Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Spring is here, even for Australians

I’m a little late getting to spring training, but I’m cutting myself a break because the minor leaguers are just starting to arrive in many camps. Where to start the tour this year? Why not the camp that hosts the reigning AL MVP (Justin Morneau), batting champ (Joe Mauer) and Cy Young award winner (Johan Santana)? Those three and the rest of the Minnesota Twins make Fort Myers, Fla., their spring home.

Plenty of Midwesterners make the trip to Fort Myers, which makes for a pretty friendly atmosphere. Truthfully, I think they are just happy to be away from Minnesota for a week or two. The announced temperature at the stadium was 77 degrees. They were kind enough to announce the temp in Minneapolis – two degrees with the wind chill. Nice.

Minnesota’s minor leaguers don’t report until tomorrow (March 8) but a few guys were already in town working in the cage and the weight room. Three of the guys (Luke Hughes, Trent Oeltjen and Allan De San Miguel) had just flown in from Australia. Travel time: 30 hours. Again, nice.

Funny part of their story is that these guys were happy to play in the cool Florida temperatures. It’s the dead of summer right now in Australia and they left 100 degree days down under. Just shows everything is relative.

Look for a story featuring those guys in the coming weeks on MinorLeagueDugout.com.

Saw Twins host the Dodgers on Tuesday and the Pirates on Wednesday.

Three Ups:

  1. MinorLeagueDugout.com fav Brad King (above, left) has a big league invite with the Twins. Good to see him with a major league organization after two years in the Atlantic League sandwiching one year of retirement.
  1. Two players featured in The Funniest Thing I’ve Ever Seen: More than 100 crazy stories from minor league baseball, Tommy Watkins and Glenn Williams (also an Aussie) are in the Twins’ big league camp. Williams went yard against the Dodgers and Watkins hit an absolute bomb off the Pirates.
  1. Had my first Eb and Flo’s dog, which is essentially a fat hotdog covered in coleslaw. Not a big fan of coleslaw, but decided to give it a try. Excellent. Highly recommend it. Still don’t know where the name comes from. Is this a Minnesota thing?

Heading across Alligator Alley. Will spend tomorrow at Roger Dean Stadium with the World Series-champion St. Louis Cardinals. Many, many more then.

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