Update

Another nice win for the Twins yesterday. Here’s Dozier getting ‘er done:

Twins 3, Giants 2, Berrios gets his 5th win.

Local press seem to think that this can’t last. I disagree. (Yeah, I’m the guy that thought they’d be in the series last year. Maybe I was just a year off? An 0-9 start can throw you off for awhile.)

Probably too early still to be thinking about magic numbers.

Nice story on the Twins website about tomorrow’s starter for the Twins, Nik Turley. Nik’s spent 10 years in the minors, including a spell in an independent league, after being drafted in the 50th round by the Yankees in the 2008 draft. He was released in 2014 by the Yankees “after experiencing arm-tightness” (Those Yankees!) and spent most of 2016 with the independent Somerset Patriots. He did pretty well there, and the Twins picked him up. And now he’s done pretty well in the minors: 45 strikeouts in 24.3 innings at Chattanooga, with a 0.37 ERA. 39 strikeouts in 28.3 innings in Rochester, with a 3.49 ERA.

That’s not a lot of innings to go on. They may be rushing Nik a bit, but Santiago has gone on the DL and the Twins need a pitcher, so what the heck. Let’s go Nik!

Turley reminds me of Chris Colabello. He’s with Cleveland’s AAA club right now, Columbus, hitting .229 with five HR. I wonder what happened with him? In 2015 he hit .321 with Toronto, with 15 HR and 54 rbi. In 2016: .069 batting average, 2 hits in 29 at bats. And then he hit .180 in AAA at Buffalo. Very very odd.

Well a little research turns this up: PED, and an 80 game suspension. Damn.

Very very unfortunate.

Here’s a nice shot of Colabello I took a few years ago. One of my favorites:

Here’s hoping that Chris can get back on track.

 

 

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That’s Berrios. With a K.

The highly-touted (if not vaunted) Jose Berrios pitched a pretty darn good game yesterday, winning his second of the season, going 7 2/3 innings, striking out 11. It was nice coming after a loss in the first game of the day-night doubleheader. Nothing sucks the life out of a day like losing both games of a doubleheader. But no: the youthful Berrios climbed up and set them down.

I watched a bit of video on those 11 strikeouts.They were brutal. Could we only be so lucky to see this on a regular basis from Mr. Berrios?

Berrios came up last season and had a less-than-auspicious start. 3-7, 8.02 era. He had a bit of trouble finding the plate. This season he started in Triple A, and located the pale platter. He went 2-0, with a .59 ERA and .391 WHIP. He got called up and made his first start with the Twins on May 13th in Cleveland, and got the win, 4-1, pitching 7 2/3, giving up 2 hits, a run, and striking out 4. Yesterday, another 7 2/3 innings, 2 hits, a run, and 11 strikeouts.

We’ve been hearing about this Berrios for quite awhile. Let’s hope he’s finally arrived, for we could surely use him.

the old ball yard. Redwing Minnesota.

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It’s been a good long while between posts. Life…

And it seems that the Twins are in the pennant race! Okay, well, not exactly. Trying to nail that last wild-card spot for the playoffs does not quite equate to a pennant race. Still, it’s perhaps as close as we get now a days, since the loser of the Wild Card race is eliminated, done, see ya’ next year. And it is the best of all possible worlds, to have meaningful baseball games to play in September. So we are enjoying it, come what may. It’s been an interesting season for the Twins; new manager, losing their star pitcher for half the season, Torii Hunter, the arrival of All the Young Talent, Buxton, Sano, Rosario, Hicks, Duffy, and all the rest. And there’s a lot of ball yet to be played!

I also noted that Big Papi, David Ortiz, has hit #500 for his career. What if the Twins had not cut him loose at the end of 2002?  Surely a low point in Terry Ryan’s career…

Anyway. Congrats to Big Papi. Stay tuned…

take me out to the library

This just in:

You’ve probably all seen the recent article in the Library of Congress blog, but for those who may have missed it, I’ll recap.

