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.

Monday, April 25, 2011

It's Raining Twins

The first rain postponed game of the season took its toll on Friday night. I was a little bummed to be sitting at the stadium and hearing the announcement that it would be played at a later date. Sure, I would have had rain dripping on me from the overhang above the first level, but I didn’t care. I was ready to sit through any conditions Mother Nature could throw our way.

Saturday was quite possible (and probably) the Twins’ best game of the season. They showed they are capable of hitting the ball and scoring runs. It was good to finally see their bats come alive. I did start to get worried that they would use up all the hits they had in them Saturday and have nothing left in the tank on Sunday. Thankfully that wasn’t the case.

All of the Twins players, minus Cuddyer, had at least one hit in Saturday’s matinee game. Several of them got on base with walks as well. Drew Butera is lucky that Phil Cuzzi wasn’t an umpire in the game. His hit (1 for 4) dropped in right where Joe Mauer’s hit dropped in the playoff game that was called foul. Danny Valencia was the sole Twins player with a home run in the game. I guess if you’re going to only go 1 for 4, I guess you gotta make it count! It was wonderful seeing Nathan come in (I joked how he really couldn’t screw up the huge lead the Twins had going into the 9th). He got two players to strike out and then the other out with a pop up. It was refreshing to see him pitch well and I really hope that builds up his confidence for future outings.

Baker and Blackburn warming up on Sunday
 Thankfully on Sunday, the weather was a lot warmer than the previous two days. I even managed to get a little sun burn. I didn’t mind it however. I would prefer to sit in the hot sun and get a little sun burn than be freezing (like on Saturday) where a blanket and jacket didn’t keep me warm enough in the shade. The game had me nervous in parts of it. Sure we took the lead initially, but it didn’t last too long when Cleveland took a one run lead in the 4th.

I was sitting close enough to the almost home run to be able to tell that the ball hit off of the corner of the limestone and shouldn’t have been a home run. I was happy to see the call be reviewed and then later over turned and ruled a double instead. It helped keep the Twins in the game and probably helped keep morale up as well. I also was close enough to see Jim Thome almost smash two balls out of the park. It was crazy how well they carried and then just died right before they would’ve gone out. His first hit was a super long single. It was good to see Thome realize that his second hit wasn’t going out of the park and turn that hit into a double.
Happy Easter from Target Field

I had fun with taking pictures at the park over the three (well almost three) games. I got a little creative (as you can see with the pictures in this entry) with them, but also took some regular pictures. Make sure to follow me on Twitter to see my instagram pics I upload during games. (or follow me on Instagram too at Bitzy59).

Tomorrow marks my (technically) 9th game, 8 that they played. I’m hoping the rain stays away and allows us to get the game in. I really don’t want to have to worry about two make up games, one is enough.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

No, I Will Not Make Out With You!

Photo courtesy of Sarah Gault
There seems to be a lot of illness (flu mainly) going around the clubhouse.  First, Mr. Birthday Man himself, Joe Mauer, then his BFF Justin  Morneau and now the latest? Delmon Young.  They all need to stop making out with each other (or something) and get healthy already!  I don't like key guys like them out of the line up.  It has been good to see the B-Squad (sometimes even C-Squad) line up kick some ass and take names like they have been doing the past couple games.  I just hope it's something that continues.

The Twins have finally put together a winning streak, and will hopefully continue that streak tonight against Baltimore again.  It's been tough this season to be a fan.  Sure there have been years like this in their past, but for some reason, it feels tougher to deal with this year.  Maybe it's the great season they had last year and how much I wanted to see a repeat (well minus the playoffs) year.  I am not counting the Twins out by any means.  I know it can be done.

Special shout out today since it is Joe Mauer's birthday!  Man Muscles (side note, make sure to click on Man Muscles. Babes Love Baseball did a rocking interview with the birthday boy catcher!) turned the big 28 today!  Happy Birthday, Joe!  I even baked you a cake cupcakes for you.  I hope Scott Baker delivered them to you.

Maybe this would be a more appropriate birthday cake however...
Sick M&M cake
I was so excited to see Drew Butera have a huge night at the plate last night.  He drove in a couple runs and had a couple key hits.  For all the negative talk about him, it's nice to see him show that he can hit the ball and drive in runners.  I'm sure he'll get better.  It takes practice and that's what he surely is going to get with Joe Mauer on the DL right now.  Be sure also to check out a great shirt my buddy is thinking of making for Drew.

For those Drew fans: you can meet him at Fan HQ this coming Saturday (Ridgedale Mall) from 6:00-7:15!  Autographs are free! Stop by and say hi!

Speaking of the upcoming weekend, the Twins will be back in town (and I'll be at the weekend series) against Cleveland.  More to come after this current series vs. Baltimore.  I'm keeping the faith in the team that they'll start to show signs of life in their bats (and the relief pitching).  It can't hurt, right?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Stating the Obvious

It's been tough to watch the Twins lately, to say the least.  They aren't winning series, they are splitting or losing series.  It's starting to feel like we're cheering for a team like the Orioles (last year).  I'm tired of it.  I still love my team, but I would really like to start watching the win.

