Alright, the Twins open their gates 2 hours and 10 minutes early for weekend games. However, they were playing a 3:10 game following a night game so I didn’t know if any BP was going to be held.
I decided to gamble and showed up at 12:45. I was among the first in the stadium at 1:00 and the first one to enter the left field seating bowl. I literally had the whole thing to myself for 1 whole minute. That doesn’t seem like much, but I was shocked. I was excited to see my Twins in the cage and batting practice in full swing.
Each stairway in left field had an usher in it looking up and down the aisles making sure that they got every last ball. The ushers, some more than others, seem to relish combing the aisles for every Easter Egg and either pocketing them or tossing them back on the field. There is a guy that is an uber fan of the Twins named nicknamed “Waldo” and the ushers HATE him. They have even gotten him banned from the dome for a time. He is almost always the first one to run into the left-centerfield seats. I asked one of the cool ushers once why they go through the stands with such fervor scouting for balls prior to the fans arrival and he flat out told me that it was to keep Waldo from getting them.
From time to time, the sections well into foul territory along the left field line will yield an Easter Egg since the ushers don’t really look there since it is kind of rare that a ball will end up that far foul with the BP cage up.
As I am searching for Easter Eggs, I hear the “thump” of a BP homer hitting the seats. I am still the only fan in the place!! My heart jumped. An uncontested ball at the Dome?? I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t see where it landed, but I had an idea of the vicinity due to the sound.
As I headed over there hurriedly to claim my prize, I was seen by this fat, worthless, ugly, piece of white trash usher. She saw me on the move and starting running down the stairs to ace me out of the ball. I couldn’t believe it. I was shocked. We started looking for the ball at the same time, but she had seen where it landed and pocketed it about 10 feet from me. As she was running around looking for the ball I said something along the lines of “Hey, what are you doing? There are paying customers in the house now. The obsese bizzatch just grinned like a cat that had gotten into the cream.
I have talked to this gutter dwelling fatso before and she has a thing against adults getting baseballs. I asked her if she was going to throw the ball back on the field and she said she was going to give it to a kid. She than proceeded to tell me I had enough baseballs. Can you believe that? An usher racing a fan to claim a BP homer? What a low life piece of garbage. I am half tempted to call her big boss and tell him about her antics.
On the plus side, right after my interaction with Rosie O’ Donnell, I walked about another 15 feet across a stairway and a fresh commemorative ball was slowly rolling down the stairs right to me. The ball hadn’t been an Easter Egg nor had it gotten freshly hit into the stands. I saw a nice usher walking up the stairs. He had to have seen his trailer park hussy of a co-worker ace me out and decided to roll me a gimme ball. That made me whole and put me on the board.
As I posted in my last blog, I went to a charity dinner with the Twins and sat at a table with rookie hurler Brian Duensing. I was hoping he would recognize me. I congratulated him on his great performance last night and he gave me a quick thanks. I didn’t get the impression that he recognized me as the bald idiot that he had broken bread with six weeks ago. So, I told him ever since we had dinner, he has been on fire. Then it dawned on him who I was and he became more friendly. He said how great the dinner was and made a little small talk. Nothing much, but at least an acknowledgement. The next time a ball came to him, he turned around and picked me out of a group of rotten kids and threw me a strike for ball #2 on the day.
I then moved around to the right field side where I was quickly able to get a Tigers pitcher to toss me his beat up warm up ball for ball #3.
All in all not a bad day at the dome that was capped by a thrilling come from behind victory, I am now at 76 balls for the year with 4 games left, including 2 at Kansas City. I should hit 80 for the year and 100 for a career. I go to meet a young man named Casey at the tilt who is a protege of the the Happy Youngster. Always nice to meet people with similar interests.
Well, I haven’t really been ballhawking in earnest for awhile, but tonight I decided I would try my luck. I hadn’t given up on ballhawking, I just had other stuff going on and needed a bit of a breather.
On Friday nights the ballpark opens at 5 for a 7:10 game. That allows for fans to actually catch a bit of Twins BP. I was hoping that the crowd would be thin since the Twins are all but out of the race. The crowd was a little lighter than normal. I got in right away and started scouring for Easter Eggs. No eggs for Big Glove Bob. I then thought I would try some traditional ballhawking in the left field stands since thing were a bit light.
