Monday, November 30, 2009

Turkey Coloring Contest Winners

Narrowed from thousands of submissions, here are the top three candidates for 2009 Alright Hamilton Oh, That's A Turkey, Alright Coloring Contest of Thanksgiving, Third Annual.

Ready, set vote! (over here) ----------->



Vote on the Turkeys on the top right of this page.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Coloring Contest III

It happens every year.

email completed turkeys to: (by Monday)

Here are the past winners, for inspiration:

And the three way tie of 2008 - Mauer, Kramer and Puffer.

Coincidentally, those are the only four entries ever received.

Have a good Turkey Day. Don't forget to smoke those cigarettes.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Limericks - - 2009 MLB Awards

AL Cy Young Award

Zack Greinke always knew he could throw
a lot better than anyone else, although
he didn't give two licks
until he learned SABRmetrics
and decided to keep his FIP low

National League Most Valuable Player

For the true baseball fan Pujols is a treat
because he's pure awesome - not a steroid cheat
It's his third MVP
And he'll never be a Yankee
So I think that's pretty neat.

American League Most Valuable Player

Joe Mauer won the A.L. M.V.P
And the only one who did not agree
probably wears mascara
because he voted for Cabrera
In his stomach, he'll soon have Joe's knee

National League Cy Young Award

Lincecum is the pitching sensation
who is receiving his due compensation
he'll buy lots of weed
and jackets of tweed
with his record breaking arbitration

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

BronxBoi2 weighs in...

Congratulations Joe Mauer. As a Twins fan I am biased, but I think you make for a terrific MVP. Of course, BronxBoi2 disagrees. He sent me this email:

Dear Soup,

Oh, congradufrickulations, Joe Mauer. You have somehow convinced the baseball writer people that they should vote for Mauer to be MVP based soley on batting average. Somehow you have beswindled the baseball writers to ignore HR, RBI, and Intangibles. THIS IS SUCH A GONG FACTORY!!!!! Seriously, smoke a crack pipe more, you guys. THERE ARE MORE STATS THAN BATTING AVERAGE.

The simple fact that Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter didn't recieve ONE first place vote is assinine!!!! They should have been co MVPs. If you put their numbers together, JOE MAUER WOULDN'T EVERY COMPARE!!!! If you lived between a rock and the broad side of a barn you would argue that Mauers numbers were better than should-be-co-MVPs Jeter and Tex and you probs road the short buss :P

You want to compare defense?!?!?! Jeter also got first place in the defensive stat. Um, I got two words for you. "Gold Glove." That's the defensive stat, and Jeter also got first place at it.

The absolute fact is, you guys, is that Derek Jeter (the should be MVP...or Tex) doesn't even care about individual awards. Seriously, he only cares about World Series Championships. THAT'S IT!!!!! That's different than Joe Mauer.

But the bottom of the light of the end line is that Jeter and Tex won the world series. Mauer didn't. Let me check the internets (lol), it appears that the YANKEES WON THE WORLD SERIES!!!!! I would like to see Mauer wear his MVP award around his how Jeter wears Championship rings around his fingers!!!! It would be THE WORLD'S DUMBEST THINGS because MVP plaques don't have holes for ring fingers!!! I guess he could be an idiot and punch a hole through it and wear it around his neck like Falvor Flav. But new flash, you guys, JOE MAUER IS NOT EVEN FLAVOR FLAV!!!!!

So enjoy, D Bags

/ still. world. champions.

BronxBoi2, out.

Well said. With Jeter winning the World Series and Mauer winning the MVP, I was reminded of this piece of internet brilliance, Jesus is the Derek Jeter of Christianity. To the part about Jeter liking winning more than anyone else:

From WSJ: Still, there is a question as to whether the MVP award really means all that much to Derek Jeter. As he put it on Aug. 23 after the Yankees beat the Red Sox-a victory that Mr. Jeter paced by hitting a home run on the game's first pitch off Boston ace Josh Beckett-"I'm not thinking about winning any awards right now. The only award that matters is that fifth World Series ring."

