Thursday, January 31, 2008
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
We've all heard by now that the best pitcher in baseball (not to mention the sexiest man on the planet) has been traded and will no longer play for the Twins. This is very, very sad news. Much like sitting with a loved-one with a serious illness, we were prepared for the inevitable. But knowing it's coming doesn't make it easier to take. Let's go through the five stages of grief together:
- Denial - Well, the deal is not quite final yet. Johan still has to accept a contract extension and pass a physical (seriously?). Maybe, just maybe he'll block the trade and choose to stay with the Twins.
- Anger - Are you serious? Where are the players I've actually heard of? Where's Jacoby Ellsbury? Where's Melky Cabrera? Who the heck is Carlos Gomez anyways? Dan Barreiro pretty much covered the whole emotion on his radio program today.
- Bargaining - Many times bargaining happens before the loss. Just last week, Sid held on to hopes that the Twins would keep Johan, practically bargaining with them to not let him leave.
- Depression - Yeah, this one's pretty obvious. Howard Sinker admits that he's more sad than mad. I have to agree.
- Acceptance - The silver lining (well maybe cheap chrome lining) here is that he went to a National League team and we don't have to worry about facing him. And we know that the Twins have done a good job picking prospects before, right?
As for me, I'll be holding shivah like Izzy.
Friday, January 25, 2008
I especially liked Howard Sinker's attitude about it, that the Twins really are trying to be competitive (although, I still dare not even think about dreaming about the Twins signing that sexy pitcher -- it's too painful to think about).
What a great way to start the weekend.
Oh, a note to the guy in IT (who may be spying on me) -- Yes, I know I'm blogging at work, but I'm also loading that software that takes forever to load. Really.
Monday, January 21, 2008
I loved seeing the guys again; I had honestly forgotten about Tommy Watkins and Alexi Casilla. Johan was his normal beautiful self, stiking out guys all over the place. And Nathan made it interesting in the ninth, which was strangely satisfying. I was totally into it -- even cheering whenever Johan would notch another strikeout. My kids thought I was nuts ("Mom, you know how this game ends").
It was great to see the "no longers" one last time -- Torii, Bartlett (who was on the bench with a hammy pull), and Tyner (who came in in the eighth as a defensive replacement). But it was terribly bittersweet to watch Johan tip his hat when he came out after the eighth. Wow. I guess it would be easier if we just knew...
Thursday, January 17, 2008
For some reason, when I was driving into work yesterday, I was thinking about the movie Lost Horizon. Specifically, I was thinking about the scene where the John Geilgud's character (Guy from Shangri-La) and Peter Finch's character (American Guy) were walking and talking, and John Geilgud said something like, "Here, we do everything in moderation, including moderation."
How is that possible? If you moderate moderation, then that means you don't do it constantly, which means you sometimes do something in excess. And if you do anything in excess, you're breaking the rule of everything in moderation. I'm confused. And I'm especially confused that I was even thinking about this at all, and I'm concerned that I'm still thinking about it.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Tim Kurkjian. Is This a Great Game, or What? New York: St. Martin's Press, 2007, 258 pp., $24.95
When I received this book, I was expecting it to be full of all kinds odd statistical facts much like his pieces on Baseball Tonight. It's not like that at all. It's more like a compilation of newspaper special-feature type articles.
Kurkjian loves baseball very much. At least that's what he says several times throughout the book. I don't doubt it for a minute, but sometimes it feels like he tries too hard to sell it. And, it really seems like he sucks up to some of the people he's writing about - particularly A-Rod.
As I was reading, I could definitely tell that he has a newspaper background. His chapters are well organized, aptly cited, and fully researched. The stories he tells are very interesting, but not particularly fun. It felt like his writing came more from his Chicago Manual of Style and less from his heart. In fact, he doesn't get truly opinionated until the later chapters, which I enjoyed much more than the others.
Overall, I liked the book. It kept me interested, and he really does know what he's talking about. One of the reviews on the back of the jacket uses the word hilarious. I wouldn't go that far, but it is enjoyable. I recommend it - I give it a solid B+.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
When I was reading the Hall of Fame results, one line caught my attention.
