0 and 6

The Twins have now loss six straight opening day games. (After today’s 5-3 loss.)

Six in a row.

Almost enough to make you hate opening day.

The last time the Twins won an opening day, our starter was Livian Hernandez.

Livian Hernandez?

Yes, back in 2008.

Livian Hernandez: Winner

Livian Hernandez: Winner

 

 

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The Twins Head North.

While the spring record is… about… 8 and 16… last place… a .333 winning percentage…. we should keep in mind:

Those Games Don’t Count!

Spring is not about “winning” and “losing”. Spring is about limbering up, stretching out, experimentation, and finding the groove. Spring is about the warm sunshine and the fresh green grass and about playing one game at a time. Spring is all about fresh starts, and that’s exactly what we’ll have come opening day, when everyone is 0-0 and tied for first.

Worley2

Sad to report, the Vance Worley Era is over.

Vance Worley, sold for cash, probably not a lot of cash, to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Has there ever been such a disappointment as Vance Worley?

Tommy Herr - 1989 Score DISAPPOINTMENT

Well, let’s see now, who comes to mind. Well, there’s Tommy Herr, of course. Came over from the Cardinals in exchange for Tom Brunansky. Whose idea was that? “The answer to our second base problem…” hit about .263 in about 86 games, with about 21 rbis. (meanwhile, Brunansky hit.243 for the Cardinals, in 143 games with 22 homers and 79 rbis. And then played for them in 1989 as well, while Herr was gone, traded to the Phillies with a couple other players for Shane Rawley and cash.

Also, the Herr move totally demoralized Steve Lombardozzi, who was our second sacker in ’87, but only hit .209 in ’88, in about 120 fewer at bats. Lombo went to Houston in ’89 and ’90, didn’t play much, and then was out of the majors.

All because of Tommy Herr.

(Okay, I’m kidding.)

I thought about adding Shane Rawley to this list, but we didn’t really expect anything from him. We just wanted him to be not Tommy Herr.

Scott Diamond, also comes to mind, but no.

David West copy - DIS

My vote would be for David West, who pitched for the Twins 1989-92, coming over in the Frank Viola trade with the Mets. There were high hopes for Mr. West, but in the end, after four years, he was 15-18 with a 5.33 ERA. He was not the raw talent that we were led to believe.

And thus, Vance Worley wins the David West award. Sorry Vance. Good luck in Pittsburgh, and I hope you find your arm there.

Scott Diamond, by the way, has cleared waivers, and has also decided to report to Twins triple A club. Alex Presley was also placed on waivers, and claimed by the Houston Astros. Perhaps he’s excited about that. Perhaps he’ll get to play there. Parmelee also has been sent down to Triple A. He’s running on fumes now, kind of disappointing, especially for him, I’m sure. He’s played some good ball down there on the farm, but he hasn’t been able to bring it up to the majors. I suspect that this will be his last chance to get sorted out, though some other team might see him as a “project.”

Kubel and Bartlett go north! What’s the opposite of a youth movement? Perhaps the steadying influence of vets will make a difference.

sudden sam deduno a

Deduno in relief? Well, okay. I’d have him starting, and I bet he will be starting before the end of the season. He had a nice relief outing down there in Florida on the 27th, striking out five in 2 innings of work. (Not too bad.)

25 March 1904 – Ford Comes Aboard

 

excerpt - Minneapolis Journal - 25 March 1904 - Ford will Twirl b

Eugene Ford, 1905 bJust when you think things are all set, someone shows up from out of nowhere. In Friday evening’s paper Watkins discloses that he has received Eugene Ford’s signed contract in the mail. Ford’s been out in California, and, as he had a good-paying position, it was thought that he might not even play ball this year. But, lo, the lure of the horsehide sphere could not be denied. He’ll be coming back to town on Monday, only to head immediately to join the Millers in Champaign.

Meanwhile, Jack Katoll writes Watkins that he has been throwing for a few days, and that his throwing wing seems in good shape. In fact, “Katoll is now confident that he will be able to twirl in his old time form.”

Jack Katoll - 1901

Jack Katoll – “no signs of weakness”

This gives Watkins seven slab artists “certain to make good.”

Watkins heads down to Champaign tonight for spring training, stopping off in Chicago and Louisville, and reaching training camp on Monday or Tuesday. It would not surprise me in the least if the Wiley Watkins signs six or seven additional fast players before he gets to camp. He will neglect no opportunity to improve the already high quality of this club. Lally and Sullivan, the only two players still currently in town, will be heading to camp on Monday. Look out, Champaign. It’s been a long cold winter, and the boys will undoubtedly be in high spirits once they are back on the grassy field.

Meanwhile, from across the river, the association champion St. Paul Saints’ manager Mike Kelly says he has nearly all his players lined up for the season, and expects to be in the fight again this year. The salary dispute with their great twirler, Ferguson, has been mostly settled, and Ferguson will be wearing the Saints uniform again this season. Kelly expects that the Millers will also be in the hunt this season.

decision time…

Well, here we are, the end of spring training and some decisions will need to be made.classic 1970-75 Twins logo

Kubel? Guerrier? Bartlett? Who will make the cut? Who will we lose? Who will be playing center field?

