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  1. As a follow up to someone that writes about the game, it only seems natural to check with a woman that tells stories through a different medium. Having made her own trek through the minor leagues before debuting in The Show, Melanie Newman can now (or will as 2020 gets underway) call herself a big leaguer. Paving a Path Part 1: Britt Ghiroli The Georgia native has worked as a broadcaster at both the High-A and Double-A levels. She’s been a sideline reporter for Division 1 college athletics, and both MLB and ESPN have employed her directly. Now the long time Red Sox fan joins the Baltimore Orioles and calls a new team home. I caught up with her recently to talk about the journey: Twins Daily: You've been multi-talented and focused on a plethora of sports since breaking into the media scene. When did it become clear that baseball was your calling and that's where you wanted to focus? Melanie Newman: I always knew I wanted to specialize in baseball but also had learned in college that performing as a multi-sport journalist widened my chances of employment. Bob Rathbun sat down with me to review my work and chat soon after graduating and he affirmed to me I needed to give baseball a bigger piece of my attention. So, while I always stayed vigilant in studying other sports right down to cornhole, I've fought the hardest to have just about any role in baseball. TD: Everyone in baseball understands the ladder progression through a system. In your baseball career you've gone from minor league positions to now working with a big-league club. How has that helped to shape your drive, and what challenges does each new level present? MN: I will always adore my time in the minor leagues because it is so unique and a chance to really understand not just the game but the players. You see the sacrifices and the grind at a new level on those 12-hour bus rides. Broadcasters aren't exempt to those conditions. Sometimes the late hours and no days off catch up to you, but once you find your stride (usually the fifth week every season), things smooth out, you adjust to those 3-hour sleeps. If anything, it's proven to me that I DO want to be here and how much I appreciate this world. I also better understand what it takes for a game to even happen, from the sales staff to the groundskeepers, then multiply that immensely at the Major League level! I could not do an ounce of my job without the village of staff who make it happen, including PR, digital media, producers and editors. TD: Now working with a Major League club, do you feel like you need to re-establish yourself all over again, or is credibility built on your brand? As a female, is there an additional sense of responsibility being representative of opportunity beyond just yourself? MN: Breaking into the Majors feels two-fold: I absolutely am not changing who I am, because who I am is why I was hired. If I tried to be like another big league broadcaster, that just creates a duplicate in the industry and the beauty of every single broadcaster in any sport is while we might have similarities, we are each unique because we found certain aspects of how to do the job that speak to us on a personal level more than others. For example, I felt called to the humanizing niche of story telling, why humans are the way they are and how that shapes them into the athlete they are - what makes them laugh, the people in their life who got them here, etc. The second side is that while I am sure of who I am, that doesn't mean I can't develop and improve. I'm lucky to have a good team of peers and mentors to help me better my craft every day. According to the outside world, you are supposed to have more responsibility as a woman. While I am aware that my actions are more heavily scrutinized, I know how I was raised as a person and how I was trained to be a professional, I expect to behave at the same high caliber as every other respectable broadcaster, regardless of gender. TD: We're starting to see a female presence emerge in coaching and gameday operations for teams. You have been a pioneer on the broadcasting scene in multiple different stops. Do you feel like your success has helped contribute to that, and how can you continue using your platform so we can see talent no matter where it comes from? MN: I really would never take credit for females enterprising in the various roles of any sport. I will say it's so awesome that it's becoming more frequent to run into a female counterpart whether in the offices or at the facilities and getting to further pick their brains on how their particular role is unique and why they've pursued it. Going out every day and doing my job at a high level, that's what speaks and engages others to know that no matter their orientation or background, your dreams don't discriminate. It's also important to go out into the community, to engage with younger kids and just be a friendly person, there's no need to have a wall up around children. TD: Knowing that you have Red Sox fandom in your blood, it has to be different working for an organization in a division you grew up getting to know. How exciting is it to learn the Orioles organization from the