November 2010

Gardy Finally Gets It

ron-gardenhire-minnesota-twins-mlb.jpgOld news, I know, but I just wanted to make sure to congratulate Ron Gardenhire on his 2010 manager of the year award.  After taking second place SO MANY times in this category, he finally pulled in the well-deserved hardward for guiding the Twins to the Central Division championship this season.

Gardy has one thorn in his side: beating the Yankees.  Other than that inexplicable almost complete failure, he is the best manager a team could ask for.  He loves baseball, knows his stuff, is great at keeping an even-keel, and just overall seems like a down-to-earth good guy.

So Gardy, congrats again and hopefully you’ll be bringing home a new trophy in ’11…one with a few more flags on it! 

Thanks, MLBlogs!

thanks.gifIn the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to say a big “thank-you!” to the MLBlogs community for featuring me on your front page.

Like I say in the blog description, I started this blog because, after graduating college in 2008 and thus no longer being able to write for the University Register campus paper at UMM (University of Minnesota-Morris), I still wanted a sportswriting “outlet”.

I don’t do it to vent (or at least I TRY not to…!), but just because I like the Twins (and baseball in general) and think people might find a little enjoyment in the words I put into a blank text box.

I also write Amazon.com reviews, and one person on that site once said that there are three parts of any experience: the build-up, the event, and the reflection.  With baseball, all those three things are readily apparent, and I try to balance my comments equally between the three.  Some people skip the first and third steps to focus on the event, while others just cut out the reflection and shut the mind down when the primary experience ends.  I savor that reflection and try to be honest in my assessments of what I feel to be the “truth” about baseball and the Twins

So again, thanks for the honor, and keep reading if it strikes your fancy.  I’ll try to hold up my end of the bargain as well!

MVPS: More Traditional Than Cy-Young

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New+York+Mets+v+Cincinnati+Reds+EwQ3z5Ejmoxl.jpgFirst of all, congratulations to both Josh Hamilton and Joey Votto for their respective 2010 MVP Awards.  They both would have been my picks as well.

Whereas the AL Cy-Young award may have been a bit of a change in favor of stats (Felix Hernandez winning “just” 13 games), the MVP’s were a bit more traditional this year, given out to two cleanup hitters who flatout did their jobs.

Without either player, I don’t think the Texas Rangers or Cincinnati Reds make the playoffs in ’10 (or at least not quite as easily as they did).  They both just did what a fourth hitter should do: rake the ball, hit for extra base power, and drive in a plethora of runs.

Long Live The King…

felix-hernandez1.jpgComing into this past baseball season, the two most coveted pitchers I wanted for my fantasy baseball team were Roy Halladay and Felix Hernandez. I got King Felix, though it looks like it wouldn’t have really even mattered one way or the other!

Congrats to Hernandez for winning the 2010 AL Cy Young Award.  This year will likely go down as the turning point in the battle of the “stat heads” (Felix had only 13 wins on a horrible team) vs. the traditionalists (who likely voted for David Price or CC Sabathia).  Here’s the way I look at it, though:

Day in and day out, who was the most dominant pitcher in the AL?  Though Price comes close, I’ll take King Felix right now.

What’s Up, Doc?


pitch.jpgWhat’s up? How about the 2010 NL Cy Young.  Congrats to an old-school, throwback sort of pitcher who eats innings, doesn’t come out of games, and has been dominating batters for more than a decade in relative anonymity.

Sour Grapes

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grapes-print.jpgI wanted to quickly comment here on something that kind of disturbed me the other day:

Just recently, the Minnesota Twins organization released a statement saying how they are going to improve Target Field by adding a right field scoreboard and a cool LED tower thingy…

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Basically, the organization is telling fans that they are going to continue to try and provide the best fan experience in major league baseball

However, just a day later, Twins 1B Justin Morneau complains that the Twins are not going to move in the fences.  Talk about your sour grapes.  Though I understand Morneau’s thinking to an extent (as HR’s were very difficult to come by in 2010), that is not his decision to make, or even comment on.

The Twins set up Justin for life with a huge contract, and (since that point) have seen him miss significant time due to injuries.  Now, by no means am I saying that Morneau is faking his injuries (concussion) or anything like that, but after missing an entire half a season, it isn’t his prerogative to get whiny about the executive decisions (sometimes life sucks and you need to just man up and keep your mouth shut).

Plus, if I were a Twins pitcher reading that article, I’d be feeling a little miffed right now too.  The Twins had the best home record in the AL last season, I believe, and now Morneau wants to change the fences for what would primarily be a personal gain?  That wouldn’t fly with me.

None of this is to say that I have completely soured on Morneau, but these are the little flashes that we get into people’s character that competitive sports often bring out.

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Thumbs Up:

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Joe Mauer winning the AL Gold Glove award for catchers. Doesn’t get much better behind the plate.  Was surprised to NOT see Torii Hunter’s name included in the group.  It’s been awhile since that happened.

Thumbs Down:

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Yep, it’s probably going to happen.  Ho hum…just another lefthanded ace to shut us down when we see them again in the 2011 ALDS.

One Voice I’ll Miss (And One Not So Much…)

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I heard the other day that these two guys (Jon Miller and Joe Morgan) will no longer be calling games together on ESPN.

I’ll miss Jon Miller.  He didn’t have the greatest insights into the game, but his voice was both pleasant and exciting to listen to.  Here’s an example:

 

On the other hand, Joe Morgan (a star from the Cincinnati Big Red Machine long ago) was one of the most knowledgeable baseball guys I’ve ever heard behind a mic. Trouble was, he was too arrogant to really be likeable on-air, radiating a brusque manner that undermined his tremendous knowledge.

 

Congrats, Giants!

imagesCAFJXHFZ.jpgTonight, I want to congratulate the San Francisco Giants on their 2010 World Series championship!

Your team may have had to struggle just to make it to October, but once you got there you rode Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and your veteran leadership (how many World Series has Edgar Renteria starred in?!) all the way to the promised land, even knocking off the mighty Cliff Lee to finish things off.

Savor this night, as you never know when it may come again.  However, this squad (even the bit players) will be immortalized along the facility hallways and organization reunions for all-time.

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