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10 Reasons to Make it to Target Field in Early April

Posted by Gavin_Sanford , 20 March 2018 · 1,841 views

As most of us know, April in Minnesota can be brutal. Snow, sleet, and rain accompanied by cold temperatures are always a possibility early in the season. The old saying April showers bring May flowers is thrown around everywhere, but it especially rings true in Minnesota. With the Twins having a 14 game home stand beginning the first week in April, and having 18 games total for the month, weather becomes a huge factor for the Twins’ attendance early in the year. Even the most die-hard baseball fans find it difficult to sit outside at a game when it is cold and raining. This makes me wonder why so many northern teams get scheduled to have early home games in the first place, when it is known that weather affects attendance, but that isn’t my job so I won’t try to tackle it.

April weather is definitely detrimental to the Twins’ attendance numbers, but it’s also going to hurt to lose All-Star and Cy Young vote-getter Ervin Santana, whom is still recovering from a right middle finger injury and will be out until at least May after having surgery. Missing him for a month and the weather could potentially make people wait until summer nights to come enjoy a game, but I say the time to make it to a game is now.

There are a ton of reasons to be excited about the Twins and to make it to Target Field in April; I could go on forever. But to save us all time, here are the top 10 reasons why you should get your tickets and go see a game.

1. Home Opener, the Giveaway, and the Future
The first home game of the year is always a big deal. It means spring is in full swing and baseball is back. It means there are 78 more home games to attend and good times to be had at the ballpark. The reason there is not 80 games this year is because there are 2 games in Puerto Rico versus the Indians that are home games for the Twins. The giveaway for opening day is always good, but the sweatshirt this year is awesome. Even if there’s a snow storm, we should all be willing to weather it on Opening Day to get these sweet sweatshirts. Another thing that can’t be over looked is Jose Berrios’s first Opening Day start. The guy flat out has some nasty stuff in his pitching arsenal and has showed moments of dominance that should make us all excited. He has been a Twins top prospect and could be the ace for years to come. May 18th of last year he went 7 and 2/3 innings with 11 K’s, a walk, and 2 hits against a talented Rockies lineup that was 3rd in runs scored. This is the kind of player the Twins want to see and that will get fans to show up every time he pitches. He is a must-watch in the month of April and hopefully, for months to come.

2. The World Series Champions are coming to Town
Every baseball fan can agree; it is always a big deal to see the reigning World Series Champs play. The Astros led the league in runs scored with 5.5 runs a game last year, and with offense this good and the AL MVP on your team in Jose Altuve, you’re not going to want to miss watching them in action. The Astros’ offense is good enough that perhaps they could slide by with mediocre pitching, but the Astros have great pitching too. Verlander, McCullers, and Kuechel could put on a quite a show for us, and the Twins are slated to get the number one pitcher in game one. Regardless of how early it is, the only chance to see Houston at Target Field barring a playoff series is early on, April 9th-11th, so don’t miss it.

3. Seattle and the Potential Hall of Famers
Ichiro, who will turn 45 in October, is the definition of a living legend. Imagine how much more he would have accomplished in the major leagues if he hadn’t spent as long in Japan. He has 3,080 hits in the Big leagues, and he could have had even more if he had come to America earlier. Who knows how often he will be in the lineup or how often he will play, but this could be the last time he comes to Minnesota as a professional baseball player. I’m confident that he will be enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, and besides this great accomplishment, he’s also a great individual. As great as he is, he isn’t the only player to see on Seattle worth the price of admission. Felix Hernandez, Robinson Cano, and Nelson Cruz make up a list of players who have had impressive careers. Felix and Robinson could be pushing towards the Hall if they continue the dominance they have had in the past.

4. Logan Morrison
Many people suspected that the Twins were going to try adding pitching to their lineup this year, and they did just that via trade. Jake Odorizzi is one of the new players to join the Twins’ pitching force, and I will touch on him later. It is known that the free agent market has been historically slow this year as many top free agents, such as Jake Arrieta and Alex Cobb, still remain unsigned. The Twins had money to spend this year as they have a lot of young players in pre-arbitration seasons, and many thought it would be on a pitcher. The Twins got that pitcher in Lance Lynn and it was cheap enough to have money left over. The Twins enjoyed success with Eduardo Escobar as he hit a career high 21 homeruns, and many people thought that would suffice with Sano, Mauer, and Escobar holding down the DH and corner duties. Sano has sexual assault allegations against him, and what the MLB does suspension wise is still up in the air. Enter Logan Morrison, who increased his launch angle 12 degrees from the year prior, and who also had a career year with 38 homeruns. The Twins saw a cheap option to get a hitter who could help DH for $6.5 million guaranteed. This is a steal for someone who had the season he did, though it may be hard to repeat. There is a vesting option depending on at-bats, but seeing him put on a Twinkies jersey and go to bat for us will be exciting.

