4/15/13 Angels at Twins: Target Field

Guess who baseball was commemorating during Monday’s game:

41513 Scoretower

Come on, guess. It’s not like it was a league-wide thing.

Yes, it was Jackie Robinson Day in major league baseball a.k.a. a facial recognitionly-challenged ballhawk’s nightmare. Fortunately I can recognize faces and it is names that I have trouble with, so I would still be able to identify players as different even though they would all be wearing number 42.

Let me rewind a little, though. In case you weren’t following this blog last year, I walk to as many Twins games as I can. Really the only time I don’t is if I’m absolutely pressed for time when I leave wherever it is I am going from. Okay, so knowing this, I was about half-way to Target Field when a person I had talked to about going to the game with called me. You see I bought two tickets for most of the games I bought in advance. This was because a bunch of people had told me that they were going to try to make a couple of games with me. Unfortunately, those same people had yet to actually make any of the games, so I had been having to search for other people to go to the games with me. Remember when I wrote about the usher I talked to who had been a part of my sports management group that interviewed Terry Ryan? Yeah? No? Well the person who offered to go to this game with me was in that same interview group. He was still on campus when he called me, so I waited a little while for him here:

41513 Downtown Minneapolis

before continuing on to Target Field once he met up with me. Unfortunately I forgot to get a picture of the two of us together for this blog, so you’ll just have to picture Matt (that was/is his name). He is actually from Milville, NJ, so once we got in the gates, he had one goal: get down to the dugout and talk to Mike Trout when he was either getting on to the field or exiting it. I on the other hand, headed straight to the seats in left field. There I got on the board very quickly by asking Jerome Williams for a ball:

41513 Jerome Williams

You can’t really see it from the picture, since I was so far out, but he wears a pink glove, so he was the easiest player to distinguish from behind with all the players having their hoods up. This was pretty quick, but the ball was sadly again not taking off. Struggling with the hit ball is always frustrating. Some times it is just myself misjudging baseballs, but all too many times this season it has been that there just aren’t baseballs getting into the stands.

I did manage to survive this batting practice. Two words are the reason for that: Tom Gregorio. I managed to snag my next three baseballs courtesy of him. You may be wondering: But, Mateo, how could you get three straight baseballs from a person who isn’t a player? Well this particular bullpen catcher managed to throw me three consecutive baseballs. Want to hear something even crazier/explanatory? I gave all three away. Let me explain. On the first ball, Gregorio picked me out of the crowd with my Angels gear on and tossed me a ball. I gave that ball to this kid up here:

41513 Kid 1

Notice his dad taking a picture of the ball. I love it when you can tell how excited when they get a ball. I still prefer to help kids get baseballs about ten times more, though. That’s because I have counted two baseballs ever that were given to me by other fans in my career total, including the first baseball I ever got at a game–since it was before I started “ballhawking” I decided to count them both. That said, they were the two most unfulfilling  baseballs I have gotten. While I was happy in the moment that I got both, I have regretted both ever since and I want to try to help kids more by instruction than handing them the baseball myself.

After I gave him the ball, I hoped Gregorio had seen me give the ball away and would toss me another. He didn’t, but he tossed a ball to this kid:

41513 Kid 2

But the ball fell short into the flower bed just to my left (and I was to the left of the kid, so I picked it up and handed it to him). Here’s where the ball was:

41513 Flower Bed

I know it’s cheap, but since I got primary possession of the ball first, I counted it. These occurred about two minutes, if even that, apart from each other, but the gap between my third and fourth baseballs was quite large–like twenty or thirty-ish minutes. This one Gregorio also tossed to me unintentionally. Gregorio got a ball close to the wall and then flung the ball randomly into the stands with his glove. It was initially going way over my head, but I moved back a couple of steps on the staircase I was on and jumped up to catch the ball. That ball went to the kid who was standing back down at the bottom of the staircase after I confirmed that he had not yet gotten a ball. More so than me trying to reciprocate and spread Gregorio’s generosity,  I wanted to make up for my stinginess in the games prior to that. I mean one of my goals for the beginning of the year was to give away 33% of my baseballs, and as of this game, I was definitely not on that pace.

My fifth ball of the day came when I left the left field section–since I could tell my luck with toss-ups had dried up by that point–and headed over to the section of seats in right-center field. Over there I waited and asked Sean Burnett for a ball when he approached the wall:

41513 Ball 5

I could recognize Burnett right away because I saw him a ton when he was a member of the Nationals. And if you can’t tell from the picture and the players running off the field (Burnett is the one at the head of the “triangle” of players) this was my last ball of BP. Not bad for Target Field and not having had a chance at a hit baseball.

