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Game 87: Tigers at Twins

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Houston Astros v Detroit Tigers
Lions and Tigers and Horse Things, oh my
Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Time: 7:10 Central. Vegas Line: -210 MIN / DET +190

Weather: Partly cloudy and near-perfect, 77° at first pitch

Opponent’s excellent SB site: Bless You Boys

TV: BS North. Radio: TV on the Radio is a good band from neither Detroit nor Minnesota

Tonight’s Tigers starter, righty rookie Matt Manning, has all of four games in his MLB career, so there’s no point in listing any stats here. Manning is no relation to either NFL/TV ad superstar Peyton or longtime NBA pro Danny, although his dad Rich also played in the league (briefly). The dad is five inches taller than his 6’6” son; it must be weird to reach 6’6” and still never outgrow your dad. After doing quite well in 2019 at the AA level, Manning’s struggled to last long in games at both AAA and the bigs this season; folks, when you ask for your team to go Total Rebuild, this is what you’ll experience. Kenta Maeda, OTOH, had his strongest outing of 2021 on Sunday; as our Blog Pope put it, “Kansas City fixed Maeda!”

This week’s “Adventures in Baseball Things We Own” is going to be about fishing, a popular recreation among athletes in general and Minnesotans in particular.

I am not from here, and I loathe fishing. But I am from the Pacific Northwest, where you’re supposed to know fishing, so my location of upbringing is no excuse.

Fishing, like baseball, is one of the many things my cold and often cruel father would mock me for not being any good at. Every time he tried to take me fishing, in some verdant mountain stream, I’d catch nothing but snags, losing lures from lines we’d have to cut until he gave up and drove me home in silence. He never caught anything either, which was naturally blamed on my presence, as if I’d Crappy Fisherman’d the trout away from the riverside.

The one and only fish I ever caught on these father-son bonding excursions was a pathetic little lake trout I’d accidentally hooked in the eye. I was excited as it splashed and writhed while I reeled it close to shore; by the time it was close enough to see, the thing was half-dead. By the time I was able to unhook its eyeball (severing the eye in this process) and put it back in the water, it was fully dead. My dad, thankfully, never took me fishing again.

Later, as a young adult, a nice and fun friend tried to get me into fishing. He was a true Northwesterner about it, regularly taking fishing trips, and his parents owned a store that made custom fishing rods (not far from Trevor May’s hometown, actually). “It won’t work,” I told him. “I’ll suck at it and be miserable.” No, he assured me, there’s no way we wouldn’t catch fish with him around. And he was good at cooking them, too.

My very first cast, I snagged the line. My friend told me to jiggle it. I jiggled it. “Hang on, I’ll get it,” he said, and I handed him the pole. He jiggled it, and the pole broke, a $300 custom pole. We stood there looking at the broken thing. “Wow,” he said. “just, wow. You really are no good at fishing!”

“I told you.” Still nice to be at the river and drink a few beers though, this guy wasn’t mean like my Dad. (Who himself was actually a good, kindly driving teacher, but that’s a different story.)

Part of my learning to re-love baseball in the 2000s was getting away from how miserable my dad made me feel when I played it with him. So it came as something of a surprise when, at a Metrodome game I went to on a whim in 2002 or so, I was inadvertently early enough to receive, of all things... a fishing lure?

It was a Eric Milton lure (with a REALLY BIG HOOK), and a label on the front saying “DRIVES BASS, PIKE, AND DH’S WILD!” Milton, it seemed, really enjoyed fishing.

I thought this was very amusing, and it was more amusing later when I got ANOTHER Twins fishing lure, also by accident. At that point I started to seek them out, and amassed a little collection:

Front of the Milton one is unreadable, it’s so stained.

As you can see, however, the post-Milton lures were fairly repetitive, and didn’t have as much character to them. So, eventually, there came a time when the Fishing Lure giveaway was on a day I was scheduled to work. My boss, a friend who was sympathetic to how much my Twins fandom meant reclaiming baseball from bad childhood memories, offered to give me the day off. I thanked her, but said nah. Sometimes it’s time to end things. Like believing the Twins could “turn it around” this season, or my attempts at fishing. The Twins have done more of these giveaways later, all similar; if you want a Matt Capps one, here’s your link.

I did experience fishing one time as a Minnesotan; I was supervising some little kids, not mine, at Mrs. James’s extended-family lake getaway. It was my job to hook on the worms so the little kids didn’t poke their fingers fishing off the dock (I poked my fingers, instead).

The bloodthirsty little SOBs kept getting the same three-inch fish, over and over, probably too brain-damaged from repeated hookings to learm its lesson and quit biting the chewed-up dead worm. This fish eventually died, too, at which point my job became to subdue the kids’ screaming by promising to get rid of the scary floating dead thing (that they’d killed).

The cabin resort had a “fish cleaning station,” a thing I’d never used, but it had a giant sink with a garbage disposal. So I put the fish in it and turned it on. Presto; my face and clothes were covered in fish glop. The adults whose monstrous kids I was supervising found this Very Funny and I immediately hated them for this. (The adults or the kids, you ask? Both!)

Me and fishing are not meant to be. But I enjoy those old Twins lures. Bet your sweet butt I poked my dang finger arranging them for the picture, though.

Of those Lure’d players, Mr. Mientkiewicz has his own charter fishing service. In the Florida Keys. In a town Gene Hackman has lived in. Here’s an article about it, and here’s the accompanying picture:

DOUG FINGER/Keys Weekly

Well, he’s allowed to enjoy fishing more than me; so long as he doesn’t give me any grief for hating it more than him. Seems happier than when he was fired by the Falvine, at any rate.

As usual, please feel free to share photos/stories of your own baseball-y items (Twins or no) with friends here at TwinkieTown by emailing them to me per twinsbrewer@yahoo.com. Put “My not fish story” or similar in the subject heading so I know it’s not a reverse-mortgage ad.

Today's Lineups

TIGERS TWINS
Akil Baddoo - CF Luis Arraez - 2B
Jonathan Schoop - 2B Josh Donaldson - 3B
Robbie Grossman - LF Trevor Larnach - LF
Miguel Cabrera - 1B Nelson Cruz - DH
Jeimer Candelario - 3B Alex Kirilloff - RF
Eric Haase - DH Jorge Polanco - SS
Nomar Mazara - RF Max Kepler - CF
Zack Short - SS Miguel Sano - 1B
Jake Rogers - C Morty Mortivedt - C
Matt Manning - RHP Kenta Maeda - RHP

Kudos to Rocco for posting his lineups way early so I can nap before the game! Let’s concentrate on what really matters, people...