6/11/13 at Target Field

I woke up in New York City at 4:30am with two and a half hours of sleep — and it was totally worth it. Look where I ended up 12 hours later:

1_zack_on_the_field_06_11_13

Let me explain . . .

Three years ago, when Target Field was just a month old, I showed up for a three-game series and randomly met a Twins employee who hooked me up with behind-the-scenes access. More specifically, on May 5, 2010, he approached me during BP and introduced himself, and on May 6, 2010, he gave me a private tour of the stadium. As I mentioned back then, he wants to remain anonymous, so I’m going to refer to him as “Kirby.”

Anyway, as you may have gathered, Kirby hooked me up again, this time with a fancy VIP pass that gave me early/field access. Look where I found myself two minutes later:

2_behind_the_batting_cage_06_11_13

As nice as it was to hang out on the field, all I wanted to do was go into the stands and get a head start on snagging baseballs. Kirby had no problem with that — he reads this blog and knows all about my collection — so we walked toward the left field foul line. On the way, I photographed some photographers . . .

3_photographers_on_warning_track

. . . and resisted the urge to grab this and run like hell:

4_basket_of_baseballs_06_11_13

In the photo above, did you notice the person in a Phillies uniform standing in the background? That was manager Charlie Manuel:

5_charlie_manuel_standing_around

In the photo of Charlie Manuel, did you notice the ball sitting on the warning track in the background?

Now listen, it’s not what you think. Yes, I walked over and picked it up . . .

6_zack_picking_up_the_ball

. . . but look what I did with it:

7_zack_tossing_the_ball_back_to_the_mound

As you can see, I kissed it goodbye and chucked it back toward the mound, and no, I didn’t count it as a “snagged ball.” For scorekeeping purposes, it was a non-event.

Kirby and I walked a little farther along the warning track and entered the stands here:

8_view_from_corner_spot_06_11_13

Looking back on it, I should’ve headed straight to the left field bleachers. Given the fact that I could’ve gone anywhere (and that the entire stadium was empty except for a few dozen season ticket holders who’d gotten early access and were confined to a teeny section in straight-away right field), hanging out in foul territory was dumb. I don’t know what I was thinking. I guess I thought it’d look bad if I ran wild, and also, Target Field, gorgeous as it may be, is configured so badly for catching home runs that I figured it wasn’t worth it.

Several minutes later, I got a call from Twins TV reporter Jamie Hersch. She was planning to interview me live on FSN during the game and wanted to come say hey while things were relatively calm. I told her where to find me, and before long, I saw her heading my way from afar:

9_jamie_hersch_heading_my_way

In the photo above, did you notice all those little white specks against the dark background? Those were raindrops, which, thankfully, weren’t coming down hard enough to cancel batting practice.

Shortly after Jamie arrived, a reporter from the Pioneer Press named Chad Graff came and found me. In the following photo, which features my first ball of the day, you can see him and Jamie (and blurred-out Kirby):

10_ball6750_and_friends

When there was a quick break in the action, I took a pic of my VIP pass:

11_vip_guest_pass_06_11_13

My second ball was a slicer hit by Joe Mauer that trickled toward me in the corner spot. Little did I know that as I leaned over the wall and snagged it in the tip of my glove, a Pioneer Press photographer named John Autey was zooming in on me from afar. Check out this awesome shot that he got:

12_zack_reaching_for_ball6751

I moved several sections toward home plate when the Phillies took the field . . .

13_view_before_ball6752

. . . and got my third ball of the day thrown by John Mayberry Jr.

Then I got a good look at two of the Phillies’ gloves:

14_ball_and_glove_up_close

After the gates opened to the general public, I got my fourth ball tossed by a player (most likely a pitcher) that I couldn’t identify. Several minutes later, Joe Savery hooked me up with ball No. 5, which I promptly handed to a very little kid on my left.

