Twins bonus baseball – long extra inning games

extra inningsStarting with the 1961 season the Minnesota Twins have been scheduled to play about 8,912 games give or take a couple and only 33 of those games went 15 or more innings, a pretty small (less than 4 tenths of 1 percent) percentage. So if you attended one of these games you were a lucky son of gun. The Twins record in these games is 17-16 and as it turns out 17 games were at home and 16 on the road. Seven took place at Met Stadium, 9 took place at the Metrodome and 1 has taken place at Target Field. If you enjoy baseball you can’t help but enjoy bonus baseball, here is a chance to relive those games. Those pesky Cleveland Indians participated in their share of these games.

Rk Date Tm Opp Rslt IP H R SO HR Pit BF # Attendance GmLen
1 1993-08-31 MIN CLE W 5-4 22.0 16 4 8 0 288 85 7 17,968 377
2 1972-05-12 MIN MIL L 3-4 22.0 13 4 13 0 86 7 8,628 347
3 1967-08-09 MIN WSA L 7-9 20.0 14 9 16 2 79 5 16,901 340
4 1976-08-25 MIN NYY L 4-5 18.2 16 5 5 1 73 4 24,351 326
5 2004-08-08 MIN OAK L 5-6 18.0 16 6 13 0 251 71 7 25,976 297
6 1969-09-06 MIN OAK W 8-6 18.0 16 6 12 1 78 4 17,599 317
7 1969-07-19 MIN SEP W 11-7 18.0 20 7 9 1 82 5 12,069 341
8 1967-07-26 (2) MIN NYY W 3-2 18.0 10 2 7 0 65 4 21,927 264
9 1976-08-28 MIN CLE L 3-4 16.2 13 4 6 0 62 6 6,071 295
10 1969-04-09 MIN KCR L 3-4 16.2 11 4 8 0 64 5 13,731 272
11 1995-05-07 MIN CLE L 9-10 16.1 26 10 9 3 322 82 9 39,431 396
12 2009-07-03 MIN DET L 9-11 16.0 17 11 12 2 218 69 7 33,368 307
13 2005-08-16 MIN CHW W 9-4 16.0 12 4 12 1 204 63 6 34,533 309
14 1986-06-11 MIN TEX L 2-6 16.0 16 6 7 1 66 5 11,506 272
15 1977-09-17 MIN TEX L 4-5 16.0 12 5 10 2 65 5 13,163 312
16 1969-07-25 MIN CLE W 4-2 16.0 8 2 14 1 57 3 8,959 266
17 1982-04-20 MIN OAK L 3-4 15.2 14 4 10 0 66 3 12,488 303
18 1975-07-12 MIN NYY L 7-8 15.2 18 8 7 1 70 5 13,573 311
19 2012-06-17 MIN MIL W 5-4 15.0 15 4 7 1 250 66 7 39,206 290
20 2004-06-10 MIN NYM W 3-2 15.0 8 2 13 1 231 59 6 16,706 246
21 2004-05-04 MIN SEA L 3-4 15.0 13 4 14 1 245 65 8 32,727 288
22 2004-04-06 MIN CLE W 7-6 15.0 12 6 10 1 223 59 8 19,832 300
23 2002-06-10 MIN ATL W 6-5 15.0 11 5 6 1 209 58 5 24,534 263
24 1999-05-21 MIN OAK W 2-1 15.0 8 1 9 0 225 59 5 14,433 295
25 1992-07-04 MIN BAL W 3-2 15.0 12 2 8 0 250 64 6 48,028 280
26 1980-08-28 MIN TOR W 7-5 15.0 13 5 9 1 60 4 14,035 264
27 1980-06-20 MIN CLE L 3-4 15.0 14 4 6 1 63 6 7,668 268
28 1974-09-10 MIN CHW W 8-7 15.0 19 7 9 1 62 4 3,285 247
29 1973-06-06 (1) MIN CLE W 7-3 15.0 10 3 8 1 66 3 254
30 1972-06-06 MIN BAL W 5-4 15.0 11 4 14 0 63 4 6,203 265
31 1972-05-13 MIN MIL W 5-4 15.0 10 4 12 2 54 3 7,871 216
32 1964-09-29 MIN KCA L 6-7 15.0 10 7 13 3 61 8 2,999 290
33 1961-05-22 MIN CLE L 5-7 15.0 17 7 7 2 63 4 5,425 248
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 3/9/2016.

 

According to Wikipedia

The longest game by innings in Major League Baseball was a 1-1 tie in the National League between the Boston Braves and the Brooklyn Dodgers in 26 innings, at Braves Field in Boston on May 1, 1920. It had become too dark to see the ball (fields did not have lights yet and the sun was setting), and the game was considered a draw. Played rapidly by modern standards, those 26 innings were completed in 3 hours and 50 minutes.

The longest American League game, and tied for the longest major league game by innings which ended with one team winning, was a 7-6 victory by the Chicago White Sox over the Milwaukee Brewers in 25 innings, at Comiskey Park in Chicago in 1984. The game began at 7:30 p.m. on the evening of May 8, 1984, and after scoring early runs both teams scored twice in the 8th inning; but the game was suspended after 17 innings with the score tied 3-3 due to a league curfew rule prohibiting an inning from beginning after 12:59 a.m. The game was continued the following evening, May 9, 1984, and both teams scored three times in the 21st inning to make the score 6-6; finally, in the bottom of the 25th, the White Sox’ Harold Baines hit a home run to end the contest. Tom Seaver was the winning pitcher in relief.[5] A regularly scheduled game followed, meaning both nights saw 17 innings played; Seaver also started, and won, the second game. The official time of the entire 25-inning game was 8 hours, 6 minutes, also a major league record

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Twins have always been looking for pitching – even back in 1966

David Lowery - photo credit to Historic Images

David Lowery – photo credit to Historic Images

Some thing never change with the Minnesota Twins. Even back in 1966 the Twins were scouting all over the world and looking for baseball players and in this case they thought they had found a real diamond in the rough in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The 23 year-old David Lowery was 6’5″ and tipped the scales about 208 and signed a minor league deal with the Orlando Twins for a $1,000 bonus and round trip transportation for him and his family to give baseball in the United States a try as a right-handed pitcher.

Lowery started 31 games for the 1966 Orlando Twins (Class A) and was second on the team with 12 wins. Lowery only gave up 154 hits in 181 innings while striking out 88 and had a nice 1.20 WHIP with a very good 2.64 ERA. Those kind of numbers would have made Lowery a hot prospect now days but for reasons I have not been able to determine, Dave Lowery returned to South Africa after his one season in pro ball. The PDF below is an interesting read as he talks about how it was in South Africa in 1966.

Dave Lowery1

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Miguel Sano too big to fail

Miguel Sano

Miguel Sano

I have told you all before that my glass is half empty and it is leaking. You can say that it is a negative attitude or what ever you want but this type of thinking has served me well during my life time and it helped me immensely in my 38 year career in IT.

I hope like hell that Miguel Sano has finally found a position he can call home but I can’t help but wonder what would happen if for some reason it does not pan out. It is unlikely that a decision like that would be made quickly because the Twins want and need Miguel Sano to play right field, if Sano isn’t an outfielder all kinds of poop hits the fan.

Let’s look at worst case here for a moment and see what you do with Sano if that should happen. He was signed as a shortstop and the Twins said for several years that he might have to be moved to third base and eventually they did move him to the hot corner. Now with Trevor Plouffe finally playing well at 3B and hitting in the middle of the line-up the Twins aren’t excited about moving him to another position or trading him. Sano has shown (albeit in the minor leagues) he is far from a gold glover at 3B anyway so why take Plouffe off 3B? Last year Sano played a little 3B and DH but you really don’t want to waste an athletic young player like Sano at DH. If he is so athletic why can’t he play outfield or anywhere else for that matter? I think the answer is simply his size, the man is a brute, I didn’t say fat, he is huge for a baseball player. Maybe he eventually settles in at 1B but not for the time being, we have Joe Mauer there, Byung-ho Park was signed as a first baseman, and Kennys Vargas wants to play there too.

Norwood, WillieI have actually spent a lot of time thinking about this situation with Sano so that shows you how my mind works these days. With the way the Twins team is structured there is no way that Sano is not the right fielder for the Twins in 2016 short of a serious injury. Think about it, the Twins have used Harmon Killebrew as an outfielder and even Willie Norwood played outfield for the Twins and he couldn’t catch a cold at your local urgent care center filled with kindergartners.

I can live with Eddie Rosario and Byron Buxton covering left and center and Sano camping out in right field because I am not buying a ticket to watch Sano play in the outfield, I am there to watch Miguel Sano hit. Sano has more power that Harmon Killebrew and people will indeed stop whatever they are doing to watch Sano hit, just like they did for Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew. Say what you want, but Miguel Sano is indeed too big to fail no matter how you slice and dice it.

So now what do we do with Max Kepler and Adam Walker? An embarrassment of riches? OH BOY! This going to be fun.

