Results tagged ‘ Twins ’
From my earliest years as a Twins fan, I remember listening to John Gordon on the radio and being captivated by that lively, exciting broadcasting style. Put simply, he could make any game (a dramatic masterpiece or ten-run blowout) sound exciting over the airwaves.
Though I’m usually more inclined to watch the games on television, the greatest compliment I can give to Mr. Gordon is that I don’t feel like I’m missing all that much on the times I tune in. He will be sorely missed, as was Herb Carneal by the older generation of Twins fans.
I’ll glad the team (with Plouffe’s walk-off single in the ninth) were able to give him one last chance to emote into the microphone like he has been doing for so long.
-Now that the regular season (and Twins season, sadly) is over, I will be periodically blogging about “what went wrong” in the 2011 season. Suffice it to say, it may just take me all winter to finish that series. I will also keep the blogging community abreast of Twins player movements in the offseason and such topics. The posts will likely be much less frequent, but I won’t be disappearing altogether!
Final Log: 63-99, 5th in AL Central, 32 GB Detroit Tigers
A quick story about a baseball season coming to an end:
In September of 2007, the Minnesota Twins were winding down a very disappointing campaign. At the time, I was attending college at the University of Minnesota-Morris and happened to be on campus for a weekend.
Now, I had a variety of options: from which to spend my day: Video games, movies, sleeping, studying (!), etc. The Twins were just playing out a string of meaningless games.
Almost needless to say, I spent the afternoon watching the Twins game. Why? Because I knew that, in a few months, all I would want is for baseball to return, so I decided to enjoy one final game. For whatever reason, that very day and game also seem to stick out in my mind.
Due to work/school requirements, I may not get the same opportunity the next couple of days (I’ll watch what I can), but the feeling is still kind of the same. Though right now I just want this nightmare season to come to a close, I also know that Spring Training never quite comes early enough, either.
-Ozzie Guillen is gone from the White Sox (probably headed to Florida). Let the NL East deal with him, is what I say. I think Ozzie is probably a better tactical manager than many people (including myself) give him credit for, but his personality is just too brash and profane for my tastes.
Preview (61-99, 5th, 10 GB KCR): Sean O’Sullivan (2-5, 6.92) vs. Anthony Swarzak (3-7, 4.42)
Just a quick post here, but had to mention how hard it is to believe that this…
I was at that game on a cold September night in Target Field, but it was one of the most exciting nights of Twins baseball in quite awhile.
Oh, how things have ever changed since that very day.
Preview (60-95, 5th, 7.5 GB KC): Carl Pavano (8-13, 4.40) vs. Justin Masterson (12-10, 3.15)
As I sit here writing this blog post, the Minnesota Twins currently reside in the cellar of the AL Central division. The last time they finished a season that low in the standings was 2000, when I was starting high school and didn’t yet even have cable to watch them on MSC (Midwest Sports Channel, the precursor to FSN).
Some “classic” names on that ’00 roster included Ron Coomer, Jay Canizaro, Matt Lawton, Butch Huskey, Midre Cummings, Sean Bergman, and Mark Redman.
Suffice it to say, it is strange to be in the position of looking up at the KC Royals after being on the “other side” for so long. A bit humbling, I suppose.
I remember a few months ago, with the Twins in fourth place, my goal was to see the team move up slot by slot in the standings. Well, the opposite has transpired and now the goal becomes climbing out of the basement back to respectability.
With the Twins cruising through a competitively useless September, there is one “big picture” thing I worry about more than any other: the possibility of manager Ron Gardenhire’s posterior region warming a bit in terms of job security.
Now, I have never been an unconditional Gardy supporter. I’ve questioned his playoff managing many a time, as well as his proficient use of weak “getaway day” lineups. However, I strongly feel that he still remains the right manager for this ballclub.
Gardy has always preached “fundamentals” and this year has clearly shown how important those little things are. Going forward, this team may need a lot of guidance for the youngsters, and I think Gardy does that as well (if not better) than any manager in baseball.
