8-19-09: Twins/Tribe RGC - Durand Family Edition

Hello again everybody...

We've made it to the middle of the week. And what a week it's already been!

I'm sure many of you thought I'd make a certain quarterback the focus of today's column. And I'm not going to pretend that the thought didn't occur to me.

But ultimately, there's not a lot to say about it that I haven't already said (see here, here, and here).

So instead of rehashing all that, I'll just say this: I'm glad he's here. I'm glad that the “will he/won't he” business is done. The Vikings' season is infinitely more interesting with him involved. And I'm thrilled to get to watch it in stunning Samsung HD (sorry Mark, had to throw that in – but you're still invited to come over and watch).

Yesterday was a busy day at work. Hopefully today will be a little lighter. And that will allow me to bring you a column that I haven't featured in a while. The Sports Take Running Game Commentary!

Saturday, I attended the Minnesota/Cleveland tilt at the Metrodome. Today, you get to hear all about it!

So off we go...

”An author is a fool who, not content with boring those he lives with, insists on boring future generations.“
Charles de Montesquieu (1689 – 1755), French social commentator

Interesting premise. Will future generations read The Sports Take? Will it be preserved on their Kindles? Will they wonder why in God's name anyone ever took the time to read this stuff at all?! Only time will tell...

«Read More...»

But in the interest of entertaining (or boring, you pick) the current generation, I give you...

Twins v. Tribe, Running Game Commentary – Durand Family Edition


First off, allow me to explain, the “Durand Family Edition”. One of my Aunts, who's a regular reader, asked me this past Spring if she and I could go to a ballgame. Naturally, I agreed. Someone says, “...go to a ballgame”, my only response is, “sure, when?”

So as we tried to decide on a game, the original plan morphed into a family outing. So it ended up with me, my mom (maiden name: Durand; hence the title), and two of my aunts all headed to see the home nine.

Quick background... My Aunt Renee was the one who initially asked me about going to the game. She's my godmother (but don't hold that against her) and used to thrill my cousins and I as children with the best Beauregard (you remember the cab driver from the Muppets, don't you?!) imitation we'd ever seen. Of course, now she'd be arrested for reckless endangerment, but that's society's problem, not hers!

My Aunt Cheri lives down in Phoenix, so I generally only get to see her when I'm down visiting my parents. She holds a special spot for me, because she was the one who finally taught me how to tie my own shoes as a child. I had a mental block. But through the clever revelation of the “bunny ear” technique, she was able to get me past it. What she doesn't know, is that I still use said technique to this day. Actually, maybe she's better off not knowing that. Whatever.

Finally, there's my mom. What can I say about my mother? Well, a lot of what I could say, I won't, because I'm like her in more ways than I can count. She's a ton of fun, and I love her to death. And baseball just happens to be the only sport she can stand watching for more than 10 minutes, so it was only natural that she join us.

One last thing... (and yes, this is the longest pre-game ramble in the history of the RGC) I was introduced to a game called “Moundball”. Basically, everybody rotates each half inning. If the umpire tosses a ball to the mound, and it stays on the mound, whoever has that half inning gets $1 from everybody else. If a player tosses the ball and it stays on the mound, that person gets $2 from everybody else.

I'd never tried this game before, but I was assured it was going to entertain me, so why not?

Top of the 1st

Anthony Swarzak is on the mound for the Twins today. The rookie has looked sensational at times, and awful at times. Pretty much what you would expect from a rookie. Which will he be today?

Things looked good in the first inning, as he set the Indians down 1-2-3. Included in that, was a strikeout of my future-son's-namesake: Asdrubal Cabrera.

I remind my mom that I really think I should name my future son, Asdrubal. She immediately sprouts 5 more gray hairs.

No score.

It's my turn up first for "Moundball"... and the umpire tosses it maybe 40 feet from home plate (i.e. nowhere near the mound). No dollars for Dan.

Bottom of the 1st

David Huff is on the hill for the Tribe. His stats suck, but he's left-handed. And lefty's don't do the Twins much good.

A lead-off pop-out by Denard Span is followed by back to back singles for Orlando Cabrera (no relation to Asdrubal) and Joe Mauer. And those are followed by a walk to Justin Morneau.

