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The Bleacher Bums: April 20, 2006 Archive

Sierra Still Feels "Like a Superstar"

Posted at 8:50 AM on April 20, 2006 by David Zingler

seirra06.jpg

Ruben Sierra's 20 years in the major leagues have seen him evolve from one the game's elite players into a seldom used pinch hitter. Like most aging athletes however, Sierra doesn't think he's changed a bit.

"I feel like a superstar, but I don't have the opportunity anymore to play everyday and let other people know that I can be a superstar again," the 40-year-old explained, somewhat tongue-in-cheek. "I have to take what they give me."

Sierra inked a minor league contract with the Twins over the winter and, after recovering from a quadriceps injury, joined the team this week. The Twins plan on using the veteran mainly as a pinch hitter, but he should also see some action in right field and at DH.

"I was working at first base," Sierra commented when discussing his role with his new team, "but I hurt myself at spring training and everything changed. I am going to work on first base in the off season -- play winter ball in Puerto Rico or something."

Despite a long, distinguished career, the four-time All Star is best known for an award he didn't get -- the 1989 AL MVP. Despite leading the league in RBI, total bases, slugging percentage and triples, the then Ranger finished a close second to Milwaukee's Robin Yount on a controversial ballot.

"People still remember me for that," Sierra noted "It happened a long time ago. Sometimes I think about it...it might have turned my career in a different direction. That's the way I see it."

A veteran of five postseasons, including a World Series appearance with the Yankees in 2003, Sierra says a ring would be nice, but it is not what keeps him going.

"Not really," he quipped when asked about the elusive jewelry. "I am glad that God gave me the opportunity to play in the World Series and playoffs...It's good motivation to work hard all season to get to that point."

While Sierra may not have played on a World Series winner, he does have one very powerful ally -- namely the President of the United States, George W. Bush. While part owner of the Texas Rangers in the early 1990s, Bush described Sierra as his "favorite player" and began a loose friendship with the Puerto Rican that still exists today.

"We are still friends," Sierra said of his relationship with the president. "He's busy right now, but when we went to Baltimore last year, I went to the White House and talked to him."

If Sierra has any future political ambitions (he gave no indication), he hopes they stay on hold for a few more years -- at least. "(I want to play) until they say 'no more'," the grizzled veteran proclaimed with a grin.

You can't come back every time

Posted at 3:34 PM on April 20, 2006 by Ben Tesch

Twins lose another one to the Angels today, with yet more subpar pitching performances. The Twins can't seem to get or hold a lead unless it's in the nail-biting later innings, and are giving up about 6 runs a game. Wasn't pitching supposed to be their strong suit? Apparently, Guerrier is in a sophomore slump, yet there's no word on what you would call it for Lohse, Crain, Silva, Radke, or Santana.

In other news, Rondell is now in triple digits! Huzzah!

Stadium update

Posted at 3:45 PM on April 20, 2006 by Ben Tesch

Twins stadium supporters take their turn at bat
A key Legislative committee holds a second hearing Thursday night on a proposal that would build a new downtown Minneapolis ballpark for the Minnesota Twins.

Wednesday night, the committee hosted a full house of observers as it listened to comments from supporters and opponents of the proposal for a .15 percent sales tax in Hennepin County to help fund the $522 million stadium.

Critics say they will continue to speak out against the proposal but they indicate that they don't have the votes to defeat the bill.


Legislators take stadium show on the road
The stadium debate was to move away from the Capitol on Thursday, as the House Taxes Committee sought input from people who would shoulder the tax burden for a new Twins ballpark.

The hearing, the committee's second in as many days, was to be held Thursday evening at a Bloomington middle school, in the heart of Hennepin County.

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