Opening Day! – Balls 99, ONE HUNDRED!!, 101, and 102 (April 1, 2013)

If you were to choose a team in battle, would it be the Twins or the Tigers?  I’d be willing to bet that 90% of you would say Tigers.  the other 10% would ask how advanced the Twins are and if they have any weapons OR the even smarter would ask “what kind of Twins?”  You know what, I do not know what kind of Twins we are.  I could be cute and say that I meant that as a euphemism for the upcoming season, but I am going more towards the literal path.

The mascot for the Minnesota Twins: TC the Bear.  Correct THE bear, as in ONE bear.  ONE!  And we are the Minnesota TWINS!  Twins as our name, and a solo mascot.  How silly.  So the TigerS vs. the lone bear; I’d take the Tigers.

Enter me on opening day:

sel 174 Twins Tigers Opener

(Picture taken for this LINK.)

Oh yes, I made the local news for my Bigfoot costume (or as they call it Gorilla Suit).  I do not have another suit, let alone another person brave (or is it stupid?) enough to wear it with me, but in my world there are TWO of us.  Plus, I think a couple Bigfoots(?) Bigfeet(?) could take on some Tigers.

Also, do you see that GoPro?  That is my friend’s device – though i long for one myself – and we tried to get some video, but the batteries were flat.  So maybe some ballhawking video when it’s not 27 degrees and no need to wear a puffy coat.

I have delayed what you have more than likely came to my blog to read… the story of the 4 balls caught at the game.  I’m getting there.

I had to work until 10, but once I was able to leave the office, I met with my GoPro-owning friend (Jared, who has commented on this blog once, long ago) and we drove to the stadium.  In all it only took us about 15 minutes, so not a bad trip.

We waited at the gates once 10:30 came around, and after a little more than an hour, and with no activity at the gate, Paul and Asher showed up.  Yep, THIS Paul.  I was very glad to be hanging with Jared, as we had not seen each other in a while – being old with jobs and planning his wedding will do that – but talking baseball (not the sport, but the actual item) was great.  Paul reminded me of my goal, to catch one of those Opening Day commemoratives.  I new that this was my goal, but psyching myself up for it while not having an outlet to talk about it with made it maddening, so I had tried to find a way NOT to think about it.

Paul showed up and just like that, he got on the board… TWICE!… all before entering the gate.  Damn my age, maybe I would have had one of those if I hadn’t been a 29 year old man in a Bigfoot costume waiting in the cold with my glove on.  Oh well, I’m glad they went to Paul, since he is a good friend and really wanted to get on the board.  Having 18 from Spring Training made me only want to keep the streak alove, Paul wanted to begin his 2013 streak, and that’s more important.

Once the gates opened I made my way around the ballpark.  I never got in a good enough spot to actually get a ball during the BP portion, outside of…

 

Ball #1:

My 99th overall ball came from a pitcher for the Tigers (unknown, as they all had jackets that covered up any numbers that may have been visible).  I had made some motions and contact with him as he ran by a few times, and so when he finally ran by a ball he picked it up ran a little more and then tossed it up the two stories and into my glove.  Streak saved, officially on the 2013 regular season board.  Excellent!

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And that was it for a almost two hours in Target Field.  As much as it was a bummer, the next bit made it all worth it.  My 100th ball was beyond fitting…

 

Ball #2:

The Twins players tossed the ball after the lineup introductions and just before they took the field.  Trevor Plouffe was the last man with the ball, so I motioned to him and flashed my glove.  Bada bing, the man who this blog takes its name from is the one who tosses me my centennial.

#100!!

As silly as this sounds, I kind of forgot about it until a few minutes later.  It’s kind of a paradoxical ball; while I view it as a big accomplishment, it was also such a small deal.  I am very glad that it came from the hands of Trevor Plouffe, though.  Whether he knows it or not, it does mean a lot to me that he has been so kind and it’s cool that he (more than likely inadvertently) helped donate some money to my charity of choice (see previous entries if you don’t know by now).

