New ballpark friends: 2
Balls snagged: 4
Time spent having fun: 100% (from 4 pm until 11 pm)
OK, OK, so the “new friends” category is a little rigged, but I’ll explain.
Cam – The REAL new friend: His name is Cam and he travels 3 hours (one way) to get to Target Field… and goes close to ten times a year! Now that is dedication, especially for a Twins team like this one. Cam told me that he has read the blog (my first ever non-ballhawk reader that I’ve met!) and followed me on Twitter (follow him back HERE). When Cam heard that I was going to the game he reached out and asked if I was doing early BP. I was already planning on doing so, but I was able to switch things around (going to a later date) and hopped at the chance to go in with him! See, what an awesome dude!
I had run into Cam a couple times in the past; the first was at a Brian Dozier signing, where he gave Brian a rather awesome photo of his first home run. The second time was at the game where Trevor Plouffe tossed me his batting gloves. I learned that Cam has a TON of Twins signatures and memorabilia (he won the fancave competition put on by the Twins). When I say a ton of signatures, we’re talking well into the 300s, nearing 400. WOW!
I know this next part is a bit out of order, as I haven’t even explained my snags, but I’ll tell you now that he out snagged me, six to four. I think we have a future ballhawk on our hands, Target Field-area hawks! Hopefully someone else can also make the push to get him on MyGameBalls at the very least (a blog about all of his memorabilia and ballhawking would be icing on the cake).
Oh yeah, and for $7 total, Cam got a ticket, two hot dogs, “upgraded seats”, snagged 6 balls, and got a game used bat from Chris Colabello! This guy should go pro!
Again, out of order, as this was at the end of the night, but proof of his new lumber, and hopefully a new (at least part-time) ballhawk.
Eamon – The FAKE new friend: Why do I use the word “fake”? Well, I have known Eamon for quite some time, really, but this was the first time I have attended a Twins game with him. Eamon, for the sake of not getting to confusing, is a relative. How is he related? Well, that gets a bit complex, so let’s just say he was a new “teammate” when I signed a contract with the Collins team (that’s sports talk for saying when I got married… he’s an awesome bonus relative I picked up on my wife’s side).
Eamon is a baseball player – and if you are reading this AND make it to the bigs, don’t forget to hook me up with at least 1,000 balls and a crap ton of game used stuff for the mancave! – and he also runs cross country. If you are looking to follow people on Twitter, and maybe be able to say that you followed a professional ball-player before he was famous, you can do so HERE.
Eamon didn’t make it to the park until about 6:30 or so, and since I was shut out by the end of BP, he was also skunked. It is my goal to take him hostage one summer day, get to the game super early, then have him get a ball or ten. Oh yes, it WILL happen.
A couple quick stories:
- Eamon nearly spit an ice cube into the Twins bullpen and we watched from the centerfield area by the batter’s eye. He ended up just having more of a drooling problem than anything.
- In about the 7th inning, with a full pack of Skittle’s, Eamon decides to finally open up the delicious candy. After struggling a bit, the wrapper gave way… and exploded! Eamon gave everyone within our row and the row in front of us a nice “taste of the rainbow.”
- On the way home I may have made Eamon deaf, as we cruised through Minneapolis (at 11 pm on a school night, young man!) listening to some rather beat-heavy tunes.
Yes, that is his smile.
- What do you call a guy who is a theoretical physicist that snags baseballs at a game?
- Stephen BallHawking
And now, onto the ballhawking portion of the blog…
I remember it like it was yesterday; the sun shining down, slowly fading below the artificial horizon that it Target Field’s silvery canopy, while the sounds of bats cracking against baseballs and leather meeting leather filled the nearly empty stadium…
Enough of that, what is this, literature class in high school? Ballhawking for this game deserves no special color, as it was as vanilla as you can get. The entire day was slow, all balls were during BP, and none of them have a “cool story.”
The first ball came courtesy of Brian Duensing (as seen standing next to Scott Diamond in the photo below.
Yep, that’s an Official Major League Baseball.
A home run hit by a Twins lefty, who I am guessing was Chris Herrmann.
Notice the black mark? It hit the fence in the section over. As part of the early BP experience, you are not allowed to chase balls outside of the 2 section overhang.
Short and sweet: Ran down close to the field when gates opened (or 3 minutes before) and both Cam and I found an Easter Egg – even though the security
witches guards picked up 3 while we watched from afar. These ladies were rather crabby when we got down there, so the fact that we were able to get a ball (when they clearly did not want us to have one) made us smile.
That’s a walk, take your base.
The last ball of the day came from an unknown Tiger who was running in once BP ended. I had been positioned out in RF for a Fielder bomb, but he wasn’t really putting on a show. So I went behind the dugout just a few minutes before they wrapped up.
Figured I’d take a photo of the famous (among ballhawks) “Tiger dot.” The Tigers mark their BP balls with a silly little black dot/small line on the sweet spot.
As an aside, I do NOT consider the sweet spot of the ball to be the traditional “sweet spot.” To me, the labeling that has the words “Official Major League Baseball” along with the commissioner’s signature is the sweet spot. A tee-ball/s sweet spot can look the exact same as the sweet spot of an official ball, so what exactly is so “sweet” about it?!
After snagging my 94th ball of 2013 (when you include Spring Training and Regular Season) and after having a blast with my two “new friends”, Eamon and I made the long trek back to my car:
As you are well aware by now (OK, it’s a tradition for me to mention it on each entry), I take a photo a day for the entire year and post it on Instagram. The photo for day 268 was of the plaza area at night.
(The midnight photo of what was taken home from the stadium.)
As I get close to finishing this post, I notice that I am just 5 hours away from heading back to Target Field! That’s right, I am going to try to duplicate today’s feat in order to hopefully close with #100 on Sunday – the last game of the year. I never thought I would EVER get 100 balls, let alone 100 in one year! My collection is nearing the goal of 180 and I have a lot of people to thank – especially YOU, the reader!
So with those thanks, comes more THANKS:
- Cam – You came up huge by offering me the chance to get in early multiple days in a row (combining your STH benefit and mine in back to back games). You put up a hell of a game… and for only $7 plus parking! Wow! Please, do think about joining MyGameBalls, or at least meeting up with more ballhawks as they come through town. Welcome to the hobby! Once you snag your first, you are an official member, so your status is set in stone.
- Eamon – Thanks for coming along with me. I’m glad we got to spend some time together, do stupid things, and witness some minor history (the Tigers clinched the AL Central). Next time we WILL get you a ball – though I may have to kidnap you in order to do so.
- Brian Duensing – Thanks for the hook-up and getting me on the board so early.
- Chris Herrmann – Thanks for the yard sale when it seemed like no one was going to put one out in RF.
- Easter Bunny – You know, for the Easter Egg.
- Friendly Unknown Tiger – Thanks for the toss-up. I wish I knew your name.
PS: If you are a ballhawk and attend games at Target Field regularly/semi-regularly and HAVEN’T been mentioned in my blog, please let me know. Alan (MyGameBalls leader) wants to be able to implement a verification system, and I will be gathering names of verified Target Field attendees. If I haven’t mentioned it enough, check out the site and sign up – it’s free and the stats alone will easily allow you to snag an extra ball or two.
***UPDATE: Below is a photo that Cam sent to me that details his haul from the game: 6 balls snagged, 3 signed balls, 1 signed 8×10, and his Early BP pass. Well done, Cam!!***