The Super-Mega-Awesome-Ginormous-Happy-Fun Sized Year End Stats Show… (2014 Version)

Before getting too deep into the baseball-snagging stats…

…How Far Would You Drive for Baseball?

Mileage 2014

That’s my answer.  If you were to reference my totals from last year, I traveled approx. 6% less, but walked about 25% more.  (And yes, the walking is purely from car to gate, and not inside the stadium numbers… that would be too hard to judge and know.)  If you add the past two seasons together, I have cracked 10,000 miles in a car just to watch baseball games and catch baseballs.

Interesting side stat:

Miles/Ball:

  • 2014:  31.31 miles driven per ball
  • 2013:  54.96 miles driven per ball
    • An increase in efficiency of 43.03%

 

Now onto…

The Stuff:

  • 180 MLB Baseballs
    • 123 Regular Season
    • 57 Spring Training
  • 11 Signatures
    • Byron Buxton, Chris Colabello, Nick Swardson, Joe Mauer, Brian Dozier, Alex Meyer, Kennys Vargas (x3), Bud Black, Tony Oliva
    • Plus two at my place of employment: Brian Dozier and Kurt Suzuki (on a HR Derby ball)
  • 8 Line-up Cards
    • 3/2/2014
    • 3/3/2014 (2)
    • 3/4/2014
    • 4/17/2014 (2)
    • 8/5/2014 (2)
  • 7 Batting Gloves
    • Chris Colabello (3)
    • Trevor Plouffe (2)
    • Danny Santana (2)
  • 1 Pair of Cleats
    • Trevor Plouffe
  • 1 Bat
    • Kennys Vargas
  • 2 Softballs (ASG Celebrity Game)
  • 1 MiLB Babseball (Spring Training)

 

The Commemoratives:

  • Marlins Park – 1 (3/4/2014)
  • Fenway Park 100th – 1 (3/5/2014)
  • Wrigley Field 100th – 3 (4/5/2014)
  • Opening Day 2014 – 4 (4/7/2014)
  • Astros’ Inaugural AL Season – 1 (6/6/2014)
  • Futures Game 2014 (ASG) – 4 (7/13/2014)
  • Home Run Derby 2014 (ASG) – 5 (7/14/2014)
  • Home Run Derby FlexBall 2014 (ASG) – 1 (7/14/2014)
  • Home Run Derby 2014 (ASG) – 4 (7/15/2014)
  • All-Star Game 2014 – 1 (7/15/2014)

 

Top Ten Eleven Moments:

  1. Catching Kennys Vargas’ 1st career HR
  2. The 2014 All-Star Game
  3. The 2014 HR Derby
  4. My first ballhawking experience at Wrigley Field (Operation: Snag a Wrigley 100th ball)
  5. Plouffe cleats, Colabello batting gloves, AND 8 balls… in one game!
  6. 19 balls in ONE GAME!
  7. Snagging my 100th regular season ball in 2014
  8. The 2014 Futures Game
  9. Grabbing the first HR hit by Mr. Saltalamacchia in a Marlins uniform
  10. Javier Bracamonte bringing an Astros’ Inaugural AL ball to MN for me (thanks, Twitter!)
  11. The final game of 2014 (personal season high balls, most balls without BP by anyone on MGB for 2014)

 

The MVPS:

1.  Dominique Frost

2.  Trevor Plouffe

3.  Oswaldo Arcia

4.  Kennys Vargas

T5.  Javier Bracamonte

T5.  Chris Colabello

T5.  Eduardo Escobar

 

Deep Stats (Non-”Ball Specific”):

Twins Record:

  • Regular Season: 9-8
    • 1 non-Twins game – Phillies/Cubs
  • Including Spring Training: 10-11

Twins analysis of Runs Scored (Based on Situational Breakdown):

  • Twins Win: 9
    • Average Score: 5.89 to 2.67
  • Twins Loss: 8
    • Average Score: 2.75 to 6.5
  • Spring Training: 4 Games
    • Average Score: Twins – 4.5 to Opposition – 5.5
  • Regular Season: 17 games
    • Average Score: Twins – 4.41 to Opposition – 4.47
  • Overall: 21 games
    • Average Score: Twins – 4.42 to Opposition – 4.67

Additional Non-Ball Stats:

  • Number of Teams Viewed In 2013: 18 (plus All-Star “teams”)
    • Astros, A’s, Blue Jays, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Indians, Mariners, Marlins, Orioles, Padres, Phillies, Rangers, Rays, Red Sox, Royals, Tigers, Twins, White Sox
  • Number of Stadiums Attended In 2013: 5
    • Wrigley Field, Charlotte Sports Park (Rays Spring Training), Roger Dean (Marlins Spring Training), Hammond Stadium (Twins Spring Training), Target Field
  • Games Attended By Month:
    • March: 4
    • April: 4
    • May: 4
    • June: 3
    • July: 5
    • August: 2
    • September: 3

 

Deep Stats (“Ball Specific”):

Number of Balls By Time of Year:

  • Spring Training: 57
  • Regular Season: 123
  • Postseason: 0 (it’s been a while since that was anything other than a doughnut)
  • Total: 180

Number of Balls By Month:

  • March: 57
  • April: 19
  • May: 23
  • June: 17
  • July: 30
  • August: 11
  • September: 23

Number of Balls By Time of Game:

  • Batting Practice: 107
  • Pre-Game: 28
  • During Game: 33
  • Post-Game: 12

Target Field-equivalent Section:

  • 7: 40 balls
  • 10: 19 balls
  • 129: 16 balls
  • 6: 14 balls
  • 130: 13 balls
  • Outside of Park: 13 balls
  • 12: 9 balls
  • 102: 9 balls
  • 5: 6 balls
  • 13: 6 balls
  • 3: 5 balls
  • 128: 5 balls
  • 101: 4 balls
  • 15: 2 balls
  • 138: 2 balls
  • 1: 1 ball
  • 4: 1 ball
  • 11: 1 ball
  • 17: 1 ball
  • 104: 1 ball
  • 126: 1 ball
  • 127: 1 ball
  • 131: 1 ball
  • 132: 1 ball
  • 133: 1 ball
  • 134: 1 ball
  • 136: 1 ball
  • 137: 1 ball
  • 140: 1 ball
  • 238: 1 ball
  • 239: 1 ball
  • 240: 1 ball

Number of Balls By Method of Retrieval:

  • Toss-up: 144
  • Caught: 22
  • Easter Egg: 13
  • Retriever: 1

Number of Balls By Team:

