Archive for the ‘ Dailies ’ Category

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. 
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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. 

Everybody Likes Orlando

The Minnesota Twins have had some recent success with Orlando. Last season, in a mid-season trade, Orlando Cabrera arrived and helped lift the Twins to a division title. Less than three weeks from spring training, Orlando Hudson has now arrived, and his arrival brings excitement.

The entire infield for Minnesota, outside of mainstay Justin Morneau of course, has been changing year after year. By signing shortstop J.J. Hardy two days into the off-season, the Twins shored up one slot and left two more for work. 
Third base will be taken over by Brendan Harris and Nick Punto, and second base will now be occupied by an All-Star caliber player. Hudson last season hit .283 with 9 homeruns and 62 runs batted in. His numbers are much more than a slight improvement to both the second slot in the lineup and the second base position. 
Last season in the second spot in the order, the Twins hit a combined .232 with 7 homeruns and 66 RBI when Joe Mauer wasn’t there. The second basemen combined to hit .209 with 2 homeruns, 43 RBI and an on-base percentage of just .302 (compared to Hudson’s .357 mark).
Hudson will earn $5 million on a one-year deal that includes no incentives. There are award bonuses included, and the Twins can’t offer arbitration if Hudson qualifies as a Type-A free agent, but the moves was a no brainer. 
After reportedly being rejected by left-handed starter Jarrod Washburn earlier this off-season after the team offered the same one-year, $5 million deal, and after Francisco Liriano stunned the Twin Cities with his winter ball performance, it only made sense for the organization to focus it’s attention and money toward the second base options. 
The off-season began with question marks in the rotation, on the bench, and in three of four infield positions. As spring training draws near, the Twins have now addressed each of those questions, and their off-season might just be considered one of the best in baseball (Hardy, Hudson, Pavano, Thome, Condry). 

Mark Your Calendar

Over the course of the next two-plus months, the Minnesota Twins will prepare for a busy year.  Not only does 2010 mark the team’s first season outside in 28 years, it also marks their 20th season in Fort Myers for spring training and their 50th year in Minneapolis. 

It’ll without a doubt be busy, and there will definitely be some key dates along the way worth noting. From games to events, fans can take advantage of several opportunities leading up to game one in April, so mark your calendars. 
February 21st — Pitchers and Catchers Report
Joe Mauer (with or without a contract extension) and company will report to Fort Myers in less than three weeks. 
February 22nd — First Pitcher/Catcher Workout
The biggest battles on the team’s roster stem from the pitching staff. Francisco Liriano, Glen Perkins and Brian Duensing will be among the competitors for the final spot in the rotation, and Pat Neshek will attempt to make the big league roster from day one.
February 26th — Full Roster Reports
While many of the position players will arrive well before, this day marks the deadline for all players to report. 
February 27th — First Full-Team Workout
Nick Punto is expected to be ready by this day after having cleanup surgery on his wrist. This might be the first chance to see J.J. Hardy in a Twins uniform, and any other players the Twins might still acquire.
March 4th — First Spring Game
The Twins will kick off a month worth of warmup games as they take on their month-long crosstown rival, the Boston Red Sox. Can the Twins walk away with the Mayor’s Cup this year?
March 13th — Get Your Tickets
Regular season tickets will go on-sale midway through March, and while the Opening Series will likely be gone, fans will have the chance to secure the date of their first Minnesota Twins game at Target Field. 
March 20th — Season Ticket Open House
Target Field will be open for an open house to all season ticket holders.
March 21st — Public Open House
Target Field will open to any other fans of the public wishing to get a first glimpse. 
March 27th — College Baseball
The University of Minnesota will take part in the first real baseball game at Target Field. Ticket information will soon be available, but no more than 15,000 tickets are expected to be sold.
April 2nd — Exhibition at Target Field
As the Twins wrap up their spring schedule, they’ll get their first game look at Target Field when they take on the St. Louis Cardinals and Albert Pujols. 
April 3rd — Final Spring Game
The Twins will play a second game at Target Field to complete spring training, and they’ll then head on a road trip to kick off the 2010 season. 
April 5th — Opening Day
Against former Twin Torii Hunter and the Los Angeles Angels, the Twins will officially get the 2010 season underway. 
April 12th — Target Field Opens
For the first time in 28 years, and to kick off a new era in the Twin Cities, the Minnesota Twins will take on the Boston Red Sox to open Target Field. 

TwinsFest 2010: Part III

From displays of historic items and Target Field, to autographs from players of the past, present, and future, TwinsFest 2010 was a hit. In fact, it was the second biggest in term of attendance in it’s history. Second to only TwinsFest 2007, this year’s event drew a total of 34,637 fans over the course of three days.

TwinsFest first began in 1989, and since that time, the event has brought in more than $4 million for the Twins Community Fund. As one of the largest fan festivals in professional sports, TwinsFest helps bring baseball back to the surface, and it definitely didn’t disappoint this year as the Twins prepare to begin a new era.
Some final pictures of newcomer J.J. Hardy and three players of the future: Anthony Slama, Carlos Gutierrez, and Aaron Hicks.
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TwinsFest 2010: Part II

In the first look at TwinsFest 2010, the many things outside of the autograph stations were made clear. From the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame section, which showed off historic items and the World Series trophies, to the Target Field section, which had the stadium replica and an array of various information, the Metrodome was packed with more than booths to receive player signatures. 

Nonetheless, the seven autograph stations were a big hit. Legends such as Tony Oliva, Bert Blyleven, and Rod Carew were there, current players such as Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and Denard Span were there, and the players of the future were there including recent high draft selections, Kyle Gibson, Aaron Hicks, Ben Revere, and Carlos Gutierrez. 
In the second part of a look at TwinsFest 2010 comes pictures of the many players signing their name. 
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A final look at TwinsFest 2010 will be up tomorrow with three or four more pictures.

TwinsFest 2010: Part I

Another year of TwinsFest has now passed, and three weeks from the conclusion of the three-day event will bring day one of spring training for the Minnesota Twins. With football a week away from a finish and winter slowly moving by, baseball is making a comeback. 

Nearly every Twin on the roster, several top prospects and several all-time greats were in attendance, and yet another year brought yet another seemingly good outcome for the organization and the Twins Community Fund. 
This is the first of a two part look at TwinsFest 2010, and it includes a few photos of the things outside of the many opportunities for autographs. 
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Can the Minnesota Twins add a third trophy to the collection in 2010?

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In this angle of the Target Field replica on display you can see the Target Field Station, the plaza in right field, the celebration sign in centerfield, and the trapezoid seating area.

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In this angle of the Target Field replica, you can see the Budweiser Deck, the scoreboard, the wind veil on the parking ramp, and the team’s new pro shop, Twins City.

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Will you have one of these?