He’s Unbelievable Thome (To Me!)

18 Aug

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

On Monday night, I drove three and a half hours to my parent’s place. On Tuesday morning, my mom and I drove three hours to my brother’s place. My sister met us there and we drove about one hour in to Target Field. After all that driving, I think that it is fair to say that it (and all the driving back on Wednesday!) was well worth it!  One Swing! That was all that it took to be worth it all!

The Swing

Photos courtesy Heather Stohs

Celebratory Pie-in-the-face

 

First of all, a huge thank you to Paul Allen of KFAN and Vikings fame for letting me use his tickets for this game. Row 5, right by the 1B camera well. They really are some terrific tickets, and the experience sitting down there is great.

Just a couple of quick notes before I pass out and start out the long trek home early in the morning:

The Good:

  • Jim Thome – I mean, that last at bat was the stuff of legends. Off the all-star lefty reliever Matt Thornton. Against his old team. He had two other hits in the game. The guy can flat-out hit. The second he made contact, we knew the game was over. He now has 581 homers in his career, and 17 on the season.
  • Delmon Young – He had been struggling. He got Sunday off. The team had the day off on Monday. Young came back refreshed. He had three hits in the game including his 15th home run. Just as impressive, he did a very nice job defensively, including covering a lot of ground to make a great catch.
  • Denard Span – he had his third multi-hit game in his last five games, and he took good at bats and hit line drives.
  • Jason Kubel –  The two-run triple that he hit in the 1st inning was probably the hardest hit ball of the game, with the exception of the Thome walk-off. It was his only hit of the game, but it was a big one. However, he is on the Good list in large part due to the incredible diving catch he made to help Baker out early. He went back and to the right and all-out dove to make a great catch.
  • Orlando Hudson – got things going well early with his sixth home run of the year in the first inning to give the Twins their first run. Defensively, he made all the routine plays and a couple of really terrific plays too.
  • Danny Valencia – He had two doubles in the game. He didn’t have any RBI, but nothing he could do about it. He ripped a double to the right field gap early in the game, and Jim Thome was thrown out at home trying to score from first. Any other runner (except me) would have scored there. His second double again came with a runner on first base. This one went to the left centerfield gap. Unfortunately it bounced over the wall for a ground rule double meaning the runner from third could only advance to 3B.
  • Glen Perkins – The lefty replaced Scott Baker with two outs in the top of the 5th  and the bases loaded. He was able to get the third out of that inning and eat up the sixth inning as well.
  • Matt Guerrier – pitched a scoreless 7th inning.
  • Jesse Crain – dominated n the 8th inning.
  • Joe Nathan – Before the game, Joe Nathan was out in right field playing catch. He wasn’t throwing real hard. He wasn’t pitching. He was just in shorts and a Twins t-shirt  and just playing catch. But as he was throwing, I couldn’t see anything noticeable. It appeared to be pain free. No, he can’t pitch in 2010, but it was sure good to see. He then went down the line and signed autographs for at least 15 minutes.

The Bad:

  • JJ Hardy – the only Twins hitter without a hit.
  • Scott BakerJohn Danks is a work horse. Yes, he gave up four in the first inning, but he still went seven innings and gave up only five runs total. Baker, he was given a 4-0 lead and he started giving it up right away. There is absolutely no bulldog in Scott Baker, and I don’t get why. He even threw a ball poorly to 1B for an error. It’s not explainable. There is no reason for him to be this bad or this inconsistent at this stage of his career.
  • Jon Rauch and Matt Capps – Might as well lump them together because they are the same pitcher. Rauch is an absolute mess right now. Forget the success he had in the first half. He is not a very good pitcher right now. And when the Twins acquired Capps, we looked at the numbers and saw that Capps was about the same pitcher as Rauch. His numbers were all either the same or very close to Rauch’s. Yes, Capps may “look” a little more like a closer than Rauch, because he throws a couple miles per hour faster, but the numbers don’t lie. They are about the same pitcher. Lots of base runners, lots of hits. Tonight, they both gave up one run on three hits.
  • On-field kid – It was on the opposite side of the field, but I think a kid, maybe 12-14 years old, ran onto the field and over to Delmon Young. He turned around and as security made its way out to him, the kid jumped back in the stands. He went up a few rows and sat down. The security guards grabbed him and escorted him AND HIS PARENTS and sibling, out of their seats. That was the craziest thing. Was the kid drunk? Did his dad maybe tell him to do it? It was strange.
  • The Wave – Man, I hate the wave. I think everyone knows that. I heard someone say that the crowd stayed around for the whole game (true) and that the crowd was fully engaged, “in fact, the crowed had the wave going around the stadium like 5 times.” When I hear that, I just shake my head. People doing the wave aren’t into the game, they’re into the wave. It is always done at times that make no sense, and I just do not understand why some people think it is so cool.
  • Funny Parents – I love the adults who are just rude to players. For instance, there was one guy in our section during batting practice who really wanted a ball. Omar Vizquel picked up a ball a little ways away. The dad yelled, “Hey White Sox.” OK, if you’re going to be a jerk, at least know the names, especially of guys of Vizquel’s stature. He continued to be annoying. After Kevin Slowey spent some time with family or friends nearby, this guy said something to Slowey, and used his kid to get something. Then when a ball did come over there, he predictably stole it from a few kids.

