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 3042 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Final pieces arrive
This is very early in the day.
Bird's-eye view of the trees
Opening Day 2008 (By Currier & Ives)
Click to enlarge.
Spring of 1982 (click to enlarge greatly -- can you pick out Kent Hrbek?)
This appears to be the floor to the home dugout!
A view into the Legend's Club
Looking the other direction, again from Ford Centre, you can see what's going on over the tracks. This will be a public promenade.
Miller Park: Gymnasium with skylight (Source: RP)
Nathan greeting the other pitchers on the all-Metrodome team (October 4, 2009)
Sunday afternoon, WFTC-HD 720P
Packed SRO beneath the notch.
A classic profile on the horizon
Main concourse, looking toward the admin building.
Here's another look at the Oliva gate.
This is a good overview of the spot where the Northstar (bottom) and LRT (top) will intersect.
Gate 29 Carew
TCF Bank Stadium (click to enlarge)
Here we are waiting for the first train to arrive at the station (Nov 14).
This opportunity is half a block up Third Avenue and thousands of people walk right by before and after games.
Detail at Gate 6
Click to enlarge.
A little ground's crew action in the first inning the other night.
This view is from the roof of a warehouse which stood where the A ramp is today. The HERC is now located where the tracks turned north (toward the top).
The glass area seen here is one of the warm-up areas.
1885 Sanborn Map Image (Source: Sanborn Map Collection, Minneapolis Public Library, Copyright © 2001 by The Sanborn Map Company, Sanborn Library, LLC)
More flowers, more pennants.
A view of construction from the B ramp. This looks toward Seventh Street, over what will be Gate 34 (the main entrance).
5:45 PM, section 327, row 9, standing: sunshine.
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