8/9/14 at Wrigley Field: Cubs vs Rays

I don’t have many pictures because they are all on my old phone which I forgot the pass code to. I am not too happy about it. Enjoy the entry.

I was going to Wrigley Field!!! WRIGLEY FIELD!!! I was so unbelievably excited about this from the second I was told I was going. Wrigley Field was my favorite ballpark, and I was finally going to see it. There is so much history and greatness to Wrigley Field, like The Babe’s Called Shot, the Steve Bartman play (not that great for Cubs fans), the rooftop seats, the Ivy, and so much more! There was one thing that made me nervous though. The baseballs the Cubs were using. They were commemorative. Not just any commemorative, it was a Wrigley Field 100th year commemorative. You’ve got to have a pretty good stadium to keep it that long. I was nervous that if I snagged one, the logo wouldn’t be good. Actually, good wasn’t enough for me. I wanted PERFECT. Yeah, that does sound greedy, but c’mon, they were Wrigley Field commemoratives!!! These are what the logos looked like:

Credit to Tony Voda's blog, Plouffe's New Hairdo.

Credit to Tony Voda’s blog, Plouffe’s New Hairdo.

I had got shutout the previous day at Miller Park, which didn’t help me feel any more confident about this day. Well, I could just hope for the best.

I left from my hotel in Kenosha, which is about an hour away from Milwaukee, at about 10:30 AM. After driving for about 2 hours, Chicago came in to sight. I could only see the Willis Tower and some other really big building though. We kept on driving, and we got to Wrigleyville (the neighborhood around Wrigley). I pictured what it would be like living in one of the houses there. I would be walking to Cubs games every week, and on the days I didn’t go to the games, I would stand out on Waveland or Sheffield waiting for home runs! That would be the life.

We finally arrived at Wrigley, and something caught my eye. The stadium looked different from the pictures I saw. That’s when I realized that it was like that because most of the pictures I had seen of Wrigley were from the 1900’s.

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As we were walking to the stadium, we saw the famous unofficial mascot of the Cubs, “Billy Cub“. We got a picture with him, and gave him a dollar for his donation box.

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We got in line for tickets, and when we got to the front of my line, we bought two bleacher tickets, and two seating bowl tickets. Why? You have to have a bleacher ticket to enter the bleachers. If you have a regular seating bowl ticket, you can only go in the seating bowl. If you have a bleacher ticket, you can go anywhere in the stadium. It was a good thing I had done my research on the stadium beforehand, because I wanted to go to the bleachers for BP.

We got our tickets and went to the bleacher entrance…

…where there was already a long-ish line. I got to see one of the greatest ballhawks of all time on Waveland Avenue, Dave Davison. He has snagged thousands of balls on Waveland over the years. It was fun to see all the ballhawks out there looking up in to the sky, waiting for a little ball to appear.

We waited in line for about 20 minutes, then the gates opened. They used mini baseballs bats to poke around my backpack to make sure I didn’t have anything bad in there, which I thought was a very great and creative idea.

When I got inside, I ran up some stairs and got to the bleachers. Lucky for me, the Cubs were taking BP. I walked down the aisle to the first row, and positioned myself behind a player I couldn’t identify (I can’t identify any of the Cubs, but I later found out the guy was Tsuyoshi Wada). The guy I was behind was throwing almost every ball in to the stands, so I knew I had a good chance of getting a ball. All I had to do was wait for the batter to hit one towards me and hope that the player threw the ball in to the crowd. After waiting for 5 minutes, the guy in the cage hit a grounder towards me. The player fielded it and turned around. He scanned the crowd for fans, and spotted me waving my arms high up in the air like crazy in the first row. “Ohmygosh he’s looking at me!”, I thought. He put his hand up as if he were about to throw the ball, and then he did! As it was flying at me in the air, I kept on thinking, “You better not drop this in the basket,” and I didn’t! I had restarted the streak! As Hawk Harrelson would say, “You can put it on the boooooooooooard, YES!”. I was ecstatic! But then, I remembered about the logo. I took the ball out of my glove and saw this:

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YYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THE LOGO WAS FLAWLESS!!!!!!!!

This was great!!! I had worried so much about getting a ball with a crappy logo, but now I didn’t have to! Here is the logo up close:

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Never mind the little fading area in the middle that is barely noticeable, I got a great logo!

Cubs BP ended a few minutes later, but I had accomplished my goal. When the Rays came out, I headed out to the right field bleachers where some Rays pitchers were throwing, but I didn’t get anything from them. I feel like I should have got a ball from Grant Balfour because he threw lots of balls up, but it just wasn’t happening. Every ballhawk has an off day, and this just happened to be mine.

I kind of gave up on homers and just went for toss ups because almost no one was hitting them in to the stands. I felt kind of bad for the Waveland/Sheffield ballhawks because NO ONE hit anything outside of the park.

When BP ended I made my way over to the foul line where my mom and dad were sitting, and Ben decided he would sit there for the game so my mom came with me to the bleachers. (Tip for people with bleacher tickets at Wrigley Field: If you are going back to the bleachers from the seating bowl, have your ticket ready. They will need to scan it first before they let you go in.)

Chris Bosio came out before the game and threw a couple baseballs up, none of which came to me. And just like I said before, it wasn’t my day. My mom almost got one, but some guy snatched it before she could. Because of this, I gave her a ball (my third ball to be specific) when I got back to Minnesota.

I was glad I got to sit down and actually see Wrigley Field, which was a great looking ballpark. It was sad to think that it wouldn’t be like this next season. I took a panorama from the bleachers to capture the ballpark in it’s last good year.

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One of the things I didn’t know about the stadium was that the bleachers were general admisson (you can sit wherever you want).

I went for the outfield warmup balls every inning from Chris Coghlan, but I did not succeed at that. It is probably because I am very short because I am still young. One of the most frustrating parts was when Coghlan was about to throw the ball up and I decided to leave the aisle I was on and go to a different aisle. What happens? Coghlan throws it to the aisle I was just on. Like I said, it just wasn’t my day. I went on the cross aisle behind the bleachers and looked at Waveland. There were only two ballhawks out there, Dave Davison and Moe Mullins. Moe Mullins is the greatest ballhawk of all time in my opinion. Hample may have snagged more, but Mullins has snagged many more gamers. His total is around 6,000 baseballs, and 100 or 200 somethin’ home runs. His greatest accomplishment is snagging FOUR home runs in a single game TWICE.

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I started taking some pictures of the ballpark, like this:

My finger managed to get in the picture!

My finger managed to get in the picture!

And this:

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Apparently you can sit on the roofs of the buildings on Waveland Avenue to watch the Cubs games. They call them the Wrigley Rooftops. Watch this video.

