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Will Goodwin

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  1. Nick - help me understand one point: if our bullpen's WAR is very low, their WPA is very high, does this mean that they've been good circumstantially and in high-leverage, but poor overall stats?
  2. Agreed. It shows the level of intrigue. Also begs the question of why fans get so invested. (I wrote about this)
  3. Appreciate the feedback all! I've got a couple other posts on TD as well, feel free to check them out:
  4. The boys of summer are back. And with them comes every baseball fan’s urge to soak in the sun in one of the many beautiful ballparks around the continent (couldn’t leave you out, Toronto). With temperatures rising, summer vacation approaching, and unused PTO sitting and waiting to be burned, it’s the perfect time to plan a stadium tour. Baseball stadiums are undoubtedly the crown jewel of American sports venues: the expansive green grass, quirky outfields, skylines, and geographical landmarks are just parts of what make these American sports cathedrals magnificent and charming. Not all ballparks are created equal, however: some need to be renovated, some should be burned, and some will go down in history as great American landmarks. Let’s put these parks in their place. 30. Tropicana Field, Tampa Bay Rays Let’s just get this one out of the way. The worst place on earth to play any sport. 29. RingCentral Coliseum, Oakland Athletics There’s a reason that there has been talk of moving the A’s out of Oakland. They play baseball in a football stadium that is no longer home to a football team. 28. Rogers Centre, Toronto Blue Jays Slightly better than Oakland and Tampa simply because there’s a view of the CN Tower from the 3rd-base line. Everything else about it is forgettable. Points for having a completely symmetrical outfield? 27. American Family Field, Milwaukee Brewers You’ll notice a trend: retractable roofs and indoor stadiums will suffer on this list. Formerly known as Miller Park, this ballpark looks more like a corporate building. Not much to write home about. The best part is probably the left-field slide that Bernie Brewer slides down after a Brewers home run. 26. LoanDepot Park, Miami Marlins What is the statue thing in left-center field? It’s cool and big, but this place looks like it was built to be a Miami hangout spot rather than a place to watch baseball. 25. Globe Life Field, Texas Rangers They built a stadium with a retractable roof and artificial turf in Arlington because it got so damn hot in the summer time that it was borderline dangerous to play and watch baseball in the Texas sun. At that point it’s probably just time to move the team. 24. Minute Maid Park, Houston Astros Don’t be fooled by the team’s recent success as a measuring stick for the ballpark’s charm. The train tracks in left field are cute. But from the Chick-fil-a signs on the foul poles, indoor-feel (even with the roof open), and train-depot aesthetic, it’s just kinda meh. 23. Comerica Park, Detroit Tigers It’s the 8th wonder of the world that Miguel Cabrera hit 500 home runs while playing primarily in this massive ballpark. The view is subpar, unless you like industrial buildings; and the cars out in center field are a little awkward. As if they need to remind you that you’re in the Motor City. 22. Chase Field, Arizona Diamondbacks It has a beautiful feel to it, despite its stuffy, indoor nature. The contrasted, striped grass is fresh, and it has the perfect antidote to that desert sun: the right-center field pool. 21. Guaranteed Rate Field, Chicago White Sox It’s an average ballpark with nothing special about it. A fine place for a ball game. I have always wondered what those candy cane things are out in center field. 20. Nationals Park, Washington Nationals Any place that is home to a recent World Champion and also sits in the nation’s capital is going to get some love. Unlike some of the new-age parks built in the last few years, the Nationals didn’t try and do too much when they built this beauty in 2008. Simple and sweet. 19. Progressive Field, Cleveland Guardians A solid place to play ball, although it is in need of renovation.The wall in left field is trying to be the Green Monster, but the trees in center are a nice touch. 18. Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati Reds Catch a game here on a sun-soaked afternoon and you won’t be disappointed. The view of the Ohio River and Newport, KY hills are breath-taking. A calm, peaceful place to watch a pitiful team. 17. Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia Phillies The coniferous trees behind the short wall in center field next to the zig-zagging tall wall in left-center, the right-center field bell, and the distant skyline provide real charm. 16. T-Mobile Park, Seattle Mariners The best of all the retractable-roof parks by far, this venue is the only hybrid stadium that truly has an outdoor feel. The grass just seems greener than most (probably because all it does is rain in the Pacific Northwest). The only downside is how much magenta is plaguing the architecture since the T-Mobile rebranding. 