Tagged: Cleveland Indians

Opening Day: Royals @ Twins – Target Field (04-13-15)

My first Opening Day was back in 2013 when the Tigers and Twins kicked off the season at Target Field. I missed the home opener in 2014, but I decided that I wouldn’t miss it this year! I was very anxious for a chance to get my hands on the first commemorative baseball in the Manfred Era.

I got to the gates 30 minutes before they opened, but I got a spot at the front of the line. Had it not been for Tony and Jared, I would’ve been stuck at the end of one of these huge lines:
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Once inside the stadium, Brian Duensing tossed me my first regular season baseball of the year; a 2015 Opening Day ball! Just kidding, but how cool would that have been?! Seriously, though, this is the pearly white that Brian tossed up:
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It felt good to get a ball so early in batting practice, but it felt even better when I got my second ball just a few minutes later. This one was courtesy of Aaron Thompson:

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Because the Twins weren’t displaying a lot of power during batting practice, I didn’t mind getting a few toss ups instead. It wasn’t long before 1:30 rolled around and the Royals replaced the Twins on the field during batting practice. I was hoping to get my next ball when the Royals finished playing catch in left field. I tried to their attention, but my chances diminished as each pair finished their game of catch. Finally, as the last pair of players finished throwing, an unknown Royals player tossed me this rustic looking baseball:

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When the Royals began taking their cuts in the cage I headed out to the left field bleachers. There was such a beautiful array of colors on the field:

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I spent about half the Royals bp in the bleachers before heading over to the Twins dugout for the rest of bp. Since I’d already snagged a few baseballs today, I was ready to focus on snagging an Opening Day commemorative baseball. Having said that, this is where I moved to:

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This was the one game where I had a chance to get one of these special baseballs. I was going to spend as much time next to the dugout as possible. Sometime between getting to the Twins dugout and the singing of the National Anthem, Tony and I were joined by Cam Bailey! Soon it was time for the singing of the National Anthem:

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Following the National Anthem Kevin Garnett (and family), who was joined by Tyus Jones, took the field to throw out the ceremonial first pitch!:

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Moments before the game started, Dominique surprised the three of us by tossing us each a ball from the ball bag. It was such a perfect ball:20150413_150652

When the game kicked off, I took a pretty nice panoramic photo. It’s one of my favorites:

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Although the Twins were the first to score a run, the Royals were the first to put some distance on the scoreboard between their opponents.  By the end of the sixth inning the Royals were ahead 5-2. Trevor Plouffe homered in the seventh inning, but the Royals managed to pile on seven additional runs by the end of the game. The Royals beat the Twins by a score of 12-3. Click to watch the highlight video from the game. Here’s the summary and other info from the game:

game info

After the game I got my fifth ball from Umpire Paul Nauert:

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Not only was this the first time I’d gotten a ball from someone who’s first name was also my first name, but this was another 2015 Opening Day commemorative ball. This was my second mud rubbed commemorative ball of the night! I made it to the opposite side of the dugout just in time to get one final ball. This one was thrown by Lorenzo Cain as he entered the clubhouse:

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I made sure to take an artsy photo of the commemoratives after I left the ballpark:

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The final group shot includes the awesome sweatshirt giveaway from the game:

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

UP NEXT: A’s vs. Twins 05/04/15

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The 2014 Extraordinary Compilation of Ballhawking Statistics

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

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

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

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

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

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

Game Log

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

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

The Numbers

Number of Baseballs in 2014:

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

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

Season Summary

Overall Season Summary:

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

Statistical Breakdown

Number of Baseballs by Month and Day:

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Number of Baseballs by Time Frame:

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

Number of Baseballs by Location:

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

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Number of Baseballs by Method:

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

Number of baseballs by League:

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

Number of Baseballs by Team:

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

Number of Baseballs by Player:

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

 Wins vs. Losses

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

Home Team Record: (10-6)

Total Score: Visitors – 53 to Home – 75

Average Score: Visitors – 3.5 to Home – 4.68

Average Score when home team…

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

Total number of baseballs collected when home team…

  • Wins: 36
  • Loses: 19

Average baseballs/game when the home team…

  • Wins: 3.6
  • Loses: 3.16

Minnesota Twins Record: (9-3)

Total Score: Visitors – 38 to Twins – 62

Average Score: Visitors – 3.17 to Twins – 5.17

Average score when the Twins…

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

Total number of baseballs collected when the Twins…

  • Win: 34
  • Lose: 19

Average baseballs/game when the Twins…

  • Win: 3.78
  • Lose: 6.3

Attendance Figures

Total Attendance:

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

Average Attendance:

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

Total Baseballs by Attendance:

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

Average Baseballs/Game by Attendance:

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

Temperature

Average attendance by Temperature:

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

Average baseballs/game by Temperature:

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

Autographs

Number of Autographs/Player:

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

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

Time spent at the Ballpark

Length of a Game:

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

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

Means of Transportation:

Vehicles Used:

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

Parking:

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

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

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.

