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!

Span
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!
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Don’t Mess With Texas

These
last few games have been tough to stomach.  It’s been hard watching a
contending team take on another one and lose 3 games in a row. 
Thankfully we haven’t lost all the ground we gained on Chicago because
Kansas City and Baltimore have been helping our cause.  I think they
secretly like the underdog team and just hate the White Sux too.  Who
can really blame them for that?

It’s been tough this year watching players get hurt and go on the DL
for extended periods of time.  The latest victims, Kevin Slowey (which
probably makes me the most saddened) and Ron Mahay.  Both were lost in
the same game, during another tough pill to swallow.  I don’t think the
Twins have been a team this year that should lose to the Angels. 
They’re not the same threat they were a year ago, but the Twins played
them like they were.  These and other teams like Texas are ones that we
have to stand up and fight to win.

Karlee and I fighting over TC.

Maybe the Twins need to take a page from Karlee and
fight tooth and nail over what’s important.  If they want to stay in
first place, they need to win games and win big games.  Win games when
Chicago loses and gain more ground than a mere 3.5 games.  Sooner or
later that small lead will be nothing if they don’t capitalize on it
early.  I know, I don’t really want to see yet another game 163, for
the third year in a row.  The regular season is long enough and
stressful enough.  Who needs a game chalk full of stress??

Joe Mauer checking his swing

Last weekend, I explored the option of Standing Room
Only tickets.  I’ll put it this way, they were not my favorite.  I like
keeping score and I’m short, so I have to stand in front in order to
see over people.  With that being said, we had to get their super early
in order to get what we considered to be a “good” spot (just to the
third base side behind home plate on the lower level)…and we waited
and waited some more for the game to start.  In the whole day (which we
opted for seats by the 6th inning, granted in the hot sun but seats
nonetheless) we spent probably 6 hours standing.  The game was around 4
hours long, and we were there when gates opened.  It was a long day for
sure.  If you don’t mind standing, those kind of tickets are fine, and
cheap.

Kevin Slowey pitching

One of the perks of being there so early on a
Saturday?  I got to watch the Twins take batting practice.  Not that
it’s terribly exciting, but it’s fun being able to stand down right by
the dug out and watch them.

Jim Thome is such a bad ***, he doesn’t need a glove!
Timmy (Scott Baker) and his not so good looking facial hair.
Jason Repko

We also got to check out TC take on a couple of the
Minnesota Wild hockey players in the home run contest.  (Josh Harding
and Clayton Stoner).  To put it nicely, Clayton Stoner should stick to
playing hockey.

All
in all, despite the heat, it was a nice day and tons of fun.  I’m
looking forward to when the Twins are at home again, and I can see them
live at Target Field (my second home) some more!  26 games hasn’t been
enough yet this season!  (For those who care and seem to ask every now
and then, my record is 21-5).  Bring on the Tigers and bring on some
more winning!

Hopefully the Twins can take on Texas tonight, deep in the heart of
Texas and beat the heat of Cliff Lee.  Cliff Lee (knock on wood) has
not won since his trade.  Let’s hope that lucky streak he’s got going,
continues and the Twins benefit from it tonight.  We’ve seem to have
good success against him so far this season (and in years’ past).  I’m
hoping for another L in Cliff Lee’s stats (even though he’s on my
fantasy team).

That’s it for now!  GO TWINS!

Road Woes Away

Now
I know, beating the Orioles isn’t a huge feat, but it’s a start to help
balance the Twins and get out of the funk when on the road.  There have
been a lot of “road woes” the Twins have faced this year and their
record has been less than stellar while on the road.  The Twins came up
with some huge run support and killed the competition over this weekend
(Thursday – Sunday).
It
was wonderful to see pitchers that are hanging in the balance having
great games.  Kevin Slowey and Scott Baker both looked good on the
mound.  I do think that Kevin Slowey looked a little sluggish and was
missing a lot of the marks that Drew Butera had for him, but he was
fooling the Orioles and getting the big outs that he needed!  The Twins
also gave him a lot of support, landing 10 runs in the course of the
strung out game that had a rain delay in the mix.  The downfall of that
game was watching Nick Blackburn be Nick Blackburn in the 9th inning. 
If he was trying to show improvement in that performance, he failed.
This
series was a great series to see Delmon Young show his true potential. 
He has been on fire, racking up RBI’s, home runs, and sky rocketing his
batting average to come close to having one comparable to Justin
Morneau.  I’m fine with him batting higher up in the line up the rest
of the year.
Brian
Duensing also looked great in his 5 innings of work on Friday night. 
It was too bad for him that Anthony Slama had to give up a 2-run shot
to Luke Scott to spoil the lead for the Twins and ultimately lose the
game.  Pornvano was his usual self and gave a very solid performance,
pitching once again another shut out.  Even though I’m not a fan of his
mustache, or the fact that he can convince his fellow teammates to
follow suit, I like it when the Twins win games…and the mustache
seems to help him win.  (Or at least his superstition is telling him
that.)
Baseball
seems to have a huge history of mustaches and they never seem to go
away.  From guys like Rollie Fingers to Dave Winfield.  There are
plenty of well known players that have been spotted over the years
sporting the ‘stache.  Here’s a list (and the picture above) of some of
those famous ‘staches.  Enjoy.
  • Greg Maddux
  • Rollie Fingers
  • Dennis Eckersley
  • Goose Gossage
  • Rod Beck
  • Keith Hernandez
  • Wade Boggs
  • Barry Bonds
  • Dave Chalk
  • Clay Zavada
  • Reggie Jackson
  • Andre Dawson
  • Dale Berra
  • Don Baylor
  • Gorman Thomas
  • Dave Winfield
  • Lloyd Moresby
  • Rick Dempsey
  • Jim Leyland
  • Pete Vukovich
  • Bobby Grinch
  • Fred McGriff
  • Doug Glanville
  • Jeff Kent
  • Randy Johnson
  • Catfish Hunter
  • Bob Molinaro
  • Tom Selleck
  • Rick Bosetti
  • Robin Yount
  • Carl Pavano
    (note: this is not a complete list.  There were a lot of players with ‘staches)

