I settled into an unclaimed seat – upper deck, behind the plate, one of thousands – at Target Field about 15 minutes after first pitch. That was OK with me because, as much as I like Hector Santiago and his screwball, I’d taken the Green Line to see Justin Verlander.
By the time I had secured a beer and a program, dodged the usher-nazis and found a seat, Verlander was facing Twins cleanup hitter and Kemps ice cream spokesman Joe Mauer. Miguel Sano, who Verlander dodged all night, was on first base.
I knew it was Mauer because the T.I. banger “What You Know” had just blared over the stadium’s seemingly louder (alternative explanation: I am getting older) loudspeakers. It’s been Mauer’s walk-up music since he and Justin Morneau were carpooling to the Metrodome.
Expecting Mauer to freshen up his approach at the plate this year? Maybe swing at that first-pitch strike or try yanking one into the pansies in right? All you need to know is the guy still feels walk-up music released in 2006. He and T.I., who hasn’t had a No. 1 hit since 2008, are aging comparably.
Target Field was a strange place the April after the Twins lost a club-record 103 games. The stands were empty but the bars were full: the new ones in center field, the shitshow overhanging the left-field corner, the ones upstairs behind home plate.
In the third deck the concession stands were mostly shuttered, and the bars were the only place to get a beer besides Bud Light. The lines got deep in a hurry, and I moved on rather than stand around with my ass facing the action.
Downstairs, my reward was a self-proclaimed “drunk college student” who budged in front of me in line to get a Gatorade. “I don’t know what to tell you, bro,” she said when I protested.
Shit’s loud now too, man. I’m all for trying to get the crowd going, but they’re pumping faux-metal and tecno music in when a pitcher gets two strikes on a batter with one on in the second inning, with a graphic that reads “GET LOUD” or “MAKE SOME NOISE”. It’s more than a little obnoxious.
And it’s pointless. Anyone duped into overexerting themselves stops as soon as the music cuts out, and that happens (thanks MLB rules!) as soon as the pitcher comes set. So you get artificial noise followed by light screaming and clapping that quickly dies out before the pitch.
Maybe we just watch the game?