Tagged: Byron Buxton

White Sox vs. Twins @ Target Field (06-22-15)

Most of the Target Field crew had planned to be in attendance. Tony and Nate were the first I saw:

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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:

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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:

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These two baseballs were nice, but the real treat was snagging one of Kenny Vargas’ batting practice home runs. It was a beauty:
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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!

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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:

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…I undoubtedly will also share the usual entry ending group shot:

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TOTALS: 3 balls at this game. 26 balls this year.

UP NEXT: Mariners vs. Twins 07/30/15

Gophers vs. Twins @ Hammond Stadium (03-04-15)

Some of you might be surprised that i’m in Florida for Spring Training. For others, especially if you follow me on Twitter, it is no surprise because I’ve been talking about this for a few weeks now. Anyways, I arrived on Tuesday afternoon and this was the first game I’ve been to so far this year. The earliest I arrived to a spring training ballpark last year was 8:00 a.m., but this year I arrived at Hammond Stadium at 7:00 a.m.. I got there the extra hour early because I wanted to catch the sun rise as I drove to the ballpark. The recently renovated stadium looked stunning as I drove into the parking lot:

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I wasn’t sure when the players would begin to practice but I figured I might as well maximize my time in the warm weather. I soaked in the sun until the first group of players finally entered the practice fields at 9 o’clock. I could see them from a distance so I made my way to the fields.

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At 9 o’clock all of the minor league players reported to the field closest to the twins baseball academy:

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As far as I know, the only notable players in that extremely large group were Nick Gordon, Kohl Stewart, James Beresford and Max Kepler. After wandering around for a few minutes I found my first ball of 2015! With Selig out and Manfred in as commissioner that meant that the signature on the baseball changed this year. That doesn’t sound like a big deal, but most ballhawks have been pretty excited to see the new baseballs. This wasn’t a Manfred ball, this was a Selig that was left over from last year:

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Regardless of the name on the front, it was still a beautiful baseball!

Part of the 2-year renovation plan included a baseball academy and dormitory for the minor league players of the Twins. The buildings weren’t finished when I visited last year, but since then they have been completed and opened:

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A bit closer to noon I spotted Mr. Terry Ryan, the Twins GM walking into the practice fields.

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I only said a quick hello because I didn’t want to disturb him while he was working. Later on, though, he approached me and said that a lady had told him that I knew everything there was to know about the Twins. She was obviously stretching the truth a bit, but Mr. Ryan was still amused. We ended up only chatting about baseball for a few minutes, but then we continued for a longer time as our conversation shifted towards other topics that weren’t even related to baseball. He’s a fun guy to talk with!

Right before leaving the complex to run to Publix, I found my second ball of the day. This time, though, the ball was from Tom Kelly Field:

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The ball had been wedged between the concrete, dirt and flowers. Aside from the odor and filth, there was still something different about this ball. I’m not sure when or by whom it was used, but the ball was a “Rawlings Perfect Game” ball. For the record (and for those ballhawks who are wondering), I did not count this in my MLB total.

After gaining early entrance into an empty stadium, I explored where most people do not. As I was hoping to find my second MLB ball of the day, I stumbled upon this whiffle ball:

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I was considering taking it with me, but it was filled with a gross looking mixture of dirt, bugs and condensation. It was better to leave it where it was! I was finally able to snag another MLB ball from the boardwalk down the left field foul line. I had quite the view from there:

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The ball was courtesy of Aaron Thompson. He threw it to me when he and Alex Meyer had finished playing catch.

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Although the change in signatures is a very subtle change, I do like how it looks. Although small in detail, it still brings about something new to the most important element in the game.

After nearly being hit by a home run when I was looking down at my roster, Mark Hamburger hooked me up with another Manfred ball:
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It wasn’t too long until I was in possession of another ball. This time from Ricky Nolasco:

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Ball number 5 came from the air. It was a homerun that i’m pretty sure Eddie Rosario hit:

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Up to this point I had been in the grass berm in left field. For almost all of batting practice there were only two other guys and myself in the whole grass section. There was absolutely no competition! My success continued.

My next two baseballs (numbers 6 and 7) were both home runs that I caught on the fly. Coincidentally, they were also hit by the same player – #21 Shane Robinson. Here’s number 6:

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And here’s number 7:

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The Twins left the field around 5:15 and soon the Minnesota Golden Gophers hustled out to take their turn on the field. I was surprised to see that the Gophers had a few players who could crush the ball. Their portion of batting practice wasn’t great, but I was still able to snag a home run. The ball was brand new, an obvious keeper, but as soon as a little girl asked for it I felt obligated to give it away!

