8/9/16 at Target Field: Twins vs Astros

The reason I haven’t posted in a while is because I really liked my last entry and I wanted it to be my newest post for a while. Sorry.

This day was another bad one for Ballhawking, mainly because I only ballhawked for 30 mins. I got in for early BP, which only lasted 30 mins, then I went over to the dugout to get autographs.

On with the entry…

Ball 1:

I was first in line at Gate 34 as usual, and when a long home run landed in the plaza and rolled towards the gate, stopped right in front, then was picked up by an usher, it became mine.



Ball 2:

Once the gates opened, I went over to right center field and got a tossup from Tommy Milone. He made me convince him I deserved to get the ball! It was pretty funny.


STATS:

Balls at this game: 2 (Usher, Tommy Milone)

If anyone is still reading this, here’s something cool:


This was Brian Dozier’s 98th career home run I caught on the fly….


…when my friend Jake, the real person who snagged the ball, handed it to me. Gotcha there, haha.

I had been in foul territory when Dozier homered, and I didn’t see Jake catch it at first. When they showed it on the Jumbotron, I realized it was him! I just thought that was I cool thing I could include in my entry.

American Association HRD at CHS Field!

As you can probably tell from the title, I was about to be ballhawking the American Association home run derby! CHS Field is the home of the St. Paul Saints, and I have ballhawked there a few times before. When I heard there was going to be a home run derby, I knew I had to go. The stadium has a great Ballhawking layout so I knew it would be easy to catch a home run.

When I got to the stadium with my friend Noah, I immediately got a ball. It’s not what you think, it was just a commemorative American Association ASG ball that they were giving away. I’ll call it…

Ball 0:

The derby wasn’t going to start for a while, because there was a “celebrity” softball game going on. The reason I put “celebrity” in quotation marks was because they were hardly celebrities. They were some local radio show people and maybe one or two athletes.

Softball 1:

After the softball game, I stood by the umpire tunnel and asked the umpire for a softball. He told me he wasn’t allowed to give them away so he apologized. Then he  asked one of the Saints coaches who was standing nearby what he should do with the softballs. He told him it didn’t matter, so the umpire tossed one to me.

They ended up letting everyone on the field after for some random concert that was on it, so I took the picture of the softball there.


After that I noticed Minnesota Wild rookie Mike Reilly was standing by the dugout. I got a picture with him:


Then, I noticed that New York Islanders player Nick Leddy was standing near him. The only reason I had recognized him was because I have known his cousin since I was in 1st grade, so he had shown me pictures of him. I had always wanted to meet him, so I went up and got a picture:


Then I had him sign my softball:


Then because Mike Reilly was right there, I had him sign it too:



Ball 1:

They kicked everyone off the field a few minutes later so they could get started with the derby, so I went out to the left field grass berm. I looked down in to the bullpen which is directly in front of the berm, and noticed tons of baseballs down there. They must have taken BP earlier before the softball game. It was a good thing I had my cup trick with me, because I ended up using it for the first time ever to get my first ball of the day. It was pretty tough though because the wind kept blowing the cup so I had to time it perfectly.

Ball 2:

I got this ball the same way as number 1. Cup tricked from the bullpen. The only difference is that I gave this ball away right after.

Ball 3:

The derby had now officially started, and I almost caught a home run from the first batter. It was hit directly at me, and I thought it was gonna be the easiest catch ever. That was until I started getting shoved down the berm by some other kids trying to catch the ball too. I had to try and make a leaping catch, but the ball ended up hitting the side of my glove and some other kid caught it. That really doesn’t have anything to do with how I got my 3rd ball, I was just saying something that happened. My third ball was a ball from the bullpen that I didn’t cup trick. A worker walked through and tossed every ball up, and I was one of the people to get one.


Ball 4:

It took a while, but I eventually snagged a home run. I had been out in left field almost the whole derby because there was only one lefty out of the entire group of guys in the derby. His name is Art Charles, and he plays for the New Jersey Jackals. As soon as he came up, I sprinted to the right field standing room area as fast as I could. He started crushing the ball to right which was a good thing. I knew I had a pretty good shot at catching one. Charles hit a bomb, and I could tell it was going REALLY high, and about 10 feet to my left. I ran through a huge crowd of people, got in line with the ball, reached up as high as I could, and caught it. Because it was so high, it came in at a really sharp angle and I wasn’t able to catch it in the web of my glove. So, it hit me right in the palm. Not a good feeling.


If you want to see a video, go to this link and skip to 2:10:00.

