Thursday, April 29, 2010

Twins at Tigers -- Expecting Excellence (and Not Always Getting It)

Tuesday -- Twins 2 - Tigers 0
Wednesday -- Twins 6 - Tigers 11 (!)
Thursday -- Twins 0 - Tigers 3

Twins drop series 1-2 (first dropped series and first two-game losing streak all season)

Record: 14 - 8


Generally speaking, sports fans expect excellence from their teams. If not, then what's the point? Passion is part of the bargain. The word "fan" itself proves it; it's short for "fanatic." Therefore, dispassionate people can't really be called "fans"; if they like sports at all, they're merely admirers or connoisseurs, right?

So, what's my point? Well, part of the passion-pact is that we fans expect excellence from our team. Yeah, pretty much all the time. It's the deal -- you play well, I'll be happy; you suck, I'll be unhappy. Simple. All I ask is that everyone does his job -- excellently.


Fransisco Liriano
So, how excellent was he on Tuesday? Wow. And the best part? It's still kind of unexpected -- we're still waiting for last year's version of Frankie to show himself. But, for the third start in a row, he sparkled. It was a work of art.

Seth Stohs asked on his Facebook page something like (I'm paraphrasing because I'm too lazy to go back and look it up) "can we finally say the 2006 version of Liriano is back?" To which I replied something like (paraphrasing again; lazy again, er, still) "Who's to say we even want the 2006 version of Liriano? That guy wasn't a smart pitcher and because he always wanted to overpower batters, he hurt himself. The 2010 version is a much better, and much smarter pitcher. It looks like he trusts his stuff, and his catcher, much more. He seems calmer and more confident. Leave the 2006 version in the past. I like the 2010 version better. I hope he can keep it up."

In fact, Eric Karabell on ESPN's Baseball Today podcast predicted Liriano will be the AL Cy Young Award winner. Now, I'm not quite ready to go that far, but I'm sure having fun watching him.


Denard Span
Sometimes a man displays excellence off the field. And sometimes a man displays his excellence in how he responds to a less-than-excellent moment. On Tuesday, Denard lost his cool because the umpire, Paul Emmel, was not doing his job excellently. Denard argued balls and strikes and then threw his bat in frustration. And because of it, he was ejected from the game, which lead to some interesting defensive replacements.

Now, many passionate Twins fans were quick to forgive Span; Emmel's strike zone was ridiculous. But it was still a bad moment for Denard, and he wasn't proud of it. But the excellent part came after the game: he apologized to the umpiring crew, issued an apology to the press, and apologized on Twitter. He was perfectly contrite and he promised to try to avoid doing that again.


Luke Hughes
It didn't take long for him to display a nice little outburst of excellence. In his first Major League at bat, he deposited a fastball into the right-field seats. The last time a Twin homered in his first Major League at bat was Andre David in 1984. Excellent!


Jesse Crain
So, there's a reason a lot of people call Jesse "Crain-wreck." I know he can be excellent. I've seen him be excellent. But when he's not excellent, he's a looooong way away from excellent. And Wednesday, he and excellent were miles apart.

I know he was trotted out in a difficult situation. I know that Scott Baker and Pat Neshek weren't exactly excellent themselves. But, damn, watching Crain was just plain painful.


Carl Pavano
He was excellent on Thursday. Too bad he wasn't excellent enough, and Dontrelle Willis (of all people) was excellenter. And too bad the Twins bats weren't excellent at all.


For the second series in a row, and third time in a week, the umpires kind of took the concept of excellence and sent it to the showers.
  • On Saturday (at Kansas City), umpire Greg Gibson called Scott Podsednik out at 2nd to end the game when JJ Hardy bobbled the ball and threw to Orlando Hudson clearly after Podsednik reached. A game should never be decided on such a horrible call.
  • On Tuesday, umpire Paul Emmel, who early in the game enforced a reasonable strike zone, suddenly started calling very obvious outside balls as strikes. He was awfully quick to eject Span for arguing. Now there will always be bad balls/strikes calls, but actually changing the entire strike zone in the middle of the game is not cool.
  • On Wednesday, umpire Paul Emmel (again!) called an awesome running catch and subsequent drop by Denard Span a no-catch. Span clearly took about three steps with the ball in his glove before he dropped it as he exchanged it to his throwing hand. Emmel defended his call by quoting the part of the rule that says the player should "hold the ball long enough to prove that he has complete control." Umm. Three steps is a pretty long time. But ultimately, the umpires admitted that they lost sight of the play. Again, not cool. And I'm absolutely convinced that it changed the game against the Twins.
I know umpiring is a human job, and humans make mistakes. But this recent lack of excellence from umpires it getting almost strange. It's also generating a lot of buzz regarding expanding instant replay in baseball. I tweeted my response to that idea:
Unfortunately, the umpires may leave us no choice. It may come to be that instant replay is the lesser of two evils. Sad, really. It's time that Major League Baseball demands more excellence from all umpires.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Twins at Royals - This Is Good. Honest.

