February 2010

The Show: Target Field

Next Tuesday, MLB 10: The Show will hit store shelves. Sony has sent along some exclusive screenshots that show off Target Field and the Minneapolis skyline. The skyline has never been used in a sports video game before this year.

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This is Joe Mauer

Next Tuesday, MLB 10: The Show will hit shelves across the country. For the first time, Target Field will play host to games, J.J. Hardy and Orlando Hudson will dawn Twins’ uniforms, and Joe Mauer will take the field as an American League MVP. 
It’ll all happen virtually of course.

Minnesota Twins Audio Archive

Audio Archive.png
The Minnesota Twins will celebrate their 50th year in Minneapolis when they begin the 2010 season, and there will without a doubt be many moments worth celebrating. Division titles and league championships are just a few of those great moments.
The team history is great, and from famous calls to team anthems, and famous quotes to catchy songs, the audio archive is large in inventory. Below you can find some of the best of the collection. 
There is surely more out there worth adding, and if you have any hints, send them on over. The list will be updated regularly, so check back often and enjoy the great history of the Minnesota Twins.   

World Series Clinchers

1987 World Champions

http://www.google.com/reader/ui/3247397568-audio-player.swf?audioUrl=http://mlblogsvoicefromtwinsterritory.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/audio20archive1.png1987%20WS.mp3

1991 World Champions

Herb Carneal – 1991 World Champions

http://www.google.com/reader/ui/3247397568-audio-player.swf?audioUrl=http://mlblogsvoicefromtwinsterritory.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/audio20archive1.pngTwins%20Last%20Season%20in%20the%20Metrodome.mp3



The Calls

Dick Bremer – Jason Kubel’s Grand Slam
John Gordon – “Touch ‘Em All Kirby Puckett!”
Jack Buck – “And We’ll See You Tomorrow Night!”
Chip Caray – 2009 Central Division Champions
Team Anthems 


We’re Gonna Win Twins – Long Version

http://www.google.com/reader/ui/3247397568-audio-player.swf?audioUrl=http://mlblogsvoicefromtwinsterritory.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/audio20archive1.pngWe%27re%20Gonna%20Win%20Twins.mp3



Kirby Puckett

Bob Casey Announces Kirby

http://www.google.com/reader/ui/3247397568-audio-player.swf?audioUrl=http://mlblogsvoicefromtwinsterritory.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/audio20archive1.pngKirby%20Puckett-%20A%20Tribute%20of%20a%20Legend.mp3

Kirby’s Famous Quote
“Greatest Fans in the World”

http://www.google.com/reader/ui/3247397568-audio-player.swf?audioUrl=http://mlblogsvoicefromtwinsterritory.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/audio20archive1.pngPt%206%20Minnesota%20Twins%201991%20World%20Series%20Champions%20Simply%20the%20Best.mp3

Twins Songs

The Hold Steady – Take Me Out to the Ballgame (Minnesota)

http://www.google.com/reader/ui/3247397568-audio-player.swf?audioUrl=http://mlblogsvoicefromtwinsterritory.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/audio20archive1.pngThe%20Hold%20Steady%20-%20Take%20Me%20Out%20To%20The%20Ballgame.mp3

A&R – Joe Mauer Walkup Song
The Homer Hanky Song
1991 Team Song

http://www.google.com/reader/ui/3247397568-audio-player.swf?audioUrl=http://mlblogsvoicefromtwinsterritory.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/audio20archive1.png1991%20Minnesota%20Twins%20-%20Team%20Song.mp3

Pitching Staff – Ode to Joy

http://www.google.com/reader/ui/3247397568-audio-player.swf?audioUrl=http://mlblogsvoicefromtwinsterritory.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/audio20archive1.pngTwins%20Singing%20Ode%20To%20Joy%20Commercial.mp3

They’ve Arrived

Pitchers and catchers have finally kick-started spring training with their arrival in the Minnesota Twins’ spring home of Fort Myers, Florida. Joe Mauer is present and already answering questions about his contract status, and newcomers J.J. Hardy and Orlando Hudson are in town a week early.

