Sunday, June 25, 2017

Minnesota Twins TTM Update for Mid-2017

Halfway through 2017 and I now have signed cards from 592 different Twins players. I am working more on the minor leaguers in hopes that it will pay dividends in the years to come.

There have been only two free in-person signings so far this year. Both were on the same day at Cub Foods stores that were luckily only 10 minutes apart. I got two signed cards from Robbie Grossman and two more signed cards from Hector Santiago.

Below are my successes via TTM (through the mail):   

Kelvin Torve
Mike Durant
Al Newman
Geoff Zahn
Adalberto Mejia
Justin Haley
Chris Gimenez
Hector Santiago
Pat Neshek
Drew Rucinski
ByungHo Park
Bob Tewsbuy (2655 days or over 7 years 3 months which is my longest wait for a return)
Bob Tewsbury (1590 days - I had thought the first one had not gotten through)
Logan Schaeffer
Andy MacPhail
Ehire Adrianza

Minor leaguers I have gotten so far this year:

Daniel Palka
Travis Blankenhorn
Engelb Vielma
Tyler Wells – added a card of his own
Aaron Whitefield
Jermaine Palacios
Jaylin Davis

Trevor Hilgenberger – he was promoted to the Twins after he signed my cards H Dog which does makes his autograph unique

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Twinsfest 2017

I made the decision to take it a bit easier at this year’s Twinsfest which turned out to be a good thing for me. Below are the players and coaches who signed baseball cards for me:

Buddy Boshers
Jason Castro
Taylor Rogers
Jeff Pickler
Paul Molitor
Tom Kelly
Miguel Sano – 2 cards
Neil Allen
Gene Glynn 

Not as long as a list as in past years, but still productive. I needed Boshers and Castro for my collection giving me signed cards from 575 different Twins players. It was also good to get signed cards from Molitor and Sano. We will see what next year brings, but this year’s Twinfest turned out good. I even got a free Twins stocking hat for attending!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Minnesota Twins TTM Sucesses for 2016

2016 turned out to be the year my health and the health of some immediate family members was not the best. I won’t bother you with the details other than I had to limited my recreational time in front of a computer hence only one blog post for 2016.

My autographed Minnesota Twins baseball card collection now includes signed cards from 572 different players (594 different people when you include managers and front office people).

I missed Twinsfest 2016 and made only 3 in-person signings this year, but did receive a few signed cards through the mail (TTM). Below are my successes for 2016 so far. I wish everyone happiness and good health.

Via TTM

Juan Centeno
Larry Milbourne $5
Rod Radlosky
Fernanado Abad
Brandon Kintzler
Darrell Brandon $5
Aaron Fultz
Hector Santiago
Brian Dozier
A. J. Achter
Trevor May
Kennys Vargas
Tommy Milone
Jose Berrios
Mason Melotakis
Kevin Tapani
Tom Kelly
Adam Everett
Terry Steinbach $3
Mike Adams
Dan Fife
Pete Cimino
George “Boomer” Wells
Bob Gebhard
Matt LeCroy
Marty Cordova
Pete MacKanin
Jeff Bittiger

In Person

Eduardo Nunez
Brian Dozier
Byron Buxton

Friday, August 14, 2015

Autograph Minnesota Twins Baseball Card TTM Update

I now have signed baseball cards from 545 current or former Minnesota Twins. Since my last update I have pickup amongst others Dave Stevens, Joe McCabe, Mo Sanford, Gary Dotter, George Tsamis, Larry Wolfe (over 3 years to get back to me), Bill Bethea, Aaron Thompson, Luis Perdomo, Kevin Maas, Shane Robinson, Mark Wiley, and Shairon Martis through the mail (TTM).

I also bought a few of the tough non-signers like Dennys Reyes, Kevin Mulvey, and Pat Mears from Dave at the Twin Cities Sports Collectables Show in Bloomington. You can check out their show schedule tcscc.org

I have also been reminded why I get signed cards from Twins minor leaguers as well. Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Alex Meyer, and Tyler Duffey have been promoted to the Twins this season. Sano and Rosario are still with the Twins and Buxton should be back soon too. All three look to have star level talent.

