I hate Stephen A. Smith. And if you read this Stephen, it's not because you're black. It's because you're a annoying loudmouth who just happens to be black. But here's what I would like to see - a bobble head of Stephen A. that instead of bobbing its head, it shakes to make him do that little jig from the "Quite Frankly" commercials. That'd be great.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
As you can see, it's been awhile. Sorry about that, it's been a long few days. I've since moved back to school, which is great. I love school so much more than that sorry excuse for a town. Classes are going good. I'm taking a class on the history of sports and their role in culture and another one on the literature of war. Things are shaping up to be pretty nice school wise.
Personally, things could be better. I got in a huge fight with my sister hours before I left to come back to school and I still feel kinda bad about it. Then today I got an email from Liz telling me she transfered to Loyola, and that if I'm ever in Chicago to look her up. No goodbye, no nothing. She's just gone. So I'm still reeling from that a bit. In light of this, don't look for any new posts for a few days. Then again, as my loyal readers, you're already used to this. I just think I'm going to take a break for awhile. Until then, read Seth, SBG, AMR, Frightwig and the rest of the Twins Blogging Community for analysis of our favorite players in all the land.
Posted by Andrew at 11:44 PM
Friday, August 19, 2005
Thursday, August 18, 2005
My new TV is great. It's 72 inches of magnificent. It's not really that new, about 3 months, but last night it really came through. This TV has the ability to turn into to TVs. You hit split on the remote and now there are 2 25" TVs on on screen. I use this feature all the time, but its usually to watch the Twins and Blind Date at the same time, nothing too ground breaking. Last night I watched both the US Men's National Team and the Twins, and life was good.
US vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Well, things could not have started out better. Brian McBride scored in the second minute to give the US a 1-0 lead. Things ended up staying 1-0, which was surprising. After such a quick goal I expected the US to score at least 2 more. They definately had the chances, but the finishing was pretty bad.
This game was to be expected. After games against Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Panama where the US scored a combined 8 goals, seemingly at will, there was going to be a game where goals would be hard to come by. Luckily it was this game and not the Mexico game in September.
Twins vs. White Sox
You know what I like about no-hitter possibilities - it sneaks up on you. I didn't realize what was happening until about the 5th inning. Then you can't say anything. It was nice to see Johan going to town. And then the offense went ahead and actually helped out with 5 runs off of Mark Buehrle. I do have to admit that I was paying more attention to the soccer game, so I really don't have much to say. The Twins are on everyday, the US MNT plays once a month.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Just a week since soldiering through 14 innings, the Twins go and play 16. Last night got to the point where my sister actually asked to make sure that they did in fact keep playing until someone won. Then she asked if this could go on all night. I just told her "pretty much", not wanting to try to explain local ordinances that prohibit the start of innings past a certain time.
So what do I think about the game last night? Thank the baseball gods for the bullpen. Juan Rincon, Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain, JC Romero, and Joe Nathan combined for 9 1/3 innings of shutout baseball. The bullpen threw a shutout. They threw more innings combined than starter BRadke. They allowed 2 less hits. This was a very good performance from the pen. Matt Guerrier threw 4 innings all by himself. Someone needed to eat up the innings, and Matt did.
- I do not want to be Joe Mauer or AJ Pierzynski today. My knees hurt just thinking about catching 16 innings.
- What happens if Shannon Stewart gets injured without Jacque Jones on the bench and it's bad enought he can't play? Do the Twins shuffle the lineup so the DH plays the field and the pitcher hits for himself? Do they only get 8 position players? Does anyone know the answer to this, because I'd like to know. Examples are welcome.
- Again with the bad bunting. Lew popped one straight up. On a sac bunt, lay off the ones at your eyes. I wouldn't have swung at that, much less bunted at it. Then Cuddyer almost bunted into a double play. You have to get the ball where the runner can advance. Either a little softer or a little harder, but not where he left it.
