Baseball regularly turns all of us grown-ups back into little kids. Usually it's a good thing.
Tonight, not so much. There may not be tears on my baseball glove, but there's a lump in my stomach the size of Gardy's bowling ball. (I shudder to think of the lump in his stomach.)
It's unusually sad because Target Field seemed to open a new competitive era for this franchise. Unfortunately, that new era burst onto a landscape that we now know is every bit as competitively unbalanced as it has ever been. Consider this: The Yankees' starting infield makes more than the entire Twins team. I'm really not a salary cap kind of guy, but this is completely ridiculous.
It's as if baseball has decided that the Yankees need some sort of tune-up, maybe even a little rest, before playing the real playoff games, and one of the other divisions is expected to provide that. (The Globetrotters/Generals relationship comes to mind, though there at least everybody's in on it.)
It's as if the playoff structure is designed to make it seem that any team has a chance, while in reality requiring herculean efforts and lots of luck for any team not wearing pinstripes. Possible, yes. Likely? MLB hopes not because the TV revenues of a Twins-Reds World Series are a whole lot less than the Yankees-Phillies equivalent.
All this is not to imply that our team played well and the other team just played better. No, our team did not play well. They looked a little bit like the nervous kid who's been asked to sing at the school assembly.
Whatever swagger they may have built up during the incredible run after the All-Star break seemed to dim when they clinched. And it evaporated completely about the time the Yankees gave that last game to the Red Sox to guarantee a playoff match-up they knew would be to their liking. (You think they didn't? I'm happy to make the case if you like.)
Memo to Bill Smith: Go find us some damn swagger.
Humility is nice, but it takes confidence, passion, emotion, anger, aggressiveness, brainlessness, and just the right amount of arrogance to win playoff games. It's different than what it takes to win the previous 162. And I really think that was the primary missing ingredient. We just don't appear to have anybody on the team who can get up and say, "Screw this. Tonight we're winning." -- and then go out and make it happen.
The whole thing just bites. And it bites harder now after the decade we've had, and the amazing and memorable season we've just enjoyed in a new ballpark. (It's also eerily familiar. Only the names and venue have changed.)
But it would be completely unfair to let tonight's aftertaste cover up the rich flavors of a great season. We'll have lots of time to mull it all over before the gates at Target Field open once again, but for now, to the 2010 Twins I say:
Thanks. I had a blast.
And at least I will not be spending the off-season wondering which team has the best stadium.
"You talk about the magic, the aura, but what really makes a stadium is the fans. Concrete doesn't talk back to you. Chairs don't talk back to you. It's the people who are there, day in, day out, that makes the place magic."
– Bernie Williams
Explore the Site
Here are 50 images chosen randomly from the 3003 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Lots of people are doing it.
July 7, 1966 (Click to see the entire scorecard with ads)
Look closely at the overhang. You'll see the on the right it is flush with the fence, and then it sticks out farther and farther as you move toward center. More fun for Michael Cuddyer.
Photo by Jeff Ewer
First Avenue at left, bike parking area at lower right
The HERC promenade side.
The back gates at Comerica park, like everything else, a bit overwrought.
There are no caddies in baseball.
A glimpse of the rather plain west facade (the side which faces the HERC plant).
This is as close as I could get to a pedestrian-eye view of Seventh Street (looking west away from downtown). It's inviting, not imposing, and remarkably dignified.
Detail of view to the northeast (Source: LP)
This looks up Fifth Street (LRT train visible in the distance). This bridge is also being partially rebuilt (see next photo).
For those not wishing to suffer through my media rant, please enjoy this picture of my lilacs in full bloom.
The view from the Penn Ave entrance to 394 (and all the way into town! Click to enlarge)
Detail enclosing the main ticket window area
Photo by Jared Wieseler
Mystery door on Seventh Street...
"Hey, Ma, it says here we go in at gate 34. Must be all the way around on the other side!" Seriously, though, this is a really inspired idea.
Here's an idea of what these Loge Boxes are all about. That guy is a waiter with no fans to serve. They seemed to have one server for about every four boxes.
Lots of speakers, but in some places, no sound.
Condiments! (complete with faux limestone on the cart -- nice touch)
Apparently, there will be public restrooms accessible directly from the plaza.
Carew atrium menu part 1
I think this promenade over the railroad tracks needs a name. How about the Halsey Hall Promenade? (Please do not throw cigar butts onto the tracks!)