So today actually is the double-header to make up for Friday’s rainout. No, really it is. It also makes for a LOT of baseball today but at least there isn’t any rain in today’s forecast. Fall baseball has definitely begun however since it’s not supposed to even reach 60 degrees.
This game went pretty much like you’d expect until the 6th inning… and then the TWINS actually started getting RUNS! Scott Diamond also seemed to get things figured out and settled down by the 4th inning or so and had a pretty darn good outing!
But today the BOD went unanimously to Joe Mauer. Thanks Joe!
We did a pretty good job of going through the Detroit bullpen this afternoon, let’s see if we can get to them again. Let’s hope that PJ can keep us in it long enough to have that make a difference.
Well THAT was fun!!! I think close games are entertaining. This was a hard fought game from the pitching standpoint and PJ did a very good job! Jared Burton also pitched an IMMENSE bottom of the 9th against the heart of the Tigers order in a beautiful way. For that they both get a classic internet High Five! I hope he keeps it up!
Apparently the Twins are 6-0 when it comes to winning double-headers. I don’t know why that is but I’m not going to argue. I like winning, I like beating the Tigers. I’m not so fond of helping the White Sox reach the post season but.. I like beating the Tigers.
We all agreed that tonight’s BOD was the ever ‘youthful’, Jamey Carroll. He might be mad at himself for getting that out at 2B but he still is the one who got that winning RBI. Don’t be so hard on yourself, Jamey and enjoy the recognition of all that you have brought to your new team!
It’s getting to be that time of year where little that happens before the game truly affects much what will happen DURING the game. So, we have a pretty normal lineup today and Deduno hoping to continue his improvements on the mound. The Tigers lineup is always a good test!
[EDIT]The game is currently under a rain delay – which could be extensive. But if the weather allows at all, they’ll get the game in tonight because there’s just not much season or travel time left. Current estimates have the heavy rain arriving about 6:30pm CT and the game POSSIBLY starting approximately 8-8:30pm. *crosses fingers*
Episode 5 of the Twins related baseball podcast, Talk To Contact, is now available for download via iTunes or by clicking here.
In Episode 5 Paul and I discussed Scott Diamond, Liam Hendriks, Chris Herrmann, Josh Willingham and a bunch more Twins topics. We also had a special guest, Knuckleballs’ very own, Jim Crickket on the podcast to discuss the Twins new player development contract with the Cedar Rapids Kernals. Later in the post we answered some questions from Twitter, talked about beer and what we’re watching as the season winds down.
You can follow Paul on Twitter (@BaseballPirate) or read his writing at the Puckett’s Pond.
The Cedar Rapids Kernels held a press conference Wednesday to introduce their new Major League affiliate, the Minnesota Twins. It was actually more of a public introduction to which the press was invited, but that was certainly the right approach by the Kernels. Affiliation changes are big deals in the local communities and when your organization hasn’t had a change in 20 years, it’s an even bigger deal.
I would have liked to attend, dressed head to toe in Twins gear like many of the crowd gathered in the Kernels’ conference room, but my schedule didn’t really allow for it yesterday. My conflicting meeting did end early enough for me to tune in to the live streaming feed being broadcast online by one of the local media outlets, so I did get to see some of the comments from the Twins’ Bill Smith and then most of the questions being fielded from media and the public by Smith and Jim Rantz.
For a good sense of how the press conference went and the enthusiasm expressed by pretty much all in attendance, from the Kernels, the Twins and the public, check out Jeff Johnson’s report at the Cedar Rapids Gazette’s website. There’s a video clip, as well. Jeff covers the Kernels beat for the Gazette (as well as the local Junior Hockey League team, the RoughRiders), so some of you might want to start following Jeff via the usual social media outlets.
