Souhan: Minneapolis, Target Field are host to something truly special

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 15, 2014 - 12:06 PM

view larger photos

  

Once in a generation, Minnesota plays host to a field of realized dreams.

Pity cities less fortunate.

Tuesday night, a gorgeous ballpark in the heart of a picturesque city will frame the greatest baseball players in the world. The All-Star Game, which previously graced creaky Met Stadium and the unsightly Metrodome, will stuff Target Field with astonishing talent and guaranteed poignancy.

Yankees star Derek Jeter will remember Target Field as the place he took his last All-Star at-bat. “I don’t even know how I’m going to feel,” he said.

Twins star Glen Perkins, a lifelong Minnesotan who chose to play for the Gophers and sign long-term, at a discount, with his hometown team, is bound to make his first All-Star appearance in his home park, after being left in the bullpen last year. “I can calculate a lot of numbers, like what percentage of the balls put into play turn into hits,” said the avid Sabermatrician. “But I can’t calculate the odds of me growing up here and getting to play in an All-Star Game here.”

Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki can envision the perfect ending: him catching a Perkins fastball for the last out of the game. “That’s what I’m pulling for,” he said.

For every Twin in the game, there seem to be a half-dozen ex-Twins wandering around Minneapolis.

Pat Neshek, who grew up in Brooklyn Park, endured the heartbreak of his first son’s death and has revitalized his career this season with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Justin Morneau returned to Target Field for the first time since he was traded last season, and participated in the Home Run Derby on Monday night, receiving the kind of ovation he heard so often during his MVP season of 2006.

And Carlos “Go-Go” Gomez, nicknamed one of the “Loose Cannons” by Twins manager Ron Gardenhire when he played at the Metrodome, vows to “put on a show” Tuesday, not out of spite for his former team but because that’s what he tries to do every game. “If I hit a ball to the wall, do you want me to put on the brakes at second base?” he said with a large smile. “I don’t think so.”

The 85th All-Star Game is a success, and it hasn’t even been played.

The event brings with it satellites of activity and attention, prompting Minnesotans to celebrate what downtown Minneapolis has become, and what Target Field, by consensus, is: one of the best ballparks anywhere.

Build it, and they will come: superstars and charming underdogs, baseball executives and rapt fans, national media and celebrities. For a few days, this is the home of Clydesdales and Miggy Cabrera. Watching Rickey Henderson slow-trot a home-run hit over a short fence in a celebrity softball game might have been worth the price of construction alone.

It’s hard to walk two blocks this week without seeing a Hall of Famer like Rod Carew … or St. Paul baseball royalty, in the form of Jack Morris … or one of those quasi-celebrities who makes you Google something like “Short rapper with funny hat.”

Sundays before the All-Star Game once were reserved for player travel. This Sunday, Target Field held the Futures Game, featuring a remarkable assemblage of young talent; a celebrity softball game in which Adrian Peterson hacked at a fastball from Jennie Finch; and fireworks that exploded in the gloaming and above the skyline. Monday, rain delayed the Home Run Derby but yielded to a rainbow that seemed to spring from the scoreboard.

“I don’t know if there’s a better park in baseball,” said former Twins first baseman Kent Hrbek. “And you know what? You look toward left, and this could be Cleveland, or a few other parks. But if you sit on the third base side and look toward right, with that skyline, and see the whole ballpark glow under the lights, that’s as good as it gets.”

In the All-Star Game, Minnesotans receive the rare, emotionally safe, big-time sporting event, one offering buzz but no heartbreak. There will be no Brett Favre or Gary Anderson moment on Tuesday night.

With Joe Mauer injured, Perkins is the de facto player host of this event. He said he’d be happy to act as a spokesman for the city or the ballpark, if that were necessary.

  • related content

  • All-Star lineups filled with standout after standout

    Tuesday July 15, 2014

    Managers couldn't miss in making out the lineups of All-Stars at Target Field for Tuesday's game.

  • Kershaw passed over again, but not overlooked

    Tuesday July 15, 2014

    The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw isn’t starting after baffling NL hitters.

  • All-Star Game notes: Gardenhire plans his input as AL assistant

    Tuesday July 15, 2014

    Ron Gardenhire doesn’t know yet what Red Sox manager John Farrell might ask him during Tuesday’s All-Star Game, or if he’ll seek his advice at all. But he already knows...

  • Oakland's Cespedes repeats as Home Run Derby champ

    Tuesday July 15, 2014

    Oakland's Yoenis Cespedes became the second player to repeat as Home Run Derby champion Monday.

  • What they're saying about the All-Star Game at Target Field

    Tuesday July 15, 2014

    CHICAGO TRIBUNESamardzija All-Star for both teams, sort ofThe biggest mystery surrounding Tuesday’s All-Star Game is where A’s pitcher Jeff Samardzija...

  • Those that waited out the rain delay were treated to a beautiful rainb...

  • Homegrown former Twins Dave Winfield, Paul Molitor and Jack Morris (47) teamed with current Twins first baseman Joe Mauer, right, for a ceremonial first pitch with youngsters before the Home Run Dery on Monday night at a packed Target Field.

  • Colorado’s Justin Morneau tipped his hat to fans during his introduction. before the Home Run Derby. Morneau hit two homers, then failed to advance out of a tiebreaker.

  • MAGIC SAXO NUMBER IS 635149 STAR07xx14: All-star game feature.

  • Yoenis Cespedes turned out to be a cool customer in the Home Run Derby. His AL mates were ready in case the A’s slugger broke a sweat.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
8:10 PM ET123456789RHE
ArizonaJ. Collmenter (10-8)000
MinnesotaR. Nolasco (5-11)000
@theBallpark
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland 4 Suspended
Kansas City 2
Baltimore - W. Chen 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - M. Pineda
Kansas City - D. Duffy 6:05 PM
Cleveland - C. Carrasco
Seattle - J. Paxton 6:07 PM
Toronto - J. Happ
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt 6:08 PM
Detroit - K. Lobstein
Pittsburgh - F. Liriano 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Houston - N. Tropeano 7:05 PM
Texas - D. Holland
St. Louis - A. Wainwright 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - T. Wood
Arizona - J. Collmenter 7:10 PM
Minnesota - R. Nolasco
LA Angels - C. Wilson 9:05 PM
Oakland - J. Samardzija
San Francisco - J. Peavy 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - D. Haren
Colorado - T. Matzek 9:10 PM
San Diego - E. Stults
San Diego 22 FINAL
Buffalo 10
Dallas 34 FINAL
St. Louis 31
Washington 34 FINAL
Philadelphia 37
Houston 17 FINAL
NY Giants 30
Minnesota 9 FINAL
New Orleans 20
Tennessee 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 33
Baltimore 23 FINAL
Cleveland 21
Green Bay 7 FINAL
Detroit 19
Indianapolis 44 FINAL
Jacksonville 17
Oakland 9 FINAL
New England 16
San Francisco 14 FINAL
Arizona 23
Denver 20 FINAL
Seattle 26
Kansas City 34 FINAL
Miami 15
Pittsburgh 37 FINAL
Carolina 19
Chicago 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Ottawa 12:30 PM
NY Islanders
Ottawa 5:00 PM
NY Islanders
New Jersey 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Detroit 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Toronto 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Washington 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
St. Louis 7:30 PM
Dallas
Anaheim 8:00 PM
Colorado
Colorado 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Los Angeles 9:00 PM
Arizona
Arizona 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(12) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(9) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
(23) East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(20) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
(14) Miss State 34 FINAL
(17) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(13) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
UNLV 14 FINAL
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(21) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 FINAL
Montreal 31
Ottawa 32 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close