Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Where's Garth Iorg When You Need Him?

Our timeliness in commenting on the World Series is matched only by our interest level...which is to say both scored at Gary Russell level lows

An overdue, "congratulations" to the Cardinals and their fans. (Particularly any that may be related to me in one fashion or another) And a big “thank-you” for taking the 1987 Twins off the hook as being the “worst” team to win a World Series. This was one of those rare times when all the bullshit about getting no respect may actually fit…everyone thought the well-rested Tigers would roll. C’est la Vie.

Warm and fuzzies aside…boy did that World Series suck. There was potential for late-inning drama, if only the Tiger pitchers could have held onto the ball. (I’m too tired to even make a Kenny Rogers joke here) Was anyone outside the Cardinal dugout truly excited when they kept scoring runs off of errant throws? Fortune is a necessary ingredient to success…but it makes for a more satisfying meal when accompanied by 9th inning rallies and lights-out pitching. And a team from New York, obviously.

What now? Well, while trying like hell not to become a Wild fan, I’ll be checking in on the hot-stove action…waiting for Justin Morneau to be named MVP, Johan Cy-Young, and Kyle Lohse Comeback Player of the Year.

Possible upcoming posts include a rant on steroids in baseball vs. football, and a three-part essay on who would win a game of NHL ’94 between present-day Smitty and time-gone-by Smitty.

Check here for a nice take on some additional off-season story lines.

And be sure to checkout the Strib’s four-parter on Kirby.

Lastly, just to remind everyone I’m a bearded socialist…this is fun.

Monday, October 23, 2006

You Got To Know When To Hold It

There was a baseball game last night. A World Series game, in fact.

However, there was also an “incident”. An “occurence”. Something, that if true, could possibly sully the purity and virtue that is Baseball’s Fall Classic.

Anyone watching the game knows what we're talking about…Kenny Rogers pooped on his hand.

In fact, he's been doing it for years. The photo above shows that he did it in the ALCS this year (left panel), before doing it again last night (right panel). It is a strange and rare affliction. An offshoot of Alzheimer's (our medical experts tell us) and a sad underreported medical condition.

That is the only logical explanation for what happened. If he was attempting to cheat, why put the “substance” in a place so obvious to anyone with functioning sight? If he was attempting to cheat, why would the umps and Tony LaRussa not demand that the “substance” be examined instead of just washed-off. Know why? ‘Cuz the substance was poop. Who wants to examine that?

The only reason they had to talk about it after the game was because the cameras caught it. Everyone was embarrassed and had to come up with something other than the truth…in fact, if the media keeps pressing on this, we fully expect Kenny Rogers to admit to cheating…only to avoid having to admit that he pooped on his hand. Which would you choose?

C’mon Kenny…tell us the truth…you're not alone.

Oh by the way, the Tigers won the game.

Other famous people who suffer from the same affliction:

The real reason we invaded Iraq

Think Howie got beat legitimately by Kerry in the Iowa caucus? Think again.

Self-important attention whore? Nope. Brilliant PR gambit to deflect focus from the tragic truth. You think the night vision in that video was an accident?

You think any self respecting athlete nay the best passer in NFL history, would endorse Isotoner gloves ON PURPOSE? Hell no.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Does Jodie Foster like brownies?

Came across an interesting Carl Sagan quote on marijuana:

There is a myth about such highs, the user has an illusion of great insight, but it does not survive scrutiny in the morning. I am convinced that this is an error, and that the devasting insights while high are real insights; the main problem is putting these insights in a form acceptable to the quite different self that we are when we’re down the next day….If I find in the morning a message from myself the night before informing me that there is a world around us which we barely sense, or that we can become one with the universe, or even that certain politicians are desperately frightened men, I may tend to disbelieve; but when I’m high I know about this disbelief. And so I have a tape in which I exhort myself to take such remarks seriously. I say, “Listen closely, you sonofabitch of the morning! This stuff is real!”

The essay from which this was taken comes from a book called Marihuana Reconsidered by Lester Grinspoon, and was published in 1971. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that Mr. Sagan was talking about me. Then again, this was a guy who talked to himself via a tape recorder…so you never know. In any case, it has become apparent to me that I was high on marijuana for the entirety of major league baseball’s regular season.

You see, I’m clearly the “sonofabitch of the morning” right now. I’m watching the playoffs, sort of. But I’m completely unexcited by any of the goings on. Where’s the drama? After Fox fired Steve Lyons for being unfunny, I was desperately hoping they’d bring Joe Carter in the booth…just so at the end of every game he could say, “Yep, if I were playing, I’d get a HUGE hit right here”.

