Aaron Hicks is back with the Minnesota Twins, hoping that this third time’s the charm.
The Twins’ third-year outfielder, called up last month from triple-A, has been stationed in center field, a plot of land formerly patrolled by current right fielder Torii Hunter, who he watched play while he was growing up in California. Continue Reading →
The Crash Davis lead character in Bull Durham was a minor league baseball lifer who spent some time in “The Show,” the major leagues, a sage for his fellow teammates. Minnesota Twins outfielder Aaron Hicks is no Crash, but during his second consecutive minor league stint in as many seasons, he too became a sage. “For the first time, I was one of the older guys on the team. It was different. They were picking my brain and trying to figure out ways on becoming a better player. Continue Reading →
Julio Becquer and Tony Oliva, both Cuban-born, both migrated to the United States to play baseball. But if asked, both men quickly express their disappointment that the game they love has not been more embraced by today’s youth, especially by domestic-born Blacks. According to the 2014 Racial and Gender Report Card by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, the number of Blacks on major league rosters has been steady dwindling since the 1990s. On Opening Day 2014, 8.2 percent of players who identified themselves as Black were on the teams’ 25-man rosters. The Minnesota Twins had one — Aaron Hicks. Continue Reading →
It’s been over a week now since Aaron Hicks, the second-year Minnesota Twins centerfielder, quit being a switch hitter to being only a right-handed hitter. What brought him to that decision? Poor front-office decision-making may have resulted in rushing up the young man to the big leagues too soon last season. Hicks should have perfected his batting skills in the minors; instead, he struggled last season and was sent back down. This year thus far, Hicks is again struggling, leading him to stop his Judy Collins “Both Sides Now” batting and stick to one side only, a decision that caught his manager totally by surprise. Continue Reading →
Tuesday is Jackie Robinson Day in Major League Baseball. Every player on all 30 MLB clubs will wear the number 42 on their backs — the same number Robinson wore when he broke in with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1948; the same number every club permanently retired save for one day a year.
“I’ve always known the significance of that number,” admits Minnesota Twins outfielder Aaron Hicks, the team’s only U.S.-born Black player, “definitely for me being a Black player.”
Hicks ranks Robinson in the same trailblazing light as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks. “They are heroes, and he is right up there with them,” believes the second-year centerfielder. “He was the guy who took a lot of crap and handled it the right way. Continue Reading →
Can Major League Baseball’s new instant replay system stretch baseball games even longer?
“I don’t think it will extend the game,” believes Minnesota Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire, who briefly talked about instant replay to the MSR before the club left for spring training in February. The Twins’ 2014 season began earlier this week in Chicago. Continue Reading →
The Minnesota Twins last week kicked off the team’s apparent year-long promotional blitz on their hosting of the 2014 All-Star Game. It is their third time being hosts at three different venues: the old and gone Metropolitan Stadium (1965); the old and soon-to-be gone Metrodome (1985); and, a year from now, at their present edifice located on the North Minneapolis-downtown border. “We dreamed of hosting this incredible event,” said Twins Owner Jim Polhad in a team release. After reading this and the media-distributed fact sheet, my curiosity got the best of me and I came up with some Roberta Flack-Donny Hathaway-Billy Preston-type questions:
Where were the Blacks then, and will there be any Blacks next year? Willie Mays and Bob Gibson were among 12 Blacks who played here in the 1965 game, and seven Blacks played in the 1985 dome game. Continue Reading →
Women’s sports, with very few exceptions, still elicit sexist, chauvinistic reactions from too many males, especially those media types who see female athletes as androgynous, titillating, sexy, or some circus clown act. We recently asked fans at a Minnesota Vixen football game in St. Paul if they consider the sport real or a novelty act. “I’m a fan because my daughter’s mom is playing,” responded Calvin Harris as he and daughter Kayla watched rookie Heidi Mindestrom at Concordia University, the Vixen’s home field for their final two regular-season games last month. The Vixen is America’s longest continuously playing women’s football team. Continue Reading →
By Charles Hallman
It’s not unusual that a rookie struggles early. However, a month and a half in the books, first-year Minnesota Twins centerfielder Aaron Hicks was “demoted.”
Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire is known as a player’s manager, and as expected he looked out for the rookie, sparing him from sports talk knuckleheads and wannabe experts who’re quick to criticize. As a result, late last month, Gardy demoted Hicks from the leadoff spot to further down the lineup. Then he pulled the player aside and offered some sage advice:
“‘Just play’ is what I basically told him. ‘You just play and you’ll be fine,’” the manager recently told the MSR. “He had some moments in his career where he struggled, but it’s a little more magnified [here]. Continue Reading →
A new movie on the life of Jackie Robinson premieres Friday. It has support from people in high places. “We think that everybody in this country needs to watch this movie,” advises First Lady Michelle Obama on the movie 42 after she and her husband, President Barack Obama viewed a private screening last week at the White House. The first of several Minnesota Twins “Diversity Days” will be Monday April 15, the day Major League Baseball (MLB) annually honors Robinson’s major league debut in 1947. “It was an important and powerful moment in baseball when Jackie Robinson broke in with the Brooklyn Dodgers,” recalls Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. Continue Reading →