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Inventory

September 29, 2014 12:23 PM

So, it's time to take stock, right? OK, here goes.

Earlier this week my mom began cleaning up the garden that she tended so lovingly in our yard this summer. It was beautiful beyond just the love she put into it, but there are now four bags of yard waste out behind our garage. Victoria's garden section by our back door, every bit as beautiful, has also been returned to bare dirt.

We've already picked the one tiny, perfect pumpkin which resulted from Truman's seed-planting experiment. (His bean plant didn't survive the transfer from plastic cup to garden.) He was more excited than can be fully captured here, and followed the pumpkin's progress almost daily after it was discovered hiding beneath a big leaf. It will probably take a scalpel, but he's determined that it be turned into a jack-o-lantern.

If everything goes as planned, tomorrow I will remove the last of our window air conditioners. I've already put the grill to bed (we're out of charcoal), and likely mowed the lawn for the last time. Patio furniture will go into the garage next, at which point I'll realize again that I never did get the hammock out into the yard this year like I hoped. The bikes and scooters will be wedged in a little tighter, and the sleds will come to the front of the stack.

I rediscovered my scraper/brush in the trunk of my car the other day, and took a long second look at the bags of ice melt stacked just inside the hardware store's front door. I'm not ready, I decided.

My baseball card collection for 2014 is not quite complete yet. I'm at the point where whatever I buy at a store will be mostly doubles, and it may be time to fill out the remainder of my set with a strategic eBay purchase. I don't usually buy baseball cards, but this year they took the place of those statistical analysis/prediction books I usually buy in March, mostly because those books have gotten so serious and boring.

For about a minute, when I discovered the yellow-bordered Yasiel Puig card, I thought maybe there was some financial future in baseball cards. That card sold for $10 on eBay, as did a red foil Xander Bogaerts. (I'm still holding a numbered uniform patch card from a Brewer named Jean Segura.) In the end, however, it looked more like gambling than entrepreneurship. The pleasure of completing the set will have to be the reward.

Truth be told, the greatest reward in that particular activity, and one of the great baseball moments of the season for me, was when Truman opened a package and joyfully proclaimed that he'd found a Twin! I asked who it was. Joe Mauer? Glen Perkins? TC Bear? (I truthfully ran out of possible players after those two names came to mind.)

He still gets the logos a little confused, and I could see across the desk that it was an Astros card. So, without looking too closely, I tried to let him down easily. But he insisted, and then pointed to a tiny M-logo. Sure enough. And I probably would never have spotted that myself.

Would you have spotted that Twin? When you were five years old?

One of my other great baseball moments came at the annual Fiesta de Beisbol, hosted by our friend Mike (known as 'fiesta' around these parts).

The event starts with an all-ages game at the park down the street from his home, and I got to face a kid who could really pitch -- and was taking the whole thing very seriously.

His heat was probably in the 50s, and he was getting it over the plate. I was able to foul off a couple and then knocked a clean single right over his head (which turned into a bases-clearing homer, as often happens in such games).

When you don't play a lot, which I don't, it's easy to forget what that kind of contact feels like, and it's a great feeling (wooden bat, of course). What's more, I was reminded that hitting is really a form of deflection. The more energy the pitch has in it, the more there is to deflect. So the goal is not to absorb any of the energy, and maybe even add some. Deflecting a pitch in the 90s must be a total rush.

I told the kid he was needed down at Target Field. (Only half joking.)

And with that, I suppose it's time to take stock of the Twins in 2014. 70-92. Last place. Pretty stinky.

Actually, in all truthfulness, it feels a little like 2000 all over again. If you look back at the 2000 roster, a lot of the pieces that would make for a great decade were already there and maturing in front of our eyes.

I remember that Tom Kelly was on the ropes. Many people called for him to quit or be fired after that year (69-93), his fourth with 90 or more losses. But he was unwilling to quit in the middle of all that losing, and I don't blame him. He wanted to see the boys turn a corner, and somehow he made it through that off-season. 2001, as we all remember, was a breath of fresh air. A corner was, in fact, turned. Only then did Kelly yield up his seat on the bench.

Maybe I'm just wanting to be hopeful right now. I don't like the thought of another year like this. Much of my summer was spent watching Dr. Who with my kids instead of Twins games.

Don't get me wrong: I love Dr. Who. But science fiction should be for passing time in the off-season! With the Twins losing, we're probably going to run out of new episodes long before spring training!

But I digress.

I'm sympathetic to Ron Gardenhire's lot. Really, this mess isn't his fault. Or even Rick Anderson's.

But I keep coming back to a time, long ago, when I worked in middle management for a large local corporation. (Shudder.)

You see, this company was pretty profitable, and had a CEO who, though not exactly charismatic, was competent, even excellent at times. Everybody who worked there was happy, and knew their jobs pretty well. The place was running smoothly, and the culture was stable and predictable, and the money kept rolling in until...

Unexpectedly, the company was sold. And the new owner was not satisfied with letting things run the way they always had. He had ideas. He had goals. He wanted more, more, more. Overnight, the culture of the company changed from one of contentment and happy money-making to one of chaos. And uncertainty. And fear. And, well, excitement.

This new owner quickly replaced all of the upper management, and then started working his way down. We got new directives, new goals, new strategies, new priorities. New ideas began to surface and permeate everything we did. Everything we had ever known was thrown out the window. It was very unsettling, and at first no one could understand why things needed to change. The money had been good. The work had been pleasant and productive. The company was successful and had been running so smoothly.

But to our great surprise, with the same exact front-line employees, under new leadership, the company took a big jump in profitability. Within a few years it was virtually unrecognizable from its former self, and was enjoying successes on a scale not even imagined under the former management regime.

It turned out that there had been a problem, but no one saw it. Contentment with a certain level of success had set in, and constancy, which had seemed like an asset in the company's culture, turned out to be an enemy. Had the shake up not taken place, we might never have known that anything greater was even possible.

It's not a perfect analogy to the Minnesota Twins, of course.

But I look at that list of players up at the top of this page, add to it in my head Revere, Morneau, Cuddyer, Gomez, Ortiz, and I shake my head. I think of Joe Mauer and shake my head. Did our management guys get everything out of these players that was possible? Or did they give up too quickly, try to fit round pegs into square holes, or simply not imagine opportunities that might have been there? Or did constancy just win out?

For some of those names, it's easy to see why they left the Twins. And it's possible that some of them benefited simply from a change of scenery. And some of them still aren't very good, but happen to be in just the right place at the right time. But I've thought long and hard about this, and I wonder if the scenery inside the Twins baseball operation has become too static. Constancy may, in fact, be the enemy right now.

This is not to say that there's anything wrong with what anyone is doing specifically right now. Remember, the original CEO of the company I worked for had been reasonably good at his job. But I've started to wonder if Gardy and Andy are that guy. I've started to wonder if what these players need most in order to reach their full potential is a new set of eyes looking at them, a new set of voices cajoling them, a new set of directives, and goals, and strategies, and priorities.

Maybe players tell no tales when they leave a team. Then again, maybe when Torii Hunter says publicly that the Twins are "always about next year" that creates waves which ripple quietly out into the industry until they dissipate on the shores of other players and their agents.

Maybe, in addition to shaking up the culture within the organization, now is the time to make a bold statement to the rest of the baseball world, to hire someone unexpected, someone who speaks Spanish, someone with fire and a few new ideas, someone who likes striking out opposing hitters and hates the whole insane notion of "pitching to contact."

I'm going to stop this post now, because I just saw a headline that Gardy's been fired.

More inventory to come...

Oh, and be sure to make your playoff predictions!

Comments


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Gardenhire fired, according to multiple reports. My early vote is for Molitor

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 12:20 PM by antifire Highlight this comment 1

Gardy Gone!!!! I have mixed feelings about that but I DO want pitching coach Rick Anderson gone! Hopefully he goes as well. I would like to see Paul Molitor in there and hire some bench coaches who will light a fire under these "Oh well we lost 6-1 who wants to play cards in thclubhouse and listen to some tunes?" guys.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 12:22 PM by Uffda Highlight this comment 2

ST reporting Gardy out as Twins manager. No final word on Anderson or Ullger, just that Ryan will be talking to them later today. Clicky

Gardy - thanks for the time put in here. It's been a rough few years and time to move on, but I have appreciated watching you run the Twins dugout.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 12:22 PM by Stevie B Highlight this comment 3

Entire coaching staff not returning! Wow!

This doesn't mean that Molitor or Steinbach can interview for the managerial job and hire their own staffs if hired as manager.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 12:26 PM by Mike (aka Mike) Highlight this comment 4

Gardenhire didn't, so far as I know, make those horrible personel decisions that led to the debacle of the last four years. Twins fans were left watching Pedro Florimon hit .150 while J.J. Hardy was in Baltimore making All-Star teams. We watched utility infielders play the outfield while Cuddyer, Span and Revere have thrived elsewhere. We watched the $48 million man put up an ERA that only Sidney Ponson could love. It may be an apocryphal story but Joe McCarthy is reputed to have said that in looking at the record, he concluded he was a much better manager on the days when Joe DiMaggio was playing centerfield.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 12:50 PM by terry Highlight this comment 5

I'm with you to a point, terry. But I keep hearing that those personnel decisions -- things like who is available for trade, or who needs to go -- are made by the entire baseball operations staff, on-field management included.

