Winnners and LosersPublished 7:24pm Saturday, September 10, 2011
We have mentioned here many times about the bad shape the Twins once great farm system has seemed to deteriorate. There is no quick and easy solution to the problem either.
The system has sent up a lot of players to the big team this summer and unfortunately they haven’t faired to well as the Twins are now behind the lowly Kansas City Royals and are in last place in the division. The players may have some talent somewhere inside them but they have struggled in a number of different ways.
The Twins prided themselves in playing the game “The Right Way” which is to say they were a fundamentally sound baseball team. This summer they have proven to have all the “Wrong” stuff. They haven’t covered the right bases at the right time; they have made poor throws, missed cutoffs and forgotten how many outs there are. They have also miss played a lot of easy plays. Are they not coached right in the minors? Are they not as talented as we have been led to believe? Are they not focused?
The Twins think they have taken the first step of many steps to correct things in their system. They have fired the manager and hitting coach of their AAA team Rochester. They said it wasn’t because of lack of effort or teaching, it was simply because they haven’t been winning.
Not winning, now who is to blame for that? A lot is on the shoulders of the players who have to put in the time to get better. The coaches have to instill the basics all of the time and make sure the players work. The scouts have to do a better job of finding players and the front office needs to do better in controlling all of this.
The one item I am going to touch on is the winning. In the last few years the Twins minor league teams just haven’t been winning. I don’t mean they haven’t won any championships, I mean they haven’t been winning period. Of course there is a lot of reason for losing the above paragraph are some reasons. But losing can become a disease and that is what I worry about and now the front office is concerned too.
Over the years I have played on a lot of baseball and softball teams and I have been on winners and I have been on losers. Believe me there is a big difference in the aura of a winning team and a losing team. The players on a winning team know in their minds before the game that the odds are pretty great that they are going to win. It is hard to explain to someone who hasn’t gone through this, but it is not arrogance but a calm confidence. They also know it isn’t always going to come easy so they know they can’t let their guard down and have to remain focused. They feel if they can do that they will have things go their way and they will succeed.
A losing team is exactly the opposite of all of that. The sad part is not all losing teams are untalented players but good players who actually know how to play the game. There is the old saying that “winning breeds winning and losing breeds losing.” That is what happens to a losing team who breeds losing, it becomes a disease. This team can play awesome for a few innings and then someone makes an error or bad play and the losing team falls apart. They think “here we go again” and then the wheels come off and the game is over and they have lost again. A winning team will have someone make a bad play and there thoughts are toward making a great play to pick up their teammate and the team.
I have been on these losing teams like I said, and there isn’t anything one guy can do to help. He can try and keep yelling positive things or chew them out or whatever to jolt everyone back into the game, but it just isn’t that easy. It is a disease.
The Twins minor leagues have this disease and the only cure is to start winning and that is not an easy task. It is going to take the scouts to find the right players, front office to sign them, coaches to teach them, and players to go out and do it. Sounds simple but it isn’t, it will take time. The Twins got caught with their pants down with all the success the big league team has had and I feel the minors leagues have been either neglected or run poorly.
I have said it before, the Twins have a mess on their hands and it is not going to heal very quickly.