  • Twins: 111
  • Orioles: 8
  • AL All-Stars: 7
  • Royals: 6
  • Marlins: 5
  • USA Futures: 5
  • Blue Jays: 4
  • Padres: 4
  • White Sox: 4
  • Astros: 3
  • Mariners: 3
  • NL All-Stars: 3
  • Phillies: 3
  • Rays: 3
  • Red Sox: 3
  • A’s: 2
  • Cubs: 2
  • Tigers: 2
  • Indians: 1
  • MLB: 1

Average Attendance:

  • Spring Training: 7,265
  • Regular Season: 29,572
    • Target Field (16 games): 29,519
    • Coors Field (1 game): 30,651
  • Overall: 25,662

Number of Balls In One Day By Number of Occurrences:

  • 19 balls: 1 game
  • 18 balls: 1 game
  • 11 balls: 1 game
  • 10 balls: 1 game
  • 9 balls: 1 game
  • 8 balls: 2 games
  • 7 balls: 3 games
  • 6 balls: 6 games
  • 5 balls: 5 games
  • 4 balls: 3 games
  • 3 balls: 1 game

Number of Balls By Player:

  • 29 Balls: Dominique – Twins Bat Boy
  • 19 Balls: Unknown Twin
  • 7 Balls: Oswaldo Arcia
  • 5 Balls: Trevor Plouffe
  • 4 Balls: Eduardo Escobar, Security Guard
  • 3 Balls: Josh Willingham, Kurt Suzuki, Unknown Oriole
  • 2 Balls: Alex Gordon, Brian Duensing, Casey Fien, Chris Colabello, Dan Rohlfing, Francisley Bueno, Kennys Vargas, Logan Darnell, Padres Staffer/Trainer, Ron Gardenhire, Scott Ullger, Twins Employee, Unknown Red Sox, Unknown Tiger
  • 1 Ball: Alex Presley, Anthony Swarzak, Arquimedes Caminero, Bat Boy – Hammond Stadium, Bat Boy – Mario, Bobby Dickerson, Brian Dozier, Brian Raabe, Brian Snitker, Bruce Chen, Chip Hale, Chris Herrmann, Chris Maloney, Chris Parmelee, Chris Woodward, Christian Yelich, Clay Buchholz, Cubs’ Grounds Crew, Danny Santana, Delmon Young, Derrick Chung, Dustin Morse, Einar Diaz, Eric Fryer, Eric Hosmer, Greg Colbrunn, Indians Trainer, James Beresford, Jared Burton, Jason Kubel, Javier Bracamonte, Jeff Francoeur, Joe Mauer, Joe McEwing, John Mallee, Jonathan Papelbon, Jorge Polanco, Jose Abreu, Justin Morneau, Justin O’Conner, Kevin Correia, Manny Machado, Marlins’ Grounds Crew, Max Kepler, Michael Taylor, Nate Dammann, Norichika Aoki, Pedro Florimon, Ralph Dickenson, Rays’ Grounds Crew, Rene Rivera, Rich Donnelly, Rob Rasmussen, Robinson Cano, Ronald Belisario, Ryan Howard, Scott Diamond, Sean Casey, Sean Coyle, Sean Nolin, Starlin Castro, Stuart Turner, Target Field Grounds Crew, Terry Steinbach, Tom Brunansky, Tony Oliva, Unknown, Unknown AL Coach, Unknown Blue Jay, Unknown Phillie, Unknown Rays player, Unknown Trainer, Unknown Worker/Photographer, Vendor, Zach Britton
  • Total Number of People Who Tossed Me a Ball: 98

 

FIRSTS:

  • Too Many – additioanl blog post to come.

 

NAMI Donation:

  • Too Important to bury here.  A dedicated “end of 2014″-type of post seems like a better idea.

 

2014 vs. 2013 – Continued Improvement:

2014 vs 2013 Comparison

MyGameBalls.com Rank (by category):

  • Regular Season Balls (123) = 20th
    • Spring Training Balls (57) = 1st
    • Total Balls (180) = 15th
  • Regular Season Games (21) = T32nd
  • Average Balls/Game (5.86) = 13th
    • Average Balls/Game inc. Spring Training (7.20) = 5th
  • Games with 10+ Balls (1) = T12th
    • Games with 10+ Balls inc. Spring Training (4) = T3rd
  • Game Balls (39) = 2nd
    • I was able to snag at least one game ball at every game (including Spring Training) this year.
    • This category (along with all others) could be adjusted upwards by one, since the debacle of #HakeyWatch was never resolved.  Did he or DIDN’T he?
  • Game Home Runs (1) = T7th
    • Game Home Runs inc. Spring Training (2) = T6th
    • The Game Homer in the regular season was my first ever caught on the fly… and Kennys Vargas’ first career (in case you forgot).
  • High – Most Balls in One Game (10) = T19th
    • High inc. Spring Training (19) = T4th
  • Average Competition Factor (171,903) = 13th

Not bad stats, right?  Overall, it would appear that this year was a solid “Top 15″ showing.  If I could just get to more games, I might be a greater force.  But a new puppy, increased age, and other life aspirations will probably keep things in check (if not lessen my game intake).

Thanks to all of the friends of new and old that I got to share the stadium(s) with.  It was a great year, and many important memories that I will carry with me until I either completely lose it or die.

 

If you are the person who could make my dream job come true, please contact me about being a full-time baseball watcher/catcher – this would be the one way that I could definitely try to do some real damage and go for the top couple spots on the leaderboard.  Otherwise, it will be a slightly slower 2015, but hopefully a new stadium or two that I can cross off the list and some new commemoratives to chase (along with the first non-Selig balls in my collection).

PS:  Be on the lookout for 2014 versions of my YouTube slideshows that I made last year.  I had plenty of photos and an even larger collection to share.  As always, it will be embedded on this site once up.

Broken: A Record, A Streak, A Bone – Balls 360-369 (September 24, 2014)

Arizona Diamondbacks 1 – Minnesota Twins 2

Target Field – Minneapolis, MN

September 17, 2014


 

As the title would suggest, many things were broken at Target Field during the home finale – some good, some obscure, and some just down right terrible.

The Record:  Phil Hughes set the highest “Stikeouts to Walks” ratio in MLB history.  He had 186 Ks and only 16 walks (the same number of walks as wins this year!).

The Streak:  A personal streak of mine – no games with double digits during the 2014 regular season – came to an end.  And this was without batting practice!!

