Tagged: Glen Perkins

Athletics vs. Twins @ Target Field (05-04-15)

I wouldn’t have gone to this game had it not been for the Twins’ fantastic game day promotion:

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As part of Star Wars night at Target Field the Twins gave away these special “Hughes The Force” bobble heads with the purchase of a special ticket. A few days prior I had noticed that all the special tickets were sold out on the Twins website. I called the box office and they said they’d have some available on the day of the game. When I got up to Target Field on the fourth I bought my ticket, then I hopped in line with Tony Voda to get my bobble head. When it was my turn to get my bobblehead I was told that my ticket wasn’t part of the promotion. I explained that the folks in the box office had assured me this was the correct ticket, but I was not given a bobble head. Way to go Twins… I still have to call a season ticket rep to get this cleared up.

On to batting practice…

My first ball of the day came early during the A’s portion of batting practice. It was a home run that was hit by an unknown A’s player:

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After getting on the board early in batting practice I didn’t get my next ball until batting practice was nearly finished. This time it was a toss up from another unknown A’s player:

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Could it have been the same unknown player as before? Who knows. Darn A’s, playing mind tricks again.

After batting practice, Target Field was taken over by the Evil Empire:

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For some reason, I don’t think the Storm Troopers liked me very much:

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Just before the game started Dominique tossed one to me straight from the ball bag:

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I’ve never once asked Dominique for a ball, but he always hooks me up after we chat. What a guy!

When the game started I moved to my regular spot:

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I started to watch the game from this spot at the end of last season. Since then I have grown very accustom to it. The view is fantastic. Plus, early in the game its a good spot for foul balls.

Although the first inning was a disaster for the Twins, I was happy because I witnessed something that I hadn’t before. After the A’s loaded the bases, Stephen Vogt stepped up to the plate and hit a grand slam! Luckily, the Twins used the force to score four runs of their own in the second inning. After the Twins gave up a run in the top of the 6th, my childhood sports hero, Torii Hunter, hit a 3 run homer to left field to give the Twins an 8-5 lead. The A’s ended up scoring two more runs in the later part of the game, but Glen Perkins was still able to come away with his ninth save of the season. Click to watch the highlight video from the game. Here’s the info from the game:

game info

Phil Hughes (Hughes The Force) earned the W for Minnesota while Jesse Hahn (Han Solo) was stuck with the Loss for Oakland.  Coincidence that both Hughes and Hahn pitched on Star Wars Night? I think not.

Here’s the group shot after the game:

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TOTALS: 3 balls at this game. 9 balls this year.

UP NEXT: A’s vs. Twins 05/05/15

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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

Twins 2015 Winter Caravan Preview

During the next few weeks the Minnesota Twins’ Winter Caravan is scheduled to visit more than 40 communities across Minnesota, Iowa, and North & South Dakota. Here is an excerpt from the Twins website:

The Twins Winter Caravan is one of the longest running and most extensive offseason team caravans in professional sports. It features teams of current and former players visiting schools, hospitals, corporations and service clubs during the day with a traditional “hot stove” program each evening.

Twins Winter Caravan tours will be led by members of the Treasure Island Baseball Network and Fox Sports North broadcast teams including Bert Blyleven, Dick Bremer, Dan Gladden, Cory Provus and Kris Atteberry.

Preliminary 2015 Twins Winter Caravan routes and personalities are below (schedule and players are subject to change). Specific times and locations within those communities will be announced in the coming weeks on this page.”

2014 Twins Winter Caravan Schedule

This year, there are two groups that will cover two different Routes over the course of two weeks. The first week will run from January 12-15 while the second week will run from January 19-22.

W1 W2

If you want to see what the Twins Caravan is typically like, then I suggest checking out the entry I wrote from last year’s caravan. If i go this year, then I’ll get to see Brian Duensing, Brian Dozier, Phil Hughes, Jack Morris and Dick Bremer when they stop in Rochester on January 21st. I’ll be sure to post an entry about it afterwards.

