Hosted by the Minnesota Twins at Target Field the 85th MLB All-Star game and everything surrounding it is finally in our rear view mirror and to be honest, I am kind of glad to see it come to an end. Don’t get me wrong, it was a fun event and the Twins and the Twins Cities did a great job putting together all the festivities but the constant barrage of All-Star game hoopla on TV, the radio, the internet and newspapers was getting to me. This was a long-term project for the Twins and as a former project manager myself in a former life, I know how tough and pressure-packed it can be, but when the project comes to a successful end it is nice to sit back like George Peppard, aka John “Hannibal” Smith used to do on the “A-Team” and say “I love it when a plan come together”. Great job Minnesota Twins!
All-Star Fan Fest was an interesting event and the only All-Star activity that I actually attended in person. I attended Fan Fest from about 11 AM to 5 PM on Friday and was shocked at how few people were actually there. You could walk up to any activity or display and there were no lines at all for anything but some food concessions. There were many cool things to do and see. This place was baseball heaven for kids and I am sure the crowds picked up in ensuing days and many baseball fans were able to partake in this fun event. What I particularly liked at this Fan Fest was that once you paid your entry fee pretty much everything else inside the event including autographs from former Twins players and Hall of Famers were free unlike Twins Fest where you pay to get in and then still have to pay to get autographs from former Twins players. Maybe the Twins should consider this approach to TwinsFest too, I know the money goes to the Twins Community Fund and that is all well and fine but don’t price yourself out of the range of the average fan.
What about the Home Run Derby? Yep, I watched it on TV and for the most part it was pretty boring. They say the Home Run Derby is better in person but on a cool windy evening with a 90 or so minute rain delay I think sitting at home in front of the TV served me just fine. Twins second baseman Brian Dozier participated in the derby with his older brother Clay pitching and I thing Dozier knocked three balls into the stands but not enough to move on to the next phase. Colorado Rockies first baseman and former Twin Justin Morneau was also a participant but he too was eliminated fairly early in the competition that ended about 11 PM local time when Oakland A’s outfielder Yoenis Cespedes hoisted the Home Run Derby Trophy and what looked like a professional wrestling belt high into the air claiming his second Home Run Derby championship in a row. What’s with the weird belt?
You can’t talk about the 2014 Home Run Derby and fail to mention foolish local lad Jacob Jacobson, 19, who tweeted a picture of his “injured” hand that supposedly he hurt trying to catch one of derby participant Giancarlo Stanton’s home run balls. Stanton caught wind of the tweet and responded that he would give Jacobson one of his gloves and a Home Run Derby ball. The next day the teen’s father, Jeff Jacobson, told the Star Tribune the appearance of his son’s hand is actually from a birth defect, and that he’s “learning that social media is not necessarily the venue to use to make fun of situations.” Jacob Jacobson ended up apologizing and said that what started out as a joke between friends ended up getting away from him. Hello – earth to Jacob!
I watched the All-Star game on TV and it held my interest for most of the night, not a great game but an interesting game for the most part. The “I grooved a pitch to Derek Jeter” comment from Cardinals hurler and National league starter Adam Wainwright and then shortly thereafter Wainwright recants and says he really didn’t mean to say what he said added some spice to the game. Pitchers having been grooving pitches to batters for a variety of reasons in MLB for as long as I can remember, they just don’t announce it to the general public 15 minutes after they did it. I could care less if Wainwright grooved a pitch to Jeter or not but the way he handled the situation was pretty dumb, an embarrassment for MLB, Jeter and himself.
The Twins thought that they had found a genuine diamond in the rough when they acquired Scott Diamond from the Atlanta Braves as a Rule 5 draftee back in 2010 but less then four years later found out they had cubic zirconium instead and threw their diamond back into the rock pile and wouldn’t you know it, the Cincinnati Reds came by and put Scott Diamond in their pocket hoping to hit it big. Diamond had started 58 games for the Twins over the span of three seasons (2011-2013) and posted a 19-27 record with a 4.43 ERA. A pitch to contact starter, Diamond allowed 398 hits in 343 innings. Diamond had his best season in 2012 when he went 12-9 with a 3.53 ERA for a team that won a total of 66 games.
Kendrys Morales who the Twins signed a month or so ago and are paying roughly $7.4 million dollars has been sending out feelers recently that he wouldn’t mind staying in Minnesota on a longer deal. I sure hope that the Twins don’t bite on that hook and resign Morales, actually their best move would be to send him packing at the trade deadline for whatever they get offered. In 34 games todate this supposed power hitting DH/1B has hit one home run and is hitting for a .230 average. Signed to be a full-time DH, Morales has filled in at first base now and then since Joe Mauer has taken a vacation of yet undetermined length from his first base duties due to yet another injury just when he thought he was getting hot after his average dipped to .254 about a month ago. By the way, is there a slower runner in all of baseball then Kendrys Morales? Man, this guy can clog the bases like no one I have ever seen before, I think former Twins catcher Earl Battey who was not known for his speed could have run circles around Morales.
Former Twins pitcher Jim Kaat still has a web site at Kaat’s Korner where he does not blog that often but when he writes it is always worth reading. Recently he did a nice piece on his take on arm injuries that you can read at – http://jimkaat.mlblogs.com/2014/07/14/arm-injuries/ .
You hear the term that so and so was optioned to triple AAA and that he has no options left. What does that mean and how many options are there? Neil deMause did a nice blog about options and their history that you can check out by going to Sports on Earth.
The Twins dropped their first post All-Star game to the Tampa Rays yesterday at Target Field 6-2 and now stand seven games under .500 at 44 wins and 51 losses. Time for Terry Ryan and Rob Antony to raise the white flag and start listening to offers for a number of players on this team, too many to mention by name. Start bringing up some young players and let’s see if all those potential future stars in the minors can play big league baseball. You can’t keep selling the future forever and now is as good a time as any to see what you have under the covers. I know Byron Buxton has been hurt most of the season and he is currently in A ball but had he not been hurt he would have been at AA and maybe AAA by now. Your best coaches are here in the big leagues, why not just bring Buxton up and throw him in centerfield and see what the man can do? Centerfield has been a black hole for the Twins for some time now, how about putting Buxton out there now? Miguel Sano is injured but why not bring him up on September 1 to travel with the club, get acclimated to the big leagues and maybe even get an at bat at DH now and then? You have some young pitchers in Rochester like Trevor May, Alex Meyer, and Logan Darnell and others that can strut their stuff at Target Field so why not buy them a ticket to Minneapolis and show your diminishing group of Twins fans that you indeed have real players that can play baseball and are not just something called “potential”. Don’t forget that potential is defined as possible, as opposed to actual, expressing possibility, capable of being or becoming. OK Mr. Ryan, the fans are calling you, time to turn over your hold cards and show us what you really have in your hand.