Friday -- Twins 8 - Royals 3
Saturday -- Twins 9 - Royals 7 (12)
Sunday -- Twins 3 - Royals 4

Twins take series 2-1 -- That's SIX straight series!

Record 13 - 6


Now one would think that looking at the recap above, folks would feel pretty good about this team. A string of series wins and a nice winning record (.684 to be exact) should make any fan happy. It does make me happy. I'm really beginning to think this is a very good team. Unfortunately, when things are going well, it becomes easier and easier to seek out and find the flaws.

Yes, the Twins need to improve on some aspects. The starting pitching needs to demonstrate more consistency. Jason Kubel needs to warm up his bat. And, although he's seeing a lot of pitches and taking walks, Denard Span needs to start hitting more. And so do Hardy and Harris. Most importantly, the whole lineup needs to start taking advantage of opportunities: they're stranding way too many men on base, especially in scoring position (Fri: 10 LOB, 3/11 RISP; Sat: LOB 13, 5/17 RISP; Sun: 12 LOB, 1/11 RISP).

Um, so, wow, yeah, they really need to work on that situational hitting thing.

But, I'm not worried. Despite the hitches in their giddyups, they're winning. They're pulling it together and doing whatever it takes to get it done. Saturday's game, for as hard and frustrating as it was to watch, was a perfect example of how they're able to make adjustments and, as Gardy would say, keep battling their tails off. The Royals' starter pitched well; the Twins' starter, um, didn't. But the Twins kept plugging away. And, thanks to determination, and a little bad luck for the Royals, the Twins came out on top. And they showed some flashes of hope on Sunday, but they just didn't take advantage.

So, as long as the Twins can keep it up and win most series, I won't care if they don't complete a sweep all season. As long as the Twins can keep it up, they'll be very, very good and I'll be very, very happy.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Indians at Twins - Gems

Tuesday: Indians 1 - Twins 5
Wednesday: Indians 0 - Twins 6
Thursday: Indians 8 - Twins 1

Twins take series 2-1: That's FIVE consecutive series.


So you've probably heard the old saying "chicks dig the long ball." Well, not this chick. This chick digs wonderful, slow, knee-buckling curves and devastating, hard sliders. Ok, we're talking about baseball. Get your mind out of the gutter. Sheesh.

But anyway, I love, love, love excellent pitching. And it was a treat to see Slowey and Liriano pitch such terrific gems. I'll admit, Baker pitched a lump of coal, but fortunately for me, I was too busy at work to pay much attention.

Before Slowey's start on Tuesday, a lot of folks were worried because he struggled during his previous start -- it just seemed like he just wasn't clicking with Joe Mauer. But all those concerns were erased when he dialed in and mowed down the Indians' batters. He was confident and precise. Just amazing.

And before Liriano's start on Wednesday, a game I went to by the way, a lot of folks were concerned because, well, because he's Francisco Liriano, and he pitched well in his previous start and we always wonder if he can be good twice in a row. Well, he can and he did. It was a lot of fun watching him strike guys out and make them swing funny. What was even more impressive was that he didn't freak out when men got on base; he was able to wiggle out of his jams and come back out strong the next inning.

As far as Scotty's lump, well, let's hope he's got that out of his system and pitches a gem next time. I think he would have had a better day if he hadn't started out with a couple tough-luck calls.


Oh, and a side-note from Wednesday's game. When Mike Redmond came to the plate, I gave him a standing ovation. I was the only one in my section to do so, but I didn't care. I miss him, and it was good to see him. And, in good old Mike Redmond form, he got beat up by a few foul tips -- just like old times.

Seeing him again made me kind of wonder why I'm not reading as many personal-interest, fun stories about the players. Is it because everyone's writing so much about Target Field right now? Is it because it's still early in the season and no one's doing anything interesting yet? Or is it because the funniest, funnest, goofiest guy on the team isn't on the team any more? I don't know. But I sure wish someone could fill his shoes in that regard.

Monday, April 19, 2010

When Baseball and Bad Spelling Collide - Double Play


This, from my friends over at Alright Hamilton.
Er, it's PIRANHA.

