The Twins are winning, but the fans aren’t feeling it

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Center Fielder Aaron Hicks recorded his first Big League hit against the Detroit Tigers

The Minnesota Twins ended their opening series against the Detroit Tigers with unexpectedly winning 2 of the 3 games. After losing their Home and Season Opener 4-2, they came back fresh two days later to continue battling the Tigers, who were swept in the World Series last October.

The Twins trailed for nearly the entire game on the April third contest. With a score of 2-1 in the Tigers’ favor going into the ninth, the Twins felt a little unsettled. Eduardo Escobar responded with a clutch walk-off, two-run double to end the game, boosting the Twins above their rivals in a 3-2 win. Whewfta! Their first win of 2013 is in the books.

The Twins recorded a breezy win the following day. Leading 3-2 into the eighth, the Twins rallied and scored a whopping more 5 more runs to end the game with an 8-2 victory. Now that is uncharacteristic of both teams, but it was certainly a nice change of pace.

Despite the fact that it was the opening series of the 2013 campaign, Target Field held a record-low attendance of just above 22,000 fans (the previous record was approximately 27,000. The average is approximately 30,000).

(Former) top prospect Aaron Hicks earned the starting center fielder position as he had a successful Spring Training. Hicks went 0-4 during his Major League debut, but ultimately got his first Big League hit on April 4 (Prince Fielder kindly gave Hicks the ball, too).

I’d say that the Twinkies had a solid first series. The Twins take on the Orioles at Camden Yards this Friday – Sunday.

Hopefully the Twins can regain their reputation they had in the early 2000s. I’m planning on sitting tight for a couple years while the guys in our farm system develop and progress. Then, we should undoubtedly be contenders.

View: Eduardo Escobar’s Walk-Off Double

The Beauty of Spring Training

Why I’m a Mike Trout Fan

Mike Trout is an animal. He is a 21-year-old superhuman. He had a breakout rookie year last season with the Angels, and continues to prove that he is not only worthy to be in the Bigs, but also that he can beat a lot of veterans in more areas than one.

At Spring Training weigh-in, Trout weighed in at 241 lbs which concerned a lot of “Trout Skeptics”. But I say – forget those people! He is nearly all muscle and will be fully capable to bring his A-game by Opening Day.

Trout graduated from Millville High School in New Jersey where he was a pitcher and catcher. However, he switched to outfield his senior year and landed a record-shattering 18 home runs during this campaign.

He was drafted by the Angels’ farm team, the Arizona Angels, in 2009 and quickly earned his way up to where he wanted to be. Throughout 2009-2011, Trout had a rocky start going up-and-down from the Majors to the Minors, but he truly broke ground during the 2012 season. As an Anaheim Angel, Trout set franchise and league records left and right.

Suffice to say, this guy is a beast. I watched him play against the San Diego Padres in Peoria, AZ. I knew I wanted to pick up a Cactus Leaguer, and I knew I wanted to see Trout play. It was perfection wrapped in a hot sunny day.

I walk in the back entrance of Peoria Sports Complex (ST home of the Padres and Mariners), and the first player in uniform I saw was the one and only Mike Trout. Stationed in left field, my dream had come true – I was finally seeing Mike Trout in person – he really does exist! 

You see, I’m not only a Trout fan, I’m a true baseball fan who appreciates the beauty of talented ballplayers. It takes a lot of skill and dedication to become Major League ready, and oftentimes it’s a kind of skill that hard work just cannot produce.

Mike Trout received the American League Rookie of the Year award for his 2012 season. Meanwhile, 20-year-old phenomenon Bryce Harper of the Nationals won the same award for the National League. It has been noted that Harper used to get home from school, exchange his school backpack for his baseball bag, and put in roughly 6-8 hours of baseball practice per night. The hard work is continuing to pay off as the monster is accomplishing similar feats as Trout on the opposite end of the country.

(Harper swings a .54 oz bat during batting practice)

And to explain this rare case of Extra-Terrestrial-Super-Human-Baseball-Stud-Syndrome, take a look for yourself: Bryce Harper – Mike Trout Phenoms

This is what it means to be a baseball player.

