All right. Let’s get straight to the point here. This offseason is turning into a disaster of epic proportions. Plus I had to go to dictionary.com to look up how to spell proportion, which makes me all the crankier.
Let’s start with the crabbing, shall we? Bill Smith traded J.J. Hardy to Baltimore for two minor league pitchers. To add insult to injury, he gave them cash too, half a million smackers. How come he hates J.J.? Clearly he does, shipping him off to Baltimore. I was crabby last offseason when GoGo got sent off to Milwaukee, and was determined that J. J. was going to have to earn my love and admiration. He did just that, starting at TwinsFest, because he was friendly and adorable. Then I saw what a good shortstop he is, and that just cemented my love. Crud. The Orioles need to be nice to him, or I’m going to be royally peeved.
picture from onmilwaukee.com I couldn’t find one I liked of him in a Twins uniform, so here he is all decked out in Brewer-wear.
Ahem. Next up is Matty Guerrier. Ok, so he left voluntarily. Ok, so the super statty clear-eyed cynics are going to say it’s not a big loss. Phooey! I have it on good authority from some baseball friends that he’s a smartass, which I admire. Apparently he made Joe Nathan blush by agreeing with a slightly tipsy fan who proclaimed Joe “the hottest Twin.” He signed my son’s Gomez jersey before a game in ’09. He was also friendly at TwinsFest last year. Goodbye, Matty. I’ll miss you too! Good luck in LA.
picture from blog.prorumors.com
Today was our first time at Target Field. We didn’t go to an exhibition game or even an open house. I’d been looking forward to going since Governor Pawlenty signed the bill in 2006 that authorized the funding. I must say, that’s my favorite thing that he’s done during his tenure as governor.
Now that we’ve been to a game, the 2010 baseball season finally feels real. I just love this game so much, it’s hard to put it into words.
It was a little bit confusing, to look up and see the sky at a Twins game. Wait, what? Birds and airplanes? Are we supposed to be able to see those things at a ball game? Is it ok to need sunglasses and feel the wind on our faces? Odd, but very, very nice.
I think the wind veil that covers the parking ramp was a stroke of genius. Wind veil = super cool. Parking ramp = functional but ugly.
We sat in section 310, which is under the canopy, and it would probably feel nice to sit in the shade on a hot summer day, but was kind of chilly today. Not a complaint, just a fact. I was really glad to have my hoodie and my Twins stocking hat, even though it gave me horrible hat hair.
It is so, so bizarre to cheer for Jim Thome, but we cheered our heads off. They pay him to hit homers, and that’s just what he did. Sweet.
It was all kinds of fun seeing Justin leg out a triple. Couldn’t believe it when he decided to go for three bases. Nice!
The scoreboard is amazing. It’s massive, and the picture is crystal clear.
I think it was the middle of the 6th inning or so, and the scoreboard showed what happened in the Yankees/Rangers game earlier in the day. It must be something that happens at TF, showing clips from other games. Wish they would’ve showed us highlights of Livan Hernandez shutting out the Brewers instead, because that’s just Strange.
The score was all knotted up at five, and then Orlando Hudson smacked his first homer as a Twin in the bottom of the seventh. That was pretty great of him, especially since in ended up being the game winner.
Jon Rauch, a/k/a Tall Neck Tat guy, got his sixth save in six tries. Good for him, and good for the team! It doesn’t change that he wasn’t very personable at Twins Fest, but I think I can forgive him if he keeps this up. That said, I still miss Joe Nathan. It’s sad that he doesn’t get to pitch at the ballpark during its inaugural season.
It’s a long season, and a fast start doesn’t mean any more than a slow start does, but it’s so much more fun. Let’s hope our baseball boyfriends can keep it up.
- View from our seats in section 310.
- Loved seeing this light up after the homers!
- Confab on the mound…the tying run was on 3rd.
I spent the offseason fretting about Joe Mauer’s contract. I, along with the vast majority of Twins fans, wanted a contract extension, and wanted it in November, right after the World Series. I feel a little bit foolish about it now, after watching the press conference last night. Joe wanted to stay here. Maybe I should have been more patient, should have had a little more faith that this would work out for Joe, the Twins, and all of the fans. Nah. The fretting was actually kind of fun.
This contract is an unfathomable amount of money, but it’s worth every penny. It makes me a little hypocritcal to say that, I know. If it were any other player, or any other team paying him that much, I’d be really crabby about it. But I’d be sad seeing Joe play for another team. It would be horrible PR for the Twins to let him leave via free agency. Finally, and this is entirely selfish, watching the Twins play baseball makes me really, really happy. There are countless people who make countless sums of money: rock stars, actors, and don’t get me started on greedy CEOs. Blech! Not a single one of them makes me anywhere as happy as watching Joe play baseball. I bet that holds true for a lot of Twins fans. From that standpoint, this contract is a bargain.
p.s. I think we have to dispense with the phrase, “The Pohlads are cheap.”
