Tagged: Rain Delay

Red Sox vs. Twins @ Target Field (05-26-15)

My day started off with every ballhawk’s worst nightmare… I forgot my glove at home! Luckily, Mateo Fischer was generous enough to lend me his for the evening. After swinging by the U of M campus to pick up Mateo’s glove, I was ready for some batting practice!

Unfortunately, the weather had other plans:
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The rain didn’t stop me from getting my first ball of the day, from Nate Dammann, just a few minutes after entering the stadium:
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Around 5:15 Kyle Gibson and Nate came back out to the bullpen for another session. Afterwards, Nate hooked me up once again:
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As soon as I photographed the ball I turned and gave it to the little boy who was nearby.

Besides a small crowd of other fans, the stadium was pretty much empty because of the rain. Seriously, Target Field looked like a ghost town:

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More rain led to the eventual delay of the game. In the meantime, I made my way around the ballpark to where the Ryder Cup was on display. I’d never seen a golf trophy until now. Her she is:

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The delay lasted for 1 hour and 21 minutes. I don’t remember what I did to pass the time, but I do know that it was BORING! As the start of the game approached I made my way to the Twins dugout.  Dom hooked me up with a sweet mud rubbed ball from the ball bag:
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Thanks Dom! Sneak Peak – this ball would get signed by Joe Mauer the next day!

The Twins scored in the first inning off of Trevor Plouffe’s double. Kurt Suzuki doubled later in the inning to make it a 2-0 ballgame. Boston scored in the second inning as Mike Napoli plated David Ortiz off a single to Aaron Hicks in center field. Little did I know, but those would be the only runs scored all night.

Mike Pelfrey pitched 7 strong innings, only allowing 1 ER off of 5 hits.

Blaine Boyer took the mound to start the 8th inning. He set the first two men of the inning down, and then he faced Dustin Pedroia. Boyer worked a 1-2 count before Pedroia fouled the next pitch, a 93 mph fastball, into the net. Dominic retrieved it and tossed it right over to me:
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Prior to this, I had never seen those kinds of marks on baseballs before.

In the bottom of the 8th Torii Hunter stepped into the box to lead things off for the Twins. Clay Buchholz worked a 2-2 count on Hunter. The next pitch, a 92 mph fastball, was also fouled back into the net. Joe Mauer, who was in the on deck circle, stepped over to pick it up. A moment later, he tossed it to me:

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I quickly, and smoothly, swapped it out for an old bp ball and then threw it over to a lady who had been asking for a ball for the last few innings. The rest of the game went by quickly and the Twins won 2-1. Click to watch the highlight video from the game. Here’s the info from the game:

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When the game ended I got my last ball of the evening from Umpire Lance Barrett.

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Here’ the final group shot from afterwards (5 balls pictured because I gave 1 away):
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TOTALS: 6 balls at this game. 21 balls this year.

UP NEXT: Red Sox vs. Twins 05/27/15

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D-backs vs. Twins @ Target Field (09-24-14)

I didn’t plan to attend this game, but since I was in Minneapolis I figured I might as well go to it since it would be my last chance until next season. When Tony and I met at Gate 34 around 9:00, it finally sunk in that this was it.

We hung around gate 34 for a bit and then I spotted Didi Gregorius and Ender Inciarte as they were approaching the stadium. I already knew that Didi would turn me down again today, but I walked up to them already knowing what I was going to say. I was still mad about how cocky he acted towards the little boy the previous night. I got up to him and said, “Didi, could you please sign my ball?” Just like last night, they kept walking and acted as if I wasn’t there. I caught up to them and in a much different tone I said, “Last night you crushed a five-year old boy by telling him that you don’t sign autographs after a loss. Today is a new day, now will you sign this ball?!”. Just like that he stopped and turned towards me. I could see from the look on his face that he was furious, but he signed the ball and stormed off. HAH! It was HILARIOUS.

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This was the same ball that was signed by the Diamondback players yesterday night. This ball now had the signatures of Joe Paterson, Zeke Spruill, Didi Gregorius and Ender Inciarte.