 

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Back when players played 160 games or more

The players today seem to need more rest today than the players did years ago. Sure, they play eight more games then teams did in the past but still you have to wonder what the cause really is and does it pay off in the long run? The last Twins player to play in 160 or more games in a season was Justin Morneau in 2008. If you look at the list you can’t help but notice that three of the 10 names are shortstops, not exactly an easy position. Paul Molitor did it at the age of 39 but then again he was strictly a DH. Zoilo Versalles played 160 or more games four times and also had a season with 159 games and the man weighed 146 dripping wet with rocks in his pockets. You wonder how he did it.

Zoilo Versalles

Rk Name Yrs From To Age
1 Zoilo Versalles 4 1962 1967 22-27 Ind. Seasons
2 Kirby Puckett 3 1985 1992 25-32 Ind. Seasons
3 Harmon Killebrew 3 1966 1969 30-33 Ind. Seasons
4 Gary Gaetti 2 1984 1985 25-26 Ind. Seasons
5 Leo Cardenas 2 1969 1970 30-31 Ind. Seasons
6 Cesar Tovar 2 1967 1970 26-29 Ind. Seasons
7 Justin Morneau 1 2008 2008 27-27 Ind. Seasons
8 Torii Hunter 1 2007 2007 31-31 Ind. Seasons
9 Paul Molitor 1 1996 1996 39-39 Ind. Seasons
10 Roy Smalley 1 1979 1979 26-26 Ind. Seasons
11 Tony Oliva 1 1964 1964 25-25 Ind. Seasons
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/27/2016.

In the American League this past season Manny Machado played in a league leading 162 games and Kyle Seager and Elvis Andrus played in 160 or more. The only National Leaguer to play in 160 or more games was Anthony Rizzo.

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Are Daily Fantasy Sports Sites For You?

daily-fantasy-sportsI ran across this article not too long ago about Daily Fantasy Sports sites and found it interesting and thought that I would share it. I will state up front that I play fantasy sports (baseball and fottball) but not daily fantasy sports sites. Here is an article and Infographix that was posted on SeatSmart.com last November entitled the Daily Fantasy Sports Racket. Based on what these folks say it might just be a waste of your money. If you are DFS player, you might want to check it out.

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Just a single short of the cycle

Hitting for the cycle is a rare occurrence and only ten Twins players can say that they have one on their resume. The only Twin to hit for the so-called natural cycle (1B, 2B, 3B, and HR in that order) was Carlos Gomez in 2008. The first Twins cycle was hit by Rod Carew in 1970 and the Minnesota Twins as you know started play back in 1961. Two Twins players hit for the cycle at Met Stadium and two Twins players hit for the cycle at the Metrodome, so far the only cycle at Target Field is by Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers.

Eddie Rosario

Eddie Rosario

Many players came up just a hit short, 119 came up a home run short, 288 came up a triple short, 44 players came up a double short. Twelve different Twins players had the misfortune of just missing the cycle by coming up a single short, missed it by just this much…… Eddie Rosario is in this group and he missed his last year at Target Field.

 

Rk Player Date Rslt PA AB 1B R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB
1 Eddie Rosario 2015-07-30 W 9-5 5 5 0 3 3 1 1 1 3 0
2 Luis Rivas 2004-08-25 W 8-5 5 5 0 2 3 1 1 1 1 0
3 Corey Koskie 2001-07-05 W 12-2 5 5 0 2 3 1 1 1 5 0
4 Marty Cordova 1999-08-28 W 4-3 5 4 0 1 3 1 1 1 2 1
5 Javier Valentin 1999-06-06 W 13-6 5 5 0 2 3 1 1 1 2 0
6 Rich Becker 1996-07-13 L 11-19 6 6 0 3 4 1 1 2 6 0
7 Pat Meares 1996-04-02 L 6-10 5 5 0 1 3 1 1 1 4 0
8 Gary Gaetti 1983-07-27 L 9-13 5 5 0 3 3 1 1 1 4 0
9 Ken Landreaux 1979-08-20 W 10-5 5 5 0 3 3 1 1 1 6 0
10 Mike Cubbage 1977-08-07 W 11-1 5 5 0 2 3 1 1 1 5 0
11 George Mitterwald 1970-05-24 L 5-6 4 4 0 1 3 1 1 1 2 0
12 Bob Allison 1968-07-21 (2) W 10-0 3 3 0 3 3 1 1 1 3 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/26/2016.

 

 

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As the Twins rise in the standings so do the ticket prices

2010 - present Twins primary logoThe Minnesota Twins finally had a winning season (83-79) in 2015 after having lost 90 or more games for four consecutive years and watched as their attendance drop lower and lower each season. The team’s performance kept individual game ticket prices relatively flat during the losing stretch but after finishing just two games over the .500 mark Twins management has decided that it is time to raise the ticket prices, after all, the team hasn’t raised their ticket prices since 2012. I noticed this past off-season that the Twins didn’t brag about holding down ticket prices and they made no announcement that ticket prices would go up but you didn’t have to be a genius to assume that ticket prices would rise in 2016. So let’s dig in a bit and see what transpired this off-season.

Twins Raise Ticket Prices

Bottom line is that the Twins raised ticket prices $1-$3 for every seat in the Main Level of Target Field for every tier of games in 2016. The club pretty much left the Club level, Terrace Level, Outfield Mezzanine Level and Budweiser Roof Deck tickets at 2015 prices except for “The Field View” tickets in the Terrace level which were increased by a buck for each tier of games. These price changes increase the average 2016 Twins ticket price to $31.72 from an average of $31.25 in 2015.

The variable ticket pricing plan that was instituted in 2006 with 2 tiers jumped to 3 tiers in 2009 and 5 tiers in 2013 remains unchanged in 2016. Last year the tiers were called “extra value”, “value”, “select”, “premium” and “elite” but this year the Twins have not yet announced the names for the tiers nor how many games fall into each tier but with a little digging I think we have gotten down to the bottom of it. The number of games in each of the tiers did change slightly once again from 2015. The “extra value” games are the cheapest priced games and all eight of these games fall in April and September when school is in session and the weather is expected to be cooler. The next step up is the “value” plan and the number of games in this category decreases from twelve last season to eight in 2016. The “select” category is the middle of the line category and this is pretty much the Twins baseline for ticket prices. The number of games in this category increases this year to 49 games from 41 last year. The next step up is the “premium” games and the Twins decreased the number of games in this category from nine to eight. The top of the line category is the “Elite” games and this category of games remained unchanged at eight games. The Twins strategy this season puts 60% of the games in the middle “select” tier and then splits the remaining 40% of the  games evenly between the lower tiers and upper tiers.

Individual game tickets went on sale February 20 but those prices are only in effect for one day because as of February 22 demand-based pricing kicks in for the rest of the season and the Twins and their demand-based pricing partner, Digonex Technologies, Inc. will monitor and change ticket prices based on a number of conditions.

Average ticket prices for the various tiers

An “extra value” game is $16.85, a “value” game is $24.40, a “select” game is $31.70, a “premium” game is $38.95, and an “elite” game is $46.70.  If you attend an “elite” game you will pay on average about three times as much for your seat as you would if you attended an “extra value” game. Same seat, same game of baseball but the tier designation determines how much money stays in your wallet. By the way, if you are lucky enough to sit in the first row, you will have to pay a $5 or $10 premium depending on what section your seat is in.

2016 Twins single game ticket prices on February 20

(Main level)
Champion’s Club – Season Ticket only
Dugout Box – $51/$68/$84/$100/$117
Home Plate Box – $38/$51/$63/$75/$88
Diamond Box – $29/$39/$48/$57/$67
Field Box – $23/$30/$37/$44/$51
Left Field Bleachers – $10/$17/$24/$31/$38
The Pavilion – $12/$20/$27/$34/$43
Overlook – $12/$20/$27/$34/$43
Great Clips Great Seats – $29/$34/$42/$49/$56
 
(Club level)
Legend’s Club – Season Ticket only
The Deck – $19/$25/$31/$37/$43
 
(Terrace level)
Home Plate Terrace – $21/$28/$35/$42/$49
Field Terrace – $10/$18/$25/$32/$40
Home Plate View – $10/$18/$25/$32/$40
Skyline View – $6/$11/$16/$21/$26
Field View – $7/$11/$15/$19/$23
Family Section (Alcohol-free section includes a hotdog & a soda) – $10/$18/$25/$32/$40
 
(Outfield Mezzanine level)
U.S. Bank Home Run Porch Terrace – $10/$17/$24/$31/$38
U.S.  Bank Home Run Porch View – $7/$12/ $17/$22/$27
Grandstand –  $7/$12/$17/$22/$27
 
(Budweiser Roof Deck)
Fixed View Seat – $18/$27/$36/$45/$54
Standing Room ticket – $8/$12/$16/$20/$24

Season Ticket Prices

Although I did not spend a lot of time comparing 2016 season ticket prices to 2015 prices it appears that the season tickets jumped up in the same areas as did the single ticket prices. The Left Field Bleachers full season ticket for example went for $1,620 in 2015 and in 2016 it costs $1,701 which brought the ticket price up $1 a ticket from $20 to $21. If you yearned for the best of the best,  which is the Thomson Reuters Champions Club then you would need to fork over $24,705 this year, up $10 a ticket from $23,895 last year.