So, this guy's been walking around with this, um, typo for four years. Dude, if you're gonna spend $100 (I checked; that's what the cheapest personalized jerseys cost) on a shirt, you might want to look the word up. And Google ain't good enough (trust me, there are plenty of misspelled blogs and websites out there to that display when you enter it wrong). Try a dictionary next time. Or at least heed Google's recommendation of "do you mean piranha?"

Thanks Daymonster for taking the picture and Haasertime for giving me permission to use this.



This, from my daily MLB rumor check, and oft source of material for this series, website,

*blink blink* Wow. I know Soriano has had some defensive, um, adventures in the outfield, but it's no reason to lose hope. And why in the world would his manager want him to lose hope? Harsh, man.

But, then I read on:

Oooohhhhh! He's losing his little hop he does when tracking fly balls. Wow BIG difference one little "e" makes.

To be clear, the headline error does not belong to the Chicago Tribune -- it's all Ben Maller.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Royals at Twins - Bits and Pieces

Friday -- Royals 3 - Twins 10
Saturday -- Royals 5 - Twins 6
Sunday -- Royals 10 - Twins 5

Twins take series 2-1


So, it's been a crazy, but good, weekend. Between helping one kid get ready for prom, helping the other get ready for baseball try-outs, and preparing for dinner guests, plus all the regular weekend stuff like tidying up, laundry, groceries, etc., I've hardly had time to think, let alone watch baseball.

But I was able to catch bits and pieces of the games. So here is my blog post, in bits and pieces:

  • Friday's game was a ton of fun
  • Sunday's game was a ton of bricks
  • Saturday's game just seemed dragging and difficult
  • Like I'd really know for sure; I probably watched all of 7 pitches of Saturday's game
  • It's a good thing Joe Mauer got a nice contract; he needs to add another room to his house for all the trophies 
  • He received the Kenesaw Mountain Landis Memorial Award (the real name of the MVP award) 
  • He received the American League Batting Title Award
  • He received the Louisville Slugger® Silver Slugger Award
  • He received the Rawlings® Gold Glove Award
  • It was weird to see Greinke struggle
  • It was frustrating to see Pavano struggle
  • Yeah, I didn't really like to see Crain struggle either
  • Or Blackburn
  • Off day tomorrow, so all the pitchers can relax and get back into the groove
  • I like Greinke, so it's ok if he's in a groove as long as he isn't facing the Twins
  • I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I'm not a fan of leaving a million men on base
  • Like leaving men on base is like the constant like teenage girl like upspeak of baseball
  • The Twins took their first four series of the season
  • That's something they've never done before
  • I like that
  • I want them to keep it up
  • So did you hear about Ubaldo Jimenez? 
  • Jimenez pitched the first no-hitter in Rockies' history
  • Very cool
  • Did you hear about Saturday's Mets-Cardinals game? 
  • Mets won
  • It took 20 innings
  • It was a pitchers' duel
  • Scoreless for the first 19 innings
  • The Cardinals had to get creative with their pitchers
  • Infielder Felipe Lopez pitched the 18th
  • Outfielder/thirdbaseman Joe Mather pitched the 19th and 20th
  • Mather also took the loss
  • Pitcher Kyle Lohse (remember him?) played left field for three innings
  • Catcher Yadier Molina caught all 20 innings
  • Catcher Yadier Molina is catching Sunday night
  • The Mets and Cardinals are, at this moment, tied in the 7th
That's all I got.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Red Sox at Twins -- Busting Myths

Monday -- Red Sox 2 - Twins 5
Wednesday -- Red Sox 6 - Twins 3
Thursday -- Red Sox 0 - Twins 8

Twins take series 2-1
The Twins are 2-0 in games I attend. I hope the Twins organization remembers that with a gift of free tickets if there is a late-season push for wins.


So the Twins are all nice and cozy in their new home. For the first time that I can remember, I went to two home games in one week -- usually the only time I do that is if I'm traveling (so they're away games). So, since I'm all expert-y now about the ins and outs of Target Field and the Twins, I thought I'd review some myths and determine their validity.

