Notepad Scribbles, 8/16/11

Yesterday was so jam-packed with news that blogging about each one individually would require about 4 blog posts, to be honest. Instead, I will just trim the unnecessary fat off some of the following stories and put them right here. At least I already touched on my Internet arguments yesterday (pew pew pew), so we can avoid those today.

Tighten your jockstraps and/or sports bras, because not only is this the largest Notepad Scribbles I believe I’ve ever posted, but once you get past my review of the Delmon Young trade, this certainly becomes the most entertaining one I’ve had.

Ol’ Jim Jam Mashes #600

Nothing like hitting two home runs in the same game to reach a milestone, although this isn’t the first time he’s done something like this. In fact, if you remember his game last year where he passed Harmon Killebrew, he also hit two home runs in the game. Even more coincidental, both home runs from yesterday and that #574 game were hit to the opposite field. While teams may employ an exaggerated shift for his tendency to pull the ball, he certainly is still able to drive the ball to the opposite field, much like Joe Mauer with healthy legs.

As for getting into the Hall of Fame, Jim Thome certainly belongs. You can’t really say no to a guy that’s hit 600 home runs (and counting) in his career, especially when there’s no suspicion of him using PEDs.

Except there is. Never been named in the Mitchell Report, never had any significant suspicion of using steroids, and yet because of the Steroid Era, he’s still a suspect. Because of this, while I believe he should be a first ballot HoF-er, he won’t be, and that’s just how the voters roll. Some voters don’t vote for someone their first year simply because they don’t believe the player should get in during his first year of eligibility. Some cite a player’s lack of MVPs or Cy Youngs, while ignoring the fact that players don’t fully earn those by themselves in the first place. Those awards are given to them by other voters, of which some have their own biases when it comes to players (not enough wins, didn’t seem dominant enough, etc.). Didn’t make the All-Star team? That hurts you, even if you played shortstop in the American League and had to be second fiddle to Derek Jeter for 12 years, just because he’s the most recognizable player in baseball.

Never mind his 2002 season, when he hit .304/.445/.677 with 52 homers and 118 RBI. The Old Hoss Radbourn Twitter account pointed out that he received zero first place MVP votes for that season. And yet we’ll have to listen to guys like Skip Bayless talk about how Thome’s not even good enough for the Hall of Fame.

Jim is a Hall of Famer. It won’t happen in his first year, but it will happen.

Final thought #1: Last night’s game wasn’t televised due to the FSNorth/cable companies blackout. Combined with the blackout of Francisco Liriano’s no-hitter against the White Sox in May, some Twins fans have been absolutely screwed out of watching some great games during this forgettable season.

Final thought #2: Apparently the Twins received 600 condoms from NuVo after yesterday’s game. Seriously. Might as well just give 500 of them to Danny Valencia, because I can’t imagine anyone else on the team needing that many.

Final thought #3: It was nice seeing some current and former players congratulate Thome on hitting #600, but the absolute showstopper would have been a pre-recorded message from Harmon Killebrew prior to his death.

The Headache Is Gone

If it wasn’t for #600, this would have been the top Twins news yesterday. The Twins finally rid themselves of Delmon Young, who has been nothing but a disappointment since coming over from the Tampa Bay Rays prior to the 2008 season. Despite the good batting averages, Delmon was really only an average hitter at a position that normally requires above-average offense (unless you’re going to put Juan Pierre out there), and his terrible defense only made him a worse player. Throw in his attitude, and he certainly was one large headache.

As I mentioned in one of my arguments yesterday, some people are still looking at the Delmon Young of 2010, when he hit .298/.333/.493 with 21 HR and 112 RBI. Certainly good numbers, but that was a career year for him and we shouldn’t treat career years like they’re the norm for players. We also shouldn’t let a single season outweigh a player’s career (unless you’re Jose Bautista, apparently), and if you throw out 2010, Delmon was a .282/.321/.400 hitter while with the Twins, and a .292/.320/.407 for his career at the time of the trade. Again, good batting averages, but the OBP and SLG were poor, considering he was touted as a future power hitter. Even his wOBA (weighted on-base average, a catch-all for a player’s offensive value) was only once above the MLB average, and that was again, 2010.

I understand that he’s still only 25 years old. However, some players eventually start to show that they’re not going to live up to their promise. Timberwolves fans should know this with the bundle of young players the team has assembled over the past couple years. All had promise at some time, but not all will live up to it.

In return, the Twins got two minor league pitchers: Cole Nelson, and the recently named player-to-be-named-later Lester Oliveros. As of right now, the trade seems mostly like the Twins just wanted to be rid of Young, so these two pitchers aren’t exactly top prospects. However, Nelson is only 21 years old and in Single-A, while Oliveros has had good strikeout rates in the minors and a mid-90s fastball. I’m not a prospect expert, but I feel more excited over Oliveros than Nelson. Granted, Oliveros is also nearly MLB-ready, while as I said before, Nelson is still in the low minors. For more info on Lester Oliveros, I’d recommend checking out this.