Bases loaded and one out. Should be a big inning, right?

A Michael Cuddyer pop-out and Joe Crede fielder's choice later, not so much.

Still no score.

And it's my Mom's turn for "Moundball". And once again, the umpire doesn't come close. It doesn't look like anybody's going to get paid today at this rate.

Top of the 2nd

Shin-Soo Choo leads off, and drills a pitch to left field which lands in the 3rd row. And like the idiot sheep some of those folks out there are, some knucklehead throws the ball back on the field. Good job, genius. You just tossed away a souvenir that you'll probably never have another chance at. Boy, you sure showed those Indians who's boss! Freaking moron...

I mention that a solo home run probably isn't going to win this game, so hopefully Swarzak keeps his head. He promptly gives up a double and a bloop base hit. But he wiggles out of it by getting a strike out and a routine fly ball following Joe Mauer nailing an base-stealer at 3rd.

Silly Indians. You don't run on the Baby Jesus!

It's during all this action that Cheri explains to me the “nookie factor”. The Twins won big Friday night, so she figures they all went home and “read poetry” (my euphemism, not hers) with their significant (or in some cases, completely insignificant) others. And because of that, they're a little tired today.

How do I argue with that logic?

1-0 Cleveland

It's Renee's turn for “Moundball”. I think the umpire must have a Rotator Cuff problem, because he's not really even trying. Again, no money changes hands.

Bottom of the 2nd

Things start well for the Twins with a Delmon Young walk. Sure Carlos Gomez flew out, but Alexi Casilla singled, and suddenly the Twins had their second-straight threat brewing.

Unfortunately Span struck out and Cabrera popped out (on a very nice catch by the Cleveland second baseman) to end said threat.

It was also in this half-inning where we were treated to the first “full house” joke of the game.

Allow me to explain.

When I was a kid, my family was at a Twins game (shocking, I know). One of the Twins ended up with a full count, and my Mom said, “look Dan, it's a full house!”.

Now, to this day, she insists that she was being facetious, and knew the entire time that the correct term was “full count”. And also to this day, not one single member of my family buys her story.

So every time we're at a game together, somebody says, “look Mom/Denise, it's a full house!” And in return, she gives us that look that only Moms can give without wounding someone.

Needless to say, I got “the look” in response to my quip.

Still 1-0 Cleveland.

Cheri's turn for Moundball. Oh, sure. This time the ump lands it square on the mound! Way to go Cheri. Here's your dollar.

Top of the 3rd

Time to break out the peanuts. Usually, at a ballgame, I get a hot dog, a soda, and either peanuts or sunflower seeds. Since I was taking notes, and didn't want to handle a cup to spit seeds into, I went with the peanuts. Plus, Renee offered to buy, so how can I turn that down?

Swarzak gets someone named Gimenez to fly out to center.

(Seriously, I love baseball, and I don't know who half of these Cleveland players are!)

Grady Sizemore (dammit he's good... and I hate that I like him... yes, I have issues) follows that up with the second solo shot off of Swarzak today.

That's followed by two singles, a sacrifice fly and ground out. And just like that it's 3-0 Cleveland.

Really?! The Indians? Come on Twins! This is lame.

And it's my turn for “Moundball” again. And Short-Arm McUmpire strikes again. Seriously, he could just drop it and it would probably roll further. Jerk.

Bottom of the 3rd

Mauer singles. Again. This guy is so sick, they ought to name a flu virus after him.

Morneau grounds out. Cuddyer pops out (again). And combined with Joe Crede, they make sure Mauer's single goes for naught.

Sad. And still 3-0 Cleveland.

Renee's turn for “Moundball”. And she's denied. So far Cheri's the only one to get paid. And this game is boring me silly.

So my Mom decides we should change the rules. Now, if anybody gets the ball within the first carpet-ring around the mound, it's $1 and if they get it to the mound it's $2. Did I mention it's my Mom's turn next? Hmmm...

Top of the 4th

Travis Hafner singles to lead off. I explain to Renee that his nickname is, “Pronk”, and that in Cleveland stores sell “Pronk Bar” candy bars. I'm not sure she believed me. But it's true!

