Checking in again from Fort Myers

Max Kepler in 2014 STI know I have not written much lately but sometimes I just don’t feel like rehashing all the same stuff that all the other Twins blogs and writers are writing about day in and day out. It is still too early in spring training for me to get a good feel for what this years Twins team will be like but there is certainly more to like this year then what I have seen in the past. I am out at the ballpark about twice a week but I have not actually seen a Twins spring training game as yet. We went to Thursday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Hammond Stadium in spite of rains that had been forecast for darn near a week and who would have guessed that the weather guesser’s would be right this time. Shortly after we arrived at the ballpark it started sprinkling and before long the rain came down and the winds started to howl. There isn’t much cover at Hammond Stadium when the wind is blowing the rain sideways and after almost two hours the game was postponed. Normally a long rain delay like this would not be much fun but in this case it was just the opposite because my wife and I got to spend the entire rain delay chatting with Max Kepler‘s mother Kathy. What a charming and gracious lady she is and Jackie and I had a wonderful time waiting out the rain with her even if we didn’t get to watch a baseball game. Max must enjoy his mothers cooking because in his first spring training with the big club he is 6 for 12 with 4 runs scored and 2 RBI. Max will get sent down soon but he is leaving a nice memory with Rob Antony, Ron Gardenhire and the rest of the Twins coaching staff. The day after the postponement I noticed in the local paper that I can even get my $10 parking pass refunded if I mail it back in to the Twins. That is kind of nice surprise because back at Target Field that does not happen.

Click on the image to make it larger

Click on the image to make it larger

During one of my visits to Hammond Stadium I ran across this sign in front of the Twins ticket offices. Before the rains started this past Thursday I saw this same sign on the field next to the batting cage although I did not see any actual fans taking batting practice. I am not sure how many swings you get or anything else about this promotion but I think it is kind of a cool idea. I know that $40 is kind of steep for the average person but the money does go to the Boys and Girls clubs of Lee County. I will have to check back with the Twins to see how this promotion is being received. They should take this promotion back to Target Field and give away a Twins season ticket to each fan that can hit a home run in his first swing.  I think there is at least one big league team with a promotion something like this.

Dr. Frank Jobe, a pioneering orthopedic surgeon who was the first to perform an elbow procedure that became known as Tommy John surgery and saved the careers of countless major league pitchers, died this past Thursday at the age of 88.

Tommy John and Dr. Frank Jobe in 1974

Tommy John and Dr. Frank Jobe in 1974

Jobe performed groundbreaking elbow surgery on Tommy John, a Dodgers pitcher who had a ruptured medial collateral ligament in his left elbow. The injury previously had no solution until Jobe removed a tendon from John’s forearm and repaired his elbow. John went on to pitch 14 years after the operation on Sept. 25, 1974, compiling 164 more victories without ever missing a start because of an elbow problem.

‘‘When he did come back, I thought maybe we could do it on somebody else,’’ Jobe told The Associated Press in 2010. ‘‘I waited two years to try it on somebody else, but we had no idea we could do it again.’’ Jobe initially estimated John’s chances of returning to the majors at less than 5 percent. He later said 92 to 95 percent of patients return as good, if not better, than before the surgery. The surgery has since become common practice for pitchers and players at every level of baseball. I wonder how many career’s this man saved?

It is already March 9th and the Twins play their first game that counts on March 31st, that is not very far away and no one has a clue as to what the Twins outfield will look like. The fifth spot in the starting rotation is still up for grabs and the entire bench is in the TBD category. Cuts will begin shortly and the position battles will heat up, it will be fun to see who can stand the heat and who folds under the pressure. Even if Gardy tells you that you are going north, you should not get too comfortable, I have a hunch that flights between New Britain, Rochester and Minneapolis this year are going to be pretty busy.

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