SAN FRANCISCO -- The Twins will try to extend their eight-wins-in-11-games hot streak tonight (9:15 p.m. CDT) against two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum. But first, a word about the ballpark. When visiting the Giants, everyone always wants to discuss the ballpark.
I've told friends around the country that Target Field is as scenic as any park in the major leagues, but I wasn't here five minutes before I realized it's a lie. No offense to the Twins' home, which really is a jewel -- but AT&T Park, aside from its awful name, is really magical. I hadn't been here since 2006, so I must have forgotten, but the setting here is just about perfect. It's not easy for a modern ballpark to seem iconic; most of the elements that architects try to add to new parks seem cheesy or self-referential. They just try too hard. Stop by Houston some time and see what I mean.
But this ballpark already feels iconic, from the moment you walk though the enormous palm trees on Willie Mays Plaza. There's the small bridge just outside the park, all the visible brickwork in the park itself, and of course, McCovey Cove, where 66 home runs have splashed into the water during the park's history, according to the tally on the wall. If you sit in the second or third deck, you can see the bay and the Oakland hills beyond. Even the Coke bottle and giant glove, which should violate that try-too-hard principle I talked about, somehow seem to fit.
Anyway, the building boom of the last 20 years has added beautiful ballparks all over the country -- Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Seattle, and yes, Minneapolis. But this one feels like the best. One of the best things about interleague play is that the Twins get to visit every park, eventually.
To the lineups, and Kyle Gibson's attempt to build on last Friday's stellar outing against the Mariners. Each team has a one-time All-Star catcher playing first base -- Buster Posey has moved out from behind the plate while fighting a sore back -- and both teams have a Hicks batting eighth and trying to get his batting average above .200. Aaron Hicks is at .196, playing center field for the Twins, while Brandon Hicks, the Giants' second baseman, is at .195.