I figured this will work for a game log and a Blyleven Hall of Fame speech log. The game was moved back to 3:10 CDT so fans could watch both, and I plan on doing just that.
Blyleven has always been one of my favorite pitchers for the Twins. I didn't know him in his first stint with the Twins, when he was more cantankerous than a character. I became a Twins fan after he rejoined the Twins. I really didn't start following the Twins on an everyday basis until 1986 when a sparkplug of a centerfielder had a breakout year and captured the attention of the nation, at least for the first half of the season. Before that, we moved to Maple Grove in 1984 and we went to a game or two each season, but I really didn't know baseball that well. Blyleven was traded to the Twins in 1985, but I seem to recall there being some buzz about such a good pitcher being acquired by the Twins.
My love affair with the Twins started in 1987. Most Twins fans seem to remember the 1991 team more fondly, but for me, 1987 will always be the best season. 1991 was more about the World Series, but 1987 was about the whole season. There was something magical about that team right from the beginning, especially at the Metrodome. And that team was full of characters, led by Blyleven. He was the biggest character and was terrific most of the season, especially in the big games. Most people forget that he was warming up early in Game 7 after pitching Game 5 three days' prior. If Tom Kelly had had a quicker hook for Frank Viola, who had been hammered in Game 4, Blyleven might have won Game 7 on two days rest and probably would have been the WS MVP. If that had happened, it might not have taken so long for him to get to this day. Look how much mileage Jack Morris has gotten out of his Game 7 moment.
This day for Bert has been a long time coming and I am very happy for him. In fact, I feel like I may have played a very tiny part in this. While I was a sports copy editor for a newspaper, I had a short-lived column about baseball stats, and in one of those columns I discussed the Hall of Fame case of Blyleven. I was surprised when I received a request from the administrator of bertbelongs.com asking if the website could link to my column. I of course said yes and it still is there today. Actually, my discussions about the hall of fame with the columnist at the newspaper may have had more of an effect, since I know he eventually went from a "no" to a "yes" on Blyleven, although I don't know if he was able to vote this year, since he was layed off from the newspaper the same time I was.
But this isn't about me, this is about Bert and I am thrilled for him. I just hope they don't broadcast his speech live. We know how dangerous that can be.
As for the game, the Twins need this one to finish with a winning homestand and to keep it just disappointing instead of a bad homestand. It's Liriano vs. Rick Porcello, who's had a lot of success against the Twins despite Kubel being 11-for-22 against him. It will be interesting to see if Mauer is behind the plate once again. Joe Nathan also could tie Rick Aguilera for the Twins' all-time record for saves. Let's get it done. GO TWINS!!