Wednesday, April 27, 2011

DL Report: Delmon Young

After not playing since April 18, and pulling himself out of Wednesday's lineup because he "couldn't get loose," Delmon Young has been placed on the DL with soreness in his left rib cage area. He was also a victim of that viral bug that's been plaguing the clubhouse, but he's reportedly over that.

It's unclear what the cause of the soreness is; it's possibly an oblique strain or a bone injury. He had an MRI a few days ago, and it came back ok. UPDATE: The Twins announced that it's an oblique strain.

The Twins are currently hurting for depth on the team, and since a double-header is scheduled for Thursday, it became necessary to fill in some gaps. The DL assignment is retroactive to April 19.

Rene Tosoni, a 24-year-old left-handed-hitting outfielder, will take Delmon's roster spot. He hit .286 avg/.329 obp/.500 slg with three HRs and six doubles in 19 games with AAA Rochester.


Also watching:

Carl Pavano has the flu. His scheduled Saturday start has been pushed back to Sunday.

Jim Thome was unavailable Wednesday due to oblique soreness.

Jason Repko felt tightness in his quad muscle, but was available if necessary on Wednesday.


Catching up with the others:

Joe Mauer is due to come off the DL on Thursday, but he won't be ready. There is no time table for his return. A rehab stint sometime in the future is likely.

Kevin Slowey has been pitching for the Fort Myers Miracle on a rehab assignment. On Saturday, he allowed one run on one hit and one walk in one inning. Rumor has it that he paid for the clubhouse spread for all the guys after the game. I last read that he was due to pitch again on Wednesday, but he didn't.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka is progressing on schedule.


Other transactions:

Due to the scheduled double-header on Thursday, and because he pitched in long relief on Wednesday (not very well I might add), Eric Hacker has been optioned to AAA Rochester. Anthony Swarzak has been recalled to replace him. Swarzak will start the evening affair on Thursday on only three days rest.


I suspect that after reviewing all this, Gardy will go home...and weep.

Monday, April 25, 2011

How Jim Thome Stole My Heart

When the Twins signed Jim Thome before last season, I was glad. He wasn't even a great fit -- the team didn't really need another left-handed DH -- but I was happy nonetheless. And I was even more delighted when he re-signed for this season. In fact, if he feels like playing a couple more years, I sincerely hope the Twins to invite him to play here.

Why? I mean, if anything, I should be holding a grudge. During his years with the Indians and White Sox, he was a nasty nemesis. In fact, he pretty much owned the Twins (.311 avg/ .410 obp/ .628 slg). Oh, and don't even get me started on the 2008 Game 163 -- that alone should make me hate him forever. So, why was I so quick to embrace him as one of my favorite Twins? Let's explore:

  • As a good Twins fan, I hate* all White Sox (and Yankee, for that matter) players. It's almost required for entry into Twins Territory. But there's always one guy on a hated team, one guy who is good and doesn't really do anything hate-worthy, that fans secretly wish was on their team. Jim Thome was that guy.
  • He's always had that "oh no" factor. He steps into the box, and opposing pitchers think "oh no, not Thome." Whenever he's at the plate, there's a good chance he can do some damage. That kind of intimidation is a good thing to have with your favorite team on the front of his jersey -- just ask Matt Thornton.
  • While I tend to be more of a pitching girl (usually I dig the perfectly located curve ball for a strike over a home run), I gotta say his home runs are magnificent. Flag poles, walk offs, concourse shots, oh my. Is it getting hot in here?
  • Chalk one up for the old guys. He'll be 41 in August. Longevity is sexy.
  • I've heard -- ok, we've all heard -- that he's a nice guy. No, I mean he must be a really nice guy. He's always voted in the top three as the Nicest Guy in Baseball as voted by players. And he always seems to be willing to be interviewed. It's true, nice guys finish first.
  • I just know it would be fun to sit down with him and let him tell baseball stories. He must have a million hilarious stories of pranks, antics, and other goofiness just busting to come out. I can't figure out if he's a beer-drinking man or the type that never touches the stuff, so I'd love to take him out for pie and talk baseball. Or, if he's up to it, pie and beer.
  • He seems to like us Twins fans as much we like him.
 There you have it. I ♥ Jim Thome, and for good reason.
*To be clear, I don't really hate people; I only really hate things, like sneezing, lima beans, midnight leg cramps, and maybe the rabbits who eat my flowers. I have intense rival disdain for members of the White Sox; it's nothing personal. With that being said, there are a number of White Sox players who make me crinkle my nose and hiss whenever I read about them or see them on TV.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Twins at Orioles: Better?


