On The Road With Pat Neshek: My Site News

The History Section
Below you will find every article I ever wrote about in order starting with Spring Training 2004 at the bottom of the page working up to today. Scroll down to a date and read the history. Also there is a lot of stuff in this section and it might take a little bit of time to load.

Thursday, February 14
2/14/13 - 1985 Topps Signed Set Update

Right now I'm crossing off 4 cards from my want list thanks to Billy R aka on twitter .  Craig McMurtry, Tim Corcoran, Gene Garber & Kent Tekulve are all done.  I'm currently sitting at 68% finished and need 254 more guys. 



Tuesday, February 5
2/5/13 - 39 Cards Knocked Off The List

Today's mail I got a nice box of vintage signed 85 Topps cards from Mike S of Tracy, CA.  Mike got these signed in the 80's at airports and hotels and they are great looking and most guys signatures have changed a ton since.  The list is now down to 258 cards that I need and 67.4% complete. 

 



Monday, February 4
2/4/2013 - 1985 Topps Signed Set Update

I knocked off a huge chunk of the set and am sitting at 62.6% complete at the moment.  I wanted to thank Craig S of Minneapolis for the help.  Here's what I knocked off. 

 12, 14, 71, 75, 78, 86, 101, 104, 110, 138, 146, 179, 182, 199, 218, 240, 263, 264, 285, 317, 327, 345, 357, 358, 359, 368, 376, 379, 383, 384, 406, 409, 418, 430, 444, 445, 447, 454, 459, 480, 481, 498, 499, 507, 508, 518, 528, 536, 550, 558, 573, 580, 584, 598, 616, 619, 623, 631, 632, 639, 641, 645, 651, 658, 667, 668, 693, 669, 709, 718, 720, 726, 743, 744, 753, 768, 782, 789.

 



Tuesday, January 29
1/29/13

I knocked off another card in the 1985 Signed Topps set I am working on.  Mikel S of Brandon, MS hooked me up with a pretty sweet #211 Clay Christiansen Autograph.  Thanks for the help!

 



Tuesday, January 22
1/22/13 - 1985 Set Update

I was going through my TTM letters today and got a gift in the mail.  I opened up 7 cards from my 1985 Topps signed set that I am working on.  These came from Dan R. from Denton, TX...Thanks Dan!

Here are the 7 cards I can now knock off the list.  Right now I have 376 cards to go.

 

#8 Juan Samuel, #173 Mike Young, #232 Dave Beard, #470 Steve Sax, #594 Curt Wilkerson, #640 Steve Henderson & #697 Onix Concepcion.  

 



Friday, January 11
January 12th, 2013
Hey guys, I thought it would be fun over the next season to try and build a signed 1985 Topps set. I'll be posting on here whenever I get a new card to add to the set and where it came from. I'd love any help I can get from you guys. Right now I am 51% completed As always I can trade a signed card of mine for any 1985 signed card (or any other signed card of anyone ever). Please help me out if you can. Thanks



Tuesday, June 12
June 12th, 2012
We are wrapping up a very tough stretch over the past two weeks here in Buffalo tonight.   Tomorrow we get our 1 off day a month.  It's funny that I don't remember the minor leagues being this much of a stretch between days off but it's a huge grind.  At the Major League level you get an off day on average about every 10 days...yes I was complaining about that at one point of my career.  As I mentioned above these last two weeks have been a test.  Tonight we get to play at 7pm and after the game drive back to Nofolk which is about 11 hours away.  I think we get in at 11:30am tomorrow.  The travel here has been pretty good.  We use sleeper buses so that gives each guy about a twin bed worth of space to sleep.  For some reason I cannot fall asleep on the bus.  I don't know why this is...some guys complain about being too cold, then too hot.  There also are guys playing music, watching movies at high volumes...you get the picture.  I think my off day is going to be spent catching up on sleep. 

Saturday, June 9
June 9th, 2012

It has been a long time since I posted.  To update everyone, right now I am pitching in the Baltimore Orioles organization at AAA Norfolk (VA).  I have seen a lot of you guys at many of the cities I have been to and have been pumped to get a couple minutes to chat about autographs and baseball.  I have been asked a ton of times what autographs I have received and what I am looking for.  Honestly I haven't got too many autographs due to playing everyday.  I have mainly been focusing on the same old 1970 topps graded set I am working on.  It's been a pain in the butt and I'm about 60 card away from finishing it still.  To answer the second part of the question I am always on the lookout for rookie autographs, guys just drafted things like that.  I have a good majority of the older players and have no way to access a lot of the younger guys.  On a bunch of the stops lately I have be given some really cool cards by collectors.  Recently a Norfolk collector hooked me up with a bunch of his doubles about 50 in total...I was pumped.  Hopefully I will be on here a ton more and will update with pictures of some of the cool things collectors have given me this year.  As always be sure to check out the Everything Autographs message board http://pneshek.proboards.com/  and share your autograph successes.  See ya in a couple days!

 

 



Sunday, January 30
Twinsfest

I'm getting ready to head over to Blaine right now for the last day of Twinsfest.  It went by pretty quickly and I'll be back in FL feeling like I never left on Friday morning.  I talked with a lot of cool people from the message board and got to hear how their weekend went and if the executed how they wanted to in getting autographs.  I thought it was pretty awesome to hear how a lot of the message board contributers worked together and knocked out some tough names.  As far as myself goes Twinsfest went by pretty quick.  I really didn't have to do anything else  except sign autographs wheras in the past I did a ton of interviews/radio, filmed commercials, sponsor meet & greets & things like that.  I had a kid's question & answer session the first night and it was about 25 feet away from a Joe Mauer signing.  I think about 5 kids showed up and we still had a good time.  The thing I like about Twinsfest in the past is walking by the dealers and trying to get a deal.  This year though it was a mess trying to just find space to walk.  I'm planning on running around a little bit after my signing when Twinsfest closes at 4 today.  I spotted a ball I need in my collection with PSA/DNA certification & will update everyone on here if I get it.  There were some other great deals but I am a king at buying fake autographs & have a tough time being put on the spot so I just pass altogether.  I wish it was easy to trust everyone in the industry but there are tons of Operation Bullpen items still being carted around throughout the hobby. 



Thursday, January 27
January 27th, 2011

It's been a great off-season & it is about to wrap up soon.  I've been spending most of my time on my message board lately ( http://pneshek.proboards.com/index.cgi? ).  There have been tons of things going on with the boards lately & if you are into collecting anything this is a pretty fun place.  In the last month we have had a couple of free signed baseball giveaways of guys like Nolan Ryan, Yogi Berra, Catfish Hunter & a bunch of others.  Also there have been lots of game used items from myself and teammates that has been traded off.  The best part though is that it has become a pretty neat community for trading and sharing info.  Like I said above if you are into collecting of anything this might appeal to you.

I've spent most of my collecting time cleaning up my collection and I can finally report after three long years I'm happy where I'm at with my collection.  I think every collector goes through a phase like this if they are serious enough where they have just too much stuff of too many different sports or items that just don't fit in.  For me this stuff kind of took on a life of it's own & I had to take a long hard look at what I wanted to achieve.  I decided that I needed to pick certain items I wanted to go after and get rid of everything else.  When everything was said & done I was looking at a few different items

Things I Collect

1.  1970 Topps Baseball PSA Graded Cards - No certain reason...I wanted to do graded cards and I wanted a tough set to go after over my lifetime

2.  Single Signed Baseballs (ROMLB, RONL, ROAL) of Hall of Famers - I have quite a collection & figured to keep going on this journey

3.  Kirby Puckett Signed Items, bats, balls, cards, books, photos

4.  Series 1-7 Topps Garbage Pail Kids PSA Graded Cards - I've loved these things since pre-school 

5.  TTM (Through The Mail) or In-Person Autographs on cards...Baseball or Hockey.  I have 10 full bloated binders of cards people have given me over the years or that I got myself...I love these things and will never get rid of them...unless of course in a trade

6.  ROCK N ROLL - Early Music Autographs - Probably the biggest thing I collect...I spent the off-season acquiring tons of autographs in this category...Eddie Cochran, The Big Bopper, Jan & Dean, Chuck Berry the original Jimmie Rodgers....I started getting stuff over the past couple years & I have a pretty nice collection going.  I'm very interested in anything pre 1970's & will listen anytime to trade offers.  I like anything in this category 8x10's, Albums, Note Cards, contracts...anything

7.  Historical autographs...anyone that is highly collectible...Napolean, JFK...stuff like that

8.  Random stuff...I did keep some items just because they are cool...I still collect some jerseys...kept some nice looking football minis & a couple Game Used jersey cards

Things I pulled out of

I pretty much pulled out of baseball cards...shocking but I just didn't like the prices on a pack of cards & had an incredible time getting my money back with them.  They are fun to collect & I really had a blast with the Topps Million promotion but they just aren't doing it for me.  If anything I might try to focus on 1 set...Topps Heritage.  I believe this is one product that they have right.

8x10's...don't like them (unless they are RocknRoll or have some type of significance) & don't really collect them.  Most that I get in trade go directly to my brother.  

 

 



Saturday, December 25

Just wanted to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season!  I am down in Florida, lifting weights, running,  and getting ready for next spring.  I will be on the message boards so be sure and check in.


 

 



Sunday, October 17
New Free Contest Up on Message Board - NOLAN RYAN Signed Baseball

Be sure to check out the message board and the free contest section.  I just put up another great item that can be yours if you pick the correct # & the contest is FREE.  The item up for grabs is a Nolan Ryan Signed Baseball.  This morning Punter96 picked the correct # in the Stan Musial Signed Baseball contest so congrats to him!  Good luck http://pneshek.proboards.com/index.cgi

 

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Tuesday, October 12
A Trip Back In Time - My Rookie Dress Up Costume

Yikes, haha

 

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Tuesday, October 12
My Butler Recruiting Letter - AKA Crystal Ball

When you are getting recruited to play college baseball you get many calls and letters from college coaches.  I was digging through my old folders and came across this letter from Coach Steve Farley (My College Coach at Butler).  Maybe he should go into fortune telling in the offseason.  Most of this stuff came true and it's pretty funny to look back and read this considering the last time I read this I was 17 years old.

 

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Tuesday, October 5
Honus Wagner - What it is currently worth?

CHICAGO -- The hobby's biggest event was the perfect location for a rare auction of the hobby's biggest card. A 1909 T206 Honus Wagner was sold for $1.62 million in Chicago on Friday, sending a buzz around the crowded floors of the National Sports Collectors Convention.

The buyer was identified as John Rogers, 35, of North Little Rock, Ark.

The card, offered by Mastro Auctions, was the highlight of an event that also saw a 1938 Lou Gehrig Yankees jersey sell for $240,000 and Ken Griffey Jr.'s 600th home run ball go for $42,000.

The Wagner card was in Excellent condition, graded 5 by PSA. There are thought to be fewer than 100 copies of the Wagner in existence,and less than 10 of those are in at least excellent condition. The sale price set a record for the condition, vastly outdistancing pre-auction estimates of $500,000-$750,000.

The card, which offered sharp colors and surprisingly crisp borders, remained on display at the show throughout the weekend. Sizable crowds of rubberneckers crowded the Mastro display, taking advantage of the rare opportunity to see the hobby's most famous card first hand.

"It's a beautiful card," said Ace Grenier of Des Plaines, Ill., who was spotted admiring the card. "It's one of those things you never think you'll get a chance to see in person."

 http://www.beckett.com/estore/news/?eskin=subBB&a=9792&s=1



Tuesday, October 5
Another Video


Sunday, September 26
Rookie Dress Up Day

Jeff Manship & Drew Butera  Photobucket

 

Trevor Plouffe  Photobucket

 

 Ben Revere  Photobucket

 

Alex Burnett  Photobucket

 

The Group  Photobucket



Saturday, September 18
Free Contest - STAN MUSIAL Signed Baseball

Check out the boards to have a chance at winning this ball

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Saturday, September 18
Sidearmers


Wednesday, September 8
Jeff Manship Game Used Items Up For Trade
Be sure to check out the message board, lots of game used items are up from my teammates.  Today we have hats from Jeff Manship.

Wednesday, September 8
Here's A Video Told By A Cat On How To Make A Baseball Card


Tuesday, September 7
Kyle Gibson Game Used 2010 Cleats Up For Trade
Be sure to check out the message board, last week we launched a free Yogi Berra Signed Baseball contest giveaway as well as bidding for Matt Fox game used items.  Today we have Phenom & Future MN Twin Kyle Gibson's  2010 Game Used Cleats up for auction on the message board.  Gibson signed both cleats and added "2010 Game Used".  Check out the boards for more info. 
 
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Tuesday, September 7
This Happens A Lot


Friday, September 3
Matt Fox Game Used Items Up For Trade

Be sure to check out the message board, yesterday we launched a free Yogi Berra Signed Baseball contest giveaway.  Today we have the newest MN Twin Matt Fox's stuff up for auction on the message board.  Fox gave me 2 pairs of cleats and his hats from the first and second half of his AAA season with the Rochester Red Wings.  Check out the boards for more info. 

 

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Friday, September 3
Free Yogi Berra Signed Baseball Contest
I just posted a free contest on my message board, the free item is a Yogi Berra Signed Baseball.  Anyone on the message board is able to enter this free contest...good luck!

Thursday, September 2
Contest & Trades

Be sure to check into the message board next week and for the entire offseason.  I will be giving away lots of great HOF signed baseballs...Yogi Berra, Stan Musial, Bob Feller, Ozzie Smith and much more...also be sure to make a request for a future free giveaway and I will try my best to get it up for you guys. 

Also bringing back a blast from the past with Game Used Items from myself as well as some of my teammates like Kyle Gibson, Jeff Manship, Kyle Waldrop and maybe a couple more guys...just waiting to see what they give me at the end of the season.  I will put this stuff up most likely in the next 1-2 weeks and you can offer in each section on the boards.  



Saturday, August 28
I Love How He Gets An Autograph In


Tuesday, August 10
August 10th, 2010
We are back in Rochester after a trip to Georgia, Charlotte & Syracuse.  I've never been to Charlotte before and if nothing else it was great to check off another field.  The stadium was pretty aged and gave you a feel for the history that has come through it's door.  I got to see a bunch of graphers I met in Florida during past spring trainings and signed up everything they had.  Syracuse really changed since I've been there last in 2006.  The last time I was there it was a cage fence for the outfield walls, the bullpens were in centerfield and the entire field was artificial turf.  Back then a lot of the guys would dread playing games there.  This time around it actually felt like baseball, they did a great job fixing up that place.  As far as pitching goes things are going great.  Instead of looking up at the radar gun and seeing 86 & 87 a month ago nearly every pitch now is 89 with a couple 88's.  In Gwinnett last week I flashed 90 a trio of times.  As far as the positives go I've given up 1 run in my last 11 outings.  I've also held righties to a .167 batting average and if you take out my team leading 4 intentional walks my whip is close to 1.  I do need to get better on getting lefties out & getting my slider to bite more with 2 strikes, then I will start seeing more k's.  Overall I'm very happy with how I have been pitching and know I will continue to get stronger.

Wednesday, July 28
July 28th, 2010
We arrived in Atlanta yesterday for our game against the Gwinnett Braves.  Yesterday was quite the adventure for our team.  This was one of the few trips in the International League where we fly instead of taking the bus.  Flying here is a lot different than in Minnesota.  In Minnesota all of the plane trips are chartered and the bus basically pulls up to the plane and we leave within 30 minutes.  Here we did all the normal things we would do if we went on a commercial plane.  We left the stadium yesterday at 5am, got the airport a little after and sat in line waiting to check in our bags and go through security.  We didn't have a direct flight so we landed in Philadelphia and waited a couple hours to leave for Atlanta.  When we finally got into Atlanta we waiting for our bags and the bus and then headed to the hotel.  You would think that was a long enough day but it really didn't even start yet.  We arrived at the ballpark and found out that none of the equipment made it in yet.  Instead of flying the equipment, a van was driven down after our night game the day before.  As the hours went by there was no equipment.  Finally around 6:50pm, 10 minutes before the start of the game our stuff showed up.  We dressed really quick, played catch and stretched and went on to play the game...it was a long day. 

Sunday, July 11
July 10th, 2010

Well, what a day...the team bus arrived in Rochester, NY at 6:30am and I was actually able to get a couple hours of sleep on the bus.  For the bus trip we took 2 buses and on the first half of the trip Brad Hennessey accidentally left his pillow on the other bus...I lucked out because he left it near my seat and I needed something to rest my back on...we stopped about halfway and he jumped on our bus and took it back.  That made for an interesting night of falling asleep for about 5 minutes and waking up because an elbow rest was poking me...it was impossible to get comfortable.  You gotta love minor league bus trips...they really suck but they also make for some fun times telling jokes and stories with teammates and listening to music.  To tell you the truth, the bus trips kind of have a peacefulness that I enjoy where you can just sit back with no computers, tvs and just relax to music...anyways.  Over the past couple years my music listening time has dwindled and this trip got me back into some songs.  Here's some NEW stuff that I liked from last night.  If anyone has any suggestions on tracks from new releases be sure to let me know on facebook or twitter.

the empire shall fall - we the people
apostles of solitude - other voices
priestess - the gem
soulfly - soulfly vii
the ocean - metaphysics of the hangman
deftones - risk
taproot - stolage
fear factory - powershifter



Friday, July 9
July 9th, 2010
I'm about to head to the field for game 2 in Pawtucket.  After the game we are turning right around and heading back to Rochester and arriving around 7am.  I've been staying downtown in a hotel in Rochester and will probably sleep in the clubhouse when we get back to avoid paying for a hotel room for 3 hours.  Anyways Pawtucket was full of autographers before and after the game...If I had to guess I would say it ranks 2nd in autographers with Scranton getting the top honors so far and Rochester not too far behind.  Before the game one awesome fan gave me a Tim Thomas & Zdeno Charo signed hockey card.  After the game I was hooked up by my favorite Boston collectors with a stack of hockey cards that they got for me over the years.  The running joke with them is that I skip the Boston Red Sox trip every year so I don't have to sign for them.  In 2006 I made the 2 day trip and told everyone to bring everything they needed signed for years to come.  Then in 07 I got shut down with a week in the season to go and missing Boston, 08 and 09 was Tommy John surgery and this year I was in Rochester.  Anyways it was awesome hanging out with them and talking about autographs. 

Thursday, July 8
July 8th, 2010

A couple more days have went by and right now we are in Pawtucket, Rhode Island getting ready to play the Red Sox (AAA) team.  I know this may come off as complaining but our travel schedule down here has been rough.  Earlier this year with the Twins we took a flight out of Anaheim to Chicago and got in at 6am...I thought that was a tough one.  Last night was the fourth time in a month we left a stadium at 11pm or later and got in at 6:30am or later.  Last night we drove from Rochester, NY to Rhode Island and it took 7 hours.  Tomorrow we will head back to Rochester from here and get back at....7am!  No big deal though it's actually a lot of fun hanging out with guys on the team and telling stories & jokes the entire time...and around 3-4 am most guys fall asleep, I just need to remember a pillow one of these times, the arm rest can really do a number on your back & neck. 

Last month when I was sent here the Twins really wanted me to work on getting my velocity up and pitch as much as I could.  So far I have been progressing well on both fronts.  After sitting out for nearly two years I knew I had a lot of things to work on.  Just being on the mound to me felt a little strange sometimes and I wasn't the most comfortable in certain situations.  Every now and then I would forget to do little things like check the runner at first, cover first on a ball to the first basemen and back up.  Don't get me wrong, I have good stuff and can compete and do well and get big league guys out but after coming off this injury the biggest thing needed was to pitch and pitch and pitch.  By doing this I could work on all aspects of the game and at the same time see my arm get stronger.  In the past month I'm closing in on 20 innings pitched and I have been getting a lot more confident on the mound and throwing a lot more fastballs.  The last two outings I have been getting ahead of a lot of guys with my fastballs and seeing a lot of those late foul ball swings, something I rarely have seen all year.  My stats aren't looking the best but for me stats are kind of on the backburner and the more important thing for me is knowing my stuff is there and feeling comfortable out there and having a plan.  For me just getting off the mound every other day has been huge and I know that if I keep working I will eventually have the stuff I had before surgery.  Right now according to the stadium gun my fastball has been up to 88-89, who knows if this is low or high but it's the highest I have seen on the thing since I've been here.  In my prime I was around 90-92 for most pitches. 



Sunday, July 4
July 4th, 2010
Yesterday we played out last game of the roadtrip in Buffalo.  They had a fireworks night and it seems like those nights bring the people out and the crowds get large.  After the game I ran into one of my favorite former teammates Ramon Ortiz.  He pitched a heck of a game and looked great on the mound.  He told me that he has seen a lot of guys have the same surgery I had and that I looked great.  I told him that I'm about 1-2 mph off from what I had when we were teammates and he told me that things usually take a year or two before your stuff comes back to what you had before.  After that the team bus hurried to get out of town before the fireworks crowd left the stadium.  We made it back to Rochester about 1.5 hours later and I headed back to the hotel with my suitcase and computer bag to get ready for another fireworks celebration tonight. 

Saturday, July 3
Ozzie Smith Giveaway

Be sure to become a member of my message board above and check out the free Ozzie Smith signed baseball giveaway.

This free contest is for a STEINER certified OZZIE SMITH Signed Sweetspot baseball. Comes with steiner sticker and authenticity card.

http://pneshek.proboards.com/index.cgi



Saturday, July 3
Day 3 in Buffalo - July 3rd, 2010
Very odd day at the park, only signed 1 autograph and that was for a lady and her kid and she had no clue what she was getting...she handed me a Buffalo Bison glove with sigs from the other team and I signed it thinking I'm not on that team...why am I signing this.  So far my number down here is #20...I've still been signing everything #17...I don't think this will change unless you guys request it (making it a rare #20 graph).  At the field tonight I came in with bases loaded no outs.  I pitched two innings and felt a little rusty out there but still managed to pitch well.  The first inning I threw a lot of sliders and my fastballs were 86-87 for the ones I peaked on.  My next inning I was hitting 88 and 89, about where I have been since I've been here.  I'm heading to the park, see you out there.

Friday, July 2
July 2nd, 2010

Right now we are playing in Buffalo, NY and nearly over with our 9 game road trip.  I've met a lot of autograph collectors along the way and tried my best to get everything signed up that was needed of me.  I would have to say Scranton had the biggest crowd of graphers that I have seen this year and that includes the big league cities.  I've tried to tell collectors to not be shy and bring all your cards of mine instead of pulling out 3 one day and 3 the next.  If I have time I will knock everything out...I signed 220 for baseballaddict the other day in Rochester...it took forever!  In Scranton I was amazed at all the collectors and the different cards of me that they had, even signed up some rip cards, ripped of course.  From there we went to Lehigh (County) Valley, PA and once again the autograph crowd was out in force.  Buffalo wasn't that great...I came out yesterday late and was rushed and couldn't get all the cards signed...will try to get everything done tonight.  Be sure to check back now as I will be trying to update this numerous times each week, there are a ton of stories I have & I think you will enjoy.  A lot of people that I met have asked me how I have been feeling on the mound and had a lot of questions about me pitching.  The normal question was about how I feel.  So far down here with the exception of one really bad outing I have been pitching about as well as I have in my career.  Also another question is how hard I throw and with the exception of an outing my velocity has been at 88-89 on average (yes I have been scoreboard looking in between pitches).  The funny thing is that I throw my slider about 50% of the time to righties and always have even in 06 & 07.  I rely more on deception than blowing (velo) balls past guys, I'm a sidearmer for crying out loud...Overall I feel great and have good stuff on the mound.  For those that have been waiting on the Ozzie Smith contest, I'm going to try and get that started tonight after the game...I know I have been saying this for a long time & I think tonight is the night for it to start.

 

 



Friday, May 14
May 14th, 2010
Since February I have been a big fan of the Topps Million card giveaway promotion.  Basically it's a pretty cool promotion that takes nearly every card Topps has produced over it's history and will give them away in packs of cards.  Topps printed code cards at a rate of 1 in 6 packs and seeded them throughout their Series 1 &2 products.  When you get a code card you go to toppsmillion.com and enter your code to see who you get.  I started with 6 code cards in February...1 of my cards was from 1955, the rest were 1987 or newer.  On the Topps website the best feature they have is the ability to trade your cards for others.  Granted the Topps website needs some work still, it's pretty slow and the sort feature are a little behind but just the thought of a safe way to trade online is huge.  For those of you wondering, you can cash out and have the cards shipped to you whenever you want.  I traded my 1955 card for a 85 Puckett RC and had it shipped to me and it looked pretty good.  As I mentioned above I started with 6 cards...my collection is now up to 26 and nearly all are pre-1970.  Granted most of these cards have very low book value but it is a fun addiction and a place where I like to kill time. 


Monday, April 26
April 26th, 2010

A couple weeks have gone by really quick and it has been a lot of fun.  For me it has been a month of ups and downs.  I felt great pitching again after the long time off rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.  I also hurt my middle finger and have had to sit out a week of games.  The finger is a lot better right now, just a little sore still.  The thing that I've noticed the most about playing again is how busy we are.  Going from rehab to an MLB season is at total opposite sides of the spectrum.  I'm enjoying my time and am thankful to be playing again. 

I thought I would share a couple of stories from the first month dealing with some bad fans that don't understand no.  Ever since I have been in the minors when I step on the field once the game starts I'm watching the game and staying focused.  I sit in the bullpen and usually keep to myself.  The other day in KC there was a fan that came down and shouted out my name...I waived back.  He asked for a ball and I said no...I very rarely give balls out when the game is going on because I like to stay focused, plus it's annoying listening to people ask for a ball every inning and once one is given out people will flock to the scene and repeat.  The guy turned around and came back a couple innings and asked for a ball again...also shouting out my name.  Since I already waived and said no I just shook my head (in my head) wondering if he was serious.  The next inning he brought his kids down and made them beg.  Another inning went by and the same thing went on.  During the entire time I kept my eyes on the game...then the guy yelled out..."let's go kids, THANKS PAT" in anger.  The next night a lady came down begging for a ball for her son...she begged for 6 innings after we said no in the first.  In the fourth her demands were for a bullpen sweat towel...never heard that before and it's no even our property to be giving away.  Every game is another story...



Tuesday, April 6
April 6th, 2010

I'm about to head out to the field for tonight's game.  Yesterday was a blast in a lot of ways since it was opening night and Butler (where I went to college) was playing in the final NCAA game.  Opening night always brings out the nerves and adrenaline.  As a player you want to get in as soon as possible and get the first one out of the way.  For me it was a lot to think about and how far I've come since the surgery that left me out of baseball for nearly 22 months.  As I ran in I got that excitement feeling and realized I had to hit my spots and make sure my slider was moving and not backing up because any MLB hitter is going to kill a bad slider.  My outing went well and I was happy to see my slider running across the plate.  I sat in the dugout afterwards and thought of all the time away from the game and how amazing it was to be back.  That's the thing with the injury, you never know if you will ever get the chance to pitch in the big leagues again. 

At the same time of the game the Butler game was going on.  I stayed inside for the first inning and that got me to halftime.  After that I went to the bullpen and noticed they were updating the score every 5 minutes outside.  The crowd kept yelling owwwww...&....ahhhhh for no reason.  Then I realized they had the game televised in the concourse and about half the crowd was watching.  As the game got close to the end I knew it was close and heard the crowd let out a huge OHHHHHHHHHH.  That's when Butler's last shot banked off the backboard.  The best part of the night came 5 minutes later when the big screen showed the final seconds.  It posted the final score and the crowd Booed Duke for a couple seconds.  What a remarkable year for college basketball.

There were a couple winners in the Neshek.com Bracket challenge included one winner that picked 3 of the four final four teams, the national title game and picked Duke to win it all.  Good luck and I will be trying to contact the winners shortly.


Sunday, April 4
April 4th, 2010

I can't believe how fast spring training went by and we are getting ready for the start of the season.  Yesterday we arrived at Target Field around 8:30am to play our last game of the spring.  Once the game was over we rushed over to catch a flight to California and get ready for opening day.  The flight left Minnesota around 5:45pm.  Ever since we left Florida it seems like things I haven't had any time to think.  When you leave Florida it's a mess of packing everything up and making sure it gets to where it needs to go.  Then when you arrive in Minnesota you have to pick everything back up at the field and unpack it and get the house set up.  I have always hated the first week of the season for as long as I have played pro baseball.  This year we flew in for a quick 2 days and out to CA.  From here we head to Chicago for another series and finally back to Minnesota for the opening of Target Field. 

Right now like I said above we have arrived in LA to play the Angels tomorrow night.  Today we have a workout and will rest up for the long season ahead.  As we were flying last night we missed both of the NCAA tourney games...I was scrambling with my phone as we landed to see who won the Butler game and I was pretty happy with the result.  There have been some pretty messy brackets this year.  So far there are a lot of brackets in the Neshek.com bracket challenge that will come down to the last day.  A lot of people (nearly all) did not pick Butler but for those who did have a shot at pulling off the amazing feat of winning the Neshek.com overall score and making some Duke fans mad in the process.  We'll see what happens, go DAWGS.



Monday, March 22
2nd Chance - Sweet Sixteen NESHEK.COM Challenge

One more time to try again...enter the sweet sixteen 2nd Chance bracket...winner will recieve a signed Duke Snider baseball as well...GOOD LUCK, first 500 people only

 

http://tournament.fantasysports.yahoo.com/t2/group/17617/invitation?key=1987b2bdc4baf9e0



Monday, March 22
Sweet Sixteen

The first two rounds are over and my brackets are still alive but very ugly.  According to Yahoo, the best bracket in the country in any group picked 43/48.  That just doesn't seem right to me but proves how tough a year it was.  The Kansas game proved to be a killer for many brackets and will come into play for those who picked them to win it all.  It's going to get interesting, here's how the Neshek.com bracket challenge stacks up.

In Neshek.com Bracket #1 the standings look like this

1. bobg with 103 points (39/48 correct picks)

2.  Rosco with 96 points (39/48 correct picks)

3. pgaspe with 92 points (37/48 correct picks)

In the Neshek.com Bracket #2 the standings look like this

1.  liz with 90 points (36/48 correct picks)

2.  jahiem j with 89 points  (33/48 correct picks)

3.  mrg with 87 points (36/48 correct picks)

The winner of each group will recieve a signed Duke Snider Steiner Baseball

My brackets are in pretty sad shape...the fighting dachshunds have 38 points and 30/48 correct picks

The MNmetrodomers have 38 points as well and 30/48 correct picks

There will be a sweet sixteen 2nd Chance bracket to come very soon...be sure to check back



Wednesday, March 17
March 17th, 2010

Be sure to get in the NCAA bracket challenge if you not signed up yet, it's always a fun tourney to see how you stack up.  So far over 750 users have signed up and it starts tomorrow.  I always love this time of year because I spend a ton of my offseason following the college teams.  It's funny to hear people on TV talk about who they think will win & you sit and wonder if they even followed any of the teams because they all seem to jump on the #1's & 2's.  Either way I'm sure tomorrow night my bracket will be a mess of red...I always pray for the underdog.

Spring training is flying by and it's going to be over before we even know it.  I've felt great this spring.  I think the thing I'm happiest about is that I've been able to handle the workload and think I have the ability to handle even more.  There have been a couple outings where I felt like I have had everything back and all my pitches were working.  My first outing was one of these and outing #3 in Clearwater was another.  I felt like in these games my velo was around 89-90 due to the late reactions of the hitters and the foul balls they hit.  Then I had outings #2 & #4 both in Ft. Myers where my velo was down but the ball was moving a ton and I got a lot of quick outs.  I like to think that my hamstring was bothering me in outing #2 and that set me back a little velo-wise and in outing #4 I never really threw any pitches (got 3 outs on 5 pitches).  This is the type of stuff that pitchers right now are going through.  The other day I wanted to really work on throwing my slider to righties and I faced another batch of lefties, not much I can do.  Spring training for the most part is about getting comfortable on the mound and getting use to throwing all your pitches.  Granted there are other worries about getting cut, pressure, putting up numbers but for most guys they are using this time to get comfortable out there, it's just hard to believe there is only 2 weeks left.



Monday, March 15
First One Filled - Starting #2

If you missed out on the first neshek.com March madness NCAA challenge I just added another group right here http://tournament.fantasysports.yahoo.com/t1/group/111639/invitation?key=a5bd89de232271ff

Please only 1 bracket...I'd like to give everyone the chance of getting in.



Sunday, March 14
Neshek.com Bracket Buster NCAA Tourney Challenge
Just like last year, the Neshek.com NCAA tourney Challenge is back.  Free to join and it's filling up quickly...the first bracket only holds 500 users.  If that fills I will enter another bracket for late arrivals.  The winner of the tourney gets a Duke Snider Signed Steiner Baseball.  Click here http://tournament.fantasysports.yahoo.com/t1/group/84062/invitation?key=573c0f2a43e355d8

Thursday, March 11
Newest Grapher HOF addition
Name: Peter Gourlie

Hometown: Merrill, WI (currently live near Milwaukee, WI)

Home park/Graphing Stomping Grounds: Miller Park

Nickname: Peteloaf, or Loafski

Best Autograph Moment: Brewers just clinched the Wild Card, and I was first row behind their dugout. Eric Gagne got up on the dugout, sprayed the fans with champagne, and other players followed. I had worked on a team ball, and only needed 3 more signatures, one of which was CC Sabathia. CC got up there, sprayed us, and signed up and down the dugout, including my team ball! This moment is one I can easily remember, because now hanging in right field entrance at Miller Park is a picture of Prince Fielder on top of the dugout that day, and in the lower right corner is me!

Runner up: Last year, Phillies vs. Brewers at Miller Park. I was wearing my Brewers hat, but a Matt Stairs Phillies jersey (because I can’t find a Matt Stairs Brewers jersey). Matt Stairs came up to bat during batting practice, we yelled and waved (because we are the Matt Stairs Fan Club from when he was a Brewer back in 2002), and he tossed me a ball. After BP, we tried to get him to come over, but he jogged into the dugout. A few minutes later, a clubhouse attendant came out and handed me a bat, saying it was from Matt. He autographed his batting practice bat and gave it to me! One of the best moments of my autographing career!

Worst autograph moment: Back to the same team ball (2008 Brewers). At the ball drop where we lower a bag down with stuff to sign, Mike Rivera stopped and said he’d sign stuff for us. One of us sent a card and a blue sharpie, and I sent my beloved team ball and a blue pen. Well, Mike signed the card, and proceeded to sign my team ball… in blue sharpie. It’s ok though, because it is the sentimental value and the great story behind the signature that I really enjoy. But when it happened, we were a bit bummed out! And now, we call him Mike “The Sharpie” Rivera.

Runner Up: Nomar Garciaparra outright saying no to signing my ball with 3 sigs on it already in pen, because he had a sharpie in his hand and didn’t want to grab my pen. I was disappointed to say the least.

Other Reasons for being in the HALL of FAME: I come up with awesome nicknames for our favorite players, and they sign them on some of my memorabilia. Corey “The Condor” Hart is one our favorite guys! Also, I try to get almost all of my autographs in person. I believe part of the nostalgia of receiving an autograph is being able to say thank you, to ask questions, and to be able to listen to some of their stories.

Athlete that hates you the most and why: I don’t think any player really hates me, but I know the ushers are not fond of us banging on our sign chanting Lets Go Brewers out in right field. It’s loud as hell, and really gets the fans in the bleachers fired up to cheer our team!

Misc Info: One night, I had the pleasure of listening to Trevor Hoffman tell stories about his career, including why his entrance music is “Hells Bells” by ACDC.

Mark DiFelice can sing karaoke very well. I witnessed this firsthand. And he signed a ball for us.

Any other crazy stories or things that have happened during graphing: During Spring Training in AZ during 2009, we made up Corey “The Condor” Hart T-shirts. I’m pretty sure the whole team knew who we were by the end of our week vacation, and Vinny Rottino asked for a shirt, and we traded a shirt for autographs. Corey always waves at us and signs whatever we got, even though we have now run out of stuff to get signed.

Second great story, last year down at Wrigley before a Cubs/Brewers game, we were out trying to catch the Brewers as they got out of their cabs. Not only did a bunch of them sign, but Jeff Suppan stayed out by us, chatting and joking for almost 20 minutes! He signed my current team piece, a picture of Miller Park on canvas, along with David “Stormy” Weathers and a bunch of other guys. Suppan definitely is one of the best guys to talk to while graphing!

Motto: The 3 P’s. Politeness, and persistence lead to payoff!


Friday, March 5
March 5th, 2010

Whew...I'm glad to have that first game out of the way.  I've pitched in tons of pressure games before but this one had a little more meaning to me.  It seems like I have been asked a million questions about my arm since January and I would always say that I would know more when the first games start.  You can never really tell until you get out in a game situation where the hitter doesn't want to look bad and has a little on the line.  Granted this was the first game of spring training but deep down nobody wants to give up a HR or whiff on three pitches.  Usually in the spring in the past I have pitched the third or fourth game of the spring.  This year I stayed on the pitch, day off, pitch program since day one of the spring.  It's been a big test on my arm pitching all out for this ammount of time and to me my arm has responded better than I thought it would.  I have been getting sore in all the normal spots and even had some shoulder blade soreness this past week for the first time in years.  One teammate told me that after his TJ surgery it took him two years to feel the normal soreness and it was good for me and meant that my arm was getting extended.  Anyways, last night was a lot of fun.  I guess it wasn't too much fun sitting around all day waiting to get on the mound because I was pretty anxious.  We arrived at the field around 4:30 and got ready for BP.  The weather down here just isn't cooperating...it's been this way since November.  The temperature was around 49 degrees with a 10mph wind blowing out to right.  Batting practice wasn't too much fun trying to catch balls that would start out in center and end up in right.  Anyways the game started and most of the guys in the pen got a little cold and decided to move from the CVS bullpen tower we were in down to the ground and did anything we could to stay warm...sprints, squat jumps and stretching.  As I was warming up it was fun to get that adrenaline rushing in and then to hear my name called in to the game gave me a big rush.  As I was running in I noticed I was going to face Marco Scutaro, Jermey Hermida and Josh Reddick.  This was probably the best group of guys I have ever faced in a spring training game so I knew this would be a great test to see where I was at.  Usually in the spring most reliever's come in around the 6th inning and by that time the teams usually put in all the backups.  The backups are a pain to face by the way because they are the ones fighting to make the club while the Vets are just trying to track the ball coming in from the pitcher's hand.  I must add that I played a lot of fantasy baseball last year being out and I knew that Scutaro had a career year since he was on my team. Things felt great out there, after my initial pitch to Scutaro I felt that zone that you hear pitchers talk about.  For my second & third AB's I faced two lefties, during my batting practice sessions a couple weeks ago I talked a lot with Erik Lis and he gave me some great feedback about keeping the fastball low and how my slider was tough. For both of the ab's I threw a couple good fastballs, some nice sliders and even broke out a changeup that was taken for a strike.  As I walked off the mound I felt like a small 50lb weight was off my back.  I realize I have a long ways to go still but it was nice facing top of the game talent and doing well.  



Tuesday, March 2
March 2nd, 2010

Spring training keeps chugging along...I can't believe we are already into March and games start in 2 days.  Since we started last week we have pitched every other day at a really good pace.  It's always a tough part of the year because you will get sore and a little bit less rest but this is where you really get into that groove that prepares you to throw everyday.  My arm has responded better than I thought it would.  If you would have told me the workload a month ago I might have been a little uneasy about it.  But like I said my arm has responded really well.  As of today I'm scheduled to jump right into our first game on Thursday vs. the Red Sox.  I have to admit I have a lot of emotions going on right now because it's the first game and my first outing in a game setting since I got hurt.  You never know what you are going to get on the mound so it's really hard for me to pinpoint how I will do.  I've done great with bullpen sessions and batting practice & have received great comments from the coaches and players.  Either way I will be out there competing and giving it my best and it sure beats sitting on my butt and doing nothing.  It's going to be really fun to see how my slider moves and if I can get any K's...I'm going to focus on hitting my spots and keeping the ball low.  In the past I never liked pitching in the first game because, well...it's a spring training game and there is too much emphasis on that 1 game.  It's amazing the coverage of that first game...then that game goes by and you might find a story or two on each game that comes after. 

Yesterday we had photo and media day.  Basically it's a day when all the baseball card photos are shot and you do all the shots for the scoreboard for the regular season.  I also did an interview for Athletes Quarterly and was filmed by the legendary baseball photographer Tom DiPace.  The interview centered around sports names and websites.  It was a pretty cool photo shoot and I got to hear some great stories from Tom who has many huge photos to his credits including the Griffey UD RC and basically anything else that was on Beckett or Topps & Upper Deck cards.  Check out his website here, http://www.dipacefotos.com/



Friday, February 26
Topps Million Card Giveaway

I got a box of 2010 Topps series 1 today not expecting much because well, these cards don't really have much value.  Basically I just wanted to check them out and try to pull one of my cards.  To my surprise Topps added a really cool promotion that might get me to go out and buy a couple more blaster boxes.  The newest innovation from Topps is called the Topps Million Card Giveaway.  Basically Topps put 1,000,000 of their cards from throughout their history starting from year 1952.  Every card that they produced for that year's Topps set can be had if you find the right redemption card, oh a Mantle rookie sounds so good.  Now for me I was quite curious to check this out and see how it worked.  Basically you buy a blaster box or hobby box or a pack of cards and you have the shot at getting a redemption card.  In hobby boxes there are 6 per boxs (seeded at 1 in 6 packs).  In blaster boxes for $9.99 at Target or Wal-Mart there are 2 per box.  Basically if you buy a blaster you will get 2 redemption cards where you go online at www.toppsmillion.com and enter your code after you register.  From there the card image will be revealed with name and year and most of the time it will be a let down but there's always the shot of getting something crazy.  From there the cards are placed in a virtual card collection where you can trade for cards you want from other collectors or ask Topps to send you the card(s).  I put in a bunch of trades for my own "Pat Neshek" cards, we'll see how many people are trading.  If anyone has any codes they don't want be sure to let me know.  If anyone wants to trade here's what I pulled.  1955 Willie Miranda - 1974 Larry Stahl - 1978 Francisco Barrios - 1979 Manny Mota - 1980 Bombo Rivera -   1980 Phillies Rookies.

 



Thursday, February 25
Spring Training Fan Mail w/Pics

I just wrapped up all the fan mail a little bit ago.  The total came out to 231 letters of all shapes & sizes.   Some of the mail had Metrodome addresses and was from last season that the Twins brought down.  Other mail was from the past month and sent to the right address.  I'm pretty easy with fan mail, if you need anything signed send a return stamped envelope and I will sign what you send, the address is right above this entry and is current.  Here are the highlights & oddities & I included pics so nobody can call BS on me. Click on the links to see the letters

- Out of all the letters 2 did not include SASE's, you have to remember those if you want the cards back.

- Most were straight to the point and included cards & a few 8x10's, didn't get 1 baseball/hat or jersey to sign. 

- 7 people sent me signed cards of other athletes for my collections, thank you very much, here's who I got

Aaron Harang, Ricky Bones, Wilson Alvarez, Deryk Booker, Dennis Boyd,  Mark Cohoon, Marian Gaborik, Greg Bullock, George Kell, Ramon Hernandez, Dave Gagner & Eddie Perez.

- Got a letter with a Dick Pole baseball card in it asking me to sign his card because his name was funny...had to pass, there's no way I'm signing another guy's card.

- One guy sent me a letter and made a huge deal about how he included an unsigned William VanLandingham 1994 Flair card for me to keep...Thanks, I just don't share in the excitement I guess:)

- Got a letter from a student at MIT saying if I signed a card for him he would try really hard to get my name on the moon one day since he works in lunar landing designs...I def signed that card.

- 1 USPS note saying I owed them .24cents or else my letter was being returned...hopefully it got returned ok

An awesome letter from Taiwan & even better one from my fan in Japan...I love getting Japan letters because the translation makes me laugh.

- Might want to straight up avoid this guy...he isn't referring to Bernie Madoff either

 

- I opened up back to back letters and just shook my head...I don't think he knows I sign whatever he puts in 1 envelope...could've saved 2 stamps

 

- Also got some artwork.

Photobucket


Tuesday, February 23
February 23rd, 2010

Day two of camp has already passed, it really doesn't surprise me after this past year at how quickly time goes by.  Not really much to report on, it's your basic spring training.  The daily plan is usually the same until games start.  We usually come out for stretch around 9am and do that and play catch for 30 minutes.  After that we break into three stations and work on signs, ground balls and throw bullpen sessions.  Right now we have half the pitchers in camp throwing pens on one day and the rest will throw the next day.  My first pen went well and I was pretty happy to hear Rick Anderson say that my stuff looked good.  With this injury it's really hard to tell where you are at because most of the time it feels good but you can't tell certain things like velo and how well the ball is moving.  I still have a lot of hurdles to get over in the next couple weeks.  Games are coming up quickly and I need to keep bouncing back from bullpen sessions like I have been...so far so good. 

There are tons of fans this year so be prepared if you are coming down here.  The best time to get autographs is after practice anytime (Walking to gym, back) and I will stop pretty much everytime if asked.  I hate turning people down when we are walking out to the field before we start but I need to get out there and stretch.

It's pretty funny to see this but I remember a couple years back when I was coming up (2004) and got a lot of crap for blogging from pretty much everyone.  Back then it seemed that only a handful of guys on the team had computers and they mostly had them from college.  I loved having access to all the stats and to look up whatever I wanted with my all access sprint card.  I couldn't imagine life without it and how my teammates survived the boredom of minor league ball.  That year though I would get the computer geek comments and things like that from the other guys.  Fast forward now to 2007 and it seems like the entire team has a laptop and was online.   I always thought it was funny seeing teammates coming up to me for help when they crashed their computer or had a problem with their ipod.   I had quotes back then saying that this wasn't going away and will only get more and more in depth (2005).  This year it seems that every media person has a blog or is tweeting or has basically made their coverage you could say "fan friendly".  It's pretty cool to see this happen in such a short time.  I envision the future of sports reporting going more and more all access, videos, sights, sounds.  But the biggest thing I think will center around the athelete themselves and the access they can give...interactive interviews with fans, photos & thoughts.  I think this has yet to really be explored and marketed by agents as well as big companies.  I think this is still a couple years away but it will be cool to see how this evolves into a major source of revenue for whoever has the coolest way to make this happen.  As for me I will go with the flow, I have no big plans although the thought of adding video might happen sometime down the raod.  



Sunday, February 21
February 21st, 2010
Today is known as reporting day.  Basically it's when the guys on the team show up...get their uniform together and unpack everything in their locker and get that situated.  Most of the guys show up and head out when they get done with their lockers.  Today I played catch with Joe Nathan and got a light workout in at the weight room.  When we were leaving the field from playing catch there were a ton of fans waiting outside for autographs.  One lady asked where the rest of the team was...I had to give her the bad news that nobody really comes outside today, I told her she might want to try again tomorrow when we actually have practice.  I have a feeling there will be record crowds this year.  Just on the minor league side for the past week there have been tons of people and I can only imagine how many people are going to be here when we start practicing.  Tomorrow I will be getting to the field early so I can get all my shoulder exercises out of the way.  I think I'll be showing up to the field around 7:15am, I'll let you know how it goes.  Usually we have bullpen sessions tomorrow. 

Tuesday, February 16
February 16th, 2010
I just got back from the field a little bit ago and thought I would do a quick update on my throwing session today.  Today was another one day rest between throwing hard sessions and I was still just a little sore in my shoulder.  As I played catch my arm loosened up a lot and then I got off the mound to get a bullpen going before I faced hitters.  I don't know what happened but everything clicked today.  I tried to really concentrate on hitting my spots and keeping the ball low.  My last outing I did really good but lefty Erik Lis mentioned that when my fastball was left up it was flat meaning it didn't have any movement...not to mention he crushed it off the wall.  I didn't want to see anymore hard hit balls so I decided to listen to his feedback and keep the ball low.  Sure enough my fastball was on...I don't know what changed in the last week but my ball had life and it was low.  A couple hitters didn't even swing and the ball was in the strike zone.  This is the feeling I wanted to have instead of the guys making contact...I needed to know that it was tough to hit.  Facing RH batters I threw my slider a ton and that pitch was biting a ton more than last week...let's just say I was having fun on the mound.  When I got done I asked catcher Korey Feiner to give me the scoop...he said my stuff was lights out, tons of movement...hitting spots...slider was sharp and fastball was 88-90...& no I didn't pay him to say this:)  So with that I'm feeling really good and it's great to know that I keep getting better.  I was really happy at how quickly my arm is bouncing back.  During the first week of spring training we usually hammer it home to go bullpen session day 1, off, bullpen, off, bullpen.  It's a ton of work and I wanted to make sure I had it and I didn't have to be babied...or the guy they are going to have to take it easy with.  Eventually towards the end of spring we will all be asked to go back to back days.  Right now I'm going to play easy catch tomorrow and Thursday and then face hitters for the last time before spring training starts.  Man, I can't tell you how great it feels to throw a pitch and see the hitter miss once again!

Sunday, February 14
February 14th, 2010

It's hard to believe that spring training starts in one week.  It's also hard to believe that I have been in Ft. Myers for 1 full year.  I've been in the same routine now for this entire time and it's great to take the next big step and rejoin the team as a guy that can help the team.  This past week I've thrown a lot off the mound.  On Tuesday I faced hitters for the first time and things went great.  One of the hitters I faced back in November, and I faced him again this time said that I had a lot more zip on the ball this time around.  I was happy with the outing but still wanted to see how my arm felt the next day and how I felt my next outing out.  On Friday I faced hitters again.  It took me a couple days to get over the soreness...normal soreness I should say from pitching a couple innings worth of hitters.  This time around I wanted to work on different arm angles and see where I felt better.  My velocity felt good but I felt like it still wasnt' where I was at during my peak.  On the other hand my slider was a ton better and got some remarks from the hitters.  I asked both guys what they thought my velo was and they said I was sitting most likely around 88-89 on my fastball.  Like I said in previous post with this injury you slowly get your velo back by doing more and more mound work and feeling comfortable with mechanics.  I was really happy because in November my fastball high speeds were 85 & 86.  The hitters also said that my fastball was pretty straight when I left it up in the zone (duh) but when it was down it was very hard to see and was a great pitch for me.  After hearing this I knew I had to concentrate now on hitting my spots and keeping the ball low.  Lately my mechanics have felt really good on the mound and just doing moundwork every other day is making me feel more and more comfortable out there.  So for the past week I have been going mound, toss, toss making sure I gave myself enough time to recover.  This week I wanted to focus on going mound, toss, mound since this is what we will be doing in spring training during the first week.  Yesterday I was the least sore I have been after doing a bullpen this year so today when I got off the mound everything felt great.  This week I'm going to face hitters again on Tuesday giving me 1 day of rest tomorrow.  After that I'm going to take 2 days from the mound and throw again on Friday.  After that it will be the start of spring training.  By doing all this I will be prepared for all the throwing that is to come and know that I will be fine with the workload.

So far down here there hasn't been too many guys that have shown up. Last week Mauer and Hardy were here but they both took a week off and flew back to MN.  Today I noticed Crain & Guerrier and a couple days ago Swarzak & Harris.  I'm guessing the bulk of the guys will be here this week, I can't wait to get going.  

 



Thursday, February 11
Bad Letter Of The Month
For some reason I feel like he's lying about me being his favorite player!

badletterkjksjsksjss
Is that all you want?

Friday, February 5
Daily Arm Update

Daily Arm Update: I had a great bullpen session today, mechanics are starting to come together finally...it's tough to replicate the motion...don't laugh! Velo was up, no gun but rehab master & catcher Lanning Tucker told me it was coming in fast and heavy. My confidence is going up:)



Thursday, February 4
Joe Mauer Just Told Me He Signed !!!

Just kidding, I'm just messing around, I haven't talked to Mauer at all...I needed to get some more hits and I figured Google's algorithm would put me on the top search!

I've made some huge strides in the last couple days with my mechanics and I have another bullpen tomorrow.  I'm probably the most excited for this one because I think I figured out what I wasn't doing and that I might have some mojo back...I'll tell you one thing though, it's been very hard to figure out how I threw that way...I think I have it down though.  I'll let you know how the bullpen session goes.  



Tuesday, February 2
February 2nd, 2010

I got back from Twinsfest late Sunday night and went right to bed...got in at 11:50 pm.  Yesterday I played catch and got back into the swing of things working out.  Today I threw another bullpen session and it went well but something mechanically still feels off.  I think today I was rushing my windup and when I do that things can get out of whack pretty easily.  My next bullpen is on Friday and I can't wait.  Right now at the field they are having Red Sox and Orioles fantasy camp.  I didn't recognize anyone but heard Rico Petrocelli and Steve Finley were in town, later in the week Jim Palmer is suppose to show up.  

Twinsfest Sunday went just as good as the previous couple days.  I signed with Jeff Manship and we signed non-stop for an hour then nobody came through the lines.  I picked up some sweet heavy metal cds, a Death Row Rap shirt and some more signed cards from fans.  After I got done signing I walked around the dealer tables and came across a sweet Burleigh Grimes signed baseball and added it to my collection, a nice way to end the weekend.