2016 Target Field Seating map

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Checking out the pitchers and catchers

When I left our Cape Coral condo yesterday morning it was overcast but no rain was predicted as I started the 12 mile drive to the CenturyLink Sports Complex but shortly after crossing over the bridge to Ft. Myers the sprinkles started and then it started to rain. By the the time I arrived it was raining pretty hard but not hard enough to stop the action on the practice fields. I could see some blue skies and before I knew it the rain had stopped and then it turned humid, Florida humid, perfect for baseball.

Tom KellyIt was the second day of pitchers and catchers working out so I didn’t expect to see a lot, and I didn’t. The pitchers did some throwing and some PFP and then the catchers took some BP and practiced some ball blocking drills. The one thing that stood out to me was that there was no TK to be seen. I think that is the first time in a long time that I have been to spring training and not seen Tom Kelly on the short infield running PFP. Kinda sad really, I was not a TK fan when he was the skipper because I thought he was just a grumpy know it all that was rude to fans. Over the years he mellowed or I did and I grew to appreciate his sense of humor and love of the game. I hope to see him later this spring. Former Twins pitcher and recently retired LaTroy Hawkins was out there as a Twins guest instructor.

The number of players on the back fields is growing in leaps and bounds as more position players and minor league players show up and wait the start of their spring training. I took a bunch of pictures that I have not yet labeled but you can see them on my 2016 Spring Training Pictures link. In a few days the position players will report and the battles for spots on the Twins roster will begin. I can’t wait to see how Miguel Sano will do out in right field.

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Twins roster make-up from 2006-2015

We are on the cusp of a new baseball season and that means that Spring Training is underway and players from all over the world including peach-fuzz faced rookies and grizzly old veterans are beginning their fight for a MLB roster spot, they want to be one of the 750 players on a 25-man roster participating in “The Show“. Some players are already guaranteed spots, others will win a job, and still others will get a job because someone else had the misfortune to get injured.

Baseball fans all over have been watching free agency, hot stove league action as well as play in the winter leagues and everyone has their own idea what each of the 30 GM’s should have done and what they can still do to improve the home team. One of the fun aspects of spring training is pretending to be the GM and manager and decide who gets to make the 25 man roster for the big trip up north when April rolls around.

Choosing who makes up the 25-man is no easy task because there is so much that goes into deciding who gets to wear a MLB uniform when the season-opener finally arrives. You obviously want to put your 25 best players on the roster but it is not that simple, sometimes money, politics, injuries, legal issues, MLB rules and options and just plain luck come into play. Say you have three players for a single position, one is a better hitter, one is better in the field and the third player isn’t the best hitter or fielder but can do an adequate job of both and is good in the club house, who gets the job?

Choosing a 25 man roster is important but not as big a deal as you may think. GM’s and managers have quite a bit of flexibility in changing the roster over the span of the 162 game schedule and the playoffs. If you want to be the team that wins the final baseball game of the season you need depth and 25 players doesn’t cut it. Having depth is more important than ever, the 1965 World Series team used 35 players, the 1987 team used 36 players and the 1991 Twins used 35 players. The 2015 champion Kansas City Royals needed 45 players to win it all. The number of players the Twins have used for the last 10 years has ranged from 39 to 48 players, last season the Twins used 44 players.

Today I am not going to try to guess at the 2016 Minnesota Twins 25-man roster but we are going to take a look at the number of players that the Twins have used each season for the last 10 years and determine where those players came from. Are the Twins players predominately home-grown via the draft and amateur free agent signings or did they become Minnesota Twins through the waiver wire, a trade, free agency or some other means. Every team, be it the Twins or anyone else is obviously a mix of home-grown and acquired players but some clubs like the Yankees or the Red Sox have reputations of trading their prospects for experienced players other teams can no longer afford and teams like the Twins, A’s and others believe the way to go is through growth from within. There is no right or wrong way to go, it all depends on your circumstances and your pocket-book.

The PDF shows that the Twins used 433 players during this time frame but not 433 unique players as many players were on the roster year after year. It shows the number of roster spots the Twins needed in each of those 10 seasons and how many pitchers and position players made up the roster and how the Twins got their rights.

The PDF covers the Twins rosters from 2006-2015. Keep in mind that the chart tracks where players originally came from, for example, if you look at the pitchers side of 2015 you see a two in the Rule 5 column. That doesn’t mean that they had two Rule 5 pick-ups in 2015, it means that two roster spots in 2015 were occupied by players that the Twins had picked up as Rule 5 selections over the years and they were on the 2015 roster at one time or another, in this case we are talking about J.R. Graham and Ryan Pressly.

"<strongAMA or amateur free agents are players that were not draft eligible and most of these players were signed by Minnesota out of Australia, Europe, or Caribbean countries. We are talking about players like Miguel Sano, Oswaldo Arcia, Danny Santana, Max Kepler and many others.

The bottom  line is that over this 10 year span, 44.80% of the roster spots were occupied by players either drafted by Minnesota or signed by Minnesota as AFA, the remaining 55.20% were acquired from other organizations in one way or another. Does this make the Twins a home grown team? I don’t know, you tell me.

Roster make-up

Fun Twins fact: Based on the Twins 40 man roster who is the oldest player that will be in camp this year? Turns out that the two grey beards in camp are Ervin Santana and Ricky Nolasco who were born just a day apart in December 1982.

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It’s starting to get exciting over at the ballpark

The weather has been cool, wet and windy here in SW Florida since the calendar rolled over to 2016 but the last few days have been sunny and in the mid 70’s here and the population of Twins players and Twins wannabees is growing by the day. I stopped by the  CenturyLink Sports Complex again yesterday and was surprised at how many players had already shown up and how many fans were out watching the players go through their paces.

 

Max Kepler

Max Kepler

The players that show up this early come and go, some show up every day and others show up now and then. Miguel Sano was out here on  my first visit but I have not seen him the last two times I have been out here. Yesterday I saw Max Kepler for the first time this spring and he said that he just arrived the day before. I was shocked when I first saw Max because he was not the baby-faced player I had gotten used to seeing, he was sporting a beard and mustache or maybe I should say he was trying to grow a beard.

Byung Ho Park

Byung Ho Park

Byung-ho Park is working out every day but he does not seem to have the same crowd of press members following him like Tsuyoshi Nishioka did when he first signed with Minnesota. Park and Nishioka appear to have taken totally different approaches to their integration into the Twins organization, when Nishioka was here and working out prior to spring training he worked out on his own with his interpreter and seldom if ever joined the rest of the players. Parker is just the opposite, he works out with the rest of the players and he is willing to spend time with the fans signing autographs, something Nishioka didn’t seem to be real excited about. I don’t know if Park will make the team but in my eyes he is already way ahead of Nishioka when he joined the Twins and spring training hasn’t even officially started.

I continue to be amazed at how many fans mention how great the CenturyLink Sports Complex and the Minnesota Twins organization is as compared to the Boston Red Sox and JetBlue Park, their spring training home. The Twins allow their fans to wander all over the grounds and inter-act with the players and the Red Sox are all about security and limit access to everything and everybody. It is not just the fans that have this opinion, it is members of the local press here also.

Pitchers and catchers report this week-end, I can’t wait. The Twins were much improved in 2015 so you would think that there would be fewer questions and fewer roster spots up for grabs this year but I don’t think that is the case and it all revolves around Miguel Sano. Can Sano play right field? If not, all kinds of options can come into play. I have all kinds of questions. Is Byung Ho Park ready for MLB? What if Byron Buxton does not win the CF spot? Do you buy he has to prove the job belongs to him or does he have to prove he can’t handle it? What about the bullpen? Are the Twins still looking for a proven left reliever? Is Glen Perkins healthy? Are Oswaldo Arcia, Danny Santana, and Kennys Vargas still in the Twins plans? Max Kepler and Adam Walker are coming fast, will they start to call Minneapolis home this summer? When will Jose Berrios join the Twins starting rotation? Did the Twins make a good move in giving up Aaron Hicks? So many questions and so little time to get them answered, you can bet that Twins spring training this year will be one of the most exiting ever.

When I was out at the ballpark I once again took some pictures that you view in the 2016 Spring Training pictures link on the right hand side of the page. I hope you enjoy them.

 

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Twins switch-hitters from 1961-2015

One of the more frequent questions I get pertains to switch-hitters that played for the Minnesota Twins so I thought I would put together the entire list of Twins players both position players and pitchers that swung from both sides of the plate. In this case I ranked then in order of home runs hit. The list includes Twins pitchers as well as position players.

