A Tale of Two Ballparks
On Monday, June 28 I watched the Cubs snap the Pirates’ 17 game road losing streak from the vantage point of Bob Uecker seats in the last row of section 506 at Wrigley Field. They didn’t look any less ugly from there than they would have up closer.
Five days later was my maiden voyage at sparkling new Target Field in the Twin Cities. What a contrast of premises AND tenants.
The Twins’ game against the Rays, a team still mired in a warehouse of a home ballpark, had some other factors going for it besides the venue: two teams in contention; real star power in the persons of Mauer, Morneau and Longoria; 4th of July hoopla courtesy of a team of Navy SEAL paratroopers who dropped in during pregame festivities; historic home runs by Jim Thome, who tied and passed none other than Twin immortal Harmon Killebrew on the all-time long ball list with his first two swings of the day.
But mostly, curiosity about the ballpark drew me there.
We had seats in an area called the Legends Club. They were parallel to 3rd base, about the distance from the field that Terrace Box would be in Wrigley and at a mezzanine level, with upholstered cushions and easy access to a spacious, air conditioned concession area that offered everything from Killebrew root beer and excellent ice cream cones to pricey multi-course meals.
As in the modern world generally, there was almost too much information provided by the park’s bells and whistles. Looking around the place in search of stats during a game is like fanning through a fantasy baseball magazine. And of course the obligatory Jumbotron loomed impressively over the proceedings.
The carved limestone roofs on the dugouts caught my eye and I also appreciated that we were able to see the logo sign on top of the scoreboard from the rooftop of the ramp we parked in and from which we skywalked in less than ten minutes to the plaza and the grand entrance of the joint.
I must say that I was pretty thoroughly dazzled by the time we left and it was nice not to care too much when the visitors came from behind to win in the late innings. Plus, a Twins game is cheaper in terms of both time and money for me. I think I may have found my first official designated AL favorite team. They also happen to run a perennially good organization.
The week had started at a kegger and ended at a cocktail party [yes, you can even order drinks from your seats in the Legends Club tier and have them delivered].
Wrigley’s engine still purrs. The bricks and ivy and scoreboard and neighborhood vibe are forever. But the passengers might appreciate some upgrades. I don’t know how you piecemeal an extreme home makeover on an outdoor facility that’s only idle during seasons not conducive to outdoor work. But it will behoove the Ricketts clan to keep going beyond the spit -and-polished pee troughs as fast as they can; paying top dollar to sit behind poles and beneath structural hair nets while watching an also-ran is starting to lose its charm. If I peel away what romance remains in my long running relationship with the Cubs all that’s left is neurosis.
well, how long do keep pretending that a bunt hit well back to the pitcher that would be a double play for many pitchers isn't a "thing"?
no one gave chuck knoblauch a pass when he lost the ability to throw a ball to 1st.
it's a unique curiosity for a guy who throws a ball on the professional level for a living.
he has a lot of 4-5 out innings. this is at least the 2nd time he's turned a double play ball into 0 outs just this year that i've noticed and he's got a slew of "4-out" innings under his belt, too.
CB Bucknor behind the plate...he is and will continue to always be awful.
Not sure why teams don't bunt more often against him.
To be fair he also had a strike 3 called a ball.
Tomorrow's Sun-Times Headline after Lester's 1 ER, 10 K effort. "150M Lester Fails to Field Sac Bunt."
LESTER ESCAPES! no runs after bases loaded, 0 out!
30 pitch inning.
Yeah, I saw that. Gotta love being a pitcher and getting that "several inches off the inside corner" called as a strike.
he just got a gift on that 2nd K...sides have shifted in a patented lester 4-5 out inning.
...and holy crap, that 2nd strike call on markasis. wow. that was gift wrapped.
Whew. Lester v Braves + Umpires. Umpires are threatening this inning...
ruh roh, 24-hour Lester YIPS narratives coming at you after that failed attempt to field a bunt. Time to log off.
holy shit lester...just that. wow.
double play ball turns into a single out play which turns into 0 outs...and lester is left holding the ball while the bases go loaded with 0 outs.
plenty of time to get back, didn't pick up the ball or maybe he thought it might drop, but it was a pretty lazy pop fly.
Sounded like a failed hit-and-run, though?
Fowler's TOOTBLAN does not go unnoticed. That was some boneheaded base running.
The "I got on base" celebration is getting dangerously close to what was jokingly described in parachat a couple weeks ago.
When parachat becomes reality, we all lose.
Ross for ALL STAR GAME!!!
#3, #3, #3!!!