  1. The Northstar Commuter Train is a great way to get from the northwest suburbs to Target Field. Well, in theory, it's a great idea. I mean, it goes from Big Lake; stops at Elk River, Anoka, Coon Rapids, and Fridley; and drops you right at the Target Field station. How great is that? Well, it's ok. I boarded in Elk River, and when we left the station, all the seats were full and some people were standing. By the time we left Coon Rapids, the train was stuffed. They needed to call in some buses to take the folks from Fridley. Oh, and because there were so many people boarding, we arrived at the ballpark late. Also, the "Family Pass" ticket is a great deal -- if you qualify. It's $13 (from Elk River) for two adults and up to three kids 6-12 (5 and under free) round-trip. Hmm. That's less than parking. However, my kids are older than 12. So for 4 adults, it's $22 one way. Not a deal at all. (Shhh...we bought the Family Pass ticket anyway.) And then leaving was an adventure. We couldn't fit on the first train out, so we had to wait 30 minutes for the next one. What a waste of time. And not all games will have trains coming back, so you have to be careful, or you're paying a lot for cab fare. So, while I'd love to take the commuter line to the park, it's not completely practical. This myth is busted.[Important Update: scroll down]
  2. The concourses of Target Field are wider and less crowded than the ones at the Dome. Well, Target Field's concourses may measure wider, and they are less crowded -- during the game. However, before the game starts and after it ends, it's just as bad as before. They do, however, do a good job getting everyone out of the building, so that experience is a little better. But, man, before the game, when all the concession stand lines block the walking lanes, it's tough to get through. Now, in their defense, if I had arrived earlier, I may have been able to avoid a lot of the crowding. This is what public transportation does for me. So, if you allow that the concourses will be stuffed both before and after the game, the rest of the time they're all right. This myth is plausible, but not likely.
  3. The cupholders at Target Field aren't tilted like they are at the Dome. Back in January, when the Twins front office employees first moved into Target Field, the person behind the official Twins Twitter account asked fans if they have any questions. So I asked him/her if the cupholders were tilted like they are at the Dome, and he/she replied that no, they were not. Happy news; I really hate to have to drink half my beer/pop before I can set it down. For Monday's game, my tickets were in a wheelchair row (I had a folding chair), and the cupholder was perfectly level. However, today, much to my horror (ok, not really horror, but certainly surprise), my cupholder was, indeed, tilted. Here's photographic proof.
  4. Umm, that looks tilted to me. This myth is busted.
  5. The Twins have a hard time beating AL East teams. Well, at least for this one particular AL East team for this one particular series, it ain't so. The Twins sure looked good -- for game 1 and 3 anyway. Game 2 was a little sloppy (11 men left base?!), and Slowey and Crain were kind of shaky, but it wasn't totally depressing. I'd say this series was a success. This myth is busted.
  6. Jason Kubel has bad knees, is slow, and has no defense. Did you see his baserunning today? Did you see that great catch in left? I think he's all right. This myth is busted.
  7. We should be worried about Jose Mijares. I watched him today, and I wasn't impressed. I don't know if it's his eyes (he's battling some kind of eye problem that causes blurred vision), his control, his confidence, or what, but he didn't look good. He gave up a couple of hits, and he wasn't at all dominating. Of his five appearances, I've only been satisfied with two of them. This myth is confirmed.
  8. Joe Mauer is perfect. Nope. He 0-fer'ed today. So, he's merely super-human. This myth is busted, but not badly.
Apparently, Metro Transit heard my complaints (and probably other people's too) about the commuter line, because they sent me the following email Friday afternoon:

Schedules for the Northstar Commuter Rail Line will change this Saturday (April 17). Based on current ridership patterns and customer requests, Metro Transit will adjust the departure times for all weekend service, all weekday morning service into Minneapolis and most northbound weekday trips.

The weekday schedules will better match actual travel times, saving several minutes in each direction. Visit Metro Transit's web site for the new schedule details. Connecting bus routes 20 and 811 will be adjusted to meet the new train times.

The change alleviates the 10 p.m. train, which had limited ridership, and is replaced by a 7 p.m. departure. The weekend schedules also will allow earlier arrivals in downtown Minneapolis for Minnesota Twins games at Target Field. Northstar will serve 53 of the Twins' 81 home games this season. Visit Metro Transit's web site for a list of games served by the Northstar Line.

During the Twins opener this week, the Northstar line was a big winner. Ridership grew from 501 for the first game train on Monday to 2,055 on Thursday. What this says to me is people are accepting commuter rail as an economical and desirable way to move.

If you have questions or comments about the new Northstar schedules, service to Target Field or other operations between Big Lake and downtown Minneapolis, please use the online customer comment form at or call Metro Transit customer service at 612-373-3333.

Thank you for riding Northstar - or if you haven't ridden yet, give Northstar a try for a relaxing, convenient and safe ride.

Dan Erhart
NCDA Board Chair

PS. Also starting on Saturday, Family Passes will extend eligible ages to 6 - 17 years old.
So, it's good to know that they're trying to solve the problems. We'll see. I'm really happy about the Family Pass thing, because now it works for me.

