In the biggest news event of the new year in America, the Minnesota Twins stepped up to the proverbial plate and signed all-world catcher Joe Mauer to an eight year contract! The contract basically is $23 million per year, making Alex Rodriguez as the one major leaguer making more than Mauer. The Twins also acquiesced on the contract by adding a full “no-trade” clause as per Mauer’s desire. Like Cal Ripken and Kirby Puckett, Mauer will be able to play his entire career in front of his hometown fans. Oh, all three of these players are/were represented by the same agent, Ron Shapiro. Good for Shapiro! I think Joe Mauer could have played this year out and signed for significantly more money as a free agent in New York, Boston, or Los Angeles.

One of Joe Mauer’s concerns was whether the Twins will be making an effort to be competitive and make legitimate moves toward a World Series crown. I think he likes what is going on in Minnesota. The Twins have won the division championship five of the past eight years. They have built with youth and their own farm system. They made a few dud free agent signings the past few years, but it’s always “their guys” that get it done for them. This year will prove to be different. They made the big trade last fall of Carlos Gomez to the Brewers for shortstop J.J. Hardy. Hardy is a former NL All Star and is still young with a good glove, good range, and a cannon arm. He has a history of hitting for power as well. It helps that he and Joe Mauer are buddies from their high school days. The Twins then signed the other half of the keystone combo, Orlando Hudson. A very good second baseman, he has won four gold gloves, and good handler of the bat, and a very positive influence on the youngsters on the team. Remember, the Twins are still one of the youngest teams in major league baseball. Speaking of youth, the Twins also signed long time nemesis Jim Thome, age 40! Some will say he’s too old, but he still has a quick bat with power! Last year, though playing in only 74 games for the Dodgers in spacious Chavez Ravine, he smacked 23 homers! He still has it, and will be platooned as the DH with Jason Kubiel and will be the first pinch hitter off the bench.

Ron Gardinhire, arguably the best manger in baseball, the last four games in Florida has been putting the pieces together of the “A team”. The Twins won all four games with good pitching, hitting and by Twins tradition, no errors. They will be a force in the American League this year. The loss of Joe Nathan is big. He has close to the best stats in baseball the last five years as a closer. Tough to replace, but they are now thinking maybe Francisco Liriano for the role. He’s always over-powering for an inning or two then tails off. A perfect scenario for a successful closer!

This years Twins will sport one of baseballs best and most potent line-ups:
1) Denard Span- CF
2) Orlando Hudson 2B
3) Joe Mauer C
4) Justin Morneau- 1B
5) Michael Cuddyer- RF
6) Jason Kubiel/Jim Thome- DH
7) Delmon Young LF
8) J.J. Hardy SS
9) Nick Punto/Brendon Harris 3B

The Twins also have a very good and proven starting rotation; Carl Pavano, Kevin Slowey, Nick Blackburn, Scott Baker and either Glen Perkins, Brian Duensing, or Francisco Liriano, if they go with another pitcher for the closer spot. They are also loaded with a talented, deep, and healthy relief corps.

I look for this team to be dominant in the league this year, certainly in the division, and I believe they will go deeper in the playoffs next fall. Twins fans better get prepared to brush off the snow next fall while watching the Twins in the new Target Field. I think the only thing the team loses is that incredible home field advantage they have enjoyed since 1982 in the Metrodome. But with this season already sold out, I’m sure they will get a big boost this year from their fans and their new home field. This is going to be an exciting year in Minnesota for our Twins. There may be only a couple teams in the majors this year with deeper rosters. This is a young but proven team. They are all good guys, no thugs or gangsters in the group. They all are involved in community affairs and they bring an air of pride to the whole upper midwest and southern Canada. Thank you so much for reading today’s installment and always remember; ” We’re gonna win Twins, we’re gonna score. We’re gonna win Twins watch that baseball soar! Crack out a home run, shout a hip-hooray! Cheer for the Minnesota Twins today!”

Cam Obert



  1. Dan Bennington Says:

    A glimmer of hope in an otherwise dismal time. Thanks for the uplifting article Cam.

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