Startribune.com digital sports editor Howard Sinker used to cover the Twins and now shares season tickets with friends in Section 219 of Target Field. He blogs about baseball from the perspective of a long-time fan who loves the game, doesn’t always believe the hype and likes hearing what others think. Howard sometimes talks about sports with Cathy Wurzer on MPR's Morning Edition.
From today through October, there will be baseball games many more days than not. That's a sign the year has taken yet another turn for the better. This is the time of year when final scores and standings mean less than the box scores and the backstories behind the statistics they contain. A handful are on TV, although the Twins will become a popular target at the end of spring training, and almost all of them are on the radio.
Here's the list of things I'm waiting to see:
*Justin Morneau make solid contact and go deep. I know there's been a minimum of alarm about his recovery from back problems
surgery, but I'm enough of a skeptic that until I see proof that he's 100 percent, I'm going to be worried. Not overly worried, because hearing a lot about his recovery means just about as much as hearing little about his recovery. (See Liriano, Francisco)
*Delmon Young prove me wrong. In the days after the Jim Thome signing, I was willing to wager that Thome would be in the starting lineup more often than Delmon. I want to be wrong about that. I want to see the 30-pounds-lighter Delmon take better care with his pitch selection and become 90 percent of the player that was hoped for when he was the No. 1 pick in the 2005 draft.
*Francisco Liriano win a spirited battle for the fifth spot in the rotation. If that happens, I'm thinking he won't be a No. 5 starter when he takes his turn. File that one under hope springs eternal.
*Pat Neshek make a successful comeback. Because he's Pat Neshek and he's impossible to root against.
*Loek van Mil make the team. I know it won't happen out of training camp, but a bullpen with 7-foot-1 van Mil and 6-11 Jon Rauch would be appropriate in a city where the Timberwolves are passed off as a professional basketball team.
*The new batting order. There's no need to hurry, but I want to see this is full effect: Span, cf; Hudson, 2b; Mauer, c; Morneau, 1b; Kubel, dh; Cuddyer, rf; Young, lf; Hardy, ss; I Don't Know, 3b. And, seriously, with that lineup, I don't care who's on third.
*And one more thing: Mauer signing that new contract.
We flipped the switch on the new Twins pages Wednesday night. Yes, there are bugs and glitches that need to be worked out, but it was time to get rid of that Carlos Gomez photo and I think there's a lot to like here. We'll be adding more features as the regular season draws closer. Bang on the links and take a look around. If you want to tell me what you think, email me here.
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