From FJM: Joe Mauer, meanwhile, issued a different statement to the press after going 2-4 with a walk against the Cleveland Indians. "Fuck the World Series," said Mauer. "Seriously. Write that down. Fuck the World Series. If I ever win a World Series ring, I will literally just take it and fuck the tiny ring-hole." Mauer punctuated his remarks with a graphic, thrusting pantomime, presumably of what he would physically do to the World Series ring. Mauer added: "I don't give a flying goddamn about winning. I am an awards guy. I'm Joe Fucking Mauer. I only care about individual honors. How many times do I have to tell you guys that? Mauer out, fuckfaces!" Mauer then urinated on a picture of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett holding hands and stormed out of the clubhouse whistling a pro-al Qaeda anthem that he wrote himself earlier in the day.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Joe Mauer Is (Passively) Running This Team

With his free agency less than one year away, Joe Mauer's every move and idea is respected to an absurd degree. In an effort to mold the organization to Mauer's liking, the Twins have begun coyly asking his opinion on the issues. And because he is a true Minnesotan, he rarely expresses his thoughts or preferences, and when he does, it's not very straightforward. As such, the Twins brass has hired a team of linguists to examine the catcher's speech and determine his thoughts.

War Room Colonel Guy: (gruff, serious voice) We need to do everything in our power to keep our catcher from signing with New York. Contact him, and make sure none of our offseason plans offend him. And find out if he likes our uniform better than the Yankees stuff.

Mauer: (from his cabin up north, speaking quietly) Hello?

War Room: (gruff military man using sweet voice and fake name) Yes, this is Mr. Arthur Olson with the Twins, I'm in charge of gathering player thoughts on our offseason strategy. Do you have any thoughts?

Mauer: hmm, not particularly. Ya know, as long as we have enough guys to play some ball, I'll be happy. I'm sure whatever you guys decide will be fine.

War Room: oookay, any players you don't like on the team? Any players from other teams you'd like to play with?

Mauer: Well, I don't mind Morneau..... ya know, I can't really complain about our team. In terms of other guys in the league.....well, I've talked to a few. I don't have any objections to bringing in anyone in particular. I talked to JJ Hardy a few times when we played on a national team together.... he wasn't too bad.

War Room Colonel Guy: (ignoring Mauer) Linguist! What the heck did he just say?

Linguist: "Not too bad" means good! He said he and JJ Hardy know each other well and care deeply for one another!

War Room: Get Milwaukee on the horn! Trade for Hardy immediately!

War Room: Alright Joe, we were recently considering some changes to our uniforms. What do you think about that?

Mauer: uh, ya know, whatever. I'm sure you guys will come up with something okay.

War Room: The hats? Helmets? Colors anything?

Mauer: Nah, they all seem nice enough. Ya know, our hats kinda neat.

War Room members: (whispering desperately amongst themselves, ignoring Mauer) But which hats? Who cares, keep the M hat and the TC hat!

War Room: Alright, how about the pinstripes? You like the pinstripes? (everyone holds their breath)

Mauer: I don't know, I can take 'em or leave 'em on our away uniforms...

Linguist: (explaining in a whisper to the rest of the war room) I believe he's harboring negative feelings toward pinstripes!

(war room breathes a sigh of relief)

Mauer: ....but, ya know, I think the pinstripes aren't too bad on the home whites.

War Room: NOOOOOO!!!!!

Metrodome Confessional

Forgive me, Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, for I have sinned.

You had done me good for so long, yet I often did you and your staff so wrong. With this 2010 season having the feeling of renewal, I would be regret not to adequately close the previous chapter. To do so, I must confess and ask the Dome for forgiveness before I can move on to the 2010 season.

-Metrodome, I'm sorry for using my college student identification to get cheaper tickets long after I graduated college. I owe you an apology and probably $8.

-Metrodome staff at gate G, I'm sorry for pretending that those sunflower seeds in my cargo pocket were jumbo-sized and not a small bag of seeds used as cover the two beers at the bottom of my cargo pocket. I owe you $28.

-Metrodome Division III baseball temporary staff, I apologize for pretending my boxed wine full of Nalgene was ice tea. And, I wish I could take those hurtful words back I spoke to the Wartburg first base coach.

