2011 Game 33: Red Sox 2, Twins 1 (11)

Weather: 60°F, cloudy
Wind: 16 mph, in from CF
Attendance: 37,276
Time: 3:55

Twins record: 12-21 (tied for last in AL Central, 10.0 GB)
Fangraphs boxscore | MLB Game Wrap

Highlights:

  • Highest WPA, hitter: Span .150 (2-4, R, BB) | Highest WPA, pitcher: Mijares .299 (2.0 IP, H, BB)
  • Outfield defense - Revere's diving catch and Span's sliding catch

Lowlights:

  • Lowest WPA, hitter: Tolbert, -.346 (0-5, 1 SO) | Lowest WPA, pitcher: Hoey, -.350 (0.1 IP, H, BB, ER)
  • Tolbert: still batting second
  • MLB's continued employment of Angel Hernandez and Joe West

BOSTON -- The latest rumblings out of the Twins' clubhouse are something else indeed. General Manager Bill Smith accidentally ran his iPhone through the visitor's clubhouse washing machine in Chicago last week after spilling a Chicago-style hot dog on his pants. Smith immediately put the device in a box of rice, to no avail, and had to reluctantly borrow infielder Matt Tolbert's phone so he could make some calls and find a new catcher. Steve Holm wasn't quite Corky Miller bad in his brief appearance, but Bill Smith eventually figured out he wasn't an answer to any question worth asking. Tolbert reportedly told Smith he doesn't make enough for the Twins' GM to call 411 and ask for the Rangers' front office (more on this in a moment), but could swing a call to AAA Rochester as long as it happened on his plan's nights & weekends minutes.

Red Wings infielder Toby Gardenhire is apparently #3 on Tolbert's speed dial, right behind Voicemail (#1) and former teammate Nick Punto (#2). Smith accordingly placed his call to Gardenhire the Younger, who relayed the request for a catcher to Red Wings manager Tom Nieto. Nieto, himself a former Twin, initially volunteered his own services, but apparently requested a few days to iron the fungoes out of his swing, time that Smith just wasn't willing to waste.

In his first season with the Twins, Nieto briefly served as Tim Laudner's backup and outhit regular backup Sal Butera late in the season (.071/.188/.143 for Nieto vs. .063/.118/.125 for Butera in Sept/Oct) before being inexplicably left off the playoff roster. Nieto actually paced Twins catchers in hitting and on-base percentage that year, posting a .200/.276/.314 line to Laudner's .191/.252/.389 and Sal Butera's .171/.217/.243 mark. Overall, Nieto posted an OPS+ of 17 in his Twins career, which spanned 183 plate appearances between 1987-88. When reached for comment, Nieto said, "I out-hit Sal Butera in 1987, and I believe in the depths of my soul I can out-hit his son in 2011." Drew Butera currently owns a positively Buterian .172/.213/.251 line. "But the Twins value defense behind the plate," Nieto continued, "and I accumulated -0.2 dWAR in my Twins career, so Bill Smith elected to pursue other options."

So, that's why Rene Rivera is now with the Twins. But why Rivera instead of, say, Rangers catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli, who has only 63 at bats (but 6 HR) this season despite a career 119 OPS+ and a .238 ISO? Napoli, only 29, is likely still in his hitting prime, and despite whatever Mike Scioscia - Napoli's former manager - thinks, he appears to be a serviceable catcher. Unfortunately, Smith laundered his iPhone and apparently hasn't yet worked up the nerve to tell Jim Pohlad, Dave St. Peter, or Wade Navratil, the Twins' Senior Director of Technology. Of course, Smith could always look up Rangers GM Jon Daniels' number in his laptop's address book, or drop Daniels an email for that matter, but an unnamed source in the Twins' front office divulged that Smith has forgotten how to turn his laptop on. According to another source in the Twins' front office, former Twins GM Terry Ryan and former Twins manager Tom Kelly have offered to call former Twins GM Andy MacPhail, currently the Orioles' President of Baseball Operations, about the availability of Matt "Mauer with Power" Wieters, but Smith has repeatedly expressed the desire to put his own stamp on the club.

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This week's View from the Ballpark:

photo by Flickr user LugoLounge
I know at least 5 6 7 10 Hall of Famers played here. | photo by Flickr user LugoLounge

Remember, no embiggening.

45 thoughts on “2011 Game 33: Red Sox 2, Twins 1 (11)”

  1. Hrm. Snow? on the field, a running track around the perimeter, a football or soccer layout, and lots of graffiti?

    My first guess was Montreal's Delorimier Stadium, but I think it was torn down before this picture likely could have been taken. Now I'm stumped.

    1. It looks like a football field and a soccer field. The endzone appears to be ten yards, so that might rule out Canada.

