15 Jun 19
If you’ve been watching Rocco Baldelli, you probably haven’t seen him yell. About anything.
“I haven’t seen very much to yell about,” the first-year Twins manager said.
That’s his personality. He should have been a psychologist.
“Everyone handles things differently,” Baldelli said. “Whatever your personality is, that’s how you should be every day, how you should interact with people. Even as a kid and young person, outwardly I generally don’t show very much emotion. This is just natural.”
So Baldelli, just 37 years old, continues to manage his first-place Twins that way. No rules to speak of. No player fines.
“I generally haven’t found that people react very well when being over-watched,” he said. “I think when you give people a little bit of space and a little bit of comfort and a little confidence, you get the most out of people. I believe that.
“(His players) handle their business very well. You don’t need to micromanage, be on them about every small topic and everything that they do.”
The Twins are off to a 46-22 start.
“What allows us to operate like this is because we have players that are at a point in their career where you don’t have to police them,” Baldelli continued. “They’re quality individuals, they’re good at what they do. Each guy needs a little something different, and you help them kind of get what they need for a game and to prepare. And when you do that, that’s all you really need to do.”
Entering Saturday evening’s game against Kansas City, the Twins had an 11-game division lead over second-place Cleveland.
“I tend to focus on the things that I think are important,” Baldelli said. “The things I think are important maybe aren’t necessarily what maybe other people think are important. The things I think are important are if players prepare well. And that doesn’t necessarily mean working them to the bone. It just means if our players treat people well and compete well and handle their business that we ask them to do, all of that, then I’m happy.
“Most of everything else is a teaching moment, one way or another, as opposed to an emotional moment.”
If a trio of Twins keep producing at their current pace, the club could end up with multiyear contract extensions totaling at least $300 million. Those players are starting pitcher Jose Berrios, left fielder Eddie Rosario and center fielder Byron Buxton.
Berrios is pitching for $620,000 this season. Buxton’s salary is $1.75 million. Rosario is playing for $4.2 million but can become a free agent after the season.
The Twins have tried several times to extend Berrios’ contract, but not lately. For now, he said he’s focusing on the season.
“The numbers will mean (the size of future contracts),” he said last week, pointing to the field.
The Twins have moved up to No. 2 in baseball in hits with runners in scoring position. A month ago, they ranked No. 21. The Yankees are No. 1.
Infielder Eduardo Escobar, 30, whom the Twins traded to Arizona a year ago, is hitting .293 with 17 home runs and 57 runs batted in in 69 games for the Diamondbacks.
The prospects the Twins received for Escobar are pitcher Jhoan Duran, 21, whose fastball touches 101 mph but who is 1-5 with a 3.28 earned-run average and 56 strikeouts in 49 1/3 innings at Class A Fort Myers; outfielder Ernie De La Trinidad, 23, who is hitting .370 in seven games at Fort Myers after being demoted from AA Pensacola, where he was batting .205 in 40 games; and outfielder Gabriel Maciel, 20, who is hitting .303 in 43 games at Class A Cedar Rapids.
Jakie Mauer, 40, spent 17 years in the Twins organization as a minor league player, coach and manager. Brother Joe, 36, had his No. 7 Twins jersey retired before a sellout ballpark on Saturday.
“How quickly they’re doing it kind of surprised everybody,” Jakie said. “With Joe being retired, and now reflecting really on the last 20 years, it’s like storybook. I mean, the kid grows up 10 miles from the ballpark and gets to open up the new ballpark, being part of that and the playoff games, to be in a situation where your number’s retired and with the longevity and the numbers he put up, I don’t know if you can really write a better story than that.”
Mauer becomes the fourth major league player to have No. 7 retired. The others — Mickey Mantle (Yankees), Craig Biggio (Astros) and Ivan Rodriguez (Rangers) — all are in baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Mauer will be featured speaker at a Dunkers breakfast on July 16 at the Minneapolis Club.
The St. Louis Blues are an all-encompassing organization, and when the team stunned the Bruins 4-1 to win the Stanley Cup in Game 7 in Boston on Wednesday, among players included to raise the revered trophy on the TD Garden ice was Mitch Reinke.
Reinke, 23, a Stillwater High grad who starred at Michigan Tech, is a defenseman who after a tremendous rookie season for the Blues’ San Antonio Rampage affiliate was promoted to the NHL team for the grinding postseason as a player to be ready if needed. He was with the Blues since April, practicing and traveling with the NHL team, but didn’t get a chance to get into a playoff game.
Chris Reinke, Mitch’s father, was watching the Blues win the championship on TV and saw his son get to raise the Stanley Cup.
“About fell off the couch,” the proud father said.
It’s unclear whether Reinke, as is customary with members of the winning organization, will get a day to host the Stanley Cup in Stillwater this summer.
Two St. Paul country clubs next weekend will celebrate their 100th anniversaries.
Incredibly, Somerset in Mendota Heights has had just two head golf professionals the last 80 years. They are the late Gordie Haberkorn and currently David DuShane, who is in his 40th year. Also, Somerset has had just two superintendents the past 58 years, Jerry Murphy and James Bade.
That’s remarkable continuity in the world of country clubs.
Southview in West St. Paul will celebrate its storied centennial on Friday and has invited past club pros and members to participate while displaying artifacts and running an ongoing video of the club’s history.
Southview’s iconic personalities include the late Frank Fiorito, the beloved club professional known throughout Minnesota golf circles as a consummate gentleman and classy representative for his sport.
Southview operated its first seven years without a head professional. Its first pro was Arthur Dick in 1927. There have been 14 head pros since Dick, with Brendan Cody in his third year as current professional.
