Friday, May 28, 2010

Can We All Be a Little More Positive Now (and Nicer to Visting Fans)?

See? We can beat the Yankees.

I’m really hoping last night's win will help can the extreme pessimism floating around in the Twins blogosphere. Really, look at this stuff:
  • Jason Kubel’s Beard on Twinkie Town: “I hate to say this gang, but you KNOW were are going to be swept tonight. I’m hoping for a win, of course, but deep down, at the deepest, darkest depth of human emotion, you KNOW we are about to be swept at home.”
  • Fanatic Jack: “This team looks more and more like 'The little engine that can't.' ... The offense is terrible, our bullpen can't hold leads, and our manager is a moron."


Sure, we lost to the Yankees four times this season, we’ve been batting terribly with runners in scoring position, and we’re paying Brendan Harris $1.45 million this year. But look—there’s still plenty worth living for Twins fans: even New Yorkers are agreeing that Target Field is better than the new Yankee Stadium; Morneau is leading the majors with a .377 batting average; and if the season ended today, the Twins would be the American League Central Division champions.

Plus look at this:

Be Nice to the Visitors

We all know Yankee fans can be douches, but that doesn’t mean we have to be douches too.

I was very dismayed to see some Twins fans this week at Target Stadium chasing around Yankees fans in the concourse and giving them hell. Andrew over at Off the Mark also described seeing this 'let's-act-like-we’re-Yankee-fans-at-Yankee-Stadium' type behavior (Andrew's post is a good read too).

Ok, story time: 1987, Game 7 of the World Series between the Minnesota Twins and the Cardinals. My parents—the luckiest people on the face of the earth—were sitting behind home plate. Sitting next to the aisle in the same section was a loud Cardinals fan cheering on his team.

So what did Twins fans do? A Twins fan in the section bought him a beer, because “his team is going to lose.” Then other Twins fans bought him a beer. Then more Twins fans bought him a beer. Pretty soon the Cardinals fan had a whole row of full beers in the aisle next to him, waiting to be drank. Towards the end of the game, the fan was saying “I love you guys! I looove all you guys! Twins fans are the best!! The Twins have the best fans in the world!!!”

Story time part II: In early 2005, my Mom and I attended a Twins vs. White Sox game at the Metrodome. Sitting in a seat in front of us was a lone White Sox fan, cheering very loudly and consistently for his team. He was getting a lot of beef from the other Twins fans in the section. So when Mark the Beer Guy came by, my mom stood up and said, “Mark! I want to buy a beer for that guy!” and pointed at the White Sox fan. The fan looked at my Mom like she had Alexi Casilla’s facial hair. He was utterly shocked. He informed us that he didn’t drink, but thanked her.

The White Sox Fan was actually pretty friendly. He started buying the open seat next to ours when the White Sox were in town. Now he’s our friend—he’s the guy in my photos from the Twins-Yankees game earlier this week. He gives us rides to the games when we need them, and we’re slowly turning him into a Twins fan.

Moral of the story: Please don’t act like a douche to fans from the opposing team. They are spending money at our ballpark. Plus, it is a lot more fun to be friendly, see the look on their face when you buy them a beer, and joke around then it is to get into mindless, drunk scuffles and be kicked out of the stadium.

I mean really. How can you not like this guy?

See the Video here!!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


But more importantly—DID YOU SEE THAT SQUIRREL?

As the announced crowd of 38,962 chanted “LETS-GO SQUIRR-EL,” the critter attempted to attack Brendan Harris (clearly a Twins fan).

Outdoor baseball is even better than I had ever imagined.

When the game started yesterday, the weather was beautiful. There had practically been not a cloud in the sky all day. But, as I have been a Minnesotan pretty much my whole life, I did still bring a poncho with me—which was good, because I needed it.

Watch below as the tarp is pulled out over Target Field for the first time:

(Sorry about my fingers getting in the way at times—I was trying to keep my camera from being soaked)

Many were upset about the rain delay (and even more about the following suspension, I’m sure). I was not one of those people (and no, I did not have tickets to the next game either). I’ve been to hundreds of baseball games and never seen a rain delay—and then my first one is the very first one ever at Target Field! How glorious! How historic! How magical!

