Posted at 7:39 AM on May 1, 2005
by Bob Collins
During the years that Doub Mientkiewicz infected the Minnesota Twins, the standard line was "he saves as many runs as he creates." Well, yeah, that's true. And that was the problem with Dougie Baseball. A guy playing firstbase in Major League Baseball shouldn't create so few runs. Nope, not at that position.
But the Dougie apologists insisted that the position was so important defensively that it simply could not be trusted to someone who couldn't field the position as well as Mientkiewicz. Someone like, oh I don't know, Justin Morneau.
On Saturday Morneau hit his second home-run of the year to help propel the mighty Twins to a 4-2 win over the unholy Angels of Orange County.
Mr. Morneau, it should be noted, is now hitting .439. He's 5 for 9 with runners in scoring position. And in 41 ABs this year, the Angel Killer has struck out just three times. What more can the lad do, steal a base?
The New York Mets, meanwhile, the latest franchise to be lured into the notion that defense means a lot at firstbase, is hitting a robust .238. He's 3 for 15 with runners in scoring position. Oddly, he's already hit four homers. Two more than our man Justin, of course, but he's been playing everday.
It's hard to look at the Twins these days and not think about the "what ifs." And the biggest what if is "what if we weren't so busy thinking Tom Kelly was a genius that we didn't notice he was trying to turn David Ortiz into Nick Punto? But I rather doubt that dumping Doug will be one of them.
And just wait 'til he starts getting the green light on the baasepaths.