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 3042 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
The official ballpark development area
Giant screened images! (573 Club, my back to Seventh Ave windows)
July 7, 1966 (Click to see the entire scorecard with ads)
Click to see the whole, beautiful image. (Photo by Tyler Wycoff)
Replays on the out-of-town scoreboard!
For those who have never seen it up close, that's what it looks like when steam comes out of the HERC plant.
One of those funny little sections above the entrance stairs
The right field foul pole seen against a backdrop of Butler Square (itself a site of great significance in the history of professional baseball in Minneapolis)
This is from inside the B ramp, where an entrance to the plaza will one day be
Home Run Porch Terrace
The Fifth Street side is pretty busy. There's a small street entrance to the B ramp, then ticket booths and an entrance gate, a rare exterior section not covered in limestone, the wooden screen covering the circulation ramps, the administration building, and finally (just out of view) the interface with Northstar. All of that sits behind the LRT action. How pedestrians will interact with this side of the park is a great mystery to me. You know that Metro Transit won't be letting them cross the tracks anywhere but at either end of the block...
That's Fifth Street (and a tattooed arm) in the foreground.
Which way to the skyway? Really??
Section 237, Row 15 (top of the Trap)
Another classic space in the making above the Hrbek gate.
Note the speakers hanging beneath that deck
This appears to be the floor to the home dugout!
The same section seen from Target Center. Yep, looks like bridge supports.
Yes, son, Memorial Stadium used to be right there, just beyond those gates.
The blue line now indicates where the back of the accessible seating ends and standing room begins.
This is a good overview of the spot where the Northstar (bottom) and LRT (top) will intersect.
The Carew lounge was all ready for some corporate event.
End of the line.
The Hennepin Grille appears to feature chicken, brats, and fries.
(Click to enlarge greatly)
This was actually taken from the top floor of the International Market Square.
Friendly faces greet you right inside the door of the Legends Club.
Looking down what was Third Avenue, and will be a freeway entrance ramp beneath the outfield stands.
Hardware in the window! (But why are there three trophies? 1924?)