So here’s what happens during a rain delay: you run to Hrbek’s and find out everyone else already had that idea and you can’t get in. So then you go up the escalators and get to the Metropolitan club in the nick of time.

Yes, the White Sox Fan is actually a friend of ours we met at the Metrodome.
Long story. I'll tell you another time.

(My Mom: "Why isn't everyone else as excited about this?!")

After that gets boring, you walk around the field and watch the people—like the guy in left field, dancing away in the rain:

(He must have just gotten out of Hrbek’s)

Then you walk around the ballpark some more and check out what the tarp looks like from different angles.

After an hour and twenty-three minutes, they announce the game is suspended until the next day.

And then it immediately stops raining.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Twins Sweep Brewers! . . . Oh, no wait. n/m

The match up for the Twins-Brewers game Sunday: Carl Pavano vs. Milwaukee Brewers’ Bullpen (Manny Parra--the Brewers’ previously scheduled starter for Sunday--was used up in extra innings the day before). I was so sure the Twins had that one in the bag, I guaranteed my boyfriend that the Twins would win and we decided to celebrate early. Yeah, so I ended up quite disappointed and slightly intoxicated that afternoon, but at least I wasn’t plunked in the shoulder with a baseball.

See, Denard hit this long ball in the bottom of the 9th inning on Saturday, and he was so sure it was a homerun, grand-slam, walk-off that he raised his arms in triumph. Then Corey Hart caught the ball in right field for the third out, and Denard felt really stupid.

The next day Brewers’ pitcher Marco Estrada retaliated by plunking Denard on the shoulder. Denard stayed in the game, but was eventually replaced by Alexi Casilla in center field (!). When asked if he thought the hit was retaliation, Denard said "I don't know. I'd like not to think that." (Translation: "It was retaliation, but I’m not going to say anything or I’ll get hit again.") I don’t know why baseball players do these things--you’d think Denard’s embarrassment would be punishment enough. Heck, someone even put up a picture in the Twins clubhouse with Denard's face pasted on a football player flashing the No. 1 sign. But Denard is not Carlos Gomez, so he is now nursing a sore ego and a sore shoulder.

"He ought to learn by now, watching all these other guys that hit bombs that don't go out," Gardenhire said of Denard's celebration after the game. "A learning experience, we'll call it."

Even Kelly Thesier was getting into the early celebratory spirit. On Saturday, featured an article written by Thesier reporting that the Twins had beaten the Brewers 6-3.

Of course, at the time the game was actually still tied 7-7 in the 11th inning.

At least the Twins did go on to win the game--and I caught the hit and following celebration on my camera!

(Excuse my shrill screams--I get a little excited about the Twins)

100% Pure Carlos Gomez (Not From Concentrate)

Pure Carlos Gomez: hits a homerun, flips his bat back and hits Joe Mauer, celebrates like a champion--even though his team is still losing by 13 runs in the 8th inning.

When GoGo was informed by his teammates that he hit Mauer, and that he was going to get plunked the next day, Gomez became extremely apologetic. "I feel, right now, real bad for this," Gomez said. "It was not the right moment to do it. I wasn't thinking, 'If I hit a home run, I'm going to do this.' It happened in the moment, and it happened. We have to be more professional." (And by "we," Gomez just meant Carlos Gomez.)

He also said: "If they're going to do something tomorrow, I'll take it like a man because I know I did bad." Of course, there was no retaliation. Gardy himself explained that no apology was needed—because it’s Carlos Gomez.

Carlos Gomez. You know, the one who would fake an injury running into first, then try to steal second on the next pitch--every game. The one who, while trying to steal second base, was hit in the head by a throw from I-Rod, and then didn't move for several minutes--later explaining that he didn't actually lose consciousness, Detriot shortstop Edgar Renteria had just instructed him to stay put ("So I stay put"). The one who hit a home run and then sprinted all the way around the bases and into the dugout (a “Home Blur”). The one who had to get stitches in his forehead because he ran into a revolving door trying to enter the Metrodome (and then tried to keep his teammates and coaches from finding out). And yes, the same one who ran pant-less into the lobby of the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee because he thought ghosts were messing with his ipod.

