Friday, November 11, 2016

Sink or Swim?

It appears that the Tigers offseason has taken some shape: Al Avila is looking to trim payroll, and it seems that everyone... yes, everyone, is up for grabs.

Naturally, if payroll is a problem, then Detroit's resident dinosaur Mike Ilitch is likely not factoring in to the inner decisions of the ball club, but rather his son Chris is now pulling the strings. And if that's the case, the team is looking to save money now rather than spend it.

Which is fine, no one really wants to spend a bunch of money, they just want to keep it for themselves.

The problem is, after years of obscurity and poor baseball product of the field, the fans who remember the days prior to 2006 don't really want to venture back to that fold. It's not fun, and a championship-hungry fan base really doesn't want to see that all go down.

That said, this already bumpy offseason has already seen one fan-favorite dealt away in the name of saving money. Cameron Maybin, who was great in his return to the ball club (unlucky injuries aside), was traded to the Angels, in a deal that pretty much said 'we don't want to pick up your $9MM option or buy you out for $1MM'. The Tigers found a team willing to spend the money on that option and got someone in return for him.

Sure, that sounds good. The team actually got something in return rather than spending money to send Maybin adrift. At the time, we found it hard to believe that casting him aside, the current crop of candidates to fill that new hold in center field would be viable for the upcoming 2017 season... that being the likes of Tyler Collins, Anthony Gose, or JaCoby Jones, just to name a few.

At the moment, none of those names reek of excellence, so the Tigers might just upgrade, right?

Think better, dummy. This is a payroll dump, and not anything else.

With that thought in mind, this offseason will likely be awful in terms of putting a truly competitive product out there while saving money for this suddenly frugal franchise.

Avila has allegedly warned his players... all of them, that their names may/will come up in trade talks/discussions/rumors as we meander our way through the fall. Though with certain players making certain money, trading these folks away won't be easy - in terms of getting remotely equal value back for them - and that's where this offseason will get frustrating for fans. The fan base is used to having things resolved in break-neck speed, but it's the other way around when it comes to finding a suitor for players who may have some heavy baggage (contract or otherwise) to haul around.

The two players who will be impossible to find equal compensation for (never mind that both have 10/5 rights and can veto any or all trades) are Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander.

Starting with Miggy:

He's owed $28MM next season, $30MM/yr for the next four seasons, and $32MM/yr for the two following that. The last 2 years of his contract, 2024-25, are club options that are guaranteed for top-10 finishes in the MVP voting. Even if you find someone who wants Miggy - and let's face it, there's 29 other teams who want him - you will never get full value back for him. Teams who want to trade for him aren't going to want to pay the full brunt of that contract, which means the Tigers would likely have to figure out how to not only continue to pay for a portion of the contract, they'd also have to have a hell of a return for such a trade, and that's not even remotely possible.

Next up, Justin Verlander:

Trying to trade JV isn't entirely out of the realm of possibility, but again... getting equal value for him in return is highly unlikely. His contract is a little more friendly (in terms of time only, because it's still steep in price), and he could probably be coaxed into being dealt somewhere to a team who could take on the $28MM/yr he's still owed for the next 3 seasons ($20MM vesting option in 2020). JV had a bit of a bounce-back year in 2016 and for the most part, returned to form and has himself back in everyone's Cy Young candidate talk (he's a finalist for 2016). At the right price, he and the future Mrs Verlander could be hobnobbing in somewhere that's not Detroit very soon.

What about the newly minted Gold Glover?

Ian Kinsler made $14MM last season, and is only due $11MM next season with the Tigers and has a $10MM club option for 2018. Sweet deal, if you ask me. Of course, it's the Texas Rangers who made this deal... it just so happens that the Tigers picked up the rest of this when they traded Prince Fielder to the Rangers for Ian. Yeah, that's the 2nd best Dave Dombrowski deal ever, considering Prince was often injured and was subsequently forced to retire because of that, but hey, gotta get lucky once in a while, right? Except that those cheap Ian numbers collide with the fact that Prince is still getting Tigers money from that trade. Kinsler had a solid year at the plate in 2016, and he and Jose Iglesias are great together up the middle.

