Alexander Shun | @alexpshun
Digital Content Manager | KFAN.com
It's Opening Day across the Major Leagues and fans everywhere are donning their favorite team's cap as they make their way to ballparks across the country to enjoy the unofficial National holiday.
True, officially Opening Day was yesterday as there were three games on the docket for fans to enjoy, but today is the full-blown Opening Day as there are 12 games across the country to welcome the MLB back in true baseball fashion.
For the Minnesota Twins, their season will begin at 3:10 P.M. CT as they take on the Kansas City Royals from Target Field, and while many Minnesota baseball fans have already written off this squad's season, fully expecting another 100+ loss season, I have chosen to take a positive approach.
I examined this team, their schedule and the rest of the league and I found the three key reasons why Twins fans should be excited about this upcoming 2017 baseball season.
Let's start with the obvious...
IT'S OPENING DAY!
Even if you don't like baseball or fully expect the Twins to lose their first game of the season, one can't argue with the excitement of Opening Day.
The fresh cut grass, the warm weather (although admittedly it's likely to be a little cloudy today), the sunflower seeds and peanuts, the crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, the ability to take your friends and family to the ballpark, all reasons why Opening Day is one of the best days of the year.
Baseball doesn't just signify the start of another dismal season for the Twins, it signifies the start of spring/summer and the start of America's pastime as the boys of summer are back again. Today is not the day to be examining the entire season as it is one game of 162, but rather it is the day to enjoy the return of baseball and enjoy an afternoon at beautiful Target Field.
The Youth Movement Is In Full Swing
As last season wound down, I think it was fairly obvious that the Twins organization was experiencing a youth movement and that this season would be a continuation of that. That is the case as the Twins have an incredible collection of young talent with immense potential and the ability to, at the very least, play some very exciting throughout the course of the season.
Led by center fielder Byron Buxton, the Twins will be fueled this season by guys like Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario, Miguel Sano, Kennys Vargas (when he gets healthy and inevitably gets called back up from Triple-A), Jose Berrios and Jorge Polanco, none of which are older than 26.
Don't get me wrong now, the veteran leadership is still there in guys such as Joe Mauer, Brian Dozier and Ervin Santana, but it will be up to the youth of this organization to get this team wins in the 2017 season. While the Twins may not win 100 games this season and will likely miss the playoffs once again, with so much talent and so much potential, they'll certainly be one of the more fun teams to watch.
Byron Buxton - Need I Say More?
Last season was a tough year for the Twins former first-round pick as he struggled to find himself offensively and dealt with bouncing back-and-forth between the Rochester and the Major League squad. This season should prove to be much different.
At the end of last season, Buxton was one of the Twins hottest hitters - if not THE hottest hittter - and proved why he was worthy of such a high draft selection, and this year he is working to build on that.
With lessons learned from last year firmly in mind, Buxton has aimed to cut down on his number of strikeouts (something that we saw had improved in Spring Training) and play more loose. The center fielder said he played so much of last season in his head and overthought so much of the game that he ended up playing poorly but will not make that mistake again.
Buxton has been working with former Twins center fielder Torii Hunter and says he has improved both at the plate and in the field and is looking forward to having a very good year with Minnesota, something most Twins are excited for as well.
Buxton's combination of speed, athleticism, power and flow will make him arguably the most exciting player on the Twins roster and with the center fielder being deemed the future face of the Twins franchise, what could be more fun than watching him grow and develop right before your very eyes?