The Bone:  Trevor Plouffe, while trying to tag a guy at third, broke his forearm.  You could tell right away that he was done for the rest of the seaon (only 4 games), since he was holding his arm gingerly while it was visibly shaking.  The amazing run of snagging baseballs really loses steam when the guy you root hardest for goes down.  At least he got his 80th RBI of the season and finished with a .258 average (both are career bests).  Am I sensing a second coming of Michael Cuddyer?

Onward, to the catches… errrr, toss-ups…

Ball #1:

I thought it’d be the ball shown below, since Lester Oliveros was the closest to me and Paul (yep, Paul Kom was here with me) was trying for a Logan Darnell ball.

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But instead, we crossed each other’s guys and I ended up with the Darnell ball, and Paul ended up with Oliveros’.

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Oh well.  A ball is a ball.

Ball #2:

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After Ricky Nolasco got done with warm-ups with Nate Dammann, Nate tossed this one to me.  I think I was down 4-2 to Paul at this point.  But for no BP, we were doing surprisingly well.

Ball #3:

IMG_6009

Let me just say this (again), Tony Oliva is a Twins treasure.  He is the nicest, most giving man, and he always has a smile.  He saw a small group of us by the dugout, went back in the clubhouse, grabbed a few balls, SIGNED them, came back out, and tossed them to us.  Kennys Vargas came out shortly after and almost wouldn’t sign the same ball, since he respected Tony that much.  Tony gave him the go ahead and that is why you see both their signatures.

Ball #4:

IMG_6010

You knew this was coming, right?  Dominique, fromt he game-ball bag.  Enough said.

Ball #5:

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Shortly after Dominique tossed me one from the ball bag, Eduardo Escobar did his best impression.  It felt great to keep the 5+ streak alive.

PHOTOBOMB!!…

IMG_6012

The man who gives the umpire crew their television signals bombed me hard.  I told him it’d go on the blog.  I can now say that I do not lie.

Ball #6:

IMG_6013

Phil Hughes’ 184th K of the season.  This put him at 11.5 K:BB, but he wasn’t quite finished (he ended at 11.63).  This one was tossed to me by Kurt Suzuki.

Ball #7:

IMG_6014

Nope, not poop.  DIRT!!  I love me a dirty souvenir; this one might be the finest example of the year.  I pitch in the dirt and subsequently fouled into the dirt by Danny Santana kept this ball from surviving.

Ball #8:

IMG_6015

As the rain fell down harder and harder, the balls were being taken out quicker and quicker.  This one was tossed to me by Ron Gardenhire.  It was likely a game ball that was taken out of play and rolled over to him, but I cannot confirm.  The lack of rubbed dirt could be from the rain soaking it, but all these factors tell me that I cannot rightly call this a gamer.  Still, it was cool to tie my season high and still have some time left to break it.

Back to “The Bone”:

IMG_6016

How sad and frustrating is it to see Trevor having to say goodbye to the group under these conditions?  I wish I could have given him (along with the rest of the Twins) one last “thank you” and cheer for the win (and everyhting else he gave to me and the fans), but it just wasn’t in the cards.

Ball #9:

IMG_6017

The last ball from Dominique of the year.  A pitch in the dirt in the bottom of the 8th.  I will share my year-end stats, awards, and other random nuggets of knowledge,” but let’s give one thing away early:

Dominique, you are the MVP of 2014.  I will go further in depth and write a longer explanation, but this “secret” was something that couldn’t be kept.

Ball #10:

The last ball of 2014.  This was it; game over.

IMG_6019

Casey Fien came out (after throwing a couple hats into the stands) and tossed a half a dozen balls into the crowd.  Here’s one in a bucket of bubble gum that came from the dugout via Dominique.  I might just have to give myself a Bubble Gum Bath like many teams do these days after a walk-off.

After the game, Paul and I met up and took a group shot of our sangs for the day.  He finished with 9, but don;t ask him about what “could have been.”

IMG_6018

IMG_6020

And there is the final individual game “group shot” of the year.

The final count?

  • 180 MLB Baseballs
    • 123 Regular Season
    • 57 Spring Training
  • 11 Signatures
    • Byron Buxton, Chris Colabello, Nick Swardson, Joe Mauer, Brian Dozier, Alex Meyer, Kennys Vargas (x3), Bud Black, Tony Oliva
    • Plus two at my place of employment: Brian Dozier and Kurt Suzuki (on a HR Derby ball)
  • 8 Line-up Cards
    • 3/2/2014
    • 3/3/2014 (2)
    • 3/4/2014
    • 4/17/2014 (2)
    • 8/5/2014 (2)
  • 7 Batting Gloves
    • Chris Colabello (3)
    • Trevor Plouffe (2)
    • Danny Santana (2)
  • 1 Pair of Cleats
    • Trevor Plouffe
  • 1 Bat
    • Kennys Vargas
  • 2 Softballs (ASG Celebrity Game)
  • 1 MiLB Babseball (Spring Training)

IMG_6021

…And that is my 2014 baseball adventure all in one photo.

Like I mentioned before, I will have further blog posts giving recaps and rehashing what I experienced.

 

Thank yous:

  • Logan Darnell
  • Nate Dammann 
  • Tony Oliva
  • Kennys Vargas
  • Eduardo Escobar
  • Kurt Suzuki
  • Ron Gardenhire - I hope this isn’t the last ball from you, and especially not the last game you coach the Twins
  • Casey Fien
  • Trevor Plouffe
  • Dominque

Bonus… How about a video of the best bat boy in the game? Here’s Dominique doing his best Globetrotter.

Puppies… and a Baseball Game – Balls 355-359 (September 17, 2014)

Detroit Tigers 4 – Minnesota Twins 8

Target Field – Minneapolis, MN

September 17, 2014


 

While it is exciting to go to a baseball game, no matter the standings, score, or any other “stats”, getting confirmation that you are getting your first puppy (at least first as an adult/owner) kind of dwarfs any baseball news.

So without further adieu, here she is…

2014091701

Her name is not determined yet, but once she is HOME on September 27th, she will be given a great identity and hopefully a greater home.  She’s at least three quarters lab and up to a quarter something unknwon (possibly blue heeler, according to the owner).  The mother, the purebred, got a little frisky with the neighbor’s dog – the “mutt” – and the result was a litter of NINE puppies that were sold at only $25 a piece!  After a few weeks of feeling unlucky and thinking the only dogs we could get our hands on were going to cost us an arm and a leg, we scored this lovely girl at a crazy-low price.

