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.
Every now and again, someone asks why I don't write more during spring training.
The answer is pretty simple: Not a lot to see from afar, so not a lot to say.
The interesting stuff this time of year comes from Florida, where Joe and La Velle and a rotating crew of other folks are seeing what's happening first hand. This is one of the few times when following baseball now is a lot like following it years back. A few games on TV, a bunch on radio, some video. The wisdom of our TwinsCentric team is an excellent study guide.
You pick up the cues and try to figure out the best you can how the moves of March will play out in April:
*How will Nick Blackburn versus Kevin Slowey play out for the final spot in the rotation. Or will they both overtake Scott Baker? Or will one of them be traded? (Sunday update: Looks like I jumped to conclusion about Baker being in ... and Gardy gave the thumbs-up verdict Saturday afternoon on Blackburn)
*How does Kyle Gibson fit in this year? The comebacks of Pat Neshek and Glen Perkins? Is the wonderfully named Yorman Bazardo a sleeper? Scott Diamond? Maybe Dusty Hughes is this year's Craig Breslow.
*In an infield that should be good defensively, is Luke Hughes a better extra-infielder option than Matt Tolbert?
*Morneau, Mauer, Young, Cuddyer. Enough said -- because there's a lot said elsewhere -- except to remind you that the lack of spring training in 2009 meant didn't seem to both Mauer very much. Of course, that was Joe Mauer.
*What are the Plan B's? I don't think anyone really wants to think of a Jason Kubel, hot spring start and all, as a full-time starter. Is Troy Glaus taking batting practice somewhere? (See stats in comments if you think this is heretical thought, as several commenters do.)
*Why do I have the feeling that Blackburn will somehow rise above his secondary statistics and have an excellent year?
Right now, taking it in with the radio (or the iPad) and the web site and the newspaper, we're pretty much all in the same situation up here -- listening, hoping, waiting for the real games to start at the end of the month. Some of the TwinsCentric guys are heading there this week, and I'll be interested in what they report from being on the scene.
Yes, I'll be a bit jealous.
Speaking of TwinsCentric, if you're at the Twins game on Tuesday, three of the guys will be at Potts Sports Bar (down the street from Hammond Stadium) after the game for a meet-up with those who follow them here, on Twitter and in the assorted other places where their good work shows up. You should buy them a beer.
And if you're looking for a way to celebrate the end of spring training, I invite you to join me for a screening of the film, "Jews and Baseball, An American Love Story" at 7 p.m. March 30 at the Theaters at the Mall of America. The film is part of the Minneapolis Jewish Film Festival and includes Sandy Koufax talking about the 1965 World Series between the Twins and the Dodgers. It is billed as "a tribute to the 160 Jews who have played in the major leagues."
Here's a trailer.
I'll be introducing the film.. Afterward, we can go cause trouble in the food court.
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