September 25, 2011: Don’t Blink…

...or you'll miss the Race to the Bottom. I thought the 1993-2000 Twins were terrible, horrible, unwatchable. This team has more losses than any of them, and four games left.

105 thoughts on “September 25, 2011: Don’t Blink…”

  1. At least by 1999 and 2000, they had guys like Torii Hunter and Doug Mientkiewicz and Cristian Guzman who you could see might be pretty good some day. Who does this team have? Ben Revere, maybe. Possibly Chris Parmelee and Joe Benson. Anyone else?

    1. Yeah, I don't see anyone else currently in the majors that I get excited about. I really hope this isn't the beginning of another dark age. I know we've had it good, but I'm not ready yet.

      1. They've had better drafting in the last few years, so it might just be a little dark age rather than a Dark Age.

    2. thank you for being a fountain of hope and inspiration, padre 😉

      but seriously, yeah, the cupboards are pretty bare.

      1. the organization may have to break with tradition and try to promote some kids before they turn 25 for a change.

        Miguel Sano needs to climb the organization in a hurry.

        Can Brian Dozier play SS or 2b? He just finished his age-24 season at New Brighton (318/384/502 in 78 games), after repeating Ft. Myers to start the season (322/423/472 in 49 games, compared to only 274/352/354 after being promoted last year).

        His overall minor league slash line now is 307/378/420 with 150:140 K:BB in nearly 1400 PA. Isn't it past time to find out whether he can play at a major-league level? It's not like he'd be taking plate appearances away from franchise cornerstones. Let him try to earn a spot in spring training. Seth has noted that he will be playing in the AFL. I hope he shines and the Twins notice. They need to find out whether he can play in the majors ASAP.

        Oswaldo Arcia played at three levels this year (Rookie, low-A, high-A). He struggled at Ft. Myers (263/300/460 in 59 games) but flashed some power (8 HR, 14 doubles). Unfortunately, his plate discipline was...unimpressive (53:9 K:BB). Still, he was only 20 and playing at his third level of the year AND was recovering from elbow surgery. I'm hopeful that he will be accelerated to New Brighton next year and earn a September callup if Joe Benson hasn't been able to establish himself by then.

        Jairo Perez was too old for low-A ball, hitting 337/413/580 as a 23-year old SS. What's up with that? He missed part of 2009 and all of 2010 recovering from Tommy John surgery. Is he for real? He needs to climb the ladder to the big club next season.

        Nate Roberts is a corner outfielder drafted in 2010 (5th round). He hit a ridiculous 302/443/446 this year at Beloit. Not much power there, but that's great plate awareness (48:28 K:BB in about 250 PA). Why did he spend the whole season there? Particularly after putting up 336/444/547 in rookie ball in 2010? As an entering age-23 player, he needs to be tested at the higher levels pronto.

        Yangervis Solarte had an impressive season at New Brighton, hitting 329/367/466. But that was his age-23 season. We need to know now whether he is capable of stepping up.

        So, yea, the cupboard is pretty thin. But there are a handful of intriguing possibilities who can/should be accelerated next year.

        1. The problem is pitching. With Gibson hurt and Wimmers struggling for the first half of the season, yikes!

          1. The Twins are next-to-last in runs scored in the AL and next-to-last in runs allowed. I don't think the problem is solely with the pitching, although your point about the pitching cupboard is duly noted and appreciated.

          2. I did forget Liam Hendriks, who looks like he could be pretty good, although he may not be yet next year.

        2. Hey let's not forget the free agent market. The Twins are flush with cash after two straight seasons of 3M tickets sold, plus all the other monetary benefits of Target Field. So the Twins can be a lot bigger player in the free agent market than they ever were. Not saying they will go out and give Prince Fielder $125M over 6 seasons but free agents can fill some of the holes.

