2012,Twins,lack,heart?,does,compared,2002,squad,says,MinnPostcoms,Pat,Borzi,efforts,remind,fans,recent,glory,days

Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.

The Store

Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

Photo

Do the 2012 Twins lack heart?

  • Please log in to reply
61 replies to this topic

#1 Parker Hageman

Parker Hageman

    Owner

  • Administrators
  • 1,568 posts

Posted 10 April 2012 - 10:05 AM

It does compared to the 2002 squad says MinnPost.com's Pat Borzi.

In efforts to remind fans of the recent glory days, the Twins organization had brought several members of the '02 squad - aka "The Get To Know 'Em Boys" - into the home opener to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. In reminiscing about that era, Borzi accuses the current Twins of lacking the same hustle, grit, intensity, etc, etc, as the previous model.

Borzi does give an in-game example of what he means by lacking hustle on the Twins part:


The slow-footed Albert Pujols, rarely known for hustling as a Cardinal, lumbered from first to third in the first inning because center fielder Denard Span – normally one of the most aggressive Twins – chased a Kendrick Morales single to his left as if it had a lit fuse. Two runs followed.


Based on that play, Mientkiewicz made this comment:


“We would first-and-third you to death,” said Mientkiewicz, the old first baseman and a rookie hitting coach in the Dodgers system. “I hear that in my sleep sometimes.”


The '02 club hustled like no other. At least that is what we hear all the time. They took third base constantly and at every opportunity - much better than "the heavily left-handed slugging team, perfect for the Metrodome but ill-suited to the unfriendly winds of Target Field." Those lumbering lugs couldn't get to third base from first even if the batter hit a triple. Or, wait...

According to Baseball-Reference.com's base-running database, the 2011 team - the Twins who wore concrete shoes when running the bases - actually excelled at take third base on singles better than the '02 club did. In 2002, the Twins had a runner on first base 310 times when a single was hit and 92 times that runner scampered to third (29.6%). Meanwhile, last year's team had a runner on first 305 times when a single was hit and advanced to third 100 times, the most in the AL (32.7%). What's more is that the 2011 team was also superior at taking the extra base in general, moving up a bag 44% of the time (the 2nd highest in AL) versus 39% of the time in '02 (fifth from the bottom). The '11 team also stole more bases than that club as well.

Obviously, there are other ways to try to quantify hustle -- such as playing defense, which the 2011 club certainly didn't do.
With all the descriptives that have applied to the 2002 team (scrappy, gritty, piranha), it's easy to think that they were far better at "hustling", like going first-to-third, than the more late model teams. But, of course, it would help to check to see if that was true.

Without running an EKG, it's hard to determine if what Borzi is saying is true - you need access of that action because there are no stats that measures heart. Perhaps this is his interpretation based on some occasional on-field lapses combined with clubhouse observations - that the '02 clubhouse was more "loosey-goosey" and played more practical jokes and had more tickle fights than the environment of the modern-day Twins. And because the current locker room is not nearly as "fun-loving" as the days of Hunter and company, this '12 team lacks heart.

What do you think? Does the 2012 squad lack "heart"?

#2 gunnarthor

gunnarthor

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 3,076 posts

Posted 10 April 2012 - 10:08 AM

I do think there is a lifelessness to the Twins the last few years but is that real or just my impression from watching a losing team? I have no idea. I do know the 2002 team was better than this years team so I suspect they did a lot of things - hit, pitch, defend, intangibles etc - better. The big perception problem is probably Mauer. Whether it's true or not, I have no idea. But the Mauer that dove at Brett Gardner and kept visiting pitchers to calm them down doesn't seem to be as active. Again, I have no idea if it's true or just a perception you get from watching a bad team and a great player struggle for so long. -shrug-

