Tagged: Anthony Swarzak

The 2014 Extraordinary Compilation of Ballhawking Statistics

The 2014 baseball season was one that I won’t forget. To kick off the year I was able to attend a few Spring Training games in Florida. Amoung four games at Hammond Stadium and jetBlue Park, I caught 42 Baseballs and collected 10 autographs.

When the regular season rolled around I got off to a slow start. By the All-Star Break I had only collected 14 balls in five games (avg. of 2.8 per game). Speaking of the All-Star Break… What an experience!  If you missed out on my recaps then be sure to check out my entries from the Futures Game, Home Run Derby and of course, the All-Star Game. I snagged three commemorative Home Run Derby baseballs and collected a few other really cool souvenirs.

At the All-Star Game I literally witnessed history in the making. Mike Trout became only the third player to get multiple extra-base hits in an All-Star Game before turning 23. With his third inning single, Derek Jeter became only the sixth player in baseball history with 10 career singles in the All-Star Game. Jeter also became the oldest player with multiple hits in an All-Star Game. Yasiel Puig became only the second Dodgers player to strike out three times in an All-Star Game. Mike Trout also became the second player in ASG history to collect a triple, a double, and 2+ RBI in a single ASG. His booming performance helped earn him the ASG MVP.

After the All-Star Break I traveled to Wrigley Field for one game with Shawn Bosman and to Kauffman Stadium for two games with Mateo Fischer. Although this was my first time visiting Wrigley, I had visited Kauffman a few years back.

Heading into September I was averaging just 1.7 baseballs throughout 10 games, but thanks to a 39 ball month I was able to finish the year with an average of 3.29 balls in 17 games. The seven games that I attended during September are some of the most memorable games I’ve been to.

I saw the Twins win a lot this year. Not only did the Twins win nine of the 12 games I attended, but three of them were walk-off victories!

Game Log

This is a screen shot of my game log. I log each game with its date, start time, ballpark, teams, scores, attendance, temperature, wind, and balls collected. It’s not very visible now, but the photo will expand if you click on it.

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You might have noticed there are a few games that are in bold. If something is in bold then it means I didn’t count that game towards ballhawking. I have reasons for doing so, and I’d be more than happy to explain them if you’d like to know. All of my ballhawking stats reflect the games that aren’t in bold.

The Numbers

Number of Baseballs in 2014:

  • Total: 88
  • Spring Training: 32
  • Regular Season: 56
  • Post Season: N/A

Stats in this entry will reflect the Regular Season total of 56 baseballs.

Season Summary

Overall Season Summary:

  • Total Baseballs: 56
  • Games Attended: 17
  • Average Balls/Game: 3.29
  • Game Balls: 5
  • Most Ball in one Game: 9

Statistical Breakdown

Number of Baseballs by Month and Day:

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Number of Baseballs by Time Frame:

  • BP/Pre-game: 39
  • During Game: 10
  • Post-Game: 7

Number of Baseballs by Location:

Snag Tracker is courtesy of Mygameballs.com . Go check out the website if you have not already!

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Number of Baseballs by Method:

  • Hit Balls: 12
  • Thrown Balls: 43
  • Easter Eggs: 1

Number of baseballs by League:

  • American League Balls: 48
  • National League Balls: 4
  • Umpire Balls: 4

Number of Baseballs by Team:

  • AL All-Stars: 2
  • Diamondbacks: 3
  • Indians: 3
  • NL All-Stars: 1
  • Rangers: 4
  • Royals: 1
  • Tigers: 1
  • Twins: 35
  • Umpires: 4
  • White Sox: 2

Number of Baseballs by Player:

  • 6 Balls: Dominique (BB)
  • 5 Balls: Twins Reps
  • 4 Balls: N/A
  • 3 Balls: Armando Camacaro (Coach), Oswaldo Arcia, Unknown Diamondbacks Players
  • 2 Balls: Ben Richardson (Bullpen Catcher), Chris Parmelee, Stadium Employees, Unknown Rangers Players, Unknown Twins Players
  • 1 Ball: Aaron Thompson, Anthony Swarzak, Brian Duensing, Casey Fien, Chris Herrmann, David Price, Eduardo Nunez, Josh Willingham, Kaz Uehara (Koji Uehara’s son), Kurt Suzuki, Kyle Gibson, Lester Oliveros, Lorenzo Cain, Phil Hughes, Ron Gardenhire, Trevor Plouffe, Tyson Ross, Umpire Brian Knight, Umpire Cory Blaser, Umpire Phil Cuzzi, Unknown Rangers Coach, Unknown Tigers Player, Unknown White Sox Bullpen Coach, Unknown White Sox Player

 Wins vs. Losses

(“Wins vs. Losses” accounts for 16/17 games that I attended in 2014. The Home Run Derby was excluded from “Wins vs. Losses” because the winner of the Derby is an individual player, not a team.)