15. Citi Field, New York Mets The blue and jagged outfield walls, orange foul poles, and Home Run “Big Apple” out in center field are all unique aspects that provide an individuality to this 21st-century park. A true upgrade to the old Shea Stadium that could seat about fifteen people in the outfield bleachers. 14. Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles Dodgers It’s got history, it’s been the home to mythical teams with all-time great players. But nostalgia only counts for so much. It’s a relatively standard design without many distinctive qualities. And that storage-like batter’s eye in center field is an eye sore. The beautiful canyon that it sits in is what saves this park from not being lower on the list. 13. Yankee Stadium, New York Yankees How dare I place this so low on the list. The reason it’s this high on the list is out of respect. First off, the field dimensions are atrocious. A lazy fly ball in almost every other park is a home run in left or right field. The skyline view is sorta meh considering it’s in New York. Most of all though, this is like owning a copy of the Declaration of Independence for your classroom. There is no history to this ballpark. It’s not the “House that Ruth Built”; and sorry, the “House that Jeter Built” doesn’t have the same ring. You’re welcome for not putting you lower, Yankees fans. 12. Truist Park, Atlanta Braves Atlanta did it right when they moved from Turner Field in 2017. Built into the beautiful Battery district, its simple design wins in an era of over-architected stadiums (talking to you, Miami). The brick wall beneath the Chop House provides a variable that complicates things just enough for visiting right fielders. 11. Petco Park, San Diego Padres Nestled in-between shimmering skyscrapers in downtown San Diego, Petco is a glorious place to witness a Major League game. The historic Western Metal Supply Co. building built into the left-field line is unlike anything else in the sport, while the minimal center-field architecture allows for a beautiful view of the city; the palm trees out there don’t hurt either. 10. Coors Field, Colorado Rockies Location, location, location. The mediocre Colorado baseball franchise has one of the best ballparks in the land in large part because of its Rocky Mountain backdrop. I suppose the team is adequately named. The pine trees and greenery in the center-field batter’s eye and rocky streams in the right-center-field bullpens make it actually feel like you’re in the mountains. 9. Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore Orioles A beautiful home for an abysmal baseball team. The historic and repurposed B&O Warehouse behind the right-field porch, (which rivals the quirkiness of the Western Metal Supply Co. building at Petco Park) and the great skyline view provide pretty things to look at since Oriole fans need to look away from their pathetic team every so often. The new left-field wall design is bad, and frankly dangerous for any left-fielder trying to cut off a ball deep in the gap. 8. Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City Royals The crown jewel (get it?) of the lower Midwest. The crown on the center-field jumbotron. The waterfalls and fountains in the right-center field. It’s quite the picture. Only downside is that it feels a little dark there during night games. 7. Oracle Park, San Francisco Giants There may not be a more unique place in the league. The giant (yes, the Giants did this intentionally) Coke-bottle slide and old-time four-fingered glove behind left field are just odd. And what’s the deal with that car-shaped bulge in the left-field fence? But the sneaky-big outfield, right-field garages and short porch backing up to the Bay are special. Don’t forget the kayak wars. 6. Angel Stadium, Los Angeles Angels The grassy hills behind the left-center- and center-field walls would be highlights in most stadiums, but the rocky waterfall takes the cake here. It’s even more picturesque when Mike Trout is pulling a home run back in front of that waterfall. The massive Angels hats in front of the entrance are almost hilariously large and unique. 5. Target Field, Minnesota Twins If a Twins fan tells you they want the Metrodome back, just ignore them. Thank goodness that retractable roof idea was dismissed. There are many subtle aspects to Target field that make it unique. There’s the one-of-a-kind “living wall” batter’s eye sitting above the grassy berm behind the center field fence. The flower boxes behind the left-fence are a nice touch for a state that loves their summertime gardening (great photo ops here, too). If you’re going to play right field at Target Field, you’d better be ready for the four different surfaces to contend with: the Minnesota limestone overhang, the padded wall, the non padded section under the limestone, and the scoreboard. The skyline view with Minnie and Paul in the foreground is the perfect way to watch night fall on Minneapolis. 