August 30, 2021

Twins lose finale, but still take series from Brewers

Despite Sunday’s loss, the Twins still managed to take the series from the Milwaukee Brewers after wins Friday and Saturday. And the standout performance of the series belonged to pitcher Andrew Albers, who hadn’t pitched at the major league level in four years until he recently faced the New York Yankees. He pitched well against the Yanks and stepped up again Friday, tossing five-plus innings of shutout baseball to earn the win. Albers, plus four relievers, shut out the Brewers on five hits to win 2-0.

Bailey Ober gets the ball Monday in Detroit.

Extra innings…

-Old friend Jose Berrios pitched a whale of a game on Sunday. Berrios allowed one unearned run over six innings with 11 strikeouts to beat the Tigers 2-1. He’s now 9-7 with a 3.53 ERA.

-The Milwaukee series marked the return of Byron Buxton, and about that same time, Kenta Maeda’s exit. Maeda will have season-ending surgery on his elbow.

And now for something completely different…

Three years in a row my son and I made it a point to travel to Minnesota to see the Twins at Target Field. The pandemic made it impossible to see them last season, and although I was eager to see them again this season, ongoing concerns about COVID-19 put a stop to those plans. So, we are doing the next best thing — if you’re a Twins fan that is — by taking a road trip to see Harmon Killebrew’s home town of Payette, Idaho.

From the Olympia, Washington area, we chose to go south to Portland, then east along Interstate-84 to Ontario, Oregon, which is just across the Snake River from Payette. As part of the journey, I’m also reading sportswriter Steve Aschburner’s “Ultimate Slugger,” his 2012 biography of the Hall of Famer.

The journey to Ontario was interesting. More people appear to be traveling after being cooped up last summer, but the service industry clearly hasn’t bounced back from the pandemic and is now dealing with an extreme labor shortage.

Multnomah Falls, a must-see stop on I-84 was overwhelmed with people, and now the Forest Service requires visitors to reserve a ticket so that they can better control congestion. We took a pass on the tickets and moved on to Bonneville Dam, the first upstream dam on the mighty Columbia River. I’m happy to report the dam is still providing a hassle-free experience for visitors.

When we pulled into The Dalles, Oregon for an overnight stay, the hotel pool, dining room, maid service and breakfast was either closed or non-existent because of the pandemic and labor shortage. For breakfast, we were allowed to pick up food in the lobby, which consisted of a carton of milk, an apple and a pre-packaged muffin. I felt like I was in school again. Oregon is one of the few (the only?) states where gas is still pumped for you. But not that morning. We pulled into a nearby service station and were allowed to pump our own. The reason? No workers.

Some photos of the trip so far…


Bonneville Dam, Cascade Locks, Oregon.
A non-working phone booth can be found at the Boardman, Oregon rest area.
We had lunch at Geiser Pollman Park, Baker City, Oregon.
One of a number of train sightings along I-84 in Oregon.
Once we checked into our Dalles, Oregon hotel room, we were welcomed with this sign.

Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.