a Nice Ride to Target Field

Friends!  I don’t think I ever told you about my adventure with Minneapolis’ Nice Ride bikes!

Don’t worry.  The time has come.

For those of you not acquainted with the Nice Ride bikes, there are sets of bikes all around Minneapolis.  You can rent a bike and one station and drop it off at another.  The first 30 minutes are free, which is ideal if all of your destinations are within 30 minutes. 

Shawn and I started by her house in NE.  We picked up some bikes and dropped them off a couple blocks from Target Field.  We then sat through some horribly played baseball (sorry Twins, it is the truth.  Actually, I take back my apology.  You should be the one apologizing to me).

After that we rode the bikes to Saint Anthony Main where we went out for some apps.  After that, we rode the bikes back to Shawn’s house.

It was a fun way to explore the city, try something new, and take a different approach to visiting Target Field.

Grandpa Blue Jay

On Mother’s Day, my family went to the Twin’s game to celebrate our Mother. We like to try out new seats when we go to the games together, and this time we sat in the Powerball Pavillion. We were surprised upon our arrival to discover that we were surrounded by Blue Jays fans. Fortunately, Rachel and I DO love Canada.

Well it turns out that what we love even more than Canada is sitting next to adorable old grandpa baseball fans.

This post goes out to Harmon, the 91 year old Blue Jay fan, bused in from Canada for this series against the Twins. He was a delight. He is our favorite fan of the 2011-2012 season. That much is for sure.

Special thanks to my sister Rachel, who helped me recall the greatness of Harmon (aka sent me an email with all that she remembered… most of which I copied and pasted into this).

Now you might be thinking, “Laura, I like cheering for baseball. I’d like to be a contender for your favorite fan of the season.” Well, it isn’t going to be easy. But here are some suggestions to get you started.

Have awesome heckles that are also ridiculously long. And don’t forget to have great vocabulary:

  • Harmon would shout out things like, “I SAY OLD CHAP, don’t wait to start throwing strikes on my account!” Basically anything that starts with “I say old chap” is going to be fantastic.
  • When you think your heckle should be done. Talk for about 30 more seconds.
  • Throw in a “jeepers creepers” when the occasion calls for it. And don’t be afraid to end with “eh”!

Know your team:

He educated Rachel on the Blue Jays and describe them in fantastic ways:

–one of their players (who went on to steal both 2nd and 3rd) was
really enjoyable to watch. He is very fast and agile and is a real
consternation to opposing pictures.
–when a guy named Colby was up, I learned that Colby is “cute” name
and he’s the best center fielder they’ve had in years. He covers a
lot of ground, but runs in kind of a loping fashion so you don’t
realize how good he will be.
–talked about how the pitcher is their ace, but seems to have one bad
inning in most outings. His wife added the comment that he sure
wasn’t pitching like an ace today
–he liked one of their players because he always got dirty in
games…a real go-getter
–average age of their players is 24, they are a real young team

Be a Fan of Baseball

He appreciated the good plays of the game, regardless of the team that made them. For example, both he and his wife were impressed with Willingham’s catch deep in the corner, was impressed with Dozier’s catch and turn to get the guy on 2nd out too, and was disappointed when they scored a run on a wild pitch/passed ball (because no one likes to see that sort of thing).

Get Everyone Involved

He chastised his fellow blue jay fans in our section for not cheering loudly enough. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but it had to do with how could they possibly walk out of there with their
heads held high if they hadn’t given their all in cheering.

Coach from your seat. And be encouraging:

  • When the players would all go to the mound for a little chat, he would shout things about their meeting, “Not being worth a hoot” and tell them to get back to playing baseball.
  • When a pinch hitter was brought in late in the game, he yelled at him that he’d been sitting all day so he should be ready to go.
  • One guy swung at something in the dirt, he yelled at him to wait for a ball that “maybe isn’t on the ground.” Next pitch he didn’t swing at one in the dirt and he was pleased with himself.
  • When the last guy was up, he yelled, I hope that you realize that you are our last hope.

Participate. Until you stop.

Harmon sang along with O Canada until the high notes at the very end. Afterwards, he told Rachel he can’t hit those notes.

Have a Bit of Sass

when Plouffe got that triple, he made a comment about how Plouffe had walked earlier in the game, hit into a double play and then got that triple…”He’s really going places. I bet his average is up to 139 by now. Good for him” (All said in just a great old man sassy tone, not mean or super sarcastic or anything)

Feed Your Wife

Harmon brought his wife a hot dog and said “Here, eat this for awhile. We need to get some food in you…I’ll take my turn in a bit.”

