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.

Section 219: The Twins are almost unwatchable

Posted by: Howard Sinker Updated: August 29, 2012 - 8:23 AM

Tuesday's announced attendance at Target Field was the smallest since the ballpark opened and the first time it fell below 30,000.

The announcement that the All-Star Game will be played at Target Field in 2014 is supposed to be a salve for the ugly product that the Twins are putting on the field -- a combination of terrible starters, an offense that too often goes clueless in key situations and an overworked bullpen that would be suspect even if it worked under ideal conditions. And the defense isn't very good, either.

"Stay with us and you'll be rewarded with (the opportunity to buy) All-Star Game tickets" will be among the messages the Twins will put forth after Wednesday's party when the commissioner, the mayor, the owners and top team officials put on their happiest faces to formally announce what's been assumed for a long, long time.

One can only hope that the Twins put as much into fixing their product for April 2013 as they will into dressing up for July 2014.

Right now, I want to hear an owner who forcefully tells his fans that bad decisions and bad performance have contributed to a ball club that he's unhappy to have associated with his name. So far, all I've heard is elevator music -- Terry Ryan is the GM and he'll decide the manager's future and nobody likes losing and obviously there will be changes in 2013.

Here's the story that ESPN1500's Phil Mackey wrote from Doogie Wolfson's interview with Jim Pohlad last weekend. There are a handful of strong-sounding phrases and others where I'm not quite sure what the message is beyond the owner's assertion that "losing sucks."

And Ryan told Jim Souhan on Tuesday that he won't fire Ron Gardenhire or ask him to make changes in his coaching staff. and that he doubts he'll pursue any of the handful of elite free-agent pitchers who could be available.

I want someone to throw high-and-inside at the All-Star Game news conference, where the Twins officials who can give the answers will be gathered.

Here's a starter list of what I want to know:

*How long do you expect season-ticket holders to keep faith with an undertalented, underperforming team?

*Explain further how the jobs of the field staff are secure with a team that is again threatening to lose 100 games -- this time without a "perfect storm" of injuries to key players to explain it away? (Keep in mind that if the Twins were in the AL East or West, 100 losses would be a foregone conclusion.)

*Is the ongoing problem with injuries and roster management primarily the fault of the medical staff, the field staff, the front office or a shared responsibility? More importantly, how will you fix things?

*Do the Twins believe that the "ballpark experience" compensates for lousy baseball? If so, based on what model? Don't say the Chicago Cubs because you can go on StubHub right now and find $2 tickets for Wednesday's game. (As of 8:15 a.m. Wednesday, about 10 percent of Wrigley's capacity was for sale on StubHub.)

*As management insiders, do you have the sense that players are tuning out the coaches and manager? Do you read anything between the lines when Justin Morneau says, "There's far too much talent for us to get beat the way we're getting beat."?

The Twins have pretty much become unwatchable. They lost badly in three of the four games in Texas and were within a few more Jeff Gray pitches of giving away the game they won on Sunday. (I can't remember a pitcher giving up two home runs while I was waiting at one traffic light.) They played badly in Seattle and Oakland during the previous stops on that road trip and lost 5 of 6 games on the homestand before they left.

Of their last 19 games, they've lost 16.

Of their last 200, they've lost 123.

There's no way to sugar-coat this: Fans are picking up the pace of not paying attention. Keep in mind that Tuesday's record-low attendance included all the tickets that were sold and didn't get used. (I had four of those and I've got to tell you, the Lynx played an exciting game, Novak Djokovic doesn't mess around with overmatched opponents and the Chicken Pad Thai at Wok in the Park is worth a trip to St. Louis Park.)

And I see little that shows urgency at 1 Twins Way.

It's frustrating for me because I want to make time for this team. I want to think that better days are ahead. I want to watch the September games with hope. Really, I'm not a tough audience. But the investment isn't worth the reward right now, and I know I'm not the only one who feels that way.

Let me know if I'm missing something. That could be the case because, like many other people, I haven't been watching as closely as I used to.