Somerset was the cherished home of Jimmy Johnston, who joined the club in 1922 as the defending Minnesota State Amateur champion. Johnson, who lived on Crocus Hill in St. Paul, won every State Am from 1921 through 1928.
Even more notable was that Johnston partnered with legendary Bobby Jones on four Walker Cup teams and in 1929 won the U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach, site of this weekend’s U.S. Open. Jones was the decided favorite in the tournament that Johnston won.
Dylan Drees, who pitched Benilde-St. Margaret’s into the state Class 3A baseball championship game against St. Thomas Academy on Thursday at Target Field, is the son of former major league pitcher Tom Drees from Edina.
Red Wing girls golf coach Mark Herzog retired last week after winning his sixth straight state championship. During his nearly 30 years at Red Wing, 132 of his players qualified for the state tournament.
DON’T PRINT THAT
Insiders say the Twins are moving closer to a trade with the Giants for left-handed starter Madison Bumgarner, 29.
Twins analytics show Craig Kimbrel, by market value, was worth a two-year free agent deal but not the three years that the right-handed closer received from the Cubs, who signed the 31-year-old for $43 million. The Twins were interested in a two-year deal.
As a result of the Kyle Rudolph contract restructuring, the Vikings now are $4.7 million under the NFL salary cap. Although technically a $32 million, four-year contract, Rudolph’s deal essentially is a $16 million, two-year deal, and that’s the window under which the Vikings now seem to be operating.
General manager Rick Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer have two years remaining on their deals. Quarterback Kirk Cousins has two more seasons on his contract.
It appears it’s going to be all or bust with this group for the next two years. After two years, if the Vikings do well, they’ll carry on. If not, there’s sure to be a rebuild.
Cousins is the fifth-highest paid QB in the NFL at $28 million but the 15th-best QB, according to NBC Sports’ ex-QB Chris Simms’ rankings.
Pssst: In the U.S. Bank stadium agreement the Vikings signed with the state of Minnesota, the Vikings are allowed to play one home game elsewhere every five years. Don’t be surprised if in 2021 the Vikings play a home game in Europe or Mexico City.
Nobody’s talking, but it sure seems that baseballs are juiced this season. By the way, Major League Baseball a year ago purchased Rawlings Sporting Goods, which manufactures the official baseball, for $395 million.
Contract talks continue between the New York Islanders and Anders Lee, the former St. Thomas Academy-Notre Dame star from Edina who can become a free agent on June 23. If a deal, expected to be in the $55 million, seven-year range, can’t get done, the high-scoring winger, at age 28, would become available to the Wild.
The best ex-Gopher Amir Coffey can hope for in Thursday’s NBA draft is to be a late second-round pick, and that still seems unlikely. The Timberwolves pick No. 43 overall in the second round.
Don’t be surprised if ex-Timberwolf Kevin Love and Cleveland’s No. 5 overall pick in the draft are traded to hometown Portland for CJ McCollum.
Grounds tickets for the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Hazeltine National in Chaska are $30 for Thursday and Friday, $35 for Saturday and Sunday.
Grounds tickets for the 3M Open PGA Tour tournament Thursday through Sunday, July 4-7, are $45 at the TPC in Blaine.
The Golf Channel and NBC will televise the KPMG tournament. The Golf Channel and CBS will televise the 3M Open.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is a member at Augusta National with a reported handicap of 16, and soccer icon Mia Hamm on Wednesday will headline a KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit at Hazeltine National.
The best baseball player all time from Minnesota is St. Paul’s Dave Winfield, according to newarena.com, which chose the best for every state. Best in Wisconsin is Kid Nichols, who was a 361-game winner for the Boston Beaneaters and in 1892 finished 35-16 with a 2.84 earned-run average.
There’s some buzz now that the University of St. Thomas, because it was squeezed out of the Division III MIAC, may seek an exemption to move to Division I sooner than the required 12 years. And word is if the Tommies can get to Division I, they might emphasize men’s basketball over football, hoping to build a program comparable to those of other Catholic programs such as Creighton, Marquette, Villanova and Xavier.
A crowd estimated at 5,000 turned out for the two-day “Crusher Fest” last week for the unveiling of a lifesize bronze statute of late pro wrestler Reggie “The Crusher” Lisowski, who died at age 79 in 2005.
The event was held outside at a plaza in working-class South Milwaukee, Wis., where Lisowski was raised and lived. Speakersincluded former pro wrestlers Baron von Raschke and Kenny “Sodbuster” Jay. The Crusher’s statute has him holding a keg of beer over his right shoulder.
Entertainment included the Minneapolis garage band “The Novas,” which in 1964 recorded “The Crusher” song. Among food items were turkey necks.
“The Crusher would have loved it,” said Stew Thornley, a Twins official scorer who attended the ceremony.
The St. Louis Blues won the Stanley Cup after firing ex-Wild coach Mike Yeo. The Toronto Raptors won the NBA championship after firing ex-Timberwolves coach Dwane Casey.
Popular ex-Twins clubhouse attendant Wayne “Big Fella” Hattaway, 79, who retired last year after 66 years in professional baseball, flew into town from his home in Mobile, Alabama, for Joe Mauer’s No. 7 jersey retirement ceremony Saturday.
“When Joe signed that big contract ($184 million), he said, ‘Can you put up with me for 10 more years?’ He told me last year, on Oct. 1, ‘I’m outta here.’ We both decided to retire the same day.”[related_articles location=”right” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-tag”]
Reason for Hattaway’s retirement?
“The game’s not played between the white lines like it used to be,” he said.
Joe Mauer’s wife, Maddie, asked whether she had any advice for her husband’s jersey retirement speech on Saturday: “I told him to take his time, take pauses and take deep breaths.”