I admit that I have reasons for being happy about this affiliation that go beyond the obvious advantages for the Kernels and 99% of the baseball fans in the area. Yes, the Twins farm system is stronger than the Angels right now and probably will be so for quite a while. The Twins build their MLB team from within, while the Angels have become one of the richest teams in baseball and will likely continue to build by buying free agents and supplement them with the occasional super-prospect they uncover, such as Mike Trout.
If you run a minor league team, you’re better off with a MLB affiliate committed to drafting and developing talent. of course, we could debate how well the Twins have been doing that the past few years, but let’s do that another time. The fact is, that’s their model. So make no mistake, this is a huge “win” for the Kernels and we congratulate their Board and GM Doug Nelson for getting this deal done.
The Twins have a good fan base in the area and this deal clearly makes those of us who are members of that base happy. That should translate in to a few more butts in the seats at the local ballpark, but not nearly as many more as having a competitive team on the field would account for. From that standpoint, the Twins’ timing couldn’t be better. It would be almost impossible for them to send a team to Cedar Rapids next season that would lose more games than the team the Angels sent this season. Their 53-86 record was by far the worst in the Midwest League.
There’s been a lot said and written about how much better next year’s team is likely to be and the Twins brass certainly has brought up the success that their Appy League team in Elizabethton had in 2012 as evidence that expectations should be high in Cedar Rapids next year. That’s fair and I, too, believe the team has the potential to be very good.
But before we order MWL championship rings quite yet, Kernels fans (and Twins fans, too) need to keep one often-overlooked fact in mind. There’s a reason Elizabethton wins a lot and that players who move from E’town to Class A sometimes don’t look as good as hoped right away.
Those players are skipping a level of competition in the process.
No, they aren’t skipping a level within the Twins organization, but there is a whole level of minor league ball that the Twins have elected not to have an affiliate in and that’s “Class A-short season.” Many of the players that Max Kepler, Byron Buxton and their friends were up against this year will be sticking around extended spring training for their respective clubs and then playing in the NY-Penn League or Northwest League next summer, while many of the Elizabethton players are skipping straight to Cedar Rapids in April.
I don’t necessarily think there’s anything wrong with the Twins’ approach, but I’d point out that it does fly in the face a bit of the perception among many fans that the Twins don’t push their players through the system quickly. That case might be made for some guys after they reach the full-season minor league level, but not so much before that. Of course, we also know that guys do stick around E’town for more than one season at times, too, but that still means those players have faced somewhat lesser competition levels by the time they reach the MWL.
Just sayin’ there’s more to the issue than what we see on the surface sometimes and while I’m anxious and excited to see the team the Twins put on the field in Cedar Rapids next season, I’m not expecting them to go undefeated or anything.
But, as I said, I have other reasons for liking this match-up between Minnesota and my home town team and they are admittedly very selfish reasons.
First, obviously, it gives me more stuff to write about here at Knuckleballs. Don’t worry, this will not become an “all Kernels, all the time” blog. It has been, is, and will continue to be primarily a Twins blog. But we’ve always reserved the right to write about whatever we darn well please, Twins-related or not. That’s why you’ve had to put up with me writing about the Kernels before… and the Hawkeyes… and Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant.” But, yeah, I’ll clearly have a much better excuse to write more about the Kernels next season now that they’re part of the Twins family. How much more remains to be seen, but I’ll certainly mention them from time to time (that’s me… the king of understatements).
But, speaking of my Alice’s Restaurant rant from a ways back, here’s my REAL selfish reason for wanting this relationship: I have come to believe that this affiliation is my last-best hope of ever seeing Twins baseball on cable television in Cedar Rapids. In fact, if I HAD been at the press conference Wednesday, I probably would have asked the Twins crew if there was any chance this deal might nudge Fox Sports North and Mediacom together to the point where FSN would at least be an option on the local cable system.
So, imagine my pleasure when someone in the crowd asked pretty much that exact question.
