Ballpark 10 Commandments – Part 2 – again..

People argue with me a LOT about the 1st Commandment – like booing is somehow the only way to express frustration with your team. However, especially when going through rebuilding times (we all know that is what the Twins are doing) there are just going to be daily disappointments.

But as the snow is coming down outside, I challenge our readers to not get hung up on a single Commandment – keep reading and see how it all fits together:

Continuing on yesterday’s introduction and Commandment #1, I would like to propose the following 2-4.

2. Thou shalt respect thy fellow fans.

Again, this is a fundamental principle on which the following commandments are based.  There are thousands of people here to watch a game and YOU are not the most important person there.  Be respectful of the people around you – don’t intrude on their space whenever possible – this includes your spilled beer, sunflower and peanut shells or whatever.  You can’t help that you are tall but be conscious that it will affect the eye line of people behind you.  People will adjust for it but if you keep moving?  That requires a LOT of adjustment.  Don’t have an extended cell phone conversation during the game while in your seat.  You can wait for the changeover and take the conversation to the concourse.  No, trying to find your buddy on the other side of park and standing and waving during an at bat is not acceptable.  Please consider that there is a time for everything.

 In addition, playing to the cameras with your signage is a great way to connect with someone at home whether you are at a home game or away!  However, if you are attempting to get the attention of said cameras by holding up your giant poster board during game play whether you are standing or sitting, you are asking to get hit in the back of the head with a beer – and that is a criminal waste of a good adult beverage.  Be aware of the activity on the field and restrain yourself.

3. Thou shalt not leave thy seat with a batter in the box

As a natural correlation to the 2nd Commandment, active game play is the primary focus for those in attendance.  This means hitters waiting for a pitch or pitchers serving up a hitter.  There are two sides of your own team going on here.  If there is active game play going on, WAIT TO MOVE!  If your bladder is such that you can’t hold it until the change over, the polite thing to do is warn those around you that frequent exits might be necessary because you are infringing on their game experience – apologies are appropriate here.  If your bladder situation is caused by excessive consumption of alcohol, my general reaction is ‘life is hard, be a grownup.’  If it’s not for a potty break, I honestly don’t see anything short of medical emergency that requires you to move from that seat you paid for while your team is playing the game.  No, getting another beer is NOT a medical emergency. 

All of these activities can WAIT until a vendor comes to you or there is a changeover on the field (or one of those protracted mound discussions).  I would also like to point out that the corollary regarding to RETURNING to your seat also applies.  You know those people that stop you at the top from walking down the stairs until the current batter finishes. Why didn’t you take the hint?!?  Some of you have much better seats will have a long walk down to your seats and might not be able to do so in the time the next batter moves from the on deck circle to the batters box.  Please be aware of this and consider it in your start time!  You might want to simply wait by one of the TV’s until the changeover when you will have a greater length of time to move to your seat.  If a miscalculation occurs, then kindly lower yourself on the stairs and wait to move your ass down the seats until the batter is finished.  No, apologies are simply not adequate in this situation.  You chose to infringe on your neighbors with no good reason and I would not blame them for retaliating by spitting in your beer while you aren’t looking – not that they would if they were following the baseball game commandments but should you really expect a consideration from them that you are unwilling to do?

4. Thou shalt not do the wave

See above!!!!!  Just because YOU are bored at the game does not mean that the majority of others are.  They are trying to SEE the game and people randomly standing in front of them does NOT allow for respectful treatment of your fellow fans.  If you are worried about being bored, bring a friend and have a quiet conversation.  Heck, play a quiet game on your smart phone or something.  But please stay in your SEAT and do not deliberately choose to attempt to transfer the focus of the game to YOU.  Please realize that the wave is for football.  I sure as heck am not paying these ticket prices to see you.

Interestingly – I have discovered much of my dislike of the wave is PURELY because no matter where it is, it blocks my view of the action in front of me (I’m short). I still don’t like it at all but I am able to ignore it when I’m in the front row like at Swarm games! Funny how that works.