I thought I would include this pic of my interview on XM...I didn't know they updated it for every guest...pretty cool stuff. 



xmradio
On The Air - XM 175

Saturday, January 30
January 30th, 2010
It's been a pretty busy couple of weeks for me.  Last week I went on the Twins caravan bus tour, this week I flew back to do Twinsfest and during the rest of the time I'm busy getting ready for the season.  Of course the question from everybody was about my arm...sure beats answering how I throw the way I do:) 

Last week was Twins caravan and I went on tour with Joe Vavra, Ron Gardenhire and Matt Tolbert...plus TC Bear.  This year was probably my favorite of the 3 caravans I have been on.  The weather wasn't bad cold wise...we did get an ice storm that cancelled a couple stops.  Highlights of the tour...our bus driver drove most of the participants in the MN Vikings boat scandal and had some funny stories.  The bus we drove was one of those party buses that had lights that lit up to the music, big screen TVs and everything else you could think of in a party bus...I did get some pretty incriminating pics of TC Bear haha.  The stops this year were fun, we went to some great schools, great nursing homes and had some great nighttime stops.  The least favorite stops on tour are usually the radio stations because most of the time there aren't too many fans and they make you read these things called liners...stuff like "Hey it's Pat Neshek of the Minnesota Twins and you are right at home at WAAA".  One of the stops the radio guy thought he was funny and made me say Mower County about 20 times...I was pretty sure I was saying it right but he disagreed.  In the end it was a great trip, got to see my friends at Wincraft in Winona again, picked up a nice signed Robin Yount ball from a guy in New Ulm and picked up some sweet autographs from fans in Winona including a Steve Liddle and Wayne Haddaway signed minor league card.  

Once caravan got over I flew back to Florida for the week to keep working out and threw another bullpen.  When I got back my dog Kirby must have thought I was gone a month because he went nuts when I came through the door.  My bullpen session went great.  I thought I was doing excellent the week before but that week of rest during caravan really helped my arm.  Throwing long toss I felt myself again...not to say I didn't feel like this before but man I really felt like the ball was doing things I wanted it to do.  Sure enough I threw my bullpen and it was my best one yet.  I was still doing something weird with my mechanics (not that my mechanics are great in the first place) like opening up my shoulder too quickly or popping up to quickly...I really can't wait for Rick Anderson to get down here so he can check it out.  I think in the meantime though it will iron itself out...a lot of pitching is doing things over and over again and that is where you will start seeing things do what you want.  All in all though last week was a pretty good one confidence wise knowing I can build off of this and I'm pretty close to game ready.

This week is Twinsfest...the Twins invite nearly everyone in the org...probably over 60 players to come sign autographs.  The players do not get paid but do get a hotel room and coach plane ticket to get up here and back.  Last night I got a ton of cool things from fans.  A Telsa (The band) signed photo, a sweet homemade patch card of myself that looks better than something Topps can produce and also picked up a Johnny Bench Rookie card in a trade on my message board.  Yesterday I signed for about 1.5 hours and it went by really quick.  At night I got a firsthand tour of Target Field from Twins Director of Public Affairs man Kevin Smith.  The place is pretty incredible; they didn't skimp in details on that place.  Today I sign later in the day and have to go in around 1pm for the yearly team physical...all the other guys go as well.  Give me a shout if you head out to Twinsfest.



Tuesday, January 5
January 5th, 2010

I don't know what's going on but for the past week in FL it has been 30 degrees everynight...you're right though, that's nothing compared to up north.  I just find it unusual for South Florida.  Things are going great for me, I took a week off for the holidays and I'm at the point where I don't even think about my arm being hurt anymore.  For me the one big thing that is missing is facing hitters and getting that competitive fire inside...I can't wait because sitting here thinking about baseball and mentally wearing myself out got old about 14 months ago.

So far there are only a handful of guys working out down here.  There have been a couple guys from other teams here as well...5 total guys so far, pretty boring.  Next week I'm going to start throwing light bullpen sessions.

We put in a good charge but John Gordon just missed out being added to the HOF ballot for announcers.  I didn't see the final vote total but the 3rd place finisher Joe Nuxhall got 1,100 votes...I know we were close.  Hopefully tomorrow Bert will be added to the Hall, if not this year then next year for sure.  

Thanks to everyone who is following me on Twitter, I thought having a website, message board, myspace & facebook were enough but I was wrong...Since myspace isn't cool anymore I'm going with Twitter.

Once again be sure to get on the message board right above this and chat about anything baseball and collecting.



Tuesday, December 29
December 29th, 2009

I just got back from the Colorado College - Cornell hockey game.  It was cool having ranked teams come to Ft. Myers and play a couple games...we don't get much hockey down here.  Colorado College was really good and controlled the entire game.  When I got home I was surprised to realize that tons of guys on the CC team were from Minnesota.  I really liked the play of Nate Prosser from Elk River, he nailed a bunch of guys and got in their faces after the play was over.  I can always remember the MN Gophers being the top college hockey team...what the heck happened...I can see that a CC team full of Minnesota guys might have something to do with it. 

 

Not much else is new, killing time down in Ft. M



Monday, December 28
Vote for John Gordon

The Baseball Hall of Fame is letting fans vote on the Ford C. Frick award this year to be a finalist on the ballot.     Please vote for JOHN GORDON by clicking here



Friday, December 25
December 25th, 2009

Merry Christmas to everyone.  This year we stayed down in Florida and it really doesn't feel like Christmas at all...but at least we don't have to worry about feet of snow coming our way.  This is about the last week of relaxing in the offseason for most guys...once January 1st hits it is go time for most baseball players.  This is about the time of the year when guys will start getting into their throwing programs and eventually start to throw bullpens.  It's amazing to think how quickly the offseason has went by already. 

I last threw a couple days ago and am taking a couple days off to relax and enjoy the holidays.  My arm is getting closer and closer to feeling like I never had the surgery.   I can't wait for spring training to come along so I can get some of that adrenaline flowing...I think that's when I will really find out where I am at.  It's been nearly 2 years and I can't wait to get back on the mound and strike some guys out.



Sunday, November 29
Top 20

I decided to bring this back after a long time off.  This is a very rough list of stuff I've listened to in the past month.  For the most part these albums have all been released in the past month or so.  Of course this list is a lot of Metalcore and hard rock.  I'm not a big death/dark metal fan but if it has a catchy riff or sound to it I'm sure I'll be into it.  Be warned there's a lot of screaming and it's a strange genre that's not for everyone.  Here's the first installment, I'm hoping to make this at least a bi monthly deal.

 Top 20 - November 29th, 2009

20. Devildriver - Bitter Pill
19. Earth Crisis - So Others Live
18. Between The Buried & Me - Desert Of Song
17. Nile - Kafir
16. Scar Symmetry - Ascension Chamber
15. Texas Hippie Coalition - Pissed Off & Mad About It
14. Poison The Well - Are You Anywhere?
13. Converge - Damages
12. Scar Symmetry - Radient Strain
11. CKY - A#1 Roller Rager
10. Earth Crisis - So Others Live
9. The Red Chord - Hour Of Rats
8. Isis - Hall Of The Dead
7. Despised Icon - MVP
6. Skindred - Stand For Something
5. Gwen Stacy - A Dialogue
4. We Came As Romans - Roads That Don't End
3. Dredg - Pariah
2. Pelican - The Creeper
1. Texas Hippie Coalition - Leavin



Tuesday, November 24
November 24th, 2009

I threw my last bullpen session until January yesterday and it went really well.  Technically it was called a simulated game.  I took the mound and two minor league guys, Nick Freitas & Max Kepler (16 year old) stepped in to face me on the mound.  It was a rush just to be on the mound looking into the catcher's mitt with a hitter in the box.  I threw about 30 pitches and it went really well.  I was pretty happy with my slider as my velo went up a bunch since my last pen.  I also gained a mph on my fastball but I got a little ways to go still.  I think the rest this next month and a lot of long toss will really stretch me out & help me a ton in the velo department.  As of today I have 3 months until spring training starts up.  This next week I'm going to take a few days off and get back at it on Saturday.  My program now consist of doing the same shoulder exercises & stretches that I've done all year followerd weights and conditioning and throwing long toss every other day.

Today I got a phone call from the Twins about doing the Winter Caravan.  I was asked if I wanted to go out on the first leg of the caravan and I accepted.  I'm not sure where I am going or who's coming with but I thought I would let everyone know. 

I've been doing a lot of message board maintenance lately adding sections and I am getting ready to give stuff away on there.  If you are a sports fan or collector of anything it's a great community and I think you will be very happy you joined, there's a ton of info inside.  Today I added an upcoming autograph signings section by state on there.  If this stuff interest you, you have to check it out.  You can get there by clicking on the message board logo above or on the side tool bar that says message board.   Takes a minute to sign up and a day or two to get accepted and is free.



Sunday, November 22
Letter Of The Month

I got a pretty cool letter a couple weeks back.  It came from the 2008 Topps Ginter Code Champion.  He wanted me to sign up a card of me from 2009 Ginter.  He also included 2 of his cards signed and inscribed. Check it out below.

Photobucket



Friday, November 20
November 20th, 2009

For the past 2 months my schedule has been going like this, throw long toss, the next day is a bullpen followed by an off day of throwing.  I still come in and work out and do all my arm maintenance exercises.  This stuff gets really repetitive and I think this is why my year down here has went by pretty quickly in my mind if that makes sense...my days seem to run together.  Today I had a bullpen session...my second to last one until January.   It went ok, my velocity was down a little from where I want it to be but my slider's speed picked up a bunch and was starting to run a lot more.  At this phase of my rehab most guys are considered about 80% good.  If I had to guess right now I would say I'm a little past 80%.  I'm throwing max effort and working on all my pitches and location.  The next part of my rehab starts on Tuesday and will be a rest phase.  This is where a lot of guys say they get back their velocity and feel good.  Starting Tuesday for nearly the entire month of December I will be alternating throwing long toss with conditioning afterward by a day of not throwing with a ton of conditioning.   Lanning Tucker our rehab coordinator here thinks once I hit January is when I'm going to start feeling great, not that I don't feel good right now but I'd like to add a couple more MPH's

For one really messed up kid's baseball video click to watch

 

 

 

 



Tuesday, November 17
November 17th, 2009

I had another really good bullpen session today throwing all three pitching really well.  We had the radar gun out but for some reason it wouldn't work right.  The other radars were locked up in the equipment room and the man that had the key wasn't around.  The speed for me really doesn't mean much I just want to know where I am at...if I'm throwing 87 and thinking I'm throwing 93 or vice versa, throwing 93 when I feel like it's 87.  If I had to guess I'm in the 89-92 range right now but that's just a guess.  My slider today was still a little slower than I like and I think it will get faster with time and throwing it more...I've only been throwing it for 3 weeks right now.  At the field the past couple weeks there have been tons of teams from around the country playing in the Roy Hobbs World Series.  They have tons of different age groups, I think one is 29 and under, one is 39 and under, another is 49 and under and right now they have the 50 and over leagues going on.  It amazes me that guys can still throw really well, no offense to anyone but it's pretty cool to see...I noticed tons of sidearmers out there slinging it up.  The teams are from all over but over the past week I met people from 3 different teams in Minnesota...say hi if you are down here. 

 

For all you metal heads you are going to be happy.  I'm working on a new top 20.  Right now I'm in the gathering process and might have something out soon.  For me music has always helped me relax and escape and in some cases blow some steam off after a tough game.  Over the past couple years the music kind of got away from me a little bit and I feel this was one part of me that helped me get to the big leagues.  Maybe if I can find some awesome songs with riffs we can vote on my "walk in" song for next season.



Monday, November 16
November 16th, 2009

Another couple weeks have gone by and my arm is feeling great.  I threw another great bullpen session on Saturday.  I'm still ironing out my slider because it's such a feel pitch for me but I'm really surprised at how easy I picked it up after surgery.  I'm very curious to see the velocity on my fastball because I think it might be coming in pretty hard...I'm going to try and get a radar gun out for my bullpen session tomorrow.  It's hard to imagine but I have 1 week left of rehab and then I am done.  On Wednesday it will be 1 year since my surgery, hard to imagine how fast the time went by.  My last day is the 23rd and after that I plan on playing catch every other day until January hits and then approach it like any other season to get ready for spring training.  I will be staying in Florida the entire winter working out with MN TWINS strength coach Perry Castellano and I know he is going to work me. 

 

I've had some pretty good autograph successes lately.  My brother & I drove up to get NHL autographs in Tampa last week and did pretty good going for the Wild.  The highlight was getting Tony Esposito on a stick.  The week before that I met Gary Puckett from the Union Gap, he had hits in the 60's like Young Girl...very cool guy.  He signed 5 items for me and posed for a pic.  I also met Jewel and got two autographs from her.  I also had a couple failures...one involved Smokey Robinson...just didn't see the guy.  This past week I went for T-Pain and Juvenile & now I see why there are so few autographs of rappers out there, those guys are tough and I wonder if they ever sign that's all I'll say haha, it was a mess.  All in all it was a blast getting stuff signed again, during the season I am so focused on ball that I don't get the chance to do this type of stuff.

 



Monday, November 2
November 2nd, 2009

I've been messing around with the site and changed the look up a little.  Let me know if you want more changes...looks pretty good for me.  I would like to add a cool banner on top...not that the one up isn't cool but was thinking it would be fun to see who could submit a cool banner that actually matches...write to me on the message board.

I think for the most part I will be updating this site very often from now on.  There seriously wasn't much to talk about with the injury and it got old answering the same questions, I'll go into all the stuff down the road in updates.  For right now though I just wanted to mention a quick update that things are going really well on the mound.  I've been throwing fastballs and change-ups at full speed off the mound and my arm feels better than it did before I went down during the season in 08.  This week we start with sliders and I'm excited because that's my pitch!  Last year I was hesistant when we started messing with breaking balls but this year I'm ready to go because mentally I know I'm good.  The trainers down here say if I didn't do anything the rest of the year I would be good to go for spring training.  It excites me because I'm at month 11 on the rehab and most guys say it takes to months 12-14 to feel 100%.  I'll keep you updated...

Got lots of autograph stories and other stuff, be sure to start checking in on the site often.



Friday, August 28
Update
Just wanted to post a quick update.  Everything is still going great and on track.  About a month from now I will begin bullpen mound work with an eye at being 100% game ready in November.  The first rounder from this year showed up here the other day and the GCL and Miracle seasons are wrapping up down here.  It's pretty cool meeting all the younger guys and seeing the future Twins hard at work.

Thursday, July 23
2009 Allen & Ginter Review

I couldn’t let this product go by without a review.  I just got done opening up 2 boxes of Topps’s latest installment of 2009 Allen & Ginter Baseball.  Once again this is the product I recommend to all people ready to get back into baseball cards.  They represent a little of the old, the new and the crazy part of collecting baseball cards.  These cards unlike a lot of other brands offer real value for the most part and are a lot of fun to open, trust me I’ve opened a lot of cards. 

For people not aware of the Allen & Ginter brand I’m going to quickly explain what it is about this product that makes it special.  These aren’t your usual baseball card.  After opening the first pack you might find yourself going “what or who the heck is on this card!).  You see 2009 Allen & Ginter not only uses the top baseball players in its product, they use champions from all sports and history.  My first pack I open had a card of the Milky Way staring back at me, then I got a card of the 2001 Scrabble champion followed by a Pujols card and a mini card of a Yeti…seriously it’s not your usual pack of cards.  The only problem with this brand is finding these cards in stores…they usually sell out pretty quickly in most big cities at Target & Wal-Mart stores although last year’s Ginter could be found with some effort.  I mentioned last year with the 2007 Ginter brand that people could buy the box and hold them for a year and sell the unopened box for a premium, not sure if that was the same for the 08 Ginter but the 09 product looks to be the same way, it’s very tough to find down here in Ft. Myers. 

For me this brand represents a little of everything.  It’s great for set builders.  There are tons of different sets inside this brand.  The mini cards have tons of variations such as the black bordered cards, Ginter ad backs, bazooka backs, no numbered backs and the regular minis.  The regular set also offers challenges with 50 cards being short printed.  I’ve put together a set from each Ginter year and am already close to checking off this one as well.  These cards are also great for autograph seekers.  They offer a non-gloss finish and the white background makes an autograph stand out.  Also this set offers a lot of collectors the challenge of getting every card autographed either in-person or ttm.  You might say how would you get the Milky Way signed or even the Yeti…well you have to be creative.  In one Ginter set the card Pluto was included and people went after the guy who denounced Pluto as a planet…you make the rules on who signs your Ginter card.  Another reason I love this product is that it’s a fun time.  As I mentioned above I’ve open tons of packs, some are fun, others you feel like you are doing a chore because you know nothing inside is worthwhile to open.  Allen & Ginter is different.  You could open up a Rip Card, a red autograph, a bazooka back, a printing plate, an autograph, a relic or even Napoleon Bonaparte’s hair…no I’m serious there is a piece of his hair in a pack of these.   The last reason this product is great and it’s a personal one, there are cards of me loaded inside for me to sign for collectors all over the country.  This year I’m in the set and have a ton of cards.  I even have a Rip Card…How do I know, well because in the box I just opened I got my rip card in it, what are the odds of that?  So what can make this product better?  Well, the last two years A&G has run a promotion called “Crack the code” in which they make code cards and anyone has a chance to crack the code.  I just found out that Topps used my card as the answer.  Check it out here http://2009gintercodeunraveled.blogspot.com/

Ginter is the brand I always buy each year because it’s the most fun box of cards to open (& no I don’t get any kick backs from Topps, I wish I did!).  Here’s how I did with my two boxes of cards.

2009 – 2 boxes of Topps Allen & Ginter results

Hits

Pat Neshek Rip Card (No way I’m ripping this thing) – My all time best hit, I’ve opened up a lot more expensive cards but this was the coolest card I have ever opened.  Considering there is one rip card in every 12 boxes and many subjects have rip cards… to open this card of myself is statistically crazy.

Chris Carpenter Silk Cloth card #’d to 10 (Another tough pull)

CC Sabathia GU Jersey, Nate Mclouth Jersey, Melvin Mora GU Bat & Ryan Ludwick jersey cards

Brian Cappelleto Game Used Shirt worn during the 2001 Scrabble Championship

Cuba & Constitution Cabinet cards as my box toppers

Analysis – Considering you are suppose to get 2 hits per box I did exceptionally well.  Not bad to get 7 hits in 2 boxes.  I still think getting my rip card was my all-time greatest hit.  The only thing better is if my Wood card is inside but I’ll never know since it’s staying unripped.  I liked the cards a lot.  I think the checklist of players works just as it has in the past.  I still liked last year’s state cards but the National pride cards are great as well.  Not much has changed since last year and this will once again be the top brand out.  As always if you find my printing plate or wood card we need to trade!

 



Sunday, July 19
July 19th, 2009

The pain in my elbow from the surgery has went away over the last month and it should...it's been 8 months right now.  I've known a lot of minor league guys that have came back in 9 months but the way we wrote up the rehab program I've been going a little slower and full recovery will be in 12 months.  It's pretty awesome to be able to stretch out my arm and bend it and not have any pressure or pain.  My elbow still acts up every once in awhile especially after I get done lifting my upper body or doing some of the rehab stuff such as resistence exercises.  I think the biggest thing I need to get over right now is trusting my arm once again.  I really like to baby it for stupid things like opening doors and reaching for things...I really still favor my left arm and I'm making it a priority to do everything with my right hand once again.  As always with my rehab I have my good days and bad ones...It still feels like I'm riding a wave with highs and lows but after each week I feel like I'm improving a ton from the week before so I know everything is going on track. 

I've still been collecting autographs and watching the games on TV.  I've added a couple really cool pieces to my collection.  I started getting into the online auctions such as RR Auction...you can search for it in yahoo.  In June I purchased an authentic original letter written by Napoleon Bonaparte talking about how he wants supplies and troops relocated...and it includes his signature written in French.  I also found an authentic Jimi Hendrix autograph from a guy in Sweden and added that to my collection as well.  It took me a lot of long hours doing quick opinions on PSA/DNA.com finding real stuff of Hendrix but I finally came through.  I've also been meaning to put this on here for a long time but never have.  I've been trying to track down Michael Lang the producer of Woodstock.  I bought a check that was written to Hendrix from Lang paying him for a concert...I sent it in to PSA/DNA and they said everything checked out but they needed Lang's final approval to say real/fake.  If anyone has any leads on how to get in touch with Lang or knows him please let me know how I can get in touch with him and I will reward nicely, message me on Facebook...my image is of my dog Kirby driving our car.

2009 Topps Allen & Ginter made some sweet new baseball cards of me.  If anyone gets anything of me and need it signed send it my way with a SASE and I will ink them up for you.  The address is above.

 

 

 



Sunday, June 21
June 21st, 2009

I don't like taking this much time off between updates but my days really haven't been anything to write about down here rehabbing.  To start things are going great.  I just passed the 7 month mark and my arm is really strong.  Right now I'm throwing from about 70 feet and even doing push ups.  I will be game ready in November...still a long ways to go but it's great to be getting stronger each week. 

About 3 weeks ago the team came into Tampa and I met up with them.  I got to sit in the dugout for a couple games and it was fun to see everyone.  Taking BP with the team made me feel like I was making my Major League debut again...the balls were jumping off the bat and coming at me fast, it's amazing how fast stuff moves up there when you haven't been around for a little bit.  The highlight for me was the Rays annoucer Rusty gave me a shout out in the first inning.  Rusty also works for the Minnesota Wild in the winter and IS a Ryan Seacrest body double.  Anybody who has been to a Rays game in the past 4 years can verify this.

I've been busy buying autographs, trading autographs and cleaning up my collection.  I'm working on acquiring a new personal favorite autograph at the moment so check back later to see what I got...might take awhile to get here.  I've also been doing a lot of in-person graphing here...we get done at our workouts around noon each day and gives me the perfect schedule to get some autographs.  I'm a big fan of music graphs so that is who I have been going after.  Last week I got Steely Dan (Donald Fagan & Walter Becker) on an album and was pumped because they are tough signers.  The week before I got a couple guys in Blue Oyster Cult as well as a guy named Rudy Sarzo who played in Quiet Riot & White Snake as well as with Ozzy.  The week before that I got Vanilla Ice & Lita Ford.  I also had some misses but it's because I didn't know the venue I was working with...The county race track and casino here are tough to get autographs and I missed getting Charlie Daniels and John Kay from Steppenwolf.  So this is some of the stuff that has been keeping me going down here...It's starting to get very hot as well.

It's been very fun watching the Twins play lately.  I think we are going to be in the thick of it this year for sure.  I still worry about the White Sox...we'll see how July plays out, that's always a big month right before the trading deadline.

Down here a lot of the new draft picks have been showing up.  It's fun to watch a guy show up for the first time with the deer in the headlights look.  After a couple days they seem to get use to the way things are done and settle in.  I think it's been really cool to meet a lot of the younger guys & hopefully play with them some day in the big leagues.  



Sunday, May 17
May 17th, 2009
I just thought I would give a little update.  On my facebook page I've been getting a lot of inquiries about when I'm coming back...Well, for those of you that don't know I will be out all year...well until November is when I will be 100%.  I know it sucks...I hate it and want to pitch really really bad but there's nothing I can do but take things slow and rehab and get back.  As I mentioned above I do have a facebook page and accept everyone who wants to be my friend.  Currently my picture is my dog Kirby driving our car...get on there and send me a friend request.  I haven't updated this site in awhile...mostly I've been fixing stuff in our yard down here and trading stuff on my message board which is right above this entry in the black box.  There is some great discussion on there about autographs and anything you ever wanted to know about autographs!  Check it out if you are curious.  As far as autographs go I starting doing some in-person graphing down here.   Starting last night I went for The Geogia Satellites...really nice guys.  They signed 2/2 albums and thanked me, you can't beat that.  I've also picked up a sweet 1/1 UD Spectrum Cut Auto of Fats Domino of eBay.  I've been going after music autographs like crazy lately.  Also I was just issued a new Bowman Baseball card.  Check it out on eBay by searching Neshek Bowman, please let me win some of the rarer cards when they come up on there...please!

Tuesday, May 5
Ahhh The Minor League Kid's Race - I Always Wondered If This Ever Happened
I've seen some close calls and other disasters coming up through the minors.  With the various half inning sideshows anything can happen.
 


Friday, May 1
Please Vote

Should We Change The Background Red Color
1) Should We Change The Background Red Color On This Site
   No - Never Change The Color
   Yes - It's got to go

Friday, May 1
Time Killer
I thought this was pretty cool and have been aware of this for awhile but I thought I would share.  Under thebaseballcube.com you can search any high school in the country and see what big leaguers came out of it...It also has every high school in the country ranked by big leaguers produced...some hs in Cali - Freemont high had the most big leaguers...check it out

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/hs/index.shtml

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/hs/top_mlb_teams.shtml


Tuesday, April 28
New T-Shirts For Sale

Be sure to check out the new t-shirts at www.sidearmstore.com

My entire share of the sales goes to charity



sidearmbeacks
Click Here

Tuesday, April 28
April 28th, 2009

I've been away for a couple weeks...actually I've had a couple friends come down to visit and there wasn't much internet time.  In the last couple weeks I've been to Busch Gardens, watched nearly every baseball game with the MLB Package and I'm in 2nd place in my fantasy baseball league. I haven't had any ebay purchases but that might change soon.

Rehab is going great, I'm throwing without worry right now and slowly but surely moving up day by day.  The rehab is a little bit easier this year because Boof is down here and it's been a ton easier having another guy that is going through the same thing.  Right now I am still at 20 and 30 ft. for my throwing program but right now I am throwing 60 pitches every other day. 



Monday, April 13
R.I.P. Harry Kalas
One of my favorite voices in the game & a heck of a guy & signer.  2009 has been a tough year for a lot of people, R.I.P. Phillies announcer & HOFer Harry Kalas

harrykalasfkjsk
He signed this for me in 2006

Friday, April 10
Collector's Corner
A couple weeks have went by and I've once again been busy scouring the depths of eBay for some deals.  The week started off with a purchase of a Rick Stelmaszek wire photo from his playing days.  I thought it was pretty unique in that it was a photo of him laying on the ground after getting whacked by a baseball in the throat.  On the back it had the newspaper caption and the edited caption that appeared in the NY paper.  I had him sign the photo up and offered it to him but he said he had the paper from back in the day.  The photo caused a ruckus in the clubhouse with people laughing at him and making jokes about what happened.  It was pretty cool hearing what really happened and what his teammates were like.  My next purchase was a cut auto from an index card of Oral Hindebrand...you're probably going who the heck is that.  Well he played a bunch of years in the early 1900's in the big leagues including playing for the Yanks but to me he's better known as being a former Butler Bulldog baseball player.  I thought it was pretty rare to see his autograph up for bids so I placed a bid and won it.  Up next I went back to the Mystery cut autographs from Legendary cuts.  To my surprise there was a John Lennon & in a different auction a Jimi Hendrix cut auto from Legendary cuts.  Knowing they would probably go for a ton I thought I would watch them.  Well with 30 mins left on the Lennon I started thinking and told myself I was going to make a run at the card.  It was at $1700 with 8 mins left and I had to ask Stephanee if it was fine if I went after this card.  She agreed and with 12 seconds left I put a high bid of $2150 in.  For 6 seconds I was the high bidder and then I got outbid...then that person got outbid with 1 second left.  The card closed for $2650.  Later on the Hendrix went for $2700 something but I stood on the sidelines and watched it close.  After those 2 cards I vowed to take it easy and set my sights on cards with a lower price range.  I ended up winning a pretty sweet 1/1 from Legendary cuts of musician Carl Perkins for $75 and a 1/1 legendary cuts cut auto of John Denver for $250.  Those were my purchases of last week.  I also picked up my printing plate from Allen & Ginter last week from a nice seller in Irvine, CA.  At the moment I am only missing 1 plate from finishing that set.  For this week I am not sure what I will be going after.  I've been eyeing actual graded baseball cards & football cards.  I've been looking at Roger Maris rc's & Jim Brown football rookie cards, not sure if I want to bid on anything but I'll keep you updated. 

Thursday, April 9
April 9th, 2009
Right before the big club broke camp I got a pretty neat autograph.  It's radio announcer John Gordon with his famous call "touch em all Kirby Puckett" inscribe.  This is one of my new favorite autographs. 

johngordownpuckets

Tuesday, April 7
April 7th, 2009

I've been reading a lot of stories about how much people hate the Metrodome lately that I thought I would chime in and let everyone know that I am a big time fan of the dome and don't want to see it go.  Contrary to newspaper articles that have quotes from players bashing the place I just thought it would be fair to let people know the general consensus amongst the players and what they think about the dome.  Let’s start with the cons from the player's point of view.  The clubhouse is awful and outdated.  It's very small in terms of space and the amenities.  It really needs to have more rooms such as a bigger video room, a weight room & training room.  Basically those complaints are the biggest concerns.  Yes some guys hate playing indoors or don't like the turf.  Others don't like the white roof and how hard it is to catch the ball in the outfield.  I'm sure there are other complaints but these are the most common ones I have heard.  Now for the pros, there are many.  Baseball players HATE playing outdoors from April til Mid May unless they are in warm weather.  Being in Minnesota everyone knows you can still have snow on the ground in May...let's just say nobody is looking forward to playing outdoors next April.  The Metrodome also provides the comfort of knowing that every game is going to be played whether it is snow or rain, cold or hot.  From a player's point of view knowing the game is on time is huge.  The biggest thing for me and why I like the dome is the home field advantage.  Opposing teams are scared to play at the Metrodome if we have a team in contention.  They know the place will be the loudest place in MLB and are not use to the turf and how the field plays.  I haven't looked up the exact stats but I'm pretty sure in my time at the dome we have kicked butt basically because of how comfortable we are there and how scared opposing teams are.  Granted the place doesn't look the best from a fan's perspective but I think the loudness, the way we play there and the uniqueness of the dome makes up for that.  Add in the 70 degree temp everyday of the year and I am sold.  I really don't understand the bashing of the dome.  I truly think after the nostalgia of the new stadium rubs off in a couple years that we are all going to wish the place was enclosed like the dome or we had the dome back.  Add in how cold it is going to be, not knowing if the game is going to be played due to rain or cold, the loss of the huge home field advantage and loudness of the dome, the smaller max crowd capacity and I think things will be just a little different in Minnesota.  It will be nice to play outdoors but sometimes it's a lot better playing in neutral conditions where the wind isn't blowing 20 mph some nights, the sun isn't torturing the players in the bullpen or it rains or snows so much that we have 10 doubleheaders throughout the year.  In my mind I'd rather have a place where the temperature is always 70 degrees with no wind any day of the year.  

 

 



Monday, April 6
April 6th, 2009 - Opening Day - All Games Free
I don't know if this is nationwide but if you are able to get the MLB extra innings package with whatever cable service you have they are airing every game for the first week for free.  Check it out, go to the high TV channels that say MLB on Demand and you should be able to watch any game that is being played, pretty sweet.  Just thought I would share that with everyone...back to watching the games for me. 

Sunday, April 5
April 5th, 2009

Well, the team is gone and I am going at it with my rehab.  Yesterday was a hectic day for just about everyone.  I think the clubbies had to be the busiest people on earth.  They had to make sure all the uniforms, baseballs & equipment made it on the plane as well as clean out the clubhouse and make sure everything is in order before they left.  I packed up my locker at the end of the day and had one of the ushers drive me over to the minor league side in a golf cart.  On my way back I chatted with a couple graphers and made my way back to the clubhouse.  As I walked into the clubhouse I noticed that everyone on the team was gone.  All that was left were the batboys digging through lockers and grabbing freebies that the guys left behind.  Just like that the entire team packed up and was on the plane.  I did get to say goodbye to most of the guys and wished them luck.  During the season I will probably make it up to the dome sometime to visit the doctor and make sure everything is going as planned.  I'm also going to visit the team when they come into Tampa in late May.   As I grabbed my last bag of stuff one of the batboys hit the jackpot...a brand new pair of custom Nike cleats...not sure if he was pumped so he could wear them or if he was going to put them up on eBay later in the day! 

Today I walked into the minor league clubhouse at 7:30am and was amazed at how many people could fit into one little building.  If we were talking about bugs this would be an infestation with how many people were getting treatment from the trainers or just hanging out wherever they could find space.  To understand how many people were in one space I had to TRIPLE up lockers with Scott Baker & RA Dickey for a couple days.  I just left my bag packed and will unpack it in a couple days when the minor leaguers are shipped out to their final destinations and all the locker spaces will open up.  The 3rd throwing sessions went great again but I'm still having trouple mentally with trusting my arm...I think things will get better the more I throw.



Friday, April 3
April 3rd, 2009

I had my second throwing session today and everything went fine.  I guess during my last session our trainer noticed I wasn't bending my arm when I threw the ball...this time (2nd time) I was bending the elbow.  Every pitcher bends the elbow when they throw so I felt like this was a big improvement.  Our trainer didn't want to say anything the first time about how straight my arm was and was happy I was able to throw freely again.  I think a lot of it has to do with the trust factor.  I'm having a heck of a time trusting myself to throw the ball freely and not worry about my arm falling off.  I think it's going to take a lot more throwing and days to go by before I lose that awkward feeling.

Tomorrow the guys leave Ft. Myers and head back to Minnesota.  It's going to be tough seeing the team leave Boof & I behind.  In December the trainers gave me the option of sticking back in MN and doing my rehab up there or coming down for the entire spring.  At first I didn't think it really mattered where I did my rehab but over the past couple months I'm very happy I came down for the entire spring.  I think not seeing the guys would drive me nuts and really remove me from the game.  Seeing everyone again and hanging out on the field and in the clubhouse really helped make me feel like I was still a Twin and gave me a lot of motivation to get back on the field.  There will be a little bit of emotion tomorrow saying goodbye to everyone for the year, I've said it a million times already...I can't wait to get on the mound!



Thursday, April 2
Catch Of The Day


Wednesday, April 1
April 1st, 2009

I was thinking about writing something on here April fool's style but the more I thought about it the more I thought to just skip it this year.  Today was the day I had circled on the calendar for a couple weeks now; it was my first day of playing catch since I tore my elbow back in November.  I wasn't nervous at all...I was basically at the point that if my arm gave out I was going to beat somebody up...I've never been hurt in my entire life and now I get to sit through the longest recovery injury in baseball...nervous was the last thing on my mind.  Being reminded of a couple things I talked about with other guys in the clubhouse that had Tommy John I was kind of anxious to see how my arm would hold up.  A couple guys told me that when they first threw the ball it immediately went to the ground...that kind of had me spooked.  The rest of the guys said they had no problems until the workload increased a little.  I'm basically expecting to be sore time and time again and to have a couple setbacks in the process.  My main goal is to still take things really slow and follow the plan.  So with that I walked out to the field today, stretched and starting my throwing program with bullpen catcher Nate Dammann.  Today the program called for 20 throws at 20 ft (stop laughing!), 10 at 30ft and 10 again at 20ft.  The distance felt extremely close and everything went as planned.  I had zero pain and if I wasn't telling myself to go easy I wouldn't have known anything was wrong.  Like I said before I'm taking this throwing VERY slow but I cannot tell you how bad I want to get on that mound already. 



Monday, March 30
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Tuesday, March 31
March Madness Update
I thought I would give a quick update on the neshek.com March Madness bracket challenge.  The winner of each bracket will get either an AROD signed baseball or a box of Allen & Ginter 2008 cards.  After being stranded in 479th place out of 481 people I had a couple of huge calls especially with Villanova and that helped me leap back into the top 200.  As it sits right now I am in 177th place.  Overall Team awesomeness is in first place by 10 big points.  He picked all 4 final four teams.  I like his odds of winning but points in the final four are worth a lot more and a miss there would be costly as there are about 20 teams within a 15 pts range.  In the sweet sixteen challenge I had a very rough week.  I let my dogs pick the teams by holding a treat in both hands and whatever hand they went to was their pick.  The left hand meant the higher seed and the right meant the lower seed.  Right now the dogs and I are sitting in 102nd place out of 200 brackets.  One person picked all 12 games correctly and goes by the name Hespen.  Anything can happen like I said before because the points are worth a lot more for these final games...a top 100 finish for me would be a huge accomplishment after seeing my results in the 1st and 2nd rounds.  Overall Hespen is tied for #1 in the Yahoo Nation of over 500,000 brackets.  In the other bracket Team awesomeness ranks in the top 500 in the nation of nearly 3 million brackets.

Monday, March 30
Mail Day
I did a couple more letters in the mail - Don't worry if you just sent me a letter down here in FL.  That is the correct address on this page and I will be down here for the next year so if you need anything signed be sure to send it down here with a SASE.  I got a pretty sweet box in the mail the other day.  As most of you know if you send me a signed card of anyone in the big leagues or NHL & a return SASE I will sign up one of my cards and throw it in the SASE back to you.  The other day I got a pretty cool bunch of cards from one of the best graphers in MN named Jeff.  He's been working on the 2008 Allen & Ginter set and finished off a bunch for me through the mail.  The picture below is what he sent me...Pretty sweet autographs from some pretty important people that hold many records and are a big part of sports history.  In no order the cards pictured are Mark Selby (Pool Champion), Todd Clever (Rugby), Kerri Strug (Gymnastics), The guy who tried to save Pluto as a planet, Bruce Jenner, Jeff Kind (Iditarod), Keith Van Dam (Bass Angler), Bob Motley (umpire), Andrew William Ocean Litz (Air Guitar Champ), Bigfoot the monster truck driver Bob Chandler, Joey Chestnut (hot dog eating champ), The Gateway Arch Architect, Nicky Hayden (Motorcycle), Les Miles (Football Champ), Frank Morris (Rubik's Cube Champ), & Bonnie Blair & Dan Jansen!

aginrerjkklssss

Sunday, March 29
Pretty Good Day At The Park
Today I showed up to the field just like any other day and then the rain came.  Most of the guys were expecting a short rain delay and then a cancellation because after all it was a spring training game.  For some strange reason, 1pm came and went, 2pm came and went and then we finally started the game at 3.  During the time in the clubhouse a lot of the guys got caught up with cleaning out their locker and getting stuff in order for the semi truck that will be heading to MN.  I played a 4 hour card game with a bunch of the guys and that really helped kill time.  I was doing fine with the game until Boof came over to me and said that he thought it was strange that Pujols made the long trip over from West Palm.  I did a double take because Pujols was one of the few remaining guys I need for my signed baseball collection.  I jumped up from my chair and ran over to our clubby (Jay) and asked him if he would be able to help me out.  He came through with a perfect autograph.  After getting the ball I was pretty pumped up and decided to do an M&M (Mauer and Morneau) Dual signed baseball.  For a day with the bad weather I thought it turned out pretty good. 

pujolsmauermoneaus
Pujols, M&M & Killebrew

Monday, March 30
Another Printing Plate Goes Up On eBay
Last night on eBay the Magenta printing plate from showed up on eBay.  I'm working on trying to get my third printing plate from the 2008 Allen & Ginter set.  I can't believe that 3 plates from this set have surfaced.  Last night I wrote to the seller asking him what I can do to get the plate and we are close to a deal.  I'll keep you updated. 

Saturday, March 28
March 28th, 2009
I thought I would give an update as to how my arm is doing.  Last I wrote we pushed back my throwing for a couple weeks.  Right now I am slowly approaching my first day of playing catch.  On Wednesday next week I will toss for the first time since hurting my arm.  I'm not nervous or even worried...more bored if there has to be an emotion to describe how I am feeling.  Today I was given my protocol for the next 6 months...pretty straight to the point and...well really boring.  The thing I learned from last year was to take the rehab process slow so I am going to follow this plan very closely.  I'll update everyone in a couple days as to how the throwing went and what exactly I did.  The last couple days I started doing shoulder manuals...basically I try to move my arm in front of me and the trainer resists my arm...doing this for the first time really made my arm tired.  If you ever talked to someone that has had TJ surgery you'll probably hear them say that they rehab the shoulder more than the elbow...very true, you really need to build up the muscles around the elbow to stabilize it and give the elbow support. 

Friday, March 27
March 27th, 2009
Things are starting to wrap up a little and you can really tell that spring training is coming to an end.  Today there were a couple more cuts in camp and we are starting to get down to the last remaining guys that are fighting for those last couple spots.  I know a bunch of people are wondering what goes down from now until we arrive in Minnesota.  In about two days the Twins will have a huge Semi that will sit in the player parking lot and anyone that needs stuff shipped to Minnesota will have it on the semi.  In years past it was not uncommon to see just about everything on the truck.  I've seen kid bikes, mattresses, tv's and one guy....cough Jason Tyner, had about 9 different huge travel bags for himself.  Basically a lot of the guys are moving their stuff from their spring training home up to Minnesota and this is the easiest way to get it there.  Once the truck arrives in Minnesota the clubbies unload all the stuff in the Vikings locker room at the Metrodome...The day when the players pick this stuff up is pandemonium...Each player has on average 4 bags and they are all trying to get the stuff out of the dome at the same time.  On top of that most guys are renting a place in town and have to set up their house as well.  Even with having a home in MN that first day is not fun and something I always hated having to go through.  To get out of Ft. Myers we all travel on a huge Northwest Airlines plane.  All family members are allowed to travel...in years past we were able to get both of our dogs on the flight as well.  In 2007 when we broke camp I didn't know Stephanee could travel so I sent her off on a flight to MN  with our dog Juicy.  Things would've been a lot easier on a plane that didn't care if Juicy was free to roam the aisles of the plane!  In 2007 Johan Santana brought his dog with and it wouldn't stop barking...I thought this would be an end to dogs on the plane but I was lucky last year because both of our dogs were really good and slept the entire time.  It's going to be tough next week when the team leaves.  After that it'll be Boof and me cheering on the team down here in Ft. Myers watching MLB extra innings each night.  I'm pretty sure the desire inside of me will be boiling over & I already cannot wait to strike my first hitter out in 2010. 

Thursday, March 26
Collector's Corner

As many of you know I am a collector of autographs & baseball cards.  With the injury I have had too much time to put towards the hobby & it has been a lot of fun.  The main tool I use is eBay.  During the past year I’m sure many of you know that card prices & autographs have took a huge hit in terms of price.  I thought this would be a cool time to reflect on what I am currently collecting this week and some other stuff.  During the past 6 months I have been the victim in buying a couple higher priced fakes off eBay.  Estimates that I have heard from different people such as friends in the industry and various people place the fakes on eBay between 70%-85%...don’t quote me though this is all from people that I do not know where they got these figures.  Of course you can always buy certified autos and cut autos that were opened from packs of Topps & Upper Deck but if it’s not certified from a place like PSA/DNA I would watch out.  From my experiences though just about everything I was buying in December was a fake.  I was lucky enough to become friends with a person at PSA/DNA and he has helped me out big time with the things I buy.  My biggest advice is to pay for quick authentications from PSA/DNA.  You can go to their website and for $10 they will tell you if they think this would pass authentication if it was sent to them.  Basically you just forward them the eBay item number and they will tell you what they think.

Speaking of eBay I was really frisky this week in trying to buy a high priced card.  I’ve never had a HIGH HIGH end card in my collection and this was my mission this week.  To start off the week I had my eyes set on a James Madison (4th President) cut autograph.  For those of you that don’t collect card companies like Topps take old papers or letters or anything with an autograph…cut out the autograph and put it into a brand new card and place them in packs for people to find.  These cards are pretty rare especially the 1/1’s from various people in history.  To make a long story short I was outbid with 2 seconds left for $1010.  I really wanted the card but I also had my head set on a Chief Bender cut auto.  This didn’t look like a regular cut auto though, the piece was cut from a baseball it looked like.  Being that Chief Bender was from Minnesota and the 1st Native American Hall of Famer I thought this would be an excellent piece to add.  Figuring the last cut auto of Bender sold for around $675 I thought I would bid $805 in the last 5 seconds to secure this card.  Well I did everything I thought I would do and bid but someone outbid me with a second left for $815.  Oh well, the thing I always realized with eBay is that if you don’t win something and have the cash you will find something again in a matter of time…in other words it’s hard to keep cash in your Paypal account!  The next item I was eyeing was a Carlo Gambino (Mobster) cut auto from Legendary cuts.  It was a 1/1 and I would bet they probably wouldn’t make another one.  The seller had a best offer with buy it now for $999.  I figured offer $650 and see where that would take me.  I thought $750 would be my highest offer.  The seller countered with $900 and the more I thought about it the less I wanted the card.  I backed off and declined the offer.  Off to the next item…This one was from National Treasures and was an autograph of Adolph Coors Jr.  I really wanted this card since I thought it would go pretty low.  There was 5 mins left when I used wikipedia to do some more research.  To my surprise this was Adolph Coors Sr. kid…thus not the original founder that died in 1929.  I really wanted the father’s autograph and not the sons and was confused…I decided not to bid, the card ended up getting $255…I wondered if the buyer knew what I found out…I’m sure he did.  What am I going to bid on next…who the heck knows.  I thought this auction http://cgi.ebay.com/2008-08-SP-Legendary-Cuts-Heinie-Manush-Cut-Auto-6_W0QQitemZ220382751846QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUS_SM_Sports_Cards?hash=item220382751846&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1205|66%3A2|65%3A12|39%3A1|240%3A1318|301%3A0|293%3A1|294%3A50

 for the Heinie Manush card was a steal but I thought it might go for lower.  Someone else also listed the 1/6 card of him at the same time auction style…Let’s just say for $100 or less this card is a steal…I’ll be watching, until next week!



Wednesday, March 25
Neshek.com 2nd Chance Brackets
If you were able to get in the first bracket challenge you are now eligible to join the Sweet 16 2nd chance bracket.  If you were one of the lucky 500 to get in the first time just log into the same page to check out how your original bracket is doing and fill out your new picks under the new challenge.  The prize for winning the 2nd chance bracket is 1 unopened box of 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter.   Fill this out quickly, I think the system shuts down once the first game tips off.  Good luck

Monday, March 23
March 23rd, 2009
The days are going by pretty quickly right now as we approach the start of the MLB season.  There have been a couple more roster moves & cuts the last couple days and the clubhouse is starting to get smaller.  Every year the Twins do a great job and invite a couple of the younger guys in the organization to get their feel for the big leagues.  The Twins usually select 3-4 guys to come over from the minor league side each day and let them watch the game for a couple innings and if the time is right they get put into the action.  Today was the first day for the minor league guys to come over and play.  I remember in 2004 they called me over to play against the Pirates in Bradenton.  I didn't know what to expect and I threw the day before so I told Rick Anderson my arm was sore and I couldn't pitch.  For some strange reason I didn't sit in the bullpen like I should've but I sat in the dugout and watched the entire game.  Looking back I don't know what I was thinking, I remember Rick Anderson asking me if I wanted to pitch and I told him my arm was sore from the day before.  He told me to hang out and watch the game, knowing I wasn't going to pitch I sat front row in the dugout and watched Johan pitch a gem.  The funny part of the story wasn't until after we got back to Ft. Myers.  Once back we were inside the dugout and Torii Hunter came over to me and fellow A-Ball teammate Seth Davidson and told us maybe next time we will get into a game.  He reached over and asked us how many bats we would like...Seth told him 3 and then Torii looked at me and I said I'll take 3 also.  When I left the clubhouse I told Seth that Torii is the nicest guy in the world.  Seth looked at me and goes "Dude, Torii thought that you were a hitter" and started laughing for a couple minutes.  I finally put it all together and realized that by sitting in the dugout all game and talking with the hitters and Torii that they all must have thought I was a hitter...I felt bad for a couple minutes and then laughed as well...I just made out with 3 Game Used Hunter bats...Being the broke minor leaguer I thought about selling them on eBay but then I thought they would make great trade bat down the road:)  About a week later I got the call again and I pitched against the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin.  At the time I was fresh out of A ball and walking to the mound to face ROY Eric Hinske made me want to throw up...I was the most nervous I ever was.  Then I struck him out and was a little more relaxed.  For those guys going out to pitch for the first time is a sight to see and that is why I enjoy how the Twins give young guys straight out of the draft a shot to play in Big League spring training games. 

Saturday, March 21
March 21st, 2009
I haven't had a post in the past couple days and that is because I am caught up in March Madness.  Madness is the correct word for every bracket I filled out this year because last night I was in dead last of 500 people who signed up for the bracket challenge on this site...Pretty embarrassing if you ask me.  Today I moved up a bunch and am in 422nd place.  Right now there are a ton of people still in good contention for the Arod signed baseball prize.  As of right now gotwins47 is in first place by picking 43 of the 48 games, congratz. 

Thursday, March 19
March 19th, 2009
Today we had another off-day and it was everything I thought it would be.  Well it wasn't too exciting, I laid on the couch all day with my dog Kirby by my side.  We watched the NCAA tourney from 12 noon until right now.  I picked a ton of upsets and right now I am upset about how my bracket has been.  500 signed up for the neshek.com bracket challenge.  Right now I got 7 of the 12 games right to place me in 454th place.  The only couple people that are behind me are the ones that forgot to fill out the bracket...there were about 30 of them.  The next few missed me by one game & one sorry person must have picked the teams by the color of their uniforms.  Without the last 4 games of the night 21 people have 12 of 12 games picked completely right...I have a feeling there will be 0 correct by the end of the night.  I can't wait for tomorrow's games already.

Wednesday, March 18
March 18th, 2009

I'm pretty anxious for tomorrow and the start of the tourney.  This is the first time in my 7 spring trainings that I will have an off day during the start of the tourney.  I wonder what i'll do tomorrow haha. 

Contrary to what I said a couple weeks ago about throwing on the 18th of March things have changed.  I was informed yesterday by the staff that I would start throwing now on April 1st.  The reason given was that I had a lot of time and the doctors wanted me to start a week and a half later.  I think the main reason is that the Twins trainers didn't want to play catch with me...by starting on the 1st they would only have to play catch with me 2 times and then they would hand me over to minor league coordinator Lanning Tucker kidding kidding.  Seriously though the docs checked out my arm and it is going as planned and they just wanted to start me a week later.  Fine with me, I have what...12 months to go:)



Tuesday, March 17
We've reached our limits
Sorry to anyone that wasn't able to get into the NCAA tourney challenge...Yahoo only lets me take 500 User brackets and just now we've reached that mark.  Good luck to those who got in and be ready next year for those that couldn't make it in. 

Tuesday, March 17
Win An AROD Signed Baseball - Join the Free Neshek.com Basketball Tourney Challenge

I can't believe it but there are 500 brackets already filled out as I write this.  You still have a day and a half to join but winning the arod ball is going to be tough...The last day to sign up is early Thursday morning.

 Here's the info again

Click Here http://tournament.fantasysports.yahoo.com/t1/register/joinprivategroup

Once at the above page - Enter the Group # 73482

Leave the password field blank

Once in fill out your picks and cross your fingers...there will probably be a bunch of trash talk under the message boards...one thing is for sure though, we are going to have a lot of fun.  Good luck to everyone.



Monday, March 16
Letters Of The Week
Got a couple of through the mail letters I had to share with everyone.  These come via Scott Baker's Mail, I must add he opened these back to back also.  The first is someone who confused him with the 1990's Scott Baker.  The real Baker laughed a ton about this one and has never heard of the former Scott Baker before.  The very next letter came written something like this, sign this card of you Scott & you can keep this girly card.  I've never seen this type of bribery but it worked, Scott signed up the card and put it back in the envelope & then traded the Benchwarmer girly card to Boof for a signed hat...just kidding, he gave the card to me to write this story!  

ahisdhsbecnhc
Another Interesting Mail Day

Saturday, March 14
Neshek.COM March Madness Yahoo NCAA Tourney Challenge

Alright I just formed the league for the NCAA Basketball tourney.  Everyone is invited to join & it's free.  All you have to do is sign up at this page

http://tournament.fantasysports.yahoo.com/t1/register/joinprivategroup

Once at the above page - Enter the Group # 73482

Leave the password field blank

On Sunday or anytime before the first game of the tourney fill out your picks & see how you do against everyone who signs up.  Everyone can fill out a bracket and like I said before the winner will get an Official MLB Baseball signed on the sweetspot by Alex Rodriguez. 



Saturday, March 14
March 13th, 2009
Just a quick update, I'm working on putting together a yahoo NCAA tournament bracket where everyone that wants to join can fill out a bracket.  The winner will get an AROD signed baseball...I'm hoping we can get over 500 brackets filled out and have some fun with it.  I'll have the details in the next update with the link for the league.

Thursday, March 12
March 12th, 2009

The countdown is on, I have 6 days until I throw. Today I met up with one of the team doctors and asked him a bunch of questions about my arm. I told him it feels really good except when I turn it…like when I turn the door to open it. He told me that’s the most common type of soreness and it will go away. I also asked a couple guys that have had TJ and they said they had the same thing and it went away once they started throwing. At the field today there have been a ton of people walking around and watching us practice. It’s really a great time to get autographs if you can tell who’s who. You would think the best time to get autographs is before a game but I disagree…the best time is when the team is out of town, you’ll always find the older guys who pay to get out of a road game and practice at home. I think a lot of people are realizing this because the away game crowds have been really big compared to the past couple years.

Tomorrow minor leaguers report to the other side of the complex for minor league spring training. Minor league spring training is horrible…I won’t lie & I’ll be frank, it was not fun. You show up on the first day and they make you run a 2.5 mile that is being timed & they want you to run under 18 mins or something like that. My first spring training I really didn’t put an emphasis on running and almost blacked out when I ran the 2.5…I admit I threw up a little bit but finished. That next year I ran like crazy in the off-season and was a top 10 finisher. Minor league spring training is also over a lot quicker…I think it last only 3 weeks. Games for them start in 4 days…you better come to camp ready to go.



