The season has come to a close, the Royals have taken the crown, and it’s time for the mygameballs.com BOTY and JBOTY awards.
These awards have already happened, but who says I can’t still write about this. I will be going over who I voted for, who won, and how I did on getting votes.
Who I voted for in the BOTY category:
1. Zack Hample (zackhample on MGB)
Yes, I did vote for Hample. A lot of people choose to not vote for him because they know he has the most balls out of every Ballhawk (8,633 to be exact), he is “the best Ballhawk in the world”, he catches a ton of home runs, and he’s already won this award 3 out of 6 times (2009, 2011, 2012). Or as Hample-Haters would say, “HE IS UGLY AND NOT COOL AND HAS NO LIFE! I HOPE HE DIES!”. There could be many reasons why you choose not to vote for this guy.
But here’s why I did:
Zack Hample had one of his best seasons yet. Mainly because of catching Alex Rodriguez’s 3,000th hit. He snagged 827 balls too, which is something that will take me years to do. And he snagged that many in a season! He went to 113 games, and his average was 7.32 balls a game. He led My Game Balls in most balls snagged in 2015, and tied for first for most game home runs, which was 8. He tied with Ballhawk Shawn from Milwaukee. One notable thing that Zack did was go to a game at Citizens Bank Park in Philly, snag an Anthony Rendon home run on the very first pitch of the game, go back to NYC, then go back to Philly then next day, and snag 2 more home runs.
2. Greg Barasch (gbarasch on MGB)
Greg Barasch snagged 369 balls in 2015. Guess how many games he did that in. 27! His average was 13.67 balls a game, the highest on MGB. He “only” snagged 1 game home run this season, but I think his most impressive feat was having 23 double digit games! I think I’m lucky to have got only 1! He is a New York Ballhawk, but he made the trip over to my home state of Minnesota for a game at Target Field. He snagged an impressive 11 balls (impressive because Target Field is a tough ballhawking stadium). But get this, he did it with no BP!!! That’s tough.
3. Benny Amesquita (Benny on MGB)
Most of you may know Benny Amesquita as that one guy from DodgerFilms who caught all of the BP home runs and the guy who led the DodgerFilms home run contest (before DodgerFilms was shut down). He didn’t snag a single game ball this year, but he snagged 270 balls in 93 games, which makes his average 2.90 balls a game. The most balls he snagged in one game was 9. He may not have had the best stats, but his on the fly stats were impressive. 41% of his baseballs were on the fly (112 catches on the fly). I also voted for him because he was my favorite character from DodgerFilms, and I was sad when the show got shut down.
Who I voted for in the JBOTY category:
1. Cole Adkins (coleadkins on MGB)
Cole Adkins was an easy choice for most people in JBOTY voting. He led Ballhawks under 18 in most balls snagged, highest average, and most double digit games. He snagged 185 balls in 27 games, for an average of 6.85 balls a game. He had 8 double digit games, and the most he snagged in a game was 16. Cole “Colio” Adkins snagged a total of 6 game balls during the season. I have mentioned it at the very end of the last post I made, but I’ll say it again. Cole and I have came up with a new idea for blogging and ballhawking. We hope to announce it soon.
2. Nick Badders (nickbatters on MGB)
Nicholas Badders may not have had the best stats, only snagging 73 balls in 45 games (average of 1.62), but that’s not why I voted for him. Nick was the only Ballhawk under 18 to snag a game home run. It came off the bat of Dustin Ackley on April 11th. He didn’t only catch a game homer, but he caught it on the fly too. Nick was pretty lucky, he was in the middle of a crowded row, so he didn’t have room to move at all. He’s lucky that the ball came straight to him. He was even interviewed by MLB.com. You can watch the interview here.
3. Josh Schenk (Josh16 on MGB)
Josh Schenk had a good year, snagging 164 baseballs. He attendend 59 games, making his average 2.78 for the season. He did this at a tough ballhawking stadium, Miller Park. The most balls he snagged in a game was 8, which he did twice. He snagged quite a few balls on the fly, including 3 in one game. He snagged some cool commemoratives, such as the pink Mother’s Day ball, and the Washington Nationals 10th Anniversary ball.
The Top 3 Winners for BOTY
1. Zack Hample
My first place vote got first. What else is there to say? I don’t believe the amount of votes he got has been said yet. Well, I went through everything about him, so let’s move on.
2. Greg Barasch
My second place vote got second. Same thing about the number of votes. Once again, I went through his stats and stuff.
3. David Welch (deedubs24 on MGB)
David Welch is an Atlanta Ballhawk who snags most of his baseballs with a ball retriever. He gets a good amount of hit balls, and only a few tossups. He went to 75 games in 2015, snagging a total of 665 baseballs. His final average for the season was 8.87 balls a game. He managed to snag a game home run off of the bat of Juan Uribe, after using his ball retrieve to pluck it out of the gap in the outfield.
The Top 3 Winners for JBOTY
1. Cole Adkins
Cole Adkins racked up an outstanding total of 81 points, the most any Junior Ballhawk has ever gotten. The record before this was held by Grant Edrington from Baltimore, who got 63 points in 2013. Cole got 21 first place votes (!!!), 8 second place votes, and 2 third place votes. You can read the article here.
2. Angel Arroyo (Angel on MGB)
Angel Arroyo had an impressive season, snagging 146 balls in 30 games for an average of 4.87 balls a game. He had 3 double digit games, and led the website in most game balls snagged (37). I probably would have voted for Angel, but the only reason I didn’t was because he combines his stats with his dad, therefore I didn’t know his own personal stats.
3. Nate Duppler AKA me! (TFBallhawk on MGB)
I made the top 3? Sweet!!! I got a total of 23 points. 4 first place votes, 4 second place votes, and 3 third place votes. It seems weird, but I guess I’ll write about my stats.
This year I snagged a total of 68 balls in 13 games. My average was 5.23 balls a game. I snagged a total of 6 game balls, which were all third out balls. I snagged 2 of the same kind of commemorative balls this year, the one that Houston used. I only got 1 hit ball, which is pretty lame, but it was on the fly. I did all of this at a tough ballhawking stadium , Target Field. I went to a new stadium (Fenway Park) and snagged 6 balls when I knew nothing about it.
I guess that’s all for now folks!
Congratulations to everyone who got votes and made the top 3! Good luck next season!
I was going to snag my 100th ball today. Yes, today was the day. At the beginning of the season, I though reaching 75 was a long shot. But now, I was at 97 baseballs, only needing 3 more to get the milestone. I invited my friend from school, Justin, to come ballhawking with me. We planned on meeting up with Paul Kom at Gate 34 before the game, and then running in and snagging baseballs.
We got to Gate 34, and we were first in line with Paul. But that’s when I noticed something. I was COLD! Very, very cold. Want to know what I was wearing?
Shorts and a t-shirt.
Not smart. I didn’t even bring a coat. This was noooooot good. “Dude, you’re gonna be freezing,” Paul said to me. I just tried to focus on ball 100 and how it would happen.
They did the usual routine where they open up the gates 10 minutes before the stadium opens, but not let anyone in. In those 10 minutes, a young, cool looking usher walked by and rolled me a ball! No shutout, I was on the board!
The clock hits 5:00, and the main worker at Gate 34 yelled, “OPEN THEM UP! Welcome to Target Field!” As he does every game. I quickly claimed the corner spot in right field, while I told Justin to go to right center so we would be split up, but still kind of close together. Justin quickly got on the board from Kyle Gibson tossup, and I got another ball shortly after. A long range tossup from Mike Pelfrey.
