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  1. Like
    nclahammer reacted to Ted Schwerzler for a blog entry, Baseball Striking Out in the 9th   
    We’re now past the point of Major League Baseball earning favor with fans upon its return. The expectation remains that there will be a 2020 season, but it’s looking more likely that it will be a mandated one as opposed to an agreed upon conclusion.
    With the latest proposal from ownership across Major League Baseball, the Players Association has been presented another deal that changes wording and says virtually the same thing. Despite an agreement from March regarding full prorated salaries, the billionaire owners are looking for further concessions to stifle the losses they aren’t willing to substantiate.

    Because of where we are in negotiations, and what is currently being proposed, a July 4th start date is no longer in play. The league has now moved to July 10, and a 76-game season is what they are suggesting. In reality though, the goal of ownership is to draw these discussions out for as long as necessary. That conclusion ends with a league mandated season in the 50-game territory. Prorated pay will then be granted to players, but only for just under one-third of their agreed upon salary.
    In short, these two sides are so dug in against each other that ownership is willing to do nothing and allow the mediator the opportunity to make the deal.
    There’s certainly reason to be frustrated as fans here. After all, it’s the consumer of the sport that ultimately loses the most. Players are dealing with precedence, and with this situation playing out just a year prior to CBA expiration it’s understandable wanting to avoid exploitation. Owners are in turn using a global pandemic to stick those CBA negotiation tactics in high gear, and despite having no public record of revenues ever, are now wanting the same public to believe in massive losses.
    At the end of the day we’re being strung along on a roller coaster ride with the intended result tracking right towards where ownership groups want it. They’ll be able to claim the Union failed to come to an agreement, despite having never changed or offered a more logical proposal. Major League Baseball’s commissioner can be pointed as the scapegoat having to enact a mandated season, but ultimately, it’s his responsibility to drive labor peace.
    Timing for a work stoppage in terms of sport will never be ideal. For Twins fans right now though, we’re losing out on what should be peak years of a World Series caliber club. The uncertainty of what lies ahead, and the competition being skewed with an ever-changing landscape of play is unfortunate at best. On a national scale we lose out on the midst of Mike Trout’s prime, or the final chases of Albert Pujols’ career. No winners can be crowned in all of this, only losers, and it’s yet to be determined who loses most.
    Baseball is a sport of passion, and fans are entrenched in the record book and favor of the teams they support. The fallout left by what started as an uncontrollable negative and turned into a self-destructive blaze will be something present for many years to come. Baseball could have been so much different in 2020. It still can take place, but it will never be under the circumstances that were once there for the taking.
    Sorry MLB, this time you failed, big.
    For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  2. Like
    nclahammer reacted to mikelink45 for a blog entry, The tales of second base   
    After reading the 2005 season summary that is part of an excellent series on TD I was forced to think about second base where 2005 demonstrated the difficulty we had for many years.
    Here is a summary of our highs and lows:
    Billy Martin was our 2B in the first year in Minnesota and would last one year before becoming a coach and manager and then going to the Yankees again and again and again. If only he would stop hitting marshmallow salesmen.
    Bernie Allen had five years of average play (239 BA). In 1960, Allen led the Boilermakers to a record of 4-4-1 (2-4 Big Ten) and wins over #12 Notre Dame, Ohio State and #1 Minnesota
    Jerry Kindall was there for the championship with a career 213 batting average. His fame came in Arizona as their coach winning 860 games and three College World Series championships over 24 seasons (1973–1996).
    Then came ROD CAREW and he might have had a full career with us if Calvin Griffith had kept his racist mouth shut. Here is a summary from Wikipedia - "The greatest contact hitter in Twins history, he won the 1977 AL Most Valuable Player Award, setting a Twins record with a .388 batting average.Carew appeared in 18 straight All-Star Games and led the AL in hits three times, with his 239 hits in 1977 being twelfth most at the time. He won seven AL batting titles, the second most AL batting titles in history behind Ty Cobb, and on July 12, 2016 the AL batting title was renamed to the Rod Carew American League batting title." To make matters more painful he got his 3000th hit against Frank Viola! And what was it that Calvin said --"I'll tell you why we came to Minnesota. It was when we found out you only had 15,000 blacks here. Black people don't go to ballgames, but they'll fill up a rassling ring and put up such a chant it'll scare you to death. We came here because you've got good, hardworking white people here."
    Danny Thompson - An All-American at Oklahoma State he was diagnosed with leukemia at age 26. He said, “You don’t have time to get down,” he said. “You’ve got to keep your head up and go right at it.” After and excellent rookie season he slid over to SS and Carew went back to 2B. He died in 1976.
    Bob Randall - A lifetime 257 hitter who came to the Twins from the Dodgers and played all his major league games with the Twins (460) and took over 2B as Carew was again moved to 1B. He was with us five years and went on to be a college coach.
    Rob Wilfong - His claim to fame is that he lead the American League in sacrifice hits in 1979. He hit 262 in six years with the Twins and was traded to the Angels. Currently he is a scout for the Detroit Tigers (I hope he is finding some better players for them now).
    John Castino - he was moved to 2B in 1982. He led the league in fielding percentage at 2B in 1982, but if the switch to 2B was supposed to protect his back it did not work. He was out in 1984 when back fusion ended his career - as a person with back fusion I can sympathize.
    Tim Teufel - known for the Teufel shuffle at bat - a wiggle of the butt His best years would be with the Mets when he was at 2B for the World Series. He is currently their goodwill ambassador and minor league coach. He hit 265 in his six years with the Twins. He was traded for Billy Beane and two others. If only we had moved Beane into the front office and off the field!
    Steve Lombardozzi - he played in the 1987 World Series and hit .412 with a home run in Game 5. He hit 233 in five seasons with the Twins. In 1986 he led second basemen in fielding percentage.
    Wally Backman and Tommy Herr - Backman was traded for from the Mets where he was platooned with Tim Teufel. He hit 231 for us. "The Mets sent him and Mike Santiago to the Minnesota Twins for Jeff Bumgarner, Steve Gasser and Toby Nivens, none of whom emerged as a major leaguer.The Mets sent him and Mike Santiago to the Minnesota Twins for Jeff Bumgarner, Steve Gasser and Toby Nivens, none of whom emerged as a major leaguer." That year we also traded for Tommy Herr from the Cardinals, Herr announced that he didn’t really want to be in Minnesota. Backman was brought in to replace Herr and Backman announced that he was thrilled to be with the Twins and bought a house on Lake Minnetonka. Kent Hrbek said, “Tommy Herr never wanted to play here, so he didn’t fit in with the rest of us." Then he added, “Backman does fit in. You can see the difference just in the fact that Wally wants to have fun. Already, Backman and (Dan) Gladden are pulling pranks on each other.” Backman is a minor league manager with an excellent resume.
    Al Newman - 231 Twins average, he went on to be a coach with the team. He was acquired in a trade where we gave up pitcher Mike Schade (who?). He was allowed to leave as a free agent after 1991 and eventually ended up coaching the St Cloud Rox.
    Chuck Knoblauch - if we ignore some statements and actions and personality he might be the next greatest second baseman for the Twins after Rod Carew. Rookie of the year, part of the 1991 World Series team. Wiki says, "During the 1994–96 seasons, Knoblauch batted .312, .333, and .341, respectively, won the AL Gold Glove Award at second base in 1997, and stole over 40 bases in three consecutive seasons." Twins fans became irate when he requested that he be traded. When he returned he was booed, bottles and hot dogs were thrown at him. With the Yankees he developed the yips - he could not throw and that was the beginning of the end. He played 12 years, seven with the Twins where he had a 304 career average. His post baseball career in marred by his physical abuse of his former wife which came as he was about to be named to the Twins HOF. He was also named in the Mitchell report for HGH.
    Todd Walker - a member of the National College Baseball Hall of Fame was a first round draft pick who never prospered in MN and I blame Tom Kelly who seemed to resent the college degree and accomplishments of Walker. Walker his 285 for the Twins in five seasons and his career did better after he left us. He is now on the New England sports network and I was shocked to hear him when I tuned in on a game when I was working in Maine. He was acquired from the Twins in Theo Epstein's first trade. A quiet, studious and serious player "He really took baseball serious," Matt Lawton said. "Everything he did, he's always talking about hitting. He'd play a video game and he'd compare that video game to anything about hitting. He'd bring up something about hitting fastballs, hitting breaking balls." "Some of his former teammates in Minnesota said Walker's glove wasn't the only reason he was in Kelly's doghouse. Their stormy relationship led to him being traded to Colorado in July 2000.
    Lawton said Kelly wasn't particularly fond of first-round picks. Walker, who had an outstanding collegiate career at LSU, was the eighth overall pick in 1994. Lawton said it didn't take much for a first-round pick to rub Kelly the wrong way, citing pitcher Todd Ritchie and first baseman David McCarty as examples." https://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-xpm-2003-03-30-0303300603-story.html "You'd have to ask him all about that, but it certainly seemed that way," Walker said. "I certainly didn't do anything to warrant the way I was treated by him on and off the field. He had his good moments, and he certainly had his bad moments."
