Happy Thanksgiving!!! (2013 Version)

In the same tune as last year’s post, I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving/Thursday Maximus.  While I have more people that I can count that deserve thanks, the ones listed below were instrumental to making 2013 another great year.

  1. Ballhawks of Target Field (both official and honorary) – Deepening relationships with Mateo and Paul would have been cool enough, but meeting a few more ballhawks along the way was awesome!  I know that Target Field isn’t the best ballhawk park, but now that I have a few more friends I’ll have a few more options when planning vacations to ballparks.
    • Shawn – Chicago is tops on my list with that Wrigley ball, let’s meet at your second home city!
    • Zack – Met the most visible and popular ballhawk in the history of the hobby… and he was nice.  I’m sure paths will cross again, since he tends to get around.
    • Cam – New to the hobby, this autograph collector could be a Target Field hawk to watch out for.
    • Eamon – I need to abduct Eamon for a day, get to the gates early and go nuts once inside the stadium.  I know he has the skills to put up a solid number.
    • Mateo – Officially the king of Target Field.  I need not say more.
    • Paul – Third place in the JBOTY voting for 2013, he just may win the title and join the ranks of Mateo.  Plus, HUGE THANK YOU for donating to my NAMI fund.
  2. Mental Illness advocates – Whether you support NAMI financially, or helped support a friend going through a tough time emotionally, thank you.  I am pleased in hearing so many more people talk about mental illness, especially without the negative connotations.  Thank you to the lawmakers who supported a bill that actually meant something and helps its citizens – forcing insurers to cover mental illness and addiction the same as physical illness.
  3. Denver – If only I had not run into ticketing issues.  My anxiety about making it to the busiest game of the year drove those around me insane, but once that was done with, it was nice to make it into the stadium, grab a ball, and then just enjoy the game with family.  Oh yeah, seeing REAL mountains for the first time was pretty alright in my book, too.
  4. Florida – I will never tire of your state.  Sure, the trip down is long, and the motels I stay in are death traps, who cares?!  I love getting away from the snow and snagging a few balls before the rest of the hawks even know what hit them.  Having an intimate view and access to major leaguers, future stars, and facilities is pretty sweet!  Plus the beaches aren’t too shabby either.  This is a tradition I intend on continuing for quite some time.
  5. The Minnesota Twins – Just because they are my home team does not mean that I am obliged to thank them.  After another crappy season I doubt they’d think they deserve thanks, but they do.  Because of their generosity, I was able to raise over $400 for NAMI via triple digit figures in balls, numerous lineup cards, a couple batting gloves, and THREE BATS (all in the final game).  My baseball lair is going to be insanely awesome!  THANK YOU!
  6. Trevor Plouffe – Still a class act and nice guy.  I’m proud to have my blog associated with Trevor’s name; you can’t say that about every athlete.  I’m hoping for a big season in 2014, because I want to see him representing the Twins in the 2014 All-Star Game!… which I will be attending!!
  7. Dominique Frost – The best bat boy in all of baseball, that I am sure.  Dominique hooked me, my friends, and numerous others around me up with baseballs throughout the year.  Plus, he spins a mean helmet!  (Dominique contributed to the most amount of money by baseballs for my donation to NAMI.)
  8. Mother Nature – Outside of getting snowed-out once, you cooperated quite nicely… during the regular season!  Half of my time at the Twins Floridian home of Hammond Stadium was wiped away, but you still deserve credit for holding together so nicely… especially after we treat you like garbage.  I will not preach about environmental protection here, that’s a whole separate post.  As for that snow-out, I was more than stoked to go to the make-up and still have a bunch of snow on the ground (and flying in the sky), it made for a nice backdrop and kept people away from the ballpark.
  9. Music – My other love.  Thank you for keeping me sane and thank you for playing a rather significant role at baseball games.  There are many times I want to strangle the music director at sporting events, but their job is to be all popular (crap “Top 40″ stuff), but on the off chance I hear a cool song during BP or for a player’s walk-up, it makes me incredibly happy.  Plus, outside of baseball, you keep me sane.  I’m glad I have music as a second hobby, otherwise the off-season would be long and sucky.
  10. You, the reader – I know a decent amount of the regulars who visit my site, but there are countless others, people I do not even know by name; to you, THANK YOU!  Feel free to make your presence known and sign in on the comments below.

I know I already posted it, but it just makes me so happy to watch it that I have to include it again…

My 2013 in slideshow form:

Lastly, I want to thank my wife.  She didn’t “make the top ten” because she’s just too damn vital.  Thanks for all of the baseball stuff (by going, not going, listening to my stories, looking at my pictures, storing the baseballs in our home, sharing links via your Facebook, and not strangling me) and all the non-baseball stuff (every other single thing under the sun).  THANK YOU!  And yes, I know that you technically got a ball before I ever got one; you can hold that over me for all of eternity.

***UPDATE***

I wrote this post in early November, and since then there has been yet another thing to gave thanks for…

1 - Grandma

No, this massive thanks is not due to the ball, the player who gave/signed the ball, MLB for having a special celebration of mothers, or the research for such a worthy cause.  This thanks doesn’t even go out to the millions of people who donate to the cause, or more importantly, the millions affected by breast cancer (or ANY form of cancer); no, this goes out to my GRANDMA.

Being a breast cancer survivor of over 4 years is a great thing, but knowing that the 5 year mark is a magical mark, we were worried a couple weeks ago when she told us that she was going in for a biopsy.  The feeling of helplessness and worry is bad enough from the outside, so I cannot imagine how frustrating and terrifying it is when it is happening to YOU.  Well, just over a week ago we got the GREAT news that the biopsy came back negative.  The next few months cannot go quick enough in order to get to that 5 year celebration mark, a streak our family is lucky to still have going.

So there it is, the biggest “thanks” this Thanksgiving.  Somewhat related to baseball, but only a billion times more important.

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