Tagged: Seattle Mariners

Mariners vs. Twins @ Target Field (07-30-15)

Going to this game was an extremely last minute decision. Neither my friend Matt nor I had any plans for the evening so we booked it up to Minneapolis. After just a few minutes in the stadium I snagged my first ball of the day, which was also my 200th lifetime. Of course, that’s not counting Spring Training baseballs.

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I didn’t know it at the time, but Nate let me know that it came off the bat of Shane Robinson.

There wasn’t too much excitement from the Twins portion of batting practice, but I was able to snag a few more homers during the Mariners portion of bp. I got this one in section 129:

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I’m not sure who hit that homer, nor who hit this next one that I caught in section 137:

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Batting Practice ended around 6 o’clock so the Long Haul Bombers could have their derby before the game started. Bubba Brungardt kicked things off for the Bombers:

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Most of those guys were HUGE. They absolutely crushed the ball. It was pretty fun to watch.

When the derby finished Dominic hooked me up with another ball for the day. I forgot to take a picture of it right away, but I took this (terrible) picture afterwards:

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Matt and I watched the first few innings from the center field bleachers. Phil Hughes started on the mound for the Twins and J.A. Happ followed for the Mariners. Seth Smith hit a two run homer in the first inning, but the Twins battled back in their half with a lead off homer from Brian Dozier. Hicks and Hunter followed with singles and then Rosario hit a three run bomb to right field. Suddenly the Twins were winning 2-5 in the first inning.

Although the game was exciting, we were just kind of bored. We watched another inning or two but then we decided to go to the Mall of America. The Mariners lost to the Twins 5-9. Click here to watch the highlight video. Here’s the info from the game:

info

Here’s the group shot:

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TOTALS: 4 balls at this game. 30 balls this year.

UP NEXT: Astros vs. Twins 08/28/15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo from Google Maps

Photo from Google Maps.

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

Photo from Yelp

Photo from Yelp.

Photo from Yelp

Photo from Yelp.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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8-28-12 @ Target Field – Mariners vs. Twins

When I bought tickets I had a great feeling about this game. I felt confident that I was going to have a great day ballhawking, but even if I didn’t do well ballhawking I was still going to meet two fellow ballhawks, Tony and Mateo. Go ahead and click on their names… do it. If you click their names then their blog will open in a new tab. It’s that easy.

I was looking forward to meeting them, talking baseball, and ballhawking with them. At the same time I was a little nervous that my ballhawking numbers for the night might be crunched because of their skills. Luckily, we all did pretty well.

I arrived at Target Field around 4:30.  Tony and I were planning on meeting at Gate 34 about an hour before the gates opened. I suspected one man of being Tony but I wasn’t completely sure. We exchanged looks for a few minutes and then he approached me and asked if I was Paul. We told each other about ourselves and talked about baseball and the Twins. I spotted Mateo about 15 -20 minutes later and then 3 of us got to talking about baseball.

A ball was hit and bounced out of the gates, but fell 20-30 feet below the parking garage onto a road. Mateo and I looked down to see if we could spot the ball. We turned around and saw Tony a block down the road sprinting to find the ball. The ball kept rolling and rolling down the road until it and Tony were out of sight. When Tony got back 15 minutes later, he was proudly displaying his 49th baseball.

While we were talking a ball reached the gate and stopped rolling in a corner.  I reached my arm through the gate and was about to pick it up but a season ticket holder (who was on the other side of the gate) came running over to the gate and grabbed the ball just before I could get my hands on it.

Right before the gates opened we all got a picture together (From left to right, Mateo, Tony, Me):

When the gates opened Tony headed behind the Twins dugout, Mateo went through those sections and was heading towards the left field area, and I was headed for the right field foul territory. Within 5 minutes I had ball #1 from this Mariners coach:

If anyone knows who he is I would appreciate if you let me know.

The coach was picking up a few baseballs that had been hit near the Twins dugout. He looked like he was going to throw a ball to me, and also to Tony, who was a few sections to my left. For whatever reason he didn’t at first, but two minutes later he fired one to Tony and I both.  In the previous picture the coach threw the ball from the red “X”. I was standing at the black “X”. The red box indicates the camera box. In order for me to make the play I had to lean way over the railings, catch the ball, and not fall over.

After I got this ball I relocated to the aisle of sections 102-103 because I didn’t want to get in the way or steel any baseballs from Tony. Moving paid off for both of us. After I left, Tony snagged two more balls from the Twins Dugout Box.

Within 10 minutes I had gotten another toss-up.  This time I used a Mariners Sign (that I made) to get Lucas Luetge’s attention. Here’s a picture of him:

Right field was pretty much dead after that point. For that reason, I moved behind the Mariners dugout.

Sometime later a ball ricocheted over to the Mariners dugout and stopped about 5 feet in front of the dugout. A few minutes later a man walked over to pick up the ball. All I had to do was put my glove up and then he threw it to me. I’m not completely sure who it was, but I think it was the Mariners GM, Jack Zduriencik. Here is a picture of him (he is the man wearing the black shirt):

I enjoyed talking to a few people who were standing near me while I watched the final group of batters from behind the dugout. I met a nice man who is from Canada (he lives 12 hours away). He was on vacation with his wife and kids. He was also going to be at the game the next day. This was the first baseball game that he had been to in 19 years.

John Jaso, Eric Thames, and King Felix were all signing autographs two sections to my left. When Jaso was entering the dugout I asked if he would sign my sign. He looked surprised, but glad to do it. When Eric Thames was entering the dugout the same thing happened. I didn’t get Felix Hernandez to sign it, but whatever, I still got two autographs.

