You can get hitched at the Twins' new ballpark

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In an effort to boost revenue streams Target Field will be home to more than just baseball games when the Twins’ new $550 million ballpark opens in a couple months, with Allison Kaplan of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reporting that the team plans to host weddings, bar mitzvahs, reunions, charity balls, and various other private events.
If you’re willing to fork over $5,000 the ballpark has space that can accommodate 800 guests for a sit-down meal and for an added fee you can even get Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, or Tony Oliva to show up. A wedding at home plate costs $3,500 and I’m endlessly amused to note that my friend and fellow Twins blogger Howard Sinker will be the first to get married at Target Field:

Howard Sinker and Julie Townsend have the distinction of being the first couple getting married (off field) at Target Field on April 24. They met at a playoff game party in 2004 and shared season tickets throughout their courtship.



“When we were looking at places where we could possibly get married that would be meaningful and fun, this was at the top of the list,” said Sinker, a Web sports coordinator for StarTribune.com who reported on the Twins in the 1980s.



Their love of baseball does have its limits. “We wouldn’t have done this at the Metrodome,” Townsend said. “It’s not going to be a baseball-themed wedding. We’re having a nice, elegant wedding that happens to be at a baseball field. (Target Field) has totally exceeded my expectations.”

Having watched a Twins game with Sinker and his lovely fiancee that sounds like a perfect fit, whereas getting married at the Metrodome sounded like something to threaten your girlfriend with in the middle of a fight. As in, “If you make me sit through another dinner at your parents’ house we’re getting married at the Metrodome!” Mazel tov, Howard.

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

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A not-insignificant amount of the Dodgers’ success in recent years has to do with the emergence of Justin Turner. In his first five seasons with the Orioles and Mets, he was a forgettable infielder who had versatility, but no power. The Mets non-tendered him after the 2013 season, a move they now really regret.

In four regular seasons since, as a Dodger, Turner has hit an aggregate .303/.378/.502. His 162-game averages over those four seasons: 23 home runs, 36 doubles, 83 RBI, 80 runs scored. And he’s also a pretty good third baseman, it turns out. The Dodgers have averaged 95 wins per season over the past four years.

Turner, 32, has gotten better and better with each passing year. This year, he drew more walks (59) than strikeouts (56), a club only five other players (min. 300 PA) belonged to, and he trailed only Joey Votto (1.61) in BB/K ratio (1.05). He zoomed past his previous career-high in OPS, finishing at .945. His .415 on-base percentage was fourth-best in baseball. His batting average was fifth-best and only nine points behind NL batting champion Charlie Blackmon.

It doesn’t seem possible, but Turner has been even better in the postseason. He exemplified that with his walk-off home run to win Game 2 of the NLCS against the Cubs. Overall, entering Wednesday night’s action, he was batting .363/.474/.613 in 97 postseason plate appearances. In Game 4, he went 2-for-2 with two walks, a single, and a solo home run. That increases his postseason slash line to .378/.495/.659, now across 101 plate appearances. That’s a 1.154 OPS. The career-high regular season OPS for future first-ballot Hall of Famer Albert Pujols was 1.114 in 2008, when he won his third career MVP Award. Statistically, in the postseason, Turner hits slightly better than Pujols did in the prime of his career. Of course, we should adjust for leagues and parks and all that, but to even be in that neighborhood is incredible.

In the age of stats, the concept of “clutch” has rightfully eroded. We don’t really allow players to ascend to godlike levels anymore like the way we did Derek Jeter, for instance. (Jeter’s career OPS in the playoffs, by the way, was a comparatively pitiful .838.) Turner isn’t clutch; he’s just a damn good hitter whose careful approach at the plate has allowed him to shine in the postseason and the Dodgers can’t imagine life without him.