Tag:Brad Paisley
Posted on: June 16, 2011 5:30 pm
Edited on: June 16, 2011 6:23 pm

Gardenhire: "This will give me teaching tools"

Out of the ruins, sometimes, come plans.

Whatever happens the rest of the way in this odd Twins season -- they've now won 11 of 13 after falling 20 games below .500 -- what's already happened will shape what the club does next spring.

Nobody could have predicted that Minnesota would have put 15 players on the disabled list so far this season -- most in the majors. But what the Twins never would have predicted would be the fundamental mistakes they've had to endure.

An organization that prides itself on doing the little things right has, at times over the early part of the season, watched a train wreck in that department. Missed signs, missed relay throws, baserunning blunders.

"It gives me a tool," manager Ron Gardenhire says. "That's one of the things I've already thought about for next year. This will give me teaching tools."

In other words, when Gardenhire and his staff call for yet another round of fundamental drills in Fort Myers, Fla., next spring, there will be no room for questioning from the players.

Gardenhire's immediate rebuttal will be, hey, remember that time in Chicago last May when Alexi Casilla screwed up on the bases, or when Danny Valencia botched a rundown?

Ironic thing is, Minnesota emphasizes fundamentals as much as any team in the bigs in the spring.

But the flip side is, that's why the mistakes aren't tolerable.

Yes, the Twins have had to count on players they never would have imagined would fit into their plans in 2011 -- like Trevor Plouffe and Brian Dinkelman. But as far as they're concerned, while some players may be more talented than others, everybody can execute the fundamental part of the game ... whether your name is Joe Mauer or Trevor Plouffe.

Likes: Seattle calling up rookie second baseman Dustin Ackley. ... Brian Gordon on the hill for the Yankees on Thursday. ... Former colleague George Dohrmann's excellent piece on Jim Tressel and the Ohio State football mess in Sports Illustrated. ... Brad Paisley's new tune Eastwood featuring the voice -- and whistling talents -- of the song's inspiration, Clint Eastwood. ... Modern Family.

Dislikes: Poor Edwin Rodriguez. The Marlins are sinking fast -- they've lost 15 of 16 now, and seven in a row -- and if we know anything about Florida owner Jeffrey Loria, it's that he wastes no time in aiming a sharp knife at his managers. Hey Edwin, duck!

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Mind on a permanent vacation
"The ocean is my only medication
"Wishing my condition ain't ever gonna go away
"'Cause now I'm knee deep in the water somewhere
"Got the blue sky breeze blowing wind through my hair
"Only worry in the world is the tide gonna reach my chair"

-- Zac Brown Band, Knee Deep

Posted on: August 11, 2009 6:45 pm
Edited on: August 11, 2009 9:57 pm

There's no forever Young in Arizona

When the Arizona Diamondbacks signed center fielder Chris Young to a five-year, $28 million deal in April, 2008, it appeared as if both Young and the Diamondbacks were on the rise.

The team, coming off of an appearance in the 2007 National League Championship Series, had what appeared to be a solid young core. And Young was one of the centerpieces.

As an encore to their '07 October run, the Diamondbacks reeled off a 20-8 April in '08 and seemed well on their way to long-term domination in a weak NL West.

For that one month in '08, they served as a model for the way budget-conscious teams must run their shops.

No more. Since then, the Diamondbacks have gone 113-134, essentially lost ace Brandon Webb for the year, fallen out of the '09 race practically by Mother's Day and fired manager Bob Melvin. Then, on Monday, exasperated with Young's descent, they finally optioned him back to Triple-A Reno in an attempt to, if nothing else, jump-start what has become a total reclamation project.

Young, currently in a 2-for-27 slump, is hitting just .194 this season and looks nothing like the player he was in '07, when he became the first rookie in big league history to collect 30 or more homers (he finished with 32) and 25 or more steals (he had 27).

The five-year, $28 million deal is looking like a wreck right now, as is the three-year, $30 million deal bestowed upon outfielder Eric Byrnes (.216, five homers, 24 RBI) that does not expire until after the 2010 season. The Diamondbacks owe Byrnes ($11 million) and Young ($3.25) a combined $14.25 million in 2010.

Young still is only 25, but the race is on to see whether he can live up to his contract.

"He hasn't gotten any better," says one scout who watched the Diamondbacks recently. "He's stubborn. He's hacking at pitches out of the strike zone, he's trying to pull everything. He's trying to be a home run hitter, which he is, but you've got to be somewhat selective sometimes.

"Arizona did the right thing with him."

Presumably, the Diamondbacks will take a big step forward next season with the return of Webb, who, teamed with Danny Haren, provides as good a one-two punch as there is in the league. But Doug Davis and Jon Garland each is a free agent this winter. And the $14 million they owe Young and Byrnes is that much more they cannot spend in other areas of need.

Likes: Phillies-Cubs for three beginning tonight in Wrigley Field. Interesting pitching matchups, too: Rich Harden against the Phillies' hot J.A. Happ tonight, Jeff Samardzija vs. Phillies' newcomer Pedro Martinez on Wednesday and a couple of aces, Ryan Dempster vs. Cliff Lee, on Thursday. ... I know all about slump busters, and I have to say, this one's in a class of her own. ... Good for the Washington Nationals, winners of eight in a row. But you know what will kill the goodwill immediately? If they blow the signing of first-overall draft pick Stephen Strasburg. Signing deadline is Aug. 17 at midnight EDT. ... Saw In the Loop the other night, the political satire in which Britain and the United States ready to go to war in the Middle East over a miscommunication thanks to a British staffer. Liked it overall, but doggone it's difficult to understand the accents. ... Really enjoying this season of Entourage. I thought last year it was close to jumping the shark, but this year's storyline is crisp and funny. ... Brad Paisley's American Saturday Night is a bit too country for me, but it's got some good, catchy stuff. The title song and Catch All the Fish in particular stand out.

Dislikes: I know they've got $60 million worth of players on the disabled list, but are the Mets even trying anymore? People around the team seem to think general manager Omar Minaya's job is safe after the club had to toss assistant GM Tony Bernazard overboard, but if the Mets continue to slide and play with no heart, don't be surprised if they wind up sacrificing Minaya for the flawed $100 million roster. Manager Jerry Manuel? I think he stays. Bottom line: It's all going to depend on ownership and how much dough the Wilpons are willing to cast aside, because Minaya is signed for three more years and Manuel is signed through 2010.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"If I had a boat
"I'd go out on the ocean
"And if I had a pony
"I'd ride him on my boat
"And we could all together
"Go out on the ocean
"Me upon my pony on my boat "

-- Lyle Lovett, If I Had a Boat


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com