Thursday, September 29, 2011

Well, That's That

For a season that focused so much time on remembering the past, 2011 was certainly forgettable.

Fans had the chance to fondly look back on the great careers of Harmon Killebrew, Bert Blyleven, and John Gordon and to celebrate the 1991 World Series team.

We also got to celebrate some great personal achievements: Jim Thome's 600th home run, Francisco Liriano's no-hitter, Michael Cuddyer's All Star Game selection, Joe Nathan's 255th save for the Twins record, Ben Revere's 32nd stolen base for the Twins rookie record.

All these things were terrific, and I really enjoyed them. I'm just sad that there weren't many other chances to cheer.

I'm grateful I chose to go to Wednesday's game. I wanted to say goodbye to the season. I'm grateful that the Twins played well for me and avoided that 100 loss thing. Sure, 99 losses is still a hella lot of losses, but it ain't 100.

I love that the 2011 debut of the Pavanostache resulted in such a fine performance. I hope Carl finally realizes that the 'stache is magical and that he's a much better pitcher with it than without it; add "keep the 'stache, Carl" to my 2012 Wish List.

I'm also grateful that I got one last chance to say goodbye to my two baseball boyfriends: Joe Nathan and Michael Cuddyer. I gave Cuddy a standing ovation during his final plate appearance. I'm a bit bummed that I didn't have the same opportunity for Joe Nathan, but I totally understand -- the power of the 'Stache was too strong for that kind of sentimentality. However, when Joe grabbed some mound dirt after the game was over, I lost my composure...I was inconsolably sniffly. I guess he doesn't think he'll be back. Sad.

So, after the playoffs and World Series try to distract us for a little while, we're faced with one of the strangest off-seasons the Twins have had in a while. They simply have to fix this.

It's a fact that some of the guys I saw play on Wednesday will be wearing different uniforms in 2012 -- some back to the minors; some with other organizations. I sincerely wish them all the best.

For the guys who will be back, I sincerely wish them the best, too. They all need to be healthy and ready to go for Spring Training.

And I'm already looking forward to pitchers and catchers reporting!


I hope that the playoffs provide at least half the excitement that the two wild card races did. Wow, huh?

I don't like to make predictions for post-season play, but I do like to pick rooting interests. So here we go:

  • I like the Cardinals to beat the Phillies (I consider the Cards my NL team),
  • I like the Brewers to beat the Diamondbacks (I know more about the Brewers),
  • I like the Tigers to beat the Yankees (for obvious reasons), and
  • I'm torn between the Rangers and the Rays -- but the Rays have the slight edge (I like their story, and I love Joe Madden).

Have fun with the small portions of baseball left for the year. The off-season can be kind of fun, but it doesn't keep me warm at night like actual baseball games do.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

2012 Wish List, Part VI: Take the Bullpen Seriously

Remember a year ago when one of the biggest gripes certain Twins fans could come up with was calling Jesse Crain "Crainwreck"? Remember a year ago when certain Twins fans were so fed up with Matt Guerrier they couldn't be bothered with pronouncing his name correctly?

Yeah...I wonder what those certain fans think about those guys now?

I miss them too.

I have to admit that the old cliche of you don't know what you've got until it's gone applies to me regarding the Twins bullpen of yesteryear. And as much I would love to have either one or both of those guys back, it's too late to rue the decisions of the past.

Too bad the present isn't much fun.

The current bullpen owns the worst cumulative ERA in all of baseball (4.53). The front office can't expect to win very many games when they can't trust the men at the back end of the game to preserve leads or, at the very least, keep the team close. Unfortunately, however, the front office has shown over the last few years that it doesn't worry too much about the state of the bullpen. Fans have been fed lines that everything will be ok with the guys we have for a while now.

We can't have Crain or Guerrier back (well, I suppose we could, but I doubt it). But that doesn't mean we have to be stuck with what we have.

Here's the plan I wish for:

Bring Nathan back. The Twins have a $12 million option to keep him one more year. That's pretty spendy; I don't see Bill Smith willing to pony up that kind of money. And frankly, that's too much for a relief pitcher. However, I would like the Twins to let him test the free agent market and then actively pursue him for less money. He turns 37 this off-season; his next multi-year contract will likely be his last. I can see him taking the security of more years and still make it affordable for the Twins.

