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  1. Earlier this week, the Twins announced that the team will be rebranding for the 2023 season. What will this mean for the Twins, and how have their jerseys changed throughout the franchise's history? Image courtesy of graphics by Thieres Rabelo Dave St. Peter told the Star Tribune that the Twins will rehaul all their on-field looks before the 2023 season. These changes will include a new logo, new lettering, and new uniforms. However, the plan is for the colors to stay the same, which may upset some fans that don't like the Kasota gold that has been prominently used in recent years. "Our uniforms are going to evolve and take a step toward the future," St. Peter told the Star-Tribune. "There is always a sensitivity to paying respect to the history and the heritage of the franchise, but there's also a desire to move it forward, much like we did in the mid-'80s." Minnesota used the same uniforms for the first decade the club was in the Twin Cities. In the early 1970s, the club added the famous baby blue road uniform. By the late 1980s, the club switched to a pinstripe look at home and on the road. For one season (1997), the club infamously had a red alternate jersey that the team only wore twice for the entire season. There were plenty of other alternate jerseys used in the Metrodome era, but the Target Field era has seen some changes. Minnesota removed pinstripes on the road jerseys for the 2010 season and added a cream-colored home alternate. Then some of the most significant changes were made following the 2014 All-Star Game as the team added Kasota gold to the team's uniforms, and pinstripes became a thing of the past. "The Padres are a great example — they went with a refresh that actually reached back to their origins, but they did it in a really bold, dynamic way," St. Peter also said. "It wasn't just a cookie-cutter of what Steve Garvey wore in 1984. And our goals are the same. How do you pay tribute to that history and heritage but do it in a very modern way?" Minnie and Paul aren't going to be going away from Target Field. The Twins don't want to lose the franchise's identity that has been formed over six decades. There is going to be a modern spin to the uniforms while also including some classic elements. Will the team use the TC logo or bring back the M logo from the World Series era? Will Kasota gold continue to be part of the color scheme? Will pinstripes be added back to the home or road jerseys? We won't know the answers to those questions until later this off-season. Other MLB clubs have also been getting City Connect uniforms, but the Twins aren't scheduled to wear those until 2024. In his interview, St. Peter hinted that the Twins might unveil the City Connect uniforms next year. The Timberwolves have had multiple City Edition jerseys, so the Twins can learn from the good and the bad at Target Center. What do you want from a new Twins uniform? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  2. Dave St. Peter told the Star Tribune that the Twins will rehaul all their on-field looks before the 2023 season. These changes will include a new logo, new lettering, and new uniforms. However, the plan is for the colors to stay the same, which may upset some fans that don't like the Kasota gold that has been prominently used in recent years. "Our uniforms are going to evolve and take a step toward the future," St. Peter told the Star-Tribune. "There is always a sensitivity to paying respect to the history and the heritage of the franchise, but there's also a desire to move it forward, much like we did in the mid-'80s." Minnesota used the same uniforms for the first decade the club was in the Twin Cities. In the early 1970s, the club added the famous baby blue road uniform. By the late 1980s, the club switched to a pinstripe look at home and on the road. For one season (1997), the club infamously had a red alternate jersey that the team only wore twice for the entire season. There were plenty of other alternate jerseys used in the Metrodome era, but the Target Field era has seen some changes. Minnesota removed pinstripes on the road jerseys for the 2010 season and added a cream-colored home alternate. Then some of the most significant changes were made following the 2014 All-Star Game as the team added Kasota gold to the team's uniforms, and pinstripes became a thing of the past. "The Padres are a great example — they went with a refresh that actually reached back to their origins, but they did it in a really bold, dynamic way," St. Peter also said. "It wasn't just a cookie-cutter of what Steve Garvey wore in 1984. And our goals are the same. How do you pay tribute to that history and heritage but do it in a very modern way?" Minnie and Paul aren't going to be going away from Target Field. The Twins don't want to lose the franchise's identity that has been formed over six decades. There is going to be a modern spin to the uniforms while also including some classic elements. Will the team use the TC logo or bring back the M logo from the World Series era? Will Kasota gold continue to be part of the color scheme? Will pinstripes be added back to the home or road jerseys? We won't know the answers to those questions until later this off-season. Other MLB clubs have also been getting City Connect uniforms, but the Twins aren't scheduled to wear those until 2024. In his interview, St. Peter hinted that the Twins might unveil the City Connect uniforms next year. The Timberwolves have had multiple City Edition jerseys, so the Twins can learn from the good and the bad at Target Center. What do you want from a new Twins uniform? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  3. Over the past three months, Derek Falvey’s staff in Twins Baseball Operations has remained busy. They’ve been crunching numbers, reading and inputting scouting reports, signing minor league free agents, and all the while planning for this day, the day baseball would be back, and the offseason could continue. The only thing is… it is beginning as spring training is about to start. Sunday is the mandatory report date for 40-man roster players. Next Friday is, at least tentatively, the first scheduled spring training game. And, Opening Day (April 7) is less than a month away. As soon as the owners ratified the new CBA, baseball was back in business. Thankfully, Falvey was willing to take some time to answer questions for Twins media. He notes that they have been following the negotiations closely, especially the past few days. Falvey said, “Obviously, over the last couple of days, following closely with the information and the news that was coming out and feeling like things were getting closer, it’s just great for our group. We’re all here. We’re in the office. Once we knew everything was good, we ordered in food and said, ‘We might be here awhile.’” We haven’t seen free agency like this in baseball before, except to some degree right before the lockout. With about 300 free agents still unsigned, this has the potential to look a lot like NFL and NBA free agency over the coming days. It’s not something any of the front offices have navigated before, but Falvey and his team are ready for it. “A lot of groundwork was laid before the lockout with players, with agents, with front offices around trades, so I would just tell you we’re picking up really where we left off. Now I recognize during that period of time, things may have changed for individual players, for teams, and their plans, so we’ve already done our dividing up of clubs among a bunch of us and making sure that we’re checking back in tonight to know where things stand with those teams. It’s going to be difficult. I’m not going to sugarcoat that.” Falvey said that his first call after news broke of an agreement went to Twins player representative Taylor Rogers. “He and I talked a ton going up and into the lockout and all the COVID protocols and everything else we had to navigate over the last couple of years. We had an awesome conversation. He’s excited to get here. He said he’s talked to a bunch of guys that feel the same.” While Rogers appears to be fully recovered from his finger injury that cost him the final two months of the 2021 season, he is just one pitcher. Last year, the Twins used 35 pitchers. So there is work to be done. Regarding pitching, Falvey said, "I think we made no secret that's a focus and an area we need to spend some time and we're going to. We've talked about trade market and free-agent market. We're excited about some of the young guys that are coming. I think we look at our stable of young pitchers who have been in our camp. I've been watching Simeon Woods Richardson the last week, the way he's throwing the ball. Matt Canterino is healthy and throwing the ball as well as anybody. We're excited about the young guys on our roster that we haven't yet seen, the Josh Winders and Jhoan Durans and Jordan Balazovics, guys we think are going to be another part to join the Joe Ryans and Bailey Obers and that group. But we know we need some veteran presence too so that's going to be a focus of us here. We're going to contact as many teams and agents as possible to work that market." The other "area of focus" for the front office is shortstop. Falvey said that Jorge Polanco could play there, and that Luis Arraez can play around the infield. He also mentioned some younger players. "Some of our young players who aren't quite at the major league level yet but could be really interesting fits for us along the way. And whether that's the Nick Gordons of the world who haven't had as much experience. [Jermaine] Palacios has been in camp here and watching him go. We're excited to see Royce [Lewis] come in, though we recognize he's had a lot of downtime here with his injury. So I can't answer that today perfectly that we're going to seek to see what the market might bear in that space." The players will start reporting this morning (Friday, March 10), at least the players who live nearby Ft. Myers. They will have physicals and a short workout in the late morning. The mandatory report date will be Sunday, March 13. It will not be an easy task in some cases, especially for players from other countries. But, the Twins have been preparing for this day for a while. Falvey noted, “We did all we could before the lockout, knowing that could become an issue at some point during the winter so that agents, players knew what their status was, what the situation was. Certainly players under control with us. We got ahead of that as much as we could. We’re hoping now that we can accelerate that process. Amanda Daley does a great job for us, making sure that all the details are taken care of in that space. I would anticipate that with 30 clubs trying to navigate some of these travel visas and work visas in the Dominican or Venezuela, places where a lot of our players come from, it can be a