One Immediate Change The Twins Should Make

I drafted this post Monday afternoon and I honestly hoped I would see something in the Twins Monday night that would make me decide not to publish it. Alas, while there were at least more signs of life among some of the guys, in the end, it was more of the same.

With the humiliation of the past weekend behind us, the attention of many bloggers has turned to discussions of what the Twins should do in the future… and that makes perfect sense. There’s really nothing more to discuss in terms of improving this team’s chances of being competitive in 2011. The Twins will be fortunate to hold off the young Royals and avoid finishing dead last in the AL Central Division.

There have been some good recent posts elsewhere concerning what the Twins might look like in 2012 (we got a head start on that process that you can read by clicking here, in case you missed it). Others can be found hereand hereand hereand hereand here… and probably elsewhere by the time you read this.

Seth Stohs put a lot of thought in to a post detailing his suggestions for how the Twins should play out the season. He makes some good points. He also got me thinking about what I would do if I were in charge of the Twins through the rest of 2011.

I came up with one thing I would do immediately.

Change their home uniforms.

After the death earlier this year of Twins Hall of Famer, Harmon Killebrew, the Twins announced they would wear the 1960s “throwback” uniforms for all remaining home games, in Harmon’s honor. I think that was a nice thing to do.

I think it would have been nicer if they had decided to dedicate their efforts toward playing baseball in a manner that Killebrew, Oliva, Perry, Grant, Kaat, Allison and others of that era would have been proud of.

But the fact is, their performance on the field dishonors my memories of watching Killer and the others play baseball the way it was intended to be played. They aren’t worthy of wearing the same uniform and if I were in charge, they wouldn’t put those uniforms on again until they earned the right to be mentioned in the same breath.

They wouldn’t wear their more recent home white uniforms, either.

Seeing the 1991 World Series Champions introduced before the three games over the weekend could only make Twins fans cringe even more when those guys left the field and we had to watch the current group try to play the actual games. Following Jason Kubel’s 1st inning home run on Friday night, we were treated to 26 innings of baseball during which the Twins scored exactly one run. I have no doubt that if you put uniforms on Hrbek, Gagne, Larkin, Gladden, et al, they’d have managed to get more than one run across home plate in those 26 innings.

Watching the current Twins stretch and play catch (the few that were even visibly out of the dugout or clubhouse) during the pregame introductions of that team made it clear to me that this team: (a) has no regard for these 1991 heroes, or (b) is embarrassed to be compared to them. I suspect it may be both, but it certainly should be the latter.

They probably aren’t comfortable being compared to that 1991 team and one can hardly blame them. Who among this group would tell his team mates, “Get on my back, I’ll carry you!”, like the man that was honored before Sunday’s game? Joe Mauer? Yeah, right.

So put away those white pinstripe home jerseys, too, boys. You’ll wear those again when you at least demonstrate half the effort and heart that the champions who wore them before you showed us.

I’m sure the Commissioner would frown on us sending you out to play in plain white t-shirts, which is pretty much what you deserve, so we’ll let you wear those navy jerseys.

Play like 1997? Dress like 1997

Better yet, do we still have some of those gawd-awful red ones the Twins wore back in 1997? You know the ones… the DQ jerseys… the ones that we all laughed at while the team was losing 94 games. Yeah, dress this group up in those for the rest of 2011. Then again, guys like Paul Molitor, Brad Radke and Rick Aguilera wore the DQ jerseys that year, so I’m not even sure the current crop deserve to have these on their backs. But I guess they have to wear something.

Oh… but one more thing… take the names off the back (that’s at least one thing they got right about the “throwback” jerseys) at home and on the road. If the fans don’t know who you are by looking at you, then do something that will make us want to look up the number to see who you are. We didn’t need names on the uniforms to know who Killebrew, Oliva, Puckett, Hrbek and Blyleven were.

Maybe by the time 2012 starts, the front office can come up with something new and fitting for these guys to wear. Does Rochester have any of those “Star Wars” jerseys left or did they auction them all off?

