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MLB.com report on instructional league prospects

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 11:30 AM
In case you haven't seen it, mlb.com has published an article on the prospects at instructional league camp and their progress.   ht...
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2020 MLB (non-Twins) Postseason Discussion Thread

Other Baseball Today, 09:08 AM
Feel free to chime in here about any of the (non-Twins) 2020 MLB postseason games!
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Nelson Cruz wants 2 years

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:12 AM
https://www.mlbtrade...-year-deal.html
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MLB Sees Local TV And Streaming Viewership Up Over 4% For...

Other Baseball Yesterday, 09:08 PM
Twins local viewership up 9%.   Link to the article at Forbes:   https://www.forbes.c...0/#36bd03b33dac
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Re-Load vs. Re-Tool vs. Re-Build for 2021

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 08:14 AM
The Twins certainly have options this winter now that the core has been here long enough to make some tough calls. Which is the best rout...
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Recent Blogs


Quicksand

You're playing.
And you think everything is going fine.
But then one thing goes wrong.
And then another.
And another.
And you try to fight back
but the harder you fight
the deeper you sink
til you can't move.
You can't breathe.
Cuz you're in over your head
like quicksand.

- Quicksand by Shane Falco ;)
As I write this, the weather is changing. The temperature is dropping. A gray cloud rolls through downtown. The wind is positively whipping.

I don’t have an answer for that. I cannot explain why, every year on the day my team gets eliminated from the postseason, the weather changes. I expect you think it’s my imagination. Go ahead and look up the meteorological record for every elimination game in 2004 and 2006 and 2009 and 2010 and 2017 and 2019 and now 2020. I don’t need to. I know what happened. I felt it.

I also don’t have any answers about what happened the last two days at Target Field. Or about 0-18. Or the helplessness I have felt at the end of the postseason each year since 2004.

We will all try. We will identify targets for our pain: the players, the managers, the umpires. But targets are not answers, and the truth is that the struggle was bigger than a couple of plays or players. It surrounded the team. One thing goes wrong and then another and another, and deeper into the quicksand we sink.

This is the reality, and it’s a reality that anyone familiar with believing, investing, trying, risking… learns. Our culture – especially masculine culture - denigrates those who lose, tells you that you should never accept it. But combatants will tell you otherwise: losing is a part of the game. Nobody lasts long if they can’t find their way past it, around it, over it. Above it?

Plus, in truth, while this one hurt, it didn’t hurt as much as 2004 or 2006. The late start and season’s brevity absolutely hurt our team, but it helped the fan base stay less invested. So did the modified playoff format, which sort of ripped the Band-Aid off quickly. Still, it means the Twins wasted one of the best rosters they had ever assembled.

Or was it? It looked like it last March. But the two-game sweep reflected the same strengths and weaknesses we saw over the 60-game season. This team never got its supposed high-powered offense rolling. They ended the season ranked 19th in MLB in runs scored. And now the front office will need to find answers. Players regressed. Players broke down. Perhaps some players just aren’t going to be who we thought they were.

Health was also an issue, and worse, it was last year too. For two years, the organization and especially the manager have emphasized rest and recuperation and been careful about over-extending players. And both years, come the end of September, the team has limped into the postseason with a roster full of underperforming dinged-up players.

Also, now questions will be raised whether being the best overall team for 162 games is really that important. For the second year in a row, a 100-win pace team was not only swept out of the postseason, but didn’t really give a fight. Last year, pitching let the team down. This year, hitting tanked. Maybe the depth that wins games in the summer’s marathon doesn’t mean as much in the postseason. I mean, Dusty Baker ended the Twins season using just six pitchers, and not all of them were particularly good.

Finally, all of those questions must be answered while the really big questions remain unanswered. “Will there be a season?” “How many games?” “Versus whom?” “Will there be minor leagues?”

The Twins faces a daunting task far earlier than they - or we - had hoped. I doubt they believe they have any of those answers right now.

I know I don’t. I can’t even tell you what happened to this season’s promise. Or how to deal with loss. Or why the weather is changing, right on schedule, from summer to fall.

Again.

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24 Comments

John, beautifully put--you echo Bart Giamatti's "The Green Fields of the Mind" in your piece, and that's high praise. 

 

"The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone."

 

Here's to a mild winter and a couple of free agent signings to fill us with hope again.

    • John Bonnes, notoriousgod71, mikelink45 and 3 others like this
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VivaBomboRivera!
Oct 01 2020 02:41 AM

I suppose hope will be resurrected about the time the snow flies...

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Richard Swerdlick
Oct 01 2020 03:14 AM

Bring on the Hot Stove League!!!