Then I headed to the 2nd deck in left field. Jamie had taken off by that point, and John (the photographer) was now with me. Here’s a photo of him:

15_pioneer_press_photographer_john_autey

Did you notice the white specks on the grass in front of the batter’s eye? Those were baseballs. Here’s a better look at them:

16_balls_on_the_batters_eye_06_11_13

If I had longer string (and diplomatic immunity from stadium security), I could’ve used my glove trick to reel in most of them, but it simply wasn’t meant to be. I did, however, discover a ball hiding in an unusual spot after moving to the lower level in right field:

17_ball6756_in_flower_pot

Did you see the ball hiding in the flower pot? How’s that for random? But hang on. Before I made an attempt to snag it, I got another unidentifiable Phillies player to toss up a ball — my sixth of the day. Then I waved John over and pointed out the “garden ball” so that he’d be able to position himself for the best possible photo. Chad and Kirby were hanging out nearby, so I also pointed it out to them, and then I went for it. To my surprise, I was able to reach it with the tip of my glove, and in a word . . . eww! Have a look:

18_ball6756_closeup

The ball was waterlogged — it probably weighed eight ounces — and had a pungent earthy odor. Unsure of what to do with it or how to store it, I stuffed it into the mesh pouch on the outside of my backpack and turned my attention back to the field. That’s when I had a horrendous streak of bad luck. For starters, a line-drive homer sailed five feet over my head, barely missed the overhang, and landed in the concourse, ricocheting off the back wall. Naturally, I scampered after it and barely lost the race to another fan, and get this: during the five seconds that I was gone, another homer landed in my exact spot in the front row. I barely missed out on that one too as it rattled around the mostly-empty seats. And wait! There’s more! After that, three homers that would’ve been easy catches barely carried a bit too far and got swallowed up by the overhang of the 2nd deck. These balls were all heading right for me, and there wasn’t any competition, so it was maddening. TaRgEt FiElD iS, LiKe, sOoOoOo AnNoYiNg, OMG!!!

Toward the end of BP, I managed to snag a home run ball, but only because the fans nearby were totally out of it. This ball — my eighth overall — smacked off an empty seat in the 2nd row near a family of four. They never saw it coming, and they must not’ve realized what had caused the loud noise because they never stood up to look for it. They were so close to it (and I was so far away — roughly 40 feet) that I didn’t bother going for it at first, but when they didn’t react, I ran over and found the ball wedged between two seats. Very strange. And then I handed it to the youngest member of the family — a little boy who looked to be about eight years old.

BP ended at around 6:15pm, which meant I had 25 minutes before my pre-game interview on FSN, the Twins’ TV network. During that time, I met a fellow ballhawk named Tony Voda, said goodbye to Kirby, and debated whether to go get food (I was so hungry that my stomach hurt) or lurk near the bullpens. There were several balls scattered there, and Tony advised me to stick around. He said that Twins bullpen catcher Nate Dammann was likely to toss a few into the crowd — and he was right. After a little while, Dammann made his way out to the bullpen and started walking toward the balls:

19_nate_dammann_before_ball6758

I’m happy to report that Tony and I each got one. Here’s a photo of him:

20_tony_voda_06_11_13

Earlier in the day, I had posted this tweet to ask if anyone would be able to take photos during my TV interview. Tony kindly offered to do it (as did a woman named Kelly), so now that the time had arrived, we headed over together. Before I handed him my camera, I took a photo of the set:

21_waiting_at_the_fsn_set_06_11_13

The two TV guys pictured above are Roy Smalley and Dave Benz. Smalley, you may recall, interviewed me in 2010 about my involvement with Pitch In For Baseball; he’s the president of the charity’s board of directors, so he was glad to talk about it with me on the air again.

When it was time for me to head up onto the stage, Tony grabbed my camera and took a TON of photos (of which I’m only going to share two). Here I am getting set up . . .

