The message boards here read, ``Welcome to Fenway Park....America's Most Beloved Ballpark.''
When ranking our favorite ballparks, we tend to leave out Fenway and Wrigley Field because they are in a separate category - not close to being modern but charming and historic.. I like the seating area, hate everything else about it.
One of my favorite aspects of my job is arriving at a ballpark in the early afternoon, before the fans, pre-game hype, loud music, giveaways, trivia contests, kiss cams, dance-offs and everything else that's stuffed inside nine innings of play.
The stadium is quiet in the early afternoon - a different kind of quiet at places like Fenway.
``The ghosts,'' former Twins backup catcher Tom Prince told me once. ``They speak to you here.''
Everything behind the playing field here, unfortunately, is crappy. The visitor's clubhouse? We crawl all over each other. I got upgraded to first class for my flight here last night, and there was more room there than the visitors clubhouse at Fenway. (O.K., a slight exaggeration)
My goal this year was to walk down the tunnel from the clubhouse to the playing field. They finally resurfaced it during the offseason, You used to walk across long planks to get to the field. Besides the strange substances that seemed to lie beneath the planks, there was always something that looked like Babe Ruth's underwear in the middle of the muck.
They did a great job with the resurfacing. I can't believe it.
Anyway, Fenway is a cool place to watch a game. But, eventually, it's gotta go. I loved my 1976 Cutlass, but when the bungee cord could no longer hold the rear bumper in place, it had to go. And there are a few things about Fenway that are like my 1976 Cutlass.
Jeff Manship has arrived. He's stretched out and ready to contribute if the Twins need him. Twins pitchers have posted a ERA over 9.00 here the past two years, so the Twins aren't taking chances.
Everything points to Manship heading back to Class AAA Rochester at the end of the series, with J.J. Hardy expected to come off the disabled list in time for Friday's game against Milwaukee. But Twims manager Ron Gardenhire did point out that Hardy can only hit off a tee right now. So stay tuned,,,
The Twins are in the middle of a semi-crazy road trip. But how about the Red Sox? Their game in New York was delayed by rain. Then it ran late. So late that LaGuardia Airport's curfew stopped them from going there. They switched to JFK, but the TSA folks weren't ready for them when they arrived. Then the equipment truck was late. They didn't lift off from New York until 3:30 a.m.
Boston is home for two games...then it's off to Philly and then Tampa Bay. Wow.
Victor Martinez has thrown out 3 of 10 basestealers over the past 14 games. But he's still 4 for 38 (10.5 percent) for the season, and the Twins will run on him......
A couple minor league things. Stephen Strasburg is starting against Rochester tonight. And 19-year old Adrian Salcedo, a pitcher worth keeping an eye on, debuts tonight for Class A Fort Myers. Get to minor league boxscores at www.minorleaguebaseball.com
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Orlando Hudson, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Michael Cuddyer, RF
6. Jim Thome, DH
7. Jason Kubel, LF
8. Brendan Harris, SS
9. Nick Punto, 3B
Pitching: Scott Baker
1. J.D. Drew, RF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. Victor Martinez, C
4. Kevin Youkilis, 1B
5. David Ortiz, DH
6. Adrian Beltre, 3B
7. Jeremy Hermida, LF
8. Bill Hall, SS
9. Darnell McDonald, CF
Pitching: Clay Buchholz, RHP