The Free Press, Mankato, MN

April 7, 2009

From the Opener

Observations from the game and its surroundings:

1) It isn't 2008 any more: Monday's print column dealt in part with whether the Twins offense will be as adept at turning its baserunners into runs. The answer, at least for the first 1/162nd of the season, was no.

By my count, the Twins went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position through the first five innings, culminating with a bases-loaded double play off the bat of Justin Morneau in an at-bat in which he saw exactly the one pitch.

After that. the Twins got exactly one base runner the rest of the way — a ninth-inning "single" by Joe Crede that I marked in my scorecard as an error on Adrian Beltre.

Meanwhile, Francisco Liriano allowed just four baserunners, and all of them scored.

2) Many years ago, the Twins sold solo scorecards, no program, cheap. Then they saw an opportunity to maximize income and put the scorecard in the program and bumped up the price. Since at the time I was going to two or four games a month, the "opportunity" to buy that many unchanging programs wasn't welcome, and I stopped buying scorecards at all; I brought a notebook to keep score in. Then an outfit called GameDay started selling scorecards outside the Dome. That competition prompted the Twins to start selling solo scorecards again.

I saw no GameDay vendors outside the Dome Monday night, but when I opened my Twins scorecard I saw why: GameDay is now providing the content for the inserted scouting report on the night's teams. It's an improvement on the "reports" the Twins used to provide, but I hope this isn't a prelude to doing away with the solo scorecards.

3) Jose Morales isn't hitting 1.000 for his career any more, and he probably couldn't be happier about it.

Morales got a 2007 September cup of coffee. He went 3-for-3 in his first game but broke his ankle on slide. He spent last season limping in Triple A before having a second surgery. Now he's on the big league roster again because of Joe Mauer's injury.

Morales grounded out in the ninth pinch-hitting for Mike Redmond, who is apparently a hurting unit himself now. I rather expect to see Morales — now a .750 career hitter — in the lineup today.

4) The Twins wore throwback uniforms Monday — replicas, more or less, of the 1982 home whites — and are to wear them for Saturday home games. One big difference: The jersey tops in 1982 were pullovers with a V-neck. The current replicas are button fronts. Which, at least for those players who are a bit thicker around the middle, is a good thing.

5) This has little to do with baseball, but ... Farewell, Steve Cannon. WCCO hasn't been the same since you retired.

e-mail Edward Thoma