Results tagged ‘ twins ’
However, as you can tell from the picture, the crowds were a little beefed up. Not only was it the first “weekend” game I had ever attended at Target Field, it was also “Tom Kelly Day”. More on that in a bit.
When I got in, I decided to do the same things as the previous day’s game (if you want to read it, go down to the bottom of this entry and click “Previous Post”): go to left field as soon as the gates open for Josh Willingham’s group. Unfortunately, I didn’t account for what the excess crowd would do to the playability of the section:
Keep in mind this was just minutes after the gates opened.
Instead of trying to compete with them for the first couple of rounds of Indians hitters, I moved into foul ground and tried to get a ball from the Indians position players who were throwing. When one of the players finished, I waved my glove and asked for the ball from him in Spanish. He then tossed it to me:
I made sure to remember the face, and when I looked it up, I saw it was Michael Brantley who tossed me the ball. You know, the totally non-hispanic guy who was born in Bellevue, Washington who I had just asked for a ball in Spanish. Whoops. I guess I’m lucky he didn’t hear my request and just saw me waving my glove.
I then moved out to right field for the group that had supplied me with so many hit balls the previous day. I didn’t get any hit balls, but I managed to get a ball from Shin-Soo Choo, who was manning right field. Sadly, no I didn’t have the chance to ask him for a ball in Korean. What happened was he threw a ball into a guy in the second deck and it bounced off of the electronic scoreboard facing of it, so I snagged it off the bounce:
I was about to throw the ball up to the guy, but he told me that Choo had already tossed him a second ball while I wasn’t looking.
After that, I didn’t really feel like competing with the crowds in extremely cramped right field section, so instead, I competed with the crowds in a slightly-less-cramped-but-extremely-steep-with-an-overhang-blocking-most -of-the-seats left field section. There I got Ubaldo Jimenez to toss me a ball by the bullpens in the part of the left field seats closest to center field:
The dotted arrow is to show where Jimenez jogged to retrieve the ball, and the solid arrow is his throw to me. The kid in the Blackburn shirt had already gotten a ball-as you can see-so I gave the ball to a kid half a section to my right in the first row who still hadn’t gotten a ball.
Later on, a ball got hit to the wall in straight-away left field, and Tony Sipp went to retrieve it. As he approached the wall, I yelled out, “Tony.” When he picked up the ball, he flipped me the ball over a row of fans:
For those of you who weren’t counting, that was my thirty second ball of the day. For those of you who were counting, you’ll know it was my fourth ball of the day. I had a shot at a fifth ball, but…well, let me just explain what happened. Anyway, I felt bad because in that row of fans he had flipped the ball over to me, was a kid who had a glove, but just wasn’t speaking up- much like I used to be (some would argue like I still am). So, I handed him the ball right after confirming he hadn’t gotten one this game.
A ball got hit that I could tell was to my left and falling short of me in the sixth row of the section. So, I ran into the third row and even though I could tell the ball was going to land in the second row, I hoped someone would botch a catch, because there was no way I was going to catch the ball without smacking someone with my glove. Anyway, here is what happened:
I was right behind the guy in white, and at the very last second, he must have lost the ball in the sun because he ducked and put his hands over his head. That’s when the ball hit directly off his upper spine and just to my left. I could have gone after the ball, but I realized right away where the ball had hit, so I made sure he was okay. Just as a general rule, I try NOT to be that guy who cares more about a baseball than anyone else’s well being.
Anyway, soon after that, batting practice ended. Spoiler Alert: Since I was playing for home runs all game, I wouldn’t get another ball for the rest of the game. However, it *was* Tom Kelly Day. This meant his number was getting retired in a big ceremony with members from his teams and the current team involved and different speakers talking about his tenure as manager. I took a bunch of pictures, but I’ll share a couple that I took:
Here is Tom Kelly’s retired number under the black shroud.
The on-field set-up. Kelly’s friends and family were down the first base line and former players were down the third base line.
Tom Kelly walking towards the podium. He was preceded by all of the other players whose numbers have been retired by the Twins. The only deceased of the group being Jackie Robinson, Harmon Killebrew, and Kirby Puckett, who got a video tribute in lieu of walking to their seats. by the pitcher’s mound.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that there was also a give-away that came along with Tom Kelly Day. They also gave away an oar. Yes, an oar:
Why? Just click the bottom picture to read the text on the oar. I realize it looks tiny compared to the top picture. They’re both the same size, but I rotated it, so you wouldn’t have to turn your computers to read it. I’d imagine this would be quite hard for those of you reading this on a desktop.
As for the game, this was my view for the entirety of it:
Yes, I realize this picture was taken after the game, but I completely forgot to take a picture during the game itself. As previously mentioned, there was nothing even close to me. In fact, the lone home run was hit by an Indians righty September call-up.
- 4 Balls at this game (2 pictured because I gave 2 away)
- 185 Balls in 44 Games= 4.20 Balls Per Game
- 4 Balls x 33,698 Fans= 134, 792 Competition Factor
- 53 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
- 3 straight Games with at least 2-3 Balls
- 2 straight Games with at least 4 Balls
- 17 Balls in 5 Games at Target Field= 3.4 Balls Per Game
- 4 straight Games at Target Field with 1-2 Ball(s)
- 3 straight Games at Target Field with at least 3 Balls
- 2 straight Games at Target Field with at least 4 Balls
- Time Spent On Game 2:38- 10:40= 8 Hours 2 Minutes
It was the beginning of a new era for me:
Walking up to Target Field, the best word I can think of to describe the feeling is surreal. I just could *not* believe I was there again. It defied all logic. Why go to a bad ballhawking stadium for the second time in two years? Target Field is the kind of place you visit to say you’ve been there and then stay away for as long as you can.
