Tagged: Billy Butler

Athletics vs. Twins @ Target Field (05-05-15)

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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

game info

Following the game I thanked Mr. Todd Tichenor as he exited the field:

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The result? Didn’t even have to ask for this one:

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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:

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TOTALS: 6 balls at this game. 15 balls this year.

UP NEXT: Red Sox vs. Twins 05/26/15

Indians vs. Royals @ Kauffman Stadium (8-30-14)

I had been hoping to go back to Kauffman Stadium ever since I had visited it with my dad in September of 2012. It didn’t work to visit during 2013, but everything fell into place when Mateo Fischer and I make a somewhat spontaneous trip. Here’s the route that we took:

Google Maps

We left my house in the morning, drove for nearly six hours, and arrived around four o’clock in the afternoon. It had been a chilly morning in Minnesota, but the 86 degree sunny weather in Kansas City was just about perfect. Before we went to far we each got a picture with the stadium in the background. Arrowhead can be seen on the left, while Kauffman is on the right.

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Some day I’d like to make the trip to KC to see a football and baseball game in the same day. Maybe a Royals Monday Matinee and then a Monday night Chiefs game? Or possibly attend a Sunday afternoon Chiefs game and Sunday night baseball on ESPN? Whatever the combo is, I’d like to do it sometime.

Once we got our tickets from the box office we found a spot in this surprisingly long line:

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I knew it would be busier than normal because it was Saturday, but I didn’t expect this many Royals fans to attend a game. A lot of Royals fans are fair-weather fans – meaning they only go to games when the Royals are doing well. Otherwise they don’t stick around. Royals fans have traditionally not been the most loyal fans. I’m not being biased, that’s actually what a Royals fan told me! To be fair, the Royals were giving away a mascot bobble head. What was really surprising, however, was the length of the line BEHIND us:

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Any who, the Royals were still on the field when we got inside the Stadium:

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If you look at the flags in center field you can see the wind was strongly blowing into the park. There weren’t many home run balls, so I went for toss ups. I didn’t get any balls while the Royals were on the field, but I was more hopeful when the Indians took the field:

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I’ll save you from the very low level of suspense – I got shut out. Almost all the toss ups were going to little kids. That was alright though, because I expected that to would happen. While we were planning this trip Mateo and I could figured out that we could only visit Kauffman Stadium if the games were on Saturday and Sunday. We knew ahead of time that these games would be bad for ballhawking because weekend games are filled with children. Today’s game had a bobblehead giveaway, and Sunday’s game was featured on ESPN’s Sunday night baseball broadcast. We knew these games wouldn’t be good for ballhawking, but we still wanted to visit the stadium.

The sun began to set behind home plate shortly after the game began the sun. The whole place seemed to be glowing:

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Trevor Bauer got the start for the Indians, and James Shields for KC. They both pitched well, but neither of them got the win. The game wasn’t terribly exciting, but the Indians and Royals both put up a good fight.

Ironically, even though I was ecstatic to be at Kauffman, in the 3rd inning I remember thinking that all I wanted to do was lie down and go to sleep. After a full day of driving and then running around the ballpark, I was completely exhausted.

Later in the game we met up with our friend Garrett Meyer. In July Garrett had come up to Minnesota for the All Star Game. Don’t remember? Here’s a picture, and here’s another. Garrett was more than generous to let Mateo and I stay with him for the two nights we were in town.

The Indians scored the first run of the game in the fourth inning when Jason Kipnis scored off of Yan Gomes RBI double to left field. It wasn’t until the eighth inning when the Royals finally tied the game, 1-1. Any guesses to what happened next? The game went into extra innings. If you know me at all, I love extra inning baseball! I just wish it would’ve been any other day but today. Oh, how I was beyond tired out.

The game had been pretty boring up to this point, but things got interesting in extra innings! Here, see for yourself:

When the game ended I made sure to get a few pictures of the fountains before leaving. I like this one a lot:

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I especially like this view:

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As we were leaving the ballpark we decided to stop at IHOP on the way back to Garrett’s house. Here they are talking it over:

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Since Garrett drove to the game we decided we would just meet him there. The funny thing is that Mateo and I got lost on the way and we ended up at the wrong IHOP. It took an extra 20 minutes to get to the right one, but we made it there sometime after one. Overall, it was a great day in Kansas City!

