Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ken Burns "The Tenth Inning" Review: Bottom of the Tenth

This is the second post on the series that PBS and Ken Burns have teamed up to bring called "Baseball" . This newest installment of the documentary is called the "Tenth Inning," because innings one through nine were covered in the original series in 1994. The "Tenth Inning" is a two part, four hour series that focuses on everything that has happened in baseball since 1994 and there is a lot to cover in that short amount of time.

The second evening was called the "Bottom of the Tenth" and here is a review of some of the major topics that were covered"


Expanding Baseball to a Global Market
Ichiro Suzuki was the major focus of this portion of the series. It was great to get a look at his origins and how far he has come. Ichiro has had quite the impact on baseball so his presence in the "Tenth Inning" was obvious. I felt that the series should have looked more at how much the game has expanded to the global market. The World Baseball Classic is an event that has also played a role in the expansion of baseball to the global market. Ichiro will be a first ballot member of the hall-of-fame but there was too much focus on him.

September 11th
The terrorist attack that shook every American to their core had an impact on the baseball season in 2001. Baseball games were cancelled as the country tried to recover. Eventually it was time for the country to get back to some semblance of normalcy. Baseball allowed the country to do that. I felt that Burns approach to this was very classy. He touched on the events of that day and how important baseball was to the recovery. Could baseball every cover-up the events of that day? No. But for a few hours the people of New York, Washington DC, and the rest of the world could focus on the beautiful game of baseball.

The Red Sox breaking the Curse
It was an event that many people had waited their whole lifetime for, the Red Sox winning the World Series. Their path to that win was even more remarkable. The Yankees had jumped out to a huge lead in the ALCS. There was no way the Red Sox could win. All of a sudden something changed. A stolen base here, a homerun there, and the Sox were champions of the American League. The footage that hit home with me was the shots of the cemetery. Citizens of Red Sox Nation visited their deceased relatives to leave hats, signs, etc. because the curse had been broken. The Red Sox had won the World Series.

Steroids and the Fall of Barry Bonds
As much as the "Top of the Tenth" showed the rise of Barry Bonds, the "Bottom of the Tenth" showed the many reasons for his fall. His ego got in the way of what he could have been. He was already on pace to be one of the greatest players of all-time. Steroids interrupted his road to greatness. I felt that Bob Costas did the best at explaining Bonds' chase for the all-time home run record. He explained it as "A joyless march toward the inevitable." Everyone knew he would do it but how many people truly cared. The record was tainted.

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Overall the "Tenth Inning" was very good. It was a great history lesson for the casual fan. For the more experienced fan it was a great reflection on how far the sport has come over the last 16 years.

Ken Burns "The Tenth Inning" Review: Top of the Tenth

Over the past two evenings there has been something much more pleasant to watch than the Minnesota Twins and their get healthy line-up on the field. PBS and Ken Burns have teamed up again to bring the documentary titled "Baseball" back to your TV. This newest installment of the documentary is called the "Tenth Inning," because innings one through nine were covered in the original series in 1994. The tenth inning is a two part, four hour series that focuses on everything that has happened in baseball since 1994 and there is a lot to cover in that short amount of time.

Here is a summary of some of the major topics covered in the "Top of the Tenth Inning:"

The Strike
Ken Burns does a remarkable job of connecting the sport of baseball to the world events that are surrounding the game. The first night started with a look at the strike year. I turned 10 shortly before the strike hit baseball and it hurt my personal following of baseball. Burns put together a great collection of film and interviews to give perspective on the strike now that we are almost two decades removed from it. The strike hurt baseball and the series looked at this. There could have been more focus on how much the game was hurt. It would take a homerun chase and many other factors to bring fans back to the sport.

The Rise of Barry Bonds
Barry Bonds is a very polarizing figure. He had run-ins with the media throughout his career was not a very fan friendly athlete. Burns does a great job of trying to show fans why Bonds might be the way that he is. There was a great interview with Barry's father, Bobby Bonds, that explained that Barry was all business when it came to baseball. The younger Bonds of the early '90s was something to behold. This series did a great job of showing just how good he was at all portions of the game. He hit for power, he stole bases, and he played great defense in centerfield. One point the series made was that Bonds was upset during the 1998 homerun race. He wanted the attention of being the first player ever to hit 400 homeruns and steal 400 bases in the 1998 season. But this story was thrown to the back-page of the paper because of McGwire and Sosa.

The Yankees Reemergence as Champions
The beginning of the 90's saw the Yankees change their team philosophy. They started to keep some of their homegrown talent to try and push for their ultimate goal of winning the World Series. The beginnings of a dynasty were in place. Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, and Andy Pettitte have all been integral parts to the the current Yankee dynasty. It was great that this series focused on the Yankees rise from not being able to qualify for the postseason to finally winning the 1996 title. The interviews with Joe Torre added a very personal touch to this portion of the episode.

1998 Homerun Chase
The strike had taken fans away from the game. Nothing bring fans back faster than a bunch of brawlers mashing homeruns further and faster than every seen before. Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Ken Griffey Jr. all took a shot at the record of 61 homeruns set by Roger Maris. Fans flocked into stadiums for the chance to see moonshot after moonshot. Burns did a good job of showing how the chase impacted both McGwire and Sosa. Overnight Sosa went from being an above average player to a superstar. McGwire tried to hide from the spotlight very reminiscent of the Maris during his chase. The talk of the drug Andro in relation to McGwire really was very strongly written. Fans didn't want to look at the steroid side of the game. They wanted to see homeruns and they didn't care how it happened... for the time being.

The Rise of the Latino Player
Latino players have had a tremendous impact on the game and they continue to have an important place in the sport. Teams spend millions of dollars every year on training academies throughout the Caribbean and Central America. The focus of the episode on the fight that players go through just to make it was really amazing. Their families are counting on them to make it big so they can provide for them. The interviews with the current players in the training academies truly showed that all of their dreams are tied to making it to the show.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Twins Rookie of the Year: 2010 Edition

When it comes to rookies there is little debate as to who is number one on the Twins. Danny Valencia has had a break-out rookie campaign. He hits for average, power, and plays stellar defense at the hot corner. Valencia swept all first place votes in the SethSpeaks.net Awards Balloting making him the unanimous pick for Twins Rookie of the Year.