challenge.” Tentatively, the first spring training games will be played next Friday, March 18th. That will be after just four full-team practices. To help with that, the team will soon be announcing a group of non-roster invitations to big-league spring training. And, as they have always done, they can pull guys over from the minor league side to play in games. Because teams have been able to have zero contact with any of the 40-man roster players, there was some anxiety, hoping players such as Royce Lewis and Blayne Enlow were rehabbing appropriately. Falvey said, “We want to get those guys going. Obviously, in Royce’s case, losing the minor-league season was difficult because that’s just lost development time. He was at the alternate site (in 2020). He used that time really productively. He’s been in the Fall League (2019). Had some of those experiences. But ultimately losing last season due to his ACL reconstruction, it’s difficult.” Regarding Lewis and right-handed pitcher Blayne Enlow, working his way back from Tommy John surgery last June. The Twins prepared them before the lockout began for this time away. Falvey said, “our medical people did a really good job, and so did our folks in strength and conditioning and rehab side of things, and position coaches talked to him about how they would want to navigate his offseasons, whether this happened or not.” He noted that Enlow would be a little bit behind the timeline. That was known. As for Royce, they know he works with his agency (Scott Boras) to “prep and get himself ready. He’s a tremendous worker, and he’s going to put in his time and efforts, so I’m confident in guys like that have put themselves in good positions.” Opening Day will be at Target Field on April 7th. It will likely be a sprint for these next four weeks. Twins President Dave St. Peter said that the fans have been great. “They want to see games. The volume of concern went up exponentially when you started to cancel regular-season games. So the last ten days, I will tell you, we heard from a lot of fans. We’ve been trying to actively engage with them and try to assure them that there was still a path to play a full 162 games, and I’m just absolutely thrilled today that that vision ultimately is going to be possible. I wasn’t always sure it would be.” Ultimately, the Twins will miss a couple of weeks of spring training, and the season will start one week late, but there will be a 162-game season and a lot of the Ultimate this deal will hopefully help grow the game, and there can be extended peace again between the owners and the players as there had been for nearly 30 years. St. Peter thinks that it’s time to heal and move forward. “It’s paramount that we as an industry do a better job of building trust with our players. There are so many exciting things happening in baseball. For those things to ultimately transcend the game, for us to ultimately move the game forward to where it’s incrementally more relevant amongst young people, where it’s more relevant around the globe — for us to really achieve those goals, we’re going to need incremental alignment with our players. And I hope this agreement allows us to move forward in a way to where we can be better aligned and in partnership. That’s ultimately in the best interests of the players, and it’s certainly in the best interests of the industry.” A challenge for Twins fans will be to move forward too. Ultimately, we will get a 162 game schedule, more playoffs, and more. It will be an interesting and exciting time over the next few days, and the Twins should be active, not only through the weekend but right up to the season. Twins Daily has provided anywhere from three to seven articles every day since the lockout began (and obviously before that). We sure hope that we have kept you entertained, enlightened, and updated. Thank you all so much for sticking by the site, and we sure hope that we will celebrate a winning season in 2022. Oh, by the way, Friday is the first day that teams can place players on the 60-Day Injured List. It’s also the first day that players can be placed on waivers. We should get a list of non-roster players soon too. 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. Early in December, Major League Baseball’s owners locked out the players. Nearly 100 days later, the two sides agreed to a new five-year Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). A ton of work has been done by both players and owners over the past two weeks (after owners didn’t make any attempt for the first 45 days). And now, the offseason and spring training are upon us, and it will be crazy. Most important, we know we will have baseball. Over the past three months, Derek Falvey’s staff in Twins Baseball Operations has remained busy. They’ve been crunching numbers, reading and inputting scouting reports, signing minor league free agents, and all the while planning for this day, the day baseball would be back, and the offseason could continue. The only thing is… it is beginning as spring training is about to start. Sunday is the mandatory report date for 40-man roster players. Next Friday is, at least tentatively, the first scheduled spring training game. And, Opening Day (April 7) is less than a month away. As soon as the owners ratified the new CBA, baseball was back in business. Thankfully, Falvey was willing to take some time to answer questions for Twins media. He notes that they have been following the negotiations closely, especially the past few days. Falvey said, “Obviously, over the last couple of days, following closely with the information and the news that was coming out and feeling like things were getting closer, it’s just great for our group. We’re all here. We’re in the office. Once we knew everything was good, we ordered in food and said, ‘We might be here awhile.’” We haven’t seen free agency like this in baseball before, except to some degree right before the lockout. With about 300 free agents still unsigned, this has the potential to look a lot like NFL and NBA free agency over the coming days. It’s not something any of the front offices have navigated before, but Falvey and his team are ready for it. “A lot of groundwork was laid before the lockout with players, with agents, with front offices around trades, so I would just tell you we’re picking up really where we left off. Now I recognize during that period of time, things may have changed for individual players, for teams, and their plans, so we’ve already done our dividing up of clubs among a bunch of us and making sure that we’re checking back in tonight to know where things stand with those teams. It’s going to be difficult. I’m not going to sugarcoat that.” Falvey said that his first call after news broke of an agreement went to Twins player representative Taylor Rogers. “He and I talked a ton going up and into the lockout and all the COVID protocols and everything else we had to navigate over the last couple of years. We had an awesome conversation. He’s excited to get here. He said he’s talked to a bunch of guys that feel the same.” While Rogers appears to be fully recovered from his finger injury that cost him the final two months of the 2021 season, he is just one pitcher. Last year, the Twins used 35 pitchers. So there is work to be done. Regarding pitching, Falvey said, "I think we made no secret that's a focus and an area we need to spend some time and we're going to. We've talked about trade market and free-agent market. We're excited about some of the young guys that are coming. I think we look at our stable of young pitchers who have been in our camp. I've been watching Simeon Woods Richardson the last week, the way he's throwing the ball. Matt Canterino is healthy and throwing the ball as well as anybody. We're excited about the young guys on our roster that we haven't yet seen, the Josh Winders and Jhoan Durans and Jordan Balazovics, guys we think are going to be another part to join the Joe Ryans and Bailey Obers and that group. But we know we need some veteran presence too so that's going to be a focus of us here. We're going to contact as many teams and agents as possible to work that market." The other "area of focus" for the front office is shortstop. Falvey said that Jorge Polanco could play there, and that Luis Arraez can play around the infield. He also mentioned some younger players. "Some of our young players who aren't quite at the major league level yet but could be really interesting fits for us along the way. And whether that's the Nick Gordons of the world who haven't had as much experience. [Jermaine] Palacios has been in camp here and watching him go. We're excited to see Royce [Lewis] come in, though we recognize he's had a lot of downtime here with his injury. So I can't answer that today perfectly that we're going to seek to see what the market might bear in that space." The players will start reporting this morning (Friday, March 10), at least the players who live nearby Ft. Myers. They will have physicals and a short workout in the late morning. The mandatory report date will be Sunday, March 13. It will not be an easy task in some cases, especially for players from other countries. But, the Twins have been preparing for this day for a while. Falvey noted, “We did all we could before the lockout, knowing that could become an issue at some point during the winter so that agents, players knew what their status was, what the situation was. Certainly players under control with us. We got ahead of that as much as we could. We’re hoping now that we can accelerate that process. Amanda Daley does a great job for us, making sure that all the details are taken care of in that space. I would anticipate that with 30 clubs trying to navigate some of these travel visas and work visas in the Dominican or Venezuela, places where a lot of our players come from, it can be a challenge.” Tentatively, the first spring training games will be played next Friday, March 18th. That will be after just four full-team practices. To help with that, the team will soon be announcing a group of non-roster invitations to big-league spring training. And, as they have always done, they can pull guys over from the minor league side to play in games. Because teams have been able to have zero contact with any of the 40-man roster players, there was some anxiety, hoping players such as Royce Lewis and Blayne Enlow were rehabbing appropriately. Falvey said, “We want to get those guys going. Obviously, in Royce’s case, losing the minor-league season was difficult because that’s just lost development time. He was at the alternate site (in 2020). He used that time really productively. He’s been in the Fall League (2019). Had some of those experiences. But ultimately losing last season due to his ACL reconstruction, it’s difficult.” Regarding Lewis and right-handed pitcher Blayne Enlow, working his way back from Tommy John surgery last June. The Twins prepared