Category: Target Field

9-28-12 @ Target Field – Tigers vs. Twins

According to Tony (follow him on twitter @TonyV433) I arrived at Gate 34 right around 4:15 (thank you Tony, I forgot to check when I actually arrived). We talked for a little while and waited for a homer to be hit to the gate. Pretty soon Mateo showed up. When I saw Mateo with Tony I walked over to them and found out that I had just awkwardly walked in on Mateo filming for his blog. Mateo (follow him on twitter @observebaseball) introduced me to his video “audience”. I’m sure I looked pretty funny in the video, but I’m still eager to see it.

The Twins’ portion of batting practice was pretty slow, but I managed to snag a ball just before everyone left the field. The last ball that the pitcher threw in batting practice was hit down the right field line and stopped in the corner. Tyler Robertson picked up the ball and wound up to throw it to an infielder, but everyone had already jogged off the field. Then, he wound up again, but there still there was no one he could throw it to. So instead, he tossed it to me.

Once the last group of Tigers players started batting I headed over to the Tigers’ dugout.When Coach Jeff Jones walked passed me I asked, “Coach, do you have an extra ball for a Tigers fan?” He responded, “Why yes I do!”, while he grabbed a ball and tossed it to me.

About 5 minutes later the Tigers’ equipment/ball guy came out of the dugout to finish putting the balls away. Mateo and I each asked for a ball, but he continued putting them away and eventually took the ball bag with him into the dugout. He returned a minute later holding two baseballs. For a split second he looked around to find us and then he hooked each of us up with a ball.

Following this, Mateo and I relocated to left-center field near the bullpens. Mateo covered the Tigers bullpen and I covered the Twins bullpen. This was well before the game was scheduled to begin, but the usher made his way down the aisle to talk to us. He had recognized us from previous games. We all ended up having a nice conversation. The usher has been a Tigers fan for 60 years, and used to work at the old Tigers Stadium. He went to fight in Vietnam, and when he returned home to the United States he moved to Minnesota. He has been here for 30 years. He is a very, very nice man. He even told us that we could sit in his section any time we would like to during the game.

It wasn’t too long after the National Anthem that Tyler Robinson threw another ball to me, but this time from across the Twins’ bullpen. Here he is shortly before:

This ball was different:

(I took the previous two pictures during the game)

This was part of the Twins’ giveaways that take place every year on Fan Appreciation Weekend. The Twins players each sign a tee ball and then throw it to a fan before the game.

For the game itself, my dad and I sat in the Legends Club. While I was inside of the club I saw something a bit out of the ordinary:

In the 5th inning my dad and I got some food:

I have never gotten this many nachos before, and I probably won’t again. Don’t get me wrong, they were delicious. I would say that I’m a fast eater, but it took me close to 20 minutes to finish these. Just to give you an idea of how big the helmet dish is, I took this picture at home:

Eight baseballs fit inside.

The highlight of the game was getting to see Ryan Doumit absolutely dominate on offense. The Play-by-Play scoring plays are next, enjoy:

  • In the bottom of the 7th inning Ryan Doumit homered to left field. Justin Morneau scored.
  • In the top of the 8th inning Omar Infante homered to left field. A Jackson scored.
  • In the bottom of the 8th inning Ryan Doumit doubled to center, Denard Span and Joe Mauer scored. Justin Morneau to third base.

Tigers 2, Twins 4

  1          2          3          4          5          6          7          8          9          R         H         E

DET     0          0          0          0          0          0          0          2          0          2          6          1 

MIN    0          0          0          0          0          0          2          2          –           4          4          2

When the game ended, I stood where the “X” is in the next picture.

Now, do you remember the Tigers equipment/ball guy from before the game? He was cleaning up the dugout and putting away the bats and balls (I was waiting because usually a team’s equipment guy throws a ball or two to a few fans after a game ends). As I waited, a boy who was decked out in Twins gear (who looked like he was 10-13 years old) ran towards me and stopped right next to me. He asked me if it was alright for him to stand in that spot too. I assured him it was ok, and then we started talking a little bit. Over the last few years he has gotten to know the Tigers equipment guy from coming to so many Tigers versus Twins games. Pretty soon he finished cleaning and walked towards me to exit the dugout. I thought it would be nice to let the kid ask for a ball so I just stood there and watched. This was their conversation:

Kid:                           “Mario!”

Equipment Guy:     “HEY! How’s it going?”

Kid:                           “Good, do you have anything for me tonight?”

Equipment Guy:     “Sorry, I don’t have anything for you tonight, but I do have something for him.”

When he said that, he pointed at me. He reached into his pocket, pulled out a ball and threw it to me. I thanked him and then took his picture.

I felt bad for the kid so I offered the ball to him. He thought about it for a second and then he and his father both said no because he had already gotten a ball earlier in the day.

