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 She really is a great inspiration.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Horde of Hardware

Photo from

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 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.


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*