them before the lockout began for this time away. Falvey said, “our medical people did a really good job, and so did our folks in strength and conditioning and rehab side of things, and position coaches talked to him about how they would want to navigate his offseasons, whether this happened or not.” He noted that Enlow would be a little bit behind the timeline. That was known. As for Royce, they know he works with his agency (Scott Boras) to “prep and get himself ready. He’s a tremendous worker, and he’s going to put in his time and efforts, so I’m confident in guys like that have put themselves in good positions.” Opening Day will be at Target Field on April 7th. It will likely be a sprint for these next four weeks. Twins President Dave St. Peter said that the fans have been great. “They want to see games. The volume of concern went up exponentially when you started to cancel regular-season games. So the last ten days, I will tell you, we heard from a lot of fans. We’ve been trying to actively engage with them and try to assure them that there was still a path to play a full 162 games, and I’m just absolutely thrilled today that that vision ultimately is going to be possible. I wasn’t always sure it would be.” Ultimately, the Twins will miss a couple of weeks of spring training, and the season will start one week late, but there will be a 162-game season and a lot of the Ultimate this deal will hopefully help grow the game, and there can be extended peace again between the owners and the players as there had been for nearly 30 years. St. Peter thinks that it’s time to heal and move forward. “It’s paramount that we as an industry do a better job of building trust with our players. There are so many exciting things happening in baseball. For those things to ultimately transcend the game, for us to ultimately move the game forward to where it’s incrementally more relevant amongst young people, where it’s more relevant around the globe — for us to really achieve those goals, we’re going to need incremental alignment with our players. And I hope this agreement allows us to move forward in a way to where we can be better aligned and in partnership. That’s ultimately in the best interests of the players, and it’s certainly in the best interests of the industry.” A challenge for Twins fans will be to move forward too. Ultimately, we will get a 162 game schedule, more playoffs, and more. It will be an interesting and exciting time over the next few days, and the Twins should be active, not only through the weekend but right up to the season. Twins Daily has provided anywhere from three to seven articles every day since the lockout began (and obviously before that). We sure hope that we have kept you entertained, enlightened, and updated. Thank you all so much for sticking by the site, and we sure hope that we will celebrate a winning season in 2022. Oh, by the way, Friday is the first day that teams can place players on the 60-Day Injured List. It’s also the first day that players can be placed on waivers. We should get a list of non-roster players soon too. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email View full article
  5. With one of the strongest rosters in baseball, the Twins were on the cusp of what looked to be a magical 2020 season. Now there are plenty of questions and not many answers about when and where baseball will return. Here are five questions with Twins President Dave St. Peter. Twins Daily (TD): What did you miss most about the Home Opener not happening last week? Dave St. Peter (DSP): There is so much to miss about baseball and our Home Opener. There is nothing like baseball’s Opening Day. It’s so rich with tradition and serves as a pseudo-holiday in most major league markets. In markets like Minnesota, it also serves as the unofficial start of spring. But what I miss the most are the people. Each and every year the Opener provides a platform for a reunion of our players and staff with the hundreds of ballpark employees, our fans, our partners, etc. Re-engaging with these folks is always a huge highlight of the season. I miss these folks and all they do to make Twins baseball what it is. TD: Expectations were high for the club this season. Should expectations change with a potentially shortened season? DSP: Assuming we are able to play baseball, I see no reason why expectations should change. We have a talented group of players with a singular focus. That reality shouldn’t be impacted by the current crisis. While we ultimately need to step up and accept the many challenges even a shortened season will present, at the end of the day we like our chances. We believe in our group. TD: What can fans expect as Major League Baseball develops a plan for a shortened season? DSP: I wish I could answer this question in a definitive way. Unfortunately, there are currently more questions than answers. It’s safe to say the current crisis will force all sports leagues – not just baseball – to ensure fan and player safety while also being nimble and creative in relation to what constitutes our season. TD: What has changed with the day-to-day operations of the club due to a delayed start to the season? DSP: The change is drastic considering there are no games (majors, minors, college, high school) being played. That reality and its impact on our players, coaches, staff, scouts and fans consumes each and every day. Our remote work environment has proven to be successful in allowing our people to remain connected both internally and externally. Beyond looking out for our people, our leadership is focused on ensuring the team is prepared for multiple scenarios related to a return to play plan, the amateur draft, etc. TD: What’s the best part about being a graduate of the University of North Dakota? DSP: I’m quite proud to be a UND grad. It’s a great school with wonderful traditions and high-character people. Any success I’ve had can be directly attributed to my time at UND. Go Sioux!!!! Here are the other posts in the "Five Questions" series: - Lewis Thorpe - Brent Rooker - Randy Dobnak MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  6. Slow Change, a Baseball Tradition College baseball banned smokeless tobacco in 1990 and the minor leagues quickly followed suit in 1993. Over the last 26 years, Major League Baseball has only made gradual changes to their chewing tobacco policies. As part of the 2012 collective bargaining agreement, the league banned players from carrying tobacco packages or tin in their pockets at any time when the ballpark was open to fans. They also couldn’t use it as part of pregame or postgame interviews. MLB took it one step further with the 2016 collective bargaining agreement by banning smokeless tobacco for all new major league players. Players already in the big leagues were grandfathered in under this rule so they would still be able to use smokeless tobacco. In 2015, a study found that 37% of MLB players and coaches used smokeless tobacco. This total is almost six times higher than the national average for males (6.4%). Many cities and states across the country have put in place laws to ban smokeless tobacco in public places. As of June, smokeless tobacco is now banned in over half of major-league stadiums. Minnesota is not one of the 16 stadiums to be included in the ban. Minnesota’s Clubhouse Almost all current members of the Minnesota Twins were big leaguers in 2016 so they would be grandfathered in under the current collective bargaining agreement. As recently as 2016, legislation in Minnesota was introduced to ban the use of tobacco at Target Field and CHS Field. “In general, Major League Baseball and the Twins are supportive of legislative efforts and any efforts to ban smokeless tobacco,” Twins president Dave St. Peter told the Pioneer Press. “It’s long been baseball’s position that it’s something we’d like to get out of our game.” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has been clear on the league’s stance when it comes to chewing tobacco. “For many years we’ve been clear about baseball’s stance on smokeless tobacco,” Manfred said. “It’s banned in the minor leagues. We have proposed on a number of occasions a similar ban at the big-league level. We’ve not been able to negotiate it.” In 2014, Hall of Fame outfielder Tony Gwynn tragically passed away at age 54 from salivary-gland cancer. At the time, some players swore off using chewing tobacco for their own health and families. That still hasn’t stopped current players. Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano, two players the Twins are supposed to build around, have both been known smokeless tobacco users. There are no doubt other players on the team that have a similar addiction. More cities and states will take action in the years ahead. Fewer players will be grandfathered under the current collective bargaining agreement. Chewing tobacco, a baseball staple, is dying a slow death, but thankfully it might not be part of the baseball world future generations will know. Should baseball do more about chewing tobacco? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  7. Baseball has many things that are an integral part of game. Unfortunately, chewing tobacco has been tied to baseball for as long as the game has been played. Like most things in baseball, change is slow and grueling. Players can still be seen with a dip in their mouth even though 16 of the 30 MLB stadiums have banned the use of smokeless tobacco. It’s still part of the game and the Twins are no stranger to tobacco use.Slow Change, a Baseball Tradition College baseball banned smokeless tobacco in 1990 and the minor leagues quickly followed suit in 1993. Over the last 26 years, Major League Baseball has only made gradual changes to their chewing tobacco policies. As part of the 2012 collective bargaining agreement, the league banned players from carrying tobacco packages or tin in their pockets at any time when the ballpark was open to fans. They also couldn’t use it as part of pregame or postgame interviews. MLB took it one step further with the 2016 collective bargaining agreement by banning smokeless tobacco for all new major league players. Players already in the big leagues were grandfathered in under this rule so they would still be able to use smokeless tobacco. In 2015, a study found that 37% of MLB players and coaches used smokeless tobacco. This total is almost six times higher than the national average for males (6.4%). Many cities and states across the country have put in place laws to ban smokeless tobacco in public places. As of June, smokeless tobacco is now banned in over half of major-league stadiums. Minnesota is not one of the 16 stadiums to be included in the ban. Download attachment: KTOOP_Graphic_16-teams.png Minnesota’s Clubhouse Almost all current members of the Minnesota Twins were big leaguers in 2016 so they would be grandfathered in under the current collective bargaining agreement. As recently as 2016, legislation in Minnesota was introduced to ban the use of tobacco at Target Field and CHS Field. “In general, Major League Baseball and the Twins are supportive of legislative efforts and any efforts to ban smokeless tobacco,” Twins president Dave St. Peter told the Pioneer Press. “It’s long been baseball’s position that it’s something we’d like to get out of our game.” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has been clear on the league’s stance when it comes to chewing tobacco. “For many years we’ve been clear about baseball’s stance on smokeless tobacco,” Manfred said. “It’s banned in the minor leagues. We have proposed on a number of occasions a similar ban at the big-league level. We’ve not been able to negotiate it.” In 2014, Hall of Fame outfielder Tony Gwynn tragically passed away at age 54 from salivary-gland cancer. At the time, some players swore off using chewing tobacco for their own health and families. That still hasn’t stopped current players. Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano, two players the Twins are supposed to build around, have both been known smokeless tobacco users. There are no doubt other players on the team that have a similar addiction. More cities and states will take action in the years ahead. Fewer players will be grandfathered under the current collective bargaining agreement. Chewing tobacco, a baseball staple, is dying a slow death, but thankfully it might not be part of the baseball world future generations will know. Should baseball do more about chewing tobacco? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Click here to view the article
  8. When Target Field opened in 2010 fans were excited, people were clamoring for season tickets and the team was a playoff contender. That year attendance reached 3,223,640 people. For nine straight years, attendance has gone down in all but one. The attendance for the 2018 season was 1,959,197. Almost a 1.3-million-person drop. “We’ve missed the mark on expectations. That’s a tough place to be when expectations are high and you under-deliver and if you do that routinely over time, it takes its toll,” said Twins President and Chief Executive Officer Dave St. Peter. The Twins have relied heavily on the attractions and restaurants in the new ballpark to keep drawing in fans, but the organization knows that fans want to see a better product on the field. “I could make a pretty good case that as poorly as we have played over the first decade in the ballpark we have had more fans in the ballpark most nights than we probably deserve and that speaks to the Target Field experience,” said St. Peter. “You can have a great game-day experience, but you also need to have a competitive baseball team.” One way the organization is trying to get fans back in the seats is the implementation of two concession stands located in sections 133 and 237 that are money friendly. There, you can now get a hot dog for $4 and a 12 oz. beer for $5. “So far, it’s been pretty good, well-received, lines haven’t been too bad. We need to do a better job of promoting it,” said St. Peter. “You should not have to spend $6 on a hot dog. To me, that’s crazy.” After this year it’s still undecided if they will expand this plan to other concessions stands or cancel it altogether. The Twins know that there are fans out there who want the premium experience right behind home plate and around the dugout, but they are aware that they need to make the game more accessible to all fans to draw their goal of 2.5-3 million fans per year. St. Peter knows that concessions are expensive. The price of beer has risen to $10.50. Double the price of a standard six-pack of beer. When asked about the increased price of beer St. Peter rebutted, “Bud Light isn’t regular beer?” Bud Light is the beer sold at the two cheaper concession stands. “I will tell you I don’t believe the concessions model inside of sports is sustainable.” However, St. Peter says he knows that most fans will pay up for an expensive beer. “Thank God this year I have a $5 beer to sell you.” If fans want a cheaper beer it sounds like they’ll have to be satisfied with Bud Light. Another way the Twins are trying to draw in fans is with the Twins Pass. The pass is made up of three different packages. For $49 per month fans can go to every game and be in standing room only. For $99 they get an upper level seat and for $149 they get a lower level seat. Every game a fan sits in a different seat. “I think there’s a new generation of fans that aren’t looking for a fixed seat," said St. Peter. “Sales of that have been, I would say have been just okay. This month will be telling.” The Twins wrap up their April schedule against the Houston Astros, the 2017 World Series Champions. That could bring in quite a few fans. The Twins feel this (Twins Pass) will draw in the 25-year-old to 35-year-old demographic. They’re trying their best to engage that age range according to St. Peter. “It’s critical to get that group engaged any way we can get them engaged. Whether it be via social channels, whether it be inside of the ballpark, whether it be attending a community event or some experiential marketing event. Their level of engagement is critical.” Studies have shown that people in that range spend the most money. Even with all the different things the Twins are trying to do to lure fans into the stadium, attendance is not off to a good start. On April 15, the Twins had only 11,727 fans in attendance, the lowest in Target Field history. That’s 3,000 less than the previous record set the day prior. With all the changes to the team, they’ll will have to get back to the winning ways of the mid-2000’s to get fans in the seats. “We still have more work to do. We have to regain a level of credibility in this marketplace around our baseball operation,” said St. Peter.
  9. https://twitter.com/gary_pecinovsky/status/1089634127882653698 Ideally, Byron Buxton’s leash won’t have to be tested this season. Last week, I identified Buxton’s emergence as one of the keys to the 2019 club. It’s easy to be discouraged after his 2018 season. Buxton rebuilt his body this off-season by adding 21 pounds of muscle. The extra weight can hopefully increase his durability and keep him on the field when he is bouncing off the outfield grass and crashing into centerfield walls. Even if Buxton’s bat struggles again, he continues to provide value through his defense and base running abilities. I believe the team will bat him near the bottom of the order to keep some of the pressure off him. He needs to figure it out at the big-league level, so I think the team is going to sink or swim with Buxton in the line-up this year. https://twitter.com/hotts58/status/1088824695116521472 Minnesota will likely use a few different players at first base this season and the starter could be tied to the player with the hottest bat. Each of the most likely first base options were added to the roster in the last year. C.J. Cron was claimed off waivers this off-season despite a 30-home run campaign in 2018. Tyler Austin saw some action for the Twins last year after being traded from the Yankees. Miguel Sano and Mitch Garver are also possibilities to see time at first. If I’m picking the Opening Day starter now, Cron would be my pick. As far as a replacement for Robbie Grossman, Jake Cave seems like he already started to do that last year. Cave played in 91 big league games and racked up over 300 plate appearances. He hit .269/.316/.481 with 32 extra-base hits. The club also used him at all three outfield positions, so it seems likely for him to continue to be used in a fourth outfielder role. https://twitter.com/C__Lee/status/1088544039408988161 If the Twins are done adding players, there seems to be a pretty clear starting situation for the Twins. No one knows how Rocco Baldelli is going to approach lineup construction, but Minnesota has nine players that should be regulars. Here’s how I would construct the Opening Day lineup: 1. Jorge Polanco- SS 2. Eddie Rosario- LF 3. Nelson Cruz- DH 4. Miguel Sano- 3B 5. CJ Cron- 1B 6. Jonathan Schoop- 2B 7. Max Kepler- RF 8. Jason Castro- C 9. Byron Buxton- CF As I mentioned before, Tyler Austin will probably get some at-bats at first base. The second half of the lineup could be altered depending on who has the hot hand. Buxton might start the year at the bottom of the order, but it will be key for him to be batting near the top by season’s end. https://twitter.com/Mike_AnthonyFL/status/1088813118552186880 This is certainly an intriguing question. In three of the last four seasons, Manny Machado has posted a WAR greater than 6.0. For the Twins, you also need to consider the players he would be replacing. Miguel Sano and Jorge Polanco are currently penciled in to play on Machado’s side of the infield. As Thieres Rabelo wrote about last week, Polanco might be as potent on offense as Machado. Polanco could slide over to second base but then he would be taking Jonathan Schoop’s spot in the line-up. Schoop was only worth 0.5 WAR last season and his career high WAR total was 3.8 back in 2017. That being said, Machado is one of the best players in the game. Over the course of 162 games, he could add 2-3 wins to the club. This might all be purely hypothetical because it sounds like the front office isn’t adding Machado or Bryce Harper. https://twitter.com/C__Lee/status/1088813937511022594 Season ticket sales are usually tied to the team’s performance in the previous season. Last year, the Twins were coming off a playoff appearance and their young players seemed poised to take the next step. The club also had veteran stars like Joe Mauer and Brian Dozier that can help to drive sales. Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano were a disappointment in 2018 and Mauer and Dozier are no longer with the club. Also, the team didn’t make the playoffs. Nothing drives ticket sales like having a consistently winning product on the field. Season ticket data won’t be released until later in the year. It seems likely that sales will be down, and the demand will be low for the current team. However, winning cures everything. https://twitter.com/Hey_Yo_Its_GMan/status/1088830128786980864 TwinsFest is a wonderful weekend of events and activities for the entire family. Yes, the organization covers the traveling cost for players to attend. While the players are in town, the club usually completes some of the players' physicals so they can save time when players get to Florida. Twins President Dave St. Peter has done a good job of building relationships with former players. Luckily, the dates for the event are almost always the last weekend in January. This can make it easy for players to plan their attendance at the event. That being said, a lot of fans want to get autographs from the newer players and the former players aren’t as big of a draw. (Ask Corey Koskie about that.)
