"A uniform used to mean something"
By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com
Minneapolis is Target Town. The Indians are wrapping up their first series at Target Field today. Right next door is the Target Center, home of the Timberwolves (only because Targetwolves don’t exist). And a few blocks away, on Nicollet Mall, is the headquarters of Target Corporation, as well as a Target store roughly the size of the Empire State Building.
I’m a Target fan. My fiancee and I even registered there (she picked out kitchen accessories, I picked out peanut butter and angel hair). But I do think the store is off-target in at least one area, and that’s employee apparel.
Target employees are all instructed to wear red, but they are not supplied with a uniform. So while the guy who helps you pick out a lawnmower might be wearing terra cotta, the guy at the electronics counter is in rosso corsa. And the woman ringing you up at the register is in coquelicot.
Target employees are referred to as “team members.” But on what legitimate team are the uniforms this disjointed? As a guy who donned a Wal-Mart smock in high school, I’m a little insulted by the inconsistency.
Other than that, love Target. And Target Field, in particular. The Indians are going from three games here to three games in Oakland Coliseum, which is a lot more like Dollar General.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…
- How do you explain David Huff going from throwing nearly 70 percent of his pitches for strikes in a complete-game gem against the Rangers last week to walking a career-high six batters in his loss to the Twins last night? Easy. You remember that he’s 25 years old. “This is something we have to deal with as a young team,” Manny Acta said. “Throughout the year, they’re going to be making progress.”
- I mentioned this on the STO pregame show yesterday, but what I like about Huff is the genuine anger he shows after a loss like that one last night. His competitive fire (not to mention his ability to attack both sides of the plate with a fastball low on velocity but high on deception, when he’s on his game) reminds me a lot of Cliff Lee. They both know they have the talent to win at this level, and they both get fired up when they don’t. In our postgame dealings with pitchers, you don’t see that quite as often as you might expect.
- This is a normal day off for Jhonny Peralta, Acta said. If anything, Acta was encouraged by what he saw from Peralta last night, when he notched two singles and drew a walk. Acta said Peralta laid off some tough breaking pitches from Francisco Liriano and took well to a talk about using his lower half more.
- There are no shortage of struggling hitters to pick on in this Indians’ lineup, but Acta hasn’t said a bad word about any of them. “Patience plus self-control leads to success,” he said.
- The above was part of a larger discussion about the two words that fall outside Acta’s vocabulary — “frustrated” and “lucky.” He says he will never use them to describe his feelings or the fortunes of his team. When it comes to the former, Acta said he has a “great job,” and while baseball might disappoint him at times, it never frustrates him. The same, he said, goes with golf. “If I slice the ball, I laugh,” he said. “It makes me drive over and have another beer. I have a buddy who throws clubs and drops F bombs. Then after 18 holes, he says, ‘What time we playing tomorrow?’”
- The Indians have lost 21 of their last 23 road games, dating back to last Aug. 30.
- With Kerry Wood coming back soon, the current members of the bullpen would be wise to curry favor with the higher-ups. One guy potentially on the fence is left-hander Tony Sipp, so his 1-2-3 outing against the Twins last night was a necessary one. Sipp is carrying a 5.40 ERA and four walks allowed after five innings of work over seven appearances, and he had a rough spring camp, too. “I base my performance off feel and how I execute,” Sipp said. “The rest I can’t control. But it’s definitely good to go out and not walk anybody. That’s the main thing. If you walk people, nothing good can happen.”
- All the balls used at Target Field this season have a logo commemorating the ballpark’s debut. A commemorative logo for the Metrodome’s last season was also on all balls used in 2009. But whereas that ball was only used in-game, this ball is used in batting practice, as well. That’s a nice souvenir for anybody who snags a BP homer.
- My favorite Tribe farmhand, outfielder Jose “Can’t Stand Ya” Constanza is off to a sizzling start at Triple-A Columbus. He’s batting .444 (16-for-36) with three doubles, two triples, a homer, six RBIs two stolen bases and a 1.182 OPS.
- Hector Rondon, on the other hand, is struggling down there. He’s 0-1 with a 10.66 ERA and a 2.29 WHIP in three starts.
- Down at Double-A Akron, second baseman Cord Phelps (.422 average, 1.069 OPS) and outfielder Nick “The Canuck With Pluck” Weglarz (.314 average, 1.112) have been locked in. Phelps (whose first name on his birth certificate is the decidedly less cool “Robert”) was a third-round pick in the 2008 Draft.
- Chris Perez asked me, “What’s this movie you’re always writing about?” He said he’s going to make it a point to check out “The Room.” This thing is growing.
- This being our last day in the Twin Cities, my Pandora Radio selection for the composition of this blog entry was Minnesota native Robert Zimmerman. Although, Tom Waits’ “Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis” would have been equally appropriate.
- Not making the trip to Oakland, but I’ll catch back up with you from Anaheim on Monday.