If I could sum up this game in two words, it would go as follows: POOR PLANNING. There was an Ian Kinsler bobblehead giveaway, and for some stupid reason, of all the possible days for me to be here, I picked this one. Look how crowded it was during batting practice:
One of the regulars told me it was the most crowded he’d seen it all year.
My friend Brandon Sloter was with me once again. He’s the guy who’s been filming me in various stadiums for my YouTube channel, and look, he got an amazing action shot of me catching a toss-up in the front row:
Okay, fine, I’ll stop being sarcastic, but seriously, this entire day was a pain in the ass.
My second ball was a toss-up that ended up rattling around in the seats. I handed that one to the nearest kid:
After the rest of the stadium opened at 5:30pm, I got my third ball tossed up by a Twins player in right field:
I couldn’t identify any of the guys who had hooked me up — lame, I know, but sometimes that’s just how it goes.
Back in left field, I used my glove trick to snag my fourth ball from the bullpen:
I gave that one to a little kid on my right.
That was it for BP. Four balls. Nothing hit. Not much room to move. Lots of frustration. I wanted to put on a good show for the YouTube video — run and jump and catch a few home runs — but it just wasn’t happening, and yes, I realize that most people would do anything to get one ball, and here I am complaining about “only” getting four, but you have to understand that for my standards, this was not a great day.
Here’s the bobblehead:
Before the game started, I hung out near the Twins’ bullpen:
When Phil Hughes finished warming up, I got pitching coach Neil Allen (standing on the right in the following screen shot) to toss me the ball:
This was my reaction after catching it:
During the game, I spent most of my time in the cross-aisle behind home plate, hoping/trying to catch a foul ball. In my nine previous games at Comerica, I’d gotten seven foul balls, so the odds were clearly in my favor. (Seven foul balls in nine games?! Yes. Some stadiums are much easier than others because of the design/layout.)
At one point in the early innings, I noticed Butch Davis, the Twins’ 1st base coach, retrieve a foul ball and stick it in his back pocket. That’s unusual. Foul dribblers almost always get tossed into the crowd right away, so I tried to take advantage. I headed over to the Twins’ dugout with the intention of getting his attention after the 3rd out. This was my view — see the ball in his back/right pocket?
Davis ended up tossing it to someone else, but let this serve as an important lesson in sniffing out opportunities. Pay close attention. Anything is possible.
In the two-part photo above, the guy on left is named Bill Dugan. He’s the fan who famously snagged five foul balls during one game last month. I should also mention that he’s been tinkering with the design of a slick new cup trip, and he gave one to me. He’s a good dude.
In the photo above on the right, I’m standing next to a young man named David and his father Dave. (For the record, I’m not THAT short; Bill is 6-foot-4, and Dave is 6-foot-7, okay? Thanks.) I’ve known them for years and I always enjoy seeing them at Comerica, and by the way, when I caught my first ball of the day, David was standing right next to me. Had it been thrown one foot to my left, I would’ve backed off and let him catch it, but it WAS, in fact, thrown right to me. Another man told me later that I “should’ve given it to that kid.”
“I’ve known that kid for years,” I replied. “I’m friends with him and his father, and he’s gotten about three hundred balls, so don’t worry about it.”
The man was like, “Oh, well, I guess you have it all under control.”
Yes, sir, I do. And by the way, I randomly gave David a ball the very first time I ever saw him during BP at Camden Yards. That’s actually how I met him and his father and how we became friends.
This was my view for most of the game:
There were lots of right-handed batters and very few foul balls. It was disappointing, to say the least. I came close on one that I definitely would’ve caught had the aisle been empty, but there were like ten people standing around waiting for it. It bounced off one guy’s glove, and there was a mini-stampede once it hit the ground. I was on the outskirts of it and didn’t feel like jumping into the middle, and you know what? A 12-year-old kid ended up grabbing that ball, so that was cool.
Final score: Tigers 7, Twins 2.
Brandon is still working on the video, so when it’s done, I’ll post it on YouTube and add a link to it here.
Here’s the video.
• 217 balls in 26 games this season = 8.35 balls per game.
• 65 balls in 10 lifetime games at Comerica Park = 6.5 balls per game.
• 1,192 consecutive games with at least one ball
• 8,850 total balls
My fundraiser for Pitch In For Baseball is now in its eighth season. Once again, people are pledging money for every home run ball that I snag during games. Here’s some info about the fundraiser, and if you donate, you’ll be eligible to win one of these prizes.
• 9 donors for my fundraiser
• $77.77 pledged per game home run ball (if you add up all the pledges)
• $233.31 raised this season
• $190,736.97 raised since I started my fundraiser in 2009