If it were up to me, I’d tell these guys, ”You’ll get your REAL Twins uniforms back when you show a little pride in being given the honor of wearing the uniforms of Killebrew and Puckett. That’s pride, not ego. Either learn the difference or get the hell out of here. I’m tired of seeing too much of the latter and not nearly enough of the former.”

- JC

 

GameChat – Red Sox @ Twins, 6:10pm

So I did most of my venting about horrible baseball the guys have been playing lately this morning.. That being said, I’m only done venting if they are done jacking it up in the infield and wussing out at the plate. If we can get guys to start playing good baseball, using the glove effectively and hitting the ball once in awhile, I will actually be able to let the rest of frustrations go relatively quickly. But errors, LOB and other jack-assery will just make me very angry for a very long time.

Congratulations are in order to Tsuyoshi and his wife – they have a brand new baby girl! Also, it means he’s out of the lineup tonight and that gives me a break to not have to grumble about my disappointments there either. I’m glad that everything went well and I hope he really enjoys fatherhood!

Boston

@

Minnesota
Ellsbury, CF Span, CF
Crawford, LF Plouffe, 2B
Gonzalez, Ad, 1B Mauer, C
Pedroia, 2B Cuddyer, 1B
Ortiz, DH Kubel, RF
Saltalamacchia, C Thome, DH
Reddick, RF Valencia, 3B
Lowrie, 3B Young, D, LF
Scutaro, SS Tolbert, SS
  Wakefield, P   Baker, S, P
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Boston 0 1 0 0 0 4 0 1 2 8 17 2
Minnesota 0 3 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 6 10 1

The Twins didn’t totally suck tonight for the first 8 innings. I guess that’s progress. – JC

Monday Morning Realizations…

If you watched any or all of the games from the series against the White Sox this weekend, you likely have a feeling remarkably similar to a hangover this morning.. it sucks.

Whatever happened to the White Sox always losing in Minnesota? *sigh* If you really want to read a great summation of the series and the team reactions, you should check out Phil Mackey’s piece at ESPN: Ron Gardenhire ‘wondering what the hell is going on’

The depessing part of the weekend I think is - and just about everyone seems to agree – that this killed pretty much any hope of a comeback this season. It seems that the injuries, lack of front office forethought, and general circumstances have finally piled enough negatives in the balance scales that “hustle” and “playing our tails off” can do nothing to counteract the sink.  Not even Justin Morneau coming off the DL and making spectacular moves immediately have time to salvage where the Twins now reside in the division.

Would I like to be proved wrong? Absolutely! I don’t mind being wrong upon occasion (it just doesn’t actually happen very often ;) ). I do appreciate that the Twins didn’t just give up earlier in the season when things already looked.. bad. Do I want them to give up now? No. I think our guys have a lot of integrity and enjoy playing the game of baseball so I think they will go out there and attempt to win each game for itself because they like to win. Do I think it will be the same? No, we’ll see a difference in the playing attitude as the realizations sink in for each of our guys and it will be a kind baseball in Minnesota that a lot of current fans won’t recognize but some of us know well from a decade ago. It’s not as fun as the playoff chases but I throw this out there – it’s still BASEBALL people!

If the boys still play their game, we can still bitch and moan about this player’s lack of defensive ability, that players lack of effort or the managers idiotic choices. Honestly, we’d have been doing that ANYWAY!

I, for one, am going to let it absorb that the Twins are likely not recoverable in this season and then I’m going to sit back and enjoy baseball. If Twins fans can’t do that, than they are far too spoiled by the repeated successes of our team this decade and that’s a trap that Yankees fans fall into so I would hate to see that here in Minnesota. Do I expect any of us to LIKE it? No, I’m not asking that. But we still have a great thing going in the Twin Cities and we can watch baseball and enjoy.

Besides I’m used to the concept of a non-winning season. I’m a Vikings fan.