22_zack_on_fsn_stage_06_11_13

. . . and here’s a shot that was taken while Dave was introducing me:

23_zack_being_introduced

After the interview, I caught up with a local ballhawk named Dave Forstad, who had brought his copy of The Baseball. Here we are:

24_zack_and_dave_with_the_baseball

Dave has snagged approximately 800 balls. Just before my trip to Target Field, he sent me a long email with lots of advice about the stadium. He’s a really good guy, and from the little bit that I saw of him during BP, it’s clear that he knows what he’s doing.

Then I got a photo with Kelly . . .

25_kelly and_zack_06_11_13

. . . who was one of the charity prize winners last season.

I had to run after that — game time was 10 minutes away, and I *had* to get something to eat — so I told Kelly, Dave, and Tony to find me after the game at the Phillies’ dugout. (Everything is always rushed when I’m at a major league stadium.) I got pepperoni pizza with two minutes to spare, so I ran with it through the concourse and barely made it down to my seat for the start of the game. This was my view:

26_second_pitch_of_the_game_06_11_13

Because Cole Hamels (Booo!!) was pitching for the Phillies, I’d decided to work the home-plate end of the dugout. I figured he’d strike out lots of batters and that I’d have lots of chances. As it turned out, though, my first opportunity came from a ball that was put in play. Josh Willingham flied out to end the 1st inning; John Mayberry Jr. made the catch in right field, and since I was clearly sitting at the wrong end of the dugout, I darted up the steps and ran one section over and then headed a few rows back down. Mayberry spotted me deep in the crowd and lobbed the ball right to me. It was perfect. It sailed over everyone down in front, and I reached up for an easy catch, raising $500 for Pitch In For Baseball in the process. Here I am with the ball (after having changed into my BIGS gear):

27_zack_with_ball6759

(By the way, why is okay for fans to have sanctioned dance-offs on the dugout roofs between innings, but if fans dare to sit there after the game for quick photos, stadium security goes ballistic? Hmm? Anyone?)

Several people recognized me and congratulated me, including the nearest usher, who was super-cool about it. He told me that he’d let me run up and around and back down into the seats because of the charity, and I realized that he must’ve heard about it from Kirby. While I’d been busy working the Phillies for pre-game toss-ups, I noticed that Kirby was talking to the ushers. At the time, I didn’t think they were talking about me — I really didn’t think much about it at all — but damn, he must’ve put in a good word. (Kirby, I know you read this blog, so thanks for doing that, and thanks for everything. You’ve made Target Field [and baseball in general] so much more fun, and I seriously owe you for it. I just wish we could have a conversation sometime that lasts more than two minutes and isn’t constantly being interrupted by my zealous pursuit of baseballs.)

After snagging that gamer, which, by the way, was my 300th ball overall this season, I thought about heading to the outfield, but I stayed put, and here’s why:

1) The odds of catching a home run ball seemed rather slim.
2) I thought I had a good chance to snag another 3rd-out ball.
3) Lots more people recognized me, and I was schmoozing it up.
4) Jamie Hersch was planning to find me for a follow-up interview.
5) Chad Graff was also planning to come find me.
6) I was loving the view.

Let’s revisit No. 2 on that list for a moment, shall we? The 3rd inning ended with a Joe Mauer groundout to Phillies 2nd baseman Freddy Galvis. Ryan Howard caught Galvis’s throw at 1st base, and on his way back to the dugout, he tossed me the ball. Here’s a photo of me with it (while I was still wearing Phillies gear) that Tony took from the adjacent section:

28_zack_with_ball6760

Getting that ball was so easy that I was a bit embarrassed, but the fans around me were loving it. Word must’ve spread about me and the whole charity thing because half the people in my section were now coming up to me and shaking my hand and congratulating me and asking me stuff like, “How do you DO it?” and “What do you think of Target Field?” and “What’s the next stadium you’re visiting?” and so on. Like I said, it was embarrassing. I wasn’t really doing anything special other than wearing the right clothing and being in the right section, but I suppose that’s more strategy than most people even consider.

