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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Twinkies

Today's "effort," if it can be called that, is about the Minnesota Twins and how much the Red Sox suck in comparison to them. The basic thesis is that the Twins have implemented a system of player development and small ball that fills their team with underrated no-names and makes them very good, while the Red Sox suck.

So the point here is that you like their system, Dan? OK, I can see that it's working. Guess what? The Red sox are trying to implement pretty much the same system save the emphasis on small ball. Yet you keep tearing them a new one. Do you not see the parallels here, Dan? Or are you too busy ignoring everything Theo says because you're trying to think of more ways to discredit him? I'd bet on that.
When will we learn? The Twins have a system. The fundamentals apply. They cultivate pitchers who throw strikes and fielders who catch the ball. They get runners on base, move them over, and drive them home.
Theo has been trying to do this practically since he got here, Dan. And I think every system in baseball tries to teach fundamentals. What you describe is, simply, playing baseball. It's not revolutionary. Also, their system? It tried to turn David Ortiz into a slap hitter. It's directly responsible for one of the weakest offenses in the majors over the last 4 years. But of course let's ignore that.
They play in the image of the people who live in the Twin Cities. They are honest and hard-working and they give you a lot for your money.
Ah, stereotyping! Two can play that game. I live near the Twin Cities right now, and let me tell you, there are just as many weirdos and dishonest people here as anywhere else, they're just not as diverse.
Amazing. It is Sept. 20, and the Red Sox have been done for more than three weeks while the Twins are winning with rookie pitchers and talented faces with no names.
Hmm. I think there was a three-week period in there where I didn't recognize half the guys on the field for the Sox at any given time. Who's in our rotation? A bunch of no-names. Hmm.
The Twins are 50-24 at home this year, including a 3-0 record vs. your Boston Red Sox. Counting spring training, the Twins are 8-1 overall against your Red Sox. Boston's lone victory was a Grapefruit League contest, which was won only after the Twins had clinched the coveted Mayor's Cup.
Why are we including spring training records? That's completely stupid. Spring training games have even less meaning than preseason football. Putting that in there serves no purpose except to baselessly make the team look bad. But when do we care about substance?
It's startling to examine how the fortunes of these two teams have changed after the Sox arrived in the Twin Cities June 12. The Red Sox were a first-place team back then and no one in New England dared make any plans for October.
Really? And this is strange? I would call making plans for October in June, no matter what your record was at that time, jumping the gun by quite a bit and, if you believe in that sort of thing, jinxing yourself. But that's odd to you, Dan? Wow.
Minnesota's three-game sweep of the Sox triggered a four-month surge, and last night the Twins pulled within a half-game of the Tigers (even in the loss column).
Right after that sweep, the Red Sox went on their 12-game winning streak. But we wouldn't want to mention that, because it would ruin the comparison.
Ryan is sort of the anti-Theo Epstein. He's bald, he's managed to stay out of the limelight, and he's been on something of a hot streak when it comes to deal-making since giving up a tad early on a young David Ortiz after the 2002 season.
First of all, the treatment of David Ortiz by the Twins was one of the most stupid, inexcusable management moves of the last 10 years. Let's not treat this as a throwaway line at the end of a paragraph. That was a HUGE mistake. If the Twins hadn't been so stuck in their small-ball slap-hitter system and tried some different things, they might have had a genuinely great power hitter for cheap. But they gave up and let him go for nothing. It was a horrendous move. No one's saying they should have predicted what Ortiz would become, but they sure should have seen him as more than worthless. That alone knocks Terry Ryan's Genius-meter down a few notches.