On my way out of the stadium I found a bunch of promotional calendars scattered amongst the seats so I picked up three that were not damaged. As I exited the gate an usher offered me two calendars so by the time I left the stadium I had six promotional calendars!

Here are some “Pieces of The Game”:

A Piece of The Game MVP:

Mario (Dugout Attendant): He was the first person to give me two baseballs in one game.

Player of The Game:

Ryan Doumit: He provided all the RBIs for the Twins. If he wouldn’t have had such a good day at the plate, then Twins would’ve lost.

Minnesota

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

LOB

AVG

Doumit, DH

4

1

2

4

0

1

0

.277

  • 5 balls at this game
  • 41 balls in 10 games this season = Avg. 4.1 balls per game
  • 10 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
  • 10 consecutive games with at least 2 balls
  • 4 consecutive games with at least 3 balls
  • 3 consecutive games with at least 4 balls
  • 3 consecutive games with at least 5 balls
  • 10 consecutive Twins home games with at least 1 ball
  • 8 consecutive Twins home games with at least 2 balls
  • 3 consecutive Twins home games with at least 3 balls
  • 2 consecutive Twins home games with at least 4 balls
  • 2 consecutive Twins home games with at least 5 balls
  • Gotten at least 1 ball from 11 different teams
  • 44 total balls

8-28-12 @ Target Field – Mariners vs. Twins

When I bought tickets I had a great feeling about this game. I felt confident that I was going to have a great day ballhawking, but even if I didn’t do well ballhawking I was still going to meet two fellow ballhawks, Tony and Mateo. Go ahead and click on their names… do it. If you click their names then their blog will open in a new tab. It’s that easy.

I was looking forward to meeting them, talking baseball, and ballhawking with them. At the same time I was a little nervous that my ballhawking numbers for the night might be crunched because of their skills. Luckily, we all did pretty well.

I arrived at Target Field around 4:30.  Tony and I were planning on meeting at Gate 34 about an hour before the gates opened. I suspected one man of being Tony but I wasn’t completely sure. We exchanged looks for a few minutes and then he approached me and asked if I was Paul. We told each other about ourselves and talked about baseball and the Twins. I spotted Mateo about 15 -20 minutes later and then 3 of us got to talking about baseball.

A ball was hit and bounced out of the gates, but fell 20-30 feet below the parking garage onto a road. Mateo and I looked down to see if we could spot the ball. We turned around and saw Tony a block down the road sprinting to find the ball. The ball kept rolling and rolling down the road until it and Tony were out of sight. When Tony got back 15 minutes later, he was proudly displaying his 49th baseball.

While we were talking a ball reached the gate and stopped rolling in a corner.  I reached my arm through the gate and was about to pick it up but a season ticket holder (who was on the other side of the gate) came running over to the gate and grabbed the ball just before I could get my hands on it.

Right before the gates opened we all got a picture together (From left to right, Mateo, Tony, Me):

When the gates opened Tony headed behind the Twins dugout, Mateo went through those sections and was heading towards the left field area, and I was headed for the right field foul territory. Within 5 minutes I had ball #1 from this Mariners coach:

If anyone knows who he is I would appreciate if you let me know.

The coach was picking up a few baseballs that had been hit near the Twins dugout. He looked like he was going to throw a ball to me, and also to Tony, who was a few sections to my left. For whatever reason he didn’t at first, but two minutes later he fired one to Tony and I both.  In the previous picture the coach threw the ball from the red “X”. I was standing at the black “X”. The red box indicates the camera box. In order for me to make the play I had to lean way over the railings, catch the ball, and not fall over.

After I got this ball I relocated to the aisle of sections 102-103 because I didn’t want to get in the way or steel any baseballs from Tony. Moving paid off for both of us. After I left, Tony snagged two more balls from the Twins Dugout Box.

Within 10 minutes I had gotten another toss-up.  This time I used a Mariners Sign (that I made) to get Lucas Luetge’s attention. Here’s a picture of him:

Right field was pretty much dead after that point. For that reason, I moved behind the Mariners dugout.

Sometime later a ball ricocheted over to the Mariners dugout and stopped about 5 feet in front of the dugout. A few minutes later a man walked over to pick up the ball. All I had to do was put my glove up and then he threw it to me. I’m not completely sure who it was, but I think it was the Mariners GM, Jack Zduriencik. Here is a picture of him (he is the man wearing the black shirt):

I enjoyed talking to a few people who were standing near me while I watched the final group of batters from behind the dugout. I met a nice man who is from Canada (he lives 12 hours away). He was on vacation with his wife and kids. He was also going to be at the game the next day. This was the first baseball game that he had been to in 19 years.