It would be hard for this fan to trade (or even try to trade) these guys away, even in the scope of payroll slashing. In large part, it'll be hard to just trade away all the money that's owed to certain players, because teams don't necessarily want the burden that the Tigers have put themselves in. Now, if you want to try and trade the contracts of folks like Anibal Sanchez, Mike Pelfrey, or Mark Lowe, then by all means... go for it. That will also be difficult thanks to their terrible 2016 campaigns and their hefty salaries.

The trade that would make the most sense for the Tigers this offseason is that of JD Martinez. When healthy, his bat is pure. But after a breakout 2015 defensively, his on-field presence and prowess took a few steps backwards and was proven to be a bit of a liability in 2016. The pop in his bat though should be enough to help trade away the $11.75MM he'll make next season. After that, JD is a free agent and would certainly be an unlikely candidate for an extension from the ball club thanks to the sudden penny-pinching. For the Tigers, there's no reason to assume they couldn't offload him for a prospect or two to begin this fire sale... err... rebuilding process.

The Tigers can trim up the payroll a bit, but should do it cautiously. I'm not too sure the fan base is confident in Al Avila after his lackluster first full season as the team's GM, and just because you want to trim payroll doesn't mean you should want to be not-competitive. Because if you unload all of the heavy contracts in the name of saving a bunch of money, the next thing that gets trimmed will be ticket sales.

No one wants to see the Tigers dip back into the dark ages, but the fans assume that could happen with the little chatter that has happened thus far. And that will make for a dangerous offseason, and an unbearable 2017 campaign.

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Detroit Tigers Offseason... So Far

So if you’re ignoring the baseball postseason and only focusing on the Detroit Tigers offseason thus far, you’re probably trapped in a glass case of emotions right about now.

Al Avila has disclosed some offseason plans, which include not chasing players via the free agent market and announcing that he’s not planning on  extending the contract of JD Martinez, among other things.

The nervous twitching you might see amongst your Tigers brethren is that this team wasn’t good enough to win despite having one of the highest payrolls in baseball so we gotta get better right just now, damn it…

Except that’s the thing: the Tigers aren’t going to improve via free agency because there isn’t anything that will help this team right now. And yes, the payroll is high, and chasing what is a really shallow pool of talent and adding to the bloated payroll won’t help. Which means only one viable solution exists:

If you want to get better now or for the future, you must trade a player. Or players. It’s going to happen and we might as well get used to that idea.

The current way of Detroit Tigers life as we know it isn’t working, and it hasn’t worked for some time now. Last offseason, we all praised Al Avila for a job well done (we did, and continue to scratch our heads over the Pelfrey deal) over the patching job of some of the holes in the Tigers roster: he brought in bullpen help and eventually filled that gaping hole in left field with a late addition which at the time was viewed as a viable replacement for the departed Yoenis Cespedes.

That addition was Justin Upton, who’s $22MM/season tag was high, and with his early production, was extremely laughable. The guy was striking out hard core, and until 3 days off in mid-August, was a complete failure as an addition to this ball club. After that 3-day break, Upton was knocking the cover off the ball and becoming a useful cog in the lineup.

So, maybe he should have taken those 3 days off in April, eh?

Perhaps, yes. Moving along…

The Tigers traded for Justin Wilson and signed Mark Lowe to help shore up the back end of the bullpen. Wilson started the season off promising and Lowe was a disaster from day 1. Lowe is on the books for another season, so that probably doesn’t sit too well with the fan base. Francisco Rodriguez was brought in the close games and with a few adventures or so, was rather successful at that.

With only 2 standouts in the rotation this season (Verlander/Fulmer), the bullpen was a necessary evil. But it was only evil at times, and that’s part of what doomed the Tigers in 2016.