Once I got to the gates, two people waved at me. It was just kind of like “Whoa, what’s this?” One I actually recognized from the pictures he had of himself on his blog and that was Paul Kom. You can vaguely see him towards the right of the last picture in the white hat. He leaves comments here as paaoool123.
The second person was Tony Voda. Unlike Paul, I had no idea of his existence until a couple days prior, much less an idea of what he looked like. When Zack Hample announced in his blog that I was going off to Minnesota for college, he was one of the many people who contacted me regarding the fact. He left a comment on this blog saying that he would like to meet up some game.
First of all, I would like to say that when a ball plummeted into the gap outside the stadium between the parking garage and the rest of the walkway, Paul and I just wanted to see where the ball had landed. Meanwhile, Tony was already running after it. Apparently, that gap has Interstate 394 under it. When Tony came back with the ball several minutes later, all three of us took a picture together:
That would be me on the left, Tony in the middle, and Paul on the right.
At the gates, we did two things: awaited any balls that might’ve bounced to the gates (Paul nearly got one), and divvied up where we wanted to go in the stadium. Paul took the Mariners dugout, Tony took the Twins dugout, and I wandered all over the place.
My first stop was the third base foul line:
When I got there, Jesus Montero picked up a ball, and I decked out in Mariners hat and sweater (even though it was really hot), asked him for a ball. For whatever reason, he completely ignored me and tossed it into the outfield seats.
So, I made I stop along the third base foul line seats, but I eventually ended up in left field seats where I ended up getting Jason Vargas to toss me a ball:
At least I think it was Vargas. I stupidly didn’t take notes about this game, so I’m basing everything on memory. Anyway, I then headed over to the “section of death” in right-center field. It’s the section of death to myself and other ballhawks (I have come up with the name, but others have agreed with the sentiment.) because it’s four rows of seats to begin with, and the overhang makes it so you can only really catch a home run in the first row or two. In addition to that, there’s a flower bed in the front of the section which means a player has to be about five-ten feet from the wall for you to ask him for a ball.
Anyway, right as I got there, a player overthrew a kid, and the ball flew into concourse:
I then said that I would give him the next ball I snagged.
A few minutes later, I asked Stephen Pryor for a ball, and when he tossed it to me, I gave it to the kid. His sister then hugged me, which was…unexpected. Just to give you an idea of how the flower beds affect one’s sight, here’s a picture of Pryor standing 60+ feet away from the wall:
See? Unless you want to be talking to a bed of flowers, you either have to hope a ball stops just the perfect distance from the wall, or hope the player doesn’t throw the ball right when they get to the wall.
I then pretty much stayed in the right field seats for the rest of batting practice, where the offensively anemic Mariners didn’t send anything into the stands:
I then met up with Paul in foul ground along the third base line.
From there, we both headed over to the left field seats by the bullpen. At that point, he had snagged four balls. He ended up with seven by the end of the day. But don’t take my word/ account for it, right….here is the link to his entry about the game.
When we were sitting there, I saw the Mariners bullpen coach, Jaime Navarro walking to the bullpen, so I put on my Mariners sweater and hat. Once he was picking up the balls that had been hit there during batting practice, I asked him for one. This was the result:
What I hadn’t noticed was Paul had also stood up and had grabbed his camera. Here is the five-second video he took of me snagging the ball:
Thank you to Paul for that.
As for the game, I won’t really talk about the result, but I’ll say Todd Cook was made happy by it. This was my ticketed seat:
but I decided to stay out here for the majority of the game:
I can’t say for certain, but I think I’ll spend most of my time at Target Field out there.
However, as I suspect will be the norm for most of my time out there, nothing was hit even close to the section. After the game, I met up with both Paul and Tony (who also wrote an entry about the game, whose link can be found right….hiaaaagh.) by the dugouts. We then walked to the exit together before saying our goodbyes. I’ll probably see Tony again, but it was in all likelihood Paul’s last Twins game of the season. Anyway, it was good to get to meet both of them in my first “new” game at Target Field.
- 3 Balls at this game (2 pictured because I gave 1 away)
Numbers 393-395 for my “lifetime”:
- 173 Balls in 42 Games= 4.12 Balls Per Game
- 3 Balls x 29,854 Fans= 89,562 Competition Factor
- 51 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
- 5 Balls in 3 Games at Target Field= 1.67 Balls Per Game
- 2 straight Games with at least 1 Ball at Target Field with at least 1 Ball
- 2 straight Games at Target Field with at least 2 Balls
- Time Spent On Game 4:12- 10:36= 6 Hours 24 Minutes
There are truly not many match-ups that I am more excited to see, except for maybe the teams ordered vice-versa in their presentation, i.e. the Twins being the home team:
Who cares what I do in bp? The game itself is great because my two favorite teams are playing. [Let me just clarify that Twins-Yankees is my favorite match-up that I have *attended*. There are other match-ups that in my head seem better to watch, but I haven't seen those teams play live before.] That said, lettuce explore what happened in bp, shall we?
