As the summer moves along, our dear Twins have slipped from the status of being a genuine surprise to a team that is likely to finish the season in a re-tooling mode. The recent player dealings by the front office tells us that they are concentrating on building for the future. It’s always hard to understand when a team trades away good players who will help them win now. Of course it is their job to see beyond the team’s immediate need. Never-the-less, it’s hard for fans and the players to set aside ambitions for this year in the hope for a better team in the near future and one that will be able to sustain a long run of successful seasons.
When a player is able to test the free agent market next year, the team either has to sign them to a long-term contract or risks receiving little or no compensation so it makes some sense to trade that player to another team and get some talent in return. There are also questions and reservations about paying out large sums to players who have several years of experience under their belts but whose effectiveness as an athlete is slipping. It is hard to see a long-time favorite player depart from a team but the way sports are these days, all of these scenarios, and several more, have become the norm.
The Twins are building for the future and are shedding some players that would not likely be around next year. Still it is tough to see the front office indicate that this isn’t their year to win, especially when they have done well during the first half of the season. The litany of players called up from the Twins’ farm system this season has produced some mixed results so far. That tells you how difficult it is to play baseball at the highest level. Many of these players have excelled at the minor league AAA level but pitching to major league hitters or hitting major league pitching requires a big step up in skill and some extraordinary talent.
One of the more entertaining players is a young fellow named Zach Granite. He is from Staten Island in New York City and was a bit of a standout during spring training this year. He’s had a terrific season at the Twins’ AAA minor league team in Rochester, New York and was called up to the Twins roster a couple of weeks ago when center fielder Byron Buxton strained a muscle and couldn’t run. He’s had some ups and downs so far in the major leagues but has played well enough to hang on with the big club and garner some valuable experience.
During Zach Granite’s first game, television play-by-play announcer Dick Bremer commented to broadcast partner Bert Blyleven that with the last name of Granite, he would be a natural on the Twins’ winter “hot stove“ league tour in St. Cloud, because of that city’s nickname as “The Granite City”. Before I finished rolling my eyes, Bremer added “even better, he should be on the winter tour that comes to Granite Falls.”
I liked the sound of that and wondered about the Twins’ winter tour stopping in Granite, something that hasn’t happened in many, many years. Several years ago, Granite Falls had been a yearly stop on those tours. You have to believe that bringing Zach Granite to Granite Falls next winter would be a good publicity move by the Twins and a fun way to connect with fans out here in Western Minnesota.
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Speaking of baseball, there was plenty of local, high-quality baseball being played at Richter Field last weekend during the first round of the regional “town team” amateur baseball tournament. There is more of that good baseball to watch this weekend and next weekend, too. Stop down to Richter Field and check it out.
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There is also plenty of other activity this coming weekend with the Upper Sioux Community’s annual Traditional Wacipi. The Wacipi, also known as a powwow, is an amazing, and sizeable, gathering and celebration. All are welcome to attend and doing so is always interesting and worthwhile. You can find more details about the Wacipi in this issue of the Advocate Tribune.
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Also happening this busy summer weekend is the annual Pioneer Power Threshing Show on the grounds of Minnesota’s Machinery Museum in Hanley Falls. It’s always interesting and fun to attend and it’s a good chance to take a look through the museum with its many exhibits. There is also more info on the threshing show activities inside this issue.