Souhan: In 2036, will baseball still be our national pastime?

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 12, 2014 - 11:47 PM

(Writer’s note: Baseball has changed dramatically since Minneapolis last hosted an All-Star Game. What might the future hold? Here’s a guess.)

The year is 2036. The space by Minneapolis’ mass transportation system in the North Loop — the human particle transporter — again stands adjacent to a new Twins ballpark.

After strong lobbying by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig — who agreed, with much reluctance, to sign another 20-year contract last year after threatening to retire for the 18th time — Minneapolis Mayor Mike Opat strong-armed the razing of Target Field and the building of a new ballpark.

Acting owner Joe Pohlad had threatened to contract the team, or to play “studio baseball,’’ if the Twins weren’t allowed to compete with the revenues of large-market teams like Cleveland, which became the center of the sports universe after LeBron James and Johnny Manziel won six championships apiece with the Cavaliers and Browns.

Opat again showed the Minneapolis City Council his Jack Bauer face, and they agreed to tax city residents at 30 percent to build what would become known as Fulton Park, after the world’s richest brewery easily won naming rights.

As a reward for completing construction, Selig awarded Minneapolis its fourth All-Star Game. Here’s the game story, as written by a computer chip embedded in MLB’s official game drone:

Baseball has been modernized over the years, but the North American team’s 5-4 victory over the World team on Tuesday night at Fulton Park offered touches of nostalgia for Minnesota baseball fans.

On a North American team dominated by Canadians, it was an American who got the game-winning hit. St. Paul Saints first baseman Steel Mientkiewicz drove in Byron Buxton with a two-out single in the ninth inning to score the winning run.

Mientkiewicz is the son of longtime Twins manager Doug Mientkiewicz. The player who started the winning rally in the ninth was the son of former Twin A.J. Pierzynski, now baseball’s dean of player discipline. Pierzynski, famous for his competitiveness, named his son “Steelier’’ to one-up his old friend Mientkiewicz.

The winning pitcher also had Minnesota connections. Toriiii Hunter, the youngest son of former Twin Torii Hunter, earned the victory with an inning of scoreless relief.

Since a rash of elbow injuries led to the scrapping of “starting pitchers,’’ Hunter has become a leader in the all-important QI statistic. As pitchers are no longer required to work more than one inning a day or four innings a week, Hunter has this season recorded 42 Quality Innings, requiring at least three outs and no more than one base­runner allowed.

Hunter, interviewed during the game on the bench while wearing his NIERU (Non-Invasive Elbow Repair Unit), said, “I thought the home-plate robot called a fair strike zone.’’

There was one controversial moment in the game. In the first inning, with Mike Trout Jr. on third base and Mike Trout Sr.,on first for the North American team, Buxton hit a slow roller to World third baseman Miguel Sano, who threw home.

Trout Jr., was initially ruled out. The sensors in his uniform indicated that the tag by Next Molina hit him before he activated the home-plate indicator, but the IRP (Instananeous Review Process) conducted by the home-plate Google computer overruled the sensors, and Trout Jr. was ruled safe.

The World team’s four-run rally in the fifth inning was a testament to the global growth of the game, as players from Argentina, Ghana, Russia, the Dominican Republic and France reached base.

In the end, the game provided a fitting farewell for the two Minnesota Twins stars who have announced their retirements effective at the end of the season and thus were appearing in their last All-Star Game.

Sano hit one of his vintage tape-measure home runs in the fifth. This one was measured at 457.238 feet, and bounced off a beer-delivery drone in the fourth deck of the left field stands.

Buxton went 3-for-4 with two doubles. As the constantly updated statistical graphic displayed on his uniform front reminded viewers, it was the eighth All-Star Game in which Buxton had recorded multiple hits.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)


San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 7:07 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington 6:00 PM
Carolina 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Montreal 7:30 PM
Arizona 8:00 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Is Paul Molitor the best choice to manage Twins?

Weekly Question