Ball 5:

I was back out in left field again, but this time I was standing on the concrete area behind the berm because the berm had got way too crowded. At one point. I saw noticed a ball fly up about 30 feet to my left over the berm, over the concrete area I was standing on, on the the grassy area behind the concrete area, and under a picnic table. I knew it wasn’t a homer because I had been watching the batter, so I knew it had to have been from the bullpen. I sprinted over to the picnic table, dropped to the ground, and reached under the table to grab the ball.


It was most likely a homer that landed in the bullpen and was chucked up by someone who was in there.

Ball 6:

This was my final ball of the night, and it was also my favorite one I got. Saints outfielder Alonzo Harris came up to bat, and I knew that he could crush the ball. I suddenly remembered I had my GoPro with me, so I took it out, clipped it to my hat, and started recording. 

It’s a good thing I did.

Here’s what happened.

For those who didn’t watch the video for whatever reason, I’ll explain what happened. Alonzo started crushing the ball deep, and I had a feeling he would hit one towards me. He ended up doing that, and I tracked it well enough to catch it on the fly in the middle of tons of other people. I caught it in a really weird place in my glove. Take a look:

I didn’t move the ball at all to take the picture. That’s EXACTLY how it landed in my glove. I’m shocked that it actually stayed in there!

I can’t believe I didn’t mention this earlier, but look at what I tweeted at Alonzo before the game:

 Wanna know what else? I was talking to a guy who ballhawks New Jersey Jackals games (Art Charles’s team) and told him I’d catch an Art Charles home run. 

I CALLED BOTH OF MY HOME RUN CATCHES. 

That’s just crazy.

Noah, the friend I brought, ended up catching the last homer of the derby. His glove isn’t that broken in so it popped out of his glove at first, then was bobbled by a couple people, but eventually secured by Noah before it hit the ground. 

There was another concert on the field when the derby ended, so Noah and I went on the field and played catch with ball #3. 

All the players were still on the field by the dugout, but there was a rope blocking people off from going in to the infield. So I called Alonzo Harris over to sign so I could get his autograph on the homer he hit. I reminded him of the tweet I sent him saying I would catch his home run, and he thought that was cool. I took a picture with him and the ball.


Here is a better picture of the autograph:

I left the stadium shortly after that. It was a really cool experience getting to Ballhawk at this event. Unfortunately, the derby can’t be in Minnesota every year. How cool would that be though?

STATS:

Balls at this game: 6 (CT, CT, Stadium Worker, Art Charles, Bullpen Person, Alonzo Harris)

Autographs at this game: 3 (Nick Leddy, Mike Reilly, Alonzo Harris)

7/28/16 at Target Field: Twins vs Orioles

Let me start off by saying a few things. I guess I lied about saying I would post every day. I have been sick the past two days and I haven’t been in the mood to blog. Also, I’m skipping two entries because I feel like they should be long ones, so I’m saving them until I’m done doing these short entries. Lastly, I’ll be doing the entries every other day instead of every day. I want to have the entries out for a little while before I post a new one.

On with the entry….

Ball 1:

I didn’t actually Ballhawk in BP, so I really didn’t get many baseballs. Instead I hung out by the dugout with my brother and some friends and tried to get autographs. 


I ended up getting Zack Britton to sign an 8×10. That’s it. It really wasn’t worth getting autographs.

My first ball came right before game time. I was sitting right by the ball boy in the first row on the first base side…


…when I noticed Manny Machado was playing catch in front of the dugout. I ran over there as quick as I could, but I was stuck waiting about 15 rows up because of the expensive Dugout Box seats in front of me that I couldn’t get in to. Luckily, Manny likes chucking his warm up balls deep. When he finished up, I was the only asking, and he chucked me a perfect knuckleball over all the seats.

Ball 2:

My next ball came after the game. I got in position for an umpire ball first…


…and when the game ended, home plate umpire Toby Basner came in and tossed me my second ball of the day.


Ball 3:

The game may have been done, but I wasn’t. I went over to the Twins dugout and got my final ball of the day from the Twins bat boy Dom.

STATS:

Balls at this game: 3 (Manny Machado, Toby Basner, Dom Frost)

Autographs at this game: 7 (Zach Britton, JJ Hardy, Caleb Joseph, Hyun Soo Kim, Eduardo Nunez, Kennys Vargas, Matt Wieters)

After the game, it was announced that Twins 2016 All-Star Eduardo Nunez had been traded to the San Francisco Giants. On the way out of the parking lot, he stopped his car and signed for everyone. 

7/1/16 at Target Field: Twins vs Rangers

This was a really slow day. So this post won’t be long. Basically, this game just REALLY sucked. 

Ball 1:

I got to the stadium at 4:30 and was the first one in line at Gate 34…

…which helped me quickly get my first ball of the day:


It was a home run that a Twins player hit in to the Plaza. I would have got it really quickly because it was rolling towards the gate where I could pick it up, but it was stopped by a garbage can. I waited until an usher walked by so I could ask for the ball. When one did, I asked for it, he picked it up, walked right over to me, and tossed it to me.

