One thing I noticed while at Twins camp, and that struck me even more after I returned, is how quiet and calm the camp was.

There were no significant injuries or injury concerns. Other than Kennys Vargas' not-as-big-but-still-too-big belly, there were no players who looked particularly out of shape. Glen Perkins and Phil Hughes look in much better shape than a year ago.

You notice the many young, power arms even while watching live batting practice. You see Byron Buxton looking more mature and comfortable, and Jose Berrios looking like he'd run all the way to Minnesota for a chance to pitch in the big leagues.

Paul Molitor looks much more comfortable with the mechanics of his job in his second season, and general manager Terry Ryan sounded optimistic not only about this year, but about the next handful of years.

Given that the franchise always seemed a little unsettled when Bill Smith was running things, I'm not sure I've been around such a calm, optimistic camp since the mid-2000s. Even then, there was angst about the potential departure of Torii Hunter and Johan Santana.

I don't know if calm and optimism translate into victories, but they're probably better than the alternatives.

In summary: You get the sense that the key figures in this franchise believe they are set up to be good for a long time.


Please check out my podcasts at My latest interview was with Terry Ryan, and we do shows with Roy Smalley, Michael Russo, Viking Update's Tim Yotter and Associated Press basketball writer Jon Krawczynski.


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