Friday March 12, 2004
A PAINFUL NOTE
TWINS LOSE TO MARLINS
HOCKEY TALK - the Bertuzzi incident
I need some help! I need to know what types of articles that you enjoy reading on this site. Do you like reading how the Twins games went, whoís performing this spring? Do you care how former Twins are doing in their attempts to make their respective teams? Do you mind me talking about fantasy baseball and my teams? Do you enjoy reading about other sports from time to time? Do you enjoy when I talk about TV topics or movies? Do you have any topics or hypotheses that you would like me to discuss in a posting?
Basically, what I am looking for is some feedback before the Twins season gets going. I want to know the types of things you would like to read about. Please take a couple of minutes over the weekend to let me know what you think. Iím interested in finding out where you are from and how frequently you read my site. I would like to know how you came to this site in the first place. I want to know what types of topics you are most interested in. Basically, I just want some help in defining what this website will be. Please take just a couple of minutes to let me know your thoughts. I really appreciate your time and you coming to this site! E-mail me.
A PAINFUL NOTE
Last month, when I wrote up my Fantasy Preview: Rookies and Prospects, I listed Dodgers 19 year old left-handed pitcher Greg Miller as the #3 prospect in the National League. Only the Mets Scott Kazmir and Brewers Rickie Weeks were listed ahead of him. I even put him ahead of 20 year old Dodger Edwin Jackson and the Braves Andy Marte!
What made me (and thousands of others) think so highly of Greg Miller. Here is his story in a nutshell. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers as a supplemental first-round pick (31st overall) out of his high school in Yorba Linda, California. He certainly has the physical makeup to make scouts drool. Long and lanky with a wiry arm. He is 6-5 and weighs 195 pounds and throws hard. Scouts of course project him to add weight and strength, allowing him to throw even harder. So, he signed and went to Great Falls, the Dodgers short-season rookie team. He pitched in 11 games, starting 7. He was 3-2 with a 2.37 ERA. He struck out 37 hitters in 38 innings. Last year, he started the season with Vero Beach, the Dodgers High Class A affiliate. He made 21 starts for them. He struck out 111 hitters in 115.2 innings. He went 11-4 with a 2.49 ERA. That warranted a call up to AA Jacksonville. He made four starts there and was 1-1, but that only tells part of the story. He had a 1.01 ERA. He walked just 7 hitters in 26.2 innings. But the amazing number was his 41 strikeouts in those innings. That works out to a strikeout rate of 13.5 per 9 innings pitched. Again, he was 18 years old and pitching in AA when his season was cut short due to some pain in his shoulder. Greg Miller was now a premiere left-handed pitching prospect and on the fast track.
However, taking a quick step back, I also remember reading somewhere awhile back that someone was of the belief that there is no such thing as a pitching prospect. There are so many variables that go into a pitcher more than a position player. Obviously one of the variables has to do with a young manís growth. Will they get bigger and stronger and how will such growth affect their "stuff?" How will their control come together? Will they be able to control their emotions and deal with struggles? However, when dealing especially with young pitchers at the low minor league levels, the biggest concern is their arm. So, when I got the following in an e-mail alert from Baseball America last night, it really hit home how delicate this all can be.
The Dodgers nearly called lefthander Greg Miller to the major leagues last September at age 18. Now, at age 19, he's having his first arm surgery. Club officials announced Thursday that Miller, a 6-foot-5 lefthander who checked in at No. 8 on Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list, will have arthroscopic surgery next week to find out what's causing the pain in his prized left shoulder.
Now, this appears to be more of an exploratory surgery to find out where his pain is and maybe make some corrections. But it is scary for Miller and the Dodgers and their fans, nonetheless. I donít know how long he will be out as a result of this surgery. My guess is that because he is so young, they will stay well on the side of caution, as they should. As we know, if he needs Tommy John surgery, he will be out 12-18 months.
As a baseball fan, a fan of prospects, and someone always looking for the next superstar, I really hope that this works out well for Miller. I hope it is nothing serious and that he will be deemed healthy and can start pitching again soon.