I also tried to get a picture with the camera focused on the ball, but it ended up focusing more on my wrist:

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As the game got closer to its end, I made my way towards the Rays dugout because they were (probably) going to win, and I didn’t know where the umpire tunnel was. I couldn’t get in to the seats by the dugout, so I kept on moving closer and closer to the cross aisle. Since the game was going a little long, I moved in to the cross aisle. When the final out was recorded, I sprinted down to the dugout. I did not get any balls there, and I foolishly did not get an autograph from the star player of the game. I can’t remember who it was, but I know he did really good because they interviewed him after the game ended. This is the view from the oddly shaped dugout (look up a picture).

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Like I have said many times before, it REALLY wasn’t my day.

I was by the dugout when I noticed my brother Ben picking dirt up off the field. I had him get some for me, so I could bring a piece of Wrigley with me when I went home. We got really lucky, because security noticed what Ben was doing and the started yelling at him, but he had already got the dirt!

I still had two more things I wanted to do at Wrigley Field. The first thing was to sit in the Steve Bartman seat and pretend that I interfered with a play. I have a picture, but it is on my brothers phone. It was funny because there was actually a line to sit in the famous seat. The other thing I wanted to do was try to get autographs from the Rays outside of the stadium by the players buses. When I got there, there was already a huge crowd. I was really far back in the crowd, so I decided I wouldn’t go for autographs and I would just take pictures instead. Here is Yunel Escobar with his wife:

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Here is Chris Archer, the only person who signed, and of course, I was too far back in the crowd to get his autograph:

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I love this picture.

I eventually made it to the front of the crowd, but no one else signed. Everyone was waiting for Longo, but all he did was smile and nod to the fans. And as I’ve said so many times- well, I think you get the point.

I got one final picture before I left the ballpark:

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After I took that final photo, my mom wanted to get a picture outside the front of the ballpark with the Wrigley Field sign in the background:

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And with that, we left the stadium.

As I got in the car, I was sad that it was actually time to leave the stadium, because it’s my favorite one. I got my last look at the stadium, and said goodbye. I don’t have a good way to end this entry, so..

Keep Hawking.

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STATS:

Balls as this game: 1 (Tsuyoshi Wada)

Autographs at this game: 0

8/8/14 at Miller Park: Brewers vs Dodgers

I got shutout. I didn’t know much about Miller Park. I was new to it. There was no BP. it didn’t help that Ballhawk Shawn and Jacqui Reynolds were there. Too many drunk fans. Too many people. Two drunk 50 year old idiots who wouldn’t let me by the umpire tunnel because I didn’t have seats there. Rob Flippo’s favorite word is no. Stadium was 2457385689123890236493738912648935623947837 times bigger than Target Field. No foul balls to the foul ball cross aisle. Concourses were weird.  It was still cool to see the stadium. Ushers sucked at their jobs LOL. I will succeed at you someday Miller Park.

Balls at this game: 0

Autographs at this game: 1 (Jamey Wright)

8/5/14 at Target Field: Twins vs Padres

I knew I was going to this game very early in the season. Why? My brother Ben’s birthday was the day after this, and he wanted to go to a game. He brought along his friend Noah, his friend Andrew, and I. This would be Andrew’s first time ballhawking. Since it was Ben’s birthday, he said he wanted to get to the game super early so we could be the first ones in line. The gates opened at 5:30, and we left at 2:30. That may sound crazy, because we only live half an hour from the stadium, but it’s not what you think. We were going to go get pizza first at a local pizza place, which would still leave us with an hour before the gate opening.

We got in to the parking ramp at the stadium with lots of time to spare, so we walked around the Target Field Plaza. I got a photo by the Kirby Puckett statue as a part of the My Game Balls photo scavenger hunt.

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The goal was to get a photo with a life-size statue of a Hall of Famer.

We walked up to Gate 34, the Plaza gate, which is also the only gate where you can snag balls at.

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It just so happened the Twins were taking some early BP. It was not my decision, but the rest of the group wanted to stay at 34 to try to catch a BP bomb. I wasn’t sure about this at first, but I joined them anyways. We couldn’t see anything on the field, except for when the pitches were being thrown and when a player hit the ball. That made it tricky to snag anything. All we could do was spread out and wait for a little white speck to appear in the sky.

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(Left to right: Noah, Andrew, Ben)

While all this was happening, my mom was out at the pizza place getting us some food. She came back, and we all ate on a patch of grass near Gate 34. 1987 World Series Champion Roy Smalley walked by, looking like the richest man in the world. As we were eating, we saw a ball get hit that was coming towards the Plaza. We all ran to try to get it, but it bounced off the gate. We got an employee to come over to retrieve the ball, but he couldn’t decided who to throw it to. He told us to move further away from the gate so he could throw it over. Now before I forget, none of us had our gloves on. Knowing I had no chance of out reaching them, I stayed back and watched. He chucked the ball over the gate, they all leaped, and Andrew caught it. Noah got his hands on the ball after Andrew did, and they started fighting over it. I ran up and told Noah to let Andrew have it because it would be his first ball. Andrew had actually snagged a foul ball at Miller Park, but Noah knew what I meant. He let go of the ball and let Andrew have it.

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This is where they stood to catch the ball

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We finished eating and went back to standing at the gate. BP stopped shortly after, so we started playing catch. A few minutes later, Tony Voda showed up at the gate. Not wanting to lose our spot, we all went up and different spots at the gate. My mom, Noah, Andrew, Ben and I all had spots first in line at the entrances to Gate 34.

Not too long later, after a couple of people showed up (including local ballhawk Dave Forstad), BP started again. About 10 minutes in to BP, I saw a ball appear in the air, and it was heading right towards me. I knew for sure it would land in the Plaza, and I knew it would reach the gates. It was just a matter of whether it would reach the outside part of the Plaza or if it would bounce off a metal bar. It bounced two or three times, then it bounced out of the gate. It went right past me, kept bouncing and hit off a wheelchair, where I got on my hands and knees and picked it up just before Dave Forstad did. And just like that, I had my first ball of the day BEFORE the gates opened.

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I was really happy about it. I didn’t have to worry about getting shutout now!

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You may have noticed that my glove is too small for me. I actually got a glove a size and a half bigger, but it wasn’t that broken in. I still brought it to the game, but I thought it would be easier to snag balls at the gate with my smaller glove that WAS broken in.

I got another photo for the My Game Balls scavenger hunt:

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The goal for this one was to get a picture of yourself with a ball you snagged that day while the stadium name was somewhere in the background. The photo is too blurry to read the stadium name, but it is there on the limestone in the 200 level behind home plate.

When they let Tony and the other STH’ers in, they did it at Gate 34 instead of Gate 29. I thought it was kind of weird because it says they go in at Gate 29. Maybe they changed it.

It was almost 5:30, and the gates were about to open, when I found out I was in a line where they didn’t allow backpacks! That freaked me out because there was already a line behind me.

Take note of the kid with the finger in his mouth.

