I grew up a Yankee fan, I favor Pitchers whenever possible, I am a stathead, and my dream job is to be a GM for an MLB franchise. In the summer, I go to MLB games and catch baseballs. In the winter, I write about what teams are doing to get better or worse. I try to be positive and unbiased in my writing, but that isn't always possible when evaluating teams truthfully.
With Twinsfest moving from its usual home at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome–which was getting demolished as Twinsfest took place–to Target Field, there obviously needed to be a restructuring of the Twinsfest to be able to hold it indoors away from the Minnesota cold. Thus, one of my projects coming into Twinsfest was to document this new set-up for anyone who was curious about how everything was crammed into Target Field.
There were three levels to the new Twinsfest set-up–with their elevator floors next to them:
3. Suite Level.
2. Club Level.
0. Main Concourse (Only used as an entrance to and exit from Twinsfest. Nothing was actually held there.)
-2. Service Level.
The first day of Twinsfest, I went with Paul Kom, and my college friend Tony Blustein. That day, Paul and I filmed two of the levels. One for each of our channels/blogs and featured each other in them. The next day I went with another college friend who you may more readily recognize, Jonathan, and I did the final level.
Now here from the top level down, are the tours of the floors of Twinsfest:
I do have more footage I have to edit that I filmed at Twinsfest. That will be the next entry where I interviewed two people about there experiences at Twinsfest (first video) and then a three-day vlog of my time at Twinsfest (second video). But until then, keep voting for what you want to see on the blog after that in this poll and leave comments for what concepts you would the new blog icon:
While I’ve always kind of known which teams I like and which I don’t–although even those have changed throughout the years–I truly have never ranked the teams 1-30 as to which I like better than others. So that’s what I’m going to do right now. (Disclaimer: This is a list of how I order the teams in the offseason of 2013-14. While most of my decision in where to put a team in the rankings is based off of the franchise itself, some of it is based on who is on the team right now, so these rankings are subject to change over time.)
1. Minnesota Twins-
My story with the Twins is that I grew up a Yankees fan being from New York, but being that I look at things from a GM’s perspective, I thought that being Brian Cashman and having a $200-million payroll would be a pretty boring job creatively since he could essentially buy any player he wanted to. In thinking this, I thought of a team who had success but doing so with a reduced payroll that required teams to build their team in an innovative way on a much smaller budget. Being as it was the mid-2000s, the Twins was a natural choice seeing as they were a constant playoff team with one of the lowest budgets in baseball. Now don’t get me wrong; there’s a different challenge in being the GM of the Yankees: you’re never allowed to take a year off having success to rebuild your core/farm system, but I was entranced by the building of a successful major league team from a solid minor league core.
2. Washington Nationals-
In going to a ton of games at Nationals Park in 2011 I fell in love with the core of players that went 80-81 as well as the people who inhabited it. Ever since then, I have been a really big fan of the players that made up the core of the teams in the next two years. And because of me falling in love with the Nationals Park environment for whatever reason as well as the people who made it such a special place, I became a fan of the franchise as a whole.
3. Tampa Bay Rays-
Much like the Twins, the Rays endeared themselves to me by being a team that built their team intelligently–allowing them to achieve repeated success on a payroll that can’t compare to that of a larger market team.
4. San Francisco Giants-
The Giants is an interesting case because it started as simply a liking of a specific player: Tim Lincecum. However, as I kept up with Lincecum more and more as he began to turn from the Washington kid who could pitch insanely fast for his size to a household name, I grew to have a liking fro the other players on the Giants as well. I think having shared a hotel with the players in Milwaukee and having a mini-conversation with a couple of them as well as having a personal memory of what Brian Wilson was like pre-beard may have contributed to this connection to the team, though.
5. Texas Rangers-
I truly have no idea how the Rangers managed to climb my list so high. I used to not really be a fan of them in their team with the two Rodriguezes, but as they turned towards a team that relied more on pitching *in addition to* the offense the Rangers always seemed to have, I really liked the teams that they constructed around 2009-10.
6. New York Yankees-
While they have fallen down my list and I hate the franchise past the team itself, they still are my childhood team that I can’t help to root for.
7. Philadelphia Phillies-
While it was not the beginning of my fandom of them, this certainly sealed it for me. They’d be higher on the list for me, but Phillies fans.
8. Toronto Blue Jays-
Part of me always sympathized with our neighbors to the north. Even when the Expos were still a team, I liked the Blue Jays a lot and always secretly as a Yankee fan hoped they would surge up and break the norm of the AL East standings for a while in the early 2000s–which was:
2. Red Sox
3. Blue Jays
5. Devil Rays
I just really always wanted them to have success, and this translated to a fandom of the team when they played teams that weren’t my top-of-the-line favorite teams.
9. Milwaukee Brewers-
My liking of the Brewers began in around 2008 when CC Sabathia joined the team for half a season and did amazing with being in attendance for what should have been a no-hitter, (I might write about this/do a video for a “Blast From the Baseball Past” entry) but then I just had a fandom for the Fielder and Braun teams. My fandom for the team, though, has lessened the past couple of years for obvious reasons regarding one or more of the aforementioned players.
10. Oakland Athletics-
(See Tampa Rays.)
11. Cincinnati Reds-
I think this is kind of a fusion of many of the various teams I have talked about to this point. So in part it’s like the Rays where I liked that a solid major league team was built from the pooling of major league talent, but it is also a lot like the Giants since I really like Joey Votto as a player.
12. Atlanta Braves-
I think this is Nationals-esque in that I loved Turner Field and its atmosphere. I also liked the core and became much more of a fan because of people I have met that are passionate about the Braves. And I can say that the fact that Julio Teheran plays for them doesn’t hurt them at all.
13. Arizona Diamondbacks-
This is one of the teams that I honestly don’t know why I like more than most teams. I’ve just always liked Diamondbacks teams (after the 2001 season, that is.) Yeah, I don’t know.
14. Seattle Mariners-
This has been mostly the product of running into very nice baseball people who are fans of the Mariners. I’m also a fan of how good of a pitching team they have been despite being offensively anemic the past seasons.
15. Baltimore Orioles-
Similarly to the Mariners, I just know a ton of awesome baseball people that are Orioles fans. In addition to that, their stadium is my favorite in baseball. I would say that really the only reason they’re this far down the list is that some Orioles fans became obnoxious as they began to climb out of the AL East cellar.
16. Detroit Tigers-
I know that I’m supposed to hate the Tigers as a Twins fan, but the fact that we beat them in the game 163 we played them helps and I always admired the teams that had success more than most of the teams I am supposed to dislike.
17. Pittsburgh Pirater-
I can pretty safely say that if I weren’t a ballhawk, this team would be lower on the list, but because of the big ballhawk following in Pittsburgh, I have kept up and liked the Pirates and it was incredibly fun watching them have success for the first time in over two decades last season.
18. Miami Marlins-
Ah the Marlins. Those poor souls. I always had an affinity for them especially teams with the 30+ homer infields of Uggla, Ramirez, Cantu, and Jacobs. That said, Jeffrey Loria has made this a team that I can’t root for over half of the other teams. They remain a team that I’m intrigued by and want to root for, and they would skyrocket up this list if Loria ever sold them and kept them in Miami, but right now they’re just not a team I can really get behind.
19. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim-
I don’t know about this team. I want to like them in many respects, but they lost me when they started spending a bajillion dollars on free agents, trading for Vernon Wells, and then having success with not with their big free agent acquisitions but with the farm talent they had beforehand.