So I don't think those are either all Gardenhire failures or all Ryan failures. They are team failures.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 1:01 PM by Rick 6

I wouldn't mind seeing Joe Madden get the Twins manager job. I wonder how long his contract in Tampa Bay is for...

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 1:02 PM by F_T_K Highlight this comment 7

Maybe they should go out and get the anti-Gardenhire: Ozzie Guillen.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 1:02 PM by Rick 8

While I would love Joe Maddon to be lured north, I don't see that happening. What do people think about the idea of Mientkiewicz as manager? I saw that floated by one of the Strib bloggers last month.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 1:03 PM by fiesta Highlight this comment 9

Great minds, F_T_K!

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 1:04 PM by fiesta Highlight this comment 10

Candidates from within would certainly have to include Mientkiewicz (which I can still spell by singing that jingle in my head), Gene Glynn (AAA manager, whose sister is my kids' principal!), and Molitor.

But I would have to think that this is a moment to go outside the organization. Maybe Mike Redmond will be available.

And the point from Reusse about needing a spanish-speaker is very valid. You're not a full coach to someone if there's a language barrier or translator between you.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 1:17 PM by Rick 11

I want to echo Rick's comment in that many of those personnel decisions were made with Ron Gardenhire's input. Ron Gardenhire was very influential in some of those personnel decisions.

Gardenhire threw Rick Stelmazcek and Jerry White under the bus two years ago when he was told to shake up his staff and simply reassigned Ullger to 3B coach.

Love him or hate him, there was a need for a cultural change in the Minnesota Twins clubhouse. It's time to start fresh again.

Need to develop a culture to hold players more accountable. I don't care if you have a sore wrist, you are playing today. I don't care if you are at 100 pitches, you are going out to pitch the 8th or 9th inning. I am not saying they need a full disciplinarian, but they need more than a "players coach"...

You always hear players talk about how much they love playing for Gardenhire, but you rarely hear anyone say anything in regards to respect of Gardenhire.

Definite need for a culture change.

Keep your eyes on Paul Molitor, Terry Steinbach (if Arizona does not hire him as their manager), Doug Mientkiewicz, Mike Redmond and Gene Glynn.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 1:25 PM by Mike (aka Mike) Highlight this comment 12

Mike brings up another point worth addressing: The Twins medical staff may also need a shake-up. They seem to misdiagnose things, or at least misdiagnose the severity of things, more often than happens with other teams.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 1:36 PM by Rick 13

It was a nice run for Mr Whipple. No way to the naked walking Red Dog! It will be Molly or Dave Martinez as your new Mgr. You heard it here first folks!

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 1:42 PM by Twinkfan Highlight this comment 14

Bi-lateral leg weakness...

Medical staff can go.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 2:02 PM by jared Highlight this comment 15

The email to season ticket holders:

With the 2014 season now complete, we'd like to take this opportunity to address news that Ron Gardenhire will not return as Manager of the Minnesota Twins. As a season ticket holder you remain among our most valued fans and we felt it was important to share perspective surrounding this decision and the direction of the franchise.

The Twins organization – and many of our fans - approached 2014 with hope and optimism surrounding the team's ability to take a significant step forward in restoring the ballclub's winning tradition. While several on-field positives emerged, our efforts failed to produce meaningful improvement in terms of the ultimate measuring stick – our win-loss record. The end result was disappointing for everyone associated with the Twins, and most importantly - our fans.

As the organization prepares for 2015, we have spent a great deal of time with Terry Ryan re-evaluating every aspect of our baseball operation. This comprehensive evaluation, which is ongoing, led us to collectively determine a managerial change is in the best interest of the franchise. Rest assured, this was not an easy decision, especially considering what Ron Gardenhire has meant to the Minnesota Twins. Since joining the organization in 1987, few people can match the overall positive impact Gardy has had on Twins Territory. His baseball acumen and leadership were central to six division titles, the development of countless players and a well-earned reputation as one of the game's best managers. Off the field, few people in Minnesota sports history have built a more authentic connection within our community – and countless worthy causes – than Ron and Carol Gardenhire. With that commitment and success in mind, we are hopeful that Ron will remain with the Twins organization and continue to have the ability to help make our team – and our community – better.

As of today, we have commenced a search for a new manager. We are committed to vetting many internal and external candidates with the sole intent of finding the right person to help restore our winning culture and ultimately lead our major league club back to contention. As the managerial search process unfolds, our front office is also focused on our roster. We believe the current mix of veterans and emerging players shows promise. That said, we need to continue to explore all avenues with hopes of accelerating the path to success.

Finally, we'd like to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU. We are grateful for your ongoing dedication and support of Twins baseball. Everyone across Twins Territory deserves a competitive, winning major league team. Please know we are working harder than ever to ensure you have a team you can be proud of – both on and off the field of play. We look forward to seeing you back at Target Field again in 2015.

Win Twins!!!

Jim Pohlad
Owner & CEO

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 2:37 PM by Jfh Highlight this comment 16

Good letter. But if they're going to keep Gardy around for something else, it will be essential to keep him out of the new manager's view and off the field in Florida. And, as hard as this is to say, the same probably goes for TK.

Time for a clean slate -- completely clean. No ghosts of regimes past.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 2:47 PM by Rick 17

The second and last paragraphs I think they just copied/pasted from end of season letter to STHs from 2011, 2012, 2013 and just changed the year. I guess its better than letter sent end of year to KC Royals sth fans from 1986-2013.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 3:11 PM by Uffda Highlight this comment 18

Today's ST reported that Redmond received an extension from the Marlins, so he is staying put there.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 3:17 PM by Stevie B Highlight this comment 19

I think too many players have left this organization and found success elsewhere and too many players who have flourished elsewhere have failed here. On this blog we all know who they are over past few years so will not go into them. But what is starting to happen is players who leave here questioning the way things are done coaching/directional wise w/ this organization and the coaching staff/ organization either gets defensive or puts a positve spin on things. Latest o in Strib reported that Torii Hunter now went public stating the Twins front office "is always about next year" and never in a win now way of thinking. Many who post on this blog dont really find that a a huge surprise since we echo the same thoughts but hearing that from a former player from Twins that should resonate a little more. I agree clean house and let the new manager pick his staff-one that is more interested in lighting a fire under their @sses than playing cards after each loss. 90 plus losses 4 years in a row something more than the 1st base coach (White) and bullpen coach (Stelly) had to be replaced. Now it has- the band aid has been ripped off. Let the healing begin!......of course w/ a new manager Ryan will be able to create (another) 4 year plan and ask the fans to be patient and understanding that there will be some growing pains.

Posted on September 29, 2014 at 6:05 PM by Uffda Highlight this comment 20

My vote for Gardy's replacement would be Ozzie Guillén. He would be the best qualified to end the "Twins Way". Anyone within the organization will not produce much change, and change is what is really needed.

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 01:18 AM by Dave Highlight this comment 21

Oh, and we now know what the marketing hype will be to bring back fans.

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 01:35 AM by Dave Highlight this comment 22

Rick, you forgot to add the Oakland A's and Nick Punto to your former list of Twins players in the postseason. You could also add Sam Fuld considering he was with the Twins earlier this year.

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 07:34 AM by Mike Highlight this comment 23

Good catch!

I looked for Punto specifically and he wasn't there when I was putting the list together...

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 07:40 AM by Rick 24

Oh, and I should have said in the post that I might have blinked and missed guys like Fuld. If anybody sees any others, please let me know.

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 07:42 AM by Rick 25

Anyone notice how Terry Ryan got a little defensive when pressed on whether the Twins would go internal or external for candidates based on their history of promoting from within...he was very quick to emphasize they would seek the BEST candidate regardless of whether or not they are from the organization.

Ryan was also questioned about the "Twins Way" and was very quick to shoot that down as well saying there is no such thing as the Twins Way and it was more a matter of the right way.

I thought it was odd that Terry Ryan said Gardenhire was offered another position within the organization but yet Gardenhire said he has not had any discussions with Ryan regarding any such position at this time.

Gardy made it pretty clear he is not burnt out by any means and would like to continue to manage so it wouldn't surprise me one bit if he moves on from the Twins organization. On the other hand, I can see him sitting around for a year or two as well. I think the only managerial openings right now are in Texas and Arizona.

I will say Gardenhire has always been a class act and what a classy guy to come to a press conference like that knowing it will not be easy. He did a lot of good things over the last 13 years but ultimately it comes down to wins and losses. It is time for a new voice in the dugout. Many of the players were becoming too comfortable under him and not producing they way they should be.

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 07:45 AM by Mike (aka Mike) Highlight this comment 26

Pedro Florimon is with the Nationals don't see that listed on here.

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 08:33 AM by Leroy Highlight this comment 27

It seems that a lot of the personnel moves of recent years have been made to address a perceived need at that moment and without due regard to the long term consequences, e.g. when Joe Nathan had TJ surgery, they traded their top prospect, Wilson Ramos, for a guy they saw as a closer, Matt Capps. When they felt they needed an outfielder RIGHT NOW, they traded Garza and Bartlet for Delmon Young,an outfielder who carried more red flags than a May Day parade. When they lost virtually their entire bullpen to free agency, they traded J.J. Hardy for a bullpen guy named Hoey who couldn't find the strike zone with a road map. These were all trades made for the moment and not for the long term health of the ballclub. Those are the kind of trades usually dictated by the field manage, whereas the general manager should be taking a broader, long-term view. So you are right Rick, Gardenhire probably deserves a share of the blame for those personnel decisions.

