Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pay that man his money

Eric Gagne signed for 10 million. Dollars.


Just give him the fucking money already, Bill.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Angels and Giants: Part 2

(Editor's Note: Part 1 of this post can be found here)




But meanwhile, the MN Twins PR staff is furiously scribbling away on notepads at a secret location in Twins Territory, concocting a brand new "Get To Know 'Em" storyboard for 11-trillion time gold-glover Torii Hunter's replacement. Whoever that may be. Will it be Denard, who's career spans (pun) the distance between his draft day and a series of recent minor league notebooks describing his ill readiness to play on the next level? Ugh. Will it be Cleveland-via-Boston's diminutive center fielder Count Chocula? Double Ugh.

My personal history with Torii as a fan is nowhere near as intricate as the one I just laid out for KG. Like (or because of) baseball, Torii was an acquired taste. They are the beets and brussel sprouts of my fandom. But I don't blame namesake for that -- in fact, in relative terms, the seal of approval I bestowed on Torii came quicker than most. His game, at least offensively, was never as complete as KG's, and his swing-hard-and-often approach was a constant frustration early on, and I suspiciously felt, some terribly stupid master plan concocted with fellow Soul Patroller Jacque Jones to drive me insane. Mission accomplished. The defense though...ah, the defense. There was never a question about that, and my head swelled with pride when Torii robbed Barry (whose head was quite large too -- maybe he was swollen with pride also?) during that All-Star game. There is something so comforting/awesome about never doubting whether a tough play would be made out there in center field when the ball left the bat of an opposing hitter and sailed in that direction -- the mental equivalent of shooting a basketball and leaving your hand in the air cuz you KNOW it's going in. But now Torii has moved on to a greener...well, greyer and redder I suppose...pasture and his electric smile is, dare I say, a kilowatt or two more electric than recent memory serves. And once again (as with KG), I feel happy for him as a semi-liberated (I am both beholden to my home-town team and not) fan. No bad feelings. And given my previous adulation and unofficial campaign manager status regarding Terry Ryan, it's probably not suprising that there are no hard feelings for management either. Simple facts is facts -- and the facts is that we couldn't afford to pay for Torii to stay. We got to $45 million and the Angels bid TWICE that. How can you compete? Even if Scrooge McPohlad shovelled another few spadefuls of cash off that money pile he swims in and tossed them in Torii's direction, I feel confident in saying that we never would have sniffed a return of Hunter to centerfield in Minnesota. It's just not how we roll...and frankly, I don't have a problem with that. I won't be cheering for the Angels, but I will be keeping tabs on the namesake. Good luck sir.

You will be missed in Section 108 on half-price homerun porch Tuesdays...and Tuesdays With Torii as well.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

All the Good Things and the Bad Things That May Be

Way too early to react to this activity. Especially with more, apparently, to come.

Here's what the TWT boys have been aruging about today:

Are the Twins rebuilding or contending in 2008? I am firmly on the side of "If we're not f'ing contending now, then how will we ever be?". Smitty appears to be more in the "Buy low, sell high...we're building for the future" camp. While Kaiser has positioned himself in the "Yeah, the Celtics are really good" bandwagon.

You can argue all day about what the hell new GM Bill Smith is doing...but we won't really know until Santana is either traded or signed. So, for now, we'll be concentrating on justifying the name of this blog and stroking Kevin Garnett ever so gently (that's how he likes it).

In the meantime; Here are my suggestions for identifying current and potential Twins players: (handy for both fans and Gardenhire's alike!)

Joe Mauer: He's the one with the halo, sideburns, and cheese dripping down his chin

Justin Morneau: He's the one wearing a tattered "2006 MVP" tee-shirt, with a bottle of Jeri Curl sticking out of his hockey bag

Delmon Young: He'll be the one with the heavy winter coat listening to Gardy talk about how important it is to "go with the pitch...the home runs will come".

Johan Santana: Don't look for him. It was all a dream. He never actually existed.

Brendan Harris: I assume he looks exactly like Jason Bartlett.

Melky Cabrera: He'll be the one with the EXTREMELY disappointed look on his face.

Scott Baker: He looks like he's twelve and he should be wearing a "Fuck You, Matt Garza" tee-shirt.

Craig Monroe:
Who?

Torii Hunter: Three words: Shit. Eating. Grin.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Angels and Giants: Part 1






Oh what a turmoil our local sports franchises have thrust upon us. And oh what a turmoil our carefully selected blog name is wreaking on my sports soul this weekend. Tuesdays With Torii was chosen with no small amount of brainstorming and mental gymnastics. It perfectly befit our sports and pop-culture leaning mentalities, as well as incorporated, at least in my eyes, the most magnanimous and engaging character on our favorite stick-and-ball club. If "Garnett" rhymed equally well when inserted into the title of a popular, cheesy, touching, yet slightly overrated novel, I may very well have pressed for a basketball-centric outlet. And these two giants of these two (fraternal, not identical) twin cities, and the manner in which they have now departed, are the subject of this post.

I loved loved love Kevin Garnett, and I'm not afraid to say it. As far as arbitrary lists involving sports "heroes" go, he is well up into the lofty heights on mine. The troposphere maybe. My connection with KG has a rich history, and is intertwined with my own personal basketball career in a way for which I will always be biased in his favor. Until I got old and my knees slowly turned into the consistency of a Jolly Rancher (green apple) left out in an acid rainstorm, basketball was by far the biggest sport in my life. The Wolves became our team, and their formative years were also mine. Drafting Garnett coincided with my entry into college, and the Wolves' transition to "adulthood" mirrored my own (those who maintain that I am one anyway). After college, I had the opportunity to be in two commercials with the Big Ticket for his (then) shoe company And 1 sports, and he did not disappoint in real life either. The upper part of my face and forehead debuted to critical acclaim during the All-Star game that year. As a basketball player, his skills perfectly befit my mental disposition for fandom -- intense, versatile, freakishly athletic, smooth. And the parts of his athletic personality fit too -- humble, loyal, extremely self-motivated. There is a lot there to respect. During the end of the last season and throughout this off-season the critics buzzed about one thing -- the time had come for KG to go elsewhere and the Wolves to start over. And this strange feeling came over me...acceptance. It felt right. And when the Celtics maneuvered to nab Ray Allen on draft night, I remember distinctly thinking that KG would go there. Now, I've never been a Boston Anything fan, the Sox least of all, but the Celtics a strong second (and the Bruins about 8th, even placing after Freddie Prinze's Cape Cod minor league baseball team in that movie where Jessica Biel is wet). But as soon as my all-time favorite basketball player became the third of a very Big 3, and with the Wolves impending sucktitude, I decided to adopt them. For 2 years. And a fan option on the third. I knew...KNEW...as soon as the three were assembled that they would perfectly compliment each other - and I truly wish I had documented this certainty for personal ego-stroking purposes....I knew before everyone else and all that. But that is minor, really. More importantly, so sue me, I like to watch fun things. Entertaining things. And I intuited almost immediately that this would be a fantastically fun team to watch exactly because of the way they would compliment each other -- a dominant frontcourt guy, a sniper, and a hyper-effective slasher. A hyper-competitive chest-beater leader-by-example, a cucumber-cool Jesus Shuttlesworth, and an existing team leader in need of someone(s) else to shoulder some Sisyphus duty. But maybe, just maybe, the reason I need to adopt the Celtics is also that me and the Wolves...well...we just need a nice long break from each other. I can watch them from a distance, you know, checking in from time to time. But me and McHale just have too much baggage to make this thing work right now. He messed up time and again (about 84 by my count) in trying to match complimenting players to my favorite 6'13" player, and worse, enabled his jackass buddy to save his own (jack)ass in the very fell swoop McHale could never accomplish in more than a decade's worth of trying.

Not that I'm bitter.

Stay tuned for Part 2...

(This post is mirrored at 6'2")

Friday, November 02, 2007

Two things I've read



First, it's the Torii watch. The White Sox are making efforts to talk with his agent. Torii in a Sox uni, kinda hurts. I imagine Ozzie like that kid in high school asking the prom queen out and she checks "maybe" on the note. The excitement builds and you ignore the potential let down if she eventually goes with the doofus hockey player. This isn't a real life experience, but it does provide me with the opportunity to say how much the class of 95 still thinks about Courtney Olson and Anna Siebert. Nice, worked them into another quote. Anyway, please Torii, if you don't come back here, please don't play there. I don't want to hear Hawk Harrelson say, "it's back, way back, put it on the board....NO. Torii makes another synsational catch for the Good Guys".

