Same Section + Different Method = Same Result *The Unauthorized Story of Ball #15* (9/27/2011)

So far 2011 had been a great year for my personal achievements at Twins games, but on the field for the team was a VERY different story.  Attendance was no longer measured in strings of sellouts, but rather in estimating what percentage of tickets sold actually showed up to the games.  Jim Thome was no longer on the team; Kubel, Cuddyer, and Nathan would leave in the off-season; and the number of injuries (some laughable, others career changing) was incomprehensible.  For as much as the average fan was hating this team, I was finding them rather enjoyable.  New guys like Luke Hughes, Trevor Plouffe, and Ben Revere really brought with them a feeling of a “new guard” to this team.  Sure, they were not all-stars (at least not yet), but they were great to the fans and had a positive attitude.

My signature board was filling up quite quickly and some of the players even took notice.  Luke Hughes was my biggest helper.  On this night he stopped by and asked who I still needed on it, and I told him Nishi, though I understood he was gone since he was on the DL, and then Rene Tosoni.  I had come close to Tosoni a couple times, but never really had the right setting to get it done.  Luke said he would go get Rene and tell him to sign for me.  AWESOME!!  So Luke then kept running over to the right field area to get the last bit of warm-ups in before the national anthem.  He tried flagging down Rene, but it didn’t work today.  Luke was super-nice though and said he was sorry as he ran into the dugout.  I was a little worried, since tomorrow was the last game, but at the same time, I was very impressed and happy that Luke not only noticed and offered his help, but he said he was sorry when it didn’t work out.  I didn’t need/deserve a “sorry”, he didn’t owe me anything, but it just showed me how nice of an Aussie-gentleman he was.  (You’ll get your thanks down below, mate!)

So who all is on the canvas at this point?:
  • Valencia, Tolbert, Casilla
  • Cuddyer, Revere, Capps, Nathan
  • Oliva, Hughes
  • Pavano
  • Span, Gardenhire
  • Rivera, Kelly, Gladden, Mauer
  • Duensing
  • Young
  • Swarzak
  • Kubel
  • Perkins
  • Morris, Erickson
  • Butera, Plouffe
  • Baker
  • Morneau, Burnett
  • Thome
  • Benson
  • Dinkelman, Oliveros, Waldrop, Hoey, Parmelee (Game vs. Royals – 9/26/2011)

So that was the exciting part of this game, now on to the somewhat uninteresting way that I snagged a baseball…

As I mentioned above and if you have read prior posts, you would know that 2011 was all about autographs, with hawking coming in a distant 2nd.  Even though it was a distant 2nd, I still enjoyed getting my glove on a baseball whenever I could, and to my surprise, I was able to do it for the 10th time in 2011 at this game!  Never did I ever dream that I would ever snag 10 balls in one year!

I assumed my usual position after going through my routine of checking the lower 1st base side for balls already in the stands.  I didn’t find any at this game, which is kind of nice, since it meant I would have to snag one a different way if I wanted to get on the board.  Then, during BP (I am guessing was the Royals BP, since the Twins BP is usually nearing the end or already ended by the time the fans are let in) I found myself in a very familiar section (103) and held a couple rows back in order to let some other people try for a ball.  I didn’t need to be up close to the wall yet, since it would be about an hour before the players came out.  I decided by hanging back a few rows I might also be able to play the odds a little and get a ball that escaped the first-line defenders.

That is exactly what happened.  I screamer that hooked foul down the first base line went over the heads of the foot soldiers and straight into my glove.  I put myself in the correct spot yet again.  This autograph seeking was doing wonders for my baseball collection!  The exact details of who hit the baseball is still a mystery, but even the best of hawks has holes in their story.  At the very least I have always tried to detail where in the stadium I snagged the ball (now down to the section, row, and seat).  I will also detail which team was on the field now, and try my best to decipher which person hit/tossed/errored the ball into my glove.  Be sure to check out my massive 6/25/2012 recap, I’ll give you a snapshot of my notes that I take, and bring you inside my camera bag of goodness.

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Hug(h)e(s) thanks go out to Mr. Luke Hughes!  He was so very nice to me on this occasion and in the next chapter of my ballhawking story as well.  I really do miss him on the Twins, though I wish him a speedy path back to the bigs.
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