Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cutting bait on a concept that has gone belly-up.

First of all, I feel like I should apologize for the Nick Swisher home run. I didn't watch the game live tonight, and therefore did not accurately time my psychic beams of love and goodwill to Swish. I take full responsibility for the outcome. Thankfully, the Twins were able to hold on to the lead anyway. Whew, huh?

More from the Good News Department: Commenter Jeremiah pointed out that one of Brendan Harris's songs tonight was "Jump" by Van Halen. Hmm. I feel positively drunk with power right now. Mwah ha ha ha! I love it. I think we all should feel very proud of the good work we've done here.

Between the shout-out to Mike Redmond's tendency for inappropriate nudity in the clubhouse (but obviously sometimes Mike Redmond DOES need to take his clothes off to have fun) and Jump, the resident musical genius at the Metrodome is kind of my very favorite person this week.

And on to the heart of the matter. This is something that I've been stewing about for over 24 hours now. It may make me sound like a little bit of a cranky-pants, but it's super hard for me to have an opinion about something and not share it. Plus, I think most readers know by now that anything I say comes from a place of genuine, all-consuming, (and maybe just a little bit obsessive) love and devotion to the team and its genuine fans. Having said that, I will just spit it out:

I think the Twins PR department needs to cease and desist with any and all Piranha references, immediately.

Trust me, no one appreciated the whole Piranhas thing more than Those Girls. Born of kindly Ozzie Guillen gibberish, it was one of the best parts of the '06 season. And my Little Piranha Finger Puppet is staring at me from my computer desk as I type, so I don't say this lightly. This entire rant of mine started last night at the game, watching the pre-game Fish Race, a shameless and frankly, embarrassing, rip-off of the Milwaukee sausage races. Do they do this at every Monday game? We haven't been to the Dome on a Monday since Opening Day, so I have no idea. There were 2 piranhas in the mix. It irritated me. Here's why (in bullet point format, because I find it calming):
  • Except for Nick Punto, the Piranhas are GONE. The team chose to get rid of them all. I'm not arguing whether this was right or wrong, I'm just stating it as fact.
  • Nick Punto, the ONE remaining Piranha, is bashed repeatedly and tirelessly by so-called "fans."
  • The trademark of Piranha play was getting the job done with small-ball. This year, a lot of people spent the entire first half of the season claiming the team was positively worthless unless they were hitting home runs.
  • I maintain that it is hypocritical, and just sort of stupid, for the PR department, and the Twins Territory community as a whole, to continue to embrace a concept that a) no longer applies, and b) was in the spirit of play that everyone (well, not everyone...) seems to hate and goes out of their way to complain about obnoxiously (mostly in the Star Tribune blog comments).
  • I simply cannot condone "fans" cheering loudly for a stuffed piranha running around the bases, and then almost in the same breath grumbling about Nick Punto being in the line-up.
  • I might be over-thinking this, but probably not.
OK. My rant is over. I've said my piece. I feel a little better.

Sometimes I think that if Those Girls magically turned into Muppets, we'd look like an awful lot like this:


Jeremiah said...

Alright, I probably comment on your blogs too much, and I apologize if I do. My buddy turned me onto your site, said it would be the highlight of my day every day and you haven't disappointed.

First, awesome Muppet reference.
Second, agreed that too many people think Nick Punto is worthless. The Tiny Superhero has proven time and time again why he is one of the best players we have on the team and his batting average has finally caught up with his defense. Also, I have coined the phrase "Nick Punto would have made that play" while he was injured for the better half of this season. Twice I was proven right today when Buscher missed an easy line drive to his right and Gomez called Punto off a pop up that he was charging relentlessly upon. (Punto was literally 2 feet from the spot Gomez ended up at and where he DROPPED THE BALL!)

Third, there has been talk of naming new piranhas, but nobody has really stepped up in the infield and we have had a lot more extra base hits by players than the constant singles of yesteryear.

And finally, yeah, the fish races are a weekly monday ritual from what I know, I'm not sure how long they've been going on and if they truly are a rip off of Milwaukee's Sausage race or just their own version of the old days when such spectacles were used around the league. But the piranhas are a fairly new addition. They used to use Pike, Muskee, Walleye and Bass or Crappie.

Thanks for tolerating me, and if you wish me to stop commenting, I will be happy to just read your insightful and often amusing blogs silently.

Katie said...

Heck no! I love comments.

Katie said...

AND thanks for confirming the Monday Fish Race info...I KNEW there was a reason we didn't go on Mondays.

The Colonel said...

It is sad how fickle "fans" are. You start out as an awesome utility man then you work your way into the starting line up and have a great year all around and then a great year defensively but not offensively the next and now this year (beyond being hurt he's back to doing well from both fronts and he still can't get people on his side.

