Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Wonderful World of Podcasts

I have a new guilty pleasure. I listen to podcasts. I listen at work. I listen at home. And I don't even own an iPod.

Podcasts are great. I like music, but I wouldn't say that I'm a music lover. And I can't listen to music all day. But I have to listen to something during work, so I discovered the great world of podcasts.

It works out great. I started an iTunes account and I download the podcasts to my hard drive. I plug my headphones right into my computer, and listen to my heart's content -- no iPod necessary. There are eleventy-billion titles available on iTunes, from sports, to education, to comedy, to ... whatever. Many popular radio programs re-air via podcast so you can listen whenever you want. And, of course, many are recorded only for downloading.

And the best part...they're free. (At least I haven't run across any that cost money.)

Since there are so many to choose from, I thought I'd share my podcast playlist.

Sports:
General Sports:

GoGameFace.com presents Game On
Hosted by Erica Boeke and Melissa Greenhawt

Their tagline is "the podcast by women who love sports, but not stats." Which is exactly why it's my favorite podcast. Erica and Melissa are knowledgeable, smart, enthusiastic, and fun. In addition to lots of great sports talk, they also discuss pop-culture. They have great guests (their most recent episode featured Masi Oka from "Heroes") and they conduct awesome interviews. It's a ton of fun.

Baseball:

ESPN: Baseball Today
Hosted by Eric Karabell and Peter Pascarelli

The good thing about stuff from ESPN is that you know it's great stuff. Updated daily during the season and weekly during the off-season, it provides top-notch updates and insight.

Twins Baseball:

Blog Talk Radio: Jack Steal
Hosted by Fanatic Jack Steal and Topper Anton

A nice podcast by blog writers of Fanatic Jack Talks Twins and Curve For a Strike. I enjoy this podcast because it's just a couple of great Twins fans talking baseball. Jack is quite outspoken and really wants this team to win (lately, he's been pretty frustrated by Bill Smith's lack of activity). His passion is awesome. Topper (who is a friend of this blog) lends a voice of calmness and reason. They complement each other nicely.

Blog Talk Radio: SethSpeaks
Hosted by Seth Stohs

Presented by the estimable author of sethspeaks.net, Seth gives great insight and analysis. He often focuses on minor leaguers and prospects, which is pretty interesting.

Other Stuff:
General Knowledge

CBC: Spark
Hosted by Nora Young

This is a podcast version of the Canadian Broadcast Company's Spark radio program. It's about technology and culture. I like it because it's very interesting but not overly nerdy or complicated.

Stuff You Should Know by howstuffworks.com
Hosted by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant

I love this podcast. It's pretty much two really smart, yet kind of goofy, guys who thoroughly research some random topic and then talk about it. They've covered everything from totem poles to pirates to nuclear proliferation. Very cool, and very interesting.

NPR: Fresh Air
Hosted by Terry Gross

I've been listening to Fresh Air for years. And I'm thrilled that I can download it and listen whenever it's convenient. It has great interviews that cover arts, issues, and culture.

NPR: Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me
Hosted by Peter Sagal and Carl Kasell

I've got to be careful when I listen to this podcast, because I always laugh out loud and I don't want to disturb my co-workers. This quiz show about news and current events is hilarious.

The MannersCast
Hoted by Trent, Colin, and Derek

This fun podcast is about everyday manners for everyday people. It's pretty much three guys chatting about manners issues sent in by listeners. Their advice is great, but never snooty or self-rightous.

Quick and Dirty Tips

The Quick and Dirty Tips network offers a bunch of short (about 6 minutes), informative podcasts from a variety of experts. I have a few favorites, but they're all great.
  • Grammar Girl - Quick and dirty tips for better writing
  • Modern Manners Guy - Quick and dirty tips for a more polite life (hosted by the same Trent as The MannersCast)
  • Nutrition Diva - Quick and dirty tips for eating well and feeling fabulous
  • House Call Doctor - Quick and dirty tips for taking charge of your health

So that's about it. Sometimes I'll listen to others, but don't subscribe. But, hey, if you have some recommendations, let me know. I've got room for more (there are a lot of hours in the work week).

~~~

I sincerely hope you have a fantastic New Year. I really appreciate all the readers who stop by this blog. Let's all hope that there will be some exciting Twins news very soon.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Book Review: Rollie's Follies

Rollie Fingers and Yellowstone Ritter. Rollie's Follies. Cincinnati, OH: Clerisy Press, 2009, 325 pp., $14.95 (cover price).

This is my kind of book. I mean, with authors named Rollie and Yellowstone writing about baseball, how could I go wrong? But it's also my kind of reading. I don't have a lot of time for reading (I'm also easily distracted), so I prefer to read in small bits.

Rollie's Follies is a collection of baseball stories, history, tidbits, facts, lists, player profiles, timelines, and general good stuff. It's divided into small, easy-to-digest chapters, perfect for light reading while traveling (or, as I was, sitting at wrestling tournaments) or right before bed.

The content is fun and interesting, and the authors' enthusiasm for the game is clear throughout. Every story has a goofy, gee-I-never-knew-that spin, and it's just plain fun to read. But it's also clear they did their research -- there are plenty of stats and facts to make all the articles legit.

I did notice that much of the focus was about teams and players that Fingers was associated with. But that was no big deal -- it just made me want more about other teams and players.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. In fact, now that I'm done with it, my son has insisted that I give it to him to read. It's a great book for all baseball fans. I give it an A

And, a sequel is due out spring of 2010; I can hardly wait.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Don't Be Alarmed. It's Only a Test.

Hi,

I'm doing some blog maintenance - blogtenance, if you will - and I need to post something as a test.

Unfortunately, I don't really have anything to say. Yeah, yeah, I know, that's never stopped me before. Har har.

But since you were so kind to stop by, I may as well give you a trivia question. This is from the book I'm reading, Rollies Follies. I'll have a book review as soon as I'm done reading it.

Ok, I'm going to try something but I'm not sure it's going to work. For the answer, highlight the area between the stars. Here goes.

Q: Albert Pujols was the 402nd pick in the 1999 June draft. Who are some players drafted before him? (There are 10 listed below.)

A: (highlight to see the answer)*Josh Hamilton, Josh Beckett, Barry Zito, Ben Sheets, Brian Roberts, Carl Crawford, John Lackey, Justin Morneau, Hank Blalock, J.J. Putz*

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Greetings


Hi.

I just thought I'd check in with a recap of the developments of the last week.

Hello...again

First a Twin, then a free-agent, then a Twin again, Carl Pavano accepted the Twins' offer of arbitration. So he'll be around in 2010.

That's fine. He did well while he was with the Twins at the end of this season. And there's no reason to believe that he can't do more of the same. And I am quite impressed with his attitude -- he really seems to like Minnesota and he thinks he can help the team win. Cool.

However, I've got this feeling I just can't shake. It's not quite panic; it's not even really apprehension. I guess it's good old fashioned doubt. But I'm not really sure why. Maybe I'm worried about his history of injury. Maybe it struck me just how much Yankees fans really hate him (even he admits how much he hurt the team during his four years there). I don't know. But, whatever it is, for the sake of the team, I hope I'm wrong.

Good Bye

In order to make room for Pavano, the Twins had to remove someone from the 40-man roster tout de suite. And the unfortunate victim of all this hurried paperwork was Boof Bonser. He was designated for assignment to put Pavano on the roster, but then the Twins were able to complete a trade with the Red Sox for him. That's a bit surprising, because had Boston just waited until Saturday, they could've signed him as a free agent without giving up anybody.

I'll miss Boof. He always seemed like a fun guy. Plus, he's a charter member of my Cool Name Roster, and Minnesota's only representative. I hope he has a great stint with Boston.

Hello

So, in return for our beloved Boof, we get a Chris Provence. Ok. Don't expect to see him in the majors anytime soon. Apparently he has only one pitch -- a sinker. You can't really succeed in the majors with only a sinker. In fact, only one guy, Mariano Rivera, succeeds with basically one pitch. But that pitch is a cut-fastball that he can locate anywhere he wants. Plus, he does have other pitches in his file if he needs them. I'm pretty sure Rivera is greater than Provence. Which could explain why Boston wasn't too heartbroken to give him up for Boof.

Stay Awhile

The Twins tendered contracts to all their arbitration-eligible players (Crain, Guerrier, Liriano, Neshek, Young, Hardy, Harris, and then Pavano). This means they'll all be coming back next year. And, they'll all get raises. There were rumors that one or two would be non-tendered, which would've made them free agents, but that didn't happen.

So, that's that.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Good Bye Old Friend



As expected, the Minnesota Twins will cut ties with Mike Redmond. And I'm none too happy about it. I get it -- the kid catchers are ready to come up and take his spot. The old gives way to the young; it's the way of baseball (actually, it's more of a "circle of life" thing). But that doesn't mean I have to like it. If it were up to me, Red would be a Twin the rest of his life. I mean, he doesn't have to actually play, he just has to wear the uniform.

Just look at the way he goes about his business. When he's on the bench, he's always the first one on the top of the dugout stairs cheering on his mates. When he's behind the plate, he's the toughest guy on the field. In fact, it's not quite right if he doesn't get dinged up, hit, battered, beat, mangled, and/or mauled. How could you not love a guy who broke out Rally Floss, coined "Smell 'em," and claimed that an MRI on his shoulder revealed a Bud Light in there. Plus, his naked-walk is legendary. And, not too long ago, he was regarded as the best back-up catcher in baseball.

I've never met him, other than a brief photo-op at Twins Fest. But I just know he's a great guy. Everything I've seen him do and everything I've read about him convinces me that he's probably the best team-mate on the team. But as much as I love the stories about him, I really admire his story. He was oh so close to never making it to AAA, let alone the bigs. But he's not the type to give up, and the Twins, and many Twins fans, are grateful for his tenacity. This is a great story about him.

So, so long my friend. I sincerely hope that you get to do what ever it is you want to do. Actually, I know that I don't have to hope; I know that you will.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What I Really Want For Christmas

When my family members ask me what I want for Christmas, I'm always at a loss for what to say. I mean, I don't really need anything, and most things I want, I can just buy for myself anyway. (Yes, Mom, I know, that really drives you nuts.)

But this year, there is something I want. But it's not really for me, but it would make me very happy. In fact, it would make all Twins fans happy. I hope we all get it.


It's a shiny new contract for Joe Mauer. (Click to enlarge.)

