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Article: Game Thread: Twins @ White Sox, 8/21@4:10pm AND...

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Article: Twins In Driver's Seat In Wild-Card Race

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Souhan on Sano

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All-Star Stream of Consciousness

It was a busy, long weekend, but it was a tremendous opportunity. I traveled from the tip-top of Minnesota, down to the Twin Cities on Saturday. I then spent all day Monday driving back home. One has a lot of opportunity to think while driving more than seven hours each direction, so I thought I would put together a quick Stream of Consciousness blog for today. I encourage you to leave your thoughts on All-Star festivities below.

So bear with me. I’ll cover a lot of topics, and hopefully you enjoy this potentially chaotic format.

Attached Image: FanFest.jpg

I’ll start with my thoughts on being down at the All-Star Sunday festivities and go from there. But to wake up on Sunday morning and see my name in a byline in the Pioneer Press was pretty cool! I was asked to write an article on the Three Twins Prospects in the Futures Game, so that was pretty neat!

My daughter, along with my brother and sister, and I went to the Minneapolis Convention Center on Sunday morning for All-Star Fan Fest. As I mentioned on the podcast portion of the Gleeman and the Geek podcast, it reminded me a lot of going to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. There were about 400,000 square feet of baseball events and displays. It was as if you just needed to walk around and see everything, and then take a step back to think about what you wanted to do, what you wanted to look at.

Sure, it would have been great to spend more time in several of the areas, but with an 8-year-old girl, being in one place for terribly long isn’t always possible.

Attached Image: 963KTwin.jpg The highlight was certainly being included in the Baseball Round Table discussion with Jack Morris, Lindsay Guentzel and Rod Simon on their Sunday morning “This is Twins Territory” show. It was a bit surreal to be having a conversation with a guy with Jack Morris’ baseball history. (May be able to get audio for this up later. Will be posted here if we can.)

A close second would be getting to watch Jennie Finch run a clinic on a small field at Fan Fest. That was good times! (She'll come up in this stream of consciousness a bit later as well.)

Attached Image: JFinch.jpg

I was then dropped off at Target Field around 12:30 and stood outside waiting for the gates to open at 2. Honestly, it was such a cool atmosphere outside the stadium that 90 minutes didn’t seem all that long. My Twins Hangouts co-host Jeremy Nygaard, who had run in the Color Run earlier that morning, got there with the tickets.

The Futures Game itself was great. It was so much fun to watch players whose names we have heard, but it’s always a different experience to see them in person. That’s why I always talk about people trying to get down to Cedar Rapids to watch the Kernels play in person if you’re able. In my mind, it enhances your knowledge about players when you can say you’ve actually seen them play rather than just reading the box scores and stat lines.

Jeremy spent more time talking about the three Twins players’ performances. For me, it was pretty encouraging to see. Consider that the Twins top two prospects, Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano, did not play because of injuries in the first half, and Trevor May was supposed to pitch but he was on the DL, the Twins were represented by three terrific prospects.

Kennys Vargas made an impression in batting practice, but people also wrote about his personality. He is a jovial young man, and why not? I mean, he became a first-time father last week and got to play in a very prestigious prospect event. He struck out a couple of times, but he did short-hop the fence in right field for a double.

JO Berrios got the starting nod for the World Team and was impressive in his one-inning stint. He showed a fastball that sat 94-95 with a slider at 85-86 and a changeup at 81-82. A three-pitch mix like that certainly bodes well. Add in that people rave about his maturity and make-up and we can understand why he is such a highly-touted prospect.

Alex Meyer had a very short outing, but it was good. He hit 97, 98, 97, 97 and 97 with the five pitches that he threw. The first batter lined out to left. The second lined a single to left, and the third grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end his inning. You can say that he got hit hard if you want, but the fastball is legit. If you also remember that he’s got four good pitches and he didn’t even show the other three, you can be quite excited about his future. You can also understand after this why it is so important to have more than just a big fastball.

Joey Gallo (3B, Rangers) put on an incredible display in batting practice, and he got hold of one in the game too that went a long way. He was impressive. Javier Baez (SS, Cubs) hit a bomb to right center field (he bats right handed) against Lucas Giolito (RHP, Nationals). Not many are able to do that!

Attached Image: GATG.jpg Between games, John Bonnes found Jeremy and I, and we went high up in the top deck of Target Field and podcast the second half of the Gleeman and the Geek podcast. It was fun to talk about what happened in the first half of the minor league season. I almost lost my voice because it was rather difficult talking over cheers for the pyrotechnics of the Panic! At the Disco two-song performance and the huge cheers as Adrian Peterson, Zach Parise and Jim Thome were introduced for the Celebrity Softball game.

We made an assumption that the Futures Game crowd would exit after that game and that there would be fewer people there for the Celebrity Softball game. Nope! Many people came in just for that game and it was even more packed. The highlight of that game was the fast pitches that Jennie Finch threw to Adrian Peterson. It was awesome! Parise looks like he could play still. And, I’ve always been a huge Nelly fan, and he hit two home runs.

There were fireworks after the game, and that was it for a long, exhausting, wonderful day! I’m glad I had the opportunity to be there that day.

I wish I could have been at the Twins Daily/Fangraphs get-together at Mason’s before the Home Run Derby. It sounds like it would have been a great time! Unfortunately, I had about 370 miles to drive home on Monday instead.

I was lucky too because after about 9 hours in the car, I got home just in time for the start of the Home Run Derby. It was great to see Brian Dozier hit two home runs. The last thing anyone wants is to get shutout (like Yasiel Puig was). I’d say his brother Clay did a good job too. Before the game, Jeremy Nygaard tweeted the following, “They just asked Clay Dozier when he realized little brother, Brian, was better than he was. His response, ‘He is?!’”

I’m not a big fan of the new format. I like the urgency of the 7 swings. There will obviously be fewer home runs with fewer outs, but it would make the event go more quickly. In theory, the concept of winning the first round and getting the bye to the second round should be a good thing. When you don’t hit for more than 90 minutes after the first round, it definitely appeared (from the results last night) that it wasn’t much of an advantage.

Also, fans, if you’re in the first row of one of the upper deck sections, quit reaching so far over the fence to try to catch home runs or foul balls. Is it worth it? Man, I have to turn my head whenever I see guys hanging that far over walls.

Tonight is the All-Star game. Let’s hope we get to see Jeremy and his dad’s mugs holding the huge flag for the National Anthem before the game. Let’s hope Kurt Suzuki gets a chance to play in his first All-Star game. And, it would be really neat if Glen Perkins could come jogging in with a two-run lead for the top of the 9th inning!

I know a lot of Twins fans were able to get to parts (if not all) of the All-Star festivities. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the various events. What did you like? What didn’t you like? What would you do? Obviously if you get to the parade or the All-Star game tonight, feel free to add your thoughts on that as well.

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