- At least Michael Cuddyer hit that home run. It's good someone stepped up and delivered.
- Nick Punto getting picked off of second base was killer. This was the second time recently someone got picked off. That's the kind of crap that will lose you a baseball game.
- Tonight's game is Johan vs. Mark Buehrle. This should be another good pitching duel.
Posted by Andrew at 11:39 AM
Monday, August 15, 2005
Why, you ask, is today so great? It is after all a Monday, and Monday is the most evil day of the week. Today is my first day off of work. Well technically my third since Friday was my last day, but I'm talking day I would have had to work and didn't.
I worked this year at the same insurance company I did last summer, but this year was a lot better. I didn't get stuck next to the loudest person in the company. My cubical was big enough so that I could have a guest chair. And I'm pretty sure I'm the only, or at least one of the few, interns in the country with a subwoofer at his desk.
All-in-all, work was a lot better this year, but that doesn't mean I'm missing it at all. A week from today class starts. I'm moving back to Des Moines on Saturday. I don't get Twins games in Des Moines, so the posts will switch to more of a general baseball genre.
Posted by Andrew at 12:22 PM
Friday, August 12, 2005
It feels so good to be on this end of a 1-0 result for a change. I was thinking this as Eric Chavez's pop fly drifted to Lew Ford. SHANNON, NO! Luckily Lew caught the ball anyway. On the tape you can clearly see Lew say "I got it" no fewer than 3 times and put his hand up. With men on 2nd and 1st running on contact as there were 2 outs, the game would have been at least tied, if not lost, if someone didn't catch that ball. That's they way the Twins games have been so far this year - Someone throws a great game (Johan: CG, 9K, 3H, 0R) and the offense has been anemic (1 R), except this time the pitching was great enough and the defense didn't give them any room (barely).
This is the way the Twins have won games in the past few seasons and seemingly forgotten how to do this year. Get a walk, steal a base, get a hit, score a run. It'd be nicer if they could do that more than once, but this is a good start. It's also nice to see who was involved. Lew Ford has got to step up his production at the plate. He's playing the field everyday with Torii out, so he's got no excuses now. Lew went 1-1 with 2 walks and a stolen base that led to the run. Michael Cuddyer has been hitting fairly well for the Twins. On can make the argument (and some have) that he's been one of the Twins best hitters if you discount April. He came through with a clutch hit that he drove very hard into right-center, allowing Lew to score from 2nd. The only other Twins hit came from Justin Morneau.
Johan and Haren both pitched extremely well last night. The pitchers both went 9 innings and gave up 3 hits each. Johan only walked 1 and Haren only walked 2. The A's downfall was one of those walks, a leadoff walk to Lew Ford. Leadoff walks can really come back to bite you, and in this case it did. Otherwise, I really liked this pitcher's duel. Even better was the fact they both threw complete games. That just shows you how in command both pitchers were.
Posted by Andrew at 11:22 PM
Ruling is stinging to Moore
This article in the Rocky Mountain News made me think about Todd Bertuzzi's reinstatement. To start off a little background, on me and the suspension:
I really like hockey. As a child I went to Indianapolis Ice games at the old Pepsi Coliseum. It's the kinda place that is pretty much only held together by the pop, beer, and slushies people have spilled over the years. The entire place shakes when the Ice score. It's the kind of environment that'll make you a fan for life, at least under normal circumstances. The first NHL game I ever saw was in the Stanley Cup Finals between Colorado and Florida. For some reason, I picked Colorado to win and I've liked them ever since.
In a game last season (the last one they played anyway) Todd Bertuzzi knocked Steve Moore over the head with a forearm, jumped on him and rode him and his face into the ice. Moore is just now able to skate again, and may never play again. Bertuzzi was suspended indefinatly, charged with criminal assault charges by the police and has been sued in civil court by Moore. Recently Bertuzzi was reinstated to play. All in all, Bertuzzi only missed 20 games, not counting the entire season no one played. With the lockout over, the last thing the NHL needs is more bad publicity. Even I have lost a lot of interest in hockey. This is that bad publicity.
