Wednesday July 16, 2003
Random Thoughts and E-mails from Leslie
Well, tonight it counted, and it actually ended up being a really great game, complete with a really great ending, with an unlikely batter (Hank Blalock) hitting a game-winning home run off arguably the best closer in baseball (Eric Gagne! Sorry John Smoltz fans, but thatís why I said Ďarguablyí). The game had home runs, pitching, defense, Mike Scioscia argued a call, and Edgar Martinez got hit by a pitch. I canít argue that it was a great game.
That said, I will never agree that the reason it was a great game was because ďThis Time it CountsĒ. I just think it was a great game. Check out what I wrote yesterday (LINK) about the All-Star game. My thoughts havenít changed just because it was a good game.
For Twins fans who didnít get to see it, Eddie Guardado entered the game with a 2-1 deficit to the NL with 2 outs in the 5th inning and a runner on 1st and 2nd. His first pitch went for a ground-rule double by the Braves Andruw Jones that scored 2 runs (both charged to Shigetoshi Hasegawa). Shortly after that the Cardinals Albert Pujols singled in Jones, and gave the NL a 5-1 lead. Eddie did get Barry Bonds to ground out to end the inning.
OK, I would love to find out who is reading this site and where you are from. I have received great e-mails from all over the country, from the northeast, to the southeast, to the midwest. I havenít received e-mails from out west yet though. What Iíd like to ask you to do if you are reading this, is click on this, and just send me a real quick e-mail message giving me some brief information on yourself. I donít need names or anything (although, thatís probably what I will see in my inbox), but if you could just tell me where you are from and how you learned about the site, that would be great! Iím curious as to whether people are coming to the site because of the plugs I have received from the Twins Geek. Maybe you saw me, the Northern Guy, on the Dickie Thon Twins Fans Forum, and saw the link that is included with my postings there. Or, maybe you just heard of it by word of mouth. If you have an extra 15-30 seconds in your day, drop me a line and say hi! If you have an additional 30 seconds, let me know what you think about the site!
In the last couple of days, I have received some great e-mails from a woman named Leslie who says she is from Fort Lee, New Jersey. Thanks Leslie for frequenting the site and expressing your thoughts, and letting me post them. Here is the message she sent me a couple of days ago about the Twins:
Hey, Seth. I enjoy reading your stuff on sports and entertainment. Very entertaining...
I am so sick and tired of watching this team underacheive. I hate this. It stinks. I tried being optimistic and patient, but this is it. I am fed up with watching this team. There is no energy or enthauism with this team. I don't see them trying one bit. I don't see them playing for each other. I had more fun watching the Twins when they stunk in the 90s than now. At least, that team played hard and worked to get those wins. I don't see it from this year's Twins. I am starting to wonder if the Twins are this good. Those last two years, they have clearly overacheived. I think the run is over for them. I got no choice but to feel this way.
What is there to be happy about? What makes you guys think things are changing? There is no light in the end of the tunnel. I hope they never win again. I hope they go on a 21-game losing streak. If they do that, changes are coming. i am all for a fire sale. I am all for dumping underacheivers like Radke, Mays, Guaradado, Hawkins, Pizerynski, Mientkiewicz, Rivas, Guzman, Jones, and even Torii Hunter. I want to see Mauer, Cuddyer, Restrovich, and Morneau got playing time. I don't want to add anyone. I think the Twins should dump a lot of players from this team.
As for managing, I am all for Gardy being gone. I like him a lot, but I think the Twins went as far as they can with him. I want to see Al Newman manage. This guy would not tolerate this crap. Newman is a very emotional guy and he would get in people's face everyday till they are blue in the face. Either get Newman or hire Joe Mauer's dad.
I hate this team!
Wow!! She definitely has some pretty strong opinions about the Twins, huh? My thoughts are as follows:
∑ I think most Twins fans are tired of watching the Ďunderachievingí. I definitely think that our patience is running very thin. Theyíve been really bad, maybe the worst team in baseball over the past 30-35 games. That is very disappointing.
∑ I absolutely loved watching these guys play their first couple of years in the majors. Yeah, they didnít win much, but my expectations werenít high for them. As a result, it was much easier to accept failure. After what happened last year, winning the division and getting to the ALCS, anything less would probably be disappointing.
∑ I think the next two or three weeks will be VERY interesting for Twins fans. If they struggle coming out of the break (and they play 4 games against Oakland, 2 against Seattle and 2 against Kansas City), we may see them sell off a few players. I donít see massive changes, but they will drop some salary.
