I Meant to Write This In January. Goodbye, Puck. What the **** is Going On and Other Assorted Tales…
I meant to start writing Out of the 612 after the Twins? off-season signings were done. I wrote this from the Opera Lesna in Sopot, Poland.
The off-season moves by the Twins had little or no effect on anything but the bottom line. Juan Castro went back to the Reds. Ruben Sierra and Tony Batista were released. Rondell White has been ineffective when he?s not on the DL. Luis Castillo was the one off-season move that worked.
The kids have been more than all right. Nick Punto, Jason Tyner, Jason Bartlett and Jason Kubel have done a great job of filling in and taking over for the veterans in many cases.
The arbitrator who awarded Kyle Lohse another raise deserves a kick in the nuts. How in the wide world of sports can you award a raise to a pitcher with a record of 9-13 and an ERA of 4.18???
Lohse?s trips to and from AAA Rochester proved he?s a No. 5 starter at best. His short-term success at Cincinnati goes to show how much weaker the NL is.
I was deeply saddened by the passing of Kirby Puckett. He was the reason I became a Twins fan. His play in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series was one for the ages. The catch against the Plexiglas, the home run, the leadership…Puck did it all and did it with a huge smile on his face.
Rest in peace, Puck…
The team played horribly in April and May. The team was **** in each and every department. The way they were playing led me to believe a fire sale would take place around the trade deadline.
Whatever happened in June, July and August was pure magic. Things came together better than I ever imagined. Who knew that the Twins would have legitimate candidates for the ROY, CY Young, MVP and batting title?
And just like that, the well ran dry. Francisco Liriano and Brad Radke went on the DL. Castillo sprained his ankle, our bats went quiet and the team lost two out of three to the Royals at home. Who stuck the pins in the Twins? voodoo doll?
A pitching staff being held together by spit and duct tape just got a lot thinner with the loss of Radke. The team has been forced to start pitchers with little or no experience at the Major League level. Looks like the September call-up started early for the Twins.
I would hate to have Torii Hunter play for another team next season. I?ve resigned myself to the fact he won?t be patrolling center field in 2007. Shannon Stewart will most likely be gone, too.
That?s the bad news. The good news is Joe Mauer is a freaking stud, Justin Morneau is finally delivering on his potential, the bullpen is freaky good and the kids are all right!
More to follow…
PS — Thanks to MLB.TV, I?ve been able to watch the Sunday games while in Europe and just about every game while in the US. MLB.TV seems to get better each season. Keep up the great work, ladies and gentlemen!