Since this story is about as short as any story of hawking a ball can be, I will give a bit of a back-story that is semi-related to this ballhawking milestone.
As I stated before, I was mainly an autograph seeker. I had many tickets signed by Twins, and a couple here and there signed by big names from the opposition. I liked the interaction, and didn’t quite consider myself to have what it takes to be a hardcore ballhawk. At this point I had never made an effort to go after a second ball, the only time I did get two was as a reward from Ron Gardenhire in Kansas City (#6 + #7). One day an alarm went off, quickly silenced by a bright idea.
The problem? I was getting too many individual tickets signed. If I wanted to display them, it could get very messy and just not all that cool.
The solution? For Christmas I was given a 2010 Inaugural Season canvas of Target Field. I was going to just display the canvas itself in my eventual mancave (no, the basement hasn’t even begun to be finished at the time of writing). But then I saw it one day as I was weighing out my ticket crisis with potential solutions/fillers. That’s it! Why don’t I get the current roster to sign it? I’d like the 2010 team, but it really doesn’t matter, especially since a bunch of those guys are gone. I’ll just focus on the current starters and get the 9 in the line-up, the 5 starters, and then a reliever/closer or two.
Things started off great, I got to meet Danny Valencia, Alexi Casilla, and Matt Tolbert in Shakopee at a Twins Unplugged event. I was prepared to just have the first two sign, but then how do I make sure Matt doesn’t feel hurt/awkward? Well, danny ended up pointing this out by telling Matt to sign on the bench area and I panicked. I told him, “No, sign right on second base, you are a utility guy and what better than directly in the middle?” Maybe not in those exact words, but that’s what I was trying to communicate. Well, after he played hurt and depressed, he gave in and signed in tiny print.
I was now contemplating my next move. Do I open it up just a little bit to include a few extra guys or do I go for them all? I decided to go all out and collect them all on this board, partially because of my commitment at this point and then later on in the season because there were no longer starters, just a quilt-like patchwork of players. We had, in no disrespectful terms, what could either be described as a feisty group of AAA-ers playing in the bigs OR a team of scabs playing for a team that didn’t know that the lockout was over. Us Twins fans back in the 90s were used to some bad teams and random guys, but now that we were in target Field and selling out nearly every game, we thought that the curse of the dome was over.
Sp that’s the set up, and now you are asking, “Why does this matter?” or just shouting, “Get on with it!!” Well, all of this autograph seeking for the canvas started on 6/29/2011, and as you can tell, this game was on 7/5/2011, so I was in full autograph mode. My main goal was to get signatures on this canvas.
Who was on the canvas so far?
- Valencia, Tolbert, Casilla (6/29/2011 – Twins Unplugged)
- Cuddyer, Revere, Capps, Nathan (7/2/2011 – Game vs. Rays)
- Oliva, Hughes (7/5/2011 – Game vs. Rays)
I put the last line in bold because I got those signatures at this game I am describing, shortly after I got my ball. How did I come across this historic ball? After all, this was the one to put me in double digits, so it’s bound to have a fantastically magical story, right? Well, I found it as I walked down section 102 on my way to walk along the edge of the field and over to the dugout area. Yep, just an easter egg waiting for me to pick it up and take home. It was so uneventful, and I don’t really think I knew that it was my tenth. I wasn’t expecting to get a ball, just thought I better check out on the off chance that one is just waiting down there. those are the kinds of things I do if I am the first one through a gate and into a group of sections. I don’t ever expect much, especially when i was chasing the thrills of autograph seeking.
My thanks may seem a little self-centered and egotistical, but I promise they are not; my thanks are instead aimed at being a reflection. Thank you me! Thanks for getting yourself in the right place and getting there early. You may not have been aggressively seeking that ball, but it worked out. Also, thank you again nameless ball player. Was it a kind stranger that purposely placed it there like St. Nick? Or was it a player working on his swing and connecting early/late with a ball and hoping a ball of the fence and into the seats? We’ll never know, but the story lives on.