Twins’ opener provides ‘awesome atmosphere’

Kirk Danielson

Kirk Danielson

Winter truly is the longest eight months of the year in the upper Midwest. Even with the far-below-normal temperatures and yesterday’s fresh snowfall, there is light at the end of the frozen tunnel. Baseball is back, and the Minnesota Twins are off to a roaring good start.

Fresh off their historic 2006 season, the team regrouped and is ready to defend the American League Central Division trophy they hoisted over their heads in October.

A trio of talented players who swept the American League’s awards in 2006 lead the 2007 Twins into action. Two-time Cy Young award winner Johan Santana heads a talented, young pitching staff. The offensive fire is fueled by the American League MVP, first baseman Justin Morneau. St. Paul, Minn., native Joe Mauer made history last season. He was the first catcher ever to lead the American League in batting, with his .347 average. Add a strong defense and playoff experience, and the Twins are solid candidates to win the World Series. Seriously, THEY ARE!

The Twins kicked off the season with a 7-4 opening day victory against the Baltimore Orioles. The sell-out crowd of 48,711 provided an entertaining atmostphere for the fans. John Hay, a junior history major from SDSU, was there.

“The atmosphere was awesome. I’ve been to a couple other sold out games, but it was the most exciting I’ve ever seen the dome,” Hay said.

Morneau started the offense with his first at-bat of the season. He hit a lead-off home run in the second inning. Center fielder Torii Hunter followed up Morneau’s blast with a first-pitch home run of his own, giving the Twins their first ever back-to-back home runs on opening day.

“When Hunter and Morneau went back-to-back, that was pretty ridiculous,” Hay said. “When Hunter hit the second one, you couldn’t even hear the crack of the bat. It was so loud, the ball was just gone before you even heard anything.”

One of the highlights for Hay was seeing Santana pitch for the first time.

“Santana works really fast. Every time he has two strikes up, everyone’s aware of it, ready for the strikeout. It was definitely worth skipping class for,” he said.

It may not feel like spring yet, but Twins baseball makes even the coldest of April days feel just a bit warmer. So as long as the weather sucks, stay inside and catch a Twins game. After all, there are only 155 games left this season.