|The view from our seats, much reduced.|
It sure didn't hurt that it was a competitive game.
*For this one I procured seats (through StubHub) in what the Twins call the "Pavilion", a four-row set of seats in right-center field. I'd noticed them on previous trips and made a mental note to try them at some point. For proximity's sake, and also to try something new, I skipped my customary Kramarczuk foray (those stands are behind home plate) and went to the "State Fair" booth a few feet away. We split a pork chop on a stick, the Michelbob's ribs and fries.
Michelbob's, if you don't know, is from Naples, Fla., and is apparently a favorite of spring training regulars. I was a little skeptical of the practicality of ribs as a ballpark food, but it worked; the five-rib rack separated easily with a plastic fork and fingers. And Linda was quite pleased with the tenderness of the pork chop. (We both preferred the Michelbob's sauce to the sauce that came with the chop.)
* I learned my lesson from last September and dressed a bit more warmly than my reading of the forecast dictated. Good idea.
* It was easily the windiest game I've attended there, with the players' uniforms flapping like flags around their legs and torsos. I remain baffled by Target Field's wind patterns. The flags above left field were pointed out; a TV shot during the game showed the big flags in right field pointed in; the wind was consistently coming into our faces from left field; and the uniforms and food wrappers on the field were going pretty much straight across left to right.
The point being: If you hear an announcer say something about the wind going in a particular direction there, don't believe it.
The wind had at least a mild impact on the game, with a Joe Benson infield popup falling uncaught; he was thrown out trying to take second on the play. I don't think it was a stupid play on his part; with two out and weak hitters coming up, he needed to be in scoring position.
* Liam Hendriks had a mixed bag start again. No walks and five strikeouts in 5.1 innings, good; ten hits, seven for extra bases, bad. I was, frankly, surprised the he got to start the sixth inning, since both Francisco Liriano and Brian Duensing were warming up in the fifth and Hendriks had been in trouble pretty much all game.
* I really thought, after the Twins had loaded the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the ninth, that they were going to win that game. But Michael Cuddyer, Chris Parmelee and Danny Valencia couldn't get the ball out of the infield.
Not to harsh too much on Cuddyer, who probably feels some pressure as the one established middle-of-the-order guy left in the lineup, but once he had two strikes I knew what the next pitch was going to be — slider, down and away. He probably knew too, and still couldn't lay off it.
*Ten losses in a row, and still just two wins in the month of September. It appears all but certain that the Twins will lose 100 games. Amazing.