I guess that’s enough about her… for now.  Once the season ends and I have met her (and taken the inevitable hundreds of photos and videos) I can post a Puppy-centric post.

Awkward segue in 3, 2, 1…

So how about that baseball game?  The Twins may be out of contention, but playing spoilers to the dreams of an AL Central crown is kind of fun.  I think the majority of Minnesotans (and maybe even the rest of the country) are pulling for the Kansas City Royals.  The Twins did their part this series and especially last night against Mr. David Price.

Also, there is something new outside of the stadium.  Something in bronze that will permenantly call back to the 2014 All-Star Game…

2014091702

Ball #1:

2014091703

I am a firm believer that if you show up early and pay enough attention at the gates, good things will happen.  The first ball of the day was no excpetion, it only validated my belief.  Being on the board before even setting foot inside the stadium is a good feeling.

Ball #2:

2014091704

After striking out during the last part of the Twins’ BP, I came through in left field during the Tigers’ portion.  This ball and the next were both snagged on the fly (with my catchers mitt, since that’s all I brought) off the bat of an unknown Tigers slugger.  one may have been from JD Martinez.

Ball #3:

2014091705

Like I said above, snagged on the fly from a Tiger’s bat.

Ball #4:

2014091706

I decided to go in to the home plate area after the majority of the Tigers took their hacks.  Expanded rosters mean some less powerful bats and more positional hitting.  This ball was from Oswaldo Arcia just before the game started – from the ball bag containing al lthe game-rubbed balls.

After that, I had a little bit of food, then walked around the stadium and even stopped by one of my favorite places:

2014091707

That’s the view from a few feet behind the spot where I caught the Vargas HR.  What a beautiful view.

Ball #5:

2014091708

After the 7th inning stretch, with Trevor Plouffe on deck, waiting to lead off the bottom of the 7th, a warm-up pitch in the dirt was tossed towards the Twins’ dugout.  Trevor picked it up and tossed it to me.  EXCELLENT!

 

After the game I was tossed something special, as seen in the group shot below…

2014091709

Danny Santana’s batting gloves!  These were tossed by this season’s MVP (Most Valuable Plouffe’s-new-hairdo-helper).  I was unsure whose they were, but seeing a replay of Danny wearing what appeared to be Franklin gloves, led me to Google images and a definite style match…

2014091710

 

Thank yous:

  • Target Field Gate Worker
  • Oswaldo Arcia
  • Detroit Tigers sluggers
  • Trevor Plouffe
  • Dominque
  • Danny Santana – Thanks for ripping a hole in the gloves, at least.

September Baseball: The Calm Before the Cold – Balls 347-354 (September 2, 2014)

Chicago White Sox 6 – Minnesota Twins 3

Target Field – Minneapolis, MN

September 2, 2014


 

September lately has meant one thing: the end of the baseball season in Minnesota.  Would I like to see that streak end?  You betcha.  but lately it has meant that catching baseballs at Target Field is rather easy and good times are bountiful (in a pure ballhawking sense).  Couple the September uptick with the Chicago White Sox, a team I normally go bang or bust when in town, and you have the set up for somehting exciting.

Also special this game was meeting Nick from Chicago – goes by “whitesoxfan” on mygameballs.  Nick reached out to me via email and I had a spare season ticket to offer, so he pulled the trigger and made his first trek to my home stadium.  I’ll introduce you (visually) at the end of the blog and give you the totals, but I’m happy to report that he was not skunked.

Confession/Embarrassing Moment:

I forgot my shoes at home and came straight from work.  The result?

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Black shoes and black socks with plaid shorts and a White Sox t-shirt.  Sexy.

Ball #1:

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At the gate I was rewarded with this rather average baseball.  Nick was already on the board with two at this point (and soon to be three), so it was nice to go into the game without a shutout.

Ball #2:

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Oswaldo Arcia.  El hombre.

Ball #3:

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Joe McEwing (as pictured in the background).  This ball was a back-pocket special.

Ball #4:

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Game time.  Ball number one of FOUR gamers.  This was fromt he top of the second.  thanks, Dom.

Ball #5:

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Kurt Suzuki 3rd out ball.  Tommy Milone struck out Tyler Flowers (who homered twice in the game, including in the 10th) to end the top of the 3rd.

Ball #6:

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This wonderfully scuffed gamer was tossed to me by Michael Taylor.  It was a 3-2 pitch by Anthony Swarzak to Paul Konerko in the top of the 5th (no out).

Ball #7:

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Ron Gardenhire.  He is a nice man.  This was a random gamer rolled into the dugout and then tossed to me after a couple bounces on the dugout floor by the skipper.

Ball #8:

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After the game, Dom tossed me one more – this one from the ball-bag, but it was a ball that bullpen catcher Ben Richardson tossed in.  It is not a gamer, since it has that slippery, well-used from playing catch feel (and the blackness from the leather).

I thought i forgot to take a photo of the ball, so when I went to the restroom onthe way out I took this:

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Classy.  Can’t forget those pix!

 

I met up with Nick one last time and took a quick photo.  He ended the night at 6 and for those who cannot read up until this miraculous point, I got 8.  His six at a not-so-ballhawk-friendly park and his first time visiting is rather impressive.  Well done, sir.

2014090211

 

Now the family photo.  Meet the September-Second-Ball family (a lot of hyphens, as it is a Latin tradition):

2014090212

 

Thank yous:

  • Target Field Gate Worker
  • Oswaldo Arcia (gracias!)
  • Joe McEwing
  • Kurt Suzuki
  • Michael Taylor
  • Ron Gardenhire
  • Dominque
  • Nick (whitesoxfan) - thanks for being good gate company.

HYPNOTOAD says: “Read this Blog!” – Balls 342-346 (August 18, 2014)

Kansas City Royals 6 – Minnesota Twins 4

Target Field – Minneapolis, MN

August 18, 2014


 

Entering the day I was sitting at 95 balls snagged for the year that were NOT caught at spring training.  While I do not discriminate between Floridian (or Arizonan, or is it Arizonian?) balls and nationwide “MLB ballpark” balls, many folks do.  So hitting the century mark is kind of a significant milestone, especially when you come so close last year (91).  Five balls seemed more than doable, but then again, it was the Royals – a team that I just cannot crack for big numbers.

Now that I have you attention and have been brainwashed to love this blog, let’s get into the “details” of the game…

Ball #1:

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A simple toss-up from Nori Aoki.  Glad I was wearing my Omar Rodriguez-Lopez shirt which had the Japanese text “You’re Welcome” on it.  Nori got a kick out of it and that’s how I got on the board.

