Friday, December 26, 2008

Makes Me Wonder

First of all, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. I did. And, I took vacation time for the rest of the year, so I'm looking forward to sleeping in, doing whatever I want, and being lazy. I can't think of a better way to spend the end of the year (unless of course, I was doing all that in a tropical location).

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Hey, there's finally a new Twin we can welcome (sound the horns -- or at least the kazoos)...

Welcome to the Twins, Mr. R.A. Dickey.

His name kind of reminds me of those attorneys who advertise on cable at three in the morning..."DWI? Bankruptcy? Theft? Bribery? Embezzlement? Ponzi schemes? Selling senate seats? Call the Law Offices of R.A. Dickey. Phones answered 24 hours a day."

But anywhoo, he's a knuckleballer, but not really the eighth inning guy fans are looking for. I don't really remember the Twins ever having a knuckleballer, and both LaVelle and Kelly Thesier mentioned that they've (the Twins, not the reporters) wanted one for awhile. So it kind of made me wonder who the last Twins knuckleballer was. (I looked around various blogs and articles for about five minutes, which is the true extent of my interest, but no one said anything.)

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So all that wondering made me decide to list a bunch of other things I've wondering about lately too:

1. I know there's going to be a new MLB Network starting on Jan. 1st. For something so cool, I haven't really heard much about it. I wonder what exactly they're going to talk about in January (let me guess...the Yankees).

2. I know they keep track of pitchers' walks and fielders' errors, and they can be kind of a big deal. But I wonder if anyone ever keeps track of costly walks or errors -- you know, the ones that actually result in runs. I mean, if the baserunner who reached because of a walk or error is stranded, then the walk or error shouldn't count as much than if someone scores because of it. I suppose they probably do keep track of that -- they keep track of everything. And I know that the costly errors get figured out in a way because it's an unearned run, and they need to know that for the pitchers' ERAs, but that's the pitchers' stats, not the fielders'. I also wonder why the heck I'm wondering this at all.

3. I know that baseball writers vote for post-season awards and for Hall of Fame inductees, but I wonder why baseball broadcasters don't. I imagine that John Gordon has as much access and knowledge about the Twins and baseball in general as Joe Christensen, but Joe's the one who gets to vote. I don't understand it.

4. I wonder how I could find a list of all active MLB players sorted by age. I ask because Jamie Moyer signing with the Pirates, and now Randy Johnson signing with the Giants, there are at least two players who are older than me. I'm hoping there are more, but I have my doubts.

5. And finally, I wonder if the Yankees will ever run out of money. And I wonder how delicious it would be if they were to miss the playoffs in 2009.

Monday, December 22, 2008

This Seems Oddly Familiar

Packers vs. Bears

Why does it seem like I've done this before? I'm settling down to watch a game and cheer for a division rival, that happens to be out of the playoff picture, to beat another division rival, that happens to be from Chicago, so that my team can win the division title because it blew the chance to take care of that itself. Hmmm. I just can't shake this deja vu.

Oh, and could someone please send a case of velcro, rubber cement, pine tar, whatever, to Mr. Adrian Peterson?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Yaaawwwwnnnn!


Goodness, it's been a boring off-season, hasn't it? And it doesn't seem that it's going to get interesting any time soon. Especially for Twins fans. I mean, seriously, as happy as I am that they re-signed Nicky Punto, that's the only thing they've done, and it's not really a lot to talk about.

You know things are dull when I'm fascinated in Rafael Furcal's "I'll pick you. Wait -- no, I'll pick them" escapades. Wow.

In fact, I'm so bored, I started a whole new blog. I was inspired when I wrote that post a few weeks ago about the 10 Business Cliches that Need to Die. So, if you hate cliches as much as I do, check out The Cliche Slayer.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Little Things That Make Me Happy

On a crappy-weather night, I need to be reminded of little things that make me happy:
  • Getting my kids to do all the Christmas decorating
  • Being pleasantly surprised by a Vikings game
  • Eating dark chocolate
  • Getting my Christmas cards done
  • Remembering that I brought my work laptop home on Friday in case I don't want to drive in to work Monday morning
  • Watching The Santa Clause with my kids

Oh, and the biggest little thing that makes me happy is knowing that Little Nicky Punto will be playing for the Twins for the next two years. I know my friends in blogging, Twins Sisters and THOSE Girls, are happy. Kevin Slowey is happy, too. I'm looking forward to watching his slick defensive skillz.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Almost a Dime's Worth

A few random thoughts bouncing around in my head...

CC Gets the $$: Not surprisingly, the Evil Empire signed Sabathia to a 7-year, $160.1 million contract. With that kind of money, he should offer to bail out the automakers and save the taxpayers some dough.

The Former AstrosTwins Guys: Adam Everett signed with Detroit and Mike Lamb re-signed with the Brewers. Of course I wish them well, but if they wind up having stellar years next season, I'll feel ripped off.

You Can't Be Serious - A Play in Two Lines:
Headline: Report: Scott Erickson seeks comeback with Minnesota Twins
k-bro: To do what?

A Book Review:

Kent Hrbek with Dennis Brackin. Kent Hrbek's Tales from the Minnesota Twins Dugout. Champaign, Ill: Sports Publishing L.L.C., 2007, 186 pp., $19.95

I received this book for Christmas last year, and I just finished it. Not that this book was that hard to get through -- I just kind of put it away and forgot about it for awhile.

Hrbek breaks the book into several disjointed short stories. It's a very easy read, and it seems that he stays true to his voice. It kind of felt like I was sitting with him over a couple beers talking baseball.

However, his stories were a little light. I felt like they would have been more entertaining if he would have gone into more detail. And some of the stories were a bit repetitive.

Overall, it's a fun book. It gives us a glimpse of a ballplayer's life; just don't expect too much substance from it. I'd give it a B-.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Winter Blahs

A few random thoughts on a wintry day:

Winter Meetings: Baseball's Winter Meetings start this week in Vegas. That's cool for everyone who's going -- at least the weather's not crappy there. But as exciting as it sounds, I'll be surprised if it'll be exciting for Twins fans. Remember last year's winter meetings? The Twins did absolutely nothing, and that's when Johan Santana was on the trading block. I could be wrong, but I just have a feeling that Mr. Smith won't do anything notable.

Much Ado About Molehills: A whole bunch of virtual ink has been spilled about the fact that Gardy said his preferred outfield would consist of Span, Gomez, and Cuddyer, which leaves out Young. Speculations have ranged from "the Twins are thinking about trading Delmon," to "Gardy's trying to light a fire under Delmon," to "they're trying to increase Cuddyer's trade value." I say, "whatever." Gardy said what he thought, but good fans know that everything is likely to change come spring training. Someone has to be the fourth outfielder, why not Delmon?

Kevin Slowey Interview: I have a subscription to XM radio online and I listen to the MLB channel at work. I usually only listen during the mornings, because they're usually quieter than the afternoons. However, Friday afternoon was unusually quiet, so I put my headphones just in time to hear the guy (I think it was Rob Dibble) say "and now, calling in is Kevin Slowey." Wow, that was lucky. He gave a great interview. He's living with his brother in Atlanta. He mentioned how great it was to watch Greg Maddux and how much he always admired him when Maddux would pitch against the Pirates. He also talked about how much Mike Redmond helps him out by talking about batters and situations, and just brushing his experience off on to the young guys. There was more, but he finshed by saying that he was going to lie around all weekend and watch the Steelers game.

Dude, That's Gotta Hurt: Speaking of XM radio, I was listening earlier this past week. During an update, the guy was listing the NBA games that would be aired that evening. And he said -- I kid you not -- "Chauncey Billups and his Nuggets take on the Spurs." My inner 12-year-old came out, and I literally said out loud to nobody, "did he just say that?" I figure no guy wants his nuggets to have anything to do at all with spurs.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy "Blog-iversary"

December 1st

One year ago today, I started this silly blog. It was just a few days after Torii Hunter signed with the Angels, and Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett were traded to the Rays. So, naturally, in my very first post, I worried about the downturn of the attractiveness of the team. And with the upcoming Johan trade looming, it was a valid concern.

