Happy Miles Davis Day!

In honor of the man who turned me on to jazz (though one could argue that title actually belongs to John McLaughlin), I thought I would share with you my “Top 5 Miles Davis Albums”.  Please, give them a listen, who knows, you might find yourself liking jazz, too.

5.  Live-Evil (1971)

live-evil

While I would actually point you to the “Cellar Door Sessions” box-set, I realize that not everyone has the patience to take in six discs.  Live-Evil is the best bits of The Cellar Door exercises.  The team includes Herbie Hancock, John McLaughlin, Joe Zawinul, Chick Corea, Billy Cobham, Wayne Shorter, and Keith Jarrett among others.  Imagine those minds coming together for this beast of an improv session.

Stand-out track: “What I Say”

4.  Bitches Brew (1970)

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I am a sucker for longer, extended cuts; if it’s a jam session, then even more so.  “Jazz-fusion” and “free jazz” are my favorites among the sub-genres of jazz, and this album might be one of the best fusion pieces ever (definitely the best collective group of fusioin artists to appear on one album).

Stand-out track: “Bitches Brew”

3.  In A Silent Way (1969)

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Miles goes electric… kind of.  While more electric and showing signs of his future dive into “fusion”, this album is far from the “crazy” label that comes with most fusion LPs.  This two track, double sonata offering is concise while still being playful enough to explore some very Davis-inspired riffs.

Stand-out track: “Shhh/Peaceful”

2.  Kind of Blue (1959)

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The classics of classics.  The holiest of the holy… and still only #2 on my list.  While it was hard to place at #2, it in no way detracts from the legacy that this going-on-60-year-old album has made for itself.  Every track is amazing and without “Kind of Blue” your jazz collection is a sham, your definition of Miles Davis inaccurate, and your very understanding of music probably a hoax.

Stand-out track: “All Blues”  (apologies to the other 4 tracks, this was the hardest choice of the entire list)

1.  Sketches of Spain (1960)

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If Miles had not recorded another note after “Kind of Blue” his legacy would still be incredible and he’d still have a shot at the Mount Rushmore of Jazz.  So how would most artists follow up a quintessential classic?  Most fall on their faces or release a “decent attempt”, but very few can not only prove that their masterpiece was not a fluke, but just the BEGINNING!  Sketches of Spain, while not a experimental or Davis-controlled as other LPs, is just perfectly played music.  if you cannot get into this album, then jazz is not for you… and maybe music all together is not your thing.

Stand-out track: “Concierto de Aranjuez (Adagio)”

So there you have it, my favorites of Miles Davis, the would-be 89 year old who changed music as a whole.  His influence is immeasurable at this point, but if you want to see where he was headed towards the end of his life (and you are feeling daring), try the “late years” Miles.  Hip-hop may have had an entirely different sound had Miles been able to stick around another decade.

***Writer’s confession:  My love of “Sketches of Spain” runs so deep because “Concierto de Aranjuez (Adagio)” is my personal relaxation song.  Whenever I feel down, anxious, or in need of some alone time, I play this movement.  I love that song, plain and simple.***

Much Lucky, Very Hundred, Birthday Wow! – Balls 418-423 (May 15, 2015)

Tampa Bay Rays 2 – Minnesota Twins 3

Target Field – Minneapolis, MN

May 15, 2015


Lucky?  Sure, most people think that getting 6 balls at a game is “lucky,” but I have a different bit of luck to share.

Hundred?  If you follow the Twins, you probably know, if not, you’ll be told after the news of another Twins comeback.  Oops, sorry about that… *SPOILERS!*

Birthday?  Happy Birthday, Brian Dozier.  Sorry, but we couldn’t get you a better birthday present than what you gave yourself (and your team… and the fans).

Broken Record:  I got to the game early. (SHOCKER!)  The traffic was absolutely terrible – a 15 minute drive from work took nearly an hour; a huge thank you goes out to the traffic planning and construction committees.  The southwest metro area is certainly underpopulated and chooses not to travel north, especially on the weekend.  He said with heavy sarcasm.

But enough chit-chat, let’s count baseballs!

Ball #1:

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A home run by a Twin in BP that took a weird bounce meant my first of the day.

EDIT: After much careful deliberation, reviewing of tapes, and hours of studious analysis, I have determined (with high confidence) that Kennys Vargas was the man who hit this ball.  Basically, it aligns with the BP lineup card I was given and where the HR was hit.

Ball #2:

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Aaron Thompson toss-up.  I have long hair, Aaron has long hair, maybe we should have a “hair-off?”  (Side note: If you try to figure out which one is Aaron during warm-ups but cannot see his number, look for the only guy with his hair up in a tight ball.)

Ball #3:

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I’m about 73% sure that this was tossed up by bull-pen catcher Scott Cursi.  It was a not-young/not-old, shorter, rounder, coach with a catcher’s mitt and a newly grown beard (maybe a week or two of growth) – sound like Scott?

Ball #4:

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I had seen bench coach, Tom Foley, hit up a ball to someone in the 2nd level in centerfield, so I was hoping to catch a ball off of a Fungo for the first time, but instead it was just a standard toss-up.

