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If time begins on opening day, then we have come to fading twilight days before the eschaton of the World Series, which is taking this baseball thing far more seriously than it deserves, really. This has been a disappointing season in a lot of ways for me...once again I failed to make the trip over to Midway for a Saints game, and didn't get over to the Dome, either. At least whatever problem was plaguing the Kia's radio went away partway through the summer so I could hear some of the Twins games, and the AM reception in the new apartment is sufficiently better that I was able to enjoy the final series against the Tigers in the comfort of my chair.

I'm hoping for an Astros/Red Sox series, mainly because I'd rather not see any of the other six teams in it, but we'll see what happens.

The Twins finished third, sixteen games out of first, with the same record as the Brewers and the Nationals, who finished last in a very tough AL East. Their problems were similar to those of my fantasy team (which finished 5th in a 12-team league): fine pitching, but no hitting, especially none with power. Neither Joe Mauer nor Justin Morneau lived up to all the hype, and Shannon Stewart likewise lived down to the sabermetricians' low expectations by hitting only .274 for the season and was beset by injuries all season. Once Torii Hunter went out for the year, it was pretty much all over for the offense.

The defense was likewise awful. Luis Rivas had a miserable year complete with a demotion to the minors, as did highly touted shortstop prospect Jason Bartlett. The middle infield was never stable enough to give the pitchers a whole lot of security; it's amazing the pitching staff did as well as they did, given the quantity of boners, bloopers, pulled rocks, miscues, bad throws, and boneheaded mistakes made by the fielders, who seemed determined to offset whatever good deeds they'd done at the plate with a bushel of bevues afield. In truth, watching this team (even on the radio) was a sore trial for someone brought up on the Tom Kelly teams of the 1990s. Those teams did all the small things well; errors, especially of the mental variety, were uncommon, and the defense went a long way to shore up even mediocre pitchers. Not so this year. I hope Gardenhire realizes that it'll be a lot easier to improve the crappy defense than to find a quality slugger on the 40-man roster, and acts accordingly. You know things have reached an advanced state of suck when you're putting two former Devil Rays players (Abernathy & Tyner) on the field every day...

Without cable, I wasn't able to follow the Nationals as well as I might have wanted to, but I did see enough to reassure me that they have a legitimate shot at contending in the NL East. They were only two games behind the Mets and Marlins, and seven games behind the Phillies; had they managed to avoid the August steak of losses, they might have been playing the Astros for a shot at the wild card. Maybe next year.

I'll talk about my Senators in a separate post, once I've sorted out the stats and posted them on my Geocities website so's I can link them. Someday, I want to get a copy of PTP so I can play out the season against the other teams, just for the heck of it.

Pitchers and catchers report in 134 days.


Oct. 4th, 2005 11:18 pm (UTC)
I'm a Twins season ticket holder and aw most of the home games...I wish I had known that you were looking for tickets because of the 81 game here there were somemdates I was literally giving away. Section 129 row 23...good seats these...

Anyway, I agree with everything you say except your critisism of Joe Mauer. In his first full year in the majors he hit nearly .300 and walked about as many times as he struck out. It's not his fault that teams pitched around him.

We need Paul Konerko from the ChiSox to come over next year (it's the last year of his contract) and bat 4th in between Mauer and Morneau. He's got a proven bat (40 homers this year), he'd hit great in the HomerDome, and he'd take a lot of the pressure off the M&M boys. not to mention his loss would be a serious blow to a division rival.
If the Twins dump the salaries of Mays, Loshe, Jones, and Rivas, then they could plug Konerko in at DH and have him spell Morneau at 1st once in awhile, and we'd have a very formiddable lineup.
Oct. 4th, 2005 11:59 pm (UTC)
I don't know about Lohse - his numbers were pretty good, and in his 16 quality starts he got stuck with a loss or a no-decision in 10 of them, which would be enough to try the patience of a saint. Just to add to the aggravation, he didn't get any cheap wins, either. So if he's willing to be reasonable in his arbitration figures, I think they should keep him, otherwise they should trade him.

As for Konerko, I think we'd get similar numbers out of LeCroy if they'd let the poor kid play once in a while. 101 games this season? That's just shameful, and it really makes me wonder if Gardenhire actually knows anything about developing talent.



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