Tag Archives: Terry Ryan

Tweets From The Cutting Room Floor

With the Twins’ 2012 season essentially in the books before Labor Day, fans have found creative ways to channel their frustrations with management. Some rail away in the online comments section of the local bird cage liners. Others make their voice heard on fifty and one hundred thousand watt radio.

The volume of Twins fans’ displeasure has increased these past few weeks.

But, there is another, little known venue where fans are commenting on the state of the team. Though, unless you are a top-secret management insider, those comments go unheard. The silenced source of fan angst that I am referring to is the Twins Twitter feed at Target Field.

If you have been to a game in the last couple of years, you may have noticed the “live” Twitter feed that the team displays on the right center field scoreboard. In order for your tweet to have a shot at appearing on the board, you need to include #MNTwins in your tweet.

As you may have guessed, critical tweets do not appear in the feed. It is only the true believers or 14 year old girls commenting on Joe Mauer’s “cuteness” who ever crack the feed and are able to revel in five seconds of social media glory. Presumably, it is some lowly intern’s job to edit out the negative tweets. Though, considering the Twins notoriously stingy payroll, it would not surprise me if this was part of Bill Smith’s new gig.  From signing boat anchor contracts to censoring the Twins Twitter feed. It almost sounds like a promotion when you put it like that.

Bill Smith’s potential new gig aside, the following are what we think the tweets that do not make the feed might look like:

“Just saw @Yoshi “Buckner” another ground ball. Are we past labeling him a homeless man’s version of Kaz Matsui? #MNTwins #MissingPunto ”

@JasonMarquis has pitched incredibly well…for the Friars this year. The exact kind of veteran leadership the Twins were hoping for when they signed him.

“@JasonMarquis with another quality start!! Though, can someone explain why his jersey says Padres on it?? #MNTwins #SPsGalore”

“”Average attendance 35,000 a game?!?! P.T. Barnum wasn’t kidding. In fact, at 35K, the MN birth rate must be higher than one a day. #MNTwins ”

“@Liam Hendricks leads the British Open after two rounds. Wait, Liam pitches in the MLB? Not really though? Really?!? #MNTwins #StillSPsGalore”

“@LewFord back in the show? @TerryRyan step away from that phone. We are not trading for him. Even if the O’s throw in 2 boxes of popcorn. #MNTwins”

“@DLViceChairCarlPavano has nearly 3 times as many career starts as all the current Twins SPs. #MNTwins #StillSPsGalore??? ”

“@ZachGrienke is getting ready to make his Twins debut…riiiiiight…so about that. #MNTwins #AnotherBlockbusterTradeDeadlineDeal”

“Well, it might be 8-0 Tigers in the sixth, but, Target Field’s Helmet Nachos are going to get me through tonight’s game” #MNTwins #NoJokeHelmetNachos”

Okay, so even if  the above tweets are not entirely legit, except for that last one, you get the drift. My guess is that lowly intern (or Bill Smith) is going to be awful busy these last six weeks.

Helmet nachos aside, if you are interested in heading to a game to try and crack the Twitter feed wall of censorship, skip on over to Ticket King or solid deals on Twins tickets. Plus, if you are in the sweet seats, it is less likely that you get plunked with another home run ball surrendered by a Twins pitcher.

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Changing The Paradigm

This year has brought another frustrating season for Twins fans. Now, I know what you are thinking, thank you Captain Obvious, if I wanted to get commentary from John Madden, I would have spent my afternoon on YouTube!! Hear me out.

The Common Man has been one of the few advocating that the Twins stay the course and resign Frankie K.

The interesting thing about the frustration that most Twins fans have expressed this season is that it has helped illustrate a potential larger flaw in Twins territory.

If you listen to the local microphone jockeys or read the birdcage liners, the chorus of what the Twins organization should do is pretty consistent. Give up this season and build for the future by trading their semi-valuable pieces (i.e. Frankie K or Span) in the hopes that the prospects they get in return will contribute to the team’s success down the road. There is problem with this line of thinking. It is a small market team’s philosophy. We need to change the paradigm in Twins territory.

As anyone who took a high school civics class might recall (my class was early so I had to look this up), a paradigm (pronounced PARA-DIGGUM – for kicks) is essentially an observable pattern. In social sciences, it is often described as a pattern of behavior.

As much as Twins fans irrationally hate him, advocates of moving pieces point at this trade as the reason why the Twins should be sellers. Unfortunately, the results from this trade have been the exception, not the rule.

For years, following the success of the 87′ and 91′ squads, Twins fans became accustomed to the small market paradigm for running a team. Low payroll, draft smart (usually below slot), and make savvy moves at the trade deadline (i.e., A.J., Shannon Stewart, etc.). And, because the address was 900 S. 5th St (aka the Homerdome), this made sense. In fact, considering our Midwestern sensibilities, this approach seemed to fit.

Well, no more. When the people of Minnesota ponied up the cash for Target Field, that mindset should have changed. Unfortunately, we are still stuck in our small market way of thinking and behaving. You see, one of the key differences between small market and big market clubs is that, at the trade deadline, big market clubs are always looking to add. Have you ever flipped on the four letter network and heard a story about the Red Sox or Yankees selling at the trade deadline? Of course not. They are always buyers.

Now, I get it, the Twins will never be the Yankees or Red Sox. Fair enough. Even I am not crazy enough to suggest that they should be. However (raise your hand if knew that was coming — well done), there is a more apt comparable of what they should strive to be in our own division.

In 2009, the Chicago White Sox were in 3rd place in the AL Central. Even though they were sort of in the race, most baseball people felt like they did not have the pieces to contend with the Tigers and Twins. That did not stop GM Kenny Williams from going out and getting ace pitcher Jake Peavy from the Padres. Yes, he gave up a decent prospects, in particular Clayton Richard, but, Peavy has pitched, and pitched well, for the White Sox for the past three years. This year he has been the anchor for the Sox and has helped keep them atop of the division. Richard has only just now started to show flashes of being a legitimate big leaguer. As a bigger market club, you have to be willing to pay the premium for that bona fide ace. The Padres asked for Richard. Williams paid it.

Greinke’s return to the AL Central is exactly the kind of big market move the Twins should make. With a new deal negotiated as part of the trade, he would be the anchor of the starting staff for years.

Right now, there are two big pitching names on the market: Zach Greinke and Cliff Lee. Either one would look fantastic in a Twins uniform. Both would require GM Terry Ryan to deplete the prospect bin (think some combination of Kyle Gibson, Aaron Hicks, or maybe even recent indie film star Miguel Sano). That said, with Greinke (provided he would resign) or Lee, a resigned Frankie K, and a healthy Scott Baker, the Twins would have the beginning of a fairly decent starting staff. Combine that with a decent offense and promising young bullpen, a trade to get Greinke or Lee is the prudent move for an up and coming big market team. In the race or not, it makes the Twins better now and in the immediate future.

The question is, will we as fans put enough pressure on the organization to change our current paradigm and force Ryan to make the bold move? I for one, sure hope that we do.

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.