The Associated Press is on the scene, and you can find more photos at the team gallery
Spring Mauer.jpg
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Spring Hudson.jpg

Interview: Orlando Hudson

O-Dog.pngIn need of a second baseman, the Minnesota Twins waited until early February to make their move. The transaction came in the form of Orlando Hudson, a two-time All-Star and active participant in the community.
Orlando was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule, and just before team workouts begin next week, answer some questions for an interview on his decision to join the organization, his charity and more.
A Voice From Twins Territory: Growing up in South Carolina, who was your favorite baseball team, and who were a few of your favorite players?

Orlando Hudson: The New York Mets were my favorite team. Roberto Alomar, Barry Larkin, Chipper Jones and Ken Griffey, Jr. were some of my favorite players.

AVFTT: Who is one person or a few people who have helped you along the path to professional baseball?

OH: My father and my uncles Lynwood and Boyd helped me a lot growing up. They would have me in the yard playing baseball all the time. My father showed me how to play the game as he was a great baseball player himself, and still loves to play today.

AVFTT: What is the greatest part of being a professional baseball player, and what are a few of your greatest memories?

OH: The greatest part of being a professional baseball player is that God chose only a few of us to play the hardest sport there is, and that makes us special. A few of my greatest memories are winning four gold gloves, making two all-star teams, and hitting for the cycle.

AVFTT: What has the experience been like to go from a late-round draft selection to a Gold Glove defender and an All-Star second baseman?

OH: It does not matter how early or late you go in the draft, what matters is working hard to get there and stay.

AVFTT: How difficult has it been to battle through thumb and wrist injuries throughout your career? What has helped get you through those tough moments?

OH: Prayer and family support has helped me to get through the tough injuries. They were just stepping stones God put in my path to make me stronger.

AVFTT: How do you feel right now? What is a normal day like for you during the off-season?

OH: I feel great right now. A normal day for me is getting up to hunt before day break then taking the kids to school. I go to the gym daily. I enjoy spending time with my family and children every day as well.

AVFTT: You founded the C.A.T.C.H. foundation, what is your primary goal with that charity, and what have been some of the best things that you’ve been able to do with it?

OH: The primary goal of the C.A.T.C.H. Foundation is to raise awareness and funds about autism while helping families and children cope with it. I have been able to have events in my home town and the city I play in, and raise money that is donated to SARRC, which is a foundation that deals with research for autism. In my home town of Darlington, the money goes to the county Autism Program.

AVFTT: The Twins’ organization has often been well connected with the community, what are some things you hope to do in your time with the organization and in the Twin Cities?

OH: I hope to raise awareness and funds for autism of course, but I also plan to work with the RBI program through my Around the Mound Tour which helps inner city kids get more involved in baseball.

AVFTT: You talked with several teams for quite some time before choosing Minnesota. Were the Twins interested early on, and what were some of the selling points that ultimately had you choose Minnesota?

OH: Yes, I talked with several teams, but the Twins were not one of them early on. Minneapolis is a great city and having to play with the best hitter in the game, Joe Mauer, are some of the reasons why I chose Minnesota. Not to mention the great fans!

AVFTT: What are your thoughts on having the chance to hit between Denard Span and Joe Mauer, and play with the likes of Jim Thome and Justin Morneau among others? 

OH: This will be one great experience with all the speed and power in the lineup.

AVFTT: Have you had the opportunity to see the team’s new stadium, Target Field? 

OH: I have not seen the stadium in person, but I have seen pictures and it looks nice. I know I am going to fr
eeze!

AVFTT: You’re known as the O-Dog, where did that nickname come from? 

OH: O-Dog was a name that some of my boys came up with in high school after the movie ‘Menace to Society’ came out. My dad’s nickname is Dog.

AVFTT: You’re known as an outdoorsman who likes to both fish and hunt, are you excited to get outdoors in Minnesota this spring and summer? 

OH: I do like the outdoors because of its beautiful nature, but I do not plan to fish or hunt in Minnesota.