The 10 Commandments for the Ballpark – Part I

Yes, this is a re-release. No, I didn’t pull any George Lucas tricks or what have you to give it better effects and charge you more money – this will cost you the exact same price it did 3 years ago when I originally posted it:

Nada (unless it costs your pride a little to admit that you’ve broken a commandment or two).

Since the new season has started and since the boys are coming back to play here at home, I thought I would see how many people are in need of gentle reminders of how things would work If Babs Ran The Park. ;) It came out in several installments due to the length and I decided to maintain that breakdown so here is Part 1 in all it’s original… um.. glory.

I have thought of doing this for literally YEARS.  In fact, KL and I have discussed the possibility that it would be a great marketing idea for the Metrodome to do Twins roster baseball cards with the players on the front and a commandment on the back!  Yeah, we aren’t in the Dome anymore so we thought, “what a great way to kick off a new park – make sure people know how to behave…”   That doesn’t seem to be a focus for the facility folk at this point.  They might have a few other things that are more important to think about though.  And then the girls over at Babes Love Baseball did a post on baseball etiquette.  They are nice girls and really presented a way to make everyone’s overall ballpark experience more pleasant.

 Let’s be honest here.  I’m not that “nice”.  I mean it.  I’m regularly tempted to slap someone at each and every baseball game I attend.  (I don’t because that would break several commandments)  But as one fan to another, seriously, there are things you should know!!!  I’ll get lots of arguments from people who LIKE to break certain commandments.  You know who you are.  You know deep in your baseball heart that you are going to a place that others wouldn’t – all our actions are choices at that point.  But know that we know that you know!

Baseball Game 10 Commandments

  1. Thou shalt respect thy team.

I’m a firm believer in the concept of ‘praise in public, criticize in private’ although I will admit that even I occasionally get caught up in a moment involving a little brother.  Still…

The first and foremost commandment is Respect Your Team!!  You are there to see baseball with hopefully a large number of others.  This is a privilege!  Privileges can be lost when they are not earned.  All other commandments stem from this concept.  Pay attention to the game.  Cheer your team’s players – even if you do not particularly like that one guy.  DO NOT BOO YOUR OWN TEAM.  Leave that for the fans of the visiting team.  If you must comment on the particular failings of a player – and we all have them – bring someone to the game with you to share that with in a quiet conversation.  The general public doesn’t care about your opinion.  If you REALLY think the general public needs to know something that only you know, there are innumerable blogs, twitter, Facebook or wherever with which to do so.

This turned out to be an IMMENSE post so I divided it into parts for better absorbtion.  Please, watch for the continuing installments and contribute your thoughts!

GameChat – Twins @ Royals #3, 7:10pm

Today could be a little dicey with the weather but they’re going to make a go of it because supposedly the makeup game would be tomorrow if they can’t get it done today.

What worries me more about tonight is the quote I heard from Liam Hendriks yesterday: “Billy Butler OWNS me…”

Yeah, that’s reassuring.

Let’s see what happens.

Minnesota

@

Kansas City
Hicks, CF Gordon, LF
Mauer, DH Escobar, A, SS
Willingham, LF Butler, DH
Morneau, 1B Moustakas, 3B
Doumit, C Perez, S, C
Plouffe, 3B Hosmer, 1B
Parmelee, RF Francoeur, RF
Dozier, 2B Cain, CF
Florimon, SS Getz, 2B
  Hendriks, P   Davis, W, P

 

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

I’m sure the Twins are ready to put Kansas City behind them for a while. Miserable weather and even more miserable play.

The Twins were 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position. That says about all anyone needs to know about the offense.

Liam Hendriks wasn’t exactly “sharp,” but he deserved better support than he got. He struck out 4 and walked none in his five innings of work, but threw a lot of pitches in those five innings. Was it enough to keep his spot in the rotation when Scott Diamond comes off the DL in a couple of days? We’ll soon find out. – JC

Twins’ Glass Half Empty or Half Full?

With one bad first inning on Tuesday night, the Twins fell from a first place tie atop the AL Central Division in to sole possession of next-to-last place.