Sophomore Troy Traxler, a catcher and outfielder for the Gophers, hooked me up with my 9th ball of the day:

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Batting Practice ended shortly after that, but I was able to get another toss up before the game started. When the Twins finished their pregame infield warm ups, catcher Eric Fryer tossed me my 10th ball of the day:

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When the game started I sat in my ticketed seat. This was the first game in a long while where I sat in my ticketed seat for the whole time! Who could blame me, though, with a view like this?:

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Although the Gophers were the first to score, he Twins ended up beating them 3-1. The big names in the Twins Lineup were Buxton (he went 2-3), Vargas (1-3) and Sano (1-1). Jose Berrios got the start for the Twins and was able to pick up the win after pitching 2 innings of scoreless baseball. One other thing worth mentioning is that this was Paul Molitor’s Managerial Debut! His first “W” (although it won’t officially be recorded) came against his old college team!

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There’s no highlight/recap video for this game, but I did find this special video that the UofM made after the completion of the game:

I’m in the video multiple times. Whenever the left field grass is shown, i’m in the frame. In one of the shots it showed me chasing down a home run ball. Just look for the guy in the blue shirt!

Here’s the final haul (Nine MLB balls are pictured because I gave one away):

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Spring Training Totals: 1 MLB Selig Ball, 9 MLB Manfred Balls, 1 Perfect game ball, and 1 whiffle ball.

UP NEXT: Red Sox vs. Twins, Thursday, March 5th.

2015 Fan Fests of the AL Central Division

Over the last few years I have annually posted an entry about the upcoming Fan Fests that will be hosted by the teams in the AL Central Division. If you’d like to see last year’s entry, click here. This is the entry for 2015.

sox

Date: January 23-25, 2015

Hours: Hours have not yet been announced.

Location:

Hilton Chicago

720 South Michigan Avenue

Chicago, Illinois, 60605

Parking: Hotel Parking

Admission Ticket Pricing:

  • Single Day Passes:
  • Weekend Passes: $40 for adults, $20 for children 13 & under. 3 & under are free of charge.

SCHEDULED TO ATTEND

Jose Contreras, Jon Garland, “El Duque” Orlando Hernandez, Bobby Jenks, Geoff Blum, Joe Crede, Tadahito Iguchi, Scott Podsednik, Aaron Rowand, Jose Abreu, John Danks, Zach Duke, Adam Eaton, Tyler Flowers, Avisail Garcia, Conor Gillaspie, Dan Jennings, Jake Petricka, Jose Quintana, Alexei Ramirez, David Robertson, Jeff Samardzija, Don Cooper, Todd Steverson, Herold Baines, Robin Ventura, Tim Anderson, Courtney Hawkins, Micah Johnson, Carlos Rodon, Bo Jackson, Ron Kittle, Carlos May, Bill Melton, Minnie Minoso and Billy Pierce.

Fan Activities Include:

  • Player Autograph Stations
  • Player Photo Stations
  • SoxFest Garage Sale
  • Additional activities are also in store for SoxFest.

Autograph Voucher Pricing: Included in admission price

Things that have improved from last year:

  • The White Sox lowered the price for a weekend pass by 45% compared to last year.
  • Although not confirmed, it seems as if SoxFest will offer more activities to fans.

If I was the GM I would…

  • Make it mandatory for the 40-man roster to attend SoxFest.
  • Donate a part of the proceeds to charity.

My Overall Grade of SoxFest LAST YEAR: B-

My Overall Grade of SoxFest THIS YEAR: B

tribe

Date: January 24-25, 2015

Hours:

  • Period 1: Saturday, Jan 24, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Period 2: Saturday, Jan 24, 4-8 p.m.
  • Period 3: Sunday, Jan 25, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Location:

Progressive Field

2401 Ontario Street

Cleveland, OH 44115

Parking: “A limited number – due to a Monsters home game on Saturday night and a Cavs home game on Sunday afternoon — of $3 parking spots will be available in the Gateway East Garage. Those parking passes can be purchased online while fans purchase their event and autograph tickets. Fans are encouraged to purchase their Gateway East parking passes early, as supplies are limited.” – Indians.com

Admission Ticket Pricing: GA is $10 for adults and free for children 12 & under.

