Plouffe’s New Hairdo’s State of the Union: A Shining Past, Present, and Future

I don’t want to beat a dead horse here, but I promise that this is the last of my “year end posts.”  The only other “review posts” left for  the 2013 year are the blog stats (posted on 1/1/14) and my Thanksgiving Thanks post of 2013 (posted on 11/28/13).

So what is in this post that separates it from the rest?  Glad you asked…

Past:

  • Collages of the 2013 Season
  • Highlights and Lowlights of 2013
  • Breakdown of Mileage To and From Games
  • Top 50 Blog?!

Present:

  • Unveiling of the NAMI Donation Total

Future:

  • October Concert Review Post
  • Thanksgiving Post
  • Tentative Plans for the 2014 Season

So here it is, part 1 of the trilogy that makes up this post…

PAST:

As you may have already read (here or here), 2013 was a great year for me.  So many things went well, the least of which was actually snagging baseballs.  From making new friends, to experiencing REAL mountains for the first time, here is a visual history of my 2013 (in the form of some wonderful collages)!

Photo #1: “Persons, Places, and Things: The Nouns of 2013”

Randoms Collage

The photos above are in chronological order; it starts with the season ticket package that I received in the mail (February or early March?) and ends with my ever-growing collection of baseballs.  Can you spot the new friends I made at the field?  Shawn, Zack, Cam, and Eamon are the highlighted friends, the ones I had a decent picture taken with – I hope to add a few more friendly faces for the 2014 post.  if you decide to visit Target Field (All-Star Game?), let me know, I’ll definitely go out of my way to accommodate and show you the real Minnesota nice.

Most of the other pictures are also on the blog, but the 3 photos I took of high school baseball/high school baseball fields were featured exclusively on my Instagram feed (link on the widget area to the right).  It started with a photo of Butts Probst Field in Wilmont, then went to my old stomping grounds in Forest Lake, and shortly after that I saw a practice happening in Lakeville while attending my father-in-law’s soccer game (he’s a coach).  The biggest photo is that of the snow game, April 12 to be exact – fitting since I just saw the first flurries of the 2013-14 winter season today.

Photo #2:  “Group Shots By Game”

Group Collage

OK, so the first photo is actually of the first three games in Spring Training – I didn’t foresee making a semi-uniform template for my blog, so I didn’t take “group/haul shots” after the first three games.  The last two pictures are from my Photo Review post a few weeks back, detailing the group shots of all of the tickets/giveaways and then all of the balls and memorabilia.

Photo #3:  “Every Single Baseball”

Solo Collage

This is the photo that I dreamed of when I realized that I had a photo of each and every single ball (a few times I got balls so quickly I put two in a photo).  My wife has taken on the challenge (actually she offered) of making a slideshow of the collection from the photos above – look for it on youtube see the embedded video below.  I don’t know about you, but HOW COOL IS THIS?!

Coming off the high of such an awesome picture, it is the perfect time to reveal my “Highlights and Lowlights of 2013.”

Highlights (chronological order):

  • First commemorative baseball of 2013 – Marlins Park ball from 2012 – March 18, 2013
  • First 2013 commemorative – Opening Day ball – April 1, 2013
  • 100th career ball! – From Trevor Plouffe – April 1, 2013
  • Mothers’ Day commemorative – One from Ryan Pressly and one from Trevor Plouffe – May 12, 2013
  • First game with a member of the 1,000+ ball club – Zack HampleJune 11, 2013
  • First trip out to Denver – Rockies’ 20th Anniversary ball – July 4, 2013
  • Last commemorative of 2013 – Astros’ 50th Anniversary ball from 2012 – August 2, 2013
  • Second game with a member of the 1,000+ ball club – Shawn BosmanAugust 27, 2013
  • First double-digit game! – 11 balls – September 11, 2013
  • 100th ball of 2013! – Second double-digit game of my career and 2013 – September 26, 2013
  • Three bats in one game! – Season finale – September 29, 2013

Lowlights (chronological order):

  • Rain outs at Hammond Stadium – Saw only a half of a game of my two scheduled games at the Twins spring training home – March 18 and 20, 2013
  • Only 6 games in 3 months – May through July
  • Panicking over the ticket situation in Denver – Sorry for my Twitter rants and stressed out attitude – July 3-4, 2013
  • Three games with only 2 balls – Not a huge focus/low spot, but statistically speaking, they were the lowest of the lows – April 23, July 4, and July 31, 2013
  • The month of July – Only 2 games for a total of 4 balls, lowest monthly total since April 2012

***Look out for the segue!***

No!!!  Segue, not Segway!

I mentioned my trip to Denver multiple times already, so how about a fun breakdown of…

Mileage – To and From MLB Stadiums in 2013:

As I may have mentioned before, I hate to fly.  One of the worst things for my anxiety is an upcoming flight.  The flight itself is pretty bad, but the gnawing anxiety of knowing that in a week, a month, THREE months from now I’ll have to be boarding a plane?!  It slowly kills me.  While killing might be used in a metaphoric way, I have learned that prolonged increased anxiety levels actually do take a toll on the heart and can increase your likelihood of developing heart disease – you’re welcome; just another reason to keep you mental health in check.

