Friday, August 31, 2007

Baker pitches a gem!

I'm siting at home this Friday night watching the Twins game as I recover from having a tooth extracted earlier today. At the start of the game I wasn't feeling too hot still and my thinking really was that if the Twins play like they did earlier today, I'm not sure I could stomach watching the whole thing. My attention to the game was half-assed at best (o.k. I'll admit I was flipping to What Not to Wear on TLC during the first several innings).

But as the game wore on, the Twins actually scoring some runs grabbed my attention and then...

one of our pitchers was doing something brilliant again...and it wasn't Santana, it was Baker. Going into the 9th, Baker had a perfect game going. Unfortunately, he walked a man at the top of the 9th and gave up a hit...but in the end, pitched a complete, shutout game.

Awesome. Incredible. I love watching pitching gems like that.

Pitchers are interesting creatures. Coming off the field in the 5th and 6th inning, Baker looked like the most miserable man on the field. No one dared to sit next to him dare they mess with his mojo (it's common practice to leave the pitcher alone in the dugout, especially when they have a perfect game going on).

Has anyone noticed that our pitchers come back to pitch incredible games after they have experienced the birth of their child? Remember Silva's gem earlier this season? Maybe our pitchers should become fathers more often!

Win or lose, games like these make baseball a great game.

Way to go, Baker! (And hey, congrats on becoming a Daddy again!)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Damn it. Crap. I'm sorry, the bullpen didn't do their job tonight. It's not entirely their fault. Would it have helped to keep Gardy in the dugout? Couldn't hurt. And the starting pitchers could have put less stress on the bullpen. I mean with Crain (remember Crain?) and Reyes on DL, Rincon totally sucking...We're extremely lean in the bullpen. You can only go to Neshek so many times. And I'm sorry, but Boof, lose some weight!!! Get in shape! You're a professional athlete...maybe it's time you look the part. I know it's not about "a look"...but obviously the endurance & stamina isn't there as the game and season wears on...and better conditioning certainly couldn't hurt.

I like that the guys didn't say die in the 9th (even when the bullpen allowed 2 more runs). Buscher got his first major league home run, Tyner got his 4th run of the night and we made it a 1-run ballgame again (of course, if Cali hadn't put on those 2 runs...those would have been winning runs).

Oh, and FSN...quit sending Marnie out to interview the Indians (or other opposing players) after the game! Geez, I don't want to hear from the other team. It's like rubbing salt in an open wound (make that a gaping wound)!

Bottom of the Eighth

Hunter's catch was the #3 Web gem on Baseball Tonight.
Punto's catch was #1!!!

Bottom of the 8th inning. 3-4 game. 1 run behind. There's no more time to lose 1-run games. Somehow we need to find a way to win this game. We have to beat Cleveland.

There have been sensational plays tonight. Tyner's catch at the wall in left. Punto's mid-air bare-handed catch and throw to Morneau--who managed to catch the ball while doing the splits. Hunter's catch in center that involved hitting the wall so hard that the collision could be heard.

Get the job done, boys. We need a win.

Friday, August 24, 2007

State Fair vs Twins

It's that time of year when the State Fair challenges the Twins for top billing. I'm almost glad the Twins are out of town so it's not such a dilemna picking which activity to enjoy.

We did "enjoy" Tuesday's home game. I use the term "enjoy" loosely, because it was not a very entertaining game. Entertaining in the stands perhaps, but not on the field. It was Lutheran night at the dome, which brought the attendance up to 42,000 for a Tuesday night (there were also half-price homerun porch seats). Bethel College football team was seated below us. They don't drink and lead organized cheering fests. And for you single ladies out there, they are also pretty buff. Book tickets for Lutheran Night 2008.

It also seemed to be "Beachball Night". The Santa usher in my section had a hard time with this. He was not satisfied until he was able to snag a beachball and deflate it.

