Archive for September, 2010

The Truth

September 29, 2010

It’s sort of like The Situation and “Jersey Shore,” except this is far more ridiculous. The margin of loss and/or sheer quantity of runs allowed in these past 5 games has become so ugly that I just had to make this (original via Alright Hamilton!).

Why Michael Cuddyer Can Be The Twins’ MVP

September 25, 2010

As the season draws to a close, discussions over awards are starting up. Most awards have been rather quiet (AL and NL MVP, NL Cy Young) whereas one has been dominating the virtual water coolers for the past few weeks (AL Cy Young). If you’re a Twins fan, a topic has risen that’s not quite on the same level as the AL Cy Young, but has been more contested than the other 3 major awards (at least here in Twins Territory), and that’s the MVP for the Minnesota Twins.

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A Day I Wait For Is Finally Here

September 22, 2010

No, it’s not the Twins clinching a playoff spot, though I’ve been waiting for that since the beginning of the season. Rather, the guys from Fire Joe Morgan descended upon Deadspin, basically turning Deadspin into FJM for one day. I believe Ken Tremendous, Junior, et al. have concluded their assault upon bad journalism, so feel free to bask in their glory, which had inspired me to write posts such as this and this.*

* By the way, while searching for suitable posts for linkage, I came upon the Turkey Day title from Patrick Reusse, one of the Official Punching Bags of Off The Mark, from his Thanksgiving Day post: “Voters saw flight risk, so comeuppance was expedited.” Just when I thought I had eliminated that soul-sucking, annoying-as-hell title from my brain cells, it reappears. $**@#!!!!

To make it easy for you, all of the FJM posts are located right here. Seriously, check it out. It’s like the inverse of Batgirl on Twitter (Batgirl’s “Less stats, more sass, now bite-size,” vs. FJM’s “POSTS SO BIG YOU CAN’T HELP BUT BITE OFF MORE THAN YOU CAN CHEW!”).

By the way, if you’re curious about when I’ll be working at Target Field again, I have a little note on the right sidebar of the main page. Next game for me will be Oct. 2nd, and then a handful of playoff games (I’ll announce it in a week or so). I can’t wait to see you there!

A Rare Time I Agree With Patrick Reusse

September 15, 2010

Hat tip to Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN for pointing out on Twitter that “Everything (Reusse) is tweeting about Jesse Crain is 100% spot on.”

From Reusse’s Twitter account:

New moron standard for Twins fans: Debate that raged Wed. as to whether Jesse Crain should be moved to closer role.

Finally, in his 7th season, Crain has become beyond reliable in setup role & I received e-mails from people wanting him to be closer.

A) Getting out of jams in 7th & 8th regularly more crucial than closer’s duty in 9th; and B) Capps has been fine, and …

Twins now have Fuentes as ass’t closer when tough lefties are due in 9th. Seriously, Crain as closer — slap yourself upside the head.

Speaking of closers: You gotta love Brian Wilson … bad hair, serious gas, and doesn’t fret giving up one when Giants are ahead by two.

Now, I wouldn’t go so far to say that this is the “new moron standard,” but removing Matt Capps and inserting Jesse Crain as the new closer really isn’t necessary. For one, although Capps has appeared shaky as the new closer, he has converted 12 of 14 saves (85.7%) for the Twins. Compare that to Joe Nathan’s 246 saves in 272 save opportunities (90.4%). It’s not like Capps has only converted about 70% of his saves.

Second, as Reusse says, a game is usually over in the 9th inning, regardless of the score. Putting in your best reliever when your chances of winning are far less – like in the 7th or 8th inning – is smarter than putting him in for the final inning. A good example is the now-famous strikeouts of Paul Konerko and Manny Ramirez in Tuesday’s game. If Crain was the closer, then any combination of Jon Rauch, Matt Guerrier, Matt Capps, et al would have been pitching in that spot. That inning was a critical situation; it turned out the 9th was not.

Finally, why the Brian Wilson quote? From purely anecdotal evidence, it feels to me like Wilson is always pitching himself into trouble, only to escape. Wilson’s 1.79 ERA and 1.22 WHIP dispels this belief, but it’s very possible that what Reusse said is correct. Wilson could give up a run while attempting to earn a save, only to shut the door before he gives up the lead.

If Capps is continuing to frighten you every time he comes in to pitch, just think about this. Billy Wagner currently has a 1.48 ERA. For the season, Capps’ ERA is 2.73. Despite these differences, Capps has converted a higher percentage of saves (38 of 44, 86.4%) than Wagner (33 of 40, 82.5%). It’s still debatable over who is the better closer, but Capps is certainly not as bad as what people claim. If anything, I feel that we’ve been spoiled by Joe Nathan, much like some of us don’t like Drew Butera because we’re spoiled by Joe Mauer.

I like to call Reusse as one of the Official Punching Bags of Off The Mark, but at least for one day, his title shall be removed.

