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.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Welcome to the Freak Show

Last night it felt like I was watching a three-ring circus.  Okay, so maybe not entirely like that, but it was an odd game.  First of all, the Twins' runs were not scored on hits.  Justin Verlander got the loss (which I'm thankful for), though he allowed 0 earned runs.  Denard Span got tossed quickly (though none of us know exactly WHY he was tossed, I for one don't believe it was necessarily that he said anything.  I think it was his action that led to him getting tossed.)  I was thankful that I was not at the game, because it was have been a score keepers nightmare!  Having to move Cuddy from RF to 1B and then out to CF, and then Young in the game to LF, Kubel from LF to RF and Brendan Harris from 3B to 1B. OY!  What a blunder.

Thankfully the inability to get hits with RISP did not bite us in the butt last night.  We capitalized on the errors the Tigers made and scored our runs on their mistakes.  The best entertainment of my night (besides putting the TC logo on beads for a bracelet and earrings I was making), was a tweet I received in response to saying this: "Wow with how slow Jim Thome runs, I think I could run faster than him. And I don't run fast!" The response from Bennyc50: "Jim Thome doesn't run, the earth moves beneath him."  I don't think I've laughed so hard.

Not much else to say  about the game last night, other than I'm glad we won.  I'm hoping we secure the series with a win tonight.

Here's the bracelet and earrings I did with TC logo's! (If anyone is interested in them, I will remake it, it is for sale.)

Monday, April 26, 2010

'Cause It's Broken

Apparently the Twins have broken brooms and can't figure out how to sweep a team.  I'm saddened with the fact that Kevin Slowey took another loss in yesterdays game.  Do I entirely blame him for the loss? Absolutely not; and this is not my adoration for Kevin talking, this is the fact that we left numerous guys STRANDED on base.  How many times were the bases loaded yesterday and no one could get that "clutch" hit? With runners in scoring position, the Twins were 1 for 11!

I am pleased that the Twins have now won 6 series in a row.  That's a great accomplishment and it's never been done in Twins' history.  As much as I would like them to win every game and sweep every team, I am realistic and know that it probably wouldn't happen (for any team really).  They're just reminding us that they are not perfect, but are pretty high up there!

I'll give you the 3 Stars of the Series before moving onto some highlights (and maybe some low-lights) of the KC Royals series.
3. Justin Morneau (he's been somewhat of a hero this who season so far. I'm liking his offensive numbers, his home runs, and his golden glove worthy sprawls)
2. Orlando Hudson (he made good defensive moves and had a couple good nights at the plate)
1. Joe Mauer (baby Jesus has just been himself and produced and played well each and every night he plays.  He went 5-6 on Saturday nights-game that would never end-bash.)

HIGHLIGHTS:
*JJ Hardy getting a homer on Friday night
*Jim Thome going deep Friday night as well (now you only owe us 54 more, Jim! Keep up the good work.  I think you're setting a decent pace.)
*J'Michael Cuddyer racking up a few more RBI's bringing the total up to 17 for the season so far!
*Carl Pavano not having a meltdown and holding his run give-a-way total to a mere 2!
*Justin Morneau going deep two games in a row. 1 game I asked for the homer, the other, he just knew I wanted it.
*JJ Hardy getting a hit while my mom and I were talking a bit of smack about him (it was out of love, I swear!)
*Orlando Hudson for selling that 3rd out at second base to end the brutal 12-inning 4 hour, 15 minute game.
*The Twins for coming back and winning the 4 hour marathon game on Saturday.
*Pat Neshek for being a bad-ass and coming out to save the day. (it was unfortunate that Gardy didn't use him more than just that one lovely inning on Saturday)
*Jon Rauch blowing the save (yes, I'm not a fan of this, but it made me laugh, plus the Twins won, so no one get their panties in a bunch.)
*The Twins running Gil Meche out by the 4th inning on Friday's game.
*Pat Neshek for still having a 0.00 ERA.
*The Crain-wreck for not having a melt-down and giving up oodles of runs against us.
*The Twins for being the Twins and being so much fun to watch.
*Winning 6 Series in a row!