Home Team Record: (10-6)

Total Score: Visitors – 53 to Home – 75

Average Score: Visitors – 3.5 to Home – 4.68

Average Score when home team…

  • Wins: 2.7 – 6.2
  • Loses: 4.33 – 2.16

Total number of baseballs collected when home team…

  • Wins: 36
  • Loses: 19

Average baseballs/game when the home team…

  • Wins: 3.6
  • Loses: 3.16

Minnesota Twins Record: (9-3)

Total Score: Visitors – 38 to Twins – 62

Average Score: Visitors – 3.17 to Twins – 5.17

Average score when the Twins…

  • Win: 2.67 – 6.33
  • Lose: 4.67 – 1.67

Total number of baseballs collected when the Twins…

  • Win: 34
  • Lose: 19

Average baseballs/game when the Twins…

  • Win: 3.78
  • Lose: 6.3

Attendance Figures

Total Attendance:

  • Target Field (14 Games): 400,553
  • Kauffman Stadium (2 Games): 74,098
  • Wrigley Field (1 Game): 30,541
  • Overall (17 Games): 505,192

Average Attendance:

  • Target Field (14 Games): 28,611
  • Kauffman Stadium (2 Games): 37,049
  • Wrigley Field (1 Game): 30,541
  • Overall (17 Games): 29,717

Total Baseballs by Attendance:

  • 20,000-29,999: 51
  • 30,000-39,999: 2
  • 40,000 – 49,999: 3

Average Baseballs/Game by Attendance:

  • 20,000-29,999: 5
  • 30,000-39,999: 0.4
  • 40,000 – 49,000: 1.5

Temperature

Average attendance by Temperature:

  • 30-39 degrees: N/A
  • 40-49 degrees: N/A
  • 50-59 degrees: N/A
  • 60-69 degrees: 25
  • 70-79 degrees: 30
  • 80-89 degrees: 1
  • 90-99 degrees: 0

Average baseballs/game by Temperature:

  • 30-39 degrees: N/A
  • 40-49 degrees: N/A
  • 50-59 degrees: N/A
  • 60-69 degrees: 3.57
  • 70-79 degrees: 4.29
  • 80-89 degrees: 0.5
  • 90-99 degrees: 0

Autographs

Number of Autographs/Player:

  • At Twins Caravan: 4
  • At TwinsFest: 1
  • At the Ballpark: 40

Aaron Thompson, Alex Meyer, Alex Presley (x2), Anthony Swarzak, Brian Duensing, Caleb Thielbar, Casey Fien, Christopher Acosta, Danny Santana, DiDi Gregorius, Ender Inciarte, Henry Ramos, Javier Guerra, Joe Paterson, Jordan Schafer, Jose Vinicio, Josmil Pinto, Kennys Vargas (x2), Kevin Correia, Kyle Gibson, Lester Oliveros (x2), Logan Darnell, Mark the Beer Guy (x2), Matthew Price, Miguel Sano, Mookie Betts, Paul Molitor (x2), Pedro Florimon, Reed Gragnini, Ryan Pressly, Tony Oliva, Trevor May, Trevor Plouffe, Trey Ball, Unknown Red Sox Player (x2), Vance Worley, Zack Walters (x2), and Zeke Spruill.

Time spent at the Ballpark

Length of a Game:

(This stat only accounts for the official game time. This does not include the time spent at batting practice or after the game. Also, does not include Home Run Derby because I was unable to determine the length of the Derby.)

  • Total Game Time: 51 hours & 16 minutes
  • Average Time/Game: 3 hours & 12 minutes

Means of Transportation:

Vehicles Used:

  • 10 Games: 2006 Chevy Aveo
  • 1 Game:
    • 2014 Chevy Malibu
    • Chevy Cavalier

Parking:

  • 12 Games: Parked somewhere else and rode the light rail to the stadium.
  • 5 Games: Parked in parking garage or parking lot next to Stadium.

So, not bad! I know some of these stats are random and useless, but most of them are relevant. I didn’t add any new types of statistics to this entry since last year but I did filter out some of the pointless stats that were in last years version. This year it was a bit more difficult to put this entry together because I caught less baseballs than last year. Hopefully I’ll catch a few more balls next year so I can add a bit more variety in next year’s stats entry!

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D-backs vs. Twins @ Target Field (09-24-14)

I didn’t plan to attend this game, but since I was in Minneapolis I figured I might as well go to it since it would be my last chance until next season. When Tony and I met at Gate 34 around 9:00, it finally sunk in that this was it.

We hung around gate 34 for a bit and then I spotted Didi Gregorius and Ender Inciarte as they were approaching the stadium. I already knew that Didi would turn me down again today, but I walked up to them already knowing what I was going to say. I was still mad about how cocky he acted towards the little boy the previous night. I got up to him and said, “Didi, could you please sign my ball?” Just like last night, they kept walking and acted as if I wasn’t there. I caught up to them and in a much different tone I said, “Last night you crushed a five-year old boy by telling him that you don’t sign autographs after a loss. Today is a new day, now will you sign this ball?!”. Just like that he stopped and turned towards me. I could see from the look on his face that he was furious, but he signed the ball and stormed off. HAH! It was HILARIOUS.

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This was the same ball that was signed by the Diamondback players yesterday night. This ball now had the signatures of Joe Paterson, Zeke Spruill, Didi Gregorius and Ender Inciarte.

