I've been lucky to have our boys in my neck of the woods the past two weekends in a row, but despite that pleasure, this weekend they decided to showcase some pretty lousy baseball (for the most part). Coming off a particularly horrible series against Milwaukee that I think everyone has done their best to forget, the Twins didn't look any livelier Friday night.
A couple ex-Minnesotan buddies of mine joined me for the game, and being about half an hour late due to work meant that I missed the only real highlight for us -- Span's leadoff homerun. That kind of set the expectations high for our Citifield experience, but the rest of the game quickly ran downhill.
Thankfully I missed witnessing most of the action firsthand. We were wading through lines at the beer garden when the Mets put their rally together and started beaning Slowey. Our lead of 1-0 quickly dropped to 3-1 about the time I made it up to the head of the beer line. That helped me decide to order two large beers and drink one of them right then and there.
We also made our way over to Blue Smoke, which apparently has a couple stands at Citifield. I had heard about Shake Shack's presence there, and while I didn't want to brave the lines there, Blue Smoke was much quicker and almost just as good. They are one of the best BBQ places in the city (outside of the famous Dinosaur BBQ under the GW bridge), and their pulled pork sandwich hit the spot. That was probably the highlight of the night.
The rest of Friday night was completely forgettable except for Mr. Met making an appearance in our section and tossing out some T-shirts. He's a lovable mascot, but it didn't help distract from the carnage on the field.
Saturday I was in slightly better spirits. I decided to break out the lucky Aguilera jersey (the one that was present for the Liriano/Hudson pitcher's duel at Target Field and also the amazing come-from-behind win against the Phillies the prior weekend). I was also meeting Shawn from On the Road with Shawn, and I think the two of us being in attendance together at a game bodes well ever since that Phillies series.
I met Shawn at McFadden's and we were soon joined by Nick Nelson and a number of his friends from the Battle Your Tail Off message board. I joined Nick and his friends as we headed into the ballpark and made our way up to our seats in the Promenade along the 3rd base line. Nick commented on how nice it is than in most all of today's stadiums their way of stacking the tiers on top of each other makes even the higher up seats seem like you're right on the playing field and I tend to agree. The Mets' new ballpark, for all of its quirks and the ridiculous amount of advertising present in the stadium completely buries Shea -- and probably even New Yankee Stadium.
Even the proximity to La Guardia and its low-flying air traffic as planes take off and land over the stadium is kind of fun. None are particularly distracting but can be quite fun to watch.
This game was significantly better, and I again think it has something to do with Shawn's and my presence and the Aguilera jersey. Pavano was absolutely fantastic, and it was nice to see a game where our pitching and offense both clicked at the same time.
Afterwards we met up with the Twins Geek and The Voice of Reason and all headed over to Forum, a bar near Union Square that is managed by former Twin Frankie Rodriguez. I wanted to introduce my fellow bloggers and it was fun to have him pull up a chair and just download about what it was like playing for the Twins, playing with Knoblauch, Radke, Aguilera, and in the huge concrete Metrodome (where apparently even the players were skeptical about the use of the air conditioning fans behind home plate). If you're ever in the city you should stop by Forum and chat with him because he's a great guy and always open to talking with fans.
Sunday was completely forgettable. I don't even want to talk about that game. I was getting so upset with our ability to put any sort of life into this team or any sort of momentum behind them. After great wins in Philly they fall flat against a significantly inferior Milwaukee team, and after a solid win against Santana, Baker and the offense both forget to show up ready to play.
I don't doubt our ability to win games or compete. We have a solid team, and I'm not suddenly starting to think that the sky is falling. But you can count me as starting to get a little concerned that there doesn't seem to be any spark or fire in this team right now. Gardy's post game comments are always the same, "We played some pretty good teams that are hot..."; "You can't do anything about it..."; "We ran into some pretty good baseball teams this year...". That's all well and good but the Twins are a pretty good baseball team. The Twins should be able to play with other good baseball teams and they need to. They can't expect a schedule full of visits from Kansas City and Baltimore every week, and the next few weeks before the All Star break aren't going to give them any reprieve.
Sorry for the little rant, but it would be nice if they'd shape up quick!