~~~~~~~~~~

Hey, today is this blog's second anniversary. Wow.

I'd like to thank everyone who keeps stopping by and reads this silliness. I'm having fun with it; I hope you are too.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Movie Review: The Blind Side

A quick note from k-bro: Hi! I know The Blind Side is a football movie, and this is supposed to be a baseball blog. But I'm in the mood to write something, and since have nothing else to talk about, and I just went to this movie (which is an incredibly rare treat for me -- you have no idea), I thought, what the heck.


My older son spent most of his high school games playing left tackle -- the guy who protects the quarterback's blind side. So, any movie that explains that offensive linemen need some love is of interest to me. And I was happy that Hollywood finally released a movie that I knew my whole family would enjoy.

The Blind Side (rated PG-13), directed by John Lee Hancock, is based on the true story of now Baltimore Ravens rookie offensive lineman Michael Oher. It stars Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Tuohy, a well-to-do white woman who takes in the young, homeless Oher (Quinton Aaron). Together with her husband (Tim McGraw), Leigh Anne guides Oher to learn football, get decent grades in school, and earn a scholarship.

Bullock is outstanding. It would be so easy to portray a rich, strong woman who speaks her mind as bitchy and spoiled, but her depiction is terrific. She's a smart, powerful, yet very human, woman who is easy to respect and love.

Aaron's performance was hollow. The acting seemed forced and contrived. There is some much potential for this character that goes unexplored. I also would have liked to see more of how hard he must have worked to succeed, not just how hard everyone else worked to get him there.

Kathy Bates as the tutor and Jae Head as S.J. Tuohy, the little brother, are adorable and fun.

The film is a bit too pat and doesn't dig into Michael's story enough. I left wanting to know so much more about his struggles and his transformation. However, there were plenty of humorous moments sprinkled in that I enjoyed. As a feel-good movie that you can bring older kids to (there is a scene of violence of drug use), I recommend you see it. Just don't expect a lot of depth. I give it a B.

I do want to read the book now. I've heard many good things about it.

Additional fun: be sure to listen to this awesome interview of Leigh Anne Tuohy from GoGameFace.com. She really is a great inspiration.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Horde of Hardware


Photo from StarTribune.com

An Army of Awards
An Aurora of Accolades
A Dray of Decorations
An Eyrar of Endowments
A Pack of Presentations
A Troop of Trophies

Yup, those are all for our Joe Mauer.

So far this off-season, he's received his third batting title, his second Gold Glove, and his first MVP.

I can't even get my head wrapped around how amazing all this is. It really is a ton of fun to have such a special player on my favorite team.

Now...let's hope the off-season fun continues for him with the Twins offering him a dazzle of dollars and a yoke of years in a satisfactory contract extension.

Oh, and if you haven't seen his press conference, check it out. I love how smiley he was -- he really was happy. I also love how he said he was speechless, and then rambled on and on. And, of course, Sid made him artfully dance around the "are you a Twin for the future" question.

And, by the way, this post would not be possible without thesaurus.com and the "collective noun" entry of Wikipedia.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Get to Know Me!

It's well documented that I enjoy anything that's all about me. So, in that spirit, I recommend you stop by Curve for a Strike. Topper is running an interesting series called "Twins Bloggers, 'Get to Know 'Em'," and I'm this week's victi ... er ... subject.

So, if you've ever wanted to know how I feel about inter-league play or who'd I'd like to hang out in a bar with, be sure to check it out.

Actually, I recommend that you read the whole series. It's really interesting to find out a little about the people behind the blogs. And he features a nice mix of "stats and analysis" and "just for fun" bloggers.

Monday, November 16, 2009

New Duds

Because it's only fitting that they get new duds for the new digs, the Twins unveiled their new uniform collection for next season.

The Star Tribune has a great photo gallery. And Haas took some great photos at the ceremony.


The Logo: I love it. It's sleeker than the old one, but still classic. I like the addition of "Baseball Club."

new logo

old logo


The Primary Home Uniforms: They're very similar to the previous primary home unis, with the Twins in the new stylized font. I'm happy.

The Secondary Home Uniforms: Cream-colored and very much like the uniforms of 1961. Nice.

The Road Uniforms: I don't like them. They remind me of Detroit's road uniforms. Detroit's road uniforms are just fine -- for the Tigers.

The Home Cap: Unchanged. Good. I love the TC.

The Road Cap: The main road cap will be just like the home one, with the TC, with a red bill. However, they did not completely get rid of the ones with the "M" logo. I guess Joe Mauer was fond of the "M" caps. And, hey, keeping it just for him is good practice for the "whatever Joey wants, Joey gets" negotiating philosophy.

I do know one thing: seeing Denard and Scotty all dressed and ready to play made me a little excited for the season to start.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sunday Sundries

A few thoughts about the goings on over the last week.

Twins traded Go-Go to the Brewers for Hardy? Wow! Did. Not. See. That. Coming.
So the biggest news of the past week was also the biggest surprise. First of all, I'm not used to trades happening before the first week of Post-Baseball is up. And, I figured if any of the Twins' extra outfielders were to be traded, it would've been Delmon.

On paper, I think it's a fair trade -- not really a blockbuster, but ok. Talent for talent; they needed an outfielder, we needed an infielder. I do think Hardy will be a decent player for the Twins, despite the fact he had a crappy season in 2009. And I'm glad that Span is now guaranteed to be the everyday center fielder. I'm also hopeful that Young will improve, knowing that he's the everyday left fielder.