Take note of the kid with the finger in his mouth.

Ben and his friends had gotten in the line I was in too, so we were all in trouble. But then, I remembered my mom! She was still holding a spot for us in the front of the line at an entrance where they DO allow backpacks! We ran over to her, and we got to get our bags checked before they opened the gates, saving us a lot of time.

When the gates opened, I made a beeline for the Powerball Pavillion in right-center field, which are always the least crowded. I asked nicely for the first ball that one of the players fielded, and they threw it back in. “Okay,” I thought. “They’ll throw some up here. I’ll just wait until they do”. That did not happen. The group of pitchers did not throw ANYTHING up. Literally. I’m serious. None. Zero. Nothing. Nada. The only person I could blame was myself though. I shouldn’t have stayed in right-center. Here is the group of jerks:

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I almost got the chance to catch my first BP homer on the fly. I was in the first row, when a player hit one about 3 feet to my left. I knew that it would be above my head, so I stuck my glove straight up in the air, and drifted to the left. As it was about to enter the seats, I leaped up. I felt the ball whiz past the tip of my glove, and then smack in to the second or third row. Some kid got the ball before me.

It was getting pretty boring in right-center, until something interesting happened. An unidentified Padre (I’ve now identified him as Abraham Alamonte) with a ball was walking back to the dugout, but he was stopped by all the kids screaming for the ball. He spent a lot of time choosing the kid that would be the recipient. It ended up being a tie between me and some younger kid with Twins gear on. I was really hoping he would throw it to me, but of course, he just HAD to throw it to the other kid. This is where it gets kind of funny. That kid bobbled to the kid to the right of him, and then that kid bobbled it to another kid, THAT kid bobbled it in to the kid next to me’s glove, where he dropped it in to the flower beds. Now, the ball was right by me in the flower beds. The only problem was that I couldn’t reach it over the fence. I hated the fact that a baseball was just sitting right in front of me, but I was unable to snag it. Then, I saw that there was a gap in the bottom of the fence that I could reach through and grab it. The kid next to me was really sad that he didn’t get it, which actually made me feel bad for him. I told him that if he moved out of the way so I could get the ball, I would give it to him. He moved out of the way, and I made my attempt to grab it. I couldn’t see how close my hand was to the ball, so I had to feel around for it. After moving my hand around for a while, I felt the ball. I picked it up, and luckily, it was just small enough to fit through the bottom of the fence. I immediately gave the ball to the kid, who was very happy about it. He went to show his parents, who said thank you to me multiple times. I don’t have a photo because I gave it to the kid. I had my new glove on for this ball.

Remember how I almost caught the homer on the fly earlier in BP? Well, I also missed out on one a second time. I was back in the first row, and the batter hit one directly at me. I stuck my glove out and started moving it towards the ball when the guy next to me sticks out his hands and make a bare handed catch RIGHT next to my glove.

When BP ended there were several balls in grassy patch in the batters eye, so I stood in the corner spot by it so I could try to get a toss up from a stadium employee. An employee came out and picked up the balls, but he said he wasn’t allowed to give them away.

I went over to the bullpen to see if I could get a toss up from Nate Dammann, but he wasn’t out yet.

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The Long Haul Bombers were in town, and they decided to put on a show for Twins fans. I tried to catch some softballs, but I didn’t come away with any. I was really close to some of them though.

I went over to Section 104 for pregame warm-ups as usual, but the Twins didn’t bring baseballs out. I got Eduardo Escobar to sign my ticket from the game he got his walkoff hit, which was really awesome because I had wanted to get it signed for a long time.

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I grabbed a spot on the aisle closet to the ballboy a few rows up so I could run down to him easily if he got a ball.

I was excited to see a new Twin make his debut at Target Field. He gotten his first major league hit a couple of days ago, and was still looking for his first home run. I had a strong feeling that he would do it tonight. His name? Kennys Vargas. He will be a BIG part of this entry.

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The game was fun to watch because I got to see all the action on first base up close. That is one of the many reasons I sit in 104.

As I was sitting down on my aisle seat, I looked to see if there was any young kids in the first row of the dugout seats by the ballboy, because ballboys usually give the kids sitting there all of the baseballs. Luckily, all the people sitting there were older than me. I pictured how getting a foul ball here would play out:

  • Player hits ball down the foul line
  • I run down aisle towards ballboy
  • Ballboy scoops it up
  • Ballboy looks for young child in dugout box
  • Ballboy finds no one
  • I request for the ball
  • Ballboy turns around
  • Ballboy gives me ball

Less than 5 minutes later when Oswaldo Arcia came up to bat, this happened:

  • Player hits ball down the foul line
  • I run down aisle towards ballboy
  • Ballboy scoops it up
  • Ballboy looks for young child in dugout box
  • Ballboy finds no one
  • I request for the ball
  • Ballboy turns around
  • Ballboy gives me ball

And now, I had snagged my 4th gamer of the year. A foul ball by Oswaldo Arcia, one of my favorite players.

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(This is my new glove I talked about)

Getting his foul ball was the easiest ball I’ve ever snagged. I just stood up, walked down the aisle, asked for the ball, and got it. Just like the time I got the Jose Abreu foul ball from Brian Dozier in the EXACT SAME SPOT, I sent a text to Ben and he said he saw it happen.

When T.C. Bear came out with his t-shirt cannon, I got another picture for the scavenger hunt:

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The goal was for me to take a picture of myself while a t-shirt was being launched in to the stands in the background. I also tried to catch a t-shirt, but did not succeed. (Hint: stand on the aisle between 104 and 105, about 20 rows up. Try to be by an empty row in 104.) I also tried and failed to get another picture for the scavenger hunt. I was supposed to take a picture of myself high fiving a mascot, but I just took a normal picture with them. Oops.

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WOW. I look really different and weird in this picture. You’ll see a better one of me below. Before I left, I saw people asking T.C. for a “card”. I had know idea what that meant, until he pulled out a tiny signed picture and gave it to a kid. I thought, “What the heck!”, and asked him for one. Why not? He’s just giving them out.

Since there was no chance to get another ball from the ballboy, and Ben and his friends were by the ballboy on the third base side, I headed out to the Target Field Plaza, where I was met by Tony, who was resting up against the old Met Stadium flagpole. I got a photo with him for the My Game Balls photo scavenger hunt:

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The task was to take a picture with an official My Game Balls verifier, who happened to be Tony!

Tony and I were both hoping to get our hands on Kennys Vargas’ first home run. We talked about what we would ask for from Vargas when we would trade him them ball. Tony said he would ask for a game used bat. I got Ben, Noah and Andrew to come out to the Plaza and meet Tony for the first time. We all had fun hanging out and talking about baseball and ballhawking related things. After spending lots of time in the Plaza, I decided to wander over to the bullpen in left center field. During the five minutes I was there, Vargas came up to bat, which I was unaware of. That’s when I heard the crowd scream the loudest I’ve ever heard. I looked at the field, and rounding second base, was Vargas! He hit his first home run! Then I thought, “Hey, let’s look at the TV to see where it landed and the lucky fan who got the ball”.

