The Twins, who managed to go from first to worst over the course of one embarrassing disaster of a season, made an interesting move Monday afternoon.
The team has canned general manager Bill Smith and promoted former GM Terry Ryan to run the team on an interim basis. Smith has been offered some other position with the club, which hopefully doesn't require any sort of decision-making.
Here is a short but impressive list of the things he has done to irritate me: trade Johan Santana, J.J. Hardy, Matt Garza, Wilson Ramos (for that sucktard Matt Capps.) Meanwhile, the Twins received practically nothing in return for Delmon Young. Also there are the matters of Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Drew Butera, and Trevor Plouffe. Ugh.
Although owner Jim Pohlad referred to Billy as "unquestionably loyal, committed, and talented," apparently he does not believe the guy has what it takes to pull this team out of the gutter in 2012 and beyond. I concur.
After becoming completely burned out on the job, Ryan stepped down in 2007 to become senior advisor to the GM. I can't imagine how helpless he must have felt over the last four seasons...
Enjoy the 4:30pm news conference while you purge your thoughts on the situation. Do you feel some kind of newfound hope or are you rolling your eyes at the lack of imagination that went along with replacing Smith?
The Minnesota Twins avoided the shame and embarrassment of a 100-loss season during Wednesday night's season finale against the Kansas City Royals.
Thanks to a complete game-shutout performance by Carl Pavano, a ridiculous diving catch by Ben Revere, and a walkoff single off the bat of Trevor Plouffe, the Twins came away with a 1-0 win for a 63-99 season record.
Unfortunately, 99 losses is not all that much better than 100. Obviously just one win better. In fact, the appearance of triple-digits in the Loss Column would better serve as proof of just how terrible the 2011 season really was. Not only did the Twins not make the playoffs, they finished as far out as they possibly could with the worst record in the American League. Only the 56-106 Houston Astros sucked more than Minnesota.
Well, at least they won't be swept by the Yankees in the ALDS this year.
In a season plagued by injuries, filled with mistakes, and marred by mismanagement, it can only get better from here. There are many questions to be answered and broken crap to be fixed this offseason, like strengthening the rotation and the bullpen, signing and/or ditching free agents, trading away the junk, bolstering the offense... yep, pretty much all of it.
Ron Gardenhire, who for some reason sounded rather optimistic after the win, had this to say postgame:
"A very exciting end to the season for us. Kind of a storybook way to get out of this season for nine innings and get a couple big hits there at the end and win it like that in front of these fans, who have been so good to us and been behind us through thick and thin."
Whatever, Ron. I don't want to read that book ever again, cause the story sucked.
P.S. I don't know about all of you, but I really enjoyed listening to the game on the radio last night. There are so many fondly treasured memories from my childhood in the voice of John Gordon: sitting on the porch, riding in the truck, and fishing with my dad, who would have absolutely hated Gardy, by the way. Happy trails, Gordo.
Detention Lecture: Your 2011 Minnesota Twins [Big League Stew]
Twins 1, Royals 0: Crisis Averted [Twinkie Town]
Bill Smith on Trial [Puckett's Pond]
The End [Aaron Gleeman]
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Joe Mauer nailed his 500th career RBI at U.S. Cellular Field Wednesday afternoon with a ground-rule double to left-center field off Jake Peavy to give the Twins an early 1-0 lead over the Chicago White Sox. Congratulations are in order I suppose, but it's hard to get all excited when he can barely stay healthy long enough to hold a bat. I hope that kitten didn't scratch him.
Speaking of Mauer, Anytime Fitness is holding a contest to see who can come up with the best Joe Mauer Facts. They're like Chuck Norris Facts, but not as badass. The winners gets autographed Mauer Memorabilia, so its worth a shot to get creative. Besides, who doesn't like winning free stuff on the internet?