Rk Player HR From To G PA AB H 2B 3B RBI BA OPS Pos
1 Roy Smalley 110 1976 1987 1148 4676 3997 1046 184 21 485 .262 .750 *6DH/53
2 Chili Davis 41 1991 1992 291 1163 978 276 61 3 159 .282 .862 *D/H793
3 Cristian Guzman 39 1999 2004 841 3538 3277 871 142 61 289 .266 .685 *6/HD
4 Butch Wynegar 37 1976 1982 794 3188 2746 697 112 9 325 .254 .682 *2/HD5
5 Gene Larkin 32 1987 1993 758 2670 2321 618 131 12 266 .266 .723 3D9H/754
6 Ryan Doumit 32 2012 2013 269 1066 969 253 62 2 130 .261 .745 2/D9H73
7 Denny Hocking 25 1993 2003 876 2455 2204 556 109 17 215 .252 .661 64H5/9738D
8 Bobby Kielty 23 2001 2003 224 750 631 170 35 3 92 .269 .818 9/8HD73
9 Eduardo Escobar 21 2012 2015 340 1139 1051 275 71 8 111 .262 .710 *6/574HD98
10 Aaron Hicks 20 2013 2015 247 928 819 184 30 6 78 .225 .655 *8/97HD
11 Kennys Vargas 14 2014 2015 111 418 390 101 14 1 55 .259 .707 /*D3H
12 Dave Hollins 13 1996 1996 121 503 422 102 26 0 53 .242 .760 *5/HD6
13 Nick Punto 12 2004 2010 747 2707 2365 587 102 21 194 .248 .648 564/HD879
14 Alexi Casilla 11 2006 2012 515 1764 1580 395 72 14 147 .250 .639 *4/6HD58
15 Pedro Florimon 10 2012 2014 210 682 616 126 23 3 55 .205 .567 *6/HD
16 Matt Walbeck 8 1994 1996 275 1008 946 218 40 1 103 .230 .571 *2/HD
17 Javier Valentin 8 1997 2002 141 435 391 90 19 2 46 .230 .638 *2/HD
18 Danny Santana 7 2014 2015 192 707 666 185 37 12 61 .278 .710 *6/8HD9
19 Brent Gates 6 1998 1999 217 723 639 161 28 2 80 .252 .656 *5/4H3D6
20 Luis Rodriguez 6 2005 2007 206 508 445 108 19 3 38 .243 .651 /54H6D3
21 Orlando Hudson 6 2010 2010 126 559 497 133 24 5 37 .268 .710 *4/D
22 Jim Perry 5 1963 1972 380 681 613 117 17 2 46 .191 .478 *1/H7
23 Terry Tiffee 5 2004 2006 91 256 239 54 13 1 29 .226 .625 /5H3D
24 Orlando Merced 5 1998 1998 63 223 204 59 12 0 33 .289 .767 /*39DH
25 John Moses 4 1988 1990 349 687 620 171 25 7 57 .276 .693 9H/78D31
26 Matt Tolbert 3 2008 2011 247 680 605 139 27 9 54 .230 .607 4/5H6D39
27 Luis Castillo 3 2006 2007 227 1036 933 279 33 9 67 .299 .720 *4
28 Pedro Ramos 3 1961 1961 53 100 93 16 1 0 11 .172 .484 /*1H
29 Marcus Jensen 3 2000 2000 52 164 139 29 7 1 14 .209 .663 /*2HD
30 Dave McKay 2 1975 1976 78 290 263 60 6 1 24 .228 .562 /*5H6D
31 Jose Offerman 2 2004 2004 77 202 172 44 14 2 22 .256 .759 /*DH34
32 Augie Ojeda 2 2004 2004 30 72 59 20 1 0 7 .339 .886 /*46H5
33 Darrell Brown 1 1983 1984 186 602 569 155 15 5 41 .272 .624 *8/H7D
34 Otis Nixon 1 1998 1998 110 500 448 133 6 6 20 .297 .705 *8/H
35 Wally Backman 1 1989 1989 87 337 299 69 9 2 26 .231 .591 /*4HD
36 Tom Herr 1 1988 1988 86 345 304 80 16 0 21 .263 .674 /*4HD6
37 Chris Latham 1 1997 1999 63 154 138 21 2 0 9 .152 .411 /8H79
38 Kendrys Morales 1 2014 2014 39 162 154 36 11 0 18 .234 .584 /*D3H
39 Rob Bowen 1 2003 2004 24 43 37 4 0 0 3 .108 .380 /*2HD
40 Al Newman 0 1987 1991 618 1876 1647 380 59 7 135 .231 .581 465H/D738
41 J.C. Romero 0 1999 2005 327 3 3 1 1 0 0 .333 1.000 *1
42 Joe Mays 0 1999 2005 193 21 15 4 1 0 0 .267 .722 *1
43 Pat Neshek 0 2006 2010 132 0 0 0 0 0 0 *1
44 Pete Filson 0 1982 1986 130 0 0 0 0 0 0 *1
45 Darrell Jackson 0 1978 1982 104 0 0 0 0 0 0 *1/HD
46 Jose Morales 0 2007 2010 74 181 158 47 9 0 14 .297 .725 /*2HD3
47 Tsuyoshi Nishioka 0 2011 2012 71 254 233 50 5 0 20 .215 .503 /*64HD
48 Doug Baker 0 1988 1990 57 100 86 23 5 1 9 .267 .696 /*46HD5
49 Sergio Ferrer 0 1974 1975 56 157 138 36 3 3 2 .261 .648 /*6H4D
50 Nelson Liriano 0 1990 1990 53 211 185 47 5 7 13 .254 .688 /*4HD6
51 Marty Martinez 0 1962 1962 37 24 18 3 0 1 3 .167 .563 /*H65
52 Dan Serafini 0 1996 1998 35 1 1 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 /*1
53 Larry Milbourne 0 1982 1982 29 106 98 23 1 1 1 .235 .548 /*4H
54 Donnie Hill 0 1992 1992 25 59 51 15 3 0 2 .294 .721 /6H459
55 Chris Pittaro 0 1986 1987 25 34 33 6 0 0 0 .182 .388 /*4H6D
56 Quinton McCracken 0 2001 2001 24 70 64 14 2 2 3 .219 .588 /DH798
57 Jason Ryan 0 1999 2000 24 0 0 0 0 0 0 /*1
58 Tom Lundstedt 0 1975 1975 18 32 28 3 0 0 1 .107 .326 /*2HD
59 Ruben Sierra 0 2006 2006 14 33 28 5 1 0 4 .179 .487 /*H*D
60 Glenn Williams 0 2005 2005 13 43 40 17 1 0 3 .425 .902 /*5H
61 Stan Perzanowski 0 1978 1978 13 0 0 0 0 0 0 /*1
62 Cleatus Davidson 0 1999 1999 12 24 22 3 0 0 3 .136 .273 /*46HD
63 Jorge Polanco 0 2014 2015 9 20 16 5 1 1 4 .313 .950 /*6H
64 David Lamb 0 2002 2002 7 10 10 1 0 0 0 .100 .200 /*6H45
65 Mark Brown 0 1985 1985 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 /*1
66 Luis Quinones 0 1992 1992 3 6 5 1 0 0 1 .200 .367 /*H6D5
67 Eric Hacker 0 2011 2011 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 /*1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/10/2016.

You can make a strong case that Mickey Mantle was the best switch-hitter in the AL as he hit .300 (with 500 or more PA’s) or more nine time and Victor Martinez who remains active today has hit. 300 eight times as has Bernie Williams. Roberto Alomar did it seven times.

Guzman, Cristian 3The Twins have not had as much luck with their switch-hitters, the only Twin to hit .300 (.302) or better with at least 500 plate appearances was Cristian Guzman in 2001. It kind of makes you wonder if switch hitting is worth the effort. From 1901 to 1960 the Washington Senators never had a switch-hitter that hit .300 or better with at least 500 PA’s.

Posted in General Blogging, Washington Senators 1901-1960 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Checking out to see who is at the ballpark

Last week I stopped off at the CenturyLink Sports Complex for a couple of hours to see what was going on if anything and to see what players may have already shown up to get a jump on spring training. I have not been out earlier this year because the weather here in SW Florida has been a bit strange this year. A couple of weeks ago we had a tornado about a mile from the condo in Cape Coral and a few days later they had another tornado touch down in Ft. Myers not too far from Page Field. Cape Coral which is just across the river from Ft. Myers has had almost 13″ of rain in January and they average under 2″ of rain, so it has been a wet January. February has started out cool and windy (for this area anyway) with temperatures in the low to mid 60’s and our average is 75 for this time of the year.

Adam Walker signs for a fan.

Adam Walker signs for a fan.

