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Game 46: Twins @ Mariners

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Impossibly young Fernando Romero squares off against impossibly good James Paxton.

No doubt, saluting a lost loved one. It'd be less poignant if he was saying, "pull my finger, God." That's how Bert would roll.
No doubt, saluting a lost loved one. It'd be less poignant if he was saying, "pull my finger, God." That's how Bert would roll.
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
Time: 9:10 Central. Vegas Line: -180 SEA / MIN +165
Weather: Start Temp 64°, They Have A Roof
Opponent's Nice SB Site: Lookout Landing
TV: FSN. Radio: "Meh, baseball is boring" -- all of Portland, OR

My first outdoor MLB game was at Safeco Field. It was entrancing and magical. The green grass, the smell of saltwater air. But there was a problem.

A really pesky child.

We’d gotten nosebleed seats behind home plate, and the spot was pretty empty. Basically, there were five humans in our entire section; me, my girlfriend*, a couple right behind us, and their kid, a precocious individual around eight or so.

The couple were prototypical Northwest hipsters, chatting incessantly about the newest albums, swank restaurants, and such. (It'd be podcasts and trending Twitter topics today; this was 2004.) You’d have assumed "yuppies on a date trying to impress each other," except for (small detail) their child. Whom they did not attempt to supervise whatsoever.

The freebie giveaway for that game was a baseball card, and this kid came down to demonstrate Reading. "I know what AVG means!"

"Oh, good, look at Ichiro, he has a fantastic average."

"I know what HR means!"

"Great, now watch this play, maybe there will be a home run."

"Would you like me to tell you the numbers? 2001: 123, 2002: 456, 2003: 789," etc. Then reciting US state names. Then describing a grade-school science project...

This child was unstoppable, and neither was the parents’ self-absorption. We were essentially babysitters for three hours.

What would you do? Most of the stadium looked pretty full. We could have moved to another part of our empty section, but that would be tantamount to announcing, "Your Beloved Offspring Is An Irritant And Your Parenting Skills Are A Scourge Upon All Conscious Existence." And nobody wants to be rude.

Anyhoo, Eddie Guardado eventually got the save in extra innings for Seattle, by which point we were blessedly back at the hotel.

*Now spouse, but strictly to evade each others’ lawsuits. She grows plants to poison me, I grow plants to poison her. "It’s complicated," as data-mining algorithms social media always says.

James Paxton is better than you. 2018 digits:

Proof, once again, that numbers can lie. Left-handed hitters have a .622 OPS against Paxton for his career, and there's no darn way Romero sustains his splits against lefties unless he's soon rocketed to Mars.

Paxton is the guy Romero hopes to become, if all goes well. Paxton has a thick lower frame which gives his upper-90s fastball the seeming ease of a changeup delivery; read the very good Jeff Sullivan about him and watch video at that link, if you like reading about pitchers more outstanding than the Twins have had since Johan.

Today's Lineups

MINNESOTA TWINS SEATTLE MARINERS
Brian Dozier - 2B Jean Segura - SS
Eddie Rosario - LF Guillermo Heredia - CF
Miguel Sano - 1B Mitch Haniger - RF
Eduardo Escobar - 3B Nelson Cruz - DH
Max Von Kepler - RF Kyle Seager - 3B
Mitch Garver - C Ryon Healy - 1B
Robbie Grossman - DH Ben Gamel - LF
Ehire Adrianza - SS Mike Zunino - C
Byron Buxton - CF Gordon Beckham - 2B
Fernando Romero - RHP James Paxton - LHP