inside, and what are you most looking forward to when we get back on the field? MN: I am very appreciative of my time in the Boston organization, especially to have grown up with New England family roots. I have had the pleasure of working for multiple organization's and I'm fortunate that a professor taught us to set aside fandoms in job hunting because the wealth of amazing people I've come to know across the entire country fills my heart. Baltimore's enthusiasm and the immediate synergy was hard to ignore. I felt like family within an hour of meeting the staff and hoped they felt the same (which I would argue now, they did). I just can't wait to step into Orioles Park at Camden Yards, knowing I am a part of this amazing organization and to see the incredible memories we will get to build together. TD: Baltimore has struggled at the big-league level of late, but have some really talented prospects. As someone who's worked on the minor league scene, how excited are you to be able to cover those stories and monitor that progress? MN: The minor leagues will always hold a special place in my heart and there is a deeper appreciation when you've been in the bottom levels to work your way up. I was fortunate to call games against two of Baltimore's affiliates last year so oddly enough when I was hired, it felt like I was more familiar with more of their minor leaguers than their major leaguers. The work Mike Elias and his team have done to select the best talent out there in building the future is absolutely exciting, the way they are training and honing each player's talents is a multi-level process that is developing both the athlete and the human being. TD: Let's end it with a surviving quarantine question. We all want baseball back and living through this sports-less time for the country has certainly been suboptimal. What have you been doing to keep busy? On off days, how do you give yourself a reset? MN: My days are pretty consistent between Spanish lessons, reading baseball articles and listening to other broadcasts/broadcasters, going for runs and spending family time. It's not flashy or exciting but the consistency of routine has been key! Follow Melanie and check out her work here. Check back in next week for entry number three in this four-part series. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  2. In the end, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine stood strong. After originally agreeing to a one-for-one swap of Brusdar Graterol for Kenta Maeda, things needed to be tweaks after the Red Sox decided against the Minnesota prospects medicals. Two days before pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, we got resolution. The Twins wound up not dealing with Boston at all, instead sending Graterol to the Dodgers (who had no problem with his medicals). They got Maeda, $10 million, and a yet-to-be announce prospect. Sweetening the deal just a bit, Luke Raley (who was acquired with Devin Smeltzer in the Brian Dozier trade) goes back to Los Angeles, and Minnesota sent the Dodgers their Comp B pick (67th overall). Obviously the one-for-one version of this deal was the most ideal for the Twins. It’s likely why they agreed in the first place, and assumedly why Boston decided they needed to reassess things. However, Minnesota moved a very good arm they believe is ticketed for relief work, in order to get a top-50 starter that could slot in right behind Jose Berrios in the starting rotation. Losing Raley isn’t the top 10 prospect situation that Boston was demanding, and while he’s a nice player, this isn’t an outfield he was going to crack given what’s established and who’s ahead of him. Getting the cash is hardly inconsequential as well. Maeda is guaranteed just $12.5 million over the course of his deal, and being on the hook for just $2.5 million of that is a nice situation to be in. Incentives drive the price up plenty, but being performance base, they’re benchmarks the Twins would happily see come to fruition. I dissected this swap when the news originally broke, and nothing changes for the Twins from a roster construction point now. They still have a very good bullpen, this rotation is substantially better, and there’s still significant prospect capital to make more moves when deemed necessary. Through all of this the only real loser is the former Twins fireballer. Graterol watched his name be drug through the mud in a very public way despite showing no indications of immediate injury concern. Instead of believing he could go down the street, he’ll now hop a plane from Fort Myers to Glendale beginning his 2020 season with a new organization. Chaim Bloom landed some very solid prospects despite packaging a superstar into a salary dump. The Dodgers net a pitcher in Price that is more than desirable if healthy, and arguably the second best player on the planet in Mookie Betts. Minnesota never needed to be involved in any of this, and at the end of the day they really weren’t. An opportunity arose to get their impact starter two days before camp opens, and the front office jumped at it. Now I think we can put a bow on this offseason and commend both Falvey and Levine for orchestrating what boils down to a solid “A” effort.