It's a bummer that this ensures that Orlando Cabrera won't be with the Twins any longer. He was great while he was here. And I'll always be grateful to him for his Game 163 heroics. MNTwinsZealot has a nice tribute to him.

But I'm the most sad about losing Go-Go's spark, personality, fun, and fire. He would drive me nuts with his crazy swinging at balls on the ground, but I'd always forgive him because he was so luvable. Erin and Tricia have nice tributes. Godspeed, Speedy Go-Go.

And welcome J.J. Hardy.

k-bro and her mom go shopping - the salesperson win edition
On Friday, Mom and I stopped in the Minnetonka Twins Pro Shop to spend a little of my birthday money (thanks Auntie!) and we had a really nice time. The gal working there was so happy to see us -- probably because it was dead and she likely hadn't had any customers for a while. I do feel bad that I was the one who broke the Gomez news to her, because she seemed really bummed about it. But, otherwise, we had such a nice time talking baseball with her. She was super helpful in locating the items we were interested in. So Mom and I bought matching shirts. I know that sounds lame, but they're really sweet shirts, so we're cute.

But, as we were talking about buying tickets for next season, our new friend gave the info I needed: single-game tickets will go on sale at 5 pm on the Friday of Twins Fest (I can't remember if it's the 22nd or 29th of January -- sorry a quick glance at my Target Field calendar tells me it's January 29th). They'll be available by phone, on line, at the Metrodome (Twins Fest will still be at the Dome), and at the Pro Shops. She did make sure to tell me that it's subject to change and that I should keep checking the Twins website for info. So, I'm thinking about hanging out at the Pro Shop on that day.

k-bro and her mom go shopping - the sale fail edition
Mom and I decided to head to the Twins moving sale Saturday morning. We figured if we showed up at about 10:30, all the people who camped out would be in and we wouldn't have to wait.

Yeah. Riiiiight.

The line was long when we first got there; we were happy that the weather was nice. After waiting for about 20 minutes, I decided to see just how long the line was. So I walked. And I walked. And I walked all the way around the Dome. Yeah, the end of the line was about 20 feet away from the start of the line. I walked so long, Mom got worried. I asked the folks at the start of the line how long they'd been there. An hour and a half.

Forget that. We figured by the time we got in, all the good stuff would be gone anyway. And the irony that the piped in announcement said "a short wait may be required" was not lost on us.

So we went to the mall.

Two more years of Cuddy
So, in the time-suck that was the moving sale line, I learned via Twitter that the Twins exercized their 2011 option on Michael Cuddyer. Everyone standing immediately around me learned it too, since I kind of shouted it.

Yay!

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

The Newest Twins Commercial
Clever as ever.

Click here.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My Take On Instant Replay In Baseball - Revisited

In May of 2008, I wrote a post about my opposition to instant replay in baseball. Later that season, MLB instituted instant replay in fair-pole and over-the-wall questions on homeruns. The awful umpiring this past post-season has generated quite a lot of discussion about expanding it. And as tempting is that is, I'm still against it.
  • I don't think it'll help. I can't imagine a more convenient way to make the umpires even more complacent. Why bother getting a call right the first time when you can just cue up the film in a minute? The focus really needs to be placed on getting it right the first time, not covering up errors.
  • It could change the game in play. Umpires signal everything and the course of the play continues depending on the signal they give. If they go back and change the call later, the play is dead and the potential for something unexpected is gone.
  • Where does this end? Ok, so MLB caves into pressure and allows replays of fair/foul balls down the line. Then what? Safe/out? Ball/strike? If we let it go too far, we may as well all just buy PlayStation games and play each other. We should enjoy the human factor that makes baseball different than other sports.
  • People are already complaining about the time. So many people I know claim they would be baseball fans but it's just so slow. (I always think 'yeah right' when they say that.) There are so many unnecessary delays as it is: delayed starting times and starts of half innings due to tv time, batters stepping out of the box 89 million times a game, "time" called every 13.2 seconds, pitchers stepping off, pick-off attempts, visits to the mound, blah, blah, blah. Why would we want to add more delays?
  • It would be technologically expensive. Even though most games are televised, they're not nationally televised, so they simply don't have the camera coverage to pull it off during the regular season. Yeah, it's kind of a lame reason, but I still think it counts.
With all that being said, I do agree that teams, players, and fans deserved better than what they got this post-season. These umpires were awful and they really need to be more accountable for their horrible performances. However, I don't think that un-doing mistakes is the answer; avoiding them to begin with is. I don't really have any great ideas to improve the situation. After all, they're real guys just trying to do their jobs. I don't know if fining or reprimanding them would help. Maybe they could implement some sort of monthly performance reviews and only allow the best umpires to even think about the playoffs. I don't know -- they probably do have something like that.

I do realize that I'm one of about four people on the planet who feels this way. I'm interested to find out what other fans think. Let me know your opinion.

Am I Really This Predictable?

Before the World Series started, I had this very conversation on two separate occasions with two friends who don't know each other.

FRIEND: So who do you want to win the World Series?
ME: I don't care; I'm not going to watch it.
FRIEND: What?!
ME: Nope. I don't like either the Phillies or the Yankees. The Phillies won last year, and I don't like it when teams win back-to-back, and I just plain hate the Yankees. So I'm not watching.
FRIEND: Come on, it's baseball. You love baseball.
ME: I need a break. I'm not interested.
FRIEND: Oh, you'll watch. So you want the Phillies to win, right?
ME: I don't care! I'm not going to watch.
FRIEND (smirking): Yeah, you will; you'll watch.

Yeah, so I watched at least part of every game. Do I have smart friends or what?

However, I can't bring myself to say congratulations to Yankee fans. Before I joined Twitter, I didn't even know there was such a thing as a good Yankess fan -- every one I had ever met before was either a) not really a baseball fan and only liked the Yankees because they somehow thought it was cool, or b) a real ass. Now I know that there are three good ones. So, congratulations to them (you know who you are).

So, like I do every First Post-Baseball Day, I'll try to figure out how to get a life for the next five months. *sigh*

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Filing




There are a bunch of random things I'm thinking about. Like I did with all the papers and notes that were piled up on my desk today, I'll organize them into nice neat files.

File under: "Whoop-De-Freakin'-Doo"
On Wednesday, the Yankees and Phillies face each other for Game 1 of the World Series. I can't remember the last time I was this disinterested in the Fall Classic. Really. I can't think of a single reason why I'd want either team to win. Honestly, I don't think I'll watch any of it; I've got a lot of shows backed up in my DVR, so I'm going to go through those instead. It's kind of a bummer, because it's just getting in the way of any off-season signings or trades, which would be far more interesting.

File under: "2009 World Series Probably Sucks For Mets and Indians Fans"
While I'm indifferent to the World Series, Mets fans must be just hating the idea of it. After all, the Phillies are their division enemies, and the Yankees are their cross-town enemies. Yikes. And Game 1 starters are scheduled to be Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia, both erstwhile Indians aces.

File under: "Headscratcher I"
Mark McGwire is joining the St. Louis Cardinals as their hitting coach. Really? Ok, so questions about his "clean-ness" aside, is this really a good idea? I mean, doesn't he have the reputation of being a recluse and a bit of an ass? He wouldn't even make an appearance at the All-Star Game. And it sounds like Tony LaRussa wouldn't re-up his managerial contract unless he could have McGwire. It just seems like an odd deal; really odd. I like the Cardinals, so I hope it works out for them. Good luck to the St. Louis beat writers trying to get quotes out of him.

File under: "Headscratcher II"
The Cleveland Indians hired Manny Acta as their new manager. Yeah, the same Manny Acta who was fired by the Washington Nationals for what I can only guess is "failure to win often enough." So, the Indians want a manager with a .385 winning percentage over the last 2 1/2 years ... why? And, according to this article, he really wanted to go to Houston, but Cleveland offered more years. So he even has the luxury of being choosy. Hmm.