Tender Glen Perkins another contract. I used to kind of hate him as a starter. I really like him as a set up man.

Find a new home for Kevin Slowey. His, um, philosophical differences with the team are simply too chaotic to overcome. He'll probably succeed elsewhere; he just doesn't fit with the Twins.

Put Anthony Swarzak and Brian Duensing back to the bullpen and keep them as middle-inning and long relievers.

Say good-bye to Phil Dumatrait, Jose Mijares, and Matt Capps. They simply don't pitch well enough and have proven that they can't be trusted. Maybe send Alex Burnett on his way as well.

Then, find good, reliable replacements. I like the promise that Lester Oliveros has shown, though I'm not sure he's really ready for the big leagues yet. He's only 23; let him earn a spot in spring training. Otherwise, make some trades and sign some new guys.

And maybe just make a quick phone call to Jesse Crain and Matt Guerrier.


Since I mentioned Matt Capps, here's his paper doll:

If I remember correctly, he was unavailable for a few games mid-season because he had some forearm soreness. Or was it shoulder? Elbow? I guess I can't remember correctly.

Anyway, he's the last one of the guys who were on the Opening Day roster.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wish List, Part V: Admit That Good-enough Pitching Isn't Good Enough

Why did the San Francisco Giants win the World Series last year? Why are the Tampa Bay Rays making a run at the AL East Wild Card spot?


Good pitching.

And good pitching is something the Twins lack. To be honest, the Twins have been lacking good, reliable, consistent starting pitching since Johan Santana was traded.

Of course, there are Twins with potential to be aces, but for one reason or another, none of them have fulfilled their promise.

Scott Baker probably has the best chance of becoming an ace pitcher, but frankly, he's been on the verge of becoming an ace for six years now. Six...years. He has a hard time staying healthy, and when he is healthy, he has flashes of inconsistency.

Francisco Liriano has the stuff to be an ace, but he doesn't have the head for it. He lacks the confidence he used to have, and he doesn't always make smart pitching decisions. He also seems to have a hard time staying healthy.

Carl Pavano isn't really ace material. He's been a tad more consistent than the others, but he's not performing like he did at the end of 2009 and all of 2010. Or maybe he is, but the sub-par defense behind him is making it harder on him.

Brian Duensing is better suited for the bullpen. Kevin Slowey may be better suited for the bullpen as well, but he doesn't want to go there. Nick Blackburn is only good in May and Game 163.

And on it goes.

The Twins have been getting away with good-enough pitching for the last few years. Ever since the Johan trade, the start of every season has started with the media predicting second or third in the division because "they just don't have the pitching." But, with all those gloom-and-doom predictions, the Twins found ways to squeeze good seasons out of their rotation. Unfortunately, the karma of getting by with a crew of three-, four-, and five-starters has caught up with the them.

Solving the problem, of course, is going to be a lot more difficult than me sitting here wishing for a solution. There isn't exactly a pitcher Genie lamp that Bill Smith rub and out pops an ace. There are a few good free agent pitchers available, but of course the really good ones will be expensive.

I'm in no position to speculate on which free agent or trade candidate the Twins should target. I'm pretty certain that neither Mark Beurhle nor CC Sabathia (if he opts out of his contract) will be getting any calls from the 612 area code. However, Smith and company must -- must -- resist the urge to pull one off the scrap heap (just say no to Livan!).

But if there were a pitcher Genie lamp, I'd wish for C. J. Wilson.


Since I mentioned Carl Pavano, here's his paper doll:

I find it a curious coincidence that the man who has the most infamous history of being injury-prone (pre-Twins), is the only starting pitcher to not go down at all the in the most infamous year of injury and illness.

He hasn't missed a start, and as far as I recall, he hasn't come out of a game because he got hurt. Although, we all worried about him hurting himself during some of the dugout rages he engaged in this season.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

C'mon! Enough Already! (Injury and Illness Update)

Good grief! I don't know what the Twins did to piss off the injury and illness demons, but they had better figure it out and correct it really quickly before things get any more serious.

Let's take inventory, shall we:

We already know that Nick Blackburn's season is over.

