Tagged: Kansas City Royals

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

The 2014 Extraordinary Compilation of Ballhawking Statistics

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

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

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

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

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

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

Game Log

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

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

The Numbers

Number of Baseballs in 2014:

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

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

Season Summary

Overall Season Summary:

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

Statistical Breakdown

Number of Baseballs by Month and Day:

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Number of Baseballs by Time Frame:

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

Number of Baseballs by Location:

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

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Number of Baseballs by Method:

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

Number of baseballs by League:

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

Number of Baseballs by Team:

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

Number of Baseballs by Player:

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

 Wins vs. Losses

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

Home Team Record: (10-6)

Total Score: Visitors – 53 to Home – 75

Average Score: Visitors – 3.5 to Home – 4.68

Average Score when home team…

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

Total number of baseballs collected when home team…

  • Wins: 36
  • Loses: 19

Average baseballs/game when the home team…

  • Wins: 3.6
  • Loses: 3.16

Minnesota Twins Record: (9-3)

Total Score: Visitors – 38 to Twins – 62

Average Score: Visitors – 3.17 to Twins – 5.17

Average score when the Twins…

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

Total number of baseballs collected when the Twins…

  • Win: 34
  • Lose: 19

Average baseballs/game when the Twins…

  • Win: 3.78
  • Lose: 6.3

Attendance Figures

Total Attendance:

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

Average Attendance:

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

Total Baseballs by Attendance:

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

Average Baseballs/Game by Attendance:

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

Temperature

Average attendance by Temperature:

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

Average baseballs/game by Temperature:

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

Autographs

Number of Autographs/Player:

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

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

Time spent at the Ballpark

Length of a Game:

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

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

Means of Transportation:

Vehicles Used:

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

Parking:

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

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

2015 Fan Fests of the AL Central Division

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

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Date: January 23-25, 2015

Hours: Hours have not yet been announced.

Location:

Hilton Chicago

720 South Michigan Avenue

Chicago, Illinois, 60605

Parking: Hotel Parking

Admission Ticket Pricing:

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

SCHEDULED TO ATTEND

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

Fan Activities Include:

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

Autograph Voucher Pricing: Included in admission price

Things that have improved from last year:

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

If I was the GM I would…

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

My Overall Grade of SoxFest LAST YEAR: B-

My Overall Grade of SoxFest THIS YEAR: B

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Date: January 24-25, 2015

Hours:

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

Location:

Progressive Field

2401 Ontario Street

Cleveland, OH 44115

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

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

SCHEDULED TO ATTEND

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

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

Fan Activities Include:

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

Autograph Information:

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

Things that have improved since last year:

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

If I was the GM I would…

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

My Overall Grade of Tribe Fest LAST YEAR: C+

My Overall Grade of Tribe Fest THIS YEAR: B

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Date: January 24, 2015

Hours: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Location:

Comerica Park

2100 Woodward Avenue

Detroit, MI 48201-3470

Parking: There are numerous other privately owned parking facilities within a 5-20 minute walk of Comerica Park.

Admission Ticket Pricing:  $28 for adults, $14 for kids 12 & under

*Tickets are sold out.*

SCHEDULED TO ATTEND: Justin Verlander, Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez will be among over 30 Tigers players and coaches who scheduled to appear. The Tigers have not yet released the 2015 appearance schedule.

Fan Activities Include:

  • Autograph Booths
  • Fantasy Play-by-Play Broadcast
  • Main stages will host Q & A sessions and seminars.
  • Player Photos
  • Clubhouse Tours
  • Dugout Tours
  • Self-guided Tours
  • Display of historical baseball artifacts
  • Batting Practice in the cage
  • Detroit Tigers ice sculptures & LIVE sculpting demonstrations
  • David Chandler will operate an authentic bat lathe & provide LIVE bat carving demonstrations.
  • Detroit Tigers Authentics
  • Tigers Foundation Fire Sale.

The Detroit Tigers Kids Zone featuring:

  • Kids-Only Autograph Booth.
  • Miniature Comerica Park Stage
  • Free face painting and caricatures.
  • Baseball-themed games and activities for kids.
  • Video Game Bullpen.
  • Official 2015 Kids Club enrollment.