Second (I did this backwards), let's look at the beginning of the paragraph. So Terry Ryan is the exact opposite of Theo because he is bald? Theo's twin brother will be interested to hear that. He might also be interested in examining the implication that his brother doesn't "manage to stay out of the limelight." Does Dan seriously think Theo is a media-whoring attention-seeker? That he WANTS to be in the limelight? Because that's the stupidest thing I've heard, and it sure sounds like that's what he's trying to imply in a backhanded way. Newsflash, Dan: Theo hates the media. This is incredibly well-documented. The media make his life a living hell. He can't go to the store and buy coffee without getting mobbed. He can't get his hair cut. He can't go to the bar with friends. He can't take his girlfriend to the movies. Basically, it is completely impossible for him to do any of the things that a normal guy his age likes to do, and yet you think he wants this when he has stated on several occasions that it makes his daily life horrendous? That's just ridiculous. Find something less obviously wrong to blame him for next time.
Ryan is the man who acquired closer Joe Nathan, starter Francisco Liriano, and starter Boof Bonser (young Mr. Bonser legally changed his name from John to Boof) for A.J. Pierzynski before the 2004 season.
This was a great trade. And I'm more of the opinion that it was about Brian Sabean being a complete idiot who doesn't know the second thing about prospects than it was about Terry Ryan being a genius, but whatever.
Santana is going to win the Cy Young Award, but Minnesota lost Liriano last week when the 22-year-old lefthander reinjured his pitching elbow against Oakland.
Santana's going to win the Cy Young? Can I borrow that crystal ball? I need to know how long it's going to take the maintenance people to fix our shower this morning. It's got no cold water and it's been scalding people, but they have to turn the water off to the whole house to fix it and it would be nice to know how long it'll take!
Oh, and they don't have any Mannys being Manny, either. There were no fewer than 20 Twins on the Fenway lawn at 2 p.m. yesterday, and not one player was on the bus when it left the team hotel for the ballpark at 4 p.m. Everybody was already at the park.
It wouldn't be a CHB column without at least one denigration of Manny Ramirez. Ladies and gentlemen, Dan Shaughnessy! Exit to your left, recycle your programs at the door!

27 comments:

Koot said...

Why is he so mean to Manny? It's been documented time and time again how hard Manny works, yet, we are constantly hearing these cheap shots at Manny's work ethic. What did Manny ever do to him?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jenny. You pretty much summed up what I was thinking about this pile of recycled garbaage. Obligatory Theo shots (which you rightfully pointed out as moronic in the extreme, as he's dumping on Theo for the same things he's praising the Twins for - grooming/hanging on to youngsters and emphasizing defense), obligatory Sox denigration, and obligatory Manny shot.

//Why is he so mean to Manny?//

Because Manny doesn't talk to the press; because Manny won't defend himself from said shots, preferring to ignore them; because Manny is a future Hall of Famer, and putting him down makes CHB a "brave columnist;" and because Manny is black and Hispanic.

And as you noted, koot, Manny is renowned for being one of the hardest-working guys on the Sox - he always arrives early and has worked tirelessly on all aspects of his game. The irony of comparing the Twins' arriving early to Manny is extreme to say the least.

Dogg said...

Has anyone ever seen Shank and Richard Simmons together? I think they may be the same person.

The Chief said...

Impossible, dogg. He is, in fact, Will Ferrell.

Shawn said...

This Manny bash has me so steamed I've been wasting my lunch hour and beyond finding documentation on his work ethic. Sadly(?) Surprisingly(?) barely any of it comes from the Globe or Herald, but I know I've heard Gammons talk about it, and I'd take his word over Shaughnessy or Massarotti or even Edes or Snow on this.

There is plenty of anecdotal evidence, people mentioning the amount of work he puts in, but without sourcing or attribution. I wish I had the time to track it all down, but I don't right now. Links in attribution line.

But I did find these:
"He works from early in the morning 'til late in the evening."
--Grady Little 10/10/2003

"No Red Sox batter studies more videotape or gets more out of trips to the batting cage."
--Bob Ryan 7/13/06

And the capper:
Ramirez, who usually arrives early, joked with security about cleaning out his locker when he came to the park around 10 a.m. to work out. He left just before 11 and returned later in the afternoon.
--ESPN recap game notes, 7/30/05


I also found an analysis of the media coverage of Manny, from this year;
[ Boston Sports Media Watch ]

and a great dismantling by Seth Mnookin of someone who claims Ortiz is on PEDs, and incidentally mentions Manny. Mnookin also exposes some flaws in Minnesota's hitting system that Shank is praising so highly.
[ Feeding the Monster ]

&*^!@. I probably spent more time researching this post than CHB did on his whole article.

