Fans and players stepped to the plate for Target Field’s moment in the sun (and rain).
St. Louis manager Mike Matheny, Fox TV reporter Erin Andrews and other apologists attempted to blame “social media’’ for the mess in which pitcher Adam Wainwright found himself at Tuesday night’s All-Star Game.
Wainwright was the National League starter and opened the bottom of the first by allowing a double to Derek Jeter. He gave up three runs in his one inning, and then told reporters outside the clubhouse that his plan was to give Jeter a couple of “pipe shots’’ in that at-bat.
Reporters listening to Wainwright in this in-game interview were quick to send along the “pipe shots’’ comment on Twitter. That doesn’t make it a controversy started by social media. This brouhaha was fueled by Wainwright, and Twitter served one of its purposes in allowing reporters to relay it to the public immediately.
Social media is not guilty on this one.
What was discovered during the three days of All-Star Game festivities at Target Field was that some of us might have placed too much stock in reactions on social media in assessing where baseball and the Twins stand with Minnesota’s sporting public at the moment.
I put the comments we see from agitated folks on newspaper websites and blogs in the social media category, along with king Twitter and other public forums. And the level of Twins bashing in these areas has been so persistent for four years that it’s easy to get the impression all of Minnesota has turned hostile to the Twins and given up on the Grand Old Game.
It was certain there would be full houses for Monday’s Home Run Derby and Tuesday’s game, what with Major League Baseball taking 13,000 of the 40,000 available tickets. MLB left that pile of tickets for the Twins to sell for Sunday’s Futures Game and softball skit.
To me, the size of Sunday’s crowd was going to be the key to finding out if there were still enough baseball fans around here to create a mid-July baseball fever.
“The people kept coming all day,’’ a Twins ticket manager said that night. “We had a huge walk-up.’’
In the end, 34,000 people actually went through the gates, larger than most Futures/softball crowds in other host cities of recent times.
On Monday, the weather was awful, but the ballyard was full for the Home Run Derby. People did leave early, but once you’ve seen Giancarlo Stanton blast one that almost left the building in left field and you’re freezing, why stay?
Then came the game. One word: glorious.
I’ve never felt better about admitting that baseball has been and will continue to be my sport of sports than was the case while taking in Tuesday night’s scene at Target Field.
The quality of the athletes on display was stunning. Right away, Jeter makes a diving stop on a hot shot from Andrew McCutchen, and McCutchen turns into a blur and beats Jeter’s throw by two millimeters at first.
And then, in the bottom of the first, between Jeter’s double (gift or no gift) and Miguel Cabrera’s line-drive home run just above the flowers in left, there was muscular Mike Trout getting the ball past muscular Yasiel Puig in right field, and within three steps Trout was Adrian Peterson in the open field.
In fact, make it a 90-yard race with two left turns, and I’ll take Trout by a stride over our guy All Day.
Trout thundered to third as the crowd in Target Field let out a roar that came with an element of shock — that a young man this thick could be moving so fast. For those few seconds, Trout was the legendary “runaway train’’ of a million sportswriters’ articles.
When Trout arrived at third, there had been six batters in the 85th All-Star Game, and already there were more grand moments than in the full playing of the 56th in the Metrodome in July 1985.
|Buffalo||17||4th Qtr 12:02|
|Cleveland||10||3rd Qtr 1:38|
