Tagged: MLB All-Star Game

2014 In Review

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

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2014 Annual Report

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

Here’s an excerpt:

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

Click here to see the complete report.

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List of Firsts

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2014 Goals

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

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

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

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

3. Snag each type of 2014 commemorative baseball.

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

4. Catch at least 1 Game Home Run.

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

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2015 Goals

1. Visit 2 new Major League Baseball Stadiums.

2. Attend one Post-Season Game.

3. Catch at least 1 Game Home Run.

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

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

6. Maintain an Average of 4.0 baseballs per Game.

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

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

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

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

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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 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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