And, many thanks to haasertime, who provided this link to a Star Tribune article about it in the comments.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

As If You Haven't Read Enough About Target Field

Ok, I know that if you've spent any time at all on the web reading stories from the media and Twins fans, you've probably reached your limit of Target Field reports. I hope you have the patience for one more.

I'd really like to thank the Baseball Gods and Mother Nature, who apparently had a summit to flawlessly weave an outstanding game with terrific weather. I'm willing to bet the forecasts of showers were done by design just to make us appreciate it even more. It was mild and breezy; in the shade, it was windbreaker weather. Lovely.

My first ever cup of coffee at a Twins game, just to take the chill off. It was good, too.

The park itself is as good as advertised. It reminds me a little of the best of AT&T park, Busch Stadium, and Camden Yard, but it has its own personality. I really like the look of all the stone.
And the atmosphere is as great as anywhere.

Like any good baseball dork, I kept a score card. I wanted to remember everything.
Here are all the "Target Field Firsts" as I remembered and wrote them down:
YOUR Minnesota Twins
  • First pitch - Carl Pavano to Marco Scutaro (ball)
  • First base hit - Marco Scutaro (1st, off Pavano)
  • First caught-stealing - Marco Scutaro (1st, Pavano to Hudson)
  • First manager arguing - Terry Francona (1st, thought Pavano balked)
  • First extra-base hit - Dustin Pedroia (1st, off Pavano)
  • First base-on-balls - Denard Span (1st, off Lester)
  • First Twins base hit - Orlando Hudson (1st, off Lester)
  • First run batted in - Michael Cuddyer (1st, off Lester)
  • First run scored - Denard Span
The first run on the scoreboard
  • First strikeout - Carl Pavano (2nd, of Ortiz)
  • First stolen base - Nick Punto (2nd, off Lester/Martinez), which also led to the first belt replacement
 Tim Tchida: "Keep your pants on, son."
  • First Twins extra-base hit - Joe Mauer (2nd, off Lester)
  • First fair/foul replay - Mike Camron (foul, 5th, off Pavano)
  • First homerun - Jason Kubel (7th, off Atchison), which is kind a funny story -- all afternoon, whenever he, or any of the heavy hitters, came to the plate, I cheered "my mom wants to see a homerun!", but, of course, right before Kubes came to the plate, she went somewhere, and missed it.
  • First final out - Jon Rauch (9th, of Beltre)
  • First win - Carl Pavano
  • First save - Jon Rauch
 First celebration
It takes a little longer now for the guys in the bullpen to join the high-fiving

All in all, an amazing day!

If you're interested in seeing the rest of my pictures, here's a link to my Facebook album. It's public, so you don't need to be on Facebook to see them.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Copping Out for Tonight


So I just finished eating supper after getting home from an outstanding day at Target Field. I know you would like a recap and pictures, and I'll do that -- tomorrow. I'm pooped (::snicker:: she said "poop"), and overly tired (clearly; if I'm snickering at juvenile humor). Plus, it takes to get pictures off my camera. So, since tomorrow's an off-day anyway, I'll do it then. Be sure to come back.

In short, though, it was absolutely fantastic. I love Target Field. I love the Twins. And, right now, I love the idea of going to bed.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Very Good, Amazing, Wonderful Weekend

Friday -- Twins 4 - White Sox 3
Saturday -- Twins 2  - White Sox 1
Sunday -- Twins 4 - White Sox 5

Twins take series 2-1

So, it's always nice to take a series from a division rival. It would have been nice to get to Mark Buehrle and beat him, but alas, it wouldn't be. And yes, I'm still steamed at third-base coach Scott Ullger. I mean, I know you play to win on the road, but seriously? The shortstop had the ball when Ullger sent Hardy. ::shaking my head::

But anyway, it was a great weekend. Actually, it was better than great; it was fantastic!

Apparently, when I go out to bars, I go all out...once again, two really fun Twins-themed parties in one day.

First, for the game, I attended the TwinsCentric viewing party at Major's in Blaine, hosted by Nick Nelson (Nick's Twins Blog), Parker Hageman (Over the Baggy), John Bonnes (Twins Geek), and Seth Stohs ( As before, it was a ton a fun to chat about baseball, the Twins, and blogging. It was even more fun that the Twins won (imagine what happened when a barfull of more-avid-than-average Twins fans watched Kubes smash that homer).

I hesitate to name drop, because I know I'll forget someone, because that's what it is to be me. But I'll try. If I forgot someone, please gently remind me.
It was a great time visiting with all those great fans. I just love these events.

