Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene and advises you to never take his betting advice. He likes old guitars and old music, never eats press box hot dogs, and can be heard on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. weekdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon.

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A strange place for Opening Day

Posted by: Jim Souhan under All-Stars and honors, Professional baseball, Ron Gardenhire, Target Field, Twins fans, Twins management, Twins offense, Twins transactions Updated: 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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