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Message FA-31: Please Do Not Hang Up

July 11, 2008:  Open Thread, Twins @ Tigers Recap

Automated Message:  Por favor no cuelgue.  The leadoff hitter you are using is not effective.  If you feel this message is in error, please try your stats and look again.  If you require further assistance, please stay on the line and an operator will be with you shortly.


Operator:  Lineup Construction Assistance, this is Daryl.

Gardenhire:  Hi Daryl, Ron here.  Listen, I'm having trouble with my leadoff hitter.

Daryl:  Okay.  Ron, are you still using the same guy?

Gardenhire:  Gomez.  Yep.

Daryl:  Right.  So what seems to be the problem?

Gardenhire:  Well, he struck out again tonight.  Multiple times.

Daryl:  Twice?

Gardenhire:  Thrice.

Daryl:  I see.  And did he reach base at all tonight?

Gardenhire:  Nope.  But he really hustled his tail off out there.

Daryl:  I'm sure he did, Ron.  Now listen, do you remember what I told you about all this the last three times you called?

Gardenhire:  ...

Daryl:  Ron?

Gardenhire:  Speed is awesome?

Daryl:  No, Ron.

Gardenhire:  Fast guys belong at the top of a batting order?

Daryl:  No.

Gardenhire:  ...

Daryl:  Ron?

Gardenhire:  Speed is awesome?

Daryl:  RON!  NO!  (sigh)  Don't you remember?  The number one trait that a leadoff hitter must possess, more than anything else, is the ability to...what?

Gardenhire:  Run really fast?

Daryl:  No, Ron.  Get on base.  The correct answer is--the number one trait that a leadoff hitter must possess, more than anything else, is the ability to get on base.

Gardenhire:  I thought that was a joke.  I thought you were joking.

Daryl:  What?

Gardenhire:  I thought it was a joke!  When I got off the phone with you, I told all the guys that Daryl just made another funny joke!  We laughed!  I wrote it in my diary:  Dear Diary, Daryl made another funny joke today!

Daryl:  Right.  Well, Ron, let me ask you something.  How can a guy use all that speed when he doesn't get on base?

Gardenhire:  He can use it in the field.

Daryl:  That's right, he can.  But what about in the batting order?

Gardenhire:  Fast guys go at the top of the batting order.

Daryl:  NO.  Fast guys can only use their speed when they're on base.  When they're not on base, they're not fast.  They're on the bench.

Gardenhire:  Okay.  But what about the strikeouts?

Daryl:  I don't know, Ron.  Carlos is young, he's going to struggle.  Either you hang with him or you send him to Rochester to get some discipline and let him start to recognize pitches in a less stressful environment.  But if you don't send him down, Ron, you need to take him out of that leadoff spot.

Gardenhire:  But fast guys go at the top.

Daryl:  Ron, Denard is fast.  Alexi is fast.  Even Nick is fast.  You have other options besides Carlos.  Leaving Gomez in the leadoff spot is just putting fewer guys on base for Joe and Justin.

Gardenhire:  You serious?

Daryl:  Absolutely.  Listen--try giving Gomez a couple of days off.  Have him take some extra BP, have him stand in against whoever's starting the next couple days, let him see a few things.  Talk to him, take the pressure off of him, tell him to relax and observe.  Give him the opportunity to learn sometimes without having to stand inside the fire.

Gardenhire:  ...

Daryl:  Ron?

Gardenhire:  We won tonight.

Daryl:  I know you did, Ron.  Good job.  It was a great win.  Just listen to what I said, okay?  I'm only trying to help.

Gardenhire:  You're funny, Daryl.  I like you.