Snow Write – Balls 117 + 118 (April 23, 2013)
Introduction to the reader:
A month or so ago I finally made my plan for an unconventional entry public on this blog (See: HERE and HERE). In short, I wanted to do a handwritten blog post and send it in the mail to those who wished to have a copy for themselves – sort of like a pen-pal type of deal. For those of you who were interested, but did not contact me, you missed out on the physical product, but below is my original transcript that was then transferred to a regular-sized notepad and copied another 4 times. When I was all done, I had copied 24 pages (each copy was 6 pages) in additional to what you see below. To say that I am happy to be done with this experiment would be a disservice to the word “happy”.
So I will give you the basic lay-out and flow then let the scans/photos speak for themselves.
- Scans of my original written blog
- Photos taken by my disposable camera, with corresponding notes I wrote on the back
- Bonus “Game Notes” that I wrote at the game itself – These were NOT included with the ones I mailed out to those who requested a physical copy
- A typed transcript, in case you cannot read my handwriting. I normally have decent handwriting, but since I was writing more than I have in a REALLY long time, it got a bit sloppy, sorry.
Here it is! Enjoy!!!
Sorry for the blurriness, I kept my mini-notepad in my back pocket and pencil tends to smear.
Now for some bonus pictures; the “behind the scenes” or “making of” if you will…
Supplies, before being used.
Finished Product – as you can can see, this one is for Mateo.
Lastly, here is the fully transcribed version of what was written above, in case you couldn’t make out a few words.
I am writing to you – I am ACTUALLY writing to you – to tell you about my recent experience at Target Field. if you have this in your hand, then you already know about my blog – Plouffe’s New Hairdo. I will go a bit deeper with my thanks, as is customary on my blog, at the end, but thank YOU for being a dedicated reader of my silly ramblings on catching baseballs and other non-sensical thoughts that pop up.
How did this form of “blogging” come about?
At the end of the baseball season in 2012 I thought of some tweaks that I wanted to try for P’sNHd. I was going to be heading into my first offseason as a blogger, so I needed to think creatively. ideas for the offseason turned into ideas for the 2013 season, and it all kind of blossomed from there.
The first idea was donating money to a great cause and tying it in with ballhawking. i had seen other hawk blogs that did this and I had just the cause in mind, NAMI.org – go ahead and click the link, err, start up your computer, log on to AOL, listen to the dial-up tone, and type the address into Netscape. (Wow, that really showed my age right there.) After implementing a rather non-creative or original idea, i wanted to work on something truly my own.
The Idea Is Born:
Then it hit me, do a blog in its original form, pre-internet days. The idea was simple at first, send people my blog via snail-mail. After brewing the thought over for a few weeks, I decided to one-up myself, the blog would be handwritten. I love when music artists put together “deluxe packages,” and a few (see: Amanda Palmer) have even offered handwritten notes/lyrics, so I let that be my guide.
With Help, Via Twitter:
During my Spring Training adventures, I asked if kids still use wooden pencils at school. Jared Serre replied that he does, so I knew that writing with a REAL pencil was a must. I then decided to go “full retro;” bring a disposable camera, get it developed, and be surprised to see the photos. I took a few with my iPhone, but those are just in case, and will not be used for this “blog.” I kind of miss the thrill of seeing a good picture days/weeks after it was taken, the anticipation was very rewarding once you got the roll of film back.
…But enough small-talk, let’s get into the game!
Marlins vs. Twins – April 22, 2013:
I mentioned on my blog post from 4/22, that it was a bit of poetic justice that on Earth Day, Mother Nature punished us humans in Minnesota. I believe that climate change is real, it’s really a no-brainer, unless you disagree with all science has to say. (How’s gravity treating you? you believe in that part of science, right?)
We received 4-9″ of snowin the twins Cities metro area and so the game was canceled. A doubleheader was announced, and my tickets were now good for the 7:10 pm game on April 23rd.
Marlins vs. twins – Take Two – April 23, 2013:
The Twins beat the Marlins 4-3 in the 1:10 game, but work duties kept me from attending. Instead, I ended up arriving at Target Field around 4:45. Normally the gates open at 5:30 for a weekday 7:1- game, but the doubleheader pushed back gates to 6 pm entry. Couple that with no Batting Practice and you have a ballhawk’s worst nightmare – a boring pre-game which only included about 15 minutes of a few guys throwing some soft-toss. I kind of figured this (or something like it) would happen, so I knew that I would be lucky & happy with just a ball or two.