When the gates opened at 10:30 I lined up behind Kyle Gibson and Nate Dammann as they played catch:

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When they finished, Kyle threw the ball to me:

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Moments later, Logan Darnell and Ben Richardson wandered out to play catch. Logan Darnell signed an autograph for me on the ball that Schafer and Pinto had signed last night:

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It was only a few minutes later when Lester Oliveros and Aaron Thompson finished playing catch. Aaron Thompson tossed the ball to me, then they both walked over to sign it as well:

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You can see Lester Oliveros in the background of the previous picture. After he signed the ball for me he started doing some sprints in the outfield. After taking that picture I moved a section closer to home plate because that’s where Trevor May was playing catch. He tossed the ball to someone else, but I still got his autograph when I asked if he would sign few autographs:

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Trevor also signed the ball from the previous night.

It was a bit strange how smoothly everything was going. After only being in the stadium for 10 minutes I had already gotten two baseballs and four autographs (six if you count the two outside the stadium). I expected it to stop, but it just kept on going!

I got my third ball from Brian Duensing when he and Ben Richardson finished playing catch. It sure was a beauty:

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I expected Brian to leave the field right away, but he stuck around to sign autographs for a long line of fans. He eventually made his way down to me and I was able to thank him up close for the ball he had thrown to me. Brian also signed for me, but I had him sign the ball from the other night:

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By 11:00 o’clock I was one ball shy of reaching a ballhawking milestone. Including spring training baseballs, I was sitting at 199 baseballs. At 11:06, Anthony Swarzak finished up with Nate Dammann and threw me my 200th baseball Here’s what happened next:

200

Wow. Everything was going my way today. I couldn’t believe it!

As the game drew near, I met up with Tony at the Twins’ dugout. From here, things continued to go both of our ways. Tony got a few baseballs and we each got a few more autographs. The first was from Ryan Pressley:

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Pressley also signed the ball from the previous night. That ball now contained the signatures of Jordan Schafer, Josmil Pinto, Logan Darnell, Trevor May, Brian Duensing and Ryan Pressley.

Next, I was able to get Trevor Plouffe’s autograph:

plouffe autos

You know what’s cool about this ball? I had originally caught this ball on the fly when Trevor Plouffe hit it during batting practice at Hammond Stadium on March 6th during spring training. It took 6 months, but I finally got it signed by him!

The final autograph that I got was from my All-Time favorite baseball player, Paul Molitor:

IMG_20140924_115508_528 IMG_20140924_115541_387

Molitor signed the ball I had gotten earlier from Kyle Gibson. This was the fourth time I’d been able to get The Ignitor’s autograph. This would be the last autograph of the season for me. Coincidentally, he also signed my first autograph of the year.

Dominique hooked me up with my fifth ball of the day. This one was from the ball bag:

IMG_20140924_115655_218

Thanks a lot Dom! That was it for pregame, lets go to the game!

Phil Hughes took the mound for Minnesota, as did Vidal Nuno for Arizona. The Twins got off to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning when Kurt Suzuki walked with the bases loaded. The Twins scored again in the second inning when Trevor Plouffe hit a sac fly to center field.

A.J. Pollock stole third base during the sixth inning and Trevor Plouffe, while tagging Pollock, broke his forearm. He was immediately taken out of the game and it was clear that he was done for the remaining four games of the season.

David Peralta then hit a sac fly and A.J. Pollock scored from third.

My next ball was also from Dominique:

IMG_20140924_141457_896 IMG_20140924_141459_860

Randall Delgado was pitching to Eduardo Escobar with 1 out in bottom of the 7th inning. With an 0-2 count, Randall threw a 76 mph curveball in the dirt. Bobby Wilson tossed it to Dominique and Dominique tossed it to me.

Did you see that it was raining? This made it easier to get baseballs because more and more baseballs were getting to dirty to reuse.

My seventh ball was thrown to me by Ron Gardenhire:

IMG_20140924_142714_109

It’s not a very good picture, but that’s alright. This was the ball that the Twins used for their eighth inning infield warm ups. The ball had gotten dirty enough that when Vargas threw it to Ron Gardenhire, Gardenhire just relayed it to me.

Phil Hughes was pitching to Jake Lamb with 2 outs in top of 8th inning. Hughes worked a 1-2 count and then threw a called strike to Lamb to end the inning. Kurt Suzuki rushed to the dugout and to my surprise hooked me up with the ball! This was Phil Hughes’ 842nd career strike out, and his 186th of this season. With that strikeout Hughes set a new single season Major League record for Strike-Out to Walk Ratio (his ratio was 11.63 : 1.00) for pitchers with a qualifying amount of innings. Immediately after getting the ball from Suzuki, everyone around me began telling me, “Give it to the little girl!” Without thinking about the significance of this baseball, I gave it away before I thought about swapping it out with another ball. This was the ball that Phil Hughes used to set a Major League Record and I accidentally gave it away to someone who doesn’t have a clue of its significance!

I do not have a picture of the ball to prove that this happened, but there were plenty of witnesses. Tony Voda can vouch for me because he saw the whole thing.

The game resumed after an hour and five-minute rain delay, and the Twins ended up winning 2-1. Here’s the recap from the game:

After the game I got my ninth and final ball from Casey Fien. This was also directly from the ball bag:

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I would’ve reached double digits, but when Dominique threw me what would’ve been, someone jumped in front of me to catch the ball.  I’m not complaining, i’m just thinking about what could’ve been. Not many people reach double digits without batting practice. I was so close to doing something that so few can say they did.