Like I usually do, I started in RF. Here is a map of the four balls I had a reasonable shot at snagging while in those seats:
1. Some lefty hit a ball to my left (right in the picture). It landed and I beat out a guy for the ball. I felt like I kind of squeezed by him into the row where the ball landed and he would have gotten the ball had I not, so I ended up giving him the ball. Here is a picture with an arrow showing where the ball hit from where I was standing when I was in RF:
2. I believe I was on my way back to my usual spot from chasing a ball close to the “1″ spot in the picture…anyway, I ran to my right (left in the picture) and was tracking a HR ball. (When I say HR ball, that does not mean it was during the game. A HR, when refered to on this blog just means a ball that clears the fence on the fly, batting practice or otherwise. I wanted to clarify this since I know I was confused by it when I started reading ballhawk blogs.) I was tracking and drifting towards the ball. Suddenly, I saw a person coming from my right corner of my eye. I slowed down as to not reach in front of this person, hoping he/she dropped the ball. Since I was wearing peripheral vision impairing sunglasses, I couldn’t identify the person without taking my eye off the baseball mid-flight. The person caught the ball, and I looked over to see the glove belonged to Zack Hample.
3. Once again a lefty hit a ball to my right and over my head a bit. I ran over, and as everyone was converging, the ball plopped down into the seats. The Field Level seats at Yankees Stadium are all padded, so the ball often sticks there. Such was the case in this situation. After everyone in pursuit realized it wasn’t bouncing anywhere, we all started searching for it in and beneath the seats. For some reason, everyone else was just looking for it. I myself, meanwhile, was smacking the seats down to reveal the baseball if it had indeed stuck within one of the seats. After about the third seat that I hit, I saw the baseball wedged perfectly in between two parts of the seat’s metal skeleton and picked it up. Here is a picture from where I started running after the ball with an arrow showing where it landed:
4. A ball was hit to the wall in RF and Liam Hendricks went to retrieve it. I went down to try to convince him to toss me the ball. This request worked as he looked right at me and underhanded the ball. It was headed right to me, but just as the ball was arriving, a kid reached in front of me and caught the ball. Here is a picture of the kid and location. I was standing immediately to the right of where he is in the picture:
5. The same beginning as chance #4, but this time Jeff Gray went to retrieve it. As was my ritual in these situations, I went down to the wall and asked him nicely for the ball. When I do these things, I’m sure to look right at the player I’m trying to convince. Just as he tossed the ball to another fan, I heard a “ping” right behind me. I had been hearing from al the people in the RF seats how Denard Span had only hit 5 balls out of the infield in the last batting practice-or something like that-, and as a result, I didn’t think he would hit anything out, but evidently, he got hold of one ball and it hit literally RIGHT behind me. Here are two pictures. The first is where I was standing, the second is where the ball hit (both taken from the same location):
That’s it for my adventures in RF. I did, however, take an excursion to LF between chances 3 and 4. While there, I only had one “real” chance at a ball and capitalized on it. Here is where this occurred:
The larger arrow is where the ball landed and I snagged the ball. The smaller arrow to the left of that is the lady (occluded by her husband) who I gave the ball away to since she was hot in pursuit as well.
That would prove to be the last ball of the day for me. The biggest reason was: I couldn’t tell who anyone was on the Twins. As a product of this, I couldn’t call them by their first names and it was less likely that they would throw me any given ball. You may be thinking “But Mateo, you have a roster of the players, how can you not tell who is who?” To this I offer the response, can *you* name two of the players in this next picture? I had a roster with the pictures of the players and could only name one.:
I realize that the question I ask was semi-rhetorical, but if you did take it as a challenge, I don’t know the name of the player walking in the top right part of the picture, but the names of the other three (going left to right) are:
1. Matt Maloney
2. Jared Burton
3. Nick Blackburn
After batting practice was over, I headed up to my assigned seat in the LF bleachers. There I eyed the five balls that were just laying in the Twins’ bullpen. At this point, I was thinking, “I’m the only one with Twins gear in the entire region surrounding the bullpen, if more than one Twin picks up all the balls.” Silly Mateo, ideas like this are for stadiums that aren’t in New York. What happened instead was that this guy picked up all the balls and threw them all to people with Yankee gear on:
I then had nothing else to do, so I watched Anthony Swajgagjsioetioak (Swarzak), the Twins starting pitcher, warm up from the bleachers:
Then I realized where I was standing. I was pretty much in THE spot where Derek Jeter hit his 3,000th career hit. Due to this, I felt the obligation to take a picture of the field from there:
As for the game, it started VERY well, with the Twins scoring four runs before the Yankees even got to bat. That was more than I had seen them score in TWO GAMES in Baltimore! I was pretty comfortable thinking that the Twins would win the first game against the Yankees that I was in attendance for since Johan Santana was pitching for them. Not only this, but a win in this game would also give the Twins a win in a four game series against the Yankees. I can’t say for sure, but I’m pretty sure that hasn’t happened for at least a decade, if not more. After the first inning was over, though, the Twins only lead the game by one run:
The Yankees would go on two win the game 7-6. The story of the day, however, was Curtis Granderson. Just look at what the scoreboard said when he came up in the sixth inning:
That’s right. He had three HRs in his first three at-bats, and would go on to go five for five on the day, tacking on two singles.