Detroit 6:00 PM
Atlanta 6:30 PM
Toronto 6:30 PM
New York
Memphis 7:00 PM
Brooklyn 7:30 PM
Milwaukee 8:00 PM
San Antonio 8:00 PM
Buffalo 2 2nd Prd 6:36
Florida 2
Detroit 2 2nd Prd 6:22
Nashville 2
Carolina 4:00 PM
NY Islanders
New Jersey 4:00 PM
Arizona 4:30 PM
Toronto 6:00 PM
NY Rangers 7:00 PM
Minnesota 9:00 PM
St. Louis 9:00 PM
Ottawa 9:00 PM
San Jose
Kennesaw St 75 FINAL
Lipscomb 94
Navy 57 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 47
Bucknell 71 FINAL
American Univ 69
NC State 63 FINAL
Boston College 79
East Carolina 71 FINAL
UCF 66
Georgia Tech 63 FINAL
Clemson 70
Lehigh 55 FINAL
Colgate 61
Louisville 81 FINAL
Florida State 59
Missouri 44 FINAL
Georgia 68
Army 64 FINAL
Lafayette 74
Michigan 56 FINAL
Maryland 66
Georgetown 70 FINAL
St Johns 81
Rhode Island 59 FINAL
La Salle 56
Western Carolina 67 FINAL
Citadel 54
Nebraska Omaha 87 FINAL
Maine 56 FINAL
New Hampshire 65
Samford 80 FINAL
Va Military 69
Presbyterian 53 FINAL
Winthrop 80
Utah State 74 FINAL
Air Force 60
Vermont 73 FINAL
Albany 79
Binghamton 76
Indiana State 60 FINAL
Bradley 52
Butler 67 FINAL
DePaul 53
Illinois State 69 FINAL
Evansville 67
Wright State 46 FINAL
Ill-Chicago 61
Fla Gulf Coast 67 FINAL
Jacksonville 75
Ole Miss 63 FINAL
LSU 73
North Carolina 73 FINAL
Miami-Florida 64
Wagner 64 FINAL
Mount St Marys 74
Oklahoma 67
Delaware 65 FINAL
Towson 60
Cincinnati 63 FINAL
Tulane 47
Dayton 59 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 55
Northern Iowa 60 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Drexel 80 FINAL
William & Mary 66
Oakland 63 FINAL
Green Bay 83
Villanova 78 FINAL
Xavier 66
Campbell 65 FINAL
Longwood 70
Sarah Lawrence 55 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 46 2nd Half 11:52
UAB 51
UNC-Asheville 61 2nd Half 13:56
Liberty 38
Southern Utah 54 2nd Half 10:09
North Dakota 43
Utah Valley U 14 2nd Half
Chicago State 30
ULM 19 2nd Half
Appalachian St 34
Bowling Green 31 2nd Half
Miami-Ohio 27
Long Island 30 1st Half 3:44
Sacred Heart 31
West Virginia 14 1st Half 9:54
Baylor 23
Holy Cross 16 1st Half 7:11
Boston Univ 21
MD-Eastern Shore 2 1st Half 18:32
Delaware State 2
Wofford 6 1st Half 12:03
Furman 11
Montana State 5 1st Half 14:11
Idaho 9
Hofstra 18 1st Half 7:45
James Madison 23
Iowa State 23 1st Half 7:51
Kansas State 18
Arkansas 10 1st Half 11:47
Kentucky 16
Missouri State 10 1st Half 10:30
Loyola-Chicago 16
Fordham 12 1st Half 10:58
Massachusetts 17
Nicholls 22 1st Half 7:37
McNeese State 22
East Tenn St 27 1st Half 7:47
Mercer 17
Coppin State 3:00 PM
Morgan State
San Diego 17 1st Half 6:37
Portland 20
Gardner-Webb 16 1st Half 9:47
Radford 15
St Francis-PA 21 1st Half 8:32
Robert Morris 11
Duquesne 21 1st Half 7:43
St Bonaventure 29
Creighton 23 1st Half 8:49
Seton Hall 9
Oklahoma State 8 1st Half 9:13
Texas Tech 8
Alabama 21 1st Half 6:39
Vanderbilt 15
Virginia Tech 11 1st Half 9:26
Virginia 11
Bethune-Cookman 2 1st Half 19:16
NC Central 3
St Francis-NY 4 1st Half 15:59
Bryant 11
Drake 13 1st Half 8:38
Southern Ill 25
High Point 3:30 PM
Char Southern
Central Conn St 3:30 PM
Eastern Mich 3:30 PM
Western Mich
Texas 4:00 PM
Chattanooga 4:00 PM
UNC Greensboro
SE Louisiana 4:00 PM
Central Arkansas
South Dakota St 4:00 PM
South Dakota
Montana 4:05 PM
Eastern Wash
Georgia State 4:15 PM
Old Dominion 4:30 PM
North Texas
Arkansas State 4:30 PM