20. Colorado Rockies-
The Rockies are one of those teams I have a preference towards, but still in a kind of “eh” way. I’ve never disliked them really, but I’ve never really had any passion behind my support of them.
21. San Diego Padres-
I used to like them a lot more in the Trevor Hoffman era, but they’ve dropped a bit since then not necessarily because their lack of success but the players behind these teams. They just haven’t been groups of guys that I’d like to get behind.
22. Cleveland Indians-
Again, never disliked them but never really liked them.
23. Houston Astros-
I actually like the group of people in this team and could see myself liking a lot in the years to come. That said, they have made some pretty bad decisions in the past and it was not a shock that they were as bad of a team as they have been.
24. Kansas City Royals-
I actually like this franchise in terms of their ballpark and look, but then there are the people behind the scenes that ruin this team for me. At the ballpark, I have not heard many positive things about their ushers, and behind the franchise, I disagree on many things with the GM of the team, Dayton Moore. I think that the team could have been competing a long time ago had it not been for his guidance.
25. St. Louis Cardinals-
The main reason for them being this far down the list is the fact that their fans claim incorrectly that they are definitely the “best fans in baseball.” While I don’t think there is a no-doubt group of the best fans in baseball, if my experience with Cardinals fans in baseball has taught me anything, it is that while the Cardinals fan base may be in the top-10, they are definitely not the no-doubt best fans in baseball they claim to be.
26. Chicago White Sox-
I was a fan of the 2005 Astros and 2008 Twins. Enough said.
27. New York Mets-
They’re the Mets. I don’t know how many things I have admired about the Mets the past five years. If it’s any indication, the rendition of “Meet the Mets” that I have adopted begins:
Beat the Mets,
Beat the Mets,
Step right up and,
Sweep the Mets
28. Los Angeles Dodgers-
While I have kind of liked the players on the Dodgers for stretches, their recent acquisition by the Kasten-Johnson group and metamorphosis into baseball’s new Yankees has really turned me off to them. I have disliked them sans Vin Scully for a much longer time than just that, but that’s the most recent thing that provides a rational reason for disliking them.
29. Chicago Cubs-
I have never had any appeal to the Cubs, and I’m not particularly found of how Cubs fans overreact to prospects as well as how in-your-face Cubs fans I have interacted with have been about the most minor successes. Granted, it’s a conditioning that has come with being the fan of a team who last won a World Series when one’s great-grandparents were your age.
30. Boston Red Sox-
This is partially because I grew up a fan of the Yankees, but I also do like their stadium and the atmosphere of it. However, I can’t get over the attitude of their owner John Henry that many fans have adopted without realizing the absurdity of it of that the Yankees have a ridiculous advantage in terms of having a humongous payroll. The reason this argument infuriates me is because for the longest time, there was a gigantic gap in payroll between the Red Sox and the third largest payroll. Thus it was the rich crying poor in order to gain sympathy. The second reason is because the Steinbrenner family is actually a middle-of-the-pack ownership group in terms of wealth. The reason they invest so much money into the team is because they value winning. Therefore, if John Henry truly wanted to win, he could spend the extra money and win. The problem is that if he didn’t win with this extra money invested, he would be losing money. However, George Steinbrenner was taking the same risk when he invested his extra money; it was just that Steinbrenner’s Yankees did win every season and could thus keep spending. So what Henry did by calling out Steinbrenner and the Yankees was criticized him/them for doing what he didn’t have the guts to do with the Red Sox in order to give his fans the winning such a great fan base deserved. However, being the fans that they were, many Red Sox fans backed their owner without truly understanding what was behind these claims.
So those were my favorite teams. I am by no means “right” in any of my judgements. Picking a favorite team–or in my case *teams*–is something of complete subjectivity and can be done for any number of reasons. Also, the next entry is me making a new Observing Baseball Logo. I would actually like to make a clarification. So it’s actually not the logo itself–this:
But it would actually be me remaking the icon itself, which is this:
But besides that, keep voting for your favorite entries. I should mention that I’ll be doing various entries for Twinsfest, but you can vote for the stuff you want to see besides this on the poll below:
I went back and forth between a B+ and a B for this. On the one hand, it is a nice ballpark that I really don’t have much to complain about aesthetically. But on the other hand, it is also a very bland ballpark in terms of its features. There is really nothing that stands out as being amazing; so I couldn’t justify any grade in the “A range” for the ballpark. What eventually led me to going with B+ is that it has enough subtle flairs like the greenery, statues , and center field plaques that it gets some personality and style.
While the Philadelphia sports fans are a passionate bunch, and can get up for their sports teams when they’re doing well–leading to an electric atmosphere at CBP when the Phillies are competitive–they are also known for not displaying their passion in the most friendly ways. So while many athletes say that their least favorite city to travel to is Philadelphia and this can lead to a great home-field advantage for their sports teams, it also means that Phillies fans are not the best people to be around if you’re simply going to a stadium to enjoy a peaceful game at a new ballpark. So by averaging out the electricity that can live inside CBP with the negativity that its fans can bring, I arrived at a B for the overall atmosphere at the ballpark.
Fan Experience: B+
For the sake of fairness, I’m going to take the fans out of the equation for this one. The guest services staff from my experience has been an overall friendly one with only case-by-case rudeness. I haven’t really had that many positive encounters with vendors there, but those are also ever-changing and so that is maybe due to me not having gone to that many games at the ballpark. Plus, vendors don’t really play all that much into the overall fan experience. Overall I’d call the staff at CBP above-average, but where they make up in the “fan experience” department is that CBP is a generally fun place to walk around and explore. In a sense, it kind of feels like a minor league ballpark that got a ton of money to be made into a major league ballpark; this begins and ends with their award-winning mascot: The Phillie Fanatic.
Like I alluded to in the “Aesthetic” grade, it really is the details that save this stadium for me. From the statues all over the place to the “monument park” in center field, to the flower beds in front of the left field wall, the people who thought up Citizens Bank Park really covered all of the bases. While many of them have to do with the overall aesthetics, many bring huge benefits for any ballhawks who may visit Citizens Bank Park.
BP Ballhawking: A+
If you are in a stadium early for batting practice with a decent crowd, there is no better stadium for snagging a BP home run than Citizens Bank Park. In fact, if I had to design a ballpark that was ideal for BP ballhawking, whatever I come up with would not be that far off the design of CBP. First of all, it has a double-decker bullpen, which is in center field. This is ideal because it means that both the left and right field sections can be full, long sections that aren’t cut off by bullpens like they are in so many other stadiums. Long sections are key for BP since they let you run as far as you need to make BP home run snags. Another thing that separates CBP from the rest of the field is the fact that it has no hand railings. What this allows ballhawks to do is run from section to section on any row in the section. Whereas the stadiums with hand rails have only a one-row gap every three-to-four rows, so if you run across the section in the wrong row, that’s as far as you can run for the ball. Left Field at Citizens Bank Park is basically a ballhawk’s dream. Really CBP’s only fault is that the right field seats aren’t open for the first hour that the stadium is open. But once it is, it is only marginally worse than the left field seats, so you can then enjoy two sides of awesome outfield seats.
During-Game Ballhawking: B
Although it is an absolutely awesome stadium for BP, these features that make it a great BP stadium don’t make it all that great a place to ballhawk during the game itself. While the fact that there are no handrails does help during the game, you still have to rely on not that many people showing up to their seats in order to take advantage of the long sections of running room CBP has to offer. The really only truly great spot to ballhawk is behind home plate for foul balls, but entry to that part of the stadium costs you a pretty penny, so it really isn’t available to the common ballhawk. Overall, CBP is maybe a slightly-above-average ballpark to ballhawk at during the game itself. Its biggest advantage during the game is probably how home run-prone the stadium is.
