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Wednesday
Aug 20th

The real Twins time is coming

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firstpitchWell, it’s after the All-Star Break in Major League Baseball, and this means that the season is actually starting. No sport has as a lazy a first half of the season as the NBA, but they can use the “7 feet tall and running” excuse. However, the baseball players have the “what idiot decided we need 182 games” excuse. Regardless of the sport, the first half of the season determines whose good, and who isn’t good. During the second half of the season, pro-sport folks start playing for extra checks in the current season and re-negotiated contracts for the coming season.

The Twins recently had a 3-run 9th inning comeback, plus the extra winning run, that typifies the scrappy character of the team. And though there have been consistent pesky injuries throughout the early part of the season, I repeat, Minnesota is fortunate to have a scrappy professional baseball team.

One of the benefits of having a team with the character of the Twins is that the sentiment seems to somehow infuse itself into the talent that is brought in. I have to admit, that through my slightly out-of-focus baseball glasses, I didn’t see the emergence of outfielder Delmon Young coming. In hindsight I would assess that Young was simply not comfortable with the move from the Florida Marlins two years ago, and the majority of humankind wouldn’t want to up and move from Florida to Minnesota…especially when you’re 22-years-old making a lot of money. During the next year, Young was faced with the passing of his mother. A whole lot of perspective is thrust on a young man’s life through a series of events such as these, and having faced similar trials in such order, I can say that Minnesota is a good backdrop to gain some perspective.

A little perspective goes a long way, and a lot of perspective may just catapult a baseball player trying to catch his groove, into a baseball player looking for only a few extra votes in order to qualify as a Major League All-Star. Together with the steady nature of fellow outfielders Denard Span and Michael Cuddyer, Young completes an outfield trio that has an opportunity to be something special. Though I didn’t like the loss of Carlos Gomez from last years’ Central Division Championship team, it doesn’t seem like the outfield is where this years’ midseason sputtering was born.

It’s been argued that hot pitching performances are the key to success in the playoffs. Yet while the Twins pitching staff doesn’t immediately strike fear into the heart of opposing teams, they are still a very consistent and capable bunch. Thus, I don’t see pitching as “the gift or the goat” for this years’ Twins team, though Liriano and Pavano are a couple to keep your eyes on.

The Twins have a few new faces on the team, and I’m not sure that they’ve all been fully infused with the Twins’ blood type just yet, nor has the glimmer of lake life and calm waters (I just got back from a lake trip if you can’t tell) fully hypnotized them into amazing baseball feats. While Orlando Hudson and Jim Thome are veterans, and thus should make adjustments quicker than most, I think joining the Twins organization is different. Most people recognize the Twins organization as somewhat unique, and the result is that the team seems to almost always be in fair contention for a playoff bid. Hudson was a curious pick for the Twins due to his forceful and outgoing personality. Yet at the same time, Hudson can be everything you need in a 2nd Baseman, and is statistically having one of his better years as a pro.

It’s hard to tell whose time it is to step up and carry the Twins over the hump this year, and the other teams in the division don’t seem like they’ll provide any help in figuring it out, other than the wrong kind of help. But, seeing as we’ve seen this script before from the Twins, you “betta getcha popcorn” and settle into a new stadium seat, and a warm night under the Minneapolis skyline.


 

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