Stop, Slama Time!

Okay, I just need to start by saying, losing to Cleveland is
unacceptable.  They are the last place team in our division, and we now
have lost two games to them.  It makes me ill.  I don’t think tonight
that our starting pitching was bad.  Sure, I would have like Slowey to
go further into the game, but he was looking tired at the end of his
5.2 innings, and 99 pitches.  After having a short outing of only 3
innings last time, I’m not surprised that he looked tired toward the
end tonight.  Overall, I’m quite pleased with how he did, and
ultimately it was in fact our bullpen that lost this game for us.  (No, I’m not saying anything bad about Jesse Crain and that fluke of a hit that scored 2 runs)

I’m quite happy about the roster move the Twins made yesterday after
the game.  I think all of us fans have been waiting for Slama to get a
nod this whole season!  He deserves it, and really, can he do any worse
than the rest of the ‘pen has?  I know that he’s gotta step up and be
outstanding, or else he is going to get ripped apart by the fans. 
That’s a lot of pressure for him, so hopefully he is oblivious to all
of this pressure and just is the bad *** that he’s been in Triple-A
this season.

So during the torturous game that was last night’s game, I got bored
and started thinking about what the Twins players would be doing if
they weren’t baseball players.  Here’s the jobs that I’ve came up with
so far for the boys:

Carl Pavano – Porn star (this one is pretty obvious, I mean look at this picture.)

Michael Cuddyer – Magician (if you haven’t seen his card trick, check out my video of it on You Tube here: Cuddy The Magician.
Kevin Slowey – Motivational Speaker
Timmy (Scott) Baker – Angel (check out his head shot for this, with me in the pic)

Orlando Hudson – Actor.  He acts a lot when he’s playing baseball, so I think he’d be good at it.
JJ Hardy – Country Singer.  For some reason, I can see him being good at this.
Nick Punto – Stripper.
Denard Span – Televangelist.  He already thanks Jesus when he gets on base.
Matty Guerrier and Nick Blackburn – Semi Truck drivers.  It’s a toss up who’s ‘stache puts them in the lead for this job.

Joe Mauer – Chippendale Dancer.  I think he’s got the white boy dance moves down, plus a lot of ladies think he’s pretty.
Jeff Manship – Superman/Clark Kent.  Come on, he looks like him, right??
Jon Rauch – Basketball Player (I know, this is kind of lame)
Justin Morneau – Canadian Mountie

As talks about trades continue, I wonder if the Twins will make any
moves that will make any of us fans happy.  In the past, Bill Smith and
co. do not have the highest track record with making moves that
everyone else seems to think are the most obvious issues that need to
be addressed.  I guess this year, I’m hoping for help in the bullpen. 
Yes, I know our starting pitchers have left something to be desired,
but I think and have faith that there is still some hope for them.  I
know that this means it’ll come with some hard times and some losses,
but I know the Twins and their love to come from behind late in the
season and surprise the hell out of all of the competitors.

Were We On A Break?!

A four game losing streak was hard to take.  Being swept by the Brewers
was even harder.  The Twins are a team that can beat the Brewers as
well as crush the Brewers!  So why couldn’t the do just that in
Milwaukee?  Well it didn’t entirely seem like their bats were up to
par, nor did our pitching stand up and give the Brewers anything to
fear.

Friday night against the Mets, out pitching seemed to be back in the
swing of things, until Kevin Slowey had a few hiccups in the middle
innings.  Our offense couldn’t seem to piece together enough hits to
come back and win it.  It seemed like every time they got a couple
hits, the rest of the lineup would fail and leave the few on base. 
This isn’t how teams are going to win.  I’m not sure entirely what the
answer is to get the Twins out of these funks, but there is something
missing, something needed to win (tougher games) and the Twins need to
find it.  They need to find it soon.