But sadly, most "fans" aren't happy unless a batter gets a hit every single time at bat, never misses a defensive play or a pitcher never gives up a run.

I'd say give Punto the vote as to where the Piranha thing goes. If he likes and and wants to invite in new ones then so be it, otherwise trash it and move on.

I were my Punto t-shirt jersey proudly (as I was last night when I was getting my movie at blockbuster and a kid walked in, saw my shirt and exclaimed "Morneau just hit a 3 run double and Ozzie Guillen says he's the most feared hitter in baseball")

nelle said...

Along the Nick Punto topic, while espn doesn't seem to ever give the Twins much air time, a couple of the baseball tonight guys seem to like him, mostly in the webgem catagory. I remember hearing, "Nick Punto, the man who webgems were invented for" and (without any prior referrence to Nick) "that play was almost Punto-like."

Mrs. Slowey said...

I LOVE LITTLE NICKY PUNTO and I think we need another Little Nicky Punto story, Katie!
I'm going through withdrawl! :)

Jeremiah said...

Nelle, I've heard the same thing. Then a couple of days ago, I heard them say "This guy will be on webgems all the time! They just might be called Denardgems." About Span. Now, I like Span. I think we should get rid of Monroe (nothing wrong with him, just not as useful as Span) and keep Span in his place. But PUNTO is who Webgems and the Top 10 Plays are all about.

Daymonster said...

Why do you have to put fan in quotes, just because we don't automatically fall in love with every player on our favorite team?

People have a problem with Punto because he is an inconsistent career .249/.316/.328 hitter and sometimes is known for his "false" hustle.

Don't get me wrong I like Punto, but it doesn't make much sense to keep him in the line up for 536 plate appearances in 2007 if there is a more productive replacement.

Anyway, I agree with the Piranha thing needs to go, but I am ready to embrace what ever expletive laced nickname Ozzie gives us this year.

Katie said...

I put it in quotes, dear Daymonster, because the OED definition of FAN is:

1 : an enthusiastic devotee (as of a sport or a performing art) usually as a spectator
2 : an ardent admirer or enthusiast (as of a celebrity or a pursuit)

Oddly enough, it says NOTHING about people who complain bitterly and constantly about a team and/or its players. Weird, right?

My blog. My rules. The quotation marks stay. And you should know I always make a habit to use air quotes when I TALK about it too.

SARAH said...

This just in:

B. Harris reverted back to "Cherry Pie" last night. We heard it atleast once.

Katie said...

Yeah, apparently he had a different song each at bat. If we can slowly phase out Cherry Pie, that's still successful.

Jeremiah said...

Well, I also agree with the quotes Katie put on "fan" because you have your "critic fan" your "casual fan" and your "fan". I think all of us fall somewhere between critic and just fan. Casual fans (like we saw about 30,000 of last night!! ugh) don't actually know much about the sport or team. They know Mauer, they know Morneau and probably Nathan and possibly Gomez. The other players don't have a recognizable name to these people because they don't hit massive home runs or extra base hits. So they aren't "worth their attention".

Critic fans just like to complain. Punto had a very bad year last year with his batting, but he was outstanding with his defense! However, all critics see is batting, unless they are horrible at defense, then they will blast the person for that. Or they will knock them for pitching *cough*Hernandez!*cough* Amazingly, he's the only one on track for 20 wins this season in our starting rotation.

Just plain fans follow the team as much as possible (without being scary) and actually have a knowledge of the players and their capabilities. You don't have to like everyone on the team. As a matter of fact, I'm not a fan of Kubel. I used to HATE him. I've come to not minding him being around and wanting him to be more consistent. He has the same problem as Punto, except he hits homeruns instead of singles. You don't have to like these guys, but you should at least acknowledge their contributions.

Baseball_Lipgloss said...

This is totally off topic for this particular blog entry but CJ (columnist for Strib) had a AJ-entry here:

Also, as someone who has sat across from you whilst in conversation the air-quotes are a-plenty and appropriate.

Daymonster said...


I get that it's your blog. And I think it's a great one, that's why I read it.

But as far as the "fan" issue goes, A) I didn't ask you to remove them, just inquired B) I agree with the definition, but just because a definition doesn't specificially address somethign doesn't mean it's not included.

Being a fan of a team (I don't know, let's say the Minnesota Twins Baseball club) means you support and enjoy the team that you are a fan of. Not every person in the front office, not every decision and certainly not every player. (For example: I hated AJ Pierzinski even when he was on the Twins. Does that make me not a fan of the Twins or worse, a "fan" of the Twins?)