Nothing of note came close. I decided to head over to right field were my homie Jose Mijares was shagging before the Twins portion of BP was over. As I walked around to right field I heard someone yell “Bob” a couple of times pretty loud. I looked and it was an A’s player in the middle of the whole team stretching and getting ready for BP. I waved hi and a few players motioned for me to heave down the big mitt. I did. I got to thinking, the guy had to have yelled something besides “Bob” that sounded like “Bob” or maybe an usher saw him trying to get my attention and told him my name. Who knows. Well, the A’s had a little fun with the big mitt and then tossed it back to me.
I didn’t ask for a ball and was packing up to head over to right field when an A’s player tossed me a ball. I thanked him for the pelota and he got a kick out of my speaking spanish.
I then got over to right field where I was basically alone. I saw that Joe Nathan had just fielded a ball and asked him for it. A little over a month ago I went to an event called Hanging with the Majors at Majors. Majors is a sports cafe in Bloomington. Twelve Twins players showed up. For a $100 a plate you get to sit in a private room and have dinner with the Twins. Each table seats 8 people, 7 of us bums and a Twins player. Actually, depending on the Twins player you got to sit with, there could be 8 bums at the table.
When the players came into the dinner, they picked a number at random to determine which table to sit at. You could get a quality player like Cuddyer, Nathan, or Jason Kubel or you could get a stiff like Jesse Crain. My table got one of the booby prizes in rookie hurler Brian Duensing. Actually he was a great guy who had just had his major league debut start the night before. The guy didn’t put on any airs and was cool to joke with. It shouldn’t have surprised me for a rookie that he was down to earth.
After about 15 minutes of eating people starting milling about the room getting autographs and pictures from the other Twins in the house. I decided to have a little fun with Joe Nathan. I told him how I was sitting with Duensing and complimented him on his attitude. I told him that Duensing was telling us how he had been working with him and helping him on things in the bullpen and what good student he was.
Nathan’s tone changed. He was confused. He needed clarification. The rookie was sitting at our dinner table telling us the HE is helping the ALL STAR JOE NATHAN with his pitching??? I confirmed that he heard me right. I told Joe that the rookie was telling us that he (Joe) had been tipping off his pitches and that he (the rookie) was doing some drills with him to to break him of the habit.
Joe shifted in his chair and indignantly said Duensing is over there telling you that he is helping ME out on MY pitching?? I told him yes, he was correct. Finally when I got the feeling that the rookie would be in big trouble I told Joe that I was just giving him a hard time and that Duensing hadn’t said anything of the like.
When I went back to the table and told Duensing the story, he got worried, real worried. I told him that I just let Joe off the hook and told him that it was all a joke.
Later on, I took and picture with Joe and some people near him came over and said you are the guy with the big glove. Joe said yeah, you are Luis Ayala’s buddy with the worldiest heaviest mitt. I told Joe how Luis had stiffed me and asked him if he had Luis’s number. He laughed and said that he would call him.
Surprisingly a few of the players and quite a few of the attendees recognized me as the idiot with the big glove.
Back to tonight. I thought maybe since Joe had met me, he might hook me up with a ball. Nothing doing. He is probably still smarting from me pulling his chain. He tossed the ball back to the bucket.
A few minutes passed by and a ball bounced off the folded down football seats and rolled back towards the infield with big Jose Mijares giving chase. Jose grabbed it in very shallow right field and I yelled at him. True to form Big Jose turned and dealt. It was sailing to my back hand side (which is the hardest catch with the big mitt) I leaned over the railing and looked the ball right into my mitt for a nice clean catch.
I then moved over the Twins dugout to see if I could get a ball from a player leaving the field after BP. I noticed that Justin Morneau had a ball with him. I called down for it and surprisingly he flung it on up to me for my third and final ball of the day.
The A’s are stacked with lefties so their portion of BP wasn’t fruitful as their balls bounced off the folding up football seats. Hardly anything was hit to left. I was happy with a 3 ball outing.
I had a better night than the Twins who got spanked by the lowly A’s.
Okay, several blog entries ago I wrote about how Twins reliever Luis Ayala had taken a shining to my big glove and wanted one of his very own. I bartered with Luis and told him I would get him a big mitt in exchange for one of his jerseys. It was only going to be a BP jersey, but I figured a story of trading something with a big leaguer would make for a cool story and the value of the two items would basically be a wash.
