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How Much Hope?

August 4, 2011 10:52 PM

To triumph or not to triumph? That is the question.

This afternoon I started to calculate just how depressed I should be. And you know what? I got a little bit undepressed.

Like you, I hate that moment when the hometown team becomes irrelevant. Usually it happens in October (how great is that?), which makes it a little bit better. But it still sucks when the moment arrives, no matter what.

Ever since the trading deadline passed without so much as a whisper from the Twins, it's started to feel like you could stick a fork in them already.

But after crunching a few numbers, I've come to realize that the next two weeks will clear up whether there is even the slightest shred of hope left. And from that statement, you may be able to detect that I've concluded that, as of this minute, there actually is a glimmer of hope remaining.

Here's how I got to that.


It's clear that the AL Central is going to be won by a team who has somewhere in the high 80s for wins. Right now, at 59-52, the Tigers are on a pace to win 86 games. That figure holds true even if you look at their record since the All Star break. But there are mitigations ahead.

But the next issue is whether any other team in the AL Central looks like it can beat that. The short answer is, "No, but..."

The Indians (54-54) have been scuffling since the break (7-12) and are currently on a pace to win only 74 games. New pitching could change that, but they been playing over their heads for a long time (and traded away good-luck-charm Orlando Cabrera). Their current pace is more likely a perfectly expected return to earth.

Their 74 wins would actually only be good for 4th place because both the White Sox (52-57) and the Twins (51-59) have maintained their seasonal pace since the break and look to win 77 and 76 games, respectively, unless something changes.

Frankly, those numbers don't look like providers of hope. And by themselves, they are not.


But if you blow off the Twins' wretched first third of the season (which is, admittedly, a lot to blow off), they have been winning at a .596 pace since June 1. That projects to 82 wins when you add back the April-May dreck, and it brings them within 4 of the Tigers.

At 10-11 since the break, the trend line is not moving in the right direction for the Twins, but we're talking about hope here, not certainty or even likelihood. Four wins above that pace is certainly not out of the question, especially when you consider that the Twins have only 19 of 51 games remaining against teams who are over .500 at this moment.

More importantly, Jim Leyland is famous for tiring his rotation down the stretch. A four-game sag by the Tigers is also very much not out of the question, at least until you realize that only four of their remaining games are against winning teams.

Here's the bottom line: If the Twins can win every series left (going 36-15), that would give them 87 wins on the year, and a real shot at eeking out the division. Anything less and they either lose the division, or win it in a fashion which will surely lead to swift ejection from the playoffs.

In a little over two weeks, when the Yankees leave town, the die will have been cast. The 17 games between now and then will probably seal their fate. If they go 9-8, they'll need to go an improbable 27-7 (.794) for the remainder of the season. If they can go 12-5, they're on pace, with only easier teams to come.

I didn't say there was a lot of hope right now. But there's enough to stave off depression, and that's all I'm looking for.

The Ballpark

Contention or no, it's still a blast to get out to the ballpark, especially when you can do it with fellow BPMers.

Some of your fellow BPMers at a game in May of 2010 (we had almost the whole section)

I've secured a large block of tickets for the Tuesday night game against the Orioles on August 23, with special thanks to a fan of this site. Right now, there's a limit of four tickets per order, and I'll keep you posted if quantities start to run short.

BallparkMagic at Target Field:
Tuesday, August 23, 7:10 PM (Baltimore Orioles)

These are seats out in the Right Field Bleachers, Section 140. These tickets are being sold here exclusively at face value with no fees (shipping only)! It's my way of saying thanks for making this site your source of TF news.

Only $21 per ticket!


I'll definitely be there with some friends, and it would be great to meet any of you that I still haven't. If you haven't come out for a BPM night before, now's the time. Hope to see you there!

Summer, Ugh

This summer turned out to be a tease -- promising lemonade and hammocks, and delivering, well, more of exactly the same as the rest of the year (work, life, work, sleep, aging, work).

Just wanted you all to know that I'm not ignoring requests for new content. In fact, I've got a whole lot of new content hanging around waiting to be finished. Would that I could spend my days thinking and writing about baseball, and editing my still bulging photo collection (18K photos in the BPM archives right now).

Lots of pix waiting to be seen from Bert's memorable night.

Thanks for stopping by.


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Just so you know, I had to publish this article fast before the Twins lose another one tonight -- at which time I'd have to go back and refigure all my numbers.

That means I'm making a few updates right now, so scroll back up every once in a while to see what's changed.

Posted on August 4, 2011 at 11:14 PM by Rick 1

Also, I've got a kid coming out to throw up every half hour or so, which turns out to be good for web site updates!

Posted on August 4, 2011 at 11:22 PM by Rick 2

Here are two articles not to be missed.

The first sums up the state of baseball in the post-Moneyball era.