And then it was also the night Dick and Bert were broadcasting from Section 140 (we were two sections over). We couldn't really see much of what was going on there during the game. I wonder how it sounded on t.v., since it was pretty loud at the Dome. We did see Dick on his way in. More like "heard". I heard his voice behind me and instantly recognized that voice. We did manage to get a few pics of Bert before the game. Curveball lost an opportunity to snag a few autographs.

We did manage to combine our love for the Fair with a little Twins baseball. We were at the Fair on Day 1. We saw T.C. in the parade. Curveball got T.C. to do his little wiggle. Later we went by the FSN booth...Anthony LaPlanta and Roy Smalley were there, since the Twins were playing. I was bashful, but Curveball got his pic taken with Roy (I was the photographer).

I did manage to watch most of last night's game while hanging out with friends. It was great to see the Twins pull off a late-game rally--for the second night in a row. AND, Morneau hit a homerun!

Hope springs eternal!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Santana is my man-ah!!!

"You don't have that many chances to do
something very special like that. I was living by the moment
but at the same time, I was enjoying everything I was doing out there."

Pitching Ace Santana on his record setting day

Santana was brilliant today. It's just incredible to watch him pitch on a day like today and I was thrilled to be there. In the 7th inning, my friend visiting from California asked what his record was and I said I thought it was 15 (turns out it was 14 set last season).

New record. Santana came out in the 8th with 99 pitches and first tied the club record of 15 and then went on to establish a new record of 17. It was crazy being there...the fans went wild. Santana tipped his hat to the crowd on his way into the dugout. We would have screamed till he came back out.

We wanted him back in the 9th, but since the score was 1-0 cooler heads prevailed. Santana I think was fine with that. We needed the win. There will be another day to set new records.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Friday's '87 Reunion pregame events

'87 insignia painted on field

View of the field from upper deck

T.C. Fun

Curveball (in hat) in autograph line

More autograph hounds

In my book, there's no better way to let go of stress from the work week than by taking in a baseball game. This week was no exception. Not only did Curveball and myself get to enjoy a great game, but we also also enjoyed the pregame activities.

We were anxious to arrive for Friday's game earlier than we normally do. Curveball was planning to snag a few autographs from '87 players. We made it to the plaza about 4:45--45 minutes before the autograph stations even opened! No big surprise--the lines at the 4 autograph stations were already growing long. I let Curveball join the ranks of the autograph seekers while I roamed the plaza.

I'm the type that's always ready to get to the game early and soak up the atmosphere. Last night I was anxious to see the pregame festivities celebrating the '87 season. As I roamed the plaza, I caught sight of a few '87 players making their way to the autograph stations (with security folks by their sides). The people watching was pretty good. It's amazing the things people will bring to have players sign. The most interesting thing I saw was a child's rocking horse.

I also was able to make it through the gate with each of our tickets (2 separate trips) to get the pack of baseball cards of the '87 team. With that done, I decided I might as well head into the stadium and watch the pregame action.

Our seats were located in the upper club section just slightly to the right of homeplate (section 224). Not bad. The field was decorated with special insignia for the '87 World Series. The jumbotron was playing highlights of the '87 season. Two guys sitting a few seats down from me were enjoying the highlights and quizzing each other on '87 trivia.

Just after the autograph stations closed at 6:30, the '87 players started making their way to the field. It was interesting watching as old teammates/friends greeted each other with slaps on the back and hugs. This team shared something special together...a life-defining event. And as the players themselves have said, the fans were a part of that event as well.

Once the players were gathered, top plays from the '87 season were played chronologically...and with each play, another '87 player was introduced. I love this stuff. I'm the fan typically standing up and yelling. Sometimes I get goosebumps as well. It was great to see Gaetti, Viola, Herbie, Bruno...all those guys take the field.

Something special was saved for the end. Jeff Reardon, the closing (and winning) pitcher of the '87 World Series (every bit as good as Nathan), was the last Twins player to be introduced. When Reardon was introduced, much of the crowd stood to welcome him with loud applause.