Of course, I was less impressed with the Twins response, but hey… I’m not giving up hope. Rome wasn’t built in a day and signing an affiliation agreement won’t make Eastern Iowa a full-fledged member of “Twins Territory” overnight. I’m a patient man. (Stop that laughing, right now!)
While the Twins people did give the same standard, “that’s out of our control,” response to the television question that their President, Dave St. Peter gave to me last winter, they did mention a few other ways that they plan to work on as initial steps to make us all feel like part of the Twins family.
For instance, it sounds like Cedar Rapids may well get a stop on the Twins Caravan in January. That’ll be nice. I’ve never made the effort to drive a couple hours north to Mason City or whatever border community the Twins have ventured in to previously, but they do sound like fun events. I would expect a very big crowd in CR for that if/when it comes to pass.
By the way, I believe Kernels staff will also be set up at Twinsfest in January, so if you attend, make sure you stop by and say hi. Doug and his folks are a great group of hard-working people that I’m sure you’ll enjoy getting to know. (Tell them I said that, will ya? I could use the brownie points.)
The Twins reps also alluded to making efforts to find a local radio affiliate to carry Twins games on the radio. They mentioned also that they’re excited about the fact that all of the Kernels games are carried on the radio and that Twins fans everywhere will be able to catch those games online. In addition, those of you who are blessed to be in an area that does carry FSN, it sounds like you may actually get to watch a few Kernels games on FSN next summer.
Honestly… I think that’s great. Good for all of you. But you have to admit that it’s ironic (or, to my mind, moronic) that you folks in Minneapolis may well have more opportunities to see Kernels games on your televisions than I’ll have to watch Twins games here in Cedar Rapids, because of the MLB blackout of the Twins on MLB.tv, etc. But that’s all I’ll say about that… today.
For now, I’ll just say it feels good to be at least one step closer to having my home town become a real part of Twins Territory. Thank you and congratulations again to the Kernels organization, as well as the Twins.
That was frustrating just because I think we really had a chance to actually GET this sweep in Cleveland… and then Swarzak just didn’t have it in the 10th… again. And they had him intentionally walk Santana and Brantley to LOAD THE BASES with one out.. seriously? well, you see how that turned out.
But before that it was basically a fairly even match-up back and forth with some interesting moves and some sloppy play on both sides. It’s really not a surprise we’re now tied for last place in the division. When Cowboy Joe West can’t help laughing his butt off on the field, you know that you didn’t play defense at 2B very well… *snort*
Highlights for me were the spectacular catch by Denard Span – another web gem style clip – and the hilarious home run by Plouffe in which he was on his way back to the dugout before he realized that he needed to actually go RUN the BASES because the hit had gone OVER THE WALL. So funny. – CB
Let’s see if the Twins can get the job done in a regulation nine innings tonight.
The news today involves yet another injury. Darin Mastroianni has a torn tendon in a middle finger (insert juvenile off-color joke here) and will be limited to pinch running duties for the rest of the season.
On a happier note, Chris Parmelee will leave tomorrow to return home to LA for the birth of their first child. Congratulations, in advance, Chris!
Another Chris, Chris Herrmann, is getting his first-ever Major League start behind the plate, which is very cool. It would be even cooler if Chris can be a good-luck charm for his battery-mate, starting pitcher Liam Hendriks, who’s still trying to get his first MLB win in his 18th start.
Oh… and this afternoon, the Twins and Cedar Rapids Kernels announced at a press conference today that they’ve entered in to a new four-year player development contract. I heard the press conference, which was open to the public, went well.
Liam Hendrik’s FINALLY gets his first WIN!! He also took a double shaving cream pie to the face in the post game interview courtesy of Pedro Florimon and Alexi Casilla. Today was not his best outing to be honest but it wasn’t a bad one. After going soooooo many starts without a win, piles of no decisions and a handful+ of losses, it must be the most amazing feeling to finally have this part behind him. I’m also happy that the TEAM got a win – that always feels good.
