Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Blackburn "boycott"

Back in the ancient days of the Metrodome — when it was easy to treat the Twins as an impulse buy — I occasionally declared "boycotts" of particular starting pitchers, meaning that I would not spend money or a night off work to go watch that guy pitch.

I had, at one point or another, boycotts on Joe Mays, Rick Reed and Kyle Lohse, maybe on Carlos Silva as well. Mays and Lohse were, I believe, repeat targets. I declared a boycott on Livan Hernandez the day the Twins signed him, but other than him, pitchers had to "earn" the boycott with their work on the mound that year.

And the interesting thing — to me at any rate — is that my patience with starting pitchers almost perfectly matched that of the organization. I declared, if only to myself, that I was boycotting a pitcher; within a couple of days, the Twins would announce that so-and-so was out of the rotation.

The boycott concept is passe now. It doesn't matter who's pitching on July 21; I've got the tickets, and I'm going. It doesn't matter who's pitching the next time I have a day off and the Twins are at home; I'm not going. Target Field is not an impulse destination.

But Nick Blackburn has sunk to boycott territory. The Twins, I know, view him through different eyes than I do, or than even more stat-oriented types; if they didn't they wouldn't have signed him to guaranteed money this winter.

The Twins clearly don't care much about strikeout rates, much less more sophisticated metrics such as FIP (fielding-independent pitching) or xFIP (expected fielding independent pitching) — all stats that forecast this season's problems — but Blackburn's ERA today is 6.00, and even this front office understands that number.

It means less than ever, but I hereby declare a Nick Blackburn boycott. Something is going to give, long-term contract or no.

1 comment:

  1. Nice stand Ed! Maybe they should sit Blackie for a start and promote Duensing to send a message that say's: Get the sinker to sink or you're sunk!

    - Chris