Thursday, March 10, 2005
American Idol Thoughts
American Idol Thoughts...
Good morning to everyone! Today, will be a short entry. I need to discuss what happened on American Idol last night. The Twins were rained out yesterday so they didn't play, but we can always talk Twins, right? I will also mention a few other thoughts. Tomorrow, I will post my Fantasy Perspective for the AL West pitchers.
Before we get started, you may remember a month ago when I linked you to a site that ranked SethSpeaks as the 39th ranked sports site on the net. I still don't know how that happened, and I guess it doesn't matter really. To be honest, from time to time I have gone back to the site just to see if it had been updated, and for a couple of weeks it wasn't. So, I didn't know what it really was. Anyway, I happened to go by the site again yesterday to find that it had been changed. Well, I am sad to report that I fell in the rankings. However, I am still very happy to report that I am still ranked #40 overall. I am happy with that!
And again, be sure to head over to Twins Territory. I am really excited about this site and see that a lot of you have already started your own entries there. You can write comments and so much more! It is likely to become the best place for Twins talk (well, except right here, of course! Ha!). So, check it out!
AMERICAN IDOL THOUGHTS
Well, last night was another elimination night on American Idol. As has become the case, I have been right on two or three picks each week. I have to admit that I am completely shocked by one of the eliminations last night!
The show started with 16 people (8 girls, 8 guys) on the left side of the screen. There were 12 chairs on the right side that the six men and six women who would comprise the final 12 would get. In other words, again there were two guys and two girls eliminated. I'll get right to it.
Yesterday I wrote that I thought JaNay Castine and Mikalah Gordon should be the two eliminated. I also acknowledged that Mikalah would not be eliminated so I figured that either Lindsay Cardinale or Amanda Avila would be the one to go. On the positive side, Castine was finally eliminated after I had ranked her last each week so far. Amanda Avila was also (sadly) eliminated, although I had her ranked 5th.
On to the men, where I think the decision is far more controversial to me. According to my rankings, I thought that Constantine Maroulis and Travis Tucker would be the two eliminated. I should have known that Constantine would be safe. But when they got to the final three people, and two would be eliminated and one would advance, it was Tucker standing with Scott Savol and Nikko Smith. Obviously Travis Tucker was eliminated. But when they announced the Nikko Smith would be eliminated, I was almost upset. To me, he has consistently been one of the top 3 singers each week, and I had him ranked second from Monday night after Anwar Robinson. The final 12 without him will not be the same. That said, I was happy to see that Savol will be in the final 12. He does have a great voice. But Smith's was one of those special voices. He is a casualty of the producer's decision to have a final 12 consisting of six men and six women. I think that Nadia Turner, Carrie Underwood and Vonzell Solomon would be the only three women to advance if not for that rule.
Usually I disagree to an extent on who "America" chooses to eliminate, but I always figure that at this point they would be eliminating someone who is good, not someone who could win the entire competition. But, that's how it goes, I guess.
So, what do you think? Send me an e-mail.
The Twins didn't play as rain cancelled a number of games throughout Florida. The day off was probably needed. Hopefully Joe Mauer took the day off and did nothing!!
Yesterday in Stick and Ball Guy's Media day column, he found a NY Times article that discusses team chemistry and argues that it isn't as important as many think it should be. He discusses how that relates to the Twins? Well, I want to include an e-mail exchange that SBG and I had yesterday on the topic. I would love to hear your comments as well. E-mail me if you have an opinion.
I went in a little different direction today with my column. Frankly, I don't want to hear about Torii and Jacque and their board. Why do these two guys think that they have to control the clubhouse? I mean if you are Radke or Mauer or Stewart, are you going to listen to Jacque Jones? The guy will NOT be with this team next year! He was a major liability on the field last year. As for Hunter, he's got a great agent. He's got national advertising now, and he's perceived as a leader on the Twins. He's a great outfielder and a mediocre to good centerfielder at the plate. But, it's not like he's Cal Ripken or anything. As far as players, Morneau, Mauer, Radke, Santana, and Nathan at least are more important to this team.
What do you think? Am I off base with that? I just thought that the article in the NY Times was interesting... it basically said that the exact opposite atmosphere from the one projected by the Twins was the one most conducive to winning.
I struggle with the whole concept of Ďteam chemistryí. I am more of a believer in it than most, or at least most bloggers, but as you mentioned in your examples with the Yankees and Aís, etc., I donít think itís the biggest thing. I think that talent and success are more important than chemistry, or maybe can at least overcome that. Look at the success of Jeff Kent with Barry Bonds. Clearly they didnít like each other, but I think that they understood that they needed each other (even if they would never admit it).
