The Minnesota Twins had a pretty rough 2012 season, though it was actually better than their 2011 season, which is either depressing or good, depending on if you consider yourself a glass-half-full or half-empty type. There were, however, a few things (and people) this season that were, for the most part, consistently enjoyable and/or good. Today, we'll try and focus on the good things, and forget about the (oh-so-many...) bad parts. And just remember--only a few short months until pitchers and catchers report again! Presented, in no particular order, are the things to remember fondly about 2012:
-The pleasant surprise that was Scott Diamond: After having a rough intro to the big leagues in 2011, Scott Diamond came up huge for the Twins in 2012. When the starting pitching began to fall apart, Scott Diamond stepped in, and in a big way. Of his first seven appearances as a starting pitcher, he won six of them, and only went less than six innings once. He held good teams to minimal runs, and was able to keep the Twins in games more often than not. Of course, he was bound to lose some games, and while he went 12-9 for the season, he did manage to pitch over 170 innings, which for a team with major pitching issues, was quite helpful.
-Josh Willingham and all his home run hitting: While we knew coming into the season that Willingham would be able to hit homers at Target Field, as he did it against the Twins when he was with the A's, but when he ended up hitting 35 home runs this season, I think most Twins fans were very happy with the results of his signing. His contract, while the biggest free agent one the team has signed to date, is still a pretty good deal--$21 million for 3 years. Even if 2012 was a career year for Willingham, it made the season less awful to watch (and yes, I am purposely forgetting some of those awful fielding moments because, frankly, I dig the long ball).
-Joe Mauer continuing to be pretty good at baseball: Yes, yes, we all know that Joe Mauer is probably the worst person on the planet, not to mention the worst baseball player to have ever played, etc etc, but the fact remains that Mauer actually had himself a pretty solid season in 2012. He played in the most games he has his entire career--with a whopping 147 games played, Mauer's injury time was significantly less than last year. In 545 ABs, he hit .319 with 10 home runs and 85 RBI. True to Mauer fashion, he also hit 31 doubles and even 4 triples. 2012 may not have been as good as his amazing 2009 season, but Mauer's bounce back after an injury-riddled 2011 was a lot of fun to watch.
-Justin Morneau's (kind of) return to being able to hit a baseball: After an offseason where many wondered if Justin Morneau would even be able to return to play baseball, he came back pretty big in 2012. While he didn't wow with his batting average (he only hit .267), he did hit 19 home runs, which was 15 more than he hit in 2011. He also had 77 RBI, and honestly, it was just really nice to see him back out on the field. Even if the 2012 campaign was unsuccessful, seeing someone that's been so dedicated to the Twins finally seem to bounce back a bit (I'm seeing a pattern here...) was just pretty great.
-Baseball: No, seriously, just being able to enjoy watching our favorite team play the game we love to watch, analyze, and enjoy is such a great thing. Watching the Twins, even when they're terrible, is a joy, and personally, I can't wait until February when I start reading about all the players showing up to Spring Training to do it all over again.
Have any other enjoyable things or specific moments from the 2012 season? Share them in the comments!