Monday: Twins 5 - O's 3
Tuesday: Twins 0 - O's 11 (!)
Wednesday: Twins 4 - O's 5
Thursday: Twins 3 - O's 1

Obviously, winning is more fun than losing. Bit by bit, being a Twins fan is becoming more fun. We're all getting tired of telling our friends "it's only April," but it's still a true statement. Aside from the ugly blowout on Tuesday, I think the Twins played well considering the roster is pretty thin right now. Things will get better once everyone is healthy again, right? Right?


Please tell me I'm right...

High Fives:

Scott Baker -- pitched magnificently on Thursday
Michael Cuddyer -- 2 homeruns
Drew Butera -- 3 RBI on Monday
Jim Thome -- #591


DL Report: Updates

Tsuyoshi Nishioka's rehab on his broken leg is progressing nicely. He's in Minnesota riding a stationary bike and running a underwater treadmill. He's on schedule to return in four to six weeks.

Joe Mauer is also back in Minnesota working to regain strength after suffering the flu and also to get his legs into baseball shape. Kelsie Smith of the Pioneer Press has a nice article about him.

Kevin Slowey threw a bullpen session last weekend with positive results and will probably throw another one this coming weekend when the Twins come home. After that, he'll likely do a little rehab stint in AAA.

Justin Morneau is still sick. According to the tweets from the press folks, he's been in the bathroom a lot (I know, TMI). He's taken five bags of IVs, and was running a fever of 102 on Wednesday (which is why he was not available to pinch-hit). I don't even want to think about him having to ride the plane after Thursday's game. Yuck, yuck, yuck, yuck, yuck.

We're also watching Delmon Young. He's been out a few days with both the flu and soreness in his ribcage area. The flu is reportedly better, but he'll get (or already got -- not sure) an MRI to see what's going on in his side.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Flu in the Clubhouse

With Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and Delmon Young out with the pukey flu-like symptoms, I present to you the Twins roster until further notice:

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Twins at Rays: Baking Cookies

Thursday: Rays 4 - Twins 3
Friday: Rays 5 - Twins 2
Saturday: Rays 4 - Twins 3
Sunday: Rays 2 - Twins 4

Record: 5 - 10

A Story:

Some of the Twins players got together and decided to make cookies for everybody. They especially wanted to make some for Gardy because he had been feeling kind of grumpy lately, and every one knows that if Gardy ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

Carl Pavano offered to make them. He knew that Gardy was a fan of delicious Nutella, so he researched recipes on the internet and found a really good one for Nutella cookies*. He went to the store and bought the ingredients, got out the mixer, and got baking. He got one panful in the oven, and when he pulled them out, they were amazing. He got a second panful ready.

"I've got to leave now," Carl said suddenly. Jason Kubel asked him why, but he just replied "I gotta go," and he abruptly left.

"Great," Jason said, "now who's going to finish these cookies?"

Joe Nathan stepped into the kitchen and said "I'll do it. I'll finish them." And then Felipe Lopez, Ben Zobrist, and Matt Joyce mischievously scampered through the kitchen and knocked the pan out of Joe's hand and on to the floor, ruining the rest of the dough.

"It's ok," said Matt Capps. "There are just enough cookies to make Gardy happy until we can make more, right? I'll just take these to him." Matt then put all the cookies neatly on a platter and started to leave for Gardy's office.

And then, out of nowhere, Johnny Damon came in and stole all the cookies.