When I started blogging, I had a lot to say, but a lot of people did. So I didn't really think that I could add anything interesting. But, it was the urging of a colleague and friend that changed my mind. He reminded me that, in addition to baseball, writing was a hobby of mine. What better way to keep my skills sharp, express my creativity, and have a little fun than to write about something I love. Thanks, A.D.

This blog has gone through some changes over the last year. In June, I switched blog hosts from Blog.com to Blogger. I did copy all the older posts over to the Blogger, so all the posts are together, but I never deleted the Blog.com account, so those early entries live in both places.

Switching hosts allowed me to track the traffic stopping by. It's kind of cool to see what Google searches direct people here. Apparently, when I wondered back in March what Tony Oliva said in that commercial featuring Delmon Young, I wasn't the only one who couldn't figure it out. That question, far and away, was the number one Google search that drove folks here. Fortunately, the brilliant Jen and Krissy answered the question for me and Googlers everywhere. The second-most asked question that guided people to my blog was why the Larry Gura (a KC pitcher) bobblehead had a honey pot on it. Unfortunately, I don't know that one.

I tried some things; some of which I may or may not continue: the "Moment of the Game", the "Go Sit in the Corner Corner", the "Congratulations Corner", etc. I guess I'll keep trying new things as they occur to me. Any ongoing writing project is an evolutionary process.

I'm still having fun, and I still have things to say, so I guess I'll keep going. Ok, there's not so much to say lately -- the Twins offering The Big Sweat arbitration is not exactly pins-and-needles stuff -- but when something finally does happen, I'm sure I'll have something to say about it.

Thanks for reading, and here's to many more blog-iversaries.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!


There are many blessings in my life for which I am thankful -- family, health, career, hobbies among them. And, I'm thankful that there are some folks out there who read this silly blog.

Some hopes for you this Thanksgiving...

If you're travelling, I hope your journey is safe and relaxing.

If you're visiting relatives, I hope fellowship and laughter are abundant.

If you're cooking, I hope every dish looks like the picture on the recipe and tastes better than expected.

If you're not cooking, I hope you help with the dishes.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Catching Up With Old Friends

I was looking at my old MySpace account (I don't really use it any more, I'm more of a Twitter girl now), and I ran across this little nugget I wrote a little over a year ago. I admit I was pretty bitter at the time. Now...well, I think I'm ok. Remember how this felt...?

Lies and Ironies -- A Play in Two Acts

Act I

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Twins Fan: So Torii, how's it going with the free agency?
Torii Hunter:
It's a headache.
Fan: Who've you been talking to?
Torii: The White Sox, the Rangers, the Royals. Oh, and the Dodgers want to talk to me too.
Fan: So when will you be making a decision?
Torii: Ah, I want to have a peaceful Thanksgiving with my family. I won't decide anything until after that.
Fan: But you're gonna let the Twins have a final shot at a deal before you sign with someone else, right?
Torii: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Definitely.
Fan: So, really? It's not about the money, huh?
Torii: Really. It's not about the money.

Act II

The next morning -- Thanksgiving Day, 2007

TV Sports Dude: Torii Hunter is no longer a Twin. Overnight, he signed a 5-year, 90-million dollar deal with the Angels.
Fan: Torii! Dude! What happened to all that stuff you told me yesterday?
Torii: (laughs) Psych!
Fan: Aahh! So it was about the money. Silly me. I should have known.
Torii: (laughing as he leaves)

Fan: Well, then. Buh-bye.

The End.

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I found some amusing news stories about some former and current players:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

10 Business Cliches That Need to Die

No Twins news for awhile, so I'll talk about something else that's been bugging me. And if you pay close attention, I'll work in something remotely baseball-related.

On Friday, I sat in a meeting led by the CEO of my company. I believe him to be an intelligent man and a good business leader, but by the end of the hour-long meeting, I was ready to scratch out my eyeballs. He loves his business clichés. He used every one of the ones I listed below...Every. One.

I know he's not alone. The business world is adept at taking a catchphrase or buzzword and overusing it until anyone who hears it wants to hurl. And, because of that, they've also become meaningless noise or, really, a pause in the talk to collect one's thoughts.

I propose we start a coalition to end the cliché madness. This is a call-to-arms, people!

My List:
  1. "Push the envelope"
  2. "Think outside the box"
  3. "At the end of the day"
  4. "Have an impact on" (when the speaker means "have an effect on")*
  5. "When the rubber hits the road"
  6. "Step up to the plate"**
  7. "Work smarter, not harder"
  8. "Paradigm shift"
  9. "24/7" (especially when it's not literal)
  10. "Team player"

* "Impact" means "collision" and nothing more. You can have a metaphorical impact, such as "my third-grade teacher impacted my life," but it has to be huge, as if the third-grade teacher collided with your life path and changed it.

** The only people who get to say "step up to the plate" are ones talking about a baseball or softball player who is doing just that.

And I'm sure there are plenty more. Add more to the comments section of you'd like. And, please, do your part to squash these and other nonsense phrases.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dissociative Delmon Disorder

Like I said in my last post, I've been wanting to write my thoughts about Delmon Young for a while now. So I'd best get them out before I forget them. I'm still having trouble coming to a single conclusion about him -- keep him, trade him, back to keep him, back to trade him. If this continues, I'm afraid I'll start telling myself to shut up and then calling myself names. This would not be good.

So I'll just embrace my dissociation and present both my opinions. What the heck, huh?

Keep Him:
Keep him for at least one more season because he just got here. Since he's the cornerstone of the Garza/Bartlett trade, it wouldn't make sense to throw all that away after only one season. He's only 23, and bound to improve. He's got a ton of potential and with more work, his homerun production should increase. That's why the Twins wanted him in the first place. With Delmon batting between Morneau and Kubel, it will be fun to have three serious power threats in the middle of the of the order.

Trade Him:
We need a good middle infielder and a good set-up pitcher, so trade him for one or both. He has value, but not necessarily for the Twins. His defense stinks -- I think Pat Williams could probably run out a fly ball better. And the fact that he refused team treatment on his sprained ankle makes me believe that he's a selfish player, which does not fit into the "Twins Way." That display of stubbornness also makes me concerned about his "coachability." Since his father drilled batting practice into him daily since he was little, it makes me wonder whether he'll listen to Twins' coaches.

What to do, what to do? I guess it's good Mr. Smith doesn't call me up and ask me my opinion. If he did, he wouldn't get one...he'd get two.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pardon My Nerdiness

I've been thinking about writing a post about Delmon Young for the last two weeks or so, but I can't seem to formulate any clear thoughts about him. In fact, I can't even agree with myself more than two days in a row regarding keeping him or trading him, so I think I'll forget about it. Actually, I don't really feel all that strongly about his situation either way. So, meh. (FYI, the word "meh" was just added to the Collins English Dictionary -- pretty cool for such a boring word.)

So, instead, I'll write about what I've been doing since the season ended. The silver-electroplate lining of the off-season is that I catch up on my book reading. And lately, I've been on a grammar kick. I know it may be hard to tell by reading my blog, but I do write for a living, so call it professional enrichment. (No, unless you're into reading user manuals for medical software, you probably haven't read any of my work.)

I'm currently reading Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing by Mignon Fogarty. I've been listening to Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty podcasts for awhile, and this book is a fun compilation of those grammar and usage tips. I enjoy her practical advice and friendly tone. She does a nice job of explaining the tips, and her style is easy to understand yet not "dumbed-down." This book is a good resource if you want to brush up on your writing skills or if you just can't remember if you're supposed to use "effect" or "affect."

Adding to my grammar-mania, I just finished reading Things That Make Us (Sic): The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar Takes on Madison Avenue, Hollywood, the White House, and the World by Martha Brockenbrough. Like Grammar Girl, the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar (SPOGG) gives readers practical grammar and usage advice. However, this book is absolutely hilarious. I had such a great time reading this, I was literally laughing out loud. This is a great book to read cover-to-cover for its entertainment value, and to have near your computer for its educational value.

Reading both these books has been valuable for me. They've refreshed my memory regarding some rules, and reinforced my interpretation of others. And I've been having fun.