File under: "Fun Stuff"
Like last year, the Twins website has some lovely stencils for pumpkin carving. As you can guess, your results may vary. I used one last year; I'll use one again this year.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Because I Said So

Last week, one couldn't swing a baseball bat around the Internet without smacking someone who had an opinion regarding keeping or trading Joe Nathan.

It all started with this article by Patrick Reusse. And then a whole bunch of really smart bloggers offered their rebuttals and ..., um, whatever the antonym of rebuttals is. I figured I might as well join the fray, even though the fray has calmed down a little.

First of all, it's important to remember that Reusse is, and always has been, a Grump. I'm pretty certain that he is a charter member of the Grump Arcade, which is just like Dave & Buster's only moodier -- you earn your prize tickets by losing at video games or publishing grumpiness-inducing newspaper columns. I'm sure he's got enough prize tickets to get a cheap t-shirt by now.

Shortly after his column, the really smart bloggers chimed in with their analyses. These folks did their homework, crunched the numbers, thought things through, and inspected the facts. Yeah...I'm not going to do that.

Put simply, the Twins should keep Joe Nathan for one very important reason:

I'm fond of him and would be really pissed off if he were traded.

Indeed, it's all about me. This is my blog; of course it's all about me. This is the only place on the planet where I can get away with saying that.

But I do have a couple other reasons too.
  • He's very good. Yes, he had 5 blown saves; one of them really, really heartbreaking; but he also had 47 good ones. Only Brian Fuentes had more converted saves (48) -- but he also had more blown ones (7). And he's not the only closer who blew a save in the playoffs. In fact, Mariano Rivera is the only one who hasn't. Chalk that up to really good hitting.
  • I'm not a fan of the trade-a-guy-the-minute-he-becomes-top-notch model. It never seems to work out for a team when they trade away an elite player for prospects. Remember Johan? Yeah...as much as I like Go-Go, he ain't no Johan. And repeatedly making moves like this makes your team into the Pirates or Indians.
  • If not Joe, then who? I believe it's necessary to have an excellent closer, and I believe that it takes a unique pitcher to be one. You can't just plug any old body into that position. I suppose the next best option is Mijares, but he's young and has shown an inability to control his emotions. I'm not comfortable with him in pressure situations. Maybe Neshek could do it, but I'd want to give him another year to recover from his surgery before putting him in close-and-late situations.
  • I like him. Twins fans have taken a fancy to his on-mound routine. And he's a terrific leader for this band of young pitchers. But his popularity reaches beyond the diamond. He's a great interview, does player appearances, and is down right adorable. See?

    (I took this picture in 2004. Notice the goatee isn't quite as gray as it is now?)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Found on My Bulletin Board

I recently purchased a new Twins/Target Field calendar through eBay. I know, I know, I hate the people who buy cheap seat tickets only to get the stadium giveaway and then skip the game and hurry to their computer to list it on eBay too. But I really wanted the calendar, and I couldn't make it to that game.

I wanted to hang it up right away, because the old one, even though it's cool, is the Metrodome Memories calendar (which I got from a friend who actually went to the game and stayed for the whole game, but didn't want the calendar) and I want to move on from remembering the Dome.

So, anyhoo, because the new one is wider than the old one, I had to rearrange my bulletin board. And in amongst pictures of my kids, six Dilbert comics, a notecard with unicode shortcuts, a Post-It note with RGB codes, my notary license, a document routing checklist, my dentist appointment reminder card, and a Jimmy Johns menu was a little note I wrote last spring (I have now idea how I forgot it was there).

Right before the season started, I was listening to one of the shows on MLB on XM radio, and they were making their projections based on some Vegas line for total wins. I wasn't really interested in their predictions, but I did write down the over/under and my predictions for the AL Central. Here's how it wound up:




O/Uk-broActualResult
CWS78 1/2O79win
CLE85 1/2U65win
DET81 1/2U86fail
KC75 1/2O65fail
MIN83 1/2O87win

So, it's probably a good thing that I'm not a betting woman. Actually, I know it's a good thing I'm not a betting woman; I have so many other things to spend money on. Like shoes. Or books.

