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March 12, 2008

Give him the job

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Concerning the Twins this Spring Training, besides the pitching of Francisco Liriano, I am mainly interested in the battle for center field.

What I have read so far (and seen this last Sunday) convinces me that Denard Span should get the job.

He has proven he has patience at the plate, he obviously listens to the coaches, he has a hunger and a fire (not to mention a chip on his shoulder), and he is committed to getting on base. He has toiled in the Twins farm system for 6 years.

Span deserves a chance.

• Did you see this little nugget in Sid's column this last weekend?

The new Twins stadium will include the Champions Club, which will have 400 extra-wide seats behind home plate and will cost about $200 each, which will include food, beverage, parking and access to the Champions Club Lounge, which will have sit-down dining. There will be about 3,000 club seats that would be in the $50-plus range.

I'm still waiting for the news to come out about the cheap seats. I will never, ever, sit in a seat that costs $200. Never. Tell me about the cheap seats! How many cheap seats will there be?

• Finally, I have just heard that the celebration for the merger between the Minneapolis Public Library system and the Hennepin County Library system will be on March 18th at the downtown Central library. And part of the celebration will highlight the expanded library hours provided by the ballpark tax! Woohooo!

I gotta say, that is something I'm really, really happy about. The fact that the ballpark tax is helping keep libraries open longer makes it all worth while. It gives me a warm, squishy feeling in the depths of my soul. Or maybe that is the ham I ate for lunch today ...

Anyway, do any of you find yourselves looking at your receipt after making a purchase in Hennepin County and computing how much you just put towards the ballpark? I do it all the time. Simple pleasures people, simple pleasures.

Posted by snackeru at March 12, 2008 7:18 PM

Comments

Denard Span huh. No doubt he's trying really hard but does he have a choice? If he doesn't make the team this year he can be officially designated as a bust. I'll file this post away and bring back out in July when he's hitting .240 with 3 hrs and 21 RBIs.

The problem is Gomez isn't much better at least at the plate. I swear I could strike him out with my sinker. But he's fast.

I'm not sure who should get it. Thankfully we have 18 days until opening day. Who ever it is will be a drop in talent from Torii.

Posted by: Freealonzo at March 13, 2008 7:38 AM

Yeah, you file this post away. When Denard is hitting .275 with 5 homers in July you will be eating some crow!

Gomez is fast, big hairy deal. If Span doesn't make it, yes, he is definitely a bust. That is why he needs to have a chance. The Twins are building for 2010 anyway (no matter what Smith says) so why not trot some players out there and see what they can do?

Posted by: Shane at March 13, 2008 8:18 AM

Thing with Gomez is that he's got so much speed that he could easily swipe 35+ SB. If he can get his hitting around, you cannot sit a player like that. But, his hitting is atrocious right now, so unless he pulls a major turnaround at the plate, he's not starting.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at March 13, 2008 8:49 AM

Like I said about Gomez, he couldn't hit my sinker (which is pretty nasty btw, but I'm a 45 year old Babe Ruth league washout)

Posted by: Freealonzo at March 13, 2008 11:07 AM

Tell me about the cheap seats! How many cheap seats will there be?

Shane, didn't you see this link at Freealonzo's site?
http://www.minnpost.com/galleries/twins_stadium/

There are no "cheap seats" anymore. The seats in the uppermost-deck corners will start at $12, increasing to $25 around the infield. Outfield seats will be $15-$25.

Posted by: spycake at March 13, 2008 1:48 PM

Spycake, I gotta say I am impressed with your ability to not say, "I told you so."

You warned about this very thing on multiple occasions. I think I even said, "I trust the Twins." Well, my trust is decreasing. I still think there is a chance, but it is dwindling.

If there are no seats for $10 then is it accurate to say we have been betrayed?

Posted by: Shane at March 13, 2008 1:55 PM

As for library hours, I think the Minneapolis system had some serious problems beyond needing extra funding. I think staffing a litany of tiny, limited neighborhood libraries was hurting it, as opposed to the suburban Hennepin County system.