Humorous Pictures
more animals

Maybe next time, I'll come up with something intellegent to say about young Mr. Young. Or maybe I won't -- who knows.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Catching Up on Yesterday's News...

...and the day-before's, and today's.

I'm sure everyone's already heard that Pat-Pat will be out all of 2009. Damn!

And that's all I have to say about that.

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The other day, Tim Lincecum won the NL Cy Young award. I was lucky enough to see him pitch when I visited San Francisco in August. The program I bought had a feature article on him. His delivery is very different than other pitchers, but not like Pat Neshek. He uses his whole body to generate his power -- not just his arm. And he looks like he's about 14 years old. Besides, he's on my cool name roster. If you don't know him, here's a picture I took of him:

From San Francisco Giants
Isn't he cute? (Yes, about thirty seconds after I took this picture, I switched to a seat that didn't have a big-ass railing in my view.)

Congratulations Tim, and congratulations Giants fans.

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Yesterday, Joe Maddon and Lou Piniella were named Managers of the Year.

Poor Gardy. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. (I know, I know, it's a awful cliché, but I can't really think of a better metaphor.)

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Other things that made me smile:


Monday, November 10, 2008

I'll Cross My Eyes Too If It'll Help

Hey, there really is something going on in the baseball world...not much, but something. Allow me to summarize:
  • Congratulations to Evan Longoria and Geovany Soto on your Rookie of the Year awards. Tell me, is it as much of an honor when it's been obvious for the last three months that you were going to get it? Did it feel a little like Rookie-elect of the Year until today? (I am pleased that Denard Span and Nick Blackburn received a few votes -- small reward, I know, but it's better than indigestion.)
  • It's all but official that the Colorado Rockies will trade Matt Holliday to the Oakland A's. Um, what? Wait, that can't be true. Oakland makes ugly ball players (e.g. Nick Swisher, Jason Kendall, Bobby Kielty [in his Syndrome-hair days]). Matt is much too adorable to fit in there. I worry that the ugliness will take root. I mean, c'mon, they have white shoes, fercryinoutloud. *shudder* Oh well, if Huston Street can retain his stunning good-looks, there's hope for Matt, too.
  • So now that the Rockies are short an adorable outfielder, they'll be looking for another. That means the chances they'd want Michael Cuddyer for Garrett Atkins just bumped up a couple notches. *crossing fingers this doesn't happen*
  • According to Joe C., Pat-Pat had a setback in his rehab. Dang! *crossing toes this won't be a big deal*

Friday, November 7, 2008

Double-oh 8, Free Agent Man

Hi again. I meant to post sooner than this, but I've been busy. But I'm here now.

So I still have opinions bouncing around in my head, and I'd better get them out before things change and all that head-bouncing is wasted.

This time: Little Nicky Punto, Free Agent Man

Of the Twins free agents (Punto, Adam Everett, Dennys Reyes, and Eddie Guardado), Nicky is probably the only one who has a decent chance of being re-signed. Also, his future probably generates the most interest from Twins fans. Reyes may be more valuable as far as rankings, but I don't know of many fans who will shed tears if he signs elsewhere -- I think Jose Mijares or Craig Breslow can help heal that pain. But Nicky has something way more important to fans than rankings...he's got charm. And I know of a lot of fans who adore him, including me.

Whether the Twins re-sign him, however, appears to depend largely on him. It's not likely that the Twins will offer him a huge contract. If they decide to keep him, it'll be as a utility player and late-inning-defensive-replacement guy -- a good fit for him in my opinion. However, if he feels he wants to be a starter, it's going to have to be somewhere else.

Personally, I think he should re-sign with the Twins if they give him a palatable offer. He fits so nicely into the organization -- he's athletic, he's good defensively, and he's a "team-first" guy. He pretty much embodies "The Twins Way."

There is one teensy little thing I think he needs to work on: I noticed my super-cool Twins wall calendar (which must've been printed in about February of 2007 because it features Luis Castillo) listed his weight at 174 -- a good weight for a little guy. However, the Twins official web site now lists him at 195. Wow, dude, twenty pounds is a lot of extra heft on a 5'8" frame. And where did all that poundage come from? If this keeps up, we may have to drop the "Little" from Little Nicky Punto. Chunky Nicky Punto doesn't have the same ring to it. I'm not saying...I'm just saying.

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Hey! Congrats to Joey Mauer for his shiny new Gold Glove. It's very well deserved (unlike some others).

Sunday, November 2, 2008

If We're No Longer Saving Daylight, Are We Spending It?

Man, it sure gets dark early now, and for some reason, it surprises me every year. And now it's the first Sunday night since March 30th that there isn't any baseball on TV. I always watch Sunday Night Baseball (at least until Desperate Housewives comes on -- then I flip between the two if the game is good, unless DH is a repeat -- then I just stick with the game).

But, just because it's dark (both literally, and baseball-on-TV-figuratively), that doesn't mean I don't have some opinions bouncing around in my head regarding baseball -- I have plenty, for whatever they're worth. When it comes to opinions about baseball, my motto may as well be, "Often wrong, but never in doubt."

I'm going to resist the urge to ramble on and spit all my ideas out now. I'll just stick to one for now. Of course, by waiting I run the risk of reality spoiling my fun before I get around to discussing all my topics, but I'm willing to take that chance. Otherwise, I will probably run out of things to say.

Today's topic: Matt Garza. Can we all please stop talking about him? Or at least when we do talk about him, can we stop whining about how horrible it is that he's not a Twin anymore? Now, I am thrilled for him that he had such a great season for the Rays. I'm thrilled for the Rays, too. But I am absolutely convinced that he would not have had the same success with the Twins. In fact, he pretty much said so himself. He attributes his good season to maturing and to getting back to relying on his fastball. The maturing probably would have happened with the Twins; the relying on his fastball -- not so likely.

It's been well documented that Garza and the Twins had a difference of opinion regarding pitching philosophy. The Twins like to employ a trust-your-stuff-and-throw-any-pitch-at-anytime-for-strikes philosophy, whereas Garza likes more of a everything-keys-off-the-fastball style. Both are fine approaches, but they are different. And, according to him, the Rays support his style more than the Twins did.

We all know that the Twins have done a lot of great things to create a lot of good pitchers. However, no philosophy is perfect and works for every pitcher. So, yeah, while it would be nice to have another soon-to-be-great pitcher on the staff, he (and the Twins organization) is probably better off just the way things are.

Besides, he's still working on that maturity thing. Remember that little incident with his catcher, Dioner Navarro? Can you imagine that happening with Joe Mauer? The thought makes me laugh.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Congratulations Phillies, Your 2008 World Series Champions

Congratulations to the Philadelphia Phillies. They had a great season and played a great series. Also, congratulations to their fans -- it's been a long time since they could celebrate. I bet it's a huge party in that city tonight.


Also, congratulations to the Rays and their fans, especially the fans that have been with them from the beginning. It probably stinks right now, but it was a great season. They should be very proud.

And now I'm bummed that another season is over. And it doesn't promise to be an interesting off-season, at least as far as the Twins are concerned. Only 3 1/2 months until pitchers and catchers report.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bottom of the Sixth...

PHILADELPHIA -- Game 5 of the World Series was suspended Monday for violating Major League Baseball's weather policy. The Game did not appeal the ruling and served its one-day suspension on Tuesday. However, if the weather policy issue is not resolved by Wednesday, another suspension may be issued. Commissioner Bud Selig said, "[we] will continue to monitor the weather on an hourly basis." This is the first suspension in World Series history.

The Three Umpires (Bottom of the Sixth) Norman Rockwell painting "The Three Umpires (Bottom of the Sixth)" Source

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A few random notes about the World Series thus far:
  • I want to be Jeannie Zelasko -- she has great hair and gets paid tons of money to talk about baseball. Neither of these things are true about me. However, if I were her, I'd dial back on the shouting.
  • The umpires really need to step up their game a bit -- quite a bit.
  • Tim McCarver really needs to stop bitching about the umpiring. Actually, Tim McCarver really needs to come down with severe laryngitis and stop talking altogether.
  • I totally forgot to pick up my free taco from Taco Bell today for their "Steal a Base, Steal a Taco" promotion. Bummer -- oh well, thanks to Jason Bartlett for stealing that base anyway. I hope everyone who got one enjoyed it. Heck, I hope Jason Bartlett went to Taco Bell today and got one too, seeing as how he didn't have anything else going on today.
  • Go Rays!


