This article comes to you from the comfort of my parent’s basement in Minnesota. Yes this is the first time I have ever written a post from said locale so I thought I would point it out. For one night only, the “blogger” sterotype holds true for me. Anyway, my wife and I drove up to the land of 10,000 lakes yesterday with the boys happily watching DVDs for most of the trip. It is a trip we make every summer to spend some time with my parents and so our boys can see their cousin Sandy.
(more after the jump)
Tonight my parents were kind enough to watch the kids so my wife and I could check out Target Field in all it’s splendor. After spending my childhood watching baseball games in the dungeon that was the Metrodome, I could not wait to check out the new home of the Minnesota Twins. So many years had been spent of dreaming about the Twins playing in an outdoor stadium. So many years flew by with the dream unrealized. Tonight was the night and it just so happened that their opponent was our Kansas City Royals. Added bonus. Alright, I will admit the trip was somewhat planned around the fact that the Royals were in town. Heck I bought the tickets months ago. The overcast skies and threat of rain didn’t have a prayer of holding me back from tonight’s game. Aside from the weather I failed to consider that the timing of the trip would adversely impact my ability to cover the MLB draft here on Kings of Kauffman and on Call to the Pen. I hope to get some draft related content up in both places in the next week or so, but if not, the trip was worth it.
My first impression of Target Field upon entering gate 34? Simply put, oh my! Here is a picture of our view when we first walked in.
Maybe my thoughts are a little tainted with optimism because I spent so many years dreaming of a Minnesota Twins game in an outdoor stadium, but I was incredibly impressed. You’d think with all the build up of anticipation that the stadium was going to let me down. Kind of like when all your friends see a movie and they tell you how awesome it is, then you go to see it and there is no way it can deliver on the hype. Well, my friends, Target Field lived up to the hype and then some.
The pitching matchup was Bruce Chen versus Scott Baker, so we didn’t enter the game with any lofty expectations. It felt kind of weird to be two of the only three people we saw wearing Royals gear at the game. Actually my wife wasn’t wearing Royals gear, but the love for the boys in blue is in her heart so it counts. The other guy? He was rocking a KC jersey, but this was no bandwagon fan sporting Zack Greinke, Billy Butler, or Joakim Soria’s number. No sir, this fine gentleman was decked out in the spendor of ol’ number 47. As in a vintage Ryan Z. Braun jersey circa 2006 or 2007. Remember Ryan Braun? The guy that put up a tidy 6.66 ERA in 50.0 innings over the course of his career. Yup. That Ryan Braun. Safe to say that was a custom made number from back in the day. I thought for a moment that it might actually be Ryan Braun at the game, but it turns out he is pitching in Triple-A for the White Sox this season. Go figure.
I should have taken a picture of the guy as proof but I wasn’t quick enough with the Blackberry to pull it off.
I should stop here and apologize for the pictures. I was using my Blackberry Curve as a camera (not exactly ideal) and it was overcast, but such were the circumstances.
The view from our seats was awesome. We were just off to the left of home plate and 23 rows back. While it never really rained, just a little drizzle for an inning or so, we were safely under cover.
For six innings, Bruce Chen was dealing and the entire time my wife and I were waiting for the magic fairy dust to wear off. In the seventh inning it finally did. Robinson Tejeda came on in “relief” and we were on the edge of our seats to see if we were going to get the good or bad version. It was the bad as he let every single one of the inherited runners score. My wife and I both felt bad for Chen because he pitched a heck of a ballgame tonight. Blake Wood came in to clean up Robinson’s mess and I was quickly enamored by him. The kid came out confident, throwing strikes, and pitching with a purpose. It was in stark contrast to what we saw from the previous two Royals’ hurlers.
The Twins rallied from an 8-1 deficit to make the game interesting and Joakim was on shaky ground, but the end result was a Royals win 9-8. Ironically I had to travel 450 miles to witness a Royals win in person because every game I have attended so far this year at Kauffman they have managed to lose.
So we got a Royals win out of the deal and a chance to experience an incredible ballpark as well. It has a very different feel than Kauffman. Target Field was clearly built to seem intimate, personal, and 100% Minnesota. Mission accomplished on all counts. It truly is a cozy place to see a ballgame, and an incredibly enjoyable one at that.
We will be heading back to the ballpark on Sunday afternoon, this time with the boys and both sets of grandparents in tow. I’m hoping for a little warmer weather (it was 62 degrees tonight), a little more sun, and a Twins victory over the Atlanta Braves. We will be watching, but this time it will be from left field instead of behind home plate.