          Now of course can we trust Bill Smith to make a smart free agent move? Given his trade history, probably not, but I hope a free agent pick up at Pitcher or infielder is in the cards

    3. I have more hope for Parmelee than I ever did for Doug Mientkiewicz, who hit .229/.324/.330 as a first baseman in 1999 before being demoted for basically the entire 2000 season. Corey Koskie had his breakout season in 1999. I've been thinking that Benson reminds me a lot of a young Torii Hunter at the plate. Don't know about his defense, although he's been diving around out there like an old Hunter. The big difference is those teams had no one like Joe Mauer or Justin Morneau. So, health will play a big part in how quickly this team bounces back. We have to remember just how devastated this team has been by injuries. Not just DL time but think of all the times the team played with a short bench due to "day-to-day" injuries or health issues.

      1. The big difference is those teams had no one like Joe Mauer or Justin Morneau.

        What do you mean? They had Ron Coomer!

    4. One difference between then and now: a bit bigger budget. Certainly we know that throwing $$ at problems doesn't solve them, but it does make it easier to fix things. That doesn't take into account who's throwing the $$, though.

  2. Off to God's Country after lunch today. Good to know that the win tomorrow night doesn't entirely wreck the Race to the Bottom.

    (had a great time with Runner daughter last night at the TMBG concert; we were closer to John and John than a Mike Redmond lead off of first)

    1. Rhu, are you going to be anywhere before or after the game that might accomodate a mini-caucus?

      1. Well...we have plenty of time before the game; is there any place that might work? We wanted to get to the park early enough to take a nice walking tour of The Bullseye before gametime, but not sure when the gates open. (I've put in a word to try meet the radio guys; got my fingers crossed)

        1. Aren't you a celebrity with the radio guys, Rhu? They should have you as a booth guest during the game.

          "So, Mr. Runner -- may we call you Barb? You must be one heck of a fan to know all of that Twins trivia by heart! We wouldn't even know where to look that stuff up!"

        2. Well, there are a lot of options around the park. Anything within 2-3 blocks of the field is busy (less so than earlier in the year) but where to go really depends on if your plan is to eat before the game or hit up the concessions. I'd be interested in stopping by the area for a beer & to say hello if it could work out.

          Gates open 1 1/2 hours before gametime (5:40ish). A meeting at any of these places could work:
          Smalley's 87 Club

  3. The Rays host the Blue Jays today, and the Sawks are in New York for a doubleheader (should be an exciting 14 hours of baseball there). If there's any justice at all, the Wild Card race will be tied at the end of the day.

    I saw an article on b-ref that would seem to confirm the one-game play-in as part of the new CBA. There's a pretty spirited discussion going there that devolved into salary cap business, but while I would have considered this move terrible beforehand, I have to say there are compelling arguments for it: getting in as a Wild Card is no longer anywhere near as great as it used to be, so the divisional races matter much more than they have recently. Plus, the best pitchers would likely be burned in the one-game playoff, giving the #1 seed another advantage.

    I know the Wild Card can still sneak in and win it all, but I still think the commenter was spot-on here. Ten playoff teams, under this structure, might be even better than eight.

      1. It's not perfect, but with playoff contraction (we love that word around here, right?) most assuredly not an option, this does provide a distinct advantage.

        1. Also, with the exception of 2006, the Twins haven't had to worry about the wildcard. It's been win the division or bust. Make the AL East fight like dogs at the end of the season while the winner of the weak central doesn't have to worry about a play-in game. I would love to see Boston and New York sweat, bitch, and moan about the one-game playoff. And if the Twins play in one...hell, if we can't win the central, no point in getting upset about it.

          Some people will say that it could create some really unfair situations. Take a look at the 2002 AL West, where Seattle missed the playoffs with 93 wins because Anaheim and Oakland were both better. Why should Anaheim (with 99 wins) have to play a one game playoff when they had a better record than the Twins? It's a solid point, but things like that have happened no matter how the divisions were aligned. The Twins in 1987 were the 5th best team in the AL. The 1993 Giants had 103 wins and missed the playoffs despite having six more wins than the Phillies.

          The only truly, 100% fair way to do it is to scrap divisions, scrap leagues. Have every team play every team the same amount, round robin style, with the 8 or 10 best records going to the playoffs, seeded by record. But that ain't gonna happen.

          1. Fairer yet: no playoffs. The EPL awards the best team, and that's that. Even less likely.

            Someone on b-ref did indeed bring up the possibility of a 91-win Angels (or whoever) team beating a 99-win Sawks team, and how unfair that would be. Someone else had to point out that stuff like this already happens in the playoffs literally every year.