4. PNC Park, Pittsburgh Pirates Something with this franchise and Ps. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better view in baseball. The Clemente Bridge crossing the Allegheny River, with the majestic skyline behind it is hard to beat. The variable outfield wall with the “PIRATES”-sculpted hedges behind center field are just quirky enough to make the park itself unique. 3. Busch Stadium, St. Louis Cardinals Now this is a baseball stadium. Everything about this place just pops. The vibrant green grass, the “arch” mowed into the outfield grass, the red bleacher seats. The Old Courthouse historical landmark peeks out from behind the left-center field wall, bringing majesty and history to an already historic franchise’s home. What really brings this one home is the shimmering St. Louis Arch towering behind the center-field Budweiser sign. I’ve never understood the whole Big Mac Land thing, though. 2. Wrigley Field, Chicago Cubs About the only negative things I can say about Wrigley Field are that it gets a little dark and shadowy at night (probably because they didn’t have permanent lights until 1988) and that playing outfield has to be about as dangerous as getting tackled by Ray Lewis. I wouldn’t have any interest in crashing into a brick wall covered in ivy to catch a flyball. The outfield basket is an oddity that must drive outfielders nuts. It’s got charm. It’s been around forever. It’s simple. There’s a reason it’s on every baseball fan’s bucket list. 1. Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox The oldest ballpark in the Bigs, Fenway is the weirdest place to play baseball. The massive Green Monster is so close to home plate that singles off the fence are nearly as common as doubles. The short right field fence is just flat out dangerous. The triangle and garage doors in center field cause all sorts of problems. Oh and don’t forget Pesky’s Pole: a hitter can hit a lazy fly ball down the right field line that ends up a home run (and would very likely be a foul ball in 29 other stadiums). The Citgo sign is to Fenway as PB is to J. These quirks and its history are second to none. Congrats Boston, another thing to puff your chests out about. Honorable mention: Field of Dreams, Iowa Yes, it is heaven. Commissioner Manfred needs to seriously consider adding a 31st team in Iowa solely for the fact that there can be Major League baseball played in this haven 81 nights a year. I may start a petition for the All-Star Game to be held here every summer. You simply can’t beat it. Check out my other unique sports content at the Bad Loser Blog; covering basketball, football, baseball, and the human side of sports.
  5. I woke up on Saturday morning feeling a little sad. And no, my sadness did not come from the fact that my wife and I were embarking on the three-day sojourn of potty-training our 2-year-old. It was because my Timberwolves lost another heartbreaker the night before, eliminating them from the playoffs. Isn’t that a little pathetic that a grown man is emotionally affected by a basketball team losing? Sort of. But there’s more to fandom than being overly invested in a team’s performance. A good friend of mine from South Dakota cheers for the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Celtics, Tennessee Titans, New York Islanders, and Duke Blue Devils. He blames his dad for his strange allegiances: “I’m a second-generation bandwagoner,” he says. That’s not normal. Most sports fans cheer for their hometown team. There are outliers like those who jumped on Coach K’s bandwagon this March; those who cheer for a team because there is a certain player or coach you really like (for me that’s LeBron James); those who you really appreciate a team’s culture (a popular one here is the Tim Duncan Spurs teams); or those who just like a team’s uniforms (yup, clothes). Being a fan means being a part of something bigger than oneself: a fanbase, a culture, a team. Depending on level of commitment and following, it can often feel like you really are a part of the team. I followed the 2020 Twins closely, watching portions of all 60 games that year. That highly-anticipated season was filled with adversity, struggles, and resilience. After rallying to clinch the division on the last day of the season, the Twins were quickly extinguished in the playoffs by the Houston Astros. When I heard Jorge Polanco strikeout looking to end the series on the radio, tears rolled down my cheeks as I drove home. Not only did I ache for some long-awaited playoff success (it’s been 20 years for crying out loud), I wanted it for those players. I “knew” this group of men as much as someone can without ever having met them or even attended a game in-person that season (thanks, Covid). I watched them struggle and overcome. I saw their joys and pains. Sure, my reaction to their loss may have been a little much, and quite frankly had more to do with my emotional state and level of energy (we were new parents of a six-month old at the time). But that team made me feel something, be