Tagged: Commemorative Baseball

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:

Once inside the stadium, Brian Duensing tossed me my first regular season baseball of the year; a 2015 Opening Day ball! Just kidding, but how cool would that have been?! Seriously, though, this is the pearly white that Brian tossed up:

It felt good to get a ball so early in batting practice, but it felt even better when I got my second ball just a few minutes later. This one was courtesy of Aaron Thompson:


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


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


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


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


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


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:


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:


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


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


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


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

UP NEXT: A’s vs. Twins 05/04/15


2014 In Review

The year is almost over! A lot has happened during the last year so lets take a look back on ‘A Piece of The Game’!


2014 Annual Report

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,700 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


List of Firsts


2014 Goals

1. Attend 1 MLB game outside of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Missouri.

  • Yes. I attended a game at Wrigley Field on August 21st, 2014.

2. Have an avg. of at least 4.5 baseballs per game.

  • No. I maintained an average of 3.29 baseballs per game.

3. Snag each type of 2014 commemorative baseball.

  • No. I was able to catch three Home Run Derby commemoratives, but i didn’t come close to any others.

4. Catch at least 1 Game Home Run.

  • No. At least I was 0/0 instead of 0/1 or something like that.


2015 Goals

1. Visit 2 new Major League Baseball Stadiums.

2. Attend one Post-Season Game.

3. Catch at least 1 Game Home Run.

4. Catch at least 10 baseballs in every  Ballpark that I visit (Yearly Total).

5. Catch at least 30 baseballs in at least 2 different Ballparks (Yearly Total).

6. Maintain an Average of 4.0 baseballs per Game.

7. Publish new entries within 72 of attending each game.

8. Grow to 350 Blog followers. Currently at 264.

9. Spend an average of $12 or less per ticket (Yearly Average).

10. Only buy ballpark food if it is dollar day.


Giants vs. Cubs @ Wrigley Field (08-21-14)

Tuesday’s game, on August 19th, had been suspended because of rain. The Cub’s grounds crew struggled with the tarp after a short rainstorm, and it resulted in a delay that lasted more than 4 1/2 hours. The umpires said the field couldn’t be played on, and the game was called at 1:16 in the morning. The Giants protested their loss, and Major League Baseball ruled that because the tarp had not been properly used the night before, the remaining 4 1/2 innings of the game would resume on Thursday afternoon (before today’s game). With admission to Thursday’s game, you could also watch the rest of Tuesday’s game.

Today’s forecast called for more rain to begin around 1:00. I was desperately hoping the rain would hold off because rain was not included in my thoughts of the ideal first trip to Wrigley. I met Shawn Bosman at Miller Park at 9:00, and then we carpooled to Chicago for the Cubs game. After a few hours of driving we arrived at Wrigley Field:


We arrived just before noon, so we had a lot of time to kill before the gates would open at 4:00. We used a good portion of this time to play catch along the sidewalk:


Because this was my first time at Wrigley Field we also took a few laps around the exterior of the building so that I could get some photographs of it. We started in left field and made our way to home plate:


This was the view out in front of Wrigley:



From there we made a pit stop at the nearby McDonalds. There Shawn recognized and pointed out that Chris Distefano was also there. Chris Distefano stars in MTV and MTV2’s TV shows Guy Code and Girl Code. Chris also co-hosts the MSG TV show The Bracket. He is most known by baseball fans for his role in MLB Fan Cave’s “Off The Bat” on MTV2. Chris was awesome and stopped to talk for a few minutes. This was also Chris’ first time at Wrigley Field. Before departing he was nice enough to take a picture:


Shortly after this it began to rain. Shawn and I weren’t bothered by this, though, we continued to play catch on the streets outside Wrigley. After a while of catch, we took a peek inside Wrigley and confirmed that there would not be batting practice today:

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Regardless of the status of batting practice, wasn’t the stadium beautiful? When the gates opened we headed straight to center field and began taking pictures. Looking to home plate:


The view to my left:


The view to my right:


After exploring the outfield seating, I made my way through the concourse:

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This was the view when I reached home plate:


Up to this point it had been raining lightly on and off, but by the time I met up with Shawn again in the outfield bleachers it had begun to rain a lot harder. The rain triggered the grounds crew to bring out the tarp:


The scattered showers stopped and were replaced by a storm system that would take a few hours to pass through Chicago. Shawn and I left the bleachers for a much dryer spot under the over hang in foul territory down the left field line. It was the perfect time for a photo of the newest addition to the collection:



That’s right, it was a commemorative Wrigley ball! BUT instead of belonging to me, it belonged to Shawn:


When the rain finally stopped, the grounds crew went to work preparing the field for the games to follow:


After a 4 1/2 hour rain delay on Tuesday, and an additional delay of 1 hour and 57 minutes today, the Cubs and Giants played the final 4½ innings of Tuesday night’s game. The suspended game resumed with the cubs batting in the bottom of the 5th inning, leading 2-0. San Francisco’s Yesmeiro Petit (3-3, 3.89) and Chicago’s Jacob Turner (4-7, 5.80) took the mound for the remainder of Tuesday night’s game. This was my view when Tuesday night’s game resumed:


As you could see from the picture above, there was almost no one there. I would’ve sat behind one of the dugouts, but for some reason the ushers were very strict and wouldn’t allow it without possession of a ticket for those sections. The Giants put up one run in the 6th inning, but the Cubs held them off for the rest of the game. The final score was 2-1, Cubs. The official game time was 2 hours, 50 minutes, but including rain delays the game lasted for 9 hours, 21 minutes.

Here’s the recap from this strange baseball game:

The Giant’s Madison Bumgarner (13-9, 3.14) and Cub’s LHP Travis Wood (7-10, 4.86) took the mound to start Thursday’s regularly scheduled game (which ironically started an hour later than normal). I decided to watch it from the outfield bleachers:


Cub’s RF Justin Ruggiano and Catcher Welington Castillo hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning. Ruggiano went deep to right field, and Castillo went deep to left field. Anybody want to guess who snagged Castillo’s long ball? Shawn did! Here he is being photographed with it by local ballhawk, Ballhawk Dave:


This was one of the more entertaining baseball games that I have been to. The Giants scored again in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 7th innings. In the 7th or 8th inning I “upgraded” my seat. Here’s the view that I had for the remainder of the game.

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Here are the highlights from this offensively exciting game:

Wrigley Field is a dump, but I loved it. The one thing, in my opinion, that truly sets it apart from other stadiums today is the lack of technology. This isn’t a bad thing at all, though. I can honestly say that out of all the game I have ever been to, I paid the most attention at this one. At Wrigley you can’t look up at a giant scoreboard when you lose your spot in the game, you actually have to pay attention. The lack of technology “forces” fans to be more attentive. That, of course, will go by the wayside in 2015 with the installation of a new scoreboard in left field. Regardless, Wrigley will still be the best place to sit and watch a game of baseball.

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.


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:


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:


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:


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:


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:


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:


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

The Field staff also began throwing Sharpies to fans:


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:


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

2014 Futures Game @ Target Field (07-13-14)

Today was a very special and long awaited day in Minneapolis. This was no ordinary Sunday, it was All Star Sunday which marked the beginning of the All Star Festivities! When I stepped off the light rail I was presented with two options: Capture I had a ticket for FanFest so I chose to follow the path on the left. From Nicolet Mall I began my mile walk to the Minneapolis Convention Center, the home of this year’s FanFest. I was impressed with how much downtown Minneapolis dressed itself up for the Festivities: IMG_20140713_111729_673 Capture2IMG_20140713_094434_232 IMG_20140713_094233_595IMG_20140713_094131_982IMG_20140713_094129_782 Everywhere I looked was baseball themed. It was pretty neat to see how everything was prepped for the Major League All Star Game. After 10-15 minutes the Convention Center was in site: IMG_20140713_095447_534 Upon entering through the front doors I was directed down this hallway: IMG_20140713_095714_545 After turning a few corners I found the entrance to FanFest. It was beautiful: IMG_20140713_105344_211b Once through the turnstiles each guest received a map and guide for FanFest: PhotoCredit: MLB.COM As you can see from the picture above, the convention center was packed with 36 attractions which included the All-Star Clubhouse, All-Star Dugout, Bigfoot, Topps Trading Cards, FanFest Batting Practice, Live Radio Autograph Stages, MLB Clubhouse Store, Minor League Baseball, MLB Network, National Baseball Hall of Fame, The Negro Leagues, Trophies of Major League Baseball, and Women in Baseball. The nice thing about FanFest was that all the attractions were free with admission. I enjoyed visiting most places on the map, but there were a few places that I enjoyed more than the rest. Places like… Hometown Heroes: IMG_20140713_100404_495IMG_20140713_100435_093 Hometown Heroes highlighted all of the Twins players from over the years who had been born in Minnesota. Notable players include Joe Mauer, Dave Winfield, Tom Kelly, Jack Morris, Kent Hrbek, Terry Steinbach, and Glen Perkins. Oh, there was also some guy named Paul Molitor. Apparently he was a 7x All-Star, the 1993 World Series MVP, a 4x Silver Slugger Award winner, a member of the Major League Baseball All-Time Team, and also a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Ever hear of him? Must not be to important. Minor League Baseball: IMG_20140713_100944_560 I was impressed with this attraction in particular. As you can see, there were a lot of New Era hats in the exhibit. Each column of hats represented a MLB team and it consisted of 4-5 hats. The Top hat represented the MLB team, the next hat down represented the AAA team, the hat below that repped the AA team, the next repped the A team, and the final hat repped the Rookie team. It was quite the display of hats! Negro Leagues: IMG_20140713_102735 This exhibit highlighted the most impressive players from the league. There were old pieces of memorabilia such as jerseys, bats, balls, gloves, and scorecards. One thing that I found interesting was the separate Hall of Fame that the league had. The full Negro League Museum is located at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. If you’re interested in seeing it then head there! The Trophies of Major League Baseball: IMG_20140713_103023 ‘Nough said. I think this one is pretty self explanatory. National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum: IMG_20140713_103053 I didn’t actually step inside to look at this attraction because I was able to see the real deal three years ago in Cooperstown, NY. Don’t get me wrong, they still went the whole nine yards here in Minneapolis. There were HOF plaques, jerseys, hats, gloves, baseballs, etc. Tons of memorabilia that is normally in Cooperstown! All Star Clubhouse: IMG_20140713_103653 I only stepped in for a brief moment, but at the time there was a Hall of Fame softball player giving some sort of speech. It was probably a lengthy response to a question that had been directed towards her. The Clubhouse was mostly, if not exclusively, used for Q and A with fans. World Baseball Classic: IMG_20140713_103624 This was intriguing because the map showed which countries were being represented by certain players in