I've always thought that Gary Bettman should have said "When Moore plays again, so can you." Of course that would have entailed Bettman growing a pair, so that was really never an option. What ended up happening is that Bertuzzi pretty much got a slap on the wrist for nearly paralyzing a man. And people wonder what's wrong with hockey. The "leadership" is a joke.
People say fighting is a part of hockey, which it is, but this wasn't a fight. This was a sucker punch. That's the kinda stuff that'll get you your ass beat if you pull it in a bar. Along with protecting your teammates as a pitcher, the hockey fight is the one rule that administrators have messed up the most. This isn't a plea for "the good old days" just a look at why things like this happen.
Hockey is a rough sport. Hockey is a sport where standard protocol is to skate as fast as you can into an other person and try to knock them either on their ass or into a wall, maybe even both. When you have a sport like this, emotions will run high. The enforcer was there to make sure no one tried to start anything. Each team had a designated bad-ass who would take you out if you tried anything against the accepted way to play. He was usually a burly defenseman who would make most normal people afraid just by looking at them. Mostly he took care of the unwritten rules that the officals couldn't blow the whistle on. As hockey has evolved into a more offense oriented game, the enforcer has fallen by the wayside. To take his place is some punk who knows getting into a fight is a way to get on SportsCenter. He fights for airtime, not his teammates. To curb this, the NHL curtailed fighting, imposing more harsh penalties. Now without fighting, people have no way to control the game, and things get out of hand.
Bertuzzi was definately very wrong to do what he did, and there is no excuse. Period. But he was retaliating for a hit Moore put on his teammate. If the old system was still in place, could the players just have rumbled a little to release some anxiety and then gotten back to the game instead of bottling it until it came out in this vicious style? Maybe, maybe not. But the fact of the matter is that while emotions are at their peak people need to be able to control them, which Bertuzzi failed to do. If I were Todd Bertuzzi I would not want to face the Avalanche. The Canucks and Avs play three times in the week of October 22-29. While I'd hope that the players could be bigger men and not fight over this, I would not at all be surprised if things got nasty.
Posted by Andrew at 4:00 PM
Thursday, August 11, 2005
How many of you saw the end of last night's game? No one? I did. Ha, in your face people with real jobs that are worth the sleep. The game got over at 1:34 AM Central. I must say it was a struggle. The only thing that let me keep watching was I was sleeping on the couch anyway. My grandparents are in town and using my room, so I was relegated to the couch. If I actually had to get up and get to bed I wouldn't have watched nearly as long.
If you didn't stay up you missed a great 14th. Jeff Nelson walked Lew and then hit Shannon Stewart to start the inning. That was his night. Then La Bamba hit a single to score Lew. Then Joe Mauer was up to the plate. I personally would not have wanted anyone else up at the plate. Joe had been intentionally walked in the 10th and 12th, but this time first and second bases were occupied. Joe took care of that with a deep double to left-center, scoring both. After LeCroy's only hit of the game gave runners on the corners, Jacque Jones grounded into a fielders choice to score Mauer. Willie Bloomquist would have a throwing error that would allow Morneau to reach safely, but Nick Punto would ground out to end the the Twins' half of the inning. Juan Rincon came in and allowed a single, but then got a strikeout and a double play and the game was over.
Even getting to extra innings was amazing. Down 3-1 with 2 innings left I was read to give up. With the lack of offense I didn't expect them to score any runs. I want to know what was up in the 9th. Nick Punto is on second and Lew singles through the left side of the infield. Everyone knows Snelling is coming up firing to keep the Twins from tying it up. The throw goes through but Lew gets thrown out trying to take second and ends the inning. Did Lew stop or hesitate at first? Was he expecting the ball to be cut off, because I don't think many other people were? Lew has good speed and should have been able to take the extra base easily. It's these type of things that have been losing games, stuff that was the standard last year
All winning happiness aside - the Twins probably should have lost. LeCroy killed 2 late rallies single handedly. People were left on base. Lew ran the out of an inning. The Twins did a good job to get back into the game and get 4 in the 14th, but I don't they would have done that without the Mariners helping out a bit. The Twins didn't play well, but the Mariners bailed them out. The only thing that saved the Twins was that the Mariners played like them.
