Tagged: Salvador Perez

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:
20150413_124722

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:
20150413_130704

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:

20150413_131056

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:

20150413_133042

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:

20150413_133404

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:

20150413_135705

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:

20150413_145328

Following the National Anthem Kevin Garnett (and family), who was joined by Tyus Jones, took the field to throw out the ceremonial first pitch!:

20150413_145944

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:

20150413_174405

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:

20150413_180655

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:

20150413_181104

I made sure to take an artsy photo of the commemoratives after I left the ballpark:

20150413_182939

The final group shot includes the awesome sweatshirt giveaway from the game:

20150416_010514

TOTALS: 6 balls at this game. 6 balls this year.

UP NEXT: A’s vs. Twins 05/04/15

2015 Fan Fests of the AL Central Division

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

sox

Date: January 23-25, 2015

Hours: Hours have not yet been announced.

Location:

Hilton Chicago

720 South Michigan Avenue

Chicago, Illinois, 60605

Parking: Hotel Parking

Admission Ticket Pricing:

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

SCHEDULED TO ATTEND

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

Fan Activities Include:

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

Autograph Voucher Pricing: Included in admission price

Things that have improved from last year:

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

If I was the GM I would…

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

My Overall Grade of SoxFest LAST YEAR: B-

My Overall Grade of SoxFest THIS YEAR: B

tribe

Date: January 24-25, 2015

Hours:

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

Location:

Progressive Field

2401 Ontario Street

Cleveland, OH 44115

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

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

SCHEDULED TO ATTEND

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

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

Fan Activities Include:

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

Autograph Information:

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

Things that have improved since last year:

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

If I was the GM I would…

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

My Overall Grade of Tribe Fest LAST YEAR: C+

My Overall Grade of Tribe Fest THIS YEAR: B

tigers

Date: January 24, 2015

Hours: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Location:

Comerica Park

2100 Woodward Avenue

Detroit, MI 48201-3470

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

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

*Tickets are sold out.*

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

Fan Activities Include:

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

The Detroit Tigers Kids Zone featuring:

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

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

Things that have improved since last year:

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

If I was the GM I would…

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

My Overall Grade of TigerFest LAST YEAR: A

My Overall Grade of TigerFest THIS YEAR: A

royals

Date: January 30-31, 2015

Hours:

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

Location:

Bartle Hall at the Kansas City Convention Center

301 W 13th St #100

Kansas City, MO 64105

Parking: There are many parking options close to Bartle Hall

Admission Ticket Pricing:

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

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

SCHEDULED TO ATTEND:

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

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

Fan Activities Include:

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

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

Things that have improved since last year:

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

If I was the GM I would…

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

My Overall Grade of Royals FanFest LAST YEAR: B+

My Overall Grade of Royals FanFest THIS YEAR: B+

twins

Date: January 23-25, 2015

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

Location:

Target Field

1 Twins Way

Minneapolis, MN

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

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

SCHEDULED TO ATTEND:

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

Fan Activities Include:

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

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

Things that have improved since last year:

  • The Twins have added a few new fan activities.

If I was the GM I would…

  • Lower the Admission price from $20.

My Overall Grading LAST YEAR: A

My Overall Grading THIS YEAR: A

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.

DSCN4110 DSCN4112

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:

DSCN4120

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:

DSCN4121

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

IMG_20140830_161950_936

IMG_20140830_161956_161

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:

IMG_20140830_163608_691

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:

IMG_20140830_193530_248

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:

IMG_20140830_224445_412

I especially like this view:

DSCN4137

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:

DSCN4143

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:

IMG_20140715_122638_752

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:

IMG_20140715_124506_923

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:

IMG_20140715_134530_637

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

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

Photo from Google Maps

Photo from Google Maps.

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

Photo from Yelp

Photo from Yelp.

Photo from Yelp

Photo from Yelp.

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

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

IMG_20140715_140507_994

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!

IMG_20140715_150527_140

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:

IMG_20140715_153118_091

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:
IMG_20140715_154204_941

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.

IMG_20140715_155104_609

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

IMG_20140715_172747_930

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?

IMG_20140715_210953_718

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.

IMG_20140715_184822_741IMG_20140715_190642_326

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

flyover

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

IMG_20140715_180414_558

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.

IMG_20140715_204120_455

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.

IMG_20140715_203303_207 IMG_20140715_203306_836

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

IMG_20140715_204305_423 IMG_20140715_230438_518

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

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

postgame

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

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

IMG_20140715_232334_492

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:

IMG_20140716_010626_849

 

IMG_20140717_244318_499

 

 

 

 

 

The Ideal Defense – The 2013 Rawlings Gold Glove Awards

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

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

American League Gold Glove Depth Chart

Catcher – Salvador Perez (Kansas City Royals)

First Base – Eric Hosmer (Kansas City Royals)

Second Base – Dustin Pedroia (Boston Red Sox)

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

Third Base – Manny Machado (Baltimore Orioles)

Left Field – Alex Gordon (Kansas City Royals)

Center Field – Adam Jones (Baltimore Orioles)

Right Field – Shane Victorino (Boston Red Sox)

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

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

AL Defense

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

National League Gold Glove Depth Chart

Catcher – Yadier Molina (St. Louis Cardinals)

First Base – Paul Goldschmidt (Arizona Diamondbacks)

Second Base – Brandon Phillips (Cincinnati Reds)

Short Stop – Andrelton Simmons (Atlanta Braves)

Third Base – Nolan Arenado (Colorado Rockies)

Left Field – Carlos Gonzalez (Colorado Rockies)

Center Field – Carlos Gomez (Milwaukee Brewers)

Right Field – Gerardo Parra (Arizona Diamondbacks)

Pitcher – Adam Wainwright (St. Louis Cardinals)

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

a

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

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

NL Defense

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

MLB Defense

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

fd

There are four 2013 Gold Glove Award winners in the World Series, yet there have been 11 errors. Isn’t that kind of ironic?

Congratulations to all 18 Gold Glove recipients. Each player has worked to be the BEST at their position.

If you were the manager or owner of a Major League Baseball franchise, wouldn’t you love it if your those were YOUR depth charts? Imagine if all of those players played for YOUR team. You would have the ideal defense.

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

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

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

IMG_20130731_174809_390

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

IMG_20130731_175238_116

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

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

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

IMG_20130731_205646_955

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

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

20130731_21243720130731_21244220130731_212440

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

20130731_215430

…And then I took some more action shots:

20130731_220851

20130731_221112

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

20130731_180914

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

20130731_224546

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

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

7-31 box 7-31 scoring summary

A Piece of The Game MVP:

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

Player of The Game:

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

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

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

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

IMG_20130628_164458_179b

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

IMG_20130628_171745_826

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

IMG_20130628_172026_265

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

IMG_20130628_172349_377

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

IMG_20130628_173536_831

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

IMG_20130628_174207_638

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

IMG_20130628_183409_590

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

DSCN2975

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

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

DSCN2984

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

IMG_20130628_203338_818

IMG_20130628_203343_850

IMG_20130628_203350_879IMG_20130628_203419_959IMG_20130628_203315_252

IMG_20130628_203452_001 IMG_20130628_203455_524

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

IMG_20130628_223011_252IMG_20130628_223122_707

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

IMG_20130628_223618_788

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

IMG_20130628_203327_511B

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

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

123454321

Capture

A Piece of The Game MVP:

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

Player of The Game:

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

Here is my final haul from the night:

IMG_20130630_225644_665 IMG_20130630_225727_939

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