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Game Thread 7/15 Scrimmage

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:13 AM
I don't know how many of us are streaming this tonight, but for those who are, how about a little game thread? You can stream the game, a...
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Very interesting article in Pioneer Press from Charlie Walters. https://www.twinciti...uietly-ongoing/ There’s been a few suggestions in...
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Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:49 AM
With the season fast approaching, what is the best way to watch Twins Baseball as a cord cutter? For the past several years, I've been us...
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Other Baseball 14 Jul 2020
While we think about if a season happens or not.I started thinking about the opt out clauses by players, and what they will do.I tried to...
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Recent Blogs


There's No Baseball, But the Twins Are Winning

What a year it's been, huh?

In spite of my endless enthusiasm for it, baseball has been mostly distant from my mind over the past few months. Despite that, my favorite team is stepping up and making me proud.
Image courtesy of Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
A couple weeks back I wrote about what I felt was a moment of missed opportunity for a Twins player. While I think it's important to acknowledge and reflect upon these moments, it is all the more critical to recognize signs of progress, and to celebrate leaders who rise to the occasion.

The Minnesota Twins, as an organization, are making me exceedingly proud.

On this site, we spent the past four weeks looking back at every Twins season since 2000. (The last installment published over the weekend, and you can find links within to all past entries.) In running through this two-decade span, one comes to clearly see the profound change that has taken place.

At the start of 2000, the Twins were a soft-tossing small ball outfit with the lowest payroll in baseball, facing possible contraction. By the end of 2019, they were the greatest slugging team in history, with a staff full of hard-throwing strikeout pitchers. In 2020 they were set to follow with a record payroll.

The growth and progress of this organization is evident to see, and that goes beyond baseball.

Nate Palmer wrote a story here recently about offensive comments made by former Twins owner Calvin Griffith in 1978, and the friction they caused with Rod Carew. Pretty brutal and indefensible stuff from Griffith. It would be nice if we could chalk his attitude up as the vestige of a less enlightened bygone time, and to an extent we can, but it's naive to think the systemically ingrained issue of racism has disappeared in this or any other organization.

That is why I'm so heartened by the direction the Twins franchise has moved under current ownership, with 2016's complete overhaul – which involved bringing in outsiders to modernize the entire baseball ops department – serving as an inflection point of sorts.

For decades, the Twins had developed a culture that was fiercely loyal, but stiflingly insular. A complete reinvention was needed, and it came.

Minnesota's advancement is reflected in these remarks from Torii Hunter and LaTroy Hawkins, during a recent roundtable conversation for The Athletic:

Hunter: We had a situation, LaTroy and I in our organization — no names. But we had a situation where players were getting called the n-word or being told, “Turn your kind of music down.” Different things like that. And now we’re in that front office. We said, “Hey, do something about it.” And we went to (chief baseball officer) Derek Falvey right away. Bam! Derek Falvey did something about it. That’s what we need.


Derek Falvey got the information, didn’t cover it up. He got (this guy) out of there because we can’t do that. It’s time for change. That’s why I have so much respect for Derek Falvey, for listening to LaTroy and I, listening to some of the players on the team, that voiced their opinion about what this guy was saying to them, their problem, their complaint. That’s what it’s going to take.


Hawkins: You’ve got to talk about Thad also, Torii (general manager Thad Levine). He went to the high school “Remember the Titans” was about (the movie, released in 2000, was based on the true story of an African American coach and his attempt to integrate a high school football team in Alexandria, Va.). He understands social injustice and wanting everybody to be comfortable in their workplace.


When Falvey and Levine came aboard, they pitched themselves on communication, transparency and respect. The perspectives shared by Hawkins and Hunter, who both started as players with the Twins in the mid-90s, speak to an evolution this new leadership helped facilitate.

I can't pretend to know how the Twins as an entity, or their most visible faces, would've reacted to an unprecedented crisis-within-a-crisis like we now face, but I do know that I am endlessly impressed by their current handling of this turbulence and tragedy.

The Twins were one of the first MLB teams to commit to paying minor-leaguers throughout the lost season. This helped build toward a momentum that eventually nudged the misguided Oakland Athletics into following suit. Doing the right thing sets an example.

As matters devolved in Minneapolis, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli was quick to speak out about the injustice of George Floyd's murder, and all that led up to it. An infrequent tweeter, Baldelli was also not shy in later following with what should be a completely uncontroversial statement: Black Lives Matter.





A day later, the Twins were broadcasting that same message to 650,000 followers and fans, with Falvey standing front-and-center.



Words matter. Actions matter more. And that's why I find myself so grateful to the Minnesota Twins and their ownership for the step they took last week: The Pohlad family has pledged $25 million to the cause of rebuilding our broken community and pursuing racial justice.

