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The Baldelli narratives need to die


Let’s talk about fundamentals, basics. Fundamentals are fundamental because you are taught them from the beginning of the game. Likely heard about them preteen, then traveling league, VFW, High School, Legion, and college ball. 
 

I am not a huge Rocco fan, but I don’t think he has to "teach" fundamentals. But he should emphasize and enforce them. Ben R. knows how to avoid interference, and he surely knows there’s someone already on third. Donaldson, Arreaz and Simmons know how to field and throw. But they aren’t doing it. 
 

Knowing the fundamentals isn’t the problem. Executing them is. And that seems to be coming from a lazy lackadaisical attitude from some of the players. Some of it’s the "new" environment. There’s no shame in not getting a bunt down, or moving a runner up, or for that matter even hitting a cutoff man. Strike out? Oh well, next AB I will just take three more crazy hacks cuz thats the new normal. 
 

Baseball is a hard game to determine how much effort is being expended by the players. But there just seems something wrong with this teams focus. Even now there seems a lack of urgency.  But it’s getting late, early. 

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Nobody outside the clubhouse can say what the preparation for the season was like or how he handles things behind closed doors. But when your entire team is playing below their skill level and making

Some combination of #2 and #3 would be my complaint if I have any w/Rocco. Has everyone noticed we put on the contact play 100% of the time? I've watched nearly 100% of the innings this year and I can

A few days ago, I started a thread on why, in my opinion, the Twins coaching staff has been holding them back the most. And in the comments, I saw a few comments following a recurring theme. It’s

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53 minutes ago, Platoon said:

Baseball is a hard game to determine how much effort is being expended by the players.

It isn’t just hard; It’s pretty much impossible. You can’t really determine how much the players are actually putting into their play, unless you talk to them or see them closely on a regular basis.

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On 5/28/2021 at 9:42 AM, In My La Z boy said:

Some combination of #2 and #3 would be my complaint if I have any w/Rocco. Has everyone noticed we put on the contact play 100% of the time? I've watched nearly 100% of the innings this year and I cannot remember even one time the contact play wasn't on with a man on 3B and less than 2 outs. I also cannot remember one time it worked. Small peeve amongst many this year along the lines of feel for the game and analytics. 

wow..all i have to say is....he probably isn't as Great as we all thought in 2019, and to some extent 2020, but he isn't as bad as we all probably think now. What happened in 2018 and so far in 2021 is absolutely the dynamic duo's fault. (and especially the boy wonder that calls the shots)

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4 hours ago, Platoon said:

Let’s talk about fundamentals, basics. Fundamentals are fundamental because you are taught them from the beginning of the game. Likely heard about them preteen, then traveling league, VFW, High School, Legion, and college ball. 
 

I am not a huge Rocco fan, but I don’t think he has to "teach" fundamentals. But he should emphasize and enforce them. Ben R. knows how to avoid interference, and he surely knows there’s someone already on third. Donaldson, Arreaz and Simmons know how to field and throw. But they aren’t doing it. 
 

Knowing the fundamentals isn’t the problem. Executing them is. And that seems to be coming from a lazy lackadaisical attitude from some of the players. Some of it’s the "new" environment. There’s no shame in not getting a bunt down, or moving a runner up, or for that matter even hitting a cutoff man. Strike out? Oh well, next AB I will just take three more crazy hacks cuz thats the new normal. 
 

Baseball is a hard game to determine how much effort is being expended by the players. But there just seems something wrong with this teams focus. Even now there seems a lack of urgency.  But it’s getting late, early. 

You think Donaldson and others are lazy and don't care? That's your theory?

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1 hour ago, Mike Sixel said:

You think Donaldson and others are lazy and don't care? That's your theory?

Well as I mentioned, baseball is a hard game to determine effort made.   Since you used Donaldson in particular so will I. When looking at his play so far this year it’s certainly not up to his previous levels. I always liked him on other teams. But something is amiss. It’s possible he just isn’t the player he used to be? Making the FO picking him up for 4? years a pretty bad move. If that’s not it then there could be other reasons? Hidden injury? Hidden attitude? It’s really hard to say.  His offense isn’t very good right now, but that’s not really an issue for this discussion. Hitting comes and goes. His defense is another thing. He has botched a number of simple high school grade plays. That doesn’t have to denote "lazy" but it could denote lack of focus? Which is a common cause of making simple mistakes! And which is what I originally referenced. 