Here’s the final haul:

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The first eight baseballs pictured were from today, and the other three I brought for autographs. There were eight baseballs pictured because I gave one away. This was the first time I’d been to all three games of a series. From this series I totaled 17 baseballs and 16 autographs. That was a great way to end the season!

2014 Futures Game @ Target Field (07-13-14)

Today was a very special and long awaited day in Minneapolis. This was no ordinary Sunday, it was All Star Sunday which marked the beginning of the All Star Festivities! When I stepped off the light rail I was presented with two options: Capture I had a ticket for FanFest so I chose to follow the path on the left. From Nicolet Mall I began my mile walk to the Minneapolis Convention Center, the home of this year’s FanFest. I was impressed with how much downtown Minneapolis dressed itself up for the Festivities: IMG_20140713_111729_673 Capture2IMG_20140713_094434_232 IMG_20140713_094233_595IMG_20140713_094131_982IMG_20140713_094129_782 Everywhere I looked was baseball themed. It was pretty neat to see how everything was prepped for the Major League All Star Game. After 10-15 minutes the Convention Center was in site: IMG_20140713_095447_534 Upon entering through the front doors I was directed down this hallway: IMG_20140713_095714_545 After turning a few corners I found the entrance to FanFest. It was beautiful: IMG_20140713_105344_211b Once through the turnstiles each guest received a map and guide for FanFest: PhotoCredit: MLB.COM As you can see from the picture above, the convention center was packed with 36 attractions which included the All-Star Clubhouse, All-Star Dugout, Bigfoot, Topps Trading Cards, FanFest Batting Practice, Live Radio Autograph Stages, MLB Clubhouse Store, Minor League Baseball, MLB Network, National Baseball Hall of Fame, The Negro Leagues, Trophies of Major League Baseball, and Women in Baseball. The nice thing about FanFest was that all the attractions were free with admission. I enjoyed visiting most places on the map, but there were a few places that I enjoyed more than the rest. Places like… Hometown Heroes: IMG_20140713_100404_495IMG_20140713_100435_093 Hometown Heroes highlighted all of the Twins players from over the years who had been born in Minnesota. Notable players include Joe Mauer, Dave Winfield, Tom Kelly, Jack Morris, Kent Hrbek, Terry Steinbach, and Glen Perkins. Oh, there was also some guy named Paul Molitor. Apparently he was a 7x All-Star, the 1993 World Series MVP, a 4x Silver Slugger Award winner, a member of the Major League Baseball All-Time Team, and also a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Ever hear of him? Must not be to important. Minor League Baseball: IMG_20140713_100944_560 I was impressed with this attraction in particular. As you can see, there were a lot of New Era hats in the exhibit. Each column of hats represented a MLB team and it consisted of 4-5 hats. The Top hat represented the MLB team, the next hat down represented the AAA team, the hat below that repped the AA team, the next repped the A team, and the final hat repped the Rookie team. It was quite the display of hats! Negro Leagues: IMG_20140713_102735 This exhibit highlighted the most impressive players from the league. There were old pieces of memorabilia such as jerseys, bats, balls, gloves, and scorecards. One thing that I found interesting was the separate Hall of Fame that the league had. The full Negro League Museum is located at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. If you’re interested in seeing it then head there! The Trophies of Major League Baseball: IMG_20140713_103023 ‘Nough said. I think this one is pretty self explanatory. National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum: IMG_20140713_103053 I didn’t actually step inside to look at this attraction because I was able to see the real deal three years ago in Cooperstown, NY. Don’t get me wrong, they still went the whole nine yards here in Minneapolis. There were HOF plaques, jerseys, hats, gloves, baseballs, etc. Tons of memorabilia that is normally in Cooperstown! All Star Clubhouse: IMG_20140713_103653 I only stepped in for a brief moment, but at the time there was a Hall of Fame softball player giving some sort of speech. It was probably a lengthy response to a question that had been directed towards her. The Clubhouse was mostly, if not exclusively, used for Q and A with fans. World Baseball Classic: IMG_20140713_103624 This was intriguing because the map showed which countries were being represented by certain players in the Big Leagues. Like other attractions there were also pieces of memorabilia here. Bigfoot: IMG_20140713_103414 I don’t know how to explain this. Regardless, BigFoot was at the convention center. Quickly, somebody tell Anthony Swarzak to get over here, I found bigfoot! For those of you who don’t know, Anthony Swarzak is a believer of big foot and sasquatch. After I explored FanFest a bit more I found a set of the All Star commemoratives… the same ones I would hopefully get my hands on at Target Field: IMG_20140713_104125_174 Speaking of Target Field, I arrived in a familiar place at 11:30: IMG_20140713_112744_536 I met Tony Voda and his friend Jared at the gates, talked for a bit, and then we rushed inside when the gates opened at two o’clock. Although there was batting practice, I was unable to snag a futures game baseball. On the up side I did get Alex Myers’ autograph on my Futures Game program. Before the game started I watched the pitchers warm up. Hentry Owens started for the U.S. and Jose Berrios for the World: IMG_20140713_155550_497 Mateo Fischer had arrived a bit after the gates opened, but at this point we were both hanging out in the left field bleachers. As we waited for the game to begin we noticed the bleachers were being raised: IMG_20140713_155607_299 We talked to a few ushers and they told us that this was because the Clydesdales would be taking a lap around the ballpark. Sure enough, the Clydesdales appeared and took their lap: IMG_20140713_155738_041 Due to the inconvenience of leaving our seats in order for the section to be raised, each person in that section was given a $15 food voucher that could be spent at any concession stand at the ballpark. I was thrilled when I was given two: IMG_20140713_161033 When the game started at 4:00 CT I did something that I hadn’t done since 2013. When the game started I actually went to sit in my ticketed seat! When I bought my All-Star ticket strip I picked a seat on the aisle in the grandstand because I figured this would be a decent spot for lefties in the home run derby. Later it was announced that only one lefty, Justin Morneau, would be participating in the Home Run Derby. Here’s a picture to give you an idea of where I was at: IMG_20140713_165754_621 Anyways, when I made it up to my seat someone was sitting in it. Normally I wouldn’t care, but this was an All Star event! I went over the whole, “I think you’re in my seat. Here’s my ticket” thing, but apparently rules didn’t apply to them because they thought i’d be completely understanding and let them continue to sit there. There was one person who had seven friends in my row and they wanted to be together so they told me to take their seat that was four rows up and a few seats in. I grabbed a random seat for half of the game, and then decided I would have the usher give them the boot. As I was on my way I realized that even if the one got booted from my section, it would be extremely awkward to have to sit next to the other seven who would still be there. So, I booted my plan out the window and decided to go sit next to Mateo in section 130: IMG_20140713_181347_720 Why was Mateo colorful? Earlier that morning he had run in The Color Run MLB 5K, presented by Nike. He didn’t have time to get cleaned up before getting to the game so he was still covered head to toe in paint. The futures game ended after 2 hours and 33 minutes. Since I don’t remember much from the game, you should just watch this recap from MLB: Panic at the Disco performed a short concert in-between the Futures Game and the Celebrity Softball game. I’ve seen a few musicians play before, but this was still my first larger scale concert: IMG_20140713_185924_268IMG_20140713_185609_944 I enjoyed the concert and I especially liked the stage effects such as the shooting flames and confetti. Seeing a concert at Target Field was great because it made All-Star Sunday feel different than going to a normal game. I enjoyed every minute of it. Mateo, Leiming TangGarrett Meyer and I watched most of the Celebrity Softball Game from here: IMG_20140713_193532_394 The best part of the softball game was seeing Jim Thome step up to the plate a few more times at Target Field. He’s one of my favorites. It went by quickly, but the first day of the 2014 All-Star Festivities had come to a close.