Joe Mauer's season is over. He has been diagnosed with "mild" pneumonia, and he needs to rest for two weeks -- which will take up the rest of the season. Mild pneumonia, often called "walking" pneumonia, is the least serious of the pneumonia infections, and it usually doesn't require hospitalization. This is not to say that Joe's not miserable. Pneumonia of any strain is an infection of the lungs. He can probably walk around and do some light activity, but he's got a bad cough and probably has a hard time catching his breath when he runs.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka's season is over. He has a nagging oblique strain that just doesn't seem to be getting better, so the Twins shut him down. According to LaVelle E. Neal of the Star Tribune, the Twins have sent him on his way with instructions for an off-season workout program.

Justin Morneau's season is most likely over. He's still fighting concussion symptoms and now he's got the flu. The concussion symptoms are quite worrisome because they reappeared after he made a somewhat routine play attempt at first base. This article by Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports explains just how scary and frustrating Justin's situation is.

Jason Kubel's season is most likely over. The foot injury he suffered earlier in the season has flared up again, and he's in quite a bit of pain. He'll have it looked at more during the off-season.

Denard Span's season might be over. He also can't shake off the concussion symptoms and migraines.

Scott Baker is still on the DL with a forearm strain. He hopes to be able to pitch out of the bullpen soon.

Alexi Casilla is still on the DL with a hamstring strain. He hope to be able to play before the end of the season.

Danny Valencia has the flu.

Ben Revere just got over having the flu.

Brian Duensing just got over having the flu.

Fransico Liriano pitched two innings out of the bullpen on Saturday. So that's good news.


Since we're talking about injuries and whatnot, here's Michael Cuddyer's paper doll:

Michael Cuddyer missed several games in August due to a sore neck. Then when he came back from that, he was promptly hit in the wrist by a pitch.

He played the day after he was hit by the pitch after verifying with medical staff that playing wouldn't damage it further and all he needed to do would be manage the pain.

This, of course, riled up columnist Jim Souhan, who praised Cuddyer's toughness (kind of omitting the fact that he missed time from the neck the week before) and used him as an example to prove that Joe Mauer is soft. Cuddyer, of course, wasn't able to play particularly well with the sore wrist.

Of course, all that put some bloggers and fans into a small snit (Souhan puts people into snits pretty regularly). A lot of folks (not wrongly so) kind of used him as an example that playing hurt is not necessarily a good option.

Once rosters expanded, Cuddyer missed some time to get the wrist feeling better.

I don't think it mattered too much either way whether he played hurt or not. He played when the team despirately needed warm bodies, and it wasn't like his poor play blocked anyone else from getting a chance. Then, when there were warm bodies, he sat. No problem.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

2012 Wish List, Part IV: Find Out If the Clone of Mike Redmond Is Available

It's pretty clear by now that Joe Mauer has, and may always have, durability issues. Granted, he may come back strong in 2012 and never get hurt again, but that's pretty unlikely. And even if it does turn out that way, he still can't catch every single day.

Clearly, a competent back-up catcher is a requirement on any good team. And, I'm sorry to say, Drew Butera isn't one.

I like Drew. He seems like a great guy, he's fun to follow on Twitter, and I'm sure he's good to his parents. But he shouldn't be considered a major league catcher. Not even a major league back-up catcher.

Now, I defended Drew in the past. Or rather, I defended Carl Pavano's apparent bromance with Drew. But that's when he was batting among eight professional hitters, so it wasn't as much of a problem then. Now, with effective batting such a scarcity, the Twins can ill-afford to tolerate an automatic out at any spot in the lineup.

It's true that Drew is a good defensive catcher. However, I think that aspect of the game is overrated. His ability to block pitches in the dirt and throw out baserunners simply can not overcome his offensive liability. If you think about it, any catcher's defensive game maybe saves a run a game. Maybe. But he comes to the plate three to four times a game.

His .140 batting average and .196 on-base percentage are unsatisfactory for a bench player; they're absolutely unacceptable for someone with 227 plate appearances (compared to Joe Mauer's 202 PAs when he catches). And, to be honest, as skilled as Drew is on the defensive side, I'm not completely sure that another catcher wouldn't be just as good. I'm also pretty sure that most any other catcher would be acceptable for Carl Pavano (and if he isn't, tell Pavano to suck it up, buttercup).

Rene Rivera isn't the answer, either (.152/.202).