Well, the big glove arrived and I trudged it down to the dome and gave it to Luis. He talked about meeting up to get the jersey but it never happened, not at that game or the next game (where he saw me and motioned to his jersey) Lo and behold, in the meantime, Luis had asked to be made the set up man or he wanted to be traded. The Twins optioned him and he was claimed off of waivers by the Florida Marlins.
I don’t think Luis is a dishonorable man and I am guessing that had he remained a Twin, he would have honored his end of the bargain.
Not wanting to be out $110 for the glove, I decided I was going to draft a nice letter to Luis and send it to him in care of the Marlins. I wrote a nice letter and was kind of dragging my feet on sending it. I didn’t see any huge rush. Well, a week or so ago, I retrieved the letter from my car, grabbed a stamp and an envelope and proceeded to get online to go to the Marlins site and get their address for fan mail. Guess what? Luis had gotten optioned by the Fish! Oh No! I am now going to have to try to track him down elsewhere.
I guess the hunt is on!
Howdy! The Twins haven’t been playing too well and my ballhawking has been following their lead. I attended the 8-1 tilt versus the Halos. It was a weekend game so that meant I had another 30 minutes of ballhawking.
I stayed to my usual route. Start out with scouring the left field seats for Easter Eggs, spend a few minutes before things get too crowded and then make my way all the way over to the seats along the right field line.
No Easter Eggs would be found on this day. I saw my Mexican homie Jose Mijares snagging balls in right field and he hooked me up with my first ball of the day. Big Jose has been a steady source of balls for me this year. I only get to see him on the few weekend games I go to, but he always helps me out.
After Jose hooked me up with a ball I moved over and sat down to watch the Twins finish up BP. First base coach Jerry White grabbed a wayward ball and I stood up, flashed the big mitt, and yelled his name. He tossed me ball #2.
The Angels then took the field. Their bullpen catcher Steve Soliz was warming up a pitcher and I set my sights on getting a ball from him. The last time the Angels were in town I played to Mr. Soliz’s vanity by taking several pictures of him while he was warming up someone. I treated the scrub like Johnny Bench for a few minutes and watched with rapt attention as he was catching. I saw him looking at me and grinning like the cat that got into the cream that someone was playing attention to him.
So, this time when Soliz got a ball and was walking by I asked him in Spanish for the ball. He quickly shot back at me “I don’t speak Spanish”. The guy’s last night is Soliz and he is playing outside of L.A. and he doesn’t speak Spanish!? Color me shocked. I tried to teach him a little Espanol but he wasn’t having any of it. He walked away with a disgusted look on his kisser and I didn’t get a ball.
I got shut down for the rest of the game as well. Two balls at the dome is respectable so I wasn’t too disappointed.
The Twins are back in town after a two week road trip. I attended all 3 games against our division rivals the White Sox. Unfortunately, my ballhawking prowess did not keep pace with the Twins as they swept the Pale Hose.
I think I am getting a little burnt out on ballhawking. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the Dome is a tough place to ballhawk. I know every ballhawk says this about their home turf. But, I sincerely believe it. A member of the ballhawk league, GregB123 was in town for a couple of tilts. I am curious to find out his thoughts on dome ballhawking.
For game one, I got there bright and early and there were still 100 people or so in line before me. I went in and did not find any Easter Eggs. The left field stands were getting busy from the get-go so I moved around to right field. There I saw Scott Linebrink who remembered me from last year when he borrowed my big mitt. He didn’t have any balls with him but I did ask him about the World Baseball Classic balls they had been using. He said that he had only seen one in the last few days.
I asked a few palyers for balls, but none were in the mood to toss them up. No balls were sliced into the section I was in. However, after BP was over I was walking out of the section and saw a ball nestled neatly in between the chair and cement step. I can’t believe I had missed it earlier but there it was for my taking! However, upon closer inspection it was not a major league ball but rather some sort of scuffed up old ball that was probably used in some high school game.
I then retreated to my seat in the home run porch where I saw no action. Zero balls on the night.