John Jaso, Eric Thames, and King Felix were all signing autographs two sections to my left. When Jaso was entering the dugout I asked if he would sign my sign. He looked surprised, but glad to do it. When Eric Thames was entering the dugout the same thing happened. I didn’t get Felix Hernandez to sign it, but whatever, I still got two autographs.

At the end of batting practice I got a ball from the Mariners ball/equipment guy. He is in the background of the next two pictures:

Once batting practice was done, Mateo and I met up and walked to the Aisle of section 131, where we were hoping to get a few balls. Mateo got his 3rd of the day, a toss-up from a Mariners coach. Here he is catching it:

We watched the pitchers warm up in the bullpens and were also hoping to get the baseballs when they were finished throwing, but that plan fell through. That was it for pregame.

As for the game, my dad and I sat 6 rows behind the Mariners dugout (I found half off tickets). This was our view:

Ok, fast forward to the end of the 5th inning.

Ben Revere hit a ball on the ground to 2nd base, and was thrown at 1st base to end the 5th inning.  Justin Smoak kept the ball until he got to the dugout. He also didn’t switch it for a warm up/different ball. Then he saw me in the aisle with my glove in the air and threw the ball to me. That was my first 3rd out ball that hadn’t been switched for a warm up ball. This was my first ever gamer.

At that time I forgot to take a picture of the ball, but there will be a picture at the end that shows all of the baseballs.

In the 8th inning I moved two sections to my right, where there were a lot of empty seats. I sat on the aisle seat in the last row of section 11.

Moving definitely paid off because something exciting happened in the top of the 9th inning. Alex Burnett was pitching to Dustin Ackley with one out. Burnett worked a 2-1 count. Ackley hit the next pitch foul 15 feet behind me, but I could only get within 10 of the ball because of the Dugout Moat (dugout box seats are blocked with a 6 foot wall so no one can sneak into those sections). Once the ball cleared my head I thought that there was a chance that it would bounce back. I adjusted by running 3 rows down the aisle, thus 3 rows closer to the field.  Just as I thought, the ball landed on the steps, and bounced back over the moat wall, and was heading exactly towards me. The ball hit a the seat next to me and I picked it up.

The next picture should help visualize the play. The black lines indicate the moat wall. The red lines indicate aisles. The blue dot indicates where the ball bounced, and the blue square indicates where I picked up the ball. As you can see, there was no chance for me to catch the ball before it hit the ground because the wall was in the way. If the wall hadn’t been there I would’ve been able to easily catch the ball.

Here are the play-by-play scoring plays from the game:

  • In the top of the 3rd Kyle Seager doubled on a line drive to right field, Brendan Ryan and Franklin Gutierrez scored to make it a 2-0 game.
  • In the bottom of the 3rd Ben Revere hit a sac fly to center field. Jamey Carroll scored on the play. 2-1 game.
  • In the top of the 5th Dustin Ackley homered to right center field. Trayvon Robinson and Brendan Ryan scored. 5-1 game. (The home run ball bounced back onto the field and Revere threw it to Carroll, who threw it to Florimon, who threw it in front of the Twins dugout. The Twin’s bat boy walked over to pick up the ball and then he threw it to Tony!)
  • In the Bottom of the 9th inning Ryan Doumit doubled to left field. Josh Willingham scored on the play to make it a 5-2 game.

Mariners 5, Twins 2

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

SEA

0

0

2

0

3

0

0

0

0

5

9

0

MIN

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

2

4

1

When the game ended Mateo tried to get a ball from the umpire and I tried to get a ball from the bullpen players/coaches when they walked in.

I used my Mariners sign to get Coach Jamie Navarro’s attention. He had 3 balls in his hand, one of which he threw to me. This broke my single game record, which was: 6 baseballs, on 5-28-12. Here’s a picture of ball #7:

It was also my 30th career ball at Target Field.

After the Game Tony, Mateo, and I met up and talked about how the night went, and about attending future games together. Afterwards we said our goodbyes.

In the next picture the balls are in order from when I got them.

Left to right top row: Coach, Luetge, GM, BB,

Left to right bottom row: Smoak, foul ball, Coach Navarro

The next picture shows the shirt and sign that I made. Jaso and Thames signed the sign.

A Piece of The Game MVP:

It was a hard to decide who the MVP was considering that every ball (except for ball #2) was some kind of mini milestone.

Jamie Navarro, because by giving me one ball he helped me break my single game record. It was also my 30th career ball at Target Field.

Player of The Game:

Dustin Ackley.        Although he went 1-5, he really helped the Mariners win the game. His 1 hit was a 3 run homerun that made it a 5-1 game. If he hadn’t gotten any of those RBIs, then the Twins would’ve tied the game in the 9th inning.