Jordan Zimmermann had an awesome April and fizzled with injuries and inconsistency, so that wasn't fun either. Nick Castellanos was hit by a pitch that broke his hand. JD Martinez ran into the wall in KC and broke his elbow.

Imagine if the Tigers were healthy and performing up to par and not losing 13 or 14 times to the Cleveland Indians, they'd be in the thick of things...

But they weren't healthy. And they kept losing to Cleveland. And here we are watching them play on.

I dare say: if this club stays healthy and plays up to their actual potential, the Tigers won't need to do any major retooling. Yes, those are big "ifs", and that's the same line of reasoning for every baseball team in the league. However...

The trade bait debate will start.... 3, 2, 1,....

Let's start with JD Martinez. The most logical person to trade away now or at the deadline in July... He's been nothing short of amazing (in regards to his actual value; the Tigers got him for free), and his mini-extension with the club expires after the 2017 season. When he's not running into walls and breaking limbs, he's been a great power presence at the plate. His defense took a dive in 2016 vs his play in 2015, but if he's hitting dingers and such no one will care about that, especially a team that wants a really cheap rental to "win now". 

Ian Kinsler is another name that pops up. A man who's aging, but his production at the plate at in the field is still extremely relevant for the Tigers. A man who was acquired for another man who was forced to retire due to neck issues (Prince Fielder), he's been a guy who easily helped the team "win a trade". 

Then there's talk of trading guys like Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera. The only thoughts here are: they will be hard to trade because of 10/5 rights, contract numbers, age, etc.

At the end of the day, the "trade bait" brought up to ultimately help improve the team in some way are all popular players within the fanbase and the organization. While it's a necessary evil to make sure the Detroit Tigers are competitive with their large payroll, it's important to figure their future with their present. And that's not easy.

In reality, they could take one more shot, or they could take a couple of steps backwards and try and retool the organization - something they could do if they didn't think they could compete for a playoff spot. But consider this: they have a number of expiring contracts this upcoming season: Pelfrey, Sanchez, JD, Cam, Lowe... And Upton has an opt-out campaign... All of which are usually great motivators in performing well so that the next big pay-day comes. And that's a hell of a risk to take, but when you're looking to shed payroll and rebuild, maybe that patient one-last-season approach should be the one taken here.

The free agent market is dry, and the Tigers don't have much to spend. But that doesn't mean they won't be any good in 2017 without any major upgrades. And there's no real need to freak out over the lack of activity this offseason, because there's not much to banter over. The Tigers could stand pat and they wouldn't be any better or worse than they are now. Fans want to have the next big thing on the roster, but it's just not there. And the bad news is, the big things that are already there might be dangling out there for other teams.

Do or die in 2017... And from one of the most impatient people in human history, I say, just relax and watch the offseason play out. If Avila decides to retool, then so be it. But if he retools while there's a hair of a chance to win, then maybe we should call for Avila's head, and not the roster he's in control of.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Your Tiger Stadium Memories: In Blog Form

Recently, I killed some time at my favorite watering hole and shared my most memorable trip to Tiger Stadium. To be sure, it wasn’t the best day in Detroit Tigers or MLB history, but it stood out as an experience I won’t forget until the dementia settles in.

The ballpark has been gone for a while now, but I (properly) assumed that my Twitter followers would have a say or two about their own memories of “The Corner”, and I’m happy to share some of what was thrown my way.

Here goes:

This was the first submission via Twitter. The response to me was likely twice as fast as the average Frank Tanana curveball.

This might be the most Detroit tweet I received on this subject.

This one sounds more like a law firm than a triple play combo.

If you can't beat Nolan Ryan by conventional means, just use furniture. Because it just doesn't matter.

I'm still awaiting verification on this one...

When you see Al Kaline, you should say hi, at least...
Prince's dad makes an appearance.

Being young tweets:

Bleacher creature tweets:

(Yeah, that sounds like a party.)

