A girls view of baseball...knowing the game, loving the game, and loving and appreciating the boys who play the game.

All photos are ©Betsy Bissen (unless otherwise noted) Do not use without permission.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I'm Not Ready To Say Goodbye Yet!

Going into this post season, I was very optimistic.  I thought with how the Twins were playing, no matter who they faced, they had an excellent shot of going on the way and winning it.  Even when I knew the Twins would ultimately (thanks baseball gods) have to face the Yankees to get to the ALCS, I thought they could do it.  Yesterday's game felt so good, up until Mark Teixiera had to hit the blasted 2-run home run that ended up ruining that game for the Twins and allowing the Yankees to take a 1-0 lead in the ALDS series.

Tonight wasn't any better.  Carl Pavano looked great.  Sure, he allowed a few base runners, but nine times out of ten, he was able to get out of the jambs he worked himself into without making it look like much of an effort.  Twins broke out and took a 1-0 lead early in the game, but were unable to keep it very long.  Orlando Hudson showed us that he is capable of getting big hits.  Delmon Young finally did what I thought he needed to do in the post season and stepped up with two big hits in the game.  Sadly, the Twins couldn't rack up the runs in these innings.

I feel for Danny Valencia, and I can definitely see his nerves throughout this series.  Do I think that he shouldn't be nervous and that he should act like a veteran?  No, I think he's acted that way up until this point and these are HUGE games and something he's never experienced.  I think the games will get less nerve-wracking for him as the time goes on.  I still think he's got the right stuff (no New Kids reference intended, I swear).

The person, however, in this post season that is on my "list"...Jason Kubel.  Kubel is now hitting .080 (2-for-25) with 12 strikeouts in 7 career postseason games.  He has not gotten a single hit in the past two games.  I think we need him to sit and warm the bench for the third game if he is going to play like that.  I think there are plenty of current bench warmers that could do just as well (possibly better).  I don't really think he will get benched, but maybe it would knock some sense into him and kick him into gear.  We need guys like him, Joe Mauer, Delmon Young and Denard Span to come up HUGE for us (not to mention Thome as well).  If these guys are not going to step up and play like the leaders they should be, why don't we just play the B-squad team that played hung over the day after the Twins clinched the division?  They were capable of pulling out a win at least. (Yes, I know it wasn't against the Yankees.)

A beat writer for the White Sux suggested that the Sux should dress up like the Yankees so that the Twins would "pee themselves" when they faced them.  I think the Twins should imagine that Yankees (since there is no way they would ever really do this) are the White Sux.  They ARE capable of beating them and if they treated the Yankees like they were the White Sux, maybe we could win one of these games.

Alright, time to end on a happy note and send everyone off with some last regular season game photos I took.  Hopefully, the Twins will turn things around and bring the ALCS back to Target Field.  It'd be a great birthday present for me.  Enjoy the pictures.

Slowey pitching with Valencia in the fore ground and Morales at first.
A Casilla in it's natural environment...ready to pounce.

Brian Fuentes taking his warm up tosses
Matt Capps
Morales at second

Brian Duensing
Also enjoy this video on mlb.com of Kevin Slowey, showing off the Viva La Stache t-shirt!

Monday, September 27, 2010

And The Winner Is...(My Votes Count)

A while back, Seth Stohs asked a bunch of us Twins bloggers to write up our picks for MVP, Top Pitchers and Rookie of the Year (as far as Twins only) for this season.  I was one of the fortune bloggers to get to give my input.  I've decided to share with everyone who it was that I voted for.

MVP  (first place vote gets 10pts, 2nd place 8 pts, and so on)

1. Delmon Young - Delmon really stepped up when Justin Morneau got hurt and was unable to contribute.  He even had a chance to be on the final vote for the All-Star ballot.
2. Joe Mauer - Isn't it obviousy why he's up on my list?  It's Joe Mauer.
3. Carl Pavano - Carl's been a great investment the Twins have had this season.
4. Danny Valencia - Viva Valencia.  This rookie should be in the running for Rookie of the Year.  He's blown all Twins fans away.  We've been looking for a starting third baseman and I think we've found him!
5. Jesse Crain - I will admit, I was on the "Crain Wreck" kick at the start of the year, but Jesse has really settled down and been a force to be reckoned with the second half of the year.
6. Francicso Liriano - Frankkkkie has been....well just like his nickname implies. Lights out.
7. Justin Morneau - Although his season was cut short, he was in the running for the AL MVP for the entire ride of the season he was involved in.
8. Jason Repko - I couldn't think of who else to pick, and I think that Repko still has stepped out as part of a fabulous defensive outfielder.  His cannon is enough to knock your clothes off as it goes flying by you. 

