As a precursor to the larger, much wordier post soon to be published, I wanted to give a nice visual walk through what the 2013 season meant to me and my collection. I will probably end up reusing a few of these photos in the future blog, but many of these shots offer a much more detailed look at some sweet stuff.
Why not start off with the money shot? This is what we ballhawks and memorabilia hunters (or in my case “mancave decorator”) live for.
What exactly was my haul?
- 109 baseballs
- 7 lineup cards (don’t worry, the other two will be shown below… I made a mistake in my photo-shoot)
- 3 bats
- 2 batting gloves
I missed these guys in the group shot because they were already filed away, as they came from Spring Training.
I will not spoil the big unveiling of the size of the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) donation, but let’s just say that it is close to $450!! If you would like to make a last minute pitch, feel free to let me know. Otherwise I will re-look at my figures and come up with a plan for the 2014, which you can jump aboard if you’d like.
A while back (here’s the link) I showed you my random collections of things, In the photo detailing my collection of baseballs I mentioned (and showed) that all of my baseballs were stored in those ball-cubes. While I love that idea and it makes things look nice, the collection gets heavy and takes up TONS of space… especially when you more than double your collection in one year. So after I brought home another 18 baseballs from sprint training this year, I decided to do something different. After some reading (yep, I read many other ballhawk blogs, probably yours!) I decided to try the plastic bag method… and expand it.
I now bring a fair amount of plastic Ziploc bags in my drawstring backpack with a tiny sticker that has a specific number on it. The number is quite simple to follow – it is the lifetime number of the ball I snag. I then take notes on my phone detailing each ball and write down all of the dirty details in a spreadsheet (which is another blog post I have planned by itself). Since my mancave has not yet begun construction (and my wife isn’t exactly thrilled about me showing my balls – HEY NOW!), I have been storing the balls, while in their Ziploc bag, in a 20 gallon Rubbermaid tote. It holds all of my collection (minus the commemoratives) right now, but I KNOW that I’ll need a new one next year.
I feel like you know you’re a real ballhawk when you start running into storage problems for your baseball collection.
I mentioned that the commemoratives are separate, so let’s visit…
OK, so not ALL of my “special baseballs” are pure commemoratives, but I do have a couple that were autographed, so it’s more like “Commemoratives featuring the backup Autographed Balls!” if you want to headline it like a concert. I had only ever snagged the Target Field commemorative ball, so my goal was to snag a handful of new ones this year (I didn’t have a goal number-wise, but I tried to target as many as possible).
Spring Training saw me add these 2012 commemoratives to the little red bucket of “special balls”:
I asked in a tweet if anyone else noticed that there was a difference in size in the Marlins Park logo on any of their baseballs, as the first two pictured above are much smaller than the last. Probably just different production dates, but still, how does that happen?!
The next commemorative that I had on my mind was the Opening Day ball. Both Paul (A Piece of the Game) and I planned to get one of these things, no matter what that meant. Good news? We were both successful!
In fact, I got two! Thanks to Dominic and Mario! The bat boys were HUGE for me this year, and I can only hope that they can help me during the All-Star game if need be. I am especially grateful towards Dominic, I cannot gush enough over him. He helped out Shawn when he came to town and has hooked me up with 10 balls at Target Field (most are gamers, too).
After the commotion of Opening Day was in the rear view, the mission for May was published: A PINK-LACED MOTHER’S DAY BALL! I said this for the Opening Day ball, but it’s even more true with the Mother’s Day ball, but when this thing was unveiled the whole ballhawking community seemed to be gunning for these things. As luck would have it, I would end up with three awesome balls that day, two of which were the Mother’s Day ball (received before the game even began, and within seconds of Zack Hample posting his snag… was I first, though? Who knows.) and the third was a regular pearl that Tony Oliva signed.
Oh yeah, how cool is it that Trevor Plouffe signed the second Mother’s Day ball?! Both his mom and my grandma are breast cancer survivors and it is with my grandma that this ball is shared with.
The last 2013 commemorative that I was able to pocket this season was the Colorado Rockies’ 20th anniversary ball. Go back to the July Entries for the recap, but if you also read the February 11th entry you can see that I had targeted the Denver ball first before all others even crossed my mind. The reason was two-fold, I have longed to visit Denver and real mountains, and to get one of these beauties from it’s home stadium. SUCCESS!
Maybe it’s the sentimental reasons behind it that add to its beauty, but this has got to be one of my all-time favorite team commemorative balls. I sure made it hard on myself by trying to hawk one of these on the busiest day of the year – 4th of July with fireworks – but I did it!
