Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could keep lies from conquering the minds of the weak. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.
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Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was on the MLB Network Radio channel on SiriusXM with hosts Mike Ferrin and Mike Stanton on Tuesday, where he revealed that Sam Deduno will start Friday for the Twins at Detroit. There had been some chatter that rookie Kyle Gibson might get the call to fill the hole in the rotation created by Pedro Hernandez's demotion.
Deduno, the hero of the WBC, had a 2.70 ERA in three starts for the Twins AAA team in Rochester as he battled back from a groin strain. Gibson fired a shutout in his last Rochester start but has been up-and-down from start-to-start lately.
Deduno, it should be noted, also had a stretch of eight quality starts in 10 outings in 2012, which qualifies him as the Twins' version of Cy Young.
In any event, we listened to the Gardenhire interview on Sirius. Here's what he had to say about Deduno vs. Gibson (comments he will no doubt elaborate on to local beat writers when there is access later today in Atlanta):
"Mr. Deduno is going to come up and pitch for us. We’ve had long discussions and the overall thought is – and I haven’t seen too many games aside from on the Internet before our games – with Gibby right now he just threw a complete game shutout but it’s been kind of every other start. … We’re looking for him to get some consistency and back it up with another one and then we’ll see. He’s going to pitch in our rotation. He’s the kind of kid you bring up here you don’t want to end up sending back down. They’re giving him a little time. Deduno has been throwing really well. He has that hard breaking ball, puts a little fear in the eyes of the hitter. He’s gonna come in and face Detroit. … We’ll let Sammy come up here and spin some balls on them and wing it all over the place. We love the way he uses his emotions, and it ought to be entertaining."
Your thoughts, please, in the comments.
What this means, of course, is that it gave MAUER HATERZ a chance to hit on a lot of their key themes. Here, then, is a priceless piece of e-mail correspondence we received from a reader:
I do not understand why a independent newspaper has to defend Joe Mauer's performance? Are you and the Tribune on the Twins payroll now also?
The facts speak for them selves.
1. Mauer makes 29% of the twins payroll, $ 23 million out of $ 80 million. With the big money comes the big leadership responsibility.
2. The Twins are in last place again in the AL Central division. That is three years in a row. Joe has a professional agent that has told him with the big money comes big responsibility.
3. Ever since the Twins signed Mauer to his big contract the Twins have been in last place in the Central division. Joe's pay, his performance and his leadership have the Twins in last place again. Twins are going for three in a row, last place finishes that is.
4. Miguel Cabrera, A POWER HITTER of the Detroit Tigers, makes less money than Joe Mauer. Cabrera has 47 RBI Joe Mauer has 13 RBI. Joe Mauer has 39 strikeouts and Cabrera has only 23 K's. The only statistics Mauer leads Cabrera in is doubles and strikeouts. This is why Joe Mauer makes more money and you kiss his behind and make excuses for him?
Just for once have you and the tribune finally say Mauer is the twins problem. The Twins made a mistake signing the singles hitter to a $23 million a year contract, Power hitters, home run hitters and RBI producers make over $ 20 million a year ... not singles hitters who strike out A LOT.
Put these facts in your paper also. If Mauer was in New York the press would be ripping him.
To reiterate: Mauer is not perfect. He is who he is, and it is not his fault the Twins paid him $23 million a year. Also: He is not a singles hitter. He is in the top 10 in the AL in doubles, on base percentage and WAR. If anyone was on base when he batted, Mauer would have many more RBIs. He is, in fact, batting .360 with runners in scoring position this season. But he only has 32 plate appearances in such situations all season. Miguel Cabrera, also a terrific hitter, HAS 67 PLATE APPEARANCES with runners in scoring position.
Thank you for your time.
Tuesday, Minnesota United FC plays its first game this year in the US Open Cup, a season-long knockout tournament that includes teams at virtually all levels of American soccer. United plays the Des Moines Menace, a team from what is basically a summer league for college players; if they win, they play Sporting Kansas City, which is currently one of the best teams in Major League Soccer. In the space of one week, to use a baseball comparison, they could go from playing a Northwoods League team to a Major League team. How can you not like that type of competition?
This thing needs to be expanded to other sports, pronto... but it's not going to work very well in a lot of them. You can throw out football; the season is too short. NBA, NHL, and MLB teams have relationships with minor-league teams, thus negating the possibility of ever including teams outside the big leagues in such a tournament. College baseball barely has time for its current season. College hockey doesn't have enough teams.
College basketball, though -- everybody loves the college basketball tournament. Why not start another one? There are more than 600 teams in NCAA Divisions I and II alone, plenty for a ridiculous number of rounds. The teams would be drawn randomly, which could lead to more Cinderella stories than the seeded tournament does. It'd be all the excitement of the Big Dance, but it would take place all season. Frankly, about the only problem I can see here is that it'd be too exciting, and fans would stop watching any part of the regular season, except for the cup competition.
