Bomba Hunting: Tracking Down Minnesota’s Home Runs with Dustin Morse
Image courtesy of © Matt Marton-USA TODAY SportsFor Dustin Morse, collecting each of the team’s home run balls in Chicago was not “premeditated.” However, the first pitch of the season put in place some historic moments for the Twins in their first series of the year.
Bomba 1: Kepler’s First Pitch
Minnesota’s season started with a bang as Max Kepler took Lucas Giolito deep on the first pitch of the season. “Before I really even got my scorebook out, Kepler put one in the seats,” said Morse. “Being a little bit of a history buff, I knew it was going to be some type of record.”
“I made a call to the White Sox and said, ‘Hey, how do I get that ball?’ and they said the best bet is probably just to go get it.” And so, the Bomba hunting journey began.
Morse was in an unfamiliar ballpark amid a pandemic and that changed his path to the ball. “I took off for it and tried to navigate the right way to get out there. It wasn’t easy. There were doors that were locked and stairs that weren’t being used. I had to cut through some weird spots, parts of the ballpark I had never seen, kitchens and backdoors.”
“I got out to right field and was able to track down the ball for Max or for the Twins. At the time, I didn’t know. I figured Max might want it. If not, the Twins would certainly take it.”
Bomba 2: Kepler’s Second At-Bat
Kepler wasted little time making Morse head out on another baseball hunting journey. In his second at-bat of the year, he hit another home run and Morse knew this had to be another historical moment. Time to track down another ball.
“Then Max did it again,” said Morse. “I knew that was going to be historic. A guy to hit homers in back-to-back at-bats to start the season.”
“At that point, I knew the process, so I could just go out and get it. It’s ours.”
Kepler plans to keep the balls and give them both to his parents.
Bomba 3: Cruz, the Ageless Wonder
Minnesota’s second game in Chicago didn’t go exactly as planned as Dallas Keuchel stymied the Twins for most of the game. Before the bullpen imploded, Nelson Cruz helped to make the game a little closer by cranking his first home run of the season.
“Nelson Cruz put one in the seats and I kind of thought to myself, ‘Well that’s Nelson Cruz. How many guys have home runs when they are 40?’ Might as well get it. It’s just sitting out there.”
Morse continued, “At that point, I exchanged numbers with the [MLB] authenticator and he said, ‘Yeah, if you want to get it, I see it. So, then I was three-for-three and it kind of became a thing.”
Bomba 4: Cave’s Grand Salami
The Twins were clearly frustrated after Saturday’s loss and they took that frustration out on the White Sox pitching staff. Cave got the Bomba barrage started with a first inning grand slam. But this might have been the toughest home run for Morse to track down because of where it landed.
“I thought, ‘All right, let’s do it.’ But that one was tricky, because it went into the White Sox bullpen and I just didn’t have the guts to go down there and ask those guys for a grand slam ball as we are piling on the runs.”
“I ended up talking to my counterpart with the White Sox and he sent a text to one of the clubhouse attendants and one of the ball boys went down the line. He ended up getting it, bringing it in, and I met their PR guy in one of the back hallways and ended up getting the Cave ball.”
Bomba 5: Cruz, the (Still) Ageless Wonder
Before he was able get the Cave ball, Morse had already acquired Minnesota’s second home run of the day. Nelson Cruz hit his second home run of the year in the top of the fourth inning and luckily for Morse, that ball landed in a location that was a little more easily accessible.
“I ended up getting the Nelson Cruz ball, which was a blast out into left field, prior to getting the Cave ball and I ended up getting on a hot streak.”
Bomba 6: Still Cruzing
Cruz wasn’t done for the day after his fourth inning blast. He ended up tallying two doubles, two home runs and seven RBI on his way to being named the American League Player of the Week. Because of his post-game duties, the eighth inning is getting a little late in the game for Morse to track down a ball.
“The second Cruz ball, at that point, was just something to do and I was able to get it. I was settled on kind of six-for-six. Kind of a fun cool story.”
But the story wasn’t done there.
Bomba 7: Marwin Makes It Tough
If Morse wanted to complete his perfect weekend, it would take a sprint out to the stands after Gonzalez hit the team’s seven home run in the series.
“My postgame job is setting up for the media and we do it all through Zoom in the Zoom Room. So I was in a conference room down in the tunnel kind of off of home plate. Buried kind of deep in the ballpark.”
“I looked up and I saw Marwin up and I said to a couple of our advanced guys, ‘If Marwin puts one in the right field corner here, I am going to have a hard time.’ And the next pitch, he did it.”
“I set up the Zoom for post-game and I decided I need to at least give it a try. I didn’t know how to get out there, so I had to backtrack toward left field and go up a level to come back down to right field… And there it was, seven-for-seven.”
More Bomba Hunting?
Is Morse going to continue to try and hunt down all the home run balls for the Twins this season?
“I don’t think I can keep up the pace,” he said. “I don’t think I will need to do it at home. We have a lot of good people and volunteers collecting balls at Target Field.”
“The good news is as a team I think we will be able to collect most of them, but I don’t know how much longer I can bother the home team.”
It certainly was exciting to follow Morse and his Bomba hunting escapades. Let’s home he has plenty more hunting to do throughout the rest of the 2020 season.
MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
— Latest Twins coverage from our writers
— Recent Twins discussion in our forums
— Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email