Wednesday, March 11
March 11th, 2009

We were back in action today. The team went on the road so once again it was stretch, pfp & batting practice. Fake throwing and fielding baseballs got old really quick & I am backing off a little on the practice. I figure every time the team plays at home I will head out to the field if the team is away I will do some more exercises inside the clubhouse. I got to thinking yesterday that I was the only guy in camp that has done fielding practice everyday since we got here...I kind of feel like everyone is sick of watching me fake throw and hold up the line. Things are looking up though, in 7 days I will begin my throwing program. Most guys start throwing at 4 months after surgery and the 18th marks month number four for me. It's going to be slow though, I cheated and looked ahead at my throwing program and my first bullpen sessions starts in SEPTEMBER...you read it correctly, September.

At the field today I spent the majority of the time shagging down the left field line. A bunch of baseballs went over the fence and a few more went foul causing fans to go nuts and run after the baseballs. A couple fans got a little greedy and decided to test their luck and jumped the fence on the field behind us to try and get some more baseballs...that prompted security to run out and chase them away & get the balls back...It's bad when that was the highlight of my day! Other funny things that happened today was seeing Crain & Morneau back in camp already. I think they were a little upset with how many people kept coming up to them and asking them how the WBC went & how they lost to Italy...it got to be the joke of the day and they weren't having it. I'll end the day with this. I was shagging during bp when a ball went down the line...A fan yelled out "let me throw the ball in since it looks like it hurts when you throw with your left hand". I thought why not, a pretty good idea actually. So I threw the guy the ball and he asked where should I throw it. I said throw it near the guys doing the bucket...The guy reared back and threw it as hard as he could on the fly...My heart almost jumped out of my chest when I realized he didn't throw the ball on the ground and that it was headed right on the faces of the guys doing the bucket...Luckily the ball tailed left and missed the bucket...I don't know what I would've done if he would have been dead on...there would be a lot of questions to answer about that one! I think I'll stick to throwing left handed next time.



Tuesday, March 10
March 9th & 10th, 2009

Today we had another off-day. My family is down here & flew into Ft. Myers a couple days ago. Knowing we had the day off today we drove over to Melbourne to check out our house & the beach. It was a very relaxing day and I got to work on my terrible farmer’s tan a little & watch my brother get knocked around by the waves. I almost wished we would’ve been in Ft. Myers today though…Gardy hired an Elvis impersonator from South Dakota and was putting on a huge show with dancers & flashing lights at the team hotel. I can’t wait to hear how it went down when I walk into the clubhouse tomorrow.



Sunday, March 8
March 8th, 2009

It was a pretty easy day for those that stayed back in camp.  The rest of the team headed over to Ft. Lauderdale to take on the O's.  The atmosphere in the clubhouse is pretty good right now.  A lot of the younger guys are getting comfortable right now and pretty much everyone knows each person's name & face now...it's amazing how long it takes to learn 60+ new names.  In the next week though the clubhouse will most likely get a lot more on edge.  First cuts are coming up in the next week & once that hits a lot of guys get nervous about where they will end up.  I've been on both sides of the cuts.  In 2006 I was cut the first day...I wasn't happy but understood the process enough to know I would probably be cut no matter how good I did.  In 2007 though I made the team & it was cool being there the entire time.



Saturday, March 7
March 7th, 2009

My day was the typical game day routine, show up, rehab, pfp & shagging and then watching the game. I kind of hit the wall today with my enthusiasm. I think you can only do something so many days in a row before it gets old & today I was pretty bored. I think I was just in a hurry to watch some college basketball finals today. I really get into college basketball especially at this time of the year. I love to play www.protrade.com and pick teams that I think are going to win and short the ones I think that are going to lose. The site is really cool though, it's a stock market for sports...play money of course! I've been playing this for a couple years and just crossed the 700k line in play money. I think they need to hire me as a rep since I've been on there forever and made a lot of people fake money when I got hurt last year and people shorted me down to nothing :) If anyone wants to challenge me be sure to let me know on my facebook page or message board.



Friday, March 6
March 6th, 2009 - Bad Letter Of The Week
I think I tried this trick a bunch when I was little & it would never work.

261ohskds

Thursday, March 5
March 5th, 2009

World Baseball Classic fever hit Ft. Myers again today as Team Netherlands came into town. The lineup was made up with a handful of Holland players and a handful of players from Curacao. I spent the day trying to track down a couple WBC Logo baseballs during their bp session and I was successful. They are pretty neat looking baseballs that contain all gold writing and the WBC logo with the 2009 date. Let me know on the boards if anyone wants to make a trade.



wbcsasasa
The WBC Ball

Wednesday, March 4
March 4th, 2009

I'm very happy to announce I was able to work out a trade for one of my printing plates that showed up on eBay the other day.  Whenever I see one of my tougher cards show up on eBay I get excited just to know someone opened it and actually put it up for sale then I think about how much it's going to cost me.  You wouldn't think a middle relief pitcher that just had Tommy John surgery would have any value but a couple of you guy's love to get in a bidding war with me and I usually don't win!  So with that said my best bet is to write to the seller & try to work out a trade...I'm still quietly giving it a go to try and get all my cards.  This one though was extra special.  I didn't know how many people opened 2008 Topps Series 2...I bet not many because I haven't seen anything pop up as far as 1/1's go ever.  As of right now This is my 7th 1/1 of me that I know of.  I have 2 of the plates from 2007 Topps, 2 of the 08 Ginter Plates, my 2007 Topps Platinum & my 08 ginter wood card.  It was a tough trade with me giving up my 4 tickets to the Cubs/Twins game at Wrigley but well worth it to me...I'm happy to add another impossible card to my collection.   If you guys know of somebody that has a plate of me or my 2006 Topps Updates & Highlights Refractor #'d to 25 be sure & let me know, I overpay for these things!

 



08ser2plate
The Cyan plate has been found

Tuesday, March 3
March 3rd, 2009
Today we got to help kick off the World Baseball Classic as we faced Team Puerto Rico.  It was very weird doing the National Anthem and doing a double take hearing the Puerto Rican anthem, never heard that before a game ever.  I snuck out of lunch early & watched a little bit of their batting practice.  I noticed they were taking BP with WBC baseballs...they had the WBC logo on the balls.  Once bp was over they bagged the balls up & when the game started we were using the same MLB balls as usual.  I think when we play against the Netherlands in a couple days I will try to snatch a couple balls down during bp...they are tough to find and I know they would be fun to trade on the message board.  Other than that though it was a normal day as usual.  I think a lot of the guys really liked having the off day and they looked refreshed.  A lot of the pitchers have been sore from throwing a lot more than they have been over the winter...this is totally normal and happens every year.  As for me I am still doing the rehab stuff before practice and doing all the drills and getting better at throwing lefthanded.  Boof Bonser just had surgery the other day and will also be in Ft. Myers all year...it sucks but I guess the only good thing is that I will have a friend to go through this with. 

Monday, March 2
March 2nd, 2009

Today we had an off-day.  In the past I think there was only 1 off day the entire spring, this year we get 4...I think the WBC (World Baseball Classic) has a lot to do with this but hopefully it will be a reoccuring thing for years to come.  My legs & arm needed the rest and it felt great sitting back.  Today I did nothing...well I got my taxes done, it was not fun but needed to be finished.  The rest of the night I spent watching YouTube music videos of bands from my Junior High years...Lots of Goldfinger, Bloodhound Gang & tons of rap...oh yes I was a big rap fan back in the day and there was some good stuff I was listening to today, Warren G, Scarface, Gravediggaz, Geto boyz, Crucial Conflict, Brotha Lynch Hung & Celly Cel...I wish they did rap the same way as they did back then, it just isn't the same.

 



Sunday, March 1
March 1st, 2009

I wanted to write about the surgery and everything about it when I had back in November. The minute I got out of the surgery room I thought twice about the website and wanted to just rest and enjoy the time off with my family. I'd like to make up for a little lost time and update everybody on what I have went through so far on my recovery. My surgery was on November 18th. Like I said yesterday normal recovery time is 9 to 15 months so August 18th would be 9 months and February 18th, 2010 would be 15 months. Right now the entire rehab process is based on taking things slowly. As of right now we are on the 15 month plan more than the 9 month plan. Back to the surgery, the entire surgery took a little over 2 hours. I was put to sleep and woke up feeling refreshed but not knowing what the heck was going on, all I remember is being very tired and when I got into the car I fell asleep without even knowing. I woke up right as we arrived at our house and took a couple pills, one a painkiller and the other was some kind of bacteria killer, I slept the rest of the day. All I can remember that first week was sleeping and how I couldn't use my arm. After the first day I stopped taking the pills except for the bacteria killer one figuring I didn't want my arm to go rotten and green! I felt like I really didn't need a painkiller any longer & wanted my arm to heal naturally, plus every time I took one of the painkillers my stomach turned and turned...luckily the pain wasn't bad & I didn't need the pills. That first week was a ton of sleep, watching movies and wishing I could use my arm again someday. My arm hurt it seemed like more the third and fourth days than the first couple, it hurt exactly like I thought it would...just a constant pain where I was opened up.  About two weeks in I got to go to the doctor's office to have my cast removed. I was basically getting rid of the cast which couldn't be removed and having that replaced with a brace that could move around and I could get it off easier. I was happy because the cast really made me itch & since I couldn't move it annoyed me like crazy...that day it was going away. Nobody told me how much it would hurt getting the thing off, ouch. To make a long story short I got the cast off and got a chance to see my scar for the first time...it still wasn't healed up fully and I really didn't like looking at it...plus it hurt still. At about a month and a half in I started light rehab. It basically consisted of exercises that would make my shoulder stronger. One of the exercises was raising my arms with my thump up to my chin and back down...I did this at various angles and it was tough to get through. Over time though I built my arm up a little and could then do more exercises. At that same time about a month and a half I got the brace off...I could finally sleep with nothing on my arm, it felt great. Right now I am still doing the exercises with various weights and following the program. My next big step comes March 18th when I will throw for the first time. This is where a lot of guys say it hurts...I talked to Liriano and he said he hated that part of his rehab, the throwing early on was the toughest part he said...Sean Henn said that it wasn't fun because he couldn't believe how hard it was to throw 30 ft...and how there was nothing behind any of his throws. We will see how it goes, I like hearing how other guy's rehab went and learning about what to expect...I will keep everyone updated.



Saturday, February 28
February 28th, 2009

When the team goes out of town there isn't much news.  I figured today would be a great time to show off a couple pics of my scars from my surgery, aka Tommy John surgery aka elbow replacement.  It's a pretty big surgery but it has come a long way since Tommy John first had it done.  I really hate doctor offices, hospitals and that type of stuff so I will spare the gory details.  In simple terms they take a tendon from either your wrist or leg, drill a couple holes in the elbow and tie the tendon through the holes.  In a couple months the tendon turns into a ligament.   Recovery time varies from about 9 months to 15 months.  I had my tendon removed from my left wrist, notice the 3 notches...one on my wrist, another one about 2.5 inches away and the final one 2.5 inches away from the last one. 



elbowsurgeryassd
I like how the scar turns sideways, every TJ Surgery is different

Friday, February 27
February 27th, 2009 - BAD LETTERS

I've been doing a lot of through the mail letters & signing autographs.  Every now & then I find letters that are just awful.  I found one today.  The person who sent this wrote out the entire letter leaving spaces to fill in the player's name & the team name as well as position.  If you look closely he uses a darker blue pen to fill in the "Neshek", "Minnesota Twins", "Pitcher" & once again "Neshek".  I don't understand why someone would go through this torture of writing out tons of letters like this...a please sign my card note would do just fine.  He also said I would lead the team very far...ahhh I guess that beats the letter I also got today from a guy telling me that he has a sure fire feeling that I would make the all-star team this year.  I was going to write back & tell him to never gamble again but I didn't.  

 



badlettjksskjks
I think I got this same letter last year?

Thursday, February 26
February 26th, 2009

Today we had a road game meaning that about half of the club stayed in Ft. Myers and worked out while the rest of the guys played against the Reds @ Sarasota.  It wasn't much of a practice.  We worked on PFP's, ran and shagged for batting practice.  Most of the guys hate going on roadtrips & as spring training goes along will pay to pitch at home and never go on the road.  I refused to pay last year and it ended up costing me, if I'm correct my first 6 outings were on the road last spring. 

I signed my 1st Cert Auto card in the mail the other day.  It was weird signing a card that has already been signed but I think it turned out nice.  I've seen a bunch of the 09 Upper Deck cards and signed those up as well.  I had an interesting autograph request yesterday.  Usually if people send me the AROD HR card, I believe #460 (they made a baseball card for each HR arod has hit and he did hit one against me in 06) I write something like "I should not have thrown that pitch".  Well yesterday the fan wanted me to write "this one should not have counted".  I thought about it really quick, laughed but had to turn down the inscription.  I told him I love the idea but I don't want to make anyone mad at me...basically hold that inscription until I'm done playing then we can have some fun with that one!



Wednesday, February 25
February 25th, 2009
As I mentioned yesterday we had our first game today and it was a night game.  This meant that we got to sleep in for the first time in awhile.  Obviously we cannot pitch every guy in camp in one game so we split these duties up.  I think as of right now it takes nearly 4 games to get every pitcher that is in camp into a game.  Guys who aren't pitching in the games still go through a normal practice before the game and shag bp on the field next to the stadium.  I was in this group today and after we got done I thought I would grab a bite to eat in the clubhouse when Gardy came up behind me and yelled at the crowd "Ladies & gentleman, Pat Neshek is going to take time out and sign for everybody in line!".  Gardy loves to joke around and this one mad me laugh.  I think I signed for about a half hour and laughed the entire time...I really don't have a way to get back at him, if you can think of something let me know.

Tuesday, February 24
February 24th, 2009

There are tons of fans at the park now that full team workouts are underway.  I think a lot of us were glad when today ended because it was the last day of the two hour long batting practice sessions.  I've never had so much sun in my life sitting in the outfield shagging balls for a couple hours.  The way the batting practice session works is that it starts with a coach going through the normal 20 minute bp sessions that we go through before games during the season.  This is when every guy up at the plate is putting baseballs into play and the shaggers are having a heck of a time keeping up.  I asked Sean Henn how the Yankees do this and he said that the pitchers don't shag and they have fans come in and catch baseballs...I thought what an idea, you could charge money and there would be a huge demand to be on the field catching a liner off the bat of an MLB hitter, I know I would pay some money to do this if I had the option when I was younger.  Once the coach bp session gets over the coach throwing walks off the field and a pitcher comes in to pretend like it's a game and get the batter out.  It's pretty much our test before we start games so this is serious for most pitchers.  The pitchers want to make sure all their pitches are going good and they have a little control & for the most part aren't getting rocked around all over the field.  So far this year there hasn't been many beanballs that I have witnessed.  I remember my first spring training the four hitters I had to face were Torii Hunter, Shannon Stewart, Nick Punto & Tommy Watkins.  Tommy stepped into the box and I drilled him on the 2nd pitch in his kneecap.  Torii & Shannon both walked off the field and said something to the degree of "there's nothing I'm going to gain from going into the box against this guy!".  I thought that was the coolest thing in the world as a guy with no MLB experience. 

Tomorrow is the 1st game of spring training and it's a night game.  I'm pretty excited because we get to show up to the field around 1 and not 7am for a change.  Tomorrow is also the MLB Player's Association meeting.  Usually this is the time when they hand out checks to guys that had service time last season.  Nobody has any clue what the check amount is going to be, with the economy I'm crossing my fingers.  The check is basically the players share for letting them use our name and likeness for baseball cards, video games and other things like t-shirts.  Also during the meeting they will update the players with any new things that need to be talked about...should be interesting.

 

 



Sunday, February 22
February 22nd, 2009

Yesterday we started team workouts and I got my first taste of this today. Basically we go through all the infield drills like 1st & 3rds, bunt plays and pitcher's fielding practice. On Wednesday this week we start games already with the Red Sox coming into play us at our place. A lot of the pitchers are joking around about how bad they are going to do & where the ball is going to go once it releases their hand...like I said the other day there is a lot of built up anxiety which will be relieved once each guy gets their first appearance in. Today at the field we took batting practice as a team...for pitchers these are the worst couple days of the year due to the long amounts of time we spend shagging in the outfield. Once games start the practices tend to get a lot easier & quicker. I think today we got out on the fields at 9am and walked away without a break at 1pm...it gets old really quick plus you get a very bad farmer's tan...My wife is already making fun of me.



Saturday, February 21
February 21st, 2009

Not much of a baseball update today. I flew back to MN last night (Friday) & helped lay to rest my friend today (SAT). I never cried so much in my life but to tell you the truth I really needed closure & to be around friends & family & to tell stories about my friend. As I write this I am about to get off the plane in Ft. Myers…what a crazy 24 hours.



Monday, February 23
February 23rd, 2009

We did a lot of stuff today as a team. Today was the annual physicals...Media day & drug tests. Since I wasn't able to attend Twinsfest this year due to my Grandma passing I missed getting our team physical, usually they are done at this time...So today I had to do all the test to make sure I was healthy. Trying to think of all the test we had to do, eye exams, glaucoma check, eye pressure check, ecg or whatever it is called, blood pressure, weight, taking blood (I always hate this day because of this one) & other things like blowing into a pipe to see how strong our lungs are...I scored a 103% on this one, the lady said it was the best score of the day, I asked her how the heck does someone get over 100%? After all the checkups we were told that everyone on the roster had to do MLB Drug Test. These aren't fun either. Not going into to much detail but enough to make everyone understand what we do since this is a hot topic. First we have to submit our Driver's License & have a Twins person there to verify it's us. Then we wash our hands, grab a cup & fill it up. The only part I don't like about this is that the official doing the checking is watching you like a hawk & makes sure you drop your pants & raise your shirt to make sure you don't have something like a whizzinator in there. It's pretty degrading but if it's to make sure the game is clean then it is fine with me.

After all this stuff the day was hardly over...it was media day also. This is when all the card companies like Upper Deck, Topps, MLB.com & magazines come in to take pictures of us to use throughout the season. After doing all the same old poses such as hold the glove near your chest, pretend to be pitching out of the stretch and look at the sky & the holding the baseball & tossing it up in the air my photo session over. Once I got done I was talking with Kevin Slowey on ways to spice up the photo sessions...after 4 years of doing the same shots & seeing them year after year on baseball cards it gets old...I basically want a cool looking baseball card. Slowey & I talked about ways to make the cards better...we agreed that next year we are going to bring a bat for one of the sessions....pose lefty with it in another & finally wear a lefthanders glove & pose left-handed in a bunch of the shots. I thought to myself about making a 2000's version of the Billy Ripken card but I figured with Photoshop nowadays that it wouldn't get past 1st edit...who knows though, I'm already planning for next year.



Saturday, February 21
February 20th, 2009

Another quiet day at the park. Games are starting soon and a lot of the guys are making sure their stuff is good. I remember my last couple camps I always hated the first games of the year…I just never felt right on the mound for that first appearance. I don’t know what it is, not facing hitters for a year, nerves, excitement…the last couple years that 1st outing felt like I was riding a bike for the first time. After that initial outing though things were back to normal and the adrenaline started flowing. Pitching is a lot about having confidence and knowing what you have to work with. I think doubt is a big part of why this initial outing is tough…will I have the same stuff as last year…will I impress…can I still hit 94mph? Those are the questions I remember worrying about every single year. Once that first outing goes by and you realize you have the same old stuff that doubt clears up and you can focus on how you want to dominate. It’s a pretty exciting time though especially if you are a fan at these games…you never know what is going to happen. You might see a guy strike out the side in his first outing or a guy drill 3 hitters in a row or walk the bases loaded. It’s a scary time for most guys. I think the best thing is seeing how some guys prepared like crazy for the year while others didn’t do much and the fun is in seeing how everybody mixes together…fans can tell right away if the guy is ready or not.



Thursday, February 19
February 19th, 2009

Wow, the crowds have died big time ever since the 1st day.  I'm guessing things will pick up on SAT when the entire team is on the field.  Today we have a golf event for the team so things at the field were over pretty quickly, I think I left the clubhouse at 11am to head home.  I sat around for a little bit after practice and finished a bunch of ttm letters...signing cards and putting them back in the mail.  Keep the mail coming if you need anything signed. 



Wednesday, February 18
Facebook Page
I need some more friends on Facebook...If you have a page, search my name and my picture is the one with our dogs Juicy & Kirby on Santa's Lap...I know, I know update the picture & Christmas has been over for awhile but I am lazy and will do it some other time:)  Please do a friend request & I will accept. 

Wednesday, February 18
Day 4 - Feb 18th, 2009
Day four is in the books & time is flying by.  I'm still grieving over the loss of my buddy and it's a tough time for me right now.  The last couple days the crowds have been down a ton since the 1st day of spring training.  I don't know if it was the colder weather or what but you could pretty much count the number of fans running around...I would guess about a little over 100 people were watching us each of the last couple days or at least that's what it looked like.  Right now pretty much the entire team has arrived in camp and we will soon begin taking batting practice as a team.  Pretty crazy that the games start in about a week, I always hated this part of the year because reporters will analyze the heck out of you outings when in reality all we are trying to do is get ready for the season...spring training games and big league games are two different things, I call it upper deck syndrome...spring training fields don't have upper decks...once the seasons starts we all notice the packed stadiums and I think it amps everyone up a little.  It has really been a slow couple of days though, the highlight for a lot of the younger guys was seeing Peter Gammons watching us  practice...a bunch of us joked that the Red Sox must have had an off day since ESPN rarely talks about us & every year has us picked in the back of the pack!  Hopefully I'll have some fun stuff for you guys tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 17
A Tough Day
Some days you never want to go through with baseball being the last thing on your mind, today was one of those days for me.  I lost my best friend throughout our Junior High & High School years, Jason Cierlik & it has been tough on me.  I don't know what else to say, we both grew up together, learned about life together and spent many lonely weekend nights at batting cages & half lit gym areas in Minnesota playing catch.  While others were out following the typical things kids that age do we had one goal in mind and that was chasing our dreams of playing professional baseball & you know what, we did just that.  I think the best day we both had was getting drafted in 2002, I've never been so happy seeing everything we worked for pay off.  I lost my one and only offseason catch partner I've ever had (besides when Stephanee has the guts to catch me :)) & one of the few souls I truly connected with.  I'm crying here thinking about what we've been through & understand your pain, I miss & love you a ton, this sadness really hurts though.   

jasoncielikehjsk
You can't be replaced

Monday, February 16
Day 2

The first day of the year is over...to keep track of the season and how many days it is though we will consider it day two since we had to show up yesterday.  Overall it was a good quick day at the field.  I showed up at the field around 7:30am and there were tons of fans already walking around, some waiting near the parking lot for players to show up and others waiting near the batting cage watching guys hit.  I usually park in the general parking lot because it is a quicker walk to the locker room than the player lot, I think I'm one of the few that does this.  There is also a rule that if you have no big league time you cannot park in there either but that applies once the entire squad is in town...I think that happens next week.  As I said above the day went by pretty quickly.  It was the first time I put on my glove since I hurt my arm and it felt good to do so.  I nearly dropped my first couple catches when we did pitching fielding practice which prompted Gardy to laugh at me, I felt like I never caught a ball in my life.  The drills went on and on and it felt good to be on the field again.  As of right now it has been about 3 months since my surgery.  At the 4 month mark I will begin to throw and play catch so right now I'm doing all the drills with no throwing...it feels weird.  The entire recovery time is usually 9-15 months for guys and with how much time I have to recover we are going to take it slow and make sure everything is fine. 

On the autograph front there were tons of people out today, probably the most that I could remember being there on for the first workout...I think a lot of people read this website a couple years back when I posted in amazement how very few people came during the first week.  It has changed a bunch since that post but this is still a great time to get things signed.  I stopped for probably 20 mins today and signed up everything that was offered to me.  I want to get everything signed up since I will not be in MN this season and the only way to get me for most people is TTM (through the mail).  Today I signed my 1st 2009 Upper Deck card...can you believe it took that long for me to sign that card.  Pretty much everytime someone brings me a card I have not signed before I will inscribe it with "The 1st time I signed this card" & also put down the date.  I'm wondering if anyone is going to have me ink up the 09 Topps Cert Auto card...that would be weird.

We are still setting up the house and can see a little light at the end of the tunnel.   I can't wait to sleep in a real bed...we have been using an aero bed for the past couple days and it's nice but real furniture sounds better right now.  It really feels like I am back in New Britain or Rochester (minor leagues) and setting up my apartment there.  Happy graphing...I'll have another fresh update tomorrow.



Sunday, February 15
Feb 15th - Reporting Day

Hey everyone, I'm back on and hope to have daily updates the entire season.  Today was reporting day for the MN Twins.  Basically all the pitchers & catchers show up and unpack their bags and set up the lockers.  This is when you get all your clothes such as jerseys, hats, undershirts and jackets.  I like getting set up as quickly as possible and showed up at 8am...I was the first one there since I was meeting up at the minor league side to do rehab.  When I got done with rehab around 10:30am most of the team was in the clubhouse getting squared away.  Today was an excellent time to get autographs since there was probably only a dozen people getting graphs...note to graphers mark this date down for next year if you want some sure-thing autos as well as the days leading up to today since most of the team is in town early. 

I'm not really sure what my days of spring training will have in store for me since I'm out for the season but I will keep everyone updated.  Since we will be in Ft. Myers until next spring training (or at least the majority of the time) we bought a house in the area...btw check out house prices down here if you are looking for a home...pretty shocking, suprised me.  We have a lot of moving in to do still and it might take us a a week or two to feel moved in...At that time I will probably have a ton of time to be on the message board.   

I'll have another update tomorrow as well as everyday after...be sure to keep checking out the site.



Tuesday, February 3
2009 Topps Series 1 IS OUT - MY FIRST CERTIFIED AUTOGRAPH IS OUT THERE

Just wanted to give everyone the heads up that my first autograph issue in Topps is out.  I noticed this under eBay just a minute ago.  I signed 1000 cards for Topps.  On 100 of the cards I wrote different inscriptions.  I believe I did 10 different inscriptions at 10 cards a piece...so the card on eBay with my debut is really a 1 of 10.  I signed this one with my debut #...oh yes # 72.  Pretty pumped to see my 1st cert autograph card.  I'm hoping my value is down to nothing so I can pick up this card, we'll see:)

 From my Nov 25th 2007 Update on signing the cards

"For the first 5 auto I wrote, 1st certified autograph ever with the date and the next one I wrote 2nd cert auto ever with the date.  After I did that I wrote 10 that contained www.patneshek.com.  You guys get the point.  Here's all the inscriptions I wrote.  10 that said www.neshek.com, 10 that said sidearmer, 10 that had 7/7/06 MLB Debut and #72, 10 that had 2007 MLB ALL STAR FINAL VOTE, 10 that said Go Twins, 10 that said STRK 3 and finished up the day signing my last cert entitled "my last cert auto!"  Hopefully you guys will get a kick out of finding these and seeing them pop up next year in different Topps products"

 

http://cgi.ebay.com/Pat-Neshek-2009-Topps-SERIES-1-PERSONALIZED-AUTOGRAPH_W0QQitemZ120373394317QQihZ002QQcategoryZ166746QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem



firstcertauog
1st Certified Autograph in 2009 Topps Series 1

Sunday, January 18
Myspace & Facebook
Hey everyone, just wanted to let you know I finally made an official Myspace & Facebook page.  I noticed there were a ton of fake ones up and decided to fix the problem by making a name on there.  Basically if you search my name on either site my image is the one with the dogs on Santa's lap.  I really won't be on the page much unless I get tons of friends, I just thought it would be a cool way to keep track of everyone from my past and all my friends & fans.  So please do a friend request & I'll add you!

Friday, January 9
January 9th, 2009
Hey everyone...I'm still alive, sorry for not updating this in a long time.  There really hasn't been much to talk about...I'm still in a brace from surgery and barely starting rehab right now.  I haven't  been doing much just enjoying the holidays and searching for autographs on eBay.  I just wanted to let everyone know that I am planning on updating the site daily once I get to spring training whenever that may be.  I'll also be on the message board just about EVERY DAY once I get to FL.  Stephanee & I are going to be in FL for a long time as I rehab my arm and I'll be on a bunch trading stuff and making this the best blog out there.  I just wanted to let everyone know I'm still alive and gearing up for tons of updates once I get to spring training

Friday, December 5
Update on Pat and Pet Pictures with Santa

Hi everyone,

This is Pat's wife Stephanee.  I just wanted to let you all know that his surgery went really well and he is on the long road to recovery.  He got out of the plaster cast last week and is now in a brace.  He started physical therapy last Monday and he's feeling great.  Once things settle down, he will be back updating the site regularly and continue posting on the message board. 

On a side note:  The animal rescue group I work with, Puppy Porch, will be doing a fundraiser this Saturday, Dec. 6th.  We are going to be at the Minnetonka Petco from 11am until 4pm... bring your pets and/or kids to get their picture taken with Santa! The photos will be framed by Petco for only $8.95 and $5 of each pic we take goes directly to PuppyPorch.  So you can support a great cause and get a professional quality pic for the holidays



Sunday, November 2
NY Mets Draft Notes

Today I'm Picking up where I left off last offseason with my draft notes from the NY Mets.  If you missed this last year I kept all my letters and notes from when I was getting scouted back before the draft...Today is the Mets.  This is everything they sent to me when they were scouting me before the 2002 draft.  The scout was Rodney Henderson, straight out of playing professional baseball.  He seemed like a great guy but was totally new to the scouting thing.  I actually had a classic 4 sport card of Rodney in my pocket when we had my first draft interview but I never had the guts to ask him for an auto!  My first meeting with Rodney was 11/27/01.  Two days later he sent me a Q&A in the mail and I returned it.  Around Christmas time I got a Christmas card from him.  After that I got a phone call from Rodney around May asking me where he thinks I would go in the draft.  As always my response was rounds 1-6.  Anyways here's all the notes I got from the Mets, enjoy

 

Photobucket Photobucket


Wednesday, October 22
This Weekend
Hi Everyone,
This is Stephanee, Pat's wife... I have never written anything on his homepage before but I have some pretty cool info about a great cause. I am involved in a lot of charity work with the local community as well as the MN Twins Wives Organization. Pat and I are both huge animal lovers and have become part of a great animal rescue group called "Puppy Porch". It is a non-profit, no-kill, foster based rescue... not only do they find loving homes for these amazing dogs, but they also work to help reconstruct the shelters to minimize the number of dogs who are put to sleep. 100% of the money goes to the animals and this is a really great group! We are having a big fundraiser this weekend called "Pups in the Park". Some of the other Twins Wives/Fiancees and I will be there helping out...Pat is rehabbing his arm in Fort Myers until November 14th so he won't be there. The event is Saturday, Oct. 25th from 11-3 at the Minnewashta Dog Park in Chanhassen, MN.

Visit our website at www.PuppyPorch.com for more details:)
Part of the fundraiser is an auction- online and also a silent auction- at the dog park. We will have items from the Saint Paul Saints, Milwaukee Bucks, and Minnesota Twins. There are some really cool things like Twins tickets, signed balls, cards, Bucks bobble heads and photos, and of course Pat Neshek memorabilia. Even if you aren't in the Minneapolis area, you can bid online for a chance to win some great prizes and help support a great cause!
Puppy Porch is also looking for Foster Families to temporarily care for the dogs until they find forever homes. Check out our website for more info: www.puppyporch.com
Hope to meet some of you this weekend:)
Stephanee Neshek


Sunday, October 19
October 19th, 2008

I just wanted to give another quick update on my arm.  Everything is still going as planned...About a week from today I will be throwing off the mound and a week after that I will be mixing in my slider.  I'm pretty sure things will go well since I haven't had a problem since I hurt my arm back in May.  If everything goes well I will be finishing up my throwing/rehab program on Nov 14th.  In the meantime I will be here for about another month and if you need anything signed be sure to send it down with a SASE.

This past week down here the instructional league wrapped up.  Instuctional league is something the Twins have every year.  It is basically spring training for a month with all the new guys to the org.  Lots of 1st rounders learning the ropes and getting to know the coaches.  This week also marks the start of the organization meetings.  Everyone from coaches to front office people to scouts are down here right now making decisions about the future of the Twins.  I've seen nearly everyone in the organization so far including a couple teammates! 

This morning I had a couple weird things happen.  After not doing a media request for about a month I got 4 calls before 11am!  So far today I went on XM Radio, the WCCO Sunday Sports show in Minnesota, tonight I have mlb.com with Noah Coslov and on Tuesday I'm doing a podcast with Seth Stohs from sethspeaks.net.  I thought it was very strange that I got calls from everyone that I had to quickly google myself to make sure I wasn't in the news for anything! 



Tuesday, September 23
September 23rd, 2008

I have not had an update for awhile and that's because there really hasn't been too much talk about.  I'm still down here in Ft. Myers...I'm expected to be down here until November rehabbing my arm.  So far everything has been going as planned.  What suprises me even more is that I have not had a single setback yet...I probably just jinxed myself.  I feel good though, I'm letting the ball go with good speed and velocity and it feels like I can play again.  Last week I did my last session of 40 throws at 120ft. with 75% effort, it went great.  This week I'm going every other day at different lengths...10 throws at 60ft.  10 at 75ft. 10 at 90 ft. ect.  If everything goes as planned I will be throwing off the mound in 3-4 weeks.  The thing that scares me the most is when I start throwing my slider.  They said I can throw my slider again once I get on the mound.  When I hurt my arm it was on a slider and since I've been throwing I cannot wait to throw the slider again and test my arm...this will be my biggest test of things I have left.  Once I get off the mound I will throw bullpens for about 3 weeks and if everything goes well I will be free to resume my offseason, as if I haven't had the longest offseason of my life so far!  Most guys cannot wait for the season to get over right now, for once in my life I cannot wait for the season to start up and I can start striking out guys again...you never know how much you miss something until it is taken away from you. 

I'm still signing autorgaphs through the mail and if you need anything signed be sure to send a SASE and I will sign everything you need.



Monday, September 1
September 1st, 2008

Just wanted to let everyone know I will be doing a live chat on my message board on Wednesday from 8pm Eastern to 9pm.  Also be sure to check out the great content on the message board as well as the free contest on there.  I just gave away Twins tickets to a lucky winner and up right now is a Game Used hat.

My rehab is still going great and I'm really suprised how good my arm feels.  I have not had any setbacks and have not had any pain or weakness in my arm...I'm wondering if someone got my mri mixed up because this injury has not hurt one bit even when I partially tore the ligament.  Right now here is my schedule for the upcoming week for throwing.

Sept 1st - 1x15 & 1X25 throws at 75ft, 50% intensity

Sept 2nd - 1x15 & 1x25 throws at 75ft, 50% intensity

Sept 3rd - Day off throwing

Sept 4th - 1x15 & 1x25 throws at 90ft, 50% intensity

Sept 5th - 1x15 & 1x25 throws at 90ft, 50% intensity

Sept 6th - Day off throwing

Sept 7th - Day off throwing

Sept 8th - 1x15 & 1x25 throws at 60 ft. 75% intensity

This past week we went back to our house in Melbourne and everything there was fine.  It was pretty scary seeing everything on the news...Hopefully this will be the last bad storm.(as I speak there are a couple big storms brewing heading that way!)  In the meantime we spent last Monday night at a Brevard County Manatees game.  It was pretty sweet checking out a Florida State league baseball game, it gave me a lot of time to think about how far I have come and a lot of time to think about the days when I played in the FSL and all the memories that were made.

 



Friday, August 22
August 22nd, 2008 - Contest & Live Chat

Just wanted to give a quick update on a few things.  First off I'll start with my arm.  Things have been going great still and I haven't had any problems but I am on the Really Really Slow plan.  As I look ahead at the plan I do not think a return this year is going to happen.  I feel like if I needed to pitch I could pull it off but the safe sure route is to take it slow and gradually get better and this is the route that we are taking.  I don't mind it but it is extra tough sitting in FL watching the team in a playoff race.  I'm jealous and I wish I was with them.  So for right now we are going to follow the plan that is laid out and see where I am in the next two months.  If things are fine I'm sure I will be playing a little winter ball someplace...if things go bad then I might need surgery.  Right now things have been going perfect.

For all the message board members be sure to check out all the free contest in the next couple days, I'll be giving away tickets, cards and whatever else I can find down here.

Live Chat - I will be on the message boards tonight (Friday) under the chat from 8pm-9pm Eastern time so if you have any questions be sure to get on.

Also for anybody wondering, we survived tropical storm Fay here in Ft. Myers but our house in Melbourne had us worried.  Our neighbors told us everything is fine but it was pretty scary how close the flooding came to the house.  We are heading over there this weekend and I hope there are no suprises.



Sunday, August 10
August 10th, 2008

Well it's almost been a week for us down here in FL for rehab and things have been going pretty good.  Right now I'm nowhere close to coming back and facing MLB hitters.  I've started throwing from 60 feet and am slowly working my way up...I think the word slowly should be in bold!  I would love to return but I think it's more important I don't push things and blow out my arm totally.  This is a tough injury and from what I hear I'm expected to have a couple setbacks when I start throwing more and more.  I've never had anything like this happen to me before so I think it's best to do what the docs (& Twins rehab coordinator Lanning Tucker) want me to do.  We will see how everything goes, right now I'm in the very early stages of throwing and things feel good.

Mail - Yep I'm signing up stuff that comes in the mail...the addy is above just remember to include a sase.   



Tuesday, August 5
FL Address
Well I'm in Florida right now and I just got an address (above) for anyone that needs things signed up...just remember to include a SASE.  For those of you that sent letters to my MN addresses I will sign those up when I get back whenever that may be.  I'm expected to be here at least a month and most likely until the end of the season...it all depends on how my elbow responds and if I have any setbacks and that is very hard to tell.  I'll keep everyone updated on here with my progress but I just wanted to make sure everyone has my address to get their cards signed up.

Thursday, July 31
In-Person Graphing

I got my first in-person in a long time tonight.  What was even cooler was that I was able to find a card of him on my way to the field without knowing he was going to be there.  The guy I got to sign for me is Mark Spitz and he is featured in the new 2008 Allen & Ginter baseball card set. Mark was throwing out the 1st pitch and I didn't even know until I was getting out of my car.  I had trouble telling who he was without the facial hair but I ended up getting him to sign the card, not to bad for another day at the park!  Not the prettiest graph but I'll take it, the man is a legend

Photobucket



Thursday, July 24
MY 2008 Topps ALLEN & GINTER REVIEW

Well it just arrived around baseball card shops all over the country and it’s shockwaves are being felt by collectors and newcomers to the hobby everywhere, it’s 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter.  This is easily the top product of 2008 and is filled with even more stuff than the previous 2 releases.  What makes this card brand special?  Well there are tons of things and I will go through them because this is my favorite box of cards of the year to collect and I want to get everyone on board and those that are thinking about buying their first pack in years to go out and give them a chance at resurrecting that feeling of collecting again. 

 

To start I better give a quick summary of the cards.  Back in the day Allen & Ginter was a real brand of cards…I’m talking early 1900’s.  Not only did the cards feature pictures of famous baseball players but they went further and picked out champions in other walks of life and plastered their faces on cards.  Flip ahead 100 years and the brand is put back out by Topps with pictures of baseball players as well as tons of other famous people.  For example I just noticed that one of the cards inside the packs is of Hotdog eating champion Joey Chestnut, there’s another one of fisherman Kevin Van Dam, one of Harriet Tubman and even the Gateway Arch in St. Louis has a card this year.  The coolest part is that Topps put out a card of me in the set…#307 to be exact.  I’m very thrilled because this set is my favorite set and I would honestly be content for the rest of my life if I do not get another card…to put it another way this is the set I have wanted to be in for the last 2 years!

 

Like I said above if you are new to the game this is the brand that got me back into cards a couple years back and renewed my love for collecting.  Now I don’t want to scare anyone but these cards sell out quickly.  If you are lucky enough to have a baseball card shop in your area they will more than likely have these unless they are sold out.  For those that aren’t as fortunate you can run over to Target or Wal-Mart and check out the baseball card section.  In Target the card section is usually at one end of the checkout lines on one side of the store entrance, kind of hard to find but if you ask someone they should find it for you.  Wal-Mart is kind of the same way and they are usually located by the tobacco counter.  I’m telling everyone this because after about a month the only place you can find these things are on eBay and for more than retail price.  Now I’m not sure when these are going to arrive in stores, last year it was about a week after release when they showed up in MN and I was only able to find them in one store up here.  Also if you are in the Brooklyn Park, MN area do one thing…be sure to leave me a box to buyJ

 

Okay for all of you collectors there have been a couple changes this year.  Those annoying Dick Perez cards have been replaced by something called the US set.  It’s a set of all 50 states represented by a player that was either born or lived in by that player.  I thought it would be cool if they had a guy born in each state for all 50 cards and I thought that was the set but I noticed the Nick Markakis Georgia card and it said he was born in NY so that throws out that idea.  Anyways I made the Wisconsin card and will be signing and inscribing up that bad boy for whoever sends it to me to sign. 

 

Another couple of minor changes, there are things called silk cards #’d to 10, the snake cards have been replaced by sharks, roman emperors with world icons and countries with world leaders.  There is also a thing called Crack the code…I’m sure it will take tons of hours to solve this code but what the heck it’s worth a shot and under the message board on the site we will be sharing cards and trying to figure out the code…I guess the winner that cracks the code will get their own A&G card in next year’s set…I could just see it now, one card for our entire message board…cool.

 

There’s also tons of other stuff that will stay the same, rip cards, short prints, mini cards, wood cards, an Abraham Lincoln hair card and the relics.  It’s a fun set…let’s see how I did

 

1 box of A&G

143 base cards…not sure about short prints right now, there isn’t a list

4 Game Used card…not sure how this happened because I think you are only suppose to get 2

Vlad, Hafner, Ryan Howard, Garrett Anderson

1 Crack the code card

David Wright Box Topper

20 State born/lived in cards

1 Shark card, Mako

1 World Icon Cleopatra

2 World Leaders

12 regular base minis – 4 Ginter Back mini’s – 4 Black Bordered mini’s

 

Final word

Well I opened a lot of Ginter boxes over the past two years and I think this is going to be the best Ginter release yet.  The content inside is overflowing with different sets to go after and lots of nice looking cards that are waiting for ink to get put on in the form of a signature.  As you can see above I didn’t have any major hits but for the $ it doesn’t get any better than this.  If you are a set collector this set will have you working for days.  My final word…this will be the one and might be the only set I will be working hard on for the rest of the summer, if you want to dabble in cards for the first time in years this is the set for you!

 

 



Wednesday, July 23
2008 Topps Allen & Ginter Cards Coming Out

Just wanted to warn everyone that 08 Topps Allen & Ginter cards will be arriving in stores shortly.  This will be the main set I will collect this year and once again the set I tell new collectors to go after if you are just getting into the hobby.  Here's a little note though, these boxes sell out quickly so be sure to start now if you want to have some fun.  They are not priced high and are a pretty fun set.  In MN the best places to find these would be Target & Wal-Mart and anywhere else you can try eBay and your local card shop.  I have a case coming in later next week and should have a box here to review tomorrow sometime.  As for now here's a pic of my new card! As always send it over to be signed if you pull one!

 

 



08gintkjsks
My 2008 A&G card

Thursday, July 17
TC Bear

 

Alright I promised a TC bear story and here it is.  For those of you that don't know the Twins Mascot is TC Bear...He also can hit a ball farther than I can...seriously.  Well TC bear was involved in the Mascot stuff for the All Star game.  He got to go to all the events and entertain the crowd as well as be in the All-Star Mascot HR Derby contest.  TC Bear has cleaned up in the event the past couple years and was once again the favorite to win this year.  Well his toughest competetion I heard came in the 1st round when he knocked out Bernie Brewer...From there he cruised to the finals and eventually ended up winning the thing.  Well he was pretty excited because he got a nice looking trophy to put in his bear house and be proud of from the last couple years.  This year though MLB changed sponsors and he got a sweet crystal trophy that said "Mascot HR derby Champ".  The trophy was given to him, he took a picture and quickly the sponsor took the trophy back.  When asked about it later the sponsor told him it was going into storage for next year and they would use the same trophy.  I don't know about you but it seemed pretty unfair that a big time sponsor couldn't swing for a nice little trophy that a bear worked hard to get.  What do you think 



Should The Bear Get The Trophy
1) Should TC Bear Get His Trophy?
   Yes, that seems pretty low to take a trophy back
   No, the economy is struggling, ez way to cut cost!
   Who cares, he's a bear!

Thursday, July 17
Mankato Signing

I just got back from my signing in Mankato...man what a long day.  At 4pm we left the Metrodome...when I say we I mean Wally The Beerman, Sue the Organist, TC Bear (who is fresh off winning the mascot HR derby in NY) and our drivers!  Well we got back around 11pm...what a day.  It was pretty neat to head back to Mankato.  I played in the Northwoods League 8 years ago and the place really changed.  The place was packed, they had a winning team on the field and it was a fun place to be.  I remember when I was there they were the Mankato Mashers and they wouldn't stop playing the song "Monster Mash" and it got old quick.  Flip through 8 years and they are now the Moon Dogs and they are selling out.  I signed autographs for about an hour and met a lot of people from this site.  I did a radio interview for a little bit....I threw out the first pitch...with my left hand since I cannot throw still, I hope the video doesn't end up on Youtube...it was ugly and I almost fell because I was wearing dress shoes!  It was a fun time and pretty cool to go back to a place that had a lot to do with my success on my way to becoming a Big Leaguer. 

Please keep checking out our sponsors below.  Also I have a great story on TC Bear that might make you upset.  Keep checking out the site for that later in the week. 



Monday, July 14
Autograph Signing in Mankato

I just wanted to let everyone know I will be signing autographs in Mankato on Wednesday 7/16 this week.  The signing will take place before the Mankato Moondogs baseball game at 7pm.  Be sure to stop by and say hi if you are in the area!

 

 



Monday, July 7
The Final Vote - Cursed?

I was just thinking that one year ago the madness of the Final Vote for the All-Star was blowing up this site after I got nominated.  It got me thinking about a lot of things.  Things like why wasn't the final totals ever released.  I noticed in an article the other day they finally gave out Okajima's vote total...4.4 million.  It would just be nice to have known what type of damage we did on the polls instead of hearing what place we got, maybe someday somebody will come out and give the #'s.  It also got me thinking about what if I had made the team.  For me it would be cool to sign baseballs with AllStar07 inscribed on them and when I get older I would always be able to attend Tristar events and put that ever needed inscription on the balls!  The last thing I thought about was what each guy on the final man vote was doing now a year later...what I found was kind of shocking.  I call what I found the curse of the 07 final man vote.  Nearly each guy who was on the vote is currently injured or struggling.  Don't believe me let's check it out.

Me - Partially Torn Ligament in the elbow,

Kelvim Escobar tear in shoulder hurt and hasn't pitched in the big leagues this season,

Jeremy Bonderman - Out for season with surgery (blood clots)

Hideki Okajima - Not hurt but has struggled a lot according to media

Roy Halladay - Hit in the temple on a line drive - Made the All-Star team

Roy Oswalt - Currently Hurt with a bad hip

Tom Gorzelanny - Sent to AAA after struggling with Pirates

Chris Young - Hit in face by a line drive and has been out for awhile

Carlos Zambrano - Just came off the DL with shoulder problems

Brandon Webb - The only guy that goes against this curse...MLB All Star - Great season

 

Please support this site by checking out the sponser below this update, thanks!



Saturday, July 5
July 4th - On Top Of The Dome!
I hope everyone had a terrific 4th of July.  Last night I probably had the coolest Fourth of July in my life.  I spent it on the roof of the Metrodome.  I talked to Dan Gladden about a month ago and he said if we were ever in town over the fourth to make sure you check out the fireworks from the top of the dome.  Sure enough we are in town right now and I had to see this for myself.  I don't know how to describe it but I felt like I was in a dream climbing up the baggy.  To get up to the roof you have to go through a series of doors so the pressure doesn't escape to quickly and send you or your things (hat) flying.  It's the same feeling as when you walk out the dome after a game and the pressure sucks you out the door.  Once on the roof there is a catwalk that goes around the stadium.  Then you come to a point where there is a rope system you take to climb up the actual Teflon baggy.  I couldn't believe it so I kept climbing up (with my left hand of course).  Once up it was like being on the moon or having a giant trampoline.  I spent the first couple minutes deciding if I was safe or not and then I started jumping.  After about 5 minutes fireworks were going off in all directions and it was one of the coolest things I have ever witnessed.  If you guys get some time be sure to click on one of the site's sponsored links!  

 



Wednesday, July 2
July 2nd, 2008

Just a couple quick things I thought I should note.  On the message board we are going to start a tough project next week for charity.  It involves getting an autographed baseball card of every guy that played in the big leagues during the 2008 season!  So far there have been nearly 1100 guys that have been on a big league roster this year.  What we are going to do is make a huge checklist and try and go after every guy.  Hopefully once it's completed we will auction it off on eBay with 100% of the proceeds going to a charity Stephanee and I will pick out.  It's a tough task but I think we can do it...Once again this is going on under the message board next week and we need all the help we can get. 

Lastly there is another false article out there saying I'm heading to FL at the end of the month to start a rehab program and I have a strained elbow.  As far as I know I will be up here until at least late August at the earliest and my injury was diagnosed as a partially torn ligament in the elbow.  Another case of don't always believe what you read!

 

 



Tuesday, July 1
Hang with the Majors at Majors

The Minnesota Twins and the Twins Wives Organization, will be hosting a special event this Thursday, July 3rd at Majors Sports Cafe in Bloomington from 5pm-9pm.   

"Hang with the Majors at Majors" is an opportunity for fans to interact with their favorite Twins players and support a good cause!  There will be a private dinner for 100 lucky fans to dine with the Twins.  Tickets for the dinner are $100 each and are limited to the first 100 people, so call and reserve yours ASAP.  All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Midwest flood relief.

The dinner will be from 5pm-6:30pm.  Only 100 tickets will be sold and are on sale now for $100 each. Tickets may be purchased at Majors in Bloomington (8301 Normandale Blvd, Bloomington, MN, 55438) or by calling Major's at 952-835-8308.

During the dinner event, the rest of Majors will remain open to the public from 5 to 9 p.m., with Twins players bar tending.  So if you can't make the dinner, you can still stop by and hang out.  There also will be a player autograph station (the players will rotate through and autos will be $5 each), a tip jar to collect additional donations, and the wives will be selling Twins tank tops.

Players and wives planning to participate are: Pat & Stephanee Neshek, Joe and Lisa Nathan, Mike Lamb, Matt and Dejie Guerrier, Jesse and Becky Crain, Glen and Alisha Perkins, Kevin Slowey, Brian Bass, Mike and Michelle Redmond, Nick and Natalie Punto, Boof Bonser and Jessica Clark, Delmon Young and Brendan Harris.  Participants are subject to change.

   



Wednesday, June 25
June 25th, 2008 REHAB & BASEBALL CARDS

Hey guys I just wanted to give a quick update on my injury.  I just got my hinge brace off on Monday and have started rehab.  So far the rehab has been pretty boring, I do things with no weight right now and it's not too much fun.  I understand that it's going to take time so I'm going to be patient with it. 

What has been up with me lately...not much.  I've been spending a lot of time trading stuff on the message board on here.  Right now I'm going after baseballs signed by Hall of Famers...It's been a lot of fun and if you are a collector the message board is a must.  Also I give stuff away on there and it's a fun little community to chat about anything.

Baseball cards...Well Topps Series 2 and Upper Deck series 2 came out a little bit ago and I'm in both sets.  To tell you the truth I'm not too impressed with either card...I find the Topps design boring and they put too much gloss on the cards that they are impossible to sign even after rubbing them down with powder and signing with a Staedtler pen.  Upper Deck is Upper Deck, you get a nice looking photo and that's about it.  Either way it's another card to add to my list of cards...and as always if you pull one of them out of a pack I always sign for free just make sure you include a SASE.  Now for the good stuff and what I'm really excited about...Topps decided to put me into the Allen & Ginter card set.  This is my favorite product of the year and comes out in a couple weeks.  I always recommend it to people who are looking to get back into cards, it's probably the funnest set out.  Anyways I'm in the set, not sure if I'm a Short Print but they also put me in as an insert.  They took guys who were born from every state in the US and made a card...I get the Wisconsin card...I can't wait to see it.  I'm really happy that Topps has put me in the set and I owe a lot to you guys for writing letters during spring training and letting Topps know that you wanted to see me in a good set.  I have a strong feeling this product is going to sell out quickly once again so get ready for it.  Once again if you pull my card from this send it over with a SASE and I will sign it up.



