On November 29th, 2012 – over a full month ago – the Twins made a move that needed to be made. One of my favorite Twins in my lifetime was sent to the Washington Nationals for a young pitcher named Alex Meyer. This ended a five year man-crush I had on Denard Span, but it didn’t necessarily crush my spirits like it would have years ago.
Back in about 2004, the Twins had resurged back into baseball existence and rejuvenated this fan base for the first time in about 10 years. I remember my uncle telling me one day at the Metrodome about this kid named Span that was going to take over for Torii Hunter someday. At the time I couldn’t imagine what the outfield would even look like without #48 roaming the gaps and robbing home runs.
Little did I know that 4 years later, I would again walk into the Metrodome and ultimately leave that day with a baseball crush on #2 – Denard Span. He was young, fast, fresh, and had a great glove. As soon as I saw him I recalled the conversation with my uncle 4 years earlier, and immediately became fixated on the kid.
Over the next 5 years, that kid accumulated 669 hits, 90 stolen bases, 254 walks, 105 doubles, 36 triples, and 360 runs; all while hitting .284. Span became the staple leadoff hitter, center fielder, leader, media charmer, and all-around good guy in the organization. If not for concussion and other medical issues in 2011, he became an ever-present force in the Twins lineup day after day.
I’ll never forget the leaping catches, 10+ pitch at-bats, and the doubles that Span stretched into triples. He never was the next Kirby Puckett, or the next Torii Hunter, but he brought baseball joy to my life – ok that sounds a little weird. I’m sure going to miss seeing Denard in the Twins uniform every day, but it helps to know that a kid like Aaron Hicks might be that next guy to make his way through the system and take over center field.
I’m also pretty excited about the type of pitching prospect the Twins received in return in Alex Meyer. The 2012 pitching staff posted the 7th worst team ERA in Twins history, and the farm system wasn’t about to change that trend around – outside of the arrival of Kyle Gibson. So, when all is said and done, I’m thankful for the five years Span wore the TC on his cap; however, he has a real good chance to play in his prime for a contending team now. It sure will be fun to see him play with the W on his cap from now on.