Thursday, July 31, 2008

Adventures in the Big City

We got a late start because of my wife’s work-related obligation, which was supposed to have included dinner, but the food didn’t come.

On the way out of town, there was a slow train blocking the crossing so we had to take a little detour. That’s one disadvantage of living in a small town – a single long train can cut the town in half like a giant ax.

The place we normally park near the Dome was full, and the alternate place was, too, so we ended up in a big parking ramp a few blocks from the Dome. At least it was cheap.

The plaza outside the Dome was packed – student night, dollar-a-dog night, and a battle for first place in the division had brought the crowds out. That’s OK. Big crowds are exciting and can pump up the home team, eh? Before we even got to our seats, Livan “El Principe” Hernandez had given up a solo home run to Carlos Quentin. A sense of foreboding was building.

A few rows from us, the obligatory drunken, foul-mouthed fan was in full throat and had lost all entertainment value by the third inning. He finally got escorted out in about the seventh inning.

The fan right behind us regaled everyone within earshot with her opinions of A.J. Peirzinski’s new hairdo. She didn’t like it.

Livan was relieved by Boof and Boof pitched well until he was visited on the mound by the pitching coach. The next batter hit a two-out, bases-clearing double. I may just be imagining it, but that sequence seems to happen a lot. Pitcher gets in jam, Anderson has brief talk with pitcher, pitcher promptly gives up big hit or walk. Somebody should be analyzing this. We need a new stat called RAPCV – Results After Pitching Coach Visit. So Boof’s trade value went from ‘not much’ to ‘near nothing’ in about five minutes.

The Twins did make a few nice plays. And we got to see Bobby Jenks pitch with a seven run lead. How often has that happened?

We didn’t eat or drink anything at the Dome because it was too crowded to stand in line at the concession stands and everything is so damned expensive anyway. Even with the losing and the loudmouths and the hunger, the game was still kind of fun. Almost caught a foul ball.

The parking ramp was jammed. Long lines of people at the pay station, longer lines of cars snaking up all six levels. We decided not to waste time or gas sitting around in a parking ramp, so we went next door to get a bite to eat and wait for the traffic to clear. The bar wasn’t too crowded and the waitress took our order right away and they were selling tap beer two-for-one with our Twins ticket stub. But the kitchen was closed so all they could offer my starving wife was a bowl of pretzels. The waitress seemed to disappear for the longest time, and when she returned she said that they were out of the beer we’d ordered. OK, so we are still thirsty but we aren’t in a huge hurry. The substitute beer took forever to arrive and it was served in tiny plastic cups. Very classy. Even at two for one, it was no bargain.

A big section of the highway going south out of downtown was closed, so our route home included a leisurely tour through the streets of south Minneapolis, where my wife grew up. We decided to take Portland all they way down to 66th, then take 66th west to the freeway. At the intersection of Portland and 66th, we encountered a brand-new roundabout, still under construction. I hate roundabouts. But by then it was late and there wasn’t any traffic, so no big deal. I would certainly avoid that intersection during rush hour, though.

Glad to be home.

3 comments:

Bleeet said...

Jim,

Well, the damn Twins are playing well enough that I am forced to listen, which is something I normally avoid because of the stress of being a fan.

I am, however, thinking more and more about baseball again, which means I'm thinking about statistics and records.

I like to think about odd stats - though I come out adamantly against the insignificant minutiae stats bandied about by some gurus (batting average against left handers in night games on the road when ahead by two or more runs and a man on first). Pfff... whatever.

I'm wondering if you know the answers or where you get answers to questions like these:

("modern era" Major Leagues only)

- What is the highest number of runs given up by a pitcher in a game where he also pitched a no-hitter? (obviously not earned runs)

- What's the record for most foul ball outs in a 9-inning game (by one team and by both combined)?

- What's the record for most fly ball outs in a 9-inning game (one team and both)?

- What's the least number of strikeouts from a pitcher in a season in which he won the Cy Young Award? Most number of walks? Greatest number of home runs allowed? Highest opponent batting average against?

- Most bunt hits in a 9-inning game (by one player, one team or both teams)?

- How many pitchers have picked off a runner at first, second and third in the same game?

- Most inside-the-park home runs in a 9-inning game (single or both teams)?

- How many pitchers have hit grand slams (during their pitching years)?

- Greatest number of outs recorded by a single player in one 9-inning game (not including pitchers)?

- Most outfield assists in one game by one player, one team or both teams?

- Most errors committed by a team in a 9-inning game that they won?

- Least number of strike outs thrown by a pitcher during a perfect game?

- Highest pitch count by a pitcher in a game he won?

- Highest average pitch count by any pitcher in one season? In a pitcher's career (more than 5 seasons)?

- Most RBIs in a season by a player who did not hit a home run in that season?

- Highest home run count by a team with the lowest season long win percentage? Lowest home run count by the team with the highest win percentage in a season?

I've got more, but I'm hoping you might have some clues or, maybe, answers.

Jim H. said...

Brendon:

Thanks for some very good questions. I'll be working on them diligently for the next several decades.

Seriously, there are a half-dozen or so very good baseball stats sites and I'm thinking of compiling a list of links for your surfing pleasure.

A small, quirky book came out a few years ago called "The Answer is Baseball" in which the author used some odd trivia questions to help illuminate the game. I liked it and you might, too. I'll bet the fine folks at Monkey Read could get you a used copy. Or perhaps you have some book publishing and selling resources of your own upon which you might draw.

Bleeet said...

I've got a few others:

- Highest percentage of RBIs that were game-winning RBIs in a season by a player? In a career? (minimum of 50 RBIs in a season or 250 in a career)

- The correlation between team batting average and win percentage?

- The correlation between team ERA and win percentage?

- Most innings played in a regular (162 game)season by a player? By a team?

- Highest season batting average by a player that didn't win the batting title in that same season?

- The highest career batting average for a player who never won a batting title? (minimum 10 seasons)

- Most strikeouts in a season by a a player who won the batting title that same season?

- Highest pitch count in one at bat?

- Largest drop in one player's seasonal batting average from the All Star break to the end of the regular season? (a player who played the full season with at least 200 at bats by the All Star Game and at least 200 after the All Star Game.)