    Jay Canizaro - I have to admit this is the first of the second basemen I do not remember. In two years he hit 255 and went back to the minors.
    Luis Rivas - Venezuelan - a free swinger who was supposed to take over the base and become the man of the future pairing with Guzman at SS. But think of the free swinging of Rosario with no power and less contact! Six seasons with 262 average and 307 OBP and 383 slugging.
    Nick Punto - a Gardy favorite - the opposite of Walker this was a guy who hustled, got dirty, wanted to play, had a smile and attitude that made him a lovable piranha. But would you trade Walker for Punto - no way. He played for us for seven years and hit 248, 323 OBP, 324 Slugging.
    Luis Castillo - Dominican Republic - had a 299 BA for two years with the Twins. 720 OPS. He was with the Marlins for both their World Series. In 2007 he set a major league record for consecutive games at 2B without an error - 143. In August 2019, Castillo was cited on charges related to a drug trafficking and money laundering operation - he was not convicted.
    Alexi Casilla - Dominican - His biggest contribution was giving up his number so Jim Thome could have it. In seven years he hit 250 for the Twins with a 639 OPS.
    Orlando Hudson - Hudson hit .268 with a career-low .710 OPS. Hudson founded the C.A.T.C.H. Foundation, a 501c3 organization that seeks to provide resources and a support system for youth coping with autism.
    Brian Dozier - our third best second baseman in Twins history (my judgment). A member of the Southern Mississippi college team that played in the 2009 college world series. He started as a SS as so many players do and found a home at second. He was a Twin for seven years - hit 248/325/447 - which would be much better if we took his last five years - his HR totals per year are - 6,18,23, 28,42,34. I was say we got rid of him at the right time. He had peaked for us and although he continues to play his top HR since being traded is 20. Notorious for great half years paired with lousy halves it took patience to get the best from him. He became the first second baseman to hit 40 home runs.
    Jonathan Schoop - we hardly knew you although your 256/304/473 slash line fits many of our historic 2B men. Good luck in Detroit and say hi to Gardy.
    Luis Arraez - we hope he is the future. His 334 BA certainly makes us think of another great - Rod Carew. Let's hope flash-in-the-pan is something you never hear. I am very excited by him and his potential.
  3. Like
    nclahammer reacted to Ted Schwerzler for a blog entry, Baseball's May Day is Coming   
    No matter how far we distance ourselves from Covid-19, 2020, and the ripple effects of a worldwide pandemic, I’ll remember a couple of specific dates as they relate to baseball. Tuesday May 26, 2020 could end up being another one of those days. In the midst of Memorial Day we wonder what lies ahead tomorrow.
    Thinking back to March 11, the sports world began to stand still. That day the NBA put everything on hold, and less than 24 hours later not only was the MLB season halted, but also March Madness was put on ice as well. We’re now multiple months away from that date, but a return appears on the horizon.
    After Major League Baseball owners attempted to go back on their word in regards to prorated player salaries for whatever season that would take place, and do so in a public attempt at employee shame, we’ve got an impending alteration. It’s expected that Tuesday May 26 will bring forth a new proposal from ownership. Players will be expected to move off prorated salaries, but owners will budge on a revenue split that looks very much like a salary cap.
    Although it’s the economics of each deal that continues to be at the forefront of any reports the largest hurdle remains that of health precautions. With no level of certainty regarding what’s next in the wrath of this specific pandemic we can be certain that whatever transpires will be a massive outlier. Everything about sports, and life in general, during the current landscape of precaution will remain an oddity for years into the future.
    It’s hard to believe, and the growing consensus aligns here, that baseball will not return for this calendar season. Everyone has far too much to gain from resumption, and squabbling would set ablaze and unfortunate fallout in regards to the bigger picture. With potential for a CBA-induced lockout just a year from now, setting back the sport even further ahead of time could be a death knell when popularity enhancement has long been the drive.
    Rob Manfred has done a lot of negative during his time as commission of Major League Baseball. Tuesday May 26, 2020 has the opportunity to go a long ways in presenting a launching pad for a restart of a sport that both the country and world need.
    For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  4. Like
    nclahammer reacted to mikelink45 for a blog entry, Baseball's memorial day   
    According to historian Jim Leeke, author of “From the Dugouts to the Trenches: Baseball During the Great War,” approximately 38 percent of active Major League players went on to serve, and eight current or former players were either killed in action or died of illness during the war. - library of Congress blog
    Teams played short handed, players paid a price for their heroism. The great Christy Mathewson did not get to action on the front - the war ended - but he was exposed to mustard gas in training and it was the cause of his early death.
    In WWII the leagues were short of players and scrambled for players to fill the rosters regardless of talent. 500 served, two died, and the record book was changed in many ways https://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/26/sports/baseball/remembering-the-major-leaguers-who-died-in-world-war-ii.html
    Yogi Berra was at Omaha Beach, Wilhelm and Spahn at the Battle of the Bulge, and Bob Feller lost four prime years. Put those years on their resume and they become even more immortal in the baseball world.
    In Korea Whitey Ford, Willie Mays, and Don Newcombe served and Ted Williams flew 39 combat missions - how many hits and home runs is that worth?
    Players served in Vietnam War and have been part of every conflict. We do not have a baseball game to attend this year, but lets remember these men along with out relatives and neighbors on memorial day.
  5. Like
    nclahammer reacted to Ted Schwerzler for a blog entry, Mike Trout Winning Off the Diamond   
    During this global pandemic one thing that has seen a massive boost in the sports world is collectibles, or trading cards, affectionately categorized as The Hobby. With something for everyone, and fans of every sport, your bound to find a way to pique your interest. In the modern baseball world, the Angels outfielder is king, and Mike Trout did it again over the weekend.
    As the unquestioned best player in the game today, Trout holds a special place at the top of the modern baseball card collecting ranks. His base cards transcend “common” status, and his rarer pieces fetch exorbitant prices. It’s the 2011 Topps Update that has become his iconic rookie issue, but some of the prospect cards, namely the 2009 Bowman Chrome Autograph, have driven the market bonkers.

    Back in 2018 the eccentric Dave “Vegas Dave” Oancea grabbed Mike Trout’s 2009 Bowman Chrome Superfractor 1/1 autograph for a cool $400,000. He noted having turned down offers near $1 million and said he was sitting on it until a $5 million offer came through. You’ll have to excuse his crass nature in the video, but it appears his statements aren’t nearly as outlandish as one may have assumed.

    On Sunday night a 2009 Bowman Chrome Red /5 Autograph of Trout’s wrapped up through Ken Goldin’s auction house. That card brought in $525,000 and obviously doesn’t reach the same height as a 1/1. Assuming the red that was sold wasn’t Oancea’s, he too owns one of those cards as well as a handful of the orange version numbered to 25. To say the man is sitting on a mountain of Mike Trout moola is probably putting it lightly.
    This explosion isn’t just in a single card though. ESPN’s The Last Dance brought tons of buyers for Michael Jordan cards out of the woodwork. Trout’s standard base issue 2011 Update has gone from a $500 card last February to a $3,000 card today. Topps has been rolling out limited print to order Project 2020 cards with different artists and the early offerings are now in such demand the price exponentially multiples on the secondary market before each card even gets into the hands of collectors.
    You should never view pieces of cardboard as an investment similar to that of a stock or bond. However, classifying trading cards as pieces of cardboard is also severely missing the point if you know what you’re looking for. The return is not there for every purchase, but it’s become more than clear the hobby has a place in today’s current culture and it certainly looks like it will be here to stay.
    Only a select few people are interested in buying a baseball card selling for north of $500,000, but you can bet that number grows in multiples as you back off the buy in, and there’s lots of fun to be had at any level. Mike Trout, Michael Jordan, or whoever is the next big thing, you can bet their faces on cardboard will attract plenty of fans.
    For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  6. Like
    nclahammer reacted to Ted Schwerzler for a blog entry, Did Major League Baseball Stumble into a Money Pit?   
    Back in April I wrote an article at Twins Daily about how the Stay at Home orders all but forced creativity upon baseball. The Twins Trevor May architected an MLB The Show Players League and by the end we had matchups on ESPN. With classic games being televised left and right, it was the initiative today that caught my eye.
    Here’s the thing, classic games are awesome, but it’s a slog for many to get through countless hours of a known outcome. Speaking specifically about myself here, it’s exactly the reason I’m not fond of re-watching movies, no matter how good they are. Committing a substantial amount of time only to know the end result isn’t an opportunity I jump at.
    On Opening Day, or what was supposed to be such, I tuned into Periscope to watch the Twins and Tigers game 163. It was a blast being there for that game, and it was probably the first time I’ve re-watched it since. The desire for action was significant given the removal of baseball on the day it was supposed to start. Fast forward to where we are today, and I haven’t watched a single re-run since. I stayed up for KBO Opening Day action, and I got all in on the Players League. Outside of that, it’s been pretty desolate on the sports front.