The Extraordinary Compilation of my 2013 Ballhawking Statistics

There are certain people, such as myself and many other sports fans, who are absolutely fascinated by stats. Not everyone enjoys stats though, so feel free to stop reading if you lose interest. As nerdy as this may sound, I love stats. I don’t know how many other people could say they like making and compiling new stats for this type of annual entry. Most of these stats are self-explanatory, but if any puzzle you please don’t hesitate to leave a comment. Also, if you’re into stats feel free to leave a comment with any other stats you would like me to explore.

Game Log

While there are many programs out there that keep track of stats, I prefer using Microsoft Excel. Following each game I attend, I enter all sorts of info about the game. My ‘Game Log’ is just one of four different spreadsheets that I have for ballhawking. Here is a screenshot of my 2013 Game Log (click the picture to enlarge):

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Once the information is entered, I can filter certain columns and rows to produce stats. For example, lets say I wanted to find out how many games I saw the Twins win this year. I can find that out by filtering the winning team. That’s literally all  there is to it.

If you want to produce more complex stats you can filter multiple categories at once. If you want to find out the average temperature when the Twins win in September you would have to filter out the date and the winning team, and then find the average of the temperatures.

Are you still with me? That was my little schpeel about the data, here are the stats…

Season Summary

Overall:

  • Total Baseballs: 73
  • Games Attended: 19
  • Average Balls/Game: 3.84
  • Game Balls: 2
  • Most Ball at one Game: 10

Target Field Summary:

  • Total Baseballs: 63
  • Games Attended: 15
  • Average Balls/Game: 4.2
  • Game Balls: 2
  • Most Ball at one Game: 10

Miller Park Summary:

  • Total Baseballs: 10
  • Games Attended: 4
  • Average Balls/Game: 2.5
  • Game Balls: 0
  • Most Ball at one Game: 4

Statistical Breakdown (More In-Depth)

Overall:

Total Balls: 73

Gained Via:

  • Hit Balls: 11
  • Thrown Balls: 51
  • Employee Balls: 11

Time Frame:

  • BP/Pre-game: 56 Balls
  • During Game: 7 Balls
  • Post-Game: 10 Balls

Number of baseballs from American/League teams:

  • American League Balls: 58
  • National League Balls: 10
  • Umpire Balls: 5

Number of Baseballs/Team:

  • A’s: 7 Balls
  • Angels: 9 Balls
  • Astros: 4 Balls
  • Brewers: 3 Balls
  • Indians: 6 Balls
  • Reds: 3 Balls
  • Rockies: 4 Balls
  • Royals: 4 Balls
  • Tigers: 2 Balls
  • Twins: 25 Balls
  • Umpires: 5 Balls
  • Yankees: 1 Ball

Number of Baseballs/Player:

  • 5 Balls: Twins Employee, Twins Rep
  • 4 Balls: N/A
  • 3 Balls: Mario (Dugout Attendant), Unknown Angels Player, Unknown A’s Player,
  • 2 Balls: Billy Hatcher (Coach), Jerome Williams, Josh Willingham, Nate Dammann, Steve Soliz (Coach) and Umpire Tony Randazzo.
  • 1 Ball: Al Alburquerque, Ariel Prieto, Armando Camacaro (Coach), Ben Richardson, Billy Butler, Brayan Villarreal, Brian Dozier, Casey Chavez, Doug Brocail (Coach), J.C. Gutierrez, James Shields , Jared Weaver, Jim Wright (Coach), Jordan Lyles, Josh Roenicke, Kelly Shoppach, Khris Davis, Larry Rothschild, Lee Tunnell (Coach), Liam Hendriks, Mat Latos, Matt Dominguez, Mike Trout, Oswaldo Arcia, Pat Neshek, Pedro Florimon, Rick Matthews (Coach), Rickie Weeks, Ryan Raburn, Shairon Martis, Twins Security Guard, Tye Waller, Ubaldo Jimenez, Umpire James Hoye, Umpire Jim Joyce, Umpire Ronald Kulpa, Unknown Astros Player, Unknown Rockies (front office), Unknown Rockies (trainer), Vinnie Pestano, Wade Davis, Wilkin Ramirez.