Ball 99, and it was only Twins BP! This picture was taken in a different spot than where I caught it. As I said, I was in the corner spot when I got it. This turned out to be the favorite picture I took at a game this year. The Twins were in the 3rd group, and they had 4 groups. I had plenty more chances to get 100. Unfortunately, I didn’t get my 100th ball in Twins BP. The highlight of Twins BP was watching Miguel Sano hit. This guy was a MONSTER! If you ever see the Twins, position yourself in straightaway left, super far back. This guy is so insane, he hit one halfway up the third deck!!!
I went over here for the start of Royals BP, and positioned myself behind Johnny Cueto.
Cueto finished playing catch, I called out his name, and he lobbed a ball at me! Here it comes! Ball numbe- nope, an Asian dude reached out and knocked it on the ground. A grounds crew guy picked it up and was going to give it away. I could have easily got it, but who wants their 100th ball to be handed to you by a Twins grounds crew member? Not most ballhawks.
I went to the right field Plaza, hoping to catch a bomb hit by Gordon, Hosmer, or Moustakas. Didn’t happen. It sucks. I tried to get a tossup. Everyone ignored my requests. Joba Chamberlin really made me mad. I called out his name whenever he got a ball, but he ignored me and threw it back in every time. One time, a ball rolled to another player, but I accidentally said “Joba!”. Somehow, he heard me when I called his name that time, but not the ten other times when he had a ball. He game me a weird look like, “Kid, are you stupid!?!”.
There was one time where Ben Zobrist hit a long bomb to right field. I ran down in to the right field seats, cut in to the row, and realized it was heading in to the Plaza behind me. I turned and ran back to the Plaza, just in time to see Paul catch it on the fly. The ball nearly killed an old woman. Paul gave the ball to her.
It sucks, because I had a better position at first. I was closer to the landing spot than he was. Ughhhhh… This really sucked. I was cold, and only had 2 baseballs when BP ended. Justin did better than me. That lucky kid snagged 6 balls, including one on the fly. He had no prior ballhawking experience.
Paul took a ton of pictures of me to snapchat to girls he knows (who knows why, that’s just Paul for ya!) so I took a ton of him to share here. I am sorry Paul, but I have to do what is right.
Read my Fan App weekend entry from last year here to see how it all works.
Well, the rules changed this year. This time, it was an snapchat, and there was only about 5 prizes, and they were all lame. At least the players would still toss up signed balls, right? Right?!? Nope. “I wasted my time going to the bullpen instead of sneaking in to the dugout box seats for nothing,” I thought. Well maybe I didn’t… I could still try and get my 100th ball at the bullpen. I looked around for a player with a ball, but didn’t see one. That was until Neil Allen, the Twins pitching coach, picked up a ball before he went to high five all of the other bullpen players and coaches.
“Mr. Allen!” I shouted.
“Mr. Allen! Up here! Can I have that ball please!”
“Mr. Allen! Please!”
Coach Allen turned around, looked up, saw me, and threw the ball towards me. This ball was falling short. I reached down as far as I could, and felt the ball land in my glove, just before it was about to fall back in to the bullpen.
“Oh yeah Nate! That was your 100th ball!” Justin shouted.
That was my 100th ball.
That was my 100th ball?!?!
Wow. Not how I expected it at all. But oh well, I’ll take it.
Well, take a look at this photo:
No, maybe a bit closer…
A little more…
BAM! Red bag. She was with another Twins rep, who happens to be the sister of one of my neighbors! I told her that I knew her sister and she laughed.
Paul got one too. We have him a hard time for not getting there before us, but his excuse was “I had to walk through all of the people getting up the stairs and through the concourse.” His seats were near home plate, and the woman with the bag was near home plate. Justin and I were in center field in the second deck when we saw the snapchat! And we still beat him!
Here is an awful group photo I took:
We chased some more giveaways, but didn’t get anymore. Paul got another one though.
They actually did do a signed ball giveaway. They had 2 signed balls near the Metropolitan Club and the first to people to get there won. Justin and I were near the Minnie and Paul signed in center field, and if we wanted to get to the Metropolitan Club, we would have gone to left field, down the huge ramp to field level, go halfway around the stadium, up an escalator, and run a bit more. We thought we could never make it. 10 minutes later, we checked snapchat and saw nobody had claimed the baseballs. We ran in to Paul who was also on snapchat, and he said we should go for it. So we did. And 2 people got there before us. Nooo! We could have walked and made it if we went when we saw the snapchat.
Justin and I sat under some heat lamps and ate food. If he was cold when he was wearing a winter hat, a sweatshirt, and sweatpants, that mean I was obviously FREEZING!
We sat here for the end of the game:
And when the game ended, we went down the the umpire tunnel. Ben, Noah, and Andrew were already down there cause they snuck in to the dugout box seats, so they had a better position and I didn’t get anything.
I didn’t get anything from the bullpen either, and for he Mario postgame tossups, I moved really far back because there was a ton of people, and when there is a ton of people, he chucks the balls super far. Unfortunately, he didn’t do that today. My snagging was over for 2015. I finished with a lifetime total of exactly 100 baseballs, and a season of 68 baseballs. My graphing season, however, was NOT finished. I graphed the players exit after the game, and got Lorenzo Cain to sign a baseball!!!
The story on how I got it was great. Everyone went up to him and asked for an autograph, but he was telling people he wasn’t going and he’d sign for them the next day, but in the process of telling people that, he was taking things people had and signing them. He walked closer to me, and I asked for him to sign my ball.
“I’ll sign for you tomorrow man,” he said.
“I’m not going to be here tomorrow,” I replied.
“Why not?” He said back to me.
“Because my mom said I couldn’t go!”
He laughed, took my ball and pen, and autographed it. I hate the Royals, but I’ll always like Cain after this experience.
Here’s a fact: I’ve ballhawked at 3 Royals games, and I’ve never got a ball from the Royals. BOOOOOO ROYALS!!!!
Thanks everyone for reading my blog this year. I’m sorry I took a huge break during the season. I’ll try and do the entries quicker. And thank you everyone who tossed me a ball this year. There might be a follow up post about that.
Thanks everyone! I’ll be back with more game entries next year!!!
Balls at this game: 3 (Usher, Mike Pelfrey, Neil Allen)
Autographs at this game: 1 (Lorenzo Cain)
Make sure to keep checking in, because Cincinatti Ballhawk Cole Adkins and I have come up with something cool! It might be announced on Mateo Fischer and Larry Larson’s show, “Ballhawk Talk”.
Two games, one entry. Why? Writing entries is hard and quite boring, and who wants to read entries about games that happened 2 months ago during the baseball season? There wasn’t much action during these games. I’m saving myself time, and I’m saving your time. Is a win-win situation!
Okay, game time.
The Angels were in town. Mike Trout was in town. Mike Trout is one of the best players in the world. I wanted his autograph. And 10 baseballs. Why 10 baseballs. I was at 90 and wanted to reach 100 by the end of the season. But back to Trout. I heard he signs every game, so I thought I had a good chance. I also was going to go to the team hotel the day after this game to try and get a signature, and then I would go to the game later that day.
The only problem was, a lot of people like Mike Trout. A lot of people wanted his signature, and ushers knew that. They were extra strict for these 2 games. This would decrease my chance of getting his autograph.
It was Friday night, and I was driving to the game… In the POURING RAIN! Nooooo! I needed to increase my chances of getting 100. Things weren’t looking so good. I ran in to the stadium, and saw that there was no batting practice… What a shocker… NOT!!!
Luckily, I saw some Angels players warming up down the line. It was only 1 group of players playing catch, but it was good enough for me. I threw on an Angels hat, and got Jett Bandy to throw me ball #1 after he finished warming up.
Ball #91. #RoadTo100?
It was pouring hard, so I went in the 3rd base lounge to get away from the rain.
That’s when I came up with and idea… A ballhawking idea!
So the Twins bat boy, Dominique Frost, is pretty cool. And he knows who I am. He’s tossed me a ball before, and he followed me with both of his Twitter accounts. Since we follow each other, I can DM him. What’s a cool way to ask for a ball? Through Twitter DM. You see where I’m going with this?
