Notes from the Press Box

12 May

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

For the first time, I had the opportunity to sit in the press box of the Metrodome. No. No. I wasn’t in the front rows with Phil Miller and Joe Christensen and Kelly Thesier, but it was still the press box. What a view of the game. The interesting thing is that I’m sitting here doing the exact same thing I would do while watching the game at home. I’m at the computer, checking out minor league box scores, reading some blogs, checking out my Facebook. But still, this is so cool. I’m sitting with The Twins Geek, and in the vicinity of Phil Mackey and Doogie Wolfson. I had a polish, and I almost spilled mustard on my sweater. Maybe I could be the next Sid Hartman!!

Pregame – After figuring out where and when I needed to sell books, The Twins Geek and I went and got our press passes. I met him down on the field during Twins batting practice during which time Ron Gardenhire held his pre-game press conference. That was interesting. Everyone just congregated. A few asked questions. It went just over five minutes. Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau were signing autographs for a small group of kids who were brought to the field to watch BP and meet players. Delmon Young was launching balls into the left field bleachers. Unfortunately, I had to get back out to the plaza and sell books.

The weather, well, it didn’t cooperate. There was a continuous wind, sometimes gusty. There were frequent sprinkles with occasional light rain. Not exactly conducive for people to just hang out on the plaza. I sold all of zero books. But I am happy that several of you stopped by to say hi and talk about the Twins. That was fun. I will be doing the same thing on Wednesday night on the plaza, so again, if you are going to the game, stop by and say hi… and if you want, grab a book. Just $10!

Anyway, I got into the Herb Carneal Press Box just as the top of the 1st inning completed. Here are some notes as I watched the Twins beat the Tigers 6-2:

TWINS IN-GAME NOTES

1st Inning – Galarragga sure doesn’t look to be throwing hard. Span lined out to RF. Tolbert singles. Mauer has a long, deep fly ball to left that the fielder jumped a little to catch. Morneau drilled a ball to the warning track in CF. These guys are going to crush him if this keeps up!

2nd inning – Cuddyer takes a walk before Joe Crede drills a shot well into the left field bleachers.

3rd inning – Remember that Mauer ball that Clete Thomas caught over the fence in left? Well, this time, Mauer hit it a little lower and a little harder. Thomas almost had another home run robbing play, but he couldn’t quite get to it. The press box TV shows that Thomas was in nearly the same exact spot.

4th Inning – Slowey worked into a little trouble. He gave up hits to the first two hitters, the second, a controversial “hit” on a bounding ball up the middle. Matt Tolbert was on his way to the base because the runner was attempting a steal. He ended up going a few steps to the SS side of the bag and the ball bounced off his glove, right in front of a waiting Nick Punto. But, Slowey coaxed two lazy fly balls to right field, and a ground ball to get out of the inning.

5th Inning –  Top of the inning, with one out, Clete Thomas singles to left to put two on with one out and Miguel Cabrera at bat. The Twins Geek points out that this is suddenly a big at bat. I concur. A home run makes it 4-3 Twins. On the first pitch, Cabrera hits a hard ground ball up the middle. Tolbert dives, catches it, flips to Nick Punto who relayed the ball to 1B for a double play, ending the inning. I almost clap, a cardinal sin in the press box, but I catch myself. Phil Mackey points out the Alexi Casilla doesn’t get to that ball. I concur.

After striking out both Denard Span and Matt Tolbert, Gallarraga wisely walked Joe Mauer. He then got a kick-save and a beauty from Miguel Cabrera on a hard-hit one-hopper off the bat of Justin Morneau.

6th Inning – Slowey has thrown five shutout innings to this point, but he has been hit a little and living on the edge. A nice 1-2-3 inning would be great. Jeff Larish hits a 1-2 fasetball on the outside corner over the left field fence to leadoff the inning. But he recovered to get two ground outs back to the mound and an easy fly ball to left field.

With Runners on second and third, Delmon Young was jammed badly on a inside fastball and grounded to SS. Should have been a double play, but a bad throw on the relay went into the Tigers’ dugout. Jason Kubel (who walked to lead off the inning) scored on the play and Young ended up at 2B. Very nice to get that run back. (By the way, Kevin Slowey is at 98 pitches, and the bullpen is not active.)  A Nick Punto walk ends the night for Galarraga with Ryan Perry entering the game. (Jesse Crain is now warming up. This makes sense as the inning is now getting quite long, not that that is a bad thing from the Twins’ perspective.) Span strikes out on a pitch on the inner part of the plate. He spends a little time talking to the umpire, apparently disagreeing with the call.