Seattle

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

LOB

AVG

Ackley, 2B

5

1

1

3

0

1

3

.233

I mentioned that every ball was some kind of mini milestone so I thought I would list them.

Ball #1 – first career ball from the Mariners

Ball #2 – nothing that I can think of

Ball #3 – first career ball from a GM

Ball #5 – first career game used 3rd out ball

Ball #6 – first career foul ball

Ball #7 – 30th career ball at Target Field.

I really made a huge haul: 7 new baseballs, 2 new autographs, and 2 new friends.

Again, it was great to meet you Tony and Mateo, definitely had a great time with you.

My next game with be on September 14th at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals host the Angels. It should be a good game.

  • 7 balls at this game
  • 31 balls in 8 games this season = Avg. 3.875 balls per game
  • 8 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
  • 8 consecutive games with at least 2 balls
  • 2 consecutive games with at least 3 balls
  • 9 consecutive Twins home games with at least 1 ball
  • 7 consecutive Twins home games with at least 2 balls
  • Gotten at least 1 ball from 10 different teams
  • 34 total balls

8-13-12 @ Target Field – Tigers vs. Twins

The baseball day started off when I got on the light rail at the Mall of America. Forty minutes later I arrived at Target Field. This was my view after an additional 45 minutes had gone by:

Usually when I enter the stadium I go to foul territory first, but I decided to try something different for this game. My goal for the game was: catch a Prince Fielder BP homer, or get Prince Fielder to throw me a ball. I stood in right field hoping he would hit a few balls to the sections around me.

Once Prince stepped into the cage there were bombs being hit all over to right/center field. I was pretty disappointed because he didn’t hit anything near me. I stayed in the right/center field area for the next group of batters. This group had 3 powerful lefties. Once again, no homers came close to me.

I decided to watch the 3rd and final group of batters from behind the Tigers’ dugout:

I’ll sum up the next 15 minutes for you in the next sentence. The players and coaches were not in the giving mood.

After BP ended I checked the bullpens…

… All the baseballs had been cleared out already. Usually there are baseballs from BP in the bullpens until Drew Butera or Nate Dammann picks them up a half hour before the game. Obviously I missed something.

I waited here for the pitchers to start warming up. I always think it is fun to watch. I got a cool picture of Anibal Sanchez:

The Tigers bullpen catcher, Scott Pickens, was catching for Sanchez until Avila got to the bullpen. Pickens was generous and gave me some gum:

He gave me four pieces of Double Bubble. Thank you Scott Pickens.

I knew my baseball streak would end eventually, but I didn’t expect it to be this soon. Too bad though, 0 balls in BP.

When it was nearing game time, I went to find my friends who I was going to meet at the game. Out of the six of them, none had been to Target Field before. I decided to give them a tour. I took them around the whole stadium. The highlights included: seeing the organ lady (she’s very nice), seeing the bullpens, seeing the flags in the right field plaza, and watching the game from a few different spots. Afterwards, we went to sit in out seats in section 304.

No one had scored yet into the 3rd inning:

In the bottom of the 7th inning a friend and I went to sit behind the Tigers dugout. I was still determined to get a ball from Prince Fielder. I had even made a sign at home that said “The Prince Is Now King”. I thought it might help me get a ball from him. As Fielder was walking back to the dugout at the end of the 7th inning he was looking at my sign the whole time. He came up to hit in the 8th inning and I got some nice pictures while he was on deck.

Cabrera on deck:

Cabrera at the plate and Fielder on deck:

As the Tigers were walking back to the dugout at the end of the 8th inning, someone from the dugout flipped Prince Fielder a warm up ball, which he flipped to me! There would be no shut out for me, I was on the board! I’m almost positive that he flipped the ball to me because of my sign. It is also really cool to get a ball from your favorite player.

Here are the play-by-play scoring plays from the game:

  • In the Bottom of the 3rd inning Justin Morneau singled to left, Joe Mauer scored, and Josh Willingham advanced to second.
  • In the Top of the 5th inning Jhonny Peralta doubled to deep right field to drive in Brennan Bosch.
  • In the bottom of the 5th inning Mastroianni hit a 365 foot home run to left field to give Minnesota a 2-1 lead.
  • In the bottom of the 6th inning Alexi Casilla doubled to deep right field to drive in Ryan Doumit and to advance Carroll to third base.
  • Later in the 6th inning Mastroianni singled to center and drove in Carroll and Casilla, but Mastroianni was tagged out trying to stretch a single into a double.
  • In the bottom of the 7th inning Ryan Doumit homered to left center field (420 feet), Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham scored. This would give Minnesota an 8-1 lead.
  • In the top of the 8th inning Miguel Cabrera reached on an infield single. Jackson scored on the play. Later in the same inning Delmon Young singled to center. Dirks scored on the play and Miguel Cabrera advanced to second.
  • In the bottom of the 8th inning with runners on first and third Josh Willingham hit a sacrifice fly to center field. Ben Revere scored.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
DET 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 0 3 6 0
MIN 0 0 1 0 1 3 3 1 9 18 0

When the game ended I stayed in the first row behind the dugout and waited for the coaches and players to walk in from the bullpen. (I was holding my sign too)

Pitching Coach Jeff Jones tossed me a ball just before he entered the dugout. Just as I caught the ball Scott Pickens and another player started walking in from the bullpen.

