This week I'm proud to present Brian Pietrzak. Brian's an amazing blogger that I first found when he wrote this past season for the Twins' Examiner page and have since followed to his personal blog: BP's Baseball Blog (as well as the non-Twins related but equally as good Donny Puck). Speaking from experience, it's tough to put the time and effort into just one blog, but to manage two and to do it well is quite a feat. I've been following Brian for awhile now, and I'm honored he's taking the time to answer a few questions for here, so take the time to find out a bit more about him and make sure to add him to your daily read ... he's well worth it!
NAME: Brian Pieterzak
WEBSITE: www.bpbaseball.blogspot.com (Twins); www.donnypuck.blogspot.com (Minnesota sports, primarily Gophers)
BIRTHDAY: April 2
HOMETOWN: Brooklyn Park
WHAT KEEPS YOU EMPLOYED OTHER THAN BLOGGING: Financial Services
FAVORITE COLOR: Blue
FAVORITE FOOD: Italian
FAVORITE MOVIE: Any James Bond film, "Boogie Nights," "The Big Lebowski," "Airplane!"
FAVORITE BOOK: Anything by David McCullough
FAVORITE TYPE OF MUSIC: Hard Rock; New Wave; Classic R&B (60s and 70s, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Gap Band, etc.)
FAVORITE SPORT TO WATCH OTHER THAN BASEBALL: Gopher hockey
FAVORITE SPORT TO PLAY: Baseball
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE VIKINGS/TIMBERWOLVES/WILD: Fan of the Wolves; can't stand the Wild and Vikings
WHAT MAKES BASEBALL SO GREAT TO YOU: The anticipation between pitches and trying to outsmart managers during the game. Watching a game live with friends and debating baseball history is the best. My brother has an encyclopedic memory of baseball history, so he's always fun to banter with, and my Dad is fun to disagree with. Passing the game from generation-to-generation is what makes baseball so great.
IF YOU HAD TO FOLLOW ANOTHER TEAM, WHICH AND WHY: New York Yankees. I know it's not popular to admit, but I've been a Yankee fan since 1981. I'm a Twins' fan first, and always will be, but the Yankees are right up there. It's been easy being a fan since 1995, but there were some lean years prior to that.
BEST EXPERIENCE AT A BALLPARK OTHER THAN THE DOME: I attended the final game at Yankee Stadium in September 2008
OPINION ON INTERLEAGUE PLAY: It's been extremely kind to the Twins over the years (second-best interleage record next to the Yanks), but it needs to be severely curtailed in favor of more games against AL teams. Nobody cares about games with the Astros and Pirates.
OPINION ON THE UNBALANCED SCHEDULE: I don't mind it at all. The Twins and Tigers proved last season that games within a division can be entertaining all season long, and the Twins have developed a nice rivalry with the White Sox. That said, I wouldn't mind seeing divisional games cut to around 15 or so, IL play cut to 6-8 games, and the balance made up of more games against AL opponents.
FAVORITE NON-TWINS PLAYER IN BASEBALL HISTORY: Tough question, but I'd probably have to say Henry Aaron and Willie Mays from a historical perspective and Derek Jeter (I know, I know) from the modern age.
MOST HATED NON-TWINS PLAYER IN BASEBALL HISTORY: David Ortiz (Boston version; didn't like him much when he played here, either); Barry Bonds for obvious reasons.
DID YOU EVER PLAY BASEBALL/SOFTBALL, WHAT POSITION: I played baseball for eight seasons and saw action primarily at second base. I pitched and caught a bit as well. My second-fourth grade teams went 33-0, and that was the highlight of my baseball career. My 8th grade team went 0-23 and was "mercy-ruled" in every game but one.
WHEN DID YOU BECOME A TWINS FAN AND WHY: Twins baseball has been a part of my life as far as I can remember. My father is still a big fan, and my late grandfather never missed a game on the radio. I loved the pace and gamesmanship from an early age.
BEST EXPERIENCE AT THE DOME: I have three: #3 - Game 7 of the 1987 World Series; #2 - Games 6 and 7 of the 1991 World Series; #1 - Game 163 vs. the Tigers in 2009
EVER BEEN TO TWINS FEST, HOW WAS IT: I take my kids to Twins Fest each season. I enjoy watching my boys play the "Yard Ball" wiffle ball games.
EVER BEEN TO SPRING TRAINING, HOW WAS IT: No, and I can't say I'm interested in attending. I'd much rather pay full price to see games which actually count featuring MLB regulars participating for more than one inning.
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN CIRCLED BY BERT: No. My brother and sons made a sign when we attended one home opener on my birthday, but Bert never circled us.
HAVE YOU EVER CAUGHT A FOUL BALL OR HOME RUN AT THE DOME: No, but I did catch a foul ball at Shea Stadium in 2003. Livan Hernandez pitched the ball for the Expos to the Mets' Timo Perez.
Twins Player Specific-
FAVORITE TWINS PLAYER IN HISTORY: Kent Hrbek
FAVORITE CURRENT TWINS PLAYER: Jason Kubel
FAVORITE OBSCURE TWINS PLAYER: Houston Jimenez
ARE THERE (WERE THERE) ANY PLAYERS YOU DISLIKE: Nothing personal, but I could do without Nick Punto, Matt Tolbert, and Glen Perkins off the current roster; Al Newman, Jeff Reboulet, Chip Hale, Denny Hocking, David Ortiz, and Tim Laudner off past squads.
FAVORITE EXPERIENCE MEETING A PLAYER: I received an autograph from Harmon Killebrew at Twins Fest a few years ago with my son, and he couldn't have been nicer. Kent Hrbek also signed autographs for my brother and me in Milwaukee in 1988 and stayed outside for a long time fulfilling autograph requests from a ton of kids. Incidentally, Kirby Puckett was approached by my younger brother at the same time and he totally blew us off and was rude about it. I was never a fan of his from that point on, but never ceased to be amazed and entertained by his playing ability.
CURRENT PLAYER YOU'D MOST LIKE TO WATCH A GAME WITH: Pat Neshek (go Park Center Pirates!)
LIKE TO GO TO A BAR WITH: Joe Nathan
LIKE TO BE STRANDED ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH: Michael Cuddyer could probably use magic to get us off the island
LIKE TO HAVE DINNER WITH: Scott Baker
WANT TO BE THE FRONT MAN OF YOUR NEW BAND: Jose Mijares
THINK SHOULD BE A MOVIE STAR: Denard Span
YOU'D ASK FOR HELP ON A SCIENCE LAB: Kevin Slowey
YOU'D LIKE TO START A BUSINESS WITH: Kevin Slowey (I heard he's smart)
EXPECTATIONS FOR TARGET FIELD: It looks fabulous. I can't wait for the first rain delay and have somebody complain about how it never rained in the Dome. I am a little nervous about there being a possible wind tunnel in right-center field, especially with the Twins' fly-ball pitchers.
EXPECTATIONS FOR THE TEAM NEXT YEAR: I think they'll win the division again with 90-95 victories. The Tigers' window seems to have closed for a while and the White Sox are in transition. The Indians and Royals are a few years away, and the Twins have the most talent top-to-bottom. If the holes in the starting rotation, second base, and third base are addressed, this team should be good for awhile.