#3 JB_Iowa

JB_Iowa

    Cynical Oldie

  • Members
  • 4,146 posts
  • LocationNorthwest Iowa

Posted 10 April 2012 - 10:09 AM

I think it is too early to know. We are very much still in "get to know them" mode with many of these players. And despite ST, I suspect that they are in "get to know them" mode with each other. It takes awhile for any group of people to gel with each other. I'm anxious to see if any leadership emerges and to see what type of persona the team develops. Right now I think we have a group with many individual concerns -- health for Mauer, Morneau and Span; a new environment and teammates for Carroll, Doumit and Willingham; "fitting in" and staying on the team for younger players. The one area where they should have been comfortable (except for how Marquis fit in) was SP but that's been blown to smithereens with Baker's situation and Hendriks' food poisoning. I wonder if we'll ever see much high spiritedness from a team where Joe Mauer is the star. There was a comment from one of the younger players the other day (may have been Brian Duensing) about Mauer's leadership -- how hard he worked and what a great example it was for younger players. Are they also taking their cues about cool professionalism from Mauer? That would seemingly squelch quite a few high spirits. And when you have a player with attitude (e.g. Valencia), it does seem like the Twins try to put the brakes on. I know that high spirits & attitude don't equate with heart. I continue to hope that Morneau keeps improving (even if he stays at DH). He sets a little different tone than Mauer.

Edited by JB_Iowa, 10 April 2012 - 11:13 AM.


#4 whydidnt

whydidnt

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 390 posts

Posted 10 April 2012 - 10:09 AM

It's way too early to say. I am disappointed in what I see as a lack of "fire" chasing/diving for balls, etc. so far, but it's early and who really knows if the guy didn't try, or just made a bad play? We all saw Pavano smashing the water cooler last year after the defense repeatedly let him down. Definitely no lack of fire from him, but could use about 5-6 more MPH on his fastball! I think you can look at the top 3 in the lineup and ask if they are all too laid back, though. Do you want/need guys with a little edge in those spots? It's hard to define, but it also seems to me that Span, Carroll and Mauer all have a relaxed approach and maybe one of those guys needs to be the fire starter.

#5 Harrison Greeley III

Harrison Greeley III

    Member

  • Members
  • 77 posts

Posted 10 April 2012 - 10:10 AM

The 2012 Twins can't 'first to third' anyone to death when no one is getting on first.

#6 Paul

Paul

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 154 posts

Posted 10 April 2012 - 10:31 AM

...What do you think? Does the 2012 squad lack "heart"?


Good question. Especially if you define "heart" as "a burning desire to win that motivates you to do whatever is possible to that end". It was apparent that management lost the clubhouse last year. I haven't seen a game this year (with the grandkids there's plenty of other baseball in my life to love) but, from what I've heard, I'm not sure they've regained it yet.

#7 Klochner

Klochner

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 12 posts

Posted 10 April 2012 - 11:03 AM

It's worth noting that Pujols though apparently "not known for hustle" has always been very good at taking the extra base. His numbers going first to third on a single and his extra bases taken percentages have generally been well above league average. The MinnPost article just looks like a reactionary trying to stir the pot after a slow start.

#8 Seth Stohs

Seth Stohs

    Owner

  • Administrators
  • 8,182 posts

Posted 10 April 2012 - 11:03 AM

I always struggle when someone says that someone "lacks heart" or is "playing without energy." What does it mean? Is it a negative? First, you can't ever measure someone's heart visibly. Josh Willingham hustles, but he's slow, so it may not always look like it. Joe Mauer is about as calm as it gets, and often that is a good thing. I know everyone wants him to turn into something he isn't, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have heart. I'd like to see more aggressiveness, but I don't want guys thrown out on the bases making dumb decisions.

#9 Seth Stohs

Seth Stohs

    Owner

  • Administrators
  • 8,182 posts

Posted 10 April 2012 - 11:04 AM

The MinnPost article just looks like a reactionary trying to stir the pot after a slow start.


Correct. That's exactly what it is attempting.

#10 Thrylos

Thrylos

    Yes

  • Members
  • 4,553 posts
  • LocationLehigh Valley, PA, USA
  • Twitter: thrylos98

Posted 10 April 2012 - 11:32 AM

I would always attribute any collective team issues or percieved issues (like 'lack of heart') to the manager. If there is an issue he is responsible to solve it as a leader. If he cannot solve it, some one else can.
-----
Blogging Twins since 2007 at The Tenth Inning Stretch
http://tenthinningst...h.blogspot.com/
twitter: @thrylos98

#11 Shane Wahl

Shane Wahl

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 4,155 posts

Posted 10 April 2012 - 12:05 PM

Quite funny about impressions and "seeing eye" evaluations not matching reality as the statistics show. Once again.

#12 Seth Stohs

Seth Stohs

    Owner

  • Administrators
  • 8,182 posts

Posted 10 April 2012 - 12:08 PM

I would always attribute any collective team issues or percieved issues (like 'lack of heart') to the manager. If there is an issue he is responsible to solve it as a leader. If he cannot solve it, some one else can.