Target Field Breakdown:

Total Balls: 63

Gained Via:

  • Hit Balls: 10
  • Thrown Balls: 42
  • Employee Balls: 11

Time Frame:

  • BP/Pre-game: 48 Balls
  • During Game: 7 Balls
  • Post-Game: 8 Balls

Miller Park Breakdown:

Total Balls: 10

Gained Via:

  • Hit Balls: 1
  • Thrown Balls: 9
  • Employee Balls: 0

Time Frame:

  • BP/Pre-game: 8 Balls
  • During Game: 0 Balls
  • Post-Game: 2 Balls

Snag Tracker

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

snag tracker

Snag Tracker is a very simple way of showing the quantity of baseballs snagged in each part of the stadium.

Streaks

Consecutive Games:

  • 29 consecutive games with at least 1 ball     (record is 29)
  • 6 consecutive games with at least 2 balls     (record is 17)
  • 4 consecutive games with at least 3 balls     (record is 11)
  • 4 consecutive games with at least 4 balls     (record is 4)
  • 4 consecutive games with at least 5 balls     (record is 4)
  • 0 consecutive games with at least 6 balls     (record is 2)
  • 0 consecutive games with at least 7 balls     (record is 2)
  • 0 consecutive games with at least 8 balls     (record is 2)
  • 0 consecutive games with at least 9 balls     (record is 2)\

*Note: The consecutive game streaks are current, not necessarily from 2013*

Chronological Statistics

chronological stats

These charts help me predict when I could have the most and least success ballhawking. Theoretically, if I were to look at these charts I would be able to CORRECTLY predict how many baseballs I would hawk depending on what day it is. In a perfect statistical world, I would have the most success ballhawking on a Friday in September. This is because my highest daily average is on Friday (5.66 BPG) and my highest monthly average is in September (7.25 BPG). To counter that, I would have the least success on a Thursday (1 BPG) in July (1 BPG).

Chronologically recording statistics has always been the most fun for me, but no matter how much I like chronological stats, I won’t use them to predict how many baseballs I could catch at my next baseball game. There are a few reasons why these charts will not always be right. First off, we don’t live in a perfect statistical world. No matter how consistent stats can be, there will eventually be a discrepancy or oddity (in ballhawking this could mean getting shutout at a game). Plus, there are so many other factors that contrite to ballhawking other than which day it is. The number of variables is unlimited.

Statistics become more accurate as more data is entered. Because my data is limited to 19 games it is a lot like a player’s batting average at the beginning of a new season. As more games are played (in my case, attended) it becomes easier to determine (predict) the true averages. Regardless of whether these charts are helpful or not, I still enjoy compiling these stats. I like the idea of being able to predict which games will or won’t be good for ballhawking.

Wins vs. Losses

(These stats only reflect the games I attended)

Home Team Record: (7-12)

Total Score: 106-70, Visitors W, Home L

Average Score when home team…

  • Wins: 2.71 – 5.14
  • Loses: 7.25 – 2.83

Total number of baseballs collected when home team…

  • Wins: 25 Balls
  • Loses: 48 Balls

Average baseballs/game when the home team…

  • Wins: 3.57 Balls
  • Loses: 4 Balls

Minnesota Twins Record: (6-9)

Total Score: 89-60, Visitors W, Twins L

Average score when the Twins…

  • Win: 3.17 – 5.67
  • Lose: 7.78 – 2.89

Total number of baseballs collected when the Twins…

  • Win: 23 Balls
  • Lose: 40 Balls

Average baseballs/game when the Twins…

  • Win: 2.56 Balls
  • Lose: 4.44 Balls

Milwaukee Brewers Record: (1-4)

Total Score: 21-11, Visitors W, Brewers L

Average score when the Brewers…

  • Win: 0-2
  • Lose: 4.5 – 3

Total number of baseballs collected when the Brewers…

  • Win: 2 Balls
  • Lose: 11 Balls

Average baseballs/game when the Brewers…

  • Win: 2 Balls
  • Lose: 2.75 Balls

Attendance Figures

(These stats only reflect the games I attended)

Home Team:

Total Attendance: 588,475

Average Attendance/Game:

  • Overall: 30,920
  • Day Games: 35,665
  • Night Games: 30,093

Average attendance when the home team…

  • Wins: 31,303
  • Loses: 30,779

Minnesota Twins:

Total Attendance: 464,834

Average Attendance/Game: 30,989

Average Attendance when the Twins…

  • Win: 30,346
  • Lose: 31,418

Milwaukee Brewers:

Total Attendance: 155,000

Average Attendance/Game: 31,000

Average tttendance when the Brewers…

  • Win: 37,046
  • Lose: 29,489

Baseballs by Attendance:

Total Baseballs when attendance is…

  • 20,000-29,999: 43 Balls
  • 30,000-39,999: 30 Balls

Average Balls/Game when attendance is…

  • 20,000-29,999: 5.38 Balls
  • 30,000-39,999: 2.72 Balls

Temperature

(These stats only reflect the games I attended)

Average attendance when the temperature is…

  • 30-39 degrees: 38,282
  • 40-49 degrees: 23,299
  • 50-59 degrees: 30,452
  • 60-69 degrees: N/A
  • 70-79 degrees: 34,141
  • 80-89 degrees: 31,620
  • 90-99 degrees: 24,416

Average baseballs/game when the temperature is…

  • 30-39 degrees: 6 Balls
  • 40-49 degrees: 5 Balls
  • 50-59 degrees: 5 Balls
  • 60-69 degrees: N/A
  • 70-79 degrees: 3 Balls
  • 80-89 degrees: 4.4 Balls
  • 90-99 degrees: 3.8 Balls
  • Indoor: 3.5 Balls

Day vs. Night Games

(These stats only reflect the games I attended)

Home Team Record:

  • Overall: (7-12)
  • Day Games: (0-3)
  • Night Games: (7-9)

Total Runs Scored (Both Teams):

  • Overall: 176 Runs
  • Day Games: 26 Runs
  • Night Games: 150 Runs

Total Attendance:

  • Overall: 588,475
  • Day Games: 106,994
  • Night Games: 481,481

Total Baseballs:

  • Day Games: 12 Balls
  • Night Games: 61 Balls

Autographs

Number of Autographs/Player:

  • 2 Autographs: Preston Claiborne
  • 1 Autograph:   Mark the Beer Guy, Caleb Thielbar, Adam Warren, Chris Stewart, Jamey Carroll, Chris Herrmann, Justin Masterson, Josh Roenicke, Shairon Martis, Oswaldo Arcia, Scott Diamond, Liam Hendricks, Paul Molitor, and Corey Koskie.

Miscellaneous Fun Stats

(These stats only reflect the games I attended)

Length of a Game (time from the first to the last pitch, not including delays):

Total Game Time: 61 hours & 9 minutes

Average Time/Game: 3 Hours & 19 minutes

Most Eaten Ballpark Food:

Hotdogs on $1 Hot Dog Day (Total All Season): 9

Brats: 2

Cheese Burgers with Fries: 6

Chicken Strip and Fries Boats: 2

Nacho helmets (team helmet bowl): 2

Steak burgers: 2

Cheese Burger: 1

Frozen Cup of Strawberry Ice: 1

Frozen Cup of Lemonade Ice: 1

Nacho Boat: 1

Package of Peanuts: 1

Means of Transportation when traveling to a Major League Baseball Game:

Most Used Vehicles:

  • 7 Games: 2006 Chevy Aveo: 07-31-13, 08-02-13, 8-27-13, 09-09-13, 09-11-13, 09-27-13, 09-28-13
  • 6 Games: 2005 Pontiac Montana:  04-02-13, 04-03-13, 05-29-13, 06-28-13, 06-29-13, 08-15-13
  • 2 Games: 2011 Honda Odyssey:     07-03-13, 07-04-13
    • 1 Game:
    • 2003 Chevy Cavalier:       04-01-13
    • 2005 Chevy PT Cruiser:  04-16-13
    • 2001 Dodge Neon:           08-03-13
    • 2005 Chevy Impala  &  2008 Chevy Malibu:     08-17-13

Public Transportation:

  • 11 Games:           Hiawatha Metro Blue Line (I drove to MOA or Fort Snelling and rode the line from there to Target Field).

Stadium Parking:

  • 6 Games:             Parked in parking garage or parking lot next to Stadium

No Shave November:

In Honor of ‘No Shave November’ I put together this list of all the players/coaches/umpires who had facial hair when I caught a baseball from them during the 2013 MLB season:

Al Alburquerque, Ariel Prieto, Ben Richardson, Billy Butler, Doug Brocail (Coach), James Shields , Jared Weaver, Jerome Williams, Jim Wright (Coach), Josh Roenicke, Josh Willingham, Kelly Shoppach, Lee Tunnell (Coach), Liam Hendriks, Nate Dammann, Pat Neshek, Rickie Weeks, Ryan Raburn, Shairon Martis, Steve Soliz (Coach), Twins Security Guard, Tye Waller, Umpire Jim Joyce, Wade Davis, and Wilkin Ramirez.