  3. David Price is entering the fifth year of his seven-year, $217 million deal. In each of the next three seasons, he is guaranteed to make $32 million and he will be in his age-36 season at the end of the deal. The left-handed hurler has pitched over 2000 career innings, but he hasn’t had over 200 innings since the 2016 campaign. Since 2016, Price has averaged 119 innings with a 3.75 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. Last season, he posted a career high 10.7 SO/9, but it also came an increase in his BB/9 from under 8.0 to 9.1. Throughout his Red Sox tenure, there have been some health issues, but he has been able to post a 118 ERA+ with 609 strikeouts in 588 innings. Price is still a very good pitcher even if he isn’t the pitcher many fans will remember from when he was in contention for multiple Cy Youngs. His fastball is down a couple miles per hour from his career average (91.9 mph compared to 93.9 mph), but he can still top out at over 95 mph. This speed drop has meant he relies more on his change-up which he used 10% more than his career average last season. Price might still have some left in the tank. Since 2017, he is one of only 29 starters that have topped 350 innings with a strikeout-to-walk ratio over 3.00 and an ERA+ better than 110. There’s no guarantee that he will be able to keep up this pace over the next handful of seasons, but he has already shown the ability to adjust his pitching by relying more on his change-up. It’s no secret that Boston is trying to dump salary this off-season in an attempt to get under the luxury tax line. This will mean trading some of their more expensive players like Mookie Betts, JD Martinez, and/or Price. Betts could likely bring back a haul, but the 2018 MVP seems more likely to stick in Boston to lead their current core players. There are a few things Boston could do to make a deal happen. With the hefty amount remaining on Price’s deal, the Red Sox could agree to pay some of the remaining cost. Taking on a player with a higher salary would also be an option, but that wouldn’t help Boston to cut salary. The Red Sox could include another valuable piece to entice a trading team to take on more salary. If you were the Twins would you trade for Price? How much salary do you think the club would be willing to absorb? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  4. Box Score Thorpe: 3.1 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 58.3% strikes (35 of 60 pitches) Home Runs: Cruz (35), Sano (27) Multi-Hit Games: Arraez (2 for 4), Sano (2 for 5, HR) WPA of +0.1: Rogers .146, Dyson .133, Cave .101 WPA of -0.1: None Back in June, in Target Field, Rick Porcello had one of his best starts of 2019, in what has otherwise been a down season for the 2016 AL CY Young Award winner. In that start, Porcello threw seven shutout innings, leading the way to a rare Twins shutout this season. Tonight, that wouldn’t be the case, as the Twins jumped on him early. After a Max Kepler hit-by-pitch and a Nelson Cruz walk, Luis Arraez appeared to load the bases with a one-out walk of his own, but a 3-2 pitch that clearly missed the strike zone high, was called strike three. Fortunately for the Twins, Miguel Sano came up with a clutch two-out base hit, bringing Kepler around from second to score the game’s first run. It was another clutch two-out hit that allowed the Twins to add to their lead in the third inning. Jorge Polanco started the inning with a leadoff single. That was followed by a one-out double off the Green Monster from Luis Arraez, but when Miguel Sano failed to advance either runner, thanks to a strikeout, it was up to Jake Cave to deliver. Deliver is exactly what Cave did, has he drove a high fly ball that hit high off the center field wall for a two-RBI triple. The Twins pounced on Rick Porcello yet again in the fifth inning. It all started with this leadoff home run from Nelson Cruz. https://twitter.com/Twins/status/1169047554908143616 Luis Arraez followed up that home run with a single into right field, his second hit of the game. This put an important runner on base, as Miguel Sano obliterated a baseball just a few pitches later, ending the night for Rick Porcello. https://twitter.com/Twins/status/1169049090203836416 Everything was going along smoothly on the pitching side of things, until Lewis Thorpe lost all sense of command in the fifth inning. Randy Dobnak had opened the game with a shutout first inning, striking out Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez in the process. Thorp came in to start the second, and had three excellent innings. However, after Thorpe gave up a single, two walks and a wild pitch to the first four batters of the bottom of the fifth inning, his night was done, and on came Trevor May to get out of the jam. May got Mookie Betts to fly out to get the second out, and was one strike away from limiting the damage to one run, when Rafael Devers did this to him. https://twitter.com/NESN/status/1169056840031846405 The game got even more interesting in the seventh and eighth innings. Tyler Duffey led off the seventh with two strikeouts, but after a Jackie Bradley Jr. ground-rule-double, Rocco Baldelli went to Sam Dyson, who promptly issued a wild pitch and a walk. He was able to get