I was not expecting to see this when I looked at the TV:

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TONY CAUGHT THE HOME RUN!!!

I told my brother and his friends who were right by me, and took off for the Plaza. I believe it was the fastest I ever ran.

After pushing through the crowd of people who all wanted to see the ball, I got to Tony.

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I asked to hold the ball, and he let me.

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It was so cool to hold the actual home run ball! I know this is really late, but congrats Tony on catching the homer, making it the first for two people. This may sound weird, but Tony gave me some candy from the Champions club earlier in the game when we were by the flagpole (root beer barrels to be exact). I have ate and shared all but one piece, which is still in the box it came in, sitting in my room. I am keeping it as some sort of very strange souvenir, from the man who caught the Kennys Vargas home run on the fly. Yes, I am very weird.

And while I’m at it, I might as well link the video in here:

Great catch, Tony.

Ben and his friends eventually wandered over to see Tony. Less than a minute later, he was surrounded by security. A woman came out who worked for the Twins and negotiated a deal with him. And like he had said earlier, he wanted a game used bat. She then got the ball from Tony, and he watched as his prized possession was taken away (sorry about that Tony). When the woman came back a few minutes later, she had a signed and game used bat in her hand. It was really cool to see the bat up close.

Tony told me he was going to go back to his seat, but we arranged to meet up after the game by the winning teams dugout.

The Twins had the lead, so I got a seat above their dugout box with Andrew when it got close to the end of the game. Ben and Noah were by the other dugout. I actually saw Ben sneak in to the dugout box and get a third out ball from Yonder Alonso.

When the Twins won 3-1, and the Vargas’ homer became the game winner, I sprinted in to the dugout box on the home plate side and my final ball of the day from the Twins second bullpen catcher, Ben Richardson. Andrew got one from Richardson and from Gardy too, leaving him with 5 on his first time ballhawking! He then went on to say that he would probably get 5 every game, but I knew that he just got lucky this one time. I have a picture of the Richardson ball, but it is on my old phone which I have now forgotten the passcode too. Oops. You’ll have to settle by seeing it at the end of the entry when I show the haul. I talked to Tony for a bit, who got a signed ball from Vargas, and the lineup cards too. Ben got a ball from Mario after the game, but I didn’t even bother going over to where he was because my legs were feeling extra evil today and they just decided to shutdown.

This was a GREAT night, and I was kind of sad it had to end.

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Balls at this game: 4 (3 pictured here because I gave one away) (Unknown Twin, Abraham Alamonte, Oswaldo Arcia/Ballboy, Ben Richardson)

Autographs at this game: 2 (Eduardo Escobar, T.C. Bear)

High scores:

  1. Ben: 7 balls
  2. Andrew: 5 balls
  3. Nate: 4 balls
  4. Noah: 2 balls

Catching a Baseball Thrown to Me After BP

First of all, THANK YOU PAUL!!! I am so glad you got some good footage! That was really nice of you to do that without even having to ask.

Second of all, you can probably tell based on the title that this isn’t going to be a full entry, just a video of me snagging a baseball, that will later be used in an entry.

Third of all, the ball was thrown to me by Indians coach Matt Quatraro when he finished playing catch with a players son after BP.

Here is the video: 

Make sure to watch it in HD. It looks better that way.

Once again, thanks Paul!

I’m Still Here…

Hey everyone, I haven’t been posting that much lately, but I haven’t quit. My brother Ben, and his friend Noah, might be quitting though. You should go check their blogs out. Here is Noah’s: Beyond The Game, and here’s Ben’s: More Than Watching. Noah did a great entry on the All-Star Game that you should go check out.

Here are our http://www.mygameballs.com accounts too:

Mine: TFBallhawk

Ben: bdupp13

Noah: nrc135

My Ben and Noah’s friend, Andrew, also comes with us to games. He doesn’t blog, but he has an account on My Game Balls too. Here is Andrew’s: aolson338. On the front page of his account, it says he has only snagged 4, but if you click on the link the says, “Browse Balls,” you will see that he actually has 9. Something got screwed up.

Well, I’m not going to make this too long, so I’ll just finish this up here. I snagged 31 balls this season, 5 of them commemorative, and 4 of them foul balls. I was lucky to visit 2 new stadiums, Miller Park and Wrigley Field. I was shutout at Miller Park, but I had fun, and I got one absolutely perfect commemorative at Wrigley (Thank you Tsuyoshi Wada!). My biggest game was my last of the season, where I snagged 7 baseballs. There is going to be a big entry on that game. (Paul Kom, if you’re reading this, thanks for hanging out with me the entire night. I really don’t like being alone at games.) I didn’t manage to catch a ball on the fly, which I will hopefully do next season. I made a HUGE improvement from last year, and I am very proud of myself. I watched myself progress as the season went on, and I was so happy. Next year is going to be very different though. I will not be going to nearly as many games, because I am going to the east coast! I will probably visit a baseball stadium while I’m there though. I really want to go to Camden, because I have heard it’s great for ballhawking, and I would really like to meet the locals there, like Grant Edrington or Alex Kopp. I may go to Yankee Stadium, and if I do, I would love to meet Zack Hample, and get his newest book signed. It looks like it’s time I should finish up this entry. But before I forget…

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… look at Ben and I’s stats from this season! They are exactly the same (except for that competition factor crap)!!!

Stats:

Great seasons: 1 (2014 Season)

New Friends: 3 (Tony Voda, Paul Kom, A Ballhawk who I don’t know if he wants his name on here)

All-Star Sunday

I remember finding out that the 2014 All-Star Game was coming to Target Field. I was pretty excited to find out that the best players in baseball were coming to MY stadium. I knew that I wouldn’t be going to the Derby or the actual All-Star Game, but there was one event I really wanted to go to. The All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game. Basically, it’s a ton of celebrities and your favorite players from the 80’s and 90’s swinging a bat at a softball. There would be no chance of snagging baseba-Oops, I meant softballs, but I was okay with that.

As the All-Star weekend got closer, I started looking for tickets. I did eventually find some, (We didn’t buy those ones. We found other tickets.) so I showed my parents and asked if we could go. I was very surprised when they said they would think about it, because I was expecting a flat out no.

One thing I noticed while looking at tickets was that the All-Star Futures Game was that day too, and the Celebrity game came with tickets to it also. I was very happy about that because not only would I be snagging baseballs, but I would be snagging commemorative baseballs!

We planned to take the light rail to the Target Field station, and get there an hour before the gates opened. Everything was going to be great.

