Going to this game was an extremely last minute decision. Neither my friend Matt nor I had any plans for the evening so we booked it up to Minneapolis. After just a few minutes in the stadium I snagged my first ball of the day, which was also my 200th lifetime. Of course, that’s not counting Spring Training baseballs.
I didn’t know it at the time, but Nate let me know that it came off the bat of Shane Robinson.
There wasn’t too much excitement from the Twins portion of batting practice, but I was able to snag a few more homers during the Mariners portion of bp. I got this one in section 129:
I’m not sure who hit that homer, nor who hit this next one that I caught in section 137:
Batting Practice ended around 6 o’clock so the Long Haul Bombers could have their derby before the game started. Bubba Brungardt kicked things off for the Bombers:
Most of those guys were HUGE. They absolutely crushed the ball. It was pretty fun to watch.
When the derby finished Dominic hooked me up with another ball for the day. I forgot to take a picture of it right away, but I took this (terrible) picture afterwards:
Matt and I watched the first few innings from the center field bleachers. Phil Hughes started on the mound for the Twins and J.A. Happ followed for the Mariners. Seth Smith hit a two run homer in the first inning, but the Twins battled back in their half with a lead off homer from Brian Dozier. Hicks and Hunter followed with singles and then Rosario hit a three run bomb to right field. Suddenly the Twins were winning 2-5 in the first inning.
Although the game was exciting, we were just kind of bored. We watched another inning or two but then we decided to go to the Mall of America. The Mariners lost to the Twins 5-9. Click here to watch the highlight video. Here’s the info from the game:
Here’s the group shot:
TOTALS: 4 balls at this game. 30 balls this year.
UP NEXT: Astros vs. Twins 08/28/15
Most of the Target Field crew had planned to be in attendance. Tony and Nate were the first I saw:
Mateo showed up a few minutes prior to the gates opening, but he wasn’t alone. Josh Hyber, a reporter from the Star Tribune, accompanied Mateo to the game. He was gathering information for a future article that would feature the ballhawks of Target Field. Here’s a link to the article that he posted on July 30th.
Once the gates opened I was given a good reason to thank Brian Duensing:
After moving around for the Twins portion of batting practice I also had an opportunity to thank Eddie Rosario for what he bestowed upon me:
I snagged those three balls within the first 13 minutes, and then that was it. I didn’t catch anymore baseballs at the game, but I was able to get Byron Buxton’s signature before the game started!
Not too long afterwards I found out that Byron had just started using a new signature because he was called up to the Big Leagues. This was one of the first autographs that he signed this way. It’s sort of neat that I got one of the first new signatures!
The Twins took a 0-1 lead in the first inning, but the White Sox battled back and took a 1-2 lead in the third inning. The Twins were able to hold the White Sox to those two runs for the remainder of the game. Mauer homered in the 4th, and then Suzuki and Vargas also picked up an RBI of their own later in the same inning. Nunez put the cherry on top when he also homered later in the fourth. Vargas joined the HR parade when he hit a three run shot in the 6th inning. Hunter picked up a pair of RBI’s when he doubled in the 6th. In the 8th inning Brian Dozier became the fourth Twin to homer in the game. The Twins won 2-13. Tommy Milone picked up the Win for the Twins while John Danks was stuck with the loss. You can click here to watch the highlights video from the game. Here’s the info from the game:
…I undoubtedly will also share the usual entry ending group shot:
TOTALS: 3 balls at this game. 26 balls this year.
UP NEXT: Mariners vs. Twins 07/30/15
Unlike the day before, I woke up to wonderful weather. However, with the 12:10 start time it was still unlikely that there would be batting practice. When the gates opened I found that the cage was not set up for bp:
I made my way down to where most of the Red Sox’ pitching staff was warming up. When he was finished throwing with his partner, Steven Wright hooked me up with their baseball. I was surprised to see that it was rubbed up with mud:
Prior to the game, Torii Hunter and Joe Mauer signed autographs from the dugout:
I was finally able to add Joe Mauer’s signature to my collection!
