Tuesday August 17, 2004
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORT
Good morning , All!
Starting this website has opened a lot of doors for me. I have been able to talk baseball with a wider audience, rather than just thinking baseball to myself. I have been able to communicate with people from all around the country. I have met some really great people. All told, it has totally been worth the work that it takes to write up this site every day.
Yesterday, I got to experience another first that was available to me because of this website. I received an e-mail from Rocco Bonello. He is a the producer of The Max n' Maloney Show on Sports Radio 950 (KSNB) in the Twin Cities. He asked if I would like to be on the show for a few minutes. My response, of course, was... well... Of course! So we set it up that he would call me at 5:45 and I would be on air being questioned about this site, the Twins and whatever else.
Mike Max was not in at the time, so I was interviewed by Rita Maloney. Looking at her bio on the show's website, she has already had a very remarkable, impressive career. But she was really an incredible interviewer. She just segued between topics so well. She asked great questions, and her knowledge of the Twins was very high. I know the discussion lasted almost ten minutes, but it didn't seem that long. I called my brother afterward, and he actually said it was pretty good. For him to say that, maybe it really wasn't terrible.
Of course, since the interview was completed, I have had enough time to think about what was asked and how I responded. I think I did ok, but there are a few things I wish I had the presence of mind to comment on, but that's ok. Maybe it went just well enough that they'll ask me back sometime so I can try to redeem myself.
I obviously don't have an official transcript of the conversation, but I will try to give some of the highlights below:
The first few questions that she asked me had to do with this website. She asked when I started SethSpeaks.net and how much time I put into this page. I told her that I work from 8-5, and then when I come home I usually put 4-6 hours into this page. SethSpeaks.net started at the end of May 2003, so be sure to check the Archives page for a list of all of my entries.
She said that I have a lot of content on the page every day. I said, "I know, it's ridiculous, isn't it?"
She asked me about if a blogger can make a lot of money doing this. I mentioned that I do have a number of sponsors on the left of this screen (check them out!!) that help me out a little bit financially. I don't know if if it possible to do this full-time. I know that with how much I make, I couldn't! But it does make all of the work worth a little more.
The next portion of the conversation actually had to do with the Twins. It was a little name association. The first person she asked me about was Justin Morneau (the sound bite coming out of the commercial leading into my segment was a Morneau homer). My response was basically that he has frequently been compared to Jim Thome, and I think that is very fair. I can see him hitting 30-40 homers a season starting next year. He could legitimately still lead the team in homers this year. She asked about the issue of his defense. My main comment was that no matter who the Twins put at 1B after Justin Morneau, they would not look good. I feel Mientkiewicz is the best defensive first baseman I've ever seen. (and he did alright in his first start at 2B for the Red Sox last night too) But I think it is important to note the Morneau makes the routine play, but we've already seen him picking balls in the dirt as well.
The next player that Ms. Maloney asked me about was Lew Ford. I said what's not to like? He does everything. He puts together great at bats, has hit for average and power and played a great OF and has shown a very strong arm. He's played in all but a handful of games for the team despite not even being with the team on Opening Day. Of course, I had to plug the Father's Day posting where Lew's father wrote a special Father's Day Message for me.
The next question was really a good one. She asked me if there is a changing of the guard, so to speak, with the Twins. A change from guys like Mientkiewicz, Jones, Hunter and Koskie to guys like Morneau, Ford, Michael Cuddyer and Joe Mauer. I didn't answer this question very well at all. I tried to say that it is a tough question for m to answer because after watching all of those bad Twins teams in the '90s, these guys all came up and lost before they started winning. But, that said, I think that these new guys have far higher ceilings. So, I think that a combination of the two will be best for the Twins. But I think that the likes of Jason Kubel and Jason Bartlett also may have a role in this transition.
Now, that's what I wanted to say. I don't have the official transcript, so I'm afraid to find out how that actually came out.
She caught me though and segued nicely into a question about Luis Rivas and Cristian Guzman. She said that my thoughts of Michael Cuddyer and Jason Bartlett up the middle would mean an end to their tenures with the Twins. Again, here is what I meant to say. I think that Rivas and Guzman have stagnated and that the team can get equal, and arguably far more, production from Cuddyer and Bartlett, at about 1/12th the cost. I do understand that Bartlett has a lot to work on defensively, but he can be a good on-base guy for the Twins. I also wish I would have said more about how good I think Michael Cuddyer could be with full-time playing time at just one position.
Again, I'm not sure if I articulated that as well as I would have hoped.
She then asked if I write about other topics on this site. I said that I will write about the Timberwolves or Vikings when I feel like it. I said that I pretty much don't have a life, so if I'm watching TV or a movie, I will write about them. Basically, the goal of the site is for me to write a web page that I would want to read.
Obviously I hope that it is something that a lot of readers will enjoy too.
At the point, she let me plug my site and how people can find it.
All told, I am very glad that they gave me this opportunity to plug my site. But honestly, it was just so thoroughly enjoyable to just talk about the Twins and have a give-n-take conversation with someone on live radio about it. I want to thank Rocco Bonello for making this opportunity happen. I also want to thank Rita Maloney for just conducting a fun interview. I'm not exactly sure how many of my readers are from the Twins Cities area (my guess would be about 50%). I would encourage those people to tune in to Sports Radio 950, especially weekdays from 4-6 for The Max and Maloney Show.