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 09:39 AM by terry Highlight this comment 28

Well, Ozzie would certainly make thing interesting. But no way do the Twins hire him. I think it would be a good move, but I don't see the FO making that kind of bold move.

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 10:44 AM by Jfh Highlight this comment 29

I had to pick the I-70 World Series.
I regret not seeing that Series in 1985, although I know a great deal of how that WS went down.
Not sure if Don Denkinger is even still alive (I think he is) and how ironic would it be to put him in as first base ump in Game 6, just like in 1985.
Of course THAT would be the worst thing ever for a Cards fan. I STILL don't think St Louis has forgiven him for that call in 1985.
Incidentally, the last time the Royals showed up in the WS was the last time Minneapolis hosted the ASG. Coincidence? ??

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 12:53 PM by luke Highlight this comment 30

What is the timing, Rick, on your "Inventory" entry in regards to the Gardy et al house cleaning? I like to think that Terry read your piece and thought to himself, 'you know, Rick's right. There is a problem and I [finally] see it.'

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 1:15 PM by DeePee Highlight this comment 31

I think Jim Pohlad got a call from FSN about loss of viewership/sponsorship and that's what did it. If they team gave a rat's ass about what fans think something would have been done 2 - 3 years ago.

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 1:28 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 32

It would be cool to have that type (or any type) of influence, but I was still drafting the post when the news broke. That said, the Twins monitor media -- all types -- like crazy. You never know when something posted here will be seen by influential eyes...

I wrote most of this post on Sunday night, and decided to sleep on it before publishing. Then I started polishing yesterday morning -- a process I never really finished because I had this weird thought cross my mind, sort of a psychic sense, that if the Twins were actually going to fire Gardy, they would be doing it right then as I was typing. So I switched tabs on my browser, refreshed the page, and saw the headline at pretty much the exact moment it went up on the Strib site.

I thought, "Well, this post is going to be pretty pointless unless I click 'Publish' right now." I have my share of those left in the 'Draft' folder, and, not wanting to start from scratch, I just went with what I had at that moment.

What surprised me yesterday was how surprised and dismayed some commenters seemed on other sites. In fact, that seemed to be the overall reaction from the majority of people I read.

I was neither surprised nor dismayed. And, as I suggested above, the whole thing feels right to me, if a little sad. Aaron Gleeman was also pretty dry-eyed about it, too, as was most of the national media, which seemed (after the fact) to have seen this coming.

I've thought Molitor was the heir apparent for a long time, and Souhan reported yesterday that some of the players want him. But I really hope they poke around a bit and make sure the fit is right -- and more importantly that he wasn't absorbed into the old culture during the 2014 season.

Whoever gets that job needs to be a genuine shock to the Twins system in order to have maximum effect. The only knock against Molitor is that he may no longer be able to provide that shock.

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 1:57 PM by Rick 33

I would like to see a beltway series. Make things really interesting between the O's and Nats.

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 2:16 PM by gus munger Highlight this comment 34

If too many players on this club want Molitor than I dont think that is a good fit. I think Molitor should be retained as a coach but not necessarily the manager. The one knock I could see on Molitor is he appears too soft spoken and a "players coach". From what I have read from reports in the locker room is that the culture within the clubhouse has become one without leadership or accountability. Some of them know they will be in starting lineup no matter what they do day in day out. Hicks it was reported wasnt even looking at scouting reports on pitchers he was going to face. he dilly dallied over whether or not he was going to be a switch hitter. And he was allowed to do so. No one really b*tched him out for either-and for someone batting around the Mendoza line for 2 years that is unacceptable. It is not always necessary to have a coach who will lay into players but this particular group needs it. Mauer has proven he isnt going to be a leader on this team. I cant think of anyone that is. This team needs a spanking in the worst way-they are too contrite and ho hum about status quo.

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 2:29 PM by Uffda Highlight this comment 35

Lester vs Shields tonight! I got the A's!

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 2:48 PM by Twinkfan Highlight this comment 36

Just clicked on Paul Molitor's bio on the Twins website and got the message: We're sorry, this staff bio is being updated. Please check back later.

I wouldn't read too much into it, by why would you be "updating" bios if none of the coaches are being brought back....just makes me wonder if the decision has already been made?? Like I said, I wouldn't read too much into it, but it makes you wonder in this day of technology.

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 3:15 PM by Mike Highlight this comment 37

Non-Twins (sort of I guess). Non-TF. Non-Gardy post...
But apparently FCC has lifted the "blackout" rules, at least in part. Sounds like the NFL keeps theirs.
Good thing? Bad thing? Who cares kind of thing?
Clicky.

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 3:22 PM by luke Highlight this comment 38

Vikings and Packers game being shown on the Target Field Station video board. Wonder how many people show up for that.

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 10:23 PM by Leroy Highlight this comment 39

I doubt many will show for that game Leroy. Supposed to be rain and cold on Thursday! I will sit in front of my 55 inch HD at home! A's blow a 7-3 lead and kick that game away last night! Almost 5 hours!FCOL!

Posted on October 1, 2014 at 08:42 AM by Twinkfan Highlight this comment 40

Interesting to hear the timeline and your methodology for your posts, Rick. I think the word is out that BPM is one of the premo, untainted forums for gauging the pulse of Twins fans that aren't focused entirely on the endless "inside baseball" player and team stats, but more so for the all around enrichment of the fan experience. To that extent, this site is invaluable and carries quite a bit more weight than you may think.

Posted on October 1, 2014 at 09:49 AM by DeePee Highlight this comment 41

That was a great game last night. It certainly reminded me of being at 163 and how exciting Twins baseball once was.

Going on to be Gardenhired in the first round is another story.

Posted on October 1, 2014 at 10:24 AM by jctwins Highlight this comment 42

12 inning playoff games on work nights are hard on morning punctuality.

Posted on October 1, 2014 at 12:33 PM by terry Highlight this comment 43

I wish I had seen the end of that game. I was worried my playoff prediction and the one I made in the BPM Playoff Challenge would be dead before the playoffs even got started.
Go Royals! Let's do 1985 all over again.

Posted on October 1, 2014 at 12:38 PM by luke Highlight this comment 44

With the Royals win last night, your Minnesota Twins are now #5 on the list of longest stretch without a postseason win...

1. Toronto 1993
2. Seattle 2001
3. Miami 2003
Cubs 2003
5. Minnesota 2004

Posted on October 1, 2014 at 12:38 PM by Mike Highlight this comment 45

THat was a very exciting game last night and Royals fans have waited a looooong time for something like this. Back and forth it went. Funny-the play by play calling in this pins and needles game reminded me of the play calling Dick Bremer does when Twins are 20 games under .500 losing 6-0 and Ploufe hits a HR in 9th to make it 6-1.... Bremer- "AND THERE'S A DEEEEEEP FLY BALL TO RIGHT!!! PLOUFE!!!!!! #14!!!! AND HERE COME THE TWINS!!!!!!! and it's six to ONE (fill in name of opposing team)" ..... at least Ray Christiansen had a knack for making a 48-13 loss by Gophers to Iowa SOUND dramatic and interesting. Bremer it just makes me shake my head.

Posted on October 1, 2014 at 12:40 PM by Uffda Highlight this comment 46

I do wish they would change the Wild Card matchup to a 3-game series. A Game 163 to determine a division or postseason berth is one thing, but to get to the postsseason and have it over in one day isn't right. (And it's not just because my Cleveland team fell to the Rays in WC last year.)

Posted on October 1, 2014 at 12:41 PM by fiesta Highlight this comment 47

fiesta - I agree completely. I like the addition of the wild card team, but they need to make it best of 3. I know they want to emphasize winning the division, but it's not football where you only play 16 games. This is MLB and you play 162 games over 6 months.

If you have to shorten the regular season by a few games to accomodate the "wild card round" then I am all for that. I am not sure how the logistics would work, but I think every wild card team deserves at least one home game.

For the division winners, they would essentially get an all-star type of break with 4 days off. Would also allow them to set up their postseason rotations and such.

I am sure a best-of-three wild card round is coming sooner rather than later. Just wait until it's the Yankees, Red Sox, Mets or Phillies that lose the one-game wild card then MLB will be all over it to change it.

Posted on October 1, 2014 at 1:15 PM by Mike (aka Mike) Highlight this comment 48

Thought you all would be interested to hear some ESPN talking heads rabble rabble over the Twins and Gardy's move. Linky.