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I'm going to simply paraphrase Brock here as I feel that's sufficient rather than a bunch of copy and pasting.

1] Sometimes changes have to be made for the sake of change. 

2] It's simply impossible to know how the pandemic and 2020 affected each team, or it's players or the team's preparation.

I think these are salient points. 

I am NOT stating anyone should be fired. In fact, the Twins have played much better of late, overall, even in losses. We still have a lot of season left to see what happens, whether or not the Twins can climb back in to the race by July X or not. And again, I'm not asking for anyone to be replaced at this time even though I broached the idea as a question last week in a short-lived thread. But sometimes a "voice" from a coach just gets lost, or old, or isn't heard right. Sometimes an approach just doesn't work, even if that coach has a fine reputation. Maybe the fit just isn't right?

Personally, I like the job Rocco has done, overall, even though I have questioned several moves here in 2021. And someone mentioned that may be a bit of a work in progress. I also think that is a salient point. He lost Rowson, he lost Shelton, and then we have the tragedy of Mike Bell.  It could be as simple as a veteran influence in his ear, possibly a change in a coach or two for a different voice and perspective, and maybe a shift in routine drill wise. As stated, sometimes change just has to take place for the sake of change. Maybe not today, but it is worth considering before next year depending on how things develop and play out.

As far as dealing with life, covid, 2020 and coming off 2020,  I have no clue how you could possibly quantify such a thing or place blame on anyone. And that's for any player or any team. And it's not a cop-out. It's simply something to be considered due to the fact that lives individually and the world as a whole have been in an unusual and un-familiar place for over a year now. And to go along with that....

....I wrote in a previous, related, thread as to the Twins month long spiral being as much mental/emotional as anything. Possibly. Reflect for a moment that this is a team coming off a pair of division winning season's and seemingly built to contend and compete again. Let's not forget they started well and could have easily been 6-0 or something to that fact. They lose Donaldson first game. They lose a couple tough games. They played almost exclusively day games to start the season so if they wanted extra batting or infield practice they were pretty much SOL. So now they start to press. And when that happens, bad things not only continue to manifest, but each error or extra inning loss becomes magnified.

Donaldson and Arraez have been brought up as examples. Fine, we'll use them. Donaldson may or may not be the player he once was. That's really beside the point. He still knows how to field and throw better thzn some of the gaffs he's had so far. Same with a few uncharacteristic plays from Simmons. Arraez has never been a great defensive player, probably never will be but he's OK and has been applauded for being an intelligent and instinctual player. He then air mails a throw that costs a game. Arraez knows how to throw a baseball! But he made a horrible throw. Does he just not know or understand the fundamentals of bassball? Or Donaldson or Simmons?

Tell me you haven't bad a bad day, or week, or even month at work and every single little thing that could go wrong seems to, or becomes greater magnified because unto themselves each individual occurrence is small, but they simply compound on top of one another. WHEREVER anyone wants to place the blame for a frustrating first full month to the Twins season, you can't deny injuries, covid scare and a multitude of errors or misssd opportunities and some hanging pitches haven't seemed to all happen at once.

Circling back to Rocco, the topic at hand, and even the previous OP that is related to this one, it's really tempting to want to step back and find SOMONE/SOMETHING to blame. It makes us feel better because as human beings we WANT an answer as to WHY something happened. Unfortunately, sometimes crap just happens. And there is a difference between reasons for something happening vs excuses. 

There are times for a reality check as well as tough love. And once in a while a little spit and passion can be part of that, especially in sport. But I personally, in my own world as well as trying to place myself as a member of a team, have more respect for a manager/coach/leader who has a steady hand and approach vs kicking and screaming and emotional outbursts. 

Am I long-winded here? You bet! LOL. But there is a lot more to look at here vs trying to affix some blame game to anyone, be it Rocco, the coaches or the FO or the players. And sorry, but after 2019 and 2020 successes, the original OP is right to consider different factors and invite discussion as to 2021 at this point, but arbitrary blame towards anyone is short-sighted and really, just inaccurate at this point.

 

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2 hours ago, beckmt said:

I think the Twins need a manager with some fire in him.  Baldelli has to go.

Implying the Baldelli has no fire — you obviously didn’t read the whole thing. How do you know he has no fire? Do you see him in the dugout, how he speaks with players after the games, before the games, during the games, in the clubhouse? I mean if the answer is yes then I believe you. But if the answer is no then you have no evidence.

And don’t cite the press conferences, you’re not supposed to be “fiery” in front of the press.

