Friday, June 17, 2011

Sardines and, uh, the Media Circus

In 2006, the ever-delightful Ozzie Guillen called the Twins “little piranhas.” This week, after the Twins swept the White Sox in a rain-shortened two-game series, Ozzie had this to say about the Twins:

"They are [redacted] sardines. You see a bunch of circus midgets out there. But they can play."


But there really was a circus at Target Field this week—a media circus, brought on by the home-debut of recently recovered Japanese import Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Nishi got a good welcome cheer from the crowd when he first came out to do pre-game stretches, tipping his hat to the fans in acknowledgement.

A group of cameramen positioned thirty or so meters away documented his warm up.

Then, Nishioka made a documented returned to the dugout.

And THEN Nishi came out of the dugout and took the field.

(Yes, he jumped over the hoard of crouching media.)

Nishioka went 1-for-4 with a lucky infield hit (which he even acknowledged to the press was just a lucky hit). He showed great range at shortstop, but didn’t exactly have a cannon of an arm. He fielded at least one ball every inning, and turned several double-plays. He didn’t break any bones. He had one error, and true to Japanese form, immediately apologized to Nick Blackburn. He apologized to fans for the error in a post-game interview.

Robbie-Ryo-Nishi, Nishi-Ryo-Robbie, Robbie-Ryo-Nishi, Nishi-Ryo-Robbie

After the game, Nishi (roughly in Google Translate form) said, "(Fracture), but betrayed the expectations, the fans accepted me happy." Nishioka seemed to have had worries about how he would be received by Twins fans, and was put much at ease with the cheers. "In the first game at home, me accept that my fans happy. Happy days indeed was. Hope you do not forget the feelings of today," he said.

I think Nishioka showed great potential, and I really like his positive and hard-working attitude. Being the youngest Japanese player to ever play in the major leagues, I think these traits bode well. Fans should show a little patience with him before writing him off. He's making quite the transition, and I wouldn't expect him to do it all overnight.

But wait! The media circus didn't stop, because after the game Joe Mauer was activated from the DL and held a press conference to field questions. We learned:

  • Joe Mauer doesn’t have lyme’s disease
  • Joe Mauer doesn’t have ALS
  • Joe Mauer’s knees were just really, really sore
  • Joe Mauer sees no reason why the Twins can’t win the division
  • Joe Mauer will happily interrupt a press conference to inform Sid Hartman that his tape recorder stopped

But alas—to make room for Joe on the 40-man roster, Brian Dinkelman was outrighted to the minors. Dinkels, we hardly knew thee. Let us pause to remember Dinkelman’s major league performance:

  • 14 at-bats
  • 1 hit by pitch
  • 4 single-base hits
  • 0 homeruns
  • 2 intentional walks


Sunday, June 5, 2011


His name is Brian Dinkelman. Now he plays for the 2011 Twins.

Last night was his major league debut—and on the very first major league pitch he faced, he was hit and awarded first base.


He's the 39th different player to play for the Twins this year. Last night he played in left field, although he can play second base too. His versatility is sure to make him a hit with Gardy. He will probably call him “Dinky”.

Dinkelman hit a fly-ball in his second major league at-bat, but no one will remember that, because in the top of the sixth, Dinkelman got his first major-league hit—a single on a line drive to the Royals left fielder Alex Gordon.


Dinkels made a great catch in the field—the Twins' web gem of the night. So as he came to the plate for the third time, in the top of the seventh, the chants at Kauffman Stadium majestically began:


And then he was intentionally walked.

Dinkelman struck out in his final plate appearance, but that is of no import now. Alexi Casilla, even, had an excellent game with four hits and two RBIs. But no one will remember him in this Twins win, standing there in the giant shadow of BRIAN DINKELMAN!