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Twins Memories

Stick and Ball Guy asked for some baseball memories on his blog yesterday. Here are some of my Twins-based memories.

My first game:

I remember being completely in awe of the expansive Metrodome. Being outside the dome was impressive, but the inside - the first glimpse of the field through an entryway was breathtaking. Sorry, but it’s the stadium I grew up on. The game was either in 1984 or 1985. I was 7 or 8. I’m pretty sure it was against the Angels in August and we sat in the lower GA area. I’m also pretty sure I fell asleep at some point.

Being from rural Minnesota, and being that I was a little kid, I will admit the biggest thing I remember from the game. I remember this being the first time I up close and personal saw an African-American person. As a wee innocent child, it was the most foreign thing to me after the expanse of the stadium and the joy of seeing the Twinks live.

My second game:

This had to be in 1987 because I KNOW it was one of the infamous winningest-minor-league-pitcher-of-all-time games. Jeff Bittiger started. I could have swore it was a loss, but I also could swear it was versus the White Sox. Since Bittiger only had one start with the Twins, this must be the game. A blowout. Apparently I saw Brunansky’s 29th homer and four stolen bases off Carlton Fisk. Oh, and a Tom Nieto triple.

Another game:

Went with a boyscout group. We got there early to see batting practice. We were sitting fairly close in lower GA. The boys were yacking and not paying 100% attention.

“Here one comes”

I look up and see Dome. I catch the ball’s path a second too late. SLAM! It hits the seat right next to me and a free for all ensues. The ball is recovered by my most hated enemy on the junior travelling baseball team. If only I had been paying attention.

Randy Bush and his 8 RBI's:

This is cheating since I didn’t attend the game. As a kid I kept score of Twins’ games while listening to the radio (“For those of you scoring at home…”). Not every game, but a lot of them. I distinctly remember scoring Randy Bush’s 8-RBI game against Texas. At one point I believe I had to do the dreaded radio transfer, jumping from the radio in our house, to my grandpa’s truck radio, to the radio in my grandparent’s house. But judging from the scorebook I found a couple years ago, all the stats were intact.

Being four hours from Minneapolis means a lot of my game attendance occurred after college when I moved closer. I do have other “young” memories. Going to one of the early crap team blowouts (1993?) while sitting in the upper deck in dead center field. The beginning of the end of a love affair that wouldn’t rekindle until 2000. The strike put the 7-year nail in that coffin. Also, a park and rec department trip where the uninterested chaperones made us leave in the beginning of the 8th inning. We missed a Twins comeback, but it was equally enjoyable on the radio. GAH!

The current version of the Twins have provided me with some great memories.

Stopping Oakland:

Attending the game in 2002 when the Twins stopped Oakland’s 20-game winning streak in the first game of a three game set. The atmosphere was playoff level. Probably as loud a game I’ve attended save for that one playoff win I saw against Anaheim.

Eddie:

A game with a great Twins comeback, a win in 10, my first live witnessing of a 5-player infield, and Mr. Eddie G’s Diving Catch. Twins found themselves down by 5. I felt a little bad as I had convinced my friend, Gary, to come to the game. He’s a fan, but isn’t able to attend many games. We started sitting in the Upper Baggie GA section, but we spied another friend in the cool section that juts out into right field and snuck down to sit with him and his wife.

After moving seating positions it was time for the Twins to comeback. Twins score 4 (down 5-4). Anaheim scores 1 in the 8th. Twins back with 2 in the bottom half, Mr. Troy Percival came in, giving up a walk and a single to tie it up. Of course, those weren’t earned runs on his part. Don’t even think it was a blown save.

The best part of the game was in the top of the 9th. Eddie had come in to the tune of Eddie. Tim Salmon hit a foul pop heading toward the stands. Eddie, and only Eddie, noticed that the ball had hit a speaker. On a dead run Eddie laid out parallel to the ground and caught the foul out. Being in the right-field jut, we had a great view down the first base line of Eddie’s best play ever.

The 10th saw the Twins on first and third with one down. Adam Kennedy got his first chance in “CF,” with Erstad coming in to 1B, Spiezio moving to 2B and Kennedy moving to the gap between 2B and SS (“CF”). Guzman hit a SAC fly and the game was over.

A glimpse into the future:

Very excitedly, a friend and I attended Johan Santana’s first start of 2003. Boston Red Sox. Pedro Martinez. We have a win on our hands. Twins erupt for five versus Pedro and knock him out in the 5th. Johan, of course, is limited to five innings of shut out ball since he isn’t really a starter. His starter splits in 2002 certainly didn’t peg him as an option. And you all think Fransisco Liriano is a starting choice for 2006? Ha!

My friend, Luke, was also selected for Dodgeball, a mean feat in the 28,000+ crowd. He failed very, very miserably.