Nick Blackburn, Fixed

September 12, 2010

Coming into the 2010 season, there was some high expectations set for Nick Blackburn. He had just signed a 4-year contract, and had been granted the #2 spot in the starting rotation. Against the Los Angeles Angels, Blackburn pitched a solid 6 2/3 innings with only 3 runs allowed as he earned the win. His three remaining starts didn’t go so well, but he seemingly turned a corner in May. His success was well-publicized, as he went 5-0 with a 2.65 ERA, causing one of the older ushers at Target Field to tell me that he felt Blackburn had a shot at not only making the All-Star Game, but starting it for the American League. However, his tidy 6-1 record was accompanied by a 2.55 strikeouts per 9 innings, suggesting that his success was driven by luck. Unsurprising to some, Blackburn then compiled a 10.05 ERA with a 3.77 K/9 over June and July, earning himself a trip to the minor leagues.

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Things I’ve Learned From My First Year As A Target Field Usher

September 9, 2010

For those of you that didn’t know, at the end of every school year at Gustavus, I have typed up a Facebook note titled, “Things I’ve Learned From My _____ Year at Gustavus.” Since the stress of school work can appear to take up all our time and energy, I decided to look at the finer things that I learned outside the classroom. It’s not limited to things I necessarily learned, but can be extended to my personal nuances I’ve developed or observations I’ve made about the surrounding environment. It’s been 3 1/2 years since I introduced this first post, and it has become wildly popular among my college friends. Therefore, I decided to extend this to ushering at the brand new Target Field.

I had thought about calling this something like “Confessions of a Target Field Usher,” but after the movies “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen” and “Confessions of a Shopaholic,” I decided that this name would not be original and a bit too chick-flicky, so I’m sticking with my own, longer, yet more original title. Without any further introduction, I give you to the things I’ve learned from my first year as a Target Field usher.

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Update: How Does Target Field Measure Home Runs?

September 8, 2010

If you missed it, Jason DeRusha of WCCO-TV did a story on how Target Field measures home runs for his Good Question during tonight’s 10 pm news. If you really missed it, Off The Mark has suddenly gained an obsession over the correct distance of home runs hit at Target Field during the past 27 hours. Fortunately for you, I did watch DeRusha’s Good Question segment tonight, so I can tell you the gist of the story.

Predictably, the guys at Target Field do not use any technical methods to measure home runs. As DeRusha said, two guys at Target Field use a map of the stadium with some distances recorded to guess how far the ball was hit. If you want to know the distance traveled immediately, this is a crude but simple method.

To my amazement, Jason DeRusha actually left me a comment telling me that he had recently contacted HitTracker (I went to Twitter and found out it was indeed DeRusha, not someone pranking me like I first thought), which gave me the idea that he was going to also talk about the website. Once again, I was correct.

As I said in my previous posts, using something like HitTracker to measure home runs is far more accurate, but also more time-consuming. The method used currently at Target Field is adequate, but the next time you see a home run and it’s claimed to have traveled over 440 feet, you may want to hold some doubt until other sources cite the same info.

How Does Target Field Measure Home Runs?

September 8, 2010

Hat tip to Kyle Schmidt, who forwarded me this tweet from Jason DeRusha of WCCO-TV.

How do the @MinnesotaTwins measure home runs at Target Field? Good Question at 10 (It happens right here:

I’ll definitely try to catch Good Question at 10 pm to hear how they do it. I’m certainly biased, and I probably will remain biased towards HitTracker, but at least I can find out how Target Field measures their home runs. I’ll post what I learned later tonight.

480 Feet? Are You Sure?

September 8, 2010

As you may have heard by now, Jim Thome absolutely tattooed a baseball off Royals starting pitcher Sean O’Sullivan during Monday afternoon’s game. Thome took a low, inside change-up and hit it off the top of the flagpole that displays the American flag behind the limestone overhang. Whoever is in charge of estimating Target Field home runs estimated the distance of this home run at 480 feet, and shortly after Robby Incmikoski positioned himself just inside Gate 34, where he guess the ball would have landed had it not hit the flagpole. However, Robby wasn’t even sure of this guess, as he repeatedly mentioned that he thought the ball had a chance of landing on Target Plaza.

I definitely agree that Thome blasted that pitch from O’Sullivan, as I knew it was gone the moment he made contact (and I’m not often correct on this gut feeling). As for traveling 480 feet, or leaving Target Field entirely… I remain skeptical.

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Umpiring Coincidence?

September 5, 2010

Unfortunately, I did not get to watch Sunday’s game against the Texas Rangers since I was busy moving back into college. However, I did hear about the end of the game. Here’s where I watched the play. As I looked at the Twins’ good fortune by this unusual call, my ears perked up when I heard one name. Amazingly, it was the name of the umpire, Alfonso Marquez.

Take a look at this play, a rather infamous play from earlier this season. Can you guess who was at 3rd base for that call? Same guy, Alfonso Marquez.

Now, I am not suggesting that Sunday’s call was a makeup for Cuddyer’s non-tag against the Rays, considering Marquez’s call in the Rays game did not change the outcome. It’s just an interesting coincidence to see him make two very interesting calls while manning the same base in the same stadium in the same year.


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