Autograph Voucher Pricing: The Tigers have not yet released this information. Autograph Prices will most likely not be included in price of general admission.

Things that have improved since last year:

  • All fans attending will receive a free TigerFest beanie style hat, courtesy of 97.1 FM The Ticket.
  • New activity: Fantasy play-by-play broadcast

If I was the GM I would…

  • Turn TigersFest into a weekend event. The one day event is already sold out this year. Instead of hosting TigersFest on Saturday only, host it from Friday to Sunday.
  • Lower the price of admission from $28

My Overall Grade of TigerFest LAST YEAR: A

My Overall Grade of TigerFest THIS YEAR: A

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Date: January 30-31, 2015

Hours:

  • Friday, January 30
    • 12-2 p.m. Exclusive access for Season Ticket Holders
    • 2-9 p.m. Open to all fans
  • Saturday, January 31
    • 9-11 a.m. Exclusive access for Season Ticket Holders
    • 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Open to all fans

Location:

Bartle Hall at the Kansas City Convention Center

301 W 13th St #100

Kansas City, MO 64105

Parking: There are many parking options close to Bartle Hall

Admission Ticket Pricing:

  • In Advance:
    • 1 Day Pass: Adult – $14; Youth – $8
    • 2 Day Pass: Adult – $20; Youth – $11
  • Day of Sale:
    • 1 Day Pass: Adult – $16; Youth – $10
    • 2 Day Pass: Adult – $22; Youth – $14

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

SCHEDULED TO ATTEND:

Lane Adams, Willie Aikens, Jaime Bluma, George Brett ^, Lorenzo Cain, Louis Coleman, Christian Colon, Wade Davis, Brandon Finnegan, Al Fitzmorris, Joel Goldberg, Alex Gordon, Terrance Gore#, Jeremy Guthrie, Shane Halter, Luke Hochevar, Greg Holland, Eric Hosmer, Rex Hudler#, Ryan Lefebvre, Dennis Leonard, Mike Macfarlane, Denny Matthews, John Mayberry, Brian McRae, Kris Medlen*, Kendrys Morales, Mike Moustakas, Dayton Moore, Les Norman, Marty Pattin, Bill Pecota, Salvador Perez, Steve Physioc, Greg Pryor, Jamie Quirk, Shawn Sedlacek, Steve Stewart, Jerry Terrell, John Wathan, Willie Wilson, Yordano Ventura,Edinson Volquez, and Ned Yost.

^ Royals Awards only, * Friday only, # Saturday only (As of January 16th, 2015)

Fan Activities Include:

  • Player Autograph Sessions
  • Player Photo Sessions
  • Commerce Bank Main Stage
  • Teva Royals Diamond
  • Interactive games for children
    • Accuracy Pitch
    • Bunting Challenge
    • Batting Cages
    • Little Sluggerrr’s Playground
    • Speed Pitch
    • Steal Home Challenge
    • Video Baseball Simulator
  • Majestic Team Store & Authentics
  • Royals Charities Silent Auction
  • Royals Charities 50/50 Raffle

Autograph Voucher Pricing: The Royals have not released this information.

Things that have improved since last year:

  • According to Royals.com, RoyalsFest 2015 has a heavy focus on what fans have requested in the past – autographs.

If I was the GM I would…

  • Schedule Royals FanFest for the whole weekend instead of just Friday and Saturday.
  • Prior to the event, publically announce which team members are scheduled to attend FanFest, and how much money autographs will cost.

My Overall Grade of Royals FanFest LAST YEAR: B+

My Overall Grade of Royals FanFest THIS YEAR: B+

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Date: January 23-25, 2015

Time: Friday: 4:00-9:30 p.m.; Saturday: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Location:

Target Field

1 Twins Way

Minneapolis, MN

Parking: There are numerous parking garages around Target Field. Multiple public transit options are also available.