There were other rookies that had an impact on the team. Jose Morales was hurt during Spring Training and the Twins needed someone to fill the back-up catcher slot on the team. Drew Butera fit this role nicely. There have been a handful of pitchers that have made their mark on the Twins this season. Alex Burnett, Jeff Manship, Matt Fox, and Anthony Slama all fit into a role with the team at some point. Position players like Wilson Ramos, Luke Hughes, Trevor Plouffe, and Ben Revere were all called upon to make their debuts.

(Click on any of the linked players names above and below to read other stories I have written from this year about the rookies on the team.)

The Minnesota Twins 2010 Rookie of the Year (Countdown from #3-#1)

3. Matt Fox: One start is all that it took. The Twins had to make special room for him on the 40-man roster so he could start. The team had used up three starters in an extra-innings lose to the Tigers. Fox was the only choice from AAA. It was his one opportunity to show that he belonged in the majors. He did what he needed to by giving his team the opportunity to win. His start was one of the most important of the year. After the lost to the Tigers the Twins could have went in the opposite direction. After Fox's start the Twins were able to make a September run to clinch the Central Division.

Fox's Signature Game
September 3: Texas 3 @ Twins 4: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER

2. Drew Butera: Butera has been a very adequate back-up catcher this season. His numbers don't jump off the page but he has filled his role on the team. His offense is sub-par but his defense is great. There were many runners that tried to steal on Butera this season that found out that stealing was a bad decision. The great story out of his part with the team might be that his dad was also a catcher for the Twins. Butera evolved into Carl Pavano's personal catcher during the middle portion of the season. This also seemed to coincide with some of the great outings that Pavano had.

Butera's Signature Game
June 19: Twins 13 @ Phillies 10: 1-1, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Butera's go ahead homerun in the 10th was the first of his major league career. The Twins would blow the lead so it wasn't a game winning hit. But it was a great moment for his first big league shot.

1. Danny Valencia: There hasn't been a consistent third baseman for the Twins since the end of the 2004 season. There have has been a Batista, a Harris, a Punto, a Cuddyer, and he list goes on. None of these players have stepped up and filled the void like Valencia. I had him 6th in my Twins MVP ballot because of his importance to the team this season. It will be great to see what kind of numbers he can put together when he has an entire season to work with. Congrats on the great regular season. Bring on October baseball...

Valencia's Signature Games
September 1: Tigers 1 @ Twins 2: 2-4, Game Winning RBI

September 18: Athletics 2 @ Twins 4: 2-4, HR, 3 RBI

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Twins Pitcher of the Year: 2010 Edition

The story of the year for the Twins, when it comes to pitchers, was a throw that was made by their closer, Joe Nathan, during Spring Training. Since that point there have been a variety of pitchers that have made a huge impact on the Twins' 2010 campaign.

Here are some of the story lines from the pitching department this season:
1. Two starters have made tremendous come-backs from the brink of their careers ending.
2. One relief pitcher has made a huge impact on the starting rotation for the second year in a row.
3. The bullpen has three closers with 20+ saves (None of which made my top 5 pitchers for the season)
4. These three closers might not even be the best arms out of the bullpen (2 relief pitchers made my list but neither of them has been a designated closer on the team this season)
5. The Joe Nathan injury has impacted the team from Spring Training to the trade deadline and beyond.

Don't forget to check out SethSpeaks.net to see the full results from the Twins' Bloggers/Writers poll.

(Click on the links in each player's write-up to see other stories that I have written this year about each player.)

The Minnesota Twins 2010 Pitcher of the Year (Countdown from #5-#1)

5. Matt Guerrier: Once again Guerrier has been Ron Gardenhire's go to man out of the bullpen. It seems that whenever the Twins needed something done the Twins would turn to Guerrier. He has been close to the top of the league in appearances over the last 3 seasons and he is a lock to finish near the top again in 2010. He was one of the options for the Twins' closer role during after Nathan's injury but the team went in a different direction. He has been one of the most, if not the most, consistent arms out of the bullpen this season.

Guerrier's Signature Games
June 4: Twins 5 @ Athletics 4: 2 IP, 0 ER, 1 K
Guerrier won his first game of the season pitching the 9th and 10th innings.

June 19: Twins 13 @ Phillies 10: 2 IP, 0 ER, 4 K
In a wild game Guerrier seemed to be one of the only Twins' pitcher that could hold the Phillies offense in check. Maybe a possible World Series preview...

4. Jesse Crain: I will be the first person to admit that I have never been the biggest Jesse Crain fan. His start to this season only added fuel to that fire. In the first month of the season Crain had 5 appearances that he allowed 2+ runs. He wasn't exactly the shut down pitcher the Twins wanted out of the bullpen. That is what made his turn around so amazing. He has been the best arm in the pen down the stretch. His stuff has been nasty at times and that is what sets him apart from the other options in relief.

Crain's Signature Games
July 16: White Sox 4 @ Twins 7: 0.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 K, 1 Save
His only save of the season but it came at a time that the Twins needed it in a statement series against the White Sox.

September 14: Twins 9 @ White Sox 3: 1 IP, 2 K, 1 Hold
The big strike outs of Manny Ramirez and Paul Konerko might have saved the AL Central for the Twins. This was the most important inning for the Twins this season.

3. Brian Duensing: There might not be a more important pitcher to the Twins' last two division championships than Brian Duensing. He has filled his role with the team no matter what it is. He has been a relief pitcher, a long-relief pitcher, and a starter. With the insertion of Duensing into the Twins' rotation the team was able to take off in the Central Division. Without him on this team the Central race might have had a different ending.

Duensing's Signature Games
August 14: Athletics 0 @ Twins 2: 9 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 4 K
The complete game gem from the young pitcher. He got a pie in the face but it had to be worth every second of it.

September 8: Royals 3 @ Twins 4: 8 IP, 1 ER, 7 K
The most strikeouts that Duensing has accumulated this season. A great 8 inning outing in September. You can't ask for much more.

2. Fransisco Liriano: Liriano was the talk of Twins fans during this past off-season. The scouts at Winter League said that there was something different about Liriano and he hasn't disappointed. I mistakenly thought that he should be placed in the closer role for the Twins during Spring Training. Liriano showed me I was wrong. He has regained some, if not all, of his All-Star form from 2006. He will finish close to the top in the American League in Ks and ERA. He is becoming the ace of the staff and he will get the start in Game 1 of the 2010 ALDS.