Texas State
Texas Southern 5:00 PM
Alabama State
Tennessee St 5:00 PM
Princeton 5:00 PM
Dartmouth 5:00 PM
Tennessee 5:00 PM
Jacksonville St 5:00 PM
Morehead State
San Jose St 5:00 PM
Florida A&M 5:00 PM
Iowa 5:00 PM
Penn State
Loyola Marymount 5:00 PM
Miss State 5:00 PM
South Carolina
Savannah State 5:00 PM
SC State
Miss Valley St 5:30 PM
Jackson State
Alcorn State 5:30 PM
Southern U
Prairie View 6:00 PM
Alabama A&M
Harvard 6:00 PM
George Washington 6:00 PM
Syracuse 6:00 PM
Tenn Tech 6:00 PM
Eastern Ky
UNC-Wilmington 6:00 PM
Stony Brook 6:00 PM
Hampton 6:00 PM
Northwestern 6:00 PM
Western Ill 6:00 PM
IUPU-Ft Wayne
Buffalo 6:00 PM
Kent State
Incarnate Word 6:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton 6:00 PM
Long Beach State
TX-San Antonio 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
Richmond 6:00 PM
Saint Josephs
George Mason 6:00 PM
Saint Louis
Austin Peay 6:00 PM
SE Missouri St
Murray State 6:00 PM
UT Martin
Ball State 6:00 PM
Penn 6:00 PM
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
Youngstown St
Stetson 6:00 PM
North Florida
USC Upstate 6:00 PM
Northern Ky
Grand Canyon 6:05 PM
Abilene Christian 6:15 PM
New Orleans
Northeastern 7:00 PM
Coll of Charleston
Tulsa 7:00 PM
Wyoming 7:00 PM
Central Mich 7:00 PM
Northern Ill
Denver 7:00 PM
Oral Roberts
Charlotte 7:00 PM
Boise State 7:00 PM
San Diego St
St Marys-CA 7:00 PM
Santa Clara
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
Southern Miss
Sam Houston St 7:00 PM
New Mexico St 7:00 PM
TX-Pan American
FIU 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Stephen F Austin 7:00 PM
Houston Baptist
Ga Southern 7:15 PM
Ark-Little Rock 7:15 PM
Grambling St 7:30 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Auburn 7:30 PM
Texas A&M
Arizona 8:00 PM
Northern Ariz 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
UC Davis 0 1st Half
Cal Poly 0
New Mexico 9:00 PM
Fresno State
BYU 9:00 PM
Pacific 9:00 PM
San Francisco
Idaho State 9:00 PM
Weber State
Sacramento St 9:05 PM
Portland State
UC Riverside 9:30 PM
Washington 9:30 PM
CS-Bakersfield 9:30 PM
UC Irvine 10:59 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Michigan 60 FINAL
Illinois 72
Lipscomb 57 FINAL
Kennesaw St 75
North Florida 45 FINAL
Stetson 77
Samford 65 FINAL
Mercer 70
Liberty 64 FINAL
Campbell 57
North Texas 48 FINAL
Old Dominion 70
St Francis-NY 62 FINAL
Bryant 52
St Francis-PA 58 FINAL
Robert Morris 73
Long Island 71 FINAL
Sacred Heart 78
Sam Houston St 52 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 60
Kent State 59 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 66
Appalachian St 80
Boston U 62 FINAL
Holy Cross 76
Nicholls 73 FINAL
McNeese State 68
Akron 80 FINAL
Buffalo 87
Ball State 50 FINAL
Western Mich 51
MD-Eastern Shore 68 FINAL
Delaware State 61
Northern Ill 52 FINAL
Eastern Michigan 60
Bowling Green 47 FINAL
Ohio U 67
Central Michigan 53 FINAL
Toledo 62
Coppin State 55 FINAL
Morgan State 73
Bethune-Cookman 50 FINAL
NC Central 33
Central Conn St 77 FINAL
Fairleigh Dickinson 56
Memphis 24 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 87
Georgia Tech 67 FINAL
Wake Forest 60
East Carolina 69 FINAL
Temple 79
Marist 65 FINAL
Rider 56
Michigan State 61 FINAL
Purdue 56
Fairfield 72 FINAL
Manhattan 54
Niagara 53 FINAL
Iona 81
East Tenn St 42 FINAL
(18) Chattanooga 64