*As I do not yet have the photos in front of me, you will just have to read the notes on the back of the non-ball-collection pix.*
As I spent my 75 minutes in the cold shade (it was 39° and breezy) I realized a few things:
- No Mateo and no Paul
- Unknown attendance –
There were surprisingly few tickets on StubHub, but surely the last of the “winter games” would keep people at bay. Plus, the Twins announced that tickets for 4/22 could be used on other games, not just the rescheduled game. Plus, you didn’t have to redeem the ticket by game time, you could get a different game even AFTER the game took place. So this “switcheroo” meant a low turn out, right?
Well, I walked through the gates, picked up my snow, I mean RAIN gauge, and slowly headed over to the bullpen area. I knew there was no BP, no one throwing, and no one even in the dugouts. I stayed relatively warm in the sun and hoped for a ball to be tossed once the bullpen guys showed up. *I was skunked.* They didn’t show up nearly as early as usual, so that meant that I didn’t even get the opportunity. We were now less than 30 minutes to game time and I had a goose-egg.
I was somewhat nervous about being shut out, especially for such a special blog entry, but I remained calm. i had already psyched myself that this was a possibility and I knew that I always had a decent chance of a toss-up during or after the game.
After the Twins took an early 4-0 beating, and after I got shut out through 4 innings, Anthony Swarzak came in to relieve Mike Pelfrey after 2 outs in the top of the 5th. Anthony was warming up with Ryan Doumit and threw one in the dirt. Doumit tossed it to the dugout, Scott Ullger picked it up and then turned to the crowd to give it away. Since the crowd was thin and no one was paying attention, Scott decided I was a worthy candidate – with my catcher’s mitt and all.
*See Picture – Ball #1*
Whew, the streak continues.
After 7 innings of no Bat Boy toss-ups, I moved over to the Marlins’ side, directly above the umpires’ tunnel. I was in the first row and prime territory for a final ball once the game was over. I remembered the home plate umpire’s name, Lance Barksdale, and when it was time to pounce, I shouted and was rewarded with this beauty.
*See Picture – Ball #2*
Not too shabby. Multiple balls from a game with no BP and minimal toss-ups. I learned that Mr. Barksdale does not easily get rid of a baseball. While other umps get rid of any ball that hits the dirt, Lance kept the balls in play and would try to rub out the marks. Maybe this was the reason for the authenticator getting balls through 8 full innings.
After my second ball – the Twins lost, 8-5, by the way – I tried going to the other end of the dugout to get either Rob Brantly or the Bat Boy (Mario) to toss me one last ball. Rob came close, but had no ball to throw and apologized as he went into the locker room. Then, as I started to ask Mario, the usher came down and got crabby. His direct quote:
“Come on, you gotta leave, I’ve been here for twelve hours.”
Great words to hear from the equivalent of a “customer service representative” in a baseball stadium. i have met many nice ushers, but it amazes me when I meet the bad/angry ones; they are the people who should be helping create a happy & fun environment in the ballpark. They do not have to entertain me or go out of their way to please me, but just don’t be mean when people are following the rules.
*See Picture – Haul from game*
There it is, in all its goodness. Two balls, three rain gauges, an extra ticket, and a streak preserved.
I will now be developing my pictures, getting the envelopes ready, and copying my original text by hand another 5 or 6 times. For an added thank you for partaking in this experiment, please enjoy the Twins magnet schedule. It’s not much, but it’s something (and easily mailable – the rain gauges were not).
–>Please contact me (Twitter/Blog) once you have received this, then I can post the scans on my blog for all to read.
Thanks go out to Scott Ullger and Lance Barksdale for the toss-ups. Thanks also to the numerous people in MN that cannot tolerate a little cool weather, it gave me better seats.
Most importantly, thank you to Paul “A Piece of the Game” Kom, Mateo Fischer, Jared Serre, and my wife, Jael Vode; you (they) all helped shape this very blog entry.
PS: How did YOU like this blog experiment? Was it fun? Would you like something like this done again in the future? Feel free to answer this question on the real blog (below for you reading online).
(My full signature, Anthony Voda)