List of Firsts

(Credit for this list goes to Tony Voda! I loved this list so much that I had to make my own. Awesome idea!)

Review/Assessment of my 2013 Ballhawking Goals:

2013 Ballhawking Goals:

  1. Attend 15 MLB games.
    • Yes, I attended 19 games.
  2. Attend 1 MLB game outside of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Missouri.
    • No, Although I did attend games in Minnesota and Wisconsin, I did not in Missouri or any other states (or provinces).
  3. Have an average of at least 4.5 baseballs per game.
    • No, I averaged 3.84 baseballs per game.
  4. Snag 60 baseballs.
    • Yes, I snagged 73 baseballs.
  5. Snag each type of 2013 commemorative baseball
    • No, I snagged 2 Opening Day commemoratives, but didn’t snag a Mothers Day, Rockies’ or Astros’ commemorative ball.
  6. Have a hit : thrown ball ratio of at least 2:10.
    • Yes, this season’s hit : thrown ball ratio is 1 : 5.63
  7. Get 10 autographs at games.
    • Yes, I got 15 (16 if you include the beer vendor)
  8. Meet many more people from ballhawking and blogging.
    • Yes, I met a lot of people through at Target Field and through blogging.
  9. Finish in the top 3 for the MyGameBalls.com Junior Ballhawk of the Year Award.
    • Yes, I finished 3rd.
  10. Finish in the top 50 in the MLBlogs Latest Leaders.
    • Undetermined. I have been in the monthly top 50 list multiple times this year, but I will have to wait until January to see where I ranked on the list for the year.

I would definitely say that the last season of ballhawking was a huge success. I improved in almost every area, reached 6 (possibly 7) goals for this year, added 73 baseballs and 15 autographs to my collection, and finished in the top 3 for the Junior Ballhawk of the Year Award. But you know what? It doesn’t matter how many goals I reach, how many stats I have to compare, or where I rank among other ballhawks because none of those are reasons why I ballhawk. I Ballhawk because I get to do something I love. It is entertaining and enjoyable to catch baseballs at the ballpark and then watch a game afterwards (Heck, I watched 61 hours and 9 minutes of baseball this year alone), but it is tremendously more exciting when you have some great people to share the moments with. There are certainly many people who this applies to, but Tony Voda, Mateo Fisher and Shawn Bosman are the biggest names that come to my mind. Thank you guys for all the great moments this year, you’re a huge ingredient to successful ballhawking!

Give yourself a self deserving pat on the back if you’re still with me at this point. At the beginning you probably thought, “Oh, how bad could it be?”. Well, now you know! Kudos to you and thank you for sticking around for the whole entry! I don’t know what I would’ve done in your shoes!

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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:

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  • 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

07-31-13 @ Target Field – Royals vs. Twins

This was the first game I had been to since the All Star break had ended, and I was excited to be back at Target Field. Since it was Rasmussen College Student Day, My friend Matt accompanied me to the game. Although, he didn’t actually have to buy a ticket because Tony gave him his extra ticket (Thanks Tony!). I hadn’t seen Tony since the Angels vs. Twins game in April! Luckily we had plenty of time to catch up before the gates opened. The three of us were going to get a group picture, but we forgot.

I got on the board during the second group of BP when Matt and I were in the second deck in left field. I was in the 3rd row of section 231 when Salvador Perez hit one of the only homers to nearly reach the second deck. I reached over the facing of the second deck, but I couldn’t reach low enough to catch it. I turned to walk back up the steps when James Shields yelled “Heads up!”. He had thrown the ball back up to me, but I didn’t realize it until the ball was about to nail me in the face. Fortunately I avoided getting a black eye by catching the ball. I took a picture of it in the concourse as we moved back to right field for the third group of batting practice:

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Back in right field I took the corner spot next to the overhang and Matt played one section to my left. Alex Gordon started spraying homers in our direction. He was hitting them so far that I backed up 2 rows in case he hit one over my head. He hit the very next pitch four rows in front of me in the middle of the section. I almost grabbed it on the ground but I got beat when I was a foot away. Shortly after this happened, a homer was hit to Matt – like right at him. He froze up and the ball landed in the seat next to him, but he didn’t grab it in time. The final embarrassing moment of the day came when Aaron Crow fielded a ball under the overhang in right field. I called out his name, but then he disappeared under the overhang:

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He reappeared and tossed the ball up, but I had already walked away! I scrambled to it, but it rolled to the bottom of the section before I had a chance to grab it. Those mistakes drive me crazy!