How about some home runs...

Hashtag: humblebrag.

This person had quite a few to choose from, so I just picked my favorite one...

A couple of non-Tiger mentions...

Let's end with the memorable smell of "food".

Quite the mix of memories, here. Mostly good ones, I might add. Perhaps in a handful of years we'll discuss some fond memories of Comerica Park. Of course, nothing "fond" truly started until 2006, right?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Panic!! (No, Just Kidding... Please Don't)

A few thoughts as the Tigers limp out of Minneapolis, having dropped two of three to the Minnesota Twins...

Sure, the Twins were picked by most of the baseball universe to finish in last place in the AL Central. Except you wouldn't know it from the reasonably clutch hitting they put on in this series.

And despite losing on Opening Day, they had their chances there, too: after Justin Verlander was lifted from the game after 5 innings and 91 pitches. Drew Smyly and his lack of command threw 1 1/3 innings of two run, three hit, three walk baseball. The rest of the pen who worked gave up just 1 hit the rest of the way, thus showing for at least one game the "closing by committee" can work.

If only for one game, however.

The second game of the series provided a couple of questions: both of which I asked at the end of the game...
  • What the hell was Jim Leyland thinking bringing on Phil Coke to face right-handed batting?
  •  And why didn't Austin Jackson catch that ball?
For starters, that first point. Phil Coke had righties hit a brain-busting .396 against him last year. So with that in mind, and Jim Leyland's penchant for "playing those matchups," you'd assume Coke would be nowhere near the pitcher's mound with right-handed bats coming up. And if it's truly a committee, then it would also beg the question of why your consistently used set-up guy (Joaquin Benoit) was pulled in favor of new-found closer (based on the body of work vs the Yankees last postseason). I mean, if Joaquin is who we consider the set-up guy in a "non-committee" role, then we saw no closer by committee yesterday, thus leaving a few of us scratching our heads.

Just be careful... too much head-scratching this early in the season, and we'll be down to brain in no time.

Better put blinders on these...
The fly ball that Austin Jackson probably should have caught  was to say the least, puzzling. I mean, we've seen him make numerous defensive plays. Including 1 diving catch! He was there, slowed down, and watched the ball land. Instead of a catch and an easy run on a sac fly, it turned into a game winning hit. 2 runs in, everybody go home.

What happened? Was it the infernal SHADOWS? This is really the only thing I could think of as I sat on my bar stool for this one. Austin came out of the shadows in deep left center field, and into the glaring sunlight and lost the ball. At any rate, it was a loss that can be likened by getting punched in the gut with a city bus. Walk off losses are the worst.

Today we saw Rick Porcello also have command issues. We also saw an incredibly stagnant offense. An offense that was actually given the gift of 2 runs (which were seriously gifts, both unearned), plus an opportunity to bust out of a funk in the 7th inning.

We'll try and make this quick: Omar Infante walks. Austin Jackson doubles (Good start, eh?). Torii Hunter whiffs. (Uh oh, one out, first base open). Miguel Cabrera... intentional walk. Prince Fielder whiffs (here it comes...). Victor Martinez pops out.

Yep. Second and third, no one out. Bases loaded, one out. Zero runs.

Remember that punch in the gut by a city bus? That keeps coming in the wake of Brayan Villareal's appearance today in the 8th inning: 5 runs, 4 hits, 2 walks, 2/3 of an inning.

Kids, I'm willing to stay and watch the 9th inning, but you've been freezing all day, and the Tigers are getting hammered. Wanna go home?

Should we all worry? I mean, if the Tigers can't beat the "lowly" Twins, what chance do they have? And didn't the team sign some kind of potato to a minor league deal earlier in the day? That seems moderately desperate, RIGHT??

Three games in, we probably shouldn't worry too much. Three games into July, perhaps. But maybe when the weather heats up, so will the bats. And maybe the arms will command their pitches like they're supposed to. Just because it's not happening now, doesn't mean it won't happen later. Let's all just take heart and realize that the Tigers are on their way home to open Comerica Park against a team they ran out of the playoffs last season.

