It’s really not easy to come up with things to fill space in a Twins blog these days, so I’m resorting to stealing other peoples’ ideas.
I came across this post from the folks at BleacherReport.com. Someone with a lot more time on their hands than I have went through and listed the “most disliked” player among fans of each MLB team. There’s definitely a tendency toward players of relatively recent vintage, which isn’t surprising given that the list was put together based on searches of various team blogs and message boards.
Chuck Knoblauch got the “honor” of being listed as the least popular Twins player. It’s certainly hard to argue with that choice, although I personally have always held less animosity toward Knoblauch than most Twins fans. From my perspective, he expressed a desire to get the hell off the Twins mid-1990s roster as soon as it could be arranged. Granted, that’s not how you endear yourself to the local fan base, but in all honesty, if I’d have been a member of those Twins teams, I’d have done just about anything I could do to get traded, too.
I try to generally be a supportive fan of whoever happens to be a member of the Twins at any given time, so I don’t look for reasons to dislike players. There are certainly those that I have not particularly enjoyed seeing enter games at critical times (that would include you, Ron Davis). But even players who you know you would hate if they played for another team tend to be embraced when they’re on the home town team (Barry Bonds, anyone?).
If anything, there seems to be a fairly large (or at least very vocal) segment of the Twins fan base who seem to take a particular dislike for any player that most fans choose to like. Guys like Nick Punto and, most recently, Michael Cuddyer have had their share of persistent detractors, but by and large they were well liked by most Twins fans. Then again, we all have our personal biases. I was never as big on Torii Hunter as most fans were, for example, so if I had been blogging back during Torii’s time with the Twins, I probably wouldn’t have always been viewed as 100% fair in my criticisms.
This is also probably a bad time to pose a question to fans concerning who their least favorite Twins player is. Pretty much everyone who spent time on the 2011 Twins roster would quite possibly earn some level of “support” from current fans… and deservedly so. Yes, the general suckage was indeed that broadly spread around this season.
You’re certainly welcome to use the comments section share your thoughts concerning your least favorite Twins of all time, but that’s not really why I’m bringing the BR list to your attention.
As I read through the list, it struck me just how many of them had spent time as Twins. Apparently, this organization has not only had its share of surly, unfriendly, antagonistic, overpaid, underperforming and just generally unpopular players, but the share of several other teams as well.
In addition to their own nominee, Knoblauch, here’s a list of players that made the list of least favorite players among fans of other teams:
Sidney Ponson (Orioles) Twin: 2007 Apparently being released for violating the terms of the “morals clause” in your contract is only good enough to warrant getting you a share of the “most disliked” title in Baltimore. Ponson shares the designation with Armando Benitez.
Jose Offerman (Dodgers) Twin: 2004 Seriously… going back through the history of the Dodgers, they couldn’t find anyone more disliked by the Dodger fans than Offerman?
Carl Pavano (Yankees) Twin: 2010-current Again, I find it hard to believe Pavano is the most disliked in Yankee history. Heck, this is the fan base that booed and heckled Roger Maris the season he broke Babe Ruth’s HR record!
Phil Nevin (Padres) Twin: 2006 Yes, Phil finished his career as a Twin. I guess I just never realized he was so unpopular with the Friars.
AJ Pierzynski (Giants) Twin: 1998-2003 It says something that AJ would be the choice for a franchise with the rich, yet largely unsuccessful, history that the Giants have.
Toss in Knobby and the Twins can claim six of the 32 “most disliked” players in the history of their respective franchises. But why stop there? There’s a pretty good selection of unpopular talent still playing Major League Baseball who still haven’t had the honor of wearing a Twins uniform!
Someone tell Bill Smith to make a few phone calls. Let’s see how many of these guys we can get on the cheap: Milton Bradley (Cubs), Juan Uribe (WSox), Hanley Ramirez (Marlins), Jose Guillen (Angels), Rafael Soriano (Rays), A-Rod (Rangers) and Nyjer Morgan (Nationals/Expos). OK… yeah some of those guys may not be so cheap after all.
Finally, because we all know that no matter how bad we may be feeling, it always helps to be able to make fun of someone else, keep this in mind, fellow Twins fans:
Even if the Twins suck again next season, we can be thankful that the Twins organization won’t be forcing us to wear something like this in order to show our support. Marlins fans aren’t so fortunate.