Tuesday, November 8, 2005
NFL "EXPERT" Picks
Q&A with David Dorsey
The News-Press, in Ft. Myers, FL
Good Morning everyone! I apologize for missing yesterday. I had a nice three day weekend, so I was able to get away. I think I'll try to make up for it today. I hope, at least! Due to some time constraints, most of my thoughts will be consolidated into "Other Thoughts" below. There are some thoughts on the Vikings and the Wolves, as well as some baseball thoughts and more.
Being Tuesday, I wanted to with an excellent Q&A with another great writer who covers a Twins minor league affiliate. David Dorsey writes for The News-Press, in Ft. Myers, Florida. Part of his job is to cover the Twins in Spring Training and the Ft. Myers Miracle during their season. David was very kind. He would have answered questions a couple of weeks earlier, but Hurricane Wilma was on its way toward Ft. Myers, so he asked if I would be able to wait a bit. I think that is more than fair. I sent Mr. Dorsey some questions and he graciously took the time to answer them.
So today, I am thrilled to post a Question and Answer session with David Dorsey. I am sure that you will enjoy it! Maybe you'll even learn a little something about him, Ft. Myers, and some of the Twins prospects. If you have any comments for me or Mr. Dorsey, please e-mail me, and I will try to answer your questions or forward them on to him.
Let the Questions Begin!
SethSpeaks: How long have your been writing for the The News-Press, and what is your position there?
I'm midway through my 11th year at The News-Press. I started out as an intern, wrote for the news department for about nine months and then gladly switched to sports in 1995. I cover a variety of sports, doing a lot of high school football and basketball and of course, spring training.
SethSpeaks: How long have you covered the Miracle? What other sports or teams besides the Miracle do you cover?
I've covered the Miracle, off and on, for 11 years. In fact, one of the first stories I wrote for The News-Press was a profile on Steve Liddle, who in 1994 was the Miracle's manager. It's been fun watching him progress to the Twins big-league bench coach. I also have covered the NBA Development League team the Florida Flame, which is now affiliated with the Minnesota Timberwolves. They have two players here for this season, guard Bracey Wright of Indiana University and forward Dwayne Jones of St. Joseph's. They're both rookies with the Timberwolves.
SethSpeaks: What is your background in journalism and how did that transfer to your current position?
I majored in journalism at the University of Kansas. That allowed me the opportunity to cover the men's basketball season's run to the Final Four in 1993. The team lost to North Carolina in the semifinals, and I was sitting courtside at the Superdome in New Orleans when Chris Webber of Michigan called the timeout he didn't have. Covering that Final Four gave me something solid to put on my resume when I discovered the internship in Fort Myers in the summer of 1994.
SethSpeaks: What is your background in baseball? Did you play ball growing up?
Honestly, I don't have much of a background in baseball, other than growing up a Kansas City Royals fan. I never got past T-ball, choosing instead to play football. But I always have enjoyed watching the game.
SethSpeaks: Who were your favorite ballplayers when you were a kid, and who are they now?
George Brett would be my favorite player. I've been able to meet him twice. The first time, he was pretty grouchy. It was about a week before he got his 3,000th hit, and he wasn't in the mood to be interviewed about it. I was writing a story for my college paper at the time, and I really didn't know what I was doing. I had even stuffed a baseball or two into my pocket to get an autograph, not knowing that that's pure unprofessionalism (I never gathered the guts to actually ask him for the autograph, either). I met him again a few years ago when he was coaching for the Royals during spring training. I reminded him of my first interview with him, and we both had a good laugh about that.
SethSpeaks: Who were the writers who have most influenced you?
That's a good question. Anyone who writes for Sports Illustrated has influenced me. I enjoy Steve Rushin's columns the best, and I understand he's a Minnesota native. He's just a pure talent, the Barry Sanders of sportswriters. I also enjoyed meeting Jack McCallum, who covers the NBA for SI. He's just a great reporter and a solid writer.
SethSpeaks: Do you ever take the time to read sports blogs or articles on the Twins or other teams? If so, who are some of your favorites?
Because I am so immersed into high school sports and covering them here in Southwest Florida, I don't have much time to check blogs and articles during the regular season. So usually in the week or two before spring training, I do a crash course and research how the previous season went.
SethSpeaks: How do you draw the line between friendship with the players and coaches and a professional relationship with them?
That's another good question. There's a fine line between professional sportswriters and "jock-sniffers," who buddy-up to the athletes they cover and try to make friends with them. Ideally, you can be friendly without being friends.