Deep Thoughts (bulleted for your reading pleasure)
- Remembember a while back when some people (not me) thought the Twins wanted/needed Henry Blanco back? To them I say "HA!" Mauer has become the most feared Twin at the plate. It's amazing that Mauer is pretty much (though not technically) a 22-year-old rookie who dictates to opposing teams that you need to intentionally walk him in extra innings. I want to know how it feels to be Jacque Jones or Torii Hunter - guys that have been on the team for 5, 6, 7 years now and are getting shown up by a kid that would have just graduated college. They are probably outwardly happy for their teammate, but somewhere inside they are mad/jealous/upset that they are being made to look bad.
- The Matty LeCroy show is getting old. He is a good hitter unless the pressure is on. I can't count how many rallies he's killed. Maybe I'm being unduly pessimistic but it seems that the Twins would be better served with someone else in late inning situations. Then again I may just be falling into the "Great play to end the inning and lead off the next one" trap that you only notice it when it happens so it seems as though it happens all the time.
- The managing matchup was some for the ages. Instead of a matchup of mental heavyweights, this was more like one of those fights with the 5'0" hispanic boxers who look like the should be jockeys. What was Gardenhire thinking pitching to Richie Sexson and then intentionally walking Adrian Beltre? I think walking Sexson to get to Beltre would have been better. Jeremy Reed hits right behind Beltre, so of the three Beltre is the one I'd most want to pitch too, at least this year. Is Gardenhire confused that this is not the Adrian Beltre of last year? Then there's Mike Hargrove. I really don't like the way he uses his bullpen. He brings in people to get a specific batter then takes them out. When you end up going to 14, guess what, you're running out of pitchers. I remember hating to watch Indians playoff games back in the 90's because they took for-ev-er because of all of his pitching changes. The 97 World Series seemed like it took weeks with all the commercial breaks.
- What was up with Willie Bloomquist? Did he feel rushed with Morneau rumbling down the line that made him throw wide? Willie - you have all kinds of time, just take some of it for yourself and make a good throw. That was only one of the errors. How do you over-throw Richie Sexson? The man is huge. It would make more sense if it was low and he couldn't bend over quickly enough, but somehow Bloomquist got it over him.
- Do they not teach bunting anymore? Nothing upsets me more than people who can't bunt. It's the easiest part of hitting. Get the barrel of the bat out in front of you and deaden the ball up one of the lines. Don't stab at it, just let it hit your bat. If you're trying to get on, make sure you push it past the pitcher. And whatever you do - DON'T DROP YOUR BATHEAD! Doing so will make you pop it up. Go down and get the ball. I took this opportunity to demonstrate proper bunting technique to my little brother. It was quite a sight - 12:30 at night and me with a rolled up Reggie Miller poster demonstrating. Anyone walking by would have probably just shaken their head and kept walking. People here already know I'm a little crazy, so they don't even flinch anymore. Anyway, learn how to bunt dammit.
Posted by Andrew at 9:17 AM
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
With the trading deadline just passed a little more than a week ago, people have
been really breaking down teams lately. What do they have? What do they need?
Who should they get to fill that hole? This has got me to thinking about what
my team would look like if I had the choice. So, loyal reader, my question for
Would you build around pitching? Defense? Offense? Would you have a power
If you were a GM and got to start from scratch, what type of team would you build?
offense, or more of a small-ball type system? What is most important to you?
What can you do without? All of the things you wish you could tweak about your
favorite team - they're too slow, they don't hit, the bullpen sucks - you now
get to remedy. No specific names are needed, just generalities.
