The March 8 issue of ESPN The Magazine
rates the top 100 baseball players and Mauer is No. 13. The next Twin
is first baseman Justin Morneau at No. 51. First baseman
Albert Pujols of St. Louis is No. 1.
Boston outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, whose name was rumored in
trade talks with the Twins a few years ago, is No. 18. The world
champion Yankees have four players in the top 25.
It was a long time ago, but the Twins
never drew more than 1,483,547 playing outdoor baseball at Met Stadium
from 1961-1981. In this era, two million or more fans per season is
routine for big league teams.
Seldom did the Twins play a night home game at Met
Stadium in the early weeks of the season. Among the Twins’ nine April
home games at Target Field, three are scheduled at night.
Star Tribune writers
and Dennis Brackin offer a comprehensive and fun to read decade
by decade history of the Twins in the new book, Minnesota Twins: The
Complete Illustrated History. The book includes a detailed
description of how this area tried for years without success to secure
major league baseball. What many Twins fans may not appreciate and know
is that it was Minneapolis leadership and money that made a franchise
here possible. The city, which flirted with moves by the Cleveland
Indians and New York Giants before the Senators relocated from
Washington, D.C., doesn’t receive enough credit for attracting major
league sports including baseball.
The Wild will play its 400th game at Xcel
Energy Center on Sunday when it hosts the Calgary Flames. The franchise
is expected to extend its sellouts to 400 consecutive games, the longest
current streak in the NHL and third longest recorded streak in league
Wild communications executive Bill
Robertson said players will pay tribute to the fans on Sunday and
fans who have purchased season tickets since the franchise’s inception will
announce the ceremonial “Let’s play hockey!” The Wild will ask each of
its five players who played in the Winter Olympics to bring their medals
and be recognized on Sunday. Niklas Backstrom, Mikko Koivu
and Antti Miettinen played for Finland, while Martin Havlat
and Marek Zidlicky were with the Czech Republic.
The Wild are selling Olympic jerseys and
t-shirts that are replicas of those worn by the Olympians. Robertson
said in Minnesota Cal Clutterbuck’s Wild jersey is the top seller
among Wild players. No. 2, 3 and 4 are Koivu, Derek Boogaard and
Backstrom. Clutterbuck is active in the community and a fan favorite.
The late Herb Brooks won three
national championships coaching the Gophers. You wonder what Brooks
would think if he looked at this week’s USCHO.com ranking of top 20
teams. St. Cloud State, a program he helped start, is No. 4. Yale is
No. 6 and Bemidji State No. 8. Ferris State is 13th and
Nebraska-Omaha is 20th but Minnesota is unranked.