Anyway, that’s all I have to say about Citizens Bank Park. If you would like to check it out, I made a video recently highlighting my experiences in the fall of 2013 via unused vlog footage. It’s a fun video to watch:
But as always, continue to vote on which entries you want to see me write next by using this poll:
Since I can’t design a new logo for the blog until I get back to Minnesota, the next entry will be my favorite MLB teams. However, I may have another baseball-related video project on the way before that. I don’t want to spoil anything, but it may have to do with some recent baseball current events.
First of all, sorry to everyone who is waiting for me to get caught up with the Observing Baseball Trivia leader board. I’ve been in New York doing something at all hours. I’ll get on that once I am out of New York and given some free time to work with.
Now, it is the new year, and that usually means that I make resolutions/goals for what I want to accomplish in the following year. But considering the fact that I checked my goals from last year yesterday for the first time in 11 months and saw how brutal my sticking to them was, I’m going to pass of on making a ton of them this year. Now the success rate for new year’s resolutions is about 12%, and I’m glad to say I passed that, but that’s also because I did a bunch without really thinking about them all year.
Anyway, I find myself in the very peculiar position of not really being sure what I’m going to be doing for the next year of my life (besides school). I mean I’m most likely going to be doing some sort of job-type thing to work towards my eventual career goal of being a general manager, but I’m not entirely sure what that’ll be. So I have no clue whether or if so how much I’ll be ballhawking. While it might’ve seemed terrifying to me a while ago, it actually is really freeing to me right now. A by-product of this, however, is that I can’t really make specific goals like last year. I also found out that the more resolutions I make, the harder it is to keep them. So what I’m going to do is fashion a list of all of my favorite ones from last year’s list and ones I thought of in thinking of good goals for the coming year.
Go to a new stadium-With 2013 came another year I didn’t visit a new stadium.
Write more mygamballs.com columns than last year- For the record, three.
Do my previously-planned ballhawking videos- Highlight video, and an all-video ballhawking entry–even if it’s not mine.
Meet internet people- Because face-to-face is where it’s at.
Since I still don’t plan on using Facebook that much, I’m going to use this as a sort of wildcard slot.
Make whatever content creation I do in 2014 a more collaborative effort- It keeps things fresh, exposes people to new things, and to continue doing things on my own is to say that I am the best at what I do in all aspects of it, which is definitely not the case.
Another wild card here.
Keep making content and being creative about it–even if that means straying from baseball-related topics-It can be hard with school and things, but I do love creating stuff, and hopefully I can get better at doing it by continuing to create things but in different ways.
Just keep doing it- The top viners are alive and well, but it feels like with an increase in the revine culture, smaller people are being left out. I want to keep that culture alive and well if only in my own small way.
And now, with it being the new year, here is my 2013 WordPress statistical report. It isn’t as traditionally successful as last year’s, but I also think I was a lot better about content creation last year:
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 28,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Even though it has been technically 2014 for over 24 hours now, I may do one more year-end related thing. Either that or I’ll go on to the next entry in my winter writing ideas. That said, keep voting for the things you want to see this winter:
Observing Baseball Trivia. You may or may not remember it from last year, but regardless, there are a couple of rule changes; so I’m going to go over the updated rules as a whole:
100 Questions total
These questions are divided as follows:
Historical Baseball Stuff- 10
Contemporary Baseball Stuff- 10
Ballpark Trivia- 25
Ballhawk Stats- 10
Name That Ballpark- 15
Trivia about the blog itself- 15
Moments in Observing Baseball History- 15
These questions can be asked anytime between when this entry is first published and 11:59 December 28th except for the 24 hours of December 25th; there will be a maximum of one question asked during this period. However, the question will be posted ON the hour or half-hour, so you only need to check around those two times and not in between.
Questioned will be a combination of multiple choice and short answer. Whether a question is to be answered by multiple choice or short answer varies completely arbitrarily from question to question.
The first person to answer the question correctly by *MY* time stamp gets the point for the question.
Each contestant only gets one guess per question. After you have answered the question once, you may not be accredited with getting the question right on any subsequent attempts.
However, the questions, if unanswered, remain open to be answered correctly until all 100 are answered. The contest does not officially end until all 100 questions are correctly answered, or enough are answered to conclusively call a winner.
Label all answers with the question number followed by the answer you are submitting. Answers without question numbers attached will not be accepted as submissions.
To answer the question, reply *on the medium the question was asked. So if the question is on here, Instagram, or Facebook leave a comment on the post with the question in it in order to answer the question. If the question is on Twitter, reply to my tweet that I asked the question in with the answer to said question in your tweet.
When replying on Twitter, try to use the hashtag #OBTrivia in the tweets regarding this contest to help me see your answers and other stuff regarding the contest.
After the questions on the other sites are answered, I will put them on here with the correct answer bolded.
Players will be competing for their spot in choosing from the following prizes. So, the winner gets first choice; second place gets second choice, etc.
Contestants must have five points in order to qualify for a prize.
Here are the prizes to choose from:
1. Josh Willingham Bobblehead
2. Ball signed by over ten Minnesota Twins players and prospects
5. Mets and Nationals W.B. Mason Collectible Trucks
6. Edinson Volquez autographed ball
7. Two Baseball Trivia Books
8. Your choice of Ice Cream Helmet
Once questions have been answered I’ll put a leaderboard at the beginning of the entry, but with all this said, let’s get to the contest:
1. What day did I write my first ever entry on Observing Baseball? (You can format the date however you want, but I need the exact date and year in the answer.)
October, 13, 2010 (Answered by: Nick Badders)
2. (on Twitter) Before Barry Zito, who was the last A’s Cy Young winner?
A) Vida Blue
B) Dennis Eckersley (Answeredby: Nick Badders)
C) Catfish Hunter
D) Bob Welch
3. Name that Ballpark!
Target Field (Answered by: Tony Voda)
4. (on Facebook) What is the name of the hill in Minute Maid Park?
A. Greene’s Hill
B. Tal’s Hill (Answered by: Larry)
C. Pieta Hill
D. Enron Hill
5. (on Twitter)Where is the flag pole at Target Field originally from?
B. Metropolitan Stadium(Answered by: Brendan Weingarten)
C. Griffith Stadium
D. 35-W Bridge
6. (on Facebook) Which of the following ballhawks was undefeated in head-to-head, season-long match-ups in 2013?
A. Erik Jabs
B. Zack Hample
C. Greg Barasch (Answered by: Anne Badders)
D. Rocco Sinisi
7. (on Instagram)Who is the MLB’s active AVG leader?
Joe Mauer (Answered by: Larry)
8. What day did I snag my 500th career baseball?
May, 13, 2013 (Answered by: Larry)
9. (on Facebook) Which of the following stadiums does not have a standing room section in the outfield?
A. Target Field
B. Oriole Park at Camden Yards
C. Progressive Field
D. Citizens Bank Park
None of the above (Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
10. (on Instagram) What series of entries was this photo used in?
Ballhawk Profiles (Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
11. (on Twitter) Which future manager led the Dodgers with a .364 average in the 1916 World Series?
Casey Stengel (Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
12. What game did Tommy Hunter personalize a signed baseball for me and what was the reason?
May 10, 2013, because I got hit in the knee with a line-drive. (Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
13.(on Twitter) What was the last year a non-Tiger won the AL MVP?