Posted on October 1, 2014 at 1:25 PM by jared Highlight this comment 49

I do agree that the front office has made some mind boggling decisions but Gardy did have to go. 6-21 in playoffs including 0-12 las 3 series is just unacceptable. Of course they cant control who they play but I jsut dont see it is coincidence that when the AL Central had 3 teams that sucked including Detroit who lost clsoe to 120 games one year that the Twins were winning 90 games a year. I think those stats were somewhat deceiving when u looked at our record vs other divisions. It was sort of like Glen Mason talking about his overall record at U but if you looked at games vs Big 10 teams (and then at record vs Big 10 teams not named Indiana, Purdue, Illinois)the record didnt look so good. For Mason it was non Big 10 games that inflated his record and for Gardy it was gamesvs AL Central when 3 of the teams sucked and we played them 17-19 times a year EACH that inflated their record. I think 6-21 and 0 for last 12 in playoffs was a truer reflection of our team. The Twins of 1987 were only 85-77 but I think I would take them over our 95 plus win teams in mid 2000's. The divisions were differnet then and we didnt play our own division so many times- even tho they only won 85 games they were playing other teams in the AL more often.

Posted on October 1, 2014 at 1:47 PM by Uffda Highlight this comment 50

I disagree about expanding the wild card games. I don't like one game determining the path of one team, but I preferred the old East/West divisional winners system over this, so to add more games only dilutes the playoffs even further.

Posted on October 1, 2014 at 1:50 PM by jctwins Highlight this comment 51

I, too, had wished that the WC series was 3 games rather than one-and-done, but then I re-evaluated it. If you want to play in a playoff series then either win the Wild Card game or WIN YOUR DIVISION. Besides, games like the one last night can feed some momentum going into the playoff series(es). So I would leave it as it is. Bud may have actually gotten this one right.

TTH

Posted on October 1, 2014 at 2:50 PM by TheTruthHurts Highlight this comment 52

I don't like the one-and-done wild card playoffs, but on the other hand, MLB can't keep stretching the post-season out indefinitely. I can remember trick or treating on too many freezing cold Halloweens as a kid to think that night baseball at the end of October and beginning of November is a good idea. If they expand the post-season, they should shorten the regular season. I don't see MLB and TV doing that because it would mean fewer pay dates. Maximizing the number of pay dates is why traditional doubleheaders have gone the way of the dinosaurs.

Posted on October 1, 2014 at 2:53 PM by terry Highlight this comment 53

TTH makes a good point, either win the Wild Card game or win the Division outright. It's sort of the same concept of the "play-in" games in the NCAA BBall tournament. 8 teams play for 2 #16 seeds and 2 #11 seeds. Of course now it's labeled the "First Four". Just more money in the NCAA's pocket. Just more coverage for CBS affiliates to show March Madness. Sort of the same thing, if you want IN the NCAA Bball tourney, win your conference. Conference winners are automatic slots in the field of 64.

Posted on October 1, 2014 at 3:45 PM by luke Highlight this comment 54

If the playoffs are such big money makers, lets just end the season in june and have July through October the playoffs!

I agree, the biggest joke are these "play in" games that are being added. I get the feeling that the MLB saw the Twins have crazy game 163s and decided to try to cash in (of course giving all credit to the Twins for the addition of the play in game:P).

My belief on football and basketball though is that the NCAA didn't want to deal with the whining of teams that "think they should have made it in to such and such game" and finally came up with a way to cash in on it and get the whiners to shut up at the same time. Too bad that "next man up" now becomes the whiner being shut out. I don't think it solves anything.

Not to mention the fact that if you are having 16 seeds in each region but your new play ins are for a mid seed, in theory, they should be better than your 13-16 seeds, so why are they not in the tourney again and the 13-16s are in? (I know many excuses, so its rhetorical for the board)

At this rate we might as well just give every team a spot and let it play out, give everyone a participation medal and send everyone home with an ice cream cone then let them immediately go pro at whatever age they want. Thus diluting it as much as possible now and put us out of this agony of discussing it ad nauseum year after year.

/cynical rant

Posted on October 1, 2014 at 4:05 PM by jared Highlight this comment 55

Sorry I meant to post this too. Molly interviewing. Not that it should surprise anyone. Linky.

Posted on October 1, 2014 at 4:07 PM by jared Highlight this comment 56

I'd be shocked - SHOCKED - if the Twins went with somebody who has never had a tie to the organization.

TTH

Posted on October 1, 2014 at 7:06 PM by TheTruthHurts Highlight this comment 57

I was surprised to learn today that Gene Glynn is fluent in Spanish and regularly manages winter ball in Venezuela. That might give him an edge on Molitor.

Posted on October 1, 2014 at 7:58 PM by Rick 58

While a WC play-in game would tend to disrupt a play-off team's pitching rotation to a degree (Burn the #1 starter; start the divisional round with #2), a three-game series might prevent that from happening, and prevent the divisional winner from having more of an advantage that merely home-field advantage.

That said, I prefer the one game play-in; if you're going to slip in under the wire, there needs to be a handicap.

Posted on October 1, 2014 at 9:55 PM by Winona Mike Highlight this comment 59

Rick my wife graduated with the Waseca flash Gene the dream Glynn. He would be a good hire also.

Posted on October 2, 2014 at 08:42 AM by Twinkfan Highlight this comment 60

Wasn't he a legendary high school basketball player too?

Posted on October 2, 2014 at 4:50 PM by robin Highlight this comment 61

He was Minnesota's Mr. Basketball his senior season at Waseca.

Posted on October 2, 2014 at 6:34 PM by terry Highlight this comment 62

FWIW - Check out the link to see how the Twins performed this year based on what cap/uniform they wore.

TTH

Posted on October 2, 2014 at 7:39 PM by TheTruthHurts Highlight this comment 63

Thanks for that link TTH...I thought they wore their blue "Minnesota" way too frequently and I was right. They wore it 74 times, that is 46% of their games. Would have been higher if Nolasco wasn't hurt because he always chose to wear the blue tops when he pitched. Wednesday and Saturday home games are the cream "throwbacks" so that helps reduce the # of games the blue alternates are worn as well.

How about those Royals on a 2-game postseason winning streak!! Heck, the Twins can't even win one postseason game. Would like to see the Royals and Orioles in the ALCS!

Posted on October 3, 2014 at 09:04 AM by Mike Highlight this comment 64

Well, it is official. My season ticket group has come to the conclusion, is it not worth renewing. We thought about dropping from a full season to a half, but, really, why? I liked being a STH, but there is just no reason to do it anymoreer .

Finally i get to be a the Craigslist buyer of tickets and know that people will have to dump them for cheap when no one else will buy them...

I think the only way we would of stayed was if they actually lowered prices, which we all knew would never happen.

I am sure they wont miss me, but i am curious how many people really will be dropping.

oh, and GO ROYALS, 2 wins, keep it up!

Posted on October 3, 2014 at 1:01 PM by Thrillhouse Highlight this comment 65

The curious case of Delmon Young...

Posted on October 3, 2014 at 4:08 PM by DeePee Highlight this comment 66

Demon Young and J.J. Hardy combine on one of the most exciting plays of the year.

Too bad it wasn't for the Twins.

Posted on October 3, 2014 at 5:13 PM by Jfh Highlight this comment 67

Thrillhouse,

If too many others do what your group did, there won't be a huge glut of tickets to buy on the secondary market.

You are right on the pricing though - that may have made the difference between staying and leaving for a number of STH.

Posted on October 3, 2014 at 5:21 PM by Jfh Highlight this comment 68

Oh Jim Pohlad...your letter makes me laugh. Tough decision to make blah blah blah...publicly having already said you were ready to go with whatever direction TR was wanting to go.

Posted on October 3, 2014 at 9:06 PM by TK Highlight this comment 69

OK, that was unpleasant.

The hosting company shut down the site because it was taxing the server -- without warning me first and giving me a chance to investigate. Ultimately, it's probably some sort of big mistake. But troubleshooting it gave me something to do while watching nine extra innings in Washington.

Anybody else think Williams should have left Zimmerman in for another batter or two?

Posted on October 5, 2014 at 01:16 AM by Rick 70

Hey Rick, i was thinking about your hosting site problems...I am assuming that you pay for the hosting of this blog, which I believe goes back to 2006.
Which says to me, they DEFINITELY should have told you if there was any sort of overbearing problem with BPM, rather than just suspending it like they did.

Posted on October 5, 2014 at 11:40 AM by luke Highlight this comment 71

Rick, are you going to focus more on the Vikings stadium build now that the season is over? They are starting to make some major progress on it.

Posted on October 5, 2014 at 2:27 PM by shackelford Highlight this comment 72

Thrillhouse - Don't forget StubHub. What you see is what you pay & print out at home.

Posted on October 5, 2014 at 4:09 PM by gogotwins Highlight this comment 73

AS winner of last year's "guess the Twins record" challenge (I proudly display my prize on my work desk) I was wondering did we have an official challenge this year for Twins record or was that just some of us throwing guessses around? Reason I ask is I guessed 70-92! :-)

Posted on October 5, 2014 at 5:07 PM by Uffda Highlight this comment 74

I've never been happier to be wrong about my playoff entry. Go Royals!

Posted on October 6, 2014 at 09:50 AM by fiesta Highlight this comment 75

Yup. I'm rooting for the Royals to go all the way. Especially if it's against the Giants or Dodgers

Posted on October 6, 2014 at 2:54 PM by Jfh Highlight this comment 76

I really want that I-70 Series: Royals/Cards

Posted on October 6, 2014 at 3:21 PM by luke Highlight this comment 77

I am rooting for the Royals as well. As futile as they have been and to tie this into earlier discussions about Gardy the Royals in past week have won 4 playoff games. If they can win just 2 more games they would accomplish as many playoffs wins in under 2 weeks as Gardy and the Twins have under his entire tenure (6-21)which includes an absolutely abmysal 0-12 last 12 games. That is just impossible to comprehend -i think that puts things into perspective w/ Gardy as a playoff manager.

