I went to my first game of the year on Saturday with my girlfriend, my best friend, his wife, and his two-month old daughter. Here’s my SABR-free thoughts of the transpirings.
On Twins fans:
I routinely make the 3 and a half hour drive up north to Minneapolis, so I’m familiar with the Minnesota sports radio scene; I turn on AM radio because I’ve gotten so sick of my CDs that I’m scared that someday I might even turn sour on The Pixies. I’ve heard nothing but Twins talk for months, and while my feelings towards the franchise can be summed up on a good day as amusement towards their sanctimonious circle jerking about Joe Mauer and Target field, and outright annoyance about the same topics on a bad day, I never really felt any real hostility towards them. Now? I hate the Twins. HATE the Twins. I was fine for awhile with the unwritten rule that nothing can even be whispered about the Twins without using at least one of the phrases “model small-market franchise” and “beautiful new outdoor stadium”, mostly because I assumed that hating them for this would just stem from jealousy on my part for being what my franchise is not. But to see these idiots preening around the K, starting chants and trying to pick fights with indifferent Royals fans for the crime of cheering for a crappy team in their own stadium, it was all I could do to keep from stealing one of their smug looks off their face and claiming it for my own by dumping my $8.50 beer on one of their heads.
On Joe Mauer:
The “MVP” chants coming out of the section I was sitting in drove me crazy, and I really don’t even know why. And then of course the bastard has the audacity to go 5 for 6 with a sacrifice and validate the annoying Twins fans. I guess I don’t really hate Joe Mauer per se, but as mentioned above, I definitely hate Twins fans. The Joe Mauer love affair in the state of Minnesota can cause an outsider to become an involuntary bulimic (think Media <3 Tim Tebow, x2. In fact, I’m not absolutely certain they’re not the same person). Admittedly, I was definitely one who wanted to see him re-sign with the Twins in the offseason. Not just to spite the Red Sox and Yankees in their attempts to make baseball irrelevant, but mostly because it gives us hope that maybe even the Royals will one day be able to hold on to their homegrown stars. Now? I’m still happy he signed with them, but I want what they love most to be punted off the bridge like Baxter in Anchorman. I hope his contract turns into a franchise-crippling albatross a la Mike Sweeney (ok, to be fair, you can’t cripple a cripple and the Royals qualify, but still), and I hope he suffers a facial injury that makes him look like Mason Verger in Hannibal so that the women of Minnesota can change their collective underpants. Screw you Joe Mauer.
On the Zack Greinke bobblehead:
I’m not an obsessive bobblehead collector (in fact I think this is the first I’ve ever owned), but I do have a nice collection of random Royals crap, so this was a nice addition. Plus, since I live in Des Moines and don’t get to a ton of Royals game, I feel like I should be rewarded with a promotional item for making the trip down since there’s maybe a 1/3 of a chance I’m going to see a Royals win. I don’t really think it looks at all like Zack, so I’m glad that it says Zack Greinke on it, just to remove all confusion. It reminds me more of one of those 2nd grade art projects I did where you fill up a rubber animal mold with plaster, let it harden, then use brushes 5 sizes too big to paint it colors that don’t exist in nature. Even so, I still have bobble-Zack displayed proudly on my desk at work now. On a similar note, they gave my girlfriend a bobblehead too because she had her Twins shirt hidden. She was going to take hers back to Minnesota, draw funny pictures over the already funny looking face of bobble-Zack, and put it on her coworker’s desk next to her bobble-Mauer and bobble-Obama and leave creepy messages for her with it. This made me much angrier than I probably should have been as there’s no rational reason for me to want to defend bobble-Zack’s honor, but I still stole it back from her, chastised her for even entertaining the idea, and threatened to make a Joe Mauer voodoo doll in retaliation. My only justification is that the Royals don’t need any help in being mocked.
On my girlfriend:
Even I was unsure of how I’d react watching a Twins/Royals game with a Twins fan, nevermind one that I profess my love for. As a general rule, I hate watching games with the fans of the opposing team. It took me years to develop a tenuous set of standards in watching games with even my closest friends when they’re rooting for the opposing team. I don’t mind cheering for the other team, even if you’re doing it enthusiastically; it’s just the trash-talking that can bring out my vicious side that no one really wants to see. Overall, we did okay. She cheered for the Twins but didn’t smart off, she didn’t boo the Royals pick-off attempts like the other Twins fans did (STFU, save it for Target Field), and we weren’t close enough for her to offer to fellate Joe Mauer. But she did manage to make me jealous anyway. Not of her Mauer-crush, not even of her winning baseball franchise. I was jealous that she went from not really caring when the Royals were shelling the pitching in the first innings, to being extremely happy when Morneau launched another bullpen lob toss over the wall, to rooting for Gordon to get a hit with the bases loaded so that we could all just go home, to being happy that the Twins won, and now not even thinking about the Twins until the next game she goes to. I on the other hand pouted like the 4 year old offspring of a Jersey Shore cast member after the inevitable bullpen meltdown (even though I along with everyone else knew it was coming), and proceeded to get more and more bitter and cynical as the evening progressed until I reached the point that I was actually a little glad that the umpire blew the final call so that I could blame him instead of the Royals. In short, she roots for a good franchise and is able to let it go when they lose. I root for a bad franchise that I know is only going to win a third of the time, and they drive me crazy anyway. I’m jealous of her sanity.
On taking a two-month-old to a baseball game:
First thing, don’t worry, we sat under the overhang, so she was warm and dry for all 12 innings. This was not only her first baseball game, it was her first sporting experience of any kind, so I was pretty happy to be there. That said, I couldn’t help but keep apologizing to her for her parents putting her in a Royals’ shirt. I wouldn’t wish the Royals on anyone, and I’m not sure I’ve ever forgiven my dad for making me a Royals fan despite growing up in Indiana. Then again, my best friend's a Cubs fan, so it’s not like that would be any better for her. Anyway, she did great, and it’s nice to see that it’s possible to be a first-time parent and not lose your mind over every possible pitfall that could come with parenthood. I feel like this should be encouraged, because lots of first-time parents bother me.
On Random Dress Attire:
I saw Crotcho, the Royals version of Quail-man in our section at one point. Looking retarded in public is actually a subjective thing; he looks brilliant when compared to Slugger. And to the man wearing the Dan Quisenberry jersey; I envied you, I’ll admit it. We really should celebrate remarkable moustaches and the people who owned them more often. I want a Quiz statue in the outfield!