Patrick Reusse has been covering sports in the Twin Cities since 1968. He has been a Star Tribune sports columnist since 1988. His sportswriting credo is twofold: 1. God will provide an angle; 2. The smaller the ball, the better the writing.

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Bartlett situation has a Twins lifer stupefied

Posted by: Patrick Reusse Updated: March 30, 2014 - 5:42 PM

When alarmed by a happening back on the prairie, a popular saying was, “I’ve been to several county fairs and never seen anything like this.’’

The Twins will open their 54th season on Monday in Chicago and I would like to modify that to say: “I’ve seen dang near all the openers and never seen anything like this.’’

It’s regrettable to be fixated over a minor issue for a team with several major ones, but the Jason Bartlett situation is a first for me:

Adding a veteran who showed nothing on the field in spring training, in the hope that he can be the source of uplifting dialogue with less-experienced lads in the clubhouse.

That’s the way I read it, anyway … that Bartlett survived in order to be a confidante in times of frustration for Aaron Hicks, or Oswaldo Arcia, or even Trevor Plouffe.

This would’ve been doable back in the ‘60s, when there nine pitchers and 16 position players (meaning eight on the bench, with no DH) on an active roster. It would’ve been doable in the ‘70s and into the ‘80s when the numbers were 10 and 15 … maybe when it was 11 pitchers and 14 players a dozen years ago.

The Twins had 13 pitchers and 12 players for most of last season. This season, they will start with 12 pitchers and 13 players, and hope that works.

That means a four-player bench. One spot goes to a catcher, Josmil Pinto. One goes to an infielder, Eduardo Escobar. One goes to a DH/first baseman, Chris Colabello. And one goes to a pep leader, Bartlett.

The Twins are the source of incredible ridicule after the worst three-year stretch in franchise history … more ridicule than during the eight consecutive losing seasons from 1993 through 2000.

And now they have put this on a tee – Bartlett, and Ron Gardenhire’s main reason for having him on the roster – and allowed the media and the sporting public to blast away.

We’re all jumping at this with both feet, like Bubba Watson trying to cut a drive 350 yards.

Gardenhire talked with a week left in Florida about wanting Chris Herrmann on his club, as a third catcher, a corner outfielder and an emergency second baseman. Herrmann made sense as a versatile player in this era of short benches.

Yet, the manager decided it was more important to have Bartlett – a 34-year-old who didn’t play last season and has played only shortstop in his big-league career – than a usable Herrmann as the fourth guy on the bench.

There were strange happenings in Calvin Griffith’s time in charge [1961-84], including the summer when Steve Brye stayed on the active list for weeks with a cast on a broken hand.

“You can use him as a pinch runner,’’ Calvin told manager Frank Quilici.

It was ridiculous, and extra cheap, but Frankie did have four or five other players on the bench.

To me, having Bartlett as a 25 percent of the bench on Opening Day is more stupefying. I’m shocked that the baseball boss, Terry Ryan, and acting general manager Rob Antony allowed Gardenhire to get his way with the nonsense that clubhouse chemistry is an important issue for a team with so many other problems.

Starting with this: They can’t hit. And whatever back slaps Bartlett can muster aren't going to change that.

Detroit «00100002X340
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W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)


San Francisco 7 Bottom 9th Inning
Kansas City 1
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Houston 85 FINAL
Miami 90
Indiana 89 FINAL
Minnesota 107
Utah 105 FINAL
Oklahoma City 91
Portland 93 FINAL
Denver 75
Phoenix 69 3rd Qtr 4:34
LA Lakers 61
LA Clippers 43 2nd Qtr 5:33
Golden State 51
San Jose 3 FINAL
Boston 5
NY Rangers 4 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 3
Toronto 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Detroit 1 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 2
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Nashville 4
Carolina 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 3
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Chicago 4
Vancouver 3 FINAL
Dallas 6
Florida 3 3rd Prd 1:18
Colorado 3
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL(OT)
Calgary 1
Arkansas State 26 4th Qtr 5:41
Louisiana 41
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
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