Ever since I can remember, I’ve been a big fan of the sport of baseball, and in particular the Minnesota Twins. I’ve spent countless evenings watching the Twins from the early days of Kirby Puckett on to the Mauer years.
These days the Twins are a much different ball club. More of the small ball antics manager Ron Gardenhire instilled in the team have been supplemented by a team dominant on sheer power.
This is new to me as a Twins fan. Where the team would previously scrap to get every run it could across the plate, this season it’s the long ball which dictates so much of the team’s success.
I’m used to this power being displayed by opponents like the Yankees or the Red Sox.
Not this year.
As of Thursday, the Twins are second in the major league in home runs, taking the ball out of the park 65 times through 35 games. On Wednesday alone, the Twins hit four two-run home runs en route to a 9-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
This is due in large part to cheap free agent acquisitions from the offseason. The Twins signed Nelson Cruz, CJ Cron and Jonathan Schoop for near veteran minimum contracts. This is nothing new for a team that tries to make additions very frugally. However, this year it’s yielded significant results.
Combined, the three newcomers have hit 20 home runs. Add in 13 home runs from Eddie Rosario and seven from Jorge Polanco and the Twins somehow have one of the most dangerous lineups in baseball.
Again, based on the struggles of previous seasons, this is new to me as a fan. I actively watch as many games as I can. Not only are the bats alive, but the Twins have three legitimate starters in Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi and Martin Perez.
It all adds up to an exciting team to follow. At 23-12, they have the second best record in the league and show no signs of slowing down.
The only problem the team has faced thus far has been lackluster attendance at Target Field due to a number of home games being held in frigid conditions. This is, of course, to be expected in Minnesota, but it’s dampered what’s been a stellar start from the Twins.
I’m sure once the weather heats up the fans will show up as well. To think the team has established this much offensive firepower in these conditions is astounding.
I hope when the sun is shining at Target Field the balls will be even more receptive to leave the park.
It’s still early and a lot of scenarios can play out, but this is one of the most dynamic baseball teams I can remember. It’s fun to watch and, hopefully, this club will be able to sustain this success into the postseason.