SCHEDULED TO ATTEND

Corey Kluber, Michael Brantley, Yan Gomes, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Kipnis, Cody Allen, Mike Aviles, Trevor Bauer, Michael Bourn, Lonnie Chisenhall, TJ House, Roberto Perez, Jose Ramirez, Marc Rzepczynski, Danny Salazar, Carlos Santana, Bryan Shaw and Nick Swisher.

Additional TribeFest 2015 participants will be announced at a later date.

Fan Activities Include:

  • Player Autographs
  • Kids’ Activities
  • Batting Cages
  • Clubhouse Tours
  • Q&As with Tribe Broadcasters and Players

Autograph Information:

  • “Fans can guarantee an autograph by purchasing an Autograph Ticket. Autograph tickets much be purchased IN ADDITION to a General Admission ticket. You will be allowed to select which autograph session you’d like to attend within your Tribe Fest event. In order to maximize the amount of fans able to experience each autograph session at Tribe Fest, the purchase of autograph tickets has been limited to four per autograph session per transaction. Additionally, only one autograph session ticket per person will be honored at each autograph station.” – Indians.com
  • “Fans can purchase an Autograph Ticket in two different tiers: Indians Alumni or Roster Player. These sessions will take place at an assigned time, and fans are encouraged to ARRIVE EARLY for these sessions. There is a cap of 250 fans per session, and each session will be closed once all tickets are sold.” – Indians.com
  • “Anyone holding an autograph ticket is guaranteed to receive at least one autograph, but specific players and alumni are not guaranteed. Player assignments will not be determined in advance, and are subject to change.” – Indians.com

Things that have improved since last year:

  • Last year children were $5 at the door. This year they’re free.
  • It seems like the Indians made it easier for fans to obtain autographs since last year. I still don’t like the autograph system, but it’s a bit better from last year.

If I was the GM I would…

  • Improve how the autograph tickets & sessions are set up.
    • The way the Indians have it set up now is unorganized and way more complicated than it needs to be.
    • I would model TribeFest autograph sessions after the Twins’ autograph sessions.
  • Make it mandatory for the 40-man roster to attend TribeFest.

My Overall Grade of Tribe Fest LAST YEAR: C+

My Overall Grade of Tribe Fest THIS YEAR: B

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Date: January 24, 2015

Hours: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Location:

Comerica Park

2100 Woodward Avenue

Detroit, MI 48201-3470

Parking: There are numerous other privately owned parking facilities within a 5-20 minute walk of Comerica Park.

Admission Ticket Pricing:  $28 for adults, $14 for kids 12 & under

*Tickets are sold out.*

SCHEDULED TO ATTEND: Justin Verlander, Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez will be among over 30 Tigers players and coaches who scheduled to appear. The Tigers have not yet released the 2015 appearance schedule.

Fan Activities Include:

  • Autograph Booths
  • Fantasy Play-by-Play Broadcast
  • Main stages will host Q & A sessions and seminars.
  • Player Photos
  • Clubhouse Tours
  • Dugout Tours
  • 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
  • Free face painting and caricatures.
  • Baseball-themed games and activities for kids.
  • Video Game Bullpen.
  • Official 2015 Kids Club enrollment.

Autograph Voucher Pricing: The Tigers have not yet released this information. Autograph Prices will most likely not be included in price of general admission.

Things that have improved since last year:

  • All fans attending will receive a free TigerFest beanie style hat, courtesy of 97.1 FM The Ticket.
  • New activity: Fantasy play-by-play broadcast

If I was the GM I would…

  • Turn TigersFest into a weekend event. The one day event is already sold out this year. Instead of hosting TigersFest on Saturday only, host it from Friday to Sunday.
  • Lower the price of admission from $28

My Overall Grade of TigerFest LAST YEAR: A

My Overall Grade of TigerFest THIS YEAR: A

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Date: January 30-31, 2015

Hours:

  • Friday, January 30
    • 12-2 p.m. Exclusive access for Season Ticket Holders
    • 2-9 p.m. Open to all fans
  • Saturday, January 31
    • 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 – $14; Youth – $8
    • 2 Day Pass: Adult – $20; Youth – $11
  • Day of Sale:
    • 1 Day Pass: Adult – $16; Youth – $10
    • 2 Day Pass: Adult – $22; Youth – $14

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

SCHEDULED TO ATTEND:

Lane Adams, Willie Aikens, Jaime Bluma, George Brett ^, Lorenzo Cain, Louis Coleman, Christian Colon, Wade Davis, Brandon Finnegan, Al Fitzmorris, Joel Goldberg, Alex Gordon, Terrance Gore#, Jeremy Guthrie, Shane Halter, Luke Hochevar, Greg Holland, Eric Hosmer, Rex Hudler#, Ryan Lefebvre, Dennis Leonard, Mike Macfarlane, Denny Matthews, John Mayberry, Brian McRae, Kris Medlen*, Kendrys Morales, Mike Moustakas, Dayton Moore, Les Norman, Marty Pattin, Bill Pecota, Salvador Perez, Steve Physioc, Greg Pryor, Jamie Quirk, Shawn Sedlacek, Steve Stewart, Jerry Terrell, John Wathan, Willie Wilson, Yordano Ventura,Edinson Volquez, and Ned Yost.

