Report From The Fort: Opening Day Stuff
All of those factors work in fans’ favor, too. Plus, the first day of full squad workouts (which was Monday) is an open house at Hammond Stadium. The team opens the stadium, serves half-price concessions, and fans can watch live batting practice (which is where we saw Willians Astudillo go deep on Jose Berrios) and then go play in the outfield.
Rocco’s Big (Long) Day
Usually on the first game of spring training, we see a packed house and something pretty close to the anticipated Twins starting lineup to start the game. It’s an electric atmosphere.
But that is complicated a little bit by a planned split squad today for the first day. In the afternoon, the Twins will send a group to Sarasota (about 1.5 hours away) to play the Orioles at 1:05 PM before their home opener tonight versus the Rays. MLB dictates that the visiting team needs to send several regulars to play at away games, so the home starting lineup may not be quite as robust.
But a topic of interest is how it also complicates new manager Rocco Baldelli’s day. The Twins have a tradition that on split-squad days, the Twins manager goes with the traveling team in solidarity. Baldelli will be honoring that, but then leaving midgame to race back to Fort Myers to also manage the home game at 6:05.
He said he would feel really good at the end of the day when it was all over. I didn’t have the heart to remind him that he has another game Sunday afternoon at 1:05 across town. It’ll be his third game in 24 hours.
The winter meetings this offseason were in Las Vegas, and 23-year-old Nick Gordon, who is still the string bean the Twins drafted, attended them. I can relate to his favorite part of Las Vegas.
“Buffets,” Gordon exclaimed. “I loved the buffets. I’ve got a lot of room to grow. A lotta room to grow. I crushed them.”
(It is not apparent he crushed them. In fact, it’s not apparent he ate anything over the offseason.)
Your Daily Moment Of Zen (Adorable Category)
The Twins press corps’ collective hearts melted watching Justin Morneau play catch with his daughter Tuesday morning. She can’t be more than five years old, and he was tossing up short fly balls in Hammond Stadium’s foul territory. She would prance towards them in her little sun dress, miss several, catch some, and regardless gleefully throw the ball back back to him. The icing on the cake was about every five minutes she would run up to him with her hand out and he’d pour her a handful of sunflower seeds to chew on while she played.
Simple acts of pure joy, both for a father and daughter. Damn, but I love baseball. We’re back at it tonight. I can’t wait.
- USNMCPO, NoCryingInBaseball, joemama and 4 others like this