When the game started Matt and I found some nice bleacher seats on the Aisle next to the bullpens. By the fifth inning we had two close calls with an almost homer and an almost ground rule double, but neither happened.

Sometime in the sixth inning we visited the Team Store and I got a first hand look at one of the 2014 All Star Game baseballs:

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I don’t really like it. The commemorative logo looks really generic, but its not that bad. I would like it a lot more if the logo would be blue instead of red. I was going to buy one of them but then I decided to wait. I’m going to be at the All Star Game next year, so I want to try to get one from ballhawking before I purchase one.

During the next few innings I played around with the camera for a bit and got some action shots of Eric Hosmer stealing second base:

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In the 7th inning we wandered around the concourse and eventually we scored some sweet seats:

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…And then I took some more action shots:

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Did you notice the All Star Game Logo that was on the right field wall in any of the previous pictures? Here’s a close up picture of it:

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It’s not my favorite, but I kind of like it. My favorite Twins’ All Star Logo is the one behind home plate:

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After the game ended I got Mario’s attention. He grabbed three balls and threw two balls to the kids in front of me. Mario acknowledged me and then he threw a knuckleball to me! It was really cool except the person in front of me backed up a few steps, stuck his glove up in the air, jumped and caught the ball right in front of my glove. He gave it to me, and I gave it to Matt. I didn’t count that ball in my collection because a fan gave it to me.

The Royals beat the Twins 4-3. It was my first time getting to see Jeremy Guthrie. In 6 innings he allowed 2 earned runs on 6 hits. He struck out 5 men and walked 2. I would’ve preferred that the Twins would’ve won, but I was still glad that Guthrie got the win. Here is the box score and scoring plays from the game:

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A Piece of The Game MVP:

James Shields:    He threw a ball to me even when I didn’t expect him to. By doing this he also kept my streak alive.

Player of The Game:

Billy Butler:   Although he only went 1-3 in 4 plate appearances, he still managed to get 2 RBI (one appearance resulted in a sac fly). He was a big part of why the Royals won.

  • 1 ball in this game
  • 33 balls in 10 games this season = Avg. 3.3 balls per game
  • 20 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
  • 18 consecutive Twins home games with at least 1 ball
  • Gotten at least 1 ball from 13 different teams
  • 77  total balls

6-29-13 @ Target Field – Royals vs. Twins

Today I tried something new. Instead of riding the light rail system to Target Field I got off at the “Warehouse District/Hennepin AVE” station. It is the last stop before Target Field and it only takes 5 minutes to walk from there to the Stadium. It is WAY faster than riding the rail to Target Field and then having to walk around the outside of the stadium (If you have no clue what i’m talking about, click here and here). Anyways, this is the Warehouse District station:

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From here all I walked to the Target Center – the cool looking building furthest left in the next picture:

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…When I got to the Target Center I followed this side walk until I got to Target Field:

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…And approximately 2 minutes later I was at Target Field:

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I got to Target Field at 12:34 and went directly to the ticket booth to buy the cheapest ticket possible. I forgot about “Standing Room Only” tickets so I ended up paying almost $30 for a 300 level ticket.

Soon after I got to Gate 34 Justin Morneau hit a baseball that barely missed the Grandstand. Instead of landing in the Grandstand it took a bounce on the ground and shot towards the gates. The ball was out of my reach, but an employee tossed it to me:

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When the gates opened at 1:00 I went straight for the over hang in right field in hope that some power hitting lefties would still be taking their cuts. I was wrong. The next (and last) group of hitters in the Twins portion of BP consisted of non power hitting lefties and 2 righties. One was Josh Willingham. When I saw him stepping into the box I sprinted for the bleachers in left-center field. The bleachers weren’t crowded, but there wasn’t very much running room because of how everyone was spread out. I stood in the Aisle where section 129 meets 130 – one of the better spots for homers in batting practice… BUT the Twins only hit 2 baseballs into the bleachers. One of them was hit by Josh Willingham – which I caught on the fly after I scrambling from the 7th row down to the 2nd row. I was going to take a picture of it from that spot but I kept thinking, “I don’t want to be caught off guard incase another ball is hit here. I’ll take a picture later.” Afterwards, I forgot to take the picture.

