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Today's Philosophical Question: Can we even recognize good baseball anymore?

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#21 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 06:38 PM

Make hardnosed decisions on Colabello and Florimon and Fryer. I would rather see Ortiz, Rohlfing, Romero get a looksee than AAAA guys that shouldn't be around, except as minor league fodder, in 2015.

 

I think I know where you are going with this, but I don't think cutting any of these guys here would be a hard nosed decision, per se. For some of us, the one big organizational decision we are waiting on is the manager and coaches. If the Twins are privately courting Redmond or Mientkiewicz or some other symbol of the good ol' days, then I'd rather just keep Gardy in the role. But I'd prefer to see a completely new staff altogether. I could make an exception for Molly. 

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#22 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 06:45 PM

And expectations might be different, which is another part of my premise:That fans are ok with the team being mediocre, and unless that changes, they will not be good.

By many accounts, including my own, the Twins have drawn fairly well at times this month. It might be a residual "All Star Game" bump, or it may be that many of us underestimate the Twins drawing power, that going to Target Field on a summer night and cheering the team is still a fun thing to do.

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#23 Seth Stohs

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 07:13 PM

Brock, you have to realize that with Thrylos, if you don't win the World Series, you had a bad year. So yeah, all those 90 win seasons were meaningless, I guess.

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#24 JB_Iowa

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 07:28 PM

Brock, you have to realize that with Thrylos, if you don't win the World Series, you had a bad year. So yeah, all those 90 win seasons were meaningless, I guess.

 

Failure to advance in the playoffs is FAILURE.

 

We're not talking mixed results here -- we are talking a failure to EVER advance in the playoffs after 2002,  And frankly, it wasn't even close.

 

So, yes, all those playoff losses have a pretty negative impact on the "happy effect" of the regular season victories.

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#25 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 07:34 PM

I think that you are making my point :)

 

here are a bunch of synonyms for the term. 

 

How about we just go with the actual definition of the word instead?

 

mediocre: of only ordinary or moderate quality; neither good nor bad; barely adequate.

 

An average winning percentage of .550 does not qualify as "mediocre", as there are probably only 3-4 teams that have a better winning percentage over that time.

 

Not even close to mediocre. You keep using that word and it's wrong. every. time.

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#26 Thrylos

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 07:40 PM

Brock, you have to realize that with Thrylos, if you don't win the World Series, you had a bad year. So yeah, all those 90 win seasons were meaningless, I guess.

 

Not quite.I'd take an occasional appearance to the World Series ;)

 

Frankly... being there in both '87 & '91 and in what followed after the strike and the contraction conversation and the resurrection in the 00s, the biggest disappointment was the loss in the second game of the ALCS in the Dome to the Angels in 2002.The Twins just never lost in the post-season at home.That just did not happen (well, the lost in the previous series to OAK, but the swept them away so that was more of a back of the mind thing.) And then they went to Disneyland and went belly up pretty much.And the same every other post season that followed the last decade.

 

Hard to point it out, but this team just does not have the attitude that the teams of the MacPhail era had, which mainly was a. hating losing and b. hating losing at home even more.

 

And this shows.And this could pretty much be the difference between a good and a mediocre team.

 

And, of course, I'd love to see them win it all (again.) But I'd love to see perspective and sense in them before that and a hate of losing.I am probably one of the few people that this rubbed the wrong way, but I really found the way that this club celebrated and commemorated Gardenhire's personal 1000th win among the fourth miserable team season in a row, a tad tacky, disconcerting andembarrassing.

 

But it is just me likely.

 

And it is not winning World Series....

 

It is just wanting to win, hating losing and not being happy and complacent and celebrating losing.  

Edited by Thrylos, 21 August 2014 - 07:41 PM.

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#27 TheLeviathan

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 08:44 PM

I would suggest that we could agree some things are better and still be fooling ourselves about how far away from "good" we still are.

 

It's pretty far and probably a considerable time away yet.

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#28 birdwatcher

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 09:16 PM

I think this post answers the OP question nicely.No, we as fans can not separate improvement from good baseball.
 

Perhaps it's a question of what one views as "good baseball".  If one defines things pretty much as all bad because of a poor W-L record, or a shabby team ERA, fine. It's bad baseball. There's not a member on TD that thinks our team ERA is good. To be blunt, I find it tiresome to be bludgeoned by one recital of numbers after another to demonstrate just how bad things are.