out of the jam, when LaMonte Wade Jr. made a long running catch to end the inning. Dyson stayed in to pitch the eighth inning, and got both Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez out to lead off the inning, before getting lifted for Taylor Rogers to face the left-handed hitting Andrew Benintendi. Benintendi then proceeded to hit an opposite field home run over the Green Monster, cutting the Twins lead down to one. After hitting Mitch Moreland, Rogers was able to strike out Christian Vazquez to get out of the jam. Things got even more nerve-racking in the bottom of the ninth for Taylor Rogers and the Minnesota Twins. Brock Holt made his way aboard with a seeing-eye single to lead off the inning. The pinch hitter, Gorkys Hernandez, then proceeded to advance him to second base with a sacrifice bunt, bringing the dangerous top of the Red Sox order up, with the tying run in scoring position and just one out. Taylor Rogers then reared back and got two of the biggest outs he has gotten all season, getting Mookie Betts to hit a comebacker to the mound for the second out, and striking out Rafael Devers to end the game. Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Next Three Games Wed at BOS, 6:10 pm CT (Berrios-Rodriguez) Thu at BOS, 6:10 pm CT (Perez-Eovaldi) Fri vs CLE, 7:10 pm CT (TBD-TBD) Last Game Twins Game Recap (9/2): Late Labor Day Offense Propels Twins
  5. With two weeks of nothing but Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox behind them, the Minnesota Twins opened up perhaps the franchise's most pivotal two week stretch in nearly a decade tonight in Boston. The Twins appeared to be sailing to an easy victory, with an early 6-0 lead, however, a couple of Red Sox home runs made things very interesting. In the end, the Twins walked away with their second one-run victory in as many days, and extended their lead in the American League Central to 6.5 games.Box Score Thorpe: 3.1 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 58.3% strikes (35 of 60 pitches) Home Runs: Cruz (35), Sano (27) Multi-Hit Games: Arraez (2 for 4), Sano (2 for 5, HR) WPA of +0.1: Rogers .146, Dyson .133, Cave .101 WPA of -0.1: None Back in June, in Target Field, Rick Porcello had one of his best starts of 2019, in what has otherwise been a down season for the 2016 AL CY Young Award winner. In that start, Porcello threw seven shutout innings, leading the way to a rare Twins shutout this season. Tonight, that wouldn’t be the case, as the Twins jumped on him early. After a Max Kepler hit-by-pitch and a Nelson Cruz walk, Luis Arraez appeared to load the bases with a one-out walk of his own, but a 3-2 pitch that clearly missed the strike zone high, was called strike three. Fortunately for the Twins, Miguel Sano came up with a clutch two-out base hit, bringing Kepler around from second to score the game’s first run. It was another clutch two-out hit that allowed the Twins to add to their lead in the third inning. Jorge Polanco started the inning with a leadoff single. That was followed by a one-out double off the Green Monster from Luis Arraez, but when Miguel Sano failed to advance either runner, thanks to a strikeout, it was up to Jake Cave to deliver. Deliver is exactly what Cave did, has he drove a high fly ball that hit high off the center field wall for a two-RBI triple. The Twins pounced on Rick Porcello yet again in the fifth inning. It all started with this leadoff home run from Nelson Cruz. Luis Arraez followed up that home run with a single into right field, his second hit of the game. This put an important runner on base, as Miguel Sano obliterated a baseball just a few pitches later, ending the night for Rick Porcello. Everything was going along smoothly on the pitching side of things, until Lewis Thorpe lost all sense of command in the fifth inning. Randy Dobnak had opened the game with a shutout first inning, striking out Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez in the process. Thorp came in to start the second, and had three excellent innings. However, after Thorpe gave up a single, two walks and a wild pitch to the first four batters of the bottom of the fifth inning, his night was done, and on came Trevor May to get out of the jam. May got Mookie Betts to fly out to get the second out, and was one strike away from limiting the damage to one run, when Rafael Devers did this to him. The game got even more interesting in the seventh and eighth innings. Tyler Duffey led off the seventh with two strikeouts, but after a Jackie Bradley Jr. ground-rule-double, Rocco Baldelli went to Sam Dyson, who promptly issued a wild pitch and a walk. He was able to get out of the jam, when LaMonte Wade Jr. made a long running catch to end the inning. Dyson stayed in to pitch the eighth inning, and got both Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez out to lead off the inning, before getting lifted for Taylor Rogers to face the left-handed hitting Andrew Benintendi. Benintendi then proceeded to hit an opposite field home run over the Green Monster, cutting the Twins lead down to one. After hitting Mitch Moreland, Rogers was able to strike out Christian Vazquez to get out of the jam. Things got even more nerve-racking in the bottom of the ninth for Taylor Rogers and the Minnesota Twins. Brock Holt made his way aboard with a seeing-eye single to lead off the inning. The pinch hitter, Gorkys Hernandez, then proceeded to advance him to second base with a sacrifice bunt, bringing the dangerous top of the Red Sox order up, with the tying run in scoring position and just one out. Taylor Rogers then reared back and got two of the biggest outs he has gotten all season, getting Mookie Betts to hit a comebacker to the mound for the second out, and striking out Rafael Devers to end the game. Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Next Three Games Wed at BOS, 6:10 pm CT (Berrios-Rodriguez) Thu at BOS, 6:10 pm CT (Perez-Eovaldi) Fri vs CLE, 7:10 pm CT (TBD-TBD) Last Game Twins Game Recap (9/2): Late Labor Day Offense Propels Twins Click here to view the article
  6. Brief Overview: The Red Sox are nearing the point of the season in which a Hail Mary becomes the necessary tactic. They are well out of the AL East race and trail the second wild card spot by five games. After winning a World Series in 2018, Boston gambled on a bad bullpen and some questionable-at-best additions. Mookie Betts hasn’t been Mike Trout-esque and while still a formidable foe, this isn’t the same juggernaut the big leagues saw last season. What They Do Well: A team with as much talent as Alex Cora’s club has is likely going to hit. As you can imagine, the numbers agree with that notion as well. The Red Sox own the fourth best offensive fWAR in baseball (one spot behind the Twins), and are tied with the New York Yankees. A .317 BABIP is third in the sport and Boston is one of just four teams with a slugging percentage north of .480. Although the Red Sox are not a home run juggernaut (with just 216 to their credit thus far) this team picks up bases in bunches. With 308 doubles, they lead the majors by over twenty two-baggers. The 752 RBI is third in the big leagues and is indicative of a team that can assure those runners cross the plate. Boston is also ninth in fielding fWAR this season, keeping them just inside the top third of the sport. Being able to score runs, while avoiding additional opportunities for the competition, is a pretty good recipe for success. What They Do Not Do Well: Good teams rarely have glaring issues and the deficiencies are typically evident in more of a mediocre form. Case in point would be Alex Cora’s pitching staff. It’s not that the group is a dumpster fire, but they also are clearly not up to par. Despite the Red Sox pen owning the fourth best fWAR in baseball this year, there have been some shaky moments. The rotation has been the bigger issue, and dealing with injuries has not helped things either. Once again David Price has been shelved this season, Nathan Eovaldi has been both bad and hurt, and now Chris Sale has called his 2019 season quits. That’s a lot of firepower to try to make up, all while Rick Porcello has plodded his way to a career worst 5.42 ERA. Individuals Of Note: As is generally the case, Boston remains a who’s who of studs in the big names department. Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez are still having nice years and Eduardo Rodriguez has broken out some to become the second best starter behind the injured Sale. It’s in the emergence of youth that the Red Sox have seen the two best 2019 stories come from however. Both Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers should be expected to garner MVP votes this season. Bogaerts is sitting at 6.4 fWAR with career highs across the board. The shortstop has blasted 31 dingers and has made up for abysmal fielding with a bat that won’t quit. Devers was a highly-touted prospect who came on slowly but certainly looks the part at this stage. He’s batting .321 with 28 longballs and an fWAR of 5.4 (1.8 total in two previous seasons). These two batters make the middle of the Boston lineup one of the toughest in the sport. Recent History: These two clubs met in Minnesota during mid-June with the Red Sox taking two of three. The Twins last won a series in Boston during 2016, but they haven’t taken a season series since 2015. Rocco Baldelli’s club would need a sweep to accomplish that feat in 2019. Recent Trajectories: Minnesota has won three straight series and is currently riding a 6-1 road trip. Boston is returning home from a West Coast swing that they won three series and went 6-2 on. Pitching Matchups: Tuesday: Dobnak vs Porcello Wednesday: Berrios vs Rodriguez Thursday: Perez vs Eovaldi Ending Thoughts: Although the Red Sox have generally been at the top of the AL East class, this team provides Minnesota with plenty of opportunity. There isn’t a game in this set that the Bomba Squad shouldn’t be licking their chops over the opposing pitcher, and there’s little denying the Twins are the better team. Going to Fenway and winning is never easy, so I’d call it a big boost if Minnesota can take two, and all circumstances appear to line up in their favor. Arguably the most intriguing game here is Wednesday’s tilt. Rodriguez is currently Boston’s ace, and Berrios starts on an extra day of rest. Does his velocity return and how sharp does he look. I think one win is guaranteed before returning home, but flying high right now, give me Minnesota getting the series victory as well.
