As the snow slowly retreats from my dog’s kennel and the robins try to find their way north through the latest snowstorm, as there have been threats to do away with the groundhog and snowplows in the northland begin to gather rust, this is the time.
Yes, the time has come for this former farm boy and heavy construction machine operator to utter his annual (and I must say looked-forward-to-by-many) Minnesota Twins baseball forecast for 2013.
I am hoping that most of the readers of this column have forgotten the forecast I rendered in 2012. I’m wanting to think it was a fluke of nature that even I quit checking the standings about two months into the season. It was too painful.
My coffee slurping friends cut me some slack in not mentioning my descending forecast, and when they did ask me how the Twins were doing, it was with a kind tongue and a gentle spirit.
Yes, pilgrims, I have been wrong with my forecast in the past. I admit it. But, there have been years of triumph when I actually hit the record on the numbers and puffed my chest out as I walked the streets of our town to the accolades of my peers.
Yes, I have experienced success with this forecast, just not lately.
But, I digress. You are not reading this column to find out how I feel. You could really care less. I know you are reading to the bottom of this column in order to form an opinion as to whether you will participate in fun outdoor summer activities or actually tune in and listen to an entire Twins game. We all have our priorities.
I’ve gathered information from the meaningless pre-season games. I’ve found that a great pre-season means nothing once the umpire cries “Play ball!”
The Twins always look good trotting on that field in Fort Meyers. They’re just happy to be in a place where there are no snow emergencies and traffic pile-ups.
How could they not enjoy looking good down in the Sunshine State? Once back up here on the tundra, things can and do change.
The lineup looks promising in the hitting department with Coach Brunansky taking over. And, Paul Molitor should be able to teach the lads how to catch a pop-up and chase a fly ball. I’m positive about those people doing good things.
I’m still up in the air on our pitching staff. Last year our pitching evaporated like the snow on the top of my doghouse in May. Pitching will be the big question again this year with no real predetermined “ace” on the staff.
Coach Gardenhire is always a stabilizing influence, if he doesn’t get tossed from the game early, and I really felt sorry for the coach last year. He really had few things he could do when he bounced out of the dugout, scratching his head as he headed for the mound to yank another pin striper. I think it might be a bit better this year.
So, I have counted the number of acorns the red squirrel has stored in my garden boots, multiplied that number by the pounds of sunflower seeds I have fed the birds this winter, deducted that number by how many steps I’m missing in my deer stand and took the square root of the number of rusted fishing hooks I have in my tackle box and I have come up with “the number.”
This year, the Minnesota Twins will end up with a record of 80 wins and 82 losses. They’ll end up in the middle of their division and out of the playoffs.
Now that could change for the better if a pitcher emerges, Morneau and Mauer each hit above .325, Willingham hits 32 home runs, someone in the outfield ends up in the All-Star game and second, short and third base become stops for a trickling grounder.
I’d like to be more optimistic, but my Iowa farm boy upbringing taught me one thing: Never count your hog money until the commission check arrives in the mailbox.
See you next time. Okay?