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  • Reliving the Twins' Most Embarrassing Moments of 2021


    Allen Post

    If I had to use one word to describe the 2021 Minnesota Twins it would be embarrassing. The team was expected to win the division, and they finished last and narrowly avoided 90 losses. That’s, in a word, embarrassing. Let’s relive some of the most shameful moments in hopes that, now that it’s all over, we can laugh about it. Maybe.

    Image courtesy of David Richard, USA TODAY Sports

    Blankenhorn and Arraez Make Back-to-Back Errors to Lose to Oakland

    Everyone remembers this game in Oakland. In fact, it was such an important inflection point in the season that Nick Nelson chose it as the most important moment of April. As season-defining as it was, the bottom of the tenth of that game was equally embarrassing. 

    After a tough start, the Twins battled back to take a 10-7 lead in the game, and then promptly blew about three different chances to win the game and it went to (the dreaded) tenth inning. Byron Buxton bent the universe to his will (as he does) with a two-run homer in the top of the tenth, but it only set the stage for a meltdown in the bottom of the inning. Alex Colome, who had already blown a save, had loaded the bases, but there were two outs and the Twins still led by two, so any ball in the infield would surely end the game, right? 

    Wrong. Travis Blankenhorn basically farted on a grounder to second that scored one run. Then Luis Arraez fielded a bouncer to third, but missed first base by a good six feet on his throw, and just like that, the Twins blew their fourth and fifth chances to win the game and Oakland was dogpiling. Pathetic.  

    Rob Refsnyder Introduces Himself to the Camden Yards Wall

    Remember when Rob Refsnyder was a thing? The 30-year-old journeyman was filling in at the center field spot for Buxton and for a second there, you couldn’t tell the difference between the two. Refsnyder was swinging a scorching bat and had some timely hits that helped the Twins to a 10-6 record in his first sixteen games in the lineup. However, in that sixteenth game, Rob took his Buxton impression a little too far and freight-trained himself into the center field wall, injuring himself and ruining the Refsnyder-as-cult-hero vibe the Twins had going on. 

    Also, no image encapsulates the 2021 Twins better than this:

    ...and getting clowned on by one of the worst teams in baseball didn’t help.

    Yermin Mercedes Tees Off on Astudillo

    Okay, this one isn’t even really about the Twins, as it has more to do with infighting between Tony La Russa and his players. But the only issue the White Sox had all year was played out over the backdrop of them consistently brutalizing the Twins on the field, and that’s a tough look. 

    As a reminder, the Twins were getting shellacked by Chicago and sent Willians Astudillo out to the mound while they limped through the final innings. Yermin Mercedes came up with two outs and on a 3-0 count, he deposited Astudillo’s 47-mile-per-hour offering into the shrubs in center. La Russa, Roy Smalley, and basically nobody else got mad about it, but it became a sports news cycle topic for a few days, reminding the national audience that the Twins stank and the White Sox, even with their (invented) issues, didn’t.

    Also, all that stuff aside, you can’t watch this as a Twins fan and not be a little embarrassed:

    Almost Getting No-Hit at Home Against Angels

    On July 24th, Patrick Sandoval took a no-hitter into the ninth against the Twins that was broken up by a Brent Rooker double with two outs left to get. I was at the game that night, so maybe that’s why this sticks with me, but the offense almost could not have looked worse. They struck out thirteen times against Sandoval and the mental gymnastics I was doing to justify buying a ten dollar beer was more entertaining than watching the at-bats the Twins were putting up on the field. It was a clown show.

    Then, Rooker and Donaldson turned two doubles into one run to make it 2-1, but they couldn’t complete the comeback and somehow that was even worse than getting no-hit.

    The Ones That Got Away

    Okay, these next two aren't really moments, but it’s my article, so who’s going to stop me from breaking my own rules? (Editor's Note: Ahem...)  Anyway, Whether it’s star players traded away or cut-bait guys who find a huge role elsewhere, perhaps nothing haunts us as Twins fans more than former Twins finding success elsewhere. And there was plenty more of that again this year. Nelson Cruz is hitting homers in the playoffs for the Rays. José Berríos was dicing guys in meaningful games down the stretch for Toronto. Freaking Lamonte Wade Jr. just can’t stop getting big hits in big spots for the 107-win Giants. Even guys like Matt Wisler and Hansel Robles are giving playoff teams important innings this postseason. Also Eddie Rosario is on the Braves, but that one honestly doesn't feel so bad.

    Seeing the pieces of what should have been your contending team make a difference for real contenders throughout the league is especially humiliating.

    Signing Andrelton Simmons and Alex Colomé

    When Derek Falvey and Thad Levine brought Colomé and Simmons to the club, I, along with many others, was pumped. Here was our big late-inning guy and the shortstop upgrade we needed; let’s go win a division. Uh huh.

    Colomé was sneakily not bad over the second half of the year, but he blew enough games early in the year that his success later in the year (when the games didn’t really matter) will be forgotten. It turns out the the secondary numbers and, you know, every other team in the league was right: he’s not that good.

