Friday, July 29, 2005

Hook you up?

I'm not sure if Wade Miller or Bronson Arroyo is pitching for Boston tonight, but I'm pretty sure that this guy was a pot dealer at my college.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Anime Rain

Last night, when the rain started coming down, it was just so cool. I was really hoping it would start splashing off the players' shoulders and creat full-body halos like rain does in Anime. This is the best pic I could find.

Samurai Champloo.

Indian October

1. With the weather cool here in MN and rain on the TV in Yanqui Stadium (v 1.2), it felt a bit like October. Exciting game, watched most of it. From "How do we not score more than one run on 23 hits, 9 walks, a hit batter, and 235 pitches in 5 innings?" To "Yeah! Runs!" to "Bernie F-ing Williams" to "It stayed foul! Foul! Just a long strike!" God I love baseball, especially baseball in the fall, and tonight's simulation was good enough to up my mood by about 15%.

2. Special shout out to that ball that Bernie Williams hit. Thank you so much kind ball for hooking foul. You are the official Baseball of AMR's for the week.

3. Scotty Ulger was at third? Why? Has there been a shakeup we don't know about? Has Al Newman become the hitting coach? I think Boone may have had a chance to get back to third, he was out by a good 50 feet.

4. I think the walk to Giambi in the 8th was good for the Twins. We had a 6-run lead and the dude, who SBG has noted is very damned good again, could have made it a 2-run lead like that. We should definitely be willing to sacrifice a run to get to face Posada and Martinez.

5. Are the Yanquis actually pitching Small tomorrow or Hideo Nomo who they just claimed off waivers?

6. The whole damned mini-slump was my fault. I noticed my Elvis-Trivia-Day-Calendar* hadn't been changed since the 21st (last time the Twins won back-to-back games), and that the last time I updated my pocket schedule was the third game against Baltimore. These things make a difference. I'll stay on track tomorrow.

6*. The Calendar's kindof a joke, but not a good one.

7. They seriously need a stat for a reliver who makes things worse. An un-save. Taking a save situation for the other team and making it not so. Sturtze and Graman each get one for last night. Any suggestions?

8. The Royals pulled the damned thing out yesterday while I was eating dinner. That was a hell of a game, too. 0-5 in the 6th to 6-5 in the 13th. Two ChiSox baserunners caught off base (one stealing, one picked) in the 12th. Now they have 4 games against TB. Reach for that .500 KC! (Just get your wins against teams other than MIN).

9. (Non-political politics.) Remember, I'm a recovering political junkie. I read this article in yesterday's Strib. "Minnesota tops in 'Democracy Index.'" Excerpts:

A new report ranks the state No. 1 in its "democracy index," ... The report, called "Dubious Democracy 2005," ranked the states on a number of factors, including average margin of victory, voter turnout and the number of House races won by landslides.


Minnesota had the highest voter turnout last fall at 75 percent. But the study found that 54 percent of the state's eligible voters did not vote for the candidate who now represents them in Congress.

So which is better? Competitive races or more people voting for their representatives? They are in complete opposition. If 75% of eligible voters vote (MN's actual rate, tops in the nation, very good), and all the races are 80-20 % blowouts, then 60% of eligible voters (80% * 75%) voted for their representatives, meaning 40% did not vote for their representative. If all the races are very competitive and come down to one vote (50%+1, 50%-1), then only 37.5% of voters voted for their representatives, and 62.5% did not. I'd prefer competitive elections, (an issue of personal taste), but that means I want fewer people having picked their representative.

And, I didn't even consider that MN has significant tertiary parties and some people win with 38% (Ventura) to 45% (Pawlenty) to 49% (Coleman), although this has been less pronounced in US House races, which this study seems to value over Senators, and state officials.

And, for the '04 Presidential race, everybody lost. Those who voted for Bush in MN didn't get their electors elected, and those who voted for Kerry had elected their electors but had their electors outnumbered.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


I can't will the Twins to get a hit, but tracking the Royals-ChiSox game on MLB Gameday at work, and I just mentaly suggested Mike Sweeney hit a 3-R HR and he goes and does it. Game tied and Garland denied his 16th win.

Turn this S#!+ around.

1. Seriously, turn it around. This is our chance tonight. Leiter.

2. I've stopped Goating for the time because I've been watching less of the games and with all the losses, I've gotten bored with goating.

3. Don't look now, but for the month of July, Jose Lima is 3-2 and has a 3.52 ERA. He has completed 6 innings each of the 5 games. He has yet to give up more than 3 ER. His two losses: hard luck with one run of support in Detroit and none against Anaheim, plus an unearned run in each. On July 1, he was 1-6 with a 7.81 ERA. Maybe the Royals will be able to trade him for something more than a sack of infield dirt. In tha past month, I saw him warm up in the Pen against the Twins before the All-Star break, and try to calm down Carlos guillen when Runny Hernandez beaned him. Lima looks to have gotten himself back together. Way to go Jose!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Out of first.

1. I'm trying hard to be positive, trying hard to find things to write that are original.

2. I haven't watched an A's game this season since they've been good. How are they doing it? Who do we have to will injury onto? Do we have a chance? Dammit though, if it wasn't going to be the Twins for the WC, I was really hoping it would be the Cleveland Hafners.

3. Seems like the Tigers have some of that luck with callups that the Twins have had the past few:

3a. When I heard Chris Shelton's name announced during the Twins' June series against the Tigers, and didn't know who he was, I figured he must be a big-stick call-up. And he is. OPS of 1.002 as of today. Detroit's Morneau?