The Twins haven't beaten the Yankees (in the regular season) since 2001. That's a LONG time ago! If the Twins are going to beat the Yankees, this is the series to do it. This is not the same Yankees team that they have had the last few years. Yes, their payroll is even higher than it has been. They added the likes of Javier Vazquez, Kevin Brown, Gary Sheffield, and that Alex Rodriguez guy. But this is a team with plenty of weaknesses.
They have the best record in the American League this year (75-42), and yet they have really been hurt by injuries. Starting Pitchers Kevin Brown and Mike Mussina both have spent time on the Disabled List. Jason Giambi had health issues for quite some time before doctors finally realized that he had a benign tumor. That was removed and Giambi could be back in weeks. Gary Sheffield has played through incredible pain all season. Also, they have not had much production out of the second base position all year. Derek Jeter was horrible the first two months of the year. The Bernie Williams/Kenny Lofton situation has been confusing and inconsistent all year. If you look up the word "inconsistent" in the dictionary, you might find a picture of Jose Contreras. At the trade deadline, the team dealt him to the White Sox for Esteban Loaiza who is looking more like the real Esteban Loaiza than the 2003 version of Esteban Loaiza. Javier Vazquez and Jon Lieber have both been quite inconsistent. Paul Quantrill and Tom Gordon have had to pitch way too much. Mariano Rivera has struggled of late.
With all those problems, how is the team playing so well? Well, I think the answer to why a $200 million payroll can assure winning is the depth that it allows the team to have. Giambi goes down, he is replaced by Tony Clark and recently John Olerud. A starting pitcher goes down, and they still have five quality starters. Or, they go and re-sign Orlando Hernandez, who has simply gone 5-0 since being brought up.
Watching shows like SportsCenter or Baseball Tonight, it is believed that the current leading AL MVP candidate is Gary Sheffield. Alex Rodriguez continues to produce power numbers despite a slight dip in batting average. He is also playing a great defensive 3B in his first year at the new position. Hideki Matsui is hitting for a strong average again, but has also begun to hit for some of the power that got him the nickname Godzilla in Japan. He also continues to play every day.
People always complain about how much money the Yankees continue to spend. But what has it meant the past three seasons? They have not won the World Series. This year's team seems far more vulnerable than past seasons because of injuries and inconsistent starting pitching.
Sidenote - the Yankees signed LHP CJ Nitkowski and called him up to the team. He has pitched in five games so far for the Bombers. Look back at the Conversation I had with him a few months ago.
Can the Twins win against the Yankees in the regular season, or more importantly, if they get to the playoffs? I have no doubt about it. The key, however, is the Twins ability to score runs. I will put Johan Santana and Brad Radke up against any pitching staff and feel as though the Twins have a chance to win. The Twins defense is better than the Yankees. Where the Yankees have a huge advantage in with the bats. Their lineup is powerful. A-Rod and Sheffield can out produce the Twins on many nights. If Jason Giambi can come back and finally be healthy by the playoffs, that lineup becomes even stronger. Jeter, Matsui, Williams/Lofton and Posada can all hit. It would take strong pitching performances to beat this team.
What will happen this series? Well, the Twins have set it up to throw their three best pitchers. I guess they are giving themselves their best chance. The Yankees will be without the services of Alex Rodriguez in the first two games of the series. He is serving the final two games of his four game suspension. Late last week, he dropped his appeal because he had the flu and wouldn't have played anyway. We'll see what happens. Here are those pitching matchups:
Tuesday night - 7:10
Brad Radke (7-6, 3.64, 1.14, .267) vs Javier Vazquez (13-6, 4.12, 1.18, .242)
Wednesday night - 6:05 (on ESPN)
Johan Santana (12-6, 3.25, 1.01, .205) vs Mike Mussina (9-6, 5.20, 1.43, .302)
Thursday night - 7:10
Carlos Silva (10-8, 4.52, 1.47, .318) vs Orlando Hernandez (5-0, 2.08, 1.26, .226)
What are you thoughts on the Twins and Yankees and this series? E-mail me.
AL Central Standings
Minnesota Twins 64-53 --
Cleveland Indians 63-57 2.5
Chicago White Sox 59-56 4.0
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
REDWINGS had a scheduled Day Off.
NEW BRITAIN ROCKCATS
ROCKCATS 5, Portland 7 - Garrett Jones may have to be called up to AAA soon too. I mean, without Justin Morneau, Rochester has been playing 1B-by-committee with the likes of Todd Dunwoody, Alex Prieto and others getting time at 1B. Maybe Garrett Jones is the answer. He went 2-4 to increase his average to .301. He also hit his 25th homer of the season and stole his 10th base. Jake Mauer was also 2-3. Colby Miller got the loss. He went 5 innings and gave up seven runs on eight hits and a walk. He gave up three home runs. Jim Abbott pitched two innings without giving up a run.
FT MYERS MIRACLE
MIRACLE vs Lakeland - Game was suspended in the second inning..
SWING OF THE QUAD CITIES
SWING - No games scheduled in the Midwest League.
E-TWINS 10, Kingsport 4 - David Shinskie improved to 6-2 with six quality innings. He allowed two runs on five hits and two walks. He struck out three. Kevin Culpepper then pitched two shutout innings, striking out two. Landon Burt was 2-4 with a double. Trevor Plouffe and Deacon Burns were each 2-5. Johnny Woodard hit his 6th homer of the year.
On that note, I am going to call it a day. Thanks again for stopping by this site. If you have any questions, comments or ideas for future postings... or if you heard my interview on The Max n' Maloney Show, please e-mail me.
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