Being There

PuntoLittle.jpgFor all Twins fans reading this blog post, you don’t need to be told the events that made the last three days so incredible for the entire Twin Cities area.  I was lucky enough to be able to attend all three games, and would just like to comment on the experience of being in the Dome when everything was going down:

For the past few years, I have always been the first to say that if I don’t have good tickets to a Twins game, I would rather stay home and watch it on TV.  I didn’t like the idea of shelling out good money to go sit in the nosebleed seats somewhere and not even be able to see where the pitches are located.  However, that entire viewpoint changed beginning last Tuesday, as the energy I felt pulsing through every rivet of the Dome was enough to convince me that just being there (even if it is row 27 of 31 in the upper deck) is well worth the sacrifice of not being keen to every pitch location.

On Tuesday night, it was the excitement of the Twins swinging for the fences, as well as the first introduction of Pierzynski (“BOOOOOOOOO”) and the great pitching of Scott Baker.

On Wednesday, it was watching Nick Blackburn get key outs at opportune moments, then rely on a usually sieve-like bullpen to be rock solid and hold the lead for Joe Nathan in the ninth, where Carlos Gomez may have turned in the catch of the year with his all-out sprint-and-lunge for a ball in the gap.

The climax of the entire experience, however, came on Thursday, when the Twins were handed an early 6-1 deficit.  Thanks to the electric small-ball of guys like Punto, Gomez, Span, and Casilla, the Twins clawed their way back into the game.  In the eighth inning, while Gomez on first and Span up to bat with the Twins trailing 6-5, Denard’s triple down the left field line created a visual I will likely never forget…Gomez streaking around the bases (did he actually leave the ground at one point?!) to score the tying run.  When Span and Gomez are mere footnotes in the history of Twins baseball (or, if they are lucky, get together at the old-timers tributes), I will still remember that combination.

Equally memorable was the game-winning hit from Alexi Casilla, which sent the Metrodome crowd into a frenzy the likes of which has not been seen in quite a while.  It takes a good deal of excitement to get me really vocal about a game (I’m usually more of a silent, nervous observer), but I was literally jumping up and up when I saw Casilla’s hit drop into center field.

The matchup between the Twins and White Sox was likely the biggest single series in Metrodome history since the Oakland/MN matchups in 1991.  Much like as a six year-old boy I remember Chili Davis tripling off Dennis Eckersley and seeing a fan throw a row of toilet paper in the general vicinity of A’s right-fielder Jose Canseco (I was at that game with my Dad and Grandpa), I now have a comparable experience.

So, as I settled in to watch tonight’s opening tilt against the Kansas City Royals, I finally realized how much I was missing by not attending.  Sure, I was privy to the location of every pitch and the analysis of the broadcasters, but at the same time I lacked that outlet for all my energy, as well as seeing the uninterrupted flight of the baseball as it sails to its ultimate destination.

Sure, the Twins had a big letdown with their big loss to KC tonight (Liriano never really gave us a chance), but the White Sox also lost to Cleveland, so everything gets rebooted and starts again tomorrow.  I, for one, cannot wait!

Preview (87-73, 1st, 0.5 GA CWS): Glen Perkins (12-4, 4.50) vs. Gil Meche (13-11, 4.05).  The key to this game will likely be how Perkins reacts to the extra rest he was given after being skipped in the rotation before the series with Chicago.

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