Tagged: Cincinnati Reds

2014 All-Star Game @ Target Field (07-15-14)

Since I live an hour an a half away from Target Field it was extremely helpful that Mateo Fischer let me stay with him for the duration of the All-Star Break. Instead of driving home the night before, I was able to head back to Mateo’s apartment with him and Leiming.

The three of us left Mateo’s his place around noon and arrived in the Warehouse District after a short ride on the light rail. We spent a bit of time at the Pepsi Block Party and then we followed the All Star Path to the Convention Center for one last visit to FanFest. Along the way I was very tempted to stop for a game of bean bags:

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The roadways were all ready for the Red Carpet Show that would take place later today. The Show hadn’t started yet, but there were a number of MLB mascots who were throwing things into the crowd. Here’s Bernie Brewer, the mascot for the Milwaukee Brewers:

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Incase you’re wondering, the flower was from the Yoplait people at the Pepsi Block Party and the A’s garage parking helper came from Bernie Brewer. We saw many more mascots along the way, but none as nice as Bernie.

We did many things at FanFest that I had done two days earlier, but we did some new things as well. Just for the heck of it the three of us played “Fast Pitch Relief” (Step up to the pitcher’s mound and test your arm strength while trying to throw your fastest pitch), “FanFest Fielding Practice” (Self explanatory), and “Steal A Base” (Also self-explanatory). Then we got cake:

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The cake was good, but there was too much chocolate. As you can see from above, there were three layers of cake with chocolate frosting between, and then more frosting on top. It was difficult to finish, but free cake is still free cake.

For lunch we ate at Lotus Restaurant, a Vietnamese establishment, a few blocks away from the Convention Center. Here’s a street view of the building via google maps:

Photo from Google Maps

Photo from Google Maps.

I didn’t take any pictures at Lotus, but here are two pictures via Yelp:

Photo from Yelp

Photo from Yelp.

Photo from Yelp

Photo from Yelp.

I ordered the Beef Pho. If I remember right then it is soup that consists of beef, noodles, some veggies and a few other things. It was pretty good, but I’m not huge on Vietnamese food.

Chevy sponsored the All Star Game and gave free rides from FanFest to Target Field. Had we not found another way back to Target Field we would’ve gotten a complimentary ride via a new Chevy Impala:

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Instead, the three of us pilled in the back of a Yoplait yogurt bike cart. This was also complimentary, and it was a lot of fun!

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We were dropped off at the corner of the Pepsi Block Party right next to the Yoplait stand where we got yogurt a few hours before. We got to Target field around 3:45, only about 15 minutes before the gates opened. I had just enough time to circle the stadium to find the gate with the shortest line. Gate 3 was the answer to my question:

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My goal for today was to get a commemorative ball with a perfect logo. It didn’t matter to me if the ball was from the futures game, the derby or the ASG, I just wanted it to have an undamaged logo. Upon entering the stadium I quickly found a nice spot in the Powerball Pavilion, away from the larger crowds in foul territory. When David Price finished playing catch he hooked me up with a derby ball:
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I was thrilled to get another commemorative but I was disappointed in its condition. This logo was hardly visible. I was just worried that I wouldn’t get another chance because (1) the crowds were so large and (2) because I had limited space to work with because the ushers were checking tickets in every section. Speaking of ushers… immediately after the toss up from Price, I was asked to show my ticket for the Powerball Pavilion. Therefore, I was booted out of the section.

With my options running out I managed to find my way into the left field bleachers. I hoped to get a ball from the bullpen, but that didn’t pan out.

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No, my next ball wasn’t from the bullpen but instead it was a toss up from Padres’ All-Star Tyson Ross:

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YES!!! Finally a ball with a fantastic logo! Huge thank you to Tyson Ross. With my goal completed I waited out the last few minutes of batting practice. Following batting practice I was told that the Clydesdale would be making another appearance. Any guesses to what that meant for me?

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Let’s just say I ate very well at the All-Star Game. I didn’t keep it all for myself, though. I gave one to Leiming, and gave one to an usher who I’d made friends with over the past few years. It was sort of thank you for letting me in his section so often. Before leaving to get food I stuck around to watch the pregame festivities.