2 minutes later Scott Pickens tossed me my 3rd ball of the day.

My friend Mark took a picture of me a few minutes later in a different spot:

After this we rejoined all of our friends.

The balls are in order from when I got them. (from left to right) Prince, Jones, Pickens.

Also, for every game I go to from now on I’ll be picking a player to get the “A Piece of The Game MVP” award. I’ll be picking the player that had the most importance to my day of ball hawking. I will also be picking a player for the “Player of The Game” award. This will be who I think contributed the most to their teams’ success.

A Piece of The Game MVP:

Prince Fielder, because he kept me from being shut out, helped me achieve my goal, and is my favorite player.

Hitters AB R H RBI BB SO #P AVG OBP SLG
P Fielder 1B 3 0 0 0 1 1 12 .307 .399 .508

Player of The Game:

Sam Deduno, because he only allowed 3 runs on 5 hits in 7 innings. He also had 6 strikeouts. He worked hard which allowed the Twins hitters to relax and do their job.

 
Pitchers IP H R ER BB SO HR PC-ST ERA
S Deduno
(W, 4-0)
7.0 5 3 3 5 6 0 103-58 3.38
  • 3 balls at this game
  • 24 balls in 7 games this season = Avg. 3.42 balls per game
  • 7 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
  • 7 consecutive games with at least 2 balls
  • 8 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 9 different teams
  • 27 total balls

7-18-12 @ Target Field – Orioles vs. Twins

(My camera was only working for different portions of batting practice and the game so bear with me on the lack of pictures of players, coaches, and the field. My camera works now.)

My goal for this game was to get 1 Orioles Commemorative baseball. If that meant only getting that one ball, than I was fine with it.

This was only the 2nd game that I’ve been to in 3 years that I’ve seen a ball get hit and bounce to/through the gates in the right field plaza. I actually saw this happen 2 times before the gates opened.

The red lines show the path of the first ball that was hit. The ball hit the stairs (indicated by the first red circle) and bounced into the air. Then a stadium employee caught the ball (indicated by the second red circle). The employee tossed the ball over the gate. If I would’ve had my glove on I would’ve been able to easily grab the ball above all of the adults reaching for it, but my glove wasn’t on so I wasn’t able to catch the ball.

The white lines show the path of the second ball. It was a line drive homer that bounced once on the pavement (signified by the first white circle) and then shot right to me. The ball hit my arm (signified by the second white circle), bounced off of Waldo’s chest (also signified by the second white circle), and then rolled to Mr. Most’s feet (signified by the third white circle). He picked up the ball right before Waldo did.

When the gates opened I moved here:

Mr. Most stood in the left field bleachers. At every game I’ve been to this year that has had batting practice there have been at least 3 balls that were either hit into or bounce into the right field foul area. A total of 0 balls were hit to the right field foul area. There was also no luck with getting toss ups because this section was dominated by little kids trying to get baseballs. This was okay though, because whenever a player would give a kid a ball, the kid would be ecstatic. It was really fun to watch.

I was surprised I didn’t get a tossup since I was wearing this:

It is a homemade Orioles shirt. I used safety pins to pin the paper on the shirt. It looks real from 5 or more feet away. I got this idea from Mateo Fischer, a fellow ballhawk, who did the same thing with a white sox shirt in this entry on his blog.

I made it to the Orioles dugout just before batting practice ended. As everyone was putting equipment away, I asked the skipper for a ball. He nodded to me as to say yes to my request. He walked to the ball bin and grabbed 3 balls. He forgot that I was the one who asked for a ball, and threw a ball to the guy next to me.

I met up with Mr. Most in the left field bleachers next to the bullpens. There were 6 balls in the bullpens so we figured we had a pretty good chance to get 1 or 2. A ton of kids (and also adults) realized that there were balls in the bullpens. They were all standing in the aisle so they could get a ball when someone came into the bullpens. Mr. Most and I just sat on the bleachers and waited. The usher walked down the aisle and made everyone in the aisle leave. Yes, this was a very good thing! Pretty soon Drew Butera entered the Twins bullpen and tossed one of the balls to me. The throw was very low and I couldn’t catch it. Thankfully he saw that I couldn’t reach the ball and he threw me a different ball.

