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  • Three Twins Complaints I'm Sick and Tired Of

    I get it: Joe Mauer is getting paid
    $184 million and doesn't hit
    many home runs
    [Originally published at Twins Fan From Afar]

    When a team is losing, like the Twins are so far this season and did all of last season, it's easy to complain. In fact, it feels really, really good to complain. I sincerely think that us fans deserve better than the product that the Twins have been putting on the field, and that we deserve better than some of the excuses we have heard from the front office and management. Still, though, there is only so much complaining one can do. I read almost every Twins blog, as well as the Star Tribune Twins content, and I peruse TwinsDaily -- and post and comment there -- very often. For the most part -- not counting the Star Trib -- the comments sections of the blogs and of TwinsDaily are great places for discussion. Sure, people often disagree, but it's mostly respectful disagreement. When I write something, I could care less if people disagree with me. In fact, that's one of the fun things about blogging -- going back in forth, in a good-natured way, about our shared interest -- the Twins.

    There are, however, a few things that just keep popping up in the comments sections that drive me crazy. It seems that, no matter what the topic, people keep drifting back to these issues. Not that they are not important or do not warrant discussion, but they are simply played out. Without further ado, here are three of those complaints.



    1. Joe Mauer's contract. It doesn't seem to matter if the topic of conversation is Ben Revere as a fourth outfielder, pitching to contact, or the 2012 amateur draft. People always manage to drift back to Mauer's $184 million contract. For the record, I still support it and am not going to change my mind on that. I certainly, however, understand and respect the arguments to the contrary. But I think it's time to get past it. It was entered into 2 years ago, and it covers the next 6 seasons after this one. Yes, it absolutely impacts the ability of this team to sign other players. Yes, it's possible -- and even likely -- that Mauer won't be "worth" the money in the end (but see Fangraphs "value" indicator for Mauer for 2012, suggesting that he's already been worth $3.2 million this season -- close to $20 million over the course of the season if he maintains this moderate, but successful pace). And yes, it was a great topic for debate in 2010, and even last year when he wasn't playing much. But I think we should move on. It is what it is. Maybe, as fans, we should have been a little smarter and realized that the 2009 Mauer was the aberration, and not the rule? To me, the Mauer contract is sort of like purchasing your first house: it's a significant financial investment; it may or may not prove to be a wise choice; and it hampers your ability to do other things with your money. But after you sign the mortgage and note, it's a done deal. Start to focus on other things. I hope that Twins fans can start to focus on other things. There's a lot of good -- and bad -- things happening with this organization that have nothing to do with Mauer that are worthy of discussion, debate and attention.


    2. The Public Financing of Target Field. Minnesotans, primarily residents of Hennepin County or people that do their shopping there, are footing the bill for a large portion of Target Field, and will continue to do so until the stadium has been paid for -- 30 years in total. The Target Field sales tax adds an extra .15 percent to Hennepin County's existing sales tax. Not much money on the purchase of a sandwich, but it's the principle, not the pennies, that angers this contingent. And rightfully so. I disagree with the way that stadiums are often funded. Why should the Twins -- the profit-making entity -- only foot 1/3 of the bill for the stadium, leaving county residents, regardless of whether the have any interest in the Twins, to pay the rest? It is fundamentally unfair. But that's life. It's no different than when my town decided that the annual bill I receive to connect to the town water and sewer was going to go up 10 percent, or when my property taxes were raised. This tax stinks for Hennepin County residents. They got the short end of the stick, no doubt. But it's a tired argument. Nothing is going to change until 2037, when Target Field has been paid for. Finally, it's worth noting that not all the revenue generated from the Target Field tax goes toward paying for the stadium: some is placed in a capital reserve fund, some is allocated to improve library hours, and some helps to construct amateur sporting facilities. I side with the complainers on this one, but it's time to move on.


