Thursday, July 27, 2006

Homercles cares not for beans!

Ipso Facto, post ergo hoc. Cognito ergo sum.

As a serious homer for the Twinkies, I remember similar spittle-filled discussions with DVDA around the time of the 2001 MLB draft. While the portrayal of his boastfulness about landing Prior seems about right, the portrayal of the Twins carefully weighing the merits of each player and deciding on Mauer over Prior based on those merits seems somewhat revisionist. As I recall, the fact that the Twins drafted Joe Mauer #1 overall was necessitated by Prior demanding a $10M+ signing bonus. Pohlad said he wouldn't pay it, there were worries over a protracted holdout, and so everyone in the Twins organization made the decision that what was forced upon them (to take an extremely good hometown player in Mauer).

While the national reaction was somewhat mixed, generally "the Twins were ripped for taking Mauer over Prior. The decision was viewed as a case of a team taking a hometown high school kid who wanted less of a bonus. " (Dallas Morning News)

I remember taking a typically-Midwestern optimistic view toward Mauer but being disappointed that we couldn't find a way to get a deal done with Prior. Kudos to anyone who had the faith in the move all along. I particularly commend anyone who watched the Twins crash out of the playoffs in 2002-2004 and didn't find themselves saying, "Joe Mays seems pretty good and I'm excited about Mauer coming up... but, boy, Mark Prior would look awfully good in a Twins uniform right now."

One thing that we can certainly agree upon. The Twins and the Cubs made the correct picks at #1 and #2. The only other player from early in that draft to be a major contributor at the MLB -level is Mark Tiexiera taken #5 by the Rangers.


Afternote to DVDA: We fans want a real baseball hero to cheer for, one that combines the poise and manners of Cal Ripken, the desire and stroke of George Brett, and the drive and hustle of Paul Molitor; one that comes without all of the overpaid hype (Arod), selfishness (Ramirez), bad attitude (Bonds), inscrutibility (Ichiro), and poor command of English (Ortiz) that plague so many of the games other great hitters. Is that so wrong?

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