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I’ve seen a few flyovers at baseball games over the last few years, but this one was definitely the best so far:

flyover

There was still some time before the game was supposed to start so Leiming and I got some food. This is how crowded the concourse was:

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It was insane, there were people everywhere! At certain times it was so packed that no one could move and we all just stood in one place. It was like rush hour in Chicago! We ate our food in the standing room area behind home plate.

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We liked the view so much that this is where we spent the majority of the game. The game was spectacular! I’ve always been a fan of Derek Jeter, but I’ve never fawned over him like other fans do. However, seeing Jeter in his final All-Star game was something I will never forget. Jeter went 2-2 with a double and a run scored.

Here are some accomplishments that Derek Jeter had in this All-Star Game alone:

“With Derek Jeter’s 3rd-inning single, he becomes only the sixth player in baseball history with 10 career singles in the All-Star Game, trailing five Hall-of-Famers.” -ESPN

“Oldest player with multiple hits in an All-Star Game Derek Jeter (40, 2014), Carl Yastrzemski (39, 1979), Babe Ruth” -ESPN

Seeing Derek Jeter’s standing ovation has to be the coolest thing I’ve ever witnessed in person at a baseball game.

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Here are a few panoramic pictures I took throughout the night:

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The American League beat the National League 5-3. Glen Perkins, the hometown hero, picked up the clutch save for the American League. Here’s a recap via MLB on YouTube:

After the game Mateo, Leiming, Garrett and I all got together for a picture at the National League dugout.

postgame

We all had quite the day, and quite the All-Star experience throughout the last few days. This was potentially a once in a lifetime event, and I was thrilled to have been a part of it here in Minneapolis.

When we left there were bags of Cheez-Its being giving away outside of the stadium. Not expecting to get one, one of us joking said, “Can I have a box?” To our surprise they tossed each of us a box of Cheez-Its!

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That’s such a strange thing, isn’t it? We got some pretty funny looks from people as we carried our boxes of Cheez-Its down the sidewalk. Here is the final haul from the All-Star Break:

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2014 Home Run Derby @ Target Field (7-14-14)

Day two of three, one step closer to the main event. To start the day Leiming Tang and I met Garrett Meyer at the All Star Pepsi Block Party. There we won Target gift cards by answering 3 trivia questions, saw the Clydesdales, won multiple prizes from playing moundball, and got free Pepsi and yogurt.

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After we spent a good chunk of time at the block party we headed kitty corner across the street to grab some lunch at Trieste Café, a Mediterranean & Greek restaurant, in the Warehouse District. Here’s a street view of the building via google maps:

google maps

Photo from Google Maps.

Looking back at it now, I don’t know why I didn’t take any pictures at Trieste! Here are two pictures via Yelp:

Photo from Yelp

Photo from Yelp.

Yelp

Photo from Yelp.

We each ordered the Baba Ganouge Veggie Gyro and we didn’t regret it. The place is run by two guys who are great at their jobs. I think that these two guys are literally the only two on staff, but they do an excellent job. The place was busy, but the food came quickly. The food was authentic and fresh, the service was great, and the atmosphere was comfortable. Although the café was small, the limited seating added to the small restaurant experience. I should quit blogging about baseball and start reviewing restaurants 😉

The three of us arrived at Target Field at three o’clock and joined a few other ballhawks at Gate 34:

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From left to right is Erik JabsTony Voda, Nick Pelescak, Garrett, Leiming and then me. Most of us were in t-shirts, but it was actually so chilly that Erik and I jogged nearly a mile to Target so we could each buy a long-sleeved shirt. We got back to Target Field with plenty of time to spare, but we almost got swallowed up by the swarms of people who had lined up at the gates:

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I was thrilled when the gates opened at four! I immediately rushed to foul territory in right field to claim a spot along the warning track. Today the stakes were a bit higher than at the Futures Game. The crowds would be larger and more people would be competing for a derby ball. I knew that obtaining a derby ball would prove to be the most challenging part of the day so I made it easier for myself by staking out a good spot:

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Unfortunately I was ignored by many of the players. It was pretty strange; not many players were tossing baseballs to fans at all. Although it was from an unlikely source, I still managed to snag a commemorative Home Run Derby ball:

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Any guessing about who threw it to me? Take a look back at the last two photos until you spot the little Asian boy dressed in all white wearing a red hat. He’s the son of one of the players, but I’m not sure who. I mentioned that he’s Asian because this could help me figure out who his father is. In turn, I’d be able to say I snagged a commemorative derby ball from ________’s son. Feel free to help me out!