AVFTT: As you continue your career, what are your goals both on and off the field?

OH:: As I continue my career I would like to expand my foundation and open an autistic school in Darlington, South Carolina and hopefully one day make the Hall of Fame. I want to also be known as one of the greatest players to ever play the game of baseball.

Interview: MLB 10: The Show’s Jody Kelsey

The Show InterviewOver one month before real baseball begins at Target Field, fans will have the opportunity to see the park in action. For the first time in a video game, baseball will be played outdoors in Minnesota, and Senior Producer of MLB 10: The Show, Jody Kelsey was kind enough to answer some questions.
From the difficult task of replicating Target Field before the team steps foot in the park as well as the Minneapolis skyline, to the decision on Joe Mauer gracing the cover, Kelsey shares insight on what the job entails and a few things fans can expect to see when the game hits shelves on March 2nd.
A Voice From Twins Territory: How long have you been working on Target Field to get it ready for the final version of the game?

Jody Kelsey: We start off our process with pre-development, which includes layout and the collecting of reference material. This took about one month. Once we’re ready with our references, the overall digital construction of the stadium is about two-three months in the making. The digital construction encompasses modeling, texturing and lighting.

AVFTT: What role did the Minnesota Twins organization play in the process of putting the ballpark together for the game?

JK: We have contacts with all the MLB teams, and our contact with the Minnesota Twins helped to provide us with the blueprints, as well as other instrumental reference photos during the stadium construction. We provided samples of specific details we’re looking for, one example being the type of tree species they will be planting within the batters eye, which they provided to us. We need to know all the details, big and small.

AVFTT: When you guys work on building a stadium, what are the steps? What type of research do you do, on-site visits, etc.

JK: After obtaining all the needed reference material, we go into the initial layout stage. Our main focus deals with important items such as wall dimensions, wall heights and field layout. We then go into construction and model detail. Accuracy is always on our mind, so during this process we continue to check for updated reference material to assure the model is as accurate as the real stadium. Texturing and lighting is the final stage in the development of the stadium. During this whole process, we do travel to the stadium sight if possible, obtaining photo and lighting reference allowing us to recreate the most realistic stadium experience for anyone playing in Target Field in MLB 10 The Show.

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AVFTT: When you guys went to Target Field, what were your initial impressions? What stuck out about the ballpark?

JK: Unfortunately, we did not actually make it to Target Field this year. We relied on the Twins to get us all the data and they were incredibly helpful.

AVFTT: What makes Target Field unique? What are a few things your team noticed that might stick out to fans and make the park different?

JK: I would have to say the detail that the stadium encompasses. Things like the unique lines of the Metropolitan Club to the metal detail running through the entrance plaza in left field. The stadium is packed with character even down to the dark green window color.

AVFTT: No sports video game has needed the Minneapolis skyline before; what went into developing this, and was it difficult because this will be the first game to feature it?

JK: Lots of internet research occurred to find building placement, building heights, etc. We also used existing city photos we have from previous visits for texture map accuracy. This combination allowed for an exact digital replica of the downtown Minneapolis.

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AVFTT: The Metr
odome is no longer in use, will it remain in the game?

JK: Yes. We’ve added the Metrodome to our Classic Stadium collection joining Shea Stadium and Yankee Stadium.

AVFTT: There is an all new presentation system and stadium realism; what type of new animations, celebrations, ballpark effects, presentation effects, etc. can gamers expect to see at Target Field and all other ballparks?

JK: Night time player lighting has a richer, more realistic feel to it, now that we are accounting for the self shadowing effects cast by the stadium bank lights. Day games will immediately look different, and you will feel the difference between 1pm and 3pm, both in the light energy, and the stadium cast shadows. Clouds now cast faint shadows on the world, which brings yet another realistic soft touch to the feeling of the visuals. Reflection and energy maps convey current time conditions, and are localized, so you can watch the reflection change in a baserunner’s helmet as he rounds the bases. Additionally, players populate dugouts and bullpens in real time and we’ve added stadium specific touches with scoreboards, jumbotrons, real-time clocks, splashcams, etc. We’ve also included crowd animation updates like stadium-specific behaviors such as animated objects, fireworks, splash counts, TB cowbell, and improved play-off atmosphere with additions such as noisemakers and rally towels.