7th inning – Jesse Crain enters the game, and when he is announced, I hear a spattering of boos. Jose Mijares is already warming up. Nine-hitter Ramon Santiago homers on a 3-2 fastball right down the middle. The crowd boos a little, OK a lot, more. I swear I hear Nick Nelson yelling obscenities from the upper deck. He’s clearly not the only one. The press box television shows Gardy, mouthing some words, especially after the walk to Crain. Gardy goes to get Crain. Crain leaves to more boos. Just four of his 11 pitchers went for strikes. Mijares reaches the mound and Matt Guerrier is already warming up. Placido Polanco flies up to Span in center. Mijares struck out lefty Clete Thomas on three tough pitches. Miguel Cabrera comes up at a very important time at again. Ron Coomer is looking pretty snazzy, eating some popcorn. Mijares breaks Cabrera’s bat, and he pops up to Punto in deep short.

Ryan Perry throws hard. The radar in the Metrodome shows he’s hitting 95-97. After he strikes out Matt Tolbert, Mauer easily drills a line drive into left field for a hit. All I think it, “Seriously, it isn’t that easy, is it??” After a wild pitch, the Tigers walk Justin Morneau to bring up Jason Kubel. Kubel strikes out. Cuddyer grounds out weakly 2B.

8th inning – Mijares gets Clete Thomas to fly out weakly to Carlos Gomez who is now playing in CF, with Denard Span moving over to LF. Matt Guerrier enters the game and got Magglio Ordonez to ground out to Joe Crede at 3B and then froze Brandon Inge to end the inning with a strikeout.   

Ryan Perry is still in the game. He strikes out Joe Crede. Then Carlos Gomez came to bat and worked a walk. He stole second and advanced to third on a ground ball back to the pitcher. Denard Span then slapped a single to left field to score Gomez. That ended the night for Ryan Perry as Brandon Lyon came into the game. On a 2-1 pitch, Span easily stole second base. He had taken three steps before Lyon threw the ball. On the next pitch, he walked Tolbert. But with Joe Mauer at the plate, Span was thrown out trying to steal 3B. Mauer kind of stared down at Span when he was called out, BUT Matt Tolbert was stealing too, which means that the double steal was called from the dugout. Inexplicable. The other strange thing is that Span again got a huge jump but was still thrown out.

9th inning – It isn’t a save situation any longer, but Joe Nathan is still brought in for the ninth. Josh Anderson flew out to CF on the first pitch. Ramon Santiago grounded between the pitcher’s mound and 1B. Justin Morneau fielded the ball and flipped it to Nathan for the out, but Nathan was stepped on and hobbled for a minute before stepping to the mound. Some guy right in front of the press box started clapping, and when everyone stood for the final out, he took great pride in having started the ovation. Comical!  Nathan came back to strike out Curtis Granderson to end the game.

The game finished. Many media members went down to the clubhouse for some postgame reaction. I’m writing this. Bert Blyleven and Ron Coomer are down on the field doing their post game tutorial. Moments later, many of the lights over the field are off. Brendan Harris is doing sprint after sprint along the warning track. I’m told he does that a lot, runs constantly. Bert Blyleven comes back up through the press box. Some of the media members come back. We have a long chat with the official scorer about the Tolbert play. Harris is still running.

I must now go home and get some sleep. Another long day tomorrow. Again, I will be selling books on the Metrodome’s plaza from about 5:30 until 7:00. I am then going to host a live chat from the chat room which I hope to start about 7:15 on Wednesday night. So, be sure to tune in to that.

To sign up for a reminder, or to ‘watch’ the live chat, Click Here.
Please be sure to leave me your thoughts.  

MINOR LEAGUE REPORT

Tuesday – SethSpeaks.net Hitter of the Day – Luke Hughes, Rochester Red Wings – Whit Robbins, New Britain Rockcats

Tuesday – SethSpeaks.net Pitcher of the Day – Reid Santos, Rochester Red Wings – Spencer Steedley, Ft. Myers Miracle – Joe Testa, Beloit Snappers

ROCHESTER REPORT

Tuesday –Rochester 5, Indianapolis 6 – Down four runs going into the bottom of the 8th, Trevor Plouffe knocked in two that inning. Then in the bottom of the ninth, down two, with two outs and two on, Luke Hughes connected for a two-run two-baggers to tie the game at five. Justin Huber then singled in Hughes and the Red Wings had their comeback. Hughes led the way going 3-5 with his fifth doubles, second triple and three RBI. Alexi Casilla was also 3-5. (He is now hitting .455) Justin Huber was 3-5 with that Game-Winning RBI. Trevor Plouffe went 2-3 with a walk, his fifth double and two RBI. Philip Humber starting and gave up five runs on six hits and two walks in 4.1 innings. Reid Santos looked good with 3.2 shutout innings. He struck out three. Armando Gabino worked a perfect ninth inning and is credited with the win.