2014 Fan Fests of the AL Central Division

Every year now (really only last year) I do an entry about the Fan Fests that are hosted by the teams in the AL Central Division. If you’d like to see last year’s entry, here it is. This is my version for 2014.

soxfest

Date: January 24-26, 2014

Hours: Friday: 4-9 p.m.; Saturday: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Sunday: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Location:

Palmer House Hilton

17 East Monroe Street

Chicago, IL 60603

Parking: Hotel Parking

Admission Ticket Pricing:

  • Weekend Passes are $75
  • Premium Upgrade Packages are $200 each.
    • Special MVP SoxFest Pass(es) for the weekend
      • Three premium autographs without waiting in long lines (Details to be provided upon check-in). The MVP Pass is valid for two premium autographs on Saturday and one premium autograph on Sunday. (MVP Pass holders are not guaranteed a ‘no wait’ experience, but the wait time will be reduced.) Participants will be confirmed closer to actual SoxFest show dates.
      • Access to private autograph session.
      • Access to private photo session. No autographs.
      • Access to private seminar.
    • Limited-edition SoxFest sling back bag
    • Official MLB baseball
    • White Sox scarf
    • Special SoxFest discount coupon for Majestic Custom T-Shirt Shop for use at SoxFest (redeemable only at SoxFest; not redeemable for cash)
    • Two complimentary lower deck reserve tickets to an April/May 2014 White Sox home game

SCHEDULED TO ATTEND

Current players Paul Konerko, Adam Eaton, Jose Abreu, Adam Dunn, Avisail Garcia, Josh Phegley, Nate Jones, Matt Lindstrom, Alexei Ramirez, Dayan Viciedo and Addison Reed, past stars Ron Kittle, Carlos May, Minnie Minoso, Tom Paciorek, Gary Peters and Frank Thomas, manager Robin Ventura, and coaches Don Cooper and Todd Steverson, along with White Sox prospects Erik Johnson, Micah Johnson and Marcus Semien.

Fan Activities Include:

  • Player autograph stations
  • Player photo stations
  • Comcast sportsnet autograph stations
  • Seminars
  • More activities are in store for SoxFest (The WhiteSox are keeping it a surprise).

