Startribune.com 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.
There's been lots of Twitter angst/love in the past 24 hours over Jamey Carroll's departure from the Twins to Kansas City. Lots of talk about professionalism and, for lack of a better term, "all that." As far as I could tell, Carroll was never subjected to any ridicule from Twins fans during his time with the team.
This should not be confused with a big chunk of the reaction when Nick Punto left Minnesota after the 2010 season -- a post-Minnesota journey that has taken him to St. Louis (where he was on a World Series-winning team), Boston and now the Los Angeles Dodgers, who look to be in good position for the postseason.
In almost-two-years with the Twins, Carroll had a .257 batting average, .327 on-base percentage and .301 slugging percentage.
In seven years with the Twins, Punto had a .248 average, .323 on-base percentage and .324 slugging percentage.
Both were three-position reserves in the infield, and their playing time had more to do with glove work than handling a bat.
Punto had 2,707 plate appearances during his 1,142 regular season games on the Twins roster. (That's the number of games the Twins played, not the number Punto played in.) So he averaged about 2.4 plate appearances per game.
Carroll had 743 plate appearances in his 277 games with the Twins -- about 2.7 plate apperances per game that he was on the roster.
In other words, you can't really argue that Punto was disliked because of how much the Twins played him. You know, the whole "Gardy's pet" thing.
Punto and Carroll were pretty much the same player, save for the fact that the Twins had a young Nick Punto and an old Jamey Carroll. Both filled a role that exists on most teams. Both are players who should have limited playing time on a successful team, although Punto had a fine year in 2006, when he rescued the Twins from Tony Batista at third base.
All of that being the case, who wants to take a run at explaining why there was so much scorn toward Punto and so much affection for Carroll?
It's kind of puzzling me.
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