Saturday Notebook: More Satire, Abusing Players, Latin Coaches, The Hiccup, Immaculate Innings, and Play of the Year (?)

Leon Halip

Today's Saturday Notebook looks at some of my own satire pieces, Tino Martinez getting fired from the Marlins for "abusing" his players, a rare time I agree with Patrick Reusse about the Twins needing a Latino coach, Justin Verlander and C.C. Sabathia's struggles being the "hiccup" of their career and if they'll power through it, Steve Delabar's "immaculate inning," and J.B. Shuck making a case for Play of the Year.

If you missed it (which you probably didn't), RandBall's Stu had a fantastic article about how the Twins were upset with prospect Byron Buxton for hitting so many triples in the minors this year. Stu pointed out that Buxton already has 15 "showoff doubles" this year, whereas the entire Twins offense has hit ten, and the Twins brass would rather have players stop at second base so they could be moved up to 3rd with a bunt because triples are too showy.

The post sounded very realistic. Almost too good to be true. Well, the truth is that it really was, as many forgot to see that Stu had filed the post under our "Satire, Irrelevance and Other Humor" tag. With that type of reaction, it got me thinking about my past.

Before I joined Twinkie Town, I had written quite a few satire posts myself at my old blog Off The Mark. Some of these were even parodies of songs, but I mixed in a few articles as well, such as the Metrodome roof collapse being an inside job, how to get Brendan Harris to stop flinching at pitches over the inside corner of the plate, and my personal favorite from my blogging days, Joe Mauer and Jim Thome getting stuck inside a building because they were too polite to leave first.

But, none of these compare to what I want to share with you. About half a year before I started blogging, I wrote a note on Facebook that was, in my eyes, the best piece of satire I've ever written. Back in 2009, the Twins had R.A. Dickey on their roster, and he was fighting for a roster spot with other immortals like Philip Humber and Rule 5 draft pick Jason Jones. I quickly noticed that a) he was a knuckleballer, and 2) his name was just like the brand of jeans, so I mixed it all together to make a post on Dickey selling jeans as a side gig.

The best part was that it totally fooled my friend Craig, whom I knew from as a college classmate at Gustavus and the guy that got me my part-time job with the Twins as an usher. After reading the post, he contacted me and exclaimed his excitement over buying a pair of jeans at one of the Twins pro shops if Dickey made the team.

Oh, Craig!

I shared this story with my fiancee and she had a similar reaction, and then I broke the news to Craig that I had written the entire post on my own and that none of it was based in fact. He's easily the biggest Twins fan I know, as he did represent the organization on MLB Network's game show Baseball IQ and made it to the second round before losing to his former co-worker from when he interned at the Baseball Hall of Fame, so Craig was understandably disappointed that he couldn't add an effing pair of jeans to his collection of baseball memorabilia.

But that's fine, because he now works for the MLB Network doing research for their various shows thanks to his appearance on Baseball IQ, and he also regularly visits the MLB Fan Cave, so I guess he got the last laugh.

Thus, here is my post in its entirety.

-------------------------

The Minnesota Twins knew exactly what they were getting into when they signed knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.

His jeans.

Since 2004, Dickey has been selling his own brand of jeans, Dickey's Dickies, at various ballparks around the country.

"Being an unestablished major leaguer, I needed money and it just started as a joke. But once my friends started spreading word about Dickey's Dickies and I repeatedly received inquiries about them, I knew that I hit pay dirt," said Dickey after a bullpen session in Fort Myers, Florida. "I used to always hear jokes about my name and Dickies jeans, but now I proudly smile and offer a pair whenever I hear one."

The Twins have been selling Dickey's Dickies ever since the spring training opener on Feb. 25th. Sales started off a bit slow, but they have picked up as word has gone around about the pants.

They are just like any other pair of jeans, except for a few tweaks. As a tribute to Dickey and his right elbow missing the ulnar collateral ligament, Dickey's Dickies do not have a seam running down the right outside pant leg. The jeans can also be bought with or without a Twins logo hand-stitched on the front of the left thigh, and comes with a complimentary handbook on how to throw a knuckleball.

Dickey is currently in a spring training battle with Philip Humber, Rule 5 pick Jason Jones, and others for a long relief role on the 25-man roster. If Dickey makes the team, he says that he will most likely continue selling his jeans at the Metrodome.

