Sunday, October 31, 2010

Notes: Oct. 31, 2010

Just a few quick notes for the week:

Happy Halloween! Here's is my jack-o'-lantern for this year:

Pretty cool, huh? The stencil is available on the Twins website.


Earlier in the week, the Twins made two of the many decisions they face this off-season. They picked up the 2011 option for Jason Kubel, and he'll make $5.5 million. They also declined the 2011 option for Nick Punto, allowing him to become a free agent.

I'm not surprised by either of these moves. Jason Kubel is still relatively cheap for his production, and he could possibly be used as trade bait -- or not. Punto, on the other hand was set to make $5 million next year -- a lot of dough for a bench utility player.

Because Nicky is a free agent, there's still a chance the Twins could sign him to a new contract, but it would have to be for like $1 million or so. He's still one of my favorite infielders, so I kind of hope he comes back, but I won't be surprised if he doesn't.


Oh, I forgot to tell you, this blog is the proud sponsor of the Joe Nathan page on When I need baseball stats, BR is my go-to place. They rely on sponsorships or advertising to keep doing what they do, and they do excellent work. When I saw that Joe's page was available for a reasonable price, I pounced.


Here is another video of CJ Wilson. He drives sweet cars. Is there any doubt why I love him? He might have to be my favorite non-Twin. Better still, the Twins should try to get him. (Now waking up from dreamland.)


So far, this World Series has surprised me. I expected the pitching to be better. I expected the Rangers to be better. If this is going to seven games, things have to improve for the Texas nine.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

World Series Matchups: Fangirl Edition

As I mentioned before, this is the first World Series in a while where I have no one I'm particularly rooting for or against. Which, if you think about it, is pretty exciting. I can watch the games, genuinely hope for the best for both teams, and enjoy some good baseball.

So, because I'm free to root for individual player without guilt, I thought it'd be fun if I presented a head-shot-to-head-shot matchup of the two rosters. I know, I know, you can't swing a virtual baseball bat in the Internets without knocking over handfuls of essays on head-to-head matchups. I'm sure all those gifted writers did due diligence with research and analysis. And that's great. But none of those essays present information that's truly meaningful to me... my entertainment.

So while the other writers look at batting average, ERA, win probability added, value over replacement player, or whatever, I'll look at what's really important: attractiveness, entertainment value, and rooting-interest over average guy. In other words, this is complete based on who do I think is coolest.

And, no matter who wins, I would love it if it went to seven games.

(Forgive the table formatting. My HTML editor is weak, at best. And I don't have the patience to make it perfect. And, if you're used to working in HTML, you get it...)

Starting Pitchers (Probables)

Cliff Lee: I've admitted in the past that I'm not necessarily a fan of Cliff Lee as a person. But have you seen him pitch lately? Yeah, the way he owned batters throughout the playoffs was breathtaking. I'm willing to set aside my personal differences to root for a great pitcher.

Tim Lincecum: I've always like Timmy. They call him the Freak, because of his unique pitching mechanics, and, well, look at him. Plus he's freaky good at pitching.Yes, I want him to cut his hair (at least trim off the split ends), but I do like to watch him pitch.

C.J. Wilson: Another pitcher I've liked for awhile, C.J. made a great transition from relief pitcher to starter. But, I like him best because he's all the awesome. He Twitters (@str8edgeracer), and he's funny. Also, well, just watch this, and you'll agree.

Matt Cain: I gotta be honest, I don't know much about him, but I read that he hasn't given up an earned run in all of the playoffs, and that's pretty cool. But, you know, he's kind of funny looking.

Colby Lewis: He's got a great story. Apparently, in the last few years, he's pitched for approximately eleventyteen different teams, including Japan. And then he pitches out of his mind in the playoffs and drives me crazy -- in a hot-pitching kind of way.

Jonathan Sanchez: Ok, that whole little incident in the NLCS with Chase Utley with the plunking and the harmless soft tossing of the ball and the swearing and the just turned me off. If the guy can't keep his head, it makes for not-so-fun pitching.

My Entertainment Advantage: Rangers

Neftali Feliz: What is he? Thirteen? I don't know. Doesn't matter, because what I do know is that he's fantastic. I love, love, love that a rookie pitcher can be such a good closer.

Brian Wilson: (Ok, yeah, I photoshopped the beard -- his head shot had him clean-shaven. But, hey, my version looks about as good as his.) So, Wilson's success may or may not be attributed to that ridiculous beard. Yeah, he makes things interesting when he pitches, but he gets the job done.

