Startribune.com digital sports editor Howard Sinker used to cover the Twins and now shares season tickets with friends in Section 219 of Target Field. He blogs about baseball from the perspective of a long-time fan who loves the game, doesn’t always believe the hype and likes hearing what others think. Howard sometimes talks about sports with Cathy Wurzer on MPR's Morning Edition.
A few scattered thoughts, thinking as a fan here:
*I watched the last few innings of Yu Darvish's almost-perfect game Tuesday night and was struck by all the Houston fans who were rooting against their team. The guy behind home plate, in the Astros cap, doing exaggerated strike-three calls, really stood out.
Here are my questions for you: Is that a natural reaction to seeing a rare event? Did the Houston fans jump ship because their team is that bad? What would you do if a pitcher would take a perfect game into the late innings against the Twins? (And what did'ja think of seeing A.J. Pierzynski catching Darvish? Or are you finally past thinking about A.J.?)
*Baseball on the radio is a great thing, and the XM Radio and MLB At-Bat app get heavy use during the summer in the Section 219 world. On the bad days, there are a lot of words spoken that don't tell you much about what's going on. On the good days, you find Toronto's new team of Jerry Howarth and former Twins/Jays/Tigers pitcher Jack Morris.
Howarth was the Jays announcer when I was writing about the Twins and his demeanor (on and off mike) is the closest thing I know of to the late Herb Carneal. Listening to him with the crusty and opinionated Morris is a fun listen. For a fun side note about Howarth and Morris, which goes back to their minor league and college days, go here.
*While few people are expecting the Twins to be good, many of us are at least holding out hope that some of the fundamental soundness returns to the team. That was definitely not the case on Opening Day. What stood out most was Chris Parmelee's wild-swinging at-bat against wild-throwing Al Albuquerque with the bases loaded, two outs and a rally in motion in the seventh and Joe Mauer's inability to get down and block Josh Roenicke's wild pitch in the eighth that gave Detroit its final run.
And there were other things. Pedro Florimon's passive try to catch Mauer's throw to second that let Jhonny Peralta steal in the second inning, which led to a run, and Vance Worley's near-misplay on Victor Martinez's soft grounder in the third were two others that stood out. Also in the eighth, nobody covered third on Andy Dirks' sacrifice with runners on first and second -- a hard bunt between third and the mound that could well have resulted in a force.
I'm thinking about that in contrast to one play on the other side: Torii Hunter's clean, takeout slide of Brian Dozier on Miguel Cabrera's first-inning grounder. That went a long way toward Detroit scoring two runs in the top of the first instead of one. Against better teams -- and that would be most of 'em -- the Twins will have to be much more on their game than they were in the opener. They benefited from the decision to pull Justin Verlander after five innings, and we had reason to expect more against the Detroit relief crew than two runs and 12 left on base.
*The secondary ticket market is a great thing in troubled baseball times, especially if you're looking for good seats on short notice. The Section 219 household opener is today and we're in the Legends Club, third row -- at just over $19 per ticket. I'm not endorsing one vendor over another, but there are deals out there.
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