LOWLIGHTS:
*1 for 11 with RISP
*1 for 13 with RISP
*Jim Thome only having hit 3 home runs this season
*12 inning games
*Games that last 4 hours and 15 minutes
*Leaving the bases loaded.
*Jon Rauch blowing the save and our lead.
*Bert and Dick continuing to jinx players with their "calls".
*Bert's "calls". (they ALWAYS result in the player getting out.)
*Losing yesterday
*Kevin Slowey getting the loss
*Being unable to sweep teams that we should be able to DOMINATE.
*Being told I spelled a player on another team's name wrong (I flopped two letters around) and being told it was a "major fail".
*Never sweeping a team (so far).

Off day today...and Detroit Tigers Tuesday - Thursday!

Meanwhile, this is totally off the subject of my blog, but I have a prayer request (for those who pray).  A friend of mine was shot and killed when her's and her husband's house got broken into.  I am also good friends with Nick (the husband)'s sister Emily.  Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers! This is such a terrible tragedy.  If you want to read about the tragedy, GO HERE.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Couldn't Pull the Trigger

So the Twins couldn't yet again pull off a series sweep of a team.  This time the team that lucked out and seemed to capitalize on this was Cleveland. For some reason the Twins just couldn't pull the trigger and get anything done yesterday.  I'm not going to lie and say that I was a champ and sat through that game (listening mainly, watching only a little bit)...I didn't. I went home for lunch, watched about a half hour of the ass whopping and then decided that a nap was more enjoyable to the game.  When I went back to work (when the Indians had the bases loaded with no outs), the Twins did not go back on the radio.  I left it up to Twitter to tell me the final score (and when runs were scored in general).  It was hard to look at the box score and see that the Twins only had 4 hits in the entire game, two coming from Justin, one from Drew Butera (his first MLB hit! So congrats Drew!!) and one from Denard.  From our offense I would have expected a bit more.  Is that being greedy or having too high of expectations?  No, I don't think it is.  I think the Twins have set these expectations that every one is placing on them.  They are excelling more than most would have thought possible.
 
I still love you Timmy! (Scott Baker)

Wednesday night however was a different story.  Sure they only had two more hits than yesterday's game, but Wednesday night their walks seem to haunt a little bit more and hit the Indians where it counted.  You don't necessarily need an abundance of hits, you just need the clutch hits, the run scoring hits (or walks) to win the games.

As much as I loved J'Michael Cuddyer getting a home run to give the Twins a 4-0 lead (at that time), I didn't like that he was in the lineup that my fantasy team was playing this week.  With Kubel hitting poorly right now (a mere .180 after Thursday's game) and being on my team.  Currently I'm sitting at the very bottom of 10 teams in the standings.  Kubel's ass is going on the bench now for a while, and I'm going to give someone else the opportunity to raise some hell, since he can't do it.  Thankfully, Colby Rasmus was a bad ass the same night as Cuddy went deep.  Rasmus went deep twice in the game, so that helped the blow I took from Cuddy.
I'm glad that the Twins already had the series win in the bag before Thursday's game.  It marked the first time that the Twins have won 5 series in a row.  This year is really starting to become the year of firsts (obviously with the new field that opens up a lot more firsts).  What else will the Twins be able to make a "first" of?
In honor of them winning yet another series, I present:
The 3 Stars of the Series:
3. Justin Morneau (Justin kind of has sat under the radar in these few games.  He's gotten some clutch hits that we've needed and seems to be one of the guys that's been quite consistent with getting hits back to back games.)
2. Francisco Liriano (Fran exceeded all of my expectations of how he might pitch and went 8 innings allowing no runs.  I'm not the biggest fan of his, but I will give him credit.  He pitched a great game and got out of jambs that could've have been quite lethal.)
1. Kevin Slowey (am I partial by selecting Kevin as the number 1 star? Probably a little, since I love him so much, but I don't care!  Kevin pitched an outstanding 8 innings only allowing 1 run.  I think Gardy should've brought him out for the 9th, but at 97 pitches he turned it over to Brian Duensing.)

