Startribune.com digital sports editor Howard Sinker used to cover the Twins and now shares season tickets with friends in Section 219 of Target Field. He blogs about baseball from the perspective of a long-time fan who loves the game, doesn’t always believe the hype and likes hearing what others think. Howard sometimes talks about sports with Cathy Wurzer on MPR's Morning Edition.
Happy Nick Punto Day, I guess.
I met the brainchild of Nick Punto Day, Andrew Kneeland, a couple of summers ago and he's typically impressed me with wise commentary about the Twins.
But Nick Punto Day on the web?
As more than one person has pointed out, for whatever reasons, every day seems to be Nick Punto Day on the web, especially for those who need to hit the same target over and over again. Imagine the lonely figure in the boxing gym hitting the speed bag over and over and over again.
Yes, it's a cheap trick for a blog owner to incite conversation by working Punto into a post. (I've done it.)
But many times it doesn't much seem to matter. A post about the bullpen ... or the outfield... or the racing sausages of Milwaukee could be hijacked into yet another debate (sometimes highly uncivil) about Punto.
Most of those could be summarized as: NICK PUNTO: Pariah or merely the Anti-Christ.
My thoughts about Punto: On a team that fancies itself a championship contender, Punto should not be batting second. On a team that could run out a batting order that also included Orlando Cabrera, Carlos Gomez and Brendan Harris, adding Punto was one more troublesome lineup filler. On a team that has improved itself at second base (Orlando Hudson), shortstop (JJ Hardy) and bench/DH (Jim Thome), it's bullying to bang on a decision to have Punto bat ninth and play third base -- if that's what ends up happening.
If you have a problem with a solid defensive player with an .340 on-base percentage in 817 at-bats over the last two seasons holding down the No. 9 spot, then I think the problem is more your's than it is Gardy's or Punto's. If you want to hold Punto's craptastic 2007 season against him forever and ever (or the boneheaded baserunning play from Game 3 of the ALDS last season), that's your issue.
Punto will be pushed for playing time at third base by Brendan Harris (for sure), Matt Tolbert (maybe) and Danny Valencia (eventually). He could well end up on the bench as a three-position reserve. Whatever the case, the 2010 Twins have a proper role for Punto, which says as much about those have put together the current roster as it does about Punto.
Let's move on.
But before we do, you can read thoughts about Punto from:
And Andrew, of course!
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