When the gates opened at 10:30 I lined up behind Kyle Gibson and Nate Dammann as they played catch:

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When they finished, Kyle threw the ball to me:

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Moments later, Logan Darnell and Ben Richardson wandered out to play catch. Logan Darnell signed an autograph for me on the ball that Schafer and Pinto had signed last night:

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It was only a few minutes later when Lester Oliveros and Aaron Thompson finished playing catch. Aaron Thompson tossed the ball to me, then they both walked over to sign it as well:

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You can see Lester Oliveros in the background of the previous picture. After he signed the ball for me he started doing some sprints in the outfield. After taking that picture I moved a section closer to home plate because that’s where Trevor May was playing catch. He tossed the ball to someone else, but I still got his autograph when I asked if he would sign few autographs:

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Trevor also signed the ball from the previous night.

It was a bit strange how smoothly everything was going. After only being in the stadium for 10 minutes I had already gotten two baseballs and four autographs (six if you count the two outside the stadium). I expected it to stop, but it just kept on going!

I got my third ball from Brian Duensing when he and Ben Richardson finished playing catch. It sure was a beauty:

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I expected Brian to leave the field right away, but he stuck around to sign autographs for a long line of fans. He eventually made his way down to me and I was able to thank him up close for the ball he had thrown to me. Brian also signed for me, but I had him sign the ball from the other night:

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By 11:00 o’clock I was one ball shy of reaching a ballhawking milestone. Including spring training baseballs, I was sitting at 199 baseballs. At 11:06, Anthony Swarzak finished up with Nate Dammann and threw me my 200th baseball Here’s what happened next:

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Wow. Everything was going my way today. I couldn’t believe it!

As the game drew near, I met up with Tony at the Twins’ dugout. From here, things continued to go both of our ways. Tony got a few baseballs and we each got a few more autographs. The first was from Ryan Pressley:

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Pressley also signed the ball from the previous night. That ball now contained the signatures of Jordan Schafer, Josmil Pinto, Logan Darnell, Trevor May, Brian Duensing and Ryan Pressley.

Next, I was able to get Trevor Plouffe’s autograph:

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You know what’s cool about this ball? I had originally caught this ball on the fly when Trevor Plouffe hit it during batting practice at Hammond Stadium on March 6th during spring training. It took 6 months, but I finally got it signed by him!

The final autograph that I got was from my All-Time favorite baseball player, Paul Molitor:

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Molitor signed the ball I had gotten earlier from Kyle Gibson. This was the fourth time I’d been able to get The Ignitor’s autograph. This would be the last autograph of the season for me. Coincidentally, he also signed my first autograph of the year.

Dominique hooked me up with my fifth ball of the day. This one was from the ball bag:

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Thanks a lot Dom! That was it for pregame, lets go to the game!

Phil Hughes took the mound for Minnesota, as did Vidal Nuno for Arizona. The Twins got off to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning when Kurt Suzuki walked with the bases loaded. The Twins scored again in the second inning when Trevor Plouffe hit a sac fly to center field.

A.J. Pollock stole third base during the sixth inning and Trevor Plouffe, while tagging Pollock, broke his forearm. He was immediately taken out of the game and it was clear that he was done for the remaining four games of the season.

David Peralta then hit a sac fly and A.J. Pollock scored from third.

My next ball was also from Dominique:

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Randall Delgado was pitching to Eduardo Escobar with 1 out in bottom of the 7th inning. With an 0-2 count, Randall threw a 76 mph curveball in the dirt. Bobby Wilson tossed it to Dominique and Dominique tossed it to me.

Did you see that it was raining? This made it easier to get baseballs because more and more baseballs were getting to dirty to reuse.

My seventh ball was thrown to me by Ron Gardenhire:

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It’s not a very good picture, but that’s alright. This was the ball that the Twins used for their eighth inning infield warm ups. The ball had gotten dirty enough that when Vargas threw it to Ron Gardenhire, Gardenhire just relayed it to me.

Phil Hughes was pitching to Jake Lamb with 2 outs in top of 8th inning. Hughes worked a 1-2 count and then threw a called strike to Lamb to end the inning. Kurt Suzuki rushed to the dugout and to my surprise hooked me up with the ball! This was Phil Hughes’ 842nd career strike out, and his 186th of this season. With that strikeout Hughes set a new single season Major League record for Strike-Out to Walk Ratio (his ratio was 11.63 : 1.00) for pitchers with a qualifying amount of innings. Immediately after getting the ball from Suzuki, everyone around me began telling me, “Give it to the little girl!” Without thinking about the significance of this baseball, I gave it away before I thought about swapping it out with another ball. This was the ball that Phil Hughes used to set a Major League Record and I accidentally gave it away to someone who doesn’t have a clue of its significance!

