Mr. Anderson Goes To The Metrodome

As I mentioned in my prior article, I was lucky enough to secure tickets to the home games of the American League Championship Series, featuring the Anaheim Angels against YOUR MINNESOTA TWINS!!!!! Tuesday's game was outstanding-- a solid pitching matchup with Joe Mays forcing me to eat crow by tossing a great game. A sea of Homer Hankies waving in the outfield. 55,000+ of Eddie Guardado's closest friends screaming his name. Baseball's the best.

Could we be as lucky on Wednesday? Let's find out.

Wednesday, October 9th. 4:01 p.m.-- I call Matty and tell him to leave work. We're meeting wadE and Alex at The Lyon's Pub on Nicollet for cocktails and eats prior to the game. Matty has actual work to do while at work (unlike, oh, me) so he says 30 minutes. I acquiesce.

4:31 p.m.-- Just as I'm about to pick up the phone to chide Matty for being a dedicated employee, he calls and is ret to go. We meet at our regular spot, the skyway store that formerly was the luggage store but now sells candy packaged like a bouquet of flowers. Don't ask. (Incidentally, how do these places stay in business? I'm sure they make a huge margin on any sales they would make... but how often have you said to yourself "Damn, I really could use a bouquet of candy"?)

4:34 p.m.-- Even though we're 1/2 block from the bar we decide to try to get there via the skyways.

4:36 p.m.-- Realizing we don't know our way there via the skyways, we head outside and arrive there in 4.2 seconds.

4:36 p.m.-- Ahh, The Lyon's Pub. Not to be confused (as it initially was by me) with the Lion's Tap in Eden Prairie. wadE was very confused when I suggested we meet there before walking to the Metrodome. Anyway, Lyon's Pub seems like the right place to be: far enough from the Dome to not be too crowded, cheap drinks, 1/2 price appetizers. Oh, and a trusting staff. After ordering our first round, our server asked Matt and I "everyone here 21?" Good stuff. If I'd only known about this place six years ago.

5:15 p.m.-- Alex and wadE have joined us. We pass the time as most males-- eating bad food, drinking cocktails (save for Al), watching SportsCenter and talking about sports. Ahhhhhhh, men.

6:10 p.m.-- Last round.

6:14 p.m.-- Time for one more. But that's it. Tonight Austin's own Martin Zellar will be singing the National Anthem, a treat we don't want to miss.

6:26 p.m.-- We bypass my killer shortcut through the Pillsbury Building, wadE spouting something about us needing to come back to 6th street anyway. Whatever. He's just jealous of my killer shortcut. Don't try to confuse the issue by bringing logic into it.

6:39 p.m.-- We're safely in our seats, section 207 row 27. These seats are ones that hadn't seen the light of day for nearly a decade until this year's playoffs-- they were located behind the curtain in center field featuring Twins whose numbers had been retired. I think our seats were behind the Hrbek mural. I can hope anyway. Far away, but a surprisingly clear view of what's happening on the field. Zellar is already on the field, singing a song from his new CD with his guitarist Dan Neale playing an acoustic beside him. Amazingly cool to hear MZ's voice reverberating throughout the Metrodome. They followed up with "Stupid Boy"-- my knee-jerk reaction was that it seemed kinda like selling out. To which Alex responded that this was probably the largest crowd he'd ever played in front of-- why not play something they've heard? Good point.

7:04 p.m.-- After a brief hiatus MZ and Danny Neale (great story about him three bullets down here) return for the National Anthem. I must admit I was a bit nervous for Marty-- the Anthem has chewed up and spit out lesser vocalists. He handled it like a champ (though I must agree with Matt, who said it sounded a bit like a Christmas carol.) He also had a photo of his dad, who passed away last summer, pinned to his shirt (read here.) I was lucky enough to briefly know Dean Zellar, and there wasn't a better guy.

7:10 p.m.-- PLAY BALL!!!! The dome is officially rocking. Don't come a-knocking.

7:12 p.m.-- Darin Erstad hits Rick Reed's sixth pitch into right-center for a solo homerun. Huh. Reeder gives up a solo HR. I'll be.

7:18 p.m.-- OOOOhhh! Jacque Jones took the first pitch thrown at him! Call Elias!

