Part 1: What went wrong so quickly? Plenty, starting with Mauer

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 8, 2011 - 6:14 AM

A Twins team that was supposed to compete for a division title is 17 games under .500 on June 5. What went so wrong so fast? Plenty, starting with the face of the team.

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FibrillatorDJun. 5, 11 6:15 AM

The Twins trade Morales in the same week Mauer had his knee surgery. The organization never seemed to understand how bad his knees really were.

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meegwichJun. 5, 11 6:25 AM

People can certainly say all they want regarding the Mauer situation; however, the real culprit in my opinion is Billy Smith. He has not once stood up and really told the truth about anything. His half-answers, double-talk, side-stepping every "tough" question put to him behavior sets the example and tone that has now become the Minnesota Twins. Every professional team has injuries, they have adversity's, they all have to eventually play every game on their schedule. To blame a tough schedule is absolutely ludicrous. There is not going to be any quick fix for this team, and again, my opinion is they will never dig out of the mess that Smith has put them in until the people at the top quit coddling the GM and the current Manager of the Year. I have never heard more excuses for failure than what comes out of Smith's & Gardenhires mouths. It's embarrassing. No disgusting.

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mrspockJun. 5, 11 7:05 AM

A ship cannot sail if the anchor is down.The Twins have the most expensive anchor ever fabricated. It is extremely effective and cost them 184 million dollars. It is guaranteed to keep the Twins ship anchoed in last place for eight years.

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kinge51Jun. 5, 11 7:08 AM

I can think of 123 million mistakes....

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Willy53Jun. 5, 11 8:02 AM

The Twins management started this fiasco of allowing players to simply fade from view when they got tired or sore just before the playoffs last year. They embarrased themselves with rusty, unprepared, lackluster play in the series against the yankees and have simply continued that attitude and intensity this year with everyone showing how delicate their bodies are and a less than committed attitude toward playing major league baseball. Mauer has swallowed 180 million through his contract. This basically has consumed any financial advantge of a new publicly financed stadium and is exactly why cities and counties should not participate in the building of sports stadiums for billionaires and millionaires: it is a risky proposition that belongs in the portfolio of private investors.

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bhappeJun. 5, 11 9:14 AM

On several layers, the experiences of the Twins parallel the recent stupidity of the banking/housing crisis. The moment I first heard of the contract that Mauer's agent brokered with the Twins, I labelled it an obscene mistake; it certainly has been so far. Only time will tell how it all ends. Toxic mortgages still plague the nation, huge numbers of people still can't buy a job, and yet the Twins agree to pay a man what amounts to 141 thousand dollars a game (until 2018!), which is about twice what an average man makes in a year. I ask someone, anyone, to help me understand the value of this contract.

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john1948Jun. 5, 1111:39 AM

Bill Smith is THE person in the organization ultimately responsible for player personell decisions, player's salaries and the overall team staffing strategy. To blame the Twins current disgusting situation on a tough schedule and not having a back-up plan if your gazillion dollar catcher is injured is an admission that you are over-matched by the GM position. Billy Smith, take the honorable path-resign and clear the way for someone more qualified to do your job.

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gofar37Jun. 5, 11 5:13 PM

The propaganda for the new stadium argued that it was needed to retain top players like Mauer and Morneau. The stadium is built, the trunstiles are turning. Mauer and Morneau have been signed. To now blame their salaries for the downward slide of the Twins is disingenuous. Wasn't the additional revenue from the stadium to be used for just that purpose? Ticket prices are based on demand, not player salaries. The signing of Mauer may indeed have caused ticket prices to rise. Not, however, because of his salary but because of his draw. It created a higher demand and thus a higher price. It is very simplistic to make Mauer's salary the scapegoat for the downfall of the team. His draw and the accompanying sales of memorabilia are huge pluses for the organization. The long-term investment, however, depends on a healthy Mauer, or else his drawing power will diminish. Better that he sacrifice a few games now to regain health than to throw it all down the drain by coming back too early and incurring a career-ending injury. We're not witnessing just baseball, but biz-ball, a combination of baseball and business. It's a game few seem to understand.

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twinzgrlJun. 5, 11 5:14 PM

All pro athletes are grossly overpaid, would we all agree? Mauer won three batting titles and an MVP title while catching all before he turned 27....some would argue that only an elite player can do that. His contract is what it is, but it is NOT the reason the Twins are struggling so badly this season. Yes, we NEED him on the field. The mystery illness/injury scenario is getting OLD for all us, even for Mauer supporters such as myself. But, as I'm sure the rest of your expose on the team will show, Joe's woes are only a piece of this mess. But, I loved seeing those guys with the brooms in KC today....we have had so little to cheer about, it was a nice moment.

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theisen9407Jun. 5, 11 5:50 PM

Keep this series going, Strib. I think the Twins are going to run the table to spite you for suggesting they are out of it.

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