I do not have a picture of the ball to prove that this happened, but there were plenty of witnesses. Tony Voda can vouch for me because he saw the whole thing.

The game resumed after an hour and five-minute rain delay, and the Twins ended up winning 2-1. Here’s the recap from the game:

After the game I got my ninth and final ball from Casey Fien. This was also directly from the ball bag:

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I would’ve reached double digits, but when Dominique threw me what would’ve been, someone jumped in front of me to catch the ball.  I’m not complaining, i’m just thinking about what could’ve been. Not many people reach double digits without batting practice. I was so close to doing something that so few can say they did.

Here’s the final haul:

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The first eight baseballs pictured were from today, and the other three I brought for autographs. There were eight baseballs pictured because I gave one away. This was the first time I’d been to all three games of a series. From this series I totaled 17 baseballs and 16 autographs. That was a great way to end the season!

Indians vs. Twins @ Target Field (09-20-14)

This was the second game of the series that took place over fan appreciation weekend. There was a lot that happened at this game so i’ll try to save you from all the details and just give you what’s important. Since it was a Saturday night game, the game would start at 6:10. When the gates opened at four o’clock I quickly got a ball from Oswaldo Arcia:

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With that, I snagged my only ball during the rest of batting practice. Not just the Twins portion, but that was it for all of batting practice. Oh, but my day was only beginning! As soon as the Indians left the field their bullpen catcher, Armando Camacaro, tossed these two balls to me:

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I thought that was really neat that he tossed two balls to me. After looking around for a bit I decided to give them both away. I gave one to a little girl near the dugout and I gave the other to an usher so that he could give it to a kid during the game.

Did you see the Indians player in the previous picture? That’s Zach Walters. Earlier this season he signed a ball for me at Kauffman Stadium, but it wasn’t an official major league baseball. This time I got an official ball signed:

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Maybe you couldn’t tell from the last picture, but by the end of batting practice there were storm clouds rolling in. It wasn’t to long before the heavens opened up. This caused an hour and ten minute rain delay before the game even started! When the rain stopped, the grounds crew went to work on the field:

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Shortly before the game started I made my way out to the standing room area above the bullpen. One of the Twins bullpen catchers, Ben Richardson, retrieved two baseballs to throw to me and the guy next to me. Ben tossed the first ball to the guy next to me, but the guy dropped it. Look where the ball ended up:

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Ben would’ve thrown the ball back up, but there was no second chance because the ball was stuck on the beam. It would’ve been easy to get the ball if I would’ve had an umbrella but it was nearly impossible otherwise. Ben threw the next ball to me – my fourth of the game. Normally I wouldn’t give a ball to a grown man, but I did this time because I felt bad for him. I didn’t feel bad that he dropped the ball, I felt bad because he dropped the ball in front of his attractive girlfriend. That’s gotta be tough!

Keeping track? I’d now snagged four balls and given three away. A few minutes later I got my fifth ball from Lester Oliveros:

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This was one of those signed tee balls that the Twins players always give away over fan appreciation weekend. I’ve gotten a few of these in previous fan appreciation games at Target Field over the years.

After what seemed like an eternity, the game finally started around 7:30. Trevor May took the hill for Minnesota and T.J. House took the hill for Cleveland. By the end of the second inning the Twins were losing 3-1.

Remember the Twitter giveaway that the Twins were doing the night before? The Twins hold the contest all weekend. Today I won a ball in the third inning:

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This ball was signed by Alex Presley. One of the balls from yesterday was also signed by Presley. His last appearance with the Twins was on September 29th, 2013. By the end of the third inning the Twins were losing 4-2.

I won another ball in the sixth inning:

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This ball was signed by another former Twins, Pedro Florimon. Florimon was never very good, but I liked him for the short time that he played for the Twins.

