A question that came out of left field

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 20, 2011 - 10:58 PM

The Twins had some explaining to do when a botched play by center fielder Ben Revere escaped the new replay board.

Twins center fielder Ben Revere got cooled down in the dugout during the first inning.

Photo: David Joles, Star Tribune

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The Twins have delayed the start of Sunday's game with Detroit at Target Field by two hours, to 3:10 p.m., so that arriving spectators can watch the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies from Cooperstown, N.Y.

Bert Blyleven, No. 28 of the Twins, the Cleveland Indians and the California Angels and No. 22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates, will be among the honored.

Presumably, fans will be able to watch Blyleven's speech on both the huge replay board above the left-field bleachers and the board installed for this season above the right-field bleachers.

The Twins said last winter that the main motivation to spend $3 million-plus on the new board was for fans sitting in the mezzanine and top deck in left field. Those folks cannot see plays that are made below them in deep left or center.

On Wednesday, I was on a mission to the left-field mezzanine, to find out if the heat was as oppressive as weather alarmists had been claiming, or if all those years under the Teflon sky had turned us into not only a bunch of cold-weather sissies but also hot-weather pansies.

It wasn't a valid test. There was such a sprightly wind blowing across left field that the mezzanine was probably the most comfortable location in the ballpark.

What was discovered on this journey was the new replay board does not ensure folks in left field are going to be fully enlightened on game action.

The Twins were leading 2-0 in the fourth when the Indians loaded the bases against Nick Blackburn. With one out, Matt LaPorta hit a long fly to center that Ben Revere was cruising to catch.

We stood and stretched in the mezzanine, trying to watch the ball into Revere's glove. He disappeared, and instantly there was a screech of agony from around the ballpark.

"He dropped it,'' said Tom Tompkins of Elk River. "Revere must've dropped it.''

Revere did. Two runs scored.

The occupants of the left field seats stared in unison at the right-field board, waiting for the replay.

We weren't making a big demand as we gathered on a warm summer day. All we wanted was the answer to a simple question: "What happened?''

As it turns out, replays of controversial umpire calls are not the only plays banned from the eyes of left-field denizens. Censorship also can include bad plays by the home team.

Andy Price, the director of game presentation, was asked why we didn't get a replay of Revere's drop, which ultimately cost two unearned runs in what became a 7-5 Twins victory.

"You're right; it was not a controversial play,'' Price said. "My producer [of the in-house telecast] makes the call on replays. I would tell you that we show as many replays as any team in baseball. Occasionally, we do not show a replay that puts a player in a bad situation.''

I'm guessing that if the center fielder dropping the fly ball had been Cleveland's Ezequiel Carrera, the Twins' game presentation staff would have been less sensitive.

Anyway, how about this? I went to left field to suffer in Wednesday's heat and thanks to that wonderful breeze, the only gripe to be had was the blackout of Ben's blunder.

"This is my first game at Target Field and it's great,'' Tompkins said. "Great breeze, cold beer -- all I need now is for the Twins to win.''

Duane Fish of Alexandria was similarly content. He pointed to cup holders and said, "There's a bottle of water, there's a bottle of beer, and I'm watching a ballgame in a beautiful stadium,'' he said. "I'm in heaven.''

Hot? "I'm a real Minnesotan,'' he said. "A hundred above or 40 below ... I can handle it.''

Susan Ebner and her son Jack, from Edina, were nearby. Jack was home from summer camp and insisted that they ignore the heat and go to Wednesday's game.

"Do you know why '28' is in chalk in the grass?'' Susan asked.

She was told it was Bert Blyleven's number and he would be going into the Hall of Fame on Sunday.

"What was the name?'' she said.

Answer: "Blyleven. He circles people on TV.''

That seemed to solve one mystery, yet leaving we left fielders still waiting to find out what happened when a well-struck baseball approached Revere's glove.

Patrick Reusse can be heard noon-4 weekdays on 1500ESPN. • preusse@startribune.com

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