∑ She mentions the names of some players that she considers underachievers. I would have to argue with just a couple of those names. Primarily, Doug Mientkiewicz. Heís had a very solid first half, much better than last year. His average is near .300 and his defense at 1B remains the best in the game. AJ Pierzynski is hitting between .280 and .300, so underachieving may not be fair. I donít think heís playing up to his capabilities and his energy levels seems very low, but he has added some power, so it shouldnít be too surprising his batting average is down, and slightly at that. I donít think Jones is underachieving. I think he has improved some from last year. His problem the last few weeks has been an injury. Not much he can do about that. And, LaTroy Hawkins has been their best, most consistent pitcher the whole first half. Sure, heís had maybe 3 rough outings, but for the most part, heís been very dominant. The others, I totally agree, especially regarding Cristian Guzman.
∑ As far as wanting to see the minor leaguers get a chance to play. First, Iíve probably made too much of a point in my thoughts on Cuddyer and Morneau, and the Twins handling of them. I think if they were in other organizations, they would be doing great and would have been given fair shots at consistent playing time. Morneau will probably stay up, and hopefully will start to get at bats. It looks like Cuddyer will be out for quite some time with his hamstring injury. Restovich has almost lost his status as a prospect since he hasnít been able to stop striking out at AAA. Mauer is too good to bring up this year! He needs to stay in AA for the rest of the year, even though heís been very good there. Heíll probably start the year at AAA next season and could be up by midseason.
∑ As far as Gardy goes, Iím sure he got way too much credit for what the Twins did last year, and heís probably taking too much blame for what is going on right now. At some point, the players just have to play. A pitcher needs to throw a shutout! Someone needs a 5-5 game with a couple homers and 10 RBI. Someone needs to step up. But, I agree, somethingís not right! Gardy should have benched Guzman long ago! I think he makes a lot of dumb decisions throughout the game. He chooses dumb times to hit-and-run and bad combinations for it. But, donít get excited. Gardy wonít be fired any time soon, probably not during the season for sure. I would say that Al Newman would be a great manager for these guys for a couple of reasons. First, he wouldnít put up with anything, and he would keep things light too. But an added bonus to him managing would be that he wouldnít be coaching third base any more! Iím not sure at all where the Joe Mauerís dad managing thing came in.
So, a very good, maybe controversial e-mail on the Twins. I love it! I think it might be a little extreme, but at the same time, I think this is how a lot of us, as Twins fans, have felt for a month or so now!
That said, there are 69 games left in the season. There is still time for the Twins to make a move. (I would also encourage everyone to check out todayís Twins Geek posting. Itís in regards to what types of players the Twins should be looking to acquire. Heís always got great numbers and stats to back up his thoughts.) I still donít worry too much about the Royals at this point. But, when they pick up Juan Gonzalez from the Rangers in the next week, then Iíll officially worry. Hopefully the Twins will come back after the All-Star break and go on a run. They need to. Then they can compliment the team with a couple of players, rather than tear it apart. Iím still an optimist, but I could easily become a realist in a very short time.
Yesterday, I wrote about my thoughts on the All-Star Game and the Home Run Derby. I think itís an exhibition and should be. Leslie wrote today with her opinions on that game too. I agree with her partially, so here you go:
I can care less about the All-Star Game. I agree that it's stupid to give homefield advantage in the All-Star Game because a representative from a bad team can really care less since he has nothing to play for come playoff time.
I don't care who wins or lose at all. It's so obvious that players and managers don't take it seriously so why should fans take it seriously. I will watch for intros and to see if the game is tied and go to extra innings. I personally like to see the game tied and go extra innings. It will be interesting then to see if history repeat itself.
In the 80s and early 90s, I was really into it. AL and NL players hated each other and they wanted to kick butt. The AL never wanted to lose to the NL. I remember a time when the AL was kicking the NL's butt every year and they did not like losing to them either. Ever since 1994 when the NL beat the AL at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, ASG never became the same as far as intensity goes. Tony LaRussa took the All-Star Games seriously. I mean he made the players work and sweat it out for workouts and he made sure that no player dogged it. If it was my way, I would make fans vote for managers to lead each league in the ASG. I would vote for Pinella to manage the AL and LaRussa to manage the NL every year because those two would not treat ASG as exhibition. Those guys would make sure the players work their butts off.
I don't see things changing with the All-Star Game anytime soon. It's just events. I hate All-Star Games for any sport. It's a waste of time. I rather see a respite of no games instead of a All-Star Game for one week.
I totally agree that it is stupid to give home field advantage to the All-Star Game winner. I also donít care who wins or loses. As I said, itís about matchups. And last night, the matchup between left-handed fireballer Billy Wagner, and left-handed slugger Jason Giambi, was a great matchup. Giambi went yard off Wagner. And, we got a close game. The fans had to love that!