If anybody complains about too many games, we can just eliminate a couple of the meaningless nonconference games. CBS and Turner paid nearly a billion dollars per year just for the NCAA tournament; you can't tell me they won't be on board. If the schools can make more money from the TV deal, they'll be okay with this idea.
Let's make this happen, college basketball. You can quit expanding the NCAA tournament now. Just add another tournament. Everybody wins.
On with the links:
* Parker Hageman of Twins Daily sat down with Twins hitting coach Tom Brunansky. His lede involved "Homer At The Bat," one of the great SImpsons episodes, but the article's worth even more if you get past the opening.
* Theory: the New Yorker's great Roger Angell was the first baseball blogger. Evidence: in this wide-ranging interview from 1992, published at Deadspin, he says, "What I did was write about baseball from the fans' point of view.... Although it was not a conscious plan, I wrote about myself, because I was a fan. It set a pattern for me. I am a fan, I refer to myself as a fan, and I report about my feelings as a fan, and nobody else, to my knowledge, does that." Twenty years later, everyone does that, but Roger Angell still might be the best.
* We take it for granted now that athletes have it easy when they travel. It wasn't always so, though - read this Grantland oral history on the absolute nightmare that was NBA travel in the 1960s and 1970s.
* Speaking of old NBA-related oddities: The three-pointer is now one of the most important parts of a team's offense (well, unless that team is the Timberwolves.) TVFury points out that it wasn't always so.
*And finally: you had one job, St. Louis outfield fence.
(NOTE: This post was updated to correct the number of teams in NCAA basketball. There are more than 600 in Divisions I and II put together, not in Division 1 alone.)
The Sandlot came out 20 years ago. That's the bad news, because it means you're old.
Let's start over.
The Sandlot came out 20 years ago. That's the good news, because it means you get to participate in some nostalgia.
As part of the anniversary of the film, a special edition is out on DVD and Blu-Ray. And, as luck would have it, Chauncey Leopardi (Squints) and Patrick Renna (Ham) are on a tour with director David Mickey Evans to promote it. Not only that, but the movie about young baseball pals will be shown at Target Field and on FSN after Sunday's game against the Red Sox. Leopardi, Renna and Evans -- along with a considerable entourage -- were nice enough to drop by the Star Tribune on Friday afternoon to talk about the film and the tour. Leopardi was wearing pristine Vans and liked our more scuffed up ones, but that's neither here nor there.
*Evans, on why 'The Sandlot' endures while other movies of its ilk are forgotten: "By and large, other movies that attempt what ‘The Sandlot’ attempted, just don’t cut the mustard. It’s not honest and it’s not authentic. This movie was honest and authentic. … And the period piece had something to do with it. This was that one last summer [set in 1962, a year before Kennedy was assassinated], that Eisenhower post-World War II innocence. It was a simpler time. ... And this movie is not about baseball. It's about friendship, courage and character. Most other sports films are about the game, or the big game."
*Renna on the role of Ham: I think there is a little of every character in everyone, if that makes sense. I don't think I was necessarily being myself, but I think that Ham is definitely within me to some degree, and all I had to do was pull it out of myself. That's one thing David was great at.
*Does Renna -- who looks almost exactly the same 20 years later -- still get stopped daily by people on the street? It's hard to say how often. Well, it's every day. It depends on where I am. It happened 3-4 times today. If it's at Disneyland, forget about it. But that's another thing that I think makes the movie great -- how many generations it transcends.
*Leopardi on reactions to the film and from fans meeting him: "It doesn't matter whether people are 40 or if they're 6 and they're showing it to their kids. They geat really excited, like a pop star walked into the room when they meet us and it's like 'Sandlot? What?' They get this super Kool-Aid grin."
*Renna on whether he gets asked to say "you're killing me, Smalls," often: A lot of times, people say it to me. So I get off the hook. On this trip I've been asked to say it. But when someone yells 'you play ball like a girl,' that's a tough one to respond to. You're killing me, Smalls, that's an easier one.
The impetus, we presume, was all of the Yankees injuries -- and the fact that the Bronx Bombers now have $100 million tied up in players who are on the DL right now (yes, that's more than the payroll of the Twins and the majority of MLB teams). Yes, nearly half the Yankees' payroll is being spent on injured players right now.
Of local note, though, is how relatively fortunate, at least in terms of dollars and cents, the Twins have been with injuries this year. In 2011, for example, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau were hurt for substantial portions, eating up vast amounts for nothing.
This year? The Twins have just $1.7 million tied up in players on the DL, third-fewest in baseball. (One caveat: This likely only counts players on the 25-man roster, thus the injured Nick Blackburn and his $5.5 million are not counted. But even if Blackburn was added and the Twins jumped to $7.2 million, they would still be the seventh-lowest in MLB.
The Twins' payroll is roughly $14 million less than a year ago, and it was less in 2012 than in 2011. The margin for error is smaller. So keeping players healthy -- and getting huge performances from low-money guys like Aaron Hicks, who had an unbelievable stretch last night -- makes a ton of difference.
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