I will gladly give up my hot streak in order to break the Twins’ cold streak; I’d love for jus tthe latter to happen, but if it takes me having a tough game (just getting 1), I’ll take it. I just want to see a Twins win! The last time I saw a Twins win was on July 20th, down in Kansas City (what a great game that was), while the last Twins win at Target Field was back on June 25th (remember that game, too?). My point? It’s been WAY too long. I am staying positive, I want to see the Twins win, and I truly think that they can. I know that I can do nothing to actually help them, but I will remain the crazy fan still shouting words of encouragement towards the field.
My record this year at Twins games is pretty dismal, on overall record of 3-12 if you count spring training, 3-10 in the regular season, and 2-10 at Target Field. Let’s turn this ship around! I can still end up 6-12 overall, and 6-10 for the regular season.
Now on to the game itself…
I arrived late to the game, didn’t get to see BP or even the first pitch, was kicked out after the 2nd inning and ended up having to hitchhike back to my house because my car was impounded.
WAIT! None of that actually happened. I was a tad early to the gates (4 pm) and had a prime spot to watch an uneventful gate-BP (means nothing came close to rolling up to the gates). I had totally forgotten that I had an extra ticket, so when I saw a tweet from Mateo that he needed a ticket, I offered it up to him (help a college student out, right?!). He showed up somewhere between 4:30 and 4:45, by this time the gates were getting a bit crowded. I don’t know if it was just the fact that it was a weekend game, a White Sox game, or the bait dangling at the gates in the form of a free winter hat, but the lines were unusually large compared to the recent turn-outs over the past few weeks.
Once the gates opened, I decided to stick close to the Twins dugout to try for a quick ball and say hello to Mr. Plouffe before heading over to the outfield during the White Sox BP. I scanned the first-base foul area for easter eggs, but nothing. I then went over to Chris Parmelee who was taking grounders at first base.
I made it over to Chris and when he was done with his fielding I called out and asked for a ball. He was very cool and picked one up as the Twins collected the balls as BP ended and tossed it right over to me. It felt good to be on the board so soon. Shortly after the toss-up I got to talk a little music with Señor Plouffe, so I was not able to get a photo of the first ball.
After the Twins left the field and as the White Sox were taking the field, I went over to the White Sox dugout area in hopes of getting a toss-up or two before I made my way to the outfield. I eventually did get a toss-up, but not from a conventional person. I had noticed a very clean-looking ball that was wedged in the camera-well area at the end of the Sox dugout (see photo below). I had pointed it out to a few guys as they walked out, but no one was taking the time to retrieve it (and probably thought I was crazy). Eventually a person wearing clothing with only the “MLB logo” on them came over and helped me out (he appeared too young to be an umpire, so who knows who he was).
(The small red circle depicts the location where the ball was trapped, under a pipe and in the camera-well.)
I made my way over to the left field bleachers and saw Mateo already doing his thing in sections 130/131. I didn’t want to get in his territory too much, so I decided to play the hard-pull down the line and stick to section 129. it only took a couple minutes standing in 129 when a ball hit by an unknown White Sox player trekked close to my area in 129. I knew that I had no shot of catching this one in the air, since I was over in 129 and the ball was hanging up and going to land high up just barely in 130 (stupid railings). I jogged over to a break in the railing and then a few rows below where the ball would hit, maybe I’d be lucky to get the bounce back down. A few people tried for the ball, but it ended up playing out just the way i had hoped; the ball hit in row 7/8 and bounced right back down to me as I had my back to the field. Since I am right-handed and had to act fast, I threw up my right hand and caught the ball on a bare-handed bounce. Nothing spectacular, but just a bit of fun.
(No, I am not trying to get the lens-flare effect in this photo, or any of my photos, it’s just a product of my not being able to see my screen due to the intense sunlight and angle.)
I stayed in 129 for a while longer, but nothing came remotely close. Eventually I made it over to 131 by the bullpen, since Mateo was running over to right field hoping for some Adam Dunn bombs. After a long dry spell, one of the children of the White Sox players (there were two on the field) decided to toss a ball right up to me. I think that it’s safe to sat that he will be the youngest person who will ever toss me a ball, as he couldn’t have been more than 10 years old. You can somewhat make out the smaller bodies in the photo below, the first two shorter dudes to the right of my glove.
(Very observant! I did switch to my infielder’s glove.)
After BP finished up a Target Field Grounds Crew member came out of the bullpen and jumped up into the center field flower/grass area behind the fence in order to clear out the handful of balls that landed there. I was able to speak loud enough and make enough motion to get his attention and asked for him to toss me one. He signaled that his arm wasn’t that strong, so he wasn’t going to toss one to me… at least not now. After he was finished collecting every ball, he tossed all but one back into the bullpen and then brought that sole ball over to my area. There were two kids sitting there, but they already had a ball, so they were not interested. And like that, I had #5 for the day.