A Rod wants $350 million dollars with his next contract. The Yankees were going to offer an extension that would have been worth $230 million. That, obviously wasn't enough. Is anyone really going to pay that amount of money? Heal yes someone will. Baseball is so frickin financially Scroog McDuck right now that someone will pay it. Then ARod will build a large rectagular building with a big $ sign on it and dive off his diving board into his pool of gold coins. Then still suck in the playoffs, still hurt his club house, still make dumbass comments about other players and their relationship (Jeter) and cripple his teams chance to get better. Enjoy Cooperstown and being considered one of the top 5 players of all time. I dont want anything to do with you.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Scary Thoughts Are Only Speculation



On this Hallo's Eve, I can't stop wondering "what could be" as I read and hear how the Yankee's have, yet again, taken the top headlines in baseball instead of writers celebrating the season that Boston and Colorado had. Short note to Manny, thanks for being average in the regular season and awesome in the playoffs. Really helped the fantasy squad. I am officially sick of the "Manny being Manny" cliche, mainly because I had to listen to Tim McCarver say it more then once. Why doesn't Joe Buck hit Tim's mute button anyway? Back to the subject at hand, free agency and the state off our team and our Namesake.

Here is my trick and maybe a treat - Bill Smith and the boys go crazy and figure out that if they want to compete now they must do many things. 1. Sign Santana to a deal. Duh. 2. Listen to Torii, discuss with him what he wants, try (no really try not just say we tried) to get him here. 3. Sign Morneau to a deal. 4. Make a play for Hank Blalock, Mike Lowell, Garrett Atkins, or heck, see if Mike Schmidt or Scott Leuis can still play. Just don't go with Punto at 3B. I can take him at 2B if we have someone else at 3B. Please, please, please. 5. Don't play coy with the fans. Be honest with us, tell us if you playing for next year then do something about it. If you are going to "rebuild" then trade Nathan. If you're not, see 1-4. 6. Don't bring up that the Twins are small market and can't compete with paying high salaries. We all know Mr. Pollad is the wealthiest owner in baseball. You have a new stadium coming. I refuse to listen or sympathize with your self-imposed restriction to not pay for talent. Detriot just traded for Renteria and upgraded their SS and 1B position in one swoop (Guillen will now play 1B, he's better then Casey). Suck it up.

Now it's time for a reality check. Torii is gone. I think the writing is on the wall. I believe he truly wants to win and I think he feels slighted by not being signed. I think he sees that the organization prefers to spin their wheels while the other teams in the division continue to fill holes with free agents/trades. He will be approached by many teams with a better shot at making the playoffs and they will all come with their wallets out and smiles on their faces. I don't think the Twins will try and get a good 3B. Note, Morgan Ensberg is not a good 3B. I think they will sign someone who hits .250 and about 15 HRs. Yes, that's better then Punto, but it's not what we need to complete with Detriot, Cleveland or any other playoff team. They will go with a young pitching rotation. Actually, that's a good idea (see Ponson & Ortiz). Let Kubel play some more. If he was a regular, you would get 25 HRS from him. I know Bill Smith is a new GM and we can only speculate that he will operate similar to Mr. Ryan (thanks for all the good things you did Terry, I really do appreciate your work). But, unfortunately past history seems to guarantee future results when it comes to our beloved squad.

So I'm asking the Twins to please save this Minnesota sports fan from the current peril I swim in as I cheer from my other home-town squads. Ok, the Wild are pretty good so far, but I don't skate so well and my parents didn't make enough money for me to play hockey at Minnetonka. So, that's that.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Blue Boy

Resignation, thy name is Terry Ryan. Also, my relative fandom for the remainder of the season...















"There are moments when, even to the sober eye of Reason, the world of our sad humanity must assume the aspect of Hell"
-
Edgar Allen Poe

No offense Bill Smith.




Friday, August 17, 2007

Philosophy, But Not In a Ben Fold's Sense

If you've never read FreeDarko before, you should. It's almost enough to make you get invested in the NBA. Almost. This post the other day was on the topic of what it means when a "mainstream sports writer" uses the term 'enigmatic' to describe a player. Obviously, this made me think of the 2007 Minnesota Twins. Here's a snippet:

"Sports are by and large about all types of masculine exertion. Physical, intellectual, playing, talking, a large portion of the culture surrounding pro athletics has to do with complete and total will imposition. That's why people talking on the subject are way too invested and usually only partly coherent: above all else, they want to be right. If sports and politics have anything in common, it's that both eschew the rhetoric of compromise or sympathy until well after the show is over (yes, even sometimes during the NBA regular months).

Sad to say, but many people writing about sports do so with the same mindset as those playing or coaching the game. This is supremely fucked up, since critical thinking is supposed to complement the sanguine crawl of battle. They don't consider themselves lowly fans, as we well know. Instead, they're experts, pundits whose command of the knowledge is the mindly equivalent of every big play they ever saw. If Norman Mailer could conceive of literature as prizefighting then damn it, their weekly column or radio spot is going to be their own private Polo Grounds.

That's why I find the occasional deployment of "enigma" so positively remarkable. In essence, it’s the sports section admitting that it can’t even pretend to figure someone out. Sure, part of it is “I have no fucking clue what this zany fella will pull out next from his proverbial wide-brimmed hat.” But there’s also the sense in which any and all blanket generalizations will fail. He’s not a thug. He’s not a bum. He’s not a cancer. He’s not an asset. He’s not a raw talent. He’s not a bargain. He’s a mess of some it all, and thus not even any of it."

It's too easy to jerk knees and apply an iron-clad "sucky" or "glorious" label to your favorite sports team based on the performance of the last series or week or Peter Gammons montage. Why can't we as sports fans admit and embrace confusion? Why can't we enjoy moments for moments sake? Why is it 'Consistency' and not 'consistency' and placed on a golden pedestal with "The Greats" carved in the side?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

If You Ain't Got Nuthin' Nice To Say....Don't Be a Twins Fan

I want so badly to write something about this team. I'm in the proverbial eye of the storm here in work-life balance, several taxing work weeks past me but with many more in sight, and the loomy mental monolith of homeownership...er...looming. So having significant free time to think and write about the '07 Twins is like gold Jerry, gold. But this team baffles me like none in recent memory, and I just don't have the words or thoughts (that might lead to words) within me.

Having a "love affair" with a team is not a new concept. That sports-as-relationship mythology is a common motif. But if I might abuse it again for just a second, this team is like a Match.com relationship when you're in the middle of a serious dating dry spell. There are seemingly no more options out there (I'm looking in your directions Wolves and Gophers), and your old girlfriend that you continue to go back to for occasional "benefits" has moved away temporarily (Vikings). You're desperate and lonely. So you keep the hope alive with the Twins because, you know, she does like John Irving novels after all, and gets drunk with you over sushi, and sure she's like a 6.5 or 7, but hey maybe that's enough. But you know, deep down in your heart, that for things to work out, it should just be a lot easier than this. You should just know she's the one -- at least for this year. Sorry, hope you kept my metaphors straight there, because I surely did not.

Anyway, the point is that on some gut level, it just hard to believe in this team this year. During the run last year, you just knew that they were on a tear. You knew that Johan would shut bitches down. You knew that Morneau-for-4 was finally a thing of the past. You knew that Joey Joe Joe would hit at least three grounders past the second baseman. So far this year, all I know for sure is that the Twins will score either NO runs or ELEVEN. Sorry to get all Owen Meany on your ass there, but seriously. This team has to have the largest standard deviation in run scoring history and it is driving me insane. Sucky or briliant...pick a freaking identity.

That is all.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Heh!


My favorite team has been shut-out ten times this year. The players are whining. The GM is wandering. And every day the press tells me the Twins are either surging toward the playoffs, or completely out of it. Every day.

I do not have the proper locution to describe my feelings.

But you know who does?

Mr. James Brown.

