Monday, March 22, 2010

The Twins Spending $184 Million Completes a Surreal Weekend

Yesterday, the Joe Mauer contract put a fitting cap on what was a surreal weekend for The Common Man. Were those TCM’s Twins shelling out $184 million after all those year’s in baseball’s small market wasteland? Indeed it was. In general, The Common Man is pleased this morning by the contract the Twins gave to Mauer, and looking forward to having him with the club for the foreseeable future. Twins bloggers and national media types are weighing in on this deal, but here are the salient points as TCM sees them:

1) $184 Million over eight years represents a huge risk by the generally risk-averse Twins, and could seriously hamper the club’s ability to compete on the back end of this deal.

2) However, in order to enjoy the benefits (drastically improved odds of making the playoffs every year, and happy fans) of having an otherworldly talent like Joe Mauer in the short term, you have to live with the long term risks.

3) The Twins smartly tacked this contract onto the end of Mauer’s existing contract, giving the club more financial flexibility in this down economy, it only becomes more expensive, presumably, when the economy recovers and revenues are at their normal levels.

4) The No Trade Clause is somewhat troubling, but seems to be the price of doing business. TCM doesn’t want to trade The Golden Boy anytime soon anyway, so that’s fine. If the clause becomes an issue, it will likely be because either the Twins are not competing and need to rebuild, or Mauer’s production has declined to the point that he’s no longer starting. In both cases, there are mitigating factors that might motivate Joe to actually enthusiastically accept a trade that would net him a better chance to win or more playing time.
There is no doubt that this deal represents a fair market value for Joe Mauer’s talents. It is just a shade higher than the 8-year, $180 million deal Mark Texeira signed, and a catcher of Mauer’s ability figures to be more valuable than a 1B of Tex’s.

5) While Joe probably wanted to stay all along, he and his agent really had the Twins over a barrel in these negotiations. The Twins, from a PR perspective, simply did not have the option of letting Joe walk away a year after opening a new tax-payer funded stadium, and a year removed from a well-deserved AL MVP award. He is one of the most popular players in franchise history, and nothing would have killed attendance in Year 2 of Target Field like a Mauer-less Opening Day lineup.

In retrospect, The Common Man thinks it’s clear that the Denard Span and Nick Blackburn deals were done to send a message to Mauer that the Twins intended to be competitive in the long-term, and were not going to let Joe wallow in mediocrity like the Twins did with Kirby Puckett in ’93-95.

Other surrealness that happened this weekend to The Common Man:

When The Boy gets a new interest, it’s not just an interest. It quickly becomes an obsession. This weekend, The Boy decided that he was no longer a small human child, but a whale. He would only eat food with krill in them (krill sandwiches, krill chili, krill breakfast burritos, etc.). On Sunday, this obsession culminated in a trip to the book store, where The Uncommon Wife fueled this fire with some extra gasoline, buying two books on whales, a book on sharks, and one on the ocean. The Boy returned from the store, and announced that he was a sperm whale, “because sperm whales have teeth.” The problem with three-year old, land-locked sperm whales, however, is that they want you to pretend to be an octopus or orca, and then use those teeth. Ow.
Throwing dry brush, jet fuel, and treasured keepsakes from the attic on the fire, The Uncommon Wife suggested, and TCM accepted her proposal for, a family vacation to Los Angeles in April to do some whale watching, among other things. This will also allow The Common Man to take in games in Arizona, Anaheim, and possibly San Diego. So everybody wins!

The Boy was also decidedly high-energy all weekend. By 9:00 last night, as he called his mother up to sing him a song before bed, The Uncommon Wife decided she had had enough. “Ice cream,” she told The Common Man as she met him at the stairs. “That’s not a question or request.” Intimidated by the wild look in her eye, TCM asked meekly, “Do you know what kind you want?” “Something chocolate,” she glowered. “Don’t get what you usually get.”
So, The Common Man ran to the grocery store. TCM pulled into his parking spot directly opposite another beleaguered-looking guy who was just getting out of his truck. TCM then followed him into the store, and both headed directly for the ice cream. As they stood, intently examining frozen case after frozen case of ice cream, TCM looked over and said, “So you got sent out for ice cream too?”
“Yep. And they’re never specific about what they want, are they?”
“Mine just said something about chocolate,” said TCM. “So at least I have a genre to work in.”
“I heard her say chocolate and caramel,” said TCM’s new friend. A bond was forged.
After both heading through the self-checkout, the brothers-in-arms stared at each other briefly before exchanging “Good luck”s, and drove away.

Much of this weekend was spent finally finishing the sink and vanity in TCM’s new bathroom. Alas, The Common Man was called into the sink and vanity project relatively late in the game. The Uncommon Wife had started it three weeks ago, but events conspired to keep it from completion. By the time TCM got to the sink, there were parts missing and no way to tell what had been done from the instructions, and what still needed doing. So The Common Man began taking things apart and starting from scratch. Alas, TCM kept needing more and more things, and ultimately made seven trips to hardware stores (because there are only so many times you can go to one hardware store before you are too ashamed) over the course of Saturday, buying new, flexible pipes for the water, more plumber’s tape, a rubber washer, an extension for the drain pipe, a second extension for the drain pipe when it turned out the first extension was the wrong diameter, and a new drain to replace the one The Common Man broke. TCM is ashamed and feels like much less of a man. On the other hand, he does now know how to not screw up when taking apart and putting together a new sink, because he’s already made all the errors a person can make.

Or did he?

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