Later in the game I decided to get a better view. I thought this was pretty good:

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Brian Dozier hit a home run in the eighth inning, but the Twins still trailed 7-3. After the game I got my 8th ball from Umpire Brian Knight:

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Wow! Everything seemed to be going right today. Everything went right except for the score of the game. Here’s the recap:

I got my ninth and final ball of the day from Armando Camacaro as he entered the dugout after walking in from the bullpen. It looked pretty good:

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That was now three balls from Armando today! After getting that baseball I began walking through the seating bowl towards gate 34 to exit the stadium. As I passed the Twins dugout I noticed that Casey Fien was signing autographs for people. I took the extra minute to get one of my baseballs signed:

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Casey Fien is a cool guy. Whenever I see him at the ballpark he is always interacting with fans in some way. Here’s the final haul from today:

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Seven baseballs were pictured, but only six were from the game. The ball signed by Casey Fien was a ball I’d brought from home in case of an autograph opportunity. Otherwise, six balls were pictured because I gave three away. Nine baseballs and five autographs – i’ll take that any day!

White Sox vs. Twins @ Target Field (09-03-14)

After being away from Target Field for nearly two months, it was nice to finally be back. I didn’t get up to Target Field at all during the month of August because I was busy visiting Wrigley Field, Miller Park and Kauffmann Stadium. I also got a new job in August so I was also focused on that. Fun Fact: By going to this Twins game I had now gone to a game at four different MLB stadiums within the last two weeks.

Within seconds of running into the stadium, I was on the board. Ball number one was courtesy of Oswaldo Arcia:

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It had never felt so good to get a baseball. After three road games in a row without a baseball, it was nice to be back in the comfort of my home ballpark. Thanks Oswaldo!

It wasn’t too long until the White Sox took the field, and batting practice was in full swing. Haha, Get it?

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Brownie Points… In the previous picture, Where’s Waldo? The White Sox were hitting a few home runs during batting practice, but for the most part it was another slow batting practice. The White Sox had to finish up a bit early today because the grounds crew had orders to deploy the tarp:

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Luckily for me, that didn’t stop me from getting another baseball. After peering into both bullpens I realized that there was only one ball that made it into the bullpens during batting practice. See it in the bottom left corner?:

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This unidentified White Sox (bullpen?) catcher tossed it up to me upon my request:

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If anyone has a clue to who he is, please let me know! The rain clouds ended up passing by without unleashing fury on Minneapolis. The pregame ceremonies continued according to schedule. When game time rolled around I took my nice seat. This was the scene right before first pitch:

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Trevor May got the start for Minnesota while John Danks took the hill for the White Sox. I thought it was kind of ironic (for the lack of their of) that there were two lesser known pitchers with losing records who were battling off against each other.

The Twins got the ball rolling by scoring three early runs in the first inning. That was due to Nunez’s RBI triple, Mauer’s RBI single, and Arcia’s RBI double. Lots of early offense!

The game was delayed for 16 minutes in the bottom of the fifth inning due to rain. There was a very short torrential downpour that only lasted a few minutes, but that was enough to scare thousands of fans out of the ballpark. Target Field was much emptier when the game resumed:

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Lets fast forward to the bottom of the 8th inning, where Minnesota is now leading 10,4. Doug Bernier got hit by a pitch on a 1-2 count and he was awarded first base. My favorite BB then departed from the Twins dugout in a reconnaissance mission to retrieve the ball. Once the target was acquired, he tossed it over to me:

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The Twins tacked on an extra run in the eighth inning to lead 11 to 4. When the game ended I got my fourth and final ball of the night from Umpire Phil Cuzzi:

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Here’s the recap from extremely offensive game:

Each of the four baseballs I got were in good shape:

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This was a great game. I snagged four baseballs, Trevor May earned his first MLB Win, and the Twins had a stellar night at the plate. The Twins have now won five of the six games I’ve been to this year.

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!

Giants vs. Cubs @ Wrigley Field (08-21-14)

Tuesday’s game, on August 19th, had been suspended because of rain. The Cub’s grounds crew struggled with the tarp after a short rainstorm, and it resulted in a delay that lasted more than 4 1/2 hours. The umpires said the field couldn’t be played on, and the game was called at 1:16 in the morning. The Giants protested their loss, and Major League Baseball ruled that because the tarp had not been properly used the night before, the remaining 4 1/2 innings of the game would resume on Thursday afternoon (before today’s game). With admission to Thursday’s game, you could also watch the rest of Tuesday’s game.

