Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Opening Day 2008

The gloriousness of Opening Day! A day when hope fills baseball stadiums and fans' hearts everywhere. An opportunity to forget ALCS disasters and think of redemption. A chance for the Kansas City Royals to lay claim to first place. A wonderful, glorious day.

Yes, the wonderfulness of Opening Day spread to Minneapolis where I attended my very first live and in person season starter. The bright sunshine, the freshly cut grass. Ahhh. Heavenly.

Those would have been great, but there was a blizzard in Minneapolis yesterday. A suburb just south of here received eight inches of snow, and the wind blowing at 20 miles per hour made it a pleasant stroll into the Metrodome. People came into the dome drenched from the big wet flakes, rosy cheeked from the gusts between skyscrapers, and shoes soaked from the slop just to get inside. Ah yes, Opening Day in Minnesota. Only 161 more home games until we do this outdoors in the new stadium.

But alas, the game! The excitement! Having commuted straight from work at 30 mph through a sea of red break lights, I was eager to discover the outcome of the Indians' first game. The Metrodome's scoreboard revealed a 10-8 victory over the White Sox. A fine start to the baseball evening.

The Twins took the field to a rousing ovation. An ovation of 45,000+ who said weather be damned it's time to play ball. It was the biggest Twins crowd in nearly a decade and they warmly welcomed back former favorite son Torri Hunter who was greeted to a standing ovation both during staring line-up announcements and his first at bat. Perhaps best of all was the left field banner spanning an entire row that said "Welcome home Torri" to which Hunter, the Angels new center fielder, tipped his hat and smiled. Naturally, the fans booed loudly when Torri made his first catch, retiring a Twins batter in the early innings, and then cheered a little extra loudly when Joe Nathan struck him out in the 9th. Easy come, easy go.

I saw a ball hit the PA speaker high above the Metrodome. Having read about just such a scenario in one of those baseball teasers, I was thrilled to have seen it happen in person and on the first batter of the Twins' season no less. Chris Gomez popped it high above home plate and Jered Weaver ran around, flailing about in a failed attempt to make the grab. I love seeing something new at every game.

Gomez and other new outfielder new comer Delmon Young looked really sharp. Gomez in particular lit up the stadium with his impressive speed (2 stolen bases and 1 bunt single) with Young driving in a few runs in the middle of the Twinkies' line-up. Heck, even Livan Hernandez looked good, even though it's still amazing he's an opening day starter.

In all, a glorious wonderful day that could and would not be ruined by Mother Nature. The Twins took care of business with a 3-2 victory, bringing them into a first place tie with your AL Central leading Cleveland Indians. Projections now have the Twins and Tribe finishing 162-0, which has to be some type of record or something.

Photos from WCCO.com that also features a lovely weather related story and additional pictures from the snow storm and Kare11.com

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