      1. It might be Canada, though. It's cold there, dude is wearing a jacket and stocking cap. It could be some university, what with the track, football, and artificial turf. It's a mult-purpose place and those buildings look like a university. But, what university would let the facility look like that?

        1. I got a Northeastern "feel" from the buildings - PA/WNY area, so Canada might not be far off. The brick building in the back right looks like it'd be found around Pittsburgh, but that is very out-of-my-butt thinking.

            1. This was a good clue, but I was thinking upstate. Nobody wants to admit they are in New Jersey.

              1. It was. This was also the clue that made me think it wasn't home to an MLB team. I was thinking minor leagues, not Negro though. I got lucky in that the first team I picked was the answer.

        1. I was getting nervous. I'd of looked like a real fool if I didn't get a shot of my city.

  2. Most of it was covered during the game log last night, but I want to reiterate how aggravating it is to watch the end of the game with only 3 major leaguers still participating. Begging for Tolbert, Casilla and Rivera to come up with a big hit is killing my spirit. I “understand” the Casilla running move, but man did it bite them in the *ss during extra innings.

    I am wondering if that front office is ever going to make a move to ensure Gardy has actual options on the bench, or if they really believe that they can make these games up later in the year.

    1. I had no problem with pinch running with Casilla, especially when he stole second base. That's the kind of aggressiveness you need to do. What upset me was "pitching around" Adrian Gonzalez with first base open and bringing in Hoey before Matt Capps, who hadn't pitched since Wednesday. He could easily have pitched one inning and then if the Twins take a lead, then he pitches another to finish off the game. If not, then go to Hoey.

      At least we saw some signs of life from the actual major leaguers. Another good start from Blackburn, who's pitching like Roger Clemens compared to Pavano. Glen Perkins has been stunningly good. He made Youkilis look real bad. Plus a couple hits each from Morneau and Cuddyer. Twins had 13 base runners in the 11 innings, but they could never get a real threat going because they spread them out too well. Plus, leadoff batters were 2-for-11 and one was immediately erased on a double play. Rivera is making Butera look like Mauer at the plate.

          1. My guess is the Polo Grounds because I know the Yanks played there before the House that Ruth Built and because it was incredibly oddly shaped (short down the lines, extremely deep in CF). However, I have to think more than 10 HOFers played in the Polo Grounds, so I'm sure I'm wrong.

              1. Plus, it was demolished in 1964 and the original photo appears to be HDR, meaning it was very likely taken in the past few years. The technique has existed for decades, but it didn't become easy to do until recently.

            1. I never saw it referred to as baseball teams, unless it is assumed with "ballpark."

            2. I was thinking Polo Grounds for a while but it really isn't the right shape. That looks like Philadelphia to me but it's not Shibe. It's definitely part of a University.

              1. Correct! It figures that someone would get it while I was taking my (last!) final. Sorry for the "official" confirmation delay.

                The Hall of Famers were:

                Monte Irvin
                Josh Gibson
                Oscar Charleston
                "Cool Papa" Bell
                Larry Doby
                Satchel Paige
                Buck Leonard
                Judy Johnson
                Martin Dihigo

                and New York Cubans owner Alex Pompez.

              2. If anyone wants to know more about Hinchliffe Stadium, here are a few things worth your time:

                New York Times article on Hinchliffe Stadium (this is how I originally found out about the ballpark's plight)

                4ltr Page 2 article on Hinchliffe by UniWatch's Paul Lukas

                NJBaseball's Hinchliffe Stadium Flickr set

                A brief NorthJersey.com article indicating New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has authorized a $500,000 Historic Preservation Grant for Hinchliffe, which was buoyed by voter approval of a $15 million referendum last November. The city borrowed the first $2.25 million of that sum last month, half for Hinchliffe Stadium, and half for improvements to Bauerle Field, the only field in Patterson currently approved to host high school athletics.

                And finally, The City Concealed's profile of Hinchliffe Stadium:

                httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0we4bW4NqE

  3. Soliciting feedback from the NCISers - was this one too hard? Just right? Do you prefer clues after a certain time, or would you rather not have them?

    Just striving for improvement with each week, so whatever you hit me back with helps.

    1. too hard for me to get, but they usually are.

      But I love the feature as is. If you have to throw in a hint or two, that just makes for extra conversation.

    2. This one was tricky. I think the difficulty was just about right. I think someone being able to solve it around midday is the right point. I appreciated the hints. I think not offering any clues until some time has passed was a good way of doing it as well

    3. Love the feature, but like doc, I haven't gotten one yet. I like the links you provided today, though. More of that would be cool.

      1. With summer coming up, it's possible I can do a little more research on each park and put a little something up after the guessing's done.

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