The day finally came, and we were running late. My hopes of getting there an hour early were crushed. I was afraid that I would get in the stadium too late and the seats would be packed. I thought I was going to get shut out. All I could do was hope for the best.

We finally left, and got on the light rail. The last time I rode on one was 7 years ago, and I was on my way to watch the Twins play at the Metrodome. I really liked the fact that this time and the last time I was on a light rail was to go to the Twins stadiums.

lightrail

I actually did pass the site of where the Dome used to be, and I got to see what is going to be the new Vikings (BOOOOO!!! GO PACK GO!!!) stadium.

newvikesstadium

We finally arrived, and the gates were going to open in 10-15 minutes.

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The gates finally opened after 15 minutes, which felt more like an hour, and I sprinted to the left field bleachers that were just a short 30 feet away. BP hadn’t started yet, but I could tell it was going to start soon.

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The USA team started taking BP, which was weird because the home team (USA) usually takes BP before the away team (World). I decided to mainly go for homers so I could catch one on the fly (something I hadn’t done yet). A few minutes passed, and not much was coming to left field. A new batter stepped in to the cage, so I decided if he started hitting bombs to left, I would stay in my spot. But if he didn’t, I would move to the first row and go for toss ups. Well, the guy in the cage wasn’t really hitting them that far, so I moved to the first row. About a minute later, a ball rolled to wall, and Twins AAA pitcher, Alex Meyer, came to pick it up. As always, everyone started screaming for the ball. Meyer shouted, “Who’s a Twins fan?”. Being the Twins fan that I am, I shouted out, “I’m a Twins fan!”, so he threw the ball to me, and my streak was saved.

alexmeyertossup!

Yes, I am counting these balls. I have more reasons to count them than to not count them.

I met up with my brother, Ben, who hadn’t snagged anything yet. I convinced him to go to right-center field, where there were practically no people there. I later went to right-center, and passed another ballhawk I know, Paul Kom. We talked for a minute, and then went our separate ways. I got to right-center, and was greeted by a blue Mateo Fischer, who had presumably done the All-Star Color Run earlier in the day. I found Ben, and he said he snagged two, and given one away. He would’ve only snagged one, but a player overthrew a kid and Ben got the ball, which he gave away.

A little while later, I got Hunter Harvey, an Orioles single A MiLB pitcher, to throw me a ball. Very easy.

hunterharveytossup

I then did something that I am very ashamed of today. I was in the second row, when this guy in the cage cranks a line drive 5 feet to my left. I start drifting towards it, and then I stop. I wasn’t sure if the ball was going to curve in somehow and hit me or something like that. I just backed away and waited for the ball to land. I saw Ben running, trying to make a knee high catch in the third row. It hit off his glove, and he didn’t get it. I don’t blame him though. He would’ve had to catch it a little below his knees, as he was trying to run.

I went back in the first row, and Ben pointed out that Erik Jabs, a very accomplished ballhawk, was standing in the corner spot. I planned on going over and meeting him, but I never got the chance to. That was disappointing.

I, along with some other kids, noticed Christian Binford, a AAA minor leaguer for the Royals, had a ball in his hand. We all called out for it, so he tried to throw it to us behind his back. After failing to do so, He walked over to the ball, picked it up, and threw it to me.

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That would be my third and final ball of the day.

I tried to get some autographs before the game started, but I didn’t get any. I came close a few times though.

I went to my actual seat, and the view was pretty good.

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I was looking at the dugout, when something caught my eye. I saw someone wearing a bright orange sports coat. I realized that it could only be one person: Tony Voda.

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Tony came up to what is called the moat a few times, so he could talk to me. It turns out that he counts the Futures Game balls too. His actual seats were on the third base side, but he ended up sitting first row behind the dugout at every All-Star event, and I think I know how…

The actual game itself was kind of boring, considering I haven’t even heard of half of the players. But it’s baseball, which I love, so it wasn’t too bad. I went down by the dugout after the game, but got kicked out less than a minute later. I guess they wouldn’t let anyone down there because it was an MLB event, not a Twins event. At least that’s what I heard an usher say to someone.

I few minutes later, a stage was brought out on to the field, presumably for a concert. I expected it to be some local band, but I was WAY off. The band that was playing was “Panic! At the Disco”! They are a famous band that was founded in 2004, and they have some pretty good songs. I thought it was cool how they blasted fire right behind them. They must’ve hated it though, because it was VERY hot. I actually cringed every time they blasted fire because made my face burn, and it stung for about 5 seconds.

panic!atthedisco

It was finally time for the moment I had been waiting for, the celebrity game.

Seeing lots of celebrities and sports legends and stars from other sports was great. It was awesome to see Jim Thome back at Target Field swinging a bat again, and even getting a hit!

Here were my favorite parts from the game:

  • James Denton making a diving catch at third
  • Nelly hitting a couple homers
  • Jim Thome getting a hit
  • Jennie Finch striking out Adrian Peterson
  • A wounded warrior with one hand catching a fly ball, flinging it in the air, wiggling his hand out of his glove, catching the ball, and throwing it back in (Watch the highlight. It’s amazing!)
  • Jack Morris pitching
  • Melanie Iglesias’s (horrible) swing
  • Seeing one of my favorite actors, Charlie McDermott, who plays “Axl” on ABC’s, “The Middle”

After the game, I met up with my parents, but Ben was nowhere to be found.

We got to see some of the players have a home run derby, which was cool.

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Jim Thome hit some foul balls, or should I say outs, 20 feet away from me!

They did a special fireworks show, which was fun to watch, but we still didn’t know where Ben was. When he did show up, 15 minutes later, he told us that he got in to the seats by the dugout and got some autographs. He got 1 from Melanie Iglesias, and 2 from Charlie McDermott, who actually climbed in to the seats! The 2nd one he got from Charlie McDermott was for me. It was an All-Star Sunday program in good condition.

I then left the stadium, happy that I got to go to one of the All-Star events.

Balls at this game: 3 (Alex Meyer, Hunter Harvey, Christian Binford)

Autographs at this game: 1 (Charlie McDermott)

7/3/14 at Target Field: Twins vs Yankees

I was planning on going to a game during the Twins vs Yankees series, but not this one. Ben and I were going to go to the game on July 6th with Noah, but they got free tickets for the 6th and the 3rd, but they could only go to the 6th, so they gave us the other tickets. I was fine with it though, because it was a night game, unlike the July 6th game. I like night games a lot more than day games because:

1. The sun isn’t burning your face off.

2. Baseball stadiums look cooler when it’s dark out.

3. There is a better chance of BP.

I was a little nervous about the crowd though, because it’s Derek Jeter’s last season, and lots of people will want to see him play, and try to get his autograph. Getting an autograph from Jeter was one of the main reasons I was there, but I knew the chances were slim. He has a contract with Steiner Sports, and I knew that might effect my chances of getting his auto.

