I’m a Twins fan, always have been and always will be. I still remember my first game ever. Dad had won tickets to the Renaissance Festival from WCCO and that’s where we were going on that bright day. We get into the car and head into Downtown Minneapolis. Now, I’m between 7 and 9 years old, so I thought that was where the Fest was held at. We park and start walking, passing the HHH Metrodome as we go. Mom says why don’t we go see if they’ll let us look around since you’re such a big fan.
So up to the enterance we go and Mom asks the ticket taker if we could go in just to look around. Being equal measures shy and embarassed I hid my face in Mom’s belly. The ticket guy says no, sorry he can’t allow that. Mom then asks “Not even for these?” I look up and she is holding a beautiful pair of tickets for the game. We went in and had seats on the lower level underneath the old scoreboard. I had cotton candy and watched Kirby and Herby (Kent Hrbek) work their magic. We didn’t stay for that entire game and just after we left a ball was hit to our seats. But it was a wonderful first game, the first of many.
Living in Florida I have 1 chance a year to see my boys play in the regular season. Thankfully Tampa has an American League team here so I can have that opportunity. This year is going to be a little strange. Three major players are no longer with the team. Torii Hunter had free agency and I don’t think the Twins persued keeping him. He’s a wonderful player, bringing to mind the way Kirby used to attack center field, but Torii has had a lot of injuries in recent years. So I can understand why the Twins were happy to let him go on his merry way. The Twins organization is huge on promoting through their farm system so I’m sure there were a few outfielders they’ve had their eye closely on in the last year or so.
The other two players to leave were pitchers, Carlos Silva and Johann Santana, both through trades. Personally I don’t think the loss of Silva is that big of a deal. His pitching hasn’t really been steller and has been more, to borrow and twist Randy Jackson’s phrase, pitchy. Like some of the Idol singers Silva seemed to have more hit or miss days then days and seemed to lack consistency.
Santana on the other hand is a different story. It seems that by trading him the Twins have weakend their awesome (a few players not withstanding) bullpen. Santana was up for free agency in a year or two, so I have problems understanding why the Twins would get rid of someone who has been consistantly fabulous, amazing, wonderful and all of those adjectives. He was top or near top of the league. He hasn’t had any major injuries, if he’s been injured in recent times it’s been very minor stuff. Yet he’s gone.
There are now several open spots with the Twins. The other day while in the gym ESPN was showing the Twins/Yankees Spring Training Game. I got to watch the first inning and when the announcers were going over the Twins batting order, I was surprised to see I only recognized 2 names. Now I know this is a time for young players to try and convince the managers they deserve a spot in the big show, but it was still a little jolting. What was even more so was the interview the announcers had with Derek Jeter of the Yankees regarding their new pitcher. A guy who isn’t even 19 years old! I remember how strange it was when I first realized I was older than the new players, but then it was only by a few years. Now it’s 10 years! I had an I feel old moment. So here’s to America’s favorite pastime and GO TWINS!