Ball 2:

Fast forward 6 hours…

I ended up having my worst BP of the year. I got shutout. It sucked. It was crowded, and players weren’t tossing up balls. I got kicked out of the seats by the dugout before the game started. That meant my next chance for a ball would either be a foul ball, or postgame ball. The latter was definitely more likely.

While waiting for the game to end so I could get an umpire ball, I ended up sitting next to another Ballhawk from Chicago named Bobby. He told me he ballhawks at Wrigley Field. Since he hadn’t ballhawked at Target Field before, he was looking up YouTube videos to see if anyone made some about Target Field ballhawking. He told me that “There isn’t many YouTubers who make Target Field videos, except for MNSportsAndStuff.”

For those who don’t know, that’s my YouTube channel.

I thought that was super cool that I met someone who actually watches my videos and knew who I was. We talked for a while, and I got a picture with him:


Go give him a follow on Twitter! He is @Rke404.

Once the game ended, we ran down to the umpire tunnel and got in position for a ball from HP ump Bob Davidson. I got a ball tossed to me, but an old guy reached in front of me and snatched it. The guy gave it to me, but since I can’t count balls other people give me, I immediately gave it to Bobby. The umpire saw this, and tossed me another ball.


This definitely was one of my worst games, and I was glad it was over.

STATS:

Balls at this game: 2 (Usher, Bob Davidson)

Autographs at this game: 2 (Ian Desmond, Prince Fielder)

You read that right, I got Prince Fielder’s autograph. So I guess not everything sucked.


6/22/16 at Target Field: Twins vs Phillies

Whoops. Forgot to post an entry yesterday. I’ll try and remember to do one each day until I don’t have any more games to write about. These entries won’t be that long because they happened a long time ago, and I don’t remember much about these games.

I was nervous for this game. It was supposed to rain during BP which obviously wouldn’t be a good thing. I was going to this game with my friend Victor. He was one of my baseball teammates, and this was his first time ballhawking. Somehow I got super lucky, and the weather reports changed. It wasn’t gonna rain!

This was a weekday game, which meant early BP for STH’s. I’m not a season ticket holder, but my friend gave me his season ticket card so I could get in early. We got in a minute after the gates opened, and ran to the overhang in RF. Victor and I both called out to Max Kepler to try and get him to toss a ball up, and when he turned around to toss up it, Max yelled “Who do I throw it to?”. Victor ended up getting it, for his first snag ever.

I got shutout in Twins BP. 

Ball 1:

I was out in the LF bleachers waiting for the Phillies pitchers to finish warming up. I was hoping to get a ball from one of them when they finished up. When Brett Oberholzter did, he chucked me his ball from about 75 feet away.


Ball 2:

A player who I think was Jeanmar Gomez walked over to the wall to pick a ball up, so I asked him for it. He said he couldn’t because he gave too many away the previous day. It took some breaking down, but I eventually convinced him to toss it to me. Right before he did, he said, “If anyone asks, you didn’t get this from me”. 

Ball 3:

When BP was almost over, I went to the dugout with another Ballhawk named Paul so we could get some tossups. Once they all walked off the field, a ball was tossed over the net to Paul, but it went over his head. I reached out as far as I possibly could over my shoulder, and made a no look, backhand, full extension catch in the tip of my glove. Let’s just say Paul wasn’t too happy, haha.

Paul, if you’re reading this, HAHA, I GOT THE BALL, NOT YOU!

Ball 4:

Right after this happened, I got another ball from Jimmy Parades.


Ball 5:

Once the game ended, I went over to the Twins dugout and got a ball from the Bat Boy who I actually happen to know, Dom.


His aim was a little off and it ended up going really far to my right, so I had to reach out super far towards the field to catch it. He said “Nice reach!”.

After this, Victor, Paul and I waited outside the stadium to get some autographs. We got autographs from Andres Blanco and Odubel Herrera!

That’s it for my first entry of my return to this blog! Come back tomorrow for another one.
STATS:

Balls at this game: 5 (Brett Oberholzter, Jeanmar Gomez, a Random Guy, Jimmy Parades, Dom the BB)

Announcement!!!!!!!!!!

So yeah….. I kinda ditched the whole blogging thing…. It got boring after a while. I thought it wouldn’t be worth the time to do this anymore, so I quit.

BUT WAIT!

I decided to come back…

Kind of.

Starting tomorrow, I will be posting one entry a day until I finish writing about the games I’ve been to. But, they will be short entries. Another blogger has a certain way of writing their entries that I decided I’d try out. 

