Baseball each year is like that groundhog that supposedly predicts how long winter will last. It reminds us of a welcome change of seasons ahead.
Spring training begins this week, which signals that the frigid weather hopefully soon will soon be gone. Along with thi
s comes the annual optimistic aura that engulfs each team, including the Minnesota Twins, who twice have come within a game of losing 100 games in consecutive seasons.
During the off-season,
the Twins rid themselves of the little on-field diversity it had by dismissing its only Black coach and trading away its two recognizable Black players. “We wanted to change some things up,” said GM Terry Ryan at a media-only luncheon a couple of weeks ago.
Ryan also disclosed that the team hopes to solve its many question marks this spring. “The biggest question is our [starting] pitching,” he admitted, adding that two other openings need to be filled — shortstop and center field.
Despite team officials bragging that season tickets and single-game ticket sales are still high, the Twins cannot continue to rely on a new downtown ballpark’s drawing power, which is now four years old, to mask the fact that Minnesota has fallen far behind their Central Division opponents.
Whether the off-season changes will prove to make a real difference this season remains unseen, but the Twins general manager fully understands that restless fans want more wins and less managerial trips to the mound because of failed pitching.
“When we leave for Fort Myers, we are going to put 2012 behind us,” noted Ryan. “We are not worried about anybody but ourselves.”
Third year’s a charm for RBI
Twins President Dave St. Peter announced during the January 25 media luncheon that the team, for the third consecutive year, will host the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) World Series this summer. Minneapolis becomes only the second city since 2008 to thrice host the annual youth baseball and softball championships.
“I think it’s indicative of this community and the way we hosted the event,” surmises St. Peter of the series return. “The participating teams and Major League Baseball have appreciated the hospitality they received whether at the ballpark, at the hotels and restaurants. They love to have it here.”
Jessica Adair recently was named the WNBL Fans’ Player of the Week after her second consecutive double-double for Townsville (Australia). Adair last week also was re-signed by the Lynx on Feb. 1, the first official start day of WNBA free agency.
Maya Moore (Shanxi, China) is in the best-of-five WCBA Finals. She had scoring highs of 53 points and 33 points in her team’s first two playoff games.
Seimone Augustus (Spartak, Russia) returns to action Feb. 6 after a week off in EuroLeague action.
Rebekkah Brunson is playing for USK Praha in the Czech League and EuroLeague. She scored 22 points in a recent win.
Amber Harris scored 20 points in a recent win for Bichumi (Turkey) in South Korea.
Monica Wright posted 15 points, seven rebounds and two assists in a recent loss for Dandenong (Australia).
The Galatasaray (Turkey) team, of which Lindsay Whalen is a member, is doing well both in the EuroLeague and the Turkish League. The team resumes play Feb. 6.
Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to [email protected]