Unlike the day before, I woke up to wonderful weather. However, with the 12:10 start time it was still unlikely that there would be batting practice. When the gates opened I found that the cage was not set up for bp:
I made my way down to where most of the Red Sox’ pitching staff was warming up. When he was finished throwing with his partner, Steven Wright hooked me up with their baseball. I was surprised to see that it was rubbed up with mud:
Prior to the game, Torii Hunter and Joe Mauer signed autographs from the dugout:
I was finally able to add Joe Mauer’s signature to my collection!
Thank you, Mr. Minnesota. Since I didn’t have a ballpoint pen I could either get his auto in Sharpie or not get it at all. I think I chose the better of the two.
Boston was the first team to score a run when Dustin Pedroia blasted a two run shot in the third. Hunter and Mauer each contributed to the handful of singles that gave the Twins’ a three run third. Aaron Hicks homered in the fourth to extend the lead to 5-2. In the fifth inning Pedroia hit his second two run shot of game. Rosario joined the home run parade in the 6th inning when he launched a solo bomb to right field. The Twins won 6-4. Click here to watch the highlight video from the game.
Following the game I was able to get an Ump ball from Umpire Dale Scott:
Here’s today’s results:
TOTALS: 2 balls at this game. 23 balls this year.
UP NEXT: White Sox vs. Twins 06/22/15
My day started off with every ballhawk’s worst nightmare… I forgot my glove at home! Luckily, Mateo Fischer was generous enough to lend me his for the evening. After swinging by the U of M campus to pick up Mateo’s glove, I was ready for some batting practice!
As soon as I photographed the ball I turned and gave it to the little boy who was nearby.
Besides a small crowd of other fans, the stadium was pretty much empty because of the rain. Seriously, Target Field looked like a ghost town:
More rain led to the eventual delay of the game. In the meantime, I made my way around the ballpark to where the Ryder Cup was on display. I’d never seen a golf trophy until now. Her she is:
The delay lasted for 1 hour and 21 minutes. I don’t remember what I did to pass the time, but I do know that it was BORING! As the start of the game approached I made my way to the Twins dugout. Dom hooked me up with a sweet mud rubbed ball from the ball bag:
Thanks Dom! Sneak Peak – this ball would get signed by Joe Mauer the next day!
The Twins scored in the first inning off of Trevor Plouffe’s double. Kurt Suzuki doubled later in the inning to make it a 2-0 ballgame. Boston scored in the second inning as Mike Napoli plated David Ortiz off a single to Aaron Hicks in center field. Little did I know, but those would be the only runs scored all night.
Mike Pelfrey pitched 7 strong innings, only allowing 1 ER off of 5 hits.
Blaine Boyer took the mound to start the 8th inning. He set the first two men of the inning down, and then he faced Dustin Pedroia. Boyer worked a 1-2 count before Pedroia fouled the next pitch, a 93 mph fastball, into the net. Dominic retrieved it and tossed it right over to me:
Prior to this, I had never seen those kinds of marks on baseballs before.
In the bottom of the 8th Torii Hunter stepped into the box to lead things off for the Twins. Clay Buchholz worked a 2-2 count on Hunter. The next pitch, a 92 mph fastball, was also fouled back into the net. Joe Mauer, who was in the on deck circle, stepped over to pick it up. A moment later, he tossed it to me:
I quickly, and smoothly, swapped it out for an old bp ball and then threw it over to a lady who had been asking for a ball for the last few innings. The rest of the game went by quickly and the Twins won 2-1. Click to watch the highlight video from the game. Here’s the info from the game:
When the game ended I got my last ball of the evening from Umpire Lance Barrett.
TOTALS: 6 balls at this game. 21 balls this year.
UP NEXT: Red Sox vs. Twins 05/27/15
Although today’s Red Sox vs. Twins game would be played at Hammond Stadium, I began the day here:
Yes, you may have guesses it, I was at JetBlue Park. JetBlue is the spring training home of the Boston Red Sox. Last year I attended two games here, but I wasn’t impressed with the stadium. It is a beautiful ballpark, but the atmosphere is more like an MLB stadium than a spring training stadium. Although I don’t particularly like JetBlue Park, I love the practice fields that are in the facility. I arrived bright and early at 7:00 o’clock and spent the next two hours waiting here:
As players finished up in the batting cages they walked through the gates that were in the previous picture. From there they would head to the practice fields. This is a great place to get autographs because the players have to walk past to get to the practice fields.
The first player to sign for me was Trey Ball. He was drafted by the Red Sox in the 7th round of the 2013 draft. He has a nice signature:
Next, I pulled out another baseball for Rafael Devers to sign:
Last year I realized that each year I will start to see more players who are close to my age. Devers is the youngest player to sign an autograph for me. Devers is only 18 years old, yet he is the 5th best prospect in the Red Sox organization.
I’m not sure who signed my next autograph, but I like how it looks:
The player’s jersey said “Febles #12”, but i’m not sure what his first name is. Next, Michael Chavis signed the same ball:
Chavis, 19 years old, is another really young player. Next, number 63 signed the ball:
#63’s signature is pretty legible, but I cannot make out exactly what it says. At this point I’m not sure who it is, but if anyone knows, please let me know.