Such is life in the second week of a six-month-long Major League Baseball season.

The Twins sit at .500 with a 4-4 record after winning their first two series of the season from Detroit and Baltimore, both of which were postseason participants a year ago. The latter series was also on the road. That ain’t bad.

The losses the past two games in Kansas City have been a bit hard to stomach, of course. Blowing a one-run lead and wasting a pretty fair performance by pitcher Kevin Correia (at least through his first seven innings) was galling on Monday and the five-run bottom of the first that the Twins coughed up to the Royals Tuesday night was way too reminiscent of the kind of starts the Twins endured last year from their rotation.

But, on balance, things could be a lot worse, right?

After all, the Twins have put together this .500 start while most of their best hitters have gotten off to what you’d have to be generous to call mediocre starts.

The Twins have three hitters with batting averages above .300 at this point and you’d have to add all of those three players’ plate appearances together to match the number of times the team’s regular position players have come to the plate. When Eduardo Escobar, Pedro Florimon and Wilkin Ramirez are leading your team’s offense, you know you aren’t hitting (in this case, literally) on all cylinders yet.

Josh Willingham

Josh Willingham

Josh Willingham is off to a productive start, however. He’s hitting .280 with a couple of doubles and a couple of dingers. We’ll take that from the Hammer all year long. Chris Parmelee and Trevor Plouffe haven’t been great, but haven’t been awful either. Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer have not gotten off to great starts, so you have to figure the offense will improve as those two begin to warm up.

So things could be worse, offensively. Don’t believe me? Just imagine if Manager Ron Gardenhire had decided to plug Brian Dozier and his .174 On-base percentage in to the #2 spot of the order.

Then there’s the pitching. We’ve known all along that this team is going to live or die based on what kind of pitching they get.

Glen Perkins

Glen Perkins

Most of the good news is in the bullpen. Glen Perkins, Jared Burton, Ryan Pressly and Josh Roenicke, as a group, have not yet surrendered a run, earned or otherwise. They have 14 strikeouts (and seven walks) in 15 innings of combined work. Anthony Swarzak and Brian Duensing have also contributed positively out of the pen.

The results from the rotation members have been mixed. But, as with most things in life, it’s all relative. Compared to what we grew accustomed to seeing a year ago, maybe it hasn’t been all that bad.

Kevin Correia isn’t striking anyone out, but nobody really thought he would. What he has done is induce 23 ground outs and taken his team through the first seven innings of each of his starts. I think we’d take that all year long if we could get it.

There have been some encouraging innings out of some of the other rotation members, as well, but we need to see improvement there. That improvement could potentially start when Scott Diamond comes off the Disabled List in a couple of days.

Still, considering that the Twins pitchers are sixth in the American League in team ERA and their hitters are 12th in both batting average and OPS, you’d almost have to say it’s the team’s pitching that has them even as high as .500 at this point. Who would have expected that?

– JC

GameChat – TWINS @ Royals, 7:10 pm

It looks like a few of the regulars are getting a night off. Mastroianni, Carroll and Escobar are getting starts tonight for the Twins.

TWINS

@

ROYALS
Mastroianni, CF Gordon, LF
Mauer, C Escobar, A, SS
Willingham, LF Butler, DH
Morneau, 1B Moustakas, 3B
Doumit, DH Perez, S, C
Plouffe, 3B Hosmer, 1B
Parmelee, RF Francoeur, RF
Carroll, 2B Cain, CF
Escobar, SS Getz, 2B
  _Pelfrey, P   _Guthrie, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 4 8 0
Kansas City 5 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 x 7 13 1

Well, if it hadn’t been for that little issue about the 5-run first inning the Twins coughed up to the Royals, that would have been a decent ballgame.