  7. Today they announced that David Ortiz was shot in the back in the Dominican Republican. Not lethal, but lower back and there is no good gunshot. He was in the Dial Bar and Lounge and two other people were wounded. It sounds like the way that Wild Bill Hickok was killed. The shooter, a motorcyclist, was beaten by the crowd and has to recover from his injuries before he can be questioned. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/david-ortiz-shot-dominican-republic_n_5cfdbf29e4b0aab91c083ba5?ncid=newsltushpmgnews__TheMorningEmail__061019 or https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/09/americas/mlb-david-ortiz-shot-dominican-republic/index.html?utm_source=CNN+Five+Things&utm_campaign=6dbb0347ae-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_06_10_07_50&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_6da287d761-6dbb0347ae-98628329 First photos https://nypost.com/2019/06/10/first-photo-emerges-of-david-ortiz-after-dominican-republic-shooting/
  8. Moe Berg was born to a Jewish family in New Jersey and became one of baseball’s most intriguing stories. First, he went to Princeton where his Jewish heritage stood out among his classmates and by the time he graduated in 1923 he was not only an outstanding student who could speak 4 – 8 languages, but he was also the star shortstop on an excellent team. He graduated with a law degree and served a very brief stint as a lawyer, but signed with the Brooklyn Robins – soon to be Dodgers and played 15 years in the major leagues. He moved from team to team and ended up a Red Sox. He also quickly changed from a shortstop to a catcher and his fifteen year batting line was .243 batting average, 278 on base average and 299 slugging average. He was not a star hitter and he was not a starter either. Today he would be more highly valued because he had a great arm to throw to the bases and hall of famer Ted Lyons said he was the best at calling a game. He would have been a pitch framer and he would have stood out by the measurements of today, but not by the standards of his day. And yet he kept playing. He was loved as a teammate and his story telling in the bullpen was legendary. Every day he read seven or more newspapers and he seemed to have the charisma to accompany some of the biggest names of his era – like Nelson Rockefeller. But he was also a loner, who loved attention, but needed to get away by himself. The life of every party, but someone who would disappear with an aura of mystery. In many ways he was the bench coach while still active and remained in love with the game. He also authored one of the classic essays on pitching and catching. But he really did not care if he played, his pleasure was in being near the game. He went to Japan to teach baseball and he organized and was with Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and other HOF stars when they were in Japan. Moe learned the language and even how to write in Japanese. He loved the country and he took photos while he was there that would later be valuable to the war effort. He was a favorite of the sports writers – they called him the professor. Then his career ended with a little coaching and the nation faced the onset of the war. The nation lacked a CIA, they did not have spies and intelligence, so the country formed the OSS and Wild Bill Donovan recruited the most eccentric group of spies we have ever had and Moe was one. The fascinating story is told in the book – The Catcher was a Spy, by Nicholas Dawidoff, and it is amazing. Moe was in Europe and meeting with scientists who were being lured to the US or asked to work with the US to develop the Nuclear Bomb. He met Einstein, Scherer, Heisenberg and other leading scientists. He was at international scientific meetings and moved in a circle that few people and fewer spies could navigate and he loved it. But his life spun in different ways after his OSS days. He was an independent operator and it is hard to make that work in life. He ended up moving from friend to friend, lived with his brother until their relationship fell apart and then with his sister until he died. His last question on his death bed was, “How are the Mets doing today?” In death this mystery man remains a mystery – Berg’s ashes were buried in Newark in a Cemetery and his brother visited every year on his birthday. His sister Ethel Berg died on her 87th birthday the next year and it was discovered that Ethel had taken the urn from the grave and went to Israel. There she asked a Rabbi to bury him, but he refused because cremation was not accepted, so she asked where he would bury someone if he could and he pointed to Mount Scopus. His brother Sam asked the same Rabbi and he would not tell him the location. His brother Sam died in 1990 at age 92 without ever finding the grave. The location, like the mystery man himself is unknown.
