Category: Target Field

09-28-13 @ Target Field – Indians vs. Twins

Following the Twins game the night before, Mateo and I went to his apartment. I crashed on the couch for the night and headed out the next morning for the 12:05 Twins game. Mateo and Sean (and your roommates whose names I’m blanking on right now), I know I’ve thanked you for letting me stay the night at your apartment, but here is your WordPress thank you:

The morning was pretty relaxed. The gates were scheduled to open at 10:00 but I was in no hurry to get there right away because batting practice was cancelled due to the rain. After driving from Mateo’s place to Fort Snelling, I found myself in a familiar place for one of the last times this season:

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My view from the lightrail

Minutes later I was inside Target Field, but I was still out in the rain:

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Cole De Vries playing Catch around 10:30

You might not be able to tell from the picture, but it was raining hard enough that I got soaked from head to toe. There were even puddles of water in each row of seats. Despite the rain, a group of Indians took the field to play catch around 11 o’clock. I lined up behind Zach McAlister and his throwing partner. Zach had issues with his accuracy and overthrew his partner three times (probably because of the rain). As a result, I ended up with my first ball of the day. The ball was so dirty that they didn’t want it back. They each had a few extras anyways.

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Zach McAlister and a teammate.

I then got a ball from Vinnie Pestano when he and a teammate finish playing catch.

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Vinnie Pestano is the player in the middle of the picture.

As short as that was, that was all the excitement during the pregame. As noon approached everything got darker:

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Photo taken at 11:30. Rain coming down harder and wind speed increasing at this point.

I saw this as I was eating my nachos from center field:

Delayed Game.

Delayed Game.

The game was delayed. The 2 and 1/2 hour delay was the longest I had been to so far, but I didn’t mind waiting around. It was actually kind of fun. I made my way around the stadium to talk to all the ushers I had made friends with this year and to thank them for being so kind. Making friends with the ushers is good because then you have people in different parts of the ballpark who can help you out every once and a while. Plus, if you find the right people, they are great to talk with.

2:30 Start Time

Just a few minutes before the game started I found a spot near the bullpen and got this ball from Liam Hendricks:

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“Every fan appreciation weekend of the year, the Twins each sign one of these tee balls and toss them into a random part of the crowd.” – Mateo Fischer

Last year I got one of these from Tyler Robertson on September 28, 2012. I also got two of these at the game the night before today’s game. In case you’re wondering, I did count them in my collection. I know they’re not Major League Baseballs, but I saw the guys bouncing and throwing these around and obviously they had to sign them AND chuck them into the crowd. Since they were used and signed by Major League Players, there’s a beyond reasonable case to count them.

Eventually the game finally started at 2:30. Things got VERY interesting VERY quickly. Do you remember the Twitter contest the Twins had the night before? The Twins decided to bring it back during the rain delay and when the game started. The Twins sent out this Tweet at the beginning of the game:

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I got there within 10 seconds of when the Tweet showed up on my Twitter timeline.

It didn’t take long to get to the nacho stand because I was in the flag court when the Twins sent out the Tweet. This was the result:

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One of my favorite autographs in my collection.

The best part of the thing is that Paul Molitor is my favorite player to have played the game. It was a very cool experience. The thing that made it even better was that the ball was also authenticated (I can prove it’s a legit signature).

I also got the next signed baseball in the second inning. I figured that since the first ball was on the 100 level, the next ball would probably be on the 200 level. I didn’t know if I would be right or not but I gave it a shot because I was hoping not many other people had the same idea as I did. When the second inning came around the Twins sent out this tweet:

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This time I got there within 20 seconds of when the Tweet showed up on my Twitter timeline.

Instead of taking the usual cliché picture of the ball in my hand I decided to switch things up:

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The Twins Rep holding the Corey Koskie autographed baseball.

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The normal, cliché picture.

You know what? This  ball was authenticated too!

So, by the time the second inning started I was practically floating on cloud nine. Since the day had been so awesome so far, I was seriously considering leaving the game at the end of the inning. I really should’ve left because in the 4th inning this happened:

This was very painful. Did you see me in the video? I’m wearing a white hat and a maroon sweatshirt. If you replay the video enough you’ll see that If I wouldn’t have moved at all then the ball would’ve been RIGHT to me. It should’ve been the easiest catch of my life, but I misread the ball, underplayed it, and the ball sailed on me. It is extremely rare that a ball is hit to the exact spot you are standing at (Even less likely with a game home run). I will desperately try to redeem myself next year in the flag court. I have NEW GOALS and NEW BALLHAWKING PRIORITIES for 2014.