 

I puttered around my garden today, listening to the game. At the end of the game, we were in last place, about 13 games below .500, with the world's worst team ERA in the history of mankind I think. Vargas homers, Arcia scoots home from first on a Plouffe double, and Hughes excels. But who gives a crap about that? Just look at the numbers. We're at risk of a 4th straight 90 loss....

 

Geez. God, that was good baseball today. :)

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#29 TheLeviathan

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 09:19 PM

Perhaps it's a question of what one views as "good baseball".  If one defines things pretty much as all bad because of a poor W-L record, or a shabby team ERA, fine. It's bad baseball. There's not a member on TD that thinks our team ERA is good. To be blunt, I find it tiresome to be bludgeoned by one recital of numbers after another to demonstrate just how bad things are.

 

I puttered around my garden today, listening to the game. At the end of the game, we were in last place, about 13 games below .500, with the world's worst team ERA in the history of mankind I think. Vargas homers, Arcia scoots home from first on a Plouffe double, and Hughes excels. But who gives a crap about that? Just look at the numbers. We're at risk of a 4th straight 90 loss....

 

Geez. God, that was good baseball today. :)

 

Picking out a few nice trees to admire doesn't mean the forest isn't in tough shape.  You're choosing to talk about isolated players and the focus of the question is the team.

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#30 birdwatcher

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 09:53 PM

I would suggest that we could agree some things are better and still be fooling ourselves about how far away from "good" we still are.

 

It's pretty far and probably a considerable time away yet.

Most of the time when I find myself at odds perspective-wise with those of you who tend towards being less optimistic than I am, it's a function of these two things: 1) just how much better things are, and 2) just how far away from "good" we are.

 

This is year #3 of the rebuild. I have vivid recollections of the nature of the comments on TD from just two years ago, and I'm 100% certain that we're much much closer to being "good" than a vast majority of commenters were predicting back then. One frequent contributor described the glass as not half-empty, but shattered on the floor. Another was constantly describing the farm system as having zero legit prospects. This was not two years ago. And I really think the general consensus on TD is still a bit pessimistic. And maybe I'm a bit overly optimistic, but my experience tells me my optimism is well-founded and based on realistic insights.

 

Levi, you and I most likely disagree on how far we are from being "good".  I predicted 74 wins for 2014, .500 in 2015, and "good" by 2016. Well, good if we avoid Thrylos's standards. :). How far apart are we?


#31 TheLeviathan

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 09:59 PM

I'm 100% certain that we're much much closer to being "good" than a vast majority of commenters were predicting back then. 

 

Levi, you and I most likely disagree on how far we are from being "good".  I predicted 74 wins for 2014, .500 in 2015, and "good" by 2016. Well, good if we avoid Thrylos's standards. :). How far apart are we?

 

Depends, the range of predictions for contention have varied wildly.  Most people weren't expecting us to be this far away from the playoffs entering 2015, so I would take issue with that first quoted part.

 

As for the other, I think 2016 is the soonest we flirt with .500 simply because I'm a realist about the time prospects need to be good to great players.  And that's ok, people seem to be so willing to preach patience about kids coming up through the minors but that patience evaporates the second they hit the majors.

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#32 birdwatcher

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 10:04 PM

Picking out a few nice trees to admire doesn't mean the forest isn't in tough shape.  You're choosing to talk about isolated players and the focus of the question is the team.

That's simply not true, Levi. I'm picking out a whole friggin' slew of trees. Hughes, Gibson, Perkins, Arcia, Nolasco, About a dozen seriously talented bullpen arms that are practically interchangeable between AAA and MLB, such as Oliveros, Tonkin; Santana, Vargas, Sano, Buxton; Dozier, Mauer, Meyer, May... I could go on, listing even more "trees" that are likely to at least emerge as contributors in 2015.

 

This is more than a few trees, so let's talk about this forest that's in such tough shape. 

 

You may be right about 2015 being a bit early for .500. I may be thinking a tad wishfully on that.

Edited by birdwatcher, 21 August 2014 - 10:10 PM.


#33 birdwatcher

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 10:17 PM

One last point: the Sano/Buxton injuries have profoundly affected the timetable. Had they been healthy this year, the more optimistic view would have been much more "realistic".  Tough break for all.


#34 TheLeviathan

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 10:18 PM

This is more than a few trees, so let's talk about this forest that's in such tough shape. 