After BP was over – Tampa hit only a couple dingers – I made it over to my usual spot.  I have mentioned for the past few entries that Joe Vavra is a wonderful man…

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He is still wonderful.  This is my third game in a row with a BP lineup card.  I will still include you in the “end credits”, but Joe Vavra… THANK YOU.

Ball #5:

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Ask Oswaldo Arcia in Spanish and you shall be rewarded?  Straight from the game ball bag.

During the first 5 innings I tried to snag a HR at my “Kennys Vargas spot”.  Result: No HR ball for me tonight.

Instead, I caught something unlikely and LUCKY!!  (There’s one of those key words.)

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I got a can koozy and 4 lottery tickets.

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And on two of those tickets I was a “winner”.  I was given $4 worth of tickets and can now cash them for $5 ($1 top ticket, $4 on the bottom ticket – $2 horseshoe + $1 DOUBLE gold brick).

So what did I blow all my winnings on?

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A vegan burger.  While it isn’t the best representation of a good vegan meal, it is still incredibly great to see vegan options “in the wild”.

Ball #6:

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A ball in the dirt during Jake Odorizzi’s warm-up in the middle of the 6th.  Tossed to me by Joe Mauer.

The Twins would draw blood this inning and complete another comeback.  Brian Dozier, the BIRTHDAY boy, had a HR early in the game and the game-winning RBI sac-fly.  (Word-of-the-day number two!)

Also of note, Minnesotan and two time All-Star, Glen Perkins came in to get the save, his HUNDREDTH of his career.  (There you go, all words are in play.)

The May 15th Family Photo:

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Recap:

THANK YOUS:

  • Joe Vavra
  • Aaron Thompson
  • Tom Foley
  • Scott Cursi
  • Oswaldo Arcia
  • Joe Mauer
  • Dominique – Good luck with the new position in the near future!

PS: Please visit the Go Fund Me page I made in order to raise money for NAMI… and help me get to the All-Star Game (more accurately, help me afford the expensive ASG ticket prices).

www.gofundme.com/VotePlouffe

Read about it here on the blog.

A Proposition of Fun AND Awareness (Please Read, Share, and if possible, Help)

Like Amanda Palmer said (and I paraphrase), “Take the donut.”  Her TED talk was a very inspiring one of asking for help.  I have admired Amanda from afar – mostly in her music, but also her Twitter talks, and even some topical commentary (political, social, hysterical, etc.) – but I never thought I would take her up on this speech.  I never thought I would put myself out there to ask for help in this way… but I don’t want to give it all away now, so please read the following:

If you are a serial reader of this blog you will know the following thing:

  • I love going to baseball games (and catching baseballs).
  • Trevor Plouffe is my favorite player… possibly ever (Robin Ventura probably shudders at this idea).
  • I go on plenty of road trips, because…
  • I have anxiety.

So why the new post?  Because all of those four points converged into the following idea…

Crowdsourcing a baseball adventure!

Selfish?  Partially.

Charitable?  Most definitely… with your help.

The Goal:

Baseball/Personal:  See Trevor Plouffe play in his first All-Star Game.  Hey, he’s 2nd in the MLB right now (5/12/15) for WAR among 3B, so there is a very good chance right now.  Shouldn’t the guy who runs the unofficial “#VotePlouffe” campaign try to be there?!

Mental Health/Charitable:  Raise funds for NAMI by including the community.  I could raise some money – and will be this year in the rest of my baseball adventures – but doing it as one person only goes so far.  If I include numerous people (by putting the “crowd” in crowdsource) I can hopefully make that pot much bigger, while also raising the funds needed to get one ticket for the 2015 MLB All-Star Game.

The Details:

I can cover the cost of travel (aka “gas”, since my anxiety would still prevent me at this time from flying) and hotel(s), but the ticket prices – now that I am looking at 3rd party, NOT face value – are a bit of a burden and would probably prevent me from realizing this dream.

So this is where you come in (hopefully).  I will be raising funds at a 50/50 rate between ticket and NAMI.  Once I hit my maximum ticket price ($2,000… I told you they were expensive) then it will be 100% NAMI.

Examples:

  • I raise $1,000 = $500 for a ticket and $500 for NAMI
  • I raise $4,000 = $2,000 (or less) for a ticket and $2,000+ for NAMI
  • I raise $10,000 = $2,000 (or less) for a ticket and $8,000+ for NAMI

And on the off chance that you have an ASG ticket that is close to the AL dugout/3rd base line (dream location in order to get some sweet photos and cheer loudly for Señor Plouffe) and you want to donate it straight up, then this campaign becomes 100% funds to NAMI.org.

*NAMI.org is a national organization for treatment and awareness of Mental Illnesses of all kinds – anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, etc.  Please visit their site if you want to learn more or if you, too, feel like you suffer from any mental health issues.  It is truly a great resource for anyone in the US.

Now I understand that not everyone can help financially.  I get it.  Heck, I am asking YOU for help because I could not do it myself.  If you still wish to help me, but have no funds to do so, please share this blog post, share my Go Fund Me page, and help me direct others who may have the ability to this fun cause.

