August 29, 2002

My day at the Dome

I just got home from the Metrodome, where the Seattle Mariners beat the Twins 2-0.

It was kind of a depressing day to be at the ballpark, with the strike looming and the strong possibility that this could have been the last Twins game of the season and even the slight possibility that this could have been the last Twins game ever!

Nonetheless, it was a good game.

The Mariners got a great performance out of Jamie Moyer, who I must say, is a lot of fun to watch.

He tops out at about 85 MPH, but he makes hitters look absolutely silly with his great changeup, which he is confident enough to throw in any situation.

When he is on, the hitters are off balance and they just miss hitting a lot of balls really well, which causes a lot of pop ups and easy fly balls to the outfield.

The Mariners also got the best game of Desi Relaford's life.

Relaford (who was hitting .239 coming into the game) singled in each of his first two at bats.

Then, with the score 0-0 in the 8th, he homered, giving the Mariners a 1-0 lead.

And that was enough to win it, as the Twins couldn't get a run across against Moyer, Arthur Rhodes and Kaz Sasaki.

A few random notes on my experience at the ballpark...

Before the game, a guy sitting in the row in front of me said to two women, "When the Twins come onto the field in the first inning, I'm going to boo them."

Later he said, "I can't wait until Denny Hocking comes up, I'm gonna boo him a ton!"

Sure enough, when the PA announcer said "and now....your Central Division leading Minnesota Twins..." the guy booed like crazy.

And when Hocking came to the plate for his first at bat, he booed even louder.

He saw me looking at him and said, "You know why don't you?"

I nodded my head "yes" (very condescendingly), but I don't think he bought it, because he kept trying to explain.

He struck me as a pretty big idiot, so finally I said, "Denny Hocking can't do a lot about it and I don't come to the game to boo my favorite team."

That finally shut him up, thank god.

Later he was trying to explain to the same two women that they should boo everyone on both teams, but cheer for Rick Reed like he was, because "Reed voted against the strike in 1994" (his words, NOT mine).

I would guess that the guy was just slightly pro owner!

I don't even know what side I am on to tell the truth.

I just want to see baseball being played.

And I am certainly not going to come to the ballpark to boo my favorite team.

As for Denny Hocking, even if he is to blame (which I really don't think he is) I can think of a pretty long list of people involved in this debacle that I would boo before him.

Plus, he has had some really great anti-Selig quotes this year, which I always love.

Rick Reed continued to pitch very well.

He went 7 1/3 and gave up only the one run on the Relaford homer.

He also struck out 8 guys and walked only 1.

The best way to describe Reed's demeanor on the mound is that he always looks like he is constipated.

I don't really have a punch-line for that, I just felt the need to inform everyone.

Mike Cameron got picked off of 1st base for the 3rd time in the last 2 games.

Cameron singled to center in 5th.

Reed immediately threw over to first and somehow caught Cameron napping.

It wasn't even particularly close.

I just don't see how a guy could get picked off again after getting picked off twice (including once in the 9th inning of a 2-1 game) the night before.

I don't even think he was going to be stealing and his lead wasn't that big.

The funniest thing about it (aside from the looks of amazement and great heckles coming from the fans) was the reaction of Lou Piniella when Cameron got back in the dugout.

Cameron, like anyone who screwed up would do, stayed at the opposite end of the dugout from Sweet Lou.

Piniella just sat at the other end of the bench and looked down at Cameron.

Finally, after about a minute, Piniella stood up, yelled something in Cameron's general direction, put both his palms up in the air and then just sat back down.

Sitting on the third base line has some perks.

The Twins tried to bunt for a hit at least 5 different times in the game, all of them aimed at the 3rd base line.

Torii Hunter tried to bunt his way on in the 2nd.

Doug Mientkiewicz tried in the 4th.

Dustan Mohr tried in the 5th.

Tom Prince tried in the 7th.

Denny Hocking tried in the 8th.

And all 5 of them went foul.

The best of the bunch was Mientkiwicz, who, for the 2nd time in the series, dropped a near perfect bunt down the third base line, only to see it go foul at the last minute.

When you are down a run or two in the late innings, there is absolutely nothing that beats seeing the old "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?" speech by John "Bluto" Blutarski on the Jumbotron.

Combine that with the opening of "Welcome to the Jungle" and you have yourself some guaranteed adreneline and some serious comeback hopes.

Oh, and if you don't know who John Blutarski is...shame on you.

I think we are past the point where we need to be hearing "Proud to be an American" during the 7th inning stretch.

Stick to "Take me out to the Ballgame."

The Twins do a lot of stuff with the Jumbotron between innings (including playing commercials! Yuck!) but the best is definitely the "Kiss Cam."

Basically they go around the park and show various people sitting together, framed with a hearts graphic and the words "Kiss Cam."

The people see themselves on the screen and are supposed to kiss.

You get the basic boyfriend/girlfriend kiss (they smile at each other and then do a medium length kiss on the lips).

The basic old married couple kiss (the husband is usually not aware they are on the screen, so the wife just grabs his face and kisses him on the cheek very quickly while the husband looks confused).

The newly married couple kiss (usually arms and tongues are involved, a Coke or Sprite is knocked over and the kiss takes a while).

The just friends/brother and sister non-kiss (the people try to pretend that they don't see themselves on screen and then try to play chicken with the camera, seeing if they can look like they are ignoring it longer than the camera can stay on them).

And finally you get the camera man's attempt at humor non-kiss (two big fat guys sitting next to each other or a couple of local sportswriters sitting in the press box - which is sometimes the same thing).

If I ever see Heidi Klum at a Twins game, I'm paying off the guy in charge of the "Kiss Cam" and I'm finding a way to sit next to her.

A few things I overheard from the people near me...

"That LeCroy sure is fat."

"Why does Cameron have his hat like that [in the picture they show on the Jumobotron], he looks like an idiot."

"Bret Boone has got to be on something, just look at him!"

"Is Jacque Jones French or does he come from one of the Islands?"

All in all, a good game (even though the Twins lost).

I kept thinking how awesome it would have been if, in like the 5th inning, the PA announcer would have suddenly interupted the game and said:

"An agreement has been reached between the players and owners and there will not be a strike. Playoffs ticket information is available at all ticket booths. Thank you."

At this point, I am not very optimistic about my chances of seeing October baseball, but I am still holding out some hope.

As Mr. Blutarski so elequently put it, "When the going gets tough...............................the tough get going!

Who's with me?!?!"

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