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To me Rocco has been dealt a flawed hand with this terrible bullpen, mediocre starting rotation, and so many injuries.

That being said the lack of situational hitting in extra inning is inexcusable. Runner on 2nd base and no outs and I think the twins have scored 1 out of 9 times. Win half of those extra inning games and the team is only 4.5 games out

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3 hours ago, cHawk said:

Implying the Baldelli has no fire — you obviously didn’t read the whole thing. How do you know he has no fire? Do you see him in the dugout, how he speaks with players after the games, before the games, during the games, in the clubhouse? I mean if the answer is yes then I believe you. But if the answer is no then you have no evidence.

And don’t cite the press conferences, you’re not supposed to be “fiery” in front of the press.

One question for you, do you see Baldelli being the manager in 2023 or 2024 when the next Twins window will start to open (hopefully)?  If not, then maybe this can be turned around with a different voice.  All managers/coaches are hired to be fired, at some time the players start tuning the leader out.  My look from 50,000 feet is this is starting to happen. 

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6 hours ago, beckmt said:

One question for you, do you see Baldelli being the manager in 2023 or 2024 when the next Twins window will start to open (hopefully)?  If not, then maybe this can be turned around with a different voice.  All managers/coaches are hired to be fired, at some time the players start tuning the leader out.  My look from 50,000 feet is this is starting to happen. 

Not saying he was never going to get fired — If the Twins continue to suck and finish w/90+ losses, he won’t be here in 2023. I just said that you can’t say that he “has no fire,” when you don’t have the evidence to back it up.

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I appreciate this post, Baldelli seems like a fine manager.  Reasons to criticize him exist, but so do reasons to appreciate him.  

At the end of the day people fall into these lazy criticisms because they want to believe something that isn't true: that managers matter.  Baseball managers have an influence on the culture in the clubhouse, but we're FAR removed from them controlling the game on the field with their decision making.  

Baseball managers are mostly irrelevant.  At the very least, WAY overstated by fan bases.  Just the easiest scapegoat with the laziest reasons to scapegoat them.

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5 hours ago, cHawk said:

Not saying he was never going to get fired — If the Twins continue to suck and finish w/90+ losses, he won’t be here in 2023. I just said that you can’t say that he “has no fire,” when you don’t have the evidence to back it up.

Will be interesting to see how he handles the club when health returns.   I have just lost confidence in him.

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This is a good article to bring things in better perspective.  For myself as a fan while I try to be objective sometimes frustration pushes you to extremes and you just want to blame this or blame that because your favorite team and its players just can't be this bad.   Blame the umpire, blame the coach, blame the weather, blame injuries, blame the baseball gods, things are not going right so something is to blame.  I don't always know exactly what it is but can usually think of several things I think, i think are problem areas. 

Is it rational or logical probably not but sometimes expressing my disgust does help me feel better.  I might not be proud of what I said later but at least expressing it moves it from inside my brain to outside so I can stop thinking about it for a while.  Self imposed misery is irrational but most sports fans cling to it because we care too much about the outcome of games that in the end mean nothing but bragging rights for a day or if a championship a year. Riding the roller coaster emotions of sports will take you up and down all year.

This site has always been good about not allowing posters to go too far with personal attacks especially derogatory language.  I know I have been called out a time or two and deleted a post that others didn't think appropriate.  Emotions push us to extremes but it helps to have boundaries to bring us back.  That is why I like this site so much.  We can discuss things we feel and leave out a lot of unnecessary language.  We can find numbers and facts to prove points of view.  We can ignore number and facts and just state our opinion.  

Is Baldelli perfect? I doubt it, so there will always be things to criticize and as long as people have solid reasons I am OK with that after all it comes with the job.   Do we need to degrade him to feel better about ourselves?  That is where the line needs to be drawn IMO.  There is no real benefit to that kind of behavior other than sinking into the gutter ourselves.  Baldelli needs to work on perfecting his craft just like the players do.  He will learn more about himself and the manager job this year than the previous two years combined.  Sometimes having things go wrong is the best teacher.  Plenty of things have gone wrong so he should learn a lot this year and be better prepared for next year.

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On 5/29/2021 at 7:40 AM, Platoon said:

I am not a huge Rocco fan, but I don’t think he has to "teach" fundamentals. But he should emphasize and enforce them.

Baldelli has to ensure the team is practicing the fundamentals, which I think could be classified as "teaching" even if it is more reinforcement. 

