Back in middle school I used to participate in the school play every year. As I got older, I realized that theater wasn't going to fit into a schedule that usually included piano lessons, choir and chamber choir, soccer, etc. Partly that was because I realized I was a bigger music geek than a theater geek. But mostly it was because of tech week - the week before the show opens, when a sparse rehearsal schedule expands to a nightly obligation as the cast runs the entire production while integrating lights and sound. I gave up theater because I felt like a couldn't afford to do nothing but theater for a week.
Flash forward to this winter, when I decided to supplement my stay-at-home dad days with my first-ever job as Sound Designer for a play. My experience with film prepared me for this rather well, and I got to write a bunch of incidental music as well. It's a credit I'm proud to have on my resume. The show opened Saturday night. So the reason I haven't blogged so far in March is, of course, because last week was tech week. Night after night I came home after 1:30 AM, then had to fill my days with composing, mixing and my normal dad duties. Exhausting. Today feels like a vacation.
Some interesting things have happened around the Twins in that time, and I've kept abreast of them as best I could:
Scott Baker's contract
The Twins and Baker agreed to a 4-year, $15.25 million contract that buys out Baker's arbitration years and includes a $9.25 million club option for his first year of free agency in 2013. For someone who has shown himself to be no worse than a #2 starter over the past season and a half, that strikes me as a bargain. All he has to do is stay healthy and continue to produce at the same level throughout his peak years and the Twins will more than get their money's worth. Good job, Bill Smith! Now go extend Joe Mauer.
Juan Cruz to the Royals
Royals GM Dayton Moore has made some bizarre choices as he's tried to build his team, but the signing of Cruz is a great move for them. With Closer Joakim Soria already one of the game's better 9th-inning pitchers, the Royals now have the best late-inning combination in the division. Their record in games they lead after 7 innings is likely to be very good. The question is: how many late inning leads will they have?
Joe Nathan's shoulder
Nathan had to pull out of the WBC, but he looked none the worse for wear in a perfect inning of work yesterday which included 2 K. A loss for team USA, but probably better for the Twins to have him in camp.
Dennys Reyes signs with the Cardinals
It took Reyes almost 3 weeks into spring training to finally find a team. The Cards will pay him $3 million for 2 years, $1 million more than the Twins paid him for the last 2 years. For a team uncertain about the back end of its bullpen, it never made sense to me that the Twins would be willing to let Reyes walk and hand his role to either Craig Breslow or Jose Mijares. Both of those guys seem to be capable of getting out more than just lefties, and therefore should have been considered for more than just the lefty fireman job that Reyes held. They may assume a broader role as the season goes along, but will probably see unnecessarily limited use, at least at the beginning of the season, when they are asked to get the last out of the 7th inning, then see the ball handed to Jesse Crain or Luis Ayala for the 8th. When you have a guy whose skills are as perfectly suited to bailing RHPs out of jams as Reyes' are, and whose contract requirements are so modest, it strikes me as a bit narrow-minded to let him walk away in favor of someone who may be overqualified for that job. Basically, I don't think putting Breslow or Mijares in Reyes' role is the most efficient use of the Twins' limited bullpen resources. Oh, well.
The spring so far
Now that we're about a third of the way through the spring schedule, I'll take a look at how people are performing so far and post that tomorrow. I can generally say that I've been pleased with the quality of the pitching and defense, and disappointed in much of the offense, although most of the games so far have been played without Mauer and Justin Morneau. It's nice to see the team getting in the habit of playing well and winning - hopefully that will carry over into April.