It is hard to believe that the 2011 season is over for the Minnesota Twins. On April 13th the entire Puckett’s Pond staff compiled their predictions for the AL Central. Combined, the staff thought the Twins would reach 92 wins and edge out both the White Sox and the Tigers, both projected for 87 wins. We pegged the Indians for just 69 wins, and had the baby Royals finishing with 67 wins. At the time I predicted a rebound year from Michael Cuddyer, but outside of that, I pretty much got everything else wrong.
While the Pond didn’t do a great job predicting a 99 loss Minnesota Team, we were still rewarded with a spectacular finish to the 2011 MLB season. The Twins won their final two games, avoiding a 100 loss season and winning back to back games for the first time July 26/27. Outside of the AL Central, the rest of the baseball world exploded last night as 4 teams were fighting for the two Wild Card spots in the playoffs, and they didn’t disappoint. The Phillies won a squeaker over the braves in 13 innings, the Red Sox suffered a walk off defeat to the Baltimore Orioles, and the Tampa Bay Rays came back from a 0-7 deficit to beat the Yankees in 11 innings. Amazing baseball.
The Friday Links certainly cannot live up to that magic, but they should help you to close the door on the 2011 regular season, and prepare you for some exciting playoff baseball in the weeks ahead.
Are you worried that you will not have enough baseball content to keep you busy this offseason? Do you like $50? Are you artistically inclined? If so, Twins Centric is running a contest to design the cover for their new Offseason GM Handbook, the winner takes home a cool fifty bucks, and a free copy of the book. I’ve never bought the book, so I don’t know if it is any good, but I’ve had $50 before, and that was pretty nice.
Klout.com is a website that tracks your digital presence on various social networking sites. Like badges from MLB Gameday, a higher Klout score will not earn you anything tangible, but it’s something fun too look at. Anyways, they recently ranked MLB Team Klout scores against wins, and it appears there is a fairly loose correlation. Only 12 MLB teams are listed, so maybe they’re skewing the data, but anyways, something neat to look at.
Hard to believe it was only a week ago that Denard Span drove into the back of Danny Valencia’s SUV and knocked them both out of the starting lineup for last Friday’s game in Cleveland. My favorite part of this incident were Danny Valencia’s comments in which he said, “I stopped, he goed.”
Flip Flop Fly Ballin’ is doing a neat new series in which they show the baseball scorecard for the first and last ABs of some historically great baseball players. Here is Ted Wiliams’.
Edward Thoma is awesome. He continues to turn out great content day after day. Last Sunday his “Pic of the Week” was Coco Crisp jumps for a fly ball.
Last week I pointed you towards the first five segments in K-Bro’s 2012 Wish List. Part Six is just as good. Don’t miss it.
If you were watching the Twins game on Sunday against the Cleveland Indians then you caught a glimpse of Jim Thome PLAYING THE FIELD! Sure, it was more ceremonial than anything, as he only stayed at Third Base for one pitch, but it sure was fun.
In case you were still not convinced that Mariano Rivera was a great pitcher, check out adarowski’s graph of Postseason Win Probability Added. There is Mariano Rivera, and there is everyone else.
Scott Diamond. I cannot imagine anyone saying something positive about the Twins’ Rule 5 draft pick. But alas, Granny Baseball thinks that Diamond is the most valuable young Twins pitcher not named Kyle Gibson. You have to read it to believe it.
The Bat Shatters does a great job of looking at the many disappointments of the 2011 Minnesota Twins. After back to back wins, and the euphoria of Wednesday night, it’s hard to believe this many things went wrong in 2011.
If you do not count injuries, the Twins’ problems in 2011 really boil down to Pitching, and lack of consistent play up the middle. Giles Talks Twins does a great job breaking down the problems of 2011.
Joe Mauer TALKS TO THE PRESS! That has not happened for a while. Phil Mackey has full coverage of Mauer’s presser, in which Mauer basically says nothing.
I linked to this earlier in the week, but if you haven’t read Jon Marthaler’s Running Diary of the Royals and Twins game on Monday night, go ahead and read it now. It is awesome.