What can the manager do about a perception... especially if the perception is false?

#13 Shane Wahl

Shane Wahl

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 4,155 posts

Posted 10 April 2012 - 12:08 PM

I wonder how many Wins Above Replacement "hustle" and "grit" produce . . .

#14 Shane Wahl

Shane Wahl

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 4,155 posts

Posted 10 April 2012 - 12:10 PM

Some people are acting at though this team is full of Carmelo Anthonys . . .

#15 TwinsFan01

TwinsFan01

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 13 posts

Posted 10 April 2012 - 12:23 PM

This fan's disappointment is less with the 0-4 start than it is with how the team seems to have picked up mentally and emotionally right where they left off last Sept. After finishing that dismal season with nearly 100 losses I somehow expected them to show up this year with a little more fire, a little energy right out of the gate - something to suggest they expect better of themselves for 2012. Sadly, despite a few new names & faces, it appears to be the exact same team - leading me to expect nothing more than a re-do of 2011.

#16 Shane Wahl

Shane Wahl

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 4,155 posts

Posted 10 April 2012 - 12:32 PM

How does anyone know how they are "mentally and emotionally" and what is "fire"? Are they supposed to throw helmets, break coolers, what?

#17 twinsnorth49

twinsnorth49

    Moderately Moderate

  • Twins Mods
  • 3,975 posts

Posted 10 April 2012 - 12:38 PM

How does anyone know how they are "mentally and emotionally" and what is "fire"? Are they supposed to throw helmets, break coolers, what?


Exactly,personally I'd rather have the team keep their cool and not act like a bunch of hot headed, petulant children just because things aren't going their way. These guys are professional athletes, you don't get this far without having a competitive fire, it just doesn't work that way.

#18 TwinsFan01

TwinsFan01

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 13 posts

Posted 10 April 2012 - 12:48 PM

I'm not looking for any flying helmets. But I'd like to see a smile once in a while, a spring in their step - something in their faces or their demeanor that suggests they're happy to be there and have at least a little confidence that they might be able to pull off a win in the major leagues. They play baseball for a living, for cryin' out loud - every little leaguer's dream. But these Twins don't look like they have much fun doing it. JMO.

#19 Shane Wahl

Shane Wahl

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 4,155 posts

Posted 10 April 2012 - 12:53 PM

I'm not looking for any flying helmets. But I'd like to see a smile once in a while, a spring in their step - something in their faces or their demeanor that suggests they're happy to be there and have at least a little confidence that they might be able to pull off a win in the major leagues. They play baseball for a living, for cryin' out loud - every little leaguer's dream. But these Twins don't look like they have much fun doing it. JMO.


Yesterday, Mauer and the foolishly-maligned-by-some-silly-Twins-"fans" Hunter sharing a laugh. Valencia fielded a ground ball in fall territory and made Joe jump high at first to catch it and then smiled over at him . . .

#20 Teflon

Teflon

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 247 posts

Posted 10 April 2012 - 12:56 PM

I always struggle when someone says that someone "lacks heart" or is "playing without energy." What does it mean? Is it a negative? First, you can't ever measure someone's heart visibly. Josh Willingham hustles, but he's slow, so it may not always look like it.


Exactly. A better question for Borzi might be whether the 2000 Twins had "heart." A lot of the same players as 2002 - but a W-L record comparable to the 2011 team. It looks like "heart" might be more a by-product of winning than winning is of "heart."

#21 WYTwinsFan

WYTwinsFan

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 12 posts

Posted 10 April 2012 - 12:59 PM

I think "heart" is something that winning teams have and losing teams don't. That being said, I think it's a chicken or the egg argument. Do teams that lack heart lose or does losing cause lack of heart? Personally, I think that winning is fun so if they start winning, they'll look a lot more lively.

#22 Shane Wahl

Shane Wahl

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 4,155 posts

Posted 10 April 2012 - 01:02 PM

Didn't that 2002 team subsequently lose to the Yankees in the next two seasons in the playoffs. Maybe they weren't "cowering" though. That's it. This Borzi article is almost garbage. He is just saying stuff and doesn't bother to make sure it is accurate at all.

#23 Riverbrian

Riverbrian

    Goofy Moderator

  • Twins Mods
  • 10,161 posts
  • LocationGrand Forks

Posted 10 April 2012 - 01:09 PM

How does anyone know how they are "mentally and emotionally" and what is "fire"? Are they supposed to throw helmets, break coolers, what?


