*jumps up & down*
It’s here, it’s here!!! We get real Twins baseball today!!! I’m so excited!!
So let’s see what off-season questions we have our answers too:
- Yes, Justin Morneau is officially back and will be in the opening day lineup!
- I still think it’s an immensely emotional thing that his first game will be in Toronto where he got hurt but he has been in this kind of situation before – he’ll do it.
- Yes, Joe Mauer has recovered, his newly lubricated knees are working and yes, he’ll be catching on opening day.
- I also think that Gardenhire will be using him a little more cautiously and with all the bats in the lineup, he’s said he’ll sit Mauer on off-days instead of DH’ing him most of the time.
- Lexi is playing Short Stop and Nishi is playing 2B and yes, they seem to have worked that out!
- I honestly don’t think that will still be the case by June but we’ll see. Who knows, maybe the effort to stay in communication with Nishi will help keep Lexi more focused during the game? A girl can hope.
- Kevin Slowey is the Starter moved to the bullpen and the starting rotation is Pavano, Liriano, Blackburn, Duensing, Baker.
- Gotta say this is the one I probably couldn’t have predicted. I’m just happy that the management realized that trading one of our starters would be silly given that we tend to go through starters like candy on this team. It’s only a matter of time until we’re calling on Kev to come back to a starting role for whatever reason for whatever period of time. It’s just how it works.
- Yes, Joe Nathan is back!
- Considering his age, his ability to come back as quickly as he has is purely amazing. He is a relief pitcher so that decreases his recovery time since he doesn’t have to work up the ability to go extended innings like a starter does but we all saw how difficult the recovery was for Sideshow so nothing is guaranteed.
- We have a full bullpen!
- It’s a bit remarkable who the bullpen members ARE but at least we have players.. sadly, I still think we are weak in the lefty department because I don’t have a lot of trust for the two I know and don’t know the third. *shrug* And it’s such a weird thing to see Neshek pitching for the Padres now instead of us and I miss him but it sounds like he’s doing very well there. So no Neshek, no Crain (now the WS *shudder*), no Guerrier, no Rauch.. But we have Nathan & Capps to end games for us, and we have Slowey, Manship (both with long inning capability), Glen Perkins & Jose Mijares (lefties we know) and Dusty Hughes (the lefty we don’t know yet). It will be interesting to see how this bullpen gets used.
- Hmm… Tolby is our utility infielder. I still miss Punto and I can’t imagine watching a game without him out there.
- This is also a situation that I think is fairly “temporary” and I think Hughes will get another shot up here in the bigs at some point.
- Thome is still with us and we’ll hopefully get to witness him hit #600 while in a Twins uniform – every game he gets to play for us is a blessing to see.
- It will be interesting to see how Gardy manages the lineup to get him AB’s until whoever get’s injured first spends a little time on the bench.
I’m sure there were other off-season questions but I think I have covered enough for now – don’t want to take away from the excitement of the moment!! Honestly, today is the only day that the Twins could run the cast of 90210 out there and I’d be excited to see baseball.. (that would not last more than a few minutes, mind you, but still…)
Of course, I’m looking out the window and realize that baseball will be coming back to Target Field in a week. We got soooooooo lucky with the weather last year that I don’t think there is any way that can be repeated. As the stat kids would say, this year is likely to be a statistical regression to the mean. I just hope we don’t get a dump of snow on the Home Opener.
Here’s the team’s plans for Home Opener activities:
MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Twins today announced plans for the 2011 Home Opener at Target Field against the Oakland Athletics on Friday, April 8 at 3:10 p.m. All fans in attendance will receive a Twins magnet schedule courtesy of Target. The Twins also plan several special events prior to the start of the game and will open the gates three hours before first pitch to allow fans to get to the ballpark in plenty of time to enjoy the pregame festivities. The Twins will also be accepting donations at the gates on behalf of Feed My Starving Children and UNICEF to aid in the relief efforts in Japan.
Friday, April 8 – Twins vs. Oakland Athletics
- 11 a.m. – Target and the Minneapolis Downtown Council will host a rally at Peavey Plaza on Nicollet Mall and 11th St., featuring games and activities for the entire family.
- 11:30 a.m. – The Twins, in conjunction with the Minnesota Ballpark Authority, will unveil the Tony Oliva bronze legend, created by local artist Bill Mack, outside Gate 6
- 12 p.m. – Gates open – legendary Twins players will ceremonially open their respective gate (Harmon Killebrew at Gate 3, Tony Oliva at Gate 6, Kent Hrbek at Gate 14, Rod Carew at Gate 29 and Kirby Puckett, Jr. and Catherine Puckett at Gate 34)
Other pregame events include, in this order:
- Twins batting practice
- A’s batting practice
- Grounds crew preps the field
- A pre-game video, “Twins Timeline,” will feature highlights from 50 seasons of Twins baseball
- Jerry White, longtime Twins first base coach, will raise the 2010 AL Central Championship flag
- The Twins unveil a “Countdown to Cooperstown” honoring Bert Blyleven, who will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on July 24th
- Both teams will be introduced along the foul lines
- Military representatives will unfurl a giant replica of the American flag
- John Gordon, beginning his final season as the Twins radio play-by-play announcer, will raise the Twins Territory Flag
- Jerry Bell, Chairman of the Twins Executive Board, will raise the Hennepin County Flag
- General John Vessey, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Minnesota native, will raise the American Flag
- The National Anthem will be performed by Rick Oliva, son of Twins legend Tony Oliva, and Maria Versalles, daughter of former Twins shortstop and 1965 AL MVP Zoilo Versalles
- Military flyover of F-16s performed by the 148th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard located in Duluth with fireworks to follow
- Ceremonial first pitch thrown by Twins legend Harmon Killebrew
- Twins take the field
- Play Ball!
“Take Me out to the Ballgame” in the 7th inning will be performed by a group of Twins Season Ticket Holders. It will be preceded by a performance of “God Bless America” by Sara Pohlad.