It sounds like the series this weekend against the Royals could be difficult to play due to rain threatening.  I won't be able to catch tonight's game if played (due to a conflict that will keep me away from TV and radio until probably around 10pm).  I will however be checking Twitter and ESPN for constant updates about the games' progress!  I think Carl Pavano has what it takes to dominate the Royals.  Thankfully this road trip will keep the Twins in our time zone (or ahead of us) so that no one has to stay up until late in the night just to catch the full game.  Plus they will be facing division rivals, which will give them a chance at gaining more of a lead in the AL Central Division.  I look forward to seeing how many games they can inch ahead.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rockin' The Slow Ride

Last night marked game #4 that I have been at.  I am loving the new stadium, I am in full baseball mode and it's great!  The Twins having such a hot game right now makes it that much better!  If our team was like...Baltimore (who are 2-13 this season so far) I might not be flying as high on Cloud 9 as I am.  Then again, the fact that the Twins have by far THE best looking team in MLB.  If you want to try and argue with me, go right ahead and try.  I'm not backing down on that statement though.

How could last night's game get any better? Watching Cleveland have a meltdown (errors on the field and just all over bad fielding), Kevin Slowey rocking their socks off and pitching 8 innings with only 1 earned run (I felt he should have came back out for the 9th and got the complete game, but sadly Gardy didn't think on the same note as I did!), I didn't have to see Jon Rauch pitch (which I've seen him every other game I've been at), did I mention Kevin Slowey was pitching?

Well my friends and I were all rocking Slowey shirts (jersey for me).  We were representing the Kevin Slowey Fan Club (sorry other Slowey fans, I am the President and CEO of that club.) which we have unofficially taken upon ourselves to start.  Why not, right?  We probably were some of the loudest people at the game (sure we were sitting up where our noses could have bled and the air was much lighter).  We probably even were some of THOSE fans that other people hate because they cheer so much.  But why not cheer at a baseball game? That's why we are there!!  Plus now that we are outdoors, you have to cheer louder to be heard.
We had seats in section 305, in the VERY last row of the 300-level.  What's that view look like, you ask? See here:
It's not as bad as it would sound if I were just to tell you that we were in the very last row, close to the furthest away you can get from the field/players, but it was really great.  Sure I couldn't get the kind of pictures of the players that I like to get, but it was a beautiful view and you could see EVERYTHING (with the exception of the small foul territory in right field).
It was such a perfect night for outdoor baseball.  This is what outdoor baseball should always be like.  The sky was beautiful, the game was fabulous and we had a blast.  I honestly don't think I could have gotten a better game to go to.  I'm hoping that Slowey and Co. prove me wrong and show me something (at a later game) even more outstanding.

Some have talked about whether or not the Twins have faced a challenging team yet this season (and that maybe they are doing so well because they are facing the less difficult teams).  I don't really think that this is the case.  I think any team (minus Baltimore perhaps) could be a competitor.  It is only April still.  Things can change, and they can change quickly.  I'm ready for a season of more firsts for the Twins!

So far I feel like I have been great luck (for the games I have been at).  I have an undefeated record of 4-0, so I feel like I'm on a good roll.  I guess the Yankees game in May will determine my true "luck".  I'm hoping and praying my luck continues with the team...and if so, I really think that the Twins should fuel my luck and have me at ALL the Twins home games (heck, even road games) so that they can continue to be on FIRE!  Am I really this cocky and think that I am the only good luck charm?  Maybe...I guess I won't divulge my true nature.  You can take it however you want.

Now enjoy some more pictures from the game (from the nose bleed seats).  Tonight, watch some Twins baseball and see Liriano take the mound.

Denard thanking Jesus for allowing him to get on base
The beautiful sunset view we had

Minnie and Paul still in the sunlight
Double vision
Twilight at Target Field
Katie and I with the fence behind us
Minnie and Paul lighting up with the words "Twins" and "Win"!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Well Joe...They Say It's Your Birthday

Well first I'd like to start off by saying Happy Birthday to Joe Mauer, who turns 27 today.  Happy Birthday Joe.