Be 91 and awesome.

Do you see Harmon?? Don’t you want to be his friend too?

Thanks Harmon, for making our day. You are welcome back at Target Field anytime!

Like Coming Home…

This week the Twins had their Home Opener on Monday afternoon. I was fortunate to get to go to THREE games this week! (I’m trying to get some good baseball time in before Africa steals me away).

Walking into Target Field was like coming home. To my home away from home.

While much of Twins Territory has stayed the same, there are some key changes. I will start with my least favorite change and work my way towards the awesomeness.

Change #1 The team. We don’t really know them anymore. I think that the fastest way to win our hearts though, is to hit a home run. This was effective for Josh Willingham and Clete Thomas (apparently Clete’s first name is Michael. But who would want to go by that?? Clearly Clete is a better option). Other players haven’t picked up on the home run strategy yet, so while I have come to recognize their walk-up music, I have not prepared a welcome gift basket with their name on it. We still miss our old team though, and cheer when they visit us from their new teams.

Change #2 The “Controversial” billboard on the back of the Target Center is gone. And by controversial, I mean that people were ticked because it was there, not because it had questionable content. In its place is Bullseye, eagerly wagging his tail at us.

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Change #3 My sister warned me that I would be seeing something that would make me clap my hands in delight. And right she was. I always enjoy the Race to Target Field and guessing who will win. Amber and I even featured one of the videos at our Twins Birthday Party in February. But you know what I love even more?? The LIVE Race to Target Field.

And they’re off!

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At one of the games they even ran in slow motion for part of the race. Which was fitting with their epic racing soundtrack. Why I love mascots racing so much, I do not know. But isn’t it great!?

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They even keep race stats up, so you know their standings so far in the season!

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And it’s Bullseye for the win! The crowd goes wild!

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In other news, I think I’ve got this wordpress app for my iPad figured out. This was kind of a test run. And it seems successful so far. I’ve done pictures. I’ve done typing. What more do you need? (well, I guess I feel a little confused about whether this will post or not. so there is that… but if you are reading this, then we will know I was successful) So the moral of the story is that updates WILL happen from Uganda. And that mascots are awesome.

A Baseball Birthday!

Because Amber and I like to have birthday parties like we are still seven years old, we planned some sweet decorations and forced our guests to play games.  It was pretty much awesome.  Here’s all the important and non-important details about our 1991 Twins World Series Game Seven Par-tay!

The Decor: Streamers in the colors of the MN Twins, library books (gotta keep things educational), and basically any MN Twins themed items we could find around our homes.  Tiffany made us a cute birthday banner with clementines, tooth picks, cardstock, and yarn. 

The Food: Ball Park Themed.  We had hot dogs, soft pretzels w/cheese, chips, cracker jacks, candy, clementines, puppy chow, and more.  Rachel even brought her cotton candy maker!  Sadly, we forgot to use it.  It was all delish.  I felt like I was at Target Field.  Or the Metrodome in 1991. 

The Fun: We spent the evening watching the Twins Game.  We divided our friends into two teams.  Were these teams evenly matched?  One was good with baseball trivia, and one was good at random tasks that you can’t train for.  So, yes?  Between innings, we asked random trivia questions (let me emphasize random), and played games like we were at the ballpark.  We found the Race to Target Field online.  Go ahead, watch it. I won’t tell you who wins. 

We had a wiffle ball toss (think old school – dropping the baseballs down from the stands into the back of the pick-up truck.  And yes, they bounced right out of our bucket just like they always bounced out of the back of the truck) 

And a designated driver drawing, winning Aaron a Twins keychain, AND a point for his team.

The Music: Rachel, Laura, JaNahn, and James serenaded us with the Star Spangled Banner.  In one of my more ridiculous life moments, we all sang Take Me Out to the Ballgame.  The sing-a-long was of course, Happy Birthday.

The Prizes: Naturally we had certificates for the winners and losers. (twins certificates)

Our friends were good sports and played along with Amber and I’s birthday dreams.  Thanks guys.

every baseball birthday party needs a giant baseball birthday brownie

And I’d like to thank the following people for making my birthday party possible:

  • Scott, for his idea and his dvd
  • Tiffany, for helping me clean up before and after the party and for her trip to the library to facilitate learning and decorating
  • James, for making the yearly trek down to Minneapolis for our birthdays
  • David, for cheering for the Braves.  Again.
  • Rachel, for leading the songs
  • Rachel, for printing certificates
  • Rachel, for stopping by after a busy day
  • Shawn, for puppy chow and general awesomeness
  • Aaron, for hot dogs and wiffle ball skills
  • Laura, for ice cream sundae toppings
  • JaNahn, for canceling your work trip
  • Molly, for coming even though you have no history with or love of the Twins
  • Kerri, for sending me a card on modified work stationary
  • Amber for your co-planning, co-birthdaying awesomeness.
I’m lucky to have such awesome friends.
All in all, it was a pretty intense game.  My parents were there.  I tried to call them to see if we could spot them on tv, but then we remembered that there weren’t cell phones yet.  Go Twins!