I think all of Twins Sisters blogging and Twitter friends should get together to form a MLB expansion team. Perhaps this isn’t a sweet idea. I am even willing to concede that it’s a ridiculous idea, but really, it’s only a fantasy, so I might as well have some fun with it. How hard could it be? Can you all imagine how great it would be to be in charge of a baseball team? I just can’t see any downsides at all. Thinking “out loud,” here are some of the things we’d need to do to get started, in no particular order.
- Contact MLB for permission to start a franchise.
- Get some money together. Anyone know any really wealthy people willing to lend us money & then get out of the way to let us run the show?
- Figure out where to locate the franchise. Maybe New York could support another team. Or maybe somewhere in the Carolinas? How about Utah?
- Think of a super awesome name for our team.
- Design some snazzy uniforms.
- And oh, I guess we’d need to get some players signed up.
So who’s with me? Even with the inevitable “this team sucks because it’s brand new” phase, it would be the most fun, best run franchise in all of baseball. It would be fan friendly, it would have the best ballpark food ever, the uniforms would be so cool that everyone, even non-fans, would want replica jerseys. We’d hire someone really cool to be in charge of music at the park. We’d have amazing promotions and affordable tickets. Easy parking or handy mass transit would be a must.
Let’s get started, ok? Again I ask, how hard could it really be?
Today, in a shocking move, the Twins traded Carlos Gomez to the Milwaukee Brewers straight up for shortstop J.J. Hardy.
As is our usual MO here at Twins Sisters, when we’re not overly familiar with a player, we will reserve judgment until we see him play. We’re also genetically predisposed to like anyone who puts on a Twins uniform, so we’ll give Hardy a fair shake.
Still, will he be anywhere nearly as entertaining as Gomez? Will he sniff his bat? Will he come up with elaborate handshaking rituals? Will he wear his hair in dreadlocks? Totally doubtful.
I understand the rationale behind the trade. Span is a good centerfielder too, and a much better hitter. We have a glut of outfielders. We need a good defensive shortstop, and all of the statty blogs seem to agree that Hardy is. It’s just that I’ve adored Go Go since the first game of 2008. He got a hit to start the game, and if I remember right, he stole second almost immediately. Then Joey drove him in, and the Twins has their first RBI of the season before their first out. It was pretty much love at first sight. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone more jubilant than Go Go was after he scored the winning run of game 163. Are there any major leaguers who are more freakin’ happy to be playing baseball than Go Go? Not a chance.
In short: J.J. Hardy’s gonna have to be Pretty! Damn! Fantastic! at baseball in order to make this trade seem like a good idea to us.
Adios, Go Go. We’ll miss you, and we hope Brewers fans find you entertaining and adorable too.
That series loss to the Evil Empire still stings. Actually, it’s beyond a sting. It feels more like someone reaching into your chest and tearing out your heart while it’s still beating.
Granted, the Twins made stupid plays. Failed to capitalize with men on base. Whatever! We’re not here to talk about that.
Apparently the umpiring was abysmal for the Rockies too, who lost their playoff series to the Phillies last night. **Sigh.** This article argues for the use of instant replay beyond its use right now, for home run calls. I take exception to the author’s calling baseball a slow and backwards sport, but his argument for expanding instant replay is an intriguing one.
Sure, a replay would have shown that Joe’s hit down the left field line was very clearly fair. Would it have changed the outcome of the game if he had been awarded a ground-rule double? Maybe. Would it have changed the outcome of the series? Doubtful.
I think it would be ok to expand instant replay to determine if a ball is fair or foul. Or maybe to determine if the outfielder really catches the ball, or if he’s trapped it in his glove after it hits the field. I don’t think we want to second guess ball and strike counts. I don’t want to second guess the ump’s decision if the runner is out at second, or if he’s safe. That would take suck some of the fun out of the game, and it really would make it move as slowly as molasses going uphill in January. Over the course of a season, bad calls pretty much even themselves out. In the playoffs though, oof, they hurt.
What I really wonder is if it would help to have some stiff penalties against the umpires when they totally hose a call. Like suspension without pay. A temporary demotion to the low minor leagues. Instant replay would be nice to make sure the correct calls are made. It would be fantastic if the umpires calling the games cared about doing a good job. That way, the need for instant replay would be rare. People wouldn’t be clamoring for it so much. The baseball purists would be happy. The player who was supposed to be standing on second base would be happy too.
We hung up our cleats back in April, but recent developments are too good not to throw in our two cents. Really.