Thank you, Mr. Minnesota. Since I didn’t have a ballpoint pen I could either get his auto in Sharpie or not get it at all. I think I chose the better of the two.
Boston was the first team to score a run when Dustin Pedroia blasted a two run shot in the third. Hunter and Mauer each contributed to the handful of singles that gave the Twins’ a three run third. Aaron Hicks homered in the fourth to extend the lead to 5-2. In the fifth inning Pedroia hit his second two run shot of game. Rosario joined the home run parade in the 6th inning when he launched a solo bomb to right field. The Twins won 6-4. Click here to watch the highlight video from the game.
Following the game I was able to get an Ump ball from Umpire Dale Scott:
Here’s today’s results:
TOTALS: 2 balls at this game. 23 balls this year.
UP NEXT: White Sox vs. Twins 06/22/15
My day started off with every ballhawk’s worst nightmare… I forgot my glove at home! Luckily, Mateo Fischer was generous enough to lend me his for the evening. After swinging by the U of M campus to pick up Mateo’s glove, I was ready for some batting practice!
As soon as I photographed the ball I turned and gave it to the little boy who was nearby.
Besides a small crowd of other fans, the stadium was pretty much empty because of the rain. Seriously, Target Field looked like a ghost town:
More rain led to the eventual delay of the game. In the meantime, I made my way around the ballpark to where the Ryder Cup was on display. I’d never seen a golf trophy until now. Her she is:
The delay lasted for 1 hour and 21 minutes. I don’t remember what I did to pass the time, but I do know that it was BORING! As the start of the game approached I made my way to the Twins dugout. Dom hooked me up with a sweet mud rubbed ball from the ball bag:
Thanks Dom! Sneak Peak – this ball would get signed by Joe Mauer the next day!
The Twins scored in the first inning off of Trevor Plouffe’s double. Kurt Suzuki doubled later in the inning to make it a 2-0 ballgame. Boston scored in the second inning as Mike Napoli plated David Ortiz off a single to Aaron Hicks in center field. Little did I know, but those would be the only runs scored all night.
Mike Pelfrey pitched 7 strong innings, only allowing 1 ER off of 5 hits.
Blaine Boyer took the mound to start the 8th inning. He set the first two men of the inning down, and then he faced Dustin Pedroia. Boyer worked a 1-2 count before Pedroia fouled the next pitch, a 93 mph fastball, into the net. Dominic retrieved it and tossed it right over to me:
Prior to this, I had never seen those kinds of marks on baseballs before.
In the bottom of the 8th Torii Hunter stepped into the box to lead things off for the Twins. Clay Buchholz worked a 2-2 count on Hunter. The next pitch, a 92 mph fastball, was also fouled back into the net. Joe Mauer, who was in the on deck circle, stepped over to pick it up. A moment later, he tossed it to me:
I quickly, and smoothly, swapped it out for an old bp ball and then threw it over to a lady who had been asking for a ball for the last few innings. The rest of the game went by quickly and the Twins won 2-1. Click to watch the highlight video from the game. Here’s the info from the game:
When the game ended I got my last ball of the evening from Umpire Lance Barrett.
TOTALS: 6 balls at this game. 21 balls this year.
UP NEXT: Red Sox vs. Twins 05/27/15
I was back at Target Field for my second game in two days, but this time I was with my dad. It had been a while since we had gone to a game together so it was nice we could get to this one. My dad rarely chases after baseballs, but today he joined me in the left field bleachers. The result? A clean pearly white batting practice homer. My dad has snagged two baseballs in his life… One at Kauffman Stadium and one at Target Field. I was there for both!
I got my first of the day after I chased down a ground rule double that was hit by Kennys Vargas. I caught it as it ricocheted back towards the field:
The Twins portion of batting practice continued at a slow pace, but then I saw something that peaked my attention. I noticed that Shane Robinson was about to step into the cage. Back in spring training I caught a few of Robinson’s batting practice homers. Apparently Robinson had already been called up for quite some time, but I was unaware of it.