Anyway, the one remarkable thing is who Vegas thought would win the division. Yup. That would be the tied-for-last-place Cleveland Indians. Wow. I bet they lost a dollar or two on that line. I thought it was interesting.

~~~~~~

I'm feeling snarky again, so it's time for another episode of:

When Baseball and Bad Writing Collide.

Found on Monday on my favorite MLB rumor site and grammar/spelling/writing error zone -- FOXSports.com's Ben Maller's Rumors.



I'm super glad that our Joe visits sick kids in the hospital. I'm even more glad that he doesn't want a bunch of publicity for it. But, check out that headline.

The first time I read it, I couldn't even figure out what the hell it meant. I know everyone makes mistakes, but this is supposed to be a professional website; a little proofreading might be nice. There's so many things wrong with it, I'm not sure I can name them all.
  • Why is "Hospitals" capitalized? In this case, it's a general term, not a proper noun, so it shouldn't be.
  • Speaking of "Hospitals," why is it pluralized. The story talks about him going to one hospital. Even though it's possible he's done this before, in this case, it should be a singular "hospital."
  • "Without" is one word. Because it is two, I read "out" as a modifier for "new" and I thought he went with some "out new" thing.
  • It's a "news" release, not "new" release.
  • It could be argued that "Twins" should take a possessive apostrophe, as, technically, Joe Mauer belongs to the Twins, but this site consistently does not use one when they write about a team and its player. In my opinion, they should.
(The story itself is from the Pioneer Press, but the headline is written by some poor FOXSports webmonkey.)

Ok, sorry about the lengthy grammar lesson. I can't help it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

66 Ways to Awesome!

If you remember, back at the beginning of September, the Twins were in a losing funk, and it drove me crazy. It also drove me to proclaim, in an effort to make it fun to watch this team, that for every Twins win, I would donate 2 food items to my local food shelf. For good measure, I also decided to donate 1 item for every Tigers loss.

I figured this would be kind of fun -- I was going to donate to a food drive anyway, so this just answered how much. And I was right; once I got going, I did have fun. It capped off the joy I had watching this team have the remarkable finish they had. It really is a great way to celebrate my favorite team's success.

The month started off to a slow start. In fact, at one point, I had to add some food for White Sox losses too, because they had pushed the Twins into third place. Then, the Twins started winning, the Tigers started losing, and we needed the Sox to beat the Tigers, so I stopped adding in that column.

If you're keeping score at home, it breaks down like this:

Twins wins = 21 x 2 = 42
Tigers losses = 16
White Sox losses = 8 (from 9/12 to 9/24)

42 + 16 + 8 = 66

Wow! This is waaaay more than I expected! But then, I never expected them to win the Division Championship. And I love it.

And here's what 66 items of food looks like:



Actually, it's 70 items. In a fit of optimism, I over-purchased. No matter, we'll just call it a Division Champion bonus.

So, it's all bagged up now, ready to go to the Hanover (MN) area Food Shelf of St. Paul's Lutheran Church.

And hubby is thrilled that all that food will be leaving our dining room soon.

I'd like to thank the following folks for joining me in donating, mentioning this drive on their blogs, and encouraging their readers to donate:

I hope everyone had as much fun as I did.

If you participated, and you want to tell your story, please put it in the comments. Or if you want to send a picture, email me at the address on the left.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Buzzkilled By a Buzzsaw

Wow. What a dramatic turn in mood from the last time I posted. From the highest high to the lowest low in less than a week.

So it's over. I don't think I'm the only one who is grateful that it went longer than expected. But that extra bump in grit and determination and all that just makes it all that more painful now. Yes, they get to hang a new Division Champion banner at the new stadium. Painfully, that's all they get.

But now is not the time to be angry. Sure, it would be easy to take my frustrations out on Nick Punto, Joe Nathan, Delmon Young, Phil Cuzzi, Ron Gardenhire, Chip Caray, or the dumbass who ran out on to the field. But it won't change anything, and it's really not necessary. Well, maybe it is necessary to bitch about Chip Caray -- he's awful. But really, a whole bunch of negativity just makes thing worse. And I refuse to read or hear any of it.

Instead, I need to remember the good parts of the season, enjoy the rest of the playoffs, and look forward to spring training and next season.

I nearly gave up on this team at least a dozen times the last six weeks. I am so happy that they gave me unexpected bonus baseball. And because they'll hang that new banner, I'll get a new pin for my hat. A pin I didn't expect to buy.

As for the rest of the playoffs, I'm torn. The Cardinals are my favorite NL team, and they're out. I have good twitter/blogging friends who represent the Yankees, Phillies, and Rockies. I have no opinion whatsoever about the LA teams. I find I'm rooting against teams (Yankees) than for any of them. But I'll watch because I love the game.

Just as soon as my broken heart heals.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A-Rod Spoke to Me

Ok, I'm about to make a short story long here. Bear with me, but I need a lot of words to describe why A-Rod spoke to me and what he said.

I occasionally experience pseudo-auditory hallucinations. Now before you raise your eyebrow and navigate away to the next blog on your reader because you think I'm delusional, let me 'splain.

Pseudo-auditory hallucinations have nothing to do with mental illness or even hearing loss (although it is commonly reported in people who have hearing loss); it's just a little bit of extra activity in the part of the brain that processes sound. I've had it all my life and I can always tell it's not real (it's "loud" enough that if it were real, I would feel it in my ears -- imagine how your ears feel when you're in the Dome when it's rocking -- and I don't feel anything). It happens just as I'm about to drift off to sleep, and it's usually just a noise like a bang, pop, whistle, squeal, etc. (all the noises in the Dr. Seuss book Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?) It's fairly common and totally harmless (and it doesn't mean that I'm crazy, remember that please) -- the only problem is that it interrupts my falling into sleep for a few moments.

So, anyhoo...Like I said, I usually only "hear" noises, very rarely voices. And when I do "hear" voices, it's usually just a quick shout. But last night, I "heard" A-Rod. The experience seemed like I had headphones on, and he was on a radio talk show or something.

I'm not a fan of A-Rod, but I have heard enough of his interviews to know his voice when I hear it. And I "heard" it Thursday night.

He said "... I'm glad you brought that up. I'm curious..."

That's it.

Hmm. I wonder what that means. I hope it means that he's confused about why the Yankees lost and the Twins won the ALDS.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

So THIS Is What Magic Feels Like


Image from domeplus.com

  • I'm so happy.
  • I am totally speechless.
  • My thoughts are flying through my brain at 387 miles per hour.
  • Everything I can think of is cliche.
  • I've been pulling my hair since the 8th inning. My scalp hurts.
  • My hands are shaking.
  • I'm exhausted.
  • I love this team.
  • They made history by being the only team ever to come from a 4-game deficit with 3 to go and go on to win the Division.
  • I love the Dome.
  • Alexi Casilla and Carlos Gomez are heroes. Seriously.
  • Wow.
  • Crazy.
  • Oh, and Joe Mauer wins another batting title.

The Twins are YOUR American League Central Division Champions

Monday, October 5, 2009

Keep Playing Until Somebody Wins

One of the many things I love about baseball is that there are no tie games*. And, as the Twins are fully aware, there are no tie season records either. So, thanks to some Metrodome Magic that doesn't want to fade quietly and a little help from the White Sox, the Twins are set to play the second game 163 in as many years.

And if this is news to you, I want to know what type of rock it is that you're living under.

Recap:

Friday: Twins 10 - Royals 7
Saturday: Twins 5 - Royals 4
Sunday: Twins 13 - Royals 4

So, what was most certainly an impossible mountain at the beginning of September has become a beautiful jewel sitting on the table on the other side of one more game. It's there for the taking; it belongs to whomever wants it more.


*No tie games, as long as they aren't All Star Games that go into the eleventybillionth inning.
~~~

I went to the game on Sunday; I bought the tickets the day they went on sale last spring. I expected tear and happy nostalgia, and I wasn't disappointed.

The game was a blast. I'm usually a pitchers'-duel kinda gal, but I gotta admit that watching Kubel and Delmon both smacking two homers each, and Cuddy crushing another was a hoot.

And the post-game ceremony was touching and well-done -- even if it was a bit awkward because there'll be at least one more (technically) regular-season game. It was great to see all those former players again and recalling their contributions to the team. And it was especially touching whenever Kirby Puckett's name was mentioned.