**Note, I did not mean to leave Jim Thome off my list.  He just slipped my mind.

Top Pitchers (This one was only 5 choices, point count still the same style)

1. Brian Duensing - He had to step up from the bullpen and has been a security blanket.  I'm never worried when it's his day to pitch.
2. Carl Pavano - Carl has been fabulous this year.  If my reasons above were not enough, Carl has been the ace that our rotation has revolved around.
3. Jesse Crain - Jesse's been out lights out guy in the bullpen.  When Matt Guerrier collapsed, Jesse Crain came through.
4. Francisco Liriano - Although he's had some shaky starts, he's also got us through so huge starts and helped us get to the post season (where we're headed).
5. Brian Fuentes - A great pick up late in the season.  I find myself excited to see him come into games.  He pitches like a true veteran and one who is able to shut guys down.  It feels like a force to be reckoned with.

Top Rookie (This one was only 3 choices, and points again are same style)

1. Danny Valencia - how could Danny Valencia not be on anyone's rookie of the year list?  I would have liked to have picked him for all of my 3 picks, but I had to pick some others too.
2. Matt Fox - one of the biggest games of the year, where we really needed a win, this rookie stepped up and showed all of us that it's unwise to have little faith in rookies.  I was afraid we were all going to get a little lost with this guy. (HAHA, had to.)
3. Luke Hughes - First MLB hit was a home run. Enough said.

Be sure to check out the full list of winners at Seth's blog here: www.sethspeaks.net.

Another note: If you're looking for some good amusement, be sure to check out the rookie hazing pictures on Pat Neshek's website.  On The Road With Pat Neshek  They are definitely worth looking at.  Any Valencia lovers out there...wowzah.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Just Like 163, Only Better!

Last night the Twins clinched the AL Central division with a huge win and with some help from the Oakland A's! The Twins rallied in the 7th inning and came back from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Indians 6-2.
Beer soaked...everything...at Target Field
Earlier in the day, the Twins had tweeted that they wouldn't be showing the White Sux game and that fans couldn't stick around after, they planned for no celebration after a possible clinch. A bunch of us figured what the hell, let's try and stick around.  The worse that can happen is they kick us out. We made our way over to the Twins dugout (where we could see the out of town scoreboard).  It wasn't long before they turned that and the main lights off. We thought for sure that meant we'd have to leave. Nope. We had plenty of people checking mlb.tv on their phones and calling people to find out the progress.
Drew capturing photos/video of the crowd still at the field
Two outs came in the 9th and when the final batter for the White Sux had two strikes the crowd began getting rowdy. A few of the players poked their heads out during the last inning, taking pictures and getting the crowd riled up. Once they knew they had the division, they kept us in suspense for another 15 minutes and then finally live sprung out from the dugout bringing beer and buckets full of liquid (I assume a sort of beer/champagne-water)...thankfully Jon Rauch missed me and my friends by about a foot, but Drew Butera didn't miss with the abundance of beer he drenched us with.  It was cold during the game, but adrenaline had us so riled up we didn't feel the cold anymore. Only excitement coursed through our systems and kept us wanting more beer to be thrown on us.
Drew drenching us in beer!
 It was incredible and I felt like I was part of the team for the night! I now officially know how the players feel when alcohol is thrown about and gets in your eyes, hair and all over your clothes. Do you care or feel any kind of pain? Nope! You feel the need for more!
yes it's a little blurry...but it's the "F@&king Fifth" when some of the guys do the most damage, according to Plouffe.
I'd have to say that being able to stick around and celebrate with the team with a few thousand people was 100 times better than game 163 last year. If I had the chance to do it again, I'd take the opportunity in a heartbeat!
Justin Morneau getting interviewed
I also made a tv appearance toward the end of the night! I tried ducking out of the way but was not quick enough! Oh well, guess it's just proof that I was there! Can I have seconds?
The team out celebrating with the fans!

Not A Normal Post

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Oh Oh It's Magic!