Like a dull knife
Just ain't cutting
Just talking loud
Then saying nothing


Just saying nothing
Just saying nothing


You can't tell me
How to run my life down
You can't tell me
How to keep my business sound


You can't tell me
What I'm doing wrong
When you keep driving and
Singing that same old money song


You can't tell me
Which way to go
Cause three times seven
And then some more
You can't tell me, hey


You're like a dull knife
Just ain't cutting
You're just talking loud
And saying nothing


Just saying nothing
Just saying nothing


Don't tell me
How to do my thing
When you can't, can't
Can't do your own

Dont tell me how to be a boy
When, when you know I'm grown
Can't use me like a woman
Woman throws away her dress
And you can't tell me, hey
How to use my mess


You're like a dull knife
Jack, you just ain't cutting
You're just talking loud
Then saying nothing


Just saying nothing
And saying nothing


Shape up your bag
Don't worry bout mine
My thing together
And a doing fine

Good luck to you
Just allow you're wrong
Then keep on singing that
Same old money song

Then keep on singing that
Same old money song

Just keep on singing that
Same old money song

Just keep on singing that
Same old money song

Just keep on singing that
Same old money,oww


I got to go, I want yo
I musta, I got to
Ashes ashes and a dust to dust
I musta, jump on back
I'm doing a, my hands


I say I will, the point
Is too dark to fill
You say I cant
You're phony, you're phony
I said, I said, you're phony...




You’re goddamn right, James…goddamn right.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I Hang My Head And Cry…


Well, maybe not…I only cry at weddings and West Wings. But still…what a weird f’ing sports day for folks in MN.

Garnett’s gone…that seems certain. I’ve long since given up any semblance of interest in the NBA. I honestly equate it to Cycling and NASCAR at this point…I only pay attention when there’s a disaster. But, there are other folks I know that remain loyal to the Picket Fence and consequently pay attention to the minutiae of the NBA…much as I still read box scores daily.

Those are the folks I cry for today. Rebuilding is not fun. And rebuilding while having very little confidence in your architect deserves its own circle of hell. As a card-carrying homer (there’s a loon on it), I wish all MN sports teams well. But good god, Kevin McHale has almost (and literally) swapped teams with a moribund franchise in less than a year…seemingly due entirely to the fact he knows their phone number by heart. My favorite part of this deal is McHale was “able” to get the Celtics to include a TIMBERWOLVES first round draft choice. Isn’t that a sign you should maybe mingle a little more at the annual GM jamboree? Christ, it’s like downloading porn from yourself. What’s the “plan” here, Hannibal?

And here’s where MN Basketball Fan is separated from MN Baseball Fan…the plan. While it’s certainly not unanimous, I believe most Timberwolves fans think it’s time for something new. The Kevin Garnett era was great, he’s been an amazing player and citizen…but the team isn’t getting better anyway. But…since NO ONE believes Kevin McHale knows what he’s doing, the assumption is that the Timberwolves made a terrible deal.

On the other side of town, the Quiet Genius can trade his starting second baseman for two low-level minor leaguers, and the first frame of reference for us (yes, I’m switching from “them” to “us”) is Joe Nathan, Boof Bonser, and He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. Even if Twins Fan is apprehensive about the deal, four division championships in five years is a nice cushion to fall back on. “Phew…it’s okay, Ryan knows what he’s doing.”

And I think he does. The Castillo trade makes SOME sense. And I do firmly believe Terry Ryan understands that you base franchise operations on things slightly more tangible and important than nostalgic memories of clotheslining Kurt Rambis.


But I’m frustrated today. Frustrated that an upgrade at third base apparently could have come cheaper than originally thought. And by statements like this:

"No, we're not giving up at all," Ryan said. "We're 6½ games back, and we're better than we were last week. If we didn't think we could absorb this, we certainly wouldn't have done it."

Better than last week? Why? ‘Cuz we’re playing the Royals?

Catharsis demands a list. A list of frustrations and miscellaneous ramblings that will hopefully remind me that my team has a plan:

1: As linked to above, Ty Wigginton was available. I’m not going to argue about the merits of Dan Wheeler, but, look, the Twins have better pitchers than Dan Wheeler. We really couldn’t have let go of ONE of them to get an immediate upgrade to our most needy position…that could have also turned into a longer term solution? Even if Wigginton doesn’t turn-out to be the answer at third…isn’t he already a better option than Nick Punto as “super sub”? He’s done the same thing for most of his career that Nick Punto has done, but *NOW WITH HOME RUNS*. Breathing…

2: Trading Luis Castillo is fine. It’s long been certain that the Twins weren’t going to bring him back next year. And getting “something” for him (even if part of something is the son of this guy) is probably better than nothing. But if you really think you’re still fighting for a playoff berth, isn’t the “something” you’re hoping to get a trip to the World Series? If you’re going to make a run, you make a run. Let’s not pretend Casilla was kicking down the door. Breathing…

3: And what the hell is going on with Torii Hunter? No more silence, please, Mr. Ryan. It’s obviously bothering him. He’s definitively the leader of this team (which, by the way, is one of the reasons you should sign him) and his mood has proven to infect the team, whether positive or negative. We know you don’t like to work through the media, and, most of the time, that’s a fine attititude to take. But where has it got you with the Namesake? It’s gotten you a pissed off superstar. We all know you don’t have a replacement ready for him (which is the other reason you should sign him)...so why not come out and say,


“He’s not going anywhere this year, we’re still fighting for a playoff spot. He’s a key member of this organization and we’re going to work like hell to resign him. Torii’s been vocal about wanting to help christen our new stadium and retire a Twin…we’ll see how much he wants it when we sit down and talk in October.”

Is that so hard? Not only will it act to calm down Torii and his fans (raising my hand), but will also serve to turn the tables on him a bit.
Breathing…

4: The little moves haven’t worked. This franchise is in an amazing run of drafting and developing first-rate pitchers. And they deserve full credit for developing the little offensive punch we now have (Morneau, Hunter, Cuddyer, Mauer…Bartlett?). But enough already with the Ron Gardenhire School for the Old and Crappy. No more Ponson’s. No more Rondell White’s. No more Castro’s. Enough already. Go get a real bat, for Christ’s sake.
Breathing…

5: Did I mention you should have gotten Wigginton? Know why? ‘Cuz Nick Punto’s done. God love him, but he’s done.
Breathing…

6: What are we doing with Carlos Silva? He’s also most likely gone next year…so by the Castillo logic he should go too, no? But what about that pennant chase? Silva’s been a nice veteran presence on the staff. And it probably doesn’t hurt he’s best friends with Johan. So why not start the Sign Johan campaign now and sign Silva to a one year contract extension? Or , you know, trade him for Lombo’s kid.
Breathing…


And...I’m fine.

Please, fellow Twins fans, I encourage you to write your own cathartic rant. When we’re all done, I’ll print them and use the paper to make a giant Oragami Swan that I’ll then train to kill and eat Nick Punto. That's my plan.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Excuses and the Palooza.

Well, the excuses have started. Something to do with an inconsistant strike zone during Tuesday's game. Another rookie pitcher "making pitches when he had too" and dominating our squad as well as the Twins "no taking advantage of opportunites" (see 14 LOB last night). I was shining my shoes last night while watching the game, guess which activity was more fun?

Just so I can start talking about Garza sooner, I'm going to be brief. Blame Tuesday's game on another boot by our shortstop (sort of), but mostly on our inability to hit. Ditto that for last night. The strike zone did some inconsistant Tuesday, but at least it was inconsistant for both teams. Joe needs to be swinging on close pitches with 2 strikes. Garza's curveball to Ordonez that was a called strike 3 was too high. Cuddy took at least one pitch in the 6th that was right down the middle and called a ball. Don't blame the umps, sort of blame the defense but completely blame this squads inability to hit left hand pitching. Robertson isn't a terrible pitcher. I mean, he's no John Dank's, wait a minute ..... he is. Come on guys, just score a run or two. Oh, I understand Punto is a very good defensive player, but if you aren't going to hit (please see .209 batting average) then get a damn bunt down. Like I've said before, if Punto isn't going to hit in the .290-.300 area & steal some bases, he shouldn't be starting. I can live with the Punto of last year as our starter (can you say career year), but I can't live with the Punto from the other two years.

How much do we love Garza. I'm not going to start saying we've found our new "pitcher not to be named", but he has looked good. Granted it's two starts and let's see if he's still doing this good at start 5 and 6, but it gets me excited for our staff next year. The kid looks good out there. Seems to mix his pitches better. Now, can we trade someone for a thrid baseman? Six guys I can think of that might be interesting (and younger): Atkins, Chad Tracy, Ty Winnington, Mark Teahan, Bill Hall or Ed Encarnacion. Baker's been pitching well, Slowely wasn't terrible, Garza looks pretty good. I mean, really? They still want Perkins to be a starter so how many prospects can we have?