the Big Leagues. Like other attractions there were also pieces of memorabilia here. Bigfoot: IMG_20140713_103414 I don’t know how to explain this. Regardless, BigFoot was at the convention center. Quickly, somebody tell Anthony Swarzak to get over here, I found bigfoot! For those of you who don’t know, Anthony Swarzak is a believer of big foot and sasquatch. After I explored FanFest a bit more I found a set of the All Star commemoratives… the same ones I would hopefully get my hands on at Target Field: IMG_20140713_104125_174 Speaking of Target Field, I arrived in a familiar place at 11:30: IMG_20140713_112744_536 I met Tony Voda and his friend Jared at the gates, talked for a bit, and then we rushed inside when the gates opened at two o’clock. Although there was batting practice, I was unable to snag a futures game baseball. On the up side I did get Alex Myers’ autograph on my Futures Game program. Before the game started I watched the pitchers warm up. Hentry Owens started for the U.S. and Jose Berrios for the World: IMG_20140713_155550_497 Mateo Fischer had arrived a bit after the gates opened, but at this point we were both hanging out in the left field bleachers. As we waited for the game to begin we noticed the bleachers were being raised: IMG_20140713_155607_299 We talked to a few ushers and they told us that this was because the Clydesdales would be taking a lap around the ballpark. Sure enough, the Clydesdales appeared and took their lap: IMG_20140713_155738_041 Due to the inconvenience of leaving our seats in order for the section to be raised, each person in that section was given a $15 food voucher that could be spent at any concession stand at the ballpark. I was thrilled when I was given two: IMG_20140713_161033 When the game started at 4:00 CT I did something that I hadn’t done since 2013. When the game started I actually went to sit in my ticketed seat! When I bought my All-Star ticket strip I picked a seat on the aisle in the grandstand because I figured this would be a decent spot for lefties in the home run derby. Later it was announced that only one lefty, Justin Morneau, would be participating in the Home Run Derby. Here’s a picture to give you an idea of where I was at: IMG_20140713_165754_621 Anyways, when I made it up to my seat someone was sitting in it. Normally I wouldn’t care, but this was an All Star event! I went over the whole, “I think you’re in my seat. Here’s my ticket” thing, but apparently rules didn’t apply to them because they thought i’d be completely understanding and let them continue to sit there. There was one person who had seven friends in my row and they wanted to be together so they told me to take their seat that was four rows up and a few seats in. I grabbed a random seat for half of the game, and then decided I would have the usher give them the boot. As I was on my way I realized that even if the one got booted from my section, it would be extremely awkward to have to sit next to the other seven who would still be there. So, I booted my plan out the window and decided to go sit next to Mateo in section 130: IMG_20140713_181347_720 Why was Mateo colorful? Earlier that morning he had run in The Color Run MLB 5K, presented by Nike. He didn’t have time to get cleaned up before getting to the game so he was still covered head to toe in paint. The futures game ended after 2 hours and 33 minutes. Since I don’t remember much from the game, you should just watch this recap from MLB: Panic at the Disco performed a short concert in-between the Futures Game and the Celebrity Softball game. I’ve seen a few musicians play before, but this was still my first larger scale concert: IMG_20140713_185924_268IMG_20140713_185609_944 I enjoyed the concert and I especially liked the stage effects such as the shooting flames and confetti. Seeing a concert at Target Field was great because it made All-Star Sunday feel different than going to a normal game. I enjoyed every minute of it. Mateo, Leiming TangGarrett Meyer and I watched most of the Celebrity Softball Game from here: IMG_20140713_193532_394 The best part of the softball game was seeing Jim Thome step up to the plate a few more times at Target Field. He’s one of my favorites. It went by quickly, but the first day of the 2014 All-Star Festivities had come to a close.