But again, to tie it into the World Series just makes no sense. Your idea though on Pinella and LaRussa coaching the team because they wouldnít let the players treat it as an exhibition is the one part I would disagree with you on. I do think it should be an exhibition; an exhibition where players go all out when theyíre in the field, pitching or hitting. But it should be about fun!
By the way, I love the NBA All-Star weekend! And, if youíve watched the game the last couple of years, it is a pretty intensely played game. That double overtime thriller that Wolves forward Kevin Garnett was amazing, and very intense!
Anyway, again, I love hearing from people on baseball. Itís the greatest game. So, e-mail me your thoughts.
Tonight on ESPN at 6 pm Central Time, there is the Alan Durshowitz vs. Johnny Cochran debate on whether Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame. It should be really interesting! We wonít find out any information that we donít already know.
You may be wondering what my thoughts are on the whole Pete Rose thing. I absolutely do not think he should be in the Hall of Fame. He bet on baseball. If there is one thing that baseball concerns itself with, it is the integrity of the game. Thatís why the whole corked-bat thing gets so much attention. But to bet on baseball games is terrible, especially those of which he was managing in, and thatís something that canít be taken lightly. If Joe Jackson is not a Hall of Famer due to his ban from baseball for throwing the 1919 World Series, then Pete Rose should not be either.
A lot of people compare the Pete Rose situation, and think he deserves a second chance, to the situations of the many players who have been suspended for drug use like Steve Howe. Well, there is a huge difference. Iím not saying drugs are good. Obviously theyíre not. But, if that player cleans himself up (as Howe clearly didnít do), they warrant the second chance. But that has nothing to do with the integrity of the game. So that argument doesnít work.
The lone argument that can be made about Pete Rose being in the Hall of Fame that wouldnít bother me too much is if they were to say that for his accomplishments on the field he can be a Hall of Famer. But on his plaque, it needs to point out that he has been banned from baseball AND why! Also, I think that in no way should he ever be allowed to be back on the field in any capacity, as a manager or coach.
Iím interested to see how the issues are presented.
BASKETBALL NEWS -
Today is a big day in the NBA. Free agents can officially sign with their teams. Many of the big signings we already know about. Jason Kidd and Jermaine OíNeal staying with their respective teams. Gary Payton and Karl Malone heading to the Lakers. And other, maybe mid-level type players who could make key contributions for teams will sign as well. It should be very interesting!
The other day, the Wolves brass found out that Juwon Howard was going to sign with the Orlando Magic. That hurt a little bit. But what they found out yesterday was devastating. Center Rasho Nesterovic turned down the Wolves 7 year, $50 million offer, and instead will sign with the San Antonio Spurs for 6 years and $42-$45 million. I guess for the opportunity to compete for an NBA Championship, Rasho made the move. Iím sure the opportunity to play with Tim Duncan factored in too.
Rasho may never be a dominant center in this league. But, how many are there? Shaquille OíNeal, Yao MingÖ who else? I would put Rasho as even, or even ahead of guys like Vlade Divac, Michael Olawakandi, and Brad Miller. So, it will hurt to lose Rasho, especially since their current options are Ervin Johnson and Loren Woods. Uggh!
But there is a little bit of good news to go with this story. Hereís what I wrote yesterday on the subject:
ďThe Wolves offered Rasho Nesterovich a big multi-year deal, but now itís
looking more and more like he will sign with the San Antonio Spurs instead. That would be a big blow to the Wolves! Supposedly, he will decide today. If the Wolves donít sign Rasho, maybe they could convince Michael Oliwakandi to sign for cheap. Not likely!Ē
Iíve been wrong before and will be wrong again. But, after finding out that they lost Rasho Nesterovich, Glen Taylor, Kevin McHale and Flip Saunders flew to Los Angeles and because of it, they were able to convince the Clippers Michael Oliwakandi, the first overall pick in the 1998 draft, to sign with them! He will sign today for the mid-level exception (which is approximately $4.9 million) and they will make it a 3 year deal worth about $16.2 million.
That is a great pickup for the Wolves. He just really wanted to get away from the Clippers. I think he may have scared a lot of people away, thinking he would be looking for big money (and I think he was, just no one was offering it). He hasnít reached his potential, but heís not old yet, heís smart, so I think heíll settle in nicely and fill an important role for the Wolves.
Well, thatís all Iíve got. As always, send me your thoughts on the Twins second half, the All-Star game, Pete Rose and other baseball news or topics, basketball, the Wolves, the Western Conference, or anything else! And, again, send me a quick e-mail just to tell me where in the country you are, and how you came to reading this site. Your thoughts on the site would be greatly appreciated! Have a great day!
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