a part of something, and just have something to cheer for. Life is hard. We need things to pull us out of our own heads, out of our own agendas and plans. Sports is one such thing. It’s a chance to cheer. To take joy in something external to yourself that you have no control over. We try to take control over far too much in life; the outcome of your team’s season is not something you can control. Fandom is a chance to let go and just enjoy life. Sometimes, the lack of control can be painful: it can be even more agonizing to watch my team lose than it was when I was an athlete and lost a heartbreaking game. Because then, I was able to influence the outcome; I knew I had given every ounce of effort to succeed. So if I lost, I could live with it. When the Timberwolves lost on Friday, it continued to sting because I felt helpless in front of the situation. I watched as their season wilted away and couldn’t do anything to stop it. Often when fans feel this helplessness we rush to Twitter and b**** and moan about the team doing this, or failing to do that, as if we are owed something by our sports heroes. We so often forget that these animatronic athletic machines are human beings. They have families. Hopes and dreams. Fears. Wounds. Suffering. Contrary to popular opinion, money and fame don’t cover up the human condition these men and women deal with every day. Just like you and me. So next time your team loses, and you’re about to go to Twitter or your group chat with the boys, remember that there’s a person behind that uniform that has “failed” you. Quite honestly, the more I read what is written about them, hear their interviews, and watch their games, the more I can see the goodness inside of them and the humanity within them; which in turn has led to an appreciation for them outside of what they can do for my team. Take Patrick Beverly and Carlos Correa. I have always known that Pat Bev is a whiner, agitator, and kind of a jerk when he plays basketball; he’s the kind of guy you hate playing against, but love having on your team. Since he’s been in Minnesota, I’ve grown to appreciate the toughness, leadership, and energy he brings to a team and fanbase, without ignoring the not-so-good things about him. I hated Carlos Correa for what he did to not only take part in but lead the Astros sign-stealing scandal that helped win them a World Series in 2017. So, when he signed with the Twins in March, I was torn. I had “decided” that I loved the player (damn he can play) but hated the person. Ever since he put on a Twins uniform, he’s grown on me. He brings accountability to a clubhouse that is in desperate need of a bounceback year. His constant smile plastered on his face while patrolling shortstop reveals how he relishes playing a kid’s game as a grown man. He has his baby boy’s name etched in his glove, where most players have their own name and number. He’s shown deference that despite his massive salary and pedigree, he’s not trying to take over as the big man on campus. Thanks for showing me that you’re people too, C4 and Pat Bev. There’s a reason why we pace around our living rooms with the game on the line. Why we covertly pull out our phones at weddings to check the score. Why we rush to the nearest TV when the game’s on the line. Being a fan shows our need to belong to something, to find joy in daily life, and just let go of all the s*** that life throws at us. It isn’t just an obsession. It’s an expression of who we are. Check out my other unique sports content at the Bad Loser Blog; covering basketball, football, baseball, and the human side of sports.
  6. I love having Arraez in the lineup every day. He's the kind of guy who walks up to the plate and in my head I'm feeling almost certain he's going to get a knock. His limiting factors are his speed (or lack thereof) and defense. He is erratic with his throws across the diamond from third (queue Oakland walk-off error in 2021), and not quick enough at second to play regularly. I personally like the option of having him DH more often than not. It stunts his defensive development, but in reality, he's never going to be a true utility player (Nick Gordon is closer to that mold than Arraez) where he can give you meaningful innings defensively. He doesn't fit the mold of a typical power-hitting DH like Nelson Cruz or Jim Thome, but it's not like the Twins are going to need more power in this lineup.
  7. Long-term, I see the value in this trade. Pagan and Paddack have above-average ceilings with multiple years of team control remaining, while Rogers was set to be a free agent. However, for 2022, this move doesn't appear to be a needle-mover. I actually think the Twins will be worse off this year because of it. Paddack has declined over the last two years since a breakout rookie season, and while Pagan can still sling it, he's a downgrade compared to Rogers. Also, the Twins have plenty of right-handed firepower in their bullpen, and now are down to just Coulombe and Thielbar for lefties. Not to mention that Rogers is an all-star closer.
