NL All-Stars 3 – AL All-Stars 5
Target Field – Minneapolis, MN
July 15, 2014
Day three of three, the final taste of a potentially once-in-a-lifetime experience. We arrived at the gates around 10:30 – I planned on sleeping in, but wouldn’t you know, I woke up before my alarm – and saw the red carpet leading up to gate 29. I had received a text from San Fran Joe saying that they were going to do the Red Carpet Show, but I was apprehensive. For the sake of my friend’s baseball, it’s a good thing I got over those feelings.
We waited by the red carpet, first on the railing and closest to the gates. As the players pulled up in their vehicles, we thought there would be a decent chance to snag just a couple autographs and enjoy the billions of dollars in athletes that would be paraded in front of us. The hopes of a couple autographs turned into a bumper crop of signatures – 15+ in total, including Derek Jeter… and I had nothing for them to sign. I think Jared’s baseball starts to alleviate the pain of the “black rainbow”. (I’ll let him decide if he wants to share the story in the comments below.)
The Red Carpet event was supposed to be over by 2, but it was stretched until about 2:30, which meant that we were not able to actually wait at the gate itself until around 3. While it was nerve-wracking not to have a spot yet, it also eliminated much of the anxiety of “gate waiting”. Plus, we still made it to the front of the line once the barriers were taken down.
Speaking of the barriers coming down, they had vinyl banners made for the Red Carpet event and when the guy was cutting them down, Joe’s dad asked, “What are you going to do with them?”
The worker replied, “I don’t know, just give them away or toss them.”
We both jumped on them immediately. We made sure to get the banner that had the ASG logo (which has grown on me to a status of “kinda love it”… maybe because it signifies good times).
How big is the banner? See for yourself…
I don’t know where I am going to put it yet, but it will have to decorate somewhere with a lot of space. I cannot believe that these were just given away. Nice banners like these are not cheap and usually MLB controls their stuff so tightly in order to be able to throw a sticker on it and sell it via auction or cut up as part of some “game used/event used” memorabilia.
Alright, enough Red Carpet talk, let’s enter the gates and relive snagging them baseballs.
Immediately upon entering, I made my way down to the foul area in right-field – gotta look to see if the Easter Bunny came. With no eggs to be found, but a pearly baseball just sitting 40 feet out on the field, I shouted to Alex Gordon and asked nicely for the ball.
Dang. No All-Star Game logo, just HR Derby.
After the short sweep for eggs, I went back to my lucky spot – sections 5/6. I said hi to the Twins’ communication department’s very own Dustin Morse, who later tossed me this ball. I have seen Dustin quite a few times, from Spring Training to fan events, and he is a cool guy. If you get a chance to see anything Twins and like what you saw, be sure to thank him and his team. They were crazy-busy for this event, but put it together so nicely.
Chris Maloney of the Cardinals staff, after infield practice during BP.
Show of hands: Who has ever snagged a ball from their high school baseball coach? How about at an All-Star Game? Would I be wrong in assuming that I am the only one?
Brian Raabe, who excelled in the minors, came up for a few very brief stints in the majors, and grew up in Minnesota hooked me up. We had spoken the day before and it was so wonderful to see someone I knew be a part of the all-star on-field experience. While the rare and special commemoratives might be more exciting balls, this ball has the most meaning behind it and probably the coolest story of any toss-up I’ll ever get.
(Here’s a photo of the closest flyover I’ve ever witnessed.)
Back to the last story of ballhawking for the ASG…
With the Jeter-love fully dissipated, the ASG finished, and Mike Trout fully embracing his new convertible, I finally got my hands on the ball that defines the 2014 All-Star Game. This was the first ball that we had photos of, the first ball I saw in stores, and the one ball that without question says “2014 All-Star Game at Target Field”.
How beautiful. Mud-rubbed, perfect logo, and in exquisite condition. The collection was now complete – 4 commemoratives available, 4 acquired. The bonus for snagging all four was now a reality, NAMI will be getting some extra coin from me.
And there it is. The complete All-Star ballhawking experience, wrapped up in three short(ish) entries. It’s hard to believe it is over and even harder to process everything that happened and everything I experienced. The balls were even more amazing than I had expected. The activities were more than I could handle. The people I met were cooler than any game I had been to before. In all, this is going to be something I reflect on often… and my mind will still not do it justice.
- Alex Gordon
- Dustin Morse
- Chris Maloney
- Brian Raabe
Extra Thank Yous:
- Brian Raabe
- Joseph Pedlowe and his dad
- All of the people listed above made this experience unique and AMAZING!!