Bizarro SethSpeaks

29 Apr

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

The Twins were just swept in a day-night double headers by the Tampa Bay Rays. They were swept in the two day, three game series by a combined score of 29-6. It was definitely not a good showing for the hometown nine.

But I have been absolutely amazed by the response by some Twins fans. My assumption (and hope) is that it is the loud minority that has gone a little over the edge. However, I have never seen or heard such irrationality in my eight years of blogging on the Twins. Was it 2006 or 2008 when the Twins went into Detroit early one season and were swept in a three-game series by a combined score that resembled 42-donut (for you Vikings fans out there, just to give you something to ponder today). As I recall, the Twins turned things around soon after that and ended up winning another division title that year.

Listen, I get that every game matters. Yes, the Twins have been in two Game 163s. I know that games in April matter as much as games in September when games are more under the microscope and scrutinized with an even finer comb. Yikes!

I was asked yesterday on twitter why I’m so calm through this rough patch for the Twins. Let me count the reasons. I love baseball and I love the Minnesota Twins, but I have a lot of other stresses in my life that actually do impact me. The Twins could go 1-161 and I would still watch every game that I could, go to games, etc. I am entertained by the game. I am entertained and amazed by the marathon that is a 162 game season. The peaks. The valleys. There are injuries and illnesses and day-to-day events that have to be overcome. In the last five or six years, no team has overcome that as much as the Twins. Generally there are a few. This year, it is all piling up at once which is an entirely different animal. I’m very curious if the Twins will overcome that. But frankly, between work and family and bills and taxes and pets and travel and gas prices and health and, well, I could go on and on, I do have enough other things going on that I will be OK even if the Twins struggle. Think the people in Alabama are too worried today about the Twins, or even the Tide? I hope that all the Elizabethton Twins fans in that area are OK after they experienced some devastating tornadoes in the past few days too. The biggest thing for me is that no matter how much I were to stress about it, I can’t do anything about it.

Is it frustrating? Of course. I want them to succeed and be successful. I think we all do. I say “I think” because I really think that there are some fans out there who want certain players or coaches or the manager to fail. I guess I don’t comprehend that.

I’ve also been asked if I really, truly believe that Ron Gardenhire is a great manager. My answer is now, as it was last year and the year before, that he is one of the best. I don’t know how to measure that. I think Joe Maddon is the best in my mind. Terry Francona is terrific. Mike Scioscia is very good. Gardenhire is clearly in the upper quarter of baseball managers. Sure, I don’t always like his lineup construction. There is his willingness to stand behind some of his ‘favorites’ longer than we would like, which also has been a positive for the Twins on several accounts. But I think that his style over 162 games is as good as anyone in the game.

But I know that there are several out there who seemingly want me to jump ship. They want me to call for the manager’s head. Every coach should be fired. They want me to think that the players are soft and that several should be released. So, here we go… here is a Bizarro SethSpeaks blog:

THE SKY IS FALLING

The Twins got crushed again on Thursday, not once, but twice. They are terrible, and there is no chance for them to turn it around. Sure, their top players, Joe Mauer and Delmon Young are on the DL. So what if the guys who missed a ton of time in 2010 due to injury (Nathan and Morneau) haven’t jumped back into their All-Star form in the first month of the 2011 season. Francisco Liriano is a terrible pitcher. They should have traded him to the Yankees for some peanuts, and if they didn’t take Brian Cashman’s offer of Ivan Nova and Ramiro Pena, someone in the front office should be fired. There is no hope….

I’M BACK

No, I can’t do it. Hopefully you enjoyed my brief walk on the dark side, but that’s not me. If people want to stop reading my site because I’m too positive or not tough enough or won’t call for people’s heads, that’s fine. But I’ve got to be me, and that’s going to  be about staying positive and thinking big picture.

Joe Mauer will be back, and he will return to form. Justin Morneau may not jump to MVP caliber overnight, but it won’t be long until he is back to playing really well. Tsuyoshi Nishioka will be back in a month or so and it will be fun to watch him develop. Jason Kubel and Denard Span have started out well. They may not keep it up the full year, but they certainly could. Delmon Young will be back in a week. Michael Cuddyer will continue to be solid and do whatever the team asks of him. Shortstop will… well, OK, shortstop needs a change for sure. Hopefully that will happen soon. Just a hunch, but Francisco Liriano is not going to have a 9+ ERA for the full season. Carl Pavano will be solid. Brian Duensing has been good. Matt Capps and Glen Perkins have been very good. Jim Hoey might make people forget Jesse Crain. There are guys in the minor leagues who can help when needed. We’ve seen a bunch of them so far. Normally, they call up one or two at a time to help the veterans. They’ve made moves with Rochester like no season before. That’s not normal. Things will return to normal soon. And that means that the Twins will play better ball. There is far too much talent on this team to quit on them before May 1. If they’re playing sub-.400 ball in June 1, I’ll worry a little more. But not yet.

Not yet.