|Dallas||27||3rd Qtr 2:25|
|Indianapolis||17||3rd Qtr 4:01|
|Jacksonville||17||3rd Qtr 4:40|
|San Diego||7||3rd Qtr 2:26|
|NY Jets||24||3rd Qtr 6:27|
|Chicago||6||4th Qtr 12:35|
|Philadelphia||24||3rd Qtr 5:55|
|New Orleans||7||4th Qtr|
|St. Louis||3:25 PM|
|TBA||1/3/15 2:00 AM|
|TBA||1/3/15 2:00 AM|
|TBA||1/4/15 2:00 AM|
|TBA||1/4/15 2:00 AM|
|Oklahoma City||6:30 PM|
|New York||8:00 PM|
|Central Conn St||48||FINAL|
|Harvard||37||2nd Half 13:38|
|Longwood||25||2nd Half 17:13|
|Sacred Heart||46||2nd Half 15:30|
|Colgate||39||2nd Half 14:2|
|MD-Eastern Shore||56||2nd Half 13:51|
|UNC Greensboro||30||2nd Half 15:50|
|Marist||19||2nd Half 16:12|
|NJIT||33||2nd Half 17:43|
|Cincinnati Christian||27||2nd Half 15:47|
|Morgan State||25||2nd Half 16:55|
|Campbell||28||2nd Half 15:00|
|Bucknell||43||2nd Half 15:34|
|Long Beach State||40||2nd Half|
|Coppin State||35||2nd Half 16:48|
|UMKC||35||2nd Half 16:07|
|Hofstra||45||1st Half 0:38|
|Coast Guard||2||1st Half 15:55|
|Thomas (GA)||3||1st Half 16:57|
|Texas Southern||0||1st Half 18:52|
|Rutgers||7||1st Half 15:19|
|NC Wesleyan||4||1st Half 15:38|
|South Dakota St||6||1st Half 15:09|
|Central Penn College||0||1st Half 19:30|
|Bowling Green||7||1st Half 14:42|
|Harris-Stowe||12||1st Half 13:30|
|SE Missouri St||11|
|Robert Morris-IL||2||1st Half 15:43|
|Northland College||6||1st Half 16:43|
|North Dakota St||9|
|Milwaukee||8||1st Half 14:59|
|Northwestern St||2:30 PM|
|Saint Peters||3:00 PM|
|St Katherine||3:00 PM|
|Wake Forest||3:00 PM|
|Fla Gulf Coast||3:00 PM|
|SD Christian||3:05 PM|
|Miss Valley St||4:00 PM|
|Delaware State||4:00 PM|
|NW Christian||5:00 PM|
|UC Davis||5:00 PM|
|Abilene Christian||5:00 PM|
|Stony Brook||7:00 PM|
|(15) Arizona State||36||FINAL|
|Texas A&M||12/29/14 1:00 PM|
|Oklahoma||12/29/14 4:30 PM|
|Arkansas||12/29/14 8:00 PM|
|Notre Dame||12/30/14 2:00 PM|
|(13) Georgia||12/30/14 5:45 PM|
|Maryland||12/30/14 9:00 PM|
|(9) Ole Miss||12/31/14 11:30 AM|
|(21) Boise State||12/31/14 3:00 PM|
|(8) Miss State||12/31/14 7:00 PM|
|(10) Georgia Tech|
|(19) Auburn||1/1/15 11:00 AM|
|(7) Michigan State||1/1/15 11:30 AM|
|(16) Missouri||1/1/15 12:00 PM|
|(2) Florida State||1/1/15 4:00 PM|
|(5) Ohio State||1/1/15 7:30 PM|
|Houston||1/2/15 11:00 AM|
|Iowa||1/2/15 2:20 PM|
|(11) Kansas State||1/2/15 5:45 PM|
|Washington||1/2/15 9:15 PM|
|East Carolina||1/3/15 11:00 AM|
|Toledo||1/4/15 8:00 PM|
|(10) Oregon State||63||FINAL|
|St Francis-PA||32||2nd Half 17:24|
|Milwaukee||41||2nd Half 15:26|
|Gardner-Webb||34||2nd Half 16:05|
|New Hampshire||23||2nd Half 15:16|
|Bucknell||36||2nd Half 20:00|
|Northeastern||47||2nd Half 12:57|
|George Mason||27||2nd Half 15:25|
|William & Mary||37|
|Tulane||32||2nd Half 18:58|
|North Florida||30||2nd Half 20:00|
|(14) Georgia||31||2nd Half 17:39|
|Tennessee St||39||2nd Half 17:28|
|American Univ||39||2nd Half 14:46|
|Massachusetts||44||2nd Half 20:00|
|Quinnipiac||40||2nd Half 17:35|
|Lafayette||35||2nd Half 11:58|
|Northwestern||36||2nd Half 16:01|
|(20) Michigan State||28|
|Duquesne||51||2nd Half 13:17|
|George Washington||44||2nd Half 15:22|
|(17) Rutgers||32||2nd Half 17:05|
|(24) Green Bay||48||2nd Half 15:52|
|Western Mich||14||1st Half 7:56|
|Davidson||30||1st Half 0:34|
|UNC Greensboro||2:00 PM|
|Denver||3||1st Half 17:24|
|VA Commonwealth||4||1st Half 15:40|
|Huston-Tillotson||4||1st Half 13:21|
|Lamar||11||1st Half 15:02|
|Miss Valley St||4||1st Half 15:10|
|Saint Louis||7||1st Half 15:18|
|Middle Tennessee||11||1st Half 15:39|
|Penn State||1||1st Half 15:31|
|Purdue||10||1st Half 15:11|
|DePaul||2||1st Half 19:04|
|Sam Houston St||2||1st Half 16:03|
|South Dakota||2:30 PM|
|(4) Notre Dame||3:00 PM|
|Coll of Charleston||3:00 PM|
|Alcorn State||3:00 PM|
|Fla Gulf Coast||3:00 PM|
|(25) Arizona State|
|UC Santa Barbara||4:00 PM|
|Long Island||4:00 PM|
|Long Beach St|
|Jackson State||4:00 PM|