The ball may still be traveling or it may have begun to orbit the fifth moon of Jupiter. In my many games at the Metrodome, I had never and will never see a home run that traveled further. A hotshot rookie for the Twins had just been taken deep in his first big league appearance by the not so famous long ball threat, Gary Matthews Jr. The city had been abuzz for days about the new prospect that had just arrived from Rochester. He was a tall south paw with a Randy Johnson-like fastball and a slider that dropped off the face of the planet. Over the course of the next year, Fransisco Liriano would take Major League Baseball by storm and gain a new nickname along the way, "The Franchise." Liriano has gone through many ups and downs since that day against the Texas Rangers. From American League All-Star in 2006 to having career threatening elbow surgery a few seasons ago, the career of "The Franchise" has been tumultuous.
There is new hope on the horizon as the 2010 season is underway. News from the off-season has "The Franchise" placed back on track to make a big splash for the Twins as they enter Target Field. Reports from the Dominican Winter League place Liriano's fastball in the mid-90s and his slider regaining the form that it had in 2006. This is great news for a franchise that has lacked a true number one starter since the departure Johan Santana. Liriano has to fight for the fifth spot in the Twins Starting Rotation or find himself in Rochester once again. Hopefully his competitive drive will push him to regain the ace form of 2006 and he can truly become the pitcher of the franchise.