New Beginnings and a Lucky Number – Balls 431-434 (June 17, 2015)

St. Louis Cardinals 1 – Minnesota Twins 3

Target Field – Minneapolis, MN

June 17, 2015


“Things, they always change.”

I had known about a huge change at Target Field for quite some time, but this particular game would be the first time I’d see it in action… and I’m not talking about the arrival of byron Buxton.

Sure, the talk of the town was about the #1 prospect in baseball making his debut at Target Field, but ballhawks always have finer details that they fret about.  We know who has yet to hit their first HR, as much as we familiarize ourselves with bat boys, and I am no exception to this.  Dominique Frost, the best in the biz, had mentioned about a month prior that come June he would be transitioning to the clubhouse.  This is great news for him, since it is a promotion and a step up (and furthering his career), but terrible news for me.  So while I was like the typical Twins fan, eager to watch Buxton for the first time at home, I was also sad and nervous about someone else taking Dom’s place.

***Dominique, if you are reading this, no one can actually take your place, you crazy, helmet-spinning, Torii Hunter cleaning, best-in-the-Bigs “BB”.***

But before I get too caught up on the changes and new beginnings for two BBs (Byron Buxton and Bat Boy), let’s talk about the BP portion of the game.

Ball #1:

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After a 10 minute (max) Twins BP, I was able to finally get on the board with a toss-up from Miguel Socolovich.  I was honestly getting nervous that I would either get my first 1 or 2 ball game in quite a while, or worse yet, get shut out.

Ball #2:

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Sometimes we make nice catches and even better, sometimes people notice your nice catch and applaud you.  This was one of those “applause” moments.  I was in the front row, the ball was hit hard, but dying quickly at the wall.  It carried enough to reach the fence while I shifted slightly to my right (the stands were pretty full, so I didn’t have a lot of room to work with) and stood up on the concrete that connected to the aluminum fence, in order to get more extension.  I then leaned over, extending to nearly 100% of my ability and made a backhanded catch.

It felt good.  I needed one of those.

Ball #3:

BALL #433!!!  My favorite number.  Achievement unlocked: Superstitious Baseball.

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I thought I might get my first “new bat boy” toss-up, as he got the ball that was pitched in the dirt by Tommy Milone during the first inning warm-ups, but he handed it to Dom (since he clearly didn’t know what to do with it, since the authenticator didn’t want it) who then tossed it to me.  Is this the last toss from Dom for quite some time?  Who knows.  Any ball can be my last, since even the best skill depends on some luck and balls coming to you at the exact right time, but hopefully this is a temporary “last”.

PAUSE:

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Time out for Byron’s first pitch at Target Field.  We’re still waiting for his first HR, but at least I saw one of the firsts.

Game On…

Ball #4:

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The last ball of the night came from Ron Gardenhire’s arch-nemesis, umpire Joe West.  It’s been a while since I tried for an umpire toss-up.

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Had the hair up on the way home and also during BP (in a slightly different fashion). Do I win the longest flow for MGB ballhawks?  This should be a yearly award, right?  (If you agree, please let Alan Schuster know on Twitter and cc me: @TonyV433)

The Haul:

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Notice the lineup card?  This was crumpled into a ball by Joe Vavra, given to Dominique, then tossed to me.  I really wanted this, especially since it was from such a historic night (beating a dead horse: Buxton’s first night at Target Field).

Recap:

Thank You:

  • Dominique – I hope this is not the last time I write this for you, in fact, I owe you more.  But if this was the last (49 in total), then THANK YOU!!  You’ve been amazing and I hope the new position treats you well.
  • Miguel Socolovich
  • Joe West

PS: If you ever want a parking tip for a Monday through Friday night game, let me know.  Park at 4 pm, 2 hours for a total of $1 and free parking after 6 pm makes this a STEAL.

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