Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Roger Clemens

Sportscenter is talking about Clemens maybe having signed with the Astros for the remainder of 2006. Just got me thinking... I hope he goes into the hall of fame as a Blue Jay, with the Ugly 90's cap and everything. Something about that would really amuse me. Also, I want Clemens to sign with the Rangers to see what happens to him in the ballpark. If he can keep his ERA down there, he should sign with the Rockies for the second half of 2007.

I don't really like the guy but I realize he's the best of our generation and he would've got my NL CY vote last year. Too bad he was never in the same division as Bonds.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


I've been watching tonight's game lightly. It seems that the Twins Defense is worse than even SBG thinks it is. The Twins defense may actually be giving hope to the Angels when they're probably close to writing off the season.

Last night: the last two runs of the game should have been unearned on bad throws/catches/whatever.

Tonight: In the first, well Figgins was caught stealing, but maybe Castillo needs to sell the out to the ump better. (Is there flopping in baseball?) Then Luis Rodriguez misplayed a ball that led to Cabrera's scoring.

In the fifth, well, I can't remember how it all happened (I'm watching lightly) but I'm pretty sure that none of those runs should have scored. The Twins should have a 3-0 lead off Kubel's homer, instead, they're just close enough to get Fransisco Rodrguiez another save.

Women's College World Series

If you gave the NCAA selection committee any grief for not getting a single #1 pick right for the Men's basketball tournament, you've got to give them props for seeing the NCAA softball tournament. It's 64 teams, but only the top 16 are seeded. Of the 16 teams to advance to the Super regionals, 13 were the seeded teams, with #16, 13, and 11 losing (2 4s and a 3 in Bball tourney lingo). And the 8 teams in the Women's College World Series are top 8 top-seeded teams in the tounament. That's right, there were no upsets in the second weekend.

So, Cat Osterman's Texas is in as the #3 in the WCWS. If seeding continues to form, they will beat #6 Arizona State on Thursday (2pm on ESPN), lose to #2 Arizona on Friday (6pm on ESPN2), beat #5 Alabama on Saturday (8pm on ESPN), and Lose to #1 UCLA on on Sunday (2 pm, ESPN), for a third-place finish (same as last year). Hopefully, a few more upsets will happen this weekend. Even if Texas doesn't win it all, I just hope it isn't the UCLA Lady Yankees. I guess I'd pull for Alabama, even with those silly helmets.

Counting Homers

Not to Alarm anybody, but Babe Ruth is still #2 homerun hitter (USA, no disrespect to Oh-San).

See, Ruth didn't have 714 homeruns in his career, he had 729, or 730.
And Bonds doesn't have 715, he has 724 or 726. (without Torii, he'd have 727).
Aaron actually has a smaller lead than you think with 761 or 763.

Where are these uncounted homeruns? In the postseason and all-star game.
Babe had 15 postseason (I think that's WS only) and 1 all-star homerun.
Barry has 9 postseason HRs and 2 All-star homeruns (hence Torii taking one away).
Hank had only 6 in the postseason, but 2 in all-star games.

I can see an argument for not including All-Star game homeruns, I mean, it is (was?) an exhibition game. But why don't we include postseason Homers? Real, live Major-league pitching in an even more important setting for all parties than the "championship season." There might be an argument that with the expanded playoffs, players have more opportunities, but even the single-season records aren't pro-rated to 162 games. Career homers after the 154th game of the season are definitely not excluded. Sure, including postseason HRs benefits players on better teams but they already have the benefit of getting more ABs in a game if their teammates are better batters, and they won't get pitched around as much.

Maybe I've gone Meta, but why do we count what we count? Could we count spring training HRs? Only if the pitcher was on a 40-man? Rehab stint? Minor-league? Sure, the quality of the pitching is lower, but we don't exclude homeruns off Eric Milton or September call-ups. Could WBC homers count? Should we go back and find the homers in games that weren't official because they were later called due to rain?

You stare at black and white long enough and you start to see the fuzzy gray border.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Guilty Pleasure

This probably makes me a bad person, but, this spring, one of my life's simple pleasures has been watching the Cubs lose. I haven't really been able to enjoy the Twins winning, and Mike Scioscia in last place really hasn't been televised, but the losing of the Cubs is there for you to watch, on WGN, nearly every day.