Ah well, tomorrow’s another day. – JC

Minnesota Twins Podcast – Talk to Contact – Episode 32

Episode 32 of the Twins baseball podcast,  Talk To Contact (@TalkToContact), is now available for download via iTunes or by clicking here.

itunes pic

This week Cody and Eric forge ahead without Paul who is now out to sea with the United States Coast Guard.  The two of them talked about the first place Minnesota Twins, surprisingly decent starting pitching, and the hitter (Justin Morneau) and pitcher (Kevin Correia) of the week.  After a quick run down of Twins news from the first week of games Eric and Cody are joined by Andrew Walter, the Twins Fan from Afar.  Following a quick break Cody and Eric go Down on the Pond, talk about beer, and take a look around the league.  Join us for an enjoyable 90 minutes of Twins talk.

If you enjoy our podcast, please take a couple extra minutes and rate and review us on iTunes (ratings and reviews have magical iTunes powers, which help Wilkin Ramirez get playing time).

You can follow Paul on Twitter (@BaseballPirate) or read his writing at  Puckett’s Pond.
You can follow Cody on Twitter (@NoDakTwinsFan) or read his writing at NoDakTwinsFan.  And of course, you can find me on Twitter (@ERolfPleiss) and read my writing here at Knuckleballs!

– ERolfPleiss

GameChat – Twins @ Royals, 3:10pm

I really do have to admit that I’m looking forward to the point in the season where I might actually be able to WATCH some baseball instead of wish I was somewhere other than work….

The only roster notes I have kept track of for today are that Gardy would rather not use either Swarzak or Roenicke – being careful. And Scott Diamond is supposedly still “on target” for a Friday appearance.

Minnesota

@

Kansas City
Hicks, CF Gordon, LF
Mauer, C Escobar, A, SS
Willingham, LF Butler, DH
Morneau, 1B Moustakas, 3B
Doumit, DH Perez, S, C
Plouffe, 3B Hosmer, 1B
Parmelee, RF Francoeur, RF
Dozier, 2B Cain, CF
Florimon, SS Getz, 2B
  Correia, P   Santana, E, P

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Minnesota

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

8

0

Kansas City

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

3

x

3

9

0

Sadly, or perhaps luckily, I missed the last two innings while trying to get my butt out of the office…  We had a good thing going until Correia hit the wall. Then things didn’t go so well. I will give Kevin credit in the fact that his wall came in the 8th inning which I think is pretty darn good at this point of April.

After some craziness at the plate involving a blocked stolen base by Florimon, he got a spike to the thigh but says he’s ok. The official call about DeVries appears to a strained pronator – supposedly nothing terribly serious – but as Seth Stohs pointed out: the last two Twins players to have that injury were Anthony Slama and Kyle Gibson. :/

Since we haven’t yet been able to win the first game of a series but then followed up with wins enough to follow, let’s see what the boys can do for us tomorrow!

Kernels Opening Series a Success

The Cedar Rapids Kernels won three of four games over the Beloit Snappers in their first series of the 2013 season and there was no shortage of drama in the process.

The Kernels won their season opener 8-6, then recovered from a 2-1 ninth inning deficit to claim a walk-off 3-2 win in game 2 of the series. The Snappers managed to hold their 2-1 lead to completion in claiming the third game of the series. In the finale, three Kernels pitchers combined to throw a no-hitter at the visiting Snappers.

Outfielder Byron Buxton gave the locals a good look at what all the fuss is about as he hit .563 for the series, including plenty of power.

The game stories are widely available on the web, but this morning, I thought I’d share a few (OK, much more than a few) of the pictures I took over the course of the past week, since the Kernels arrived in Cedar Rapids.

Kernels coaches meet the media" Tommy Watkins (hitting coach), Jake Mauer (manager), Gary Lucas (pitching coach)

Kernels coaches meet the media: Tommy Watkins (hitting coach), Jake Mauer (manager), Gary Lucas (pitching coach)

The Kernels are introduced to local fans on Meet the Kernels night

The Kernels are introduced to local fans on Meet the Kernels night

Kernels players enjoying the introductions

Kernels players enjoying the introductions

Hudson Boyd

Hudson Boyd

Byron Buxton

Byron Buxton

Tyler Grimes

Tyler Grimes

Travis Harrison

Travis Harrison

Romy Jimenez

Romy Jimenez

Jorge Polanco

Jorge Polanco

Byron Buxton

Byron Buxton

Byron Buxton

Byron Buxton

Tyler Duffey

Tyler Duffey

Tyler Duffey

Tyler Duffey

Niko Goodrum

Niko Goodrum

Travis Harrison

Travis Harrison

Manager Jake Mauer and 3B Travis Harrison working together pregame

Manager Jake Mauer and 3B Travis Harrison working together pregame

Dalton Hicks

Dalton Hicks

Dalton Hicks

Dalton Hicks

Kernels pitchers getting in pregame bullpen sessions

Kernels pitchers getting in pregame bullpen sessions

Pitching coach Gary Lucas works with Josue Montanez

Pitching coach Gary Lucas works with Josue Montanez

Manager Jake Mauer and Dalton Hicks

Manager Jake Mauer and Dalton Hicks

Josmil Pimentel

Candido Pimentel

Candido Pimentel

Candido Pimentel

Jorge Polanco

Jorge Polanco

Jorge Polanco

Jorge Polanco

Jorge Polanco

Jairo Rodriguez

Jairo Rodriguez

Jairo Rodriguez

Jairo Rodriguez

Adam Walker

Adam Walker

Adam Walker

Adam Walker

JD WIlliams (diving away from a near HBP)

JD WIlliams (diving away from a near HBP)

JCD Williams

JD Williams

Kernels Celebrate a No-Hitter

Kernels Celebrate a No-Hitter

Kernels sign postgame autographs

Kernels sign postgame autographs

h

See ya next week!

See ya next week!

If you didn’t see your favorite Kernels in these pictures, not to worry… we’ll be posting a lot more pictures over the course of the season.

– JC

The Knuckleballs Experience – A Refresher!

charliebrownbaseball

 

I think all Twins fans can be pretty happy with how the season has started so far! Yay for baseball!

But after a couple questions and for the sake of all the newbies who haven’t spent a season with the crew here at Knuckleballs, I thought a little review of what you can expect to find on any given day might be helpful!

FIRST:

We have four “blog operators” here at Knuckleballs: CapitalBabs, JimCrikket, KL and Erolfpleiss. The bulk of the material you will find here (photos included) is likely the creation of one of those four people. We occasionally have a guest poster – we like those so if you feel you have something you would like to contribute to our little community, let us know.

We started this blog to provide a place for Twins fans to gather, get to know each other and hang out – much like you would at your local bar. What makes that possible is for EVERY regular season game, we will put up a GameChat.

GameChats start with pregame notes and lineups being posted between an hour to a half hour before the game. We try to be VERY helpful about pointing our participants to additional resources so the players names in the lineups are linked to their individual stat profiles from MLB. That way you can check out the stats of any players you aren’t familiar with.

Also included is a chat window which is completely free and open for fans to participate in live, ongoing conversations during the game! Just as you’d likely expect, the conversation will likely center around the game… unless it’s not especially conversationally worthy and conversation will go wherever – just like at your favorite bar. And also like your bar, folk watching the game have some entertaining superstitions – sometimes we create our own. However, when our boys pull off a win, EVERYONE in the room gets a chance to vote for who they believe got the team that sometimes elusive W. We call that lucky designee our Boyfriend of the Day – BOD. This is a very special title – we will frequently award other worthy players during the game with various prizes assigned by the chatroom for good performances but BOD is pretty much our highest honor.

Once the game is completed, one of the blog operators will remove the chat window and put up the box score linked to the MLB stat log for that game as well as any closing comments or descriptions of the game that seem important. This provides you, as a fan, an opportunity to catch up with any games you may have missed in whole or in part. Especially if you aren’t local to other Twins fans, this is a great way to find some community to enjoy while following your favorite team. (basically, any time you see red text, it’s a link to something – check it out.)

SECOND:

We have a lot of other information that gets posted here in addition to Twins team info. We like to keep an eye on the minor league affiliates as well as the independent team in MN and whatever else strikes the fancy of a group of baseball/sports fans. So keep your eyes open – you never know WHAT we might post that day.

