Jim Thome hits 600th home run in Twins victory
Jim Thome hit a pair of home runs to propel him into the magical 600 home run club, and is assured a place in baseball's Hall of Fame (albeit wearing a Cleveland Indians cap.) The blasts came in the sixth and seventh innings, and capped what might just be the craziest day the Twins have had all season.
Earlier in the day, fan favorite/fan villain Delmon Young was traded to the team in the other dugout, the Detroit Tigers, for a pitcher from Edina who will likely never make it to the majors, and a player to be named later, and discarded.
Young made things interesting for awhile, crushing a homer in the first inning to give the division-leading Tigers a 1-0 lead. Later, he also made a brilliant catch, perhaps in an effort to show the Twins what a mistake they'd made in putting him on waivers.
We'll see. Probably moving Young was a good idea, but it might have been a better idea in the offseason, when he was the guy with 21 HR and 112 RBI.
The Twins kept things lively last night, tying the game in the third. They won by stringing together three three-run innings, including Ben Revere's dynamic attempt at hitting an in-the-park home run. He failed, getting nailed at the plate, but still, how often does that happen?
The Detroit Tigers radio broadcasters, Jim Price and Dan Dickerson (awesome both, let me tell you, especially compared to the local crew), praised Thome in the at-bat just before he launched his historic home runs. "I hope he hits them at home," Price said.
"Against another team," Dickerson added. "Preferably Cleveland."
But it was not to be, as Thome's five RBI were more than the difference in last night's game which dropped the Tigers to two games up on Cleveland, 3 1/2 on the surging White Sox. And, uh, 10 1/2 on the flatlining Twins.
But now that Jim Thome has his 600 home runs, is it time to trade the big man? The Strib's Howard Sinker asks that question, and then answers it 3/4 of the way down his column (which you should read whenever it appears--Sinker's one of the good guys at the Strib.)
I'm against it.
I'd feel differently if Thome had never played in the postseason, but he's made it often enough to have been in 67 games in nine different seasons. You'll remember that he propelled the White Sox into the 2008 playoffs at Twins' expense by hitting the home run in that 1-0 victory in Game 163.
Just because Thome's 600th didn't happen at Target Field doesn't mean we shouldn't have chances to celebrate his achievement and his entire body of work. I want Thome to stay healthy enough and Gardy to give him enough at-bats that he can take serious aim at the nine home runs needed to catch Sammy Sosa for seventh place on the home run list.
Given the state of the season, that would be an excellent quest.
Much as I like Sinker, I have to disagree, and strongly. For starters, Thome's a personal favorite, and I think he'd love another crack at the postseason--appearing in the playoffs without anything to show for it in his career is a big, fat bummer. Chasing down Sammy Sosa's not much a thrill, certainly not something they're going to dangle from a banner in center field.
Besides, let's be honest: even if the Twins did hang a sign in center with "Sosa: 609" on it, there's a damn good chance--a damn good chance--Thome isn't going to hit nine more homers this season.
I'd like to see Thome end up with a contender, but even better, I'd like to see Thome end up somewhere in exchange for a middling prospect. Which would be better than nothing, which is what we'll get when the big man announces his inevitable retirement at the end of the season.
This is baseball, folks, and this season is toast for the local nine. We can wax rhapsodic over Jim Thome and Michael Cuddyer, but if you want a decent team in the future, at times that means letting go of the present.
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