Liam also gave a LOT of credit where credit most definitely due – Chris Herrmann. He may not have gotten a hit tonight but he did get his first MLB RBI. However, that’s not what was so good about his job tonight. He had an amazing catching debut managing to keep a LOT of bad pitches from becoming bad situations; at least one truly stellar throw to 2B; and a few great tags. He did everything you would expect from an experienced MLB catcher with none of the cross-ups you could leave room for in a newbie. For that we have to be truly thankful and we give him his own shaving cream pie! (ours is much easier to clean up)
Additionally, I don’t know whether to be grateful or disappointed that Gardy went face to face with Cowboy Joe West and managed to stay in the game. It might even be a first… is Gardy losing a step at the end of the season or is he just not feeling the pressure since there is no pennant to be racing.
Lastly, tonight’s BOD was a unanimous choice – Josh Willingham. He earned it and in a big way: 4 hits, 4 RBI and in general, fantastic presence in the offense. Considering it was yet another 1 run game, and another save for Perkins (thank you for shaving btw), we needed every bit of offense we were able to round up tonight. Good Job Willy! – CB
Glancing at the Twins line up, it kind of looks like the closest thing Gardy can come up with to a legitimate “A line up,” right up to the point where you see who’s pitching. Tonight we have the return of P.J. Walters. I’m going to be honest, I don’t really remember enough about him to opine about whether I’m glad he’s back or not. I guess at the very least, I’m glad he’s healthy again.
What a long time to watch the Twins play the Indians. And for the record, I’m pretty sure there were more people tweeting about the Twins game than were sitting in the stands watching the game. BUT! Our endurance was rewarded! Our boys managed to get the WIN! It’s been a bit since we saw that and it feels good to come back and get a win in the division fight..
It was a battle from early on – we got an early lead that disappeared almost immediately and stayed tied or a run apart for most of the game. Nothing like making a game late in the season go 12 innings. And breaking that final tie took a LONG time.
A few highlight players:
Duensing who threw 3 innings with 1 hit and no runs after a short, somewhat shaky but not irreparable start from PJ.
Mastroianni who manufactured the tie breaking run and got himself to home on an error in the top of the 12th.
Florimon who ended up getting the actual winning RBI since we needed BOTH of the runs we got in the 12th to get the win.
All these guys deserve a steak dinner. Seriously, there was a point when I thought this game would never end.
But the real standout effort tonight came from Joe Mauer – who else? He was on base every at bat, 3 hits, 2 walks and an RBI. For such an outstanding plate performance, he earned today’s BOD! – CB
I’m sure others will concur now that the Kernels have announced the press conference, which is open to the public (in case any of you don’t have anything else going on Wednesday afternoon).
Scuttlebutt around this here inter-web machine had the Twins brass scheduled to meet with the Quad Cities River Bandits in Davenport on Tuesday, but I have neither seen nor heard any confirmation that such meeting took place.
In addition, reports indicate no formal written agreement is yet in place between the Kernels and Twins. If that doesn’t happen over the next few hours, though, the press conference could be pretty short.
I’m sure all of your favorite local news outlets will have coverage of the press conference tomorrow. Here at Knuckleballs, we’ll hopefully be able to just sit back and enjoy the news.
For several months, I’ve worked on and off on drafting articles examining the complicated relationship between blogging and reporting. Following the reactions I’ve received from last night’s post concerning the Twins and Cedar Rapids Kernels, I thought this morning might be a good time to get that ball rolling.
I’ve been accused, if indirectly, of making stuff up to get more traffic here at the blog. I really have no motive to do that. Anyone who’s been here will notice immediately that we don’t incorporate advertising at Knuckleballs. Maybe that will change some day, but frankly I just don’t consider it worth the hassle. In any event, the revenue we generate from 200 reads per day and 2,000 reads per day is exactly the same. Zero dollars. We cover the expenses involved in maintaining this site out of our own pockets. Of course, it’s nice to have people read your stuff and I happen to think I’m a decent writer, for a fan.