I don’t discount the fact that I’m naturally less involved because my team is out of it. It is also very busy at work right now, and so I don’t have much time during the day for general baseball musing. But Jebus…it is the Playoffs! There’s no way Tim McCarver has sullied this time of year that completely for me. It must be the drugs. Or rather, the now complete lack of drugs.

Tracing back, I can tell you exactly when it happened. When it was that I got high. And, as usual, it’s mostly Kaiser’s fault. It must have been on June 13th, sometime just before the Twins/Red Sox game started….because by the time Johan struck out six of the first seven batters, it was evident that something was up. The deep clarity I felt just before Jason Kubel hit a game winning, twelfth-inning grand slam merely solidified the obvious…I was at one with the baseball universe.

Why Kaiser’s fault? Because it was in his basement. And because he “grew” stuff down there. The only logical conclusion was that something had seeped into the walls, and from there absorbed into my inner consciousness. And it’s no coincidence that he doesn’t live there anymore and I’m really fucking bored by these playoffs.

Would I feel the same way if I was a Cardinal or a Tiger fan? Probably not. But, while I’m happy for Tiger Nation, I can’t convince myself that their run has been terribly interesting.

I have no intention of joining Sagan, Plato, Picasso, Hemmingway, or any of our other great users (wait, Hemmingway drank right? I’m totally joining him) any time soon…so I’ll have to settle for good baseball and rooting for the Cardinals. (and live vicariously through my wife and her family)

But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I wish Joe Carter, Kirby, or Mookie would show up soon and force me to remind myself in the morning, THIS STUFF IS REAL!


Hops asked for it yesterday, so here it is today. The punishment meted out by the University of Miami for Larry Coker. You better watch yourself FIU, because I hear the other Van Gundy is also available.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Would the Muzak Have Calmed Him Down?

Add me to the list of folks piling on the absurdity that was the Miami football riot last weekend. An excerpt from the color commentator (former Miami footballer Lamar Thomas)

"Now, that's what I'm talking about," Thomas said as the brawl raged out of control. "You come into our house, you should get your behind kicked. You don't come into the OB playing that stuff. You're across the ocean over there. You're across the city. You can't come over to our place talking noise like that. You'll get your butt beat. I was about to go down the elevator to get in that thing."

It seems that all the media outrage is actually doing some good, as the initial, ridiculous punishments are getting harsher by the day.

I don’t pretend to be a college football expert, but I’m pretty sure kicking your opponent in the head is at least a ten yard penalty. That’s just dumb football. The NCAA needs to step in and meter out SEVERE punishment…to the coaches for the complete lack of control, to the players for the lack of discipline, and the schools for their complete lack of perspective. The NCAA has rarely managed to be out front of any issue that confronts college athletics. (See Knight, Bobby; Stupidity, BCS; Athletes, “Student”) But here’s a chance to make this truly the last time we see something this out-of-control on a college football field. Give the University of Miami the “death penalty”. Harsh? Yes. And so is kicking someone in the head. And so is wielding your helmet like a damn billy club.

Oh, and if Miami has the stones to fire Larry Coker...do you think Glen Mason would consider taking the job? (crossing fingers)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Is he the best?

Joy to the world, Gardy is one of us for three more years (add all the staff guys). Glad to see it. He definately deserves it, not only for the last year but all the previous years. 5 straight winning seasons, 4 playoff appearances, 4 division titles. This begs a question, is he the best manager in Twins history? Let's be more specific, is he the best in Twins history, not including the Washington years. I'd rather not see an argument on how Walter Johnson had three 90 win season's during the Great Depression.

I think the answer to is not really that difficult to me. Flat no. Second best, yes. It's hard to say TK ant' the best we've seen. Sure his overall record is under .500, but he's got two fat rings, his thumb-print all over the franchise still, a whole hell of a lot of respect from baseball peeps and a big chaw of tabacky that says he's the king. Granted we haven't had very many managers. Gardy's production is obviously second to none (only manager in franchise history with 5 straight winning seasons), but TK is everywhere.

Could anyone have hit Wainwright's curveball last night? Well, not Beltran. Molina 2-run dong in the 9th, bases loaded, 2 outs & maybe the NL MVP at the plate. What a finish. With that said, Tigers in 5.

