Tonight The Voice of Reasonô and I went to a St. Paul Saints game. We soaked in a gorgeous Minnesota summer night, watched a bunch of kitsch and thoroughly enjoyed a game in which we had almost no emotional investment. Because itís baseball. And it doesnít last forever.
I hear Minnesota sports fans lauding the turning of the calendar page, anxious for football and the (albeit limited) hope new seasons bring. Iíll enjoy watching the Gophers and Vikings too. But Iím a baseball guy, and I canít devise a night much better than I just had.
So go ahead, tell me how tough it is for you to watch a Twins game right now. Or take it a step further; tell me how you wonít watch a Twins game right now. I wonít be upset. More like puzzled, because I see all kinds of things that are exciting to watch over these last six months of the season. Letís count down the top six.
6. Sam Deduno
The original sin in baseball is to overestimate how much you really know. Sabermetrically and historically, Deduno doesnít make any sense. But maybe we donít know everything about this game just yet. Iím very excited to see how this ends.
5. Chris Parmelee
ďProspectsĒ kind of get lumped together, and weíre poorer as fans for it. So letís be clear Ė nobody has had a season like Parmelee is having in AAA since the Twins moved to Rochester. Not Cuddyer. Not Kubel. Not Morneau. That doesnít mean heís a star in the making. But I sure want to see what he can do.
(And that includes what he can do Ė shudder Ė in right field.)
4. Liam Hendriks & Brian Dozier
Two guys who were rushed through AAA, brought up to the majors and predictably struggled. Iíve seen enough from both to think theyíre on the right path, they just have a ways to go. Iím convinced these stories are going to have a happy ending.
3. Denard Span & the Twins Medical Staff
When Span is deemed unavailable for the 15th
straight day, will the Twins finally feel comfortable putting him on the DL? Or perhaps they'll decide that they donít need their medical staff any more, relying solely on the playerís self-diagnosis. When they need a second opinion they'll draw cards from the board game Operation. (The Wacky Doctor Game!)
2. Other September Callups
I think weíre going to be disappointed by how few additional September callups there are, but Iím hopeful weíll get to see some pitching. Iíd love to see if Esmerling Vazquezí recent hot streak represents a breakthrough. Iíd like to see if Anthony Slama and his video-game-like stats prove the organizationís brain trust wrong. Iíd like to see if Deolis Guerra could have a role next year.
1. Joe Mauer and Ben Revere
As a Twins fan in the 70s, it wasnít uncommon to have nothing more than a Carew batting title to root for come August. Iíll readily admit my fascination with Mauer and Revereís longshot chances are based on that being an annual occurrence of my childhood. Iíd likely be just as fascinated if they brought back the bullpen car.
(Of course, who wouldnít?)