I’ve always been the girl that would rather watch a baseball game than MTV’s Teen Mom. Deciding to go to an all-girls school meant that I would be out numbered when it came time to vote for what’s on the TV. But this has also made me the “go to girl” when any questions about sports needed to be answered on trivia night. So I have decided to reach out to others who might be confused by the rules of the game and turn this into a teaching blog…Baseball 101.
On the September 27, 2011 game against the Cincinnati Reds, Yovani Gallardo of the Milwaukee Brewers had a four strikeout inning (see http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ap-brewers-gallardo). This event is very unusual because there are only three outs per inning. The rule that makes a four strikeout inning possible is the “uncaught third strike” rule. If a catcher drops the last strike, the batter is allowed to run to first base, which forces the catcher to throw the ball to first to get the runner out. The pitcher is still awarded the strikeout but the batter is not out till he is either tagged or thrown out. But there are exceptions to when a batter can do this; there has to be two outs in the inning and there cannot be a runner on first base already. A batter can also run on the dropped third strike if there are two outs and bases loaded, but all the catcher has to do is step on home plate for the force out.
This rule demands that players have to play good defense as well as being aggressive on offense. If a player walks back to the dugout without realizing the ball is dropped, he will be called out. Having more than three strikeouts per inning has only happened 56 times in the majors and never occurred in a span of 40 years (1916 to 1956).
Fun Facts: a strikeout is scored as a K by the official scorer. If the batter strikes out looking the K is backwards; if it’s a swinging strike the K is forwards.
Last week my parents came to visit the cities to help me move into my new apartment, and as a thank you I got them tickets for a tour of Target Field (if you haven’t done a tour, it’s a must). The tour of Target Field gave us an opportunity to see more of the stadium than if we bought game tickets and was also a much cheaper alternative ($12 for students and $17 for adults). Even though I work at Target Field, I did learn a lot while on the tour (however, I was able to help answer some questions the guide wasn’t sure about). So if you are unable to come to the beautiful Target Field this summer, here is a photo tour for you to enjoy.Welcome to Target Field. This is the view from the Bud Deck, which has a great view of the field except for left field. This deck also has the only fire pit in a major league stadium. This part of the stadium is more for fun atmosphere rather than watching the game.This deck also has a great view of the Minneapolis skyline. Target Field is built on an 8 acres lot which is the smallest footprint of any stadium. Being located in downtown Minneapolis, it is easy to get to the stadium and 20% of fans use public transportation to get to the game.
This lovely sign graces the center field stands. This is an enlarged symbol of the first combined baseball team in St.Paul/Minneapolis. Now it celebrates home runs by the Twins as Paul and Minne shake hands and lights go around the state as the runner rounds the bases. If the Twins win the lights flash and the T and S blink so it reads “Twins Win”. The water “moves” so it looks like the Mississippi is flowing. Although it was not in the original plans of Target Field, it is an excellent addition. This sign is also sandwiched between two big screens, one which is larger than the Minnesota Timberwolves’ court and the other screen was added after the first season. Both screens can be seen as clearly in the sunlight as at night.
This is the view from the Legend Club. If you are lucky enough to have seats in the suites or Legend’s Club, you can enjoy a buffet for an extra $30 and eat with this view. I have personally met the chef in this part of the stadium and can honestly say you will not be disappointed. Another cool part of this area is that they have a ton of old school Twins gear and pictures, ranging from nuns watching the game to Babe Ruth playing in Minnesota.
My favorite part of the stadium was visiting the press box. It might be because I have dreamed of watching a game from this view or because I look up to people who have seats here. After years of keeping score at games that I go to, I have always wanted to be an official scorer but I would gladly sit in the back writing my blog while watching the game.
This picture was taken of me as I tweeted @twins_morsecode telling him that I was taking his seat for the game and he was nice enough to tweet back (Thanks Dustin!). He is the PR writer for the Twins and during the tour, I acted like a little school girl when I saw his seat. After being an avid follower and reader, I was excited to see the field from his view. I was also able to inform everyone on the tour why he was so special to have a claimed seat with a name plate.
This is the entrance for home plate season ticket owners that have seats behind home plate. Season ticket owners have an all you can eat buffet while being able to stare at the World Series Trophy. Members of this exclusive area also get heated blankets during the cold April games. This is the first and probably only time I will ever be allowed in there again.
I was only 5 months old when the Twins won this trophy on what could be called the best World Series ever according to ESPN. Another advantage of my dessert cart job is that I have already had an experience this Trophy. During the celebrations of the ’91 World Series, the trophy was in the halls of the suites for fans to admire. I’ve also been able to serve some of the members of this World Series team.
