Sunday, February 24, 2008

Twins Fan Seeks Baseball Boyfriend -- Part I

It's been a little over a year since my previous baseball boyfriend, Brad Radke, left me for retirement. I was so devastated that I decided to take the year off from Baseball Boyfriends (BB).

But, since every good baseball fan needs a BB, I'm ready to start looking for a new one. Because this is a serious commitment, I need to do this in steps -- kind of like a compatibility profile.

First, I need to decide which qualities I'm looking for in a BB. In the past, I had a thing for pitchers, but I don't want to limit myself anymore. There are plenty of quality non-pitcher candidates that I don't want to exclude anyone.

I know what I like. Slick defense is very hot - I get totally turned on by a beautiful turn of a double play. I also love things such as speed, guts, personality, and toughness. Looks count, too. So does good works both on and off the field.

It's been said that chicks dig the long ball. Well not this chick. To me, homeruns are like going out to dinner at Perkins - they're nice, they get the job done, but they're not particularly special. I'm looking for more.

So in the next few weeks, I'll evaluate my options. I'll pay attention to the stories from spring training and find out who are good teammates, who play well, who are likable, and who make me laugh.

Wondering where they are update: Shannon Stewart returns to the Blue Jays with a minor league contract and an invite to spring training.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Wondering Where They Are: UPDATE 2

I see that Jason Tyner signed a minor-league contract with the Indians. I couldn't find any other details, but I'm assuming he'll have an invitation to spring training.

I sure hope he comes north with the team -- I would love to see him the 8 zillion times we play Cleveland.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Stuff to Do and Some Complaining to Do

Here's a couple of things to do in the next few days...

Tonight: Cue-up your Pink Floyd, put on your long-johns (and parkas, and ski caps, and choppers), and watch the total eclipse of the moon (visible in Minnesota).

Friday: FSN North Twins Classics will re-play Scott Baker's near perfect game from August 31, 2007 (hats-off to Becca for the heads-up).

Picking Bones

I'm mad at Sports Illustrated. I am subscribed to their automatic e-mail alert service, so whenever there is news about the Minnesota Twins, I get an email. The Twins are the only filter I have activated, so I should only get Twins news. But I want to scream at this service, "Just because someone is a former Twin, doesn't make everything he does Twins News!!!" It seems I get an email every time Johan picks up a ball or scratches his ass. I don't care! He's a Met now; this is Mets News. If he does something really special, fine, tell me. But otherwise, leave me alone. How am I supposed to get over him if I'm reminded of him 75 times a day? And where were these emails when he was a Twin? Seems the East-coast sports bias is alive and well.

And to top things off, I'll be finding this in my mailbox today:


Well, thank you for allowing me to vent.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

"Don't tell me about the world. Not today. It's springtime and they're knocking baseball around fields where the grass is damp and green in the morning and the kids are trying to hit the curve ball." ~Pete Hamill

Ahhh. It's been cold; it's been dark; it's been long; and now it's over. The off-season, and by association winter, ends today. Of course, winter's not really over - I can go outside and figure that out quickly. But the cold, dark nothingness of baseball-lessness is finally over.

I spent the weekend doing some baseball-related things that really brightened my mood. I took my son shopping for a new bat (didn't buy one - he's still deciding), and we watched "Everybody's Hero" (OK movie - really little kids would probably like it). And I followed the reports of spring training on the web. Getting ready for a new baseball season, whether it is the pros or youth-ball, makes me almost giddy.

Now I have a healthy respect for other sports. I watch, understand, and enjoy football, but it doesn't have my heart. I have a great time whenever I attend Wild games. Basketball - well, let's just say it's not for me. And since both my boys wrestle, I do enjoy watching that.

But I love baseball. And there are several reasons:

It's human. There are no clocks. There are no chains. There is no instant-replay (yet - and there better not ever be). Each event requires a decision by a human umpire. Ball or strike? Pitch or balk? Fair or foul? Even with a routine grounder, the ball can beat the baserunner to first by 40 feet, but he's not out until the umpire calls him out. Even when I disagree with an umpire, I wouldn't have it any other way.

It's relaxed. Another benefit of no clock is that there's no equivalent of a play clock. I believe there is some rule that states that the pitcher must throw a pitch within 12 second of becoming set, but I don't think there's one about when he has to become set. So the game takes as long as it takes, and it's done when it's done. And if you want to, you have plenty of time to write down everything that happens. Which is very cool.

It's easy. From my favorite movie: "A good friend of mine used to say, ‘This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.' Think about that for a while." ~ Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh.

It's hard. The cliché is that there is nothing harder to do in all of sports than hit a round ball with a round bat. And I believe it. But it's also got to be hard to throw a 90 mph pitch with enough precision to prevent the hitter from hitting it. And if someone does hit it, diving all over the place or crashing into walls can't be a walk in the park.

It's complicated. For starters, there are 23 ways to get to first base. And every rule seems to have at least two "excepts" or "unlesses". How cool is it that a foul ball is a strike, unless the batter has two strikes already, in which case it's just a foul ball, unless it's a foul tip to the catcher's glove, in which case it's a strikeout, except if the catcher drops it. You'd better keep up.

It's different. Most other team games have a goal that requires defending, so they're all basically the same - one team tries to take the ball/puck to the opponent's goal, and the other team tries to stop them. Ho hum. Not so with baseball. "Baseball is the only major sport that appears backwards in a mirror." ~George Carlin

What's not to love? And I am so ready for it to start.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Wondering Where They Are: UPDATE

I just saw that Big Matt LeCroy signed a minor-league contract with the A's. Good for him. Joe C wrote that Matt wasn't ready to hang it up yet, so I'm glad he found a place to play.