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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

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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

royals

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

Indians vs. Twins @ Target Field (09-20-14)

This was the second game of the series that took place over fan appreciation weekend. There was a lot that happened at this game so i’ll try to save you from all the details and just give you what’s important. Since it was a Saturday night game, the game would start at 6:10. When the gates opened at four o’clock I quickly got a ball from Oswaldo Arcia:

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With that, I snagged my only ball during the rest of batting practice. Not just the Twins portion, but that was it for all of batting practice. Oh, but my day was only beginning! As soon as the Indians left the field their bullpen catcher, Armando Camacaro, tossed these two balls to me:

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I thought that was really neat that he tossed two balls to me. After looking around for a bit I decided to give them both away. I gave one to a little girl near the dugout and I gave the other to an usher so that he could give it to a kid during the game.

Did you see the Indians player in the previous picture? That’s Zach Walters. Earlier this season he signed a ball for me at Kauffman Stadium, but it wasn’t an official major league baseball. This time I got an official ball signed:

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Maybe you couldn’t tell from the last picture, but by the end of batting practice there were storm clouds rolling in. It wasn’t to long before the heavens opened up. This caused an hour and ten minute rain delay before the game even started! When the rain stopped, the grounds crew went to work on the field:

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Shortly before the game started I made my way out to the standing room area above the bullpen. One of the Twins bullpen catchers, Ben Richardson, retrieved two baseballs to throw to me and the guy next to me. Ben tossed the first ball to the guy next to me, but the guy dropped it. Look where the ball ended up:

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Ben would’ve thrown the ball back up, but there was no second chance because the ball was stuck on the beam. It would’ve been easy to get the ball if I would’ve had an umbrella but it was nearly impossible otherwise. Ben threw the next ball to me – my fourth of the game. Normally I wouldn’t give a ball to a grown man, but I did this time because I felt bad for him. I didn’t feel bad that he dropped the ball, I felt bad because he dropped the ball in front of his attractive girlfriend. That’s gotta be tough!

Keeping track? I’d now snagged four balls and given three away. A few minutes later I got my fifth ball from Lester Oliveros:

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This was one of those signed tee balls that the Twins players always give away over fan appreciation weekend. I’ve gotten a few of these in previous fan appreciation games at Target Field over the years.

After what seemed like an eternity, the game finally started around 7:30. Trevor May took the hill for Minnesota and T.J. House took the hill for Cleveland. By the end of the second inning the Twins were losing 3-1.

Remember the Twitter giveaway that the Twins were doing the night before? The Twins hold the contest all weekend. Today I won a ball in the third inning:

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This ball was signed by Alex Presley. One of the balls from yesterday was also signed by Presley. His last appearance with the Twins was on September 29th, 2013. By the end of the third inning the Twins were losing 4-2.

I won another ball in the sixth inning:

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This ball was signed by another former Twins, Pedro Florimon. Florimon was never very good, but I liked him for the short time that he played for the Twins.

Later in the game I decided to get a better view. I thought this was pretty good:

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Brian Dozier hit a home run in the eighth inning, but the Twins still trailed 7-3. After the game I got my 8th ball from Umpire Brian Knight:

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Wow! Everything seemed to be going right today. Everything went right except for the score of the game. Here’s the recap:

I got my ninth and final ball of the day from Armando Camacaro as he entered the dugout after walking in from the bullpen. It looked pretty good:

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That was now three balls from Armando today! After getting that baseball I began walking through the seating bowl towards gate 34 to exit the stadium. As I passed the Twins dugout I noticed that Casey Fien was signing autographs for people. I took the extra minute to get one of my baseballs signed:

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Casey Fien is a cool guy. Whenever I see him at the ballpark he is always interacting with fans in some way. Here’s the final haul from today:

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Seven baseballs were pictured, but only six were from the game. The ball signed by Casey Fien was a ball I’d brought from home in case of an autograph opportunity. Otherwise, six balls were pictured because I gave three away. Nine baseballs and five autographs – i’ll take that any day!

Indians vs. Twins @ Target Field (09-19-14)

Today was bound to be a fun day at Target Field because it was the first day of fan appreciation weekend! Does anyone remember the Twins’ Twitter contest/giveaways from last year? That’s the reason I came back this year.

My day started off with a toss up from the Twins’ friendliest outfielder, Oswaldo Arcia:

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Waldo, Mike and I would back up onto the plaza when Chris Parmelee stepped into the box because he was absolutely crushing the ball today. After a few rounds though, I was caught off guard and I was still in the front row of the section when Parmelee hit a ball that was going to land on the plaza. Somehow I was able to get from the first row of the section to the flagpole in the plaza in time to make a running and leaping catch with my arm fully extended above my head. It was by far the best catch I’ve ever made.

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The Twins didn’t stay on the field much longer, and soon they were replaced by the Indians:

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Fun fact: This was the third Indians game I’d been to this year, but I still hadn’t snagged a ball from them. During batting practice I met up with Nate Duppler, his brother Ben, and their friends Andrew and Noah.