Swarzak manages to scalp the next three Indians (is that racially insensitive?) and strands “Pronk” at first.

3-0 Cleveland

Mom's turn for “Moundball”. And what do you know? The rule change just happens to coincide with the umpire landing a ball squarely in that ring. Somebody gets paid! I'm sure the fact that it was the person who suggested the rule-change is merely coincidental! Somewhere, Oliver Stone just got a script idea.

Bottom of the 4th

Delmon Young leads off with a single. He's quietly heating up again in the second half. No idea why he can't do this in April and May, but there you go.

Of course, Gomez, Casilla and Span make sure it's wasted.

Can you tell I'm about ready to give up on the Twins for this year? Yeah. Hi, I'm Dan, and I'm a bitter baseball fan.

3-0 Cleveland

Cheri's turn for “Moundball” and boom! Square on the mound again. $2 from everybody. Why am I playing this game again?!

Top of the 5th

A Sizemore walk and Carrol single finally ends Swarzak's day. Not a horrible start, but not really good either. And that's been the pattern for the Twins lately. Bad starting pitching followed by a worse performance from the bullpen.

Brian Duensing enters the game for the Twins. Let's see what he does.

Hmm, a RBI-single for Asdrubal (admit it Mom, it's growing on you), a single by Choo, a sacrifice fly by Perralta, and an RBI-single for “Pronk” and it's 6-0 Cleveland! Thank you Twins relief pitching!

God I'm bitter.

Oh, and for good measure, after a strikeout, let's toss in another RBI-single by another Indian I've never heard of.

And after 4-and-a-half, it's 7-0 Cleveland. Joy.

But hey, it's my turn for “Moundball” and we've got new rules! And I swear to Christ, if this umpire was throwing backwards he'd be getting closer than he does when it's my turn. Dammit!

Bottom of the 5th

Time to come back boys!

Cabrerra singles. Mauer flies out. Morneau doubles home Cabrera and we're on the board!

After a Cuddyer single (finally), Renee asks me what, “Ducks on the Pond” means. I tell her that it means: multiple runners on-base. How a duck-hunting reference made its way into Major League Baseball, I'm not quite sure, but there you go.

Joe Crede delivers another RBI with a single, and the Twins are cooking!

Until Delmon flies out and Gomez strikes out (again) to end the inning.

7-2 Cleveland.

Renee's turn for “Moundball”. I think she got paid here. But honestly, I was so bitter, I stopped paying attention.

Top of the 6th

I tell whoever will listen (and at 7-2 why would they?) that Duensing's job here is to get the boys right back into the dugout. They just cut into the lead, and you can't kill that momentum by giving up a run here.

Surprisingly, Duensing does the job. He gives up a 1-out single and promptly strands that runner at first.

This ain't over yet!

7-2 Cleveland.

Mom's turn for “Moundball”. The inning ends in a strikeout... which means the catcher tosses the ball... which means it lands squarely on the mound and my Mom gets $2 from everybody. Am I sure this game isn't rigged? No, no, I'm not sure at all.

Bottom of the 6th

Cleveland makes a pitching change. That ought to give the Twins a chance right?

Nope, it's another lefty.

Casilla, Span and Cabrera go 1-2-3.

Still 7-2 Cleveland.

Cheri's turn for “Moundball”. And she hasn't missed yet. And she won't this time either. Seriously! Who knew going to a ball game would cost this much?!

Top of the 7th

The Twins bring in Bobby Keppel to face the Tribe. Yes, I'm reduced to rooting for a Keppel.

You would think that back-to-back strikeouts would make me happy. Instead, the iffy nature of the calls makes me suspicious that the umpire has dinner reservations at Murray's and the Maitre D' isn't going to be holding the table very long.

Keppel gets Cleveland to go in order, and it's still 7-2 Tribe.

My turn for “Moundball”. I don't even look up. I know what's coming. Why would I look? I hope they burn the umpire's steak!

Bottom of the 7th

Mauer grounds out to start. But Morneau singles, which chases Cleveland's lefty from the game.

Finally! A righty from the Tribe!

Cuddyer reaches on an Asdrubal (I'm telling you, it rolls right off the tongue!) error sending Morneau to third.