Posted on October 6, 2014 at 6:36 PM by Uffda Highlight this comment 78

I would like to see an I70 series as well, but I think Fox would hate the idea.

No "coast" teams in the WS tends to depress ratings.

Posted on October 6, 2014 at 10:51 PM by Jfh Highlight this comment 79

I think the fact it's on FOX is enough to depress ratings.

Posted on October 7, 2014 at 6:17 PM by luke Highlight this comment 80

luke - If you so think that FOX "depresses" the ratings, then what station would you put the World Series on to increase ratings?

FOX is a pretty strong brand and it's a NETWORK so you don't need cable to get the World Series.

My only negative with the World Series (and most sports these days) are the late starts...7:00-8:00 CT...they need to start these events earlier around 6:00-7:00 CT...who cares if it would only be 4pm or 5pm West Coast time. It's ridiculous for those living in the central and eastern time zones how late some of these events go these days. Your average baseball game now must be around 3 hours 30 mins.

Posted on October 8, 2014 at 08:31 AM by Mike Highlight this comment 81

The combination of late start times, late October dates and three and a half hour games is really hurting interest in the World Series. It is now routine for games to end after midnight on the east coast and crowd shots look like it's a December game at Green Bay. When I was a kid back in the Pleistocene Age, series results - even if only partial for a game still in progress - were on the front page of the afternoon papers. Now, the results are buried in the sports pages beneath the NFL arrest reports.

Posted on October 8, 2014 at 08:47 AM by terry Highlight this comment 82

Sheer population numbers dictate that start times will always favor east coast viewing.

It's all about ratings and ratings are all about projections of how many are watching. Most advertising slots are pre-sold with a time window.

Perhaps we'd see a small (an hour?) concession if it were an all west coast series. If we see an I70 series, you can bet it will be to maximize east coast prime time viewing.

Posted on October 8, 2014 at 10:55 AM by Jfh Highlight this comment 83

I think FOX is rather bland. MLB on FOX used to be a good presentation, but I just don't see that anymore. I much prefer the presentation on TBS. Maybe MLB needs to contract with CBS or ABC for a change. CBS and ABC are networks too.

Posted on October 8, 2014 at 1:10 PM by luke Highlight this comment 84

Nice to see my stellar skill at picking playoff winners continues. (ha!)

I'd like to see another Royals v Cardinals series. I was living in KC MO for the last "I-70 Series", that was a fun time.

And why not FOX? Two words: Joe Buck.

Posted on October 8, 2014 at 1:31 PM by F_T_K Highlight this comment 85

Well that was a fast LDS. Thought they would be a little bit closer than they were.

Posted on October 8, 2014 at 2:10 PM by DeePee Highlight this comment 86

It's interesting to wonder what is behind the decline in MLB playoff ratings. I'm no expert, but here are some observations...

(1) The move to cable is certainly part of it (less people just plain stumble on to the games), with the blackouts on MLB.TV making that worse by excluding actual fans.

(2) The gradual expansion of the playoff structure has led to a dilution of interest among non-fans (there are too many games, too many non-elimination games, and the playoffs seem to stretch on forever, and sometimes with big, enthusiasm-dissipating gaps of multiple days without any games).

(3) Baseball itself has been moving gradually toward niche status (which I think increasingly applies to all professional sports; each has a specific audience, and though they overlap, that will gradually become less common).

(4) And then there's that nebulous "coastal" or "regional" thing, built on poor marketing of the game itself at the MLB level (regional marketing, being very refined and effective, discourages fans from caring about any team but their own, and maybe one rival).

I can't see that start times are really a big problem. Given that the sport is spread across four timezones, some scheduling issues are insurmountable. But as Jfh says, those decisions are still being made to maximize the potential viewing audience, which is actually a good thing, even if it means somewhat arbitrary first-pitch times.

The fact that at least some games can still be seen on an OTA (over-the-air) network is the last thing propping up the audience size (and nobody cares which network, unless their signal strength is affected). If you look at the situation with clear eyes, you can see that MLB will one day be able to make more money by moving all playoff games and the WS to a cable channel on an exclusive deal. The ratings will plummet, but profits will soar.

That seems like a paradox, but it's a feature of the current cable monopolies. The cable networks are willing to pay huge dollars for exclusivity because these sports are the last thing keeping their monopolies in place. That will eventually pass, but it's hard to say when.

At that point, MLB will be able to sell these games directly to the people who want to watch them (the end of MLB.TV blackouts) and will be able to make more money than ever with an even smaller audience.

At first blush, that seems like a good thing. More money is always good, right? But I always worry that the audience will continue to get smaller and smaller -- more a niche -- until MLB is a boutique business, like American soccer right now.

I guess that's not necessarily a bad thing, because the 21st century "boutique" sport may be larger and more profitable than a 20th century "national pasttime."

Posted on October 8, 2014 at 2:23 PM by Rick 87

Don't feel bad, F_T_K. I got a whopping 2 points! And I'm done!

My spouse (vicwilgo), on the other hand, picked KC all the way, and is still going strong. She actually panicked in the middle of that wild card game when it looked like they were doomed, and tried to get me to let her switch her choices. Good thing I didn't let her do it!

Posted on October 8, 2014 at 2:26 PM by Rick 88

shackelford,

Sorry to say, but I just can't get into the Vikings stadium, or the team, or even the sport anymore. It's a genuinely sad thing for me.

Posted on October 8, 2014 at 2:27 PM by Rick 89

Uffda,

I can't find any record of having a "predict the Twins" contest this year. But good work anyway! I remember that we all had this weird moment of optimism right after spring training which probably would have tripped a lot of us up.

Posted on October 8, 2014 at 2:29 PM by Rick 90

Not that anyone really cares, but I traced the outage last weekend to some sort of hapless denial-of-service attack against the site. Not sure who would care that much to do such a thing, and maybe it was just some sort of accident, but my traffic jumped to over 10 times the normal amount, and most of the request were either for non-existant pages or had malformed URLs.

My hosting company, with whom I have a generally good relationship, didn't recognize that it was an "attack" -- that's how hapless it was -- and thought it was something in my site content.

Because we had relatives visiting, much of my troubleshooting took place while in lines for rides at the MOA!

Posted on October 8, 2014 at 2:37 PM by Rick 91

A timely post at the New Yorker includes this:

The idea that an N.B.A. team would pay a player a salary to perform his services for a crowd that showed up, mostly, out of the geographic coincidence that they lived in the same city as the team, has long since gone out of date.

Thanks to better television reach, the online streaming of games, and, most importantly, an engaging crop of superstars, the N.B.A. has untethered itself from the sort of regionalism that drives the N.F.L.* The teams don't matter as much anymore -- there are thousands of Oklahoma City Thunder fans in China who will become Washington Wizards fans if Kevin Durant decides to switch teams in 2016, just as there are thousands more whose allegiances shifted from the Miami Heat to the Cleveland Cavaliers once James decided to head home.

The modern N.B.A. is a league where a Finals series between Cleveland and Oklahoma City could outdraw one featuring teams from New York and Los Angeles.** Unlike baseball -- which, by the way, has no salary cap, just a luxury tax -- the franchises and their attendant traditions do not hold the lion's share of the league's value. (The Celtics and the Lakers will play this year and, while the commentators will say something about the history of Showtime and Larry Legend, nobody will pay them any mind. By the second quarter, everyone will change the channel to watch the Timberwolves.)

What matters in the new N.B.A. is the quality of the product on the court, which, of course, is generated entirely by the players and the coaches.

* And MLB, as we know
** Emphasis mine

Posted on October 8, 2014 at 7:50 PM by Rick 92

Anybody interested in trying again?

2014 Playoff Challenge SECOND CHANCE

(It's a whole separate bracket, and does not affect anything you did the first time around. Just for fun!)

Posted on October 8, 2014 at 9:35 PM by Rick 93

I don't follow the NBA much, but I have noticed acquaintances shifting allegiance back and forth for those reasons, esp. re LeBron James.
Is the item in parens referencing the Timberwolves a part of the New Yorker piece, or your interpolation?

Posted on October 9, 2014 at 08:33 AM by robin Highlight this comment 94

That's in the piece. And, since I don't really follow the NBA, I'm not exactly sure what that means.

Posted on October 9, 2014 at 10:05 AM by Rick 95

Even if you're not a fan of the team, the sport, or the stadium's location, you have to admit the streaming video of them lifting these giant truss sections into place (happening as I type this) is pretty damn cool.

