Wednesday, April 1, 2009


As indicated earlier, Donny Puck will be transitioning to a Twins/AL Central focus as the baseball season approaches. That is not to say we won't have any coverage of Gopher hoops/puck activities during their off-season. We'll keep an eye on the doings there, and will be back late next week with a captivating Frozen Four preview.

Baseball is my first love. It has been a passion of mine for almost 30 of my 35 years. I have thankfully passed on the love of baseball to my two boys. My earliest memories of baseball involve the Yankees and Dodgers in the 1981 World Series, won by LA in six games. This also began my strange fandom of both the Twins and the Yankees. Ask my mother....I was loyal to the pinstripers throughout the 80s and early 90s, through the Mel Hall, Kevin Maas, Danny Tartabull, Stump Merrill, etc., etc., etc., era! It's easy to be a Yankee fan today, but it was a lonely existence during those dark years.

Thankfully, the Twins provided some excitement. The 1987 and 1991 seasons remain magical to this day, as is true to just about any sports fan in the Upper Midwest. I believe my brother and I can just about replay the entirety of both magical seasons in our heads. We were also lucky enough to attend both World Series with our baseball-mad parents (save for Game 1 of 1987 and Game 2 of 1991, which we attended with my aunt and cousin). The seasons directly following the World Series appearances were statistically better than the prior year, but they just couldn't get past the Oakland A's either season. Mention the name "Eric Fox" to me or my brother, and we know exactly what it means.

For those who don't recall, the Twins were playing the A's at the Dome on July 29, 1992. They were 60-40 and held a one-game lead over Oakland in the AL West. They had a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the ninth with closer Rick Aguilera on the hill. A victory would push the lead to two games. The A's had two men on base, one out, and Fox was at the plate. Fox was seeing his first big league action as a 28-year-old in 1992. He hit a three-run homer down the RF line giving the A's a 5-4 lead. Dennis Eckersley got the Twins in order in the ninth, and the A's had a share of the AL West lead. They went on to finish 96-66 and win the division by six games.

The Twins ended up finishing second at 90-72, but went 30-32 after Fox's homer. They had a disappointing 1993 season in which they went 71-91, and then spun off an additional seven seasons of sub-.500 baseball. Eric Fox ended up seeing action in three additional seasons, and finished his career with a .198/.257/.302 mark. He hit three more home runs in his career.

I was at that game, sitting in the right field upper deck. I had no idea that Eric Fox would launch the Twins into an eight-year tailspin, but I stuck with the team anyway. During the tailspin, I was able to see some interesting games in the Dome live, including Darnell Coles's three-homer game in 1994 (he hit four homers the entire season!), the Eric Milton no-hitter in 1999, and the scheduled DH against Oakland in 2001 (both games went 10 innings; I even talked my buddy into going the next day as well).

Things got much better in 2002, and the Twins' run of solid baseball has continued, save for the sub-.500 performance in 2007. I've seen a lot of great games live, will look forward to the last year of the Dome this year, and have season tickets for Target Field in 2010. It promises to be a fun year!

So, to get things going, this site will endeavor to supplement the Twins coverage in the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press. I believe both papers do a solid job (LaVelle E. Neal III and Joe Christensen in the Strib; Phil Miller at the Pioneer Press), so I'll link their stories a lot. In addition, you will see a lot of mentions of the following two sites:
  • - is a fascinating daily read on the Twins. Aaron does a great job going behind the numbers and is top-notch at analyzing the roster. In addition, Aaron writes for NBC and RotoWorld.
  • - Seth Stohs is unparalleled in his coverage of the Twins and their minor league affiliates. He publishes a prospect handbook (pick up your copy from his site, or here) and has a fabulous handle on all levels of the Twins' minor league system.

We'll monitor the other Twins-related (and AL Central-related) sites as well and provide coverage. I will attempt to provide box scores and highlights for the Twins and their affiliates' games most nights. In addition, I'll go into the numbers a bit and provide my own musings as I see fit. I also welcome your questions and comments throughout.

Over the weekend, I plan on doing an AL Central preview (probably Saturday/Sunday) and a final Twins' roster analysis (Sunday/Monday). In the meantime, check back here tomorrow for updates on the Twins, and if they make a final roster determination for middle infield (Harris vs. Tolbert) or bullpen (Dickey/Humber/Duensing).

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