Ft. Myers Spring Training V

While vacationing in Ft. Myers Beach, it was announced that Spring Training would indeed be held, and that a limited amount of fans could attend at the stadium.  With that in mind, I looked forward to maybe attending my fifth Spring Training season, so I monitored the seat availability when the time came for sale of seats not picked up by season ticket holders.  I had my eyes on the March 4th game vs. the Rays, and with luck I snagged a pair of tickets.

The weather was absolutely beautiful.  Mo and I had seats next to the tunnel, with no one else in our row and an empty row between the fans seated in front of us and behind us.  MOST people wore their masks when they were supposed to, particularly on the concourses; not as well in the seats, but not bad.  Even so, we still felt safe enough throughout.

spring training
beautiful seats, beautiful weather

Having one quarter of the fans means that there was only one quarter of the cars in the parking lot to deal with, one quarter of the crowd at the concessions, etc, so there was that.

The game wasn’t all that cleanly played (it WAS Spring Training, after all), but there was plenty of action, and an Alex Kirilloff double off the right centerfield wall.

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Kirilloff doesn’t get all of that one!

The Twins ended up losing 5-2, but with the beautiful weather and the opportunity to return to something like normal, we had a super day at the park.

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Ft. Myers — Because We Like It There

After a couple years away, we returned to our favorite winter getaway, Ft. Myers, specifically Ft. Myers Beach.  With Mo retiring after 20 years at her part-time job, we decided to celebrate with four weeks at the beach.  Looking for a beachfront site where I could also work, we found a first floor location at Riviera Club, which was just a bit further south than where we’ve stayed before on Estero Island.

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Riviera Club

We had decided we could isolate just as well in FL as we could in MO, and it was quite easy to maintain our safety during the pandemic.  We made most of our meals at home, and were able to pick up a nice meal periodically from local restaurants to eat at the condo.  As a matter of fact, Truly Scrumptious and their ice cream was just a little too convenient.

We used our proximity to Lover’s Key to spend some time there, both to enjoy their guided trail walking tour, and to hang out on the beach.  Our weather in Ft. Myers the entire time we were there was beautiful (but breezy) with only one overnight rain and ~15 minutes of rain one morning.  We even managed to snag tickets to a Twins Spring Training game.

If there is one thing we had in plenty supply, it was beautiful sunsets over the Gulf.

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worth the wait each day

Well, I Tried

I hadn’t had my telescope out in a loooooong time, so the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn was an outstanding opportunity to remedy that.  The night before and the night of the closest pass, I took out my Celestron C8 and set it up in the front yard, with the planets in view between houses across the street.  Additionally, I attempted several afocal photos (and video) using my cellphone.  Here were my best shots:

Great Conjunction, Dec. 20, 2020

Waxing Moon, Dec. 21, 2020

Several of the neighbors got a chance to get a great view as well.  Also, if someone ever wanted to gift me a Celestron NexYZ adapter, I would not turn it down.

And of course, the latest batch of Twins autograph and relic cards:


clockwise, from top left: 2013 Topps Heritage Real One Red Ink #ROA-BF Bill Fischer [46/64] (auto); 2013 Topps Heritage Real One Red Ink #ROA-DB Bill Dailey [08/64] (auto); 2019 Topps Five Star #FSA-JC Jake Cave (auto); 2020 Topps Five Star #FSA-MGZ Mitch Garver (auto); 2020 Topps Archives Signature (2013 Bowman Chrome mini #280) Kohl Stewart [1/1] (sealed auto); 2020 Topps Archives Signature (2007 Heritage #378) Jeff Cirillo [01/48] (sealed auto); 2019 Topps Five Star Green #FSA-KST Kohl Stewart [04/15] (auto); 2011 Topps Heritage Real One #ROA-HN Hal Naragon (auto)

The Rainbow Connection

Still in COVID-19 lifestyle, but work on the Brett Graves Project continues unabated. After months of monitoring Ebay for any cards missing from the collection, this guy appeared (and at an outstanding price):


2014 Panini Prizm Perennial Draft Black Finite #8 [1/1]


The real beauty of this card is on the back. No, it’s not an “Ebay 1-of-1”, it’s a real 1-of-1 card. Aside from various printing plates, this is my first 1-of-1 in the bunch.
 
 
 

And just a couple weeks later, this one shows up for auction:


2014 Panini Prizm Perennial Draft Gold #8 [09/10]

…which I also got at a good price. My first completed rainbow!

Plus a few more Twins added to the collection…
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Vets

Way too long between posts, but during down time it looks like an opportunity to post some new cards. In contrast with the “noobs” in the last post, these feature some “vets”.

1971 was when we first started collecting Topps in earnest as kids, so this year’s Heritage set paying homage to that year got me going to see about filling in some of the autographed Twins Heritage card gaps that I had. I didn’t do too badly.


clockwise, from top left: 2016 Topps Heritage Real One #ROA-DSI Dwight Siebler (auto); 2016 Topps Heritage Real One Red Ink #ROA-DSI Dwight Siebler [62/67] (auto); 2013 Topps Heritage Real One Red Ink #ROA-SD Scott Diamond [38/64] (auto); 2012 Topps Heritage Real One #ROA-FS Frank Sullivan (auto); 2014 Topps Heritage Real One Red Ink #ROA-KR Ken Retzer [33/65] (auto); 2020 Topps Heritage Real One #ROA-SC Sal Campisi (auto); 2020 Topps Heritage Real One #ROA-TT Tom Tischinski (auto); 2013 Topps Heritage Real One Red Ink #ROA-JG John Goryl [59/64] (auto)

I picked up some additional GU cards and a few first-autos and current team AU/GU cards as well. Everyone stay safe!


