Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Game Report: Twins vs. White Sox - A Sweet Tune by Johan Santana, Wedding Singer

This is really a report about a wedding/ballgame on September 17th, 2005.

I got up super-duper early, at like 7:30am CDT, and got all dressed up for Laurel and Kevin (and 82 other couples') wedding! ...meaning I put on a Mariners shirt and jeans. Hot damn, it's cool to go to a wedding and not have to wear a dress. I got a ride to the light rail, and whoooshed down to the Metrodome.

Matthew LeCroy wearing a white bow tie, coming
back from the Matrimonial First Pitch.

Showed up at the stadium at about 8:50ish, and found Peter, who had a baseball ticket for me, and some other friends of Laurel's whose names I have forgotten or never quite caught. Apparently we were actually there BEFORE the stadium opened! So when they did open it finally at 9:10am, we plodded in. I went around for a while taking pictures of the place (metrodome shots: 1 2 3 4 5), since I hadn't been there before. My impression of the Metrodome is that it reminds me of the Tokyo Dome, but smaller. I don't think I'd really like seeing games there on a regular basis, but it was fun to be in a new place for once. Everybody was extremely friendly and nice.

It turns out that they actually discriminate between the two levels of the place, though, and you can't just go to the lower level if you have an upper-level ticket. However, since I was so early, and my ticket did say "Multiple Matrimony" on it since Laurel's parents bought the group tickets for it, I found a very nice stairway guard lady who said she'd just let me go down, but I'd have to talk the ushers down there into letting me go in to take pictures of the ceremony. I went downstairs (and bought a long-sleeve Twins shirt because all their t-shirts were sold out except in M and XXL), and snuck into the lower field section by 115 or so where there were no ushers guarding it. There was no batting practice, but pitchers (read: Francisco Liriano) were out throwing, and some fielding practice was going on, so eventually I got Scott Baker to sign my ticket, and Matt Guerrier and J.C Romero to sign my Twins program. That was pretty cool. They were very sweet about signing stuff; it seems like the players are in general. There was a gaggle of teenage girls who kept shouting out "JOE!!!!!" "JOE, COME OVER HERE!!!!" and Joe Mauer would just look at them and wave and smile like "Oh god, not another bunch."

Eventually, there was a wedding! They led 83 couples onto the field from inside the right field stadium bowels. It was really interesting to see all the different couples. Some were getting married; some were renewing vows. Some were extremely dressed up - there were some traditional huge white wedding dresses, and a few guys in tuxes, but there was also a lot of people in Twins clothes, and what was kind of cool was how each couple was *unique* -- like, there were a few of 'em where the women used Twins homer hankies as veils; some where they weren't dressed in Twins apparel at all; some where just in jerseys and jeans; one or two couples renewing vows where they had a son or daughter with them; some hybrids where the guy was in a Twins jersey and shorts and the girl was wearing a gigantic white dress.

I spotted Kevin and Laurel as they came out and were greeted by TC Bear. Laurel was wearing a red camisole and a white floofy skirt and a Torii Hunter Twins jersey, and she had baseball Keds. Kevin had a black suit on, but with an all-black Twins jersey as his vest. It was very cool. (Later on, they had "Bride" and "Groom" baseball caps, and their parents had "Father of the BRIDE" and such baseball caps.)

The ceremony was about 20 minutes long. They had the processional where everyone came in; then they had this reverend guy speaking for a while, and they had a lady come out and sing "We've Only Just Begun", and then there was more speaking, and some vows, and they put on rings, and kissed, and waved to the crowd, and all that stuff. To be honest, it was a (not unexpectedly) generic wedding service. The funny part was that the Twins were stretching and running out in left field and the White Sox were in right field, while the ceremony was going on. As Laurel commented later, from her position near third base, she could see players signing stuff by the dugout. (Laurel: "Look! Little Nicky Punto is signing stuff!" Kevin: "Dear, we're getting *married* right now!") A few of the players stopped to watch the ceremony, though.

They had one of the couples throw out the matrimonial first pitch. Matthew LeCroy caught it. He was wearing a bowtie. It was PRECIOUS.

I snuck back up to the second level and found my seat. I was sitting in a row with Laurel and Kevin and some of their friends. We were all in section 228, rows 7-10, or so. Batling PJStP stopped by for a while. Some people down our row had a whole bunch of signs since they had held up "CONGRATS LAUREL AND KEVIN!!" during the ceremony. (Here's a picture of that someone else took.) So, anagramming, they figured out that we could also use those letters and spell out "SANTANA!!" since Johan Santana was pitching the game. So we did that a few times. It was funny.

The game itself was ABSOLUTELY FUCKING AMAZING. I am totally in awe and fear of El Presidente, Johan Santana. No, really. He was mowing the White Sox down. He had a perfect game until the 5th inning when Aaron Rowand smacked a single into center. And through the course of the first 8 innings, the White Sox only got two hits off Santana, and struck out 13 times. That's THIRTEEN STRIKEOUTS. I joked later that it was a shame he didn't get fourteen -- then you could say it was a 14-K-Rat wedding game! He ran into a little bit of trouble in the 9th, and I'm sad they even put him out there since he was up to 102 pitches. He loaded the bases, and they brought in Joe Nathan, who promptly struck out Everett, Rowand, and Dye, to win and save the game and shutout. It was amazing. I almost think I need to go buy a "Don't blame me, I voted for Santana/Nathan" shirt after that performance. The Twins' offense also didn't totally suck, and Morneau and Cuddyer both hit home runs, to boot.

(As an aside, the Twins have a LOT of really good-looking guys playing for them. Why don't the Mariners? Sigh.)

Actually, the thing about the game is -- there isn't much to report, since my entire White Sox scorecard looks mostly like "K K K K K K K" with occasional other things. Such as Johan Santana running down Pablo Ozuna at first and diving to tag him out. It looked cool, but crap, it's a good thing he didn't get injured doing that.

Oh yeah, and El Dookie sucks.

Somewhere in the 4th or 5th inning, a guy proposed to his girlfriend and it was up on the big screens. Now, normally that wouldn't be so weird, but the fact that he was proposing on the day where 83 couples were there getting married seemed just a bit like his timing was off, eh?

Later in the evening Laurel and Kevin had a wedding reception at a hotel, which was pretty fun. They had two wedding cakes (and plenty of peanuts and Cracker Jacks!), one of which had a baseball diamond on it. Nobody seemed to actually want to cut into that part. I suggested that L & K should save the baseball diamond -- much like you normally would save the top layer if you had a multi-tiered cake -- and freeze it and eat it in a year. I also suggested they should go to Twins Spring Training for their honeymoon. Man, Laurel is totally living my dream wedding :)

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