I feel a little remorse when I realize that this also means that Jacque Jones is losing, but you gotta crack some eggs to make an omelet.

I have no idea why I love seeing the Cubs lose so much, but I do and it's beautiful, and I'll cheer for any random MLB team to run roughshod over them, or let them come back despite giving up 8 homeruns, only to beat them in the 11th. Maybe soon we'll get a no-hitter into the 9th, only to give up 5 runs and the win right there. That would fit.

There are three teams that I can watch 80% of the games of on TV: Twins, Braves, and Cubs. I perenially want the Braves and Twins to meet in the World Series, and the Cubs to be really embarrased somehow. I wish on them what I wish on the Vikings: coming tantalizingly close only to have it taken away at the last, most painful time. (I am a Vikings fan, too, though.) I was so happy with the Marlins back in 2003 because of what they did.

Comeon Cinci, 3 runs in the 9th to tie. Let's do it!

Matt Guerrier

Matt Guerrier had a good chance at his first career win yesterday, coming in to a tie game late, but the Twins didn't bother scoring until someone else would get the decision. Matt is now 0-4 for his career in 68 appearances.

1. What did Matt do to tick off the baseball gods in such a trivial way? (One baseball god to another: "Okay then, he'll be able to pitch well enough for relief, but no wins!")

2. I don't even know where to find this, but what pitcher has the most appearances without a win? Who went the longest before their first win? And what active player has the most appearances without a win?

3. I want to do something big to commemorate Matt's first W when it comes, but I don't know what it should be. I would kindof like to buy a jersey, but I don't really have the money for that. Does anyone know where to write fan-mail? Maybe I could just have C make him a drawing and mail it to him.

Friday, May 26, 2006

LeCroy makes Frank Robinson cry

1. I want to say something about Matthew LeCroy's day behind the plate (if you don't know, he was pulled in the middle of the 7th inning after his second throwing error, he had also allowed 7 stolen bases against him). I don't know what I want to say though. I'd get mad at Frank Robinson for using Matt LeCroy as starting catcher for the 8th time this year, but he did take the blame after the game (between tears). I mean, if LeCroy's a catcher, there were 4 catchers on the Twins 2005 opening-day roster (Redmond, Mauer, LeCroy, and Corky Miller).

2. Jose Lima's back in AAA, with some guy getting his first start for the Mets, and then the trade for Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez.

3. Rob Bowen's still on the DL.

4. Cat Osterman and the Longhorns are all over ESPN this weekend. Tonight, game one of their best-of-3 series against Washington is one, then tomorrow's 3pm game and 8pm game (if necessary, ESPN2). First to two wins goes to the College World Series. These are the only softball games on ESPN either day (I'd guess they'll find a replacement if the series is a sweep). Michigan vs Tennessee on Sunday.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Jose Lima Start #3

1. Yesterday, Jose Lima started the Mets' Day game against the Cards. His Line: 4.2IP, 7H, 5R, 4ER, 1BB, 3K, L. With Scott Spezio instead of Albert "Seriously, I'm 26" Pujols. That puts Lima at 0-3 in 3 starts, with 14ER in 14.1 IP. Lima was his own enemy, with a catching error at first leading the the unearned run.

Lima, covering first base on a ground ball Delgado handled in the second inning, lost Delgado's throw in the backdrop of a white Bank of America sign. Eckstein scored from second base on what could have been the third out. Lima might have escaped allowing one, rather than two, runs in an inning earlier as well. But Beltran made an ill-conceived and conspicuously late throw to the plate on a run-scoring single by Scott Rolen that allowed Rolen to reach second base. A single two batters later by Spiezio scored Rolen.

...And Randolph characterized Lima's performance as "a pretty good job."

Lima thought his command was improved over what it had been. He thought he got blooped twice. His teammates recalled one instance -- maybe.

"One pitch here, one pitch there," he said.

He lamented the three two-out runs he allowed.

"But no excuses," he said.

Those were reasons.

Hey, the blond braids were pretty well photographed!
Lima did have a great catch/throw to get the batter at first on a grounder, kindof the right-hand-side version of what Johan did on Wednesday.
I made this at It makes me laugh, probably no one else.