Here's an example. Not being ready for every pitch. Players can lose focus in long innings. It's pitch after pitch of standing there waiting for the ball to come your way. (this is another reason for the pitch to contact phiolosophy). After awhile you get off your toes and lose that every pitch focus. Once that happens the ball comes screaming at you and you have to compose quickly. Example of that... Danny Velencia Saturday 4th inning.

It can also be as simple as moving your feet slightly to get centered on the ball instead of being content for a backhand reach. It can be the diving catch... The running into walls. The discipline of not swinging at the first pitch slider out of the zone. The taking pride in grounding out to 2B with a runner on second and no outs instead of swinging for the fences. These are all examples of mental focus.

Its many things. The bottom line is... When a team starts losing... The fundamentals erode. The discipline to perform the little things erode. When players start to feel entitled... Like they have a job locked up... These things can erode.

Your team leaders have to lead. If they don't... you need new leaders. If players play like these things matter it can rub off on the next player. If you have players that are immune to infectious play(Delmon Young) get rid of them.

In the end... This is how teams get on a roll and get off of a role. It transfers from the plate to the field to the mound to the stands to the clubhouse guy who will wash and dry the jerseys with more energy. It also transfers to the manager who are also human and after awhile of uninspired play. The manager will stop worrying about if Velencia O-layed a ball at 3b because the backup cant hit and he will probably O-lay it as well. It's a lot of things and I'm not seeing a lot of fire with this club since PUNTO left.

Since PUNTO left... I crack me up!

#24 Shane Wahl

Shane Wahl

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 4,155 posts

Posted 10 April 2012 - 01:16 PM

Here's an example. Not being ready for every pitch. Players can lose focus in long innings. It's pitch after pitch of standing there waiting for the ball to come your way. (this is another reason for the pitch to contact phiolosophy). After awhile you get off your toes and lose that every pitch focus. Once that happens the ball comes screaming at you and you have to compose quickly. Example of that... Danny Velencia Saturday 4th inning.

It can also be as simple as moving your feet slightly to get centered on the ball instead of being content for a backhand reach. It can be the diving catch... The running into walls. The discipline of not swinging at the first pitch slider out of the zone. The taking pride in grounding out to 2B with a runner on second and no outs instead of swinging for the fences. These are all examples of mental focus.

Its many things. The bottom line is... When a team starts losing... The fundamentals erode. The discipline to perform the little things erode. When players start to feel entitled... Like they have a job locked up... These things can erode.

Your team leaders have to lead. If they don't... you need new leaders. If players play like these things matter it can rub off on the next player. If you have players that are immune to infectious play(Delmon Young) get rid of them.

In the end... This is how teams get on a roll and get off of a role. It transfers from the plate to the field to the mound to the stands to the clubhouse guy who will wash and dry the jerseys with more energy. It also transfers to the manager who are also human and after awhile of uninspired play. The manager will stop worrying about if Velencia O-layed a ball at 3b because the backup cant hit and he will probably O-lay it as well. It's a lot of things and I'm not seeing a lot of fire with this club since PUNTO left.

Since PUNTO left... I crack me up!


Thanks for actually providing a thoughtful answer. It is true that losing brings with it a lack of passion sometimes, but one would still think that even if the team is losing players have individual pride about their play. Maybe I can see some guys who don't "have their heads in the game." I saw that some last year, but not so much this year. All players are susceptible to losing focus in long innings, not just Twins players.

#25 Riverbrian

Riverbrian

    Goofy Moderator

  • Twins Mods
  • 10,161 posts
  • LocationGrand Forks

Posted 10 April 2012 - 01:19 PM

It's caring about the next pitch after a double play was botched. It's not throwing the ball over the middle of the plate because the ump didn't give you the corner. Watch the game long enough and you can see it and it doesn't show up in stats to be easily measured. Baseball is a slow game. Yogi Berra said it perfectly... "Baseball is 90 percent mental... The other half is physical".

#26 twinsnorth49

twinsnorth49

    Moderately Moderate

  • Twins Mods
  • 3,975 posts

Posted 10 April 2012 - 02:21 PM

Here's an example. Not being ready for every pitch. Players can lose focus in long innings. It's pitch after pitch of standing there waiting for the ball to come your way. (this is another reason for the pitch to contact phiolosophy). After awhile you get off your toes and lose that every pitch focus. Once that happens the ball comes screaming at you and you have to compose quickly. Example of that... Danny Velencia Saturday 4th inning.