After snagging that ball, I decided to take a few photos of my surroundings. Here’s what it looked like on my right:

29_fans_on_my_right_06_11_13

As you can see, there weren’t any kids except for that one little guy with the awesome hair and white t-shirt. No one was shouting at me to give it to him. It wasn’t like that at all. Like I said, everyone seemed to be getting a real kick out of what I was doing, but I still thought it’d be nice to hook him up, so I handed him one of my BP balls. He and his mother were so appreciative that she later asked if she could take a photo of him with me. I gladly obliged, then asked if she’d send it to me, and got her permission to post it on my blog, so here you go:

30_zack_and_jasiah

The kid’s name is Jasiah, he’s seven years old, and he plays shortstop. His mother’s name is Tanaya, and she sent THE nicest email to me later that night. It’s pretty neat to make new friends by doing something as simple as giving away a baseball.

I ended up snagging another 3rd-out ball after the 5th inning — a Joe Mauer strikeout that was tossed to me by Phillies catcher Humberto Quintero. (Quintero is now the sixth player on my thrown balls list whose last name begins with a kue. The others are Chad Qualls, Paul Quantrill, Ruben Quevedo, Robb Quinlan, and Omar Quintanilla. Aren’t you glad to know that?) A minute later, I gave another ball to a different kid (who was sitting in the last row), so you can imagine how much the entire section was buzzing. Several people asked to take photos of/with me. Here’s one . . .

31_zack_and_fans_06_11_13

. . . and here’s another:

32_zack_with_usher_and_fan_06_11_13

(The usher pictured above was pretending to beg me for a baseball.)

All of these photos were sent to me by the folks whose cameras/phones they were taken with. I swear I wasn’t seeking all of this attention, but at the same time, I wasn’t going to hide from it. I mean, the attention is good because it proves that the BIGS Baseball Adventure has really taken off. More attention for BIGS Sunflower Seeds. More attention for Pitch In For Baseball. Everyone wins.

Guess who got the 3rd-out ball after the 6th inning? No, not me. It was Tony. He was in the fancy-schmancy club section directly behind home plate, and I took the following photo of him from above:

33_tony_voda_with_gamer_from_above

While all of this was happening, Chad was texting me interview questions, and Jamie was working out a plan for when and where to meet and do the interview. In the top of the 7th inning, she called (while I happened to be in the bathroom — never a dull moment) and said her producers wanted us to do it in the top of the 8th. She asked me where I wanted to meet, and I suggested the standing-room area in deep right field. It would’ve been fun to do it near all my new friends behind the dugout, but I had visions of catching a home run during the interview. How epic would THAT have been?

I told her to meet me near the American flag, and in the bottom of the 7th, I found her there. She’s the one wearing red pants in the following photo:

34_jamie_hersch_waiting_for_me_by_the_flagpole

As planned, the interview began in the top of the 8th, but unfortunately it ended up being VERY brief. Kevin Frandsen singled on the second pitch of the inning, and that was it. The producers told Jamie to wrap it up — she could hear them in her earpiece — so she could send it back to the booth. Why? Because the leadoff man was on. The Phillies had something going. The game was more important than me. What an outrage! But you know what? I was okay with it because in the brief time that I was on the air, I managed to mention Pitch In For Baseball *and* BIGS Sunflower Seeds. Go me.

Before Jamie took off, we got a photo together (in which I was holding my three gamers):

35_jamie_hersch_and_zack_with_three_gamers

By the time Chad came and found me in the bottom of the 8th, it had gotten dark. (Three pitching changes will do that.) Here we are:

36_zack_and_pioneer_press_reporter_chad_graff

With the Twins clinging to a 3-2 lead, I headed back to my seat in the top of the 9th. This was my view:

37_view_in_9th_inning_06_11_13

Soon after the final out, I took the following photo, which shows two important things:

38_jamie_hersch_interviewing_jamey_caroll_on_the_jumbotron

First, if you look at the Jumbotron, you can see Jamie Hersch interviewing Jamey Carroll, who had scored the winning run. Also, if you look at the field, you can see several Phillies walking toward me from the bullpen. Less than a minute later, Jesus Tiamo, the team’s bullpen catcher, tossed me my 13th and final ball of the day.

