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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Play Ball!

Opening Day, the start of the Major League Baseball season and a sign of spring right? Well, on this opening day in 2008, large snow flakes were pelting the Metrodome roof and snow was blowing across the Minneapolis streets. Although it was cold and depressing outside the dome, things were warm and enjoyable inside the dome.

A 3-2 Twins victory saw a little bit of everything: great pitching, smooth defense, incredible baserunning, and timely hitting.


* Torii Hunter makes his return to the Metrodome with his new team. The veteran outfielder appeared choked up on the jumbo-tron as he was greeted with a warm welcome and video tribute from the Twins fans. Only a handful of boos were heard.

* Opening Day starter Livan Hernandez surprised everyone calmly cruising through seven innings allowing only two earned runs and picking up the victory while never throwing a pitch above 85 mph.

* Rookie Carlos Gomez greets Torii Hunter (the man he replaces in centerfield) and uses the Opening Day stage to prove to Twins fans why he was #1 prospect acquired in the trade for Johan Santana.

* In a surprise managerial move, Ron Gardenhire starts the righthanded Craig Monroe at DH over the lefthanded and favorable Jason Kubel upsetting many Twins fans across the blogosphere. Monroe went 0-3 while Kubel had a pinch hit double late in the game.


Carlos Gomez was the star of the evening scoring 2 runs, stealing 2 bases, and going 2-3 with a double, a bunt single, and a walk. Gomez also made some great plays in centerfield certainly reminding Twins fans of the old #48. It was great to see such a solid debut from Gomez after such scrutiny of the package the Twins received from the Mets in the Santana deal. Now I'm not ready to crown Gomez as the Rookie of Year, but the performance was encouraging. There will be many 0-4 days with 2 strikeouts and an error for the young 22-year old, but hopefully there will be more days like last night.


For proof of Gomez's electric speed and athleticism, check out this video I caught of him stealing 2nd on Angels catcher Mike Napoli. This was Gomez's second steal of the evening.


Although we all greeted Hunter with a warm welcome home, the highlight of the game would have to be when Joe Nathan came in for the save in the 9th inning and blew three pitches by Torii making the former teammate look silly. Every fan in the ballpark loved to see a little jab in Torii's side. Hunter went 0-4.


All in all, a great opening day. Newcomers Delmon Young and Brendan Harris picked up two hits, Livan pitched a great game, Gomez stole the show (literally), Nathan got a save, my dome dog tasted delicious, and the Twins are on pace to go 162-0. What's our magic number?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great review of the game John! I enjoyed watching it on TV but your review covered it all. Pretty exciting game hope to see more of those. I hope we do not see more of what happened the second night - I am still a little worried. Also thanks for putting the commercial videos together, I enjoyed reviewing them as well. Good job glad you avoided any weather travel problems. Dad