I’ve had some cool experiences, like going to my first Home Run Derby (it may have been an American Association HRD, but it still counts!), finally meeting a Ballhawk I’ve talked to for a few years, and meeting the Ballhawking King, Zack Hample.

Make sure to check back each day to read a new entry! 

Update

So I’m not gonna be blogging about my last 2 games. They were really boring and uneventful. I got 4 balls at the Phillies game on June 22nd and 2 on July 1st against the Rangers. Didn’t even get any in BP at Rangers. I’ll try to get my next entry up soon. It’s a good one, so you’ll want to read it.

6/9/16 at Target Field: Twins vs Marlins

I started off my day downtown at the T-Mobile store at the IDS Center. Why? Because Miguel Sano had an autograph signing there. I had a great spot in line. I was the 10th person. When the signing started, I quickly got to the front and got Sano’s signature. He signed an 11×14 photo of him with Carlos Correa at the 2013 Futures Game. Hopefully I can get Correa on it when the Astros come to town. 


As I was leaving the store, some guys from a local radio station were doing a ticket giveaway. I entered the giveaway while I was waiting in line, and they were now picking a winner. It turned out to be me! I won 2 100 level tickets for the game that night. I gave one to my grapher friend Jake. We made a deal when we entered that if one of us won, we had to give each other a ticket. We didn’t actually know that the tickets were for that night when we entered, and Jake already had a ticket for the bleachers. He gave that one to my brother Ben.

I then walked over to the hotel where the Miami Marlins were staying to try and get some autographs. I knew Ichiro and Stanton wouldnt sign, so my main autograph goal was home run king Barry Bonds. (Yeah, I know he took steroids. I hate Bonds, but he still has the most homers so I wanted his auto.) Bonds has signed two days before at the hotel, but only for 4 people right at the front of the crowd. Today I was at the back of the crowd again but I still hoped I had a chance. When Barry came out, he decided to sign. Luckily, he signed for more people than a few days before. I was one of the lucky ones to get his autograph!


He signed an 8×10 for me. Here is a video of him signing. 

I also got one more autograph at the hotel, and that was from Don Mattingly. He signed a Topps 87 card for me. Here is him signing. I had got his autograph two days earlier on an 8×10.

I had got a text from someone I know that said his friend had just met Chili Davis (coach for Red Sox) and David Price while they were golfing near my house. That meant the Red Sox were already in Minneapolis. I happened to know the hotel they were staying at so I walked over there. I was hoping to see Big Papi and get an autograph from him. He did come out at one point…


…and signed for some people! Unfortuneatley I was not one of them. 

I left after that with Jake, Ben, and his friend Noah who is on my blog a lot. We went to an Arby’s across the street for lunch, walked over to Sports Authority to see if they had any good deals now that they are closing, and then over to Target Field…


…where I got in line with Jake at Gate 34. Nobody else was in line so we decided to play catch before others started showing up. It was HOT outside. We stopped after a few minutes and went under the shade of Gate 34.

Only one ball came to the gates that day, and it was a home run that bounced over the gates right to my ballhawk friend Alex!


Alex is a really skilled ballhawk who only goes for homers, no tossups. He caught 4 on the fly the day before!

When the gates opened up for season ticket holders at 5:00, Jake brought Ben, Noah, and I in as his guests. I ran in and grabbed the corner spot in the right field overhang.


5 minutes later, I got on the board with a tossup from Trevor May. 


You can watch a GoPro video of me catching the ball right here.

I went over to the Powerball Pavillion in right center, and 4 minutes later, I got another tossup for ball #2 of the day. This one was tossed to me by Twins pitcher Phil Hughes.

That was the last ball I snagged during Twins BP. (Weird fact: May and Hughes both got injured that night…. Sorry)

I also happened to film that one on the GoPro. 

I went over to left field and sat down during the time in between the two teams BP’s. When players came out to play catch in left field. I moved over towards the foul ball where they were. I saw Ben, Noah, and Jake looking inside the little area by the foul ball. I got a closer look and saw this:


A baseball. I was taking a hilarious video of them trying to get the ball out by making different contraptions, like tying their hats to their backpack traps and trying to scoop it up (It didn’t work so well), when I noticed Dustin McGowan had just finished up playing catch. I ran over a section in the bleachers to get in a better position, and I asked him for the ball. He was pretty far away, but he heard me, and chucked it to me. 


Whaddaya know, I happened to film that one on the GoPro too! Watch the video here. If you watch closely, you’ll see Ben, Noah, and Jake trying to get the baseball by he foul pole. They eventually got it once Jake jumped down there and picked it up.