And hopefully Span keeps getting on base, but I have my reservations -- he only walked 40 times in each of the past two seasons. That might be a couple more walks than Gomez would earn, but over a full season that difference is trivial.

Posted by: spycake at March 13, 2008 1:58 PM

I don't think we've been betrayed -- this particular result has been obvious for a long time:

-- every ballpark plan plainly eliminated the outfield upper deck, which are the only "cheap seats" at the Metrodome
-- no firm commitments on ticket prices or ranges were ever made, except we'd be around "average"
-- and the average minimum MLB regular ticket price is closer to $15 than the Metrodome's $7.

The Dome, for all of its faults, is the cheap-seat-dwelling fan's paradise. Lots of seats to fill, not much demand... as much as it painfully represented the 1980's, it was also probably our last remaining link to the more egalitarian parks of yesteryear.

Posted by: spycake at March 13, 2008 2:22 PM

Just spend the extra couple of bucks Shane!

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at March 13, 2008 4:00 PM

No! That is an extra hot dog!

Posted by: Shane at March 13, 2008 4:32 PM

Spycake is right. Metrodome=thousands of horrible seats=thousands of cheap seats.

To be fair to the Twins and the new ballpark however, I am guessing that if the Twins had stayed in the Metrodome, by 2010 those "cheap seats" would be $10.

Also Shane, you should lay off those hot dogs I am sure your wife and kids want to keep you around for a while.

Posted by: Freealonzo at March 14, 2008 7:34 AM

Shane, you should be OK if the Twins continue the Dollar Dog Night promotion with Hormel...

Posted by: Snyder at March 14, 2008 11:33 AM

btw, As of yesterday Span is batting .227 and Gomez is batting .148. Now the Twins are considering Craig Monroe in Center! Soon we're going to be pining for the days of Bombo Riveria (sorry for the 70's reference you younger guys may not get. Check out baseballreference.com)

Posted by: Freealonzo at March 14, 2008 12:03 PM

To be fair to the Twins and the new ballpark however, I am guessing that if the Twins had stayed in the Metrodome, by 2010 those "cheap seats" would be $10.

Free, you posted this back in January too, and I think it's misleading. To quote from my original response:

the upper GA tickets that are now $7 were $6 as far back as 2003. That's a $1 increase over 5 years, $2 over 6 years, even with increased demand and competitive teams on the field most years. You really think those seats would go up $3 at the Metrodome in the next two years?

Not to mention, the new "cheap seats" at $12 will be severely limited in quantity (I'm guessing it will be the last few sections of the upper deck, in the corners). And before you mention that these new cheap seats will be properly oriented to face the infield, I will remind you that a good quantity of the LF and RF cheap seats at the Dome already face the infield.

And personally, I prefer to watch the game from the outfield sections rather than the corner sections in foul territory. The lower half of the RF upper deck at the Dome is probably the best regular ticket value in the majors right now: the seats are high (although not as high as the new park's upper deck!), but you're not set back from the field at all, and you've got a good shot at a HR ball for $7. The lower half of the LF upper deck is pretty good too, although you don't have a reasonable chance at a HR ball (well, until we see how Livan pitches!).

Posted by: spycake at March 14, 2008 12:23 PM

Rats, Free beat me to the Monroe nugget!

It'll be interesting to see who plays CF during the two games that will be on local TV this weekend. Question: if Monroe does play CF, who's the DH? Kubel is batting below .200 too.

Spycake, since these are our small-ball Twins, I wouldn't worry too much about HR balls since any good fan is going to have to throw back the ones from the visiting team anyway. :-)

Posted by: Snyder at March 14, 2008 2:58 PM

Bombo! Sign me up for the 2nd coming of Bombo Rivera. I barely remember him, but I have his baseball card. What about Brandon Inge? He wants out of Detroit, is decent in the field, and has some pop in his bat.

Posted by: Curt Hanson at March 14, 2008 5:55 PM

I can't see the Tigers sending Inge to a division rival, but I'd take him if the Twins could get him. How about Rincon for Inge since the Tigers' bullpen is a mess?

Posted by: Snyder at March 15, 2008 12:31 PM

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