The fans were trying to send Reardon a message. "Hey, we know it's been rough, but we're still here for you." Reardon has seen hard times these past few years--one of his 3 kids died of a drug overdose. Life seemed to fall apart for Reardon following this tragedy and slowly, he is getting his life back on track. Reardon has started a foundation, in his son's name, to help other kids overcome drug problems.

Reardon was joined by his family on the field. His fellow '87 teammates presented a check to Reardon for that foundation in the amount of $100,000 (the money was raised from the sale of the '87 bobbleheads). Man, it was a great thing to see.

The festivities were over and the game began...with the memory that this little team that no one thought could win it all did just that...20 years ago.

Friday, August 17, 2007

87 World Series Reunion

I've been waiting for this series since I first heard about it during Twinsfest. I know some may argue that the '91 World Series was better, but for me, nothing can compare to the '87 World Series.

I'll admit it, I was not much of a baseball fan before the '87 playoffs. But as the '87 season progressed, I started watching more and more games. When they started winning in the postseason, I was hooked.

To borrow a famous line from literature, "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times"... as the Twins were entering the playoffs, my first marriage was ending. It was watching the Twins win that year--on a small black & white t.v. with my two young children (ages 3 & 1) beside me, that helped me escape for a few short hours the misery that was pervading my life at that time. It worked. The Twins' underdog championship season gave me the inspiration I needed to rise above the mud and muck that life was slinging my way.

O.k. maybe I'm being a little dramatic...but truly, baseball carried me through a hard time...and when they won the World Series, I vowed I would be a fan for life, whether the Twins were winning or losing.

My appreciation for the game has grown over the years. I am not some fair-weather fan. I am not a casual spectator. I have been accused of being a baseball geek and I can handle that.

Baseball is pure bliss for me. There's nothing like walking into the stadium (even the Metrodome) for the first game of the season. On even the worst day, baseball makes life a little better. I swear it lowers my blood pressure (and when a game is going badly, sometimes raises it a few degrees).

So with joy in my heart, I'm making my way to two of the games this weekend. I am sure to have goosebumps when '87 highlights are played and the '87 team is introduced.

I'm still a fan. And I will be for life.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


The Twins must be pushing themselves back from the table, having gorged on Seattle pitchers for 28 hits in the past two games. 18 hits on Tuesday, with a final score of 11-3. 10 hits today, with a final score of 6-1. It was looking today as if the Twins were repeating past mistakes--following a day of fantastic hitting with poor production--that is until Torii Hunter hit a grand slam in the final inning of the game. 3 homeruns were hit these past 2 days, including the first HR by White this year. Watkins had 2 hits today as well.

As I've said, it's been feast or famine when it comes to Twins' hitting this year...but let's hope we're eating at the buffet table for the remainder of the season.

Monday, August 13, 2007

A roller coaster ride

Fox Sports North just went out...wait, maybe that's FSN's way of sparing Twins' fans from viewing another ugly loss. Drats, the Twins are back on...and even have 2 runners on the bases...but hey, we have 2 outs, so there's no way we're bringing those two home.

Excuse the sarcasm. I am usually an optimistic fan. That's one of the things that I love about baseball...until that final out, there is always hope. But this season has been a bit of a roller coaster ride for Twins' fans and I'm starting to feel nauseous. (Yup, Casilla just struck out). Just when the fans are ready to give up on the Twins, they come back strong and seem to be in the thick of things (it helps that Detroit and Cleveland have been playing sub-par as well). When the pitching is great, the hitting is nonexistent. All season it's been feast or famine when it comes to hitting and I think most would agree the Twins have been starving of late.

They're playing a late game tonight and I know I won't be able to stay awake for it. I'm just hoping the morning paper brings news of a winning score.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

New lineup

New lineup tonight:


Not sure what magic a new lineup may bring, but god knows it can't hurt. The thought is that Mauer will get some better pitches to hit...that would certainly be a good thing. Off to a good start...Bartlett just hit a triple in the 1st.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Fathers and Sons

My dad passed away on Wednesday. 85 years a Minnesotan.