And I don't even understand this sentence:
"`We know that's going to be the way it is for us the rest of the way," said manager Ron Gardenhire, a direct descendant of Tom Kelly (a fundamental extremist who won World Series with the Twins in 1987 and '91). "

Maybe FBI would be interested in Mr. Kelly's activities? Has he been importing Taliban hitting instructors?

Shawn said...

The Ryan link got mangled. Apologies, my blood sugar is through the floor by now.

The Chimp said...

Here's another comparison between the Twins and Red Sox: The Twins have won one playoff series in the past 15 years; the Red Sox four since 2003.

dbvader said...

Aaron Gleeman article on Papi and the Twins

It includes this quotation from Papi "When I first came to Minnesota, that's when I was told, 'Stay inside the ball ... hit the ball the other way.' I always was a power hitter in the minor leagues. Everything changed when I went to Minnesota. I would take a hard swing and my first manager would be in the dugout, saying, 'Hey, HEY, what are you doing?'"

the chimp said...

What you're getting from Shaughnessy and much of the Globe these days is the equivalent of a high school kid who always thought he was the most popular kid in school lashing out after confronted with the harsh reality no one likes him and he won't be going to the prom.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen the blurb on Dan on Boston Sports Media watch. Nice way to talk about the fans.

Here's the blurb

An article in the Baltimore Sun discusses how Red Sox and Yankees fans have taken over Camden Yards and other ballparks when their teams come to town. If you needed more reason to dislike Dan Shaughnessy, this article provides it. He says that "It's obnoxious how they take over other people's parks" and then advises Baltimore fans on how to shut up Red Sox fans:

"Ask, 'How's that 9-21 in August working out for you?'" Shaughnessy says. "They folded like a cardboard box in a tsunami."

Even though Shaughnessy used to work in Baltimore, this is disturbing in that it is another example of he being the one that an out of town paper seeks out as they feel he is the authority on Boston.

here is the url
http://www.bostonsportsmedia.com/archives/2006_09.php

I believe it's September 8th.

Shawn said...

*blink* *blink*
I'm absolutely speechless at those comments of his.

ObjectiveDouche said...

The CHB is such a tool. Initially, I find myself surprised that he is still writing because he must know how much the Boston sports fanbase hates his wretched guts.....but then I come to my senses and remember that he is, well, the CHB and he doesn't give a rats ass about anyone else but himself.

jenny said...

"Cardboard box in a tsunami?" That's not offensive to the 200,000 people that died in Asia 2 years ago at all!

Also, I'm still laughing hysterically at the handle "objectivedouche." Well played.

ObjectiveBruce said...

Apparently we've now sunk to saying things that are just flat-out wrong in order to misconstrue a column (which was not about "how much the Red Sox 'suck' in comparison to" the Minnesota Twins.

Just one example:

"Also, their system? It tried to turn David Ortiz into a slap hitter."

Dead wrong, and apparently based on the story that Grady Little told Ortiz that the Sox don't play small ball after a spring training at-bat.

Minnesota did NOT try to turn Ortiz into a slap hitter. In 2002, Ortiz played 125 games, 90 of them hitting cleanup. He was out with knee problems, and endured a 43-game streak with no homers, during which he was MOVED DOWN in the batting order, then when he started hitting with some power again, he batted cleanup. FOR THE DIVISION CHAMPS. There is no evidence, anywhere, that the Twins tried to make Ortiz a "slap hitter." Just because their offense doesn't rely on three-run homers does not make him a "slap hitter"

As far as the argument that the Twins "mistreated" Ortiz by releasing him, he made $900K in 2002. He was arbitration-eligible, and may well have commanded $2M, more than a team which at the time was facing contraction, could pay for a .272, 20, 75 power hitter. Boston signed him for $1.25M -- less than he would have made in arbitration -- and slotted him behind Jeremy Giambi.