After shifting over a section for Robinson, I caught the first and only homer that he hit:
When the A’s took the field I was hoping they’d put on a show, but they ended up hitting only a few into the seats. The home runs were scarce, but I was able to catch this ball that was thrown by Evan Scribner:
Batting practice continued for another 30 minutes or so, but it was pretty dull from that point on. When batting practice ended I joined my dad in the Legends Club until the game was about to start. At that point I made my way back to the Twins dugout. I took this picture just moments before the National Anthem was sung:
Did you see how empty the stadium was? The paid attendance for the game was 18,135, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were only about 16,000 in attendance.
Ball number three was tossed by a future All Star. Here’s a look at that beauty:
Okay, so Dominique is not actually on the All Star ballot, but he deserves a write in! This seems like as good a time as any to launch my #VoteDom campaign. Should they have a vote for the All Star Bat/Ball Boy? #VoteDom #AllStarDom2K15
After collecting my third of the day I hustled back up to the Legends Club in time for the first pitch. My dad and I had a stellar view:
Rain started to fall in the top of 6th inning, but the game continued without a delay. A steady rain shower set in for the next 2 innings, which caused a lot of people to leave the game early. I checked back in at the Twins dugout in the 8th inning and found a seat behind the home plate side of the dugout.
With two outs in the top of the 9th inning, Ryan Pressley worked a 1-2 count against Billy Burns. Pressley earned his 67th strike out as Burns went down swinging to end the top of the 9th. Kurt Suzuki ended up with the strike out ball and he tossed it to me as he entered the dugout:
Heading into the bottom of the ninth inning the Twins were down 2-1. Earlier in the game Billy Butler and Jed Lawrie had each singled in a run to give Oakland the lead. Brian Dozier scored Minnesota’s first run when he singled to center in the 8th inning. The Twins went down in short order to end the ninth inning as the A’s won the game 2-1. Click here to watch MLB’s highlight video. Here’s the info from the game:
Following the game I thanked Mr. Todd Tichenor as he exited the field:
The result? Didn’t even have to ask for this one:
Umpires are underrated and underappreciated so it goes along ways to say thank you after the game. They usually smile and then toss a ball up. Its a win win scenario.
The entry wouldn’t be complete without the cliché group shot:
TOTALS: 6 balls at this game. 15 balls this year.
UP NEXT: Red Sox vs. Twins 05/26/15
I wouldn’t have gone to this game had it not been for the Twins’ fantastic game day promotion:
As part of Star Wars night at Target Field the Twins gave away these special “Hughes The Force” bobble heads with the purchase of a special ticket. A few days prior I had noticed that all the special tickets were sold out on the Twins website. I called the box office and they said they’d have some available on the day of the game. When I got up to Target Field on the fourth I bought my ticket, then I hopped in line with Tony Voda to get my bobble head. When it was my turn to get my bobblehead I was told that my ticket wasn’t part of the promotion. I explained that the folks in the box office had assured me this was the correct ticket, but I was not given a bobble head. Way to go Twins… I still have to call a season ticket rep to get this cleared up.
On to batting practice…
My first ball of the day came early during the A’s portion of batting practice. It was a home run that was hit by an unknown A’s player:
After getting on the board early in batting practice I didn’t get my next ball until batting practice was nearly finished. This time it was a toss up from another unknown A’s player:
Could it have been the same unknown player as before? Who knows. Darn A’s, playing mind tricks again.
After batting practice, Target Field was taken over by the Evil Empire:
For some reason, I don’t think the Storm Troopers liked me very much:
Just before the game started Dominique tossed one to me straight from the ball bag:
I’ve never once asked Dominique for a ball, but he always hooks me up after we chat. What a guy!
When the game started I moved to my regular spot:
I started to watch the game from this spot at the end of last season. Since then I have grown very accustom to it. The view is fantastic. Plus, early in the game its a good spot for foul balls.
