Baltimore Orioles 3 – Minnesota Twins 0
Target Field – Minneapolis, MN
May 2, 2014
After nearly pulling the trigger and going to a Dodger/Twins game, I decided to postpone and concentrate on a game I had marked on my calendar since the schedule came out. I want to hit up the Baltimore Orioles this year in hopes that they would bring some 60th anniversary balls with… they did not. While I was a little bummed, I kind of figured this was the case (based on rumblings and reading other people’s blogs); so the disappointment was shallow and fleeting. But before I get carried away with the Baltimore Orioles batting practice – another reason why I chose this game and not the Saturday or Sunday DAY games – how about we start at the beginning?
Upon entry, I raced over from gate 34 over towards the Twins dugout. I do this in hopes that there is an Easter Egg or two… and the rather late Easter Bunny delivered! It’s always nice to get on the board within the first minute of walking in the stadium, it really takes the edge off.
After picking up the first ball and turning towards the batters, a foul ball was sliced over towards my direction. Had I not already been in the act of collecting and putting away the first ball, I would have caught this on the fly. Instead, I had to settle for a bounce off a seat and lazy walk over to pick up the second of the day. Since the metal detectors were being used at the major gates (and a general lack of attendance), I had plenty of time and no worries over battling with others in my area.
Still within my first five minutes of entering Target Field, I got my first toss-up of the day – Kevin Correia played the part of the stork. Isn’t baby #268 beautiful?
With the Twins finishing up and the Orioles warming up in front of the dugout, I decided to try the Orioles dugout area. A ball deflected off of the pitcher’s screen and wound up in the photographers’ well. I asked one of the people prepping in that area and got yet another baseball.
As former-Twin, Delmon Young came in from the outfield to get ready for his round of BP, he tossed me a ball. What a nice dude?! He has his issues, but Twins fans tend to forget that he was on some pretty decent Twins teams and he doesn’t get a lot of credit for that. I wonder if he ever will “figure it out” or if he’ll be just another “disappointing #1 pick”. He’s not exactly a bust, but definitely not the best of his class… somewhere stuck in the middle.
See that guy in the background taking grounders at third? Well, that’s Manny Machado. Baseball experts think he’s going to be an alright baseball player… and then some. Manny tossed me this scuffed up ball used for his infield drills, and as I am almost certain that he will be an All-Star in the near future, it’ll be cool to say I got a ball from him.
After a rather uneventful batting practice, I got Einar Diaz (Orioles coach) to toss me a ball. I had to look him up on my phone quickly, but I was wearing a neutral “MLB Fan Cave” t-shirt, so I thought I might be able to pose as a non-Twins fan at the very least. It worked!
After batting practice was over, I decided to hang around the Twins dugout area and watch the guys as they came out of the locker room. One of the first guys out was a guy named “Trevor Plouffe”. You may have heard of him before on this blog. At least I think I’ve mentioned him a time or two.
Well, I don’t know if it’s because of the “#VotePlouffe” campaign or the fact that I am known as a super-fan, or a combination of the two, but what happened next was amazing. Trevor came out to the dugout, went back in to the locker room (normal at this point, since many guys go in and out to make final adjustments, etc.), and then returned back to the dugout… with a pair of cleats in his hands. A bit odd, as I’ve never seen this move before out of Trevor (yes, I’ve watched what my favorite player does before games). He then saw me, walked back in towards the locker room, then snaked around to the camera-well/authenticator’s area and said the following:
“I was going to retire these,” as he handed me a pair of cleats.
WHAT?! How cool is that?! I was putting together a nice Plouffe collection as it was, but hadn’t gotten my hands on any cleats yet. These will look FANTASTIC with my other Plouffe gear and baseball collection. Remember the time he gave me a bat? Or another bat? Or batting gloves? Or a signed Mother’s Day ball?
Is it becoming obvious why he is my favorite?
Don’t worry, fellow #VotePlouffe-ers, I made sure to give a quick update and tell him how many votes the group has done and that there is a handful of dedicated fans that I’d like to share their information with him when voting gets close to wrapping up. In other words, I wanted to let him know that he has more than just one super-fan out there and that the thanks go much further than to me.
…Onward, to the Game!
It would be nice to extend my streak of games with a game ball, but with the acquisition described above, I wasn’t too concerned. So when I got a pitch in the dirt to Jason Kubel during the bottom of the ninth, it was (what I thought was) the cherry on top. Dominique yet again. So clutch.
After the loss, I stayed by the Twins dugout and watched for any more final toss-ups. There weren’t very many, but I did snag a toss-up of another kind…
Batting Gloves!! Chris Colabello – the man who is on fire for the Twins this year – had these gloves in hand and decided to part ways with them. I shall keep them safe and enjoy them for the rest of their days. Chris is such a down to Earth guy, too. He seems genuinely happy to be in the big leagues, playing out his childhood dreams in front of any amount of cheering fans. The added coolness was that tonight was also a surprise promotion night… Chris Colabello Cowbells.
So here’s a shot of the complete lot:
And then a bonus picture to show the tongue of the cleat (because I think it’s cool):
And lastly, an insanely cool edit done by Max (@sfgmoney on Twitter and Instagram):
So appropriate that it’s patriotic, as it is well established that Mr. Plouffe loves America.
- Easter Bunny (ball #1)
- Unknwon Twin hitter (ball #2)
- Kevin Correia (ball #3)
- Photographer/Worker (ball #4)
- Delmon Young (ball #5)
- Manny Machado (ball #6) – sorry Manny, you’ll have to wait one more year to make the All-Star squad – #VotePlouffe!
- Einar Diaz (ball #7) – from one catcher’s mitt into another
- Dominique (ball #8)
- Chris Colabello (batting gloves)
- TREVOR PLOUFFE (cleats) – I have said it many times and will hopefully be able to repeat it many more, but thank you for being so great to your fans. I hope we can make it interesting and help show our support, like you show your support through cool acts like this or the even greater ones like giving vets free tickets and proudly wearing pink to support those you love.
(This blog post seems to have gotten away from me. I think it makes sense for the most part, but if anything gets too confusing, let me know. It’s going on 2 am and that is at least 4 hours past my bedtime – sucks getting old.)