Party Like It’s 1991!

Amber and I have birthdays that are exactly a week apart.  Since becoming friends, we have thrown ourselves a joint birthday party.  Each year we try and think of something more awesome (or at least equally awesome) to the year before.  It is tricky business, I tell ya.

We have already done dueling pianos, ice skating and milk shakes, and free unlimited rides at the Mall of America.  This year we thought: tubing!  Mother nature thought: Hope you have a plan B!

Since all the snow melted between the inviting and the celebrating, we had to come up with a Plan B.  Fortunately, our favorite “idea man”, Scott, was on the job.

The theme: Party Like It’s 1991/MN Twins Baseball.

If you add those two things together, you get: Game 7 of the World Series 1991.

I’ll share all the fun details tomorrow, but I’ll tide you over with…

the matchy-matchy shirts me and Amber wore:

This is not Amber or myself, but rather a kindly stranger from the internet modeling the cute t-shirt

And my sister’s hilarious list of thematic party suggestions: 

1. Amber could be Dan the Music Man and be weird/awkward about playing music. 2. People could put on oversized clothes and run around bases you set up in the street. 3. Someone could get an award. 4. You could show a heartwarming video montage. 5. Someone for sure needs to sing the national anthem. 6. I’ll bring Lucy, Rachel brings Bear and we have them run walk around your house like it is Take your dog to the ballpark day. 7. We all do yardwork (or housework) while pretending to be groundskeepers. 8. We play catch and stretch. 9. We eat a lot of food. 10. We get your neighbors to walk around your street, acting lost and not paying attention, while we try to walk upstream from them, getting irritated since we know right where we are going. 11. We sit around and talk about everyone else (people watching!)

Ok, come back tomorrow.  While I’m spending my birthday frolicking with fairies and gnomes, you can be soaking in all the baseball fun of last weekend.

The perks of cheering for a losing team.

This weekend I somehow managed to find myself at three Twins games.  In the best of circumstances, this would be of utmost excitement.  However, these days in Twins Territory, we do not find ourselves in the best of circumstances, so I was unsure what number I should truly find myself at on the excitement scale.

All this time at Target Field did allow me to think through the silver lining of being a Twins fan.  I don’t think these principles necessarily need to be solely applied to the Twins.  Feel free to apply them to your child’s t-ball team, your friend’s city soccer league team, or your cousin’s intramural broomball team.

Perk #1: It is a no pressure situation.  You know that fun excitement/nervous/butterflies/anxiety you feel when your team is on the cusp of greatness?  I remember this energy at game 163 in the Dome in 2009 – it ended in a win!  I also remember this energy at the last play-off game we played at Target Field in 2010.  It ended so poorly.  Exiting that night was the saddest and longest walk down a ramp I’ve ever experienced.  When your team is expected to play poorly and lose though, it really takes away the stress!  How nice is that?

Perk #2: Giveaways have more irony, because you are also giving away players.  We traded Jim Thome this week.  I felt like there was no chance for closure or a goodbye.  He is a great player and a great man.  Ironically enough, the giveaway for our first game sans Thome was the Jim Thome Wind-Up Walker.  I guess if he can’t be walking across our field, he can at least walk across our desks.

Perk #2a: We can be happy for others.  Even though it makes me sad, I can see how it was the right move for Thome, and we still are cheering him on in MN, keeping track of his home runs past 600, even though he isn’t hitting them on behalf of the Twins anymore.

Perk #3: Fan greatness comes into play. When your team is doing well, fans aren’t nearly as impressive.  However, when your team forgets that they care, you and all your fellow fans will cheer your heads off for anyone who catches a foul ball in the stands.  You can bet that we just made his night by our applause.  You are welcome, kind sir.  Let’s hope Gardy saw you, and you might have a shot at playing tomorrow.

Perk #4: You can play games.  There is so much to take in at Target Field.  If there is no baseball to watch, you can play I Spy with your friends.  You are sure to see all the important and fun sights this way!  Another fun game is, “Which player from tonight’s line-up would you date?”  If you were busy cheering, you wouldn’t have time to talk about these important issues.