3b. Curtis Granderson's first game this season was Friday. In his 17 at-bats, he has 6 hits for 16 bases and one BB. He's 0-3 against non-Twins though.

4. I watched the second half of Saturday Night's game with C. When Magglio Ordonez came up in the 9th she said "That boy's name is Alice." She saw a similarity with her book "Alice the Fairy." I think I see it, too. Do You?

U-God: 7/23/05 (Day game), 7/24/03

I didn't really watch, so I'll take nominations...
Tell me who we blame for these losses.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Weekend Kidblogging

Doubleheader? Two pics.

Boating with Grandma W on Fathers' Day.

Taking a Bath before Jacque Jones got his first walkoff hit of the week.

U-GOD: 7/22/05

In those close one-run games, finding the U-GOD is difficult because there are plenty of blown opportunities and no one really did anything all that bad alone. But tonight's game had three great performances that all need to be noted, even if only TJ can be the U-God.

TJ Mulholland took over a game that was in bad shape, made it a little worse by letting in the run, got some run support, and then made it a blowout. I'm sure everybody that was tuned in is asking why he's still on the team. I've loved the guy, but this has been ridiculous. TJ is UGOD.

U-God honorable mention goes to Bret Boone for one of the costliest errors I have seen recently. In the bottom of the 5th, it should have been double play with a runner on third rather than no outs and the bases loaded. If he fields that cleanly, we have a one-or-two run inning, Mays stays in the game, Mulholland never blows it all up, and things like the top of the 6th can be meaningful.

U-God honorable mention also to me, AMR, who watched the game in bits. Whenever he was watching, a team was scoring. Short bits in the top of the second and bottom of the third, and then the bottom of the 5th and whole 6th inning. Even though I could see that my watching was forcing the Tigers to score, I did not turn away. Even though I knew my watching could help the Twins get back in it in the 7th, I had to give C a bath.

Lite Notes

1. Can't think of much to say lately. Not sure why.

2. I did absolutely nothing out of the ordinary for this little winning streak, so I have nothing to keep doing to do my part. No atypical shirts, foods eaten, new Twins keychain, hat wearing, etc. Maybe doing nothing out of the ordinary is what I have to do.

3. I'm thinking Gardy would have been ejected tonight for the four-base-foul-ball, had he not been ejected earlier.

4. I'm curious to see who gets sent down for Baker or if anyone gets traded. I have no insight, I just want to see what happens. I didn't even know who Shannon Stewart was when we traded beloved Kielty for him.

5. I searched high and low on the site for official rules involving tiebreakers and found none.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

White Knuckler

1. Carlos Silva lets guys on base all the time. If they're on first, I mentally add them to to outs for the inning, they're not a problem unless there are two outs (no dp to induce) or are RISP. But when Kyle Lohse lets guys on base, I get scared. Tonight, the leadoff batter got on in 1st, 4th, 5th, and 6th. And then more batters got on, yet somehow only two of them touched home base. Apparently Kyle likes the challenge of letting a guy get to second and then keep him from scoring. Kind of the Cat Osterman method of pitching. Only Kyle Loshe is no Cat Osterman, but what the hell, it worked tonight.

1a. I looked at my blogger profile. I am the only person in blogger with "Cat Osterman" in my interests.

2. Can BJ Ryan start tomorrow? We've scored three off him in 1.2 IP, and 3 runs off the rest of the O's pitchers in 18 IP.

3. I think we may be able to trace Morneau's troubles to the day he let his hair get cut. It used to stick out the bottom of his batting helmet, now it's neat and short. Time to let it grow out.

4. I really thought Luis R was safe at home in the 3rd, but the replay showed that he did not touch the plate. Good call, Mike Winters!

4a. I like Luis R batting leadoff.

5. Back in first in the WC race, tied with the Yanquis. We are put in first because they've so far won the season series against the NYYs, but tie breakers are only used in seeding, right? Not in deciding who makes the playoffs. If we're tied with the Yankees at the end of the season and we won the season series 4-2, we've still got to play them a one-game playoff to see who wins the wildcard. If we're tied with Baltimore and New York and they are also tied for first in the east, Baltimore and the Yankees play one game to decide who wins the east and the loser plays one game with the Twins. But, if the Twins are back and the second-place team in the East automatically gets the wild-card, then it goes to a tie-breaker, right? We are close to a situation where 3 teams could be tied for the AL East and the Twins tied for the WC. First the 3 teams in the east have to decide who wins (2 games, decided by lot) and then the two losers play against the Twins. But I could have the rules wrong. And I don't feel like checking. If a tie-breaking procedure can be used to keep a team out of the playoffs, something is wrong with baseball.

Eddie: 7/19/05

I believe Torii Hunter came to bat 7 times with runners in scoring position and two outs. He provided the third out each time. Happily, he earns only an Eddie because he got a two-out hit in the 9th with a runner at first.

Third place

1. Why didn't Carlos Silva pitch the 1oth last night? 85 pitches? Please. He could have pitched into the 12th if necessary. Certainly could have shown the whole team what a professional looks like: "I'm pitching til we win the game, dammit."

2 I thought Bret Boone's bunt in the 9th last night was pretty. A pop bunt into no-man's land where the pitcher covering first had to pass the first baseman fielding the ball. Three bodies touching first at the same time and none held the ball.

3. I seriously did not figure this team to have so much problems batting. Position by position we should have been better, or at least not much worse. Morneau is an improvement over Mientkiewicz. Mauer/Redmond over Blanco/Bowen/Borders. Bartlett/Castro/Punto/whoever over Guzman. Tiffee over Offerman. Cuddy not much worse than Koskie. Rivas would obviously not start the whole season unless would could affor that luxury. Outfield/DH intact. Is the collective suck-hole that the offense is in represent a slump or likely continued.

