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Thread: Rick Knapp

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    Default Rick Knapp




    http://www.freep.com/article/2008101...121/1048/rss03

    Twins' Knapp interviews with Leyland about Tigers' pitching coach job

    By JON PAUL MOROSI
    FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER

    Rick Knapp, the minor league pitching coordinator of the division rival Minnesota Twins, is a candidate to become the Tigersí pitching coach, an industry official confirmed to the Free Press.

    Knapp, 46, interviewed with Detroit manager Jim Leyland on Wednesday in Lakeland, Fla., according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, which first reported the news.

    Leyland has great respect for the Twins, who have been perennial winners in the American League Central despite a modest payroll. Good, young pitching has been one of their hallmarks, and that can be traced to Knapp.

    This season alone, the Minnesota rotation included four homegrown pitchers who won 10 or more games: Kevin Slowey, Glen Perkins, Scott Baker and Nick Blackburn.

    Leyland has previously said that he plans to interview at least four candidates this week. Itís possible that the Tigers could reach a decision in the next several days.
    This would be a fine choice, imo. Minnesota is renowned for their ability to develop pitchers who can throw strikes and pitch efficiently.
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    hells yeah!
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    I love how the Twins pitchers throw strikes. Knapp sounds like a good candidate.
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    Great pick for an interview- this logic is very heartening to see. Hopefully we can get this caliber of talent and channel this into other solid and progressive off-season moves.

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    Agreed on the goodness that could come from this.
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    Knapp has done a wonderful job with Twins pitching over the years. This would appear to be a great move.
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    I would like this because it not only would help the Tigers organization, but because it would really tick off all of the Twins fans around here.
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    Here's a little background on Knapp and although dated (2006), it indicates a knowledgeable and productive guy.Also of interest is the previous appointment of Kevin Hooker(former Australian pitcher) as the Tigers' Pacific Rim Co-oordinator. Knapp also has some experience with Aussie pitchers and maybe Hooker passed Knapps' name along to Detroit as looking around.
    Background:
    · Adopted developmental programs for five areas of pitching

    · Pitching coach at every level of Professional Baseball

    · Developed Current Twins Major League staff including Cy Young winner Johan Santana

    · Responsible for increase in Velocity by 300% in last 10 years

    · Decrease in pitching injuries 22% from 1998 to present

    · Responsible for placement of pitchers at all six minor league affiliates

    · Oversee programs in Venezuela and Dominican Republic

    · Coached Venezuela League Champion Aragua Tigers

    · Coordinator of Twins Youth Clinics in SW Florida

    · Involved with AAU youth Baseball and Little League Baseball board member

    · Author of soon to be released book Common Sense Pitching

    · Graduate of Virginia Tech University

    · Personally worked hand in hand with Australian Major League pitchers Grant Balfour, Brad Thomas, Michael Nakamura

    · Minnesota Twins Baseball Club named Minor League Organization of the Year three of the past five years

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    Graduate of Virginia Tech University
    Brian would be pleased.
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    Also ,tongue-in-cheek if he's hopefully hired, is that Knapp is a key speaker at the World Baseball Coaches' Convention in January,2009 .In addition to addressing subjects as developing and increasing the velocity of young pitchers,one subject is entitled, "Pitching The Twins Way: How to be Successful ".:)

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobb View Post
    Background:

    · Responsible for increase in Velocity by 300% in last 10 years
    This bullet point can not be right, can it?

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    Just a word - there is a tradeoff for fewer walks and more strikes - more HRs. The Twins pitchers are one and all flyball pitchers, which is something that a lot of people have problems with. I don't, but others will.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Cioe View Post
    Just a word - there is a tradeoff for fewer walks and more strikes - more HRs. The Twins pitchers are one and all flyball pitchers, which is something that a lot of people have problems with. I don't, but others will.
    True but a walk is a free base while a HR has to be earned by the hitter. I'd much rather have guys who throw strikes. If they throw strikes and still are not effective then they shouldn't be in the majors.

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    http://www.baseballamerica.com/today...08/266923.html

    Bromberg Gets Down To Details

    Twins farmhand led minor leagues in strikeouts

    By Dave Perkin
    October 7, 2008
    E-mail Print

    Over lunch at a Southern California deli, BA's Dave Perkin sat down with Twins prospect David Bromberg, the newly minted minor league strikeouts leader, and his father Mike to talk pitching drills, life in the minor leagues and Bromberg's home run prowess.