So, the Twins can no longer assume that Joe Mauer will be healthy for an entire season, place a warm body in the back-up role, and hope for the best. I do believe that Joe will have a much better season in 2012, and I'm hopeful that his weak-legs days will be behind him for good, but the Twins need to fill the back-up catcher spot with a substantive player.

I'm not asking for a guy who's going to win the Silver Slugger. But I am asking for someone who will, at least, be within earshot of the Mendoza line.

And I'm not alone in this assessment. Twins Geek wrote this thought-provoking post about the subject and then discussed it with Aaron Gleeman on their podcast. (I encourage you to check out their podcast -- they also reviewed the movie "Moneyball." And since you're there, check out that sweet logo, created by your favorite k-bro.)

Unfortunately, I'm not in a position to say who the Twins should target via free agency or trade. But, I'm certain that Bill Smith can find out a lot easier than I can. He just has to do it and see it through.


Since we're on the subject of Drew Butera, here's his paper doll:

Drew does have the distinction of having the first paper doll to not have an arrow pointing to some kind of pain or another. Which isn't to say that he isn't suffering from pain or fatigue of some sort; he is a catcher after all. But as far as I'm aware, no specific soreness, tenderness, pull, tweak, strain, sprain, tear, fracture, or break has been reported.

I hope I didn't just jinx him by putting this here.

Also, his arms seem disproportionately large, don't they? 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

2012 Wish List, Part III: Couples Counseling for Gardy and Danny

About three weeks ago, Ron Gardenhire and Danny Valencia had a bit of a tiff. A quarrel. A misunderstanding. And the they should do something about it before things blow up.

Gardy says that Danny stands up too straight when going for balls on his to his left and that he needs to get better jumps.

Danny says that he know that he needs to work on his defense, but also adds that you can't win any games when the team doesn't score any runs.

Danny was benched the next day.

Ok, so this little spat doesn't seem like much of anything. However, over the course of this whole season, the relationship between the two seems weird -- and unlike Gardy's relationships with the other players.

It's true that Danny hasn't lived up to everything he showed us last year. But, really, who on the team has? It's odd however, with as deep as this team is in fault, Gardy seems to single Danny out more than the rest of them (except for maybe Kevin Slowey, but he wasn't with the team enough to have to endure too much). And what's odder is that it's not really Gardy's style to call out guys to the media.

Guys like Nishioka, Young, and even Cuddyer have laid out some defensive miscues (don't even get me started on the pitching miscues) without a peep, but Gardy seems to keep his magnifying glass on Danny.

Now, Gardy's expectations of Danny might be a little higher than they are for others, and rightly so. Last year, we all saw the quality of player Danny can be, and Gardy wants him to build on that. So Gardy's probably trying to handle Danny with a little tough love to encourage some more drive. But it doesn't seem like Danny's getting that message.

It's no secret that Danny's a confident guy. But his willingness to refute Gardy's observations, also to the media, makes it seem like he's not listening.

I have no doubt that Danny has the desire to improve, and I also have no doubt that Danny knows what he needs to work on. So, he just needs to figure it out and get better, and Gardy will be happy.

And Gardy needs to give Danny some slack and remember to air out his beefs privately, and Danny will be happy.

And while a happy third-baseman probably won't fix all the Twins problems, it is one that's pretty easy.


Speaking of Danny, here's his paper doll.

For the most part, Danny has been pretty durable. He's had a few games off here and there, usually just as a break.

He sat out Sunday's game with a sore shoulder. After an off-day on Monday, he was able to return to action on Tuesday.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

2012 Wish List, Part II: Take Care of the Foundation

The minor league teams are very important pieces to any Major League team. These teams are where young players develop their talents and learn the speed of the game. The minor leagues are preparation for the big leagues just like grade school, middle school, and high school prepares students for college -- people have to succeed at every level in order to move to the next...and the really good ones move along faster.

Of course, the minor leagues differ from my college analogy in that everyone kind moves along at different paces, and the really talented players -- the ones who are on the 40-man roster -- kind of sit "on call" in case there is a need on the big league team. Those players need to be ready for prime time at a moment's notice, while they still contribute to the team they're on.

However, these teams are much more than just claw machines full of bodies waiting to be plucked by the big league team. These are actual professional baseball teams with sponsors, advertisers, season-ticket holders, and loyal fans. They want to be competitive and they want to win. And they rely heavily on their big league teams to help them succeed. These teams, at all levels, provide the foundation for the future of the big league team.

