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  1. I might love the Twins, and defend them even during some of the darkest times, but that also means being honest even when it hurts. That kind of tough love was exactly what came to mind when Tyler Duffey used his relief appearance in a close contest to 'send a message' by throwing behind Yermin Mercedes on only the fourth pitch of his appearance. Everyone seemed to know it was coming. Tony La Russa, fresh from using his media time all but telling the Twins they *should* bean Mercedes, had a conversation with the umpiring crew before the incident, likely warning them what was to come. Rookie Twins pitcher Bailey Ober was making his debut that evening, and wasn't going to spoil his first start in the majors by getting involved. But now, with Ober done for the night, Duffey in, and Mercedes up to the plate with 1 out, the ingredients were there. And then, it happened. This, in a not-so-polite word, was chicken****. For a long time, when other teams or crusty veterans have crowed about 'playing the white right way' or unwritten rules, I've been able to take solace in the fact that the Twins haven't engaged in similar grandstanding since the Falvine era started, and that the roster was young, diverse, and helping usher in a new era of enjoying baseball and reveling in the emotion. There have been a few speed bumps along the way. Sure, the broadcasters aren't in the clubhouse, but you were sure to hear a lot about what wasn't okay when Bert Blyleven or Jack Morris were in the analyst seat, and Dan Gladden has used his presence on the radio to show his age from time to time. In terms of the actual team, Paul Molitor was never likely to put on a "Let the Kids Play" hoodie, and Brian Dozier got in on the action once with a take so cold that it's a strong candidate to host the next Winter Olympics. But overall, in this most recent era, Rocco's clubhouse has been loose and positive, with none of the toxic tantrums that still plague the sport decades after it should have gone out of style. Intentional HBP's felt alien. You could feel good about cheering on this team if you cared about that sort of thing. Well, Tyler Duffey put a 93 MPH fastball-shaped dent in that argument with his retaliation, and nobody comes out of this looking good except for the White Sox players more or less in open revolt over their own manager's caveman philosophies. Willians Astudillo's fuming on the mound after the initial home run (Willians! One of the most enjoyable players to spectate in baseball! Chirping about unwritten rules! What is the world coming to?!), Duffey's willingness to jeopardize a close game (and definitely get ejected) when the bullpen desperately needs to turn things around... and I understand that Rocco Baldelli's job is to have his players' backs, but to use the rain and say "our plan was to pitch him inside" as an excuse and feign innocence over any malicious intent feels awful to hear coming out of his mouth. I mean, just say that Duffey got distracted because he thought he saw a raccoon behind home plate. Or maybe it was a rat, he couldn't be sure. None of this had to happen. Nobody would have thought of the Twins as pushovers or weak had they not decided to exact vengeance. Tony La Russa saw the opportunity to seize all the negative attention from Mercedes's dinger and did so with both hands. Why Rocco, Duffey, Astudillo, or anyone else involved didn't allow him to enjoy that time to himself is baffling to me- Especially when every Twin Cities sportswriter with a hot take to conjure up and column inches to fill needs a reason to complain about the team that doesn't feel like a retread. Well, you gave it to them in spades. And that's on you. It's not enough to play better, Twins. Please *be* better.