    A 2005 graduate of Palisades High near Malibu, Bromberg was selected by Minnesota in the 32nd round of that year's draft. After a stint at Santa Ana JC, where he played with Braves righthander Kris Medlen, Bromberg signed as a draft-and-follow for $40,000 in 2006.

    Several scouts, myself included, preferred Bromberg as a power-hitting first baseman rather than as a pitcher. Many were impressed by his performance at a home run hitting contest at Mission Viejo High in 2004, where Bromberg out-slugged 2006 first-round pick Hank Conger, among others.

    Bromberg has now settled in nicely as a pitcher, despite the fact that he still loves the opportunity to show off in batting practice when he gets a rare chance. Without a hint of braggadocio, Bromberg said: "I took some BP early in the year and hit about 10 balls out of the park. All of the coaches' jaws dropped. I don't think they were expecting that."

    Bromberg spent his first two pro seasons in Rookie ball, first in the Gulf Coast League in 2006, then in Elizabethton in the Appalachian League, which functions as the Twins' advanced rookie team. He ranked as the Appy League's No. 3 prospect and ranked 15th in the Twins' organization entering his first full-season stint.

    Playing for low Class A Beloit, Bromberg recovered from a sluggish beginning to finish 9-10, 4.44 with a minors-best 177 strikeouts in 150 innings. He was even able to impress Twins senior advisor Terry Ryan. "Ryan is a serious guy and rarely smiles, and kind of looks mean at times," Bromberg said. "But when someone told him I had led the minors in strikeouts he was surprised and finally cracked a grin."

    Bromberg struggled in the first half of the 2008 season, primarily due to an uncooperative curveball. Twins roving pitching instructor Rick Knapp resurrected an old-fashioned drill to correct the problem. Knapp placed a bucket on top of a small stool and positioned the contraption a few feet in front of Bromberg. Without a baseball in hand, Bromberg would simulate his follow through by fully extending his arm so that his fingers touched the top of the bucket. "It taught me to finish my pitches and follow through completely," he said. "I had been short arming the ball."

    Twins coaches used another drill that leaves the ball behind, the towel drill. A pitcher whips a towel through the air, generating arm speed and emulating a pitch delivery. Bromberg endorses the drill enthusiastically: "It helped me gain ease in my throwing motion, and I could turn the towel as I whipped it to get a better feel for my curve," he said.

    The results were immediate and Bromberg enjoyed a strong second half. Late in the season he struck out 13 hitters in a game against Burlington. Beloit pitching coach Gary Lucas was particularly impressed by a nasty hammer Bromberg used to end an inning, saying, "That started in fifth-floor menswear and wound up in women's lingerie in the basement."

    Another impressed party was Mike Moustakas, the second overall pick in the 2007 draft whom Bromberg whiffed three times. Longtime friends, Moustakas, who led the Midwest League with 22 home runs this season, sent Bromberg a text message after the game: "Man, you were downright filthy."

    Bromberg's mechanics, sketchy in amateur baseball, have been reworked. He said the Twins moved him to the first-base side of the rubber to include his alignment and worked to close his shoulder on his delivery. He also started to get more bend and drive out of his back leg. He's still trying to improve the time it takes to deliver the ball to home plate, though he allowed just 14 baserunners to steal in 24 attempts.

    "With runners on base, I was getting the ball to the plate in 1.29 to 1.37 seconds," he said. "I corrected and lowered the time to 1.08 to 1.13, but I found I was rushing the ball to the plate with nothing on it. So we're trying to aim for 1.20 to 1.35 with a slide step. But I don't use the slide step if a slow runner is on first."

    His first season brought other subtle adjustments. During an early season start, an observant Beloit catcher noticed that Bromberg was tipping his pitches, as he was starting his grip before he put the ball in his glove. Instead he began starting with a changeup grip, then adjusting once his throwing hand went into the glove.

    According to Bromberg, Knapp worked with all Twins minor league pitchers on count strategies. "Knapp would draw a diamond, set up a game situation, and then go through all (12) possible counts," he said. "He would then ask us what we would throw in that situation, and then quiz us as to the why we made that decision. It got me to think much more about what I am doing out there."

    All of which aided Bromberg in pitch selection. At Beloit, Bromberg always called his own game. "What the catcher puts down is just a suggestion. I make the final call."

