Detroit Tigers 1 – Minnesota Twins 7
Target Field – Minneapolis, MN
July 12, 2015
I very nearly became someone I never meant to become… a cynical, ballhawking-before-baseball ballhawk. I was honestly debating whether to go on not – I already had the ticket as part of my season ticket package – and the only thing that was preventing me was that it was a Sunday day game.
Non-ballhawks: Sunday day games mean no BP and very little chances for acquiring the very baseballs that us ballhawks chase. Add to the mix the fact that it is the middle of summer and Sundays are catered towards children AND it was Armed Forces Appreciation Day… So many others that would get a baseball (if any were made available) before me, a middle-aged dude with no children.
So I debated back and forth. I was sure that I wasn’t going, then sure I was, then back and forth. The cycle was vicious and the anxiety and mental energy devoted to this truly “First World Problem” finally made me see the light.
I am going. Going to a baseball game is good. Even getting one ball was better than none. Nothing actually depends on me putting up a “good number” or continuing whatever streak(s) I have going.
So the moral of the story is simple – if life gives you a baseball game, take it.
Enough of me talking from a soap-box, let’s discuss this game that gave me such exhausting mental anguish.
I got to the sweaty gates at 10-ish. Of course I was the first at my gate; it was a 1:10 game and already steamy. Parents do not want to bring little ones to the game any longer than necessary – and they sure as hell want to watch the game itself and not a field with four pitchers warming up for an hour.
Once gates opened I rushed inside and was pleasantly surprised by…
Emptiness. Nothing. There were no players to be seen, as Ervin Santana was only a couple of steps away from the dugout before he would not appear until maybe game time.
Eventually the Twins bull-pen guys braved the heat and came out to do some tossing.
Glen Perkins?! Yep, three-time All-Star, Glen Perkins, tossed me his warm-up ball. He looked over and I said nothing, just stuck up my glove. I’ve never had good luck with him in BP, so I figured I’d make minimal effort, since he was bound to already have a target or find a small kid quickly. But no one else was ready or got themselves noticed. It was nice to be on the board.
After watching the bull-pen guys throw and then wasting my time (mainly just sweating… and getting Miguel Sano’s autograph on the Glen Perkins ball), I was able to extend my “gamer” streak to 39 games (including Spring Training – 32 if you only count Regular Season). Thanks to the not-Mario visitor’s bat boy, I got the ball that was not only the subject of a challenge, but was then thrown back out on the field of play to be used as a warm-up ball as the challenge was being reviewed.
When I am at games, I try my best to watch the life of each baseball, just in case I end up with that ball. This one was unique, since it was used in play, thrown to the Tigers’ bench, handled by Brad Ausmus, and then thrown back out to the infielders to toss around before officially being “retired”.
We all hope for and secretly wish for some record-setting number – maybe a personal record, a stadium record, or the BIG record (more than 36 – the highest of highs) – but “settling” for three just sounds stupid when you say it out loud. Constant growth is unsustainable, and averages are just that, average. You need the lows AND the highs. This was just a low, but if you were to ask 99% of baseball fans, they’d be thrilled if you gave them three baseballs to go home with at one game.
This particular ball was an 0-2 pitch by the dominant Kyle Gibson (he went 7 innings without giving up an earned run). The pitch was to JD Martinez in the top of the 7th. You guessed it, Dominique with the hook up.
- Glen Perkins
- Miguel Sano
- Common Sense
PS: See! It was hot/sweaty – temp of only 90, but the humidity pushed it to “feeling like” 100…