Opening Day 2008: A Running Diary

Nothing screams opening day like the smell of pine tar, the feel of FieldTurf between your toes, and a half foot of snow on the teflon dome. Ah yes, it\’s Opening Day for (most of) baseball. Channelling my inner Sports Guy (that sounded bad, didn\’t it?) I\’ll be keeing a diary during tonight\’s game. Come join me, won\’t you. 6:10: After watching the end of the Dodgers-Giants game I realize that I\’m probably missing the game on ESPN2 6:13: Still waiting for the game to come on…why is ESPN2 showing random crap with tickers on the left and bottom of the screen. Shit… that\’s ESPN News… the game is on Fox Sports locally, isn\’t it… dammit! 6:15: Not only is the game on Fox Sports… it\’s NOT in HD. WTF? Fox has an HD channel. Do they not have the cash to buy HD cameras for all games they cover? Feb 2009 cannot come fast enough. At any rate, I\’ve missed the top of the first… somehow it\’s not 10-0 Angels! 6:16: Weaver pitches to Gomez… strike 1 (looking). Dick and Bert talk about his tendancy to bunt as the second pitch is thrown, and on cue there\’s the bunt attempt. Pitch three is popped up behind home plate… hits a speaker, and hilarity ensues as Weaver dives to catch a dead ball (by rule it\’s a dead ball). 6:18: FAIR BALL!!! Double down the line left field line for Gomez… Dick is disappointed he didn\’t go for third. Gomez may be the fastest man in baseball, but a triple to left is pretty rare. 6:20: Mauersy lines a single to right center scoring the first run of the year! Just like how Gardy drew it up in the club house. Halos: 0 — Twinkies: 1 Mauersy batting: 1.000 6:24: And there goes Mauer off to second… but Cuddyer pops up to right center where Torii tracks it down and throws an ill-adivsed pick off attempt to first that\’s 40 feet wide of 1st, but tracked down. 6:27: Morneausy walks bringing up Delmon Young with the M&M boys on 1st and 2nd (respectively) and 1 out. Odds on anti-climatic double play? Even money… nope, pop up to relatively deep right field. 6:28: High flies seem to be the order of the day as Craig Monroe flies out to Hunter in left center. 1 run, 2 hits, no errors… End of 1: 1-0 Twins 6:31: And he shall be Livan!!! With a high 75 mph fastball for ball one! Garrett Anderson, notorious Twin killer … grounds out to second. 6:33: Hunter gets a nice round of applause before popping up to short right…after an oh-shit moment between Harris, Young, and Cuddy… Cuddyer catches the ball. 6:34: Kotchman blows Livan\’s no hitter. Bastid… 6:35: Grounder to Everett…bobbles… and gets the force at 2nd for the third out. Methinks Twins fans will need to get used to that a lot in the infield. \”Grounder to (infielder)… he bobbles it…\” Mid 2nd: 1-0 Twins 6:40: First Car Soup Question of the year! Coming to you from Larry Payton of Edina! Asking if 12 pitchers was too many for the Twins to bring north. Bert answers that the Twins wanted to bring even more… do you think Bert would prefer a team entirely of pitchers? Bert continues his answer for far too long. Even Dick is getting tired of Bert… going to be a loooong year. 6:43: Predicibly the bottom of the order (Lamb, Harris, Everett) goes down in order (4-3, K [backwards], 5-3). End of 2: 1-0 Twins 6:45: Livan just threw a 59 mph curve ball. The crowd roars. Follows it up with a fastball (78?) for a strikeout. Replay shows it\’s a generous call… but we\’ll take it. 6:50: First \”jobbed by the umps\” of the year. Strong throw from Young to 2nd on a ball to the corner hit by Figgins. Reply showed he was out by a hair. Called safe. Impressive throw nonetheless. Cat like reflexes by Livan to scoop up a grounder to end the inning, no damage done. Middle 3: 1-0 Twins 6:55: Top of the order! First Game Reset of the year! Dick deadpans: \”There\’s a bunt… … There\’s a base hit.\” Gomez dived into first base, and I think that actually was the right move. Hard to tell on the replay, but it at least would have been a closer play if he didn\’t dive. 6:59: After several throws to first to keep Gomez honest, Weaver tosses a pitchout and Gomez still steals second. Think Denard Span or Pridie would be able to do that? Me neither. 7:00: Mauersy with the \”productive out\” (4-3), moving Gomez to 3rd. Baseball Jesus BA: .500 7:02: Cuddy doing what he does best… staring at pitches and taking a seat on the bench. Morneausy gets a bat on the ball, but comes up with a 4-3. End of 3: 1-0 Twins 7:05: Hrbie in the house… and livin\’ large. During the interview Hrbie showing off his master of the English language declaring Opening Night being the \”funest\”… or is it \”funnest\”? … day. 7:07: Dick notes that Gomez has never played on artificial turf… which was shocking to me until he explains that there are no turf fields in the National League… really? Wow… 7:08: Whoa! Hard liner by Torii to Harris, toss to first to double off Vlad… bobbled by Morneau, but corralled and it\’s a double play! Middle 4: 1-0 Twins Infield Bobbles: 2 7:11: First thinly veiled reference by Bert about his habit of swearing like a sailor. 7:15: Baaaaaaaa!!!! Lamb with a soft liner off the end of his bat to right center. Young easily scores from second. 2-0 Twins… Boom… soft liner from Harris to left center. I need to bad mouth the bottom of the Twins order more often. After Monroe\’s strike out I said aloud (to no one in particular) \”Ack… the bottom of the order is going to kill the Twins this year\”… It\’s all about reverse psychology! 7:19: Booooo!!!! Weaver pulls out the patented fake-throw-to-third-turn-around-and-throw-to-first play. Didn\’t work. 7:21: Turnabout is fair play as Everett lines to 2nd and the quick toss to first. Double play, end of 4: 2-0 Twins. 7:27: Now comes the Livan we\’ve been expecting. Second time through the order and it\’s 6 hits out of 9 batters. 3 singles to lead off the 5th and bases are loaded with no outs. Bert\’s first mention of pitcher\’s best friend trades 2 outs for 1 run. 2-1 Twins… make that 2-2. I might need a beer. 7:37: Beer in hand and we\’ve got the top of the order (again). Dick compares Gomez to Ricky Henderson just as he picks up a walk. 2-2, BB. So far so good. It should be noted that he\’s having a better night than Torii. 🙂 Mauer takes a fastball down Main Street for strike 1 :-\\ 0-2 on a cutter he swings through… several tosses to first by Weaver… high fastball for 1-2 but Gomez takes second (again). Another \”productive\” out for Mauersy (.333 — Productive Outs: 2). 7:42: Had the Halos not brought the infield in, Cuddyer would have been retired 6-3 with no run scoring… but lucky for us Scioscia is an idiot and the Twins are back on top 3-2. Scioscia should also consider cutting some carbs out of his diet… and fats… and protein… and sides of beef. 7:45: Bert with the first call of the year… Morneau Homerun… and the pitch… strike out! Way to go Bert… After a moderately crappy at bat for Young, end of 5: 3-2 Twins 7:51: First Lottery Winners of the year! A bunch of iditots with a sign that says \”Livan on a prayer\”… the kid has to explain to Jim that it\’s a play on a Bon Jovi song. Additionally the guys had to outsource the creation of their sign to a girl in their dorm, who isn\’t even with them tonight. This might be the longest discussion with lottery winners ever… 7:53: I missed the asking of the Toyota Trivia question… Which 4 teams has Livan started opening day for… my guess: Twins, Marlins, Expos, … ummm … Nationals? Damn… Giants…