SethSpeaks: Riccardo Ingram was the coach at Ft. Myers this last year. He has been promoted to New Britain for the 2006 season. Can you tell us a little bit about him and his personality and his managing styles?
Riccardo is just fun to be around. He keeps things loose and likes to joke around, but he always respects the game. He's like Twins manager Ron Gardenhire in both respects.
SethSpeaks: The organization named Kevin Boles, who had been managing in Beloit, the new Ft. Myers manager. Have you had a chance to meet him and can you tell us what you know about him?
I haven't met Kevin Boles in person yet, but I have talked to him on the phone. From what I gather, he's a baseball lifer, the son of a former big-league manager who shouldn't have any problem managing the Miracle.
SethSpeaks: Adam Harben had an incredible season. Was there any good reason that he was kept in Ft. Myers, rather than being promoted like the other three (Nick Blackburn, Errol Simonitsch and Glen Perkins)?
I think Harben stayed in Fort Myers because with all of the other promotions, there just wasn't enough room to promote yet another pitcher. I know the Twins were really pleased with him, and his pitching distanced himself from the fact that he was a college roommate of Ron Gardenhire's son.
SethSpeaks: Who are some of the best pitching prospects that you have seen come through Ft. Myers and eventually made it to the big leagues? Is there some consistent characteristic in those guys that just gives you an idea that they will make it, or at that level is it still mainly a guess?
Brad Radke pitched his way to the big leagues from Fort Myers, but he did so right before I moved here. I don't remember many of the current Twins pitchers from their Miracle days, mainly because if they were with the Miracle, they weren't with the Miracle for very long. So to answer the second part of the question, they all share one thing in common: they get promoted from the Miracle pretty fast.
SethSpeaks: There were a couple of hitters on the roster that really intrigue me. Denard Span seemed to really figure things out this year. I hear that he is a great guy. Can you tell us a little more about him as a person and what you see from him as a ballplayer?
Denard Span is definitely a good guy. I had him over at my house early in the season to play the new Major League Baseball video game on Playstation 2. Unfortunately, he beat me, I think the score was 7-5. I wrote a story about it. Span worked really hard on his hitting. He realizes his place in the organization as a potential leadoff hitter and Torii Hunter's eventual replacement in center field. And he'll do everything in his power to get there. But if we were to have a rematch in the game, I know I'd beat him, because I've been practicing, too.
SethSpeaks: Obviously Matt Moses is another name that spent about half of the year in Ft. Myers. This was really his first full, healthy season and he did show he can hit. Tell us a little about him, his offense, and even a little about his defense as that is frequently mentioned as the big concern with him?
Matt Moses probably gets labeled as a shaky defender since his hitting is so good. But he can handle the hot corner well, and for every run he allows with a bad play, he can more than make up for it on the offensive side. He had an incredible work ethic, just like Span. I don't have any inside information on this, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Moses in the big leagues sometime in 2006.
SethSpeaks: Australian Trent Oeltjen has been a personal favorite prospect of mine for the last couple of years. It was a tough year for him, getting off to a rough start with the injury. But by season's end, he had put together a pretty solid season. Tell us some about him, and does he have a real chance?
Trent has the best chance out of any of the Australian position players. He's solid on defense, he's a good baserunner, and he improved his confidence at the plate. He's also the projected starter for Team Australia in the baseball World Classic. You're smart to be keeping an eye on him.
SethSpeaks: Brock Peterson is still young for that level. I find him an intriguing prospect because of his youth and his power potential. Does he have a chance?
Of course Brock has a chance. He just needs to cut down on his strikeouts and not try to hit a home run with every at-bat. Right now, he's a free-swinging slugger who needs to focus on raising his batting average and lowering his strikeout totals.
SethSpeaks: Finally, I'm also curious about Allan de San Miguel. He was called up to Ft. Myers from the GCL Twins team. He is just 17, so surely there were others that could have been promoted instead of him. Is he high on the prospect radar with the Twins?
Allan got promoted a little sooner than he should have because there were a string of injuries at catcher throughout all levels of the Twins. But that doesn't mean the Twins don't like him. They were confident enough in him to give him a chance with the Miracle at the end of the season. Although he looked like a 17-year-old, he carried himself like a 20-year-old.
SethSpeaks: Which guys showed an ability to lead?
Matt Moses seemed a lot like a future leader. I'd keep an eye on him as he moves through the system.
SethSpeaks: Who were the first guys in the weight room, doing extra running or throwing?