2010 (Josh Hamilton) (Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
14. Which MLB stadium had the lowest Balls Per Game average in 2013?
A. Oakland Colliseum (Answered by: Nick Badders)
B. Rogers Centre
C. Wrigley Field
D. Citi Field
15. (on Instagram)Name that ballpark!
Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
16. (on Facebook) Who came in first place during last year’s Observing Baseball Trivia?
Nick Badders (Answered by: Harrsion Tishler, ironically.)
17. (on Facebook) Which Cinncinati Reds player won the MVP more than once?
A. Barry Larkin
B. Pete Rose
C. George Foster
D. Johnny Bench (Answered by: Larry)
18. (on Twitter) Which of the following doesn’t have a giant poster at Nationals Park?
A. Ian Desmond
B. Jayson Werth
C. Stephen Strasburg
D. Gio Gonzalez (Answered by: Nick Badders)
19. How many more games does Zack Hample have until he gets to 1,000 consecutive games with at least one ball snagged?
34 (Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
20. (on Instagram) Name that ballpark!
US Cellular Field (Answered by: Larry)
21. (on Instagram) What MLB statistical category did these men lead in 2013, and what was significant about that category this year?
Hits, which was significant because no one in MLB got over 200 hits fro the first time since 1995. (Answered by: Harrison Tishler and Nick Badders.)
22. (on Twitter) Where did I snag my 100th career ball?
A. Citi Field
B. Nationals Park
C. AT&T Park
D. Tropicana Field (Answered by: Nick Badders)
23. (on Facebook) What role did I have with my high school baseball team when I began the blog?
B. Student Reporter for the high school newspaper
C. Student Manager (Answered by: Nick Badders)
D. Video Production Assistant
24. How many ballhawks snagged 100 baseballs or more in 2013?
C. 21 (Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
25. What pitcher began his big-league career with 25 consecutive shutout innings?
A. Ed Siever
B. Babe Ruth
C. Nick Altrock
D. George McQuillan (Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
26-33. (on Facebook) Name the members of the 600 HR club.
Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Alex Rodriguez, Jim Thome, Willie Mays, Sammy Sosa, Ken Griffey Jr. (Answered all by: Quinn Imiola)
34. (on Instagram) Name That Ballpark!
Citi Field (Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
35.(on Twitter) How many MVP awards did Ken Griffey Jr. win in his career?
There are two answers, technically. He won one AL MVP, but won an All-Star MVP also. (Answered by: Nick Badders, Max, and Todd Cook)
36. In what was the date of the first game of Fenway Park’s existence played, and which stadium did it share this date with?
April, 20, 1912 and Tigers Stadium (Answered by: Quinn Imiola and Harrison Tishler)
37. (on Instagram) What was the promotion on the day I attended this stadium with Avi Miller?
Manny Machado Garden Gnome (Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
38. Who hit my only home run snag?
A. Chris Young
B. Trevor Plouffe (Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
C. Sean Burroughs
D. Jay Bruce
39. (on Twitter)Which pitcher has the most wins since the start of the 2000 season?
C.C. Sabathia (Answered by: Tim Anderson)
40. What is the area in right field at Oriole Park at Camden Yards known as by ballhawks?
A. Boog’s Palace
B. Flag Court (Answered by: Quinn Imiola)
C. Warehouse District
D. Crush City
41. (on Instagram) Name That Ballpark!
Turner Field (Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
42. (on Twitter) Who hit my first ever baseball snag?
A. David Justice
B. Jason Giambi
C. Mike Piazza
D. Chuck Knoblauch (Answered by: Robbie Sacunas)
43.(on Twitter) What are the single-season records for most double-digit ball games and Balls Per Game average?
49 and 9.50 (Answered by: Quinn Imiola)
44. How many different stadiums have I snagged milestone baseballs (100, 200, 300, etc) at?
C. 5 (Answered by: Quinn Imiola)
45.(on Instagram) Name That Ballpark!
Nationals Park (Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
46. What MLB stadium claims it is the home of “the wave”
A. Oakland Coliseum (Answered by: Quinn Imiola)
B. AT&T Park
C. Yankee Stadium
D. Marlins Park
If you even thought about D, I don’t think we can be friends anymore.
47.(on Twitter) What was the first season a ballhawk surpassed 500 baseballs in a season?
2008 (Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
48. (on Instagram) Name That Ballpark!
Tropicana Field (Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
49. What comes out of a hat every time the Mets hit a home run at home?
B. Mr. Met (Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
50.(on Instagram) How many seasons of baseball were played at the old Yankee Stadium?
83 (Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
51. What statistics did I write about in “Sabermetrics: The Explanation?”
On-Base Percentage Slugging Percentage Range Factor Ultimate Zone Rating Ratios per innings pitched Defense independent or Park independent statistics Component Statistics
(Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
52. (on Twitter)Which pitchers did I write about in “Pitching Aces in the Playoffs?”
Cliff Lee, Christopher John Wilson, CC Sabathia, Andy Pettite, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, Madison Bumgarner (Answered by: Quinn Imiola)
53. (on Instagram)Where was the counter for Cal Ripken Jr. as he approached Lou Gherig’s consecutive game streak in OPaCY, and what was the number that broke the record?
2131; on the warehouse. (Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
54. (on Twitter) How many names has the stadium known once as Dolphins Stadium had?
Sun Life Stadium, Dolphin Stadium, Pro Player Park, Land Shark Stadium, Joe Robbie Stadium (Answered by: Maddie Landis)
55. Where did I snag my first ever baseball? (Be specific.)
Old Yankee Stadium (Answered by: Larry)
56. What was the date of the first rainout I documented on the blog?
May, 17, 2011 (Answered by: Paul Kom)
57. (on Twitter)Which one of the following did not meet Mike Trout on 7/24/11?
A. Zack Hample
B. Garrett Meyer
C. Tim Anderson (Answered by: Quinn Imiola)
D. Ben Weil
58. (on Facebook) What was the first season the Dodgers played in Los Angeles at LA Memorial Coliseum?
A. 1958 (Answered by: Nick Badders)
59. (on Instagram)How many baseballs did I snag with the glove trick during the game in which this picture was taken?
2 (Answered by: Quinn Imiola)
60. What ballpark did I compare Nationals Park to the first time I blogged about it?
Citi Field (Answered by: Quinn Imiola)
61. (on Twitter) Where can one find a pool?
A. Citi Field
B. AT&T Park
C. Chase Field (Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
D. None of the Above
62. (on Instagram) Name That Ballpark!
Citi Field (Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
63. (on Facebook) Where did I catch my first foul ball on the fly, and who was I with the game I did so?
Turner Field with my mom (Answered by: David Imiola)
64. Which of the following did I not think I could snag my 100th ball at?
A. Citi Field (Answered by: Quinn Imiola)
B. Nationals Park
C. AT&T Park
D. Tropicana Field
65. (on Facebook)Whose home run did I feel I should have snagged in my first game at Sun Life Stadium?
Mike Stanton (Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
66. (on Twitter)What game did I meet Paul Kom and Tony Voda at?
August, 28, 2012 Mariners vs. Twins (Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
67. (on Instagram) What time do all of Nationals Park’s gates open?
1.5 hours before gametime (Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
68. The two “D” logos that the Tigers use were defined as what by Todd Cook? (The __ D and the ___ D)
Hat D and Jersey D (Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
69. (on Instagram)What does the position of the golden glove symbolize in term of Twins history?
The distance of Harmon Killebrew’s longest home run in franchise history. (Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
70. (on Twitter) What was the date of my first game at Target Field, and what other “first” happened that day for me?
8/9/11 and I got shutout (Answered by: Paul Kom)
71. (on Facebook)What gate did I wait at in the first game I wrote about on Observing Baseball? And why did I go there? (include stadium.