My in-person successes were Torii Hunter who appeared at T-Mobile store in downtown Minneapolis, and Eddie Rosario who appeared at a Cub Foods in Crystal. There were good crowds at both events - a sign that the Twins winning record earlier this year had attracted fans’ attention.

Hopefully my successes will continue this year as I move towards my goal of getting a signed baseball card from every living current and former Minnesota Twin. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Missing 1990's Country Music While Acknowledging Things Change

I wish they were making country music like they did in the 1990’s. As my favorite artist Alan Jackson celebrates his 25th year in country music, I find current state of country music to be less than appealing. I like some of the acts, but on the whole it is more or less songs about the same things – trucks, beer, hot women, etc.

The music industry as a whole has changed. Full length albums are out. Album sales are now small and unimportant. Instead the music industry is now about hit singles and touring. This ironically was how things use to be in country music. The 50, 60, and first half of the 70’s were all about hit singles and touring while album sales were small. Then Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Kenny Rogers, and Alabama came along and large album sales totals became the thing to have.

What once was is not likely coming back. As time moves on things change, but it does not mean we cannot remember and relive great music from our past. I encourage anyone who likes good music to check out great country artists like Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, Reba McEntire, Vince Gill, Clint Black, and two personal favorites of mine Patty Loveless and Pam Tillis.

I learned long ago we do not all like the same thing, and that is a good thing. If we all liked or disliked the same thing life would become monotonous. And while Taylor Swift and Jason Aldean are disliked by many, they are also loved by many.

I started this blog as a graduate school project. I got that Master of Science degree expecting to get a one job field and ended up in another. Life does not always go as planned. Country Music use to be something super important to me. I loved listening to it. I bought lots of albums and went to lots of concerts. But like Taylor Swift – who is following the Olivia Newton John plan on how to morph from a country to a pop star – we all change. I still like to listen to country music, and but I don’t buy albums or go to many concerts much anymore. Part of it is the money it cost; part is the lack of good music from the current artists.

I missed out on the Garth Brooks show here earlier this year, and I will miss out on the Kenny Chesney – Jason Aldean show at Target Field. That is what happens when you cannot afford $200-$500 evening that includes concert tickets, parking, food and beverage. Back in the 90’s I saw Alan Jackson and Faith Hill $25 and got free parking at the Minnesota State Fair. Oh how things have changed.

Country music has changed from the 90’s too. Some think for the better, some think for the worse. I tell people it is okay to think either way. I have my opinion, but that does not have to be yours. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Twins 2015 Prediction and TTM Update

It has been slow going in my pursuit of autographed Minnesota Twins cards since Twinsfest. I did add Paul Powell, Jim Meritt, and Yohan Pino thru the mail (TTM) to give me signed cards from 521 current or former Twins. I also received returns from Jim Thome, Michael Restovich, Ricky Nolasco, Tommy Milone, and Ryan Doumit.

I hope to have more success with the season starting. I will be buying some of the new 2015 cards and sending them to current players. As they seem to do every year the Twins put someone on the team I never expected would make it and those guys never have any real baseball cards. This year it is Blaine Boyer and Shane Robinson who made the team, and I cannot find any cards of them, so I created some on my computer. Hopefully they are good signers.

Predicting how the Twins will do this season is purely guess work. Unforeseen problems like Ervin Santana 80 game suspension for using steroids can quickly mess up any prediction. Still I hope that Danny Santana, Kenny Vargas, and Oswaldo Arcia take the next step in their growth as players and become young stars. I hope Brian Dozier moves his game to All-Star level, and that Joe Mauer returns to All-Star level.

I am rooting for Phil Hughes to continue to pitch like he did last year, and for Tommy Milone to pitch like he did 2012. I also hope Kyle Gibson has a good year, and that Ricky Nolasco bounces back. I really hope to see young prospects like Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, Alex Meyer, Trevor May, and Michael Tonkin make it up to the big club to stay.

I hope a lot, but I know better. The Twins will have another tough season where they lose at least 85 games. Hopefully though the young players grow and become better, and we get some excitement watching the games this year. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Twinfest 2015

I attended Twinsfest 2015 which marked my 11th year straight year of attending Twinsfest. With crowds down from previous years, I was able to hit 10 of the 16 autograph stations on Friday night which produced 48 signed baseball cards. I took it a bit easier on Sunday and secured 8 signed baseball cards (got 3 guys for a second time).