5. A Strong Bullpen
The Twins’ Bullpen has had a fair share of ups and down over the past ten years. Despite this, the Twins’ list of all-star closers is composed of Joe Nathan, Glen Perkins, and Brandon Kintzler, and teams with this many closers of that caliber must have good bullpens. But actually, the twins bullpen has ranked 23rd in ERA over the last 5 years .The bullpen also includes names like Caleb Thielbar and Jared Burton. Good news for the Twins though is that entering this offseason with a weaker bullpen means free agent relievers were abundant. The Twins added three veteran relievers who had solid seasons last year and will be penciled in as contributors this year. Fernando Rodney was successful on 39 of 45 save opportunities, but he did have a 4.23 ERA. This scares a lot of folks, but his FIP of 3.03 shows solid chance for that ERA to fall this year. Addison Reed was another signee and reminds me of a poor man’s Andrew Mille, but that by no means is a slam. He doesn’t get the recognition he deserves, but is a solid reliever in the 7th and 8th innings. His 2.84 ERA, if replicated, will go a long way in the Twins’ pen. Zach Duke is another player to look at. He is a bounce back candidate whose move to the bullpen has had ups and downs, but his FIP of 2.85 in 2016 shows his potential as a reliever. Last year, that number was in the 5’s, but I remain optimistic. All three look to contribute and help hold leads late in games or at least keep them close, so this electric Twins’ offense can have a shot late in the game.

6. New Pitchers
When the Twins traded for Jake Odorizzi, they made a move for a pitcher that didn’t cost much on the prospect front and saved money compared to going out and getting a starter. The Twins, who have made brilliant moves all offseason, do so yet again by signing Lance Lynn to a 1 year, twelve million dollar deal. Lynn was arguably the third or fourth best free agent starter on the market and, according to reports, chose to play here over money and financial security. Too bad Yu Darvish didn’t feel this way. Lynn has had 5 seasons with 175 inning plus and an ERA below 4. A drop in his strike out rate and a rising FIP have put into question if he can maintain this consistency, but that’s a bet I’m willing to take. When Ervin returns, a pitching staff of Santana, Berrios, Lynn, Odorizzi, and Gibson is far better than last years, and it’s quite intriguing. It would be totally worth coming out to watch early in the season.

7. Nothing Falls but Rain Drops
Nothing falls but raindrops was the motto of the Twins’ outfield last year, and they stuck to their words. The outfield of Buxton, Kepler, and Rosario, according to DRS, saved the Twins 34 defensive runs last year. All of these guys make frequent appearances in the highlight reel, and they seem to get better each year. As they enter their primes, this will be an exciting time to be a Twins fan and a Twins pitcher. It be noted that the trio also had 18 outfield assists last year. They are one of the most exciting outfields to watch, and that will stay the course this year and early in April when the raindrops, do in fact, drop, as we expect they will.

8. Games with Canadians
The Toronto Blue Jays have been an awesome team to watch the past few years with stars like Donaldson, Bautista, Stroman, Ozuna, and defensive wizard Kevin Pillar scattered throughout their lineup. On top of being a team with all of these players, they have a fan base that likes to travel. Obviously there are probably some Canadians who are big Twins fans being that they are closest to Minnesota, but Toronto is Canada’s team and they travel well. It is easier for people from Winnipeg to come to Minneapolis and they will, rain or shine. With all the changes that the Twins have made, coming out and supporting them would be huge in this series as the Toronto fans have a history of making their presence felt at Target Field.

9. Byron Buxton
Who doesn’t want to watch Byron Buxton play? Search YouTube and you could spend a whole day watching highlight reel catch after catch provided by Mr. Buxton. His defense is stellar and he runs the bases so well and effortlessly. Last year, he was 29 of 30 on stolen bases, and the one time he was caught stealing he slid over the bag after initially beating the ball there. He has the fastest home to home time ever recorded in a game in the Statcast era. His gap hits are often stand-up triples due to his league-leading sprint speed of 30.2 ft/s in 2017. This helps his defensive prowess and makes him one of the league’s must-see. The Twins also have a Giveaway for Brian Dozier and Byron Buxton’s gold glove awards in April so you won’t want to miss that.

10. Presentations
Paul Molitor won manager of the year last year and Byron Buxton and Brian Dozier both won Gold Gloves. There was a lot to celebrate last year along with the Wild Card appearance. There are two ceremonies that will happen pre-game on different days in April. April 7th versus the Mariners, there will be a ceremony congratulating Paul on winning AL manager of the year. I attended the World Series pre-game celebration last year and these events are things you don’t want to miss out on. I would try and get tickets to this one because it is a Saturday game, and it will be a great way to start off the season. The other event I mentioned is a Friday night Gold Glove presentation for Buxton and Dozier. A T-shirt giveaway on this day makes it a hot ticket and another must-attend event.

There are a lot of exciting things surrounding Twins baseball this year. The reasons listed above, along with a hope for a successful season, are just a few of the reasons you don’t want to miss Twins baseball this April.

  • Parker Hageman, woolywoolhouse, nclahammer and 1 other like this

... and you can see all the April games for just $49, if you don't mind standing

    • Gavin_Sanford likes this
Mar 21 2018 11:28 AM
A1A reason - it's baseball!
    • Oldgoat_MN likes this