Ball #2:

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Eric Hosmer (on the DL) was shagging balls and throwning them in all with one arm (a la Jim Abbott).

Ball #3:

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Last of the Royals group was another Francisley Bueno toss-up.  This is my third from the guy.  Either he is just that nice or I am just that lucky.

Ball #4:

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Slightly before the game started – with thunderstorms surrounding the Twin Cities and much of the rest of the state, Dominique made his way out from the clubhouse, only to look injured.  His back was spasming and he was going to be forced to sit out his second straight game.  Before he went back in, he was nice enough to give me #99 of the year… direct from the game-ball bag.

Ball #5:

First off, let me just say that I was completely stupid.  I got a toss-up during the game from Trevor Plouffe (as he was on deck) and I decided that I would just toss this one (of all balls) to a kid.  I knew it was my 100th of the year AND from Trevor, but my brain was apparently on vacation.  What a fitting ball that would have been.  Instead…

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A toss-up from Eduardo Escobar in the middle of the 5th inning.  Still another gamer, also very grateful, but where was my mind?  I could have easily given this one to that kid (just would have been a little later in the game).  Oh well.

 

And how about my half-baked attempt at a group shot signifying the milestone of 100 balls snagged during the regular season?

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Not my best, but midnight on a work night leads to less than optimal quality.

And how about that sky last night?!

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The storms that barely clipped us led to quite the colorful cloud formation as a backdrop.

PS:  If you ever decide to frequent the Champions Club, order a Regular Tony or a Skinny Tony (Coke/Diet Coke with Lime Juice… that lime stuff in a bottle like the cherry grenadine):

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Thank yous:

  • Nori Aoki
  • Eric Hosmer
  • Francisley Bueno
  • Dominique
  • Eduardo Escobar

Kennys Vargas Be Thy Name – Balls 336-341 (August 5, 2014)

San Diego Padres 1 – Minnesota Twins 3

Target Field – Minneapolis, MN

August 5, 2014


 

I toyed with the idea of being cruel and underplaying the event and then springing on the HUGE news, but I couldn’t do it.  I am so unbelievably excited!!

I CAUGHT KENNYS VARGAS’ FIRST CAREER HOME RUN!!!!!!!

Kennys has been likened to former Twin turned Red Sox potential Hall of Famer David Ortiz, so this is amazing and potentially noteworthy.  On top of that, it was my first ever game HR caught on the fly.  Ballhawk Shawn is right, the thrill and emotions are undescribable, the energy is intense, and add on top of my first the fact that it was the player’s first… WOW.

But I will dive deeper into that particular ball later on.  First off, let’s get the other ones out of the way.  No joke, the day actually started off pretty lackluster and I thought i was going to have a down day.

Ball #1:

B2P1

After getting skunked in the Twins portion of BP and nothing to show for my early entry (for season ticket holders), I finally was on the board with a toss up from the Padres’ trainer.

Ball #2:

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With an onslaught of kids coming into the outfield, I worked my magic by the dugouts.  This particular ball was from a trainer/staff member who was helping a coach with infield grounders.

Ball #3:

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I spotted Rene Rivera and told the former Twin “welcome back” and then asked for a ball.  It worked!

Ball #4:

B2P4

Frenchy – Jeff Francoeur – was nice enough to toss a ball the richoted out from the batting cages.  This guy seems hilarious; I almost tried to yell at him for a ball and say that I was deaf.

Ball #5:

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This ball straight from the game-ball bag courtesy of D.

AND NOW, THE MAIN EVENT…

Ball #6:

After watching the first inning or two from the ritzy area, I decided to take a crack at the RF plaza area.  I knew that Kennys was looking for his first career HR, so he was my main target.  After about 5 minutes at the flagpole, I noticed Nate Duppler!  We talked for a while and his buddies came over to talk to me and we had a decent time just talking baseball.  During our talk, I took this photo on Instagram:

B3P1

Caption: “Flagpole-sittin’.  Great night for a ballgame.  Still hoping for a Kennys Vargas bomb and a @twins win.”

That counts as calling my shot, right?

Well, around an hour later, this happened…

B3P4

For those wondering, here is the exact flight-pathand stats according to “ESPN Home Run Tracker”:

KennysVargasHRTracker

(Taken from: http://www.hittrackeronline.com/hrdetail.php?id=2014_2939)

The attention from the fans was amazing and the Twins staff was pretty helpful, too.  I knew right away that it was significant, but in now way was I going to be “that guy”.  I had philosphized on Ballhawk Talk what I would do with a milestone HR, but never did I dream that I would put it into action… and so soon!

The only person who was a little short and not all excitement was the lady who was the designated “negotiator”.  She offered a signed ball right away – and kind of forceful, too.  I only wanted a bat, so I went back with that.  After a few minutes of waiting for a response on her end, the wish was granted and she took the ball right away and then came back a few minutes later with a bat.

Dang it!  I thought I was going to give it to him or meet Kennys!  Oh well, those worries would be dashed later.

Here’s the first-person account, in photos, of my experience.

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(Photo of me looking totally flabergasted courtesy of Nate Duppler.)

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(Photo of me and Kennys courtesy of the valet driver in the Champions Club.  Thanks, kind stranger!)

The whole thing was unreal and time just flew.  My Twitter-feed blew up, Instagram went nuts, and I even talked to some family members who saw and were catching more and more highlights.  The coolest part was that my mom and dad got to see the replays and see me on TV after the game.

So the experience was as follows:

  • Catch HR
  • Go NUTS!
  • Get treated like a celebrity
  • Negotiate the trade
  • Receive the bat
  • Remain in shock
  • Go down to my seat
  • Get an autographed ball after the game (Thank you, Dustin!)
  • Meet Kennys for a photo in the parking lot
  • Replay moment in my head a million times
  • Tell family and friends (OK, and strangers) about it

There it is, the entire chaotic event.  The story may have been written in a confusing fashion, since I am still running on the HR-high, but like any good book, we only care about the pictures, right?

The complete day’s worth of souvenirs:

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…And a close-up of the “replacement ball”:

B1P4

 

Thank yous:

  • Two Padres’ Staff Members/Trainers
  • Rene Rivera
  • Jeff Francoeur
  • Dominique
  • KENNYS VARGAS!!
  • The Duppler Clan – You were a great group to share the gates with and I am thrilled that I was able to have you guys around to celebrate with.
  • Dustin Morse – Thanks for helping me with the “replacement ball”.  I hope my request was minimal and I feel honored to be a part of something so historic (Kennys will be a beast!).
  • Trevor Plouffe - Thanks for the quick recognition after the game.  Also, thanks for being on base and making that Twins win possible!
  • Family, Friends, Twitterites, and Other Random People - Thanks for all the congrats and sharing the excitement with me.