Liriano's Signature Games
April 27: Twins 2 @ Tigers 0: 8 IP, 0 ER, 10 K
Liriano and Justin Verlander squared off in this early season match-up. The Twins were able to squeak out 2 unearned runs and win the game for Liriano.

June 11: Braves 1 @ Twins 2: 8 IP, 1 ER, 11 K
Liriano's 10th win of the season was a pitcher's duel with Tim Hudson. Liriano struck out 11 and the Twins prevailed.

1. Carl Pavano: He is 5th in innings pitched in the American League. He is 9th in WHIP. He is 5th in wins. He is the veteran workhorse that Ron Gardenhire loves to have in his rotation. Pavano went through a stretch of games this season where it felt that every game he was going to be out there for 9 innings. Pavano gave the bullpen a rest in almost everyone of his starts. There could have been a case made for Pavano to be the team's MVP and that is why he is #1 on my list.

Pavano's Signature Games
June 20, June 26, July 17, July 22: 36 IP, 3 ER, 16 K
All complete games, all wins, nothing else needs to be said.

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Those are my picks but there can still be much debate

Leave a comment. What do you agree with or disagree with?

Stay tuned tomorrow of the week for my picks for Twin's Rookie of the Year (SPOILER ALERT: There might be a surprise pick).

Monday, September 27, 2010

Twins Rookie Dress Up Day Pictures

Here are the Twin's Rookies in the outfits that they had to dress up in before the current road trip. There are some funny shots. All pictures are courtesy of Pat Neshek and On the Road with Pat Neshek.

Drew Butera and Jeff Manship














Ben Revere


















Alex Burnett


















Trevor Plouffe


















The Whole Rookie Crew

The Twins MVP: 2010 Edition

I recently received an email from Seth Stohs of SethSpeaks.net asking Twins bloggers/writers to vote on the Twins postseason awards in 3 different categories. The categories are the Twins' MVP, the Twins' Pitcher of the Year, and the Twins' Rookie of the Year. This has been a topic of hot debate within the Twins' blogosphere and local Minneapolis media. There are many choices for each of these awards and a lot of different ways to approach what a person thinks qualifies for each award. During this week I will post my picks in each of the above listed categories and don't forget to check out SethSpeaks.net to see the final results.

(Click on the links in each player's write-up to see other stories that I have written this year about each player.)

The Minnesota Twins 2010 MVP (Countdown from #8-#1)

8. Brian Duensing: The Twins were searching the trading blocks at the end of July for a pitcher to solidify their rotation. The trade never happened and they looked to their bullpen. Brian Duensing was their solution and he filled a role in the rotation for the 2nd year in a row.He has been a savior for his team. When the team need a left-handed pitcher out of the bullpen, he filled the role. When the team needed a pitcher in the rotation, he filled the role. The only thing lacking is that he was only a member of the rotation for a part of the season.

Duensing's Signature Game
August 14: Athletics 0 @ Twins 2: 9 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 4 K

7. Fransisco Liriano: It is hard to believe that he was an option for the closer role during Spring Training. In 2010 Liriano has reemerged from his Tommy John surgery as a top tier pitcher for the Twins. He leads the team in ERA and strikeouts. He has 195 strikeouts which places him close to the top in the American League. Once again as a starting pitcher he only pitches once every five days which takes away from his MVP resume. He is still the hope of "The Franchise"

Liriano's Signature Game
April 27: Twins 2 @ Tigers 0: 8 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 10 K
Liriano outduels Verlander in a classic early season game to raise his record to (3-0)

6. Danny Valencia: Valenica has emerged as the Twins' 3rd baseman of today and for the foreseeable future. He hits for average and power as well as playing a solid corner infield position. He has taken over a position that has been lacking since Corey Koskie left at the end of the 2004 season. The only thing lacking from Valencia's MVP resume is the fact that he only played a portion of the season.

Valencia's Signature Games
September 1: Tigers 1 @ Twins 2: 2-4, Game Winning RBI

September 18: Athletics 2 @ Twins 4: 2-4, HR, 3 RBI

5. Carl Pavano: There are some local Minneapolis media and bloggers that think that Pavano should be the teams MVP. He has been a work horse for the Twins from the Opening Game at Target Field. I can't see giving the team MVP to a person that only plays once every five days. He leads the team in wins with 17. Every time that the Twins have needed someone to have a big game he has been there to eat innings. Overall, he has been the veteran presence in the starting rotation that the Twins needed.

Pavano's Signature Game
July 17: White Sox 2 @ Twins 3: CG, 2 ER, 6 K
Pavano and Buehrle locked in a pitcher's duel that only lasted 112 minutes as a storm moved in to Target Field.

4. Michael Cuddyer: What position can't he play? During this season he has played RF, CF, 2B, 3B, and 1B. Many in the Twins organization consider Cuddy the team MVP. He has been a very critical part to a very good team but he isn't the MVP. He is a very solid player but his numbers don't add up to make him the MVP.

Cuddyer's Signature Game
August 10: Twins 12 @ White Sox 6: 2-5, HR, 4 RBI

3. Jim Thome: When Justin Morneau slide into 2nd base to break up the double play, no one thought that it would be as bad as it has turned out. This injury has allowed for Thome to reemerge as power-hitting threat in the middle of a championship caliber line-up. Without Thome there would be a huge hole in the middle of the Twins' line-up. He will end the season leading the team in homeruns. For the extra low price of $1.5 million the Twins have enjoyed the history making season that Thome has had. Thome has charged his way up the all-time HR list and he even made it to the cover of Sports Illustrated for the first time.

Thome's Signature Games 2010
August 17: White Sox 5 @ Twins 6 in 10: 3-5, Game Winning HR, 3 RBI
The first walk-off home run at Target Field capping a wild game against the hated White Sox.

September 6: Royals 4 @ Twins 5: 2-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI
The flag pole shot heard round the world. The 2nd coolest moment, besides Opening Day, that I witnessed at Target Field this season.