Crede flies out to left. For some reason Twins third-base coach Scott Ulger decides to keep Morneau at third. Now, the fly out wasn't that deep. And Morneau's not that fast. But I still would've sent him. It would've been a close play for sure, but when you're down 7-2, don't you have to force the defense to make that play?!

Delmon flies out and the chance is wasted.

Did I mention I'm bitter?

7-2 Cleveland.

Renee's turn at “Moundball”. I'm still not watching. Sorry Renee. It wasn't my fault that your turn came after mine.

Top of the 8th

“And the communist exodus begins...”

I wrote those very words in my notes. It's my contention that anyone who leaves a baseball game early (barring special circumstances... and “the Twins are losing” doesn't count) is a communist. They just are. Don't ask me to explain my irrationality. Just deal.

Keppel hits the first batter he faces. That's interesting. But promptly erases him on a fielders choice. An error and a couple of outs later, and he holds the Tribe at 7.

7-2 Indians.

Mom's turn at “Moundball”. At this point, just assume whoever's turn it is, they got paid. So long as it wasn't me, you'd be right about 95% of the time.

Bottom of the 8th

Gomez flies out. Punto strikes out (he hit for Casilla who bruised a foot). And Denard (who hasn't Done Diddly all Day – God I love alliteration), grounds out.

Because when you're down 7-2, you want to get your half of the inning over as quickly as possible.


7-2 Cleveland.

Cheri's turn at “Moundball”. What?! She missed?! Somebody call the cops! Cheri was robbed! Oh wait, never mind. She has all my money. She'll be just fine.

Top of the 9th

Jeff Manship makes his Major League debut for the Twins. I always enjoy seeing that. It even managed to lessen my bitterness for a moment.

He gets the Indians to go in order, including a strikeout of Shin-Soo Choo.

I mention that mostly because I like typing “Shin-Soo Choo”.

Congrats on the debut, Kid.

7-2 Cleveland.

And it's the last round for “Moundball”. Long about the 7th inning, my Mom (or, the Queen of Rulebookland, as I'd taken to calling her) decided that the middle of the ninth would belong to whomever had been paid the least. And that person would get double if they won.

I don't really need to tell you who that was, right?

Okay, fine, I'll watch. The worst umpire in the history of “Moundball” gives it a toss. And... wait a minute... this has a chance... it might be... it could be... YES! He hit the first ring! $2 from everybody for me! I don't care that I lost money. This is the greatest game EVAR! (typo intentional)

Bottom of the 9th

More communists leave. Now why on earth would you stay for 8-and-a-half and leave before the Twins bat in the 9th?! That's beyond ridiculous. These people should be rounded up and eliminated from the gene pool! Exaggeration? I think not!

I tell the ladies to prepare for a comeback. If any of us had had caps on, I'd have insisted that they were turned inside out. It's rally time!

Just not for Orlando Cabrera who flies out to right.

Up next? Baby Jesus. He's 2-for-4 on the day. The Twins are down by 5. What does that add up to? You got it, a solo shot to center!

Here we go! Baby Jesus is leading us to the Promised Land. Get on board folks. Here it comes!

Morneau grounds out and Cudder flies out. Game: fin.

Bitter? Thy name is Dan Cook.

No “Moundball” after the game ends. Thank God.

Your final? 7-3 Cleveland.


Okay, the Twins got hammered by a team with players I've never heard of. I lost money on a game where the rules kept changing throughout the duration. All in all, I was feeling pretty... well, yes, bitter's still the word.

But then I looked at the ladies I was with as we exited, and one and all, they were smiling. When you can spend a few hours with family, and everybody comes out entertained? How can I be bitter about that?!

So thanks Mom. Thanks Cheri. And thanks Renee, for coming up with the idea in the first place. I had a ball. Let's do it again sometime! (And maybe we'll even get to see a winner!)

So there you have it! Another RGC in the books. I hope you enjoyed reading about it as much as I enjoyed being there... perhaps even a little more?

Seriously though, it was a good time all around. Baseball and family. Never a bad combination.

I'll be back on Friday to cap off your work week.

Until then, thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. Well, I was entertained...

    ...and now I'm forewarned, too. Don't play moundball with your family.