4. The Twins are out of first in the Wild-Card race for the first time since early in the season (I think so: not worth checking). I have no idea if we can ever win again. Part of me wants to start selling for next year, and part of me wants to see if we can grab the bottled lightning that previous WC teams have. I can't tell how much I'm decieving myself. I mean, are we 3-8 for out last 11 or are we still only a half-game out of the playoffs? Is it a trend or a setback? Do we suck or are we just sucking?

5. The Twins are even infecting other sports. Last night, Cat Osterman and the US National Softball team lost the world cup championship to Japan. I didn't know the US team could lose more than one game a year. Jennie Finch saved the loss for Osterman by taking a 1-run defecit in the 7th and making it a 2-run deficit.

U-GOD: 7/18/05

(You know, when I started doing this Goat thing, I didn't figure on doing it this regularly.)

It's hard to judge a batting coach. Especially for me. But last night, the batting coach managed the last 3 1/3 innings of the game (I think that's who the announcers said was managing). Well, in the bottom of the 8th with one out, Shannon Stewart was on first after Wendelstedt had yet to throw a strike. Matthew Lecroy was coming up and I had hope. But in his first managing decision, Scotty Ullger called Justin "Struggling" Morneau to bat. Hope was lost, and "Struggling" hit the first pitch into a double play. Righty/Lefty whatever, Gardy was sitting Morneau for a reason, and to put a guy looking for a headcleaner into that position didn't feel right.

Even if Ullger didn't make that decision last night, the team isn't hitting worth anything and it's his job to see that the team hits. Goat either way.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Goat of Weekend: 7/14-17/05

Obviously, when a new trade, a guy to sparkplug the lineup or whatever, goes 2-16, 1rbi, when the team drops three of four at home, he is Goat. Bret Boone, Goat of the Weekend.

(With an assist from Frankie Rodriguez, for 10 batter/9 out / no hit dominance. 6-6 saves/opps against us with 1 ER for the year. Thank you for not playing us again this year, Fritz.)

Weekend Thoughts

1. Twins got me down. Time to turn this around, guys, the Yanquis are tied for first with us in the WC. A loss the the Os and we could find ourselves in third place.

2. We lost the season series to the Angels, and I thought that could make a difference like last year, but I just realized we need to shoot for the WC, and playing on the road in the ALDS/ALCS no matter what.

3. Does anyone have more CG losses this year than Brad Radke? Checking... Randy Johnson, 1-2 in CGs, just like Radke. Too many pitchers with 2 CGs to check if anyone has lost all their CGs this year.

Friday, July 15, 2005


Didn't watch the game, wish we would have won, haven't read the recap, going out of town, might not post til Monday.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Bret's Mugshot

Here it is:

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Choi and Radke

Torii must read my mind (I won't accuse him of reading my site because I didn't get my thought posted until 2:30 pm on the day of the HR derby). But here is story in the Indianapolis Star:

So wicked: Prank tests pitcher's humor
Minnesota Twins center fielder Torii Hunter had some fun with teammate Brad Radke on Saturday, placing in the right-hander's locker what appeared to be an
official letter from Hee-Seop Choi of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The letter
requested that Radke come to the All-Star Game to throw batting practice to
Choi and pitch to him in the Home Run Derby.
And here's what I wrote:
2a. I hope that Brad Radke is going to Detroit. Hee Sop Choi will need someone
to throw to him for the HR Derby. If Choi can keep at that 3 HR per 4 pitches
clip, he should be the prohibitive favorite, with about 30 HR. And that's
assuming he swings at every pitch... (Link)
2. ... I saw Choi did not bring Radke and did not advance.(Link)

Person to Be Named Later

1. It's a boy! E is 4.5 months pregnant, and last week, we went in for ultrasound and it's a boy! Yay! Now, he needs a name. E has already ruled out "Ambiorix" as a possiblity, dang. Anyone have any good suggestions from baseball? Nothing too common, but nothing that sounds wierd. For example, C's name is "Cora." This is a picture of the little guy:

2. All-star game. First, read Bat-girl's comments on Fox. I agree with everything, starting with Ernie Harwell (who was more intereseting than Buck O'Neil). Makes you wonder if the local team could do it, or at least add their color guy or their Clay Matvick. I watched the opening of the Legends and Celebrities softball game that ESPN played yesterday, and I'm pretty sure they were mocking Zelasko with the opening train-of-consciousness segue-forced metaphor-segue-bad pun verbage.

2a. Fox is making me rethink my support of Republicans with its baseball coverage. Surely a Democrat network like PBS could do a better job. Ken Burns and Ernie Harwell. Sponsored by Archer-Daniels Midland and made possible by a grant from the McKnight foundation and viewers like you.

2b. I wish the game would have been closer throughout. Instead it felt like a blowout. As it was a blowout, I have to argue with Francona's use of the bullpen. Apparently Joe Torre got a little pissy about use of Rivera, so Francona only used him to get the last out. But he should have started splitting innings before the ninth. Give Rogers 2 outs in the 7th. Joe Nathan the next 2 outs, etc. That way, Wickman can get in more than one walk (which I think was insulting, especially because he was the only Indian all-star). Save Rivera and Ryan for bleeding-stoppers and extra innings. Even save Clement for extra innings as he was a substitute. Let Denys Baez and Justin Duchscherer pitch in the 8th and 9th, as they were the only representatives from their teams.

2c. Give Francona credit for Final-Man Podsednik as a 9th inning defensive replacement, La Russa kept Bay on the bench in the 8th, when he could have been a defensive sub. So Bay's ASG experience sums up: 0 HR in the Derby, did not play in the game. Ouch.

