The nature of blogging as a second occupation is that you're forced to a lot of writing on the fly. You don't have time to research as much as you would like. You find yourself cutting entries short so you can get some sleep. And you really don't take the time to let a story marinate in it's own juices. You just crank it out and live with the imperfections.
And that's the mistake.
This story should marinate, because I really hope I refer to it several dozen times over the next month or so. And because the people involved, who I greatly respect, deserve that time for me to get things just right.
They're not going to get it. Here we go.....
Right about now, if you find yourself in this god-forsaken icebox of a state, a little spring would be a nice thing. I find myself watching the shadows on the snow, convincing myself that they're getting shorter every day, and that it's getting lighter.
Today, I got a box of spring. It had several issue of Maple Street Press Twins 2010 Annual. Anything baseballish in February is reason enough to get excited, but I'm especially excited about this because the 128 pages of content were provided by TwinsCentric and various independent baseball writers here in the Twin Cities. Just so you know what you're getting into, here's the stories you'll be able to find:
The Team Section
- Player Profiles by TwinsCentric - Each page and player has so much information, your eyes will bleed. And they ain't sugar-coated.
- A Division for the Taking by TwinsCentric - A candid and irreverent review of all the teams we've learned to hate in the AL Central.
- On the Defensive by Phil Mackey - The Twins defense is analyzed and Mackey concludes that it has slipped considerably over the last couple of years.
- Talkin Twins with Gardy by Darren Wolfson - A six-page interview with manager Ron Gardenhire about 2009 and the offseason.
- No Regrets by Phil Miller - Miller was the Pioneer Press beat reporter during the Johan Santana trade scramble, and he recalls the pressures that were applied and the decisions that were made.
- Spanning the Outfield by Alex Halsted - Denard Span talks candidly about the disappointment he felt at the beginning of the 2009 season and how Twins players mentor each other.
- The "Little Things" by Adam V. Peterson - Does the Twins reputation for playing fundamental baseball translate into more wins?
- The Travails of an Aging Right Fielder by Dan Wade - Michael Cuddyer had a huge year in 2009, but what does that mean for his future with the Twins?
- No Money, No Problem by Andrew Kneeland - Kneeland looks behind the scenes at how a "small-market" team can remain competitive.
- Power Surge by Nick Nelson - Nelson looks at the breakthrough years by Jason Kubel and Joe Mauer.
- An Industry Leader by Parker Hageman - Hageman looks at the ups and down that Joe Nathan experience in 2009 and what it means for 2010.
- Retrospect 2001 by Seth Stohs - Stohs revisits the decision to draft Mauer over Mark Prior and how it played out.
- Built for Baseball by Howard Sinker - Complete with gorgeous pictures, Sinker looks at Target Field
- Between a Rock and a Home Plate by Judd Spicer - Everything you ever want to know about the Minnesota-quarried rock that adorns the new ballpark.
- Magic and Money by John Bonnes - Thirteen small-market teams have opened new stadiums in the last 20 years. I look at how they spent their new-found booty.
- Strength in Numbers by Seth Stohs - Stohs gives a comprehensive look at the depth in the minors, position by position.
- An International Focus by Josh Johnson - The Twins organization broke through in their signing of international prospects last year.
- Class of 2009 Primer by Seth Stohs - Stohs reviews the Twins 2009 draft, pick by pick and talks about their future.
- A Long History by Stew Thornley - Thornley reviews Minnesota baseball history before the arrival of the Twins, and how the Twins time in Minnesota began.
- Popping Champagne - and Each Other by Jim Thielman - The feisty Twins of the late 60s may be best understood from the vantage point of manager Billy Martin's fight with his own starting pitcher.
- A Common Vision by Arne Christensen - An interview with Mike Pagliarulo touches on the spirit of the 1991 World Series Champs.
"The Twins sport a population of independent baseball writers that other fan bases envy for the quality and passion."
I think you'll see that in the Annual, and that the community can support something this ambitious. I'm proud of that, and I think anyone who supports these writers can be too.
You can learn more about the Annual (and order it) here. Or look for it on newstands and magazine racks throughout Twins territory. I hope it brings you a little bit of spring.