The Twins squandered extra chances to score in their belief that, because they were playing a National League team, they needed to play NL style ball. With Denard “The Nard-Dog” Span on first with no outs in both the 6th and 8th innings, Trevor Plouffe (a less manly name has yet to be applied to any member of the male species), was asked to sacrifice him over. In the 6th, Joe Mauer followed with a double that would have allowed Span to score anyway; then, following an intentional walk to Morneau, the Twins ran themselves out of the inning with a strike-out/throw-out double play, in which the catcher was caught as the lead runner trying to steal 3B. Ugh. Two innings later, Gardy was outmaneuvered again when, after Plouffe’s bunt, Joe Mauer was intentionally walked, Morneau flew out to RF, Cuddyer walked, and Kubel struck out. That’s three outs the Twins gave away with runners on base in a game that ended up being decided by a run. Ugh.
Anyway, this post is not about the game itself, but about the experience of being at the game with a woman (The Uncommon Wife) who doesn’t really care about baseball that much. Call it: your guide to the ballpark with an unenthusiastic partner. Here are some easy dos and don’ts:
Do: make sure your partner has their own hat. This is particularly important on a drizzly day like this past Saturday, or if you’re sitting out in the sun. When your partner’s hair gets too messy or they are getting too much sun, they will usurp your own cap. This will invariably occur in the late innings, when you’re trying to coax a rally out of your hometown nine with a rally cap. Two problems here: 1) this leaves you exposed with hat hair. 2) the rally will fizzle (probably because your manager calls for a sacrifice bunt, and you couldn’t stop him with the amplified brain waves created by your now stolen and refurbished rally cap.
Don’t: let your partner get ahold of your scorecard. Even if they know how to keep score, if your partner is bored, you might come back to this (Click to embiggen. TCM makes no apologies for his non-standard manner of scoring; it's how he was taught by his grandfather and it makes sense to him.):
You’ll note that the umpire for that night’s game was Scotch and there is a “rally whale” (which apparently eats the rally shark) that stretches from the first inning to the fifth. There’s a sad face because the Twins lost. One player is label a “speedy motherfucker” with a circle representing “how his legs looked as he ran around the bases.” Finally, there is a landmine below the list of Twins coaches (more on that below).
Do: encourage your partner to bring a friend, which will allow you to concentrate on the game and your next snarky comments about how, because of injury, the Twins now have the four most redundant players in the majors to mix and match in the infield: Nick Punto, Trevor Plouffe, Brendan Harris, and Matt Tolbert. Gardenhire must be absolutely basking in the good-field/no-hit middle infield goodness.
Don’t: give your partner your wallet when they get up to go to the restroom. They may come back with the monstrous combination of a glass of scotch and a package of cotton candy. Worse, they could make you try the combination. “The sugar melts into the scotch and makes it sweet! It’s the perfect combination!”
Do: find out as much as you can about your partner’s ideas for “improving” the game. For example, The Uncommon Wife wants there to be an alligator pit between the catcher and the umpire. She feels like this will lead to fewer arguments, and more peril. In fact, she is consistently in favor of more peril in baseball. She would like one of the aforementioned landmines to be placed in one stadium every season, just to up the danger of the game. These are generally hilarious, especially those ideas that your partner will believe in most fervently.
Don’t: come back from the concession stand with ice cream when you’ve been asked to get another scotch. Just don’t. (Sorry, dear, but it was after the 7th inning! Stop hitting TCM with your purse, ok?)
Do: make sure your partner fills out an All Star ballot. The Uncommon Wife volunteered to fill one out, and will be here on Wednesday to
Don’t: sit directly underneath the organist. Baseball is better with a real organ, don’t get The Common Man wrong, and it’s awesome that TCM and company were sitting directly below her. But that woman doesn’t need any additional questions like, “Do you know how to play ‘Alejandro?’” or “I need some ‘Baby Elephant Walk,’ stat!” It’s bad enough she has to sit in the “pub” (aka a glass box with cement floors and a bar).
Do: have fun
Don’t: get too bent out of shape. Baseball is supposed to be a good time, and we all enjoy it in different ways. Some people like inventing convoluted scenarios in which Delmon Young stumbles over a landmine while trying catch a fly ball (really, it wouldn’t hurt too much, given his defense).
Some begrudgingly appreciate seeing a perfectly executed squeeze play. But at $30-50 for a decent seat, just relax and take it all in. And try not to mix cotton candy in your scotch.