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Home » April 2010 Game CommentsApril 2010 » Minnesota Nice

Minnesota Nice

Baseball as it is meant to played has returned to Minneapolis. The city sits just south of the 45th parallel north, the halfway point between the equator and the North Pole. Perhaps it’s not the ideal latitude for an open-air park, but a dirt field with tires for bases would have surpassed the Metrodome as a baseball park. And now the professional baseball players in Minnesota can claim themselves tougher than their football-playing counterparts since they play their games at the mercy of the elements... at least until it rains or snows too hard. Sometimes it snows in April.

The Twins organization celebrated nearly every first in Target Field, eminent to insignificant. Just as the Twins’ first hit (Orlando Hudson’s first-inning line drive single to left), first home player’s run (Hudson crossing home on Jason Kubel’s single), and home run (Kubel again, a leadoff blast to the right field stands in the seventh) were feted, so was the first attendee, first beer purchased, and first meat on a stick ordered.

Nine-hole hitter Nick Punto’s contribution to the crates of memorabilia was not only the cleats he used to tally the first stolen base but also the belt he broke sliding into the keystone sack. Did he get that belt from Target?

Joe Mauer could help Punto buy a belt-making factory thanks to the eight-year, $184 million dollar deal he signed before the start of the season. While my Red Sox fan self would have liked to see the backstop lured away from his organization to Fenway, the greater good of baseball was served when a mid-sized franchise could anchor its personnel with a player of Mauer’s caliber.

I cannot help but think of the parallels between Mauer and another elite catcher who had the good luck to play for the team closest to his hometown and heart. But instead of a dysfunctional front office whose general manager passive-aggressively failed to mail a contract to Carlton Fisk in time, the Minnesota Twins understand that Mauer is the crux of squad and rewarded him handsomely.

If Mauer’s career continues the same arc, an engraver may have to find a way to make sideburns in bronze flattering.

Game 7: April 12, 2010
Red Sox
2L: Jon Lester (0-1)
2B: Jeremy Hermida (2), David Ortiz (2), Dustin Pedroia (2), Kevin Youkilis (3)
5W: Carl Pavano (2-0)
H: Brian Duensing (1)
S: Jon Rauch (5)
2B: Joe Mauer (2)
HR: Jason Kubel (2)

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