Will Goodwin reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Twins Fans Absolutely Furious at Surprise First Place Start
With the Minnesota Twins holding a surprisingly sturdy lead in the American League Central, it’s no wonder that the team’s fans have some strong words about their unexpected success.
“It is absurd to me that they treat Byron Buxton with kid gloves,” said Hank Winters, 67, a retired bank executive. “Harmon Killebrew played every day and he’s in the Hall of Fame. Buxton may as well just work for the government. Sick of this.”
The Twins lead the heavily favored and godless Chicago White Sox by three games after a rocky 4-8 start. They're on pace to win a stunning 94 games. This playoff-worthy effort has given the fanbase plenty to talk about.
“Royce Lewis hits the cover off the ball and you send him to Triple-A,” said Beck Bradford, 41, a youth volleyball coordinator from Castle Rock Township. “Miranda can’t hit a bull in the ass with a handful of sand and Correa won’t even be here next year. But the boy geniuses (Twins executives Derek Falvey and Thad Levine) looked at the algorithms and said, ‘Nope, Royce, you go over to St. Paul, grab a stool at Alary’s, get comfortable. Don’t call us, we’ll call you.’
“I’ve never been more angry,” added Bradford.
Minnesota’s 22-16 record can be chalked up to several factors, perhaps none more important than the bullpen, which has been asked to do a lot with the starters still rounding themselves into shape after the lockout-shortened spring. This has not gone unnoticed.
“Chris Paddack is already going under the knife for Tommy John and we have no consistent closer,” said Tamara Kapsner, 49, a car salesperson in Robbinsdale. “Meanwhile, Taylor Rogers is going to the All-Star Game. If I made that kind of deal at my job they wouldn’t have to fire me, I’d just throw my [EXPLETIVE] in a box and go. Great call. Super.”
With the team’s schedule remarkably soft over the next couple weeks, the chance for Minnesota to put some space between them and the rest of the Central has people talking.
“I never took PTO in 27 years at TCF (Bank),” said Winters. “Because I had a work ethic. Did I miss birthdays and graduations and custody hearings and my third marriage? Yes. All of them. Cry more, Byron.”
“Spreadsheet oughta be manager, not Rocco (Baldelli),” said Bradford. “Bleep boop, pivot table, bench Correa, he’s played one game in a row, might hurt himself again.”
“May as well just trade (Jhoan) Duran for (retired former Twin) Mike Pelfrey,” said Kapsner. “Disgusting. Pohlads should’ve contracted them when they had the chance.”
Will Goodwin reacted to Melissa Berman for an article, Sinclair Announces Details of “Bally Sports+” Streaming Service
On Wednesday May 4, Sinclair Broadcasting Group, which owns the Bally Sports regional networks, announced it is planning to do a “soft launch” of its standalone streaming service by the end of the current fiscal quarter, meaning before July 1. The new streaming service will cost $19.99/ month, or if fans commit to a full year, they can get it for about $16 a month ($189.95/ year).
Currently, a number of prominent streaming and satellite providers do not offer Bally Sports, including Hulu, YouTube TV and Dish Network, much to the chagrin of sports fans. It is unclear if subscribers to Bally’s new service will have access to out-of-market games or just those within their own market. Reporting by the New York Post in 2021 indicated that Sinclair was expected to seek the rights to out-of-market games, “although that could prove more difficult.” And if Sinclair gets those rights, it could charge a small additional fee for those games, according to the New York Post's source. MLB.TV, a service which gives subscribers access to the broadcasts of all teams (subject to blackout restrictions) for $24.99 per month, would likely serve as a competitor to Bally’s new service, though the latter would also feature hockey, soccer and basketball broadcasts as well, not just MLB. So far, reaction to Bally Sports+ appears mixed.
Needless to say, the switchover from Fox Sports to Bally Sports has not been without controversy. First, there is the access issue- fans complaining in droves that they are unable to watch their own market’s games. In addition, fans have reported technical difficulties and outages during Bally broadcasts post-switch. Then there are unpopular personnel moves.
Bally Sports made waves on Thursday morning when Timberwolves reporter Jon Krawczynski reported in the Athletic that Bally Sports North decided not to pick up the option for TV play-by-play announcer Dave Benz, ending a 10-year relationship. Benz and color analyst Jim Petersen formed a television duo that was universally respected, even beloved, across the league, among members of the media and fans. Benz was reportedly stunned and “heartbroken” when informed of the news on Wednesday morning.
The news of Bally Sports moving on from Benz, announced almost concurrently alongside the new Bally Sport+ service, has ignited sports fans and commentators alike, and has some fans calling into question whether Bally Sports actually cares about the quality of its product or whether it is simply trying to cut cost-cutting corners.
I am lucky enough that my family has DIRECTV, which has continued to carry Bally Sports, so I have had uninterrupted access to Minnesota sporting events. The games are so important to me, and truthfully the only thing besides the news that I watch on TV or stream, that if I had a Bally-less streaming service like Hulu, I would switch to a different one that carries Bally. If I can't watch Minnesota sports, there's no point in me having that service. But this is all beside the point. It has been discouraging and frustrating to see how difficult it is for fans to simply watch games within their own state.
It is wrong that Sinclair makes watching sports a premium experience. Simply put, watching sports in one's own market should not be a luxury at a price point inaccessible to many people. I was raised on Fox Sports North, available on cable at the time. My siblings watched so many Twins games that my sister could recite the Twins' copyright spiel forwards, backwards and sideways while talking at hyper-speed. "This copyrighted telecast is presented by authority of the Minnesota Twins and may not be reproduced or retransmitted in any form..." See if you can finish it.
