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.


Blogger Nick N. said...

Hey man, this is my first visit here... nice site.

With reference to your question as to why Romero and Bell were booted on Saturday night in #8, they both had pretty good reason. Bell was arguing a call when a Twin was called safe at first base on the second part of a 6-4-3 double play, despite the fact that he was clearly out by about three feet. Romero was thrown out because he started arguing with the homeplate umpire after his outing in which he walked 2 batters and allowed two inherited runners in (typical). That ump was calling a pretty ridiculously tiny zone.

As for your analysis of the radio crew, I agree with you on Gordo... Dazzle was ok. I hate Carneal though. Nice recognizable voice, but he's an emotionless old dino. His voice has the same tone on a home run as on a foul boul.

-Nick N (

3:26 PM  
Blogger frightwig said...

Did C mash her hands in the birthday cake, or is she already too mature for that anymore?

5:59 PM  
Blogger SBG said...

To expand on what Nick said... if Bell doesn't get thrown out of the game there, he should just quit managing. It was not even close. Even Dick Bremer was saying man, what a bad call. One of the worst I've ever seen.

11:37 AM  
Blogger amr said...

She got a slice and ate with with a combination of fork and hands. She laid off this cake and even last years' until she was prodded on to attack it.

Last year, she had a chocolate "puppy" cake with eyes made of whipped cream and blueberries and mouth of strawberries. She had no interest in the cake, just the berries and cream. So the cake was smeared, but not mashed.

1:00 PM  

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