Channeling my inner Kanye (to celebrate his release of another decent album – Yeezus):
“The Twins just beat a great Chris Sale, but I have one of the best road trips of the year coming up!”
Yes, my trip to Denver is coming up in less than 2 weeks. As I have never been to Colorado, I would appreciate ANY and ALL tips and tricks. I am not going to put up a high total, I just want to get ONE of the 20th Anniversary Rockies balls. Of course the game I am going to is probably the most popular game of the year – July 4th + Fireworks, add on top of that a Rockies team that is playing quite well and you have some high priced tickets. I am having difficult finding 4 together (parents plus my wife and me) – so if you also have tips/tricks for scoring reasonably priced tickets in prime ball territory, please let me know.
Know that I have exhausted my road trip concerns – don’t be surprised to see one last post on this subject shortly before the trip embarks – let’s focus on the game at hand:
In case you don’t already know this, which based on my Twitterings and a previous post from last year, Robin Ventura was my favorite player growing up. The man is so underrated, and if it wasn’t for a gruesome injury to his ankle in 1997, he just may have had a more favorable vote for the Hall of Fame. Then there is my current favorite; if you cannot guess who that is, see the name of this blog – Trevor Plouffe. It is only be coincidence that they both cover(ed) the hot corner; in fact, third base was my least favorite position in the entire infield when I played. Needless to say, I was very happy to be able to see both last night.
‘Twas 4:15 and gates would not open for another 75 minutes, but that did not prevent me from being rewarded with this:
A worker, who was walking down from the 2nd deck grandstand in right-center field had found a ball up there and came down and ask me if I could catch a knuckler. I told him I could, but he just laughed, shook his head and then lightly tossed it to me. Cool!
After reading a bit of Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time” and waiting for the gates to open, I immediately went over to the Sox dugout in hopes of seeing/talking to Mr. Ventura. He didn’t end up getting very close, but I was able to get a White Sox employee (trainer/exec?) to toss me this ball:
Looking back on it, if I were going for straight-up numbers, I would have been in the bleachers. There were a decent amount of homers, especially for the relatively low attendance. But since I was hoping to say hi to Robin, I decided to hang close to the Sox.
After BP and after the Twins got out of their team meeting, some players filtered out into the dugout. I was lucky enough to catch Eduardo Escobar’s attention and he then hooked me up with a pearl… which I tried to frame for a nice shot with him in the background, but dropped my ball back into the dugout – slightly scuffing up this pristine beauty. Dominic, the Twins’ bat boy, was nice enough to toss it back up to me and I settled for getting a shot of Eduardo catching the ceremonial first-pitch.
Joe Mauer was up to bat against Chris Sale in the bottom of the 2nd. Sale was looking dominant to begin and ended up getting Joe to ground out to first, where Paul Konerko got the unassisted out. I tried for a Tyler Flowers toss-up to end the 1st inning (Chris Sale strikeout), but Tyler just rolled the ball back to the mound, so it was kind of fitting that Paul Konerko did not follow conventional protocol by tossing the ball into the stands when he returned to the dugout. Normally the position players will toss it into the Dugout Box seats as they are running in and about to step on the warning track, but Paul held onto the ball until he was in the dugout. I decided to shout his name a couple of times, since I could still see him. He saw my Ventura jersey and tossed me the ball from well inside the dugout.
Two more dollars to NAMI! That makes $5 for the day, and $85 for the year!
I mentioned Sale’s dominance, but I wonder if the quick liner back up the middle that struck him awkwardly hindered him at all. He has been on kind of a downswing for the past handful of starts, so it could be more than just this liner, but you have to wonder if even the break in rhythm through him off ever so slightly.
Unfortunately, this is the best photo I could get that had Robin in it. Whenever I tried to get him in the dugout he was either turned, hidden, or obscured by other player/coach. Oh well, I’ll always have the quick photo of him signing my ball (thanks, Jared!).
After getting an RBI single in the 3rd, I positioned myself to take a photo of Mr. Plouffe during his warm-up on the on-deck circle. This photo was used as my “Day 170” photo for my #Project365Pix on Instagram.
Not a bad pic, if I say so myself.
I was hoping to score the lineup cards from Robin (or another coach), but after getting beat up by the Twins (7-4) for the second night in a row, they were quite eager to escape the field ASAP. Oh well, one of these days it’ll happen and it will look nicely posted next to his game used jersey.
And for tradition’s sake, here’s a photo of the complete haul (albeit blurry, thanks low-light!)…
Also going with tradition, how about some thank yous?
- Twins Worker – thanks for putting me on the board so early.
- White Sox employee – I don’t know who you are, mystery man, but thanks for helping me donate an additional dollar
- Eduardo Escobar – no wonder why the White Sox were sad to lose you in the Liriano trade, you seem like a nice dude and have been friendly numerous times.
- Paul Konerko – what can I say? A few more productive years and you could make an argument for a selection to the Hall. He has over 400 HRs, 1,300 RBIs, and 2,200 hits right now.
PS: Like I said before, be on the lookout for a “Prep to Denver” entry. Also, as we are nearly halfway through 2013, I will probably do a “Best Albums of 2013, Part 1” entry – that’s a partial reason of why I had Yeezus on the mind.