Chuck Knoblauch, Minnesota's second baseman in the 1990s, received one vote in his first year of eligibility and will be dropped from future ballots.
My first thought was, "What? Who in the world voted for him?" And I noticed that others felt the same way too. But then I thought about it a little more and wondered why I was so quick to get all hateful on him.
Now, I'm not big into statistical analysis - you could show me a whole bunch of numbers and I couldn't tell if they represented a good player or a winning strategy for Deal or No Deal - but I'm pretty sure Knobby wasn't a bad player. Chances are, however, he simply wasn't good enough to get in. It's hard to get in for a reason. But there are plenty of guys who are not quite good enough on the ballot, and I don't get riled up if they get votes.
So what's the cause of his demise (or, despise, I guess) in public opinion? Some of it probably has to do with his decline once he was traded to the Yankees. But I think a lot of it has to do with his remarkably bad attitude.
At least, that's what did it for me.
Sunday, January 6, 2008
I looked at him, and after a pause, I said, "Um, I actually have a t-shirt that says 'Cuddy is my boyfriend.'" He smiled and nodded.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
So, I got my new book 23 Ways to Get to First Base, the ESPN Uncyclopedia today. It's a fun book -- it has tons of random sports trivia and facts. A good reference for bar bets and showing off.
A few days ago, I took a stab at what I thought the 23 ways to first would be. I guess I did ok, however, my interpretation of "fielder's choice" was a little too broad. Even though number 2 is "fielder's choice", I would have scored numbers 3, 4, and 5 as fielder's choice too. I would also call number 15 an error.
I should have known to score walk and intentional walk separately. And I forgot about all the interference ones. Really, the only ones I truly didn't know were numbers 14, 21 and 22 (I can't imagine what an illegal pitch could be). And, honestly, number 23 is really lame.
So, here it is from page 83:
- Fielder's choice (example: runner on second base, ball hit to shortstop, shortstop throws to third base for tag)
- Forceout at another base
- Preceeding runner put out allows bater to reach first base (example: in previous scenario, shortstop tags runner)
- Sacrifice bunt fails to advance runner (fielder's choice on a bunt)
- Hit by pitch
- Intentional walk
- Dropped third strike
- Catcher interference (catcher impedes batter)
- Fair ball hits runner
- Fair ball hits umpire
- Sacrifice fly dropped
- Obstruction of runner (example: second baseman obstructs baserunner on way to second on batted ball in play)
- Fielder interference (example: pitcher obstructs batter on his way to first base)
- Spectator interference (of the ball)
- Fan obstruction (of batter)
- Runner out on appeal (example: runner on first base, ball hit to right field, runner misses second on the way to third base and is called out on appeal; batter at first base is credited with an at-bat but not a hit)
- Failure to deliver pitch within 20 seconds on three-ball count
- Four illegal pitches
- Game suspended with runner on first; if he's traded prior to the makeup game, another player may take his place.
It goes on to say: "For the record, just three -- hit, walk and hit by pitch -- officially extend a streak of reaching safely in consecutive games."
By the way, I'm currently reading Tim Kurkjian's book, "Is This a Great Game or What?" I'll let you know what I think when I'm done.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
I probably see that quote a hundred times each off-season, and I can always relate. And now that the holiday-hubub is over, the off-season blues hit even harder. Sure, the Twins try to help out by offering the Winter Caravan and TwinsFest, and those are fine events, but they are merely teases. Kind of like small appetizers when you haven't eaten all week. But, they do nourish a baseball hunger a little.
So, for now, I'm staring out the window. But it's nice to know that these are coming up soon, which means the start of spring training will soon follow, and then the start of the season.
As for me, I probably won't attend any of the Winter Caravan tours since they take place during the week (alas, I have a real job). I'm not sure about TwinsFest -- I'd like to go (alas, I have a family who might have other ideas for that weekend). But I'm thrilled to know they'll be here soon.