The site:

www.gofundme.com/VotePlouffe

More Details (Suggestions/Comments/Concerns/Opinions?):

I am open to any and all ideas, though I do have a few of my own at this point.

When I reach certain milestones I will do certain things or possibly giveaway certain prizes?

Reach $200:  Buy a green suit jacket at Goodwill, add a message about mental health on the back, and wear it to the ASG.  (Green is the color of mental health.)

Reach $500:  Buy a 2015 MLB All-Star Game ball, try to get it autographed by someone and then give it away to a random donor.

Reach $1,000:  Something crazy.  Ideas?

Reach $2,000:  Even crazier.

Reach $4,000:  This is the maximum ticket price goal.  Maybe do t-shirts for the top ten donors?  This should be something big that I can say thanks to those who helped out.

Now is when I ask you. “Will you please help 50% me and 50% NAMI?”

THANK YOU.

PS:  The following ways are how you can get in contact with me, should you need to/want to…

  • Email: voan0201@gmail.com
  • Twitter: @tonyv433
  • Instagram: @tony433433
  • YouTube: Tony Voda
  • Go Fund Me: VotePlouffe (one last plug)
  • Facebook:  Sorry, it’s more of a stubborn thing by now; I shall hold out until they no longer exist

The One With Star Wars, Puppies, Baseball, and Dollies – Balls 411-417 (May 4, 2015)

Oakland Galactic Empire Athletics 7 – Minnesota Rebel Alliance Twins 8

Target Field – Minneapolis, MN

May 4, 2015


Like the title suggests, this entry will feature Star Wars (May the 4th, duh!), Puppies, Baseball (which is kind of a no-doubter, since this is an MLBlog), and Dollies – but just not in that order.

Randomize the list please…

  1. Puppies
  2. Dollies
  3. Baseball
  4. Star Wars
  5. ***Bonus Baseball!!***

Puppies:

I have a puppy – she is just shy of 9 months old.  I wanted a larger dog because of my childhood puppy – Kirby was her name – who was a Black Lab/German Wirehaired Pointer mix.  Evelyn (or Evie) is shorter (she didn’t get the long legs like the German Wirehaired Pointer gave Kirby) and she is lighter (almost 50 pounds compared to Kirby’s max weight of around 80).  BUT, Evelyn is still quite the handful.

But why am I talking about puppies?  What does this have to do with ballhawking?

Kirby’s birthday was on May 4, 1993.  She was named after Kirby Puckett.  And her name is permanently etched outside of Target Field – thanks, Mom and Dad!  I wanted to go to this game long before any of the Star Wars hoopla was announced.  My motivation was to see Kirby again (or at least her name) and take in a baseball game in her honor.

Side note:  She really loved baseball, too.  She came to many of my baseball games in grade school through high school.

So here she is, Ms. Kirby Puppy Voda, on the “Passion” pane in the Target Field Plaza.

IMG_4172

I’ve read many of the other names and can honestly say that I never ran across a name that was obviously a dog.

Dollies

Dollies, or better known as action figures.  Action figures for baseball seem to have gone extinct – anyone else remember Lineup Figures? – but the thing that replaced them are BOBBLEHEADS!  Since it was Star Wars night at Target Field (and across the nation), the Twins promotion for the night was a Star Wars-themed bobblehead of Phil Hughes… “Hughes the Force”.

Instead of having a limited number and having crazy lines with people just clogging up every gate, the Twins tried something new, and quite frankly, genius.  The steps were:

  1. You had to buy a special “Hughes the Force” ticket (limited sections available)
  2. Pick up your bobblehead at Gate 6/Target Field Station
  3. Only available from 5 pm to the 2nd inning

Simple, efficient, and genius sales strategy.  The early season sees low attendance in the cheaper sections, ones furthest from home plate.  In order to sell some of those seats, attach those to bobblehead night – the other seats will still sell, since people will always desire the “I’m sitting nearly on the field” type of ticket.  it also alleviated any crazy fights at the gates, and let people feel guaranteed a precious giveaway instead of feeling the need to show up at noon for a 7:10 game.

(A photo of the “doll” will be shown in the group photo… at least one of the box, with a photo of the bobblehead on the box itself.  Does that make it kind of a meta-photo?  A photo of a photo of said item… sweet.)

Baseball (Part 1 – Batting Practice):

Ball #1:

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Eduardo Escobar.  He now ties Ron Gardenhire for the second most by any player/coach – the top being Trevor Plouffe.

But the runaway leader of ANYONE is Dominique.

Ball #2:

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Mr. Athletic man.  I’m not quite sure who this is – damn you, BP jackets! – but it just might be Catfish Hunter himself.  Yep, another game where a man with his number retired by the ball club has tossed me a ball.  This is absolute craziness.

Ball #3:

IMG_4239

Red Hot Chili Peppers great, Chad Smith tossed me this ball.  I didn’t know that he gave up drumming and pursued baseball, but it makes sense.  If his lookalike, Will Ferrell, got to try baseball, why not Chad?

