Does it count as schadenfreude if you take pleasure in another team’s failures if said team is facing your own team? Because it’s difficult to determine which pleased me more tonight – the Royals screwing up or the Twins capitalizing.
Before I get to the good stuff, the Royals outfield failed repetitively all game. Podsednik over ran one fly ball to the corner and under ran another. Mitch Maier came in late in the game when Rink Ankiel wounded himself, and immediately failed to come up with a diving catch. I was still rooting for the Twins successes at this point, but the tides were turning…
In extra innings, I was out of my seat clapping when Dick Bremer pointed out that Bruce Chen (!) would be starting the high-leverage 11th inning of Saturday’s game to face the top of the Twins’ lineup. Then, when Chen improbably looks sharp on the first two batters, BIlly Butler horribly misjudges an infield pop-up, putting Hudson on first. When Mauer singles and Morneau walks, the Royals bring in a righty to face Cuddyer, who promptly drives a pitch to right for a sac fly.
As a side note, it took me some thinking to get Dick’s joke when Trey Hillman, Royals manager, came out to pull Chen: “Here comes Hillman, who’s odometer has already turned over on the year.” See, because the Royals bullpen is so bad, he’s had to walk to the mound a lot more than usual. Get it? Because the Royals’ badness is funny.
The Royals equalized in the 11th, so the Twins got to have a go at the rest of the Royals infield in the 12th. With nobody out and Hardy and Young on first and second, Casilla laid down a sac bunt anyone who has ever watched the Twins in extra innings ever knew was coming. Except young Alex Gordon, who appeared to brace himself for a line drive before running to field the bunt and allowing Casilla to reach safely. Then, JOY OF JOYS, Span’s would-be infield fly out is dropped by the Royals shortstop, Yuniesky Betancourt. Delmon scores, Mauer sac-flies to center, Hardy scores, Royals don’t, Twins win.
And I’m happy that the Twins win, but I’m probably more happy that I expected a Royals collapse and was subsequently correct. That, friends and neighbors, most certainly counts as schadenfreude.
In the interest of full disclosure, it WAS raining hard all game, so the errors were weather assisted. The Span hit was a tough play for the shortstop not to make. The Twins had some fielding challenges, as well. And Podsednik was definitely NOT out on the final play of the game. While these concessions take a little something away from my narrative, I STILL enjoyed watching the Royals fail. Sorry, guys, it isn’t nice, but it is human nature, and there’s no sense in suppressing my enjoyment when it comes to sports writing on the internet.
Target Field, Round Two
I made my second trip to the Twins new playground this week with Ms. Dixie and some friends, and it remains glorious (note: when speaking about Target Field, it’s important to pronounce glorious like Will Ferrell did in Old School when he had visions of Blue from beyond the grave). The 300-level of left Field costs 18 bones a head on a Tuesday night, and comes with a free hot dog and soda if you like that sort of thing (note the second: after a few previous years of exile from Minnesota, pop has mostly fallen out of my vocabulary. However, rest assured, friends and neighbors, upon resuming my Exile in Dixie, under no circumstances will “coke” represent my personal generic term for sweet carbonated drinks. So don’t you worry about me.). The view is fabulous, the people are merry, and there are significantly fewer people walking in front of you during at bats, mostly because the incline on those stairs is no joke.
Since I so enjoyed it the first time, here are some more at-bat music observations:
Orlando Hudson: On his first at-bat, Orlando Hudson came out to Hip Hop Hooray (hoooo heeeeey hooooo). Now that’s a fine choice! The rest of the game he came out to some laid back singy-hip-hop, which is the at-bat music equivalent of Apollo Ono (ed. correction, Apollo Anton Ono) yawning before each race, I guess.
Michael Cuddyer: Cuddy consistently comes out to If this House is a Rockin (Don’t Come a-Knockin). This song has been co-opted into sex jokes so many times that it frankly makes me a little uncomfortable when Cuddy steps into the box.
Joe Mauer: Still comes out to What You Know About That. Except now that I’m used to hearing it, it has become more like a wrestler’s entrance music than at-bat music. The PA crew seems to crank up Mauer’s song a few extra decibels for a little extra impact. As such, every I hear that song, my internal thought process (and as Ms. Dixie can attest, my external vocalization process) now goes, “Wait! That’s Joe Mauer’s music!!!!”
Fantasy Pick-up of the Week that I’m Most Fired Up About
I know you likely don’t want to hear about my fantasy teams and probably don’t want my advice, so I’ll compromise and relegate my fantasy $.02 to the end of columns. Unless I can’t contain myself. And with that, I give you…
Nate Schierholtz! As he did two years ago and again last year, John Bowker had a solid week of production before reverting to remarkable non-production. Between Bowker’s suck and Aaron Rowand’s broken face (insert Frank Black yelp), Schierholtz is back to playing every day in right for the Giants. He’s had great contact skills and .300+ batting average throughout the minors, and decent power and speed for an unknown guy. So he’s basically 2007 David DeJesus without the taint of playing for the Royals. I’m fired up. In my NL only league, I dropped Akinori Iwamura from my U spot to pick Schierholtz up. My only regret is that I will no longer have a daily reminder of how much fun it is to shout “Akinori Iwamura!”