Happy day-late birthday to the namesake. 32 and still kicking ass. Hope I can still hit bombs in softball when I'm that old. Who am I kidding with that last statement.

Monday, July 16, 2007

There's Gold in Them Thar Arms


In the latest effort to protect his investment in the “small market” Twins, Carl Pohlad has come up with his most creative financial move yet.

Faced with the obvious loss of Johan Santana to free agency after the 2008 season, the Twins have begun, for a price, allowing the most likely suitors for Mr. Santana’s future services to dictate his pitch count.

After seven dominating innings against the A’s on Friday, Santana was pulled from the game by manager Ron Gardenhire…or was he?

Reached by satellite phone from his floating spaceship, super-duper quadrahexabillionaire Angels owner Arte Mareno had this to say about Santana, “Look, we all know that Pohlad isn’t going to sign him. So what’s wrong with paying a little upfront now to protect my investment for the future? It’s like paying earnest money. And to be fair, I actually asked the Twins to pull him after six innings. I think I’ll have to have my “advisors” talk to Mr. Ryan today.”

The Twins, unable to “keep up with the Epsteins” through traditional methods such as overcharging for terrible food and blackmailing taxpayers for luxury box filled stadiums, seem to have uncovered the small-market holy grail.

“I love it!” says the ghost of George Steinbrenner. “I wish they would have approached me first. I would have paid them not to use their entire bullpen! As it is, we’ve begun discussions about giving that big Canadian feller every Tuesday through Friday off.”

While the legalities of such a move are still under question, uber-rich Arte Moreno doesn’t seem concerned. “Look, first off, if we’ve learned anything over the years it’s that ‘baseball’ and ‘rules’ have a loose relationship at best. And secondly, it’s not like Carl isn’t going to use this additional revenue stream to…*guffaw*…upgrade…*snort*…his…team. I’m sorry I couldn’t get through that with a straight face. Could you not write that milk came flying out of my nose?”
(Ed. Note: Milk did in fact come flying out of Mr. Moreno’s nose.)



(C’mon Gardy…we’re just keeding. Plus…you don’t pay us to be nice to you. Yet.

In other news…the Twins swept the A’s by refusing to score one run more than was necessary. Reached for comment, The Quiet Genius had this to say…”Suck it”.)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I'm Not Sayin'...

I have a money making scheme. I'm not saying that any one actual human being would attempt to do something like this, especially not me or say, anyone who "plays" a sport for one of my favorite teams or anything. I'm just saying that it is possible that something like this could happen. Were someone so inclined. Okay, say you sign a big contract. You're asked to produce "runs" and "hits" at a certain rate, the same rate that you've done so consistently throughout your career. But it's been a long career and frankly, you're tuckered out. You're not even asked to do anything athletic, like say run around in left field of a major league baseball stadium and catch hurtling white orbs. You just have to think about "running" and "hitting" all the time and meander up to plate once in awhile, say three to four times a day. But you suck at it for awhile. Suddenly, one of your teammates gets hurt and you are forced to try and catch hurtling orbs once again. Your hitting starts to improve, thereby satisfying one of the central tenets of statistics, and you instead decide to attribute this recorrection of the statistical universe to the coincidence of the additional hurtling orb workload. You were embarrassed for sucking and needed an excuse. But secretly, oh so secretly, you are majorly pissed that your once cushy position of thinking, sitting, and hitting has become quite anti-cushy. It's the anticush of what you expected. But what are you going to do? You "tough" it out for a year, and expect that next year, everything will be back to normal and you'll be back in that coveted, cushy position once again. But what's this? Your boss suddenly tells you that you did such a good job running, jumping, orb catching, and orb hitting the year before, that you will be responsible for ALL(!) these activities again. For the whole year! Arg! What's a guy to do!? So, you think to yourself...."Self, listen. What we need to do is pretend to get hurt while running. Then they will see that when you run, you get hurt, so you cannot run. In fact, you can't just get hurt running in a normal way say, while running after orbs. You have to get hurt in a really stupid way, so that your boss will be very, very frightened to make you spend much time running ever again." So you fake an injury to your legs while running out of the dugout. A good place to choose because leg injuries are very mysterious, and no one ever knows if your'e really hurt or how long it will take you to heal. "Good thinking self!" So, you go ahead and do that and get sent down to the minor leagues to "rehab". And when you get there you realize that you are getting paid the exact same! And there aren't big mean guys with pens and notepads and laptops writing down what you say and expecting you to actually do it, and you can drink Red Stripe in the clubhouse, and hang out in the hot tub for a long time because you are much older than all your teammates and "injured" and "need a good long soak". And then you realize that it is not such a bad gig, and maybe you should just stay there forever. And so you try. But after awhile, people start to realize that maybe even an old man should be healed by now, so you say that yeah yeah, you're leg is starting to feel a lot better. But then whoops! You hurt another part of your leg. Probably because you were overcompensating from the other part of your leg that was hurt before. Oh well! More hot tub and Red Stripe! Hooray beer!

.....I'm just sayin'.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Be afraid, Barry...be very afraid




I'm just sayin'.




As much as I hate the MLB marketing team (except for the folks that work for the Twins), I'm going to throw them a bone here. As a SURE FIRE way to spice up this year's All-Star game...have Torii in a kayak every time Barry comes up to the plate. If Barry hits it out there, and Torii catches it, it's an out.



Oh yeah...congrats to the other, non-blog named after them guys, too. Johan, promise us you'll watch after Justin...he's fragile.
(Vote for Neshek, here)

Friday, June 29, 2007

How much for one rib?


I don't love day games as much as I'd like to.




Listening to games in the evenings has become such a big part of my routine, that i'm legitimately disappointed when I don't have a game to catch at night.




But the inherent desire to "skip school" and the realization that it was the last home game until after the All-Star break overwhelmed me, so I scheduled a very important meeting that just-so-happened to take place between 12:00 and 3:00 inside the Metrodome yesterday afternoon. What a break!




Not sure if it was the return of the Fightin' Canadian, the fact that school is out, or the allure of the lunchtime Dome Dog...but there were many more people in attendance than I would have expected. In other words, it was harder than I thought it would be to buy a "cheap seat" and sneak into the lower deck. But with Quixotic dedication, I found my Dulcinea just past first base near the top of the lower deck. Take that, Pohlad!




And it was from this gloriously underpaid-for seat that I witnessed Frank Thomas hit is 500th career home run. Bringing me to today's question...How much was this event "worth"? Both historically and financially. Would I tell my kids that I was there when it happened? Would Bob Costas someday narrate a two-hour documentary dedicated to the career of Frank Thomas? Or even a two minute segment on "TWIB Notes"? How about the ticket stub? Should I save it? Should I sell it? Would someone actually buy it?




I don't mean to demean or even question the value of Frank Thomas' career. In addition to having one of the most underrated nicknames in sports history, he's also been nothing short of an incredible hitter for most of his career. But has he seperated himself to a point where he belongs to a part of Baseball Lore? I can't really answer that. And if he did, would I save the ticket stub anyway?




I can say that he hasn't managed to distinguish himself enough within my own personal lore. (If you find yourself without lore, it's fairly easy to obtain...I think you can even netflix it)




So as the ball left the park, I felt buzzless...no chills up or around my spine. This wasn't a big moment for me. But it must have been for someone, my co not-worker claims the ball would probably fetch $10G on E-Bay.


Really? Ten THOUSAND dollars for a baseball? This isn't me rearing my ugly socialist head again...there must be a much better way for a human to spend $10,000 on THEMSELVES aside from buying a baseball you had nothing to do with in the first place. How about a nice trip to Door County?


All this is a really rambling way of saying, "I just don't get it".


Even when I was a kid and collected stuff...baseball cards, mainly...I never felt like I was doing it for the cash. Sure, we checked our Beckett's to see if the value of the cards was arrow up or arrow down...but that was more about owning something that few others had, not about a retirement fund.


