Another day, another awful outfield D for Twins

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Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports
that Denard Span will not join the Twins during their three-game series
at Wrigley Field that begins this afternoon because the team has been
unable to uncover the source of his dizziness:

Team doctors
have him on medication for an inner ear infection and don’t want him to
travel. The first time Span’s dizziness came about he started on
medication for an inner ear infection, but [manager Ron] Gardenhire
said the meds made Span feel sick and so he stopped using them. Span
also missed an appointment a couple of weeks ago with a thyroid
specialist … Span overslept and missed that appointment. He’s been
rescheduled with the specialist for Tuesday, Gardenhire said.

Span
has been hugely valuable to the Twins since establishing himself as
their leadoff man in the middle of last season, hitting .293/.384/.414
with 30 steals, 78 walks, and 105 runs in 150 games. And not only does
the lineup suffer without his bat, Ron Gardenhire’s frustrating refusal
to give Carlos Gomez regular playing time leaves the Twins with a
horrendous defensive outfield for the second straight game.

Gomez
is one of baseball’s elite defensive center fielders, but is apparently
so buried in the doghouse that Gardenhire would rather trot out sub par
right fielder Michael Cuddyer in center field flanked by awful corner
outfielders Delmon Young and Jason Kubel. The combination is among the
worst defensive outfields in a long time and, while it didn’t hurt the
Twins yesterday, will eventually cost them a significant number of runs.

Gomez is an incredibly raw 23-year-old with a great glove and a terrible bat, so it seems obvious that he needs to be playing regularly
whether at Triple-A or in Minnesota. Instead, Gardenhire has started
him in just 35 of 63 games and would rather go with a trio of
below-average corner guys in the outfield than even let Gomez sub for
Span. Oh, and here’s the kicker: Gomez has a .573 OPS compared to .574
from Young.

A child was carried out of Yankee Stadium after being hit by a foul ball

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A scary thing just happened in Yankee Stadium. A young fan, it appeared to be a young girl, sitting down the left-field line was struck by a Todd Frazier foul ball. Play was halted on the field as she was attended to. They carried her out, not waiting for a stretcher to come. It was hard to see how bad her injuries were, but those on the field — including Eduardo Escobar of the Twins — were visibly shaken.

Major League Baseball has encouraged — not demanded or required, but merely encouraged — teams to extend netting farther down the foul lines in the name of fan safety. Many teams have done so. The Yankees have not, and have remained somewhat non-committal about it all.

We’ll provide an update of the girl’s condition once it is known.

Everything you wanted to know about collusion but were afraid to ask

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Most of you are likely aware of baseball’s history of collusion. Specifically, the three instances between 1985 and 1988 when the league, the owners and their general managers entered into a conspiracy to suppress salaries by agreeing to share information and to not to sign free agents away from other teams. The scheme, which violated the explicit terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, led to a series of arbitrations which resulted in the owners being forced to pay the players $280 million in damages.

While you may know that large-arc story of collusion, there is an awful lot of stuff relating to it all that is seldom talked about. Interesting stuff which, despite its genesis over 30 years ago still impacts baseball to this very day. If you want to hear some talk about that, I was on the This Week in Baseball History podcast with Michael Bates and Bill Parker last night, and we talked about it, all in honor of the first decision in the three collusion cases which came down 30 years ago this week.

We covered a lot of topics you may not know arose out of the collusion cases. For example:

  • Did you know that the collusion cases led more or less directly to the existence of the Marlins, Rockies, Rays and Diamondbacks?
  • Did you know that it led, eventually, to Bud Selig becoming commissioner?
  • Did you know that it contributed greatly to the 1994-95 labor impasse which led to the cancellation of the 1994 World Series?
  • Did you know that it spun off litigation that continued for nearly 20 years after the collusion plan, so that in the year 2005 people were STILL talking about what Steve freakin’ Garvey was supposed to earn back in the 1980s?
  • Did you know that, in one key respect, the collusion cases of the 1980s had their genesis in something Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale did back in 1966?

Maybe you knew some of that, maybe you didn’t, but it was all kinda wild. If the topic interests you, I highly recommend you take a listen to the podcast. We go light on the legalities, heavier on talking about stuff like what might’ve happened if Kirk Gibson signed with the Royals in 1986 and never made it to the Dodgers in 1988. It’s baseball talk that you may not hear every day.