Currently, the Tigers and the White Sux are still playing and a wild pitch just scored the tying run...after tonight, the Twins' magic number will still be at 5 or if by the grace of God the White Sux lose, it'll be down to 4 (I'm hoping for the latter, since the Twins didn't get it done today).  I was happy to be away from the TV today and not watching the debacle that was called a Twins game.
Group photo of the staffers at Fan HQ with JJ Hardy

It's been a busy week and I've been slacking at writing more on here.  I've had a few Twins games and got to hang out with JJ Hardy within the past week (which was a blast!).  I worked at the Fan HQ signing at Ridgedale Mall where JJ was signing.  He is an absolute doll and I had the pleasure of making him laugh on several occasions.  The picture below is example 1 of making JJ laugh.
I have balls...Kari: "Look, Slowey is behind you!"
JJ Hardy and his sore hand...had around 300 autographs that he worked through!
  It has been so great watching the Twins magic number dwindle down quickly and a clinch of the division seem inevitable.  I know that realistically, the White Sux probably won't make a comeback, but they are pesky and an annoying team, so I don't want to count them out just yet.  I don't want to get too high on having the AL Central "in the bag" and have it blow up in my face.  Yes, I have faith that the Twins will win it, but I just can't count my chickens yet.

view from section 325 (thanks to @Loleets!
Now I will post some pictures from the last game I was at, which knocked another section off my list of visiting every section this year. (All I have left is the trapezoid section (which you can see in the picture above) and the cushy seats right behind home plate.)  Enjoy!
Ahh the all too familiar Cuddy swing
The should be Rookie of the Year!
The last thing that Jeff Manship laughed at: Drew Butera laughing
Ben Revere
Joe Mauer making sure everything is still intact.
Laser arm Repko
JJ at third base
This was when Drew got his double (somewhat of a fluke, but I don't care!)
I sure hope this man was drunk when getting this painted on his face...
TC is SO nice to his handlers...(the one on the right)
New things I got to see having club level seats
Matt Capps shutting down the A's

On another note: the last Baseball Unplugged of the year is on Wednesday night at Toby Keith's I Love This Bar from 7-9 pm!  If you're going, be sure and say hi!  I'll be there along with Michael Cuddyer, Ben Revere and Trevor Plouffe!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What Winning Feels Like

Carl Pornvano (Click his name to see the "Viva La Stache" tshirt that is a huge hit amongst Twins players!
Today, while the Twins rested and had an off day, the Chicago White Sux lost to the Detroit Tigers to put them 6 games back from the Twins, bringing the Twins' magic number down to just 17!  In the last 10 games, the Twins have went 8-2 and Chicago has went 7-3, which you would think would keep Chicago nipping at our heels.  The Twins have capitalized on the games that Chicago has lost and kept winning the games they needed to.

It's great to see the Twins have the 3rd best record in the American League (83-57), just behind the damn New York Yankees (87-53) and Tampa Bay Rays (84-55).  Now not to get anxious and jump ahead of ourselves...last year, the Twins were 6.5 games out of first place and ended up winning the division.  However, if the Twins continue to win series like they have been doing, I don't think they'll have anything to worry about when it comes to Chicago.

Lately guys like Matt Tolbert and JJ Hardy have been stepping up while some of our other guys (Valencia) have been out.  I think I am shocked every time Matt Tolbert has gotten clutch hits.
Nick Punto and Joe Nathan working out at Target Field
 Congratulations to Jim Thome for hitting his 584-586 home runs!  He's now tied for 8th place in the all-time list for home runs.  Can the Twins please sign him for next season now?  Thanks.  If you don't already have one, be sure to check out the "Thome is my Homey" t-shirts at Diamond Centric! 
Kevin Slowey back from the DL
Monday night hosted the second to last Baseball Unplugged of the season.  The last one will be at Toby Keith's I Love This Bar, date TBD.  This one had Michael Cuddyer, Matt Guerrier and Joe Nathan.  A classic Unplugged, but still fun nonetheless. 
Matt Guerrier and Joe Nathan
 I once again asked a question to the players: "If you could play any position, other than your current one, what would you play?"
Joe Nathan: "I'd play shortstop, since that's what I was originally drafted for."
Matt Guerrier: "I think I'd like to play in the outfield.  I see the balls that those guys don't catch out there.  Though, I'd probably drop them too."
Michael Cuddyer: "I'd like to pitch.  Since that's the only thing I haven't done yet."
Joe Nathan
Who knows, Cuddy, by the end of the season, you may get your wish!  Michael Cuddyer was also impressed with my record (while at Twins games) and said "I don't know which is more impressive...the fact that you're 25-5 (now 26-5) or that you've been to 30 games!"
Michael Cuddyer
Cuddyer, Guerrier, Nathan

Another upcoming player appearance is for JJ Hardy, at the Fan HQ in Minnetonka!  $10 for autographs.  More information is available HERE. If you're going, let me know!  I'll be there too!

Where's TC?

Be sure to check out Off the Mark's take on being an Usher in the first season at Target Field: HERE. It's quite entertaining and I'm sure I'm one of the people who do things that the ushers don't like.  Like sit in seats when I bought standing room only tickets. :)

Look, even Mickey is a Twins fan!