  2. How Did We Get Here? On Monday night, the Twins were getting blown out by the White Sox in the ninth inning. So instead of wasting another bullpen arm, Rocco Baldelli turned to Willians Astudillo to finish out the game. This is the third time La Tortuga has been used as a pitcher and his second time so far in 2021. Fans that had stuck around until the end gave Astudillo a cheer as he headed to the bump. Yermin Mercedes was one of the players to step in against Astudillo and this is where the unwritten rules come into play. After working the count to 3-0, Mercedes clocked a 47.1 mph pitch for a home run. The unwritten rule that seemed to be broken was the fact that Mercedes swung at a 3-0 pitch when his team was up by 11 runs. Chicago’s manager Tony La Russa, a Hall of Famer with an old school mentality, was not too happy about Mercedes swinging away. The take sign had been put on by the third base coach and Mercedes decided to ignore it. La Russa told the press it was a “big mistake,” and he even took some steps out of the dugout so he could yell at his batter to take the pitch. La Russa went as far as to say that he or his third base coach will run out in front of the pitcher to stop this type of thing from happening again. On Tuesday, things went a step further. In the seventh inning, Tyler Duffey threw behind Mercedes in the seventh inning and he was promptly thrown out of the game. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli quickly came to the defense of his player and he was ejected along with Duffey. And so, the saga continued… What About the Unwritten Rules? An old school mentality would say the Twins upheld the unwritten rules by throwing near the offending player in the next game. Duffey didn’t throw near his head or with an intent to injury Mercedes. Minnesota was trailing by two at the time and came back to win, so maybe the baseball gods were rewarding the team for upholding the unwritten rules. That being said, it seemed like a foolish thing for the Twins to lose one of their best relievers in a close game, especially with how poorly the team had been playing. After the game, former Twin Lance Lynn had some interesting things to say about the baseball’s unwritten rules. "The more I play this game, the more those rules have gone away, and I understand it,” Lynn said. “The way I see it is, for position players on the mound, there are no rules. Let's get the damn game over with. And if you have a problem with whatever happens, then put a pitcher out there. Can't get mad when there's a position player on the field and a guy takes a swing." Lynn went on to say, “You're damned if you do, damned if you don't, it seems like. But I think everybody should just play the game as hard as they can and do all that, and don't worry about anything else." This seems like a mentality that both sides can agree with moving forward. Play the game hard and hopefully some of those unwritten rules will continue to go to the wayside. What are your thoughts on the unwritten rules? 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
  3. The Twins have been wrapped up in a mess of a situation during their series with the White Sox and everything ties back to baseball’s unwritten rules. Unfortunately, these unwritten rules are hurting the game and multiple parties looked foolish at the end of the day. How Did We Get Here? On Monday night, the Twins were getting blown out by the White Sox in the ninth inning. So instead of wasting another bullpen arm, Rocco Baldelli turned to Willians Astudillo to finish out the game. This is the third time La Tortuga has been used as a pitcher and his second time so far in 2021. Fans that had stuck around until the end gave Astudillo a cheer as he headed to the bump. Yermin Mercedes was one of the players to step in against Astudillo and this is where the unwritten rules come into play. After working the count to 3-0, Mercedes clocked a 47.1 mph pitch for a home run. The unwritten rule that seemed to be broken was the fact that Mercedes swung at a 3-0 pitch when his team was up by 11 runs. Chicago’s manager Tony La Russa, a Hall of Famer with an old school mentality, was not too happy about Mercedes swinging away. The take sign had been put on by the third base coach and Mercedes decided to ignore it. La Russa told the press it was a “big mistake,” and he even took some steps out of the dugout so he could yell at his batter to take the pitch. La Russa went as far as to say that he or his third base coach will run out in front of the pitcher to stop this type of thing from happening again. On Tuesday, things went a step further. In the seventh inning, Tyler Duffey threw behind Mercedes in the seventh inning and he was promptly thrown out of the game. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli quickly came to the defense of his player and he was ejected along with Duffey. And so, the saga continued… What About the Unwritten Rules? An old school mentality would say the Twins upheld the unwritten rules by throwing near the offending player in the next game. Duffey didn’t throw near his head or with an intent to injury Mercedes. Minnesota was trailing by two at the time and came back to win, so maybe the baseball gods were rewarding the team for upholding the unwritten rules. That being said, it seemed like a foolish thing for the Twins to lose one of their best relievers in a close game, especially with how poorly the team had been playing. After the game, former Twin Lance Lynn had some interesting things to say about the baseball’s unwritten rules. "The more I play this game, the more those rules have gone away, and I understand it,” Lynn said. “The way I see it is, for position players on the mound, there are no rules. Let's get the damn game over with. And if you have a problem with whatever happens, then put a pitcher out there. Can't get mad when there's a position player on the field and a guy takes a swing." Lynn went on to say, “You're damned if you do, damned if you don't, it seems like. But I think everybody should just play the game as hard as they can and do all that, and don't worry about anything else." This seems like a mentality that both sides can agree with moving forward. Play the game hard and hopefully some of those unwritten rules will continue to go to the wayside. What are your thoughts on the unwritten rules? 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 View full article
  4. Cleveland Baseball Team: Payroll Dump The team formerly known as the Indians made a blockbuster deal on Thursday by sending shortstop Francisco Lindor and starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco to the New York Mets for a package of four players. Lindor rumors had been swirling for the throughout the offseason as he is one year away from free agency and Cleveland wanted to get something for him before he hit the open market. https://twitter.com/baseball_ref/status/1347248176261160962 Cleveland is clearly trying to dump as much payroll as possible. With players currently on their roster, Cleveland’s Opening Day payroll is scheduled to be around $35 million. Last season, the lowest payroll in baseball was Baltimore and their payroll was over $52 million. In the tweet above, there were two teams with a payroll under $35 million in 2001 with the Twins being the lowest at $24 million. Chicago White Sox: Two Team Race Chicago got their offseason started by hiring Tony La Russa to manager their team. Near the time he was hired, word came out that he had been charged with driving under the influence in Arizona. To make matters worse, it wasn’t his first time being charged with this offense. Besides the off the field issues, La Russa turned 76-years old in October, so his hiring seems questionable even for White Sox fans. To put that in perspective for Twins fans, former manager Tom Kelly is six-years younger than La Russa. The White Sox have made some moves to bolster their roster as well. Chicago dealt Avery Weems and Dane Dunning to Texas for starting pitcher Lance Lynn. Twins fans will remember Lynn’s poor season with the club, but he has been one of baseball’s best pitchers over the last two seasons. In December, the White Sox brought back a familiar face to the South Side by signing outfielder Adam Eaton to a one-year, $7 million contract which includes a club option for 2022. Chicago looks to be the Twins biggest challenger in the AL Central, especially after the moves mentioned above. Detroit Tigers: Hinch Hired for Rebuild Former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire retired as Tigers manager before the end of the 2020 season. This left the Tigers looking for a new man to run the show in Motown. AJ Hinch was suspended for the entire 2020 season after the Astros cheating scandal and now, he will be charged with turning around a Tigers club that has a winning percentage under .400 for four consecutive seasons. Last winter, the Tigers brought in two former Twins, CJ Cron and Jonathan Schoop, to bolster their line-up. This winter Detroit turned to another former Twin by signing outfielder Robbie Grossman to a two-year deal worth $10 million guaranteed. He posted a career high 1.3 WAR last year in Oakland and he did this in just 51 games. Detroit also added to their starting pitching depth by signing Jose Urena to a one-year deal worth $3.25 million. It’s still a waiting game in Detroit as their top prospects work their way to the big leagues. Kansas City: Minor Moves Like Detroit, Kanas City is in the midst of a rebuild with plenty of questions about what the future might hold for the franchise. One of their biggest offseason moves was signing Mike Minor to a two-year deal. At the same time, the club agreed to terms with outfielder Michael Taylor to a one-year, $1.75 million contract. His addition helps the team to add some outfield depth, but it certainly isn’t a difference making move. Another familiar name also signed in Kansas City just before the new year. Former Twins pitcher Ervin Santana agreed to a minor league deal to return to Kanas City, a team he called home back in 2013. If he is on the major league roster, he gets a base salary of $1.5 million with a chance to earn an extra $1.75 million in performance bonuses. Santana didn’t pitch in 2020 and he already turned 38-years old. Minnesota’s lone move has been to sign relief pitcher Hansel Robles. There are likely other moves coming, but the landscape of the AL Central continues to evolve. What are your thoughts about the AL Central so far this winter? 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
  5. The Chicago White Sox announced Thursday that they’re adding another Hall of Fame manager to DUI enthusiast Tony La Russa’s coaching staff. “We’re incredibly thrilled to announce that Connie Mack will be our bench coach for the 2020 season,” said White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf. Mack, who has been dead since 1956, holds the major league record for managerial wins, losses, and total games. “With so many exciting young players on our team, getting proven leaders on board to help guide this ship and take that next step in the playoffs is critical,” said Reinsdorf. “Connie fits this bill perhaps better than anyone.” Reaction to the hire was mixed. “He’s been dead since 1956,” said ESPN’s Jeff Passan. “I’d note that he also never managed a Black or Hispanic player and the inherent cultural differences that might entail, but the overriding concern from the sources I’ve spoken with is that he died many, many years ago. It’s a heavy lift.” “Tony La Russa is a Hall of Fame baseball guy,” said Reinsdorf. “And the critics had their knives out for him. I’m not surprised by this reaction by bloggers and so-called journalists chasing clicks. It’s disappointing.” Mack’s ancestors could not be reached for comment. His remains are interred at the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Glenside, Pennsylvania. “Between Tony and Connie, we added a century of baseball knowledge in one offseason,” said Reinsdorf. “Some teams are parting with their best players or are more worried about getting their financial house in order. We’re going for it. I think it says a lot about the Chicago White Sox organization.” “He’s dead. He’s been dead for a very long time,” noted Passan.