When I got to the ballpark there were a couple of people buying spring training game tickets as I headed towards the back fields where I would expect to find the action if there was going to be any. You couldn’t help but hear the music blaring from the minor league clubhouse and there was probably about a dozen players out on the fields, some running, some doing some infield and others were shagging some fly balls. I didn’t see any throwing but I heard that Glen Perkins had done some throwing before I arrived. As always it is hard for me to identify a lot of these guys because many are minor league players and others may be players from other organizations that live in the area and stop by  to work out. I did see Miguel Sano, Oswaldo Arcia, Adam Walker doing some outfield work but I saw no hitting. I met Buck Britton who is a 29-year-old free agent minor leaguer the Twins signed and plays the infield and some outfield and he has spent most of his career in the Orioles organization but played in AAA for the Dodgers in 2015. Britton has no big league experience.

There was a handful of fans getting autographs and pictures and the players were more than willing to spend time with everyone. Miguel Sano was more than just patient when a couple approached him for pictures and the gentleman stood next to Sano and his wife was supposed to take their picture but she had no idea how to use the cell phone camera. She tried and tried and about five minutes later her significant other had enough and he had her pose with Sano while he took her picture. The entire time Miguel just smiled and tried to be helpful, he was more patient than I would have been. Other than that there was not much else to write home about. I will be back again later this week and see what’s up now that TwinsFest is done and training camp is just a couple of weeks away.

I took a few pictures that you can check out on the right hand side of this page under the title of 2016 spring training pictures. As I said earlier, I did not identify all the players so if you can help out feel free to do so.

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Going to work or play every day

I seldom missed a day of school back in Taylors Falls and I continued that practice at work during my working career. The Navy of course reinforced the idea that going to work every day was the only way. I am old school and retired now but back in the day when I worked I took a lot of pride in the fact that I showed up for work day in and day out rain or shine.  I figured I was being paid to work so I showed up day after day. It used to drive me crazy when I knew that certain co-workers stayed home because they were hung-over or just plain didn’t feel like working. There were probably times when it would have been safer to stay home due to the snow or ice but not me, I was off to work.

Working every day carries over to my enjoyment of baseball, I like players that come to play ball each day and don’t take time off because they are tired or have a hang-nail. These players are being paid big bucks to play, not to sit on the bench and rest, they can rest on their own time like the rest of us.

"<strongSo where am I going with this? Today we are going to take a look at the Minnesota Twins players that came to play. Today’s players are playing fewer games then their compatriots did 50 or so years ago for a variety of reasons. The change however; is not as great as I expected to find. When was the last time that a Twins player played in every game that season? That would be Justin Morneau in 2008 when he appeared in all 163 regular season games. Since 1961 and 55 baseball seasons only six Twins players have played in every game and Harmon Killebrew is the only one to do it more than once.

 

Rk Player Year G Age PA AB H HR RBI SB BA OPS Pos
1 Justin Morneau 2008 163 27 712 623 187 23 129 0 .300 .873 *3/D
2 Gary Gaetti 1984 162 25 644 588 154 5 65 11 .262 .665 *5/76
3 Roy Smalley 1979 162 26 729 621 168 24 95 2 .271 .794 *6/3
4 Harmon Killebrew 1969 162 33 709 555 153 49 140 8 .276 1.011 *5*3
6 Cesar Tovar 1967 164 26 726 649 173 6 47 19 .267 .691 5847/69H
7 Harmon Killebrew 1966 162 30 677 569 160 39 110 0 .281 .929 *537/H
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/5/2016.

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Working or playing every day can be tough and everyone gets sick or hurt now and then Continue reading

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Twins to bring back the “red jersey” for another try

They say that “time heals all” but we will have to wait and see if that applies to Minnesota Twins baseball jerseys too. The Twins introduced their “new” red home alternate jersey that they play to wear on Friday nights during the 2016 MLB season.

2016 infographic redesign

Back in 1997 the Twins tried a red jersey for Sunday home games and that didn’t work out so good as the players deemed the uniforms as being unlucky. Over the years the Twins have worn red jerseys five times and they have won one of those games. In 2009 I did a piece about those 1997 red jersey’s that were called the DQ jersey by some due to their resemblance to a Dairy Queen ad that ran in the Metrodome and you can see that story here.

We will have to see how the new red jersey appeals to the players and the fans. Reading some of the comments about the red jersey on Facebook you can’t help but get the impression that a lot of fans feel that it is just another money grab by Jim Pohlad’s soldiers and that the Twins would be better off investing their money in additional pitching versus new uniforms. Personally I am not a big fan of the color red because when i see a lot of red in the seats I think of the Cardinals, Red Sox or the Angels. I just don’t think of red as a Twins color.

Posted in It's about the money honey | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Met Stadium meets the wrecking ball

Met Stadium 22January 28, 1985 – The beginning of the end for Met Stadium as the wrecking ball strikes a solid blow. You can view a short clip on my Twins audio and video clip page.

Posted in This Day in Twins History | Tagged | Leave a comment

Minnesota Twins disabled list history

DLHow often have you heard MLB GM’s and managers say that if their team stays healthy and avoids the DL that they can be good, maybe really good and make a run at the playoffs? You would be rich if you got a nickel for every time that has been said. But how true is it? Truth be told it is not the number of injuries or days spent on the DL that will hurt you, it is WHO gets hurt. Lose a key player or two and your goose is cooked and it is wait until next year most of the time. Injuries to average players can be covered by an adequate bench or minor league players ready to move up to the next level, injured stars usually can not be replaced.

Off and on for the last couple of weeks I have worked on putting together some historical information on Twins injuries going back as far as I could and that turned out to be 1982. I have put this data on a new page on this site called Twins DL or just click on Twins DL in the site menu above.  If you get a few minutes check it out.

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Swing and a miss from 2000-2015

Strikeouts are up all across baseball the last few years so I thought it would be fun to see who the Minnesota Twins “King of the Whiff” is from 2000-2015. No real shockers on this list but I was a bit surprised to see Joe Mauer so high on the list even though he once had a reputation as a tough guy to strike out.

If you go all  the way back to the Twins start in 1961 you will see that Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew holds the Twins all-time strike out title with 1,314 whiffs and that equates to striking out once in every 6.10 plate appearances. However, the recently retired Hunter struck out once every 5.60 plate appearances if you look at his entire Twins career. At the rate Joe Mauer is striking out, he could replace Hunter as the 2000 to current Twins King of the Whiff this season.

 "<strong

Rk Player SO G PA R H HR RBI BA OPS
1 Torii Hunter 897 1231 5020 687 1241 205 755 .269 .792
2 Justin Morneau 839 1278 5350 669 1318 221 860 .278 .832
3 Michael Cuddyer 805 1139 4555 606 1106 141 580 .272 .794
4 Joe Mauer 772 1456 6244 817 1697 119 755 .313 .845
5 Jacque Jones 674 881 3439 438 881 123 432 .278 .781
6 Jason Kubel 591 798 3022 346 729 105 442 .269 .783
7 Corey Koskie 565 688 2834 394 671 89 377 .278 .838
8 Trevor Plouffe 522 639 2565 297 568 84 310 .245 .728
9 Brian Dozier 455 544 2374 318 503 75 247 .240 .726
10 Nick Punto 440 747 2707 311 587 12 194 .248 .648
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/19/2016.

During this same time period Adam Dunn went down swinging a total of 2,379 times or once every 3.50 PA’s. That’s 2,379 KO’s and 1,631 hits on the resume.

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Books about the Minnesota Twins

LibraryI have read numerous books about the Minnesota Twins organization and their players over the years not to mention having many of these books in my personal library. That got me to wondering how many books are out there about the boys of summer from Minnesota. So after a little research here is what I have come up with, I am sure I have missed some.  There are over 90 books on this list, not bad for a team that has been around for only 56 years. For more info and to see the list of books go to http://twinstrivia.com/twins-books/ . You can also find the new page called ‘Books about the Minnesota Twins” in the menu on the home page.

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CenturyLink Sports Complex upgrades continue

CenturyLink Sports Complex sign 2I was a little surprised this morning when I was reading the Ft. Myers News-Press Sports section and saw the following headline: Upgrades Underway. Ace News-Press reporter David Dorsey wrote that there was still funding left over from the big 2014-2015 Century-Link Sports Complex remodel and the Twins decided to make use of some of that money for some additional updates.

The biggest change for the fans is the new shaded canopy that covers an area of the field facing concourse on the third-base side. In addition, a permanent serving area is being added to the sky deck as is some additional weather protection for the baseline concession areas. The cost for these changes is $346,531 and it is part of the original $48.5 million in funding so the Minnesota Twins won’t have to spend a dime.

The players get new infield grass but the money for this project comes out of the routine maintenance budget. You can see the entire story in the News-Press (with pictures) here.

Don’t forget that Twins spring training tickets go on sale tomorrow morning.

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Did you remember back to when Twins pitchers batted?