Tuesday, June 17
June 17th, 2008
Man I was having too much fun trading on the message board that I totally forgot about updating the homepage!  To tell you the truth when I'm not playing baseball and not going to the field when the team is on the road there really isn't much news.  Since my injury I have been going to all the home games and watching the games from the clubhouse while lifting and running during the 1st couple innings.  It's been a real wake up call for me in how much I have took for granted having an arm in great shape all my career.  It also makes me respect injured athletes (or anyone) a lot more because the mental strain is a lot to take on.  During this past month all you can do is sit around and watch your team play.  You feel like everyone has forgot about you which isn't the case but when you take away the job you love and get to watch from a distance it's tough and has your mind thinking too much.  In the past month I haven't been able to do much since my arm is in an arm brace/lock.  Slowly I have been able to flip notches on the cast to add another 5 degree angle I can move it and in another week or two I will get this thing off.  But like I said I'm not traveling with the team and it's just strange to be home in June...I've never had a June off since high school and it's been kind of nice (in a weird way since I can only enjoy this due to an injury) to enjoy a Minnesota summer for the first time in years.  At first you have all the energy in the world to get stuff done since being a ballplayer you only get an off day about twice a month.  Right now I feel like I'm in off-season mode.  I've been watching lots of movies, going on bike rides, taking our dogs on walks by the Mississippi river, cleaning out the house and trading the stuff I find on my message board.  It's been a lot of fun but man the thing I learned the most about this injury was how much I love playing baseball and how much it's a part of my life.  Now I know why retired athletes come back to play (or people never retire from their jobs).

Friday, May 30
Signing Tomorrow
I will be doing an Autograph Signing tomorrow Saturday 5/31 at 10am - 11:30 am at Morrie's Nissan in Brooklyn Park.  Stop on by and say hi!

Wednesday, May 21
May 21st, 2008

Hi everyone, thanks for being patient with me while I sort out this injury.  I also wanted to thank everyone for all the support.  It's pretty neat to see and it has helped me feel better about everything that has happened.  Right now it looks like I'll be out the rest of the season.  They told me it will be 3 months before I will throw then I can start to play catch if everything goes as planned.  Right now I'm in a restrictive brace that basically forces me to stay in the same arm position...I even have to wear the thing while I sleep.  It's not been fun but it's something that happened and I understand what it will take to get back so all I can do is keep my head up.  Right now I will still be going to every home game and hanging out with the guys.  I usually watch all the games inside the clubhouse and lift my legs during the first 3 innings of the game. 

As of right now I have a lot of time to do things I don't normally get to do.  So far I have been on my message board trading items and having a giveaway and auctions.  The best item up for auction right now is the 2007-08 Pink my little pony bullpen backpack signed by all the bullpen members...Be sure to check it out.

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Tuesday, May 13
Will Be Back Shortly
I just wanted to say thanks for all the support from everyone as I go through this with my arm.  I will be back on here with updates shortly I just need some time to let this all sink in. 

Friday, May 2
May 2nd, 2008

I'm sitting back here early in the morning after another nice off-day.  Someone thought it would be good to give us 3 off-days this week...I'm not complaining but I think I would rather have them spread out more over the month so we could get them when we really need them. 

Yesterday was spent hanging out with my family, playing with the dogs, playing some Wii and cleaning the house.  I've been doing a bunch of baseball card box breakings lately and the latest ones are chronicled here http://mlbplayers.mlb.com/mlb/events/nbbcd/index.jsp

Right now is when we start getting some major baseball card releases to come out.  In the next month we will see Topps Co-signers, Bowman Baseball, Topps Series 2 and Upper Deck SPX.  I will be opening up all of these and hopefully I can trade on the message board to finish some of these sets. 

I've also got a lot of game used stuff to trade on the site and some giveaways, maybe on the next road trip I will be able to get a bunch of stuff up.



Saturday, April 26
Me Getting Hit In The Face

You guys wanted to see the video of me getting hit in college, here it is - Warning, this video is graphic.

 



Friday, April 18
2008 Topps Heritage Baseball Card Review

Alright it’s now time to review one of my favorite boxes of the year.  Today we have 2008 Topps Heritage.  Very quickly I will give a brief overview of the product.  The Topps Heritage concept is pretty cool in that they take an old Topps design…this year they are copying the 1959 topps design…They basically go back almost 50 years and use that years card design.  So next year we will be seeing the 1960 design with all the players from today.  In 2057 they will be using the 2008 Topps design…pretty cool to think about. These are sold at all hobby shops...Wal Marts and Target's.   

 

Now the reason I like this set is that it is nearly impossible to put together.  They have these things called short prints which for baseball card illiterate people means some cards are put in packs at a lot less rate than the normal cards.  So if card #7 is a short print and numbers 6 and 8 are not short printed card #7 is produced in a lot less quantity making set building fun and irritating!  This set also has other weird variations…last year they had cards with the player’s name in Yellow and others of the same guy in White and one of the variations was an extreme short print.  This year some card backs have “Black Backs”  Here’s the variation/short print list if anyone is starting to build this set, http://www.topps.com/sports/news/toppsNews.aspx?news_id=191

 Also Topps uses a lot of players in this set so it’s also a favorite of autograph collectors who collect the set and then try to get it signed!  The non-glossy surface is great for getting signed and one of my favs to get my teammates on.  Well I guess I’ll say let’s get this fun and emotionally grueling set started…I got two boxes to open so here we go.

 

Well let’s stop talking and open the cards up.

 

Specs

24 packs with 8 cards per pack

Relic card or Real One Autograph in Every Box

 

Here’s how I did

2 Box Toppers Advertising Panel –Maddux, Ruiz, Swisher – Velez, Iwamura, Betancourt

Black Backs – Box #1 = 23

Black Backs – Box #2 = 23

SP’s – Box #1 = 8

SP’s – Box #2 = 8

Chrome #’d to 1959 – 6

Chrome #’d to 559 – Manny, John Maine

Chrome #’d to 59 - Joba

Relic/Auto = John Smoltz, Ivan Rodriguez

 

Well I got the big hit in the Joba #’d to 59 Chrome Card.  I also knocked off a bunch of SP’s.  In some odd way in both boxes my Sp’s the exact same…So it looks like I will be trading these on my website to try and put this set together.  I also noticed the black backs were in nearly every pack.  If you are bored and looking for a fun challenge of putting together a tough baseball set then this is for you…This was my favorite set to collect last year and I think any fan looking to get into baseball cards would like this set.   

 


Monday, April 14
April 14th, 2008 - Touching On The Mail

Just arrived in Detroit last night and it felt just as cold as KC.  Today I thought would be a good time to talk about mail!  As a lot of you know fan mail is a pretty high priority for me.  When sending a letter there are a lot of things that will help you have success.  Basically when you send out a letter it arrives at the Metrodome and is sorted out by Ryan, one of our clubhouse guys.  Each day a big mail pile arrives and has to be sorted.  I wish I could take a picture of our mail boxes but we are on the road right now.  Basically it's a big cubby on the wall with little cubby holes with our names over each box.  Some guys do their mail, some don't and some pay marketing firms to open their mail and throw in a generic letter with a photo.  When sending to players one of the biggest things you have to know is if the guy does his mail or not.  I mean it's a waste if you spend a $1 on a couple stamps and lose a baseball card...nobody likes that.  So finding out who signs is huge.  There are a lot of websites out there that offer a pay service and provide up to date signing habits and which address works to send to guys.  Also there are the Jack Smalling address books that list every address of players.  Lastly you can check out message boards and try to get some freebie addresses or trade with people.  On my message board we have a cool section where people post their recent successes (as of right now though we have restricted access to the message board so if you aren't a lucky member you have to look elsewhere). 

Okay so you have the address and the guy signs what else?  Well for me my favorite letters are short and to the point.  In a perfect world my favorite letter would be "What's up Pat, I know you are busy, just wanted you to sign this card if you have time!"  I think most players would like it this way also.  There are many times in the clubhouse when guys are opening their mail and they either get a 2 page letter or something so ridiculous they have to show everyone.  To be honest probably only a handful of guys read the longer letters...most guys grab the SASE, sign the card, toss the letters without reading them and put the mail in a pile. 

Never ever ask another player to get something signed from another player.  It happens...every week I get one of these and have to toss it.  I guess in Junior High terms it would be like a guy trying to get the hot girl and using her ugly friend to get in with her...it's just not right.

Always include a SASE.  What's a SASE some of the younger people might ask.  It's short for Self Addressed Stamped Envelope...What's that...it's a return letter that has a stamp and address already on it so the player can throw the card in quickly.  When I do my letters if there is no SASE there will be no response.  I've collected tons of baseballs, hats, shirts, cards and other things over the past couple years because there was no SASE.  I don't want the stuff but I also do not think I should have to go to the post office, buy an envelope, address it up and pay for the postage.  This would def make me want to never do fan mail so I try to spread the word and make it clear that a SASE is a must if you want a reply. 

What to send?  Most TTM (Through The Mail) autograph request are for baseball cards.  I don't mind signing a lot of cards at one time.  Other guys will only sign one and keep the rest, again you have to do your research.  I also sign 8X10's, baseballs, hats, shirts, jerseys you name it if it has a SASE send it over.  If you need a birthday inscription that's fine also, I'm easy on that stuff.  Other guys have different signing habits and you'll have to look into them.

So in conclusion know the player and how he signs, short letters, SASE, 1 card if you are not sure and you should have a lot of success.  Time wise all guys are different.  I like to do my mail in the clubhouse once it comes in.  Sometimes we are on the road for a long time like right now so it might take 3 weeks to get back from me.  Be patient and if you follow the rules above you might have some success.

Also the offer still stands...Send me any signed baseball or hockey card no matter how good the player was or is or at what level and I'll trade you for one of my cards signed!



Saturday, April 12
April 12th, 2008

I totally felt like I was playing MN high school baseball again these past couple games.  I say this in that IT HAS BEEN FREEZING outside!  I thought those days of going out and playing in snow and sub freezing temps might be done but oh I was wrong.  The last two days were games that you don't know how you are going to do because a lot of us haven't played in that type of cold in a long time.  Running out to the mound tonight I kept telling myself to make good pitches and work quick.  The air was so cold I had a lot of trouble feeling the ball because my hands got really cold and it really showed when I let one get away that nearly hit the batter in the head.  People thought I was headhunting and others thought it was a good pitch but honestly the thing got away and had a mind of its own.  I guess this whole trip is a tuneup for the new stadium in a couple year!!!  The next three days look just a little cooler.  I think it's pretty safe to say that I've never wanted to get back to the Metrodome as bad as I do right now! 

Kansas City has been doing some offseason work and I think I might have a new favorite ballpark when the construction is done.  So far they made an excellent bullpen and are really hammering away the rest of the park.  This place has always been one of my favs and I cannot wait to see the finished product. 

Usually when we go to Kansas City there are more Twins fans than Royals fans.  So when looking at the schedule and seeing an early series in Kansas City and then checking the weather I figured we'd be lucky to draw 10,000.  Boy was I wrong, I think a lot of people just wanted to watch ballplayers freeze their butts off!  Tonight I believe was close to a sellout (Billy Butler Jersey Night).  I've never seen that many fans at a Royals game since I was in high school and drove down to watch Mark Mcgwire pack the place.  The fans must have brought some warm clothes because most of them stayed the entire night.  We have one more here and then we head to autograph headquarters (Detroit...lots of graphers there)! 



Tuesday, April 8
April 8th, 2008

Today we got a rare off day and I basically spent it catching up on everything...emails, other stuff and right now the site.  Right now we are in Chicago and it's pretty cold outside.  I always hate the first month because it's tough to adjust to cold conditions...tomorrow night might be the coldest game of the season but I'm sure it will be nothing compared to last year when we strolled into Chicago. 

The other day I did an opening day rally in MN and a guy came up to me with my 2008 Topps card.  I guess they released the card in the Minnesota Twins Team sets.  I'm pretty sure it's the same card image they will use for series 2.  I also got an update that the signatures I signed for Topps last season will be introduced in a late product this year...Updates & Highlights.  I think the stickers got piled up on someone's desk and someone found them during spring cleaning. 

I tried a bunch to sign after a couple of our games during the last homestand.  It's not my favorite time to sign because we spend all day at the field and I get kind of anxious to get home but in reality signing only takes around 10 mins to do.  I usually try to sign after day games that aren't getaway days.  Other things about signing, I love signing before the game outside the dome and my favorite place to sign is in the bullpen about 8-20 mins before the game...Just come down to the bullpen and give me a shout.  I heard they are selling my t-shirts at the dome, if you pick one up be sure to stop down and have me sign it.  It's always tough to sign during BP or coming off the field because we have to eat and get dressed in a short amount of time.  As always if I don't sign keep trying, I'm easy. 

 



Tuesday, April 1
April 1st, 2008

Well I haven't been on here in awhile and there's a good reason...I just got worn out and am sick of having to update it all the time...Therefore as of right now I am shutting the site down and erasing all content later in the week... 

gotcha...April Fool's!  Man this past week has been all about moving and cleaning.  I think every guy has been packing up stuff, cleaning up things and trying to set up houses now for the past week and it gets very old...this time of the year is always a mess. 

Opening day was pretty special...what a game.  It definetly had playoff atmosphere where every pitch was under the microscope.  For me it was an intense game...you go through all of spring training with crowds that barely break 9000 people and a couple of loud cheers to a crowd of 50000 that are going nuts for every pitch...gotta love it, it got my adrenaline pumping.  After the game last night I was walking up the stairs and a guy from the other team shouted to me "hey Pat, I'm Darren O'day and I just wanted to say it's cool to meet you...I read your website all the time last year."  I had to do a double take...just about an hour before that I was sitting inside the clubhouse watching this sidearmer from the Angels make his debut.  I kept asking myself who is that side/sub throwing guy was, turns out it was O'day.  Not a bad debut either, got out of a jam, pitched right out of the chute on opening day for his debut...I asked him if he was nervous and he said it was pretty intense.  It was nice to see another weird throwing guy in the bigs and even cooler that he stopped to say hi and let me know about this site.  I ended up snagging a foul ball with the opening day logo on the baseball and had it authenticated because they are very rare to find...after Darren said hi I think I'm going to offer him the ball because stuff from your debut is pretty special and means a lot more! 



Saturday, March 22
Congrats

I just wanted to give a big shout out to the 2007/2008 Butler Basketball team.  You guys got me watching college hoops this entire past season after many years off.  What a team, it's sad to see it over but I think everyone who follows basketball closely knows how special the team was.  Can't wait for next year! 



butlerkjkajkssss

Tuesday, March 18
Off Day
We have a rare off day coming up.  I'll try my best to get some new stuff up soon.

Thursday, March 13
March 13th, 2008

Hey guys, lots of cool updates.  We just had a winner in the Joe Mauer Figure contest so that is over.  I just got a cool package from GAMEWEAR the makers of those sweet baseball bracelets http://www.wearthegame.com/ We had some Neshek 17 bracelets made up and I will talk about them in another update down the road.  You will be seeing a lot of their products in stadiums all over the league so I just wanted to let you guys know of the next big thing that will be coming to a stadium near you this season. 

How about the new commercial...if you haven't watched it yet be sure to check it out right here!  Would you believe that it took me almost 6 hours to make!  A lot of the people in the commercial were actually from Park Center with the exception of I think it was 4 people that were actresses and Chad the tour guide.  My favorite part of the commercial...the kid that points at the end...it took him about 40 takes to perfect that part.

The arm feels great and I'm pretty excited to have my stuff working...that's all I'm going to say about on-field stuff...I'm ready for the season to start right now.  Camp is slowly winding down and we have about 2 weeks left.  There are lots of cuts that will be happening soon and that's always the toughest part of camp.  So far to date this camp feels like it has went by the quickest...pretty soon we will be standing in 30 degree temps in Chicago...I can't wait.

I got a lot of baseball card products to review and have been falling behind lately with pitching on the road and having other things to do.  I've opened a bunch of Topps, Upper Deck, Topps Heritage and Moments & Milestones and will be trying my best to get those reviews up soon. 



mlbtheshow08
Images Of Me From MLB 08 The Show, I wish I had those muscles in the left pic!

Thursday, March 13
Side Note

Just wanted to comment real quickly about the Vegan Article that ran in the MN paper yesterday http://www.startribune.com/sports/16582911.html.  I really didn't want this to be a big deal and that's why I wrote on here before that I will not talk much about this during the season but I cannot speak for the press and they will write about whatever they want.  I wanted to clear some things up that I felt weren't addressed right, otherwise you get stories like this http://www.kfan.com/pages/psn_danbarreiro.html shooting out on the airways that make me look bad and slander my name, "Yes, another Twins pitcher has come forward to say the reason he didn't pitch as well as he should is that he ate too much"?  Now I know the S&T article is tough to follow and I can see where Dan made that assumption that I said things but if you read it closely I never stated that in any way or made an excuse or was quoted saying anything close to that.  It would be cool to go on his radio show and talk about this and clear things up.  I felt the Star Tribune article was good but it sent mixed messages.  In the article it stated that last year my diet was poor...this is not correct.  Anyone that knows me knows that I'm a diehard juicer (Fruits & Vegetables) and have been doing this for the past 6 years.  The last time I ate a whopper jr. was in 2004...the article never gave a date but people might have thought I ate those things last year...not the case.  I didn't go Vegan to do better on the field or improve my game, the article makes it sound like I was looking for answers and this is what I came up with, not the case.  I feel like the article was suppose to be about me getting stronger and how I struggled late last season and in some odd way the vegan thing got tied in.  The simple fact was that my arm wasn't ready to pitch everyday and it wore down.  I like the stuff about the workout program I'm trying to utilize this year...Strong workout program, strong results.  So far in Spring Training the results have been great.  The simple fact here is that this is a touchy subject because there are a lot of people that have a special interest (money, job, family) in these industries and they do not like press that might hurt their industries.  For me I'm not proclaiming this as the way, I'm not trying to hurt anyone, this is my personal choice and the conclusion I have drawn (I'm doing this for my health and has nothing to do with baseball) and a couple reporters wrote stories about it.  It's a mixed subject as I found out, I never had so many people ask me where I get my protein, pretty funny I think they think I just read a book and decided to be a vegan...not the case.  If you really care and I'm sure most of you don't, I'm getting tons of good protein in a lot of the things I eat.  I'm also getting all my vitamins from various sources...hooray.  BTW did you know horses don't eat meat and they have tons of muscle, pretty neat to think about!  In all honesty I really never liked meat and only ate it a couple times a week if that in the past.  For the most part of the season last year I was vegetarian (didn't tell anyone) if I had the choice and when we were on the road I really didn't have a choice and ate what the clubby had or whatever restaurant was close...  This really isn't new to me its just another step that I'm trying out.  I'm not telling anyone to go out and go vegan, I'm not here to say this is the best thing in the world, as is everything I do on here I'm telling my story and shedding light into the life of a ballplayer...Good, it's over...You won't hear anything on THIS site until June and like I said before the press will write what they want...I don't really have a choice.  Also as a side note the only reason I'm arriving early at the field is to get my mail done and hangout, I'm not that diehard...All my workouts are done after practice...listening to SLAYER on my ipod...no hippie stuff for me!



Thursday, March 6
March 6th, 2008

Well lots of stuff today to talk about.  We got stuff about a chiropractor and a vegan meal, a Joe Mauer Autographed Figure, a Good & Bad Letter from the mailbag and also a Japanese Package! 

First off things are going really well on the mound and a lot of the credit goes to Dr. Mark Marien (Gold Coast Chiropractic, gotta give a plug) who is a Chiropractor down here in Ft. Myers I have been going to for a couple weeks now.  I was having a little bit of problems with my range of motion on my throwing arm and this guy does something called Active Release Technique...I'm not going to bore you on the details about it but the guy is a miracle worker...My velo feels like I am at my prime and I couldn't feel better on the mound.  I would recommend it for anyone who has any pain...I still like all you doctors out there but I want results and not just told what is wrong with me!

About 2 months ago my wife turned me onto the books "The China Study", "Slaughterhouse",  and one called "Skinny ***" (I think this is the book Prince Fielder was talking about as to why he doesn't like meat).  I'm not going to go into the details but if you have time and want a real eye opener that might change your life I would recommend either book.  Now most of you that know me know that I'm a big raw food person...I love to juice fruits and vegetables and watch what I eat...You can find the articles out there but a couple years back Stephanee really opened up my eyes with the stuff I was eating and it changed my life.  Well to make a long story short for the past 2 months I have been total Vegan and feel better than ever.  I'm not going to sit here and preach about why things are bad because it's really a lifelong learning process and takes years to digest the simplest things about food and something that can't be forced upon anyone.  I'm pretty proud though that I made the change in my life and can avoid the garbage that is out there.  This year will be tough though with our schedule and being on the road but I will be prepared and update you guys as to how I'm doing and what I do so I don't have to eat Burger King or Popeye's chicken ever again...and yes that was the meal after the last two road games I played in...It's hard to believe.  I'm sure I will eat meat again because our society is set up to reward convenience rather than our health

Fun stuff now...Up on the message board is a FREE contest for a Signed Joe Mauer Debut McFarlane figure from this year's collection.  I need to keep up with Phil Hughes's site...that guy will probably give away a car next!  Anyways Joe was cool enough to sign one of these up for me to put on the site...Good luck, I must mention though that on the message board I have suspended registration due to a couple posters that were making threats.  I don't know if I will open up registration anytime soon so if you have an account on there it just might be your lucky day to win a Mauer Signed Figure. jomo 

The other day I was doing my mail and got a surprise package waiting near my locker from Japan.  Inside was a Sadaharu Oh (Japan All Time HR Leader) shirt as seen in the picture with a box of Japanese chocolates and decorated chopsticks.  I thought it was the coolest gesture that a fan has done in a long time and I'm proud to wear the Oh Shirt!  I get a lot of mail each day and a few from overseas...got one from Australia, another one from Korea a few from Europe and numerous from Japan.  Japan ones are always my favorites because they are written on very thin paper with excellent handwriting and they are fun to read because they are very polite and also because of the translation factor, you see some funny mix ups.sadaharu

All right time for good letter/bad letter segment.  I should do a post about how to write a letter again because it seems like there are a ton of new people sending.  Real quickly, if you want a response send a return envelope with postage, I stopped replying to those years ago and you will not get a response.  Anyways here's good letter bad letter.  The good letter is awesome and one I rarely get.  Usually when I open mail you can feel what is inside, ones with cards are heavier and contain a sase...others that want responses also contains sase's...the scary ones are the ones that are light because it is usually someone wanting something...Scott Baker sits next to me and every time I get a light one I look at him and say something like "Oh no, what do we have here" and he just smiles.  Most of the time it is something like a charity wanting money (you would think they would add a SASE when they ask for money but they don't) or a kid who says something like send me back cards.  These letters usually get tossed, I know some of you are probably saying that I should write back to the kid but you know what...I would love to also but I get over a hundred of those each year and don't have the time to be paying money and using my time to fill out a badly written envelope and also supply a card.  Anyways today I got a letter and it was a light one, I opened it up and all it was was a kid giving praise and saying how he liked watching me pitch...I smiled...it was a very rare letter and I didn't know what to do...he didn't want anything and just wanted to say what's up...I thought it was one of my all-time favorite letters.good                                       The bad letter...well...just read and decide!bad



Saturday, March 1
Notes & More

Pretty much everyone has thrown in the games and our second outings are already coming up.  I'm throwing again tomorrow against Boston.  The first couple weeks are rough on the pitchers because we are throwing every other day and if a guys arm isn't ready for this test it can be a challenge.  Right now most guys are pumped up because we are into games and most guys will get over 2 days rest and not have to throw as much as the first week. 

 I'm pretty excited about the baseball cards coming out this week.  I've always been a big fan of the Topps Heritage set and that is suppose to be out any day now.  I will have a full review of this years product sometime next week.  I like this set because they include tons of guys in the set (cough...not me...cough).  Another thing that's cool about the set is that it is very tough to put together and it's a fun challenge for the year.

 If you are registered on my message board I just wanted everyone to know that I'm giving away a 2007 Spring Training Game Used hat for free if you can answer the correct question! 

 And if you are bored and need a laugh check this out from a couple weeks ago...I know you may have watched this already but some of you may not have seen this and yes I'm copying aarongleeman.com by inserting a youtube video...I love his site! 



Friday, February 29
Let The Games Begin
Well it's pretty hard to believe but the games for 2008 are underway!  Yesterday I had my first outing of the spring and everything went pretty good.  The first outing of the season is by far the toughest.  Literally you are thrown out there as a ball of nerves not knowing how you are going to perform.  Things fly through your head like what will happen if I have no control...if I can't throw a strike...if my fastball is only 80mph...I'll be the first to say that every pitcher has some degree of doubt in the back of their heads as they have their first outing of the season.  Luckily for me everything went well...the ball flew out of my hand nice and my slider is breaking really good...I was very pleased but more so to have the outing over and move on now that I know I still have it haha!  To get to Sarasota we took two buses...just your average coach buses nothing special...Guys usually sleep or listen to music.  Sometimes there is a movie, sometimes they play cards and nearly every trip there is bad traffic and we get home a lot later than we should.  This is one of the reason you see big league teams only bring a handful of veteran players.  The older guys have pull and sometimes buy their way out of going!   Almost at 1,000,000 hits...I can't believe it 

Friday, February 22
February 22nd, 2008
Well a couple days have went by since the start of Spring Training.  I had to take a short leave on the site because I had a friend come in town for a few days and we all know how that goes.  Let's see what's going on at the field.  So far I've thrown 3 bullpen sessions and tomorrow we start throwing against hitters.  Everything with my arm fells great especially the slider.  My fastball though has been going nuts running in on right-handed hitters!   I swear there's a sensor on the right side of the plate because everything I throw goes that way right now...I'm sure now my next time out everything I throw will go to the left side:)   Inside the clubhouse the reporters have been having a field day with everyone.  For me I get the same questions and I'm sure you guys are just as much sick of reading the stuff as I am answering it.  For me it's the closer question...if Joe leaves would you be the closer?  I think they ask it hoping for me to say something bad!  One media guy wrote a cool story and actually used a quote I liked.  http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/2008-02-21-2852042728_x.htm For the record I really don't care what spot I have on the team and closing is not a goal I have.  If I happen to close you know I will be trying my best just like every time I step on the mound.  Right now we have the best closer in the league and we can just leave it at that.   Every once in awhile you will find a reporter or media person that makes you smile.  Today that happened twice.  One was Holden Kushner from XM and the other was a person writing for a Palm Beach paper.  The XM one was awesome...the first question was what are you collecting right now?  Right then and there I could tell he did his homework.  The rest of the interview was totally about collecting and not much else.  He even let me give my dad a shout out at the end.  I'm not sure when it will be on XM175 but MLB Live starts at 7pm.  The Palm Beach paper started asking me about short prints and building card sets...I didn't want the interview to end! What else is going on...the days so far have been really short...we start at 9am and get done around noon and head over to the gym to get a workout.  My friend Ryan has been in town for the past week and just left last night and we have been playing Super Nintendo games the entire time...Our two favs have been Baseball Simulator 1000 and Super Tecmo Bowl.  Signed a lot of in-person autographs at the field.  The best time for me to sign is after we get done running or when I'm walking to or from the gym.  I got through most of the mail that has came in. I still have to run to the post office to mail a couple of the trades we completed on the message board for some of you.  Also I know I need to start mentioning this more because some people don't know where all the action is...Check out the Message Board above and sign up.  There are tons of other fans on there chatting it up and I try my best to give stuff away and hold auctions.  Please be sure to check out the message board if you have time.   

Sunday, February 17
Season Starting Up
I just got back from the field right now.  Yesterday, Stephanee and I drove over to Ft. Myers from Indialantic and it took about 3 hours.  We figured we are already in Florida and why arrive any earlier than we had to.  Today is the official reporting day for us.  Basically it's a day to show up and get your locker set up and uniform together.  For housing the Twins either give you the option of living out and renting a place or staying at the team hotel.  Most guys choose to live out.  The place we are at this year is very close to the field...a very big plus considering how terrible the traffic always is in this city.  This morning I had a rude awakening at 7am when my dogs Juicy & Kirby woke me up telling me they had to go to the bathroom.  The place we are renting here in Ft. Myers doesn't have a fenced in yard so that means that I had to put them on the leash and take them down the steps so they could go to the bathroom!  At our other house it's an easy walk to the door and out they go...here you have to wait with them until they do their business and that takes forever...Actually though I'm kind of glad they got me up early, I think they are trying to get me ready for these next 6 weeks of getting up at 7am.  Well since I was up early I showed up to the field really early.  The only other people in were Carmen Cali, Matt Guerrier and Joe Nathan.  I wasn't going to throw today but since my throwing partner was there I quickly got all my stuff together and went out to play catch.  I stopped off at the equipment room and was greeted by our equipment guy Rod Mccormick.  Since I have been here for a couple years this part was a snap since he had all my sizes.  We browsed all the gear and I picked out my shirts, hats and other stuff.  Nothing was really new for 08 except our pullover jackets (little different looking).  Once outside there were a few graphers...note to others for next year...this is a very good day to get graphs!  After catch I called it a day and packed up.  Media members were already on hand and the big storyline it sounded like was the whole no Santana/Hunter clubhouse.  The mailbox was full; I'll start getting to those in a few days once I get our house set up! 

Tuesday, February 12
New Hats & Shirts

Just released from www.sidearmstore.com are some pretty sweet items.  I don't know how they were designed but the hats have a pretty cool logo of me on them.  This is the fourth installment of t-shirts I have put out and the T-shirt's have the MN License plate with something that is very similar to my actual MN license plate...strike 3!  As always my portion of the sales all go to charity.  Also these have once again been produced in limited quantity so if you like them be sure to order them quick before they are sold out.



hatshisrt4th
Click here to go to the site

Sunday, February 10
Snubbed By Topps & Upper Deck.......Suprised???
Well it looks like I've been shut out by both Topps and Upper Deck for the first installment of the new 2008 products.  It kind of suprises me in both ways that no card was produced.  In one way I thought I had a great year nearly making the All Star game that I would for sure make some noise to get in a lot of products.  But on the other hand I understand how for the last so many years the way they pick the same people and the products become boring.  I know how frustrating it is as a collector, I hate seeing the same faces also.  This problem is a great example of how big business chases profit and loses vision of it's very core principals and for these guys it should first be making collecting fun.  I also find it very strange that everyone knows I sign every card produced through the mail and when I have time in-person (I try my best) and you would think the card makers would eat this up.  I forgot the word I learned in business classes in college but there is a word for this and I'm going to just say lack of communication.  If there's something so simple that the entire collecting industry notices...you guys, collectors, autograph hounds, BECKETT and me then why can't the place making the cards notice...it will forever be a mystery.  Right now we can only hope for a card to be released in a late June or Early July labeled with a Series 2 on it.  I thought for sure there would be a Topps Heritage card but we got shut out there also.  There was one place I didn't get shut out and it was an AROD HR #460 card.  I think it came out of Bowman Sterling but it has my name on it so I will sign the back of it.  Other than that I guess just keep opening up old packs if you need my cards or check out eBay and if you have time write to Topps or Upper Deck and let them hear it.  Photobucket

Saturday, February 2
Address Change

I just updated the address with my spring training location above.  Please do not send anymore mail to the FL PO Box (Indialantic) as it will be shut down for good and never used again.  I'm heading over to Ft. Myers for spring training in about a week and a half so mail sent by today should be fine.  I just wanted to give everyone the heads up that the above address is the place to send mail now.



Sunday, February 3
NHL ALL STAR GAME!!!

Well last week my wife, brother Paul, friend Ryan and I got to do something we have always dreamed about doing…we went to the NHL ALL-STAR game!  This year the ASG was in Atlanta and we were pumped to be able to go.  Like I said in my last post the past weekend was very busy with Twinsfest going on but I was lucky enough to find a way to make it to the game.  My brother Paul and my good friend Ryan made it to Atlanta just in time on Saturday to do all the events like the Red Carpet arrival, the evening party and the Skills competition.  We arrived later Saturday night carrying 2 large bags on the MARTA (subway) and arriving at our hotel.  I really didn’t know where to start for an event like this.  I knew it would be tough as heck to get autos (It was back in 03 when it was in MN) so I told myself to just enjoy the experience and if I get an autograph it’ll be by chance.  The day of the game we decided to check out the CNN center where they were having a big trading card show.  A couple greats of the game and young guys were signing but the lines were literally out the door and I knew from signings that I have done that there was no chance of me getting the autograph…it was basically a Joe Mauer line for you Twins fans!  There was also a line to get your picture with the Stanley Cup…that also had a line out the door.  We didn’t know where to start so we looked around and decided to tour the CNN studio.  About an hour later we got done with the tour and the lines were even more intense.  I remember reading online there was an Upper Deck redemption set giving out at this event so I went to check out the details.  Sure enough if you opened 6 packs of Upper Deck cards you could turn in the wrappers for a special All-Star game collector set.  I opened up 12 packs and walked away with 2 of these rare sets.  I felt good with the day and as I was walking out there were graphers there that hit me up for Autos.  These guys came prepared…I was at the NHL All Star game and getting hit up for graphs…After seriously signing nearly 50 cards, I walked away…then another person came up with a single card.  I thought it was funny that people knew I would be there and brought cards to get signed…you guys are good.

 

At this point I felt pretty good, I learned that the previous day it was tough as heck to get anything signed and the hotel (four seasons) wasn’t easy because there were tons of dealers working it.  It made me happy with my approach of if I get somebody I get them and if I don’t I don’t.  We walked back to the hotel to change and get ready for the game.  The next thing we got to do was head over to the Pre-Game reception that was being held at the Georgia Aquarium.  At first I thought it would be cool, free food and I might be able to see some cool fish.  When we got in we were amazed at how big that place was.  I’ve never seen an aquarium that big before…it was like an indoor sea world.  Once again the events the NHL put on went above and beyond what I thought it would be.  We toured the entire aquarium and before I knew it the game was ready to start. 

 

Of course I wanted to be as early as I could for the All Star game because I’ve never experienced anything like this before.  Our seats were excellent…about 15 rows up on the blue line.  We all sat down and just gazed in amazement that we were able to do this and couldn’t wait for the game to start.  Well about a half hour later the players took the ice and I swear I felt like I was 10 again.  I don’t know what it is about hockey but it really gets me pumped up.  We got to see it all…Ovechkin showing off having fun, Zdeno Charo looking out of place like he should be at a Basketball game and our own Marian Gaborik.  Star after star kept flying by…Iginila made everything look so smooth, Jovanovski slapping the puck as hard as he could and Vokuhn stopping every puck from going in.  Once the shoot around was over a large stage came down from the top of the arena with a band on it getting ready to play.  I’m not the biggest fan of the band but they put on a great pre-game show.  It was the Hives playing a couple songs as the players got introduced.  During this time I got some great pictures and tried to get the opening puck drop picture but the ref dropped the puck before anyone could snap a picture quick enough.  The game went on and you could definitely tell it was an All-Star game.  There might have been one check and no penalties during the entire game.  But what lacked in hitting was made up for in passing and stick handling.  We were lucky enough to see first hand how quick these guys were and it was crazy how good they are.  My head felt like a bobblehead watching them pass to each other so quickly.  Well to make a long story short this probably goes down as the biggest sports event I got to attend, it was definitely right up there with the boxing match I went to last year.  Even Stephanee thought it was an awesome experience although I think she had more fun watching all the mascots run around and her getting pictures with them!  As we walked away that night we didn’t even have to look at each other, we were all smiling inside and knew that we just had the time of our life!  



nhlallsthad
Getting Ready For The Big Event!

Saturday, January 26
A Crazy Couple Days

Well these last couple days have been some of the busiest in my life.  On Wednesday night my wife Stephanee and I flew into Minnesota for a busy weekend.  As soon as we got out of the airport I had to run over to Mall of America to pick up my first suit I have ever owned...seriously last week I bought my first suit for an event on Thursday called the diamond awards.  I always told myself that whenever I needed a suit I would go in a week before and get one...that time was this past week.  The rest of the night was spent sorting through PM's on my message board (which I have been on A LOT lately) and digging out cards that I traded with to other collectors.  Thursday was probably one of the busiest days for me in recent memory.  It all started by me showing up to the Metrodome at 9am.  I was starting my filming career by filming my first big budget commercial...well I like to think it was big budget...they hired paid actors for some of the parts.  The commercial was one of those funny ones that the Twins do every year and I don't really want to ruin the surprise before it comes out but it involves my high school, a lot of students, me and I don't know how it happened but Joe Mauer managed to sneak into it!  It was a lot of fun and also grueling.  From 9am until 2:30 we had to be on camera saying the same lines and the finished product will be only 30 seconds long.  After about 20 minutes you could see some of the faces in the crowd were getting tired and they didn't know how much longer they would have to wait.  I think the commercial comes out in late March so be on the lookout.  Right from the dome I ran into my car and headed back home to put on my suit and head to the diamond awards.  The event is an award show for the Minnesota Twins but mainly a way to help the Bob Allison Ataxia Research Center at the University of Minnesota raise money to try and find a cure.  This year I won an award for Upper Midwest player of the year and with that I had to go up and accept the award and talk for a little bit.  The event started at 5pm and went until 10:30 so it was a long but fun night.  I got to meet a lot of my new teammates and it was pretty cool listening to how happy they were to be playing for the Twins.  When I got home lets just say I slept very good!  On Friday Twinsfest started and that's always a fun event.  The Twins brought in a lot of players this year and there were autographs galore.  I always love Twins fest for grapher watching.  Guys come prepared and have the entire night plotted out where they are going to go.  I always laugh at the collectors juggling the big bags that come in filled with memorabilia and stacks of notebooks overflowing with 8X10’s and cards, it's should be a form of art.  This year I brought a Lumicolor by Staedtler pen for my signing sessions so I wouldn't have to rub the gloss off my Topps & Upper Deck cards and it was cool hearing praise by the graphers for doing so.  Man o man there were tons of people there that check out this site and I couldn't believe the demographics of who reads this little journal I make...I swear I heard people telling me from all walks of life that they read the site, little kids, big kids, adults and even grandmothers!  It's pretty neat hearing that and the reason I keep it going.  Another thing I did at Twinsfest was take pictures with fans for a half-hour and a kid’s question and answer session.  The Q&A with the kids is one of my favorites because you hear some questions that even the best reporters couldn't think of.  One little girl asked me if it's tough leaving my 2 doggies home when we have to play road games.  I thought that was the coolest question I have ever heard.  Keep having fun I have another busy day planned for today.  Twinsfest goes all day then Stephanee and I are flying to Atlanta for the NHL All Star game tomorrow.  I'm going to try to get some autographs but I don't know how I will do in dealer heaven!  We'll be taking pictures though and I'm sure we will never forget the experience.



Sunday, January 20
January 20th, 2008

All right I just got back from the Twins Caravan and it was a blast as usual.  I don't think fans understand that we are on a bus for 4 straight days stopping at nearly 20 different places.  Honestly, I love the whole caravan concept and wish other teams would do what the Twins do...it's pretty special.  Highlights of the trip: Seeing the different cities, chatting with people from this site, and getting cards from fans.  I thought it was pretty neat hearing people say how much they like watching me pitch.  Last year at this time only a handful of people said that and now I'm known as the "Weird Throwing Pitcher" and you wouldn't believe how many people commented to me on that.  The caravan was a lot of fun but it is very grueling and could drive you crazy.  The thing that drove me nuts was saying the same thing at nearly every stop...by the end of the trip I thought I became a much better speaker, but I hated hearing my voice (if that's possible).  Inside I felt like Gardy and Vavra, as well as TC bear, were going "not again, if I have to hear him explain why he throws like he does another time...ahhhh" from listening to me deliver the same old lines.  But as we went along I kind of opened up and touched on a lot of topics, and people had some good questions.  Gardy is one of the funniest guys to hear speak.  Every stop I kept wondering what he was going to pull out of his hat to make the crowd laugh, and each stop I wasn't disappointed.  He was fun to go with.  At the end of each night we would hang out, grab a bite to eat, just kick back and talk about anything...I think that's what I enjoyed most about the caravan. 

 Note sheet: Cool things on the caravan...Visited the Daktronics Plant and got to see how they make MLB Scoreboards, found a long lost neighborhood friend in Sioux City that I played baseball with as a kid, chatted with Gardy, Vavra and others about anything you could think of, received numerous cards as well as Northwood’s leagues sets in Mankato...Got bashed in the Sioux Falls paper for I guess disappointing the sold out crowd...(I thought the crowd loved me and I'm sure people there liked me as well so there).  I think the person who wrote the article must like not me...I probably said no to his wife after she demanded I sign more than one card in a "One Auto per person line"... jk, Watched TC bear go nuts after some unappreciative parents made him mad!  I'm sure there's lots of other stuff I'm forgetting but overall this was a blast and I was happy to see everyone come out and say hi, even those of you at the Hardee's in the small town of Windom!  I always think it's pretty neat that there are fans everywhere.   



Thursday, January 10
January 10th, 2008

Well guys just thought I would give an update on what has been going on.  On Sunday I'm heading back to MN to go on the Twins Caravan.  The week after that is Twinsfest and I will also be back for that.  I'm pretty excited for the end of the month as I will be heading to Atlanta to go to the NHL All Star Game.  I'll be sure to take lots of pictures and let everyone know how that whole experience goes.  I'm a big fan of hockey and it will be one of the coolest events I have ever attended so I'm pretty pumped up to go. 

Right now the weight lifting is in full swing.  I feel very refreshed and very strong where I need to be so it's pretty safe to say I'm ready to start another season.  About a week ago I started playing catch.  Each week I like to take baby steps and get my arm ready for the grind of an entire season.  Right now I'm basically playing normal catch with Stephanee and tomorrow I'm going to start moving back for long toss.  Eventually I will be ready to throw bullpens in a couple weeks.

 As for what else is going on one of the big things I have been doing down here is bodyboarding.  It's one of the toughest workouts you can do in my opinion and is a lot of fun.  One of the main reasons we picked this area of FL is for the waves and the ocean and the spot we are at is Surfing central in FL.  Today we drove down to the Sebastian Inlet where a big surfing contest called the SI Pro was being put on by O'neill.  If you've never been to a surf contest you should try to check one out sometime it's a pretty cool thing to see.  There were a lot of highly ranked surfers at this event and graphs were pretty easy to get.  We went to the finals and got to see the winner crowned, check out the pics of Patrick Gudauskas being carried off after winning the championship...Maybe next year I will pick up a surf board and drop the bodyboard...we'll see, I love my bodyboarding.



Friday, January 4
Colorado Rockies Draft Q&A From 2002
Here's what I got and filled out for the Rockies in 2002 when I was going through the draft process

Wednesday, December 26
Auctions Are In Full Swing On Message Board - Auction #17 Just Went Up

Just wanted to remind everyone that the auctions have been going strong for a month now under the message board right above this post, check them out if you see something you like.  Here's the latest auction.

2 day auction on this next item and this will end Friday Night at 10PM.

Alright this is kind of a unique item, it's my 2007 Luggage Tag with my alias on it. Pretty much everyone on the team has an alias (another name they check in at the hotel under). We do this so idiot financial planners, radio stations and random people can't call us up at 8am. As most of you know if you do in person autographing one way to find the hotel of the team is to call it up and ask for a player. I would always ask for an assistant coach because they usually don't have fake names to find out which hotel teams were at and it works a lot. 2006 I didn't have an alias and I'm not lying I would get appr 4 phone calls a day...it sucked. So this year I went with good ole CY DAHMER as my nickname...If you say it really fast and together it sounds like sidearmer...I like to switch things up and Cy will no longer be needed...I also need to switch because people are pretty scared when they come to my room to deliever me pizza with the name Dahmer haha. Next year I will have a new name so this tag has to go. A pretty cool piece and only with my 1st alias and something that I will never forget!

The tag can be inscribed and signed with whatever you want just let me know if you are the winning bidder. This auction is 2 days and will end Friday night at 10pm Eastern.

All you have to do is make an offer, pictures can really sway who I pick also.

I'm not really looking for anything special. I have a want list with cards I need on the footer of this. I also like sets, game used cards, cert auto's, signed balls, game used stuff and anything that might be fun to have. Bascially if it's something cool I'm probably going to like it so make an offer if you want this item. Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Remember you can make as many offers as you want and update them as time runs out, good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page and the message board for more game used items!

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Monday, December 24
Wishing Everyone Out There A HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON!!!

merrymejsjsjchirstmas
Our Dogs Juicy & Kirby With Presents

Monday, December 24
Getting Drafted Part 3 - The Q&A's

Now once a scout likes you or knows you have pro ability from going to the tryout camps all you have to do is sit back and wait.  The next move is for the scout's team to send you out a Q&A sheet.  During my Junior year of college I got my first Q&A in September from the Baltimore Orioles.  A little after that more and more came in.  Some came in November, more came in December, a ton came in January and a few other teams followed right up until the draft.  I kept track of each team by filing it by team name and I tried to write down each time they contacted me, see the pictures below.  Once it hit February things started getting out of control with phone calls and meetings and I didn't write down as much as I should.  If I remember correctly 28 of the 30 teams contacted me and I will try to scan all the sheets I have from each of the teams.  What they send varies by team.  Some want Medical Records, some want you to do personality evaluations and others just want to ask random questions Here's my sheets from the Orioles, the first team to contact me in 2002

Photobucket Photobucke<a href=Photobuckett"> PhotobucketPhotobucket PhotobucketPhotobucket


Thursday, December 20
Recent Bad Letters

Well I have a little bit more time now so I scanned some odd letters again, I know you guys like these.  These came in today and I get about 5 a week that are similar.  One included no SASE, no addy, nothing to trade or sign and wanted cards of me signed as well as others out of my collection...I'm shocked he didn't include his address I might have mailed back a team signed ball...kidding.  The other included a SASE but wanted free cards.  I have to give it up to guy #2 for including a SASE, he's halfway there!



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arrrrrrr

Wednesday, December 19
Twins Caravan - HEADS UP SOUTHWEST MN, IA & For SOUTH DAKOTA I'm Coming Back

The caravan list just came out and here's where we are going, I expect to see some of you out there! 

SOUTHWEST TOUR
Manager Ron Gardenhire, pitching coach Rick Anderson, pitcher Pat Neshek

Monday, Jan. 14: Hutchinson, Mankato
Tuesday, Jan. 15: Windom, Fulda, Worthington
Wednesday, Jan. 16: Spencer, IA, Sioux City, IA, Sioux Falls, SD
Thursday, Jan. 17: Marshall, Montevideo



Tuesday, December 18
Upper Deck Black Card Break & Review

Well I was lucky enough to get my hands on a hobby box of Upper Deck Black.  Right now it’s the talk of the industry because the hobby box is selling for $200 and it contains only 2 cards…you heard me right 2 cards.  Basically you are getting a big hit and you should for that price.  I’ve never opened up a box of cards (or should I say card) that had only one card so this must be pretty special. 

 

Specs

1 hobby box contains two packs.  Each pack contains one card.  All right opening the box.  I will let my wife go first and then it’ll be my turn.  First observation, man these things are tough to get into.  You open the box, which is sealed.  Then you open the pack, which is sealed in heavy foil that says void once opened.  Then you finally get to the pack, which is regular foil.  Pack is open and she pulls an Adrian Gonzalez???  Ouch, nothing against Gonzalez but we were expecting something to the extent of Babe Ruth.  All right, I’m kind of getting suspicious about UD Black right now and it’s my turn to open.  Alright, opening my pack that is about as tough to get into as Fort Knox…pack is open…WOW, what a pull…That is a sick card…A Cal Ripken Jr/Derek Jeter #’d to 15 AUTO.  Well I guess I see why we got the Gonzalez now, this card is unreal.  For some reason Jeter signed the sticker in Silver…never seen that before & Ripken’s sig is awesome as usual.  Just when I was going to write this product off it ends up flipping the switch and makes me a believer.  Now the only question is whether to sell the card and buy 3 more boxes or keep the card…This is an easy choice, the card is staying with me!



udblackks
UD Black Revealed

Tuesday, December 18
2007 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Card Review

Just got a couple boxes of Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects.  I always love opening these just for the thrill of getting a 1/1 or low numbered refractor of an upcoming prospect.  This box as many of you know is just like Bowman Chrome as well as Bowman in that you are buying the box hoping for the prospect cards you get inside will do well making it a worthwhile investment.  As in years past these boxes usually get snatched up pretty quickly and hold a lot of value if you don’t open them.  Not opening the boxes isn’t fun but if you can hold the temptation you have a product Beckett calls “Best Product to Flip in Three Years”.  Well, I’m opening mine and going after the low numbered refractor or autographed card. 

 

Bowman Draft is almost all guys who are prospects or were drafted this year.  The hobby box I have contains 24 packs with 7 cards per pack in which 2 are Chromes.

 

Here’s how it went down.  As always the box toppers are 2 A-Rod cards.  I got HR’s #436 and #439…man these Arod cards are getting pretty close to whatever number HR I gave up to him last year (and yes for those wondering…I will sign that card when it comes out!)

 

Big hits for me, Beau Mills Auto – Kyle Lotzkar Redemption Auto

Phil Hughes X-Fractor, Jonathan Lucroy X Fractor, Joba and Carlos Gomez Blue #’d to 399 – Regular Refractors = Sean Doolittle, Maybin, Fruto & Michael Saunders.

 

I was able to finish the Green Base set and come pretty close to another.  The chrome set of the greens was nearly complete as well.  I need 26 of the regular white prospects to finish that set and I’m a little over halfway on the chrome prospects set. 

 

If you see anything you like I’m trading it away on the message board above trying to complete a couple of the prospect sets

 

Overall thoughts, I have and will always like this brand.  When you factor in the price (Under $5 a pack) you are probably getting the best bang for your buck in the hobby with this brand.  Although I didn’t have the super big hit it’ll still be fun trying to trade and piece together this set. 

  


Friday, December 14
The METAL Is Back - In Limited Supply
Just got word that the new WINTER hats have been posted and are up for sale at www.sidearmstore.com  For this hat we brought the Metal back and produced these in small amounts so if your head is cold this would be a great addition.  As always my entire portion of the sales go to charity.  The hat is the 4th item that has been for sale under the store with all 3 of the t-shirts models sold out.  A new t-shirt is in design right now and should be ready in a little bit...stay tune

winterhat
Click Here To Look

Thursday, December 13
Getting Drafted - Entry #2

All right so I talked a little about going to pro tryout camps as being one of the biggest things you can do.  Now here’s some more stuff I went through trying to make it into pro ball.  After High School I attended college and the rule there was if you attend a D1 school you had to wait until you were a junior or 21 years old to get drafted again.  So during that time I really wanted to learn how to pitch, gain some speed on my fastball and become a better pitcher.  It was nice for a couple years that I didn’t have to worry about being drafted.  I spent my first year really just trying to become a better pitcher and to throw strikes.  That summer I played in the Northwoods League and it was a different world.  Half the summer was spent on a bus traveling from city to city and looking back it was the same thing as playing in the minors.  That league really woke me up and prepared me for dealing with the struggles of minor league baseball and motivated me to work harder.  I did decent in the league but realized I needed a new pitch in order to compete.  Following that summer my college coach Steve Farley taught me the slider and the pitching world opened up to me.  That next year I still walked a few guys but I was in the top 5 in strikeouts per 9 innings.  It still was a struggle to get scouts to come out and watch and Coach Farley made pleas to teams in the Cape Cod League to give me a chance to let me play there that summer.  Lucky enough one team took a chance on me, Wareham and I was ecstatic just to get the chance.  They invited me to be a temp player for the first 2 weeks and then they would see if they wanted me from there since they lost a couple guys to Team USA.  After two weeks I think I was 4-0 in relief and became the closer.  They signed me to be a regular player after the first week and I didn’t really have to worry about going home early.  The thing that was special about the Cape Cod league is that that is where scouts try to get all the top guys they like into one spot so they can watch the players all summer long.  For me it was just what I needed, someone to watch me play.  Just the intensity and excitement of being in the Cape League was enough for me to go out there everyday with a nervous rush of competitiveness that made me excel.  I went from being a guy that had excellent stuff but was unseen and probably a later round 10+ guy to a Cape Cod All Star while giving up 1 run all summer in front of lots of scouts.  I thought for sure that would be enough to catapult me to where I wanted to be drafted.  But I knew there would be a lot of stuff that needed to be done in the meantime.  The biggest thing that I never was aware of was that nearly half my Cape Cod League team had what they called advisors already.  Basically an advisor was an agent but you couldn’t call him an agent due to NCAA rules and you didn’t pay the advisor until you were drafted and signed then you could start calling him your agent.  I was shocked that these guys all had advisors and it was all starting to make sense to me.  The player would go out and play and the advisor would call around to places and hype the player up.  The advisor would call around to scouts telling him to come watch the player play on certain days always keeping the player fresh in the scout’s head.  Ever wonder how a lot of the scouting reports make their rankings…Sure some of it is pure statistics and raw skill but a lot of it has to do with advisors calling the scouting place and giving him his list of top clients.  People might say I’m nuts but one guy I knew didn’t have an agent and wasn’t listed on any scouting reports.  Then he agrees to an advisor/agent that fall and the next week he’s number 15 on a list of top 100 prospects in the country after not doing anything during the fall and having a mediocre summer.  When I started seeing this stuff happen it kind of made me mad but I knew I had to start playing the game also.  I had an excellent Cape Cod League summer only giving up 1 run, striking out lots of guys, not many hits, low walks and throwing 90-94mph yet not one scouting report fit me into their top 50 Cape Prospects.  Luckily I had my dad on my side who would always go out of his way to find the best route I should take.  He eventually learned the best thing to do to find an advisor/agent was to contact the MLBPA and they would send out a list of certified advisors/agents.  In order to be certified by the MLBPA you have to make a certain criteria and also have a player in the big leagues that the agent represents.  If the agent is not on this list he’s probably just starting out, is very inexperienced or something is wrong.  I would be worried if an advisor approaches you that is not MLBPA certified.  The service the MLBPA does is free and if you feel like you have what it takes to be drafted high I would recommend going out there and getting this list from the PA and it’s free.  The next thing I had to do was pick out an advisor and I will talk about this as well as other topics in my next update.