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ah… it was a trick question… it was \”Franchises\” not \”Teams\”. You bastids. Toyota Trivia questions — wadE 0 for 1. Note: Bert is also 0-1 as he missed Minnesota in his list… yes, you read that right. A 1-2-3 6th for Livan… you also read that right. 8:00: Gardy sure made the right call having Monroe start instead of Kubel… :-\\ I\’m not big on either of them, but as a DH it makes much more sense to give Kubel a shot. 8:04: First \”Metrodome\” hit of the year. We\’ll be missing those in 2010. Harris pops up to deep short… Anderson, Hunter, and Izturis stare at each other as it drops for a double. In Torii\’s defense he couldn\’t have gotten there in time. That was Anderson\’s ball all the way. Don\’t worry, I\’m sure Everett will strike out or feebly ground out to the pitcher </reverse psychology> … pop up… End of 6: 3-2 Twins 8:08: First Circle Me Bert! (at least that I\’ve noticed) ahh… that Circle Me Bert… when will the hilarity ever start! 8:11: 3 up… 3 down for Livan…! 8:16: … wait… was that a commercial for a new sitcom starring Flavor Flav on \”My Network TV\”? Sadly yes… 8:20: Thankfully due to some rewinding on the VCR I was able to skip that last commercial break when Flav came on a second time. Apparently there is some sort of baseball match going on. The relievers have taken over (Oliver for Weaver and Neshek for Hernandez). Neshek looking good in the 8th. After giving up a tough pop-up behind 3rd base double, Neshek comes back to strike out Vlad. Looking real good. Middle of the 8th: 3-2 Twins 8:35: Kubel makes his first appearance of the year… and again turnabout is fair play as Kubel deposits a pop-up behind 3rd place for a double. The Halos disrespect Harris by intentially walking Lamb. Harris obliges with a strike out. Time for Everett to get his first Twins hit… OH MY GOD IT\’S A … Long foul ball… 3 feet from a Grand Slam… wow. Even if he strikes out that was pretty exciting. Fly out… here comes Nathan… 8:45: Big battle between Nathan and Hunter… long story short (too late) strike out. 2 down… Kotchman up. 0-1… and nubber that gets Kotchman on… bah… 8:51: and there you have it… 6-U and the Twins are on pace for 162-0. 3-way tie for first place: Twins, Royals, Indians. 8:52: Post game interview with Carlos Gomez… I don\’t think Jim Rich is understanding a word that he is saying, he just keeps asking questions without comment on Carlos\’ answers… honestly, I\’m catching every other word at best. 8:55: Back for the post game show and they show Carlos Gomez taking fly balls in center field… after the game mind you… this is live. Something you don\’t see every day. Something else you don\’t see every day is Livan Hernandez pitching a respectible game. It was on the brink of getting out of hand, but Livan righted the ship and delivered a solid 7 innings. All in all, a very entertaining game and it really showed some signs of hope for Twins fans this year. There will be some games in which the starters crumble, but there should be plenty of hard fought games that the good guys come out on the winning side. Official Prediciton: 75-87







3 responses to “Opening Day 2008: A Running Diary”

  1. alex Avatar



  2. alex Avatar

    Additionally, out here in the out-of-market territory, we were treated to the comedy stylings of Jon Miller and Joe Morgan, who couldn’t say Torii Hunter all night without preceding it with “the great”, or “former Twins superstar”, or … well you get the idea. It was barfalicious.

  3. wadE Avatar

    I realized I made an error above… it wasn’t Fox carrying the game, but My Network TV (hence the ads for Flavor Flav later in the game). Either way, last night’s game was on Fox Sports North’s HD channel, but only the game itself, the pregame show was not, even through my cable guide said it was. FSNHD is only showing about 2/3rds (or less) of the games this April. Better than the 10 I expected, but still disappointing.

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