I came across this interview Gomez did with the Star Tribune in 2008, in which Gomez discusses trying to learn English, his bat smelling like fire after he gets a hit, feeling "sexy" when he wears brightly colored shirts, and many other things. There are way too many highlights to post them all here. I suggest you read the interview in its entirety.

"We" is still working on his professionalism--T.V. cameras picked him up spewing several, very loud explicatives after striking out Sunday.

Pure, fresh, unpasteurized Gomez.

Kirby the Kestrel Keeps a Low Profile

Kirby the Kestrel showed up to watch part of the Twins-Brewers game on Saturday, and he had a friend (my Mom: “IT'S TONYA!”). The two circled around the stadium for awhile until the other one left, and Kirby sat down to watch the game. Kirby opted for a seat on the lights on top of the jumbotron instead of his regular seat on the right field foul pole. He must not have wanted to distract fans from the important game.

Hopefully he left before the Twins won and fireworks went shooting off from the scoreboard. I don’t know if he was still there--I was watching the game and forgot to look (Kirby’s plan worked perfectly.)

Up There, It's Lima Time

I was shocked to hear of the passing of 13-year-veteran and former All-Star Jose Lima early Sunday morning. He was only 37, and was still waiting for that call back to the show. You may remember a short (yet sweet) article about Lima’s attempted return--“Somewhere, it’s Lima Time”--from the last page of last year’s Sports Illustrated featuring Joe Mauer on the cover. If you don’t want to remove that issue from its climate controlled chamber and risk sullying it with anymore fingerprints, have no fear--the article is available online.

When I told my Mom about Lima’s passing, she was likewise shocked. Then she said, "Well, maybe all those Jose Lima signed balls I have will be worth something now." Yes, because my Mom at some point bought a package of 6 baseballs signed by Jose Lima.

And that, ladies and gentleman, is classic my Mom.

Some other readings:
A Fan's View: Your favorite player -- aside from big names (RIP Jose Lima)
Star Tribune (August 1, 2009): It's Always Lima Time Somewhere


Thursday, May 20, 2010

10 More Videos...

For the first time this season, the Twins have lost three in a row.

But I like to be optimistic over here at Kirby's Left Eye. So here are 10 more videos to entertain the Twins fan.

#1 Metrodome Time-lapse

#2 Joe Mauer Gets Sprayed with Champagne, Doesn't Care

#3 Bert Blyleven: Dick's Shirt

#4 Justin Morneau Opening Day 2007: MVP

#5 Cool Jobs: Twins Organist

#6 3-year-old Wins Game 163 with his Lucky Hat

#7 年11月13日 東京ドーム

#8 Justin Morneau and His Childhood Dream to Win the Stanley Cup

#9 Happy Birthday Orlando Hudson

#10 ESPN: Joe Mauer (and his Mom) Open Fan Mail

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Belated Delmon Young Day

I know a few days ago, or sometime last week, Minnesota Twins Bloggers had "Delmon Young Day." As a fledgling Twins blogger, I felt I should contribute:

Honestly--just found this on my hard drive today. Don't really know what Delmon Young day is supposed to be....

Monday, May 17, 2010

Game of Numbers?

Some numbers prior to Sunday, May 16th, 2010:

Number of Consecutive Saves at Home by Mariano Rivera (tied for major league record)

Number of Grand Slams given up by Mariano Rivera (two were during his rookie year)

Number of Grand Slams given up by Mariano Rivera at home

Number of runs given up by Mariano Rivera through 11 innings in 2010

Number of times Mariano Rivera had walked in a run and given up a Grand Slam in the same game

Number of Grand Slams the Twins had in 2010

Number of times the Twins had left the bases loaded in 2010

Number of career walks Jim Thome had off Mariano Rivera (most of any player)

And this is why I love baseball.

Statistics only go so far. I am a firm believer in that. Trust me—nothing makes me want to start chucking dollar-dogs at someone more than hearing their faux-authoritative opinion on some player that's based entirely on SABRmetric bull-crap and an occasional viewing of Baseball Tonight. These people tell me things like—as one guy did back in 2006—‘Brian McCann is a better hitter than Joe Mauer.'