  10. TwinsFest is done and the Winter Meltdown was a resounding success. Thank you to everyone who was able to attend and make this event a great gathering of fans from throughout Twins Territory. Even with the sub-arctic temperatures across the upper Midwest, spring training is quickly approaching. There are plenty of unanswered questions left about the Twins before the season starts. Make sure to follow me on Twitter so you can be part of next week's mailbag. Ideally, Byron Buxton’s leash won’t have to be tested this season. Last week, I identified Buxton’s emergence as one of the keys to the 2019 club. It’s easy to be discouraged after his 2018 season. Buxton rebuilt his body this off-season by adding 21 pounds of muscle. The extra weight can hopefully increase his durability and keep him on the field when he is bouncing off the outfield grass and crashing into centerfield walls. Even if Buxton’s bat struggles again, he continues to provide value through his defense and base running abilities. I believe the team will bat him near the bottom of the order to keep some of the pressure off him. He needs to figure it out at the big-league level, so I think the team is going to sink or swim with Buxton in the line-up this year. Minnesota will likely use a few different players at first base this season and the starter could be tied to the player with the hottest bat. Each of the most likely first base options were added to the roster in the last year. C.J. Cron was claimed off waivers this off-season despite a 30-home run campaign in 2018. Tyler Austin saw some action for the Twins last year after being traded from the Yankees. Miguel Sano and Mitch Garver are also possibilities to see time at first. If I’m picking the Opening Day starter now, Cron would be my pick. As far as a replacement for Robbie Grossman, Jake Cave seems like he already started to do that last year. Cave played in 91 big league games and racked up over 300 plate appearances. He hit .269/.316/.481 with 32 extra-base hits. The club also used him at all three outfield positions, so it seems likely for him to continue to be used in a fourth outfielder role. If the Twins are done adding players, there seems to be a pretty clear starting situation for the Twins. No one knows how Rocco Baldelli is going to approach lineup construction, but Minnesota has nine players that should be regulars. Here’s how I would construct the Opening Day lineup: 1. Jorge Polanco- SS 2. Eddie Rosario- LF 3. Nelson Cruz- DH 4. Miguel Sano- 3B 5. CJ Cron- 1B 6. Jonathan Schoop- 2B 7. Max Kepler- RF 8. Jason Castro- C 9. Byron Buxton- CF As I mentioned before, Tyler Austin will probably get some at-bats at first base. The second half of the lineup could be altered depending on who has the hot hand. Buxton might start the year at the bottom of the order, but it will be key for him to be batting near the top by season’s end. This is certainly an intriguing question. In three of the last four seasons, Manny Machado has posted a WAR greater than 6.0. For the Twins, you also need to consider the players he would be replacing. Miguel Sano and Jorge Polanco are currently penciled in to play on Machado’s side of the infield. As Thieres Rabelo wrote about last week, Polanco might be as potent on offense as Machado. Polanco could slide over to second base but then he would be taking Jonathan Schoop’s spot in the line-up. Schoop was only worth 0.5 WAR last season and his career high WAR total was 3.8 back in 2017. That being said, Machado is one of the best players in the game. Over the course of 162 games, he could add 2-3 wins to the club. This might all be purely hypothetical because it sounds like the front office isn’t adding Machado or Bryce Harper. Season ticket sales are usually tied to the team’s performance in the previous season. Last year, the Twins were coming off a playoff appearance and their young players seemed poised to take the next step. The club also had veteran stars like Joe Mauer and Brian Dozier that can help to drive sales. Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano were a disappointment in 2018 and Mauer and Dozier are no longer with the club. Also, the team didn’t make the playoffs. Nothing drives ticket sales like having a consistently winning product on the field. Season ticket data won’t be released until later in the year. It seems likely that sales will be down, and the demand will be low for the current team. However, winning cures everything. TwinsFest is a wonderful weekend of events and activities for the entire family. Yes, the organization covers the traveling cost for players to attend. While the players are in town, the club usually completes some of the players' physicals so they can save time when players get to Florida. Twins President Dave St. Peter has done a good job of building relationships with former players. Luckily, the dates for the event are almost always the last weekend in January. This can make it easy for players to plan their attendance at the event. That being said, a lot of fans want to get autographs from the newer players and the former players aren’t as big of a draw. (Ask Corey Koskie about that.) Click here to view the article
  11. http://traffic.libsyn.com/gleemangeek/gatg_8_28_16_final.mp3
  12. Aaron and John talk about the Twins' losing skid, six-year run of awful pitching, the planned front office regime change beyond just a new GM, similarities with Tom Kelly, Andy MacPhail, and Carl Pohlad, Tyler Duffey and Jose Berrios demotions, filling the roster with replacement-level talent, and Oswaldo Arcia's ongoing journey across baseball. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Stitcher or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click the Play button below. Click here to view the article
  13. To this day, I have kept at least one ticket stub from every MLB game I have attended. However, the future is changing and the ticket stub is slowly dying. Ticket stubs are a physical representation of childhood and historical memories. Kirby Puckett's walk-off hit, Target Field's first game, or even the 2014 All-Star Game are all important Twins memories and they are all stubs I proudly display. As technology has increased, the use of actual printed tickets from professional sports teams has declined. Fans can print out their tickets at home or have them sent to their phone. As the Vikings open US Bank Stadium this fall, all season ticket holders will only have electronic versions of their tickets. Major League Baseball wants to see the end of the traditional ticket stubs sales. According to Market Watch, in 2012 "the traditional ticket stub accounted for less than a third of single-game seats sold this past season, down from 55% in 2011." This number will only continue to shrink as most fans have apps on their phones like Apple's Wallet or the MLB Ballpark App that make it easy to transfer tickets at the click of a button. Bob Bowman, President of Business and Media of Major League Baseball, knows it will still take time for there to be a complete shift away from paper tickets. "It's been a tradition of 100 years, and some traditions die harder than others," he said. In 2014, the Los Angeles Dodgers all but did away with paper tickets. They called it a fan enhancement because fans could transfer tickets easily to friends, clients, or sell them on the secondary market. Some fans even started petitions to bring back their paper tickets. When Clayton Kershaw tossed a no-hitter later that year, the Dodgers printed commemorative tickets for their season ticket holders. I recently interviewed Dave St. Peter, the Twins President, about the shift in the ticket market. He said, "Including 'Print at Home' capability, roughly 35% of our total tickets are in electronic form. Less than 10% of our current tickets are used via a mobile device." When I asked him if he sees a time when all MLB tickets will be electronic, he said, "That's certainly a goal, but it's going to take some time for it to become reality." St. Peter went on to say, "The Twins will continue to migrate more fans to digital tickets in 2017 and beyond." However, "That being said, current plans call for 'Print at Home' capability to remain an option." The owner of FAN HQ, a Minnetonka based chain of sports apparel and memorabilia, Shaun Hagglund told me, "It's too bad hard tickets are going the way of printer tickets or even electronic tickets." He continued by saying, "Not only did they serve as a personal memento for a game attended, they were also unique items to have autographed by players who made an impact in a particular game or had a milestone event- first game, 3,000 hit, etc." Ticket stubs will always be part of baseball's history. They are a collector's item that continues to be harder and harder to find. Actual ticket stubs might be relegated to Cooperstown relics but that takes nothing away from baseball's past and the ticket's tiny slice of history. I was at Target Field this weekend but my tickets were in electronic form. The nine-year old kid in me looked through the stands after the game to come away with a rare relic to add to my ticket collection. The ticket stub might be on it's death bed but that doesn't mean fans have to forget about this important part of baseball history.
  14. http://traffic.libsyn.com/gleemangeek/Ep_179_Meltdown_Recap_and_Roster_Projection.mp3
  15. Laudner played nine seasons with the Twins, retiring towards the end of spring training in 1990. He also played high school football, where he was an all-state tight end, and high school baseball with Park Center, where he mostly pitched, including starting the semi-final state championship game in 1975. But in the summer of 1976 he converted to catcher and attended the University of Missouri. Three years later, he was drafted by the Twins and slugged 42 home runs in AA before getting called up to replace the injured Butch Wynegar in 1981. Laudner homered in both of his first two games with the Twins and went on to post double-digit home runs in four of his seasons and was named an All-Star in 1988. Since retirement he has worked as a project manager, run a Big League Baseball Camp and works as an analyst at Fox Sport North and Fox Sports Wisconsin. We're thrilled that he is interested in hanging out with the Twins Daily community and know you won't want to miss it, so here are the details: January 24th, from 5-8, at Mason's. Just walk the block from Target Field and TwinsFest and join us. Question & answers with Minnesota Twins President Dave St. Peter, Twins alum catcher and .... you'll need to wait until Monday to find out. Two free beers from local craft brewery 612 Brew. Drink Drink specials from Dobel Tequila and Three Olives Vodka. The limited edition Twins Daily Winter Meltdown Pint Glass Tickets go on sale Tuesday RIGHT HERE for $25! We sold out last year within hours. Plus the price goes up to $30 on Wednesday. PLEASE don't miss out. ~~~ Wednesday morning update: Time for a Meltdown! (The good kind.) Last year, the 1st Annual Twins Daily Winter Meltdown featured Twins president Dave St. Peter, former Twins pitcher Scott Erickson and Miguel Sano documentarian Jon Paley. Over 200 people showed up and advance tickets sold out inside of four hours. As with seemingly everything this community does, the stories that came out of it were legendary. Let’s do that again. On Saturday the 24th, from 5:00 to 8:00, we’ll be throwing the 2nd Annual Twins Daily Winter Meltdown. You can walk over from TwinsFest