Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.
Follow Randball on Twitter
Uni Watch got ahold of some Reebok prototypes of Vikings jerseys from 2003. You’ll note the pretty typical home/road jerseys. But take a gander at that “third jersey.” Black? Not sure what to think about that. Would we be cool with that?
We’re often curious what others think of Target Field since we consider it a top-3 ballpark in baseball (along with the ballparks in San Francisco and Pittsburgh), and the All-Star Game certainly brought its share of opinions from ball writers around the country.
One sentiment, passed along to us by commenter Fasolamatt, comes from Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post. He writes about right field and a hard-hit ball by Chase Utley in Tuesday’s All-Star Game:
Utley’s double was a blast high off the ridiculously high 23-foot right field wall here at the 385-foot sign — a monstrous edifice that extends from the foul line to the 403 sign near dead center field. Utley’s ball would have been an upper-deck homer in Philly and a homer of some sort anywhere else.
Target Field is a lovely downtown home for the Twins, classy and comfortable if not breathtaking. But until that right field wall becomes remotely fair to hitters, especially in the 120-foot-long power-alley expanse from the 385-to-403 signs, this is a badly flawed design. Prevailing winds blow in from right field, too! Ted Williams would have had seven career home runs in this park. Okay, maybe eight. Sanity will someday be established here, just as new Tiger Stadium shortened its left field stands. Until then, the target on Target is about six spots lower on the best ballparks list.
Target Field plays big. We’ve known that since it opened, though we would say the ball seems to carry better there now than it did four years ago. The park has yielded the fourth-fewest HRs per game in the American League this season (though at 1.63 per game it is giving up well more than the 1.26 per game at Nationals Park in Washington, where Boswell presumably seems far more games).
Perhaps it’s a matter of personal preference, but we don’t mind the big wall and home run challenge it offers up. It’s nothing to fix; rather, just another of the many things that makes Target Field what it is.
But maybe you (or Joe Mauer) disagree. Thoughts?
We just watched the MLB All-Star Game at Target Field. It feels a little like a blur because we’re working off of fumes. It also feels like a blur because, really? The All-Star Game was HERE?
It was. We’re pretty sure. And we’re pretty sure we saw these things happen:
1) An unforgettable top of the first inning. Derek Jeter leads off with a double. Adam Wainwright grooved the pitch. Don’t let him backtrack and say anything different. He was giving Jeets something to hit because he thought he deserved it. That was not a joke. It made for a bad bit of baseball in a game that means something, but it also made for great theater and a great moment. Mike Trout followed with a triple. Miguel Cabrera homered. We’re pretty sure Wainwright was trying to get them out, and he couldn’t. It was an electric first inning.
2) Jeter blooped another hit in his second at bat — this after another ovation before he batted. He left the game to a grand display with the AL in the field. Another long ovation. So he went 2-for-2, almost made the defensive play of the game on the NL’s first batter of the game, and finished his All-Star career 13 for 27 (.481). Remarkable.
3) If the Jeter stuff felt scripted at the start, the finish was equally Hollywood-esque. Glen Perkins, the Minnesota native, the former Gopher, the Twins closer … came on for a perfect ninth inning, throwing to Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki.
Come on. Really? Games with so much hype so often wind up as duds. This one had real moments, from start to finish. This happened here. We were here to see it. Minneapolis did well.
Now let’s all go to sleep with a smile (after the 4 a.m. bar close, that is).
It’s been a long day already, and it’s only just begun. Here are a few of our favorite snap shots from along the way:
1) We started out at the IDS building in Minneapolis, where former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe and his attorney, Clayton Hanunen, announced they planned to sue the Vikings if the team does not release results of an investigation into Kluwe’s claims. You’ll note that Kluwe is wearing a “Punters are people, too” t-shirt.
2) Next we hit up the Red Carpet parade, featured All-Stars and also mascots rolling down Nicollet Mall before making their way to Target Field. Before it started, though, we saw three police officers, including Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau, posing for a selfie.
3) And finally, we headed over toward Target Field, an route we encountered the largest game of beanbag toss we have ever seen.