I almost always get a cold after Twinsfest and this year was no exception. Now that I am feeling better, below is a list my successes with some commentary.

Current Players (including manager):

Paul Molitor (manager), Danny Santana, Phil Hughes, Trevor Plouffe, Oswaldo Arcia, Ervin Santana, Glen Perkins, Tommy Milone, Kurt Suzuki, Eduardo Escobar, Jordan Schafer, Kyle Gibson, Mike Pelfrey, Brian Duensing, Tim Stauffer, Caleb Thielbar, Carey Fien, Aaron Hicks, and Kennys Vargas 

Nice to add Ervin Santana, Tim Staufer, Tommy Milone, and Jordan Schafer to my collection of signed Twins cards. I now have signed cards from 518 different current and former Twins players. Great to add more signed cards from Phil Hughes, Danny Santana, and Kennys Vargas. Glen Perkins commandeered an Eric Fryer card from a fan to add to his own collection, the fan received an extra autograph for free from Perkins in exchange (you get only 1 autograph from each player each time you pay to go through the line). The Torii Hunter autograph lines were the longest of the weekend which did not surprise me as he was and still is one of the popular Twins of all-time.

Propsects:

Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Kohl Stewart, Alex Meyer, Nick Gordon, Jorge Polanco, Eddie Rosario, Trevor May, A. J. Achter, Logan Darnell, Max Murphy, Treysen Vara, Tanner Vara, B. J. Hermsen, Tyler Duffey, Mark Hamburger, Nate Hanson, Taylor Rogers, Stephen Pryor, Blake Schmit, Jason Wheeler, J. R. Graham, Brandon Peterson, Eric Fryer, Mike Kvasnicka

The Twins have a lot of good prospects. Buxton, Sano, Stewart, Meyer, Gordon, Polanco, and Rosario all have star potential. Stewart signed his full name which he has not done on the certified autograph cards he signed for the card companies. Rosario’s autograph is a mess, and has certainly gone down hill from when he started in the minors. I needed Achter for my Twins collection as he spent a brief stint up with the big club.

I expected the Buxton and Sano lines to be real long and people did line up 2-3 hours ahead of time. However, once that group moved through the line, there was no more line. Few if any people joined the line when the signing started. I was able to show up at the Paul Molitor and Byron Buxton signing with 15 minutes left in their signing time, and did not have to wait in any line. I even got to stand around and chat with them because there was no one behind me. I had a similar experience in the Sano line. I understand the prices for the Buxton and Sano were higher this year, but both were signing with big names (Sano with Twins legend Tony Oliva, Buxton with Paul Molitor). I suspect once both men get up to the Twins and start showing what they can do, the super long lines will be back again.

Alumni & Coaches

Tony Oliva, Tom Quinlan, Gene Larkin, Dan Gladden, J. T. Bruett, Joe Vara, Neil Allen, Gene Glynn, Butch Davis

Pretty spares list of alumni players this year. Corey Koskie & Roy Smalley were supposed to be there on Friday, but they cancelled out. I wanted to get Koskie so I was disappointed to learn he had cancelled. Gladden showed me his 87 World Series Championship ring which looks good. I had a nice chat with new Twins pitching coach Neil Allen who seems like a nice guy.

I also got a chance to talk with Twins TV play-by-play man Dick Bremer in the hallway. He seemed like a nice guy. He even asked my name and where I was from.

Overall it was another good time, and I look forward to the upcoming Twins baseball season.  

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Autograph Twins Baseball Card TTM Update for 2014

I was mostly neutral on the Twins bringing back Torii Hunter. I think he can still hit a little, and might not be as bad a fielder some people think, but I believe the Twins would benefit more from a younger player like Eddie Rosario playing in the outfield on a regular basis.

Ervin Santana on the hand is a signing I like. Santana is a quality pitcher who for the next few seasons should be able to at least keep the Twins in games early on, something the Twins have not been getting the last few years from their starters.