At the end of batting practice I got a ball from the Mariners ball/equipment guy. He is in the background of the next two pictures:

Once batting practice was done, Mateo and I met up and walked to the Aisle of section 131, where we were hoping to get a few balls. Mateo got his 3rd of the day, a toss-up from a Mariners coach. Here he is catching it:

We watched the pitchers warm up in the bullpens and were also hoping to get the baseballs when they were finished throwing, but that plan fell through. That was it for pregame.

As for the game, my dad and I sat 6 rows behind the Mariners dugout (I found half off tickets). This was our view:

Ok, fast forward to the end of the 5th inning.

Ben Revere hit a ball on the ground to 2nd base, and was thrown at 1st base to end the 5th inning.  Justin Smoak kept the ball until he got to the dugout. He also didn’t switch it for a warm up/different ball. Then he saw me in the aisle with my glove in the air and threw the ball to me. That was my first 3rd out ball that hadn’t been switched for a warm up ball. This was my first ever gamer.

At that time I forgot to take a picture of the ball, but there will be a picture at the end that shows all of the baseballs.

In the 8th inning I moved two sections to my right, where there were a lot of empty seats. I sat on the aisle seat in the last row of section 11.

Moving definitely paid off because something exciting happened in the top of the 9th inning. Alex Burnett was pitching to Dustin Ackley with one out. Burnett worked a 2-1 count. Ackley hit the next pitch foul 15 feet behind me, but I could only get within 10 of the ball because of the Dugout Moat (dugout box seats are blocked with a 6 foot wall so no one can sneak into those sections). Once the ball cleared my head I thought that there was a chance that it would bounce back. I adjusted by running 3 rows down the aisle, thus 3 rows closer to the field.  Just as I thought, the ball landed on the steps, and bounced back over the moat wall, and was heading exactly towards me. The ball hit a the seat next to me and I picked it up.

The next picture should help visualize the play. The black lines indicate the moat wall. The red lines indicate aisles. The blue dot indicates where the ball bounced, and the blue square indicates where I picked up the ball. As you can see, there was no chance for me to catch the ball before it hit the ground because the wall was in the way. If the wall hadn’t been there I would’ve been able to easily catch the ball.

Here are the play-by-play scoring plays from the game:

  • In the top of the 3rd Kyle Seager doubled on a line drive to right field, Brendan Ryan and Franklin Gutierrez scored to make it a 2-0 game.
  • In the bottom of the 3rd Ben Revere hit a sac fly to center field. Jamey Carroll scored on the play. 2-1 game.
  • In the top of the 5th Dustin Ackley homered to right center field. Trayvon Robinson and Brendan Ryan scored. 5-1 game. (The home run ball bounced back onto the field and Revere threw it to Carroll, who threw it to Florimon, who threw it in front of the Twins dugout. The Twin’s bat boy walked over to pick up the ball and then he threw it to Tony!)
  • In the Bottom of the 9th inning Ryan Doumit doubled to left field. Josh Willingham scored on the play to make it a 5-2 game.

Mariners 5, Twins 2

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2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

SEA

0

0

2

0

3

0

0

0

0

5

9

0

MIN

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

2

4

1

When the game ended Mateo tried to get a ball from the umpire and I tried to get a ball from the bullpen players/coaches when they walked in.

I used my Mariners sign to get Coach Jamie Navarro’s attention. He had 3 balls in his hand, one of which he threw to me. This broke my single game record, which was: 6 baseballs, on 5-28-12. Here’s a picture of ball #7:

It was also my 30th career ball at Target Field.

After the Game Tony, Mateo, and I met up and talked about how the night went, and about attending future games together. Afterwards we said our goodbyes.

In the next picture the balls are in order from when I got them.

Left to right top row: Coach, Luetge, GM, BB,

Left to right bottom row: Smoak, foul ball, Coach Navarro

The next picture shows the shirt and sign that I made. Jaso and Thames signed the sign.

A Piece of The Game MVP:

It was a hard to decide who the MVP was considering that every ball (except for ball #2) was some kind of mini milestone.

Jamie Navarro, because by giving me one ball he helped me break my single game record. It was also my 30th career ball at Target Field.

Player of The Game:

Dustin Ackley.        Although he went 1-5, he really helped the Mariners win the game. His 1 hit was a 3 run homerun that made it a 5-1 game. If he hadn’t gotten any of those RBIs, then the Twins would’ve tied the game in the 9th inning.

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AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

LOB

AVG

Ackley, 2B

5

1

1

3

0

1

3

.233

I mentioned that every ball was some kind of mini milestone so I thought I would list them.

Ball #1 – first career ball from the Mariners

Ball #2 – nothing that I can think of

Ball #3 – first career ball from a GM

Ball #5 – first career game used 3rd out ball

Ball #6 – first career foul ball

Ball #7 – 30th career ball at Target Field.

I really made a huge haul: 7 new baseballs, 2 new autographs, and 2 new friends.

Again, it was great to meet you Tony and Mateo, definitely had a great time with you.

My next game with be on September 14th at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals host the Angels. It should be a good game.

  • 7 balls at this game
  • 31 balls in 8 games this season = Avg. 3.875 balls per game
  • 8 consecutive games with at least 1 ball
  • 8 consecutive games with at least 2 balls
  • 2 consecutive games with at least 3 balls
  • 9 consecutive Twins home games with at least 1 ball
  • 7 consecutive Twins home games with at least 2 balls
  • Gotten at least 1 ball from 10 different teams
  • 34 total balls