I see in the Sunday morning paper that Gardy says there will be 12 pitchers, one less than last year.

Nolasco, Hughes, Pelfry and Correia are certainly to be our top four slab artists. I’d go with Sudden Sam Deduno for the five-spot. Perkins is closing. That leaves six more spots. I’d keep Fien, Thielbar, Swarzak, Burton, Duensing, and Gibson. I think Diamond might make it through waivers easier than Gibson would, but either might well be claimed, and I’m pretty sure Deduno would be snapped up in an instant.

For the rest of the team:

Catcher: Suzuki, and I’d keep Herrmann as back up, send Pinto down to play every day.
First base: Mauer and Colabello.
Second base: Dozier
Shortstop: Florimon
Third Base: Plouffe
Outfield: Willingham, Hicks, and Arcia
Reserves: Escobar, Presley, and Kubel.

Hicks has had a good spring, and Presley, not so good, so I’d give Hicks the CF job. It would be nice if we had another guy that could play infield and outfield. (Bartlett?) We’re a bit light on the infield reserves, but I don’t see a lot of options there. I think Bartlett needs to play every day for a while, to see how he does.

All in all, not a lot of changes from last year, except in the starting pitching. That alone gives me some reason for optimism. Of course, I am usually overly optimistic about these sorts of things.

Let’s play some ball!

19 March 1904 – Watkins’ Team Promises to Make Trouble

Minneapolis Milling District, 1910, original photo courtesy of MN Historical Society

Minneapolis Milling District, 1910, original photo courtesy of MN Historical Society

In Minneapolis it is a crisp, spring-like, 36 degrees, and in the Saturday evening Journal, one of the Knights of the Keyboard offers a Sanguine Overview on the Miller’s pending campaign.

If sheer raw unmitigated speed wins games, it should be a fun season for the Millers, the scribe avers. Fox, Oyler, Sullivan, Maloney, Coulter, and Demontreville are some of the fastest players in the association, and catchers should have trouble with them, (assuming they manage to get to first base to begin with.)

Leon Demontreville has a great reputation out east, the writer says, and with “Demont,” Oyler, and Fox in the infield, and Maloney, Sullivan, and Coulter working the gardens, Watkins’ ball club is as fast as any team in the association.

But. WH Watkins c
That’s.
Not.
All.

In addition, there’s no better fielding second baseman in the association than Mr. Fox, while Oyler “has learned a lot,” and Demontreville will “hold his own with any of them.” Meanwhile, all the outfielders “are brilliant performers in the gardens.” And all of them are “fairly strong with the stick, except Fox.”

While the writer believes that all of them wield wicked willows, Mr. Watkins seems to think that there is room for improvement, and thinks that he will be able to make good hitters out of Oyler and Sullivan; Olyer’s a small chap, and “with coaching, ought to learn to fuss the pitchers considerably.” Sullivan, it sez here, hit 100% better last summer than in 1902, “and should show even more improvement this year.” (This seems perhaps overly optimistic to me.)

Mr. Kihm, with Indianapolis in 1902

Mr. Kihm, with Indianapolis in 1902

The big question seems to be at first base. Lally has played there a bit, but is largely “an unknown quantity”, while Kihm – “is a brilliant player and a good hitter, but his inability to talk or hear is a handicap.”

Hmmmm. I suppose everyone knew this already, about Kihm, but it’s news to me. However, the writer goes on,

“At the worst, however, Kihm is better than many first basemen who will be playing in the association this summer.”

Behind the plate the Millers are secure with Roach (“steady”) and O’Leary (“lacking only experience in fast company”). There’s also Ludwig, who will be given another trial – last year he was apparently a bit nervous and thus unable to perform his best, but Watkins thinks he may “get his feet under him this season.” However, he’s not counting on Ludwig, and in Roach and O’Leary he has two backstops of “unquestioned ability.”

Turning to the Slab Arts, the Miller’s pitching is not as experienced as some of the other teams. “Baily can be counted on for good work, and Katoll will be one of the best in the league if his arm is right this year. Frosty Thomas should be a winner as well, but the rest are unknown quantities. As they all come highly recommended, the writer feels that there should be four or five quality twirlers in the bunch.

Again, no talk of the recalcitrant Bonner in today’s paper. It looks like they are moving on without him. Too bad, Mr. Bonner, you had your chance.

17 March 1904 – St. Patrick’s Day Festivities

excerpt - Minneapolis Journal - 17 March 1904 - wearin' of the greenSt Patrick’s day, 1904.

No baseball news of note, and also not much in the way of St. Patrick’s Day Celebrating. I see there is a celebration scheduled for Dania Hall, over on the West Bank; about ten years ago now Dania Hall was being rehabbed and it was almost finished when it burned to the ground. Very unfortunate, as it was a beautiful old building, with a very nice old auditorium upstairs.

Apparently St. Patrick has gained importance since 1904. While some saints have been unsainted, St. Patrick just gets bigger and bigger.

What would they think of our celebrations today? Probably they would be appalled.

Because it is a bit appalling, he said, as he sipped from his Bushmill’s.