Allow me to introduce myself: I'm Peter Schilling, a local sportswriter, and author of the novel, The End of Baseball. You may recall my writing about the Twins for the "Balls" blog in 2007, arguably the worst season of the last decade for the hometown nine.
Thankfully, 2011 is not 2007.
I'll be covering the Minnesota Twins for The Blotter in 2011.[jump]
Despite their poor showing in Toronto, and what looks to be more of the same abuse in New York, the Twins seem like a very good team. Their starters are going to settle down (though they lack a true ace), their relievers will prove to be among the best in the league, and that lineup is solid down to the eighth batter. They're not great, but the Twins are good. Good enough to win the wild card.
Yes, the wild card. I don't know about you, but the thought that a couple of teams from the AL Central might be playing Rock' em Sock 'em Robots in October is pure catnip. And I'm seriously at a loss as to why various scribes around town and in the national press haven't pegged the Central as the division that will produce the wild card.
Chicago, Detroit and Minnesota... who's a better second place club? The Yankees with their creaky pitchers? The Rays? The Jays? The Angels? The A's?
Though I missed the earliest part of the season, back when the rest of the scribes were trying to gaze into the future, I'll make my AL Central predictions right now: Chicago, Minnesota, Detroit, Kansas City, Cleveland. With the Twins in the playoffs as the wild card.
Boston and Texas will round out the foursome. After that, it's anyone's game. And if I'm right and the Yanks don't make the playoffs--which I grant you is always a stretch--then the Twins might just get through the first round and into the cold of late October.
Besides the final scores, the stories on the field should prove exciting. Will Justin Morneau's brain ever be the same? Is Thome going to hit his 600th at home? Is that really a Misfits tattoo on Delmon Young's elbow? (It is.) And Wally the Beer Man's just got to work the bleachers, right?
Then there's the steroid (perjury) trials of Bonds and Clemens, the Dodgers in town for the first time since 1965 (that may not amount to much), Circle-Me-Bert's big day, trading deadlines, the works.
I'll be in the press box, the dugouts, wandering the stands looking for hecklers, and reporting back to you right here, all season long.