The last commemorative of the year came in August, as the newest members of the American League, the Houston Astros, were making their first trip to Target Field. I had hoped to score the 2013 ball, but read from other ballhawks that they weren’t using the Inaugural AL balls from 2013, but the 50th anniversary ones from 2012. When I got to BP and didn’t see any anniversary balls, I got worried. But Javier Bracamonte saved the day by giving me the warm-up ball from the bullpen (for some weird reason all the balls in the bullpen bag were 2012 commemoratives).
Thanks again, Javier! I hope you pack some 2013 balls for the trip June 6-8, 2014! Please? Thanks!
So here’s the family photo of all of the commemoratives (and autographed balls) grabbed in 2013:
Quite a few miles spent in a car to get these balls. Driving from Minnesota to Florida and back in March and Minnesota to Colorado and back in July was made worth it when I look back at a photo like this.
The Tickets and Other Freebies:
I have kept many of my ticket stubs throughout my life (though the younger I was the less likely it is that I have them, since they probably got misplaced/handled by my parents), so here is the stash from the games I attended this year. *I also picked up a few extra that were on the ground, since it’s always nice to have a few extra.*
As for the giveaways, let’s go through the rundown:
- MLB drawstring bag (good thing I got two, since they were so cheap that I destroyed the first within a handful of games)
- Twins white t-shirt (launched into the stands)
- Rockies 20th anniversary t-shirt (launched into the stands)
- Twins Rain Gauge (given out at a snowy game)
- Twins Dairy Queen hat (I like it, not as crazy/ugly as years past)
- Twins 2014 Calendar and pocket schedule (a yearly tradition during fan appreciation week)
- Early Batting Practice passes (next year it will be open to all season ticket holders!!!)
- Two Minor League balls (from Spring Training, decided to separate them from the regular ball photo)
So there it is, everything I brought home from the games in 2013. I am beyond lucky to have gotten so many physical things, but the next entry will also detail the intangibles, the friendships formed at the ballpark. Those friendships are the hardest to define without sounding like a sap, but they truly are the coolest thing I have picked up from ballhawking.
With that said, I’d like to thank all of my friends and family that helped me get these cool things (or in some cases, put up with me):
- Paul Kom – Thanks for not only pushing me to be a better ballhawk (competition is a good thing, especially when both want each other to succeed), but for donating to the cause (NAMI).
- Mateo Fischer – Much like Paul, you have pushed me to get bigger and better numbers. I never dreamed that we’d be able to put up double-digits at Target Field, and certainly didn;t think I could do it! You have also been great towards Paul, so thanks for helping build a tight community at Target Field.
- Shawn Bosman – Hey Wisconsin, how are steroids?! I kid, I kid. Shawn was awesome when he came over the boarder, and I felt like I owed him a big game at Target Field. Sorry the weather was so unbearably hot that it canceled BP. I still feel a little bad about it, but I am glad to finally have gotten the chance to meet my Twitter friend and make him a real life friend. We’re doing Wrigley in 2014!!
- Cam – The newest addition to the Target Field ballhawking community. Cam inspired me for my huge finale on September 29th. The first game we ballhawk together he not only out-snags me, but he gets a game used bat, three balls signed, and an autographed 8×10 photo. Let’s not be strangers in 2014!!
- Jared and Megan – The newly weds of 2013, with whom I share a season ticket plan. You guys rock! Jared, All-Star Game in 2014 or bust! Thanks for always being a part of the Opening Day tradition with me; I;m glad we have that. Maybe if we start to have little ones (not together) we’ll have to include them in this tradition. PS; I am NOT having a girl!
- My Parents – Not only did they make a masterpiece, but they took a long roadtrip and put up with my quest for a Rockies commemorative baseball. Most importantly, they helped me with my anxiety over the past couple of years, to which I owe much more than I could give back.
- Jael (my wife) – Guys, I am not sucking up here, I promise. I knew from the beginning that she was not a baseball person, so the fact that she not only puts up with a baseball collector, but dedicates vacation time towards DRIVING to these new stadiums… INCREDIBLE. I said it a line above, but you have been the biggest help in my quest to get my anxiety issues under control; THANK YOU! I promise that I will make the collection look classy in the mancave!
PS: Thank you Apple for inventing the iPhone. The iPhone has been with me every step of the way while ballhawking. Sure it has taken the vast majority of the blog photos, and allowed me to write notes about how I snagged each ball, but there are also other features that have helped in the background. I have used the maps (OK, Google Maps) to navigate the road-trips, Instagram to process the photos, and the internet to do research on baseball or road-trip planning. Heck, i even blogged from it while in Florida! I know that I could also do this on pretty much any other smart phone, but the fact remains that I have been more than happy doing all of this with an Apple product (which was against my wildest dreams before I broke down and purchased one).