Tony and I finally got a photo together:

39_zack_and_tony_voda

He ended up snagging eight balls, and as you can see, he stores them in little plastic bags. Here’s his profile on MyGameBalls.com, and while you’re at it, check out his blog, especially the entertaining entry that he wrote about this game.

I also caught up with Dave and Kelly and met some other folks who recognized me.

I lingered in the stadium for such a long time that the lights were dimmed, and the grounds crew started pulling out the tarp:

40_tarp_on_field_06_11_13

I also caught the tail end of the FSN post-game show . . .

41_fsn_postgame_show_wrapping_up

. . . and eventually got a photo with Roy and Dave when they wrapped up:

42_zack_with_dave_benz_and_roy_smalley

Here are a few more random photos for you, starting with my post-game journey on the Light Rail:

43_light_rail_after_the_game

Did you notice the man’s t-shirt on the far left?

Wow.

Here’s the stack of tiramisu pancakes that I ate at IHOP before heading to my hotel room:

44_tiramisu_pancakes_at_ihop

Did you hear me? TIRAMISU PANCAKES!!!

Another wow.

Here’s what I did with the ball that I’d snagged from the flower pot:

45_ball6756_being_dried_off

When I took that photo, the hair dryer was on full blast. I left it there for about 10 minutes, rotating the ball every so often. That kinda did the trick; it dried out fast, but still smells like a compost heap.

Finally, check out Chad’s article about me in the Pioneer Press:

46_zack_in_pioneer_press

If you want to read the rest of the article, click here, and if you want to see the online version, click here.

Phew! What a day.

BALLHAWKING STATS:

47_the_nine_balls_i_kept_06_11_13• 13 balls at this game (nine pictured here because I gave four away)

• 303 balls in 39 games this season = 7.77 balls per game.

• 45 balls in 5 lifetime games at Target Field = 9 balls per game.

• 911 consecutive games with at least one ball

• 436 consecutive games with at least two balls

• 21 stadiums this season with a game-used ball: Citi Field, Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, Angel Stadium, PETCO Park, AT&T Park, Safeco Field, Kauffman Stadium, Rangers Ballpark, Minute Maid Park, Great American Ball Park, Progressive Field, PNC Park, Camden Yards, U.S. Cellular Field, Comerica Park, Rogers Centre, Miller Park, Busch Stadium, Wrigley Field, and Target Field

• 6,762 total balls

CHARITY STATS:

(For every stadium this season at which I snag a game-used ball, BIGS Sunflower Seeds will donate $500 to Pitch In For Baseball, a non-profit charity that provides baseball equipment to underprivileged kids all over the world. In addition to that, I’m doing my own fundraiser again this season for Pitch In For Baseball.)

pitch_in_for_baseball• 28 donors for my fundraiser

• $1.83 pledged per ball (if you add up all the pledges)

• $23.79 raised at this game

• $554.49 raised this season through my fundraiser

• $10,500 from BIGS Sunflower Seeds for my game-used baseballs

• $32,460.49 raised since I started my fundraiser in 2009

36 Comments

I may be a bit biased, since I am mentioned above, but this was a great entry! Many of those photos were also fantastic! ;)

I said it before, but I’ll say it again, it was a pleasure to finally meet you. I always wanted to get a ball from a game, but it was hearing about you that made me realize that it was so simple (not exactly easy, but simple). In a way, the circle has been completed; I read you blog from afar and now appear on it while posting a respectable total.

Don’t be a stranger, if/when you come back to Target Field let me know (especially if you have more than a few hours – plenty of cool places to see). When I finally make my way out East to cross off a few stadiums from my list I will definitely give you fair warning.

Enjoy the rest of the year and the entire experience with Bigs!

…I would have kept that ball on the waring track!!! Are you crazy!!!!!!!

…I ment WARNING! “Fat Fingers” as they say…my bad!

…I would have kissed it *HELLO* right into my backpack!!! LOL!