  4. so, over the week I have seen or heard this or something like it: 'Should Cristian Ponder be starting for the Vikings?'

    a) no
    b) where is this coming from
    c) on ESPN, they were saying the fanbase is clamoring for Ponder. What part of the fanbase is this?

    if McNabb is not the starting QB, it should be Joe Webb. Ponder can wait a year or two

    1. The NFL's fans always cry for a QB change after an 0-2 start, from what I can tell. Also, and I know this still exists because I have been around these people altogether too much, there are certain fans that will never, ever trust a black quarterback. There was this idiot in an ancillary group of mine who constantly called for Daunte's head no matter how awesome he was. If Daunte threw a pick, he'd say "There's the Daunte I know," even though it was the Daunte he'd created. He wanted Frerotte starting. Gus effin' Frerotte.

      We did eventually draw out of him that he "didn't think that black quarterbacks could make their defensive reads." I have no idea where that comes from, but I've never understood racism period, so whatever.

      1. Yeah, Daunte never got the respect for how good he was and I felt for a long time it had to do with him being a "black quarterback." It is really sad considering how well Randall Cunningham and Warren Moon played for the same franchise.

  5. I'm back from the northwoods (more later) so this may have been covered yesterday but I am close to falling off the Jerry Kill bandwagon. I know Brewster didn't leave a whole lot to work with, but poor tackling, dumb penalties, poor execution are on the current coaching staff, not Brewster. SBG's team is solid but still a big 10 team with 22 more scholarships and bigger and faster players should not get done at home like the Gophers did last night.

    1. While it was an absolute blast to watch the Green and Gold kick ass last night, I will admit that this game says a lot more about the Gophers than anything else. The Gophers have played five games against Dakota schools in the past six years. They have two extremely narrow wins and three losses to show for it. That is beyond embarrassing for a school in a BCS conference. This NDSU club may challenge for a national title, we'll see, but even still, Minnesota is in the Big Funking Ten!

      Not a single player on the Bispn got a scholarship offer from a Big Ten school. Of course not, or they would have taken it. While a club like NDSU is always going to get a guy or two that falls through the cracks and is a Big Ten (or NFL!) quality athlete, they should never be able to play with a Big Ten team.

      Not only did they hang with the Goofs, they were much more disciplined. They looked better in all phases. And this seems to be the case every time a Dakota school shows up here.

      1. Not only did they hang with the Goofs, they were much more disciplined. They looked better in all phases.

        Agreed. That's why I am a little down on Kill right now. Maybe the seizure thing is throwing him off his game or maybe it's all Brewster recruitees who are the goofballs. But 4 games in, I am not impressed. Wait til some Big 10 teams get a hold of these guys.

    2. I'm going to give Kill a pass on the entire season. Lack of talent and his own health issues make this season basically a mulligan.

      I think that game reflected more on the Brewster regime. NDSU had an offensive line that averaged 295 pounds and 4 of the 5 were from Minnesota. Embarrassing.

      1. I will remind you that they won a couple of Big Ten games last year with an interim head coach and pretty much the same club (okay, they had a muuuuuuuuch better QB, who was a Mason guy).

        I liked watching the Mason clubs and I genuinely felt bad about the Michigan game and that punt fiasco against Wisconsin. I had Brewster sniffed out from the beginning and he was an unqualified disaster. I'm not an alumnus (I bet you didn't know that), I'm just an observer. But, that game against NM State was flat out embarrassing and it was no better against NDSU. True, Gray has no business QBing in the Big Ten, but defensively, the Gophers were a disaster. Just awful.

        Then again, I pointed that out two years ago when the defense was starting 10 Mason guys despite three Brewster classes being recruited. If he was such a great recruiter, why was there no help at all on the defensive side of the ball?

        So, This.

  6. I think that Werewolves is the sporting event I'm most interested in watching this autumn.

    Vikings leading 13-0. Smaller lead to blow than last week. At least they're wearinging their good uniforms. They should trash the other ones.

    1. Vikings 1st half: 20-0 lead.
      Vikings start 2nd half: 2 possessions, both "Three and Out", surrender 1TD in one possession.

