March 2007

Live from the Airport..

Saturday, March 31st, 2007


I’m at Southwest Florida International Airport, waiting for my flight home to board. It’s been a busy spring down here but it’s time to cover some real games.

I urge all of you to curl up with our special section that’s hitting the newsstands now. The theme is baseball around the world, and Joe C. and I conducted interviews with people who were all over the planet in order to bring you the fascinating story of how this great game is evolving in front of our eyes.

I also want to thank you for the great feedback and the attention you all are giving these blogs. We’re not sure how the regular season will work or what stuff I’ll dream up to throw out for discussion. Sometimes I may only be able to blog once every three days. Sometimes I’ll blog three times a day. I don’t know if I’ll be able to invest the time into this as my colleague Mike Russo does (he’s nuts). But I’ll have my spurts.

Anyway, NWA Flight 1115 is getting ready to board. Gotta go.

Twins-Pirates: Lineups

Saturday, March 31st, 2007

The game is being broadcasted on the Fox SportsNet outlet in Pittsburgh. So check it out if you have the sports package on the dish.

If not, go to the neighbor who has the package, pretend to borrow a mitre saw then pretend you had no idea the Twins game was on. Plop down on the sofa, ask for some munchies and don’t move until the Final Four games are over.

Pirates: Chris Duffy, Jack Wilson, Jason Bay, Adam LaRoche, Ronnie Paulino, Xavier Nady, Jose Bautista, Jose Castillo, Humberto Cota. Pitching: Paul Maholm

Twins: Castillo, Punto, Batting Champ, Cuddy, MVP, Torii, Rondell, Cirillo, Bartlett. Pitching: Sir Sidney


Friday, March 30th, 2007


Joe Mauer did not make the trip. He’s going to play in a minor league game where he can get as many at-bats as he wants. Plus he doesn’t have to put up with the bus ride – and traveling stunk today because of @$!% Florida traffic.  


Twins: Tyner, Bartlett, Kubel, Winfree, Moses, Rabe, Heintz, L-Rod, Ortiz.

Pirates: Duffy, Wilson, Paulino, LaRoche, Bay, Eldred, Bautista, Castillo, Gorzlanny.





Picks to Click, 2007: The Polls are Open.

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

 Every year, I pick two Twins players, one pitcher and one position player, who I think will have a big year. And many of my picks have been clunkers to the point where some people think I’m a jinx.

But that hasn’t stopped me from picking. And you can play a role in this. Now that we’ve had most of spring training to evaluate, you surely have identified someone to bust out this year.  You have until Sunday night to reply with your Picks to Click for the season. Any player is eligible, but if you pick Johan Santana, that means he’s winning 23 games. If it’s Mauer, that means he either is going to bat at least .360 or hit 25 homers. And if it’s Morneau, that means he’s hitting well into the .300′s again but with at least 40 homers and 140 RBI.

I will tabulate the results and have them on this blog sometime Monday - along with my picks.

Dave Winfield

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007


Hall of Famer Dave Winfield is one of several people I interviewed for my special section stories this spring. The former Twin deserves such attention because he’s just released a book titled, `Dropping the Ball: Baseballs Troubles and How We Can and Must Solve Them,” in which he discusses some of things that are wrong with baseball. He cares deeply about interest in the game growing in this country, and has some suggestions for people on all levels to  help achieve that.

Here’s part of a long interview I did with him:

 “One of the chapters I have written is called, `The Last Black Major Leaguer.’ We go from Jackie Robinson to when there was 28 percent black players in the 1970′s when I was playing and we’re down to 8 percent (now)  and it is declining. In ten more years you’ll see the last one. That’s just one chapter.”“I’m showing how important the game is to people in America and I urge people not to give up on it. I tell them. `Here are some examples of these trends.’ People need to know that we have academies in other countries. We have kids who no longer go outside and play. They don’t know pick up games and all this stuff.”

“The are not developing the skills and the responses and the athleticism to play baseball, so you put on a uniform when you are eight or nine years old and mommy wonders, `Johnny, why can’t you play very good.’ Johnny never went outside and played all these games that helped him develop and improve. The kids are declining and the culture is declining.”’

“I point out that trends are going on, but it is not an attack on anything. I’m just saying, `this is where it is. If you want to do something about it, here’s something that everybody can do from kids to parents to schools to organizations and rec departments to major leagues to players and agents and all of that.’ ”

You can click here for more information. Winfield is in the middle of a nationwide book tour. He’s in the Twin Cities today and will appear on Dan Barriero’s, `Bumper to Bumper,’ show this afternoon on KFAN. He’s got a lot of good stuff to talk about.