    Then there was a tweet from Ken Rosenthal that reminded me MLB.com was streaming non-stop coverage of some of baseball’s greatest half innings. One event for each of the 30 teams, hours of content, but broken up into just minutes of the best action. If this concept sounds familiar it’s because that’s exactly what the NFL has done in monetizing the Red Zone Channel. By cutting to action only in the biggest situations, fans are constantly kept abreast of the most exciting parts of a game.
    Rob Manfred has stumbled over his own shoelaces constantly when it comes to thinking of ways to draw in new fans. Thinking that pace of play is a substantial deterrent, or that pitchers facing a minimum number of batters, or even that a timer to speed up aspects are the answer, he continues to miss the mark. The product right now may be the best it’s ever been, but the accessibility of that product remains a massive hurdle.
    Games are blacked out even on the league owned streaming service. Players are not widely accessible across all markets, and promotion of the game is often done better by anyone not directly affiliated with the sport (who then immediately face copyright claims). This little endeavor on a random Wednesday afternoon could have unlocked something big though.
    Imagine an avenue to watch any game going on with runners in scoring position, the bottom of the ninth, or a late inning comeback. You’d consistently see new and emerging stars on the greatest stage, and you’d do it while introducing those players to fans that otherwise may not have watched that team. It would be a way to consume baseball in conjunction with your own team, and something fans would see as a significantly less daunting commitment. As a Twins fan I’m not watching an entire game between the Marlins and Pirates, but I’d love to see Brian Anderson with a late game opportunity to walk it off.
    There’s hurdles and red tape to work through with any new idea, but pushing those boundaries is something that baseball has failed to do time and time again. It’s when those types of initiatives are embraced that Rob Manfred will have begun to make the impact he’s long been looking for, and we’ll all be appreciative fans because of it.
    For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  7. Like
    nclahammer reacted to Ted Schwerzler for a blog entry, Baseball Returns! Sort of…   
    When the calendar turns to May 5 over in Korea, we will officially have the Opening Day we never knew was necessary. Thanks to COVID-19 shelving Major League Baseball thus far in the United States, we are clamoring for sporting outlets. The NFL Draft drew massive numbers, and The Last Dance draws wonderfully on ESPN. Now, if you stay up late enough (rise early enough), we’ll get KBO action.
    It’s been weird to think about so little to cover as it relates to the Minnesota Twins or Major League Baseball I’d have numerous opinions and thoughts on the entire league, as well as the focal organization as a whole, but we have few things in the vein of new developments. That’s left Off the Baggy a bit light, as well as doing a similar number on go-to Twins site Twins Daily.
    Recently there however, I did write about a Minnesota slugger we never got to see in all his glory with the Twins. ByungHo Park was both injured and then ineffective when he traveled to the United States in hopes of continuing his KBO production. It was a perfect storm of unfortunate events and it never worked out for either party. Now back in his homeland, Park has been the pride of the KBO power production once again.

    Unfortunately, we won’t get a chance to see the Kiwoom Heroes on ESPN in the first week of broadcasts. The network is broadcasting one game a day and Kiwoom did not make the cut. For Opening Day central time zone viewers can catch first pitch between the NC Dinos and Samsung Lions at midnight. Karl Ravech and Eduardo Perez will be on the call.
    I’m looking forward to staying up for the experience, and any form of baseball is better than the state we’re currently in. It will be interesting to see how the KBO game is received here, but I certainly hope that it’s batflips proving a key component to defeating this virus and the boredom brought on by it wiping out sports.
  8. Like
    nclahammer reacted to Matthew Lenz for a blog entry, Q & A with Clyde "The Guide" Doepner, Twins Curator   
    [As seen on Zone Coverage]
    Recently, I had the chance to talk with Clyde “the Guide” Doepner, the Curator for the Minnesota Twins. Don’t know what a “curator” is? Think about getting paid to collect, display, and maintain Twins memorabilia for thousands of fans to enjoy at Target Field. Yes. Somebody gets paid to do that! Per his request, Clyde asked that I make this as little about him as possible and as much about the Twins as possible, but I want to provide you with a little background before jumping into our conversation.
    “I was brought up to say thank you.”
    In August of 1966 he was hired on as a first year teacher and varsity head baseball coach. In the spring of that same year, Cal Griffith (Twins’ owner) had sent out free season tickets to all head varsity baseball coaches, but the previous coach didn’t get them before he left and so they sat unused all summer. When he saw these in his mailbox, he decided to go down to the Met, find Cal’s office, and thank him for the tickets. Back in 1966 it was that easy. When he went to thank him, Cal noted that he was the only person to thank him for the tickets and brought him “down the hall, to the left, to the right, and to the Griffith seats”, as Clyde would say. Cal invited him to sit in those seats anytime he came to a game rather than “sitting out in the thankless seats with those ‘hecklin’ son of a guns’”, and a relationship was forged. It got the point that Clyde could sit anywhere he wanted when he came to a game and he became good friends with the Griffith family.
    “We’re not paying those son of a guns…”
    When the Twins made the move from the Met to the Dome, the sports commission was going to start charging the Griffith family for storage space. As Clyde tells it, “[Cal] being too frugal, too cheap to do that said ‘we’re not paying those son of a guns’ and he told his brothers ‘throw everything’. [Clyde] went out [to the dumpster] and collected about 3,000 items, and so Clyde “the Collector” was born and he debuted all the memorabilia at the first Twins fest in 1988. No matter how he got any artifact he considers all artifacts as “a part of the Twins”. If you’re interested to see a lot of the memorabilia then I suggest you check out this book.
    Being part of the Twins organization since 1966, Clyde is an endless book of stories which will be the focus of the rest of the article.
    “No Clyde, I’m all done, this is it.”
    At the end of the 2015 season before he made a public announcement Torii Hunter gave Clyde his glove. Clyde’s response was “I don’t want it, because you’re coming back next year” knowing that he only signed a one-year deal, but that the Twins would likely offer him another contract. Torii said, “No Clyde, I’m all done, this is it.” So a few days later, Hunter made it official and announced that he was retiring from Major League Baseball.
    “I was thinking of my Mom.”
    When Jim Thome hit his 600th home run at Comerica Park, Clyde made sure to get all the bases. He gave third base to Thome, second base to the Twins Community Fund for auction, and first base was kept for the Twins. Why did Thome get third base? Clyde thought “well, once you touched third base you couldn’t screw up the home run”. And why did the Twins get first? When Thome was asked what he was thinking about when he knew it was done and running down to first he said “My mother, she had died the year before”. This struck a chord with Clyde as he also recently lost his mother. On the base he signed: “On the way to this base, I was thinking of my Mom”.
    “Only Halsey could turn a sport coat into a Blazer”
    Halsey Hall was a sports reporter for the Twin Cities and announcer for the Twins for many years. He was actually the first broadcaster to coin the phrase “Holy Cow”, although most fans credit Harry Caray. He was described as having a “grizzly voice, because he smoked two cigars during every game”. Hall of Famer, Herb Carneal would say that “Halsey liked good cigars, but unfortunately that’s not the kind he smoked”. So the story goes that during one game, Halsey’s cigar ash fell into a wastebasket full of paper and started it on fire. He then blurted out, over the air, “oh my god, I’m on fire!” The fire ended up burning his hand, sport coat, and pants and there was a delay in the game until the fire was put out. Former Twins Catcher Jerry Zimmerman said “Only Halsey could turn a sport coat into a blazer”. Halsey was gifted a big red ashtray, and you bet that same ashtray is on display in the Target Field press box.
    “Isn’t that the way it goes?”
    Tom Kelly has each ball from the last out of the game that clinched the division in 1987, the game that clinched the pennant in 1987, and the game that clinched the world series in 1987. As Clyde puts it, “When Kent Hrbek heard about that he said ‘isn’t that the way it goes, Clyde? I caught all three of them, Tom took them, and you give him credit’”.
    Other tidbits:
    Clyde is one of the only curators in MLB. Recently, the Atlanta Braves added a curator when they built their new stadium.
    Target field has 38 display cases that he is responsible for filling and maintaining the memorabilia. He does all of this himself.
    Jim Thome kept a champagne cork and lighter in his locker. Before eye black was a thing, players would burn part of the cork and put it under their eyes.
    He was good friends with Harmon Killebrew. In fact, he was in charge of his appraising six to seven thousand items for his estate.
    Tom Kelley donated his entire collection to the Twins.

    Last but most importantly, Clyde wanted to thank the Twins organization. He would say that “the ‘Twins way’ isn’t just what happens on the field, but what happens in the clubhouse and what goes on in the community”. Clyde’s parting words to the reader would be “you should always say thank you. Not for some ulterior motive, but because it’s the right thing to do”. After all, if he hadn’t said thank you then many of the artifacts we have come to love around Target Field might be in a dumpster somewhere.
