Minnesota Twins: Puckett’s Patter – Dearly Departed Edition
This week on Puckett’s Patter looks at the Minnesota Twins, Byron Buxton, and reflect on the passing of The Purple One.
Welcome to another week of Puckett’s Patter. The purpose of this feature is for Puckett’s Pond to provide for some fan interaction on a weekly basis. In order to participate, send a Twins related tweet to @PaulOverbee or @PuckettsPond with the hashtag #PuckettsPatter. You can also submit a question at the Puckett’s Pond Facebook page or in the comment section below. I will take a sample of each week’s questions and thoughts, and I will address them on this weekly feature. For this week’s edition, we had a contribution from yet another new participant. We look forward to interacting with more fans from Twins’ Territory in the coming weeks, so keep the questions coming for next week’s edition.
Sadly, Prince Rogers Nelson passed away at the age of 57 on Thursday, April 21st. Since then there have been plenty of tributes both in the state of Minnesota and nationally. The Minnesota Twins have also found a few ways to pay their respects to the self-proclaimed ‘Purple Yoda’ from Minnesota. Immediately after the news broke, the Target Field staff lit all of the scoreboards purple. During that weekend’s series against the Washington Nationals, some of the players chose to don some purple arm bands and sleeves.
The Twins’ next home game was on the night of Monday the 25th, against the Cleveland Indians. The team declared the game as their ‘Prince Night,’ and celebrated in a couple ways. To begin the game, there were seven white doves that were released from the mound. Throughout the game, each Twins player used a different Prince song for their walk-up music. For the seventh inning stretch, the song ‘Little Red Corvette’ was added to the playlist. Best of all, to finish the game Oswaldo Arcia hit a walk-off blast that was celebrated to the tune of ‘Let’s go Crazy.’
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Going forward, the team plans to continue honoring Prince in a few ways. Joe Mauer will continue using the Prince song ‘Seven’ as his first walk-up song of each game. The stadium is going to keep ‘Little Red Corvette’ as part of the seventh inning festivities. When the Twins lose at home, the song ‘Purple Rain’ will guide fans out of the stadium. ‘Let’s go Crazy’ will continue to be the home run celebration tune, and ‘Partyman’ will continue to be played when the Twins win at home. Though there isn’t much to connect the Twins and Prince besides the state of Minnesota, it is great to see the team finding creative ways to honor his legacy.
Aw Shucks with Bux
A lot of fans seem to have lost faith in Byron Buxton, and there is some reason to support that lack of enthusiasm. In 2016, Buxton put up a .156/.208/.289 slash line before being sent down to the minor leagues. Of course you never want to see a player below the famed ‘Mendoza line,’ but Buxton’s 2016 woes were magnified by the fact that the rest of the team seemed to have forgotten what solid contact feels like.
In terms of ‘being the player he was touted to be,’ it is arguable that he was already there defensively. Since being sent down, the Twins are getting more offensive production from their outfield, but they are also seeing the value of that offensive production diminished by runs given up by an incompetent outfield. Of course, most fans are more interested in how Buxton can recover offensively.
It is important to remember that Buxton is only 22 years old, and he has had only 187 plate appearances in the Major Leagues. Could Byron Buxton be a bust? Sure, but it is far too early to make that claim definitively. A pre-season piece on Buxton stated that it would take some time to decide whether his bat was big league ready, the sample size is still too small to really predict whether he could be a bust. The important question is whether the Twins are doing the right thing by sending him down to face pitching he can handle, rather than letting him grind it out in the big leagues until he adjusts. Only time can answer how that will play out.
Next: Park Keeps Homering, Twins Keep Losing
Feel free to join the discussion below in the comments or on Twitter. We would like to hear your thoughts on Buxton, is he a bust or not? A special thanks to Marcus Page and Garret Jeddeloh for providing some material for this weeks Puckett’s Patter. Again, if you would like to participate in next week’s feature send a Twins related tweet to @PaulOverbee or @PuckettsPond with the hashtag #PuckettsPatter. You can also submit a question at the Puckett’s Pond Facebook page or in the comment section below. Look forward to hearing from all of you.