My Entertainment Advantage: Rangers

Bengie Molina: Fun fact: no matter who wins the World Series, Bengie gets a ring. Since he was traded from the Giants to the Rangers mid-season, and the Giants have decided that any players who contribute qualify. Not bad. Oh, and he did a great job with the Rangers after the trade.

Buster Posey: Another kid who looks like he played on my son's 14-year-old youth team, he earned the confidence of the team enough to trade away Molina. And he didn't disappoint. He's had a great rookie year; he's even getting ROY consideration, even though he only played half the season. Oh, and he has a very cool name.

My Entertainment Advantage: Giants

First Basemen
Gotta admit here, I don't know very much about either one of these...

Mitch Moreland: The better-looking one.

Aubrey Huff: The one I've heard of before.

My Entertainment Advantage: Draw

Second Basemen
Ian Kinsler: I've had a crush on Ian Kinsler for a while because he is cu-ute. Oh, and he's really good at playing second base and hitting baseballs.

Freddy Sanchez: Another one I don't know much about.

My Entertainment Advantage: Rangers

Third Basemen
Michael Young: Is pretty good at baseball.

Pablo Sandival: Is adorable.They call him "Kung Fu Panda" because, well...look at him. Sure, he's a big dude -- ok, he's a really big dude -- and he jiggles when he runs, but he's always smiling. And he's got more range than you'd think a big dude would have.

My Entertainment Advantage: Giants

Elvis Andrus: He's another one who always has a smile on his face. He plays with so much confidence and joy, it's fun to watch him.

Juan Uribe: Honestly, when I started watching the playoffs, when he stepped into the box for the first time, I thought "wow, he still plays?". He splits time at short with Edgar Renteria, another guy who I thought "wow, he still plays?" about.

My Entertainment Advantage: Rangers

Left Fielders
David Murphy: Sorry. Don't know much about him. He looks young.

Pat Burrell: I know he's been around a long time. He's older than he looks. Actually, not really.

My Entertainment Advantage: Push

Center Fielders
Josh Hamilton: He is very, very good at baseball. In fact, he's likely to win the AL MVP, and he deserves it.

Andres Torres:  He has a long face.

My Entertainment Advantage: Rangers

Right Fielders
Nelson Cruz: I love Nelly. He's good. They had him in left field one game, and he made a really nice play. I respectfully requested him to be my everyday left fielder. I'm still awaiting his reply.

Cody Ross: He hit a lot of homeruns during the playoffs. But I hated the eye-black.

My Entertainment Advantage: Rangers

Rangers: They have the rallying cries -- the Claw, an air-high-five when they do something good; and the Antlers, like a deer when they do something good using their speed. I always love a good rallying cry; the fact that they have two doubles the fun.

Giants: They have the characters -- the Freak, the Panda, the Kid, the Beard, the Eye-black. They also have the orange rally towels, which looks really cool when the whole crowd is waving them.

My Entertainment Advantage: Rangers

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The World Series Picture

Congratulations to the Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants for making it to the World Series.

It promises to be a fun series, and I'm looking forward to watching.

Now, if only I didn't have to wait 3 stinking days to watch baseball again...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

In No Particular Order or Of No Particular Importance

So the debilitating pain I was suffering 10 days ago has subsided a bit. It still smarts, though. Watching the other postseason games helps diffuse the depression...well, until the offseason. I guess I'll worry about that when it gets here.

But, since I'm still feeling discombobulated, I can't string together enough coherent thoughts to put together a decent post. However, I do have several haphazard, uncoordinated, random, unconnected, and probably uninteresting, snippets of thoughts I thought I'd share.


Thanks to XM radio and the MLB app on my phone, I've been able to listen to a variety of teams' radio announcing crews this postseason: Rays, Phillies, Giants, Rangers, and Reds. Baseball on the radio reminds me of good childhood memories. I really like listening to good broadcasters, and I enjoy hearing the different personalities. And, I'll tell you what, they're all better than Dan Gladden.


Watching the ALCS series on TBS has been positively eye-roll worthy. Their camera work is weak, and their little Pitch Trax strike-zone indicator seems to be off, but the worst is the announcing. They constantly use cliches, they bloviate endlessly about minutiae, and they constantly kiss Yankee ass. Plus, they're ugly and their mothers dress them funny (I'm looking at you, Craig Sager). The only thing that keeps them from being completely insufferable is that every once in a great while, John Smoltz will say something kind of witty.

