First Pitch: 5:10 pm CDT
TV: Bally Sports North / ~ / Radio: TIBN
Well, that seemed to take forever.
Minnesota Twins baseball is back, and the mad dash for the finish line is much closer than we think it is. The trade deadline will have passed in a little over a week and a half, at which point two months and fewer than 60 games will hurtle down your baseball-consuming gullet and usher in October.
When we last left our intrepid heroes, they had received an 11-0 drubbing at the hands of the Chicago White Sox. Thankfully, a beating of that caliber has already been replaced by a fresher memory, that of the Toronto Blue Jays’ 28-5 victory at Fenway Park last night. An eleven-run deficit feels quaint compared to a 23-run deficit, no?
The team struggled into the All-Star Break, having lost eight of their first 15 July games, and sporting a 20-23 record since the start of June. The Twins haven’t had a winning month since they posted a .600 W-L% in an 18-12 May; nevertheless, they retain a 1.5-game lead over the Cleveland Guardians heading into play today.
The White Sox remain a tick behind, and then there’s a huge drop toward the bottom. If things break wrong for the Detroit Tigers over the next two days, they could find themselves in the cellar of a division that, by all accounts, they envisioned themselves climbing upwards in this year.
Speaking of vision and other related senses, the broadcast will look a bit different tonight, as longstanding play-by-play man Dick Bremer is away on a Cooperstown trip to celebrate the Hall of Fame inductions of Jim Kaat and Tony Oliva. (Who’s taking over? That’s right — Joel.)
It’s a great weekend for 1960s Twins, and even the New York Times took note with a piece on the early days of Minnesota’s professional baseball franchise. The article, published this morning and written by Tyler Kepner, included quotes from greats such as Jim Palmer, drew attention to the fact from 1970-1973, the Twins were one of only five divisional-era teams to roster five Hall of Famers at once, and (of course) made reference to the fact that fellow inductee David Ortiz was let go by the Twins.
On an anecdotal level, one of the cooler holiday gifts I’ve received was a hardbound collection of New York Times articles tracing Twins history from the announcement of relocation, to both World Series titles, to various playoff clinchers and notable retirements. It’s a fascinating assemblage of locally-beloved stories as seen through a national lens.
While the spotlight turns to Cooperstown this weekend, the Twins will try to get it done on a more regional level. Joe Ryan will face former teammate Michael Pineda in the club’s first post-break matchup; it’s a quick two-game series in the Motor City that will serve to ramp the action back up en route to what will hopefully be an engaging second half for Twinkie Towners everywhere.
GO TWINS GO!