Oh, and yes, I brought those brownies. And again, they were a hit, but never again! Oh, I don't even want to get into it...sticky, me covered in chocolate, swearing, frightening my son, running late, more sticky, more chocolate, more swearing, etc.

And Then...
I headed over to Rock Bottom Brewery downtown to watch the Biggest Twins Fan competition. John from Twins MVB was a finalist, and Jen (Lipgloss and Baseball) and Sarah (Oh, It's THOSE Girls) were live-tweeting the event. I'm a little bummed that I arrived too late to see TC Bear, but it was great. Click on Sarah's link to see her awesome report with pictures.

The contest was a hoot. The four contestants had to complete 9-innings worth of trivia, stunts, and crazy math problems. Rock Bottom did a nice job hosting the event.

(Ok, I know I'm doing this in reverse order, but this one's the best part.) On Friday evening, my husband surprised me with tickets for ... get this ... OPENING FREAKING DAY!!! He doesn't even want to go -- well he wouldn't mind going, but someone needs to give the kids rides to and from practices, and he's willing to do that while I go. So I'm bringing my mom. This is amazing! There's no way I'm going to be able to sleep tonight. I'm so excited, I can barely stand to be in the same room as myself!

Friday, April 9, 2010

We're in Cali, So Let's Do An Award Show

Monday -- LAA 6 - Twins 3
Tuesday -- LAA 3 - Twins 5
Wednesday -- LAA 2 - Twins 4
Thursday -- LAA 1 - Twins 10 (!)

Twins take series 3-1


Did you see that?! What I wrote up there?! Yes! It's true! The Twins took a series with the Angels! In Anaheim! A four-game series at that! That never happens! (Ok, enough with the exclamation points -- but it is very exciting.)

This series was so deliciously surprising that I've decided to come up with a number of "awards" to celebrate.

Let's start out with the obvious:
For suddenly stating, with authority, "screw small ball, I want to send this flying," I present the Boom-boom Awards to the following players:
  • JJ Hardy (2)
  • Brendan Harris
  • Joe Mauer
  • Justin Morneau (2)
  • Jim Thome  
  • Delmon Young (2)
Nice work, gentlemen. Moving on:
For the uncanny ability to hurt himself on just about every plate appearance, I present the Most In Need of a Big Roll of Bubble-Wrap and Probably Some Ice Too to -- Orlando Hudson

Yeah, man, you gotta protect your kneecaps -- and your skull. Ok next, we have:
For making his major league debut in front of his family and having a 1-2-3 inning, all while visibly shaking, I present the Making Your Momma Happy award to -- Alex Burnett

Aww. It was such a touching moment. And it was his mom's birthday too. What a nice boy. Now we have:
For being everywhere in the infield that he needed to be, including left-center field, and having some serious ups, I present the This Series is Brought to You by the Letter "D" Award to -- JJ Hardy.

Wow. All I can say is wow. Next, we have:

For looking absolutely foolish on Monday, and then looking absolutely brilliant on Thursday, I present the Two-Faced Comedy/Tragedy Thingy Award to -- Jose Mijares.

For the record, Jose, we Twins fans prefer the brilliant. Ok, moving on:

For making me literally ask the television, "umm...what? Really?", I present the Things I Thought I'd Ever Hear A Twins Announcer Say Awards to:
  • "Delmon Young takes over for Jason Kubel as a defensive replacement."
  • "Jim Thome scores from second on a single."
Stunning, aren't they? Ok, now:

For really looking like someone unlike he's ever looked before, I present the You Look Different, Maybe You Are Different Award to -- Delmon Young

What's up, man? Hitting homers and contributing good defense? Who knew you had it in you? And, we have:

For caving in to some unwritten rule that Californians can't be bothered with attending day games, I present the Bronx Cheer to -- MLB and LA Angels schedulers.

Yeah, did it really need to be a 4-game series? And did that fourth game really need to be a night game? Thanks to you, we have a bunch of sleepy Twins expected to take on the Chicago White Sox. And finally, we have:

For enduring a red-eye flight after a four-game series to check in to their hotel rooms at some ungodly time in the morning and then playing a division rival later that day, I present the Golden Pillow Award to the entire Minnesota Twins team. Sleep fast and throw some business to your favorite coffee shop, boys.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

When Baseball and Bad Spelling Collide - Giants Edition

About a year ago, I told you about how the Washington Nationals had a smidgen of trouble with spelling the nickname of their team correctly on a couple of jerseys  -- Adam Dunn and Ryan Zimmerman played for the "Natinals" for one game.

April is early in the season for the players; they're still ramping up to mid-season form. Apparently it's also early for the jersey-makers. Wednesday, outfielder Eugenio Velez played for "San Francicso."