I ran out to the right field Plaza area for the first group of hitters. The two most notable guys in it were Ichiro and Stanton. I heard that Ichiro was doing amazing all series in BP and Stanton wasn’t doing so well, so I played deep right field for Ichiro instead of the second deck in left for Stanton. It turns out I made the right decision. Stanton hit 3 homers total, all liners to the second deck, while Ichiro showered the Plaza with baseballs. This guy doesn’t even do the normal BP routine where you bunt a few times, work on hitting to the opposite field, then hit a few homers at the end. Not at all. This guy was crushing the ball every single pitch! He happened to hit back to home runs out to the Plaza, the first of which was caught by Alex, and the second which was caught by me!


It was a pretty easy catch. When it was hit, I called for it by yelling, “That’s me!”, to get Alex to back off and let me catch it. I drifted about 10 feet to my left, and caught it on the fly. As you can see from the picture, it was a pearl! I thought about getting it signed by some random player, but I realized that it was hit by Ichiro, one of the greatest players of my generation, and I couldn’t ruin it by getting someone’s autograph on it!

For the second group, Alex and I ran up to the second deck for Marcell Ozuna’s group. 


He said he hit a lot of bombs up there the day before. Sadly that was not the case today. I watched helplessly as Justin Bour crushed  multiple balls halfway across the Plaza, while Ozuna hit one wimpy home run to the second deck that Alex picked up.

For the third and final group of BP, we ran down to the left field bleachers below us. It was pretty crowded down there, but there was a few empty rows. Jose Fernandez was putting on a show with tossups! He tossed EVERY. SINGLE. BALL.  Up in to the crowd. He was awesome. I didn’t get one, but it was fun watching him. I also didn’t get anything from the hitters, but a few kids made some nice catches. Towards the end of the group, I ran over to the Marlins dugout to try and get a tossup. That didn’t work out so well, but I got an autograph from Jose Fernandez!


The blue sharpie on top is the one he used to sign for everyone with, and he tossed it on to the ledge in between the field and the seats when he was done. It sat there for a good 5 minutes before I picked it up. 

Hey look, I filmed him signing too.

I decided to sit by the Twins dugout instead of the Marlins dugout today.


 I had a feeling the Marlins wouldn’t sign before the game so I just went for Twins autographs. Buxton ended up signing… But not for anyone by the dugout.


That sucked. I sat a few sections down from the actual dugout, but still in the fenced in area called the Dugout Box seats. When Giancarlo Stanton struck out to end the top of the first, I tried to get catcher Juan Centeno to toss me the ball but he did not. Instead he just walked straight in to the dugout. Oh well, it was only the first inning. I would still have more opportunities. 

In the top of the second, Ichiro Suzuki swung on a 2-0 count and grounded out to first baseman Joe Mauer. I ran down a few rows, but not all the way to the first row, because Mauer would have to toss it over the netting. As he ran in to the dugout, I got his attention, and he threw it over the net to me for ball number 5 of the day.

That was pretty much the most exciting thing that happened over there. 
When the game got closer to its end, I got in position to run down to the visitors dugout for an umpire ball. 


As I was waiting there, Eduardo Escobar fouled a ball off in to a crowded row about 10 rows behind me and to my left. I saw a full empty row to my left, and thought about moving there in case he hit one in that direction. But of course, I thought, “Naaaaaah.” Guess what Escobar did on the very next pitch? You guessed it. Hit one there. I didn’t even bother going for it because it was hit so fast and I just knew I wouldn’t be able to get to it in time. BUT, if I had been in that empty row, I would have caught it. How do I know this? 


Because Jake had been sitting exactly one row up from the empty row (in another empty row) and caught it. It was a great catch, and I’m surprised they didn’t show him in TV. He ran about 10 feet through the section and made a lunging catch. He then proceeded to brag about he caught a foul ball on the fly before I did. I definitley have had my chances before. There was one time back in May of 2015 when a foul ball was popped up directly to me. I could have caught it sitting down. But I thought, “A foul ball isn’t going to be hit here at this angle that I’m sitting at, so I’ll just leave my glove in my bag as I eat my hot dog.” To this day, it still makes me mad thinking about it.

When the game ended, I ran down to the umpire tunnel and got the only ball home plate Umpire Scott Barry gave away.


After that, Jake and I went over to the Twins dugout and got our final baseballs of the day from Dom Frost, the Bat Boy. Dom is awesome. He hooks me up with a ball almost every game, and when he doesn’t, it’s because he’s already given too many away to other fans! 

After the game, I was faced with a dilemma. This game was the last of the series, so the Marlins wouldn’t be walking to the hotel, they would take the bus (which fans do not have access to) to the airport. The Twins just lost 10-2, so they wouldn’t be signing at the parking lot. I decided I would just try to get an autograph from Jack Morris, the Twins announcer for the Fox Sports North show (oh yeah, he was also the 1991 WS MVP, but who cares about that) who was doing the show out in the Plaza in right field. When he finished, he signed for everyone waiting. I got an 8×10 signed. 