New Yankee Stadium Gate 8 (centerfield gate) and because I wanted to avoid the crowd (Answered by: Quinn Imiola)
72. What was the name of my friend who accompanied me for the game during which I snagged my first and only home run?
Jonathan (Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
73. (on Twitter) What was a giant factor in me getting my only 11-baseball game at Target Field?
I got in early because of Tony Voda (Answered by: Paul Kom)
74. (on Facebook) What game did I get my 200th ball at Target Field at?
September, 29, 2013 Indians at Twins (Answered by: Quinn Imiola)
75. (on Instagram) Name That Ballpark!
RFK Stadium (Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
76. Who did I tie in head-to-head match-ups in 2013?
A. Greg Barasch
B. Tony Voda (Answered by: Quinn Imiola)
C. Paul Kom
D. Erik Jabs
77. (on Instagram) What problem did I run into at the gate of this game?
The Mets had changed their gate times (Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
78. (on Facebook) How many people have ever had the most baseballs at a BallhawkFest?
D. 7 (Answered by: Maddie Landis)
79. (on Twitter) I own memorabilia dealing with whose perfect game?
A. David Cone
B. David Wells
C. Roy Halladay
D. None of the above (Answered by: Jonathan Mueller)
80. What stadium did Don Larsen throw his perfect game at?
A. Dodgers Stadium
B. Ebbets Field
C. Yankee Stadium (Answered by: Quinn Imiola)
D. Polo Grounds
81. (on Facebook) What Colombian pitcher did I purposefully try to get a ball from when his team visited Nationals Park in 2012?
Julio Teheran (Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
82. (on Instagram) When he got the triple crown, Miguel Cabrera was the first to do so since who in what year?
Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 (Answered by: Quinn Imiola)
83. (on Twitter) Who is my favorite active player in MLB?
TimLincecum (Answered by: Quinn Imiola)
84. What was the first game I ever went to with my current roommate, Sean Bigness, and who did we learn spoke Spanish during the pre-game warm-ups?
9/12/12 and Bruce Chen (Answered by: Harrison Tishler)
85. (on Instagram) What was the tempurature below when I got to the gate for opening day?
Sub-30 (Answered by: Maddie Landis)
86. (on Twitter) What was the name of the person who took pictures for me the day I snagged my 100th baseball at Yankee Stadium?
Andy Bingham (Answered by: Quinn Imiola)
87. (on Facebook)Which player’s face do I have on a stick?
Joe Mauer (Answered by: Quinn Imiola)
88. What schools did I look at in my 2011 August trip? (More than one point available, but answer each school as a separate comment. You can guess as much as you like, but only the guesses before your first incorrect guess will be counted.)
University of Minnesota
89. (on Twitter) Who accompanied me in my first ever trip to Target Field?
My Uncle (Answered by: Paul Kom)
90. In what year was the first regular season game held at the Metrodome?
1982 (Answered by: Paul Kom)
Also, since it is the next most voted-for category, let me know which stadium you would like me to do a Stadium Profile entry on in this poll:
Since it’s now winter, it’s time for some ideas for what to write about in this time of lull:
So now that you’ve watched the video, here is the poll for you to vote on the ideas:
Remember that you can vote for as many of the ten as you would like. However, I would like to make one revision to the rules I put forth in the video. Instead of the poll opening anew every time I publish a new entry, I’m actually going to make it so you can vote once more every week, since that’s easier to program into the poll. I don’t know when I’ll start writing these entries since I am currently in finals week, but I’ll write an entry putting forth a schedule for writing when the time comes that I feel like I can semi-stick to a schedule.
Every year I do a statistical recap of my season from a Ballhawking perspective. Here is my version for the 2013 season. As always with these entries, feel free to leave any statistics you think I should include in the comments of the entry. But without further ado, here are the 2013 numbers:
Baseballs (B): 317 (5th on MGB(MyGameBalls.com))
Games (G): 64 (T-7th on MGB)
Balls Per Game (BPG): 4.95 (13th on MGB.)
Double-Digit Games (G10+): 6 (T-5th on MGB)
Game Balls (GB): 2 (T-28th on MGB)
Hit Balls (HB): 77
Hit Balls Per Game (HPG): 1.20
Balls Caught On The Fly (COF): 44
Balls Caught On Fly Per Game (CPG): 0.69
Thrown Balls (TB): 222
Thrown Balls Per Game (TPG): 3.47
Easter Eggs (EE): 8
Easter Eggs Per Game (EPG): 0.13
Cup Trick Balls (CT): 10
Cup Trick Balls Per Game (CtPG): 0.16
Balls During The Game: 12
Balls After The Game: 34
Average Competition Factor (ACF): 141,518 (14th on MGB)
High: 11 (T-11th on MGB)
And here are my 2012 numbers along with my 2013 number and percentage increase or decrease in that statistical category in 2013 in the parentheses:
Baseballs (B): 223 (317; +42.2%)
Games (G): 53 (64; +20.8%)
Balls Per Game (BPG): 4.21 (4.95; +17.6%)
Double-Digit Games (G10+): 1 (6; +500%)
Game Balls (GB): 3 (2; -33%)
Hit Balls (HB): 94 (77; -18.1%)
Hit Balls Per Game (HPG): 1.77 (1.20; -32.2%)
Balls Caught On The Fly (COF): 41 (44; +7.3%)
Balls Caught On Fly Per Game (CPG): 0.77 (0.69; -10.4%)
Thrown Balls (TB): 119 (222; +86.6%)
Thrown Balls Per Game (TPG): 2.25 (3.47; +54.2%)
Easter Eggs (EE): 7 (8; +14.3%)
Easter Eggs Per Game (EPG): 0.13 (0.13; 0%)
Glove Trick Balls (GT): 3 (10; +233.3%)
Glove Trick Balls Per Game (GPG): 0.06 (0.16; +166.7%)
Balls During The Game: 5 (12; +140%)
Balls After The Game: 16 (34; +112.5%)
Average Competition Factor (ACF): 143,718 (141,518; -1.5%)
High: 11 (11; 0%)
Overall Snag Tracker:
Stats Broken Down By Month:
Balls broken down by Stadium:
B: 146 (1)
G: 24 (1)
HB: 32 (1)
COF: 3 (T-1)
TB: 112 (1)
EE: 2 (T-1)
BPG: 6.08 (2)
Snag Trackers for just hit baseballs:
Snag Trackers for just thrown baseballs:
B: 68 (2)
Snag Trackers for Nationals Park:
Snag Trackers for hit baseballs:
Snag Trackers for thrown baseballs:
Oriole Park at Camden Yards-
B: 65 (5)
Snag Tracker for hit baseballs:
Thrown baseballs snag tracker:
New Yankee Stadium-
B: 15 (5)
Hit baseball snag trackers:
Throw baseball snag trackers:
B: 14 (T-11)
Hit baseball snag tracker:
Thrown baseball snag tracker:
Citizens Bank Park-
B: 5 (T-14)
U.S. Cellular Field-
B: 4 (T-13)
Additionally, let’s take a look at how I did with every ballhawk in 2013 that I attended three or more games with:
1. Have multiple double-digit games- Yes. I had six this year.
2. Snag 4 or more game balls- Nope. I only got two, both in the last month of the year.
3. Snag multiple game home run balls- No; I don’t want to talk about it.
4. Snag 100 thrown baseballs, 100 hit balls, 50 on the fly, 10 Easter Eggs, and 5 Glove Trick balls- Nope. I didn’t do that well at all this year in the hit ball department with going to Target Field too much and snagged two too few easter eggs.