New York Yankees officially dubbed the “Evil Empire”

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 Photo Credit: Kurt Snibble/ESPN

Earlier this week, the New York Yankees won the legal right to be deemed, “Baseball’s Evil Empire”. The case was introduced when a private entrepreneur called Evil Enterprises Inc. wanted to trademark the phrase “Evil Empire”. But, a panel of Washington D.C. judges denied the request, saying the Yankees are the only Evil Empire…at least when used in connection with baseball.

In arguing their case, they said that all other 29 Major League teams regard them as such, and they have embraced the term in prior seasons. The team also argued that they already play music from Star Wars during their home games. So, they basically have the whole package.

OK, we all know that the Yanks are baseball’s evil empire. THAT’s not news. The news is that they have legally adopted the term, thus disallowing any other team to claim that same title. 

Congratulations Yankees. We all know you’re evil, you don’t have to rub it in. 

[Next step: copyrighting the term "Evil Empire Dictator" to Alex Rodriguez.]

Minnesota Twins’ Catcher Expecting to Produce Mascots

Video Credit: MLB.com

This is a fairy tale in the works folks. Minnesota Twins’ All-Star catcher, Joe Mauer and his wife, Maddie, are expecting twins! The news broke on Wednesday night and the twittersphere blew up.

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Maddie [Bisanz] is a former Cretin Derham Hall graduate with Mauer. This seems just too perfect. The Mauers must have so much team spirit that they had to produce little mascots. Congratulations you two, you’ve duo-handedly crushed the hopes and dreams of thousands of women who gawk over the handsome hometown hero, but you’ve done it ever so gracefully. This state loves you.

It’s Not “Just A Game”

Credit: MLB.com

Credit: MLB.com

Every loss in the record books is usually followed by a little something like this: “Shake it off. It’s just a game.”Anytime someone has ever said this to me, I told them they don’t understand the game.

Today, MLB posted an amazing video of the Minnesota Twins at Spring Training (below).

 

Holy goose pimples! This video encompasses the beauty of the game. The dampness of the dirt and shimmer of the morning grass is what ballplayers love to wake up to. The unstiffing of sore backs and breaking in new bats is what we’ve been waiting for. Of course we don’t need to unstiffen our backs, I’m simply saying it’s fun to see the players start their grind. This Spring, Hammond Stadium, the Fort Myers home of the Twins, will be filled with baseball-anxious fans who have endured several cold months in the North in anticipation of that first pitch.

You see, right around February is when baseball fans start to completely zone out of their real lives in the Upper Midwest and long for the baseball life that is currently happening in Florida and Arizona.

I bring up this incredible video of the Twins at Spring Training because it captures every aspect of the game and gives it the glory it deserves. From the bend of the hat bills, to the welcoming of new players, we know that baseball is here and our lives are about to get better. Now April 1 cannot come soon enough.

One of the greatest hitters of all time, Rogers Hornsby once said, “People ask me what I do in the winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”

(Hornsby recorded a lifetime batting average of .358 so one must assume that he certainly did not sit idly for the entire off-season. Ty Cobb is the only player to exceed Hornsby’s LBA with .367).

Baseball is more than just a game. With every win and loss, baseball players participate in the very thing that has kept this nation together for over a century. Baseball is like a best friend that we can always count on. It remains faithful through good times and bad. Through depressions, wars, political and economic strife, you-name-it, baseball can endure it. Fellow baseball fans, please take pride in the sport that has remained relatively unchanged, untouched, and just as beautiful now as the day it was first played in the mid-1800s.

In the Red Sox-lover’s favorite movie, Fever Pitch, Jimmy Fallon’s character explains why he puts up with so much loss, misery and anxiousness for his love of the Bosox:

“Why? Because they haven’t won a World Series in a century or so? So what? They’re here. Every April, they’re here. At 1:05 or at 7:05, there is a game. And if it gets rained out, guess what? They make it up to you. Does anyone else in your life do that? The Red Sox don’t get divorced. This is a real family. This is the family that’s here for you.”

Touche.