Tigers vs. Twins @ Target Field (09-16-14)

This game wasn’t in my season ticket package, but when I saw it on the schedule a few days prior I knew I wanted to go. This game, a Tuesday night game in mid September, practically had “low attendance” written all over it. Within a few minutes of entering Target Field, I was in possession of a pretty good looking baseball: IMG_20140916_170415_112

I was able to snag that when Chris Parmelee hit an absolute bomb to the plaza. I wasn’t able to get to it in time to catch it on the fly, but a ball is a ball! A few minutes went by and soon a Twins leftie, who I couldn’t identify, hit a homer that landed in section 136. Although I was a section away, I was the first to scramble to the ball: IMG_20140916_171200_594

That was it for the Twins portion of batting practice. The Twins had a really good session of batting practice today. With how the Twins were hitting I should have come away with a few more balls. Had I not been beat out by Waldo and one of the ushers a few times, I would’ve had five from the Twins session alone. It was nice to see the Twins had some pop in their bats. When the Tigers took the field I snagged one more baseball before I quit ballhawking. That was thanks to an unidentified Tigers player who hit this ball a very long ways: IMG_20140916_172258_609

I’m not exactly sure what it was about this ball but it stood out to me for some reason. After looking the ball over I decided this was the perfect ball to play catch with. The grip was great, the ball was slightly mudded up, and it was worn perfectly. From the looks of it, it was probably a game ball at one point. After snagging that last ball, I put my glove away for a while. Normally I wouldn’t do this, but I made an exception because Kennys Vargas and Danny Santana were scheduled to sign autographs in the team store beginning at 5:40. There was a big of a line ahead of me: IMG_20140916_173109_299

Once the line got moving it continued to move along pretty steadily. Soon I was next: IMG_20140916_174928_568

Vargas and Santana both had performed very well for the Twins this year. They’re expected to be some of the future stars of the Twins. If they continue to play like they did this year, then I have no doubt that they will someday lead the Twins. Vargas’ signature is on the left, and Santana’s is on the right: IMG_20140916_175025_561

Pretty, aren’t they? Those were nice additions to my autograph collection. I was back to snagging baseballs by 6:00, but the Tigers left the field soon after. At this point the stadium was practically empty: IMG_20140916_182237_494

I spent the majority of the game in the right field plaza with Waldo. Waldo has grown on me this year and I have come to enjoy his company during Twins games. Kennys Vargas got the ball rolling for the Twins in the fourth inning by hitting his first career triple. Later in the inning, Kurt Suzuki hit an RBI single to left field. The score remained 1-0 until Kennys Vargas hit a solo home run to right field in the sixth inning. Waldo and I each tracked the homerun, but it didn’t have enough distance to reach us on the plaza. Ricky Nolasco, for once, was pitching a phenomenal game.  He threw 109 pitches in eight innings, struck out five guys, and he only allowed five hits and one walk.  Glen Perkins, for once, pitched poorly. He gave up a double to Torii Hunter, a single to Miguel Cabrera, and a home run to J.D. Martinez. Curious about how this one ended? Watch the video!

I simply could not believe what happened. With the help of Plouffe, Bernier, Herrmann, Suzuki, Nunez and Hicks, the Twins were able to come away with the walk off victory. Wow. Of the seven Twins games I’ve been to this year, this was the sixth win and the second walk off victory. Go Twins! When the game ended, I got this gem from Umpire Cory Blaser:

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That was a real pearl. On my way out of Target Field I grabbed a bag of pistachios, courtesy of Wonderful. See all the pistachio boxes?:

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It reminded me of the All Star Game when I was given a box of cheez-its. This was the final haul of the day: IMG_20140918_244245_188

I found a few All Star items on the way out of the ballpark. Just a note: The ball that Vargas signed was from 9/11/13 when the A’s were in town. It was my 99th baseball snagged. More blog entries are on their way!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo from Google Maps

Photo from Google Maps.

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

Photo from Yelp

Photo from Yelp.

Photo from Yelp

Photo from Yelp.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

flyover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

postgame

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

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

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

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White Sox vs. Twins @ Target Field (06-19-14)

infoThe forecast predicted rain. Normally I would’ve completely ignored this game, but I went for two reasons. (1) My friend Cody was accompanying me and this would be his first game at Target Field. (2) Tony Voda and Nate Duppler were going to be there. It had been three months since I had seen Tony, and two since I had seen Nate!