    Bromberg has a four-pitch repertoire. His four-seam fastball touches 95 mph, and his two-seamer sits in the 90-93 range. On both pitches, Bromberg places his index and middle finger together on top of the ball. "I hardly used my four-seam at all this year," Bromberg said. "I can control the two-seam better and get so much movement with it, I didn't need to use the four-seamer much."

    His curveball is his strikeout pitch, and he demonstrated his unusual curveball grip on a baseball I had brought along. Bromberg slides his middle finger along one of the ball's long seams, and then bends his index finger into a knuckleball type grip, digging a fingernail into another seam. He can adjust the velocity and break on his curve by narrowing or separating the positioning of his fingers on the ball. "My harder slurve is about 83," he said, "and my slower curve is 75 to 77."

    The circle change is Bromberg's final offering. He displayed his change grip, with the ball moved over toward his ring and pinkie finger. Bromberg said that approach lends the pitch some screwball movement.

    Beyond baseball, a long minor league season is naturally filled with travel, teammate bonding, and off the field experiences. Bromberg considers himself fortunate to have roomed this year with Ben Revere, the speedy center fielder who was the Twins' first-round pick in 2007.

    He lauded the Dow Diamond, home of the Great Lakes Loons, as the MWL's top ballpark. "The first time I walked in there, I looked around the park and glanced up at the big scoreboard. I thought to myself, 'Now this is a ballpark.' " Bromberg said. "I've been in the clubhouse at Dodger Stadium, and the clubhouse at Dow was bigger and much nicer."

    Similar praise could not be heaped upon John O'Donnell Stadium, opened in 1931 and home of the Quad Cities River bandits. "We went in there once right after the local river overflowed and flooded the place," he said. "You could row a boat over the left field fence."

    Despite the success he has enjoyed so far as a pro, Bromberg realizes he is not a finished product. There is always more to do, more to learn, so Bromberg left SoCal on Sept. 17 to report for instructional league in Fort Myers, Fla. "They want me to work on my changeup," Bromberg said.

    All of which brings to mind the observations of a wise long ago baseball man named Kung Fu Tzu. Also known as Confucius, the legendary Chinese philosopher who was rumored to have been a pretty fair lefty in his day. His ruminations on learning could be rightfully applied to baseball instruction:

    "What I hear, I forget.
    What I see, I remember.
    What I do, I understand."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Bigglesworth View Post
    This bullet point can not be right, can it?
    Agreed. It makes no sense.

    Other than that, I like what we see from this guy.

    But, working with lower level players is a lot different than established major leaguers. I wonder how coachable guys like Verlander, Bonderman, and Robertson really are.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbcaptain2 View Post
    I love how the Twins pitchers throw strikes.
    What a concept! Especially for the Tigers.

    Without looking at the stats, I'd be willing to bet the Tigers were in the top 5 in walks given up, and the Twins in the bottom 5.

    One would "think" that is something that would be easy to fix, and a high priority for next year, whoever is the pitching coach.
    The study of money, above all other fields in economics, is one in which complexity is used to disguise truth or to evade truth, not to reveal it - John Kenneth Galbraith

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    Sounds like an ideal fit. As much as I hate the Twins, its hard to not respect their minor league system and their pitching development.

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    Quote Originally Posted by screwball View Post
    What a concept! Especially for the Tigers.

    Without looking at the stats, I'd be willing to bet the Tigers were in the top 5 in walks given up, and the Twins in the bottom 5.

    One would "think" that is something that would be easy to fix, and a high priority for next year, whoever is the pitching coach.
    The Twins have led the AL with fewest walks per game in 4 of the last 5 years. The year they didn't, they finished 2nd.
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    Screw the walk! Make 'em hit the damned ball !!!
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    Nice get Eddie..seems like the type of guy who could help. Track record so far is hard to argue with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by screwball View Post
    Agreed. It makes no sense.

    Other than that, I like what we see from this guy.

    But, working with lower level players is a lot different than established major leaguers. I wonder how coachable guys like Verlander, Bonderman, and Robertson really are.
    It's not at all different. All of these guys have been coached since they were 7 years old. They are all used to accepting coaching and typically welcome input.

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    I like what I'm reading.

