Hello again everybody...
Those of us in the upper Midwest are starting another week in the deep-freeze, but fortunately, it's supposed to be a short stay, as we get back near the freezing mark by Wednesday. Thank heavens for small favors I guess!
While the last couple of weeks have seen the return of some classic Sports Take segments, today marks the beginning of a new segment: the Sports Take Photo Post. As you may guess, it's where I take you on a photo tour of a sporting event I attended. I have no idea how well this will work, since this is my first attempt at it. But let's give it a go!
"Language is the source of misunderstandings."
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900-1944), French writer and aviator
So fewer words create fewer misunderstandings? Yeah I can see that.
And it's in that spirit that I give you the first ever Sports Take Photo Post. As you've probably guessed from the title, I attended the 2009 version of Twins Fest over the weekend. The following are pictures (and hopefully entertaining descriptions) from my time at the Metrodome:
Twins Fest is held on the floor of the Metrodome each January to get fans psyched up for the upcoming season. As you enter the stadium, you see a sea of people and displays waiting to be waded through.
There's plenty of baseball memorabilia and paraphernalia on display. From the interesting, to the mildly gaudy. I'll leave it up to you to decide which category these oil paintings fall into.
Plenty for kids to do at Twins Fest from the "4 on 4 Yardball" area, to the "Kid's Corner":
And for us big kids, there's my favorite area: the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum display:
What separates baseball from other sports is it's long, rich history. And it's at this display you can see items like:
Cy Young's Jersey and Honus Wagner's Bat and Shoes. If you look close enough you can see a stain on Young's left shoulder. Chaw or pine tar? You decide.
The hat and jersey in this photo were worn by Lou Gherig in his last season, 1939. The bat was used by Gherig in the 1937 All-Star Game.
Here we have a Jersey worn by second baseman Nellie Fox. The bat was used by Ted Williams when he got his 2000th hit on August 11th, 1955. Let's see, that would be the week before my Dad's 6th birthday. Context is a wonderful thing, no?
And lest you think all the displays are from other teams, here we have a jersey worn by Twins legend Harmon Killebrew from the 1968 season when he led all of baseball with 49 home runs:
The bat was used by Rod Carew in the 1975 All-Star Game.
Also on display: the 1987 World Series trophy...
Which means there's also:
The 1991 World Series trophy. Balance is a good thing, don't you think? And finally we have the Hall of Fame Plaques:
Dave Winfield's. Yes, he's wearing a Padre's cap, but he's a St. Paul native and spent a season with the Twins where he collected his 3000th hit and and cemented his Hall of Fame status.
Kirby Puckett's. Like many, Kirby was my favorite player growing up. Yes, he had some struggles after his career ended and sure, he left us way too soon. But I choose to remember a guy who thrilled me with his play and charmed us all with his smile.
You can also check out the Twins Minor-league affiliates at Twins Fest:
And their jerseys...
Here are a couple of minor-leaguers signing autographs. I have no idea who they are. Then again, neither did anybody in line for their signature.
Which brings me to a short rant. I understand that it's fun to meet ball players. But to stand in line for an hour to spend 10 seconds getting them to sign something? Not sure I'll ever get my mind wrapped around that. Seem like a colossal waste of time to me, but there were hundreds of people lined up, so what do I know?
One of the most popular new features this year was the display for the new ballpark: Target Field. Opening Day 2010 is just 81 short games (not counting playoffs) away!
They have all the information you could want on the new ballpark, including:
Versions of all 6 different kinds of seating. These look fairly comfortable, no?
A display of the various forms of stone used on the facade and in the ballpark itself. Limestone is such a classic look.
In this artist's rendering, they show you the various levels of seating in Target Field. There are, naturally, a variety of price points to go along with the levels. But there's still plenty of opportunities to take in a ballgame at a reasonable price!
Here they show the dimensions of Target Field. Surprisingly similar to the Metrodome actually. Including a 30-foot wall in right field, reminiscent of the "baggie". The most important difference is the angles included in the walls. Can you imagine Carlos Gomez gapping one that takes a strange bounce off a corner and turning into an inside-the-park home run? I can.
And of course, the obligatory scale model of Target Field. I love all the areas outside and around the ballpark for fans to hang out before and after the ballgame. Did I mention I can't wait for 2010?
And then, of course, there are the players:
Joe Nathan on the KSTP radio stage. (Enjoy the rights while you can KSTP, we're coming for the Twins when the current deal expires. Some things have changed, and I like our chances!)
I actually saw several players and coaches milling around, but they were usually on their way someplace, and I couldn't break out the camera in time.
Manager Ron Gardenhire was there. OF Carlos Gomez, RP Matt Guerrier, 3B Brendan Harris (who was having all sorts of trouble figuring out where he was supposed to be... I must have passed him three times while he followed a very confused-looking security guard) and even Twins legend Tony Oliva was there.
Of all the fun to be had at Twins Fest, it's the interaction with players that really makes the event what it is.
The Twins do a fantastic job putting this annual event together. And the amazing number of people who ventured out on a frozen winter Saturday confirmed that again in 2009.
So there you have it. I hope you enjoyed the first ever Sports Take Photo Post. It was a fun to take a couple of hours away from Winter and think about the Boys of Summer. Pitchers and Catchers report on February 15th. Needless to say, I can't wait!
That's all for today. I'm back on Wednesday with more Sports Take goodness. Until then, stay safe, and thanks for reading!