2d. NL partisans must be kicking themselves for electing Oswalt to the ASG.

2e. The box says that Buehrle got the win. I thought you had to pitch 5 innings to get the win as a starter, which would make, uhm, maybe Matt Clement the winner.

2f. If I hadn't been so riveted to the broadcast that I couldn't get to my computer, I would have voted for Lidge as the MVP: 3 batters, 11 Pitches, 3K. Can the losing team get MVP? My AL MVP would have been Buehrle. Just because.

2g. Santana and Nathan didn't look super, but they did allright, although Nathan gave up another run in a non-save situation, and that was from Moises Alou, a Giant (remember the 7-run 9th?).

2h. I hope they threw out those schmucks who interfered with Roberts' double in the 4th. Dudes were prancing like they did something good.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Post to Be Named Later

1. I'm sure that Bret Boone just wanted to get into his brother's division. (We only have 6 games left against Cleveland? How can that be?) I like the guy's reported attitude, "That was where I wanted to be." Not sure if he's prepared for eventual bench work if he stays with the Rivas-like numbers he put up in Seattle (he has more power than Rivas).

1a. The Twins, by not calling up Abernathy or Bartlett when Baker was sent down, must have known this was coming. I think they said they weren't sure who was getting the call. Right.

1b. Not a big solution, but given the structure of the deal (we pay him league minimum), and hopefully a non-great prospect, I don't think it's a bad move. Kind of lateral, but will give Bartlett, Abernathy, and Tiffee more time to work on things in the minors. And hey, Olerud looked alright for the Yanquis last summer. Well, except for that fielding helmet and batting stance.

1c. Still, I wonder if Bret's and Aaron's production drop-offs could be related to the expanded steroid testing.

2. Home run derby: Venezuela will be my country to root for in next year's World Cup of Baseball. Because of Silva and Rincon and Santana. Didn't know that Melvin Mora was Venzuelan. So, way to go Bobby Abreu. I'm happy this isn't its own sport, because then people will start using strategy, and you won't ever see 24 HRs out of a guy right out of the box.

Anyway, C picked to root for Mark Teixiera, and picked Bobby Abreu for E's rooting interest, and I had Carlos Lee. C got a bit bored with it, and couldn't see the balls when they were hit. E never even watched. Bobby Abreu hit so danged many HRs that C didn't even get to stay up to see Mark Teixiera. Hee-Sop Choi was her last. I saw Choi did not bring Radke and did not advance.

2a. Chris "Boomer" Berman of ESPN should not be calling the Home-Run derby. I'm sure murders were up nationally last night from people who heard a dozen too many "Back back back back back!"s. If you call the home run derby, you should mix it up a bit. Try things out. Knowing which suburbs the homerun headed towards might be funny one or two times a night, not five times for one batter, and save it for the really long balls. Also, I had a better idea than he did if the ball was going out*. When Reggie Jackson was being interviewed during Choi's at-bat, Reggie did better announcing than Berman did. I would have liked to hear Gordo announce it "A Home Run! Touch 'em all, Ee-van Rodriguez" over and over without him running.

*Maybe the problem was announcing from the playing field rather than the booth.

2b. I learned what bugs me about Joe Morgan. He's not happy leaving well enough alone. He wants to change the homerun derby so homeruns can carry over from one round to the next. He wants the Wild-Card team to have only one home game in the LDS. He wants the team with the best record to get home-field advantage in the World Series. He's got all sorts of little piddly things that he thinks could make the game better and he won't shut up about them. I happen to disagree with him, but more than that, I'd like to hear about the game that is, not the game that could be. Still, I'd rather hear him talk about the rules than hear Berman's Homerun calls 80 times on the night.

3. I'm thinking of changing this site a little bit, fully embracing the parenthood part of it. Doing the kidblogging similar to frightwig's and SBG's catblogging. Let me know if you tink that's pathetic.

4. Regarding summer singles, rapper "The Game" has a great song "Dreams" produced by Kanye West. Unfortunately, "The Game" has to rap on it, and he sounds like 50 cent without the charisma. But the beat and sung hook is probably the best we'll hear all year. Kanye's own single "Diamonds" is okay, but the beat is way lesser than "Dreams," although if I don't have to turn it off when C's around due to lyrical content. Missy Elliot has a new single, too. "Lose Control," and it's okay, but not as singular as "Get Ur Freak On" "One Minute Man" "Work It" "Gossip Folks" "Pass That Dutch" or "I'm Really Hot," her great string of previous singles.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Gophers over Monarchs.

1. I took the weekend off from blogging. Further celebration of C's birthday. Sisters in law were in town. A/C broke down and had to be replaced, in the heat. Twins stunk.

1a. On Saturday morning, I sprayed myself with bug spray, biked across the river, and picked about 1 qt of wild black raspberries in a county park. Yum! They taste like summer, and you can't get them in stores (as far as I know). I did this for C's birthday, I'd put them on Vanilla Ice Cream as a very special treat for her. She hasn't had any yet, but the berries are half gone. Definitely she'll get some tonight watching the home-run derby.

2. I love the home-run Derby. Fun, singular skills competition. It would be nice to show some other skills off, like an outfield assists competition, with a catcher cut-out and outfielders throwing and trying to hit the target. From, say different points on the warning track?

2a. I hope that Brad Radke is going to Detroit. Hee Sop Choi will need someone to throw to him for the HR Derby. If Choi can keep at that 3 HR per 4 pitches clip, he should be the prohibitive favorite, with about 30 HR. And that's assuming he swings at every pitch...