What was I doing during the game? At school I made a little sign for the game. Here is what I looked like for most of the game:
For those who don’t know, Bert Blyleven is the one of the Twins announcers and it is common for him to circle fans in the stands. I don’t know when it began, but since he started, it is customary that Twins fans bring “Circle Me Bert” signs to the ballpark in hopes of having him circle them using his telestrator. The phenomenon has grown big enough that it has its own website. Here is a semi-clearer picture of the sign while it was off my head:
I have no idea if I was circled or not, but it was fun looking like an idiot for a game and explaining to half of the people in the LF bleachers what “Circle Me Bert” meant and who “Bert” was. Oh, and as I was writing this entry Zack (as in the Hample one I mention earlier) published his entry about this game, so here is the link to it.
- 3 balls this game (1 here in a picture that I took in Homeroom, because I would later give that away to my baseball coach)
which put me up to 234 career baseballs (this particular ball is #233, but you can’t see my writing on the ball due to the lighting):
- 12 balls this year in 3 games= 4 Balls Per Game.
- 12 straight games with at least 1 ball.
- 3 straight games with at least 3 baseballs.
- 3 balls* 40,237 fans= 120,981 Competition Factor
- 26 Balls obtained in 9 Games at the New Yankee Stadium= 2.89 Balls Per Game
- Time at Game 4: 21- 10:33= 6 hours 12 minutes
Guess how I spent Easter. I had my bonnet:
Now I was only here for my one, maybe two balls from the pitchers warming up since there would be no bp, but wait what’s this?:
My first ball came when a ball hit down in the row where there is a gap in the railing:
Avi Miller could have raced me for the ball, but as he said, he’s not up for knocking each other down. Another ball landed there a little while after and I “passed on” Avi’s act of kindness and let another fan get the ball even though it had bounced closer to me after hitting the seats.
My second ball, I believe, came from me running down the row that disappears into the upper-right corner of this next picture:
My third ball, I believe (I know I caught my 2nd and 3rd balls this way, but I don’t know in which order) came from me running across and catching a ball right in front of Matt Hersl. I was right about where Matt is in this picture when I caught the ball:
I then moved over to the flag court for Joe Mauer’s hitting group and sadly the only thing of note that happened was a vendor on Eutaw Street got nailed by a Joe Mauer HR. I don’t want to share the pictures of him, but here they are cleaning his blood off the ground:
Then came an interesting scenario in that a person was trying to glove trick a ball, who was not a Ballhawk I recognized, and had no idea what he was doing. Can you identify why?:
That’s right. He was doing the glove trick without a pen and was wondering why it wasn’t working. So I gave him my pen and as a result he handed me the ball. I then looked around for a person to give the ball to. After about five minutes, I found this little girl (she’s partially hidden by her mother):
Normally, I can’t stand people who wear a team’s gear that isn’t playing in the game, because it’s a big “FU” to the teams playing, but an exception was clearly in order for this fan decked out in pink Nationals gear.
That was it for bp. Once again I was out in the flag court and thought the baseball gods had set me up with the perfect scenario to catch my first game HR with 12 of the 18 hitters hitting from the Left side of the plate, but sadly they were only baiting me and got me, hook, line, and sinker. You see there was a pretty good wind blowing in from RF, so even if a player managed to get the angle of his hit high enough, which is the challenge with getting a RF HR, it would be knocked down by the wind. There were two balls that looked good directly off the bat, but absolutely died, one of which still managed to get Justin Morneau a hit.
To top it off, the Twins nearly escaped a no-hitter with the previously mentioned Morneau hit being the first hit, but still lost the game, completing a less-than-desired start to the season for my Twins. I went to the umpire tunnel to try and get a ball from Bill Welke (I think his name is “Bill”, but a voice in my head is telling me Tim (I only memorize umpire’s last names). Avi told me he only gave away one ball, so I guess I’m not as embittered, not that I was before. This is, of course, if he only had one ball to give away, but I think he did, because I called him out by last name and was wearing this hat:
After the game, I had two hours before my bus was scheduled to leave so I wandered all the places I had been with my dad on our trip to Camden Yards in 2008. So like the Harbor Area, our hotel, and things like that. I am now writing this from said bus and extremely regretful of that wandering since everything is tired. Throughout the whole day I was lugging around this backpack:
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get some sleep as I have to get up at 3:30 AM tomorrow to go to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina…right after I post the stats.
• 4 Balls at this game (3 pictured, because I gave one that I counted away)
• 9 Balls this season in 2 games= 4.5 Balls Per Game
• 11 straight games with at least 1 ball
• 2 straight games with at least 4 balls
• 4 balls*14,738 fans= 58,952 competition factor
• Time at Game 10:58- 4:07= 5 hours 11 minutes
So I *was* going to start this entry with a statement along the lines of “Whoo, it feels good to have baseball back! The truth is, it feels like I never really stopped ballhawking. Either that or I haven’t yet realized that baseball has started up yet. It does feel good to be at a baseball game, but it’s certainly not the same butterflies I had on my first game of last year.
