I Got My Ball at the Twins Game, My Wife Got One That Made Her Cry
On Saturday my wife Crystal and I, along with her dad, brothers and her brothers' wives, went to the Twins game against the Cubs at Target Field. It was the most memorable game I will probably ever go to.
Last week I posted a blog about how I was going to wear my old Cubs gear in an effort to trick one of the Cubs players into giving me a ball. That big elaborate plan proved to be a waste of time.
When Gate 34 was opened in the right field corner we walked in to find the Twins were still taking batting practice (which, let's be honest, they really need right now). We briskly walked around to the third base side of home plate to head down to our seats, which we thought were the same seats we had in 2011, right behind the visitors dugout. But after looking up to see where section 6 was, all I found was section 11 and 12. That's when we realized our seats were behind the Twins dugout.
I immediately stripped off my Mark Grace jersey and Cubs hat and
By the time we got over there the players had finished up batting practice and disappeared into the clubhouse. Oh well, we have the whole game yet. When we looked and saw precisely where our seats were, Section 6, Row 5, seats 9, 10, and 11 were right behind the TC atop the dugout, and right behind the stairs that the players ascend to get to the on deck circle.
After the Twins half of the first inning, third base coach Gene Glynn rolled a ball onto the roof of the dugout in my general direction. I didn't blink, reached hard and fast with my left hand and claimed my first ball at a major league game. Later I got my second.
Byron Buxton was up to bat and he fouled a ball off the chest protector of Cubs catcher David Ross. It flew up and to the right and was snagged out of the air by a player in the Twins dugout who was cheered. We later saw on our DVR that it was Torii Hunter. He smiled and tossed it up onto the roof of the dugout, which happened to be in my direction. I saw the ball, reached for it, then a man three seats to my left leapt over to try to get it and ended up knocking it over the edge and back into the Twins dugout.
Twins second baseman Brian Dozier was on deck at the time and he got a chuckle out of our ineptitude. This made more sense after watching the game on the DVR. Hunter the FSN broadcast showed Hunter laughing and motioning to someone that the ball had hit a member of the Twins in the head. If this is what happened, my best guess is that it would be Twins manager Paul Molitor, mainly because he usually occupies the stairs that are right in front of our seats. The ball reappeared out of the dugout and onto the roof and again I was able to snag it. Now I had two balls! I would be lying if I said I didn't feel a little bad about it though. The gentleman right next to me, while staying calm and silent, seemed to be radiating with mild animosity.
My father-in-law later caught a ball from Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki. So I had two, Jim had one, and Crystal didn't have any. She did have one thrown to her by backup catcher Chris Hermman, but she was under strict instructions to give it to the little girl behind us. She obliged and was left, still, without a ball.
Then in the bottom of the sixth the stars aligned. Eddie Rosario was at bat with Joe Mauer on deck. Rosario hit a foul ball that rolled toward the on deck circle. Mauer picked up the ball and turned toward us. He scanned around for a moment and then looked right at Crystal as if to say "Here ya go," and underhanded the ball up to her. She stood up and caught it perfectly with two hands. After a "Woo!" and a couple of hops up and down, she sat down in her seat and was shaking.
My wife is a massive Twins fan. She was born and raised in Minnesota, and while she roots for the Vikings and Timberwolves, she loves the Twins. She was so excited and happy to have caught a ball from her favorite player she couldn't contain it. Her smile stubbornly refused to fade and tears would occasionally roll out from under her sunglasses. She held onto that ball for the remaining three and a half innings and had a hell of a time posting the picture on Facebook due to the unsteadiness of her hands in the midst of that excitement.
The only times I have seen Crystal cry and shake with happiness was on our wedding day, when each of our three kids were born, and when she got a Kitchenaid mixer for Christmas. I guess a ball from Joe Mauer is right up there.
After that I don't think the outcome of the game really mattered. The Twins lost in ten innings, 4-1. Despite that, it was a fine day.