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mike morris

How biased is national sports coverage?

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As the writers rave on how Boston might have 6 starters in the starting lineup for the all-star game, they drop a one little note on the Twins:

MLB.com - Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek lost his lead at AL catcher to Minnesota's Joe Mauer two weeks ago, and a grassroots Twins campaign helped Mauer pad that lead by 100,000 votes when the last balloting update was released.

Grassroots campaign? Try support from the entire state of Minnesota!

Help vote our boys in!!! Show these Boston and New York writers what's up!

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/all_star/y2008/ballot_reg.html

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Just look at your internet homepage. You are alway force fed the latest scores, updates and rumors for the Yankees and Red Sox. Does the rest of the country care who A-Rods wife is sleeping with? The networks are based on the East Coast and those are their first interests.

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all i have to say is god bless tampa bay!

Agreed on the Tampa Rays! It was fun watching them complete the sweep last night. I would be surprised if they are there at the end of the year, but I will be cheering them on.

Varitek is barely batting over .200 right now. He belongs nowhere near the all-star game. Mauer is hands down the best catcher in the American League.

And I completely agree with the east coast bias ESPN has. It has gotten really old.

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MLB needs to have the players and coaches choose the all star starters. It's ridiculous how many Red Sox are close to the top at their positions. If the games counts for homefield, they should let the players choose the lineup that best gives them a chance to win the game - not the guys who have a name that sounds familiar or is wearing a Red Sox jersey.

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Geez just got done watching sportcenter at noon and it was all yanks, sox, yanks, sox

dumb,,, I might quit watching that show.

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Twins' surprise run built on shaky foundation

By Dayn Perry

Dayn Perry is a frequent contributor to FOXSports.com and author of the blog Spolitical, which explores the relationship between sports and politics. He's presently at

work on his second book, a biography of Reggie Jackson.

Updated: July 3, 2008, 1:39 PM EST

The name of the game this season has been "surprise."

The successes of the Rays, Cardinals, White Sox and A's have all captured fans' attention. The relative failures of the Yankees, Tigers and

Mets have made the big payroll a source of ridicule.

But any discussion of surprises must also include the Minnesota Twins, who have far exceeded expectations at the halfway point of 2008.

The perenially overachievers are currently just 2½ games back of the White Sox in the AL Central and on pace for 90 wins. Needless to say,

those results come as something of a shock.

After all, the Twins this winter traded away ace Johan Santana for a return package that was roundly panned, Torii Hunter (who contributed

74 extra-base hits and Gold Glove defense in center) left to sign a high-dollar contract with the Angels, and control artist Carlos Silva inked a

free-agent deal with Seattle.

And then there's sub-ace Francisco Liriano — who was dispatched back to the minors after three miserable starts — and reliever Pat

Neshek (2.94 ERA in 2007) — was lost for the season after tearing ligaments in his elbow with just 13.1 innings to his credit.

Oh, and all that happened to a club that won just 79 games a year ago.

Given all that, it's fairly stunning that the Twins are in the midst of a stretch that has seen them win 13 out of 15 games to launch themselves

into the thick of the postseason race. But can this team of castoffs and call-ups possibly keep it going?

The Twins have thrived thanks to a solid offense (fourth in the AL in runs scored) and a useful bullpen (sixth in the AL in relief ERA). Put

another way, they're succeeding in spite of a sub-optimal rotation (10th in the AL in starters' ERA) and a poor team defense (13th in the AL in

defensive efficiency, which is a measure of what percentage of balls in play a defense converts into outs).

A pile of runs and a lack of defense — not your typical Twins team.

On a total level, it's worth noting that, according to runs scored and runs allowed, the Twins' record should be three games worse than it is.

That doesn't bode particularly well for the future because teams that over-perform relative to their run differentials tend to come back to

earth. It's partly because of the run differential that Baseball Prospectus gives the Twins just a 7.1% chance of making the postseason. For

comparison's sake, the third-place Tigers have a 15.3% chance, more than twice Minnesota's odds.