Maybe I am just a loony, but I won't even criticize Gardy for walking Mark Teixeira Friday night to load the bases for A-Rod. I like to see faith get a chance to beat out the numbers sometimes.

I don’t hate statistics. I play fantasy baseball, I even prefer rotisserie over head-to-head. What gets me is when people start to mistake players’ values as fantasy baseball players for players' values as real baseball players. Or when people start to think statistics measure how a player is going to perform in the future, rather than how they have performed in the past. Sometimes Jason Tyners of the world do hit a home run, David Ortizes do steal a base, and Dallas Bradens do pitch a perfect game.

And sometimes Mariano Rivera walks in a run. Then gives up a grand-slam. To the Twins. In the Bronx.

I was going to post some more videos to give Twins fans the warm fuzzies after the series loss to the Yankees, but I think Jason Kubel took care of that.

Instead, here are some headlines from the New York-centric media:

NY Magazine: Mariano is a Human Being

NY Times: Lightning Hits Twice, but Eight Years Apart

Around the Horn Baseball: Mariano Rivera looked mortal, and that's a problem....

NBCSports: Human After All? Rivera Surrenders Grand Slam

Pinstripe Alley: Twins 6, Yankees 3, "Is That Even Legal?"

The Sporting Blog: Mariano Rivera Didn't Exactly Close Out Jason Kubel and the Twins

NYYFans: That Da__ed Slam
(Referring to "Jason Morneau")

The Yankee Scrolls: A Great Way to Head Into a Big Week
(This blogger apparently thought the game ended in the 7th inning)

Washington Post: When it comes to closers, no one's close to Mariano Rivera
(Genius columnist who was literally about to publish an article the next day predicting Mariano wouldn't give up a single run all year)

And for the grand finale:

Yanks Alive! Twins at the Stadium
A Yankees fan/reporter who provided live updates from the stadium via his blackberry.

Here are the highlights:
1:31 pm: I know that walk-off fest the Yanks enjoyed last season against the Twins here was just about one year ago. Yanks are taking advantage of that by pretty much showing the walk-off moment on the scoreboard in between innings. Perhaps that's part of how they have such a ridiculous advantage over the Twins.
1:53 pm: David Wells is broadcasting the game for TBS. They just flashed his mug on the screen here and he got a nice hand. Anyone remember anything interesting happening on a Sunday in May when the Twins were in town and Wells pitched?
2:35 pm: Twins always get credit for being so fundamentally sound, but that fly-ball single by Teixeira was a straight-up disaster. Span dove but couldn't get it, Pena scores easily and when left-fielder Jason Kubel picked up the ball, he tried to throw out Jeter going for third when he really had no shot. Jeter was safe, sliding headfirst, and Teixeira took second on the throw. The Twins get what they deserve if A-Rod singles in two runs here.
2:55 pm: Twins have no hope here, clearly: Cuddyer liner to Ramiro Pena at short for a double play to end the inning.
3:41 pm: Rivera starts 3-0 v. Thome.

3:42 pm: Now it's 3-2

3:43 pm: Rivera walks him, forcing in one of Joba's runs. It's 3-2 now.

3:44 pm: Jason Kubel, grand slam. There are some stunned folks here at the Stadium. Twins are up, 6-3.

3:45 pm: That's Kubel's sixth career grand slam.

3:46 pm: Rivera had not allowed a run all year in 11 innings.
4:13 pm: Span, who was on first via a fielder's choice, stole second. Game is dragging now.
4:29 pm: Bad loss with BoSox looming, 6-3 Twins.

Gardy put it best: “You probably should have recorded that. Take pictures. It’s probably not something you will see often. As far as I’m concerned, we’re 1-0 against the Yankees in our last one game played. We’ll construe the numbers any way we want now.”

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Perfect Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day Morning: As always, I wake up and run to the computer to check on my Fantasy Baseball team, Kirby’s Left Eye. Good news—I’m back in first. Looks like I have three pitchers starting today: Tim Lincecum, Liván Hernández, and Dallas Braden. Lincecum is a no-brainer; might as well use Liván until he falls apart sometime in late June; and—oh—Braden has a 4.14 ERA and is starting against Tampa Bay today. I’ll sit Braden.