Like most trades, it will take some time to judge which team is the winner. Overall, I’m a fan of the trade. It gets rid of a guy that really hasn’t been that good for the Twins, and it opens the door for Ben Revere. I also believe it gives the Twins a better chance of re-signing Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel, as they now have freed up another $6 million or so from the payroll.

Run Revere, Run!

Some day, Ben Revere will hit a home run. Last night, shortly after Thome’s 599th home run, he almost did.

Revere does have 5 minor league home runs, and in batting practice at Target Field, he does typically hit one or two into the right field overhang each day. Yet, his first major league home run was nearly an inside-the-parker when he ripped a liner into the right-center field gap at Comerica Park. Even being 425 feet away, the gap still usually only yields doubles and triples, but few baserunners have Revere’s speed. Only a perfect relay from center fielder Austin Jackson to second baseman Ryan Raburn to catcher Alex Avila prevented Revere from scoring. Looking at replays, I think he could have slid/dove around Avila and touched home with his hand, but he did collide with Avila just a split second after the ball was caught. Perhaps someone with a little more heft could have jarred the ball loose, but then again, someone with a little more heft wouldn’t have even made it past 3rd base.

Jeff Sullivan has a nice write-up about Revere’s near home run, and this might be my favorite part of his post:

The partisan game highlight descriptions ignored the angle. From Tigers.com, an appreciation of the relay:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And from Twins.com, an appreciation of the triple:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s no mention of the home run attempt anywhere. That information is conspicuously absent. It’s as though “Ben Revere” and “home run” cannot even exist in the same sentence.

The Worst Plate Appearance Ever

Usually when I go through YouTube videos and see “Funniest Accident Ever!!!!” or something that ends with “Ever!!!” and more exclamation points than necessary, it ends up being actually fairly stupid. However, I’m not going to argue with (again) Jeff Sullivan here in saying that this was the worst plate appearance ever in the history of baseball.

The gist, because Sullivan telling the story is way better than what I could do: Santiago Casilla (a Giants reliever) comes up to bat with absolutely no intention of hitting the ball. Casilla makes his intentions known by standing fully upright as he’s “a full Pedroia” away from the plate. Pitcher Jose Ceda just needs to throw 3 meatballs and he ends the inning. Instead, Ceda walks Casilla on 4 pitches.

Related link #1: “The worst baserunning in the history of the game” (and let me tell you, it’s horrifying). In 2003, Ruben Rivera finds a novel way to round 2nd base before nearly getting thrown out at 3rd base, and then succeeds in getting thrown out at home.

Related link #2: Former Mets reliever Dae-Sung Koo has to bat against Randy Johnson in 2005. This may be one of the few times you’ll actually want to listen to Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. The exchange, after Koo takes two pitches and has a 1-1 count:

McCarver: “I’m just gonna go out on a limb and say that this is, uh, thus far in this young season, this is the biggest give-up at-bat.”

Koo lines a double to right-center field

Buck: “Oh! He rips one into right-center field! Take your words back!”

By the way, Koo does some rather nice baserunning later in the inning, scoring from 2nd base on a Jose Reyes sacrifice bunt. It looks like a terrible call by the home plate umpire, but the aggressive baserunning from a pitcher is something we rarely see.

Batting Stance Guy: Now Doing More Than Batting Stances

I love imitations and parodies of people, but only if they’re done well. Batting Stance Guy (or Gar Ryness if you know him personally) has a video of himself imitating quite a few sports reporters, and I admit that he does a great job of it. It does help if you already have an idea of how these reporters speak, but trust me when I say that he’s basically dead-on with most of them.

In other news, I absolutely hate how I worded the above paragraph.

Joe Nathan: Now Making House Calls

Finally, my friend Amy won a contest with Xcel Energy where Joe Nathan would come to your house and change some of the light bulbs in your house to energy efficient CFL bulbs. Although Nathan himself did not physically change the bulbs himself, there was still plenty of video of him fiddling with light bulbs, Amy asking him how to conserve energy, and Joe entering the house. Honestly, Amy was rather accurate in comparing the whole ordeal to being on a reality show.

She was allowed to invite 4 friends to meet Joe, and I was one of the lucky people that came with last week. I have quite a few pictures that I just put up on Facebook, and was able to get a picture of Nathan signed for my girlfriend, along with my Nathan jersey. Oh, and you may want to save the last two pictures, because it may be the only time you’ll ever see Joe Nathan (let alone any athlete) play with another person’s pet (click to embiggen pictures).

Joe and Amy discussing their lines for the next shot.

Amy seems to be hoping that Joe doesn't destroy something here.

Kitty learning that Joe is only vicious to other humans.

That cat is now worth $1000.

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