The Library of Congress is taking some (large facsimiles) of its vast collection out on the road, though not very far. They’ve opened up an exhibit at the National’s ball park, with some 30 large-scale reproductions of the Library’s baseball treasures. The Library contains the world’s largest collection of baseball material, including such items as photographs, newspaper clippings, baseball cards, sheet music, and even the first baseball film (1898), by… who else? Thomas Edison.

Edison - 1898 - the ball game

Perhaps not an Academy Award winner.

On display will be many pictures of interest to loyal Twins fans, covering the bygone days when the Twins were known as the Senators, and Walter Johnson ruled.

Best of all, from the standpoint of all us fans who don’t live out in Washington, the exhibit is also online. So check it out. Well worth the price.

Meanwhile, speaking of the Twins, they have been playing some pretty good ball. They’re up tonight, 10-0 in the bottom of the 8th, and Eddie Rosario, making his major league debut, hit the first pitch he saw for a home run in the third inning. Welcome to the big leagues, Mr. Rosario!

The Twins will be 2 over .500 if they hang on to win this one; tip of the cap to Kyle Gibson, with six innings of shutout ball.

Uh, make that 13-0, as Vargas piles on in the 8th with a three-run homer.

Colabello…

Because I have been living under a rock for the last few months, and for December in particular, I totally absolutely missed the news about:

a. Chris Colabello, being claimed by Toronto off waivers (December 8th! Where was I?)

and

b. Colabello being outrighted to the Triple A Buffalo Bisons.(February11th! Where was I?)

And so, here I am, suddenly thinking to myself, “Hey, wha… where… where’s Colabello? What happened to Colabello?”

Crap.chris colabello - Worcester Tornados

Yes, this kind of brings me down, even though I probably should have been preparing for it, lo these many months. For the Twins have a first baseman name of Mauer, and once Joe picked up the first baseman’s glove, that probably indicated that all the other first baseman better start to pack their bags. (Goodbye, Justin Morneau. So long, Chris Colabello.)

Justin went to Pittsburgh, of course. (Who did we get for him? Oh, yes, Alex Presley, and, momentarily, Duke Welker. The Twins then waived Presley, and Houston picked him up, and it looks like he’s still with the Astros. The Twins quickly traded Welker back to Pittsburgh for Kris Johnson. Pittsburgh then released Welker, and then, later, the Twins released Johnson. Such are the wily machinations of the executive suite.) Meanwhile, of course,Pittsburgh let Morneau walk at the end of the season, and Colorado signed him, and I guess he had a pretty fine season up there in the mountains of Colorado.(.319, (leading the NL), 17hr, 82 rbi, and a .860 OPS.

(Trivia question: Who had the highest OPS on the Twins in 2014? Answer: young center fielder / shortstop Danny Santana: .824, followed by young DH Kennys Vargas (.772) and then young second baseman Bull Dozier (.762). Perhaps this bodes well for the future?)

So Mr. Colabello is gone, and I’m sorry to see him go. I liked the way he came up from the independent leagues to make the majors, and I like the fact that he turned down big money to play in Korea, because “Going to Korea would mean giving up the dream of being a big-leaguer.” How can you not root for a guy like that? Plus he broke Kirby Puckett’s record for most RBIs in the month of April (26), and he hit a home run for his mother on her birthday. With her sitting up in the stands. I really wanted Colabello to hit so well that they had to play him. But he didn’t, and they didn’t, and now he’s in Toronto. (Starting first baseman last year, Edward Encarnacion. 34 home runs there.)

Good luck, Chris Colabello. You’re a hero.

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Speeding up the game; pitchers and catcher report!

I heard a brief spot on the radio this week about how baseball’s new commissioner, Robert Manfred, has announced some new rules to speed the pace of the game up. These include:

  • batters have to keep one foot in the batter’s box.
  • timers will measure the time between innings, allowing 2:25 for locally televised games and slightly longer for nationally televised games.
  • Pitchers will need to complete their warm up tosses at the 30 second mark, and batters will “be encouraged” to be in the batter’s box with 20 seconds remaining on the clock.