The Twins tweeted this shortly before the game started:

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Nate and I were the first two people to claim a hat:
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This is how the Twins annual Twitter giveaway works: At the top of each inning the Twins tweet a spot at Target Field where the 1st fan to find the Twins rep wins an autographed ball. The Twins tweeted this during the second inning:

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Nate and I both won again. Mine was signed by Vance Worley:

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Vance Worley’s last appearance for the Twins was on May 22nd, 2013. I guess the Twins were clearing out some items they didn’t need anymore!

The first run of the game came in the third inning when Oswaldo Arcia hit a home run to right field. The Indians answered back in the fourth inning by stringing a few hits together, scoring 2 runs in the process.  In the fourth inning Kennys Vargas tied the game by hitting a solo shot to right field. This was the third consecutive game i’d been to where Vargas hit a homerun.

I won another baseball in the sixth inning:

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Kevin Correia is another former Twin. His last appearance for the Twins was on August 6th, 2014. I was also the winner of the seventh inning giveaway:

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This ball was signed by another former Twin, Alex Presley. Presley’s last appearance with the Twins was on September 29th, 2013. Hmm, all three balls that I won from the Twins were signed by players who were no longer members of the Twins. I think that’s kind of funny.

By the end of the seventh inning the score was 4-3, Cleveland. The twins tied the game in the ninth inning but couldn’t push for a victory quite yet. Looking to redeem himself after striking out in the ninth inning, Trevor Plouffe approached the plate with the bases loaded in the tenth. Luckily I was smart enough to record his walk off hit:

If you watched the video then you saw that after the game Mr. Fieldin Culbreth, the home plate umpire, gave the line up cards to me without me even asking. Pretty sweet!

Here are the highlights from the game:

My final haul from the day included five baseballs, three autographs, and two line up cards:

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Nate set a new personal record of seven baseballs in one game. We both had a pretty good day ballhawking, but I’m sure that we both had an even better time just being at the game. This was one of my favorite games this season. Now the Twins have won seven of the eight Twins games I’ve been to this year. This was the third Twins walk off I’ve seen this year!

Indians vs. Royals @ Kauffman Stadium (8-31-14)

Mateo and I were back at Kauffman for the second and final game of our trip. While the two of us got to Kauffman for batting practice, Garrett decided he would join us at game time.

Coming into the day Kansas City and Detroit were tied for the division lead. Cleveland, winning six of the last seven, was just 3.5 games back. With just under a month left in baseball, the American League Central Division race was tightening up. That was reason enough to move this Sunday afternoon game to Sunday Night for ESPN’s broadcast of Sunday Night Baseball.

The Royals were still on the field when we entered the stadium, but they had a pretty quiet batting practice and there wasn’t much excitement.

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With Vargas, Guthrie and Davis (all very fan friendly players) snagging balls in left field I was hopeful to get on the board early but the players were seemingly as quiet as their bats were in batting practice.

It wasn’t long before the Royals visited the clubhouse and the Indians took over on the field:

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Although there was a different team on the field, batting practice still remained quiet. I quickly noticed that although the gates had just opened, there were already crowds of people pouring into the stadium. Soon there were so many people who the outfield was almost unnavigable. This made it much more difficult to get a baseball.

By no means did it ruin the game, but it was still frustrating that this was the third game in a row at which I was shutout. Towards the end of batting practice I made my way over to the Indians dugout where I got Zack Walter’s autograph on a baseball that I had brought with me. Here he is signing it for me:

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Instead of finding a seat when the game started, Mateo and I found our way here:

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Since Kauffman Stadium has mini golf, pitching and batting cages, and a few other activities beyond the outfield walls, we decided we would try something new. That meant us playing mini golf in a professional baseball stadium. I was able to snag this picture while Mateo was in deep concentration as he was about to tee off on the first hole:

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If he ever gets bored of ballhawking in the future he could always pick up mini golf. After spending some time at the speed pitch and in the batting cages, we did tune into the game.

The Royals scored a run in the first inning, but the Indians tied it up in the third. The Indians went on to take a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning when Mike Aviles hit a sac fly to center field. Entering the 9th inning the Royals were still down 2-1, but Alex Gordon tied the game when he homered to right center field. His 462 foot shot was the longest of his career, the longest home run by a Royals hitter in 2014 and the 2nd longest by a Royal’s player since ESPN began tracking homers in 2006. Because the Royals couldn’t make the extra push for a walk off victory, the Indians and Royals entered into extra innings for the second night in a row.

Rain interrupted the game in the 10th inning and forced both teams off the field. Most fans left, but Garret, Mateo and I endured the rain delay. We were ready to stake it out through the bad weather, even if that meant waiting for a few hours for the game to resume. Unfortunately this was shown on the big screen after a lengthy delay:

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The Royals lost the game 22 days later and 790 miles away from Kauffman Stadium.  I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas (City) anymore. Did anyone catch that reference?

If you’d like to see how the game finished in Cleveland, I suggest watching this recap of the game:

It was great to see a few games at Kauffman Stadium. It’s just too bad we didn’t get to see the Royals win. The trip went very well – The driving was good, the games were fun, and the weather was arguably fair. On behalf of Mateo and myself, a huge thank you goes out to Garrett for letting us stay with him on Saturday and Sunday night. You made this trip very enjoyable!

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:

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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!