But It Never Came

For some reason, I’ve really gotten into music that you typically won’t find on the radio. Thrice (mainly a post-hardcore band, but they’ve significantly softened their sound over the past 5 years) and Dream Theater (progressive rock) are my two favorite bands. Kasabian (English rock and the OTM Official Walk-up Music on the right) ranks fairly high as well, though I only own two of their three albums.

Perhaps the only two bands I’m heavily invested in that can be found on the radio are Shinedown and Rise Against. I was very pleased when I learned early this season that Music Man Dan Edwards was playing Rise Against’s “Help Is On The Way.” Simply put, it’s a song about Hurricane Katrina, but to me, I get the feeling that it has roughly defined this 2011 season for the Twins. If you don’t mind, let’s stretch a few of the lyrics a bit and use the power of metaphors to see what I mean.

I have my mother’s dreams, I have my father’s eyes
You can’t take that from me, just go ahead and try

The Twins walked into the 2011 season with high aspirations. After winning the AL Central (though losing to the Yankees in the first round of the playoffs once again), it looked like they only needed to make some minor tweaks to the roster to make a return to the postseason possible. Seemingly nothing could turn a 90 win team one year into a 70 win team the next.

Help is on the way (They said, they said)
Help is on the way (They said, they said)
One by land, two by sea, right there in front of me
Help is on the way

With Tsuyoshi Nishioka as the lone man brought to the Twins from overseas this offseason, perhaps the line should say “Two by land, one by sea,” but I’m not going to mess with the history of Paul Revere like Mrs. Palin. Ron Gardenhire was convinced that the Twins needed more speed in the lineup, so they sent away J.J. Hardy and Orlando Hudson and handed the middle infield jobs to Nishioka and Alexi Casilla. The bullpen appeared to be expensive, but the Twins were sure that Matt Capps and Joe Nathan (and to a lesser extent Jose Mijares) would solidify the back end, so they only worried about the other  4 spots in the ‘pen. Carl Pavano and Jim Thome were re-signed. They were the same guys from last year, but why mess with success when you won 90 games with them?

Five thousand feet below as black smoke engulfs the sky
The ocean floor explodes, eleven mothers cry

Nishioka broke his leg in the 6th game of the year. Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and Nathan were never fully healthy from the start. Delmon Young, Jason Kubel, Francisco Liriano, etc. all hit the disabled list. It’s been an absolute mess all season long.

She stands at the shoreline with hands in the air
Her words pierce the dark light, does anyone care?

Twins fans became frustrated. The team was terrible, it clearly needed help, but was the Twins front office listening?

And all along they’re saying
 
Help is on the way (They said, they said)
Help is on the way (They said, they said)
One by air, two by sea, right there in front of me
Help is on the way

Kyle Gibson was waiting in the wings. Same with Carlos Gutierrez. They were certain to be mid- or late-season call-ups. Luke Hughes and Trevor Plouffe were offensive studs, just lacking positions. Rene Tosoni could take over for Jason Kubel next year. Look at all that hustle from Ben Revere!

We were told just to sit tight
‘Cause somebody will soon arrive
Help is on the way
 
But it never came, it never came

Here’s the list of all players that have contributed “nothing” (i.e. have a WAR of 0.0 or less) that weren’t on the Opening Day roster or were a free agent acquisition in the offseason.

1. Brian Dinkelman, 0.0 WAR

2. Trevor Plouffe, -0.1 WAR*

3. Steve Holm, -0.3 WAR

4. Rene Rivera, -0.3 WAR

5. Rene Tosoni, -0.9 WAR

6. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, -1.3 WAR

* Plouffe’s defense has been so bad this year that it’s completely negated his offensive value.

Then there are the pitchers.

1T. Anthony Slama, 0.0 WAR

1T. Lester Oliveros, 0.0 WAR

1T. Eric Hacker, 0.0 WAR

4. Dusty Hughes, -0.4 WAR

5. Jim Hoey, -0.5 WAR

6. Phil Dumatrait, -0.7 WAR

I will admit that it’s not fair to include Dinkelman, Holm, Slama, Oliveros, and Hacker as they’ve only had cups of coffee in the majors this year, but most players that have come up from the minor leagues this year haven’t contributed very much. Just to illustrate, if we sum the WAR from all the players above, plus the WAR for all other players that have come from the minor leagues thus far, and subtract the players that actually did start the season on the major league roster (just to make this only about the minor leaguers), we get this ugly fact:

1. Michael Cuddyer, 2.8 WAR

2. Scott Baker, 2.6 WAR

3. Carl Pavano, 2.3 WAR

– All 2011 minor league call-ups thus far (Ben Revere, Luke Hughes, Brian Dinkelman, Trevor Plouffe, Steve Holm, Rene Rivera, Rene Tosoni, Anthony Swarzak, Scott Diamond, Chuck James, Lester Oliveros, Anthony Slama, Eric Hacker, Jim Hoey), 0.9 WAR

– All 2011 minor league call-ups minus Ben Revere, -0.6 WAR

Help is on the way

But it never came, it never came

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4 Responses to “But It Never Came”

  1. Robb Says:

    Very frustrating season! Hopefully the minor leagues will gain some experience that will help them next year like Tosoni gained from his first call-up to how he’s playing now. He seems more comfortable. He’s not all the way there yet but a lot better from earlier in the season.

    I’m a HUGE Dream Theater fan myself! New album in a week or so with new drummer. Its still weird to think of Dream Theater without Mike Portnoy!

    • Bryz Says:

      Wow, I didn’t realize that their new album was being released so shortly! Then again, I’ve been distracted by the Thrice album that’s coming out this month.

  2. Robb Says:

    That should read “minor leaguers”. Oops!

  3. On SOPA « Off The Mark Says:

    [...] post that could end Off The Mark is this one, where I used song lyrics from Rise Against’s “Help Is On The Way” to describe [...]

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