Max Kepler, the Berlin-born right fielder for the Twins who continues to work on recapturing his 2019 homer-hitting form, has restored my faith in humanity.
I say this after reading an MLB.com story about Kepler and how an offseason spent in Paris with his girlfriend has him feeling refreshed for the new season. That alone would help most of us, but that’s not what caught my eye. The refreshing part of the story was this quote:
“Travel. Eat good food. Read. Listen to music. Just the pleasures of life to balance out some of the struggles we go through in a year.”
Stop the presses: He likes to read? You mean to tell me he is not consumed by video games, or Tik Tok videos, or reality TV shows, or fashion, or cars, or cornholing (tossing bean bags), but instead found time to read? Thanks, Max. I needed that.
And along those lines I was pleasantly surprised to read — there’s that word again — about ex-major leaguer John Jaso in the New York Times and how he quite literally sailed off into the sunset after he exited the game in 2017. He loves and respects the game of baseball, he told the Times in February, but the culture of consumerism and overconsumption began to weigh on him, especially when reminded of the millions of dollars he was leaving behind by leaving the game.
“Why do we always have to have more, more, more?” he said.
Instead, after he retired, Florida resident Jaso bought a sailboat, learned how to sail it and make repairs, then began by taking day trips into the Gulf of Mexico. From there, he explored Key West and the Bahamas, and later took three months to sail around the Caribbean.
Raise a glass, or crack open a book, to the road less traveled, Twins fans.
Extra innings …
-Day 2 of spring training and there wasn’t much quality pitching on display for either the Twins or Philadelphia Phillies in the Phils’ 10-8 win on Sunday.
Twins starter Joe Ryan was not sharp, tossing 40 pitches in one-plus innings of work to hand the Phillies a 2-0 lead. The Twins rallied with a grand slam, then Twins reliever Trevor Megill returned the favor by serving up two home runs, including a grand slam of his own. He had a tough afternoon. Megill could only get one out in the sixth inning and in the process he allowed six runs, all earned, on three hits and three walks.
-Twins and Phillies pitching combined to walk 14 batters on Sunday.
-The Twins split two games on Saturday to mark the beginning of spring training.
Against the Baltimore Orioles, the Twins lost 10-5. Rookie Louie Varland pitched two scoreless innings, but it was all downhill from there as Twins pitching allowed 10 runs over three innings.
More encouraging was the 8-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays which featured the return of Kenta Maeda, who last pitched for the Twins in August 2021. Maeda pitched a scoreless inning and the team got support from Joey Gallo and the recently acquired Michael Taylor from the Kansas City Royals.
Gallo had two hits in the game and Taylor did as well.
Sources: MLB.com, The New York Times, Baseball-Reference.com