Farewell Target Field, Until 2014 – Balls 186-189 (September 29, 2013)
Since the beginning of the season I had been dreaming of this day. Why? Well, often times the final game of the year brings out some great fan-appreciation gimmicks, the most personal (and interesting) of these “giveaways” is the possibility of random game used items – like bats, hats, and whatever else the guys toss into the crowd.
Here’s how I dreamed the day would go:
- Get 2-3 balls (hey, it’s a Sunday day game, no BP)
- Go home with a batting glove
- Have a 50-50 shot at a bat
Let’s just say that I crushed that dream…
Since this game had been marked on my calendar, much like Opening Day is always marked, I didn’t get much sleep; I even woke up before my alarm went off. After realizing that leaving at 8:30 to get to a 1:10 was too early, I decided to procrastinate and watch some Netflix. Finally leaving the house around 9, I reached the gate at 9:45 – hey, it takes me 15 minutes or so to walk from my car to the field, since I love free parking.
This was my last time waiting at the gates in 2013. It didn’t feel real, but the idea of it ending did make me slightly sad. Since I assumed that BP was a no go, I went over to Gate 14 in order to get down to the the dugouts ASAP. Attention Autographer-Seekers: Go to Gate 14 if you want to get autographs, it is the quickest route to the best spots for sigs.
At Gate 14 there is a glass wall (as seen in the previous photo on the right-hand side) that has a list of all of the MN-born Twins players. On that list is my former high school baseball coach, Brian Raabe.
Coach Raabe is now a manager for a college team in the Twin Cities, so maybe we’ll see him make the leap to a big league level?
Once inside the gates I bolted down to my seating area, directly behind home and tried to leverage my access into a quick ball or two. When I got down there I noticed something weird, the batting cage was set up! What the heck?! Oh yeah, with the Indians still in the hunt and facing at the worst a game 163 or at the best a 1 game playoff as the Wild Card winner, they needed to stay sharp.
With the first group of hitters taking the field, I tried my luck (dressed up as Waldo) with Lonnie Chisenhall. After some back and forth – mainly about my costume – he tossed me a ball. With this ball I was guaranteed at least one ball in every game I attended this year. Not a bad streak.
Lonnie is in the background, as well as former-Twin Jason Kubel.
Since there was no action in the Twins dugout I planted myself next to the Indians dugout, keeping a close eye on a ball that was set on the edge of the dugout and photographers’ well. This spot, which Terry Francona seemed to occupy 75% of the time at Target Field, was taunting me with such a nice-looking OMLB.
When a man dressed in all silver came over and picked it up, I thought for sure my chances were shot. He was on the phone, so I didn’t yell, just eagerly anticipating his next move. After pacing back and forth, he looked out into the crowd at the opposite end of the dugout from me and couldn’t find anyone interested. That’s when I waved my arms around, flashed my glove and got #2 of the day.
Criteria #1 of the dream: CHECK
The Twins players finally started filing out into the dugout – with tee-balls in hand, autographed and ready to launch into the crowd. I had just given Dominic (Twins’ Bat Boy) a thank you for all of his toss-ups this year and let him know that a good cause was also benefiting. I wasn’t expecting a ball at this point, and didn’t even ask for one; but after a few minutes he reappeared and tossed me #3.
The last donation from Dominic in 2013. (Your thanks will be included later!)
The last ball of the day, though not the last ones I caught, came from the great Trevor Plouffe. The dude is awesome; I could gush more, but why not wait until the really cool point? (That’s a great teaser, right?)
I ended up snagging a few gamers, but when there are so many kids (especially little girls with baseball gloves) your heart gets twice the size and you decide to make others happy. I reached a huge milestone (100), so why hold on to a couple more?
During the game I decided to take a few photos:
Photo #1: Where’s Mateo?
Photo #2: Instagram Photo of the Day (“Shadow Games”)
Photo #3: Authentication: The only thing separating my baseballs and $30+ balls? A STICKER!
The rest of the game was disappointing, with the Twins losing yet again. In a bit of good news, at least for the Indians, the opposing team yet again clinched a playoff berth. I had seen it a couple of days ago, when the Tigers clinched the AL Central, so it was cool to see again.
When the game had ended I was in perfect position to get SOMETHING from the Twins… at least I hoped. It seemed like a perfect spot and a perfect plan.
Though the batting glove came second (after the next game used item), I will choose to list it here, as it does not match the rest of what I got.
Brian Dozier’s batting glove. Not bad!
Criteria #2 of the dream: CHECK
You heard that correctly, bat number ONE… because there will be MORE than one listed!
Bat number one came from Señor Trevor Plouffe. The guy cannot not be nicer. He has given so much to me in the past and I cannot say thank you enough. Hopefully my donations to NAMI are a decent way to give back. Trevor gave away two bats, with mine being the last before he got ready for the “shirt off our backs” program that the Twins implemented this year. Those lucky kids get a game used jersey from the player, and it gets autographed! Amazing!
(Trevor Plouffe “MaxBat” bat from 9/29/2013)
This is not even my first Plouffe bat that he has given me, so I cannot stress how incredibly amazed I am. Trevor, if you ever come across this blog, know one thing, THANK YOU FOR TREATING YOUR FANS WITH SUCH LOVE!
Criteria #3 of the dream: CHECK
Do I get two bats? Did I get more than two? Who knows. All I can say at this point is that my lackluster Spanish-speaking abilities may have led to this wonderful item… no, it definitely led to it. I asked Oswaldo Arcia for a bat and he came over with two in hand and one specifically for me.
(Oswaldo Arcia “Americas’ Bat Company” bat from 9/29/2013)
This bat could be something some day. With the way that he is proving himself in his rookie season, he is a player to watch. Like I said in my previous entry, he is also a nice guy.
Yes, I score a trifecta of bats at the game! I cannot believe it, so I can only imagine how it sounds to the outsider. My last piece of memorabilia from the 2013 season came from Chris Colabello (International League MVP and Rookie of the Year with the AAA Rochester Red Wings).
(Chris Colabello “Louisville Slugger” bat from 9/29/2013 – this is the new version of the Louisville Slugger which came out this year)
I nearly out-snagged my baseball haul for the day with bats! Let’s just say that there were many jealous people and a few that even offerred me money for the bats. While $40 would have been nice – and will probably be market value for the Colabello bat soon – these pieces mean more than cash to me and will have a great home in the future mancave.
How about a group shot now? Here’s the massive haul from the game:
I guess that dressing up like Waldo has its benefits. the fact that I got OsWALDO Arcia’s bat while dressed up like Waldo makes me kind of chuckle.
I will keep this brief, but come Thanksgiving I will post a longer, more in-depth list of people who deserve additional/large thanks.
- Lonnie Chisenhall – thanks for hooking up Waldo with a baseball
- Random Indians Employee – thanks for tossing me a ball while on the phone
- Dominic – you rock. Period.
- Trevor Plouffe – a ball AND a bat?! Glad your name is in this blog so much, since you are not only the inspiration for the title, but my favorite player.
- Oswaldo Arcia – thanks for the bat and possibly understanding some bad/broken Spanish
- Chris Colabello – thank you for the 3rd bat of the day
- Brian Dozier – thank you for the batting glove
- Mateo Fischer – thanks for witnessing my big haul. if not for you, I’d worry that people would question my massive day.
- Creators of ‘Where’s Waldo” – who knew that your character would be a great way to bring home baseball memorabilia?!
- Minnesota Twins – your apology (Glen Perkins’ speech) was unexpected and a classy touch. Everyone on the team seems so nice and I just hope that we start winning with this great group of guys.