Category Archives: View from the Ballpark

2011 Game 121: DC 1001011000 258

600!

How many taters is that? Well, it's exactly twice the number of homers Chuck Klein hit in his career. It's 154 more than the next two active players, Vladimir Guerrero and Chipper Jones. It's 15 40-homer seasons. It's 1 more than the combined career totals of Lou Pinella, Honus Wagner, John Kruk, Lonnie Smith, Todd Hollandsworth, Chuck Knoblauch, Jason Tyner, Al Newman, and Don Sutton. It's 100 more than the combined totals of Kent Hrbek and Kirby Puckett. It's twelve bushels' worth, if you figure one homer is the equivalent of one pound of potatoes.

It's a whole lot of mashin', that's what.

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And now, this week's View from the Ballpark:

photo by Flickr user joyosity

photo by Flickr user joyosity

Remember, no embiggening.

2011 Game 102: Wasted Opportunities

"
"Like a tire fire in your mouth." - photo by Flickr user DR000

I suppose I could do the usual thing and tell you which batters and pitchers had the highest and lowest WPA for the game, but seriously, why should I bother? Last night was beyond laughably bad for several reasons. Joe Mauer inexplicably played the entire game despite not exactly being a McGriff-like model of durability. That seems to be to be a case of serious managerial malpractice. Did the reporters present at the postgame ask a single question about this decision? Not as far as I can tell from the articles available as I write this (0100 Tuesday). I could grouch about Mauer playing or mediocre journalism more, but I'm guessing the number of eyes that care to revisit last night by reading this are already going to be pretty low.

Moving along, the storyline for last night (apart from being blown out of the water) is Cuddyer's turn as a pitcher. According to the AP, this was the first time a position player took the hill for the Twins since John Moses pitched an inning in relief. That was 31 July 1990, in a 13-2 loss to the California Angels. Moses actually pitched twice in 1990, each time in a loss charged to Allan Anderson, throwing an inning in each appearance. The other was in a 13-1 loss to the Red Sox on 19 May, when the Sawk hung 5 runs on Anderson before he was given the hook after 0.2 IP.  In all, five position players have now pitched for the Twins: Julio Becquer (10 Sept 1961), César Tovar (more on him in a minute), Dan Gladden (27 June 1988 and 7 May 1989, both Fred Toliver losses), John Moses, and now Cuddyer.

Anyway, Cuddy's now played every position on the diamond except shortstop and catcher. The question is, why didn't he play all nine last night? If you believe (or have resigned yourself to the fact that) the Twins will not trade Cuddyer at the deadline because they're overly fond of him, then there was absolutely no reason for him to not become the second Twin to have played all nine positions in a game. I suppose one could make the argument that doing so would simply remind Twins fans of this game when it comes up in bar trivia 30 years from now, but quite honestly, that's not good enough. In a game where history has significant weight, Ron Gardenhire and the coaching staff squandered a golden opportunity for Cuddyer to join (in order) Bert Campaneris, César Tovar, Scott Shelton, and Shane Halter as the only players in baseball history to perform that feat. I don't think there's any shame in that. I would have kept watching, no matter how bad the score got, simply to see Cuddyer pull it off.

A few words about pulling it off, then. If you don't already know, Campaneris was the first player to pull it off, back in 1965. Tovar became the second three years later, on 22 September 1968. When he took the mound in the first inning of that game, do you know who stepped in to face Tovar? That's right - Bert Campaneris. (Campy fouled out to Ron Clark at third base.) Tovar recorded one strikeout - the always-prolific Reggie Jackson.  In the second Tovar was behind the plate, and you can guess what his box score reads from there: P-C-1B-2B-SS-3B-LF-CF-RF. Tom Hall, who came on to pitch the second, got the win. Rod Carew played short for an inning. Graig Nettles manned center field for four innings. If Graig Nettles could play center for four innings, there's no reason the Twins couldn't have let Cuddyer play short, catcher, and everywhere else last night. It would have given Twins fans an opportunity to fondly remember César Tovar, a player who deserves more remembrance than he gets, and would allow Cuddy to check off an item or two more on his bucket list. With a game as bad as last night's was, and it was far, far worse than hitting Malört out of the bottle like a cowboy, the club has to give something back to the fans who stick around until the bitter end, something to deaden that throw-up-in-the-mouth taste. Cuddy playing all nine would have done it. Instead we got nine innings of suck and needless risk to the franchise player (yeah, I'm not over that).

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Here's this week's View from the Ballpark:

photo by The WGOM's very own Rhubarb_Runner

Remember, no embiggening.