 Image from

Now, this one is a little easier to forgive -- I never spell Francisco right the first time (which is a pain because the Twins have a player by that name) -- but it's still kind of funny.

According to the article, he didn't even know until the reporter called him to ask him about it. But, really, who proofreads the front of their shirts?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Short Notes - Apr 6

Happy Opening Day! I know, I know, it was officially yesterday, but since the second Twins game hasn't started yet (as I write this), it's still a valid greeting.

I'm so happy it's real baseball with real consequences and real results. Happy happy happy.


So, in case you haven't been here during the regular season, or in case you forgot, let me explain how I do things. I usually save my thoughts about the games until after the whole series and then do a recap -- unless something special motivates me to write, like Jason Kubel hitting a homerun on my command. Of course, when the final game of the series is a late one and there's a game the very next day, like with this upcoming Angels series finale, it gets difficult.

This is because I absolutely refuse to blog while a Twins game is on. It's not that I'm so in to the games that I can't multi-task; it's that it happens to be very bad, horrible luck for the Twins. Turns out, I can't even so much as think about blogging without risking disastrous performances by our boys. For example, you'll notice in that Jason Kubel post I referenced above, I talk about a ninth inning clown show. That's when the Twins bullpen coughed up buttload of runs in the 9th (after leading by 9 or 10 runs or something like that), and it's all because I was writing while the game was going on. True story. I won't let it happen again. And, yes, I'm really that superstitious -- probably even more.

So I'd better get going here; tonight's game is going to start soon.


Happy Birthday Bert Blyleven. Only 365 more days until your next one.


You'll notice a new little section in the upper-right corner. I love all the cool, crazy words and sayings baseball offers, so I thought I'd feature a new term every week -- that is, if I remember to do a new one every week.


So hey, my blog's all grown up. I went out and got it its very own domain name... proudly presents...

Ta da!

Ok, it's not really that big of a deal. If you go there, you just wind up here. And the address still works, so you don't have to change your bookmarks or blogroll or anything if you don't want to.

But, when you're telling all your friends about me, won't the new name be easier to remember?


Podcast updates - some news on my favorite podcasts.

New! DW the Great of Twin-Keys and Joe Bronk of Joe's Little Big League started the Twin-Keys podcast a few weeks ago. Be sure to check it out. In fact, about 5 minutes ago, I agreed to be a guest tomorrow at 7. So now you really need to check it out.

New! Bloggers Julie DiCaro from A League of Her Own (a Cubs blog) and Caryn Rose from Metsgrrl (a Mets blog) started the Throwing Like a Girl podcast to discuss baseball from a girl's perspective. Check it out, because our friend Jen from Lipgloss and Baseball was a guest on their first episode.

Improved! I've mentioned this before, but it deserves repeating. Seth Stohs ( started a zippy new web-radio program called The Show with Seth Stohs (try saying that five times fast). As always, it's good stuff. I have only one eensy, weesny complaint: Dude, when are you going to put it on iTunes? Anyway, it accessible through his site.

[EDIT (4/7 9:00 AM) -- This happened after I wrote this last night, and I just found out about it this morning.]
New! Seth Stohs and Travis Aune (Travis Twins Talks) have teamed up to produce the Twins Minor League Weekly. Both Seth and Travis are excellent resources on prospect information; this podcast will be great for everyone who want to keep up on the farm system. The first episode was posted on Seth Speaks Blog Talk Radio program, but they indicated that might set up a new link for future episodes. I'll let you know as soon as I know.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A Quick Nod and a Thanks

So the two preseason exhibition games at the brand-spanking-new Target Field were very exciting. I didn't make it down there, but I could certainly feel the buzz right through my TV. The pictures and accounts I've seen from the media and my friends have convinced me that it's amazing. I've been to enough ballparks to know this one is special -- I see shades of the best parts of them here. I'm especially impressed with the emphasis of the Twins branding while keeping the Target branding present, yet low-key. I'm really looking forward to going myself (I've got tickets for three games, and I'm working on more).

The games themselves were pretty thrilling -- for exhibition games, that is. Denard Span getting the first hit and dinger, Joe Mauer planting a baseball among the centerfield trees, and Jacque Jones receiving a number of surprise standing ovations made for some fantastic moments. Ironically, however, the real hero of the weekend is the old Metrodome itself. Really. Not only was its crappiness a driving force, a very significant one at that, behind the support for the new ballpark, but it also saved baseball in Minnesota.