I hope so. Because I got my 2nd ball of the day 5 minutes later. Guess who gave it to me.
The rest of the night was awful. It never stopped raining. I talked to a grapher about my brothers age named Brian, and another grapher who was an adult, named Derek. Derek told me something pretty cool. So his name is Derek. And he’s met Derek Jeter 4 times. But that’s not where it ends. Derek the grapher and Derek Jeter were born on the EXACT SAME DAY. Crazy.
I started getting the feeling that this game would be postponed to the next day, and there would be a double header. One in the morning, and one at night. If there was one in the morning, we wouldn’t be able to graph the hotel because it was so early in the morning (We could, but nobody wanted to get up at 6:00 and drive to Minneapolis).
I was cold, wet, and bored. AND, my stupid phone broke. It didn’t crack, it just stopped working. Some of the screen came out.
I WAS STUCK IN A SMALL AREA FOR 2 HOURS WITH 100 OTHWR PEOPLE WHILE I WAS FREEZING COLD AND SOAKING WET AND I HAD NOTHING TO DO AT ALL!!!!!!
At some random point, a guy walked in and said, “Game is postponed!”.
CRAP. No hotel graphing.
“They screwed us,” Derek said.
I waited with the people I was with (Ben, Noah, Andrew) in the Twins clubhouse store. That’s when I looked in a mirror and saw the reflection of a giant guy with dark skin the back of the store. It was Miguel Sano! I went up to him when he was alone and asked for him to sign my photo, but he turned me down. This guys autograph gets harder and harder to get every day. I left and went to bed.
I woke up in the morning. Ready for game 1 of 2. Today, I had my mom’s phone with me.
I got to the stadium and BP wasn’t going on, like the day before.
I used the normal plan to sneak in to the dugout box seats, and it worked like a charm.
Ushers were everywhere, kicking people out. I didn’t get kicked out, luckily.
Here are the Angels that came out to warm up.
As always, Trout signed. Not for me. But for Noah, Andrew, and Ben.
Great. Juuuuust great.
I left the dugout box right after that. I got kicked out on the way walking out.
There was barely any ushers at this game, so I moved around everywhere. I went to the second deck, the foul lines, and the outfield. I had a whole empty row in the outfield. It was beautiful. Look:
Sadly, that lasted for about 5 minutes. I had made a plan of my path for if a homer came towards me. Move over a few seats, climb down a row, move over again, climb down again, and then go to the aisle, and then go wherever from there. Too bad I never got to use it.
When the game got to the 9th inning, I moved closer to the dugout so I could get an umpire ball. Well, the game went in to 12 innings. This was how me and my grapher friend Nick were feeling.
Not too happy. I’ve mentioned 3 different Nick’s in the past few entries. There was Nick the grapher from Iowa, Nick the Ballhawk from Minnesota, and Nick the grapher from Minnesota. This was Nick the grapher from Minnesota. Nick from Iowa was also at this game too.
Here’s a picture I took near the dugout:
When the game DID end, we ran down to the umpire tunnel and I got my final ball of the game from home plate umpire Bill Miller.
I took the picture outside of the stadium.
DAY 2 GAME 2
I got in to the stadium a few minutes after the first game ended.
No BP again. I wasn’t expecting there to be BP because they were tired from the first game.
I snuck in to the dugout box again. I didn’t get kicked out this time. Trout barely signed for anyone this game. Bleh.
I scored some GREAT seats during the game, right behind the dugout.
I got my first ball of the second game and 2nd ball of the day tossed to me by David Freese. It was a 3rd out ball. Byron Buxton hit it, Mike Trout caught it, he tossed it in to Eric Aybar, who flipped it to Freese, who tossed it to me.
During the game, I saw some cool stuff. I saw a pitch the hit the dirt at the plate, and bounce so high that it went all the way over the net and 20 rows back! I have NEVER seen anything like that ever. Another cool thing was that I saw Mike Trout hit a home run. That will be a cool thing to tell people once Trout retires and is inducted in to the Hall of Fame.
I got my 3rd ball from I think Cam Bedrosian as he was walking in to the dugout from the bullpen.
My 4th and final ball came from Mario the visiting team bat boy. He usually throws his postgame tossups to the people standing at the rail of the camera well next to the dugout, but he decided to chuck all of the balls super far this time. I didn’t get the first one. For the second one, I backed up a little bit this time. He threw it far again, and I leaped and it sailed over my head. It landed in a folded up part of a seat, so I ran over and grabbed it.
So did another kid. It was just like the Mariners game! Me and this kid both had firm grip on this ball. His friend came in and tried to grab it. It was two against one, but I wouldn’t let go. I remember looking at Andrew while holding the ball and seeing him laughing at the whole situation. It was kind of funny. Another friend of his suggested we play “rock, paper, scissors” to decide who wins (Yeah, no). This ball was critical. I needed to boost my total to 97 so I could be closer to 100. I came up with an idea that if he lets go, I would give it to him. He immediately let go and I handed it over.
No picture, so sad.
I went to the team hotel after the game and tried to get autographs.
I went home tired and had no Mike Trout autograph.
I will see you in April, Michael.
Balls during these 2 days: 7
What’s a good time to leave for a 7:00 pm game when you live 30 minutes away from the stadium?
9:30 am sounds about right.
I was going to the Astros hotel to get some players autographs, hopefully from George Springer, Jose Altuve, Dallas Keuchel, or Carlos Correa. The people I was going with was Ben, Noah, and Andrew. If you read my blog a lot, you should know these names by now. If you don’t know, Ben is my older brother, and Noah and Andrew are his friends. We were going to meet up with Andrew’s brothers friend Ryan who is in college and his 9 year old brother, Hunter.
At the hotel, I ended up getting autographs from Mike Fiers, Hank Conger, Jason Castro, Luke Gregerson, Collin McHugh, Marwin Gonzalez, Pat Neshek, and Jose Altuve.
I got everyone except for Altuve on cards. I got him on an 8×10. The way I got him was pretty fun and interesting. He left the hotel in a pink shirt, not signing for anyone, and walked towards Target Field. One grapher said, “Should we chase him to the stadium?” and that’s when 25 people (including me) went off running. The hotel was close to the stadium, only 2 blocks. We ran towards the Target Plaza, passing the Target Center (the Timberwolves basketball team play there) on the way. We got to Target Field, and I spotted a pink shirt on the other side of the Plaza. Everyone ran up to him and swarmed him, but I decided to stay back and let him walk towards me. He signed for 2 people who swarmed him, and then walked towards me, and signed my photo!
Okay, I guess I have to do it at some point.
Pat Neshek is an autograph collector. I was on his Twitter and he said he is trying to get all of the cards from the 2014-15 Topps set autographed. I have some of those cards signed, and I tweeted at him about that and offered to trade him some for a commemorative ball that the Astro’s are using. I didn’t get a response, so the only way to ask was in person. When he signed at the hotel, I asked if he was doing the set and he said yes. I asked if he would trade with me for a commemorative ball at the game, and he said he would do it. I asked him where and when we should trade, and he said after he plays catch down the line during BP. He seemed more excited than this about me! “Yeah, let’s do this!” He said to me.
Andrew, Ben, Noah, Hunter, Ryan, and I all went to Chipotle after that. I was supposed to be on the first episode of Tony Voda’s new podcast, “At The Gates”. I realized I was going to have to get back to the stadium quickly in time to be on the podcast. I ran to the stadium, bought a ticket, and went to Gate 34 where I saw Tony Voda and Paul Kom. Mateo Fischer joined us shortly after. We did the podcast, and took a group photo and signed it.
This isn’t a photo I took, it belongs to Tony Voda and his blog, “Plouffe’s New Hairdo“.