It is concerning that children especially, the baseball fans of tomorrow, are growing up in an environment where they are much less likely or simply unable to watch Twins games on TV. No, I'm not out here saying that kids need to be watching a bunch of TV, but kids grow up looking up to athletes. These athletes encourage kids to get into sports, and I, as middle school and high school ski coach, am a huge advocate for children, especially girls, becoming involved in sports. The reason I am so in love with the Twins in my present-life is because I grew up watching them- both on TV and in-person. These bonds start young. I was familiarized with the players, and the players I grew up watching are still my favorites today. It was simply easier to be a fan back then. Yes, I have Bally on DIRECTV, but the latter is not cheap whatsoever, and I understand that it could be financially out of reach for some families. Bally should not be such an exclusive commodity.
So while I am glad sports fans will have another sports streaming option in Bally Sports+ and I'm sure some of those with YouTubeTV or other services will gladly pony up, the price point is quite high when compared to what you potentially might get, especially if Bally Sports does not indeed offer out-of-market games. I won't pretend to understand the intricacies of how much it costs to produce broadcasts, but I do know that $19.99/ month will likely price some people out of watching.
This is a Twins website, not a Timberwolves one, but because the broadcasts of both teams are carried by the same company and I am a massive Timberwolves fan, I will say that I am floored and disgusted that Bally Sports (along with the Timberwolves) have decided to move on from David Benz. To be clear, Bally Sports has not announced any other personnel changes or decisions. However, moving on from Benz, a universally-beloved and widely-respected play-by-play voice, has some understandably questioning what other decisions Bally Sports might make regarding other longtime voices. I highly doubt Bally Sports would decide to move on from Dick Bremer because he has covered the Twins since 1983, is widely-respected within the clubhouse and league and the Twins organization would have to sign off on this move. He is a future club Hall of Famer.
Further, I am of the strong opinion that Bremer should have the job as long as he wants it. But moving on from the highly-popular Benz and breaking up one of the foremost broadcast duos in the NBA, to me, illustrates that Bally Sports is not concerned about what customers want and is probably just concerned about money or potential cost savings. The other anecdotal examples of fans griping on a perceived decrease in quality post Fox Sports North to Bally Sports North switch are not insignificant either.
What are your thoughts on Bally Sports+? Would you subscribe to it? Let me know in the comments below.
Will Goodwin reacted to Cody Pirkl for an article, So... Why Trade Taylor Rogers?
By now we’re all probably approaching the end of the grieving stage of losing Taylor Rogers in a massive Opening Day deal that brought Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan to Minnesota. That being said, it’s probably time to consider why on earth the Twins would trade away their star closer at the start of a season in which they intend to compete.
The Pursuit of Value
By now we’ve come to expect the Twins front office to always search for value above all else when they’re making any kind of deal. In fairness, their successes across the last year are few and far between, but it’s easy to see the thought process they’re operating from.
In parting with Rogers, the Twins give up one year of a relief pitcher who may not even finish the season with the team if things fall apart before the trade deadline. In return, they receive a rotation-ready starting pitcher in Chris Paddack who’s under control for three years in addition to reliever Emilio Pagan who’s under control for two years. They did of course also ship out Brent Rooker, but by all accounts, he was likely on the verge of getting cut loose regardless.
When looking at pure value, it’s hard to argue against this trade. There’s almost no scenario where Rogers amasses more bWAR, fWAR, or whatever measurement you can find in his lone season in San Diego than Paddack and Pagan will in Minnesota across their five combined years. The math is certainly on the Twins' side for this trade. This however doesn’t tell the whole story as it misses the context of the Twins parting with their best reliever right before a 2022 season where they may desperately need him
Relievers are Unpredictable
Another core value of the Falvine era, the Twins simply don’t value relief pitchers highly. And to be honest, they probably shouldn’t. Relievers often burn bright for a few years before fading away. We see it year after year whether it’s Alex Colomé just stinking it up out of nowhere or Trevor Rosenthal succumbing to injury. Pitchers as a whole are always risky, but historically speaking relievers are particularly fickle.
Taylor Rogers may repeat his incredible performance in 2022, in fact, I’d bet on it. That being said, he did suffer a significant finger injury in 2021. Although he’s recovered and was looking great in the spring, he’s now into his 30s and the odds of a recurrence or even a new injury grows ever stronger. Is that reason for the Twins to look to actively dump their closer? No. But it does at least help explain why Rogers wasn’t untouchable in trade.
In addition to the risk of Rogers' performance or health slipping, it’s entirely possible several other arms step up in a big way to fill the void. Between pitchers such as Jorge Alcala who appeared to break out in the second half or newly bullpen-bound Jhoan Duran sitting in triple digits, it’s not hard to find candidates to take the lead in this group. Between AAA and the existing bullpen, there are several options to get some looks in high leverage and I see several taking the baseball world by storm in 2022. This group is undisputedly more talented than the bullpen the Twins fielded at the end of 2021 who by the way were rock solid without Taylor Rogers in the mix.
To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with hating this trade. The self-anointed “competitive” Twins roster just got a huge downgrade in their bullpen on paper no matter how you shake it. In addition, this could have been avoided had they just been more aggressive in signing legitimate starting pitching pre-lockout. Even for one year of Taylor Rogers, the Twins are taking a gamble on Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan bouncing back. It’s one that’s not so different from the many bets the front office made last season that left them bankrupt.
That being said, aside from the personal attachment that comes with losing a homegrown star like Rogers, it’s easy to understand why the Twins made this deal. There’s a decent chance that we look back on this trade as a “win” for the Twins, and there’s a non-zero chance it can turn out to be an absolute home run.
Should the Twins have stood pat with Rogers or perhaps asked for more in return? Do you think this deal will work out for the Twins in the long run? Let us know below!