Do you know who caught Carlos Santana’s home run? Waldo did.

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Waldo’s highlight of the year.

Congrats to him, he made a good catch. He also avoided running over a little girl in the process. He didn’t even get close to the girl but security came over to talk to him. We all vouched for him and it was fine. The little girl was also fine.

I ended up here when the game was coming to a close:

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Pretty Decent Seats!

The Indians beat the Twins, 5-1. Here is the box score and game info:

5-1, Indians.

5-1, Indians.

Scoring Summary and Game Info.

This is a bit blurry but it will have to do.

This is a bit blurry but it will have to do.

All in a days work...

All in a days work…

A Piece of The Game MVP:

Liam Hendricks: Thanks for throwing the autographed baseball to me!

Player of the Game:

Scott Kazmir: He only pitched 6 innings, but he only allowed one run on six hits and two walks. He also racked up 11 strike outs! That’s almost two per inning!

  • 5 balls in this game
  • 73 balls in 19 games this season = Avg. 3.84 balls per game
  • 29 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
  • 6 consecutive games with at least 2 balls
  • 4 consecutive games with at least 3 balls
  • 4 consecutive games with at least 4 balls
  • 4 consecutive games with at least 5 balls
  • 25 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 16 different teams
  • 117 total balls

09-27-13 @ Target Field – Indians vs. Twins

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:

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Photo courtesy of Mateo Fisher. Photographer courtesy of Jonathan Mueller.

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:

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Jonathan is on the left and Mateo is on the right.

When I saw a chance for a third ball I lined up behind Ubaldo Jimenez:

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Ubaldo is inside the red circle.

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:

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A quick picture of the ball after Ubaldo walked away. So quick that I didnt face the ball upright.

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:

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Justin Masterson signing my print out ticket.

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:

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My fourth ball of the day.

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:

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Information about “how to play”.

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:

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Tweeted in the first inning. At this point we were still watching the game.

3

Tweeted in the second inning. We were watching the game.

4

Tweeted in the third inning. We quickly got to Hrbek’s, but another fan beat us to it.

5

Tweeted in the fourth inning. I was the first to find the Twins Rep and I won the baseball!

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:

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Photo courtesy of Mateo Fischer.

Near the end of the fourth inning we all took our spots again and got ready for the next announcement.

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Tweeted in the fifth inning. I was the first to find the Twins Rep! Twice in a row!

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:

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Photo courtesy of Mateo Fischer.

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.

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Tweeted in the sixth inning. We quickly got to Hrbek’s, but another fan beat us to it.

8

Tweeted in the seventh inning. Jonathan was the first to find the Rep and win the baseball!

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:

Capture

Left photo courtesy of the Minnesota Twins Twitter page. Right photo courtesy of Jonathan Mueller.

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:

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I wasn’t actually on the Beer Deck. The Twins require that you are at least 21 years of age to set foot on it.

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Construction of the Light Rail Transit addition. You have a great view of it from the 300 level.

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The view from the far left corner of Target Field.

When the Twins’ Twitter activity ended we watched some players warm up in the bullpen. Can you spot Jonathan and Mateo?

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Check above the bullpen.

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.

Final score and box score.

Scoring summary and game information.

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:

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Autographed balls from left to right: Josh Roenicke, Shairon Martis, Oswaldo Arcia, and Scott Diamond.

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Black and White photo.

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

09-11-13 @ Target Field – A’s vs. Twins

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:

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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:

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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!

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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:

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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:

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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.

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As game time was drawing near, I got a picture with Mateo before I left for the A’s dugout:

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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:

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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!