RAIN was the word of the day. No batting practice because of the RAIN:

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The game was delayed because of the RAIN:

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…And I bought a nacho helmet because of the RAIN:

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After a lengthy rain delay the grounds crew removed the tarp from the infield:

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After a 2 hour and 6 minute rain delay, the umpires approved the wet field for play:

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The highlight of the game was summed up in one picture. As Mateo Fischer once said, “friends make ballhawking more funner”:

Capture

After meeting up with Panda, a fellow Target Field ballhawk, we made our way to the White Sox dugout. When the game ended at 12:59 A.M. CT Panda and I each got a ball from Umpire Mark Wegner, and Cody got a ball from a White Sox coach.

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The game itself was not outstanding. In fact, it was probably one of the most boring games I’ve been to. However, the Twins pitching staff put on a show! Yohan Pino went 7 strong innings allowing 2 ER on 5 base hits while striking out 7 batters. Casey Fien was awarded the ‘W’ after he pitched a scoreless 8th inning. Glen Perkins earned the Save, and the Twins were victorious.

This was actually the latest I had ever been to a baseball game. Cody and I didn’t end up getting back to my house until 3 AM. WOW, talk about a long day!

(From ESPN) Here is the box score and other info from the game:

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info

2014 Fan Fests of the AL Central Division

Every year now (really only last year) I do an entry about the Fan Fests that are hosted by the teams in the AL Central Division. If you’d like to see last year’s entry, here it is. This is my version for 2014.

soxfest

Date: January 24-26, 2014

Hours: Friday: 4-9 p.m.; Saturday: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Sunday: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Location:

Palmer House Hilton

17 East Monroe Street

Chicago, IL 60603

Parking: Hotel Parking

Admission Ticket Pricing:

  • Weekend Passes are $75
  • Premium Upgrade Packages are $200 each.
    • Special MVP SoxFest Pass(es) for the weekend
      • Three premium autographs without waiting in long lines (Details to be provided upon check-in). The MVP Pass is valid for two premium autographs on Saturday and one premium autograph on Sunday. (MVP Pass holders are not guaranteed a ‘no wait’ experience, but the wait time will be reduced.) Participants will be confirmed closer to actual SoxFest show dates.
      • Access to private autograph session.
      • Access to private photo session. No autographs.
      • Access to private seminar.
    • Limited-edition SoxFest sling back bag
    • Official MLB baseball
    • White Sox scarf
    • Special SoxFest discount coupon for Majestic Custom T-Shirt Shop for use at SoxFest (redeemable only at SoxFest; not redeemable for cash)
    • Two complimentary lower deck reserve tickets to an April/May 2014 White Sox home game

SCHEDULED TO ATTEND

Current players Paul Konerko, Adam Eaton, Jose Abreu, Adam Dunn, Avisail Garcia, Josh Phegley, Nate Jones, Matt Lindstrom, Alexei Ramirez, Dayan Viciedo and Addison Reed, past stars Ron Kittle, Carlos May, Minnie Minoso, Tom Paciorek, Gary Peters and Frank Thomas, manager Robin Ventura, and coaches Don Cooper and Todd Steverson, along with White Sox prospects Erik Johnson, Micah Johnson and Marcus Semien.

Fan Activities Include:

  • Player autograph stations
  • Player photo stations
  • Comcast sportsnet autograph stations
  • Seminars
  • More activities are in store for SoxFest (The WhiteSox are keeping it a surprise).

Autograph Voucher Pricing: Included in admission price

Things I like about SoxFest:

  • SoxFest takes place over three days.
  • It is held at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel.
    • Provides fans with a fun, and exciting environment. Fans have the option to buy Package deals that that include a hotel room and ‘x’ amount of tickets for Sox Fest. Bored of SoxFest and want to relax? Hit the hot tub!
  • Over 25 (current and former) players & coaches are scheduled to attend

If I was the GM I would…

  • Lower the price of admission in order to make SoxFest more affordable for fans.
    •  $70 for a single day pass (if autographs are included in admission price)
    • $15 for a single day pass (if autographs are not included in admission price)
  • Offer more activities to fans.
    • Suggestions include memorabilia dealers, games, mini baseball clinics for kids, auctions, Q&A with player and coaches, and possibly tours of the hotel (the tour guide could be a white sox player)
  • Donate the part of the proceeds to charity.
    • I did not find any info about the White Sox donating any of the proceeds to charity. As far as I know, the Whitesox do not.
    • Donating part of the proceeds might encourage more fans to go to Sox Fest.

