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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!
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:
- 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.
- JJ Hardy – the only Twins hitter without a hit.
- Scott Baker – John 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.
- 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:
- Since I was at the game last night, Travis hosted Twins Minor League Weekly last night.
Any questions or comments on the Twins or the minor league system? Feel free to leave your questions and comments here.