clockwise, from top left: 2020 Topps Heritage Real One Red Ink #ROA-SC Sal Campisi [48/71] (auto); 2006 Upper Deck SP Authentic By The Letter “N” #BL-JN Joe Nathan [148/200] (manu-patch/auto); 2018 Topps Fire Magenta #FR-ZG Zack Granite [14/25] (jersey); 2015 Topps Pro Debut Pennant Patches #PP-NG Nick Gordon (manu-patch); 2005 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Sweet Threads Gold #ST-JS Johan Santana [66/75] (jersey); 2005 Upper Deck Trilogy Generations Past Materials #PA-HR Kent Hrbek [15/99] (jersey); 2018 Topps Update All-Star Stitches #AST-JE Jose Berrios (jersey); 2015 Topps Heritage Minors Clubhouse Collection Gold #CCR-BB Byron Buxton [24/50] (jersey)

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Noobs

In a offseason flurry of pickups, I’ve brought my total of Twins players with certified autograph cards in my collection to 244, the latest being a 2010 Heritage Real One remake of Ralph Lumenti’s 1961 card. Besides the 2018 card of Aaron Slegers and this year’s Stadium Club autograph card of Willians Astudillo, the other new player cards were Bowman cards of minor leaguers (including recently deceased Ryan Costello), and there are still a few other elusive 2019 autograph cards out there. Good news: I have discovered that there are now Terry Steinbach Twins autograph cards…bad news: the only two I’ve seen are two different 1/1 Archive Signature cards.


clockwise, from top left: 2018 Topps 1983 35th Anniversary #83A-ASL Aaron Slegers (auto); 2010 Topps Heritage Real Ones #ROA-RL Ralph Lumenti (auto); 2019 Bowman Sterling #BSPA-TL Trevor Larnach (auto); 2019 Bowman Chrome Prospects #CPA-RC Ryan Costello (auto); 2019 Bowman Chrome Prospects #CPA-JA Jorge Alcala (auto); 2019 Bowman Chrome Draft #CDA-SST Spencer Steer (auto); 2019 Bowman Chrome Prospects #CPA-ABE Andrew Bechtold (auto); 2019 Bowman Sterling #BSPA-AB Akil Baddoo (auto)

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Rumbling Into The Post Season

The AL Central Champion Minnesota Twins wound up with 101 wins, the season record for team HRs, a tie for the season record for Total Bases, and their offense finished in the top three in several MLB stats. Rookie manager Rocco Baldelli has a lot to be proud of, and fans throughout Twins Territory have reason to be excited.

Looking at the playoffs, there are several players I wish were around to participate — Byron Buxton (IL, out for season), Michael Piñeda (suspended), Sam Dyson (IL, what the heck?!) — or aren’t at 100% — Max Kepler, Luis Arraez, Kyle Gibson, Ehrie Adrianza, CJ Cron, Marwin Gonzalez — but the season is long, and every team has to deal with intangibles. With some good play and a favorable bounce, things will work out.

Before the postseason starts, here are some of my latest pickups:


clockwise, from top left: 2019 Topps Major League Materials #MLM-BB Byron Buxton (jersey); 2019 Topps Major League Materials #MLM-MS Miguel Sano (jersey); 2018 Topps Major League Materials #MLM-JM Joe Mauer (jersey); 2018 Topps Major League Materials Black #MLM-JM Joe Mauer [26/99] (jersey); 2019 Topps ’84 Topps 150th Anniversary #84R-JM Joe Mauer [136/150] (jersey); 2016 Topps Gypsy Queen #GQR-TH Torii Hunter (jersey); 2019 Topps Retro Hat Logo #RHLP-JM Joe Mauer (manu-patch); 2018 Topps Major League Materials Black #MLM-MS Miguel Sano [36/99] (jersey)

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CSI: Duryea, PA [2019 Topps Stadium Club]

Time to take another dive into the ongoing baseball card detective work that I’ve posted on this site. Topps has been sticking the Twins with the standard garden-variety card photos for a while now, but this year’s Stadium Club changes that. Here are two Twins cards where the exact play can be identified.

Card number one has Willians Astudillo making a tag at home against a sliding opponent:


2019 Topps Stadium Club #108 Willians Astudillo

Turns out, it wasn’t even a challenge for MagUidhir at WGOM.

First off, the visible clues:
1) Twins are in away uniforms.
2) Player sliding into home has a name starting with “O” and a uniform number starting with “6”
2) Opponents are wearing blue helmets.

The player is the Royals first baseman Ryan O’Hearn, #66. Willians Astudillo caught a limited number of games in 2018, and only two of them were in KC. This game last year at Kansas City on September 14th featured O’Hearn trying to score in the bottom of the 8th on a double by Jorge Bonifacio to Kevin Grossman, with Jorge Polanco cutting off and throwing home, and he was…out! Here’s the video.

It was a pretty sad ballgame, with the Twins taking a 4-3 lead into the 9th, only to have Trevor Hildenberger give up the one-out tying run and then a grand slam to Salvador Perez.


The second card features Jake Cave reaching over the outfield wall:


2019 Topps Stadium Club Red Autograph #SCA-JCA Jake Cave

This time around Beau nailed the play, and I don’t even know what clues he worked off of.

Visible clues:
1) It’s at Target Field.

On the very first pitch of this game against the Orioles on July 6th last year, Tim Beckham lifted a drive to centerfield of Lance Lynn. Video (spoiler alert: he caught it)

The Twins won the game 6-2 on a well-pitched game in which the Twins scored three in the first, Kepler went deep in the fourth, and they never looked back.


Well done, Topps, you really nailed it with Stadium Club this time around. Here are a couple other really fine photos from this year’s set:


2019 Topps Stadium Club #128 Jose Berrios


2019 Topps Stadium Club Red #179 Max Kepler