Posted on October 9, 2014 at 11:48 AM by Expectorate Highlight this comment 96

Speaking to the NBA and regionalism (and some of you could speak much better to this than I could) I read an article awhile back that NBA back in the 40's, 50's and 60's (and possibly early 70's?) that the NBA had some sort of geographical pick in that a team like the mopls Lakers was guaranteed a high profile college player if he came from the area. The thought process was that the community would follow that player to their local NBA team and that it would help w/ the popularity of the then struggling NBA to gain fans. Has anyone else heard of this? Sid mentioned it also once (and only once believe it or not) in his column. I dont know exactly how it worked (there were obviousley alot less teams then and if there were 2 NBA teams near a college that had a star player who would get the player?) and I dont follow the NBA as much but thought I would post since the subject of regionalism was brought up-has anyone else heard of this? An did it happen in other sports like NFL? In theory if the league was struggling u would think it would help-I dont follow the WNBA at all but I know when theLynx brought in 2 Gopher players from their Final 4 team the attendence went up. Obviousley nowadays w/ tv contracts, social media,free agency, players associations, etc it makes the point mute except possibly for MLS and WNBA as there is so much fan support but back when leagues were struggling while it may not have been fair to the player it woudl definately help fan support for the pro team to have a star from local college on it.

Posted on October 9, 2014 at 12:14 PM by Uffda Highlight this comment 97

Yes, it's pretty amazing engineering.

Posted on October 9, 2014 at 12:19 PM by Rick 98

Yes, the NBA did have some sort of priority system for teams to draft players from their own regions. I don't know the exact nuts and bolts of how it worked. Sid was the de facto general manager of the Lakers back in the '50's and the system was in place at that time. I think the NFL may have had a similar arrangement, at least informally, during its formative years.

Posted on October 9, 2014 at 12:54 PM by terry Highlight this comment 99

The NBA gave teams a territorial pick ahead of the main draft until the mid 1960s or so. The league was vastly more reliant on gate money for revenue and felt it had to give team's a local star to help with attendance. Territorial picks were to be for college kids only, but the then Philadelphia Warriors got it extended to high school so the team could get Wilt Chamberlain who played college ball at Kansas and wasn't subject to any team's territorial rights. The NBA got rid of the territorial choices as the league expanded to include more teams and also gained better network TV contracts.

Posted on October 9, 2014 at 1:11 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 100

And the teams themselves may have taken local players who were only marginal, to boost interest? I heard Bud Grant was on some of the Lakers teams but was on the bench mostly.
Whitey Skoog was a starter, from Brainerd, when high school basketball was big and widely followed.
Vern Mikkelson played for Hamline, when they were a national power.
Maybe others with local connections?

Posted on October 9, 2014 at 3:19 PM by robin Highlight this comment 101

Back to Twins article involving Terry Ryan in Strib not very promising. First he is thinking of tinkering w/ putting Sano in the outfield and followed it up by stating since he has never played beyond AA to expect him at only 21 to make the big league club is unrealistic and that he will continue to mature down in the minors (but be an ace up his sleeve when talking about the future) then in most anti climatic "no sh*t" moment he reminds Twins fans that he is even more optimistic thaneverabout the 2015 team, reminds us that we have some exciting youngsters moving up the pipeline but that 2015 will be a struggle and that we need to be [patient......been there done that Mr Ryan! Still waiting!

Posted on October 9, 2014 at 6:11 PM by Uffda Highlight this comment 102

USBank Stadium related: Vikings apparently kicking in more cash for items at the new place. Clicky.
Star Tribune seems a wee bit PO'ed at MSFA and Vikings for not providing any further details on the "items" to be discussed. Citing "for a public body, they sure have sparse agendas".
Guess we find out more on Friday.

Posted on October 9, 2014 at 9:20 PM by luke Highlight this comment 103

I felt the same way, Uffda. I read that piece shortly after I read on ESPN that the Orioles extended J. J. Hardy. It feels more and more like he represents another major opportunity that got away, maybe because he just didn't get along with the "Twins way" or maybe just someone within the organization.

This manager choice is huge -- much bigger than I first thought. When it seemed like Gardy would continue, it was easy to say that he's been good, and he's skilled, and blah blah blah -- all of that stuff you say to convince yourself that things will be OK. But with him out of the picture, and while trying to imagine each of these names taking over the position, you see just how significant the choice really is.

I'm not sure that provides any insight into which is the correct choice. Only time can tell on that. But the gravity of it now seems much more obvious.

Posted on October 9, 2014 at 10:05 PM by Rick 104

Oh, I left out what I meant to say about Sano vs. Plouffe: Are they crazy?!? Anybody trying to protect Plouffe's position has their priorities all screwed up. Nothing against him, but when you watch these playoffs you see what real Major Leaguers look like, and Plouffe just doesn't cut it -- nor do half of these current Twins. They look like a bunch of wannabes.

Gardy got used to making do with what he was given, but that type of thinking has to stop. When you have a guy locked in at third (or anywhere, for that matter) who wouldn't even make 20 of the other teams, the thinking is all screwed up.

If Sano isn't the third baseman of the future, they sure as hell better be out there looking to buy one on the market.

Posted on October 9, 2014 at 10:13 PM by Rick 105

Which actually leads me to one more thought: Watching these playoffs has been totally exhilarating. I've been laughing at my TV with delight many times over the level of play. It reminds me of why I love the game.

And I've watched more baseball over the last 10 days than I did the whole rest of the summer. I can't get enough of it. That's a sad commentary right there.

If nothing else, the next manager has to bring back the excitement.

Posted on October 9, 2014 at 10:18 PM by Rick 106

I have been struck by the number of low scoring games in the playoffs. It reminds us once again of the importance of starting pitching and why the Twins, with their 5+ ERA, have lost 90+ games for four years in a row.

Posted on October 10, 2014 at 08:27 AM by terry Highlight this comment 107

The difference in level of play from what we are used to seeing at TF and that on display in the playoffs is stunning. And --- we say that to each other every fall.

Posted on October 10, 2014 at 12:19 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 108

Pitching, yes. But also defense and base-running.

There was a play in the Angels-Royals series that I could watch over and over. The ball was hit to the gap in left, sure to be a hit. From nowhere, the Royals center fielder races in and makes a stunning, running catch. The Angels runner at second sees opportunity, tags and sprints like crazy toward third. Runner and throw reach third at almost the exact same moment. The throw is perfect. The catch is perfect. The attempt to advance had been perfect, but is thwarted because . . . the tag is also perfect. The double-play is completed by a whisker (which the ump called perfectly).

Ahhhhhh.

Posted on October 10, 2014 at 1:13 PM by Rick 109

Sorry to say, but I just can't get into the Vikings stadium, or the team, or even the sport anymore. It's a genuinely sad thing for me.

What has driven that wedge between you and the team, not to mention the stadium and sport as a whole? I ask in part because I've always considered myself a Vikings and NFL fan well ahead of the Twins and MLB and found that interest intensifying even before the Twins started their slide in 2011. I am interested in hearing more about this different viewpoint.

Posted on October 10, 2014 at 4:11 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 110

Jorge-I have become really turned off by the lack of tackling and emphasis on hitting in the NFL. That, along with the violence off of the field by the players has started to cause me to lose interest. I am casually interested in the new stadium, but am really undecided whether I will make the effort/investment in attending a game when it opens. I suppose I will, but it's definitely not something I'm excited about.

Posted on October 10, 2014 at 5:32 PM by jctwins Highlight this comment 111

Moving from the Met and the elements to a TV studio did it for me. Not to mention the blowhard used car salesman.

Posted on October 10, 2014 at 5:41 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 112

I equally like the Twins and Vikings, probably the Vikes a bit more. They actually spend money on the team. Their contribution towards the new stadium is more than 50%. What did the Twins contribute, 35% or so? Why doesn't anyone mention that?

Posted on October 10, 2014 at 5:50 PM by J2K Highlight this comment 113

Also note that the Vikings preferred an outdoor stadium but Dayton demanded a roof if the state/city were to pitch in. I wonder how much the roof costs vs open air? 200M perhaps?

Posted on October 10, 2014 at 5:53 PM by J2K Highlight this comment 114

I dont think the Vikings realized at first how much of a public asset the were building. Quit honestly, I think they felt they were building a stadium that would be used exclusively by them, thus the desire for an open air stadium. But as The Disgrace on Puckett Place was used for other events (community events) 200 some days a year (thus earning the moniker Minnesotas Living Room). So quite frankly, they NEEDED to build an indoor stadium. I just think they needed a gentle reminder of just how much use this place would get.

Dayton had to convince them otherwise I think. Part of me thinks he needed to explain to the Vikings that in order to have a good chance at getting the Super Bowl back, it needed to be an indoor stadium. To get a Final Four, it needed to be indoors. The Vikings did not take those ancillary items into consideration.

Having said that, I do wish they hadn't caved to the baseball world and made a configuration for baseball, thus allowing another Metrodome feel, with accordion seats in right field and all. We have Target Field for baseball, remember??

Posted on October 12, 2014 at 07:15 AM by luke Highlight this comment 115

Unless the Twins were willing to open up target field to high school, college & amateur teams, baseball would have been dealt a permanent big blow. Games were being played in the dome starting at 2:00 am. I don't know if the dome made money on these games or if they even made enough money to pay the bills. But I'm willing to bet that even after the Twins left, there was still more baseball games played in the dome than any other type of event.

Posted on October 12, 2014 at 12:28 PM by PNB19 Highlight this comment 116

I think the Vikings always knew it would be a domed stadium in the end and statements to the effect of wanting or suggesting an open air stadium were designed to ensure the state would pony up the money needed for constructing a roof.

