Monday, March 30, 2009

It's Oh So Close...

As I write this, I am watching House (it just looks like a good episode). At this time next week, I'll be DVRing House and watching Twins Baseball!...REAL, LIVE, IT-COUNTS, TWINS BASEBALL. I can't wait.

I'm very excited -- so excited that my expectations are all jumbled and disjointed and random. As usual, when I get this way, I do bullet points.

  • I'm nervous that we're not really considered the underdogs this year. It always seems our boys are at their best when no one expects anything. So everyone needs to do me a favor -- please expect the Twins to come in, oh I don't know, third place this year. Thanks.
  • I'm not really worried about Joey's sore bum. He'll be ship-shape pretty soon.
  • I am a little worried that while Red's filling in for Joey, he'll get the crap beat out of him, because he always gets the crap beat out of him when he's behind the plate.
  • Every time Kevin Slowey pitched this spring, he made me like him a little more because he's so awesome. And then today, he was a guest on the Twins radio broadcast, and he was so talkative and interesting and gracious and knowledgeable, it just made my day listening to him. I don't know, but I think he elevated his status to my second-favorite starting pitcher. A very close second-favorite at that.
  • I am curious to see how the White Sox fans will greet Joe Crede on that first road trip to Chicago. I hope they don't boo him -- I never understood that.
  • I am really looking forward to watching the Twins games in HD. My family got a nice HD TV last December. I've watched football and golf in HD, and I think it's awesome. But I haven't watched baseball in HD yet. I bet that'll be even awesome-er.
  • I'm still pulling for R.A. Dickey to break camp with the team because I'm still intrigued by the idea of having a knuckleballer on the team -- especially in the Dome.
  • Speaking of the Dome, I have procured tickets for the last regular-season game in the Dome. I expect tears.
  • I'm equal parts amused and irritated by the news that there is someone in the MLB headquarters who has decided that D-Span wears his pants too sloppy. to me when you start warning Manny about his sloppy pants.
So, I just need a bit more patience...I've been waiting since October, I can wait one more week.

Oh, and House was good. The preview for next week's episode looks good too. Thank goodness for my DVR.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Book Review: "The Yankee Years" The Yankee Years

Joe Torre and Tom Verducci. The Yankee Years. New York: The Doubleday Publishing Group, 2009, 512 pp., $26.95

At first, it was hard to tell whose book this is. Obviously, Verducci is the professional writer, so the words are his. Torre's words do appear in the book, but they're actually quoted in third person. As the book goes along, however, Torre's mood comes through, with Verducci providing the legwork of the research.

It's difficult to get engrossed into the book at first. It's largely chronological, and the beginning doesn't have the intensity of the later chapters -- either because the details are long forgotten, or the negativity had not yet emerged, or both. But, as the relationship between Torre and the Yankee organization begins to deteriorate, the book becomes more interesting, as well as very bitter.

And, yes, as much of the hype claimed, the authors are not afraid to include harsh opinions about players, organization leaders, and the owner. There's almost a clear dividing line between the players Torre respected and the ones he didn't -- it boils down to who played on the championship teams and those who didn't. The theme that Jorge Posada, Tino Martinez, Chuck Knoblauch, Derek Jeter, Scott Brosius, Bernie Williams, and Paul O'Neill were the gold standard of champions (and everyone else wasn't) is repeated throughout. And while there's a significant section about how great Derek Jeter is, there's an entire chapter about how impossible Alex Rodreguiz is.

Verducci's years covering the Yankees and the steroids scandal for SI add some interesting research on both steroids and the change in teams' philosophies on scouting.

Generally, it's very well written, and it gets better as it goes along. However, it is a bit too long, and occasionally it becomes bogged down with too many details. Also, the reader really needs to be an avid fan of baseball in order to keep from getting confused. For the most part, it's about the business of baseball, with the game of baseball firmly in the background, which is unfortunate, because the parts about the game of baseball are the most enjoyable. It's also pessimistic and bitter; the authors clearly believe the Yankees' officials have pushed the team into a large hole from which it will be difficult to emerge.

I recommend it for true baseball fans. I give it a solid B+.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ms Muse, Please Report to the Third Floor

O Muses, O high genius, aid me now!
O memory that engraved the things I saw,
Here shall your worth be manifest to all!
~Daunte; The Inferno, Canto II
So, my business card says I'm a writer, I author two blogs, and I like to keep my Twitter and Facebook updated...and I can't think of anything to write for any of it. I got nothin'. I feel like the "create" application has been uninstalled from my brain.

No wonder the classical authors respected the Muses. Can you imagine being in the middle of your epic and, all of a sudden, poof!, it's gone.

I tried looking back to my posts from a year ago for inspiration. That's about the time I made my awesome baseball-bead flip-flops. Maybe if I try to do a craft project, that'll get my creative juices flowing. Except ... I ... Can't ... Think ... Of ... Anything.

Maybe it's the weather. Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for the nice weather. It's just that I watch the mounds of snow give way to brown grass and mounds of sand and garbage. And I just know that my so-called seasonal allergies are primed to pounce any moment. No wonder T.S. Eliot was such a Danny Downer.

So, since I lack the ability to come up with any original thoughts on my own, I'll just knock off a few random bullet points. I've done it before; I'm not too proud to do it again.