Sunday, December 9
Getting Drafted - 1st Entry

Well I don’t really know where to start with this.  I guess this is how I felt when I first started my trail to make it into pro ball.  I was kind of clueless.  I remember back in high school the big thing was to try and impress a college to get a scholarship and this is pretty much the same process as that.  Where to start, where to start…I would first say there are many scams out there that involve things called showcase camps where you show up to a college and they say they will film your tape and grade you and then send it out to 100 different colleges.  It’s a great idea but a lot of the times schools charge upwards of hundreds of dollars for this service and most of the time they are sending the tapes to schools you never heard of!  Don’t get me wrong this is a good idea for kids that have all the time in the world but I have something better and it’s free and will def be the best thing you can do.  I found this out very early on (15 years old) and what it involved was going to tryout camps held by major league teams.  In my case every year there were at least a handful of tryout camps nearby that were put on by the area scout for the ball club they worked for.  Now most of you are thinking tryout camp am I really trying out to make the team that day…For the most part no unless you are older and are good enough to sign for no money then that’s a perk of the tryout camp.  The point of the tryout camp is that you are going to get graded on the scale of a major leaguer by a pro scout.  The scout is not going to lie to you and will give you a grade in which he thinks you might grow into.  At this point you kind of find out if you have the skills to make it.  Even if you are younger these camps are awesome to go, my first camp was when I was 15 and I think most have an age limit.  These camps are ideal if you are in your Junior Year of High School or going into your senior year.  If you fit the age limit you have to go and test your skills.  Now here are the numerous reasons why these camps are important.  The biggest reason is to obviously try to impress the scout so he will follow you during your next season in high school ball.  Another important reason is to get a grade from the scout and be on file with him.  Ask the scout for a business card after the showcase gets over that way you can write to colleges across the country and attach a copy of the scouts business card telling the college coach to contact the scout and he can give the coach a report about how your skills rank.  Another reason and is pretty shocking as I will explain is that if the scout likes you he will send you a Q&A that you will return.  Now here’s why that is shocking…if you do not fill out a Q&A with any team or do not talk to an MLB scout or fill anything out for an MLB scout you will not receive a draft number meaning you WILL NOT be drafted.  One easy way to tell if a kid might get drafted is whether or not he has received a Q&A from a baseball team.  If he hasn’t there is pretty much no chance he will be drafted.  So right there this is one of the best secrets out there…go to every Pro Tryout camp you can find.  Back in high school the internet was not as big as it is now and I had to read the paper to find ads for Pro Tryout camps…if these things are out of your way I still think this is the best thing you can do.  One scout with the Reds told us back in the day that we were some smart kids to show up to his tryout camp because this is how he decides what high schools to watch next spring.  He also said he doesn’t have too much off time to randomly search high schools for the next big thing, they pretty much have to come to him.  To my surprise that spring I had scouts from various teams watching me play and it was pretty excited.  I never thought I had what it took to beat out some of the other top high school kids around me but I knew how to go out of my way to prove I had what it takes and that was the difference in me being one of the only Minnesotan high school players taken that year.  Please if you think you have what it takes or know someone that might have the skills to get drafted you have to tell them to attend as many Pro Tryout camps as possible…they are free and if nothing else you are evaluated by a professional scout.  Also try to avoid colleges or companies that charge for a recruitment service unless you understand what you are paying for and there have been past results.  In my next update I will talk about more stories along the way in getting drafted and advisors.  



Thursday, December 6
How To Get Drafted - That's A Catchy Headline

Well for the past week my parents have been down to FL visiting us and Stephanee's parents are coming in next.  I wanted to get a lot of updates in but have found myself worn out and not being able to get on here.  Hang in there with me once again.

For the past couple years there have been many things on this site that I have helped educate you guys on various subjects in baseball.  Right now I'm hoping to do something that I have wanted to do for the longest time, talk about getting drafted.  I usually get this question a lot from younger players and parents and there is no right or wrong answer.  For the most part getting drafted takes having the skills and being lucky but that's not the case all the time.  During the year of 2002 I was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 6th round.  The entire time leading up to draft day was insane and had me worrying every night before I went to bed about if I was good enough to get drafted high and to make it in pro-ball.  I basically came to the conclusion that it was stupid to worry about something like that and to go out there and compete, give it my best and let the ball fly.  I also thought it would be cool to chronicle that year in hopes of one day telling my story to others in the form of a book or website.  So with that said I think it's time to start the how to get drafted story here on the site.  During 2002 I kept nearly every article and Q&A that scouts sent me, I also tried to mark down every phone call I got from a scout and what the meeting was about.  It's pretty interesting stuff and I was contacted by nearly everyteam.  I will post most of my Q&A's from 28 of the 30 teams that contacted me so you can see what they send to players and I will try to just tell a story with that stuff.  Keep checking back this might take awhile!



Sunday, November 25
TOPPS CERTIFIED AUTO CARDS
It's a done deal, two weeks ago I finished my first Certified Autograph signing for Topps and I'm here to fill you in on all the details.  This was actually a pretty cool process and it all started by signing a contract with Topps.  If some of you have been active readers on here you remember back in July when I said I signed a contract with Topps to sign 500 cards for $5 a card.  Well I was really excited just to get a certified card that will be in packs of cards.  So two weeks ago I attended a MLBPA retail summit in Denver and was ready to start signing my cards.  This is when I found out that Topps upped the # of cards I would sign to 1000...not a problem with me!  When any player signs for Topps it needs to be watched by a Topps official or someone that can certify that I actually signed the cards and no one else like my wife or brother jumped in and signed a couple (this has happened in the past with players).  In my case the person in charge of watching me was Evan Kaplan, director of trading cards for the MLBPA.  Evan had to sign an affidavit swearing that he would watch me sign every card.  Most of the times the watcher gets paid for taking time out to watch every card get signed...I think it's around $75 but I'm not sure so don't quote me.  It's a really boring job, could you imagine sitting around for 3-4 hours watching a guy sign 1000 cards.... not fun.  To start Evan opened up a sealed manila envelope that contains instructions on signing, 3 Blue Staedtler pens and 1025 stickers.  I think the extra 25 were there for accidents or screwups...I had a couple and just peeled off the sticker and threw it away.  I also got bored with one and put one on my 2007 Topps card making it look like the real deal...this was something I always wanted to do.  Well from there it was signing, signing and more signing.  It took me around 3 hours to sign 1000 cards and for those of you wondering I did use a different autograph so I could get them done quicker...just kidding, I will never change my auto contrary to some of the veteran graphers out there saying I would change once I got to the bigs.  Well signing 1000 cards was pretty boring but I had to make it a little fun and hopefully add some spice to finding one of my cards in future Topps products.  On every so many pages (25 stickers per page) I would put different inscriptions on them.  For the first 5 auto I wrote, 1st certified autograph ever with the date and the next one I wrote 2nd cert auto ever with the date.  After I did that I wrote 10 that contained www.patneshek.com.  You guys get the point.  Here's all the inscriptions I wrote.  10 that said www.neshek.com, 10 that said sidearmer, 10 that had 7/7/06 MLB Debut and #72, 10 that had 2007 MLB ALL STAR FINAL VOTE, 10 that said Go Twins, 10 that said STRK 3 and finished up the day signing my last cert entitled "my last cert auto!"  Hopefully you guys will get a kick out of finding these and seeing them pop up next year in different Topps products.  Topps does not tell me where they will appear so be prepared to find these next year!  Be sure to check out all the pics here.


 


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My Topps Signing Session

Friday, November 23
Game Used Auction #1 & More

Stephanee and I made it down to FL with the dogs and have set up the house here and are finally getting time to relax.  We drove down and it took 26 hours of driving.  Right now I am going at the weights, running and everything else really hard.  I'm also taking time each day to jump into the waves with my Boogie Board and getting my butt kicked.  I set up the PO BOX down here and have already got my first 5 letters.  As always if you need anything signed such as cards or baseballs be sure to send them here.  Just remember to put a SASE in the letter, for those of you that don't know what that is it's a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope.  That way I can seal up the envelope and throw it in the mail.  Also I only return envelopes with SASE's in them so basically if you want a response, throw in a letter with a stamp on it. 

As promised I am going to be on here a lot more and on the message board as well.  This time of the year is when I have my game used auctions and tonight is item number 1 of 2007.    So here we go with item #1.  THIS IS A THREE DAY AUCTION AND WILL END MONDAY NIGHT AT 10pm. This item is from 2007 Spring Training. It's my Spring Training Game Used Minnesota Twins Short Sleeve Jacket.  The jacket was worn by me in 2007 Spring Training and has my number written on the tag as seen in the picture.  I also have a long sleeve jacket and that will be item #2 going up once this is over.   


The jacket can be inscribed and signed with whatever you want just let me know if you are the winning bidder. This auction is 3 days and will end Monday night at 10pm. All you have to do is go under the message board and then to the Game Used Auctions and Contest Section and make an offer. I'm not really looking for anything special.  You all know I love signed baseball cards, baseballs, odd ball items, music autographs, baseball card sets, tough sets, SP's, cards of me...bascially if it's something cool I'm probably going to like it so make an offer if you want this item.  Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Remember you can make as many offers as you want and update them as time runs out, good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page and the message board for more game used items!

 



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Click Here & Go To The Boards To Bid

Thursday, November 15
Heading To FL
I will be heading to Florida today and will be changing PO Boxes so please do not send anymore mail to MN.  I will post the PO box when I get it, I'm thinking I will have it up on Monday of next week.  Also this site should get plenty of updates starting around next week at this time.  Look for game used auctions and lots of baseball card trading.  I think the 1st set I will be going after is the Allen & Ginter mini set.  Thanks for being patient, the wait is almost over!

Sunday, October 28
Update
I just wanted to apologize to everyone waiting for me to get some auctions up on the message board.  I've been busy doing things around the house here, painting, cleaning and getting ready to head to Florida for the winter so the auctions haven't happened yet.  Everything is sitting here waiting to be put up, be patient with me and I will get them up most likely in a week or two from now or when I'm in FL I don't know yet.  Also I'm going to be getting a PO box in Florida so it will make it easier for me to do mail and sign things for everyone.  If you need something signed right away or in the next week send it up here and I will sign it up after that I'm going to get a new addy for down there and will do that when we get to FL.

Sunday, October 14
Upcoming Autograph Signing In SOUTH DAKOTA

This is for everyone in the past that has asked me to come to South Dakota to make an autograph apperance...I'm coming.  Here are the details.

Next Saturday - 10/20/07 - 11am - 12:45PM - Place: Beresford, SD (close to Sioux Falls) - Address -  One Sioux Plaza - Beresford, SD 57004

Autographs are Free, Multiples Autos are Free, so bring lots of stuff, Pictures are Free

There will be 8X10's for purchase and proceeds will be going to charity

 For more details and better directions Click Here



Thursday, October 4
Starting Off The Off-Season With Ginter

Update - Wow 12 hours later and through the power of you guys and trading I only need 5 more cards to complete 4 of my ginter sets ...the power of the internet!

Earlier This Morning Update - I've decided my first set I'll be working on this offseason is Allen & Ginter.  I think it will be best to go one set at a time and 1 set inside of a set at a time that way it makes it easier for everyone to trade.  So far with Ginter I've completed 1 set already and am close on three others.  Check out the message board baseball card section if you would like to trade. 



Wednesday, October 3
New T-Shirts
The new 3rd Edition t-shirts are in!  This is the 3rd t-shirt that I have made (the other 2 models have all sold).  I think the quantity is once again limited to around 100 shirts.  Be sure to click on the link or check them out here www.sidearmstore.com I'm donating my entire share to charity so it's going to a good cause.

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Click To Check Out

Monday, October 1
End Of Season

I just changed the address for the off-season so if you need anything signed send it to the addy above.  If you send to the Metrodome I will get the item around April...that's what happened last year to mail that was sent late.  What will I be doing during the off-season? Lots of things, relaxing, catching up on things I've wanted to do and didn't have the time, lifting weights and getting ready for next year.  Speaking of getting ready for next year for the past week I have been rehabbing my shoulder and making it stronger.  It's been going great and I'm no longer worried that something is wrong with it.  What happened was that my shoulder got really weak and kind of just ran out of gas.  After getting a bunch of rest and doing a lot of shoulder work it's starting to feel back to normal.  I'm pretty excited and have learned how to really strengthen my shoulder for the grind of a long season.  There should be a bunch more updates coming up, expect to see me on the message board soon trading cards and building sets and also there will be tons of auctions...I've been saving up all season.



Thursday, September 13
Baseball Cards On ESPN
Remember the baseball cards we opened up in Cleveland...If not scroll down and read the article written on August 30th.  Well I just found out it is going to be aired on ESPN.  Circle the date or TIVO the show it should at the very least be funny to see a bunch of Major Leaguers acting like kids opening cards.  The Air Date is Wednesday September 19th at 7PM on ESPN.  I'm very interested to see how they went about dissecting 3 hours of footage into a short show. 

Thursday, September 13
2007 Fleer Ultra SE

Another new product came to me in the mail the other day and it was ripped open minutes later.  The product in review is 2007 Fleer Ultra SE (I’m assuming the SE stands for special edition).  The box is small in size and only contains 5 packs.  It also says inside is 4 memorabilia cards and an autographed card…nice.  Basically every pack has a nice hit in it.  This has been my first pack of Fleer opened since last year’s Greats of the game so I didn’t know what to expect.  Right off the bat I’m totally mislead.  The outside of the pack says 5 cards per pack but once I ripped this pack opened there were 15 cards inside and an insert relic jersey of Anibel Sanchez.  Very interesting so I move onto the next pack.  Inside is another huge lot of 15 cards with a Sean Henn auto.  As of right now I really like these cards, I’ve always been a sucker for jersey relics or autographs and this product is teasing me.  Pack three contains another 15 cards and a Jim Thome Phillies jersey swatch.  Two more packs to go…Bam, Printing plate of Morgan Ensberg.  I have also noticed that one card in each pack looks like it has gold plating around the border and not the regular silver that most cards have…(aha, just checked the latest Beckett and there is a 1 card per pack that is the gold border.)  Last pack contains 15 cards with a Cano jersey swatch.  I must admit when I first wanted to check this set out I didn’t think much of it.  After opening these up I must admit these have probably been one of the funnest boxes to break in the past year.  The reason, you know you are going to get something cool inside and for a price that will not kill your wallet.  I would think these would be an awesome present to give to a young baseball fan as a birthday present.  Even one pack of these would be cool for a kid to open up.  The only flaws I can really see is that there are not too many high priced cards you can pull out of this box.  Carlos Silva struck gold when we did the box breaking in Cleveland with this box and hit a Cal Ripken auto and looking at the Beckett that is one of the better pulls.  Overall though this box was a real hit with the people I opened it with (my wife Stephanee and brother Paul) because they are not serious collectors and it was fun for them to get a jersey or autographed card with each pack they opened.  I think I would definitely take a chance on these again if I could find a hobby shop that had them.  On eBay these are going for around $50-$70 a box or $10 - $15 per pack. 

 

Box #2 Hits

Kerry Wood Dual Materials #73 of 75

Derek Jeter – Feel the game jersey

Zack Greinke auto #199

Carlos Beltran – Hitting Machine Jersey Swatch



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2007 Fleer Ultra SE

Tuesday, September 11
September 11th, 2007

We are on the road still this time in Kansas City.  I have a lot of stuff to talk about since in the last week there hasn't been an update.  First off I must get this out of the way to help through the mailers out there.  This upcoming home stand is our last of the season so if you need anything signed I would try to send it in the next couple days.  I would say that Friday is probably going to be the deadline.  If you send after no big deal.  I'm sure it will still be placed in our mailbox and we can pick it up when we come back from our last road trip of the season.  After that though any mail sent gets stored in the Metrodome until spring training starts...just thought I would give a heads up.  I will still be doing the PO box thing for the winter but will have to get that sorted out and find out where we are going to be.  Stephanee and I just bought a small house near Melbourne, FL so we will be commuting a lot in the off-season between MN and FL.  I will keep everyone updated so we can keep the success rates near 100%.   

The other day we had our Rookie Dress up and it was a blast once again.  Contrary to a couple writers out there I am NOT a rookie this year, therefore did not have to humiliate myself like I did last year!  This year though I think they went a little easier on the guys.  The theme was more around food than last year's theme of showing skin.  Off the top of my head we had a grape, an apple, a banana, an egg, bacon, an outlet, a socket, a horse, a snake charmer, a Reno 911 cop, a convict and 2 babies.  Guerrier and Rincon took the photos so hopefully I can get them to transfer me them for the site.  Instead of signing autographs at the Metrodome for fans and going to a Cleveland Indians game we made the rookies walk halfway around US Cellular field, travel on plane to Kansas City and go out on the town for a meal with the costumes on.  I think we definitely had it worse last year but anytime you are in the costumes it's not fun.  Everyone had a great time and I'm sure all the costumes have been thrown in the trash. 

One quick last note on PM's.  I have not got to them in about 2 weeks and I'm trying my best but cannot guarantee when I will.  I promise to get to them sometime but it might take me a little bit with all the end of the season stuff going on.    



Saturday, September 1
2007 Upper Deck Goudey Baseball Card Review

Today I got a box of 2007 Upper Deck Goudey that I will be opening and reviewing.  I don’t really know much about the cards other than the fact that they are suppose to resemble the 1933 Original Goudey set.  In the past couple years there has been a surge of brands that resemble older brands such as this year’s Topps Heritage (1958 Topps), Turkey Red (original TR), Allen & Ginter and a couple other brands.  These look pretty neat to open so I’m going to break it open.

2007 Upper Deck Goudey Specs, there are 24 packs that contain 8 cards per pack.  There is one autograph and game used card on average per hobby box.  288 cards in the set with a lot of variation and #’d cards and the chance to pull an original card from the 1933 set.  How cool would it be to pull an original Nap Lajoie #106 card! Here we go with the first pack.  Box opened and notice a top loader, inside is a card of basketball player Kevin Durant…wish that thing had an autograph on it!  All right the first pack is opened and my first impression is that these cards are different than normal cards.  I get 8 cards; they are all about half the size of a normal card.  I also got two Pujols and Tulowitski cards.  After looking closer 4 of the cards have greenish colored backs and the other are red, this is one of the variations I talked about above.  Pack two is opened and I get the same results, 4 greenish backs with 4 red colored backs.  Skipping ahead I am about halfway through the box and it’s been the same greenish and red cards.  I did get a Kei Igawa and Nolan Ryan card that had cartoon bodies on them and the insert set is called “heads up” named after the 1938 Goudey set that was called the same name “heads up”.  I’m not sure if this is part of the base set or not because they have numbering in the high 200’s.  Also I just checked the Short Print List and it contains most guys that are superstars right now or retired players.  After completing the box my only complaint is the red and green backs seemed to really create the doubles.  I would get the same guy with just different color on the back.

How I fared

Autograph Card – Kevin Kouzmanoff

Game Used Jersey Card – Richie Sexson

Green Back set complete – 82/200

Green Back Short Prints – 6

Red Back Set Complete – 95/200

Goudey Head’s Up – 3 – With Writing - 3  

Here are my final thoughts on 2007 Upper Deck Goudey.  I’m a fan and have to say I would honestly considered trying to make this a set I would try to complete.  Most Upper Deck brands contain excellent photography, tough SP’s and a wide number of autographs.  This set is different and to me really resembles something Topps would produce.  Usually when I think of Upper Deck I think of top-notch photography with lots of autographs from young stars.  This set is different in that they are taking an older brand and adding a fun feel trying to recreate the excitement that you would get as if you were opening original packs of Goudey from the 30’s.  I’m a fan and if you want a unique twist on an old card design you should give these cards a look.



Thursday, August 30
The Box Breaking

Alrighty, we are heading out of Cleveland right now and our plane is being weighed down by all the cards everyone got from going to the baseball card breaking on Tuesday.  I don’t even know where to start with this story.  This box breaking was probably one of the coolest things I have ever seen.  I can’t explain how sweet this was so I am including a bunch of pictures of the damage.  On Monday night I got to preview the event and opened up three boxes of Allen & Ginter.  To my surprise I pulled 3…yes, 3 rip cards.  I thought it was a fluke but the other two people opening the packs with me (Evan from the MLBPA and TwinsBB17) didn’t get one.  We’ll I thought Monday night was a blast but didn’t even know what was to come.  Early Tuesday I woke up and headed down to the breaking at 10am.  I asked anyone on the team to show up and we had a bunch of guys in attendance.  Off the top of my head here’s who was there, Guerrier, Cali, Nathan, Rincon, Silva, Garza, Santana, Cuddyer, Mauer, Jones, Watkins, Buscher, Twinsbb17, Gardy and me.  A couple more guys would’ve showed up but they had a fantasy football draft at the same time…c’mon reschedule…nobody cared though it just meant more packs for us.  10am came quick and I was surprised that everyone showed…baseball players are not morning people.  This event was hosted by the MLBPA and is being made into a short show to be played on ESPN around September 16th.  The purpose of the event was to show kids that baseball players get a kick out of opening up packs of cards and to show how we acted like we were 10 again opening the cards.  Basically I spent the last week organizing the event trying to get my teammates to go trying to explain to them how baseball cards have changed.  Most guys on the team haven’t opened a pack of cards in over 15 years.  We started the day sampling cards in this order.  Topps Series One, Upper Deck Series 2, Topps Heritage, Bowman Chrome, Allen & Ginter, Fleer Ultra SE, Upper Deck SPX, Topps Chrome, Co-Signers, Artifacts and finally finishing with a bang…Triple Threads.  Each guy was given a box or two depending on how quick they opened the cards.  At first guys were asking questions about Topps Series One, “I got a Mantle, how much is it worth” and “what is this hobby masters card?”  It was really informative for all the guys and they started to really understand what things like short prints are and the different types of variations out there.  Quickly after moving from brand to brand and the price points started going up guys were pulling better hits and the room started getting livelier.  Lots of the times there were pulls of cards for guys that were in the room and that player would get his card flung at him.  Other times we would get a card of a guy we use to play with and laugh and it would make us reminisce about him.  Then you could start seeing the anger when guys would pull something good.  One guy got a Cal Ripken Jr. signed # to 10 while another guy next to him got a AAA prospect that just got sent down and was on his way out of baseball.  The day kept going and we decided to play a game of Pack Wars.  Basically you call out a stat before you open a pack and try to find whoever has that call out on the back of one of their cards.  For example one pack war game involved most stolen bases in one season…somebody won with Ichiro.  Usually you play pack wars for packs of cards…not today, there were 5 PS3’s that were up for grabs.  Sadly to say I didn’t win one game and will have to wait for another time to get a PS3.  I’m not going to explain anymore of the details as you can truly go nuts just from the pics, well one stat…45 boxes of Ginter were opened!  Best hits of the day…there were a couple.  Gardenhire had the best one if I was judging.  A 1/1 Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George Bush card that contained their inauguration seat pieces on the card…unreal, try asking Gardy for a trade on that one, he said that one is staying with him.  One guy pulled a Buzz Aldrin signature out of Co-signers.  Lots of cool stuff came out of Allen Ginter like a J-Mac auto, I pulled a Mark Zupan auto and thought that was pretty cool.  Another cool pull on the day was a triple signed Mattingly, A-rod, C Wang signed card.  Who knows what some of the guys got because a few guys didn’t really understand what things were worth and never really got too excited.  One guy totally hosed someone with a trade and that’s all I’m going to say…You can really take advantage of someone who doesn’t know baseball cards nowadays…not me, I tried to help everyone and show them what made each card unique.  My best on the day, a JFK sweater card that said “Ask Not”.  I also had a Griffey Jr. Auto in one pack.  My fun was running around trying to finish my Ginter sets.  I tried to get a lot of the mini cards especially the flags, roman emperors and snakes set.  This is surely going to take me into the off-season trying to sort out what I have and what I need.  Just when I think I’m finally caught up and ready to trade with everyone on here more card come in.  Sadly I found out at the field today that a couple guys took out their favorite cards in their break and left the rest of the cards in the hotel room because they didn’t want to carry them home.  Once I found this out I wanted to run back into the hotel and clean out their room.  I wish I could’ve went through some of those cards to make sure there wasn’t a weird card that went unnoticed like a rip card or a low-numbered card that was hard to see.  It just hurts thinking that a Ginter Bazooka card #’d to 25 got thrown into the trash! 

The main point of the event was that everyone had fun and went home happy.  I think everyone learned a lot about the card industry and hopefully this will make us players better at understanding cards and collectors!  Be sure to keep an eye out for the show on ESPN around the 16th and also check out the pics below!



boxbreakingfinalslsls

Sunday, August 26
August 26th, 2007
Wow, what a cool day at the park.  We show up and find out it was BJ Surhoff's Oriole HOF induction day at the park...pretty cool.  Then we find out Cal Ripken Jr. was there helping the induction ceremonies...even cooler.  Then we get a drenching thunderstorm...not cool, but I guess it couldn't have come at a better time because we then tried to meet Cal during the rain delay.  A couple of guys and I waited around an hour for him to walk by but it didn't happen.  Then the game was about to start so we walked away when an usher asked us to leave the balls with him and he would get them signed for us.  Sure enough once the game was over I had a couple Ripken signed baseballs in my locker!  The win, the Ripken Auto's...it was a great day at the park. If that wasn't enough our team box breaking was rescheduled for Cleveland so in a couple days I will hopefully have more luck opening packs with my teammates.  I will be sure to have updates on all the who's, what's and things when they happen.   A couple of you have been asking what music I have been listening to this season.  To tell you the truth not much mostly a lot of older stuff.  I have lately just got into a couple new things and have been listening to a lot of Type O Negative stuff especially their latest release.  Big fan of the new CD and as one of the Bob's from the movie Office Space would say, "I celebrate their entire collection". 

Saturday, August 25
August 25th, 2007

We are in Baltimore on the first leg of another road trip.  Baltimore is probably the easiest place for me to come hang out and walk over to the park and sign autographs.  The collectors here all kick butt and understand the hobby and it's always a treat to come here and see them and how they have been doing. 

There really hasn't been anything new so that's why I haven't had an update.  I thought it would be better to read the message board entries this past week than make up an entry babbling on!  It sure beats reading articles about me saying, "Hitters have once again figured me out".  I've sat here a long time shaking my head with who writes this.  It seems like every time I give up a run something like that gets put out there.  It's kind of like the lefty stuff saying I can't get out a lefty, I don't know where it starts but it's funny every time I give up a lefty hit that's what gets published yet I'm having a better year against lefties stat wise.  It always amazes me at how much emphasis people place on the media and that's why I think blogs are going to be the place where people start turning for in depth analysis because you can only find  (most of the time) sensationalism in print media or one sided views that have players like me shaking their heads unable to defend themselves.  For better analysis I recommend turning to blogs like aarongleeman.com, sethspeaks.net, twinkietown, stickballguy, Lavelle's and Joe C's blog or just go to mngameday.com and they have all these blogs in one spot.  These guys back up their comments with reasons that make sense and not ridiculous things like (they are figuring him out or lefties own him).  For example if Aaron Gleeman would write something with the headline “The League is Figuring Him Out” I know he would have concrete stats detailing things like BA during second time facing player, 3rd time, 6th time, 100th time.  I know he would then go out and do some crazy statistic adding up the entire leagues 2nd, 3rd, 4th at bats against me and lay it out and I would read it and go man, this guy is right.  Tired...we all are, tired where it is affecting me...heck no, that's about the lamest excuse there is.  The skinny, I made a couple bad pitches and got beat, balls got hit and dropped in and runs came in.  My slider sucked and hung, when you hang the slider against MLB hitters you get beat.  There's the reason and something that you didn't read about because it didn't have the pizzazz and was boring to actually comprehend.   



Thursday, August 16
2007 Allen & Ginter
I got the urge today to go on a hunt for some of the Allen & Ginter blaster boxes at Target and Wal-Mart and finally struck gold!  The first Target didn't have any but the 2nd Target and Wal-Mart I went to yielded me 5 boxes along with 40 retail packs.  I didn't want to get the open retail packs knowing they might have been packed searched but I had to take my chances with how rare finding these things are up here.  I just got done opening everything up and man it was WELL worth the trouble of finding these.  I opened up all the open retail packs and only got one jersey relic of Marcus Giles...I'm kind of mad I bought those now but at least I know.  The blaster boxes were a different story...AWESOME.  Out of the five boxes I struck it pretty good in three of the boxes.  One contained a Curt Schilling Jersey (odds 1 in 48 packs), the 2nd contained a David Ortiz bat (1 in 766 packs) and the 3rd was unreal...A signed RED INK #7 of 10 of Minnesota Native and Lumberjack World Champion Jaime Fischer!  I don't even know the odds of this thing because it is so rare being red ink and #'d to 10.  Below is a picture of this from another eBay auction of this card.  Even with all that I still nearly got my entire set completed...I only need 12 Sp's and got a bunch of other weird mini's including one of the Roman Emperor's...don't know what these are but they must be tough to get.  I'm going to wait until the Baltimore box breaking to upload my need list and then we can get started on trading and trying to complete some of the tougher sets from this thing.  Man I can't believe these things are just sitting in Target and Wal-Mart stores all over the country, it's weird to think about!

redinks

Thursday, August 16
August 16th, 2007

I’m on the plane right now heading back to Minnesota.  We finally get an off day after playing for a long time without one.  It’ll be a nice time to kick back and relax.  Speaking of flying some of you are probably wondering how we travel.  Nearly all travel up here is done through a charter plane meaning the team rents out a plan and it leaves whenever we show up.  We usually just drive our bus right up to the plane and go through a security stand that is waiting for us.  The whole process takes about 10 minutes to do the entire team.  We usually have two buses leave from the stadium one earlier than the others for press and the early bird players that want to get out of the stadium and on the plane.  Once there we just need to wait for the equipment van to show up and load and we are off and flying.  It sure beats going through an airport and all that security…it would be a mess having to do that every road trip.  The only two cities we have to go through the normal airport is Texas and Toronto and it really takes a little bit longer to do the process.

 

In Seattle Ramon Ortiz asked me if I wanted to meet up with him to eat dinner at Benihana’s the first night we were in town.  I quickly accepted remembering the last time we ate there in Detroit.  I think there were about 10 of us and it was quite the sight!  Carlos Silva bet me he could eat more than anyone else including me and I was up for the challenge.  Word of advice, don’t ever bet Silva when it comes to eating…oh my.  Silva and Ortiz let everyone pick what they wanted to eat because they were buying and we spared no mercy.  In all my life I have never seen a mountain of rice as big as what was on that Benihana stove.  I hung in there long enough but couldn’t make it to the steak after devouring everything thrown at me including shrimp, chicken, scallops, three bowls of rice, a salad, soup and probably a bunch more stuff that I forgot about after I went into a coma from eating so much food.  Silva kicked everyone’s butt eating a record 5 orders of rice and everything I ate including the steak and other’s leftovers…I now crown him the eating champ of the team.  Anyways Ortiz and I tried to do the same Detroit feast again in Seattle but we didn’t make it too far…2 rice bowls and the normal, shrimp, steak and chicken…I barely made it through!

 Speaking of baseball cards listen to what we get to do next week in Baltimore.  The MLBPA is sponsoring a box breaking for anyone on our team that wants to go.  From what I hear Topps and Upper Deck have donated tons of stuff for us to open…basically a box of every brand for each guy that comes including the insane Topps Triple Threads (nearly a case per guy).  I’m pretty excited and will def be bringing my camera to see what kind of crazy stuff I can find.  The whole event is going to be broadcast either on MLB.com or ESPN sometime in September so I’ll have to let everyone know more once I find out.  I’m guessing about 15-20 guys on the team will participate in it.    


Friday, August 10
August 10th, 2007

We are heading out of Kansas City right now and I am still sweating from the game.  Man, that was probably the hottest game I have played in the last couple years if not the hottest ever!  Just sitting in the bullpen I thought I was on a frying pan waiting to be cooked…I actually felt better running out to the mound and pitching than baking for 8 innings in the heat…glad that trip is over, hopefully California will treat us a lot better.

 

The more and more I play in KC the better I like it.  I think that KC might be my 2nd favorite place to play now right behind the Metrodome (I love the dome and it will never change so quit shaking your head in disbelief).  I think the neatest thing about KC is that it is so family friendly.  They have parking that caters to tailgating.  Outside there are mini baseball fields for the youngsters and other things such as a speed pitch and monuments.  It just has that relaxing baseball feel where the only thing on people’s minds is baseball.  I think the Royals definitely do that the best in the big leagues.  I couldn’t imagine that place sold out, it would be a tough place to play.

 

As I mentioned before we are heading to California right now.  My wife and parents made the trip to KC and have been with me for the past three days.  I should have a little bit more time now to get on the message board and try to finally complete the 2007 Topps Heritage set.  I only need 4 more cards and then I can move onto another set. 



Wednesday, August 1
2007 Topps Allen & Ginter
Well my favorite product of the year came in yesterday and this is one box of baseball cards that I’ve been eyeing all year and couldn’t wait to break open. This was my favorite card set from last year and really had a unique flavor about it that made me want to collect. I don’t know what it is about these things, the randomness of who you might get, the mini cards, the odd variations or the challenge of putting together the set…The 2007 Topps Allen & Ginter set has it all and is something that everyone will get into.

You have to trust me on this one, go out and buy this brand…If you haven’t bought a box of cards in 15 years or want to get your son/daughter into card collecting this set is the one that will easily get your collecting juices back in you and let you see where the hobby now stands. I’m telling you to do this now though, last year at this time the product made it’s debut and quickly sold out everywhere. The cool thing was that you could buy the retail boxes at Wal-Mart and Target for $19.99. Of course these are retail boxes (tougher to get inserts) but what is nuts is that last year the same $19.99 boxes were selling for upwards of $50 on eBay about a month after it’s release. This year they are already going for $30 on eBay. If nothing else buy them and resell…that is if you ever see them. I’m guessing these will sell out quick at all Targets and Wal-Marts but who knows. I’ll tell you something though, this is the one set of the year that I have been anticipating for the last 12 months and will probably be opening as much of these as I can find.

So what the heck makes this brand of cards good? Well for me it’s just plain fun to open up a pack of cards and pull out a card of Ken Jennings (jeopardy champ) or Jack The Ripper and go “why is this in a baseball card set”. There are a ton of non-baseball player cards in here, lots of world leaders such as Gandhi, weird things like the Eiffel Tower and the Washington Monument and even one for Groundhogs day? If that isn’t enough they also packed in mini cards of each regular card and also a set of Flags from around the world…Nothing like getting a flag of China to help build the set…I was pumped. Top this off with the chance to get the 2007 Westminister Dog Champion’s Paw Print autograph (Might be a tough find, I heard the dog was a tough signer and only did 50 autographs) or a piece of George Washington’s hair ( No Lie, Click Here) and this makes for a fun set that reinvents collecting for the new age of baseball cards.

I was lucky enough to open 2 boxes of these today and here is how I did.

Quickly
Each box contains 24 packs, with 8 cards…6 base cards and one mini insert and one Dick Perez Sketch card. Each box you will get 2 sweet inserts such as autographs, game used bat cards, game used jersey cards or random other things like George Washington’s hair if you are very lucky. Also when opening the box (which is designed like a cigar box) there is a box topper that could contain some valuable stuff. Here’s how I did

Box 1 Box Topper: Westminister Dog Champion N43 card (No autograph, darn)
Box 2 Box Topper: Albert Pujols N43

Total Base Cards in 2 boxes - 286
Base Set 193/350 - 55% Completed
Doubles   93 - 33% Doubles
Dick Perez Inserts – Finished one set of all 30 and had 14 doubles
Mini’s
28 Regular – 11 A & G backs, 3 Black Bordered – 1 Black Bordered no #
4 Flags – 1 Bazooka #’d to 25 (Swisher)
Inserts
M Cabrera Bat – Zito Jersey, Harden Jersey, Beltran Bat
No Auto’s…I got hosed again!
2 A-rod HR History Cards

Overall, probably my favorite set of the year. I did get a TON of doubles for some reason but that will be good for trading.


07ginter
Some Of The Unique Cards I Opened Up

Tuesday, July 31
July 31st, 2007
I just finished all of my mail that came in over the past week and it was the biggest mail day I have ever received. I don't know what was up but I think I had over 200 pieces of mail. Highlights from the mail, I got a bunch of sweet trades, cert cards, in-person cards...Off the top of my head I received cards of Pat Lafontaine, Gaylord Perry, Hoyt Wilhelm, Donnie Moore, Bob Feller and many many more cool things that I'm forgetting about plus lots of 07 Topps Heritage cards to help complete my set. Lowlights of the mail, still a couple with no SASE, 1 with money telling me to run to the PO and ship the package back. For some reason I received 6 letters with cards of my teammates asking me to get them signed, umm return to sender. Got a couple that included plain baseball cards from 1990...gee nothing like that 1990 Donruss common cards in the mail. One guy sent me 2 1991 Topps cards and asked me to return something fair...I returned 2 1991 Topps cards that I have a million of. I also received a bunch of request without SASE's again asking for teammates on signed baseballs, yuck. Overall very easy to do the mail this week especially with the quantity of letters. I saw a lot of "please sign my card" and that's it letters and loved those a lot, thanks guys.   

Sunday, July 29
July 29th, 2007
We are heading out of Cleveland right now (6pm Sunday) and ready to kick off a nice 8 game home series. Pulling out those last two wins really helped everyone confidence these last two days. I tell you there is nothing worse than losing a bunch of games in a row especially when we are in a playoff race. It seemed like nothing was going right for us and doing bad was contagious. I always hate how baseball can break you down with one bad outing and you have to find a way to mentally and physically adjust to the stress it causes. It’s weird how baseball is like that. This game will in one way or another force you to become humble.

Cleveland once again was great. This time instead of seeing a bunch of empty seats The Jake was PACKED. It was such a different type of atmosphere playing in front of a sold out crowd compared to last year when the upper deck didn’t have anybody sitting up there.

Graphers and collectors were once again out in full force at the hotel and before the game. I always find it very easy to sign here because the hotel makes it very easy for us to feel comfortable and safe and I think that is why there are always a lot of people graphing us when we come here. At the hotel they set up a nice barricade for people to stand behind and on today they even had a table for us to sign on if we wanted to stop and sign things up.

For the last week I have been trying to collect the 2007 Topps Heritage Baseball card set and a couple people in Cleveland really helped me darn near finish the thing. If you collect Heritage please check out my message board and the baseball card forum and let me know if you have anything you can trade to help me out. I think I only need 20 more cards. Thanks to everyone who has traded with me so far, I think it’s a pretty neat way to put together a tough set.


Sunday, July 29
Tyner Hits 1st HR - I Snatch It
Had to throw this in especially with the love he gave the site, check it out Here


The ball landed in the Twins dugout and was retrieved by Pat Neshek, who immediately had it authenticated for Tyner.

“My biggest fear was that Neshek would have it up on his website before the game was over,'’ Tyner said.



Saturday, July 28
Refractor Madness!
Last week at this time I noticed something I wanted really bad on eBay. I wanted it so bad I made it a lifetime goal. The goal was to collect my first Topps baseball card...and the cool thing was they are all numbered to 25. Over the past year I've traded a fan in Detroit for one with a signed baseball of somebody he wanted, maneuvered a sweet trade with a seller on eBay for a bat I had in my collection and also bought the other 4 off of eBay for $75, $80, $80 and $85. So the other when I checked eBay to see what all the news was about I noticed another one of my favorite cards was up for bid. I tried hard to contact the seller but the damage was already done...$205 on the first day. I still thought I would have a shot but I vowed to never get in a price war because anything over $125 too me is just too much. So when the dust settled the bad boy went for an unreal $390...yes about $300 more than I was willing to pay. Who knows if my mission to get all 25 is over or if I will someday be able to find a way to trade something reasonable for it? As of right now I am going to sell off the other 6 of these that I have and sell out for top dollar...Just kidding those are staying with me for a long time.Here's the auction for those interested.

Also I just wanted to pass along a note about the T-shirts. Since the t-shirts have begun we have raised $500 (my portion of the sales) for Pets In Distress. I mailed the check the other day and hopefully we will be able to help out a bunch of dogs that need homes. A new t-shirt design is on the way and I think we will be limiting the print so be sure to check out sidearmstore.com when the shirts come out! Thank you to everyone that wears the shirts, I see them a bunch and hand out a lot of free baseballs when I see one!


Friday, July 27
2007 Topps Chrome
I just got a couple boxes of 2007 Topps Chrome which just hit stores not to long ago and thought I’d share my box break with everyone on here. Topps Chrome has always been a pretty cool product to open in the past so we will see if it maintains that rating. These cards are very similar to Topps series one except they are very glossy hence the word Chrome…they have a very metallic look to them and are a little bit more high end then the regular Topps card. The big perk of this box is that it contains two autographed cards per box and the chance to get printing plates that are seeded 1 in 36 packs…So with my 2 boxes and 48 packs I have the odds in my favor. Hobby boxes are going for roughly $50 on ebay without shipping so it breaks down to about a little over $2 a pack…not a bad price for cards these days and a pretty fun product to open up. There are also a lot of other tough pulls inside the box like low numbered refractors and even signed cut outs of Mickey Mantle’s Autograph although the odds are like 1 a million…Let’s get to it and see how I did.


Time to Opened box #1, immediately find 2 box toppers (a box topper is basically an added bonus that sits on top of all the packs, the two I find are a special A-Rod HR card pack and something that says “2007 Topps Chrome Boxloader Card, one sequentially numbered card inside”…I open it and find a Red Refractor of Derek Lowe numbered on the back 58/99. The A-Rod card pack contains HR’s #240 and #230. Basically Topps has decided to make a card of every A-Rod HR and puts out about 20 different A-Rod cards per brand per year for however many HR’s he hits. Pretty neat idea and one heck of a final set that will be to put together when he’s done hitting bombs. Inside each box are two autographs…Here is how I did after opening both boxes,


140 regular cards pulled out of 275 in the set
140/275 = 51% of the set complete
No Doubles

17 regular refractors
1 Mantle HR Ref #’d to 500
1 Napoli Gen Now Ref #’d to 500
7 White Refractors #’d to 660
6 Mantle HR Cards
7 Mantle History Cards
9 Generation Now Cards
4 A-Rod HR History Cards
2 Red Refractors #’d to 99 Derek Lowe & Nick Markakis
Scott Moore Auto Refractor #’d to 500
Mitch Maier Auto
Dennis Sarfate Auto
Shawn Riggans Auto

Overall, not a bad break, didn’t get anything high end but that’s how it goes sometimes. I was expecting a printing plate but the odds were not with me today…I really like these cards how they look and feel. I have always been a fan of the chrome technology.   

Anyone want to trade?


Monday, July 23
July 24th, 2007
Just got back from my first game in Toronto and thought I’d share my thoughts. Since we stay so close downtown instead of taking a cab I walked over to the field, took about 10 minutes to get there and only walked into a couple graphers. Once I walked into the clubhouse I was informed that the clubhouse use to be one of the worst in the league…This year they moved clubhouses and had it redone and to tell you the truth it’s one of the better clubhouses in the league now. This place is well stocked with movies, music, food and even ketchup chips…I hate chips but those things are addicting. This is also the one spot in the Majors that has Spitz…a certain brand of sunflower seeds that comes from Alberta and they are pretty darn addicting as well. Walking out to the field my first impression was that it was a pretty sweet place. You can’t beat a place with hotel rooms in center, condos overlooking the field and a giant space needle called the CN Tower about a mile up in the air in right. I really liked the field because it kind of reminded me of the Metrodome, my favorite place to play. The field looked to have very old turf as most of the turf was beaten down probably due to all the football games. The bullpen was pretty sweet and included a ladder you walked up to get to the bullpen seats that overlooked the entire field, one of the best views of the field from a bullpen in the league. The only problem with having a good view was all the hecklers and there were tons…I tried to make friends by tossing up a few bags of Spitz into the crowd but that only lasted about two innings and then the heckling continued. All in all I really liked my first MLB game in Canada. I got to meet some fans on this site that have been on the message board for years and also got to knock off my last AL field. The only thing better would have been to meet NHL goalie Curtis Joseph who was in the crowd watching us play!

Monday, July 23
July 23rd 2007
Hey guys, I just woke up and we are in Toronto opening up a three game series here. This is my first trip to play the Blue Jays so it's going to be pretty sweet seeing another park and my last of the AL fields. This past week has been pretty hectic at home. I did three appearances during the home stand and they kind of wore me out a little. Two signings and one Q&A type thing called Cuddyer Unplugged, which included a signing at the end. All the events were really fun but man they wore me out. It kind of got to the point where it felt like I was always at the park and that’s not a good feeling. Anyways I got a great sleep here in Toronto last night and am refreshed to start this road series and will try to get my thoughts of Toronto up after the games.

Coming into Canada was a little different since we had to go through customs when we got here. Basically everyone on the team needed to bring their passport and fill out a customs declarations paper basically asking basic questions like how long you are going to be here and things like that. When the plane landed a couple customs agents got onto the plane and checked everyone’s stuff and id’s and that was that. It actually went by a lot quicker than last year in AAA when we went to play Ottawa on a bus and the officers had to check all the cargo.

This past week I opened up a bunch of baseball cards. I’ve been trying to collect the 07 Topps Heritage set and the thing is really tough to do. My wife and I opened up a bunch of the Target blaster boxes of these (gotta go with blasters in MN with Shinders closed now) and she unearthed a pretty sweet find, it was a red ink real one signed by Tim Thompson #’d to 58…odds of getting one of those is 1 in 1200 packs…It always amazes me that something like that can be sitting in a random Wal-Mart or Target store. I’ve brought along my want list and if I get some time I’d like to post that up on the message board and try to get some trades going. Also I just picked up a couple 07 Topps Chrome that came out not to long ago. I’ll be getting a review of the box break and my thoughts on the product probably tomorrow.


Monday, July 16
7/16/07
When I returned home the other day I found the mail pile to be the most I have seen in quite some time. I got through all the letters and they are heading back if you sent return postage. Most of the letters were auto request with photos, cards, indexes and other things. If you ever need anything signed, send it over with a SASE. Speaking of the letters I thought this would be a good time to go over some of the basics. The easiest is if you want something back you must include a SASE otherwise known as a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope. If this is missing I'm sorry but you probably aren't going to get anything back. I have a box of stuff that is basically all no SASE items...baseballs, cards, oddball things. I hate not being able to return people's items but I've had over 100 of these and can't sit in PO lines and buy stamps for people I don't know. Two, Don't include money for postage, got a couple that threw in $5 and told me to ship a package back...go to the post office, package up a return envelope and buy stamps, it's easy. Three, don't ask me to get items signed by my teammates...yes I get a couple of these every day. Four, try to keep the letters as short as you can be. If you are reading this right now and are going to send me a letter for something to sign something with just "please sign my card, thanks" is a dream to read. As always you can send me anything you need to get signed and you will most likely get it back quick if you follow the above. I can knock out about 200 letters a day if they are just auto request. It's the problem letters that really slow me down.   

I tell you there's nothing like a long home stand. It's so refreshing to come home after a long road trip knowing you are going to see your family and have everything you need around you. The All Star break and this last series vs. the A's really helped me recharge and get ready to play the second half. We are entering the dog days of summer right about now and it can get grueling so it's nice to get as much rest as we can.

Speaking of rest the auctions have kind of been non-existent for the past couple weeks. Things are going to change and may as soon as tomorrow. Be sure to check out the message board and see if anything goes up.



Sunday, July 8
7/8/07
Wow what a week! I’m on the airplane right now heading back to MN to kick back and take some time off for the All Star Break. It’s been one heck of a week and I think this is one of the most needed breaks with all that has happened. Most guys are heading back to their homes wherever that may be. This is probably the least amount of people I have seen on a flight home since this time last year.

Last year at this time I was just making my MLB debut and things were moving a millions miles per hour. Things have slowed down a little…thank god or else I would’ve gone nuts by now. It’s always amazes me how risky of a business the baseball world is. I never knew what I was getting into when I signed after the 2002 draft. You not only have to perform you have to stay healthy, put up numbers, be a great teammate, stay mentally strong, be a great husband (family), deal with adversity, do the same things for 180 days straight, prove yourself and prove yourself again. If any of these things go out of whack it makes the game a lot tougher. This life is a grind but there are many great benefits that make all the pain worth it.

These next couple days I’m planning on sitting around with my family and hanging out. I’m going to try and play catch each day so I don’t come back and have things feel odd on the mound and also hit up the gym and try to get into a routine. I have a couple box breaks that I will be doing sometime later in the week, I have 2007 Moments & Milestones, 2007 Bowman and 2007 Upper Deck 2. I’m also going to try and put up an article on the MLBPA box break that a couple teammates and I had in NYC the other day with pictures. Also there are many more auctions for game used stuff to come so keep checking out the message board. I don’t know when I’ll be getting to the PM’s there are so many since the Final Vote thing that I kind of got bombarded, I’m trying my best and will try to get to everything one of these days.


Friday, July 6
7/6/07
Thank you to everyone who participated in the Final Vote. It was a fun time and great to see everyone getting into it. The only thing I wish MLB would do is release Final Vote #'s...Not one thing I read stated how many votes we made and how many votes each guy got? That really takes the fun out of it and I'm suprised nothing has been said about this. Either way it was still a great time. I'm totally burnt out after just finishing a doubleheader here in Chicago. We have two more day games to go and then it's the All-Star break. Have to catch up on some sleep.

Thursday, July 5
It's Crunch Time... KEEP VOTING!
Two great new Youtube videos to motivate everyone to keep on voting!






Wednesday, July 4
Pulling An All Nighter
Alright everyone as Spokesman Ethan would say, "It's crunch time!" A lot of the competition is out celebrating and it's a perfect time to get a leg up and jump ahead.   The most recent update stated that the top candidates were neck and neck…we could very easily jump to #1 because nobody knows the vote totals right now. Tomorrow morning Japan will be getting ready for bed and Detroit and Boston will be taking the day off from work and stepping away from the computer (thinking they don't even need to vote since their candidate is in the lead). I have lots of family, friends, and devoted fans who are staying up all night to vote... Let's keep the voting going all through the night, all day tomorrow and we will rest when they take our voting privileges away. Thanks again everyone!

Vote NESHEK/YOUNG until you see your Zip Code!


Wednesday, July 4
Special Update: Neshek Camp Endorses Chris Young as Running Mate for NL Vote
Through strong communication and input with San Diego Padres Pitcher Kevin Cameron, the Neshek Campaign is urging voters to Vote for Chris Young as NL Running Mate on the MLB.com's 32nd Man Vote when you Pitch In For Pat. When asked about the new alliance Neshek had this to say, "After talking with Cameron I'm convinced that this is a perfect match and will give each of us a lot of new votes!"   Cameron, a former teammate of Neshek's for many years thought of the idea after wanting to see both sides win, "It would make my day to see both of these guys win and there's no better way to do this than to bring all the Padres fans, Young fans, Twins fans and Neshek fans together."   Get out there and vote the Neshek/Young ticket on MLB.com

Posted By: The Pitch In For Pat Campaign


asbanner
Vote NESHEK & YOUNG
Tuesday, July 3
Day 3
Hey guys, back at the hotel again checking out everything. We are right where we want to be.   This thing looks to be really close with the way they write the updates and the big 4th of July coming up.



It's been an uphill battle, especially without having the luxury of having all home games like some of the competition.   Then you get articles saying "the self promoter" when other guys have full blown ad campaigns and computers set up for 40,000 people to vote at during their home games. We are on a 10-day road trip, I don't have the opportunity to do much more than head to the park and come back and chat with you guys like I've been doing since 2004 …gee talk about uphill…long shot…underdog.   The worst was one Boston writer saying that I called me fans "creepy" when in reality, I said my fans are "crazy". Hmm does creepy sound like crazy? Can you use creepy in a good way like you can with crazy…don't think so?   I suspect a sabotage campaign going on! Who needs the media, who needs talking heads that will talk real loud so you can hear who they want, who needs ad campaigns in which teams are shelling out cold hard cash???



All I need are Ethan and Drosenda…Spokesmen for the 2007 Pitch In For Pat Campaign









It's Crunch time guys. We have a day game tomorrow and after the game I'm heading back to the hotel and jumping on the message board here from 6pm-Midnight…no fireworks for me, I'd rather chat with everyone on here (and visit Deadspin.com BTW: Nice article:) until I fall asleep.   Keep the voting up. I have a gut feeling things are going to shift…Vote until the server shuts down!


asbanner
Tuesday, July 3
Day Two
Hey guys, I just got back to the hotel here in NYC and am surfing around the internet. I just noticed the results and I like where we are at…striking distance.   Let's keep this thing close until Wednesday and hold an all day vote-a-thon (if that's a word) on Thursday while some of the competitors sleep! Remember the voting is unlimited so go nuts and don't vote just once!



I need all the help you guys can give me. In the off-season I was a proud advocate of the VOTE FOR RORY NHL campaign (look it up) and although Rory came up short we had a fun time in the process and that's what it's all about.   I'm calling on all Myspacers, all Facebook Users and even the most skilled of You Tube Directors to help me out, the funnier the better!