TWINS 4, MARLINS 5
The Twins lost a game against the defending World Champion Florida Marlins yesterday. But with all Spring Training games, the score does not matter at all. What matters is how well players do, and not even so much the veterans, but the new guys and the rookies and prospects who are trying to make the roster. From a hitting standpoint, the Twins had just five hits in the game. Jacque Jones had single. Terry Tiffee had a single to go along with two walks in his three plate appearances. He is having an impressive spring hitting .463 (6-13) so far. Not a total surprise. He did hit .315 with 14 homers and 93 RBI at AA New Britain last year. Jose Offerman had a double in three at bats and played 1B. Mike Ryan had a pinch hit single. Of course, the big hit from the mediaís perspective (ok, mine too) was a triple by Joe Mauer. Apparently, the ball hit high on the fence in right center. He may just be a doubles power hitter this year, but the home run power will show up and maybe not as far down the road as some thing. He is now 3-12 on the season. Of course, the Twins Official Website's story of the game highlights a defensive play turned in by Mauer. He was able to field a great Juan Pierre bunt and throw him out at first, not an easy task at all.
On the mound, Brad Radke threw the first three innings. He gave up 2 runs on 3 hits including a home run to a guy I have written about frequently on this site, Miguel Cabrera. Brad Thomas, Carlos Pulido and Kevin Tolar each pitched scoreless innings. Joe Roa gave up a run on two hits in an inning. Seth Greisinger struggled in his inning, giving up 4 hits and two runs.
For great Twins discussion on games and players and more, head over to the Dickie Thon Twins Fan Forum.
Any thoughts on the Twins, please e-mail me.
Here are how some former Twins performed yesterday in their Spring Training games:
∑ Javier Valentin, C - Cincinnati Reds (0-1)
∑ Chris Gomez, 3B - Toronto Blue Jays (0-3)
∑ Matt Lawton, DH - Cleveland Indians (2-4, 2-2B, RBI)
∑ Jason Maxwell, 2B - Tampa Bay Devil Rays (0-1)
∑ Todd Jones, RP - Tampa Bay Devil Rays (2 IP, 3 K)
∑ Jon Barnes, RF - Los Angeles Dodgers (0-1)
∑ Jason Ryan, RP - St. Louis Cardinals (2 1/3 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K)
∑ Dave McCarty, 1B - Boston Red Sox (1-2, RBI)
∑ Todd Walker, 2B - Chicago Cubs (1-3, RBI)
∑ AJ Pierzynski, C- San Francisco Giants (1-3)
∑ Chad Allen, LF - Texas Rangers (0-1)
∑ Kenny Rogers, SP - Texas Rangers (3 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K)
∑ Brian Buchanan, DH - San Diego Padres (0-2)
∑ Warren Morris, 2B - Detroit Tigers (0-1)
This whole steroid issue has nothing to do with baseball. Zero! The fact that it has become such a big story is really more annoying to me as a baseball fan. I know that some fans are all upset and think that the game is tainted and there should be asterisks put everywhere. Some think that every player should be tested.
I just canít get excited about this topic at all. Itís too negative. I covered my thoughts on the steroid issue two weeks ago.
Until someone makes a logical explanation to explain to me how using steroids affect home run numbers, I wonít write anything more about it And people need to get over the whole Andro thing. Andro and other such products can be bought over the counter. As long as they are legal, baseball should not regulate them. Iím not saying that they are good and people should use them. Actually, I am completely against such products. However, if itís legal, the Players Union should not give in to testing for it.
The FDA is now telling the companies that make and sell Andro to stop selling it until they prove it is not dangerous. Iím sorry, but shouldnít they have had to prove that before the FDA OKíd it in the first place? When it becomes an illegal substance, then it should be illegal in baseball.
Also, random drug testingÖ just think about that for a second. How unconstitutional is that? Shouldnít there be at least some reason behind testing someone? Shouldnít there have to be some proof before a player (or anyone in society) is drug tested?
Hereís the scenario. How would you feel about it? You wake up, clean up, eat some breakfast and drive to work. You walk in the door, punch into a time clock and walk to your desk. Your boss walks up to you and says, "Follow me!" You walk into a small room and there are two or three others there. They hand you a cup. They tell you to take your clothes off and urinate. They are going to watch you just so they know the specimen is yours.
Thatís random drug testing. Before you judge the players and their union for not just accepting that as a way of life, think about exactly what it means. Think about their rights as citizens, as employees and as human beings.