Autograph Voucher Pricing: Included in admission price

Things I like about SoxFest:

  • SoxFest takes place over three days.
  • It is held at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel.
    • Provides fans with a fun, and exciting environment. Fans have the option to buy Package deals that that include a hotel room and ‘x’ amount of tickets for Sox Fest. Bored of SoxFest and want to relax? Hit the hot tub!
  • Over 25 (current and former) players & coaches are scheduled to attend

If I was the GM I would…

  • Lower the price of admission in order to make SoxFest more affordable for fans.
    •  $70 for a single day pass (if autographs are included in admission price)
    • $15 for a single day pass (if autographs are not included in admission price)
  • Offer more activities to fans.
    • Suggestions include memorabilia dealers, games, mini baseball clinics for kids, auctions, Q&A with player and coaches, and possibly tours of the hotel (the tour guide could be a white sox player)
  • Donate the part of the proceeds to charity.
    • I did not find any info about the White Sox donating any of the proceeds to charity. As far as I know, the Whitesox do not.
    • Donating part of the proceeds might encourage more fans to go to Sox Fest.

My Overall Grade LAST YEAR: C +

My Overall Grading THIS YEAR: B-

indians

Date: January 25-26, 2014

Hours:

  • Period 1: Saturday, Jan 25, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Period 2: Saturday, Jan 25, 4-8 p.m.
  • Period 3: Sunday, Jan 26, Noon-6 p.m.

Location:

Progressive Field

2401 Ontario Street

Cleveland, OH 44115

Parking: The Gateway East Garage (located in between Progressive Field and Quicken Loans Arena) will be open similar to a normal Indians game in the summer.

Admission Ticket Pricing: Adults are $10, Children (12 & under) are free in advance, & $5 at the door.

SCHEDULED TO ATTEND

Manager Terry Francona, current Tribe players including Michael Brantley, Mike Aviles, Carlos Santana, Danny Salazar, Yan Gomes, Corey Kluber, Zach McAllister, David Murphy and others, Indians prospects (including former No. 3 overall pick Trevor Bauer and 2012 top pick Clint Frazier), and several prominent Tribe alumni including, Kenny Lofton, in attendance for autographs, interviews on the KeyBank main stage and more.

Fan Activities Include:

  • Player Autographs
  • Kids’ Activities
  • Batting Cages
  • Clubhouse tours
  • Q&As with Tribe broadcasters and players
  • Concessions will be available in the Club Lounge

Autograph Voucher Pricing:

  • Saturday – Group 1
  • Minor League Prospects ADULT: $21.50
  • Minor League Prospects CHILD (12&under): $10.00
  • Active Roster Location A ADULT: $26.50
  • Active Roster Location A CHILD (12&under): $15.00
  • Active Roster Location B ADULT: $26.50
  • Active Roster Location B CHILD: $15.00
  • Saturday – Group 2 & 3
  • 90’s Alumni Adult: $31.50
  • 90’s Alumni Child (Ages 12&under): $20.00
  • Minor League Prospects Adult: $21.50
  • Minor League Prospects Child (Ages 12&under): $10.00
  • Active Roster Location A Adult: $26.50
  • Active Roster Location A Child (Ages 12&under): $15.00
  • Sunday – Group 1 & 3
  • Minor League Prospects Adult: $21.50
  • Minor League Prospects Child (Ages 12&under): $10.00
  • Active Roster Location A Adult: $26.50
  • Active Roster Location A Child (Ages 12&under): $15.00
  • Active Roster Location B Adult: $26.50
  • Active Roster Location B Child (Ages 12&under): $15.00
  • Sunday – Group 2 & 4
  • 90’s Alumni Adult: $31.50
  • 90’s Alumni Child (Ages 12&under): $20.00
  • Active Roster Location A Adult: $26.50
  • Active Roster Location A Child (Ages 12&under): $15.00
  • Active Roster Location B Adult: $26.50
  • Active Roster Location B Child (Ages 12&under): $15.00

Autograph sessions include general admission into the Fanfest. Alumni will only autograph one photo supplied by the Cleveland Indians. Autograph sessions include general admission into the Fanfest. Children tickets are valid for children 12 and under. General Admission tickets do not include player autograph sessions. 

Things I like about TribeFest:

  • The General Admission price is cheap enough to make people want to come back next year.
  • Events take place within Progressive Field
    • In areas including the service level of the ballpark, The Collection Auto Club, Kids Clubhouse, Club Lounge, KeyBank main stage, and the 1994 Party Suite for autographs.

If I was the GM I would…

  • Change the way Autograph Vouchers & Sessions are set up.
    • The way the Indians have it set up now is unorganized and way more complicated than it needs to be.
    • General Admission tickets should be separate from the autograph voucher because it is very confusing to correctly purchase the Indians’ voucher passes.
    • At TribeFest there are three periods for autographs, but only one group signs during each period. Because there is a cap of 250 fans per session, not everyone in line will be able to get an autograph. This problem could be fixed by providing more autograph stations.
  • Make it mandatory for all current Indian players (40-man roster) to attend TribeFest.
    • In my opinion Fan Fests are all about player interaction. Why have a Fan Fest if there are only 12 players “officially” attending?
  • Make the TribeFest webpage easier to manoeuver.
    • It’s kind of a mess, which makes it difficult to gather information about TribeFest.
  • Donate part of the proceeds to charity
    • I did not find any info about the Indians donating any of the proceeds to charity. As far as I know, the Indians do not.
    • Donating part of the proceeds might encourage more fans to go to Tribe Fest.

My Overall Grading LAST YEAR: C+ / B –

My Overall Grading THIS YEAR: C+

Tigers

Date: Saturday, January 25, 2014

Hours: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Location:

Comerica Park

2100 Woodward Avenue

Detroit, MI 48201-3470

Parking: Olympia Development, OR there are numerous other privately owned parking facilities within a 5-20 minute walk of Comerica Park.