I wish I could say he was a big baseball fan. In minor ways he was. He went to the old Saints and Miller games as a kid, with his aunts and uncles saving Wheaties box tops, which with two and a dime you got a ticket to a ballgame.

I actively collected baseball cards starting in 1962 when you got one with a gum for a penny. My dad would tell me stories of the neighborhood corner store where the owner opened all packs and put the cards in one jar and the gum in another and you could pick the cards you wanted and take a corresponding piece of gum.

I learned about early era baseball players when I unearthed my dad's 1933-1935 Goudey cards in the attic...yes, he had them all -- Ruth, Gehrig and the gang. He did sell them in the late '70s. They weren't as glamorous as the Topps photo cards of my youth, but showed the charm of baseball -- small gloves and big bats. When every man could play the game with a modicum of skill.

My dad was never a big fan of catch or playing ball. We went to few games, my live action attendance mostly with friends of the family. But he religiously listened to WCCO radio and both my parents fueled my baseball interest on our yearly cross country trips by driving to baseball stadiums, letting me get postcards of the parks, going on the tour of the then new Astrodome, and even waiting outside Fenway Park when this 13-year-old got his own seat down the line from the "Green Monster" all by hisself in this strange land knowing that when the last out was recorded the family station wagon would be waiting outside the garage door exit.

My dad was a good dad. Yes, I miss not playing catch more with him more...but it was the afternoons of hitting balls to other kids in the park, playing tennis ball baseball in the alleys, and always afternoon little league games that parents of that generation could not attend because of the working environments.

I remember my parents getting me one of those bounce back nets to perfect my non-existent pitching skills. I placed it with its back to the alley on the first day of use, anchoring it to the grass, wound-up and threw the ball. The bounce came back high and hard and just missed breaking the kitchen window. I quickly reposition the net now facing the alley, then side-armed a wild pitch missing the net and cracking a basement window. You can't win some days.

The game was always on the radio in those days, during sunny afternoons, when out doing yardwork, travelling the roads. My dad knew the players (his work shared the same physician as the Twins team and a co-workers son was the Twins public relations guy during the early days of the franchise). He would bring home photos of the players, used game balls, Twins souvenirs.

And he listened to my fascination with stats, my gaining knowledge of home run records and pitching feats. And I'm sure he loved his own days as a kid, sitting on the plank bleacher seats of the hometown teams cheering on your everyday working stiffs playing a little baseball.

I'm going out to the park with my glove and a ball and loft a pop up high towards the sky. And when it comes back down, I'll catch it!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

The Great Escape

I suppose it's time to get back to this baseball blog. Blogging, and even baseball, hasn't been of the highest priority this past week. My aunt died this past week, my father-in-law entered the hospital and is in serious condition and then there is the tragedy of the bridge collapse--all these have contributed to baseball being put on the back burner. It is a game after all.

Prior to the bridge collapse, much hoopla was going on in the Twins baseball world in regards to trades...Castillo was traded and no one, at least no one ready to help this season, was acquired before the trade deadline. Santana, along with other players, were perhaps, rightfully, upset. It hasn't gotten any better in the past few days...Cirillo was picked up off waivers by the Diamondbacks. I'm not sure how big a loss that is, but it does seem to indicate that Terry Ryan is more focused on downsizing the payroll than bringing on board some new bats.

I'll admit there have been times in recent days that I've been frustrated. I think the Twins are contenders this year. I think the current players need to stay focused and play their best ball. It may not be a perfect world, but hey, they are playing major league ball. How bad can that be?

And Pohlad needs to quit worrying about his pocketbook and open up the pursestrings so Terry Ryan can actually do something to help this team get stronger.

So, this week I hope to get back to enjoying baseball...perhaps with the perspective that the world won't end if we drop a game...much worse things can happen.

But oh the joy to be found in the game...because finding bliss in 9 innings of baseball have made this game the great escape...and I'm quite sure we all could use a little of that right now.