The view that people have from the seats behind home, with comfy leather seats what wouldn’t there be to love about Target Field. The amount of detail that went into Target Field, is what adds another beauty to the stadium. The flag pole was the same flag pole from the first stadium. The glove just outside of the gates in right field is 520ft from home plate, which is the distance of Harmon Killebrew’s longest home run. All of the ceilings are completed so you see none of the wiring and the field reuses the rain water to clean the stadium. Although it was expensive, the builders of Target Field did an excellent job to make it perfect.
Since Jim Thome just hit his 600th home run, Peter Gammons was waiting to interview Thome in the Champions Club. As it was made known earlier of my admiration of baseball analysis (see Thank You Daron), I was pretty ecstatic to meet him and he was nice enough to take pictures with us while he was getting ready. Being able to meet a baseball expert was a treat but also made me realize, I still have so much to learn.
*the man in all the photos with me is my father who is to blame for my obsession with baseball.
Its hard to talk about baseball and not have some superstition come up. From simple superstitions such as tapping your bat on the plate before you hit to more complex curses, like the curse of the Bambino, baseball and superstitions have gone hand in hand. Baseball’s superstitions does not only affect the players but the fans and announcers as well. A superstition can be caused when a player changes his approach and has success, making the player believe that he needs to continue with the change in order to have success. Some players have stopped washing clothes after a winning streak or, the more common, stop shaving. Some superstitions have become so embedded in the game that they have become unwritten rules.
The first unwritten rule for baseball players is never step on the foul line. Many kids learn this same rule with the simple line “don’t step on a crack or you’ll break your mother’s back”. When players come on and off the field (during the game or batting practice) there is always an extra effort to jump over the foul line. Although it is uncertain when/where this tradition was started, it has been passed on from the little leagues to the majors.
A no hitter is the fight club of baseball. The first rule of a no hitter is never talk about a no hitter. This rule isn’t just for the players; announcers and fan have to follow this rule too. Teams have been known to isolate a pitcher in a dugout while he is pitching a no hitter. Announcers have to cleverly inform fans of whats going on without saying, making it just as important to follow this rule as fan.
Although some superstitions sound silly like rearranging batting gloves after every pitch, some superstitions have exploded into curses. Perhaps the most infamous curse in baseball is with the Chicago Cubs and the Curse of the Billy Goat. In 1945, a fan was asked to leave the world series game because his pet billy goat was bothering some fans. The fan put a curse on the cubs saying they would never again win a World Series. It’s been 102 years since the cubs have won a World Series and as a loyal Brewers fan, I hope this curse lasts much longer.
As easy as it is to see players getting caught up in superstitions, I find myself falling into their magic as well. If I’m watching the Brewers game on television and they start to lose, I’ll stop watching and either listen on the radio or watch online. If that does work, I have my dad text me updates. If I go to a game and the Brewers lose, the shirt that I wore to the game will never be wore at a game again. Recently I was a winner of a caption contest for the Twins (see side picture), the day I received my prize is also the day that Thome hit his 599th and 600th home runs – coincidence? I think not. So it’s not just the players that can get caught up in superstitions. So put on your rally caps and knock on wood three times to keep your team winning.
As Jim Thome inches closer to hitting 600 home runs, I wonder what it would be like to catch that monumental home run. In the 200+ games I’ve been to, this is one experience I have yet to partake in. I’ve caught some home run balls in batting practice but never in a game. If I ever got the chance to catch a home run, would I throw it back like at Wrigley if the opposing team hit it? Or would I be too excited of what happened to realize what to do? When it comes to a record home run, new things come into effect.
If you are fortunate enough to catch a home run that is important to the player, you are taken away from the game to usually talk to the GM or president of the team. The GM will ask you what you want in exchange for the ball. This is where people can become very greedy. A person could ask $5,000 for a home run ball like it was nothing, and the GM would likely hand it over. Some people write a list of demands for a home run ball. When Prince Fielder’s 200th home run was caught by a fan, his demands ranged from a signed bat to a new boyfriend for his mom. But not all fans are so fame hungry, when Derek Jeter had his 3000th hit as a home run, the fan that caught it just handed it over asking for nothing. This small act of humility makes me have faith in baseball fans. Although milestone home runs have an extra value and its up to the fan to determine the value. After all, how many times do you see retired sports figures selling off their “memorabilia” years later – wouldn’t you be miffed if you gave Thome #600, and then a couple years down the road he sells it for $1,000 and you gave it to him for nothing? Sometimes fans exaggerate the value a “milestone” home runs, asking $3000 for a players 100th home run is ridiculous. Letting the marketplace determine a value of a milestone home run helps to make a fair trade between the fan and the player.