So, again, unless something major happens to a player regarding steroids, I really donít plan on talking or writing about steroids any more.
If you have any further thoughts on the subject, I would still like to read them. E-mail me.
After walking through the regular season undefeated, #1 rated St. Josephís lost in yesterdayís first round of the Atlantic-10 tournament to Xavier. At one point in the 2nd half, they were down by 37 points! Now, Xavier isnít a bad team. They finished the regular season with a 20-10 record and were 10-6 in the conference. However, the loss and the fact that it was a complete blowout has clouded whether St. Joes will still be a #1 seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. My opinion is that they absolutely should still be a #1 seed. One loss should not take anything away from the type of season that they have had, regardless of the score. My prediction, however, is that they will probably drop to a #2 seed because the A-10 is not a Top 4 conference. That is also why, despite being ranked #3 in the country, I would be surprised if Gonzaga got higher than a 4 or 5 seed in the tournament.
But, maybe an even bigger surprise than the St. Joes loss happened in the Big 10 tournament. The Minnesota Gophers were the 10th seed going into the tournament and defeated the #7 seed Purdue 63-52. That is shocking to me! Kris Humphries led with 20 points and 15 rebounds. He shot just 4-21 from the field, but was 11-13 from the free throw line. Michael Bauer must not want his career to end because he even had a good game with 16 points. A nice win, and they play again today!
TODD BERTUZZIíS SITUATION
I am sure by now that everyone has seen or heard about the Tom Bertuzzi cheap-shot to the back of Steve Mooreís head. He then landed on him and continued to hit him despite Moore laying in a pool of blood with a broken vertebra (obviously found out later). Yesterday, he was suspended for the remaining 12 games of the regular season and the playoffs. Many believe that it is an appropriate punishment, some believe that it is far too short.
It has been compared to the Marty McSorley incident from a couple of seasons ago, when he hit Donald Brashear on the side of the head with his stick, leaving him with a concussion. McSorley was suspended for 20 games and never played in the NHL again (of course, he was already 37 years old). Bertuzzi is just 27 years old and has been an All-Star forward the last two seasons.
Some say that he just snapped and lost it. Iím sorry, but that is absolutely no excuse for the cheap shot. That was completely unnecessary, and I think that Bertuzzi is getting off easy with his suspension.
Frequent contributor Kirk Beller sent me an e-mail yesterday and asked what I feel is a very fair question. If Steve Moore had not broken his back/neck, if he had not ended his season and jeopardized his career, if Moore had got up and defended himself, would Bertuzzi have been suspended, or even fined? I think the answer to that is probably "Yes," however, it would have been maybe a game or two. We would not even be talking about it.
Why? Because the NHL markets itself as a fighting league. It encourages and supports the whole ĎEnforcerí posting. It markets the fights. When that happens and is encouraged, instances like this are going to happen. Instead of a simple fight, someone is going to take it to another level and look like a really bad guy.
No, I am not defending Bertuzzi in any way. I just think that that NHL needs to take a look at itself now. Hockey is a violent sport. Checking is a very important part of the game. However, I donít feel that fighting needs to be. I did not grow up with hockey at all, but I have grown to at least understand and appreciate the intricacies of the game. I canít understand how fighting became such an accepted thing.
With the impending work stoppage and next season very much in question, hockey should really get their stuff in order. It should be a good, well viewed game, but it is losing more and more viewers all the time.
Someone asked me when situations like this fight, baseballís steroid issues, and other major issues in professional sports, will lead people to just completely flip right past the games on the TV. For me, I will continue watching baseball games forever. Nothing, no issue, will ever keep me from enjoying the game of baseball (well, unless Victory Sports and the cable companies donít figure something out). Other issues are on the periphery to me. I donít care about competitive balance. I donít care about steroid use. I love watching the game. Now, as a casual hockey fan, issues like this may be the type of thing that will keep me from watching an NHL game on TV. I worry about the casual fans. The dads who are fed up with such things and hence wonít take their kid to a game or watch it with them on TV. Those are the people that they need to keep in mind.
OK, that was too deep and kind of rambling. Do you have any thoughts on the Todd Bertuzzi situation, or what things would keep you from watching a sport? E-mail me.
And on that note, I will call it a day and a week! I hope you all have a fun, enjoyable, relaxing weekend! If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail me! Have a great weekend!
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