Take me out to the ball game…

If you didn’t know me better you’d think all I do is go to baseball games. Well, I guess that has been the case lately. Friday was Little League night at the Twins game, and all of the District 2 little leagues (North Metro) showed up for a pre-game parade around the field, and to take in the ball game.

The ladies were on an overnight camping trip with the girl scouts, so 20 Prospect Jr. and I made the most of our guys night out. We left early to be there 2 hours before gametime so we could stand in the outfield bleachers and catch a ball during batting practice. I discovered that getting to the ballpark 2 -1/2 hours before gametime, parking isn’t really a problem. IO found a spot on the street 2 blocks away and didn’t have to pay a dime. (Yes, I’m getting old. The first thing I tell you about the game is what I paid to park)

We were the first in line.

One of the nice little touches at the ball park, the door handles are in the shape of Minnesota

We waited outside of the left field gate, hoping we’d be in quick enough to find some “Easter Eggs” in the bleachers. No luck.

As we watched the Twins taking B.P., drive after drive was going into left field, but we couldn’t get the outfielder to toss any our way. Delmon Young and Jason Kubel then started launching fly balls into the upper deck right above us. After 45 minutes the crowd was starting to get thick, and 20 Prospect Jr. was beginning to lose heart. Finally, a long drive into the corner, rattled around and came to a rest, and the player that picked it up tossed it his way.

He could not have been more thrilled. We could have gone home right then, and he would have been happy.

Mission Accomplished

We grabbed some Kramarczyk Polish Sausage and Kraut for dinner, and then met up with the Little Leaguers for the parade. I headed to our seats and the coaches took the kids down onto the field. The kids really had a blast walking around the warning track 20 minutes before gametime, as people cheered.

The little league teams came from all over the district, and it was interesting to see how the different towns have outfitted them. In our league all of the teams are named for a major league club, and have the MLB hat, but all wear T-shirt with the town name on the front in the colors of their club. Some towns give the kids t-shirts with the real MLB logos instead. And one league (Rosedale I think) eschews the MLB teams for a collection of creatively named Minor League clubs. And so I give you the Roseville Muckdogs!

Yes Toto, we're not in Batavia anymore...

I stopped and asked if I could take a picture and explained why the Muckdog name was significant. The Dad’s seemed genuinely interested to know the story behind the name. Minnesotan’s are just so gosh darned nice! Sorry for the Zapruder like photo, I was using the cell phone camera, and carrying a Polish Sausage at the time.

Our seats were 3 rows from the top of the upper deck. And let me tell you, it’s a ways up there. The upper deck is every bit as steep as I remember the orange seats in the Aud.

20 Prospect Jr. is no fan of heights, and when he got to the seat I could see he just wasn’t feeling too good. He looked pretty pale, and wouldn’t even lean forward to see the batter. So we left our seats at the end of the first inning and went walkabout.

The View from Section 319 as the kids are parading

One of the nice things about modern ballparks is the open concourses. On the lower level you can walk 360 degrees around the park and stop and look out at the game. The Twins have started selling standing room tickets, and I have to say there was still plenty of room for us to watch the game.

View from the concourse behind home plate

We moved around every inning, and took in the game from all angles. The best was standing in right center, just above the scoreboard. There are flat screen monitors on the underside of all of the upper decks, so even though you can’t see into the corner, you can catch all the action and the replays.

It was a great way to experience the ball park and really check the place out. After having stood in just about every section, 20 Prospect Jr. and I decided that we like being out in right field the best. The sightlines are great, and the sections are small enough you can step out to the bathroom or concessions and not miss much action.

And the game was fantastic. Francisco “F-Bomb” Lirano and Tim Hudson dueled to a 2-1 Twins victory. At one point Liriano struck out 7 batters in a row. The Twins were trailing the Braves 1-0 early, but rallied in the bottom of the seventh to score 2 runs, and John Rausch struck out the side in the top of the 9th for the save. It was my kind of game. I love watching great pitching, and it only took 2 hours and 6 minutes to play. Afterwards we were home in the garage in 20 minutes. That’s even hard to accomplish in Batavia!!

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