I’m curious to what I would do if I had the chance to catch one of these significant home runs. I like to think that I would just throw it back on to the field, realizing that the ball means so much more to the player than it will ever mean to me. But I don’t know if my obsession with a team will make me use the ball to my advantage to meet some players. Or would I ask for money so I wouldn’t have to work 4 jobs to pay for school. I hope that when the day happens that I catch a home run ball, I remember if it’s an milestone HR for the player, and give it back to the hitter, or if it’s just another HR in a game, and a great souvenir for me.
If you were to catch a monumental home run, how would you react? Would you ask for money or just hand it over?
The winter of my sophomore year of college, I was given the opportunity to apply for a job at Target Field. I had always dreamed of working at a stadium, so my friend and I went to the job fair that was being held. My friend and I decided before going in that we would be up for anything but if it was anything to do with picking up garbage, we would be cool with saying no. After we turned in our applications, we were interviewed by our soon to be boss, Becca. She asked if we would be interested in being dessert cart girls in the suites. We both agreed and began the process of becoming Delaware North Company employees, who handle all of the food services and merchandize for the Twins.Although working in the suites isn’t what I imagined when I wanted to work at a ball park, it does come with some awesome advantages. Since I work in the exclusive part of the stadium, many celebrities can be seen in the halls such as Kim Karadashian, Kris Humphries, Carson Daly, and Ellen DeGeneres. From time to time, you can see some former Twins roaming the halls also. I am now able to say I’ve sold carrot cake to a Hall of Famer, Kent Hrbek. Last weekend when the Twins were celebrating their 1991 World Series, I was inches from the Commissioner’s trophy they had won. Even current players are spotted around the suites, usually visiting Thome’s suite. They are always nice and say hi, but when you are carry a tray of french silk pies everyone wants to be your friend. Working in the suites you also get to take advantage of the fun things in the suites like a life-size Wheaties box.
Having a job in the suites is fun but meeting all of the celebrities isn’t the best part of the job. What I love the most about working at a stadium is seeing and being able to talk to people who get excited about baseball as much as I do. Even though the Twins aren’t having the season that was predicted of them, the stadium is always packed and people are still excited about the game. I love listening to people telling me how this is their first game or the stories about some important game. Seeing fans that dress up for the game reminds me of why I fell in love with this game. My job isn’t just about serving delicious desserts to people. It’s my goal to make peoples visit to Target Field the best experience yet and if I can make someone else feel the passion I do for baseball, it’s a successful night.
I also can’t complain about my roommates favorite part of being a dessert cart girl of also getting to take home the leftover treats after a home stand.
I was raised on the beliefs that in order to live a good life you had to be nice to others, get an education, and be a Brewers fan. When I was in 7th grade I had my life plan, I would go to college at UW-Milwaukee and major in journalism/broadcasting while working summers at Miller Park. In my junior year of high school I decided I wanted to become an Occupational Therapist. Luckily, my dream college had a very good program for OT so I could have my life just as I wanted it except with a different major. Soon my senior year was here and I had full plans to go to UW-Milwaukee until I got the financial aid letter. Saint Catherine University had an OT program and I wasn’t going to be in debt till I was 50 if I went there. So my life plan changed to go to St. Kates, become an OT and live 6 hours from my favorite place, Miller Park. This wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I was in 7th grade but the Twin Cities offer me football, basketball, and baseball so I was still happily agreed with the adjustments.
When I moved to the Cities, everyone in my family asked me how soon I was going to become a Twins fan. I would respond with a simple “I’ll support them but they will never replace the Brewers”. I wasn’t about to trade over to the American League and leave the Brewers behind. Fortunately to help with the distance from Miller Park, my favorite Brewer player, JJ Hardy, was traded to the Minnesota Twins. I would watch Twins games to cheer on Hardy, not really caring if they won or lost but in watching so many games I slowly became a Twins fan.
The winter of my sophomore year at St. Kate’s, a friend of mine was informed of a job fair at Target Field and asked me to go with her. We both were hired as dessert cart girls in the suites of Target Field. So my dreams of working at a baseball stadium did come true, just not the one I imagined in 7th grade. Since working at the stadium, I have learned a lot more about the Twins and am becoming more of a fan with every game. I’ve traveled to Kansas City* to cheer on the Twins. I even went to a Twins vs. Brewers game in Milwaukee with a Twins poster (it was for the Twins’ outfielder Ben Revere), and while I was still decked out in Brewers gear, my dad did NOT approve of the poster. But fear not Brewers fans, I know where my priorities are when the Brewers were at Target Field, I was proudly wearing my Brewers headband and earrings to show my support as I sold desserts. Even though I have started liking the Twins, I still am a Brewers fan, the Twins are just my American League team.