    I like also like how hiring him would undermine a division rival!
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    Quote Originally Posted by sportz4life View Post
    It's not at all different. All of these guys have been coached since they were 7 years old. They are all used to accepting coaching and typically welcome input.
    Really? I have seen plenty of guys who were un-coachable, even at age 7.
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    Quote Originally Posted by billfer View Post
    The Twins have led the AL with fewest walks per game in 4 of the last 5 years. The year they didn't, they finished 2nd.
    Thanks billfer.
    The study of money, above all other fields in economics, is one in which complexity is used to disguise truth or to evade truth, not to reveal it - John Kenneth Galbraith

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Cioe View Post
    Just a word - there is a tradeoff for fewer walks and more strikes - more HRs. The Twins pitchers are one and all flyball pitchers, which is something that a lot of people have problems with. I don't, but others will.
    A fly ball staff is good if your outfielders are better than your infielders.
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    Quote Originally Posted by screwball View Post
    Really? I have seen plenty of guys who were un-coachable, even at age 7.
    when they struggle they are all open to coaching..guys that get paid millions of dollars..take coaching..

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    Quote Originally Posted by sportz4life View Post
    when they struggle they are all open to coaching..guys that get paid millions of dollars..take coaching..
    Sorry, I still don't buy it. We'll just have to agree to dis-agree.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sportz4life View Post
    when they struggle they are all open to coaching..guys that get paid millions of dollars..take coaching..
    How much money a person makes has nothing to do with how well they perform, how they take coaching, or anything else I can think of.
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    Quote Originally Posted by screwball View Post
    Sorry, I still don't buy it. We'll just have to agree to dis-agree.
    Purely speculation..but you must not have been around too many elite level athletes either pro or amatuer.

    99% percent I have been around are eager to receive instruction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by djhutch View Post
    How much money a person makes has nothing to do with how well they perform, how they take coaching, or anything else I can think of.
    Really..it has alot to do with it..often it's how they attain the level of accomplishment and proficiency that allows them to perform at a level that attain high paying status. That applies to bothathletics and business.

    Are you actually naive enough to think people are naturally gifted and it's how they become achievers??

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    Fly balls don't hurt you in Comerica, at least if hit to CF.
    (And if not a Kyle Farnsworth pitch ....)

    As for players being receptive to coaching, to me it seems common sense that most would be.
    If that coach can help you realize improvement, you are putting many more millions into your bank account.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaYooperASBDT View Post
    Fly balls don't hurt you in Comerica, at least if hit to CF.
    (And if not a Kyle Farnsworth pitch ....)

    As for players being receptive to coaching, to me it seems common sense that most would be.
    If that coach can help you realize improvement, you are putting many more millions into your bank account.
    Naw, just hit homeruns. Homeruns are money. If you can hit 40 homeruns you can leave your glove in the bus. Can't remember who said that, but one of the ballplayer turned announcers said it. For the most part, he's right.
    The study of money, above all other fields in economics, is one in which complexity is used to disguise truth or to evade truth, not to reveal it - John Kenneth Galbraith

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    Quote Originally Posted by sportz4life View Post
    Are you actually naive enough to think people are naturally gifted and it's how they become achievers??
    Do you think you can teach an average Joe to become achievers? A guy with little talent?

    Do you think these players are without ego? Especially pitchers?

    I saw a show a couple of years ago with Tim Russert. It was called the "All Star Catchers". The best hour of TV I ever seen. They had Berra, Bench, Carter and Fisk. They all agreed pitchers were the dumbest animal on the planet.

    They talked about how they would argue with the pitchers on what pitch to throw a certain hitter under a certain situation. One joked he kept calling for a fastball, and kept getting called off by the pitcher. He finally went to the mound and the pitcher wanted to throw a curve. Said ht guy can't hit a curve. The catcher said "but he can hit YOUR curve."

    There were all kinds of stories like that. I don't see how it is such a stretch to think some of these guys wouldn't listen to anyone. I'm not basing my opinion on that alone, just an example.

    Remember the quote from Jim Palmer about Earl Weaver - " the only thing he knows about pitching is he can't hit it." Granted they hated each other, but these people have huge egos. That matters.

    Guys in the lower levels is probably a different story. They are still hungry, and poor.
    The study of money, above all other fields in economics, is one in which complexity is used to disguise truth or to evade truth, not to reveal it - John Kenneth Galbraith

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    "when they struggle they are all open to coaching..guys that get paid millions of dollars..take coaching.."
    -You're implying that all players have respect and listen to all coaches.As in life,there will be a lot of players who probably don't think a particular coach has much to offer them in terms of solving their problem. MLB,AAA,AA or otherwise. R-E-S-P-E-C-T!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by screwball View Post
    Do you think you can teach an average Joe to become achievers? A guy with little talent?