    • Utah Twins Fan likes this
That was a beautifully written recap of the feelings that a lot of us are likely having right now. For now I still have hope…for next year…and ready to be done with 2020. Pretty sure there are still a few breaking curves left for us this year though. Time to start dreaming on a 2021 season with minor league ball and fans in the stand. It’s a nice dream/hope.
    • John Bonnes, chinmusic and BeatTheRich like this
Nil
Reposting this from an earlier comment, because apparently the sands of time imagery is speaking to us all...

I started watching this team while I was a teenager in 2002, after I'd moved to Minnesota the summer before high school and had nothing else to do. They went to the ALCS that year and had no real business being there and they captured my imagination. I am now in my mid-30s and I have been following them ever since. Grown up, in the middle of a career, I have children, a house. My life progresses and yet this Twins team does not. While everything changes around me all the time, there is one thing I can count on. The Twins will be a disappointment. They will make you wonder why you spend all your time and energy on it. But, same as every other damn year, I will watch it again the next. The seasons will pass, sun will rise and set, tides will roll in and out, and the Twins will still suck. See you all next spring.
    • TiberTwins, Hosken Bombo Disco, mrtwinsfan and 1 other like this

Nicely done.Thank you. 

 

But it is really painful to watch all the highlights from other games and see the hitters hitting - HRs yes, but also clutch singles.The energy and excitement watching these games is really catching and such a contrast to our just doing business approach. 

I appreciated Jake's comments after the game, but also got the underlying messages that he is sorry for the fans, sorry that he could not help this year, and sorry to see the organization fail again. 

 

This was the most excited I've ever been for a mlb season. I went to five ST games. Spent way too much time on Twinsdaily and the athletic. Now I'm realizing I should probably not be so attached to this team. 

It takes mental discipline to succeed in the playoffs which Rosario and Sano do not have. Donaldson's salary along with low revenues in baseball suggest the Twins will not be able to afford them going forward anyway. Bring up the young guys, Jeffers, Krilloff, Lewis, Larnach and Rooker. This will solve the salary issues. Just put them on the team and trim accordingly. I'm fine with not signing Gonzalez, trading Rosario, Sano and possibly even Buxton if we can get a kings ransom for someone that could be an MVP if he could stay healthy. I believe Donaldson signing might go down as one of our worst signings ever if his chronic calf injury's get worse. Even if they don't I'm not sure he can give us the performance we need based on his aging. Need the young guys in there to push the veterans. 

A couple gems from Jason Stark to add to our misery:

• Since the last time the Twins won a postseason game: the Cardinals have won 59 of them … the Red Sox have won 51 … the Yankees have won 47 … the Astros have won 43 … the Dodgers have won 43 … and even the Royals have won 22 of them. Wow.

• This time around, the Twins got swept in a series by an Astros team that didn’t even have a winning record during the season (29-31). And how many teams have ever done that? That would be none, of course.

Read the full report here: https://theathletic....urce=dailyemail

    • jrod23 likes this
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Matthew Trueblood
Oct 01 2020 09:50 AM

Ducked in to say what DMAC said; a lovely echo of Giamatti. That's the wonderful and awful thing about it, too: this isn't unique to the Twins, however unique certain elements of it seem to be. This is how baseball is meant to work. 

    • rukavina likes this

Crappy ending.  I remain optimistic; SP should be good, Falvine can assemble a good bullpen and there are pieces in the minors who are finally ready to contribute.

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John Bonnes
Oct 01 2020 10:29 AM

 

Nicely done.Thank you. 

 

But it is really painful to watch all the highlights from other games and see the hitters hitting - HRs yes, but also clutch singles.The energy and excitement watching these games is really catching and such a contrast to our just doing business approach. 

 

I almost invariably can't really do it. I don't watch the playoffs for awhile after the Twins are eliminated. Then, some night, I'll turn on the TC, and there will be some postseason drama that will draw me in, and then I know I'm probably back. Or mostly back. 

    • ashbury, USNMCPO, flpmagikat and 1 other like this

 

 

This was the most excited I've ever been for a mlb season. I went to five ST games. Spent way too much time on Twinsdaily and the athletic. Now I'm realizing I should probably not be so attached to this team. 

 

It's in our DNA, can't not get attached.This organization has put fans through dumpster after dumpster fire and we still continue to come back bright eyed and excited.When we break the schnide, it'll be great, but Bonnes really nailed how so many of us feel.

