In honor of Joe Mauer signing with the Twins (for real this time) and me losing my Fantasy Baseball league before it started by drafting horribly, I'm going to do ANOTHER Twins post!
A while back I came across this article by ESPN columnist Bill Simmons regarding clichéd spring training stories. Not only did I find it funny but I was amazed at how tolerable pre-2004 Red Sox fans were. But it wasn't until I saw the final "generic angle" that I realized he was on to something.
So I decided to try my hand at putting in this years Twins into the various angles. I did take out a few I felt were slightly redundant, but here's what I came up with:
THE NEW GUY (Orlando Hudson)
There are actually a few new guys with the Twins this year. But I have gotten the sense that the person the fans are most excited about is second basemen Orlando Hudson. Too bad that if he's really as good as advertised then he'll sign for more money somewhere else next year.
THE WASHED-UP GUY (Jim Thome)
Sure, his numbers have been falling and he was barely functional against lesser national league pitching with the Dodgers. But still, you never know when the pop will return to his bat. And he's a sure fire hall-of-famer!
However, I can't blame the Twins for signing him. If all you knew of him were the games in which he played against the Twins then you'd think he averages a home run a game.
THE SLEEPERS (Francisco Liriano)
He's been lighting it up in the winter league. His slider is back. The other team won't know what hit them! (Unless Liriano lets a batter on base. Then he'll just panic and the only thing that will be hitting is the other team.)
THE UNHAPPY GUY (Glen Perkins)
The stories have been filtering in. It looks like he won't have a starting job. He wants one. He's been known to cause problems in the locker room. All I can say to Perkins is that if you want to be a diva then perhaps you should, you know, be better than decent.
THE POSITION CHANGE (Closer Du Jour)
No one knows who will be the closer to replace Joe Nathan but it's a hot story! Will it be Mr. Neck-Tattoo Jon Rauch? Or will the Twins look outside their organization and tra...alright, I can't even say it with a straight face. It's going to be Jon Rauch. Hopefully his neck tattoo scares batters into striking out.
THE FINAL STRAW (Delmon Young)
The Twins paid a handsome price for this young outfielder and, to be frank, he has stunk. But now he's lost weight and is refocused! Can Delmon Young finally put the pieces together and become an elite hitter? (Spoiler Alert: No...he can't.)
THE GUY WITH NO ANGLE (Justin Morneau)
Remember Justin Morneau? He's a Twin too. And he's pretty good.
THE NEW COACH WITH THE MAGIC WAND (Rick Anderson)
OK, so he's not a NEW coach. But every year we hear about what a wonderful job Rick Anderson does with his pitchers. Many think the transition of Random Middle Reliever A to closer will go seamless because of him. I have my doubts.
THE INJURED-BUT-HOPEFUL PITCHER (Pat Neshek)
He's been out for nearly two years. But he and is crazy throwing motion are finally back. Can he recapture his former glory? Did he have former glory? We'll have to wait for the regular season to find out!
THE GUY LOOKING TO MAKE AMENDS (Delmon Young)
Delmon Young makes his second appearance because, really, I couldn't think of anyone else to put here. He has to make amends for...sucking...I guess...and throwing a bat at an umpire all those years ago.
THE GUILLOTINE GUY (Joe Mauer)
The Twins signed Joe Mauer so now pessimistic Twins fans are just waiting for his leg to fall off.
THE DEPARTED, BITTER STAR (None)
It feels like everyone is happy when they leave the Twins. I could give this to Orlando Cabrera but I haven't heard him talk bad about the Twins. I suppose this category should be retired for the Twins in honor of A.J. Pierzynski.
THE CLUBHOUSE LEADER (Carl Pavano)
Sure he sucked in New York. But he's old...er...I mean an experienced veteran. That means he can teach our young pitchers. One day they will suck in New York too! Well...suck more. Most Twins pitchers already suck when they're in New York. It's a unique talent they have.
THE JOURNEYMAN PITCHER WHO FINDS A HOME (None)
Shockingly, I don't think the Twins have one! Gone are the days of Ramon Ortiz and Sydney Ponson. I never thought I'd live to see it.
THE QUIRKY VETERAN (None)
No quirky veterans this year. I suppose this category has to be retired after Mike Redmond left. Not only did his face look half melted but he also walked around the clubhouse naked! That's like Quirky Veteran Hall of Fame status there.
THE GUY WHO ALWAYS WANTED TO PLAY HERE (None)
Has any player ever WANTED to play for the Twins? Well, Aaron Boone did...and we saw how well that worked out.
THE FOURTH OUTFIELDER WHO COULD START ON MANY OTHER TEAMS (Jason Kubel)
Ahh, the fourth outfielder. The Twins always seem to have too much talent in the outfield. You've got Denard Span, Michael Cuddyer and Delmon Young. That leaves sure-fire-starter-on-another-team Jason Kubel. With an embarrassment of riches like that, how can the Twins NOT make a deep run into the playoffs?
THE RETURN ENGAGEMENT (Jacque Jones)
Remember Jacque Jones? Yeah, me neither. I'm just kidding. I remember him. He was good for a couple of years. Now he's back. Only he's older...and suckier. Yay.
THE STAR NOBODY CAN FIGURE OUT (Alexei Casilla)
This really should go to Carlos Gomez, but he was traded. So I'll nominate his partner-in-crime Alexei Casilla. Although, I think I can figure him out. He stinks.
THE PHENOM (Danny Valencia)
Greatest....third basemen....ever. (Or so I've been told.)
THE NIGHTMARE PITCHER FROM HELL (Francisco Liriano)
Second appearance for "The Franchise." A lot of good things are expected of him. Me? I expect to be banging my head against the wall whilst watching him pitch.
THE GUY WITH SOMETHING TO PROVE (JJ Hardy)
He stunk so bad last year that he was booted down to the minors. Now he's supposed to be the Twins' savior at short stop. Ummmm....no comment.
THE LOVABLE BENCH GUY (Nick Punto)
Ahhhh little Nicky Punto. Marvel at how he plays every position. Enjoy each and every grounder to short stop he hits. Applaud when he foolishly tries to go from third base to home and get thrown out because the crowd was too loud. But you can't say anything bad about him because everyone loves a guy who works hard and "plays the right way." Right?
THE VISA PROBLEM (Jose Mijares)
Two years and counting!