What happened to the Twins?
Saint Paul, MN
Ah, yes, the Minnesota Twins. What did happen to those paragons of fundamentally sound baseball? An analysis of such depth requires patience, dedication and an insatiable hunger for the truth, so I put the RSBS interns to the task and they have provided the following slide show:
Nope, not even the healthy return of Morneau could make the pain of the above image go away. In fact, 2012 sorta seems like a good time to reset everything. Surprisingly, the Twins do have some decent offensive production (Mauer, Morneau, Willingham, Plouffe), but their pitching has been atrocious. Like, Kent Hrbek farting in your face type of “atrocious”. The average ERA of their six starters is over 5 and they have been blown out (lost by 5+ more runs) 23 times so far. And the bullpen? YIKES! Don’t ask them to hold a lead ‘cuz it’ll be difficult!
Like old baseball men love to say, “You’re only as good as your pitching”, and, well, when your pitching resembles the bottom of a porta-potty and the rest of the team can’t stay healthy, awful is pretty much what ya get. Don’t believe me? Ask the perennial sCrUBS.
Hate me ‘cuz I made you look at that famous Mauer back hair guy again, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Jeff (and interns)
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Billboards in New York City touted his valiant arrival. Buzzing baseball elite charged that he would revolutionize the Mets. Everyday fans scurried to find a suitable nickname for their new best player they’d never heard of.
It was the Spring of 2004 and if you asked me to speak some Japanese, even I probably would’ve said: Matsui-san. Kazuo Matsui-san.
Because I, too, joined the hype.
But why? Why was the baseball world so enamored with an import player whom no one knew anything about? Why did we allow his persona to be so pumped up with pomp, such expectation, sight unseen?
Indeed, Ichiro Suzuki changed the landscape of Major League Baseball — allowing for the mysteriously effective small-ball game to reinject itself into the big boppin’ steroidfest it had become. His mannerisms, his character, his magnetism — on and off the field — were a throwback to the baseball heroes of old. Marveled by his talent, we the US American public accepted and celebrated Ichiro for resurrecting respect in a league where little remained.
So I get it. I understand why we started to get excited about the Japanese baseball contention.
But, the fact is: for every Ichiro Suzuki there’s a Kosuke Fukudome, a So Taguchi, or worse, a Kaz Matsui. For every Hideo Nomo, a Kei Igawa, Hideki Irabu, Daisuke Matsuzaka.
And while it makes a good headline that the A’s and Twins are going out and bidding top dollar for the rights — yes, just the rights — to negotiate with Hisashi Iwakuma and Tsuyoshi Nishioka respectively, I still can’t help but feel sorry for the failure both are being set up for in the future.
American, Dominican, Venezuelan, Canadian, Japanese… there’s only one Ichiro.
And as proved by Kazuo Matsui’s silent saunter back home this offseason, expecting anything but is a guarantee for disappointment.
Hate me. Whatevs. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.