The next day, Nick Blackburn tried to make more cookies, but after he started off well, everything just started going wrong. He broke some egg shells into the dough, the flour poofed up into his face when he added it to the mixer, and he realized too late that he'd forgotten the baking soda. The whole group decided to screw it and try again the next day.

The following day, Scott Baker decided he'd give baking the Nutella cookies a shot. So he rolled up his sleeves and got to work. Everything went smoothly and it seemed like he'd be able to make several panfuls. After two panfuls were done, he realized he was too tired to finish.

Joe Nathan again offered to finish. Since Joe has a great history of finishing cookies, Baker was confident that it would be ok despite Joe's last attempt.

However, right as Joe was bending over to place the pan of cookie dough into the oven, Ben Zobrist ran into the kitchen and startled him so badly that the parchment paper slid right off the cookie sheet and landed dough side down right into the oven, again ruining the dough and making a huge mess in the oven. Joe was eventually able to clean up the mess, but when he wasn't looking, BJ Upton and Casey Kotchman came in and stole some of the cookies. Now, again, there weren't enough cookies for everyone.

Jose Mijares told everyone to stop worrying and that there were still enough cookies for Gardy. After Jose sampled some of the cookies, he shared a few with Sam Fuld. The guys started scolding him, so he placed the cookies neatly on a platter and started off for Gardy's office.

And then, out of nowhere, Johnny Damon came in and stole all the cookies.

On the final day before the guys had to leave town, they wanted so badly to make these amazing Nutella cookies. It was Brian Duensing's turn to try his hand at baking. He called all the guys in a group and explained to them that, while he is a capable cookie-maker, he really needed everyone to pull together and help as much as possible.

They did, all the cookies were made, and they were amazing. Gardy was pleased.


After blowing two saves over the weekend, Joe Nathan, together with Ron Gardenhire and Rick Anderson, decided it would be best for the team, and for Joe, to take him out of the closer role for a while. Matt Capps will close, and Joe will pitch in less stressful situations.

To accommodate this, the Twins are rearranging the bullpen. They have called up RHP Jim Hoey from AAA Rochester, presumably to be the 7th/8th inning set-up guy, and sent RHP Jeff Manship down.

I can't objectively talk about this move. Nathan's my guy, so I tend to think with my heart about him. Hopefully he can work out the kinks quickly and he can re-take his rightful role.


DL Report Updates:

Joe Mauer is still battling the flu. He's lost about 12 pounds since Thursday and he still doesn't have much of an appetite. It's still not clear if his leg weakness is related to the viral infection. The team is on its way to Baltimore where Joe's specialist practices, so he'll likely get checked out in a day or two. Then he'll need to work on getting stronger.

We're also watching Justin Morneau. He missed Sunday's game due to flu-like symptoms, but Kelsie Smith of the Pioneer Press reports that it's not the same thing Mauer's got.


Another clever Twins commercial. This time with Jim Thome.

*Yes, these Nutella cookies exist, and they are, indeed, amazing. Also, the part about the parchment paper slipping and flipping dough all over the inside of the oven is a true story, well, except for Ben Zobrist in the kitchen.

Friday, April 15, 2011

DL Report: Joe Mauer

Bilateral Leg Weakness
The Twins placed catcher Joe Mauer on the 15-day DL after Thursday's game with what they call "bilateral leg weakness." ("Bilateral" means both legs.)

The surprise news sent many Twins fans to the internet to find out what "bilateral leg weakness" might be and what causes it. Unfortunately, since it's such a vague term, no one got any real answers. It could be anything from general fatigue, to Lyme disease, to a herniated disk, to a neurological disorder.

Prior to the game, Ron Gardenhire informed reporters that Mauer was not starting because "he was sore." He refused to elaborate further. So it's safe to say that "weakness" is probably accompanied by "pain."

It's important to remember that "bilateral leg weakness" is a symptom, not a diagnosis. At this time, no one knows what's causing it.

