Spring weather in Minneapolis. 44 for a high, 30 for a low. Heavy snow in the eastern part of Minnesota, south of the cities, and the Mississippi ice gorge has broken up at St. Cloud, sending a wall of water running with ice down upon Minneapolis. “This flood should be felt in Minneapolis in a day or so.”
Turning to the world of sports:
“The outfield is invincible, the infield fast, and — well, there is not a weak spot on the team.”
– Manager W.H. Watkins
The Millers must be on the road to Springfield, because there’s another “analysis” piece in today’s paper. I wonder if Watkins is a drinking man? He seems a bit over-confident for a manager who’s team has split a series of games with a college team, racking up about 6 errors a game. But I suppose he’s gotta sell some tickets here.
Morning workouts consist of batting practice, fielding practice, and a workout for the battery men. At the conclusion of the morning session the men “are required to take a brisk run… varying from half a mile to three miles, according to the condition of each man.”
Morning practice goes about two hours. In the afternoon the men who are not expected to play in the exhibition are given two more hours of hard work. And all the men are required to walk to and from the hotel to the field, a distance of about a mile and a half, twice a day. I wonder if Watkins checked up on them. He sounds like the type that would. A taskmaster.
“…every player who does not start at the crack of the bat gets a sharp lecture from the manager.”
Watkins, as we have seen, is feeling pretty good about his ball club right now. (After all, they can beat good college teams about half the time!) Our reporter mostly agrees. The fielding has been “snappy” – though not in mid-season form, of course. The base running has been excellent. As we have heard repeatedly, the boys are fast. They haven’t been hitting much — but that’s because Watkins has them playing small ball – “instructing them in the art of pushing a runner around the sacks by placing their drives.”
The pitching has been strong, for the most part, but Ludwig is the only catcher really doing well right now. Roach has a sore arm and O’Leary is carrying some “surplus beef” right now. O’Leary will probably be starting once the real season starts, as he’s the best hitter of the three.
The reporter hazards a guess at the opening day lineup: Maloney, Coulter, and Sullivan in the gardens, Oyler at Short, Fox at second, Lally at first, Demontreville at third. McNichol might be at third if Demontreville’s arm doesn’t come around. Lally has been weak with the willow, but he’s always been a hitter and everyone’s sure he’ll come around. O’Rourke has also been playing well at third and short, and perhaps might hang on as well.
The pitchers have had scant opportunity to display their slab artistry, so it’s much too early for our intrepid reporter to have any real idea of who will make the club. That being said, Frosty Thomas and Rusty Owen certainly have made a strong case for two places on the roster. The vaunted Munch, it turns out, is still in Chicago! Munch! It turns out he has a business there and has received special permission to stay there until the season opens. Watkins has high regard for Mr. Munch, apparently; the writer supposes that Mr. Munch pretty much has a lock on one spot in the rotation. I would not be surprised to find out that Watkins is related to Munch. With nine pitchers in the mix, including the Magnificent Munch, the writer figures only four or five will make the club. Let’s say Munch has a lock. Who will be the other four?
“Which ones will be selected for the axe cannot be predicted.”
Frosty Thomas and Rusty Owen seem like good bets. It’s too early to tell, but don’t count Koukalik out.