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:
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:
My next ball was thrown to me by Billy Butler after he and Alcides Escobar finished playing catch:
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:
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:
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:
When the clock struck 6:15 the Twins 2nd bullpen catcher entered the bullpens and tossed me this ball:
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:
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):
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:
Eventually I made it out to center field and I found an Aisle seat next to the batters eye:
When the game ended I waited for an employee to clear out the home run balls, but no one ever came:
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:
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:
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:
- 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