So enjoy the home cooking, Tigers. Bring on the Yankees.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Prelude to a Season

At long last, what feels like an extra long session of Spring Training (probably helped by the World Baseball Classic) is finally coming to an end, rosters are getting set, and players and fans alike are getting ready for another season of Major League Baseball.

For our Detroit Tigers, a few thoughts:

  • Will the improved everyday lineup produce more consistently?
  • Will the rotation help take the pressure off of the marginal bullpen? 
  • Will the team finish the job this season, meaning a World Series championship? 
Good questions, to be sure. But almost certainly hard to answer before the start of a nice, long, 162-game season.

It's nice to have a lineup that doesn't include Delmon Young; that does include a now healthy Victor Martinez, and can boast a front 5 of the order that can be rather potent. Austin Jackson had his first career .300 season, and has shown more power each season in the lead-off spot - and if he can continue to bring down the awful strikeout numbers, he'll be a force at the top.

Torii Hunter should provide a solid 2nd bat. But I'm not going to set the bar too high on his numbers, as he did hit for a career high .313 last season. Hard to imagine he does that again... that was the first time in his 16 seasons he's hit over .300. Even if Torii hits marginally, his defense in the outfield will be a more than welcome sight for me. He's an automatic improvement from anyone who played out in right field last season. Then again, he has won nine gold gloves.

Victor is going to be the real curious case for me. He hit a modest .264 during the spring, with 1 home run and 3 doubles. Before he blew his knee out last offseason, his 2011 campaign with the Tigers was a rather impressive one: hitting .330 and driving in over 100 runs. But at age 34, and a full season of recovering from knee surgery, it'll be intriguing to see how he holds up after the time off rehabbing. In his favor is the fact that he's not needed to play the field, thus causing a little less wear-and-tear on him. Martinez is a career .303 hitter. Though if he hits around .270 or .280 (while driving in a few runs here and there), then I think the team will be in good shape.

Can Alex Avila and Jhonny Peralta come back from their regression-filled offensive seasons of last year? Can Andy Dirks stay injury free this season as he's the general mainstay in left field?

Stop calling me "Annabelle!" (photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
As for the pitchers, is the rotation as good as previously advertised? Time will tell, as we're going to assume that Justin Verlander will continue to pitch like the freak-of-nature everyone thinks he is. Also easy to assume that he and Max Scherzer will strike out about 400 batters between them again this year. Rick Porcello and Drew Smyly both had solid outings this spring, but my concerns coming out of the spring are Doug Fister and Anibal Sanchez.

Sanchez in 4 starts for the Tigers this spring was touched for 13 runs, 26 hits and only striking out 6 in 16 innings pitched: good for a 7.31 ERA. Fister's command has lacked this spring, walking 12 batters in 19 1/3 innings. Last season Doug only walked 37 batters in over 160 innings pitched. While a simple tweak in command would be a good (and moderately obvious) remedy for Fister, it's Sanchez who might feel a little more of the heat if he doesn't start well: as he did sign a 5-year, $80MM deal to come back to the Tigers this past offseason, I'm not so sure the fans will be understanding of his struggles while he cashes those paychecks.

(We'll save the "closer by committee" talk for another time. That debate could easily fill an ordinary Sunday.)

With all that said, I'm sure all of us are eager to see what this 2013 Tigers team can accomplish in the long run of the season. While most people expect them to win the weak AL Central (Jon Morosi evidently disagrees), it'll be curious to see if they can finish off a championship run. Baseball is a game of inches, and for this team, every inch counts.

Play Ball!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Organ Donor? It's a Possbility

I don't use my blog to spout about my personal life - in fact, whether it be here or on Twitter, outside of talking occasionally about my wife and kids, I don't post much about my personal/private life. I'm under the general impression that no one would care about my life beyond social media, therefore I keep it to myself.