(Here’s the bag shortly after snagging the 5th of the day. The 5th ball is the one on the left just below the ticket.)
I knew that there was an outside chance of at least tying the record of 7 balls once I snagged #5, but I knew it was going to take a gamer or two in order to do so. Then in the bottom of the 5th something magical happened. A foul ball was hit and it was tracking somewhere between Dugout Box (section 6), Champions Club (section 7), and Home Plate Box (section 111). I wanted to run over right away, since I was already standing up, just taking photos, but I thought that it was going to be further into Champions Club. Turns out that the ball fell between Champions Club and Dugout Box and down almost into the entrance for the dining area in Champions Club (oh yeah, I will be sitting in those seats on September 30th, by the way!!). A worker was the first to the scene and I got there just as he was trying to toss it to the guy with the corner seat in the club seating… who did not have a glove on. I let the man try for the first toss, but the combination of no glove and a low throw made this money-man miss. The worker tried twice more, and finally I couldn’t take it, I was going to make my move. On what would end up being the last toss, I quickly snapped my glove around the ball and walked away with #6. This ball could be cool, since it was pitched by a Cy Young Award candidate, Chris Sale.
(The photo was a half-inning delayed, as you can tell by the Twins being in the field.)
After the Twins found themselves on the pointy side of a “greater-than” symbol, I made my way down to the first row of the dugout in hopes of finding something cool to land in my lap. I had to wait a couple of minutes, but it came to me, a slow roller on the top of the Twins’ dugout, ball #7! Yet again, it was at a Twins/White Sox game at Target Field. It seems like the majority of my ball collection involves the Twins and either Royals or White Sox playing (after referring to my spreadsheet, yes, 34 of 66 balls fit this criteria). I don’t know who tossed this on up to me, but thank you!
As I mentioned before, it was winter hat night at the game, so the group shot below includes the fun giveaway. I think I may end up needing this hat for at least one or two of my remaining 3 games, since the highs this week are only in the 60s and overnight lows in the 40s (and even a few 30s).
And the game notes from the iPhone:
And how about a couple of bonus rounds?
Bonus topic #1:
I took a fun photo of a ball and manipulated it a little bit using my phone. It turned out so well that I decided to send it in to a place that prints your photos on wood. I think the result was decent, and it will look kind of cool and serve as a nice little introduction/attention-grabber to the collection. (Yes, I will have the collection displayed differently, but as the basement is not finished, they are stacked nice and high in cubes.)
Bonus topic #2:
So, why was I so late posting this game? I have tried to make every effort to post my game recap within a day of the game, but with the lack of cable and internet at home (yep, dark ages, but saving tons of dough) and a nice long weekend with my wife, I had to wait longer than usual. So, again, why was I late posting this game? Well, we took Monday off from work because we are old and had to stay up late. OK, so it was only until 1 am, but the rock and roll lifestyle made it feel more like 4 am, and I use the phrase “rock and roll lifestyle” for two reasons: a) we went to a little rock and roll show. b) the rock and roll show had a song called “Rock & Roll Romance”. So yeah, we partied pretty hard. (And rocked out at Mesa Pizza before the show. Carb load for the big show!)
Jenny Owen Youngs
Larry and His Flask
FRANK TURNER AND THE SLEEPING SOULS
My wife and I love Frank Turner. His music is awesome, and add on top of that his awesome personality and willingness to talk to each one of his fans and you have the coolest musician you could ask for. As for the show, here are a couple of photos:
(The headline at The Varsity Theater.)
(My wife with her free moustache. Check out the flyer on the light post in the background. Well played mystery-moustache-giver!)
(Frank Turner, with Nigel laying the beats on the drums in the background. These guys got to play at the Olympics this year!)
(I cannot urge you enough, listen to this man’s music! Check out “England Keep My Bones”, one of the best albums of 2011!)
(And yes, I have another collection besides baseballs, and that is concert memorabilia. I especially love setlists.)
And now the extra massive run-down of thank yous. This time in list form!
- Chris Parmelee for the toss-up
- Chicago White Sox for the fun BP.
- Mystery White Sox child for the toss-up.
- TF Grounds Crew mystery man for the toss-up.
- TF Champions Club worker mystery man, again, for a toss-up.
- Mystery Twins player(s) for the toss-up and for all the previous toss-ups, too.
- Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls, as well as Jenny Owen Youngs, and Larry and His Flask for the AWESOME concert.
- Frank Turner for the signed setlist and taking time out to talk to me and catch up with me and my wife. Plus, thank you for covering The Hold Steady again! Hopefully I can get you to choose “Stay Positive” for the next time around.
- Lastly, and most importantly, my wife for the awesome weekend. It was nice to have an extra day off and have a blast this weekend.