I have not been to a Twins game in many years, but we used to be able to watch the team practicing what seemed to be very fundamental/banal things before each game.  Coaches were certainly involved in these drills.  Are we still seeing this today?

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Despite ESPN's belief that we are too talented not to make a charge into the playoff picture, I seriously wonder how much attention they have been paying to the Twins play. We cannot seem to play fundamentally sound baseball; it must mean one of two things. We have poor players who cannot consistently make plays or we have players who are unprepared--in either case, team play has been miserable. Of course, hitting, pitching and fielding have all been subpar, but the mental errors also continue to happen. (We are either much worse than we imagined or we simply play poorly in virtually every game.) I would add that injuries may have also been a huge contributor, but I would guess that all teams complain about this. Nevertheless, in the Twins defense, I think it shuffling players around doesn't help.

I certainly cannot claim any expertise, but here are some of my cogitations.

Personally, I don't get to watch many games, so this should be considered in my assessment to be sure, but the two games I have seen this year featured gaffes--some of which did not show up on the scorecard. For example, it is a basic play for a second baseman to cover second on groundballs to shortstop. Polanco started late for the bag twice in the game forcing Simmons to alter those plays, and in one of those cases, inducing a throwing error because of his awkward move to beat the runner to second base. Polanco also short-armed a pop-up and it was called a hit, but I would think it had something like a 85-90% chance of being caught using defensive metrics. I'm not singling out Polanco because I think he is a poor player, but was he really ready to play in that game? I just wonder. (BTW, the Twins managed to win that game, but even then, I was a bit surprised by the subpar play of the Twins.)

Someone posted that in 2019, our offensive prowess bolstered by home runs may have covered some of the team's deeper flaws. Maybe that was true--maybe not, but I went back and checked the three American League teams with +100 wins-the Twins, the Yankees and the Astros looking specifically at one-run games. They all, as expected, had a winning a record in one-run games and in all cases, most of those wins came against teams with -.500 records; however, of the Twins 19 wins only four came against teams with a +.500 record (the Twins also had a slight edge against the other two teams because of the horrific Tigers and the nearly as bad Royals who contributed to eight of those 19 wins); the Yankees won six one-run games against such teams and the Astros won eight. I would say that the Astros and Yankees both had better closers--maybe that's another key--simply having a better bullpen, but I am guessing there was more.

All of this might seem like useless fodder to explain this year's misery. I don't know, but I am trying get a better understanding of what has gone seriously awry for this team that was destined for a playoff run and most likely a division title (according to experts who actually get paid to put their opinions in the hopper).

Nevertheless, "fire away; fire away" (you can hum this while you're responding).

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The article, to me, just comes across as another Twins apologist.  No I'm not blaming Rocco entirely for the Twins poor season.  He is just a part of the whole problem as many people and parts are to blame.  I don't like when writers, execs, etc blast the fans for having opinions.  Also why do the apologists always seem to blame covid 19 and it's disruptions?  That type of complaining is for teams trying to explain their inept play.  Last time I checked, covid affected all teams and many are in first place or in contention.  It's time to hold FO accountable for signing all these reclamation projects.  You get what you pay for 

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"Arraez airmailing a throw" reminds of a guy I played with many years ago.  He was an outfielder with speed and a cannon for an arm.  He played right field and I played third base.  He knew the game thoroughly and fundamentals were second nature.  But every two or three games he would uncork a throw to third base (the fundamentally correct play) and I would just watch as it would sail about thirty feet over my head and end up deep in the woods that surrounded the field.  That didn't mean he was lazy, didn't care, or wasn't skilled.  He just made an error.  It happens.  Although when he did make a throw like this, we all laughed because it was so damn amusing.

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6 hours ago, Whitey333 said:

The article, to me, just comes across as another Twins apologist.  No I'm not blaming Rocco entirely for the Twins poor season.  He is just a part of the whole problem as many people and parts are to blame.  I don't like when writers, execs, etc blast the fans for having opinions.  Also why do the apologists always seem to blame covid 19 and it's disruptions?  That type of complaining is for teams trying to explain their inept play.  Last time I checked, covid affected all teams and many are in first place or in contention.  It's time to hold FO accountable for signing all these reclamation projects.  You get what you pay for 

No, I’m not an apologist. I’m not letting Baldelli off the hook. The 5 statements listed are things we hear all of the time on Sports Radio, in Forums, etc.

The FO wasn’t even the topic here.

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