According to a radio interview with Bill Smith (on ESPN1500), the reason for the quick decision to put him on the DL has as much to do with the fact that he's one of only two catchers on the team than it does with the actual injury.

On Friday morning, the team announced that Mauer also suffered "flu-like" symptoms and spent some time in the hospital. So, it's entirely possible that some of the weakness could be caused by that. I know how achy I get when I have the flu.

As soon as the flu clears up enough so that he can travel, he'll go see the specialist in Baltimore he saw in 2009 when he had problems with his sacroiliac joint.

I have zero clinical expertise, by my lay-person opinion is that it might be related to his lower back, especially with his history with sacroiliitis. It's my sincere hope that it's not serious or long-lasting. I'll update when we know more.

The Twins purchased the contract of Steve Holm from AAA Rochester to fill the roster spot.

Scratch the back -- for now (well, not literally -- although I'm sure Joe wouldn't mind a nice back scratch). Prior to Friday's game, the Twins announced that Mauer was diagnosed with a viral infection. They believe that the achiness associated with the flu-like symptoms might be greatly magnifying his general "catcher soreness." They'll still need to check him out once he's feeling better; he has a pre-arranged appointment with that specialist in Baltimore on Monday (they schedule it every year when the Twins visit the Orioles).

It sounds like he's pretty sick. LaVelle E. Neal III from the StarTribune hinted that he might not be well enough to fly to Baltimore on Monday. Yuck. I've traveled sick; it's torture.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Royals at Twins: Uptight

Tuesday: Royals 3 - Twins 4 (10)
Wednesday: Royals 10 - Twins 5

Record: 4-7

Everybody is uptight. And the more the Twins lose, the more uptight they're going to get. It's time to relax and have some fun.

Well, the hitting is starting to come around. Cuddy had a great night at the plate on Tuesday by going 4-4. And on Wednesday, the Twins finally scored a run in the first inning. So that's something.

I'm getting worried about the starting pitching, and I'm really getting annoyed with the defense.

I don't really expect Duensing to repeat the fantastic season he had last year to the letter. But I gotta admit that I'm worried that he's overmatched, or at least he's feeling that way. I think that Gardy's naming him a starter so early in spring training may have put a lot of pressure on him. He's uptight; hopefully he can settle down and find a comfortable groove.

I'm more worried about Liriano. You can practically see how uptight he is. We all know how very good he can be -- it was just last year. But now he's tentative and meek. Gardy has been saying that he wants Frankie to worry less about strikeouts, and try pitching more to contact so he can go deeper into games. Which is fine, right up until his defense lets him down, and then he can't figure out what to do. At that point, all that "contact" turns into a bunch of "hits" and consequently, "runs." It's fairly well known that he's easily rattled -- "headcase" is a term that's thrown around a lot. Clearly he and Rick Anderson are tinkering, and he's still figuring out what he's trying to do. But asking him to pitch to contact when he has fill-ins for middle-infielders might be asking a bit much for someone who seems to get wigged out easily. Gardy needs to just let him pitch how he wants to pitch and Frankie just needs to learn how to relax and stop thinking. After all, in the wise words of Crash Davis, "don't think; it can only hurt the ball club."

Poor Frankie did have a lot of bad luck on Wednesday. With Tolbert playing short and Cuddyer playing second, he kind of didn't have much of a chance. There were a couple of plays I thought they should've made. I'm willing to cut Cuddy some slack -- he's truly filling in. But Tolbert was playing uptight and should know better -- he airmailed a ball in the first that probably unsettled Liriano from the get-go. Valencia also had a couple diving attempts both Tuesday and Wednesday that I thought maybe he should've made. Maybe I'm being a little tough on them, but I miss the days when the defense was excellent.

Anyway, I'm getting too uptight too. I need to relax.


