The smell of fresh cut grass, hot dogs and peanuts; baseball season is back. America’s favorite past time has woken from its winter slumber.
Spring training has started and baseball fans could not be happier, with half of the Major League Baseball teams in Arizona for the Cactus League and the other half in Florida for the Grapefruit League.
Spring training is a time where teams get a first look at newly acquired players, or players that are in the minors, to see if they can make the big league ball club, or at least the 40 man roster and have the potential of being called up.
This is also a time for players that are on the team to get back in shape and practice with the team and build chemistry.
Now, I am a Twins fan so I might be biased on some moves. The moves involving the two former catchers of Kurt Suzuki and Juan Centeno makes me scratch my head. The Twins did sign Jason Castro from Houston, but Centeno was a good backup for Minnesota. He has power and is solid behind the plate.
John Ryan Murphy, that they traded Aaron Hicks to the Yankees for last year, and signed Chris Gimenez to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training. Centeno has shown me a more promising future with the Twins. Hopefully, Murphy can turn things around in his second season with the Twins.
With Tommy Milone going across the border to Milwaukee that leaves the Twins with a thinner pitcher staff to an already thin and inconsistent staff last year.
Finally, Trevor Plouffe. Plouffe was waived by the Twins in the offseason and signed by Oakland. That leaves Miguel Sano to play third. This bothers me because Sano has a strong arm but made 15 errors at third. Errors happen, but he would make some of the hardest plays and would botch an easy grounder, or throw the ball away and even drop a pop-up.
Batting Sano struggled. Hitting .236 on the year with 25 home runs and 178 strikeouts in 116 games and 437 at bats. Like Murphy, I hope Sano can get thing turned around
A key thing for the Twins this offseason was keeping Brian Dozer. With trade talk with the Dodgers and Cardinals, Dozier is staying in Minnesota. With Dozier’s second half surge, he finished hitting .268 with 42 home runs in 155 games and 615 at bats. His 99 runs batted in and 61 walks helped to show that he is reliable when he is needed.
Along with the majors, college ball is under way.
North Dakota State baseball started the season with a four-game sweep over Mississippi Valley State. The Bison fell to Abilene Christian all three times this past weekend.
NDSU is scheduled to play Minnesota Tuesday, February 28 at U.S. Bank Stadium. Due to the fact Fargo is a cold and windy place, it is still a one-month wait for a Bison home game.
Really, the best chance to see the Herd in action will be down in Winter Haven, Florida, during spring break. They will have a three-game set against St. Bonaventure March 10-12.
The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks are set to start their season with exhibition games on May 2 and 3. The regular season starts at Grand Prairie May 18.
Everywhere you look there is baseball being played. This is the time of year baseball fans have been waiting for since the Cleveland Indians blew a 3-1 lead to the Chicago Cubs. Take me out to the ball game.