because the event will be just a block away, at Mason’s Restaurant and Barre on 6th and Hennepin. Not only will you get to gather with Twins Daily writers and members and talk Hot Stove, but we’ll include: A Twins Daily Winter Meltdown Pint Glass Two complimentary local craft beers from 612 Brew Drink specials on Dobel Tequila shots and Three Olives Naked Vodka drinks. Aaron Gleeman and John “Twins Geek” Bonnes interviewing three special Twins guests. We’ll announce two of the guests on Friday and Monday morning, but we can confirm that we’ll lead off with Twins President Dave St. Peter. St. Peter has served as President of the Twins since 2002, overseeing a decade of success, a move to Target Field and the recent struggles of the team. He has also made enormous efforts to engage Twins fans directly, including a very active (and popular) Twitter account. We really appreciate his support. And, you’ll be treated to some fantastic locally brewed beer from 612 Brew in Northeast Minneapolis. This is 612 Brew’s second year sponsoring our Meltdown and they have supported various Twins Daily and Gleeman and the Geek events for several years. They are some of the more creative brewers in the city, as their beer list details. Last year, the tricky part was getting tickets, and that could be true again. Tickets are $30, but because we want to reward those folks who stop by Twins Daily every day, they’ll be on sale for $25 the first day of the sale, TUESDAY (1/13). Even more importantly, last year they sold out by noon on the first day, so I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you find a way to stop by TwinsDaily.com this Tuesday morning when they go on sale at 8AM at Twins Daily and get your tickets. Want to bring friends and family? Great. Mason’s is known for their fantastic food. Also, kids under 21 are absolutely welcome if they would like to meet or ask questions of our guests. (You’ll need ID to get any alcohol.) So please join us for our biggest event of the year. It’s easy, it’s affordable, it’s crazy fun and you’re going to be kicking yourself that weekend if you can’t be there. Stop by tomorrow for more news on our guests or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
  16. The guest list for the Twins Daily Winter Meltdown continues to grow! We're very excited to announce that Tim Laudner will be joining us to talk about the 1987 World Series, catcher framing, moving from player to media, and maybe show off what a World Series ring looks like. Laudner is best known to Twins fans as being the starting catcher of the 1987 World Champion Twins. In that seven-game Championship series versus the Cardinals, he started every game, hitting .318 (with a .444 OBP).Laudner played nine seasons with the Twins, retiring towards the end of spring training in 1990. He also played high school football, where he was an all-state tight end, and high school baseball with Park Center, where he mostly pitched, including starting the semi-final state championship game in 1975. But in the summer of 1976 he converted to catcher and attended the University of Missouri. Three years later, he was drafted by the Twins and slugged 42 home runs in AA before getting called up to replace the injured Butch Wynegar in 1981. Laudner homered in both of his first two games with the Twins and went on to post double-digit home runs in four of his seasons and was named an All-Star in 1988. Since retirement he has worked as a project manager, run a Big League Baseball Camp and works as an analyst at Fox Sport North and Fox Sports Wisconsin. We're thrilled that he is interested in hanging out with the Twins Daily community and know you won't want to miss it, so here are the details: January 24th, from 5-8, at Mason's. Just walk the block from Target Field and TwinsFest and join us.Question & answers with Minnesota Twins President Dave St. Peter, Twins alum catcher and .... you'll need to wait until Monday to find out.Two free beers from local craft brewery 612 Brew. DrinkDrink specials from Dobel Tequila and Three Olives Vodka.The limited edition Twins Daily Winter Meltdown Pint GlassTickets go on sale Tuesday RIGHT HERE for $25! We sold out last year within hours. Plus the price goes up to $30 on Wednesday. PLEASE don't miss out.~~~ Wednesday morning update: Time for a Meltdown! (The good kind.) Last year, the 1st Annual Twins Daily Winter Meltdown featured Twins president Dave St. Peter, former Twins pitcher Scott Erickson and Miguel Sano documentarian Jon Paley. Over 200 people showed up and advance tickets sold out inside of four hours. As with seemingly everything this community does, the stories that came out of it were legendary. Let’s do that again. On Saturday the 24th, from 5:00 to 8:00, we’ll be throwing the 2nd Annual Twins Daily Winter Meltdown. You can walk over from TwinsFest because the event will be just a block away, at Mason’s Restaurant and Barre on 6th and Hennepin. Not only will you get to gather with Twins Daily writers and members and talk Hot Stove, but we’ll include: A Twins Daily Winter Meltdown Pint GlassTwo complimentary local craft beers from 612 BrewDrink specials on Dobel Tequila shots and Three Olives Naked Vodka drinks.Aaron Gleeman and John “Twins Geek” Bonnes interviewing three special Twins guests.We’ll announce two of the guests on Friday and Monday morning, but we can confirm that we’ll lead off with Twins President Dave St. Peter. St. Peter has served as President of the Twins since 2002, overseeing a decade of success, a move to Target Field and the recent struggles of the team. He has also made enormous efforts to engage Twins fans directly, including a very active (and popular) Twitter account. We really appreciate his support. Download attachment: Dave St. Peter.jpg And, you’ll be treated to some fantastic locally brewed beer from 612 Brew in Northeast Minneapolis. This is 612 Brew’s second year sponsoring our Meltdown and they have supported various Twins Daily and Gleeman and the Geek events for several years. They are some of the more creative brewers in the city, as their beer list details. Last year, the tricky part was getting tickets, and that could be true again. Tickets are $30, but because we want to reward those folks who stop by Twins Daily every day, they’ll be on sale for $25 the first day of the sale, TUESDAY (1/13). Even more importantly, last year they sold out by noon on the first day, so I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you find a way to stop by TwinsDaily.com this Tuesday morning when they go on sale at 8AM at Twins Daily and get your tickets. Download attachment: Winter-Meltdown-2015-Pint-Glass_300.jpg Want to bring friends and family? Great. Mason’s is known for their fantastic food. Also, kids under 21 are absolutely welcome if they would like to meet or ask questions of our guests. (You’ll need ID to get any alcohol.) So please join us for our biggest event of the year. It’s easy, it’s affordable, it’s crazy fun and you’re going to be kicking yourself that weekend if you can’t be there. Stop by tomorrow for more news on our guests or follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Click here to view the article
  17. The Minnesota Twins haven’t had to perform many managerial searches over the last 30 years. Back in 1987 they went through one, but settled on the interim manager who had finished out the 1986 season, Tom Kelly. He has the most managerial wins in Twins history. After 2001, they tried again, but they performed that search under the threat of imminent contraction, which limited the candidates. They settled on their third base coach, Ron Gardenhire, who is the fastest manager to 1000 wins in Twins history. They’re hoping for similar success with this offseason’s choice, Paul Molitor, but that is to be determined. An area we can evaluate more immediately is how this hiring process played out. In the end, the Twins returned to the rumored manager-in-waiting. Did the process verify their instincts? Of does choosing the leading candidate condemn the process? Twins GM Terry Ryan is comfortable with the process but is empathetic to that concern. “I understand that because we came back around to the front runner in the fans' minds,” replied Ryan. “Also I would’ve taken on a lot of criticism if I didn’t explore the [Joe] Maddon situation, I think. I explored some other people outside the organization that I thought were very worthy to talk to. I think it was fairly thorough.” In fact, if anything, he felt pressure for being too thorough. “Now there were other people involved in this process that I certainly had to justify the time (to). But between the World Series and all the things that come with October – that’s the only reason it took so long.” It was Ryan’s decision to make, but Twins president Dave St. Peter and owner Jim Pohlad joined in as the decision came nearer. St. Peter detailed the process: “I would say there were two or three phases. I think the first phase was Terry and Rob [Antony] and some of the baseball operations crew, not only vetting candidates but doing an initial interview with a host of candidates. “I got involved along with Jim in the second phase in which we had narrowed it down to a few finalists. So we spent time individually with all of those as well as with Terry and the baseball operations group. We had a chance to see and hear from the candidates directly and understand what their vision was. Maybe a chance to get to know them a little bit. “I’d say the third phase was more Jim and Terry and myself having a level of dialogue based on input provided by a variety of people in the organization and ultimately we got a recommendation from Terry in the middle of last week, maybe Thursday, and ultimately Paul was notified on Friday that he was our guy.” Did all that involvement from ownership and the business side impact the decision at all? Jim Pohlad doesn't think so. In fact, he’ll tell you that he purposely didn’t try to single out any of the final candidates. “I didn’t say that I believed that Paul [Molitor] separated [himself from the other candidates], claims Pohlad. “I gave Terry input as to my thoughts on the strengths and weaknesses of all three candidates. Everybody else did and Terry heard from a lot of people on the outside. I think he processed all that and went with Paul. I think that was a really great choice.” Ryan agrees both that it was his decision to make and that Molitor was the right choice. “Ultimately we had a consensus of what to present to Jim [Pohlad] and Dave [st. Peter]. We did that. As it turns out, I think the fit is ideal. I think, with all the things that surround us right now, it’s the right time for him to take over this club. I think we have a chance here pretty quick to get this thing going in the right direction.” The process, when looked at by an outsider, seems to have been thorough and attempted to be objective. From the inside, it may have been challenged by similar forces to those that effect any organization - alliances, history, personal bias - but that is going to be true of any profoundly important task within an organization. The people involved clearly felt this decision was a priority, took their time, explored areas externally, gathered input internally, brought in leadership at an appropriate time and carried multiple candidates all the way to the conclusion. But ultimately, it likely will not be judged by any of those factors. It'll be judged by how quickly Molitor can "get this thing going in the right direction."