Game #2 of the series was a little better. I almost got skunked in BP but the White Sox bullpen coach responded to my request for a pelota in his native tounge. He then said to give it to a kid with a glove. I was more than happy to do that, but there were only about 8 people in my section at the time and none were kids, much less kids with gloves. The only person with a glove was a guy about 20 years older than me. So I kept the orb. During the game I got my second ball on a toss up from Brian Buscher.
I decided not to ballhawk at game #3 of the series. I was tired and decided to get a couple more hours of shut eye rather than go to the stadium early. I ended up getting to the park just in time for the national anthem and had a seat well out of ballhawking range in the outfield. I will still have to count this game in my ballhawking stats however.
I am catching the Twins-Angels game tomorrow and hope that the weekend ballhawking goes a little better.
I hate the Yanks. I really do. Not as much as the Twins do, but still. We can play other top teams tough, but the Yanks have our number.
I have gone to the last two games. Game one on Tuesday sucked all around. I went with my brother and he actually got there bright and early and I joined him at the front of the line. No Easter Eggs were to be found when we ran in and within minutes the place starting getting uncomfortably busy for BP.
I camped out above a ball that had rolled into the left field corner and when a Japanese guy went to pick it up I asked him for the ball in Japanese. He looked at me surprised and smiled. He was obviously impressed that I could speak Japanese, but not so impressed that he gave me the ball. He instead gave it to a little kid.
Seeing how getting a ball over there was going to be tough I moved around to the right field side and began vying for balls. Nothing, nada, zilch. Game one was a complete shutout.
Game two treated me a little better. The gates open at 5:30 and I was in at about 5:33 after waiting in line for a brief while. I looked for some unclaimed Easter Eggs even though there were already 100 or so people down in the first few rows trying for balls. I saw nothing.
I then went to work on the Japanese guy again. Again he may have been impressed by my muli lingual Irish ***, but not enough to part with a ball. As I was walking dejectedly over to right field, I spied a ball nestled in a folded up seat. How nobody had discovered this orb yet so far into BP was beyond me. But their loss was my gain as I scored ball #1.
I then went and spent the rest of BP in right field. As BP was ending, a player tossed me a ball. The throw sailed low and away and with a 20 foot drop I wasn’t going to lean over any farther for it then I already had. He then grabbed the ball again claiming I missed it and tossed it to an undeserving youngster. It was his fault. Oh well.
I then went to my seat where during the game I had a nice run of luck. Brian Buscher hooked me up with a pelota in the first inning and in the 8th inning. Two balls from the same guy. Not bad. That guy loves his state quarters! In the fifth inning I got the strength coach to toss me an orb.
4 balls on the night was a solid outing. Although I didn’t score a commemorative I didn’t mind too much. The Twins lost again though. We need to come out firing on all cylinders in our last game in order to restore a little to the universe.
I went to my first game since Milwaukee today. The boys had been on the road and had a rubber game to play with the division leading Tigers.
I had a couple of things going against me. First it was day game. Usually there is no BP during day games since they usually had played a game the night before. However since they had played the afternoon before I thought BP might be a possiblity.
It was also Carlos Gomez jersey day for the first 5,000 kids under 14. Not a bad giveaway and a pretty limited number. That meant that throngs of little shavers would be camped out long before the gates opened destroying any Easter Eggs possibilities and getting in the player’s grills begging for balls.
To add insult to injury I also found out that it was armed services appreciation day and current and retired armed forces members and their families could pick up free tickets for the tilt. That would further crowd the stadium from the get go. If you were a major leaguer and had the choice of tossing a ball to a little kid, a uniformed hero, or a big dummy with an oversized mitt who would you choose? God Bless the solidiers on this weekend especially. The sacrifices they made and continue to make are indeed appreciated.
They had very limited BP for the Tigers that lasted about 20 minutes. As they were setting up I saw coach Rafael Belliard standing in front of the BP ball cart that had about 200 balls in it. I was pretty much the only one in the very immediate vicinity so I asked him for a ball. He outright ignored me. I then said “No Pelotas” Rafael? and have shook his head no.
Adam Everett finished warming up right in front of me and I asked him for the ball. I thought I had an inside track since he played for the Twins last year but he flat out ignored my request. He did made a throwing error that cost them 3 runs in the 4th inning so that serves him right. Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it!