    This guy was has an endless amount of stories. If it is at all possible, he would be a great "get" for an upcoming Twins Daily event. Give him the mic and let him talk for as long as he wants.
  9. Like
    nclahammer reacted to Ted Schwerzler for a blog entry, Jake Odorizzi’s Impending Payday   
    Prior to the 2020 season the Minnesota Twins needed to shore up their starting rotation. Rather than giving Jake Odorizzi a multi-year contract they handed him a qualifying offer. Agreeing to the $17.8MM deal may have left something on the table, but new developments mean Odorizzi could be in an interesting spot.
    We have no idea what baseball is going to look like this year, or whether it will look like anything at all. Make no mistake, Major League Baseball will get creative to capture some of those revenues, but ultimately the season could be lost. With the agreement between the league and MLBPA that would mean Odorizzi becomes a free agent once again.
    Going into 2021 the Twins could not extend Jake a qualifying offer. He’d have no draft pick compensation tied to him, and he’d be free to negotiate with any other organization. It’s one thing to say he’d be coming off a 3.51 ERA 3.36 FIP and career best 10.1 K/9. That’s a bit disingenuous though given then numbers were posted back in 2019. The 2020 season is and was an opportunity for substantiation, and should it not be played it’d be fair to wonder what true value actually is.
    It would be foolish to suggest that Odo wasn’t an already solid pitcher prior to the season he had in making his first All-Star Game. In seven big league seasons he had posted a 3.95 ERA 4.22 FIP and 8.3 K/9. With a 102 ERA+, he was just slightly above average, but right in the general consensus of what you’d expect from a mid-rotation arm.
    You aren’t paying $20MM per season for what Jake Odorizzi was, but you’d certainly pay that for the 29-year-old’s performance, and what you hope lies ahead. Now he’ll be 31 in 2021 but that obviously comes with the caveat of a full season having been spared in terms of mileage. Projecting forward is definitely an exercise that teams will need to be both bought into and have a general consensus as to what expectations will be.
    I think Minnesota saw the qualifying offer as a likely acceptance from the former Rays arm, and it always made sense for them to go down that path first. They could have pursued a long-term deal had he denied it but saving themselves future risk made sense as a first course of action. Should they be pushed into a long-term scenario a few months from now, I’d also wager it’s a pact they’d likely make.
    Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have pushed the Twins chips into a win-now mode of sorts. Kenta Maeda and Josh Donaldson are both stars on the opposite side of 30. Failing to continue pairing them with an overall talent level near the top of the big leagues doesn’t seem indicative of the current direction. Odorizzi could certainly have a hefty price tag should he be able to renegotiate a lengthier deal, but Minnesota already has helped him to take the next step and keeping him hear to make an even greater one seems sensible.
    Maybe Odo will never receive the $17.8 million payday he agreed to for the season hanging in the balance. He should be in line for an even greater sum, and while there will be plenty of projecting it’s value, the Twins would seem wise to be a destination for him.
    For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  10. Like
    nclahammer reacted to mrtwinsfan for a blog entry, JOSH DONALDSON   
    Just watched a 60 minutes interview with our new 3rd baseman, its older but learned alot about the guy. is on cbs on demand. alot of free tv channels right now, Unless your to BUSY like none of us are, respect Josh even more after watching, And is there any contests for picking OPENING Day, ??? Ya im Bored!!!!!
  11. Like
    nclahammer reacted to Brandon Warne for a blog entry, From Class A to the Bronx: Detailing Randy Dobnak's Rapid Rise   
    This is an excerpt from a post originating at Zone Coverage. Please click here to read it in full.
    A couple of offseasons ago, we ran a series similar to what we’re doing here, entitled “Minnesota Twins 40-Man Report Cards.” The only key difference to be aware of is since it’s happening now instead of during the offseason, we’re going to make it forward-looking — that is, with the current roster as constructed, looking back on their 2019 season.
    Previous editions:
    Homer Bailey
    Jose Berrios

    So in some cases, it’ll be looking at players who might not have necessarily spent all or even any of their 2019 season in the organization.
    Let’s dive right in, starting with the pitchers:

    Player: Randy Dobnak
    2019 team(s): Minnesota Twins
    Pertinent Numbers: 28.1 IP, 1.59 ERA/2.90 FIP, 0.8 fWAR/0.7 bWAR (with Minnesota); 46.0 IP, 2.15 ERA/3.45 FIP (with Rochester); 66.2 IP, 2.56 ERA/3.00 FIP (with Pensacola); 22.1 IP, 0.40 ERA/2.73 FIP (with Fort Myers)

    2019 LOWDOWN
    Maybe I’m just needing to stand on my soapbox for a second, but it feels so reductionist to continually recall Dobnak as the Uber driver-made-good — especially when it’s used to encapsulate his meteoric rise to pitching in the Bronx in Game 2 of the American League Division Series. Or if you’re an opposing fan, demean the fact that he was there in the first place.
    I’m willing to be wrong here. Certainly, it wasn’t his fault that Michael Pineda was suspended and Kyle Gibson had a rough end to the season.
    But even without his ride-share prowess, the story of Dobnak is unlike many, if any, ever told in professional baseball. Dobnak wasn’t drafted out of high school, so he went to Division II Alderson Broaddus University in West Virginia.
    After four years of putting up numbers for the Battlers, Dobnak again went undrafted.
    In fact, Dobnak made light of this fact when he faced the Minnesota Golden Gophers in a scrimmage for the first game action for the Twins this spring. He joked with reporters afterward that it was the first Division I baseball he’d ever played.
    Despite going undrafted in 2017, an undeterred Dobnak went and pitched in the United Shore Professional Baseball League in Michigan, making six appearances before finally catching the eye of the Minnesota Twins, who signed him on July 31.
    Dobnak’s final appearance in the USPBL was a brilliant one — a complete-game four-hitter with two earned runs, seven strikeouts and no walks against the East Side Diamond Hoppers.
    That was it for Dobnak in the Independent Leagues. No longer was he a Utica Unicorn — though in reality, a unicorn is what he truly is to this day.
    A little over two years later — Aug. 9 of last season — Dobnak found himself on the mound at Target Field taking on the Cleveland Indians.
  12. Like
    nclahammer reacted to mikelink45 for a blog entry, SI covers - baseball history sampler   
    Once upon a time I had the first copy of SI with Eddie Mathews on the cover - my third favorite player after Aaron and Spahn, but my mother did what hundreds of mothers did - cleaned house and threw it away. But for decades SI was the go to source like TD is today.
    Going through my old collection of magazine covers I was struck with the fun stories and insights that these covers give. I have posted this series of covers because it captures our 1987 World Series victory and Toronto which featured who would win in 1993 with a number of Minnesotans who would switch over to the Twins - Morris and Molitor. Winfield was there the year before.
    These were great days and there were lots of stories to explore. Look at the cover of the Champs - the sheer pleasure of this championship for a team that had no real expectations. In the first cover for the series it is gladden that gets the position of honor. And in the playoffs it is Greg Gagne.
    These covers hit HOF Trammell and not quite HOF Strawberry and Mattingly. All three were dominant and colorful. And then there is Seaver coming back to NY like Aaron returned to Milwaukee and Mays returned to NY.
    Keep going in this collection and you will find that the favored team was the Indians! Something just don't change. Of course there one cover that stands out - the salaries. Look at those players and their salaries. Somethings have really changed since 1987 and it is not a small change.
    If you click on the individual images they will enlarge. I invite you to enjoy these stories and images like I did.
  13. Like
    nclahammer reacted to stringer bell for a blog entry, My prediction for the new 29 man roster   
    MLB and the MLBPA agreed yesterday to accommodations for a shortened 2020 major league schedule. Many things are to be determined, especially since there is no firm date for the season to begin. I choose to be optimistic that there will be baseball this summer, perhaps without crowds in the stands. One thing agreed to unofficially was an expanded roster. The number that has been published is 29. I am going with that information and will now name the 29 players I expect will be on the roster for Opening Day 2020 whenever that happens.
    Pitchers--(15) Berríos, Maeda, Odorizzi, Bailey, Chacín, Dobnak, Wisler, May, Clippard, Stashak, Duffey, Romo, Littell, Thielbar, Rogers
    Catchers--(3) Garver,Avila, Astudillo
    Infielders--(6) Sanó, Arraez, Polanco, Donaldson, Adrianza, Gonzalez
    Outfielders--(4) Rosario, Buxton, Kepler, Cave
    Designated Hitter--(1) Cruz
    This would take the current roster, subtract Rich Hill and add both Thielbar and Chacín. My reasoning for this roster includes that the schedule will probably have doubleheaders and perhaps will fill some off days with games, meaning that a larger pitching staff in today's environment would be essential. I have included both Dobnak and Chacín, who have been competing for a starting spot and assume that either the Twins will go with a six-man rotation or that one of Dobnak or Chacín will be a "long man" in the bullpen. I assumed that if the staff were expanded by three that the Twins would add a lefty, even though specialists will be minimized by the three-batter rule. Having an occasional different look could be helpful.
