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Yawn Gardenhose

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  1. The only surprise here was that the front office didn't use Lavelle as their stooge to float this non-rumor out there. If they were "linked" it was that they made some pathetic lowball offer so they could say "see, we offered him a contract!" This is simply not a serious franchise and haven't operated like one in several decades.
  2. Twenty year anniversary of a historic date in Twins history. https://collection.baseballhall.org/PASTIME/letter-jim-pohlad-minnesota-twins-employees-2001-november-09 Every now and again, and especially when I read praise of the Pohlad family, I google this sucker and have a blast reminding myself of this gem of a document. To my knowledge it's a one-of-a-kind document, at least in modern sports history - an owner signing the death warrant of their own franchise. They weren't planning on selling the team or moving the team - they were planning on taking the team out behind the woodshed and shooting it in the head. Even Montreal Expos fans can't claim an owner that did that - they were owned by the league at the time of the contraction talks. Consider yourself lucky. Some great bits here - I always love the "finger pointing" bit. Even the more subtle parts of the letter - the letterhead with the World Series years, the "Dear Twins Employee" boilerplate, the smattering of rhetorical questions - just brilliant work. I wonder if we'll ever know if Selig was really planning on going through with contraction or it was all just a ruse to pressure the state legislature to build the Pohlads a new office building. But we at least have this letter, and I'll sure be cherishing it for the rest of my days.
  3. I've closely followed the Padres the last few years so I have a well-formed opinion on Tingler. Not a surprising hire as Tingler is a hyper-analytics guy; particularly from the pitching side he's an inveterate over-manager. Starter giving you four innings is more than acceptable, and having 9 pitchers pitch in a 9 inning game isn't abnormal. And this was with the Padres going out and getting veterans like Snell and Darvish over the offseason. I grew to really hate him over his Padres tenure, though the hate for Tingler was at a mild simmer compared to the rolling boil of hatred I have for Baldelli. And the dugout episode in St. Louis where Machado upbraided Tatis was particularly illustrative of the fact that he had lost the clubhouse. Not that bench coaches matter much (though there are plenty of fans who seem to think Derek Shelton was a major reason for the 2019 success), but I'm not inspired by this move. He's just an older, beardier Baldelli.
  4. To me Baldelli is an avatar for hyper-analytics, and so I tend to take out my general frustration on the decline of baseball on Baldelli himself. I realize this is a bit unfair because he strikes me as a decent human being, and he certainly didn't come up with the hyper-analytics approach himself, but I do think he is a horrible baseball manager. I might be done with baseball because of Baldelli and this front office. He has zero feel for the human side of management - though I think "Maggi-gate" has been greatly overblown, that's a nice small illustration of this. Data is a good thing, in general, but a dependence on it to the extent that Baldelli has is maddening. There is a way to combine data and a more gut-feel/holistic approach to managing. Baldelli ain't it. It's so widespread that my enthusiasm for the game is really waning. I'm really not sure if I'm going to be renewing MLB TV next year. I realized after midnight last night that I missed the BOS-NY wild card game and don't plan on watching much of the playoffs. I'm rooting for the White Sox as I see LaRussa winning a WS as a possible corrective against hyper-analytics (which is wild, considering LaRussa was *the* embodiment of new school not that long ago). But I don't see the Sox making a run, really. I don't do letter grades, so let's just call it "Driving Me Away from the Sport."
  5. The Joe Ryan lovefest is getting really hilarious. At this rate I'm half-expecting him to be inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame on Saturday alongside Morneau. Listening to Bremer, he's the second coming of Roger Clemens; it's hard to keep his schoolgirl-crush giddiness a secret when he's announcing a game Ryan pitches. Keep in mind he's pitched four starts against two teams, CLE and CHC, which are both bottom-5 offenses in their leagues, in the midst of a meaningless September schedule. Garbage time versus garbage offenses - Cubs looked very uninterested in playing baseball tonight, for instance. Ryan might end up being decent (my initial takeaway is that his stuff maxes out as a third or fourth starter, which isn't without value) but my god give it a little time for the scouting report to go around and let's see how he fares against a halfway decent opponent before he's anointed Johan junior.
