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new Twinkie lover...

I don't know where to start in talking about the piranhas of AL Central. It cracked me up the first time I heard that moniker. But then I thought about it, and realized just how accurate it was. The Twins may go down, but they don't go down without a fight.

My love for the Twins is still in its honeymoon phase. Although I didn't start following baseball until 2008, I didn't start following the Twins until at least late May/ early June of 2009. I was way too curious about the M&M Boys that I kept hearing about on ESPN to not give the Twins a gander. One look at Home Sweet Dome, Go-Go, Joe, Joe, Joe, Justin, Jason and Cuddy, and I was hooked.

Even before I became a fan the Twins were trying to gnaw their way into my consciousness. I don't know when I first heard it, but I will forever remember the call: "A high blast to right field. Up! Back! Gone! A grand slam for Kubel! And the cycle is complete!" How can you forget that? Even Cuddy's cycle was memorable, but I remember that for the broken-bat RBI triple scoring Justin Morneau.

Speaking of Justin, I am a huge fan of his, and although I hate that he is the forgotten 2008 Homerun Derby winner, being a Texas fan as well, I understand why. I first noticed Justin during the WBC, playing for Team Canada. I was intrigued. Watching ESPN I kept an ear out for his name. All of a sudden I started hearing about the M&M Boys from Minnesota. That was my introduction to the reigning AL MVP Joe Mauer. My cousin is a Yankees fan, and he and I got into a heated argument about who was better Joe Mauer or Alex Rodriguez. I won that argument. Joe may not have the history but he had the better year, offensively and defensively. Besides, Joe Mauer is an all-around good guy! No one can argue that fact!

Speaking of Joe, let's talk about my favorite closer in the AL, Mr. Joe Nathan. Sure, Mo has the history and the cutter. Sure, Papelbum (misspelling intended) has the reputation. But if I was putting a team together, I would want Joe Nathan as my closer. I like watching him work. I like his mentality. He is one of two closers in baseball that I trust (the other being Huston Street of the Rockies). I don't know what it is about Joe, but I like him!

Honorary mention goes out to The Big Man Jon Rauch. As a Rockies fan, I saw him regularly as a Diamondback. I liked him as a d-back although I didn't like facing him. That's a whole lotta man! But now he's a Twin, so it's all good! Honorary mention also goes out to Brian Duensing and Jeff Manship, 2 rookies that helped us out last year. Duensing, you performed well past the level you should have been and I thank you for it! Manship, well, you were pretty good, too. Now if I could just get the phrase, the Good Ship, Manship, outta my head, I might be able to give you the respect you deserve.

Before I address the inevitable, hats off to Santa aka Ron Gardenhire. He never ceases to amaze me. He's not like Bobby Cox, sleeping in the dugout. He's not like Crazy Joe Maddon, the puppetmaster. He doesn't seem to be doing much, but I know that he is. He handles the piranhas as well as anybody. And I hope he continues doing for a long time.

And now for the inevitable: Game 163. This game has been analyzed to death. I am not going to add any more "analyzation" to it. Other than to say that this game truly was the best game of the year that NEVER SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED! The Tigers had the division. They just couldn't seal the deal (insert Dodgers joke here; I'm a Rockies fan, remember?). They should have known that they were going to lose 163 when it was determined that 163 would be necessary, and would be played in Home Sweet Dome. Can anybody get the image of Go-Go bellyflopping across home plate out of their mind? I can't. How about the image of Joe Nathan losing his mind when O-Cab turned that double play? I can't. A game for the ages...

2010 is going to be an interesting year for the Twins. Everyone's talking about the impact of Target Field on the psychology of our Twins. I'm not worried. The piranhas are resilient. What I am is excited because I plan on being in Minnesota for my birthday, spending the weekend with the Twins at Target Field. Happy Birthday to me! Can't wait until July when it warms up.
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