Friday, October 13, 2006

To Alcohol, the cause of and solution to...all of life's problems

Hops has alerted me to the fact (beknownst but unbecaredabout by me -- until now) that Vin Baker has been given a try-out for the sports rooting interest that I consider to be my sports friend with benefits right now, the Timberwolves of Minnesota. Usually every fall we get togther when optimism is high and have an orgiastic make-out session in my living room, but then when reality sets in, we start to look at each other like, "Really? THIS is what I was so excited about two weeks ago?" And then we stop calling, and stop writing, and make excuses like, "Sorry KG, but I have a really early meeting tomorrow, so I can't stay up and watch you not come up big in the fourth quarter tonight. How's that first round draft pick working out for you? Oh, he broke his leg? I'll totally call you next week for sure." We drift apart. But every so often we check in again with each other just to see how things are going, and occassionally we might rekindle the flame in late May or early July just for a bit. A little playoff nookie. It's usually brief. But it just seems like the Twolves are good at friendship and terrible at intimacy, because we just can't get close anymore. Still, they're my team, and as someone who played approximately a gadzillion hours of basketball from 4th grade on up, such a defining part of my life for so long, they do have a special place in my sports heart. KG is my Johan or F-bomb -- I'd watch them anytime.

But is this a good idea Timberwolves management? Is this possibly going to end well? Is Korin Robinson's agent now representing Vin Baker? And just how many Schlitz Ice's will Vin have to celebrate his first 10 pt, 10 rebound night in this latest comeback attempt into the NBA?

I'm all for giving people second chances, but in the context of sports, this has always been a tricky issue in mind. So much of sports is chemistry driven, and as much as players like to say they aren't distracted by media-driven controversies, it has to play some role. If you're not familiar with Baker's story, go check out the article with the always present caveat in sports fandom that while you can be familiar with the reported circumstances of these situations, they are probably much more complicated in reality. But sometimes you just get the feeling that the problem is too big to just go away quietly. And this feels pungently like one of those situations. It's so pungent I can smell it. It's piquant.

While I'm tempted to go off on how Korin Robinson's situation seemed so much different (as in, I was shocked that he lapsed -- he had me thoroughly convinced he had changed, had so much to stay clean for), the realization is dawning on me that this is a baseball-centric blog, and perhaps we should bring things back in that direction. So some questions. Why is alcohol abuse not more prevalent in baseball? Or am I just forgetting a few of the notable ones? Doesn't it seem like notable drinkers in baseball (Ruth, Mantle, David Wells) are never cast in a negative light (like football players), but rather the drinking is sort of a humorous part of their legend? Does Jack Daniels have negative side effects when mixed with human growth hormone? Who would be the all-time shotgun champion in Twins history (and don't say Matthew LeCroix because he's not a real baseball player)? Does Lew Ford drink appletinis?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

C(wh)or(e)porate Schmorporate

It'd be a tragedy of Elizabethian proportions for us not to say something about our namesake getting re-upped for next season. Torii Hunter in a contract year? It's like deja vu all over again. I, for one, think that given the circumstances (1 yr, 12 mil for those not in the know -- and with Terry Ryan reporting yesterday that the payroll is likely to increase slightly next year too) justice has been done here. Sure, we're biased. We don't want to have to change our name to Monday's with Morneau, because frankly, that doesn't make a lot of sense. Unless Mitch Albom pens a new novel in the very near future. But without inside knowledge of the situation, Two I's alleged falling off in the field this year (bronze glove fielding?) could as easily be due to injury as past-his-primeness. I mean, I've never broken my ankle on the Green Monster before, but I'd be willing to guess it takes a little time to recover from that. Add in his monster-like performance at the plate the last six weeks of the season, and I think it's a done deal.

Of course, this is all qualified with the statement that any season-long, long-term contract begging, thereby cancer-izing the Twins clubhouse next year by the Soul Patrol's finest immediately reverses my stance. I'm like Norm Coleman or an obstinate acrobat that way. I flip when I want to.

In other news, baseball is still going on. It was news to me too. Seriously though, this version of the baseball playoffs has been pretty intriguing so far. The evil MFY's have been eliminated, yet somehow an irresponsible rumor monger kept them in the spotlight for just a moment longer. The other Torre is still where he belongs. And who are you trying to fool? There's a better chance that Barry Bonds is innocent then an A-Rod trade this off-season. The A's are doing there best Twins impression so far in the ALCS, and the Tigers their best...well, First-Half of the 2006 Season Tigers impression. Large market loving front-running types can still pretend that the Mets are an underdog, because (shockingly) their geriatric pitching staff is stuck in the pharmacy line waiting for their Medicare checks to come through, while Cardinals fans finally have some reason for optimism again. Pujols is Tivo-able by himself. While there is admittedly evil in the playoffs (Larussa's ego, NY's payroll, Billy Beane's Billy Beane-ness), there is plenty to care about. I just hope when they dump Gatorade on Jim Leyland's corpse later this month, he remembers how to smile.

