Tagged: Eric Hosmer

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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2015 Fan Fests of the AL Central Division

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

sox

Date: January 23-25, 2015

Hours: Hours have not yet been announced.

Location:

Hilton Chicago

720 South Michigan Avenue

Chicago, Illinois, 60605

Parking: Hotel Parking

Admission Ticket Pricing:

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

SCHEDULED TO ATTEND

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

Fan Activities Include:

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

Autograph Voucher Pricing: Included in admission price

Things that have improved from last year:

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

If I was the GM I would…

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

My Overall Grade of SoxFest LAST YEAR: B-

My Overall Grade of SoxFest THIS YEAR: B

tribe

Date: January 24-25, 2015

Hours:

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

Location:

Progressive Field

2401 Ontario Street

Cleveland, OH 44115

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

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

SCHEDULED TO ATTEND

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

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

Fan Activities Include:

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

Autograph Information:

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

Things that have improved since last year:

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

If I was the GM I would…

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

My Overall Grade of Tribe Fest LAST YEAR: C+

My Overall Grade of Tribe Fest THIS YEAR: B

tigers

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+

twins

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

Royals vs. Twins @ Target Field (07-01-14)

As I was about to get on the light rail that would take me to Target Field I stopped to take a photo of it:

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Doesn’t it look great? With the All Star Break only two weeks away, I was getting very antsy for my first All Star Game.

After meeting Tony at gate 34, we entered the stadium at 5:00 for STH early entry. We each searched for a ball that we had seen land in the Grandstand until Tony found it just as we were about to give up. From there I made my way over to the left field bleachers, which is where I caught this homer that was hit by Josh Willingham:

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Willingham had missed some games due to injury, but he was taking some cuts in batting practice. Soon I snagged my second ball of the day, a home run that was hit by a Twins player I could not recognize. I gave that ball away to the kid who was next to me.

My third ball of the day was a home run that was hit by Trevor Plouffe. This one was difficult because it was headed nearly two sections to my left. After doing my best to catch it the ball tipped off my glove, and I picked it up with my other hand. It’s no gem, but it’s a keeper:

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I didn’t get my next ball until the Royals took the field. Had Tony not been working to get a ball from Lorenzo Cain, I would not have snagged my next ball. You see, Lorenzo Cain was fielding balls in right-center field when Tony called out to him for a ball. Lorenzo accepted his “challenge” and tried to accurately threw a ball to Tony. If I remember correctly, Lorenzo threw three balls but none of them got to Tony. I call this ball the “Tony Cain E8 Ball”:

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With batting practice in the books, I made my way to the plaza for the start of the game. I didn’t mention it yet, but the weather was a bit chilly. It was strange seeing so many people (myself included) wearing long sleeves when it was only the first of July. Long sleeves can be seen standing on the plaza:

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I remained on the plaza for the majority of the game, but later in the game I moved behind the Twins dugout. In the 7th inning it suddenly began to rain:

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Of course being the ballhawk that I am, I liked the rain because people began to leave. In fact, the smaller crowds probably contributed to me getting my fifth ball of the day. In the top of the 8th inning Brian Duensing worked an 0-2 count against Eric Hosmer, and then threw the next pitch in the dirt. Dominic, the Twins bat boy, retrieved it and then tossed it to me:

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Samuel Deduno replaced Brian Duensing to start the 9th inning and quickly retired the first two men. With two outs, Christian Colon stepped up to the plate for his first career at bat:

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Sam Deduno worked a 0-1 count, and then got him to swing on an 89 mph cutter. Colon grounded to third baseman Trevor Plouffe who threw to first baseman Chris Parmelee to record the final out of the game. Parmelee then tossed the ball to the shortstop, Eduardo Nunez, who then threw the ball to me! I was pretty pumped because this was the ball that retired Colon in his first MLB at bat! Take a look:

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After I got the game ball I turned towards Tony. He and a bunch of kids were waiting to get a ball from someone in the dugout. This might be my favorite picture from this baseball season:

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On our way out of the stadium I took another photo that I’m very fond of. There’s something about a quiet and empty baseball stadium that is very peaceful:

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As we were leaving the stadium we noticed a new logo on the outside of Target Field:

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Normally we don’t get a picture together, but we thought it was fitting because the next time either of us would be at Target Field would be for the All Star Game events.

