In four posts this spring, I named my own All-Metrodome Team. So how'd I do?
Here's the "real" All-Metrodome Team, with asterisks next to selections that were also mine:
C Joe Mauer*
1B Kent Hrbek* AND Justin Morneau*^
2B Chuck Knoblauch*
3B Gary Gaetti*
SS Greg Gagne*
OF Tom Brunansky
OF Dan Gladden
OF Torii Hunter*
OF Kirby Puckett*
DH Paul Molitor
SP Bert Blyleven
SP Johan Santana*
SP Frank Viola*
SP Brad Radke*
RP Joe Nathan*
RP Rick Aguilera*
MGR Tom Kelly*
^ I cheated and put Morneau at DH; they cheated and put Morneau as a second 1B.
Not bad, right? 18 names, and the super-awesome panel of Twins experts and I agree on 14 of them (78%).
But: I only picked 15 names. Because the ballot only allowed for 15 names, so I went ahead and stayed within the rules (except Morneau, and only because the DH picks were ridiculous). Our panel did not; they added for PR reasons, I have to assume, Morneau, Blyleven, and Gladden, because all three currently have roles with the team and they didn't want to offend them or the viewers/listeners (given that, though, it's a shock that they didn't pick both Tom Kelly and Ron Gardenhire).
So here's where they were dumb:
1. Leaving Shane Mack off. It's not any kind of surprise--I acknowledged when I made my pick that most people wouldn't agree with me--but just take a look at it, and he's a no-brainer. He played just five seasons with the Twins, but was an integral part of the 1991 World Series team, and played phenomenal defense at all three outfield positions while putting up a 130 OPS+. I knew they'd leave him off, but to name four outfielders, out of twelve on the ballot, and still leave him off? Terrible.
2. Dan Gladden. What? I mean, I know he's a radio broadcaster now (a terrible one, by the way), I know he's a World Series hero and one of the few to play in both Series, and I know...well, that's all I know. Gladden played five seasons with the Twins (hey, the same number as Mack, and with a whopping 300 more plate appearances!) and posted a 90 OPS+. Great outfield defense, but no better than Mack's--his defense simply made him about an average player, while Mack's made him one of the better players in the league. There's no contest. Not only that, but Jacque Jones, Michael Cuddyer and Matt Lawton were all better choices than Gladden as well.
3. Tom Brunansky. He was fine--and my first runner-up, so I guess if I'm gonna pick four he's in--but not even close to Mack.
4. Paul Molitor. I get it--Hall of Famer, St. Paul native, was a coach for a while, and the other choices were David Ortiz, Chili Davis, Roy Smalley and Dave Winfield. But he played only three seasons with the Twins, and only in the first was he actually a competent DH. If you're going to cheat and throw Morneau in anyway, why not do what I did and throw him in at DH?
5. Bert Blyleven. Obviously one of the Twins' two greatest pitchers of all time. His Metrodome-era career, though? Three and a half seasons with approximately a 100 ERA+ and the (at the time) two highest HR-allowed seasons in history. If he's not in your employ, there's no need to expand the team to add him at all.
Honestly, though? It's a lot better than I thought they would do. Hrbek's on the team, Gaetti over