I went to Wednesday's game. I got a chance to sit in those once-in-a-lifetime-you-can't-turn-them-down-because-you'll-never-get-a-chance-to-sit-there-again-ever seats. I also brought my nice camera. Needless to say, I may have taken a picture or two.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Some Crappy Pictures from Sunday's Game

I do have a nice camera, but it's a brute and I kind of hate carrying it around. My husband was already carrying a backpack of jackets, rain gear, and food, so there wasn't any way he was going to carry it. So, I used my phone to take some pictures of Target Field on Sunday. The pictures are ok when I didn't zoom in; they're crappy when I did.

At any rate, here they are:

It was a hazy, humid, and breezy day at the park.

But the rain stayed away, so it was decent weather for baseball.

They have Thome Homer countdown. It was at 589 before the game.

They're also counting down games until Bert gets inducted into the Hall of Fame.

They honored the UMD Bulldogs National Hockey Champions. Congrats, guys!

Scott Baker delivering. It was probably a ball.

Cuddy playing second base. He did all right.

T.C. waiting until the end of the half-inning so he can get on the field and shoot some shirts.

Big Jim at the plate.

I hope these folks got circled by Bert.

Jumbo-tron proposal. Except this isn't the right couple. Oopsie. Poor Dustin and Miranda.

They're changing Jim Thome's homerun countdown to 590. His homer landed in the concourse area right below the countdown sign. Boom!

Ok, you tell me... Does this say that Young and Kubel "'stuck' out swinging"? We couldn't really tell from where we were sitting.

That's it. Maybe next time I'll bring my good camera.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A's at Twins: Well...

Friday: A's 1 - Twins 2
Saturday: A's 1 - Twins 0
Sunday: A's 5 - Twins 3

Record: 3-6

"Well..." I've been saying that a lot this weekend (imagine it all snotty-like; it kind of sounds like "welp"). There were just a whole bunch of missed opportunities. The Twins were getting me all excited with a nice hit, just to disappoint me. "Well..." Sure, the Twins faced some good pitching, but was it really that good?

Fortunately on Friday, there were runners on base for Joe Mauer, so he could drive in the go-ahead run. The fielders couldn't do their usual shift for him. If the bases would have been empty, it would have been yet another ground out to second. That saved the home opener, and the series apparently.

Blackie's nice start on Saturday was absolutely wasted by much flailing of the Twins' bats. So much flailing in fact, that one little error -- ok, one big error -- cost the Twins the game. "Well..."

Sunday's game was a little better as far at the Twins runs were concerned. Thome's blast was a ton of fun. And what a blast it was. But there were so many other wasted opportunities to score. And Baker's pitching wasn't all that sharp. "Well..."

Oh, and that baserunning gaffe by Valencia? It was hard to tell from the stands if Jerry White was telling him to "go to two" ('cuz that what he do) not realizing that Liddle was holding Kubel, or if Danny just rounded first too far, assuming that Jason would go home. Either way, some one was a bonehead. "Well..."

The brightest spot of the whole weekend was Thome's blast. That ball flew out of Target Field so fast. It cleared the new batters' eye screen. I heard it crossed the concourse and hit one of the TVs that hang over the State Fair booth. Heh heh. 

I was at Sunday's game. I took some fun, albeit lousy, pictures. I'll post them sometime soon. I only had my phone, so the pictures aren't very good. I want to try to make them a little better.

High Five:

Only one this time: Jim Thome. #590

A pat on the back for Nick Blackburn for a really good effort.

DL Report:

The Twins placed RHP Kevin Slowey on the DL with what they're calling "shoulder bursitis." Kevin first indicated that it was biceps soreness, but after an MRI, the Twins reported it as a shoulder strain. Perhaps they reviewed the images again to determine bursitis. It's hard to pinpoint the cause; Slowey won't venture a guess. Gardy was uncharacteristically outspoken about it, indicating that Slowey needs to learn how to pitch from the bullpen. Phil Mackey of ESPN1500 has the full story here. I asked Phil via Twitter if Gardy sounded as chippy (I may have used the word "snotty") as those quotes seemed. Sometimes it's hard to get tone-of-voice from printed direct quotes and I wanted to give Gardy the benefit of the doubt -- maybe his words came across more diplomatically as I was reading them. Phil replied that, yes, he did.