Editor's note: Yes, I get a bit cranky about my baseball Twins. I'm very happy they've gotten this far but get frustrated when folks like Reed and Jones continue their bad habits. Carry on.

7:29 p.m.-- After an anemic showing in the bottom of the first, the Twins continue the ugliness. Troy Glaus singles, Brad Fullmer doubles, then Michael Cuddyer thinks he's Devon White and tries to catch up to a fly ball that he has no business trying to catch. The result: the ball scoots past him and Glaus scores. Two outs later, Reed has Adam Kennedy picked off first. However, as Monkey-bitch chases him in the rundown, he throws home in an attempt to nab Scott Spiezio, who was at third. Pierzynski drops the ball, Spiezio scores and Kennedy's at third. Dave Eckstein adds insult to injury by singling, plating Kennedy. Although there was only one official error during the inning, shoddy fielding led to three runs. 4-0, bad guys.

8:18 p.m.-- Garrison Keillor is spotted by the dome cameramen and shown on the Jumbotron. He's way too stoic, Norwegian and Lutheran to react. I give him credit. The crowd is moderately excited. The crowd was much less excited when Flip Saunders' mug is shown up on the screen an inning later.

8:51 p.m.-- Ugh. The third, fourth, and fifth are nothing to speak of. Reed settles into a groove, but the Twinks squander three leadoff hits with a pickoff, double play and double play, respectively.

8:58 p.m.-- After a Glaus triple, Fullmer hits a dong to center. Reeder's night is done, relieved by Johan Santana. The crowd is officially out of it. During Tuesday's game the dome announcer, Bob Casey, was indecipherable. His voice is as clear as day when he announces Santana is in the game. It's hard to get excited right now.

9:04 p.m.-- Nanananananana.... Guzman (sorry-- guzMAHN) doubles to center. Koskie, the lovable Canadian, follows with a double that scores Guzy. Rally caps! Biggie Ortiz strikes out, but then Torii Hunter doubles, Koskie to third! The crowd is as loud as it was last night when Eddie came in-- baseball fans appreciate pitching, but LOVE offense. Mienkiewicz steps up, and doesn't disappoint-- his single scores Koskie and Hunter. 6-3!!! Not great, but better than 6-0! We drive Ramon Ortiz out of the game-- it's about time. He's been living dangerously all game, we were just too impotent to follow through. Angels reliever Brendan Donnelly comes in and gets Cuddyer to strike out (surprise) and A.J. to line to second. Bah.

9:18 p.m.-- Governor Turnbuckle is booed lustily when shown on the Jumbotron to sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame. Classic. How many of the booers voted for him, I wonder. Anyway, he turns the boos to cheers when he dedicates the song to Bud Selig. Unfortunately, no one could tell if Sid gave a reacharound hug to Frank Viola, as Sid did to Tony Oliva (the previous night's first-pitch tosser) on Tuesday during the stretch.

9:41 p.m.-- Rally time. Unfortunately, Francisco Rodriguez is on the mound for the Angels. The kid looks as though he has some serious heat; he averaged over 20 strikeouts / 9 innings after being called up late in the season. The Twins are never much for letting pitches pass to begin with, and the new F-Rod dispatches Rivas, Guzman, and Koskie on strikeouts during his 1 2/3 innings of relief. Not bad. The crowd begins to frenzy, though, when Mientkiewicz singled in the 8th with two out, moving Hunter (who had walked) to third. There's something called a rally sock on the Jumbotron. Better than a rally monkey... but barely. The sensational Irishman Bobby Kielty, who many would argue should be starting over Cudd-dogg in right, steps into the box... to face Troy Percival. Aaaaand... Bobby strikes out looking. Looking at a pitch that wasn't in the strike zone, if you're scoring at home. It didn't really matter, though.

10:23 p.m.--Percival gets A.J. to ground out and quickly dispatches Mohr and Jones (shock) on strikes. Game over, it becomes a best-of-five series with the next three in Anaheim. Side note: the dome music operator plays the looong awful end of "Layla" after losses, and that seemed to fit perfectly with Wednesday's game. Whereas on Tuesday every at-bat was crucial, Wednesday's was rarely exciting. I'm still glad I got tickets, but I hope that they can bring the series back to Minneapolis for at least one more nailbiter.



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