Unfortunately, everything surrounding the AAA affiliate Rochester Red Wings has been a shambles the last couple years. They're a proud team that dates back to 1877. However, they have been terrible the last two years, with a combined record of 102-186. This absolutely needs to improve.

Of course, they've been the victim of some very bad luck. It's difficult to play well and win with the amount of thrash they've suffered due to all the injuries on the Twins team. However, at least in the Twins' front office opinion, they've also suffered from some unsatisfactory managing and coaching.

At least the Twins are aware there are problems and are working to resolve them. The Red Wings on-field manager Tom Nieto and hitting coach Floyd Rayford have been let go. There have been rumblings and rumors that the players didn't like playing under Nieto. And, earlier in the season, Ron Gardenhire, among others, questioned the Red Wings' focus on fundamentals.

The Twins insist that they fired Nieto and Rayford strictly due to on-field performance and that it had nothing to do with the readiness of the players who were called up. However, it's clear that the players who were called up could've been more prepared.

Now that they've taken the first step to turning the Red Wings around, the Twins still have more work to do to make them into winners again. Winning teams generate confidence in the players, and that confidence will translate into their big league play when they're called up.

The Twins need to limit the number of injuries on their big league squad (a rant for another wish list post) so that they're not plucking so many Rochester players out.

Also, even though they say they didn't do these firings because of player development, the Twins need to make player development and fundamental baseball skills a priority when they hire the new staff. The players should come to the AAA level with good fundamental skills, but they also need to move up to big league level with even better fundamental skills.

And, lastly, the Twins need to continue to reinforce the good relationship they have with the Red Wings organization. The player development contract between the Red Wings and the Twins is due to expire after the 2012 season, and the Twins need to impress the Red Wings enough to ensure a contract renewal.

If the Twins support the Red Wings in their effort to become winners, the Red Wings, in turn, will support the Twins.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Roster Shuffle

As I've mentioned before, organizations may now activate their entire 40-man roster to the big league club if they want to. Of course, because we're talking about the 2011 Twins, 40 men simply isn't enough. With so many guys (both with the Twins and with the Red Wings) still hurting, an over-taxed bullpen, and an unfortunately-timed double header scheduled for Monday, the Twins are forced to do some creative roster shuffling just to get through with full line up cards for the next few days.

After Jim Thome was traded, there was one open roster spot. However, the Twins figure they need to add three guys in order to manage for awhile. Nick Blackburn has been moved to the 60-day roster to clear another spot, thereby ending his season. It's unfortunate that things came to this; Blackie was hoping he could return yet this season. RHP Kyle Waldrop and OF Brian Dinkleman have been called up to provide relief pitching and bench help.

The Twins have announced that RHP Liam Hendriks, who started 15 games in AA New Britain and 9 games in AAA Rochester this season, will start Tuesday against the White Sox. A corresponding roster move hasn't been announced yet, but many people speculate that Denard Span will be moved to the 60-day DL as well. This seems to me to be the likely scenario because they can't announce it until they speak to Denard. This is also unfortunate; he just returned to Minnesota to begin working out after spending several days at his home in Florida resting.

However, I do want to congratulate Hendriks and Waldrop for their first big-league call ups and Dinkelman for his return.


Remember how I promised to make paper dolls for the few guys who haven't landed on the DL or been sent down to the minors this season? Well, I didn't mean that they had to get hurt and come out of a game early to get it...

Brian Duensing came out of Saturday's game after only 1 1/3 innings with a right oblique strain. He said he felt it during warm ups, but he tried to pitch through it. However, he started favoring it which affected his pitching, and catcher Rene Rivera thought he shouldn't stay in.

After the game, he said he hoped it wasn't serious and that he was day-to-day. If it does turn out to be more than that, the Twins won't have to put him on the DL to make room on the active roster. The only reason they'd put him on the DL is to put him on the 60-day DL to make room on the 40-man roster. Things would have to spiral totally out of control for that to happen. So don't be surprised.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

2012 Wish List, Part I: Admit Your Mistake on the Nishioka Experiment

A note from k-bro: We're all in agreement that the Twins are merely playing out the rest of 2011 with no hope of October baseball. So I have a whole bunch of ideas on how to improve the team (and by "improve the team," I mean "make me happy") for 2012 and the future. Like, about 84 bizillion words' worth of ideas (because none of us wants to live through this again). And rather than putting all those words in one long post, causing you to choke on your coffee and skip the whole thing, I'll chunk them up over a series of posts. I know that doing this kind of thing seems like an off-season activity, but frankly, I've nothing of value to say now anyway, so I'll just go for it. Besides, I don't want to forget what I wanted to say.