Bursitis is inflammation or irritation of a bursa sac that protects and cushions a joint. In this case, it's in the right shoulder. There has been no timetable for return announced.

Right-hander Alex Burnett has been called up from AAA Rochester to take the roster spot.

Nishioka Update:

Nishi's broken fibula won't require surgery or even a cast. The break occurred in a place where there is quite a bit of muscle tissue that stabilizes the bone.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Twins at Yankees: On Moral Victories, Actual Victories, and Big Losses

Monday: Twins 3 - Yankees 4
Tuesday: Twins 5 - Yankees 4
Wednesday: PPD (Make-up game in September)
Thursday: Twins 3 - Yankees 4

Record: 2-4

I'm not sure if I should actually write a recap since the series isn't technically over. In fact, the Twins will have this whole there's-one-more-game-in-Yankee-Stadium thing hanging over their heads until September. But at any rate, it is slightly comforting to know the Twins won't get swept in this series.

At least this series wasn't terribly embarrassing. Baker and Duensing pitched well, except for those homeruns they dished up. But I am encouraged that they were able to settle down, make adjustments, and figure it out.

Of course, how much fun was it to see the Twins come back from a four-run deficit on Tuesday? It was absolutely thrilling to see Joe Nathan have a clean save. Sure, he still has more work to do regarding velocity and location -- and getting that slider. But, it's been a while since he's earned a save against the Yankees; he even had trouble when he was healthy.

The Twins seem to play the Yankees hard, and they're right there in the games. But yeah, the losing is getting old. These are winnable games. At least I don't feel demoralized by these losses; they're just like any other losses. I'm just annoyed.


1. Delmon Young, for his bases-clearing double on Tuesday to allow the Twins to come back and tie, and then go on to win.

2. Matt Capps, for pitching two clean innining on 8 pitches each on Tuesday.

3. Joe Nathan, for a better save on Tuesday than the last one.

DL Report:

The biggest loss, of course, is the injury to Tsuyoshi Nishioka. He suffered a broken fibula on a hard take-out slide by Nick Swisher.

Let's take a look at the Injury Paper Doll. Note that, according to Joe Christensen of the StarTribune, the break was just below the knee (I already had the paper doll made before I knew that and it's really a pain in the ass to fix, so just pretend that that red starburst is up a little).

There's no specific timetable for Nishi's return yet, but I've seen a number of reports that indicate that it might be a couple of months. And the pain may linger up to a year.

I didn't see Swisher's slide, but just about everyone who did said it wasn't dirty. The Twins, in fact, said it was fair. There's a replay here. Hard slides like that happen all the time in MLB. I'm not necessarily a fan of how Swisher's leg goes up like a kick. However, usually the infielder jumps or gets out the way. That style of hard slides may not be done in Japanese ball, and Nishi may have been caught off-guard.

It's quite unfortunate. Twins fans were very excited to greet him in Minnesota. And his parents flew in from Japan to see him at his home opener. Very, very bad luck.

I was glad to read that Swisher went to apologize to Nishi. Of course, Nishi apologized right back.

The Twins recalled Luke Hughes from AAA Rochester to take the roster spot.

Also Watching:

Kevin Slowey has been shelved for a couple days due to tenderness in his bicep. Hopefully it's nothing series and it feels better after rest.


Further Updates on the Charter Issues:

I received word from Eric, one of the Umatter2Charter non-bot humans, that Charter Communications has an agreement-in-principle with Fox Sports North to air the additional 44 games.

Yay! Thanks Charter! And thanks Eric!

See the comments section in my previous post to see his entire message.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Screw You Too, Charter: UPDATED

Writer's Note: I'm pissy, I'm venting, and I probably don't know what the hell I'm talking about. But I have something to say, and it's my blog... I've had a bad day, I'm mad, and I just want to get it all out there. I may even swear. Proceed accordingly.