Anyway, here is what happened in at the game itself. After a brief stop at the American Visionary Art Museum, I arrived at the gates of Oriole Park at Camden Yards:
There I met up with Matt Hersl to buy my tickets for these two games: 2 for me at $9 a piece and 2 for this game for my mom and step-dad at $25 a piece. If you’re keeping track, that’s $68 total. I offered Matt $70 since I like to give the people who buy me season tickets SOMEthing for their efforts (I actually should have offered him $80, since he saved me around $10-15 by buying the tickets as a season ticket holder) 99% of other people do what? “Oh thanks” and take the extra two dollars, and that’s if they buy the tickets for you in the first place. What did Matt do? He gave me the $10 bill back, and actually took an $8 hit for buying me a ticket. Not only this, but he was just generally nice to me all day.
After that, we got in line with who I *believe* to be Tim Anderson and Ben Huff. I say “believe”, because we never formally introduced ourselves. We were then were met by Avi Miller, who was a shocker since I was initially going to buy the tickets from him, but he didn’t think he was going to be there for the whole weekend.
So we were all gathered at Eutaw street’s gate H and guess which dolt forgot to take a picture of the group? If you guessed Mateo Fischer, you guessed correctly.
For some reason, even with everyone outside the gates, I arrived at the LF seats before anyone else with Matt maybe three steps behind me, and this was my view:
Orioles was really dead considering Camden Yards is one of the best HR parks in the majors. I probably could have gotten a, if not a few, baseball(s) if I asked the right Orioles, but I held off on it since I wanted to get myself in the groove getting hit balls. I caved into the temptation, though, when the non-season ticket holders were about to be let into the LF seats. I asked Wilson Betemit, Pedro Strop, and Luis Ayala for a baseball and got ignored each time. Finally, a ball bounced off the warning track, and since there was no one around me and it was going over me head, I goofed off and caught it with my back facing the field. Here is the ball:
Almost immediately afterward, I changed into my favorite team’s (Minnesota Twins) gear and stationed myself behind the pitchers that were warming up:
If you see the rightmost throwing pair, the guy closest to me is Glen Perkins. When they finished throwing, however, the far partner spotted me as a Twins fan and lobbed a ball clear over my head. He then immediately went back to talking with Perkins. By the way in which he did it, I thought he didn’t care about giving me a second chance at a ball. However, I wanted to stay and see if I could get a ball from the last throwing pair since I knew the far partner was Jeff Gray and 95% of baseball fans wouldn’t know that. Also, the number of people in the LF seats didn’t hurt in keeping me in foul territory:
Now that may not seem like that many people, but considering there had been maybe ten people, I thought it would be worth it to stay and wait the extra few minutes for Gray to finish up throwing. In this time, the guy who missed me fielded a ball and looked in my direction. I realized what was up and crouched down like a catcher where he then proceeded to lob me a ball with no one around me. Here is the player, whose identity I haven’t the fainest clue of. He is the one on the left:
Avi Miller had just arrived on the scene and although he was ten rows below me (jokingly) claimed that the ball had clearly been intended for him. We then both went over to the Left Field seats, during this journey, I was reminded that the Orioles were using 20th anniversary Oriole Park at Camden Yards balls. I mean I remember reading about them in the offseason, but I had not planned this trip in anyway around those commemorative baseballs, so it was a bonus to say the least. The LF seats were pretty crowded, but as if right on the cue of me finding out the Orioles had been using the commemorative baseballs, I managed to range ten feet to my right and snag one on the fly myself:
I didn’t get that much applause, but about five people congratulated me after the fact. As for the ball itself, to say it was in good shape is a gross understatement, it was perfect beyond perfect. If you didn’t know it had been used, you never would have guessed so. Here is a shot I took after the game:
Since the LF seats were pretty crowded, and I acknowledged that I had gotten really lucky in getting that ball hit to where it was, I moved over to the CF seats. There, I got what would be my last ball of bp. A ball hit the seats a little behind me and bounced into seats closer to me. I then beat out a man to it. Seeing as I had outraced him to the ball and it was my fourth ball of the day, I offered it to him, but he told me to “keep it”.
I did then go out to the flag court, but no balls were hit out there, and even if they were, the sun would have made it near impossible to catch one on the fly:
The arrow shows where the sun was during bp ( I took the picture during the game) and the two lines show the general area where the balls were going in the sky. So even though they weren’t going directly through the sun, if you weren’t leaning against the fence at the front of the section, you would have to be staring into the sun waiting for a ball to be hit.
As you can tell, I was in the Flag Court for the game. There were more Righties than Lefties in the game, but as a continuation of my last three games, I’m just going to be there every game I go to Camden Yards until a HR gets hit there. Once that happens, I will either catch it or whiff and I can go on with my life.
Now usually, I change back into the Home Team’s gear, but I stayed in the Twins gear since that is my favorite team:
Now why did I have that look on my face? It was the fourth inning and the Twins were already losing 6-0 (they would go on to lose 8-2). After the game, I headed down to the Umpire Tunnel, and asked the umpire (whose last name I had been repeating since the first inning to remember), whose first name I don’t remember, but after asking “Mister Nelson” for a ball he tossed me up a perfect example of a rubbed-up Oriole Park Commemorative. Here it is right after I caught it:
and here it is when I took a picture of it at “home” after the game:
For the record, I *do* have game pictures, but wanted to get this entry up before I leave for South Carolina, so I’ll upload those to the Facebook page and notify y’all of it when it is done via the twitter page, but for now at least, that’s all that he wrote.
• 5 Balls at this game
Numbers 223-227 for my “career”:
• 10 straight games with at least 1 ball
• 5 balls*31,532 fans= 157,660 competition factor (little fun fact: the competition factor from my last game at Camden Yards was 31,352, which is almost exactly the attendance of this game).