I didn't take a lot of pictures because we were pretty high in the second level and I don't have the greatest camera, but here they are:




~~~

Update on the food drive:

I'm still planning to donate items for as long as the Twins are still winning. So remember guys, I want to donate food.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Man in Black

Well, the Twins playoff hopes aren't quite dead. But they really need a Miracle Max.

Recap:
Tuesday#1: Twins 3 - Tigers 2
Tuesday#2: Twins 5 - Tigers 6
Wednesday: Twins 2 - Tigers 7
Thursday: Twins 8 - Tigers 3



Miracle Max: Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there's usually only one thing you can do.
Inigo Montoya: What's that?
Miracle Max: Go through his clothes and look for loose change.

~~The Princess Bride, 1987
Let's say that the Twins are the Man in Black, the playoffs are the True Love, and the White Sox are Miracle Max. The Man in Black and Miracle Max need to work together so that the Man in Black can storm the Castle (the Tigers) and get to the True Love. There was a lot of effort, but the plan worked in the movie. Let's hope it works in baseball too.

So, let me 'splain...No, it's too much. Let me sum up. Season to end in a little less than four days, and all we have to do is break in, beat the Royals, steal the title, make our escape...after the White Sox beat the Tigers.

(Hat tip to my Twitter friend @ShawninBing for reminding me of this quote. Read his blog here.)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Please Allow Me a Little Self-Promotion

Remember that Metrodome memories story I wrote for Minnesota Public radio? Well, they must've liked it because they asked me to do a short interview for their Morning Edition program.

A friendly intern came to my work, and after short time of technical difficulties, she recorded my answer to "what's your favorite Metrodome moment?"

Let me tell you, there's a reason I'm not in broadcasting. I was pretty nervous; I talked too fast and too loud. And I'm pretty sure I said the word "awesome" too many times. But it was still kind of fun. After she edits it all together (we wound up having to do it in three pieces), it should be only about 60 seconds.

They're creating a bunch of these fan stories, and they'll jam them into their regular programming all Friday morning. Therefore, it's hard to know when it'll air -- sometime between 6 and 9 am on Friday.

So if you listen to Morning Edition on MPR, keep an ear peeled for my little segment. I'll be the one who sounds like a mixture a Frances McDormand from Fargo and Fran Drescher from The Nanny. (Actually, I used my real name, Kirsten Brown, so listen for that.)

If I happen to find it on their website, I'll let you know.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Henry Ford Advice

So, it was a pretty good weekend for the Twins. Of course, it could've been better if they hadn't psyched themselves into losing to Zack Greinke. But, thanks to Ozzie and his Sox winning two in their series with Detroit, the Twins were still able to gain a little ground on the Tigers.

Recap:
Friday: Twins 9 - Royals 4
Saturday: Twins 11 - Royals 6
Sunday: Twins 1 - Royals 4

But now it's time to get really serious. This series will make or break the entire season.

So guys, please take some great advice from your friend Henry Ford.


Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right.
Go get 'em!

Friday, September 25, 2009

There is a Time


I was going to write this last night, but the season premier of Grey's Anatomy was on, and after six months of waiting, I finally got to find out if there was going to be a funeral and whose it was. (If you think I'm going to tell you, you're wrong. If you need to know and you didn't record it, I suggest you find it online. I am not going to be responsible for spoiling it for someone who did record it and hasn't watched it yet. So there.) I didn't know that it was a two-hour special, and by the time it was done, it was late and I had a headache from the crying, I was in no shape to write about baseball. (Yes. I cry at Grey's all the time. That's the measure I use for determining whether it was a good episode. Last night's had a lot of real tears.) So...anywhooo...

Recap:
Monday: Twins 7 - White Sox 0
Tuesday: Twins 8 - White Sox 6
Wednesday: Twins 8 - White Sox 6

See all that bold lettering? That means the Twins swept the White Sox. Whoo!

Although, to be honest, it really looked like many of the Sox players -- not all of them, but many -- were just going through the motions and not really trying. That's too bad, especially since they were at home in front of their fans. I don't like the White Sox, I like seeing them lose as much as the next Twins fan, but it really isn't right for them to stop trying.

And that concerns me. They're facing Detroit, and the Twins could really use the help of handing the Tigers a few losses. I know that the White Sox don't really care about what the Twins need them to do. But I certainly think they should care about winning for their fans. C'mon guys! Give those Tigers a lesson in not quitting! Win for your fans! Win for Kenny! Win for Ozzie! Win for yourselves!

(Was that too over-the-top?)

What concerns me more about a team that's technically still in the race, but quit, is the team that's not in it, but won't quit. Why are the Royals always so stinking good in September? And this isn't a new development either. Remember earlier in the month when they sent the Tigers into a nice losing streak to get the Twins into striking distance? Remember last year, when they single-handedly messed up the whole division play-off scheme by beating the White Sox when we needed them to and them by beating the Twins when we didn't need them to? Remember in 2006, when they swept the Tigers to help give the Twins the Division Championship? It seems that the Royal were created just to be spoilers.

And now the Twins have to play them for six out the last ten games. Greeeaaaat. Oh, and add to that the fact that the Twins get to see Zack "No-Longer-Afraid-To-Be-Awesome" Greinke not once, but twice, over those six games. So the Twins have a tough row to hoe ahead of them; it would be extremely foolish to underestimate them. C'mon Twins! Win for your fans! Win for Billy! Win for Gardy! Win for yourselves!

(You know, just to be consistent.)

And Royals -- maybe you can give some lessons about spoiling to the Indians.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My Favorite Metrodome Memory

So, word has it that the Twins are no longer going to be playing in the Metrodome after this season. I gotta admit, I'm going to miss the old, ugly Bubble. In fact, I think I'm probably one of about four people in Twins Territory who actually likes the place. Sort of.

There are a million things to hate about it: the roof is ugly, the seats are hard, the concourses are too small, the restrooms are nasty, the lower level doesn't have hand rails, the rows are too long, etc. Heck, even the cup holders are wrong (who thought it was a good idea to install tilted cup holders?).

Even though it's a dump, it's where my team plays, so I love it. Granted, I would go watch the Twins if they the only place they played was on an aircraft carrier asea in the Devil's Triangle...if I could get tickets...and airfare...and a really good life insurance policy. But more than it being the the only place I can see my boys in their home uniforms, there are some wonderful things about it -- the memories.

I mentioned yesterday that MPR is collecting fans' favorite memories. Here is the piece I wrote.
My Favorite Metrodome Memory

My tradition every year is to go to the final home series of the season. In 2006, I was able to go to the Sunday, October 1st game, the last game of the regular season.

By that time, the Twins had already clinched at least a wildcard spot, and it was assumed by many that they would finish out the regular season then head to New York for the playoffs. The Twins were hosting the White Sox, while the Royals were visiting Detroit. A Twins loss or a Tigers win would give Detroit the Division Championship.

Adding another layer of interest was the tight batting-title race between Joe Mauer and Derek Jeter of the Yankees. Our Joe was leading, but only by a few hundredths of a point.

The game itself started kind of slowly. The White Sox took an early lead in the first. But then Silva settled down. In the fourth, the Twins finally put three on the board and another one in the fifth.

Meanwhile, everyone in the crowd was keeping an eye on the Royals-Tigers score on the out-of-town scoreboard. By the sixth inning, the crowd reacted more to KC scoring in their game than to anything going on in the Twins game. It was funny when a Twins batter fouled off a pitch, the crowd roared because the KC-DET score updated at that moment.

My husband kept checking the web on his phone to find out how Jeter's day at the plate was going. By Joe's final plate appearance, Jeter's day was already done -- Joe had won the batting title with a .347 average! Seeing him take a bow and kiss his bat was an amazing moment.

Once the Twins beat the White Sox 5-1, the Metrodome staff tuned the jumbotrons to the Royals-Tigers game, which had gone into extra innings. The crowd was clapping and chanting "Let's go Royals, let's go Royals, let's go Royals" as if they were playing in front of us. After a bit, the Twins players emerged from the dugout onto the playing field to chant and cheer along with the crowd.

When the Royals had finally beaten the Tigers 10-8, the crowd erupted into joyful pandemonium. The Twins' win and the Tigers' loss meant that the Twins were the Central Division Champions!

I was high-fiving and hugging people I had never met, and will probably never see again. From my seat in the upper deck, I could see the players jumping and running and slapping hands of fans hanging over the barriers. Torii Hunter and Gardy found microphones and spoke to the fans, thanking everyone for their support and expressing their spontaneous glee of the moment. I sat in my seat not wanting to ever leave; what a magical day!
I also submitted a picture of the scorecard I kept that day.


Heh. Notice all the scribbling in the Sox side of the 8th? Either I started the inning with the wrong batter, or I forgot to flip it over as the Twins were batting. I hate it when I do that.

Here is the request from MPR for your favorite memory:

MPR News: What’s your Metrodome Memory?

After 28 years, the Twins are moving on from the Metrodome to greener pastures made of real grass. In commemoration of their last season at the Dome, MPR News is collecting memories of baseball at the Dome to feature on our Morning Edition program. We want to hear your funniest, strangest or simply most memorable moments at the Dome – whether on the field or in the stands. Share your story with us here: http://tinyurl.com/mprdome. Please contact Molly Bloom at mbloom [at] mpr [dot] org with any questions. We look forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

MPR News: What’s your Metrodome Memory?

Hey everyone, Minnesota Public Radio is collecting stories of fans' favorite memories of the Metrodome to commemorate the Twins' final season there. While I mull over the memory I want to share, I'll give you their invitation to share yours. They're collecting the stories to possibly use on their Morning Edition program.

Here's the request from MPR:

MPR News: What’s your Metrodome Memory?

After 28 years, the Twins are moving on from the Metrodome to greener pastures made of real grass. In commemoration of their last season at the Dome, MPR News is collecting memories of baseball at the Dome to feature on our Morning Edition program. We want to hear your funniest, strangest or simply most memorable moments at the Dome – whether on the field or in the stands. Share your story with us here: http://tinyurl.com/mprdome. Please contact Molly Bloom at mbloom [at] mpr [dot] org with any questions. We look forward to hearing from you
When I figure out what I'm going to write, I'll post it here too.

If you want, you can share your favorite memories here in the comments section too. I love reading other fans' stories.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Well, At Least I Have Pictures

Yup. So this weekend went better for the Twins than I expected. Taking two from the Tigers and trimming their lead in the division to 3 games is pretty darn cool.

Recap:
Friday: Twins 3 - Tigers 0
Saturday: Twins 6 - Tigers 3
Sunday: Twins 2 - Tigers 6

In fact, those two wins were pretty much the only sports highlights of my weekend.

But as the Twins' luck would have it, I went to the game on Sunday. I scored (actually hubby scored on my behalf) some really sweet seats and I went with my mom (hi Mom!). We had a great time.

We got there really early. When we arrived, we saw Ron Mahay play catch with his kids. Joe Nathan was also playing catch with some of the Pohlad grandkids. We thought it was the cutest thing ever.

The game itself was pretty good. But Scotty didn't pitch all that well, and Nate Robertson did. And that's that. Oh, and D-Span earned himself a Golden Sombrero. Really, I saw it for myself, up-close and personal.

I did take some pictures. I don't have the greatest camera in the world, but they're not bad.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Quick Notes


I gotta make this quick. Like the evil magician guy from Frosty the Snowman says, I'm "busy, busy, busy." (He also says, "think nasty, think nasty, think nasty," but I haven't had opportunity or need to say that lately.) I've got two pans of bars to bake, some work to do, Bones to watch. Oh, and as I write this, there are about 15 high-school football players in my house, so I expect I'll have some picking up to do.

But enough about me -- back to the Twins. Nice sweep of the Indians! See how much fun winning is? Keep it up guys! Think winning, think winning, think winning.

Recap:
Monday: Twins 6 - Indians 3
Tuesday: Twins 5 - Indians 4
Wednesday: Twins 7 - Indians 3

Also, I'd like to give a shout out to the Kansas City Royals for handing two losses to the Detroit Tigers. Thanks guys -- stay good until we have to face you!