It was not commemorative, but I was still very happy to get a ball.

The pitchers were done warming up within 10 minutes of the game. Mr. Most and I went to buy supper, which for me was a polish sausage and pretzels.

This was the view from our seats:

The previous picture was taken during batting practice. The red rectangle shows where our seats were. The white circle shows were a foul ball was hit. That was the closest a ball got to us for the rest of the game.

When the 7th inning came around I was all ready to take a picture of the mascot race. I had a front row view of the race; the mascots would run right past me:

The purple mascot on the left side of the picture won the race by a split second. It looked like the purple mascot tied with the Target dog mascot. Not that it makes a difference…

By the top of the 9th inning, Mr. Most and I were behind the Orioles dugout anxiously waiting for a Twins walk off hit. Unfortunately the Twins couldn’t string more than one hit together. The Twins lost the game 2-1.

We stuck around and waited to see if anyone would toss up some baseballs. When the Orioles bullpen staff started walking from the bullpen to the dugout, I was looking closely to see if any of the coaches had a ball. There were no baseballs that were visible so when they reached the dugout I asked for the lineup card(s). The coach didn’t give me the lineup card(s), but a different coach made eye contact with me and tossed me a baseball. This was surprising because I didn’t ask him for anything. After thanking him I came to the conclusion that this had been the last chance for anyone in the ball park to obtain a ball, because the coach was the last team member to leave the field. Everyone else had already entered the clubhouses.

When I looked at the ball I realized that this wasn’t a normal ball, but it was a commemorative ball! This was the reason I chose to attend this game. The logo was perfect, it didn’t even have a scuff. It was a beauty:

The previous picture is really blurry because I had to use my phone camera, which doesn’t focus very well if there isn’t good lighting. It was the best picture that I could take at the time.

Here is a better picture that I took once I got home:

  • 2 balls at this game
  • 21 balls in 6 games this season = Avg. 3.5 balls per      game
  • 6 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
  • 6 consecutive games with at least 2 balls
  • 7 consecutive Twins home games with at least 1 ball
  • 5 consecutive Twins home games with at least 2 balls
  • Gotten at least 1 ball from 9 different teams
  • 24 total balls

The next game I will be attending will be on August 13th when the Tigers play the Twins at Target Field. I might get to one more game before August 13th, but I don’t know yet.

6-13-12 @ Target Field – Phillies vs. Twins

I was really excited for this game for 3 reasons:

  1. I think the Phillies are very fun to watch
  2. It was an Interleague game
  3. I really wanted a few baseballs from the Phillies

A friend and I had driven to the game. When the gates opened we ran to this spot:

While in left field for 15 minutes I was denied a baseball 3 times. The players flat-out said “no”. Since there was no luck with toss ups I focused on catching home runs. I had no chance because the bleachers were full of people. It wouldn’t have mattered much anyways, because there weren’t a lot of players hitting them into the left field bleachers.

Since most of the people were standing in the bleachers, I ran to the foul line in right field. A ball landed in the row behind me but it bounced back to the field before I could grab it. It was a missed opportunity where I should have easily made the catch.

Sometime later another ball was hit in my direction. I ran down the row to grab it, but when I reached down for the ball, a lady in the row ahead of me reached under the seat and snagged it before I could get a hand on it.  Just as this was happening a player (the player on the bottom of the next picture) was going to throw me a ball, but he thought I grabbed the previous ball so he threw the ball to the same lady. She then gave it to her son, who had 3.

At 5:56 pm B.J. Rosenberg (the player on the top of the previous picture) fielded a ball near me. Since he had looked at me numerous times but hadn’t thrown me a ball I said, “Can I just have 1 ball please?” he responded, “Dude you got like 5!” I did my best to quickly explain how I came close to getting a few and how I still came up empty. I don’t know if he believed me or not, but he threw me the ball.

That was it for batting practice. 1 ball.

Fast forward to the game…

In the fourth inning Jim Thome hit a 454 foot homerun over the batters eye. It was the longest anyone has hit a home run at Target Field.

After the National Anthem Mr. Most (my friend that I was at the game with) and I bought Polish sausages. They were mouth-watering, and very messy. In the 7th inning Mr. Most bought us each a bag of mini donuts. In the bottom of the 8th inning I got us 2 tickets for behind the dugout.

The Twins lost 9-8 in 9 innings. Mr. Most and I stood behind the dugout when the game was over. A couple of minutes later, someone from the dugout rolled a ball across the top of the dugout. This was ball #2 for the day.

I gave the second ball to Mr. Most. In the next picture the ball is on the left.

I took the next picture when I got home (1 pictured because I gave 1 away).