On a couple interviews today people asked me why they should vote for me and I basically told them a couple things.   I really don't know how to describe this but I'm the fan/collector/guy that somehow managed to get to the big leagues. I seriously wake up each day and can't believe how I got here and am thankful to even touch the uniform!   Basically if I wasn't playing baseball right now I would probably be the guy who was coming home from work and planning a night around baseball…planning what games to go to, which minor league teams to get autographs at, which guy to take on my fantasy team and which guy to trade in MLB The Show…heck this is what I do in the off-season, no lie!   Basically I'm a fan of baseball, if your team wasn't represented in this final 5 Vote I would love to represent you and all the fans of the game. I can tell you right now that nobody in the world, no other player would appreciate this more than me. So if you want somebody that is a fan of the game, a guy just like you, a guy that would probably pass out if elected to the ALL STAR game then you can help me out by voting here!   



http://www.mlb.com/mlb/events/all_star/y2007/fv/ballot.html



Thanks Everyone



Pat


Monday, July 2
I Need Everyone's Help
WOW, how cool is getting nominated. I don't know what to say it's unreal to even think about. But man I need you guys to vote, vote and vote, http://www.mlb.com/mlb/events/all_star/y2007/fv/ballot.html it's unlimited voting...tell everyone you know and come together and get creative we have like 5 days or something! We need everyone, all Minnesotan's, all graphers, fans of baseball and yes everyone in Yankee Nation ( and we know why!) I seriously would like to promise everyone All Star balls or jerseys for voting but it might be a stretch...I will promise this, if you guys can get me in I will write about everything that goes on... multiple updates each day letting everyone know what the heck goes on behind closed doors, I will always inscribe anything with All Star 07...dont even have to ask, I will try my best to get lots of giveaways and give them away on here and if I get an extra jersey like they did last year I will give it away in a contest not an auction. I don't know what else to say it would be the greatest feeling in the world to be voted in by you guys. Please tell everyone to vote multiple times:)

Friday, June 22
June 22nd, 2007
I'm in Florida right now and we are getting ready to start a 3-game series with the Marlins. These past couple days we were up in NY playing the Mets. New York is always a crazy place to play because there is so much going on in NYC and for me it tends to be a little too much. For the series we stayed downtown which means you have to find a way to get to the ballpark. A couple of the guys take cabs while the rest of us take the subway mostly due to the price and how much quicker the train gets there. Let me tell you this...everyday riding the subway is a story and this was one of the main reason I loved jumping on the subway. The first day I left with about 7 other guys on the team and we got on the train during peak hours. To get to Shea we had to get off and re-board a different railcar and this is where things got a little crazy...8 guys, packed subway card, angry riders...if you could picture 8 ballplayers pushing like crazy to fit into the railcar then you see the humor of it. I don't know how we all fit in. I think we were all frantic as to where we might end up if we went astray from the herd!

Shea was a pretty cool place to play and it wasn't as bad as I heard about from other people. Yes it was old but it had a lot of unique things you just don't see anymore in Major League Baseball. For instance the outfield has very little seating and is one of the only parks where you can actually see the outside of the stadium behind the outfield. It kind of reminded me of a minor league ballpark. Then you turn around and look at home plate and you are overwhelmed with how high and how many seats this place holds. The bullpen here is probably the biggest bullpen in terms of square footage. If this was a minor league field we probably would have had a nice game of wiffle ball going on during the game. All in all, not a bad field, glad I got to play here and I can't wait to see what the new place is going to look like when it is completed.

Last but certainly not least I got the chance of a lifetime the other day to go on the equivalent of a shopping spree at a mall...drop the mall and fill in blank with baseball card shop and you can see why it was one of the coolest things I have ever seen. I met up with the Director of Trading Cards for the MLBPA Evan Kaplan and we decided to sample all the newest products that are coming out right now. I opened about 15 packs of the 2007 Triple Threads, 2 boxes of the 2007 Co-Signers, 3 2007 Bowman's, 1 of each Series 1 & 2 Topps, 2 2006 UD Future Stars, 3 2007 Topps Heritage Boxes, 1 2006 1952 Rookies and 1 2007 UD Spectrum. I'm sure there were more boxes also but after my 2nd pack of Triple Threads I kind of forgot about everything that was going on. Highlights...too many to mention...here's a pic to highlight some of the chaos!


toppstrupehshs
!!!

Tuesday, June 19
New Card
Be sure to check out the new 2007 Upper Deck Series 2 when they come out. My newest card is pictured below!

upp2007shsj

Tuesday, June 12
Signings & Changes
Couple quick updates

The 6/14 Maple Grove Community Center Signing has been changed to sometime in July

The 6/15 Cub Foods Signing is in Hastings and I think it's around noon


Monday, June 11
Michael Cuddyer 2006 Game Used Glove Auction
It's time for another auction. The latest is from Michael Cuddyer. This item is his 2006 Glove that he used nearly the entire season. He used two gloves last season, both the same model and this one had a lot more use. The other glove will be going up for a charity auction I will have at the end of the season. The picture below is of him using the glove last season.

This auction is 7 days and will end next Monday night at 10pm Central. All you have to do is make an offer on the message board (free to register & look at offers). Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Remember you can make as many offers as you want, good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page for more game used items down the road!

As always the winner can have Cuddy sign the glove and add any insriptions they would like. Cuddyer still would like signed baseballs of guys that do not play anymore mostly HOFer's or any Michael Jordan items. Pictures are big and can sway the auction.








Thursday, June 7
June 7th, 2007
Right now we are flying back to Minnesota. This West Coast trip felt like it went on for two weeks but in reality it was only six days. Oakland was just how I remembered it except this time there were a lot more graphers everywhere! Last year when we came I only remember about three different people that were going after us and they were mostly hanging outside the entry to the hotel. This year Stephanee and I went to grab a bite to eat across the street (and of course she had to shop) the first day and on the other side of the street there were about 15-20 graphers. I totally didn’t expect it and it was cool to see. They said that the hotel booted them earlier in the year and will not let them on the property anymore so that is why they had to take refuge on the other side of the road. Once we got done eating and shopping it was time for me to head over to the field. Like I said before in past entries we stay in San Francisco whenever we play Oakland so taking a cab was not really an option ($100+ ride) and nobody takes the bus (except the starting pitcher) or if it’s a day game so we had to use the next best option: The BART…otherwise known as the subway system, I think it stands for Bay Area Rail Transit but I’m not sure. So everyday here we were taking the subway to the game. The ride took about 20-30 mins and was only about $3. Once there we got off the sub and had to walk through what felt like a mile of a chained raised walkway that took us to the field. What caught me off guard was that there were graphers there also…very sneaky, something I would do if I was getting autos. All in all Oakland was a pretty positive experience for me. Not only did I meet a lot of new people but they hooked me up with a lot of stuff. A couple people that I met on the site hooked me up with over 100 signed cards, I also received some pretty sweet signed up 8X10’s, signed baseballs, a cd and I finally got the Mickey Mantle signed baseball that I wanted for a long time, of course this came through trade (one of my 07 jerseys at the end of the season) I also was happy to see a bunch of my t-shirts that I had on here. I forgot to mention before that if you wear one of my shirts and I catch you during bp there’s a pretty good chance I might throw you up a baseball especially if you are at one of our road games!

I know this is really long but I couldn’t forget to mention LA. The field really impressed me. I could tell it had a lot of features from back in the day but what really got me was how many people it holds. I mentioned the graphers above being sneaky but the field here was very sneaky in how it looked like it didn’t hold a lot of people until you really sat there and glanced at all the seats. Quick summary, great atmosphere, great fans, excellent clubhouse, I really liked playing here, got my blood & nerves flowing

Lots of contests on the message board closing soon and I have a lot more getting ready to be added. I have a busy week of appearances during this home stand so if you need to get stuff signed be sure to come out and say hi. I’m not sure about the times or places on most of these and I will try to update these when I find out.

6/7 Alexandria Beetles Before Game Signing.
6/11 NWA Employee Signing (employees only)
6/14 Maple Grove Community Center Signing (just found out today, I think it’s the CC)
6/15 Cub Foods Signing (not sure which one yet)


Monday, June 4
Boof Bonser Game Used Bat Auction
It's time for another great auction. The latest is from Boof Bonser. This item is a 2007 Game Used Bat that Boof used on 5/18 in Milwaukee. The bat is still intact and he used it for all of his at bats against Milwaukee. This is Boof's model bat that he uses each time at the plate, with pine tar and also his name logo on the bat head. He also signed the bat in blue sharpie and inscribed the bat with "5/18/07 GU".

This auction is 4 days and will end Thursday night at 10pm Central. All you have to do is make an offer on the message board (free to register & look at offers). Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Remember you can make as many offers as you want, good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page for more game used items down the road!

Boof is like most of the other players in what he collects...Pretty much signed baseballs of guys that do not play anymore. Good luck






Friday, June 1
May 31st, 2007
Hey guys, I’m on the airplane right now traveling to California for a 6 game road trip. Of course I cannot get an internet connection up here so when we land I’ll copy and paste this into a web entry…I wish we could get on the internet while flying (thinking out loud)…it’ll happen someday soon!

This is going to be a pretty cool trip for me because I’ve never been to Anaheim and will only have one AL stadium to go after this (Toronto). It’s also going to be cool because my wife is flying out for the entire series and it’s going to be neat to have her with. A lot of people have asked me from time to time if my wife flies to every away game or if the team will let them fly on the team play. I wish she could go on every trip as well as my parents and brothers but it’s very tough to do. One, they have to buy their own plane ticket and two, they might have to either rent a car, hotel or find their way around town. It can get expensive and that is one of the main negatives that keeps them home. The team lets wives and kids come on one trip a year designated “the family trip.” Our family trip is to NY and Florida…our next road series. During the family trip everyone is allowed on the team plane (we take a bigger plane to accommodate this) and allowed on the team bus before and after games.

During the season every guy gets their own hotel room and for the most part they are pretty nice rooms…In the minors you always had to share a room unless you wanted to pay up and upgrade to an individual room. So with being in the bigs that’s the big perk, if one of my family members can find a cheap flight they can always room with me. For this trip it worked out really good for Stephanee and the airfare was really cheap for some reason. She’s excited like me to cross another field off the list and have some fun.

Be sure to check out the upcoming contest. The next item up is Boof’s 5/18/07 game bat that he used in Milwaukee. I’m hoping to get the contest up either tonight or tomorrow. Also this is going to excite a lot of people but I must remind everyone that this is in the works still. Johan Santana wants to sign up a dozen OMLB (not sure if he’ll do inscriptions or not, I don’t think he’ll have a problem) and have a unique auction on here. The auction will consist of 12 winners he’ll pick. Basically he’s going to take his 12 favorite bids and trade signed baseballs. He’s only interested in signed baseballs or jerseys and they have to be of guys that are not playing anymore. He came to me with the idea and I knew this would be pretty neat and give a lot of people the chance to get a sweet signed up ball from Johan. This is still in the works and I will let everyone know when it’s official and you can begin bidding.


Sunday, May 27
2006 Dennys Reyes - One & Only 2006 Gamer Glove
If you like the auctions on here you are going to have a ball this week...Got some big time stuff coming up, the first is from Dennys Reyes.

Probably one of my favorite items to go up for bid on here, might even throw in a bid myself. This is Dennys Reyes's 2006 Glove that he wore the entire year in every game he pitched and in the WBC for Team Mexico. It has a Mexican Flag sewn on and also his nickname "Big Sweat." He did not wear another glove last year, this was his only gamer and he posted unreal numbers with this glove. Reyes can also sign and inscribed the glove if you are the winning bidder.

Reyes has been collecting signed baseballs for his children and he would like to add more to his collection. He liked Cuddy's winning offer and says that anything like that could win the glove. So with that said this auction will be for signed HOF baseballs or greats. Pictures of items offered are very much appreciated and can sway who he ends up picking.   

This auction is 2 days and will end Tuesday night at 10pm Central. All you have to do is make an offer on the message board (free to register & look at offers). Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Remember you can make as many offers as you want, good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page for more game used items down the road!

For those of you not familiar with this, it all takes place on the message board (above in black) and if you like the item you bid memorabilia, no money and try to win...very swayed for the collectors out there. It's all in fun and helps players and fans both add to their collections. I hope this makes it a little easier to understand! I know there have been questions about this in the past!







Wednesday, May 23
May 23rd, 2007
Hey guys, I have a lot of updates on here today. I've been meaning to update this the other day but got distracted playing computer games. We are wrapping up a very long road trip in which we went to Cleveland, Milwaukee and Texas. Each stop was pretty cool and I got to see a lot of people from the site...Cuddyer and I were talking after the game tonight about how every day so far people have came up to him and asked him if he picked a winner yet for the bat and how many balls he got...He couldn't believe all the people that have been checking out his bat "at least 5 people a day ask!" BTW he picked jrocker49's offer and received 8 HOF baseballs and 4 HOF cards. He was so impressed he wants to do more auctions down the road and in the off-season when he cleans out his house. It's pretty neat for me to see both fans and players get into this.

This is going to make a couple people out there get VERY INTERESTED...As I said before Cuddy and I were talking after the game about the auction and Mauer was listening in to us talk and couldn't believe that Cuddy was getting stuff for his items. He (Mauer) wanted to know what it would take for a Michael Jordan signed item or Ted Williams signed item. He said he had a lot of stuff that he could auction off for example he could do a game used bat that he will use from a game this year and he also had his catchers gloves from previous years or something else that could get him those graphs:) I told him there would for sure be interest...so let me know on the message board...I know MJ and Williams autos are rare but so is a g/u glove from Mauer...not to many of those out there!

Like I said before we have been to 3 cities so far and are heading home tomorrow. Some quick notes on cool things from the trip so far. In Cleveland they got a new visiting clubhouse guy (Willie Jenks) and he turned the place around. Cleveland now goes from being one of the world clubhouses to probably in the top 3. What makes it different, More TV's, cleaner clubhouse, more video games, better attendants and of course the food was unreal. In Milwaukee I was shocked to understand how big of a series this is! All 3 games felt like the playoffs...very intense and I was on edge nearly all three games. There were about the same number of Twins fans as Brewers fans and the crowd really made it a great series...I'm all for interleague if it's going to be like that! So far in Texas it has only been about 80 degrees each day...sure beats the 110 degrees we played through last year when we came here. Of course Texas is the place where I made my MLB debut and it was unforgettable. Tonight (Tuesday) I got to pitch here again and I noticed there was something different about this mound whether it be too high or too steep...I don't know what it was but I def could tell I had to get on top of my pitches or else they were going to get left up in the zone and crushed...I think I felt the same way last year during my debut but didn't know any better because that was my first big league mound and was just pumped to be out there. Another cool thing to point out. I got to face Sammy Sosa and before I threw my first pitch the umpire made me return the ball I had and he threw me out another ball. Of course I was very intrigued as to what the ball looked like so the first thing I did was look over the ball to see what was going on. The ball had red writing (pen) over the MLB logo that said "60" and underneath the logo it had the letters "SS" I'm not sure if the ball had a micro-chip in it or not but if it didn't the red pen would be how the ball would be recognized if I gave up a bomb. Luckily there was no HR and I would've liked to get that ball but didn't know whether Redmond had to give it back to the ump or if he tossed it into the stands, oh well. Keep checking in and I'll try to get some more stuff up here!



Thursday, May 17
Baseballs From 2007
Of course I get this questions all the time? Do you get players on other teams to sign things for you? Well the answer is really easy...yes but it's kind of a cloudy answer...I personally don't go over to other guys and hand them things to sign. In most clubhouses there are attendents, bat boys and clubhouse workers that will run things over for players to get signed up and of course you have to tip them for doing the dirty work. This is my collection from this year.   


Wednesday, May 16
More Auction Stuff
Cuddy is throwing in his pink wristband he wore Sunday night for Mother's day to spice up the pot a little on the previous post and he said he can sign it up for the winner...

Note: This contest is for Cuddyer not me. Cuddy informed me the winner of this contest will be the person who submits the most signed Hall Of Fame baseballs...or the best HOF signed baseballs, I'm not really sure he just told me he collects HOF baseballs and wants to add some guys to his collection...Also the contest can be easily swayed with any baseballs signed by Pete Rose.

For those of you not familiar with this, it all takes place on the message board (above in black) and if you like the item you bid memorabilia, no money and try to win...very swayed for the collectors out there. It's all in fun and helps players and fans both add to their collections. I hope this makes it a little easier to understand! I know there have been questions about this in the past!


Monday, May 14
Michael Cuddyer Auction
As promised here is another auction...A lot of my teammates want to add to their collections so they are parting with items they don't need anymore. The latest is Item #1 from Michael Cuddyer. This item is a 2007 Game Used Broken Bat that Cuddy used and broke last week. This is Cuddyer's model bat that he uses each time at the plate, with his tape and pine tar and also his logo on the bat head. He also signed the bat in Gold pen and insribed the bat with "2007 Game Used!"

This auction is 3 days and will end Thursday night at 10pm Central. All you have to do is make an offer on the message board (free to register & look at offers). Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Remember you can make as many offers as you want, good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page for more game used items down the road!



Monday, May 7
More Funny Letters
I've never seen one of these before! This one came to Glen...





I don't even know what to say:)


Friday, May 4
May 4th 2007
We just finished our last game in Tampa Bay and are on our way back to Minnesota. It’s kind of a rough little flight home considering we get in around 2AM and play the Red Sox tomorrow night. Usually there is a scheduled day game on flights that are kind of far away from where we have to be the next day. Tampa was pretty much just how I remembered it from last year. Of course last year I gave up back-to-back bombs to lose the game and then I had to suffer through this same kind of flight beating myself up about the pitch selection. I tell you there is nothing worse in baseball for a relief pitcher than pitching bad on the getaway day (at least that’s my opinion)…First off you have to sit through a long flight thinking about what you did when all you want to do is get away from baseball and do something else. At least when you are at home you can leave and go home for the night. The other thing that sucks is sitting on the plane and no one wants to make eye contact with you and you know everyone on the flight knows what you did in the game. It’s not fun and I’ve been there a lot. Things were a little different this time around, no getting beat up on the mound so I actually liked the place a little bit better!

Tropicana Field where do I start…not a big fan of the place. Don’t get me wrong it’s a great field, great clubhouse and the atmosphere is pretty neat when they get a crowd there. Since last year they upgraded the video board and WOW that thing is almost as big as Cleveland’s and a lot clearer. Next to the board are stat boards as well as many other message boards. I found myself watching the board trying to dissect the stats more so than the game during the series. I also had trouble watching the game because the video board takes up nearly the entire right field and you can’t miss it because it is so bright. Then you look down in the left field bleachers and they have a live scoreboard updating every second of every other game in the league going on. In center there is another board that shoots out “Sting Em Rays” messages and around the home plate seating are more boards that have the count, score and time. Around the 2nd inning of each game my eyes wanted to have seizures kind of like when Bart Simpson watched that Japanese TV show an inch away from the screen and started rolling around on the floor. And if the 1,000,000 color ultra pixel screen wasn’t enough to make you go crazy between each inning they had more promotions than any minor league team could imagine…they did it all, game recaps, contests, guess that player, name that song, find the cow, kiss cam, beverage mascot race, dirtiest car in the parking lot and tons of other stuff I already forgot about. The craziest part of it all was that the MC had a dead on body double appearance for Ryan Seacrest with same mannerisms and gestures. I swear if you’ve been here you might have thought it was Mr. Seacrest, the fans behind me did. So with all that was going on it was really tough as a player to stay focused and not go insane. I guess that is really why I don’t like playing here. Not to mention the catwalks above the plate and balls hitting off speakers for doubles…when that happened it didn’t really feel like baseball…it felt more like I was playing Baseball Simulator 2000 for Super NintendoJ

I’m starting to check out some new music and hopefully within the next month or so I will start updating the music charts a little. It’s been really tough to stay up on all that is coming out but it will be well worth the time that goes in once I start hearing some riffs and drums.



Monday, April 30
T-Shirts
Just wanted to throw this up on here again. I have seen a lot of you guys at different stadiums with these on and around town. Be sure to click on the link or check them out here www.sidearmstore.com I'm donating my entire share to charity so it's going to a good cause.


sideamrmsms
Click Here

Sunday, April 29
April 29th 2007
On the plane right now and we are heading out to Tampa. Tomorrow is an off day for us and it’ll be nice to unwind and do nothing all day for a change. It’s always weird to have an off day on the road and I’m glad there aren’t too many of them. Hopefully I can get some work done on the site and get some of my cards up under the baseball card section.

Detroit was exactly the same way I remember D-town from last year. Lots of baseball fans and lots of people getting autographs. It’s a pretty tough place to play since they are one of our rivals so taking 2 of 3 was pretty big. Hopefully I signed everything there was to be signed in Detroit…I’m sure you guys will have a bunch more when we come back. I also managed to get another #’d 25 refractor cards of mine from a collector I met last year at Detroit. He brought it to me in the bullpen and I almost fell down the steps in the bullpen when I noticed the shiny rookie card. I always love it when fans hook me up and find my rare cards…6 refractors down, 19 to go! I think this will be a lifetime hobby trying to collect all the refractors.


Tuesday, April 24
April 24th 2007
Yesterday we got back to the field and the first thing I noticed was the mail pile was about double the size for everyone on the team. I spent the entire pre-game knocking out a lot of it and still only got through about half the letters. Be on the lookout if you wrote to me, I'm trying to get everything back. Also if you send the 2007 Topps card you might want to try and rub it down/baby powder or eraser because the card is super glossy and the ink will bubble up when I sign it. I've tried rubbing down most of the cards that come in and they still find a way to bubble up!

Yesterday my wife and I got to shoot a PSA commercial for Mother's Day and Breast Cancer for the Twins. We arrived around 1:30pm and did the commercial on the field and everything went good. When I looked over on the otherside of the field I noticed most of the Indians hitters were there getting ready for early hitting...That seemed pretty early to me then I thought about us in Seattle the other day. Most of us got so bored sitting in the hotel that we would took a cab over a little after 12:30!


Sunday, April 22
April 22nd 2007
We are just getting ready to fly out of Kansas City and head back to MN. This entire series with KC I have been struggling with flu-like symptoms and if I wasn’t at the field I was in bed trying to get a bunch of sleep. The other day I had one of the toughest days of traveling in my life. We finished the last Seattle game and got on a plane for KC. We arrived at 2am and by the time our luggage was in the room it was 3am.

Once again at Kansas City there were a lot of Twins fan and on Friday night Kauffman Stadium was packed with the most fans I have seen there. I haven’t seen a crowd like that here since I came to a game in 1999 and Mark Mcgwire was in town. On Friday night the atmosphere was great and really changed the game a little and got the players a little more amped.

As far as autographs go there wasn’t too much action going on in either place. Seattle had a couple people working the hotels before the game but after that it was kind of tough. Both Seattle and KC have fenced in parking and this is where most guys go when they have the cabs drop them off. The field is always a tough place to get stuff signed because there is a lot of variables such as finding the right spot to sit at and how the players feel that day or if they even have time to sign. With me the worst time to ask on the road is right after BP because on the road and being a young guy the Twins want me out of the clubhouse 20 minutes before the game. Usually BP gets over about 45 mins before the game and that doesn’t give me much time to eat, get dressed and prepare for the game.

I’m looking to try and get some auctions up sometime in the next couple weeks. A couple more players are interested in auctioning their game used stuff on here and I’m kind of surprised at how well this concept has taken off on here. At first I never knew what to expect when I first started trading my own stuff then a couple teammates thought it was a cool idea and threw in some stuff (Venafro, Crain) who knows, this may lead to it’s own website mntwinsgameusedauctions.com or something haha. Cuddyer and Rabe are the latest players that might have some bats and cleats to trade on here. It’s pretty neat to see this work because it brings everyone together and everyone wins…plus the biggest thing is that everyone has fun because that is what it’s all about!

I gotta start to get some of my new cards up under the “baseball cards” section. I have been slacking and don’t even have my AAA cards up there yet. I was also wondering the other day if there is anyway or if anyone knows how to make a website where people can add to say a checklist for all my #599 Topps Chrome Rookie Card. I thought it would be really neat to get a checklist of every number and see where and who has these cards.


Wednesday, April 18
April 18th 2007
Well we are in Seattle and I must say this time change is really throwing me off. Each day so far I have woke up at 7:30am thinking it was almost 10! So far it has thrown me off big time. In the game last night I was yawning around the 5th inning and when I finished pitching it was almost midnight Central time.

This is my first time in Seattle and I have been impressed with nearly everything except the weather. Over the past year when I have talked to other guys on the team or friends that have played big league ball the question sometimes comes up over what my favorite ballpark was. Last year I missed out on 3 AL parks, Toronto, Anaheim and here. When I returned the question and asked them their favorite park it was almost hands down they were going to say Seattle. Honestly after spending one day here I don't blame them, this place is nice. I think it all starts with things that go on before the game that get most players to like this place the best. The hotel here is the nicest I have ever stayed in...one of those places you look for something bad to say but cannot find one thing wrong. The same could be said for Safeco field. The other things at the field really caught my eye such as the visitor clubhouse weight room, the extra space in every room in the clubhouse and how clean everything was. Then you have the field and the amazing roof, what an engineering feat! Our bullpen guys messed around before BP yesterday and mixed in frisbee with our running and got a big time workout. I'm sure the other team was looking at us different when they looked out in the outfield and saw nearly our entire bullpen doing frisbee sprints! After that BP was about to start and the roof opened. It took about 1 minute to open the roof, unreal how quiet it was. Once the game started the roof was open for about 3 innings and the next thing I knew I looked up and the roof was over us before I even had time to notice. Pretty neat field and easily in my top 3...probably #1.

Interesting note
The one thing that was kind of weird was when it started raining outside last night the rain was pouring over our bullpen and a little into left field. At Safeco there is just a roof so the sides of the stadium are still open letting air and rain come in...I thought it would be like Milwaukee but it wasn't even close. So when I warmed up last night it was pouring rain then I walked onto the field and everything was fine and dry.   


Thursday, April 12
Signing & The Fan Club
Have a couple quick notes to mention. On Saturday I will be doing a FREE autograph signing at Byerly's in Maple Grove from 12:30-1:30. Here's the addy for mapquest, 12880 Elm Creek Blvd in Maple Grove, MN. It would be awesome to see some of you guys out there and I will try my best to do as many multiples as needed!

Also Fan Club President Gary wanted me to let everyone know the Fan Club is up and running and he's looking for more members. Be sure to check out the fan club by going to www.patneshekfanclub.com

Membership includes:
T-shirt(sizes Small-XXL)
Signed 8x10
Signed welcome letter
2 Wristbands (like livestrongs)
E-mail newsletter.


Tuesday, April 10
April 10th 2007
Man that series in Chicago was freezing. The only other times I have felt that cold playing baseball was March in high school & the early parts of the year in College. The one thing you always have to tell yourself when it is that cold is that everyone else is playing under the same environment so stay tough and not let it get to you. The biggest thing I noticed that it was impossible to 1, get a grip and 2, throw breaking balls. Most of our pitching staff would agree, it was a tough time to pitch and we are pretty glad to be inside for the next couple series.

I have to apologize a little for not updating and being on the message board as often. The computer I'm on right now is on it's last leg and is going to get replaced here sometime this week...In Chicago the thing would start up for 10 minutes and then crash, very annoying.

Yesterday I was signing autographs before the game when a collector said they had one of my #d to 25 chrome rookie cards...At first I did a double take because I'm trying to collect them all and go nuts when I see one on the market. He said he got it off eBay, which I doubted because I check it everyday and have never seen this card go on there. I basically told him to name his price...I'm hoping we can work something out. So far I have 20% of those cards in my hands. If you know anyone out there that has one be sure to let them know I'm willing to work out a trade for them:)   


Thursday, April 5
Another Auction
As promised here is another auction...A lot of my teammates want to add to their collections so they are parting with items they don't need anymore. The latest is Item #1 from Jesse Crain. This item is Jesse's 2007 Game Used Spring Training cleats that he used in every appearance in spring training. The shoes are Nike size 11.5 and model Coop IV. They include a pitching toe on the right shoe and also have his #28 in red numbers on the backs of each cleat. Both cleats show good use on the bottoms with dirt still hanging on from his last outing.   

The cleats can be inscribed and signed by Jesse with anything you want (just make sure it's nothing offensive!) just let us know if you are the winning bidder. This auction is 2 days and will end Saturday night at 8pm Central. All you have to do is make an offer on the message board (free to register). Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Remember you can make as many offers as you want, good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page for more game used items down the road!





Wednesday, April 4
4/4/07
There's nothing like opening day at the big league level. This was my 1st opening day and I really didn't know what to expect. I thought it would feel like any other game like last season but that was hardly the case. To be honest it really felt like a playoff game. There was all that added hype surrounding the first game since nearly the first game of spring training but what totally got me was the fans. The dome was sold out and the fans were into every pitch. Sitting in the bullpen I was on edge the entire time waiting for my chance if I got the call. It's amazing the difference the fans play in the game and now I know what to expect from opening nights from now on!

Outside the dome the collectors and fans were busy getting things autographed. I like to try and stop after the games once a home stand. My favorite time to sign is before the game as I'm walking into the dome, I usually sign everyday. This makes it easier for me because I can show up a little earlier and I'm not in a rush for the most part. Last night it was so cold out with the snow that after the game there was only four people waiting outside for autographs...dedication. I'm really in favor of the new open-air stadium up here but I don't think a lot of people understand how vicious April's can be! If it's anything like it was when I played high school baseball we can expect a lot of cold games and a lot of doubleheaders.

Just wanted to put up a quick note that I have a lot of game used auctions coming up. A lot of my teammates have stuff they want to get rid of on here so be sure to keep checking it out. I think the next auction will be for Jesse Crain's spring training cleats. Most players are not like me when it comes to cleats. I wear one pair and only one pair the entire season...Some guys go through over a dozen by the time the season is over!!!

Last but not least I noticed This Article written by Jonah Keri over at ESPN…Be sure to check out story #6. I have to give him a big shout for the research it took him to write this article and it really made me laugh with some comments. I was a little cloudy on one sentence though...a picture card of Homer sleeping on the couch for a 1958 Mickey Mantle? If that is the case this trade can be done Jonah. I returned home from spring training the other day and had to dig through my box of old Simpson trading cards from the early 90's and I do have the homer...let me know, the deal is ready to go:)







Monday, April 2
Opening Day Thoughts & An Auction
A lot of stuff is going on right now for all the ballplayers across the land. The last couple days have been all about packing up and making sure everything gets to where it needs to be and having a place set up when we get into town. This year has been my easiest so far in terms of setting up because I'm coming home. I remember last year at this time it was a mess moving to Rochester, NY. I pretty much didn't even know where I was staying until the day I got there and drove around to a couple apartment complexes. It also sucked because my wife and dad had to drive up our cars from FL with everything packed up in the cars! This year is awesome, we landed from the plane, picked up our bags and were home!

Things are a little different at the big league level in terms of travel. About 4 days before we break camp there is a giant semi that heads out to MN. Inside the semi the players can put whatever they want on it! Some guys brought over 10 bins of personal items. To make it easier for me I packed up 3 huge suitcases and had them shipped away. Yesterday at our workout we picked up all the bags we had shipped and spent the day unpacking. This time of the year is looked at in terms of a player's eye as tough. We arrived in town late Sat night, had an early 9am workout yesterday and barely got a chance to unpack. Not to mention we have to perform starting tonight! It took me over a week last year to finally feel settled in and I'm guessing this is how most of the guys feel!

Now time for another auction. Item #3 from the Mike Venafro Game Worn Collection. The item is his 2007 Minnesota Twins Spring Training hat that he wore during all of spring training. He inscribed it up with his signature & number and also 2007 Game Used Spring Training.

This auction is 2 days and will end Wednesday night at 9pm Central. All you have to do is make an offer on the message board (free to register). Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Remember you can make as many offers as you want, good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page for more game used items down the road!





Thursday, March 29
March 29th 2007
Hey everybody, just wanted to let you know that I'm having a tough time with my internet connection here. I have a lot of info to get up and will try to do a little bit tomorrow if I can get connected. This time of the spring is both exciting and frustrating for a lot of guys. You see everything, releases and guys making teams, honestly I hate this time of the year. Probably the most exciting thing for me this spring is seeing how a couple of my teammates are going to be making their MLB debuts in a couple of days. Gotta give a big congrats to what Kevin Cameron and Levale Speigner have accomplished this spring. It makes all those days sitting in New Britain wondering if we had a job the next day worth it! This type of stuff really pumps me up and is what great stories are made of. I'm proud as heck to see a couple guys make it that were written off by "baseball people" years ago!!!

Saturday, March 24
3/24/07
Not a big update today just a bunch of random information. We have about a week left down here then everyone breaks camp and goes off to start the season. I feel ready to start the season and actually wished it started a couple weeks ago when I felt like I was good to go not that I feel any different today. Right now I'm still working on my change-up big time not really caring what the batter does since stats don't really account for too much right now. The pitch has worked out great so far but I find myself changing arm slots a little and walking a couple guys...it's an easy fix and I need to keep refining it a bit. I'm pitching again tomorrow against the Phillies in Clearwater. Some of you may notice this is the 5th time I have had to travel, I'm obviously not paying Gardy and Andy enough money to pitch me at home like some of the guys, kidding, kidding!!!

I'm planning on doing a collector Q&A sometime this week with Rich from New Jersey. Rich is the guy who opened up a pack of 2007 Topps and had my printing plate in it. He was cool enough to work out a trade with me for the card and I'm pumped to be adding this rare card to my collection. I thought it would be a sweet interview so we will see what type of questions I can come up with. So far I have every insert/sp/rare/base card of myself except for the 3 other printing plates and the 1/1 Platinum card.

Funny story of the week. I traveled to play the Devil Rays on Thursday night and my wife and dad were in attendance. After the game they were waiting for me and people kept bugging my dad to sign. One problem though, they thought he was me since he was wearing my 2006 Twins Jersey with Neshek on the back. As he walked away and met up with me at the car he said people looked really funny at him like "why is he not signing!" He was pretty happy about the whole incident getting mistaken for me but the feeling wasn't mutual!

I bought 3 2007 Topps blaster boxes today at Target after our game. Wasn't that great of a break with 1 Jeter card being my best pull. It's always fun going on eBay seeing the price of that card going up and down everyday. I found a box of the 2006 Fleer Greats of The Game also at Target but couldn't pull the trigger. One guy that did pull the trigger was teammate and fellow collector Mike Venafro. He had some pretty sweet stuff in the box and to my amazement he pulled a Steve Carlton Auto (one of the 3 guys he really really wants). He also pulled numerous other numbered cards and almost persuaded me into buying a box...I told him I'm saving my money for the 07 Allen & Ginter's! It's pretty neat though to see another guy in the clubhouse that collects cards. Everyday it seems like one of us has a question about a card we got, today it was all about the 07 Topps Heritage and the SP's. He did his homework and was informing me of the color variations and guys who had them, pretty sweet stuff!



Sunday, March 18
March 18th 2007
Slowly we are inching up to the end of spring training. This year things have really gone by fast but I guess I have been saying that every year as I get older. In camp right now the team is busy figuring out the roster and making cuts...I'm not going to sit on here and bore you guys about that stuff that's the writer's job. You guys want to hear about the fun stuff that's happening in and out of the clubhouse and I have a couple pretty cool stories. Today during the game against the Phillies Joe Nathan was doing a photo shoot for Sports Illustrated roughly titled something like baseball's scariest pitchers to face. After watching him take photos for about 30 minutes I walked over to see what was going on and was stunned to see legendary photographer Walter Iooss Jr. taking the shots. For me it was pretty sweet to see him in action because his baseball card sets for Upper Deck in the early 90's were one of my favorites! Iooss was pretty cool to work with. He kept asking Nathan which photo he liked the best and really sought out the opinions of the other players that were also watching him work...something you never see from photographers and I'm pretty sure this is one of the reasons why he's the leader in sports photography. Before he was packing up the photo equipment I stopped him and ask for his autograph on the sweet spot of a ball. He kindly signed the ball then asked some questions about me and seemed really interested, pretty neat stuff.

That wasn't my only autograph success of the day. To my luck I walked out to the bullpen well ahead of my usual time and quickly sat down only to hear on the loudspeaker that Fergie Jenkins was throwing out the first pitch! I caught up with him outside of our clubhouse a minute later and he was cool enough to sign a ball for me and included his HOF 91 inscription.

Lastly I thought I'd throw this in here because it was something you don't see too much. Over the past couple weeks we have been going on bullpen runs around the stadium down here. The run is 20 minutes long and anything can happen...anything. Rumor has it one of the group runs included going through a Publix grocery store, weaves throughout the entire stadium parking lot an hour before the game and even Gardy's office! You may have even seen one of these runs happening if you have been down here before the game. Today was my second bullpen run and it included a pretty odd story. As we approached our final weave in the parking lot a fan ran up to one of the guys and asked him for his autograph, he was serious...As if that wasn't enough the guy decided to keep running with us asking each guy to sign. A lot of us decided to outrun the crazed fan and after 10 seconds we were in the clear and back into the stadium. In the distance I heard the fan say "You guy's are brutal, just brutal, why can't you sign just one autograph! At first when we were running I thought the guy was joking, you know haha funny signing while running but he was dead serious...ahh spring training you never know what will happen next!


Fergie Jenkins and Walter Ioose Jr.


Friday, March 16
More Packs To Open
Up next on the box breaking is the 2007 Topps Heritage 1958 design edition! There are 24 packs with 8 cards per pack and a stick of gum. When I opened up the box I noticed a 1958 Team Emblems box topper, inside the pack was the LA Dodgers. Let's open up the packs. The first thing I notice is that the gum is shrink wrapped so it doesn't ruin the cards and so it doesn't go bad and dissolve in your mouth!

I have not see the short print list so I'm not sure how many I had in my packs, the odds say 1/2 packs contains a short print. Also I really didn't know what it meant when it said 1/6 packs contains yellow team/name variations. I did get one name in yellow but that was the only one and a handful of yellow team name ones. Other than that I didn't get any autographs or relics...not a fun box break

Stats on my 24 packs opened
138 base cards
1 yellow name card (Zumaya) not sure on team name yellows
17 Rookies
7 All Stars
3 Then & Now
2 Flash Backs
4 Mantle's
3 Chrome Parallel (Feliz, Hensley and Ichiro All Star)
1 A-Rod HR card

Opinion, this is a very nice looking card set and pretty fun to open up and read the backs of the cards (each one has a comic on the back). As far as inserts go they are pretty tough to pull. I found myself wondering when I was going to get something cool in the pack and it never came. I was also confused on the yellow cards with the team name...hopefully this isn't another mess like the 06 Bowman Heritage coloring scheme! Overall a fun set which could have been better if I got my own card. Time for another box to open...and another stick of gum, that first one went bad already!


My best items from the opening


Friday, March 16
Opening Up Some Packs
Got a few boxes of cards to open up and I figured it would make a cool entry.

My first box opened is 2007 Topps Finest. Here's how I did.

When you open the box it comes with a box topper of 2 A-Rod and Ryan Howard cards. Inside the box topper pack I got A-Rod's 42 and 44 HR and for the Ryan Howard pack I got his HR #4 & 21 both numbered to 459!

Lets get to the packs. The odds say there is 3 Autographs per box with 12 Parallel cards. Mini box #1 is open and inside are 6 packs of cards. I really like all the little packaging and things that hold the cards into place so they don't get bent during shipment.

Mini Box #1 yields more than expected. I pulled 5 refractors, 3 regular ref, a green ref# 199 of Trevor Hoffman and a blue ref #399 of Billy Wagner. I also pulled an Auto of Delwyn Young and a #1 2007 Rookie Redemption card (it's going for +$50 on eBay...It must be Matsuzaka) that I have to send in...I'm not to sure what card I'll get so I'll let you know two months from now when Topps sends it back to me or if someone has the list please post on the board.

Mini box #2 yields pretty good. Inside is a Robinson Cano Auto, 6 ref including a Liriano Finest moments, a black #99 Cantu, a blue #399 Soriano and a green #199 Ichiro finest moments.

Mini box #3 contained a Philip Humber Blue #299 Auto, 5 refractors, a blue Glaus and a green Bonderman.

As far as stats go here's how I did on a couple categories.

60/135 or 44% base set completed
4/16 or 25% of rookie set completed
6/50 or 12% Rookies Finest Moment set completed
17 refractors, 3 blue, 3 green, 1 black and 3 rookies finest moments.

Overall I really liked opening these packs. There was a pretty good selection of autos in the set so I was wondering whom I would get and was happy with what I opened. I also liked the amount of refractors and thought it might be fun to try and put together a colored ref set. The Redemption card was also a very nice pull!

Up next is the 07 Topps Heritage





Tuesday, March 13
One BIG Reason Why Players Do Not Sign...This Guy
Well, I showed up to the field...starting knocking out some letters and autographs and sent them back...then noticed this letter. I laughed at first since it was copied and addressed to "Dear Sir" with no SASE included. Then I noticed all the stuff he wanted, another laugh...then, my favorite part of the letter, PS a signed team ball would be great! Yeah sir it would be great, I would like one myself someday! Just to note this letter was sent to all my teammates and I caught their reaction when two of the guys opened the same letter sent to them. One said "this is why I don't write back and open these letters" & the other had a mad look on their face and threw the letter away. It's a shame guys like this have such a big impact on how they can change signing habits in a second...one word of advice, don't be that guy!


Note to guy, send SASE and card...you'll save money on stamps and get actual autographs back instead of nothing!


Saturday, March 10
Item #2
With the excellent chat last night (On the message board) you really impressed Mike and he has decided to part with something big from his personal collection...he knows they will be going to a good home. You guys wanted it and here it is, Item #2 from the Mike Venafro Game Worn Collection. This is probably one of the best items I have ever had on here (I might even throw a bid up myself). The item is his 2002 Oakland A's White Puma Game Used Cleats that he wore during that year. They have all the numbers and markings, the pitching toe and dirt still on the bottom of the spikes from his final out of 02! These are pretty famous cleats considering you don't see other teams wearing white cleats and most players throw them out at the end of the season! These cleats were also the ones he wore when the book moneyball came out and he was mentioned in it numerous times. Last but not least this was the season and cleats that Mike wore when the ESPN reality show about the Oakland A's all living in the same house made it's debut! http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/print?id=1524983&type=columnist


The cleats can be inscribed and signed just let me know if you are the winning bidder. This auction is 4 days and will end Wednesday night at 9pm Eastern. All you have to do is make an offer on the message board (free to register). Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Remember you can make as many offers as you want, good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page for more game used items down the road!



Tuesday, March 6
Item #1
You guys wanted it and here it is, Item #1 from the Mike Venafro Game Worn Collection. This auction is made up of 3 pieces called the 2003 Tampa Bay Devil Rays collection. All of these items were used and worn by Mike in the 2003 season. The first part of this auction is the one and only gameworn dry fit shirt that was worn under the sleeveless jersey (green shirt in the pic). The second item is his grey tampa bay workout shirt that was worn under his jersey during games. Last but not least his one and only Batting Practice hat that was worn everyday he was with the D-Rays. Lots of stuff going on with this auction and would be a great addition to any game used collection out there. Please check out the pictures.

These items can be inscribed and signed just let me know if you are the winning bidder. This auction is 3 days and will end Friday night at 9pm Eastern. All you have to do is go under the message board (free to register) and make an offer. Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Remember you can make as many offers as you want, good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page for more game used items down the road!



Monday, March 5
Hail To The Chief
One of the coolest baseball card pack openings or as some may call it "pull" happened today and was made by my Fan Club President. Gary M or as we know him on the message boards Gam876 pulled the elusive and extremely rare Derek Jeter #40 Printing Plate 1 of 1 and it was broadcast live as he was doing a case breaking on the message boards. I know some of you are not familiar with the whole baseball card scene but this card has created quite a stir in the past couple weeks. Please check out this story on what makes this card so special After the above article was published the base card price quickly ascended from $2 to $20 to $200 then back down to an average price of around $30-$50 right now. Also it has been noted that Topps will issue a replacement card, "The card will be changed when Topps issues a complete set at midseason." Printing plates are used to make the each of the cards and there are only 1 of each color used...I believe there are only 3 or 4 total printing plates for this card, so in other words this is one of the hottest items to be taken out of a pack in quite some time. Anyways the card is listed on ebay and you can Check It Out Here and have some fun watching the offers come in.



The Card


Saturday, March 3
March 3rd, 2007
Just a couple of quick updates. I've been talking to a bunch of teammates about the possibility of auctioning off their stuff for Autographs and a couple wanted to do it. Right now Boof, Mike Venafro and Josh Rabe all have request...I'll be posting them on the message board to see the interest.

I've been getting a bunch of mail and with it has been a bunch of odd requests and other things that would make any person's head spin. Since it's early on and there are a couple newcomers I just wanted to go over the don'ts of sending letters. Number One, the biggest thing is send a SASE with postage if you want something back. I do not write back if there is no SASE and you're jeopardizing your stuff.   Number Two, do not request me to get stuff signed from teammates...it won't happen and is kind of messed up if you think about it! Number Three...do not demand Game Used Items. All my GU items will go up for auction. Number four…baseball cards on the site other than mine are NOT for trade...Got a couple letters that basically said give me these so and so cards!!! And the last rule is make the letter short and sweet, my favorite letters are ones that basically say please sign my card or let's trade cards. This way I can sign everything up and get through the mail quickly and spend my time on other things like the site. That's about it as far as mail goes. 99% of you guys have been awesome and the mail this year has been really smooth but every year I need to remind everyone on here some of the rules.


Thursday, March 1
March 1st, 2007
The games have started and we are getting closer to opening day. I always find this time of the year to be a little crazy. So far most of us pitchers have thrown four bullpen sessions here with two coming during bullpen sessions and the other two coming to hitters in batting practice. I find it crazy because not one of us has faced real batters or game situations and our first outing will come in front of 10,000 people. It can make your head explode thinking about how you will do or if you are prepared or not...believe me my head almost exploded last year in the bullpen before my first outing! This year is a little different. I know what to expect and understand that it's just spring training and everyone else is in the same boat...but I have to admit I'm pretty anxious to get on the mound and have that adrenaline pumping! My first outing will be tomorrow night (Friday) against the Reds. In spring training they tell us when we will pitch.

In other news I have received a couple phone calls from my friends telling me that I am in a couple new video games...MLB 2k7 and MLB The Show. I have heard good things about both games and some bad things. It always interest me to see how good they can make video games so I had to ask some questions to my friends on how I pitched in the game. They quickly pointed out on both games that my socks were not up so minus one point right off the bat. In 2k7 I was told I have a huge leg kick and then have a sub/side delivery. It should also be noted that in 2k7 it says something to the degree of "He throws hard from sidearm" & "Hitters were not able to figure him out in 06." They have me rated at a 67 and it had my real life pitches. In MLB The Show I was told it had my exact delivery and that I throw really hard. The big downfall is that it had my change up rated higher than my slider. Also to note the slider was really hard to throw. Both of my friends said that my player's image looked exactly like me and that it was funny to see! I can't wait to see what I look like on a computer game!

So far down here we have been getting done with practice and lifting around 2pm. Usually when I get done I head home and relax. Lately Stephanee and I have been watching a lot of movies and I have been on eBay buying cards at night. My latest purchases have been certified card autos of Hall of Famers...some of you have probably outbid me:)


Sunday, February 25
February 25th 2007
Just a couple quick notes here. I just found out by doing a search under www.topps.com that I'm in another card set. This time the set is 2007 Topps Heritage and the card number is #222. The only thing that scares me is that it says I'm on the Cleveland Indians...We will have to see if it's an error card or not, that would be pretty funny.

Tomorrow is media day for us. We will be doing a lot of stuff such as taking all the portrait shots for things like the photofile pictures. We will also be taking our baseball card images...this time last year is when Topps took my photo that is used on every card they have put out so far...Hopefully they can get a new image tomorrow. Last but not least we do imaging of our bodies and head for EA sports and all the PS3 baseball games! I'll let you know if anything interesting happens. BTW that auction that just got over on here was intense...I can't believe I turned down a Willie Mays ball!!!


Thursday, February 22
Item #24
As promised here is the big one, Item #24. This auction is for my one and only 2006 Rochester Red Wings Red Jersey. This is the jersey I wore for every pre-game workout, batting practice and for a couple games. I have also inscribed it up with my signature and "2006 worn". The highest bidder can have me write whatever they want on it so let me know when you win. Please check out the pictures below. I'll say it again you guys are the best fans a player can have!

Once again My 2006 Rochester Red Jersey can be inscribed with more stuff just let me know if you are the winning bidder. This auction is 3 days and will end Sunday night at 9:15 pm Eastern. All you have to do is go under the message board (free to register) and make an offer. Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Remember you can make as many offers as you want, good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page for more game used items during the season!










Wednesday, February 21
February 21st 2007
A quick note on the Red Wings jersey. I'm going to try and get the auction up tomorrow after practice and it'll end Sunday. I just have to take pictures and upload everything so stay tuned. Right now we are still working out without the position players. The first day of practice was packed with fans and they have died down a lot in the last two days nearly by two thirds. I'm pretty sure once the hitters come out the fans will pack the place once again.

I finally got stopped to sign autographs, it was the first time someone asked since the first day. People keep thinking I'm Mike Venefro and they have been stopping him like crazy asking him to sign my stuff by accident...we both agree it's the high socks and sidearm delivery but he is a lefty and that is pretty noticeable. Today also marked the first day us pitchers jumped into the batting cages to bunt balls. I did a lot better than I thought I would but am in no shape to make contact with pitches in real games...I don't know if I'll ever be.


Monday, February 19
February 19th 2007
Well if you didn't know we started workouts today. I always laugh at this time of the year because every media outlet is blasting out stories and looking for any information to write. There's tons of stories about what type of stuff we do so I won't bore you guys on that stuff...If you want to know check out my archives from the last three spring trainings under the "My site news" section, and scroll down to this date last year! Not much is really new with me just doing the same ole stuff. This time of the year you get to see which guys have prepared and which guys have a ways to go. Of course everybody wants to impress so you'll see guys running faster out on the field, throwing harder in bullpen sessions and of course visiting the weight room...we'll see how many people will be hitting the weight room like they are now in September! As for me I'm keeping things the same, doing the same lifting and running that I've been doing for the last three years. I look at spring training as a way to prepare for the season so I'm taking things nice and easy and making sure my arm is ready to go. A lot of guys don't look at it this way and are trying to win a spot the first day. The only thing I don't like about that is you can really set yourself up for injury. One thing is for sure though, it's fun to be back and seeing everyone and how they have been is awesome. Now we have to live and put up with each other for nearly 8 months.

Yesterday was reporting day. Basically this just means show up, get your uniform situated, locker clean and things in place. I spent mine doing just then I headed home to hang out with Stephanee for one last day before the season starts up.

My locker was filled with mail; I ranked right up there with the most on the team. Mike Venefro's locker is next to mine and he kept giving me crap about how much mail I had...He joked about having to sit somewhere else until I answered my mail because it was overflowing into his locker. He seemed like a pretty cool guy plus he's a sidearmer and wears his socks up! After I sorted out the mail mess I took it home and spent today answering it all and am pretty much done. I just want to mention if you have cards and need them signed please send them. I told a couple guys on here that I don't mind signing a lot TTM, if you have a 50-card lot, send them. I'm sure with the new Topps card there will be a lot of them so don't feel shy. Also I'm still taking trades for my own MILB cards, keep em coming, I have a few left.

I'm planning on getting a couple auctions up when I get some time. I still have my Red Rochester Jersey ready to go up next so be on the look out for that and after that I really have to see what I can find, I didn't bring anything down here. I'm going to try to get on the message board a little bit this week. It's really hard to give a time because this schedule right now is throwing me off a little bit. This time of the year is a cruel joke for ballplayers. We spend all off season sleeping in and going to bed whenever and that's pretty much how the season is as well. During spring training I'm getting up around 6-7am (I know, I know, this is what time 95% of the world also gets up!) and this totally throws me off for a couple weeks. Either way what I'm trying to say is I'll be on sometime.

Very quickly I would also like to give a shout out to La Velle E. Neal III & Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune. They are both writing blogs this year all about the Twins. I think it's pretty neat because these guys follow us everyday and are in the clubhouse nearly every second...They are going to have some inside stuff on there that you probably won't hear from anyone else. Check it out they already have some great first entries!


Saturday, February 17
2007 Topps Card
I just found an image of the new 2007 Topps card. You might notice the image looks mighty familiar, hence the 2006 Topps Update Box Topper card & 1952 rookie style card. Also a game used auction item is in the shot, Item #2 makes it's first big debut as the shoes shine brightly. I really wish they would use a different shot, those 06 spring training images had their time. My recent batches of cards have all been nearly the same image...cough...also all my 2006 Rochester cards!!! Anyways this is a pretty neat card to get & what's the deal with them cutting out my stitches in my graph...not cool! Here's the similarities in the cards.









Monday, February 5
February 5th 2007
All right, it's that time of the year again for spring training. It's kind of an odd time for a player because you are excited to play and you have anxiety to get back on the field. Another big thing that is going on in a player's head is wondering how they will stack up...If they tell you differently I think they might be lying. I feel more prepared than ever this year but still I'm wondering if my fastball will have zing to it, if the slider will move like it did in mid-season form and how good is my changeup going to be...things like that are going on in all the players right now. As far as hitters, I'm not sure. I know a lot of them are going to need a couple weeks to adjust to seeing a ball come in with high speed and also breaking balls. It's always a fun time though. You have guys who have played winter ball the entire off-season without a rest and a few guys that haven't picked up a ball since the final out of the 06 season. We are all going to get together in Florida and Arizona in about a week or two and compete for the roughly 750 opening day roster spots to play in the bigs. It's a fun and scary time of the year for a lot of guys. If you haven't done the work in the off-season it's scary time, for those that prepared it's a lot of fun!