5. Give away a third of my baseballs or more- Since I tell everyone that I give away about a third of my baseballs, I figure I should make it a point to actually live up to that figure. I did last year, so I’m hoping to repeat.
6a. Average 4.5 Balls Per Game- Yes
6b. Average 5 Balls Per Game- Just barely not.
7. Go to a new stadium- Nope. Dang it.
8. Go to 50 Games again- Yep. I actually almost got to the 65-game mark.
9. Make it to 100 straight Games with at least 1 Ball- Yes; I’m actually at 126 right now.
10. Do all of this with a new glove- Kind of? I switched gloves often, but this was more out of a desire for variance rather than failure to learn how to use my new glove. I actually really liked making catches with my giant lefty glove.
I first got this idea when Ballhawk Shawn did this entry on the last day of the regular season. So now that it’s actually Thanksgiving (as I wrote the first part of the entry. I suck at getting things done on time. Plus I’m working on four projects at a time in addition to being a full-time college student in the midst of the end-of-semester panic.) and Tony Voda wrote a similar entry, I thought I would do the same for the people I have met this year and I owe a thank you. So thank you to all of the people that I mention in this entry and any others I don’t have time to include but I interacted with this season. You all made this the most special baseball season of my present life. In no particular order…
1. Alex Kopp and Avi Miller– Thank you so much for not only being good friends to greet and make my experience at OPaCY ten times what would have been otherwise, but it also takes great friends to allow someone to stay with them for the equivalent of weeks. Without them I definitely wouldn’t have been able to make 64 games this season since I would have been confined to just Nationals Park during the summer. Also, it was a ton of fun getting to stay and hang out with them. This applies to both of them but in different ways. Avi stayed up until the darkest hours as he, myself, and his sister watched MLB Network or whatever. I spent less time with Alex, but any time I spent between games with him was so much more appreciated since he had to wake up at 6:00 each morning to get to work in order to get off work in enough time to barely make the 5:00 OPaCY gate opening time. I’m sure you are aware of this, but you are welcome to stay with me whenever you need to do so. Thank you, Alex and Avi.
2. Chris Hernandez– It was for a night and technically his girlfriend’s house, but I am again thankful for friends who allow me to stay with them even if for one night. Those couple of days along with your trip here to Washington were a blast to spend with you. It was nice seeing you at more ballparks this season than any other person. Thank you
3. Todd, Tim, and Kellan Cook– Although we were only able to meet up fro two games this season, both were a ton of fun to attend. I would say you guys made added the most fun above replacement per game of any other family in the league. (Sorry; couldn’t resist.) But anyway, thank you
4. Greg Barasch– Although this is the first season not being next-door neighbors any more, that didn’t stop you from being nice and housing me several days and being the only person I know who enjoys playing catch and looking at ballhawk statistics as much as me. Thank you.
5. Ben Weil– Since I was now in Washington, we didn’t get to meet up as often as in past years. But in the, what, four different cities, we were able to meet, it was a blast each time. I’m glad especially thank I was kind of able to be a part of two special moments with you around. Thank you.
6. Zack Hample– Again like Ben, we were only able to meet up with you a couple of times in various different cities. And also like him, you were a part of some particularly large events of mine this summer. Unlike Ben, though, you were a couple of times the reason for the events. You were nice enough to invite me to witness your world record-breaking catch, and I can not thank you enough for being the reason I am a ballhawk, and thus the event known as BallhawkFest. Thank you.
7. Grant Edrington, Ed Lauer, and Tim Anderson– Although you guys didn’t house me during my days going to games at OPaCY and you guys made it maybe a less special place to ballhawk at, you made that community the best one I have ever experienced on a day-in, day-out basis.
8. Paul Kom and Tony Voda– I say day-in, day-out basis, because while we are a smaller community who doesn’t show up to every game, we’ve built a nice community here in Minnesota. Hopefully we can meet up sometime during the winter when our common hobby of snagging baseballs isn’t pulling us every five minutes in different directions and we can actually stay together and talk in person. (Psst. I suggest another sporting event since Paul is doing his entry series and/or Twinsfest. I still don’t know how that’ll work with the outdoor venue this year.) Thank you.
9. Rick Gold and Dave Butler- I don’t know if we count as a “community,” but it was fun getting to hang out with you two at Nationals Park. Rick, I don’t usually go up and ask ballhawks questions directly, but I would say you are the person I have learned the most about ballhawking through observation. Due to weird schedules on both of our parts, we didn’t meet up in ridiculously long stretches like 2012, but it was still great sharing the ballparks we shared this year. Although I saw you at many games last season, it wasn’t until this year that I felt like I really got to know you, Dave. In talking to you and just sharing Nationals Park with you plenty of times this year, it was a pleasure to get to know you and have a friend that I pretty much knew was going to show up to the ballpark. Thank you.
10. Takyi Chan- It’s odd to put an after-season thank you in for a person that you didn’t see all year, but it was very nice keeping in touch with you despite not being able to meet up with you at all during the year. I am disappointed that we couldn’t, but again, I appreciate the effort to keep in touch. Also, if I had a daughter in college, I would also value that over going to baseball games. Thank you.
11. Jonathan Mueller– Even though you “only” went to six of the same games as me, you probably had the biggest impact on this blog in specifically three of those games. I’ve always wanted to be able to get action shots during batting practice, and you really don’t know how nice it was to have someone who could handle and take pictures with the camera. I truly do I appreciate what you did by taking pictures those games. Thank you.
12. Sean Bigness– At the beginning of the season you weren’t, but being my now-roommate, thank you for keeping me sane and not completely internet-entranced by providing an immediately available friend who I could talk about baseball with and not completely annoy within the first three minutes of the conversation. I think as baseball-lovers we can relate to the fact that not everyone out there loves it as much as we do. Thank you.
13. Ballhawk Shawn– It was really nice meeting you for the first time at US Cellular. Hopefully we can talk a bit more this offseason. Speaking of which: Where yo’ collab ideas at?! We’re running out of offseason to work with! But anyways, thank you.
14. Garrett Meyer- Similar to Shawn, it was really nice meeting up with you in Baltimore and getting to talk at Alex’s place after missing you in 2012. Sorry I couldn’t take you up on that offer to go to a Royals game, but logistics got in the way of being able to physically get to Kauffman when a Royals game was taking place. Regardless, thank you.
15. Rocco Sinisi- While I ultimately ended up disagreeing with you more than I agreed and felt you could have done so in a different way, you did make me question what ballhawking really is about and how we should go abotu recognizing those who partake in the hobby. Thank you.
16. The ushers at OPaCY, Nationals Park, and Target Field- While two thirds of you may have bad reputations nationally, coming from primarily New York stadiums in 2012 to having you three as my primary stadiums in 2013 was a much nicer experience since all of you ushers were very kind to me. Now I realize that I went out of my way to make ties with you ushers, but the fact that you allowed me to do so despite the fact that I was a ball snagger is still a credit to your niceness. Thank you.
17. Stubhub and OPaCY season ticket holders- I realize I mentioned all of the latter by name earlier, but this duo I’m thank you for making a hobby that everyone thinks would be extremely expensive into a hobby that is only kinda expensive. So for saving me much of the monies, thank you.
18. Every player who I saw toss a ball up in 2013- I don’t care whether it was to me or to a kid, if it was with a smile, or even if you meant to do it, tossing a baseball to a sometimes-suspecting fan is part of what makes baseball great and distances it from all other sports out there. So great, in fact, that there is a sub-culture surrounding simply the collection of these baseballs. So for being a part of this phenomenon, thank you.
