For the third week in a row we have tweaked our regular Sunday feature. While we kept it easy to read we decided the name didn’t quite fit us so we changed it to "Sunday Chatter". Same format, new slick name! These are exciting times to be a fan with the team battling for first and the games back on television. We appreciate all the support we have received so far for this site and we hope to continue to provide quality fan perspectives of what happens every day with this team. If you would like to contribute anything to improve the site or a general comment email me at email@example.com or Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Obviously, the big news of the weekend was the new TV deal. What does being on television really mean for this franchise and its fans?
Ryan‘s Response: “First and foremost, I think this move was done with one huge factor in mind, the stadium legislature in the house. It is no coincidence that this last minute deal with FSN just happened to come on the exact day that the bill suffered a huge setback in the House Ways and Means committee. I read a quote from Jerry Bell in the paper. He talked about how hard it is to market a team that is not on TV. He is absolutely right. Here the Twins have been playing some great baseball for over a month and only 5% of the state gets to see it. I’m not sure if there will be an increase in attendance but this new deal definitely won’t hurt. Most importantly it means that Twins fans will be able to see their beloved Twinkies on TV again.”
John's Response: “It goes along with the old adage about a tree falling in the forest with no one around to hear. Not being on TV was hard on even the most dedicated of fans. It really caused a rift with the casual ones. The Twins allowed themselves to lose ground, during their great start, to both the Timberwolves and the Viking’s draft. I'm saddened that Victory did not work out because in the long run it would have been better for the team. But you have to weigh which is more beneficial, the cable revenue or a new stadium. Either way I'm just happy I can come home after a long day and relax with my favorite pastime again."
These last two series against the Mariners and Athletics, the Twins have looked less than spectacular (to put it lightly) in losing 2 out of 3 to each team. Which do you think is the "real" Twins team: the one that played so well in April or the one we have seen in May?
JPB: “The team was inconsistent last year, and until all their players are healthy it might be difficult to expect anything else this year. This team played very well in April without all their parts. Now some have returned while the guys who filled in so admirably are losing a bit of steam. It has to be a readjustment for the team, but luckily this organization has lots of depth and options to call upon when something goes wrong. Soon Matt LeCroy, Joe Mauer, Grant Balfour and Rick Helling will all be back. That should give the team stability and right the ship before it gets out of hand. What really scares me is that they lost to a bad team in the Mariners but west coast trips can be rough."
RM: "I have to agree with you about the West Coast trip. They can be rough, but the Twins have handled those teams pretty well in the past (the 2002 Mariners notwithstanding). It's not a good sign to see them losing all these games now, especially when they are games they can and should be winning. I'm somewhat of a pessimist, but I'm not going to give in and say that the Twins will be the mediocre club many experts predicted them to be before the season. This team probably isn't as good as they looked in April, but they aren't as bad as they looked today (Sunday) either."
Matt LeCroy is returning from the disabled list this coming Tuesday. Of all the Twins players who have been hurt, who are you most excited to have back?
RM: "For me, this question is a no brainer: Grant Balfour. I know what you're all thinking: ‘What about Joe?!?’ Well, for the sake of this discussion, I'm not including Mauer. Reports indicate that he is at least 2 weeks from coming back, and I don't think he's going to jump-start this team offensively, especially not right away. Balfour is the guy the Twins have REALLY missed thus far, and that was no more evident than in today's game. Juan Rincon has been struggling with his command lately, but Gardy had to put him in a situation where the Twins really needed a solid relief effort. I could tell as soon as he threw his first pitches that Rincon was not going to be that guy. Unfortunately, there really weren't any other viable options left in the pen. Balfour has a chance to take over LaTroy's former role and run with it."
JPB: "Offense has not been the problem with this team. As exited as I am about the return of Joe it is pitching where this team really lacks depth. I'm not so sure about Balfour. He has an amazing arm but he hasn't done enough at this level to put faith in him succeeding in tough situations. The return of Helling could be the key. He isn't going to put up amazing numbers but he can do something Seth Greisinger has not and that is contribute innings. It is all a domino effect after that. Suddenly, there is less pressure on the bullpen because they have less innings to pitch. They can rest more and Gardy can actually play match-ups. I'm also exited about the return of the other Joe, Joe Mays that is. Before the season is over he will contribute something to this team. His arm could be a god send mid season for this bullpen."
"Fact or Fiction: Kyle Lohse will endure yet another season as a middling, inconsistent, mediocre starting pitcher."
JPB: "Fiction, Kyle Lohse will endure no more then 3 more starts. Then he will find himself in the minors where he can get his head straight. Hopefully he will return a la Joe Mays in 2000 and be a new man. I’m really disappointed in his start to the season because he was poised to make this the year he stepped up. He has too much potential for the team to keep throwing him out there to struggle."
RM: "Fact. I seriously thought coming out of spring training this was going to be the year that Lohse harnessed his immense talent and had the season that he is capable of. That's not going to be the case this year. His problems are the same problems he has always had: location of the fastball and inability to throw his outstanding curveball for strikes. He falls behind in the count too often and is forced to groove a pitch, and he hangs his curve WAY too often. It is too bad; because this is the year the Twins were really counting on him. I think he ends the season with an ERA in the mid-4's once again. Maybe 2005 will be his breakout year..."