The Designated Hitter rule came into play in the American League for the first time in 1973 and pitchers in the AL had to put their bats into storage where they still sit today. Since 1973 very few AL pitchers have had to dust off  and apply pine tar to their bats before walking to home plate to try to get some wood on the ball.

Do you know what pitcher got the last hit for the Minnesota Twins before the DH cane into play? How about that last Twins pitcher to bat before the DH?

I guess it was fitting that a Minnesota native Dave Goltz would be the last Twins pitcher to bat at Met Stadium before pitchers were told not to bother to bring their bats to spring training the following season. But back to the last Twins pitcher to get a hit before the DH, it happened in the same game that Goltz had the last pitcher’s at bat in front of only 3,193 fans at Met Stadium. This pitcher finished his 1972 season with a .160 average which was a career best and six RBI. Two of those six RBI came in that last at bat when he hit a double and had two RBI off Chicago White Sox pitcher Dan Neumeier to make the score Twins 10 and the mighty whitey’s 0 in the top of the fifth inning. So who was this guy? You might be surprised. But if you can’t figure it out at least take a guess and then you can look it up in the box score.

Bobby Korecky

Bobby Korecky

After the 1972 season Twins pitchers never got a hit again outside of any post season action until 1997 when Interleague play was introduced. With Interleague play pitchers once again batted in NL parks but the DH was still in play in AL parks. There was one game since the DH started that a Twins pitcher came to bat in a home game and actually had a hit and that was Bobby Korecky back on May 19, 2008 in a four hour 12 inning marathon against the Texas Rangers.

Here is a list of Twins pitchers that have gotten hits since the DH came on the scene in 1973

Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI
1 Kyle Gibson 2015-06-16 MIN STL L 2-3 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 0
2 Mike Pelfrey 2015-05-20 MIN PIT W 4-3 2 2 0 2 0 0 0 0
3 Kevin Correia 2014-07-12 MIN COL W 9-3 3 3 0 1 1 0 0 1
4 Kyle Gibson 2014-06-02 MIN MIL L 2-6 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 0
5 Scott Diamond 2013-06-26 MIN MIA L 3-5 3 3 0 1 0 0 0 0
6 Scott Diamond 2012-05-18 MIN MIL W 11-3 3 3 1 1 0 0 0 0
7 Scott Baker 2011-06-24 MIN MIL L 3-4 3 3 0 1 0 0 0 0
8 Francisco Liriano 2011-05-22 MIN ARI L 2-3 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 1
9 Scott Baker 2011-05-21 MIN ARI L 6-9 2 2 0 1 1 0 0 0
10 Carl Pavano 2010-06-26 MIN NYM W 6-0 4 3 0 2 0 0 0 0
11 Carl Pavano 2010-06-20 MIN PHI W 4-1 4 3 0 1 0 0 0 0
12 Scott Baker 2008-06-26 MIN SDP W 4-3 3 1 1 1 0 0 0 0
13 Kevin Slowey 2008-06-13 MIN MIL W 10-2 4 4 1 2 1 0 0 2
14 Bobby Korecky 2008-05-19 MIN TEX W 7-6 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0
15 Livan Hernandez 2008-05-17 MIN COL L 2-3 3 2 0 1 0 0 0 1
16 Nick Blackburn 2008-05-16 MIN COL W 4-2 3 3 0 1 0 0 0 0
17 Johan Santana 2007-06-24 MIN FLA W 7-4 3 3 1 1 0 1 0 1
18 Johan Santana 2007-06-19 MIN NYM W 9-0 5 4 1 1 1 0 0 0
19 Carlos Silva 2006-06-21 MIN HOU L 3-5 3 3 0 1 0 0 0 0
20 Francisco Liriano 2006-05-19 MIN MIL W 7-1 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 1
21 Joe Mays 2005-06-10 MIN LAD L 5-6 3 3 0 1 0 0 0 0
22 Johan Santana 2005-06-08 MIN ARI W 10-0 4 4 1 1 0 0 0 0
23 Johan Santana 2004-06-20 MIN MIL W 4-2 4 4 0 2 0 0 0 1
24 Johan Santana 2004-06-15 MIN MON W 8-2 4 4 0 1 0 0 0 1
25 Kyle Lohse 2003-06-21 MIN MIL L 1-8 2 1 0 1 0 0 0 0
26 Brad Radke 2003-06-20 MIN MIL L 2-3 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 0
27 Johan Santana 2003-06-07 MIN SDP W 6-2 3 3 0 1 0 0 0 0
28 Joe Mays 2003-06-03 MIN SFG W 6-4 3 1 0 1 0 0 0 0
29 Johan Santana 2002-06-23 MIN PHI W 5-1 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 0
30 Kyle Lohse 2002-06-16 MIN MIL W 7-6 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 0
31 Eric Milton 2002-06-15 MIN MIL W 5-2 4 4 0 2 0 0 0 1
32 Rick Reed 2002-06-14 MIN MIL L 5-7 3 3 0 1 0 0 0 0
33 Brad Radke 2001-07-13 MIN MIL L 3-6 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 0
34 Kyle Lohse 2001-07-12 MIN MIL W 13-5 4 4 0 2 1 0 0 1
35 Brad Radke 2001-06-17 MIN CHC L 4-5 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 0
36 Juan Rincon 2001-06-16 MIN CHC L 4-11 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0
37 J.C. Romero 2001-06-15 MIN CHC L 3-5 2 2 1 1 1 0 0 0
38 Joe Mays 2000-07-07 MIN PIT L 6-8 2 1 1 1 1 0 0 0
39 Sean Bergman 2000-06-03 MIN CIN L 3-9 2 2 0 1 1 0 0 0
40 Joe Mays 2000-06-02 MIN CIN L 3-4 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 0
41 Dan Perkins 1999-06-11 MIN MIL W 9-7 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 0
42 Eric Milton 1998-07-02 MIN CIN L 7-8 3 3 0 1 0 0 0 0
43 Eric Milton 1998-06-22 MIN HOU W 5-3 3 3 0 1 0 0 0 1
44 Eric Milton 1998-06-06 MIN PIT L 3-4 3 3 0 2 0 0 0 0
45 Mike Morgan 1998-06-05 MIN PIT L 1-6 2 2 1 1 0 0 0 0
46 Bob Tewksbury 1997-09-02 MIN CHC L 3-9 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 1
47 Rich Robertson 1997-06-14 MIN HOU W 6-1 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/2/2016.

Note that in 2009 Twins pitchers had no hits. Twins pitchers also had no hits between 1973 and 1996 although four pitchers had plate appearances, but sadly they all culminated with a strike out.

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Some historical Twins pitch to contact pitchers

The pitchers on this list had to have pitched at least 25 innings during their stay in Minnesota and it is sorted in “on base %”  (OBP) order.

Johnson, Adam ML debut 07162001

Rk Player OBP IP From To G GS W L SV H BB SO ERA BA
1 Adam Johnson .450 26.1 2001 2003 9 4 1 3 0 40 14 17 10.25 .360
2 Brett Merriman .445 44.0 1993 1994 34 0 1 2 0 54 37 24 8.39 .314
3 Bryan Oelkers .437 34.1 1983 1983 10 8 0 5 0 56 17 13 8.65 .376
4 Sean Bergman .436 68.0 2000 2000 15 14 4 5 0 111 33 35 9.66 .374
5 Jason Marquis .434 34.0 2012 2012 7 7 2 4 0 52 14 12 8.47 .371
6 Vance Worley .427 48.2 2013 2013 10 10 1 5 0 82 15 25 7.21 .381
7 Greg Harris .415 32.2 1995 1995 7 6 0 5 0 50 16 21 8.82 .355
8 Steve Carlton .411 52.2 1987 1988 13 8 1 6 0 74 28 25 8.54 .332
9 Sidney Ponson .409 37.2 2007 2007 7 7 2 5 0 54 17 23 6.93 .335
10 Scott Klingenbeck .408 77.0 1995 1996 28 7 1 3 0 111 34 42 8.30 .339
11 Bob Gebhard .408 39.0 1971 1972 30 0 1 3 1 53 24 26 6.00 .317
12 Erik Bennett .402 27.1 1996 1996 24 0 2 0 1 33 16 13 7.90 .306
13 John Pacella .402 51.2 1982 1982 21 1 1 2 2 61 37 20 7.32 .299
14 Dan Perkins .401 86.2 1999 1999 29 12 1 7 0 117 43 44 6.54 .326
15 Jack Savage .397 26.0 1990 1990 17 0 0 2 1 37 11 12 8.31 .339
16 Pedro Hernandez .392 56.2 2013 2013 14 12 3 3 0 80 23 29 6.83 .338
17 Mike Lincoln .391 97.0 1999 2000 26 19 3 13 0 138 39 42 7.70 .335
18 Erik Schullstrom .387 60.0 1994 1995 46 0 0 0 1 79 27 34 6.00 .317
19 Dan Schatzeder .386 54.0 1987 1988 40 1 3 2 0 72 23 37 5.50 .321
20 Danny Fife .385 56.1 1973 1974 14 7 3 2 0 64 33 21 5.43 .286
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/30/2015.