2. Don't know why I haven't had much to say about the Twins. I'll be sure to watch Boof on Sunday. I wrote on SBG's site that I think we'll have to wait a couple of weeks after the stadium passes to start the vets-for-prospects swapping. I don't really want to send any of our players to New York, but both teams there have pitching needs (Mets are starting Lima, Yanquis probably wish they could). I think Kyle could be destroyed by starting for either team.

2a. I would hope that if we deal Shannon or Torii or someone else, they have a lot of success this year. I'm thinking of Roloson with the Oilers this year. Hey, the Wild weren't going anywhere and the Oilers were a decent team without a decent Goalie, and it's not like the Wild were going to keep Rollie after the year anyways. Now, if he own the Wild next year, I may not be so favorable. Back to baseball, I guess I would be a bit worried that Torii might burn some bridges on the way out.

3. Would Lima have to cut off the braids if he played for the Yanquis? I have a hard time picturing Lima with the shaven-and-clean-cut Yankees look.

4. Cat and the Longhorns start the NCAA tournament today. They play a 3-day round-robin with UT-San Antonio, Utah, and Indiana, UTSA today. I have no idea what the tiebreakers are.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Albert Pujols and the HR record

Not to make too much out of it yet, but Albert Pujols just hit his 19th homer of the season, in his team's 37th game. That's a 83-HR pace, more than one every-other game. Is this a possibility? Could Bonds enter the season looking for one HR record and lose the other? Also, Pujols has 220 for his career and is allegedly 26 years old. (Is he older? Younger?)

Has anyone ever rumored a steroid link with this guy or is this guy Killebrew in a higher-offense time?

Favorites Updated

1. Cat Osterman and the #2 Texas Softball Longhorns lost their first two games of the Big 12 tournament and were quickly eliminated. Cat pitched in relief in the first game to 8-seed OK State after Meagan Denny had the top-seeded 'Horns down 0-2 in the fourth. (They lost 2-1). Their second loss, to 4-Seed Texas A&M (#16) was definitely Cat's worst start of the year, 5 runs on 5 hits in 5.1 innings: Solo HR and Grand Slam. Cat did get named Big-12 Pitcher of the Year for the fourth time. The seedings for the Softball College World Series are announced tomorrow night.

2. Rob Bowen had a foul tip dislocate his thumb on Thursday. He's on the 15-day DL and expected to be back at the end of that. His number so far? .435/.533/.696 in 23 ABs. As for fielding, well give him more of an "I" than on hitting. Runners are 2 for 2 in stealing bases and he's had two passed balls in 66.2 innings caught.

3. Jose Lima got another start yesterday for the Mets, against the Brewers. He brokedown in the fifth inning with two outs. 5ER in 4.2 IP, 2K, 3BB. But the biggest development was the fact that he's got his blond hair pulled back in braids and then tied into a ponytail. Unfortunately, this is the best picture of it:

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Softball Trivia

Looking at the Big 12 Softball Tournament Bracket, it occurs to me, the Big 10 has more softball teams than the Big 12. File that away for bar conversations.

Colorado and Kansas State do not have conference softball teams, while all 11 Big 10 teams have softball teams.

#1 Texas plays tomorrow at 7:30 vs the winner of single-elimination game #9 Iowa State vs #8 Oklahoma State. The first two games among the bottom 4 teams are single-elimination. After that, it's double elimination. So, if you win you're play-in, you're guaranteed to play 3 total. They should have the losers of the play-ins have to play each other and have the loser demoted and K-State or Colorado promoted for next year, like European Football Clubs.

Monday, May 08, 2006

(Crazy) Lima Time

He's Back! The Jose Lima we've all come to know and (maybe) love was in the MLB yesterday was back and did not disappoint. I've just got to quote parts of the story:

[The Mets] also attributed an element of the most lopsided of their 10 defeats to home-plate umpire Angel Hernandez. . . .

The Mets believe the tenor and the positive tension of the game changed prior to and during the second inning . . . . Lima alleged before the inning began that Hernandez told the Mets' substitute starter he wouldn't be afforded the same strike-zone benefit of the doubt afforded Braves starter John Smoltz. [This plus] a balk called early in the inning "changed everything," Lima said. "It changed my day and the Mets' day ... in a bad way."

