Opening Day 2011

Photos from the following Twins games can be found here:

Link: Opening Day 2011: Twins vs. Athletics, April 8, 2011

Link: Twins vs. Athletics, April 10, 2011

Finally. After 6 long months it’s time to head back to Target Field and watch baseball. The snow is gone, the grass is green, and the endless possibilities of a new season are upon us. This year I think I’m officially convinced that Mother Nature is a Twins fan. The opening ceremonies this year took place under clear blue skies and temperatures in the 60’s! That kind of weather for early April in Minnesota is a treat to begin with, but to happen for the second consecutive year on Opening Day is remarkable. You might remember that 2010’s Opening Day had very similar weather. Hopefully the great weather continues this season. It’s great to finally be able experience the weather, good or bad, while watching baseball in Minnesota.

I currently have plans to attend nearly all of the Twins home games this season. Currently, the expected total is between 65 and 70 games, but that will likely fluctuate as the season goes on. I’m going to try and photograph as many games as it seems worth doing. Basically what that means is it will depend on the seats I’m able to come across that offer good photographing opportunities. Through the first homestand of the season it’s looking good that I’ll be able to photograph a lot this season. So as far as this website goes, my goal is to make a new blog post for each series or at the very least one for each homestand. Each game I photograph will get its own gallery most likely though. So if there was a specific game you might want to look at you should be able to do that fairly easily. Now on to the photos!

If you’re not familiar with Rob Arra’s photographic work, he does these incredible panoramas of basically every major sporting event including the openings of new stadiums. Last year he made a great panorama during the national anthem at Target Field’s official opening day. I noticed that he made that photograph from close to where my season ticket seats are this season, so I wanted to take my own shot at making a similar photo. Below you will see how my version from this year turned out (click on it to see it larger). It’s made up of 5 photos merged together, so the full resolution version is quite large. I’m hoping to eventually make myself a nice print of this photo that will likely be about 30″ wide.

Opening Day 2011 panorama taken from my seats.

One of the unique things to look forward this season will be Bert Blyleven’s induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Not only are the Twins going to officially retire Bert’s #28 jersey number in July, but they have provided a countdown in Target Field to that event. The countdown will measure the number of Twins home games left until his induction.

    The number of Twins home games until Bert Blyleven's induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame is being counted down at Target Field this season

Opening Day at Target Field was also a special day because it represented the very first time that Joe Nathan made an official appearance at Target Field after missing the entire 2010 season due to Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow. True to his word, the dirt that he scooped up off the mound at the Metrodome at the end of the final game there on October 11, 2009 made its way to Target Field where he placed it on the mound prior to the game. The magic must have come along too because he came into the game in the 9th inning to pick up his first save at Target Field, which will hopefully be the first of many.

    Joe Nathan picks up his first save at Target Field after missing the entire 2010 season to Tommy John surgery.

The final game in the Oakland series provided an oppportunity for Joe Mauer to receive his 2010 Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards for being the best defensive and offensive catcher in the American League. This was Joe’s third Gold Glove award and fourth Silver Slugger award.

    Joe Mauer receives his 2010 Rawlings Gold Glove Award before the game on April 10, 2011

    Justin Morneau presents Joe Mauer with his 2010 Silver Slugger award on April 10, 2011

One disappointing event was that the Twins exciting new Japanese 2nd baseman, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, suffered a broken leg the series before Opening Day. The New York Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher took Nishioka out on a hard slide trying to break up a double play. Luckily the fracture wasn’t as serious as it could have been, but it’s still going to mean that the home fans won’t see him play for 4 to 6 weeks. In the time being, Michael Cuddyer has been filling in for him at 2nd base. I can’t wait to see Nishioka back on the field because I think he will bring a lot of excitement to Target Field this season.

    Michael Cuddyer makes a leaping catch while playing 2nd base on April 10, 2011

Probably the thing I’m most excited about this season is watching Jim Thome chase down his 600th homerun of his career. He entered the season 11 shy at 589 for his career, but during the April 10th game he got one step closer by hitting a bomb for #590. The ball ended up landing over the batter’s eye in center field. The photo below shows that homerun swing. Currently there has only been 7 players in the history of Major League Baseball that have hit 600 homeruns in their careers. So to hopefully witness Jim Thome achieve that feat will be a truly historic moment for all baseball fans.

    Jim Thome hits a moonshot for homerun #590 on April 10, 2011

The links to the full photo galleries for the Opening Day game and the April 10th game are located at the top of this post. Please take a look and enjoy! This will be the first of many galleries from this season. I will have galleries from the April 12th and April 13th games against the Kansas City Royals posted soon.

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One Comment on “Opening Day 2011

  • The Struggles Continue… | Ben C. K. Photos

    May 22, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    […] of all, remember what I said about Mother Nature being a Twins fan back on Opening Day? I take it all back. During the previous home stand it rained and even snowed and ultimately 2 […]

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