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Looking back at the pace of play in 2015

Clock tickingOn February 20, 2015, MLB announced a series of initiatives aimed at quickening the pace of play in Major League games, the key changes were:

  • Umpires will enforce Rule 6.02(d), which requires hitters to keep one foot in the box during an at-bat, subject to certain exceptions.
  • Timers will be used to ensure that the game resumes promptly at the end of inning breaks.
  • Managers will no longer come out of the dugout to initiate a replay challenge. A manager will also keep his challenge after each call that is overturned. Last year, a challenge was retained only after the first overturned call.

So how did those changes pan out for you? Did you notice if the pace of play sped up? Did the pace of play speed up at all? I can’t say that I noticed if a game was any quicker or not, I did notice the new rule about stepping out of the batters box because the announcers kept harping on it. I also became aware of the clock between innings when I missed a home run because the game resumed before the television was back to the game from its barrage of commercials.

So I decided to dig in to the matter and see what Baseball-Reference could tell me. That is such a great site for research with a lot of great stuff out there but sometimes I just have trouble figuring out how to get what I want. I am an American League fan so I will spend more time looking at AL data then I will at the NL data. Having said that we will take a look at the National League first.

NL in 2015

RANK TEAM AVG GAME TIME GAMES OVER 3 H
1 Marlins 2h 51m 51
2 Nationals 2h 54m 64
3 Braves 2h 55m 65
4* Mets 2h 56m 59
5 Phillies 2h 58m 63
6* Cardinals 3h 00m 74
7 Padres 3h 01m 81
7 Brewers 3h 01m 82
9 Reds 3h 02m 69
9 Giants 3h 02m 78
9* Cubs 3h 02m 88
12* Dodgers 3h 04m 78
13* Pirates 3h 06m 79
13 Rockies 3h 06m 98
15 Diamondsbacks 3h 10m 91

Only five of the twelve NL teams had an average game time of under three hours. If you wanted to take in a quick game you needed to make sure that the Marlins were involved and if you wanted to get more baseball for your buck than you need to make sure that you were watching the Diamondbacks. The difference between the quick pace of Marlins play versus the snail’s pace of the sidewinders from the desert was 19 minutes a game on average.

Comparing AL 2014 to 2015

RANK TEAM 2014 AVG GAME TIME 2014 GAMES > 3H 2015 AVG GAME TIME 2015 GAMES > 3H % IMPROVE IN GAME TIME
1 Blue Jays* 3h 01m 77 2h 53m 65 4.4%
2 Orioles 3h 08m 96 2h 55m 61 6.9%
3 Twins 3h 07m 94 2h 57m 65 5.3%
4 Indians 3h 12m 109 2h 59m 71 6.8%
4 Rays 3h 19m 119 2h 59m 78 10.05%
6 White Sox 3h 08m 95 3h 0m 68 4.3%
6 Angels 3h 15m 69 3h 0m 69 7.7%
6 Royals* 3h 02m 87 3h 0m 70 1.1%
9 A’s 3h 05m 88 3h 01m 71 2.2%
9 Mariners 2h 59m 68 3h 01m 73 -1.1%
11 Astros* 3h 10m 106 3h 03m 84 3.7%
12 Rangers* 3h 07m 97 3h 04m 89 1.6%
13 Red Sox 3h 17m 116 3h 06m 88 5.6%
14 Yankees* 3h 13m 110 3h 08m 92 2.3%
15 Tigers 3h 14m 113 3h 09m 94 2.6%

The Royals won the most games and the A’s lost the most games. The * indicates a playoff team.

Just like in the NL the AL had five teams in 2015 that averaged under 3 hours a game. The fastest pace games on average were played by the Bluejays and they were about two minutes longer than games by the speedy NL Marlins. The slow-paced Tigers had the longest on average games in the AL but they were a minute quicker than the NL Dbacks. The one team that stands out is the Seattle Mariners who are the only AL team to have played longer games on average in 2015 than they did in 2014. The Rays deserve mention for having been the slowest paced team in the AL in 2014 with games averaging 3h 19m with 119 games over 3 hours and in 2015 they took MLB game pace guidelines to heart and cut 20 minutes off an average game and reduced their games of over 3 hours from 119 to just 71.

When you compare averages for 2014 to 2015 for the entire AL the numbers show that in 2014 a game lasted about 3h 9m and teams played an average of 99 games over 3 hours. In 2015 the average game time dropped to 3h 1m and the number of games over 3 hours dropped to 72. The number of games over 3 hours dropped by a little over 27% but the pace of the game only dropped by just over 4%.

What about of you compare the pace of play in the NL to the AL you ask? The two leagues play a different style of baseball but when all the haze faded away both leagues averaged a 3h 1m pace of play.

I think it is ironic that the only sport that doesn’t use a clock is so worried about how long their games take to play.

Just for fun – The Twins Joe Mauer makes $23 million a year. Let’s say he plays 162 games at 3 hours a game, we come up with 486 hours during the season. But let’s say that with workouts and other things he works a total of 8 hours a day for 162 games, that comes out to 1296 hours. Divide $23 million by 1,296 hours and you get an hourly wage of $17,747 an hour. Oh my goodness! I know that is being over simplistic but still…… I like Joe Mauer but this was just too good to pass up.

I am working on a longer term project that will take a historical look at the Minnesota Twins and their game times over the years so stay tuned for that.

 

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Merry Christmas

We at Twins Trivia want to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas !!!

Merry Christmas 2015-animation980by300We hope that you get to enjoy this wonderful holiday with your family and friends and please don’t forget all those that are serving our country and can’t get home this holiday season.

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This Day in Twins History – Baseball Forever Changed – December 23, 1975

Messersmith, AndyMcNally, Dave 2In a decision announced on December 23, 1975, arbitrator Peter Seitz ruled that pitchers Dave McNally and Andy Messersmith were free agents because the reserve clause could not bind them to a team forever. David McNally actually retired after the 1975 season and never played baseball again while Messersmith became a free agent and signed a three-year deal with the Atlanta Braves for a grand total of $1 million that included a $400,000 signing bonus.

Several court appeals were rejected, forcing the owners into collective bargaining on the issue. Take a moment to read “The Demise of the Reserve Clause” by Stew Thornley.

Baseball-reference.com write-up on the reserve clause

How Curt Flood Changed Baseball and Killed His Career in the Process

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On this Day in Twins History – Metrodome groundbreaking – December 20, 1979

June 12, 1980: The domed Hubert H. Humphrey Stadium in downtown Minneapolis is beginning to take shape as construction continues on schedule. The 65,000-seat facility, scheduled to open in April of 1982 is about $11.7 million below budget. (Pioneer Press file photo)

June 12, 1980: The domed Hubert H. Humphrey Stadium in downtown Minneapolis is beginning to take shape as construction continues on schedule. The 65,000-seat facility, scheduled to open in April of 1982 is about $11.7 million below budget. (Pioneer Press file photo)

December 20, 1979 – With the official groundbreaking taking place, construction began on the Metrodome and it was built by the state of Minnesota at a cost of approximately $68 million. The Metrodome becomes baseballs’ third domed facility when it opened in 1982.

The Minnesota Twins moved out of the Metrodome after the 2009 season and moved across town to their new digs at Target Field. The last season that the NFL Minnesota Vikings played there was in 2013.

Metrodome late March 2014

Metrodome late March 2014

The Dome was then gutted and almost completely torn down starting in January 2014 and the new Minnesota Vikings $1+ billion US Bank Stadium is being built and will be ready for the Vikings 2016 season.

This is what the site of the Metrodome looks like now as the new US Bank rises from the ashes of the old dome. The old dome cost $68 million and the shiny new US Bank Stadium comes in at a price tag of well over a billion dollars and will be the home of the Minnesota Vikings.

This is what the site of the Metrodome looks like now as the new US Bank rises from the ashes of the old dome. The old dome cost $68 million and the shiny new US Bank Stadium comes in at a price tag of well over a billion dollars and will be the home of the Minnesota Vikings.

The US Bank construction cam can be seen here. Metrodome on Wiki.

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Opt-out clause is a black eye for baseball

soap-boxopt-out clause – a clause that permits signatories to a contract to opt out of particular provisions, or to terminate the contract early.

I make no bones about it, I abhor the opt-out clauses that are being given to major league players today. MLB players today make millions of dollars a year and still they ask for and get opt-out clauses in their contracts. What is up with that?

To my way of thinking it is simple out and out GREED on the part of players and their agents. An opt-out clause in a baseball contract makes it totally one sided in favor of the player. The plan probably was originated by an agent that realized that there was more money to be made by negotiating more contracts. The players today have no loyalty to their teams or their fans what so ever and their single focus is putting more money in their pockets. They claim that they are doing all they can for the team but that is all BS, or they wouldn’t bail out of a contract if it was advantageous to them.