  18. In the end, the Twins returned to the rumored manager-in-waiting. Did the process verify their instincts? Of does choosing the leading candidate condemn the process? How does one evaluate a managerial search? Is it purely based on the success of the manager it chooses? Or can we judge the process independently?The Minnesota Twins haven’t had to perform many managerial searches over the last 30 years. Back in 1987 they went through one, but settled on the interim manager who had finished out the 1986 season, Tom Kelly. He has the most managerial wins in Twins history. After 2001, they tried again, but they performed that search under the threat of imminent contraction, which limited the candidates. They settled on their third base coach, Ron Gardenhire, who is the fastest manager to 1000 wins in Twins history. They’re hoping for similar success with this offseason’s choice, Paul Molitor, but that is to be determined. An area we can evaluate more immediately is how this hiring process played out. In the end, the Twins returned to the rumored manager-in-waiting. Did the process verify their instincts? Of does choosing the leading candidate condemn the process? Twins GM Terry Ryan is comfortable with the process but is empathetic to that concern. “I understand that because we came back around to the front runner in the fans' minds,” replied Ryan. “Also I would’ve taken on a lot of criticism if I didn’t explore the [Joe] Maddon situation, I think. I explored some other people outside the organization that I thought were very worthy to talk to. I think it was fairly thorough.” In fact, if anything, he felt pressure for being too thorough. “Now there were other people involved in this process that I certainly had to justify the time (to). But between the World Series and all the things that come with October – that’s the only reason it took so long.” It was Ryan’s decision to make, but Twins president Dave St. Peter and owner Jim Pohlad joined in as the decision came nearer. St. Peter detailed the process: “I would say there were two or three phases. I think the first phase was Terry and Rob [Antony] and some of the baseball operations crew, not only vetting candidates but doing an initial interview with a host of candidates. “I got involved along with Jim in the second phase in which we had narrowed it down to a few finalists. So we spent time individually with all of those as well as with Terry and the baseball operations group. We had a chance to see and hear from the candidates directly and understand what their vision was. Maybe a chance to get to know them a little bit. “I’d say the third phase was more Jim and Terry and myself having a level of dialogue based on input provided by a variety of people in the organization and ultimately we got a recommendation from Terry in the middle of last week, maybe Thursday, and ultimately Paul was notified on Friday that he was our guy.” Did all that involvement from ownership and the business side impact the decision at all? Jim Pohlad doesn't think so. In fact, he’ll tell you that he purposely didn’t try to single out any of the final candidates. “I didn’t say that I believed that Paul [Molitor] separated [himself from the other candidates], claims Pohlad. “I gave Terry input as to my thoughts on the strengths and weaknesses of all three candidates. Everybody else did and Terry heard from a lot of people on the outside. I think he processed all that and went with Paul. I think that was a really great choice.” Ryan agrees both that it was his decision to make and that Molitor was the right choice. “Ultimately we had a consensus of what to present to Jim [Pohlad] and Dave [st. Peter]. We did that. As it turns out, I think the fit is ideal. I think, with all the things that surround us right now, it’s the right time for him to take over this club. I think we have a chance here pretty quick to get this thing going in the right direction.” The process, when looked at by an outsider, seems to have been thorough and attempted to be objective. From the inside, it may have been challenged by similar forces to those that effect any organization - alliances, history, personal bias - but that is going to be true of any profoundly important task within an organization. The people involved clearly felt this decision was a priority, took their time, explored areas externally, gathered input internally, brought in leadership at an appropriate time and carried multiple candidates all the way to the conclusion. But ultimately, it likely will not be judged by any of those factors. It'll be judged by how quickly Molitor can "get this thing going in the right direction." Click here to view the article
  19. I’ve been a bit out of touch with Twinsville for a couple of weeks as I’ve had some business travel and other non-Twins-related matters to occupy most of my time. I did catch up a bit on my Twins reading in the past day or so, however, and – well – let’s just say I’ve been much more interested in the writing about the Twins than I have been with what’s transpired on the field with the Twins.I read the columns by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s baseball writers and columnists recently, in which they were asked to share their ideas concerning what the Twins need to do to “fix” the sorry state of affairs at Target Field. Jim Souhan believes manager Ron Gardenhire has to go. Patrick Reusse believes the Twins need coaches who relate better to the increasing (and increasingly important) Latino segment of their roster. LaVelle E. Neal wants the Twins to do whatever it takes to add an “ace” at the top of their rotation. Phil Miller says, as hard as it may be to do so, the answer is patience, as we await the imminent arrival of some outstanding young prospects. Their respective articles reflect opinions I think we’ve all heard voiced many times as this fourth consecutive 90-loss season has been completing its death spiral. The only near unanimous opinion is, as TwinsDaily’s Nick Nelson penned this week, “The Twins Have a Problem.” After doing all that reading, I paused and contemplated what it must be like right now to be Jim Pohlad. I honestly believe he’s embarrassed by what his team has become – an irrelevant organization. The Twins are irrelevant among their MLB brethren. They are irrelevant within the Minnesota professional sports scene. http://knuckleballsblog.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/PohladRyanStPeter.jpg Owner Jim Pohlad, GM Terry Ryan and President Dave St. Peter (photo: SD Buhr) Say what you will about the Pohlad family, they did not get to where they are in life by being irrelevant. I began to wonder what was going through the Twins’ owner’s mind these days as he prepares for, perhaps, the most difficult offseason since the passing of his father, Carl. Maybe Jim is asking himself, “WWCD?” What Would Carl Do? Naturally, that led me to ponder what I would do if I were in Pohlad’s shoes. What steps would I take to make sure I never, ever, felt like this going in to an offseason again. One awful season was an unpleasant aberration. Two was uncomfortable. Three was painful. Four is… I don’t even know, but you wouldn’t want to be around me much if I owned a team with the record of abject failure that the Twins have had so far this decade. I thought all four of the Strib’s writers had good thoughts. I also believe there isn’t a single one of those ideas that would satisfy me if I owned the Twins. If the four Strib guys worked for me and came to my office with those ideas, here’s what I’d say: I think you’ve all made valid points. But here’s my problem. Patience, Phil? I’ve been patient for three years. Don’t talk to me about prospects. Until they prove themselves at Target Field, those guys are nothing but business assets. They represent fluxuating inventory with short shelf lives. You’re not asking me to be patient, you’re asking me to be comatose. You want me to buy (in money or prospects) an ‘ace,’ LaVelle. Great idea. I’ve been telling my General Manager to feel free to spend more money on whatever he thinks will improve this team. But we can’t force players to sign with us and pretty much every long term, big money, contract for an ‘ace’ that has been signed has turned out to be a bad contract for the team. And I may not be in love with prospects, but I’m not going to give them away in return for an aging pitcher who my stat buddies tell me has seen his best days behind him. If my GM can find an ‘ace’ available on the market who is willing to come to our town or one with enough tread on the tire left to be counted on for a few years of ace-hood that’s available for any trade even close to reasonable, we’ll go get him. Jim, I really don’t think any manager in history could have won half his games the past four years with the collection of has-beens, wanna-bes and never-weres wearing a Twins uniform, so if you really believe firing Ron Gardenhire is going to fix things, you know a lot less about baseball than most baseball fans. And that’s a tough bar to get under. Pat, same for you. I think it makes a lot of sense to have more of a Latin-American presence in the clubhouse. But do you think having a dozen Latino coaches would make this team a winner? I don’t. By the way, between the four of you guys, there must be about a zillion years of covering baseball between you, right? How’s your Spanish? I think every coach in our organization should learn Spanish, but I also think every media member who covers baseball should, too, and until you do, you’ve got very little room to criticize. The problem is that none of your ideas will fix things. Not if that’s all we do. Our fans aren’t stupid enough to believe that any one player, no matter how good he is, will turn this team in to a contender. Not if he’s a current Tigers ace, LaVelle, and not if he’s a near-certain future Hall of Fame center fielder who hasn’t completed a full game (much less a season) above high-A ball, Phil. Many of them want Gardy gone. I understand that. But even the Gardy haters don’t really believe replacing him will turn a 90-loss team in to a 90-win team. Replacing even an unpopular manager won’t put butts back in the seats and replacing his staff with five guys from Venezuela won’t, either. So, no, we’re not going to do a single one of these things. We’re going to do all of them. And more. That's when I would thank that Strib guys for their time, give them some drink tickets and send them to Hrbeks for a couple of refreshments while I talk to my President and General Manager. With Dave St. Peter and Terry Ryan in my offices, here's what I lay out for them. Gentlemen, the good news for you is that neither of you are fired. Yet. But I’m tired of losing. I’m tired of losing games and I’m tired of losing fans. And you two may think I don’t know crap about baseball, but I suspect that just maybe losing games and losing fans might be related. Terry, I tried to tell you a year ago that I was tired of people telling me I’m cheap and won’t spend money for top talent. Some bozo on the internet even made up a parable about it. I want you to go read it and then, Terry, use the damn ladder! I’ve got a list of the top 20 starting pitchers in baseball, ranked by some goofy thing