GameChat – A’s @ Twins, 3:05 pm, FSN & am1500

Yes, I know it’s early but I have an errand to run quick before the game starts AND they have the lineups out early so here we go!  You’ll notice that since Nishioka is out, Gardy has moved everyone up a spot in the lineup.  There are a lot of people very happy to see Mauer in the 2 hole – I’m one of those ones that think it’s ok temporarily and I’m hopeful it doesn’t stay that way.  There has also been some discussion that Cuddy has been taking balls at 2B in order to be ready to be Gardy’s ever-adaptable injury backup.  That would allow more opportunities for Thome to play because that would put Kubel in Cuddy’s spot in RF.. y’all know how I feel about that.  The bottom line is that Hughes and Cuddy are likely to fill whatever needs we have at 2B until Nishi is back.  Tolbert supposedly will STAY in the utility role.

Oakland @ Minnesota
Crisp, CF   Span, CF
Barton, D, 1B   Mauer, C
DeJesus, D, RF   Morneau, 1B
Willingham, LF   Young, D, LF
Matsui, H, DH   Cuddyer, RF
Suzuki, K, C   Thome, DH
Ellis, M, 2B   Valencia, 3B
Kouzmanoff, 3B   Hughes, L, 2B
Pennington, SS   Casilla, A, SS
  Anderson, B, P     Pavano, P

 

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Oakland 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 0
Minnesota 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 x 2 8 1

 

Leave it to the Twins to make sure that the home opener is as dramatic as possible for the sake of the fans watching at Target Field and at home.  We were facing a terrific young pitcher who proved exactly how good he can be and Pavano came in a little TOO amped up because of opening day and the couple extra days of rest.  He was a bit crazy the first inning and managed to let the A’s score a run without even getting a hit but he settled down very well for every inning following.

What proceded was a frustrating series of out after out after out on both sides.. the Twins didn’t even get a runner to 3B until the 8th inning.  But that was definitely a sign of things to come and after a string of solid little hits to get baserunners, up came Mauer to drive in the go ahead run.  It really couldn’t get scripted any better than that.

And then… oh… then… my, oh so special boyfriend, Joe Nathan came up for his first save opportunity at home.  You just can’t get any more dramatic than that.. unless, of course, you throw in the fact that Joe Nathan is apparently a superstitious, emotional sap of a man!!  It turns out that in the final game of the 2009 season, he grabbed himself a handful of dirt from the metrodome mound with the full intent of putting it out there during the first game of the 2010 season in order to bring some of the Dome’s good luck over the Target Field…  He had no way of knowing that he would never get to pitch in the 2010 season at Target Field.  But it turns out that he kept that little baggy full of dirt the whole time and sure enough, what do you think he did today during BP?  yep, he dumped that little baggy of metrodome dirt out there on that mound.  And then, he got to actually make his first appearance on the home opener!!  I had the shivers like I can’t even describe.

Of course, Twitchy had to make us all a bit nervous – kind of sharing the experience since he admitted to having nerves equal to some of the major moments of his career – but that Save came and he held that 1 run lead and I hope that he is beginning to settle a lot of hearts and minds that yes, he is ready to be back in that role.  He was one of the best closers in MLB and he might have to do things just a little differently than he did before but he’s still the guy who knows how to get it done!

Given the way the game went, we in the gamechat have to admit that we were unable to come to a consensus on a single BOD.  So given today’s remarkable game, we have decided that we are giving today’s BOD to the whole team for an astounding group effort.

2011 HOME OPENER IS HERE!

photo courtesy of @MinnesotaTwins

 

Baseball is finally back in Minnesota!

Mother Nature is even getting into the swing of things by finally bring Spring to our neck of the woods yesterday.  For the first time since November 10, 2010, we actually broke 60 degrees.  The absolutely perfect weather definitely put me even more in the mood for baseball.  Turns out, the game today will have similar temperatures and a little bit of cloud cover instead of the sunshine that is currently shining down brilliantly – or so they say.  Of course last year they said it would rain on the home opener and we all wore our gear and went anyway and the sun broke out in a beautiful way.  All I can say is that Minnesota is offering baseball a much bigger welcome than NY did!

For all of you who can’t go to tonight’s game – like me – am1500 ESPN will be broadcasting all day – but for those of you who can get over there, here’s a schedule of the activities:

Friday, April 8 vs. Oakland Athletics (3:10 p.m.) -Target Field ® Home Opener

  • 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. – The Twins will host 1500 ESPN Twin Cities for a live broadcast of Mike & Mike from the Carew Atrium in the Delta SKY360° Legends Club. More info here: http://1500espn.com/pages/promotions/MMbroadcast/
  • 11 a.m. – Target and the Minneapolis Downtown Council will host a rally at Peavey Plaza on Nicollet Mall and 11th St., featuring games and activities for the entire family.
  • 11:30 a.m. – The Twins, in conjunction with the Minnesota Ballpark Authority, will unveil the Tony Oliva bronze legend, created by local artist Bill Mack, outside Gate 6
  • 12 p.m. – Gates open – legendary Twins players will ceremonially open their respective gate (Harmon’s sons Ken and Cam Killebrew at Gate 3, Tony Oliva at Gate 6, Kent Hrbek at Gate 14, Rod Carew at Gate 29 and Kirby Puckett, Jr. and Catherine Puckett at Gate 34)

 Other pregame events include, in this order:

  • Twins batting practice
  • A’s batting practice
  • Grounds crew preps the field
  • A pre-game video, “Twins Timeline,” will feature highlights from 50 seasons of Twins baseball
  • Jerry White, longtime Twins first base coach, will raise the 2010 AL Central Championship flag
  • The Twins unveil a “Countdown to Cooperstown” tribute honoring Bert Blyleven, who will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on July 24th
  • Both teams will be introduced along the foul lines
  • Military representatives will unfurl a giant replica of the American flag
  • John Gordon, beginning his final season as the Twins radio play-by-play announcer, will raise the Twins Territory Flag
  • Jerry Bell, Chairman of the Twins Executive Board, will raise the Hennepin County Flag
  • General John Vessey, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Minnesota native, will raise the American Flag
  • The National Anthem will be performed by Rick Oliva, son of Twins legend Tony Oliva, and Maria Versalles, daughter of former Twins shortstop and 1965 AL MVP Zoilo Versalles
  • Military flyover of F-16s performed by the 148th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard located in Duluth with fireworks to follow
  • Ceremonial first pitch thrown by Twins legend Tony Oliva
  • Twins take the field
  • Play Ball!

The long wait is over… Baseball is back in Minnesota and it’s a good day!

For fun and those of you following along, here’s video of Tony O’s statue unveiling!

Tony Oliva unveils his statue by Gate 6 at Target Field. Cong... on Twitpic

And here’s a great read about preparing Target Field for play this spring!