        1. harvin's out of the game for being "sick to his stomach", according to the announcers. so, i guess he's watching the game too.

          1. When you have to keep diving to your belly to try and catch McNabb's worm-burners, your tummy is going to rebel eventually.

          2. I have Kenny Britt and Michael Vick in both leagues and they both went down to injuries today. It looks like fantasy football's going to be as much fun as actual football this year.

              1. His doesn't look serious, actually. I'm just bummed because in my money league I got close to winning even with my crummy opponent getting career days from Eli and Gronkowski.

                1. I take full responsibility for Eli. The moment I dropped him, it seemed a done deal he'd throw for some TDs finally.

      1. Longwell delaying the inevitable with that FG with 1:30 left. Does anyone really believe a team that plays this way in the second half has a chance in overtime?

            1. i was originally annoyed when FOX switched feeds before the end of the 4th. apparently they were only trying to protect me.

                1. We went to a winery for lunch today and I overheard someone say they hoped the Packers do better than the Lions today. It was about 5 minutes later when I got a text from my brother saying "god the Vikes suck in the second half."

      1. I'm actually a little sick and shouldn't be drinking beer, so I doubt it's a great idea. I'll just occasionally check the score as I continue beating out some story ideas, play some vids and watch Werewolf.

        1. Not much to see at Werewolf right now, huh? Should speed up again as we get close to the deadline, though.

          1. Given the day's events, quiet makes sense. Although it says nothing, that's as close as I should ever come to a comment, though.

            No matter what's up, it's really nice and liberating to watch and not obsess about my footing.

  7. Cardinals pull within one game of the NL Wild Card. Neither WC team is set, and the #2 and #3 seeds are jockeying for position in both leagues. Pretty good stuff.

  8. The Buffalo Bills went 0 for the 70's against the Miami Dolphins. In the past 8 years the Bills were making that sort of run when facing the Patriots. Today it ended. It is not possible to me to put enough "OOOOOOOOO's" into a WOO today. Just know that they are there.

    1. Good for you. After picking up the Wolves as your team, I was a bit worried. Here's to the Bills, a team I have no problem pulling for. I wonder if old numbeR 90 could have played at U Minnesota back in the day?

    2. If the Raiders' blowing the lead to the Bills last week had anything to do with the Bills coming back against the Patriots, then it was almost worth it. Almost.

  9. Even if the Detroit Tigers lose their remaining 13 games (which I doubt, as they play the Vik---s again), this season will have been no worse than half of their prior ten seasons.

  10. Vik___s

    Hmmm... trying to reflect that the second half is missing. I'm not liking any of them yet.

            1. I think I agree.

              Let me test one, though:


              Spoiler SelectShow

              EDIT: Meh, didn't work out as well as I'd hoped, but pretty much how I'd figured.

                1. AMR went through that one above. I really like the strikeout though, since it shows that, while it did happen, we'd all like to pretend it didn't.

      1. Let's hope not.

        Of course, each team has had its own type of suck:
        Vikings: get hopes up, lose when most painful. Once you've written them off, they win a lot, only to rip out yr heart later.
        Twins: win a lot, especially after the all-star break, face Yankees in the first round, lose games 2 and 3 and one of 1 or 4.
        Wolves: always got bad first-round draws, then just began to suck.
        Wild: never good enough to contend, never bad enough to rebuild
        Gophers football: Should have been relegated to FCS (if not Div II) long ago.
        Gophers basketball: What final four?

          1. Part of that (not all of it, but part) is the way the NHL standings/scoring works. Because some games are 3 pointers and some are 2 pointers, there's usually no more than two or three teams in the whole league that are utterly out of playoff contention before the end of the season. There is not, understandably, much incentive to commit to a complete rebuilding process when your organization can still come close to grabbing a share of the playoff bank basically every year, even if you're not close to being an elite team.

        1. Wolves: sucked for years, got lucky once, frittered away prime years of franchise player, sucked for years.

      1. I've got another two hours of baking ahead of me, and this game is making me wish I didn't have to stay up.

        1. Heh, perhaps you can still get a rise? (Though I doubt that Dylan>Stones>Beatles simply by virtue of Scorsese chronology will hold much water around here...)

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