2b. If I had to pick someone to win the HR Derby, it would be Travis Hafner. He's not even in the ASG? Okay, then last year's winner, Miggy Tejada. Not Competing? Okay then that Lee guy from the NL Central. Carlos? If I have to. Go Panama!

3. Despite splitting the series with the Royals, we picked up 1.5 games on the ChiSox. The Twins are now 48-38, 10 games above .500, but only 1/2 game behind Boston and 3 games behind the Angels. (We have to py attention to these teams' records as well, because they could be our competition for the Wild Card race.)

3a. On May 28, the Twins were 29-19, also 10 games above 500, and only 3 1/2 behind Chicago. In other words, the Twins have played .500 ball for the past month and a half. That would be why we fans are fretting. Our high water mark was 35-22 on June 8. That was after teh second win against the Diamondbacks, and the start of the sucking period, which we may or may not have left.

4. I'm ticked that the Olympics have dropped Softball, and slightly miffed that they dropped baseball. Baseball now has the World Cup of Baseball starting. But Softball has nothing else, do they? I guess I understand, with the USA's closest competition probably the US junior team, but I just discovered Softball because of Cat Osterman, and was looking forward to more formal competition from her after graduation.

4a. Baseball in the Olypics gave us that Gold Medal Mientkiewicz/Sheets team in '00, but the US team didn't even make the field in Athens. I'm probably one of 5 Americans who woke up early enough to watch the Semifinal game in Athens between Australia and Japan. Australia won 1-0, only to lose to Cuba and settle for Silver.

4b. I just realized that Glenn Williams of the Twins' DL was on that Aussie team. He was thrown out as the third out at third base on the same play on which the only run scored. He got on with a FC, but advanced the scoring runner to third. Just remembering... man, was that a great baseball game.

5. World Cup of Baseball. Or technically "World Baseball Classic," which is brand-new. Looking so forward to it. During the last World Cup of Football (which is Soccer), I had an Argentinian and a Dutch co-workers. It was so cool to see them argue over international sports like that. Plus, we should get a good look at the professional Japanese players and "amateur" Cuban players before they defect to MLB or the free world, respectively.

5a. Most intriguing is that China and Taiwan (not called Chinese Taipei!) are in the same pool. That's a little bit crazy.

5b. Seeing that Andruw Jones represents Netherlands in the HR Derby (for Curacao of the Antilles) also intrigues me. Will the team be a combo of Antillean and Nederlanden players? Like Andruw Jones and Alex Smit? Do Antilleans speak Dutch?

5c. I do think the brackets are a bit odd. Pool B should be USA, Canada, Australia, and Mexico. Pool C should be Puerto Rico, Dominican, Cuba, and Panama. Pool D should be Venezuela, South Africa, Netherlands, and Italy. I think the Dominican and Venezuelan teams will both finish in the top 4, which makes Pool C the tough-luck place to be.

6. Over the weekend, Jesse Crain got his first loss (4 ER, 0 IP) and his first save. Bummer about the loss, I really wanted him to get the record number of wins to start a career. Any chance that scouts and batters have figured him out a bit? I think of what happened to Frankie Rodriguez in Anaheim (now LAofA) in 2003.

7. After listening to parts of 5 games with Gene Larkin announcing in place of Dan Gladden, I miss the Dazzle man. Larkin does a decent job, but he's flat, particularly compared to Gordo. It might just be what happens when you listen to the same people over and over, but I really quite like the threesome in the booth: Gordo, Gladden, and Herb. Gordo the bouyant homer, Gladden the peppy but critical, and Herb the old-schooler. I love how Gordo's voice will just drop when things really start going bad. You can hear him shaking his head in disgust, but not voicing it.

8. Man did I miss some game to skip Saturday night: back and forth, Crain's first L and no-out appearance, Rivas finding power, and ejections of Buddy Bell and JC Romero. Can anyone tell me what the ejections were about?

8a. If Rivas wasn't going to get his first extra-base hit in a clutch situation, I feel its fitting that it is in a situation where he gets 7 bases on 3 hits and 3 rbi and 2 r and the team gives up 12 runs. I was starting to wonder why pitchers ever threw him anything but strikes. He'd gotten a few too many walks for someone with no power threat.

9. Every sport uses throwback unis from time to time. I think baseball is the only sport that uses the cut of the original. Football "Throwbacks" are modern near-sleveless uniforms with decorations similar to old unis. Basketball "Throwbacks" don't use the old-fashioned micro-shorts and require names on the ones that used to be nameless (might be true of football also). Don't know about hockey.

9a. I thought the Unis for the KC Monarchs were great. That right there could join the league and be in the top 5. Angel Berroa looked like it was designed for him. The design for the St. Paul (Colored?) Gophers was nice, I really liked the "StPG" on the jerseys, but big and navy was unfortunate for the weather. If I move back to St.Paul (which I might), I will definitely buy the StPG cap. Both hats used accent colors on the panel seams. No one does that now, but I think they should, at least for an alternate.

9b. With all that Negro-League history out there, it's too bad that it wasn't tapped for any of these expansion teams. Instead, we got the "Devil Backs," "Diamond Rays," "Rockies," "Marlins," and "Nationals." I know the Nationals aren't an expansion team, but they pulled a team identity out of new cloth. I know that there was discussion of calling the team the "Greys" which was an old DC Negro-League team, but that's a boring-sounding name for a new team, I admit.

9c. The Royals have one of the least-inspired standard uniforms, but probably the best home alternate in existence. Which is better: This? or This?

The alt is Royal Blue, has sleeves, and is elegantly simple.