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27 Responses to “Bizarro SethSpeaks”

  1. swol April 29, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    Seth, It is one thing not to jump off the edge but you also need to look at this team realistically. The Twins had lots of questions coming in to 2011 and not all of those questions have been answered satisfactorily. The Twins are a big buck baseball team that is playing very poorly, you have to call a spade a spade. Excuses are for losers, every team has injuries, you have to have the players to over-come the injuries, the Twins have shown they do not have those players at the present time. Look at the standings, no team in the AL has fewer wins than the Twins do and they are already 7 games out. They can’t score runs and their pitching is just so-so, this makes for a bad team right now.

    I agree that there is no need for panic yet….. but the Twins are playing badly and fans have a right to be critical of the hometown nine. Sure we can point at all the injuries, the bad weather, bad luck, playing hot teams, what ever, but the bottom line is that this team is just playing badly right now no matter what excuses team management may make. The fans criticism is sending a message that they care about the Twins and they have high expectation and if they didn’t, do you think they would be doing all this complaining?

    Let’s see what the players and the Twins organization can do over the next few weeks to steer a ship back on course that has suffered some serious rudder damage.

    • Seth April 29, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

      I don’t recall saying that the Twins are playing well… fans care… and I care… I hope no one thinks that just because I don’t whine about everything I don’t care. The key point is not to jump ship. There’s no need to fire, release, all that… let’s let them play things out and see where we are in a month.

    • Grant April 29, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

      Pointing out the injuries to the core of this team isn’t an excuse, it’s an explanation.

      Excuses may be for losers, but turning a blind eye to explanations is for idiot rubes.

      • Seth April 29, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

        This!

  2. gobbledy April 29, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    sure they could still win the central, however, even if everything went 150% right from here on out is this really a team that could impact the playoffs? i just don’t see it, last year i did and they went 3 and out and this team even with everthing going perfect from here on out isn’t as good as last years, imo. if this keeps up i’d think young, kubel, capps and liriano would be on the market in 6 weeks.

    • Seth April 29, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

      could they impact the playoffs the way they’re playing now? Of course not. Could they impact the playoffs if they play well and get in and maybe make a move or two? Of course…

  3. T April 29, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    As I said on Twitter, this team is playing NOW like it did to end the 2010 season. And for some of the same reasons (injuries and soreness keeping players out).

    And as Seth points out, there’s nothing different between this team and the one that started off with friggin’ Mike Lamb and Adam Everett on the left side of the IF and by the end of the year were in a one game playoff with the White Sox.

    It’s a long friggin’ season. But the fandumb being what it is tends to give up at the first sign of trouble (read: when they lost the season opener 13-3) and from then on it’s more important to fire/trade/cut everybody than it is to just cheer for the team.

  4. Kunza April 29, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    I don’t think it matters how good people think a manager is. There comes a time when all managers and coaches have to move on. Every single person I have talked to this spring sounds like they are off the Gardenhire bandwagon. How many years do we give him? Has he earned a lifetime pass on winning division titles?

    • Grant April 29, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

      “How many years do we give him?”

      To do what exactly? He just won manager of the year! If not winning the world series is failure, there are a lot of failures in baseball.

      • Seth April 29, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

        This too!!

  5. SoCalTwinsfan April 29, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    This is a historically bad run of injuries this early in the season. The last time the Red Wings had five players called up in April was 1988 and the Twins have called up seven (one was Swarzak due to the doubleheader), so the Twins are going through a very tough schedule with a ton of players missing. The criticism of the management is not calling up players soon enough. Delmon Young should have been DL’d earlier. Repko should have been DL’d as soon as it was determined he couldn’t play the doubleheader. As long as Mauer doesn’t have to be out more than a couple more weeks and Slowey, Nishioka and Delmon can return as scheduled, the Twins should be fine. They won’t have any more trips to New York or Toronto, where they always struggle to win even when healthy, and the White Sox are only a half-game ahead of the Twins and the Tigers just got swept at home by the Mariners. How would you feel after that? It was just two days ago the Twins had a three-game winning streak, including a sweep of the first-place Indians. Any hands as to those who think the Indians will continue to have the best record in the AL? Didn’t think so. Remember the 2003 Royals?

  6. Matt April 29, 2011 at 11:53 am #

    Is there any way we can make a trade with the Rockies to get Jose Morales back?

    • Seth April 29, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

      Eh… they wouldn’t be winning any more with Jose Morales on the roster. Plus, he would have been gone by now anyway after someone else claimed him. Catchers who hit .280/.290/.290 and catch play defense don’t have much value.

  7. rover27 April 29, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    “But frankly, between work and family and bills and taxes and pets and travel and gas prices and health and, well, I could go on and on, I do have enough other things going on that I will be OK even if the Twins struggle.”

    You’re worried about taxes? They haven’t been this low on the federal level since 1950. If you haven’t noticed, except for the top 2%ers in the early 90s, we’ve had nothing but tax cut after tax cut for 30 years. Where do you think the vast majority of our current deficit and National Debt come from?

    And income tax at the state level hasn’t been this low in decades. Now if you’re talking property taxes, you have a point. But why do you think regressive property taxes have been going up over the past 10 years? It’s because you cut state income taxes and put the burden on local governments.