  • No news on the Joe Mauer Sacroiliac Watch. It's hard to tell if that's good news or bad news. Either the docs didn't find out anything they didn't already know, they're stumped, or it's something serious. Can we please just get this taken care of, please? xxcrossing fingersxx
  • I saw that Lew Ford signed a minor league contract with the Rockies. Honestly, I figured Lew was out of baseball. I guess he's giving it another go. Go Lew, go.
  • I'm so over March Madness. I know it hasn't even started, but I'm already bored with the whole thing.
  • What's up with the more winning than losing of spring training games lately? I know, it's only spring training, and the games don't count, but that doesn't mean the boys shouldn't try to win.
  • Kris Atteberry has been filling in for John Gordon or Dan Gladden on the radio the last couple of days. He's very good. In fact, I kind of hate to admit it, but I kind of like him better than Dazzle.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Some Stuff

I've been enjoying the World Baseball Classic more than I thought I would. I did see the last few innings of the Netherlands - Dominican Republic game. Wow! All I can say is "wow!" What a great finish to a great game. I've been catching other games as I can. And I've been heard hooting and hollering at various times. Baseball is fun.


I've seen the new Twins commercial featuring Joey and Nathanator. Good stuff. And I can totally relate with Mrs. Mauer. I have two boys, and that's something they totally would do. In fact, they probably have. Except when I scold them, they just blame each other and then start arguing. And then one of them gets mad and storms off, and then the other one will rant about how it sucks to be him and his brother is a piece of crap, blah, blah, blah...actually the whole thing kind of wears me out. Maybe Mrs. Mauer has better control of her kids and their friends than I do.


Speaking of Joey, I'm glad to hear that he only has some inflammation in his sacroiliac joint.

And it sounds like he only needs to up his meds for the time being.

If that doesn't work, we should all take him out for Happy Hour. Some Stellas and dancing should do the trick. And we could dance to this:


My nephew has a fantasy baseball league, and invited me to join. Is it weird that I'm the only adult in the league? Oh well. We had our draft last night (a little early if you ask me, but, again, oh well).

Here's my team. What do you think?

C Geovany Soto
1B Albert Pujols
2B Chase Utley
3B Garrett Atkins
SS Derek Jeter
OF Corey Hart
OF Brad Hawpe
OF Alfonso Soriano
DH Gary Sheffield
UTIL Mike Aviles
Bench Xavier Nady
Bench Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Bench Jason Giambi

SP Dan Haren
RP Jonathan Papelbon
Bench Josh Beckett
Bench Daisuke Matsuzaka

Although, I'd like to draft a "fantasy" fantasy baseball team, if you know what I mean. It would be totally based on good looks and maybe only a little on ability. Johan would be my starting pitcher. And I'd keep Mike Aviles.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

My Bubble Guy

Every spring training, the players fit into three categories: a) those who will very likely go to the majors, b) those who will very likely stay in the minors, and c) those "on the bubble."

I feel for the bubble guys. I'm sure most teams would like to be able to bring up more than 25 guys. In fact, I'm pretty sure Gardy would like to stock-pile all the relief pitchers and bench players he could. But he can't. So the bubble guys work their asses off so they can separate themselves from the other guys and look more like they belong in group "a" and less like they belong in group "b". I can totally relate - story of my life.

So, every spring training, I select one bubble guy that I root extra hard for. Someone catches my attention and I cross my fingers for him and say little prayers for him in hopes of giving him a boost.

Last year, it was Matt "Tigger" Tolbert. I liked him because I liked the idea of a guy who personified perpetual motion. And my support worked...well, until he got hurt.

This year my bubble guy is R.A. Dickey. I like the idea of having a knuckle-baller on the team. And I've seen a couple interviews with him, and he seems like a pretty cool guy.

So, R.A., keep working hard and I'll do my part. And hopefully, you'll be an "a" guy come April.


So, hey, our boy Dennys signed with the Cardinals. Good luck, Big Sweat.


When Bad Grammar and Baseball Collide: (I should just make this a semi-regular feature)

As I've mentioned before, I like to read FOXSport's rumor page to catch up on the goings-on around baseball. Last week, I stumbled on this gem:

Ok, a pitcher funning around with some radio guys usually isn't news-worthy, unless the pitcher pitches for the Red Sox. But, even a Red Sox pitcher funning about dyeing, i.e. coloring his hair, at a young age still isn't news-worthy. In fact, it's almost cliche (see A.J. Pierzynski late last season). However, funning about dying young might worry fans.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sunday Sundries

Some miscellaneous things that piqued my interest this past week...

This has been making the rounds on the internet. Shelley was the first one to share it with me (in the comments of the last post):

C.C. Sabathia Smuggles Small Child Into Spring Training

I disagree. Anyone who's read Bat-Girl knows that he didn't smuggle a small child -- he just ate a scrappy middle-infielder. Has anyone seen LNP?


So, one of my wishes came true.

Cubs Sign Koskie to Minor League Contract

Like I said before, kick ass for Team Canada. Then, go ahead and kick ass in the remainder of Cubs' spring training and break camp with the big team.

I really want Corey to make it.


I purchased a first-baseman's glove for my son. At one point, I could be seen burying my face in said glove and taking a big whiff. I love the smell of new baseball gloves. I'm odd that way.


Speaking of former Twins...let's check in on free-agent signings.

PlayerStatusOld TeamNew Team
Dennys Reyes, RPFree Agent (B)Minnesota--
Doug Mientkiewicz, 1BSignedPittsburghLA Dodgers
Sidney Ponson, SPFree Agent
NY Yankees
Kenny Rogers, SP
Free Agent

Yay Dougie! Have fun in LA!

And some I forgot last time...

PlayerStatusOld TeamNew Team
Henry Blanco, CSigned
Chicago Cubs
San Diego
Livan Hernandez, SPSignedColoradoNY Mets
Luis Rivas, 2BSigned
Chicago Cubs
Ramon Ortiz, SP
San Francisco

Totally not baseball-related, but totally worth mentioning: have you ever had Pillsbury's Ready-To-Bake Shape Sugar Cookies? Aren't they the absolute best cookies you've ever had?!? They are beyond A. Maz. Ing! Now, I just need them to make baseball-shaped ones. Please? Pillsbury, are you listening?