The Twins away game idea emerged as a "rooting for laundry" dream. Roster moves over the past month have started to imply that something more might be underfoot for our 2023 squad. All of a sudden, I have new names to learn and new expectations to decipher. A trip to re-introduce myself to this nation that I call home now is beginning to reek of fanboy angst...
Are the Twins for real in 2023 all of a sudden?
I wasn't anticipating a need to feel nervous at these ball games. I was just going to enjoy the relationship-building travel and some delicious food along the way. Now I might have to worry about a playoff race? I was just going to cheer on Luis Arraez as he wiggled his way to breaking up some Dodger pitcher's no-hitter in a 9-0 game, but now I might have to be on the edge of my seat with a series victory on the line in Chavez Ravine? I was breathing a sigh of relief at not having to witness Carlos Correa Giants jerseys in year one, and then it was Mets jerseys for a few weeks, and now I'm left kicking myself for not buying every jersey while they were still on clearance. The worst part is, Carlos will know after 81 games of seeing me in the one Correa jersey that I have, that I gave up on him when he said he signed with two other teams. I'm not a true believer.
Increased team expectations for 2023 mean that frigid April bullpen debacles in Kansas City sting that much more. Random acts of lineup malfunction in Chicago in May mean increased blood pressure in September.
I'm pretty sure that the Twins aren't yet finished with shaping this year's roster. I'm guessing that at least one more familiar face that my kid's loved cheering for will be someone I now get to see in a new home on the road this season. There will be more where that came from during the trade deadline in July/August for sure. Why? Because when Correa re-signed the tables turned and the season took on an urgency that wasn't a part of my earlier trip calculations.
I'm fine with it. Trust me. I like winning.
But instead of being "the weird dude in Twins gear at our ballpark when the Twins have moderate to no shot at winning the game," I'm more often than not going to be "the weird dude in Twins gear at our ballpark when the Twins are making local fans angry for shelling out cash to watch our team beat their team in their park so they are gonna verbally (not physically please) take it out on that weird dude" guy.
It's going to be very hard for the Twins to go unnoticed this season on the national level. Will this help our team rise to the occasion? Or will the added attention multiply our faults? Will it drive up my ticket prices and lodging costs? Or will locals stay away because they don't want to cry in their own stadium?
Time will tell, and I for one can't wait to get it started! Pitchers and catchers report in less than a month, on my birthday, Februrary 16th. I can't think of a better gift in the middle of such a long harsh winter on the Dakota plains.
Grace and peace Twins Territory, wherever you are!