Home' The River Weekly News : RWN 011317 Contents It’s Bitter Cold Up North, But
Spring Training Just A Month Away
by Ed Frank
The bitter cold winds of winter – it was eight degrees early
this week in Minneapolis and 10 degrees in Boston – will
all but be forgotten when the Minnesota Twins and the
Boston Red Sox arrive here in just four weeks for the start of
Because of the World Baseball Classic, Spring Training
begins a week early with Twins pitchers and catchers reporting
February 13 and position players on February 18. Red Sox
pitchers and catchers will report February 12 and other players
Boston’s historic Fenway Park, the oldest stadium in baseball,
was known as “Frozen Fenway” this past week with several high school and college
hockey games played on an outdoor rink there.
The Red Sox will arrive here as defending American League Eastern Division
champions while the Twins, with a revamped front office management team, will
attempt to reverse the fortunes of last season when they lost 103 games, finished last
in the AL Central and embarrassingly had the worst record in the Major Leagues.
This week we will examine the outlook for the 2017 Twins. In a stark reversal of
past front office management, Twins owner Jim Pohlad hired two outsiders –Derek
Falvey as chief baseball officer and Thad Levine as general manager– to change the
philosophy of the organization. Falvey, just 33 years old, had been assistant general
manager of the Cleveland Indians and Levine was assistant GM of the Texas Rangers.
This structure is similar to the World Champion Chicago Cubs, but remember it
took the Cubs five years to win that title after Theo Epstein was brought in to run the
Although the Twins do possess some of the best young ballplayers in baseball –
outfielders Byron Buxton and Max Kepler and third-baseman Miquel Sano along with
All-Star second-baseman Brian Dozier, their pitching must be markedly improved this
year if the Twins are to be a winning team.
Falvey and Levine have been attempting to trade Dozier who had his best year in
2016 when he slugged 42 home runs and compiled 99 RBIs. However, he is owed
$15 million for the next two years. They feel his trade would garner several young
Twins starting pitching last season was a Major League-worst 5.39 ERA. They
used 11 starters and only veteran right-hander Ervin Santana had an ERA of less
than 5.00. And not one starter even won 10 games.
What is concerning is the fact that Minnesota has done little in the offseason to
improve its pitching, counting instead for better results from the staff in 2017. Maybe
that’s one reason the odds-makers have the Twins 100-1 longshots to reach the World
Series this year.
Last week, Minnesota announced that 16 players with Minor League contracts
have been invited to the team’s Major League spring training. The list includes two
Number One draft picks, shortstop Nick Gordon and pitcher Alex Wimmers, both
who played here with the Fort Myers Miracle team.
Tickets for the Twins 17-game home spring training schedule can be purchased at
the CenturyLink Sports Complex ticket office.
Mientkiewicz Returns Here As Manager Of The Fort Myers Miracle
Doug Mientkiewicz, the Twins former first-baseman, who managed the Twins
Double A Chattanooga to the 2015 Southern League Championship, will return here
this year to manage the Fort Myers Miracle where he began his managing career in
He replaces Jeff Smith who was promoted last month to first-base coach for the
Jake Mauer, brother of Twins first-baseman Joe Mauer, will move up from Class
A Cedar Rapids to Chattanooga. He also is a former Miracle manager. It is Mauer’s
highest assignment in his 10-year coaching and managing career.
THE RIVER - JANUARY 13, 2017
Offices in Sanibel, Fort Myers & Punta Gorda
Phone: (239) 931-7566 • Fax: (239) 931- 7560
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org • www.hmdlegal.com
Real Estate • Business Law • Commercial Litigation
1. In 2015, pitcher Dallas Keuchel set a Houston Astros record for most strikeouts by a left-
hander (216). Who had held the mark?
2. Lucas Duda tied a New York Mets record in 2015 for most multi-homer games in a season
(seven). Who else did it for the Mets?
3. Who holds the Cleveland Browns mark for most passing yards in a regular-season game?
4. When was the last time before 2016 that Clemson’s men’s basketball team beat
consecutive ranked opponents?
5. With which NHL team did Hall of Fame goalie Rogie Vachon begin his 16-season career?
6. Who was the only Robert Yates Racing driver to win NASCAR’s Cup championship?
7. Who was the last non-European tennis player before Milos Raonic in 2016 to reach the
final of men’s singles at Wimbledon?
1. Mike Cuellar, with 203 strikeouts in 1967. 2. Dave Kingman (1976) and Carlos Delgado (2008). 3.
Josh McCown threw for 457 yards in a game in 2015. 4. It was 1989. 5. Montreal, in 1967. 6. Dale
Jarrett, in 1999. 7. Andy Roddick, in 2009.
City Names Interim Fire Chief
The City of Fort Myers announced that Vincent DiCristofalo has been
appointed as interim chief of the Fort Myers Fire Department (FMFD),
effective January 6. DiCristofalo has been a firefighter for 19 years. He held
the rank of division chief of training with FMFD at the time of the move to iterim
This follows the retirement announcement made recently by departing Chief
Trenton Bowen. Chief Bowen served the Fort Myers Fire Department for 30 years,
the last two as fire chief.
Prior to starting his career as a firefighter, DiCristofalo served in the U.S. Army
as a medical specialist. His first firefighter position was with the Panama City
Fire Department in 1997. DiCristofalo joined FMFD as a firefighter in 2000 and
advanced to the positions of engineer paramedic and fire captain paramedic before
becoming the division chief of training in 2014.
DiCristofalo holds a bachelor of applied science degree in public safety
administration from Edison State College and a bachelor of science degree in fire
science from Columbia Southern University (Orange Beach, Alabama). He is a
credentialed paramedic and holds certifications as a fire instructor, fire officer and
photo courtesy City of Fort Myers
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