• Time at Game 4:04-9:57= 5 hours 53 minutes. Given, I did spend some of the time on the front end just waiting inside the Hilton, it was “at the ballpark” since I was waiting for the gates to open.
As a person who identifies himself as a Twins fan more than a fan of any other team, I would just like to forget that 2011 happened and be happy that Terry Ryan is back at GM to hopefully rebuild this shell of a team:
Josh Willingham, Jason Marquis , Jamey Carroll, Ryan Doumit, and Joel Zumaya.
Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel, Jose Mijares, Joe Nathan, and Matt Tolbert.
Why?: I just really don’t like that the Twins lost two of the most underrated Outfielders in baseball and their closer. This doesn’t seem like it went that well. To tell you the truth, I’m just still depressed that the Twins season was so bad and that I went to their stadium the one of the few series the whole year that it would be packed. I really can’t think straight anymore when it comes to the Twins. True, I did give the Twins a D- in this same entry last year, but I didn’t expect that losing most of their bullpen would result in a season of 30 fewer runs, and really, it didn’t. The whole team stunk last year. Michael Cuddyer was their All-Star rep and he ended the year with 20 HRs. This was a below-average season for him, but he was the best player on the team through the first half. They were just THAT bad.
I can’t explain at all what happened. It’s like the whole team just decided collectively to have the worst season of their careers. All I can say is that I really hope Terry Ryan can pick up where he left off and start getting the Twins back to the playoffs. Actually, the Twins never were a team for a big offseason haul. They really just didn’t lose too much in the offseason and developed talent. For example, they still made the playoffs the year Johan Santana. True, Bill Smith messed up big time by only getting back Carlos Gomez and Phillip Humber for Santana, but they made the playoffs (I remember that the Red Sox were offering Buchholtz and another player while the Yankees were on the verge of offering Ian Kennedy and Melky Cabrera. Everything worked out well in retrospect for the Yankee fan in me as the Mets took their rightful spot loserville, but I would have liked to see the Twins get a little more back. Yay for parenthetical statements!).
Also I really don’t like Target Field for the Twins. As a person who went there this year, it *is* a really nice stadium, it’s friendly and absolutely gorgeous, but it seems to be a disadvantage to the Twins. Yes they did do really well in the first year at Target Field, but this seems more natural. I guess I should actually wait a few more years to get a broader sample base, but it just doesn’t scream home to me like the Metrodome did. The Twins were better at home, but only by three games. I don’t know, maybe it’s just the fact that I prefer domed stadiums, but I would have liked to see the Twins stay in the H.H.H Metrodome -or whatever it is they’re calling it these days.
Predicted Record Range: 65-70 wins. I know I have the Twins getting worse as a result of this offseason, but I just can’t imagine them being worse than last season.
I’d rather forget this entry , but here is the original.
Predicted Record Range: 91-96 wins
Actual Record: 63- 99
So I was only off by about 30 wins. I really have no words to describe how bad this prediction truly was or how the Twins got to this point. All I can do is break down where they downgraded.
Bullpen: They definitely downgraded in the bullpen as most of their bullpen help from 2010 were mid-year acquisitions. In addition, their established set-up men like Jesse Crain and Matt Guerrier also left and their injured relievers like Joe Nathan and Pat Neshek underachieved according to what their past said they should be doing. I think that this bullpen has to be completely re-done.
Rotation: It pretty much stayed the same,but would have downgraded if Francisco Liriano did not improve like he did. The main thing with the rotation this year is that they were injured too much. Rick Anderson has his fingerprints on the organization in such a way that throwing strikes will get you to the show and any talent you have past that is just icing on the cake, but I don’t think that having your best pitchers get injured is the best way to win because of the inconsistency it causes. I think the rotation is best run with the laissez faire approach because this farm system turns out consistent pitchers like there’s no tomorrow.
Outfield: It was just two years ago when playing MLB 2k9 that I remarked to my dad that the Twins had too many Outfielders who would be starters one other teams. This year, (no disrespect to him) they had Ben Revere among others playing in the Outfield. Jason Kubel certainly has dropped off. He used to be a player you could count on for 30 HR and 80+ RBIs. The same coudl be said for Michael Cuddyer except when he did it this year he was an exceptional player on the Twins instead of being one of the background players he usually is for putting up his usual numbers. This needs be completely re-done with the losses of Delmon Young, Michael Cuddyer, and Carlos Gomez (yes I know he left a few years ago).
Infield: As far as defense goes, the Twins will never have major issues because they take 1,000 ground balls a day, but as far as the offensive production goes, they have fallen off. I think we can attribute this to Justin Morneau not coming back to full strength. Like Starting Pitchers, the Twins produce solid middle infielders because of the aforementioned 1,000 ground balls a game. I think they are pretty well set with Danny Valencia, but that 1st base situation must be stabilized by one way or another.
Overall, I completely failed with this prediction. The only worse thing I could have said is: ” they will win the World Series.” I am still trying to forget this season in general when it comes to twins baseball because as you might remember, my consecutive games streak came to a close at Target Field in August.
Now my second game at Target Field and you know I wasn’t arriving late:
This is actually an artsier picture than you may think. You see it is a metaphorical camera taking picture of the screen on which it is being broadcast on as I am the baseball catcher, being caught as a baseball in the device that I usually use to catch baseballs myself to catch baseballs which makes me … Oh whatever, you can get it is me being caught as I am acting like a baseball being hit into the glove.
