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  • Why I Will Watch

    Tonight The Voice of Reason™ and I went to a St. Paul Saints game. We soaked in a gorgeous Minnesota summer night, watched a bunch of kitsch and thoroughly enjoyed a game in which we had almost no emotional investment. Because it’s baseball. And it doesn’t last forever.As If A Baseball Fan Needs Reasons To Watch

    I hear Minnesota sports fans lauding the turning of the calendar page, anxious for football and the (albeit limited) hope new seasons bring. I’ll enjoy watching the Gophers and Vikings too. But I’m a baseball guy, and I can’t devise a night much better than I just had.

    So go ahead, tell me how tough it is for you to watch a Twins game right now. Or take it a step further; tell me how you won’t watch a Twins game right now. I won’t be upset. More like puzzled, because I see all kinds of things that are exciting to watch over these last six months of the season. Let’s count down the top six.


    6. Sam Deduno

    The original sin in baseball is to overestimate how much you really know. Sabermetrically and historically, Deduno doesn’t make any sense. But maybe we don’t know everything about this game just yet. I’m very excited to see how this ends.

    5. Chris Parmelee

    “Prospects” kind of get lumped together, and we’re poorer as fans for it. So let’s be clear – nobody has had a season like Parmelee is having in AAA since the Twins moved to Rochester. Not Cuddyer. Not Kubel. Not Morneau. That doesn’t mean he’s a star in the making. But I sure want to see what he can do.

    (And that includes what he can do – shudder – in right field.)

    4. Liam Hendriks & Brian Dozier

    Two guys who were rushed through AAA, brought up to the majors and predictably struggled. I’ve seen enough from both to think they’re on the right path, they just have a ways to go. I’m convinced these stories are going to have a happy ending.

    3. Denard Span & the Twins Medical Staff


    When Span is deemed unavailable for the 15th straight day, will the Twins finally feel comfortable putting him on the DL? Or perhaps they'll decide that they don’t need their medical staff any more, relying solely on the player’s self-diagnosis. When they need a second opinion they'll draw cards from the board game Operation. (The Wacky Doctor Game!)

    2. Other September Callups

    I think we’re going to be disappointed by how few additional September callups there are, but I’m hopeful we’ll get to see some pitching. I’d love to see if Esmerling Vazquez’ recent hot streak represents a breakthrough. I’d like to see if Anthony Slama and his video-game-like stats prove the organization’s brain trust wrong. I’d like to see if Deolis Guerra could have a role next year.

    1. Joe Mauer and Ben Revere

    As a Twins fan in the 70s, it wasn’t uncommon to have nothing more than a Carew batting title to root for come August. I’ll readily admit my fascination with Mauer and Revere’s longshot chances are based on that being an annual occurrence of my childhood. I’d likely be just as fascinated if they brought back the bullpen car.

    (Of course, who wouldn’t?)
    This article was originally published in blog: Why I Will Watch started by John Bonnes
    Comments 44 Comments
    1. Ultima Ratio's Avatar
      Ultima Ratio -
      Wait, wait, wait. Are you suggesting there are more than six? I'd like to read what 10-15 look like.
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      It's exciting to see if the Twins can pull together a rotation of spunk and grit from people we never heard of, and have a bullpen that doesn't wear down. If Pedro Florimon will make the most of his opportunity so we say "Brian Who?" In September we start saying -- "don't we still have Capps, Pavano, Casilla and Gray?" We watch Revere and Mauer hold string and everyone else wilts and they end one-two. Mastro ends up stealing more bases than Revere. We are sad not to see more Parmelee, but that means Doumit, Morneau and someone is playing all his positions. Rochester wins the International League and the city no longer complains about the wilting roster. And I can buy a seat for $5 to any game on a weeknight when school starts!
    1. Highabove's Avatar
      Highabove -
      I was at the Saints Game too. A good evening and a good game. It's refreshing to watch a game without worrying about Terry Ryan, Gardy, the Pohlads, the Payroll, the Medical Staff, Phill Mackey and all the other Cr#P!!
      Just pure Innocent Baseball.
    1. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
      IdahoPilgrim -
      I think you've hit upon the key - being able to separate the emotional investment in a particular club with just enjoying being at the ballpark for a game of baseball.

      I still enjoy going to Twins games because I can do that - it doesn't matter if they've sucked all season, it doesn't matter if the medical staff seems to be lost, it doesn't matter if the most recent roster move defies understanding. I can suspend all that for a space of a few hours and just enjoy a night at the ballpark.
    1. Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
      Don't Feed the Greed Guy -
      #7 Can Willingham Get on a Hot Streak and Claim the AL Home Run Crown? Adam Dunn has 36 home runs, pacing the American League. Willingham is five behind, with one fourth of the season remaining. If we can cheer on Mauer and Revere, why not the Willinghammer? Two multi-home run games and the HR race could be virtually even. It would be easier than catching Trout .