Again, I have to go back to Denard Span and Matt Moses. For the pitchers, Tristan Crawford had a great work ethic, and so did Adam Harben. All of the players seemed to work hard. I can't think of any slackers. Also, I have to give credit to Jason Kubel, who missed the season with a knee injury. Kubel was in the weight room every day, quietly rehabilitating. He's showing a lot of determination to come back from a very difficult injury.
You're right about LaRoche and Verlander. And unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to see either of them play, as they were promoted right before coming down to Fort Myers. I did luck into getting a Verlander rookie card earlier this year, and I'm hanging on to it.
SethSpeaks: How are you doing after Hurricane Wilma hit Ft. Myers? Was there a lot of damage?
I went without power for six days and had about $1,000 worth of damage. That's nothing compared to some of the people closer to the storm's path in Naples, Clewiston and across the state. A lot of people lost their homes. It looks like preparing for hurricanes and dealing with them will be a way of life for awhile, unfortunately. The Twins were supposed to have an organizational meeting the weekend the storm was coming. They all high-tailed it back to Minnesota, and I can't blame them.
SethSpeaks: I read that you plan on running a marathon in January in Orlando. What made you decide to do that? How is your training for that going?
Thanks for asking. Basically, I just wanted to see if I could do it. Weighing 254 pounds earlier this year sparked the motivation. Now, I'm down to about 230. I'm also trying to raise money for a mission trip to Kenya....If I can plug that and readers want to help, they can write a check to First Christian Church and write "Dorsey Africa" in the memo line. They can send it to David Dorsey, The News-Press, 2442 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Fort Myers, Fl. 33901.
I'm not asking for much: $13.10 or $26.20. That's 50 cents or one dollar per mile, and the donations are tax-deductible.
SethSpeaks: Finally, are there any other players or coaches or people that you would like to discuss. Are there any other topics that mean a lot to you, or that you think that Twins fans might be interested in? The floor is yours.
Really, I'd like to finish by saying that I have really enjoyed covering the Twins over the years during spring training, and I look forward to the 2006 spring training. It's been fun to watch all of the players and coaches progress, especially Torii Hunter and David Ortiz, now with the Boston Red Sox. Those are two players whose demeanor and attitudes haven't been corrupted by the money and fame they have most certainly earned. Players like Hunter and Ortiz make my job a lot more fun.
David, thank you very, very much for taking the time to answer all of these questions so soon after going through the Hurricane. I know that you're incredibly busy, so it means a lot that you were able to do this.
Do you have any thoughts or questions for David Dorsey or me? If so, please feel free to e-mail me.
If you would like to read any previous Q&A's, here is a checklist:
11/1/05 - Q&A with Aaron Gleeman (Twins Blogger Extraordinaire)
10/25/05 - Q&A with Mark Sheldon (Twins Beat Reporter for MLB.com)
10/18/05 - Q&A with Kevin Slowey (another top pitching prospect, Twins 2nd round pick in 2005)
10/11/05 - Q&A with Wes Holtsclaw (local writer for the Elizabethton Twins)
10/5/05 - Q&A with Eli Tintor (Minnesota-native, catching prospect who played 2005 in E-Town)
7/28/05 - Q&A with Jim Mandelaro (local writer for the Rochester Red Wings)
2/28/05 - Q&A with Pat Neshek (Minnesota-native, reliever prospect who played 2005 at New Britain)
1/27/05 - Q&A with Stick and Ball Guy (one of the best bloggers out there!)
12/17/04 - Q&A with Alexander Smit (Holland-native, pitching prospect spent 2005 between Beloit and E-Town)
5/28/04 - Q&A with CJ Nitkowski (big league pitcher, spent Spring Training 2005 with the Twins)
04/19/04 - Q&A with Jim Souhan (Star-Tribune Baseball Writer, now a columnist)
On Sunday, the Vikings used a big second quarter to topple the Detroit Lions 27-14. Two back-to-back turnovers by Lions QB Joey Harrington were converted into touchdowns. Michael Bennett got the majority of the carries and had his first 100 yard rushing game in a long time! He even had a receiving touchdown. Ciatrick Fason got his first carries, 5 rushes for 10 yards and his first NFL touchdown. This, of course, makes sense since I decided to play Mewelde Moore on both of my fantasy teams! Brad Johnson was efficient. Certainly not great, but he also didn't make any big mistakes either.
I played Moore over Reuben Droughns who went for 189 total yards on Sunday. My team and judgment are both awful!