My Overall Grade LAST YEAR: C +

My Overall Grading THIS YEAR: B-

indians

Date: January 25-26, 2014

Hours:

  • Period 1: Saturday, Jan 25, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Period 2: Saturday, Jan 25, 4-8 p.m.
  • Period 3: Sunday, Jan 26, Noon-6 p.m.

Location:

Progressive Field

2401 Ontario Street

Cleveland, OH 44115

Parking: The Gateway East Garage (located in between Progressive Field and Quicken Loans Arena) will be open similar to a normal Indians game in the summer.

Admission Ticket Pricing: Adults are $10, Children (12 & under) are free in advance, & $5 at the door.

SCHEDULED TO ATTEND

Manager Terry Francona, current Tribe players including Michael Brantley, Mike Aviles, Carlos Santana, Danny Salazar, Yan Gomes, Corey Kluber, Zach McAllister, David Murphy and others, Indians prospects (including former No. 3 overall pick Trevor Bauer and 2012 top pick Clint Frazier), and several prominent Tribe alumni including, Kenny Lofton, in attendance for autographs, interviews on the KeyBank main stage and more.

Fan Activities Include:

  • Player Autographs
  • Kids’ Activities
  • Batting Cages
  • Clubhouse tours
  • Q&As with Tribe broadcasters and players
  • Concessions will be available in the Club Lounge

Autograph Voucher Pricing:

  • Saturday – Group 1
  • Minor League Prospects ADULT: $21.50
  • Minor League Prospects CHILD (12&under): $10.00
  • Active Roster Location A ADULT: $26.50
  • Active Roster Location A CHILD (12&under): $15.00
  • Active Roster Location B ADULT: $26.50
  • Active Roster Location B CHILD: $15.00
  • Saturday – Group 2 & 3
  • 90’s Alumni Adult: $31.50
  • 90’s Alumni Child (Ages 12&under): $20.00
  • Minor League Prospects Adult: $21.50
  • Minor League Prospects Child (Ages 12&under): $10.00
  • Active Roster Location A Adult: $26.50
  • Active Roster Location A Child (Ages 12&under): $15.00
  • Sunday – Group 1 & 3
  • Minor League Prospects Adult: $21.50
  • Minor League Prospects Child (Ages 12&under): $10.00
  • Active Roster Location A Adult: $26.50
  • Active Roster Location A Child (Ages 12&under): $15.00
  • Active Roster Location B Adult: $26.50
  • Active Roster Location B Child (Ages 12&under): $15.00
  • Sunday – Group 2 & 4
  • 90’s Alumni Adult: $31.50
  • 90’s Alumni Child (Ages 12&under): $20.00
  • Active Roster Location A Adult: $26.50
  • Active Roster Location A Child (Ages 12&under): $15.00
  • Active Roster Location B Adult: $26.50
  • Active Roster Location B Child (Ages 12&under): $15.00

Autograph sessions include general admission into the Fanfest. Alumni will only autograph one photo supplied by the Cleveland Indians. Autograph sessions include general admission into the Fanfest. Children tickets are valid for children 12 and under. General Admission tickets do not include player autograph sessions. 

Things I like about TribeFest:

  • The General Admission price is cheap enough to make people want to come back next year.
  • Events take place within Progressive Field
    • In areas including the service level of the ballpark, The Collection Auto Club, Kids Clubhouse, Club Lounge, KeyBank main stage, and the 1994 Party Suite for autographs.

If I was the GM I would…

  • Change the way Autograph Vouchers & Sessions are set up.
    • The way the Indians have it set up now is unorganized and way more complicated than it needs to be.
    • General Admission tickets should be separate from the autograph voucher because it is very confusing to correctly purchase the Indians’ voucher passes.
    • At TribeFest there are three periods for autographs, but only one group signs during each period. Because there is a cap of 250 fans per session, not everyone in line will be able to get an autograph. This problem could be fixed by providing more autograph stations.
  • Make it mandatory for all current Indian players (40-man roster) to attend TribeFest.
    • In my opinion Fan Fests are all about player interaction. Why have a Fan Fest if there are only 12 players “officially” attending?
  • Make the TribeFest webpage easier to manoeuver.
    • It’s kind of a mess, which makes it difficult to gather information about TribeFest.
  • Donate part of the proceeds to charity
    • I did not find any info about the Indians donating any of the proceeds to charity. As far as I know, the Indians do not.
    • Donating part of the proceeds might encourage more fans to go to Tribe Fest.

