by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
In case you missed it, the gentlemen of Capitol Hill recently held their annual baseball game in Washington. It was the Elephants of the Republican Party versus the Donkeys of the DFL. The rules are similar to Major League baseball with a couple of exceptions. Each team only fields eight defensive players because the Republicans have no one willing to play left field, and conversely, the DFL cannot find a right fielder. Not a problem because all the Elephants bat right handed and the Donkeys all hit left. Senators do not participate, however if they did, Arlen Specter would have been the only switch hitter. The Supreme Court Justices volunteered to be umpires, but were respectfully declined as the teams decided to just argue among themselves on the close plays. I am not sure of the final score. I believe the scorecards were referred to committee and will be voted on sometime in November.
But the event brings to mind a recent Major League game featuring the Washington Nationals at the new Yankee Stadium. The game was delayed by rain for FIVE HOURS!! This was the same storm that wiped out most of the first round of the US Open at Bethpage. There’s no question that weather happens, but it leaves me pause to wonder about the highly touted Target Field. The Twins have played about 35 home games so far this year, and so far 14 of those games would have been postponed, delayed, or played in temperatures of less than 45 degrees. Sure, we were outdoors at Metropolitan Stadium for years, but back then many doubleheaders were scheduled and the season lasted from mid April to the end of September. Ticket prices were more reasonable also, so people didn’t mind a little discomfort at the ball game. But when I turn on the tube in April, and see all those folks at U.S. Cellular field in Chicago dressed like Eskimos with plastic sheets over their heads, I wonder how many of those Target Field seats may be empty in April and September.
And, although we have had plenty of Punto bashing here and in the forum, I think it’s time for the Twins to start selling tickets based on a quality team instead of the new ball park. I’ve lived through the highs and lows of Twins baseball from 1961 to 2009, and I have to say that the Twins have put out a decent product for the last 7 years. Most fair weather fans will support a winner and snub a loser regardless of the playing venue. And in Chicago, they support the Cubs in a 100 year old ball park that was built right after they won their last World Series. Go figure.