Ball #4:

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Dr. Sean Doolittle with the hook-up.  Eddie Murphy never looked so different, but I guess I’ve never seen him in person.  Love the beard, though.

Ball #5:

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Upon further investigation – mainly photo enhancement tools like they use on crime dramas on TV – I was able to pinpoint this otherwise faceless Athletic as the one and only, Dennis Eckersley!  He still looks like he can throw the ball.  I’m beginning to wonder why all these retired greats ever gave up on baseball in the first place.

INTERMISSION

Star Wars:

New security guards – Stormtroopers:

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IMG_4243

Ground rules a la Star Wars Intro Scene:

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The evil one – Stephen Vogt – who hit a grand slam in his last at-bat:

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Well played, Twins.  You cause a massive deficit, you are part of the Evil Empire.

And how about one of your good guys…?

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#VotePlouffe… seriously.  Vote. Plouffe.

And a Star Wars take on an old Metrodome classic – Walks Will Haunt (Yoda remix):

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Baseball (Part 2 – Game Time):

Ball #6:

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Fresh from the mudding room (I can only assume that this is a thing… or at least WANT this to be a thing) from the hands of Target Field’s REAL Luke Skywalker, Dominique.

And for a second game in a row…

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The BP lineup card!  Joe Vavra is an absolute wonderful man.  He is like my Yoda of ballhawking.

Ball #7:

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This was a pitch thrown by Chris Bassitt to Brian Doier to make it a 2-2 count in the bottom of the 8th (no out).  Assist to Dominique, yet again.

Oh, and as for that massive 4-0 hole in the first inning?  ERASED!  The Twins came back to make it 4-4, then down 5-4, even things up, and then took the permanent lead with a 3-run Torii Hunter blast.

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There I am, cheering on a game saving catch by Jordan Schafer.  The umps ruled it a trap (“It’s a trap!” could be heard by the 2nd base umpire) only to realize that they could not be fooled by the Athletics’ mind games.  It was a catch and ultimately the good guys prevailed.

Another Family Photo:

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Recap:

Thank you:

  • Joe Vavra
  • Dominique
  • Eduardo Escobar
  • Sean Doolittle
  • Chad Smith
  • Unknown A’s – but more than likely Dennis Eckersley and Catfish Hunter
  • Star Wars/cosplayers

Announcement Time! (Music, Baseball, and… Stuff?) – or: How I learned to stop being old and decided to go to the Tyte Jeff show.

Guess what…

Tyte Jeff ROCKS!!!

Again, I captured Sutured Youths from his set at The Nomad, just over 5 months after the last Tyte show I went to.  These late night “school night” shows are killer when you start to think you are turning old and lame.  We didn’t make it back home – to a very sleepy/happy puppy – until just after 2 am, but it was TOTALLY WORTH IT!

Lyrics to Sutured Youths:

When we were young we sang about youth, all brightness, fury and flame. Told all the kids to be truer and purer and fight in fervor’s name.
Got bathed in ripe booze and cheap smoke, wide eyed and huddled up close. It takes a special kind of righteous to think that nothing will ever change.
Cause we were. Confident in our confidence and certainly broke. Negligent in our negligence and certainly stoked.
Cause you want it, cause you need it and cause you’d do anything to get it. That perfect chorus, yes, I hear it breathing. That distant thunderclap is the drums.
Now we’re old and half dead, but these truths seem to last. Things spark and magic’s not fake. And our old bones can shimmy in place. Still coming on strong and hoping for the perfect song. But there’s a truth that we just can’t shake. One nothing ever could hope to replace.
Cause we were. Confident in our confidence and certainly broke. Negligent in our negligence and certainly stoked.
Cause you want it, cause you need it and cause you’d do anything to get it. That perfect chorus, yes, I hear it screaming. That distant thunderclap is the drums.
Now we’re old and half dead. Sutured youths overhead. Art really ain’t that heroic and neither is this little band. They’re just the things we do to push away this desperate feeling that we have. But there’s a truth that we just can’t shake. One nothing ever could hope to replace.

As you can see, “Tyte” Jeff (Allen) is quite the lyricist.  Many of the songs resonate so incredibly loudly with me and what I assume are similar people of my generation that are where we are in life – those that don’t really have the right to complain, since we are not living in harm’s way or poverty, but not entirely happy with the way things are (personally, politically, socially, or some other -ally word).

But Tony, you going to a show isn’t really an announcement, is it?

Thanks for paying attention, dear reader.  This isn’t the announcement of the Tyte Jeff portion of the show… yet.

Announcement #1:

Tyte Jeff will be performing at the Basilica Block Party in Minneapolis on Friday, July 10th!  Yep, the same night as Motion City Soundtrack and WEEZER!!!  My childhood favorite, Weezer, and two of my local favorites all performing on the same night.  How tyte is that?!

socially, or some other -ally word).

So, Tony, you have no other announcements or big plans until the middle of July?!  You are LAME!

You know what?  you are really beginning to annoy me, dear reader!  Can’t you just let me get my words in and form proper transitions between these disjointed subjects?!

I’m sorry about that one weird “angry reader,” but it’s the internet and there are always people trying to troll and pick fights.