AVFTT: Joe Mauer has become one of the game’s best, outside of that fact, what were the key reasons for choosing him as the 2010 cover athlete?

JK: Well, it’s impossible to ignore that Joe is one of the best players in baseball today and that is one of the reasons he’s a great fit for MLB 10 The Show. But, it’s also the entire body of work that he has put together in just a short time. His accomplishments at the age of 26 are almost unrivaled in the history of baseball. Joe is also just moving into the mainstream with people now understanding and appreciating the skill that he brings to game. On top of that, his range on the field links very well to what our game, The Show, really encapsulates, which is the deepest experience we can bring to your living room short of you actually putting on the equipment and getting on the field.

By the Numbers: 2010 Roster

If you’re headed to spring training in the next few weeks and want to put a face to each number, or if you just want to see who is wearing what, look no further. Below is the complete numerical roster which includes all players listed on the 40-man roster, all additional non-roster invitees, all coaches, and all retired numbers. 

1 – Orlando Hudson 
2 – Denard Span 
3 – Harmon Killebrew [RETIRED] 
5 – Michael Cuddyer 
6 – Tony Oliva [RETIRED] 
7 – Joe Mauer 
8 – Nick Punto 
9 – Steve Liddle [Coach] 
11 – Jacque Jones 
12 – Alexi Casilla 
13 – Jerry While [Coach] 
14 – Kent Hrbek [RETIRED] 
15 – Glen Perkins 
16 – Jason Kubel 
17 – Pat Neshek 
19 – Danny Valencia 
20 – Matt Tolbert 
21 – Delmon Young 
23 – Brendan Harris 
24 – Trevor Plouffe 
25 – Jim Thome 
26 – Jose Morales 
27 – J.J. Hardy 
28 – Jesse Crain 
29 – Rod Carew [RETIRED] 
30 – Scott Baker 
33 – Justin Morneau 
34 – Kirby Puckett [RETIRED] 
35 – Ron Gardenhire [Manager] 
36 – Joe Nathan 
38 – Luke Hughes 
39 – Anthony Slama 
40 – Rick Anderson [Coach] 
41 – Drew Butera 
42 – Jackie Robinson [RETIRED] 
43- Rick Stelmaszek [Coach] 
44 – Wilson Ramos 
45 – Scott Ulger [Coach] 
46 – Joe Vavra [Coach] 
47 – Francisco Liriano 
48 – Carl Pavano 
49 – Jeff Manship 
50 – Jose Mijares 
51 – Anthony Swarzak 
52 – Brian Duensing 
53 – Nick Blackburn 
54 – Matt Guerrier 
55 – Clay Condrey 
56- Rob Delaney 
57 – Kyle Waldrop 
58 – Mike Maroth 
59 – Kevin Slowey 
60 – Jon Rauch 
61 – Rene Tosoni 
72 – Brock Peterson 
73 – Alex Burnett 
74 – Jose Lugo 
76 – Deolis Guerra 
78 – Loek Van Mil 
79 – Danny Rams 
80 – Jair Fernandez 
81 – Danny Lehmann 
82- Estarlin De Los Santos 
83 – Chris Parmelee 
84 – Steve Singleton 
85 – Brian Dinkelman 
86 – Juan Portes 
87 – Ben Revere 
88 – Toby Gardenhire