The Royals series was a fun, short series, but one we should have won.  Tuesday night was a great game.  Our bats came alive and we actually were able to piece together some hits and runs.  It was nice to finally see the bats come alive (it's still not happening every game).  Even on Wednesday, I thought we'd have a chance.  Heck, we managed to score first and score in the first inning.  That was the first time we have done that all season.  The woes came from our starting pitcher, when Liriano had his 4th inning meltdown and let the Royals take the lead.  It didn't stop there.  The Twins put up a good rally, but our bullpen failed to keep us within distance in the game.
I've decided enough is enough.  The Twins (even though they are now minus Joe Mauer due to a viral infection) need to step up and start playing like the great team they were last season.  Being a team that is second from the bottom in the worst record category, something has gotta change.

Tuesday night had another highlight.  I found out my coworker was going to the game as well, and that he was going to be  "that guy" who proposes to his girlfriend up on the big screen during the kiss cam.  I think it's funny that I knew someone up on that.  I however have never been a fan of that.  It's very unoriginal and really, why do you want 38,000 other people staring at you while you pop the question (or have to answer the question).  To each their own, but it's really not for me!

She did say 'yes'.

Justin and Liriano are auditioning for Dancing With the Stars.
 So far, this road trip to Tampa has been quite honestly, depressing.  It's been tough to watch the games.  I was very happy with how Carl Pavano pitched and thought we actually were going to win Thursday night's game.  We were up 2-0 with our closer, Joe Nathan coming into the game.  Sadly, he allowed 2 runs to the Rays and it was a tie game.  The Twins even mustered up another run to take the lead in the 10th.  Matt Capps came in this time and instead of the Rays tying the game...he let Jhonny Damon hit a 2-run home run that allowed the Rays to win.  It was depressing and I feel bad for Carl.  He deserved the win.

On a happier note, Drew Butera (for those who are fans) is going to be signing FREE autographs at Fan HQ in Ridgedale Mall on Saturday April 23rd from 6-7:15pm.  ALSO, the first Baseball Unplugged of the year is going to be on Easter Sunday featuring Joe Nathan, Brian Duensing and of course Michael Cuddyer. (April 24th from 6-7:30pm at Hubert's Downtown).  Hope to see some of you at one of these different events!  I'll keep everyone posted about different signings as I hear about them.

Here's to the Twins winning tomorrow against the Rays.  It's time to get back in the positive mood and be hopeful they can actually win this!

Monday, April 11, 2011

8th Inning Wonder Boy - Opening Weekend

This was NOT the 8th inning...
It's tough to be a strong team offensively when your star player is not getting any hits until the 8th inning of all three of the games during the home stand.  I kept track (via keeping score) and Joe Mauer got a base hit in all three games vs. Oakland during the 8th inning.  Odd, right? I know, the hits will come for him and for the rest of them team, we just have to give it time.  Quite honestly though, I don't like watching them lose, especially when I'm at the game!
Thanks to Shawn Lavelle for taking this great shot of the fly over!
 I was very thankful Friday, that the Twins followed the unspoken rule about a Team's Home Opener. (The home team must win the opener.)  It was a great day outside, weather was lovely and the sky was blue.  I met up with a few other fellow bloggers/twitter folks at the stadium (a new face and a few I already have met!)  It was funny because Jacquie (@Minnie_Jax) and I were sitting in the same section (that was our first time meeting).
I was quite happy with the seats we had and extremely happy to be back at Target Field watching baseball.  I didn't realize how much I missed it until I was there.  I was like a kid in a candy store when I saw the players on the field for batting practice.

Nathan warming up

Slowey playing catch

I was sad to learn of Slowey going on the DL, but I understand the Twins wanting to put him on there so that they are able to get additional help in the meanwhile, until he is healed and able to pitch.  I think the problem that caused this is that he went from being a starting pitcher to a pitcher Gardy wants to use back-to-back-to-back.  It's got to be difficult on his arm and surely something that he's not used to.  I think there should at least be a little transition time before he's used so regularly out of the bullpen.  There are plenty of other guys we can use. (I know some times that is easier said that done and that pitchers have bad outings).

Saturday was another fun day filled with Twins baseball.  That morning, I got to work at Fan HQ for the Scott Baker signing and even sit at the table with him (handing him pens and keeping people moving through the autograph line).  I had such a blast sitting there with him.  Didn't care to be in almost EVERY picture from the event, but it was worth it.  I asked him about why he goes by Scott instead of his real first name of Timothy and he said "that's just what my parents always called me [Scott].  My wife actually goes by her middle name too."  I thought that was pretty interesting.
I also talked to him about the Faith and Family nights the Twins used to do at the Metrodome with KTIS.  On these nights, a few Twins players would give their testimony and then there was a post-game concert from a Christian artist (Matthew West and Jars of Clay were ones I went to).  It was a lot of fun both years that I went.  I learned that Baker didn't speak at the one with Jars of Clay because he was the starting pitcher the next day.  He told me he was going to talk to the team Chaplin about why they haven't done one since the new move. (Which we both figured was probably because they don't want the field to get ruined with the stage.)