Where was I?…  Oh, right…

Announcement #2:

Six days before the Tyte Jeff/Weezer/MCS show I will be going to a baseball game.  While going to a baseball game is normally not big news – after all, I go to numerous every year and this is a blog dedicated to those adventures – this game is special.  It’s a game on the 4th of July!  Wait, that’s not why it is special…

I’m going to Kansas City for the Twins game on the 4th of July!!!

And I’m going to the…

Wait, where did the interrupting angry reader go?  I thought I’d have to quickly add my next announcement to this one in order to prevent that idiot from doing his thing.

Announcement #3:

I am 95% sure that I am also going to Busch Stadium in tropical St. Lucia.  I didn’t realize that a country other than Canada had an MLB team, but apparently this Caribbean sovereign island has a team.  They must be named the Cardinals because that is where the birds migrate to.  It’s science.

My anxieties about flying will force me to drive, so we’ll see how well the car floats in the Gulf of Mexico.

(If you cannot sense the sarcasm and attempt at humor, I feel sorry for you.  Here’s the straight news: I’m going to St. Louis, probably looking at the August 17th game.)

Announcement #4:

This post is ending.

Now.

Comeback at Target Field – Balls 405-410 (April 28, 2015)

Detroit Tigers 2 – Minnesota Twins 3

Target Field – Minneapolis, MN

April 13, 2015


Sure, the Twins performed a nice little comeback, but that’s not exactly what this blog is dedicated to, is it?  No, the comeback of highest importance is my return to baseball, after serving a 15 day DL stint – I had a severe case of Vinyl-itis (it got really bad during the week around Record Store Day).

Before getting into the ballhawking, let me give you a one question pop-quiz…

What time best describes when I got to Target Field?

  • A:  After gates opened/Late.  (Hey, traffic was bad!)
  • B:  Just before first pitch.  (7:02 for a 7:10 game isn’t a total loss, right?)
  • C:  Just as gates for the general public opened.  (Early STH entry has barely garnered me additional balls anyway.)
  • D:  Within seconds of gates opening for STH early BP.  (PERFECT timing.)
  • E:  Ridiculously early.  (Before the Twins took BP; I was lonely at the gate.)

***Answer at the end of this post.***

Ball #1:

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An Oswaldo Arcia toss-up is not a bad way to get on the board.

Damn, I guess this eliminates answers A through C!

Ball #2:

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Some right-handed Twin hit a home run that nearly went into the upper deck.  I played towards the front in the lower deck and had to scramble up the bleachers to get it.

Ball #3:

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Casey Fien might end up winning the “nicest Twin (ballhawking)” award for 2015.

Ball #4:

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Can anyone tell me who the random Tiger with his back towards me is?  Didn;t think so.  This ball was tossed by a faceless Tiger, possibly even a ghost.  Let’s call him Ty Cobb.  Yep, I got a toss-up from Mr. Nice himself, The Georgia Peach, Ty Cobb.

Ball #5:

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Within minutes (possibly seconds) of one another, I was given a nice game ball from the “Bag O’ Game Balls” (TM) and the Batting Practice Lineup Card, from Dominique Frost and Joe Vavra respectively.  Those two guys are probably the nicest dudes in the MLB.

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How’s that for a photo of the two?  I don’t want to speculate too much, but I believe that Security is on the field next to them because of concerns that one of the following may happen:

Women will either 1) throw their panties at them, a la any big name rock-star from the ’80s, or 2) rush the field like Morganna did long ago.  Either way, their appeal towards the masses causes crazy things, and security just needed to keep them protected (they both have a job to do, after all!).

Ball #6:

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Warm-up ball from Trevor Plouffe.  Remember to #VotePlouffe!!!  The ball snagging for tonight was over, but the game was only beginning – plus, I got the following:

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A Cucumber Mint Lemonade!  It was very concentrated (at least it tasted syrupy to me), but worth getting once in order to say I tried it.

When I purchased this different Lemonade I noticed some awkward signage.

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Since when is a “Free Refill” considered “FREE” if you have to pay FIVE additional dollars?!  you have a lot to answer to, Chef Andrew Zimmern!  (Yes, HE is the one personally responsible for this outright lie.  Not the Twins, not Delaware North (who services the concessions), and certainly not any marketing folks in between.  This is on the Chef’s head and his alone.

Then I took a photo simply called “#Baseball”.

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And then, before the comeback began, I took another photo.  This one is to remind you to what?

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#VotePlouffe!!

Now let’s close it out with a family photo…

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…and the answer to the pop-quiz…

If you answered “D” you would be…  WRONG!

Of course it was “E”.

Recap:

Thank you:

  • Joe Vavra
  • Dominique
  • Oswaldo Arcia
  • Trevor Plouffe
  • Casey Fien
  • Ty Cobb

Record Store Day 2015 – Electric Fetus and Hymie’s Vintage Records in Minneapolis, MN (April 18, 2015)

Remember my post from 2013’s Record Store Day?  Man, what kind of idiot gets up at 3:30 am to go to a record store?!  Everyone knows that showing up at…

3 am? Nope…

1 am? Not even close…

Midnight? Try harder…

10 pm? Getting warmer…

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NINE at night, THE NIGHT BEFORE, is now considered cool!  Yes, twelve hours before the opening of the doors, I was camping out – sixth in line – for exclusive pieces of physical media/music.  Downloads?  Those are for losers and pirates.  Give me old fashioned music that I can feel and admire.