Here are the highlights from the game:

Stay tuned, next up are the All Star Week Events!

 

The Ideal Defense – The 2013 Rawlings Gold Glove Awards

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

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

American League Gold Glove Depth Chart

Catcher – Salvador Perez (Kansas City Royals)

First Base – Eric Hosmer (Kansas City Royals)

Second Base – Dustin Pedroia (Boston Red Sox)

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

Third Base – Manny Machado (Baltimore Orioles)

Left Field – Alex Gordon (Kansas City Royals)

Center Field – Adam Jones (Baltimore Orioles)

Right Field – Shane Victorino (Boston Red Sox)

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

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

AL Defense

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

National League Gold Glove Depth Chart

Catcher – Yadier Molina (St. Louis Cardinals)

First Base – Paul Goldschmidt (Arizona Diamondbacks)

Second Base – Brandon Phillips (Cincinnati Reds)

Short Stop – Andrelton Simmons (Atlanta Braves)

Third Base – Nolan Arenado (Colorado Rockies)

Left Field – Carlos Gonzalez (Colorado Rockies)

Center Field – Carlos Gomez (Milwaukee Brewers)

Right Field – Gerardo Parra (Arizona Diamondbacks)

Pitcher – Adam Wainwright (St. Louis Cardinals)

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

a

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

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

NL Defense

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

MLB Defense

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

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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.

07-31-13 @ Target Field – Royals vs. Twins

This was the first game I had been to since the All Star break had ended, and I was excited to be back at Target Field. Since it was Rasmussen College Student Day, My friend Matt accompanied me to the game. Although, he didn’t actually have to buy a ticket because Tony gave him his extra ticket (Thanks Tony!). I hadn’t seen Tony since the Angels vs. Twins game in April! Luckily we had plenty of time to catch up before the gates opened. The three of us were going to get a group picture, but we forgot.

I got on the board during the second group of BP when Matt and I were in the second deck in left field. I was in the 3rd row of section 231 when Salvador Perez hit one of the only homers to nearly reach the second deck. I reached over the facing of the second deck, but I couldn’t reach low enough to catch it. I turned to walk back up the steps when James Shields yelled “Heads up!”. He had thrown the ball back up to me, but I didn’t realize it until the ball was about to nail me in the face. Fortunately I avoided getting a black eye by catching the ball. I took a picture of it in the concourse as we moved back to right field for the third group of batting practice:

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Back in right field I took the corner spot next to the overhang and Matt played one section to my left. Alex Gordon started spraying homers in our direction. He was hitting them so far that I backed up 2 rows in case he hit one over my head. He hit the very next pitch four rows in front of me in the middle of the section. I almost grabbed it on the ground but I got beat when I was a foot away. Shortly after this happened, a homer was hit to Matt – like right at him. He froze up and the ball landed in the seat next to him, but he didn’t grab it in time. The final embarrassing moment of the day came when Aaron Crow fielded a ball under the overhang in right field. I called out his name, but then he disappeared under the overhang:

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He reappeared and tossed the ball up, but I had already walked away! I scrambled to it, but it rolled to the bottom of the section before I had a chance to grab it. Those mistakes drive me crazy!

When the game started Matt and I found some nice bleacher seats on the Aisle next to the bullpens. By the fifth inning we had two close calls with an almost homer and an almost ground rule double, but neither happened.

Sometime in the sixth inning we visited the Team Store and I got a first hand look at one of the 2014 All Star Game baseballs:

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I don’t really like it. The commemorative logo looks really generic, but its not that bad. I would like it a lot more if the logo would be blue instead of red. I was going to buy one of them but then I decided to wait. I’m going to be at the All Star Game next year, so I want to try to get one from ballhawking before I purchase one.