I only had 6 hours to get everything together, which was a bit stressful. I had to make rosters, go through my baseball card binder and get cards to get autographed, get pens and sharpies, find some stuff to wear, buy a baseball from Target to hopefully get signed by The Captain, and shove it all in my backpack.

I forgot to mention earlier that I had not known where my seats would be for the game, but I was hoping they would be in the Dugout Box on the Yankees side. When I finally got to see the tickets, I looked at where the seats were, and sure enough, they were in the Dugout Box on the Yankees side, right behind the home plate entrance to the dugout. Now all my fears about getting a ball were washed away.

As we left and made our way to Minneapolis, we knew we would be a little late as usual.

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If this was just a game where we would buy cheap tickets at the box office, and sit in some decent seats in foul territory, I would be very nervous about keeping my streak alive. But since our tickets were behind the dugout, which kind of guaranteed me a ball, I had no problem being a bit late.

When we got there, we hopped in line at Gate 34, and ran in to the Target Field Plaza. We checked to see if the Yankees were taking BP, and were happy to see that they were. Ben took off for left field, where I stood in right field looking for the least crowded spot. Both left and right field were packed, but then I remembered about the little area in right-center with 4 rows of seats, so I ran over there, and fortunately, barely anyone was there! I made sure to stand away from the little kids so I didn’t have to compete with them.

For the first few minutes, nothing much happened around me. I watched Ichiro Suzuki catch fly balls in right field, and then chuck them in to the stands. I laughed because whenever he got one, everyone in right field screamed out, “ICHIRO!!!”. When ball rolled to the wall a bit later, Chase Whitley (I think) picked it up and threw it to me… Sort of. I could tell the ball was going to sail over my head, so I leaped up, and it landed two rows above me. I had a mini panic attack, but that’s when a miracle happened. The ball bounced out of the row, on to the isle, and back on the field! I was going to get a second chance! Whitley picked up the ball, and we both looked at each other and laughed because of the failed throw. He then made a good throw for my first ball of the day.

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Whitley is on the far left. Please leave a comment if you don’t think that is Chase Whitley.

Not too long after this happened, Matt Thornton (This time I am sure who it is) ran over to the wall to catch a fly ball, and when he did, he threw it to me. I had to stick my glove in front of some other peoples gloves to catch it, but I am 110% positive he was throwing it to me.thorntontossup

Thornton is on the far right.

The toss up from Thornton would be the last ball I got during BP, so I headed over to the third base side to try to get some autographs.

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The players that were out there wouldn’t sign for people, which was disappointing. Jeter eventually came out to warm up, and everyone was freaking out. People were shouting for him to sign, but he didn’t. He said, “Sorry guys, I can’t right now,” before running back to the dugout. I then knew I was correct about him not being able to sign because of his Steiner contract. I then guessed that he would sign on Sunday, the last game of the series, which was also the day Noah was going. Sure enough, Jeter did sign on Sunday, and Noah got his autograph. I was disappointed that no one signed. Actually, I take that back. Someone, or should I say someTHING signed:

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Yeah. No.

Since there was no other players coming out, we headed to our seats in Section 11. Let me tell ya, the seats were amazing! This is a picture of Derek Jeter rubbing his head…photo 1 (2)

…and this is a picture of the foul ball I snagged in the top of the 1st inning:

photo 3

Here’s what happened: Jacoby Ellsubury came up to bat after Derek Jeter, and started hitting fouls off the screen. Most of them were picked up by the Twins bat boy, Dominique Frost, but one happened to be closer to the Yankees side than the Twins side. The visiting team bat boy, Mario Muñoz, ran out to pick it up, so I ran down the isle to the first row, along with some kids decked out in Twins gear, and he tossed it to me for my 3rd ball of the day, which was also my 3rd gamer/foul ball ever.

The foul ball wouldn’t be the last ball I got from Mario that night. I was sitting in my seat when I saw my mom put her hands out as if she was going to catch something, so I looked at the field only to see Mario about to throw the ball to my mom. He threw the ball, but it was going to fall short, so I leaned in to the next row and caught it. I then gave it to my mom, but asked to see it for a second so I could take a picture.

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She later gave it away to a group of friends who wanted to get some balls but weren’t really trying. Now that I think of it, that ball was probably a foul ball based on the markings on it. Oh well, I’ll never know.

I took a lot of good pictures during the game, so I’ll share some with you.

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Masahiro Tanaka throwing a pitch.

photo 2

Derek Jeter swinging at a pitch that would result in a flyout.

photo 4

Ellsbury and Ichiro.

photo 5

Ellsbury swinging away.

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I saw Carlos Beltrán crush a 3 run homer!

That’s it for pictures. Now back to the good stuff.

I got to see something historical during the game! Check it out:

If the video isn’t working for you, I’ll just explain what happened. This dude named Zelous Wheeler got called up after spending 8 years in the minors for the Yankees, and this game was his MLB debut. He came up to bat in the 5th inning, without any hits. The count is 3-1, and this guy bombs one in to the bullpen for his first hit and homer! On his MLB debut! That’s just crazy. The smile on his face was huge as he walked in to the dugout 7 feet away from me.

I think it was the bottom of the 8th inning when the infield warmup ball was rolled to the dugout, and scooped up by Yankees first base coach Mick Kelleher. I ran down to the first row with the same group of kids as usual, and I got lucky enough to get the ball.

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I was really excited to get a ball used by Jeter and Teixeira, my two favorite Yankees. That was the last ball I would get that game. I was very happy to have a new record for most balls in a game: 5. My previous record was 3, which I had tied twice.

The Yankees beat the Twins, 7-4. I tried to get the lineup cards after the game, but I didn’t see Joe Girardi anywhere. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll get them someday. I watched some awesome fireworks after the game because the 4th of July was tomorrow.

I may not have gotten a Derek Jeter autograph, but I still had a great day at Target Field.

STATS:

Balls at this game: 5 (Chase Whitley, Matt Thornton, Mario Muñoz x2, Mick Kelleher)

Autographs at this game: 0

 

6/19/14 at Target Field: Twins vs White Sox

I didn’t think I would be going to Target Field today, because my brother Ben had a baseball game. His game got rained out though, so we met up with Noah at a movie theater and decided to go to the Twins vs Sox game. I kept on checking the Weather Tracker, and it looked like the rain was going towards Minneapolis, but I had a feeling the Twins game would still be played because they had a professional  grounds crew.

As we drove to Target Field, all that the rain did was get heavier. I saw a picture on the Twins Instagram earlier of them taking BP, but I knew that would not be happening when we got there. This was the scene when I looked out the car window:

rainy target field (1)

I was kind of regretting going at this point, because I was afraid I wouldn’t snag anything. I was hoping players would come out and throw the ball around a little bit, as they have in other games where BP was cancelled.

We got to the parking ramp, paid an outrageous $15 to park, looked forever for a parking spot as usual, got on the elevator, went down to the  Target Plaza level, and walked through the doors to the Target Plaza.

