September 29, 2011
Well, at least they avoided 100 losses.
I paid my last respects to the worst Twins season of my lifetime Tuesday night at Target Field, enjoying nine innings of perfect weather and a game that meant absolutely nothing. It was an odd feeling after nine seasons of blogging about a team that was at worst on the fringes of contention every year and more often than not advanced to the playoffs, but the evening (and last night's MLB-wide craziness) was also a nice reminder of how great baseball will always be.
At times this season it was easy to forget that, as the Twins ceased playing meaningful games two months ago, had nearly the entire roster wrecked by injuries, and limped to the finish line with an execrable 13-43 collapse. It wasn't much fun to watch and it wasn't much fun to write about, so perhaps more than ever before I really appreciate everyone who continued to stop by here on a regular basis.
My hope is that you'll continue reading AG.com throughout the offseason, because I'll be trying to figure out how the Twins can get back on track while analyzing potential free agent targets, speculating about possible trades, jump-starting my long-delayed series on the best players in team history, and rolling out my annual ranking of Twins prospects. I might take a few days off to decompress before diving into the offseason, but it'll be business as usual here all winter.
Thank you for reading this blog, thank you for listening to my podcast and radio appearances, thank you for following me on Twitter, thank you for supporting my writing at NBCSports.com, Rotoworld, and MinnPost, and thank you for all the kind words and even the not-so-kind ones. If you'll keep reading and listening I'll keep writing and talking, and maybe this time next year we'll be looking over playoff matchups again. And if not, at least baseball will still be baseball.
Thanks for another great season of blogging, Aaron. Your insight has really changed how I view baseball over the years and I’m glad you haven’t gotten tired of generating content for us yet.
Go Twins in 2012 (please)
Comment by Gendo — September 29, 2011 @ 12:41 am
Well done…lets go rays
Comment by Scott from So Cal — September 29, 2011 @ 1:29 am
you are the best of this twins season! For sure!!!
And well done Rays!
Comment by Christian — September 29, 2011 @ 2:40 am
Thanks for another season. See you every Friday and already looking forward to your top prospect list.
Comment by mike — September 29, 2011 @ 4:40 am
Good job Aaron. Another entertaining season on AG (at least). Love the podcasts.
Comment by large canine — September 29, 2011 @ 6:06 am
Thanks, Aaron. Let’s! Go! Rays! (hurts me a little to say that, but Longoria is a god)
Comment by Jeff — September 29, 2011 @ 7:13 am
Thanks for the great content! I’ll be checking in regularly so long as you continue to pump em’ out.
Comment by MC — September 29, 2011 @ 7:32 am
I stop by here almost every day. You have been very helpful for this Texas based Twins fan. I will continue to stop by in the offseason, like I have for several years now.
Thank you for all your coverage of the Twins.
Comment by Army of Dad — September 29, 2011 @ 7:40 am
It never ceases to amaze me how many times I will be talking Twins and someone comments, “You must read Gleeman’s blog.” Aaron, you have lots of fans out here! Keep up the great insights.
Comment by grubah — September 29, 2011 @ 7:57 am
Aaron – Another great season of coverage. Follow you on AG.com, Twitter, and the HardballTalk site, and your work is always thorough and excellent.
Comment by Jeff H — September 29, 2011 @ 8:07 am
Aaron–Thanks for all your hard work this year. I stopped watching the Twins a while ago (too painful), but still stop by here every day.
Comment by KR — September 29, 2011 @ 8:44 am
Thanks and great work this season. How about some midwest love for the Tigers? Or the Rays. Just not the motherf*^%ing Yankees.
Comment by Jeff — September 29, 2011 @ 9:11 am
Thank you again for all of your insightful, though-provoking, and excellent work this year. Now if only we can get someone in the Twins front office to review your blog before they make a bonehead trade…
Comment by Paulie — September 29, 2011 @ 9:20 am
A tough year made more enjoyable by your site. The comments section is also getting better, imo, in terms of having longer, better discussions. Looking forward to the conversation about how to make the team better in the coming years.
Comment by mike wants wins — September 29, 2011 @ 9:21 am
Throw up an article in reponse to Reusse’s in today’s Star Trib. I would love to see how differently you view the distribution of blame from him. He seems to be plucking numbers out of thin air rather than doing so with any statistical measures.
Comment by Bird — September 29, 2011 @ 9:34 am
Another great year of blogging, Aaron. Keep up the good work! What’s the podcast schedule for the offseason?
Comment by JS — September 29, 2011 @ 11:13 am
Reusse’s column was terrible, of course, but I take comfort that in addition to the pointless Mauer-bashing he took shots at Bill Smith and others who deserved it.
I went to the game last night, which actually was AWESOME. Pavano brought the mustache and was lights out. Joe Benson got a couple hits and showed off his fantastic mullet flying around the bases. Span pinch hits for Buterrible in the 9th and doubles into the corner. Revere knocks him to third. Plouffe singles him home and the nearly-full stadium erupts. We got fireworks and a dogpile on the field. You would have thought we won the pennant instead of avoiding 100 losses.
Thanks Aaron for many, many hours of wasted workplace productivity. This is the first site I hit in the morning. You converted me from a sabermetric skeptic to a true believer.
I look forward to reading my entry on your list of the 40 greatest Twins.
Comment by Pedro Munoz — September 29, 2011 @ 11:32 am
Thank you too Aaron for not letting your head grow, even as the rest of you shrinks. An ugly season that should provide lots of off-season fodder for us all to masticate and ruminate on. Should be interesting, and hopefully, not too depressing.
Comment by JB (the original) — September 29, 2011 @ 11:42 am
Thanks again for another year! I’d be lying if I said I checked in as often, but your site adds to my enjoyment of the game!
Comment by ganderson — September 29, 2011 @ 1:49 pm
+1 to Pedro M above… first site I hit in the morning, even visiting on “off days” (not on your regular M/W/F publishing schedule).
Keep up the good work.
Comment by BC — September 29, 2011 @ 2:00 pm
Thanks, Aaron. Looking forward to the off-season and your take on events.
Comment by PK — September 29, 2011 @ 4:26 pm
Aaron, thanks for providing a real good forum, and thanks for the balanced analysis over the past decade.
I hope the Twins view this season’s failure as an opportunity to change and improve. The Twins need to do a better job of evaluating talent. And, if that means paying greater attention to relevant statistics, then, do it.
The Twins’ management team needs some new members, some new voices. I am not advocating replacing anyone. Simply, adding new blood with fresh ideas would dilute some of the old, tired approach of Mr. Smith and Mr. Gardenhire. Lest I become too critical of Bill Smith, I am reminded that his predecessor, Terry Ryan, non-tendered David Ortiz, ran the clock down on Santana, traded Lohse for a minor league pitcher who never panned out, and allowed Koskie to leave via free agency.
There have been some good moves during Smith’s tenure. Trading for Pavano, Hardy, Rauch, Cabrerra, and Fuentes deserves applause. Likewise, signing Sano, Kepler, Polanco, Repko, Crede, and Thome deserves a thumbs-up. Yet, it has to break any Twins fan’s heart to think that Santana was traded for four minor-league prospects from a weak Mets system, Hardy fetched two minor-league pitchers with control problems, and Wilson Ramos brought us a good relief pitcher and not a great one. Bringing in an un-tested Nishioka to play either middle-infield position was a mistake. Kubel and Cuddyer, both dyed-in-the-wool Twins, should have been signed to reasonable extensions a year ago. Ditto for Jesse Crain, who was untouchable during the second half of the 2010 season and was very strong out of the White Sox’s bullpen this season.
Wouldn’t it be grand if the Twins’ front office learned a few things after this terrible season? Maybe employ a full-time stats person. If one had been on staff a year ago, maybe Hardy with his stellar defense and 30 homers would still be wearing a Twins uniform.
Comment by joe — September 29, 2011 @ 7:22 pm
My family and I went to our first Twins game at Target Field last night and we had a great time. It didn’t seem to matter that this was a last place club.
The stadium was nearly packed, the weather was awesome, and most of the fans stayed until the end of the game. We were rewarded with a complete game shutout, a diving catch in center field, and a bottom of the ninth winning run to cross the plate to break a nothing to nothing score.
I wouldn’t ask for a better way for the Twins to finish the season. I’m glad we were there.
Comment by Cory — September 29, 2011 @ 7:31 pm
You’re a god Aaron. My life is incomplete without you.
Comment by The Man — September 29, 2011 @ 8:06 pm
Good job with the site, Aaron. Your mix of girl-watching links fits well with our casual addiction to Twins stuff.
I’m not among the pessimists about the near-term future of the team. As long as the front office doesn’t get mired in existing contracts, as long as they are willing to embrace a new mix of players, then the Twins will have a chance to recover from this injury-ridden season.
As for Gardenhire, it could be that his intolerance for the imperfections of rookie players is becoming a drag on team morale. Guys like Plouffe and Valencia need a little encouragement to go along with the disdain. I find myself asking, how would a guy like Joe Maddon handle these guys?
Comment by Jimbo92107 — September 30, 2011 @ 1:21 am
What is the least # of players qualifying for a batting title for a team in a season? This years Twins had 2 (Cuddyer and Valencia). Seems like that has to be some sort of record.
Comment by Todd — September 30, 2011 @ 10:16 am
The answer is that in the expansion era there have been 61 teams have 2 or less players qualify for batting title out of 1326 seasons (< 5%).
Comment by Todd — September 30, 2011 @ 3:59 pm
Thanks for all your input Aaron and heres to a better Twins season in 2012.
Comment by scot — October 1, 2011 @ 8:51 am
Another good season for your writing, Aaron, though a horrid season for the Twins.
You caption your column THE END.
We can only hope it is the end of Bill Smith.
If ownership does not cashier him it will demonstrate their lack of knowledge and/or caring about the Twins.
Comment by HK — October 2, 2011 @ 5:35 pm