Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Life in the Legends Club

There was plenty of leg room in much
of Target Field on Monday.
This is the fourth summer of Target Field and the third summer of a lousy home team. Monday's game was a rescheduled make-up game; it was hot and humid. The announced attendance was something over 21,000, and that probably overstates the number of fans on the premises.

I was amongst them, as was my wife. I had gone spelunking Monday morning in StubHub and found a pair of tickets in the Legends Club at a sharp discount, so we got to experience a new part of the ball park. (We'd seen the Legends Club during a tour, but seeing it empty and seeing it in action are two different things.)

I'll say this: If I had the time and money for season tickets,  that's the place. It was certainly nice to have the air-conditioned Carew room to retreat to periodically from the swelter.

It also does a nice job of extracting cash from the patrons.

One question that occurs to me at times looking in at high-rent district of a ball park is how much the people there know/care about the game itself. Bill Veeck wrote in his memoirs that in his experience the knowledge of the game increased the cheaper the tickets.

And indeed, the fellow in front of me asked me four questions over the course of the game:

"Is that real grass or fake grass?" (Real.)

"Did they trade Morneau?" (Yes, for the guy playing center field tonight.)

"But Mauer's still around, right?" (Yes, but he's on the DL with a concussion.)

"What happened to him, get drilled by a pitch?" (No, got drilled by a foul tip. Uh, you're not from around here, are you.)


The game itself was worthwhile. Josmil Pinto hit three doubles and drew a walk, and the most impressive ball he hit was probably the foul ball he banged off a window in the Twins office tower behind the foul pole. (Ron Gardenhire said after the game he can't remember anybody hitting one of those windows.) Kid's got his man strength.

He also gave a graphic demonstration of his rawness behind the plate, completely missing a Glen Perkins pitch that nailed home plate umpire Laz Diaz in the thigh in the ninth inning. That's no way for a catcher to win friends among the umps.

The Twins piece in the Baseball America that arrived in my mailbox Monday (bylined by Phil Miller of the Star Tribune, BA's regular Twins correspondent) drew a comparison between Pinto and Wilson Ramos, the catcher the Twins traded in midseason 2010 for Matt Capps. Pinto-Ramos is a comparison I've been thinking about a bit in recent days and expect to write about in some detail, but I'll just say here that I'm skeptical of the BA piece's implication that the Twins were willing to trade Ramos in part because they knew they had Pinto coming up. In 2010 Pinto, then 21, hit .225/.295/.378 in Beloit.

I like Pinto, and the Twins look like they have a good one there. They couldn't have known in 2010 that he'd turn into a masher.

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