In 2001, when Bud Selig and 28 team owners voted to contract the Minnesota Twins and the Montreal Expos from Major League Baseball, it was the Metrodome, or rather the Twins' contract to lease it, that saved our beloved club. Hennepin County District Court Judge Harry Crump, who reportedly wasn't even really a baseball fan, granted the Metropolitan Sports Facility Commission an injunction to force the Twins to play the 2002 season, thereby forcing MLB to keep the teams. Whether the whole thing was elaborate conspiracy to ensure public funding for the new ballpark, or an ill-advised get-richer-quick scheme by Mr. Pohlad, it's immaterial when the baseball fans of Minnesota sit under the sky on a beautiful day watching a great game.

So next time you're on your way to beautiful Target Field, be sure to give a quick nod and a thanks to the old Dump Dome as you go by. I just know it's happy for us.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

2010 Projections (a Debut)

With the season drawing near, Josh from Josh's Thoughts thought it would be fun for a bunch of bloggers to make predictions for the 2010 season so we would have a records to look back to at the end of the season. Problem is, I'm horrible at this kind of thing. So, I asked my older son if he wanted to take a stab at it. 

So, I proudly present the blogging debut of j-bro and his 2010 projections! (I'm so proud.)

Baseball Predictions for the 2010 season.

Hello… Well this is eldest son of k-bro, or j-bro I guess, filling in for my wonderful, beautiful, intelligent mom on her own blog. Apparently this prediction thing isn’t really her cup of tea so she asked her son, who can’t even get on the B honor roll, to write a segment about the Twins’ upcoming season for God knows how many people to see. Well here it goes.

Twins MVP:
Now this prediction is harder than you think. Yes, Justin Morneau will crank over 30 homeruns. Yes, Michael Cuddyer is actually one of the anchors of the lineup and everyone else plays better because of him. Yes, Joe Mauer is Ted Williams reincarnated as a catcher. All three of those gentlemen will have spectacular seasons, I’m sure, but, don’t yell at me, Denard Span will show everyone just how valuable he is this summer. Oh crap, I forgot we’re not writing bold predictions yet, oh well, hopefully this season Span will smack the ball down the line for a triple more often than lining one towards his mother.

Twins Top Pitcher:
Choosing the top pitcher is next to impossible because, I mean honestly, no one in our rotation is lights out. Now I love the consistency that Blackburn, Slowey, and Scott the Baker bring, but I also think that Francisco will be the most fun to watch, even though that ERA of his will be flirting with 5. When it comes down to it, consistency is what the ballclub and the fans will need. Twins top pitcher= Nick Blackbeard.

Twins Best Rookie:
This prediction isn’t even fair. How should I know? I’d imagine that Drew Butera would get the most at bats until Morales is healthy, and I think Anthony Swarzak has potential, but if you think about it Jim Thome, J.J. Hardy, and Orlando Hudson are all rookies to the Twins. So just to save myself from actually looking up stats I’ll tell you that the O-dog will be the best Twins rookie, so to speak.

Twins Most Improved Player:
If we are going to be realistic when predicting the most improved player on the Twins, then we all must be thinking about the same person. Now Nicky Punto could definitely improve but I doubt he’ll improve substantially, but of course we love him just the way he is. No, Delmon Young has slimmed down, bulked up, and he must have gotten a personality somewhere. As much as I’ve always doubted him, I think he will be most improved.

Bold Predictions:
Wasn’t I bold enough when I picked Denard for MVP and Delmon for Most Improved? All right, well, to humor you, I can think of some real bold ones.
  • Pat Neshek’s filth will be as filthy as ever.
  • Jose Mijares will be successful in saving ballgames.
  • Liriano’s filth will be as filthy as ever.
  • Booing A.J. at Target Field will still sound just as loud as when we booed him in the Dome.
  • Someone will hit an inside the park homerun, I just don’t know who.
A.L. Central Predictions:
And I’m not just being a homer.
  1. Minnesota
  2. Chicago
  3. Detroit
  4. Kansas City
  5. Poor Cleveland
Three Keys to Success:
Let’s see how cliché I can get.
  1. Stop it with the injuries! Nathan and Morales are enough for the entire season. I’ll keep knocking on wood the whole summer to make sure we win.
  2. Pitching needs to be consistent. Our lineup will score the runs we need to win, so we don’t need a Johan-type performances this year. Just keep us in the game; that’s bullpen included.
  3. Keep on truckin’. The Twins will do what they always do and get really hot in June and July, and completely die in August. Last year it worked itself out, but let’s try to win the division in only 162 games this year.

Nice work, j-bro. I really like the "Three Keys to Success" section. I hope I can con him into invite him to write again.