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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Commenter RandBallsStu (branding!) each week tracks down a former Minnesota sports figure about whom you might have otherwise forgotten. Stu?
We participated in a panel discussion Tuesday morning that focused, in part, on social media. We talked about how it is evolving, how it is used in media and how much of using it ultimately comes down to common sense.
It seems there are daily reminders of the evolution and common sense part of it, with the Twins' official Twitter account giving us another case study on Wednesday. As part of a back-and-forth with the Braves' official account, there was the following exchange: The Twins' account tweeted a picture of a Kent Hrbek jersey hanging in Atlanta's park. The Braves responded with "Leave it there, we'll SWEEP it up for you!" in reference to Atlanta taking all three games of the series. The Twins responded with this:
The tweet drew quite a bit of reaction, with nearly 500 retweets and more than 350 favorites as of this morning. It also caused plenty of folks on Twitter to wonder if it was appropriate to talk trash on two levels: Should the Twins boast of a World Series title 22 years ago when they're in the midst of an eight-game losing streak ... and should the official account engage in what could be construed as banter but also could be taken for trash talk?
Our take again takes us back to that grey area of common sense and understanding the moment -- which, in the world of every second matters, is what Twitter is all about. Regardless of whether the Twins had won eight in a row or lost eight in a row, we think the final tweet might have seemed out of place (it would have needed to be amended, of course, to read something like "after we're done SWEEPING you, we'll dust this off"). But it seemed particularly tone deaf based on the timing. That was a memorable World Series, one of the best in MLB history, but the Twitter audience that is seeing the tweet is frustrated after a blowout loss. They are in no mood to brag. And bringing up glory from a generation ago is a cheap form of retort -- akin to Packers fans in 2009 boasting of past Super Bowls as Brett Favre was dominating for the Vikings. The fact that it came as part of a back-and-forth makes it a little more palatable, but again much of the audience only focuses in on the final tweet.
We were curious, though, to hear what folks with the Twins thought of it. We had a good e-mail exchange Wednesday evening with team President Dave St. Peter -- an active tweeter himself -- about his take. Here is an excerpt of what he had to say after looking at the exchange:
We see it as playful banter with the Braves and a bit of levity with the rivals from 1991. That said, it’s my assumption that the fan “reaction” you refer to is largely coming from the Twins fan base. Is this correct? If so, I assume the playful banter with the Braves has some Twins fans irritated that the Twins are “living in the past” instead of being committed to win in 2013. The reality is that the message you referred to in your e-mail was a lighthearted response to a specific lighthearted tweet sent to the Twins by the Braves. Nothing more, nothing less.
Perhaps the lesson learned here is that while it’s a wonderful communications tool, Twitter has its shortcomings. Many times people see a single tweet and react without having full context or perspective. To that end, the Twins response to the Braves had unintended consequences (mainly setting off a group of frustrated Twins fans). Rest assured, everyone with the Twins organization is frustrated with the current losing streak. Moreover, we fully understand our past on-field successes mean little to a new generation of fans who want to see their Twins bring home another World Championship.
We agree with St. Peter on many points and really don't have a problem with an official account having some personality, but we'd still say this: Even as part of a response to another tweet, it strikes the wrong note given the current state of the franchise. A tweet with more humility would have made a world of difference.
Your thoughts, please, in the comments.
If you first instinct when you saw Trevor Plouffe take a leg to the head sliding into second base last night was to think back three years to Justin Morneau, well, your instinct was good.
Plouffe said Wednesday he is feeling OK, but he was placed on the seven-day DL for a concussion. Morneau, of course, has had a long battle back from his concussion sustained in 2010. Here is a link to the Plouffe play (not yet able to embed) as well as the Morneau play below:
Tuesday was one of those days when we probably tried to do too much -- and had too much confidence in our ability to bend time and make it all happen. As a result, we were constantly running behind by about 10-15 minutes on everything (a phenomenon that friends refer to as Rand Standard Time). It's not laziness or indifference that makes us late. We really do value other people's time. It is, as we said, our overconfidence in an ability to get places faster than we should be able to get there.
But we digress. Around 9:15 p.m., the things we tried to squeeze in were over. We realized we had not yet eaten dinner. We also knew the RBBH was out at a late dinner with a couple of friends. So we were solo. In a serendipitious turn, we were also lost in St. Paul. Instead of using GPS, we used instinct. That instinct led us to Snelling Avenue when we thought we were heading toward University Avenue. You do the math on that one (those two roads intersect, so we couldn't have been much more wrong).
As unsavory fast food prospects spun in our head, a much better light bulb went off: The Nook. It's far closer to our new neighborhood than it ever used to where we used to live ... and, confession: We had never been there. That's right, one of the sacred burger places in all of the Twin Cities had somehow escaped us in the nearly two decades we have been living here. Clay Davis would call that shameful, and he would add another word as well.
But this was the perfect opportunity to fix a wrong. It was late enough that it wouldn't be overly crowded. We were flying solo, so we could sit at the bar. And, in what seemed almost too fitting, we arrived at around the start of the top of the 8th inning of the Twins game, which was being shown on one of the TVs at the bar (the other was showing playoff hockey, this being St. Paul, and not the Spurs/Grizzlies in OT).
We noticed Joe Mauer was leading off the inning at around the same time we noticed all the ingredients of the Mauer burger at The Nook, which is located a strong Mauer throw away from his old high school, Cretin-Derham Hall. His burger is called the "Joe Mauer Hit a Double Burger." We kept it simple, though, opting for a bacon cheeseburger. Mauer, too, kept it simple -- single instead of a double to lead off the eighth.
The inning progressed, of course, with Trevor Plouffe knocking in Mauer with the tying run and Ryan Doumit driving in the go-ahead run. The Twins, who hadn't led since Friday, were suddenly in the lead after one magical trip to burger paradise.
We had the narrative in our head, the perfect opening post for Wednesday with all the lessons of life and fate leading us to the perfect place at the perfect time to see this Mauer-fueled victory. With another Minnesota guy -- and presumed hamburger enthusiast -- Glen Perkins on to lock down the ninth, what could go wrong?
Well, of course, we know what happened. Two-out, tying home run, followed by another run in the 10th, and the Twins had lost seven in a row. We got up to leave, and another gentleman at the bar simply said, "brutal." We replied, "unbelievable." But really, it wasn't. Giving up those runs was hardly crazy. What was crazy was thinking that a chance arrival at a burger place near Mauer's old high school was somehow going to change the Twins' luck. What transpired wasn't a Hollywood narrative, but it was, at least, a better reminder of life's narrative than if Perk had recorded one more out. Remembering that will be the reward for the evening (also, the burger and fries were delicious).
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.
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