So what was on my list?

  • Courtney Barnett – Kim’s Caravan 12″ single
  • The Dandy Warhols – Dandys Rule OK 2×12″ 20th anniversary (#ed and first ever pressing on vinyl)
  • The Dresden Dolls – The Virginia Monolgues 3×12″ (#ed, combined packaging of “Yes, Virginia” and “No, Virginia”)
  • Foo Fighters – Songs From the Laundry Room 10″ EP
  • The Hold Steady – Boys and Girls In America 12″ purple vinyl re-issue
  • The Hold Steady – Heaven Is Whenever 12″ orange vinyl re-issue (this was a RSD 2010 exclusive, though different artwork and on clear vinyl)
  • Tegan and Sara – Live at Zia Records 12″ blue vinyl
  • The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan 2×12″ red vinyl and white vinyl (first ever commercial release on vinyl, lenticular front artwork)

Of these 8 releases, how many would you guess that I was able to score?

The answer is embedding in the (semi-)hourly breakdown below:

  • 9-9:59 pm: I show up as the 6th person in line – the other folks ahead of me arrived around 7-7:30 pm.  Person #7 shows up within 15 minutes of my arrival.
  • 10-10:59 pm: My hunger and restlessness have me dreaming of vegan doughnuts from Glam Doll Donuts (who would later make an appearance at RSD, serving only “regular” donuts).  I convince #7 that he, too, is hungry.
  • 11-11:59 pm: The walk to Glam Doll (maybe half a mile away) and Spyhouse Coffee happens.  My sharing of an extra chair pays off; #7 (who was the recipiant of said chair) buys me two doughnuts and a soy Chai latte.
  • 12-12:59 am: Craziness on Franklin Ave.  Someone has their car pulled over and subsequently searched.  We heard police yell loudly and an arrest made.  Might they have been smuggling contraband records?  Most definitely not, but jokes of those sorts were told, nonetheless.
  • 1-1:59 am: Music is still being played on a small speaker and iPod.  Emotions/nerves and caffeine are carrying those that are present (probably 30-50 by now).
  • 2-2:59 am: I lost it.  I needed some rest.  I tried to sleep at about 8 pm, thinking I would be showing up at 1:30 am, but my inability to sleep (and photos of people already in line on Instagram making their rounds/likes) “forced” me to leave a warm, comfy bed – and loving wife and dog.  I end up sleeping in a car for the first time in a LONG time… for about an hour.
  • 3-3:59 am: I think I can make it – plus, the car was getting cool, as I left my blankets on the chair in line – and I show up to hold down the line again.  After about a half an hour I go back into the car for some more sleep.
  • 4-4:59 am: I wake up after another hour of rest.  When you have an alarm set, you’d think your mind would be at ease.  It was not; Record Store Day transformed into paranoia – I thought I was going to wake up to doors already opened… this feeling happened at about a 5 minute cycle.
  • 5-5:59 am: More fun in line.  Talk with #7 and #5, guess what about… Yep, MUSIC!  We exchange more stories of RSDs, vinyl collections, and favorite bands/guilty pleasures.
  • 6-6:59 am: One last rest.  A final hour of napping in the car and all of a sudden we are at the home stretch.
  • 7-7:59 am: The line is massive.  Stretching around the corner and towards Wendy’s, my hours of waiting are suddenly validated in my mind.  “I am going to get some damn fine records,” says the motto in my brain, over and over.

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  • 8-8:59 am: Numbers are handed out at 8 am by the store manager and everyone is now “locked in place.”  The homestretch, which is normally brutal, proves to be a breeze.  I don’t know if it is the sleep deprivation or the fact that I had waited in line for numerous hours only days before (Opening Day at Target Field), but I rarely check my phone and time FLIES!

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  • 9-9:05 am: Doors open and the true test begins; will or wait prove worth it?  Will everyone get what they had hoped for?  “Are number one through five going to take my shit?!”  Calm down, Tony… #1-5 have first crack and after one leaves I am the next to enter the adult candy store.
  • 9:06-9:19 am: I search for everything on my list, finding 7 of the eight with no issue… but where is the Foo Fighters’ EP?!  It’s alphabetical, but I do not see it… Ah, yes, behind another release, with an insanely ill-sized name tent… with only two copies remaining.  SCORE!!!  Aperfect eight for eight.  If I were playing baseball, this is a game/series that folks would talk about for quite some time.
  • 9:20-9:25 am: As I exit the RSD-exclusive area, I stop by the jazz section (the store is packed and travel is not recommended).  I see no Miles Davis, but Jean-Luc Ponty is staring at me in the form of “Upon the Wings of Music.”  I see five albums at 99 cents a piece.  Jean-Luc’s posse now resides in the makeshift mancave.