Now, as an adult, I have no conception of folks who wait in line (trampling little kids) to have Joe Mauer sign a Jimmy John's wrapper. And it's not just sports. Why would it matter to me if George Saunders signed my copy of "The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil"? It's still a great book, and while meeting him might be cool...I don't really care for his signature.


AmI in the minority here?


Thankfully, the mythical $10G's will never see the light of day. I see the guy that caught Hurt's ball yesterday did the right thing...at least in my mind. He caught it, that's cool. To hold it from the person who it means the most to? Not cool. Mientkiewicz-ian, even.


But who am I to judge? A man's gotta make his way in the world...$1.29 at a time. Plus $2.75 shipping and handling, of course.




Thursday, June 21, 2007

Rambling Man

First of all, the Onion is killing me on a regular basis. Anyone see the article entitled something in the neighborhood of, "Prince Fielder Dies of Inside the Park Home Run"? Quality. They must have warehouses and warehouses packed full of monkeys on typewriters to come up with the stuff they do.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Genetically Identical Siblings Born Shortly One After Anothers have been doing a fantastic impression of a Valleyfair ride lately (read: all season), and it has got me thinking. When does one decide that one's team is just a .500 team? How much evidence is necessary? This is not to say that I believe this to be the case with respect to the '07 Twins. But should I? Sure they haven't won more than four games in a row all season, and sure they've hovered around .500 all season. But they're also a mere 5 and a third (games started by Ponson only count partially since it was clearly a joke) games back of the division lead right now. And how many games did the freaking Cardinals win last year?

It was these kinds of thoughts that ricocheted from the crumbling drywalled recesses of my brain last night as I sat through the 12-inning pitchers' duel (is there a better kind?) with my tow-headed amour at Metrodome. You know that point in your fandom where you'd give anything yes anything if only this damned game would end so you could go to bed already? Where streaming masses of pinstripe and stirrup-clad little leaguers parade for the exits right past you with the game yet hanging in the balance? Where you would like to question their fandom, but get a giddy little thrill when your (so far this year) spotty lefty reliever comes into the game, and there is the slight hope that you can slide beneath your comforter oh-so-very soon? It's a moral dilemma people. A quandry if you will. And it was an exact microcosm last night for my general feelings about my club as we near the midpoint of the season.


My loyalty as a sports afficionado demands that I stay til the end of the game, and that I never give up on my club, no matter how "Royal-y" the season. But my medulla oblongata demands sleep -- a proper amount of time for my neurons to rest and prepare for the flood of coffee and sunshine and over-enthusiastic office workers that is imminent once the sun rises next. And other parts of my brain demand that I don't fixate on a club that is going nowhere, no matter how many hopeful teases and rationalizations there are to the contrary...

Current whisperings in my ear:
*Injuries
*Did it last year from farther back
*Just make the playoffs and anything can happen

Why can't the different parts of my brain just get along?


Friday, June 15, 2007

Hops' Corner of Negativity


Yeah, we won!


Like most of you, I was not looking forward to reading stories this morning about anemic offenses and lack of run support for the Greatest Lefty of All-Time. But, also like most of you, I felt that tremor of hope when Tubby Bubby Wickman was brought in to "close" the game. And I too rejoiced when Naked Catcher ended another ridiculous and exciting inning of slapping the ball around the infield. Really, I did. But after the Jubilee...did anyone else flashback to the 8th inning with a tilted, dog like look of confusion?


Wait…Jason Tyner pinch-hit for Jason Bartlett in the 8th inning?

First off…here’s a list of people I’d rather see pinch hit for Jason Bartlett:


1: Jeff Cirillo

2: The back-up, back-up catcher…I mean that’s why we have him on the roster, right? No? Oh…then why do we have him on the roster?

3: Bernardo Brito

4: Carlos Silva

5: Luis Rodriguez

6: Lew Ford (I just threw up a little)


In what universe is it logical to have a light, hitting back-up outfielder hit for your light-hitting starting shortstop? True, Bartlett has been struggling. But what could you write about Bartlett that you couldn’t copy/paste for Tyner?

No power? Check.
Low average? Check.
Speedy? Check…but you have to get a hit first.

Now…before I dig myself too deep into a lack-of-information hole, I need to remind our faithful readers that, as a bearded socialist, I have turned away from the soul-crushing, brain-washing, electric sex that is television. Consequently, all my live Twins info comes through the Gluek’s tinted glasses of The Dazzler and Gordo. So, if any of the above players were unavailable due to injury, sleep deprivation, or ‘cuz they suck donkey balls…I didn’t get the memo.

The point is…well, the point is what’s the point of having the roster like this? There’s not ONE bat on the bench you trust more than Jason Tyner? I LOVE Tyner as a back-up outfielder/pinch runner. My affinity for Jarvis Brown is well documented…and I’d welcome Jarvis Brown 2.0 on this team. BUT NOT AS A PINCH HITTER!

Not funny, Gardy. Not funny. That’s the kind of move that makes me start to wonder if you bet on the Braves last night. Too bad the other back-up catcher…the one who likes his junk a lot…ruined your night. Does that mean Ulger had to buy the pitcher of Hamm’s?

(And since we’re in this mood today…how excited are you, twenty years from now, at the new, new stadium to have our own Monument Park behind the outfield fence? I see Namesake there. I see the Fightin’ Canadian. Johizzy. Possibly Trever Plouffe.

And of course, The Jesus. But I see his monument being somewhere closer to second base. It’ll be cute, like the hill in center down in Houston.)

I love Bob Wickman. Go Twins. Scott Baker owns the Brewers.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Stealing Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery


I didn't think this up or...you know...write it, but I wish I had....

Baseball Purist Horrified To Be Beaten To Death By An Aluminum Bat

Baseball purist John McGee was horrified and disappointed today to be beaten to death today by an attacker wielding an aluminum baseball bat.

“Oh, this is terrible!” yelled out McGee when his mugger began beating him with a DeMarini Voodoo baseball bat made with space-age SC-3 aluminum alloy and a composite handle. “Why, God, why? Why kill me with an aluminum bat? This is no way for a person to go!”

...Click here to continue reading...

(via Sportspickle)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Trade Proposal #1


I can't get the trade hype out of my head. So I've started brainstorming on what out beloved team could do. But instead of putting three or four hopefully rational proposals together, I think I'll start with one a day and see the reaction. Please note that Kyle Lohse will be involved in every trade because, well, why not.


I'm going to shot for the stars on this first one cause you need to. Plus I need to fantasize about the prospects of having this guy on our squad.


Twins trade to the Marlins: Garza, Duesing, Daniel Velencia and Kyle Lohse

Marlins trade to the Twins: Miguel Cabrera


Marlins would get two top pitching prospects and (in my limited research) a good 3B prospect from our organiziation. MC is at $7.4 million for this year and don't know for next year. But I think we've heard some Ensberg talk ($4.3 million) and Wigginton talk ($2.7 million) and I'd pay an extra $3-4 million for a top 10 player.


The only snag I see in this is the Marlins wanting a major league ready player. Maybe throw in Boof. Don't know, but I think this trade seems reasonable.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

5'7", 5'9"...whatever it takes

Meet your newest (soon to be) Twin




Twins are hoping he'll provide a sparq

"Deep freeze makes Hell less attractive", say flying pigs

Things we can expect to happen now that LNP and Bart have homered in the same game:


MLB finally will televise their draft, but will schedule it for a weekday afternoon when no one can see it. (Oh wait…)

Papelboner will give up a home-run to Slappy which will inspire a mini-run from the MFY’s and a panic attack by The Nation. (Oh wait…)

Gary Sheffield will manage to again piss off just about anyone with a pulse by saying something incredibly stupid . (Oh wait…)

The Twins will pull The Jesus off of the DL, bat him second, send Lew Fordwalker to Rochester, and start Johan on two days rest next Tuesday knowing that I’ll be at the game. (I can dream…)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Gooooo Raiders!!


Notes from the desk of Ron Gardenhire, if he were a somewhat catty, fifteen year old girl doodling on her notebook in math class at Cretin Durham Hall High School.


I’d totally rather be pitching bp right now

Like, if I bat my DH ninth often enough…do you think that bitch Terry Ryan will finally get the hint? What if I just start letting my pitchers hit?

T-Rye and I used to be so close…but he’s going to have to choose; Me or Bartlett. There’s no in-between

Joey M better not think he’s going to get away with not calling me this weekend

Do you think Jo-Jo would bat 2nd for me when he comes back…would I have to go all the way with him first? OMG!