      Seriously, he would be the first Twin to lead the AL in homers since Killebrew in 1969. Is there anyone else since Killebrew that's even come close? I can't remember.
    1. Nebtwinsfan's Avatar
      Nebtwinsfan -
      Great points - I'm very interested in watching Deduno. Last night I took my kids to a Lincoln Saltdogs independent league game - just because it was a great night for baseball and there's only a few more games left. I can't tell you the name of one guy on either team but I do know that I had a great time sitting in the stands watching the game of baseball.
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      I'll be down for 4 more games before year's end, it's always a great time being at Target watching pro baseball. Really looking forward to seeing Florimon, Deduno, Parmelee (again), Hendriks going 7 or 8 and winning a game and hoping Dozier makes his way back up to see if he and Florimon can be the regular MI for this team the next few years.

      The record doesn't matter once you're there, just the atmosphere and the game, that's what it's about.
    1. dklien's Avatar
      dklien -
      Why will I watch? Because I'm a Twins fan and I love baseball. The games are only hard to watch when the Twins get down by several runs early. Even then, I can hope for a three run home run from the Hammer to get us back in the game.
      In a lost season, there are still plenty of intriguing stories to keep my interest. I love to watch the long time minor leaguers like Deduno and Carson make it to the big leagues and have success. Even though I know they won't make an impact long term, I still root for them to be able to live the dream as long as possible. Then come September I will have the young players to watch and hopefully see some promise for next year.
    1. Dave T's Avatar
      Dave T -
      It was hard to get up this morning, but I had a smile on my face. Who was that unhittable pitcher wearing Duensing's uniform? And is Florimon the shortstop or a fourth outfielder? Man, that guy can cover some ground. Hitters hit, pitchers pitched, defense played good except for one bad inning. Let's have some more of thise!
    1. Jim Crikket's Avatar
      Jim Crikket -
      Why I WON'T watch:

      The same reason I've had for years... The Twins and MLB, in their infinite wisdom, have determined that almost nobody in the state of Iowa should be ABLE to watch and thus black out the entire state from viewing over MLB.tv.

      That leaves me the options of Direct TV (which I have no interest in) or listening to audio-only over the web or smartphone. I admit that even if I have the game on, I'm not paying very close attention to it these days. The story lines you mention, John, do interest me. If I COULD watch, I probably would do so.

      What I've actually chosen NOT to do this season is drive 4.5 hours (each way) to watch Twins games in person. I didn't start out intending not to do so, but frankly the whole "cut the payroll" thing last offseason when it was so clear that this team needed rotation help pretty much sent me the message that Terry Ryan wasn't serious about putting a respectable team on the field. Given that, I didn't fell particularly inclined to spend a bunch of money on trips to support that approach.

      But this doesn't mean I'm not watching baseball. I've been to more Cedar Rapids Kernels games this summer than I have in years and their season has been even worse than the Twins (can the Angels' farm system really be this bad?).

      So, the reason I won't watch is that the Twins and MLB don't want me to watch. Whether I watch next year will depend on their blackout policy and whether I bother to make trips to watch them in person will depend on whether Terry Ryan gets serious about his roster this offseason.
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      I'll continue to watch on TV for the same reason I coached Little League baseball this year. I don't keep track of the score so much as I watch for signs that players are improving, or at least doing a good job of staying aggressive.

      Brian Dozier floundered mostly because he lost his mojo, that pro-active attitude that you are always putting pressure on them, not the other way around. His replacement, Pedro Florimon is doing a great job of pressuring the opponent with great fielding, good hitting and speedy base running. I hope to see that from Dozier when he returns...to play 2nd base. I'll call it right now: Pedro Florimon is the Twins SS until his arm falls off.

      Sam Deduno is a marvelous example of how even a "wild" pitcher can apply pressure and get wins. He absolutely requires great fielding to win, but with Florimon at SS, Casilla/Carroll at 2, and Revere in center, that's enough right there to ensure Deduno will win at least half his games. If Arcia and Hicks are in the outfield next year, the runs they produce and the defense they play will make Sam Deduno a winner most of the time.
    1. greengoblinrulz's Avatar
      greengoblinrulz -
      Ryan hinted strongly last nite about the open slots bein used for Aaron Hicks.....that enough will keep me interested
    1. Mauerzy4Prez's Avatar
      Mauerzy4Prez -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jim Crikket View Post
      Why I WON'T watch:

      The same reason I've had for years... The Twins and MLB, in their infinite wisdom, have determined that almost nobody in the state of Iowa should be ABLE to watch and thus black out the entire state from viewing over MLB.tv.

      That leaves me the options of Direct TV (which I have no interest in) or listening to audio-only over the web or smartphone. I admit that even if I have the game on, I'm not paying very close attention to it these days. The story lines you mention, John, do interest me. If I COULD watch, I probably would do so.

      What I've actually chosen NOT to do this season is drive 4.5 hours (each way) to watch Twins games in person. I didn't start out intending not to do so, but frankly the whole "cut the payroll" thing last offseason when it was so clear that this team needed rotation help pretty much sent me the message that Terry Ryan wasn't serious about putting a respectable team on the field. Given that, I didn't fell particularly inclined to spend a bunch of money on trips to support that approach.

