Baseball Notes: My Opening Day/ Stinky Twinkies
This year I didn't get a chance to really watch the games on the Opening Sunday of baseball (I guess it's ESPN opening day), Opening Day Monday (Reds Opening day or traditional Opening Day), or the Twins Home Opener but I was able to go to an Opening Series day game Thursday between the Twins and White Sox.
This was my first game at Target Field and I was pretty impressed by the low ticket prices and the sight lines and layout of the stadium. It was in the low 70's and sunny in Minneapolis and I was able to get a nice $8 seat in the right field grandstand. I was actually very lucky with my seat because I got a seat in the wheel chair row in front of the grandstand. My seat was a padded folding chair along the railing where I had this great view seen above.
This was the last game in the Twins losing streak to start the season putting them at 0-9. The Twins lineup was notable for having seven hitters under .200 and two over .350. It's an anomalous start for most of their hitters who statistically even out soon enough, but should be a good opportunity for the team to have a quicker trigger finger for players that need to get dumped for prospects. Before the start of the season mlb.com had three out of six AL players receiving votes for rookie of the year predictions (another article has two out of five, leaving out Miguel Sano). The Twins don't have a bad team, they just have a bad start that might halt any momentum from having a good season.
This is the second time I have lived in a Twins city, the first was when I lived in New Britain and saw the AA affiliate of the Twins at the time the New Britain Rock Cats. Those Rock Cats teams were not a lot of fun to see and the only notable player to come out of those years was Trevor Plouffe, whose name sounds like a smelly fart. I would go to those games for the cheap tickets and to see the players and teams that came into town. I got to see the Red Sox affiliate the Portland Sea Dogs, I got to see some top prospects come in to town in Pablo Sandoval (who was just an unknown weirdo when I first saw him) and Madison Bumgarner (whose AA debut came with a lot of fanfare and a sold out game).
Seeing the Twins here and the teams that come through Target Field will be very entertaining throughout this year as the stadium is a huge step up from going to Chase Field in Phoenix (probably my least favorite park that is still in use). With any hope, the Twins will be an entertaining rebuilding team like the Pirates when I got to see several of their games at PNC in 2010 because of their great crop of young players.
I only hope the pitching can be more interesting this year than it has been in the past years for the Twins. I'm not very excited to see games started by Ervin Santana, Ricky Nolasco or Phil Hughes, and Kyle Gibson and Tyler Milone will have to prove themselves to me as well. Last year Gibson had an ERA under 4 and had one of the higher ground ball rates in the majors but his whip was closer to 1.30 and none of the Twins starters had especially good whips. In all, none of the Twins starters have a sense that they are entertaining pitchers or consistent aces. At Target Field this year they should have a clock counting down for the arrival of Jose Berrios and Alex Meyer to their rotation, which will be a count down to when they can expect a little jump in box office sales.