Here is how much I've been able to get into the Minnesota Timberwolves so far this year. Friday night, I got to my parents and it was half time of the Wolves game. I watched the third quarter but fell asleep before the 4th quarter started. I woke up for the last minute of their overtime loss in Seattle. Then on Saturday night, I got home and watched the first half of game, but fell asleep before the third quarter started. Again, I woke up for the final minute of the Wolves overtime loss to the Clippers at Staples Center. The team came home and played the Clippers again. The Wolves got a nice 93-78 win to even their record at 2-2.
OK, just because I was tired and I don't expect the Wolves to be a great team does not mean they are not fun to watch. They really are. I expect the team to play more in the style they played previous to last season. I expect the complete unselfishness of Kevin Garnett to rule the team's play. I think that Garnett is frequently too unselfish. But I watch Mark Jaric and Anthony Carter and realize that when either of them are leading the offense, the ball movement is excellent. To me, that is fun to watch. I got annoyed and bored of the ball-hogging ways of Sam Cassell. I don't care if he does score a lot of points, it isn't as much fun to watch.
The Upper Midwest chapter of the Baseball Writers of America gave out their annual Twins awards. Johan Santana won both the team's MVP and Pitcher of the Year awards. Carlos Silva was named most improved Twin. Jesse Crain was the Most Outstanding Rookie. ND Native Travis Hafner was named the Upper Midwest Player of the Year. Mike Redmond won the Bob Allison Award given to the player that best exemplifies the attributes that made Mr. Allison so good and so popular.
Well, I got one right and one wrong in my choices for Rookies of the Year. I correctly picked that Huston Street should and would win in the American League. However, Ryan Howard won in the National League after he hit 22 homers in just 88 games. I would have voted for the Rockies Garrett Atkins, and thought/hoped that the Astros Willy Taveras would win. But Howard was exceptional in his short time whereas the other two were good throughout the season. It is just the interpretation or definition of what the Rookie of the Year should be.
Speaking of interpretation... today, the American League Cy Young Award will be handed out. My opinion is that the best pitcher in each league should win the award, not necessarily the pitcher with the most wins. I am sure that Bartolo Colon will win the award, however, the best pitcher in the American League this year was Johan Santana. Those who have come to this site a lot know that I think that the Win stat is incredibly overrated and really has little to do with how well the pitcher has pitched. It is almost as overrated as the Save statistic. It is also possible that Mariano Rivera will win the award, which would probably bother me even more since he pitched so many fewer innings.
If you have any thoughts on any of this, please e-mail me.
NFL "EXPERT" PICKS
Four of our twelve panelists had a 12-1 record going into last night. It was a great matchup between the Colts and the Patriots. Well, again, I had trouble staying awake last night. So, I went to bed at halftime of the Monday Night Football game. The Colts were ahead 21-7 over the Patriots. If the Colts maintain their lead, three of our panelists will jump to 13-1 and tie for the win this week. They are Trevor Born, Will Young, and yours truly. If the Patriots come back, Cory Hepola will be the lone winner at 13-1. He would also vault into a tie for the overall lead. For more on our panel or our picks, check out the NFL "Expert" Picks page here. And be sure to check back on Friday for our Week 10 picks. (NOTE - I hope to wake up early enough in the morning to update this section, so check back later if the Monday night game has not been included.)
Final Standings Total Week 9 Over All Name Site
L Win% W L Win % Trevor Born Twins Junkie 12 1 92.3% 92 37 71.3% Cory Hepola KTVH-TV Sports 12 1 92.3% 91 38 70.5% Mike Brasel Fantasy FB Guru 11 2 84.6% 88 41 68.2% SethSpeaks Panel 10 2 83.3% 84 38 68.9% Seth Stohs SethSpeaks.net 12 1 92.3% 87 42 67.4% Aaron Gleeman Aaron's BB Blog 11 2 84.6% 86 43 66.7% Brent Hanson BrentNet 9 4 69.2% 80 49 62.0% Stick & Ball Guy Stick & Ball Guy 9 4 69.2% 80 49 62.0% Melissa Lien SethSpeaks.net 10 3 76.9% 81 48 62.8% Will Young Will's Twins Blog 12 1 92.3% 82 47 63.6% Ben Jacobs Hardball Times 11 2 84.6% 80 49 62.0% Kevin Slowey Twins Pitching Prospect 8 5 61.5% 74 55 57.4% Grant Balfour Twins Relief Pitcher 8 5 61.5% 69 60 53.5%
And on that note, I will call it a day. I certainly hope that you have found the Q&A with David Dorsey interesting and well worth reading. Remember, I will be back tomorrow with a new Guest writer answering the Why Baseball query. If you're interested in participating, please let me know. If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail me.
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