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.
Hitting 3 HR, 2 doubles in a game. Never been done in mlb history per Len/Bob.
walks? this is baseball, not a nature hike. he needs to get his head in the game.
in my opinion, he would have been better off hitting 2 homers rather than walking twice. /moneyballs
Rizzo: 2-3, homer, double, 2 walks - meh
in other news, the site seems to be eating about 50% of my comments...which is probably a good thing in hindsight.
The Tucker Barnhart reactions after each Kris Bryant HR are kind of priceless.
...but, he's also good at home runs, too.
technically a wp...that said, a good catcher can turn a good amount of wp into blocked balls that don't show up on the stats.
schwarber, for instance, was really bad at stopping wild pitches because of how stiff he was behind the plate.
Was that a wp or pb really? Unbelievable turn-around with this club. 8 runs will not be enough to win this game.
The Rich Harden Experience 2.0
35sb, 2cs...3pb...playing in his 36th start (39th total)...
miggy is not having a good time behind the plate this season.
He hasn't been able to consistently throw his off speed for strikes since the beginning of the season and batters are starting to wait him out. He said this week on the radio that he hasn't had a feel for the off speed stuff all season but he was the same way last season and was better the second part so...hopefully? I'm a bit worried.
Also I seem to be a bad jinx lately where when I start watching the Cubs start losing and once I stop watching they score runs. So I am sorry everyone.
bryant is good at doubles.
is Arrieta staying in to try and get him the win or because the bullpen has been the sucks?
fwiw, Arrieta is the 2nd easiest pitcher in baseball to steal off of behind Lester.
*edit* at least for this year, actually Syndergaard is by far the easiest to steal off of (23 SB allowed...now 28 after tonight's game). Lester just 10 so far (no one is getting on-base anyway and Ross has 6 CS for him...and I don't even know if that counts the pick-offs by Ross). Arrieta with 10 allowed so far ...I think 12 now with tonight's game.