Most of the Target Field crew had planned to be in attendance. Tony and Nate were the first I saw:
Mateo showed up a few minutes prior to the gates opening, but he wasn’t alone. Josh Hyber, a reporter from the Star Tribune, accompanied Mateo to the game. He was gathering information for a future article that would feature the ballhawks of Target Field. Here’s a link to the article that he posted on July 30th.
Once the gates opened I was given a good reason to thank Brian Duensing:
After moving around for the Twins portion of batting practice I also had an opportunity to thank Eddie Rosario for what he bestowed upon me:
I snagged those three balls within the first 13 minutes, and then that was it. I didn’t catch anymore baseballs at the game, but I was able to get Byron Buxton’s signature before the game started!
Not too long afterwards I found out that Byron had just started using a new signature because he was called up to the Big Leagues. This was one of the first autographs that he signed this way. It’s sort of neat that I got one of the first new signatures!
The Twins took a 0-1 lead in the first inning, but the White Sox battled back and took a 1-2 lead in the third inning. The Twins were able to hold the White Sox to those two runs for the remainder of the game. Mauer homered in the 4th, and then Suzuki and Vargas also picked up an RBI of their own later in the same inning. Nunez put the cherry on top when he also homered later in the fourth. Vargas joined the HR parade when he hit a three run shot in the 6th inning. Hunter picked up a pair of RBI’s when he doubled in the 6th. In the 8th inning Brian Dozier became the fourth Twin to homer in the game. The Twins won 2-13. Tommy Milone picked up the Win for the Twins while John Danks was stuck with the loss. You can click here to watch the highlights video from the game. Here’s the info from the game:
…I undoubtedly will also share the usual entry ending group shot:
TOTALS: 3 balls at this game. 26 balls this year.
UP NEXT: Mariners vs. Twins 07/30/15
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.
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:
Looking back at it now, I don’t know why I didn’t take any pictures at Trieste! Here are two pictures via 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:
From left to right is Erik Jabs, Tony 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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
After drinking that Gatorade I was all energized and I felt like an All Star 😉
The Field staff also began throwing Sharpies to fans:
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:
Up next: The 85th Major League Baseball All Star Game. It feels great to finally say that!