Perk #5:  Calling it an early night.  Normally I am a staunch “I will stay to the bitter end” sort of fan.  But when you are down by so many runs that it would take a true Mother’s Day Miracle to pull out a win, and you have had a long day at work (or the state fair) you could just walk away.  You won’t need to worry about missing anything.

Perk #6: Your expectations are lower.  On Friday, the Twins lost by approximately 1.2 billion.  On Saturday, we only lost by 2 runs!  I was thrilled to be at a game where our loss was so respectable.

Perk #7: The homerun derby comes to you.  Not everyone can go to the homerun derby, but when your team is playing really poorly, the other team may hit homer after homer.  It is like you aren’t even at a real game.  How many more can you guys hit?  Neat!

Perk #8: You can learn from other teams.  “Wow!  I think they call that a Double Play.  Maybe we will try it sometime!  That could be fun and different!”

Perk #9: PTL for an outdoor stadium.  Losing at the dome wasn’t nearly as fun as losing at Target Field, where you can enjoy some fresh air, a cool night’s breeze, and bugs zooming at your face.

Perk #10: You really get to know the minor league teams.  If your team is doing well and staying healthy, you just see the same old players all the time. But if players are on the “I suck list” and the DL, you get a chance to scope out the up and coming talent.

Perk #11: When you do win, it is so much sweeter.  Today we beat the Tigers 11-4.  (Special thanks go out to Luke Hughes for making that win possible).  I hadn’t heard Beautiful Day at the end of a game in forever.  It doesn’t raise my expectations higher for next time, but it sure was nice to head to Target Field and see the Twins actually play baseball!

Today’s post: brought to you by Awkward Seating

Today’s post: brought to you by Awkward Seating and other things that made this weekend interesting. 

I am glad that I have fun friends, otherwise this weekend might not have received a rating much higher than mediocre.  But I since I do have fun friends, I would rate it around, “quite enjoyable” which a chance to reach, “I liked it so much!” if things go well tomorrow.

Tonight we went to the Twin’s game.  And when we got there we discovered that we were not in fact all sitting together.  What?  Our tickets were all purchased as a group.  Yet there we were, eight of us, spread across 4 different rows and 2 sections.  At least we were sitting two by two.  Now I understand why Noah’s animals all came in a pair.  It sure would have been lonely otherwise!  And at least J and I were sitting the furthest back, so we could choose to either watch the game or watch our friends.  We wised up by the 5th inning and ditched our assigned seats and went and sat together.  (what was magical about the fifth inning?  nothing, we just couldn’t be bothered to get up prior to that).  Before you judge, you have to factor in the fact that it was dreary and rainy.  Who wants to dry off a new seat?  Not us, that is for sure.

Yep – you got it though – another day of crappy weather, another day I am attending Twins baseball.  While I do like baseball, sitting in a drizzle isn’t my most fav.  In other baseball related news, Amber tells me that it is not weird that some kid down in front had a jersey with the name Baby Jesus stitched on the back.  Apparently people call Joe Mauer by this nickname?  What??  I must say, while I am a fan of Joe, and I am definitely a fan of Jesus, I am not a fan of this supposed nickname.

Other things that made this weekend decent include breakfast at the Good Day Cafe: love it there so much!  And I had a fun dinner with my mom, the Rachels, and our dear friend Mary.  Love that all the boys are gone fishing!  This was followed by the first somewhat failed, somewhat fun event: my first movie in the park of the season!  We went to see the Sandlot – classic, right?  But just before they could reclaim the ball that had fallen prey to the beast, the parks and rec folk decided the storm was rolling in quickly, and they pulled the plug on the event.  Bummer.  But wise: the first drops of an intense rainstorm fell as we were pulling away.

Tomorrow has grand promises of a lovely morning with church, brunch with friends, and well… I will wait to see what the weather does before I get our hopes up with promises of further excitement.

It should’ve been a good idea…

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Today when readying myself for an afternoon at the ballpark, I thought to myself, “I can’t be bothered to carry my big bag. I will just bring this little wristlet from mom and then store my stuff in Rachel’s big purse.”  This could have been a genius idea, except guess who had the same “great” idea…

In other baseball news, Nishi is back for his Target Field debut. At first I thought about how happy he must be to be back with his teammates. Then I took one look at the line-up and thought of all the new friends Nishioka must be making today.

