This baseball season’s calamity in the standings and in the stands has left the Twins with a need for advice on a marketing slogan for 2019. Here it is:
Skip it. Don’t have one.
I suppose there’s an outside chance the mission the Twins gave to their new advertising firm a year ago was, “Come up with a slogan for 2018 that will provide the greatest opportunity for ridicule if our ballclub happens to flop.”
Otherwise, anyone who assisted in the “This Is How We Baseball” campaign should be banned from communicating electronically or in person with Twins decisionmakers for five years.
No, make it 10.
Also, if there is a decision made to run promotional radio ads centered on specific players during the 2019 season, and such a player — say, Byron Buxton — is either on the disabled list, or batting under .200, or toiling in the minors, here’s more advice:
Pull the ads ballyhooing his great range in center field before the end of August.
Here’s the ad suggestion for the Twins next March: “Join us for our 10th season in Target Field. Opening Day vs. the Cleveland Indians is March 28. Bring a coat.”
That’s it. No promises. No made-to-ridicule slogan.
Even better, no more random players that just appear — Taylor Motter, Johnny Field and David Hale — and then go away, as everyone in Derek Falvey’s baseball department knows they are going when claiming them off the designated-for-assignment heap.
It’s been going on like this for two seasons. Hello, David; thanks for three innings, now goodbye.
Falvey’s new buzz word is “sustainability,” and he backs that up by running a temp service for manager Paul Molitor.
In a lost summer when the Twins should have been looking for an answer — yes or no — with relievers such as Alan Busenitz, Tyler Duffey, Jake Reed and John Curtiss, they were wasting appearances on Matt Belisle and now an ultimate journeyman, Oliver Drake.
There’s no sustainability in this. It’s silliness.
The Twins have spent the past several weeks boasting over the increased depth in the farm system, after a series of trades that included disposing of their second- and third-best non-pitchers, Eduardo Escobar and Brian Dozier.
They also are accepting tribute for a couple of top prospects, shortstop Royce Lewis and outfielder Alex Kirilloff, at Class A Fort Myers.
The new bodies from the trades and the rise of Lewis and Kirilloff might excite the Jim Callis [MLB.com prospect guru] crowd, but the majority of Minnesota’s sporting public has been turned so cynical about the words “Twins” and “prospects” that it does zero to create interest for next season.
There are two monumental reasons for this cynicism: Miguel Sano and Buxton.
Sano turned 25 in May. Buxton will turn 25 in December. The Twins and those of us in the Twin Cities baseball media guaranteed the public that they would be stars by now — the everyday leaders of a revival after the horrid start to this decade.
Sano was going to be the second coming of Harmon Killebrew. At a minimum, Buxton was going to be Torii Hunter, only faster.
Now, we’re pleased that Sano appears to be under 280 pounds and not swinging wildly at every slider and swinging through every letter-high fastball, and Buxton … well, there’s a new theory on him that has to be giving the team’s followers a migraine.
“If he can hit .250, he’ll be an asset, because he’s so great in center field and so unbelievably fast on the bases,” is the revised hope that baseball pundits are offering on Buxton.
Attention: He wasn’t going to be an asset. He was going to be an American League star at this moment, not a .250 hitter in Rochester.
Come February, if Sano shows up in his current condition and not re-bloated after an offseason in New York and the Dominican Republic, there is hope, because if he stays on the outside pitch, this behemoth of a man has a big-league swing.
Buxton? Whatever he had the last two months of 2017 went into the ether. He has to figure out a way to stop guessing and get quick enough with his hands to start reacting.
And then there’s this as the Twins look to 2019. As a local baseball man of note said: “Who is going to start the games next season? [Kyle] Gibson and [Jose] Berrios … that’s two. You bring back [Jake] Odorizzi, I guess.
“You going to count on Michael Pineda, after being out of the big leagues for over a year? Fernando Romero; did he look ready? Good luck.”
That’s it. If the Twins are determined to have the annual slogan for 2019, there’s one that works:
“Wish Us Luck.”
Patrick Reusse can be heard 3-6 p.m. weekdays on AM-1500. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org