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A strange place for Opening Day

  • Blog Post by: Jim Souhan
  • March 31, 2011 - 9:37 PM

So I'm in Toronto for the Twins' opener, and I just flipped on TSN to catch the baseball Opening Day highlights...and I get three hockey games. Highlights, plus at least one fight in each highlight package.

Strange day in Toronto, too. This is a wonderful city, but it's been a while since I"ve been here, and Yonge Street, kind of Toronto's First Avenue, was packed with whackos. For the first time in real life I saw an angry guy jump into a cab and speed away, and then another guy rush to wave down a cab and go after him. As their buddies cussed out the first guy.

Also saw a t-shirt that read: ``God Is Coming....Look Busy!''


Said the other day that I've never craved Opening Day more than this year. Some asked ``Why?'' Here's why: It was a brutal winter for weather. It was a brutal winter for Minnesota sports, following a brutal fall for Minnesota sports.

Baseball remains my favorite sport to watch or write about, and I spent this winter knowing just how great Target Field is, and how good, and interesting, this Twins team could be.

Haven't made my baseball picks yet. Now is as good a time as any. I plan on being wrong. That way I'm not disappointed.

AL: Division winners: Red Sox, Twins, Rangers. Wild-card: Yankees.

MVP: Adrian Gonzalez.

Cy Young: David Price.

NL: Division winners: Braves, Reds, Giants. Wild-card: Phillies.

MVP: Albert Pujols.

Cy Young: Tim Lincecum.

World Series: Yankees over Braves.

I don't think the Yankees are the best team in baseball, but the best team in baseball doesn't always win the World Series. I could see the Yankees making a move for pitching in July, scoring a million runs, and getting hot when it counts.

La Velle likes making ``picks to click,'' so here are mine from the Twins' roster. (I define ``Picks to click'' as players who will pleasantly surprise, so picking Joe Mauer is not allowed.)

Position player: Denard Span. He had a lousy season in 2010. He's better than that, offensively and defensively, and on the bases. He will score many runs.

Pitcher: Tie between Nick Blackburn and Kevin Slowey. Blackburn will get back to being a classic innings-eating sinkerballer now that he's healthy, and with this lineup, he should get enough run support to win a bunch of games. Slowey will be this year's Brian Duensing. He'll do well in the bullpen and eventually help out the rotation.

Sleeper: Carlos Gutierrez will help the bullpen at some point this season.

-Pete Rose attended the Reds' game. With big, gaudy, glasses and a gaudy jacket, he looked just like...Elton John. I'm serious.

-Ron Gardenhire sounded quite worried about his team on a conference call this morning. That's his nature, but I think he's concerned with having an unproven doubleplay combination and uncertainty about bullpen roles. Those are two of the things that keep him up nights.

-I'll be on 1500espn at 2:40 p.m. on Friday from Rogers Centre. Wrote about the Twins' chances for the Friday newspaper. I'll be co-hosting Sunday Morning Sports Talk from Toronto on Sunday, with Tom Pelissero, after the Gardenhire Show at 9:30 a.m.

I'll be tweeting from the game tomorrow night,  @Souhanstrib.

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