  • I grew up hating the Yankees and since they dominated the late '90s and early aughts, I became quite familiar with names such as Scott Brosius, David Cone, David Wells, Andy Pettitte, Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez, and more. Hell, I even remember John Vander Wal and he was a Yankee for one season! However, it's one of the unnamed Yankees from this time period that was in the news this week, and it was former Yankees first baseman Tino Martinez. Up until early this week, Martinez was the hitting coach for the Miami Marlins, at least until some of the position players started complaining about Martinez's coaching tactics, which involved being verbally abusive to multiple players and physically abusive to one. Shortly after, Martinez was interviewed by Ken Rosenthal, and Tino claimed that the issues were all caused by some of the Marlins players refusing to pick up baseballs after their teammates had hit in the cage. Now, Martinez does admit swearing at the players (Derek Dietrich, Chris Valaika, and Justin Ruggiano), and in my opinion it's not necessarily abusive, but it sure seemed like Martinez thought that aggression and intimidation were good solutions to get his players to do what he wanted. For what it's worth, I believe this was Martinez's first coaching position, and it might be safe to say that he won't be fielding any offers in the near future.
  • I really do not like Patrick Reusse. Not at all. He seems stuck in the past, he dismisses advanced statistics mainly because he doesn't understand them, and he just seems like a guy that says things to get people riled up. However, he wrote an article earlier this week that I'm 100% in agreement with, and that is that the Twins need a Latin coach on the staff. The Twins have had issues with minor leaguers Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario, and Oswaldo Arcia this year, and yet the only Latin coach they have in the organization (according to Reusse, at least) is Venezuelan Ivan Arteaga, and he's down in Fort Myers. We remember that Sano was benched for pimping a home run and then telling manager Jeff Smith that he would do as he pleased, but what the Twins seemed to miss is that in Latin America, players often showboat after hitting a home run (did no one from the Twins organization watch the WBC?). Also, they seemingly have struggled with getting through to past Latin players, with a recent example being Carlos Gomez. A Latin coach could give these players someone to relate to as they play in a different country here in America.
  • Occasional contributor to Twinkie Town Bill Parker has a post up on the SB Nation main blog about the declining velocity of C.C. Sabathia and Justin Verlander and their poor stats from this season. He points out that a lot of pitchers throughout history have encountered a "hiccup," where they had one significantly poor season in their career, only to rebound the following season(s) as they finally learned to adjust to pitching with diminished velocity. As Twins fans I'm sure we wouldn't mind if Verlander continues to struggle, but I get the feeling that he is the kind of pitcher that is savvy enough to learn how to succeed with his fastball in the low-90s instead of the mid-90s. In fact, I think we're already seeing that evolution as he's added a slider over the past 5 years and has leaned more on his change-up and less on his fastball and curveball. Regardless, it seems as though these struggles that Sabathia and Verlander are going through are normal, it's just a matter to see if they can rebound or if they continue to fall off the table.
  • Last week I posted about Steve Delabar and his touching comeback to baseball, similar to Jim Morris as chronicled in the movie "The Rookie." This week we again look at Delabar, as he became just the 48th pitcher in major league history to record an "immaculate inning," or striking out three batters on just nine pitches in one inning. First, I'm shocked that there was actually a name for that type of achievement. Second, a perfect game has been achieved only 23 times in major league history, which means that the "immaculate inning" is roughly half as rare as a perfect game, but is still awfully unlikely to occur. In case you were curious, the 9 strikes were recorded on 5 swings, 3 called strikes, and 1 foul ball.
  • J.B. Shuck made a case for play of the year last night when he robbed Jose Bautista of a home run. Now while robbed home runs are usually pretty fun to watch, it's pretty hard to make one stand out from another. After all, we just saw Trevor Plouffe get robbed of a home run a few days ago by Lorenzo Cain, and although the catch was impressive, nothing about it really said "Play of the Year." Well, Shuck accomplishes that because he doesn't just rob Bautista, but after leaping for the ball, he fell over the short wall in the left field corner of Angel Stadium and into the crowd. You may ask why this isn't a home run, but I guess the rule of a home run states that it must go over the fence without being caught. Hence, it's perfectly legal for a player to catch the ball, leap over the fence just for the hell of it, and still have the out count. However, for those of you still upset that Shuck left the field, at least the umpires did make Maicer Izturis advance from 1st to 2nd base because Shuck took the ball out of play, so there's that.
Finally, our collection of GIFs, videos, and tweets for the week, and there are A TON.

  1. David Ortiz takes a page out of Carl Pavano's book by smashing the dugout phone. On a related note, I still have no clue how Scott Baker didn't get hit by Pavano's swings.
  2. In response, the Rays request for a fortified dugout phone in preparation of Hurricane Papi in September.
  3. Watch Carlos Beltran swing and miss at a pitch that bounced several feet in front of the plate. Mets fans shrug and say, "That's (expletive) Carlos Beltran for ya."
  4. Brett Lawrie chooses to incorporate a dance move into his throw to 1st base as he pirouettes over the 3rd base bag.
  5. You probably remember this commercial of Tiger Woods bouncing a golf ball on his sand wedge multiple times before soft-tossing it to himself and hits it. A couple Braves players tried doing similar things with a baseball and bat, with shortstop Andrelton Simmons being the only one to successfully pull off the trick.
  6. This throw should confirm that Melky Cabrera is no longer using steroids.
  7. Yoervis Medina comes halfway from the 'pen to the mound only to realize that he wasn't supposed to pitch. The camera zooming out and seeing teammate Oliver Perez throw up his arms adds to the hilarity. What takes away from the hilarity is that acting manager Robby Thompson raised his left hand on accident when he meant to raise his right, and the umpires forced him to bring in Perez when he wanted Medina in the first place.
  8. Someone drew the batters boxes at AT&T Park crooked and no one noticed right away.
  9. Chad Qualls blows out a tire as he attempts to fist pump after a strikeout. Plus, we get an alternate angle!
  10. Lastly, since I'm a math teacher, this bar graph from Blue Jays TV carrier CSN makes my brain hurt so much. The bars are not proportioned! What does R.A. Dickey throw 0.3% of the time?
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