Step 1: Respectfully inform Tsuyoshi Nishioka that, come Spring Training, he must legitimately beat out Trevor Plouffe for the spot on the roster. If he can't, either send him down or buy out his contract so he can move on.

When Nishioka was signed, we all expected that he would require a pretty generous adjustment period. A new country and a faster style of play would be a lot to take in and adapt to. I was thinking he would need, like, a month...

Now, as the season is nearing an end, he is still playing like a boy among men. He's tentative both in the field and at the plate. He has limited range, he can't throw well, and he backs out of the batter's box when he's hitting. He never drives the ball, but he doesn't really slap it well either. And the broken leg he suffered back in April probably sapped a lot of his speed.

Obviously, the scouts saw something of value in him, or the Twins would never have signed him; he didn't make up all those accomplishments he achieved in Japan. The expectations around him seemed real and reasonable, and, because of that, the Twins front office seems to have redoubled its commitment to sticking with him for the future. It was pretty costly to bring him here  -- not only did they have to pay his posting fee and his contract, but they also traded JJ Hardy to make room for him -- and it sounds like they don't want to admit failure.

However, this whole situation is a mess. I think fans would be more tolerant if there were some real signs of improvement. But this lack of discernible progress should indicate that his ability to play in the MLB has likely plateaued. It's time to end the experiment and move on. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Meaning of September First

Well, August was sure ugly for the Twins and their fans. Time to turn the calendar and hope for better. Unfortunately, it's too late for "better" to make any difference regarding importance. However, I'll still be watching the games, and winning is simply more fun than losing. So, let's do that.

So, now that it's September 1, things are a little different.

Roster Expansion:

As of September 1st, MLB active rosters may expand from 25 men to up to 40 men. If a guy is on a team's 40-man roster, he may be called up to the big league team to get some experience. This is a great opportunity for the minor leaguers to show off their stuff and for the big league starters to get extra days of rest.

I can't imagine that the Twins have many guys they want to bring up; most of the guys they'd want to see are already up. The Twins have called up P Jim Hoey for Friday's game. The Red Wings' season ends on Monday, so maybe some others get called up too.


The deadline to trade for players and still include them on the playoff roster was at midnight (ET) August 31. That means, come September 1st, trades become very, very unlikely. There's no point for teams to add guys now since their roster is expanding anyway. So the guys still wearing Twins uniforms now will continue to until the end of the season.

The End of the DL:

The whole point of the Disabled List is to take men off the 25-man roster so that someone else can take that spot. Since the rosters are expanded to the full capacity, there's no need to make roster moves. So, now, if a guy gets hurt, he'll just sit on the bench.

So, that also means no more DL paper dolls. However, there are six guys from the opening day roster who didn't land on the DL or get sent down to the minors. Just so they don't feel bad, I'll make them each a paper doll  sometime during the month of September.

September Food For Wins:

The last two years, I've donated food items to my local food shelf based on the number of Twins wins from September 1st until they clean out their lockers for the year. I do this because, come September, the season is a grind and it's fun to have a little incentive to keep watching the games.

I'll do the same this year, but this time I'll donate cash. Food shelves can buy more items for the money than I can. Besides, I'm sick of listening to my husband complain about all the bags of food that take up our dining room.

So, for every Twins win from now until the end of the season, I will donate $2. However, since I'm not completely confident that the Twins will run the gamut of winning this month, I pledge the minimum amount will be $25.

If you have the means or ability, I encourage you to find a way to improve your community, your state, your country, or your planet in some way during this month. If you're short on cash, consider donating your time -- Feed My Starving Children is a terrific organization. If that doesn't interest you, think about donating blood. Heck, even conserving energy, using less plastic, or cutting back on water consumption helps.

We're lucky to be able to spend our leisure time watching and caring about the great game of baseball. We could be an awesome power for good.