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The Bleacher Bums: May 9, 2006 Archive

The advent of the batting glove

Posted at 9:58 AM on May 9, 2006 by Ben Tesch (1 Comments)

Paul Lukas' latest article is All you need is glove, a look into the batting glove, its history, variations, and who uses what.

There was always something I liked watching Mark Grace or Doug Mientkiewicz or Vlad bat... just something natural about it. Same with the elbow and leg armor. Any thoughts on the matter?

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Superstar!? Hardly....

Posted at 12:51 PM on May 9, 2006 by David Zingler (2 Comments)

"Me and Torii (are the only superstars left in Minnesota). Man, it's kind of crazy."
-Kevin Garnett after learning of the Daunte Culpepper trade.

He possess amazing athletic prowess, has a great smile, out-going personality and is a favorite of SportsCenter, but Twins centerfielder Torii Hunter is no “superstar.” Entering the 2005 season Hunter had a batting line of .267/.321/.458. He’s never hit 30 homeruns, has surpassed the 100 RBI plateau only once and has never finished in the top 10 of any major offensive category other than his 7th place finish in triples in 2000 and 8th and 9th place finishes in stolen bases in 2002, 2004 and 2005. lists Jacque Jones and Juan Encarnacion as the players most similar to our resident “superstar.”

Despite all of those facts, some in the media dared to compare him to Kirby Puckett after Puckett’s death in March. How can this be? How can a guy that has shown zero improvement in his approach at the plate during his career and produces average to above average offensive statistics be called a “superstar” by anyone? The obvious answer is that Hunter’s reputation is a byproduct of the highlight reel generation. We could also blame the media, who always treats the guys that give them quotes a little better. Maybe it’s just that the Twins are so desperate for an everyday player to market that they can’t wait for Joe Mauer to bloom. Who knows, but at $10.75 million this season, the Twins aren’t getting their money’s worth.

Whether you agree or not, with a $12 million team option in 2007, Hunter will likely be playing elsewhere next year, which begs the question, should they trade him now?

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Stadium bills passed

Posted at 2:27 PM on May 9, 2006 by Ben Tesch (1 Comments)

Well, the Senate approves.

The stadium line-up looks like this: the Twins would get a retractable-roof ballpark in downtown Minneapolis; the Vikings would get a stadium in Blaine, also with a retractable roof; and the Gophers would get an open-air stadium on the Minneapolis campus.

All three teams - currently housed in the Metrodome - would have new buildings by 2011 if the bills were to continue on course.

Two taxes would be used to pay for it all.

You can check the vote here.

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A palpable hit. Or 19 of them.

Posted at 10:14 PM on May 9, 2006 by Josh Lee (5 Comments)

This is how easily I'm spoiled: When the Twins went down in the 5th inning of their 15-5 win over the Rangers, I actually thought to myself, "two straight innings without a run? What's wrong with these guys?" In a desert of bad offensive showings, all it takes is an occasional drink from the well of good at-bats to make me forget about all those 6-1 losses, especially since I have a habit of missing these happy outbursts.

Just to make sure that I didn't feel too good about this game, though, the Twins committed two errors, both of the stinkiest variety: the misplayed grounder. The Twins still lead the majors with the fewest errors committed, but that's really just evidence that errors are an overrated stat, and that Minnesota's reputation as a strong defensive club is mostly maintained through inertia.

Also: I'm sure I'm jinxing it, but Rondell White is riding a seven-game hitting streak, and can almost see the Mendoza Line out on the horizon.

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