Game's shifting strategies leaves Beane, sage of Moneyball, behind (Verducci,

The second is smart analysis of Verducci's conclusions, done in the context of the Mariners, and mentioning the Twins as the lone holdout against the trends.

A must-read for Mariners fans that torpedos the idea of hoarding homegrown talent to achieve "perpetual contention" (Geoff Baker, Seattle Times)

Posted on August 4, 2011 at 11:28 PM by Rick 3

Are you sure Bill Smith didn't write this?

Posted on August 4, 2011 at 11:54 PM by twinswschamps2011 Highlight this comment 4

I did the same sort of analysis, albeit on a different subject, and figured out that Ozawa still has a chance to prevail at Cape Engano.

Posted on August 5, 2011 at 12:02 AM by Ben Highlight this comment 5

Scientists have determined that self-delusion is sometimes a valid means of emotional self-preservation.

(Oh, and you may not have noticed the video clip I added up there.)

Posted on August 5, 2011 at 12:30 AM by Rick 6

Posted on August 5, 2011 at 01:08 AM by Rick 7

Mmmm, yes. Ballyhoo, Ben. Ballyhoo!

Jesus Christ. you've been wronged by the Twins in so many ways. Just let it go.

Posted on August 5, 2011 at 01:25 AM by N.D. (aka N.D. "Rube") Highlight this comment 8

Kool-Aid at 1:25AM on my birthday --- I'm impressed!!!

Posted on August 5, 2011 at 01:49 AM by Ben Highlight this comment 9

Kool-Aid at 1:25AM on my birthday --- I'm impressed!!!

Posted on August 5, 2011 at 01:49 AM by Ben Highlight this comment 10

Double impressed!

Posted on August 5, 2011 at 01:51 AM by Ben Highlight this comment 11

"His latest item is a warning cry to fans in major league cities that are being told their teams are building a la Billy Beane, attempting to construct a young nucleus of homegrown talent that will enable them to contend year after year."

Who on this board thinks this? NO ONE!

Smith has as much of a chance as Lee does defending Richmond!

Posted on August 5, 2011 at 01:53 AM by N.D. (aka N.D. "Rube") Highlight this comment 12

Happy Birthday. And thank you for your service

Posted on August 5, 2011 at 01:55 AM by N.D. (aka N.D. "Rube") Highlight this comment 13

I keep checking the standings on the yahoo sports site, and looking at the 'last 10' for each team.

Been seeing a lot of 5-5 and 4-6 for our guys. Until we start seeing more 7-3, 8-2, 9-1 - they're not going anywhere in the standings.

Maybe Thome will #600 on the national broadcast Monday night.

Posted on August 5, 2011 at 09:01 AM by F_T_K Highlight this comment 14

^ Maybe Thome will hit #600...

I need more caffeine this morning.

Posted on August 5, 2011 at 09:02 AM by F_T_K Highlight this comment 15

That Baker piece on the Verducci article was depressing. And accurate, in the big picture.

Separate note: I drove by Gate 14 this morning around 8:20 and then walked by Gates 6 and 3. Total number of people already camping out for bobbleheads? About 15. Maybe there are more at the main gates, but if you were planning to get down there this a.m., you can relax a bit and grab another cuppa java.

Posted on August 5, 2011 at 09:08 AM by BR Highlight this comment 16

I'm definitely hoping to come to BPM night...
Although it might just be me.
gf has to work that night.

Posted on August 5, 2011 at 11:50 AM by luke Highlight this comment 17

Oh boy.

Rick can you change the date? I know the Twins have plenty of tickets for that Orioles series. I am sure there are several posters who'd like to meet Luke AND his newest squeeze. I have to see with my own 2 eyes that this cat is for real. I mean some of the things he posts are so bananas that no one in their right mind could possibly think...

Posted on August 5, 2011 at 1:16 PM by Max Highlight this comment 18

Bobblehead update: i went for a stroll by the ballpark over lunch. There were about 70 people in line at Gate 3 and the same number at Gate 6. If the other gates are similar... there were likely no more than 500 people in line as of a half hour ago (1:20). That's not much demand. I think some people will get them even if they arrive after the gates open...

Posted on August 5, 2011 at 1:50 PM by BR Highlight this comment 19

That will change as soon as the line budgers start showing up in force - they are inconsiderate jerks, but wise enough to not spend any more time than necessary in line.

Posted on August 5, 2011 at 2:00 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 20

Thanks, Max...I think.
I'm for real, there bub.

On a weirder note: I heard through the grapevine today that KFAN might be switching to the FM dial. Of course, I don't think anybody here cares - I know I don't, 1500 is my source of sports information. I just thought it was interesting. Click.

Posted on August 5, 2011 at 2:01 PM by luke Highlight this comment 21

I'm tempted to rename the event as "Meet Luke Night."