2. Delmon Young: The one player on the Twins that is having a break-out season. It has beena dramatic turn around from the player that the Twins saw the last couple seasons. In the middle of the 2010 season, Young carried the entire offensive load for the Twins. MLB awarded him co-player of the month for July. At the end of the season Young will lead the team in RBI and total bases. He also will finish 2nd in batting average out of those that qualify for having enough ABs. He was dominating at times but the consistency wasn't there down the stretch to make him the MVP over Mauer.

Young's 2010 Signature Games
September 7: Twins 10 @ Royals 3: 3-4, 4 RBI, 2 DBL

September 16: Twins 8 @ White Sox 5: 3-5, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI

1. Joe Mauer: Has it been a down year offensively for Mauer? Yes. Is he still the best player on a team that is headed to the playoffs for the the 2nd straight year? Yes. He has carried the team offensively at different points in the season. He is batting .383 in the second half of the season. If Mauer hadn't found this 2nd half offensive surge the Twins would be sitting on the outside of the playoff picture. He leads the team in batting average, hits, and OBP. He got his 1,000 hit this season and is marching toward 3,000. Mauer is simply the best.

Mauer's 2010 Signature Games
September 15: Twins 9 @ White Sox 3: 3-4, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R.
This game might have been the nail in the coffin for the White Sox in their attempt to overtake the Twins in the AL Central.

July 26: Twins 19 @ Royals 1: 5-5, HR, 7 RBI, 3 R

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Those are my picks but there can still be much debate.

Leave a comment. What do you agree with or disagree with?

Stay tuned the rest of the week for my picks for the Twins' Pitchers of the Year and the Twins' Rookies of the Year.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Homer Hanky History Lesson

The Official Star Tribune Homer Hanky has become a regular visitor to the Twins franchise since the 1987 season. The 1987 season was a magical one for the Twins and the Homer Hanky was part of that magical ride. The Homer Hanky has been remodeled over the years but the classic waving at Twins postseason games remains.

Here is a history lesson of the Homer Hanky from it's birth to the newest version that was just released.

1987 Homer Hanky (The Original)
This hanky was printed at the end of the 1987 season. The Twins had taken over the heart and soul of the Twin Cities. Terrie Robbins, the Star Tribune Promotions Manager, decided that the Twins needed something to intimidate the opposition. The Tigers were the first victims in the ALCS. The Cardinals fell in the World Series. The first World Series title in Twins history had been won and the homer hanky had become an integral part of Twins history.
1988 Homer Hanky (Just as great in '88)
The magic wasn't there for the 1988 season, so they weren't as great in '88. The Twins didn't qualify for the playoffs after finishing in 2nd place in the American League Western Division. The magic would disappear for a few seasons but the Homer Hanky would be back.





1991-1992 Homer Hanky (The Magic Is Back)
The Twins' 2nd World Series run truly brought the magic back to the Twin Cities. A throwback design to the 1987 pattern with a red baseball and perhaps this is what brought the magic back. The Twins went on to defeat the Blue Jays in the ALCS. The 1991 World Series is considered by many to be the greatest World Series of all time. And the Homer Hanky would bring the Metrodome roof off in Game 6 and 7. The magic had returned and it would be over a decade before it would return.

2002 Homer Hanky (Proud and Loud)
The Twins had avoided contraction and went on a miraculous run to win their first division title since the early 90's. The young Twins would make a run to the ALCS before they were shut down by the future World Series Champs, the Angels. The Rally Monkey had topped the Homer Hanky but the Homer Hanky was back for the proud and loud fans of the Twin Cities. This time there would be a much shorter wait before the Homer Hanky would return.



2003 Homer Hanky (Every Fan Counts)
Every Fan Counted as the Twins fought their way to their 2nd straight AL Central crown. Their second straight trip to the postseason didn't have as much magic as the years before. The Twins were quickly eliminated by the Yankees. There were some drastic changes to the hanky design. For the first time the hanky switched colors from the classic red design to blue. The baseball logo had shrunk and become part of the Homer Hanky phrase.




2004 Homer Hanky
The Twins had accomplished the impossible. They had almost been removed from the sport three seasons ago. Since that time they had gone on a spurt of three consecutive division championships. The ALDS didn't go exactly to plan. The Yankees won swiftly in 4 games. The baseball field had been reincorporated from the 1988 design and with it came the luck of 1988. There would be a homer hanky hiatus for a couple seasons.



2006 Homer Hanky (This Is Twins Territory)
The 2006 season saw the return of magic to the Metrodome and the Homer Hanky. Joe Mauer won his first batting title on the final day of the season. The final day also brought about a thrilling end to the race for the Central Division. The Twins clinched the division title on the last day of season in front of thousands of fans. These fans had stayed to watch the Tigers blow a lead and their grip on the division crown. The magic didn't transfer to the postseason as the Twins were quickly swept out of the playoff picture by the Oakland Athletics. Minnie and Paul made their first appearance on the Homer Hanky in one of the biggest design changes in hanky history.
2009 Homer Hanky (Championship Drive in Twins Territory)
The last season in the Metrodome was full of as much magic as the '87 and '91 seasons. The Twins put together a miraculous 2nd half to catch the Tigers and force a Game 163. This game would be one of the signature games in Metrodome history. The problem would be that the Twins would have less than 24-hours to recover before they faced the future World Series Champs, the Yankees. The Twins would be swept in the first round but they had one last Homer Hanky celebration and sent the Metrodome out in style.

2010 Homer Hanky
The first season at Target Field has been a memorable one. From Opening Day fly over to the playoff games that are still to come, there have been many experiences for fans to take part in under the golden sun of outdoor baseball. Minny and Paul make their second appearance in Hanky history. It is the focal point of Target Field and a fitting part of the 2010 Homer Hanky. Did any of the Metrodome magic make the trip across town? Only time will tell...

"Don't Call Them Twinkies" A New Twins Song

This new Twins song , "Don't Call Them Twinkies, is pretty cool. It goes through a lot of the history of the Twins and their World Series Championship runs. Just in time for another postseason run.



If the embed code doesn't seem to work you can click on the link below to listen to the song off of the website that it is posted on.

DON'T CALL THEM TWINKIES SONG

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Twins Official 2010 Homer Hanky

The Official 2010 Star Tribune Homer Hanky has been released. Check it out below. They are available at the Twins Pro Shops and the Twins Majestic Team Store. The Majestic Team Store is going to be open for 33 hours straight over the next couple days for fans to purchase their playoff merchandise (until 8 pm Thursday). Stop in a pick up everything you need for the Twins Championship Drive at Target Field.