When the Royals took the field I lined up behind some players playing catch:

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No luck there, so I left section 16 and tried sections 124 and 125:

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…Where I had no luck with toss ups. During the Royals portion of batting practice I was in the bleachers for all of the righties. That was a mistake. I *should* have gone to the 200 level because the Royals have some powerful righties. I’m mostly talking about Billy Butler. He alone hit more than 10 baseballs to the 200 level. I didn’t snag any more baseballs the rest of batting practice. When batting practice ended I got some food:

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I don’t usually eat at baseball games, but I was very hungry! The Twins have some good chicken and have even better fries! While I was eating the Twins sent out a tweet that I responded to:

The Twins hash tagged GoGetEmGibby because the game was Kyle Gibson’s Major League Debut. Sometime during the game I got this direct message from the Twins on Twitter:

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My prize was a Minnesota Twins collapsible water bottle:

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I was in the Dugout Box when the game started, but there were no open seats so I decided to leave the section. I watched a few innings from left field:

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Then I watched a few innings from the standing room next to the bullpens in center field:

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There were 3 baseballs in the Royals bullpen:

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Two were just bullpen balls, but one was the home run that Trevor Plouffe hit in the 1st inning.

Usually in the 7th or 8th innings I will make my way down to the Dugout Box seats, but I had no luck today. Not very many people were leaving the game early (very few fans leave when the home team is winning a day game) so there was no way for me to get there before the game ended. As soon as the last out was recorded I took off for the dugout moat. I descended past 30 rows of seats (and then some) and got near the umpire tunnel just as home plate Umpire Ronald Kulpa was exiting. He threw me my 3rd ball of the day as I was still descending on the steps. Here’s a picture (that I took 15 minutes later & in the outfield) of the umpire ball:

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I was hoping to get a ball from the bullpen staff, but that didn’t happen:

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Then I went to section 14 (next to the camera well) to see if Mario was in the dugout. He recognizes me whenever we see each other and he is always happy to throw me a ball. Mario acknowledged my presence and made a facial expression that suggested, “I have a ball for you, but you have to wait until i’m done cleaning up”.  As I waited for Mario I met up with Ben Lacher who was standing near by. He had gotten more than 35 autographs at the game today! When Ben left I took out my phone and started recording the dugout. Pretty soon Mario was back:

On my way out of the stadium I noticed that there were still 2 baseballs sitting in the Royals bullpen:

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This was the first time I have ever had the chance to use the glove trick at Target Field. The only problem was that I didn’t bring fishing line because I didn’t think I would need to use the glove trick. Silly me.

As for the game, the Twins beat the Royals 6-2. Kyle Gibson (the starting pitcher) made his Major League Debut for the Twins. Gibson was Minnesota’s first first-round pick to win a start in his major league debut. Here is the box score and scoring plays from the game:

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A Piece of The Game MVP:

Mario:    He is always very kind to me at Target Field and almost always helps add a ball to my collection.

Player of The Game:

Kyle Gibson:   I mentioned this before, but Gibson was Minnesota’s first first-round pick to win a start in his major league debut. He pitched a good game and only allowed 8 hits.

Here is my final haul from the night:

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  • 4 balls in this game
  • 30 balls in 7 games this season = Avg. 4.28 balls per game
  • 17 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
  • 17 consecutive games with at least 2 balls
  • 11 consecutive games with at least 3 balls
  • 2 consecutive games with at least 4 balls
  • 15 consecutive Twins home games with at least 1 ball
  • 13 consecutive Twins home games with at least 2 balls
  • 8 consecutive Twins home games with at least 3 balls
  • 2 consecutive Twins home games with at least 4 balls
  • Gotten at least 1 ball from 12 different teams
  • 74  total balls

6-28-13 @ Target Field – Royals vs. Twins

Usually there isn’t very much action at Target Field before the gates open, but today there were multiple baseballs hit to Target Plaza. Around quarter to five Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer were switching off hitting, and one of them hit this ball to the plaza:

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The ball hit the gate (out of my reach) and then Nick, a stadium employee (indicated by the arrow in the previous picture), tossed it to me. Thank you Nick! Because it was a weekend game the gates opened at 5 o’clock. I didn’t snag any balls during the remainder of the Twins’ portion of batting practice. It wasn’t long until the Royals took the field to play catch before they started to hit:

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My next ball was thrown to me by Billy Butler after he and Alcides Escobar finished playing catch:

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I had been in the Aisle of sections 16 and 17, but after I got the ball from Butler I moved further down the line in hopes of another thrown ball before they started to hit. Wade Davis threw me my third ball when he had finished playing catch. I don’t know who he was playing with, and I cant tell from the pictures I took either. In the next picture Davis is photographed to the right of the ball:

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When the Royals started hitting I moved to the bleachers in left center field. I had only been in the park for 20 minutes and I had snagged 3 balls. At this rate I would be able set to snag 5 more baseballs before the end of batting practice… but that didn’t happen. It didn’t happen because at 5:35 this happened:

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Long story short: it lightly rained for 6 minutes so the Royals thought it was necessary to cancel batting practice, and the grounds crew thought it was necessary to put the tarp over the infield. 6 minutes later the tarp was taken off, but the Royals didn’t come back out:

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When the clock struck 6:15 the Twins 2nd bullpen catcher entered the bullpens and tossed me this ball:

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I didn’t know who he was so I asked a Tony Voda and Mateo Fischer via Twitter. They both responded that they suspect he is a second bullpen catcher, but neither know his name. I know he is some sort of bullpen catcher for the Twins because I met his aunt and uncle on Memorial Day last year at the Twins game. Here is a better picture of him:

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If anyone knows his name, please don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments at the end of this entry!

After that I got to sit around for another 30 minutes until anyone else entered the bullpens. I decided to stay behind the Royals bullpen because James Shields, the starting pitcher, was warming up with Salvador Perez. When he and Perez finished at 7:09, Perez threw the ball to J.C. Gutierrez on the far end of the bullpen. Gutierrez then threw the same ball back across the bullpen to me. He continued towards my side of the bullpen until he sat down near the corner (perfect for taking a picture of both him and the ball):

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Just before the first pitch the tarp was pulled back onto the field because it was raining once again. The delay lasted for 26 minutes. Billy Butler hit a 3 run homer to center field in the first inning against P.J. Walters (click here to listen to the interview I did with P.J. during the 2012 off season). In the 7th inning Eric Hosmer also homered to center. Both of these home runs landed in the grass below the batters eye. At the end of the 7th inning I was on my way to center field when I saw this really cool mini model of Target Field:

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Eventually I made it out to center field and I found an Aisle seat next to the batters eye:

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When the game ended I waited for an employee to clear out the home run balls, but no one ever came:

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It had started raining right after the game had ended so all the grounds keepers were busy putting the tarp back on the field. Everyone was busy and apparently no one remembered to get the baseballs out of the batters eye. It got to the point where I had been waiting for 20 minutes when I was told I had to leave. Bummer, it would’ve been nice to have grabbed one (or both) of those! Since I was in center field I was going to exit the right field gate (gate 34) but the same usher made me leave through the left field gate because he claimed the right field gate was “already locked up”. This was stupid because I had to walk around the WHOLE outside of Target Field to get back to the car. Because of the way Target Field was built you cant walk a full circle around the outside of the ballpark. If you are outside the left field gate and want to get to the right field gate then you have to follow this illustrated model:

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After I practically walked around the whole stadium I finally reached the outside of the right field gate. Guess what… the gates were still wide open. Oh well, at least I made it to the car where my dad was waiting for me.

So anyways, the Royals beat the Twins 9-3.  The name of the game was the Royals Defense. The Royals put on a defensive show and sported some amazing plays! Both offensively and defensively the Twins struggled to keep up throughout the whole game. Here is the box score and scoring plays from the game:

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A Piece of The Game MVP:

J.C. Gutierrez:    I always enjoy getting the warm up ball that the starting pitcher used in the bullpen before the game. J.C. was kind enough to hook me up with James Shield’s warm up ball.

Player of The Game:

Eric Hosmer:   He had his second multi-HR game of his career. He went 3-4 on the night and collected 3 RBI which helped his team extend their lead over the Twins.

Here is my final haul from the night:

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  • 5 balls in this game
  • 26 balls in 6 games this season = Avg. 4.33 balls per game
  • 16 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
  • 16 consecutive games with at least 2 balls
  • 10 consecutive games with at least 3 balls
  • 14 consecutive Twins home games with at least 1 ball
  • 12 consecutive Twins home games with at least 2 balls
  • 7 consecutive Twins home games with at least 3 balls
  • Gotten at least 1 ball from 12 different teams
  • 70  total balls