Kansas City Royals
W: E. Santana
L: M. Pelfrey
ASG logo unveiling
Opening in 2010, this is one of the newer ballparks in the country. After spending 27 years in the Metrodome, the Twins finally have a home stadium they can be proud of. It was an overcast day in Minneapolis, however the stands were mostly filled due to the pregame ceremony revealing the logo for the 2014 All Star Game in Minnesota. With the trade deadline looming there were rumblings in the crowd that this may be the last game Justin Morneau donned a Twins jersey. Despite this game being a matchup of two teams near the bottom of their division, there was plenty of fun to be had in this outdoor stadium.
I have spent seven of the past ten days driving up and down the West Coast and across the country so I decided to sleep in a bit. It was tough to get out of bed, but I had work do to. Luckily I had scheduled a massage for myself today so I headed to a place called Spot Spa for a 90 minute session to rejuvenate my aching body. I also got a haircut and ran some quick errands to pick up supplies (toothpaste, shampoo etc.).
After getting all of that out of the way it was time to make my first visit to Target Field. Outside of the field there are several statues of former Twins greats including Kirby Puckett, Rod Carew and Kent Hrbek. There is also another statue that serves as a touching tribute to former Twins owners Carl and Eloise Pohlad. The most popular attraction outside the field however is the giant golden glove located exactly 520 feet from home plate which honors past and future Twins Gold Glove winners. The distance from the field represents the longest home run hit out of the Twins old stadium (Met Stadium) by Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew. There were large groups of princesses surrounding the glove, so I was unable to snap a picture of myself lounging in this golden monument to good defense, but I will be back tomorrow and will try it again.
In case you feel you misread what I wrote up there, I will type it again. There were too many princesses around so I could not lay down inside of a large baseball glove. That is one of the weirder sentences I have ever written. I could not figure out why there were so many girls with tiaras on and I refused to ask why. In my head this was just a normal day for the Minnesota Twins. I eventually would find out that the boys and girls in crowns and tiaras were ambassadors from every city in Minnesota. The Twins were hosting a Royal Sparkle Night at the ballpark culminating with members of the royal court throwing out the first pitch on the field. I appreciate the promotion, but question the placement on the schedule. With the Kansas City Royals in town perhaps the visiting team felt more at home with all of the pomp and circumstance surrounding the field.
Today was supposed to be an off day for me, so I decided to take it a little easier at the park. I did not interview anyone formally for the podcast and I left my exploration of the stadium for tomorrow's game. Instead I found some food and headed to my seat to just enjoy the surroundings. I asked around to find out what the Minneapolis specialty was and came up empty. As I walked around the main concourse vendor caught my eye. There was no line and the name was simply “Canteen”. I had no idea what they sold so I approached the counter and asked. They were grilling burgers made of 75% goat meat and 25% lamb. After eating mostly beef and pork for the last two months I figured it was time to try something slightly different. I was pleasantly surprised at how succulent this burger was. This was a nice change of pace for me and I am sure that my arteries are thanking me right now.
I found my way to my seat and like J. Wellington Wimpy, inhaled my burger quite quickly. In the background of my gluttony were the hundreds of princes and princesses parading around the warning track waving to the crowd and posing for pictures. After making their lap around the field it was time to witness the unveiling of the 2014 All Star Game logo. Although the official reveal had been done earlier via a televised press conference, I had not been around a TV all day and was eagerly anticipating what the design would look like. Former Twins All-Stars Tony Oliva, Ron Coomer and Tom Brunansky joined current All-Stars Glenn Perkins and Justin Morneau on the field to do the honors. Final verdict: I like it. Well that was underwhelming now wasn't it. It is a fine logo and I am happy for the people of Minneapolis to get the All Star Game.
As I enter the second half of my tour I realize that by this point in the season there are several teams whose seasons are coming to an early end. The Royals have not yet thrown in the towel yet with the second wild card still being an option, but the Twins are in the midst of a rebuilding year. Even though the Twins are not having a strong season, their fans still come out in droves to support their team. Today the locals drove in to watch Ervin Santana take on Mike Pelfrey in an AL Central battle.
The Twins jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after perennially amazing Joe Mauer knocked in Clete Thomas on a routine single to left. I am lucky enough to be able to watch Miguel Cabrera play on my home club, but I would be lying if I said that I was not envious of Twins fans for being able to watch Mauer every game. He is a special player who does not get nearly enough attention in the national press. To do what he does with the bat every year while playing so many games behind the plate is truly remarkable.
Sitting next to me at the game were a family from Pittsburgh. They were not Twins fans nor were they Royals fans, but they were here in Minneapolis and decided to take in a baseball game. I have spoken briefly in previous posts about the aspects of baseball that separate the game from the other professional sports in America, but this is my favorite. I have run into people like this at every stadium this summer. These are people that are in town for only a couple of days and choose to go to a random ballgame over everything else. I realize that it is largely because of how the seasons are set up – football only once a week and basketball/hockey only a couple of days if that – but the fact that so many people with no direct team allegiances show up to random parks across the country gives me comfort that this game will never go away. Baseball may not be the most popular sport in the country anymore, but it has survived since 1845 and I suspect it will be around in 3013 as well. For the record, after typing that last sentence I just sat staring at my computer trying to visualize what baseball would look like in 1,000 years. It looks pretty much the same just with shinier jerseys.
Also sitting next to me was a Twins season ticket holder who was a little upset about the setup for All Star Game tickets. Apparently he had been told that his seats between home and first would not be available to him and that he would have to enter a lottery wherein he may be able to obtain outfield seats. Obviously being a loyal fan for so long he was a bit annoyed at Major League Baseball. It is an interesting debate in figuring out who takes priority for special events like the All Star Game or the Playoffs. On one side you have the fans who support the local team year after year even when the teams are struggling. On the other you have fans from all over the world who want to come and experience these unique games. Being a local who has lived through this type of scenario in the past I still do not know where I stand on the issue. I appreciate the outside money that comes in to my city, but I feel that the locals are sometimes forgotten and taken advantage of when it comes to games of national importance. We chatted about this for several innings before realizing that it simply sucks for everybody. It is expensive and impossible to get good seats unless you are loaded or know the right people.
Led by a pair of home runs by Mike Moustakas, the Royals went on to win a rather lopsided game 7-2. The final score does not tell the full story as the Royals put up 15 hits to the Twins 5. It was a rough night for fans of the Twinkies, but tomorrow is another day. Looking at the radar once again it looks like the rain that was supposed to fall no longer exists. I have been obsessively checking the weather patterns all summer and I am fairly confident that it is all just entirely made up. This morning, three different weather apps told me that there was a 70% of rain tomorrow with a 90% chance of thunderstorms. Now all of a sudden those numbers have dropped down to 0%. I understand that there is always going to be a margin of error for these things, but this is starting to get ridiculous. Regardless, it looks like I will just be forced to come back tomorrow and watch some more live baseball. We'll see if the Twins have a new first baseman or if Morneau will make it past the trade deadline.
Next up: Target Field take 2
Game Time Temp: 72
First Pitch Time: 7:10 PM
First Pitch: Princess from Minnesota
National Anthem: Greg Wohlforth
Seventh Inning Stretch: Thank God I'm a Country Boy
Total Pitches Thrown: 308
Total Hits: 17
Total Singles: 14
Total Doubles: 1
Total Triples: 0
Total Home Runs: 2
Total Walks: 5
Total Strike Outs: 17
Total Errors: 0
Game Time: 3:02
Attendance: 33,085 (83.8% full)
Home Plate Umpire: Angel Hernandez
Miles Traveled: 35 miles
Time in Car: 1 hour
Sleep Time: 7 hours 30 minutes
Bottles of Water: 4
Food Eaten: Pizza from room service
Ballpark Food: Goat/Lamb burger, Ice Cream helmet,
Money spent on parking: $11
Money spent on ticket: $65
Cost of Program: $3
Money spent on food: $18.50
Total money spent on Merchandise: $31.25
Total Money spent at stadium: $128.75
Total Money spent today $395.53