Would I look good with longer hair?

I really thought I was totally over Rondell…but I know if he calls, I’ll take him back

I wish Al Newman wasn’t still mad at me…but there’s NO WAY I’m calling him first.

Scott Ulger is such a tool

I wish Jim Leyland wouldn’t smoke so much…it’s so not hot.

I hope Lew knows I’m the only reason he’s even here…and he better not forget it.

Justin tried to talk about hockey with me yesterday. What-ever, dork. He’s so awkward.

Where IS Canada, anyway?

Oh look…big surprise. Johan’s raising his hand again. He always thinks he has the answer.

Torii=BFF

Friday, June 01, 2007

Memo to Mr. Slowey


Don't forget to breathe


Good luck

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Cornicopia...and it's not even Thxgiving


Well, I think we've let Hops' excellent posts sit at the top of this bad boy long enough. Se la V (for Vendetta) old school baseballer references. You see, I am a relative newcomer to the joy that baseball can bring with its day to day checking of boxscores and non-stop water cooler fodder. Sure, I was briefly carniverous in my devotion to the Twins in '87 and '91, but being young, I was not in complete control of my faculties back then (obvious cheap shot space), and thereafter thought the national pasttime crept in too petty a pace. That has changed recently, and now my interest is renewed, raptorial even, but still I was only vaguely aware the last couple days that Ron Washington was a former stone-handed Twin, and only by the grace of Dick In Bert (no offense) was this made clear. I rely on Hops and Smitty to spearhead any nostalgia here at TWT, while I pretend to know what they're talking about, and giggle at Glenn Hubbard's beard. Not to mention his python (not what you think). They still use yearbooks and newspapers as primary information sources, while I am a master of the nuances of Facebook and IM phrasology, and know how to copy and paste HTML. :-o

While I've been on hiatus, the Twins were beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of nagging injuries. A plague even. I even thought about making this post a pleasurable romp through Camus' world from the vantage of Denny Hocking, but then remembered that I haven't read his book after all. Far be it for me to question the toughness of major league ballplayers, but doesn't it seem like the level for "sore" this or "strained" that has changed significantly in our lifetime? Maybe the Twins are just keeping in character and being overly cautious by keeping guys out until they are completely healed. From snippets of interviews and media coverage though, it seems like the player himself has a great deal of control sometimes in how long they stay out. Others (Baby Jeebus) seem to have no say. It's probably different for everyone -- correlated to salary, arbitrary "important-ness to team", and iconic status (see 'Jeebus, Baby' above).

Of more recent note, Namesake has been absolutely brilliant so far this season, and it seems to finally be catching on with the rest of the team. Like playing good baseball is retro, and the Puntos and Bartletts of the world are realizing it's cool again to...you know...hit for average and shit. Even Leftfield Option #2 briefly stopped sucking last night. Namesake's home-run robbery the other night was epic. Right up there in the top ten with the on-the-run-over-the-shoulder diddy from earlier in the season. SO refreshing to be seeing him make catches like that again, after seriously wondering if he had lost a step the last two years, and even at the beginning of this season when a few balls dropped at his feet that you felt he may have gotten to back in the Minky/A.J. years. I love Torii With Two 'I's and No 'Y's and I'm not the only one.

A.J.P. Remember when he was one of us? Just kidding. I know you do. Personally, I don't understand the booing of A.J. at Metrodome, and this has been examined before at many outlets. No, he didn't choose to leave on his own, and yes Mauer is clearly a huge upgrade and was waiting in the wings at the time, and yes he sort of gives the current batch of Twins a bit more incentive to beat down the Sox when they come to town (although this is overrated). That's all well and good, but the real reason we should embrace A.J. is that he's f'ing hilarious. He's an entertainment beacon of light in the Charles Barkley mold and he makes our (former) mortal enemies a borderline joke on a regular basis. Can you imagine A.J. on Baseball Tonight, calling out Steve Phillips' white hair and Jon Kruk's left nut (wait...which one's still extant?)? Or maybe in the booth with Bert, going back and forth to see who can entertain themselves with their own comments more? Poor poor Dick. I'm suffering for you already, even though this scenario is only a fiction of my poorly constructed brain device.

Random thought (which also debunkifies my command of the online community vernacular and protocol): What is the e-equivalent of "Just thinking out loud"? What I mean is, what do you say in an email or IM for "just thinking out loud"? Just translating my thoughts into finger-based keyboard motions so that you may ocular-ly ingest it!

I've clearly been at my computer too long.

Finally, I would be remiss not to mention the departure of BatGirl. Her link has been sitting at the top of our sidebar since the beginning, where it rightfully belongs, and where it will rightfully stay. I will not pile on to the list of people that have adopted her as the inspiration for their own blog (it's not entirely untrue) or the list of people that will miss her (definitely true), but will be the first to offer up this blogspace for any potential Twinsventing she wants to do in a guest capacity (true, but not realistic). You're welcome at TWT anytime. I think I speak for my co-founders when I say that BatGirl was one of those everyday sorts of blogs to read as it was so consistently entertaining, and not one of those every other (which is pretty good) or once-a-week (not bad) or oh-yeah-I-haven't-been-there-in-awhile type blogs (how bout a little more effort here guys). Obvious cheap shot space here, as well. Come on, we can take it. Anyway, that may not seem like the best compliment, but when you're a veteran of the internets like me, you know that it is.

Anywho, we will miss you BatGirl and if I ever have children (somewhere a butterfly is shivering) I will definitely be reading them your children's books (not ones I literally steal from them). But could you write one about a robot? I like robots.

Friday, May 25, 2007

One Score and Two Titles Ago...


What kind of sense of humor do my friends have? Well, when I recently got married to a lifelong Cardinals fan, one of them gave us a dvd box set of the 1987 World Series.
Very nice!

In honor of that gift, my impending divorce, and the twenty year anniversary of Les Straker kicking down the door to stardom…I give you a game-by-game recap:

(Actually, before we get started…check out this page. Particularly the standings about 2/3 down the page where it lists team payrolls. Small market my ass.)

Game 1

The coverage starts immediately with the Twins taking the field in the top of the first. No pregame…probably for the best. The Dome looks fantastic…remember when the Dome used to look fantastic!

Al Michaels is announcing

Cards line-up:
Vince Coleman LF
Ozzie Smith SS
Tom Herr 2B
Jim Lindeman 1B
Wille McGee CF
Tony Pena C
Jose Oquendo RF
Tom Pagnozzi DH
Tony Lawless 3B

Love those cards! Well, Vince Coleman anyway


Very straightforward intros from the ever-professional Al Michaels while introducing the Twins in the field…only stumbling a bit when he tries to use Gaetti’s nickname…G-Man.
That’s okay, Al…it’s a tough one.

Paul Molitor and Tony Gwynn have pre-recorded scouting reports for tonight's starting pitchers…we’re treated to a dapper Molly telling us Frankie "Sweet Music" Viola's development of his change-up has moved him from a good to a great pitcher.

During Frankie’s warm-ups…the ump is really touchy feely with Tim Laudner...I think Tim's a bit uncomfortable, but doesn't want to say anything.

No Terry Pendleton?

Top 1
Vince Coleman bunts on the first pitch!!! It’s nearly perfect…but Frankie’s nimble enough to track it down and fire to first…low, but Hrbek picks it out…close call, but replays show he’s out.

Tim McCarver is our colorman…and he’s already annoying.

Ozzie can’t touch the change-up….looks REALLY silly striking out swinging.

The crowd is going crazy!

There’s a third member of our announcing crew…can’t figure out who it is yet.

Tom Herr is up…so excited to see him dressed like a Cardinal and not a Twin.

That was Ozzie’s first strikeout in 55 World Series at bats.

Herr grounds out to Viola…pretty sure Sweet Music will handle the Cards tonight…call it a gut feeling.

Bottom 1
Twins at the plate!

Dan Gladden LF
Greg Gagne SS
Kirby Puckett CF
Gary Gaetti 3B
Don Baylor DH (yes!)
Tom Brunansky RF
Kent Hrbek 1B
Stee Lombardozzi 2B
Tim Laudner C

Why is Hrbek batting 7th?

