Results tagged ‘ Wrigley Field ’
After going through some of my blog posts recently, I realized that I hadn’t penned a “season review” of the 2010 Twins season. Maybe the quick (again) exit from the playoffs contributed to my apathy, or perhaps it was the Vikings’ season going very bizarre very quickly and giving me plenty of other blogging material. Either way, I do want ot quickly run down my standout moments of ’10…
To me, 2010 will always be remembered as the “Year of Target Field”:
At first, I was as skeptical as anyone at the new outdoor ballpark. Fortunately, that all changed the first time I walked through the gates. Besides some of the parks (like Wrigley or Fenway) that keep their charm primarily due to history, I can definitively say that Target Field is the best new home we could have possibly asked for (at least when the weather cooperates, which it did in spades last summer…heck, the Vikings in the Dome had more postponements in ’10 than the Twins!). Also helping to broaden the experience was the fact that our family moved closer to the Twin Cities metro area this year, so I was able to go to more games than ever before.
I’ll just say this: At the end of 2009, I was missing the Dome. By the end of ’10, I can’t imagine playing anywhere other than Target Field.
Some other memories include…
-Much like Brett Favre did to the Vikings in 2009, Jim Thome gave the ’10 Twins a bit of a swagger. He can’t run or play the field, but it doesn’t matter in the least…he proved that (out of the DH spot) he can still be the most prolific power hitter in the game, bar none. When Justin Morneau went down with his concussion, Big Jim stepped into the cleanup role and did exactly that…clean up. Perhaps the most memorable Thome moment was his walkoff home run against the Chicago White Sox in extra innings.
-Carl Pavano, predicted to fail miserably, provides the veteran leadership the staff desperatley needed, and even became a folk hero due to his mustachioed upper lip.
-Delmon Young’s torrid dog-days-of-summer performance, almost single-handedly keeping us in the division race with a hitting surge unlike anything I had ever seen.
-Some young kid named Danny Valencia coming up from the minors to lock down third base and provide some spectacular clutch hitting, all the while winning the hearts of the yound ladies in Twins Territory with his megawatt smile.
Other memories would include the torrid second half of Joe Mauer’s bat, as well as Francisco Liriano finally returning to his dominant pre-Tommy John surgery form.
So yes, even though the season ended in disappointment once again…
…I choose to remember the good moments that seemed to last all summer long.
Perhaps the one memory above all that will stick with me is sitting in Target Field on a cold, wet September night but loving every minute of it as the Twins clinched the Central Division Championship. I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.
Since my last blog, the Twins got caught by two hot pitchers in Boston (Bucholz/Lester), then righted the ship by beating up on the Brew Crew over the weekend (taking two of three and coming within a big hit of sweeping).
About three weeks ago, though, I saw my first two games at Target Field…
…and never really commented on the experience. Although I loved the experience and thought that the new digs put the Metrodome to shame, there was just something about it where I couldn’t gush over our new home too much. I think I may have finally figured it out.
In the old days, ballparks were built with all kinds of quirks that made them stand out. Some examples:
Polo Grounds: Almost 500 feet to center field (which featured a garage in the field of play!), and just 250 ft. down the lines (picture a giant horsehoe).
Ebbets Field: A crazy little nook out in center field, a huge wall in right, with band-box dimension all around.
Baker Bowl: ENORMOUS brick wall out in RF that puts even Boston’s Green Monster to shame!
LA Coliseum: Just look at the picture!
Old Yankee Stadium: Monuments and flagpoles IN PLAY; centerfield almost 500 feet deep.
Then, after going through the terrible cookie-cutter stadium movement of the 1980s (Veterans Stadium, Skydome, Astrodome, etc.), ballparks started to improve in fan amenities, but (for the most part) those little quirks/nuances had disappeared. In the past few years, there are only a few stadiums I can recall that really spark my interest:
Wrigley Field: Ivy, brick walls.
Fenway Park: Green Monster, Pesky Pole
Minute Maid Park (?; that’s the name I’ll always remember it as!): CF slope, neat LF architecture.
And, dare I say it…
Metrodome: Vampire seats, Baggie
Basically, my point is this: I really like stadiums with distinct visual features, and I feel as if Target Field is a bit lacking in that area. Besides the patches of Limestone and HD scoreboard (but that doesn’t really count), it feels like “any other great ballpark”. Kind of a double standard, I know, but I guess I am more than a bit of a sentimentalist towards those “good old days” of quirky baseball stadiums.
Preview (26-18, 1st, 1.0 GA DET): AJ Burnett (4-2, 3.86) vs. Scott Baker (4-4, 4.88). Time to create a little bit of new history against the Yanks? I hope so.
Earlier today (Friday), the Twins got a great start from starting pitcher Kevin Slowey, the bullpen did its level best to blow the lead, and the bats got just enough clutch hitting to push enough runners across the plate.
However, were Milton Bradley not playing right field at Wrigley, the game may have gone completely different for a number of different reasons…all related to Bradley. Through seven innings, Bradley had made a baserunning blunder, lost a ball in the sun, and was unable to catch a bloop double that went for an RBI for Michael Cuddyer.
In the eighth inning, though, Milton pulled a stunt that will be remembered by the 41,000 paid attendance at the game for a long time. With Joe Mauer up and runners at the corners, Jo-Mo hit a deep fly ball to right field…right into the sun. Bradley finally located the ball and, once it was nestled safely in his glove, proceeded to strike a dandy pose. Never once looking in towards the infield, Bradley remained in that statue-like position for a few moments before casually flipping the ball over the fence. Unbeknownst to him, of course, was that he had only caught the SECOND out of the inning, and thus Brendan Harris continued circling the bases to third. He didn’t end up scoring in the inning, but the Cubs fans really got on Bradley (booing) as he trotted off the field.
So thanks Milt, for providing some entertainment in the afternoon. Hope to see you again (roughly same time, hopefully same place!) tomorrow!
Preview (31-32, 2nd, 4.0 GB DET): Anthony Swarzak (1-2, 5.23) vs. Rich Harden (4-2, 4.74). Harden is making his first start since early May in coming off the DL, while Swarzak is basically pitching for his major league roster spot (what with Glen Perkins due back next week).