March 7, 2016

Here’s what I’ve learned about the Twins after the first week of Spring Training

The first week of Spring Training is in the books — the Twins started play on Wednesday — and the Twins finished the week with a 3-1-1 record. Not that Spring Training records mean a hoot, but as a fan I’m encouraged by any signs of a potentially winning regular season.

Here’s what I noticed:

-Byung Ho Park: Park, who hit 53 home runs in South Korea last year and was the Twins only major signing of the offseason, can hit after all. He struck out three times in his Spring Training debut, then followed that with a hit on Thursday and a grand slam on Sunday. He now leads the team in spring RBIs with five. You are allowed to exhale, Twins fans.

-Miguel Sano: It appears top-rated prospect Sano, who hit 18 home runs last season in 80 games, won’t see the same pitches as last year. He walked twice in his debut, followed by a hit and three strikeouts the remainder of the week. Pitchers are scouting you, Sano. Time to scout them.

-Jose Berrios: Top-rated pitching prospect Berrios, perhaps like Park, likely was a tad nervous in his debut this week, walking three batters in one-and-a-third innings pitched. Still, it was a scoreless effort, including one strikeout.

-Twins starting pitching: It was sharp the first week, getting scoreless debuts from Phil Hughes, Trevor May (if he becomes a starter again), Tyler Duffey and Kyle Gibson. Tommy Milone gave up one run but still struck out three batters in two innings, and Ervin Santana gave up two runs (both unearned) in two innings with two walks and two strikeouts.

-Ricky Nolasco: Don’t lose that number, Ricky, because you just might need it. Nolasco probably had the worst debut this week after he surrendered four hits, three earned runs and one walk in an inning-and-a-third against the Red Sox. He exited the game with a 20.25 ERA.

-The bullpen: There was a lot of talk in the offseason about how the Twins needed to make a move to shore up the relief corps, preferably with another lefty. After the week some of them had, General Manager Terry Ryan might be working the phones for a solution. The bullpen surrendered four runs on Wednesday; gave up three runs on Thursday; had the blown save on Friday; produced a scoreless effort on Saturday; and nearly coughed up the game on Sunday with three runs in the ninth.

-Free swinging: The Twins are working off that winter rust by swinging and missing a lot of pitches. Through the first five games of Spring Training, the Twins have struck out 37 times, including 11 on Wednesday and 12 on Sunday.

February 29, 2016

Even a longtime Twins fan can learn something new about the Twins

I’ve been a fan of the team since the early 1980s, but I had no idea until today that Twins Hall of Famer Rod Carew collected his 3,000th hit against the Twins — the same team that was his home for 12 seasons until he was traded to the California Angels in exchange for four... Continue Reading »

February 21, 2016

Nick Punto, the most celebrated utility infielder in Major League Baseball history, retires

Nick Punto, he of the shredded jersey, the head-first slide into first base, the “piranhas” and who spent seven of his 14 seasons in baseball with the Twins, announced his retirement last week. Punto leaves the game with a career batting average of .245. It hardly matters, though, because Punto endeared himself to teammates, fans... Continue Reading »

February 15, 2016

Ron Gardenhire, baseball player

Long before Ron Gardenhire managed the Twins to six division titles between 2002 and 2014, Gardenhire — like a lot of big league skippers — had a brief career as a player. If you’d like to see Gardenhire in action as a second baseman for the New York Mets — the team he spent five... Continue Reading »

February 7, 2016

Another year, another trip to Seattle to see the Twins

The Twins travel to the Northwest in late May, which means the continuation of a tradition that started 30-some years ago when my father and I decided to see at least one Twins game every season. It’s not a perfect streak: It was interrupted by college, by living in Japan for seven years and by... Continue Reading »

January 28, 2016

Inside baseball: Former Twins sponsor has ties to current team ownership

The Classic Minnesota Twins! blog has a new post about an old film discovered on YouTube. The 22-minute film is about the 1970 team, which won 98 games that year, but lost badly to the Baltimore Orioles (again) in the post-season. But what was interesting to me were the first few images of the film,... Continue Reading »

January 21, 2016

Torii’s turn: Hunter reflects on his baseball career via The Players’ Tribune

First Michael Cuddyer and now Torii Hunter, both of whom played for the Twins, has penned some thoughts about his playing career on The Players’ Tribune after he retired at the end of last season. .@toriihunter48 reflects on his baseball beginnings, the 2002 @Twins and pranking Big Papi. https://t.co/nCfeANZw8G pic.twitter.com/cTPWOCTNqS — The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune)... Continue Reading »

January 18, 2016

Sam Mele, who guided Twins to 1965 World Series appearance, turns 94 this week

Sam Mele, who won 524 games as manager of the Twins from 1961 to 1967, will celebrate his 94th birthday on Thursday. Mele’s tenure with the Twins wasn’t long, but after the Washington Senators relocated to Minnesota for the 1961 season, it also wasn’t long before the Twins showed improvement. Under Mele, the Twins won... Continue Reading »

January 17, 2016

A State of the Union address for Twins fans

President Barack Obama delivered his final State of the Union address last week, reassuring Americans that the country remains in good shape, despite recent concerns about the economy and national security. The 2011 State of the Union address But this is a blog about one particular baseball team, so I ask: What’s the state of... 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.