Sunday, June 18, 2006

Links of the Day for 6/19/06

Powered by Intern Sam

  • Lots of talk this week about the continued dominance of Francisco Liriano, and with June starting to slip away, many Minnesotans seem to think that the kid deserves a spot on the AL All-Star Squad, presumably alongside Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, and Joe Nathan. That would be quite an honor for a rookie who’s only been starting in the majors for a month, but then, it’s fairly clear at this point that Liriano is no ordinary rookie.

    Still, this is the problem with rooting for a team that’s not in contention and plays most of its games outside the giant spotlight ESPN keeps firmly focused on the Northeast: being deserving of All-Star status is only a small part of the equation. Mauer will certainly make the AL squad, and Santana is probably a lock as well, but that’s probably as much All-Star attention as the Twins are going to get. His Ozzness has already made it clear that he plans to stack the team with Southsiders, and who can blame him? But it is sad that ballot box stuffing by Yankee and Red Sox fans (who are becoming increasingly difficult to tell apart,) combined with the precedent set by Joe Torre in the late 1990s of stacking the team with your own players whenever possible, has led to a serious decline in fan interest in the midsummer classic.

  • Speaking of the White Sox skipper, Guillen made a lot of headlines this week when he ordered a rookie pitcher to hit Texas slugger Hank Blalock in retaliation for an earlier HBP, then completely flipped out when Sean Tracey failed to deliver the beanball, screamed at him in the dugout in full view of the TV audience, and just for good measure, sent the poor kid back to Triple-A after the game. A disturbing number of baseball commentators seem to have decided that the whole incident was just good entertainment, or worse, that Tracey deserved what he got, but even Chicago’s biggest loudmouths are getting tired of Ozzie’s macho act. It’ll be interesting to see how long Chicago puts up with this kind of garbage once the Sox hit an extended rough patch.

  • Over at TwinsBallpark2010, an excellent case is being built for ignoring all the griping about Minnesota weather and embracing a roofless ballpark.

  • Anyone waiting for Terry Ryan to swing some masterful trade to acquire a legit third baseman to replace Tony Batista is probably going to be waiting awhile, according to the Strib. This makes sense, since there aren’t exactly a lot of spectacular third basemen around, and the open spot makes it easier for Ron Gardenhire to get Luis Rodriguez and Nick Punto the at-bats they need while giving Jason Bartlett a chance to play ever day. Meanwhile, if you’re wondering how all the roster moves the Twins have made this week have affected the minor league system, Gordon Wittenmeyer’s got you covered.


slovenia said...

Thanks for the comments on Guillen's barbaric behavior. The man's success has gone to his dickhead.

MNPundit said...

First I wonder how much of the "Oh Noes! A Northeast Bias!" is just marketing to help build team identity. I won't deny there's a bias, but I think it's far less in the media than is commonly believed in Twins territory--and in regards to ballot box stuffing, isn't this whats ALWAYS advocated for Mauer? C'mon, don't imply that Twins fans are somehow holier-than-thou, just less numerous.

I disagree to a point about Guillen. I don't see anything wrong with retaliating with a beaning, especially after a double bean as long as the pitcher doesn't throw at the head.

But flipping out about it? That's where her crossed the line for me, he tried, he failed. Take him aside quietly and talk to him, determine if he defied you (the manager) or if he tried and just missed.

As for ignoring griping, stadium backers whined for years about a stadium and you're telling the pro-roofers to stop whining? Well I guess roofless backers ARE the experts at whining.

I'd like to see more data on this area than just the 2004 season. As is so often the case, 1 year is too small a sample size--of course, that's so easy to say instead of to do and so... I better get to work.

Intern Sam said...

Wow, and here I thought I'd written a non-controversial entry for once! First of all, "ballot box stuffing" was probably the wrong term to use, and I didn't mean to imply that Red Sox and Yankee fans are somehow cheating at a game that has no real rules. But to say that there isn't a dramatic bias towards the Yankees and Red Sox in the sports media is absurd. Nearly a third of their games wind up on national television, regardless of opponent, and if they're playing each other, ESPN treats it like it might as well be the World Series. I understand why they do it - there are millions of ex-New Yorkers spread across the country, and Boston is a great baseball town whose fans remain loyal regardless of where they live. But it's a disservice to sports fans everywhere for every bit of baseball coverage to be linked back to Yankees-Sawx, and it has everything to do with advertising dollars, and that's just sad.

Regarding Guillen, I wasn't objecting to his wanting to retaliate to a beanball. I was objecting to his going completely batshit when his young pitcher tried three times to hit Blalock and failed. Beanballs and pitching inside are a part of the game. Messing with a young kid's career because you like it when everyone thinks you're nuts is unconscionable.

There's actually been a fair amount of data reported regarding the weather here during baseball season. I don't have the numbers in front of me, but I was surprised by how few rainouts there would actually have been over the last couple of decades. Besides, the weather here from April-October is just not appreciably different from the weather in Chicago, or Cleveland, or Boston, or New York, and all of those cities play outdoors. (In fact, we get considerably less rain than at least three of those cities.) I've never understood why we maintain this magical belief that because we have harsh winters, our April games would all be frozen out. We haven't had a cold April in years! I've been to games at a bunch of retractable roof stadiums, and hated every one. (Seattle was the best by far, and it still felt way too big and enclosed.) The best parks don't have ceilings, and having a great ballpark is worth the inconvenience of 3-4 rainouts a year. Besides, rainouts mean doubleheaders, and man, do I miss doubleheaders...

fents said...

Good call Intern Sam. I'd like some doubleheader action in my life too. How many games have people skipped over the years because of how nice it was outside? I know for me if it's a summer day I'd rather sit outside listening to Herb on the radio than go to the dome. That sort of thing happens 10+ times a year. Gimme a ballpark without a roof dangit. We can't half ass this thing, we need to whole ass it.