Thanks to a fast game at Inside Edge last night, I was able to make it home in time to watch the Twins. Upon arrival, I was able to see Miguel Sano rocket a line drive off the massive left field fence at Minute Maid Park. However, due to the perfect storm of Sano's power, his lack of speed, and Carlos Gomez's never-say-die attitude when playing any facet of the game, there ended up being a close play at second base. Although Sano originally beat the throw from Gomez, his pop-up slide led to him briefly coming off the base. Jose Altuve held his tag on Sano who was ultimately called out.
Following this play, Dick Bremer and guest color commentator Jack Morris went into a discussion of how teams used to practice sliding in spring training and that Sano may need some practice on his pop-up slides. Never mind that this was a rare occurrence—at least the only one I know of where Sano came off the base after a slide since his major league debut last season—and that Sano's body language after the play suggested he knew that he screwed up.
Let's go back a few weeks ago. The Astros had lost a game when one of their players slid at a middle infielder during a force-out instead of directly at the 2nd base bag in the 9th inning of a close game. Invoking the new MLB rule this season, a double play was awarded, ending the game for the Astros. While I was driving home from dinner with a close friend, I listened to Dan Gladden rant about the new rule. He stated that players would have to relearn how to slide into bases, because they were never taught to go straight into the bag. No, they were always to go to the side, and having to directly approach the bag would lead to more injuries. Cory Provus asked Dan Gladden if there was sliding practice in spring training and Gladden, arrogant as he usually is, brushed it off as quickly as the idea of sliding directly into the base.
If you follow me on Twitter, you likely have noticed that I have an extremely low tolerance of the Twins announcers on TV and radio. The fact is simple in that they don't connect with me, talk about the past as the Golden Age of baseball, and almost refuse to embrace either the new players or the new way the game is played. Defensive shifts are typically met with scorn as the batters should just learn to shoot the ball the other way. Dangerous plays at 2nd base and home plate are being removed, supposedly making the game less exciting. Everyone strikes out nowadays, oh the horror of trying to hit the ball hard! Batters should shorten up and make more contact! Additionally, the top young players are repeatedly compared not to the greats of the last decade, but of the last generation. Hell, I even recall a game last season when Dick and Bert spent more time introducing Astros pitcher Lance McCullers as the son of Lance McCullers, Sr. than they did introducing him as Lance McCullers, Astros top prospect.
I will admit that my ideal broadcast would have FSN encourage Dick and Bert to be more sabermetrically inclined, but I also recognize that it would not be realistic (I cringe at the thought of Bert trying to explain something like WAR intelligently). I feel bad for Cory Provus because it feels like he tries to be that breath of fresh air only to get shot down by Dan Gladden's arrogance.
Actually, maybe I've accidentally stumbled upon the entire reason for my complaint here. I really like Cory Provus and I suppose Dick Bremer doesn't really bother me. But Bert and Gladden almost seem to be around due to the nostalgia of being on a championship-winning ball club than for their actual expertise. Both tell us how the game used to be played and that it was better back then. That's great for those that actually were alive in the late '80s, but I wasn't. I don't have that nostalgia, I don't connect to their stories and it frustrates me.
I want to know how you feel about the broadcast teams the Twins employ. Do you share my same frustrations? Am I a crackpot blogger that should move out of his mother's basement? (PROTIP: I've been out of it for four years now and have been married for nearly two.) How could I embrace these guys more so I can watch a game without muting it?