I smell baseball.
On Thursday night, the 11th Diamond Awards were held at Target Field. The event is put on by the Twins, the University of Minnesota and the local chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Though the years, the event has raised just over $3 million for neurological research at the U. It also serves as the unofficial kickoff to baseball season.
Now things will start to pick up as spring training nears.
The Twins announced on Thursday that they will introduce a new red home jersey for 2016. I've seen the pictures, and I'm going to reserve judgment until I see them on the field. I wasn't living here when they tried red jerseys once, and Chris Berman had a field day with it.
Here's a link. I view the Twins as more of a blue team than red team. And I think the Twins and Cleveland's color schemes have moved toward each other in recent years. The more I think about it, the more I'm down on this.
But wait! MLB is changing spring training threads too! It never ends. I actually like the White Sox cap. Takes me back to 1977, watching Richie Zisk and Oscar Gamble.
The annual media luncheon is today, during which the Twins will discuss the upcoming season and make several announcements of varying importance. They will probably make it official that Torii Hunter, LaTroy Hawkins and Rick Aguliera will be at spring training for a few days as special instructors. Great. Torii, LaTroy and Eddie G., together again.
Seriously, I expect Miguel Sano to be chained to Hunter during his time down there, learning the nuances of outfield play.
The Twins Hall of Fame class, if there is one, will also be announced. Hearing that Hunter is a shoo-in, and there's a chance one other former player is elected.
The Twins usually provide updates on ticket sales, construction projects at stadium (like the deck in center field) and other tidbits.
That sets the stage for TwinsFest, the annual baseball convention that takes over Target Field for three. It will be the first time fans can interact with new designated hitter Byung Ho Park. Park spent the Diamond Awards picking up all the stuff Jose Berrios' infant daughter kept throwing out of her stroller.
My colleague Phil Miller and I will be at TwinsFest all week, blogging and working on stories. We'll check in with Park and see if he's homesick. We'll check on Sano's diet, Glen Perkins' exercise program and Brian Dozier's hip. We'll see if Neil Allen, `The Changeup Whisperer,' has big plans for Fernando Abad. And whatever else we can dig up this weekend.
After that, the countdown to spring training is on!
Speaking of spring training, yes, the annual food guide to Fort Myers will be released right about the time games start, or around Apr. 2. I'm open for suggestions, as I would like to expand the list even more this year. If there's a place you like to eat at in Fort Myers, let me know either here or at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try to check it out.
One example: Two rubes at the banquet told me there is now an Aurelio's Pizza in Fort Myers. That might be a place I could be interested in.
Stay tuned for more this weekend! Baseball is not that far away!