*Both of my older Brothers live in Kansas City, so I must admit I like the Royals. Kauffman Stadium is the one of the best ballparks.
At the age of 8 you need to make one of the biggest decisions of your life. What is your jersey number? As kids begin playing sports, its always the first question asked when you join a team. Some people have a reason for picking their number like their dad/mom wore it or they want the same number as The Babe. Other people just work with the number they are given but many keep this number through the years. Some people carry this number with them through their college years to maybe (if they are good enough) the pros. With those possible lifetime consequences hanging in the balance, you can imagine the pressure on an eight-year-old to make the right decision.
Numbered uniforms were first introduced to the Majors in 1916 but were soon abandoned till 1929 when both the Yankees and Indians wore numbers on their left sleeve (Source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniform_number_%28Major_League_Baseball%29). Many players felt like prison inmates wearing numbers. Numbers were often used in accordance with where the player was hitting in the lineup, hence why Babe Ruth wore the number 3. The importance of numbers were to help distinguish the players from each other. Today, some teams have a players’ last name on the back of jersey to help with identification but every player is decorated with a number. Many players can be very attached when it come to a jersey number. Many times a player will bribe another to get their number if they are traded to a team. If a player is not able to wear “their number” due to retired numbers, many will either reverse or pick the next closest number.
At the young age of 8, I was randomly handed the number 11 as my softball jersey. Little did I know that this seemingly random event could affect my life still today. In my 8 years of softball this number followed with me and continues with me as my ultimate frisbee number. Many milestones were reached in that number; my first stolen base, my first caught runner,and my first home run. With all the slides, dives, tags and hits that were performed in that jersey, number 11 was always with me.
At the age of 12 the number hit a new meaning, my favorite player, Richie Sexson, also donned the number. Richie Sexson was a star for Milwaukee Brewers when I was falling in love with baseball. Standing at 6’9, Richie was one of the tallest players in the majors and at the age of 9 being 5’0, I was also the awkwardly tall kid on the field. As I became a bigger baseball fan, my favorite team traded my favorite player. I was upset at first but soon realized how necessary that trade was for the Brewers. Soon I found a new player to be a fan of on the Brewers, Lyle Overbay, who also embraced the number 11. I’ve found myself liking players that wear that number more than other players. It never mattered if I hated the team, I would always cheer on the lone player in the number.
In September of 2010, I found a new favorite player with the Minnesota Twins in Ben Revere. I was impressed with his style of baseball. He was a singles hitter rather than a home run hitter using his speed to help him make something happen on the field. Although he came up with the number 37 in 2010, he returned in 2011 and glistening on his back was that beautiful #11 – making it destiny for me to be with #11 forever.
Recently I had devastating news that I couldn’t have a dream job of mine this summer because I was born just a few months short of the cut off. I needed to be 21 in order to do this job and since I won’t turn 21 till after the season starts, I am ineligible to be involved. After complaining to my parents for not birthing me prematurely, I realized if my birthday wasn’t on the fabulous day of May 1st, I probably wouldn’t be the baseball fan I am today. Every year on my birthday since I was 12, instead of hanging out with friends, I can be found in a baseball stadium cheering on the Milwaukee Brewers.
The day I was born the Brewers were in a 19 inning battle against the Chicago White Sox only to win it 10 to 9. Rumor has it that my father was watching the game while waiting for me to be delivered, which if true, completely explains why I was born a baseball fan.
My family started the tradition of watching baseball on my birthday not expecting it to turn into what it has. We went to Milwaukee for the weekend after my 12th birthday to see extended family and see a game.
On my 13th birthday, we lived just outside of Milwaukee. My dad took me and a few of my friends to the game. It went into extra innings and probably to the relief of my dad, the Pittsburgh Pirates quickly ended things in the 10th so he could get five 7th graders home at a decent hour on a school night.
My 14th birthday went more to my liking….Brewers won 13-3 against the Cincinnati Reds. Since we lived back in Dubuque I was lucky enough to convince my parents to drive up for the game on a Sunday. My grandparents and old friend joined me for the occasion and my tradition started to become an annual event.
When I turned 15, the tradition was in stone. My dad and I drove the three hours up to Milwaukee and then three hours back home, all on a school night! The Brewers made it worth it by winning 4 to 2 against the Houston Astros.