The road unis are bad normal or alt:

9d. I also think the Royals have one of the best caps in the Majors. The top 3 in my opinion:

KC's road with a black top is ugly. All these teams could improve by using contrast stitching around the breathing holes. Red for WAS and MIN, White for KCR.

10. Naked Batting Practice: now this is the kind of gimmicky thing to jump-start a team. Sure beats wearing BP jerseys every third game. It requires special dedication and has been proven to lead teams featuring Mike Redmond into the Wild Card. It can be done as often as needed, but please stop if it isn't helping.

U-GOD: 7/9/05

5-6, 3 RBI and a run, 7 total bases for Mike Sweeney. For this, blame goes to Jayson Werth and Aaron Sele, of the Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who injured Mike Sweeney's Wrist. Blame goes for taking him out of a bunch of games, giving him something to prove before the ASG with only a series against the Twins in which to do it.

(No, I didn't watch much of the game. I wouldn't be surprised if JC, Jesse, Michael Ryan, or Juan Castro actually deserved this.)

Friday, July 08, 2005

Happy Birthday, C!

1. Today, (7/8), my little girl, "C" turns 2 years old. Maybe I'll let her stay up late to watch one of her peers (Greinke) pitch to the Twins tonight. (Yeah, I know that Greinke age jokes are last year.)

2. The break can't come soon enough. I hoped that this would be the year of no June Swoon for the Twins, but that didn't happen, so maybe my belief that similar Post-break resurgences can't be counted on will be false, too.

3. Keep telling yourself: "Still in first in the AL WC race." 1 game over Cleveland. But now we're 11 whole games behind ChiSox.

4. No more letting the Royals get big leads, OK team? I mean, a lot of these pitchers should have been promoted, but to AAA. It feels unsporting to hope that Gobble gets smacked around or Woods gives up 6 in the 9th.

5. At the end of the year, when we look at Jose Lima's record and see 2-17, remember that one of those 2 is from us. (The other is from beating his old team the Dodgers. He wasn't happy in the offseason when they didn't pursue him. After all, he had the team's only postseason win in several decades or something.)

6. Justin Morneau had a double in the 6th, a pop to shallow left that just hit the foul line, but Morneau thought the ball was foul, and didn't run soon enough, so he only got a single. It just looked really stupid, and this is when the team was only down one run.

7. And of course the deciding runs come off the bat of John Buck, who is batting .440/.462/.640 against the Twins and .198/.240/.308 against everyone else. But this is the only win he participated in over the Twins. Either he was due to revert to the mean or to help his team win against the Twins. He got the better due (for him).

Ugly Goat of the Day: 7/7/05

Note: Wanting to abbreviate this award to something other than the diety, I have added an adjective. The Ugly Goat Of the Day (U-GOD) represents the person, place or idea that most contributed to the Twin's loss and on which we can place the blame, so we can drive the losing out of town. Why "Ugly"? Because I thought that some of these losses have been ugly. They make me want to headline every entry with "Ugh" (Ugly =? "Ugh" + ly). U-God was always the least impressive of the Wu-Tang Clan.

Okay, this one was totally on me. Double jinxing by praising Lohse and mocking Jose Lima, I brought it all on my club, your club. When the pivotal at-bat is a Texas-Leaguer in which the batter a) is Angel Berroa and b) intended to check his swing, we have to look at things other than gameplay. I mean, Lima doesn't get "wins." So it's definitely AMR, U-God.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Sisco for ASG?

Mike Sweeney is the token Royal to make the ASG roster. Last night, he got hurt (again on the wrist). If he cannot play in the ASG, does his replacement have to be from the Royals or do the Royals forfeit their token ASG rep? Is Andy Sisco that replacement? Matt Stairs? Do Twins fans care?

Goat of the Day: 7/6/05 (Revised)

I just saw the Strib's photos of yesterday's game. The Twins were wearing their BP jerseys. On the road. Again. That has to stop. This was much more bad mojo for the team than my voting for Podsednik. Therefore, whoever made this choice deserves the blame. I assume that was Johan Santana, goat.

On to Kaufman!

1. Man, what a great series, except for the fact that the Twins lost 2 of 3. Great, close games. Good young pitching. Vlad. Mike Redmond. But now we're back to 10.5 games back, when it easily could've been only 8.5. Damn.

2. I felt like blaming this loss on Brad Radke, for teaching the other great pitchers how to serve up homeruns, but decided against it. If I wake up in a cold sweat tonight, I'll be mumbling "pitch around Garrett."

3. If FSN wants to ad one or two more games to its schedule next year, the west coast afternoon games would be a good choice. Get home from work to watch the last 3 innings, catch Ryan getting thrown out at home.

4. Who was announcing in place for Gladden? I'm guessing Jack Morris, but never heard his name.

5. Is it bad that I'm excited that Lohse is getting back on the mound? It's always right when we start to trust him again that he turns in a bad outing. Hopefully, my prediction about Lima doesn't show up a game late.

6. Please, no one tell me who won "Dancing with the Stars." I taped it so I could watch it with E & C tomorrow night. It's light, entertaining fluff that my toddler really likes and I don't mind.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Goat of the Day: 7/6/05

In a game where just about everything was equal: pitches, batters faced, total bases, hits, errors (Johan's didn't amount to anything), bullpen runs, it somes down to intangibles. And I jinxed us/ Right as the game was starting, I professed on that I was voting for Podsednik onto the all-star game. And I actually did some of that during the game. For providing enough anti-Twins mojo for Garret Anderson to hit that deciding homerun, I, AMR, am the Goat of the day. It's all my fault. I hang my head in shame.

Note: This Goat has been changed on review of further evidence. See here.