called WAR. By the date season tickets have to be renewed, one of those guys is going to be working for me, Terry – or you won’t be. Do we understand one another? Speaking of people working for me, you’re going to go tell Ron Gardenhire that he doesn’t. At least not as my manager. Gardy’s a helluva guy and he’s had some good days as our manager. We’ll give him a nice watch, but I don’t believe he’s the guy to lead this team for the next 10 years and neither do our fans. Who you hire is your business. I’m just telling you who you’re going to fire. I take that back, I am going to tell you a little bit about who you’re going to hire. When spring training opens, I want at least two Latino members on the bench staff. I mean it, Terry. And I’m not talking about a couple guys who took Spanish class in junior high. I’m going to send Tony Oliva to talk to whoever you hire and they’d better be able to keep up with him in a conversation. Every company in every industry in this country has been getting on the diversity bandwagon for years. Everyone figured out long ago that having management that can communicate in Spanish is critical to attracting and retaining top Spanish speaking employees. I don’t know why you haven’t figured this out on your own yet, but now I’m telling you. One more thing, Terry. If they’re healthy, Alex Meyer, Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton will open 2015 with the Twins. How do I know? I heard all about it in the giant advertising campaign that St. Peter and the marketing folks are putting together the moment he walks out of this meeting. Right Dave? That ad is going to run on the local affiliate carrying the Super Bowl. I want everyone in town talking about the Twins the next day and I want them buying tickets. Lots of tickets. Dave, I keep reading about how attendance is going to drop next year. I’m telling you that it won’t. If it does, the attendance in your office will drop by one. Our season ticket holders have been paying Major League prices for minor league performance for four years. I don’t care how far you have to slash prices, you put butts in the seats. Next summer, people may call us crazy for what we’ve done. They may say we’ve lost our minds. But if they’re still saying the Twins are irrelevant, you two will not be calling me your boss. Give my love to your families. And then I think I'd take a very long cruise around the world on a very large boat and look forward to seeing what my team looked like when I got back. Click here to view the article
  20. I read the columns by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s baseball writers and columnists recently, in which they were asked to share their ideas concerning what the Twins need to do to “fix” the sorry state of affairs at Target Field. Jim Souhan believes manager Ron Gardenhire has to go. Patrick Reusse believes the Twins need coaches who relate better to the increasing (and increasingly important) Latino segment of their roster. LaVelle E. Neal wants the Twins to do whatever it takes to add an “ace” at the top of their rotation. Phil Miller says, as hard as it may be to do so, the answer is patience, as we await the imminent arrival of some outstanding young prospects. Their respective articles reflect opinions I think we’ve all heard voiced many times as this fourth consecutive 90-loss season has been completing its death spiral. The only near unanimous opinion is, as TwinsDaily’s Nick Nelson penned this week, “The Twins Have a Problem.” After doing all that reading, I paused and contemplated what it must be like right now to be Jim Pohlad. I honestly believe he’s embarrassed by what his team has become – an irrelevant organization. The Twins are irrelevant among their MLB brethren. They are irrelevant within the Minnesota professional sports scene. http://knuckleballsblog.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/PohladRyanStPeter.jpg Owner Jim Pohlad, GM Terry Ryan and President Dave St. Peter (photo: SD Buhr) Say what you will about the Pohlad family, they did not get to where they are in life by being irrelevant. I began to wonder what was going through the Twins’ owner’s mind these days as he prepares for, perhaps, the most difficult offseason since the passing of his father, Carl. Maybe Jim is asking himself, “WWCD?” What Would Carl Do? Naturally, that led me to ponder what I would do if I were in Pohlad’s shoes. What steps would I take to make sure I never, ever, felt like this going in to an offseason again. One awful season was an unpleasant aberration. Two was uncomfortable. Three was painful. Four is… I don’t even know, but you wouldn’t want to be around me much if I owned a team with the record of abject failure that the Twins have had so far this decade. I thought all four of the Strib’s writers had good thoughts. I also believe there isn’t a single one of those ideas that would satisfy me if I owned the Twins. If the four Strib guys worked for me and came to my office with those ideas, here’s what I’d say: I think you’ve all made valid points. But here’s my problem. Patience, Phil? I’ve been patient for three years. Don’t talk to me about prospects. Until they prove themselves at Target Field, those guys are nothing but business assets. They represent fluxuating inventory with short shelf lives. You’re not asking me to be patient, you’re asking me to be comatose. You want me to buy (in money or prospects) an ‘ace,’ LaVelle. Great idea. I’ve been telling my General Manager to feel free to spend more money on whatever he thinks will improve this team. But we can’t force players to sign with us and pretty much every long term, big money, contract for an ‘ace’ that has been signed has turned out to be a bad contract for the team. And I may not be in love with prospects, but I’m not going to give them away in return for an aging pitcher who my stat buddies tell me has seen his best days behind him. If my GM can find an ‘ace’ available on the market who is willing to come to our town or one with enough tread on the tire left to be counted on for a few years of ace-hood that’s available for any trade even close to reasonable, we’ll go get him. Jim, I really don’t think any manager in history could have won half his games the past four years with the collection of has-beens, wanna-bes and never-weres wearing a Twins uniform, so if you really believe firing Ron Gardenhire is going to fix things, you know a lot less about baseball than most baseball fans. And that’s a tough bar to get under. Pat, same for you. I think it makes a lot of sense to have more of a Latin-American presence in the clubhouse. But do you think having a dozen Latino coaches would make this team a winner? I don’t. By the way, between the four of you guys, there must be about a zillion years of covering baseball between you, right? How’s your Spanish? I think every coach in our organization should learn Spanish, but I also think every media member who covers baseball should, too, and until you do, you’ve got very little room to criticize. The problem is that none of your ideas will fix things. Not if that’s all we do. Our fans aren’t stupid enough to believe that any one player, no matter how good he is, will turn this team in to a contender. Not if he’s a current Tigers ace, LaVelle, and not if he’s a near-certain future Hall of Fame center fielder who hasn’t completed a full game (much less a season) above high-A ball, Phil. Many of them want Gardy gone. I understand that. But even the Gardy haters don’t really believe replacing him will turn a 90-loss team in to a 90-win team. Replacing even an unpopular manager won’t put butts back in the seats and replacing his staff with five guys from Venezuela won’t, either. So, no, we’re not going to do a single one of these things. We’re going to do all of them. And more. That's when I would thank that Strib guys for their time, give them some drink tickets and send them to Hrbeks for a couple of refreshments while I talk to my President and General Manager. With Dave St. Peter and Terry Ryan in my offices, here's what I lay out for them. Gentlemen, the good news for you is that neither of you are fired. Yet. But I’m tired of losing. I’m tired of losing games and I’m tired of losing fans. And you two may think I don’t know crap about baseball, but I suspect that just maybe losing games and losing fans might be related. Terry, I tried to tell you a year ago that I was tired of people telling me I’m cheap and won’t spend money for top talent. Some bozo on the internet even made up a parable about it. I want you to go read it and then, Terry, use the damn ladder! I’ve got a list of the top 20 starting pitchers in baseball, ranked by some goofy thing called WAR. By the date season tickets have to be renewed, one of those guys is going to be working for me, Terry – or you won’t be. Do we understand one another? Speaking of people working for me, you’re going to go tell Ron Gardenhire that he doesn’t. At least not as my manager. Gardy’s a helluva guy and he’s had some good days as our manager. We’ll give him a nice watch, but I don’t believe he’s the guy to lead this team for the next 10 years and neither do our fans. Who you hire is your business. I’m just telling you who you’re going to fire. I take that back, I am going to tell you a little bit about who you’re going to hire. When spring training opens, I want at least two Latino members on the bench staff. I mean it, Terry. And I’m not talking about a couple guys who took Spanish class in junior high. I’m going to send Tony Oliva to talk to whoever you hire and they’d better be able to keep up with him in a conversation. Every company in every industry in this country has been getting on the diversity bandwagon for years. Everyone figured out long ago that having management that can communicate in Spanish is critical to attracting and retaining top Spanish speaking employees. I don’t know why you haven’t figured this out on your own yet, but now I’m telling you. One more thing, Terry. If they’re healthy, Alex Meyer, Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton will open 2015 with the Twins. How do I know? I heard all about it in the giant advertising campaign that St. Peter and the marketing folks are putting together the moment he walks out of this meeting. Right Dave? That ad is going to run on the local affiliate carrying the Super Bowl. I want everyone in town talking about the Twins the next day and I want them buying tickets. Lots of tickets. Dave, I keep reading about how attendance is going to drop next year. I’m telling you that it won’t. If it does, the attendance in your office will drop by one. Our season ticket holders have been paying Major League prices for minor league performance for four years. I don’t care how far you have to slash prices, you put butts in the seats. Next summer, people may call us crazy for what we’ve done. They may say we’ve lost our minds. But if they’re still saying the Twins are irrelevant, you two will not be calling me your boss. Give my love to your families. And then I think I'd take a very long cruise around the world on a very large boat and look forward to seeing what my team looked like when I got back.
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