  9. We haven't done anything [yet], but we've put ourselves in good position. -- Twins general manager Terry Ryan, 5/25/15 The Minnesota Twins are within striking distance of the AL Central lead in April for the first time since 2010. At 26-18, they are eight games above .500, the first time they have been three or more games above .500 since the 2011 season. They are getting contributions from hitters up and down their lineup, the starting pitching is holding its own, and yet fans remain jaded after four years of losing baseball. After only playing three of their last 14 games at home, the Twins are in the middle of a six-game homestand followed against two AL East foes, the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays, giving people the opportunity to make a judgement on this surprising team with their own two eyes. “You can always trace back to the fact that our starting pitchers are giving us a chance almost each and every day, and the people that we bring in our bullpen have certainly held up their end,” said manager Paul Molitor before the first game against the Boston Red Sox. “And offensively, you can look at our stat sheet and see that it's a mixed bag. We've got a lot of guys doing a lot of things -- scoring runs, driving in runs -- and that's kind of what we need. It's not like we have those couple of guys that are locked in there at 4 and 5 that are gonna carry us for any given time, it's been well spread out.” Make no mistake, there is reason to be skeptical about this team, given that the Twins are coming off four straight 90-loss seasons following the team’s 94-win campaign in 2010. Gone are the likes of Michael Cuddyer, Justin Morneau and Denard Span, as well as manager Ron Gardenhire, and yet top prospects like Oswaldo Arcia, Kennys Vargas and Josmil Pinto are in Triple-A. Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano, the Glimmer Twins, have lost some of their luster following injury and inconsistent play in the minors. And Alex Meyer, a 25 year old 6’8” hard-throwing pitching prospect that was traded straight-up for Span, has been moved to the bullpen in order to try and straighten him out. Promise resides in youth, and yet most of the team’s best young talent can’t crack the major league roster. The team’s winning ways remain a mystery, which lends credence to the notion that this really is a 75-win team that is bound to regress at some point unless they get a serious push from their best young players. Some people believe that Minnesota has wins “banked” because of the unexpected games won early in the season, while others feel that this team is due for a 10-game losing streak at some point in the season that will even things out. To be fair, this team isn’t all just low-ceiling veterans. Aaron Hicks, 25, appears to have turned things around, at least in some capacity, and Eddie Rosario, 23, should benefit from the major league experience he’s getting right now, just as Trevor May, 25, did when he floundered last year and was able to get his feet under him before this season. Danny Santana, 24, has committed 10 errors at shortstop, however, and his .233/.253/.320 line indicates he’s coming back to earth after hitting .319/.353/.472 in 403 plate appearances while holding his own defensively last year considering he was playing out of position at center field last year, and Vargas has already been sent down to Triple-A in order to try and find his power swing again. “He wasn't driving the ball, they were pitching him tough,” general manager Terry Ryan said, explaining Vargas’ demotion. “If you're gonna be in the DH role, you're gonna ultimately have to be some kind of run producer.” The difference between this year and last year’s club, Ryan believes, is in the team’s ability to win the close games. “The last three or four years we've found ways to lose those games,” he said before the team’s most recent series against the Boston Red Sox. “This year we've just found ways to win instead of lose.” Certainly having Mike Pelfrey, a first round pick in 2005 who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2012, play to his capabilities helps, as does Kyle Gibson’s improved consistency -- the team’s first round selection in 2009 is suddenly looking like the player analysts though he could become when they rated him as a Top 100 prospect in 2010, ‘11 and ‘13. The Twins have also gotten surprisingly good outings from Blaine