Sunday, January 31, 2010

Twinsfest and Nick Punto Day!

I promised several tweet from Twinsfest - and then totally failed to make any. Sorry gang. The simple fact is that I was almost always with people at Twinsfest, and I haven't mastered the younger generation's skill of texting on my phone while not appearing (or at least feeling) rude. So instead, let's just have a bullet list entry with notes from Twinsfest.
  • I started with a highlight - a couple of hot dogs with sauerkraut and mustard. I swear to gawd, I would go to Twinsfest annually just to have a couple of hot dogs. Since it was Friday night, I washed it down with tap Summit and the whole kit-n-caboodle cost me just $7.50. Turns out that the hot dogs were 2-for-1 and tap Summit was $3.50 less than any bottled beer. It also turns out that caboodle is spelled with a "c" according to Who knew?

  • Before the event we went to Dan Kelly's for a beer and after it we went to Maxwell's. Those two are my two favorite pre/post game bars, and I'm wondering how soon I will find a regular place nearer Target Field.

  • We tried to win the free season tickets from the KSTP booth, but would have been more than satisfied with a free pint glass. We were shut out. I'm really disappointed with myself for not trying to negotiate the free pint glass. That's just bad driving.

  • Speaking of bad driving, we talked with the folks at the Target Field display about their food options. It started as a very pleasant conversation. I'm excited about the options there, and they were receptive to our lobbying for Surly to be included in the available beers. Of course, we also pointedly argued that they couldn't claim to have Minnesota food fare and not have anything with Spam.

    OK, we likely didn't help our credibility much with that last point.

    But the really disappointing part of that conversation was the revelation that the Murray's Steak Sandwiches that are going to be served at Target Field are not the same as the ones they currently serve in the bar at Murray's. They're coming up with something new, instead. In fact, they haven't even determined what it is going to be.

    (These sandwiches, as you know if you know me, are ambrosia. Char-grilled, oh-so-tender, pink-fibered ambrosia, cut into tiny chunks and covered with cheese and bacon. I would walk over hot coals for that thing. They only serve it at lunch and they only serve it in the bar. There. Now you have lunch plans today.)

    Worse, once they create this new...this new... I'm going to go with "monstrosity"..., they're going to replace the sandwich they currently have with it. It's the worst possible situation.

  • My pint glass remorse was lightened at the bargain merchandise table. I got a kinda neat orange Twins spring training hat for $2, and then we talked the guy down on a button-up Twins shirt for $10. The hat has quickly become on of my favorites. And though it's a good hat, I'll fully admit it's reached that status mostly because it was just $2. They didn't have pint glasses.

  • Please, gawd, don't let them shave the steak for those sandwiches. It HAS to be bite-sized chunks of beef. If they try to create a Philly Cheesesteak, which they will inevitably butcher, and ALSO screw up my steak sandwich, I'm going to be inconsolable.

  • I paid considerably more than $2 at our next stop, which was a booth where they were selling the coffee table book The Twins at the Met by Bob Showlers. I had a great talk with Bob about putting the book together, and it was probably the highlight of the night.

    The book started as a bunch of pictures from The Met of players, coaches, press - everyone. Then he interviewed players, showing them the pictures and letting them spit out their memories. Taking a look at it today I came across a great passage that I have to share. It's in a section about Billy Martin and the person remembering is Charley Walters, who you may know as a Pioneer Press columnist but who was also a pitcher for the Twins in 1969, the year Martin managed.

    "In 1969, we started the season 0-4. We're in Anaheim for a series against the Angels and I'm sound asleep in my hotel room when the phone rings at 3:30 am. It's Ted Uhlander, and he says "We've got an unbelievable party going on. You've got to come down to room 203." I could hear women and music and laughter in the background. I was 22 years old and single at the time, but there was no way I was going down to that party. It was the middle of the night, we've just lost our first four games and I wasn't going to do anything that might get me sent to the minors. I told Ted I wasn't coming down and he tells me to hang on because someone wants to talk to me. Another guy gets on the phone and says "Hey Big Shooter, this is Billy. You've got five minutes to get your ass down here. It was Billy Martin, our manager. I said, "I'll be right down."

    I'm excited about this book. I wish I would've had it earlier. By the way, if you want some more stories on Billy Martin and that 1969 season, be sure to pre-order the new Twins Annual by Maple Street Press which TwinsCentric put together (and I edited). It has a fantastic story by Jim Thielman about the 1969 Twins focusing on the Billy Martin-Dave Boswell fight. I can't think of a better thing to have handy when listening to those spring training games.

  • If you want to sell something from Murray's, how about the garlic toast they have in the bar? Offer me a sleeve of those things for $5 and the popcorn guy will go out of business.

  • I later had a talk with Nick Vetter, the owner of Low and Inside, a printing company which specializes in printing baseball merchandise and publishing. He shared that he has been going to the opening game of each brand new ballpark since sometime in the 90s. Needless to say he's pretty excited about being able to finally go to one for his hometown team. I love that idea.

  • It's hopeless, isn't it? It's going to go the way of my lamb sirloin with that tasty dipping sauce they had at Palomino in the 09's. I hate change.

  • And I finished Friday night with a long conversation with Minnesota Score magazine about publishing sports magazines, getting advertising and where one can distribute the issues. I stopped by their web site and found out that David Zingler, who used to write for MPR's baseball blog, is writing there, which is a nice surprise.
And that's it for Friday night. I'd like to tell you about Saturday which was probably a lot more relevant to a Twins blog, but I'm out of time for tonight. For that matter, it's also when we talked about Nick Punto Day, which is part of the title of this post, but still, it's going to have to wait. I'll check in tomorrow with the rest, and likely another half dozen Murray's steak sandwich rants.


Bryz said...

Hey John, I heard the Twins are planning on serving Murray's famous steak sandwiches at Target Field this year, except they're going to change the sandwich from they have now. Not only that, but they're planning on changing the actual sandwich at Murray's as well! How do you feel about this?

TwinsWin said...

Those sandwiches are schwaggy Alpo. I can't wait for the new one.

Jack Ungerleider said...

The food item you want is Hawiian Spam Musubi. Think sushi (rice base with a seaweed wrap) with Spam instead of fish. It should be trendy enough.
I'd include a link but I haven't figured out how to copy and paste URLs on the new phone yet.

windfall said...

Maybe they could sell a Twins branded Musubi press...

Parker Hageman said...

Pat Neshek says meat is murder.