Attended my first game of the 2012 season yesterday – my Twins versus the Angels at Target Field – and was reminded once again of why we go to the ball park.
It all starts with the camaraderie. My little group of 20-somethings included: my daughter, who has been going to games and keeping the scorecard since she was nine-years-old (and has to get there early enough to get all the “snacking” out of the way before we get down to the serious business of watching the game); my son-in-law, who is new to this country (and baseball), a soccer fanatic, player and coach and, who after just two ML games, defended baseball as the national pastime – commenting that “There is so much drama in baseball”; and my co-worker, who still asserts that the Twins/Tigers 2009 “Game 163” matchup for the Al Central crown (which we attended together) represents the greatest day of his life.
There was also the crowd in our section, many keeping meticulous scorecards and debating such topics as whether the Twins should pitch to Pujols in the eighth inning of a one-run game and why Twins’ manager Ron Gardenhire didn’t replace Ryan Doumit (C-1B-OF-DH) with the speedier Ben Revere in right field in the ninth.
Then there is the game itself. For the diehard fan, there is something memorable at EVERY game and this one was no exception.
- The winless (0-4) Twins beat the Angels (and their “ace” Jered Weaver), 6-5 – scoring as many runs in this game as they had in the previous 4.
- There were plenty of lead changes. The Angels took the first lead of the game 1-0 in the top of the fourth; The Twins took their first lead of the season (3-1) in the bottom of the inning; the Angels came back to lead 4-3 in the top of the fifth and added an insurance run in the top of the seventh; the Twins came back with three in the bottom of the seventh to take back the lead (6-5).
- There was a “traditional” 407-foot home run by the Twins Josh Willingham and a 14-second, inside-the-park homer by Pete Bourjos of the Angels.
- The winning and losing pitchers each faced only ONE BATTER; and the winner, Jeff Gray, threw only ONE PITCH, inducing a groundout to third by the speedy Bourjos. (The losing hurler, Hisanori Takahashi, gave up a triple to Twins first baseman Chris Parmalee – who scored the winning run – on an 0-2 count.)
- Albert Pujols was caught in a five-throw rundown between first and second.
- With fans looking for the “semi-intentional” walk to Pujols in the eighth inning of a one-run ball game, Twins’ fireballer Glenn Perkins struck him out.
Finally, the game is etched into history by my accurately kept scorecard (for more on how BBRT feels about an accurate scorecard see reason number Five in the Ten Reasons Why I Love Baseball post. There a links to the post at the top the blog or on the right hand side).
All this and it’s only the fifth game of the season. It’s going to be a great seven months.