by Intern Jimmy
Fitting Tribute: As befitting the legacy he left, Kirby Puckett will be in the minds and hearts of players and fans the duration of this 2006 season. As a tribute to his everlasting impact on Minnesota baseball, the Twins have emblazoned # 34 on their sleeves to serve as a constant reminder of Puck. In addition, the Metrodome unveiled its center field homage to our hero who prowled its turf-green pastures for 12 seasons.
Torii Hunter likes the added company, "I'm pretty excited now to go out there with that number, knowing he's going to be in center field with me." As the northern stars align, there's no doubt Kirby's spirit will imbue this special season with a little "Jump on my back" flavor. Piggy back ride anyone?
Youth To Be Served? For all the veterans the Twins added in free agency this off-season- Rondell White (34 years old), Tony Batista (32) and Luis Castillo (30), you'd think they were serving apple sauce and pudding on the charter flights. Turns out the senior movement isn't exactly in full bloom as the average age of the Twins remains a mature, yet rambunctious 27.9 years of age, the 2nd youngest team in baseball behind the baby Marlins, a full two years younger than the Twins at 25.9 years of age.
In a paradoxical twist, the Twins co-elder statesmen, Mike Redmond and Rondell White, both 34 years of age, are the youngest oldest players on their team. I just confused myself typing that last sentence. Of course, if Ruben "Fountain of Youth" Sierra is called up, he supplants Redmond and White as old man on the totem pole, the lone over-the-hill member of the roster.
If you couldn\'t guess, the geriatrics of their respective leagues are the Yankees (32.2) and Giants (32.3), who trot brittle-boned Bingo league lineups out on a daily basis.
Catching Up With...Jacque Jones: Departed Twin fan favorite Jacque Jones experienced quite the roller coaster of emotions in his first homestand with his new outfit. Stumbling out of the gate with an 0-13 start to the season, Jones heard his first boos from the Wrigley faithless after striking out thrice Saturday. As per his frustrating Twins tenure, Jones silenced his detractors Sunday with a 3-run blast, his 1st hit of the year, sparking the team to a sweep of the rival Cardinals. Cubs fans should grow accustomed to his beguiling ways, teasing greatness with his penchant for clutch hits, while pulling a Houdini act other times.
Opponent's Corner - Inside the Moneyball Mind: Ever since Michael Lewis' acclaimed best-seller hit bookshelves, the Moneyball method of structuring a front office has turned the baseball world on its head. The architect, Billy Beane, has spawned a new legion of general managers assessing talent utilizing the myriad offensive and defensive statistical analyses popularized by Bill James. Beane's keen sense of talent has vaulted the A's into the upper stratum of competitive teams despite maintaining a relatively subdued payroll. The premier Oakland fan site was privvy to an exclusive interview with Beane this offseason. If you've got the time, this insightful three-part Q&A runs the gamut on issues, including the difficult decisions a small market GM faces. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.