    3. Justin Morneau as a "Soft" Player. Admittedly, this one has started to dwindle, as Morneau has been healthy and fairly productive (great double last night) in 2012. Honestly, though, I was often astounded at what I read about Morneau, his concussions, and his recurring post-concussion symptoms on the Star Tribune message boards last season. It actually made me glad that I wasn't at Target Field last season -- I didn't want to hear that kind of stuff in person, because I would be tempted to respond. I suspect that the Morneau detractors were a minority, but they certainly were a vocal minority. All I can say is this: the medical profession, and all of the different professional sports, have begun to recognize (just in the past couple years) the serious and debilitating long-term effects that concussions -- especially multiple concussions -- have on athletes. There's a reason why retired athletes, including 40 retired NFL players, pledged in 2009 to donate their brains to science. There's a reason why Sidney Crosby has hardly played hockey in the past year. And there's a reason why the Twins have been extremely cautious with Morneau. Science has advanced significantly just in the past 10 years with respect to the study of concussions. I don't know how players played with concussion symptoms in the previous decades, but they did it. It was probably a result of several things: the medical profession not really knowing the danger to player health; organizations not looking out for player safety; players wanting to be perceived as "tough"; and athletes concerned with keeping their roster spot. Maybe, for some, it makes these old guys seem "tougher." And maybe they are. But that's an outdated, ill-informed view, in my opinion. No one wants to see a 45 year old retired player, perhaps coming back for a special event at the stadium, looking like a shell of the man he once was because his brain is severely and permanently damaged. Someday, the Twins will retire Morneau's #33. When that day comes, I hope we see a somewhat older, probably heftier Morneau, with his wife and kids by his side, looking and sounding 100 percent healthy.


    Ironically, this post is basically just me complaining about complainers. I hope I don't sound like (or look like) Andy Rooney. But that's the great thing about America. We can praise or complain about just about anything, without fear of getting dragged out of our houses in the middle of the night. So, have I missed anything? Are there other "played out" complaints? And another great thing -- if you think I'm way off base, you can complain to me, about me, right in the comments section. What a country!
    This article was originally published in blog: 3 Twins Complaints I'm Sick and Tired Of started by Twins Fan From Afar
    Comments 23 Comments
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I love the irony of the complaining about complainers....the one I don't agree with is the Mauer contract....putting more than 20% of your money in one player has an effect on what you can do with your roster, and his value is tied up in that. But, hopefully we can all learn not to bring it up every thread, you are correct on that.
    1. Montecore's Avatar
      Montecore -
      I agree with this futile litany. A productive Mauer and Morneau is important to the club, so the complaints are just inane. My main complaint will never change - Gardenhire and Ryan, but especially Gardenhire. He's stupid and incompetent and his imbecilic standards of what makes a good player have chased away Papi, Garza, and Hardy. I don't know how he got the job in the first place. Looking gritty is not a qualification to manage. It sucks that they're losing, but, if it helps kick his dumb ass out the door - I'm all for it.
    1. nick5253's Avatar
      nick5253 -
      I am also sick of the following 2 sentiments:
      1. The Twins are a 'Small Market' team. They are in the top half in payroll even after slashing 15 million and the Twin Cities is NOT in the bottom 5-10 metro areas.
      2. The Twins play the 'Twins Way'. This also no longer the case. I would say since the Delmon era, defense is no longer stressed and the hitters no longer do the little things to move runners. The only 'Twins Way' that remains is the pitchers pitching to contact which is part of the reason the rotation has been so bad for over a year.

      I think both are thought of more on a national stage than locally since locals are more in tune with the Twins, but hearing them on national broadcasts irritates me to no end.
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      Something seems out-of-alignment in not only line-up but overall team construction.
    1. Paul's Avatar
      Paul -
      I agree with your 3. But my top 3 are:

      1. The complaining of the Twins "pitch-to-contact" philosophy by those who don't know what it means. (This is propagated by some local writers who also don't know what it means.)

      2. The complaining of the Twins organization not holding people "accountable". I'm not sure where to begin on this one. Every successful enterprise holds people accountable to the standards they set. But they rarely hold public flagellations. I think that's what the complainers want.