My Overall Grading LAST YEAR: C+ / B –

My Overall Grading THIS YEAR: C+

Tigers

Date: Saturday, January 25, 2014

Hours: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Location:

Comerica Park

2100 Woodward Avenue

Detroit, MI 48201-3470

Parking: Olympia Development, OR there are numerous other privately owned parking facilities within a 5-20 minute walk of Comerica Park.

Admission Ticket Pricing:  $25 for adults, $14 for kids 12-and-under

SCHEDULED TO ATTEND: The Tigers have not yet released this information. I will update this as new information is released.

Fan Activities Include:

  • Autograph Booths
  • Main stage, including a special “Fan Conference” Q & A Session.
  • Tigers player photo area
  • Clubhouse tours
  • Dugout tours/Photos
  • 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
  • Tigers player book readings, games and interactive activities.
  • Free face painting and caricatures.
  • Baseball-themed games and activities for kids.
  • Video game bullpen.
  • Official 2014 Kids Club enrollment.

Autograph Voucher Pricing: The Tigers have not yet released this information. I will update this as new information is released.

Things I like about TigerFest:

  • There are over 30 (current and former) players & coaches scheduled to attend
  • The Admission price is cheap enough to make people want to come back next year.
  • With so many activities to experience, fans won’t want to go home.
  • Events take place within Comerica Park
    • In areas including the Ernie Harwell Media Center, luxury suite, the Champions Club, and select Detroit Tigers executive offices.

If I was the GM I would…

  • Donate part of the proceeds to charity.
    • I did not find any info about the Tigers donating the proceeds to charity. As far as I know, the Tigers do not.
    • Donating part of the proceeds might encourage more fans to go to TigerFest (ironically, it is sold out)

My Overall Grading LAST YEAR: A

My Overall Grading THIS YEAR: A

royals

Date: Friday, January 31 – Saturday, February 1, 2014

Hours:

  • Friday, January 31
    • 12-2 p.m. Exclusive access for Season Ticket Holders
    • 2-9 p.m. Open to all fans
  • Saturday, February 1
    • 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 – $13; Youth – $7
    • 2 Day Pass: Adult – $19; Youth – $10
  • Day of Sale:
    • 1 Day Pass: Adult – $15; Youth – $9
    • 2 Day Pass: Adult – $23; Youth – $13

Youth prices are for children ages 6-17. Children five and under will be admitted for free.

SCHEDULED TO ATTEND: The Royals have not released this information. They are keeping it a surprise until the day of FanFest.

Fan Activities Include:

  • Player autograph sessions
  • Player photo sessions
  • Commerce Bank main stage events
  • Royals Awards
  • 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. They are keeping it a surprise until the day of FanFest.

Things I like about Royals FanFest:

  • The Admission price is cheap enough to make people want to come back next year.
  • Events take place within the Kanas City Convention Center
    • Better than holding it at Kauffmann Stadium because of the ballpark’s limited indoor space.
  • There are plenty of activities for children to partake in.
  • The Royals donate a portion of the proceeds to charities
  • “A portion of the proceeds will again benefit Royals Charities.” – Royals.com
  • “Royals Charities and the MLB Players Alumni Association have teamed up to host several auctions during the event giving fans lots of opportunities to add unique items to their baseball memorabilia collections! Proceeds will benefit Royals Charities and the MLBPAA.” – Royals.com

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 Grading LAST YEAR: B

My Overall Grading THIS YEAR: B+

twins

Date: January 24-26, 2014

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): $1

SCHEDULED TO ATTEND:

  • Friday, Jan. 24:
    Andrew Albers, Jason Bartlett, Jose Berrios, Bert Blyleven, Tom Brunansky, Jared Burton, Byron Buxton, Rod Carew, Kevin Correia, Samuel Deduno, Scott Diamond, Ryan Doumit, Brian Dozier, Brian Duensing, Casey Fien, Pedro Florimon, Eric Fryer, Ron Gardenhire, Kyle Gibson, Dan Gladden, Mudcat Grant, Nate Hanson, B.J. Hermsen, Chris Herrmann, Aaron Hicks, Kent Hrbek, Phil Hughes, Kris Johnson, Max Kepler, Kyle Knudson, Mike Kvasnicka, Gene Larkin, Austin Malinowski, Darin Mastroianni, Joe Mauer, Trevor May, Alex Meyer, Ricky Nolasco, Tony Oliva, Chris Parmelee, Glen Perkins, Trevor Plouffe, Alex Presley, Ryan Pressly, Roy Smalley, Terry Steinbach, Anthony Swarzak, Caleb Thielbar, Michael Tonkin, Vance Worley and Josh Willingham.
  • Saturday, Jan. 25:
    Andrew Albers, Jason Bartlett, Jose Berrios, Juan Berenguer, Bert Blyleven, Jared Burton, Byron Buxton, Rod Carew, Kevin Correia, Samuel Deduno, Scott Diamond, Ryan Doumit, Brian Dozier, Brian Duensing, Casey Fien, Pedro Florimon, Eric Fryer, Ron Gardenhire, Kyle Gibson, Dan Gladden, Dave Goltz, Mudcat Grant, Nate Hanson, B.J. Hermsen, Chris Herrmann, Aaron Hicks, Phil Hughes, Kris Johnson, Max Kepler, Kyle Knudson, Mike Kvasnicka, Scott Leius, Austin Malinowski, Darin Mastroianni, Joe Mauer, Trevor May, Alex Meyer, Ricky Nolasco, Tony Oliva, Chris Parmelee, Glen Perkins, Trevor Plouffe, Alex Presley, Ryan Pressly, Tom Quinlan, Roy Smalley, Terry Steinbach, Dick Stigman, Anthony Swarzak, Caleb Thielbar, Michael Tonkin, Vance Worley and Josh Willingham.

Sunday, Jan. 26:
Andrew Albers, Jason Bartlett, Jose Berrios, Julio Becquer, Jared Burton, Byron Buxton, Rod Carew, Kevin Correia, Samuel Deduno, Scott Diamond, Ryan Doumit, Brian Dozier, Brian Duensing, Scott Erickson, Casey Fien, Pedro Florimon, Eric Fryer, Ron Gardenhire, Kyle Gibson, Nate Hanson, B.J. Hermsen, Chris Herrmann, Aaron Hicks, Phil Hughes, Kris Johnson, Tom Kelly, Max Kepler, Mike Kvasnicka, Austin Malinowski, Darin Mastroianni, Joe Mauer, Trevor May, Alex Meyer, Paul Molitor, Tony Oliva, Chris Parmelee, Glen Perkins, Trevor Plouffe, Alex Presley, Ryan Pressly, Frank Quilici, Brian Raabe, Terry Steinbach, Caleb Thielbar, Michael Tonkin, Vance Worley and Josh Willingham.

Fan Activities Include:

  • Autograph stations
  • Photo stations
  • The region’s largest sports memorabilia and collector’s show
  • Self-guided tours
  • “White Glove” tour
  • Showcase of the 2014 MLB All-Star Game
  • Inaugural Twins Yard Sale
  • Special Panel discussions
  • Boardwalk-style amusements
  • Behind-the-scenes fan experiences
  • Walking tour of Target Field

Autograph Voucher Pricing: There isn’t a voucher. You pay for “x” amount of dollars to get everyone’s signature who is in the station.

Things I like about TwinsFest:

  • TwinsFest takes place over three days
    • I like this because it allows me to go to TwinsFest multiple days.
  • Events take place within Target Field
    • In areas including the Metropolitan Club, the Delta SKY 360 Legends Club, the Thomson Reuters Champions Club, the Town Ball Tavern and various areas in the service level including the home clubhouse.
    • I like the face that TwinsFest is at HOME, in Target Field. I’m excited to be able to explore the parts of Target Field that are not usually open to the public.
    • I don’t know if  Twins Fest at Target Field will be as great as it was at the Metrodome, or if I’ll enjoy it as much as I have in previous years, but I’m still excited for the Inaugural TwinsFest at Target Field
  • There are over 60 (current and former) players & coaches scheduled to attend
  • The Twins donate a portion of the proceeds to charities
    • “TwinsFest, one of the largest team-run fan festivals in professional sports, is an annual fundraiser for the Minnesota Twins Community Fund. Since its inception in 1989, TwinsFest has raised more than $4.2 million for programs and organizations       supported by the Twins Community Fund.” Twins.com

If I was the GM I would…

  • Lower the Admission price. I understand that the price got higher because TwinsFest moved to Target Field, but $20 is a bit much for one adult admission.

My Overall Grading LAST YEAR: A

My Overall Grading THIS YEAR: A

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