How the heck was I supposed to know?

Later that day, as I am sure all baseball fans are now aware, Dallas Braden pitched the 19th perfect game in baseball history. There were 12,228 fans in attendance (the Coliseum—America’s new worst baseball park. You’re Welcome!) Unfortunately, Dallas’ mother wasn’t one of the 12,228—she died of skin cancer while Dal was in high school.

That afternoon I watched this video, my new favorite of the moment:

Dallas cried. Blue Jays lefty Dana Eveland cried. I cried. My boyfriend cried.

One of the sweetest things I've ever seen.

As for my mother's day, it went pretty much perfect as well. My mom wanted to go out to brunch, so out to brunch we went:

(Hey--I am my mother's daughter)

The Metropolitan Club at Target Field features some nice views from right field and an all you can eat buffet. I recommend you go sometime if you (a) are a season ticket holder (or buy tickets from a season ticket holder); (b) have reservations; (c) get there 45 minutes before your seating time and wait in line for some sweet outside seats (yes, even if you have reservations) [unless you're Twins President Dave St. Peter, who got the best seats without waiting].

My only real complaint was that the food was so good and I got so full (I mean, really, really full) that I couldn't concentrate on the game.

Here’s a Rundown:

(Click to Enlarge)

Denard Span (3 for 4, 3 RBI, 2 R, 1 SB)—Awesome smoked sausage. Was replaced with spicy sausage when I went back for seconds, which was even more awesome. Everyone's favorite of the day.

Nick Blackburn (7 IP, 4 H, 0 SO, 0 R)—Not stale, fluffy, sweet, awesome.

Nick Punto (2 for 3, 2 RBI)—Asparagus. It’s good for you.

Joe Mauer (1 for 3, 1 BB)—Bloody Mary. Can't go wrong.

Wilson Ramos (0 for 4)—All over the place.

Justin Morneau (0 for 4, 4 SO)—Some cheesy eggs with chorizo sausage. Sounded good, but was a huge let down.

Michael Cuddyer (1-4)—Standard potatoes.

Alexi Casilla (2 for 4, 1 RBI, 2 R)—Random crap mixed together on my plate.

Delmon Young (0 for 4, 1 SO)—Eggs Benedict that didn’t quite live up to what I expected. Needed more Hollandaise sauce.

Brendan Harris (3 for 4, 2 R, 1 SO)—My boyfriend thought these eggs tasted fishy. I thought they were fine.

Matt Guerrier (1 IP, 1 SO, 0 H, 0 BB)—Strawberries. Tasted like strawberries.

Jon Rauch (1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER)—Dollop of sour cream in the eggs. Made things interesting.

Orlando Hudson—Missing from the lineup with a sore shoulder.

Kirby the Kestrel: "the most popular thing since Wilson Ramos"

The Star Tribune is reporting that Kirby the Kestrel won FSN’s “Name the Kestrel.” I don’t think the official winner has been announced yet, but according to his Twitter account, his name is Kirby the Kestrel.

I spotted Kirby very briefly on Mother’s day. He flew around in the sky behind the Budweiser Beer Deck in the 6th inning, but disappeared before I could get my camera out.

He later tweeted:
Remember to thank your mother today. After all, she chewed up moths and vomited them into your mouth when you were just a hatchling.

To My Mom: You're the Best Mom in the World! I love you!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

This One's Gone to the Birds

And I’m not talking about the damn Orioles.

Those with cable might have heard about this. He’s been featured on baseball tonight (ESPN) and MLB Tonight (MLB Netowrk). He’s the hawk, who has been watching Twins games (and moths) from atop the right field foul pole in Target Field.

Everyone freaking loves him.

Yes--the loud cheer from the fans in that video was just for the hawk eating the moth.

We named the bird Kirby (like any good animal in Minnesota).


Apparently, the bird is a Red-Tailed Falcon, there are two of them, and they live in a nest in the big Twins sign above the jumbo-tron! (I am so jealous.)

The bird also made's daily recap (at the six second mark).

Well now what do we name them? Kirby and Herbie? Torii and Jacque? Justin and Joe?

I vote for just calling both of them Kirby.


