by Scott Hall
Here's the new statue of Rod Carew outside the Twins new ball park in downtown Minneapolis. It's a beautiful new park that I think will please most fans. Like Mariucci Arena where the U of MN Gophers play hockey, there are a lot of nice artistic and historical touches - photos, sculptures, architechture - that add to the experience of being there and people will enjoy checking out. Some, like this statue, are outside the park and don't require a ticket. The archtechture is more modern than some of the other new parks - lots of glass, steel, limestone, and brightness. We walked around the park and I couldn't find many places where you wouldn't enjoy watching the game. Even standing room areas have good views.
Outdoor baseball and this statue of Rod Carew reminded me of a game we saw in Met Stadium in Bloomington in 1977. It was late July or Early August, sunny and about 85 degrees. Rod was hitting about .385, and everyone was excited about his chances for hitting .400. Dennis Eckersley was the starting pitcher for Cleveland that day. Rod grounded out in his first at-bat. The he dropped a beautiful bunt for a single, singled to center another time and, in his last at-bat, lined a 95 mph Jim Kern fast ball on one hop to the left center wall for a double - 4 for 5. His average went over .390 that day. He finished the season at .388. Dave Goltz pitched and got the win, Lyman Bostock hustled a single to a double to everyone's delight, and I think Larry Hisle drove in a couple of runs. Twins had a good team that year but finished 4th behind KC, Texas and the White Sox.
We saw the two best hitters in baseball last Saturday. Below left, Joe Mauer at bat in the first inning. Moments later, he ripped a HR to deep center. Below right, St. Louis' great first baseman, Albert Pujols. He doubled to left off Kevin Slowey in this at-bat.
The Cardinals were the first team I followed as a kid. There were thousands of Cardinal fans at the games this weekend. I'm glad the Cards are in the NL and the Twins are in the AL. I can root for both without upsetting MN family and friends. I would love to see them both in the World Series. Both have very good teams this year. I did have wardrobe concerns. I wore my Twins T-shirt and Cardinal hat. My wife, Frieda, approved, probably because the T-shirt is more noticable (left). At right is a view from the third-base line out to right field and beyond.
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