In closing, I’ve never heard this said so simply and perfectly:

“Some people say baseball is boring. But so is the ocean until it is understood what is happening beneath the surface.” -Baseballism

It’s time to take a deep breathe and relax folks. The first set of games is this Friday 2/22/13. And if that’s not exciting enough, Opening Day is only 40 days away! There is light at the end of this very long tunnel.

You Play Ball Like A Girl!

That’s shouldn’t be an insult anymore. We’ve all seen the timeless baseball movie, The Sandlot, when Ham Porter and his sandlot gang throw this insult at Phillips of the cocky neighborhood team.

Phillips stood there shocked that Ham Porter said this. His only comeback was to schedule a match-up and call Porter “Buffalo Butt Breath” Oooo, ouch.

What does this saying “You play ball like a girl” mean anymore? Well, quite frankly, it still has similar implications as it has always had. But, I think we are making strides in the right direction. I think enough girls are proving themselves on the diamond and dispelling this insult.

That’s great, BUT, it’s not where I want things to be. Girls are making a huge impact on the game of softball, but I see so much room for women’s growth and development in hardball. Currently there are roughly 150,000 girls who participate in youth baseball, but only about 1,000 of them actually go on to play for their high school team.

As a girl who played baseball until my senior year of high school, I have an undeniable passion for girls’ involvement in the game. If we start them young and provide the right opportunities, girls should have the right to compete in the best game on earth – baseball.

MLB’s fan base is currently 40% female. Imagine if women’s baseball was actually promoted and encouraged? Female’s involvement with baseball (on and off the field) would skyrocket!

This may sound silly. You may be thinking, but girls can’t play baseball like boys can, To that, I would say, in some cases you would be correct. Sure women develop differently, but I could show you plenty of hard-hitting females who can crank cheddar bombs with great ease.

Justine Siegal is the first woman to ever throw BP to an MLB team (Cleveland Indians, Oakland A’s, and Tampa Bay Rays, Houston Astros and New York Mets) and to coach first base in men’s pro baseball. She is the founder and CEO of Baseball For All, an organization that aims at promoting women in baseball.

Although women stopped playing in the Big Leagues after World War II, there are still opportunities for women to get involved. Like Justine’s mission suggests, women are increasingly showing more interest in the game, so her organization (among a few others) have begun to devote their careers to making a way for women to play hardball.

Enough with this softball talk. Girls like myself want to play baseball.

Oh, and enjoy a classic clip from the best movie ever made:

Why Am I Here?

We’re about to get rolling here. But first, let me introduce myself. Name’s Chelsey Falzone, yes like the Italian inside-out pizza but with an F. I’m a little bit of a freak: for baseball and Jesus. For the most part, I will keep the two directly separate but of course they have everything to do with each other. Anyway, when people ask me what I’m interested in for mere conversational purposes, I say baseball.

“Oh really?” They always ask, “That’s so fascinating!”

Why? Why is that so fascinating? Is it because I’m a girl?

Growing up, I told people “I play baseball”, and their immediate response was usually, “Do you mean softball?”

HA! Oh, my mistake, I guess I don’t know the difference between the girl’s sport and the guys’.  

I played baseball with the boys and I wouldn’t have traded it for anything. I grew up studying the game. I know the ins-and-outs of how hardball came to be. Although I’m still learning, there’s not much you can stump me on other than the different types of beer drank by Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb; (although I don’t know if that’s documented anywhere).

As a woman in the game, I feel entitled and even required to form educated, well-informed and even original opinions about Big League happenings. I’m a St. Paul native with the intertwined TC logo branded on my heart. Having that said, my affinity for the Twins comes first, then for any team who beats the Yankees, White Sox, or Tigers.

I’m an unconditional supporter of Joe Mauer – not only because he’s freakishly fine – but also for having one of the most beautiful swings in baseball. Don’t tell me he’s a wuss, I don’t want to hear it. Oh, and for those who ride the A-Rod Bashing Bus, we will get along just fine.

Be sure to stay tuned for regular chatter about the game. I certainly won’t stay limited to the PED clinic revelations, or any one topic for that matter. I encourage you to test my knowledge.

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I know the game.  

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