Monday, October 20, 2008

Round 2 - Check (Finally!)



Everyone who knows I'm a baseball fan greeted me this morning with, "So, how 'bout them Rays?" I think everyone is excited that they won. Boston sure made it an interesting series -- the Sox hung tough until the end, but I think that just prepared the Rays even more. I'm just glad the Rays won, because I don't think I would have watched the World Series if Boston was in it; that would've been boring.

Garza was absolutely brilliant Sunday night. He sure seems to be a different pitcher than he was with the Twins. He seems tougher, more poised, and more comfortable. It's good to see him doing well.

It was also fun watching David Price close the game. I was saying all my "Joe Nathan good luck" sayings to him, and it worked. I was really surprised to learn that he made his major league debut like a month ago. His motto should be, "Experience? I don't need no stinking experience?"
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So now we get to watch the World Series on Fox. Yipee. All the Joe Buck and Tim McCarver I can handle. Actually, Joe Buck isn't so bad; he's just a little dry. But Tim McCarver drives me nuts. Everything he says either a) is complete nonsense, or b) is blatantly obvious. In fact, there are times I'm certain I can hear Buck rolling his eyes at something McCarver is blathering on about. I would really like to turn down the sound on the TV and just listen to the Rays' radio guys, but streaming radio off the Internet has at least a 20-second delay, so that won't work. Oh well, I'll try to not let it bother me too much.
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Speaking of announcers, did anyone else think Ron Darling sounded exactly like James Woods?
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So I hope this will be a good Series. It'll be interesting to see if the Phillies cooled off after such a long time off, or if the time allowed them to get rested; if the Rays can carry their momentum, or if they'll wind down. I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Because This One Didn't End When it Should Have...

I've got some playoff thoughts before we're done with the second round...


Don't these playoff games take f...o...r...e...v...e...r...? A regular season game that started at about 7 pm almost always finished up in time to watch the 10 o'clock news. Now they don't end until well after 11. A couple days ago, Patrick Reusse wrote that the game has really slowed down over the last few years. He mentions a smaller strike zone, dilly-dallying of the batters, and game-calling from the bench as reasons he believes games take longer than they used to. Point taken, but all those things were happening during the regular season too. Besides, I thought MLB was enforcing some ridiculous "speed up" rules to help keep the games from getting out of hand. So, in this year where our team gets fined because one of the players took twelve seconds too long to step into the batter's box, what possibly could be causing these playoff games to drag on, hmmmm? Could it be...commercials? So, MLB really wants to speed up the game, just so long as there aren't networks demanding more time for their announcers to blah-blah-blah.
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Ok, so exactly when did Matt Stairs become a Phillie? Seriously, when he stepped into the batter's box during Game 4, I could've swore he was still a Blue Jay. Ok, so he was traded on Aug. 29th for some prospects. Way to make your presence known there, Matt.
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I have developed a new baseball crush this postseason: the Rays' radio announcers. Seriously. Nothing against our own Gordo and Dazzle, but I really like listening to these guys-- they seem friendly and somewhat knowledgeable. They have nice voices and seem genuinely happy that the Rays are doing well. But my favorite part is that they call all the players by their first names, "Aki singles to left. B.J. homered seventeen times this series. That's Carl's fifth stolen base..." You get the idea. Unfortunately, after more than five minutes of googling, I still can't find their names.
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Speaking of the Rays, I'm watching Game 5 as I write this. Please excuse me while I take care of something for just a moment...

*Ahem* Hello? Rays? Um, guys? Do NOT let this get away from you!!! *Sigh*

Oh, and to the TBS announcers: I'm pretty sure that the Red Sox are fully aware that you're kissing their @sses, so you can go ahead and dial back the crazy man-love, mmmkay?
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I'm totally carving my pumpkin like one of these for Halloween this year:



Here are the stencils. If I were really interested in frightening people, though, I'd use Evil White Sox stencils, but I like to run a friendly trick-or-treat stop.
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Regarding this Game 5: CRAPPOLA!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Red, Rumor, Champagne, Hate, and Hockey

I feel like blogging today, but I don't really have anything original to say. So I'll just comment on other people's material. Yeah, it's lazy. You got a problem with that? No? Good.


Twins pick up Redmond’s option -- Let me just say "Yay!" Ok, so this was a no-brainer. He's a great back-up catcher, and there really isn't anyone else who can step in and fill that spot. Plus he's fairly cheap and it really seems like he wants to be here. He seems like a great teammate and an all-around great guy. I'm especially pleased that the organization didn't drag its feet and wait until the last minute to pull the trigger. I imagine he's pleased by that too.

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Twins dealing Delmon Young or Michael Cuddyer (rumor) -- Ok, before the Twins do this (the tidbit also mentions adding a starting pitcher in the trade package), they had better clear it with me first. I don't mind if they trade Delmon, if they can get somebody (or sombodies) good, but I will not allow them to trade my boyfriend. Period. And the only starting pitcher I'm willing to part with is Glen Perkins, and I still wouldn't be thrilled about it. (Yes, I am considering the source of this rumor, so I won't really worry about it too much.)

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Baseball is overserved from champagne celebrations -- I agree. How special is the champagne celebation after winning the World Series if you've already had four in the last month or so. I mean, doesn't it get old after the first two? I propose that only two be allowed -- after clinching a playoff berth (because that's why they play the 162 games), and after winning the World Series (because that's why they play at all). In between, they should just celebrate with some nice hors d'oeuvres and an ice cream social. Or maybe even chocolate covered strawberries.

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In the comments section of this nicely done LCS Preview, the folks over at Alright Hamilton! are having fun opining on who they hate worse, the Yankees or the White Sox. Oooh, good question. I hate them both. I hate Yankees because, as a fan of a small market team, I have an obligation to hate them. Really, I hate the attitude that their ownership (and many of their fans) has that they deserve to win because they have "money" and "tradition" and other such B.S. They're like that rich a-hole in high school who looked down his nose at everyone and who everyone followed hoping to be popular by osmosis. But, as a team of players, I respect them. I don't like them, but I do respect them.

On the other hand, I just plain hate the White Sox. And there's more to it than the fact that I'm still bitter*. They're a bunch a whining babies (A.J., Buerhle, Jenks, for example). Their manager doesn't even like them very much -- if he did, he wouldn't be complimenting the Twins so much. But the big thing is that they and their fans hate the Twins right back (well, except Ozzie -- he wuvs the Twins). They're like the kid in high school who is a jerk to everyone but can't figure out why nobody likes him. Oh, and that whole "black out" thing -- didn't they steal that from some college football team?

*Yes, I'm still bitter. And if you're thinking, "what are you? 12? Get over it." I say, "when it comes to the Evil Ugly White Sox, yes, I'm 12. Actually 11 1/2. And no, I'm not getting over it. So there."

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And on a non-baseball note, this is for my bud Duch, who is looking forward to Saturday night:

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Round One - Check


Well, I pooched the first round rooting, didn't I? But I got the important one right, so I'm happy.

Some tidbits from the first round:

  • When I was listening to the Milwaukee radio feed, I learned that Bob Ueker really, really likes sausage with chipotle mustard.
  • Could the Cubs have rolled over and played dead any more convincingly?
  • I find it interesting that the teams with the best records are out so soon. I guess this year proves the cliche that it's not who's good, but who's hot.
  • It was admirable, if not pathetic, how Harold Reynolds tried so hard to find good things to say about the Evil Ugly team during the games, but once the final one was done, he pretty much admitted that they sucked.
  • I'm really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really (you get the idea) happy that the Rays celebrated in the Cell. Ha! (Yes, I'm still bitter. Sue me.)

And now the next round predictions:

PHI - LAD: I'll take the Phillies because I think it's a better team. But I think it would be funny if the Dodgers won just so Joe Torre could stick it to the Yankees.