Co-Host SeathSpeaks.net Twins Podcast

Listen in as I co-host the SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins Podcast. We were joined by Florida Marlins prospect Brad Hand, a native of Minnesota. We discussed a lot of different Twins topics including the Twins playoff roster, the Twins end of the season awards, and the Twins march to the postseason.

Listen to internet radio with SethSpeaks on Blog Talk Radio

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Twins AL Central Champs: A Professional Celebration

There is a celebration on the horizon with the possibility of the Twins clinching the AL Central Division as soon as tonight. There have been some great celebrations in recent memory when the Twins clinched the division at home.

In 2006 thousands of fans stayed long after the Twins game had finished to watch Royals come back and beat the Tigers in extra-innings. The team exploded out of the dugout and mobbed each other around the pitchers mound. Then the team proceeded to run a lap around the field to high five the fans that had stayed to support them. It was the greatest moment in sports that I have been in attendance for.

In 2009 the Twins were in familiar territory. It was the second year in a row that the team had been part of a tie breaking game 163. The season before had ended in heartbreak with a lose to the hated White Sox. This ending would be different. After a back and forth game Alexi Casilla would drive in Carlos Gomez with the winning run. Gomez (pictured above) would jump up and slam his helmet down in excitement. It was a game that Sports Illustrated would call the best regular season game of the decade. The team would take another lap around the field to thank the fans for their support. Short of a World Series victory, it was the perfect way to take the Metrodome out in style.

Even though those celebrations were great, it is time for a change. The 2010 Twins should approach their division title with more style and professionalism. By doing this the Twins will be showing that they have much more to prove the rest of this season. The Twins can be excited for what they have accomplished over a long and grueling season. But a lap around the field isn't necessary. Tip your hat to the fans, go into the locker room, celebrate, and get ready for postseason play.

The AL Central title will not be the last celebration at Target Field this season.

If the Twins want to take a lap around the field after they win the World Series, be my guest.

If the Twins clinch the ALCS on the road and there is a crowd waiting for them at Target Field reminiscent of 1987, that is fine.

The Twins' list of goals to accomplish is longer for this season. A division title is not enough and the celebration should follow the ideal of professionalism.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Thome Sports Illustrated Cover

Jim Thome will be on the cover of Sports Illustrated that is released tomorrow. Check out the cover below and pick up a copy to read the article by Joe Posnanski. Here is a link to the article "Still Going Strong."

Twins Playoff Rotation

As the Twins Magic Number continues to shrink the focus for Twins fans becomes the Postseason. The Twins have a variety of injury concerns that came out of this weekend. Denard Span missed the entire weekend with a sore shoulder. Joe Mauer pulled himself from the Sunday game with a knee problem. Orlando Hudson sat out a game after having a rough stretch at the plate as of lately. Jason Kubel also missed time with a hand injury. The Twins main focus over the next couple weeks should be in getting these players healthy for the postseason, a luxury that the Twins haven't had in the past few postseason runs.

There was much talk over the weekend regarding the Twins setting up their rotation for the postseason (Four-man rotation for Twins if in playoffs). Ron Gardenhire has been very cryptic when talking about the postseason in multiple interviews but most of the information that he has given points to the following. The Twins will use a four-man rotation for the playoffs. The first three spots in that rotation will be filled by Carl Pavano, Fransisco Liriano, and Brian Duensing. The final spot will be filled by either Nick Blackburn, Kevin Slowey, or Scott Baker.

Baker hasn't pitched in awhile so it will be interesting to see how strong he is when he returns on Tuesday. Slowey looked good on Saturday against Oakland. He pitched 6.2 innings only giving up 2 ER. The problem is the 3 starts prior to that the longest he lasted was five innings. At this point it looks like Blackburn is in the front-running for the 4th spot in the postseason rotation. Since he has returned from the minors he has looked very strong in a starting role. He has a quality start in all of these outings. Also he is averaging over 7 innings pitched per game with a 2.18 ERA.

The initial reaction to a Twins rotation in the playoffs would be to put the veteran, Carl Pavano, as the Game 1 starter. The rumbling from the Twins organization is the fact that they would like one of the left-handers to start Game 1 in the postseason. This would allow them to go lefty, righty, lefty, righty for the first four games of the ALDS. I still think this is a mistake. In a 5 game series winning Game 1 is the most important. The Twins should start Pavano in Game 1.

That being said if the Twins still go with their plan, which lefty gets the nod in Game 1?

My vote would be for Brian Duensing. Duensing has been in this position before. He started Game 1 of the 2009 ALDS for the Twins. Granted the Twins were in a tough spot. Less than 24 hours prior they had won an exhausting Game 163. This left them with little to turn to for the game. Duensing was a rookie and he only lasted into the 5th inning while giving up 5 ER. All that said a new Duensing has emerged in 2010. He has more confidence and this will help him in the postseason. Another huge advantage is he won't be pitching on the road in Yankee Stadium. He will be at home in front of a sold-out crowd at Target Field.

Liriano has looked shaky in a lot of pressure filled situations this year. It seems that when the pressure is on he loses confidence in his pitches. When Liriano has been match-up with big name pitchers (Justin Verlander, etc.) he has faltered. In his last couple starts when runners have gotten on he seems nervous on the mound and it has resulted in bad outcomes on the field. In 2010 the Twins have yet to win a game against the Yankees or the Rays that Liriano starts. He has pitched well in some of those games but in the playoffs it is about wins.

My Preferred ALDS Rotation
1. Carl Pavano
2. Brian Duensing
3. Fransisco Liriano
4. Nick Blackburn

Following the Twins Plan (LH, RH, LH, RH)
1. Brian Duensing
2. Carl Pavano
3. Fransisco Liriano
4. Nick Blackburn

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I had a fun experience at the Danny Valencia Meet and Greet put on by AME Sports in the Rosedale Center. Danny was really nice and he was coming off of a huge game where he hit a 3-run HR and was player of the game. Check out AME Sports on Facebook they have some pictures to view.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Once a Cheater, Always a Jeter


There has been a lot of controversy throughout the baseball media world revolving around Derek Jeter's controversial hit-by-pitch during last night's Yankees vs. Rays game. Here is a recap of what happened to Jeter if you haven't seen it yet.

