I apologize for the run-on title, but it is exactly how I felt when I ended up getting my first Minor League baseball. Yes, I should have thought it out more before hand, since I was going to a rehab assignment for Trevor Plouffe. This means that he would be with the single-A squad, with the likes of future all-star (hopefully) Byron Buxton.
I’ll proceed with the Plouffe story the go into the baseballs and explain my dilemma. Trevor Plouffe has been nursing a sore baby cow, I mean CALF, for about 10 days. Then I got to hear him and Tom Brunansky talk on the 18th and I got to break the news that he would begin his rehab assignment the next day (and if all goes well, he’ll be back with the big squad on Friday). When I heard that I figured I’d show up and get to see him in a very small setting for what will more than likely be the only action I get to see him in while I’m down here. (Dang!)
So when I got to the smaller fields after sleeping in until 9 (!), I watched some practice and was given a completely waterlogged “International League” MiLB baseball. I forgot about this possibility (which looking back on it should have been a certainty). Why would they NOT use a MiLB ball? Silly me, this put me in a state of panic (as evident on my Twitter feed around noon today). I ended up solving this with the following breakdown:
Donations: I’ll count ANY and ALL baseballs. Heck, if I get another tee-ball at the end of the year, I’ll count it as a regular BP ball AND the autograph on it (making it $1.50).
Statistics: I’ll have 3 categories; Overall, MLB, and MiLB/other. I won’t count the tee-ball in the above scenario, since it is a promotional-only type of ball, but if it’s any other ball that is used for practice or game, then it’s counted. For my blog, since I focus on MLB, I will be using the MLB totals in my blog titles; if I snag any further MiLB balls then I’ll make separate entries and label them as a Minor League game.
So enough of my blabbering, here’s the first MiLB ball:
There are 4 fields, all have home plate in the middle and about 30 feet of spectator space between them. Add on top that you have to return the balls that do make it to the spectator areas and you get shut out quite easily. Once the games completed, I saw a left over ball in the dugout and went into the empty dugout (and empty field) and pocketed ball number 2 of the day, this time it was a standard “Minor League Baseball”. It was left in the Red Six dugout on the field that Jake Mauer’s club battled. The third game was between a Twins minor league squad and University of Wisconsin-Stout. The game was tied at 1-1 for a while and then UW-Stout took the lead, but I cannot say with any certainty who won. The weird thing about the Plouffe rehab that I watched was that he got his 4 at bats in 4 consecutive innings, because he always came up as the #3 hitter (I guess that they don’t need a set lineup when the games REALLY don’t matter). At first I thought I was really having trouble in the mental department, I could have swore it was only the 2nd inning and yet Plouffe was up AGAIN after getting out last in the first. By the 3rd inning I put it together.
Forgive me, I did not take a picture at the field with ball #2. The next best thing is a group shot along with some cool drinks I picked up at the grocery store, right?! As you may have put together by now, I am a little but odd and one of my quirks is always being on the look out for new drinks (mainly sodas – or POP where I’m from – though juices and sports drinks will do). I have some more that I picked up a couple of days ago, but those will be revealed in the “massive post” that I hope to put together shortly before Opening Day (April 1st!!).
I’ll also tease you with the promise if some pix of Byron Buxton and pictures of the beach (no, those two aren’t combined, not my taste and that’s just creepy to do).
Thanks go out to the Twins catcher (sorry, I didn’t get his name) that hooked me up with my first Minor League ball.