The players and agents aren’t the only ones to blame here, today’s baseball team owners must be the stupidest in sports. Why would you pay out hundred’s of millions on a long term contract and take all the risk that entails and still give the player an opt-out?  If the players plays like crap then he stays in the contract and you have to pay him, but if he feels he is in position to make an even better deal for himself he bails and says thank you very much sucker.

Why would you do something like that? Because players and their agents demand long term contracts to and must be smarter than most baseball owners. How can players that sign long term deals with an opt-out clause stand up before a microphone as they try on their new uniform for the first time and say with a straight face how excited they are to join this new team that they have admired from afar and now get a chance to help take them to the promised land? Why don’t they just look into the camera and say, “I signed to play with this team because they agreed to pay me the most money this year but if team X offers me more in 2019, I am outta here”. Wouldn’t play well with the fans you say? Get real!

Back in the old days before free agency players were tied to their teams for life but then free agency and arbitration came along and now the players and their agents are in the drivers seat. The pendelum has swung too far the other way. Players used to take pay cuts when they had a bad season and got raises for good seasons. When was the last time you heard of a player getting a pay cut because he had a bad year?

How is an opt-out different from investing money in the stock market and being given your investment back if the stock you bought goes down in price, who does that? No one, we would all love to have that option but no one is dumb enough to give that to us. Baseball is a unique business I know, but I don’t understand for the life of me why owners put up with this. If the owners band together and put a stop to this silly practice I’m sure they would get sued for collusion so the only way to put a stop to it is to negotiate it out of existence. Surely we will see more of these opt-out deals in the near future but hopefully the owners will come to their senses and negotiate this out of existence in future league/player contracts at their first opportunity.

Owners need players and players need owners for the great game of baseball to flourish but it has to be a level playing surface for both sides, Opt-outs are totally unfair, it is embarrassing that baseball allows this to keep happening.

UPDATE – A different opinion of the opt-out clause can be seen here.

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1965 American League Champions crossword puzzle – Part 36

crossword image

The snow is falling and it is a bit chilly outside as you rush around preparing for the up-coming holiday season. Presents to buy, decorating to do and all that baking is still to be done or maybe you are just at the office looking to kill some time before your next meeting so maybe you should sit down for a bit and forget all the pressures of your life and think back 50 years to the summer of 1965 and the great pennant run of Minnesota Twins.

I have been doing a series on the 1965 American League champions all season long in this the 50th anniversary of that great season. This is the 36th and final installment of that series and it is in the form of a crossword puzzle. It will hopefully bring back some wonderful memories of the year when the Minnesota Twins won 102 games and advanced to the 1965 World Series only to lose in seven games to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The puzzle contains the names of all the players and coaches (some more than once) that were on the 1965 roster and many other interesting facts about the 1965 Twins team.

Once you have brought the puzzle up and are ready to print the puzzle, do a right-click with your mouse and you might want to do a print preview first to get the puzzle the right size to fit on a single page. The clues for the puzzle will print on page 2.

1965 American League Champions crossword

Answers? You want answers? Probably just to double-check your work because if you are checking out this site you are probably a big Twins fan and will not need any research to complete the puzzle. If you do need help answering some, the answer might be found else where on this site. If you must see the answers, you can find them on the link below but only do so as a last resort. Thanks, I hope you enjoy it.

1965 American League Champions crossword answers

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These guys seldom hear “He gone” or “Grab some bench”

The other day I was having lunch and reading my newest Memories and Dreams magazine put out by the Hall of Fame. There are always good stories in this magazine and in this edition there was a short one page article by Marty Appel called A Second Look at Hall of Famer Nellie Fox.

Fox, NellieI am old enough to have seen Nellie play second base for the Chicago White Sox in early 60’s although by then he was on the down-hill side of his amazing career that started back in 1951. Not only was the man a twelve time all-star but he was the American League MVP in 1959.

Fox was one tough dude to strike out, in over 10,000 plate appearances he struck out just 216 times, that is incredible. He once had a record 98 straight games without being retired on strikes.

That got me to thinking about the Twins and how often they strike out. Now days players strike out more frequently then they once did and baseball and teams just kind of wink and say “yes, he strikes out but look at all those home runs”. If Nellie went 98 games with striking out what is the Twins longest streak of games without striking out.

Rk Name Strk Start End Games AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB BA OBP OPS
1 Earl Battey 1965-08-02 1965-09-05 35 110 7 28 9 1 0 18 12 .255 .323 .677
2 Brian Harper 1989-04-11 1989-05-31 28 74 9 17 4 0 3 15 4 .230 .294 .700
3 Glenn Adams 1980-05-24 1980-07-04 27 71 8 23 5 0 0 13 5 .324 .354 .749
4 Sandy Valdespino 1965-07-07 1965-08-15 27 46 7 16 1 0 0 6 4 .348 .400 .770
5 Hal Naragon 1961-08-26 1962-06-05 27 55 1 15 1 0 0 3 5 .273 .328 .619
6 Rich Chiles 1977-07-08 1977-08-21 25 55 6 11 0 0 1 6 7 .200 .302 .556
7 Mickey Hatcher 1983-08-23 1983-09-19 24 90 11 32 4 0 3 15 2 .356 .366 .866
8 Vic Power 1962-04-15 1962-05-20 24 89 10 27 2 0 3 14 4 .303 .333 .760
9 Chip Hale 1996-04-02 1996-05-21 23 26 4 10 3 0 1 6 3 .385 .448 1.064
10 Frank Kostro 1967-06-22 1967-09-17 23 21 3 8 0 0 0 1 2 .381 .435 .816
11 Jerry Terrell 1976-07-25 1976-09-05 21 50 7 14 0 1 0 4 3 .280 .327 .647
12 Leo Cardenas 1971-04-27 1971-05-20 21 76 12 25 5 1 3 13 7 .329 .381 .920
13 Brian Harper 1988-07-03 1988-08-12 20 66 5 25 6 0 2 8 2 .379 .391 .952
14 Dave Meier 1984-08-23 1985-06-10 20 45 5 8 1 0 0 4 2 .178 .213 .413
15 Jose Morales 1979-09-25 1980-05-20 20 39 5 11 1 0 1 5 3 .282 .326 .710
16 Rod Carew 1974-09-29 1975-05-10 20 66 11 26 5 1 0 5 9 .394 .461 .961
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/11/2015.
Credit to Steve's Baseball Photography Pages

Credit to Steve’s Baseball Photography Pages

Are you kidding me, Earl Battey with a 35 game streak of no strike outs during the 1965 pennant race? Wowsers, that is amazing. I sure don’t remember Battey having such a good eye at the plate but when you look at his numbers you will find out he never struck out more than 75 times in a season. Brain Harper is on the list twice, with a 28 game streak and a 20 game streak. I used to love watching Harper bat, he always seemed to make contact and what I remember most about him was how he followed each and every pitch all the way to the catchers glove.

You will notice that the most recent Twins streak of at least 20 games with out striking out goes back to 1996 when Chip Hale had a 23 gamer, today Chip Hale manages the Arizona Diamondbacks.

 

Aoki as a KC Royal in 2014

Aoki as a KC Royal in 2014

Who had the longest streak of this kind in 2015 you ask? That would be Nori Aoki from the San Francisco Giants with a 22 game streak from June 6 to August 5 and that was after he had a 20 game streak from May 5 to May 31. He must have had something in his eye because he struck out once a game on June 1, 2 and 3. That means from May 9 to August 5, Aoki had 187 plate appearances and struck out 3 times. Nice! Aoki just signed to play with Seattle a week or so ago.

How about the Minnesota Twins in 2015? The most games streak with out a strikeout was 10 by catcher Kurt Suzuki.

To me one of the oddest things about the above list is that catchers make up the top three streaks and Jose Morales is a bit further down the list and he played a handful of games behind the plate too. Now in 2015 Suzuki has the longest streak. Why is that?

Is it because catchers just naturally have a better eye for the strike zone? I doubt it. Do catchers learn as the game goes along how the umpire is calling balls and strikes and they can put that information to use? Are catchers skillful enough to do that? Or is it that maybe umpires have a certain degree of empathy for catchers and build friendships with them over time that causes them subconsciously not to call strikes on them as often? You gotta wonder… or is it just a quirk that three Twins catchers are on top of this list?

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Twins games to be streamed in Minnesota

FOXSportsNetsI guess I missed this short story in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal back in November but it is kind of a big deal depending on how Fox Sports North rolls it out. As they say, the devil is in the details. Why is this not being promoted more? I wonder too how and if this will impact Minnesota Twins ticket sales.

 Fans will finally be able to stream Minnesota Twins games in Minnesota

Manfred Announces 3-Year Deal With FOX To Have MLB Games Streamed In-Market

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Quality starts were not my forte

In my short Minnesota Twins career which was spread over two seasons I started a total of seven games but had zero quality starts. No other pitcher in Twins history can say that. Who am I?

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