Surprisingly Big Game – Balls 142-148 (August 2, 2013)
Coming off of a 2 ball day was tough. I only had 48 hours to right the ship, and I figured I’d have quite a tough time, since the turn-out was probably going to be large due to a weekend fireworks show while kids are not in school AND the Astros BP is probably not exactly the best. I also put the added pressure on myself that I
wanted NEEDED one of the Astros’ commemorative balls – information from the East Coast had spread that they were not using the 2013 inaugural AL balls, but the 2012 50th anniversary balls. Since I had neither, I was still OK getting the old ones (maybe next year I can finally get the 2013 balls).
Before I get into the story behind each of the SEVEN balls I snagged, here is the photo of the day for August 2, 2013:
What is so special/weird about this picture? Well, look up who wears number 30 for the Twins… I’ll give you a clue, it’s a pitcher… Kevin Correia! That’s right, in an AL stadium, while playing a former NL team, the Twins decided to throw one of their pitchers out to bat. I’ll give you the details of why this came into play later, but let’s just say that I was amazed, especially with the outcome!
I got to the gates at a ridiculously early time. Not early enough to score free tickets from the Twins, but shortly after they gave away those tickets I was at the same gate – Gate #34. While I waited there were a few balls that were actually making it to the concourse and bouncing up to the gate. The first two went to some kids waiting, but the third (out of 4?) went directly to me, before hitting a turnstile. Lucky for me, Denny the ticket-scanner was there to kick it right back to me. I thanked him and then he posed for a photo… he WANTED and even ASKED to have his photo taken.
Denny, you are awesome! The streak was preserved, now I was only concerned about getting a commemorative. If I snagged one of the Astros’ 50th balls, I could consider my mission complete. But as you can tell from the title and by the previous sentences in this entry, my night was FAR from over!
After trying to score a commemorative from the pitchers warming up during batting practice unsuccessfully (WAY too many kids to even try to compete with) I switched gears and tried for a toss up down by the visitor’s dugout. I knew that the balls being hit were only regular balls, so there was no use trying to catch them in the bleachers, at least not if I wanted to complete my “mission.” I tried looking for dirty/scuffed up balls, since those were the ones that were more often than not the commemoratives that I had seen; the rest of the balls were pearly and all regulars for sure. After a few failed attempts to get guys’ attention, I yelled at Dave Trembley who tossed a ball to the kid next to me and myself. I promise that I said thanks right away, but obviously not loud enough, since he heckled me for appropriate thanks until I shouted a lengthy devotion of my thanks which he deemed acceptable. Dave even made a comment that he “thought he was in Philly” since I was not being thankful enough.
Things turned out to be all good though, since he was laughing and I made sure to give an acceptable enough appreciation for his generosity.
Here it is, my FIFTH commemorative snagged this year!
The ball is a bit scuffed and not exactly a prime example of the rather decent logo, but it doesn’t matter. It counts! After heckling Javier Bracamonte for a while about getting one of these balls (I may have started as soon as BP started), Javier finally came through and tossed me the ball that was used by Jarred Cosart in the bullpen in his pregame warm-ups. The entire ball bag was full of these commemoratives, most were mudded, but in perfect condition. This ball suffered the wrath of the warm-ups and high pitch count, but at least it is now in my possession.
I don’t know how it took so long to mention this, but Paul was also at this game (we were also both at the 7/31 game), but he was not fortunate enough to get one of these beauties… yet. *Paul is attending the game as I write this entry, so hopefully he has one by the time I hit “Publish”.*
I was content with my third ball, since I had effectively accomplished my goal. I even considered calling it a night and watching just a little bit of the game and getting home early. I don’t know why I would even consider this – maybe because I had been to a game already this week and wasn’t used to going to much baseball in July, or maybe it was because it was a Friday night and I wanted to hang out with my wife – but having Paul at the game made me reconsider. I wanted to put up a good number, not as a form of bitter competition, but in a fun competitive way, since we seem to bring out the best in each other.
So with that long-winded explanation of why I remained at the game and kept ballhawking, let me introduce gamer number one of THREE on the night:
This beauty came from Joe Mauer – the second game in a row that I attended that I was tossed a gamer by Mauer – after Samuel Deduno struck out Jason Castro to end the top of the 3rd inning.
If you are keeping score at home, and know of my donation schedule, you will know that this ball would signify a total of $7 donated for the night (1 commemorative: $3, 1 gamer: $2, 2 batting practice balls: $2). …but wait, there’s more!
In the top of the 7th inning Twins’ pitcher Jared Burton hit Brandon Barnes with a pitch. This ball ricocheted off of Barnes towards the Astros’ dugout and finally settled into the hands of Eduardo Perez. I was over by the Astros’ side now and watched this whole thing play out; so when Eduardo finally looked to toss the ball after the Twins ended the 7th inning, I was able to maintain the complete story behind the 5th ball of the game.
