Tonight's game means nothing. Tomorrow and Wednesday's games mean nothing. The Twins play the Royals three times this week, and both teams would gladly ignore the games except that the commissioner's office would get all angry and fine both teams a million billion dollars and nobody wants that. So instead we'll be treated to three pretty much meaningless exhibitions, like spring training games but sadder, in which the avoidance of a round number of losses is the only goal either team can think of.
It doesn't have to be this way. Below, I've come up with fifteen ideas to make these games interesting.
Let Michael Cuddyer play all nine positions in one game. He'd jump at the chance, I bet, and it'd be fun to watch him catch. (Downside: Given the way this year has gone, he'd almost certainly get hurt while either pitching or catching. Or possibly thanks to a meteorite falling on him in left field.)
- Attempt to play a modern-day major-league baseball game in under ninety minutes. This would work best on Wednesday, when Carl Pavano and Bruce Chen are pitching. Tell both to throw strikes. Tell both teams to go up there swinging. Tell the umpires to call anything within eight inches of the plate a strike. Let's see just how fast we can get everybody on their flights out of town on Wednesday night.
- Let Drew Butera play a position other than catcher. It'd be kind of nice if he could expand from "the worst-hitting catcher in Twins history" to, say, "the worst hitter to ever play a game at first base in a big-league game."
- Have the entire dugout charge the mound after a strike. It'd be the most confusing brawl ever.
- Wear Rochester Red Wings uniforms for a game. Maybe the team would feel more at home and pull out a win. I bet the league office would get mad about it, though.
- Make relief pitchers ride in from the bullpen on a Segway. I bet Phil Dumatrait would crash. He just seems like the kind of guy who'd be confused and angered by a Segway.
- Start a pitcher as the designated hitter. And then other pitchers could pinch-hit throughout the game. Pitchers always love hitting, I bet they'd love this move. And it's not like the team would lose anything at the DH spot.
Have everybody on the team wear a fake mustache at the plate. Nobody can resist the humor potential of a fake mustache.
- Show a different game on the scoreboard while the Twins are playing. Let everybody cheer against the Red Sox, say. Or show the Blues-Wild preseason game on Tuesday. Those people came all the way out to Target Field, it's only fair to give them something good to watch.
- Have a couple more ceremonies to honor Jim Thome. He won't be there, but everybody loves cheering for ol' Jimmer.
- Four words: Ten Cent Beer Night. I don't see what could possibly go wrong.