  6. Ball four to Gardner was not a strike. The problem here is that people treat the Bally Sports box as if it were drawn by God. From the MLB rule book: "The Strike Zone is that area over home plate the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the top of the knees. The Strike Zone shall be determined from the batter's stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball." Which means, first of all, that the strike zone is variable from batter to batter, not a static unchanging box superimposed by a cable network. And in this case, ball four landed around Gardner's shoulders, not a strike. That's a big unaddressed problem with robot umps, in my view - is the strike zone going to be static or variable by batter? Seems like a nuance that technology might make worse rather than make better. In Loserville USA, er - Minnesota, rather, players and teams take these "aggregious calls" and turn them into the reasons that they lose. Not, hey, let's not give up three-run homers late in ballgames, but "the damn umps! Grr! They're out to get us!" Between Duffey's infantile tantrum, Rockhead's mealy-mouthed "why can't you be like robots!" to Morneau's constant, year-long bitching and moaning about calls that go against the Twins (and silence when "bad calls" go the Twins favor), it's just so delicious. They made the decision to lose that ballgame once Nelson called it ball four. The "righteous" anger feels better for them than winning a game in New York for the second time in 24 games or whatever the pathetic streak is at now. Truly classic stuff.
  7. Agree with this the most. The AL Central does a lot of the skewing of reality for all of these years, even going back 20 years since the unbalanced schedule has been in place. Twins were 5 games under .500 against teams that finished with a winning record in 2019. Think about that - you can win 101 games and be underwater against good competition. Similarly 2020 has a huge asterisk in that they played only the AL Central and NL Central, the two weakest divisions in baseball (evidenced by the fact that Central teams won precisely one playoff game last year, and zero playoff series wins). Going back further, the whole Terry Ryan era is skewed by the fact they played in what was consistently the easiest division in baseball, pretty much in every year except 2006. The perception of "the window is wide open" (which has led FOs to be ultra-conservative at the trade deadline, wary to add pieces) is skewed because of the cake division they play in and a refusal to contextualize their talent against actual difficult competition. I desperately want MLB to go back to a more balanced schedule, not only because I really am sick of seeing the Royals 19 damn times a year, but more importantly because it would give the FO and people who cover the team a more accurate picture of the team they're invested in.
  8. See, saying "quick hook" implies that Baldelli is acting on impulse. Sparky Anderson had a notorious "quick hook." Baldelli is the exact opposite in my view - I imagine he pegged 70 pitches as his arbitrary "pitch limit" (saying nothing of the fact that Barnes pitched 90+ in his last AAA start), and he decided to pull the plug when there was a righty/lefty matchup that the "numbers" said it's best to avoid such a matchup. It was entirely planned, and that's what makes it so pathetic. You're dealing with professional athletes in the physical prime of their lives, getting babied to an obscene degree. Ugh. The drama of the starting pitcher battling their way through 9 innings was one of the top-5 elements of dramatic action in baseball up until about 6 years ago. Analytics have purposefully killed that bit of drama in favor of parades of bullpen arms - the playoffs is nearly unwatchable now because of this. Yes, very "data-driven," "new-school," "smart," and "progressive" - entirely at the cost of entertainment and drama. It's sickening. I've set the introduction of robot umps as my point of no return for following baseball, but frankly I don't know if I'll make it another year or two. Game is a shell of its former self, completely caved to entertainment-sapping technocrats. Really, really sad.
  9. Well the tough part is out of the way. I *guarantee* that Shoemaker will be called back up sometime after the fire sale. He'll have three or four "encouraging" outings in St. Paul, perhaps in a tweaked bullpen role; maybe there will be reports about how he's honing his splitter and using it as his primary pitch. The FO doesn't seem to prefer quick and clean breakups. I'm still baffled at the odd love affair they had with Matt Belisle.
  10. Isn't there a non-zero chance Shoemaker stays with the organization? No other team is claiming him, obviously, so it might be up to Shoemaker's pride whether or not he wants to accept a St. Paul assignment. Not that I'm endorsing this, of course; I just know this franchise and won't be shocked if he's seen pitching for the Twins again.
  11. Big fan of Kaat's clear and consistent rejection of analytics. Not sugarcoating it, yet not coming off as a sourpuss. That's a tough needle to thread these days, and he did it deftly. More please.
  12. Morneau's summation after the final out of a 13-3 loss: "No breaks" LOL LOL LOL Or maybe he was actually saying "no brakes," as in there's nothing stopping this car-on-fire-going-downhill that is this season? Either way, impressive excuse making.
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