During the next few innings I played around with the camera for a bit and got some action shots of Eric Hosmer stealing second base:

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In the 7th inning we wandered around the concourse and eventually we scored some sweet seats:

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…And then I took some more action shots:

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Did you notice the All Star Game Logo that was on the right field wall in any of the previous pictures? Here’s a close up picture of it:

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It’s not my favorite, but I kind of like it. My favorite Twins’ All Star Logo is the one behind home plate:

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After the game ended I got Mario’s attention. He grabbed three balls and threw two balls to the kids in front of me. Mario acknowledged me and then he threw a knuckleball to me! It was really cool except the person in front of me backed up a few steps, stuck his glove up in the air, jumped and caught the ball right in front of my glove. He gave it to me, and I gave it to Matt. I didn’t count that ball in my collection because a fan gave it to me.

The Royals beat the Twins 4-3. It was my first time getting to see Jeremy Guthrie. In 6 innings he allowed 2 earned runs on 6 hits. He struck out 5 men and walked 2. I would’ve preferred that the Twins would’ve won, but I was still glad that Guthrie got the win. Here is the box score and scoring plays from the game:

7-31 box 7-31 scoring summary

A Piece of The Game MVP:

James Shields:    He threw a ball to me even when I didn’t expect him to. By doing this he also kept my streak alive.

Player of The Game:

Billy Butler:   Although he only went 1-3 in 4 plate appearances, he still managed to get 2 RBI (one appearance resulted in a sac fly). He was a big part of why the Royals won.

  • 1 ball in this game
  • 33 balls in 10 games this season = Avg. 3.3 balls per game
  • 20 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
  • 18 consecutive Twins home games with at least 1 ball
  • Gotten at least 1 ball from 13 different teams
  • 77  total balls

6-28-13 @ Target Field – Royals vs. Twins

Usually there isn’t very much action at Target Field before the gates open, but today there were multiple baseballs hit to Target Plaza. Around quarter to five Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer were switching off hitting, and one of them hit this ball to the plaza:

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The ball hit the gate (out of my reach) and then Nick, a stadium employee (indicated by the arrow in the previous picture), tossed it to me. Thank you Nick! Because it was a weekend game the gates opened at 5 o’clock. I didn’t snag any balls during the remainder of the Twins’ portion of batting practice. It wasn’t long until the Royals took the field to play catch before they started to hit:

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My next ball was thrown to me by Billy Butler after he and Alcides Escobar finished playing catch:

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I had been in the Aisle of sections 16 and 17, but after I got the ball from Butler I moved further down the line in hopes of another thrown ball before they started to hit. Wade Davis threw me my third ball when he had finished playing catch. I don’t know who he was playing with, and I cant tell from the pictures I took either. In the next picture Davis is photographed to the right of the ball:

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When the Royals started hitting I moved to the bleachers in left center field. I had only been in the park for 20 minutes and I had snagged 3 balls. At this rate I would be able set to snag 5 more baseballs before the end of batting practice… but that didn’t happen. It didn’t happen because at 5:35 this happened:

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Long story short: it lightly rained for 6 minutes so the Royals thought it was necessary to cancel batting practice, and the grounds crew thought it was necessary to put the tarp over the infield. 6 minutes later the tarp was taken off, but the Royals didn’t come back out:

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When the clock struck 6:15 the Twins 2nd bullpen catcher entered the bullpens and tossed me this ball:

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I didn’t know who he was so I asked a Tony Voda and Mateo Fischer via Twitter. They both responded that they suspect he is a second bullpen catcher, but neither know his name. I know he is some sort of bullpen catcher for the Twins because I met his aunt and uncle on Memorial Day last year at the Twins game. Here is a better picture of him:

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If anyone knows his name, please don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments at the end of this entry!

After that I got to sit around for another 30 minutes until anyone else entered the bullpens. I decided to stay behind the Royals bullpen because James Shields, the starting pitcher, was warming up with Salvador Perez. When he and Perez finished at 7:09, Perez threw the ball to J.C. Gutierrez on the far end of the bullpen. Gutierrez then threw the same ball back across the bullpen to me. He continued towards my side of the bullpen until he sat down near the corner (perfect for taking a picture of both him and the ball):

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Just before the first pitch the tarp was pulled back onto the field because it was raining once again. The delay lasted for 26 minutes. Billy Butler hit a 3 run homer to center field in the first inning against P.J. Walters (click here to listen to the interview I did with P.J. during the 2012 off season). In the 7th inning Eric Hosmer also homered to center. Both of these home runs landed in the grass below the batters eye. At the end of the 7th inning I was on my way to center field when I saw this really cool mini model of Target Field:

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Eventually I made it out to center field and I found an Aisle seat next to the batters eye:

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When the game ended I waited for an employee to clear out the home run balls, but no one ever came:

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It had started raining right after the game had ended so all the grounds keepers were busy putting the tarp back on the field. Everyone was busy and apparently no one remembered to get the baseballs out of the batters eye. It got to the point where I had been waiting for 20 minutes when I was told I had to leave. Bummer, it would’ve been nice to have grabbed one (or both) of those! Since I was in center field I was going to exit the right field gate (gate 34) but the same usher made me leave through the left field gate because he claimed the right field gate was “already locked up”. This was stupid because I had to walk around the WHOLE outside of Target Field to get back to the car. Because of the way Target Field was built you cant walk a full circle around the outside of the ballpark. If you are outside the left field gate and want to get to the right field gate then you have to follow this illustrated model:

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After I practically walked around the whole stadium I finally reached the outside of the right field gate. Guess what… the gates were still wide open. Oh well, at least I made it to the car where my dad was waiting for me.

So anyways, the Royals beat the Twins 9-3.  The name of the game was the Royals Defense. The Royals put on a defensive show and sported some amazing plays! Both offensively and defensively the Twins struggled to keep up throughout the whole game. Here is the box score and scoring plays from the game:

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Capture

A Piece of The Game MVP:

J.C. Gutierrez:    I always enjoy getting the warm up ball that the starting pitcher used in the bullpen before the game. J.C. was kind enough to hook me up with James Shield’s warm up ball.

Player of The Game:

Eric Hosmer:   He had his second multi-HR game of his career. He went 3-4 on the night and collected 3 RBI which helped his team extend their lead over the Twins.

Here is my final haul from the night:

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  • 5 balls in this game
  • 26 balls in 6 games this season = Avg. 4.33 balls per game
  • 16 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
  • 16 consecutive games with at least 2 balls
  • 10 consecutive games with at least 3 balls
  • 14 consecutive Twins home games with at least 1 ball
  • 12 consecutive Twins home games with at least 2 balls
  • 7 consecutive Twins home games with at least 3 balls
  • Gotten at least 1 ball from 12 different teams
  • 70  total balls

9-14-12 @ Kauffman Stadium – Angels vs. Royals

You’re probably thinking “What are you doing at Kauffman Stadium?” My family and I are on vacation in Missouri so my dad and I thought it would be fun to go to a game at Kauffman Stadium.

Kauffman Stadium offers a unique tour called The Early Bird Tour, which gets you inside the stadium before gates open to the public.

The tour started at 4:30 so we arrived at 3:45 to pick up our tour tickets from will call. Here I am walking up to the stadium with my dad:

As we got closer to the stadium my dad and I saw this:

It was a crime scene. This explained why we had seen so many emergency vehicles about a half hour earlier while we were eating at Denny’s. Apparently a man shot a parking lot employee that was believed to have been his girlfriend, before getting into his car and committing suicide. Click here to read the news article about it.

The police took a very long time to respond to the call because of a bomb scare in downtown! What was happening in Kansas City!?! Everything bad was happening the 1 day that we were here! Here is the news story for that.

Anyways… back to baseball. While we were waiting for the tour to start I saw Torii Hunter, Bobby Wilson, and Aaron Cook enter the stadium at Gate C. I took pictures of them, but made sure not to bother them.

When 4:30 rolled around we were let into the Hall of Fame:

Soon the tour group was led near the Angels dugout:

This was where I got my first ball of the day. Do you see the ball sitting right by 3rd base? Coach Wathan threw it to me as he was walking into the outfield. Here he is shortly after:

I decided to move behind the Royals dugout because a ball was nearby. Within 15 minutes it was mine. So what happened? Eric Hosmer threw it to me as he was jogging off the field. In the next picture Hosmer is standing to the right of the ball:

Also, just a few minutes after this happened, my dad got a ball thrown to him by Aaron Crow. Have you heard the saying “The early bird gets the worm”? Well, that was definitely true today.