Posted by Andrew at 11:24 AM
KC all but ended it's 10 game losing streak today. Up 7-2 at home going into the ninth, the Royals allowed Cleveland to score 11 runs. Mike MacDougal gave up 7 in just 2/3 of an inning to allow the Indians to escape with the win. Only the Royals, only the Royals.
Posted by Andrew at 12:37 AM
Monday, August 08, 2005
I went to the game on Sunday, if you can call it that. I was sitting just to the foul side of the third base pole. I was pretty much looking right down the line. They were pretty nice seats. Seats aside, it was probably the worst played major league game I'd ever been too. And I've seen the Royals several times. The Twins couldn't hardly hit, the Red Sox couldn't field, and Joe Mays sucked something awful.
Take a look at Joe Mays' line for the game:
4.2 IP, 13 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 13.51 ERAYou think that's bad, take a look at the first inning:
- T. Graffanino singled to center
- E. Renteria singled to left, T. Graffanino to second
- D. Ortiz doubled to deep right center, T. Graffanino and E. Renteria scored
- M. Ramirez doubled to deep left, D. Ortiz scored
- K. Millar singled to center, M. Ramirez scored
- R. Petagine flied out to left
- D. Mirabelli singled to right, K. Millar to second
- A. Cora flied out to left, K. Millar scored, D. Mirabelli to third on left fielder S. Stewart's fielding error
- G. Kapler struck out looking
Mays' allowed hits to the first 5 batters he faced. Gardenhire had Matt Guerrier warming up after the Cora/Stewart debacle. Guerrier was called to warm up no less than 3 different time before being brought in.
Once Guerrier was in, he pitched a scoreless 1.1 innings. So of course the prudent thing was to bring in JC Romero. At that point the Twins were down 8-3 and things did look bleak, but I don't like the idea of Gardy phoning it in so early. Have you no faith in your offense man? No? That's understandable. But still, why with the JC, huh?
So JC almost put on in Manny's earhole. That was fine by me, but don't leave your next pitch up against him. Manny made him pay. Then Manny was Manny and was a complete ass about it. David Ortiz got to first faster when he was walked the at-bat before than Manny did after his home run. I told my brother before the game to watch Manny's swing because he does have one of the smoothest strokes in baseball. After the home run I told him if I ever caught him strutting like that he would be in deep shit.
After this, the Twins got one back on Renteria's throwing error. He made a really good stop in the hole and tried to get Cuddyer at second, but he air mailed it and Cuddyer scored. I could tell when he was winding up to throw that things would turn out badly for the Red Sox. They did, and things looked up, if only for a second.
After deciding JC was a bad idea, Gardy decided that Mulholland was a better idea. Good news everyone, he gave up a home run. He did strike out 2 of the three outs in the inning and the only other baserunner was Jason Bartlett's fault. Then he went 1-2-3 in the 9th. All in all, it wasn't as bad as I expected, but better would have been nice.
The bottom of the ninth was about the only exciting thing to happen all game. That and one of those things TC shoots out of the cannon came tantilizingly close, only to fall short. In the bottom of the ninth, the Twins got the bases loaded with LeCroy up. He walked to force in Shannon Stewart, who had provided a 2-run double a few batters previous. Then with the score at 11-7 and the bases loaded, Jacque Jones came to the plate. A home run would have tied it and given the Twins a 7-run ninth. Instead, after fouling two off Jones struck out and the game was over.
Somehow Curt Shilling got the save. I was under the assumption you couldn't put yourself in a save situation, but Jones wouldn't have represented the tying run without walking LeCroy. Does the fact that Stewart's run was charged to Wakefield change the fact that it's Schilling's fault he had to face Jones? Since I've started paying more attention to saves, the more I'm becoming one of those people who feel it is a stat that is overvalued.