I then moved down to the right field side and set up. It is kinda my hidden secret. It isn’t great for getting balls but it isn’ crowded at all and you can usually score 1 ball there. I would rather be in an area with 10 people that gets 4 balls then an area with 1,000 that gets 25 balls.
The Tigers were wearing their warm ups so my roster sheets were worthless. A BP ball was looped down the line and a medium skinned players ranged over to field it. When he scooped it up I yelled “puedo tener la pelota por favor”. He stopped and looked at me like I just accused him of stealing Jim Leyland’s last cigarette. He snapped “do I look like I speak Spanish??” Well, that is kind of a rhetorical question since if I didn’t think he spoke Spanish I wouldn’t have asked him in Spanish. I just looked at him and then proceeded to ask him for a ball in Japanese. The humor was lost on him and he walked away disgustedly. There would be no ball for me from that corner.
During the game I was able to get Brian Buscher to toss me up a game used orb for ball #1. The game went the way I wanted with the Twins coming out on top and taking the rubber game. After a win, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has the custom of tossing a couple of baseballs into the crowd. I was able to score a Gardy toss up for ball #2 on the day. Not bad all things considered. Up next will be the hated Yanks.
I went to Miller Park and caught the two evening tilts on 6-23 and 6-24. This was a big deal for me. You know those people you hear about that die at 88 years old having never left their neighborhood in the city? I must be related to them. The last time I left town was 6 years ago and then that was just an overnight trip to Des Moines 3 hours away. So, venturing to Miller Park was certainly out of my comfort zone.
After getting lost for an hour taking the I-43 exit towards Chicago instead of Green Bay I arrived at the Radisson. It was serviceable lodging but stay away from Sleep Number beds! That thing sucked. One thing that did not suck was the air conditioner in my room. After being in the room for about an hour I heard a frantic knock on the door. It turned out to be the butcher from down the street. The power had gone out in his shop and he wanted to store his meat in my room so it would not spoil.
I got to the game about 20 minutes before the gates opened and must say that Miller Park is the king of tailgating. There were people everywhere eating and drinking. Actually as I recall I saw a lot more people drinking than eating.
It was HOT. Really HOT. I don’t like the heat at all and it was so hot that my big Irish *** looked like someone had turned a fire hose on me. I was so miserable I was thinking about going back to the hotel. Luckily I didn’t Once I got inside the park, the conditions were more tolerable.
However, when I walked in I saw no signs of batting practice. All I saw were Wisconsin area little leaguers on parade. WTF? I settled into my front row seat behind home plate to watch an hour long procession of little brats walk by in the 95 degree heat. Good times. Good times. No ballhwaking for me on this night.
Night #2 was no better from a weather standpoint. It was still miserably hot. However, I had gotten a little more used to it and decided to do a little ballhwaking. My first pelota came from my man Jose Mirares who always seems to hook me up.
Then I was the victim of highway robbery. I called to new Twins pitcher Bobby Kneppel and he tossed me a ball. Out of nowhere this kid reached up right in front of my glove and robbed me. He then ran like the sissy he is. I wasn’t upset although I do consider it poor form to rob someone of a toss up that is earmarked for them.
I then moved around and got third base coach Scott Ullger to toss me ball #2 on the night. Batting practice was winding down and I saw that Brian Buscher was hitting in the last group. Brian wears number #32. It just so happened that I was wearing a #32 Twins jersey in honor of Dan Gladden. I decided to play to Brian’s vanity by calling out his name and showing him that I was rocking the #32 jersey. He motioned for a ball from the BP bucket and hooked me up with ball #3 on the night. That would be my final ball of the game.
I once again sat front row behind home plate, but this time it was in a spot that had my ugly mug on TV the whole game. I lost track of all the texts and calls I received. After the game I got to meet Bert Blyleven who told me that they got my big glove on TV. I also got some love during the game from Twins radio color man Dan Gladden who noticed the jersey.
This blog would not be complete if I didn’t mention the over the top hospitality I received from the Happy Youngster and company. After both games, Nick (Happy) met me by my seats and we went out and got some food and beers. I got to meet some cool guys like Brewer Jamie and see some of the post game action at a neighborhood bar.
Had it not been for Happy I would have been back at the hotel drinking by myself at the bar and asking about out call escort services. I really appreciated the comraderie of fellow baseball fans. It made the trip a ton more fun.