Furman 70 FINAL
Wofford 53
Longwood 58 FINAL
Charleston Southern 51
UNC-Asheville 87 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 53
Northern Ky 83 FINAL
USC Upstate 60
Winthrop 60 FINAL
Presbyterian 53
Western Ill 75 FINAL
South Dakota 78
Detroit 78 FINAL
Valparaiso 57
Cleveland State 41 2nd Half 10:29
Milwaukee 39
Lafayette 34 2nd Half 11:28
Army 40
Arkansas State 51 2nd Half 10:11
Texas State 59
Georgia State 47 2nd Half 11:02
Troy 64
IUPUI 40 2nd Half 7:37
South Dakota St 69
Tennessee St 61 2nd Half 6:59
Belmont 41
Eastern Illinois 37 2nd Half 9:34
SIU-Edwardsville 47
Jacksonville St 58 2nd Half 4:33
Morehead St 59
Kansas State 30 2nd Half 8:20
TCU 48
Cincinnati 36 2nd Half 6:36
SMU 37
SE Louisiana 38 2nd Half 11:15
Central Arkansas 57
Denver 28 2nd Half 7:56
Nebraska Omaha 42
Tulane 43 2nd Half 7:49
Tulsa 42
IUPU-Ft Wayne 35 2nd Half 12:17
Oral Roberts 59
Air Force 18 1st Half 6:39
Utah State 19
San Diego State 13 1st Half 8:05
Boise State 19
Fresno State 12 1st Half 8:16
New Mexico 20
Florida A&M 21 1st Half 5:44
NC A&T 24
Gonzaga 25 1st Half 7:55
BYU 13
South Florida 33 1st Half 7:50
UCF 25
UCLA 11 1st Half 9:28
Washington 18
(3) Baylor 22 1st Half 7:23
Iowa State 21
Miss Valley St 19 1st Half 6:17
Jackson State 17
Tenn Tech 18 1st Half 6:53
Eastern Kentucky 21
UMKC 6 1st Half 7:14
Grand Canyon 15
Seattle 19 1st Half 7:32
CS-Bakersfield 17
Texas Southern 21 1st Half 10:30
Alabama State 13
Santa Clara 12 1st Half 11:39
St Marys-CA 13
UNLV 18 1st Half 8:32
Wyoming 34
Savannah State 11 1st Half 11:03
SC State 14
Alcorn State 3:00 PM
Southern U
Bucknell 0 1st Half 15:30
American Univ 6
Eastern Washington 12 1st Half 11:28
Montana 9
Idaho 22 1st Half 5:56
Montana State 19
Weber State 12 1st Half 7:20
Idaho State 19
Radford 12 1st Half 10:20
High Point 21
Green Bay 3:30 PM
Youngstown St
Oakland 3:30 PM
Austin Peay 3:30 PM
SE Missouri St
Wagner 3:30 PM
Mount St Marys
Portland 4:00 PM
San Diego
Nevada 4:00 PM
San Jose St
Stephen F Austin 4:00 PM
Houston Baptist
Incarnate Word 4:00 PM
Abilene Christian 4:00 PM
New Orleans
Pepperdine 4:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
San Francisco 4:00 PM
Prairie View 4:00 PM
Alabama A&M
Hampton 4:00 PM
Chicago State 4:00 PM
Utah Valley U
Murray State 4:00 PM
UT Martin
Cal Poly 4:00 PM
Marshall 4:00 PM
Florida Atlantic
Portland State 4:00 PM
Sacramento St
UC Santa Barbara 4:00 PM
UC Davis
Western Ky 5:00 PM
UAB 5:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Georgia Southern 5:00 PM
Grambling 5:00 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Ark-Little Rock 5:00 PM
Cornell 5:00 PM
Columbia 5:00 PM
Brown 5:00 PM
(14) Princeton
USC 5:00 PM
Washington St
(24) California 5:00 PM
(7) Oregon State
Yale 6:00 PM
Loyola-Maryland 6:00 PM
Jacksonville 6:00 PM
(21) Fla Gulf Coast
Long Beach St 6:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Rice 6:00 PM
Colgate 6:30 PM
CS-Northridge 7:00 PM
Kansas 7:00 PM
Oklahoma St 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
TX-Pan American 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
North Dakota 8:00 PM
Southern Utah
Northern Colorado 9:00 PM
Northern Ariz


question of the day

Poll: With Adrian Peterson's suspension overturned, what should the Vikings do?

Weekly Question





Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters