Late! – Balls 475-482 (September 2, 2015)

Chicago White Sox 0 – Minnesota Twins 3

Target Field – Minneapolis, MN

September 2, 2015

Well here’s something that you don’t hear all that often.  I was not EARLY to the gates.  In fact, I missed out on 96% of the “early entry BP” for season ticket holders.  I knew this was a reality when I couldn’t get out of work until after 5 – once the gates had already opened for those with the STH pass/privilege.  I even thought about canceling my game and just going home… Oh, how wrong I’d be.

I parked drove like mad to get to the closest place to park (with quick access to the gates) and then ran like a crazy person to gate 34.  No time to do a podcast (unfortunately), but looking at my phone I saw that it was 5:25 with just a few more blocks left.  I *might* just make it in before the “regular people.”

I walked through the gate, got my ticket scanned, and ran to the flag pole – 5:29 pm.

In that one minute of early entry, I received a big ol’ goose egg.  Quickly I went down to the foul area of right field – closer to Alexei Ramirez.  On the way down…

Ball #1:


…an usher found a ball as I ran passed him.  He looked up, I showed him my glove and he actually tossed it to me.  Not only do a lot of ushers not give up baseballs, but if they do it is usually to a small child.  I was on the board within 5 minutes overall.  Whew; exhale.

Ball #2:


After asking Alexei a few times, I finally gave up and faced the fact that he probably wasn’t going to give me one.  Even though we played around a bit – nodding, pointing, cheering, etc. – he went 5-10 minutes without tossing one over to me (he had about a dozen opportunities).

Then, without me saying anything, he got a flyball, looked over and just threw it to me.

I was beginning to feel better.  What was a certain disaster in my head (late to the gates and all the concerns/missed opportunities), two on the board is not exactly a bad day – especially with more than 3 hours left at the park.

Ball #3:


As it was the last hurrah for many youth baseball teams before the kids have to go back to school, I stayed in the foul area for BP.  Nothing worse than being around multiple teams of kids all of whom brought there glove and worse yet, all who scream for a ball EVERY time one comes anywhere near them.

Bobby Thigpen, one time single season saves record holder, tossed me ball #3 for the day.  I was beginning to think I could get my average of about 5 balls this game.  Again, not bad for a “lost game.”

Ball #4:


Now positioning myself by the White Sox dugout, I flashed my glove (and Sox shirt) to anyone with a baseball who would look over towards me.  It paid off when a White Sox worker looked over after helping clean up the baseballs used during BP.  He tossed one back in the bucket and the other to me.  He was wearing a grey polo and khaki pants, probably a trainer?

Ball #5:


Dominique.  Enough said.  Five balls in one game?  I cannot complain.

Ball #6:


Shortly after Dom hooked me up, Eduardo Escobar did the same.  I came into the game around five and a half balls per game, so hitting 6 only helps the average.  I went from nearly aborting the game to having an “above average” total.

Ball #7:


Anyone ever heard of the Golden State Warriors?  Alright, most of you already know where I am going with this.  Klay Thompson – NBA Finals winner, himself – has a brother named Trayce who plays for the White Sox.  He was at the plate in the 4th inning, with Tommy Milone pitching, and this was the ball he tipped foul to make it 0-2.

Ball #8:


Anyone else ever heard of Miguel Sano?  Well, he tossed me my final ball of the night, a warm-up pitch by Daniel Webb in the bottom of the 7th.  He came in with 2 out to face Trevor Plouffe.  This ball was used in the previous Joe Mauer at-bat (a strikeout).

And that’s it.  Nearly 50% more balls snagged this game than my yearly average.  Unbelievable.

The Haul:



Thank You:

  • Dominique
  • Alexei Ramirez
  • Twins Usher
  • Miguel Sano – for hitting homers AND tossing me baseballs.
  • Eduardo Escobar
  • Bobby Thigpen
  • Unknown White Sox worker – Bill Brasky?   I don’t know.

Extra Credit/Help Wanted:

Anyone ever been to Minute Maid Park?  If so, please leave comments or let me know on Twitter (@TonyV433).  I will take any and all tips/tricks possible.  I’d like to snag a gamer of any sort and put up a respectable number – I am closing in on career ball #500, and would like to still do this in 2015.

THANKS!  (Anyone with tips/tricks will get shoutouts on the “At the Gates” show that I do from Minute Maid Park.  If you have a special message you’d like me to read, I would even do that.)


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