    The fight for the 13th position player is over--they both win. I had thought Astudillo's ability to make contact and play many positions would win out over Cave's general competency, but with an additional position player spot available, both make the team.
    As for the pitching staff, it is murkier. First of all, Rich Hill has stated he could be ready to pitch in June. Suddenly, he might miss only a couple weeks or perhaps no time at all. Michael Pineda has two-thirds of his sixty game suspension to serve. I would expect that his suspension is prorated, much as service time will be prorated. If the season is 100 games, his suspension would be 25 games. There is nothing official, but that is what I will go with. I am assuming that Hill won't quite be ready when the season starts and that Pineda will have at least three weeks of suspension to serve.
    I think the Twins have seen enough of Chacín to want to see a bit more. He may not survive the return of Pineda and debut of Hill, but I don't think the Twins want to give up on him quite yet. Dobnak has pitched the best in exhibition games of those competing for a spot and he was outstanding last year in his brief time with the Twins. Wisler and Stashak both make the bullpen and there still is room for a lefty. I picked Thielbar over the others--Barnes, Clay and Coulumbe all had some moments, but I think Thielbar has pitched better. Hardy just had TJ surgery so he is out for 2020.
    I think a 29-man roster demonstrates the depth that the Twins possess. In other years, all of the players mentioned would easily make the Opening Day roster and more would have a chance. I have not added Devin Smeltzer to the 29, but believe he could be an option to pitch several doubleheader games if that happens. I don't really see him as a reliever and he has an option to use, so if he were called on to pitch as a long man, he could be shuttled to Rochester this year.
  14. Like
    nclahammer reacted to mikelink45 for a blog entry, Names and players - yes I am bored   
    I just went through the roster of everyone who ever played for the Senators/Twins franchise. Only with Coronavirus would I do that. Well it was kind of fun and I put together a 26 man roster of the best names - from my perspective. These were last names only and it was hard to ignore the nicknames. Vic Power led off at first for the Twins since Power is our calling card and Early Wynn (perfect names) is our starting pitcher. Some are a little more obscure - actually I never heard of many of them. But here it is. Have at it - add and subtract as you like.
    1B Vic Power
    2B Jimmy Bloodworth
    3B Rocky Bridges
    SS Sam Crane
    C Earl Battey
    OF Steve Braun
    OF Eric Bullock
    OF Goose Goslin
    P Early Wynn
    P Red Bird
    P Boof Bonser
    P John Butcher
    P Matt Capps
    P Jim Constable
    P Skipper Friday
    P Eric Hacker
    P Jim Hoey
    P Jim Kaat
    P Joe Klink
    P Spencer Pumpelly
    B Brian Dinkelman – 2B
    B Jake Early – C
    B Butch Huskey – OF
    B Clyde Kluttz – C
    B Elmer Klumpp – C
    B Bob Unglaub - U
    I also played with individual letters. This meant letters with a lot of names like "S". The weakness in this is apparent right away - the players were not Senator/Twins for their entire career so their numbers are inflated. For my exercise it is as if they were potentially on our teams their entire career and if they were this is how they stacked up.
    1B George Sisler HOF 56.4
    2b Germany Schaefer 8.9
    3b Miquel Sano 7.8
    Ss Roy Smalley 27.9
    C Terry Steinbach 28
    Of Tris Speaker HOF 134.2
    Of Al Simmons HOF 68
    Of Roy Sievers 25.5
    P Jack Sandford 18.6
    P Johann Santana 51.7
    P Ervin Santana 26.6
    P Bill Singer 18.7
    p Lee Stange 9.2
    464.5 total WAR
    The R team does not have a total WAR because you will see that the list does not have enough potential to be beat the S team.
    1B Rich Rollins
    2b Luis Rivas
    3b Rich Reese
    Ss Pete Runnels
    C Phil Roof
    Of Ben Revere
    Of Sam Rice HOF
    Of Eddie Rosario
    P Brad Radtke
    P Pedro Ramos
    P Jeff Reardon
    P Kenny Rogers
    p Dutch Reuther
    The P team had 302.9 WAR but lacked the total star power.
    1B Vic Power 15.3
    2b Trevor Plouffe 7.2
    3b Mike Pagliarulo 10.6
    Ss Roger Peckinpaugh 44.9
    C A J Pierzynski 23.8
    Of Wally Post 18.2
    Of Kirby Puckett 51.1
    Of Albie Pearson 13.1
    P Jim Perry 41.6
    P Camilo Pascual 40.9
    P Carl Pavano 16.4
    P Mike Pineda 10.9
    p Glen Perkins 8.9
    The M's make a big push with 378.8 WAR
    1B Justin Morneau 27
    2b Buddy Myer 47.8
    3b David McKay 0.1
    Ss Pat Meares 4.8
    C Joe Mauer 55.3
    Of Paul Molitor HOF 75.7
    Of Heinie Manush HOF 47.2
    Of Shane Mack 21.6
    P Firpo Marberry 30.3
    P Tippy Martinez 8.6
    P Joe Mays 9.4
    P Eric Milton 16.5
    p Jack Morris HOF 43.5
    1B Ron Coomer 1.4
    2b Rod Carew HOF 81.3
    3b John Castino 15.2
    Ss Joe Cronin 64.1
    C Juan Castro -5.4
    Of Ben Chapman 41.9
    Of Marty Cordova 7.7
    Of Michael Cuddyer 17.8
    P Steve Carlton HOF 90.2
    P Stan Coveleski HOF 61.4
    P Dean Chance 29.9
    P Al Cicotte 0.3
    p Bartolo Colon 45.8
    451.6 comes in second thanks to the HOF players
    Those were the letters I chose. K has Killebrew and Kaat, but not enough supporting cast. B has a lot of players but only Blyleven is HOF. D has only Ed Delehanty. W does not have as many players, but Walter Johnson has 164 WAR by himself.
    I cannot continue - my boredom has been replaced by being tired.
  15. Like
    nclahammer reacted to Ted Schwerzler for a blog entry, Baseball and its Unifying Abilities   
    We are just days into this global pandemic and so far, COVID-19 has taken a multitude of normalcy away from our daily lives. Forced to reconsider how we’ll operate in the weeks ahead; we no longer have baseball (and sports as a whole) to view. While that’s disappointing, it is in these passions that people have long since become a unified community.
    Major League Baseball shelved operations in the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues last week. We now have seen teams disperse, with players returning home to the extent of some even leaving the country. As things stand right now, resumption of the sport couldn’t be more distant. First pitches were supposed to be thrown out on Opening Day’s around the league in less than two weeks. That has been taken away from us. Amidst this unfortunate revelation, we’re forced to consider what aspect of the sport really brings us together in the first place.
    Statistics, analysis, and fandom is generated by the on-field play of athletes we follow. Baseball is a labor of love requiring buy in over a long seasons that tracks many months. The level of consumption can be different for each fan, but the outlets and offerings available to us are plentiful and provide something for everyone. It’s in this time of stoppage that we can shift a focus to where we’re all at, and that’s a reality of togetherness.
    Sure, there’s no breakdowns of Spring Training action or roster movement taking place right now. We don’t have highlights to pour over or tickets to buy. What we still have however is a community of people that share a passion towards a singular subject. While we’re all divided by teams and players, baseball is the greater thread that brings it all back together.
    In this downtime there’s more than a handful of great writers putting out content. There are websites still pumping out great pieces. There have been a handful of awesome books published over the past couple of seasons. Heck, Twitter allows for immediate dialogue and interaction amongst an endless number of participants. Really, it’s baseball that has brought us all together, but not the on-field product that keeps us here.
    Hopefully sooner rather than later we’ll have a return to action on the field. In the meantime, though, the fan wins alongside every other fan going through the same experience. Find different ways to consume this passion. Strike up new conversations, read new writers, join new communities. The impact of this experience, and the way we’re able to consume a sport that has temporarily been taken away, is entirely up to each individual.
    There won’t be any box scores when it’s all said and done, but the appreciation and love of the game can be certain to grow along the way.
    For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  16. Like
    nclahammer reacted to mikelink45 for a blog entry, What works with a pandemic?   
    One of the most interesting thing I have found in researching the virus and the Spanish Flu is this article on the affect of social distancing? https://qz.com/1816060/a-chart-of-the-1918-spanish-flu-shows-why-social-distancing-works/
    For baseball fans who like to look at charts and graphs this is a really good study of St Louis and Philadelphia during the 1918 epidemic.
    "The extreme measures—now known as social distancing, which is being called for by global health agencies to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus—kept per capita flu-related deaths in St. Louis to less than half of those in Philadelphia, according to a 2007 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."
    “I think the critical lesson from both the modeling and the historical work is that the benefits of multiple interventions are greatest if they are introduced early (before 1% of the population is infected) and maintained,” wrote Hatchett, who has also directed medical preparedness in the Obama White House."