We all got in at 5:00, and I ran to the right field seats like I usually do. Right as I was running down the stairs, a ball was hit to a Twins player but I couldn’t tell who it was. I asked for the ball, even though I wasn’t expecting to get it because he was already in mid-throw. To my surprise, he turned around and threw it my way. I caught it and immediately realized that the player was Chris Herrmann, a very friendly player who tosses a lot of balls up. That was the quickest I ever got a ball, it only took 5 seconds!
I don’t have a picture of this ball. I thought I would take one later but I ended up giving it away.
After that, I went down the left field foul line to look for Pat Neshek. I saw him warming up and asked if he had found a commemorative ball. He said he hadn’t found one yet. I tried to get a ball from some pitchers warming up, but it didn’t happen. I looked to see if I could find Neshek but he was nowhere to be found. Uh oh, not good. How would I make the trade if I didn’t know where he was?!?! I scanned the outfield, infield, everywhere. I was getting nervous at this point. Until, I looked a bit to my right and saw Neshek!…. Standing about 1 foot away from me. I asked if he saw one yet but he said no and they were all in the BP bag in center field. He said when they hit a ball to him he will look to see if it was a commem.
He started fielding in the outfield in left field. I didn’t want to wait on foul lines forever and wait for him to find one for me. Luckily, he went to the BP bag in CF and started looking for a commemorative ball! This was so cool! The trade would happen! After about a minute of lookin, he stood up with a ball, and ran towards me! It was happening!
“I got it right here buddy! I think you’ll like it!”
My question was answered when he set this in my glove:
Mission Accomplished. I handed him the cards and he quickly shoved them in his back pocket, not wanting anyone to see. I guess it worked, because my brother saw him give me the ball but not take the cards.
Wait, that just happened?!?! I made a trade with a Major League Baseball player?!? I made a trade with an All Star?!?! This whole thing was crazy and awesome. That wouldn’t be the last time I talked to Pat that day.
The trade was over, and I could go run around and Ballhawk now. I started by going to right center field, where I quickly got Will Harris to throw me a ball.
Pretty simple. Watch the video here. As you can tell from the video, I managed to get my GoPro on right before he threw me the ball.
Right center for boring real quickly, so I went over to right field. The right field corner spot was already taken up by some people who had seats there, so I had to settle with one row exactly behind the corner spot. Mateo was also in right field at the time.
Now I have never caught a ball on the fly, and I’ve always wanted to. I usually think before every game “I’ll catch one on the fly today,” but it never happens. Today, I had a really good feeling that it would actually happen today.
I got my chance when Marwin Gonzalez stepped in the cage. He was hitting bombs, but none of them close enough to run after. That’s when one came off his bat, and was coming to right field. Right to me. I knew it would be a homer the second it left the bat, and I knew it was heading towards me. Although I have had a few chances, I have never managed to catch one off the bat. These things come in HOT.
“I’m not going to drop this one,” I thought as the ball reached its apex and started heading down towards me.
“I’ve dropped one at Fenway, and I’ve dropped one in this exact spot,” I thought as reached my glove out over the side of the railing.
“But I won’t drop one today,” I thought as I got ready for the catch.
The ball hit my glove with a lot of force.
My initial reaction was, “Did that just happen!?!” And then it changed to “That just happened!!!”.
I may have celebrated a BIT to much. It’s not like it was a game homer or anything, but hey, I was excited 😉.
I moved in to the first row and 2 and a half sections over. Lance McCullers was running out there and he had a few baseballs. He chucked one in the stands to someone, then he chucked one to me. Unfortunately, it didn’t reach me. Fortunately, it bounced back on the field, where he could throw it again. He ran up to field it, and he chucked it super hard at me. I reached a little bit forwards and made the catch. Watch the video here.
Wow, that’s quite a dirty looking baseball!
(Fun Fact: I met Lance McCullers and got his autograph back when he was in low A)
(Fun Fact 2: I was the first person on My Game Balls to get a ball from him)
For those keeping count, I was at 5 baseballs. That tied my BP record, and BP hadn’t even been going on for a while. I was confident that I would break my BP record.
When Chris Carter’s group came up, I took off for the second deck in left field. I heard he’s a great BP hitter.
Bad news, Carter didn’t hit a single ball up there.
Good news, Carlos Correa hit multiple up there.
And I got one:
It hit the railing on the wheelchair sectioned, went in to the concourse, and and usher grabbed it and tossed it to me.
Ball #6, a new BP record for me.
I ran down to the Astros dugout shortly after, and Javier Bracamonte, the nicest bullpen catcher of all time, was taking balls out of the BP bag and tossing them up. Paul got a commemorative ball when he asked specifically for one, so I tried the same thing and got this:
Success! Ball 7.
I planned on sneaking to the Astros dugout box seats, but got kicked out :( .
No problem, I’ll go to the Twins side and get an autograph from the number one prospect in the game:
During the game I met another Ballhawk named Nick. Not the Nick the grapher from the Mariners entry, this guy was a different person. We talked about our snags, and he actually got a commemorative ball from Neshek too!
During the game I unsuccessfully tried to find out who hit me the ball on the fly. I’m glad I finally found out though!
I don’t remember much of what I did at the game. All I remember was that my 8th and final ball of the day was from home plate umpire Ben May.
Pat Neshek came out a bit later, and I asked what he did with the baseball cards.
“They’re in my locker now,” he responded.
And that was the end of that.
STATS: 8 balls at this game (Herrmann, Neshek, Harris, Gonzalez, McCullers, Usher, Bracamonte, May)
11 autos at this game (Altuve, Gregerson, Conger, Neshek x2, Buxton, Castro, McHugh, Gonzalez, Fiers)
This was my second game in a row seeing the Seattle Mariners play. But something felt off… Target Field looked a little different…
Wait, this isn’t Target Field, this is Fenway Park!
Hold on a minute, why was I in Boston?
Well, I was on a family trip that started by us getting on a plane…
(There were so many other things I did on this trip, but I lost most of the pictures I was planning on sharing here. I went to the Capital Building, the MLK memorial, the Lincoln memorial, Ford Theater, Ellis Island, Madison Square Garden, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, 30 Rock, the Today Show, the World Trade Center museum and memorial, a spinning restaurant on the roof of my hotel in Times Square, the Freedom Trail, Paul Revere’s house, and more.)
The train ride to Boston was 4 hours long. I spent most of my time reading Zack Hample’s book “The Baseball” which is a great read.
To get to Boston, I went through Philly…
Before I went to the game, my family stopped at a Target so me and my brother could get a Red Sox hat.
We got in line in center field and signed up for the Red Sox Nation. Why? If you are a part of the Red Sox Nation, you get in to the stadium 2 hours and 30 minutes before the game starts.
At 4:40 when the stadium opened, I ran inside and got a look at the field. The cage was set up and the Red Sox were taking BP! I went to right field and stood right behind the bullpens to see if I could get a tossup or a home run. I really like the fact that there is a cross aisle behind the bullpens. It makes it a lot easier to run after home run balls.
After unsuccessfully getting a tossup from the players (there was only about 5 in the whole outfield) and seeing a ton of homers get swallowed up by the bullpens, I managed to get a grounds crew member to tossed me my first ball of the day. He was picking up some baseballs, I asked for one and told him it was my first game at Fenway, but he threw it to someone else. He picked up another, started looking for me, and then tossed it right to my glove! Yes! My first ball at Fenway Park.
A little bit later, I wandered over to CF to see if I could get anything there. I unsuccessfully tried to get David Ortiz’s son to toss me a ball.
I saw a player with a ball walking around, talking to another player. I saw that his name was on the back of his jersey, but I couldn’t tell what it said. He eventually got closer, and I realized it wasn’t a player, it was bench coach Torey Lovullo. I know his name because he applied to be the Twins manager before Paul Molitor was picked.
