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.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Friday, May 25, 2007
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.)
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
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.
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?
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.
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
(pounds one off the plate…Herr makes a nice play and throws him out)
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.
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.
Oquendo quickly pops out to Gladden in foul territory
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.
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.
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?)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
NOBODY OUT…bases loaded…Gladden’s up. I’m pretty sure I know where this is headed…
(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.
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)
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
Gagne bangs one deep into right…but Oquendo is there
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Here's my list of awesome (awesome=players I watched as a youngster) former players currently disguised as coaches:
Andy Van Slyke
Do you really mean to tell me that this team couldn't use Jarvis Brown as a baserunning coach right now?
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
I drop off the earth for one week, and this is what happens? The entirety of my favorite team either sucks or is hurt (Namesake obviously excepted), and we’re eagerly awaiting the return of Lew Frickin’Ford???!!! I’d prefer Frederick Fucking Chopin. (Pat Reusse is mad)
The calls are coming from all directions for the Quiet Genius to make a trade. And I’m inclined to agree. However, TWT and it’s denizens will not stand for the kind of Lohsian* talk that I’m already beginning to hear. If you’d like to suggest that Mr. Ryan stop hording every single good minor league pitcher in all of Seligdom, than I demand you (yes you!) refrain from such vomit-inducing packages as Carlos Silva and Scott Baker for Matt Murton…or Travis Hafner…or Barry Bonds…or what have you. I have no interest in trades wherein the saliency arises from stupidity. Trades do not happen in MLB where one side gives up players it-doesn’t-want-even-a-little bit for immediate major league roster value…which is what our chosen franchise needs desperately right now. As far as I know, Kevin McHale does not run any of the MLB franchises.
So…here’s my list of pitchers that I’m willing to root for from afar if it means bringing me a right-handed bat that will manage to out-perform Josh Rabe:
Ramon Ortiz (how much magic dust does Rick Anderson have anyway?)
*Lohsian…referring to all the asinine “rumors” every time Lohse pitched poorly wherein the Twins should try and trade him and some other terrible pitcher for Carlos Beltran ‘cuz the Mets needed pitching. To reiterate…this shit doesn’t happen in real life!
Posted by Hops at 12:33 PM
Saturday, May 05, 2007
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
but don’t count on seeing Ortiz in pinstripes anytime soon, even though he dons a Yankees cap in a new ESPN commercial featuring him and Jorge Posada.That raised the blood pressure unnecessarily.
“It’s not what you think,” Ortiz cries when the Red Sox mascot catches him in the act.