Monday, April 14, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
2 weeks into the season and there have been some pleasant surprises. Until today, Kansas City has been at the top of our division and Detroit at the bottom (Detroit is still in the bottom. Thanks to the Twins, KC is now tied for 2nd with the Twins. The ugly White Sox are a 1/2 game in the lead).
Weren't the so-called "experts" predicting Detroit and Cleveland to be the Central's strongest teams ... and yet, there they sit at the bottom. I like that. I know it may not last, but nothing would make me happier than Minnesota finishing first with Kansas right behind.
It's hard to know at this point what the final ranking will be. But I do know that I'm not ready to count the Twins out. Not by a long shot. GoGomez has been exciting to watch and makes you believe that there is nothing better than watching raw new talent. Tolbert has been a real surprise as well. This lineup has not been set by a long shot. It's fun seeing what the new guys can do.
And tomorrow our pitching rotation gets a shot in the arm that it has been waiting for since September 2006. Liriano returns. I don't expect greatness on his very first outing. But I am hoping that his return will take some of the sting out of losing Santana (who by the way has suffered 2 losses due in part to poor run support by the Mets. Sound familiar?).
Saturday, April 5, 2008
A few hours later I was able to see a 30 minute overview of the game on FSN's "Squeeze Play". Every hit, every out was replayed. So I got to see that homerun and his double, plus Monroe's first hit (a double) as well as some fine play (again) by Tolbert, Mauer, and Nathan. Hernandez finished 7 innings and was charged with a balk. Everett committed an error and GoGomez went hitless for the first time. Most importantly, the Twins came up with a 6-4 win.
FSN followed "Squeeze Play" with an episode of "In their Own Words"--this time an interview with Delmon Young. I don't think it's the first time this episode has been broadcast and probably won't be the last. I'm impressed by this young man. Yes, he's made mistakes in judgement along the way, but more importantly, he seems to have learned and matured from those mistakes. The man is only 22 years old. At this point, he strikes me as more mature than the average 22 year old male (how much that really says about his maturity I'm not sure!)
Tomorrow the Twins play for the sweep...that sure would help erase the sting of those 3 losses!
And another little note...Detroit has lost their first five games...at home! Sweet!
Friday me and Curveball attended the Twins Welcome Home luncheon. This event is hosted by the Mpls and St. Paul Chamber of Commerces, along with several corporate sponsors. All the current Twins players (save Friday's pitcher Baker) were in attendance, along with the coaching staff.
Curveball attended these luncheons as a kid (in the 60s!). Lucky kid! This was a first for me.
Now I have to fess up that I was mistaken about one sort of major thing. I thought that a Twins player was seated at each table. Well, there were some 70 tables and only some 30-odd players and coaches. So...you know where the players sat...at the tables with the corporate sponsors. Us lowly fans just had each other to chat with. They did serve a terrific meal however. No griping...it was a great event and the money raised benefits the Twins Community Fund.
Dick Bremer emceed the event. Anthony LaPanta from FSN conducted player interviews. Two of the new players, Bass and Tolbert, were interviewed and shared a story of recent rookie hazing. Bass and Tolbert were forced to sing the "We're Going to Win Twins" song on the airplane ride to MN. Bass declared himself the Twins #1 Idol since he won the competition. (Wait until these rookies see the outfits they'll be forced to wear later in the season--on a road trip!) In other interviews, Cuddy talked about getting to try his magic tricks on the new guys, Neshek jokingly gave Mauer a hard time for stealing his air time, and Morneau actually commented about his hitless streak and said he was searching for his favorite Bertuzzi shirt (not sure on the spelling of that, but Bertuzzi is a hockey player...and Morneau wore that shirt forever in 2006). Gardy spoke for a few minutes and when asked about Gomez he joked that he doesn't understand a word he says, but he sure likes how he's playing.
So that was pretty much it. The players left for the ballpark before the luncheon was over (just a clever ploy to get them out while we were still eating). It was fun to see all the guys together in their street clothes. I don't know if there are any other markets that pull off such an event with ALL their players.
We also attended Thursday and Friday's games.
Thursday we had seats in the upper deck, just behind home plate. I love afternoon games! Our section was filled with well-behaved school groups and young kids on spring break catching a game. I love that atmosphere of folks at a ballgame because they love the game. Although we lost this one as well, it was a good game. I managed to be away from my seat when Hunter hit his homer, but I did catch Kubel's homer--the first for the Twins this season. I do hope to see Kubel play more.
And, for unfortunate reasons, I guess I will. In Friday's game, Cuddy suffered an injury to his right index finger while sliding into third. He was promptly taken out of the game (and has been placed on the DL). Kubel was brought in and had a great game. The bright points of the game: GoGomez had another awesome game complete with hits and steals, Morneau had his 1st hit, Mauer had several hits, Baker pitched well (after settling in), and WE WON THE GAME!
We may have also found out new favorite seats for the season. Nothing fancy, just the cheap seats in the upper deck right behind 2nd base. There's less people there, so you can stretch out more. I can yell and scream without bothering people...in fact, if we pick the right row I can stand all I want without blocking people behind me. And the best part: at $7 a ticket I can go to a lot more ballgames.
And that's a good thing!
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
- Boof had a rough start, but did improve. But that didn't really matter, when the hitting and fielding sucked. Oh and the bullpen was pathetic.
- Hunter remained hit less, but got beaned in the 9th by Rincon. He did receive his Gold Glove though.
- I do believe that sitting in the cheap general admission seats is better than sitting in the HomeRun Porch seats when they run a ticket special. It seems more people come to party than watch the game. Sorry, that annoys me. No, I don't want to do the wave or toss a beach ball when they're on 2 on with 2 outs--regardless who is hitting.
- It was an ugly loss. Every positive from Game 1 was erased in Game 2. But it's a long season.
Tonight's game was a far better game, but with no better result. Blackburn had his stuff and deserved a win for his efforts. Different lineup and far better defensive play.
I have to give a shout out: GO PUNTO!!! I was happy to see him play. Oh you naysayers--He did get a hit and displayed classic-Punto defensive plays, including that WEB GEM throw from 3rd to 1st late in the game. Man, he can throw with speed and accuracy.
Not to be ignored was Morneau's amazing play at first with his throw back to Blackburn earlier in the game. Awesome stuff (and another potential web gem)!
I'll be heading to tomorrow's afternoon game...which isn't televised! I'm looking forward to an afternoon of baseball.
And BIG news: Me and Curveball are attending the Twins Welcome Home luncheon on Friday! It is being held in St. Paul this year near our home. We have no idea what member of the Twins organization will be sitting at our table, but I am PSYCHED! And of course, I'll share all the little details here.
But first, I'll be rooting for a Twins win tomorrow to even the series.