I shouted his name a few times, and he eventually looked over and chucked the ball my way. I thought it was going to fall short, but it managed to make it all the way to me.
The Mariners came out and I stayed in right field, even thought they were warming up in left field.
My first ball of Mariners BP and third ball of the day came from Carson Smith, after he saw that I had a Mariners hat on. He was happy to see a fan of his team in a place where almost everybody loves the Red Sox and nobody else.
A few minutes later, I saw a Mariner pitcher in right center scoop up a grounder so I asked him for it. He immediately turned around and tossed it up to me, and as it was in the air, I realized it was Hishashi Iwakuma throwing me the ball. In my Mariners entry from last year, I got a ball from Hishashi by asking him in Japanese. I thanked him for the ball in Japnese, and congratulated him on his no hitter from a few days earlier. He gave me a thumbs up.
My 5th ball of the day would come closer to the end of BP. I went to right field again, and identified one of the players as Vidal Nuno. I called out his name when he got a ball, he heard me, saw my M’s hat, walked closer to me, and threw a bullet towards me. It was going off to the side and a ton of people with longer arms reached out and tried to catch it. I don’t know how, but every person who reached out managed to miss the ball, and it landed it safely in the pocket of my glove.
When BP did end, I didn’t even bother running over to the dugout to try and get an extra ball because I knew I wouldn’t make it. I left right field, and gave my Carson Smith tossup to a little French kid with a glove on the way out.
I forgot to mention, but I thought this was kind of cool. In BP, Nelson Cruz hit multiple balls out of the park over the monster.
I went to the dugout when the players began to warm up, and tried to get a ball or autograph.
Something cool I noticed was that when the Sox were running back in to their dugout and one player had he third out ball, he tossed it about 20 rows up. I have never seen a player do that.
Towards the end of the game, I moved to this spot to get in position for an umpire ball:
Balls at this game: 6 (Grounds Crew, Torey Lovullo, Carson Smith, Hisashi Iwakuma, Vidal Nuno, Alan Porter) (5 pictured because I gave one away)
Autographs at this game: 1 (Jesus Monero)
My day started off when I went to the Seattle Mariners team hotel in Minneapolis. I went with my brother Ben, and his friends, Noah and Andrew. When I got there, I met up with Eric, who I have mentioned in a few entries, and Nick, who’s from Iowa. Nick doesn’t ballhawk, he only graphs. I wanted to collect some autographs, mainly from Felix Hernandez, Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, or Nelson Cruz. Unfortunately, I got shutout at the hotel, even though a few people signed. The worst part was when Ben, Noah, Andrew, Eric, Nick, and I chased Robinson’s Cano car 6 blocks through Minneapolis, trying to get him to roll down his window and sign for us. We lost his car, went back to the hotel, and tons of people were gone. Why? Nelson Cruz, Kyle Seager, and Felix Hernandez came out. Only Felix signed, but I really wanted his auto.
Little did I know, I’d get autographs from all 4 of the guys I wanted later on. This was the most entertaining thing I saw at the hotel:
There was still about 2 hours before the gates opened, so me and Eric grabbed food at Arby’s, and headed for Target Field.
When I was at the gates, I got really hot and was thirsty so I walked in to the Target Center and bought a Pepsi. Yes, the Target Center is open during the offseason. It’s a part of the skyway which goes all around Minneapolis. You can’t go in the actual arena area, but the part outside of it is always open.
I was sitting near that Gate 34, first in line, and an usher walked up to me and said, “So are you guys what they call Ballhawks?”. I told him I was, and I asked if he read the Star Tribune article. He said yes, and I told him I was in that article too and he thought that was cool.
This was a week day game, so the gates would open at 5:30, but since Eric was a season ticket holder, he could bring 3 other people in at 5:00. That sounded great, but there was a problem. There was 4 people with him. We were going to ask if we could bring a 4th person in, and that was when another season ticket holder, and fellow ballhawk Paul Kom walked up to the gates with his friend Matt. So now, we could all get in at 5:00.
The clocks hit 5:00, and we ran in to the stadium. I went to right center in hopes of getting a tossup from Miguel Sano, but the closest I got to getting one from him was him pretending to throw one to me but throwing it back in to the bucket.
I went to left field, saw Ben get a tossup from Casey Fien, snag BP homer he scrambled for with Paul, give it to a woman, and saw Paul snag his 200th ball.
Meanwhile, I was stuck at 0. I positioned myself behind Fien, and got him to throw me ball 1 of the day by raising my voice really high to sound younger.
Here’s the video.
Twins BP ended a few minutes later, and an usher walked down the stairs and handed me my second ball of the day.
Felix Hernandez and Fernando Rodney were out there playing catch. I tried to get Fernando to throw me one, and he rubbed his fingers together as if he wanted me to pay him for the ball.
Felix Hernandez finished playing catch, and started playing catch again. But this time, he was playing catch with the fans right next to me!
I got Felix to throw it to me, but I caught it super weirdly and he said, “No, you need to catch it right,” so I threw it back to him and he tossed it to me again, and I caught it the “right” way. When I threw it back, I first mimicked what a Major League pitcher would do (cover ball with glove and change my grip, look for the sign the catcher is giving, go in to a windup, ect.) He threw a few more throws to fans, and said, “Somebody catch this,” and threw it in the air towards us and walked away. I reached out as far as I could, and caught the ball.
I just played catch with Felix Hernandez, and got a ball from him!
That wouldn’t be my last experience with the King that day. When the rest of the stadium opened at 5:30, I went to the foul lines and saw that Felix and Fernando were running from foul pole to foul pole, and took breaks at each one. When they got to the foul pole on the other side of the stadium, I noticed they were signing autographs as they took breaks. I pulled a 2014 ASG ball out of my backpack to get ready for Felix to sign near me. He came back, signed for one kid, and then me!
I got to play catch with the King, get a ball from him, and get his autograph, all in one day!
I went back to LF, but not for long. BP ended 30 minutes short. This made me angry, because I could have got an extra ball or two.
I ran to the Mariners dugout, and saw Mario the bat boy putting some baseballs away. A girl asked him for one, and he sarcastically said he didn’t have any, even though he had a huge bucket of baseballs right next to him. I then asked for one, and I started joking around with him. I said, “Hey, I know your name, bat boy, it’s Mario,” and he said, “No, no it’s not. I don’t know what you are talking about”. “Oh really?” I said back, “Then what is your actual name?” He said, “I don’t know?” And kind of laughed. “Mario, give me the dirtiest ball you got, the ugliest one there is. One that is a disgrace to look at!” He looked at the bag of balls and said, “This one’s autographed, you want it?” Heck yeah I wanted that ball! I told him to toss it to me, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. That ball was signed by Kyle Seager, Nelson Cruz, and Robinson Cano!!!
Right after that, I found out why BP ended so early. The Long Haul Bombers were there to do a softball home run derby. I stayed by the dugout instead of going to the outfield, and I managed to get somebody who works for the Long Haul Bombers to toss me a softball. Of course, I couldn’t count it, but it’s still cool to have.
I went right behind the players warming up before the game started, and I got autographs from Mark Trumbo, and Kyle Seager.
As soon as the players finished signing, I went up to the Digital Clubhouse. Why? Duke Basketball star and MVP of the 2015 NCAA basketball championship Tyus Jones was going to be there taking pictures with fans. I printed 2 photos and planned to get them signed by him. Once I got to the Digital Clubhouse, I waited in line and got my picture with the MVP.
After he was done with pictures, he started signing autographs for Andrew, Ben, Eric, Nick, Noah, a grapher I met named TJ, another grapher I met named Brandon, and I. I got Tyus to sign my first 8×10, then I dipped back in to the crowd and got my second one signed.
