October 10, 2010 1:02 AM
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.
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This page was last modified on October 10, 2010.
"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 3044 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Such promise. (Click to enlarge.)
LRT throngs after the game
As mentioned earlier, one of the best climate-controlled views of construction is from the 7th floor elevator lobby in the A ramp. (That's Noah getting his first glimpse of the new ballpark.)
Here's a closer look at the bullpen area. It's hard to tell for sure, but I think there is still an opening to the concourse right above.
Dancing for the cameras
The bridge is Seventh Street.
Sunday afternoon, WFTC-HD 720P
Frost on the pumpkins, snow on the plaza
The official ballpark development area
The steel cage expands.
Row indicators are spray-painted with stencils over rust and peeling paint.
The Pro Shop.
I didn't check the menu too closely, but it looks like all the standard fare is available, and not much of the non-standard stuff.
(Click to enlarge)
That warning sign doesn't mention anything about the potential for bludgeoning or limb removal by the revolving doors...
Skywalk over Seventh
Denard Span ready, in a swoop of sunlight.
Stairs wrap around the skyway escape tower. A very nice finishing touch.
The admin building (note TF logo on banner)
Ye Olde Tyme Vegetable Cart (and its modern cousin)
Skyline to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the outfield with you... (click to enlarge)
Another view of the escalator, which apparently comes preassembled!
The service entrance area in left-center, now with bench seating
Looking north (toward Fifth Street and the LRT station).
End of the line.
More flowers, more pennants.
8:22 PM The sun has caused glare in the webcam, but you can still see the reflection affecting the upper deck behind home plate.
I saw it at another park...
Solution for a hot night, just inside Gate 34 (that's a cool mist, by the way, not hot steam, which would be kind of cruel)
The main ticketing area beneath the restaurant.
Mound from the other side
BPM - Ballpark Magic
BRT - Bus Rapid Transit
DSP - Dave St. Peter
FSE - Full Season Equivalent
FYS - Fake Yankee Stadium (see also: NYS)
HERC - Hennepin Energy Resource Company (aka the Garbage Burner)
HPB - Home Plate Box
HRP - Home Run Porch
LC - Legends Club
LRT - Light Rail Transit
MBA - Minnesota Ballpark Authority (will own Target Field)
MOA - Mall of America
MSFC - Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission (owns the Metrodome)
NYS - New Yankee Stadium
SRO - Standing Room Only
STH - Season Ticket Holder
TCFBS - TCF Bank Stadium
TF - Target Field
Selected Bibliography - Analysis
First Edition (1992)
Second Edition (2006)
Selected Bibliography - Surveys
Second Edition (1987)
Not a "Third Edition" exactly,
but it replaced the above title
(2000, large coffee table)
Original edition (2000, round)
Revised edition (2006, round)
(2001, medium coffee table)
(2002, small coffee table)
(2003, medium coffee table)
(2004, very large coffee table)
(2006, very large coffee table)
Combines the previous two titles
(2007, medium coffee table)
Selected Bibliography - Nostalgia
Book and six ballpark miniatures