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Game 27: Royals at Twins

The nicest visiting folks this side of Blue Jays fans bring their rooting to our rooting at Target Field.

Minnesota Twins v Cleveland Guardians
If you put ketchup on a hot dog this mascot will beat you to death with a T-shirt that was once Twins/Royals sky blue but now is the color of your blood
Photo by George Kubas/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Time: 3:10 Central (WTF?)

Weather: Sprinkles very possible, scheduled start time temp 54°

Opponent’s terrific SB site: Royals Review

TV: BSN (for now), MLB Network (out of market only). Radio: Here’s the frequency, Kenneth

Today’s Royals starter, Jordan Lyles, is your ultimate back-end starter “chasing that dream.” He was drafted by Houston at age 17, made his MLB debut at age 20 (and got a hit!), then Houston basically gave up on him at 23. He’s 32 now, and the Royals are his eighth MLB team.

I was looking at his Twitter page to see if he mentions a partner or kids (that’s who the journeyman career is hardest on). I didn’t see any, which of course means nothing; some people are private about their private lives. Plus, the page hasn’t been updated since 2015 — a lot can change in eight years!

The page does have this excellent Tweet:

Yeah, a lot can change over the years.

Lyles throws a 91-ish fastball, a sweeper/slurve, traditional curve and a sinker. His mound opponent will be Pablo Lopez, who was not good in his first game after getting a new contract. But I doubt it was because he's now always in the backyard hot tub with baseball groupies while upending bottle after bottle of $100 champagne. That'd be me. Digits:

While tonight’s game is in the cozy (if damp) confines of Target Field, Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium has long been a road-trip destination for Twins fans. It is often paired with a visit to the acclaimed Negro Leagues Museum just a few minutes’ drive away, and/or one of many restaurants serving Kansas City’s famous barbecue. Almost every list of the best stadiums in baseball will include Kauffman (such as this one ranking it right behind Target Field).

Which means, naturally, that the new owner wants taxpayers to build him a fancier one.

John Sherman is only the third owner in Royals history. Ewing Kauffman, a second-generation German-American, was the 1967 expansion owner (and well-liked in the community for his charitable contributions). After Kauffman’s death, ownership eventually went to his friend David Glass, a Wal-Mart executive who promptly cut the Royals’ payroll in half. When he got very old and sick, he sold it to Indians vice chairman Sherman.

(He made his money in propane tanks, so very Hank Hill… and also in salt mines, so not Hank Hill.)

Why does Sherman want a new stadium? Well, as always, Neil deMause has the whole story covered for you. Sherman and the Royals claim that Kauffman is structurally unsound (it isn’t), that a new stadium in downtown Kansas City will “revitalize” the neighborhood (it won’t), how the fans will benefit (Globe Life Park is brand new and nobody’s thrilled with that thing), and, of course, that increased tax revenue will make any stadium subsides pay for themselves (which has never, ever happened).

You can read through all the deMause articles for the relevant details (some of which are gloriously brazen BS from Sherman and other stadium boosters), but I could type the exact same “reasons” for a new stadium every single time owners start pimping for one. (The pimping comes first… then comes the “buy me one or I’m leaving” ploy.”

Because, really, there’s only two reasons rich people buy sports teams.

One is to be a member of an exclusive club. Any idiot with enough money can buy a mansion or a yacht. But there’s only so many sports teams to go around, and because of the various leagues’ antitrust exemptions in America, the other owners don’t sell to just anyone. Years before becoming President, Donald Trump tried to buy the Buffalo Bills, and the NFL said no because he couldn’t prove he had enough money. The NBA’s Mark Cuban once tried to buy the Chicago Cubs, and MLB said no because Mark Cuban is too openly loud and annoying… the league would prefer its owners to be giant jerks in a more subtle fashion.

The other reason to buy sports teams is that they are cash cows when it comes to appreciating in value. And nothing boosts that value more than getting public money for a stadium.

The reason Sherman is in “pimp mode” instead of “blackmail mode” is that, as part of the most recent stadium renovations, the Royals’ lease was extended through the 2030 season. And we all know how tough it is for teams to get out of a lease. So, Kauffman Stadium fans, there’s still hope; maybe Sherman will be happy with more luxury boxes or a giant scoreboard that doesn’t work on the home opener.

And, Wild fans, take note: that lease at the Xcel Energy Center expires in 2030, too.

Today's Lineups

Bobby Witt - SS Max Kepler - RF
Vinnie Pasquantino - DH Carlos Correa - SS
Salvador Perez - C Jorge Polanco - 2B
MJ Melendez - RF Byron Buxton - DH
Edward Olivares - LF Trevor Larnach - LF
Nick Pratto - 1B Jose Miranda - 3B
Kyle Isbel - CF Joey Gallo - 1B
Hunter Dozier - 3B Christian Vazquez - C
Michael Massey - 2B Michael Taylor - CF
Jordan Lyles - RHP Pablo Lopez - RHP

Incidentally, the 3:10 start time is part of a promotion the Twins are calling “6-1-2 Happy Hour,” in which beers will be $6, soda $1 and hot dogs $2 (while popcorn is free) from gates open until 3:00. The idea is to make hanging out pregame a fun community experience.

But, in April? I know of warmer places where beers are about $6 and popcorn is free. Namely, any bar with a popcorn machine. The Twins obviously couldn’t predict today’s drizzly weather, but April is usually kinda chilly! Do it in May! On a weekend!