~~~

Another snarky episode of When Baseball and Poor Proofreading Collide: (from the FOXSports Rumor page)



This looks like a classic case of spell-check gotcha. Or maybe it's a straight-up typo (the I and O keys are right next to each other after all). No matter; this is the very reason that folks putting out a national website might want to take a minute to look things over before clicking "Publish".

But, that's not why I thought this was funny. When I saw "White Six," I figured it had to be a name of a band or something. A quick Google search didn't find one.

What it did find was a band named Shitting Glitter (which my inner 12-year old boy finds absolutely hilarious) and their song "The Incomparable White Six".

So if Jake Peavy wants to debut on American Idol or something singing that song, I say "Good Luck!" If, however, he's really debuting for the White Sox on Saturday, I've gotta say "Go Royals!"

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Good Weekend for Football

The Twins sure made it easy for me to get excited over football this weekend. It's a good thing they won on Sunday to save it from being totally painful for my baseball-loving heart.

Recap:
Friday: Twins 5 - A's 12
Saturday: Twins 2 - A's 4
Sunday: Twins 8 - A's 0

So football was the theme of the weekend. On Friday, I sat on some bleachers, getting chewed by mosquitoes, watching j-bro play and win his varsity game (and being very grateful that it only sprinkled a little). The periodic text messages regarding the Twins was the only downer for the evening.

On Saturday, the Twins played an early game so folks could enjoy the Gophers inaugural TCF Bank Stadium (which I like very much, by the way) game later in the day. I had the Twins game on the TV, but I wasn't really watching it because I was busy scrubbing my kitchen floor, vacuuming, and other cleaning. I probably would have watched more if the Twins had made it more interesting. It's too bad too, because I found out that they showed my friend on TV. Watching the Gopher game later was fun.

Sunday was the annual Vikings season opener party at above-mentioned friend's house. Everyone is required to wear purple and gold to attend. So I wore this:



Normally I'm a traditionalist, and this goes against everything I believe about wearing your team's colors (if you're going to wear their logo, it had better be in the right colors -- by the way, pink is never appropriate for an MLB team, except maybe for the mothers' day cancer research thing). But, for this party, I thought it was kind of funny. Everyone at that party knows I'm a big Twins fan, and they usually give me a ton of crap about it -- all in good fun, of course.

Anyway, the Vikings game was fun, and the text updates about the Twins game were fun too.

Also, my first ever fantasy football team did pretty well. And as long as my guy playing Monday doesn't get a ton of negative points, I'll win. So, that's fun too.

Add to that my hubby buying Madden '10 for my kids (no I don't play it, but I'll have to listen to non-stop for the next several weeks), it's a lot of football going on.

Don't worry Twins. Just because I'm not completely happy with you right now doesn't mean I don't still love you. But if you continue to drop series, I'll be more apt to watch football when given the opportunity.

~~~

I'm feeling kind of snarky. Here are some recent occurrences of When Baseball and Bad Grammar and Poor Proofreading Collide.

This is an email I received encouraging me to vote for Joe Mauer for the Roberto Clemente award:


It says, "As a Twins fan, it's a chance you won't want to miss." When you use a modifying statement at the beginning of a sentence, you have to put the thing it modifies right next to it. Always. So in this case, it is the Twins fan. I know a lot of crazy Twins fans, but I can honestly say that none of them are technically inanimate objects.

It should be written, "As a Twins fan, you won't want to miss this chance."

This one was on my Google homepage MLB scoreboard app:



I had heard that the Seattle - Texas game was delayed. Are they really intending to play it at 2:33 AM? Wow. I guess they probably won't take batting practice before the game. (Actually, as I'm writing this, about 8:30 PM, it's the bottom of the 2nd.)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Unpredictable, Eh?

I figured that the Twins would split the series with the Blue Jays, because that's how it seems to go with the stupid 4-game series. But game-by-game, my predictions were all wrong.

Recap:
Monday: Twins 6 - Blue Jays 3
Tuesday: Twins 3 - Blue Jays 6
Wednesday: Twins 4 - Blue Jays 1
Thursday: Twins 3 - Blue Jays 3

After Sunday's flat, lifeless performance on Sunday, the Twins were destined to do the same on Monday -- or so I thought. They actually played well and seemed to have fun.

Tuesday, Duensing took the mound. I've been so impressed with him, so I figured more of the same from him. And he didn't disappoint. Too bad the bullpen blew it.

Next up was Pavano vs. Halladay. Now, I'm totally willing to give Pavano every benefit of the doubt, but he's no Roy Halladay. However, Roy Halladay is Roy Halladay and he'd never lost to the Twins. But Pavano and the Twins' bats prevailed.

Thursday's day game featured Scott Baker, who's been great since the all-star break. Another W for sure -- or not. Scotty pitched ok, but the bats were lifeless again. Maybe everyone was looking forward to getting out of there as soon as possible because they knew it would take forever to get through customs.

~~~

Let me share some recent blog posts, from a couple of Sarahs, that I enjoyed:

  • Sarah of Oh, It's THOSE Girls lists a bunch of reasons why we should go to Friday's game against the A's. I love the idea of laughing at them for wearing white shoes after Labor Day.
  • Sarah-bug of la Beisbolista (a Cardinals blog) tells us how no one team has the best fans, they all do.
~~~

A great big thank you to all my blogging and Twitter friends who mentioned my food drive idea and encouraged their readers to pledge as well.

I really think it would be great if we all get to donate a bunch of food. Go Twins!

Oh, and I think it would be great if fans of other teams would pledge for wins by their teams too.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Doing Something Good

I have made a decision. I've decided that I like Twins' wins better than Twins' losses. Ok, that's not a recent decision, but I was reminded of this while unclinching my teeth as the Twins let yet another game slip away.

Now, I've heard that baseball players are charitable guys, and I'm aware that our boys are no different. So, with that in mind, I've decided to implement a plan to give the guys a little more incentive.

Drum roll please....

For every Twins win during the month of September, I will donate two items to a local food shelf. And not lame generic mac & cheese or cheap-o ramen noodles either -- good, nutritious food that I would eat. (Actually, for the record, I love mac & cheese and ramen noodles, but I wouldn't want to depend on them for survival. I did that in college -- which was a very long time ago.)

And since the Detroit Tigers are leading the division standings, it's kind of fun to see them lose. I want to encourage the teams playing them to keep them from clinching the division as long as possible. So, for every Tigers' loss, I will donate one food item. This part of the offer is good until if and when the Twins are eliminated from the division race.

Won't this be fun? Twins' wins = 2 donated items; Tigers' losses = 1 donated item. I invite you to join me in this plan.

So far this month:
Twins' wins: 2
Tigers' losses: 0
Total: 4 items

Ahem. We can do better than that, right? Let's go, Twins!

[Edit: A big thank you to Howard at Strib's A Fan's View Blog for the nice shout-out. Also, thanks to Betsy from For the Love of the Game for her shout-out. And thanks to everyone who is planning on participating on some level. Hey, if you want, keep track of how much food, money, or whatever you collect, and let me know (or even take a picture and send it to me if you want), I'll mention your efforts in a blog post after month end.]