Should Minnesota have signed him? In hindsight, of course. That's baseball, sometimes you give up a Jeff Bagwell, Freddie Sanchez or Cla Meredith and end up with Larry Andersen, two months of Jeff Suppan, or Doug ".182" Miribelli.

The point, which did not seem all that esoteric, but which is obviously lost on those who see everything through a vile veil of hate, is that Minnesota has a long tradition, involving multiple world championships, of attuning the entire organization to a type of baseball, something that is still evolving with the Red Sox, who have had precious few home-grown regular position players over the past few years.

Interesting that young Jenny likes the vulgar reference to me. I would have expected nothing else.

Ironcheffie said...

New reader, old hater.

If Johan Santana doesnt' win the CY Young, then quite frankly sportswriters hate freedom

Shawn said...

Bruce,
There is also a "veil of hatred" (and not too thin, either) in the column towards the Sox organization, Theo and Manny. Can you deny this? If you're writing about the Twins system, what need is there to take potshots at the Sox? You are right, the Sox system is still evolving. But why not constructively point out some contrasts instead of throwing around ad hominem attacks?
I've pointed out the holes in his attack on Manny's work ethic and punctuality. Can you provide a counter to that?
Also, if you read the Mnookin link above, there is plenty of evidence to support the claim that the Twins tried to radically alter Ortiz's approach to hitting. Do you have sourcing for your Grady Little anecdote?

dbvader said...

"Also, their system? It tried to turn David Ortiz into a slap hitter."

Read Papi's quotation you illeterate moron. Papi was never going to hit 50 or even 30 HR's if the Twins kept trying to get him to go the other way. It is a bad baseball decision to focus on what a player doesn't do well to the detriment of what he does do well. Ortiz hits for power very well. Minnesota wanted to make him a better hitter for average and a better situational hitter at the expense of his power. Bad decision.

Anonymous said...

//those who see everything through a vile veil of hate//

And that's CHB, in a nutshell.
The irony is supreme.

objectivebruce said...

I will repeat it for the intellectually challenged.

The Twins were not making Ortiz into a "slap hitter."

Please, go ask someone who knows what a slap hitter is, since you obviously have no idea.

He hit 20 homers in 2002, and due to knee problems, hit 1 in May and none in June. He hit 16 of his 2002 homers after July 4, after the season was more than half over. Clearly he was on track for a 30 HR season, and just as clearly, the Twins expected him to hit with some power, but not to be a slugger in the traditional sense, since the team philosophy is to keep the ball in play, not suffer the high strike-out numbers that come with swinging for home runs.

Note also that Ortiz has often credited Ron Jackson with shortening his swing and waiting longer.

Finally, it continues to amuse me how anything critical of your Red Sox heroes, or the is considered hateful, spiteful or armed with "an agenda."

Beth said...

i hate him. i just hate him. so. much.

ironic that he'd be making this comparison to the twins given the other comparison to the twins that sticks in my mind--when someone, in 2004, told bill simmons that if the red sox ever won the WS, they'd be just like the twins--a team that won relatively recently that nobody cares about.

and then of course the chimp's comparison, which is spot-on.

between this and the anecdote about baltimore, i still wonder, if he hates the red sox and their fans so much, why the hell does he continue to write about them?

Shawn said...

Bruce,
I appreciate you participating in a fact-based discussion.

However.

Ortiz hit 20 HR in 125 games in 2002, or one every 6.25 games. Over 162 games, that projects to 25 dingers. So no, Ortiz was not, "Clearly... on track for a 30 HR season".

I look forward to further discourse with you. Care to tackle the continuing Manny-bashing?

Anonymous said...