But that’s the thing… I’m a fan, not a reporter and I have no grand dreams of getting paid big bucks to do this stuff.
While the trend toward reporters all having blogs and some fan-bloggers getting space in traditional media outlets is making that line more and more grey, the line is still important. At least it is to me.
If I were a reporter, I should have needed two sources to go on the record before posting last night. As a fan with a blog, yet a blogger with some sense of journalistic ethics, I need at least one source that I have a high degree of confidence in who is willing to tell me it’s OK to publish what I know.
Since I’ve been doing this a while, I have a pretty nice number of sources (at least for a blogger, I would imagine), both in Minnesota and Iowa. One of them confirmed that the information in my lead paragraph was accurate and after some discussion (in which I asked if I should hold off posting for at least a day), I was given the OK to post on this blog Monday night. I did so.
I understand that I may have made life challenging for some people that I highly respect in one or both organizations, the Twins and Kernels, as a result of my posting the information and I do regret that. I also feel bad that perhaps a few people along the Avenue of the Saints who are known to “know me,” will be looked upon suspiciously as being my source. I’ve certainly had more than one person tell me they wish I had held off. It was not my intention to cause problems for anyone and I do apologize to anyone I inconvenienced in any way. I was a fan with some damn exciting news to share and a vehicle at my disposal for doing so. Period.
But I stand by what I wrote. I did not say a PDC had been entered in to. I said the Kernels had agreed to a proposal to enter a PDC. I believe that information was and is accurate. I guess it won’t take long to find out if that’s true.
There’s another group that I struggle a bit with the question of whether I should apologize to them. That would be members of the “working media” who may have been irked at me for intruding on their turf and publishing before they could do so, either because they didn’t have sources willing to go on the record or because they chose to honor a request to hold back reporting the story a while longer.
It suppose it can be maddening to honor a request not to publish information only to see another writer, whether traditional or non-traditional, put the story out there. I saw that happen, in fact, this past weekend with the information that the Twins representatives would be in Cedar Rapids Monday. Some of us may have had that information as confidential, but apparently others had the OK to publish Sunday. It happens.
So I can understand their frustration. Reporters have a tighter set of rules to live by than I do, as I pointed out before. In today’s confusing media world, that has to be really difficult to work through at times.
But if a reporter also has a blog, is s/he bound by the same standards for what they print in that blog as they are when they write a news story? What about sports columnists? Where are the lines?
Similarly, what about a fan-blogger who either occasionally or regularly gets an offer to have his work posted on a traditional media site? Should s/he do so if s/he knows s/he wouldn’t have published the blog post in the first place had it been written FOR that media outlet?
What’s most important, perhaps, is that the readers understand that there IS a difference between the information they see in a blog (including this one) and the information they get from, for example, the online version of their local newspaper. The “real” newspeople are professionals and you should nearly always consider their information to be far more credible than anything you read in a blog. They may not always be able to get the information out there first, but when they write something, you can generally trust it. That certainly can not and should not be said about all bloggers.
The best I can do is tell you this: When you see something I’ve written here or on any other site, you can believe I follow certain ethical guidelines that I impose upon myself. I don’t make stuff up (or on the rare occasion that I do, you should be able to recognize it immediately as satire), I don’t claim others’ work as my own. I don’t burn sources. I don’t even discuss them. I know the difference between on the record and off… and I make sure my sources understand the difference, too. I do not post anything that I am asked to keep confidential.
As consumers of online information, we all have to determine for ourselves if the stuff we read out there should be treated as credible information or just stuff put out there for entertainment purposes (or even just to cause trouble). I hope you find my writing to be credible and I certainly hope you don’t think I’m out here just to cause trouble for anyone. On the other hand, if you choose to believe my writing falls in to the “just entertainment” category, I can live with that. In fact, most of the time, we do try to be at least a little bit entertaining here.