Think about it. In early August, our boys were 6 games under .500. They’d have one good game followed by two or three lousy ones. Almost everybody gave up on even the notion of playoffs. And honestly, I think we all pretty much made our peace with that. We still watched the games and cheered, because it’s baseball, the Twins are our team, and it’s fun.
Then poor Joe Crede, who really grew on me, needed back surgery. And Justin was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his back and had to quit playing for the year. Our rotation was mostly untested rookies and guys who’d all had rough patches this year. You all get the idea, you know how it was.
But then, dang. Cuddy moved to first base and started channeling 2006 MVP Morneau. Nick “Big Game” Blackburn found his groove. Brian Duensing and Jeff Manship pitched better than we could possibly have hoped. And of course Denard, Joey and Kubel stayed awesome.
Things really started to go the team’s way. A sweep at the Cell. Beating Grienke. Enough wins against the Tigers to stay alive. All the Tigers had to do was win two games against the White Sox, in Detroit, and the Sox won two instead.
So it all came down to game 163. Again. All day Tuesday I had a knot in my stomach. I couldn’t eat, I was so nervous.
That game was crazy intense. Back and forth with the lead, some good breaks for the Twins, an insane crowd.
When Orlando Cabrera hit the two-run shot, I screamed, and scared the bejeezus out of the kitty, who jumped off my lap.
When Cuddy hit that triple, my hope was restored, but I just wasn’t sure anyone was going to get him in from third. After the Tigers intentionally walked Delmon, Matt Tolbert came a millimeter from hitting into an inning-ending, game-ending, season-ending double play, instead scoring the tying run. Again.
Then Bobby Keppel pitches. Bobby Keppel?? Yikes! Watching him get out of that bases-loaded jam was a thing of beauty. I had a feeling Gerald Laird was going to strike out, a gut feeling, so watching that third whiff was super sweet.
So here we are, at the bottom of the 12th. I had totally lost track of whose turn it was to bat because of all the pinch hitters, pinch runners and defensive changes. Go Go comes up to bat and gets a single. Huh. Cuddy grounds out but advances Go Go to 2nd. Then Alexi comes up. Alexi of the .198 batting average but still, who didn’t remember that clutch hit against the Sox in the 10th inning last September? Up he walks to the batters box, and it’s like, oh please, please just a single will do the trick. Please do it. And he did! I got off the couch, started hollering, “Run, run, run!!” Go Go was off like a bat out of hell around the bases, and the throw to the plate from right field was nowhere near in time. Yes, yes, yes, yes!! I was on the floor, pounding it with my fist, and screaming at the top of my lungs. My son was laughing his head off. He’s never, ever seen me act like that. Oh. My. Goodness. What a game. It’s impossible to imagine a better one. I really was almost a puddle on the floor. Division champs after a brutal August, after an extra game, after extra innings, with improbable heroes.
Ignore that first loss to the Yankees, fellas. Ignore the hell out of it. Go get ‘em tonight. It’s time to put this Yankee curse to bed once and for all.
It is time to hang up the cleats here at Twins Sisters. Last night’s game, with the dramatic win in the bottom of the ninth, was excellent. In fact, I think I have a little bit of a crush on Alexi now. The thing is, there will be another 160 games this season, and we sure hope that the amazing wins far outnumber the soul-crushing defeats, because you KNOW there will be some of those too.
While we’re not obligated to post our two cents after each and every one of those amazing wins and soul-crushing defeats, it defeats the purpose of the blog if we don’t post regularly, and neither one of us feels compelled to do that anymore.
We’ve had tons of fun with Twins Sisters over the past almost two years. It’s been a blast. I’ve learned a lot about baseball, too. As I’ve been blogging, I’ve also been reading other Twins sites almost incessantly. You could even say obsessively. I’ve learned a lot from the statty blogs. I now know what VORP and WHIP stand for, and I sort of understand things like xFIP. Don’t ask me to calculate any of them out though, ok?
What we’ve had the most fun with though, is realizing there are other women out there who approach the game the same way we do. We all appreciate towering home runs, a well-executed bunt, a collision at home plate, and watching the opposing pitcher walk the winning run home. We also really adore the nice-looking men who play the game. We love that they sniff their bats, do magic tricks for their teammates in the locker room, and stand on the pitcher’s mound and twitch nervously, while still sitting those sumbitches down to save the day. Those things make the games even better. So many, many thanks to our sisters in blogging, and all of our other (3 or 4) loyal readers. Thank you for reading our nonsense and for helping us to realize we are not alone in our brand of baseball obsession.
Tricia and Becca
Yes! The interminable offseason is finally OVER.
Play ball! Win Twins!