The Highlights:

  • OK, it was pretty cool being able to see that Thome walk-off home run tonight. That was definitely a highlight I’ll never forget.
  • Apparently my mom and I were on TV.  A groundball came down the 1B line and the first base coach threw it back in to a guy who it hit in the stands, three rows in front of us.
  • The highlight of the night for me – Following the Jim Thome home run, I got a high-five from the great Khalid El-Amin! Seriously! He is the guy who was hit by the previous foul bounder and got that ball. His son got a ball from Orlando Hudson. El-Amin, the former Minneapolis North, U-Conn and NBA player is still playing basketball in Europe. He is a big Twins fans and was completely engulfed in the game. So when Thome hit the homer, El-Amin came up the aisle and gave me a high-five. That was cool!

Finally, here are a few more quick notes:

Any questions or comments on the Twins or the minor league system? Feel free to leave your questions and comments here. 

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20 Responses to “He’s Unbelievable Thome (To Me!)”

  1. Rich August 18, 2010 at 6:37 am #

    Thome did it to the Twins in the one game play off and now he has done it to Chicago it takes some of the lingering sting out of the 1-0 lose. Just one great game.

    I live in up state New York and watch parts of several games a day and this year the Yanks and Boston have a pitch count along with the speed of each pitch. In this day where the managers rely on pitch count I think it is a very good idea to incorporate that in Twin games. Bert doesn’t like relying on the pitch count, however, it’t a big part of the now game of baseball.

    What do you think?

  2. Bill in Sarasota August 18, 2010 at 8:15 am #

    Thome saved Capps and Rauch.
    However, Capps has no movement on his pitches and I doubt he’ll be able to get the job done against the Yankees and Rangers in the playoffs.
    Ramos is hitting over .320 and hitting with power for Syracuse.

    • rover27 August 18, 2010 at 2:31 pm #

      I don’t know if capps has had a 1-2-3 inning since the Twins got him. And he sure isn’t missing many bats. Even the light-hitting A’s were tatooing the ball off him on Fri. and Sun. And then there was last night.

      To say I haven’t been impressed is to put it mildly.

      Rumor this Spring was that the Twins were interested in Heath Bell. But they wouldn’t give up Ramos. Don’t know if it’s true or not, but he would look great in a Twins uniform. He’s got dominating stuff, unlike our current closer.

  3. Joel Thingvall August 18, 2010 at 8:16 am #

    Target Field is not a wave friendly park, so fans should totally avoid the experience.

    Not in the game, yes….but also the sound guys. Rally Caps? Two Strike Claps. Maybe I miss a couple of things that the dome seemed to do well — noise in particular. It can get real quiet at Target Field.

    First time Rochester ever had so many bats — on the bench. Just what they needed — Morales, Tolbert & Ploffe returned for at bats. Hard to believe that minor league ball is over in three weeks. Especially in most of Twins land.

    Yeah, Seth…great camera time. Running away so your mom could be hit by a foul ball. Will you be doing national talk shows? (Seriously, can you believe the air time that guy who jumped away and his girlfriend got hit by the foul got?)

  4. TT August 18, 2010 at 8:22 am #

    I suppose it was inevitable that the first time Capps blew a save “I told you so” would be heard from the critics of that trade. But Capps gave up a solo home run to blow the save. Then he gave up a single. The bunt single that followed no more a reflection on the quality of the pitcher than the sacrifice bunt that followed it or the intentional walk. He got out of that jam with the game still tied by getting a double play.

    Rauch IS a mess. And the Twins would likely not be in first if he was still the closer. So far, the Capps trade has paid off.

    • Maija August 18, 2010 at 12:06 pm #

      That wasn’t the first BS for Capps as a Twin…

  5. Matt August 18, 2010 at 9:35 am #

    You left out the part about the kid who ran on the field went to his knees right in front of Delmon and started bowing to him in praise. Not really sure what he did that for (maybe for hitting Pierzynski at home), but I thought it was pretty hilarious because it was (like you said) a kid who looked like he was a young teenager doing it.

  6. Shea August 18, 2010 at 10:05 am #

    Ha, this is funny about the “funny parents”. My wife and I went to a game recently and had amazing seats free from our jeweler (4th row behind the Twins dugout). There was a parent in front of us who had three little girls with them and it was their first Twins game. They did NOT want to be at a Twins game and did not appreciate the seats they had at all.

    The most annoying thing about it was the mom kept forcing them to take about 30 pictures an inning…DURING THE GAME! It was so distracting that I could barely enjoy my seats or the game. Then, in between innings, they would run down to the dugout and she would go with them and they would all yell for baseballs to be thrown to them as players come back into the dugout. Yes, the mom even yelled. She reminded me of an upscale Edina soccer mom who spoiled her kids rotten and expected to get baseballs from players because they had good seats. My favorite part — the players wouldn’t throw them the ball because you could tell they were getting annoyed by the mom too much.

