So much happened, but I want to stay brief; I just may get to sleep early!
Started off my day at 8-ish at Hammond. There was no action until around 9, that’s when Trevor Plouffe if all guys started swinging in the cage. Plouffe had been sidelined for a while with a sore calf, and I was bumming that I didn’t get to see him play. When Tom Brunansky saw him in the cage Tom congratulated him on “the news”. Being my favorite player, my ears perk up and I then hear that Trevor will be starting his rehab assignment tomorrow and if all goes well, he’ll be playing by Friday. Dang! I waited for a bit and asked him during the pre-game where he’d be playing… Go figure, just on the minor league fields at the same complex! So now my “free day” (the only baseball-less day) will be injected with that addictive leather and stitches!
I may not get to see Trevor on the big squad, but hopefully the lack of MLB game and lack of knowledge that he’ll be on the small club tomorrow means that the atmosphere will be much more low key.
Let’s just get this out if the way now, if you read the title and can do basic math, you know that I got 6 balls today and I even was able to snag a Marlins lineup card from Joe Vavra. My trip total so far is 9 balls and 1 lineup card, totaling $14.50 that I will be donating to NAMI.
I will not go into as much detail per ball as yesterday, since I got twice the amount, but how about a quick rub down.
After worrying about getting shut out after not getting a ball for around an hour of Twins BP, I was able to get a COMMEMORATIVE from the Marlins. This is one from their inaugural season in the new park and with a new name.
Stay tuned for my massive blog about the entire road trip, I’ll have my first video of me snagging a ball. It’s not great quality, but when it’s a one-man operation it’s hard to operate a camera and glove AND not look like it’s for some weird baseball version if Girls Gone Wild (“throw me a ball” might be the equivalent of “take off your top” in those videos).
Balls #3 AND #4:
Within a matter of seconds I got the last two balls remaining on the field thrown to me, by different people. The first was from former Twin/current Marlins manager, Mike Redmond – the THIRD Marlins commemorative! I had tried to get the usher to throw me the third to last ball, but he said, “You aren’t a kid!” I quickly quipped, “I am at heart!” He kind if smiled and then searched all over for a kid, until finally finding one a ways away. So it was an utter shock that the same usher came back right after Mike Redmond (the usher was bending over for ball #4 as Mike tossed me #3, thus not seeing my grab). I thought that the ball was just a regular, beat-up MLB logo ball, but it turns out that it is a MLB + PRACTICE logo ball. I’ve never gotten one I those before, so it was a nice surprise.
Then the game started. I probably could have tried harder for a toss-up (no outfield seats at Hammond, so you almost HAVE to rely on toss-ups), but as there were a number of kids around, I helped them instead (yelling at guys then pointing to the kid… it worked a couple of times, in fact).
Then in the 5th inning the water started flowing and the heavens started dialing up the catalyst of life. When the Twins were retired at the bottom of the 5th, the tarp came on and the guys huddled in the dugout. I was one of the few to stay in the rain, so I moved closer to the field to the only area where I could see inside the dugout…
Balls #5 AND #6:
So I peak around the wall and see Pedro Florimón. I flash my glove, call out his name and he grabs me a ball. Sweet!
The tarp is taken off the field, play looks like it will get under way at any point… and then the dagger is placed. Rain comes down much harder than before and does not stop (it’s now 7 pm, 4+ hours later, and it’s still sprinkling). I was still patiently waiting in the same place as the previous toss-up (about 30 minutes of getting rained I at this point) and once the game was called that’s when the guys packed it up. Joe Benson looks over at me, grabs a ball from the bench and tosses it to me while saying, “I’ve seen you waiting patiently.”
And that’s how I doubled my count from yesterday. I am calling it right now, there is NO way that I double today’s total on either Wednesday OR Thursday (maybe not even combined).
After that I headed over to the other end of the dugout to catch Joe Vavra and ask for a lineup card. The Twins one was already gone, but I saw the Marlins’ laying on the ground, so I asked for that. Joe is a very nice guy, too.
This card is kind of a cool piece of history, since it’s Mike Redmond’s first lineup card as a coach against the Twins. It was cool seeing a former player that you watched take your team to the playoffs now coaching in the bigs.
And that’s the story of today’s baseballs. The Twins “lost” again, but as it is practice, it’s water under the bridge.
My thank you list is long: Kyle Skipworth, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Mike Redmond, random usher guy, Pedro Florimón, Joe Benson, Joe Vavra, and Mother Nature (her rain got me two balls during/after the rain delay).
PS: Don’t let me forget to tell the story of fans turning on a guy who snagged a baseball. Glad it wasn’t me.