Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Lies and Ironies -- A Play in Two Acts
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.
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.
I found some amusing news stories about some former and current players:
- Mariners want Silva to trim the fat - Maybe Boof should found a weight-loss-for-pitchers club and invite Carlos...and CC for that matter, too.
- Ex-Twin LeCroy to manage at Class A - I liked the one commenter's reply that he/she hopes Big Country doesn't teach the young players to eat bugs for money.
- Michael Cuddyer will be celebrity St. Nick - I can't think of a more adorable St. Nick.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
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!
- "Push the envelope"
- "Think outside the box"
- "At the end of the day"
- "Have an impact on" (when the speaker means "have an effect on")*
- "When the rubber hits the road"
- "Step up to the plate"**
- "Work smarter, not harder"
- "Paradigm shift"
- "24/7" (especially when it's not literal)
- "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
So I'll just embrace my dissociation and present both my opinions. What the heck, huh?
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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|
Congratulations Tim, and congratulations Giants fans.
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.)
Other things that made me smile:
- Gardenhire gets 2-year extension from Twins
- Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau win Silver Slugger Awards (although the e-mail I got from the Twins said they won Golden Slugger Awards...sheesh, is it too much to ask to -- I don't know -- proofread?)
Monday, November 10, 2008
- 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
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.
Hey! Congrats to Joey Mauer for his shiny new Gold Glove. It's very well deserved (unlike some others).
Sunday, November 2, 2008
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.