  • 2 balls at this game
  • 16 balls in 4 games this season = Avg. 4 balls per game
  • 4 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
  • 4 consecutive games with at least 2 balls
  • 4 consecutive Twins Home Games with at least 2 balls
  • 6 consecutive Twins home games with at least 1 ball
  • Gotten at least 1 ball from 6 different teams
  • 19 total balls

The next game I’m going to is on 6-18-12 at Miller Park. I’m hoping to get my 20th ball there on Monday.

5-28-12 @ Target Field – A’s vs. Twins

It was (Monday) Memorial Day so I didn’t have school. My Uncle and his family invited my family to go to their house for the day. Sunday night I bought the cheapest ticket that I could find for this game ($9 for section 303). Fort Snelling Station is 10 minutes away from my uncle’s house so my family dropped me off at the train station on their way to uncle’s house. The train arrived at the station right as I was buying my train ticket so I had to hurry to get on the train before the door closed. 20 minutes later I got off the train at the left field gate at Target field:

I got to the left field gate at 10:45 am. Because it was Memorial Day the gates opened 2 hours early so I only had to wait 15 minutes for the gates to open. When I arrived there were only 2 people at the gate. Ten minutes before the gates opened about 15 people got inline at the gate. There was barely anybody. Everyone else must not have known that the gates opened an extra half hour early, which was fine by me.

When the gates opened I hurried to the left field bleachers. There was a home run that landed in the flowers, but a guy beat me to it. Then a bomb was hit towards the bleachers. I ran to my left, across the whole section and got there just in time to make the catch on the fly. This was the first home run ball I had ever caught in BP:

I took the previous picture right after I caught the ball. I don’t know who it is but it looks like Josh Willingham. I can only hope. The picture was taken from very far away, but does anyone know who he is?

I asked the person closest to me to take a picture of me with the ball. Right as I said that, Jeff Manship fielded a ball. I immediately turned around and asked him for the ball. He threw it to me, I thanked him, and I got my picture taken with 2 baseballs.

Jeff Manship is standing in the background. He is #49.

Do you see my A’s jersey sticking out at the top of my Twins shirt?

A little boy walked over and tried to get Manship to throw him a ball. I told him to use his first name (Jeff), always say please, and make sure he can hear you. The next time Manship fielded a ball, the boy did just what I told him to do, and Manship threw him the ball.

I decided to move closer to the infield. I hurried toward 3rd base and stood next to this Toro:

So why did i want to stand here? Because a ball was overthrown and it stopped rolling on the other side of the Toro. Plus, I was pretty sure no other fans had seen it.

After about 10 minutes Jonny Gomes jogged towards me. I asked if he could throw me the ball that was by the Toro. He smiled and outright said “NOPE!” He saw that there were three little kids a few feet away from me so he ran to the ball bag and grabbed three balls. He jogged over to the kids, signed the balls, and then gave them to the kids. Then he said that he had to go take batting practice so he started to jog to the infield. As he was passing me he bent down, picked up the ball, and threw it to me. I said thank you and then I got my picture taken with my third ball of the day:

There were a bunch of balls sitting in the right field corner, so I made my way through the seats as fast as I could.  By the time i got there all of them had been picked up and thrown to the infield.

Pretty soon a couple of balls were hit to the right field corner and Jarred Parker came over to get them. I called out to him and he threw a ball to me. It was pretty obvious that he threw it to ME, but the guy next to me reached out to catch the ball and neither of us caught the ball because it fell to the ground. I wanted to yell at the guy, but I didn’t say anything. Within a minute another ball was hit to the right field corner, and once again Jarred Parker was coming to get it:

This time I yelled, “Jarrod can you please throw me that ball? Last time, THIS GUY (pointing to the man) knocked the ball out of my glove.” It turned out that Parker saw it happen so he threw me a differant ball. I also got my picture taken again:

The sun was reflecting off of the right field bleachers, so it was really hard to look this direction.

I decided to move again. I hurried to the A’s Dugout. Cliff Pennington signed the front on my ticket, and Jamile Weeks signed the back. Third base coach Mike Gallego was hitting ground balls to the infielders and then the infielders threw the balls back to him. Some of the balls rolled past Gallego to the dugout.

When he walked around to pick up the balls, he threw one of them to me:

This was what the game looked like from my seat:

I sat here for 1 inning until I found out that it was $1 hotdog day (every Monday at Target Field) so i bought 4 hotdogs. Here is one of them:

The game lasted for 3 hours. It was an exciting but very slow game. In the first inning Josh Reddick hit a solo homer to right field. In the Second inning Kila Ka’aihue also hit a solo homer to right field. In the bottom of the fifth inning Trevor Plouffe hit a solo homer to left field to make it a 2-1 game. Oakland scored a run in the sixth inning. In the bottom of the sixth Justin Morneau hit a sac fly to left and Joe Mauer scored to tie the game. In the eighth inning Kurt Suzuki singled in Jonny Gomes to take the lead 4-3. In the Bottom of the eighth Justin Morneau doubled to left, Joe Mauer scored, and Josh Willingham ran to third. Later in the inning Ryan Doumit hit a sac fly to left and Josh Willingham scored to take the lead 4-5. In the ninth inning Matt Capps got the save for Minnesota; striking out Jonny Gomes to end the game.

