Twins: Foreign/Domestic, New/Old, Friend/Foe

Just a few things that have come up around TwinsWorld lately that we haven’t gotten around to commenting about yet.

International Flavor:

Hope this is "our" Javier Pimentel. If not... oh well, worth a try, right?

In the past week, the Twins have submitted the high bid for the rights to negotiate with Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka and signed the supposed #10 prospect in the baseball-rich Dominican Republic, 17-year-old infielder Javier Pimentel. This continues the trend, started a couple of years ago, of the Twins flexing their international muscles more than a bit. They’ve had a strong presence in Australia for some time, but they’ve now made a name for themselves in the European, Latin American and Japanese markets, as well.

You have to give the Twins front office credit for not waiting for the increased revenues from Target Field before starting to bolster their international scouting organizations. Rather than waiting until the ballpark opened to start the long process of establishing a presence, learning how things worked, and getting to know the markets, they started doing all of that pretty much as soon as they had a deal in place to build the ballpark. As a result, now that the money is available, they’re already a recognized “brand” in those markets and it appears we’re seeing the fruits of those labors starting to be realized.

Red Dog gets a gig:

The Big Lug

Our old friend Mike “Naked Batting Practice” Redmond has been announced as the new manager of the Blue Jays Midwest League affiliate, the Lansing Lugnuts. It will be interesting to hear whether his BP style (if you can call being naked a “style”) is passed along to his players. Red Dog will be hanging out with Lansing mascot “The Big Lug”, who is certainly no TC Bear (but then, who is?). In any event, I’m already looking forward to seeing Red when the Lugnuts travel to Cedar Rapids to face the Kernels in 2011. Good luck NBP!

Keeping an Eye on the Competition:

It’s starting to look like it may be difficult to recognize some of the Twins’ AL Central competitors in 2011. The Tigers have been the media’s big “winner” in the free agent market so far, having added Victor Martinez and Joaquin Benoit to their ranks. It doesn’t look like they’ll have familiar faces Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Robertson and Maglio Ordonez  around any more (though word is that they could still re-sign Mags). Detroit had something like $50 million in contracts come off their books after this season, so they’re still looking to add more. I have to say, though, that I think they’re overpaying for what they’re buying. I understand they probably had to overpay to get the guys they wanted, but in a year or two, I think they’ll be saddled with contracts they wish they didn’t have.

The bitchiest Bitch Sox?

The White Sox could very easily have neither Paul Konerko nor our old friend AJ Pierzynski in uniform next season. GM Kenny Williams always pulls some sort of surprise signing out of his butt so I’m sure they’ll make a splash yet. But they apparently don’t have a lot of salary room and his deals seem to almost always blow up in the Sox’ face, so it’s hard to worry too much about them getting a lot better. Admit it though… it won’t be nearly as much fun hating the Bitch Sox if their chief bitch, AJ, isn’t around, will it? On the other hand, if he gets no other offers and has to return to Chicago on some sort of minimum wage deal, that might be kinda humorous. As for Paulie, I hope he finds a nice place to play ball… preferably in the National League. I don’t want to see him back in Target Field unless it’s in the World Series… or he’s wearing a Twins uniform (or both). [UPDATE: Appears I may have spoken too soon. The Sox have signed Adam Dunn to a 4-year, $56 million deal and still are interested in bringing Konerko back. If they manage to sign both, there's no doubt they'll be improved. Twins should hope they stop at Dunn and let him play 1B]

Media experts keep talking about how the Royals have all these great young players coming up through their system and that now is the time for them to trade Zack Greinke. I’m on record already as wanting the Twins in on that action if the Royals are serious about letting him go, but after reading that his “partial no-trade” clause expires at mid-season (meaning after that date, the Royals are not limited with regard to who they can trade him to), I don’t really expect KC to get serious about letting him go until the trade deadline. And as for the Royals actually getting competitive… I’ve heard it all before, so pardon me if I’m skeptical until I see evidence on the field above the AA level.

Finally, there’s the Indians. I haven’t really heard or read anything of interest about Cleveland except that they’re the only team I’ve read about (other than possibly the Twins, of course) having an interest in signing Nick Punto. I guess if there’s one franchise around who could use a Tiny Superhero, it’s the Indians. By the way,we’re hearing that one of the things Nishioka is known for over in Japan is… wait for it… yes… sliding head first in to first base. Sigh.

New Road Jersey:

In case you missed it, the lone change to the Twins’ uniform options in 2011 will be a new alternate road jersey. It’s a navy blue jersey with the same “script Minnesota” across the chest that the grey road jersey has.

