Tonight The Voice of Reason™ 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 it’s baseball. And it doesn’t 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. I’ll enjoy watching the Gophers and Vikings too. But I’m a baseball guy, and I can’t 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 won’t watch a Twins game right now. I won’t 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. Let’s 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 doesn’t make any sense. But maybe we don’t know everything about this game just yet. I’m very excited to see how this ends.
5. Chris Parmelee
“Prospects” kind of get lumped together, and we’re poorer as fans for it. So let’s be clear – nobody has had a season like Parmelee is having in AAA since the Twins moved to Rochester. Not Cuddyer. Not Kubel. Not Morneau. That doesn’t mean he’s a star in the making. But I sure want to see what he can do.
(And that includes what he can do – shudder – in right field.)
4. Liam Hendriks & Brian Dozier
Two guys who were rushed through AAA, brought up to the majors and predictably struggled. I’ve seen enough from both to think they’re on the right path, they just have a ways to go. I’m 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 don’t need their medical staff any more, relying solely on the player’s 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 we’re going to be disappointed by how few additional September callups there are, but I’m hopeful we’ll get to see some pitching. I’d love to see if Esmerling Vazquez’ recent hot streak represents a breakthrough. I’d like to see if Anthony Slama and his video-game-like stats prove the organization’s brain trust wrong. I’d 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 wasn’t uncommon to have nothing more than a Carew batting title to root for come August. I’ll readily admit my fascination with Mauer and Revere’s longshot chances are based on that being an annual occurrence of my childhood. I’d likely be just as fascinated if they brought back the bullpen car.
(Of course, who wouldn’t?)