During the game I stayed out in the standing room, not expecting to get anything but hoping today would be the exception to the rule. Sadly that was not the case, but in case anyone in the stadium managed to forget there was more than enough sinage in the stadium to remind people that it was Jackie Robinson Day:

41513 JRD 1

41513 JRD 2

I particularly love the second picture for the simple reason that the text on the screen is so crisp in the picture that it looks like I Photoshopped it in. Anyway, despite Peter Borjous hitting a lead-off home run, the Twins managed to pull off the game. It was freezing once more, though, so enough people left towards the end of the game that I found myself down here towards the end of it:

41513 View at end of game

And as a result of this, I got this from Chris Conroy at the end of the game (Conroy not pictured):

41513 Ball 6

That would be my sixth and final ball of the day.With this baseball, I tied Tony Voda for the lifetime leader for baseballs at Target Field, setting up a head-to-head match-up for the next day between us to for who would hold the title at the end of the day, since we were both going and tied at 79 career baseballs at Target Field.

And then, if you’ll recall, I went almost directly from the game to go watch “42” on Jackie Robinson Day.

STATS:

  • 6 Balls in this game (3 here because I gave 3 away)

41513 Baseballs

Numbers 465-470 for my life:

41513 Sweet Spots

  • 24 Balls in 5 Games= 4.80 Balls Per Game
  • 6 Balls x 23,535 Fans= 141,210 Competition Factor
  • 67 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 17 straight Games with at least 2 Balls
  • 4 straight Games with at least 3 Balls
  • 3 straight Games with at least 4-6 Balls
  • 79 Balls in 19 Games at Target Field= 4.11 Balls Per Game
  • 18 straight Games with at least 1-2 Balls at Target Field
  • 4 straight Games with at least 3 Balls at Target Field
  • 3 straight Games with at least 4-6 Balls at Target Field
  • Time Spent On Game 3:30-1:36= 10 Hours 6 Minutes

15 Comments

Pingback: 4/29/13 at the Oakland Coliseum « 7000 Coliseum Way

Great entry! I also love the team rosters. Jerome Williams pink glove is made by a small company that makes custom gloves, 44pro gloves.

bayareabaseballfan- Thanks. I did not know that about the glove. I just knew it was because of his mom and that he switches to a red glove for his in-game appearances.

I hope it’s not this cold in May when I’m there! (Although I secretly do, to minimize competition.)
– Chris

http://ballhawker.wordpress.com/

Chris- It’s supposed to be in the 70s this weekend (FINALLY!), but I don’t think you want to be in this cold. The Twins probably coming back down to earth with their record will probably be why it’s a bit emptier in May. Plus, both Twins and Red Sox fans are used to this kind of cold.

Looks like a fun day at the ballpark. It looks as cold in Minn. as it is in Michigan. It would be cool to attend a JR game! Let me know when you have an extra ticket…I’ll zip over there and go to a game!
-Mike

Mike- I think I should develop an acronym for April Twins games: FBC. As in, fun but cold. I still have yet to attend a game where it was above 40 degrees for any considerable amount of time. And what do you mean by a “JR” game. I feel like it’s something I should know, but my mind is just completely ignoring the obvious.

JR=Jackie Robinson! I probably should have put JRD=Jackie Robinson Day! Some great pics from your more recent posts, too. Yeah, cold games, but still fun, like ours.
-Mike

Mike- Ah. Gotcha. And assume by “extra ticket” you meant to any game and not just JRD. I’ve had plenty of extra tickets so far, but how long of a drive would that be for you? It seems like it’d be a nightmare just for one game.

Yeah, it would be a long drive, lol! At the same time, the airport a couple of hours south of here has tix to Minneapolis for only about $150. Not bad, but the kids would have a fit if I took off for a game without them.
-Mike

Mike- Family road trip! No, just kidding.

thats great giving away balls to kids! Hey could u check out my blog mateo i just made it and would really appreciate it!

connorhoopman- Thanks. I went ahead and left a comment on your latest entry. It reminds me a lot of my blog when I first started writing it.

Thanks man. You are one of my favorite ballhawks! I’m going to the Blue Rocks game tonight so I will have another post soon.

connorhoopman- You’re welcome. Let me now when it’s up.

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