Spring Training in Blog

At this point, we’ve all been without baseball for so long, that even the not-always-highest-quality baseball with the not-always-highest-quality players of spring training seems like the greatest thing that we’ve seen since we got hooked on some kind of anime series.

Talk to the Glove
I know practice makes perfect, but I can’t believe coach is making us talk like this all spring.

I know I’m excited. When I started reading about pitchers and catchers reporting I immediately checked out when the Twins will be in Chicago.

April 7-10, [Monday through Thursday, Damn. I’ll probably be working]
May 6-8, [Tuesday through Thursday, Ditto.]
June 6-8, [Friday-Sunday, Finally, a weekend. You can bet I’ll be there.]

Then I checked out the schedule of the Kane County Cougars (Oakland’s Midwest League A affiliate) whose home stadium is a mere 45 minutes from my front door to see when the Twins’ affiliate (Beloit) will be here:

June 5-8, [Seriously? The same weekend? Unbelievable!]

So, then I realized Beloit was less than two hours from me, so I went and bought a season ticket package of 15 tickets, and I’ve already wasted a somewhat silly amount of time perusing potential Beloit rosters and schedules, figuring out who I want to see and when. I haven’t quite made it to the same level as Talking Chop and their Original Making the Team Meter, but I’ll definitely be keeping a closer eye on those transactions this season. When I do go, I’ll try to get some photos or videos (or both) and report back.

Of course, not everything about spring training is fantastic, there’s always a lot of not-so-hardcore journalism about how everyone is feeling like this is the year that they turn it around, or pick it up, or turn a corner. Half of these clips found by Jeff at Lookout Landing contain the phrase “best shape”, as in “I’m in the best shape of my life”. Then Sox Machine went and took that phrase to a whole new level.

The secret to not getting bogged down in the inanity of some spring training coverage is to have a little fun with it. Dodgerama gives the top 10 most likely fluff stories coming out of Dodger spring training. So what would the Twins’ list look like? My stab at the top 5 is below (in reverse order).

  • Nick Punto? I’ll never be accused of underestimating the media’s love of this scrappy G-d–n f—ing little flea.
  • F-Bomb. Can’t wait to start reading that nickname again.
  • Center Field. Who’s going to step up and win the position? Who’s the nicer guy? Who’s the hardest worker? Most importantly, who’s looking at this as their big break?
  • Delmon Young. New guy, troubled past, even I could write a column a week about this stuff.
  • The guys we got for Johan. They’re young, the expectations are probably higher than they should be, and a few of them will be competing for positions on the big league club. Lots of potential there (for both stories and baseball ability).

I’m not going to lie, this still hurts a bit (pics are safe for work, unless you’re a particularly fragile Twins fan, we wouldn’t want your boss finding you sobbing in a corner or ranting about Phil Humber being a back of the rotation starter at best). It can hurt when you lose a star, but spring training has long been synonymous with optimism. Someone forgot to tell this guy, who’s clearly still broken up about losing Adam Everett and Mike Lamb (even if he doesn’t mention their names specifically, that’s got to be it, right?).

Speaking of trades and new acquisitions, after being away all winter, sometimes players haven’t kept up on all of their team’s winter transactions. Poor Matt Cain, hopefully the grittiness of Aaron Rowand can bring him back around. Other players, like Jonathan Papelbon, are just excited to back hanging out with the guys.

I gotta say, I’m with the Sox hurler on this one. Look at me, it’s not even President’s Day yet, and I already bought baseball tickets and wrote a blog entry for the first time in months. If there wasn’t a foot of snow on the ground here, I’d probably be trying to convince my wife to go out and have a catch. Pitchers and catchers officially report for the Twins today, it’s just another step on the road to some real baseball. You know what, screw it, I’m skipping work on April 7. If you need me, I’ll be reachable at the Cell.

Cheese!
Lest we forget, spring training means it’s time for new mugshots

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