Thursday, August 6, 2015

Beyond The Bobbles: The Year That Was

Deviating somewhat from the norm a bit here at Off The Baggy, today is a non-traditional baseball piece. Another year of the biggest promotional days on the calendar, the bobbleheads, have been crossed off. With last weekend, August 1st celebrating the 1965 Twins team with the final giveaway, it's time to take a look back on the year that was.

2015 was a five game year for Twins bobblehead days. Target Field has seen as few as one per year, and as many as five, so this season ranks amongst the highest. Things got kicked off with a special promotion this time around, and it may have been one of the best organized of all time.

May 4th found the Twins gearing up to go on a nice run, and it might have been Hughes using the Force that started it all. On Star Wars night at Target Field, the Twins gave away a limited edition Hughes bobblehead draped in a Star Wars cape with lightsaber in tow. Tickets needed to be purchased specifically for the giveaway, and a special booth was set up to handle the promotion.

The bobblehead itself featured intricate detail and was well done for both Twins and Star Wars fans alike. Minnesota overcame a first inning Stephen Vogt grand slam to secure an 8-7 victory over the Athletics. Hughes also would hang on for his first win of 2015.

Bobblehead number two was ready to pay tribute to new manager Paul Molitor. Depicted in an often seen pose, leaning on the dugout railing, Mollie's bobblehead heightened the level of detail seen by the head nodder. Given away on a Friday night against the Chicago Cubs in a marquee interleague matchup, it was Molitor's doll that highlighted the season for me.

Again Phil Hughes was on the mound, and the Twins would pound Kyle Hendricks for 7 runs (6 earned) and help Hughes to secure his 5th win of the year. A bobblehead and young stars like Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant, what's not to like?

As the calendar flipped to July, it was again Hughes' turn to be enshrined in a ceramic state. This time donning more traditional Twins attire, Hughes was once again well represented. Deviating from the more square-shaped base, this time around Hughes was positioned throwing the ball from the rubber. It was a nice touch, but one I ultimately was not too fond of.

The game, as you might have guessed, was pitched by Hughes yet again (his third bobblehead day of the year). In similar fashion, Hughes picked up yet another win, his 8th of the season. Torii Hunter homered and the Twins knocked off the divisional rival Detroit Tigers.

In giving someone else an opportunity, Hughes finally stepped aside for the July 25th bobblehead night highlighting the Twins superstar, Brian Dozier. In the midst of an MVP type season, Dozier was no doubt the most popular bobblehead of the season. Whether it was his long flowing locks, or his graceful jogging position, lines for Dozier's doll swarmed downtown minneapolis. The 10,000 were gone in relative minutes, and it also was the second most coveted giveaway on the resale market (behind only Hughes's Star Wars night).

New York was in town, and they ended up playing spoiler to the Twins on Dozier's night. Minnesota's first bobblehead loss of the season, Glen Perkins served up a game tying home run to Alex Rodriguez, and then gave up the final blow, a three run bomb to John Ryan Murphy just four batters later.

When the calendar flipped to August, the Twins decided to round out the bobblehead extravaganza in style (or maybe lack thereof). In an ode to the 50th anniversary of the Twins 1965 AL Champion team, a vintage style doll was presented. Significantly less detailed, and quite frankly cheap looking, the little nodder was far from the highlight of the night.

Kurt Suzuki provided the fireworks as he singled home Eddie Rosario to score the game winning run in walkoff fashion. Despite the excitement the Flyin Hawaiian provided, the vintage bobble was in no position to match it anyways.

On the year, the Twins went 4-1 in bobblehead games, and Phil Hughes was actually 3-0 in those contests. Give me Molitor for the best bobble of the year, and the Vintage guy for the worst. Minnesota still has plenty to play for. Until then, I'll be looking for more room to keep on adding to the collection. Happy nodding folks.

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