That was 3 hours before the actual game time start. Since bp doesn’t start until 2 and 1/2 hours before I had some time to kill:
I wandered a little to the left of my gate and took a picture of the Twins’ former owner in front of Rod Carew’s gate 29. I don’t remember his name but my uncle knew him so he was the owner in the 60′s I’d say. Anyway, do you notice the funky yet beautiful wall behind the owner? That is made purely out of Minnesota limestone. Target Field is the greenest Stadium in baseball and part of that is how far the materials to build the stadium had to travel to get there.
I did mention the gate I got to Target Field so early to stand at, right? Well let me specify a bit. I got to the Stadium so early because of Gate 34:
Even more specifically, the fact that Gate 34 is behind the SRO section in Right Field. Since the gates are open that meant that any ball hit into that section would have a chance of bouncing to the gate where I could pick it up. I would have to be fast, though. As you can see, I wasn’t the only one that showed up this early. You can maybe see there is a person to the right of me in that last picture (I’m in the Twins shirt).
Things got pretty crowded pretty quickly. This is the view from the gate two hours before gametime:
That is my uncle Richard to the right, by the way. If that doesn’t give you an idea of the crowd this next one should:
Pretty self-explanatory. Due to the crowd, I was limited to one gate and when a baseball finally did get to the gate it was too far away for me to range and get it.
When I did get into the stadium it didn’t take me long to get a ball. Some player threw a ball to someone. I didn’t see the person but I saw the ball land in the rose bushes in front of my section so I picked the ball up. It was a bit out so I actually had to balance on my stomach in order to reach the ball and scared my uncle in the proccess. He thought I was about to flip out of:
Just a quick not on the picture. I love how it portays me as the haggard individual with the Red Sox shirt down and facial expression. This was obviously due to the fact I hadn’t gotten a ball the previous day.
I then left my uncle and went to Left Field before it got too crowded for me to snag anything. Clay Buchholtz quickly hooked me just seconds after I arrived on the scene:
The bigger red arrow points out where I was and still am standing and the smaller red arrow shows the path of the ball as it left Buchholtz’s hand. As you can see, the ball went a bit above my head. So, I climbed on the bleacher bench, jumped up, caught the ball, did a 180, and landed on that same bench. I recieved a bit of applause from the crowd but I could tell that from their faces it was applause that I was still alive because I was turning in mid air their faces showed sheer terror.
Guess how much I got after that toss-up: nada, nothing, zip, zero, zilch, squat, diddly, or diddly squat. I went back to the section where I got the first ball and was again the only one in Red Sox gear (no matter how much it pained me to put it on) but the player just weren’t throwing anything to me.
I called out to them:
None of the players or coaches would throw me a ball. I don’t know if it was that they saw me get the Buchholtz ball or what but on several occasions the Red Sox made gestures like they couldn’t throw it up to me and then threw a ball to a person without their garb five feet to my left.
I ended batting practice with my two baseballs here in this picture:
For the game, I just chilled in the SRO section for the game. I only moved back and readied myself for a Home Run when one of these three guys for the Red Sox came up:
Nothing came even close to the section but I had fun out there. It is similar to the Nationals CF area in that there is a lot of big board action. Richard got pictures of someone we identified as the PA Guy after extensive investigation:
T.C., the Twins’ mascot (TC stands for Twin Cities):
and a video memorial to Harmon Killebrew that the Twins now play everyday:
That last picture actually shows Killebrew’s signature that they emblazoned onto the outfield wall in RF to honor him. I go through the pictures because even though I didn’t see Killebrew play once he is in my top 10 favorite players all time because he was the only baseball card my dad recognized out of all the cards I had and because of that I did some research and found out what a great person he was besides the baseball he played. I would compare him to a Jim Thome in how he was. I am not religious but I also do not believe in coincidence and Killebrew died within two hours of my dad’s passing.
So how about we get some of those happy thoughts back in our head. My view for the game wasn’t THAT spectacular and it didn’t help that I was standing the whole time but it was still pretty good:
I think this and last game really set the tone for the trip in that it wasn’t great snagging wise but I had a great time at all the games I went to. The twins (my favorite team) beat the Red Sox (one of my least favorite teams) and Joe Nathan got the save. This would have made me happy on its own as he is one of my favorite players as well but it also made him the Twins’ all-time saves leader and it was special to be there for that. I don’t really know how to segway into this picture but I wanted to include it. So, here is Richard after the game:
2 balls at this game
Numbers 189-180 for my career
129 baseballs in 32 games= 4.03 balls per game
Time at Game 4:10-10:26
It was my first game at Target Field. Yes I had heard it was a tough stadium to snag at and yes I knew the Red Sox bring a big following with them wherever they go. So why did I get there 15 minutes before the gates opened? This was the first game of a five game, two week trip in the Midwest that came together through offers by people to stay with them at my dad’s living memorial a few months ago. It started as a strictly baseball trip but quickly evolved to include college visits in it. Today’s visit was the University of Minnesota. I bring this up because this and the fact that me and my partner for this leg of the trip (my uncle) had to pick up our tickets from a friend afterward and as a result got to the gates a little later than I would have liked.