Okay, on to other Twins goodies.  First, is anyone else as happy as I am that we have won 4 series in a row now?  This is the first time that the Twins have done this!  I think it's an excellent start to an exceptional season!  Are there some quirks and kinks they still need to work out?  Obviously there is after the performance they put on yesterday when they lost miserably to the KC Royals.  With the exception of the game yesterday, I think the Twins have handled all these teams really well.  Now the big quest this year will be beating the Yankees in May.  I think they have it in them to do!

Well Saturday I got to explore Target Field some more.  I got to show my parents and my boyfriend the field for the first time.  I felt like a tour guide, and I really don't know the field all that well yet, but I still knew more than them.  I think they all liked it and had a blast at the game.  My mom kept telling people like Thome, Justin and others to hit a ball to us!  (We were in section 140...which is in FOUL TERRITORY).  I had to constantly remind her that they ball would be foul if they did hit it to us.
I did ask Jim Thome to get a home run, right before he hit the ball into the trees.  It made me like Jim Thome a bit more.  I've noticed that no matter how many games we get into the season (and the new field) the concourses and the main Pro Shop do not seem to get any less busy.  Hopefully that'll change over the season because quite frankly, it's hard to get around the concourses before the game.

Let's move on now to the 3 Stars of the Series (Against KC Royals):
3. Alex Burnett (he pitched great in yesterdays game. He kept us in the game not allowing any runs.)
2. Jim Thome (loved watching his 2-run blast Saturday!)
1. Birthday boy Joe Mauer (He's easy look over just because it's unusual when he does poorly. Joe didn't though...he played well and had good numbers at the plate over the whole series.)

 Kevin Slowey warming up on the field Saturday

 Brian Duensing


Last night I had the privilege of going to the first Baseball Unplugged of the season (which I learned that this year there will be a total of 6 of them, rather than the usual 4).  It was Drew Butera, Delmon Young and Michael Cuddyer.  I hadn't ever met Drew or Delmon so I figured why not?!  Here are some highlights from the night:

*Delmon Young looks MUCH better in person and in street clothes than he does on TV (or at games) in his uniform.
 *Drew Butera looks A LOT like his dad (who was sitting near him at the event.) (SIDE NOTE: Drew can walk around a huge crowd of people and no one questions if he's a baseball player. He did this and no one bothered him.  I wonder if Joe Mauer envies him.)

*None of these three players wear sunscreen...or as they called it "sun tan lotion".  (A little girl asked them what SPF they wear.)

*Because of Cuddy's response to the SPF question, I will now call him J'Michael Cuddyer for more reasons than just the "He needs a J name".  He said he wanted to look like that guy (pointing at Delmon Young) so he doesn't wear an "sun tan lotion".

*I have WAY too many J'Michael Cuddyer autographs (if anyone has something they want him to sign...find a way to get it to me and I'll get it signed for ya!)

*Delmon Young and Drew Butera are both single...and unattached to a girlfriend.

*Drew Butera liked watching the Mets/Cardinals game on TV last night.

*Drew Butera is HOT in person.

*J'Michael Cuddyer liked his skittles he got last year from Katie!

*J'Michael likes wearing hats.
*The host from the event (not Cuddy) must recognize me cause he walked past me twice (while I had my hand up to ask a question) and never let me ask my question to Drew.

*I like Baseball Unplugged.  It's entertaining and fun to see the guys in street clothes.

Here's a little extra Unplugged love for those who haven't seen it yet.  Last year I asked J'Michael Cuddyer to do a magic trick for me (using cards).  Watch the video (link below) to see his magic trick and see if you can figure out how he did it!  Enjoy!

Cuddy the Magician

Friday, April 16, 2010

Don't Wobble Too Much Weeble

On a day in baseball where you can get confused if you don't know players on a team (since everyone wears number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson) it was great to see the Twins power past the Red Sox and take the series, not only with a win, but blanking the Red Sox with 0 runs!

