Wow, where do we begin? I could give many recaps, give the highs and lows, tell about many firsts, discuss a few records, but maybe a brief history from the beginning would help…
I went to 32 games in 2017, nearly got to attend playoff games for the first time since 2010, and kicked everything off with the traditional “Opening Day at Target Field”. With Jared joining me, this meant we had gone to 8 straight Opening Days, not missing one since Target Field has opened. Then shortly after that I hit the West Coat – Seattle, San Francisco, and Oakland were crossed off the list of “stadiums to see”. I came back to Target Field for a few games in May, but towards the end of the month I joined Jared for a road trip – Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, and Cleveland. We saw four out of the five and so began the “Cleveland Jinx”.
Bummed about missing Cleveland, I stayed close to home for June and then hit the road again around the 4th of July – St. Louis, Atlanta, and Tampa joined the ranks of “stadiums seen”. That means I got to see Trevor Plouffe play for both of the teams he called home in 2017. A few weeks later I was set to hit Cincinnati and Cleveland (again), but a kidney stone in Merrillville, IN prevented me from going any further. I settled for separate trips to Milwaukee and Cincinnati in August, then finish the season at home, on the edge of my seat… and in a cast. The Twins played with our emotions a bit, but they did it, THE TWINS MADE THE PLAYOFFS! Meanwhile, I tended to a broken wrist/arm suffered while biking to my 31st game of the season.
I even bought a strip of tickets for the playoffs… but the Yankee Curse is still very much real and alive. Will the Twins ever get to slay that increasingly large dragon? This curse is so large that it even makes Aaron Judge look tiny. Maybe the Twins need to host the Wild Card game against them next year and change the scoreboard to read ANY other team, and force the Yankees to wear a different uniform, or at least one without the team name. But I digress.
So the final tally is…
- 12 “new to me” stadiums seen
- 12,769 miles traveled
- 12,709.6 driven
- 41.8 biked
- 17.6 walked
- 32 games
- 252 balls
Here’s a map of the travels, to put things in perspective:
*Note: the miles don’t exactly align, due to the fact that I also drove to hotels and made slightly different paths to the stadiums. Most notable difference? I did not travel to Chicago and down Indiana to get to Cincinnati, I went down to Champaign and over. But Google Maps doesn’t like more than 10 points on a map, so I couldn’t change it. I also didn’t include the mileage for my kidney stone trip, since I never did witness a baseball game during that time.*
So how about we discuss some balls? Maybe we can touch on some special ones, some records, and the overall experience that was “2017 in ballhawking”…
I had the best year of my “career”. I can safely say that I will never have a year like this again. Since I have decided to stop at 1,000, the fact that I caught 252 this year and have only 133 left means that 2017 was and will always be the high mark.
I set a new high in not only balls, but games, average balls/game, game balls, double digit games, and probably even more criteria if you want to slice and dice the numbers even further.
- 252 balls
- 32 games
- 7.875 balls/game
- 87 game balls
- 1 game HR
- 10 double digit games
- Including my first outside of MN during the regular season (Cincinnati)
- Set a new record high for Target Field – 15
- Set and matched a new personal high – 15 (Target Field and GABP)
- 4 double digit games in a row
- 9 different commemorative logos
And that’s just the baseballs. What if I told you I also got a cool list of memorabilia?
- 10 pairs of batting gloves + 2 single batting gloves
- 2 pair from Trevor Plouffe
- 4 pair from Brian Dozier
- 1 pair Joe Mauer
- 1 pair Miguel Sano
- 1 pair Eddie Rosario
- 1 pair Jason Castro
- 1 single Jason Castro
- 1 single Jorge Polanco
- 1 fielding glove (Trevor Plouffe’s from Mike Moustakas)
- 1 hat (Kennys Vargas)
I’d say that my adventures to the ballparks definitely paid off.
With a closer look at this year’s commemorative group…
So there it is. The biggest year of baseball adventures in my life. I may never duplicate anything like this again. Sure, I may have had so low points – rain out in Cleveland, kidney stone in Indiana, and broken wrist/arm at Target Field – but I have enough memories from this year to last a lifetime. I saw many new places while on the road to the parks, and I finally got to meet many of the folks that share the same obsession with catching baseballs. I’ve had friendships grow, while also growing on a personal level. all in all, I’d say 2017 was an amazing success.
Thank you for reading. I don’t say it enough. My adventures might not be your exact cup of tea, but whether we share 1% or 100% of the same thoughts/beliefs, I’m thankful we are both getting something out of this, and I hope we can cross paths at a baseball stadium soon.
Now if you’d like to take a trip with me via sound, press play and let the list guide you through the last 32 games/entries on this blog…