The Irrationally Overrated, White Sox Mark Buehrle and tribute videos

Last night the Chicago White Sox welcomed back Mark Buerhle with a tribute video in the first inning of game one in their series versus the Toronto Blue Jays. You can watch it later in this post. As well as the White Sox 2013 opening introduction video. But first we re-publish a magnificent post from former Sport Bank contributor Peter Christian:

Just as there are certainties in life (death, taxes, et al) there are certainties in sports. Some of the more notable certainties are the die hard fans, heartbreak and the euphoric high of winning a championship. Additionally, with every sports franchise comes the list of current and former players who are irrationally overrated.

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John Danks, Don Cooper and Jeff Manto Chat with White Sox Season Ticket Holders

As the ultimate reward for their loyalty, today the White Sox gave season ticket holders an unprecedented opportunity to chat with pitcher John Danks, pitching coach Don Cooper and new hitting coach Jeff Manto.  The event was facilitated by long-time White Sox and Chicago Blackhawks public address announcer Gene Honda.

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Twins Should Trade Michael Cuddyer

The trade deadline is fast approaching in Major League Baseball. It is a unique season, so the date is largely ignored due to the NFL free agent comings and goings. Twins General Manager Bill Smith has some tough decisions to make. The team is on the borderline of heading into contention for the stretch run or on the cusp of faltering into the depths of the cellar in the division.

This is the type of decision that he can make from watching the club on a daily basis and getting a feel for which direction they are headed. I think that he should choose to sell at this juncture. Michael Cuddyer is a solid and versatile player. He has been the rock of the club this season with a myriad of injuries affecting almost every aspect of the roster. This is why he is valuable to all the other squads looking to add a complete player for the late summer push.

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Twins Vs. Tigers: AL Central Race Heating Up Now?

Outside of Justin Morneau, Jason Kubel is the most prolific bat in the Twins lineup on a consistent basis. He has more potential than Joe Mauer to put up big time numbers in the RBI and home run departments. The argument could also be made for Delmon Young or Michael Cuddyer, but I would wonder if those that would bring up those names have ever been to a batting practice session. People often speak of making judgments concerning the eye test. This would be more of a case of trusting the ear test.

If the Twins could take the Tigers and Yankees off the schedule, then the reason of the season would be pure bliss. The team showed promise in the first two series that were post All Star break. The Indians and Royals are anonymous nationally, but intra-divisional contests are always of the utmost importance in Major League Baseball. Then the team faced the Tigers-a team that had beaten them eleven straight times before Saturday night.

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Minnesota Twins Contractual Obligations

matt capps

Commentators frequently refer to this time of year as a dead period. I couldn’t disagree more because it really gives me the time to pore over the numbers and action of the current WNBA season. Seriously, it does offer a pause to analyze the state of organizations and to ponder what should transpire in the future to maximize success.

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Minnesota Twins Showing Some Signs of Life

There is nothing that a Twins fan dreads more than seeing the New York Yankees on their upcoming schedule. The same can be said of the faithful of the Chicago White Sox regarding the Twins. Some match-ups provide distinct advantages to a certain side even when there doesn’t seem to be a drastic disparity in talent between the two. It demonstrates the importance of the mental aspect of the game.

Heading into play on Saturday, Minnesota had won a half dozen in a row this season and nine in a row total going back to last year against the White Sox.

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Joe Mauer’s Triumphant Return to the Minnesota Twins

Joe Mauer

It was fitting that Joe Mauer knocked in a runner with a single during his first plate appearance on Friday after coming back from bilateral leg weakness. It was a story book beginning for the Minnesota Twin who is head and shoulders above the rest.

Okay, I’ll stop.

The club jumped out to a six to one lead against the Padres on Friday before having to hang on, only winning by one run. Matt Capps picked up his tenth save in the process. Mauer isn’t the only notable player returning to the line-up.

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What’s Wrong with the 2011 Minnesota Twins?

Justin Morneau

My blood pressure went through the roof while watching the Twins squander the lead against the Angels on Friday night. The Minnesota Twins of Minnesota entered the eighth inning with a five run lead when starter Scott Baker was sent to the showers to make way for the bullpen. That is when the disaster ensued that eventually led to a six to five loss, which further cemented the club as the worst in the majors. They had to try to lose that game.