Admission Ticket Pricing:  $25 for adults, $14 for kids 12-and-under

SCHEDULED TO ATTEND: The Tigers have not yet released this information. I will update this as new information is released.

Fan Activities Include:

  • Autograph Booths
  • Main stage, including a special “Fan Conference” Q & A Session.
  • Tigers player photo area
  • Clubhouse tours
  • Dugout tours/Photos
  • Self-guided tours
  • Display of historical baseball artifacts
  • Batting Practice in the cage
  • Detroit Tigers ice sculptures & LIVE sculpting demonstrations
  • David Chandler will operate an authentic bat lathe & provide LIVE bat carving demonstrations.
  • Detroit Tigers Authentics
  • Tigers Foundation Fire Sale.

The Detroit Tigers Kids Zone featuring:

  • Kids-Only autograph booth.
  • Miniature Comerica Park stage
  • Tigers player book readings, games and interactive activities.
  • Free face painting and caricatures.
  • Baseball-themed games and activities for kids.
  • Video game bullpen.
  • Official 2014 Kids Club enrollment.

Autograph Voucher Pricing: The Tigers have not yet released this information. I will update this as new information is released.

Things I like about TigerFest:

  • There are over 30 (current and former) players & coaches scheduled to attend
  • The Admission price is cheap enough to make people want to come back next year.
  • With so many activities to experience, fans won’t want to go home.
  • Events take place within Comerica Park
    • In areas including the Ernie Harwell Media Center, luxury suite, the Champions Club, and select Detroit Tigers executive offices.

If I was the GM I would…

  • Donate part of the proceeds to charity.
    • I did not find any info about the Tigers donating the proceeds to charity. As far as I know, the Tigers do not.
    • Donating part of the proceeds might encourage more fans to go to TigerFest (ironically, it is sold out)

My Overall Grading LAST YEAR: A

My Overall Grading THIS YEAR: A

royals

Date: Friday, January 31 – Saturday, February 1, 2014

Hours:

  • Friday, January 31
    • 12-2 p.m. Exclusive access for Season Ticket Holders
    • 2-9 p.m. Open to all fans
  • Saturday, February 1
    • 9-11 a.m. Exclusive access for Season Ticket Holders
    • 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Open to all fans

Location:

Bartle Hall at the Kansas City Convention Center

301 W 13th St #100

Kansas City, MO 64105

Parking: There are many parking options close to Bartle Hall

Admission Ticket Pricing:

  • In Advance:
    • 1 Day Pass: Adult – $13; Youth – $7
    • 2 Day Pass: Adult – $19; Youth – $10
  • Day of Sale:
    • 1 Day Pass: Adult – $15; Youth – $9
    • 2 Day Pass: Adult – $23; Youth – $13

Youth prices are for children ages 6-17. Children five and under will be admitted for free.

SCHEDULED TO ATTEND: The Royals have not released this information. They are keeping it a surprise until the day of FanFest.

Fan Activities Include:

  • Player autograph sessions
  • Player photo sessions
  • Commerce Bank main stage events
  • Royals Awards
  • Teva Royals Diamond
  • Interactive games for children
    • Accuracy Pitch
    • Bunting Challenge
    • Batting Cages
    • Little Sluggerrr’s Playground
    • Speed Pitch
    • Steal Home Challenge
    • Video Baseball Simulator
  • Majestic team store & authentics
  • Royals Charities Silent Auction
  • Royals Charities 50/50 Raffle

Autograph Voucher Pricing: The Royals have not released this information. They are keeping it a surprise until the day of FanFest.

Things I like about Royals FanFest:

  • The Admission price is cheap enough to make people want to come back next year.
  • Events take place within the Kanas City Convention Center
    • Better than holding it at Kauffmann Stadium because of the ballpark’s limited indoor space.
  • There are plenty of activities for children to partake in.
  • The Royals donate a portion of the proceeds to charities
  • “A portion of the proceeds will again benefit Royals Charities.” – Royals.com
  • “Royals Charities and the MLB Players Alumni Association have teamed up to host several auctions during the event giving fans lots of opportunities to add unique items to their baseball memorabilia collections! Proceeds will benefit Royals Charities and the MLBPAA.” – Royals.com

If I was the GM I would…

  • Schedule Royals FanFest for the whole weekend instead of just Friday and Saturday.
  • Prior to the event, publically announce which team members are scheduled to attend FanFest, and how much money autographs will cost.

My Overall Grading LAST YEAR: B

My Overall Grading THIS YEAR: B+

twins

Date: January 24-26, 2014

Time: Friday: 4:00-9:30 p.m.; Saturday: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Location:

Target Field

1 Twins Way

Minneapolis, MN

Parking: There are numerous parking garages around Target Field. Multiple public transit options are also available.