Also, I'd like to take this opportunity to tell you all about the 2011 Twins & Pins Charity Bowling Event, hosted by Denard Span on Thursday, September 15 at 6pm at the Brunswick Zone XL in Lakeville, MN. You can either choose to join a team led by a Twins player, or just show up to bowl with your friends, depending on how much you're willing to donate.
They are hosting a live auction as well, so there will be plenty of opportunities to give to both the Jeremiah Program to benefit single mothers, and Friends of St. Paul Baseball / RBI Program, which helps to give kids the opportunity to play baseball in St. Paul.
My girl Marea and I interviewed a few of the players last year, and she got a lot of good information out of Span regarding his charitable contributions...
We'd love to see you there, so get a team together and get your bowl on.
With Luke Hughes having "travel problems", Michael Cuddyer out with a strained neck, Denard Span still having concussion symptoms, Matt Tolbert's wrist being all messed up, Jason Kubel having family issues, and Delmon Young now playing for the Tigers, there was no one left but Joe Mauer to play right field tonight against the New York Yankees at 7:10pm.
Apparently, Hughes was unable to make it to Minneapolis in time for the game after his call-up from AAA Rochester, leaving only nine healthy position players available. The lucky recipient of the empty spot was between Mauer or Justin Morneau, and I'd like to see the (formerly known as) Canadian Crusher try to run around the outfield. Then again, Joe's knees are already like 40 years old, so hopefully he doesn't hurt himself fielding a grounder or something. It may be a circus out there.
Speaking of injuries, Span is headed to the disabled list this evening, while it's not looking good for Cuddyer either. This team is completely falling apart. So if, for some unexplainable reason, you still had playoffs hopes before today, I think it's safe to kiss them goodbye now.
Enjoy the show tonight with CC Sabathia on the hill against Brian Duensing.
Congratulations to Jim Thome on nailing career home run no. 599 and 600 Monday night in Detroit.
The 40-year-old slugger has officially joined the exclusive 600 Home Run Club, which is home to only seven other players in the entire history of the game. Pretty impressive... even though no one outside of Minnesota or Cleveland really cared up until this point.
Thome hit a two-run shot for no. 599 in the sixth inning on the first Rick Porcello pitch he saw before coming to bat again in the seventh. He then smashed a 2-1 curveball from Daniel Schlereth over the fence in left field for three more runs. As he circled the bases, the fans in Detroit gave him a standing ovation, even though his 64 taters off the Tigers are his most against any team.
Way to go, Jim Jam.
Congratulations, Jim Thome, don't get anybody pregnant [With Leather]
Jim Thome blasts home runs 599 and 600 [Twinkie Town]
Jim Thome as genuine as they come [Tim Kurkjian]
600 Naturally [Over the Baggy]
Big Jim [Let's Go Tribe]
Old Man Jim Thome hits his 600th blast [Diamond Hoggers]
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I was going to entitle this post "Good Riddance to Delmon Young and his Strained Oblique, Sprained Ankle, Laughable Defense, Weak Bat" but something tells me he'll starting producing and become a total Twins killer now that he's been traded to the Detroit Tigers.
Funny, he actually thought the move was a prank when Bill Smith first called him to deliver the news. As if he couldn't understand why the Twins would ever want to get rid of him?
In return, Minnesota will receive minor league left-hander Cole Nelson and a player to be named later.
Although he had a breakout season last year, free of injury even, Delmon never did become the powerhouse hitter the Twins had hoped for when they acquired him from the Tampa Bay Rays back in 2008. He was batting .266 with just four homers and 32 RBI in the 84 games he participated in this season. Oh, and he stole a base once too.
Nelson, a 6'7", 235-pound, 10th round pick in 2010, was 5-11 with a 4.87 ERA in 26 appearances for the Class-A Lakeland Flying Tigers this season. He's from Edina, so that's neat I guess.
How do you feel about the trade? If you're wondering, I'm so ecstatic I don't even care who the player to be named is.
Update: Of course, Young goes yard off Francisco Liriano in his first at bat as a Tiger.