Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Countdown Begins...10...9...

Sunday morning has become a sports talk junkie's second biggest dream. It's one of the few times that you can tune into three different radio stations and here sports talk. And I'm not talking about the national feeds from ESPN or Fox or whomever. I'm talking about three local station, mostly hosted by local print reporters, talking about Minnesota sports.

(I've said it before and I'll say it again - by any empirical analysis, the Twin Cities is one hell of a wonderful sports town. Sportswriters write about the Twins attendance not being up to par, or how the Gophers can't draw. But try finding another city with this size population that supports four major league teams. Go ahead - I'll even get you started with a list. And that doesn't count Gophers football, basketball and hockey. That's seven season ticket bases located in the 16th largest metropoltan area. That Minnesota somehow doesn't support its sports teams is the single biggest myth perpetuated by Twin Cities sportswriters.)

Anyway, on the one I happened to be listening to (thank gawd for Saturday night Catholic mass) one of the more curmudgeonly ones asked if it was time to quit talking about who the Twins should acquire and just sit back and start watching some baseball. And fortunately his co-host gave the only logical (paraphrased) reponse: "No, but we're almost there. It's called August 1st."

It's certainly a valid point that we've driven trade talk into the ground. And it's even more valid that we've jumped the gun talking it. Most trade deadline deals happen at the trade deadline. To do anything else requires a "buyer" paying through the nose. It's Negotiating 101 - the buyer always has time as leverage. On the 31st, there are going to be host of losing teams with role players looking to salvage something for the future.

Which is why the criticism that Terry Ryan has waited too long is so ludicrous. It takes two people to make a deal. And while every day we wait means another game starting someone like Darnell McDonald in right field or at designated hitter, it also means a better deal for the Twins, and maybe more certainty that a deal will be made.

It will likely not be a big name. The big names, like Mark Teixera or Adam Dunn, come with big price tags - and I'm not just talking about their hyper-expensive conracts. But there is a level just below that of players who aren't superstars but still can provide Ryan's description of "quality at-bats".

Up to this point, it's been assumed that the bat the Twins were looking for is right-handed, though the return of Rondell White might change that. There are at least three decent right-handed bats that are eminently available - Mike Piazza, Dmitri Young, and Reggie Sanders. The question is whether or not there are three teams that would bid against the Twins to acquire that player.

If they are, I don't see them. Either they need pitching or they need a better player than this type of role player. For the first time in several years, the Twins find themselves in a sweet spot for acquiring a significant piece at the trade deadline.

It likely won't happen until the 31st, but the sports talk junkies are going to be treated to their biggest dream.


KEN said...

#22 Denver: Rockies, Broncos, Nuggets, Avalanche. C'mon, challenge us.

John said...

Yeah, Denver is the one I could find too. But they're known as a great sports city, and the Twin Cities is a crummy one?

Anonymous said...

3 righty bats available Mike Piazza, Rondell White and Reggie Sanders. We already have Rondell White???? What are you saying TG?

John said...

Oops. brain cramp. shoulda been Dmitri Young.

KEN said...

IMO, the Twin Cities is known as a "crummy sports town" because we have such a vital arts/dance/music/theater scene. As if the existence of non-sports options makes a town a bad sports town. Of course Chicago and New York don't suffer the same bias, but again, we're really not in their league as far as city size goes.