After the game ended I walked down to the A’s dugout. All of the players were gone now except for one. He was packing up the bats and baseballs. He peeked his head out of the dugout looking for A’s fans, he was also holding two baseballs. I asked, “Do you have an extra ball for an A’s fan?” he responded by saying, “You’re wearing the right colors!” Here I am holding my sixth ball of the day:

  • 6 balls at this game
  • 14 balls in 3 games this season = Avg. 4.66 balls per game
  • 3 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
  • 3 consecutive games with at least 2 balls
  • 3 consecutive games with at least 3 balls
  • 5 consecutive Twins home games with at least 1 ball
  • 17 total balls
  • Gotten at least 1 ball from 5 different teams

My next game will be on 6-13-12 when the Phillies play the Twins at Target Field.

5-25-12 @ Target Field – Tigers vs. Twins

When the gates opened I ran to my normal spot in foul territory near the right field corner. Jeff Manship was about to throw me a ball, but I made the mistake of saying “Glen”, as in “Glen Perkins”.

Carl Pavano came out to right field to start jogging and stretching. Since I was pretty much the only person in the section we started to make small talk. “Hey Carl” , “hey whats up?” “not too much, you ready for a Win?” , ” Yeah”. Here is a picture of him jogging when we were done talking:

Carl Pavano

I watched batting practice from here for another 5 minutes, and then moved to left field. The Tigers took the field as I arrived in left field.

About 15 minutes later I got my first ball of the day, from this player:

Does anyone know who he is? Let me know.

His throw was really low and the ball bounced in the dirt. I had to play the short hop to make the catch. Luckily I was in the first row and had no problem making the play.

I figured I wouldn’t get another toss-up from here because most of the players near me saw me catch the ball. There were only 4 people near the right field corner so I decided to move there again.

ball #2

Only one player was in right field. Unfortunately he was throwing most of the balls back to the infield. Some time later, a ball landed where the “X” is. When he came to pick it up I popped the question. I couldn’t think of any “clever” ways to ask for the ball so I just said, “Could I please have that ball”? I ended up with my second ball of the day.

I could tell that bp would be ending soon so I moved to the Tigers dugout. No luck there.

To kill time, I walked to the bleachers in left/center field. I found a few empty seats on the aisle next to the bullpen and acted like I belonged there. The arrow in the next picture shows where I sat:

The clock showed “6:45”. T.C. made his way onto the field with a t-shirt shooting gun. I didn’t really think too much about it until he pointed to the section that I was in. T.C. aimed towards me and let it fly. I stood up, ran to my right, and made the catch. A lot of people congratulated me for my good catch.

I noticed that 2 baseballs were sitting in the bullpen. 5 minutes later Nate Dammann walked into the Twins bullpen, and since I was the only person paying attention, I was the first person to ask for a ball.

Nate heard me and tossed a ball to me. I thanked him and sat back down. The people in the section started staying things like “Whao you caught the shirt and got a ball!” and “You’re good at this!”

When the game started I found my dad and our friends that we had brought to the game. My dad also took my picture:

The three of them bought tickets together in section 107, but *I* bought a cheap ticket in left field. I didn’t intend to sit there very much because I was going to watch the game from different seats. I only sat in my actual seat for 1 inning.

In the 6th inning people started to leave because the Twins were losing 7-3. I used this to my advantage, and this is where I sat:

Do you see the arrow in left field? That is where my real seat was.

At the end of the 6th inning the Twins were still losing, and more people left. I stood at the top of the aisle that led to the dugout seats. I watched 4 season ticket holders walk up the steps. I politely asked if they were leaving. They said that they were leaving so I asked if I could have one of their tickets. They offered me all four of their tickets, but I politely accepted one. Look at my new seat:

I was shut out trying to get a warmup ball.

The Twins lost, the score was 10-6 at the end of the game.

The shirt was HUGE!

  • 3 balls at this game
  • 8 balls in 2 games this season = Avg. 4 balls per game
  • 2 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
  • 2 consecutive games with at least 2 balls
  • 2 consecutive games with at least 3 balls
  • 4 consecutive Twins home games with at least 1 ball
  • 11 total balls
  • Gotten at least one ball from 4 different teams

My next game will be on May 28th when the Twins play the A’s.