And my final thought before returning my attention to the game: if you want me to buy your food, don’t put it three inches from my face, wave it around and say, “eat me.”  You will not get my dollars. At most, all you will get is an awkward/uncomfortable laugh before I look away

Musings from Target Field

 

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Here are some of our baseball observations from today’s game:
1. The only good thing about Butera is his walk up song
2. When it begins to rain and you are sitting safely under the overhang, watching the entire lower section begin flailing about putting on jackets, hoods, and ponchos is kind of amazing
3.  Michael Cuddyer just seems like a great guy. I would be his friend. And I’d like to see him do magic tricks. Maybe at the next rain delay?
4. Plouffe seems confused today about where Morneau and first base are actually located. I’d say Valencia should help him out, but Danny Boy is struggling today as well.
5. Three pitchers are hanging out in the corner of the dugout and have spent about 72% of the game looking at something in the stands. Now they’ve invited a fourth friend to join them. As a result we have lost interest in the game and mostly want to know what the are so intently watching, because it sure isn’t baseball
6. What would you say is proper meandering vendor etiquette?  Because so far today we have had one vendor ask us each individually if we would like a soft pretzel and another block the entire aisle with his dance moves while another man stands awkwardly close behind him.  I think perhaps I would write a jingle to merrily sing as I hawked my wares.
7. I would like to see some more creative fun facts. Things like: what is your most embarrassing baseball memory, who was your childhood crush, how do you spend the off season, what song was the first dance at your wedding, favorite animal, favorite Minnesota lake, best away stadium to play at, really anything that isn’t a baseball stat I could have read on Wikipedia. I set the bar low.
8. Someone just proposed. She said yes. I think I would say no, just because it is a baseball stadium proposal. Unless it was a player at home plate after scoring the winning run via grand slam. Then I would consider a “yes”
9. We are concerned about one of the announcers. I am fairly certain that one of them is having a severe allergic reaction where his tongue is swelling up.  He has lost the ability to pronounce words.
10. They just started “rally time” according to the big screens. It is the 7th inning. I asked if it was a bit early for rally time and my sister pointed out we need to get a lead quick, before our relievers come in.
11. Gardy just visited the mound. Because I am an expert lip reader, I will fill you in on their convo.  Pavano: “I know I have thrown over 100 pitches, but please, we can not let the bullpen come in.” Butera: “I know I am not the best catcher, but l do so much better with someone who knows how throw the ball.”  Gardy: “alright, sounds like a 2-1 vote. Majority wins. You can stay.”
12: I am thinking I should have some babies, because I have seen a lot of adorable Twins children’s apparel today.
13. This little boy traveled far away from his dad, climbing over chairs, meeting new people. “What’s your name?” was his opening line
14. We lost, but at least we went down fighting. That in itself is a victory in comparison to a month ago.

Weather or baseball: which is the main event?

Someday I hope that those in attendance for Twins’ games will have more interesting things going on than the weather.

Someday I hope the Twins will once again score more than 3 runs.

Someday I hope that the snow, hail, and howling winds will stay away and let the real excitement, baseball, shine.

The Twins scores haven’t been anything to talk about lately, but the extreme weather conditions have been.  A couple weeks ago, I was at Target Field when it snowed.  They made the best of it: Twinter Wonderland, Christmas carols, and T. Swift’s Back to December.  Then came the hail.  Apparently everyone and their brother was at that game, and according to their facebook updates, it seems the Twins didn’t really have a contingency plan for hail, as the initial removal efforts from the field were on the ineffectual side.

Sunday: it was the wind.  It all seemed innocent enough, until we couldn’t see the game through the hair in our face (this was not the ideal day to reintroduce my bangs to the world)

 Then came the flying trash.  I was traumatized when an airborne hot dog wrapper nearly took my face off.   I glanced over to my sister, and saw that she was at least 2.3x as traumatized as me.  Yes, turns out that hot dog wrapper had attacked her face, momentarily plastering itself to her cheek on it’s way towards me.  Yikes!  She lived in fear whenever we heard the sound of the swirling garbage around us.  (This was 92% of the time)  You never know when garbage might strike again.

Other game highlights include Trevor Plouffe picking up garbage from the field and putting it in his pocket.  Well done, good sir.

And then, there is this:

You are probably thinking, why are all those people on the field?  Are they part of a new strategy of the Twins?  Put dozens of people on the field and hope it will improve our fielding??  (ahem, Delmon Young, who just watched the ball instead of running towards it).  No.  They are the Emergency Garbage Clean Team (EGCT, for short)  Chasing down flying debris.

Twins, if you want my advice: let’s start small.  Let’s take the spotlight away from Mother Nature and aim for 4 runs at the next game.

Never give up.  Never surrender.