On another level, the Twins' seeminglyly aberrant performance in clutch situations is also worrisome. Consider: Minnesota leads the majors

in batting average with runners on base and in batting average with the bases loaded. They also rank second the majors in batting average

with runners in scoring position and two outs, and lead the majors in batting average with runners in scoring position by a full 27 points.

It's the latter fact — that they're hitting .313 with runners in scoring position — that raises eyebrows, especially considering that the Twins are

batting .276 in all situations. Most often when you see such a huge disparity between those two figures, it's a matter of luck. It's not likely that

the Twins' extraordinary performance with runners in scoring position is going to continue.

There's also a divide between the Twins' offensive performance at the rate level and the number of runs they've scored. Despite their

impressive runs total, they're a mere eighth in the AL in on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Given their below-average abilities

when it comes to reaching base and hitting for power, the Twins have been exceedingly lucky to score as many runs as they have. They've

made up the difference, as indicated above, by thriving in clutch situations. Whether you believe in the theoretical concept of "clutch" or not,

it's almost impossible to imagine they'll able to keep that up.

Sure, there's a lot to like about this Twins team. They have the best all-around catcher in baseball, a skilled manager and a deeply

resourceful organization. If disappointing young hitters like Delmon Young and Carlos Gomez step it up in the second half, if Liriano comes

back and contributes, and if Michael Cuddyer and Adam Everett come back from injury and start hitting, then the Twins can pull off the minor

miracle.

But that's a lot of ifs standing in the way of a postseason run, and with the statistics signalling an anomaly, the offense is almost certain to

decline.

In other words, Twins fans shouldn't expect this to last.

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ha! why is carlos gomez a disappointing young hitter? Hes batting at what (THE GREAT) Torii Hunter is and has.

Whoever wrote this article needs to be run over.

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you can tell he doesn't know much about the Twins other than the stats........I would bet he hasn't watched to many Twins games

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Whoever said baseball is a game of numbers must not have had any heart. If I remember correctly, the Rockies had no shot to get anywhere in the playoffs and yet they made it to the World Series! The '91 Twins were predicted to finish 7th in the AL WEST and won the whole thing. The Braves were also a worst to first team that year - not given a chance.

The writer of that article is just an one-who-thinks-I-am-silly. He was probably given an assignment to write about the Twins because we've been playing good baseball. So he just pulled up some stats and bashed us based on numbers.

As for ESPN its sickening. I can't stand Yankees and Red Sox anymore and NO I dont want to watch all 17 match-ups played on ESPN this year! The West coast is hardly ever featured neither is the Central. The NL is rarely ever on National TV unless is Cubs vs. Cards or Mets vs someone.

I thought... what if the Rays pull it off and the AL Central holds the Wild Card. But then I though "baseball" wouldn't possibly let that happen. NO WAY Boston and NY dont have a team in it. They'd find a way to screw someone over. OR if there was a tie between say NY and MN for the Wild card, the game would probably be played in NY just so our chance of getting in would drop!

I love baseball, but don't get me started on the biased of the writers and reporters!

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What is up with sending 7 Cubs to the All Star game? I know they are in first place but so are the Sox. Maybe, it is because they haven't won anything in 100 years so they are jumping on the bandwagon while it is there.

Also, leaving off players like Jermain Dye and taking Jason Varitech is a crime. The game and it's selection process is a joke, unfortunately the results are no laughing matter anymore.

Windy

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Soriano being selected is a joke the guy has been injured for the past couple months it seems. You are right Dye being snubbed he should of been voted in and in the NL I think McLouth from Pitt deserved to be on the roster. Varitek shouldn't even be mentioned as an all-star he is horrible.

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the reason varitek is in, is because he was voted in by the players...

but, seriously i don't care how good he handles a pitching staff, he is not an all star this year.

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Ah - the team's defense should improve as the season continues along and that will be a plus for everyone thats a fan of Twins Pins!!!

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