Lima filled out his bingo card, as they say in the dugouts, in his first big-league start this season. The 33-year-old veteran of 10 Major League seasons and 231 Major League starts, allowed five runs, seven hits, four walks and a home run, threw a wild pitch, hit a batter and balked -- all in five innings.

But his postmortems focused on the balk, Hernandez's strike zone and the tag.
"I could have come out of that inning, nothing-nothing," he said. "But you know what happened."

And what happened was this, according to Lima. As he walked to the mound to start the second, he engaged Hernandez in conversation about the strike zone. "He said to me, 'You're not going to get those three or four extra inches. You're not John Smoltz.'"

Lima, as outspoken as any player, said, "He treated me like a rookie. He knows me. He knows I've been here. He treated me like I was new."

See? Same old Jose. Man, I could have watched it if only I rearranged my whole weekend. Thank you, Jose Lima, for giving me a good reasons to watch the Mets in the future.

San Diego Water

After I wrote that note, Rob Bowen went 2-3 with a 2B and BB to help the Padres beat the Cubs. Bowen is now hitting .429/.517/.714/1.231 (21 AB, 4BB, 1SF, 1HBP). What is in the water?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Bowen and Lima

Two of my favorite things in baseball, former marginal Twins (since 2002) and Jose Lima made the front page this morning.

1. Rob "Bruce" Bowen, former Twins AAA callup-backup type guy, got a 10th-inning walkoff HR for the Padres last night. Way to go, Rob! For the season, he is hitting .389/.478/.667 in 22 PAs over 15 games (typically a late-inning replacement for Piazza. He hit .108/.189/.190 over 43 PAs for the Twins 2003-04.

2. Jose Lima, yes, that Jose Lima, has been called up from AAA by the Mets for a spot start today because John "Who?" Maine and Brian "Slide Down the" Bannister are injured. With a mostly-shorn chin and naturally-colored hair, he looks downright sane in that mugshot. Let's hope it's just an illusion, I prefer Crazy Lima to any other Lima. He faces off against Smoltz and the Braves. If the Mets can win this, you've gotta start thinking they are a team of destiny. I would love it if he could stay up until the Mets play the Dodgers (June 5-7), because he hates them for not signing him for 2005. He sucked against nearly everyone last year except the Twins and Dodgers. Update: I can't really watch the game, but it's on TBS. Lima looks like he's got a blond afro shoved under the old-fashioned blue Mets cap. He's given up 3 runs in 3 innings. Looks like there was a fight because Paul Lo Duca and Bobby Cox have been ejected after Smoltz got an RBI Fielder's Choice. Hope there's an extensive recap on BBTN.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


1. I think Luis O. Rodriguez should play damned near every day. Now that Cuddy seems to be getting more playing time (only an apparition?), this should be the Twins Bloggers' next big cause. I saw that he was pinch hitting for Castro, and I must say I called that walk. Unfortunately, only H can vouch for that and he didn't understand. Instead he grabbed my chin.

2. Also, I have to say that I called Matt Stairs' HR off Radke the other night. I thought to myself, "Hmm, no runs yet? Don't they have any Left-Handed slugger-type guys to hit homeruns off Radke?" Then, Stairs came up, "Hey! Stairs is a lefty! and a slugger-type. I don't see how he can't get any homeruns off Radke tonight. Seeing as this is probably his last AB against Radke for the game, he must get a HR this AB." If only I had a brain recorder, I could totally prove all this.

3. So I'm all twisted up, hoping the Lakers win the hole damn thing (mostly because I realized Kobe's a dork because of the tights), and they go up 3-1 and I'm picturing them playing the Clippers and that's funny because they won't have to travel but the NBA will still give them 2 travel days between the Clippers' home games and the Lakers' home games. And now (beginning of 4th quarter), it looks like they've squandered the whole damned thing.

3a. You know, if Kobe is this good with a bunch of replacement-level players, imagine what he could do with another all-star or two and a bunch of positive-VORP players. What? Oh, right...

3ai. They do have VORP for basketball, right?

3b. Deavan George graduated from Augsburg a year ahead of me. I've always held it against him that he got drafted by the Lakers (like he could help it). Somehow, it was like getting drafted by the Sith, and then heling them take over the republic. So, Deavan, I'm sorry for all the bad vibes I've been sending you these past 7 years. It was me who was immature.