The Twins were so bad in 2011 that it was funny. How funny? Well, The Onion has now listed the Twins as the butt of their jokes for a second time. This time the Twins are fighting their way to the bottom.
Haven’t heard enough about the failed mantra, “Pitch to Contact”? The Bleacher Report will give you all the pitch to contact nonsense you care to handle.
Chris Parmelee continues to be awesome. Andrew Kneeland has more on Parmelee and examines his possible future with the Minnesota Twins. Edward Thoma weighs in on Parmelee as well. Not one to be left out in the cold, Nick Nelson adds his two cents on Parmelee’s Powerful Debut.
Yeah, Nick Blackburn is having surgery to repair his right forearm. Maybe the doctors can throw some extra special pitching muscles in there while they’re at it, because the Twins are going to need Blackburn to be successful in 2012 if they want to avoid watching another postseason from the couch.
Still not convinced that the Pitcher WIN is a flawed statistic? You will be after reading this short piece from Rob Neyer.
I can’t confirm this is a picture of notorious umpire Joe West, but I think he has the same size brain as this guy.
Jose Reyes pulled himself from Wednesday’s regular season finale after reaching base on a bunt single in his first at bat, and sealing the NL Batting Title. A lot of folks made this into a bigger deal than it should have been. Mostly folks just thought he was being selfish. Well, duh! He is playing the season finale for a Mets team that isn’t going to the playoffs, against a Cincinnati Reds team that isn’t going to the playoffs, in the last game of his contract, most certainly not going back to the Mets, and hoping to increase his Free Agent value by adding batting champ to his resume. If he wasn’t playing for himself, why even bother? Dustin Parkes of Getting Blanked offers another point of view.
The Twins’ losing season has been hard on everyone, especially businesses surrounding Target Field.
Besides a walk of win for the Minnesota Twins, Wednesday night’s game was a walk off victory for Twins’ radio great John Gordon. Read about it here.
Carl Pavano went back to the trusty mustache look on Wednesday night and pitched his best game of the season. Joe Christensen thinks the mustache could be the key to his dominance, but gives us no mustached pictures of Pavano, which I found slightly unsettling. Fischean alludes to the mustache as well over at TwinkieTown, and takes some positives away from the 2011 Twins.
I liked this image at Over the Baggy, and the commentary on beating the Royals.
What are the take aways from this 2011 season? Tracy Perlman from CBS Minnesota has a few in mind. She’s cute too, so maybe if I keep linking to her articles…
Was Wednesday’s game Cuddyer’s last in a Twins uniform? I hope not, but the reality of signing the Twins 2011 MVP to a multiyear deal seems to be beyond hope, and probably beyond the budget of Bill Smith and the rest of the front office. Jesse breaks down the big picture.
Still undecided about who to root for in the 2011 Playoffs? Beyond the Box Score lends a hand, thought they seem to be telling people to just root for the Diamondbacks…
Here is a smattering of links dedicated to Wednesday’s CRAZY MLB finale:
The Night in Pictures from DRaysBay.
AL Wild Card Probabilities, minute by minute graph from FanGraphs
A Potential fix for the Red Sox from David Schoenfield
A pretty neat visual representation of the dichotomy of victory and defeat from Babes Love Baseball
And Joe Posnanski doing what Joe Posnanski does, writing about baseball by writing about life, and making you really FEEL Baseball Night in America
Since the season is over, I suppose it is time for End of the year awards. Giles Talks Twins and the North Dakota Twins Fan already have their awards out. The Pond will be putting ours up next week. I’ll continue to link you to post season awards as they become available.
For a baseball wrap up, here is The Common Man’s take on the reality of postseason baseball, and the importance of streaks.
In non-baseball news, UniWatch takes a look at new NHL uniform changes, featuring the Minnesota Wild! Pretty neat.
Something else neat to look at? This video of the Blackhawks center ice logo being painted on to the floor of the United Center. Bonus points to the Blackhawks for letting their players help with the painting.
And I’ll leave you with this:
Times are tight for everyone in this economic climate. The Art of Manliness introduces 5 Low-Cost Family Friendly Meals, and they leads with a Minnesota favorite, SPAM! How can you go wrong?
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