When the stadium opened to the public, I was free to roam wherever I pleased. I decided to play home runs from the left/center field seats. By the time I reached my destination Albert Pujols’ group had started hitting, and there were bombs being hit 10 feet over my head into the fountains.

Ball #3 came when Torii Hunter hit a ball 1 section to my right. I had no trouble getting in line with the ball, but it was going to be short by two rows. This was a problem because of how steep the section was, and I was worried that it would bounce back onto the field before I could get to it. Luckily the ball landed under a seat, and I had no problem hopping over two rows to pick it up. The next picture helps visualize it. I was standing in the rectangle and the ball landed in the oval:

Soon I chased a ball to the same spot, but it kept carrying and it landed in the fountains. The next pitch was hit to the EXACT spot that I had JUST been standing before I chased the previous ball. It hit the concrete where I WOULD’VE and SHOULD’VE caught the ball for one of the easiest catches in my life. I watched helplessly as it bounced back onto the field.

I decided to move to sections 107-109 (the left field seats between the foul pole and bullpen) for the last group of BP. Soon Jerome Williams threw a ball to me to me. There was a man in front of me that must have really wanted the ball, because he did his best to make sure I didn’t get it. For the sake of not getting confused, I will call him Man #1 (keep in mind that Man #1 looked like he was in his late 20’s or early 30’s). Man #1 got very close to me until his glove was right in front of mine, and then he didn’t even catch the ball. The ball tipped off of his glove and ricocheted about a foot to my right. I tried my best to adjust to the new path of the ball, but everything happened so quickly that it also tipped off of my glove. The ball rolled to the feet of a father who picked up the ball and gave it to his son, who looked like he was 10 years old (this part was alright, because Man #1 didn’t get the ball)

A few minutes later, Jerome Williams flipped a different ball to me because he had seen I hadn’t gotten the first ball that was intended for me. Then Man #1’s mom started complaining about how I got 2 balls from the same player! I politely explained how her son had tipped the first ball, which resulted in the Father and son getting it. Then I turned to the father and son and said, “Congrats on getting the ball, it worked out for both of us!”

At the time I didn’t know who the player was, but Kristen (you can check out her blog here) informed me via Twitter that his name is Jerome Williams. Kristen also told me that he wears a pink glove in memory of his mother. Thank you Kristen!

When batting practice ended I was sitting at 4 balls.

At 6:50 I sat next to the Angels bullpen to try to get a ball when C.J. Wilson finished warming up.

Do you see the ball in midair in the previous picture? C.J. Wilson threw a bad pitch and the ball got away from Chris Ianneta. Ianneta picked up the ball and tossed it to the left side of the bullpen.

After a few minutes the usher came to make people go to their seats.

Usher: “You have to go to your seat now.”

Me: “Is it alright if I wait here for just 5 more minutes?

Usher: “I don’t think so, you should go.”

Me: “I’m waiting because the coach promised me a ball (This was true, but I was sort of bending the truth…. Coach Butcher had promised me a ball, but that was a while ago. I just needed a reason so I could stay at the bullpen.)

Usher: “Well you should know that it is very unlikely that you will give you a ball.”

Me: “Once the game starts I’ll leave, it’s just 5 minutes and I’ll be out of your hair”

Usher: “Alright, but stay out of the aisle for now”

Roughly 2 minutes later, Coach Steve Soliz walked to the side of the bullpen and threw the ball to me (the same ball that got away from Chris Ianneta.)

The usher had been standing at the bottom of the aisle this whole time. Once he saw the coach throw me the ball he looked embarrassed for being wrong, and laughed a little bit.

Usher: “Looks like you were right!”

We started to talk a little more, and after that he let me sit in his section whenever I wanted to. He was a nice guy with lots of humor.

Fast forward to the game…

In the next picture do you see the red marks? The square in section 142 is where our seats were.