Injuries are the most obvious issue with the ball club.

Joe Nathan was just sent to the fifteen day disabled list with a right flexor muscle strain.

Joe Mauer has been out a month and a half with bilateral leg weakness. Justin Morneau is still arguably suffering post-concussion syndrome from the collision he experienced over ten months ago in Toronto.

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Now or Never for the Minnesota Twins

Minnesota Twins Designated Hitter Jim Thome

At the time of this blog the Twins have only won nine of twenty-five games this season. There is also a surprise in the American League East cellar with the Boston Red Sox currently as its occupant.

The recent absence of Jim Thome from the line-up has taken out some of its pop. The wildness of the pitchers is a major concern. One of the aspects of Twins baseball has been to throw the ball over the plate and to keep it down. If this is not occurring, then some disastrous results are on the horizon because the club does not have the type of pitchers with the stuff to walk numerous batters and make up for it with strikeouts.

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Minnesota Twins Offense is Nonexistent

Delmon Young

Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer have been on the shelf during the early part of the season. The batting order hasn’t even come close to picking up the slack in their absence. Michael Cuddyer looks lethargic in his body language and Delmon Young’s production is nowhere to be found. The team had two national television appearances in the past week and both games contained striking similarities. They lost close games at the conclusion due to lack of execution against mediocre teams at best.

The good news is that Friday’s game against divisional rival Cleveland Indians was rained out. This is the best thing that could have happened since the latter is so hot and the former is extremely shorthanded. Ron Gardenhire should have taken the heat for moving closer Joe Nathan to a holder role because now it looks like the players make the roster moves instead of the manager.

In addition, a player’s confidence is a fragile thing. A conversation like that must be held in confidence, even if the pitcher doesn’t mind it getting out. Doubt is a fragile component in the late innings. The moment that it enters a reliever’s mind, bad things are looming on the horizon. No make-up date has been determined for Friday’s contest, which is also a good thing. If the teams didn’t meet so often throughout the season, then a doubleheader likely would have been decided upon. Splits are almost always the case when this transpires. It takes away from the intrigue of a single game when both best possible line-ups are not on the field.

Some credit has to be given to a few hitters. Danny Valencia is hitting for a low average, but some timely hits have garnered him a healthy number of runs batted in. Outfielders Jason Kubel and Denard Span have both hit over three hundred on the year and provided energy to this largely lackluster band of characters. With runs so hard to come by, the squad should be stealing more than Mike Leake at Macy’s.

At  least the movement might provide some holes for hitters who are in the batter’s box or decrease the necessity for extra base hits to score runs. While it’s true that the team’s winning percentage is hovering around a typical Tony Gwynn batting average, things can only get better. The White Sox haven’t looked much sharper and Detroit has proven to be vulnerable as fall approaches.

Fans have to ask themselves if it is okay for the team simply to be patient and wait for players to become productive and get healthy or is it time for some action?

They can no longer call themselves small market because of all the revenue generated from Target Field. In addition, they really do have a regional following because they are the only team in the area for fans in North and South Dakota to embrace. A substantial part of Iowa is even on their side due to the Cubs ineptness. So, the news is bad but it could be worse.

Minnesota Twins Already Facing a Breaking Point

Joe Mauer

Around opening day I predicted that the Twins would win the American League Central Division because they were healthy and ready to continue their fundamentally solid play backed by quality pitching. It appears that I have some egg on my face at this juncture. However, they have proven over the last decade to be viable foes for all comers in the Midwest region. There are some ways that the ship can be righted to change their future levels of success.

I have called for and will continue to emphasize the need to trade Joe Nathan or Matt Capps.

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Twins’ Gardenhire Should Take Notes From Cardinals’ LaRussa

I have thought for quite some time that Ron Gardenhire is in the top quartile of managers. His longevity is rare in the major leagues. He has the necessary knowledge to get the job done, and his players enjoy competing for him. The Minnesota Twins have stumbled out of the gate so far this season-losing two thirds of their games. It is not as bad as the Red Sox have done and is certainly no reason for alarm with the fans. However, it is time to reference Tony LaRussa.

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