-Metrodome stairs to lower-level ushers, I'm sorry I lied to you. You were just such sweet old people. I lied right to your faces wrinkled from the gentle hand of time. But, seriously, lower-gen is a lot better. You know this. So I politely and deceitfully asked you, "I'm trying to find a dietary health option. Is there a concession stand that sells something healthy like a sandwich?" Without considering the ramifications of an upper-gen person sneaking down to lower-gen, you generously blurt out, "Well, there's a sandwich place right down stairs." Then, time and time again, I would slink past you, never to return to my ticketed seat.

Un-named AH! contributor: Metrodome tunnel near the Twins clubhouse, I'm sorry I borrowed all those parking passes without asking. I fully realize they were intended for the suite owners, but I just got greedy. And you're right, taking a pass for every single home game of 2002 may have been a bit overboard, yet the thought of parking for free right next to the dome all season was just too much. I feel bad saying this but; it was awesome.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A note on the word 'Bum'

Did you know the word, 'bum' can be used as a verb? It sure can. According to the dictionary:

Informal. to borrow without expectation of returning; get for nothing; cadge: He's always bumming cigarettes from me.
It's a lot like cadge. It's often used in reference to a cigarette. Hey, can I bum a cigarette. Twinssisters were able to offer another instance: Hey, can I bum a ride.

Those are the only two things that one can 'bum'

Crazy old bum sings Christmas Carols

Bob Dylan released a Christmas album this year, and recently debuted this video for Must Be Santa

I can't decide if the party depicted is the most awesome thing ever, or some place between hell and highway 61.

Bumming around Metrodome pays off for Twins fans

A couple Saturdays ago the Twins held that big garage sale. I was pretty excited about it.I had planned on buying a bushel of 1997 Twins pocket schedules and using them to wallpaper the den. The event was supposed to begin at 10am on Saturday, which is when my friends and I arrived. That's when we saw it: the line wrapped from gate H to gate F, in other words, three fourths of the way around the Metrodome. So we went to eat pancakes instead.

We were content with what we had gathered the night before. After a night on the town, we had biked over to the dome. There were people camped out in front of Gate F, waiting for the garage sale to open. It was hilarious. So we did what anyone would do at 3am on bicycle near the dome: we had a bike race. During the rear parking lot leg of the race, I spied a pile of red dirt. It was sitting in a dark corner of the parking lot, so we went over to check it out.

Sure enough, it was the dirt from the playing field at the Metrodome. And amid that dirt was a game used baseball, and a bunch of promotional baseball cards. We stuffed the red topping and clay in our pockets.

We then biked across downtown and sprinkled some dirt at the foundation of Target Field.
Twins won't look like bums next season (new uniform closer)

The tweaked Twins script looks like garbage on the regular home uniforms. Compare:

Monday, November 16, 2009

Twins Uniform Unveiling - pictures

Today, Denard Span and Scott Baker joined TC Bear and Wally the Beer Man at Crystal Court in downtown Minneapolis to unveil two new Twins uniforms.

Denard is sporting the alternate home uniform, which will be worn on Opening Day and every Saturday home game. It is the same style worn in 1961, and is intended to honor the 50th season of Twins baseball.

Scott Baker modeled the new away duds. Gone is the block lettering and pinstripes. They tweaked an obscure Minnesota script that was used on jackets in the 60's.

The away uniform will also feature a new hat, with a red bill:

Kevin Smith explained that the 'M' hat will not be going away, partly because some players, including Joe Mauer, expressed a fondness for it.

The Twins didn't show off their tweaked home whites. The implication was that the only change was to the script. And that change is very subtle. (Click here for a pic from team store)

More pics:
(click for large)

I'd like to express my gratitude to the Alright Hamilton graphics department for coming up with essentially the same away uniform, way back in April. We're going to go ahead and say that we inspired the Twins to go with that design. And we were pretty close about three weeks ago. Good job, team.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Weekend links

-A facetious post about Joe Mauer not being the AL MVP because he chose baseball instead of going to Florida State. Of course, internet commenters don't get it, freak out.

-This tree picked the wrong guy to impale.

Still, he knew the situation was desperate. That's when Jack remembered the
military mantra he relied on during his 38 years in the army."You define the identify alternatives... you accumulate relevant information...
and then you make a decision. My problem was I got this tree in me," explained
the tree accident victim.