The Twins dropped the very popular navy “block MINNESOTA” road jersey from their options a couple of years ago and, since then, the only alternate road jersey has been the same “script Twins” jersey that’s also worn at home.

Twins new "alternate" road jersey for 2011

As others have pointed out, the Twins tended to wear their navy jersey most of the time, at home and on the road, through the middle third or so of the season. The home whites and road greys seemed to be worn regularly early and later in the season and some people wondered if it had to do with superstitions among the players.

While I’m certainly not going to reject that possibility, because ballplayers are notoriously superstitious, I think there’s actually a more likely reason. The navy jerseys are made of much lighter weight material and during the dog days of June, July and August, the players (especially the starting pitchers, who have traditionally chosen the jersey they want to wear for their starts) opt for the coolest jersey among their choices. Conversely, they were more likely to wear the heavier (and warmer) white or grey jerseys during the cooler spring/fall parts of the season.

While the new road jersey will hopefully give them a second light-weight option, the real question that you would think someone would get around to asking is, “Why can’t they make a second set of white/grey jerseys out of the cooler material?”

Anyway… maybe we should keep track, here at Knuckleballs, of how many times each jersey is worn by the Twins next season. It seems like one of those interesting, if not at all important, pieces of information that would fit in nicely around here.

- JC

7 thoughts on “Twins: Foreign/Domestic, New/Old, Friend/Foe

  1. I LOOOVE the blue jerseys. And since I’ve decided that I’m just not a fan of the grays without the pinstripes (used to be my favorite jersey), the blues are my second fave to the throwback ivory ones.

    As far as Gordo, I think this is a great “compromise” between the options. This next season will be his 25th year as a Twins radio guy and I knew he’d probably stay on long enough to hit that mark but he’s just not keeping up with the game the way he used to. Attebury does a GREAT job and they’ve been steadily giving him more and more games which tells me that he’s at least the heir apparent if not a given for the role.

  2. I ALMOST added a paragraph about Gordon, but (unlike the Strib), I decided to hold off until something official was announced. Guess I should have gone ahead with it.

    As I get older, I get bothered more by broadcasters getting shoved out the door by teams they’ve provided a voice to for so many years. That said, I have to admit I’ve found Gordon to be almost impossible to listen to for the past few years. I’m sure he’s a lovely man and I’m sure if he was in the seat next to me on a long flight, I’d really enjoy talking baseball with him.

    Fortunately, for the past couple of years, I’ve been able to watch more games via the internet and not have to listen to the radio broadcasts, and if that good fortune continues, this news really won’t affect me much personally. I do hope that the Twins and the fans recognize Gordon’s years of dedication and treat him with respect as he winds down his service time with the organization.

    I’m OK with the blue jerseys. Not real excited either way. I’ll be disappointed if they don’t continue wearing the ivory throwbacks at times, though. I’m kind of with Babs on the grey ones. They’re ok, too… but just haven’t really grown on me at all. I’d like to see something more distinctive introduced.

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  4. I watch very few games on TV, and I get annoyed with Dick n Bert. A complaint about Gordo n Dazzle is that they talk about stories during the inning, Dick n Bert seem to do that a lot. Maybe its a Sunday broadcast thing, I dont know. I know its tv and it s a bit different because you are watching the action, but sometimes I just (under my breath) yell at the tv to start calling the action. Bert’s tired antics (birthday countdown for example) and Dick fake ignorance about things (I think after sitting in the TV booth for 30 years, one could pick up a few tidbits about baseball. I dont have any specific examples, but I hear it and it annoys me). It drives me batty. Dick is a solid play by play guy, he just seems bored 90% of the time I have him on
    I am probably in the minority in TwinsTerritoy, but I could do without DickNBert

    anywho, the Sox resigned AJ and signed Dunn. ugggh. I dont like those moves for us. Dunn seems like a Jim Thome type, who’ll probably mash about 15 taters against up next year

  5. Dear Twins pitchers,

    Having had Dunn on a few fantasy teams, I’ve got a little advice. If you throw something over the plate, he can smash it over the wall, even at Target Field. If you throw something off the plate, he is pretty likely to swing at it as if his plan is to smash it over the wall, and he will strike out. Sure, he was sorta better about that last year, especially early in the year, but I’m pretty sure it’s still kinda his kryptonite. That said, he is a great player and I thought he looked nice in a National League uni (with his fantasy-team Beerball uni on underneath). :)

  6. It’d help more mascots if they actually looked like *things* – like T. C. looks like a bear, Is that purple deal a dinosaur or some lizard?