Happy Birthday!

1. At least Gardy showed that he now has subbing guts in late innings. He had LeCroy PH for Luis Rivas in the top of the 9th, with no one besides Redmond on the bench to field. Good! Why worry about defensive positions if you're playing to not win anyways (by having Rivas bat)? I got on Gardy about this last week, and I'm happy to see his reconsidered. If someone scores, I'm not sure what we use for defensive positioning then: LeCroy 1B, Punto 2B, Rodriguez SS, Morneau 3B; or Redmond 3B?

With Gardy all-a-sudden making proper batting moves, can we replay the interleague schedule?

2. 2 ER in 5 IP isn't bad for Scott Baker. Too bad his team couldn't score and he got hung with the L.

3. Terry Mulholland had a damned good relief outing. In the 6th, he got lefty Garrett Anderson to pop out, walked two switch hitters and got lefty Dallas McPherson to pop out. I thought he might walk righty Benji Molina so he could get lefty Adam Kennedy to pop out, but he got Benji to pop out just fine himself. Although I was scared during the inning.

4. Today (Wednesday) is my Mom's birthday. Happy birthday Mom! She's 53 and doesn't know this page exists, but happy birthday to her anyway.

Goat of the Day: 7/5/05

In the top of the first, the Twins had Ervin "Magic" Santana on the ropes. Shannon singles on pitch 7. He advances to second on a wild pitch, but Darling Nikki strikes out on pitch 10. Joe Mauer singles on pitch 3 and Shannon scores. Torii singles on pitch 3 (Joe on 2nd). Jacque stikes out on 6 pitches. Lew walks on 4 pitches, loading the bases. Justin Morneau looks at pitch 34 for a strike and pops strike 35 to first to retire the side. We had made everything look bad for Junior Santana except the scoreboard. Justin had a great chance to blow it open before the rookie took the mound, but he didn't, and gets the blame for this loss.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Three Views

1. Whereas on Sunday, I couldn't find any baseball, I got home from the inlaws' house and found the same game on three channels. Cubs at Braves, on WGN, ESPN, and TBS. I shuffled through the channels, about a half inning on each, and decided I like the TBS announcers the best. Cubs announcers were talking about Bob Brenly's days as Devilbacks manager, and one time he got ejected and stayed polite. ESPN's Joe Morgan and his partner were talking about how the Division winners should get four home games against one for the Wild card team, which is just stupid; and they were bringing in the Atlanta vs. Indians '97 World Series, in which the Braves had 8 more wins, but maybe not home advantage, which is a totally different issue. Don Sutton on TBS talked about the actual game going on, even though it was already decided, and when a team such as the Cubs should set its sights on the Wild Card. After a half inning of each though, I saw that the game was pretty much decided and went out to mow the lawn.

2. All-Stars. Santana makes sense, although I hope his selection doesn't screw up our rotation. It probably will, because if he weren't selected, he'd probably start the first game after the break. I was hoping a couple extra days off could help him right himself a bit more. Nathan makes sense, too. He is the AL saves leader after all.

2.a) Torii is eligible in the "32nd man" fan poll for most slighted player. He is against Jeter, Matsui, Podsednik, and Carl Crawford of TB. I am delighted that Jeter didn't make the top 31. I am torn as who to vote for. Torii plays for my team and has been surging, but I want him to get some rest. Crawford plays for TB and must get absolutely no love, not exactly sure why he's on this list, but I haven't investigated. Podsednik is IMO the most deserving, but he plays for a (hated) rival. If he does make the team, he could always get injured there. It's probably all academic anyway, Matsui has a whole country pulling for him. I might have put Travis Hafner above them all though. Being a NoDakker, he's practically a homeboy.

3. Is Crain ROY eligible? He was called up Sept 1 or Aug 30 last year. I know all of the Twins "rookie-like" standouts had just a bit too much major league experience to be eligible. (Ford, Morneau, Mauer)

4. I was about to head today's entry "One-Tool Player" and highlight Matthew LeCroy, and remember Jose Offerman. But then Souhan starts his article with a too-similar idea. And I waited an extra day to write. I didn't know LeCroy suffered from Gout.

5. I'm not sure what I think about Radke skipping a start and requiring the Twins to send down a middle infielder (Abernathy) to bring up his replacement. He could have gone on the DL and only missed 2 starts because of the All-Star game.

5a. I am looking forward to seeing Baker though. One inning was not enough.

6. It feels good to beat a legitimate baseball team. TB scored 8 today and couldn't beat the ChiSox. KC has been outscored 3-21 since beating us on Wednesday.

7. We were only one start off from the greatest pitching matchup of the last 3 decades: Santana, J vs. Santana, E. Earvin, you still have 20 hours to ask coach to more you back a start!

8. (non-baseball) I haven't listened to much top 40 radio this summer, and I thought I'd use this weekend to catch up on the songs I haven't heard. B96 and KDWB in the cities, KCLD in Lake country. My thought: Where the hell are the good crossover singles? Will Smith's "Switch" is damned good (not something I expected to say), but nothing else new interested me in the least.

Rap should be lamenting the day that 50 Cent went platinum. I was impressed with him too when he came out, all nonchalance and swagger, but now it seems everyone is hard, thug and trying to get by without sounding like they care. I know there were others around just before him (Fabolous), but he brought it mainstream. And Crunk is at best dancehall for Americans. Dear Missy, Tim, OutKast, and Jay-Z: the world desperately needs a good single from at least one of you.

9. Hope you still have all your digits after the weekend! Now get back to work!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

No TV makes AMR go crazy.