Admission Ticket Pricing: Adults: $20; Kids (14 and under): $10

SCHEDULED TO ATTEND:

  • Friday, Jan. 23:
    A.J. Achter, Neil Allen, Oswaldo Arcia, J.O. Berrios, Bert Blyleven, Tom Brunansky, Byron Buxton, Rod Carew, Logan Darnell, Butch Davis, Brian Dozier, Brian Duensing, Tyler Duffey, Eduardo Escobar, Casey Fien, Eric Fryer, Kyle Gibson, Dan Gladden, Gene Glynn, Nick Gordon, JR Graham, Nate Hanson, Mark Hamburger, BJ Hermsen, Aaron Hicks, Kent Hrbek, Phil Hughes, Torii Hunter, Jacque Jones, Corey Koskie, Mike Kvasnicka, Gene Larkin, Joe Mauer, Trevor May, Alex Meyer, Tommy Milone, Paul Molitor, Max Murphy, Ricky Nolasco, Chris Parmelee, Mike Pelfrey, Brandon Peterson, Glen Perkins, Trevor Plouffe, Jorge Polanco, Ryan Pressly, Stephen Pryor, Eddie Rosario, Taylor Rogers, Miguel Sano, Danny Santana, Ervin Santana, Jordan Schafer, Roy Smalley, Blake Schmit, Kurt Suzuki, Caleb Thielbar, Michael Tonkin, Kennys Vargas, Joe Vavra, Tanner Vavra, Treysen Vavra, and Jason Wheeler.
  • Saturday, Jan. 24:
    A.J. Achter, Neil Allen, Oswaldo Arcia, J.O. Berrios, Bert Blyleven, Tom Brunansky, Byron Buxton, Rod Carew, Logan Darnell, Butch Davis, Brian Dozier, Brian Duensing, Tyler Duffey, Eduardo Escobar, Casey Fien, Eric Fryer, Kyle Gibson, Dan Gladden, Gene Glynn, Nick Gordon, JR Graham, Jim “Mudcat” Grant, Nate Hanson, Mark Hamburger, BJ Hermsen, Aaron Hicks, Phil Hughes, Torii Hunter, Jacque Jones, Corey Koskie, Mike Kvasnicka, Tim Laudner, Joe Mauer, Trevor May, Alex Meyer, Tommy Milone, Paul Molitor, Max Murphy, Ricky Nolasco, Chris Parmelee, Mike Pelfrey, Brandon Peterson, Glen Perkins, Trevor Plouffe, Jorge Polanco, Ryan Pressly, Stephen Pryor, Eddie Rosario, Taylor Rogers, Miguel Sano, Danny Santana, Ervin Santana, Jordan Schafer, Blake Schmit, Kurt Suzuki, Caleb Thielbar, Michael Tonkin, Kennys Vargas, Joe Vavra, Tanner Vavra, Treysen Vavra, and Jason Wheeler.
  • Sunday, Jan. 25:
    A.J. Achter, Neil Allen, Oswaldo Arcia, Tom Brunansky, Byron Buxton, Rod Carew, Logan Darnell, Butch Davis, Brian Dozier, Tyler Duffey, Eduardo Escobar, Casey Fien, Eric Fryer, Kyle Gibson, Nick Gordon, JR Graham, Nate Hanson, Mark Hamburger, BJ Hermsen, Aaron Hicks, Phil Hughes, Torii Hunter, Mike Kvasnicka, Joe Mauer, Trevor May, Alex Meyer, Tommy Milone, Paul Molitor, Max Murphy, Ricky Nolasco, Chris Parmelee, Mike Pelfrey, Brandon Peterson, Glen Perkins, Trevor Plouffe, Jorge Polanco, Ryan Pressly, Stephen Pryor, Frank Quillici, Brian Raabe, Eddie Rosario, Taylor Rogers, Miguel Sano, Danny Santana, Ervin Santana, Jordan Schafer, Blake Schmit, Kurt Suzuki, Caleb Thielbar, Michael Tonkin, and Jason Wheeler.

Fan Activities Include:

  • Auctions
  • Player Autographs
  • Player Photo Sessions
  • Sports Memorabilia and Collector’s Show
  • Self-Guided Clubhouse Tours
  • Twins Yard Sale
  • BINGO
  • Reading with Twins mascot TC
  • Fan Feud
  • Special Panel Discussions
  • Boardwalk-style Amusements
  • Behind-the-scenes Fan Experiences
  • 10th Annual Diamond Awards

Autograph Voucher Pricing: There are multiple autograph stations spread out through Target Field. You pay “x” amount of dollars to get everyone’s signature who is in the station.