//Finally, it continues to amuse me how anything critical of your Red Sox heroes, or the is considered hateful, spiteful or armed with "an agenda."//

I'm not sure what you mean here, but, the "critical" things he says about Manny are just cheap shots he's taking about either his work ethic or his intelligence. I can't argue that Manny is or isn't intelligent, but, teammates and other people around the team have come out before to argue that he isn't lazy and have applauded his work ethic.

That's not being "critical" of someone, it's mocking them based on a rumor. It'd be like if you were married and a rumor went around that you were cheating on your wife. With another man. And, five years later, people still make jokes about it. Anytime you're at a urinal next to another guy, and the other guy says, "Quit staring, Liberace!"

rdsx1985 said...

What I don't understand Bruce is why you for some reason feel like we don't like it as NE fans whenever someone writes something bad about one of our "heros," that everyone immediately is angry with the writer. I do not feel like this is true for all fans at all, and it is an unfair sterotype on your part. Personally, I can't stand Doug Mirabelli, as he apparently has made fun of a small town reporter in the sox clubhouse for some sort of disability he has multiple times. To me, thats inexcusable.

Then, with the idea about Manny's work ethic. I think that there seems to be some sort of disconnect, as it is well documented that Manny works his butt off in the offseason, and still works hard during the season, in the cages and studying tape. However, fans don't see that generally. They see Manny dogging it down the first base line on something that maybe he could have beaten. Do I wish that he'd run hard on every play- Yes, but at the same time, it seems unfair and cheap to call Manny on this behavior when its done by many others in the league.

So I guess my two points would be:
1. Not all fans love the uniform (and whose ever in it) to a fault. If there is a serious reason to dislike a player (Doug, or someone else) then most people will not fall in love with the guy. You can cheer when he gets a hit, but thats not the same as saying you like the guy.

2. Manny does work hard, he just doesn't always play hard. Is that right (especially for how much he gets paid)-not really, but taking those isolated instances and summing them up to say he doesn't work hard isn't fair or true.


Finally, I have my Dan Shaughnessy story from today. I go to Holy Cross, where Dan himself went. I was sitting in Kimball, our dining hall this morning, reading the sports section, when I heard some people sitting at another table. One kid was evidently from Chicago, and had only recently started reading the globe (which the school pays for and puts in the dining hall). Anyway, this kid turns to the guy next to him, and starts talking about the sports section too. He was talking about how he liked Bob Ryan, and what he generally writes. The person to whom he was talking said something along the lines of "Yea, the globes got some good writers there." The other guy responds, "Yea, but I can't read that Shaughnessy guy anymore. Everything is so negative. I don't get it, this is a great sports city. Why is everything a personal vendetta with that guy. Someone should tell him to relax or something." The other guy then told him that most people around here just don't read his stuff anymore because hes said it all before...

objectivebruce said...

Shawn, I'd be wary of extrapolating when a good number of Manny's 125 game appearances in '02 were as a pinch hitter or came during a two month streak, May to early July when he hit zero homers because of the knee injury (bone chips if I recall correctly, which is a nagging type of thing--not crippling, but mighty uncomfortable)

The boys at the Cross prefer the BC boy to the Crusader?

objectivebruce said...

Oops. make read
xxx Ortiz's 125 game appearances xxx

stead Manny.

dbvader said...

OB,
So you made a basic error. How is that different from the chief's mistatement in the Carfado piece? The mistake that you jumped all ugly over.
You don't have layers of editors to check your post, unlike Nicles and CHB. Go jump ugly all over your self, you worthless piece of crap.

Further, don't look at HR/AB, but look at HR/PA. The former does not reflect a batter's performance. If a batter (much like Ortiz) increases his walk rate, his HR/AB will go up.

If you look at his graphs, Ortiz Walk Rates

dbvader said...

And OB,
Please explain to everybody how you had access to a CHB column that was only on a password secured database, which you used to refute the claims of the chief and other people on this site? The column you referred to did not appear in the online edition or in the first published edition, which I got. Don't give us that BS about stars and plates and all that crap. The only way that you could have known about the original language of CHB's column is if you work with him. You have never been able to refute this. So 'fess up.