Jeter was batting in the 7th inning with his team down 2-1. A pitch broke inside toward Jeter and to the naked eye looked like it hit him on the hand. Jeter threw his bat, grabbed his wrist, and the trainer and manager had to come to look him over. The problem was... the ball never hit him. Every replay angle shows that the ball hit the knob of the bat. If you listen to the play at full speed you can clearly hear that the ball makes the sound of hitting a bat and not the thud of hitting a player. Jeter was awarded 1st base and Curtis Granderson proceeded to follow up Jeter's HBP with a homerun. In the end the Rays won the game off the strength of two Dan Johnson homeruns. Luckily this play didn't figure into the result for the winning team.

The controversy that has come out of this situation is about the acting job that Jeter did to get awarded the hit by pitch. A variety of writers and TV personalities have thrown out the accusation that what Jeter did was cheating. This accusation of "cheating" is a very gray area. Some people today have said that cheating has always been a part of the game of baseball. As an athlete you are always trying to find an advantage and this "cheating" is a part of that.

After the game Jeter was asked where the ball hit and he told the truth. He said the ball hit the bat. He explained that it is his job to get on base. He would do anything to help his team in a tight race for the AL East crown.

The best explanation that I have heard to counter all of this cheating was given by Colin Cowherd of ESPN Radio. He used the Twins Joe Mauer as his example. He said that Mauer, Jeter, and Albert Pujols are three of the most respected players in the game. His "cheating" example for Mauer was the fact that on any pitch that is close to the plate Mauer is going to pull the ball closer to the plate. Is this an act of cheating? To try and convince the umpire that your pitcher threw a strike when he didn't. No... It is just part of the game.

Is Jeter a cheater? No, it is the umpires fault for calling it the way that he did.

Did Jeter need to put on the show that he did after he got "hit?" No, but he wanted to get to 1st base and it worked. Maybe he was audition for a Hollywood role for the off-season. Because he knows with the Yankees starting rotation he might be done with his season a little earlier than last year.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Twins Sweet Spot Season Ticket Benefit Program

For the 2011 Season the Twins have added a new benefits and rewards program for season ticket holders (STH). There are many of the same benefits that have been part of the Twins Season Ticket program for many seasons. Exclusive bars/lounges, presale of tickets, a STH website, a discount at Twins Pro Shops, and many other things.

The exciting things for Twins STH are some of the new benefits that will be added as part of the Sweet Spot program. Below you will find the details of some of the new programs.

Presale priority for New Pro Shop Items Get first crack at new Twins merchandise as it becomes available at Twins Pro Shops.

Some of the new and most interesting additions are called Twins Experiences. These experiences include:

View Twins Batting Practice
Raise the Twins Territory Flag
Complimentary TwinsFest Tickets
Twins Away Game Road Trip- Airfare, hotel, car rental and tickets to the game will be provided for you and a guest.
Live Phone Forum with Twins Players and Coaches- Participate in in-depth discussions with Twins players and coaches on topics that you tell us you want to hear about.
Throw Out a First Pitch
Visit the Press Box, Broadcast Booth, & TV Truck
Fantasy Batting Practice at Target Field
In-Game Contest- Participate in one of the in-game promotional contests during a Twins game at Target Field
Visit the Twins Scoreboard Control Room
Behind the Scenes Grounds Crew Tour
On-Field Parties- Small groups of STH will get to play games, meet Twins staff, and spend a day at Target Field.
MLB All-Star Game Viewing Party- Watch the MLB All-Star Game on the big screen at Target Field. It's just like being at the game.
Watch a Home Game with Twins Alumni- Sit next to a former Twins player for up to three innings during a Twins game at Target Field
A Majestic Shopping Experience- Five lucky STH will win the chance for a "special" shopping experience at the Twins Clubhouse Store. It sounds like it will be a fun time though.


Other Enjoyments of being a season ticket holder:

Complimentary Concession Coupons- Can be redeemed for select food and beverages at Target Field. They sent these out earlier this year. It was fun to have free money to try the new food and drink at Target Field.
Twins Fleece Blanket- Select STH will receive this for free.
Guaranteed "Giveaway"- STH can pre-purchase the stadium giveaways for the 2011 season. Including bobbleheads, hats, bats, statues, etc.
Game-Used Baseballs, Bats, and Bases- STH will have the chance to earn game-used memorabilia in special Sweet Spot promotions and contests.

It will be exciting to see how these new benefits play out for the 2011 season. But there is still plenty of things left to accomplish in the 2010 season. Go Twins!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Quotes about Target Field

Just opened my season ticket renewal guide for the 2011 season. There is a lot of new stuff to discuss including the new Sweet Spot Benefits and Rewards that are Exclusively for Twins Season Ticket Holders. I just opened the envelope so I am still sorting through things. I will post about all the new perks of being a season ticket holder. Here are some quotes that were on the envelope about Target Field from the 2011 Season Ticket Renewal Guide:

"Target Field looks to be the Eighth Wonder of the World, a temple on the order of Wrigley or Fenway or the Acropolis, a beautiful little bandbox of a ballpark tucked snugly into the streets of old warehouses and the Burlington rail yards, with commuter trains running to its front door, a sight that fills me with unmitigated dizzy delight."- Garrison Keillor, in The New York Times

"Target Field is more than I think anyone, including myself, could have imagined."- Joe Mauer, Catcher, Minnesota Twins

"This is the fulfillment of a lot of dreams... Target Field has as much character, if not more character, than any ballpark in the country." -Bud Selig, Commissioner of Major League Baseball

"From the limestone on the dugout roof to the gate handles shaped like the state of Minnesota to the scoreboard hat updates the pitcher's walks plus hits per inning pitched after every play, Target Field fits the Twins' character."- Tyler Kepner, The New York Times

"Squeezed snugly at the edge of downtown, the lovely Mankato limestone ballpark opned on a warm, April afternoon that turned on more Minnesotans than Mary Tyler Moore's smile."- Jim Caple, ESPN.com

"Target Field is an exquisite as a steak dinner at Murray's. Everything is first-class, from the clubhouses to the bathrooms. It will be a crown jewel in baseball for generations."- Bob Nightengale, USA Today

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mauer's march toward 3000

As the Twins enjoy their off-day in Chicago before their huge series with the White Sox, one of their players is on the cusp of a milestone. Joe Mauer currently sits at 999 hits for his career. If he gets a hit on Tuesday night he will reach the 1000 hit plateau in only 826 games and at the young age of 27. To give some perspective on that check out the chart below. This chart shows the ages that the most famous Twins reached 1000 hits

Rod Carew Age 27

Kirby Puckett Age 28
Kent Hrbek Age 28
Tony Olivia Age 30
Harmon Killebrew Age 30

With the exception of Carew, Mauer will reach this plateau at a younger age than all of the Twins legends. Mauer has also missed parts of various seasons with injuries including much of his rookie season. By adding in these extra games he could have reached this mark at an even younger age.