Joe Magrane pitching…rookie

Tony Gwynn breaks him down…with an EXCELLENT goatee and Miami Vice sport coat combo
Says he had trouble hitting “Joe” this year…bullshit, he probably batted .345 against him. Thinks the Twins can run on him…except the 87 Twins were mashers…not Piranhas.

Gladden grounds to the Wizard…doesn’t run through first base…I’ll remember that next time he bad mouths BJ Upton (or any other young player) for a lack of fundamentals.

Seriously…how can McCarver be THIS annoying already

Gagne looks overmatched

Is the third announcer Steve Garvey…sounds maybe like it is…plus he just offered to swap wives with Al Michaels.

McCarver just compared Gagne’s batting style to Willie Stargell and Mike Schmidt…Gagne struck out swinging

KIRBY!!!
(pounds one off the plate…Herr makes a nice play and throws him out)

Top 2
Coming back from break…they just showed a shot of the crowd…and it looks like the section in the upperdeck directly behind home plate is empty…why?

Puckett misplays a flyball from Lindeman…drops for a hit. Lindeman on second.

Stupid roof.

Decent point about the Twins fans needing to be more savvy and put the hanky’s away when the Twins are in the field so as not to make it more difficult for the outfielders to pick up the ball. Needless to say, McCarver had nothing to do with that analysis.

Viola’s change is unbelievable…

McGee flys out to Kirby…who GUNS a throw to third to get the runner tagging…OUT!
Nooooo…the ump calls him safe. He’s clearly out, and the replays show that. Of course, McCarver backs up the ump, even as the replay shows he’s out. Micheals quickly changes the subject back to the new batter…Tony Pena.

Tony Pena is rocking my mother-in-law’s glasses for this game...I bet she can still quilt him under the table.

I don’t have to point out that 95% of the players are sporting “awesome” mustaches, do I…you guys know that, right?

Grounder to short…Gagne thought about coming home, but took the out at first…looks like he could’ve had him…but he knows his team can score runs.
1-0 Cards
Oquendo quickly pops out to Gladden in foul territory

Bottom 2
Gaetti’s up…monster numbers on the year. The year being 1987.

Pops out on the first pitch to right.

Don Baylor’s up…and is bigger than the ump and the catcher combined. Are we sure Don Baylor isn’t two players under an extra large uniform? Like one of those horse costumes at Halloween? Baylor’s not amused by my humor and pops out. I just locked my front door.

Bruno! (Full disclosure…I own a Tom Brunansky jersey…a CARDINALS Tom Brunansky jersey…#23)

“Tom Kelly…what you see is what you get” says Al Michaels. Umm, Al…I think that was supposed to be Tim McCarver’s line in the script.

Foreshadowinng…The ump just had to call time to order Kent Hrbek back to the ondeck circle…he was cheating over to get a better look at the movement on Magrane’s pitches. I hope Ron Gant is reading this…and muttering quietly to himself.

Bruno walks.

Hrbek hit 34 home runs but only managed 90 RBI.

It’s so great to watch him hit…it looks like he’s bending over to poop.

I’m told he’s batting seventh ‘cuz Magrane’s a lefty. Can we try that with Mauer?

Magrane’s afraid to throw a strike…good instincts, son.

Twiggy’s our first base coach…yep, that’s awesome.

Hrbek walks…the 4th ball is a wildpitch, but Bruno can’t get to third.

1st and 2nd for Lombo

Lombardozzi hit 8 home runs that year! 8! Nick Punto can’t hit 8 home runs??!!

Uh-oh…pitching coach is already paying a visit. It’s clear now our third announcer is a pitcher…my new guess is Jim Palmer.

Pena does the snap throw to first a lot…I like that move. Especially when the guy on first is Kent Hrbek.

Al Michaels’ refers to Whitey Herzog as “The Amazing One”. Amazing what exactly? Is everyone who manages the Cards automatically one of the game’s best? (See: LaRussa, Tony)

Full count to Lombo…as we get an excellent crowd shot. Why didn’t we all just go bald in the 80’s…the hairstyles are more than a little embarrassing.

Lombo pops up…if I were watching this live, I’d be going apeshit at all the pop ups the Twins are hitting.

Top 3
Jim Palmer(?) compares a pitching coach to a stepfather…apparently the Orioles p.c. used to drink a lot and smack him around. WTF?

Pagnozzi grounds out to Gaetti to start the third…as Michaels laughs while talking about how thin the Cardinals bench is and how they have no one to DH.

Pendelton is out with a strained rib cage…and can apparently only bat lefthanded…not righthanded or play the field. What a very specific injury.

Viola blows a fastball by someone named Tony Lawless for the second out

Coleman’s up again…if this were RBI Baseball, I’d bunt and get an inside the park home-run out of it.

Michaels tells the story of how Vince Coleman got run over by the tarp roller in 1985…which caused him to miss the World Series against the Royals. Ha! I remember that story! (Although I thought it was actually this World Series).
Coleman strikes out while I try to think of dumber injuries. (Who was the guy who fell on his stairs while carrying deer meet to his freezer? Someone from Colorado, right?)

Bottom 3
It IS Jim Palmer. I’m 1 for 1 in second guessing myself

They use a graphic to explain why Tim Laudner is starting even though he batted .191 on the year (really!)…and it basically boils down to “Who should we play instead, Sal freaking Butera?”

Laudner only got one hit in the ALCS…a game winning double against Jack Morris.
Remember 1987…when we hated Jack Morris?

Jim Palmer just said “A lot of the hits Laudner got in the playoffs were against the breaking ball”. Really? A lot? You mean the one? Stupid announcer, now I have to look up how many hits Launder had in the ALCS.
(He DID only have one hit in the ALCS...Tim McCarver is contagious)

Magrane forgets .191 is bad in the AL and walks Laudner.

Gladden grounds to third…fielder’s choice gets Laudner at 2nd…Gladden’s at first. When does he earn the nickname “Dazzle”?

Magrane was called for seven balks on the year…holy shit, I can’t believe someone actually used to pay attention enough to call balks.

Magrane has thrown over to first seven times…and never has been close to getting Gladden.

Eight.

Nine.

Ten.

Finally! Gagne fouls one off…I’m impressed he was still awake.

The DVD case tells me this game is three hours and thirty six minutes…mostly in this at-bat, apparently.

Guess what…Gagne POPS UP. Kirby’s up.

Tony Pena’s good. Saved Magrane from a couple of wild pitches already.

Gladden steals second on a very close play. He was safe…barely.

When was Kirby thin? It’s not 1987, that’s for sure.

Triva…Kirby was tied for the league lead in hits with whom? That’s right…Kevin Seitzer.

Kirby grounds out to future Mr. Twin Tommy Herr.

Top 4
Al Michaels compares the Dome to a spaceship. I prefer the Big Inflatable Toilet, thankyou very much.

Ozzie check swings a grounder to Lombo. One down.

There’s footage of Frankie V’s brother’s wedding in NY…which apparently happened earlier today (1987 today). Frankie was to be the best man, but was a tad busy. Cmon John Viola…stop being so selfish and reschedule your wedding. Jerk.

Tommy Herr grounds out to Gaetti.

Frankie is absolutely dominating…if Kirby hadn’t botched that fly ball, we’d be talking about Don Larson right now.

And right on cue…base hit to right field.

You want to talk skinny…ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce Mr. Willie McGee.
“I can’t eat all of it, Joe Rogan”.

McGee grounds into the hole…Gagne fields and just misses getting Lindeman at 2nd base. 2 on…2 out.
(there have been a lot of close plays already…and each time the player on the losing end of the call has reacted like Tim Duncan anytime he gets called for a foul)

My mother-in-law is up again. She has a terrible average with 2outs and RISP this year. And is quickly in the hole 0-2.

Pena grounds out to Viola.

Bottom 4

Gaetti grounds one down the line toward third…someone called Tony Lawless finds it difficult to throw him out from all the way over there! Thank you Cardinals JV team

Don Baylor rips a hit up the middle…I love you Don Baylor.

2on…NOBODY out for Bruno

Best mustache on the team…it’s not even close

Bruno rips a single to center…and it’s TOO hard (ha, too hard) for Gaetti to score!

Bags loaded…nobody out. Hrbek’s up.

Cardinals have Bob Forsch warming up in the pen (Yep…THEE Bob Forsch)

Hrbek singles up the middle…two runs in!

Tom Kelly is the first rookie manager to take his team to the World Series since all the way back in 1982.

