The ‘new’ Twins have what it takes

Mike KnaakColumn, Print Sartell - St. Stephen, Print St. Joseph0 Comments

This summer, there has been a lot of championship hype building around one of our local Minnesota teams. No, it’s not the Lynx or even the Minnesota Vikings coming up in the fall.

It’s the Minnesota Twins. For the past few months, their record has been at or near the best in baseball, and they have maintained a strong lead in their division. Though many might be convinced of an all-too- typical disappointing postseason, I believe the Twins have what it takes to make it all the way, and bring more people back to watching baseball.

After the past few years of disappointing or average seasons, it seemed like the Twins were settling into a pattern of being a good, but not exceptional team. They went on streaks and players showed potential of becoming true All-Stars. This never translated into the playoffs though besides a wildcard berth in 2017, where the Twins lost to the Yankees, 8-4.

That has all changed this year. With a new manager Rocco Baldelli and adding players such as C.J. Cron, Nelson Cruz and Marwin Gonzales among others, the Twins have looked almost like a new team.

The Twins’ offense leads the MLB in home runs with 146 at the time of writing, and also with the most runs scored total (439), 5.78 per game. The defense is nothing to scoff at either. The Twins have allowed about 4.33 runs per game from opposing teams, the eighth fewest. 

This has made the games explosive and entertaining to watch. You’re almost guaranteed to see the Twins at their best, pitching strikeouts to the opposing side and then running up the score with the homers. The Twins have already had two eight home-run games this season, and we’re only through June. One of these, the 16-7 win against the Los Angeles Angels, showed the true depth of the team, with six players hitting it over the fence that night.

I also remember watching the team go into 17 innings with the Red Sox, pulling off a 4-3 win after a strong contest of pitchers on both sides. This was the opposite skill-set compared with the Angels game, keeping last year’s World Series champions to only a few hits and keeping runs low through great fielding and defensive work. With all of this in mind, they definitely look like a playoff contender this year.

The Twins’ success provides a sharp contrast to the overall trend in baseball. Fewer and fewer people are going out to watch America’s pastime. The Twins are 18th in attendance despite the wildly successful season so far, with the average home turnout barely beating that of last year. Although I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to get out to a game already this year, I understand why this is a problem. With so many games in a season and busy summers, it can be easy to miss getting out to Target Field. But there’s never been a better time to go than now, with tickets often starting under $20. 

So if you’re able, with the Twins doing so well right now, be sure to get out and enjoy a game at Target Field with your family or friends, or get together to watch it at home. I’m a big believer in sports bringing a community together, and it’s a great way to enjoy a summer day too. Whether you’re a big baseball fan or a casual watcher, let’s get behind the Twins this year. From what we’ve seen so far, there’s only bigger things ahead.

Connor Kockler is a student at St. John’s University. He enjoys writing, politics and news, among other interests.

Author: Mike Knaak

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