This is a story about a baseball that was never supposed to be caught. The 8th baseball of my ballhawking career is a ghost, it’s from a game that never existed. The contest between the Twins and White Sox, originally scheduled for 6/14/2011, was eventually held on 9/5/2011, but this is the story about a ball that couldn’t wait to find a new home.
I got to the gates early, hoping for some BP and maybe get a shot at an autograph or two, but I knew very well that the oncoming weather was not looking good. At the very least I might be able to catch a ball or score something before they throw the tarp over the field. Never did I think that I would repeat a feat that I thought was a once in a lifetime thing, I caught yet another ball while waiting at the gate.
As you may have read, lifetime ball #2 was caught outside the stadium (Jim Thome), so i knew it was possible, but just how often do players actually hit it out of the park? The answer, for a lefty at Target Field, quite frequently.I am not saying that it’s a feat done multiple times per game during BP, but given the
right left guy at the plate, you might see a couple bounce there way into a glove on the other side of the Puckett gate.
I cannot remember the exact time, but I would guess that it was between 4 and 4:30 (as that is when the big guns are usually taking BP for the Twins) and I was fortunate enough to be the only one waiting around. When the Twins are good, arriving early and waiting outside this gate is one of the few times you may not have to deal with a swarm of people going after a ball. but ever since the die-off of mid-2011, this isn’t the only opportunity to have some peace while trying to collect a ball (do I thank them for losing?).
Enough of the chit-chat, let’s finish the story…
So the ball hoped a couple times, close to the flag pole, next to the garbage, and rolling towards the portable ticket-revolver-thingies. Nice and easy ball. I wait for another hour or so until 5:30, I am let through the gates and race to the Overhang, just hoping to see some White Sox BP (on hold for autographs, since the Twins already went in for shelter). By about 6 pm the storms rolled in, the rain soon followed and brought with it a full family-reunion of rain drops… This game was cancelled.
My reward for paying for parking (all $2 of it, you gotta know the right spots!)? Baseball #8 to add to the collection. One ball in zero games, not bad at all!
It’s not WHO do I thank for this one, but it’s a WHAT. Thank you Mother Nature for allowing this statistical anomaly. Everyone knows that you cannot divide by zero, but I found a way (in baseball none-the-less) to compile a stat where I was forced to divide by zero (1 ball ÷ 0 game = “Who cares? I still got a ball!!”). Thank you rain for holding off until my job was done! …And I suppose thanks to the nameless Twins player that ended up hitting the ball out. I guess it may not have been possible if it were someone else taking your spot on the roster. Who knows, maybe this was my second Thome BP ball; the world will never know.