BOS - TB: Ok, so EVERYONE outside "the Nation" is rooting for the plucky Rays, but I honestly think they have a decent chance to win. They've proven they can beat the Red Sox (.500 record against them), and they beat them late in the season, so they're hot, right?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

On the Mend

Ok, so I'm almost back to normal. So mooooving on...

I love the playoffs. And this year, they're even more fun for me than they've been in a while. Usually I don't have a real emotional interest; I just watch for the good baseball. This year is different, but more on that later.



Effective use of the whiteboard in my cubicle, don't you think? Notice the name of the team that's playing TB? (I may be feeling better, but that doesn't mean I don't get to be bitter).

My opinion of the teams in the playoffs:

MIL - I'm rooting for the Brewers because mini-bro's buddy s-man is a Brewers fan, and he's such a cool kid, I'm going with that.
PHI - Doesn't J.C. Romero still pitch for them?

LAD - The Yankees don't get into the playoffs, but Joe Torre does. Hmm.
CHC - Ok, it's fashionable to root for the Cubbies, and I rarely do anything fashionable, but I'm going with them anyways. Only because of the 100 year thing. In fact, I remember reading an SI article like three or four years ago predicting that they'd win it in '08. So I want to see if they do it. But, if they do win it all, what on earth would Cubs fans do if they can't whine about the curse.

BOS - Aren't we all tired of them yet?
LAA - I'm rooting for Torii.

EUCWS - I'm still bitter. 'Nuf said.
TB - I was going to root for them regardless of their opponent (except the Twins, but don't remind me). I'm rooting for Barty and Garza. I'm rooting for the whole "no one expected it" thing. I'm happy because their getting in prevented the Yankees from getting in.

So, that whole emotional interest thing should be easy to figure out. I really, really, really, want the Rays to win. Almost as if they were the Twins themselves. And I'd be especially satisfied if a Rays baserunner runs home and absolutely flattens A.J. on a play at the plate. Think Torii plowing over Jamie Burke, a EUCWS at the time.

Go Rays!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Broken Heart

Twins 0 - The Evil, Ugly Chicago Baseball Team 1

TEUCBT wins Central Division

It's hard to win a pennant, but it's harder losing one. ~Chuck Tanner
Ok, so I don't know if I'm more sad or mad. I mean, we never expected to get this far, right? But it just tougher to take because we were oh so close.

I asked Nick Blackburn to pitch well, and he was awesome - heroic even. And so was Mijares. And Nathan. Turns out, I needed to remind the rest of the team to hit, and run, and score and stuff. I forgot Nick doesn't get run support. For that little oversight, I'm sorry. Really, really sorry.

I suppose I could go all Mark Buehrle and say "they'll go one and done in the playoffs" (or whatever it was he said about the Twins in 2004), but that would just sound bitter right now. Even though everyone knows it's true. I mean, the Rays are pretty much (rightfully so) the darlings of baseball. They and the Cubs.

I'm looking forward to the playoffs and World Series. Go Rays!

And, I'm looking forward to watching this group in 2009. They'll just all that much better, right?

Oh, and hey, Joey won his batting title. Good for him.

Dear Nick,

This is a personal note to Mr. Nick Blackburn:

Hi! How are you feeling? Relaxed? Confident? Good.

I just want to take a moment to give you a little encouragement. Now, I realize we've been through a lot together this season: I've called you Eeyore, which, it turns out, I didn't really mean; I've offered to let you tryout to be my baseball boyfriend, which didn't turn out so well; and subsequently, I broke up with you. We've both had our ups and downs.

But I don't want you to think about any of that tonight. Instead, I want you to think of Ozzie. Yes, Ozzie. I want you to think about what he said about you and how very wrong he was. I want you to take his bullsh*t (because it was pure bullsh*t - he knew it when he said it) and use it to fuel the competitive fire in your belly. And when you see the "black out" in the stands, I want you to remember that they're doing that because they're afraid. Afraid of you. Afraid of the Twins. Afraid of the Twins Way.

So, put on your big-boy pants, man up, cowboy up, be an idiot, leave your head in your locker - whatever it takes. Remember Cuddy's shirt:
162+ No Excuses - Prove Them Wrong!

Peace,
k-bro

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Let's Go Tigers!

Twins 6 - Royals 0
Royals win series 2 -1
Indians 1 - White Sox 5
Indians wins series 2-1
Twins hold .5 game lead.

So now we wait. And watch. And cheer for another team to help out.

In that spirit:

Let's Go Tigers! [clap, clap, clap, clap, clap] Let's Go Tigers! [clap, clap, clap, clap, clap]...

A Favor?

This is a message to the college-aged Royals fans we met in Kansas City:

Hi, guys. How's it going? Hey, remember how when we asked you if you hated it when the Twins came to town and you said that you liked the Twins, it was the White Sox you hated? Remember that? Well, if that's true, would you mind terribly telling your team that it's ok to lose today? You could say that you'll still love them, and that it's for the greater good of the division. I mean, since you hate the White Sox, you really don't want them to take the division, do you? Any help you can give the Twins would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
k-bro

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Afterglow

Wow! I'm still pretty stunned about last night's game. I'm even having a hard time remembering what happened.

But it's sure great to be in first. There's still a bunch of work to do, and we still need a little help from the Indians, but I have faith.

Well, I have faith now. In about the sixth or seventh innings last night, I gave up. I must have looked absolutely forlorn when mini-bro asked me if I was ok. I said, "it's over. The season is over. This is it." He said, "aww. Don't give up. You know, like the Journey song -- Don't Stop Believing." Then he started to sing. Cute. I know he was just being silly to try to cheer me up, but he may be on to something.





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So I get to work this morning and am greeted by none other than Mr. Negative P. Jerkass, who says, "why are you getting so excited? Do you actually believe the Twins will do anything if they make the playoffs?" Aw, shut up and let me have my fun, will'ya? Pthththth.

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I just love how D-Span and Go-Go are largely responsible for the comeback and win. It's the least they could do after their little *ahem* misplay *ahem* in the outfield in the fourth. Nothing like going from goats to heroes, huh?

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When I was driving home last evening, I was listening to Dan Barreiro. He something about that if the White Sox lost the last game, Ozzie would spontaneously combust. I can totally see that happening, especially since that game was so dramatic. I didn't listen to Ozzie's post-game interview, so I can't be sure, but if he did spontaneously combust, I imagine it looks something like this.

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Dear Dick Bremer:
I ordered you a case of Ricola to arrive to the booth before tonight's game. You most likely have a very sore throat; you yelled a lot during Thursday's game. You were very excited.
Love,
k-bro

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Speechless in Minneapolis

Twins 7 - Sux 6
Twins sweep the three game series
Twins lead division by 1/2 game

No words. I don't have any words. Maybe tomorrow I'll have words, but right now, I have a sore throat and tears of joy, but no words.

I do have my cool, blinged out broom from a while ago to celebrate the sweep of all sweeps.

I love these guys. I absolutely, positively **LOVE** these guys.
p.s. I really, really hope Kevin Slowey is ok!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Trying to Relax Enough to Smile

Twins 3 - Whities 2

Whew! That was close -- too close. And if I have to check myself into the hospital later this evening because I'm suffering panic attacks, it's the Twins' fault. But don't think for a minute I am unhappy with this game.

So, because my hands are still shaking, I'll keep this short.

I have some random, and ironically not really game-related, thoughts.
  • First of all, as I've said before, I despise Mark Buehrle. He's ugly and he always says snotty things. I just thought I'd throw that out there.
  • I miss Corey Koskie. It's nice to hear from him.
  • Ok, so am I the only one who thinks that LNP got his teeth fixed -- like caps or something? It seems to me that he used to have kinda crooked teeth, but in that "thanks fans" commercial, they're perfect. Maybe I'm crazy; who knows?
  • I think Randy Ruiz and Jose Mijares are one and the same. One person playing two parts, like Hayley Mills in The Parent Trap. (Did I just show my age there? Ok, if you're under 30, change that to Lindsay Lohan.)
  • That catch that Go-Go made in the ninth was straight out of Angels in the Outfield.
  • I totally love the regular Joe Nathan much more than blow-the-save Joe Nathan. I think all 38 bigillion fans in the Dome agree.

