I have a great time at every game I go to, however, some games are more special or memorable than others. Every time you go to the ballpark, you never know what you might see or what might happen. I was able to add three games from this year to my annual Top 20 Games Attended list while also shifting around the order of prior games. In order to make this selective list, a game must stand out for a certain reason, usually because it was either eventful or historical.
20. Turn Back the Clock Night – 6/5/14
The Twins and the Brewers spiced up the border battle by throwing it back. Oswaldo Arcia, with his baby blue threads, launched a grand slam in the loss to Milwaukee.
My first time watching Big Sexy pitch was a historic one. The 44 year old became the oldest American League pitcher to win a complete game since 1992. The crowd cheered when Bartolo trotted out of the dugout in the top of the ninth to the tune of “I’m Sexy and I know It.”
18. Putting Up Big Numbers During Four Consecutive Game Stretch – 6/7/16, 6/8/16, 6/9/16, and 6/10/16
I enjoyed a perfect week of baseball, attending four games in a row being treated to perfect weather, marquee matchups, and eventful batting practices each night. I was present for the entire series against my second favorite team, the Miami Marlins, as well as the series opener against another favorite Boston Red Sox. I got 11 batting practice homeruns in those four games, including balls hit by Ichiro and David Ortiz (pictured below), which included five on the fly and four in one game. In addition to being a part of Big Papi’s retirement tour celebration, I also got to see fan favorite Jose Fernandez for the first and only time before he tragically passed away two months later. This is still the best four game ballhawking stretch of my career and it happened in four consecutive days.
The whole Target Field family was there to welcome Zack Hample as he filmed this video for his YouTube channel (look for my name in the description)! It was great to hang with the greatest ballhawk of all time and to blog about my experience, which became my most popular post!
While the out of town support, the ballhawking, and the game itself were lackluster, this game made the list for the overall day itself. The whole Target Field crew showed up for softball and pizza as part of the annual event, planned months in advance, that Minnesota was hosting for the first time.
15. Twins Lose Wild Game in Extras – 4/9/14
My first game of 2014 was a wild one, making skipping school that day even more worth it. It was my first game as a season ticket holder and the beginning of a 94 game stretch at Target Field over the next five seasons. On the balmy 59 degree day after Opening Day, I witnessed one of the craziest games I had ever seen. It featured a 9th inning Twins’ comeback thanks to back to back successful replay reviews (on their second day of existence) to force extra innings which was followed by a benches clearing brawl.
14. Santana’s Complete Game Shutout – 7/6/16
Ervin Santana pitched the best game I have ever witnessed, posting a remarkable 91 game score. He pitched a complete game shutout with nine strikeouts, 2 hits, and no walks, needing exactly 100 pitches to face 28 batters and get all 27 outs.
13. Span’s Three Triples Ties an MLB Record – 6/29/10
My first game at Target Field was highlighted with some MLB history. Denard Span tied the MLB record for most three-baggers in a game with three of “the most exciting play in baseball.” It might be the rarest thing I’ll ever see at a baseball game unless I’m lucky enough to see a perfect game or the cycle.
12. Alexi Casilla Walk-Off Single – 6/9/11
In only my fourth game ever at Target Field, my dad and I splurged to get lower level tickets down the 3rd baseline, where I went for foul balls and got Josh Hamiliton’s autograph (my first ever autograph at a game). I also got to see a Nelson Cruz triple deck homerun and a walkoff single by Alexi Casilla. These kind of moments mean a lot more when you go to fewer games.
I was joined by Dave for my second doubleheader of the season. In addition to the two games, there was also a 1.5 hour long rain delay which made for a long but fun 11 hour baseball day. I spent all 18 innings chasing homers in the deserted plaza, actually coming close to a few of them.
10. Seven Run 9th Inning Comeback Capped Off By Dozier’s Walk-Off Homer – 7/10/15
I got to experience the best comeback of all time in a rare game attended with my dad. Down 6-1 in the bottom of the ninth, the Twins rallied back to score seven runs to beat the Tigers 8-6 on Brian Dozier’s second walk-off homer of the week during his All Star Game push. Dick Bremer said it best with this great call: “A drive to left field… Are you kidding me? The most electric moment at Target Field in years!” It was definitely the loudest stadium moment I’ve ever witnessed and I rode the post game high for days.
The Twins recorded 20 runs on a franchise record 28 hits in domination of the Seattle Mariners, snagging a couple of commemorative baseballs in the process. I got to watch my favorite player Eddie Rosario hit three homeruns and four Twins each collect four or more hits apiece.
I got to see my favorite player growing up inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame after he gave a memorable speech in front of 30,000 fans. I also got treated to a four hour long, extra inning, walkoff victory after a two hour long rain delay. By 12:30 am, I almost had the whole place to myself and came very close to snagging a foul ball. Ballhawking in an empty stadium after midnight is such a cool experience!
I had a great time at historic Fenway Park and caught a ball on the fly during BP for my first ball at a different stadium.
This was my first true baseball road trip and it was with my friends to see the Twins on the road as part of a four game sweep of the Brewers. What more you could you wish for?
This was a highly anticipated, carefully planned weekend speed trip with Dave to see the Twins play twice on the road at Kauffman Stadium. In addition to everything going as planned, we were treated by nice locals, warm temperatures, and an almost empty party deck to room around on Sunday, where we each got close to a homerun!
Somehow, I ended up with my first game homerun as my 150th lifetime ball in my final game at Target Field of the season and got to celebrate it with all of my Target Field friends. I also watched my favorite player, Eddie Rosario, double in the tying run and come around to score the go ahead run on a balk. What a great sendoff to college!
3. Attending the 2014 MLB All Star Game – 7/15/14
Target Field was in the national spotlight during Derek Jeter’s final All Star Game and I had a blast attending all of the festivities!
Everything fell into place to allow me to make the day trip to Milwaukee for my first postseason game, and the game and atmosphere made the trip worth every penny. The Rockies and Brewers provided a memorable NLDS Game 1, ultimately ending in an extra innings walkoff after a blown save in the 9th.
I know it wasn’t an official Major League Baseball game, but this is still my favorite baseball game I’ve ever attended. Quintana and Archer dueled it out before Colombia took the lead on back to back to back doubles. The United States tied the game on a Nolan Arenado dropped third strike before Adam Jones walked it off in the 10th inning. It was the first win for the eventual WBC champion USA team, full of MLB All Stars. Coincidentally, my top two games attended both ended with Christian Yelich scoring the winning run on a 10th inning walkoff singe. They also both featured great defensive plays, fine starting pitching, and a late inning comeback, making it tough to choose a favorite. However, this game felt like both a postseason game and a World Cup soccer match with the players playing for much more than just a trophy. It was such a new and exciting experience at one of my favorite stadiums and it will be certainly hard to top!
Thanks for reading. I am thankful for all the people who made these games special. I’m blessed to have witnessed some amazing games over the years and I look forward to adding more games to this list in 2019. This pretty much wraps up my offseason content, but stay tuned for the first game recaps of the season coming in the next few months. If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment or reach out to me on Instagram @everythingtwins. Thanks again and Go Twins! The season is almost here and the team is looking promising!