The Twins today open one of their longer homestands of the year (nine games in 10 days). They do so with Justin Morneau no longer on the team and Joe Mauer on the shelf indefinitely.
September is generally a rough month for also-rans in terms of actual attendance, by which I mean bodies in the seats as opposed to tickets sold. School's back in session, the evenings start getting chillier. And in the case of the also-ran 2013 Twins, the two biggest names aren't there.
It is true that neither the Twins nor this weekend's visitors, the Toronto Blue Jays, will reach the postseason; it is also true that Toronto's biggest star, Jose Bautista, is out for the season. Still, I reject the cliche of "nothing to play for" and "meaningless games." The Minnesota lineups this weekend figure to be filled with unfamiliar names, but the novices and newcomers are playing, in a sense, for their futures, to make a good impression and enhance their chances of sticking in the majors.
The games are still worth the playing and the watching. But I'd believe that regardless; I'd rather watch a minor league game than any NFL game ever played. Certainly the casual fan's interest is going to be down. So expect to plenty of vacant seats at Target Field for these September games.
The Twins schedule this year was a mess from the beginning. Thirty-one of the 81 home dates — 38 percent — were in April and September, which one can pretty much guarantee will be the two worst months for weather. They had nine home games scheduled for the entire month of July.
If it's any consolation (and it probably isn't), nobody was happy with the schedule this year, and the players union reportedly is making an issue of it with the commissioner's office. The union's concern isn't about the bad-weather heavy Minnesota schedule, of course; it's unhappy with the bizarre travel demands put on the players.