ROCKCAT RECAP

Tuesday – New Britain 2, Connecticut 4 Whit Robbins had a great day at the plate. He went 3-3 with a walk and his fourth home run which drove in both of the Rockcats runs. Danny Valencia and Juan Portes each hit a double. Matt Fox got the start on the mound. He gave up four runs on eight hits. He walked one and struck out five in the loss. Rob Delaney came in and got the team out of the sixth inning, as well as pitched a perfect seventh. He started the 8th and gave up a hit and a walk, getting just one out, before Anthony Slama came in to get the final five outs.  

MIRACLE MEMOS

Tuesday –Ft. Myers 2, Sarasota 11Deolis Guerra’s line won’t look good. He gave up six runs on eight hits and two walks in 5.2 innings. He struck out seven. However, through five innings, he had given up just two runs and was pitching quite well. Spencer Steedley came in and struck out three in 2.1 shutout innings. Kyle Waldrop started the ninth. He got two outs, but he gave up five runs on five hits and a walk. Henry Arias came in and struckout the lone batter he faced. Evan Bigley got the start in LF hours after flying in to Ft. Myers from Beloit (or wherever it is players from Beloit fly out of). He stepped off the plane and got hits in his first two at bats. (2-4 on the game) Chris Cates went 2-2 with a walk. Mark Dolenc was in the leadoff position and went 2-4. Ben Revere’s injured knee appears to be better and he is expected to be back in the lineup by Friday.   

SNAPPERS SNIPPETS

Tuesday – Beloit 3, Clinton 2  – Dan Osterbrook finally got that elusive first win of his 2009 season. The lefty went the first six innings. He gave up two runs on six hits. He walked none and struck out six. Dan Berlind worked a scoreless seventh inning. Then Joe Testa continued to dominate with four strikeouts in two scoreless innings for his second save.    

Please feel free to Send me an e-mail, or leave your questions or comments here.

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4 Responses to “Notes from the Press Box”

  1. Jack Steal May 13, 2009 at 8:10 am #

    Seth,

    Gardy looked very mad when he went to the mound in the 7th inning last night. Crain has been given every opportunity in the last four years to play a major role in the bullpen and has failed. How long will the team wait before he gets his walking papers.

  2. Seth May 13, 2009 at 8:41 am #

    Crain’s ERA’s in his big league career: 2.00, 2.71, 3.52, 5.51 (in 18 games, needed shoulder surgery!), 3.59 (in first year back)… so yeah, maybe he’s struggled his last two times out, but he’s 27 years old, so I would say his string is really, really long.

  3. Dome Dog May 13, 2009 at 10:34 am #

    His string may be long, but only because he is still relatively young and signed to a multi-year deal. Crain and Cuddyer have been the two biggest long term disappointments for me. Cuddy because I thought he would turn into a rock star offensive player (he’s been solid, but far short of what I expected and hoped from a player that performed like he did and was hyped like he was coming up). Crain because he has always seemed to have lights out stuff, but I don’t trust him on the mound. He doesn’t seem to throw enough strikes, he gets hit hard, and I don’t remember him coming through in a tough spot very often (other than his very first year with the club – which is why I’ve been so disappointed since). Those ERA’s that you listed don’t look too bad, but I feel like they might be “empty” ERA’s. I don’t have anything to back this up with, but maybe somebody else would (I’m too lazy to try to figure any of that kind of thing out).

    Crain is one of the few guys I disagree with you about Seth…I just really hope I’m wrong and you’re right, because he could have a HUGE effect on how this season plays out.

    Coincidentally, I’m feeling pretty good about where this team is at right now. I know the bullpen is a major concern at this point. But I’m liking where the offense is at, with Mauer, Morneau, Span, Kubel, & Cuddyer all solidifying themselves as solid to great offensive threats. As long as Crede stays healthy, he is going to produce his usual power numbers and give us great defense at 3rd base. If they could figure out a way to get some more offensive production from the middle infield they are going to be real tough as a lineup. The defense appears to be solid (especially with Mauer back behind the plate to control the running game)and the starting pitchers have turned in some more encouraging outings of late (particularly Blackburn & Baker). I really feel like the front office will make a bold move this year to solidify the bullpen if it is still a problem by mid-summer (not sure why I feel strongly about that, but I do).

    So despite all the inconsistencies, I’m pretty excited to watch this team the rest of the year…and Mauer/Morneau at bats are just awesome to watch!

  4. Greg B May 13, 2009 at 12:25 pm #

    Seth, in today’s PioneerPress, Span took full responsibility for attempting the steal on his own initiative.

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