Today’s forecast called for more rain to begin around 1:00. I was desperately hoping the rain would hold off because rain was not included in my thoughts of the ideal first trip to Wrigley. I met Shawn Bosman at Miller Park at 9:00, and then we carpooled to Chicago for the Cubs game. After a few hours of driving we arrived at Wrigley Field:

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We arrived just before noon, so we had a lot of time to kill before the gates would open at 4:00. We used a good portion of this time to play catch along the sidewalk:

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Because this was my first time at Wrigley Field we also took a few laps around the exterior of the building so that I could get some photographs of it. We started in left field and made our way to home plate:

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This was the view out in front of Wrigley:

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From there we made a pit stop at the nearby McDonalds. There Shawn recognized and pointed out that Chris Distefano was also there. Chris Distefano stars in MTV and MTV2’s TV shows Guy Code and Girl Code. Chris also co-hosts the MSG TV show The Bracket. He is most known by baseball fans for his role in MLB Fan Cave’s “Off The Bat” on MTV2. Chris was awesome and stopped to talk for a few minutes. This was also Chris’ first time at Wrigley Field. Before departing he was nice enough to take a picture:

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Shortly after this it began to rain. Shawn and I weren’t bothered by this, though, we continued to play catch on the streets outside Wrigley. After a while of catch, we took a peek inside Wrigley and confirmed that there would not be batting practice today:

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Regardless of the status of batting practice, wasn’t the stadium beautiful? When the gates opened we headed straight to center field and began taking pictures. Looking to home plate:

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The view to my left:

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The view to my right:

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After exploring the outfield seating, I made my way through the concourse:

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This was the view when I reached home plate:

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Up to this point it had been raining lightly on and off, but by the time I met up with Shawn again in the outfield bleachers it had begun to rain a lot harder. The rain triggered the grounds crew to bring out the tarp:

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The scattered showers stopped and were replaced by a storm system that would take a few hours to pass through Chicago. Shawn and I left the bleachers for a much dryer spot under the over hang in foul territory down the left field line. It was the perfect time for a photo of the newest addition to the collection:

 

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That’s right, it was a commemorative Wrigley ball! BUT instead of belonging to me, it belonged to Shawn:

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When the rain finally stopped, the grounds crew went to work preparing the field for the games to follow:

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After a 4 1/2 hour rain delay on Tuesday, and an additional delay of 1 hour and 57 minutes today, the Cubs and Giants played the final 4½ innings of Tuesday night’s game. The suspended game resumed with the cubs batting in the bottom of the 5th inning, leading 2-0. San Francisco’s Yesmeiro Petit (3-3, 3.89) and Chicago’s Jacob Turner (4-7, 5.80) took the mound for the remainder of Tuesday night’s game. This was my view when Tuesday night’s game resumed:

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As you could see from the picture above, there was almost no one there. I would’ve sat behind one of the dugouts, but for some reason the ushers were very strict and wouldn’t allow it without possession of a ticket for those sections. The Giants put up one run in the 6th inning, but the Cubs held them off for the rest of the game. The final score was 2-1, Cubs. The official game time was 2 hours, 50 minutes, but including rain delays the game lasted for 9 hours, 21 minutes.

Here’s the recap from this strange baseball game:

The Giant’s Madison Bumgarner (13-9, 3.14) and Cub’s LHP Travis Wood (7-10, 4.86) took the mound to start Thursday’s regularly scheduled game (which ironically started an hour later than normal). I decided to watch it from the outfield bleachers:

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Cub’s RF Justin Ruggiano and Catcher Welington Castillo hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning. Ruggiano went deep to right field, and Castillo went deep to left field. Anybody want to guess who snagged Castillo’s long ball? Shawn did! Here he is being photographed with it by local ballhawk, Ballhawk Dave:

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This was one of the more entertaining baseball games that I have been to. The Giants scored again in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 7th innings. In the 7th or 8th inning I “upgraded” my seat. Here’s the view that I had for the remainder of the game.

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Here are the highlights from this offensively exciting game:

Wrigley Field is a dump, but I loved it. The one thing, in my opinion, that truly sets it apart from other stadiums today is the lack of technology. This isn’t a bad thing at all, though. I can honestly say that out of all the game I have ever been to, I paid the most attention at this one. At Wrigley you can’t look up at a giant scoreboard when you lose your spot in the game, you actually have to pay attention. The lack of technology “forces” fans to be more attentive. That, of course, will go by the wayside in 2015 with the installation of a new scoreboard in left field. Regardless, Wrigley will still be the best place to sit and watch a game of baseball.