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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:

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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:

box info more info

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) :

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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

 

 

09-09-13 @ Target Field – Angels vs. Twins

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:

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About a minute before the gates opened an employee handed Matt a ball that had been hit to the gate:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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I glanced over at the bullpen a few minutes later and the baseballs were gone:

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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:

box score game info

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) :

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  • 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

08-27-13 @ Target Field – Royals vs. Twins

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Once again, I was back at Target Field, but I probably wouldn’t have gone to this game had it not been for Shawn Bosman. A few entries ago I mentioned that he would be visiting Target Field so I did my best to be at the game for his first visit to the “new” ballpark. I’m sorry Chris, I tried to be there in May 😦 . Tony was very excited to meet Shawn and wanted to make his first visit a very memorable one. Tony used his “season ticket holder perks” to gain access for the two of them to view batting practice at 4:15. I got to hang around with them until then, but then I was left with Waldo. This wasn’t a bad thing, I just wished there was water outside the gates instead of just inside. It was hot.

Waldo got pretty upset when we found out that batting practice was cancelled because of the heat. When I got inside the stadium I met up with Shawn and Tony behind the Twins’ dugout:

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Thinking back on it now, I should’ve taken the picture with them in it. They each had a few baseballs, and even got to go on the field! Don’t take my word for it though, check out Tony’s blog entry about this game. We hung out behind the Twins dugout until we were told to leave by the lady usher who patrols those sections. She told us to leave because it was nearing 6:30, so its not like she kicked us out during the batting practice time slot. Tony & Shawn left to get food, but I wandered toward section 1. As I was walking I spotted Chris Herrmann, who was signing autographs at the end of the dugout. I worked my way down and Chris kindly signed my ticket:

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I took a video of him signing my ticket, but it wasn’t able to get the video off my phone when I got a new phone a few days later.

To avoid speaking with the usher again, I went to the concourse beneath the seats to buy a steak burger. I didn’t want to miss the pregame tossing so I decided to eat it from a spot where I could also catch a baseball. With my glove on my left hand, and steak burger in my right hand, I was ready for the Twins to finish up playing catch. Finally the moment came when Wilken Ramirez and another teammate finished playing catch. I flashed my glove as he was walking from shallow center field back towards the right field foul line. He let it fly. I was surprised that he actually put some muscle into the throw. What made it even cooler was that I caught it while taking a bite out of my burger. *Attention ALL ballhawks: Your homework is to catch a baseball while biting into your burger.*  I thought it was cool enough to take a photo with Ramirez in the background.  IMG_20130827_185247_788

I felt like I had my fair share of fun, so I left the dugout seats when the game started. I stood in the right field plaza, waiting for a home run to be hit there. Unfortunately there were none. Later in the game I met up with Tony and Shawn in the outfield. There were enough open seats that we could all grab an aisle eat next to the bullpen.

For the final two innings I was behind the Royals dugout, but I didn’t manage to snag anything. That’s alright though, because the best part about the dugout seats is the great view:

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Up until the 8th inning the game remained scoreless, but then the Royals scored 5 runs in the half of the inning. The Twins scored 1 run off a few hits in the bottom of the 8th, but they didn’t string enough together for a comeback. Billy Butler homered to right field in the 9th, but it didn’t go far enough to reach Shawn, who was still in the plaza. The Royals beat the Twins 6-1. Here is the box score and scoring plays from the game:

box scoring plays

The game was very long (3 hours & 10 minutes) but I stayed for all of it. After the game I got my second ball of the night from Mario, but he was pretty reluctant to throw it to me because he has seen me enough to know who I am. I don’t always ask him for a ball, but I think he thinks I do. I BARELY got a ball from Mario, but at least I got one from him.

Tony, Shawn and I were going to meet up after the game to get a picture together, but for some reason we all had terrible timing and missed each other completely. Oh well, there’s next time.

On my way out I took a nice photo of my small haul from the day:

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A Piece of The Game MVP:

Wilkin Ramirez: He presented me with the chance to catch a baseball while I was biting into my burger. Trying new things is fun.

Player of the Game:

James Shields: His game stats were pretty good:

j.shields

  • 2 balls in this game
  • 44 balls in 15 games this season = Avg. 2.93 balls per game
  • 21consecutive Twins home games with at least 1 ball
  • 25 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
  • Gotten at least 1 ball from 15 different teams
  • 88 total balls

8-3-13 @ Target Field – Astros vs. Twins

I wasn’t planning on going to this game, but my Pastor and I made plans the night before. This wasn’t just any old game for him, this was his first time to Target Field. I knew it would be crowded because it was Dairy Queen hat day, but I was hoping the crowds wouldn’t put a damper on the day. I wanted his first time to Target Field to be memorable!