…never get bummed about “Flower Pot” ball…just remeber how bad it feels when you’re getting shut-out, and you would gladly love to have “Flower Pot” ball just to keep your streak alive!!!

…it looks like you were treated like a “King” at Target Field…10 times better than Yankee Stadium, huh??? Looks like nice people up there in Minnesota…I’m glad you had a great time! Days like that are good for your BALL HAWKING SOUL! It’s awesome when things are working for you, instead of against you sometimes! :) KEEP ON SNAGGIN’!

Always knew you were a champion shagger Zack .The pun may not be obvious is the US. And…………MLB Opening Day in Australia 2014 ! Dodgers vs D’Backs , starring Heath Bell.

…That’s how I feel when I go to PNC Park…everybody is so cool there! The ushers are awesome, the ball hawks are friendly, the Cops could care less, and the beer vendors don’t scream in my ear all game long!!! You get to glove trick balls, the ball hawking is awesome, and the place is beautiful!!! What’s not to like?

TONYV433-
Dude! Thanks for everything. Glad you enjoyed the entry, and I’ll be sure to give you a shout next time I’m heading to Target Field. It was fun hanging out, and hopefully next time won’t be as rushed.

ROCCO-
You crack me up — kissing the ball “hello”? Love it. I have to ask: do you read a paragraph and then comment? Read another paragraph and then comment again? Rocco being Rocco. :-)

RAY BURTON-
Oh, believe me, we Americans are well aware of the meaning of that word. By the way, email me (back) so we can discuss next year’s Opening Series.

I don’t care about the 13 balls you got, all I heard saw were tiramisu pancakes!!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! And I think you should contact Jamie and let her know about my collections so she can come interview me ;-)

…yes, I read one paragraph, and then comment…if I don’t, I’ll forget my point!!! I love your blog! I have to comment every time I see something cool! I’m just so glad you had a kick-ass day…that was one for the books! How many ball hawks get to get personnaly escorted into a stadium, and go on the field, and get the “ROYAL TREATMENT”!!!??? I get that treatment one time a year at GABP, because I’m a season ticket holder…they escort us in, and we get to go behind the batting cage on the field during our BP tour! That’s where I had Brandon Phillips hand me & Jill a signed bat, and were I worked some “killer” toss ups from players from both teams, and had Ramon Hernandez sign my (his) batting helmet for me, etc. There is some good times behind the cage!!! But I pay $1000.00 for that experience…you got your buddy “Kirby” to hook you up…nice! By the way, any ball that gets near me behind the batting cage when I’m back there, gets snagged! The Pirates Andrew McCutchen tossed me a ball from behind his back as we were walking off the field one time…that was cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

…hey, are pancakes healthy???

E mail sent. Just need to dust off the passport and work out the details.

Well I guess it was fun having the record for most baseballs snagged after the gates opened (9) for a couple of weeks, but I figured you would break it given a reasonable game to do so. But anyway, I’m glad someone shares my sentiment of Target Field being annoying. I always describe it to people as a great place to watch a baseball game but awful for snagging and people don’t understand exactly what that means. And I’m especially glad you got to meet Tony and *some* of the nice people Target Field has to offer. I’ll still enjoy my time away from it, but it’s people like that who make me miss the place. Oh, and I’ll leave this last thought at: Kirby seems familiar…
-Mateo

http://mateofischer.mlblogs.com

Good job on the three 3rd out balls. I can totally understand what Mateo means about it being a real nice stadium and being a good place to watch a game but not a very good place to snag.

Btw just a heads up about Fenway park since i was there last week. Theres good news and bad news. The bad news is the gates now open only 90 minutes before the game. The good news is that when you do the red sox nation thing you get in an extra hour early. So for a 7:10 game you can get in at 4:40, and when i was there they played the Rangers and i figured there would be a ton of people but for that first hour there was maybe 20 people between the center and right field seats. I had all the room in the world. Unfortunately i only snagged two balls in bp, both toss-ups cause nothing really reached the seats and i wasn’t close to the ones that did. But Just before the game i got a ball from the Sox bullpen coach and then switched into rangers gear and got another from the Rangers bullpen catcher. Also during the game i caught my very first Foul ball (i usually sit in the outfield and go for homers) off the bat of Jeff Baker, made a real nice play on it and afterward gave one of my bp balls to a kid sitting two rows in front of me.