Even though it was sometimes painful to watch him play (especially when he was running the bases), I always had a big soft-spot for him. He just seems like a really fun guy.

Good Luck Matty.

And good luck also to Dougie with the Pirates. I miss seeing Sir Sticky.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Ok, You KNOW This Will Be Done To Death...

So I may as well be the first.

Livan, Livan loves his money
He makes a lot they say

The Twins have signed Livan Hernandez to a one-year contract for $5 million, with incentives that could total $7 million.

Hmm, I guess it's a pretty good deal, or at least not as bad as signing Ramon Ortiz and Sidney Ponson. The cliches everyone uses about him are "workhorse" and "innings eater". So that's good. A nice replacement for Carlos Silva, for what that's worth. And I haven't seen anything about there being injury issues.

I saw a report dated January 25th that said he was close to signing with the Mets. I guess they found another starting pitcher.

I remember seeing him pitch during the playoffs. I don't remember how he did; I don't remember if he won or lost; I don't remember if I liked him; all I remember is having that stupid song in my head. Seriously.

Monday, February 11, 2008

I Was Wondering Where They Are...

Becca over at Twins Sisters has a nice post saying goodbye to the players that left this off-season. That got me thinking..."what happened to them?" So I did a little research on and ESPN Free Agent Tracker.

Torii Hunter, Carlos Silva, Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett, Johan Santana -- ok, these are obvious. No more needs to be said.

Lew Ford -- Outrighted in October; signed with the Hanshin Tigers in Japan in December.

Rondell White -- Wasn't he supposed to retire? But he filed for free-agency in October. But with his injury issues, and his name on the Mitchell Report, he's likely done.

Matthew LeCroy -- Still a free agent -- at least I think so. I found a report that says that he declined outright to minors which qualifies him for free-agency, but he's not listed on the Free Agent Tracker and I can't find any other reports.

Josh Rabe -- Outrighted with Lew; same story as Big Matt.

Jason Tyner -- Non-tendered in December; still a free agent.

Which got me thinking about some other former Twins that were "between teams"...

Tony Bautista -- Still a free agent.

Jeff Cirillo -- Still a free agent.

Eddie Guardado -- Signed with Texas.

LaTroy Hawkins -- Signed with the Yankees.

Corey Koskie -- Still a free agent. I read someplace (I think it was one of the Strib writers) that he says that if he doesn't sign by mid-season, he'll retire.

Kyle Lohse -- Still a free agent. Wow. And he was supposed to be one of the top pitchers available.

Doug Mientiewicz -- Still a free ag...wait. What? He signed a minor-league contract with an invite to S.T. with the Pirates. When did that happen? Oh, just today. Huh.

Eric Milton -- Still a free agent.

Shannon Stewart -- Still a free agent.

So, that's it.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Random Stuff

  • I turned my Twins calendar to the new month today (yeah, I know the month is almost a week old, but that's kind of how I am -- a late calendar turner), and Mr. February is....

    Luis Castillo.

    I almost forgot about him -- well not quite. I do miss him, but I was happy to see that he signed an extention with the Mets.

  • Speaking of the Mets, it looks like Johan will be wearing his usual number 57 for them. I don't know why I thought he would wear a different number, but I did. I suppose he has an attachment to the number, good luck or something, but I was just hoping that he'd keep #57 his Twins number. Silly me.

    But I'll bet he'll be happy to meet up with his buddy Luis in spring training.

  • Speaking of spring training, it's only 10 days away. I'm very happy that the season is getting close. I bet a lot of the guys are already down in Florida getting ready. Good for them, because it's supposed to get super-cold again this weekend (not that any of them actually live here).

    God, I wish I was traveling to Florida.

  • Speaking of traveling to Florida, I had to chuckle at one of LaVelle's recent blog entries where he says:

    "It’s time to lay low as much as possible until Feb. 16 when the 60-hour work weeks begin in Fort Myers, Fla."

    Poor guy. He has to go in Florida. In February. To watch baseball.

    Actually, I wouldn't want the routine of being a sports beat writer. Too much traveling, days that are too long, and too much responsibility. So in a way, I'm glad it's him and not me. Then again -- Florida, February, baseball.

That's all I have for now.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Defending the Overdog

It's three hours before the Super Bowl, and I want to make an announcement.

I'm rooting for the Patriots.

It's not because I have any money on the game - I don't. It's not because I think Tom Brady is way cuter than Eli Manning - even though I do. It's not because I think the fans deserve it - because you know I don't.

It's because what they're trying to do is very rare and special. They've come so far; they've been so good. They deserve it.

It's been said many times by many people with more football knowledge than I do that if they don't win the Super Bowl, their season is a failure. To a certain extent I agree. After all, isn't that sort of the point with any competitive sport - to win the championship? And that every other team that doesn't failed? But regardless who wins today, in five or twenty years when people talk about the 2007-2008 NFL season, whom are they going to talk about - the Giants or the Patriots? I guess I just want them to seal the deal and validate it all.

What does surprise me is the number of people who are rooting for the Giants just so the Patriots don't win. What is so wrong about appreciating excellence? Yes, it's fun to root for the underdog sometimes, but when the overdog is about to something very special, it's not wrong to root for them. And seriously, I have a hard time believing any team from New York is truly an underdog. And no, I can't agree that the Patriots cheat, but that's another rant entirely.

I am old enough to barely remember the '72 Dolphins, although I was too young to appreciate it or even care about it. And football's not really my game. I'm paying attention today, and I want the Patriots to win so that I can witness "rare and special" in my lifetime.

Post-Game: Well, true to form, it seems that my support has ruined a championship for yet another team. That sucks.