  8. There’s still patches of snow on the ground in the Twin Cities, and there was already a postponement before a pitch has been thrown. Welcome back, Minnesota Twins baseball. The Mariners are in town this weekend, followed by the Dodgers next week; but a six-game homestand isn’t the most captivating storyline this week. Rather, did the moves the front office made during the lockout-shortened offseason put this team in a position to rise from the ashes and shake the forgettable 2021 season? Fox Sports’ pundit Colin Cowherd often says “aggressive wins” in sports today. Think about the 2019 Toronto Raptors, 2020 Los Angeles Lakers, 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2021 Los Angeles Rams, 2020 Los Angeles Dodgers (lots of LA teams in there, what’s up with that?), and 2021 Atlanta Braves. Every single one of these teams won their respective league championships by taking risks and being aggressive. The ‘21 Braves were under .500 and 5 games back in a weak NL East at the trade deadline. Understanding the wackiness of the MLB playoffs and how just getting into the tournament sometimes is all you need to go on a World Series run (1987 Twins, anyone?), the Braves took a big swing. They traded for an embarrassment of outfield riches to mend their tattered outfield: Adam Duvall, Eddie Rosario (ED-DIE!, ED-DIE!), Joc Pederson, and Jorge Soler all came to the ATL [1]. How’d that work out for them? Well, Rosario won NLCS MVP, Soler World Series MVP (pretty sure it was mostly because of this), and Joc Pederson’s pearls made even grandmas envious. Moral of the story: be aggressive and be rewarded. Were Derek Falvey and Co. aggressive enough this offseason? Well, it’s complicated. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard that they acquired arguably the top free agent on the market, Carlos Correa, and paid him the highest annual salary for an infielder ever [2]. That seems aggressive enough. They traded away 2019 Silver Slugger winner Mitch Garver and 2015 American League MVP Josh Donaldson, ultimately receiving back two serviceable everyday players and a bunch of open cap space (parting the waters for the Correa deal)[3]. Definitely aggressive, slightly risky. Their most glaring hole, however, was starting pitching. Due to the departure of Jose Berrios at the 2021 trade deadline (just a reminder in case you tuned out the team last year) and Kenta Maeda’s Tommy John surgery sidelining him for most, if not all of 2022, the Twins were basically left with two diaper dandies in Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan, who combined have only pitched in 25 Major League games for a total of 119 innings [4] [5]. Recognizing that five starters are generally required to field a team, Falvey brought in Chris Archer, Dylan Bundy, Chris Paddock (a trade that lost Minnesota their All-Star closer in Taylor Rogers), and Sonny Gray, four pitchers with varying levels of previous success; but due to injuries and natural decline from age, all are unlikely to perform at said levels. Throw in a couple moderate-impact bullpen moves, and Twins are where they are as Opening Day awaits. Sort of aggressive? So, were these moves enough to compete with the White Sox (don’t sleep on Detroit this year either) for the AL Central and possibly more in 2022? The Twins have an offense that will keep tomorrow’s starting pitcher awake at night. Carlos Correa, Byron Buxton (based on his spring, I’d just walk him every time this year), Jorge Polanco lead a group that is a force to be reckoned with. The jury’s still out on whether Max Kepler can be 2019 Max Kepler again, but I’d have no interest pitching to Miguel Sano’s biceps (he’s better than you think), Alex Kiriloff’s smooth stroke, or Luis Arraez’s slappy stick. The bullpen should be fine. Losing Rogers definitely hurts, and you could make a legitimate argument that the Twins are worse off for this season than they were before the deal. Emilio Pagan arrived in the Rogers-Paddack deal, Caleb Thielbar was sneaky good last year, Joe Smith’s sidearm delivery can still baffle professional hitters, and a couple rookie flamethrowers could be x-factors. And we’re back to starting pitching. Thankfully there is a full rotation now, but in order to really make the rotation stalwart, more was required. There were plenty of free agent aces available this winter, but the Twins waited out the market so as to not overpay, and ultimately lost out on all the big names: Robbie Ray, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, and Carlos Rodon all signed elsewhere [6]. On the other hand, in order to make a splash in the starting pitcher trade market, the Twins likely would have been asked to give up a considerable haul of their nearly-major-league-ready prospects in return, something they don’t seem willing to do. Maybe the Twins’ hesitation to really go all in on starting pitching is justified. Yes, Carlos Correa has an opt-out after each season of his contract, so he could jump ship if this team isn’t competitive enough to his liking. But considering the required cost to fill the rotation, coupled with multiple top pitching prospects chomping at the bit for their shot, maybe this year wasn’t the year to push all the chips in. Maybe doing enough to be relevant again while betting on some of those aforementioned, almost-ready, super-promising prospects to provide an impact was the right move. This team will be fun and highly competitive (if they stay healthy, which is a big “if”) in an ever-weak AL Central. Winning consecutive division titles is harder than you think (just ask the 2021 Twins), so just because Chicago owned the division last year doesn’t guarantee anything. And don’t forget: all it takes is sneaking into October. Anything can happen then.
  9. The Mets will regret their $130 million investment.
  10. Can they even get out of the play-in? Recent losses have been discouraging; can they right the ship and ultimately give Memphis a run for their money?
  11. Paddack doesn't seem like a needle-mover to me. Don't give up Rogers or Arraez and regret it in 3 months.
  12. Trading away all-stars like Cruz and Berrios is always difficult, but when you get a return like Martin, SWR (I like it too), and Ryan, it helps you forget the pain of losing the other guys.
  13. I'm having a hard time finding the "Create a Blog" button on the new site since the screenshots in this post are from 2014. Could you point me in the right direction?
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