  7. Bill in Sarasota August 18, 2010 at 10:19 am #

    TT – “So far, the Capps trade has paid off.”

    If the Twins make the World Series then the Capps trade will be a sucess. If not, it will be a failure.

    Not only did he blow the save, but his pitches have no movement. The no movement is the biggest concern, not that he blew his first save.

    Crain (not Rauch) would be the closer now if Capps wasn’t acquired.

  8. Jeff P August 18, 2010 at 10:48 am #

    I did not like the Capps trade and still don’t but this is not so much about the step up from Rauch but from Slama or whoever the other choice would be.

    The starters have been doing much better but there still have been many times when they leave in the fifth or sixth inning and the game is close. That means a lot of pressure on the 3-4 key relievers.

  9. TT August 18, 2010 at 11:36 am #

    “Crain (not Rauch) would be the closer now if Capps wasn’t acquired.”

    What makes you think so? Because Rauch has struggled in his last few appearances? I am not sure Gardy would give up on him that quickly if he were in the closer role. And if Rauch was pitching yesterday instead of Crain, they would likely not have needed the closer.

    “If the Twins make the World Series then the Capps trade will be a sucess. If not, it will be a failure.”

    I guess, I think the question is more complex than that. If Ramos is an allstar catcher and Mauer turns into a part time catcher, then it will be a failure regardless of what happens with Capps. And if Mauer is still a durable catcher in 5 years and Ramos is an over-weight bat off the bench and emergency catcher, then the trade was a success. Obviously Capps’ performance matters, but not nearly as much as Ramos.’

  10. Maija August 18, 2010 at 12:13 pm #

    Hey! I was probably sitting like 15 rows right behind you Seth!

    That kid who ran on the field was strange.

    Another highlight of mine: Tony Oliva was standing by the Tony O’s Cuban Sandwich stand before the game. He was talking with fans and taking lots of pictures. That was really cool!

  11. mike wants wins August 18, 2010 at 1:07 pm #

    Or, Ramos could have been turned into more than a middle of the road relief pitcher, you left off that option….

    The wave: I guess I have no problem with it. To me, there is no wrong way to be a fan, other than verbally obnoxious or blocking someone elses’ view (which only lasts a second or two with the wave).

  12. mike wants wins August 18, 2010 at 1:34 pm #

    Ramos called up today….

  13. MrHockey August 18, 2010 at 2:09 pm #

    Target Field is going through a shake up period with many “fans” who ask, where the World Series is being played this year? Or when Baker is pitching, they say: “Oh, I thought Pavano was their pitcher!” Many beautiful people are there to see and be seen. Lots of folks find baseball kind of bording and so the wave is the closest thing they can think of to video games. What tires me are the folks (usually women) that sit behind our seats that talk about everything and anything during the game (incessantly). Shut up–watch the game–baseball is much like life–just when it doesn’t seem like anything is happening, boom–a wild pitch, a wild squirrel, a suicide squeeze, a blown save, a walk off home run. Go Twins!

    • Maija August 18, 2010 at 5:00 pm #

      My Mom and I talk a lot at games. Don’t tell me you sit by first base…

  14. mike wants wins August 18, 2010 at 2:42 pm #

    Rob Dibble joins the conversation!

  15. Bill in Sarasota August 18, 2010 at 3:02 pm #

    TT – If you haven’t noticed both Crain and Guerrier have passed Rauch in the bullpen order. In fact Crain has gone past Guerrier too even though Matt has pitched fine.
    Mauer has no effect on the Ramos trade value. At worst case, Ramos (if he wasn’t traded for something much better than Capps) could catch twice a week (Let Mauer rest & DH) and DH against LHP for the next six seasons at a low salary.
    Capps salary is going to be close to $7 million for next year.

    Most likely in three years, the trade can be evaluated on both sides. Unfortunately most of the upside is on the Nationals side.

  16. TT August 18, 2010 at 4:10 pm #

    ” you haven’t noticed both Crain and Guerrier have passed Rauch in the bullpen order.”

    Yes, I have noticed that. If you didn’t notice, Rauch was sick and then injured and missed a few games. He hasn’t been used in critical situations since Capps came on board. But if he were still the closer, he obviously would have been. We may or may not have seen the meltdowns that have occurred, but they would have happened in the ninth inning of close games.

    “At worst case, Ramos (if he wasn’t traded for something much better than Capps) could catch twice a week ”

    At worst case, Ramos plays out his career mostly at AAA. Its not at all clear his bat will keep him in the big leagues even to the extent Matt LeCroy’s did. If his weight won’t let him catch every day, then he wasn’t too much to give up for a closer the Twins clearly needed.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Thome Traded to Cleveland « SethSpeaks.net - August 25, 2011

    [...] hit that incredible home run last August to walk off against his old Chicago White Sox teammates. He had the two home run game to [...]

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