2011 Game 83 – Twins 7, Rays 0

Weather: 83°F, sunny
Wind: 9 mph
Attendance: 39,528
Time: 2:24

Twins record: 37-46 (4th in AL Central, 8.0 GB)
Fangraphs boxscore | MLB Game Wrap

Highlights:

  • Highest WPA, hitter: Nishioka .153 (1-3, 2 RBI, SO) | Highest WPA, pitcher: Duensing .295 (9.0 IP, 6 H, 4 BB, 7 K)
  • Duensing threw his second career shutout.
  • Cuddy go boom! and Juicy!
  • Laddy and Cuddy flashed some leather.

Lowlights:

  • Lowest WPA, hitter: Hughes, -.045 (0-4, 3 SO) | Lowest WPA, pitcher: N/A
  • Hughes, pretty much.

As games go this season, yesterday's was a fun one. Well, it would have been a fun one any season, but this one it was a particular treat. Which means I naturally Battey'd the wrap until just now. I guess I'm more used to wrapping a loss at this point.

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There's a slightly different image format for this week's View from the Ballpark. Let's see if that helps or hinders:

photo by Nyall and Maryanne

photo by Flickr user Nyall & Maryanne

Remember, no embiggening.

2011 Game 77: Dodgers 15, Twins 0

Weather: 74°F, partly cloudy
Wind: 15 mph
Attendance: 39,487
Time: 3:05

Twins' record: 32-45 (last in AL Central, 10.0 GB)
Fangraphs boxscore | MLB Game Wrap

"Highlights":

  • Highest WPA, hitter: Nishioka .026 (2-3, SO) | Highest WPA, pitcher: 3 tied at .000 (3.0 IP, 7 H, 2 HR, 5 ER, 2 BB, SO)
  • The Dodgers have one of the nicest road uniforms in baseball, and looked great when matched with the Twins' throwbacks.

Lowlights:

  • Lowest WPA, hitter: Revere, -.076 (0-4, 2 GIDP) | Lowest WPA, pitcher: Blackburn, -.290 (4.1 IP, 12 H, 7 ER, BB, SO)
  • Everything.

For the last few weekends I've been traveling between the People's Republic and western Wisconsin, working on putting Pops' things in order and attending family functions. Last Friday was no different, other than a buddy of mine who lives in Madison asked if he could get a ride to Winona so he could bring his restored Chevy truck out of storage for the summer. The plan was to leave around noon, after he finished up installing a window for a client.

Well, the day before I had a particularly vindictive migraine. It was bad enough I thought I was having olfactory hallucinations; specifically, I thought I could smell a gas leak in the neighborhood. I even called up the gas company to come out and check. Now, I'm not actually paranoid - the complete gas service was replaced in our neighborhood just a few weeks ago, and there were front-end loaders working out in the street Thursday, making me suspect something had been severed. The guy from the gas company came out and checked the new connection on each house on my street, the mains, and anything else that possibly could leak, all to no avail. I apologized, of course, but I could still smell a decidedly off odor.

Ten minutes before I left on Friday I figured out what I was smelling. I opened the door to a storage area on the second floor. Down in the corner, where I had laid it out months before, was a mouse trap. I've been checking that trap near-religiously, so the mouse that I caught couldn't have been there any earlier than Tuesday evening. But, given that it's summer (and, thanks to a stupid call during renovation, our central HVAC doesn't go upstairs), the mouse didn't take long to make things smell pretty ripe. Okay, really ripe.

Mrs. Hayes is a confirmed animal lover, so even though I would be late to my buddy's place, I absolutely had to dispose of the body. First order of business was to remove the corpse from the premises while simultaneously curbing my urge to vomit. The little bugger had soiled himself, I guess. Next was to clean up the greasy mark he left behind on the floor. Armed with a Lysol wipe, a can of Lysol, and enough intestinal fortitude not to make a bigger mess myself, I wiped up the, erm, leavings, washed my hands, and got out the door. I was worried the potency of that smell would still be there when I got back today, but, mercifully, it's gone.

Nonetheless, I am armed with empirical evidence. The egg the Twins laid laid last night smells worse than a mouse corpse laying in an attic for a few days in the summer heat. As a matter of fact, given the choice between the two, I'd rather relive cleaning up that mouse and his leavings than re-experience the 2011 Twins season to date. My mind is already wandering toward 2012. Is yours?

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Here's this week's View from the Ballpark:

photo by Flickr user Telstar Logistics

photo by Flickr user Telstar Logistics

Remember, no embiggening.