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The Bleacher Bums: April 21, 2005 Archive

Empty mind, full bat.

Posted at 1:51 AM on April 21, 2005 by Josh Lee (1 Comments)

A lot of weird but pleasing things happened in tonight's game between the Twins and the Royals. Johan Santana's wife gave birth to a healthy baby girl mere minutes before he was scheduled to start warming up, but he went ahead and started anyway. A brain fart in the 4th inning allowed Kansas City to score four runs, but he still ended up with 10 strikeouts and no walks in seven innings. The Twins loaded the bases in the 8th after some wild pitches and intentional walks by the Royals' bullpen. Given the way things have been going lately, fans throughout Twins Territory shielded their eyes in anticipation of another double play, but then Shannon Stewart actually managed to knock in Lew Ford, ending the team's double-play-with-bases-loaded streak at infinity minus one.

Those were interesting events, but what really spun my head was seeing (well, to be strictly accurate, hearing on the radio) Jacque Jones draw not one, but two walks. He's got seven walks on the season so far, and an on-base percentage of .509. I don't know if he spent the winter at a secluded monastery, meditating on the virtues of patience or something, but I'm definitely liking the results. Some (e.g., a horrible tendency towards leaving runners on base) you hope are just early-season flukes; other things (e.g., a sudden jump in plate discipline) you hope are a more permanent change for the better.

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Corky Miller: What's in a name?

Posted at 9:07 AM on April 21, 2005 by David Zingler (1 Comments)

corkman.jpg

A surprise member of the Twins opening day roster, reserve catcher Corky Miller, already has been the butt of many jokes in this young season. With his unusual name -- Corky Abraham Phillip Miller -- and his miniscule batting average - he hit .026 last season - he's an easy target. For better or worse, I've always been the curious type, so I decided to find out more about this much maligned, fourth string catcher.

"My uncle's wife's brother's name was Clark and they called him Corky," Miller responded when asked about the origins of his name. "They kind of named me after him.... I guess I have to like it, I've had it for almost 30 years...everybody doesn't believe that it is my real name."

"It's funny, my mom didn't want me to have the name Corky if I ever became president," he continued, "I can change it to Abraham if that was to ever happen."

When you are 1 for your last 47 (.021) in the past two seasons, it stands to reason that you probably don't put a lot of stock in statistics. "I don't (look at my stats)," he said. "Most of the stats I care about are what the pitchers do (when I am catching) -- their win/loss record, ERA -- I don't look at it closely, I just go out and play....once every week or so."

The 29-year-old even short-changed himself when quizzed about his batting average last season, "probably zero-two-five or something," he said. After that dismal showing and an 0 for 8 start to this season, he's got to be dying for a hit -- right?

"You always want to get a hit," Miller said, obviously downplaying his plight. "I don't know that you want it more than other times. You just go out and put a good swing on the ball whenever you can."

Once voted the "player you want most in your clubhouse," in the minor leagues, Miller's positive attitude and playful demeanor (along with Joe Mauer's tender knee), helped him make the team's roster. "I usually just say whatever comes into my mind," he explained. "Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's not. You just have to stay loose and try to keep everybody else loose."

With two full time catchers, Joe Mauer and Mike Redmond, along with Matthew LeCroy, who can catch in a pinch, Miller may be the most marginal player in the big leagues. My advice is to enjoy him, even have a little fun at his expense, while you can.

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