1. So it's a holiday weekend, and what do we have for TV? Twins? Not televised (even on a gimmicky hat day). Braves? On the ESPN night game. Cubs? on WGN, but I can't find it on my in-laws' cable system. Am I going to have to enjoy the beautiful day and go to the beach or something? Perhaps.

2. Caught a little bit of a USA softball game on ESPN (1 or 2) yesterday. Official Softball Player of AMR, Cat Osterman, pitching against the Autralian National team. She was lights out, but when I picked up the game in the 2nd, the score was 4-0 USA. Not nearly as exciting as when her team is struggling to score runs and she has to keep the other team from scoring and she makes the game fair by giving them a few runners every other inning. (She's her own Crain all game long.) I went back to the Fox game of the day. USA won 8-0 or something. The saddest thing? Australia is the closest thing team USA has to a competitor. Good thing Cat has one year left to pitch for an otherwise merely good Texas team. Go Cat!

3. The Mets lost yesterday, and the crucial play was Jose Offerman's inability to recieve a double-play and leave the game tied. I think I saw that coming when he was promoted to start as 1B. He's a pinch-hitter/DH type and any fielding gaffes are the manager/GM's fault for puting him in the field at all.

4. Against my prediction, Bartolo Colon and the LA Angels of Anaheim beat Jose Lima and the KC Royals of Kaufman.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Forfeiting the DH

1. Last night, Gardy forfeited the DH by having Abernathy run for LeCroy, and then replace in for Rivas at 2B. I think we were all surprised that the earth didn't open up and swallow the team whole. Had Gardy known this worked earlier in the season, we might not have needed to carry 3 1/2 catchers out the gate. (Not that I think this would have kept Restovich, I think Tiffee would have had the last roster spot.)

2. Crain had his second "blown save (Type: non-closer)," and second homerun given up. The team took that as the signal to score runs, getting him his eighth win on the season. Crain is now 11-0 to start his career, an AL Record (not sure if the record includes starters or just relievers). Yes, i know that wins are a hollow stat, for relievers especially, but that's what makes it fun to watch them.

3. Rivas watch: Luis R (1.0) is batting .320 since returning from the DL. Still no extra base hits. Note: Luis R (2.0) is batting .250/.323/.393 over the same stretch.

4. In 2004, the Twins faced Frank Robinson and the future Nationals in their temporary home, Siberia Stadium of Montreal. During one of these games, Luis Rivas hit a "home run" that replays showed was probably a foot foul. Now this was in the 11th inning or so, and Frank Robinson was rightfully pissed off and argued for about ten minutes, probably directly asking the ump to eject him. He kept putting his hands around his next in the international symbol for "I'm Choking." (International symbols being necessary in Montreal.) He left the dugout for the clubhouse before the next batter was done. To this day, I think only the ump and Frank himself really know whether or not he was ejected (I never saw the ump signal the ejection). It could be that Frank sent himself to the showers.

I bring up this story because last night, Frank Robinson complained about a Jeromy Burnitz "home run" that was about 20 feet foul (but way out of the park, so it was harder to judge) and would have had the Cubs tie the game in the 8th. But the home plate ump agreed with Frank Robinson, and the runner was put back on first, and Burnitz came back out of the dugout, and the lead was preserved. Frank Robinson has apparently become much more convincing to the umps once he stopped having to speak French to them. Way to go, Mr. Robinson!

5. On the other side of the Manager's Feud, Mike Scioscia got the first Royal batter of the night out yesterday by pointing out that they were batting out of order. David DeJesus lead off the game with a single but Angel Berroa was called out, and DeJesus had to bat again. Apparently, Buddy Bell handed in a lineup card that was different than what he had written down in the dugout. Not sure whose name was announced in the stadium. The real question should be why Angel Berroa, the Luis Rivas of KC, would be batting leadoff on any lineup card.

6. Look at tonight's Royals-Angels matchup. Bartolo Colon (10-4, 3.02) vs. Jose Lima (1-6, 7.81). Such a mismatch, I predict Lima's gonna get win #2.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Off-Day Thoughts

1. Couldn't bear to blog more about Wednesday's game. I wish Jose Lima had been in the rotation for this series, because he's fulfilling a very special request from a young fan.

2. With Cleveland's win over Baltimore yesterday, we're back in first place for the AL Wildcard (trying to keep my optimism) with Baltimore percentage points back and Cleveland a half game. Boston is 2.5 games ahead of the wildcard, and Los Angeles of Anaheim is 4 games ahead.

3. As bad as Twins fans feel about their team, think how Balitmore's fans feel. That team actually had first place and lost it.

4. I've never heard Travis Hafner speak, but I hope he sounds like Vin Diesel.

5. I watched a little bit of the Lynx at Sun WNBA game last night and here are my thoughts:

5a. Man, are those Lynx road unis ugly. What's that color called? "Slightly minty kelly green"? "Astroturf"? "Australian National Team"?

5b. Lindsay Whalen is turning out to be a much better pro than I thought she would. I thought the Lynx needed her for ticket sales, and that Connecticut basically had to call their bluff when the Lynx wouldn't pay enough for the pick. Even if that's the case, the Sun got the right player.

5c. You wanna hear lame announcing? Try a FSN broadcast of a Lynx game. Makes you appreciate even the annoying MLB announcers (Hawk, Buck), who at least are among the living.

5d. C made me happy again with her aesthetic choices. I was showing her women's basketball, to get her exposed to the idea that women can play sports, and she said "I want baseball." She really prefers softball, but she understands that isn't on anymore.

6. Now playing: Thomas Fehlmann "good fridge. Flowing: ninezeronineight"

7. Enjoy your holiday weekend!