Posted on August 5, 2011 at 2:02 PM by Rick 22

Shall we call this series loser goes home? I will be at the Aug 23rd game as that is part of my 20 game pack. I will be trying to improve on my 1-7 record at TF this year. Too bad they are blocking out the WGN broadcast for both Sat and Sun. Nuthin finer than listening to the Hawk wine and moan about his good guys!

Posted on August 5, 2011 at 2:15 PM by TwinkFan Highlight this comment 23

LOL, Rick. Now, that was funny.

Posted on August 5, 2011 at 2:34 PM by luke Highlight this comment 24

Isn't KFAN already on 103.5?

Posted on August 6, 2011 at 02:13 AM by Duffman Highlight this comment 25

Anyone have a good sens of when the bobbleheads ran out? Did it seem like one in four attendees had one?

Posted on August 6, 2011 at 08:22 AM by Ben Highlight this comment 26

"sense" --- sorry

Posted on August 6, 2011 at 08:22 AM by Ben Highlight this comment 27

How is your kid doing, Rick? Hopefully not still throwing up!

Having a sick kid is no fun...

Posted on August 6, 2011 at 11:16 AM by F_T_K Highlight this comment 28


I went in at Gate 29, gone in line about 2:30 or so and had no issues, people behind us were able to get in. Someone by us stated they got in line at Gate 34 by Huberts at around 4:50pm and was able to secure one. Someone who got in line at 5:08 was not (duh). So somewhere between those 18 minutes they ran out at Gate 34.

I believe Jared was at Gate 14, looked like they only had 6 boxes when I stopped by to say hi, not sure if he was able to get an actual count, but that gate looked like they had the fewest count of bobbleheads and there line was longer than Gate 29.

When I go in, I like to go to Gate 29, as there seems to be the fewest people, as everyone thinks people come off the light rail and get in line there. We saw only a handful of people getting off to get in line (mostly caused by the shutdown yesterday), as most traffic from the light rail gets there closer to the gate time. In previous "big time" giveaways (e.g. Minnie/Paul; Mini TF) very few people would get off the light rail to get in line early, so we like that entrance. However, this set-up is notorious for the line cutters, as there is so much commotion.

Posted on August 6, 2011 at 12:39 PM by tk Highlight this comment 29

I'm just curious about how long they lasted once the gates opened and whether anyone in line before got shut out. It's nice to see those who come and stand in line get one, I suppose. At the Dome the last few years the lines would usually peter out before the bobbleheads and you could just walk up and score until maybe a half hour after gates open. Apparently there are still alot of people standing in line just to sell on the Bay - not all that profitable any more. It also looked to me like lots more than 75% of crowd with empty hands.

Posted on August 6, 2011 at 12:55 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 30

Ben, I know that I was not answering your question specifically, but it appeared that gate 34 people were able to get in line 15 minutes before the gate and still get one.

I, too, thought that there were a lot of empty hands. Also, I know that when I was in Detroit and went to a premium area, I was handed a giveaway, so I am guessing the Twins hold enough for the Champions Club entrance and possibly entrances to the suite areas.

Also, does anyone know if the 10,000 is what is given away at the gate, or if they order additional bobbleheads to include in the giveaway guarantee to STH?

I am guessing in 25-40 years when a new stadium is needed, you will be able to go to the Target Field garage sale and buy one for $5, just like the Torii Hunter bobblehead from the Dump.

Posted on August 6, 2011 at 1:09 PM by tk Highlight this comment 31

There is no bobblehead in the STH guarantee this year - another example of the team decreasing value while adding cost. Did you notice that there is no "second chance" deal anymore either? The stated issue is just that - whatever they say - and bears little relation to reality. Informed sources tell me that as many as 5,000 additional bobbleheads are ordered for players, employees, VIPs, etc. I think if the say "the first 10,000" to enter they should do it that way but doubt that is the case.

Posted on August 6, 2011 at 2:12 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 32

Thanks Ben, I know remember why I didn't order the giveaway this year...or ever again.

Posted on August 6, 2011 at 2:46 PM by tk Highlight this comment 33

i wonder how popular the game 6 DVD will be tonight?

Posted on August 6, 2011 at 2:47 PM by tk Highlight this comment 34

Completed sales on ebay show the lowest price paid so far for one of the Herbie/Gant bobbleheads at around $50. Anyone know of the material/quality? Had to have been better than M&P.

Posted on August 6, 2011 at 3:15 PM by schweady Highlight this comment 35

Schweady, that is the price I saw people paying for in the stadium. A guy bought 4 for $200 near us at the game last night.

As far as quality, I opened briefly, and it looks like the think could more easily than others (e.g. Kirby Game 6 catch), as I think Gant's momentum is still carrying Hrbek.

I think the painting of the piece was rushed, but overall it looks decent. Definitely worth the wait in line, but not sure $75 worth on ebay.