19. All of the Twitter peoples- I feel like I neglect you/we don’t get to talk much sometimes, but whenever we do get engaged in conversation, it seems to mostly be for the better and go well. Including, but not limited to Andrew Miller, for being the reason this entry was published when it was. Thank you.
20. All of the commenters here- I know that I don’t get to responding to the comments as quickly as I should, but I really thing it is a great and awesome thing when you guys leave comments and we are able to have a conversation in the comments section of an entry I post. I hope we can develop the comments sections of these entries in the future. Thank you.
When I woke up for this game, I knew that all of my nightmares had been true. See most people have a nightmare about oversleeping an exam or job interview. Well I have nightmares of oversleeping a baseball game. It wasn’t exactly that bad, but I woke up late enough where I knew that I had time only to get my bag ready, get out the door, and sprint to the nearest major city bus stop, which was almost a mile away. I then realized realized mid-trip that I had taken the wrong bus, and that this one wouldn’t take me to Target Field. I had to get off this bus to run to the light rail, which then somehow got me to the game less than half-an-hour after the gates opened. And when I got in, I was greeted with a most welcome surprise:
Maybe you can’t tell, but there was batting practice going on. Unlike some teams, the Twins–as I have learned from the ushers–never take batting practice on Sundays, so the visiting team usually follows suit and forgoes it as well. However, the Indians had a possibility of a Wild Card game the next day, they had to stay sharp and take batting practice.
Upon entering the stadium, it took me less than five minutes to get a baseball. I have no clue who the who tossed it to me was since he was a coach-type person who isn’t on the roster, but it was good for my first ball of the day:
My next ball came when the Indians pitchers were throwing down the left field line. Again, I don’t know the name of the man who threw me the ball, but I can say that he was an Indians relief pitcher:
After that, I headed back up to the flag court. There I quickly got and gave away a Jason Kubel homer. And that was it for me for batting practice. After which, I headed to the bullpen. There Scott Diamond was just getting to the bullpen. I also met a ballhawk whose nickname is “Panda.” We had met several times at the dugout after games as we were both going for an umpire ball, where he actually instructed me to call him Panda. Anyway, he has always been nice, so we struck up a conversation there. During this I got both Scott Diamond and Rick Anderson to wave at me, so I figured that I had the ball in the bag if either of them ended up with the ball. Surely enough, Rick Anderson ended up with the ball, so I called out when he was high-fiving the other pitchers; and with an assist from Jared Burton, I got the ball:
And then it was time for the game itself. Like the previous game, (click the “previous entry” button at the bottom of this entry if you’re on the page for this entry only, or click on the title of this entry and then do that if you want to read that entry) the Twins were again doing the “autographed baseball every inning” thing, so I did that every at the bottom of every inning and positioned myself at the Twins dugout at the top of every inning to try to get a third-out ball. At the top of the first inning, the Twins sent this tweet out:
The 1st person to find the Twins rep near the flag pole will win a Bert Blyleven autographed baseball!
I had been at the team store by Gate 29 at that time, so I sprinted to the flag pole. I got there only about ten seconds after the tweet had been sent out, but there was already a sea of people with phones. (Well like five, but it might as well have been given how quickly I got there.) All of them were looking up and down at the flag pole area and then their phones in confusion. I didn’t see anyone with a ball fleeing the scene, so I assumed that the prize had not been given out yet. Using my previous experience with the contest, I figured the representative hadn’t yet arrived with the ball. So I looked around for a person with credentials hanging from his/her neck. And then I saw a woman that matched this description perfectly walking from my right. Before anyone could even realize what I was doing, I had claimed the ball. I know that there were definitely people who hadn’t seen me get the ball at all because two asked me after the fact if the ball had already been claimed by someone.
My next ball came at the Twins dugout. After several innings of trying, I finally got a Twin to toss me a third-out ball. Clete Thomas, who was the left fielder, made a catch for the third out. When he jogged back to the dugout, I thought there was no chance that I’d get the ball, since I was behind a crowd of five kids, so I backed up a little and took advantage of the fact that I was the only one actually with Twins gear on. Not expecting him to actually toss me the ball, I waved my arms. And he lobbed the ball perfectly enough that it just barely cleared the kids’ gloves and landed in my glove for the basket catch. But I then pulled out a ball from my backpack and gave it to one of the kids.
Then when I finally stopped going after the autographed baseballs, I went to the Indians dugout and got Yan Gomes to toss me a third-out strike out ball. It was the first time I’ve ever been able to adjust to the strike out ball. Usually I’m committed hard to the third-out ball on the outfield end of the dugout, so I miss the strike out third-out ball. This time, though, I was able to identify the fact that it was a strike out, go to the back of the section, and run down the proper staircase in time for Gomes to see my Indians attire:
Suffice to say I was proud of myself. However, I wasn’t able to get any of the other players from the two teams to toss me a third-out ball, so my next baseball wouldn’t come until the game had ended.
Unfortunately, the Twins were unable to win and force the first ever-three way Wild Card situation, so the Indians were on the field celebrating after the game:
The good thing about this, though, was that after C.C.Lee tossed me a ball at the dugout, Vinnie Pestano–who was walking right behind Lee and of course saw me get the first ball–tossed me a second ball without me even asking:
Little did I know at the time, but the first of these was my 200th ball ever at Target Field. This made it the first stadium I’ve snagged 200 balls at, and it put me at nine for the day. Had I been able to get to the outfield end of the dugout in time, I might have ended the day with 14 baseballs by how many the two bullpen catcher were throwing into the stands. But because of the amount of people who stayed because of the celebration, the area was packed and couldn’t get to that side in time. Instead I decided to try to get on the Twins side in case they were to throw up any miscellaneous items they no longer needed for the offseason. I didn’t make it in time for that, but I did get Panda to take my picture with the remaining six baseballs:
Now you may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned giving away three baseballs in the entry thus far. That’s because I don’t remember which baseballs I gave away before this point. This is because after this point I resolved to give away baseballs who had been nice to me all year. But before that, I made sure to run into Tony Voda for one last time. I don’t think I mentioned him before this point in the entry, but he was indeed there, and had an amazing game in his own regard. (To find out how, click his name, which will take you to his entry for this game.)
Now you may notice (1. That Tony is dressed up like Waldo. I’d like to explain it, but I think it’s best if you just imagine why he did it. I mean, it is pretty self-explanatory. But also…) that I have something made out to myself. Tony had been in the behind-home-plate club earlier in the game. So when I passed by on the Twins dugout side to talk to him, he handed that to me. You see, he did something in April of this year that was pretty awesome. He asked his readers (which I include myself in) if they wanted a hand-written copy of the entry he was going to write, and this (these words are a link to the contents of the envelope you see in the last picture) was the result. After that, I went to the ushers in that I most liked and gave away all but two of my baseballs. The two I kept were the one signed by Bert Blyleven and my 756 career baseball, because I thought it’d be fun to keep the ball that tied me with Barry Bonds if each of my baseballs were a major league home run. After which, I went on my way, but not before I took a final picture at Gate 34 with the Bert Blyleven ball:
And then got on the bus where I read the Events Operations Guide that one of the ushers gave me as a parting gift:
And with that I rode off into the sunset (literally) back to my apartment.