      3. The complaints about Gardehire and the Twins only wanting good men that fit in the clubhouse.
    1. wblmayo24's Avatar
      wblmayo24 -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      I love the irony of the complaining about complainers....the one I don't agree with is the Mauer contract....putting more than 20% of your money in one player has an effect on what you can do with your roster, and his value is tied up in that. But, hopefully we can all learn not to bring it up every thread, you are correct on that.
      And you're the guy who is b****ing and complaining when he would've left the Twins to play with a team that would pay him what he is worth. He's the best hitting catcher that will ever play the game. The contract is signed and there's no changing it. He deserves the money, so cheer for him. Even better: stop complaining about him and complain about the terrible pitching staff thus far. #gt
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      wblmay024, you have no idea who I am, or what I might think about that. You are correct, there is no changing the contract at this point. But it is silly to pretend (as many do) that the contract he signed has no effect on the crappy pitching choices they have (or any other hole on the roster). He makes 25% of the entire payroll. That is not his fault, but it gives Ryan no room for mistakes elsewhere on the roster, none. That's something the Twins and their fans have to live with, and ignoring it won't do them any good.
    1. ssp833's Avatar
      ssp833 -
      I wanted to make sure that the pitch to contact theory was added, but a couple have already beat me to it. And I have no issues with Mauer and Morneau's contracts or toughness. I want to have some stars to cheer for and they need to be paid for. I also have no issue with public financing of the stadium. Just like state parks and well stocked lakes - if we want nice things we need to pay for them. I guess I'm not much of a complainer. Except for the lack of hard throwing strikeout pitchers.
    1. one_eyed_jack's Avatar
      one_eyed_jack -
      Great post. I'm right with you an all of them.

      1) I get a good chuckle over the amount of whining about this. It's exactly the type of thing Twins fans spent years complaining about the team NOT making. With Santana, Hunter, etc., there was constant griping about ownership being too cheap to pay to keep top end talent. Then they open the vaults for Mauer, and it's a constant bitchfest about how he makes too much. Welcome to the realities of big league baseball. You either cough up big bucks for your good players, or someone else will when they hit free agency.


      2) Complaning about this was relevant and appropriate several years ago when the issue was still under debate. But it was settled and the stadium was built. You didn't get your way. It happens. Grow up and get over it.