These rules will be enforced with a system of warnings and fines, with further discipline “for flagrant violators,” and there’s naturally a list of specific exceptions to these rules. Still, it’s a step in the right direction.

I haven’t thought about any additional ways that the game could be sped up. I suppose they could limit the number of  relief pitchers in an inning; I suppose there are a lot of things they could do. Perhaps limit the number of people who can meet at the mound. What do they talk about anyways?

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As long as they are making up rules, I really would like it if they would do something about the constant, unceasing, never-ending, repetitious, non-stop barrage of deafening and distracting sound that we have to endure at the ballpark. Does anyone feel like this contributes to their baseball experience? Does there really need to be loud rock and roll at every momentary break? At every new at-bat? Between every stinking pitch? Do we really need to have commercials on the big scoreboard? Sponsors for every small fragment of the broadcast? Meaningless “contests” between innings? Bugle calls and “clap your hands!” animations to tell the crowd when they should clap?

Let me think about this a moment… okay, I say no. No, we do not. In fact, it’s positively detrimental to my enjoyment of the game, the reason I paid money to come to the ball park.

Perhaps the Twins could occasionally have some silent throwback games, where all that noise is eliminated. I am sure it would really create a startlingly different – and better – ballpark experience.

At least for me.

Pitchers and catchers reported yesterday. Nice long article about new Twin’s manager Paul Molitor in the Star Tribune today – you can find it here. Should be an interesting spring training. New managers and coaches. Pitchers battling for the fifth spot in the rotation. (Ironic for a staff that was so poor last year.) The return of Torii Hunter. The mystery of Aaron Hicks. Buxton and Sano, healthy and close?

Happy Birthday to The Authentic Rabbitt

Nope.

Not Rabbit Maranville.

Today is the birthday of The Authentic Rabbitt, Joe Rabbitt, born on 16 January in 1900. A Tuesday, for those who are keeping track of these things.

Joe appeared in just two games in his major league career, what’s known as “a cup of coffee.” According to Wikipedia (do I ever cite anything else) Joe was one of a group of players, young prospects all, that Manager Tris Speaker sent into the game on 21 September 1922. “An opportunity for the fans to see various minor league prospects.”

As Joe appeared in only two games, he apparently did not quite live up to his “prospect” status. Sad to say.

Joe played in two games, with three at bats, a run and a hit. Lifetime batting average: .333. Not bad.

You might think, oh, Joe Rabbitt, two games, three at bats, not a very good player. Well I found some old statistics from the 1927 Western League that show that Joe Rabbitt could play some ball.

Joe Rabbitt led the league in hits, runs and stolen bases. He tended the garden and averaged .361 in 155 games…In 1928 and 29 he led the International League in stolen bases with 42 and 46 while playing for Toronto.

Arkansas Travellers, 1925 - Joe Rabbitt, front right

The 1925 Arkanasas Travellers. They finished last in the Western League that year. But that’s Joe Rabbitt sitting front row, far right, next to the mascot. The Mascot just happened to be a young kid named Brooks Robinson. (Nah, I’m kidding.)

Apparently Joe lived up to his name. He had some speed going there. Joe racked up 251 hits for the ’27 Omaha Buffaloes, and 172 runs, according to Nebraska Minor League Baseball History.

Joe died in 1969; I haven’t seen anything yet about his life outside of baseball. But here’s to Joe Rabbitt, major league ball player, a kid with some speed and talent. Why he didn’t make it in the big leagues is probably a story. The kid had all the tools, but perhaps life took an unexpected turn for him. Perhaps he hated Cleveland, or perhaps he fell in love with a gal down there in Arkansas. Perhaps he couldn’t hit the curve, or maybe he had to attend to family matters and the game just passed him by. It’s likely we’ll never know. I wonder if he looked back at his .333 lifetime batting average and was glad that he made it up to the majors for a couple games, a hit and a run. Or was he sad that he only had those two games, those three at bats.

Happy birthday Joe Rabbitt. Good game.

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