With the All-Star break coming in just a few weeks, Detroit and Chicago
are closing the gap in the AL Central race.  In order to stay on top,
the Twins need to at least match, and hopefully exceed what Detroit and
Chicago are doing. (Chicago is on an 11-game winning streak)  It also
means that the games coming up against those teams (Detroit, Mon – Wed
at Target Field, and July 9-10 in Detroit; Chicago July 15-17th at
Target Field) mean do or die for the top spot in the AL Central.

Today Timmy goes for his 50th win and the series win against the Mets.

The Big Hits

It
was hard watching the Twins two of the three games in Philly.  I wasn’t
too happy that our starting pitching couldn’t go into the 3rd inning in
either game.  I was ripped off!  I wanted to watch the pitchers
awkwardly swing at the ball over and over, and only got to see it once
each game.  IT SUCKED.
I
watch most of Saturday’s game at Park Tavern in St. Louis Park with a
bunch of other Twins bloggers!  It was the Twins Centric viewing party
and it was fun!  Seth was mean and teased me with Kevin Slowey’s email
address, ultimately deciding that he wasn’t going to give it to me.  (I swear I’d behave if I had it.  I’d probably look at it more than actually use it.  I’d be too scared to do anything about it! HINT HINT, Seth.
It was hard listening to pretty much what turned out to be the second
half of the game on the radio while driving to my home town of Austin
for Father’s Day.  I think people would have thought I was nuts if they
would’ve been in the car with me, or even seen me from their car.  I
was screaming at the top of my lungs when Joe Mauer hit his home run to
tie the game.

Of
course, the game didn’t end there for the Twins, that was just the
start of the battle. I thought for sure that Drew Butera’s first ever
MLB home run was what was going to win it for the Twins.  Then Jon
Rauch gave up a home run, blowing the save.  Thankfully the Twins came
back in the 11th with 3 more runs to edge out ahead and win the game!

Two games out of 3 in Philly, the reigning NL Division champs of 2009,
I’ll take it!  Sunday, Carl was outstanding going the distance and
pitching a complete game!  He even got a hit to try and help his
cause.  It was too bad that Carl put no effort into his running the
base line.  He made Jim Thome and Jason Kubel look like fast runners
with how slow he trotted to the bases.

Thanks,
Carl for being a bada$$!  I’m still not sure I like the mustache, but
if you keep pitching like that, I’ll let ya keep it! Even if I do think
it’s gross.

Going For the Sweep

Last
night was by far the best game I’ve been to in my 14 games!  I managed
to score some fantastic seats 3 rows from the field (in section 3, which is right next to the Twins’ dugout!!). 
I was so close to the field and the players I was having heart
palpitations! It was a great game otherwise too.  The Twins were
trailing 2-0 in the first three innings (2nd run scored in the 3rd for Colorado) and it wasn’t looking the best.  We got Cuddy to third, but couldn’t seem to bring anyone home to give Carl any run support.

These are the times that I fear my record will take a hit (it’s first loss). 
I started getting worried at the start of the 4th, but Joe Mauer pulled
through with a great base hit that started a HUGE inning for the Twins,
scoring 5 runs on 6 hits (2 walks and 1 fielder’s choice).  The
Twins batted around and Joe Mauer grounded into a double play to end
the inning that he started.  It was one of those games that throws my
scorecard off cause I have to continue an inning into another column. 
I didn’t mind though.

The Twins had 14 hits in the game and won the easy battle 9-3.  I guess
Carl finally got the run support he’s been craving all season long!  It
was nice the Twins could finally provide him with some runs.

I did enjoy seeing some guys who have needed to step up (the rookies and Punto) really step up last night.  Valencia went 2 for 3 (2 singles, walk and hit into a fielder’s choice). 
Punto went 2 for 3 as well with a walk, and Matt Tolbert…he shocked
the hell out of me going 1 for 3 with 2 walks and a HOME RUN.  I didn’t
know Matt Tolbert could hit homers!  I figured maybe that would give
Joe Mauer some ammo to hit his first at Target Field (minus the one he blasted during the exhibition game), but nope.

Tonight: It was great watching Timmy dominate the Rockies!  He had a career high of 12 K’s (strike outs)
and looked like the leader of the pack that he was supposed to be all
along.  It was great seeing him excel out there and also pitch 108
total pitches.  It’s not too often that Rick Anderson will let the
pitcher go more than 102-105.  I wish his pitch count hadn’t been at
that in the 7th so he would have been able to come back out for the
8th, but the outcome tonight still turned out in the Twins’ favor.

Tomorrow the Twins will go for the sweep against the Rockies (day game).  I’m not sure if I’ll be able to catch the game or not.

Now: Enjoy some more pictures from my section 3, row 3 seats.

Punto (for Karlee)
 I think Drew knew I was taking his picture. Oh well!
 Trevor Plouffe
 TC!
 View from my seat (which got me on TV a lot last night, and thankfully my camera covered me most of the time!)
Joe Mauer up to bat
infielders
 Mr. Morneau
  Mauer
 My Cuddy picture that looks like a baseball card.
inside the first base lounge…