Monday, July 4, 2011

A Few Holiday Weekend Quick Notes

I hope you had a wonderful long Independence Day weekend. I sure did; it couldn't have been more perfect. I went to Friday's game, which was a lot of fun (even the rain delay was interesting). Then I spent the rest of the weekend at the lake where the weather was perfect. Boating, eating, resting, and a little drinking. Very nice. The only wrinkle was when Matt Capps vomited all over the Twins' 3-run lead on Saturday.

A few notes:

  • Friday was my first time in the Metropolitan Club at Target Field. I highly recommend the horseradish encrusted walleye. And the Yukon gold mashed potatoes. And the spinach ravioli with asparagus and portobello cream sauce. And...well, everything.
  • The rain that came over Target Field on Friday night was pretty cool. The first storm was quite windy, and the poor grounds crew guys were hustling their tails off to get, and keep, the tarp down. They threw everything heavy they owned on it to keep it from blowing away: bags of fertilizer, the things they use to drag the infield dirt, hoses, carts, whatever. When the second storm blew in, it was actually awesome. There was a distinct edge to the storm, and when the edge came across the bank of lights, the optical illusion made it look like a wave crashing over the park. The crowd ooooh'd and aaaaaah'd over it. This picture doesn't do justice to it:
  • The grounds crew is amazing. It was actually pretty interesting watching them work. You know how Target Field brags about capturing and recycling rain water? It's true -- at least the capturing part. There is a drain near third base, and the manipulate the tarp so that all the water goes there. Then they squeegie all the water into the drain. It looked like there may have been other drains along the warning track as well. Fifteen minutes after the rain stopped, it looked from the stands like the field was never wet.
  • Jim Thome. Home run. 'Nuf said.
  • Even though the rain delay made it a late night, the fireworks after the game were pretty cool.
  • How tired are we of Matt Capps? I've never been a huge fan of his, mainly because Joe Nathan is my guy and I'm emotional about the whole closer situation. Earlier in the season, Joe Nathan took himself out of the closer role after only two blown saves. Capps has now blown six saves, and he got bent because Gardy pulled him after giving up two hits on Sunday, a day after blowing a three-run lead. Not cool. The trouble with Capps is that he doesn't have an overpowering fastball and he doesn't really strike out a lot of people. He's a contact pitcher, and contact pitchers can get hit around sometimes. Not really the best closer material, if you ask me. I'm not saying he's a bad pitcher, just not a good closer.
  • So, was it a sign of progress when Gardy pulled Capps and put in Glen Perkins on Sunday? Is he going to start using the best pitcher for the situation in the ninth instead of managing to the "Save for the Closer" philosophy? I have my doubts. He's always seemed to me to be a big the-closer-and-only-the-closer-pitches-the-ninth type guy. Is it time he re-visit his idea of closer by Capps/Nathan committee plan he had after spring training? I think so, but again, I can't speak objectively about any of it.
  • Here's how I forgot about the whole closer mess -- on the pontoon: 
  • I'm so happy that Michael Cuddyer was named to the All-Star Game. I hope he has fun with it. I think it's funny that he doesn't know which glove to bring, so he'll just bring them all.
  • Jim Thome. Home run. Again.
  • Gardy looked like a genius on Monday by putting Danny Valencia at DH and Danny responds by hitting a three-run home run.
  • Complete shut outs are hawt. That makes Brian Duensing all the hawt. Even though he had to do a little "character building" in the first couple innings.
Well, back to work.... What a great weekend.

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