(OK, if you must know, we also stopped for a burrito bowl in between. Sadly, no picture exists of that).
Don’t forget: select bars are open until 4 a.m. tonight, and it’s been a long three days. … If you see anyone from the Star Tribune out late, and they’re tipping back a drink or two, don’t criticize them. In the words of Clinton Portis, just say it was a young guy livin’.
Where to start?
When Minneapolis trots out a major event, apparently we can’t help but use the national spotlight to REALLY make an impression.
It’s not enough to just have the All-Star Game festivities. We need acts of nature, loud noises and a national story igniting in the middle of it all again. Let’s get to it:
1) The rain delay at the Home Run Derby: Writers and fans groused on Twitter about rain — rain! — as if Minnesota has a premium on it. They wondered loudly why this new stadium of ours doesn’t have a roof. Folks: Nostalgia aside, the Metrodome was a dump. So let’s not wish for those days. Retractable roof? Wouldn’t have worked on Target Field for the size, and we will reiterate that we’ve only been to one retractable roof ballpark we actually like (Safeco in Seattle). Every other retractable roof ballpark — particularly Miller Park in Milwaukee — makes us feel like we are watching baseball in a giant airplane hangar. We’ll take an hour rain delay if it means we get outdoor baseball and incredible rainbows. 100 times out of 100.
2) The derby itself? A lot of fun … but a lot drawn out, too. The actual competition took almost three hours. It should be two. There is one round too many now. Let’s go back to simplifying this thing: Four players from each league, the top player from each league after the first round goes to the finals, and then it’s done. Yes, it might seem silly to argue about the format for a made-up event, but we could sense even the throng at Target Field getting a little bored last night.
3) Fireworks after midnight? The fireworks show at the post-derby Gala down by the river left plenty of locals grumpy. We witnessed the display, and the grand finale was not done until after 12:30 a.m. Is that OK? Well, this is a once-a-generation special event. But it was also a week night preceding a work day for the countless people who do not care one bit about the All Star Game.
4) Chris Kluwe is having a news conference at 11 a.m. to talk about his assertion that the Vikings are reneging on a promise to release their report into his allegations of homophobia within the organization. We’re not sure which side is driving the timing on this thing, but it will become even more of a national story with all the media in town for the All-Star Game.
5) If that wasn’t enough, remember that 31 establishments in downtown Minneapolis are open until 4 a.m. tonight. Things have gotten crazy. They might just get crazier.
|Los Angeles - J. Beckett||6:05 PM|
|Pittsburgh - V. Worley|
|San Francisco - Y. Petit||6:05 PM|
|Philadelphia - R. Hernandez|
|Texas - N. Martinez||6:05 PM|
|NY Yankees - C. Whitley|
|Boston - J. Peavy||6:07 PM|
|Toronto - J. Happ|
|Miami - J. Turner||6:10 PM|
|Atlanta - M. Minor|
|San Diego - E. Stults||7:05 PM|
|Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks|
|Cincinnati - H. Bailey||7:10 PM|
|Milwaukee - J. Nelson|
|Cleveland - D. Salazar||7:10 PM|
|Minnesota - Y. Pino|
|Kansas City - B. Chen||7:10 PM|
|Chicago WSox - S. Carroll|
|Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi||7:15 PM|
|St. Louis - A. Wainwright|
|Washington - J. Zimmermann||7:40 PM|
|Colorado - Y. Flande|
|Detroit - R. Porcello||8:40 PM|
|Arizona - C. Anderson|
|Houston - B. Oberholtzer||9:05 PM|
|Oakland - S. Kazmir|
|Baltimore - M. Gonzalez||9:05 PM|
|LA Angels - H. Santiago|
|NY Mets - J. deGrom||9:10 PM|
|Seattle - E. Ramirez|
|Calgary||7/24/14 8:00 PM|
|Winnipeg||7/25/14 9:00 PM|
|Ottawa||7/26/14 6:00 PM|
|Toronto||7/26/14 9:00 PM|