Did you know the last time they won three series at the start of a season was 1987? (Thanks to Joe Christensen from the Star Tribune, because I didn't know this either!) 1987 was one of the 2 years (in my lifetime) that the Twins WON the World Series?  Anyone else see our 7-3 stars as a good omen?  I sure hope that's what it is.

After Liriano was taken out, I was worried when I saw Jose Mijiares take the mound.  His "cataracts" are really starting to bother me when he goes out onto the mound to pitch.  The man is having "blurry" vision and claims it's because of cataracts.  Did you know that cataracts can be caused by corticosteroids (among other things)? Not sure what those are...click on it to read about it.  My thoughts are this: Why doesn't Mijares get surgery NOW on his cataracts rather than wait until the end of the season to get it done.  This kind of surgery is not a season-ending surgery.  I'd rather have him take care of this obvious problem rather than have it haunt us down the line when games are really important.

I'm really glad that Justin and Nicky Punto were finally able to pull the sticks from their butts and get some hits yesterday!  I begged, while listening to the game on the radio, for Justin to get a hit after they intentionally walked Joe Mauer.  It's nice to see that he made the Red Sox pay for walking our MVP!  I was also incredibly impressed by Jason Kubel's diving catch to snag a possible hit from the Sox.  It looked like his fridge (that he pulls behind him, or so it looks like it) knocked him over just in time for him to grab the ball.  Did you miss that catch?  You need to check it out!  HERE
Here are a couple pictures showing the fantastic catch as well!


Since they won this series as well, here are the 3 Stars of the Series!
3. Denard Span (he had 4 walks on Wednesday, a couple on Monday and still managed to get some hits during the series.)
2. Michael Cuddyer (Cuddy was the second person to hit a home run in Target Field, and his home run was superb!  He also has had decent outings over the series.)
1. Jason Kubel (Not only does this man make diving saves to catch a ball, but he bashes balls out of the park (1 HR, 1st in TF) and also just gets on base.)

Tomorrow, Game 2 (technically 3 including the second of the two exhibition games played at Target Field that I was at) for me at Target Field!  I'll be slumming it again in section 140, so no pictures are promised of the players at least.  I'll try to capture some other fun sites at Target Field.  Who knows, I may go early enough to check out batting practice for the Twins.  It'd be nice to see batting practice in the new park (since I missed it at opener).  If anyone else is going to the game, let me know!

Shameless plug of the day:  Know anyone who would love a pair of earrings that are baseball/Twins related?  Or a baseball bracelet to wear on game days?  Let me know...I make jewelry!  Here's a couple pictures of the ones I've done so far.
Other shameless plug of the day:
Make sure to join us all for the next Twins Centric Blogger/Tweet Up Viewing Party!  Here are the details!
Saturday, May 15, 2010
11:30 am
Major's Sports Cafe - Bloomington, MN
8301 Normandale Blvd

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Oh What A Crain-Wreck!

I'm really beginning to think that Gardy needs to start toughening up with the veterans.  For example, with Justin Morneau, Nick Punto, Michael Cuddyer.  He needs to stop being so soft with them and letting them blow some opportunities right out of the water.  Justin was 1 for 8 going up against Okajima before today...now he's 1 for 9.  Gardy had options on his bench to substitute for Justin.  He could have had Thome come in (who yes, would not be quite as good as Justin at first, but can play first), he could have had Brendan Harris come in (who can play first) or he could have still had Thome pinch hit, and then give up the DH after the inning, putting Kubel in the outfield and Cuddy at first.  Yet, Justin stayed in the game, doing nothing more than Nick Punto could do.

I remembered today why I don't like Jesse Crain.  He has horrible meltdowns and screws games over for us.  Sure he has some great outings, but his meltdowns are incredibly bad!  Those 3 runs he gave up, lost us the game.  Yes I know that Slowey (sadly) got credited with the loss, but I think the Crain-wreck should really get the loss.