9 Balls at this Game (2 pictured because I gave 7 away)
317 Balls in 64 Games= 4.95 Balls Per Game
9 Balls x 30,935 Fans= 278,415 Competition Factor
126 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
31 straight Games with at least 2 Balls
5 straight Games with at least 3-5 Balls
3 straight Games with at least 6 Balls
201 Balls in 38 Games at Target Field= 5.29 Balls Per Game
36 straight Games with at least 1 Ball at Target Field
16 straight Games with at least 2 Balls at Target Field
5 straight Games with at least 3-5 Balls at Target Field
3 straight Games with at least 6 Balls at Target Field
Time Spent On Game 11:15-5:30= 6 Hours 15 Minutes
And to wrap up this entry, which was for my last game of the season, I would like to write to end with this preliminary forecast of what is to come. Obviously I can’t tell the future, and I do love ballhawking. However, this shall be my last season of full-time ballhawking for the foreseeable future. I have been trying to do it as long as I can, but with this being my sophomore year of college, I think it’s time for me to start doing something work-related during my summers instead of spending it going to baseball games and then writing about them. Not to say there’s anything wrong with it; Go ahead and do that for as long as you can. But with the “work” world readily approaching, it seems like I need to get an internship or something related. This coming Tuesday I have a face-to-face interview at Target Field regarding a Baseball Operations position. I feel as though I am a really good candidate for the position, but there are also–I’m sure–many other VERY qualified candidates. So if I get this internship, I will be working that the whole summer and will then almost definitely not going to any Twins games as a ballhawk, but I may be able to attend other teams’ home games. If I don’t get that internship, my next option would be to try to get an internship with the St. Paul Saints, but I’ve heard those are very time-demanding, so I don’t know which games I could even try to make.
As for the offseason, I plan to make it pretty much the same as last year. So I will post my review of my season ballhawking next, and then I’ll make a video of the entry ideas I have for the winter and you’ll vote throughout the offseason as to which entries you want to read. (I’ll explain the details more clearly in the video.) I’ll probably be blogging 1-2 times per week until I run out of offseason to do so. Past that I have no clue what I’ll be writing about, but rest assured that I will be writing about something. So until then, thank you for reading this season, and we’ll see where this blog is when the 2014 season rolls around:
In my second-to-last game of the season, look who decided to join me at an unfamiliar gate:
It was Paul Kom. Actually, though, there are a couple odd things with this picture. Yes, we were both at a gate very foreign to the both of us, but 1. You may notice I’m pointing to my glove. I decided to go with a catcher’s mitt this game instead of my lefty glove. 2. We thought of this idea completely independently of each other. You see there was also another person joining us for this game, my friend Jonathan Mueller. You may remember him best as the person who joined me on the night I snagged my only home run off the bat of Trevor Plouffe. Well Jonathan and I both walked from the University of Minnesota campus. In doing so, we almost *had* to pass by Gate 34. In doing so, I saw Paul and the man most commonly known as “Waldo”, formerly know as Greg Dryden:
It was at that point that I informed Jonathan we were going to go to Gate 6 in right field. I made the decision that I didn’t want to compete with both of them in right field as the gates opened, so I was going to go to left field. I decided to go to Gate 6 since I had seen the people from there get into the left field seats faster than myself the last few times when I came from Gate 3 in center field. Less than a minute after getting there, I got a text message from Paul asking me if I had gotten to the stadium yet. This inquiry quickly led to him telling me that he planned to come to Gate 6. Keep in mind that he had no clue I was there.
Once we got in, I quickly ran into the left field seats whereas Paul went first to the seats down the left field line. The result? A quick 1-0 Mateo lead. As I was running down the steps of the left field seats, a Twins righty hit a ball in the first section from the foul pole. I COMPLETELY lost the ball in the sun, so I ducked for cover instead of running towards the spot I thought the ball was going to land, but when it did land, I ran over and grabbed it for my first ball of the day:
I think this next picture may be me telling Paul about it once he got back in the left field seats:
Or maybe I was just telling him what Shairon Martis’ name is. I’m not really sure which.
Then when the Indians started throwing down the left field line, I headed over there. There, I got Michael Brantley to toss me a ball. Extra-super special e-shoutout on Twitter to whoever can find the ball in this next picture:
Here’s a hint:
And for fun, here’s a picture right after I caught the ball:
I then headed out to the flag court where I did a bunch of running after baseballs like this one:
Only one of which I actually ended up getting. Here’s a four-picture collage I put together to show you what happened:
Top left: Me seeing the ball bounce off the concrete past the guy who was in front of me.
Top right: Looking up at now again-airborne ball as it floated through the air.
Bottom left: Me watching the ball that is now on its descent and in the frame of the picture hoping that my catcher’s glove would be able to make the catch.
Bottom right: Nor with all of the eyes out on the flag court on me, making the catch–much to the chagrin of the guy pursuing the ball from behind.
My next two baseballs came from the same person. When I went to the right-center field seats, there was a kid there who asked Chris Perez for a ball. When Perez threw it into the flower bush, I ran down, and made it very clear that I gave the ball to the kid after pulling it out of the flowers. As a “reward” for doing this, Perez then tossed me the next ball he fielded:
Coincidentally, Jonathan took a picture at this same exact moment:
And that would be my last ball of batting practice.
After BP, all three of us–myself, Jonathan, and Paul–went to the bullpen. Both Paul and I got one of these there:
If you can’t tell the autograph, I got mine from Anthony Swarzak. I don’t remember who tossed Paul his two. Let me explain what these balls are and why I didn’t count this as a “snag.” Every fan appreciation weekend of the year, the Twins each sign one of these tee balls and toss them into a random part of the crowd. I didn’t count mine because while it did come Anthony Swarzak, a major league pitcher, it was still a tee ball and felt cheap.
We then decided to all stay in the left field seats and play home runs for the game. In the second inning, though, I looked at my Twitter timeline and noticed that the Twins sent out this tweet:
At the top innings 1-7 of tonight’s game we’ll announce a location at Target Field where a fan will win an autographed baseball!
Granted, we had already missed the first two innings of the contest at that point, but I still asked both Paul and Jonathan if they wanted to do it. They did, and actually got three of the baseballs to my none. Paul got the first two baseballs after we started:
And Jonathan was in the right spot and was able to get the final autograph ball:
We then went to the flag court and took advantage of another perk of Fan Appreciation Weekend. When we saw a Target Field employee with a box, we realized that it was them about to hand out some sort of prize to the section on behalf of some Twins player. Because of what we thought was going to happen, I went and sat down in the section right before the inning break. And as a result, I got a bag of Cracker Jack:
But I wasn’t the only one. Jonathan was smart enough to act on my observation as well and got a bag for himself:
And that was it for the excitement during the game. After the game, all three of us headed down to the dugout. Paul and I tried for an umpire ball. Here’s a shot Jonathan got of both myself and Paul asking home plate umpire Tony Randazzo for a ball. (I’m on the far left and Paul’s on the far right.)
Good for us, both were able to get a ball from him:
But don’t feel bad for Jonathan. In looking through the seats for ticket stubs to send to my friend Avi Miller, I found this for him:
And with that upside-down bag of chips, all of us left to go to Paul’s car, and we all went home; Paul staying at my apartment for the night before heading of to the game the next afternoon.
6 Balls on the Game (5 pictured because I gave 1 away)
308 Balls in 63 Games= 4.89 Balls Per Game
6 Balls x 24,074 Fans= 144,444 Competition Factor
125 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
30 straight Games with at least 2 Balls
4 straight Games with at least 3-5 Balls
2 straight Games with at least 6 Balls
192 Balls in 37 Games at Target Field= 5.19 Balls Per Game
35 straight Games with at least 1 Ball at Target Field
15 straight Games with at least 2 Balls at Target Field
4 straight Games with at least 3-5 Balls at Target Field
2 straight Games with at least 6 Balls at Target Field