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  • 9:26-10 am: I checked out and headed back to home.  The original plan was to go over to Hymie’s right after, but that was when I thought it’d be closer to a 11 am arrival.  instead, I agree with Jael that I would stop back home and travel as a family to Hymie’s block party.
  • 10-10:59 am: Get home, nearly pass out, regain my composure, clean up, and head back out on the road.
  • 11-11:29 am: Travel from Prior Lake to Hymie’s in Minneapolis.

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  • 11:30 am – 1:30 pm: Attend the block party at Hymie’s.  Pick up a few used records in the store, search the free music bins outside, let Evie experience the crowds and other dogs, and have some snacks on a park bench as live music plays.

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  • 1:31-2 pm: Head back over to Glam Doll Donuts to get a few more pastries… for jael, of course.
  • 2:01-2:30 pm: Head back home.
  • 2:31-3:59 pm: Calm down, enjoy the doughnuts we picked up, catalog the music, and watch a little MASH.
  • 4-8:30 pm: CRASH.  Sleep never felt so good; while waking up never felt more strange and panicked.  I normally am not able to sleep very well if I take a nap during the day, but I was so drained that by 10 pm I was able to sleep like a baby again.

So would you like to see some pix of the newest members of the vinyl collection?  (If not, then please exit this post now.)

Electric Fetus Pick Ups:

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Courtney Barnett – Kim’s Caravan 12″

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The Dandy Warhols – Dandys Rule OK 2×12″ (Hand-numbered 200 of 2,000)

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The Dresden Dolls – The Virginia Monolgues 3×12″ (stamp-numbered 2,525 of 5,000)

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Foo Fighters – Songs From the Laundry Room 10″ EP (limited to 4,000)

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The Hold Steady – Boys and Girls In America 12″ (limited purple vinyl)

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The Hold Steady – Heaven Is Whenever 12″ (limited orange vinyl)

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Tegan and Sara – Live at Zia Records 12″ (limited blue vinyl, 4,500 copies)

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The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan 2×12″ (one red and one white vinyl)

The Jean-Luc Ponty 99 cent bargains:

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And a free local 7″…

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Charlie Parr – Over the Red Cedar 7″ (thanks RSD and those participating in MN!)

Oh, and a free slip-mat to promote Muse’s new album coming out later this year…

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Hymie’s Vintage Records:

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The Dave Brubeck Quartet – Time Out 12″ (only $2 and sold “As-Is”… well worth it for this masterpiece of an album)

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Miles Davis – Bitches Brew 2×12″ (under $20 for a very fine copy of another masterpiece in jazz/jazz-fusion)

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Various Artists? – ‘Gypsy Songs’ (Google translation tells me that the album is named ‘Gypsy Songs’, but the back of the album has more info that I have yet to decipher – this was a “wild card” pick up… totally worth it for $3!)

And now, just like any of my other posts, how about a group shot?  A look at the haul…

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(Three additional records are shown towards the top, but those were free ones that Jael – my wife – grabbed at Hymie’s.)

Opening Day 2015: A Couple Firsts During My Sixth – Balls 401-404 (April 13, 2015)

Kansas City Royals 12 – Minnesota Twins 3

Target Field – Minneapolis, MN

April 13, 2015


Six Opening Days at Target Field and I have attended… ALL SIX.  My traditional partner, Jared, was also present (aren’t traditions/superstitions great?!).  I got to the gates around 9 am and soon after I was doing this…

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Wicked flow, eh?  Anywho, after the gates opened, and the sweatshirts were received (yep, best clothing stadium giveaway, ever), Jared and I made our way into the right field seats – along with Paul.

Jared was the firs ton the board, a toss-up from Casey Fien.

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I had called out to Casey and he turned quickly to see Jared (20 feet to my left) and tossed it to him.  He realized shortly after that it was not Jared who had called out for a ball, but me, so…

Ball #1:

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Casey Fien was the first to hook me up with a non-Selig baseball at a regular season game!  Casey wins the award for the most toss-ups in 2015 (so far), as well as consideration for most ever that I’ve witnessed at a game.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the totals were in the double-digits during the brief time I started keeping track.

Ball #2:

Shortly after the first ball of the day (being on the board alleviates a lot of stress) I went over to my Champions Club seat/section.  I had one last goal in mind, getting an Opening Day ball.  I wasn’t worried about a big total, just “needed” to get my hands on the first (and only attempt) at this commemorative.  Having the 2013 and 2014 versions made me feel like I had a streak to keep alive.

Then it happened, by the grace of Dominique Frost…

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So pretty, so fresh, so clean.  This game-pearl came straight from the ball bag – the first of any Opening Day ball to be in the hands of any spectator in the stadium.

But before we get into the game-time details, let’s reflect on a few of the Opening Day festivities/sights:

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Royals taking BP.

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Paul Molitor and Joe Mauer talking to KEVIN GARNETT AND TYUS JONES!

Ball #3:

***ANOTHER FIRST!!!!***

Fast-forward to the top of the 5th, one out, Omar Infante at the plate with Trevor May pitching.  Omar fouls one off and it sky rockets, with very little backwards trajectory… this will be landing in the Champions Club!!  Not only that, but down an aisle that no one is in… except me!!