    Do you think these players are without ego? Especially pitchers?

    I saw a show a couple of years ago with Tim Russert. It was called the "All Star Catchers". The best hour of TV I ever seen. They had Berra, Bench, Carter and Fisk. They all agreed pitchers were the dumbest animal on the planet.

    They talked about how they would argue with the pitchers on what pitch to throw a certain hitter under a certain situation. One joked he kept calling for a fastball, and kept getting called off by the pitcher. He finally went to the mound and the pitcher wanted to throw a curve. Said ht guy can't hit a curve. The catcher said "but he can hit YOUR curve."

    There were all kinds of stories like that. I don't see how it is such a stretch to think some of these guys wouldn't listen to anyone. I'm not basing my opinion on that alone, just an example.

    Remember the quote from Jim Palmer about Earl Weaver - " the only thing he knows about pitching is he can't hit it." Granted they hated each other, but these people have huge egos. That matters.

    Guys in the lower levels is probably a different story. They are still hungry, and poor.

    Here's where your argument falls apart..there are zero guys with little talent pitching in the major leagues..in fact there are virtually zero guys with little talent pitching in the minor leagues.

    Yogi Berra and Gary Carter..two monster intellects..entertaining maybe..smart..umm..not so much..Gary Carter is well know to have been the most egomanical player this side of Canseco..

    Every athlete takes coaching..and there are few coaches who attain major league coaching status that dont command respect.
    Last edited by sportz4life; 10-16-2008 at 10:33 PM.

  36. #36
    DaYooperASBDT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by screwball View Post
    Naw, just hit homeruns. Homeruns are money. If you can hit 40 homeruns you can leave your glove in the bus. Can't remember who said that, but one of the ballplayer turned announcers said it. For the most part, he's right.
    But most pitchers don't hit 40 HR's.
    Most pitchers "lose it" at some point, either their arm slot, or landing spot, or follow-through, etc. A good pitching coach will note mechanical issues and share that information with even the almighty staff ace.

    I feel most pitchers get humbled often enough to be receptive to suggestions from a coach. Kind of like the humble pie the Rays just delivered to Matsusaka with back-to-back taters!
    Last edited by DaYooperASBDT; 10-16-2008 at 09:16 PM.
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    I'll take a flyer and say that Knapp gets the pitching coach position.Freep says that Leyland has admiration for the Twins pitching philosophy of which Knapp has certainly been a part.
    With the Twins pitching coach Rich Anderson due for contract renewal (this week,I believe), he obviously sees no future there and with MLB aspirations,he's making his move.
    Also,at 46 and need for experience, he's probably not overly concerned with Leyland's contract situation.
    A great move for both parties where it could hopefully slow down the free walks to first base significantly in 2009.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Cioe View Post
    Just a word - there is a tradeoff for fewer walks and more strikes - more HRs. The Twins pitchers are one and all flyball pitchers, which is something that a lot of people have problems with. I don't, but others will.
    If you have groundball pitchers in the first place it won't matter though, most sinkerballers tend to pound the strike zone and they certainly aren't giving up homers.

    If you don't walk anyone you're probably going to be solid, if you don't walk anyone and still strike guys out at a good clip, you're probably going to be great.

    Any pitching coach who can at least get the first part of that equation completed would be amazing

    And why wouldn't an MLB player be willing to take coaching? If it's good coaching and you're more successful you will

    1. Be more successful

    2. Make more money

    I don't really see any negatives here for the player no matter how rich they may already be, I'm pretty sure they still want to win games and get richer

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobb View Post
    I'll take a flyer and say that Knapp gets the pitching coach position.Freep says that Leyland has admiration for the Twins pitching philosophy of which Knapp has certainly been a part.
    With the Twins pitching coach Rich Anderson due for contract renewal (this week,I believe), he obviously sees no future there and with MLB aspirations,he's making his move.
    Also,at 46 and need for experience, he's probably not overly concerned with Leyland's contract situation.
    A great move for both parties where it could hopefully slow down the free walks to first base significantly in 2009.
    Thank-you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sportz4life View Post
    Purely speculation..but you must not have been around too many elite level athletes either pro or amatuer.

    99% percent I have been around are eager to receive instruction.
    The other 1% are all named Brandon Inge.
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