2014 Home Run Derby @ Target Field (7-14-14)

Day two of three, one step closer to the main event. To start the day Leiming Tang and I met Garrett Meyer at the All Star Pepsi Block Party. There we won Target gift cards by answering 3 trivia questions, saw the Clydesdales, won multiple prizes from playing moundball, and got free Pepsi and yogurt.

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After we spent a good chunk of time at the block party we headed kitty corner across the street to grab some lunch at Trieste Café, a Mediterranean & Greek restaurant, in the Warehouse District. Here’s a street view of the building via google maps:

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Photo from Google Maps.

Looking back at it now, I don’t know why I didn’t take any pictures at Trieste! Here are two pictures via Yelp:

Photo from Yelp

Photo from Yelp.

Yelp

Photo from Yelp.

We each ordered the Baba Ganouge Veggie Gyro and we didn’t regret it. The place is run by two guys who are great at their jobs. I think that these two guys are literally the only two on staff, but they do an excellent job. The place was busy, but the food came quickly. The food was authentic and fresh, the service was great, and the atmosphere was comfortable. Although the café was small, the limited seating added to the small restaurant experience. I should quit blogging about baseball and start reviewing restaurants 😉

The three of us arrived at Target Field at three o’clock and joined a few other ballhawks at Gate 34:

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From left to right is Erik JabsTony Voda, Nick Pelescak, Garrett, Leiming and then me. Most of us were in t-shirts, but it was actually so chilly that Erik and I jogged nearly a mile to Target so we could each buy a long-sleeved shirt. We got back to Target Field with plenty of time to spare, but we almost got swallowed up by the swarms of people who had lined up at the gates:

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I was thrilled when the gates opened at four! I immediately rushed to foul territory in right field to claim a spot along the warning track. Today the stakes were a bit higher than at the Futures Game. The crowds would be larger and more people would be competing for a derby ball. I knew that obtaining a derby ball would prove to be the most challenging part of the day so I made it easier for myself by staking out a good spot:

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Unfortunately I was ignored by many of the players. It was pretty strange; not many players were tossing baseballs to fans at all. Although it was from an unlikely source, I still managed to snag a commemorative Home Run Derby ball:

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Any guessing about who threw it to me? Take a look back at the last two photos until you spot the little Asian boy dressed in all white wearing a red hat. He’s the son of one of the players, but I’m not sure who. I mentioned that he’s Asian because this could help me figure out who his father is. In turn, I’d be able to say I snagged a commemorative derby ball from ________’s son. Feel free to help me out!

After this I tried my luck in center field. What a mistake. Look how crowded it was:

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Two balls were thrown specifically to me, but there were so many fans who thought it was a free for all that both balls were stolen before they made it into my glove. I know that there was nothing I could’ve done to control that, but it was sure frustrating because both balls were commemorative.

The 2014 Gillette Home Run Derby started at 7:00. At that moment the eyes of baseball fans all across the country were set on Target Field. Major League Baseball and the Twins organization did a fantastic job of not only planning this event, but also marketing ourselves to the rest of the country. Target Field and Minneapolis/St. Paul were presented very well on National television.

Take a look for yourself:

If there was one thing I could’ve changed about the Home Run Derby it would’ve been the weather. The majority of the day had been chilly and rainy, and the Derby was actually delayed because of it. However, because of the weather I saw one of the most beautiful skies I have ever seen. My camera couldn’t capture a quality photo so take a look at this photo from the Star Tribune:

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Photo from Star Tribune

There was a double rain bow above the Minneapolis skyline during the Home Run Derby at Target Field. How cool is that?! After seeing the rainbows I didn’t even care about the cold weather anymore!

After the Derby I snagged an All Star Gatorade from the field staff:

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After drinking that Gatorade I was all energized and I felt like an All Star 😉

The Field staff also began throwing Sharpies to fans:

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An All Star Sharpie? I believe that I have since then lost the sharpie. Before I bid you farewell I’ll leave you with a picture of the original three Target Field amigos:

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Up next: The 85th Major League Baseball All Star Game. It feels great to finally say that!