Friday, June 23, 2006

Links of the Weekend

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Good morning, kiddies! Let’s dispense with the pleasantries and dive right into the links.

Enjoy the weekend and the Cubbies.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Time to go to the mailbag. This is an actual (edited) email from a reader:

I must defend Lohse somewhat for Wednesday night. I see him getting ripped by everyone and, while I realize he's probably not the most personable or popular Twin, this is ridiculous. Some of the dailies did a complete hachet job, even though their articles mentioned the "checked swing" and “broken bat" bloops for hits. I pitched in Division 1 and know that if that happens, you essentially defeated your opponent even though they might be on base. Does anyone else see this or am I wrong here?
- Dave

What Dave says is true. But there was also the double, and the walk was unforgivable in that situation. The bottom line is that there's just too much history, and it's been bad, even very bad, for several years. To be honest, I don't know why he's on this team anymore. My gawd, the Twins release Batista, despite the fact that he:

1. didn't have any obvious problems with the coaching staff,
2. had performed about as well as anyone should have expected,
3. didn't have any real replacement on the roster and
4. was drawing one-fourth of Lohse's salary this year.

Meanwhile, Lohse has been terrible in every role, acts immaturely, is making nearly $4 million and could be capably replaced by several guys (Baker, Durbin, Pat Neshek) in whichever role they put him. So why is he here? And why was he on the mound in a tie game?

Maybe the Twins think Lohse can be a great reliever. Great, then have him learn how in Rochester. There are costs for these investments of major league playing time they keep making. In the offseason Lohse’s presence cost them $3.95 million that could've been spent on a real third baseman. In April, it cost a half dozen starts by Liriano. Wednesday night it cost a game. And there's NEVER a payoff. Not for three years has there been any kind of real payoff.

Was Wednesday night unforgivable? Absolutely not. But the last straw you throw on the camel isn't heavy, either. It still breaks the poor camel's back. It's long past time to make a change.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Late night Twins fix

by Twins Geek

When the game is over tonight and you're dying to hear some more Twins talk, I've got a link for you. Jim Theilman, author of Cool of the Evening: The 1965 Minnesota Twins has found himself one of the stranger promotions I've heard of.

Around 10:30 tonight (in the third inning), he's going to be on an Alaskan baseball broadcast. I don't think it works this way tonight, but since there are white nights that far north at this time of the year, they play games that begin at midnight and end at 2:30 AM - and don't use the lights.

Anyway, you can listen to Jim over the internet. Just go to this page, and a click on the listen icon at the top of the page.

Links of the Day for 6/21/06

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You’ll have to excuse the brevity today. My paid non-intern job had me at work till an unmauerly hour last night. I’m confident you’ll get over it.

Eight is Great: Is it me or are the Twins getting comfortable with this winning thing? Justin Morneau slammed his 17th HR at the opportune time, leading off the 10th inning to give the visitors their 8th straight victory, a sweet come-from-behind thriller against one of the top NL pitchers in Roy Oswalt. The Twins haven’t strung 8 W’s together since September, 2004, when a sweep of the White Sox extended that hot streak to 9 wins. It’s eerie how the first line of that recap resonates to this day. Unfortunately, the Twins aren’t the only AL Central streakers as the Tigers currently ride a 6-game streak and the White Sox have a 4-game streak of their own.

Central Forces: This winning virus appears to be contagious, infecting the rest of the division. The AL Central bullied its way to a 5-0 record last night against their NL Central counterparts. The White Sox and Tigers combined to obliterate the Cardinals and Brewers by a combined 30-7. Mercy, that’s some punishment. The Tribe got the best of Greg Maddux and the Cubs 4-2, while the Royals took Round 1 from the Pirates in the battle for cellar dweller supremacy. Unbalanced leagues has been a topic of discussion all season. So far, the proof is in the pudding, or should I say pounding?

This Day in Twins History: Just for giggles, take a look back 11 years ago today, June 21, 1995. Rookie Brad Radke, not even 2 months into his fledgling career, took the mound and put up a prototypical Bradke line. Flashing his uncanny control with his penchant for the long ball, Radke missed out on a win despite a quality start. How many times has that played out? Kirby knocked two doubles and the Twins found a way to pull it out in the top of the 9th. Little did anyone know that Puckett was 3 months away from his last game in uniform.

Happy Trails: Good riddance, Tony. Don’t let the door hit you on your way out. Every fan should get one shot at you in a dunk tank.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Links of the Day for 6/19/06

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  • 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.

Links of the Day for 6/18/06

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We’re coming, we’re coming! Objects in your mirror are closer than they appear!

Sorry. I had a bit of the Common Man in me for a second there. Now that that’s out of the way, on to the Weekend Links!

Have a good weekend, ladies and gents.