Welcome to the Bigs, Mr. Manfred, Jr. – Balls 370-378 (March 18, 2015)

Baltimore Orioles 3 – Minnesota Twins 2

Hammond Stadium – Fort Myers, FL

March 18, 2015

Now that I have 3,601 miles of travel (for baseball alone, not including the additional travel to see my wife’s grandparents), I can finally blog about the adventures I had in Florida.

March Baseball!!  Nothing is more sweet than ditching the cold, baseball-less tundra of Minnesota and wrapping yourself in warm weather, beaches, and all-day baseball.  I started this trip with two goals in mind:

  1. Get a Manfred ball – preferably a gamer
  2. Reach 400 career balls – needed only 31, but was only attending 3 games (that’s an average of more than 10/game)

I had a few other “wants” in there, but those two targets were the main ones.  I thought that one was more than attainable, and the second could easily be within striking distance for Opening Day in April – if not broken in Florida.

***I have a few things to say about non-baseball activities, but I will save those for the “Road Trip Recap” entry that will follow the game entries.***

I arrived at the gates somewhere between 8-9 am.  The first scene was that of the namesake of this blog… in a semi-Godzilla inspired form…

Plouffe Mural

The rest of the Twins’ stars were also featured, but it was pretty cool to see nonetheless.

After watching some batting practice – with a cool ASG bucket – I finally got to enter the stadium and work my magic.

Batting Cages

Ball #1:


(Sorry, I couldn’t take photos of the first four balls, since I received them faster than I could record them.)

This ball, my first Manfred ball, EVER, came from the bottom of the steps as I got the closest spot to the players warming up their arms.  So whoever had “Easter Egg” as the ‘person’ who would provide me with the first Manfred is the winner.  Collect your prize and enjoy!

Ball #2:


A nice toss-up by a Twin – unknown, sorry.  Two baseballs, both Manfreds.

Ball #3:


Three for three on the “Only Use Manfreds for BP” Rule.  Unfortunately, this was another unknown Twin.  Like I said, the first four happened so quick.

Ball #4:


Fourth ball, fourth Manfred.  Eduardo Escobar gets the assist on this one.

Ball #5:


A Selig?!  And this was the first one that was actually part of any BATTING practice?!  I am confused.  This one was off the bat of a Twin.  It sailed over my head, but I played the berm perfectly and picked it up.

Here is the view from the LF grass area in Hammond Stadium…

LF View

Ball #6:


Another Selig?!  This time it had a practice stamp on it – which I promptly questioned in my head, “Are there any Manfred practice-stamps?”  This ball was caught on the fly from the bat of an Oriole.

Ball #7:


See ball 7.  Everything is the same.

Ball #8:


First Manfred gamer!!  This was tossed to me by the man in the background – Dan Rohlfing – coming in during the middle of the 1st inning.

Ball #9:


ANOTHER GAMER!!  This one is modeled by my wife, Jael, doing here best Ervin Santana impression.  #SmellBaseball

This ball was a triple hit by Dariel Alvarez and tossed into the stands by Eduardo Escobar in the top of the 3rd inning.  I love it when a ball gets thrown into the stands during the inning… especially if it lands in my glove.

After the game I met up with a fellow blogger and Minnesota Twins’ enthusiast, EverythingTwins!  Here we are showing off our prized possessions – mine is a Manfred gamer and his is his 50th career ball.  Go read his blog and add him to your community of bloggers.


***It was nice sharing the outfield with you, EverythingTwins!  It was even better just getting to know you.  I’m sure we’ll run into each other at games this year.  Best of luck!***

After the photos were taken, I tried my first ever, video recap.  It was an idea I wanted to try since last year, but I had no excuse this year NOT to try.  Might as well test it out in Florida/Spring Training… especially if I have a videographer (the wife) to help me.

So what do you think?  Should I include these for regular season games?  Anything else you want me to say in this BRIEF recap?

So there it is/was.  The first game of 2015.  I didn’t quite get double-digits, but nine is NOT a bad number.

20150318 Group Shot


I asked this question on Instagram, but it’s also a good one to post here:

Which signature do you prefer – Bud Selig or Rob Manfred – and why?

Selig vs Manfred

I prefer the Manfred ball, personally.  It’s probably because it is nice and new (more rare at this point), but also because there are more letters (including a “Jr.”).  Plus, Bud’s is a bit too slanted and sloppy.  I don’t mind sloppy if it is artsy (like I make my signatures), but that ain’t artsy.


One thought on “Welcome to the Bigs, Mr. Manfred, Jr. – Balls 370-378 (March 18, 2015)

  1. Nice entry! I still don’t know how you got those first four so quickly, the first three from guys you didn’t know. If only you continued that trend throughout batting practice, you would have had a HUGE day… I can’t wait to read about the other two games you attended and to see if you hit 400! Good luck this season and congrats on your Topps card!

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