Posted on August 6, 2011 at 3:27 PM by tk Highlight this comment 36

Wow, not sure what I was typing, but this typing...

"As far as quality, I opened briefly, and it looks like the think could more easily than others (e.g. Kirby Game 6 catch), as I think Gant's momentum is still carrying Hrbek."

This is what I meant:

As far as quality, I opened briefly, and it looks like the thing could more easily tip than others (e.g. Kirby Game 6 catch), as I think Gant's momentum is still carrying Hrbek.

Posted on August 6, 2011 at 3:29 PM by tk Highlight this comment 37

The M & P bobbleheads were junque, at least most of the first batch. A guy in front of us opened one of the new ones up --- it's two mini-bobbleheads but it looked pretty good, for sure better quality than the M & P ones.

Posted on August 6, 2011 at 3:32 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 38

Word is that the bobbleheads are BDA vs. AGP manufacture.

Posted on August 6, 2011 at 4:20 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 39

1130 AM, there Duff.
Won't be there too much longer.

Posted on August 6, 2011 at 5:14 PM by luke Highlight this comment 40

I wonder when the ID check sting will happen at TF...vendors seem to be more vigilent tonight.

Posted on August 6, 2011 at 6:29 PM by tk Highlight this comment 41

Hmm...perhaps Wally snuck in tonight, and is hawking beer in the aisles again??

Posted on August 6, 2011 at 6:39 PM by luke Highlight this comment 42

I didn't think this series would be the one the Twins would let us know the "seasons over." Nice to see the '91 guys, but they have to be embarrassed by this Twins team. Twins show some hustle and heart, they are in this game and theirs to win.

Young has no right to be in Left Field, would have loved to see Revere go all out to make an attempt to catch the homerun.

"Cha Cha Slide" dooms the Twins again with Thome at the dish.

Posted on August 6, 2011 at 9:12 PM by tk Highlight this comment 43

Delmon really has the vertical jump, doesn't he? I think he might have gotten his toes off the ground.

Scoring one run is not going to win many games... /sigh/

Posted on August 6, 2011 at 9:51 PM by F_T_K Highlight this comment 44

Season Ovaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!

Posted on August 6, 2011 at 10:42 PM by twinkfan Highlight this comment 45

More errors than runs tonight. Never a good sign.

On another topic, I left my seat at the start of the 7th inning to get a beer. I got in line at the only open stand near our section. There was only one vendor at that stand and the top of the inning went quickly (Gardy hadn't gone to the bullpen yet). The 3d out was made and the vendor told about 5 or 6 of us who had been in line throughout the top of the 7th that he couldn't serve us. I felt like I was in that scene from "The Sting" where the con men start calling the race just as the bad guy gets to the betting window.

Posted on August 7, 2011 at 12:00 AM by terry Highlight this comment 46

This page was last modified on August 5, 2011.

"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 3046 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.

This is the trapezoid (for lack of a better name) in right center. Be sure to notice section of seats just below the pavilion and above the fence (which I hadn't noticed before). For those who are interested, what looks like an old-style scoreboard is in fact a high-def video board which will look, at times, like an old-fashioned scoreboard.

Ballpark elevation viewed from Seventh Street. (Click to enlarge.)

Not sure what those supports are for -- probably stadia.

Click to enlarge. (Photo by Tyler Wycoff)

The big glove will go on that circle. Note the gap between the plaza and the ramp. That's 394 you can see through there.

The season was perfectly bookended by Mick Sterling on the plaza

The scoreboard also towers over the LRT tracks, which now are functional (though not open) all the way to the park -- and beyond!

A very busy place, as viewed from Target Center.

Looking down what was Third Avenue, and will be a freeway entrance ramp beneath the outfield stands.

Here's the entrance from the seating bowl.

Ballark Authority members listen to the LEED introduction

The stunning curtains, which skillfully evoke the architecture, keep the atrium from getting too hot in the late afternoon sun, simultaneously hiding the HERC.

A mini-freeway! (Police action in progress...)

How many times did we water down our field as kids? More times than we played games, that's for sure!

The former Ford manufacturing plant (now Ford Centre).

Click to enlarge greatly

Ticket window at Gate 29/Carew

The New as viewed from The Old.


These stairs will meet the skyway.

I think AP is in there somewhere...

Here's a curious little room at the end of the circulation ramp. What could they be selling there?

The view from the Penn Ave entrance to 394 (and all the way into town! Click to enlarge)

A detailed crowd shot. Click to enlarge greatly.

Lots of people are doing it.

Actual LRT tracks are now in the street, and buses now pass over them before entering the transit hub.

Home Plate Box, Section 111, Row 8 or 9-ish (Click to enlarge greatly.)

More of a bird's-eye view of the same area.

Photo by Jared Wieseler


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

Complete Bibliography

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