The Minnesota Twins released their 2012 schedule yesterday, which was a welcome distraction from, you know, 2011. There are all manner of interesting twists to it….
No Matter What Souhan Says
The Twins, who will be looking to gain some confidence, face a brutal start. Sixteen of the first nineteen games are against playoff contenders – the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, Rangers and Angels. If the Twins are anywhere close to .500 when that stretch ends on 4/25, it will be a great sign.
Sigh. I Hope The Couch Is Comfy.
In June, Target Field will host the Cubs and Phillies for the first time. The scalpers will be excited about the former. The Voice of Reason™, raised in NE Philly, has already proclaimed we won’t miss a game of the latter.
I Dare You To Lick The Flagpole.
The Angels play in Target Field early in the season, starting 4/9 and again on 5/7. In fact, the Twins play them nine times in their first 31 games, and then don’t see them again all year. We’ll see how they like Minnesota in the “spring.”
Ah, To Be Young, Irresponsible And Poor.
The schedule has a lot of great roadtrip possibilities. For instance, there are two trips, one in July and one sandwiching Labor Day weekend, where you can drive to Chicago and then follow the team to Kansas City. Get a carload of friends to split the gas money and leverage some “friends” in each city and their couches. Time it right, and you can probably catch the Twins Low-A affiliate, the Beloit Snappers, playing somewhere in the Midwest League during your trips. And make sure that at least one leg of that triangle includes swinging through Dyersville, Iowa to see the Field of Dreams movie site. The good news: it’s also free.
And neither of those are the top three best roadtrips of the year.
Q: What's that up there? A: Buzzards
I’m sure the players are excited that they get to spend the weekend after the Fourth of July playing outdoors in Texas.
Also, From Lobsters to Sauerkraut Balls
The third best road trip happens 8/2 through 8/8, when the Twins visit Boston and then go to Cleveland. You get to see two great parks, one historic and one that helped kick-off all the new ballparks. There is an eleven-hour drive between them that happens to go right past Cooperstown. Oh, and AAA Rochester. From old to new and from the minors to the Hall of Fame, you’re covered.
We Already Know They’ll Go 3-7. Hopefully.
The annual dreaded, interminably long, west coast road trip is in August. From 8/17 through 8/26 the Twins play 10 games in Seattle, Oakland and Texas.
Reason #4,137 To Not Have Kids
The good news is that the Twins second best roadtrip opportunity is a Great Lakes loop: through Detroit, Milwaukee and Chicago. You can take a ferry from Michigan to Milwaukee, and if you sneak away from that series a day early, you can also watch the Cubs play the White Sox at Wrigley. The bad news is that it happens in May, before school is out, and it includes only one weekend.
So, You're Saying There's A Chance...
The Twins have an enormously long stretch against the AL Central – AFTER the trade deadline. Starting 8/31, they play 22 straight games against AL Central teams. In fact, on 8/31, they’ll still have at least six games remaining against each AL Central opponent.
A Perfectly Good Excuse To Travel, Wasted
Don't Dawdle, Boys
If the division isn’t nearly wrapped up by mid-September, don’t expect a late charge. The last twelve games are against teams with which the Twins have struggled: the Tigers (6 games), the Yankees (3 games) and at Toronto (3 games).
Yet. See You There.
And the very best roadtrip? Shortly after the kids get out of school (June 19th
) the Twins get to visit one of the best parks in the major leagues
– PNC Park in Pittsburgh. It, like its city, is a hidden gem, overlooked because of some tough times. Load up with a Primanti Brothers sandwich or stop by the “O” for a chili dog & cheese fries before the game. Park downtown, stroll over the Roberto Clemente bridge, and walk up to the ticket window – you won’t have any trouble getting a seat and every seat is awesome. In fact, even if you get a field level ticket, make sure you check things out from the upper deck, where the low outfield wall frames the Monongahela River and the Pittsburgh skyline.
From there, it’s just a five-hour drive to Cincinnati for a weekend series with the Reds at their new ballpark. I’d like to tell you more about it, but it’s one I haven’t been to.