3c. So, I've watched probably all of 48 minuts of NBA basketball this year total. But I've turned on the playoffs hoping that jerk superstars like Artest and Kobe can carry their teams. Now I think I may be bored with it again, unless LeBron can compete against the pistons, but I'd wait until late in the series.

3d. David Stern: you've got about 10 minutes left to fix this game for the Lakers or I'm done watching basketball for the year.

4. The Oilers are my team for this year's Stanley Cup playoffs, mainly because their Goalie, Roloson, used to be the Wild Goalie, but also because no version of their sweater offends me. (Sharks? Ducks? Avs?) I was so psyched to see them beat the Red Wings. I guess I'd like the Devils in the East, but I have a very clear bias in cheering for Western NHL teams.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Silva's Sinker

Sure, the Twins lost last night by the Royals, but hey, Carlos Silva seemed to be returning to form. Still too many fly outs for me to be really comfortable, but no home runs, and I think most of the hits against him were grounders that found holes, so there's that.

Silva has been my favorite Twin these last two years, with his awesome ability to get batters to ground out (or into a double play) even though the batters know exactly that's what he's going to be doing. His early-season shellings have had me worried that he has lost it or that the league has figured him out or that his knee-repairing surgery changed his mechanics or something. I'm not particularly hopeful that the Twins can contend this year, but I am once again hopeful for a 18-hit 9-DP complete game shutout, or something along those lines.

PS. Cuddy and Castro are on my "good list" for wearing appropriately smooth helmets. Torii is on my bad list. I think the helmets make the players' heads look pointy from straight on. Like This: ^.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

It's like he never left.

Noticed on the ESPN crawl yesterday:
"Royals DH Mike Sweeney (back) on 15-day DL."

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Sonofab---h. Damnit. Those protective abominations called "Cool-Flo." I don't believe the Twins had them before tonight. I haven't taken a complete inventory, but the following position players/DHs are on my "bad list":
Rondell White, Nick Punto, Tony Batista, Shannon Stewart, Luis Castillo.

On my "good list": Joe Mauer (might this have something to do with a sponsorship contract from someone not Rawlings?)

To add to it, they've scored as many runs tonight as in the last four games, so I'm sure they're likely to stick around as "good mojo".

I'd rather have discreet logos than the microdot bloody elbows and reptile venting that Nike and Rawlings are pushing on us baseball-watchers.

With the new Vikings uniforms (not as bad as I feared, I must admit, but don't mess with success), pixie vest and reptile helmets on my Twins, MSU Mankato's black and purple (which you'll have to look at eventually to watch the WCHA), and black uniforms for the Wolves, it's a tough time to be a Twin Cities sport fan. I got nothing against the Wild though, all their sweaters are pretty sweet.

PS. Joe Mauer is now 1-11 when drawing a full count. That seems odd.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Blown Opposition Save Opportunity

I'm still working on the best name for the phenonenon, but I've got my own statistic that I like to follow. If the opposite of the win is the loss, the opposite of the save is the ___. Unsave? Blown Opposition Save opportunity (BOSO)? Any help?

Anyways, tonight, Jesse Crain had one. I think it's only the second of the Twins this season.

My definition of it is: Reliever comes in and if he gets all the remaining outs in the inning without any further scoring (including inherited runners), the opposition would have a save opportunity (which will usually become a Hold unless it's the 9th), 3 run or less lead, in the 5th or later, I think. However, the batting team scores enough runs after you enter that a save is no longer available to them.

So, even though Crain did not give up Baker's 5th run, he inherited it and allowed it to score.

I do not believe that this really captures anything, but then again, Wins and Losses really don't either. Still, it can be a nice summary statistic for me to write in the Twins Calendar that I fill in each day.

Never on Sunday.

In the Month of April, the Twins were 0-5 on Sundays:
April 2, (Someone) lost to the Red Wings 3-15
April 9, Santana lost to Cleveland 2-3
April 16, Radke lost to Yankees 3-9
April 23, Silva lost to ChiSox 3-7
April 30, Lohse lost to Detroit 0-6

They had at least one win every other day of the week except Monday, a day on which they did not play.