Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I Hang My Head And Cry…

Well, maybe not…I only cry at weddings and West Wings. But still…what a weird f’ing sports day for folks in MN.

Garnett’s gone…that seems certain. I’ve long since given up any semblance of interest in the NBA. I honestly equate it to Cycling and NASCAR at this point…I only pay attention when there’s a disaster. But, there are other folks I know that remain loyal to the Picket Fence and consequently pay attention to the minutiae of the NBA…much as I still read box scores daily.

Those are the folks I cry for today. Rebuilding is not fun. And rebuilding while having very little confidence in your architect deserves its own circle of hell. As a card-carrying homer (there’s a loon on it), I wish all MN sports teams well. But good god, Kevin McHale has almost (and literally) swapped teams with a moribund franchise in less than a year…seemingly due entirely to the fact he knows their phone number by heart. My favorite part of this deal is McHale was “able” to get the Celtics to include a TIMBERWOLVES first round draft choice. Isn’t that a sign you should maybe mingle a little more at the annual GM jamboree? Christ, it’s like downloading porn from yourself. What’s the “plan” here, Hannibal?

And here’s where MN Basketball Fan is separated from MN Baseball Fan…the plan. While it’s certainly not unanimous, I believe most Timberwolves fans think it’s time for something new. The Kevin Garnett era was great, he’s been an amazing player and citizen…but the team isn’t getting better anyway. But…since NO ONE believes Kevin McHale knows what he’s doing, the assumption is that the Timberwolves made a terrible deal.

On the other side of town, the Quiet Genius can trade his starting second baseman for two low-level minor leaguers, and the first frame of reference for us (yes, I’m switching from “them” to “us”) is Joe Nathan, Boof Bonser, and He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. Even if Twins Fan is apprehensive about the deal, four division championships in five years is a nice cushion to fall back on. “Phew…it’s okay, Ryan knows what he’s doing.”

And I think he does. The Castillo trade makes SOME sense. And I do firmly believe Terry Ryan understands that you base franchise operations on things slightly more tangible and important than nostalgic memories of clotheslining Kurt Rambis.

But I’m frustrated today. Frustrated that an upgrade at third base apparently could have come cheaper than originally thought. And by statements like this:

"No, we're not giving up at all," Ryan said. "We're 6½ games back, and we're better than we were last week. If we didn't think we could absorb this, we certainly wouldn't have done it."

Better than last week? Why? ‘Cuz we’re playing the Royals?

Catharsis demands a list. A list of frustrations and miscellaneous ramblings that will hopefully remind me that my team has a plan:

1: As linked to above, Ty Wigginton was available. I’m not going to argue about the merits of Dan Wheeler, but, look, the Twins have better pitchers than Dan Wheeler. We really couldn’t have let go of ONE of them to get an immediate upgrade to our most needy position…that could have also turned into a longer term solution? Even if Wigginton doesn’t turn-out to be the answer at third…isn’t he already a better option than Nick Punto as “super sub”? He’s done the same thing for most of his career that Nick Punto has done, but *NOW WITH HOME RUNS*. Breathing…

2: Trading Luis Castillo is fine. It’s long been certain that the Twins weren’t going to bring him back next year. And getting “something” for him (even if part of something is the son of this guy) is probably better than nothing. But if you really think you’re still fighting for a playoff berth, isn’t the “something” you’re hoping to get a trip to the World Series? If you’re going to make a run, you make a run. Let’s not pretend Casilla was kicking down the door. Breathing…

3: And what the hell is going on with Torii Hunter? No more silence, please, Mr. Ryan. It’s obviously bothering him. He’s definitively the leader of this team (which, by the way, is one of the reasons you should sign him) and his mood has proven to infect the team, whether positive or negative. We know you don’t like to work through the media, and, most of the time, that’s a fine attititude to take. But where has it got you with the Namesake? It’s gotten you a pissed off superstar. We all know you don’t have a replacement ready for him (which is the other reason you should sign him)...so why not come out and say,

“He’s not going anywhere this year, we’re still fighting for a playoff spot. He’s a key member of this organization and we’re going to work like hell to resign him. Torii’s been vocal about wanting to help christen our new stadium and retire a Twin…we’ll see how much he wants it when we sit down and talk in October.”

Is that so hard? Not only will it act to calm down Torii and his fans (raising my hand), but will also serve to turn the tables on him a bit.

4: The little moves haven’t worked. This franchise is in an amazing run of drafting and developing first-rate pitchers. And they deserve full credit for developing the little offensive punch we now have (Morneau, Hunter, Cuddyer, Mauer…Bartlett?). But enough already with the Ron Gardenhire School for the Old and Crappy. No more Ponson’s. No more Rondell White’s. No more Castro’s. Enough already. Go get a real bat, for Christ’s sake.

5: Did I mention you should have gotten Wigginton? Know why? ‘Cuz Nick Punto’s done. God love him, but he’s done.

6: What are we doing with Carlos Silva? He’s also most likely gone next year…so by the Castillo logic he should go too, no? But what about that pennant chase? Silva’s been a nice veteran presence on the staff. And it probably doesn’t hurt he’s best friends with Johan. So why not start the Sign Johan campaign now and sign Silva to a one year contract extension? Or , you know, trade him for Lombo’s kid.

And...I’m fine.

Please, fellow Twins fans, I encourage you to write your own cathartic rant. When we’re all done, I’ll print them and use the paper to make a giant Oragami Swan that I’ll then train to kill and eat Nick Punto. That's my plan.


Kaiser said...

I've heard some chitter chattering about the Castillo move being a way to dump some salary for the glorious re-signing (different than resigning) of the Namesake. Are we not buying this?

The Wiggington thing is hard to fathom. I'm hoping that TRyan will address this at some point soon, as he's usually pretty brutally honest about these things. I'm guessing that he just didn't have anyone that they wanted enough, or wasn't willing to offer someone he deems essential for the future.

Smitty said...

We really couldn't have traded someone for Wiggington? Wheeler has been good in the past, really good. But he's pretty much above average this year. We got above average. That was a missed opportunity for a good player we could have until 2009.