FORT MYERS, Fla. — Big day at Twins camp, so the team brought in extra help — a barber, ready to provide a quick shave or last-minute haircut adjustments. Yes, it’s Picture Day, and no, it’s really not much different than what you went through in grade school.
Each player puts on his full uniform, grabs his bat and glove, and heads to the field, where today there were seven different stations set up. Players wait in line at each station, where TV stations, baseball card companies, MLB and the Star Tribune have photographers set up to capture various posed shots, portraits and video.
All the media demands can be a bit tedious for the players, which is why teams try to take care of all the requests at once. The photos taken today will appear in a variety of places — Twins telecasts, on 100-foot scoreboards, and inserted into stories in the newspaper. FS1 even erected a large tent to conduct those short interviews that are part of their coverage, with dim lighting and a backdrop where they project the Twins logo.
The players also fill out a form that reflects the sport’s growing sensitivity to ethnic and language differences among the players. All it asks for is this: Tell us how to spell your name.
“Major League Baseball wants to ensure that your name is being presented in exactly the manner that you desire. This form will allow you to tell us how you want your name to be presented on your jersey; MLB.com; scoreboards where possible; graphics in national and local television broadcasts; and other platforms. … Please feel free to include any accent marks and diacritics that you would like to include in the presentation of your name.”
All the media activity caused a 45-minute delay in today’s workout, but the Twins are on the field now. It’s the last day before the grind of daily ballgames begins; Friday is the spring opener, a night game here at Hammond Stadium against the Rays. There are 35 spring games scheduled before the season begins 39 days from now, on April 3 at Target Field.
Plenty to read in today’s paper, too, particularly if you like shortstops. I wrote about Ehire Adrianza, whom advanced metrics say would be a major defensive upgrade on the Twins’ roster, while Patrick Reusse made the case for giving Danny Santana another look in the infield. La Velle E. Neal III noted that most pitchers no longer choose to pitch from behind a protective screen while pitching batting practice. And Strib photo journalist Aaron Lavinsky profiles, via video, Twins spring training groundskeeper George Toma, who at 88 years old is regarded as one of the best ever at his craft.