988 Indians. But you have to “pay your dues” So I would have to start at the bottom.

Q10 (Me):   What advice would you give to kids who play baseball?

Greg:         Enjoy what you’re doing. I played baseball because it was fun. Wether it’s baseball or whatever. Enjoy what you do and it will be good.

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Thank you very much Greg, for answering all my questions! I greatly appreciate your generosity and getting to talk with you!

You can follow Greg Swindell on Twitter @GregSwindell

2013 Twins Fest – Saturday, Jan 26

Here is the highlight video from Saturday, Jan 26 (The second day of TwinsFest). It is about 2 minutes longer than the first video, but that is because Saturday was a bit more eventful. Anyways, here it is:

I thought it would be good if I included the videos of us on the mock broadcast booth. Here is the broadcast that Sean and I did:

Here is Mateo and Isaac’s broadcast, but the actual broadcast starts at the 1:10 mark:

Over Friday and Saturday I got 12 autographs (13 if you include T.C. Bear). I stood in line for all of them (except T.C.). Here is a picture of the autographs:

My autographs from TwinsFest 2013

The Photo of T.C. Bear (in the previous picture) contains the autographs of Kyle Gibson, Caleb Thielbar, Chris Herrmann, and Pedro Hernandez (Also T.C. Bear).

The Twins pocket schedule (in the previous picture) contains the autographs of Nate Hanson and Austin Malinowski.

Trevor May, Tony Oliva, Terry Steinbach, Alex Meyer, Tom Brunansky, and Paul Molitor’s autographs are on their baseball cards in the previous picture.

Also, here is a picture of almost everything I got from TwinsFest over Friday and Saturday:

Twins Fest stuff

Out of the 11-12 hours I spent at TwinsFest over the weekend, I spent the majority of time with Mateo and Sean. Both Mateo and Sean attended all three days of TwinsFest. Mateo made a Vlog (video blog) for each day of Twins Fest. The videos are great, and they really capture the excitement and energy that was at Twins Fest. If you want to watch any of the videos, then click the following links:

TwinsFest Day 1

TwinsFest Day 2

TwinsFest Day 3

Both days of TwinsFest were a blast! I got some cool stuff, had an Amazing time, and I met some great people (I learned some new names).

Very big shout-out to Ben Erickson! I met Ben in an autograph line on Friday. We had some good conversations and I got to know him a little bit. We also saw each other 5 or 6 times on Saturday. I’m glad to have me you Ben!

I’d like to thank my family for going to Bloomington on Friday so I could attend TwinsFest. Thank you Mr. Most for inviting me to go along with you on Saturday! I had a great time with you up there. Also, thank you Isaac for coming along with us! Thank you Sean and Mateo for spending Friday and Saturday with me at Twins Fest.

Spring training is thought to be the starting point of baseball. However, TwinsFest is the start of Twins baseball.

Twins Logo

2013 Twins Fest – Friday, Jan 25

Twins Fest 2013 was scheduled for Friday, January 25 – Sunday, January 27. This year, I was able to attend TwinsFest on Friday and Saturday. The gates were scheduled to open at 4:00, so I got there at 3:30. Mateo and Sean got there around 3:50 and jumped in line with me. We stayed together for most of the day. I made a “Highlight” video for Friday and Saturday. Here is the video from Friday:

The next video will be published on Tuesday, February 12th.