Watching the Twins play a B game on a back field at Lee County Sports Complex on Friday, I was remindedof what kind of baseball fan I am.

A picky one.

I know people who love baseball at all levels. They love sitting in the sun and ragging the ump. They love eating sunflower seeds and second-guessing the manager. They love baseball.

I don't qualify as that kind of fan. I need my baseball to be played at a high level, for high stakes.

I don't like minor-league baseball. I have trouble watching high school or college baseball. I never watch the Saints.

To intrigue me, a baseball game must feature players with tremendous skills. Watching the B game, I saw a couple out outstanding starting pitchers, some top prospects and a lot of guys who will start the year at Triple-A.

For a player to make it through high school, perhaps through college, and rise to the level of Triple-A is a stunning achievement, considering the number of players who try to make it in, or into, pro ball. And yet baseball at that level, to me, seems like it is being played underwater.

For me to love baseball, I need to see high skills and feel dramatic tension. So while it's pleasant to stand on a back field and watch baseball on a sunny day, in many ways I don't qualify as a fan of the game.


Kevin Slowey looked sharp on Friday, pitching three one-hit, no-run innings against the Rays...I've been told Tsuyoshi Nishioka has been timed in less than four seconds running to first. That's fast. He also stole a base despite a bad jump on Friday. He also made a throwing error from short, looking like he felt the need to rush because of his lack of arm strength...Twins manager Ron Gardenhire continues to praise Luke Hughes. Every spring, Gardy seems to find one player he wants to wedge onto the big-league roster. We'll see if he succeeds with Hughes...Andrew Heydt, who interned in the Twins' media relations department last year, was hired by the Tampa Bay Rays as communications coordinator, working under the Rays' estimable VP of communications, Rick Vaughn. Five of the Twins' last six media relations interns have gotten full-time jobs in the industry, pretty stunning considering the difficulty of breaking into the business these days...Francisco Liriano looked shaky in his B game start, but he's healthy, and that's all that really matters for him at this point in spring training...Joe Nathan just threw what was measured as a 95 mph fastball on the Hammond Stadium gun. Wow.


Upcoming: Tom Pelissero and I will run Sunday Morning Sports Talk from Hammond Stadium at 10 a.m. on Sunday. The show goes til noon. We're trying to line up Joe Nathan and an NFL labor expert as guests.

My twitter handle is @Souhanstrib.


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