Please don't turn into another Jeff Straub where you're not a fan unless you support everything they do. Because you support the team, you want them to do the best they possibly can. Which is why you get frustrated when you feel they are making a mistake, either on a personnel level or the like.

Just like recent Presidential campaigns. You can support a candidate without supporting every one of their policies.

Ad finally, most people like players like Punto, Kubel, Gomez etc. because they like the Minnesota Twins. Either because they grew up in Minnesota or their parents did etc. There are very few people that like the Minnesota Twins because they happen to like Punto, Kubel and Gomez.

Weird, right?

Twin #1 said...

Hernandez is actually only on pace for 15 wins.

Katie said...

Day, it's really not that I think everyone has to like everything the Twins do/decision they make. I don't either. I don't care for Kubel much, I patently refuse to jump on the Denard Span bandwagon, I don't think Joe Mauer is that great, and well...Adam Everett....we'll just leave it at that. I just don't see the benefit of focusing on the negatives all the time; Bashing is just too pointless and unattractive for my taste. I'm a sensitive soul.

Anonymous said...

as someone who emphatically embranced the Piranhas in 2006 I have been trying to name a "new school" (get the pun? cuz fish swim in schools, right?) I thought Alexi could be one and maybe Gomez... It's another label for small ball in its most simple definition.

And sorry Jerimiah, perhaps we are spiritually connected... otherwise I have no explanation for how I also was championing the chant of "Punto would have made that." No lie, I've been doing it all summer. In fact, I was so fed up with the poor defense at the beginning of the season that I wrote in Punto on all of my 1,000+ All Star ballots. (No lie, we would sit and the game and fill out stacks of them, every game we went to, and we even started taking stacks home to fill out and turn in at the next game.)

That being said, I can tell you that good 'ol Bert emphasized over and over these last few months that "The Twins have never been a homerun hitting team." He went on to explain we get the job done with stellar pitching and defense.

In 2006 I went to at least 10 games with a giant piranha shaped sign that I even took the time to rig with a hinged jaw with a rubberband in order to give the thing "self-chomping action." Pictures are available on my myspace. I also wore a scuba mask with the get up. I made the news and the jumbotron on two different occasions. Recently I was thinking of resurrecting Chompy with a specially made "talking bubble" that would say "Put in Punto." I will defend him to the end, batting average by damned!

On a side note, the next time you are at a game, check out the face-painting table. The piranha graphic you can get is an almost exact rip-off of my Chompy, minus the red and blue Twins colors spots on him back and the sand stuck in his teeth. (cuz Chompy feasts on sandy vagina--my pet name for the White Sox... but that's another story.)


Daymonster said...

So it's okay to not jump on the Denard Span bandwagon but it's not okay to not jump on the 2008 Punto bandwagon after the 2007 train wreck?

Who Span by the way has a better RZR (granted with a pretty small sample size) than Punto... by a lot.

Katie said...

Um...YES it IS ok. Because I don't spend my time bashing Span up and down the internets (and no, this is not a personal attack on YOU, but an observation of something that is a well-known phenomenon for poor Punto), even on my OWN blog. Those Girls don't like Denard Span for our own reasons. I am well aware that he is performing well right now. People are free to like or dislike Punto for their own reasons. My original point was that it's stupid for people to Cry Piranha when they're complaining about Punto. And I do find calling people that spend a majority of their time complaining about players "fans" dubious at best. That's all.

The End.

WV said...

I think your point was pretty clear---people hate on Punto even though he's offensively performing similarly to Denard Span. If you're going to carry over previous years' performance in jumping or not jumping on a bandwagon, Span's got about 6 of them underperforming in the minors, so all's fair.

The term "fan" is really slippery anyways, everyone has their own reasons for following a team at any given point.

Jeremiah said...

twin #1, after tonight's performance, I don't think Hernandez will even be on pace to win 15 wins... at least not with the Twins *prays Twins management re-thinks decisions!*

Tammy - RIGHT ON!

Also, I'm not on Span's bandwagon, merely observing that he seems to be a better player to have on the team than Monroe. I have no clue what his track record is, so I can only speak about what I've seen him do with the Twins this year on the field.

Also, I don't think anyone's previous years should ever be carried over. It hasn't done much for the Twins. (Luis Castillo, Mike Lamb, Lil Papi, and many others fit this description of players who have had good/great years previous and have helped sink the Twins team)
I like Punto for my own reasons and I have no problem with people not liking Punto. What I do have a problem with is, as Katie said, hating on players like they do with him. There doesn't seem to be any intelligence to it other than they want to bitch and he's the scapegoat because he often has a low batting average. Takes three things to win a game, good pitching, good defense and run support. Even with Punto's low batting average, he is often a guy who helps with run support and can't be denied his defensive plays. That is all.