      3) Anyone who says this is an uninformed wannabe tough guy.
    1. savvyspy's Avatar
      savvyspy -
      It doesn't matter how many times I read it, I still don't buy Mauer's contract for the player he's become since signing it. I can't think of a position player that offers so little run producing stats at such a high number. There isn't one justification that says tying up 20%+ of your payroll for a guy that won't drive in 80 runs is a sound investment unless he's an elite defender (he's not) or a team leader (definitely not). I'm not saying booing him is right or wrong but that is an ugly contract for what the team is getting.
    1. TwinsFanLV's Avatar
      TwinsFanLV -
      Why were the original 5 or so comments ommitted when the article was moved to the Front Page? Seth?
    1. whydidnt's Avatar
      whydidnt -
      As a sometimes complainer, let me add my thoughts...
      1) Mauer's contract, don't think I have ever really complained about it. The Twins were in a no-win situation at the time they signed him. He was coming off an MVP season, was a hometown guy, and they were a year away from opening a publicly financed stadium. They could either bite the bullet and over pay, or risk losing him and dealing with tremendous public backlash. I also think he's more valuable than people give credit for. There just aren't that many Catchers in the league that provide offensive value. I do think the Twins ownership could have been wiser, and treated the contract as a special deal and excluded it from the team budget, since so much of it's value was based upon "goodwill". We've seen other teams do this from time to time for special players, and let's be honest, it's not like the Pohlad's can't afford a little goodwill, in more ways than one.
      2) I do complain about the publicly financed stadium, but only in the realm that the owner's indicated that without it we couldn't compete financially, and now it seems that with it, we still can't compete financially. Even though Twins fans have been good customers and bought tickets, paid for concessions etc. I think it was a cold slap in the face for the team to cut payroll by almost 15% this year.
      3) I really haven't seen much complaining about Mourneau's toughness. I've seen plenty about Mauer, but most just want Mourneau to get better and hopefully contribute again. I think you're stretching for a #3 on this one.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by TwinsFanLV View Post
      Why were the original 5 or so comments ommitted when the article was moved to the Front Page? Seth?
      Because were don't have a way of bringing them over. The "Blog" Comments and the "Article" comments are in separate places and can't be consolidated. I apologize.
    1. Twins Fan From Afar's Avatar
      Twins Fan From Afar -
      Quote Originally Posted by whydidnt View Post
      As a sometimes complainer, let me add my thoughts...
      1) Mauer's contract, don't think I have ever really complained about it. The Twins were in a no-win situation at the time they signed him. He was coming off an MVP season, was a hometown guy, and they were a year away from opening a publicly financed stadium. They could either bite the bullet and over pay, or risk losing him and dealing with tremendous public backlash. I also think he's more valuable than people give credit for. There just aren't that many Catchers in the league that provide offensive value. I do think the Twins ownership could have been wiser, and treated the contract as a special deal and excluded it from the team budget, since so much of it's value was based upon "goodwill". We've seen other teams do this from time to time for special players, and let's be honest, it's not like the Pohlad's can't afford a little goodwill, in more ways than one.
      2) I do complain about the publicly financed stadium, but only in the realm that the owner's indicated that without it we couldn't compete financially, and now it seems that with it, we still can't compete financially. Even though Twins fans have been good customers and bought tickets, paid for concessions etc. I think it was a cold slap in the face for the team to cut payroll by almost 15% this year.
      3) I really haven't seen much complaining about Mourneau's toughness. I've seen plenty about Mauer, but most just want Mourneau to get better and hopefully contribute again. I think you're stretching for a #3 on this one.
      Thanks for the comment.
      As to item #3, I was speaking more about the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Star Tribune message boards than anything that has been posted here.
      For friends, fans or family of Morneau, the Star Trib was not a kind website.
    1. TwinsFanLV's Avatar
      TwinsFanLV -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      Because were don't have a way of bringing them over. The "Blog" Comments and the "Article" comments are in separate places and can't be consolidated. I apologize.
      Seth: No need to apologize. I'm pretty new to Twins Daily and still figuring out how things work. Thanks!
    1. Bark's Lounge's Avatar
      Bark's Lounge -
      1. To hell with the naysayers. Mauer wins another 1-3 Batting Titles.
      2. Stadium - Many might be angry about it and the tax repercussions. Me - so happy MLB baseball will be alive and well in the Twin Cities in my lifetime. I am Willing to pay the tax.
      3. Beaten down and buried. Here's hoping to Morneau's future health. You are close to it. Prove the suckas wrong!
    1. CDog's Avatar
      CDog -
      Quote Originally Posted by savvyspy View Post
      unless he's a team leader (definitely not). .
      How much time have you spent in the clubhouse or around the team or around Mauer or other players on the team?
    1. CDog's Avatar
      CDog -
      Quote Originally Posted by whydidnt View Post
      2) I do complain about the publicly financed stadium, but only in the realm that the owner's indicated that without it we couldn't compete financially, and now it seems that with it, we still can't compete financially. Even though Twins fans have been good customers and bought tickets, paid for concessions etc. I think it was a cold slap in the face for the team to cut payroll by almost 15% this year.
      Compare relative payroll before Target Field to after. How are they not competing financially? Just because the team isn't good right now, doesn't mean it's because they're not spending enough. And as for the drop in payroll, I don't think anyone but a few people in the world have a really clear idea of all that goes into the team's financials, but isn't it possible that they were 15% over-budget last year and simply fell back to where they were shooting for?
    1. CDog's Avatar
      CDog -
      It's a slightly different topic, but I've been mulling a blog post about all the flat-out falsehoods that seep into conversations over and over again regarding the Twins. Not stuff that is opinion-based where people could reasonably have different views, but the concrete facts that people get incorrect so often. This thread seems too similar to that, so I'll have to wait a while just to seem more original. So on that front, this blog post has been a huge success, simply by stopping me from writing an annoying one of my own...for now!
    1. TCBurgerGuy's Avatar
      TCBurgerGuy -
      Great article, Andy. But isn't complaining what Minnesotans do best? The weather, politics, baseball. It makes us feel like we have some sort of control, and it just gets exponentially worse when things get worse. Good points though on topics that fans just need to let go. Does it really accomplish anything when you complain about it? I equate it to being on any road in Minnesota - there are going to be horrible drivers and there's nothing you can do about it. Just move on with your day and don't be one of them.

      I also couldn't agree any more with one_eyed_jack. Your point about losing and retaining players with large contracts is spot-on. Can you imagine the message boards had Mauer signed elsewhere?
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