    The history channel describes a very similar tactic to what the states are trying to do now, "The 1918 flu was first observed in Europe, the United States and parts of Asia before swiftly spreading around the world. At the time, there were no effective drugs or vaccines to treat this killer flu strain. Citizens were ordered to wear masks, schools, theaters and businesses were shuttered and bodies piled up in makeshift morgues before the virus ended its deadly global march."
    Should we think 2 weeks or a month is going to take care of us, here is another quote from the History.com, "The first wave of the 1918 pandemic occurred in the spring and was generally mild. The sick, who experienced such typical flu symptoms as chills, fever and fatigue, usually recovered after several days, and the number of reported deaths was low.
    "However, a second, highly contagious wave of influenza appeared with a vengeance in the fall of that same year. Victims died within hours or days of developing symptoms, their skin turning blue and their lungs filling with fluid that caused them to suffocate. In just one year, 1918, the average life expectancy in America plummeted by a dozen years."
    Why was it called Spanish Flu? "By 11 March 1918, the virus had reached Queens, New York. ... The Allies of World War I came to call it the Spanish flu, primarily because the pandemic received greater press attention after it moved from France to Spain in November 1918. Spain was not involved in the war and had not imposed wartime censorship."
    So do we assume that once the summer comes and the seasons change that we are done? No. "The second wave of the 1918 pandemic was much deadlier than the first. The first wave had resembled typical flu epidemics; those most at risk were the sick and elderly, while younger, healthier people recovered easily. By August, when the second wave began in France, Sierra Leone, and the United States,[93] the virus had mutated to a much deadlier form. October 1918 was the deadliest month of the whole pandemic."
    Sports Illustrated described - "There’s a face mask on the hitter, the bench and the crowd. Underneath their standard equipment, the umpire and catcher have them, too.
    "This is how the Pasadena Merchants and Standard-Murphys played a game in the Southern California Winter League on January 26, 1919."
    "The 2016 Marlins-Pirates series in Puerto Rico, which was moved to Miami due to Zika virus."
    In 1909 " as typhoid fever spread in California, the San Francisco Examiner ran the front-page headline “Epidemic Threatens to Ruin Ball Team” as the Pacific Coast League saw several players fall sick at once. The illness-related charity games have evolved with the times, too: The St. Louis Cardinals had an annual “Tuberculosis Day” game for more than two decades, and years later, President Eisenhower declared “Baseball Polio Day,” when MLB games were used to raise money for the disease on July 4, 1957."
    We think of our athletes as men of good health and conditioning, but we have the following list of players who died during their career - only two from flu. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_baseball_players_who_died_during_their_careers
    And finally for Twins fans there is this February 20 LA Times article that tells about Brusdar Graterol overcoming the flu - https://www.latimes.com/sports/dodgers/story/2020-02-20/dodgers-brusdar-graterol-over-flu-100-mph-fastball
  17. Like
    nclahammer reacted to stringer bell for a blog entry, Strange Times   
    I write this blog entry when I was expecting to do other things. I am in Fort Myers in 80 degree weather with just a hint of a breeze on a nice Thursday afternoon. What could be wrong? Well, actually, plenty.
    My significant other and I made plans for the rest of winter sometime in January. Because we had made an extended trip of the Christmas/New Year holidays and because we were planning a family gathering for the summer, we decided to stay in Minnesota for the rest of January and I decided I would stay in February until I could make it to spring training for my favorite baseball team. The plan was for me to drive to Florida by way of my daughter's residence in Indiana. I would be in Fort Myers by myself until she was on semester break and then we could enjoy a week together in Florida--baseball, beaches, warm weather--before driving back together so that she could be ready for college to start up again.
    Things often don't go as you plan them. The expensive ticket for her flight could now be purchased for pennies on the dollar. The Minnesota Twins and all of major league baseball have cancelled the remainder of spring training games. The Final Four won't happen, to quote a song "Broadway is dark tonight" and I would expect more cancellations going forward.
    This has brought me to think about what is important and what isn't. Having something like baseball to occupy my time is important. Filling that gap is essential. Having health is really crucial. I am thankful to be in good health at this time and I certainly don't want to get the coronavirus, even though it likely wouldn't effect me long term. Many people could die needlessly if measures aren't taken to diminish the acceleration of exposure. I'll do what I can to avoid getting the virus and spreading it to others.
    Oh yes. I did get to watch the future of the Minnesota Twins (IMHO). On Tuesday, in Clearwater, the starting lineup included Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Brent Rooker and Royce Lewis. They all impressed me, particularly Lewis, who homered and made an outstanding defensive play at shortstop. If two or three of these prospects pan out, the pipeline will be intact and the Twins should be able to have a first-division lineup for most of the next decade.
    Today, before MLB's announcement suspending exhibition games, I watched Twins minor leaguers play. I saw Duran throwing absolute gas, Matt Wallner (big kid--6'5") looking good, but not making contact and I found out about a Twins prospect Seth Gray (4th round draft choice from Wright State) from his dad. I'll be a Gray fan now. Seems like a nice kid. Finally, as I was walking back to my car I saw a man walking over to a somewhat elderly guy wearing a Twins hat. Tony-O!. I waited until the conversation was over and asked Tony if I could take a picture. He said that we should make it a selfie, but that he couldn't sign autographs--bosses orders.
    I asked Tony how old he really was and he said something to the effect of "in America, I'm 81" with a chuckle. According to BB Reference, that is his correct age FWIW. I got back to my room excited about spending more days like today at the spring training complex, meeting icons and nice people from Twins Territory, and now it seems it is over almost before it started. Since I started writing this entry, Disneyland announced they were closing and March Madness was cancelled. This is serious stuff folks.
  18. Like
    nclahammer reacted to mikelink45 for a blog entry, Spanish Flu, Coronavirus and Baseball   
    In 1918 Spanish Flu became the last act in the horrible loss of life that had been WWI, "By the time it had spread across the United States, the deadly event had killed an estimated 675,000 Americans."
    If you wonder why the world is reacting so vigorously to Corona think about this from MLB.Com history - "In just 15 months Spanish flu killed, according to best estimates today, between 50 million and 100 million worldwide. It infected an estimated 500 million people around the world, about a third of the planet’s total population."
    United States Surgeon General Rupert Blue in September 1918. “People are stricken on the streets or while at work. First there is a chill, then fever with temperatures from 101 to 103, headache, backache, reddening and running of the eyes, pains and aches all over the body, and general prostration. Persons so attacked should go to their homes at once, get into bed without delay and immediately call a physician.”
    MLB.com reports, "the flu took: Cy Swain, a minor leaguer from 1904 to 1914 who slugged 39 home runs in 1913; Larry Chappell, a big league outfielder for the White Sox, Indians and Boston Braves between 1913 and 1917; catcher Leo McGraw, a minor leaguer between 1910 and 1916; catcher Harry Glenn, a minor leaguer from 1910 to 1918 who spent time with the 1915 Cardinals; minor league pitcher Dave Roth, who played between 1912 and 1916; and minor league pitcher Harry Acton, who played in 1917." The death of umpire Silk O'Loughlin shocked everyone. He was the name most people recognized.
    "O’Loughlin umpired in the American League from 1902 to 1918 while working the World Series in 1906, 1909, 1912, 1915 and 1917."
    The Philadelphia Inquirer reported - "Officials responded by banning most public gatherings. Impacted sporting events included high school and college football games, amateur soccer matches, and a fight between Jack Dempsey and Battling Levinsky."
    The Inquirer added - "Penn’s game against Georgia Tech was canceled. The Quakers postponed a contest with the Navy Yard’s Marines, and when it took place on Oct. 26, it was played at an empty Franklin Field.
    A campus rally for a much-anticipated game against eventual national champion Pitt was called off, as was a war-bond fund-raiser featuring movie star William S. Hart.
    "Penn wasn’t alone. Most college football teams, including an unbeaten Michigan squad, had to shorten their schedules because of the epidemic."
    "Major League Baseball got lucky. Because of World War I, its season had ended a month early, on Sept. 2, before the worst of the outbreak. Still, throughout organized baseball, at least seven players, including Negro League star Ted Kimbro, eventually died from the flu."
    In the World Series that was played in September the paper reported, "Boston’s Babe Ruth, then a robust 23-year-old, was stricken twice but fought it off sufficiently to pitch and win a pair of games for the victorious Red Sox."
    Baseball is a wonderful sport, but health is first and should always be first in our nation, politics, and decisions.
  19. Like
    nclahammer reacted to jorgenswest for a blog entry, Two Wild Cards: Luis Gil and Dakota Chalmers   
    In the spring of 2018 the Twins traded Luis Gil for Jake Cave. At the time of the trade Luis Gil had been in the Twin organization since 2015. He had thrown 65 innings over those three years with 73 strike outs and 46 walks. He did not pitch due to a shoulder injury in 2016 and had yet to pitch in rookie ball. He did not make Seth Stoh's 2018 prospect handbook. He did have a big fastball.
