Play Ball! (Almost)
February 13, 2017
Well Twins fans, we made it! Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in Florida today. The weather forecast for Ft. Meyers is 80° and partly cloudy with a 20% chance of rain.
So who has an answer to my (long) Minnesota baseball question? I don’t understand why there are rumors continuing to circulate that the Twins would still be interested in re-signing Justin Morneau.
Here’s how I see it:
Justin Morneau: Plays first base and is an injury-plagued 35-year-old, left-handed hitter who can’t hit left-handed pitchers, can no longer hit for average or power. Basically at this point in his career a platoon player.
Joe Mauer: Plays first base and is an injury-plagued 33-year-old, left-handed hitter who can’t hit left-handed pitchers, can no longer hit for average or power. Basically at this point in his career a platoon player.
By signing Morneau, the Twins would only be taking designated hitter at bats away from Miguel Sano (age 23) and Kennys Vargas (age 24), two guys who need at bats to develop and grow, and also from Joe Mauer which would make him even less valuable and his $23 million salary even more unappetizing. And what’s the return? Two below-average first baseman and two roadblocks to younger players. So what am I missing here? Is it the fact that Morneau would probably sign for around a million dollars that’s appealing to the team, or does management think that Minnesota Twins fan care less about winning baseball games than they do seeing a revolving door of familiar faces from the good old days go in and out of the clubhouse every year?
This is a sad (and cynical) thought, but maybe I’m way off base thinking about a winning baseball team here in Minnesota and maybe the reality is that baseball here is really nothing more than a way to drink, eat and socialize outdoors, and the focus is less on the team’s place in the standings, but on a bobblehead, or a mini souvenir baseball bat, or on a Dairy Queen cap, or Minnesota Twins branded BBQ tongs and the other various promotion nights throughout the season.
I love the Twins and I always will, but sometimes I wonder what it might be like to be a baseball fan in New York, Chicago or St. Louis. Maybe if you’re in one of those cities and you’re reading this you can tell me what it’s like to live in a city where baseball is something more than a chance to sit in the sun and eat hot dogs.
Anyway, game one in 11 days against the Tampa Bay Rays. Go Twins!