The Twins franchise record for hits is held by Sam Rice with 2889 hits. He played for the Washington Nationals from 1915-1933. It took him until the age of 32 to compile 1000 hits. Second on the Twins franchise hits is Kirby Puckett with 2304. His age is listed in the chart above. The all-time hits leader, Pete Rose, also reached the 1000 hit mark at the age of 27.

All hitter strive to reach one mark, 3000 hits. So let's look ahead and project when Mauer could reach this historical feat. Granted there are many things that could get in the way of Mauer's march toward 3000. He has had injuries in the past and he plays the most grueling position on the diamond.

Avg. games/season**: 131
Avg. AB/season**: 492
Avg. hits/season**: 161
(**For the sake of getting an accurate outcome I threw out his rookie season in which he only played 35 games because of injury)

In Mauer's three best hitting seasons ('06,'08,'09) he averaged 183 hits/season. This number is much higher than the 161 he averages per/season. So it is easy to say that he could reach the 3000 hit mark even faster if he has some more seasons like he has in the past.

With Mauer's average hits and adding a few good seasons like he has had in the past he could reach the 2000 hit mark in the 2016 season at the age of 33. Mauer's march to 3000 hits could get very tricky from there. Will he still be a catcher at the age of 33? Will he switch to another position to save himself from injury? Is the DH role something that Mauer would be able to thrive in?

Mauer would pass Kirby Puckett for 2nd on the franchises hit list during the 2018 season at the age of 35. At the beginning of the 2022 season Mauer will be approaching the Twins franchise record of hits set by Sam Rice. The end of the 2022 season and the beginning of the 2023 season would be the time that Mauer would be approaching the 3000 hit mark. He would be in his late thirties or early forties.

My prediction: Mauer will get his 3000 hit as the DH for the Twins. It will be a cool fall day at Target Field and the Twins will be in the hunt for the 2022 division title. It will be a double to the opposite field gap and a run will score on the play.

Congratulations to Mauer as he passes the 1000 hit mark. As Twins fans we look forward to your march toward 3000 hits.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

MLB/NFL team comparison

As the NFL season ended in the beginning of February I wrote a post about the return of MLB (Goodbye NFL, Welcome back MLB). Now the time of year has come to welcome back the NFL. As a big baseball fan it is hard for me to shift my focus to the NFL. I have fantasy football teams and I am in a pick'em league but I still don't get too involved in the NFL season until the Twins have been eliminated.

In the midst of a tight AL Central race it is tough to for me to turn my attention to the NFL. Luckily the Twins have a night off as the Saints and Vikings kick off the season tonight. Another problem might be the fact that I am a Buffalo Bills fan and there is usually not too much to be excited about with my team.

So in honor of the kick off to NFL Season 2010, here is a comparison of NFL teams and the MLB team that corresponds with them. Maybe these two sports aren't that different after all.

1. New York Yankees=Dallas Cowboys Both of these teams have an interesting dynamic with fans of their sport. If you are a baseball fan you either love the Yankees or you hate them. The same can be said for the Cowboys. Both teams have won multiple championships. Their stadiums are cathedrals to the game. I dislike both of these teams. The Twins haven't been able to beat the Yankees in the playoffs and the Bills couldn't get by the Cowboys in the Super Bowl.

2. Chicago Cubs=Minnesota Vikings Both of these teams seemed to be cursed when it comes to the postseason. The Vikings have had heartbreaks in the NFC Championship game and the Super Bowl in the past. The Cubs have continued to struggle and haven't be relevant in the playoffs since the Bartman Ball in the 2003 NLCS.

3. Pittsburgh Pirates=Detroit Lions Both of these teams are really bad. They each have very nice stadiums but that still doesn't translate to wins on the field. They each have young players that are trying to make their mark on the game. The unfortunate thing is that both teams won't be making that mark on the game in the foreseeable future.

4. Tampa Bay Rays=New Orleans Saints Both teams have been feel good stories for their individual sports. The Saints have helped their city in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The Rays have proven that they can play with the big boys in the AL East. They each made surprise runs in recent post-season play.

5. Boston Red Sox=Indianapolis Colts Both of these teams have fans across the country. Red Sox Nation has grown as they have multiple championships in the last decade. The Colts have also grown in popularity as they marched to Super Bowl title in the 2006 season. There are also nationally known players on both teams. Peyton Manning, Dustin Pedroia, and Kevin Youkilis are the faces of these franchises.

The hardest comparison to make was the team that should correspond with the Minnesota Twins. My favorite NFL team is the Buffalo Bills. That connection would not do justice for the Twins because the Bills have been bad for most of a decade. At the same time the Twins have continually been in the playoffs. I tried to find an NFL team that has been in the playoffs a lot in recent years but hasn't made it to the big game/series. To me the best example of that would be the San Diego Chargers. Both teams been very good during the regular season but have failed to perform in post-season play. Each of them have stars that are faces of the franchise. Each team has a history of ups and downs and has famous players in their past.

So that's my pick for the best NFL team that corresponds with the Twins. Let me know what you think.

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Check out my picks in the SethSpeaks.net NFL "Experts" Picks. There are a lot of current Twins, Twins prospects, and other bloggers involved. It should be a fun season.
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This is also back to back posts that I have mentioned the Pirates. It's September and the Pirates are irrelevant.