Thursday, February 1
Item #23
As a big thank you to having the best fans in the world I'm putting up a treat for Item #23. This auction is for my one and only 2006 Rochester Red Wings Away Jersey. This is the jersey I wore for every game on the road in AAA this past season. I have also inscribed it up with a lot of things...please check out the pictures. Once again you guys are the best fans a player can have and I'm going to keep pitching my butt off for you!

My 2006 Rochester Away Jersey can be inscribed with more stuff just let me know if you are the winning bidder. This auction is 2 days and will end Sat night at 10pm Central. All you have to do is go under the message board (free to register) and make an offer. Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Remember you can make as many offers as you want, good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page for more game used items!













Wednesday, January 31
Item #22
I have a few things I must mention before the next item goes up. Spring Training is coming up pretty quick here and I just wanted to make sure everyone knows that if they need their stuff signed to hurry up and send it here if you want it back before I leave...Otherwise it will be stuck in a PO Box until the season starts...April 1st. I figure everyone has until Feb 4th to safely mail anything they need...trades, signed cards or contest winners to me and it will get here...After that it needs to go to Florida. On the fourth I will switch addy's on the main page and ask that things get sent there. Also since I will be heading to Florida I will not be bringing any game used items for auctions...with that said there will only be two more contest...this one and one tomorrow night, we'll have to go out with a bang...I'll be listing my 2006 Rochester Red Wings Red Jersey after this one tonight. I may bring a couple things down to FL with me but that is yet to be determined. So I ask that if you have won a contest to hurry up and mail that out so I can get your stuff to you.

Time for Item #22. This item is from my days in the Arizona Fall League. It's my Minnesota Twins Issued and Game Worn shirt. This is the shirt I wore everyday and every time I pitched in the 2003 AFL. Back then I showed up to the field and they gave me #49 as my number...As you can see in the pictures it has #49 on the nametag! Also there are a couple pics of me in the AFL...I am wearing this shirt underneath.

This Shirt can be inscribed and signed with whatever you want just let me know if you are the winning bidder. This auction is 1 day and will end tomorrow night at 10pm (Thurs). All you have to do is go under the message board (free to register) and make an offer. Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Remember you can make as many offers as you want, good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page for more game used items!













Tuesday, January 30
Item #21
Going way back with Item #21. This item is from my Sophomore Year of college. It's my Butler University white hat. This was one of the hats I wore during my Sophomore year on the baseball diamond for the Bulldogs. As you can see in the pictures it's signed under the brim with my old scribble signature that I would later scrap for my new baseball seam signature! One of my favorite items with a lot of use!

Anyways, the hat can be inscribed and signed with whatever you want just let me know if you are the winning bidder. This auction is 1 day and will end tomorrow night at 10pm (Wed). All you have to do is go under the message board (free to register) and make an offer. Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Remember you can make as many offers as you want, good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page for more game used items!






Tuesday, January 30
Item #20
Time for auction #20. This auction is for a 2004 Game Worn hat by player #12 of the Ft. Myers Miracle team that season. Ft. Myers is the Twins high A-ball affiliate. This is the red hat that was worn a lot that year and I'm not sure if they still use this model or not. For some reason I can't find a roster and I don't remember who #12 was. Either way it's a rare game used hat!


This auction is for 1 day and will end tomorrow night at 10:00 pm Central. All you have to do is go under the message board and make an offer (it's free to register and sign up if you don't have a name!). Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Remember you can make as many offers as you want, good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page for more game used items.




Sunday, January 28
Item #19
Time for auction #19. This auction is for my 2005 Spring Training Major League Call Up Hat. Every spring training the Twins call up a couple minor leaguers to fill in and pitch a couple innings and see what they have. In 2005 it was my chance to show everyone what I had. We played against the Yankees and the first batter I faced was Andy Phillips...he took my pitch over the left field wall...HR. I then went on to retire the next three batters on three pitches...You can see my stats for this game on the baseball cube website under spring training http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/N/pat-neshek.shtml But anyways this was the hat I wore in that outing

This hat can be inscribed and signed with whatever you want just let me know if you are the winning bidder. This auction is for 1 day and will end tomorrow night at 10:00 pm. All you have to do is go under the message board and make an offer (it's free to register and sign up if you don't have a name!). Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Remember you can make as many offers as you want, good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page for more game used items.





Saturday, January 27
Item #18
Time for auction #18. First off let me say this auction is terrible. It makes me ashamed that this is what my signature looked like pre summer of 2001. I really don't know how many of my signatures out there exist that I signed this way...not many but there are a couple I bet. I never really signed any auto's before my 2000 summer when I played for the Wisconsin Woodchucks college summer league team in the Northwoods League. If you happened to get me during that time this is what my auto looked like. The only reason I have two of these balls is that these were gifts that my dad was suppose to give away but forgot them and stashed them in a cupboard for nearly seven years. I'm keeping one of these to laugh at and the other is going up for auction right now. The ball is in perfect shape, clean, brand-new...it should be...it was stolen from the pitcher's ball bag that summer out of the wrapper. Auto is a lot better than it looks in the photo. This is a one-day auction and will end tomorrow night (Sunday).

This auction is for 1 day and will end Sunday night at 10:00 pm. All you have to do is go under the message board and make an offer (it's free to register and sign up if you don't have a name!). Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Remember you can make as many offers as you want, good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page for more game used items.






Friday, January 26
Twinsfest Day 1
Twinsfest day one is in the books. This year they had me doing a bunch of new things that I have never done at Twinsfest before. The day started off in the clubhouse. The Twins had me signed about 300 calendars and four dozen baseballs on the sweet spot. I'm guessing most will be put in the grab bags. From there they had me going to a couple signings for our sponsors and the first aid groups. Once that was done I did had to rush down and do a kids Q&A session. By far the kids Q&A was my favorite thing to do and there were some pretty good questions. After the Q&A was over they sent me to the signing table. This year I was in the $10 line. The last three years I was in the free line so I guess I'm moving up! The signing went great. It lasted about an hour and fifteen minutes and I saw a lot of people that I met on here and at the field. I signed two Topps 2006 1952 rookies cards, A LOT of 2006 UD Update cards and a bunch of 03 MWL cards. I also signed my new Photofile Action shot for the first time and signed a bunch of them as well as my original photofile. My favorite thing I signed on the night was an unauthorized 16X20 of my new Photofile, had to give the guy props on that one...it looked great. I also signed a couple rookie initiation photos and finally managed to get a Hulk Hogan Allen Ginter Autographed Card from a fan that hooked me up big time!!!

I also wanted to mention on here that I teamed up with the guy who makes the 33 for MVP shirts for Morneau. He designed a pretty sick new shirt for me that combines two of my favorite things, baseball and heavy metal. Be sure to check them out here www.sidearmstore.com I'm donating my entire share to charity so it's going to a good cause.

Also would anyone be interested in my Rochester Red Wings Game Jersey or one of my Minnesota Twins #72 jerseys that I wore during my first week in the bigs?...I guess that was kind of a stupid question...I have them both but wanted to know if anyone would trade a Mantle signed baseball with no fading or blemishes for one. If there is interest please write under the message board (something like "put up the jersey" and I can maybe get a quick auction up and give one out to the highest bidder.   

More madness tomorrow, I'll be up bright and early and I'll see a lot of you at the Dome...Be sure to say hi!


sideamrmsms
Click Here

Thursday, January 25
Item #17
Twinsfest time and also time for auction #17. This auction is for my 2006 MLB Twins Issued and Game-Worn Long Sleeve Jacket/Windbreaker. Nearly the entire team wore this type of jacket in 06 especially during games and during BP. I Included a pic of Gardy wearing it just to give you an idea of what it looks like on the field.

The jacket can be inscribed and signed with whatever you want just let me know if you are the winning bidder. This auction is for 2 days and will end Sat night at 10:00 pm. All you have to do is go under the message board and make an offer (it's free to register and sign up if you don't have a name!). Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Remember you can make as many offers as you want, good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page for more game used items





Tuesday, January 23
Item #16
I got some pretty interesting stuff coming up for auction in the next couple weeks, I'm even parting ways with my 2003 cleats that have been talked about for years by my teammates, my FIRST baseball seams signature of my auto on a Cape Cod ball from 2001, my signature before I picked up the baseball seams graph pre 2001...I found some pretty cool stuff you might be interested in so be sure to check out the page everyday. Here's what's coming up for bidding in the next couple weeks/days in no order.

2003 Arizona Fall League Twins Undershirt
2006 Spring Training Hat Unknown as to who wore it?
2006 Rochester Red Wings Unworn Turtleneck Team Issued w/Tags
2006 Twins Issued Long Sleeve Jacket/Windbreaker
2005 My Spring Training Call Up Hat
2005 My Minor League Spring Training Hat
2004 Number 35 New Britian Rock Cats Game Worn Hat
2005 Entire Season Worn Gamer Cleats (had to finally part with them!)
2004 New Britain Locker Name Plate
2004 New Britain Rock Cats Undershirt/Turtleneck
1st Autograph I ever signed on baseball with baseball seams
Old Auto on Northwoods League Baseballs (My dad stored them and showed me what my old auto looked like...terrible
2006 Twins Issued Long Sleeve Gamer shirt
2006 Red Wings Players Cleats...I think they are Henry Bonilla's
White Butler University Sophomore Year Hat
White Junior Year Butler Univeristy hat
My Appy League Save #5 Ball
Butler University Issued Shorts
2003 Entire Season Worn Gamer Cleats (It's so hard to say goodbye!)
2004 Ft Myers Hat from #40
2004 Red Ft Myers Hat from #12
2003 New Britain Home Hat with my #36
2003 Midwest League All Star Game Name Plate
2003 Arizona Fall League Lineup Card
2000 Wisconsin Woodchucks Shorts
1999 Perfect Game High School Showcase Jersey (Hard to part with but I'm sure it will go to a good home!)

There's a lot more stuff, this is just what is coming up in the weeks ahead!

Now it's time for auction #16. This auction is for my 2006 MLB Batting Practice/Bullpen Session Cleats. The first week I was in the Bigs, Mizuno sent me this pair of cleats. Since I usually don't wear more than one pair of cleats a year I decided to make these my pre game shoes. I wore these in nearly all batting practice sessions and pre game activities. I didn't clean them when the season got over and there is still dirt on them as seen in the pictures.   

The cleats can be inscribed and signed with whatever you want just let me know if you are the winning bidder. This auction is for 2 days and will end Thursday night at 10:00 pm. All you have to do is go under the message board and make an offer (it's free to register and sign up if you don't have a name!). Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Remember you can make as many offers as you want, good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page for more game used items





Sunday, January 21
Item #15
Item #15 is a game used undershirt I wore during the 2006 MLB season. It's made by Nike and is the mesh, under armor like material. It also contains my name on the lower part of the shirt's nameplate and features the Twins logo in the center of the shirt.

The shirt can be inscribed and signed with whatever you want just let me know if you are the winning bidder. This auction is for 2 days and will end Tuesday night at 10:00 pm. All you have to do is go under the message board and make an offer (it's free to register and sign up if you don't have a name!). Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Remember you can make as many offers as you want, good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page for more game used items!




Friday, January 19
Item #14
I'm hoping to get a recap of the Twins Winter Caravan that I just returned from on here sometime but in the meantime I'll post Item #14.

This is kind of a unique piece, this auction is for my 2004, 2005 and parts of 2006 game used belt. I got this belt in 2004 at New Britain and couldn't switch from it. I used it all the way until the first couple weeks in Rochester of this last season.

The belt can be inscribed and signed with whatever you want just let me know if you are the winning bidder. This auction is for 1 day and will end tomorrow night (SAT)at 10:00 pm. All you have to do is go under the message board and make an offer (it's free to register and sign up if you don't have a name!). Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Remember you can make as many offers as you want, good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page for more game used items!


Tuesday, January 16
Item #13
The caravan is really kicking my butt so I'm going to make this quick and head to bed.

THIS IS A TWO DAY AUCTION AND WILL END THURSDAY NIGHT AT 11:59pm. This item is a 2003 Arizona Fall League Lineup card. I played for the Grand Canyon Rafters and got to keep a couple of the lineup cards from that season. There are a lot of big names on this card and this was before most of them became stars.

The card can be inscribed and signed with whatever you want just let me know if you are the winning bidder. This auction is for 2 days and will end Thursday night at 11:59pm. All you have to do is go under the message board and make an offer. Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Remember you can make as many offers as you want, good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page for more game used items!




Monday, January 15
Item #12
Just got back from the first day of the Twins Caravan and am really tired so I'll keep this short by putting up another auction.

THIS IS A ONE DAY AUCTION AND WILL END TOMORROW NIGHT AT 10:30pm. This item is my 2003 BP hat when I played for the New Britain Rock Cats. This was my main BP hat the one I wore everyday in warmups before the game and batting practice. As seen in the picture it contains the #36 written on the hat by our trainer when I got called up.

The hat can be inscribed and signed with whatever you want just let me know if you are the winning bidder. This auction is 1 day and will end Tuesday night at 10:30pm. All you have to do is go under the message board and make an offer. Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Remember you can make as many offers as you want, good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page for more game used items!





Sunday, January 14
Item #11
We are starting the Twins Winter Caravan today (Monday) and I will try to have updates on what we are doing on the trip, so stay tuned. Now for the fun stuff...Item #11

First though a lot of people have been asking questions about what type of stuff I will be putting up next. Basically it's a very long question to answer. I have stuff here that I have been storing for nearly my entire life...hats, gloves, shoes, basically anything related to baseball I have. So I guess the answer is just stay tuned in and bid on what you want. There's a lot of stuff so remember just to keep checking back.

Now for Item #11. This next item is going to be for ONE DAY ONLY...basically it will end tomorrow night at 10:30pm Central so be sure to get an offer in if you want the item.

Kind of a unique item you don't see too much because they end up getting discarded by clubhouse managers...For some reason I have kept nearly all my nameplates above my locker and this auction is for my 2006 MN Twins Major League Spring Training Name Plate made of some kind of plasic and in blue letters. Pretty unique item, can be signed, inscribe with whatever you want just let me know. Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page for more game used auction items!




Saturday, January 13
Item #10
Sorry for those of you expecting me to post at 10pm on Friday. I just got back from the boxing fight here in MN...it was a great time. Here's the good stuff

Going way back with this next item. THIS IS A TWO DAY AUCTION AND WILL END SUNDAY NIGHT AT 10pm. This item is from my Junior Year of college. It's my Butler alternate hat. This was one of the hats I wore during the year I was drafted by the Twins out of college. For some reason I didn't sign under the brim...I'm not sure why I didn't?

Anyways, the hat can be inscribed and signed with whatever you want just let me know if you are the winning bidder. This auction is 2 days and will end Sunday night at 10pm. All you have to do is go under the message board and make an offer. Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Remember you can make as many offers as you want, good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page for more game used items!





Thursday, January 11
January 12th 2007
Here's Item #9. THIS IS A ONE DAY AUCTION & WILL END TOMORROW (FRIDAY) NIGHT at 10pm Central. This item is my Cape Cod turtle neck undershirt I wore when I played in the the Cape Cod league in 2001 for the League Champion Wareham Gatemen. I wore this shirt quite a few times that season. This was the league that got me noticed by scouts and when the wheels started turning in my baseball career.

The shirt can be inscribed and signed with whatever you want just let me know if you are the winning bidder. This auction is 1 day and will end Friday night at 10pm. All you have to do is go under the message board and make an offer. Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Remember you can make as many offers as you want, good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page for more game used items!



Tuesday, January 9
January 9th 2007
Hey guys, I'm back and doing better than ever. There's a lot of stuff to talk about so I'll start getting at it. The wedding was awesome and better than I expected. We got married at The Flamingo Hotel and they did an excellent job and I think all twenty people in attendance would say the same. After the wedding Stephanee and I flew down to Cancun, Mexico for our honeymoon and it was awesome getting to relax and think about all we have been through. I'm going to try and get pictures of everything we did up when I get some time. Right now I'm busy getting ready for the season that starts in about a little over a month from now. I just started throwing a couple days ago and will start kicking it into gear in a little bit. I have a couple appearances coming up and will list them on here.

Jan 13th - Hey Coach Event - Chaska Middle School East - 11-12:30p
Jan 15-18 - Twins Caravan
Jan 22nd - Majors Sports Bar in Roseville - Evening
End Of Jan - Twinsfest

Also I wanted to let everyone know there is another card of mine that hit the shelves. It's the Topps Rookies 1952 edition. There's a couple of them on eBay so check it out if you want to see the image...It looks like it's a close up of my chrome rookie!

Here's Item #8. This is kind of a unique item. In 2003 when I was promoted from Ft. Myers to New Britain I arrived in Erie and was late...three innings too late. The trainer was still in the clubhouse waiting for me and handed me my uniform and this hat. The funny thing about the hat is that we were on the road and the trainer ran out of fitted hats so he gave me this hat with an adjustable back. I wore this hat the entire weekend. During the third game in Erie I was put into the game for my AA debut and pitched the final 2 innings to get my first save. I was really nervous pitching for a new team and facing awesome hitters in the August heat and the hat did get a lot of use for that one outing. Once we got back to New Britain I was given another hat and never wore this one again! So with this hat you are getting my AA debut and 1st AA save. This hat is signed liked nearly every one of my hats under the brim with #36, the number I was at the time. The hat can be inscribed and signed with whatever you want just let me know if you are the winning bidder. This auction is going to be 2 days and will end Thursday night. All you have to do is go under the message board and make an offer. Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Remember you can make as many offers as you want, good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page for more game used items!






Tuesday, January 2
January 2nd 2007
We just got back a day ago from Vegas and had one of the best times of our lives. It was an awesome experience and something I will never forget. When we got back my parents suprised us with a honeymoon trip to Cancun which is leaving in about 6 hours. I'm busy packing right now and will be back on here in about a week. As for then I'll be putting up a new auction.


Here's Item #7. This auction is for Minnesota Twins Phenom Pitching Prospect Anthony Swarzak's glove that he used during his 2004 & 2005 seasons.   This is the same glove that is pictured in many of his baseball cards such as his rookie Bowman card, just minors cards and lots of others. I got this glove in spring training when I traded a pair of cleats for it. Pretty rare item so I expect to get some good bids for it. With the honeymoon and everything this is going to be a 1 WEEK auction and will end next Tuesday night. All you have to do is go under the message board and make an offer. Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Remember you can make as many offers as you want, good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page for more game used items!









Tuesday, December 26
Item #6
Hey guys I just wanted to let everyone know that Stephanee and I are getting married Dec 30th in Las Vegas. It's going to be a small wedding with a few close family members & friends. I'll still be checking out the website with offers and putting up stuff if I get time. With that said I'm posting Item #6. This auction is for my 2006 Game Worn Minnesota Twins Winter Jacket/Coat that I had to use a couple times during the end of the 2006 season when it got really cold in Baltimore and Fenway Park. It's a very nice heavy duty coat/jacket(I would say coat because it's really heavy). With the wedding and everything this is going to be a 1 WEEK auction and will end next Tuesday. All you have to do is go under the message board and make an offer. This coat can be signed, inscribe with whatever you want just let me know. Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Remember you can make as many offers as you want, good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page for more game used auction items!





Sunday, December 24
Item #5
This next item is going to be for THREE days...it will end Tuesday night so be sure to get an offer in if you want the item.
This auction is for my 2004 game used, game worn for the entire 2004 spring training hat.   It has been sitting in my closet since the end of the 2004 season and is the only hat I wore during that spring training. It is inscribed like all my hats under the brim with my signature and the #49. This hat can be signed, inscribe with whatever you want just let me know. Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Remember you can make as many offers as you want, good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page for more game used auction items!





Thursday, December 21
Item #4
This next item is going to be for two days...it will end Sat night so be sure to get an offer in if you want the item.
This auction is for my 2004 game used undershirt from that season with the New Britain Rock Cats. This can be signed, inscribe with whatever you want just let me know. Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Remember you can make as many offers as you want, good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page for more game used auction items!



Wednesday, December 20
Item #3
This next item is going to be for ONE DAY ONLY...basically it will end tomorrow night so be sure to get an offer in if you want the item.
Kind of a unique item you don't see too much because they end up getting discarded at the end of the year by clubhouse managers...For some reason I have kept nearly all my nameplates above my locker and this auction is for my 2006 Rochester Red Wings Name Plate made of some kind of metal. Pretty unique item, can be signed, inscribe with whatever you want just let me know. Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page for more game used auction items!




Tuesday, December 19
Wishing Him The Best
I just got back from Brad Radke's press conference a little bit ago and got to see a lot of great Twins people and wish Brad the best. The press conference was held at the Metrodome and it was awesome to be there and hear everyone speak. Real short and sweet Brad is an excellent teammate and someone I admire and hope to turn into one day. Some guys lead by talking a lot in the clubhouse and others lead by example. Brad lead by example and knows when to talk and when to take care of business. When I first got called up I was in awe just by walking into the clubhouse and seeing faces I grew up watching. Brad was the most notable Twin I remember seeing that first day and his presence in a way not only intimidated me but also scared me. About a week and a half into my call up I remember coming into the Metrodome clubhouse after pitching pretty well and striking out the side. The first person to congratulate me was Brad and he shook my hand and said something to the degree of that was some pretty nasty stuff you have! It was an unreal moment to hear someone you grew up watching say those words to you and I'll never forget.

As a fan & Minnesotan you have to love the guy for his loyalty to the Twins and what he has done for the community. His wife Heather was the leader among wives and really helped show Stephanee around. Finally, last but not least he was great at signing autographs, rarely ever turning someone down and often doing more than one signature at a time. Today is Brad Radke's day and I once again wish him and his family the best.


Tuesday, December 19
Item #2
I'm pumped to see this auction for game used stuff is working out good. I get to clean up my house and get some good stuff and you guys have a shot to get some game used items.

This next item is going to be for ONE DAY ONLY...basically it will end tomorrow night so be sure to get an offer in if you want the item.

This item is for a pair of Spring Training worn turf shoes. Now there are a couple unique things about this pair of shoes. One they are Nike and probably one of the only times I have ever worn Nike in my professional career. I wore these shoes for about two weeks in spring training and then got a shipment of Mizuno shoes. The second unique thing about these shoes is that these are the shoes I was wearing during press day in spring training hence this is what I had on as far as shoes go for my first Topps Baseball card. Don't believe me, check out the press shot I found from the Twins.

Pretty unique item, can be signed, inscribe with whatever you want just let me know. Also remember that I pick up all shipping cost to mail the package to you. Good luck bidding and be sure to keep checking out this page for more game used auction items!




Monday, December 18
DVD: Rochester Red Wings
I just wanted to let you guys know that the Rochester Red Wings made a DVD for the 2006 season. I always loved watching DVD or VHS tapes about minor league baseball when I was growing up. The Visalia Oaks made one way back that I watched all the time and a couple years back I found a DVD on the Indianapolis Indians that was awesome. If you click on the link there are a bunch of free previews and a place to purchase the DVD, so check it out now! Click Here to get a free preview of the DVD starring me.

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Check It Out Here!

Sunday, December 17
Game Used Stuff
As promised I will be auctioning off my game used stuff I have accumulated over the years. There's a lot of game used stuff, shoes, shirts, balls, hats and lots of other weird items. Basically I will be posting the items on the home page and the auctioning will done under the message board so you have to get a free registered name if you don't have one already. Make me an offer on what you want to trade...you can make as many offers as you want. When 48 hours goes by I will log in and pick the offer I like the best...There isn't really any criteria to what you can trade, I like everything..NHL, MLB auto's on cards, HOF'ers, celeb autos and autographs of guys I have faced in the big leagues that I don't have cards of already. Also you don't have to worry about the SASE, I will pay for all shipping charges. So let's trade, Item #1 is ready for auction. The first item is a game worn under shirt that I wore a bunch during my rookie year. It's made by Nike who is the main supplier for the Twins apparel. I wore this a lot during BP and around the clubhouse. Happy Bidding and in 48 hours a new item should be posted.


Thursday, December 7
Hey Coach Appearance
I just got my high speed internet so I should be updating a lot more. I wanted to let everyone know that I will be doing a couple appearances this weekend in Minnesota. Be sure to go to www.heycoachinc.com/pnb & see where I'll be at. The first appearance is this Saturday 11am-12:30pm at Plymouth Creek Elementary School and the second appearance is this Sunday 2-330pm at Minnetonka Middle School East. The event is being put on by Hey Coach. Be sure to check out their website by clicking on the image below. It looks like they got a pretty neat product and it should be awesome to see how the kids like it. The event is open to everyone but more suited for 8-16 year old boys and girls and also parents that play golf. It's free admission and there are a lot of giveaways from Easton and Callaway Golf so be sure to come out. Also all the kids can get their skills in baseball and softball assessed for free from the Hey Coach staff. Basically if you are a young baseball/softball player in MN you should stop by. During the times I will be there I will be hanging out with the kids, answering questions, taking photos and trying out the product. I will also be signing autographs for anyone that signs up as a new Hey Coach customer. It's going to be a pretty good time from what I hear so be sure to swing on over if you are in town.



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Check Out The Appearance

Friday, November 24
Finally
Topps finally broke down and made me a card. I have only seen this card as a box topper. There are 50 box topper cards of different guys so roughly it's a one in fifty shot at pulling my card. Also it looks like they only made 599 cards. There's also a refractor card numbered to 25. I'm not sure if I'm in the regular set or not but still it's my first major card...Please do not outbid me:)



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The Card

Sunday, November 19
November 19th 2006
These last couple weeks I have been lifting everyday and been getting myself ready for the upcoming season. Things aren't really going to change much until January when I start to play catch and throw again. During the last couple weeks I have done some pretty cool things. About a week ago I got the opportunity to sit courtside with my brother at a Minnesota Timberwolves. I got a call from the Timberwolves PR Man Mike Trudell inviting me out and I couldn't turn down an offer for free tix. We had a great time and it was all chronicled if you Click Here.

A couple of my friends also invited me out to a Gophers Hockey game and a Minnesota Wild game. Both games were awesome especially getting to see the difference between the collegiate level and NHL. The NHL was definitely a lot faster and harder hitting but Erik Johnson and Blake Wheeler of the Gophs gave you glimpse of what the NHL is going to look like in a couple years!

Yesterday I did a signing for charity & it was a blast. There was an excellent turn out and there were a lot of fans there. The store the signing was at is called Tom Frantzen Sport Collectibles and I was really impressed with the stuff they had, I will definitely be back there to buy commons! The signing went really well. I signed pretty steadily for about the first hour and fifteen minutes and after that you could pretty much walk right up without waiting. Most of the things I signed were photos and baseballs. There were a couple funny items I signed, 8X10's of me and my former pink dress. All in all it was an awesome turnout and we raised $2000 for charity. I'm expecting to do 1-2 more signings before Christmas and will update it when I find out the dates. I've also been invited to do the Twins Winter caravan as well as Twinsfest and will post the dates when they become available.

I got all my mail done over the weekend and got some pretty sweet stuff once again. I get a lot of great stuff, mostly autographs from trades of my cards of baseball and hockey players but every once in a while I get celebs and oddball signed items and I tend to like them the best. This week I got a Denzel Washington signed item, a Nadia Comaneci signed index, a Gary Busey signed newspaper and a Wally The Beerman signed card. There were also a couple other items but I cannot remember them off the top of my head. Everyone who wrote to me should be expecting a package sometime this week. I also wanted to reiterate that my auto's in the autograph section are not for trade. There has been a couple letters every now and then that people send cards hoping for a trade of some of those cards and I feel bad that I have to send them back wasting the stamp.

Speaking of mail, I did a TTM autograph attempt and it turned out great. I wrote to John Wooden and sent him three Allen Ginter cards hoping to get them signed. About a week later they came back to me signed with two other autographs of Mr. Wooden...What a great guy.

I'm still working on my Game Used items that I will be trading off on the site. I think the best thing to do is make a message board kind of like the contest board and have people make offers. Then I can come in and see what trade I like the best and everyone gets a chance to make an offer. I'll keep you posted.


Thursday, November 9
Upcoming Autograph Appearance
I just wanted to let everyone know that I will be signing autographs for charity, check out the details below.

Date: Sat., Nov. 18

Time: Noon-1:30pm

Where: Moundsview Square Shopping Center, Country Road 10 at Long Lake Road.
Store is located inside the mall next to Cost Cutters

Charity: United Way, $5 donation for every autograph they receive.



Saturday, November 4
November 4th 2006
I got tons of letters this week and will get to all of them in the next couple days. This past week I got back into focusing solely on lifting and running. During the last couple seasons I have lifted all the way up to the final month of the season and took that month and the next off to let my body fully recover from a grueling year. Once November hits I turn the weights and running up to full strength. Stephanee is pretty happy because she once again has someone to lift with and loves putting me through workouts that she makes up for me...they are tough. The gym is pretty much the place where I recharge so my body can withstand everything that comes in my way during the year. As always a big part of being in the best shape you can be is what you eat. This year is no exception. I'm still juicing vegetables such as carrots, kale, celery, broccoli and cucumbers twice a day and can honestly say it's probably the biggest reason for my success. As a side note I wanted to quickly mention that in the Minnesota Twins clubhouse we have a juicer and nearly everyone on the team drinks a cup of carrot juice before every game. This past year I also bought a Vita-Mix (Smoothie Maker/Turns anything into liquid) and am using it each morning to make a huge fruit smoothie. If you want to get rid of that feeling of tiredness and have as much energy as you possibly can I honestly can say that juicing veggies will change your life if you give it a chance.

Now for the autographs. These past couple days I went out to try and get the Canucks and Nashville Predators who were in town. I once again did pretty well. The Canucks were a little bit tougher but every guy did at least one auto. Here's a recap, Nasland 1/2, Linden 1/2, Ohlund 1/2, Morrison 1/2, Fitzpatrick 2/2, Krajicek 1/1, Kesler 1/2, H Sedin 1/2, D Sedin 1/2, Luongo 1/2, Chouinard 1/1.

Everyone on the Predators signed except for Kariya (took cab everywhere he went...heard he signs before game) & most of the guys did multiples. Here's a recap
Arnott - 1/2, Vokoun - 4/4, Upshall- 1/2, Legwand- 2/3, Dumont - 2/2, Sullivan 1/3, Hamhuis- 1/1, Hartnell 2/2, Timonen- 1/3, Vasicek- 3/3, Erat   - 3/4, Tootoo - 1/1 stick blade, Radulov- 4/4 stick blade, Suter - 1/1 stick blade, Weber - 1/1 stick blade. Not a bad couple days plus I also got Al Iafrate who was in town on a blade.


Sunday, October 29
October 29th 2006
The Baseball Autograph section is up and complete with pictures of everything that has been sent. I still have to get a couple misc items up such as note cards and 8X10's. Let me emphasize that cards in this section are not for trade as voted on by you guys in June.

Last Friday I went downtown and got some autographs of the Anaheim Ducks. I did pretty good (considering I only went for about an hour) and pretty much got everything I needed with the help from other collectors on recognizing faces. Here's how I did. Ilya Bryzgalov 2/3, Stanislav Chistov 1/1, Todd Fedoruk 1/1, Ryan Getzlaf 2/2, Jean-Sebastien Giguere 1/2, Travis Green 4/4, Chris Kunitz 2/2, Andy McDonald 2/2, Ian Moran 1/1, Rob Niedermayer 2/2, Scott Niedermayer 2/2, Corey Perry 1/1, Chris Pronger 2/2! and Teemu Selanne 3/3.   

And last but not least A Story that will bring joy to TTM'ers everywhere!


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Friday's Catch

Thursday, October 26
October 26th 2006
I got just about every baseball card I have got in trades from you guys up and in order under the "Baseball Autographs" section. This is everything I have ever received in trades and out of generosity. It's a pretty sweet collection. I will try to get pictures/scans up sometime this weekend. After that it will be the hockey autograph section getting updated. I'm also debating whether or not to keep the letters in the mail section going. I have a stack of god knows how many letters and it would take a solid week to get them in order. As of right now I'm going to put that section on hold and focus on other things like getting autographs...that's right. Yesterday I went on my first hounding in a long time and went for the LA Kings. My skills were pretty rusty and I had a tough time with faces but the other collectors hooked me up. How did I fare?...Actually really well. The Kings are an excellent signing team. There wasn't one guy that said no and just about every guy did whatever I had for them. Here's how I did.
Derek Armstrong 1/1, Rob Blake 1/1, Dustin Brown 2/4, Cammalleri 3/3, Dan Cloutier 4/4, Craig Conroy 2/2, Frolov 2/3, Garon 5/5, Anze Kopitar 4/4, Aaron Miller 1/1, M Norstrum 2/2, Brent Sopul 2/2, Scott Thornton 2/2, Tverdovsky 1/3, Vishnovsky 2/2, Nelson Emerson 2/2 and Brian Willsie 1/1.


Tuesday, October 24
Game Used Hazing Outfit
Help support charity and try to win this item. The auction is up on eBay.

Click Here To View Auction



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Click On Picture To View Auction

Sunday, October 22
2006 Topps Turkey Red Box Breaking
In the past week I have bought 5 Blaster boxes of the 2006 Turkey Red cards @ Target. Here's how I did and my opinion on the cards

Base set = 314 cards

Total Cards Opened In 5 Blaster Boxes = 320
Packs opened = 40 - 8 Cards per pack - 64 in a box

Set Completed 194/314 = 62%

Doubles = 67

Triples = 2 Jaime Moyer, Victor Martinez

Chance of getting a Double/Triple = 69/320 = 22%
Chance of getting a Double/Triple in base set of cards 69/263 = 26%

Short Print Base Cards = 3 Preston Wilson, Richie Sexson and Tim Hudson

Short Print Cards Red = 1 Alex Rodriguez Seattle

Short Print Cards White = Xavier Nady San Diego

Red Parallel Cards = 39

White Parallel Cards = 9

Black Parallel Cards = 2 Jose Guillen & Ryan Howard

Gold Parallel Card = 1 Jason Kubel

Game Used Cards = 1 Roy Halladay Jersey

Overall I like the card design a lot and the brand has a lot of fun inserts to try and complete sets with. It's also kind of neat that they continued the numbers on the back from last years set. I would buy this box again.




Sunday, October 22
October 22nd 2006
I just got a couple sections updated in my Baseball Autographs section...letters A-C. I think I'm going to update this entire section and then will get some scans up. Once this is done I am going to go after the hockey section and from there either start up a trading section or a want list.

I got a couple letters in the mail yesterday and will do a short recap of them right here.

Letter Amount - 6 letters

Letter #1 From Aaron Roth - Minnesota
Sent 5 Index cards and wanted them signed for him and his friends - Signed up the indexes and sent the letter out

Letter #2 From Sara Rogge - Minnesota
Does TTM's a lot and Sent a 01 Upper Deck Doug Mientkiewicz signed card for one of my cards - Great Trade, thanks Sara

Letter #3 From Peter Altamore - New Jersey
Sent a Jose Cruz Jr., Billy Hatcher, Lance Carter, Leyritz, Brent Abernathy, Rick Dempsey, Richard Hidalgo and Toby Hall signed cards and told me to send him my Stephen Drew, Jon Papelbon, Anibal Sanchez, Ryan Zimmerman and Joel Zumaya signed cards from the Baseball Graphs section. I don't think Peter knows that those cards are off limits for trading. Sent the letter back with his cards and signed up a Twins team card he had in his letter

Letter #4 From Lianna Holub - Ohio
Sent a couple trades a 1995 Classic Hockey Jason Doit and a Michael Spidale signed picture. Also sent a picture of me to get signed.

Letter #5 From Dave Hasely - NY
Sent 14 cards for trade, pretty good stuff Greg Madduz, Leiter, Hillenbrand, Kotsay, Kent GU Jersey, George Scott, Steve Garvey, Mackowiak, Salmon, Dubois, Brayan Pena, Wily Mo Pena and Felix Escalona.

Letter # 6 From Grady Carlson - North Dakota
Sent a very nice and straight to the point letter. Sent 29 mostly 2001 In The Game Certified Hockey Auto's for trade.

That's it for letters. On the baseball card side of things I bought a couple more boxes of Turkey Red cards and didn't do that well. I think I just had good luck with my first box because everything has been terrible since. I also cannot find one box of 2006 Allen Ginter's anywhere. I have been to 4 shinders stores up here (card shop in MN) and nearly every Target and Wal Mart, looks like eBay is my only choice.   

I bought a bunch of Hockey Common lots on eBay last week and am waiting for them to arrive. I might try to get out to St. Paul once the cards come to do some in person auto's. I'll keep you updated.


Sunday, October 15
October 15th 2006
It feels kind of weird not running to the field everyday now that the season is over. It's such a fun but stressful job and can get very repetitive/routine in a lot of the things we do. So far each morning I wake up thinking I got a game to go to then I realize that I don't have to be anywhere. What have I been up to a lot of you might be asking? Well a lot of things that mostly have to do with moving stuff in and trying to get everything settled. This past week we did a lot of things for the house and for getting things organized. Sometimes I feel that I'm overwhelmed with things to do and I'll never finish them all. For instance the fan mail was out of control. I think I had nearly 200 letters to get back to and they were just sitting in a bunch of bags in the house.   The autographs everyone has sent me for trades were sitting around unsorted. The website wasn't getting updated...lets just say there was too many things to do that I didn't know where to start. I eventually started with the mail, I finished nearly everything and the last bits will be going out tomorrow. The last two days I put every Baseball/Hockey signed card into alphabetical order...it took forever. I got a little strayed away from doing everything when I went to the local Target and bought a couple 2006 Turkey Red Blaster Boxes and ripped them open. I'm really starting to get hooked on some of the new cards that have been coming out especially the Allen & Ginter set...Anyone want to trade me a Hulk Hogan signed card? haha but seriously I would love to trade for one. Also the past couple weeks have given me a lot of time to think about ways to add things to the site and I got some pretty good ideas. Since I'm getting into cards again I want to make a trading section somehow. I also have a lot of game used items all the way back in high school that I really have no use for and anymore and thought I can trade them on here. Anyways there's going to be some cool stuff on here and these feature will be added gradually. I think in the next couple days I will share what I pulled opening the Turkey Red Packs. I will also try to get on the message boards and chat with everyone. Please be patient with me and I will promise to make this a fun site, you guys are awesome!   

Saturday, October 14
October 14th 2006
Hey guys, just wanted to let everyone know that I will be doing a bunch of updates pretty soon. I'm taking a little break from the season and sorting everything out. I'll be back on with an update tomorrow!

Sunday, October 1
October 1st 2006
Wow, what a day. I don't really know where to start...too much happened. After our disappointing loss yesterday most of us figured we were on our way to NY for the playoffs. I spent last night going out to eat with Stephanee and both our families at a local restaurant. When we were leaving we happened to see the Royals/Tigers game score and laughed saying that we might have a chance to win the division tomorrow. Our magic number at the time was 3 meaning the Tigers would have to lose both games and we would have to win. Earlier in the day I bought plane tickets for Stephanee and my brother to fly into NYC. Flights were priced pretty low so I figured why not and booked them to leave at 3:10 pm on Sunday. After the Royals game got over last night my mom called and was wondering what to do if we won and the Tigers lost? I told her that if that happened it would be the most unbelievable thing I have ever seen. Little did I know what was to come in the next 24 hours!!!

After I got home I packed up my suitcase for NY since we would be flying out of Minneapolis immediately after the game and arrive there around 9pm. I arrived at the ballpark around 10am just as my brother Paul was coming home from the dome. For those of you who don't already know, Paul works on the grounds crew at the Metrodome and took part in the 18 hour switch the Metrodome from a baseball field to a football field and then back to a baseball field. He had a long day and got some sleep for a couple hours before he headed off to the airport. Our game started and at the same time the Tigers had a 6-0 lead over the Royals. Stephanee and Paul got to the airport about 2pm and asked the lady at the check in if they could wait until the final possible minute to check in because they might not have to go. Time ticks by, the Royals score a couple runs and the score is 7-4 when they finally agree to jump on the plane that has to stop in Chicago first before heading to NY. As they are about to take off they find out the Royals put up a couple more runs to make the score 7-6. That's the last update they get before they landed in Chicago. As they arrive my mom calls them and tells them what is going on. At that time the score is 7-7 in extra innings and they have a layover for about a half hour.

Meanwhile our game ended and we all headed into the clubhouse. Things don't look good, the Tigers have bases loaded and one out. Our entire team surrounded the TV in the clubhouse as we screamed for Joe Nelson to strike out Inge...He did. Then there was a pitching change and more time to try and think about what was going on. The most overheard comment inside that room was something on the lines of "is this really happening & where the heck are we going?" Jimmy Gobble came in and there was dead silence as he threw his first pitch...strike, the clubhouse erupted. Pitch two, strike...same reaction. In what seemed like forever pitch four came across the plate for strike three, the clubhouse went crazy. We were out of control, I heard one teammate say he was buying Gobble a watch and sending it to him for that huge strikeout. Just then Mike Redman and Michael Cuddyer ran in and told us that they had the game on the big screen and 40,000 people were still inside the dome. We all ran out of the clubhouse and into the dugout to hopefully watch something special. The fans were going nuts, we were going nuts and the Royals bats came alive. With each pitch you could hear the tension. If something good happened there were cheers and lots of them. If something bad happened there would be deep sighs and groans. It was one of the weirdest feelings to be watching a game on the big screen with a packed stadium and no one on the field. When the final out was recorded we went crazy. Basically everyone followed the leader and we met up in CF and congratulated everyone. From there we ran around the stadium slapping five with all the fans and into the clubhouse for another Champaign soaking. The only word that came to mind after thinking about everything that happened is UNBELIEVABLE.

When Stephanee and Paul heard what happened they had to jump off their plane in Chicago and try to decide what to do. They weren't upset about what happened they were happy and couldn't believe what had happened. The decided to rent a car and drive it back to Minnesota. As I am writing this they are thirty minutes from Minneapolis. Tomorrow we will have to return the car and file a claim to get their luggage back from the NY airport.

Oh what a day and I almost forgot to mention that another member of the family had a pretty good day as well. My dad finished his 11th Twin Cities marathon!

Tomorrow we have a media day @ 9:30am. Please help cheer us on, you guys have been awesome!


Wednesday, September 27
September 27th 2006
Well a lot of things have happened in the last couple days. After our trip to Boston we headed out to Baltimore for a three game series. Baltimore is a great place to play at because of how great of condition that Camden Yards is in. As everyone knows it has the excellent view of the warehouse in right and the playing surface is in top shape. Nearly everyday in Baltimore I walked to the field since our hotel was only about a half mile away from the field. This place easily makes a run for the most autographers before a game. Each day I would walk over I witnessed numerous graphers at different entrances of the stadium. Some would wait outside the warehouse entrance while others would wait outside the front of the stadium...some would go for us and others would wait near the fence where the Orioles park their cards. I would say on an average day there were close to 40 people trying to get things signed. The fans once again were generous. During this 10-day road trip I came home with a suitcase that was overflowing with items. Off the top of my head some of the more notably stuff I received on the trip was an Aerosmith signed drumhead, 1 Jake Lamotta signed boxing glove, a Milt Schmidt signed puck, a Norm Ullman signed puck, a Dan Jansen signed puck, 1 Bret The Hitman Hart signed hockey puck from the team he owned in Canada, a dual Phil Esposito/Bobby Orr signed card, a Jagr signed card, a trio signed 8X10 of Bill Guerin, Steve Thomas and Petr Sykora, a Rick Barry signed card and about 50 signed cards of various hockey and baseball players and about 20 8X10's of me. It's going to take a lot of time this offseason to sort everything out in order and I promise I will get scans and a list of everything I have. I'm also going to try to get a want list up of things I need plus a trade list of items that I am willing to trade but again this is going to be an offseason project.

In Baltimore I had the pleasure to talk to HOFer Jim Palmer for a couple seconds. I initially went up to him because I needed to get him to sign a couple balls. When I approached him I told him my name and he said "yes, the hometown boy who went to 400 Twins games as a kid!" I was kind of caught off guard that he knew who I was and didn't really know what to say. We talked for about 5 minutes about baseball and it was awesome hearing some of the stories he had.

On another note I have heard a couple rumors that I might have been included in a 2006 set. The set is 2006 Topps Rookies - 1952 edition. Right now it is just a rumor but it would be pretty neat to get a true rookie card.

Right now we are back in MN and just clinched a playoff spot. It was an awesome moment to see all our hard work payoff after where we were a couple months ago. The champaign soaking was a memory I'll never forget and we had a lot of fun for a couple hours inside that clubhouse. Hopefully there will be a lot more of those celebrations in the next couple weeks!



Thursday, September 21
September 21st 2006
We've played two games at Fenway and wrap up the series tonight. Fenway Park is probably the most unique park in the majors. There are a lot of things you see here that you don't at most parks. The last two days have begun with cab rides over to the park. The funny thing about here is that the graphers will wait for you outside the hotel and if you don't sign they will get in their cars and race the cabbie over to Fenway and give it another shot. Once inside Fenway the first thing I noticed was the smell. In most of the older stadiums the underground smell is not that pleasant and really takes a lot to walk through. I've also noticed this smell at Yankee Stadium. To get to the clubhouse in Fenway you have to walk through the concourse. It struck me again right there at how old this place was seeing the small concourse and different things like the seating entrances and bathrooms as I walked through. When I was walking to the clubhouse I noticed that two guys were fixing up the roof of the concourse. It appeared that a giant piece of concrete gave out and fell to the ground. I walked under the guys and they told me to hurry up and go by because they didn't trust this spot. I found myself wondering if this place was safe or not. As I got nearer to the clubhouse I had to ask direction in order to find the clubhouse door because it was very confusing. Eventually I found a small white fenced in cage that was the entrance to the clubhouse. Inside was the smallest clubhouse in the league...smaller than most minor league clubhouses. The lockers were straight out of the old days, about a foot and a half wide, 6 feet tall with no space in between teammates. With all the September call ups, the clubhouse staff ran out of lockers and had to pair up a couple guys in one locker. I also heard stories that on the other side in the home clubhouse they had to buy wooden stroll out lockers and place them in the center of the clubhouse for all the new guys that came up in September.

I have been to Fenway a couple times before when I played in the Cape Cod League in 2001. Back then I was really in amazement at how cool the place was with all the neat little things going on such as the green monster, pesky's pole and the bullpens. I always thought this place wouldn’t be fun to play at though because it looked like the players were cramped for space and the field didn’t look in the best condition. I was wrong, this place is a blast to play at and the field has had a lot of improvements since. This time I was in shock at how little seating Fenway had. I don't know why I noticed this right away this time maybe it's because I have seen a lot of MLB parks lately. During that time since I have last visited Fenway in 01 a lot of things have been added and renovated like the green monster seating. Basically this place has a lot of history and a lot of things going on. I actually came out early yesterday and checked out a lot of things but realized that I really need more time to really take in all that Fenway has to offer. There wasn't too much going on here that I didn't like. I really think that the one thing missing from Fenway is the bigger clubhouses. Once they can fix that this place would have it all.

Some interesting stuff
Before the game I talked to Peter Gammons for a quick minute and got him to sign a couple baseballs for me. It’s really great to have him back and I don't think anyone else out there can do the job that he does. We shared a couple stories about the Cape Cod League and I was surprised at how much he remembered from my year.


Tuesday, September 19
September 19th 2006
Right now we are in Boston getting ready to head over to the field. Yesterday we had a much needed off day and most of us rested up for this final stretch. I really didn't do much yesterday. I sat around for the most part and watched TV. I went out to get some food later in the day and ran into a bunch of autographers from Boston. Most of these guys I have met before including members of the Boston Fury. For those of you who are wondering who the Boston Fury are, they are elite graphers who have been getting stuff signed for the past thirty years. Over the last couple years they have been really cool with me and we have traded autographs every now and then plus they have some of the best stories. Like I said above I am heading over to the field right now and will be back on here later to share my thoughts on playing at Fenway.   

Friday, September 15
September 15th 2006
Not sure if you guys heard what the older guys on the team did to us rookies the other day but I thought I would do a quick update on it. Every year around this time there is a thing called Rookie Initiation the rookies have to go through. This process involves the older guys going out and buying each of the rookies costumes they will have to wear around for the entire night. Well the other day I completed my first rookie hazing event and it was...well...weird. I came back to my locker after the game and noticed a girly skirt hanging in my locker complete with fish net stockings and a witches hat. The other guys got some crazy outfits as seen in the pic below. Well we had to dress in front of the media and of course they were pretty pumped to get an easy story. Then the older guys made us all walk together to the outside of the dome where we were greeted by fans and autographers. The older guys forced us to sign auto's and do interviews with the media. From there we traveled to the airport and got onto the plane. Once in Cleveland we had to check in and immediately meet in the lobby to go out for our next challenge. Our first stop was a restaurant next to Jacobs Field and wouldn't you know there was a game going on...the Indians vs. the Royals. One of the older guys thought it would be funny to parade us around the stadium. So sure enough we grabbed our stuff and headed to the game. The usher at the stadium was not going to let us in until he finally recognized Santana and became friendly and let us walk through the gates. Sure enough a couple minutes in, word spread quick that we were the Twins and the cameras were focused on us. We got on the big screen, harassed Indians outfielder Jason Michaels a couple innings and finally got on the TV station that was covering the game. Gardy was watching the game in his hotel room and said he had to do a double take when he saw us then laughed the rest of the night. The night was nearly complete after we left the Jake. We headed over to get some food and from there it was back to the hotel so I could finally take off that terrible costume. I'm not really sure what to do with my costume now, it's sitting in my hotel room and I really don't want to ever see the thing again. That would make an excellent eBay for charity item complete with signed picture below...would anyone be interested?

At the Cleveland Indians game in the Left Field Standing Room Section! BTW, Check out the evil hand-chin action Matt Guerrier has going on in the far left as he thinks about what he's going to make us do next!


rookieoutfitsas
Not Fun!

Monday, September 11
September 11th 2006
I just opened two boxes of the 2006 Allen & Ginter by Topps. The A&G set is pretty neat and mimics the old 1887 cards. The box is pretty neat. It looks like an old cigar box and even has a sticker you need to remove to open up the box. Once inside the first thing you will see is a giant insert which in my case turned out to be a postcard from Ted Williams and it was not an original. The funny thing was the 2nd box I opened I got the exact same postcard...anybody want to trade? The big thing about this set is that it has the theme of "World Champions." Inside you find cards of not only baseball players but of oddball people like the spelling bee champion or Mike Tyson. Also scattered in the mix is war heroes and a card of the Statue of Liberty. The big thing you are trying to find in this box is something called a rip card and let me tell you that these are really tough to find, one in every case...1 in 12 boxes. Also inserted into every box is any two of the following, autographs, game used jersey cards, printing plates and even 1887 original A&G cards. So how did I do after opening all 48 packs?

Of my four insert cards they were all game used jerseys. I was hoping for one auto but I didn't have any luck. Here's what I got
1 David Wright GU Jersey Card
1 Johan Santana GU Jersey Card
1 Andy Petitte GU Jersey Card
1 Jake Peavy GU Jersey Card

20/30 complete of the Dick Perez Insert Collection
5 Doubles for a 25% Rate of getting the same card

212/350 Base Set complete or 61% complete
74 cards were doubles or a 35% doubles rate...anybody want to trade?


Tuesday, September 5
September 5th 2006
Right now we are in Tampa Bay and in the middle of a road trip. We just came from New York and there were a lot of cool stories about that place. The trip started off by flying into LaGuardia airport around 9pm. From there we bused into downtown NYC and to our hotel. As it always is in big cities like LA, Chicago and NY there were graphers outside waiting for us. The graphers here don’t sleep; there is always somebody in town or other options they can turn to if an autograph hunt goes sour. Once they were done trying to get us to sign things they had the MTV VMA’s going on down the street, not to mention the numerous Broadway shows and tennis stars that were in town. Basically this is a good town if you are looking for celebrities. One of my collector friends told me that the big time collectors in New York have their cars filled with thousands of 8X10’s of nearly every celebrity out there. Once one is spotted they can run to the car, grab the photo and try to get it signed. You never know who is going to show up in NYC.

NYC was a pretty cool experience. I have been there a couple times before so I kind of knew what to expect. Since traveling was kind of tough the best way for me to get to the field was to take the subway, which was pretty close to the hotel. The subway was about a 15-minute ride and dropped me off right in front of Yankee Stadium. Yankee Stadium looked the same as it always has been. It was kind of weird walking to the clubhouse in that I haven’t seen too many fields up here that are this old. The walkways to the clubhouse were very dark and felt like you were walking through a dungeon. The clubhouse was very small in comparison to all the other fields except the dome’s. The clubhouse staff did an excellent job with the small space they had to work with. Outside, the field was in great shape and there were numerous fans yelling at us. The one thing that really disappointed me was the bullpen. The view was terrible and during the entire series. I found myself moving around trying to get a better view until I finally gave up and sat in one spot and tried to make out what was happening. In left field they have a net protecting the fans that come through to view the monuments before the game. During the game they leave the net up and it is impossible to see through. Overall Yankee Stadium was a really neat place to play especially when you think about all the history that has happened in this one spot.

I also wanted to mention quickly that I finished nearly all my mail and it should be coming back to you guys sometime this week. The final total was over 100 pieces of mail and I got some pretty sweet trades from you guys. It is definitely going to take the off-season to update my autograph sections because time is very limited up here.