THIRD:

Several of us are photobugs so we like to post a LOT of pictures of various outings – unless otherwise noted, all photographs posted here are the property of Knuckleballs bloggers so please share only with permission.

FOURTH:

We have a LOT of information and resources available to baseball fans on our home page in addition to what is posted. Please see the right-hand column for links to Twins news, other fantastic Twins blogs you might want to read, and links to official MLB and MiLB up-to-date game stat and player information. I highly recommend these links to anyone looking for information on ANY team or play, minor or major.

There is also several different search methods if you are looking for something posted previously at Knuckleballs. You can search by keyword or name, by category, by the tag cloud or even by the calendar. If you are having any issues finding something you saw before, just let us know.

FIFTH:

You can follow Knuckleballs on Twitter (@Knuckleballs) or on Facebook through Networked Blogs. AND if you happen to be in the Twin Cities area, even temporarily, you will find that we frequently post invitations to gather at a REAL bar for a Viewing Party of some game or another at which you can meet and otherwise hobnob with other Twins fans bloggers!

SIXTH:

GameChats are NOT the only special feature posts here either. Erolfpleiss posts a podcast called “Talk to Contact” a couple times a week. They really aren’t to be missed. Most Sunday mornings, you will find a Comic Relief post – usually baseball oriented but not always – just for general entertainment in cartoon or video form. JimCrikket’s “evil twin”, SD Buhr, is also the newest beat writer for MetroSportsReport.com, covering the Cedar Rapids Kernels – the Twins newest minor league affiliate so he regularly will post special Kernels posts following the exploits of our minor leaguers.

bloggingLAST:

We have an FAQ available if you have questions that includes more information that I put here (believe it or not), and if you don’t find the answers you want or have a special inquiry, we have Contact info available. Let us know if there is anything you want to see!

GameChat – Twins @ Orioles #3, 12:35pm

Ok, a bit of roster news that you may have already heard but then again, maybe not. Officially this morning, the Twins brought up Anthony Swarzak and Pedro Hernandez and put Cole DeVries on the DL while optioning Tyler Robertson.

Swarzak is maybe not 100% yet from my read of the situation since he just got his wisdom teeth removed and had to deal with a gum infection on top of it. But apparently he’s still able to play. Who knew.

Let’s see what the boys have for us today!

Minnesota

@

Baltimore
Hicks, CF Markakis, RF
Mauer, C Machado, 3B
Willingham, LF Davis, C, 1B
Morneau, 1B Jones, Ad, CF
Doumit, DH Pearce, DH
Plouffe, 3B Hardy, SS
Ramirez, W, RF Reimold, LF
Dozier, 2B Teagarden, C
Florimon, SS Casilla, A, 2B
  Hernandez, P   Hammel, P

With their win today the Twins have improbably won their first two series of the year and are sitting at 4-2 heading into the second week of the season.  The Twins played another enjoyable game this afternoon.  Pedro Hernandez made a spot start for the injured Cole De Vries and while he didn’t pitch great, he pitched five innings, and while he gave up three runs in the bottom of the second, throwing more than a third of his 83 pitches, he was otherwise effective against the Orioles lineup.  The Twins picked up a pair of runs in the third inning on a flyball that Adam Jones lost in the sun, then tied the game and eventually took the lead on an Aaron Hicks RBI single in the seventh.  Anthony Swarzak made his first appearance of the year, pitching an inning and a third, and Brian Duensing, Jared Burton, and Glen Perkins finished off the game for a come from behind four to three victory.

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

For his efforts in the spot start, the Knuckleballs chatters and myself have selected Pedro Hernandez as the Boyfriend of the Day, with some milk and cookies for the bullpen as well.

Pedro  Hernandez is everyone's boyfriend today! (Bruce Kluckhohn/Minnesota Twins-Getty Images)

Pedro Hernandez is everyone’s boyfriend today! (Bruce Kluckhohn/Minnesota Twins-Getty Images)