Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Twins To Host 2014 MLB All Star Game

Today, MLB commissioner Bud Selig announced that the Minnesota Twins and the city of Minneapolis will be hosting the 2014 Major League Baseball All Star Game. At a press conference at Target Field, Selig was joined by Twins owner Jim Pohlad, Twins President Dave St. Peter, Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak, Twins legends Rod Carew and Tony Oliva, and a few other dignitaries as well.

Selig made the following statement, “It is my great honor to name the Minnesota Twins as the hosts of the 2014 All-Star Game. This is especially meaningful to me because of my close personal and professional relationship with Carl Pohlad, who was one of the finest owners in professional sports. The Midsummer Classic will be a celebration of Carl’s legacy, one of our game’s model franchises and the spectacular Target Field, which deserves to be showcased on this global stage.”

The Twins previously hosted the All Star Game in 1965 at Metropolitan Stadium and in 1985 at the Metrodome.

Of course the Twins are not just hosting the All Star Game. With the game comes the MLB fanfest, which starts a week before the game. Then on the Sunday before the game, the futures game (Which always has so few people! WHY?!?!) and the celebrity softball game (But it doesn't air until Monday following the HR Derby). Then on Monday its the all star workout day, followed by the always entertaining Home Run Derby (Unless you like listening to Chris Berman). Then finally on the Tuesday, the game itself is played with the winner getting home field advantage for the World Series that fall.

So for a week in 2014, Minnesota will be the center of the baseball universe. Man, that will be nice. Lets start the countdown to 2014!! (Countdown is on the right side!)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Twins outright Blackburn, Nishioka

Today, the Twins announced they outrighted two players from their 40 man roster. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who was not a surprise at all, was one of them. The other, was Nick Blackburn. His move was almost stunning.

Blackburn had compiled a 4-9 record, in 19 starts this year, with a 7.39 ERA. Even with another year left on his deal, the Twins simply felt he could be no longer of any use to the team, at least for the remainder of this year. Blackburn is owed $5.5 million in 2013, and was making $4.75 million this year.

Nishioka was almost a no brainer. He had spent almost all of the season at AAA-Rochester (Only hitting .252), before getting a week with the Twins and he went hitless in his 12 at bats. Couple this year and last year (.226 in 68 games with the Twins in 2011), and you can see that Nishioka was simply outmatched after coming over from Japan.

But perhaps the thing that sticks out the most here, is that behind the Joe Mauer contract extension, Nishioka and Blackburn were probably the next two significant deals under the Bill Smith era. Nishioka signed a 3 year, $9 million deal prior to 2011, and Blackburn signed a 4 year, $14 million extension prior to the 2010 season. Obviously, much like the Smith era, they never panned out the way we hoped.

Both moves needed to be done. The Twins need to continue to rebuild the team, and they freed up two spots on the 40 man roster to help with the rebuild. Neither Blackburn and Nishioka had much future past 2013 with the Twins, so why not let them go in 2012?

Even despite the fact the Twins will have to pay the remainder of both their contracts, the moves could greatly benefit the Twins in 2013.

Lets hope they do...