But, hey, it could be worse. At least none of them are Chip Caray.


I've always opposed to the use of instant replay in baseball. I find my position softening somewhat for postseason play. The importance of everything in these games is elevated so much, and reviewing tough calls (not balls and strikes) might not be a big deal.

I don't know. I'll still have to think about how I feel about it.


In case there was any doubt as to why Yankee fans are hated so much by all other baseball fans:
This is the fan who interfered with Nelson Cruz as he tried to catch Robinson Cano's "homerun". We see him here in mid-histrionics trying to...oh, hell, I have no idea what's he's trying to prove. Yeah, homeboy, you're oh-so-fly with your hat all sideways and your mad hott ball-stealing skillz. Stay classy, Yankee fans.


Speaking of Yankees, a funny thought occurred to me during the game on Monday. Remember when Brett Gardner hit that little infield blooper and he slid headfirst into first and he got called out because Cliff Lee was covering the bag and Gardner was afraid his hand would get stepped on so he pulled it away so he was out and then he and Lee almost got tangled up and it was just really lucky that no one got hurt? Well, I imagined that right after the game, Gardner got a text message from the Yankees front office scolding him for almost injuring their big money off-season free agent signing. Can't be hurting the next Yankee ace pitcher, now can we, Brett?


I had a dream about Jim Thome the other night. The director of my department gathered us all together in a common area to let us all know that they had to let poor Jim go. I looked over to his cubicle to see him putting his belongings in one of those lid-less boxes with handles. He looked kind of sad. I was kind of sad looking at him.

I have no idea what this dream means. I hope it doesn't really mean what it obviously seems like it means.


Clearly, a partial meaning of that dream is that I'm worried about this coming offseason. In the past, I didn't give potential moves, free-agents, trades, etc. much thought. I figured whatever happens, happens. But this time, there is so much potential for thrash and change, I wound up making a spreadsheet.

If you know me at all, you know that it's a big deal for me to make a spreadsheet. It's almost as difficult as learning another language. Seriously. It might even be as difficult as understanding the BCS.


So, obviously, I'm in full-on "anyone but the Yankees" mode. So, clearly I want the Rangers to go to the Series. And, I'm bored with the Phillies. So, I want the Giants to go to the Series.

But, after that? I have no idea. If I get my wish, I'll have absolutely no rooting interest in the World Series. I'll have absolutely no denouncing interest in the World Series. I guess I'll watch because I like baseball.

We'll see.


Carl Pavano is a finalist for the "Robert Goulet Memorial Mustached American of the Year" award. No, seriously. This is a real thing.

Think about it...Carl grows his 'stache and next thing you know, he starts pitching like a beast. Where would the Twins have been without that epic 'stache? And remember how much fun all of Twins Territory had with it?

So, go vote. Vote for Carl. Vote for the Twins.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Quick Food Drive Update

So, the Twins didn't finish off the season as strong as we all hoped. But they did great enough so that I counted up 48 food items to donate to the food shelf in my community. I really enjoy doing this food drive.

Notice, on the right, there's a bunch of potato packets? Those are for the Thome Taters. Get it?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Judicious Response

Here is my totally rational, completely thoughtful, entirely balanced, extensively researched, absolutely discerning, fully reasonable, thoroughly examined, wholly intellectual, appropriately levelheaded, and copiously objective analysis of the Twins - Yankees series: ...



I effing hate the Yankees.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Memo To Baseball Gods

To: Baseball Gods
From: k-bro, on behalf of Twins Territory
Date: 6-OCT-2010
Subject: ALDS Yankees v. Twins

Thank you for taking a moment to read my memo; I know that you are quite busy preparing to watch the exciting MLB games. I have a few concerns regarding tonight's Yankees - Twins game, and I hope you can help.

If I've learned anything from the movie Angels In the Outfield (the one starring Christopher Lloyd), it's that neither you nor your angels are allowed to influence the outcome of championship games. I respect that. I also suspect that some of you may be former Yankees, so me asking for a little push for the Twins likely is a fool's errand. However, there are some things you may be able to influence that will improve the enjoyability of the games for everyone involved.

