1. No more marriage proposals at Target Field
When the occasional fan sees a marriage proposal on the scoreboard, they cheer. It seems like every man that has been in a committed relationship wants to whip out a ring for their girlfriends in the inaugural season at Target Field. Guess what, men? You’re not the first guy to do it. You’re not even the 10th guy to do it. The fans might support you, but the ushers, media, and everyone else that is a regular at Target Field is sick of it. Just ask Phil Mackey of the 1500 AM radio station.
2. Gardy and the Twins need to stop relying on “innings eaters”
Fortunately, the Twins have had too many young pitchers to need to sign one of these “innings eaters,” outside of Carl Pavano. When the Twins signed Ramon Ortiz, Sidney Ponson, Livan Hernandez, etc. they were immediately handed this title. Well, guess what? Yes, these guys will “eat innings,” but only in the sense that you can have opposing offenses beat them up and you’ll leave them in the game because you have no emotional attachment to them. These guys will get outs, they will pitch innings, but they will not do these things especially well. Someday, the Twins will acquire a starting pitcher that does not come attached with the euphemistic “innings eater.”
3. Gardy must learn that his “guys that can handle the bat” don’t actually handle the bat well or don’t receive many at-bats where “handling the bat” is necessary
Matt Tolbert, I’m looking at you. Although he’s heated up lately, raising his batting average from around .150 to over .200, this happened in only a couple games and just a few games before Orlando Hudson came off the disabled list. Tolbert batted in the #2 hole because he could “handle the bat,” yet how many times did we see him bunt or move Denard Span up a base? Hell, outside of that hot streak, how often did he get on base? Maybe that .150 batting average wasn’t an indicator of his true talent level, but during that stretch that Hudson was out, Tolbert was clearly not “handling the bat well.” Plus, there’s Gardy’s belief that a hitter like this is necessary to bat second. Basically, Tolbert was hitting at the top of the order specifically for situations that rarely happened.
4. Nick Blackburn needs to do something, anything, that will make him better
A post should be coming shortly with my serious suggestions (sorry, this won’t be like my Brendan Harris post).
5. Please, no more storylines for games.
Here’s the first infraction, which was summed up well by this comment. Seriously, every ESPN commercial for this game seemed to say “Watch Manny Ramirez in his return to Boston!” FSN has been guilty of this sometimes as well. During the pregame show, they will mention something about a certain player, and then Dick ‘n’ Bert will assault the storyline until the only thing left of it is a soggy pulp of newspaper print, of which then during the postgame show, this soggy pulp is picked up and somehow put back together so we can review the same thing we just heard for the past 3 1/2 hours. If we’re lucky, we might even see an instructional that relates to this storyline! Robby Incmikoski, now do you know why a 2-seam fastball generates so many ground balls?
That comment made on the Hardball Talk website was incredibly accurate. It’s nice to try to draw in more fans to a sport, but too often, the baseball content is filtered down or storylines are manufactured so the casual or new fans can have an interest in the game. That’s great, but can I learn something about the game of baseball* rather than hearing, “Let’s see how Boston treats Manny Ramirez after all the crap he pulled a couple years ago!”**
* Story time! I was watching the Diamondbacks – Yankees game, and the team of Dan Shulman, Chris Singleton, and Aaron Boone were discussing how much the D-Backs have been striking out this season. Then, ESPN jumped into a graphic showing how four D-Backs were in the top 20 or so in pitches seen per plate appearance. Shulman, apparently forgetting what they had just been talking about, tried to play this off as a positive, since these D-Backs hitters were working the count. Fortunately, Chris Singleton knew the truth behind the high pitches seen numbers. You get 3 strikes before you strike out. These 4 guys all were high-strikeout hitters. They all were averaging about 4.0 to 4.1 pitches seen per plate appearance, so throw in a ball just for good measure. Although he didn’t directly say this, Singleton hinted that these guys were not seeing plenty of pitches because they were working the count, but rather they were seeing so many pitches because they couldn’t put the first pitch or two into play. I don’t usually like former MLB players as commentators, especially on ESPN, but Chris Singleton may become an exception.***
** I must admit though that I did not watch this game. All of my comments above are what I’m assuming happened during the telecast.
*** This reminds me, I saw a well written article by Jim Souhan a few days ago. I know, right? An article I liked from one of the Official Off The Mark Punching Bags? I’ll have to work on that with my Nick Blackburn post some time this week.