A ballgame changes from different vantage points.
Baseball can be a static sport to watch. You go to a game, buy a seat and stay in the same spot for nine innings. You hear the same handful of people gripe or cheer. You see pitches and hits from the same vantage point. Or you watch on TV and have the same view from center field for the whole game. You scream at the TV, but only the dog is listening.
As such, we sought out a different experience Sunday at Target Field: How different does baseball look and feel from multiple vantage points during the same game? Those who enjoy standing-room-only tickets or who like to roam around the ballpark already might know the secrets. But here is what we found during Sunday's 9-7 thriller over the Brewers.
First inning: The journey started in deep right field, near the foul pole. Advantage: Lots of sun during an afternoon game. Disadvantage: That sun gets hot after not too long. We spied several Brewers fans taking in the action, including one who said: "I like it when a ballpark is full [as Target Field was Sunday]. There is more electricity."
Second inning: We moved to center field, where we were greeted by glorious shade but an obstructed view of the outfield and some not-so-informed fans. After Jim Thome belted home run number 595 in his career, one asked his group, "Is Jim Thome a righty or lefty batter?" None of them seemed to know. Come on!
Fourth inning: A Brewers fan out near the left field foul pole booed the Twins for intentionally walking Prince Fielder with a runner on third and one out. His counterpart said: "You can't boo that. It's called not being stupid." Then again, the move didn't seem so savvy when it opened the floodgates to a five-run inning. It was the classic second-guess decision: nobody remembers if it works, everybody remembers if it fails. Unless ...
We headed upstairs to a pub near Section 213 behind home plate for the bottom of the fourth, where every pitch called a strike near the outside corner looked a good 4 inches from the plate. It's hard to tell who was more incredulous about Rene Tosoni's three-run homer: Brewers fans or Twins fans.
Back down to the lower level between third base and the outfield for the next couple of innings: From there, every pitch looks like it's traveling 1,000 miles per hour. How does anyone hit anything?
Finally, settling in -- still standing this whole time -- on the lower-level concourse between third base and home plate for the key seventh inning: A Twins fan in a Denard Span jersey was crouched over the railing next to a Brewers fan in a Ryan Braun jersey. It was, of course, the Span fan who went berserk with happiness while the Braun fan lowered his head after Danny Valencia's clutch hit (and Brewers error) keyed a four-run rally. High-fives all around.
By the time Glen Perkins struck out Prince Fielder and Casey McGehee to end things, it felt like we had seen several different games in nine innings. Maybe the Twins -- who showed that the best way to come back from a crushing loss is to return the favor the next day -- felt the same way.
|Miami - LP: B. Morris||4||FINAL|
|Washington - WP: M. Grace||6|
|NY Yankees - LP: C. Martin||1||FINAL|
|Toronto - WP: R. Dickey||3|
|Philadelphia - WP: A. Harang||5||FINAL|
|Atlanta - LP: A. Wood||2|
|Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi||5||FINAL|
|Boston - LP: C. Buchholz||1|
|Los Angeles - LP: C. Hatcher||3||FINAL|
|Milwaukee - WP: M. Blazek||4|
|Chicago Cubs - LP: P. Strop||9||FINAL|
|St. Louis - WP: M. Socolovich||10|
|Oakland - LP: J. Hahn||7||FINAL|
|Minnesota - WP: P. Hughes||8|
|Texas - WP: K. Kela||2||FINAL|
|Houston - LP: C. Qualls||1|
|Seattle - WP: F. Hernandez||3||FINAL|
|LA Angels - LP: M. Shoemaker||2|
|San Diego - LP: T. Ross||0||FINAL|
|San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner||2|