Sidney Crosby Home Run Video

Check out this video of Sidney Crosby taking batting practice at PNC Park home of the Pirates in Pittsburgh. He hits a homerun out of the park. I'm a Penguins fan. I have been since I was little in the Jagr/Lemieux era so no I am not a bandwagoner.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Thome at the Bat

Jim Thome continues to amaze as he climbs his way up the all-time home run list. He tied Frank Robinson for 8th on the all-time home run list with another moon shot last night. In the last couple weeks he has the the four longest homeruns in Target Field history. From his walk-off in extra innings against the White Sox to his 480 ft. blast off the flag pole there have been some memorable moments this season.

Here is a poem in honor of Thome and his fantastic season with the Twins. It is to the famous "Casey at the Bat" written in 1888 by Ernest Lawrence Thayer. A flash-back to his walk-off win against the White Sox because it might be good karma for the big series next week. There are a few Minneapolis references. See if you can pick them out.

The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Minneapolis nine that day;
The score stood six to five, with but one extra inning to play,
The game had been back and forth with both teams in the lead,
A classic battle between these foes everyone agreed.

Ramirez had two homers for the Sox on this day,
And all that Twins fans could do was sit, hope and pray.
They thought, "If only Thome could but get a whack at that —
We'd put up even money now, with Thome at the bat."

Guillen looked to the bullpen and Thornton was his choice,
This left eager Twins fans searching for their voice.
And then when Young singled to start the frame,
A dead-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

Then from forty thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the city, the crowd began to swell;
It pounded on the stone arch bridge and recoiled upon the flat,
For Thome, mighty Thome, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Thome's manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Thome's bearing and no smile on Thome's face.
He dug deep into the box finding his place in time,
Across town the city hall tower was about to chime.

Forty thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt.
His trademark point of the bat to make the crowd alert.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance flashed in Thome's eye, a sneer curled Thome's lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Thome stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped —
"That ain't my style," said Thome. "Strike one!" the umpire said.

With a smile of Christian charity great Thome's visage shone;
He needed to make-up for the save that Capps had blown.
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the dun sphere flew;
But Thome still ignored it, and the umpire said "Strike two!"

People across Twins Territory had come from near and far
And now Target Plaza has gone silent from the pressure on their star.
A turning point in the season and which way will it go?
Even at this time Dick and Bert are not able to know.

One last time Thome points his bat aloft.
The crowd hopes for a pitch, maybe something soft.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Thome's blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout;
And there is joy in Minneapolis — mighty Thome has hit one out.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Ben Revere: A Twins accident waiting to happen

There have been a lot of weird injuries in baseball history. This is also true for the history of the Minnesota Twins. Here is a run-down of some weird injuries that have plagued the Twins.

David Foster was a member of the Gulf Coast League Twins when he was making a phone call. Lightning hit the phone line and zapped him. His season and his career in baseball was over.

As general manager of the Twins, Terry Ryan made many scouting trips in his life. On one of these scouting trips he was sitting behind the backstop. A back broke, got through the backstop, and struck him in the forehead.

At the end of the 1990 season Kent Hrbek missed the last week and a half of the season. He was wrestling with the clubhouse attendant and sprained his ankle.

When Terry Mulholland pitched for the Twins he woke up with an eye injury. His eye had been scratched by a feather from the pillow he had been sleeping on.

Last season Carlos Gomez got into a fight. The problem was the fight was with a revolving door at the Metrodome. The door won and Gomez had to get stitches in his forehead.

Even with all of these weird injuries, there is a new call-up for the Twins that has quite an interesting season with his appearances on the injury report. Ben Revere was the Twins first round pick in the 2007 MLB Draft. Here is a run-down of the injuries that have been a part of Revere's wild ride to the majors this season.

1. During a bullpen session Revere stood in against pitcher David Bromberg. Bromberg proceeded to hit him in the knee.

2. Revere tried to break up a double play earlier this season. His reward for doing this was a knee to the head. Luckily this injury didn't end like Justin Morneau's did earlier this season.

3. Revere tried to avoid a tag at home plate by sliding head first. The catcher spiked Revere on the hand and caused him to get stitches.

4. The most serious of the injuries occurred a little over a month ago. Revere was hit in the face with a fastball. He made a speedy recovery and will wear a batting helmet with a face mask for the rest of the season.

Revere seems to be an accident waiting to happen. His luck has changed and he is now a member of the major league squad. Hopefully he doesn't bring the weird injury bug with him.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A ray of light at Target Field

A little something to brighten everyone's Friday before the long weekend. Enjoy the photo I took at the game last night. I call it "The pot of gold." Enjoy some of the little things in life this weekend.
Check out my post from yesterday called "A Child's Hero." It's a good one.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Child's Hero: Kirby Puckett

As the Twins will be spending this weekend celebrating their 50th Season in Minnesota, they have spent the last few weeks announcing the 50 Greatest Twins. In last night's broadcast of the Twins game the FSN crew spent time recognizing the most famous Twin of them all, Kirby Puckett.

As a child growing up in the late 80's and early 90's in the Mid-West there was only one player that epitomized all that was baseball. Kirby Puckett played the game like every little kid dreamed of playing it. His combination of power, defense, and hitting made him worthy of the Hall of Fame. Kids tried to imitate him by wearing Twins hats and swinging the same way that he did.

With all of these baseball attributes there was one other major attribute that made children love Kirby even more. Puckett approached everyday with a smile on his face. He played the game with a child like optimism. He came to the field everyday with two things in mind: winning the game and having a great time doing it.

From posters on the wall to albums full of trading cards, Kirby Puckett was the face of a franchise. He became an iconic figure in the Mid-West as he carried the Twins to two World Series wins in the late 80's and early 90's.

Still to this day fans can be seen wearing Puckett #34 jersey's at games. Bob Casey's iconic introduction of Kirby still echoes through the Metrodome hallways even though the team has moved across town. His performance in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series still gives people goose bumps. Even more memorable was the fact the he told his team to get on his back that evening and he was able to live up to that promise. The sign of a true hero.

There is a new generation of Twins fans that has new heroes to look up to. The Mauer's and the Morneau's will have their place in Twins history but there will only be one Kirby. These younger fans may have questions about the legend that is Kirby Puckett. Don't be afraid to indulge these young minds in all that he was for the Twins.

On a weekend that the Twins will honor 50 years as residents of the state of Minnesota, let's remember the Twin whose career was shortened and whose live was shortened. The one and only, the legendary... Kirby Puckett, a child's hero.