Looks like you had a really fun night at Target. I enjoyed it there as well. I only got 2 that night, but suffered from the same bad luck – or poor judgment rather – and could’ve had about ten. Congrats on setting the TF record with 13! I never knew you were a champion shagger. As for Jamie… did you take that picture of her at the flagpole… just because? ;)
– Chris

http://ballhawker.wordpress.com/

Zack,

I still think Yankee Stadium and Citi Field blows Target away. Ushers are less obnoxious, fans are friendlier, Bahahahaha…Don’t tell me you don’t think about moving every single day you’re in another city and visiting stadium. If I were you I’d relocate. Think about how much fun it would be! You could live the life that you would love without all those silly, absurd rules..Have you considered? If so, what area you like the best? Great blog bro!! Sorry to bring it up, but when is your next game in the Bronx? I get depressed just talking about Yankee Stadium. When I visit other stadiums people are in deep shock when I tell them how horrendous and horrid it truly is in Yankee land. Ttys soon man!

My Brother was able to get a toss up from Justin Verlander at Target Field

You make is sound like it’s so easy to get a third ball out. You got 3 on this game, all from the Phillies defense, which took the field only 8 times, since the Twins didn’t bat on the bottom of the 9th. That means you were “batting” .375 on third out ball snags. That’s absurd! And probably made possible due to Kirby’s pre-game talk with the ushers, who probably also told some fans, and the word spread. Otherwise you’d likely have got a few choice words after snagging the second ball.

As far as your planned trip to next year’s opening day, I’d love to crash the party between you and Ray. My wife and I visited Australia last year and loved it. If you need any suggestions on where to go, where to eat, etc., just let me know. Ray is obviously much more knowledgeable about his own country, but sometimes tourists look for different things than locals. Since it’ll still be Summer in March, you should check out Bondi beach. It’s a nice beach not far from the center of town. While there, since I know how much you like to eat, check out Fish Mongers and/or Shabbaba (if you like falafel). You can walk from Bondi to Coogee beach, passing a few others in the process, and the views are fantastic.

BTW, is your choice of pseudonym for your friend in honor of the other “Kirby” who once donned the Twins colors?

Soggy ball trick: put it in a plastic baggie of uncooked rice (kind of like with a wet cellphone). Absorbs the moisture and some of the funk …

I read somewhere that cornmeal helps remove odor. Put the ball in a bag of cornmeal overnight or something. Guess its worth a shot.

BEN WEIL-
The next day, I had “jelly donut pancakes” as well as some “banana nut graham cracker” (or whatever they were called) pancakes. Good stuff. We should hit the road and get some . . . and, you know, hit up some stadiums while we’re at it.

ROCCO-
Well, thanks for explaining yourself. And no, pancakes are extremely unhealthy — one of the least substantive breakfasts that one can eat. Oh well.

RAY BURTON-
Excellent. Thanks.

MATEO-
I really think I could’ve had 20 balls at this game with slightly better decisions and luck. What’s this about Kirby? You think you know who he is? Send me an email and share your thoughts on the matter. I don’t want to out him publicly.

MARK MCCONVILLE-
Congrats on the foul ball. Sounds like a pretty good day overall.

CHRIS-
No no, I took that flagpole pic because it was relevant to my story.

LARRY NY-
You mean . . . Target blows away the two NYC stadiums? Anyway, I hear ya. And yeah, I’ve definitely considered moving, but I don’t think I’ll actually do it. I like New York City too much, and my life here is very established — job, home, friends, writing group, etc. That said, if I did move, I’d probably go to San Diego. Not sure when I’ll be back at Yankee Stadium. Maybe June 18th against the Dodgers? Man, that is going to suuuuuuck.