It can also be as simple as moving your feet slightly to get centered on the ball instead of being content for a backhand reach. It can be the diving catch... The running into walls. The discipline of not swinging at the first pitch slider out of the zone. The taking pride in grounding out to 2B with a runner on second and no outs instead of swinging for the fences. These are all examples of mental focus.

Its many things. The bottom line is... When a team starts losing... The fundamentals erode. The discipline to perform the little things erode. When players start to feel entitled... Like they have a job locked up... These things can erode.

Your team leaders have to lead. If they don't... you need new leaders. If players play like these things matter it can rub off on the next player. If you have players that are immune to infectious play(Delmon Young) get rid of them.

In the end... This is how teams get on a roll and get off of a role. It transfers from the plate to the field to the mound to the stands to the clubhouse guy who will wash and dry the jerseys with more energy. It also transfers to the manager who are also human and after awhile of uninspired play. The manager will stop worrying about if Velencia O-layed a ball at 3b because the backup cant hit and he will probably O-lay it as well. It's a lot of things and I'm not seeing a lot of fire with this club since PUNTO left.

Since PUNTO left... I crack me up!


Not to dismiss a well thought out observation but I think these are examples of a lack of professionalism, more than they are about heart. If you feel those are one in the same then fair ball but I think they are distinct from one another. There are a lot of young players on this club that are still learning what it takes to be a professional, that means everyday commitment and focus, over 162 games, that's a tall order and one that needs to be learned. It's why the best players stay in the game for so long, they show up everyday , that's mental, not something as intangible as something called "heart".

People are bound to disagree but if guys like Morneau, Mauer, Span had no heart, why would they even bother to work so hard to come back to play? Why would Jamey Carroll work so hard to keep himself in shape to still be able to play at 38? Don't say money, that too easy, I think it's because they have quite a bit of heart.

These guys want to win, plain and simple.

#27 CDog

CDog

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 856 posts

Posted 10 April 2012 - 02:24 PM

This topic is one that tends to get me fired up. So I took a moment before lashing out at some quotes and general ideas I hear a lot, and in the meantime Seth, shane, and Teflon managed to get at most of my points. And in ways that keep me from looking like a combative jerk. Yay! I especially agree with the sentiment of Teflon's post that the results are often the only difference between people perceiving grit vs gutless or whatever terms they want to use. And identical behavior can yield different results, so certainly can identical will and determination.

#28 powrwrap

powrwrap

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 451 posts

Posted 10 April 2012 - 02:42 PM

As far as going from first to third a lot of that is dependent on where the ball is hit, and the third base coach. There is a different third base coach nowadays, right? I'd say that hustling has nothing to do with heart. As to the question of heart, I'd say you alluded to it with the "loosey-goosey", practical joke, or having fun playing the game aspect. It's not much fun when you lose 2 out of 3 games. I'd say that yes, compared to the '02 team this team lacks heart. The other thing about '02 is that it was a group of younger guys that had played extensively together in the minors and were comfortable around each other. They were the up and coming core group, whereas today you've got a bunch of veterans with a few rookies sprinkled in.
[FONT=comic sans ms][COLOR=#000000]"Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand." [/COLOR][/FONT]

#29 Guest_USAFChief_*

Guest_USAFChief_*
  • Guests

Posted 10 April 2012 - 03:01 PM

As far as going from first to third a lot of that is dependent on where the ball is hit, and the third base coach. There is a different third base coach nowadays, right? I'd say that hustling has nothing to do with heart.

As to the question of heart, I'd say you alluded to it with the "loosey-goosey", practical joke, or having fun playing the game aspect. It's not much fun when you lose 2 out of 3 games. I'd say that yes, compared to the '02 team this team lacks heart. The other thing about '02 is that it was a group of younger guys that had played extensively together in the minors and were comfortable around each other. They were the up and coming core group, whereas today you've got a bunch of veterans with a few rookies sprinkled in.


I would agree that going first to third depends on many factors. I disagree that "heart" has much if anything to do with it. For the record, in most cases the third base coach has nothing to do with it either. Its almost always on the player to make that decision, based on those other "many factors."

#30 nicksaviking

nicksaviking

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 4,460 posts

Posted 10 April 2012 - 03:28 PM

How about this team just gets some extra-base power so we can discuss 1st to home speed?