Welcome to the Friday Four, a new Twins-news-adjacent column that I will be putting up weekly from here until the start of the season. Unless I don’t, in which case we will be holding a candlelight vigil in honor of our fallen column. Please RSVP so I know how many candles to bring. Alright, let’s get this thing started.
Blast From the Past
ICYMI: Former Twin and current very large man Byung-ho Park is on the move. According to Jeeho Yoo of Yonhap News, the Korean slugger has signed with defending the KBO champs, the KT Wiz, for 3 years and $2.5 million.
While his Twins tenure certainly didn’t go as hoped, Park, 35, has been stellar his entire KBO career, having won two MVPs, five Golden Gloves, and five home run titles, including four straight from 2012-2015. More recently, the slugger’s performance has started to dip, posting just a .756 OPS in 2021, his lowest since 2010. The defending champion KT Wiz clearly believe he has something left in the tank, as they will seek to continue their remarkable Cinderella run in 2022.
For those wondering, yes, I did find a video showing each of his 33 home runs from 2019. No, I will not disclose how long I spent scouring the internet trying to find KBO highlights.
MLBN Makes A Questionable Call
In the midst of a frustrating lockout, Rob Manfred is taking some more heat from the baseball media world this week. On Monday, it was revealed that MLB Network would not be renewing reporter Ken Rosenthal’s contract, a move widely panned as “not great.”
Ken Rosenthal will be working in MLB a ton longer than Rob Manfred will be working in MLB, I'm confident saying.— Greg Brady (@gregbradyTO) January 3, 2022
Rosenthal is also a guy that does his job. Manfred must be the other guy.
(That's a lousy crib from "The Departed", but it's been...a day....) https://t.co/W5kZtRGLUd
Well, getting rid of the guy literally everyone likes seems like a great way to draw attention to the times Rosenthal had criticized Manfred in the first place.https://t.co/6zm0Vg3C9R— Michael Baumann (@MichaelBaumann) January 4, 2022
Ken Rosenthal should be the one to fire Rob Manfred pic.twitter.com/PfcVTrUMrM— (@FrankiesTwoLoud) January 3, 2022
This comes on the heels of a report by the New York Post that Rosenthal had his role intentionally diminished by MLB Network following a piece he wrote in The Athletic criticizing Rob Manfred’s handling of the delayed 2020 season. Removing one of baseball’s most beloved and well-respected reporters from the air over some light (and quite warranted) criticism certainly is not going to help his reputation.
A True Classic
Over New Years weekend NHL’s annual Winter Classic was held at Target Field, in what is widely regarded as the coldest NHL game in history. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Target Field event without Twins legends present, including Rod Carew, Kent Hrbek, new Hall of Famer Tony Oliva, Justin Morneau, and Joe Mauer even got to flash his multi-sport background.
We all know Joe could have played D1 football, but who knows, maybe his real calling was hockey all along. Although, the baseball thing turned out alright.
Right on Target
Last but certainly not least, let’s talk about other Target Field events. I may be biased, but Target Field is one of my favorite venues in all of sports. The view is incredible, the facilities are top notch, the food is among the best you can get in a stadium, and, of course, I have witnessed my fair share of Twins wins there in the last 11 years.
Target Field has hosted some amazing non-Twins events, from Paul McCartney, to Tim McGraw, to last week’s Winter Classic. While each one is unique and incredible, there is none better than the 2014 MLB All Star Game. The game itself wasn’t anything to write home about (unless you’re a fan of that Derek Jeter fella), but seeing the hometown battery shut the door for the American League in the 9th was an emotional experience for me. Glen Perkins was one of very few bright spots on those miserable 2010s Twins teams. Seeing a homegrown Minnesota boy finish the game against the best players in baseball brought me indescribable joy, and there was no one who deserved that honor more than him.
What’s been your favorite Target Field experience? Comment below and let’s reminisce on simpler times when the baseball abounded.