one of the cuter pictures I'm in with Baker (photo courtesy of Fan HQ)
I also made cupcakes for the Scott Baker signing at Fan HQ (I was jokingly told I had to make "Baked goods for Baker" to sit a the table.  I followed through with it for fun.)  I brought Red Velvet cupcakes and offered one to Baker if he wanted one.  He did end up taking one before he left and then had 4 other cupcakes packaged up to take with him.  He said "I'll take these to the clubhouse.  They'll get ate right up!"  I'm really quite curious to know who had one of the cupcakes I made...it makes me really excited, but nervous at the same time for the Twins players to be eating cupcakes that I made!
Baker, me and the home made cupcakes (yes, they have TC's and Twins written on them)!
I sure hope they liked the cupcakes (whoever got them!).  I know Michael Cuddyer didn't get one.  He tweeted me back after I asked him if he had one.  Guess I'll have to make more next time!

Saturday night was also full of Twins, but this time baseball.  It was a good game, other than the fact that we couldn't manage to get any hits to save our lives.  It was quite sad that we managed to lose that game 1-0 on an unearned run (Casilla error).  I like most people am fed up with Casilla's poor defense at short stop.  I quite honestly would like to see Casilla at second and have Gardy put Nishioka at SS (of course when he's healthy again).
Looks like Kevin Slowey is licking his lips...maybe he had a cupcake!
Luke Hughes must think Minnesota is a lot colder than Australia.
The new scoreboard in right-center field is pretty nice looking.  It's not quite as big as the main scoreboard, but it does help those who can't see the other one.  It's kind of amusing too, because during players at bats, it shows random tidbits about the player (see below).  Some are better than others.

The  new scoreboard in full view...along with the Twins tower
Sunday was another Twins filled day.  The offense seemed quite lack luster again, with the exception of Justin Morneau.  He went 3-4 Sunday and got some good contact on the ball.  It's good to see Justin hitting the ball again (heck it's good just to see him out on the field playing).  The best part about Sunday was another Target Field proposal.

This proposal however (the first of the season) wasn't quite the same as most of them.  The couple up on the screen kissed when they initially were shown and then the message appeared on the screen.  The camera sat on the couple waiting for the man to give the ring to the woman.  The couple just kept staring at the camera...soon the woman mouths "That's not us." and the camera quickly scans the crowd trying to find the actual couple.  This may be better than seeing people on the Kiss Cam say "that's my sister".  A friend of mine said that he ran into the couple (the wrong one) and they've been married for 4 years.  OOPS!

Sunday also marked a day where I got to watch a home run sail over the center field wall (where the trees used to be).  Thome marked his career 590th home run!  I sure hope I'm there to witness 600 this year!  Congrats to Jim Thome!

Tomorrow marks another game for me.  I won't catch a break until the last Wednesday of the month (other than the road games.)  I however am by no means complaining about going to Twins games.  I LOVE every minute of it, win or lose. (I hope it changes soon to more winning than losing however.)

I'm sure I'll have more pictures after these games and I'll try to recap each series, or more.  Welcome back to baseball season everyone!

Home Opener view of Target Field (thanks to Shawn Lavelle for use of this photo too!)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fighting The Demons

Tonight is the second game of a four game series in New York.  Being a Twins fan and knowing their history against the Yankees, it's hard to be optimistic about the Twins winning any games.  I however am going to do my best, at least tonight, to stay positive about their chances.  I mean, after all, it's CC Sabathia we're facing.  We have beat CC before (when he was with the Indians), so why can't we do it now that he's a Yankee player?

Last night, the Twins kept pace with the Yankees.  I'll even overlook the fact that Timmy (Baker) gave up 2 home runs after hitting one batter, and walking another.  He recovered nicely after that and really settled into the game.  Our bullpen even kept us in the game.  I nearly wanted to look away from the TV when Dusty Hughes came in to pitch.  After seeing how he performed in Spring Training, it's hard to be optimistic about him.  If only the Twins bats could light up and start making things happen.

I think Justin's swing is just a matter of time before it starts lighting balls up and sending them over the fences.  There will be some adjusting time for him, given the fact that he's coming off the bench and his concussion.  I can't imagine that would be an easy task to overcome.

Starting this Friday, the Twins are finally opening at home!  I am more than excited for Opening Weekend.  I will be at all three games in the series and will certainly be taking as many pictures as I can.  This year, the pictures won't be as exciting since things aren't really "new" anymore, but I'm sure there are always new things to find at that ballpark.  I shall be on a mission to find them.

Also this Saturday, Scott Baker will be at Fan HQ in Ridgedale Mall from 11-12:30 signing autographs, and taking pictures (12:15-12:30).  Come out and meet him and say hi to me! (I'll be the one sitting at the table with him, most likely!)

Here's to winning tonight: (insert drink that I am toasting). CHEERS!