^ Royals Awards only, * Friday only, # Saturday only (As of January 16th, 2015)

Fan Activities Include:

  • Player Autograph Sessions
  • Player Photo Sessions
  • Commerce Bank Main Stage
  • 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.

Things that have improved since last year:

  • According to Royals.com, RoyalsFest 2015 has a heavy focus on what fans have requested in the past – autographs.

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 Grade of Royals FanFest LAST YEAR: B+

My Overall Grade of Royals FanFest THIS YEAR: B+

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Date: January 23-25, 2015

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): $10

SCHEDULED TO ATTEND:

  • Friday, Jan. 23:
    A.J. Achter, Neil Allen, Oswaldo Arcia, J.O. Berrios, Bert Blyleven, Tom Brunansky, Byron Buxton, Rod Carew, Logan Darnell, Butch Davis, Brian Dozier, Brian Duensing, Tyler Duffey, Eduardo Escobar, Casey Fien, Eric Fryer, Kyle Gibson, Dan Gladden, Gene Glynn, Nick Gordon, JR Graham, Nate Hanson, Mark Hamburger, BJ Hermsen, Aaron Hicks, Kent Hrbek, Phil Hughes, Torii Hunter, Jacque Jones, Corey Koskie, Mike Kvasnicka, Gene Larkin, Joe Mauer, Trevor May, Alex Meyer, Tommy Milone, Paul Molitor, Max Murphy, Ricky Nolasco, Chris Parmelee, Mike Pelfrey, Brandon Peterson, Glen Perkins, Trevor Plouffe, Jorge Polanco, Ryan Pressly, Stephen Pryor, Eddie Rosario, Taylor Rogers, Miguel Sano, Danny Santana, Ervin Santana, Jordan Schafer, Roy Smalley, Blake Schmit, Kurt Suzuki, Caleb Thielbar, Michael Tonkin, Kennys Vargas, Joe Vavra, Tanner Vavra, Treysen Vavra, and Jason Wheeler.
  • Saturday, Jan. 24:
    A.J. Achter, Neil Allen, Oswaldo Arcia, J.O. Berrios, Bert Blyleven, Tom Brunansky, Byron Buxton, Rod Carew, Logan Darnell, Butch Davis, Brian Dozier, Brian Duensing, Tyler Duffey, Eduardo Escobar, Casey Fien, Eric Fryer, Kyle Gibson, Dan Gladden, Gene Glynn, Nick Gordon, JR Graham, Jim “Mudcat” Grant, Nate Hanson, Mark Hamburger, BJ Hermsen, Aaron Hicks, Phil Hughes, Torii Hunter, Jacque Jones, Corey Koskie, Mike Kvasnicka, Tim Laudner, Joe Mauer, Trevor May, Alex Meyer, Tommy Milone, Paul Molitor, Max Murphy, Ricky Nolasco, Chris Parmelee, Mike Pelfrey, Brandon Peterson, Glen Perkins, Trevor Plouffe, Jorge Polanco, Ryan Pressly, Stephen Pryor, Eddie Rosario, Taylor Rogers, Miguel Sano, Danny Santana, Ervin Santana, Jordan Schafer, Blake Schmit, Kurt Suzuki, Caleb Thielbar, Michael Tonkin, Kennys Vargas, Joe Vavra, Tanner Vavra, Treysen Vavra, and Jason Wheeler.
  • Sunday, Jan. 25:
    A.J. Achter, Neil Allen, Oswaldo Arcia, Tom Brunansky, Byron Buxton, Rod Carew, Logan Darnell, Butch Davis, Brian Dozier, Tyler Duffey, Eduardo Escobar, Casey Fien, Eric Fryer, Kyle Gibson, Nick Gordon, JR Graham, Nate Hanson, Mark Hamburger, BJ Hermsen, Aaron Hicks, Phil Hughes, Torii Hunter, Mike Kvasnicka, Joe Mauer, Trevor May, Alex Meyer, Tommy Milone, Paul Molitor, Max Murphy, Ricky Nolasco, Chris Parmelee, Mike Pelfrey, Brandon Peterson, Glen Perkins, Trevor Plouffe, Jorge Polanco, Ryan Pressly, Stephen Pryor, Frank Quillici, Brian Raabe, Eddie Rosario, Taylor Rogers, Miguel Sano, Danny Santana, Ervin Santana, Jordan Schafer, Blake Schmit, Kurt Suzuki, Caleb Thielbar, Michael Tonkin, and Jason Wheeler.

