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Down on the Farm

By Travis Hines

Most, if not all, of the baseball that I watch is played at the Major League level. I don't really take in many high school or college contests, so the baseball I see is aways (at least theoretically) played at the highest level. Awhile back, however, I took in a Beloit Snappers – the Twins' Low-A affiliate – game in Beloit, Wisconsin. It really highlighted the differences between the Bigs and the Minors.

The Snappers' ballpark, Pohlman Field, is located right in residential Beloit. It's a small, but nice field. The weather was in the low-70s, and couldn't have been better for outdoor baseball. It really gave me an itch for Target Field to open next year. It's a much purer experience than you get in the Big Inflatable. The players are all really just kids, too. The team's youngest player, Angel Morales, is just 20 years old while their oldest, Eli Tintor, is just 24. And the level of play is indicative of their inexperience. Mostly in some defensive miscues. At one point, second baseman Dominic De La Osa and shortstop Ramon Santana collided pursuing a grounder up the middle. Neither was hurt, so it proved pretty comical.

While the level of play may not be major-league ready, it's still a lot of fun to watch these up-and-comers. The atmosphere at the stadium is also a lot of fun with games for kids and a lot of fan interaction. The players walk around the concourse and are open to a high five or two during the game. The tickets (and beer) are cheap, which couldn't be more important at times like these. If you're in the Beloit area, it's a great way to spend a fun night with the family with plenty of bang for your buck.

The one thing I was disappointed with has nothing to do with the Snappers or Beloit. It was the absence of Aaron Hicks, the Twins' first round selection in last year's draft. The Twins had Hicks stay back in extended spring training for some more intimate coaching. It's hard to argue with the organization's decision as the did the same last year for Ben Revere, and it was a resounding success. But as a fan, I really can't wait to see this kid. Many teams viewed him as a top-line starter with a fastball in the mid-to-high 90s, but the Twins drafted him as a centerfielder. He's just an all around stud. He should be in Beloit soon, and I'll be there to watch him in his ascendence to the big leagues. Hopefully I'll see some of you out there.

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