A Hawk Eats a Moth: Twins New Stadium Finally Starting to Pay Off
Ask the Birds: Take Me Out to the Ball Game
Message Board Discussion of the Hawk and Dick Bremer's Obsession With It
Highlight of the Day: Target Field Bird?

Apparently, the Twins moved the hawk's nest out of the scoreboard. Probably didn't like all those fireworks anyway.


Kevin Hoffman from the CityPages totally ripped off my blog and made his own blog with my video!

And apparently the bird is not a Red Tailed Falcon, but a Kestrel Falcon. A lot of bird watching sites are getting a sudden flurry of Twins fans.

Others are claiming they have named the bird: Justin Moth-No, Radke, Mordecai (yeah, that makes absolutely no sense to me either), and general references to the Rally Hawk (even though he didn't produce a damn rally).

I got one fan here for Kirby the Kestrel. And another one here. Now that we know its a kestrel, it has to be Kirby!

Kirby the Kestrel's catch of the moth was number 9 on ESPN's top ten plays on May 7th, 2010.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Twins Sweep Tigers: Break Out the Small Whiskbrooms

Break out your small whiskbrooms Target Fielders—we finally have ourselves a sweep!

Series MVP? The Tigers! As Danny Gladden put it fairly well earlier today: “The Tigers are just horrendous . . . at catching the ball.” Not to mention the Twins getting their first walk off win at Target Field Tuesday night on a wild pitch from Detroit pitcher Ryan Perry.

That was pretty sweet, wasn't it?

Other thoughts, comments, and observations:

The “Keeping Ramos and Mauer” Debate.
The current hot discussion about how the Twins should go about keeping Ramos and Mauer on the team needs to stop. Really. The Twins aren’t going to be moving Mauer to third, aren’t going to be moving Ramos to third, and aren’t even—as one comment I saw suggested—going to be trading Cuddyer so that Mauer and Ramos can be platooned at catcher/DH. (Take a second to soak in the stupid.)

Ramos is a catcher. He has been a catcher his entire minor league career. That’s part of what makes him so valuable (good hitting catchers are, in fact, hard to come by). People out there seem to think Ramos can fill the Twins’ hole at third base by just moving him there. Ok--remember when the Yankees somehow came up with the brilliant idea of using Joba Chamberlain as a starter? Ramos at third would be like that, except fifty times worse.

The Twins need to trade Ramos for a something like a third baseman or starting pitcher of hopefully similar quality. This should be a no-brainer.

“Japanese fans are the best.” They flew in from Japan. They bought Denard Span shirts at Mall of America. They glued felt sideburns to the sides of their head. They spoke little English.

This is the kind of enthusiasm I like to see.

My mom asked them if they were Hanshin Tigers fans. They said no way, they were Hiroshima Carp Fans. And then they gave us Hiroshima Carp pins.

You really do notice new things at Target Field all the time. While pulling a “watch-how-fast-I-can-get-a-Murray’s-steak-sandwich” trick on my mom Tuesday—that is, using my ticket from the day before to get into the exclusive champion’s club ordering area and avoiding the 4 inning long lines everywhere else—I discovered this:

It’s hard to tell from the picture, but yes—this is a huge mural of Doug Mientkiewicz, next to a much smaller picture of Justin Morneau. And it’s just them two on that wall. I literally walked by this several times the night before and didn't even notice! Dougie needs to come see this stat.

Rest in Peace Ernie Harwell. Baseball truly lost someone special. Hopefully he wasn’t up there today watching the Tigers drop the ball again, again, and again.

Monday, May 3, 2010

WILSON RAMOS! (Joe who?)

Yes. I did have the joy of being able to put my beer and food on top of the Twins Dugout today (until the ushers promptly told me to remove it.)

Can you spot Jon Rauch? (No, his bunyanesque-ness never gets old for me.)




Wilson Ramos. Catcher of the Feature.

Congratulations--and welcome to Target Field!!

P.S.-- I'd like to thank my father for taking me to the game in these wonderful seats. Maybe one day, Dad, I will be able to forgive you for FUMBLING THE GAME WINNING BALL WILSON RAMOS THREW DIRECTLY AT YOU. Ugh...