Baseball Fever – Balls 329-335 (July 22, 2014)

Cleveland Indians 8 – Minnesota Twins 2

Target Field – Minneapolis, MN

July 22, 2014


 

 ***Admission:  I did not stay for the whole game, in fact, I left after one inning.  I wanted to stay, but my entire body ached, my head was foggy and felt like I was going to pass out, and when I got home, my temperature was 101.2.  I felt like crap.***

Though I had a short day at the park, I was able to get my hands on 7 balls before tapping out.  The streak of gamers even lives – thanks Oswaldo Arcia!

Ball #1:

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Not even in the gates yet and already able to get on the board.  This eliminates any worry of a “post-ASG funk” for me.

Ball #2:

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Thanks to a generous grounds keeper guy who was chatting with some Twins, I had my first “in the stadium” ball of the day.

Ball #3:

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An unknown Twins player with a shot to LF… it was not Trevor Plouffe, though – I know that much.

Ball #4:

photo_4

Once the gates were open to the public (non-STHers), I went over to the LF foul area, since an usher was having a hard time finding a ball that was hit in that area a few minutes prior.  I saw which section, but it had rolled all the way down to the front row.

Ball #5:

photo_5

Indians strength coach/staffer.  not much else I can say.

Ball #6:

photo_6

I wanted to thank Dom for the great ASG experience and after we talked for a while, I got this pearly treat.

Ball #7:

photo_7

Game ball from Oswaldo Arcia – just ask in Spanish and you shall be rewarded.

There it is, the quick version of my feverish night.  I am kicking myself because I was planning on being in RF for most of the time – Carlos Santana hit a bomb to the plaza, too.

Oh well.

Here’s the haul:

photo_8

Oh yeah, I even got Nick Swisher’s autograph!

 

Thank yous:

  • Twins worker/field guy
  • Twins HR hitter
  • Indians Strength Coach/staffer
  • Dominique
  • Oswaldo Arcia

All-Star Game – Day 3 – THE ALL-STAR GAME – Balls 324-328 (July 15, 2014)

NL All-Stars 3AL All-Stars 5

Target Field – Minneapolis, MN

July 15, 2014


 

 

Day three of three, the final taste of a potentially once-in-a-lifetime experience.  We arrived at the gates around 10:30 – I planned on sleeping in, but wouldn’t you know, I woke up before my alarm – and saw the red carpet leading up to gate 29.  I had received a text from San Fran Joe saying that they were going to do the Red Carpet Show, but I was apprehensive.  For the sake of my friend’s baseball, it’s a good thing I got over those feelings.

We waited by the red carpet, first on the railing and closest to the gates.  As the players pulled up in their vehicles, we thought there would be a decent chance to snag just a couple autographs and enjoy the billions of dollars in athletes that would be paraded in front of us.  The hopes of a couple autographs turned into a bumper crop of signatures – 15+ in total, including Derek Jeter… and I had nothing for them to sign.  I think Jared’s baseball starts to alleviate the pain of the “black rainbow”.  (I’ll let him decide if he wants to share the story in the comments below.)

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The Red Carpet event was supposed to be over by 2, but it was stretched until about 2:30, which meant that we were not able to actually wait at the gate itself until around 3.  While it was nerve-wracking not to have a spot yet, it also eliminated much of the anxiety of “gate waiting”.  Plus, we still made it to the front of the line once the barriers were taken down.

Speaking of the barriers coming down, they had vinyl banners made for the Red Carpet event and when the guy was cutting them down, Joe’s dad asked, “What are you going to do with them?”

The worker replied, “I don’t know, just give them away or toss them.”

We both jumped on them immediately.  We made sure to get the banner that had the ASG logo (which has grown on me to a status of “kinda love it”… maybe because it signifies good times).

How big is the banner?  See for yourself…

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I don’t know where I am going to put it yet, but it will have to decorate somewhere with a lot of space.  I cannot believe that these were just given away.  Nice banners like these are not cheap and usually MLB controls their stuff so tightly in order to be able to throw a sticker on it and sell it via auction or cut up as part of some “game used/event used” memorabilia.

Alright, enough Red Carpet talk, let’s enter the gates and relive snagging them baseballs.

Ball #1:

Immediately upon entering, I made my way down to the foul area in right-field – gotta look to see if the Easter Bunny came.  With no eggs to be found, but a pearly baseball just sitting 40 feet out on the field, I shouted to Alex Gordon and asked nicely for the ball.

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Dang.  No All-Star Game logo, just HR Derby.

Ball #2:

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After the short sweep for eggs, I went back to my lucky spot – sections 5/6.  I said hi to the Twins’ communication department’s very own Dustin Morse, who later tossed me this ball.  I have seen Dustin quite a few times, from Spring Training to fan events, and he is a cool guy.  If you get a chance to see anything Twins and like what you saw, be sure to thank him and his team.  They were crazy-busy for this event, but put it together so nicely.

Ball #3:

2014071503

Chris Maloney of the Cardinals staff, after infield practice during BP.

Ball #4:

Show of hands:  Who has ever snagged a ball from their high school baseball coach?  How about at an All-Star Game?  Would I be wrong in assuming that I am the only one?

2014071504

Brian Raabe, who excelled in the minors, came up for a few very brief stints in the majors, and grew up in Minnesota hooked me up.  We had spoken the day before and it was so wonderful to see someone I knew be a part of the all-star on-field experience.  While the rare and special commemoratives might be more exciting balls, this ball has the most meaning behind it and probably the coolest story of any toss-up I’ll ever get.

(Here’s a photo of the closest flyover I’ve ever witnessed.)

2014071506

Back to the last story of ballhawking for the ASG…

Ball #5:

With the Jeter-love fully dissipated, the ASG finished, and Mike Trout fully embracing his new convertible, I finally got my hands on the ball that defines the 2014 All-Star Game.  This was the first ball that we had photos of, the first ball I saw in stores, and the one ball that without question says “2014 All-Star Game at Target Field”.

2014071505

How beautiful.  Mud-rubbed, perfect logo, and in exquisite condition.  The collection was now complete – 4 commemoratives available, 4 acquired.  The bonus for snagging all four was now a reality, NAMI will be getting some extra coin from me.