I made it home safe and sound today just in time to watch the rubber game on TV. The Twins took the series 2-1.
I spent the last two nights at the dome watching my boys play the Houston Astros. Friday night was insane. I don’t know what it is about Minnesotans and their bobbleheads, but we go crazy for some reason. People camp out and start lining up many hours before the gates open to ensure that they get one of the 10,000 nodders.
It was Kent Hrbek bobblehead night. I love Kent and wouldn’t miss out on his “Legends of the Dome” bobblehead. Even though I got there only 35 minutes before the gates opened I knew I would still be within the first 10,000 in the place and I was.
It sucked from a ballhawking perspective since the stadium was immediately busy with fans. The only luck I had was from Jose Mirares who tossed me a commemorative orb that came up short and fell into this maintenance area abyss. I was able to get a groundskeeper’s attention and he retrieved the ball for me. Nice guy. That was my only ball on the night.
Tonight, June 20th, I went and it was Twins cowboy hat night. Not nearly as many fans lined up for the lousy straw hat, but still enough that there would be no chance at Easter Eggs.
I got in the stadium and went around to where the mexicans shag balls. Jose Mirares tossed me a ball that came up short again and landed in the maintenance area. He then whipped another ball to me that sailed over my head and bounced into a whole other section and got picked up by another fan. He then moved closer and grooved a ball right to me. Whatta guy! He just threw 3 balls in a row to me!
I was able to get the first ball he tossed to be retrieved by a groundskeeper. So that was 2 balls courtesy of Jose. That was it for BP.
I managed to get a third ball on the day via a bat boy toss up after the game was over. It was a heartbreaking 6-5 loss that looked like it was going to be a 7-6 walk off win but Joe Crede’s hard hit ball died on the warning track for the third out.
Our hated rivals, The Pittsburgh Pirates were in town this week for a three game set. Okay, well maybe they aren’t exactly rivals.
Tuesday night I was there bright and early but didn’t see any Easter Eggs for the taking. The ushers have been really good lately about getting every last one.
I went down to the left field foul pole and asked catcher Jason Jaramillo for a ball. He was having none of it. The guy seems to be a real jerk from what I have witnessed. Soon after being shot down by crabby Jaramillo, a ball rolled to Evan Meek. All I had to do was hold up my mitt and he fired a strike to me for ball #1 on the day. I also noticed that he threw a lot of balls up into the stands.
Since things were getting crowded I moved all the way over to a perch beside the right field foul line. There I got coach Herberto Andrade’s attention and he supplied me with my second orb. Also seemed like a nice guy.
I then went to my seat an didn’t see any ballhawking action all game. After the game I waited around patiently and was rewarded with a ball from the bat boy. A 3 ball showing. Not great, not bad. My Twins also pulled out a victory.
Fast forward to today. The dreaded day game after a night game with no BP. As an added detriment to my ballhawking, I also had a second big glove with me. As you may remember, Twins reliever Luis Ayala took a shining to the big glove and wanted one for himself. I told him that I would get him one in exchange for one of his jerseys.
I sat down where the pitchers warm up and felt like a giant. The whole front row was filled with little kids and I was the only adult. I knew I had no chance at getting a warm up ball. Under normal circumstances, I would have gone over and tried to get a ball from a Pirate pitcher since their side wasn’t nearly as crowded with little pukes.
Luis came out and started warming up. I got his attention and showed him that I had his big glove. He motioned at his jersey and smiled. After warming up, Luis came over and shook my hand and I gave him his mitt.
I thought Luis spoke a little better English but I was able to get out of him that he wanted me to meet him over “there”. He motioned to the tunnel where the players congregate before going on deck that is connected to the dugout. That is where my 20 game season ticket is located and I am thinking that he thought I was going to be sitting there.
I wasted about 20 minutes standing around and no sign of Luis. Then the guy who was sitting in the seat came and I had to leave. I let Adam, the bat boy know the scoop and said I would come back after the game. I told Adam that if he saw Luis with my jersey just to hold it for me.
I went over there after the game and nothing was left for me by Luis. I am going to games the next two nights and I have no reason to believe that Luis is going to welch on his end of the bargain. However, it would have been nice to get the exchange out of the way.
I was shut out on the day as far as my ballhawking exploits were concerned.