Tyus was super nice and made me a fan for life. I hated him before this experience because he was the star player on Duke and they beat Wisconsin in the championship (yeah, I like the Badgers), but now I like him a lot more.
I went back down to the dugout and tried to get a third out ball. It may have took 8 innings, but Chris Taylor came through and tossed me one. This story is actually pretty fun. He saw me in my Mariners hat, smiled, and tossed it to me, but some kid my age ran down the aisle and swatted it down. We both got a grip on the ball, and wouldn’t let it go. We were discussing on who should get the ball. People were watching this and shouting “Give to the Mariners fan!” which was me. I came up with and idea which was is he let go, I’d give him a BP ball. He was completely fine with that, so I pulled the Fien tossup out of my bag and handed it to him. Me and this kid were never mad at each other, we weren’t fighting over it or anything. He was super chill the whole time.
My next ball would also be my final ball, but before I get in to that, I’ll tell you all about, “KYYYYYYYYLE!”.
Kyle Seager was on deck, and some guy sitting near the dugout shouted in some hilarious country accent, “KYYYYYYYYLE!”. He kept doing it, and it was hilarious and annoying at the same time. Some more people started doing it once he went up to bat. I decided to join in on the fun, and soon enough, tons of people were shouting, “KYYYYYYYYLE!” in the hilarious voice. If you are having a hard time understanding what it sounded like, it kind of sound like someone saying “call” in a loud country accent.
When the game ended, home plate umpire Mark Wegner saw me with my umpire hat on trying to get a ball, but I was behind a row of people. He handed it to an usher and told him to give it to the kid wearing the umpire hat.
I waited outside the stadium after the game to see if any Mariners players would come out, and only LoMo did. He was on his hover board thingy again but didn’t sign because he was with his family. For the Twins, Eric Fryer and Ryan O’Rouke came out and and signed but I had nothing for them to sign. Oh well. I had a great graphing day and a good ballhawking day, so I was fine.
Balls at this game: 6 (Casey Fien, An Usher, Felix Hernandez, BB Mario Muñoz, Chris Taylor, Mark Wegner)
Autographs at this game: 7 (Felix Hernandez, Kyle Seager x2, Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano, Tyus Jones x2)
Well, this game kinda sucked. So it’s gonna be a short entry. And I don’t have many pictures. Sorry.
I had been planning this game for a while, because A-Rod was in town with the Yankees and I wanted an autograph. I went to the team hotel in the morning and there was a very small crowd. Only Chris Capuano signed, and I didn’t have a card for him.
Eventually, A-Rod came out of a cab after coming back from lunch, looked at us, and walked in to the hotel. Not cool, A-Rod.
I waited in line at the stadium for 2 awful hours. No balls came to the gate. I was hoping to get an auto from A-Rod inside the stadium.
When the gates opened, I was the first in line and I made a beeline to the right field corner spot. It took a long time, but I eventually got Miguel Sano to throw me a ball after asking him in Spanish. It took two tries because the first throw fell short. I was lucky that it fell on the field.
I moved over to the right-center area, closer to center field. I shouted at Trevor May, and he came over to say hi to me. Trevor and I have talked on Twitter, and at a game before. He knows who I am and I think that’s pretty cool. He tried to throw a ball to me, but it was just out of my reach and it landed in the flowers. I can normally pick a ball out of the flowers if it lands there, but this place in the flowers was a few inches deeper. So I didn’t get the ball.
I was angry after that, but not at Trevor. He didn’t try to make it fall short. I was angry at myself for not reaching far enough.
Something happened right after this, which I will not be discussing on here. I really hate talking about it, and I almost feel kind of bad about what I did. This is the reason I don’t want to write that much about this game. Ask me in person if you want to know. Unless you are like, 3,000 miles away from Minnesota, or something like that. Ask me on Twitter then.
This thing made me so mad, that I quit ballhawking right then and there. I went down the foul lines to see if I could get an A-Rod auto. Long story short…
He didn’t sign at all. Actually, I take that back. He signed for a kid on the field wearing a Kris Bryant jersey. After he got his ball signed, he asked his dad, “Who was that guy?”
After Yankees BP ended, I went to the top of the dugout and got a tossup from an unidentified Yankee. Let’s say it was Babe Ruth.
I also ran in to one of my neighbors when I was by the dugout.
I snuck in to the dugout box for he start of the game, got Didi Gregorius to sign my card, and then got kicked out.
During the game, I posted a picture on my Instagram about how the Yankees suck, and every time A-Roid (yeah, I’m calling him that now) came up, I boo’ed him VERY loudly.
I went to the bullpen to see if I could get Trevor May’s attention and tell him what happened, but he didn’t hear me. Oh well. I told him on Twitter after the game, and he said, “That’s odd… How about I send you a signed card?” He gave me his email and I sent him my address, and 3 days later. I received a Trevor May signed rookie card in the mail. Class act.
I didn’t get an umpire ball after the game, and the bat boy Mario chucked all of his postgame tossups (he tosses 2-5 balls up after each game) super far back in the seats.
I waited outside the stadium near the players exit with some graphers I have gotten to know from seeing them at games, and no body came out. They all used a different exit.
Oh well. We all have bad games.
Balls a this game: 2 (Miguel Sano, Babe Ruth)
Autographs at this game: 1 (Didi Gregorius)
Hey there, whoever you are. I have not posted an entry for a while. Whoops. I debated quitting blogging for some time, but after asking some other ballhawks, they convinced me to keep writing. A lot has happened in the time I’ve been away from here, even though it’s only this game been 4 months. I have traveled to different ballparks, had record setting games, had amazing experiences with MLB players like Adam Jones, Pat Neshek, Tommy Hunter, and Felix Hernandez. I was also in the newspaper. You can check out the article here. Well, I don’t want to spend too much time here, so I’ll get on with the entry.
I planned on going to the game two days after this one. That’s because the Twins were going to play the Tigers, and I wanted to see Miguel Cabrera. More importantly, I wanted to see him take BP. Well, Miguel ended up getting injured a little bit before the game happened, so I didn’t see a point in going to it. I heard that Baltimore ballhawk Grant Edrington was in town and was going to a game on July 7th, so I thought I would go to that game and meet him.
I arrived at Gate 34 about 30 minutes before the gates opened, and met up with Tony Voda, Mateo Fischer, and Grant. Since it was a week night game, the gates wouldn’t open until 5:30. But Tony was a season ticket holder and had a pass that got him and 3 other people in at 5:00, and Tony had exactly 3 other people with him (Grant, Mateo, and I).
When the gates opened, I ran to right field with Tony and Mateo. Tony immediately got a tossup from Mike Pelfrey, and a few seconds later, a ball was hit that looked like Mateo would catch, but it bounced off the limestone wall on the edge of the seats. It bounced down to the field, straight at Glen Perkins, who just got selected to be in the ASG a few days before. I congratulated him, not even asking for the ball because I have never seen him throw a ball up. I decided to ask anyway, and to my surprise, he flung it right at me. The way he threw it and the angle it came at made it tough for me to catch, so it went over my glove and under a seat. Tony and I reached down for it and I came up with the ball.
(Sorry for the pic quality. I lost all my pictures and this was the only way I could get them back)
I moved to the corner spot in right field, and after only a few seconds of standing there, I got Chris Herrmann to toss me my second ball of the day. I captured the video on my GoPro.
2 baseballs in less than 2 minutes.
I saw Miguel Sano, who the Twins called up only a few days before, walk out to right-center field and stand next to Ervin Santana, who’s suspension ended only a few days before too. Me and Tony yelled, “SMELL BASEBALL!” at Ervin because he is always posting about #SmellBaseball on Twitter or Instagram. He looked at us, pointed, and smiled. I went over to the wood seats in right-center and stood behind Sano to try and get a ball from him. I asked him in Spanish, and nothing happened. I asked again in English, and he said something to me that I couldn’t hear. I asked one more time in English, and he threw a bullet straight to me.
