(*)This past weekend, the Twins held their annual fan festival event, Twins Fest. This year it was held at the National Sports Center in Blaine as the Metrodome was in no condition to hold this event (I'll talk more about this later). The main part of the event is getting players autographs. I filled up on the prospects autograph station grabbing players like Alex Wimmers, Aaron Hicks, Carlos Gutierrez, and many more. But there was one player I felt like I needed to get this year. And that player was Michael Cuddyer.
Cuddyer, 32 in March, is entering the final season of his contract and he could very well be playing for a new team come 2012. Cuddy had a down year in 2010 hitting .271 with 14 HR and 81 RBI. At season's end it was revealed that Cuddy needed surgery on his right knee and that he battled through the injury most of the season. And this was coming off a '09 season where he filled in for Justin Morneau down the stretch, hitting 32 HR and driving in 94 runs.
Michael has often been praised highly by his manager Ron Gardenhire for his effort and leadership. Gardy has referred to Cuddyer as the team MVP on a few occasions. You can make the argument for that. Despite having up and down seasons, Cuddyer is a valuable part of the Twins. You can't deny it. And I would love to see him play his whole career as a Twin. But another average year from Cuddy in 2011 will almost certainly end his tenure in Twins pinstripes. So Cuddy will be an interesting case to watch in 2011.
(*) As before mentioned Twins Fest was held at the National Sports Center in Blaine. The Twins used the Sports Hall as the main building, and the Schwan Center for the big autograph stations. I personally did not like this place. The sports hall felt cramped. Trying to go up and down the rows of collectable sellers was ridiculous. And when going out to the Schwan Center to get Cuddyer's autograph, we were forced to wait outdoors for this due to the amount of people already in the building. The Twins should of given a warning that you might have to wait outside. So hopefully, this can return to the Metrodome next year.
(*) Yesterday the Twins announced that they will be relocating the spruce trees that were located above the center field wall. According to Michael Cuddyer in this article, he was scared that he would no longer be able to see the ball due to the shadows the trees cast. So my question here is: Why wasn't this looked into more? And if this was that bad, why wasn't this taken care of during the year? I guess this was one aspect of Target Field the Twins did very little research on. Also, the backdrop will be painted a darker color to help see the ball from the batters box more clearly. So maybe we will see some more home team home runs at Target Field in 2011.
(*) There are 18 days until pitchers and catchers report (February 16), 61 days until Opening Day @ Toronto (April 1), and 68 days until the home opener vs Oakland (April 8)!