Although the first inning was a disaster for the Twins, I was happy because I witnessed something that I hadn’t before. After the A’s loaded the bases, Stephen Vogt stepped up to the plate and hit a grand slam! Luckily, the Twins used the force to score four runs of their own in the second inning. After the Twins gave up a run in the top of the 6th, my childhood sports hero, Torii Hunter, hit a 3 run homer to left field to give the Twins an 8-5 lead. The A’s ended up scoring two more runs in the later part of the game, but Glen Perkins was still able to come away with his ninth save of the season. Click to watch the highlight video from the game. Here’s the info from the game:
Phil Hughes (Hughes The Force) earned the W for Minnesota while Jesse Hahn (Han Solo) was stuck with the Loss for Oakland. Coincidence that both Hughes and Hahn pitched on Star Wars Night? I think not.
Here’s the group shot after the game:
TOTALS: 3 balls at this game. 9 balls this year.
UP NEXT: A’s vs. Twins 05/05/15
My first Opening Day was back in 2013 when the Tigers and Twins kicked off the season at Target Field. I missed the home opener in 2014, but I decided that I wouldn’t miss it this year! I was very anxious for a chance to get my hands on the first commemorative baseball in the Manfred Era.
Once inside the stadium, Brian Duensing tossed me my first regular season baseball of the year; a 2015 Opening Day ball! Just kidding, but how cool would that have been?! Seriously, though, this is the pearly white that Brian tossed up:
It felt good to get a ball so early in batting practice, but it felt even better when I got my second ball just a few minutes later. This one was courtesy of Aaron Thompson:
Because the Twins weren’t displaying a lot of power during batting practice, I didn’t mind getting a few toss ups instead. It wasn’t long before 1:30 rolled around and the Royals replaced the Twins on the field during batting practice. I was hoping to get my next ball when the Royals finished playing catch in left field. I tried to their attention, but my chances diminished as each pair finished their game of catch. Finally, as the last pair of players finished throwing, an unknown Royals player tossed me this rustic looking baseball:
When the Royals began taking their cuts in the cage I headed out to the left field bleachers. There was such a beautiful array of colors on the field:
I spent about half the Royals bp in the bleachers before heading over to the Twins dugout for the rest of bp. Since I’d already snagged a few baseballs today, I was ready to focus on snagging an Opening Day commemorative baseball. Having said that, this is where I moved to:
This was the one game where I had a chance to get one of these special baseballs. I was going to spend as much time next to the dugout as possible. Sometime between getting to the Twins dugout and the singing of the National Anthem, Tony and I were joined by Cam Bailey! Soon it was time for the singing of the National Anthem:
Following the National Anthem Kevin Garnett (and family), who was joined by Tyus Jones, took the field to throw out the ceremonial first pitch!:
When the game kicked off, I took a pretty nice panoramic photo. It’s one of my favorites:
Although the Twins were the first to score a run, the Royals were the first to put some distance on the scoreboard between their opponents. By the end of the sixth inning the Royals were ahead 5-2. Trevor Plouffe homered in the seventh inning, but the Royals managed to pile on seven additional runs by the end of the game. The Royals beat the Twins by a score of 12-3. Click to watch the highlight video from the game. Here’s the summary and other info from the game:
After the game I got my fifth ball from Umpire Paul Nauert:
Not only was this the first time I’d gotten a ball from someone who’s first name was also my first name, but this was another 2015 Opening Day commemorative ball. This was my second mud rubbed commemorative ball of the night! I made it to the opposite side of the dugout just in time to get one final ball. This one was thrown by Lorenzo Cain as he entered the clubhouse:
I made sure to take an artsy photo of the commemoratives after I left the ballpark:
The final group shot includes the awesome sweatshirt giveaway from the game:
TOTALS: 6 balls at this game. 6 balls this year.
UP NEXT: A’s vs. Twins 05/04/15