This time though, I'm going to share something that's quite serious, and rather life-changing.

My mother has informed me that she's on the wrong end of kidney failure. She'll need a transplant, and she'll need one soon.

That's where I (and possibly my brother) come in: time to see if I can be a viable donor.

Admittedly, I don't have the strongest relationship with my mother. She raised me strict, over-bearing, over-protective, etc. Looking back now, I can see why: she just wanted the best out of me, and wanted me to make proper decisions. I didn't do my best after I left home, and I may have made a number of wrong decisions, but as we stand, life is what it is. Two great kids, a wife and best friend who loves me and our lives as we have them now. And it can all change just like that with a major decision that I've been faced with.

In all reality, it's should be the easiest major decision ever. Can't let a family member pass because you don't want to help. Not so sure I could live with myself knowing I could help my mother and decided not to.

So I've filled out a questionnaire sent from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, where the donation will happen. Soon enough, I'll receive a kit to take to my primary care doctor so that we can do simple tests and blood work to send back to Rush. If all goes well with that, I'll make an appearance at the clinic for another pre-donation test. If I am to donate, then I'll be spending a couple of days there for the operation. My mom gets a kidney, and she can go on living for a few more years. At 62, she's probably not ready to go just yet.

The scary thing for me is going to be the recovery. I'm a blue-collar worker, so I'm likely going to miss around a month or so while I get better. That's not what's scary: it's the lack of short-term disability from my employer. My life will likely get rather difficult if it becomes that much harder for me to bring in my end of the mortgage payments, food for my growing children, etc. My life as a beer snob will likely take a big hit, too. My desire to attend more and more baseball games could be in jeopardy as well.

But if I let those obstacles get in the way of granting my own mother a chance for a few more years, then I can just brand the word "selfish" on my big forehead.

I'm hoping one of my kidneys is healthy enough to donate. Because my mother has put up with a lot of my crap for this long, why not donate and help make that time even longer.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How the Twins Lost This Season Ticket Holder

Even as Detroit Tigers fans, we're very much aware of one of their AL Central foes, the Minnesota Twins - a ball club that has seen itself move from a decrepit facility in the Metrodome to the more lavish surroundings of Target Field; a ball club who's seen their fortunes dip quite a bit since moving to said facility.

Naturally, new ballparks are a great way to generate new or more revenue. Aside from actually paying for the new park, the extra people through the gates (especially in the first couple of years) should help boost the coffers of any ball club, regardless of how well they play.

The Twins first season in Target Field was a success. A 94-68 record, good for a first place finish in the Central. Their attendance during the inaugural season was at 3,223,640.

However, seasons two and three at the new yard weren't very successful. For the 2011 and 2012 seasons, the Twins would finish in last place in the division, with 99 losses in '11 and 96 last season. Attendance for the 99-loss season? Not much worse than the 94-win season, at 3,168,107.

But last season's attendance showed a drop to 2,776,354. With the novelty of a new ballpark wearing off, the patience of Twins fans is wearing rather thin - it's hard to imagine that last year's attendance will be less than this season's attendance. Certainly, the crop of talent that the Twins will display on their roster to start the season will do nothing to entice more fans to spend on this ball club.

Here's an example of that - a co-worker of mine decided that he wasn't interested in renewing his season ticket package. Here's his reason, and the reply that he got from Dan Strong, a Twins season ticket and sales executive (the second paragraph of Mr. Strong's reply is one that had me laughing for 27 consecutive minutes):

I'm sorry, but the Twins haven't done much since then to change my mind about renewing my season tickets.  I did like the trades made to acquire some promising young pitchers (Worley, Meyer, and May), but this was quickly undone by (what I view as foolish moves and a waste of time and money) the free agent pick-ups of Kevin Correia, Mike Pelfrey, and the very oft-injured Rich Harden (the Joel Zumaya of 2013?).  I don't think that this group of mediocre (in fact borderline major league talent) will do much to change the Twins' fortunes this year - it's just the same old group of retread pitchers with a different name on the back of their uniform.