    Meanwhile, Andrelton Simmons wasn’t just not that good, he was a dumpster fire. Expected to be at least capable at the plate and excellent at shortstop, Simmons slashed a putrid .223/.283/.274 and was nearly special enough in the field to make up for it. He was completely and entirely awful.

    Falvey and Levine were roundly praised for bringing these guys in, but now they’re facing unfamiliar criticism partially due to these guys’ falling well short of their expectations.



    Were you able to laugh a little about it? What moments did I miss? Let me know in the comments!

     

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    52 minutes ago, Original_JB said:

    Baldelli pulling Berrios at 84 pitches with a no-hitter going comes to mind. (and yes, I realize it's early in the season after a shortened season and he wants to be 'careful' with his pitchers, but still).

    there is a season full of early hooks and BP meltdowns.  I am not a Rocco fan. 

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    Ahh, fun.

    Kinda amazed that the doubleheader loss in Detroit - where Gordon missed a fly ball in CF that had a 0.0% chance of being a hit - didn't make the cut.

    But to me, the most embarrassing experiences of 2021 where when Akil Baddoo tore the Twins apart at the plate and in the field. Salt in the wound on a huge roster error that just should not have been made.

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    7 minutes ago, drbob524 said:

    The signing Simmons isnt as embarrassing as "continuing to play him once the season was lost". 

    And the HR Tortuga gave up wasnt as embarrassing as how everyone responded to it, both TLR and the Twins afterwards. 

     

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    On 10/11/2021 at 11:47 AM, LastOnePicked said:

    Ahh, fun.

    Kinda amazed that the doubleheader loss in Detroit - where Gordon missed a fly ball in CF that had a 0.0% chance of being a hit - didn't make the cut.

    But to me, the most embarrassing experiences of 2021 where when Akil Baddoo tore the Twins apart at the plate and in the field. Salt in the wound on a huge roster error that just should not have been made.

    The 10th inning total team meltdown against the A's is number 1 with a bullet.

    I think this one has to be number 2. That was a tough first series watching Baddoo rip up Twins pitching and playing good D. 

    The other 3 Colome blown saves in April round out the top 5 for me.

    I recall the Astudillo-Mercedes moment with fondness. That was an actual fun moment in a season of woe.

    Also, watching Simmons play defense for a season was immensely enjoyable. So many subtle things that he does that very few other shortstops do. He may not have the physical skills to be a perennial gold glove winner, but his awareness on the field will keep him in perennial contention for a few more years. It's a treat to watch. 

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    The most embarrassing moment was after spring training when Baldelli  left Broxton off the active list in favor of Cave. Broxton is a 5 tool CF that showed he could hit and Cave an ok 4th OF that had a terrible ST. 

    2nd FO ridiculous pitcher FA signings

    3rd Reliance on a failing BP & weak rotation. Not relying on long relief in which they could have interjected new prospects sooner.

    4th Using Dobnak all wrong.

    All other embarrassing moments later are related and of consequence to the earlier decisions. Together w/ poor coaching 

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    11 minutes ago, Doctor Gast said:

    The most embarrassing moment was after spring training when Baldelli  left Broxton off the active list in favor of Cave. Broxton is a 5 tool CF that showed he could hit and Cave an ok 4th OF that had a terrible ST. 

    2nd FO ridiculous pitcher FA signings

    3rd Reliance on a failing BP & weak rotation. Not relying on long relief in which they could have interjected new prospects sooner.

    4th Using Dobnak all wrong.

    All other embarrassing moments later are related and of consequence to the earlier decisions. Together w/ poor coaching 

    I have a feeling that Cave will play more and out perform Broxton next year. 
     

    And that Happ will get a contract as a back of the rotation pitcher somewhere and will live up to those expectations.

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    "I have a feeling that Cave will play more and out perform Broxton next year. "

    Not if Broxton finds an unbias coach that's sees his true potential and put his trust in him. Especially if you include defense and base running, there's no comparison. I hope Broxton recovers from the kick in the gut that he received by the Twins.

    Still next year doesn't erase this years absolute blunder.

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    1 hour ago, Doctor Gast said:
     
     

    "I have a feeling that Cave will play more and out perform Broxton next year. "

    Not if Broxton finds an unbias coach that's sees his true potential and put his trust in him. Especially if you include defense and base running, there's no comparison. I hope Broxton recovers from the kick in the gut that he received by the Twins.

    Still next year doesn't erase this years absolute blunder.

    Was it “absolute blunder” when the other 5 teams he played for gave up on him as well?

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    21 hours ago, yeahyabetcha said:

    Was it “absolute blunder” when the other 5 teams he played for gave up on him as well?

    Tons of promising players go years floundering until they find themselves w/ a team that recognize them, coach & encourage them and they go on to have successful baseball careers. Twins failed to recognize, coach & encourage Broxton when he showed signs of breaking out hitting. He has always shown excellence in other aspects of the game. 

    Again my hope is that he recovers from the kick in the gut the Twins management gave him & have a successful career, like so many other players the Twins have given up on.

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