torii’s return

It’s been one week since my last baseball game. Okay, it was my first baseball game of the season and it just happened to also be Opening Day (for America) in baseball. We grabbed a pile of seats in between left and center field, which couldn’t have been a more perfect place to sit for Torii Hunter’s return to the Metrodome.

I should back up a bit and introduce the game properly, I suppose. We gathered at Matty B’s Urban Bar and Grill for pregame drinks. We couldn’t tailgate outside like we’d wanted because of, you know, the snowstorm. Our waitress had a badonkadonk and I had $1.75 beers, so baseball season was obviously off to a good start, at least for me. And on the three or four block walk over to the Huh Huh Huh Metrodome, we had a snowball fight. That stadium without a roof just sounds more and more exciting.

We got down to our seats just in time for the starting lineups, which I was a little excited about. When they announced Hunter as the starting centerfielder for the Angels, there wasn’t exactly as welcoming of a response as I’d hoped. I was starting to get a little nervous for Torii!

Mainly for posterity, this was the Twins starting lineup:

Carlos Gomez    CF
Joe Mauer    C
Michael Cuddyer    RF
Justin Morneau    1B
Delmon Young    LF
Craig Monroe    DH
Mike Lamb (Nick Punto)    3B
Brendan Harris    2B
Adam Everett    SS
Livan Hernandez    SP
Pat Neshek    RP
Joe Nathan    CP

I wanna come back and check that in about 3 months.

Since he’s later in the batting lineup, Hunter took the field before he got up to bat. When he ran into the outfield, pretty much everyone around us stood up and the most exciting standing ovation I’d been a part of since we saw the Celtics bring Kevin Garnett back to the Target Center earlier this year. I got goosebumps, the hairs on my arms stood up, and I almost cried. Over a multi-million dollar making baseball player! He patted his heart a couple of times and then pointed to all of us.

Maybe I wouldn’t have cared if it were someone I didn’t like or someone that was as boring as, oh, I don’t know Beautiful Man Mauer or Mounty Morneau, but Hunter is just a little more special to me. When he wore #48 for the Twins, he’d sacrifice his body against brick walls and he’d laugh when the Twins were winning. He had a personality and an aura around him that just made it impossible not to love the guy. Now, was I happy when Joe Nathan struck him out in the 9th inning? Oh hell yes.

The Twins looked pretty exciting for the first game of the season and for a lineup that had more new guys then it did returning Twins players. We’ve got to have the most vanilla infield in all of the majors. They all sound like guys that grew up down the street from me, and they kinda look like it too. We need some intimidation somewhere besides behind the plate. I’m sure everyone gets intimidated by those sideburns. Who wouldn’t?

I should write more about the Twins, because I have some opinions. Okay, fine, I have lots of opinions.

What's up?