After this I tried my luck in center field. What a mistake. Look how crowded it was:

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Two balls were thrown specifically to me, but there were so many fans who thought it was a free for all that both balls were stolen before they made it into my glove. I know that there was nothing I could’ve done to control that, but it was sure frustrating because both balls were commemorative.

The 2014 Gillette Home Run Derby started at 7:00. At that moment the eyes of baseball fans all across the country were set on Target Field. Major League Baseball and the Twins organization did a fantastic job of not only planning this event, but also marketing ourselves to the rest of the country. Target Field and Minneapolis/St. Paul were presented very well on National television.

Take a look for yourself:

If there was one thing I could’ve changed about the Home Run Derby it would’ve been the weather. The majority of the day had been chilly and rainy, and the Derby was actually delayed because of it. However, because of the weather I saw one of the most beautiful skies I have ever seen. My camera couldn’t capture a quality photo so take a look at this photo from the Star Tribune:

Star Tribune

Photo from Star Tribune

There was a double rain bow above the Minneapolis skyline during the Home Run Derby at Target Field. How cool is that?! After seeing the rainbows I didn’t even care about the cold weather anymore!

After the Derby I snagged an All Star Gatorade from the field staff:

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After drinking that Gatorade I was all energized and I felt like an All Star 😉

The Field staff also began throwing Sharpies to fans:

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An All Star Sharpie? I believe that I have since then lost the sharpie. Before I bid you farewell I’ll leave you with a picture of the original three Target Field amigos:

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Up next: The 85th Major League Baseball All Star Game. It feels great to finally say that!

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):

Capturel

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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The Ideal Defense – The 2013 Rawlings Gold Glove Awards

Every year since 1957 Rawlings has awarded the Gold Glove Award to the top fielder at each position. In 1957 there was only one award given per position, but beginning in 1958 separate awards were given for the American and National league positions. Over the last 57 years the award has been given out 999 times. But that number changed on October 29th. Yesterday night Rawlings announced the 2013 Gold Glove Award winners. Including the 18 recipients from 2013, there have now been 1017 Gold Glove winners.

I had some spare time so I decided to make a few depth charts. Here is the 2013 American League Gold Glove Depth Chart:

American League Gold Glove Depth Chart

Catcher – Salvador Perez (Kansas City Royals)

First Base – Eric Hosmer (Kansas City Royals)

Second Base – Dustin Pedroia (Boston Red Sox)

Short Stop – J.J. Hardy (Baltimore Orioles)

Third Base – Manny Machado (Baltimore Orioles)

Left Field – Alex Gordon (Kansas City Royals)

Center Field – Adam Jones (Baltimore Orioles)

Right Field – Shane Victorino (Boston Red Sox)

Pitcher – R.A. Dickey (Toronto Blue Jays)

The Orioles and Royals both had three Gold Glove Award winners this year; more than any other team in Major League Baseball. Defensively, the Orioles finished in first place while the Royals finished in 8th place among the other American League teams:

AL Defense

Now, lets take a look at the 2013 National League Gold Glove Depth Chart:

National League Gold Glove Depth Chart

Catcher – Yadier Molina (St. Louis Cardinals)

First Base – Paul Goldschmidt (Arizona Diamondbacks)

Second Base – Brandon Phillips (Cincinnati Reds)

Short Stop – Andrelton Simmons (Atlanta Braves)

Third Base – Nolan Arenado (Colorado Rockies)

Left Field – Carlos Gonzalez (Colorado Rockies)

Center Field – Carlos Gomez (Milwaukee Brewers)

Right Field – Gerardo Parra (Arizona Diamondbacks)

Pitcher – Adam Wainwright (St. Louis Cardinals)

Have you ever heard of a battery? I’m not talking about Duracell or Energizer, I’m talking about a baseball battery:

a

Since 1957 there have only been five Gold Glove batteries. Pitcher Jim Kaat and catcher Earl Battey did it in 1962, Rick Reuschel and Tony Pena in 1985, Bret Saberhagen and Bob Boone in 1989, Kenny Rogers and Ivan Rodriguez in 2000 and 2006, and Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina in 2009 and 2013. The reason I brought up Batteries in the first place was because Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina are a Gold Glove battery this year!