At a time where the 2020 MLB season is in doubt due to frustrating monetary disputes, it is incredibly refreshing to see this purpose-driven generosity on display toward a city in need from our hometown baseball club, and those behind it.

Some might argue it's a small gesture in the grand financial scheme. Sure. So is paying minor-leaguers their tiny slice of the pie. But to the people benefitting, these actions mean a lot. And for those stepping up, it is by no means obligatory, nor conventionally expected. These are important and significant statements, magnified through the platform held by the Pohlad family and Twins in Minnesota.

Doing the right thing sets an example.

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9 Comments

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nicksaviking
Jun 14 2020 10:47 PM

Yeah, Minnesota teams should be taking the lead right now and it looks like the Twins are more than willing. I've done my fair share of Pohlad complaining in the past, but, fantastic work lately guys. Keep it up.

    • glunn, denarded, Sconnie and 4 others like this
As outsiders, we only get bits and pieces of a privately held organization.

Pohlad Family Foundation was established in 1993 or 94 (I have seen both) https://m.startribun...sues/486494821/

Also, Pohlad produced 12 years a slave, which was released in 2013.

Falvey and Levine have clearly made their impact on the MN Twins. It’s less clear to me their impact on the broader Pohlad Companies/Foundation because of the history that predates. For all we know, a conservative corporate culture (that predates Bill/Jim/Bob) just took a while to match the personal convictions of the siblings.

It’s welcome change, but might not be as radical or swift as 4 years. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and doing good things, is good!

Kudos to the Pohlad Family and MN Twins for stepping up big!
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twinstalker
Jun 15 2020 02:51 PM

I would love to know specifics on who was using the n-word. The first guy that comes to mind was someone Falvine never seemed to appreciate as much as Minnesota fans did. Maybe this explains that, though he seemed like a really good guy and probably is...it's probably someone or someones else. Huh. Maybe not.

 

Torii Hunter and LaTroy Hawkins were hired by the Twins in late November 2016. Here's a list of those there in 2015 with Hunter who were traded/released thereafter, let's just say through the 2018 season. Honestly, it's a short list, as most were gone prior to November 2016, are still with the club, or are Brian Dozier, Ryan Pressly, Eduardo Escobar, or Joe Mauer (who doesn't fit "getting rid of").

 

Joe couldn't say it in a sound-proof room all by himself experimenting whether he could utter the syllables. And actually, now that I think about it, it didn't have to be a player.

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nicksaviking
Jun 15 2020 05:21 PM
I didn’t get the impression it was a player, but either way, I’d be uncomfortable speculating about it publicly anyway.
    • Sconnie and Nine of twelve like this
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Nine of twelve
Jun 15 2020 06:24 PM

 

I didn’t get the impression it was a player, but either way, I’d be uncomfortable speculating about it publicly anyway.

Discretion is admirable when it's all just speculation on our part. A very recognizable name came to my mind right away but I'm keeping it to myself.

I would love to know specifics on who was using the n-word. The first guy that comes to mind was someone Falvine never seemed to appreciate as much as Minnesota fans did. Maybe this explains that, though he seemed like a really good guy and probably is...it's probably someone or someones else. Huh. Maybe not.
 
Torii Hunter and LaTroy Hawkins were hired by the Twins in late November 2016. Here's a list of those there in 2015 with Hunter who were traded/released thereafter, let's just say through the 2018 season. Honestly, it's a short list, as most were gone prior to November 2016, are still with the club, or are Brian Dozier, Ryan Pressly, Eduardo Escobar, or Joe Mauer (who doesn't fit "getting rid of").
 
Joe couldn't say it in a sound-proof room all by himself experimenting whether he could utter the syllables. And actually, now that I think about it, it didn't have to be a player.


I’m not sure it was a player. It sounded like someone that was around the locker room when both Hunter and Hawkins were on the team, and was still there when Hawkins and Hunter were hired to be in the FO, and then was fired/released/let go. But I can’t remember who all was around then not.
    • nicksaviking likes this
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howieramone2
Jun 16 2020 12:58 PM
I vote TR. The board blamed him for everything else, I can't think of any reason not to include this.

Question, Nick. When I read about the $25mm donation, I got the impression all of it would be spent in the local Minnesota community. Is that correct?

 

Also got the impression a lot would go towards housing, do you concur?

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Nick Nelson
Jun 16 2020 03:45 PM

 

Question, Nick. When I read about the $25mm donation, I got the impression all of it would be spent in the local Minnesota community. Is that correct?

 

Also got the impression a lot would go towards housing, do you concur?

I can't claim to know a ton about the specifics but my understanding is yes to the first question. There's some information here. Sounds like housing and supporting affected local businesses will be key focuses. 


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