"Max, nice to meet you."
"I'm Max, pleasure to meet you."
"Hi, I'm Max, what's up."
"So you guys are all named Max? What the hell is this, some weird cult or something?"
Live Again From Minneapolis
Still in Minnesota, so this post once again comes to you courtesy of free wi-fi in my hotel room. Sweet.
Lost in the stories about the game itself, I neglected to mention what may have been the two best stories of the day. To be fair, I was both out of town and I had been drinking heavily before I wrote that, so I'm surprised its as good as it is. I'm going to take another stab at telling the story now, if that's cool. And yes, I'm still out of town and I'm still heavily beverage'd, so keep that in mind if this sucks.
Tuesday night, we walk into Hubert's (which, as I told you yesterday is a big Twins bar across the street from the Dome) and two supplier representatives are waiting for us. This was a business trip, don't forget. Up to this point, it hadn't occurred to us that all three of were named Max. When we introduced ourselves at the table, oh, it occurred to us.
Seriously, you can't make this up. The Three Max's. Hilarious. Even more hilarious is we -- the Max's -- didn't even notice until we introduced ourselves to the new guys. We're conversing the whole way to the Dome and never figured out we all had the same name.
As this is going on, the waitress comes over, and Max #2 orders a Jack and Water. She has a look of bewilderment, and after a pause of several seconds, says, "Sooo, you want shot of Jack and a glass of water?" Max #2 replies, "No, its a drink. Here, think of it as a Jack and Coke, but instead of Coke use water." Now she got it. "Oh, I got you! I'm sorry I haven't been 21 very long!"
They start 'em late up in Minnesota.
After a couple drinks, we head inside the Dome, and sit in the corporate seats (which as I told you are swank). The beer vendors in our section sell Summit, Heineken and Sam Adams -- that's the kind of area we're in. One such vendor gets to our row, stops, sets down his case and says, "So, I've been making this walk all night, and you haven't bought anything. When can I get you a beer?"
Sitting on the end, I replied, "Where were you 10 minutes ago?" He shot back, "I was in the cooler. Apparently you were missing the game, waiting in line at the concessions." I told him, "Man, I don't know, I have 20 ounces already here to finish!" He replied, "You shouldn't let that affect what I'm trying to do right here!" At this point I happened to glance at his name tag, hoping to get his name so I could properly credit him when I told the story. His name?
Seriously, you can't make this stuff up.
Twins won 7-5, by the way. I actually wrote a good recap of that yesterday, surprisingly, so go read it.
On Wednesday, the Twins played Oakland at noon. Unlike the previous night, the weather was such that it would have been great to be outside. 70 degrees, not a cloud in the sky, and we're inside a dome watching the game. Nice.
One of the perks of season tickets is you get access to private beer gardens and hospitality suites inside the Dome. We had not checked this out on Tuesday, having rolled in just moments before the first pitch. With an hour to game time, it seemed like something we ought to do.
Just like everything else, the entryway is decorated with floor-to-ceiling photos of Viking greats. Because, you know, this is a <strike>football</strike> baseball stadium. Inside the room, however, are framed magazines and newspapers of Twins victories. Either they swap those out and hang Viking pictures for their games (and vice versa) or they leave the Twins ones up because they're the only team to ever win anything.
In here, beer costs money still, but there's no line. Most of the people inside, at least on this day, are old guys and their wives -- a country club crowd. Makes sense, considering the steep cost of season tickets. I swear I heard one of them say, "Aw, Muffy, this wine is simply marvelous." But I could have been hearing things.
I kept it real and got a Bud Light, which seemed to throw the bartender for a loop. He not-so-subtly told me they had a rather extensive wine list, and would I like to peruse it. I told him no thank you, I would like a Bud Light. Defeated, he obliged, and proceeded to take out a can that was not one but TWO designs ago. Born on Date had to be 2003. He did pour it in a fancy glass, which was nice. I wish I'd brought my camera, but I had decided to leave it at the hotel because I'd gotten enough photos the night before.
On the lunch docket was shaved roast beef, baked potatoes, cooked ham, or steak. Being Wednesday, I honestly was hoping for the Hormel Dollar Dogs ($1 hot dogs, all Wednesday home games). These were not available in the Sun Room, so I left without eating. Seriously, who eats shaved roast beef at a baseball game? Probably the same guy drinking wine.
Remember how I told you I decided not to bring my camera to this game? Yeah, it was bad enough that I couldn't get a photo of the old busted Bud Light can. But then I shook hands and met a guy who should be in the Hall of Fame. Number 6, Tony Oliva. His number is retired on the outfield wall, and he was one of the greatest hitters ever. Look him up, he was GREAT. So yeah, I meet him, and have no camera to document it. And nothing for him to sign. I hate the Sun Room.
Then as we're walking to our seats, I see Steve Stone heading into the ESPN booth. Yes, the Steve Stone. Harry Caray's straight man for years, now working for the Eastern Sports Programming Network, which fell asleep at the wheel and accidentally programmed the Twins-A's game. Again, no camera.
Out to our seats, and we decide to wait a couple innings before getting our Dollar Dogs. Francisco Liriano, who was the Rookie of the Year before injuring his elbow and shoulder in August, is DEALING. Two strikeouts in the first two innings, and guys are looking silly. Frank "Darth" Thomas strikes out in the second on a check swing, looks to the umpire and says, "I can't hit that!" (Our seats are close enough to hear him say that!).
In the third inning, Liriano comes out and throws two quick strikes. The third, a slider, bounces in the dirt. He winces, walks around the mound, and the next pitch is a fat fastball that's hammered into center for a hit. His next pitch would be his last, as he uncorks a ball that bounces four feet in front of the plate, and immediately hunches over, hands on knees, in excruciating pain. We could hear him scream from our seats. I was glad I hadn't eaten that roast beef or I would have thrown it up. Here you have the absolute greatest young pitcher in the game, back from injury, and in the third inning his arm is hanging there, dangling like a noodle. Seriously, the scream was like a horror movie. Only it was real.
The trainer ran out, as did Gardy. Liriano immediately left the game, obviously, and the crowd gave him a nice ovation as he left. After seeing that, I needed food. And I needed it now.
Two Dollar Dogs, a Coke and some chips, six bucks. Now that's food.
The Twins went to the next man in line, another rookie phenom named Matt Garza. He gave up just one run over six innings. The Twins lost 1-0. But all I remember are three things:
Liriano's primal scream, Not having my camera, and Dollar Dogs. A 1-for-3 day. 1-for-4, really, since the Twins lost.
All in all, though, a good time.
Now I have a long drive back to look forward to, in a Dodge Charger that is growing on me. I hated it yesterday. Today, I'm coming around. Hopefully by tomorrow it will be fun to drive.
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