Despite losing six in a row at home to finish another horrendous season, the Twins have extended the contract of manager Ron Gardenhire for two years through 2015.You can’t blame Gardenhire for losing — his record is a respectable 998-947 with a .513 win-loss percentage.
The Twins just completed their third straight year of losing nearly 100 games. Each team plays 162. In fact, they are the first team in MLB history to have three teams — Oakland, Detroit and Cleveland — all clinch playoff spots against them. Two of the celebrations were at Target Field. Ouch.
Target Field, we love you. But bad baseball, you got it: 63-99 in 2011, 66-96 in 2012, and 66-96 again in 2013.When is enough enough?
This year’s team set a major league mark with the third-most strikeouts in baseball history, 1,430, setting a Twins franchise record. The team used the second half of the year basically to shuttle players from the minor leagues and take a long look at them during the regular season.
What have we learned? That the Twins continue losing year after year instead of paying to keep good players.
They give up on talented players with good contracts and ship them out. Francisco Liriano, Pittsburgh, was 16-8. Justin Morneau, Pittsburgh ex-MVP, led the Twins with 74 RBIs before being traded. Denard Span, Washington, had an MLB-best 29-game hitting streak. Joe Nathan, Texas, had 43 saves. Michael Cuddyer, Colorado, was .331 National League batting champion.
We understand that owner Jim Pohlad learned well from his dad that the cardinal rule is to make money. The Pohlad ownership is the richest in all of baseball; no other ownership has more money.
Now that they have a wonderful publicly financed new ball park, winning games is not as important as making money. The Twins sell their fans on the experience of watching baseball at Target Field. Unfortunately, the last three years that experience consists of watching bad baseball with a team that cannot compete.
Money is not the issue. The Twins are telling their fans again we would rather lose than pay the price to be competitive. So, enjoy the experience of watching your heroes get beaten over and over again.
All-Star Joe Mauer hit .324 this season, second in the American League. He played in just 113 games for 11 homeruns and 47 RBIs. He suffered with concussion-like symptoms and did not play after mid-August. The question going forward with Mauer: Is he a catcher or not?
Next year the Twins will host the 2014 Major League All-Star game, the mid-summer classic. This year the All-Star game was in New York and, embarrassingly, eight former Twins made it for other teams.
Among the 30 teams in MLB, only Houston, Miami and Chicago lost more games than your Minnesota Twins. That’s how the Twins play ball, and I’m keeping it real. It’s bad baseball.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.
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