The other shape represents this:

This is where I stood to play the foul balls during the first 2 innings, and it was a good spot. Mike Trout led off the game and sent a few balls my direction. The first was a little blooper which landed 3 sections to my right. The next ball came right towards me! I played it safe by moving slightly towards the field because I was expecting it to bounce off of the scoreboard facing on the second deck. I was correct, but then it ricocheted into the Dugout Concourse. I sprinted after the ball, but it kept rolling and rolling! Suddenly an old lady came out of nowhere and stepped right in front of me. I jumped to the side to avoid running into her, and then she realized that I was chasing the ball, and she picked it up. I wasn’t mad at her or anything, in fact I congratulated her. I just felt like I was having a day of missed opportunities.

In the second inning I was going to head to the last row of section 142 to try to play some foul balls, but as I was half way there an usher stopped me and made me sit down until the Howie Kendrick finished his at bat. Sure enough, Howie Kendrick sliced two foul balls to the EXACT spot that I was heading for. Two more missed opportunities.

After the inning ended I sat with my dad. Our seats were on the aisle of row ten of section 142. Halfway through the game we moved ten rows back and this was our view:

Billy Butler hit his 100th career homer in the second inning. I have now seen 2 historic home runs in person… the other was Mark Teixeira’s 300th homerun on June 30th 2011 at Yankee Stadium.

Fast Forward to the end of the game…

Here are the play-by-play scoring plays from the game:

  • In the bottom of the 2nd inning Brett Butler homered to left field. (His 100th career homerun!)
  • In the bottom of the 2nd inning Mike Moustakas homered to right field to make the score 2-0.
  • In the bottom of the 3rd inning J Bourgeois singled to center, Giavotella scored on the play.
  • In the top of the 4th inning Howie Kendrick doubled to deep left, E Aybar and Torii Hunter scored to tie the game.
  • Later in the 4th inning A Callaspo singled to right to drive in Howie Kendrick and Vernon Wells.
  • In the bottom of the 6th inning Mike Moustakas hit a sacrifice fly to left, Alex Gordon scored on the play.
  • In the top of the 7th inning E Aybar doubled to right. Chris Iannetta and Mike Trout scored on the play to make it a 5-6 game (Royals leading)
  • In the bottom of the 7th inning A Escobar singled to left center field. J Bourgeois scored on the play.
  • In the 8th inning Kendrys Morales hit a two run homer to left field.
  • Later in the 8th inning Torii Hunter walked with the bases loaded. Mike Trout scored to give the Angels an 8-7 lead.
  • In the top of the 9th inning K Calhoun grounded into a fielder’s choice to second base. Vernon Wells scored on the play.

Angels 9, Royals 7

            1        2        3        4        5        6        7        8        9        R       H       E

LAA    0        0        0        4        0        0        1        3        1        9        12     1

KC       0        2        1        0        0        3        1        0        0        7        8        1

It was fireworks night:

The Royals organization really puts on a great fireworks show. It was an awesome display.

When my dad and I left I took some cool pictures:

Kauffman Stadium is a very beautiful Stadium, and a great place to ballhawk. There is a cross Aisle that goes around the whole stadium which is helpful for getting around the stadium easily (It also comes in handy when ballhawking). The fountains in the outfield add a lot of character to the Stadium. Now I see why so many people speak so highly of Kauffman Stadium.

A Piece of The Game MVP:

Jerome Williams, because he threw a ball to me, but when he saw I wasn’t able to catch it he threw a different ball to me. He was also very friendly and at numerous times stood by the wall to talk with fans.

Jerome Williams did not make an appearance during the game so there are no stats to show.

Player of The Game:

Kendrys Morales,because he hit a 2 run homer in the 8th inning. Technically it was a game winning homerun, because otherwise the Angels and Royals would be tied through 9 innings.

LA Angels               AB     R     H     RBI     BB     SO     LOB     AVG

Morales, K, PH        1       1      1         2         0       0          0        .279

I took this photo the next day before leaving the hotel. I thought it was kind of artsy:

The Royals were the 10th team to give me at least 1 ball.

  • 5 balls at this game
  • 36 balls in 9 games this season = Avg. 4.0 balls per game
  • 9 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
  • 9 consecutive games with at least 2 balls
  • 3 consecutive games with at least 3 balls
  • 2 consecutive games with at least 4 balls
  • 2 consecutive games with at least 5 balls
  • Gotten at least 1 ball from 11 different teams
  • 39 total balls