At 16, the Brewers started a win streak on my birthday for me by winning 12-2 against my least favorite team in the majors, the St. Louis Cardinals.
When I turned 17, I was faced with a dilemma. For all of the previous Brewer games I had attended on my birthday, they were always played at home. This year, they were playing against the Cubs in Chicago. Luckily, my dad agreed to drive the extra hour (and pay the expensive tolls, parking, and train fares to get to the ‘Friendly Confines’ of Wrigley Field. To make it worse, the Cubs took the early lead, and we had to endure the raucous Cub fans mock us for wearing our Brewer shirts. My dad was ready to leave in the 8th with the Crew behind 3-1 so we could beat some of the traffic for the long drive home, but I wouldn’t let him. “It ain’t over till it’s over”, I reminded him. Sure enough, the Brewers scored 3 runs in the 9th, and we were able to shut those Cub fans up. Traffic or no traffic, it sure was a fun ride home!
When I turned the old age of 18, my friends and parents skipped school to celebrate my birthday at Miller Park which is when I got a batting practice home run ball hit by Prince Fielder (a very special birthday present for such a loyal fan). The Brewers ended their winning streak on my birthday by losing to the Diamondbacks 5 to 2, but the new baseball helped me through the pain.
For my 19th birthday, I was no longer living at home so the debate of celebrating my birthday at a stadium came up again. And to top my going to school in the Twin Cities, this year’s game would be in San Diego, CA, so this would be an EXPENSIVE birthday present if we could swing it. Luckily for me, Dad gave in, and since my birthday was on a Saturday my dad, my brother and I had plenty of time to fly to San Diego for the weekend. Brewers won their only game of the series on my birthday against the Padres.
My 20th birthday would be the first birthday without my dad. Since he was teaching in Ireland for the semester, so my two older brothers stepped up and flew with me to Houston for my birthday. Brewers were beat by two former teammates, Bill Hall and Carlos Lee. So I’ve decided if I ever meet either of them I am telling them as much as I love them when they played for the Crew, they ruined my 20th birthday. [picture]
I have been lucky to have my birthday on the weekend for the last two years, especially since I have had to travel to celebrate them correctly. This year, my 21st birthday, the Brewers will play on a Tuesday night in San Diego. I have agreed with my dad that although it will be strange not being at a ball park on my actual birthday, spending the next weekend in San Francisco at a stadium I’ve never been to will make up for the void.
So, if my parents would have had me prematurely and not have my birthday during baseball season, I would have never been able to celebrate each birthday with my favorite team. Which is why I am thankful I have a baseball season birthday and wouldn’t have it any other way.
I didn’t always have the pleasure of living so close to a ball park. My home in Dubuque, Iowa is three hours from Miller Park, four hours from Wrigley Field, and six hours from Target Field. At the end of our year in Wisconsin, moving from Merton, WI was devastating to me. I learned to love the random quick decisions to go to games and I wasn’t ready to give that up. I begged my parents to let me move in with my uncle or aunt. Unfortunately they told me no, but they did give me something to make me feel a little better about moving away from my beloved Brewers….Daron Sutton.
Daron Sutton was the Brewers play by play announcer for five years before moving to Arizona. Since moving away from Milwaukee, mom & dad paid for a cable subscription so we could watch the Crew on TV. I would spend my nights glued to the Brewers on FSN North and listening to Sutton. Since I lived in a town that the majority was Cubs fans (GROSS!) I could never rely on the local paper to provide enough news on the Brewers.. Sutton always provided the cure for my addiction.
Being able to watch the Brewers on TV made it easier being away from Milwaukee. Sutton got me interested in the game at a new level. Sutton taught me strategies of baseball. Baseball was no longer just watching a player try and hit home runs, it was more than that. I learned that there were reasons certain pitches were thrown and where/when/why bunts were placed. Sutton has a love for the game and it was obvious in every announcement he made.
Sutton made it an effort to get the fan back into loving the Brewers. Sutton founded the Buckethead Brigade after he and his co-announcer Bill Schroeder were made fun of because of their large head (my dad says it was a play on the fact that they used to sell beer in buckets at the old County Stadium, and the drunks would wear the empty buckets on their heads). Brewers offered a discounted ticket for one section in the ball park on Tuesday night games. This got people excited to go to the game which was ever much needed in the 2002-2006 seasons.
So as other people say they started liking baseball because of a player or coach, I have a different story. I fell in love with the game by following an announcer. Thank you Daron Sutton for making me the fan I am today.