Aaaaaaaaand that was the end of my day at the ballpark.

STATS:

Balls at this game: 7

Autographs: 5

6/4/16 at Target Field: Twins vs Rays

                               I’m back.

This was my first game in over a month. It started off pretty rough. 

For this game, I would be with my friends Stephen and Justin. They both have came with me to games before, and I have blogged about those games. Justin gave me a free ticket to this game. I had been checking the weather forecast for this day to see if it would rain or not. It was not supposed to rain, until the day before the game, the weather app said it would rain. Not good. That means BP was not very likely. I still hoped there would be a chance for BP.

I was dropped off at the Target Field Station and made my way around the stadium….


….over to the Plaza….


….and to Gate 34, where I was the first one in line.


I was quickly informed by a security guard that the tarp was on the field, meaning no BP. NOOOOOOO!!!!!

At 1:00 when the gates opened up. I went over to the foul lines on the Twins side. Dom Frost, the Twins bat boy, and Ben Richardson, the Twins bullpen catcher, were playing catch. Dom saw me and waved to me. We have talked on social media and at games before and he recognizes me now. He was actually the one who gave me my first ball of the day. When Dom and Ben finished playing catch, I said his name, held up my glove, and he threw me the ball.


Here is a GoPro video of me catching the ball:


I ran over to the Rays side to see if I could get a ball from the pitchers warming up, and I wanted to get an autograph from Chris Archer. Archer said he had “work to do,” which I later found out was take a bullpen session. I went over to the bullpen once all the pitchers were done on the foul lines, and the bullpen was crowded with kids. Stephen was also there, already at two balls. I could have had that many, but I wanted to get the ball that Dom was using.

Archer took a bullpen session and once he finished he tossed the ball up. Unfortunately I didn’t get it. I still had another chance, because Matt Moore started pitching right after. He finished up, then tossed the ball towards Stephen and I. Our gloves hit each other’s, and Stephen dropped the ball. It was tossed to somebody else. That sucked. But wait, what is this?! Matt Moore decided he wanted to keep pitching! There was still hope! He pitched for a few more minutes and when he finished up, he scanned the crowd for a worthy recipient. Everyone was yelling “BALL! BALL!” Or “Matt!” So I yelled “Mr. Moore!”. He stopped, and said, “Wait, who said, ‘Mr. Moore’?” So I said it again. He looked at me, smiled, and tossed me the ball.

I filmed this one too. Here it is:​

I went back over to the foul lines because pitchers starter to come out and throw over there again. Chris Archer happened to walk over there, so I asked for an autograph. He nodded, and a few minutes later, he came over and signed my 8×10!


At one point, Drew Smyly and Rays bullpen catcher Scott Cursi were playing catch. The Twins grounds crew had to take the tarp off the field, and it interfered with those guys playing catch. Scott started walking around with the ball in his glove, and I thought he was done playing catch, so I asked him for it. “You just looked my name up on the Internet.” And I told him that wasn’t true. I wasn’t lying. I actually had known who Scott Cursi was before this, because I had heard so many great things about him from other ballhawks. He came over to me and asked me where I got my umpire hat (black hat with MLB logo), and if I was an umpire. The part where he asked if I was an umpire was obviously a joke, but it was actually kind of funny because I am an umpire for little league teams in my city. I told him and he said that during the offseason he is an umpire for kids fall ball leagues. He seemed like a really nice guy. 

 Two guys came out to play catch near the foul pole, but I couldn’t tell who they were. I checked the roster and identified them as Ryan Garton and Tyler Sturdevant. Sturdevant was the one closest to me. I politely asked if I could have the ball when he was done, and he nodded. Yes! I was guaranteed the ball. But….. They finished playing catch and Garton ended up with the ball. Dang. I thought I was gonna get it for sure. I positioned myself behind some other pitchers to try and get a ball from them. 

A few minutes later I heard a bunch of kids yelling, “BALL! BALL!” Which meant a player with a ball was nearby. I looked at the warning track below me and saw Tyler Sturdevant walking right towards me with a ball! He placed it in my glove for ball 3 of the day, and my last pregame ball.


I went over to the Twins side after the Rays fo sober warming up, and when the National Anthem ended, Max Kepler came over to sign autographs. 

I got him on an 8×10.

The only real action during the game was a Hank Conger homer that bounced from the seats into the Plaza, and I didn’t get to it quick enough. I didn’t go after it until it landed because I didn’t even see it in the air. I was going to pay attention until I realized that he had a .194 average and probably wouldn’t hit it in to the Plaza.

My next FOUR baseballs came after the game ended.

FOUR after the final out was recorded.

