Congratulations to Joe Mauer for winning the 2010 Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards. It's not really a surprise that he won them. While there is always controversy around the Gold Glove, and some folks were saying that Joe didn't have his best year defensively, I can't think of a better catcher in the American League.
Speaking of controversy with the Gold Glove, there was a little issue with the winner at shortstop for the American League, Derek Jeter. You see, the Gold Glove award has a bit of a reputation of once a guy starts winning it, he keeps winning it -- whether he deserves it or not. And giving it to Jeter seems to reinforce that reputation.
Jeter makes great jumping throws, but he has to because he doesn't have much range. If he had good range, his throws would be routine, which probably doesn't really appeal to him anyway. In fact, the folks at Baseball-Reference.com figured out some defensive metrics of all the American League shortstops. Jeter came in at #59*. Seems as if some other guys may have deserved it more than him.
*Baseball-Reference.com has since taken down the link to the list they made, otherwise I would have linked to it.
Although it's been a pretty quiet week for the Twins, they have added a few new guys to the minor leagues. The most notable of which, and so far the only one to land on the 40-man roster, is relief pitcher Eric Hacker (a name that always makes me think of former Gopher football player Eric Decker).
There's not much to read in to this signing other than that he'll be given every opportunity to prove himself during Spring Training and earn a spot in the Twins' bullpen.
The other guys they've signed are really to fill in spots in the minors. However, one guy, relief pitcher Yorman Bazardo, certainly gets the Cool Name award from me.
Target Field announced several new features for next season. It's hard to believe they could improve on such a great ballpark, but these improvements sound pretty sweet. There will be a new scoreboard in right field which will be the same as the one in left field, only smaller (great idea -- I sat in the left field seats once, and I had to turn around in my seat just to see the scoreboard). They're also adding a clock tower next to the new scoreboard (nice, IF they keep the graphics on it team- or game-related; lame, if it's just another place to put advertising).
They also hope to improve customer service at the concession stands to reduce wait-time (ok, I've never had a problem) and add more signature Minnesota food (I can't imagine what that would be -- they've already got the Juicy Lucy and Byerly's Wild Rice Soup -- unless it's Spam).
Free WiFi and improved cell coverage will be great too.
Speaking of improvements to Target Field, it seems as if Justin Morneau was hoping they'd have the hitters in mind and bring in the fences a smidge. I don't blame him. It is certainly near the bottom of the list for homerun-friendly parks.
A lot of sports radio talk show hosts, bloggers, and other fans are kind giving him a hard time about his remarks. But, I seem to remember a lot of folks complaining during the season about all the catches at the wall. Why is it ok for fans and media-folk to whine about it, but not players?
I'm not completely sure that moving the fences after just the first season is the right decision. But, it's his opinion, he feels strongly about it, and I'm glad he said something.
Scarf-zilla for Jim Thome update: it's longer than I am and almost done. With five rows to go, I ran out of blue yarn. Story of my life.
Yes, I have to get more yarn and finish those five rows. It needs to be symmetrical; I'm particular like that. Luckily, I used cheap yarn that claims to have no dye lot.
By later in the week, Bill Smith should be able to offer Big Jim a contract, complete with scarf-zilla if he wants it.
If Jimmers doesn't need it, it would also be suitable for TC Bear.