Photographic Highlights of the 2013 Baseball Season

The last baseball season was filled with many highlights; so many that I wouldn’t be able to name all of them if I tried. It wasn’t ever a goal of mine to capture the highlights of the season on camera, but the thought has crossed my mind for next season. I did a decent job of unintentionally capturing SOME of the highlights of this year, but I would like to take it a few steps further in 2014. Obviously there is no way to capture every highlight on camera, so I’m going to take a different approach.

Since I’m a big fan of artsy photography, I plan to explore that more in 2014 to produce more of my own artsy photos. My goal is that next year’s installment is less of a “Photographic Highlights Review” and more of a collection of Quality Photos that I will have taken. Because photography has a lot to do with perception, I am going to pay more attention to how I look at detail. Not every photo will look glorious or majestic, but I am going to focus on capturing the excitement (or whatever feeling it may be) of my surroundings to make sure I take more artsy (and meaningful) photos.

You might be wondering why I told you all of that. Well, this entry is my guinea pig. Next year I want to be able to look back at this entry so I can make the next installment better than this one. For now, though, here is the 2013 Photographic Highlights Review. The pictures are in chronological order (the numbers don’t mean anything, they’re just a reference point).


1. In The Beginning… #1 of 2013 – 4/1/13


2. Game 1 / Section 1 – 4/1/13


3. The Dynamic Duo – 4/1/13


4. Its Miller Time – 4/2/13


5. Father/Son Moments – 4/2/13


6. Friday’s Front Row Grill – Rickie Weeks BP Homer. – 4/3/13


7. Pretty Artsy, Right? – 4/3/13


8. Gonzalez x2 – 4/3/13


9. You. Are. So. Jealous. – 4/16/13


10. Camera Tricks – 4/16/13


11. Free Tickets – 4/16/13


12. Cloudy With a Chance of…? – 5/29/13


13. The Legends Club – 5/29/13


14. A Night to Remember: Pregame ball, Brian Dozier’s Foul Ball, Aramis Ramirez’s Rule Double. – 5/29/13


15. Royals – Lorde. – 6/28/13


16. Snazzy Panorama. – 6/29/13


17. Thrown by Umpire Ronald Kulpa at the Royals Dugout, but Photographed in Center Field. – 6/29/13


18. The Final Stretch… – 7/3/13


19. Darn Yankees. – 7/3/13


20. Beautiful Sun Set. – 7/3/13


21. The Stars and Stripes. – 7/3/13


22. Happy Forth of July! – 7/4/13


23. Caleb Thielbar Signed my Hat! – 7/4/13


24. Adam Warren signing my ticket! – 7/4/13


25. Preston Claiborne Signing my Ticket and Hat! – 7/4/13


26. Chris Stewart signed my Ticket! – 7/4/13


27. Jamey Carroll Signed my Ticket! – 7/4/13


28. Fun Forth of July! Many Lively & Vibrant Colors! – 7/4/13


29. Strike Three! – 7/31/13


30. The Pitch is Swung on… – 7/31/13


31. 2014 All-Star Game Baseball – 7/31/13


32. Ladies and Gentlemen, The Houston Astros. – 8/2/13


33. Courtesy of Matt Dominguez. – 8/2/13


34. Josh Willingham Batting Practice Home Run. – 8/3/13


35. Onlookers. – 8/3/13


36. Approaching Miller Park. – 8/15/13


37. Miller Park Panorama. – 8/15/13


38. It’s Glowing! – 8/17/13


39. Products of a fun night with Shawn Bosman and Tony Voda. – 8/27/13


40. The Three M’s: Me, Matt, and Mateo – 9/9/13


41. Looking Our Finest. – 9/11/13


42. Lifetime Ball #100. Thank you Pat Neshek! – 9/11/13


43. No, We Weren’t Posing… – 9/11/13


44. T.C. Didn’t Like my Athletics Shirt. – 9/11/13


45. My First Double Digit Game. – 9/11/13


46. The Beginning of the End: Our second last game of the 2013. – 9/27/13


47. Justin Masterson is a Class Act. – 9/27/13


48. I Ran to Claim this Oswaldo Arcia Autographed Baseball – 9/27/13


49. Scott Diamond Autographed Baseball. – 9/27/13


50. Turkeys in Minneapolis? – 9/28/13


51. In The Pouring Rain – Taylor Swift – 9/28/13


52. Baseball Signed by Paul Molitor! – 9/28/13


53. Baseball Signed by Corey Koskie! – 9/28/13

Some of the pictures have shown up in earlier entries, but there were a few new pictures in this entry that made their debut on A Piece of The Game. Which were your favorites?

If you have any ideas that you think could contribute to next year’s idea, don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments. I appreciate any ideas!Thank you for taking a look at my guinea pig! It will have come a long ways by this time next year.

FLASHBACK: 2010 Season (3 Games)

In spring of 2012 I started journaling about games that I’ve been to, for the purpose of remembering what happened at the games (this led to the making of this blog). The games in this particular entry occurred over two years ago so due to that fact, there will be a bit less detail/information than normal.

6-28-10 @ Target Field – Tigers vs. Twins

Before this game, I had only been to batting practice once in my life. Even then, I only was there for the second half of it. This game was the first time I attended a full batting practice. My dad and I parked at Fort Snelling and then rode the light rail to Target Field. At this point I was unaware of ballhawking and not sure how to get a baseball. Since it was our first time at Target Field, my dad and I looked around in awe at the beautiful new ballpark. We couldn’t find a fault, because everything looked so nice. Later I would learn that Target Field presents many faults for ballhawking, but that’s a different story.

As I was saying, I hadn’t heard of ballhawking before. However, I was very interested in collecting autographs and had brought a little case of baseball cards in hopes of getting a few signatures. After the Tigers’ portion of batting practice Brandon Inge, Miguel Cabrera and Johnny Damon stopped to sign autographs.

Miguel Cabrera:

Johnny Damon:

I didn’t have Brandon Inge’s baseball card so I didn’t ask for his signature. On the flip side, I did have cards for Cabrera and Damon to sign:

This was the view from our seats:

Surprisingly, I remember quite a bit from the game itself. Miguel Cabrera hit a double, Jim Thome hit a triple and a homerun. The triple was Thome’s first since 2004. Then Joel Zumaya got hurt.

Credit for this photo goes to the authors mentioned in the caption.