Fan Activities Include:

  • Auctions
  • Player Autographs
  • Player Photo Sessions
  • Sports Memorabilia and Collector’s Show
  • Self-Guided Clubhouse Tours
  • Twins Yard Sale
  • BINGO
  • Reading with Twins mascot TC
  • Fan Feud
  • Special Panel Discussions
  • Boardwalk-style Amusements
  • Behind-the-scenes Fan Experiences
  • 10th Annual Diamond Awards

Autograph Voucher Pricing: There are multiple autograph stations spread out through Target Field. You pay “x” amount of dollars to get everyone’s signature who is in the station.

Things that have improved since last year:

  • The Twins have added a few new fan activities.

If I was the GM I would…

  • Lower the Admission price from $20.

My Overall Grading LAST YEAR: A

My Overall Grading THIS YEAR: A

TwinsFest 2014

If you’ve ever been to TwinsFest in the past, you might remember that the Metrodome was the perfect place for TwinsFest because of how much space was available:

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Photo from TwinCitiesDailyPhoto.com

Because Target Field is an open air stadium, the layout of TwinsFest had to change to ensure that it could be held at “home”. Instead of having attractions on the field, they were moved to the Service, Club, and Suite levels:

Photo from Twins.com

Photo from Twins.com

After going to TwinsFest on Jan 24, Mateo Fischer and I made a video series that tours the new layout of TwinsFest 2014. Here’s the video I put together for the tour of the Suite Level:

Here’s the video Mateo put together for the tour of the Service Level:

I went to TwinsFest on Friday, but Mateo went all three days so he might have also toured the Club Level. I’m unsure if he was planning to do it or not.

So what did I actually do at TwinsFest?

Upon entering Target Field with Mateo, his friend, and his friend’s friend (whose names I can not recall), I found a spot at the end of the line for autograph station # 1. Although Byron Buxton, Scott Diamond, Michael Tonkin, Roy Smalley, and Danny Santana were all part of station 1, I was only interested because of Buxton. If you haven’t heard, he is the #1 prospect in Major League Baseball (Twins’ pitchers Alex Meyer & Kohl Stewart, 2B Eddie Rosario, and 3B Miguel Sano have also earned their spot on MLB’s Top 100 Prospects list). I ended up leaving the line at 5:00 because the line was to long for me to get to the front of the line by the time those players were done signing at 5:15.

Shortly afterwards I met up with Tony Voda, and we set out to see what the new version of TwinsFest had to offer. Later we met up with Ben Erickson (we met at TwinsFest last year, and have been keeping in touch since then), who came all the way from North Dakota to attend TwinsFest. He’s a great example of a dedicated Twins fan!

I very casually interviewed Tony and Ben about their experiences at TwinsFest this year. If you’ve never been to TwinsFest before, hopefully this video will offer some insight to what it is like:

Except for the occasional games that get snowed out in April, it’s not often that fans get to see it snow while being at Target Field. I made sure to take a few pictures:

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Snowing at Target Field!

Snowing at Target Field! (my slightly messed up panoramic photo)

Ben and I got a picture once Tony got the camera figured out. It was nice seeing you again, Ben!

Ben and I.

Ben and I.

At the Twins Yard Sale I picked up a few mini bats that were used as promotional giveaways during the 2013 season:

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Pretty nice for only $3!

I didn’t end up standing in line for any autographs at TwinsFest this year, but as Mateo and I were leaving for the night we passed Miguel Sano in the hallway. Miguel was standing around chatting in Spanish and signing autographs. Luckily Mateo knows Spanish pretty well and was able to get Miguel to sign an autograph for each of us.

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Ball signed by Miguel Sano (NO FILTER!).

Major League Baseball ranked Miguel Sano the 4th best prospect of 2014. He and Byron Buxton are a pretty big deal here in Minnesota and they’re bound to be just as big of a deal down in spring training this year. Spring training is just around the corner; pitchers and catchers start reporting on February 13th. Baseball is 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

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