Tag Archives: Ryan Doumit

All Is Quiet On The Midwestern Front

For the years following the Vikings collapse in the 2009 NFC Championship game, there has been little to get excited about in terms of the Minnesota sports scene.  The Lynx won the WNBA Championship last year and got a few pulses racing, but that has been about it.

Minnesota fans battled through bi-lateral leg weakness and concussion like symptoms, both on the diamond (Morneau) and the ice (PMB).  Then, in a seemingly meaningless game against the Washington Redskins, All-Pro/All-World running back Adrian Peterson suffered a serious knee injury.  The Vikes somehow ended up winning that game and ultimately costing themselves  the 2nd overall pick.  That 2nd overall pick was recently turned into a bounty of quality draft picks.

Ricky never looked back after leaving Europe and he made a lot of people look silly along the way.

Despite all that, the arrival of Ricky Rubio changed everything.  Suddenly there was something to pay attention to night in and night out.  The Wolves were regular contributors to ESPN’s Top 10 because of Rubio’s artistry with a basketball.

Not only was Rubio fun to watch, but, with time, the Wolves made a push for the Western Conference playoffs.  They strung together wins, both at home and on the road, against quality opponents.  Then, while attempting to make the fundamental basketball play we have come to expect from him, Ricky blew out his knee trying to take a charge against the Black Mamba.  Like we needed another reason to hate Kobe.  As Rubio limped around the court, you could just feel the season’s momentum evaporating.

A savvy local team could have filled this void.  A few teams had a chance to bring some excitement to their respective fan bases.  The Vikings were in the middle of free agency.  The Twins were wrapping up free agency and about to begin spring training.  And lastly, the Wolves were nearing the NBA trade deadline with pieces to move.

The Vikings have actually done less than nothing when it comes to free agency.  Let me explain.  They cut veteran influences like Steve Hutchinson and failed to replace that talent with anything resembling a sought-after talent.  In fact, not only were the Vikings not signing anyone to get the pulse racing (apologies to John Carlson’s mom — an average NFL TE coming off an injury does not count), but, they actually refrained from being involved in the discussion.  Seemingly all the big name free agents that would have excited fans and improved the squad, never seemed to be courted by the Winter Park brain trust.  This is even more peculiar considering the fact that said brain trust is holding the people of Minnesota hostage for a new stadium to the tune of $550 million.

Any time Ryan Doumit is one of your squad's major off-season acquisitions, you are rebuilding, not reloading.

Going into spring training, the Twins were reporting with recent signees Jamey Carrol, Ryan Doumit, and Jason Marquis.  Is there even any need to explain how much of snoozer it must be down in Fort Meyers right now?  Through the first week of spring training games, the whole roster, including minor leaguers, beer vendors, and ardent white-haired super fans, had one, no, seriously, one, extra base hit.  The only thing marquee about the Twins free agent signings is the fact that one of guys’ last names is a punny play on words.  After 99 losses last season and with all this stadium generated revenue, punny is not going to it.  Aren’t we past trying to dress up average major leaguers as these diamond-in-the-rough finds?

Making your way east a few blocks to the Target Center, you will find Wolves GM David Kahn working furiously on finishing his first Level 2 sudoku puzzle.  Other teams are calling the Wolves about their multiple trade pieces: Michael Beasley and Luke Ridnour.  But, don’t worry, Kahn is not going to take the bait.  Full fairness in savagery, the Wolves were at least mentioned in trying to flip Ridnour or Beasley into Jamal Crawford (who, by the way, would have been a great fit on this squad).  Though, considering both the principals in that deal, Portland and L.A., made moves for players who were not as good as the Wolves pieces, you have to think the sudoku got in the way.

Ultimately, it has been eerily quiet since Rubio’s anterior cruciate ligament decided to take a vacation.  One can only hope that both he and AP are able to fully recover and return to inspire their respective squads.  Considering the current state of affairs, we should hope for good weather this summer, at least then we can take advantage Minnesota’s remaining recreational gems: the golf courses.

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The Twins Are Seriously Interested In Pursuing Free Agent X

How did that ole Tom Jones diddy go…hope is in the air??

Pitchers and catchers have reported to Fort Meyers, FL for the start of the 2012 Minnesota Twins spring training camp.  Leading the way were marquee free agent acquisitions C.J. Wilson and Roy Oswalt.  They are the power arms signed to bolster one of the more battered staffs in the American League.

Santana never pitched at the Twins new palace, though, neither has any other first rate starter for the home squad.

Not only were Twins pitchers some of the most fragile in league, when they did pitch, they did their best to disprove the notion that Target Field is a “pitchers” park.  Wilson and Oswalt should anchor a Twins staff that is in desperate need of the type of stopper that can pick the ball up every fifth day and inspire a squad.  The Twins have not had a guy like that since two-time Cy Young winner, Johan Santana, toed the rubber for the home nine.  Fortunately, a new stadium and increased payroll flexibility, have allowed the Twins keep their promise to their fans and put a competitive squad on the field, year in and year out.

All right, hold on, hold on, hold on.  Don’t get your Homer Hankey in a knot.  I know what you are thinking, “You chucklehead, the Twins did not sign any of those players.”  If you read the previous couple paragraphs with a bittersweet regret, welcome to the 2012 Twins fan club.  It is cold.  I hope you brought a coat.  At the very least, you are going to need layers.

Not once, during the entire offseason, were the Twins ever reported to be in the discussions for a marquee free agent.  Some of the lists of interested teams for the players referenced above grew to more than half the league, but, never once were the Twins included.  As a contributor (not exactly voluntarily) to the architectural wonder that is Target Field, this is frustrating.

We, as citizens, were told that building a new stadium would allow the Twins to remain competitive with other “big” spending teams.  And, at first, it seemed like that might be true.  Homegrown talent, turned superstars, Michael Cuddyer, Justin Morneau, and Joe Mauer were all paid considerably well.  To borrow from another 60s legend, the times, they were a-changin’.

Unfortunately, a series of freak injuries (I mean, bi-lateral leg weakness, seriously?!?!) and a 99 loss season have precipitated a shift to that approach.  In fact, the mastermind behind the Twins run in the late 90s and early 00s, Terry Ryan, was rehired to do the task his self-appointed mentee, one Bill Smith, could not complete: build a championship team.

When you have players in your starting line-up that were draft by the Expos, that should be a warning sign.

The return of Messer Ryan also meant the return of his penny pinching approach.  Cue the Jamey Carroll, Jason Marquis, Ryan Doumit, and Jason Willingham signings.  That is right, the expectations for this year’s squad are tied to a 39 year-old journeyman shortstop, a reclamation project at C and P, and a well-traveled slugger that may or may not be capable of slugging.

Just one time, it would be nice to pick up the local newspaper (okay, who I am kidding), click on the sports section for one of the local papers, peruse the headlines for the day, and see that the Twins were seriously interested in pursuing big name, Free Agent X.

Unfortunately, this year, all the “headlines” were “made” by the signing of undervalued free agent veterans.  More succinctly put, there no marquee signings, only Marquis signings.  Here is hoping that Sean Bourroughs really is the next Josh Hamilton.  Personally, I am going to hold off on getting my Bourroughs All-Star jersey until after training camp breaks.