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I said, “Hello,” to Kirby Puckett as I passed his statue…

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…and I walked in to the Plaza:

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We spent a long time at the box office finding a place to buy tickets, even though we would not sit there for most of the game. Once we eventually got some tickets, we sprinted to one of the lines at Gate 34. We waited in line for a little bit, got our bags checked, our tickets scanned, and we walked through the metal detectors.

I didn’t see anyone on the field, but I thought to myself, “Players are gonna come warm-up and play catch soon. I’ll just wait for them,” and I did. I waited. And waited. And waited. This is what the field looked like:

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(Lots of my photos will be shaky. I have a bad camera)

I now knew that there wouldn’t be anyone come out, so I headed over to the Sox dugout, where there were some players inside of it. As I got closer to the dugout, I saw someone in the Dugout Box talking to someone in the Champions Club. I didn’t think much of it at first, but when I got over there, I realized the two people were Paul Kom and Tony Voda, two Target Field Ballhawks. I talked to them for a little bit, before heading to the far side of the dugout.

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I didn’t get anything there, so I headed over to the Twins side, where I didn’t get anything there either.

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Well, I did get on to the jumbotron with Paul. They weren’t filming us, they were filming some little leaguers walking on the warning track, and we happened to be in the background.

Nothing much was really going on. Actually, nothing was going on. Paul and I got kicked out of the Dugout Box because the game was going to start soon.

Ha.

More on that later.

Paul and I sat down in some seats that were undercover thanks to the Legends Club. A few minutes later, I noticed Paul was gone. I was all alone over on the first base side because Ben and Noah were by the Bullpen. A few minutes later, I went over to see Ben and Noah, and I noticed a big crowd on the way. I got closer to check it out, and this was the scene:

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You may be asking, “Who’s the old dude in the blue shirt?”, or you may be saying, “OMG U R SO LUCKEE!!!”, or you may be bragging, “Pfttt. That’s nothing. I see him every game.” Well folks, that would be 1964 Rookie of the Year, 3 time Batting Champion, 8 time All-Star, Twins Hall of Famer, Baseball legend, Tony Oliva. I said hi to Tony and shook his hand as I walked by. He is a very nice person, so if you ever see him walking through the concourse, don’t be afraid to stop him and say hi.

I got to the Bullpen, and saw Noah ask a grounds crew guy for a ball. The grounds crew guy didn’t hear him, but the usher at the top of the staircase sure did. He came down to scold Noah, and he threatened to kick him out. Seriously?!?! Getting ejected for trying to catch baseballs? That is a stupid reason to get kicked out. It made sense for THAT usher to say it though. He was an old man with white/gray hair. I have learned that the older the usher, the grumpier they are. But once again, really?!?!

I stayed with them by the Bullpen for a little bit, and I saw a sign appear and the jumbotron that said there would be a rain delay. Oh joy. And I thought this night couldn’t get any worse. When we walked up the stairs out of the bleachers, and Paul stopped Ben to ask what the usher said. When he told him, Paul replied,”That doesn’t make any sense…”.

We went to find Noah’s mom, and she went up to her actual seat. We grabbed a spot in foul territory in right field. We stayed there for a while, before eventually going up to our actual seats. It was a good view for some seats that were pretty high up.

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The grounds crew finally came out to take off the tarp, and the crowd went wild. But unfortunately, the grounds crew went back in because the rain started to get heavier. A couple minutes later, when the rain died down, they came back out to officially take the tarp off. I said that we should probably go down to the first level to try to get some warmup balls, so we did. Ben and Noah went to the Sox side, while I went to Section 104 as usual.

first row 104

Surprisingly, none of the players came out with a ball, so I decided to go for autographs instead. None of the players came over to sign, so I grabbed a spot a few rows up.

The game wasn’t really exciting, other than the fact that Josh Willingham (I think) hit a home run, but home runs happen almost every game. Well, it wasn’t really exciting until rookie star Jose Abreu came up to bat. Abreu lifted a high pop-up that was heading my direction, but I could tell it would fall short of my seat. I ran down a few steps, and I saw Joe Mauer and Brian Dozier running for the ball, so I stopped running because I didn’t want to interfere with the game. After watching the replay, I realized I wouldn’t have been able to catch it anyways, because it was 2 feet away from the stands. Okay, back to the play. Dozier missed the ball, and half of his body fell in to 104. I ran down the isle to see him and Joe close up, and then I realized Dozier was feeling around the ground for the ball. I thought, “This is my chance!”, so I stuck my glove out in front of him, and some people who caught on to what I was doing stuck their hands and gloves out too, but it was too late. Dozier had already picked up the ball, looked at my glove, said, “Here ya go buddy,” and put this in my glove:

perfectabreupic

And just like, I had snagged my second gamer/foul ball ever! I immediately went to find Ben and Noah on the other side of the field (where I took the picture above) to see if they saw me get the ball. I decided not to tell them for a few minutes, and before I could, Ben said, “I saw you get the Abreu foul ball,” and I said, “Oh wow. I didn’t think you saw that”. I found out Ben got a pregame warmup ball from Dayan Viciedo, and Noah didn’t have anything yet. He came very close to getting 3 foul balls though. The first was hit by Kurt Suzuki, he ran up a few rows and reached for the ball because it was on the ground, but it was out of his reach. The second was by Adam Dunn, it landed 5 feet away from him in the Dugout Box. The third was by Alexei Ramirez, it was hit to the ballboy, but he gave it to another kid.

I headed out to the Plaza a few innings later, where I saw Paul and Waldo. None of us got anything, and nothing reached the seats either. There was a close call though. Some player hit a long pop fly that looked like it was going to reach the stands, but it didn’t. Paul even ran down the stairs in to the bleachers to try to catch it. Waldo thought he saw a homer coming right at him, but it was just a bubble from a bubble gun that a kid brought.

Tony came out to the Plaza later, and he said he had snagged six. I asked him how he got a sixth ball, but I knew the answer anyways. It was from Dominique Frost, the Twins Bat Boy, of course. Tony had to leave, because it was already 11:00. That was the latest I had ever been to a game.

I left the game a little bit later, with 1 ball in my possession. It was a long night, and I sure was ready to go home.

 

STATS:

Balls at this game: 1 (Brian Dozier/Jose Abreu)

theminihaul

 

 

 

6/7/14 at Target Field: Twins vs Astros

Hey guys, I really don’t wanna blog about this game, because there was an “incident” that happened between me and Jerome Williams, and I ended getting a ball and his glove (sadly not pink) out of it. I’m just gonna tell you who I got balls from and I’m gonna share some pictures.

Ball number 1 came from Astros Head Trainer, Nate Lucero. It took two tries to get to me because of the evil slanted bullpen railing. That was my 10th ball ever. Ball 2 came from Jerome Williams. I’m going to guess it was the last one he gave away that day.