Things that have improved since last year:

  • The Twins have added a few new fan activities.

If I was the GM I would…

  • Lower the Admission price from $20.

My Overall Grading LAST YEAR: A

My Overall Grading THIS YEAR: A

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indians vs. Royals @ Kauffman Stadium (8-30-14)

I had been hoping to go back to Kauffman Stadium ever since I had visited it with my dad in September of 2012. It didn’t work to visit during 2013, but everything fell into place when Mateo Fischer and I make a somewhat spontaneous trip. Here’s the route that we took:

Google Maps

We left my house in the morning, drove for nearly six hours, and arrived around four o’clock in the afternoon. It had been a chilly morning in Minnesota, but the 86 degree sunny weather in Kansas City was just about perfect. Before we went to far we each got a picture with the stadium in the background. Arrowhead can be seen on the left, while Kauffman is on the right.

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Some day I’d like to make the trip to KC to see a football and baseball game in the same day. Maybe a Royals Monday Matinee and then a Monday night Chiefs game? Or possibly attend a Sunday afternoon Chiefs game and Sunday night baseball on ESPN? Whatever the combo is, I’d like to do it sometime.

Once we got our tickets from the box office we found a spot in this surprisingly long line:

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I knew it would be busier than normal because it was Saturday, but I didn’t expect this many Royals fans to attend a game. A lot of Royals fans are fair-weather fans – meaning they only go to games when the Royals are doing well. Otherwise they don’t stick around. Royals fans have traditionally not been the most loyal fans. I’m not being biased, that’s actually what a Royals fan told me! To be fair, the Royals were giving away a mascot bobble head. What was really surprising, however, was the length of the line BEHIND us:

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Any who, the Royals were still on the field when we got inside the Stadium:

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If you look at the flags in center field you can see the wind was strongly blowing into the park. There weren’t many home run balls, so I went for toss ups. I didn’t get any balls while the Royals were on the field, but I was more hopeful when the Indians took the field:

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I’ll save you from the very low level of suspense – I got shut out. Almost all the toss ups were going to little kids. That was alright though, because I expected that to would happen. While we were planning this trip Mateo and I could figured out that we could only visit Kauffman Stadium if the games were on Saturday and Sunday. We knew ahead of time that these games would be bad for ballhawking because weekend games are filled with children. Today’s game had a bobblehead giveaway, and Sunday’s game was featured on ESPN’s Sunday night baseball broadcast. We knew these games wouldn’t be good for ballhawking, but we still wanted to visit the stadium.

The sun began to set behind home plate shortly after the game began the sun. The whole place seemed to be glowing:

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Trevor Bauer got the start for the Indians, and James Shields for KC. They both pitched well, but neither of them got the win. The game wasn’t terribly exciting, but the Indians and Royals both put up a good fight.

Ironically, even though I was ecstatic to be at Kauffman, in the 3rd inning I remember thinking that all I wanted to do was lie down and go to sleep. After a full day of driving and then running around the ballpark, I was completely exhausted.

Later in the game we met up with our friend Garrett Meyer. In July Garrett had come up to Minnesota for the All Star Game. Don’t remember? Here’s a picture, and here’s another. Garrett was more than generous to let Mateo and I stay with him for the two nights we were in town.

The Indians scored the first run of the game in the fourth inning when Jason Kipnis scored off of Yan Gomes RBI double to left field. It wasn’t until the eighth inning when the Royals finally tied the game, 1-1. Any guesses to what happened next? The game went into extra innings. If you know me at all, I love extra inning baseball! I just wish it would’ve been any other day but today. Oh, how I was beyond tired out.

The game had been pretty boring up to this point, but things got interesting in extra innings! Here, see for yourself:

When the game ended I made sure to get a few pictures of the fountains before leaving. I like this one a lot:

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I especially like this view:

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As we were leaving the ballpark we decided to stop at IHOP on the way back to Garrett’s house. Here they are talking it over:

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Since Garrett drove to the game we decided we would just meet him there. The funny thing is that Mateo and I got lost on the way and we ended up at the wrong IHOP. It took an extra 20 minutes to get to the right one, but we made it there sometime after one. Overall, it was a great day in Kansas City!

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:

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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:

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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.

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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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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!