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2014071508

And there it is.  The complete All-Star ballhawking experience, wrapped up in three short(ish) entries.  It’s hard to believe it is over and even harder to process everything that happened and everything I experienced.  The balls were even more amazing than I had expected.  The activities were more than I could handle.  The people I met were cooler than any game I had been to before.  In all, this is going to be something I reflect on often… and my mind will still not do it justice.

 

Thank yous:

  • Alex Gordon
  • Dustin Morse
  • Chris Maloney
  • Brian Raabe
  • Dominique

Extra Thank Yous:

  • Dominique
  • Brian Raabe
  • Joseph Pedlowe and his dad
  • Jared
    • All of the people listed above made this experience unique and AMAZING!!

All-Star Game – Day 2 – HR Derby – Balls 317-323 (July 14, 2014)

HR Derby Champ: Yoenis Cespedes

Target Field – Minneapolis, MN

July 14, 2014


 

Another day, another dream come true.  But first, I had to get through the late night, the “anticipationsomnia”, and an early alarm clock for the second day of FanFest.  Yes, I woke up at 6 in the morning because I wanted a damn bobblehead – but it was totally worth it, since without this exact chain of events I may not have had the same tale to tell.  (Plus, it was a Tony Oliva bobblehead.  He’s the nicest guy you could ever meet and it’s become one of my favorite bobbles.)

I’ve mentioned enough about FanFest for now (photos and detailed account to be shown at a later date), so let’s skip ahead to the gates and “game” itself.

Gate 34 @ 10:30 am:

Sure, the derby didn’t start until 7 pm and gates wouldn’t open until 4, but I am in the royal court when it comes to being early (I hesitate to use the word “king”).  The good news about getting to the gates so early?  I was spotted by Sean Casey, former MLBer and current MLB Network reporter, and asked to do an interview for Intentional Talk.  How cool is that?!  I even got to record a “gotheeeeem!” at the end.  Supposedly, this interview was shown on the Tuesday show, can anyone confirm?

2014071401

PS:  Does anyone have a link to this or have a way to view it?  I haven’t been able to see it.

After the interview, the long wait started at the gates.  The good news was that my friend, Jared, showed up and shortly thereafter a father-son combo from San Fran showed up.  We had met the San Fran guys the day before, but for the HR Derby we shared even more stories and really got to know them – heck, we even got the Jimmy Johns delivery tradition firmly planted.  Side note:  Yes, Jimmy Johns delivers to the stadium, just specify the gate and they show up on a bicycle.

Also showing up at the gates were Nick and Jabs.  I had seen them briefly the day before, but beyond saying a short hello and introductions, there was no time for stories.  The three of us played some catch and generally hang out.  Being around these giants of the ballhawk scene made me feel at peace for some reason.  Their nerves were not completely calm, their anticipation was also high, and this made me feel normal/acceptable.

A few more hawks filtered in and so we had a nice group photo taken on the giant gold glove in the plaza:

2014071402

Many stories and a few time-defying hours later, we finally entered the gates, but not before I got a DM from a very special Twitter-follower.  A few minutes after 3 pm I got a message from Jeff Allen – guitarists for an amazing local band that is kind of shut down indefinitely, The Plastic Constellations – and it said the following:

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How cool is that?!  Not only was this guy part of a band that I love (my favorite album of 2008 is their “We Appreciate You” swansong), but he is a writer for Rolling Stone!!… and wants to interview me!!(?!)

Of course I agreed to my second interview of the day.  I would have said yes to any Rolling Stone interviewer; I would have said yes to just talking to Jeff Allen at a baseball game; but meeting Jeff Allen, being interviewed for Rolling Stone, and being at an All-Star Game event?!  Too much.

Because I am so excited, why not share a photo and then the link right away?  I know, it’s out of order, but who cares.

2014071409

Balls Deep: A Home Run Derby Diary

Ball #1:

2014071403

Remember how I said I was going to toss-ups only?  Well, I stuck to my ways that had worked well the previous day and landed a nice HR Derby ball right away.  Who was this from?  I don’t know and cannot remember.  So many people were in the batting practice area (a complete media frenzy) so this mystery person just got lost in the shuffle.

Ball #2:

2014071404

This time I could see the jersey and remembered the name, Greg Colbrunn.

Ball #3:

2014071405

I shouted for Carlos Gomez (Go-Go) and he smiled as I flashed my “¿Pelota, Por Favor?” sign, but it was his buddy Starlin Castro – jealous Larry? – who ended up tossing me the ball from the other side of the batting cages.

Ball #4:

2014071406

Remember how I got interviewed by Sean Casey earlier?  Well, he remembered that I was chasing balls and hooked me up with one.  He even went out of his way to ask a coach for one from the bucket by the BP pitcher.

Ball #5:

2014071407

The skies opened up for a lengthy but light rain, so the crowd dispersed, except for me a few other diehards.  I cheered loudly for Justin Morneau as he took his BP rips with rain coming down.  He smiled a lot and then tried tossing me a ball, only to have it sail over my head and get picked up by someone else.  He was nice enough to try again a minute or so later.  This time, with much success.

2014071408

*End of BP/Begin HR Derby*

I decided to try for a Morneau HR, since he was the only lefty and all of left field was seating (next to impossible to sneak into and grab a seat).  I came about 5 feet short on his first HR… stupid flag.  If not for hitting the flag, I may have just snagged a Morneau derby ball.  Oh well, my nerves and anxiety over snagging a FlexBall were nagging away at me, but all would be made awesome shortly.

*End of HR Derby/Awards Ceremony*

Ball #6:

2014071410

One of the AL coaches or staff had a ball from the derby (one of the pitches that you see taken by a contestant) and tossed it just out of my reach.  Good thing I had a giant sign that I could use as a backboard!

Ball #7:

Drum-roll please…

2014071411

YES!!!  FLEXBALL!!!  Dominique is entering god-like status.  One of the hardest to snag balls was now going home with me.  It matched my orange jacket nicely, along with Mateo’s orange Twins cap, and the orange Gatorade that was tossed to me from the derby coolers on the field.  Orange is the new black.

I was in heaven.  I was batting 1.000 in my commemorative quest at the All-Star Game, with just one more left in play (heck, I’d argue I was batting an impossible 1.333, since that commemorative softball made it 4 for 3 in a weird way).

Can you tell that I am stoked?

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While Paul was a little less stoked and Mateo… well, we’ll let him speak for himself.