  6. AL Central contender adds more veteran leadership for young ballclub with all-time wins leader. Some critics disagree.The Chicago White Sox announced Thursday that they’re adding another Hall of Fame manager to DUI enthusiast Tony La Russa’s coaching staff. “We’re incredibly thrilled to announce that Connie Mack will be our bench coach for the 2020 season,” said White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf. Mack, who has been dead since 1956, holds the major league record for managerial wins, losses, and total games. “With so many exciting young players on our team, getting proven leaders on board to help guide this ship and take that next step in the playoffs is critical,” said Reinsdorf. “Connie fits this bill perhaps better than anyone.” Reaction to the hire was mixed. “He’s been dead since 1956,” said ESPN’s Jeff Passan. “I’d note that he also never managed a Black or Hispanic player and the inherent cultural differences that might entail, but the overriding concern from the sources I’ve spoken with is that he died many, many years ago. It’s a heavy lift.” “Tony La Russa is a Hall of Fame baseball guy,” said Reinsdorf. “And the critics had their knives out for him. I’m not surprised by this reaction by bloggers and so-called journalists chasing clicks. It’s disappointing.” Mack’s ancestors could not be reached for comment. His remains are interred at the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Glenside, Pennsylvania. “Between Tony and Connie, we added a century of baseball knowledge in one offseason,” said Reinsdorf. “Some teams are parting with their best players or are more worried about getting their financial house in order. We’re going for it. I think it says a lot about the Chicago White Sox organization.” “He’s dead. He’s been dead for a very long time,” noted Passan. Click here to view the article
  7. Hiring Tony La Russa When the White Sox hired Tony La Russa, it was a bit of a shock. He hasn’t managed since 2011 with the Cardinals and his tenure with that club didn’t exactly end on the highest note. He’s been elected to MLB’s Hall of Fame and there is no question that he has changed the game with managerial style. He approached relief pitching in a different way and he helped to lead multiple franchises to a World Series. That can’t be said for many mangers. Based on many reports, it sounds like the front office for the White Sox had little interest in La Russa becoming the White Sox manager. This was a decision driven by the ownership group. The White Sox have a diverse, young core on their roster and baseball has greatly changed since the last time he was a manager. Former Astros manager AJ Hinch seed like a better option, but the White Sox never offered him an interview after learning the ownership group was offering the position to La Russa. DUI Arrest Since La Russa was hired, ESPN has reported that he was arrested for a DUI shortly before he was hired. This is his second arrest for this offense and the recent details are grim. He told officers, “Do you see my ring? I’m a Hall of Famer baseball person. I’m legit. I’m a Hall of Famer, brother.” It was his second known drunken driving arrest after falling asleep at the wheel during spring training in 2007. At the time he said, “It was an embarrassment, so I apologize to anyone who is close to me, members of the Cardinals organization, our fans, I regret it, take responsibility and I’m not sure there is anything else I can say.” Free Agent Ramifications Their manager has made raciest comments in the past, he has struggled with alcohol issues, and he hasn’t managed in nearly a decade. Stroman’s reaction might be indicative to a larger reaction from the free agent pool this season. Regularly, free agents might be willing to sign with an upstart White Sox team, buy the current organization doesn’t meet their core values. https://twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal/status/1326209173659463681?s=20 For the overall good of baseball, this might be a dark cloud. For teams in the AL Central, this might be an opening that allows the Twins to contend for multiple seasons while keeping other teams out of contention. How do you feel about the White Sox’s recent issues? 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
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