Separated at Birth: JJ Hardy and Trevor Plouffe

I never realized that the current Twins' Third Baseman is a spitting image of the former Twins' Shortstop, before I saw Hardy on first in today's game.



Random Twins Thoughts: the First 2013 Series Edition (Twins beat the Tigers)

Last season, I started a Random Twins Thoughts series that included a post a week every Tuesday.  I was told that people actually liked those and missed them when I stopped, so I will continue them this season.  I decided to change it up a bit this season and do it a bit more randomly.  This first one is after the Twins competed their first series of their young 2013 season, hosting the Detroit Tigers who are the favorite to win (at least) the AL Central in the 2013 season.   I will try to coincide these thought posts with the end of Twins' series.   As previously, the content will be on the major league team, as well as the minor league team; I will also include additional factoid and links to Twins' stuff, like last season.   Here is the first installment:

  •  After Wednesday's win, it was the first time the Twins were at .500 after the 2010 season.
  • Good to see them winning the opening series 2-1 at home over the AL Central favorites.  If the Twins win at home, play close to .500 ball on the road, and win over the other AL Central teams, great things will happen.
  • I think that a lot of fans were surprised by the strong showings of Vance Worley, Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey.  From what I saw and reported last week from Fort Myers, I was hopeful for both Correia and Pelfrey. This is in contrast to the 3 pitchers who opened the 2012 season in Baltimore: Carl Pavano allowed 4 runs (all earned) in 7 IP, Fransisco Liriano 6 (5 Earned) in 4 IP;  Anthony Swarzak did a good job with 1 run in 5 IP.
  • Great to see the comeback by the Twins' bottom of the order last night against the Tigers' committee of closers.  Trevor Plouffe, Jamey Carroll, Wilkin Ramirez, Brian Dozier and Eduardo Escobar were the participants and it is clear that this comeback might had not happened if the Twins gave Drew Butera a position on the 2013 25-man roster.  Major kudos to Joe Vavra who aggressively (unlike his predecessors Steve Liddle and Scott Ullger) waved in Dozier for the winning run.  It great (and about time) to see the Twins play aggressively and fight hard on the diamond.
  • Chris Parmelee and Aaron Hicks have both been struggling at the plate (and they both got their first base hits of the season in the Twins' 8th inning), but the season is still young.  The Twins do not have many other Centerfielder options, but I can see Ramirez taking some PAs from Parmelee, especially against LHPs
  •  The Twins sold only 19,000 season tickets for 2013, down 3,000 from 2012, which was down 2,000 from 2011.   Not winning does not sell tickets, but the revenue loss due to loss of additional non-season ticket attendance is higher than that due to the loss of season tickets. Still the Twins have sold as many season tickets as the total average home attendance of three other MLB teams in 2012:  The Astros (19,848), Indians (19,797) and the Rays (19,255).  The latter are the poster boys of the exception of the aforementioned rule that winning sells tickets.  A team prime for moving to a more baseball-friendly place.
  • Today is the opening day for all full season Twins' minor league affiliates (International League, AAA, Rochester Red Wings, Eastern League, AA, New Britain Rock Cats, Florida State League, high A, Fort Myers Miracle and the newest affiliate,  Midwest League, A, Cedar Rapids Kernels.)  
  • Speaking of the Kernels, if you are interested in following them, you should bookmark the Knuckleballs Blog, where  Jim Crikket (a total Kernels' insider) will follow them from Cedar Rapids with great original content like this.  And even if you don't care about the Twins' minor league affiliates (shame on you), you should bookmark them, because the guys and gals of Knuckleballs offer some of the greatest independent blogging coverage of the Twins (including some great game time chats as well as awesome weekly podcasts.)
  • Since we are talking about independent Twins' blogs,  make sure you follow The Twins' Fan from Afar, for New Britain Rock Cats coverage, k-bro's baseball blog for a kinder gentler side of Twins coverage and her trademark paper dolls, Peanuts from Heaven, for great lighter coverage of Twins and Twins Trivia, for an amazing historic perspective of the Twins.  Interesting to see how few independent blogs are left in the Twins' blogosphere these days, but content consolidation and aggregation by the big paying sites (like ESPN and SI) and more open access to bloggers by teams (which cuts down on independent and open views) has becoming more and more mainstream.  Will be interesting to see how this will end up.  And this is totally reflected on my blogroll on the left side here.  Interesting to see how few of those Twins blogs are now still standing alone.
  • On the non-independent blog side,  Harold Sinker has returned with vengeance over at Section 219, the new kid on the block, Mike Berardino (who is a delight to read, btw,) has totally revived the Twins Now blog on the St Paul paper, and as always the super-bloggers and the dozens of contributors at the Twins Daily provide tons of current and original Twins' content and stimulating discussion.
  • RF Oswaldo Arcia (age 21) is the youngest player to start on opening day for the Rochester Red Wings in the Twins' era of the team.  He celebrated the occasion with a long 2-run Home Run at dead Center Field in the top of 6th inning at Buffalo.
  • This article on Miguel Sano by David Dorsey the veteran baseball writer of the Fort Myers News-Press, is an absolute must read for any Twins' fan.
  • Food for thought:  Tomorrow (4/5) is the 60th birthday of the man, Andy Macphail, who build the twice World Champion Twins teams more than 21 seasons ago.  He was born in the same year as the current Twins General Manager, Terry Ryan who was promoted to the post in 1994.
  • Former Twins' opening day starter, Carl Pavano, is facing further life-threatening complications due to his spleen injury.  Wishing him the best and a quick recovery.
  • The Twins' product of the week is the brand new this season MLB Minnesota Twins 2013 Batting Practice 59Fifty Baseball Cap, 734, White/Red.  Arguably, it is much better looking  than the other new this year Batting Practice Cap, in Red, White & Navy that reminds me of Montreal Expos, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder.


Twins 2013 Spring Training Photo Diary

Like all good things that have an expiration date, the Twins' 2013 Spring Training had to end today.  Tomorrow the games mean everything as the Twins are opening the season in a frigid Target Field against the Detroit Tigers.

As in the last few years, I attended Spring Training (you can find all my 2013 Spring Training posts here) and took several pictures.  This is pretty much my photo diary without comments (but in one picture).  It is in chronological order.   Feel free to ask any questions about these pictures here and I will answer them.\

Small (but important) print:
All images are: Copyright 2013, The Tenth Inning Stretch. Feel free to use them, for non-profit situations, with a. appropriate attribution of the copyright as mentioned above and b. a link to this post. If you are a commercial entity, or want to use them for profit situations, feel free to drop me a line if you would like to use any of this.




(this was Mauer's HR shot against Toronto)