The Cardinals, Diamondbacks, and Rockies each had two Gold Glove Award winners this year. Defensively, the Diamondbacks and Cardinals finished 1st and 2nd, respectively. I assumed the Braves would be in the Top-5, but they took 7th place on the list of National League teams:

NL Defense

In case you’re curious, here are the fielding stats for all 30 Major League Baseball teams:

MLB Defense

Just for the fun of it, I looked the Red Sox and Cardinals in their first five World Series games:

fd

There are four 2013 Gold Glove Award winners in the World Series, yet there have been 11 errors. Isn’t that kind of ironic?

Congratulations to all 18 Gold Glove recipients. Each player has worked to be the BEST at their position.

If you were the manager or owner of a Major League Baseball franchise, wouldn’t you love it if your those were YOUR depth charts? Imagine if all of those players played for YOUR team. You would have the ideal defense.

My MLB Championship Series Predictions

I know that the National League Championship Series between the Cardinals and Dodgers is kicking off tonight, but I would still like to take this time to share my predictions for the rest of the playoffs. This isn’t an in-depth analysis or anything, I promise i’ll keep it short! Before I share my predictions I want to give credit to PrintYourBrackets.com. I found some nice looking brackets on their website and then switched some team names around to show what my predictions are.

Here is the bracket that I came up with prior to the start of the playoffs:

play off predictions

All my predictions were correct except for the Indians and the Braves. I predicted both teams would win, but they both lost. My bracket wasn’t ruined though, because it is still possible that the Tigers and Cardinals could play each other in the World Series.

When both the ALDS and NLDS wrapped up I made a second bracket for the next round of the playoffs. Here are my picks for the Championship Series:

tigers

I feel confident that the Tigers will win the ALCS because the Red Sox have a recent (it goes back a few years) tendency of shutting down in critical games. As for the NLCS, I really want the Dodgers to win it all this year, but my gut feels like the Cardinals will win the Series against them. Hopefully the Dodgers go all the way!

I’ll post one final bracket when the Championship Series(s) conclude. Go Dodgers!

logo patch

08-17-13 @ Miller Park – Reds vs. Brewers

Going to this game was kind of a last minute decision, but that didn’t stop my Uncle Jason and I from going to the game. This was a Saturday night game so the gates were scheduled to open at 4:10. We had to make a few stops on the way to the ballpark, so we got slowed down a little bit. We parked for FREE, and then walked a few blocks to Miller Park. Here was the view from about the half way point:

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As we got closer, Miller Park seemed to be glowing:

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We didn’t get inside until 5:45, but I was just glad that the Reds were still taking batting practice:

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I was only expecting to see 15 minutes of batting practice before the Reds would jog off the field, but for some reason they kept taking batting practice until almost 6:30. Jason and I went to the Left Field Loge, but didn’t come close to any homers because all the power hitters had already taken their cuts. At the end of batting practice I was one of the four or five people to get a ball from Billy Hatcher at the Reds dugout. I was thrilled to be on the board after such a brief viewing of batting practice. In the next picture Billy is walking into the dugout:

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The game was quickly paced, and seemed to fly by in no time. The first exciting thing that happened in the game was when Logan Schafer doubled to right field in the fourth inning. Both Khris Davis and Scooter Gennett scored off of Logan’s double. The only really exciting play from the game was when the Reds loaded the bases in the top of the 7th inning with one out. The Brewers were able to enduce a ground ball and picked up the double play to end the inning without allowing any runs!

Jason and I weren’t the only family members at the game. Another of my uncles, Kevin, and his son Elijah were also at the game (We also went to a Brewers game together last year on 06-18-12). In the 9th inning Elijah and I waited near the Reds dugout for the game to end. After the game ended Billy Hatcher rolled two balls across the dugout. I got the first one, and a middle aged guy got the second. I immediately turned to the kid next to me and offered him the ball, but he declined since the middle aged guy was his dad. The Kid appreciated it though. Then out of nowhere, it seemed, the Reds ball boy threw a ball to Elijah too. That’s a great end to the night!

