(S)he Can Tell Which Horse Is Gonna Finish In First – Predicting Opening Day 2018 (April 5, 2018)

I like spreadsheets. I have one the has all the analytics you could ever hope for when it comes to the details of each baseball I have snagged. From the basic data (location, date, etc.) to the granular/miscellaneous (game time temperature, length of game, attendance, etc.). I would say that I do this in order to help me more accurately position myself at games, but that would be more of a lie than the truth – intuition already leads me and I rarely analyze the data for application. Quite simply, I just like looking at numbers/data.

But I figured that with 867 balls under my belt and data points from 146 games (since 2009), I could maybe start to predict the future. So let’s have a little fun, shall we?

Opening Day 2018 – Data-generated blog post

I have ballhawked at Opening Day at Target Field every year since 2012. The first year I was still a bit green, but I got a few nonetheless. Based on those 6 years of data, I would like to predict not only my haul, but details about the game.


Title: Nothing’s Bigger Than Nothing – Balls 868-871 (April 5, 2018)

Seattle Mariners 6 – Minnesota Twins 3

Target Field – Minneapolis, MN

April 5, 2018

It is a no-brainer that I got to the field ridiculously early… with Jared! This marks the 9th straight year we have attended Opening Day at Target Field together and likely the penultimate regular ballhawking experience for an Opening Day (read: retiring from regular hawking in 2019). But I digress…

We got to the gates well before the scheduled 1:00 pm opening and recorded a podcast, as per usual. Dave and Alex both showed up and it felt nice to have the gang back together again. The offseason felt brutally long. Maybe it was because we had hoped and convinced ourselves that we would get a taste of postseason play at Target Field… only to be thwarted by the damn Yankees AGAIN!

(Link to At The Gates Podcast)

Once inside the stadium, I managed to get a ball from a Twin during their abbreviated BP.

(Pic of ball 868)

Then I got a toss-up towards the end of BP from the White Sox.

(Pic of ball 869 – nice)

Thank you, [Player X]! (Sorry, the data cannot accurately predict the exact players, since rosters are ever-changing, though it is likely that one was actually a coach.)

The stadium filled up nicely, despite the seasonal weather, with an announced crowd of 38,985. It wasn’t quite cold, but it definitely wasn’t warm. The temp at first pitch was 49 degrees, which happened at 3:16 pm – consistently late, just like every Twins’ Opening Day.

Just before the time when we were ushered away from the dugout, I got my first commemorative of the day. SUCCESS!

(Pic of ball 870)

That makes 6 straight Opening Day commemoratives! I wish I got one in 2012. Despite getting a gamer tossed to me by Alexi Casilla, I didn’t get one that year. Did they use them that day?

Then towards the end of the game I tried my luck with one last toss-up from the franchise with the best bat boys in the league (I still miss you, Dom). And I got my last ball of the day and one last commemorative.

(Pic of ball 871)

So four more balls added to the collection, two of which are commemorative. Not a bad start to the 2018 season. Unfortunately, the Twins lost to the Mariners by a final of 6-3. The new pace of play helped a little, keeping the game at an even 3 hours, but we’ll see if that continues into the season. Gone are the days of 3.5 hour games at Target Field? Let’s hope.

So there it is, game 1 of 2018 in the books. Next up is either Jackie Robinson Day (depending on if commemoratives are used or not) or possibly the West Coast tour, starting in sunny, warm San Diego. You know what that is German for…


Today’s title comes from Glassjaw’s song “New White Extremity”.








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