Put it this way: With a few healthy “studs” and more time to train the young guys, I am confident that our skipper can turn this ship back around in the right direction in a hurry.
I just hope he’ll be given the opportunity and nothing crazy comes down from the front office.
Strange Item 1: In early July, I attended two Twins games at Chicago’s Cell, with both teams still battling to get into the division race. The Twins owned the Sox at that time. Fast-forward two months, and both teams are now essentially playing out the string. The Sox now own us, as well.
Strange Item 2: Empty seats at Target Field. Yes, it’s the first “school night” of the year and a makeup game at that, but those green seats sure look strange amid two seasons of near-perpetual sellouts. Unfortunately, much more green may be showing once the Vikings kick into full gear.
Preview (58-83, 5th, 0.5 GB KCR): Jake Peavy (6-7, 5.21) vs. Liam Hendriks (Major League Debut)
For two decades, Thome was the bane of existence to our pitching staffs. In less than two years, however, he endeared himself to the state of Minnesota like almost no other ballplayer in team history…
He’s a class act, a true gentleman, and I wish him the best in Cleveland and beyond.
Just try not to clobber around our starters too much in September, will ya Jim?!
Preview (55-77, 4th, 11 GB CWS): Brad Penny (9-9, 4.82) vs. Brian Duensing (8-13, 5.12)
We sports fans are a fickle lot most of the time. For the last few years, Twins fans were ALWAYS badgering GM’s (either Ryan or Smith) to sign more players to help us win. Since the pitching seemed solid, a lock of hitters was always our “dire” need.
Well, we brought in guys like Delmon Young, Orlando Hudson, JJ Hardy, and Jim Thome to help the offense. Plus, we signed out “Mantle & Marris”…
Well, those offensive players (for a variety of reasons) never really paid off, and “M&M” have been too hurt to meet the return on investment.
Thus, part of the reason for this season spiralling into disaster has been an inability to patch holes like we have done in the past. The bullpen guys got too pricey, the starters all regressed or never hit their potential, and all the hitters got hurt. ALL…OF…THEM.
So, we are now realizing (as we did in the 1990s) that we still can’t quite spend with the big boys on the coasts…even with a new stadium. The time to pay the piper has come, and that time is now.
-Twins get swept by lowly Orioles at home.
-Liriano goes on the DL (Scott Diamond will take his place).
-Kubel is claimed off waivers (though no deal yet) by the White Sox.
-Same story as above for Jim Thome & the Indians.
Preview (55-75, 4th, 9.0 GB CWS): Rick Porcello (11-8, 5.17) vs. Scott Diamond (0-1, 4.26)
In 2010, Duensing was a starter, long reliever, and setup man on another division-winning team. In fact, he was my personal choice for ’10 team MVP.
This year, however, has been a disaster for Duensing. He pitched okay towards the beginning of the season, but the last few months have been a train wreck. He’s walking guys left and right, only pitching a few innings per start, and (rather inexplicably) has been very poor at throwing to any base on a batted ball. I don’t think he’s been hurt, so that’s a small consolation, but the effectiveness has vanished as quickly as it developed.
I’ve seen a lot of batters in the throes of “sophomore slumps”, but pitchers usually struggle early on and then only get better (potentially). Duesing, so far in is career, has been the polar opposite.
Just another question mark on a team that, just a year ago, were beginning to run away with the division.
A vexing question, indeed.
On one hand, you just want to throw your hands up in the air. He looks completely lost in the field, doesn’t seem to communicate well with his teammates, and is also befuddled with a bat in his hand. There has also been little to in improvement from Day One to today. In the day-to-day sense, he sure seems to be hurting our chances to win.
In the long run, though, how quickly do we throw away our investment in the Japanese shortstop? Could he possibly be as bad as he is playing right now?
I think a lot will ride on the 2012 SS options. If Trevor Plouffe can improve his defense, I think he will have as good a shot as any to compete with Nishi.
Amazing to think, through all we’ve seen this year, that Tsuyoshi was a batting champion just a scant year ago in Japan.