Earlier this week I was taking my daily tour through the blogosphere when I came across this note from friend of AG.com Paul Katcher:
Here's an open letter to people who write open letters: You're a hack. Maybe not as bad as the ones who begin columns by giving the Webster's definition of words like "desire" and "commitment," but a hack nonetheless.
That's only mildly amusing by itself, but the very next blog I happened to go to was Will Carroll's, where I saw this entry at the top of the page:
Today, you said "Sheff and Matsui, that's two or three runs a game right there."
Stick to the running into walls, diving for balls, and throwing like a girl. Let BP do the math.
Matsui is eighth on the team with a 0.050 MLVr while Sheffield has an MLVr of 0.209. That's almost exactly a quarter of a run a game. Yes, that's significant and no, you don't have a good replacement. Bubba Crosby's a negative and Melky Cabrera won't keep up his small-sample pace.
The biggest problem the Yankees have now is figuring out that Bernie Williams is not the answer. Do the math on that one, Johnny.
Your pal, Will
Coincidence or fate doing its part to provide me with a good chuckle? You decide.
Doug Mientkiewicz and his wife gave their son perhaps the most ridiculous name I've ever seen: Steel Mientkiewicz. Seriously. It sounds like some sort of a power tool.
In what was surely an exhaustive process involving tons of data and analysis, Maxim named Ron Gardenhire the second-worst manager in baseball.
It's almost impossible to believe now, but at one point not so long ago people actually debated whether or not this person was better looking than this person. For someone without any sense of history, I imagine that would be like finding out for the first time that an NBA team once passed on Michael Jordan to draft Sam Bowie.
While the Torii Hunter trade talk begins to heat up, Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune had this interesting note:
Torii Hunter's contract includes a limited no-trade clause that allows him to block trades to five selected teams. Interestingly, the current teams on his no-trade list are the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Detroit Tigers.
None of those five teams are in the market for a center fielder, which means Hunter's no-trade clause is essentially useless. If the Twins want to deal him, they can.
On a related note, FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal speculated last week that the White Sox might be interested in dealing for Hunter. I put the chances of that happening at slightly lower than the chances of the Twins winning the division.
Speaking of the White Sox, this article from the Chicago Sun-Times on the Twins' fall from atop the AL Central was painful to read.
The possibilities with this are nearly endless.
After I criticized the St. Paul Pioneer Press' Twins beat writer, Jason Williams, here last week, someone pointed me to a chat session Williams did at the newspaper's website earlier this month. If you think I get defensive about negative comments here, wait until you get a load of Williams:
Phil Sampson: Boy I hope your job consist of doing more than answering these questions in the forum because this is pretty sad. Keep up the, uh, "great" work.
There are a few other interesting responses, but those are my two favorites. I particularly enjoyed the "you have no idea what I do" line, followed by Williams adding "NO IDEA" for added emphasis. In case you forgot, Williams writes about baseball for a living.
Jason Williams: Thanks, Phil, and don't forget your bitterness on your way out the door for work tomorrow morning. You have no idea what I do. NO IDEA.
Sucks Alot: Why do you go on how great the Twins are when they Suck?
Jason Williams: Never have said they're great. Funny, because I'm typically criticized for being too negative. You must be an incredibly miserable person if you think I'm too "soft." Of course, your name probably says it all.
Also, put me in the "incredibly miserable person" group, because every time I read one of Williams' articles in the Pioneer Press I have to double-check the standings to make sure the Twins aren't in first place. The Twins have issued press releases that are harder hitting. For instance, in offering up his opinion on Juan Castro, Williams wrote:
I don't think he's hurting the team offensively, regardless of his average. Anything he does from the nine-hole is a bonus.
As if where a guy hits in the batting order is more important than the fact that he's hitting .233/.262/.272. Sure, there's no way that .534 OPS is "hurting the team offensively." You have no idea what I do. NO IDEA.
Perhaps I'm the last one to notice this, but the Giants' starting quarterback and the Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com apparently share the same first name. Rarely has something lost its sexiness this quickly.
The Twins' first-round pick last June, Matt Garza, made his debut at Double-A yesterday and put up the following line:
IP H R ER BB SO HR
Prior to that Garza was 5-1 with a 1.42 ERA, 53-to-11 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and .169 opponent's batting average in 44.1 innings at Single-A. In other words, that pick is looking pretty good in a hurry.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, here are two pitching lines that have been put up against the Twins' hacktastic lineup this month:
7.2 1 0 0 2 13 0
IP H R ER BB SO HR
There are tee-ball teams that work the count more and put fewer balls in play than the Twins.
I can't tell if this story is an odd coincidence or subtle nod in my direction, but it's funny either way.
A lot of Twins fans seem to be under the impression that a new ballpark will automatically lead to huge increases in attendance. Perhaps that's true, but I noticed yesterday that among the seven teams currently drawing fewer fans per game than the Twins there are three--Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Detroit--with ballparks that have opened since 2000.
A quick note for those of you interested in such things: The Official Twins Beat Writer of AG.com, La Velle E. Neal III, will be sitting in for Chad Hartman Monday beginning at 2:00 p.m. on KFAN. I've heard LEN3 sub for people on KFAN in the past and he did a solid job, and he'll surely spend more time talking about the Twins in his three hours than the rest of the station does for the remainder of the week. Plus, the show is produced by a guy I used to hang out with when I was a kid.
Last but not least, I want to thank everyone who offered words of support regarding the untimely death of my dog last week. It was a very tough time for me, but hearing from so many of you who have gone through similar situations with pets you've loved really meant a lot. While I couldn't respond individually to each of you--there were 40 comments and at least that many e-mails--I want to make sure that you all know how much I appreciated it.
Justin Verlander 8.0 6 0 0 0 0 0
Joel Pineiro 9.0 9 2 2 0 0 1