Javier Guarra, another 19 year old, also signed the ball:
Mike McCarthy signed next:
Next was Kevin McAvoy. He was drafted in the 4th round of the 2014 draft. Here’s that one:
Whitson was the next player to sign for me. I checked online to find his first name, but Karsten Whitson was the only name that came up. This wasn’t Karsten Whitson, so i’m still not sure who this is:
Ty Buttrey also signed for me:
Javier Rodriguez was the final player to sign for me:
When the practice fields opened at 9 o’clock, I headed this way:
After stretching and doing infield warm ups for more than an hour and a half, batting practice began. I positioned myself between two practice fields because it was a great spot to snag baseballs. Take a look:
My first ball was one that landed in a bullpen. The gate was open, so I walked in to retrieve it:
After a few minutes one of the players tossed me this:
My third ball was a foul ball that was sliced over the fence:
Moments later there was a ground ball that was hit down the right field line. I was able to field it myself:
Only a few minutes later I had retrieved yet another ball that was fouled off:
When practice ended around noon I made my way over to Hammond Stadium:
Once again, the gates were open and fans were allowed to walk around the stadium. I found a nice place to sit in the shade on the third base side:
I stayed there for a little more than an hour. At one point I even feel asleep for about 20 minutes. Around 2:30 I got up to move to a seat that was near the Twins dugout. After sitting down I found this under the seat:
Awesome! Do you know what was NOT awesome? As soon as I took that picture an employee walked down the steps and said, “You’re not supposed to be in here. How did you get in the Stadium?” I told him that the gates were open so I walked in the front door. There were even employees who told me to take a look around the stadium. I could tell that he thought I was lying. He hesitated and then followed by saying, “Well you’re not supposed to be in here.” I told him that just like the other fans who were walking around the stadium, I had been inside since noon and that he was the first employee who had said such a thing. He said, “The gates don’t open until 3 hours before the game starts so you shouldn’t be in here.” This guy thought I was making all of this up! I don’t know what his deal was, but he escorted me out of the stadium. What a load of garbage!
After waiting an hour and a half outside the stadium, I was finally able to re-enter when the gates opened. I quickly got my first MLB ball of the day when Phil Hughes and Mike Pelfrey finished playing catch:
When batting practice started I headed to the left field grass but since the first group was filled with mostly lefties, I moved to the seats in right field. There I snagged a home run that was hit by a Twins player who I didn’t recognize. It was a nice clean Manfred ball:
When Eddie Rosario stepped into the cage he began to hit some deep fly balls to right field. All of a sudden he sent a shot to deep right center field. I tracked the ball well, but at the last moment lost it in the sun. I was able to get out of the way, but the ball bounced back onto the field. Luckily, Danny Ortiz was nice enough to toss it up to me:
When Rosario stepped back into the cage again, he sent another my way. This time I was able to snag it myself:
Kennys Vargas was also in the same group as Rosario. Vargas started leftie but each time he stepped into the cage he would switch to a different side of the plate. It didn’t matter which side he hit from because he would crush the ball either way. When he was batting leftie I was able to snag one of the only homers that he hit that stayed in the park:
When the next group started to take their cuts I decided it was time to move back to left field. Shane Robinson had hit a couple homers in bp yesterday so I knew where to position myself for him today. Sure enough, he hit one in my direction:
As soon as I made the grab I saw a little girl so I decided to give it to her. A big smile came across her (and her parents’) face! The Twins’ portion of batting practice ended shortly after that. The Red Sox did not take batting practice because they had taken it at JetBlue Park before driving over to Hammond. I was a bit bummed because I was having a really good day ballhawking!
Since bp ended around 5 o’clock I had to wait around for nearly an hour and a half for anything to happen on the field. Finally the Twins and Red Sox started to warm up on the field. I spotted Pedroia in the dugout:
While the Red Sox practiced on the infield there were a few people from Sun Harvest who threw foam oranges into the crowd. I flashed my glove and they threw one to me. When the Red Sox finished their pregame infield warmups the ball was thrown to Manager John Farrell. When I asked him for the ball he tossed it up without hesitation:
This was only the second Selig ball that I had gotten so far. Otherwise, the rest were all the new Manfred balls. By the time the game was about to start, the sun had almost completely gone down. This was the scene immediately following the National Anthem:
Joe Kelly got the start for Boston while Kyle Gibson threw the first pitch to start he game for Minnesota. The Twins started out strong and were able to take a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Torii Hunter singled in his first plate appearance at Hammond Stadium for 8 years and was able to pick up an RBI in the process.
By the end of the third inning the Twins were winning 6-4. I decided it would be a good time to leave because I would be leaving on a high note. I had a great day ballhawking, I saw my favorite childhood sports star make his first appearance back on my favorite team, and my team was winning. It was a good time to leave. As I was making my way out of the stadium, the Red Sox managed to load the bases. At the exact moment that I left, Dusten Pedroia hit a grand slam that gave the Red Sox an 8-6 lead. Wow, my timing was great 🙂
I was sure to get a good picture of the stadium when I left:
(Six balls were pictured because I gave one away.)
Later in the game the Twins came back and won the game 9-8. Molitor’s squad was now 2-0 in their first two games.
Here’s the group picture from the day (Six MLB balls are pictured because I gave one away):
Todays Totals: 7 MLB balls (6 Manfred, 1 Selig), 5 Minor League balls, 1 foam ball, and 12 autographs (11 pictured).
Spring Training Totals: 17 MLB balls (15 Manfred, 2 Selig), 5 Minor League balls, 1 Perfect game ball, 1 Whiffle ball, 1 foam ball, and 12 autographs.
UP NEXT: Twins vs. Rays, Friday, March 6th
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:
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:
Now, lets take a look at the 2013 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:
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:
In case you’re curious, here are the fielding stats for all 30 Major League Baseball teams:
Just for the fun of it, I looked the Red Sox and Cardinals in their first five World Series games:
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.