Ok, I gotta go to bed now. All this stressing and worrying and fretting and agonizing and anguishing is tiring. I'll go and do some Joe Nathan breathing exercises.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tweet Victory

Twins 9 - White Sox 3

Today on my Twitter page, I started following Joe Cowley from the Chicago Sun Times, just to get an opposing viewpoint. Kind of interesting.

If you don't know Twitter, it's kind of like micro-blogging. You get 140 characters (that's it) to answer the question "what are you doing?" The updates are called "Tweets," and you follow other people's Tweets. It's kind of a neat way to stay connected with folks, or to just follow a popular columnist, blogger, or candidate. I Tweet pretty much everyday. So, in that spirit, I thought I'd express my thoughts about today's game in Tweets.

My tummy is all in knots. Nervous much? And it's so loud in the Dome. I love it!

Hey! How come Vazquez gets that strike call and Baker doesn't. Seems a tad unfair.

Just realized I'm missing a teleconference for work. Yeah, right. Just watch them try to keep me from watching this game.

Woooooooooo! I'm alone in the house and screaming my head off. Nice homer, Kubes!

And Delmon gets a nice hit. BTW: I hate the phrase “good piece of hitting.” Bert just said it like four times in the last 30 seconds.

Good hit, Nicky. Crap Go-Go. Oh, well, nice base running Delmon.

Ok, AJ, how many freaking pitches are you going to foul off? Just miss one! Finally!

Hey! Bernard Berrian is a Twins fan! And I didn't realize he was so good-looking. Well, hello Bernard. :-)

Nice catch Alexi! But I don't think it's really a diving catch like Dick said. More like a bend over and fall down catch.

Kubes gets an “old man triple,” which happens when the outfielder who dives for the ball is too old to make the catch.

And a double by Delmon. I like his little toe dance to keep his foot on the bag and keep from getting tagged out.

Squeeeeeeze! With a head-first slide even. But Bert honey, it's “element of surprise,” not “ultimate of surprise.”

My oh my! The third run of the inning, and there's still only one out. How crazy is the Dome now? Oh yeah, the second steal of the inning.

With two on and no out, that knotty tummy thing is back. Whew, one out, now two. Crap, now bases loaded for AJ. Yes yes! Whew!

Oh hey, new White Sox pitcher. He totally looks like a high-school jock. And Joey welcomes him to the Dome with a double.

Awww! They're replaying Gardy chewing out Alexi for not covering second in the previous half inning. I hope he isn't too tough on him.

Cool! Justin now holds the Twins record for doubles.

Tidy one-two-three innings from Scott Baker are much more calming on my tummy.

What a cute little juggle catch by Scotty. I'm glad he saw the humor in it.

So when the crowd chants “MVP,” does Justin say to himself, “yeah, that's right, they're talking about me”? Nah, he's too humble.

Oh yeah! Back to back homers, baby!

Beauty of a double-play there, Nicky. And, what? Delmon hustled to make a running catch? Wow, this game must really be inspired.

Ahem, j-bro just switched the TV to Playstation “just for a second” like 10 minutes ago. Hurry up and finish, will ya'?

Hah! A fan on the field. So so so stooopid. And so so boooring for those of us watching TV. How long do we have to look at Thome's face?

Well, if I have to watch a Griffey home run, it's not so bad when we're still leading by six after it.

Wow, that was tons of fun. This made the knotty tummy thing totally worth it.

This means it's mathematically impossible for the Sox to clinch at the Dome. Not like they're going to clinch at all.

Oh, on a non-baseball note, Wednesday is “National Punctuation Day.” Celebrate responsibly.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mmmm...Cake

Today my favorite non-baseball blog, Cake Wrecks, and baseball converged to create this hilarious entry: Why We Need More Male Cake Decorators.

Besides the obvious, it is just soooooo wrong on so many levels. First of all, speaking as a frosting lover (more so than a cake lover), that much green frosting is just gross. It looks more like Easter basket grass than baseball field grass. Imagine what everyone's lips and teeth are going to look like after eating it. I also love how there's a baby-blue colored Yankees logo behind (presumably -- it's hard to tell) home plate (it's a little hard to see, but it's there). And, as the blog author points out, the red stripe around and the doily underneath are just wrong, I tell you, wrong.

Now there are plenty of sports that I don't like or know too much about (*ahem*-NBA-*ahem*), but if I were making a cake of one of those sports, I'd be sure to look at a picture or something to make sure I got it right. In fact, if I were making a baseball field cake, I'd still look at a picture just to be sure. But I'm willing to bet that a vast majority of people, fans and non-fans alike, would be able to draw a somewhat accurate diagram of a baseball field without looking at a picture.

It's truly sad that there are folks out there who are so completely clueless about the great game of baseball. Sad, indeed. They should start a support group or something.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Two Minute Warning

Friday: Twins 1 - Rays 11
Saturday: Twins 2 - Rays 7
Sunday: Twins 4 - Rays 1

Twins split series 2-2

Ok, so I took some time off, for the most part, from the Twins this weekend. It wasn't necessarily intentional. I spent Friday evening watching j-bro play high school football (the results of that game were not good), and I spent Saturday afternoon celebrating the birthdays of some very good friends. Then, I got free tickets for the Vikings game Sunday, so I took mini-bro to that.

The Vikings game was a blast! Gus did alright, better in the second half. And the defense was awesome. All in all, it was a great time.

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Keeping with the football theme, I'd like to remind the Twins that it's the Two Minute Warning, the opponent is leading the game, and you have the ball. It's time to march down the field and score a touchdown to take the lead. It's time to man-up and play smart. Don't fumble, don't lose yards, and don't come up short. The crowd is behind you; make it worth it.

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Speaking of the rest of the season, I don't know if I'm going to watch the White Sox series. I don't know if I can handle the stress. I fear that I might take things a little too seriously. If things don't go well, I won't be responsible for my actions. I might even yell at the kids and kick the dog -- I don't even have a dog, so who know what I'll kick. None of this is good. Unfortunately, I don't have anything going on that would be sufficiently interesting enough to distract me. I suppose I could go shopping or see a movie or clean my house or something, but I don't know if any of those would work. What to do, what to do?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Celebrating the Little Things...

Twins 11 - Rays 8

Twins 1 1/2 Games Back

Well, wasn't that nice? Ok, the starting pitching kinda sucked (read: really sucked), but there were plenty of other things to smile about. Yay! With the homers, and the swinging away in a bunt situation, and the solid relief pitching, and the not giving up, and the coming from behind, and the insurance runs, and the easy save, and the showing another team what it's like to cough up a lead in the ninth, and the Sox losing, this was a good day. Woot!

There are so many super-heroes tonight:
  • Kubel's homer
  • Humber's relief pitching
  • Joey and Delmon with clutch hitting
  • Alexi's homer
  • Everett's crazy "I think I'll just bunt here - Psych!"
  • Nathanator is back to normal

I liked this game. More like it, please, but with better starting pitching.

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Check this out. My friend and colleague, Julia, drew this caricature of me. Isn't it great? I'm not really as cute as this picture (Julia is, but I'm not), but I love it.

Thanks Julia!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Blame It on the Sleeping God (a story)

Twins 9 - Indians 12 (11)

What a wild game -- down and up and back down again. It's as if the Baseball Gods were goofing around with it. Hmmm......

The Baseball Gods have a get-together on Mt. Doubleday to celebrate the last full moon of the season. The God who looks over the Yankees, Steinbrennerus, is crankier than usual. Colangelo, the God who looks over the D-Backs, approaches Steinbrennerus to chat.

Colangelo: Hey Steinbrennerus, how's it going this year? I hear the Yankees aren't going to make the playoffs. What's up with that?
Steinbrennerus: Aw, hell. It's those stupid Rays. Ever since they dropped the "Devil" from their name, they have all this...spunk. I hate spunk.
C: Why don't you mess with them and make them lose?
S: I wish I could, but Espn, the Supreme High Commander of All Sports Gods, has taken a liking to them. I need to keep him happy. He's been giving the Yankees ballpark a whole bunch of coverage on his little cable-tv project. And I'm going to ask for more coverage next season when the new park opens. So I'll just leave the Rays be. But I am feeling a bit vengeful this evening. I think I want to mess with somebody. Who else has spunk?
C: Well, I hear the Twins are surprising a lot of people by hanging in their pennant race.
S: The Twins, huh? Who watches over them?
C: Um, I think Pohladus does.
S: That old fart? Ha! Do you know he's richer than I am, but he won't spend it on his team? That just bugs me. Oh, this will be perfect. Where is he?
C: He's asleep over there. He's been there since Saturday. I guess he powered the team's bats in a double-header, but he overdid it and hasn't recovered yet. In fact, I doubt he even knows they lost two in row to rookie pitchers.

