August 19, 2018

The Minnesota Twins? Go figure

After losing series to the Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers, the Twins won the next four games and could have tied their longest winning streak of the season at five games if they had beaten the Tigers on Saturday. That did not happen. Instead, the Tigers got to starter Kohl Stewart and reliever Tyler Duffey and won, 7-5, despite the Twins hitting four home runs.

The problem? Three of those four home runs were solo shots. With runners in scoring position, the Twins were 0-for-7. Ballgame. The Twins go for the series win Sunday. Jake Odorizzi gets the ball.

Extra innings…

-I recently spent 10 days in Hiroshima, Japan to see that side of the family. While there, we saw the Hiroshima Carp, visited Miyajima, watched the national high school baseball tournament on TV and did our best to beat the heat. Summers are always hot in Japan, but this one has been particularly searing.

The Carp are a hot ticket these days because the team is working on its third straight Central League title. And it’s not close. The Carp, like the Cleveland Indians over the Twins, lead the division by 11 games.

The torii, or gateway, to Itsukushima shrine, Miyajima, Japan. Hiroshima is best known for one singular event on Aug. 6, 1945. After that, this is the best known destination near the city. At high tide, the torii appears to float, but at low tide, as you can see, tourists get as close as they can to explore and take pictures.

During my visit, high school baseball teams throughout Japan were competing in a summer tournament sometimes simply referred to as “Koshien,” which is the name of the stadium in which it’s played. Koshien, which is not far from Osaka, is also home ground for the Hanshin Tigers. While shopping at the local mall one day, I came across this Koshien display and took a few pictures. Here, Daisuke Matsuzaka, who later pitched for the Boston Red Sox, celebrates the no-hitter he threw in the 1998 final.

Hideki Matsui, later of the New York Yankees, also played at Koshien in 1992. Matsui was such a feared hitter that in one game he was intentionally walked five times in five at bats.

Whenever I’m in Hiroshima, I try to visit a small memorial that very few people are aware of. Dedicated in July 1998, it remembers the U.S. flight crews of two planes: Taloa and Lonesome Lady, both of which were shot down during World War II. Those members of the Air Force and Navy were later held in a building on this site and died in the atomic bombing on Aug. 6, 1945. It appears that since the dedication, the memorial has been defaced. That’s too bad.

 

August 13, 2018

A series loss to Cleveland is understandable; a series loss to Detroit is not

The Twins limped their way out of Cleveland after losing three of four games, then wilted in Detroit with a series loss as well. When it rains, it pours, I guess. Sunday’s loss was highlighted by the appearance of Kohl Stewart, who made his major league pitching debut for the Twins after being drafted fourth... Continue Reading »

August 11, 2018

Here and there, a few moments with the Twins

Perhaps I’ve been too hard on baseball writer, Roger Angell. I will admit to a growing sense of frustration as I read “Game Time,” a collection of his stories that spans at least 40 years, and wonder: All those years hanging around the diamond and he never wrote about the Twins? It turns out, at... Continue Reading »

August 6, 2018

Will the real Twins please stand up?

I can’t figure this team out: The Twins swept the Toronto Blue Jays, lost both series to the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians, and won Sunday to sweep those pesky Kansas City Royals. So, will this team put it all together or not? If this team has flipped a switch, they’ve done it at... Continue Reading »

August 5, 2018

Remembering Bill Rigney, baseball manager

I continue to work my way through “Game Time,” a collection of stories by renowned baseball writer, Roger Angell, best known for his work with the New Yorker magazine. Angell, who was born in 1920, is still among us, which means he’s been writing about baseball for at least 50 years. And yet in all... Continue Reading »

August 4, 2018

Well, there’s always next year Twins fans

The 2018 season ended Wednesday for the Twins after they went quietly in a 2-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians. The Tribe’s Carlos Carrasco dominated Twins hitters and the Indians took two out of three games to win the series. The season, of course, isn’t over for the Twins, but for all intents and purposes... Continue Reading »

August 1, 2018

Farewell, Brian Dozier

The July 31 trade deadline has come and gone and the Twins have said goodbye to five players, including longtime second baseman, Brian Dozier, who was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday. Dozier, until Tuesday, had only known one team in his major league career: The Twins. He spent seven seasons with the... Continue Reading »

July 31, 2018

Amid a flurry of deals, a walk-off win for the Twins

Despite losing two more players to other teams, the Twins appeared unfazed in their return to Target Field and beat the Cleveland Indians, 5-4, in Game 1 of their three-game series. The Twins might be 3-6 versus the Kansas City Royals this season, but they are 7-3 against the Tribe. Ervin Santana continues to work... Continue Reading »

July 30, 2018

I bet it was a long flight home for the Twins

Eduardo Escobar and Ryan Pressly are gone, the Twins lost their four-game series to the Boston Red Sox, and now the team is nine games behind the Cleveland Indians in the American League Central. All of this, I’m sure, contributed to a long flight home to Minneapolis from Boston. The actual flight time is about... Continue Reading »

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Hi, I’m Rolf Boone and I love the Twins.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.