Sunday, January 31, 2010
Twins Fest Ė Day 3
Another year of Twins Fest is now complete, but what a weekend it was. I know, not everyone enjoys it in the same way I do, but I think itís a great event. Exhausting, but fun. You saw my thoughts from Day 1 and a brief look into Day 2, but here are my notes from the final day of Twins Fest. (by the way, have I mentioned yet that the Minnesota Twins 2010 Prospect Handbook is now available for pre-order. Just curious.)
∑ Saturday was a long day, but it was really fun. I started writing last nightís update, and completely fell asleep early. It was probably a good thing because the plan for Sunday involved getting up really early to get to an early church service so that we could go back to Twins Fest for a reasonable amount of time. †
∑ I was able to meet several more bloggers on Sunday. Itís always fun to catch up with Marty Andrade to see what heís collecting, and because he is hilarious. Iím thinking a career in stand-up should be part of his future. I saw Brandon Warne, who writes the blog 10 Scoreless for a couple of minutes. Andrew Bryz-Gornia came up and said hello. He started the blog Off the Mark. Parker Hageman of Over the Baggy was also there for awhile in the morning.
∑ The Photo Sessions were something that I had never really done in the past, but this year, it ends up that it is a very cool thing. On Friday night, my daughter and I took a picture with Jeff Manship. She got her picture taken with Aaron Hicks and Kyle Gibson. Then on Sunday, she got her picture taken four more times. First, she had her picture taken with Jesse Crain. You can tell heís a dad because he got down on the floor with her and talked to her and let her wear a balloon hat that had been given to him. Soon after, she had her picture taken with Jose Morales. She was funny with him, making him laugh. He wanted to lift her up on the chair, but with his surgically repaired wrist, someone helped with that. The picture is great. Later, we were surprised to see the line for Jason Kubel was getting short, so she got in line and got a really good picture with him. Kubel is one of five players that she knows about by name, so she was really excited about that. Kubel is also a dad as he was very nice, picked her up and held her really nicely. Then, a little later, she and my sister were able to get their picture taken with Hall of Famer Rod Carew. Of course, the picture she was most excited about, again, was to get her picture taken with TC Bear.
∑ She also had a lot of fun in the family area. She took some swings in the batting cage off of a lefty who plays for the Gophers baseball team. She spent time talking to some of the Gophers womenís softball players and showing them how to hit home runs! Of course, she also told the Gophers baseball players that as well. She was able to throw some pitches and measure how fast she threw on a radar gun. She must have been throwing so hard that the radar gun couldnít even register it! Ha!
∑ Of course, I spoke to several people confidentially, but I did spend a little time talking with a couple of players. Joe Benson is definitely one of the good guys. I had met him a couple of years ago, and he looks bigger and stronger. You can see why people are so excited about his potential. I also got the opportunity to talk to David Bromberg. Heís a good guy. He started naming off some of the players that he is working out with this offseason, and it includes several big leaguers. Those types of contacts will only help him learn what it is like and what it takes to get to the big leagues.
∑ I got the opportunity to spend a little time talking with Joe Christensen again. There is a guy that is legitimately a great guy.
∑ Francisco Liriano seriously looks like heís ready for a big comeback year. Reports from the Dominican were that he had lost weight and looked stronger. I would say that up-close those reports appear to be close.
General Twins Fest Thoughts
Three full days of Twins Fest is a lot to take in, but as I have stated over and over, itís a great event. It was cold in late January in the Twin Cities, teens for the highs. But inside the climate-controlled atmosphere of the Metrodome, it was very comfortable. In fact, on Saturday, it was flat-out warm! The Dome was absolutely packed all day on Saturday. Lines were longer than I have ever seen before. People were talking, talking baseball. It was just a lot of fun to be there. I had so many people come up to talk to me and ask me questions.
Whatís going on with Joe Mauer? For obvious reasons, this was the question most asked. Obviously I donít have any insight, but all indications are that Twins fans have little to worry about. It sounds like itís just a matter of time, and my opinion is that it will happen shortly before the beginning of spring training. But then again, Iím the guy who had been saying January 29th for four months, and now the calendar reads February.
At SethSpeaks.net, there is a focus on the minor leagues. Now, I donít think itís fair to say that the length of lines in the minor league line at Twins Fest is any kind of indicator of future performance. However, in my opinion, the length of the minor league lines does strongly correspond to the improvement in talent throughout the Twins minor league system the last couple of years. Aaron Hicks (#1 SethSpeaks.net Prospect Ranking), Ben Revere (#6) and Kyle Gibson (#5) were certainly the headliners. However, the minor league players also included top prospects like David Bromberg (#8), Rene Tosoni (#9), Joe Benson (#12), BJ Hermsen (#13), Chris Parmelee (#14), Carlos Gutierrez (#15), Alex Burnett (#18), Trevor Plouffe (#21), Anthony Slama (#23). My #16 prospect, Jeff Manship, has big league service time, so he was signing in the non-free lines.
It was very cool seeing other baseball greats there, including Bob Feller, Ferguson Jenkins, Rollie Fingers, Vida Blue, Frank Howard and more.
In all, it was a great, three-day weekend for me at Twins Fest. I had a lot of fun, met a lot of people. Now, I donít know if going all three days is necessary, however, I definitely think that going at least once is something all Twins fans should do.