The first Twins game I attended in 2018 featured a game-time temperature of 27 degrees. One of my last trips to Target Field, in late August, almost gave me heat stroke after three and half hours in the direct 80 degree sun. Such is the way of a 20-game season ticket plan combined with Minnesota baseball.
This past season, I ended up getting to 27 Twins games (25 at home, two on the road), and 28 baseball games overall (one Padres/Cardinals tilt at PETCO Park). I saw the Twins play to a 17-10 overall record...pretty good considering the overall disappointing season.
The Kyle Lohse Memorial Starting Pitcher Count for 2018 (I had a weird unlucky habit of seeing him pitch many times at the Metrodome when I wanted to see Johan Santana or Brad Radke)...
7 starts: Jose Berrios
5: Lance Lynn
4: Jake Odorizzi
2: Fernando Romero, Kyle Gibson, Aaron Slegers, Stephen Gonsalves
1: Zack Littell, Ervin Santana, Phil Hughes
0: Openers, Kyle Lohse sightings
I’ll be honest...until just this moment I had forgotten Phil Hughes was on the ‘18 roster at any point.
Looking back on the ‘18 season, these are the at-the-ballpark moments that really stood out to me:
- See Joe Mauer log his 2,000th hit and giving him a standing ovation along with the rest of the crowd.
- The Fernando Rodney Experience (TM).
- Seeing the Twins take a game from the World Champion Astros in early April.
- Witnessing Shohei Ohtani pitching at Angel Stadium.
- Experiencing the worst weather game I’ve ever had the “pleasure” of attending. It wasn’t even the 27 degree game, believe it or not. The Twins lost 15-9 against the Reds (the Hughes start, which makes sense) and by the end of the contest, the wind and freezing rain almost had me questioning my “bad day at the ballpark is better than a good day at work” motto.
- Seeing Jose Berrios twirl a masterful 10 K shutout, and doing it fast enough (just over two hours) for my sister and I to hit up Annie’s Parlour for burgers and malts before the Northstar Train took us home.
- Mitch Garver’s walk-off double against the Cleveland Indians, back when it still seemed meaningful to beat them.
- Collecting three T-shirts (Border Battle, Star Wars Night, Buxton/Dozier 24K Glove Magic) and a Max Kepler bobblehead.
- Experiencing PETCO Park (see above), which truly is the “Target Field of California baseball”. Instantly rocketed to near (if not the) top of my ballpark list. Best brat I’ve ever had in my entire life, paired with fresh lemonade, eaten at an outdoor pavilion overlooking the San Diego skyline in perfect weather. Even got to see a pregame celebration featuring the 1998 Padres’ NL Championship squad (Kevin Brown! Greg Vaughn! Quilvio Veras! Trevor Hoffman!).
- Jim Thome HOF Night, where it definitely got a little dusty in my section as he gave his pregame speech.
Despite the disappointing results in the standings, it was still a very enjoyable season at the ballpark(s). This, of course, doesn’t even count all the nights cheering them on from the recliner or having the game on the radio perched at the edge of the dock as I took a summer dip. I want the Twins to get back to winning ways as much as anyone, believe me, but at the same time I still manage to have a fun time at their games even in the lean years like this one.
What will be in store for 2019? Who knows. What I can say is that even though right now it feels like a bit of a relief that the season has mercifully been put to rest, once the playoffs end and that cold wind starts descending from the north, I’ll be aching for peanuts, crackerjack, and the 7th-inning stretch once again.