‘Twas the bottom of the 8th and I had made my way back over to the Twins’ dugout to take some pictures and get a good position to hopefully see some magic happen (since we were trailing 2-1). As I prepped to cheer on the home team, I gave Ron Gardenhire a nice little shout and fist pump, to show him the fans – or at least I – was behind him. I was not expecting him to take the ball that he had recently received from the umpire (who rolls them over to the Twins’ dugout whenever they get scuffed) and toss it up to me. I was not asking, nor was I expecting.
Sure enough, a new personal best, my 3rd gamer of the night!…
WHAT?! This is crazy!! To top it all off, the Twins decided to tie the game in the 8th, give up the lead in the top of the 9th, and reclaim a tie in the bottom of the 9th! It was now 3-3 in extra innings, which set the stage for…
Remember the first picture I shared in this entry? Kevin Correia, a pitcher, was warming up on the on-deck circle in the bottom of the 13th inning. He was replacing the 9 hitter (Pedro Florimón – who was replaced by a string of pinch hitters and pitchers, since Doug Bernier had replaced the DH Chris Colabello). it’s not often that you get to see a pitcher hit for an American League team, especially in an American League park against an American League team! Gardy had a thin bench with all of these double switches, so it made sense to send up a pitcher who had spent some time in the National League; he could probably at least lay down a bunt.
But Kevin Correia wasn’t the first pitcher we saw warming up in the on-deck circle. No, Ron Gardenhire, the mad genius, had sent up Mike Pelfrey as Clete Thomas was battling at the plate.
When Clete Thomas reached on a walk, Mike Pelfrey was lifted for Kevin Correia. Kevin Correia, in my eyes, was the unsung hero of the game as he put down a wonderful bunt which effectively moved Clete to second and set up Brian Dozier to win the game – a hair before the game would officially end in Saturday. Brian Dozier ripped a single and the rest is history. The Twins won, 4-3, and in dramatic fashion. I had mentioned in the 8th inning, when it looked like the Twins were looking to tie the game, that I smelled extra innings; I even said (multiple times) that I predicted 13 to be played that night.
I ended up looking like a genius, but not nearly as much as Ron Gardenhire and his circus of now messed up batting lineup. Side note: I may have not only called Gardy a mad genius to his face, but it’s possible I professed my love to him (“Gardy, I love you, you mad genius!” if I read the transcripts correctly).
After Brian Dozier got a bucket of Gatorade dumped on him during his post-game interview (by my favorite, Trevor Plouffe) he walked towards the clubhouse, stopped, and took out 4 baseballs. Here is the one that I ended up with:
After the game was finished the Twins still had to let a handful of softball players perform a Home Run Derby – these guys were ANIMALS, hitting them into the 3rd deck! The last part of the triple feature – Twins game and softball derby being the first two – was a fireworks show. After witnessing a REAL fireworks show in Denver on the 4th, I had low expectations. By no means was this show even close to the one nearly a month ago, but it was a decent way of capping off a spectacular win!
This is normally the part of the show where I wind down,show a recap photo and then give my thanks, but I have a bit of bonus stuff (like double creme Oreo creme in between the two cookies) to cover.
Recap of the haul:
I mentioned to Paul that I was thinking about going to both the Friday and Saturday games for the Twins/Astros series, but after my near disinterest early in this game, and my completion of obtaining a commemorative, I decided to change gears and go with my wife to…
The Minneapolis Art Festival!
Every year the city of Minneapolis holds an art festival that is held in multiple locations across town. We decided to check out the Loring Park and Uptown portions of this festival.
At this festival there were plenty of art vendors (local and national), food stations, and the unfortunate large numbers of corporate booths trying to sell non-art goods and services.
Photo #1: Photo of the day for August 3rd (from Loring Park)
Photo #2: Example of artwork – wood table.
Photos #3 and #4: Food vendor selling Venezuelan food – soon to open up a restaurant on 45th and Central in NE Minneapolis.
I ordered a Lemonade (which was lime and cane sugar) and a Carne Arepas (beef brisket, cheese, and cornbread). Delicious!
Photo #5: While visiting the Uptown area (OK, I really just visited Cheapo while my wife and her family quickly checked out the art) I saw this sign…
Photo #6: My haul from my visit to the Art Festival – Raspberry Jalapeño Balsamic Vinegar and three CDs. Notice that the Coolio CD was only 95 cents?! That’s a blast from my grade school days!
Well, that’s it for my recap of the baseball game and additional adventure to the art festival. Minneapolis ain’t so bad!
- Justin Morneau for dropping such huge bombs in BP as I waited at the gate.
- Dave Trembley for the toss up and the heckling.
- Javier Bracamonte for the commemorative! You rule, Javier! Thanks for being the reason why I was able to donate an additional $3 to NAMI! (By the way, the final donation from this game? $12
- Joe Mauer for the second gamer toss up in my last two games at Target Field.
- Eduardo Perez for the 5th ball of the day.
- Ron Gardenhire for being a lovable mad genius AND the toss up.
- Brian Dozier for ending the game before it went into another day AND for the toss up.
- Paul for the company and being the reason why I stuck it out and put up a great night!