When we entered the stadium we went straight to the bleachers and caught the last 15 minutes or so of the Twins portion of batting practice. Within that time I missed a ball due to misjudgment, got robbed of a ball when someone stepped in front of me at the last second, and eventually got on the board by snagging a homer hit by Josh Willingham right before BP wrapped up. I gave it to my Pastor and took his picture when we sat down a few minutes later in foul territory:

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He has been to many baseball games before, but I didn’t know if he’d been to many batting practices. I explained the concept of ballhawking and how I’ve managed to keep adding to my collection of baseballs. By this time the Astros had started playing catch in left field while the first group of lefties started hitting:

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When Jordan Lyles finished playing catch with another teammate I got his attention and he threw me my 2nd ball of the day:

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Then I sat back down and we watched the rest of batting practice from those seats. Ballhawking wise, I didn’t miss ANYTHING because the Astros were not playing up to par (not that they usually do). I was glad when BP finished because it gave me some time to show Pastor around the ballpark. I showed him the concessions, team stores, and basically everything on the 100 and 300 levels.

At about 5:30 I made my way to the bullpens. My quest was to get a 50th anniversary ball from the Astros. I don’t know if Javier remembered me or not from the day before, but once again I got the cold shoulder. Was it something I did? I have no idea.

As I headed to my seat in section 320 I took this photo:

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Every time I have sat in the 300 level I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I love the great view, and usually the people are very friendly and talkative. That wasn’t the case with the lady who was sitting to my left. She would take a bite of food, then drink a sip of beer. Take a bite, sip, bite, sip and so on. She would simultaneously put her beer in the cup holder, take it out, put it back, and so on. I wouldn’t have cared, except that she was using my cup holder, the one on the back of the seat in from of me – in between my legs. Every time she used the cup holder I had to move so she could access her beer. This was very uncomfortable and annoying. I told her that since our seats were so close together I might accidently tip her beer over. Apparently she couldn’t handle the stress of holding two things at once because she got worked up about it and kept on using the cup holder. So what did I do? I stopped moving out of the way when she reached for her beer. Every time she wanted to grab her beer she had to reach around my leg to grab it and then bring it back without spilling. Ha, ha, ha I win. Oh, but I didn’t. As she bit down into her hotdog the burning grease squirted onto my face! I contained myself form yelling, but it felt like my face was on fire! Some people.

Later in the game I took this sort of artsy photo:

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Towards the end of the game my Pastor went to look around the stadium while I headed to the dugouts. As soon as the last out was recorded I raced down the steps to the umpire tunnel. I don’t know why, but I was the only person remotely close to the umpire tunnel. When I politely called out to umpire James Hoye he either ignored me or didn’t hear my until the last second. He saw my glove and tossed me my 3rd and final ball of the day. That was the only ball that James Hoye gave away after the game.

GAME TIME! The game was 3 hours and 24 minutes long. This is way to long for a 9 inning game of baseball. Because they won tonight, the Twins had won back to back games against the Astros. In the first inning the Astros scored off a ground rule double to center field. The Twins tied it in the bottom of the first and took a 3-2 lead when Clete Thomas stole home in the second inning. The Astros took a 4-3 lead during the next inning off of a homer, a double, and 3 singles. Surprisingly the Twins retook the lead after a big 7th inning. Dozier and Thomas both doubled,  Mauer and Morneau both walked, and Ryan Doumit singled. By this time the Twins were ahead 5-4 with the bases loaded. After Plouffe popped up, Arcia walked and got an RBI in the process.  No one scored the rest of the game — The Twins won!

Here is the box score and scoring plays from the game:

box score - game info

A Piece of The Game MVP:

No one seemed to be an MVP today.

Player of The Game:

Anthony Swarzak: He relieved starting pitcher Kyle Gibson to start the 4th inning. He pitched 3 innings in which the Astros were hitless. He struck out 5 men and only allowed 1 base runner.

