Welcome myself back from what however, I'm not sure. Laziness? Lack of inspiration? Busy personal life? Probably all of the above. One thing is certain and that it's hard to maintain an interest in blogging while your team goes through an endless stretch of ineptitude. That's no excuse though as many excellent bloggers out there continued to write throughout the season (and the lifeless offseason) and my appetite for anything baseball has taken complete advantage of being able to read them every day.
It's tough to know how to get back into this. I'm sure I've lost many loyal readers, and I'm sure Curve's link has been removed from many other blog sidebars. For anyone interested, I'm going to find a way back to writing, but at this point it has to be more for myself than anyone else I suppose.
For anyone who does it on a regular basis, writing is a muscle that needs to constantly be exercised (trite, cliché, eye-rolling everywhere). And if nothing else I hate having that muscle out of shape.
So let's start out slow, disjointed -- the only way to ease back into the tepid water I'm facing.
- I already miss Michael Cuddyer, Joe Nathan, and Jason Kubel. Losing one after the other in succession felt like saying good-bye to best friends. I realize it would have been a mistake to resign them (although I still think losing Kubel is a tough pill to swallow). Doumit should fill in nicely, and Carroll will probably at least be decent, which is a sure step-up from anything we've seen in the middle infield except JJ Hardy. But this is a stopgap, and I'm sure the front office sees it the same way.
- Our bullpen is a hot mess. I thought we tried the same plan last year -- throw a bunch of arms at a wall and see which ones stick. The real problem here isn't that we're not going out and signing solid relievers, that rarely ever works out for teams (e.g. Soriano, Cruz, Rodney, etc. etc.). The real problem for me is that the young talent in our farm season either hasn't risen fast enough or isn't there. I think we'll have a very good idea of if Burnett is for real or not after this season. Why Gutierrez, Bromberg, Manship, Waldrop, or Slama are not viable options for us at this point is beyond me. If we don't believe they'll step up, I can understand roster positions going to people like Phil Dumatrait, Casey Fien, Jeff Gray or people of that ilk, but then the bigger question becomes why aren't we producing our homegrown talent like we were before?
- Tom Kelly's jersey being retired is a classy classy move. That man will forever live in my heart as being the guy that brought World Series titles to Minnesota and it was a sad day when he hung up the clipboard. Not to take anything away from Ron Gardenhire but he has a large shadow of a small man hanging over him. Gardy certainly has some of Kelly's attributes, but the silent effectiveness of TK is something I've always admired. Well done, sir.
That's it for now. Hopefully the next post is more coherent and not far off in the future...