The Red Sox made 7 errors in the 3 game series. For comparison's sake - Luis Rivas, Lew Ford, and Joe Mauer have combined for 7 errors all season.
The Twins 3-7 hitters (including defensive replacement Tiffee) went a combined 1-20 (0.050) with 3 walks (OBP 0.173) The 1, 2, 8, 9 hitters were 8-17 (0.470) with 1 walk (OBP 0.500).
Tim McClellan was the 3rd Base Umpire for the game. Tim lives in West Des Moines, not 10 minutes from campus. He's even in the phone book - I've checked. Every now and then I consider dropping by or giving him a call, but I never do.
What will henceforth be known as the Benny Agbayani Memorial Shannon Stewart Brainfart (BAMSSB) happened pretty much right in front of me. He caught the ball and everything was cool, but then he started leaning towards the stands. People were yelling and pointing. Bartlett and Castro were waving their arms like crazy. Shannon let go and people couldn't believe it. Once he realized what he'd done he didn't even bother trying to get the ball back he was so embarrassed.
How did I neglect to nominate Benny Agbayani for the Best Baseball Names list? I remember when he was introduced at Shea: "Now batting, Benny Agbayani from Hono-LU-lu, Ha-WAI-eee." I'm not sure why the announcer put the inflection where he did, but I got a kick out of it.
Has anyone else ever ridden the light rail to and/or from the game? I thought it was very nice. Our hotel was just across the street from Mall of America, so we just hopped on and rode it into the Metrodome and then back. The trip was only 30 minutes each way. It was never overly crowded. I've been on the L leaving Comiskey, the Baltimore Light Rail leaving Camden, and the NY Subway leaving Shea. This was definitely the nicest of the four, though Baltimore isn't far behind in second. Of course everyone was Minnesota friendly, so Mom was just chatting it up the whole way back. I would recommend the light rail for anyone who lives south of the Metrodome. Just park at the Mall or Fort Snelling and hop on. You'll save so much in parking and aggravation of trying to find said parking. There are only 3 stops north of the Metrodome, so the time saved isn't as significant. The one time I parked downtown at my friend's office we just went ahead and walked instead of buying a ticket. Of course if you're going straight from work, you may not want to walk that in dress shoes.
A Red Sox fan was ejected right in front of me. I have a picture on my phone. If I can only figure out how to get it from there to my computer I'll post it. I think it was wrong for him to be ejected. All he did was yell "Let's go, Red Sox!" a couple of times. Some old lady got her panties all in a bunch and went and got Fan Relations. When the guy wouldn't leave, they got security. The guy plead his case to the section, and just about everyone was cool with letting him stay, but they took him away anyway. He wasn't swearing or making derogatory comments about anyone. At worst he was being obnoxious, but what else can you expect from a East Coaster. Generally, I can't stand people from the East Coast. I've spent plenty of time in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York and I always can't wait to get home. They are just too loud and obnoxious for me. Of course there are always exceptions to the rules, don't get me wrong. I like some people I meet, but if I had the choice, I'd rather not go. The worst were some guys behind me at a Pacers game, but that is a story for another time. Anyway, the guy shouldn't have gotten tossed, but it did liven things up a bit.
Posted by Andrew at 7:29 PM
Have you ever had one of those days at work where you keep checking
the clock to see when you can leave for your dentist appointment? I'm
currently glancing at the clock at a rate of about 3 times per second
to see when I can go get a filling. That's how my day's going.
Posted by Andrew at 2:58 PM
Fret not loyal readers, for I have returned. I know you all missed mebterribly. I've got a lot for you to hear about: loons, beavers, canoes, and other assorted nature items along with a Twins game. I even look forward to reading it myself.
Real Madrid Update
I got my pictures back from the developer last week, but not with enoughtime to scan them before I left. That is item #1 on my list to do after work.
Until then, I leave you with my favorite picture from vacation. This is Dad, the intreptid voyageur
Posted by Andrew at 11:04 AM