I don't know if you know Mother Nature well, but I suspect that you do since Target Field was blessed with excellent weather all season. Twins fans really appreciated that. So, if you do have pull with her, if you don't mind, please ask her for continued nice weather at Target Field. It's important for Minnesotans to convince the national media that we don't perienially live in igloos and wear mukluks, and we don't want the ESPN folks' brains to freeze any more than they already are. It seems as if she's already blessed us with temperate conditions -- the next two days are forecasted to be nicer in Minnesota than in New York -- so please thank her for that.

Speaking of media-folk, many fans who are unable to attend the games are forced to watch the broadcasts at home or at their favorite drinking establishment. If I remember last year's playoffs correctly, the broadcasting crews left quite a bit to be desired. Baseball fans everywhere were tickled that you managed to get Chip Caray fired from TBS. Would it be possible to find a way to influence this year's announcers to be intellegent, fair, and interesting while at the same time erasing stupid cliches from their memorybanks? Also, if you have time to set Craig Sager's wardrobe locker ablaze, I would greatly appreciate it.

Another issue from last year's playoffs I'd like you to help with is the umpiring. As you may be aware, there were a number of questionable calls that greatly interfered with the outcome of the games. Yes, it's true that Phil Cuzzi, the one who blew the call on Joe Mauer's hit, is not scheduled to officiate during this series, but his was not the only rotten call. So, if you please, bless all the umpires with perfect eyesight, fair hearts, uncanny knowledge of the rules, and correct calls.

Finally, I'd like to ask that you protect all the players from injury, even the Yankees. While my hatred for the Yankees cannot be overestimated, I'm not mean. The series will be most fun if the trainers are doing nothing -- unless, of course, Derek Jeter is pretending to have a broken wrist from a pitch that doesn't get near him. And that won't be a problem if the umpire makes the right call.

Thank you for your time and consideration on these matters. I am confident that you will be able to provide assistance for the good of the game. I wish you health and happiness. Enjoy the post-season.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Regular Season In Review

What a great season! Before the playoffs even start, in my mind anyway, I can call this season a success. For me, when there are more ups than downs, it's good.

I missed Joe Nathan and Justin Morneau, but I enjoyed rooting for Jim Thome and Danny Valencia. It was great to watch Brian Duensing become a solid starter. Delmon and Frankie had great years, and I had fun watching them improve. And, after a "slump" for a brief time, Joe Mauer was Joe Mauer.

So, off the boys go to to the playoffs to face the Yankees. Am I worried? Yep, but then I'd be worried if the Twins had won out the season after clinching. Am I going to let my worrying ruin my enjoyment of the playoffs? I'll try not to. Of course, winning is more fun, so, I'm asking the Twins to do their part.


Remember before the season, my son j-bro wrote up his predictions? We should see how he did. He's in college now; he should be used to being graded.

Twins MVP: He said: Denard Span. Actually: according to Seth Stohs' survey, it's Joe Mauer. Denard didn't even make my list of the top 8. I think it's safe to say Span didn't have the year many Twins fans were hoping for.

Twins Top Pitcher: He said: Nick Blackburn. Actually: well, it's a debate between Pavano and Liriano. Blackburn has been better lately, but the fact that he had to go to the bullpen, and then to the minors, means this year wasn't his best.

Twins Top Rookie: He said: well, he didn't really know what to say. Actually: obviously Danny Valencia. But, really, who expected that Danny would even be called up (remember? Brendan Harris was supposed to be the third-baseman), let alone thriving at a high level.

Twins Most Improved Player: He said: Delmon Young. Actually: he was right. Delmon had a career year. Let's hope he has an even better one next year.

Bold Predictions:
  • Pat Neshek’s filth will be as filthy as ever.(no, that didn't really happen)
  • Jose Mijares will be successful in saving ballgames.(no)
  • Liriano’s filth will be as filthy as ever. (you bet'cha!)
  • Booing A.J. at Target Field will still sound just as loud as when we booed him in the Dome. (I guess I didn't notice -- could be)
  • Someone will hit an inside the park homerun, I just don’t know who. (not yet)
AL Central Predictions:

  1. Minnesota
  2. Chicago
  3. Detroit
  4. Kansas City
  5. Poor Cleveland
(close. Switch KC and Cleveland)

Keys to Success:  
  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.(Unfortunately Justin Morneau lost half the season, and Mauer, Baker, Thome,, had their share of ouchies. But guys stepped in and did great.)
  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. (Pretty profound -- and correct.)
  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. (I think he was pretty close here too, except for the die in August part.)
All-in-all, I think he did great. I love his optimism. I'll give him an A. But then, I might be biased.