    In July of that season the Twins traded Fernando Rodney for Dakota Chalmers. Chalmers was injured at the time of the trade. He had been in the Yankee organization since 2015. He had thrown 121 innings over those years with 137 strikeouts and 91 walks. He would not pitch due to Tommy John surgery in 2018 and had yet to pitch above Low A.
    They have some similarities.
    They both had injuries that caused them to lose a season.
    They both had big strike out and walk numbers early on.
    They both needed to be put on the 40 man roster this off season and start their options clock.

    Keith Law ranked Luis Gil as the Yankees 14th prospect writing...
    He was ranked 5th in the MLB pipeline and 10th by Fangraphs.
    Keith Law ranked Dakota Chalmers as the 19th best prospect writing...
    He was ranked 23rd in the MLB pipeline and unranked by Fangraphs.
    Here is a recent article on Chalmers from Baseball America following his successful AFL season.
    Both have significant command issues as shown. Both look to be relievers. Luis Gil will be 22 this year and likely needs to start in High A where he has only three games of experience. He has three options to figure out the strike zone and gain experience at the higher levels. Dakota Chalmers is 23. He will likely start in AA. He also has three options to gain command of his pitches.
    The Twins acquired Jake Cave for Luis Gil. He has given the 2.3 fWAR as their 4th outfielder in two seasons. The Twins have 4 more seasons of control.
    The Twins traded Fernando Rodney to acquire Dakota Chalmers. They gave up control through 2019. Rodney netted -0.1 fWAR for the A's before he was released and then part of the Nationals World Series team (0.5 fWAR).
    Would you trade Chalmers for Gil today?
    Chalmers is closer. He might help in the pen this year if the Twins went that direction with him. Gil will likely start the year in high A and still be given the chance to be a starter. His value to the Yankees would be to show better control in the first half as a starter and then moving him at the deadline. Gil is further away with a history of shoulder trouble. Any injury set back and it is hard to imagine that he will be ready before his options run out. I will be interested in where they both start and whether Chalmers is in the pen or rotation.
    I would probably trade Chalmers for Gil. I like the upside of that arm and the possibility of having that trade piece at the deadline. Chalmers may be ready to help this year though. I see them both in a similar place as pitchers with a history of arm trouble, swing and miss stuff and command issues. They both need spots on the 40. In the moments when I regret the trade of Gil for Cave I need to remember appreciating the acquiring Chalmers for Rodney.
  20. Like
    nclahammer reacted to Axel Kohagen for a blog entry, The Last Days of My Beautiful Twins Zubaz   
    I just asked my wife if my Twins Zubaz still existed.
    I have to ask. They’ve seen better days. Their greatest wound is an inch and a half ripped seam in the crotch, rendering them useless for anything public. I’ve thought about mending the tear, but the rest of the Zubaz are worn so thin I imagine they’d tear in ten other places like ice crackling during a spring thaw.
    Do I wear them expecting they’ll bring me closer to the Minnesota Twins as I slumber? Absolutely. Pajamas should always be a bridge to pleasant dreams.
    In truth, I often dream of going to Twins games. Usually I’m just wandering Target Field, trying to meet up with some group of people I’m supposed to join at the game. Once, despite being in my early forties, I dreamed I was the first runner-up to be the Twins ball boy. They asked me to field a grounder and toss the ball to the coach. When I failed as miserably as I would while I was awake, the other dude got the job.
    I actually made the team one evening, but it was a nightmare. Sure, I was excited to be a Minnesota Twin. But I also knew I suck at playing baseball. In my dream, I was taking up a roster spot with no skill. The dilemma - do I tell Coach I shouldn’t be there or wait until he figures it out and drink in the joy of baseball?
    Maybe my Twins Zubaz are like a dreamcatcher in reverse, letting out the best parts of baseball dreams and sealing in the existential doom of regular living.
    Whether or not your dreams come true, it’s fun to play pretend you’re on the team. If you’ve got your own version of my Twins Zubaz, share some details in the comments. How far do you go? Some nights, I break out the Twins socks and a TC t-shirt and when I wake up, I’m still a guy in his early forties. A guy in his forties with the smile of a goofy twelve-year-old.
    My wife will probably kill the Zubaz when I’m not looking. They’re one hole away from being invisible and she preys on weak and wounded clothing. When that day comes, I’ll have to get a new pair immediately. The new pair won’t be as soft and worn-in. They’ll get into game shape in no time, though. It’s spring training for sleep slacks, too.
    Pleasant dreams, Twins Territory.
  21. Like
    nclahammer reacted to Doctor Gast for a blog entry, Diamonds in the Rough   
    It`s nice to have money like NYY to be able buy expensive, proven, developed, polished players. These exceptional players I will convey them as "diamonds". Most teams have to settle for what`s left over in FA or try to scout, draft, develop & trade for prospects that have great potential to become "diamonds" or what I`ll call "diamonds in the rough". They are & should be valued & hard to come by because teams don`t want to give them up. Some get lucky get a prospect which quickly shine & develop into stars other prospects need a lot of patience. Stars like Cruz & Donaldson developed later in life. When a "diamond in the rough" has a set back & develop slower some teams & fans are ready to devalue & dispense of them which normally proves regrettable. Of course a true evaluation is needed to determine if indeed you have a diamond or a lump of coal. But once it`s determined you have to be patient. I believe Romero could be a "diamond in the rough".
    Pertaining to pitching teams like Cleveland & LA have a system to eye & develop "diamonds in the rough". Cleveland like us are low market they never are buyers of "diamonds" but always sellers, which produces resources to obtain more "diamonds in the rough". LA & Cleveland hold onto their "diamond in the roughs". This is what I aspire for the Twins, w/ Wes Johnson to obtain & develop these "diamonds in the rough" where we have a steady influx of aces & cull out when needed.We need to hold onto our "diamonds in the rough" like LA so I was disappointed when we traded Graterol. LA really develop their pitchers so when you get a pitcher from them, they aren`t much up side for improvement. On the other hand a team like PIT does not, so a pitcher from them, there is a lot of up side for improvement. Therefore a pitcher like Archer I am very high on. He could have been very cheap but now his stock is constantly rising. People look at him & say look at his stats even at Tampa they weren`t that impressive. At Tampa, everyone saw his potential so PIT got him & couldn`t develop him. With new coaching at PIT, Archer will take off but not as much as if we had him here at MN, he should have been pursued. Jon Gray is another "diamond in the rough" which his stats don`t show his true value. At Colorado the ball really carrys so they stress GP% & pitchers are limited to that style.
    MN has a lot of very good pitching prospects but I featured Romero, Graterol, Archer & J Gray because they are under valued. Although I enjoy watching "diamonds" pitch, I get excited about "diamond in the rough" because that`s where the greatest value & opportunities lay.
  22. Like
    nclahammer reacted to billyp4444 for a blog entry, Minnesota Twins: 5 reasons for caution (the hay isn't in the barn yet)   
    1) The infield defense is slightly suspect and below average. -Sano, Arraez and Polanco all have below average defensive stats
    2) Jake Odorizzi and Jose Berrios prove to be below average front line starters. Yes they've proven themselves as #3's. Can they repeatably beat other teams 1's and 2's?
    3) Byron Buxton is delayed and/or hurt again
    4) Mitch Garver and the rest of the offense return to normal temperature instead of red hot
    5) Injuries- This applies to any team but 5 starters (Sano, Cruz, Buxton, Donaldson and Kepler) have all battled the injury bug in recent years. Not too mention 5 of the 7 starting pitchers (Odorizzi, Bailey, Maeda, Hill, Pineda)
    All this said the Twins should be a contender, I'm just saying the hay isn't in the barn yet.....
  23. Like
    nclahammer reacted to Ted Schwerzler for a blog entry, A Tortoise or the Rake? Minnesota’s Final Player   
    My last Opening Day roster projection (version 2.0) was put out on February 10th. Not much has changed since then, and I feel good about what I came up with. The end of the position players come down to a two-way battle in my mind, and that would be between The Turtle and Rake Cave.
    After jumping into relevance during 2018, Astudillo came back to earth a year ago. Cave was acquired in exchange for Luis Gil and has served in an adequate fourth outfielder role since. Now entering 2020 with one of the best rosters in baseball, it will be about production and function when considering who will grab that coveted 26th roster spot.
    Let’s get to the tale of the tape.
    What Does Willians Do Well?
    When considering the functionality of Astudillo, you’d be hard pressed not to immediately notice his flexibility. No, not in terms of limberness, but in the sense of positional opportunity. Over the past two seasons he has played six different positions each year and calling him a primary anything may be a stretch.
    On top of being able to move him all over the diamond, there’s his ability to put the round bat on the round ball. He’s got 301 major league plate appearances and has struck out just 11 times. That 4% strikeout rate is in line with the 3% mark he set in the minors over 2,500 plate appearances as well. In a league dominated by power, commanding the zone to that extent is a feat in and of itself.