Steinbrennerus walks over to where Pohladus sleeps.

S: Hey Pohladus, you SOB! Wake up! I'm gonna mess with your team.
Pohladus: Huh? What? Wait, you can't do that. They're in a pennant race.
S: Just watch me. Who's starting tonight? Liriano? Heh heh. I give Liriano "Failure to Locate".

Just then, a thundbolt reaches down into the Progressive Field bullpen where Franciso Liriano is doing his pre-game warmups.

P: Aw, crap. I'm too old for this.
S: Ha! I give Punto "Throwing Error".
P: [sighs] Fine, I'll play your little game. I give the Twins bats "Hitting".
S: I give Justin Morneau...
P: Hey, you can't touch him. He's MVP material. It's in the rules.
C: Yeah, Steinnie, he's right, you can't touch him.
S: Fine. I give Delmon Young "Swing At Everything".
C: Dude, he already has that. It's chronic.
S: Oh, right. Ok, I give Carlos Gomez "Liner to Third for Double-Play".

Someone from off-stage calls out to Steinbrennerus to inform him the Yankees are losing again. Steinbrennerus exits to go watch over Yankee Stadium for awhile.

P: Good. Got rid of him. I give the Twins bullpen "Effectiveness".

Pohladus sits down again and begins to doze off. Steinbrennerus returns.

S: What? They took the lead? This is no good. Quickly, I give Grady Sizemore "Home Run to Tie". Ok. now I have time to think of what to do.
C: Got any ideas?
S: Yeah, you know how everyone says that Joe Nathan might be the best closer in the game?
C: Yeah. So?
S: Well, I hate that. My man Mariano Rivera is the best closer in the game. I know...I give Joe Nathan "Rusty Arm."
C: Um, I don't think you can do that. Pohladus gave the bullpen "Effectiveness".
S: So? Who's he going to tell? He's asleep over there.

To Be Continued...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Get Away Day Blues

Saturday (1) Twins 12 - O's 2
Saturday (2) Twins 12 - O's 6
Sunday Twins 3 - O's 7

Twins take series 2-1

Another opportunity to sweep a team we should sweep, and another loss. As I was marching around the house and grumbling about the game, Dick-n-Bert were talking about the upcoming Cleveland series. Which got me thinking that it seems like they lose a lot of games where they have to head out to another city after they're done (known as "Get Away" days).

So I decided I'd figure it out to see if I was right. I've got nothing else to do between loads of laundry on a rainy, crappy Sunday afternoon.

First of all, I define Get Aways as games when the team travels right after them. And, I've read/heard from the newspaper and radio/TV guys that they travel right after the game even if the following day is an off-day, so I counted those too.

Here's what I came up with:



Ouch. It's worse than I thought.

So what's up with that? Are they too busy thinking of their next series to concentrate on their current game? Are they worrying if they forgot to pack their iPods? Are they suffering a collective bout of agoraphobia? Who knows?

The good news is that there are only two Get Away days left in the regular season (well, three if you count the last day of the season, which we may have to do if they need to play a tie-breaker). The bad news is that if they should happen to make the playoffs, Get Away days happen like every other game. They really, really, really need to reverse this trend if they make the playoffs.

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And, adding to the feeling of someone sneezing in our face, it looks like the Bad Guys are going to win both their games today, putting the Good Guys 1 1/2 games back. Ick.

[Edit] I, currently, at this moment, ♥ Marcus Thames for tying the White Sox - Tigers game with a fat grand slam. It's a whole new ball game. Go Tigers!

[Edit 2] Scratch that. Dewayne Wise just hit a fat grand slam to go ahead again.

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High-Five Goes To... Carlos Zambrano for tossing a no-hitter against the Houston Astros. Oddly, he did it in Milwaukee (thanks to Ike), so it must have felt more like a home game even though the Cubs were the visiting team.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Well, What Do Ya Know...

Twins 7 - Royals 2

Nick Blackburn starts AND the batters score more than two runs? In the same game? Really? And the White Sox lose two games in one day? There must be some stars/planets aligned into a TC tonight. And I like it. I hope they stay that way for the next six weeks or so.

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I'm totally diggin' Blackie's slightly scruffy look. Just don't let it get too out of hand, honey.
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Oh, and Go-Go, you're totally off my "bad list" for tonight. I really liked that catch. And that RBI. And that triple.
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Wild mad props to the Blue Jays for beating the White Sox twice today. It's the least they could do to make up for sweeping us last week. Here's hoping they complete one more sweep.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Digging Through My Kitchen Drawer

Friday: Twins 10 - Tigers 2 (Yay!)
Saturday: Twins 4 - Tigers 6
Sunday: Twins 5 - Tigers 7
Tigers win series 2 of 3

Ok, I'm not quite ready to stick a fork in the Twins, but I am looking for the fork.



I know that they're not out of the running mathmatically, but it sure doesn't seem like they're playing like champions. We really needed to sweep the Tigers, and there's no reason that we couldn't do that at home, but that didn't happen. Add that to the fact that the Angels let the White Sox have two games, and the slipping has begun.

I know, I know, there are still a lot games left, and anything can happen. But I just don't like the trend I'm seeing lately, especially with the bullpen. This recent habit of coughing up leads must end now if we're to have any hope at all.

Where have you gone, Pat Neshek,
Our territory turns it's lonely eyes to you.
What's that you say, Mr. Anderson?
Sidearm Pat has left and gone away,Hey hey hey.
[apologies to Simon & Garfunkel]

Boy, do we miss Pat-Pat or what? Twins fans aren't used to watching the wheels fall off the bullpen game after game. And I think I can speak for all of Twins Territory when I say that we don't like it. We want the good old days when we could actually rely on the bullpen, when we knew that a lead in the seventh was as good as a win, and when being behind by a couple in the seventh wasn't a problem.

So, guys, for tomorrow's off-day, I want you to sleep in, relax, go fishing or golfing or whatever you like, watch the Vikings game (but don't take it too seriously), then come back with renewed champion attitudes that I know you have, and knock off a bunch of wins in a row. I can't find my fork in that messy drawer; I don't want to need it.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Someone Hold My Hands Down...

so I don't scratch out my eyeballs out of frustration.

Twins 0 - Jays 9
Jays sweep in 3, and the season series in 6

I blame myself for this mess. You see, I have these ratty old Twins jammies. I've learned over the years that if I don't wear those jammies on Sunday nights, the Twins have a bad week. On weeks when I failed to wear them that Sunday, the following bad things happened:
  • Corey Koskie signed with the Blue Jays (I was on a flight home from Germany)
  • All of 2005 (thinking they were getting too ratty to wear anymore, I failed to believe the their powers)
  • Francisco Liriano blew his elbow (too busy to do laundry on that Sunday)
  • Torii signed with the Angels (again with the too busy to do laundry thing)
  • This week (I failed to properly plan for the Labor Day weekend at the lake)

Who can argue with results like this? When I realized that I may have messed up this week, I tried reasoning that because the Twins had Monday off, it would be ok. Apparently I was wrong. And, because it's a weekly thing, I can't make amends until this coming Sunday night.

I don't know what to do. About three weeks ago, I thought I would be ok settling for the "well, at least they did way better than I thought they would" attitude. I was wrong.

I Want The Division Championship, Dammit!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Anybody Got a Tums?

Twins 4 - Jays 5 (11)

Scratch that; I need a Prevacid. And a Xanax. And a massage. And a shot of tequila.

*Sigh*

And could it have been any uglier? Or gut wrenching? Or heart breaking? I think not.

I have a chart of how I would like to see some trends for the rest of the season...