Admission Ticket Pricing: Adults: $20; Kids (14 and under): $1

SCHEDULED TO ATTEND:

  • Friday, Jan. 24:
    Andrew Albers, Jason Bartlett, Jose Berrios, Bert Blyleven, Tom Brunansky, Jared Burton, Byron Buxton, Rod Carew, Kevin Correia, Samuel Deduno, Scott Diamond, Ryan Doumit, Brian Dozier, Brian Duensing, Casey Fien, Pedro Florimon, Eric Fryer, Ron Gardenhire, Kyle Gibson, Dan Gladden, Mudcat Grant, Nate Hanson, B.J. Hermsen, Chris Herrmann, Aaron Hicks, Kent Hrbek, Phil Hughes, Kris Johnson, Max Kepler, Kyle Knudson, Mike Kvasnicka, Gene Larkin, Austin Malinowski, Darin Mastroianni, Joe Mauer, Trevor May, Alex Meyer, Ricky Nolasco, Tony Oliva, Chris Parmelee, Glen Perkins, Trevor Plouffe, Alex Presley, Ryan Pressly, Roy Smalley, Terry Steinbach, Anthony Swarzak, Caleb Thielbar, Michael Tonkin, Vance Worley and Josh Willingham.
  • Saturday, Jan. 25:
    Andrew Albers, Jason Bartlett, Jose Berrios, Juan Berenguer, Bert Blyleven, Jared Burton, Byron Buxton, Rod Carew, Kevin Correia, Samuel Deduno, Scott Diamond, Ryan Doumit, Brian Dozier, Brian Duensing, Casey Fien, Pedro Florimon, Eric Fryer, Ron Gardenhire, Kyle Gibson, Dan Gladden, Dave Goltz, Mudcat Grant, Nate Hanson, B.J. Hermsen, Chris Herrmann, Aaron Hicks, Phil Hughes, Kris Johnson, Max Kepler, Kyle Knudson, Mike Kvasnicka, Scott Leius, Austin Malinowski, Darin Mastroianni, Joe Mauer, Trevor May, Alex Meyer, Ricky Nolasco, Tony Oliva, Chris Parmelee, Glen Perkins, Trevor Plouffe, Alex Presley, Ryan Pressly, Tom Quinlan, Roy Smalley, Terry Steinbach, Dick Stigman, Anthony Swarzak, Caleb Thielbar, Michael Tonkin, Vance Worley and Josh Willingham.

Sunday, Jan. 26:
Andrew Albers, Jason Bartlett, Jose Berrios, Julio Becquer, Jared Burton, Byron Buxton, Rod Carew, Kevin Correia, Samuel Deduno, Scott Diamond, Ryan Doumit, Brian Dozier, Brian Duensing, Scott Erickson, Casey Fien, Pedro Florimon, Eric Fryer, Ron Gardenhire, Kyle Gibson, Nate Hanson, B.J. Hermsen, Chris Herrmann, Aaron Hicks, Phil Hughes, Kris Johnson, Tom Kelly, Max Kepler, Mike Kvasnicka, Austin Malinowski, Darin Mastroianni, Joe Mauer, Trevor May, Alex Meyer, Paul Molitor, Tony Oliva, Chris Parmelee, Glen Perkins, Trevor Plouffe, Alex Presley, Ryan Pressly, Frank Quilici, Brian Raabe, Terry Steinbach, Caleb Thielbar, Michael Tonkin, Vance Worley and Josh Willingham.

Fan Activities Include:

  • Autograph stations
  • Photo stations
  • The region’s largest sports memorabilia and collector’s show
  • Self-guided tours
  • “White Glove” tour
  • Showcase of the 2014 MLB All-Star Game
  • Inaugural Twins Yard Sale
  • Special Panel discussions
  • Boardwalk-style amusements
  • Behind-the-scenes fan experiences
  • Walking tour of Target Field

Autograph Voucher Pricing: There isn’t a voucher. You pay for “x” amount of dollars to get everyone’s signature who is in the station.

Things I like about TwinsFest:

  • TwinsFest takes place over three days
    • I like this because it allows me to go to TwinsFest multiple days.
  • Events take place within Target Field
    • In areas including the Metropolitan Club, the Delta SKY 360 Legends Club, the Thomson Reuters Champions Club, the Town Ball Tavern and various areas in the service level including the home clubhouse.
    • I like the face that TwinsFest is at HOME, in Target Field. I’m excited to be able to explore the parts of Target Field that are not usually open to the public.
    • I don’t know if  Twins Fest at Target Field will be as great as it was at the Metrodome, or if I’ll enjoy it as much as I have in previous years, but I’m still excited for the Inaugural TwinsFest at Target Field
  • There are over 60 (current and former) players & coaches scheduled to attend
  • The Twins donate a portion of the proceeds to charities
    • “TwinsFest, one of the largest team-run fan festivals in professional sports, is an annual fundraiser for the Minnesota Twins Community Fund. Since its inception in 1989, TwinsFest has raised more than $4.2 million for programs and organizations       supported by the Twins Community Fund.” Twins.com

If I was the GM I would…

  • Lower the Admission price. I understand that the price got higher because TwinsFest moved to Target Field, but $20 is a bit much for one adult admission.

My Overall Grading LAST YEAR: A

My Overall Grading THIS YEAR: A

—————————————————————————————————————————————-

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:

IMG_20130803_163240_172

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:

IMG_20130803_162508_688 IMG_20130803_162514_187

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

IMG_20130803_162914_706

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:

IMG_20130803_173118_381

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:

IMG_20130803_203749_012

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