Here are some pictures and videos I took at the game:

Crain and the bullpen catcher.

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Ben standing by some Astros.

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Greg Dryden, AKA, Waldo.

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Kyle Gibson signing autographs after his win. I got him on a ball I bought from Target.

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Gibson walking in to the dugout after signing.

More Gibson.

STATS:

Balls at this game: 2 (Nate Lucero, Jerome Williams)

Gloves at this game: 1 (Jerome Williams)

Yes, that last stat was a joke…Sorta.

 

 

5/18/14 at Target Field: Twins vs Mariners

I haven’t been to a game with nice weather this season, so I was hoping this would be the one. Turns out, the weather was a little bit too nice. I was sweating so much from all the running around, and I don’t even remember how many times I burnt myself on one of their plastic seats.

As always, I was with Ben and Noah for the game. We entered at Gate 34 a couple minutes after it opened, and we headed in different directions. It was no surprise that they weren’t having BP on a Sunday, but at least there were some players warming up and playing catch. I went to the right field bleachers, and Ben and Noah went to the first base foul line.

As I was waiting in the bleachers for two unidentified Twins to be done playing catch, I noticed that famous Target Field Ballhawk “Waldo,” was standing near me with a ball hiding in the pocket of his orange vest. For those of you who don’t know who Waldo is, he is an old Ballhawk who used to sit in center field at the Dome, catching many home runs. But now that the Twins play at Target Field, he spends his time in the Target Field plaza, waiting for a power hitting lefty to blast one his way.

The two unidentified Twins finished playing catch, so I, along with everyone else, asked for the ball. I didn’t get the ball, so I headed out to left field where Fernando Rodney and Yoervis Medina were playing catch.

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It was so easy to tell who it was because: 1. Fernando Rodney always has his hat tilted to the side, and 2. Yoervis Medina has pointy ears (Yeah, that does sound weird). When they were done, Rodney ended up with the ball, so I shouted, “Give me the ball please,” in Spanish. It sounds like this: Dah-may lay peh-low-tah pour fuh-vor. Unfortunately, I asked too late. Rodney walked over to a little kid in foul territory and placed the ball in his hand. He started to sign autographs for the fans, and Medina joined in. I sprinted out of the bleachers and ran to the third base foul line but it was too late. I was disappointed because I really wanted to get an autograph from Rodney because I love his signature move:

I got a second chance though. Rodney came back to sign autographs again, and I got him on my store-bought ball. While this was going on, more Mariners pitchers came out to throw. Some of them weren’t throwing, but standing by a whole bunch of baseballs, talking to their trainers. Brandon Maurer had a ball in his hand, and I got him to throw it to me for my first ball of the day.

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Maurer is the one with the long hair above my glove.

After I got this, I went to the Mariners dugout to get more autographs on my ball. I got Dominic Leone, Joe Beimel, Brandon Maurer x2, Taijuan Walker and Tom Wilhelmsen. I almost got Willie Bloomquist’s autograph but he went back to the dugout before I got him.

I have always wanted to get a ball by asking a player in a foreign language. I knew there was pitcher on the Mariners who was Japanese, whose name is Hisashi Iwakuma. I thought he would be my chance. I was standing behind the tarp at the dugout, when I saw Iwakuma about 65 feet away, ball in hand, walking back to the dugout. I shouted out to him in Japanese. It sounded like this: “Choh-toh! boh-oh-roo nah-guh-tay koo-das-si!” No luck. “Choh-toh!” Still no luck. “Boh-oh-roo nah-guh-tay ku-das-si!” Hisashi looked at me, and threw it high up in to the air towards me underhanded. UNDERHANDED. From 65 feet away! I extended my glove out on to the tarp and made the catch.

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Everyone around me was laughing and cheering for me. It was so cool. Someone said to me, “You’ve been doing your homework!” and started laughing again.

After that, I went over to the Twins side and got Brian Duensing to autograph my baseball card. That was it for warm-ups. Nothing else happened.

Ben and Noah tried to sneak in to some seats down the third base foul line, so I went down to see them. As I was walking towards them, an usher asked to see their tickets. “Busted,” I thought to myself. I knew that was something I didn’t want to be a part of, so I backed away, and thankfully, the usher didn’t notice me. I walked back in to the concourse with them, and we tried to get in to a section near the one they got kicked out of. I knew it was a very risky idea, so I tried to be on the lookout for that usher. I saw her walking down the isle towards us, so I quietly said to them, “She’s back,” and got the heck out of there. Well, they must have thought I meant I saw her again, not that she was walking right towards them, because when they got back in to the concourse, I found out they were threatened to be kicked out if they did that one more time.

We went to our actual seats so we wouldn’t get kicked out, and we left them during the fourth inning. We walked around the stadium and checked out some stuff like the Game Used Items booth, or the Twins Team Store. I got on the JumboTron in the Target Field Plaza and did a funny dance the caused the entire stadium to erupt in laughter. It turns out they put that clip and ONLY that clip on TV. Ben ended up getting former/current Twin Matt Guerrier’s warm-up ball from bullpen catcher Nate Dammann, before he went in to pitch in the top of the 9th.

In the bottom of the 9th, Noah and I got a spot above the Mariners dugout, and Ben got one near the Twins. I didn’t get a ball then, but Chris Parmelee hit a high foul ball that was about this small: o. Yep, a lowercase o. The ball landed across the isle in the next section, 10 rows up. Don’t ask why I didn’t go for it, because I’m not really sure either. But that’s not the point. The point is, as it came down, it hit an 8 year old in the leg. He started crying, and the medics and ushers came to his aid. Everyone around was watching.

The game eventually ended, and the Mariners won. I rushed down to the dugout to try to get a ball from a coach or player, but I failed to do so. Noah, however, got a ball from home plate umpire Adrian Johnson. As usual, I also failed to get the lineup cards. I snagged 2 balls, Noah snagged 4, and Ben snagged 5 (because he got 2 from Dominic for giving one away).

I went up to the Fox Sports North booth to watch Tom Kelly make a special appearance on the Fox Sports North Postgame Show. I was standing there with 2 other kids (Ben and Noah were looking around the stadium to find something to get signed by Kelly) waiting for him to be done with the show so we could get his autograph. He mentioned us on the show jokingly as, “All three of my loyal fans.”

When they wrapped up the show, Kelly signed autographs for all of us. I got him on a magazine they were giving away throughout the game.

I guess you could say I was famous at Target Field today.

STATS:

Balls at this game: 2 (Brandon Maurer, Hisashi Iwakuma)

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Autographs at this game: 9 (Fernando Rodney, Dominic Leone, Joe Beimel, Brandon Maurer x2, Taijuan Walker, Tom Wilhelmsen, Brian Duensing, Tom Kelly)

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