Also in New York I got the chance to visit and take a tour of the MLBPA offices. This is not open to the public and came courtesy of Evan Kaplan who is the director of trading cards and collectibles for the MLBPA. Evan came across this site and offered me the chance to stop by and open up some boxes of cards and talk about the hobby. It was an awesome experience and I walked away with a bunch of cool stuff. I just broke a couple of the boxes and will open the rest when we get back into town. Oh yeah here’s what I got to open. 2 06 Allen & Ginter boxes, 3 06 Bowman Chromes, 1 06 Topps Chrome, 1 06 Flair, and 1 06 Sweet Spot. What I’ll try to do is post what I opened up in the box and write some comments about each card set when I open them. I hope everyone had a safe and fun labor day!   


Tuesday, August 29
August 29th 2006
Thanks for hanging in there with me over these last couple days. I find it tougher to update the site when I'm at home as opposed to on the road. There has been a lot of stuff going on around here. We just finished up an awesome series in Chicago and got an off day yesterday. I spent yesterday unpacking and trying to relax as much as I could. Baseball really takes it out of you physically but more so mentally and off days really help you get your head off baseball. Over the weekend Stephanee, my dad and my neighbor Dave helped me out big time and drove to Rochester, NY to pack up our apartment that we had there. This is the stuff you don't read about but really stresses you out until it is fully cleaned out and the lease is up. The Twins cover all the expenses on the lease and gas to get the car home. In the mail I got about another 100 letters that I will get at during the next road trip. Also there is some pretty neat discussion of a fan club going on under the message board, be sure to check it out.

Thursday, August 24
Question For Everyone?

Baseball Cards
1) How Would You Change The Baseball Card Industry?
   Less Brands So Collecting/Trading IsMore Uniformed
   Less Inserts/MoreCards Of AllActive Roster Players
   Make Them Available At More Locations
   More Inserts & Flashier cards
   Lower Prices
   Other

Tuesday, August 22
August 23rd 2006
Just to give you guys the heads up on what I'll be discussing on here next. This was a question asked to me under the message board.

Hey Pat,
    Just wondering do many major leaguers collect autographs for themselves? When your playing other clubs do you ask the other guys to sign for you? Just curious as I think if I was in the majors I would probably have a sweet spot ball from every player on everyteam or at least the big names. Keep up the great work.
Brian

Well this is a pretty simple answer. So far since 2002 I haven't seen any players who collect cards out in the open. I'm sure there are some that keep it quiet. In the past I have noticed a couple teammates who do the team sets and get them signed by everyone on the team. But as far as getting teammates and other players on baseball cards I've rarely seen it happen. One thing that does happen pretty often in AAA and up here is seeing guys send items like baseballs or jerseys to the other clubhouse to get signed up by guys. In this case the player gives their item to one of the batboys and they run the item over. In most cases guys will only go after the big star, future hall of famer or sensational rookie. When the batboy brings the item back you tip the batboy for hooking you up. So far this year I have not took advantage of this but will down the road.


Tuesday, August 22
August 23nd 2006
Hey guys I just got back from the ballpark. I always hate coming to new places up here for the first time because I have no clue where I am going. Usually I try to hop in a cab with someone who has played here before and they can show me where to go. I have to apologize to the fans today for stiffing you guys before the game. I think you guys can understand where I'm coming from though and see that I needed to find where to go. I told most of the collectors there that I would come down early tomorrow and sign for everybody that I missed today.

On a different note there have been many new records made for items of mine on eBay lately. I'll have to update the record section after this update to reflect some of the new highs. The all time high price paid was shattered this past weekend when blinker010 paid $53.55 for a signed photo. I've also noticed there have been new records for signed baseballs and I need to make a section for my new photofile 8X10. Just a note to everyone, I always have been and will be Pro-Ebay. If you have something of mine signed and want to sell it, go for it. Likewise if you think something is cool and want to collect it then go ahead and bid on it. People seem to always think that eBay sellers are bad, which in some cases they can be but you have to remember that there are a lot of people, including me that collect hard to find and signed items and are willing to spend money and purchase these items.   

Speaking of photofile from above I don't think I've mentioned I have finally have been included in the photofile series. I'll have to get a picture up and file it under the "Baseball cards" section. It's basically a shot from spring training during our media day and I'm wearing #72 the number I wore during my debut and changed later that week.

I've also got a bunch of new baseball cards that are out there. It's funny because I was never aware they made a card of me for the International League All Star game until someone came up to me with my card. There's also a new card of mine from the Rochester Red Wings team set this year. I also just found out a couple days ago that there's a 2006 International League Prospects set and they included me in it. My only complaint is that I wish they could've used a different picture on the cards. For all three cards it's the same image just resized. 3 new cards...not a bad month. I'm hoping to be included in an Upper Deck or Topps update set but I'm not holding my breath.



Tuesday, August 22
August 22nd 2006
I just got on the internet here in Baltimore but have to leave for the park in a couple minutes. I will be on here tonight adding a new update.

Wednesday, August 16
Stuff In The Mail
I finished opening the rest of the letters and there was a lot of excellent trades and cards. Some of the signed card highlights were a 2006 Modesto Nuts team set, a Willie O'Ree, Mark Fidrych, Tony Gwynn, Andre Dawson, Dwight Gooden, Jeff Reardon, Nolan Ryan, Stan Musial, Pete Rose and even a Juan Agosto card. Not to mention about 75 other signed various baseball and hockey cards. It's been a good week, thanks to everyone who traded with me this week!

mailbagajkjsksk
It Was A Good Day With Mail!

Tuesday, August 15
August 16th 2006
I went to my locker today and noticed another huge pile of letters…this coming after last week’s pile of mail. I thought it would be cool to do an entry and maybe make this a reoccurring theme for the site. Some letters contained nothing more than a congrats, others contained a bunch of cards. Hopefully this can give you a little insight in what we see each day with the mail. Some letters are weird and make you wonder what the person was thinking and others are pretty cool. So lets open the mail and see what came in today.

Letter #1 from Bob Butler – Sent me a Zach Duke signed card to trade – Said congrats and how he loves small market teams like the Twins & Pirates. I sent him back a 2003 MWL signed card of myself. So far so good!

Letter #2 from Rich Mies – Sent me a letter saying thanks for the website and how it’s cool to be playing for the Twins. Sent me three tickets from my first win and wanted them signed. I signed them and sent the SASE back.   

Letter #3 from Darlinda Alexander – Sent me a letter with questions but no SASE. Asked a bunch of questions and told me I’m her favorite boy on the team. Wanted to know why I don’t pitch more innings. Wanted to know how to correctly say my name.   Also wanted to know if I had the desire to become a starter and told me not to give the bs answer of “I’m just happy to be here.” Well to answer those questions, 1…I pitch a lot of games and can’t continually pitch every night. I like to say you can pronounce my name Knee Shack or Knee Sheck whichever you prefer. I like what I’m doing a lot and have no desire to be a starter.

Letter #4 from Larry Hatfield – This letter basically said thanks for the website and good luck. Included an unsigned Steve Garvey and Pedro Martinez card? Also sent 2 homemade cards. Signed the cards and sent them back.

Letter #5 from Cindy Oliver – Short & Sweet, please sign my two index cards! EZ & to the point, I like.

Letter #6 from Terry Luddy – Wrote to me before and wanted to know what I wanted for my collection. Sent me a list and I picked out Steve Balboni.   Included the Balboni in this letter. Thanks Terry

Letter #7 from Nick Lindquist – This is one of my old friends from Junior High and High School. I haven’t talked to him that much since and he wrote a cool letter saying what’s up. Hopefully I can catch up with him in the off-season.

Letter #8 from Ryan Fay – Short & Sweet, please sign index card and thanks for the website. I like these type of letters the most, sent back the signed index card.

Letter #9 from Aaron Graham – Sweet a trade, 1 Doug Glanville for one of mine…done

I have about 25 more letters but will open these tomorrow. That’s enough for me tonight, check out the letters in the mail section for more mail that comes in!


Tuesday, August 15
August 15th 2006
The other day I did a signing in Apple Valley at the Twins Pro Shop. It was a fun time and I got to meet a lot of fans. I was very surprised at how many people turned out for the signing. When I got there I noticed there was a long line stretching around the outside of the store down the road. I signed from 11am-12:30 and I heard there was still a line and they had to turn people away at the end. I felt bad that I couldn't get to everyone and hope I can do another signing down the road. There were a lot of interesting people I met at the signing. It was cool to hear a lot of fans say they have been to this website before! A couple people gave me some signed cards for my collection...thanks guys. There were a couple fans that went to my high school before I did and some that were going there now. One guy had me sign a Park Center HS sock? A couple people came up to me and asked if I remember people I went to school with. One woman demanded I become a starter, I told her that I'm a reliever and I don't think it will ever change. She got mad and walked away. The one thing I noticed about this signing was that people seemed a lot more happy & talkative than other signings I have done and it was really cool to interact and sign everything for them. After the signing I got a quick bite to eat and headed to the field. As I walked to the stadium entrance I noticed there were a lot of fans that were waiting for me that already got me earlier in the day at the signing...now that's dedication!

proshopshisp
Outside The Apple Valley Twins Pro Shop

Friday, August 11
August 11th 2006
I just wanted to let everyone know that I will be doing a signing tomorrow (8/12/06) in Apple Valley @ the Twins Pro Shop. It's from 11am-12:30 and I hope to see some of you out there.


Wednesday, August 9
August 9th 2006
One more game here in Detroit then we head back to MN for a long home stand. Back in college I came out to a game at Comerica and proclaimed it my favorite ballpark as a fan behind Wrigley Field. It's really a beautiful park that has a lot of detail and cool things for the fans to check out such as the statues in center and the standing room sections in the outfield. Back then when I came out to the game there wasn't too many people in the seats. This time around Comerica was packed and had the same type of atmosphere that I felt in Chicago. Some cool things I noticed so far...perhaps the neatest is the bullpens in left center. We have the choice of watching the game from the bench in the bullpen or the air-conditioned bullpen dugout. The dugout has sliding glass windows, a fridge with drinks, a bathroom and an up close view of the field. The only downfall that I have noticed so far in Detroit is the hotel's location. We stay a good distance away from the field and is kind of a pain taking a taxi there each day.

One thing I did notice about Detroit so far was the number of collectors and autographers before and after each game. The hotel here is off limits so the next best way to get things signed is to wait outside the door of the stadium. My first day here the taxi driver dropped me off and I was greeted by the Detroit crew. I signed a lot of photofile shots, a couple All Star cards, notecards and many photos of the shot that was posted on yahoo including a 16x20 of that shot from some weird Canadian guy! The graphers here really hooked me up with some fine cards and photos. Since I didn't have too many photofile shots of myself I asked one of the guys if I could get some extras and he hooked me up with a bunch of shots. Other things I received were a bunch (15) of heroes & prospects signed hockey cards, a Brent Gretzky signed card and one grapher even brought me a stack of cards and said take anything you need. I picked out a lot of the guys I have faced so far in my MLB career that I didn't have.


Monday, August 7
August 7th 2006
I'm going to go ahead and try to get a quick update in before I head to the field. I was checking out the message board and saw a post by joeltwin that had some neat questions that everyone might be interested in so I'm going to answer them really quick.

So, what is it like being on the road with Big League Ball. Was just thinking of Kansas City and the hothouse the town was.

It's excellent, I mean it's everything I always wanted to do and now after being up here for a month I have really started to relax a lot and feel like I belong. I really couldn't think of anything in the world I would rather be doing.

You had like 3-4 days there. Do players tend to go out after games to eat/relax? Do you drift out to some sites (like the fantastic Negro League Museum). After a hot Saturday night game, is there a swimming pool the players can jell at after hours at the hotel?

It comes down to each individual player. We really don't get as much time as you think we do. We usually get back to the hotel around midnight. For me I try to get on the internet and check scores and news out. I usually turn on the TV and fall asleep. So by going to bed around 1-2am every night it takes any normal person around 8-10 hours of sleep to feel good. I wake up around 10-11am and only have a couple hours to hang out. I almost always leave for the field for a 7pm game around 2:30pm. We play nearly everyday (with an off day averaging about 1 every 2 weeks) for 6 months so it's really a grind. There are usually swimming pools at the hotels but in my 5 years of playing I never remember using one. Basically it's the same routine above for me everyday.

Do fans frequent hotels for autographs? Do they wait for the cabs over the bus?

It really depends on the city you are in and the hotel. There are always a couple hotel visitors who are staying there that say hi or good luck. Most places they have an area at the hotel that is roped off for fans to try and get autographs.

Can't wait to hear about Sunday at KC. Nice that the visitors have a shaded bullpen for the evening games. But wonder if you all get out of the clubhouse within an hour or so to hop that plane to Detroit so you can settle in there and get rid of the 105-degree sweat from the game, rather than hang around the clubhouse.

Yeah Sunday was a hot hot hot game. We did just like you said and were out of KC in about an hour and a half after the game. I crashed and fell asleep for the entire trip. When we got into Detroit it was about 20 degrees cooler so we were all happy.

Silly question: who gets to do the laundry when you quickly pack up and leave from one town to the next?

The clubby puts all the personals and uniforms in a bag and packs them for the next team's clubby. When we get into town the equipment travels over to the stadium and the clubby unpacks it all and cleans everything up.

And is major league food better than minor league food?

Of course, but there's a catch...the dues EACH DAY are $40. It doesn't hurt too much though because we get about double that each day from the club for meal money. It's rougher in the minors getting only $20 a day and having to pay the clubby $12 of that for each day we are there. You cannot live on that and needs to be updated.   

Good job! I was one of the many Minnesotans clapping away Saturday night when you struck out three.

Thanks, I love the support!


Saturday, August 5
August 6th 2006
We just got back from the game an hour ago. The hotel is about a 20-minute drive and most guys take the bus back to the hotel. Tonight's game was kind of unique in that we wore camouflage hats in honor of the military. We showed up to the park and James our equipment guy started asking us our hat sizes then gave us hats. Pretty much everyone on the team thought the hats were awesome & I heard a number of teammates say that they were keeping their hats to wear during the off-season. The hats are made by New Era and I'm not sure if they sell them? We have one more game here in KC. It's going to be a hot one so if you're coming to the game tomorrow be prepared!




Saturday, August 5
August 5th 2006
Well we have been in KC for a couple days now and I'm really impressed with everything here. For some reason there seems to be more Twins fans at games than Royals fans. It's been awesome having a big fan base on the road. Kauffman Stadium looks as good as ever. I came out to a couple games here my summer before I started college. The one difference was the attendance. Back then the place was packed and my seats were near the top of the upper deck. During the last couple games only the first couple rows were filled in the upper deck. Like I said before this place is in awesome shape. The grass is in excellent shape as well as the entire playing surface. I tend to find myself checking out the waterfalls every now and then, I mean how could you not. It's kind of hard to believe it was built in 1973 because it still has that new feeling to it. As far as autographs go it's kind of a tough place to get stuff signed. When you pull up to the stadium in a cab you have the choice to go through the front or to the tunnel. Most players pick the tunnel because it's quicker to get inside. The tunnel is fenced off but you can still try to call the players over. After games there is a small waiting area about 50 feet from the bus but it's pretty unusual for guys to come over and sign (at least that's how it has been during the past couple days.) The hotel has lots of security so your best bet is to go try to get guys at the stadium during bp or before the game.



Thursday, August 3
August 3rd 2006
I just got through most of my mail and got some pretty sweet trades. I'm kind of surprised but the trades have been down a bit lately. Remember if you ever need a signed card of mine send a signed card of any baseball or hockey player with a SASE and we have a trade. Right now I'm working on getting all the cards in order and will take pictures of them and get the baseball autographs section updated sometime soon. A couple notes on the letters that most of you already know. Whenever writing if you want a response be sure to include a self addressed stamped envelope. There was about 5 letters that didn't include a SASE and I do not have time to run to the post office and fill out an envelope. Also like in the past I cannot get my teammates to sign you stuff. Do the dirty work yourself or write to them. There were about another half dozen of these letters asking for me to get Johan, Torii and Liriano on stuff...not going to happen. I got some pretty sweet stuff and the top couple things I received were from Al Clemente of NY and Juan in San Antonio. The two of them combined to hook me up with 100-signed cards. The collection has really been growing and I can't wait to get scans up when I find sometime. Right now we are in KC and I will try to get some updates in soon!


Wednesday, August 2
August 2nd 2006
Hey guys I just wanted to let you know that I'm still here and plan on updating this site a lot in the next couple days...that is if I can get on the internet in Kansas City. I've received a lot of mail at the dome (about 10 letters a day) and plan on getting to that on the road trip and letting everyone know what I got in the mail. Also I've received a pretty sweet camera from Red Wings fan Jeff Valone in Rochester and plan on bringing the camera along to see what kind of shots I can get. Hang in there with me another day and I think this site will start getting more frequent updates!

Friday, July 28
July 28th 2006
Hey guys, I just closed and moved into my first house yesterday. My updates might be a little erratic for a couple days but I promise I will try my best to get some updates in.   

Wednesday, July 26
July 26th 2006
I'm getting ready to head out to the ballpark. This series in Chicago went by pretty quick and had playoff atmosphere written all over it. It seemed to me that both games so far have been sold out. It was also weird to me to see this placed with a packed house. In college I went to a game and they couldn't even fill the lower level. Anyways it has been a great roadtrip and is going to be nice to have a much needed off day tomorrow.   

Monday, July 24
July 24th 2006
Well, another day another city. It's amazing how fast travel is up here. About an hour and a half after our game today we were on a plane heading to Chicago & a little after that we were in our hotels. You always know you are in a big town when there are graphers waiting outside the hotel at odds times of the day with stuff for anyone that might just happen to walk by.

I needed to clear something up really quick that I just found in a paper saying that I am single. In Sid Hartman's column today it read this "Being single and only 25 and a baseball star in his hometown, you would think he would hear from some of the young ladies. But he said he hasn't received any proposals."

I don't know why it was printed saying I was. I am NOT SINGLE, sorry ladies! I'm very much in love with Stephanee and we have been together nearly three years (for those who are new to the site.) Sid's question to me was about mail and if I have received any marriage proposals. I laughed at his question and said no! I guess I'll have to start making it clear that I am taken!

A cool thing I found out in Cleveland. I found out there's another card of me out there. During the 2006 AAA All Star game they made a set of all the all-stars. I was included in the set but do not have a card to show off yet. I was surprised that yesterday was the first time someone showed me the card and nobody on here mentioned it. The card is an image of me pitching and has a lot of black in it making it tough for me to sign. I'll try to get a scan up when someone sends one to me in the mail.

The graphers in Cleveland were really cool to me. Most of the things I signed were sweet spots on baseballs and team items. A couple guys had 8X10's and a couple of my cards. One grapher was awesome and hooked me up with a signed Rob Zombie album cover, I was pumped to get a metal autograph so I hooked him up with a couple MLB balls during BP.

Be sure to check out this funny link on my pitching mechanics
when you get a chance


A little off topic but I'm sitting in my hotel room right now thinking about all the things that have happened in the past couple weeks. It's crazy how fast life can change. One minute I'm getting ready to go to a AAA game in Scranton and the next night I'm pitching in front of 30,000 people. Days after that I bought my first house, then days later I'm pitching at the dome for the first time. If you would have told me all this stuff would've happened the minute before I got called up I would laughed and said something like wouldn't that be nice. What a year, I think the best thing about it all is looking back and knowing that all the hard work that I put in for all those years finally means something. Moving to Florida all those off-seasons, not seeing my family for months at a time and sacrificing everything for one chance. Having Stephanee by my side was the best thing that could've happened to me. I'll be the first to say that it has been tough. I was talking to my brother Paul in the off-season about the last season and he was like a lot of fans saying it must be the best to be a minor league ballplayer. I told him it has its moments and then I brought in the analogy of baseball being just like war. You basically live with a bunch of guys for six months. You never know if you'll have a job the next day. You don't get to see any of your family unless they come out to see you. You have to put up numbers against excellent competition. But the toughest thing that will drive a lot of people crazy is the stress. Like war you are constantly worried about what lies ahead. What happens when you have a bad outing, how are you going to respond...What are you going to do after baseball is over. There have been times when I was so worried about how bad I did in a game that it would even wake me up at night in my dreams. But you know what, I can sit here right now after all these years and say that all the pain, suffering and things that needed to get done to get here have been worth it...It's a pretty sweet feeling!



Friday, July 21
Wayne "Big Fella" Hattaway
Wayne Hattaway otherwise known around baseball as "Big Fella" is a legend of baseball. If you watch Twins games you might have seen Wayne before and wondered who he is and what he does. For the past...lets say hundred years Wayne has been a staple in the Twins organization. He has been with the Twins longer than any player and is recognized by most of the biggest players in the game. Fans on the other hand may not have a clue who Wayne is. The other day I was sitting in the bullpen with most of the guys and bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek and thought it would be a fun idea to make a webpage about Wayne and everything he did. Wayne also has some of the coolest shirts that he gives out every spring training to the guys and we thought Wayne could make some extra money and sell them on his site. One problem though, we didn't know if you guys "the fans" would be interested in "Big Fella." That's where this poll question comes in. Please help us out and let us know if you would be interested or not in a Wayne Hattaway website!

FYI, I've included an article about Wayne if you click on the link above or on the picture below.


waynehattaway
"Big Fella"

Wayne
1) Would You Be Interested In A Big Fella Website That Tells His Story & Where You Can Buy T-Shirts With Wayne's Image On It?
   Yes, Big Fella Would Be A Hit!!!
   No, That Doesn't Sound Like A Good Idea

Friday, July 21
July 21st 2006
Yesterday was a pretty long day of traveling and baseball. I woke up around 8am and started packing for our trip to Cleveland and Chicago. I left around 9:15 and got to the park a little after that. When I got to the Dome I walked over to our team van to drop off my luggage and from there I went inside to get ready for the game. After the game we had about and hour and a half to get over to the airport. All of our flights are chartered so most of the time we don't go inside to the airport. Usually there are smaller side terminals that we fly out of. It's really nice because we don't have to deal with waiting around and long lines. The flights have been pretty nice so far. This is a family trip in that players can bring along their families. They only have one of these a year so it's a pretty big deal. Our last plane was pretty nice. It contained a lot of tables, a couple reclining chairs and every seat was pretty much first class. This plane was a lot like any other plane I have ever been on due to all the families traveling with. When we got into the hotel there was a couple autographers waiting and I signed up a couple things. Most big league hotels are really tough to get autographs at. This place has an area that is roped off for fans outside the front doors. I'm getting ready to go to the field in a little bit and will be back with a report about Jacobs field. Our college team played here back in 2002 so it'll be neat to see "the Jake" again.



Tuesday, July 18
July 18th 2006
On Saturday I switched my jersey from #72 to #17. Our clubby James asked me in Texas if this was the number I wanted and I told him I really didn't care what number I had but if I could switch I would go with #17. He told me that it wouldn't be a problem, it would take a couple days to get the new number on. When the number got switched a lot of the guys on the team were giving me crap about being a rookie and switching numbers so quick. I knew they were joking and it was pretty funny trying to explain to them that James gave me the choice and asked me if I wanted to change my number.

Last night I got into my first game at the Metrodome. I was pretty pumped to get the call in a close 4-3 game. My arm felt excellent and I knew if I had my location on I would be fine. When I got to the mound for the first time I really wasn't nervous and was focused more on getting the guys out and preserving the lead. The dome mound was in excellent shape and just like in Texas the plate felt really close. The one thing I noticed just a little bit was the crowd right above the plate. There aren't too many ballparks that have a solid background right behind the plate. A lot of places have seating right behind home and this can act as camouflage when trying to find the catcher. Not here though, all I could see was the dark blue background and first couple rows of seats.


Sunday, July 16
July 16th 2006 - Free Tickets???
Over the past week I have had a lot of people ask about the ticket situation. Some were curious if I could get them tickets for cards and others just wanted free tickets. This is where the situation gets a little sticky. You see in the minors stadiums will usually let each player get a couple tickets free if not three or four tickets. A lot of times you can also get more tickets if you find a player who isn't using their tickets. This year in Indianapolis I gave out 25 tickets at one of the games. Most games in Rochester I gave out one to two tickets in exchange for people completing the free ticket challenge in which I would trade tickets for signed cards. Players are not charged anything for leaving tickets in the minors, they are free.   

Things are a lot different in the Big Leagues mostly due to an organization called the IRS. Last year the IRS began taxing tickets left by players. Up here we cannot leave tickets for our parents, wives, friends or family without having to pay tax on the tickets. The tax rate is around 40% and the tickets they let us pick from are not cheap considering they only give us one section to choose from...right behind the plate. At the Metrodome the price of these tickets are $44, in Texas they were $50. So doing the math real quickly an average price for each ticket we can leave ends up costing us around $20. Now when things tend to get a little ugly is when you have to leave a lot of tickets to give out. In my case that was last Thursday in my first game at the dome. I left 20 tickets and after tax it cost me $352. After that game I told most of my friends that I cannot give out tickets anymore:) I was also talking to a teammate and they said last year was pretty costly to them on the ticket side of things because he got taxed an extra $8000 and that was pretty average amongst guys on the team. If you do the math on that situation he spent $20,000 pre-tax, cost of tickets before tax are around $50. $20,000/$50 = 400 tickets left and there are 162 games in a season I think. 400/162 = 2.5 tickets per game. That's a lot of cash for leaving only 2.5 tickets to every game of the year. So basically up here in the big leagues there is no such thing as "free tickets." I heard rumors that this was implemented because a lot of players (Pre-2005) were selling their tickets for cash and making out pretty good. All in all I agree for the most part on having our tickets taxed but I still feel no matter what the situation is that parents, brother, sisters and wives should get in free of charge no matter what the situation.   

Also I thought it was pretty interesting how we leave tickets to games. In each clubhouse there is a computer that's set up and designated only for leaving tickets. Each player gets a user name and sets their password. When the player logs in they are immediately directed to a schedule for whatever team they are on. Basically you click on the date of whatever game you need to leave tickets for and another page opens up where you fill out whom you are leaving the tickets for. Once you are done you can make more reservations or log out.      


Saturday, July 15
June 15th 2006
The other day I went into the Twins clubhouse for the first time. It was a pretty neat experience since the only other time I have been in there was for a tour back around 4th grade. My first impression was that it was a pretty small clubhouse. It has everything you could want but just a little tight for space. I got squared away with my uniform and hats, my number is going to get changed on Saturday to #17, it had to be shipped or something. When I went to my locker I noticed it was already packed with about 40 pieces of mail so I'll get to that as soon as I can. I walked out to the field and played catch and shagged some BP. I'm a bigger fan of this turf than what they had here a couple years back because it plays a lot more like real grass and doesn't bounce ten feet when a ball hits it. Before and after games fans can try to get autographs outside the stadium. The first day I got here I walked over to sign outside and the person looked at me funny then turned away so I continued to the door and then a couple graphers stopped me and I signed for a little bit. If anyone wants me to stop outside just shout out my name and I will come over, that way I don't look funny or that I'm stiffing anyone.      

Tuesday, July 11
July 11th 2006
All I can say is thank God for the All Star break. I think I would be going insane right now with all the emotions and things I've done in the past couple days if I didn't have a break to slow myself down. Wow, what a week. One day I'm sitting in Rochester, NY and the next I'm pitching against the Texas Rangers in Texas. Life has been pretty good and it's awesome to get to share this with my family, friends and anyone who knows me or checks out this site. Like I said before life is moving quickly and this break is so nice to get and slow myself down and get some rest. These next couple days I will be resting up and getting things in order so I can focus entirely on baseball. I still have yet to unpack my bags. Well I'll leave with this, life in the Big Leagues is well...Big League. Everything that goes on is top notch, elite and the finest around. I'm speaking of the travel, the games and everything else. I'm very happy to be up here and am going to work my butt off to stay up here. But right now I'm going to take a much needed break for a couple days and then will get back with some more updates in the future. Thanks everyone!

Saturday, July 8
July 8th - Part II - The Craziest Day Of My Life & All-Time Favorite!
July 7th, 2006 started off like every other day, I woke up. Two seconds later I was asking myself where I was and two second after that I realized I really wasn't dreaming and that I was in Texas ready to play in the big leagues! I laid there for a couple seconds and tried to think of what was going on around me. It was too much for me to take, my head was running a millions miles a second. I got up and opened the window shade and stared at what I was seeing in front of me...Ameriquest Field. I really didn't know what to do all day before I went to the field. All I was told was to catch up with another teammate because I was yet to get my MLB player pass to get into the stadium. Stephanee and I sat around for a little bit watching TV. She could tell I was anxious, nervous and a little out of my element and I was. Thoughts kept running through my head like how am I going to get to the field, am I wearing the right type of clothes and what should I be doing right now. I would compare it to going to a new school or being in a new setting such as a job for the first time. You know everything will be fine but you are built up with a lot of nerves and anxiousness. In a way I wanted what I had to do yesterday to be written out on a list so I could follow it closely and not screw anything up. Well as time couldn't have went by quicker on the 6th, time seemed to not move on the 7th. Waiting to go to the field felt like forever. Around 2:45pm I went down to the lobby and met up with a couple guys on the team and we got into a van and headed to the field.

I walked into the locker room and was greeted by a lot of my teammates, coaches and staff of the Twins. I went to Gardenhire's office and told him I was ready for battle and he told me to be ready to pitch. From there I went to the equipment room and was given my uniform. I was given my spring training number 72 and didn't get a chance to pick my number, it didn't matter to me one bit. They told me I could switch my number once we get back to Minnesota. If that's the case I think I'm going to go with #17, it's always been my favorite number. From there I did a couple interviews for the Twins pre-game show with Dick Bremer. I also met Jack Morris and WCCO's John Gordon. It was kind of crazy for me because these are the guys I listened to and watched when I was growing up.

Around 5pm we finally went out to the field to stretch, play catch and hit BP. It felt pretty good running out for the first time and I was greeted by a couple cool people from this website that had my name on posters. I was a little out of my element and I think a couple of the fans could tell how excited I was. We stretched in front of the dugout then played catch and hit BP. After BP was over I was informed that I inherited the Orange Spongebob Squarepants backpack/rollaway bag from Willie Eyre. From this day on I have to fill up the bag with beverages and goodies and wheel the bag out to the bullpen. The only time I will be fulfilled of this duty is if another bullpen member with no MLB experience comes up.

Well from there the game started and I was finally starting to feel the effects of traveling all day and all the excitement that came along with getting called up...I was a little tired but the adrenaline easily fixed everything. The game went along and in the bottom of the 5th the bullpen phone rang and they got me. I felt a little awkward as I started throwing. I wasn't as nervous as I thought I would be just awkward being in a different setting with new faces and a different uniform. The inning ended and they sat me down. The 6th inning came along and once again they got me up. I continued to throw and felt a lot better using the MLB baseballs. The one difference with the balls from AAA balls is the leather. MLB balls are a lot finer quality leather and a little tougher to get a good grip on. The inning ended and there was another call on the bullpen phone. "Neshek, you got it,” said bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek. I didn't get as nervous as I thought I would once again and this was a good thing. I kept telling myself to keep the ball low and knew it was going to be tough. The inning ended and I was off to the mound. My first couple warm-up pitches felt great. I really didn't notice the fans like I thought I would. My hat pretty much covered up the entire upper deck and I had tunnel vision. The plate felt really close and with that I threw my final warm-up pitch and was ready to go. Well I don't want to go into too much detail with each hitter. If you want to see pitch-by-pitch analysis, Seth Stohs of www.sethspeaks.net did an excellent job of this and I recommend everyone check out his site. My first MLB pitch was to Kevin Mench and it was a fastball for a strike. I was glad to get ahead and glad to finally get that first pitch over with!!! All in all I was very pleased with my first big league outing. I left a couple pitches up but was lucky enough to get out of the two innings I threw especially with all the nerves and trying to do too much with some of my pitches. Some things I remember most about being on the mound. Well I was really mad I didn't get my slider to run a little bit more. I think I could've had a couple more k's if I had that working. Between innings in the 8th as I was warming up and threw my 4th warm-up pitch when Home plate Umpire Doug Eddings came up to me and asked if I was ready yet. I told him I needed two more pitches, then caught myself and said "opps, yes I'm ready" and had Mauer fire it down to 2nd. One thing you don't want to do being a rookie is piss off the umpire and I'm glad I caught myself. By the way Eddings has a very good cut fastball. Every time he threw a ball back to me it moved a good foot on me with velo and I had a tough time catching it. After the 8th inning got over I was handed my first strikeout ball and put it in my glove. After the game got over umpire Doug Eddings came into our dugout and handed me both of his lineup cards and wished me luck on my career. Right then and there an MLB authenticator came up to me and put MLB stamps on each of my items I was given, the ball, the lineup cards and authenticated everything.   I couldn't have had a better day I was on cloud 9.


danthemanintezxxe
Awesome

Saturday, July 8
July 8th 2006 - Getting The Call
Well where do I start, I guess right at the beginning. On Thursday around 11 am, Stephanee and I were sitting around eating breakfast and getting ready to take our dog to the park when I got a phone call from Stan Cliburn. I cannot describe the conversation word for word but it went something like this..."Pat, you just got called up to Minnesota. I wanted to do this in-person but I think your flight is leaving pretty soon and we need to get you going. Hurry up and get to the field and pack up your locker your flight is in four hours!" As soon as I got off the phone with Stan I looked at Stephanee and told her the good news and then told her to start packing up. I was pretty excited trying to contemplate what just happened and was trying to think about what I should do. I told her I was off to the field to pack up my locker but was cut off, as she said, "Aren’t you going to call your parents!" Right that second I called my dad first, followed by my mom and brothers. Then I jumped in the car and continued to call a lot of my friends and let them know the good news. I got to the field and was greeted by our Trainer Tony Leo. He gave me my flight info and helped me track down all my items in the clubhouse. My flight was at 5pm and I felt like time was moving so quickly. I got back to the apartment a little bit after and Stephanee and I had to decide what to do. Should she drive back to MN and catch a flight the next day or catch a flight out of Rochester. Right then and there my mom called and asked what she should do about a flight. I had no idea; you always see parents at the game when a guy makes his debut so I figured the teams just hooked the player’s families up.   I called up my agent Barry Meister to see what to do. He told me that the team doesn't get flights and they should try to find one and if they needed help he would help me out. About an hour later my parents and brothers had their flights to Dallas. The next question was what should Stephanee do? After careful consideration we thought it would be best to get her a flight around the same time as mine but would there be flights available? Sure enough there was and we got her on the next plane out of Rochester. The last thing we had to do was pack up and clean up the apartment a little. The next couple hours took about 5 minutes in my mind and soon enough Stephanee, our dog and I were at the airport and on the plane going to the big leagues.

Later that night we arrived in Dallas. I turned my cell phone on and noticed I had about 20 new messages. I listened to a couple then the phone went dead, the battery died on me. We took a cab over to the hotel and finally got in around 11pm. In the big leagues every player gets their own room. It was a long day and all we wanted to do was fall asleep. What a day, but in my mind I knew that tomorrow was going to be even crazier!   


Saturday, July 8
Contest Clue
I'm shocked to see this contest is still stumping everyone. Here's another clue, The Florida State League Stadium is Vero Beach's Holman Stadium. The Eastern League Stadium is Altoona. Good luck with the Midwest and Appy leagues!

Saturday, July 8
July 7th 2006 - The Debut
Hey guys, WOW what a day. I have not been able to get onto the internet until just now 2am. I left the ballpark with my family at 11pm and went out to eat and just got back a little bit ago. I'm planning on waking up around 9-10am tomorrow and writing my thoughts on this crazy day. Thanks to everyone for being patient with me.

Thursday, July 6
July 6th 2006 - Part 2
Guys I just got a call from Stan Cliburn and was informed I was going up to the Big Leagues! I'll have more tonight, right now I have to pack, my flight is in 2 hours.

Thursday, July 6
July 6th 2006
The other day I had a little craving for getting some stuff signed. A fellow grapher in Rochester named Allan tipped me off that one of my favorite bands Lamb Of God was coming into town and were doing a signing in Rochester. I had to go and later that day was off getting them to sign a couple items for me. It turned out that only half the band showed up for the signing and Allan told me he was going back into battle after the show to get the cd completely signed by everyone in the band. He did awesome and finished 3 items signed to me by the entire band. I want to get scans up but my camera broke on me and I need to get on eBay to buy another one.



lambofajskas
RRRRRRRRR Lamb Of God!!!

Tuesday, July 4
July 4th 2006
I was hoping to get a bunch of updates in while we were in Buffalo but the internet wasn't working for me. Last night we got back from Buffalo and I woke up this morning and decided to get to all the letters that have came in. I still have yet to get to five letters from these guys, David Tucker, KJ Mathis, John Bradley, Jeff Fedorko and Jon D'amico + anything that has been sent in the last couple days. Please be patient if your name is above and for the others your letters are getting placed in the mail today.

Contest Update - Contest Clue

So far there have only been 31 responses so I think it's time for a clue
Listed below is how many times out of 31 guesses that the correct answer has been guessed for each league.

Appy - 3
Midwest - 2
Florida - 10
Eastern - 7

Good Luck


Thursday, June 29
June 29th 2006
The next 24 hours is going to be pretty rough for our team probably the roughest I have seen in the minors since I have been playing. We will be wrapping up our final game of the road trip here in Indy and then head back to Rochester. The trip is around 9 hours long but the worst part about it is that somehow the game got scheduled at 7pm thus meaning we will probably be getting back into Rochester around 8am at the earliest and then having to play a game later that evening. These are the days in the minors that really are rough.

Like I said above the Indianapolis/Louisville trip is wrapping up tonight. Indianapolis has been an awesome experience for me because it has kind of been a homecoming of sort since I went to college here. Each night lots of ex-teammates and friends came out to the games and it was a great feeling getting to pitch in front of them. I think I had my best day of the year the other day when I got the win in front of everybody. It was awesome because before the game I did a bunch of interviews for the local news and Indians broadcast dealing with my time at Butler and what is was like to be back at Victory Field. That day I was informed it was Butler day at the park and there were tons of Alum in the stands. The seventh inning came along and I went into the game. I got out of a couple jams and our team ended up pulling out the victory. After the game I got player of the game and got interviewed on the field. It was awesome especially after being on the other side of the fence and watching dozens of games here when I was in college. It really made me look back at how far my career has come and realize what I have done. I've had this same experience at Beloit and Vero Beach a couple years back because both of these places were fields I frequented when I was younger and never thought I would have the opportunity to pitch at. This time was different though because I got to do it in front of a lot of friends!

I'm hoping to get an update on Victory Field and the autograph scene here in Indianapolis when we get back sometime on the weekend. Also I just found out yesterday that you guys & the coaches/media voted me into the 2006 AAA All Star game. How awesome is that! I can't wait for the game to come around and will try to get some great stories on that weekend! Thanks to everyone who voted for my teammates and me!



Monday, June 26
Win Boof Bonser's Hat
Be sure to check out the newest contest and take a guess to win a Game-Used hat from the newest Twins Rookie Boof Bonser!

bofofhsakjsk
Win This Hat!

Sunday, June 25
June 25th 2006
Right now we are getting ready to head out of Louisville. We have played three games so far and after tonight’s game we head out to Indianapolis, which is a little under two hours away. I’ve been pretty impressed with Louisville in general. It’s a downtown type stadium, which generally means a nice hotel and big crowds. The hotel is one of those flaky hotels that wants $10 a day for internet access, luckily I have been able to jump onto a network nearby from my room that goes out every couple minutes…still its free! The other day we surpassed the halfway point of the season in terms of games played and we are just about into the dog days of summer referring to the month of July in which games and days seem to never go by quick enough. I was talking to a bunch of guys on the team and it really feels like we just started the season and we concluded that winning makes everything better and the seasons seems to go by quicker. Whatever it is I like it a lot and hope everything stays like it has been going.

Louisville, well what can I say. I always wondered what it would be like to play at this stadium. If you ever drive through Louisville you cannot miss the stadium. It’s in view the entire way as you drive down the highway and looks great from there. On the field it’s no different, the place is in great shape and really fun to play at. Now I have played at the old stadium in college with the old turf, short fences down the line and the eight million seats and I’m glad we don’t have to play at that place. This park is one of the newer ones in the league and they really get a lot of fans every night. The first things I noticed about this park is that it is deceivingly long. I walked into the stadium and shook my head because it looked tiny down the lines and to center. Minutes later we were taking BP on the field and not many balls were leaving the park. The stadium is pretty well designed with a HR terrace area in left center and seating/bleachers in the outfield. Like I said before they really pack the place and are currently leading the IL in attendance. But as great as this place is they did forget to do one major thing that Toledo also messed up on…they forgot to build a bullpen! I don’t know who is designing these places nowadays but you JUST CANNOT forget to build a place for the bullpen to sit. During this series the bullpen takes refuge along a ramp at the end of the dugout. The major highlight of this place for me is found in the spacious clubhouse, which includes everything from big screen TV’s, couches everywhere, food and drinks galore and yes…an original RBI Baseball arcade game. Lets just say I’ve been arriving to the clubhouse early and going home late each game.

The autograph scene is pretty good here. It’s kind of like most places in that you can get the players outside the stadium before the entrance. They shuttle us on a hotel van before and after each game and the van waits right outside the gates. Players generally wait inside until they find out the shuttle is waiting and then make their way outside. I met a couple collectors waiting outside but didn’t see too many inside during the game. One collector, Jon W hooked me up with a stack of 30 pretty sweet-signed cards. He asked me what I collected and I told him anything but said it would be cool to get some cards of guys in the IL and on the Louisville. Sure enough he hooked it up and also said to let him know if I need anything because his collection surpasses 100,000 signed items!!!

After the game we are off to Indy for a four game set.


Tuesday, June 20
June 20th 2006
We are heading to Louisville on our off day tomorrow. We are still yet to have an actual "off day" at home this season and I don't know if we will. It's a long season as it is and to spend it non-stop on the road never getting one day off is tough. Tomorrow we are leaving at 9am and busing to Louisville. I was kind of surprised to be busing to a place that far away from us but that's how it is. I always remember talking to Jesse Crain a couple years back when he got up to AAA and it always sounded like they were flying on planes and never going on long buses. Something sure changed because we only have two trips the entire season that we fly. Hopefully the hotels during this trip will have internet. I'm bringing a lot of my signed cards that you guys traded with or gave to me and hopefully I can update my signed card collection and put them all in order if the internet is not available. I've been given a lot of awesome stuff this season and thank everyone who has contributed! Also I have received a lot of letters and will try to get to some of them on the trip. Some date back a month so hang in there with me and I will do my best to get back to you guys.

Also, voting for the All Star game is wrapping up on the 23rd so keep getting those votes in!   I also wanted to mention that someone has finally answered contest #15 correctly and that a new contest may be up shortly so keep checking back.



Monday, June 19
Final Clue
Please, you guys have to get this...I don't have many more clues. Both are best known for playing on Californian teams!

Saturday, June 17
June 17th 2006
Here's another clue for contest #15. They were both All Stars at some point in their careers. Also one name has been mentioned and the other hasn't been mentioned at all!

The Indianapolis series wrapped up last night. My parents have been in town the past couple days and got to see me pitch last night. They are heading out today. Last night the crowd in Rochester was the biggest of the season and it really added a lot of excitement to the game. Before the game I was interviewed on Indy Indians radio by the great Howard Kellman, otherwise known as the "Voice of the Indians." It was a really cool interview and he asked me a lot of questions about Butler University, which is in Indianapolis. The best comment came when he asked me about getting autographs with teammate Paul Beck after Indians games and I told him heck Howard I've even got you signed on cards! I could tell he was kind of shocked but then I describe the card I got him on and he smiled.

We are heading to Indianapolis next week and it's going to be pretty neat to play at Victory field. The last time I played there was with Butler and the field was in pristine condition, hopefully nothing has changed.

I guess the other day they did a voting update and they said I had the most votes in the league. From the articles and radio shows I looked at it sounded like people were shocked I had so many votes. I think it's awesome that you guys are taking time out of your day to give me a shout. Your work is really opening up a lot of people's eyes and it makes me very proud to get respect from you guys. I think the voting wraps up sometime next week so keep the votes coming and lets try to get some more Red Wings in that game! Here's some links to items I have found relating to the vote. This one is an audio update on the voting. Click here and hit on the June 16th Around The Minors with Jonathan Mayo show
Also here is the article with voting updates.


Wednesday, June 14
June 14th 2006
First off we have another clue for contest #15. Both players have NEVER played for the Twins. With that said good luck to everyone and hopefully we can get a winner soon.

I also wanted to note that if anyone is going to the game tomorrow they are having Red Wings Poster Giveaway (1st 1,000 fans) featuring outfielder Josh Rabe & me! I just found this out about 5 minutes ago as I was strolling through the promotions page of the Red Wings site. Pretty neat stuff, by the way when do the team set cards come out? Last year in New Britain they came out right around now!

I also got to most of my mail with the exception of about 5 envelopes. There was some pretty sweet stuff and I would've liked to get pictures up but my camera broke on me. I want to stress once again that I DO NOT do request to get stuff of my teammates signed. If it is sent to me I will return it. This happens very rarely but it upsets me a lot when it does.


Monday, June 12
June 12th 2006
We are in Scranton right now wrapping up the last game tonight and heading back to Rochester with an arrival time of about 2-3am. Scranton is a very "unique" place. It must have been a big time coal-mining town because there is some old architecture here that you really don't see in too many spots around the country. I'm sure most would agree if they have ever been to downtown Scranton. The craziest place is the hotel we are staying at. Over the past couple years I've heard a lot about the Radisson Hotel in Scranton from other players saying that it is downright creepy and haunted. What really got me is that every player I talked to about it said the same thing about it being haunted. I also did a web search and found a quote from Radio Star Don Imus saying that this place was "The Stephen King Hotel." So on Friday when we got into this place I was interested to see what it was all about. My conclusion today is that I have not seen anything abnormal but this place is scary as hell. It's an old railroad station and doesn't really fit the hotel mold at all and quite frankly I'm pretty happy that we are out of here today. With that said you could check this out by doing a google search and see some pictures of this place.

The field is about 10 minutes away from the hotel. We shuttle over with the hotel's van. The field is pretty unique like everything in Scranton. It's a turf field that was built in 1989 and sits in a valley that overlooks Montage Mountain. It's a pretty cool view especially from the upper deck seats. I actually got a chance to run up to the upper deck yesterday after our 15 innings game to check out the stadium. The field is a replica of the old Phillies stadium without the outfield seating. It's a pretty neat looking place and a little overwhelming with the size of its upper deck. A lot of the older guys told me that the park plays pretty big meaning that it's a pitcher's park and not too many homers are hit. Down the line is also another unique feature that I haven't seen in my playing days, a covered bullpen with seating above us. Overall I really like the park. If they could get rid of the turf and put some grass in I would be a lot bigger fan.

So far I have met up with some pretty cool people/collectors at the stadium. I also got the chance to finally met the one and only baseballaddict2000...holder of three different records on this site. He sent me an excellent letter and wrote about each player on our teams signing habits. He also hooked me up with about 30 sweet cards including Zito, Buehrle and Burnett to name a few. Kevin also pulled a five count on me with five of my Midwest League cards. He also took some proof shots of me and I will post these under that section once I finish this entry...It's about time we get some new proof shots on here! I also got the chance to meet Tim V for the first time. He's a big fan of the site dating back to it's beginning in 2004. Tim hooked me up with 8 Denis Potvin signed hockey cards, a Cole Hamels 8x10, a Joe Torre signed card as well as my first Stan "The Man" Musial signed card. Last but not least I ran into my fan club again. The last time I ran into them was last year in Reading when they had the Pat Neshek shirts on. This time around they had the shirts on again as well as one of the coolest designs on a hat I have seen. The leader of the club Joe S designed the hats and I am hoping to get a picture of them up when I get back to Rochester and have a camera, I told him we have to make shirts and hats with that design for the site. All in all this place has been very good to me and I really enjoyed playing here and hanging out with some of the fans.

I figured I better put up a contest clue to help everyone out because there have been some really bad answers. Like I said before it's not Puckett. The second clue is they are both hitters. Good luck to all.


baseballaddictproofjs
A Proof Shot From Scranton

Friday, June 9
Win Kyle Lohse's Hat
Hey guys, I thought I'd get a quick late night update in. We are leaving for Scranton @ 8am and I'm not sure if they have internet there or not. A couple quick things, tonight when I pitched my song was played so I'm not sure if it is still going to played in the future or if it will be silenced. Hopefully it will because it gets me pumped up. I like the other suggestions for bands like Himsa and As I Lay Dying, I could go that route also.

I didn't know if you guys have seen this article or not but it made me very happy to have the best fans in the world. Everyone who has voted for me is a part of this article and I couldn't be happier. It's probably the coolest article I have ever read, thanks guys. Also if you haven't voted or have more email addresses be sure to keep on voting for me!

And last but not least there is a new contest up. Kyle Lohse just got called up to the Twins tonight and he gave me his hat to contest off. This is his game hat that he pitched all of his starts in. If you want a chance to win it, click under the contest board tab on the left hand side.

Good luck to everyone and thanks again for making me proud.

"Still, he must have legions of internet-savvy fans in order to have accumulated his staggering vote total" - minor league baseball.com


losheshsjaka
Win This Hat!!!

Thursday, June 8
June 8th 2006
Not much has happened the last couple days. We are winning a lot of games and playing really good as we approach the halfway point in about 10 more games. Durham has been in town the past couple days with Columbus coming in before that. Columbus always draws a good autograph crowd and Durham has a lot of guys that collectors want so the last couple days there has been a lot of people waiting after games. Tomorrow we head out to Scranton for a four game set. It will be our first time there this season. I don't know if I mentioned this before or not but I was able to get Goose Gossage after he threw out the first pitch at our game the other day. I put up a scan of the excellent photo he signed for me. He was really nice and took his time as he signed my photo asking me about my career and where I got the photos that I had him sign.

A little off topic but I felt very discouraged and didn't know if they were serious or not with this but the Red Wings management wants me to change my warm up song. I thought they were kidding but they said my song "sounded scary?" I was puzzled for a couple seconds then remembered that the song I have is an instrumental...basically guitars and drums by a band called Lamb of God, song: Ruin. But the part that really got me was when they said "You know Trevor Hoffman, he comes out to "Hells Bells" by ACDC, we think that would be great for you." Well that song was probably cool to Hoffman when he was growing up in the early 80's. They also commented and said that I needed to pick something mainstream. There's a lot of kids today that come to the games that reconize this music, a lot more than they would ever believe. So now that my song is too scary my choice will be no music and instead I will be drawn in and pumped up by the sounds of superfan wingnut with his cowbell and screaming!


goosehs
A HOF Graph

Saturday, June 3
June 3rd 2006
Toledo was a pretty interesting field to play at. We arrived in Toledo late at night and the first thing I did after getting into the room was look outside my window. Directly across my view was the Mud Hens ballpark, a pretty neat sight to see. Being that the field was so close to the hotel we walked to the park everyday & the collectors all knew this. Each day we went to the park the graphers weren't waiting by the front door of the stadium...oh no they were getting us at about the halfway point of our walk & they said that they did pretty well with our team. There was a good number of collectors each day as well as after each game. It's tough to get stuff signed inside the park, not impossible...just tough. The easiest way to get autographs here is to get us after the game when we come out or walk back to the hotel. The park in general is pretty sweet to play at. It's a pretty new stadium and probably the nicest I have been to so far in the IL. They have two jumbo video boards and do an excellent job with fan promotions and surfing the crowd between innings. They also broadcast every game on TV and I caught myself running inside the clubhouse a lot to check out the game on the TV. Also my parents were able to watch each game on MILB.com for a small fee and they said it was awesome and wished every team could do something like Toledo does. The thing I liked the most was they had a video board that was specifically designated for stats and each teams line-up. When a guy got a hit or out it would update their stats immediately. It also kept a pitch count as well as a balls and strikes total for the game. I really felt like this place knew how to put on a game for the fans and they really treated the players with class. My only regret was they forgot to build the simplest of things...a bullpen. That's right during the entire series we had to sit in the dugout and when we were called upon to pitch we would have to run down the line and warm-up. The last time I have seen this was in Cedar Rapids in the Midwest League. Overall an awesome place to play at, great fans and great graphers, I just wish the league would've scheduled the game during the day on our getaway day. It wasn't too much fun arriving into Rochester at 6am.   

Friday, June 2
Vote For Me!!!
Hey guys, I guess this year they are letting the vote go on the internet as to who makes the AAA All-Star game in Toledo and you guys decide who makes it. I've never really seen anything like this in that they have voting for the pitchers and I'm on the ballot for relievers. They also let each email addy vote 25 times...per email & I know you guys have tons of email names!!! It would mean a lot to me to make the team and I need all the help I can get especially after getting shafted last season. So if you want to help me out click on the link below and go to town as many times as you can. They are updating the vote every Wednesday so lets get voting & sway this thing in the Red Wings direction!

http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/app/milb/events/asg/y2006/ballot.jsp


Thursday, June 1
June 1st 2006
June is already here, it's amazing how fast this season is going. I just got back from a luncheon where I won the co player of the month award for the Red Wings with Jason Tyner. Yesterday they told me I won the award and I had to show up at noon today to accept the plaque. It was a pretty sweet award to win and it feels good being honored. I was kin