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Air Fair? Rochester to Minneapolis

The Twins have an unofficial rule regarding AAA call-ups from Rochester that essentially guarantees a position player will be in the starting lineup for the first game for which he is eligible. Which, I've long felt, is a good thing: A young fella doesn't have time to let the nerves fray, day-after-day, watching the starters, and waiting for his chance to play. You get up, you get in.

That's the Twins way. But is it a good way? After watching 3B Brian Buscher's pedestrian 2008 debut on Sunday (1-for-4 with a suspect toss to second in a failed 8th-inning double play attempt), I got to wondering why our call-ups rarely, if ever, seem to make the proverbial splash upon arrival to the big club.

Buscher's debut follows those of fellow arrivals Denard Span (2 hits in his first 3 games) and Francisco Liriano (0-2; 6.52 ERA; 10 walks) in 2008. And while I've written in this space that Liriano's initial starts should be viewed as an exercise in form, these dubious debuts, collectively, got me to thinking that, "Rochester, New York is a long damn way from Minneapolis, MN."

Sure, these guys are used to travel in many respects. And true, the lack of gaudy stats could be attributed to either the aforementioned nerves (even if these guys aren't chewing seeds on the bench), or to the simple facet of advanced opposition- but, as a point of consideration, here's a list of distances between all MLB teams and their respective AAA locations (from closest to furthest):

1. Seattle- 34 Miles 2. Boston- 44 Miles 3. Detroit- 59 Miles 4. Philadelphia- 62 Miles 5. Colorado- 70 Miles 6. Oakland- 81 Miles 7. Cincinnati- 106 Miles 8. Arizona- 121 Miles 9. New York Yankees- 133 Miles 10. Houston- 168 Miles 11. Kansas City- 184 Miles 12. San Francisco- 187 Miles 13. Cleveland- 193 Miles 14. Texas- 212 Miles 15. Baltimore- 240 Miles 16. Toronto- 243 Miles 17. L.A. Dodgers- 270 Miles 18. St. Louis- 283 Miles 19. Chicago Cubs- 333 Miles 20. Pittsburgh- 259 Miles 21. Washington- 417 Miles 22. Atlanta- 534 Miles 23. Milwaukee- 562 Miles 24. L.A. Angels- 689 Miles 25. Tampa Bay- 701 Miles 26. Chicago White Sox- 797 Miles 27. Minnesota- 1009 Miles 28. San Diego- 1084 Miles 29. New York Mets- 1324 Miles 30. Florida- 1960 Miles

As while it surely should be noted that AAA call-ups may not necessarily be going to straight to their club's hometown, it goes without saying that -- based in the unbalanced schedule most-often keeping team's within their division -- clubs that aren't playing at home are most likely playing in the same region of the country.

Again, some food for thought. Something to chew on when the seeds make the cheek raw.


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