Twins Talk, April 8 08 Apr 16
TWINS TALK
Stories & Photos by Gordy Jones
 
Relax…It’s Early

The Twins have tripped coming out of the gate in their first three games, but there are 158 yet to play. I have watched them work for the past six weeks, and I know that the Twins are better than this. One problem they encountered was not being able to adjust to weather delays as quickly as Baltimore. But as I said, it is too early to judge this team. I know these games are important, and they could’ve been a huge cushion if we would happen to be in a race down the stretch. But what frustrates me more than these losses, are the online whiners and haters who pretend to be fans. Some are bloggers, and some host social media pages. But overall, they give the team no support — ever! They criticize every move, and are always negative. I think every team has a few, but after the Twins had four losing seasons in 2011-14, they have gained more negative big mouths than ever. Here’s a message to them: Just chill and enjoy, because we fortunate. We have Major Baseball in Minnesota. It will get better!

A Lot of Greatness!
One of the great things about Twins spring training is watching former players and coaches mentoring the young guys. This year we had Torii Hunter, Tom Kelly, Rod Carew, and Tony Oliva on hand. It was good to see T.K. moving about freely and running drills for the guys. Last year he was recovering from a stroke, and moved a bit slowly, and tired easy. But he is back to full force, vocally, too.
Rod Carew was the guy on restrictions this year. While waiting for a heart transplant, I didn’t even expect to see him in Florida. But he was there, sharing his wisdom with the team’s youth and veterans alike.
Former Twins broadcaster, John Gordon, made a rare appearance at camp. That is because he and Torii Hunter will be inducted to the Twins Hall of Fame this year, and they were invited to throw out the first pitch at the Twin’s Grapefruit League home opener. They were sent to the mound with empty handed, and suddenly, Rod Carew emerged from the dugout and delivered the balls to them, making for a very special pregame ceremony.
 
She’s a Foodie for the Team, and Teaches Nutrition!  
It was a treat to meet Kate Moran, the Twin’s dietitian, at training camp. She is exciting and enthusiastic as she talks about healthy food. She can make nutrition fun. Kate has always been a baseball fan, but grew up in Boston, so she recently turned her allegiance toward the Twins. 
We were discussing her being a dietitian for the Twins, including the Twins Academy, where the minor leaguers and young prospects stay during March. Many have never been away from home, or even in the United States before. She told me: “We’ve put together some menu standards, so there are a lot of healthy options. The goal is is to have the most nutrient, dense foods for the players.” 
I asked her if some guys come to camp with bad eating habits. She replied, “Sometimes, but working with them one-on-one —  individual counseling, really allows the opportunity to explore those habits, and determine positive goals and changes, so they can ultimately have the highest level of performance.” 
Some guys from the Caribbean countries grew up on rice and beans. I asked her how she handled that. “That’s definitely a challenge that I have. We try to incorporate different cultures, some always wanting rice and beans. There’s an opportunity for me to add turmeric, an anti inflammatory spice in the rice so they get some benefit out of it. And then integrating whole grain brown rice. We’ve also used some farro and keemla.” 
Kate went on to tell me she always encourages the guys to eat fruits and vegetables, and now there is a line at the salad bar. When players see their colleagues eating nutritiously and increasing their performances, they get on board, too. 
As Joe Mauer walked by us, he said: “Gordy, ask her about the Home Run Bars,” and  so I did. It is an energy bar developed by her company, Sodexo Magic. It was designed specifically for times such as spring training, when players are physically working long hours in the heat, and unintentionally losing weight. 
Kate has all of the bases covered, and we can look forward to some well nourished prospects in Minneapolis in the future, including Kate. She will make the trip soon, too, to further educate the major leaguers about having a healthy diet.