    • Seth April 29, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

      I’m good with all those things… got some of my own things… not necessarily for blog mention…

  8. R Hobbs April 29, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    Gardy is the same guy he was last year for better or worse. The better part is he is a player’s manager where I am sure all they guys like him and want to play hard for him. The ugly side is that he is blindly loyal to “his boys” (witness the interminable Punto years)and is one of the worst strategic skippers in the game. For instance, his use of the bench in late game situations seemingly is grounded in a third grade soccer participation ethos rather than anything logical or mathematical. (You could play a drinking game on Matt Tolbert running for Thome). This is exacerbated by the fact that he was preceded by Tom Kelly, who was a grand chess master. Forget the insufferable and braying Jack Morris; Tom Kelly was the MVP of the ’91 World Series. Lest, I seem too harsh, in sum I think Gardy was and is a bit above average. Which re-enforces the point that his best manager award last year over Ron Washington is worthy of a Congressional investigation. With respect to the local nine; health will fix a lot. The shortstop situation is untenable. Lastly, I would give Liriano one more start before I fetch Mr. Gibson.

  9. Moe April 29, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    Thanks Seth, this is exactly the reason I started loving your blog in the first place. My favorite reaction is from Twins fans that say that this is completely unacceptable. Like they have any say in the matter.

    Go Twins.

  10. mike wants wins April 29, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

    Tampa lost Crawford, their entire bullpen, their 1B and are playing w/o Longoria. They are winning. Injuries and player losses are a lame excuse. Either the team is good, or it isn’t. Right NOW, they are not good. Could they be in the future? Sure, and I think they’ll be better than this. But I’m now down to 85 wins on the season.

    • Seth April 29, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

      You’ve mentioned this, I believe, in about the last week or so of Twins blogs… Like I wrote, I think Maddon is the best. I also think that it speaks to the Rays depth as compared to the Twins depth. That is a front office thing, not the manager though. The manager can only play the guys that he has available to him.

      And again, I am already dropping my prediction from 94-89, so I’m not saying they’re playing well right now.

      • mike wants wins April 29, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

        I agree, this is not a manager issue. This is a front office issue (mostly).

      • mike wants wins April 29, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

        We’ve both dropped our prediction by 5/6 wins….not a good sign.

      • Ed Bast April 30, 2011 at 9:26 am #

        This season so far is on the front office first and the players second. Can’t really fault Gardy, except that he’s getting the worst out of his players, and everyone loves to praise him for “getting the best out of his guys”, so to be fair that should be pointed out.

        Bill Smith needs to fix this mess. Here’s a guy who took the largest payroll in team history and got worse in the offseason. That’s hard to do. He needs to fix it.

  11. Han Joelo April 29, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

    Great post, Seth. With you all the way. Speaking of taxes and bills and whatnot, one of the reasons I like baseball is that it works for me as a metaphor for life. There are days or months or whatever when our (my family’s) financial/overall situation looks kind of bleak, and often my better half is frustrated and wants to do something NOW! But you can’t always do that–you just plug away and optimistically assume things will balance out.

    If I–and the Twins–didn’t have a track record that proves this out, I would get more stressed. But I’ve always managed to pull through, and the Twins usually do as well.

    That being said, sometimes I’ve found that pulling the trigger on a semi-major shakeup in my life has worked wonders. If there is one thing Twins Management has done well at, it has been mid-season shakeups–even if it means giving up a valued prospect like Ramos or something. Kind of like when I ditched class for a couple of days years ago to go on a trip where I met a friend of a friend of a friend who helped land me a job in Antarctica.

  12. Jesse H April 29, 2011 at 9:30 pm #

    I have been reading your blog for many years now and enjoy the thought put into the articles and your minor league info but the main thing I get frustrated at is your lack of providing metrics as to when Gardy may have to go. I agree that any thought of a midseason firing is silly but I have asked in the past on comments as to how many consecutive postseason games he can lose before he must be fired. I state that the answer is 18 which gives him 2 more postseason chances to figure something out. I am asking you this question knowing you are positive, how many consecutive postseason losses can the Twins have under Gardy until he needs to be fired? I would appreciate an actual number. Thanks!

  13. mike wants wins April 29, 2011 at 9:54 pm #

    Please cut Butera now. Negative .3 WAR before the throwing error. He is, along with Casilla (who is batting 2nd by the MoY for some reason), one of the worst MLB ever.

  14. USAFChief April 30, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

    “Eh… they wouldn’t be winning any more with Jose Morales on the roster. Plus, he would have been gone by now anyway after someone else claimed him. Catchers who hit .280/.290/.290 and catch play defense don’t have much value.”

    1. They might have won one more game last night.

    2. If he ‘don’t have much value’ why would someone else claim him? Could it be that he does, after all, have some value? At least more value than a catcher who hits .100/.100/.100?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Looking For Distractions » Knuckleballs - "Like butterflies with hiccups" - April 30, 2011

    […] not jumping on the “fire, trade and release everyone” bandwagon that Seth Stohs did a great job of debunking in his recent post over at SethSpeaks.net. As miserable as the month of April has been for the Twins, it is after all just one of six months […]

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