April 12, 2010

Going to Target Field

Third base coach Scott Ullger waving home J.J. Hardy to get thrown out at the plate by about 30 feet yesterday afternoon was a rough way to end an otherwise excellent season-opening road trip for the Twins, but going 5-2 versus two likely contending teams before heading home to open up the new ballpark is pretty nice too. Better yet, I'll be at Target Field today covering the Twins-Red Sox game and the various ballpark-related festivities for NBCSports.com.

Being new to the world of press passes and press boxes I'm not entirely sure how everything will play out, but my plan is to post multiple articles on NBCSports.com throughout the day, so check Hardball Talk for those. My guess is that I'll also be active on Twitter, so you can follow me to read updates of the 140-character variety too. Oh, and before outdoor baseball makes my head explode, I wanted to say what a good time I had at the TwinsCentric event Saturday.

Seth Stohs, John Bonnes, Nick Nelson, and Parker Hageman know how to throw a party and it was great catching up with them while also meeting a whole bunch of new people. It sounds like they're planning another event for next month and I highly recommend going. Seth vowed to find an embarrassing picture of me as payback for showing his FSN-captured "face stuffing" here Wednesday, so I'll beat him to the punch with this gem my mom just found in the garage:


.

Seth could hire the entire staff of TMZ to follow me around 24 hours a day and he'd never get a picture worse than that. White turtlenecks and mullets are always a fantastic combination.

  • Is that business in the front and party in the back?

  • E

    This should be your Twitter avatar

  • No, that’s the Minneapolis Mudflap!

  • you should change your twitter profile pic to this for the day, WOW! you know in honor of the new baseball stadium.

  • Zack

    Heckuva picture there, Aaron. I can’t wait to see your thoughts on the new park. Almost as exciting as heading down there myself at the end of the week. Almost.

  • JR Cigar

    Truly a face made for radio…..or the Internet.

  • Mike

    You got that taken at the State Fair, didn’t you? I have the same one…except it’s “Baseball Digest” But yes, the mullet was in play!

  • JG

    I believe the photo was taken at Twins Fest/

  • Pops G

    Yes Twins Fest is correct.

    After hot dogs and opening hundreds of pacs of
    “Baseball Cards”

  • Kurt E.

    We’re comin’ we’re comin’

  • Dan

    Yesterday’s game was one of those games that is going to eat at me for a week. A real Gardy special.

    Why were both Punto and Harris in the lineup at the same time? If it were just Harris for Thome/Kubel against Buehrle (or a lefthander generally) it might make sense. But Punto? There is no way you can justify playing him instead of Thome/Kubel. Its bad enough that Punto is taking at bats away from Harris, but when they are coming at the expense of Thome and Kubel we have a problem. If Gardy actually looked at the numbers, we wouldn’t have to wait until Punto made 4 outs in 3 at-bats in a one-run loss to know playing him was a bad idea.

    Why is it that we’ve got a new stadium, a $100 million payroll, and we still have Scott Ullger coaching third base? Yes, I know Punto was coming up next, but the chances of him coming through are better than zero, which was the chance that Hardy would score since he was almost out at third.

  • al

    If Kubel takes ball 4 instead of swinging at it, Thome’s hit ties it, or if Casilla ran for Hardy, he may have scored.

  • Hammerman

    I remember that mullet! Although to be fair I had lines on the sides of my head… Enjoy Target Field!

  • Ted

    Gardy has already said that he wants Punto’s defense at third when Blackburn is pitching. So I thought it was a minor triumph to see Harris in the lineup against Buerhle. No way should Thome have been starting, and with Harris’s 294/354/423 career line against lefties, I am not too disappointed with the decision to hold back Kubel, in fact I might be happy with it given that Kubel hit 249/299/345 against lefties last year, which is in line with his career mark of 237/313/351.

    What disappointed me was seeing Hardy and Harris both batting behind Delmon. I know he is off to a hot start, but for the most part his plate appearances have been ugly, and the best thing for a hitter when facing Buerhle is patience, which Delmon does not have.

    As for waving in Hardy, to me that seemed like a slap in Punto’s face, a way of saying, “yeah, we really don’t think you can get this done for us, so we will take our chances with the play at home.” With Casilla punch running for Thome, a single could have scored two.

    Also, the Twins should know this because he came from KC, but Teahen – the cutoff man here – has a cannon.

  • I’m not entirely convinced that if Usain Bolt was pinch running for JJ Hardy he would have scored.

  • Matt

    Aaron, any idea where I could get stats for outs made on the basepaths? Seems like the Twins do a lot of dunderheaded baserunning.

  • Kurt E.

    Gardy’s managerial preferences with Punto and other players over Kubel and Thome are second to the Twins ability to score a run with 3 on no outs. The MLB average is a bit over 85% to score at least one run; Twins failed to do that I believe twice in last years Yankees playoff series and then early again yesterday. That kind of futility must change for this team to win come playoff time.

  • Kurt E.

    Typing error above, it’s a bit over 81%