Anyway, here I am at gate 6:
As you can see there were a lot of fans at the gate. The gates by the way, are named after famous Twins. So gate 3 is named after Harmon Killebrew, gate 34 after Kent Hrbek etc. Gate 6 happens to be named after Tony Oliva. Once I got in the stadium it wasn’t much better. I initially went to Left Field but it was so crowded since it took five minutes for me to get into the stadium and the steps were so sloped that there was almost no chance I would catch anything so I changed into my Red Sox gear and opted for the emptier Right-Center Field seating:
There was nothing to be found there or anywhere for that matter. I just kept trying my luck with the players and coaches in that area but they kept throwing the balls to kids and other people in my section even though I was one of three people in Red Sox gear:
At one point, one of the coaches actually motioned that he couldn’t throw that high because he didn’t have the arm. It was at most 20 feet up and I suspect he just didn’t want to cause anyone’s harm. I tried to get the players at just the right times when they were closest to the wall but they appeared deaf. Simply put, I was not ready to attend a batting practice on this day. I hadn’t thought of a good place to go during bp, I had no rosters printed out, and had I it wouldn’t have mattered because most of the players were wearing their pullover bp lining which does not have either their name or number on the back. Here I am contemplating my strategy while a three players are on the field, two of which have the pullover jerseys:
In addition, there is a portion in Right Field that juts out and obstructs a persons view of players in the corner or close to it and blocks out a person’s shouting to said players with requests for a ball. You can see that here:
You may also see that I have drawn an arrow in that last picture. It had no presence in my mind then but of course occurs to me now that I could have stood there and tried to scoop up rollers that players hit down the line as that corner spot would be ideal for such a strategy. If you have never been to a stadium that opens 1 and1/2 hours early you should know that the time goes by really quickly. That is what happened here. Batting Practice was over and I did not have a baseball.
As I made my way over to my seats for the game I stopped in the Standing Room Only section in Right Field and took a picture of the “Shimmering Wall”:
This majesty would be a wall in front of a parking lot made up of thousands of individual metallic panels about three by two inches. These panels are hanging by a hinge at their top so that they flap slightly upwards when a breeze goes by thereby creating a different reflection than the other panels on the wall. This makes sort of a stream going through the wall showing the wind. You can sort of see it towards the top right of the picture where there is a u shape that is darker than all of the panels around it. If you have never been and will visit Target Field you should really check it out as it is beautiful. I would have explored more and done quirky things like that but I was for this whole trip with family and the exploration part of a new stadium is fine and dandy but lugging around another person that doesn’t want to explore can be a bit of a pain. It’s not to say that the people i was with wouldn’t want to explore but i just didn’t want to find out that they didn’t mid-exploration. Speaking of those seats, this picture shows both where the seats were and how absolutely crowded the stadium was:
If you can also see the man in the gray shirt and green hat bending down, he was the ball that came in closest proximity to me just seconds prior to me taking that picture is what he is looking at at that moment. a few others came within 20 feet of me but it was just so packed that all I had to move on was the staircase on which I was sitting. Usually, I would have tried the dugouts but I didn’t want to abandon my family and the stadium was just so beautiful that I pretty much decided that besides any hit balls that came close to me I would sit back and enjoy the game. I realized I was risking a 57 game streak but the Midwest portion of my family and friends of family is one that I enjoy spending time with the most most of my branches (no offense to Colombia and California). Sure I was a few seats away because I wanted to sit on the aisle but I didn’t want to venture a few sections away.
Actually, I shouldn’t say that. The only time I left considerably was during Jim Thome’s at-bats because he was 2 Home Runs away from 600 and I didn’t want to miss either 599 or 600. A few batters before Thome got up I would get out of my seat and make the trek to the Right Field Standing Room Only section on the other side of the field:
My face say it all:
Thome hit neither of his two Home Runs that day and no one even came close to the section the whole game.
I would have gone down to the umpire tunnel but the Twins had a semi-moat in the infield seats and I didn’t want to leave my family waiting for me a the top of the section until i came back up. Here is a picture of the moat:
The moat begins at the wall I have inside my dotted box (made of Minnesota limestone). I say that it is a semi-moat because usually moats keep everyone except ticket holders for that section out starting when the gates open. This however is not the case as you can see the ushers pointed out by my three arrows are well away from the staircase which is to the left of them in the picture. So people can enjoy bp from these seats and THEN get out (you listening Yankees?). The usher was at her post at he end of the game so I figured not to make a ruckus and just leave the seats.
Speaking of my family here they are in a picture we took at the top of the section:
That would be:
1. Mateo Fischer- Myself wearing my now official magnetic pen of baseball labeling. Provided by the good people at Private Home Care.
2. Richard Fischer- My uncle and now whenever he wants to be the honorary photographer for Observing Baseball. He really did by far the best job of any of the photographers I have had. Not only in this game but in the next three blog entries I will do so keep on the look-out for that.
3. Mark Fischer- Richard’s son aka my cousin who showed up for the day when he heard we had an extra ticket and who I visited when I was in Minnesota for the last season of the Metrodome.
4. John Fischer- Richards’s other son aka my other cousin who actually provided myself and Richard with housing while we were in Minnesota for these two days creating havoc for his less-than-100-percent household at the time.
- 127 balls in 31 games= 4.10 Balls Per Game
- Time at Game 5:17- 9:56= 4 hours 39 minutes