But first, I moved down here to get in position for an umpire ball:

And when the game ended, guess what home plate Umpire Angel Hernandez tossed me?


Ball 4 of the day.

I moved over to far end of the dugout in the first row. I was then tossed ball 5 by a Rays pitcher coming in from the bullpen. It might have been Dana Eveland.

(Sorry for the bad pic. I don’t even know if this was the ball cause everything happened so quickly.)

That was ball 5.

Some dude who looked like he worked for the media came out and started handing out mud rubbed balls to people. I got one from him. So did Justin and Stephen.

Ball 6.

Remember Scott Cursi, the guy I talked to pregame? He came in, saw me, and handed Stephen and I baseballs.

We all went over to the Twins dugout because I wanted to talk to Dom, the Twins Bat Boy. Justin got there first and asked for a ball, but he gave so many away during the game that he didn’t have any left! So instead, he came out and gave us all opened bags of sunflower seeds that were just sitting in the dugout (they were half empty, so the Twins players had already ate out of them). I talked to Dom for just a little bit, because he needed to finish cleaning out the dugout. I got a picture with him first.


I went to the Twins parking lot after that with my friends, my brother Ben and his friend Noah, and a grapher named Jake. Jake knows Brian Dozier and he said he would sign at the lot after the game even though they lost. Doziers wife ended up driving him out so he didn’t stop. We chased him down to a red light and he rolled down his window! He said “You guys gotta careful in the street like this!” And signed for us. I got him on a magazine.

Our next auto was Trevor Plouffe. He was driving a different car and we couldn’t tell it was him, so he just stopped the car and rolled his window down. It was kind of funny because nobody even asked him to stop and he did. I got him on an 8×10. Jake got Plouffe’s shin guard after the game, and he got it signed too!


Oswaldo Arcia came out and signed. I didn’t have anything for him, so I just got a picture.

(Weird fact, on the day I’m writing this, Oswaldo Arcia was traded. Want to know what team he was traded to? The Tampa Bay Rays.)

Here is Arcia signing for Jake:
It took an hour, but we finally got Joe Mauer’s autograph. He was driving a Mercedes but usually drives a Chevy so we didn’t know if it was him. I thought it was Eduardo Nunez because we didn’t see him come out, so I walked up to the car with a Nunez card. I realized it was Mauer and didn’t have a place to put the Nunez card, so I bit it with my teeth…. LOL. I said to Mauer, “This may look a little weird, but can you sign my photo please.” He laughed, signed the 8×10, and asked who was on the card. I told him, and asked if Nunez left yet. He said yes, so he must of gone out when we weren’t paying attention. It’s funny that Mauer drove a Mercedes when his brother runs Mauer Chevorlet.

After that, I left and went home. I was at the stadium for 8 and a half hours, so I was ready to leave.

STATS:

Balls at this game:

Nate: 7

Justin: 6

Stephen: 4

Autographs at this game: 5

Bags of seeds at this game: 1

4/29/16 at Target Field: Twins vs Tigers

The day got off to a pretty rough start. I had been invited to this game by my friend Justin, and his dad was going to be taking him and I. We wanted to be there at 5:00 to get there when the gates opened. We were using Apple Maps to direct us to the stadium, and it was being super stupid and it took us some really weird way to the stadium that took an us over an hour to get there. By the time I had bought my ticket, got my bag checked, and my ticket scanned, it was 5:30. I had completely missed all of Twins BP and 15 minutes of Tigers. Thankfully, I was quickly able to get on the board with a tossup from a Tigers pitcher in right field after he noticed I had a had and shirt with their logo on it. It ended up hitting the limestone wall and bouncing on the field, and another guy picked it up and tossed it to me. I quickly noticed it was a Spring Training commemorative!
Thankfully the logo was still in great condition. 

A few minutes later I ran over to left field because I noticed the group hitting had mainly righties. They weren’t hitting much out, so I was fine with going for some tossups.

Mike Pelfrey, a Tigers pitcher who actually played for the Twins at the start of the season, was standing in center field when a ball rolled to him. He wanted to throw it to the little kid in front of me, but he realized that the little kid would probably have a hard time trying to catch the ball. Pelf looked at me and I yelled “If you throw the ball to me, I’ll give it to him,” and Pelf pointed at me, then to the kid just to clarify things. I nodded my head, and he threw it bullet to me. I immediately handed the ball to the little kid, making sure Pelfrey saw. The kid was extremely happy and excited and so was his dad. I noticed that the ball I gave him was commemorative too, so I asked if I could see it for a second to take a picture.

(That’s the kid)

It wasn’t too dissapointing I gave a commemorative away, because I already had the one from earlier and another one from a different game. 