The one good thing about the Hunter and Santana signings is I will likely be able to get their autographs at Twinsfest (January 23-25, 2015). Players I am looking to get this year are Josmil Pinto, Eduardo Nunez, Jordan Schafer, Tommy Milone, Aaron Thompson, and A.J. Achter. All of these players are relatively new Twins who I need for my collection of autographed Minnesota Twins baseball cards.

I sent to the above players through the mail (TTM) this year and got no response. In fact my 2014 success rate is only 49% which is by far the worse year I have ever had. I did pick up first-time successes from Dan Serafini, Bobby Keppel, Shane Bowers, Danny Goodwin, Dan Graham, Mike Stenhouse (sent 2012), Wally Backman (sent in 2012), and Lenny Webster (private paid signing) so my efforts were not a complete loss.

2014 also brought my longest return ever - Mark Salas 1891 days (over 5 years). In the time it took Mr. Salas to get back to me on this one card, I had sent to and received back from him 2 others cards. I am figuring his misplaced this first card, found it, signed it, and sent it back to me.

I also got 2 RTS (return to senders) that were strange. One was from former Twin Rob Bowen who the post office evidently could not deliver to 1436 days after I sent to him. I sent a card then current Twin Jason Marquis during his only spring training with the Twins back in 2012. 985 days after I sent the card, it came back RTS not deliverable as address (the address was fine). Who knows what happened there.

I have signed cards from 513 current and former Twins players. There are 184 players I don’t have of which 107 I have contacted and have yet to receive a return. I hope to pick a handful of these players in 2015. Sometimes the going is slow, but there are surprise successes that make doing this worthwhile. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Goodbye Gardy



Ron Gardenhire became manager of the Minnesota Twins in 2002. I started rooting for the Twins with greater passion in 2002 because of the spunky team he lead back to the playoffs. Since 2002 the Twins have won 6 division titles, but only advanced once in the playoffs (2002). Under Gardenhire the Twins won more often than not, and gave fans plenty to root for.  At least till 2011-2014 when 4 straight 90 loss seasons did Ron Gardenhire in. Now the Twins have to find a new manager who hopefully can turn the Twins back around.

Gardenhire lead teams that employed 2 MVP’s in Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, a 2x Cy Young Award winner in Johan Santana, and 2 other players (Torii Hunter and Joe Nathan) who were considered amongst the best at their position. Yet many fans felt Gardenhire lead teams underachieved. Others feel he got more out of the Twins than others would have.

I remember my interactions with him. I got 5 cards, 1 ball, 1 photo, and Twins banner signed by him. He was always pleasant with me. I even freaked him out at Twinsfest 2007 when I congratulated him on the new truck he had just bought (a guy in line who worked at the dealership Gardenhire bought truck from told me).

I liked Ron Gardenhire, but it was time for him to go. I will remember his successes more than his failures. I am not sure his successor will right the ship, but Gardenhire was no longer getting through to the players and a new voice was needed. Hopefully the new manager will be a person who is kind to fans like Ron Gardenhire was. Best of luck in your future Gardy!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Get on TV at the Twins Game



Monday the 18th I had the privilege of attending the Twins – Royals game complements of my employer. We had a gathering up on the Budweiser Roof Deck which is a unique place to watch a game.

Highlights included getting rained on during the game, watching Twins GM Terry Ryan dump a bucket of ice water on Twins owner Jim Pohlad (it was for an ALS charity), and seeing one of my favorite Twins – Oswaldo Arcia – hit a massive home run off the flag pole in right field.

The best highlight though was when I got to be on TV. How? I had moved down from the Roof Deck as game went on. I was in center field in the ninth when Trevor Plouffe hit a deep fly ball. I realized it was coming close to me and sure enough went for a home run. In the above picture I am under the word “Porch” on the sign that says “usbank Home Run Porch”. I am giving the old fist pump in celebration. The home run made it 6-4 unfortunately the Twins still ended up losing.

Still I had a good time, and I came to learn that the Home Run Porch is not a bad place to watch a game. The view is good, and the seats are cheaper. Now that the Twins are getting some of the young guys like Danny Santana, Kenny Vargas, and Oswaldo Arcia some playing time, the last few games this year should be interesting.