Which is better than I would have done. Define the problem...THEN FLIP THE F%#K OUT BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN IMPALED BY A F #*KING TREE...die.

-You know all the problems that Large Hadron Collider is having? Well the latest one is because of a time traveling bird.

-My good friend started blogging at Schlepping Minnesota Sports. He's already mocked the first two rounds of the 2010 fantasy baseball draft...which is why he'll probably beat me again next year.

-Minnesota native, lawyer, and professional mixed martial artists Nick "The Goat" Thompson has tried out and made it past the first day of auditions for Spike TV's "The Ultimate Fighter." This would be a big step forward for neck beards around the world.

-Alright Hamilton! would like to congratulate Titan as the world tallest dog. Lost in Titan's tallness, however, is all the other awesome records broke Thursday.

"Only one animal got credit for a record Thursday, the same day Norway registered the world's largest gingerbread man; the most people hugging in one minute were in the U.K.; Italy set the mark for the fastest consumption of a bowl of pasta; Finland had the most nationalities in a single sauna; and a team from Mexico assembled the world's longest paper clip chain. "

Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is a sentence. MOST NATIONALITIES IN A SINGLE SAUNA!!!!!!!

-1930's plan to take over Canada

- Theory on international politics and zombies

- Finally, this animated short of Doc Ellis' 1970 no-hitter is the awesome.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Guest Post: Raoul Duke Talks Twins

by Raoul Duke

There was a sense of curious foreboding in recent baseball news. Within one week of the Yankees winning the World Series, strange and horrible things were happening in every major league city. Derek Jeter won his fourth gold glove, prompting statisticians to throw themselves from buildings. Former slugger Sammy Sosa debuted his Taco tribute band, leaving the public appalled at his freshly bleached skin. In Minnesota, thousands of Twins fans lined up for hours for a chance to buy old, shabby promotional items recovered from the bowels of the Metrodome. Commissioner Selig was reportedly delighted at the news out of Venezuela: Victor Zambrano's mother was thrown to a reckless horde of criminals in exchange for Mark McGwire, who will become the Cardinals hitting coach next year.

No one can be sure what it all means. Some think of the radical growth in the absurdity and degradation of recent baseball happenings as a metaphor of contemporary American society. Others have simply recoiled in horror at the sheer volume and breadth of opinion, scandal and general depravity. Feelings of confusion and fear are choking the baseball industry.

At the forefront of this new wave of unpredictability is Minnesota Twins GM Bill Smith. The shadowy executive arrived at the Chicago winter meetings with his finger on the trigger. The round, bespectacled man draws comparisons to famous Minnesota democrats, Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale - a man of few words who plays things close to the vest, but he's constantly looking to make a deal. His predecessors in the GM chair were men of principal, stubborn enough to sit on their hands because of pride, even as their team collapsed around them. They could have been mistaken for members of Nixon's cabinet. Billy Smith rolled into his leather chair ready to make a name for himself, and he's succeeded.

In what seemed like his first week on the job, Smith had traded a two time Cy Young winner to the east for two dozen bushels of Persian dill rice, and sent a young fireballer to Tampa in exchange for some high-quality black Lebanese hashish. The moves haven't turned out well for the Twins, who find themselves unable to climb to the next level.

The alarming thing about all this is the public's reaction to the mad man - Twins followers appear quietly enthralled with Smith. After years of tedious inaction from Twins leadership, a guy who will flip players without warning is entertaining and fun. He landed shortstop JJ Hardy last week in a shocking, seemingly impulsive trade with Milwaukee. And no one can be sure of just what more Smith is capable of.

The past few years of Twins baseball have left the fans frenzied and desperate, and they've given their trust to a man who promises to end the mediocrity - one way or another, straight to the cellar or straight to the top. There are four empty roster spots and a trigger happy baseball architect.

But what now? What comes next?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Compete Act of 2006 and international prospects

For years Twins fans have been critical of our front office's refusal to spend money on top international prospects. This year, however, the Twins have been spending money on quality international prospects like Lindsay Lohan in a cocaine store (did I do that right?).

Let's Review:

The Miguel Angel Sano $3.15 million signing was the most surprising. The Twins actually outbid other teams for him. When pigs freeze over, I guess. Anyway, he's a 16 year old shortstop from the Dominican Republic. He's big for his age and his position. As he gets older he can't play short stop anymore, because he's too big and stuff. Also, he's good at baseball. Sano is immune to all poisons. He was the inspiration for character Duncan McLeod from the television series, Highlander.

The Twins paid $775,000 for Europe's top prospect, Max Kepler-Rozycki. Did you know his parents were ballerinas!?!?!?!?! His long athletic frame has drawn comparisons by some (me) to Darryl Strawberry. So from this day forward I declare his nickname to be "The Erdbeere." The Erbeere is very toosly.

We also signed another 16 year old Dominican shortstop, Jorge Polanco, for $750,000. He too is apparently good at baseball. He pumps his Reeboks three times before every at bat.

As far as the international free agent market is concerned, we spent a lot of money. In the big picture, however, this is chump change. Gleeman elaborates:

Baseball draft picks are amazingly unpredictable, particularly compared to
other sports, and teenagers from the Dominican Republic or Germany are even
bigger risks. However, snatching up top talents that drop in the draft because
of bonus demands is a tactic that big-payroll teams have long exploited and a
big percentage of MLB's superstars were signed internationally as teenagers.
Investing in high-upside risks makes a lot more sense than spending $12 million
on the next washed-up veteran free agent.

In other words the money paid to Sano may be massive in the context of
prospect signing bonuses, but $3.15 million is still less than Nick Punto made
this season (and will make next year). If one of Sano, Gibson, Kepler, or
Polanco turns into a starting-caliber MLB player the $12 million investment will
prove to be a bargain and if a star emerges from that group the Twins will have
elevated the team's long-term outlook for about as much as they wasted on Livan
Hernandez, Ramon Ortiz, and Craig Monroe.

Exactly. You need good players to win. It's riskier, but much, much cheaper to get them while they're young. A lot of prospects don't ever work out, but look at the top players around the league. A vast majority of them were at one time top prospects that cost top prospect money.

Sign Stephen Strasburg for $15 million and he doesn't pan out, that sucks. Sign Mike Hampton for $120 million and he doesn't pan out, that really sucks.

So, as a small market team, international free agent signings are our friends. You know what else is our friend? If you guessed the Creating Opportunities for Minor League Professionals, Entertainers, and Teams through Legal Entry Act of 2006, you win. The kids these days are calling it the Compete Act of 2006 for short. The Wall Street Journal had a very interesting piece on this a while back. The article explains:

It freed the farm systems of major-league teams from having to compete with all
U.S. employers seeking H2B work visas for foreign employees, the supply of which
usually was exhausted each year by February. Now, teams can import as many
prospects as they want.

You see, before this piece of legislation, international baseball prospects had to compete for visas with scientists trying to cure fatal diseases and stuff. How dumb is that?!?! Seriously, screw those guys. Now, we can have the do-good-disease-curers and baseball prospects. Everybody wins.

The effect of the legislation can be clearly seen with a quick perusing of the current GCL Twin's roster. The WSJ article goes on to explain why international free agents are cost effective:

Economics plays a huge role. U.S.-born players drafted out of high school
rarely sign a contract to turn pro without a cash bonus, most in excess of
$100,000. This summer, the Cubs have forked out more than $6 million in signing
bonuses to 26 U.S. prospects, an average of nearly a quarter million

While some foreign players like Mr. Lee got hefty signing bonuses, the
majority do not. Latin players in particular can be had for a lot less -- just
$10,000 in the case of Venezuelan pitcher Eduardo Figueroa, one of Mr. Lee's
teammates. Third baseman George Matheus, another Hawk from Venezuela, received
$15,000 for signing.

I anticipate a trend of paying higher prices for international prospects. May the Minnesota Twins be at the forefront of this trend.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Hardy for Gomez Notes

Carlos Gomez

Carlos Gomez was the centerpiece of the Johan Santana trade. Expected to be the Twins center fielder for years to come, he was quickly usurped by Denard Span. Although he's only 23 years old and hasn't shown what he's fully capable of in the majors, I don't think Gomez was ever going to do much in a Twins uniform.

Gardenhire had two young, talent-laden outfielders join his squad via trade in 2008. Delmon Young and Carlos Gomez never played a single game in the Twins minor-league system, and it showed. Amid the exciting flashes of talent, Gomez made bonehead plays and took some terrible at-bats. And in the Twins system, a player will not make the majors unless those things are conditioned out of his game.

It must have been frustrating for the coaches to teach the basic tenants of baseball to a guy in the majors. Not only that, but they had to give away valuable major league, pennant chasing at-bats to develop a talent.

JJ Hardy

J.J. Hardy spent the end of last year in the minors. The 27-year old had battled injuries, and his offense slumped hard after putting up 26 and 24 home runs in 2007 and 2008, respectively.

He'll be alright. I think. He's still young. Even if his offense only barely improves, he still plays great defense ( UZR). He's under team control through for the next two years. He's also supposedly good friends with Mauer, so that's not a bad thing.

Missing the scoop

I have never taken a journalism class, so my idea of journalistic integrity is rough at best. Here's how I understand the "scoop" phenomenon: To "get the scoop" is to break a story. The story essentially belongs to the journalist who researched, sourced, confirmed and published the story first. Obviously, everyone wants to be the one to break the story, so it's a highly competitive thing. It gets tricky because rumors may be flying around, and it's the journalists responsibility to sift through to determine fact from rumor. Any jackoff on a message board could write, "I heard the Twins are going to sign Barry Bonds!" and then someone else would twitter it, until it spreads around as fact. A baseball writer might hear this and call up Billy Smith to confirm it, or the writer could somehow retrace the rumor back to it's basement-dwelling source. Some rumors sound accurate, believable and true, and the media member will want to publish it before someone else scoops him. However, if it's published and turns out to be wrong, they'll lose all credability by spreading false stories. It's a high-stakes affair.

At 9:35 this morning, I received a text message from an associate in Hawaii:

Carlos Gomez for JJ Hardy, done deal?! Is this good?

I hadn't heard that. In fact, neither had the rest of the world, because it was nowhere on the internet. I searched googleblogs and googlenews, mlbtraderumors and all the relevant twitter users.

I felt excited because Alright Hamilton was in position to break the story. I imagined the headline would say, "Gomez traded to Brewers for JJ Hardy." It would be posted on's feed, perhaps linked to on other blogs and message boards as the day went on. I imagined that when the trade news was also confirmed and published by the Star Tribune, they would give us credit for the scoop.

However, credit would not be given unless it was written as fact. It couldn't be, "I heard they might trade for Hardy." It had to be, "Done Deal: Hardy for Gomez." But what if it wasn't a done deal? Alright Hamilton's already tiny bit of credibility would have been shot. My source in Hawaii said he believed his source 94%. After checking with our board, I decided not to run the story.

Even though Aaron Gleeman, Joe Christensen, LaVelle E. Neal, and others were probably sitting on the same info at the same time I was, it still sucks.

Santana Trade Judgment: Phase Two

Gomez. Gone. Mulvey. Gone. Humber. Gone.

Mulvey was traded for Jon Rauch.

At this point, the players on the Twins roster as a result of the Johan Santana trade are:

Deolis Guerra
JJ Hardy
Jon Rauch

Phase one of the Santana Trade was an absolute bust, as it didn't help the Twins win a single game in the two years following the trade. Commence Phase Two!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

In "Gunna-git-ya" news

Bears will kill you. They have big claws and teeth. Killing machines is what they are. They're gunna-git-ya.

The bad news is: They have become even more mangy. Witness:

It's LITERALLY gunna git ya, you guys!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Comparing Brian Buscher and David Ortiz

After the 2002 season, the Twins decided to release a 27-year-old designated hitter named David Ortiz. The loss of an oft-injured, positionless power hitter didn't seem to faze the Twins faithful at the time. The conventional wisdom was that 26-year-old catcher/dh Matthew LeCroy had a more potential for half the price.

When Ortiz started getting regular at-bats for the Red Sox in 2003, he started mashing the ball, finishing with 31 bombs and a .961 ops. The Twins had a fine squad that season, but fans couldn't help but wonder why he hadn't performed that well in Minnesota.

Here's what Sports Illustrated wrote about his success in Boston:

Ortiz had felt stifled in Minnesota, an organization that so emphasizes situa­tional hitting that no Twin has hit 30 home runs in a season since 1987. The 6'4" Ortiz was the square peg who ­didn’t fit in the round hole. “They wanted me to stay inside the ball,” Ortiz says, referring to a style in which a lefthanded hitter tries to hit inside pitches to leftfield. “They were teaching that to everyone. That’s why nobody ever hits home runs there. But when you’re young in the big leagues and the coach tells you to do something and you don’t do it and you get negative results, then you’re f-----. They’re going to sit you down.”

The Twins, Ortiz says, so enthusiastically stressed small-ball tactics such as hitting behind runners that “if you moved the runner over from second base [with a groundout], you got high fives in the dugout like you just hit a home run.”

In his first at bat with the Red Sox, while batting cleanup in a spring training game, Ortiz happened to come up with a runner on second base and no outs. “I came in with that little pull, cheap-shot s---,” said Ortiz, explaining his grounder to second base on an outside sinker. “I still had the Minnesota Twins in my system.”

This time there were no high fives waiting for him in the dugout, just manager Grady
Little with a word of advice. “Hey,” Little said. “Next time? Bring him in.”

Ortiz smiles at the memory. “I was like, O.K.!” he says. “I had a little more freedom than what I was used to.”
Twins fans were found themselves in an awkward position. Many tried to explain, "I knew we shouldn't have got rid of that guy." They were mad at Terry Ryan and the Twins, but they didn't even think much of it when it happened - which made them willing accomplices.

Fast forward to November 3rd, 2009

The Minnesota Twins have moved third baseman Brian Buscher off their 40-man roster and assigned him to Triple-A Rochester. The move was made Tuesday. Buscher will become a minor league free agent 16 days after the end of the World Series.
Imagine you are running a baseball team and have to choose between the following players (I've always wanted to do the anonymous stat line compare thing)

I'd say it's pretty much a wash. Besides that Player B is younger, gets on base more often, and hits for more power.

Player B is David Ortiz, and player A is Brian Buscher. (highlight for the answer)

So the numbers seem to back up Billy Smith's decision. But just because Ortiz was less deserving than Buscher of the axe, doesn't mean that Buscher deserves the axe. Remember what David said about the Twins philosophy of hitting?
“They wanted me to stay inside the ball, they were teaching that to everyone. That’s why nobody ever hits home runs there."
After hitting 20 homers for the Twins in 2002, Ortiz hit 31, 41, and 47 in successive seasons, before topping out with 54 in 2006.

Buscher has been hampered by the same Twins anti-power system. When Buscher more than doubles his home run output in a few years, I'll be the only one saying, "I told you so."

Monday, November 2, 2009

I don't consider Tim McCarver a great baseball analyst

I know a lot of people really like FOX baseball announcer Tim McCarver, but he's not on the top of my list. I guess it's just a personal thing. I understand that he was a great ballplayer and he's since become an institution of October baseball - this is his 19th straight World Series. The general consensus among baseball fans is that listening to Tim McCarver is a joy and his voice is synonymous with the World Series. They're always saying things like, "Oh, that Tim McCarver, he's a class act. And when paired with that boy Joe Buck, they make a heckuva team, a heckuva team."

I understand the Joe Buck thing - he can be funny while staying objective. But not McCarver. The problem is that he never explains anything. He always just assumes the viewers understand things like Game 7's being must-wins, and the intricacies of Derek Jeter's greatness. And he's always goofing around, as if he doesn't understand that the baseball game is The Most Important Thing In The World. He's goofing around so much that he never offers opinions on mangerial moves or player performances. I mean, baseball is supposed to elicit strong feelings, yet I never hear McCarver praise Derek Jeter or chastise Manny Ramirez.

Maybe I'm not qualified to critique a broadcaster - I've never been involved with any part of the profession. And I'm not an expert at using insanely nonsensical metaphors, so I shouldn't expect McCarver to use them. But still, I feel pretty good about being the first blogger to ever describe these negative feelings toward Tim McCarver.