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:

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 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.