My Willie Mays impression failed (I got in my head and thought my surroundings were closer), but I still got it on the bounce.  My first foul ball, ever!

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Awesome, another dream crossed off the list.

Ball #4:

The last one of the day was another toss-up, from the best bat boy in the Bigs.

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This was a pitch in the dirt during warm-ups thrown by Tim Stauffer.  Shortly after this (during the bottom of the 7th) I got a call from my wife – she was locked out of the house and the puppy NEEDED to be let out (she’s new to the long work days in a kennel).  DANG IT!!

I had to leave before the game was over… when was the last time I had done that?  Probably the Harmon Killebrew bobblehead day last year (where I didn’t even have a glove).

So let’s close this entry out with a few more photos:

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View from the right field pole.

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Vargas at bat and Plouffe on deck.

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Plouffe hits a dinger (his first of the year).

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A posed pic of a special ball.

The haul:

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Recap:

Thank you:

  • Dominique (x2) – Still the best.  I’m not worthy.
  • Casey Fien – First regular season Manfred ball… THANK YOU!

The Evolution of the Tony Voda Baseball Card

In case you missed it, I now have my own baseball card.  I was lucky enough to win a contest with Topps as part of their #ToppsLive series that morphed into a Topps Opening Day 2015 insert called “Stadium Scenes”.  Mine (unsurprisingly) is of Target Field… in 2013!  It was even part of my #Project365Pix.

Why am I still so excited?  Because it was literally a childhood dream of mine to have my own baseball card.  Sure, I wanted to be on the front, in a major league uniform, and have just one stat (either a hit or 1/3 of an inning pitched), but that ship sailed LONG ago.

Before I reveal my card, which I was able to find in a pack of cards (don’t ask how many) – thus completing my elaborate dream – I want to share with you my homemade cards.  These cards are from 1991 and 1992, when I was 7-8 years old and the Twins won their last championship.

1991 Topps Homemade:

1991 Topps Front

1991 Topps Back

1992 Topps Homemade:

1992 Topps Front

1992 Topps Back

1992 Donruss TwinsFest:

1992 TwinsFest Front

1992 TwinsFest Back

2015 Topps Opening Day:

2015 Topps Front

2015 Topps Back

How cool is that?!  Sure, I understand that some of the stats do not make sense on my homemade versions, but give me a break, “Slugging Percentage” is hard for a kid to understand.  The cool thing is that I tried to use my real stats in those cards.  My numbers were not big power numbers, but I like to think that I was a solid, smart player.

Florida is Closed For Business – Balls 393-400 (March 20, 2015)

Pittsburgh Pirates 4 – Minnesota Twins 2

Hammond Stadium – Fort Myers, FL

March 20, 2015


The last day in Florida and I had one last goal: snag my 400th career ball.  Doable?  Yes.  Tough?  Snagging 8 isn;t exactly a cake walk.  Hopeful?  Mildly, but not stressing over it.  If I was able to reach 400, then it meant that I averaged more than 10 balls a game in Spring Training for the 2nd straight year.

As sad as it was to be leaving, I was also looking forward to getting home.  When you have your own little slugger waiting for you, it’s hard to stay away…

Evelyn Baseball

I love my little Evelyn.  She was staying with my parents and getting spoiled (and being the subject of many photos).  Check out her Instagram feed for more examples.

Ball #1:

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Tommy Milone warm-up ball.

Ball #2:

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Eric Farris BP homer, caught on the fly.

Ball #3:

395

Danny Ortiz toss-up.

Ball #4:

396

Unknown Twin HR caught on the fly.

Ball #5:

397

Unknown Pirate HR, caught on the fly.  This was AFTER I took a ball to the inside part of my right calf – one that was hit by my favorite player, Trevor Plouffe (and one I didn’t even snag).  I should have dove for that ball in hind-sight, but thought I would get hurt.  I was wrong.

Ball #6:

398

Another unknown Pirate HR caught on the fly.  This one was caught on a dead sprint – I started in the corner closest to left-center and tracked it down at the line.  Numerous people told me “nice catch” afterwards – some even said it after BP as I wandered the stadium.  Nothing beats making a good catch that goes noticed by those around you.

Ball #7:

399

Have no fear, the gamer streak carries forward to the regular season of 2015!  This one was a toss-up from Joe Mauer after the Twins recorded out #3 of the first inning.  Since the kids weren’t aware of the toss-ups yet, this was my only chance at landing one before it turned into kid-central.

Ball #8:

400

I was honestly happy with being at 399, and thought I would have to crack 400 at Opening Day at Target Field (doing so with a commemorative ball would have been perfectly dandy).  Oh well, this near-pearl was from a stadium worker who was cleaning out the dugout.  Not exactly the most memorable of ways to reach a milestone, but still unbelievable when I think of it with my grade-school version of myself.

Here’s the haul from the game:

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…And the haul from the entire trip (packed neatly in my suitcase:

FL Suitcase 2015

Lastly…

The Game Recap:

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