Back at last

The regular season is so close you can taste it, and we Peanuts are back from our long hibernation with our season preview posts. Later in this week we'll post our preview of the Twins season (the optimistic, pessimistic, and realistic points of view) and predictions for the year ahead from the smartest analysts we know.

But first, the reason for the prolonged delay between posts. It turns out that it's easier to post about things when you don't have a full time job to attend to. With Stinky in her cube, and me tapdancing for 80 kids a day there's a lot to get done. So most of our days are filled with the reading of e-mails and essays on personal heroes or meaningful innovations. After work we've got choirs to sing for and track teams to coach and as if that weren't enough, we've just packed up our entire household and moved into a new home.

One thing that comes along with moving is chronicling just how much baseball stuff we have: a piece of Target Field artwork; bobbleheaded Joe Mauer; framed photos of Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner (bought during one of our earliest dates); signed balls; at least five kinds of TC hats and books like Crazy '08, Baseball in the Garden of Eden, The Glory of Their Times and Shoeless Joe. Moving also unearths prized possessions you forgot you had (particularly when your parents want to unload long dormant boxes in their basement).

That's when you discover this:
Yes, that would be a treasure trove of baseball cards, acquired when I was about 5 years old. I was convinced every card would feature a Hall of Famer, a legend in the making. Almost 25 years later I can see a whole lot of Frank DiPino's and Lance Johnson's and very few recognizable anythings. But with the benefit of hindsight I can chuckle at Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams before he had a mullet; Dave Concepcion in his final days; Kevin Seitzer (pre-glory days) and Chris Bosio (sans goggles). But there are a few particular names that stand out:
Clockwise from Top Left: Ron Gant, Mike Socia, Ken Williams, Jamie Moyer
This quartet will get no plaques or plaudits but I can remember them all clear as day. I remember Ron Gant getting pulled losing his balance scampering back to first in the '91 series. I remember Mike Socia winning the '02 series (coming back from his debilitating stint on the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant Softball Team). I remember Jamie Moyer making the Rockies last week (and making the Rockies back when he was minor league in the Paleozoic era). And I remember Kenny Williams, not from his playing days, but just from being a nice guy to a punk kid working in PR for a rookie league club in Montana.
Clockwise from Top L: Roy Smalley, Les Straker, Tim Laudner, Chili Davis
Sadly, from my tonnage of cards there were maybe 5 Twins cards, perhaps they were held back from packs after they won the World Series. But in none of my stacks of cards was there a Kirby or a Hrbek, there were two members of the FSN Team in Roy Smalley and Tim Laudner (even if I can't remember them playing a game. There's also a then rookie Les Straeker with his lofty hopes before a DL trip ended his career. And there's Chili Davis three years away from being "my guy" on the '91 Twins. But of all the piles of cards there are only two that really stand out.

TK looks thoroughly managerial here. Chaw shifted off to one side, looking askance at some shenanigan by the dugout. Pondering exactly how to say "shape up or ship out young man"...actually he probably would just say that. With TK's number set to be retired later this year, we are proud to salute him.

Best of all, there's this card of last year's retired number honoree: Bert Aberforce Blyleven. It might be a little better if there was an "I heart to fart" shirt, but as the most decorated and revered player in my baseball card collection we'll settle for his grizzled beard and death stare as some sort of absurdist ploy to strike fear into the hearts of his enemies...and also set up the curve ball.

Now that I've sorted through all these cards, and all the books and all the knick-knacks and doodads that comprise our Twins fandom, it's time to turn our eyes to the field and root root root for the home team. We're glad to be back (and if you are looking for a Danny Cox baseball card...give me a call)

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