I respectively disagree with your assessment that the Twins "provide a baseball experience second to none."  I would argue that winning is the most vital part in providing an excellent baseball experience.  The Twins have not won a World Series since 1991 and have only won one play-off series since then (and that was way back in 2004).  I do appreciate the good (not great) teams that the Twins have fielded over the years, but recently, this organization has definately taken a step back.  I am glad that you (and I assume the Twins office in general) are confident about the 2013 Twins - however, I do not share this confidence at all and expect the Twins to finsh last in the AL Central yet again.  It is likely that only the Astros will prevent the Twins from having the worst record in the AL this year.  I hope that I am wrong.  Yes, Target Field is a great ballpark to watch a game, but when the team is dreadful, and nearly unwatchable at times, the baseball experience is bad regardless of what kind of palace they're playing in.

As far as the Twins season ticket plans, I was very disappointed with how the whole seat selection process was conducted when Target Field first opened.  I realize that there are logistical issues involved, but the fact that my 10 years as a season ticket holder had virtually no impact on the quality of seats that I could purchase really made me angry.  Every Johnny-come-lately with deep enough pockets to afford a full or 40-game package immediately stepped to the front of the line.  Compounding this was the fact that 20-game buyers were limited to the fringe areas of the ballpark.  One equitable solution in my mind would have been to break every established season ticket holder into equivalent "full seasons".  Thus an account that had 8-20 game seasons in their history would be the equivalent of 2 full seasons, while one with 8-40 game seasons would have the equivalent of 4 full seasons.  This would've been fair, but the Twins organization decided to take the short view and simply reward those who had spent the most money most recently (disregarding the total amount of money that we loyal partial game holders had poured into the Twins coffers over the years).  I do appreciate the Twins' decision to start giving a 10% discount on concessions to season ticket holders - that is a smart move.

As I said below, I'm sure that tickets for the upcoming All-Star game will be handled in a similar fashion.  Small potatoes like me would get the chance to buy tickets to the dumb events like the homerun derby, but would likely just be thrown into a "lottery" to have the chance to buy 2 nose-bleed tickets to the actual game.

Anyway, I still remain a Twins fan - just not one who will blindly spend my money to watch vastly inferior baseball.  I continue to believe that the best way for me to make my displeasure felt is to not renew my tickets.  I've had to sit through far too many horrible games started by Nick Blackburn, Francisco Liriano, Sam Deduno, et al in the past two seasons - I won't make it a third with Correia, Pelfry, etc.  I am not concerned at all about losing my position as a long-standing season ticket holder.  From a practical point of view, it didn't do me any good anyway.

And the reply:

While we are sorry that you did not renew your season tickets for the 2013 season, it is my hope that we did everything we could have to keep you as a Twins Season Ticket Holder.

Over the years, the Twins organization has earned a reputation for building quality teams and providing a baseball experience that is second to none.  And as we look to the upcoming season, we are committed to restoring the Twins winning tradition and have confidence that the 2013 Minnesota Twins will be a team you will once again be proud of.

As you know, a Twins season ticket delivers more than just a guaranteed seat.  The 10% concession and merchandise discount and the opportunity to purchase 2014 All-Star Game tickets are just a fraction of the benefits and opportunities being offered to Season Ticket Holders this season.  And if you return as a Season Ticket Holder before Opening Day – you will retain your priority date with us, meaning your tenure with the Twins will remain uninterrupted. 

Thank you for your past support of the ball club.  If I can answer any questions, please contact me at the phone number or email address below.  I’m happy to assist any way I can.

Dan Strong 

I know, I know... that second paragraph from Dan Strong, right?

Though he might be right - the Twins baseball experience may indeed be "second to none." I just wonder if they're expecting that experience for their fans to be *that different.*