Here are the scoring plays from the game:

7-19-10 @ Target Field – Indians vs. Twins

My dad and I almost didn’t go to this game because I had strep throat, but we decided to go because we had bought the tickets in advance. The game started at 7:10 and the gates opened at 5:30. For some reason we decided to go extra early, and we got to Target Field at 1:00. Since we had so much time before the gates opened we decided to walk downtown and have some fun. As we were walking downtown, we saw a 50 story building and wondered what it would be like to ride the elevators up and down. This building had express and local elevators. We rode the express elevator from the first floor to the 40th floor, and then back down. Express elevators travel fast; if you ever have time to kill in a big city go ride some elevators.

We continued walking downtown and then I saw something strange. People were dangling from the sides of a building washing the windows:

When we got back to Target Field around 4:00 I stood at Gate 34.

I met a man named “Waldo”, who up to this point had attended every Twins’ home game for the last 8 years. You can read about him here on Zack Hample’s blog post from 5-4-10.

From 4:00 until the gates opened there was only 1 ball that reached the plaza. After the ball bounced a few times, it started slowly rolling towards me. I got on the ground and reached through the gate to grab the ball, but Waldo used his broom to reach further then I could. He ended up getting it. There was another man who also collected baseballs, but I didn’t ask his name. He and Waldo had it out for each other. They kept bickering and swearing at each other, constantly complaining about the other. When I talked to Waldo, he talked trash about the other man. When I talked to the other man, he talked trash about Waldo. I’m not sure why they were so heated, but there must have been some history between the two of them. One of them lit a cigar and the smoke started to bother me because I had strep throat. I started coughing so much that I walked away and stood by myself. Then an older male employee on the other side of the gate started walking towards me. When he got closer to me he said, “Do you want a baseball?” He pulled a baseball out of his pocket, held it out to me and said, “Here you go.” I never expected to get a baseball this way, but I was ecstatic. I thanked the man and ran to show my dad.

My dad was in a restaurant in the Target Center. Once I got there, I stayed with him and ate supper. My dad was excited that I got a ball so he took my picture and called a good friend of ours to tell him the news.

I didn’t realize it right away, but it was a 2010 Twins Commemorative baseball. It symbolized the inaugural season of Target Field.

This was our view for the game:

The only thing I remember about this game was that the Twins were losing 7-1 in the 5th inning. My dad and I left at the end of the 5th because I started to get feel even worse than I did before. I’m pretty sure that we listened to the game on the radio on our drive home.

Here are the scoring plays from the game:

8-9-10 @ Miller Park – Diamondbacks vs. Brewers

I attended this game with my cousins Kyler and Elijah, and my uncle Kevin. We got to the game early enough to watch batting practice, and try to get a baseball. Towards the end of batting practice I succeeded by getting an unknown Diamondbacks player to throw a ball to me.

In the previous picture should help visualize a little bit. The arrow is pointing to where I was standing. The ball was a ground rule double that bounced over the open gate in the left field corner. Pretty soon an employee walked through the gate, and I asked him to throw the ball to me. Unlike the other employees that I had asked, he actually said yes.  The only problem was that he threw it too high and the ball sailed over my head back onto the field. The ball ended up near the “X” in the previous picture. I got a D-backs player’s attention and he tossed the ball to me, but it was so low that I couldn’t reach the ball. He was nice enough to try again, but this time when the ball hit my glove, I dropped it. At that point most players would’ve given up on me, but this guy was persistent, and I thank him for that. He wanted to make sure that I ended up with the ball so he threw it again. To his and my surprise I caught it.

This was the view from our seats during the game:

The Brewers and Diamondbacks played into extra innings. At the end of the 9th inning my uncle, cousins and I were shown on the big screen with the sign we had made for the game:

The game was still tied in the 10th inning. During the top of the 10th inning a foul ball was hit to my section. I anticipated the ball would land in the aisle, and since I was in the middle of the row, I did my best to get past everyone else as fast as I could. I reached the aisle and dropped to my knees attempting to make the catch. Then I felt the ball land in my glove. Clean catch… but then I was knocked over onto my side and down the next step. Sometime in between catching the ball and getting pushed down the steps, I dropped the ball. To say the least, I was really mad at the guy that knocked me over. I was also mad at myself for not hanging onto the ball tighter. How often do you get these chances only to lose the ball? Ugghh.

The diamondbacks won in 10 innings. This was the last look at Miller Park for the night:

Here are the scoring plays from the game: