Darren "Doogie" Wolfson

Darren "Doogie" Wolfson has a passion for sports, but not a consistent forum in which he's allowed to spew his thoughts. Well, now he has one. Darren spent 12-plus years with KFAN Radio, wearing multiple hats - from producing and technically directing, to reporting and hosting. He spent a majority of his time working with Sid Hartman's son, Chad on the 'Chad Hartman Show.' Read more about Darren Wolfson.

Posts about Twins postseason

No longer Central Parked: Winning division not enough this year for the Twins

Posted by: Darren "Doogie" Wolfson Updated: August 18, 2010 - 11:20 AM

The goal is to make this blog a combination of sports and entertainment. In other words, to quote a recent Seth Meyers joke, it'll be like a Kardashians' bedroom. 

The goal is to also make this entry better than either: a) the David Hasselhoff Comedy Central Roast, or b) this recent argument as to why Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was wrong in removing Kevin Slowey from a no-hitter on Sunday (scroll down one story).

Jason Whitlock I'm not, but I'm sure I can top one.

In recent postseasons, the Twins have been more Slowey article-like than Hasselhoff Roast-like. They are 3-16 in their last 19 playoff games; 0-3 in playoff series vs. New York, having been outscored 52-29. Overall, they have a nine-game playoff losing streak. All of those ugly numbers aside, this is the year for the Twins to win a postseason series for the first time since 2002. If they do, this season can be deemed a success. If not, this season should be considered a failure. Yes, it's that simple. It would be foolish to expect the Twins to win the World Series, or even the American League pennant, but expecting a series win is reasonable. Francisco Liriano, Carl Pavano, and Brian Duensing are different enough to form a lethal enough 1-2-3 punch. With the way the Twins are playing, setting up their postseason roster should be an attainable goal.

In many ways, the Twins are "all-in" for this season. Next year's team may be without many of this years' significant contributors, including soon-to-be free agents Pavano, Orlando Hudson, Jim Thome, Jon Rauch, Matt Guerrier, and Jesse Crain. And while Joe Nathan will be on the roster, it is hard to predict what he will be able to provide coming off Tommy John surgery.  

That's why this year is the Twins' best chance to win in October. First, in spite of Justin Morneau's absence, the Twins have the best record in baseball since the All-Star break at 22-8. The behind-the-scenes word is Morneau is NOT expected to miss the rest of the season. Second, let's be realistic: with the easier remaining schedule, and their dominance in the head-to-head matchups, the Twins will win the division over Chicago. In fact, the White Sox shouldn't even be the Twins' first concern. That distinction should go to the Texas Rangers. With the wild-card winner undoubtedly coming from the East, if the Central division winner finishes with a better record than Texas, they will have home-field advantage in the divisional series. 

Forget the hype about Gophers coach Tim Brewster trying to beat Wisconsin for the first time, or Brett Favre playing another former team (the Jets), or Mike Russo blogging 27 times per day from Finland. This is the year for the Twins to dominate the local sports landscape for a couple of weeks, not a couple of days, in October.

Mauer power outage should continue through Tuesday

Posted by: Darren "Doogie" Wolfson Updated: July 11, 2010 - 1:52 PM

It took some time this Sunday morning, but I have now found something more foolish than a positive review of "Knight & Day," or the notion that Nick Blackburn should remain in the starting rotation. It is the idea that because Joe Mauer is the leading vote-getter, he must play in Tuesday's All-Star Game.

On his Sunday morning radio show on 1500-ESPN, manager Ron Gardenhire suggested that Mauer is "mentally exhausted" and "(physically) beat-up." It would be moronic to question how Mauer is feeling when he plays the most physically-demanding position on the field.

But if he was too banged up to play Sunday, then why should he play in the All-Star game? So, he couldn't play Sunday, but can play in an exhibition 48-hours later?

Even though it's sacrilegious to attack Mauer, he is under-achieving this year. Maybe the bar was raised too high after his historic run last year, but he needs to contribute more. He needs to have more Target Field home runs than Matt Tolbert. Mini-rant over because obviously the Twins best chance to win is with Mauer in the lineup. In other words, Mauer must be hurt enough. Gardenhire understood the magnitude of Sunday's game  and still rested Mauer.

Missing Sunday's game is understandable, but only if he also isn't squatted behind the plate on Tuesday night. 

As my wife would say, "You ramble on too much!" So, we'll make this a short-and-sweet entry. Comment away.

Bill Smith: The Pickup Artist

Posted by: Darren "Doogie" Wolfson Updated: February 6, 2010 - 4:56 PM

 

I ... am ... struggling ... to .. write ... these ... words ... I WAS WRONG!

Below is a portion of the foreword that I wrote for the "TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook", which is a must read for any die-hard Twins fan.

Former Twins general manager Terry Ryan on the day Bill Smith became his successor: "Bill was ready [to become a GM] 10 years ago. There isn't a thing he hasn't done ... If some of these owners had come and talked to Bill, he'd have blown them away."

While possibly true, the only blowing he's done so far is the two major trades he's pulled off. Ray Matt Garza is one of the 15 best starters in the American League and SS Jason Bartlett was the team MVP in 2008 and performed admirably when healthy in 2009. Outifelder Delmon Young -- the new Mr. October -- has been a head-scratcher. He can tease like few others,but has enough what-was-he-doing at-bats and defensive mishaps to be labeled a disappointment so far.

There is much debate as to whether the Red Sox & Yankees were truly in the mix for SP Johan Santana, or if Smith only had the Mets to deal with. Even so, two years in, the wrong prospects were gotten from GM Omar Minaya. Smith is also infamous for his free-agent signings of SS Adam Everett, 3B Mike Lamb, and RP Luis Ayala. The two-year, $9 million dollar contract handed to infielder Nick Punto is also highly questionable as is keeping relief pitcher Bobby Keppel around a bit too long this year.

Now, Smith is no Bill Bavasi (only GM in history to lose 100 games with a $100 million payroll -- '08 Mariners). He deserves to be lauded for the Justin Morneau, Joe Nathan, Jason Kubel, Scott Baker, and Michael Cuddyer contract extensions, the acquisitions the last two years of relievers Craig Breslow and Jon Rauch, and shortstop Orlando Cabrera, and the signings of first-round picks Aaron Hicks (OF) andKyle Gibson (SP) and international phenom SS/3B Miguel Angel Sano.

That’s the good and bad of Smith, and yet, everything above will be far from the lead when discussing his Twins' legacy one day. Paragraph one, heck page one, will involve what happens this offseason, the biggest in recent team memory.

In retrospect, I was too hard on Smith. This offseason, he has kicked ass. While the local TV report that American League MVP Joe Mauer had agreed to a 10-year extension was extremely premature, the move will eventually happen. In the end, it very well may not be a 10-year deal, but six or seven more years of Mauer, regardless of the financial commitment, is a superb move.

Acquiring three former All-Stars -- Orlando Hudson, J.J. Hardy, and Jim Thome -- to go along with the free-agent signing of reliever Clay Condrey and the re-signing of Carl Pavano guarantees the Twins nothing in 2010. There are no guarantees with a team that has lost 16 of their last 19 playoff games -- including nine straight.

No matter, it's all about putting the team in the best position to win. Smith has done that. Smith deserves credit for recognizing the issues at second base -- they statistically had the worst set of second basemen in all of baseball in 2009 -- for trading center fielder Carlos Gomez while he still has some value, and for convincing Thome, who can still destroy right-handed pitchers, to sign for only $1.5 million.

Imagine the public relations nightmare if the Twins, with the new ballpark, didn't increase the payroll. They have not only increased it; they have exceeded anyone's reasonable expectations. The Twins' opening day payroll last year was $65 million. This year it will be near $96 million.

According to the Chinese Zodiac (in my head after a great lunch at "U Garden" on Friday), Smith is a "Dog." Among many traits, Dogs work well with others. Smith certainly has done that this offseason, which is something I initially had little faith in. And for that Mr. Smith, I apologize.

 

      

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