Ball 3 of the day.
When Orioles BP started, I went over to LF to see if I could get a ball from the pitchers warming up. I asked Tommy Hunter if I could have his ball when he was done, and he told me to ask his throwing partner, Darren O’Day, who also got selected for the ASG a few days before. I asked him when they were done, and Tommy held up one finger as if to say, “hold on”. I moved a few sections over and up about 5 rows, and I saw Tommy Hunter and Darren O’Day and the field trying to get my attention. I was a section over from where they were on the field. O’Day chucked the ball over an entire section of seats and 5 rows up, directly to me. Tommy waved me down to the front row and said to throw it back. I asked him if he wanted to play catch with me and he sarcastically said, “No, my arm is sore. I’ll play 1 throw of catch.” And that was what happened.I threw it to him, and he threw it to me.
Ball 4. That would end up being my last ball in BP.
Tommy and I had a little fun in BP. He would look up at me sometimes, I would give him a thumbs or point and he would nod his head. It was funny.
I went to right field to see what was going on over there, and I saw Tony and Mateo. I hung out there for a while and talked to them. The only thing that came close to me was a Travis Snider homer that Tony caught. I went down to the dugout for the end of BP but didn’t get anything.
I snuck in to the seats next to the Orioles dugout in hopes of getting a ball there. Well, I’ll tell you this. I got a lot of balls there. I stood behind the home plate side of the O’s dugout and about 10 rows up in hopes of getting a warm up ball from Adam Jones or Manny Machado. Jones gave his ball to J.J. Hardy to throw up, and Manny threw his 2 rows down from me. I would have probably got Manny’s but I looked away for some reason right as Manny finished playing catch. Little did I know, I’d end up getting balls from both of them during the game.
Ball 5 came when Eduardo Escobar struck out to end the 3rd inning, and Matt Wieters threw it to me as he jogged in to the dugout. Sweet! A third out ball.
Shortly after that, I made the stupid mistake to go on my phone during the game. It was a stupid mistake because a foul ball landed right in front of me and bounced away. Adam Jones saw the whole thing play out. “C’mon man, that was all you! What were you doin’?!?” I told him I was on my phone and he replied, “Get off ya phone man.” Sadly, I don’t remember much of our conversation after that. It led to me asking him for a ball because I missed the foul ball, and he said he’d give me one if he found one.
I’m not sure when, but around the 5th or 6th inning, I decided to move 3 sections over to behind third base to see if I could snag a Manny Machado warm up ball. He had been tossing the infield warm up ball to the crowd every inning, about 5 rows up. I found a seat a few sections over, and when they started warming up in the infield, I went and stood behind the camera well which was 5 rows away from the field. The blue circle shows were I sat, and the red circle is where I stood:
Every time Machado got the ball and threw it to first base, he looked at the crowd for a worthy recipient. I was wearing a black and orange O’s hat, and an eye-catching neon orange shirt. When Machado looked at the crowd, he looked at ME. I waved my arms indicating that I wanted the ball. They finished warming up and Machado scanned the crowd looking for a fan. He looked around for a few seconds, and threw the ball towards me. It was going a little bit to the side, and some drunk girl stuck out her hand and deflected it on to the ground behind me. I saw the ball hit the aisle, then the camera well, and bounce away. I wasn’t going to let anyone else get that ball, so I DOVE on to the concrete and grabbed the ball.
For those of you keeping count, that was ball 6.
That ball wasn’t the only thing I got. I also got a scrape on my knee that started to bleed after I took this picture:
I went in to a bathroom and cleaned it up after, and it was all good. I think this was the first time I’ve ever been happy to scrape myself.
It was at about this time when I realized I could have my first double digit game.
Remember the Adam Jones incident earlier in the game? After the inning ended, AJ came running in to the dugout. He spotted me in the first row and stopped to talk to me. “Where’s my ball?!?” I jokingly said. “Your ball?!? That’s MY ball man.” We talked a little more but I forgot what it was about.
I got my 7th ball of the day, another infield warm up, but this time it was from coach Wayne Kirby. I had asked him earlier in the game for a ball but he said he didn’t have one. Whenever he got the infield warm up ball, he flung it behind his back and over his head. The one he threw to me was the only time he threw a ball to a specific person because he remembered me.
Ball 7. Only 3 more to go. I was starting realize that I actually had a chance.
Out of nowhere, when I was just sitting in my seat in the first row. I see Adam Jones’s head pop up. He then rolled me what is my cleanest ball ever.
I had a great feeling I could reach double digits now! I was at 8 balls and the game wasn’t even over!
In the 9th inning I found a front row seat right next to the umpire tunnel. I looked around and didn’t see anyone who looked like they were going to try and get an ump ball. I was almost guaranteed one! I threw on my black umpire hat, and waited for the game to end.
When it did end, I was the only one standing there, until Mateo Fischer came in from out of nowhere running down to the ump tunnel. The good thing was that he was the only other person at the ump tunnel. Another good thing was that the ump had more than 1 baseball. And another good thing was that home plate umpire Cory Blaser gave me my 9th ball of the day. My new single game record!
(For some reason, I didn’t take a pic of it)
My next goal was to get a ball from the O’s bullpen. Mateo and I dodged a ton of people, climbed over rows of seats, and finally made it to the other end of the dugout where the ‘pen comes in. When they got closer, I saw that the bullpen catcher Rudy Arias had two baseballs in his glove. I knew one of those balls would be coming home with me. Mateo and I called out to Rudy, and he flung the balls on to the dugout roof. I lunged out and got one!
10 baseballs! Double digits! Woohoo! I always knew I would snag double digits, but I didn’t think it would be this soon!
After that, Grant, Mateo, Tony, and I got a group photo. From left to right, you are looking at me, Mateo, Tony, and Grant.
.After that, Grant and I went to where the players leave the stadium. I wasn’t that good at recognizing the O’s players, but Grant recognized every single one of them. Even the crappy players too. I got Wei-Yin Chen to sign and autograph on a clean ball for me, and he signed it in a cool way! This is what it looks like:
I tried to get Adam Jones’s autograph, but he came up with some stupid excuse on why he couldn’t sign.
Miguel Sano walked out with his family, and he stopped to sign autographs. He had hit his first home run that night. I heard Mateo was a few feet from it. I had a photo of Buxton and Sano at the 2013 Future’s Game, so I had Sano sign it. He signed autographs for everyone waiting. Chris Davis came out later, and I had him sign a ball too. Grant got him to sign a home run ball that Davis hit last year. He caught it on the fly. I feel so stupid for getting Chen on a clean ball and Davis on a mud rubbed ball.
Right before I had to leave, I got one final autograph which was from Brad Brach. I had him sign it on paper and he signed it super small, so I threw it away later. He’s not even that good anyway.
I gave Grant a ride back to the hotel he was staying at. We talked about baseball, him catching home runs, winning Jr. Ballhawk of the Year, and other stuff like that. We said goodbye, and I went home.
Balls at this game: 10 (Glen Perkins, Chris Herrmann, Miguel Sano, Darren O’Day, Matt Wieters, Manny Machado, Wayne Kirby, Adam Jones, Cory Blaser, Rudy Arias)
Autographs at this game: 4 (Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Sano, Chris Davis, Brad Brach)
Well, I reeeeeally want to get to my next post because something great happened. I’m going to try and shorten this post up by doing it a different style. I promise the next post will be longer.
I met up at the Gate 34 with Tony Voda from Plouffe’s New Hairdo, and my friend Eric. Paul from A Piece of the Game and Mateo Fischer eventually showed up too! I was going to get in early with Tony because he is a season ticket holder. No balls reached 34, so nobody had any baseballs as we entered the stadium.