~~~

Weekend Recap:
Friday: Twins 2 - Indians 5
Saturday: Twins 4 - Indians 1
Sunday: Twins 1 - Indians 3

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Appreciation

After such a heart-breaking, soul-crushing loss on Wednesday, it's tough to remember the things to be grateful for. But what better way to cheer myself up, so I'm going to try.

Recap:
Monday: Twins 4 - White Sox 1
Tuesday: Twins 4 - White Sox 3
Wednesday: Twins 2 - White Sox 4

I'm still grateful that...:
  • Well, first off, look at the recap. We won two of three. That's good.
  • The starting pitching was awesome and a lot of fun to watch. I was especially impressed with the rookies, Manship and Duensing. They looked like real big-leaguers.
  • We don't have to face Jim Thome any more. I never really liked seeing him in the batter's box. That's supposed to be praise -- it's the best I can do for a division rival. I wish him the best of luck in the National League.
  • Joe Nathan is a pro. He knows he's been struggling lately, but I'm confident that he'll right the ship (at least I think I'm confident -- I hope he'll be all right).
  • Jose Morales hit the walk-off single on Tuesday. That was a ton of fun. And he was so adorable when everyone was hog-piling on him. His smile was so big.
  • I was in meetings at work for a big hunk of Wednesday afternoon. I missed the ninth. And I'm willing to bet that my co-workers are grateful as well -- there was no actual screaming this way.
  • The Evil Ugly White Sox got to finish their Metrodome tenure on a good note (for them). I'm guessing this kept them from burning the place down out of frustration. This is good because the Twins still need it for the rest of the month. I understand there's a football team that uses it too.
Ok, well that last one was a bit of a stretch.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Going Gray



This turned out to be a pretty fun series, but, I tell ya', it gave me a few more gray hairs than I'd like. I'm old enough that I get those on my own, thankyouverymuch.




Recap:
Friday: Twins 3 - Rangers 2
Saturday: Twins 0 - Rangers 3
Sunday: Twins 5 - Ranger 3

Joe Nathan, who happens to have a few gray hairs himself in his goatee, gave fans of all ages all over Twins Territory more than their fair share of gray hairs both Friday and Sunday. He got the save both times, of course, but, whew, it was hard to watch. And that's exactly what was fun about it. On Sunday, he had the bases loaded (thanks in part to his own error) and nobody out, and he got the next three guys to earn the save. Waaaaay too interesting, Joe. But it also proves what a great closer he really is.

Now, as good as he looks with his "touch of gray," I really need him to stop doing that for awhile. None of us need any more.

I have an idea. The Twins should have leads big enough to not be save situations (10 runs should do it) for the next several games. That way, Nathan can rest up, and the rest of us can calm down.

As for me, I got myself a new hair cut and color. No more grays for me. Let's hope Nathan doesn't make them come back for me.

~~~

Speaking of gray beards, the team's resident graybeard gave me my biggest laugh of the weekend. Mike Redmond, who could fairly be called "the slowest man in baseball" (he is old and a catcher after all), got a triple on Sunday. Yes -- a triple! The ball ran the gap and the outfielders were in so much shock that they kind of fumbled the ball a little, all the while Red was huffing and puffing around the bases, refrigerator on his back and all, and belly-flopped into third safely.

The cameras panned over to the Twins dugout where everyone was laughing his ass off. I thought Gardy was going to tip backwards right out of his folding chair because he was laughing so hard. I'm pretty sure that Red was the most surprised of all. Good times.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Don't Let That Revolving Door Hit You in the Ass

So apparently, one of two things happened today: either Bill Smith read my blog and actually hung up a help wanted ad at the dome, or he finally cleaned off his desk and found the Post-It Note that said "get pitching help" that he wrote to himself weeks ago

Whatever happened, it's time to welcome some new pitchers to the Twins; they picked up Ron Mahay from the Royals and Jon Rauch from the D-backs. Welcome to Minnesota guys. Good luck, have fun, do well.

But this also means that the revolving door in the Twins pitching rotation just continues to spin and spin. I can't keep up.

So I did a little research, looking back at the Twins press releases over the season. I learned that of the 23 men who are or were Twins pitchers (including Mahay and Rauch), only three have been with the team the whole time without a stint on the DL or a visit to AAA. Your superstars are Blackburn, Nathan, and Guerrier.

Here's my list:

Liriano - opening day, dl 8/18
Slowey - opening day, dl 7/4
Blackburn - opening day
Perkins - opening day, dl 5/18, reinstated 6/16 (Crain), dl 8/12
Dickey - opening day, optioned 8/7
Nathan - opening day
Crain - opening day, dl 4/20, reinstated 5/3 (Morales), optioned 6/16, recalled 7/22 (Mulvey)
Guerrier - opening day
Ayala - opening day, released 6/22
Humber - opening day, optioned 4/17, recalled 8/18 (Liriano), optioned 8/28
Breslow - opening day, claimed 5/20
Duensing - opening day, optioned 4/15, recalled 7/2 (Henn)
Baker - dl, reinstated 4/15 (Duensing)
Mijares - called up 4/20 (Crain)
Morillo - acquired 4/17 (Humber), outrighted 5/1
Henn - called up 5/18 (Perkins), optioned 7/2
Swarzak - called up 5/20 (Breslow), optioned 6/13, recalled 7/4 (Slowey), optioned 8/21
Keppel - called up 6/22 (Ayala)
Mulvey - called up 7/15 (Morales), optioned 7/22
Pavano - acquired 8/7 (Dickey)
Manship - called up 8/12 (Perkins)
Gabino - called up 8/21 (Swarzak), optioned 8/28
Rauch - acquired 8/28 (Humber)
Mahay - acquired 8/29 (Gabino)

(The names in parenthesis are the guys whose roster spots were filled by the listed guy.)

Confusing, ain't it?

I'm a visual thinker, so I decided to create a picture chart to figure it out (blue arrows mean to the Twins, red means away from the Twins):




Nope, that's not any better, is it?

And there are rumors that more might be coming. Great.

Also, for the record, I've typed the word "Mahay" about 15 times today, and I haven't spelled it right on the first try yet. He just might have to be known as Mayhay in this blog.

[Edit: If you read this before about noon Saturday, you saw a grave error on my part; I forgot Scott Baker (I guess I should say that you didn't see it). In my defense, he started the season on the DL and the Twins never posted a press release announcing his activation. That's where I got my information, so I kind of forgot about him. Sorry, Scotty. I should have used the transaction list instead of the press releases. It's fixed now. The picture is fixed too.]

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Call For Arms

I wouldn't be surprised to see this hanging up at the dome in time for Friday's game:

Help Wanted
Pitcher
Energetic and athletic people needed to perform pitching duties for a Major League Baseball club. The ideal candidate would have a pulse, have strong leadership skills, and be able to throw a baseball 60'6". Ability to throw accurately preferred, but not required. Perks include travel to exciting locations, appearances on television, and working with Joe Mauer. Both full-time and part-time positions available. Salary based on qualifications. Contact r.anderson@pleasehelpthetwinspitchingstaff.com. Deadline to apply is 8/31/09.

Do you think they'd get any qualified applicants? The key word here being qualified.

~~~

Recap:
Monday: Twins 2 - Orioles 1
Tuesday: Twins 7 - Orioles 6
Wednesday: Twins 1 - Orioles 5

Yes, it's great that the Twins won the series. But the wins were so hard. And they're the Orioles.

~~~

Who's getting excited about the new stadium. Be sure to visit Betsy's blog for some groovy pictures of it.

~~~

I've mentioned before that I love the Cake Wrecks blog. This post is baseball related. And hilarious.