I've never really had a beef with my cable company, Charter Communications. The signal is reliable, the HD channels look great, the On-Demand choices are good, and I don't feel we're being robbed price-wise. The DVR device could be a little easier to use, but it gets the job done, so I can't complain. Until today.

The bastards decided that they didn't want to air the Twins at Yankees game on Tuesday. And they may not feel like airing up to 45 other games either. Oh, and Dish Network, Mediacomm, and Cable One are bastards too.

Now, I did have a little heads up on the situation. Early Tuesday afternoon, I saw a link on Facebook to this article by 1500 ESPN. So I figured I'd better make a plan. I'm ok with listening to games on the radio, especially if I'm doing stuff outside. But since I'm crocheting a baby blanket that needs to get done soon (and I really should be working on it right now, but I need to calm down first -- angry crocheting is sloppy crocheting), I'd have preferred to watch it on TV. So I looked at Charter's website to verify. This is what I saw:

Okey dokey, I'm set, right? WRONG.

They did air the Twins Live program, so I happily watched that as I cooked supper (Asian beef noodle, by the way). Then right at 6:00 pm, my TV started showing poker. Friggen' poker?!

So, I did what I always do when I'm confused or disdained -- I went to Twitter.
I heard from a number of my Twitter friends who commiserated and comforted. I also heard from fans suffering the same fate. Oh, and notice how the Charter profile "is not staffed; however, of the Umatter2Charter Team Members will reply"? And, sure enough, I did get a reply. I suspect that a "Umatter2Charter Team Member" is a bot. (UPDATE: I stand corrected. In the comments section, there is a reply from Umatter2Charter that insists they are not bots. They're really just overworked non-bot humans. Good to know.) Here's their reply:

(I figure it's a bot, since I didn't get the reply from @CharterJeremy; I got it from @CharterGeorge)

I answered back with a snotty comment that maybe they should say something on their effing website about the game not airing. Five minutes worth of clicking around their site revealed nothing about it. I felt it was a little like false advertising. The Fox Sports North Twins page doesn't say anything about it either.

And to take it a step further, someone helpfully informed me that the game was on MLB Network, but when I finally tuned in to that, I saw the Boston at Cleveland game. To be fair, I chose to do some of the listen-to-the-radio-while-I-do-stuff-outside stuff for a while, so it may have been on and they switched it. However, I doubt it -- MLB Network generally airs entire games. It really smells like Charter wanted to make sure the game was blacked out by every means possible.

So, clearly, this is about money. I mean, when it comes to broadcast rights, what isn't about money? But I don't get why Charter wouldn't want to air every Twins game FSNorth carries. Of course, the details of the dispute aren't being revealed, but I have to assume that FSN wants more dough for those extra 45 games. And I suppose, Charter is playing chicken hoping that the advertisers grumble to FSN about losing some of the audience and consequently relents on the monetary demands.Who knows? As they "work in good faith" to provide a resolutions "that is in the best interest of the customers," who's really getting screwed? The customers are.

So, Charter, Dish Network, Mediacomm, and Cable One, considering that you're already airing 105 games, what's the harm in airing the other 45? I mean, seeing as how mad your customers are tonight, what are you gaining by showing us poker?

Oh, and when I started this rant, the Twins were down 0-4. At that point, I didn't feel so bad about missing the game. Apparently angry blogging is good luck for the Twins. Sucks for me.



I received a bunch of comments from folks who are equally pissy. I also received a comment from Charter. Be sure to read them.

So, our non-bot human Charter friend is trying to be helpful, and I'm sure he and his colleagues have the suckiest job on earth today. But, I'm not sure it was so important to explain that they're not bots, while failing to address the real issues here. Plus, he spelled my name wrong; I hate that.

Obviously, the biggest issue is their customers not seeing the games. Over a hundred other providers in Twins Territory have figured out a way to carry the games. When there only four hold-outs, I gotta think it's think it's the hold-outs' problem.

