Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The View from 101--Part II

Welcome to the second installment in this six part series in which the three writers of TKOT travel to downtown Minneapolis to take in a Twins game as part of a ticket package that we purchased. As usual, we see a lot of things worth mentioning (both sports related and not) and feel it is our duty to pass along this valuable information on to our readers. So here’s what went down at Monday night’s game against the Boston Red Sox.

Well, I have to start with a major complaint. Traffic in the Twin Cities metro area has gotten out of control. It took Dogg and me an absurd amount of time to get to the Dome because of all of the backups due to construction. I know the 35W bridge collapse was an unforeseen dilemma, but is this really the best that the Minnesota Department of Transportation could do? When planning all of these construction projects at the same time, didn’t someone on staff raise their hand in a meeting and say “Hey, maybe we should stagger these a little so people can actually travel through the area”? It is simply impossible to drive more than 5-10 minutes on any major freeway in the Twin Cities area without hitting some sort of congestion due to construction.

That said, we entered the Metrodome with two outs in the bottom of the first because of the aforementioned traffic issues and because ESPN has an East Coast bias and moved the time of the game up to 6:10. Lucky for us we didn’t miss much, just an RBI single by Ortiz and a two-run homer by Ramirez in the top of the first and an RBI double by Morneau in the bottom half. There was a pretty big crowd at the Big Inflatable Toilet (copyright 93x), especially for a Monday night game. I’m not sure if this had more to do with the national TV thing or the fact that we have a first place ballclub on our hands here. Either way, it was nice to see some support for the Twins.

Rant: Is it even remotely possible for casual Twins fans to cheer for anyone other than Joe Mauer? We get it, he’s from St. Paul and now he plays for the Twins and you all think he’s god. I’m just getting really tired of all the cheers and screams for only him. We have other players, good players, hell, local players on this team that deserve some acclaim as well. It’s time for the fans to quit sucking Mauer’s popsicle and cheer the entire team and their actions like they actually know what’s going on. End Rant.

Livan threw a heck of a game after those first inning jitters. He might be the king of “scattering 10 hits”. There was never a legitimate scoring threat for the Sox after that rough first inning. He may not throw hard, but the guy what Gardy might call a “professional pitcher” and he knows how to get things done. If he doesn’t suffer from Ramon Ortiz Syndrome, when might be able to sustain this winning pace.

It was really nice to see the team hit so well with the national audience watching us. Mauer was his usual patient self at the plate, Morneau collected a couple of hits, Monroe continued his hot streak of late, and Young even managed a couple of hard-hit singles. This is the production a lot of people were expecting from this lineup before the season started. As long as the bats don’t have any prolonged cold streaks, this team should stay in contention throughout the summer.

Alright, enough about the game: if you wanted game stats and observations, you’d probably go to a much more credible website. One of the very best things about going to Twins games is the people watching. There is so much to see and gawk at, that you can get distracted very easily and miss parts of the game. Here are some things we saw:

•We sat in the highest traffic area of the entire Metrodome. At the end of each inning, no fewer than 150 people made their way up the stairs to hit the bathrooms, concession stands, souvenir booths, etc. It was simply astounding how many people left their seats after every single inning. When it first happened, Fuzz asked me if we were missing something in the concourse. I’m still very sure that we missed the free beer that they give out after the bottom half of every inning. There is no other excuse for the volume of people leaving their seats. The most amazing part was how many people seemed to do this just about every inning. Are people’s attention spans that short that they can’t just sit and enjoy a game?

•People love to drink at Twins games. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Monday night and they have to work the next morning; if the majority of fans over the age of 21 (and quite a few under) are going to be at the BIT, then they’re going to do so with a beer in hand. More than a handful of people were seen in an alcohol-induced dance, conversation, yelling match, or struggle with staying upright. I just don’t get how these people can go out the next morning and perform at their places of employment.

•Jerseys: it’s a topic that seems to come up at every single Twins game I’m at. Maybe I’m a jersey snob and that’s why I notice/complain about these things, but some people need to buy a clue when it comes to purchasing team-related regalia. Last time, we covered the whole “don’t let your mom sew the name/number on your back” thing. Today’s gripe: don’t put an old player’s name and number on a new jersey. It doesn’t work. I have no problem with a pull-over, powder blue “Gomez 22” jersey circa 1984. It’s fake retro, but it works for some reason. The opposite is not true. Do not buy a navy blue Twins alternate jersey from 2007 and put “Gladden 32” on the back. It looks terrible and you look like an idiot wearing it.

•On a related note, we were discussing with Twin we would get on a jersey or t-shirt if we had to. None of us understood why EVERYONE needs to wear a Mauer or Morneau jersey. I know those are the two best players and they’re the most commonly sold, but you can be more creative than that. Anyways, Dogg decided that he would go with Punto (because he’s gay), Fuzz thought a Neshek jersey would be cool since he’s a local guy (you mean there’s another one other than Joe!), though I think it would be required that you wear navy Under Armour with it at all times, and I took Guerrier because, well, it was unique.

•As usual, there were an inordinate amount of good looking women at the game. We’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Twins games are an amazing place to scope out the ladies. And almost every woman looks 10 times hotter than they normally are in a Twins jersey/t shirt and a hat with the ponytail sticking out. All in all, it’s a pretty good situation—or so I thought. Then I looked into it more closely at Monday night’s game (I know, it’s a rough and creepy job, but someone’s got to do it) and realized this: 90% of all the good looking females at a Twins game are either A) with their boyfriend/husband or B) at least 5-6 years younger than I am. Apparently the Metrodome is not the place to meet attractive, single women in their mid to late 20’s. Who knew?

•The pretzels with cheese at the Dome suck. Don’t buy them…A small pop is 42 oz. and definitely not “small”…Cookies and milk at a baseball game is still a stupid idea…Obviously there were a ton of beer vendors in our area during a game when we’re not drinking…Dome Dogs are one of the greatest creations on earth…Does anyone ever actually buy the Lemon Chill?

All in all, it was a great game to attend. The Twins won and thus held on to their game and a half lead on first in the AL Central, we actually were able to see this team hit the ball for once this year, and Fuzz finally decided that it was ok for the three of us to not sit rightnextto each other’s during the game. Good times.

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