I was back out at the ballpark to check on the Twins yesterday to see what the rest of the team was up to when the Twins had a game in Jupiter, Florida scheduled for that afternoon. Jupiter is almost due east of Ft. Myers across the state and although it is only about 140 miles it takes almost three hours to get there. Lake Okeechobee is between Ft. Myers and Jupiter so you end up going around it to the north as you head towards the Atlantic ocean.
Apparently skipper Paul Molitor felt that drive is way too much for most of the Minnesota Twins regulars so he sent the following line-up to play the game at Roger Dean Stadium.
- Granite – RF
- Santana – LF
- Paulsen – 1B
- Hague – DH
- Shuck – CF
- Fields – 2B
- Escobar – SS
- Murphy – C
- Adrianza – 3B
- Gibson – P
Not exactly the 1965 Twins but they did manage to keep the game interesting until they allowed the Cards to score the winning run in the bottom of the ninth in a 2-1 loss. Ticket prices for the game on the internet were between $46 and $180. Fans pay prices like this to see a spring training game and the Twins send zero starting position players. CRAZY! Both the Cardinals and the Twins should be embarrassed and MLB should start fining these teams for this kind of behavior.
Oh well, back to the CenturyLink Sports Complex where I was. When I jumped in the Durango to drive out to the ballpark it was 46 degrees and that was about 9 AM or so. The large contingent of Twins that had stayed behind were just getting warmed up when I arrived. There was not a single player on the field in short sleeves, everyone was wearing a sweatshirt or a jacket. Some of the players looked like they were freezing.
The drill I was watching was on a field where the sun was behind the plate and the wind that was pretty strong with gusts in the mid 20’s blowing in from right center field. The idea was that the machine would put pop ups and fly balls into the air and the players would practice coming in or going out on the ball to make the play while fighting the sun and the wind along the way. If you had been here to watch this drill you might have wondered if the Twins have the capabilities to win 59 games this season. I know this is not easiest thing to do looking into the sun and playing the wind and still catching the ball without running over anyone but these guys are professionals after all. I can honestly tell you that at least one-third of these balls were not caught and fell to the ground between the players. I couldn’t believe it, it was like watching little leaguers play except the names on the back of their jerseys read Mauer, Park, Dozier, Polanco, Sano, Kepler, Buxton, and on and on. It was a horrible display of defense and the coaches eventually grew tired of it and ended up putting position players on the mound and pitchers in the field. But I have to say that Perkins wasn’t too bad as a left-handed second baseman. Sano on the mound was an interesting site too. The team eventually took some BP and no one looked particularly impressive, everyone looked cold and the sooner they could call it a day the better.
I spend a little bit of time looking at the minor league players but I left as they started breaking for lunch and their scheduled afternoon games. As always I have some pictures to share later today or tomorrow.
Twins spring training games attendance
The Twins have played 12 spring training games including two against WBC teams at Hammond Stadium so far in 2017 and have six home games left but at the current run rate the Twins are averaging 6,604 fans as compared to 8,067 fans in 2016, a drop of 18% from last year.