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Ball #3:

After waiting all game and trying to score a toss-up from the bat boy – I REALLY was on a mission from the 3rd inning on to get an Opening Day ball – I finally got the crown jewel of the evening… my second $3 ball of the season, and my first commemorative specifically for 2013.

The bat boy is usually VERY nice, but today he was under the watchful eye and crushing rules of the M$L$B.  Every single ball that was game used was being tossed to the authenticator.  A few times he saw me and gave me a seemingly sincere look of “sorry, I can’t”.  I was getting mad; not a him, but at the twins, the MLB, and the people that spend $50 for a baseball instead of trying to catch one.

After waiting very impatiently all game, I quickly got in position on top of the dugout after the game and asked coach Joe Vavra for a lineup card.  He said no, and kind of asked via body language if there was something else I’d like.  I asked for a ball, since I saw two – which appeared to be OD balls – sitting in a bucket about 3 feet from him.  He looked in the bucket, saw them and grabbed one and tossed it to me.

Joe Vavra, you are the man!  You not only made me happy, but you just cost me a $3 that I will gladly donate!

Wait for the picture, because I still had some work to do before the night was officially over…

 

Ball #4:

I called Paul, asked if he got a commemorative, and he confirmed that he did.  So we were 2 for 2 and the status of Mateo was unknown to me.  He said he was over by the Tigers dugout, so I ran over and on the way I bumped into Mateo, who confirmed that he also got a OD ball… 3 for 3!!  Good work, team!

Once over by Paul, at the end of the Tigers’ dugout in order to look in to the now emptied quasi-room, I talked to him about his connection with the Tigers’ bat boy.  He told me his name and I helped yell and make sure he heard/saw us.  I’d like to make it sound like I did some work, but Paul is the real brains and muscles behind this next ball.  The Tigers’ BB acknowledged us, went over to the helmet rack, found three balls, and proceeded to toss us all a ball, including his friend, Asher, who does not hawk.  Paul and I added a second Opening Day ball to our total and life was great.  I went from worrying about a shut out in BP, to forgetting about #100, and then sweating over not getting a commemorative, then topping it all off with 4 total with two of them OD logos.

Not. Too. Shabby.

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I give you the blurry ball picture over the ball-in-focus shot since the latter made the scoreboard invisible in what looks like a photo of the surface of the sun in the background.  Don’t worry, the logos will be clear in the next photo…

Group shot!

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I’m kicking myself that I did not get a group shot of the humans behind the hawking.  But check Paul’s blog, he took a few pix of the Target Field gang.

 

My thanks go out to the following:

  • The unnamed Tigers pitcher.  Thanks for putting me on the board for 2013!
  • Trevor Plouffe.  yet again he is generous, and I’m so glad that he is the one to bring me to 100.
  • Joe Vavra.  Another generous member of the Twins organization.  I cannot say enough about him.  Thanks for this awesome ball!
  • Tigers bat boy.  Thanks for hooking up 3 Minnesotans with a ball each!
  • Paul.  Thanks for helping me on #4, and thanks for sharing the Opening Day experience with me!
  • Asher.  I got to talk to him for about a half a game; thanks for listening to all my bad puns and attempts at jokes.
  • Jared.  Thanks for this awesome tradition!  Opening Day until the either shut down the Twins or shut down our hearts!
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7 thoughts on “Opening Day! – Balls 99, ONE HUNDRED!!, 101, and 102 (April 1, 2013)

    • Existentialism at it’s deepest moment. If we do not know if we exist, then how do we know if our social media interactions exist! Dang Mateo, you are boggling my mind right now! I kid…

      I agree, it was great to have baseball back. The temps and the outcome were less than desirable, but true fans will show up no matter the scenarios. You could always be in the stadium to watch a piece of history.

      Enjoy your next game Mateo! Let us know how much different the turnout is.

  1. Its always great to read about a game that you went to from someone else’s perspective. That was a great entry to start off the season. Thanks for all the mentioning and crediting and thanking. However, I shouldnt directly get the credit for your 4th ball. I wouldn’t have known about Mario if it werent for Ben Lacher. He’s the man!!
    -Paul K

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