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Game 18: Pirates at Twins

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Jehosophat Abernathy Happ to the rescue!

Pittsburgh Pirates v Minnesota Twins
Is it 2020 baseball or 2021 fan frustration with the Twins? You decide.
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Time: 7:10 Central. Vegas Line: -140 MIN / PIT +130

Weather: 54° at first pitch, little chance of rain, we’ve skipped spring

Opponent’s SB site: Bucs Dugout

TV: BS North. Radio: Hopefully less anguished yelling at the end than Wednesday

It’s battle of the initials! J.T. (Johnathan Trey) Brubaker (not the Robert Redford movie) is a 27-year-old fastball/sinker/slider type guy, who like many such guys is best when he’s inducing grounders. J.A. Happ, whose BRef Twins headshot looks like Woody Harrelson got caught smoking way too much with Wille Nelson, also tosses the dive ball yet relies more on switching speeds. He’s thrown more four-seamers than usual in his first two Twins starts this year, possibly because a coach with access to FanGraphs told him his changeup isn’t real good. Ridiculously worthless SSS digits (career for Brubaker, 2020 for Happ):

Continuing the probably futile Friday series of “random baseball memorabilia sharing” is this $0.25 card I got at a place in Bloomington:

Photo off internet but I do own this card

I was working at a home for adults with intensive disabilities, and for some reason or another one of them needed a special battery you could only get from a special battery store. Right next to Ye Olde Battery Shoppe was a baseball-themed sports store. He liked baseball, and we had time to visit, so we did.

The store itself was kinda charming. Yes, they have cards and game-used items and such, but it appeared that most of their business came from providing baseball equipment to young players (hockey equipment, too). It was just nice to see that not everything had to be a giant chain store, local sports stores do exist. (They’ve survived the COVID sales hit, and have some fun Twins-related photos on their website.)

Al Newman came up again recently when me and Mrs. James visited a new medical clinic. (New to us, the building’s normal-aged, it’s not set in an Elon Musk space cloud.) Mrs. James had been experiencing appetite loss due to a medical problem, and I mentioned “it’s not like she was eating like Kent Hrbek before.”

The nurse gave me a puzzled look.

“Um,” I explained, “Kent Hrbek is a famous former Twins player. He likes food.”

“I know who Kent Hrbek is. I’ve met him.”

(At this point I realized that the nurse’s puzzled share was meant to convey “I can’t believe you really just fat shamed Kent Hrbek.” Oops.)

“It was for my 21st birthday, years ago,” the nurse continued. “My and my friends went out for beer and bowling at” (some suburban bowling alley I sure didn’t know). “It turned out I shared a birthday with Al Newman. Some of the old Twins were there, like Hrbek. Al Newman gave us some of his cake and balloons. He and Hrbek posed for a great picture with me & my friends.”

Wow, sounds like a cool picture. “It was — I lost it. Anyway, the loss of appetite is perfectly normal.”

I liked that clinic.

Anybody who’d like to try sharing their own baseball-memorabilia picture & memories can send them to twinsbrewer@gmail.com, and I’ll include them on a future Friday. (If I can remember how to find my way around my bazillion gmail addresses, it seems every time I forget a password I have to create a whole new account as well.)

Today's Lineups

PIRATES TWINS
Adam Frazier - 2B Luis Arraez - 2B
Phillip Evans - LF Josh Donaldson - 3B
Bryan Reynolds - CF Nelson Cruz - DH
Colin Moran - DH Byron Buxton - CF
Erik Gonzalez - 3B Alex Kirilloff - LF
Todd Frazier - 1B Jorge Polanco - SS
Jacob Stallings - C Mitch Garver - C
Wilmer Difo - RF Jake Cave - RF
Kevin Newman - SS Willians Astudillo - 1B
JT Brubaker - RHP J.A. Happ - LHP