For a small market team like the Twins, I think that team chemistry is more important. A lot of decisions need to be made each year, and the guys you mentioned were also good chemistry guys. BUT, I also wonder which players would have also been lost if the team had decided to keep AJ or Dougie Baseball? In my opinion, Radke probably is more willing to leave if AJ is still around. Is Nathan as willing to stick around (poor argument since he wouldnít be with the team if AJ hadnít been traded for him, but you know what Iím saying).
As far as Torii and Jacque, I donít buy it. To me, Torii is the unquestioned leader of the team. There is really no arguing that. I think Jacque just always gets included in any story about Torii. Itís not his fault, but heís not a vocal guy the way that Torii is. A leader isnít always the best player. I think it could be argued that the leader should be good, or a starter, or someone who actually frequently contributes to the success of the team. Yeah, Radke, Santana, Nathan, Mauer and Morneau are better hitters/players than Torii, but 1.) Mauer and Morneau are both too young to be considered a leader and 2.) both are too quiet (and should be) at this point. Radke is the elder statesman, but heís not a talker and hence he isnít a vocal leader as well. But he is a leader by example, and Iím sure he says things when they need to be said. His longevity and success to me, still make him the leader of the staff. Doesnít make him the best pitcher, just the leader. And that is why a lot of people may still consider him the ace.
Leadership is a tough thing. Some lead by example. Some lead vocally. Some respond well to vocal leadership, others go about their jobs able to motivate and lead themselves.
To me, itís kind of like the whole Moneyball thing. The Aís have their philosophies and over the last 4-5 years, it has worked. I like and agree with some of their philosophies. I also agree with most of the Twins philosophies. Now the Yankees have a vastly different philosophy that theyíve chosen to run with. Thatís their call. All ways can be successful.
In a round-about way, chemistry can be a good thing or a bad thing. For the Yankees, theyíre likely to win 95 games just because of their talent, even if they hate each other. But at the same time, you canít tell me that Tino Martinez wasnít a very important part of those championship teams. Many considered him the leader of that team, and those are the years they won. Paul OíNeill, Scott Brosius, these are other guys that werenít superstars, just good players who helped the superstars realize that it was about doing the little things to WIN, not to make yourself look good.
The Twins, they won with AJ. They were able to handle him and make him work for them. Then they won without him too. They won with Doug and without Doug. Doug was perceived as a leader by the media because he talked so much. Wasnít necessarily the case, as we found out.
I donít know what more to say. I happen to think that chemistry is one of those intangibles that probably gets too much credit by some and not enough by others. So much ends up just depending on the whole make up of the team and how the manager and coaches deal with it.
What do you think? E-mail me.
Check out this article by Patrick Reusse on Grant Balfour's injury situation. He quotes pitching coach Rick Anderson and manager Ron Gardenhire saying things that make them sound very frustrated with Balfour. Not so much that he is injured, just that they aren't really sure the full extent of the injury and if he is hurt or injured. It is a really interesting article, but as I was reading, I couldn't help but thinking that Reusse might just be trying to start something up, cause controversy. Obviously I can't answer that. I don't know the extent of Balfour's injured forearm. I hope he's healthy and want to see him pitch!
Lavelle Neal wrote an article on The Real Deal missing. JD Durbin worked really hard in the offseason but through two spring games, he is really struggling. Hopefully he can find his correct arm slot and gain his confidence back. He still could make the team. And, with Scott Baker looking incredible for his first two starts this spring, there is probably some stress on Mr. Durbin. It will be interesting to see how he responds in the next few weeks.
With minor league camp starting today down in Ft. Myers, I figured I would remind Twins fans of a couple of sites. The Alexander Smit site and the Pat Neshek site are both worth checking out. I was able to do Q&As with both Alexander Smit and Pat Neshek this offseason, so of course, I hope they both have a good spring and successful 2005 seasos.
Wow! There are a lot of great topics being discussed over at Twins Territory. I am still working on my first entry for the site, which should be appearing in the next few days. If you haven't stopped by, be sure to, and sign up and be sure to participate.
Any thoughts on the Twins? Please e-mail me.
With so many games rained out in Florida, there are fewer stats of former Twins to note today:
Dustan Mohr, COL, RF, 1-3, BB
Danny Ardoin, COL, C, 0-0, BB
Chad Moeller, MIL, C, 1-2
Damien Miller, MIL, C, 0-1, K
Rick Helling, MIL, P, 2 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 0 K
Quinton McCracken, ARI, PH, 0-1, K
Denny Hocking, KC, 3B, 0-1
Todd Walker, CHC, 2B, 2-3, 2 R
Henry Blanco, CHC, C, 0-1
LaTroy Hawkins, CHC, 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K
And after all that, thank you again very much for stopping by my site. I hope you enjoy what you read, but if you have any questions or comments on anything, please feel free to e-mail me.
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