So I finally went to Target Field last night, amid the rain drops that made my mother say: "oh dear" and made my father call home to repeatedly encourage me to wear rain pants to the game that night. But after everything I had heard it was something I had to see for myself, and when I saw it...well...geekiness ensued.
I marveled at the lime stone, at the great views afforded by the entire concourse, at the bullpens, the milling people, the wide range of food options and the genial excitable nature of the fans who still can't believe their good luck. I have seen stadiums around the midwest, and though some might complain that I'm biased, I honestly do believe that we have a true gem of the game. It's more convenient than Milwaukee or St. Louis, less crowded than Wrigley, more quirky than Cleveland, Toronto or Kansas City and far more welcoming and less dangerous than Detroit. The only stadium that compares is the jewel of the Allegheny, PNC Park in Pittsburgh. But Pittsburgh doesn't have Tony O's Cuban sandwhich...so...we'll claim victory.
I mean, honestly, ham, pulled pork, melted cheese AND pickles. Tony Olivia must be some kinda genius.
The game itself was less enjoyable, and we'll be back later this afternoon with a recap of those shenanigans but I just have to ask again: "why are we booing AJ Perzinsky?" Spending the games with Stinky's parents and my mom in seats close enough to see the spit I could almost feel like I was in AJ's shoes during all the boos. I mean, I get that he was mad that we dumped him in favor of Joe Mauer...but Joe Mauer is better than just about every other player in the game, it's nothing personal AJ...we would have done it to anyone. Plus there were reports that even after he left, he still watched games and cheered us on...sure he's a pest, an irksome trickster who has never let a potential advantage go to waste, but he's out there right now fighting for his career. A bad average and continuously diminishing defensive skills may send him out of Chicago soon enough, unless AJ Perzinsky has approached you personally, slapped you around, put sugar in your gas tank or told you that you were a poophead, leave him be.
As if the fireworks surrounding AJ weren't enough, Justin provided one of the few bright spots of the night, leading to explosions over the scoreboard that ruined this picture but still allowed me to capture the hand shaking sign in centerfield. If you have an active imagination, it almost seems like there's sunshine in the darkness.
But there is darkness, and unlike the Metrodome it isn't something we're ignoring any more. The Metrodome seemed like an escape sometimes, a place where it was permanently 72 and cloudy and where the grass was unnaturally green and firm. But we are the Minnesota Twins, and the fans of that team. We ought to be in that nature, surrounded by it, seeing it happen all around us, watching the day turn to night, the spring turn to summer, and a group of men turn into a team of "our boys" for at least one season.
It's a new day in a new stadium and while it doesn't have quite the history of the Metrodome, home of our two championships, it does have a sense of where it come from and where its going. And so, walking home, disappointed at the game's result but by no means unhappy about the way I spent my time, I look forward to seeing new legends rise with moments to match the greatness of guys like Kirby, sweet Kirby, excited, elated and loyal to the end, just like us.