 

Sure, Mauer has been uninspiring, many of those names are enormous regression risks for future seasons, Hicks has been a miserable failure thus far, Arcia is still working through his issues, Nolasco has been terrible, and there is the pile of flops the team has since cut bait with that contributed much to this season.

 

Again, there is reason for hope because there has been roster turnover for the better.  I've said before I think we're starting to see the climb uphill beginning just based on the fact that we've shed a lot of the 30+ filler.  But that climb uphill is still going to include a lot of bad baseball on the way to developing these kids for the biggest jump.  The question posed here in this thread is about the quality of baseball being played by the team and this season has not been "good" by many measures.

 

I would caution against confusing the idea of increasing hope with increasing quality of play.  At some point they will intersect, but it ain't now.

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#35 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 11:12 PM

That's simply not true, Levi. I'm picking out a whole friggin' slew of trees. Hughes, Gibson, Perkins, Arcia, Nolasco, About a dozen seriously talented bullpen arms that are practically interchangeable between AAA and MLB, such as Oliveros, Tonkin; Santana, Vargas, Sano, Buxton; Dozier, Mauer, Meyer, May... I could go on, listing even more "trees" that are likely to at least emerge as contributors in 2015.

I side with you on this, birdwatcher, but if we really have this good amount of talent, then how can we be 15 games under .500 and in last flippin' place!!!

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Game and an old timer's game. - Vin Scully


#36 Paul Pleiss

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 11:16 PM

Im with Thrylos, which happens occasionally, bad baseball is better than no baseball. At least this team didn't get contracted.

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#37 Oxtung

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 12:04 AM

Birdwatcher I think you're arguing a strawman in part.I think everybody agrees that there are positive signs for the future.I think everybody agrees that this team is better to watch and more enjoyable than previous iterations.I think everybody agrees that next year should hopefully be better and the following year even more so.That said the point is that even though things are better there is a long way to go still.So while there is hope we are still way below .500, have a terrible starting rotation currently and are at best mediocre on offense. 

 

Hope and enjoyment? Yes.A long ways to go still to make the playoffs?Yes.


#38 Thegrin

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 04:17 AM

Managers and coaches are always telling their players to "focus", "relax" and "have fun". 

I think this thread needs to "focus", "relax" and "have fun".:)

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#39 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 06:45 AM

I think it's hard to refute that the Twins have a long way to go... Of course, in baseball, sometimes that "long way to go" happens in a hurry. Sometimes it doesn't happen at all.

 

The positives are that the Twins now have a handful of under-25 hitters who are performing well above average... And the best part is that only Arcia was a top prospect, which is pretty amazing.

 

The Twins went from having an old, broken-down lineup to sporting a lineup last night with only two guys in their 30s, neither of them older than 31. And the team is no worse in the short-term for it, as Vargas and a healthy Arcia have been stinging the ball and the old man of the bunch, Joe Mauer, looks like good ol' Joe Mauer again.

 

Lots of positives on this team, even if the win-loss difference is small. They could start contending next year or they could start contending in 2017. Hard to say and a lot depends on free agency and a multitude of variables we cannot predict right now.

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#40 spycake

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 09:20 AM

As a team...were getting there. 

 

plus hitters:

Santana

Plouffe

Escobar

Dozier

Suzuki

Vargas

 

hitters who should be plus next year:

Mauer

Arcia

 

That's solid potential there plus Sano and Buxton on the way we hope

 

Rotation:

Hughes

Gibson

 

Should be alright:

Nolasco

Millone

Meyer when he gets up here.

 

Pino and Swarzak makes a sold 6th starter

 

The whole bullpen has been pretty solid.Burton had a down season but overall if he's the worst that's not bad.

This is the kind of sentiment we are discussing, I think.  We're better than we were last year, but I don't feel we have 8 "plus" players in our current lineup, nor is our rotation as strong as this suggests.

 

Our best guys on the MLB club right now are mostly average or slightly above performers, some with small samples (Vargas!), and some of the best performers are more likely to regress a bit rather than improve further (Suzuki, Escobar, Santana, Hughes). Few seem to have immediate "plus" potential either, due to age or performance history.  And we still have a few big holes (LF, at least 1-2 rotation spots).

 

If "getting there" means "getting close to contention" I don't think we are that close.  Our team profile fits our current record pretty well, and we don't seem constructed like a team poised for quick breakthrough in 2015.  Maybe 2016, if Buxton/Sano/Meyer/Berrios get/stay healthy next year.

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