After dropping a Kennys Vargas bomb in the corner spot of the right field bleachers and getting robbed by Tony of a Chris Herrmann tossup, I finally got Chris to throw me a baseball… kind of. I reached full extension over the side of the overhang and it still missed my glove and went in the flowers. I dug through the flowers, and came up with ball number 1, and a really painful rib cage (I was leaning on my rib cage and the railing had sharp edges).
Twins BP ended and Sox BP started, and a ball rolled to the wall near me in LF. An unidentified pitcher picked the ball up and flung it behind his back. I shuffled as far back as I could in the first row and caught it behind my head.
My plan to catch a Jose Abreu bomb failed, even though I was in the second deck were all of his homers landed. Mateo was the one getting most of them. Jose hit about 3-5 baseballs up in to the concourse of the second deck. BP ended and I was stuck at 2. I went over to the Twins dugout where I met up with Tony who was in the fancy Champions Club. The former bat boy, Dominic Frost, was in the dugout and he threw Tony a ball. Tony said he would help me get a Dom tossup because I have never got one before.
Tony doesn’t lie!
He pointed at Dom, then above the dugout. He looked at me and rolled a ball across the dugout. I then told him I noticed he was following me on Twitter. He thought it was cool and then he asked for my username. 5 minutes later, I got a notification saying that his second account has requested to follow me! I DM’ed him and said thanks for the ball. He replied, “No problem man”.
Hung out with Paul and Eric for most of the game, mostly by the bullpen. No bullpen guys threw us baseballs, but we still had fun hanging out and talking. We went over behind the dugout box seats to get in position for an umpire ball. An usher saw us and realized what we were doing, so he waved us down to sit in his section! The game ended, and a TON of kids were going for umpire balls. There was one person in particular though going for a baseball. He is about my age, and he always tries to ballhawk. I have seen him shove people to get a baseball, reach in front of them for a tossup, and he lies about his stats! He says he’s got 20 baseballs in one game, at Target Field! I told Paul this knew that it’s almost impossible to snag that man at TF.
So this kid, he’s at the back of the crowd, he shoves everyone, and tries to get past me and Eric. Me and Eric are already kind of shoving him back with our elbows, but he manages to shove past us and reach in front of me for a baseball that was tossed to me.
Luckily, Mr. Johnson saw this happen, and he threw me my final ball of the day.
I went to the Twins parking lot with Eric after the game to get some autographs, and we got Torii Hunter to stop his car and sign for us. Eric got a photo signed, and I got two 1994 draft cards signed. He thought the cards were cool!
I was happy to snag a few balls, but I felt I could have done better. Oh well. Maybe next time….
Next time for sure….
Check back in a few days to see what happens “next time”!!!
Balls at this game: 4 (Chris Herrmann, Unidentified White Sox guy, Dom Frost, Adrian Johnson)
Autographs at this game: 2 (Torii Hunter)
I wanted to go to this game for a really long time because it was the day after I got out of school. What a great way it would be to start off summer, right? I left for the game with my brother Ben and his friend Andrew, but first we had to stop at a sports cards store because they needed some baseball cards to get autographed by the Brewers. That would definitely waste time, and I knew we wouldn’t make it to the stadium before the gates opened. When we did make it there, the stadium had been opened for about 5 minutes. I managed to make it in to the right field seats to see the last few swings of Twins BP. Lucky for me, I managed to get Aaron Thompson to throw me a ball in the right field corner spot. #1 on the day, #52 lifetime. When I was there, I met a ballhawk from Milwaukee named Kenny. He had already caught two baseballs. I ran over to the left field foul line in hopes of getting a tossup from the Brewers when they warm up. I didn’t get any from them, so I headed over to the left field bleachers for Carlos Gomez and Ryan Braun’s group. Gomez hit everything in to the second deck, so I obviously couldn’t catch those, but I did have a homer land near me that I could have easily caught. For some reason I wasn’t paying attention when the batter hit one a few feet to my left. I didn’t see it until it was too late and it hit a lady and bounced right off her. She didn’t even flinch or looked surprised or hurt. She was just like, “Oh, a ball just hit me. Whatever.” It rolled in to the next row where my friend who I met up with, Eric, picked it up and gave it to her. If I was paying attention, all I would have had to do was take a few steps to my left, reach in front of her and catch it. I went out to right-center after that with Eric, but none of the players were throwing any baseballs to us. We saw a tall guy with a beard so I looked up the players headshots and found out that it was Mike Fiers. The next time he got a ball, we shouted his name. He saw that Eric had a Brewers hat so he threw a ball to him. I asked Mike if I could get the next one, and then he pointed at his shirt, then his hat, to say that I was wearing a Brewers shirt but not a Brewers hat. I asked Eric if he could lend me the hat he was wearing quick, so he did and I put it on. Fiers got another baseball so I said right as he was throwing it in, “Mike! Look! I have a Brewers hat on now!” He stopped mid-throw, turned around, laughed, then threw me the ball. I went back out to left field a bit later where I missed another homer. Again, I happened to not be paying attention. It went right over my head and bounced back down past me. I went closer to the front row to try for another toss up, when I noticed bullpen coach Lee Tunnell was looking at me with a ball in his hand. As soon was we made eye contact, he lobbed a ball in to the stands, where it hit some guys arm but kept moving and landed in my glove. He threw me that ball because earlier in BP he said he would hook me up if they didn’t hit me a baseball. This was also my first sharpie marked baseball: BP wrapped up about 5 minutes after that. I made my way over to the dugout to try and get a toss up. I didn’t make it there in time, but I really didn’t try too hard because I was tired out and thirsty. Running was the last thing I wanted to do. I saw Will Smith, the guy who recently got in trouble for using pine tar when he was pitching, signing autographs. There was a big crowd though. I could have easily made my way to the front of it, but I didn’t really want to climb over a bunch of rows and through a ton of people. Instead, I stood above the dugout and waited until he came back in. When he came in, I asked for a picture. He said, “From this far away?” Which I replied to with, “Sure.” What I ended up doing was taking a selfie that is officially my favorite picture on my phone. Will Smith. Cool guy. Ben, Andrew, and I, got ready to use our plan to sit in the dugout box seats for the game. The dugout box is an area of seats behind the dugout which is fenced off. There are a few entrances to it but they are guarded by ushers so fans can’t get in. Some people, like us, have figured out a way around it. I have used this trick before at the Red Sox game, and it worked. I am glad to say that it worked again. We sat in the first row to wait for players to come and sign autographs. Sadly, Carlos Gomez didn’t sign autographs. He was my main target (besides Braun). Although Gomez didn’t sign, we still got autographs from Jason Rogers and Hernan Perez. Andrew got Perez to flip him a ball from his glove, which was his first ball of the day. Ben and Andrew got shutout in BP. This was our view for the start of the game: People eventually came to claim those seats, so we moved here: I brought some binoculars to the game to tell who the batters were in BP, and they worked pretty well. I remembered seeing this picture once online: and I wanted to try the same thing. I zoomed in all the way on my phone camera and put it on the binoculars. It turned out pretty cool! When the inning ended, Jason Rogers flipped Ben the third out ball. Now we were all on the board. People eventually came to claim the seats we were in. In the 5th inning! When you have seats that good, you shouldn’t be showing up in the 5th inning! Andrew, Ben, and I kind of stood up in the cross aisle and walked around, trying to act casual while not going to sit in any seats. I kept going down to the lounge area under the seats to watch the game there. About at inning later Andrew and I decided to leave those great seats because there was no open seats near a spot where you could snag a ball. Ben thought we were crazy so he said he would stay there. The funny part was, right when we left, someone asked for Ben’s tickets and he got kicked out of those seats.
Nothing else really happened for the rest of the game. Didn’t get any baseballs. Got the lineup cards from the umpire though!
3 balls at this game (Aaron Thompson, Mike Fiers, Lee Tunnell)