But the secondary, and also a very important, concern is their blatant lack of communication on the matter. I did finally get a reply from the Umatter2Charter non-bot human guys regarding the snotty comment I made about the schedule showing the game. He said "The guide couldn't be changed in time as negotiations continued today. We'll def let customers know once a decision is made." B. S. First of all, it's a website. You can change a website in about 4 minutes tops, and that includes booting up the computer. Secondly, I don't know, here's a thought: put the current schedule as it stands today on the website and correct it when you do finally come to an agreement!!! I did my due diligence as a customer to try to figure out if I could watch the game, and I was misled. And it's still listing misleading information on future games they won't air.

Additionally, Charter isn't telling customers which games are blocked. My husband stopped by the Charter office to ask about it, and the non-bot human behind the desk had no idea (he also didn't have a satisfactory answer to my husband's question about our not-so-easy-to-use DVR device -- he may as well have been a bot).

Here is a list from Fox Sports North of the games that will be blocked by Charter in April. And yes, these games are listed on the Charter website.

Also, check out The Sports Daddy's take on this. He did a much better job explaining the whole frustrating mess than I did. In spite of that, he did link back to my blog, which was great (thanks!) and generated a lot of traffic. Plus, he spelled my name right.

I'm done ranting about this for awhile. Now on to that crocheting.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Twins at Blue Jays: Working out the Rust

Friday: Twins a little - Blue Jays a lot (3-13)
Saturday: Twins 1 - Blue Jays 6
Sunday: Twins 4 - Blue Jays 3

Record: 1-2

There was a lot of rust for the Twins this series, but Sunday's win kept it from being a complete clunker.

Forgive me, I'm experiencing some rustiness. I haven't done a series recap in so long, I had to look up posts from a year ago to remember how.

Obviously, I'm not the only one who has some rust to work out. Pavano, Manship, D. Hughes looked very rusty. Liriano didn't look so sharp either.

It's hard to tell if Nishioka is suffering from rust or jitters. He's made some mistakes at second; some of them costly. I'm willing to give him a whole bunch of slack because he's got a lot to learn very quickly, but, man, some of those mental mistakes are hard to watch. I hope he's the type who learns from his mistakes and works hard to avoid them in the future. Anyway, I don't mean to be terribly critical; it's only been three games. I'm sure he'll settle in soon and be just fine.

Of course, the owner of the most rust was Joe Nathan. And understandably so. That save, which is his first since Oct. 3, 2009, was probably the most difficult, nerve-racking, excruciating, stressful, heart-thumping, nail-biting, prayer-inducing, hair-pulling, oh-my-god-Joe-just-get-him-out pleading performance I've ever witnessed. It very well could be a good thing it was that way. He had to have been extremely nervous, excited, and scared. And, though it wasn't a pretty save, he certainly earned it. It must have been a great boost to his confidence to face that challenge, stumble but not fall, and finally complete it mostly intact. All with Gardy believing in him enough to let him get that far (although you know he was done after that last batter). I'm sure Joe will be better next time. The only concern now is how his elbow feels after throwing that many pitches. Let's hope for the best, of course.

Another guy with more rust that the others is Justin Morneau. This series takes him back to the place where he suffered his season-ending concussion last year. He played in all three games, but DHed on Sunday. That's great progress. Unfortunately, he didn't his first hit until Sunday -- a broken-bat infield single. That's kind of amusing.


High Fives:

I've never really done this kind of thing before, but I may as well give some credit where credit is due. As long as the Twins aren't swept in a series, I'll try to figure out three players (or more, if I'm so inclined) who deserve a high-five.

1. Nick Blackburn. He was outstanding on Sunday. He pitched in and out with movement, and when the Jays made contact, it was weak. Well, except for Jose Bautista, but Nick's not going to be the last guy to give up a homerun to that guy.

2. Denard Span. He had a game-saving catch and a moonshot on Sunday. Plus, he's currently leading the team in batting.

3. Joe Nathan. Well, he earned a save. And by that, I mean, he really earned a save. Oh, if you watched the game on TV, did you notice how sweaty he was during the post-game interview? I guess he was a bit anxious.