I think Kevin Slowey had some disadvantages today working against him.  I don't think that he showed us his best outing by any means, but I think the weather played a big part in his pitching.  Anyone else remember the game last year where it got called in the 5th inning due to rain, and he got credited with the loss?  I think he's got bad luck when it comes to games where it rains.  I still love him even though he lost today.  I love that he wore the Navy jerseys today!  They all just look SO sharp in those jerseys...I love it.  I've decided that every time Kevin is pitching, regardless if I have to work, I will wear my Slowey (navy) jersey while the game is on.  I think this will help bring him more luck. (yes, I know I'm crazy, but I like to think it's just me being a superstitious fan)

My Twins (attended games) record is 2-0 (one was an exhibition game) while in attendance at the new Target Field.  Without me there, the Twins are 0-1.  Hopefully tomorrow will change that, but I'd still like to keep my winning record going as well on Saturday when I'll be at the game again, and then Tuesday as well.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Perfect Day

What could Twins fans ask for yesterday that we didn't already get?  It was a gorgeous day outside, a little breezy and sometimes a little cloudy, but there was not a drop of rain in sight the whole day.  For a day that all the weather channels were predicting a 30-50% chance of rain, I was sure yesterday was going to be the day I was going to miss the Dome for the first time.  Thankfully, I was wrong and so were the weather people!

Downtown was a zoo...there were crowds of people lining the streets, lining the outside concourses of the new stadium and filling the concourses to the brim on the inside.  For any that were at the exhibition games and not at yesterdays game...the concourses were worse yesterday!  Did I expect it to be a slow day at Target Field, absolutely not!
Katie and I were probably two of the last people down to Target Field yesterday.  I was surprised by how few of people were on the Light Rail with us (it didn't get more full until we were at the Metrodome station).  We got all the junk that AT&T and Target were giving out and went to the gate to go into the field.
Katie and I were not fortunate when we got our tickets to get two seats next to each other.  We could only find single tickets which left me in section 140, and Katie in section 109.  Katie 1, me -100.  If you ever have an opportunity to sit in section 140...if it's one of the first 10 seats of a row (seats 1-10), don't bother.  The foul pole blocks a lot of your view of the infield, the rows do not sit much more higher than the cheap seats in the dome do, so it's hard to see over people in front of you (especially if you are like me and are shorter).  Plus, which I kind of figured, anything from Left-Center over to the foul line in right field, you can't see.  Michael Cuddyer was right in front of me, and I could not see him if I wanted to.
 view from Section 140

Although I would like to try some of the cuisine at Target Field, I doubt I will.  I was in line to get a burger in fries when I saw the price for both was $9.25. $9.25! I can go to a sit down restaurant for that price...and get a soda to go along with my food.  I refused to pay that much.  I settled on just getting fries, which still set me back $4.50.  Last year at the Metrodome, I could have paid $4.75 and got a Dome dog and chips.  I am shocked by how much they hiked the prices in food this year.  I guess they have to make money somewhere.  Sure they kept ticket prices reasonable, they just raised the cost of food.

It was a beautiful opening ceremony!  I loved watching the large flag displayed on the field, the jets flying overhead, along with the fireworks (which were hard to see in daylight).
It was also great to see the whole roster out on the field with the Opening Day Starters...especially Joe Nathan!  I realized how much I already miss him, and we're only a little over a week into the season.  It's going to be a LONG season without him.
I'm not gonna lie, when Kubel hit his home run in the 7th inning, I had told Kubel how great his two singles (though the first one was a long single that could've been a double with a faster runner) were great, I wanted something GREATER! (I do have Katie as my witness to me saying this.)  The next pitch he got, flew out of the park into the right field.  Kubel, you are welcome for me telling you to be the first person to hit a home run in Target Field!  Glad it could be you...for my cousin's sake.

Alright, time for a few more pictures from me.  (Sorry for no posts over the weekend, had no time to blog, but Kubel would have certainly gotten a star for helping us win the game on Saturday).  Enjoy the pictures!
flags in left field
view from Katie's seat (which also became my seat after the 3rd inning)
Cuddy hitting the ball
Justin pretending to be a pitcher
Carl Pavano with Nicky Punto in the background (I figured Karlee would like this picture!)
Carl
Rod Carew statue
Kirby statue (my late grandparents were both at this game in the '91 World Series that this statue is from.)