Lastly, this piece of news from the (hated) White Sux camp. Are you kidding me? I was just starting to like you guys (not really) and now you go and do something like this? Now, I really hate you (more). How much do I have to donate in ad dollars for you to relist everyone in the program as 6'2"?

Oh, and by the way...TWT isn't going anywhere for the winter. It's snowing outside and I'm scared to go out there. We will instead heat ourselves with the warm glowing warming glow of our laptops.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Sorry about this one

First of all, what up Coop? Thanks for reading and big thanks to you and the ship mates.

Second, and I apologize for this one, but there has been some discussion with the other TWT writers about the recent Yankee crap regarding Torre, A-Rod and even Jeter.
Not that this will surprise anyone who knows me, but I've already started looking at my Fantasy Baseball draft strategy for next year (for those counting, I finished 1st and 3rd in my two leagues). Due to all the press on the Yankees, I was curious as to "Is A-Rod the #2 or #3 pick next year?" I say he still is. His stats are still ridiculous, .285-35-120 or something like that.

With that said, fantasy stuff has nothing to do with real baseball, it's just another stat junkies way to gamble. However, I do think it's unfair to put all the Yankee woe's on A-Rod. Sure he's an idiot from time to time, twitches too much after every ball/strike and think's alittle too highly of himself, but he had a better year then Giambi, Posada, and Damon. So what that he didn't hit in the playoffs, what did Cano do? He finished 3rd in AL in average and didn't have a hit in the playoffs (well, he didn't through 3 games). Then Torre gets blamed for this stuff. Hey, not his fault his GM/Owner refuse to get pitchers that can actually pitch.

The Yankee inability to win the Series in recent years (I refuse to call it a "downfall" when you make the playoffs every year and have the highest payroll) falls on Cashman and more importantly Steinberner. I love that Torre told him (Steinbrenner) this year to stop complaining to the press about players. I think Torre realizes that they haven't given him a "team" since the late '90's. Sure they can hit, but the defense is OK and their pitching, well, come on.

Torre is an excellent manager, A Rod is an idoit but still one of the top 5 or 6 players around. Cashman is a tool and Steinbrenner is too full of himself. I just hope he doesn't realize what a good GM we have, drops a couple bags of cash on his lap and says, "Well, how about a trip to the dark side?"

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Play Mad

Most Twins fans are sitting at work, school, or home today wondering what the hell just happened. Irritated seeing a team of surfer boys still wondering who has the Cheetos and who's turn is it in the "rotation" come into our house where we don't lose in the playoffs and beat us at our game. Solid pitching, solid defense and timely hitting. I'm not going to harp on Torii and his play. The man has won 5 Gold Gloves, changes games and momentum with those catches and was a big reason that the Twins won the Central. That doesn't leave him unaccountable for the play, but if Torii believes he can get a ball then he should have the right to go get it. Wish he would have picked a different time in the game though.

Were the Twins looking past the A's? Possibly. Did the little ole A's come into Dome and rock the Twins/fans right in the gut? You damn right. So how do we remedy this? Easy, do what Boof does and play mad.

Forget about the Yankees. Forget the Gammons picked you to win the Series two straight years. Forget that you were the best team since June 1. Look at the A's and say "kiss my ass". Remember that you have the highest batting average in the AL and remember the A's love to choke 2-0 leads away. Forget that the number of runners in scoring positon left on equals approximately China's national census. Start smelling those RBI's, bunting guys over, stealing bases and annoying the other teams managing staff. Punch them back damn it.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Unsolicited Advice

1: Don’t pitch to Frank Thomas
(Okay, got that out of the way…we won’t discuss again)

2: Don’t pitch to Frank Thomas
(Whoops…maybe just one more so we don’t forget)

3: Have Justin Morneau grow a playoff beard

4: Have Jesse Crain shave his

5: Take a page out of the Oakland playbook and have everyone take two bong hits before the game…we were too jittery yesterday

6: Instead of waiting until the 8th and 9th innings to stage a meaningful rally…try waiting until the 12th, see how that works

7: If Johan Santana wants to pitch again today, let him

8: If Johan Santana wants to DH today, let him

9: Replace “We’re going to win Twins, we’re going to score” with “We really go after them, that’s how we play…we’re not going to change what we do now…sometimes we’re gonna get thrown out, but we’re gonna keep getting after ‘em, We’re going to score”

10: Two words…Mike Redmond