This game was pretty much everything I expected. You could tell from the energy and how everyone was acting in the ballpark that this game was a big deal. TV ratings may say otherwise, but it's a special event when you're able to bring in people from all around the country, your tickets almost make you take out a second mortgage, and multiple players receive standing ovations.
First off, a quick reminder that I work at Target Field as an usher and I was at both the Derby and All-Star Game.* The next time you're at a Twins game, ask your usher if he/she worked either the Derby or the game itself. Normally we put in 5 1/2 hours of work for a game, but both of these events required us arriving early and staying later than usual. While the rain for the Derby is partially to blame, we put in a full 8 hours (some worked even longer) both days. For example, despite being a 7:15 pm start for the game, I arrived at Target Field around 3 pm and didn't get out of the ballpark until roughly midnight. Therefore, I highly recommend thanking your usher if they happened to work either event.
* For those that were following my posts over the past month or so, yes, I did have an All-Star Game strip of tickets. My wife ended up keeping her tickets, while my Derby ticket went to my brother and then the ASG ticket went to Abby's brother.
Technically we are supposed to be checking tickets all the time, but with the exception of one female in the left field corner, we all are pretty lax about that rule. Not last night, however, as MLB told us that no one was allowed into the seats unless they had a ticket for that section. I did field several complaints about that issue, especially when separated family members were trying to meet up from opposite ends of the stadium, but hey, MLB was actually paying me last night, not the Twins. Call me a tool all you want, but I had to answer to them.
Speaking of which, MLB was in charge this whole week. All the bunting around the ballpark that made it look like America threw up in Target Field? MLB. The giant-ass flag that covered the entire outfield, when the Twins typically use a much smaller flag for Armed Forces Appreciation Day and the 4th of July? MLB. Unreasonably strict ushers? MLB. Have you ever hosted a party for someone but that person completely took over everything? That's basically how it was for us this week.
As for the game itself, it was pretty normal compared to your typical Twins game save for one fact. You could totally tell that virtually everyone in the ballpark paid a ton for their tickets. Very few people were walking around during the game. Concession stands were empty unless it was between innings. I spotted one man that managed to leave his seat when a batter struck out, and as the next at-bat started he was already back in his seat with two beers. The focus was definitely on the game last night and nothing else. Well, except when some fans in my section tried to start the Wave.
The game remained fairly close for the entire night and I feel that helped in keeping interest throughout. Most fans stayed through the entire game, though we did have a few start filtering out in the middle of the 8th inning. However, you can totally tell that few people cared about the MVP award that was given to Mike Trout as they booked it out as soon as the final out was recorded. Nevertheless, that didn't stop about 50 people or so from camping out next to the ESPN desk until we finally had to send them on their way around 11:45 pm.
Ah, Mike Trout. Although Miguel Cabrera did hit a home run, Trout certainly was deserving of his MVP thanks to his triple (granted it was helped by a poor Yasiel Puig route) and double. With Derek Jeter retiring at the end of the year, I'm hoping that the torch gets passed on to Trout as the most recognizable star in the majors. He's definitely put up the numbers in his first two seasons, and his third this season is shaping up to be just as good. Even my wife recognizes his talent now, and she couldn't tell you the difference between Jose Fernandez and Jose Altuve.
Aroldis Chapman got the crowd ooo-ing and ahh-ing by pumping his 100 MPH gas over and over, though it was a shame that he tweaked his hamstring trying to cover first base. I bet some Reds fans will probably lament how he got hurt in an exhibition game. Yu Darvish countered by waking everyone from their slumber with a 57-MPH curveball.
As for the rest of the game, I must admit that nothing really stood out in particular. Even though this was the All-Star Game, even though this was a collection of the best players in the majors, it was pretty much just your typical baseball game. I mean, I almost had more fun staying out at The Loon until 3 am with usher friends than I did at the ballpark.
So, yes, it was an amazing time and I loved every second of it. However, I just don't remember much of the game and I wonder how other people feel about it. To be honest, the Derby was almost more memorable, which I may post about if I have time today. Still, I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.