Here is the box score, scoring summary, and game information:

box box score

A Piece of The Game MVP:

Billy Hatcher: There were no other nominees. Seriously though, its not everyday you get 2 balls from the same person in one game. Thanks!

Player of the Game:

Logan Schafer: His double gave the Brewers both their runs for the game. He came through big time!

Here’s my final haul from the day:

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  • 2 balls in this game
  • 42 balls in 14 games this season = Avg. 3.0 balls per game
  • 6 consecutive games @ Miller Park with at least 1 ball
  • 24 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
  • Gotten at least 1 ball from 15 different teams
  • 86 total balls

8-15-13 @ Miller Park – Reds vs. Brewers

I was planning on meeting Shawn Bosman at TGIs around 4:30, but didn’t show up until almost quarter after 5 due to trouble with printing my tickets. It’s a very long and unexciting story that I wont get into. Oh well, I still made it to Miller Park in plenty of time (Thank you, Dad!).

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Did I mention Shawn? Yes, before the gates opened I caught up with Shawn and also met his mother Sue. I was happy to hear that they would be visiting Target Field on August 27th when the Royals play the Twins at Target Field. Tony and I rarely get visitors at Target Field… (Mateo, if you’re reading this, when are you coming back?) so naturally I was instantly eager for this game.

Once the gates opened I headed to foul territory in left field. If I got a toss up right away then I would join Shawn in the Loge for the rest of batting practice. I wanted to be sure to get on the board. Mat Latos was shagging balls in left field and throwing almost every ball into the crowd, but he didn’t throw any my way.As batting practice went on, I didn’t think I would get a ball. Towards the end of batting practice someone hit a ball to left field and it went through here:

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The employee on the left was kind enough to throw the ball to me, but it didn’t help that he couldn’t aim (Thanks for trying pal). It’s the though that counts, right? Mat Latos watched the whole thing happen, but he just retrieved the ball and tossed it back to the infield. A few minutes later another ball was hit into the open gate on the field level, but this time the employee threw the ball to Mat Latos, who relayed the throw to me!

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In the previous picture Latos has his back turned towards the camera. It may have taken almost all of batting practice, but I was on the board! At the end of batting practice I moved here:

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As the players were coming off the field a Reds player (with a cool beard) threw a ball to me, but an autograph collector put his hands up in front of my glove and stole my ball. Bummer.

No one scored in the first inning, but the Brewers took the lead in the second inning when Khris Davis pounded a home run to the left field loge. 434 feet is a long ways. Khris Davis is one of the guys on the brewers who have stepped up and had a solid year so far. The Reds tied the game in the 5th inning Zack Cozart singled to center field, which allowed Devin Mesoraco to score on the play. In the top of the 6th inning I went to get some Nachos and didn’t get back until the 8th inning. All the lines were crowded because of the $10 vouchers. Thank you, Ryan Braun, for the free food. The insanely long lines combined with the concession staff’s slow pace really slowed things down a lot. This was the shortest line:

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I got the opportunity to spend 45 quality minutes in line, for some nachos. Was it worth it? haha, I’m really not sure!  I missed seeing Joey Votto’s home run to center field in the 6th inning. Votto’s homer put the Reds on top, 2-1 and it stayed that way the rest of the game. Following the game my dad and I headed out and called it a night. Besides the concession lines, It was a good night.

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The attendance was 36,076, but Miller Park looked a lot emptier than that. I think it seemed empty because 36,000 at Target Field is almost at full capacity where at Miller Park its only around 80%.

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

scoring plays

A Piece of The Game MVP:

Mat Latos: Thanks for hooking me up with a ball today.

Player of the Game:

Tony Cingrani: He had a very solid outing of 6.1 innings while only allowing one run on four hits. Count them, he struck out NINE batters and only allowed one walk. He is, the Player of the Game.

Here’s my final haul from the day:

BALL

  • 1 ball in this game
  • 40 balls in 13 games this season = Avg. 3.07 balls per game
  • 5 consecutive games @ Miller Park with at least 1 ball
  • 23 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
  • Gotten at least 1 ball from 15 different teams
  • 84  total balls