Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could keep lies from conquering the minds of the weak. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.
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But for now, we are mired in misery. The Twins have already had three home games postponed: one against the Angels, one against the Mets and now tonight's game against Miami has already been wiped out (not to mention a road game at Chicago, though with two more trips there this year that is less of a big deal). This is a two-game series. The plan now -- or at least the hope -- is to make it up as part of a day-night doubleheader tomorrow at 1 pm. and 7 pm.
But let's say for the sake of argument that the projected snow -- yes, there is more coming late this afternoon and overnight -- lingers for a while. It is supposed to clear some tomorrow, but it will still be cold. What if they can't play at all tomorrow? It's possible, at least.
Worst-case scenario, the Twins would be looking at four home games postponed -- all of them against teams that are not scheduled to be back in Minnesota for the rest of the season.
That would mean finding common off-days with three different teams for four total games ... all while not infringing upon any other rules regarding consecutive games played.
Translation: It would be a mess. Further translation: Count on the Twins doing everything in their power to get two games in tomorrow so they only have half as big a problem as they would have otherwise.
This is the most miserable April, weather-wise, that we can remember. Those that have been around here longer than us say it is the worst in 40 years. From rain to snow to general gloom, it has been dismal.
Naturally, the awful weather has brought up an old debate for some Twins fans: Should Target Field have a retractable roof to deal with the elements?
Despite some cold games and a couple of weather postponements, we are here to say, without a doubt, no it should not.
Target Field would not be the gem it is if it had a retractable roof. There are six retractable roof ballparks out there right now: Chase Field, Marlins Park, Miller Park, Minute Maid Park, Rogers Centre and Safeco Field. We have been to all but Marlins Park. And -- open or closed -- we have experienced nothing but mediocrity from all the other places except one: Safeco Field. That is the one retractable roof ballpark that gets it right. The rest feel like cavernous warehouses ... a nice place to store an airplane, but not watch a ballgame. And there's this: Safeco takes up nearly 1.2 million square feet. Target Field is 1 million. A Safeco replica wouldn't have worked on the Target Field site, which uses every square inch of available space.
The beauty and charm of Target Field -- and similarly intimate and great newer ballparks like the ones in San Francisco and Pittsburgh -- would be eradicated with a roof.
Would you rather trade many of the things you love about the Target Field experience for the guarantee that you wouldn't miss a small handful of games a year because of weather or have to brave the elements in a handful of others?
Hopefully you didn't say yes. Because that would mean you want mediocrity all of the time instead of greatness most of the time. And that's just no way to live.
If you love Target Field, the weather is just something you have to deal with, good or bad. You can't have it both ways.
We wanted to watch last night's Twins game, but after a long weekend in Vegas there were errands to run instead. The simple solution: DVR the game and catch up to it once the night's grocery shopping, etc., was completed. As has become our custom, we added 30 extra minutes to the end of the scheduled three-hour broadcast. Now, Twins home games don't start until 10 minutes into the broadcast, but still: That's 3 hours and 20 minutes of time devoted to recording the game. That should be more than enough.
And, of course -- again -- it wasn't.
The Twins have yet to play an extra-inning game this season, but they HAVE played several unbearably long games. Four of their seven home games have lasted at least 3 hours, 24 minutes. Three other road games out of six lasted at least three hours, with two of those going at least 3:17.
Nearly half their games last year (78) went at least three hours. A full 33 of them were longer than 3 hours, 20 minutes -- meaning even a well-intentioned recorder of the game would have missed the ending.
Slugfests can account for some of this. When the Mets throttled the Twins 16-5, a long game can be expected. But more than that it is the players themselves and the game itself that is to blame. The constant unstrapping and restrapping of batting gloves ... the meandering on the mound before the next pitch ... the incessant meetings. Every guy on the field feels as though he is the most special one out there, entitled to take as much time as he pleases to get ready for the next pitch.
MLB allegedly tried to speed up the game a few years ago. And maybe, as a whole, game lengths were even worse about a decade ago. But the problem persists. Your solutions, please, in the comments.
As we have said many times before, there are few things Minnesotans hate more than feeling like something is a bad financial deal. Whether it's paying $800,000 to get out of a pair of football games or disbelief that a hamburger could be $12, this is the case. Cheap isn't quite the right word. Thrifty? Cautious with money? Value-driven? Maybe those are more appropriate, albeit softer descriptors, for Minnesotans.
That said, we would say that more of the outrage over the Twins' short-lived idea to charge $15 for a limited number of already-ticketed fans to get into games early to watch the home team take BP -- created on Tuesday, died on Tuesday, RIP -- was driven less by the price tag and more by the concept that even something like batting practice can be bought and sold.
When searching pro sports for pure moments, they are becoming harder to find and less frequent. Gone, for the most part, are the days of watching a game through a knothole or waiting by the team bus for an autograph. Sports are big business now. Athletes are celebrities. So it goes.
But batting practice has remained, by and large, an untainted spectacle for the purists. Arrive when gates open and you can see, at the very least, the visiting team taking hacks. If you have ever studied an opponent's roster to determine whether home runs are more likely to go to left or right field -- and positioned yourself accordingly in the outfield in hopes of getting a souvenir -- you know what we are talking about. At a regular game, there is a pretty small audience for the BP ritual. But even now, at least a couple times a year, we like to get out and see it in hopes that we will get that first, elusive, baseball.
Would we have $15 to spend for some special access? Sure. Some people wouldn't, but most people who attend Twins games would. But if you have to pay for the access, it loses its mystique. If you are one of a handful of fans there when Josh Willingham crushes a 65 mph pitch into the seats, and it happens to roll your way, does the souvenir mean more if it was obtained by happenstance and diligence or by paid special access?
The former, we say.
Said Twins President Dave St. Peter when we spoke with him yesterday after the promotion -- which he said was prematurely released and was never intended to go out to the public -- was called off: "We’re looking at ways to add more access to batting practice, but I’m not sure charging incrementally is the way to go about that. ... Our focus going forward is to provide greater fan access to BP. Whether there will be charges added to that, I don’t know. But I’ve long believed BP is one of those things we undersell as an industry.”
We would agree with that, as long as "undersell" pertains to the spectacle of BP and not the commodification of it.
1) Forget that the temperature was in the teens when you woke up.
2) Forget that the Twins are expected to lose 90-plus games AGAIN in the eyes of Vegas.
3) Forget about the Gophers men's basketball coaching search, which is turning some of you (and us) into crazy people.
4) Forget that the Gophers men's hockey team lost to Yale on Friday in the first round of the NCAA tournament, the equivalent of Harvard defeating Georgetown in NCAA men's hoops.
5) Forget about everything else sports-wise that is ailing you at the moment.
It's April. Baseball is here. We are so much closer to beautiful days than we are to terrible days. Enjoy it.
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