Posted on October 12, 2014 at 5:20 PM by jorge Highlight this comment 117

Jorge (and shackelford),

I'm hesitant to say too much because I don't want to be disrespectful to anyone else's fandom, but the culture of professional football has become too brutal for my taste. It has started to feel like a blood sport to me (one in which the entertainment value is largely in the violence).

And lest you think this has something to do with recent headlines, these feelings actually started for me around the time that Cris Carter and Robert Smith retired, growing little by little during the 00's. I found myself recoiling from things I would see on the field, and stories from off the field, more and more, to the point where I eventually could no longer get any entertainment out of watching.

I've been able to still find some enjoyment watching the Gophers, but even that has taken a hit as I feel nauseous about the path that some of these players may be on.

I'm serious that it's a source of sadness -- for myself and for the culture. I was the kid who used to make a big deal out of changing my bedroom posters from baseball to football at this time of year. My Fran Tarkenton memorabilia was every bit as great to me as my Killebrew stuff. I always loved baseball best, but certainly enjoyed playing and watching football when there was no baseball.

It's just not that way for me anymore. And I know now that what I was enjoying back then was brutal to those players, and has only escalated with time.

Fandom is such a personal thing that I don't begrudge anyone their right to enjoy whatever sports they like. So this is not intended to criticize anyone who still enjoys football. I just have to be honest about how my reaction has changed over time.

When I look at the stadium rising, I can't shake the purpose for which it is being built, and I recoil.

Posted on October 12, 2014 at 9:13 PM by Rick 118

I used to live and die with the Vikings, albeit without face paint. But I too have found my enthusiasm waning. The game has evolved in a negative way. "Tackles" have been replaced by "hits", the primary purpose of which seems to be to injure rather than getting the ball carrier down as quickly as possible. The pompous self importance the NFL attaches to itself and the showboating that goes on after every good or semi-good play is also off-putting.

Posted on October 13, 2014 at 09:27 AM by terry Highlight this comment 119

I remain a fan, but the enthusiasm is definitely dampened. I never did like the disproportionate amount of obnoxious drunkenness by fans, or the taunting and preening by players, though I realize it's an emotional sport for players and fans. I also find myself being relieved, or not minding, when a nephew chooses something else rather than football.

Posted on October 13, 2014 at 09:35 AM by robin Highlight this comment 120

I have only commented on here a couple of times over the years, but I enjoy all of your comments. It's fun to pop in and see what everyone is talking about.

My thought on football is it has just gotten too much like the old WWE. It takes on a feel of entertainment and showing off more than anything. Watch some of the 70's Viking games on Youtube. It's astounding the minimal amount of celebrating, etc.

It's all become a bit over the top in sports in general. ESPN is a big culprit, in my view. You have ESPN promoting baseball as if it's action-packed from start to finish, instead of promoting the subtleties and beauty of the game. They promote stardom and celebrity more than the actual game itself. In basketball Tim Duncan is described by fans as boring as much as he is described for his extraordinary skill and knowledge of how to play basketball intelligently.

It feels like everything has to be dumbed down in order for people to enjoy it. Modern day attention span?

I still really enjoy sports, but only in smaller doses. I keep track of standings, scores, highlights to a degree, but spending three hours at once watching some of the antics is often too much for me. I shut the tube off and go do something more productive.

Posted on October 13, 2014 at 1:05 PM by Another Rick Highlight this comment 121

I think WWF is what I meant, not WWE. I think.

Posted on October 13, 2014 at 1:11 PM by Another Rick Highlight this comment 122

How simple was that? The Royals have accomplished same amount of playoff wins (6) in 12 days as the Gardy led Twins accomplished his entire career here as skipper.

Posted on October 13, 2014 at 4:36 PM by Uffda Highlight this comment 123

Same here Rick. i.e. As in enjoying Golden Gopher and college football over Vikings and NFL football. The pageantry of the on-campus college game is so much more enjoyable to watch in person and on TV and still has most of the feeling of being genuine even with the more recent influx of TV.

Whereas an NFL game (in all cities) often just seems like a ridiculously over-scripted TV show from pre-game through post-game, full of willing actors (the "fans", the players & coaches), that is played in front of often obnoxiously drunk and idiotic super-fans, and a number of alcoholics masquerading as NFL football fans on Sundays.

That said, it has always been that way for me and always will be. Ski-U-Mah!

Posted on October 14, 2014 at 07:45 AM by Betaband Highlight this comment 124

I love the college game atmosphere as opposed to the NFL, but think that we overemphasize it's advantages. The NFL is honestly professional, and their players get compensated for their contribution to revenues. The college game is a vast mix of true student-athletes, fake students, some thugs and a great many who won't make the pros but contribute greatly to their college revenues. The value of the scholarship is admittedly real to those who take full advantage of it. The NFL does have much greater parity. You don't see the one-sided slaughters nearly as often as you do in the college game. I still like the college game, but just saying it's not a clear contrast of innocence and purity on one side and criminality and greed on the other.

Posted on October 14, 2014 at 08:04 AM by robin Highlight this comment 125

A friend of mine who controls two seats section 115, row 4 has lost some seat partners and is looking for folks who are interested taking games in 2015. It can be a couple of games or it can be a dozen or more. It really depends on what you want to do. Flexibility is the word from his standpoint. It's all about moving inventory. If you're interested, email me at the following and I can make a connection:

tamalieii(at)Yahoo(dot)com

Posted on October 14, 2014 at 1:59 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 126

I might be interested Jorge. I shot ya an email.
Submitted for your approval: Clicky for a new "rule" set forth by the NFL for future Super Bowl hosts. The rule dictates that future Super bowl hosts stage a home game in London at Wembley.
Why? Why should this be a requirement?
The NCAA has a rule like this for Final Four hosts in that each city host a regional final the year before hosting the Final Four as a test run.
That makes sense. This new NFL gig does not make sense to me.
Thoughts??

Posted on October 14, 2014 at 3:36 PM by luke Highlight this comment 127

Here's a rule change in the American Association (St. Paul Saints) that makes my skin crawl:

Starting in the 11th inning, the player in the batting order immediately preceding that inning's leadoff hitter will be placed on second base. The inning will otherwise proceed as usual, with each team getting a turn at bat.

I can't see anything good in a rule change like that.

Posted on October 14, 2014 at 3:53 PM by Rick 128

Yecch!

Posted on October 14, 2014 at 3:57 PM by robin Highlight this comment 129

Wow. Changing the rules of baseball. That's a new one. (Not sarcasm!). Yikes!

Posted on October 14, 2014 at 4:00 PM by jctwins Highlight this comment 130

It's the silly saints that's not real baseball anyways

Posted on October 14, 2014 at 4:25 PM by Twinkfan Highlight this comment 131

That's what youth softball teams do. Not professional (or even semi-professional) baseball teams!

Posted on October 14, 2014 at 4:55 PM by Expectorate Highlight this comment 132

ICTAH...so, Clicky for a time lapse video from Ballpark Digest showing turf installation at CHS Field (that's the new home of the Saints. Still don't like the name).

Posted on October 14, 2014 at 5:02 PM by luke Highlight this comment 133

I'm sorry. Did somebody try to equate a Gopher game day experience with on-campus pageantry? Bwahahahahaha.

TTH

Posted on October 14, 2014 at 8:27 PM by TheTruthHurts Highlight this comment 134

The Royal looking like a team of destiny! Course the Giants win every even year 2010, 2012, 2014?

Posted on October 15, 2014 at 09:32 AM by Twinkfan Highlight this comment 135

This has been a very satisfying post-season for MLB. It's not often that there are this many good, close games.

Posted on October 15, 2014 at 10:48 AM by jctwins Highlight this comment 136

Good, close and well-pitched. How many times in recent years have we seen Twins pitchers given a crooked number lead that has not been protected beyond the next half inning.

Posted on October 15, 2014 at 1:26 PM by terry Highlight this comment 137

The 2014 version of the 1987 Minnesota Twins - the Kansas City Royals.

Posted on October 15, 2014 at 6:25 PM by terry Highlight this comment 138

I suppose that's true terry.
But I also think the 2014 Royals are slightly better than the 1987 Twins. 2014 Royals finished 89-73, 1987 Twins finished 85-77.
And the Royals thus far this postseason haven't lost a game. I think todays win set an MLB record for 8 consecutive postseason wins. And going back to 1985, they haven't lost in the postseason since Game 5 of the 1985 World Series - to be technical.

Posted on October 15, 2014 at 8:58 PM by luke Highlight this comment 139

I think the main reason for a decline in MLB playoff ratings is competition. There are many more forms of entertainment these days than compared when I was growing up. Today there are all sorts of electronic devices, all sorts of media sources, and a bazillion tv/network channels.

When I was a kid we had one TV that got 2-3 channels, a radio, and record/tape player and a rotary dial phone(party line even). That was it for electronics and media sources.

Posted on October 16, 2014 at 04:37 AM by Dave Highlight this comment 140

I'll agree that the Royals have a slightly better record than the '87 Twins, but the Twins rested some of their guys in that last handful of games after clinching in Texas. I don't think the Royals had that luxury.

Posted on October 16, 2014 at 05:31 AM by Winona Mike Highlight this comment 141

Video of KC clinch from parking lot. Love the sound of raw emotion from the crowd.

Posted on October 16, 2014 at 11:08 AM by DeePee Highlight this comment 142

Take from it what you will...I shot some pics from the stadium site today. Lots of progress.
Thanks for that link DeePee...truly awesome. Take the Crown, Royals.

Posted on October 16, 2014 at 3:43 PM by luke Highlight this comment 143

It's gonna be a loooong 175 days.
And it's very possible to think that our first home series in 2015 could be against the defending World Series champions.

Posted on October 19, 2014 at 8:30 PM by luke Highlight this comment 144

Lousy baseball is not that hard to do without.

Posted on October 19, 2014 at 10:53 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 145

This was an interesting post (I guess) from ESPN Facebook (clicky ). Talking about World Series in years that ended with "4". Odd premise for a list. But there is mention of the 1924 Washington Senators.
And, the 1994 World Series, er, the World Series That Wasn't, is mentioned. That seemed odd to me.

Posted on October 20, 2014 at 2:41 PM by luke Highlight this comment 146

So now our Twins, looked upon as a "model franchise" for the league, has the longest dry spell of any ALC team making it to World Series (KC 2014, Det 2006 20012, Chi 2005, Clev 1995, 1997) -in addition to those teams the following teams have made at least 1 trip (and in many cases MULTIPLE trips to World Series): NYY, NYM, TOR, ATL, PHI, FL, SD, ARZ, ANH, STL, BOS, HOU, TB, TX, COL. -thats 19 teams that have made it to World Series since we last went. Yet we are teh model franchise looked up upon by other teams??? i would rather NOT be looked up upon by other teams and celebrating Twins playoff wins and going thru the fun, excitement and pride w/ thousands ofother fans like other team's fans get to (holds true for NFL,NHL, NBA, NCAA as well). Sorry btw- WNBA, NCAA womens and mens hockey championships dont quite cut it for me

Posted on October 20, 2014 at 3:14 PM by Uffda Highlight this comment 147

This will sound cynical, but the Twins are still a model franchise because they know how to make a profit without winning.

That's something.

Posted on October 20, 2014 at 3:21 PM by Rick 148

Cynical? Perhaps. The truth? No question.

What folks need to get through their heads is that playing competitive baseball has no place in the Twins' business plan. Nice if things work out that way but such would be but merely a by product.

Posted on October 20, 2014 at 5:41 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 149

Agreed-the Twins continue to trot out their business plan of sticking to 40% of revenue towards payroll and must just LOVE seeing a team like KC make it to World Series so that they can remind everyone that small market teams can make it to. We shouldnt be a small market team- we are in the 12th largest media market and have the richest owners in baseball. Ofcourse we dont have the YES Network like Yankees do but we still shouldnt be considered small market. Developing your farm system of course is important but if we continousley stick to a business plan just to stick to the plan then what is it all worth talking about our up and coming prospects? Buxton, Sano, etc -they are going to want to get PAID eventually. They arent going to want to play here because we have lots of lakes, bike and walking paths and gladly take less to play here becasue we are considered a model franchise by other teams (as they continousley beat us) . They have no loyalty to us or any other team. Players want to get paid. When all these players come up we arent going to be able to afford them all....wait we WILL be able to afford them all but we are going to stick w/ our business model and sign a couple to long term deals, let most of them go and talk about some exciting young prospect in Elizabethton. And continue to pay Joe Mauer $$$$$ to play 1B and hit 6 HR a year and get hurt somehow in Aug when we are 20games under .500.

Posted on October 20, 2014 at 6:34 PM by Uffda Highlight this comment 150

Actually, according to Station Index, Minneapolis/St. Paul is now the 15th largest television market in the country. This is up from number 16, leapfrogging Cleveland/Akron.

Also, Uffda forgot to mention San Francisco in his list of franchises who have won one or more World Series since the Twins last appearance. And the Mets haven't been to the WS since 1986, the year before the Twins last trip to series.

Posted on October 20, 2014 at 6:58 PM by Winona Mike Highlight this comment 151


Twinshine

July 16, 2014 1:47 AM

Yes, Jeter. Of course. It was his night, and deservedly so. Even I, whose mother hates Derek Jeter, cheered for him. It was only the second time I've ever done so (the other being when I visited the original Yankee Stadium and pretended to be a Bomber fan for exactly one game). And tonight it felt weird and wrong and right and inevitable and necessary and splendid all at the same time.

Continue reading this article


Festing

July 13, 2014 1:38 AM

There were times, in the past week, when I started to get the feeling that the Convention Center would be a very empty place this weekend. Simply put, it seemed like everyone wanted to give away their Fanfest tickets.

Continue reading this article


Starshine MPLS

July 12, 2014 1:46 AM

On September 10, 2008, the Twins called the media (including yours truly) to the roof of Target Center to announce their pipe dream of starshine at their nearby, gradually-materializing new home.

It was a very cheery event, with tons of back-slapping and gleams in the eyes of politicians and other notables. There were hot dogs and Cracker Jack, bats and balls festooned with prototype All-Star logos, and lots of posing after the requisite speech-making. In the near distance cranes soared and silently twirled, and orange safety fencing adorned construction edges which would one day be actual places.

Continue reading this article


Anything Is Possible

March 31, 2014 1:46 PM

It is rainy in the Twins Cities today. The sky is as grey as it gets, and the chances of actual sunshine are around zero percent. There is more cold, and more snow, in the forecast.

My yard is still partially covered with snow, the top of which now sports a crust thick enough that my kids can walk across it without leaving footprints or, thankfully, getting their socks and shoes wet. The remaining cover is thickest out in the middle of the yard, about where home plate generally gets placed, right in front of the garden bed that my mom will fill with hostas in a few weeks. Those plants will be mined over and over all summer long for balls which got by someone's bat, but my mom doesn't seem to care. She's a fan.

Continue reading this article


Earlier Articles




"You talk about the magic, the aura, but what really makes a stadium is the fans. Concrete doesn't talk back to you. Chairs don't talk back to you. It's the people who are there, day in, day out, that makes the place magic."

– Bernie Williams

Explore the Site

Here are 50 images chosen randomly from the 3045 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.


This appears to be the floor to the home dugout!






That's part of the wind veil, waiting in the B ramp for installation






Larry DiVito takes a last check of everything before the game starts






Main ticket window area



Who Owns What (Click for larger version. Source: Ballpark Authority)



Not my actual kids!






Path of quick escape.



Marquette looking south









Seville's certainly will benefit from 81 games a year played about a block away! (When I walked by on this day, the place looked deserted, but I stand corrected!)



That's Jacque Jones looking up in awe at the Great Greenness.



Circulation building with construction team on top



These are the footings for the staircase which will connect the plaza to the skyway.









This design has a rather generic quality to it, but they appear to have considered the B garage. Though it isn't part of the model, they've clearly left room for it.



A look at Gate 34.



This is the upper deck in Anaheim






Another B ramp glimpse (don't loiter here!)






This is where chain link is being replaced with fencing which matches the plaza



Anna keeps the riff raff under control.



Trees now line Seventh Street



This is the trapezoid (for lack of a better name) in right center. Be sure to notice section of seats just below the pavilion and above the fence (which I hadn't noticed before). For those who are interested, what looks like an old-style scoreboard is in fact a high-def video board which will look, at times, like an old-fashioned scoreboard.


















You can get a hand-carved sandwich, or ice cream while pondering the career of Julio Becquer.












Inspecting the delivery






Here's a closer look at the bullpen area. It's hard to tell for sure, but I think there is still an opening to the concourse right above.



Home Plate Terrace -- really great seats; maybe my personal, budget-based favorite



Playing surface dirt out there? Maybe. (click to enlarge)












Discussions in progress on some very brown grass...



Opening day, 2010



Looking back toward the park from just beyond the north end of the Northstar platform.


Glossary

BPM - Ballpark Magic

BRT - Bus Rapid Transit

DSP - Dave St. Peter

FSE - Full Season Equivalent

FYS - Fake Yankee Stadium (see also: NYS)

HERC - Hennepin Energy Resource Company (aka the Garbage Burner)

HPB - Home Plate Box

HRP - Home Run Porch

LC - Legends Club

LRT - Light Rail Transit

MBA - Minnesota Ballpark Authority (will own Target Field)

MOA - Mall of America

MSFC - Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission (owns the Metrodome)

NYS - New Yankee Stadium

SRO - Standing Room Only

STH - Season Ticket Holder

TCFBS - TCF Bank Stadium

TF - Target Field

Selected Bibliography - Analysis
 


(1993)
 


First Edition (1992)
 


Second Edition (2006)
 


(2008)
 

Selected Bibliography - Surveys
 


(1975)
 


Second Edition (1987)
 


Not a "Third Edition" exactly,
but it replaced the above title
(2000)
 


(2000, large coffee table)
 


Original edition (2000, round)
 


Revised edition (2006, round)
 


(2001, medium coffee table)
 


(2002, small coffee table)
 


(2003, medium coffee table)
 


(2004, very large coffee table)
 


(2006, very large coffee table)
 


Combines the previous two titles
(2007, medium coffee table)
 

Selected Bibliography - Nostalgia
 


(1992)
 


Book and six ballpark miniatures
(2004)
 

Complete Bibliography

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