2nd and 3rd…STILL nobody out

Lombo and his 8 home runs are up

This is awesome, by the way, I’m actually excited for a game in which I know everything that happens already.

A crowd shot of Bob Dole…why exactly is Bob Dole at the game? Bob Dole loves indoor baseball. Bob Dole needs a dome dog.

Magrane walks Lombo…and then takes a long hot shower. Good try, son…but your shame will linger in my memory forever.

Bob Forsch is in…yes, thee Bob Forsch. He looks exactly 48 years old. Not a day older.

Tim Laudner singles in Bruno! Hrbek to third. Lombo to 2nd
I’m not sure if I can read lips that well…but I’m pretty sure he said “Fuck you Tim McCarver” on the way to first.

NOBODY OUT…bases loaded…Gladden’s up. I’m pretty sure I know where this is headed…

Yep…7-1. Dazzling.

(That was the least exciting home run call I’ve ever heard, Mr. Michaels. It was a fucking grand slam in the World Series, for christ’s sake! I bet you would have given it a little more oomph if Mike Eruzione had hit it.)

Jim Palmer says that reminded him a little of Harmon Killebrew. I’m glad I haven’t eaten yet…these guys are a serious vurp risk

Nobody out yet, btw.

Gagne flys out to right…Oquendo misplays it, but recovers in time
Puckett grounds out to the Wiz

Gaetti feels sorry for thee Bob Forsch and flys out to left…WAIT A MINUTE, IT’S A DOME RULE DOUBLE…Coleman loses it in the roof.
(And the Twins officially lose the respect of major league baseball for the next ten years.)

Baylor grounds out to third.

Top 5
This six run lead will not change the way Viola pitches says Mr. Palmer. I agree, he continues to throw the ball toward home plate.

Palmer tells us that the first year of the Dome’s existence, they hadn’t installed air conditioning yet…which is why so many home runs were hit that first year.
I did not know that.

Oquendo grounds outs to short
Pagnozzi grounds out to Viola
Tony Lawless strikes out (seriously…who IS this guy?)

The Cardinals are flat-out overmatched against Sweet Music
(I like, btw, that even before this game started, it was decided that Frankie was going to pitch Game 4 on three days rest. They didn’t even wait and see how this game would go…that’s how bad the pitching staff was)

Bottom 5
Bruno grounds out to third
Hrbek walks again..he’s 1-1 with two walks on the night
Michaels says the Twins were the ultimate team effort…’cuz no one was very good.

Screw you, Al…Lombo hits a two run dong. (Did we call them dongs back then?)
Can I send a copy of this to Nick Punto and Jason Tyner?

Hrbek is twice the width of Lombardozzi.

Launder flys out to center…Sal Butera couldn’t do that
Gladden walks…dazzlingly
Gagne bangs one deep into right…but Oquendo is there

Top 6
Oh…it’s now 9-1 Twins. Over the Cardinals. My wife’s favorite team. Just sayin’

Coleman’s up…please bunt, please bunt, please bunt…
Nope…flys out to right.

Okay…Michaels just contradicted himself (and me) by saying Joe Niekro MIGHT start game 4…if the Twins are up 3-0. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Ozzie grounds out to short
Herr grounds out to short


Bottom 6
Kirby leads off…no hits on the night yet
And he pops up to first.

Gaetti’s up…we’re reminded of the fact that he hit a homerun in his first career at bat, his first career post season at bat, and in this, his first World Series game, he got two hits in one inning. And now he’s the first player this inning to reach on an error by Tony Lawless. Who’s name may actually be Tom Lawless, I’ve discovered…but I don’t care that much.

Don Baylor, Bat For Hire grounds out to ozzie…Gaetti moves to second

Bruno’s up…and Michaels and his posse are talking about how everyone on this team goes by a nickname…”Bruno, G-Man, Kirby, Herbie…”
I don’t have the heart to tell him that Kirby is actually his real name.

Bruno flys out to center…McGee forgets it’s the last out. But to be fair, he’s high.

Top 7
Frankie’s still in. 70 pitches or so, I think

Great shot of National League President Bart Giamatti as Lindeman takes strike 1 from Viola…you can see him saying “Swing the bat”. Lindeman listens and lines out to Gagne on the next pitch. That’s NL baseball, damn it

McGee dumps a single into center. He may be skinny, ugly, and high…but he can hit.

84 pitches for Frankie, thank-you graphics guy.

My mother-in-law grounds into a 5-4-3 double play! Way to go, Karen.

Bottom 7
Anecdote from Al Michaels…apparently someone called Tom Kelly before the series started and said, “God has sent me to you to start the first game”. And Kelly replied “Sorry…but the league says you have to be on the roster by Sept 1st”.

That’s actually very funny. I bet it was Dark Star.

Rick Horton is in for the St. Lunatics…and he looks twelve years old. That was quite a change from thee 48 year old Bob Forsch to this guy.

Hrbek pops weakly to third

Lombo hits a solid single to center (wait…you can hit singles and home runs in the same game? Hmm…)

Fun stat…Mr. Horton actually played right field for the Cardinals in a game this year. And during the same game, so did another Cards pitcher. Anyone want to argue the virtues of NL baseball? I didn’t think so.

Laudner strikes out

Gladden doubles into the right field corner…which actually should have been a walk…the 3-1 pitch was WAY outside, but the ump was trying to get everyone to bed early. Lombo scores

Gagne grounds out to the Wiz.

10-1 Twins

Top 8
Oquendo strikes out
Pagnozzi singles to center
Lawless is up…and yes, his name is Tom and he pops up to Lombo
Coleman bounces to Gagne…who gets the out at second to end the inning
Was it me, or was that the least funny half-inning?

Bottom 8
Kirby knocks a hit to right…his first of the night. Only Gagne will take the collar in this game

Gaetti flys to McGee…who loses it briefly…finds it…and then drops it. But he still manages to force Kirby at 2nd base. Your basic 8-6 put-out. TWINGO!

McCarver says “White on white belongs in shirts, not baseball”. I have no idea what that means, but assume he’s gotten into Willie’s stash

Baylor grounds into a double play

Top 9
Look Smitty…it’s Keith Atherton!! And he’s borrowed Tony/Karen Pena’s glasses.

Gene Larkin on first…who remembers he went to Columbia?
Mark Davidson in right field.

Ozzie lines out to left

Mark Davidson gets on camera just long enough to adjust his cup.

Herr flys to left

2 down…the Dome is filled to the brim with electric sex! I have goose bumps.

Lindeman grounds out to Gaetti and can be heard yelling "Mercy!" as he runs toward first.

10-1!
1-0!

Despite the score, I have an inkling this series is going to be a tight one. Mostly because the box set contains seven dvd’s.

Brilliant!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Thoughts While Hoping Someone Brings Scrappy Back


No offense to Joe Vavra, Scott Ulger, Jerry White, etc...but I didn't know you guys before you were coaches. I miss Al Newman. Every team should be required to have a first or third base coach that played for the team between five and twenty-five years previously. Think of how fun it would be watching Kent Hrbek trying to wave someone home...with a dome dog in one hand and a Mike's Hard Lemonade in the other.


Here's my list of awesome (awesome=players I watched as a youngster) former players currently disguised as coaches:



Angels:


Alfredo Griffin

Mickey Hatcher









Astros:

Cecil Cooper



Braves:

Glenn Hubbard

Roger McDowell

Terry Pendleton

Eddie Perez




Cardinals:

Hal McRae
Jose Oquendo


Cubs:

Alan Trammell




Diamondbacks:

Kirk Gibson

Chip Hale

Kevin Seitzer




Dodgers:

Eddie Murray

Rick Honeycutt



Giants:

Dave Righetti



Indians:

Luis Rivera

Mets:

Howard Johnson

Tom Nieto



Orioles:

Juan Samuel



Phillies:

Milt Thompson

Davy Lopes



Red Sox:

Luis Alicea



Reds:

Brook Jacoby



Rockies:

Jamie Quirk

Glenallen Hill



Tigers:

Lloyd McClendon

Rafael Belliard

Andy Van Slyke



White Sox:

Harold Baines

Joey Cora

Mark Salas



Yankees:

Don Mattingly

Tony Pena




Do you really mean to tell me that this team couldn't use Jarvis Brown as a baserunning coach right now?