Boyer, a 33 year old journeyman, and of course have the reliable Glen Perkins closing games out for them following a season that ended in injury. “I'm not gonna tell you that I'm shocked that we're winning games,” said Ryan. “I said way back in February or March that we kind of like this club, and no one believed us, I know that, because we didn't give you any reason to believe. Now we're starting to win them, and people are starting to see a little bit, 'Hey, maybe they're a little better than we thought.' That's a good feeling.” Even way back in November, when the Gardenhire firing was still fresh, Ryan was talking about playoffs. Following the Nov. 4 press conference announcing the hiring of Molitor, Ryan told the media he expected the team to make the postseason. “As everybody in this game should be pointing towards the playoffs, we are too,” he said in a heated exchange, during which he vowed to supplement the starting rotation. “I expect to get into the playoffs every year. Why should we take the diamond?” A month later he inked Ervin Santana, a notoriously durable 32 year old free agent, to a 4-year, $54 million contract. At the time, he emphasized the team’s depth in the starting rotation while downplaying the need for a bona fide ace. “Well, I’m not sure you need a true No. 1 to get to the postseason,” Ryan said on Dec. 15 following the signing. “We have not had a true No. 1 in many of those years that we got there, so if you’ve got the five solid, you’ve got a pretty good chance to get there, and then let the playoffs dictate exactly where you’re headed.” This sounded insane at the time. Ryan already had the Twins in the postseason, and it sounded like he was making the ace expendable, as though the Detroit Tigers, Washington Nationals spent upwards of $200 million on Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer just for the hell of it. On top of that, Pelfrey and Ricky Nolasco were not living up to their free agent deals, Gibson was still inconsistent, May was a wild card, and Tommy Milone had not finished the season well after coming over from the Oakland A’s in exchange for outfielder Sam Fuld. At the very least, Ryan got his glut of pitchers now, even with Santana suspended 80 games at the beginning of the year for PED use. Pelfrey and Gibson are the team’s best two pitchers, Phil Hughes appears to have turned things around following a bad start, May is pitching like a top prospect should and Nolasco went 7.2 innings to earn his 100th win in a 7-2 victory over Boston to kick off the homestand. Milone was sent down to Triple-A following a string of uninspiring performances, only to register a 0.28 ERA and 41 strikeouts in four starts with Rochester. When asked about how he’s going to go about bringing Milone back into the fold, Ryan essentially shrugged his shoulders, saying he’ll just see how it plays out. “Things are good, everything is going fine, and his opportunity will arise,” said Ryan. “I don't think there's any question whether or not it's in the next few weeks, but I suspect it will come about. It never fails.” Essentially, Pitchers get hurt or go in slumps; it’s nice to have the depth. Ryan’s words in the offseason have proven prescient so far, but only time will tell if the Twins can keep this pace up. It’s only six games in a 162 game season, but these next few home games matter if only because fans can see this team up close and personal as they close in on Kansas City for the AL Central lead. With Minnesota, a team that hasn’t had a winning season since Target Field opened in 2010, sometimes you have to see it to believe it. This article was originally posted on the Cold Omaha section of 105TheTicket.com. Tom Schreier can be heard at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays with Ben Holsen and Mike Morris and co-hosts a morning show 8-10 a.m. on Sundays. <a href="https://twitter.com/tschreier3" class="twitter-follow-button"
  10. Jesse Lund at TwinkieTown.com says that Peter Gammons told MLB Network that the Red Sox were willing to acquire Joe Mauer -- including his entire salary.
  11. What happens when a Cubs fan buys up a website that would become the Red Sox stadium site?? http://www.news-press.com/article/20120221/SPRINGTRAINING/120221024/Cubs-fan-buys-jetbluepark-com-much-Red-Sox-Nation-s-dismay?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Home
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