 

It takes mental discipline to succeed in the playoffs which Rosario and Sano do not have. Donaldson's salary along with low revenues in baseball suggest the Twins will not be able to afford them going forward anyway. Bring up the young guys, Jeffers, Krilloff, Lewis, Larnach and Rooker. This will solve the salary issues. Just put them on the team and trim accordingly. I'm fine with not signing Gonzalez, trading Rosario, Sano and possibly even Buxton if we can get a kings ransom for someone that could be an MVP if he could stay healthy. I believe Donaldson signing might go down as one of our worst signings ever if his chronic calf injury's get worse. Even if they don't I'm not sure he can give us the performance we need based on his aging. Need the young guys in there to push the veterans. 

 

What about starting Polanco at SS, and breaking Lewis in slowly?Then, when he's ready, bounce Polanco to an Eduardo Escobar utility role.

 

Last year, pitching let the team down. This year, hitting tanked.

Hitting tanked last year too. :) Not as bad as this year, but only 7 runs total in 3 games.

 

That seems to be a common theme of these exits after 2004:

 

2 runs in 2 games in 2020

7 runs in 3 games in 2019

4 runs in 1 game in 2017

7 runs in 3 games in 2010

6 runs in 3 games in 2009

7 runs in 3 games in 2006

 

That's 33 runs total in 15 games.

 

In that span, the number of times we've scored:

1 run: 5

2 runs: 5

3 runs: 2

4 runs: 3

5+ runs: never

    • Twins33, Danchat and mikelink45 like this

Great article, Thank You, People are guessing Buxton was to timid tgo get back in a batters box, after the Beaning and watching his next few at bats, Hope its FALSE in any way , But it all goes back to all the losses as a fan, a one game has never been more important to the base as it is , sAD DAY TO BE A fAN ,, WHICH WE ALL ARE!!!!!!

 

I almost invariably can't really do it. I don't watch the playoffs for awhile after the Twins are eliminated. Then, some night, I'll turn on the TC, and there will be some postseason drama that will draw me in, and then I know I'm probably back. Or mostly back. 

 

Yeah, there is a period of numbness. After spring training was shut down, and we didn't know if or when there would be any semblance of a season, I would watch large swathes of game 163 vs the Tigers in '09. One of the most remarkable games I've ever been witness to. Even though it wasn't officially the post season, it sure felt like it, and the Twins WON!

 

At some point in the coming days, I'll probably refer to that antidote once again.

 

Really good article, Mr Bonnes. I feel your pain.

 

 

The Twins, Vikings,Timberwolves and Wild need to chip in some money and send a representative down to Miami to hire a Haitian shaman to come to the Twin Cities to perform an exorcism to remove how ever many curses plague our sports teams.

    • mikelink45 likes this

 

The Twins, Vikings,Timberwolves and Wild need to chip in some money and send a representative down to Miami to hire a Haitian shaman to come to the Twin Cities to perform an exorcism to remove how ever many curses plague our sports teams.

I call it the Los Angeles curse.When I was young I would go to the Armory and auditorium to watch the Lakers.Mikan was gone, but I will never forget Elgin Baylor's rookie year.Then the Lakers were in a city without a lake and I have lost all love of NBA - it was the end of the championships - except for the Lynx - thanks to the Lynx for showing how to win with four championships.The Minneapolis Lakers won five titles so the Twin Cities can have winning teams.The Kicks and the United have zero.  Now the Vikings have zero, the Timberwolves have zero, the Wild have zero, but the Twins have two.Unfortunately the last one was 29 years ago.That means a generation or two has grown up with nothing but failure. Unless they were fans of the Saints.

As I researched past champions the question that I cannot answer is this - is it more painful to miss the off season playoffs or to fail miserable once you get there?

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tony&rodney
Oct 01 2020 05:10 PM

My first Twins experience was Game 1 in 1961. We're just fans. Our emotions surge.

The two best teams in Twins history (imo) were 1969-70. The Orioles were just better that week. I actually got to sit in box seats in front of Lou Brock in 1987 and the series was exhilarating with such a clutch team so cool under Tom Kelly. In 1991, the games teetered and shifted through a host of brilliant plays, the best World Series I ever watched and Jack Morris is in the Hall of Fame for Game 7. What a blast of baseball.

The Covid 19 Twins were very good actually but there was an aura of emptiness to their game. When the infield is playing back on the edge of the grass with the bases loaded and nobody out and the team is struggling to score, a little half swing ground ball or bunt would have been nice. Going for four on three mighty swings, not so smooth. Last summer the Twins were the Bomba Squad, this year they never picked up an identity and played lost even as they won the division. Next year is their year. Go Twins.

After the Twins won the World Series in '91 we had a friggen' blizzard. It's just Minnesota, man. Try not to read anything into it.