Here’s my final haul from the day:

final

  • 3 ball in this game (2 pictured because I gave 1 away at this game)
  • 39 balls in 12 games this season = Avg. 3.25 balls per game
  • 22 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
  • 20 consecutive Twins home games with at least 1 ball
  • Gotten at least 1 ball from 14 different teams
  • 83  total balls

8-2-13 @ Target Field – Astros vs. Twins

I only got to the ballpark 10 minutes early, but I still got a great spot in line. That’s because I got to jump in with Tony! Since it was Friday and the gates opened 2 hours early we were expecting to see part of the Twins portion of batting practice. Disappointingly the Twins left the field before the gates opened. Around 5:30 the Astros took the field:

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After they got all stretched out they played some catch:

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Matt Dominguez threw me my first ball of the day after he finished playing catch with another teammate.

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Less than a minute later Javier Bracamonte, the Astros bullpen catcher, was about to throw me a ball but a kid’s dad suddenly yelled, “He already got a ball today!” Yeah that’s cool, ruin my chances… especially when I watched his son snag 3 baseballs 10 minutes earlier! Things got weird after that. Javier dissed me, and then made fun of my Nike shirt. A very special thank you goes out to that random dad in the crowd. This ended up hurting my ballhawking opportunities later in the day. 

When batting practice started I moved to section 125 because baseballs were being hit into foul territory. I was paying very close attention the whole time, but eventually I turned my attention elsewhere for a few seconds. In that few seconds a ball was hit to my section. It was so close that it almost hit me! Luckily I saw it coming out of the corner of my eye just in time to catch it after it bounced off a seat a few feet to my right. That was almost really bad, but I was unharmed and I got the ball:

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Nothing worthwhile happened during the Third group of batting practice. Lets face it, this is the Astros. The Astros and “power hitters” are rarely used in the same sentence. You just can’t say that the Astros are a power hitting team… it doesn’t work. Its kind of like saying that the Milwaukee Bucks are good at basketball.

This was my view at the end of batting practice when the Astros jogged off the field:

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I raised my glove as Coach Doug Brocail walked past me and he threw me this:

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I know its not a great picture, but It will work. On an unrelated note, this is a better picture:

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You get brownie points if you can spot Tony in the previous picture. He even posed and made a facial expression for the picture.

Tony and I migrated to the bullpens in hopes of obtaining one of the 50th anniversary baseballs that the Astros were supposedly using during batting practice. Up to this point I had only seen one today, but that changed when the bullpen ball bag was brought out:

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Eventually the catcher practiced fielding wild pitches so I was able to get a look at EVERY ball in the bag. EVERY ball was commemorative, but I didn’t get a single one. No one did. YET. This is where you should visit Tony’s blog to see what happened next! Am I doing a decent job at building suspense? Go ahead and click here to read it! As for me, Javier bluntly ignored me because he instantly recognized me from earlier in the day.

Shortly before the game started Tony headed to his seats. I found a nice aisle seat next to the Astros bullpen and watched most of the game from this spot:

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Here’s Javier:

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Unfortunately I didn’t get to stay for the whole game. I watched the first 9 innings, but I didn’t have enough time to stay when the game went into extra innings. I was kind of bummed because I absolutely LOVE extra innings. I like it because (1) its EXTRA baseball and (2) its FREE baseball! That’s sounds a bit funny, but I like it for more than just those two reasons.

Lets drift back to the game. The Twins scored the first run of the game in the third inning when Joe Mauer hit a sac fly to score Clete Thomas. The Astros took the lead in the fifth inning and then the Twins tied the game in the ninth. There weren’t a lot of hits, but it was an exciting game. Ron Gardenhire must have been a little confused In the 13th inning because he sent Mike Pelfrey (a pitcher) to the On Deck Circle (in the DH spot). Correia, another pitcher, was sent to pinch-hit for Pelfrey before he reached the plate. It all worked out and it even helped lead the Twins to a vicory.

Here is the box score and scoring plays from the game:

s box score scoring summary

A Piece of The Game MVP:

Matt Dominguez:    He restored some of my ballhawking confidence, that I had lost due to the cold streak I had been on in July, by getting me on the board early in the day.

Player of The Game:

Brian Dozier:   He went 3-7 and had 2 RBI.  Most importantly his 13th inning hit won the game for the Twins (and snapped their losing streak)!

Here is the final haul from the game:

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  • 3 ball in this game
  • 36 balls in 11 games this season = Avg. 3.27 balls per game
  • 21 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
  • 19 consecutive Twins home games with at least 1 ball
  • Gotten at least 1 ball from 14 different teams
  • 80  total balls