I'm not in favor of the baseball tantrum that is designed to land the protagonist on SportsCenter. When I see a minor-league manager losing his mind and crawling like a dog, I know he's either unbalanced or seeking attention.
But as someone who grew up watching Earl Weaver and BIlly Martin throw spontaneous and often hilarious fits, I appreciate a good, cleansing, tantrum.
We in this market have already spent too much time parsing Torii Hunter's strip show for meaning. Today let's instead look at a few blowups and what they may have meant:
-Ron Gardenhire's many ejections:
Entertainment value: High.
Meaning, if any: Tom Kelly was Gardenhire's mentor, but Gardenhire didn't follow TK's advice on this topic. Kelly believed in avoiding full-fledged arguments with umpires. He thought it cost his team in the long-run to start feuds. Gardenhire viewed it differently. He believed in ``standing up''' for his players. So when Gardenhire got tossed, he was trying to establish that he was willing to get thrown out of a game and fined while fighting for a player. Either that, or he was sick of watching the Twins' pitching.
-Paul Molitor in 2001:
Entertainment value: High.
Meaning, if any: The Twins had held first place for much of the season. Late in the season, the star-studded, highly-experienced Indians caught and passed them, often showing up the Twins' youngsters when they got a chance. During a late-season series in Cleveland, the Indians' veterans also seemed to be getting the benefit of ball-and-strike calls.
Molitor, then TK's bench coach, went nuts toward the end of the series, throwing objects from the dugout onto the field and getting ejected. He was trying to send a message to the players that they shouldn't easily accept losing or being overlooked, and he was sending a message to the umpires that he would call them out if they showed bias.
-Torii Hunter in 2002
Entertainment value: Highest.
Meaning: Indians pitcher Danys Baez hit Hunter with a pitch. Hunter picked up the ball and fired it back at Baez. No meaning. Just an awesome baseball moment.
-Torii Hunter in 2015
Entertainment value: Pretty, pretty, pretty good
Meaning: Hunter disrobed after arguing balls and strikes at home plate. It may have been a spur-of-the-moment reaction, or it could have been a culmination of frustration from a losing series. Let's ask this question: If the Twins needed to send a message to the umpires, or if a veteran player needed to send the message to the younger players that losing is not to be easily accepted, who else could send it? Joe Mauer? Glen Perkins, from the bullpen phone? Hunter had to be the guy.
Was hearing a couple of weeks ago that Jahlil Okafor was the Wolves' target with the first pick in the draft. Now I'm hearing it's Karl-Anthony Towns. Flip Saunders has always been fascinated by Okafor, but Towns is more versatile, has better shooting range, is a better and more willing defender, and has just as much upside as Okafor.
D'Angelo Russell might wind up being the best player in this draft, but Towns is too perfect a fit for the Wolves to pass up.
At least, that's my view, and I believe theirs, at the moment.
On the new podcast network, MalePatternPodcasts.com, my second installment with Strib hockey writer Michael Russo is up. You can get the links from our Twitter accounts or at the website. Michael breaks down the Wild's offseason and speaks of roasting vegetables, slacks, detox, life without coffee and grills me on the Twins.