Playing Punto

Punto Day.pngHe may have said it last season after a game against the Boston Red Sox, but Nick Punto made a comment that might come true when the Minnesota Twins begin a new era in Minneapolis during the 2010 season.
“If that bottom of the order can produce for the middle of the lineup, 
this could be one of the best offenses in team history.”
With three All-Stars at the top of the order and several other capable bats mixed in, the Twins could indeed have one of the best offenses in team history next season if the bottom of the order, which includes the likes of J.J. Hardy, Delmon Young and Nick Punto, produces. 
Nick Punto does not fit well into the two-hole, and he isn’t a great hitter. Those two things don’t make him a bad baseball player, and they don’t make him invaluable. The ideal scenario would have Punto as a super-utility player, one who could shift around the infield and even to centerfield when absolutely necessary. 
Instead, Punto will likely begin the 2010 season as the team’s third baseman (if he beats out Brendan Harris for the job this spring). With Orlando Hudson now between Span and Mauer, and Punto guaranteed to be at the bottom of the order, the one last piranha on the team being a starter might not be all that bad. 
Punto will give the Twins a capable player at the hotspot until youngster Danny Valencia arrives, and his defense at the corner position is top notch. In fact, among a few of the options the team considered this off-season, including Mark DeRosa, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Joe Crede, Punto’s defense ranks best. 
Punto Day UZR.png
Over his career, Punto has saved his team 19.9 runs per 150 defensive games as a third baseman. Crede has been a pretty good defensive third baseman himself as Twins’ fans witnessed last season, but even he doesn’t come close to Punto’s mark. 
Offensively, Punto has historically posted his best on-base percentage when in the nine-spot in the lineup, and there will be little pressure for him to produce if the big sluggers in the top-half of the order can do the heavy lifting. 
Nick Punto would be very valuable off the bench as a backup to both Hudson and Hardy, but since the Twins have added some offensive threats elsewhere, Punto’s defense at third should suffice enough to warrant his playing time. And who knows, if he can produce, the Twins might have one of the best lineups in team history. 

Virtual Target Field

Target Field may still be two months away in reality, but in less than one month, fans will have the opportunity to throw the first pitch well before April 12th comes. In the video below, Target Field is becoming a reality in the virtual world of MLB 10: The Show, which features Minnesota’s own Joe Mauer on the cover.
http://www.viddler.com/simple_on_site/d0296268

Transactions Complete, Competition Ensues

It was quite the off-season for the Minnesota Twins’ front office. After a first-round exit from the playoffs, the organization began work on a roster with three openings in the infield, two in the rotation, and uncertainty on the bench. Now over three months since the team last took the field in Minneapolis, the roster has been reshaped.

Shortstop J.J. Hardy was added two days after the conclusion of the World Series, starting pitcher Carl Pavano was retained through arbitration, the Twins allowed Bobby Keppel to leave to Japan, but added reliever Clay Condrey to take his spot, Jim Thome was brought in via free agency to add power to the bench, and the off-season all but came to a close with the signing of All-Star second basemen Orlando Hudson last week. 
From an Opening Day payroll of $65 million in 2009 to an expected Opening Day payroll of $96 million in the inaugural season at Target Field, the roster has been drastically reshaped in the short time since the franchise said goodbye to the Metrodome and packed and moved across town. 
The additions are almost certainly complete, and the uncertainty is at a minimum. Transactions will still be made up until spring training comes to a close, but Bill Smith, Rob Antony and company have done their damage and the core of the 2010 roster is in place. 
When pitchers and catchers workout in two weeks in sunny Florida, Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey, Nick Blackburn, and Carl Pavano will makeup the starting rotation. The final spot will be decided in a month-long competition between Brian Duensing, Francisco Liriano and Glen Perkins. 
Later that week the full squad will begin play, and the entire lineup will be set with the exception of third base. Brendan Harris and Nick Punto will likely compete for that spot. Meanwhile, Alexi Casilla and Matt Tolbert may be fighting to remain on the roster as backup infielders, and Wilson Ramos and Drew Butera will compete to backup Joe Mauer to begin the season while Jose Morales finishes healing from his off-season wrist surgery. 
All in all, the roster transition is complete. Competition will ensue when players arrive in Fort Myers, and the stakes will be high as pitchers compete for the final bullpen and rotation spots and position players compete for third base, the final bench spot, and the chance to backup the league’s most valuable player. 
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