AARON-
Congrats to your brother.

JAMES LEE-
When you phrase it like that, .375 does sound pretty impressive. So, you’re actually thinking of going to Australia for the Opening Series? Or did you mean “crash the party” in terms of just getting in on the conversation? Thanks for the suggestions and the offer to help. Right now, I’m waiting for my mom to tell me whether or not she’ll be joining me. It might be a couple months before I have a definitive answer/plan, but once that happens, I’ll fly into action and start making arrangements. As for “Kirby,” yes, that’s why I picked it.

DAVE MITCHELL-
Thanks. I might try that. Or I might just place the ball in the garbage. Or maybe I’ll bring it to Citi Field tonight and hide it somewhere. Hmm.

JARED-
Interesting.

I would love to go back to Australia, and actually crash the party, but I don’t know if I can make it work in our schedules. Another issue is how far Australia is, and the jet leg when we get back. It took me a couple of weeks to get my sleep pattern back to normal. If you do go with your mom (and Marta), you should try to extend your trip to at least Melbourne, which we loved. Australia is a huge country with a lot to see, and given the time it takes to get there, you should try to spend at least 2 weeks there. And if you find yourself at a cricket match, don’t forget that article I sent you about ball ownership in cricket matches, before you try to snag a ball…

Yes James , no ball snagging at cricket matches unless you want to get bashed. Definitely need at least 10 days to see most of the sights but even then it’s a rush. Very much like your beautiful country. When we visit the US we always stay for at least a month but even then we feel we’ve only scratched the surface. Oh well , that’s the fun of travel. Even after a month in NY we were still finding new things to do every day. A huge WELCOME to anyone planning on attending Opening Day in Sydney next year.

I don’t have a clue what his role is there and haven’t talked to him, but from the features that I can see through the blur, I can say that I’ve almost definitely seen him before while walking through Target Field.
-Mateo

http://mateofischer.mlblogs.com

It was great meeting up with you. Hope to run into you again sometime, whether it’s Target Field, or some other stadium around the country.

Is “Kirby’s” last name on your VIP pass photo or was the pass issued by a random Minnesota employee? : )

JAMES LEE-
Yeah, it IS quite far, but I’m ready for it. I just hope I can plug in my laptop on the plane.

RAY-
Any idea if Qantas planes have outlets? I had no idea that you usually spend a solid month here. Wow.

MATEO-
Hmm. Well, if you’d like to make a guess about his identity, please do it privately via email.

KELLY T-
:-)

DAN R-
Good question. Kirby’s name is *not* on the VIP pass.

You should have written your name on the warning track ball and then challenged yourself to snag it during BP!

The answer re: outlets is: it depends on the aircraft you fly. You can read more about it here: http://www.qantas.com.au/travel/airlines/inflight-communications/global/en#jump2

Love the A380s

Allright if no one else is going to say it I will. That Jamie Hersch gal is hot!!!

Phew , somebody said it for me. Totally agree!!! She’s a babe all right.

COOK & SON-
Damn. Awesome idea. Wish I’d thought of it at the time.

JAMES LEE-
Thanks!

HENRY-
She was lovely, both in looks and personality.

I had been planning on going to this game, but couldn’t because plans changed close to the last minute… I’ll have to catch you next time. This week a couple people told me something along the lines of, “I read an article about some famous guy who got 13 balls at Target Field”. They were interested so I passed along your blog address.
Just a note about the usher you were pictured with behind the Phillies dugout – she’s probably the most friendly usher at Target Field.
-Paul K

I had been planning on going to this game, but couldn’t because plans changed close to the last minute… I’ll have to catch you next time. This week a couple people told me something along the lines of, “I read an article about some famous guy who got 13 balls at Target Field”. They were interested so I passed along your blog address.
Just a note about the usher you were pictured with behind the Phillies dugout – she’s probably the most friendly usher at Target Field.
-Paul K

http://apieceofthegame.mlblogs.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 312 other followers