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Twins and Losses



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I really didn’t think I needed to write this article. I really didn’t think I’d let the awful commentary on social media get to me. I figured it would die down after a few days. I was wrong. Very wrong. For having signed two notable named Asian players, Twins Territory (and what I hope is a very vocal minority[see what I did there?]) sure is up-in-arms about potentially signing two more.


With the news of the Twins actively pursuing both Yu Darvish (who comes with his own set of health concerns) and Shohei Ohtani (a young Japanese phenom who can pitch and hit), there seems to be a few comments on every article or Twitter comment thread about the fears of signing another Asian ballplayer.


For being one of the largest continents on the planet (even encompassing parts of Russia), Asia is made up of 48 different countries. Some of the bigger countries of note are China, Russia, India, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and South Korea. Huh. There are a lot of countries in Asia where the people who reside there sure don’t look alike. In fact, they don’t even speak the same language or share a government.


But for Twins fans, it’s been an almost daily occurrence where some Rube (see: casually racist social media user) has made a comment about not taking a chance on another Asian ballplayer since Tsuyoshi Nishioka and ByungHo Park didn’t pan out in the major leagues.


Injuries aside, and the fact that they “look alike” (which they don’t at all, unless you just see a tan skinned person with black hair who comes from the same continent and assume they’re from the exact same place), the Twins have the potential to sign a possible once-in-a-lifetime player in Shohei Ohtani, and a 4-time All Star in Yu Darvish. Improvements to the one part of the team Twins fans have complained about improving for almost a decade: pitching.


I jumped ahead though. Let’s go back to Nishioka and Park. Nishioka is a Japanese baseball player who plays in the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization, based in Japan. Byung-Ho Park is a Korean baseball player who plays in the Korean Baseball Organization, based in Korea. While those two countries are relatively close to each other, they are not the same.


Neither are the Caucasian, Latino, and African ballplayers that have come through the Twins’ organization over the years, in much larger quantities too. Some Twins fans are now basing their choice to not pursue Ohtani specifically, based on the fact Nishioka and Park didn’t work out. Seems like an incredibly small sample size to base your opinion on, and it also comes off as racist. I don’t see these same people crying wolf that the Twins shouldn’t have chased after Royce Lewis, Hunter Greene, or Brendan McKay based on the fact that former Caucasian and African-American players didn’t pan out. If it didn’t matter then, why should it matter where Ohtani comes from?


The Twins have an opportunity to sign a superstar ballplayer to join an already impressive young core of talent from the across the planet. Take a look at the Twins’ 25-man roster this season and see what countries all of the players that helped contribute to a postseason berth for the first time since 2010 call home. After you’ve done that, find it in yourself to consciously stop using the “Nishioka and Park” argument against signing Ohtani. If you’re incapable of doing so because you can’t figure out how to say you don’t trust an unproven player with no MiLB or MLB experience (there, I figured it out for you!), then maybe you should keep your awful opinions to yourself.


And no, we don’t all look alike.


– Panda Pete (South Korean)



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I agree, this is getting embarrassing. You did a great job touching on the racial issues, but people also overreact to the Park and Nishioka signings. They weren't even disasters. The investments made were modest and I even think there's still some debate that either guy may have panned out if they hadn't have gotten injured. 


With posting fees and everything else a grand total of $38.85MM was committed to those two players. Nishi was a $5MM posting and a $9MM contract, Park was $12.85MM posting and a $12MM contract. And some of that was even recuperated when each of those guys returned home. 


These weren't six-figure signings. Their failures did not cripple the franchise. These are fans who saw their club give Ricky Nolasco $49MM and Phil Hughes a $42MM extension, if anything the argument should be don't give pitchers money. But then again ...


Why am I even arguing this!?!?!? Park and Nishioka have nothing to do with Darvish, Ohtani or anyone else!!! It's just the worst take ever on so many levels and I've seen it like a hundred times now. Barf. Those fans don't deserve to get to see Darvish or Ohtani pitch for their team.

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I agree some of the comments have been purely racist. I never felt that my concerns were based on race. My concerns were based on level of play and in the two Twins, specifics. For Nishiokia, there really weren't any. I didn't see much video of him, plus I thought his position and skill set were more easily transferred to the level of MLB. Park was different. His video highlights showed him hitting bombs off of an endless variety of hanging spinners. Simple stats and math would tell us that there were going to be less of those at the MLB level than the KPL level. Such math applies to more than one Twin prospect who did the same in MiLB. As did the end, the same results. I go back to my long held belief that the Twins previous regime weighed publicity and marketing into the decision to sign Nishiokia and Park at a level that exceeded the players actual chance to succeed. It's either that, or at least in the case of Park they did not use the same criteria in evaluating his talents that they did whilst evaluating their own MiLB rosters.

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