    What Doesn’t Willians Do Well?
    This is where strengths also become weaknesses for the artist famously known as La Tortuga. Rocco Baldelli is afforded the ability to play Astudillo all over the diamond, but defensive metrics suggest it’s not an opportunity he should be excited about. He’s a below average catcher, small target at first base, poor at third, and substantially stretched in the outfield. He’s a utility player in that he “can,” but the utility is lost in thinking whether he “should.”
    Also, about that strikeout rate. Last season Astudillo’s swing tendencies were exploited to the tune of a dismal .678 OPS. He still didn’t strike out at all, but because he doesn’t take walks either, he’ll never be a strong OBP guy. He has a very good ability to hit the ball, but a poor ability to discern what pitches he should be attacking. A 40% ground ball rate and 30% hard hit rate aren’t going to result in many positive outcomes. Aggressiveness works against him for the most part and opposing pitchers have exploited it.
    What Does Cave Do Well?
    Andrew Thares recently did a great job breaking down Jack Cave over at Twins Daily. His 2019 was exponentially better than starting outfielder Eddie Rosario, and he played a key role after Byron Buxton went down. Finishing with an .805 OPS in 72 games, Cave posted a .296/.377/.556 slash line over his final 50 games (39 starts 142 AB). He certainly fans plenty but doubling his walk rate to nearly 10% was a good adjustment.
    In the field Cave is limited to just the grass, but he contributes in all three positions. Although he’s an average at best outfielder, it’s not as though he’s a liability. Centerfield is not the place you’d want to put him, but he’s plenty adequate on the corners. Given the volatility involved with Minnesota’s starting centerfield option, the ability to cycle players through makes a good amount of sense.
    What Doesn’t Cave Do Well?
    I’m not sure Cave’s greatest hinderance is that there’s something he doesn’t inherently do well on his own as much as it’s the hand he’s currently being dealt. He’s a fourth outfielder on a team that has one of the better outfields in all of baseball. Although Eddie Rosario could be replaceable, that doesn’t appear to be a blueprint that will happen internally at the moment. On top of that, acquisitions in the infield have made Marwin Gonzalez more of an outfielder (a role he has been defensively superior at) pushing Cave further down the ladder.
    From a personal contribution standpoint, Cave does have some opportunity for growth in terms of contact rate. He’s just below 70%, and given the 52% hard hit rate in 2020, more bats on balls is a good thing. He owned a .358 BABIP despite just a .258 average. Sure, the counting numbers aren’t there yet but that could turn quick.
    At the end of the day, I think there’s little argument to be made that Cave isn’t the better player of the two. What this could come down to is the more ideal positional fit, and right now, Astudillo has that working in his favor.
    For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  24. Like
    nclahammer reacted to mikelink45 for a blog entry, Commissioner IQ test   
    Sunday, Manfred described the Commissioner’s Trophy, the statue awarded to each season’s champion, as a “piece of metal.” Could this errant statement put him in line to be another victim of the scandal?
    We have had some good ones like A. Bartlett Giamatti, Fay Vincent, and Peter Ueberroth and we have a mix of mediocre and bad. Here is a summary going to the first commissioner - Landis.
    Which brought to mind a question I have long had about sports commissioners - what IQ test do they have to pass?
    The World Series trophy is the Commissioners Trophy with a flag for each city in the league. It is like the Lombardi Trophy ( a classier name) and the Stanley Cup. Players careers are focused on winning this trophy but Bleacher Report gave us this insight as he joins Crane, Hinch, and a host of others with foot in their mouth disease, ""In an effort to make a rhetorical point, I referred to the World Series trophy in a disrespectful way," he said. "... It was a mistake to say what I said."
    "In an interview with ESPN's Karl Ravech earlier this week, Manfred called the Commissioner's Trophy a "piece of metal" when talking about the possibility of stripping the Houston Astros of their 2017 World Series title amid the ongoing fallout from their sign-stealing scandal."
    He is supposed to be above that - right? Bowie Kuhn has been the MLB lawyer before becoming the commissioner and was named defendant in the Flood vs Kuhn antitrust lawsuit. He barred Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays for appearing at a Casino event - even though they did not gamble. Kuhn refused Atlanta's desire to sit Aaron for a three game series so he could break the record at home - Kuhn was not in attendance when Aaron did hit 715. He is in the HOF.
    Bud Selig hated to get booed so after the tie all star game where he made the right decision he immediately made the wrong one and said the winner of the All Star Game would be the league that got home field advantage in the World Series. He also worked with Mr Pohlad on something called contraction! You might remember his uneven handling of PEDs, yet he is in the HOF and the players are not.
    Lieutenant General Eckert was the fourth commissioner of baseball - he had not seen a baseball game in ten years when he was chosen. He refused to call games when JFK and MLK were assassinated and he was fired because the owners did not think he would handle a possible strike. Writers called him the unknown soldier.
    Ford Frick was the third commissioner and had been a sportswriter. "Writer Jerome Holtzman described Frick's term as commissioner by saying that he "sailed a smooth course and seldom descended from his throne. When asked why he absented himself from the many battles below, he often said, 'It's a league matter.'... In retrospect, he understood his role. He was a caretaker, not a czar."" He was named to the HOF (which he helped found) and is the name on the annual writers award.
    Happy Chandler, working to avoid a strike and to maintain the reserve clause worked with the Pirates - Chandler worked with Pirates officials. Part of Chandler's intervention included organizing a team of replacement players as a contingency plan; the team would have included Honus Wagner, then 72.
    The defections to the Mexican league and the threat of a strike by the Pirates prompted owners to form an advisory committee, chaired by Larry MacPhail, to suggest needed changes that would calm the discontent among the players. The commissioner then stripped the language that said racial bias was the only reason for segregation in the game. He is in the HOF
    Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis oversaw the Black Socks scandal, ""Regardless of the verdict of juries," the commissioner said in a statement, "no player that throws a ball game, no player that entertains proposals or promises to throw a game, no player that sits in a conference with a bunch of crooked players and gamblers where the ways and means of throwing games are discussed, and does not promptly tell his club about it, will ever again play professional baseball." Overall his reputation is on the Mt Rushmore of commissioners, but he could have risen even higher if he had led the way to integration since his father was a union fighter at Kenesaw Mountain. Yes - he is in the HOF.
  25. Like
    nclahammer reacted to Ted Schwerzler for a blog entry, Pitching Projects Pan Out in Minnesota   
    Over the past few seasons there have been more than a few guys signed that have drawn a groan from Twins Territory. What the initial analysis doesn’t take into account is that the Twins have generated a juggernaut in terms of infrastructure, and it's paid dividends in recent seasons. This time around, it’s Matt Wisler looking to generate a return.
    Early on this winter the front office tabbed former Top 100 prospect Matt Wisler as being worthy of a major league deal. He combined to throw just over 50 innings in the majors last season, and the results generated a 5.61 ERA. Giving up nearly two homers per nine innings, the counting stats were hardly enticing. But then you take a look under the hood.
    Wisler posted a 4.23 FIP and an even better 3.83 xFIP. His 14.9% whiff rate and 37% chase rate were career highs, and his 11.0 K/9 wasn’t far off from doubling his career averages. The longball has been an issue for a while, but it’s certainly plausible to see what the Twins like.
    A season ago Wisler had his slider averaging nearly 84 mph (you guessed it, a career high) while flipping it a whopping 70% of the time. He’s abandoned the sinker, went to a four-seam, and became a two-pitch pitcher. In targeting Sergio Romo again for 2020, as well as bringing in Jhoulys Chacin, it seems pitching coach Wes Johnson is looking to tinker with slider-dominant arms.
    Minnesota is not some sort of a magic cure for the average pitcher, but the infrastructure now in place has produced. Ryne Harper was a 30-year-old rookie when he put up a 3.81 ERA a year ago, and he may be on the outside looking in because of the overall strength shown by the current relief corps. Matt Magill turned sporadic Show time into two consistent years of big-league run. Although he fizzled down the stretch for the Twins, Magill is now in line to be the Seattle Mariners closer after a strong finish.
    Things don’t always work out the way you plan. Anibal Sanchez was jettisoned after Lance Lynn was signed, and he went on to have a career year with the Atlanta Braves in 2018. Nick Anderson was never given a shot internally and now is one of the best relievers in baseball. The process being in place does not guarantee a no-fault result. What is true though, is that Minnesota can now be seen as a destination for arms to thrive.
    Maybe Matt Wisler will be a slider-fastball pitcher that can’t keep the pill in the yard and the next step won’t be taken. In a bullpen that should be expected to be among the better units in baseball though, it’s worth finding out if he can’t be a dominant middle relief option and venture down that path under the tutelage of Johnson.
    We’ve reached the point that assessment of acquisitions shouldn’t be based around what a player was before coming to the Twins organization, but instead what they will become after getting here.
    For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
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