At one point a little bit later, I had tried to get a tossup from Justin Verlander. I was the only one wearing anything tigers related, and the only one who knew his name. He threw the ball to me, and…. It went over my head where another fan picked it up. 

I stood in the front row for a bit when a player hit one right towards me. I realized it was going over my head at the last second so I jumped, but missed it. I turned around and saw the one who caught the ball was none other than Paul Kom! I had no clue he’d be at the game, and he didn’t know I was going either. I asked how many he had snagged and he said “Two……. Plus 5.”

I moved closer to Mike Pelfrey again to see if I could get him to throw me a ball again because I gave one to that other kid. It took two tries until he noticed me, but when he did…

Ball #3. It also had a sharpie mark on it.

This is the second sharpie marked ball I have snagged. 

I ran up to the second deck in left field because a new group started, that had Miguel Cabrera, Justin Upton, and J.D. Martinez in it.

 Unfortuneatley, NOT A SINGLE BALL WAS HIT UP THERE!!! Ugh. Apparently Paul had made a diving catch on a Miggy homer that landed in the bleachers right below me.

I ran back down to the bleachers for the final group of BP, which might have been the best one. Mike Aviles was in it, and he was crushing the ball to the bleachers near the foul pole. I moved over to the aisle in between the section closest to the foul pole, and the section to my left of it. Aviles crushed a long fly ball that looked like it was heading towards me but a little to the left. I shuffled through the row, and caught the ball on the fly, a pretty routine catch. 

I ended up robbing an older guy who had caught a few on the fly earlier in BP. He was pretty cool about it and he congratulated me on the catch.

This ball was also sharpie marked:


(Hello, Brian)

2 minutes later Aviles hit one towards me again but to my right this time, and I thought I was definitley going to catch it. I would have, if it wasn’t for the dude who tried to body deck me. His shoulder hit me right in the jaw and I almost fell backwards. I felt the ball knick the bottom of my glove as I was shoved away.

Here is the dude who tried to body deck me:


(The guy in blue with his arms crossed is the old guy who I robbed when I caught the ball earlier)

The on the fly catch was my last of BP. I did not make it over to the dugout in time for the end of BP, but I was able to get a picture with catcher Bobby Wilson.


During the game, I walked around the stadium with Justin and we checked some things out. I ran in to a grapher I know, and it turns out that he just got a job as an usher! He was stationed at Gate 14. 

Justin and I met up with his dad and we snuck down in to the section by the ball boy. Justin posed for a picture with a baseball he caught in BP.


Oh, Justin.

We sat 8 rows up from the ball boy, so we had some decent seats. The tickets we bought may or may not have been in the 3rd deck….

Here was our view during the game:

(Sorry for the bad quality)

Meanwhile, Paul was moving from dugout to dugout, and he had snagged 12 balls, beating his record of 11!

When the 7th inning ended, Justin and I moved over to the seats above the dugout box. We met up with a ballhawk/grapher I know named Peyton, who is 10 years old. He’s really good at ballhawking and graphing, he once caught a Joe Mauer line drive foul ball on the fly, and he’s got tons of autographs from super stars like Trout, Miggy, and King Felix.

Justin and I used a special technique to get down in to the dugout box seats. I actually learned this technique from Paul. We tried to help Peyton get down to the seats too, but an usher stopped him because he did something a little different than us. I can’t reveal this trick, but it’s really not something big. 

When the final out was made, Justin, Peyton, Paul and I got in position for an umpire ball from Ryan Blakney. Want to guess how many balls he gave away? 0. The bullpen guys didn’t toss up anything either. My last chance for a ball was from the Twins Bat Boy Dom.

I ran over to the Twins dugout and saw Paul catch a ball that Dom tossed him. That ball tied the Target Field MyGameBalls.com record, which Paul now shares with Zack Hample. Dom saw me go over to Paul, and he recognized me and held up one finger as if to say, “Hold on”. Less than a minute later, I had this:

It didn’t exactly work out the way you are probably thinking. Dom’s throw was a little off to my right and too high up, and I used my full extension to try and catch it. It hit the tip of my glove and rolled on to the field. Thankfully, a security picked it up, and lobbed it to me. I will have a video at the very end of the entry, filmed by Paul.

That was my last ball of the day, so I went outside the stadium to get autographs at the players exit. I ended up only getting Jarrod Saltalamachia on a Tigers team card. And that was the end of my ballhawking day!

STATS:

Balls at this game: 5 (Unidentified Tiger, Mike Pelfrey 2x, Mike Aviles, Dom/Security Guard)

Autographs at this game: 1 (Jarrod Saltalaltabaltadaltanaltamaltayaltapaltalazaltapeppermintmocha)


Video, as promised. Not sure if it will work, so here is some screenshots:


(Try and spot the ball)