      But this doesn't mean I'm not watching baseball. I've been to more Cedar Rapids Kernels games this summer than I have in years and their season has been even worse than the Twins (can the Angels' farm system really be this bad?).

      So, the reason I won't watch is that the Twins and MLB don't want me to watch. Whether I watch next year will depend on their blackout policy and whether I bother to make trips to watch them in person will depend on whether Terry Ryan gets serious about his roster this offseason.
      Seem like you have options (Direct TV) to watch the games and you are making the choice not to. You'd be willing to pay the $25bucks a month to watch the games online on MLB.TV, but you aren't willing to buy a satellite package that includes much much more than you can get online? I respect your freedom to chose your tv provider, but you can't have it both ways. If you don't live in MN, no matter who you use for cable/satellite, you would need to pay extra to see the Twins games. Probably around $15-25 extra per month.... which happens to be the same amount you'd pay to watch on MLB.TV (I pay for this service and get blacked out in Minnesota some times). I doubt that the MLB just blacks out the state of Iowa for no good reason, are they not a business that wants to maximize revenue in every way possible?
    1. Jim Crikket's Avatar
      Jim Crikket -
      I actually don't personally even have the Direct TV option due to not having a clear enough "view" of the satellite where I happen to live, but hey... I could always move, right? After all, why would an entertainment business want to encourage the expansion of their fan base in an adjoining state, especially when they're already raking in top dollar for their media rights? oh... wait... the Twins media rights are going for pennies on the dollar compared to other markets because their cable affiliate doesn't reach enough households. Bottom line is that the Twins have, for whatever reason, decided Iowa is not worth marketing to and for now, I guess I'm OK with that... it's not like the product they're committed to putting a product on the field that is compelling to watch anyway.
    1. Monkeypaws's Avatar
      Monkeypaws -
      Quote Originally Posted by jimbo92107 View Post
      Brian Dozier floundered mostly because he lost his mojo, that pro-active attitude that you are always putting pressure on them, not the other way around.
      Exactly - I thought Dozier looked the part of a major league ballplayer when he first came up; by the time he left he had his tail between his legs.
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      Ah, yes...the joy of outdoor baseball. Wasn't that the theme of the Twins when Target Field opened. Come and see major league baseball outdoors, enjoy the sun, the variety of food, the great looking stadium and scoreboard. When the last and current season rolled around, they didn't have a team to sell, or if they did...it was probably come see major league ball played b everyone but Kansas and they whup the Twins. There is something to be said about the baseball experience. I liked reading about the minor league trip of one of the posters and their take on the Gulf Coast Twins...no scoreboard or scorecard. No players names on uniforms, just good old baseball.
    1. Mauerzy4Prez's Avatar
      Mauerzy4Prez -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jim Crikket View Post
      I actually don't personally even have the Direct TV option due to not having a clear enough "view" of the satellite where I happen to live, but hey... I could always move, right? After all, why would an entertainment business want to encourage the expansion of their fan base in an adjoining state, especially when they're already raking in top dollar for their media rights? oh... wait... the Twins media rights are going for pennies on the dollar compared to other markets because their cable affiliate doesn't reach enough households. Bottom line is that the Twins have, for whatever reason, decided Iowa is not worth marketing to and for now, I guess I'm OK with that... it's not like the product they're committed to putting a product on the field that is compelling to watch anyway.
      - That is too bad that you don't have a clear enough satellite view for direct tv... that is why I use Comcast... or Xfinity now I guess?

      - I guess I just have a hard time believe the MLB would just pass on expanding their fan base and incrementally driving higher revenues for no good reason. Are you suggesting that the Twins are asking for too much money for their Media rights? Or that Fox Sports doesn't reach enough households to maximize their value?

      - Yes they do suck, and to the general public are not very compelling to watch. But I think the whole point of this thread is to examine why the true baseball fans still do watch. I absolutely love baseball, and the Twins, and even though losing is never fun, I still watch every game, DVR the afternoon/late night games, and am a season ticket holder. These individual story lines during a down year are what makes being a Twins fan still enjoyable.
    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      I'm not sure which is worse living in Iowa or being able to watch the Twins.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      I think the idea of giving up on Dozier is crazy, but in late-June/early-July, I was saying that I thought that Dozier would be starting at 2B with Florimon at SS next year. People said I was crazy. Maybe I am, but Florimon's defense is impressive. That said... if anyone thinks he'll hit .333, it's not going to happen. .233 is a better likelihood.
    1. Ultima Ratio's Avatar
      Ultima Ratio -
      Crikket: Isn't the worst part of the TV coverage (lack thereof) in Iowa that even on nationally televised games (espn i.e.) Iowa is blacked out? The situation is an outrage. I long for the day that tv stations will be a la carte, like iTunes. This is one area where congress should get involved to clean up the mlb/cable monopolies and tv station access.
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