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Here’s the entire group, followed by the two-day total.

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Thank yous:

  • Two mystery men
  • Greg Colbrunn
  • Starlin Castro
  • Sean Casey – for the interview and ball
  • Justin Morneau – we miss you and wish you much success
  • Dominique – thanks for the white whale
  • Joseph Pedlowe and his father – cool dudes from the San Fran area
  • Eric Jabs and Nick from PNC - for playing catch
  • Leiming Tang – wish I had more time to talk to him
  • Paul Kom
  • Mateo Fischer – for using his orange hat
  • Jeff Allen – for the interview and chilling with a TPC fan
  • Jordan Roske (and his wife) – for hanging out with Jeff and me, then taking a photo
  • The Plastic Constellations – for beautiful rock and roll music

All-Star Game – Day 1 – Futures Game – Balls 312-316 (July 13, 2014)

World Futures 2 – USA Futures 3

Target Field – Minneapolis, MN

July 13, 2014


 

I’m still not sure where I am or what just happened.  This whole “extended-weekend” of festivities has taken a toll on not only my feet, but my mind.  The anticipation is like the illegitimate lovechild between an insomniac and a child waiting for Santa on Christmas Eve.  For about a week before the ASG I was prepping in my head, trying to come up with a game plan, but knowing full well that I had no clue what to expect.  And when exactly was I thinking of this?  When I should have been sleeping.  The result: I spaced on the simplest of things and was in a completely different kind of fog compared to the one I am now in.  (Just ask my wife, she can attest to my forgetfulness during this time period.)

If you look at my previous entry – the one about what exactly the ASG was bringing to town and the time-table, that gives you the basic structure.  That was all I had to go off of.  I had a leg up on some folks, since Target Field is my home field, but the ASG is run by the fine people of the MLB, not the Twins – any changes or additional rules would be completely new to me (and might be ones that carried over from previous ASGs).  I was dreaming of each of the four commemorative baseballs followed by nightmares of me not getting my hands on them – or coming up just short and making a terrible error.  It was an anticipation purgatory.

Once the weekend came, I tried my best to keep myself occupied with non-baseball things; Friday night was a free orchestral concert on a lake and Saturday was supposed to be paddle-boarding (though that was rained out).  It was also the last few things I was able to do with my wife before I was essentially gone for 3 days straight due to baseball (save for a few hours of long “naps” after the games).

Sunday, July 13th @ 7 am:

The alarm sounds and I am already awake.  Whenever I am happily anticipating something I wake up BEFORE my alarm goes off.  This isn’t a terrible habit, but the bad part is the anticipation the night before keeps me up late and my sleep dwindles faster than an hour-glass while playing charades.  Today is “All-Star Sunday!”

FanFest was the first stop on the list before eventually waiting at the gates for many hours and finally being let in to enjoy some future MLB players and “celebrity” softball players.  I would cover FanFest here (or even in my next post), but I’ll save the non-game stuff for a later time.

Futures Game:

The first event at Target Field for the All-Star Game came in with an adrenaline rush and quickly calmed with this…

Ball #1:

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Sean Coyle (of the Boston Red Sox organization) was the one to help me out.  Being dressed loudly (bright orange suit jacket, for those who don’t follow me on Twitter) and having a catchers mitt did the trick.  Sean was done with his warm-up tossing and this gem of a commemorative was my first ASG ball of any sort.  SWEET!

Shortly after receiving this ball I had Alex Meyer – future Twin great – sign the ball (see the last photo below).

Ball #2:

2014071302

With the US team done taking some grounders as the batters were taking BP, coach Brian Snitker hooked me up with this wonderfully filthy ball.  I chose to attack toss-ups this entire All-Star Game, since I thought (and it was confirmed) that the outfield would be packed.

Ball #3:

2014071303

Another beautiful logo, this time compliments of the 2014 MVP pictured in the background – Dominique Frost.  I was worried about just getting one, but here I stood with three and the game hadn’t started.

Ball #4:

Another ASG/Futures ball!!…

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Wait, what?!  How did this get in there?  Looks like some, if not all, of the infield warm-up balls used by the USA team were regular MLB balls.  Thanks to Justin O’Conner, this one is now safely asleep with all his other friends.

That ball was it for batting practice, but the night was not over.  There was still a game and then a celebrity/legends game.

Here is the lineup for the US team:

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Note:  Tom Kelly – two time World Series winning coach – was the coach for team USA.  It was cool to see the coach of my childhood Twins coaching again.

Ball #5:

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GAMER!  A pitch grazing the dirt during Domingo German’s warm-ups in the bottom of the 2nd led to my amazing streak of gamers.  Every game this season (including Spring Training) has led to at least one gamer in my bag.  Dominique is definitely the MVP – and we are only in day one of the festivities.

Celebrity & Legends Softball Game:

Admittedly, I hadn’t heard of many of the “celebrities”, but I haven’t compared this to previous ASGs, so is this normal?  Do people just not want to visit Minnesota?  Don’t get me wrong, the athletes and Legends had amazing names and accomplishments, but the TV/music personalities were in no way A-listers.  No worries, though, it was pure entertainment and fun.  Jennie Finch and Adrian Peterson stole the show, but seeing Jim Thome swing a bat again was the real treat.

Oh yeah, I also snagged a couple of THESE balls:

(Soft)Ball #1:

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Thanks Charlie McDermott!… Did I really just say that?!  I flashed my glove and tried seeing if he’d toss.  He politely said he couldn’t, but then gave me the “shhh” with the finger to the mouth as if we were keeping a secret as he wound up and tossed it to me.

I wasn’t expecting to actually land this and wasn’t convinced it’d be commemorative, but what a fun surprise.

(Soft)Ball #2:

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Yep, two softballs snagged at a baseball game.  That’s some sort of record, right?  This time it was Minnesota’s very own, Chef Andrew Zimmern.  I really like Chef Andrew and his story, so this is kinda special.  Having said that, I would not eat it, even if it were a crazy food like he has on his show.  Now to find a softball cube or two…

 

Total Snagged:

2014071309

Five baseballs (four commemorative), two softballs (both commemorative), and a buttload of stuff from FanFest.

 

Thank yous:

  • Sean Coyle
  • Brian Snitker
  • Justin O’Conner
  • Charlie McDermott
  • Chef Andrew Zimmern
  • Dominique

 

PS: Joey Gallo is an absolute beast.  One of the best BP sessions I’ve seen this year… and he’s in the MiLB!!  Look out Texas Ranger fans, you are in for quite a treat.

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