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  • Finding Smiles - Twins 6, Red Sox 2

    What was the fan reaction in Hammond Stadium following the gut-punching news about Miguel Sano?

    Honestly, it was smiles. Basking, wondrous smiles expressed with the eyes and shoulders moreso than the lips. Or at least that what I saw as I walked up to the Hammond Stadium gates. Yes, the Twins had received the worst possible news for one of their cornerstone prospects. But it was still a home opener, still 80 degrees and sunny, still a record-sized crowd watching a baseball game.

    The first couple innings helped the mood. The Twins lineup jumped all over Red Sox starter Allen Webster, who is fighting to keep his wildish mid-90s fastball out of Pawtucket this year, and being opposed by the Red Sox crowded rotation. The Twins didn't help his cause.

    If only you really could tell everything you wanted to know about a season by that first game, first at-bat, first pitch. If so, we'd know that Brian Dozier's power last year was real. His first at-bat concluded with a double off the left field gap's wall, missing a home run by a couple of feet. If so, Joe Mauer's move to first base would turn him into an RBI machine. He immediately drove Dozier home. If so, the concerns about the Twins offense this year would be baseless. They plated three and knocked Webster from the game before he could finish his second inning.

    That's not how it works, of course. The real omen of the day was the Sano news. It's another delay for a rebuild that's going into it's fourth year. It always hurts to lose a year of player development, but it's worth noting that Sano's important clocks haven't begun ticking. He's only 20, and this doesn't impact his "option" years, let alone his player service time.

    Historically, the Twins have seen much worse. The Twins lost Francisco Liriano for a year within months of him making the team. They lost Mauer for most of his first full year in his first game. And Jason Kubel in his first offseason. And Morneau when he was hit by Ron Villone....

    Sigh. Talk about an angle that doesn't get enough talk. How come so many of the Twins top prospects have been injured just as they are reaching the majors? Does that happen to any other franchise? How different could the last decade have been? And how about we hunt down the White Sox fan with the little voodoo doll and beat the snot out of him.

    For that job, I nominate just about anyone except Tony Oliva. As I left Hammond stadium, I saw an older man tussling in the grass with a couple of toddlers. He stopped long enough for their Mom to take an photo with his head upside down on the short grass. He got up and laughed and told his friends it was time to go

    It was Oliva. The kids had no idea who he was. The dad didn't either. The mom suspected it was Oliva but admitted that when he stopped while he was walking past the kids, she thought he was going to scold them for wrestling and tearing up the grass on the concourse.

    Nope. Instead, a day that started out with incredibly depressing (and seemingly inevitable) news ended with an impromptu joyful moment between rugrats and a Twins legend on the walkway to Hammond. Short of finding the Sox voodoo guy, maybe this is how we shake ourselves from this Minnesota sports funk. If not, at least it uncovered some smiles.
    This article was originally published in blog: Finding Smiles - Twins 6, Red Sox 2 started by John Bonnes
    Comments 7 Comments
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      Great article. Tony O will always be one of my favorite players of all time.
    1. Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
      Don't Feed the Greed Guy -
      In spite of a few clouds, hope springs eternal.
    1. Wyorev's Avatar
      Wyorev -
      Thanks John! Have a great time in FLA!
    1. Dantes929's Avatar
      Dantes929 -
      If Oliva doesn't get into the HOF for his baseball he should get in for his ambassadorship. Certainly he should get there for his baseball AND ambassadorship.
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      John, thanks for writing something upbeat in the wake of this bad news. I'm sure Miguel Sano will get a hug from Joe Mauer, another superstar prospect that lost a year right at the start of his wonderful baseball career. We all know that injuries are a part of sports, but it's especially painful when it happens to a great athlete and a good guy.

      Okay Miguel, your job now is to get better. Learn some more English, stay in shape, watch your calories, and buy yourself a nice, safe Volvo. Drive carefully, kid. The roads around Minnesota are terrible.
    1. PeanutsFromHeaven's Avatar
      PeanutsFromHeaven -
      I'm stunned you blame a White Sox fan...voodoo doesn't strike me as southside style the same way that a little gang violence does. But I do definitely see some sort of bad juju afoot...maybe at the hands of some nefarious organization without ethics, but ample financial resources...hmmm...who could that be?
    1. twinsfaninsaudi's Avatar
      twinsfaninsaudi -
      What about Kyle Gibson? Wasn't he a top prospect on the cusp of the majors when he had Tommy John?
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