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I think I know the problem here. Everywhere I go on the web, I see an article about how great the Twins are. Well, that's pretty un-Minnesotan; we don't like a whole lot of back patting. Maybe if everyone starts doubting them and saying how there's no chance they'll win the division, they'll start playing better and winning. I think they play their best when they're playing as underdogs.

Of course, I can't bring myself to write anything negative, because it wouldn't be sincere. So we really need another blogger to step up and announce that they're terrible. Then maybe they'll start winning like crazy again.

Any takers?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Enough With the Sputtering of the Momentum Already

Sunday: Twins 12 - A's 4
Monday: off
Tuesday: Twins 5 - Blue Jays 7

I think it would be really cool if the Twins won two or more games in a row. I forget what that's like. Seriously, they haven't done that since the beginning of this road trip. I would really, really like to see that again.

Fortunately, the White Sox don't have a lot of momentum going either. However, how long can that last?

Part of me wants the team to shift its attitude now that September is here. It's time to get serious. These games really matter. On this day that I turned my calendar, put away my white capris, and sent my kids off to their first day of a new school year, my first impulse is to expect a new seriousness from the team.

But the more I think of it, the more I think they shouldn't change much at all. The games always mattered. The boys have done pretty well by just having fun and not doing too much. After all, that's the Twins way. So, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

So, guys (especially pitchers), try to relax, have fun, and keep doing what you've been doing. Forget it's September; pretend it's still June. If you do that, the momentum will take care of the rest. Oh, and don't be afraid of first place...it really is a pretty cool thing.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Quoting

Friday: Twins 12 - A's 2
Saturday: Twins 2 - A's 3




"You have to take the good with the bad." ~ My Mother-In-Law

But why? The good is so much more fun to take than the bad. Friday's win made me feel all happy and cozy and glad. Saturday's loss made me feel like I had just been punched in the gut.

Looking back on this road trip, however, the Twins need to finish up with more good than bad in order to maintain balance. And it's pretty annoying that I have ask for balance when I really prefer asking for mostly good.

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"A single play does not decide the outcome of an entire game." ~ My friend G.V.

That may be true -- the Twins did waste a few scoring opportunities to increase their lead, and Joe shouldn't have plunked Emil Brown -- but that E-1 pretty much came as close to defining the whole game as any single play could. It almost felt like the Baseball Gods were goofing around and made all that chaos happen for their own amusement. Too bad they can't tell the umpires, "Haha, just kidding. We didn't mean it. The Twins really won."

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"As any athlete knows, momentum is the most unstoppable force in sports. The only way to stop it is if you get in your own way, start making stupid mistakes or stop believing in yourself." ~ Rocco Mediate
The Twins' momentum on this road trip feels a lot like trying to start an old car in the dead of winter. "Come on...yes...ugh...come on, come on...there you go...nope...come on, now...you can do it...come on...no...please..." Optimism to hearbreak to optimism to heartbreak again. And so it goes.

Come on, guys, build your momentum and go with it. Please?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Missing

Twins 2 - Oakland 3


Name: Run Support
Description: Scoring enough runs so that your pitchers can relax and your team can win. Especially useful when your pitchers are performing well.
Last Seen: August 22, 2008 in Aneheim, CA

If you see, or know the whereabouts of, Run Support, please contact Nick Blackburn c/o The Minnesota Twins.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Just Shy of Embarassing

Tuesday: Twins 2 - Mariners 3
Wednesday: Twins 6 - Mariners 5

Well, at least we didn't get swept. That's something. Of course, we all expected better, but I guess we'll have to take what we can get. Oh, and we're back to one game back, so that's something too (thanks Orioles).

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How much do we love D-Span and Red Dog today? If not for that strong, accurate throw, and the block, catch, and tag, things may have been very different. And did you see their faces after that play? They were both so happy, it was adorable. However, I'm a tad disappointed that Eddie got everyone in that situation to begin with. I'll just leave it at that.

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I was so into being crabby the last couple days, I totally forgot to say "so long" to Mike Lamb. He had been pushed so far down to the end of the bench, I kept kinda forgetting about him. In fact, I kinda figured it would've been Boof or Everett let go because Lamb never occurred to me. Well, I do hope he hooks on somewhere.

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Hey, what do you think of my new computer? Well, it's not really new; it's new to me. I gave up my 10 year old laptop for a 5 year old laptop. It is a lot faster, which makes me happy. Doesn't it make my blogging look better? Too bad it can't make me a better writer.

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So the A's are next. I'm not going to make any predictions or demands. The Twins already know what I want. So guys, get to it and battle your tails off.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Buzzkill

Twins 2 - Mariners 4 (11)

Gag! I was so happy that the Twins got Eddie back. I was even happier that he pitched. I was thrilled that he pitched a tidy inning for a hold. Then...

Then Nathan gave up that double, but I was still ok. Then...

Then Punto booted that ball. Ugh! Nicky, keep you eye on the damn ball! The runner was going to third anyways, so you didn't need to be looking over at third base. You needed to field that ball and get the out!

Everyone's going to say that the bullpen blew the game. I don't buy it. The defense blew the game -- AGAIN! Their first two runs were the result of errors. If not for those, the Twins wouldn't have needed to go to Crain in the eleventh; the game would have been over with Nathan in the ninth.

And the offense didn't help much either. They were up there flailing at pitches like they were completely over matched.

Come on guys! You have to play like you actually want to win. Especially now. I didn't see any of that tonight.

And another thing: I'm getting really tired of hearing about how long this road trip is. (Well, to be fair, it's really the reporters complaining about the road trip.) If you think about it, it's only longer than a "normal" road trip by one series. So, as of today, it hasn't been a long road trip yet. Stop playing like you're exhausted; you're not.

Ok, sorry if this was a little harsh. But I'm more than a little crabby about the whole thing.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ed-die, Ed-die, Ed-die -- He's Back!

I'm writing this at work, so I have to keep it brief, but I can't contain my excitement.

Twins bring back Guardado to help bullpen. I ♥loved♥ Eddie. I missed Eddie. I am tickled pink that he's back. He always seemed like a great guy to out and have a beer with. And I always loved how he would make me really, really nervous whenever he pitched, but he always managed to get the job done.

Welcome back, Eddie.

More on my excitement later. It'll be interesting to see who gets sent down to make room.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hey, I'm Back

I've returned from my business trip to San Francisco. Fortunately, the meetings scheduled for Friday were canceled. My colleagues scattered to do their own things, which afforded me the opportunity to go to a Giants game. I had a great time, and AT&T Park is a beautiful ballpark. I was especially excited because Tim Lincecum pitched. And the Giants won 5-0.

Some things I learned about AT&T Park:
  • Tickets are very expensive. The lower level seats range from $75 to $85. I'll take a $26 upper level seat, thank you very much.
  • No one comes to the game early. I got there about an hour and half before first pitch, and I had the concourse all to myself. I pretty much had my section to myself until about 15 minutes before first pitch. It finally dawned on me why after I had been sitting there about 45 minutes. It's cold there.
  • When the fog rolls in off the bay, and the wind whips up (which I think it does every night), it gets pretty bone-chilling in there. Luckily I brought a sweatshirt, so even though I was a little chilly, I wasn't terribly uncomfortable.
  • All the staff members I talked to were very friendly and helpful. More so than I'm used to.
  • The hot chocolate and coffee vendors outnumber the beer vendors.
  • The churros vendor has a beautiful baritone voice. He should sing opera.
  • The fans adore Tim Lincecum. And he was brilliant -- 8 innings, 4 hits, 0 runs, 3 walks, 8 Ks.
  • Bengie Molina and Pablo Sandoval are so big and slow that when they reached, the Padres didn't even bother to hold them on first.


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What Did I Miss While I Was Gone?
So the Twins took care of the A's on Wednesday, so that was good. And they took the first two from the Angels to re-take the lead in the division. Too bad that they just gave it back as I write this.

I said before the Angels series that I would be satisfied with a split. However, I'm less than satisfied that the bullpen coughed up the lead in today's game. Come on!

We need to sweep the Mariners, and we need the Orioles to beat the White Sox multiple times. Let's get that division lead back, and keep it!