HIBBING — I have to admit, I started laughing hysterically when I heard Max Kepler homered on the first pitch of the 2020 season, then he went yard again in his second at bat.

It was too good to be true that the Bomba Squad was back in business.

What was disconcerting was the fact that our No. 1 starting pitcher, Jose Berrios, gave those five runs back in the first two innings.

If the Minnesota Twins want to be serious contenders for a World Series title, then Berrios has to pitch like an ace. The talent is there, and he has the pitches. He needs to put it all together and become that stopper on the mound.

Now, it is only one game into the season, but Berrios is too up-and-down at times. He can look so good, then he has trouble holding a lead.

He’s fortunate that his teammates put up 10 runs, but that’s not always going to be the case.

What I do like is the fact that Luis Arraez is the real deal with two hits on Friday

Sometimes it’s hard to tell in their first season, but this kid can hit. He proved that last year, hitting well over .300.

Can he maintain that over a 162-game season? We won’t find that out this season, but in 2021 it’ll be fun watching him maybe flirt with .400. He has a good eye at the plate, and he knows the strike zone. I don’t believe pitchers will throw it by him.

The bullpen was solid, which is always a good thing.

I see that Major League Baseball has expanded the playoffs to 16 teams, eight in each league.

I like that idea, at least for this season. I also like the idea of starting extra innings with a runner on second and no out.

The question came up the other day as to whether or not it will affect a pitcher’s ERA, but it won’t. I know that’s a minor concern, but a pitcher shouldn’t be penalized in that situation.

They won’t do it that way in the playoffs, but seeing as this is such a lost year, Major League Baseball might as well implement a lot of things they’ve been thinking about doing.

The one thing I’m not a fan of is the piped-in noise, and the cardboard cutouts of people in the stands. They both have to go.

I know in Chicago, people paid to have their images in the stands, and the money went to charity. That’s a noble cause, and I respect that a lot. If Target Field wants to do the same thing, so be it, but it doesn’t nothing to enhance the game.

People can think that spectators in the stands are helpful to winning games, but that’s not the case.

Who has better fans than the Minnesota Vikings, and so far, no fan has willed them to a Super-Bowl title, or, for that matter, the Minnesota Wild to a Stanley-Cup title.

It’s all decided on the field folks. Fans having nothing to do with winning and losing games.

Speaking of the Wild, the NHL season begins on Aug. 1. Minnesota will take on Vancouver in a best-of-five series to get into the playoffs.

I know the Wild were only one or two points out of a playoff berth when play was suspended, so they deserved to be one of the teams called back to play.

Wouldn’t it be something if this was the season the Wild made a run for the title?

Asterisk or no asterisk, that would be something. That would be amazing.

We’ll see what happens.

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