Since flying is all but off the table (I’m slowly working my way up to taking a flight again), I drive to all of my baseball games.  this last year saw me head to spring training again as well as out to Denver in July.  Those two large trips, coupled with the half-hour-ish one way trip from my house to Target Field really added up.  Here’s a look:

Mileage

While my walking may not be über-impressive, I still nearly completed a marathon just walking/jogging to the field (not even counting once I was in the gates).

Driving on the other hand?  I could have driven a little past Buenos Aires, Argentina or Tokyo, Japan if I would have started driving one way from my house.  Here’s a link to prove it.  The distance and lack of decent navigable roads to Buenos Aires do not allow a route on Google Maps, but here are the pinpoints:

MPLS to Buenos Aires

I could have nearly made a round trip with Mateo to Colombia.

And for an even more comprehensive look at the places I could have went via my mileage, here’s a list (via a Distance Calculator site):

Mileage Comparisons

I could have driven to Tokyo  or Moscow?!  Heck, even a round trip to Iceland or Venezuela!!  That is insane!!

Lastly, in the “Past” section, I want to announce the following:

Top 50 Blog:

Thanks to you, dear readers (I now know that there are multiple readers), this blog made it to the top 50 fan blogs on MLBlogs.com.  Here’s the link, and below is a screen-shot.

Top 50 in Sept

My screen isn’t big enough to capture all 50, but it is an incredible honor to share the top 50 with a handful of other bloggers that I not only follow, but met/went to games with in 2013 – I’m looking at you Mateo, Paul, Shawn, and Zack!  Number 37!!  Wow… I almost didn’t find out about the honor, until someone mentioned that Shawn had made the list.  I wanted to check it out and see where all of my friends (since many of them had been on the list in previous months) finished at the end of the regular season; SURPRISE!

PRESENT:

While the most valuable piece of 2013 was forming new friendships, the most important thing I was doing (for myself and for others) was trying to catch baseballs and memorabilia in hopes of raising a decent amount for NAMI.org.  Back in February I gave a “pricing guide” which detailed the amount I would donate per piece of memorabilia obtained.  I am now happy to announce the grand total:

Donation Total

$195.50!!

Add on top of that…

Paul’s Donation: $37.20

(Thanks Paul “A Piece of the Game” Kom!!  you’ll get a much larger shout-out in my Thanksgiving blog.  MUCH larger!)

Total: $232.70

PLUS, my employer matches any donations greater than $20, so that means the…

GRAND TOTAL = $465.40!!!

Even though this total is very respectable, I still feel like I have taken more than I have given.  Thank you for everyone for helping me, for listening to my stories, and for making one of my top viewed posts be the one I wrote in May on Mental Health Awareness Month.

(NAMI stands for National Alliance on Mental Illness… check them out.)

FUTURE:

  • October Concert Review:
    • Since my ballhawking season ended in September, I decided to fill my time with my other love, MUSIC.  I went to one concert already (Frank Turner in Des Moines) and will be going to another Frank Turner show in Minneapolis on 10/28 and Kate Nash in Minneapolis on 10/30.  Photos and reviews to come.
  • Thanksgiving Post:
    • As it is a ritual to give thanks at the end of my ballhawk posts, I want to continue my tradition of giving a post dedicated to nothing but “Thank Yous.”
  • Tentative Plans for 2014:
    • Spring Training – 3rd year in a row
    • Wrigley Field commemorative
      • Probably a trip to Chicago in early April – maybe the 2nd/3rd game in the opening series?
      • If you are from Chicago and know how I can get a cheap ticket close to the dugouts, PLEASE contact me.  I’d love to work out a deal and give you a huge shout-out when I snag the first of my 2013 commemoratives.
    • Opening Day at Target Field – for a 5th year in a row?!  See you there Jared!  Our tradition reaches the first real milestone.
    • All-Star Game 2014
      • I want to not only snag the trifecta, but the quadfecta – Futures, HR Derby, HR Derby GOLD, and ASG balls.
      • Anyone else going?  If you are a season ticket holder looking to unload a rather sweet seat to a true fan, I’m your man!

While I have more goals than the four listed above, the ones that made this list are the most important to me.  If anyone would like to join me in my adventures, please contact me.  I’ll see you at the park!

…And with the future discussed with as much detail as possible (for now), I wish you a happy rest of 2013!  There are only a maximum of seven games left in the baseball season, and then it’s a long winter.  Stay warm and stay classy!

2 thoughts on “Plouffe’s New Hairdo’s State of the Union: A Shining Past, Present, and Future

  1. Nice post. I like how you put the season into different perspectives: from stats, to pictures, to miles traveled. I think I should do a post entirely about stats and miles traveled. Thanks for the input about the offseason blogging.

  2. Man, ever time I re-read this blog entry I can not get over how much I love the collages that you made. What a great way to summarize the season! I’m glad I could pair up with you and NAMI this season, I look forward to making a tradition out of it (can you start traditions? HOW do you start traditions? regardless…) next season. Thank you for continuing to blog. There’s never a dull entry on here!
    -Paul K
    http://apieceofthegame.mlblogs.com

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