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2/25 Open Thread — Split Squad Debut @ Orioles / vs. Rays

And just like that, big-league ball is back.

Minnesota Twins Photo Day Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Minnesota Twins (Split Squad) @ Baltimore Orioles

First Pitch: 12:05 pm CDT

TV: In this economy? / ~ / Radio: Not on your life


Tampa Bay Rays @ Minnesota Twins (Split Squad)

First Pitch: 12:05 pm CDT

TV: Surely you jest / ~ / Radio: WCCO 830 / THE WOLF 102.9 FM / TIBN / AUDACY


Well, gang, we made it.

It might not come with the grandeur of Opening Day, or the attendance levels of Opening Day, or the stakes of Opening Day, or the strategy of Opening Day, or any of the various accoutrements that tend to come with baseball’s Opening Day, but listen. There’s baseball today, professional baseball, and some of it will be piped through the radio. If anyone knows of a better sign that spring is on the way, I’d love to hear it.

The Twins are visiting Baltimore’s spring training stomping grounds with starting pitcher Louis Varland and various purported members of the eventual 26-man roster, including Nick Gordon and fringe candidate Trevor Larnach.

Meanwhile, a coalition of players and coaches also clad in the new Minnesota garb will be holding down the fort (no pun intended) as the Tampa Bay Rays come in for a little Februarian visit. This is the one to keep an eye on, as it’s home to both the radio broadcast and Kenta Maeda’s first return to in-game action since August of 2021.

The astute fan (and almost every other fan tuning in) will also notice Joey Gallo leading off in this one, as he suits up for the first time as a leadoff man for Minnesota. Ryan Jeffers, Kyle Farmer, Max Kepler, and Michael Taylor round out the big-leaguers on this squad; top prospect Brooks Lee takes DH duty.

However, the thing I’ll be keeping an eye on most of all will be the pitch clock, which saw its first in-game action on yesterday’s schedule. Rob Manfred’s most significant contribution to MLB’s increasingly dwindling pace, the pitch clock sets out to trim the fat from the old ballgame; while most baseball fans don’t mind a long, leisurely contest, the argument is less to do with game length and more to do with game pace, as your average ballgame has a whole lot of time where people do be just standing around.

Resident Fun Baseball Guy™ Brett Phillips had this to say, which should hopefully quell the worries of those concerned that big-leaguers will never adjust to the changes, and that violation-happy umpires will take over the game.

We’ll see how brisk the baseball feels today, and whether or not Dan Gladden complains about it the whole time.