Thursday, May 31, 2007

More Life Lessons Provided By T.G.I.F.

by Twinswin83

Let’s face it; sitcom television is a dead genre. It’s been apparent for nearly a decade now that American television is ruled by reality TV and serialized dramas. Not since the heydays of Seinfeld and Friends has a sitcom dominated the Nielsen ratings. It has been even longer since a network has pieced together an entire evenings worth of quality sitcoms to fill their two-hour primetime block. I remember the glory days when you would consistently hear during the end credits of your favorite program that “this show was filmed before a live studio audience.”

With shows like The New Adventures of Old Christine and Two and a Half Men “leading the pack” for sitcoms today, is it any wonder that absolute crap like Dancing with the Stars is one of the 5 most watched shows on television? I find myself longing for the days of the early 1990’s when children everywhere could flip on their TV on a Friday night and be entertained by four quality family sitcoms without even having to change the channel. The sitcoms that made up T.G.I.F. were kind of like the “The Dude,” they were just right for their particular time and place. Hokey family fun and corny life lessons were the norm in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Now people are more interested in watching dark and moody actors solve bizarre murders in 60 minutes or less with forensic methods that, if used in real life, would take years. Hey, I’ll take a cheesy sitcom about a blended family from Wisconsin over that any day.

Step By Step
was a favorite of mine and survived for years as T.G.I.F’s blatant attempt to recreate The Brady Bunch. The Lamberts and the Fosters were two families, consisting of three siblings each, forced together by their parent’s second marriages. Throw in a wacky, van dwelling, radical and bodacious cousin and you’ve got a mixed family to be reckoned with. I learned a lot about life by watching this show, and thanks to ABC Family I am able to relive those teachings a couple times every weekday. Here are a few of the lessons Frank, Carol, JT, Al, Dana, Cody and the whole gang helped fill me in on:

*Every family has its nerd, and you can easily spot them by their oversized glasses, sweater
vest, whiney voice and complete inability to fit in.

*Cousins are family, but not important enough to let live in the house.
*The ThighMaster works.
*Step brothers and sisters aren’t real siblings and therefore should not be treated as such. Insults, practical jokes and isolation are a must.
*The more you use the word “dude” the more dim you will appear, and the more likely it is that you will one day live in a van.
*If you are going to run a salon out of your own home you must hire a male stylist that speaks with a French accent and whose sexual orientation is debatable.
*There is no problem, dispute or issue a family might face that can’t be resolved by spending a day at the amusement park together.

Family Matters
Ah yes, Family Matters. Who could possibly forget this gong show? For as much as I enjoyed this show growing up I don’t think I have ever witnessed a program “jump the shark” quite like this one. It’s not every day that the main character of a sitcom invents a robot in his own likeness. No matter how absurd, Steve Urkel became engrained in American pop culture throughout the shows run and it wouldn’t have been T.G.I.F. without him. The outlandish nerd next door and the always compelling Winslow family taught me plenty about the way the world really worked. They tutored me on important life lessons such as:
*The higher you hike up your pants, the higher your voice gets.
*If you make a mistake, break something or just flat out mess up, all you have to do is look around like an idiot and drop the line, “Did I do that?” It’s like a get out of jail free card.
*If your first, middle and last names all rhyme chances are it’s not all working upstairs for you and you’re only around so that others can have a laugh at your expense.
*If you’re having trouble landing the girl of your dreams the simplest solution is to build a machine that will transform you into a cooler, sexier and overall more appealing version of yourself. But be sure you engineer the machine so as to allow yourself to change back and forth as much as needed.
*Robots that resemble real people are not a thing of the future, they are here now and they are hilarious.
*If you consistently pester, annoy, harass and downright stalk a girl for eight or nine years she will eventually break down and fall in love with you, no matter how dominant a role suspenders play in your wardrobe.
*I’m not the only one who sometimes snorts when I laugh.

That’s all I got for now folks. Well, at least until all of my strongly worded letters and emails to 20th Century Fox are answered and they finally release The Wonder Years on DVD.

Three Newish Bands I've Listened To Lately

By Haas

The Black Keys

This duo from Akron, OH has been around for about five years. Their brand of raw rockin' blues is a breath of fresh air in this crappy rock age of the 00's. They sound like the White Stripes exept more straight forward; and they've been at it for longer than Jack has. I first heard these guys when I was using my little brother's computer and I played the first two songs of their most recent LP, Magic Potion. Those two songs immediately caught my attention. I quickly downloaded the other five albums they've put out and was not disappointed. Their music does have an AC/DC type quality to them, in that many of their songs have the same sound and feel. They range from softly rocking (Act Nice N Gentle) to rockingly rocking (Grown So Ugly) But they all have one thing in common: they rock. Most of them are pretty short, so much so that I was able to fit 23 songs onto one CD that I burned. I recently heard them on 93X, so I guess they are starting to get noticed.

Check these out: 'Stack Shot Billy' on Letterman, 'Your Touch' myspace

Jackie Greene

My hip friend in Chicago turned me onto this guy, but I’m not too sure about him. I’ve looked at his bio and seen that he has a blues background and can rip on the guitar, but I’ve yet to actually hear one of those songs. The songs that I have heard are either really awesome or bad (maybe I’ll like the bad ones more once I hear more of his catalogue). The bad ones sound like the run of the mill dave matthews-john mayer acoustic college rip off music. The good ones are acoustic, but are either bluesier or dylanesque. Jackie is probably not deserving of the mention on AH! since I haven’t heard more than ten songs of his, but his song called “Cry Yourself Dry” is fucking awesome. Anyone who writes a song that good deserves...... well, something more awesome than this blog has to offer.

Check these out: Jackie on Conan, myspace

The Hold Steady

These fellas have been around the block in the music biz. They sound like a pretty standard straight forward rock n' roll band, until you actually hear their songs. The songs are weird. The weirdness starts with front man Craig Finns vocals. He doesn't really sing, but kind of drawls like he's making fun of Bruce Springsteen. The hooks and the riffs are different too - it's kind've hit or miss. But what really gets my attention is their radical lyrics. Although their homebase is in NYC, four of their five members are veterans of the Twin Cities music scene. Many of their lyrics include references to Minnesota and getting high - two of my favorite things! Like this: "Your little hoodrat friend got me high though, we were 17 and stuck up in Osseo" Their album "Boys and Girls in America" was ranked a top ten album of 2006 by Rolling Stone Magazine. I'll admit that I probably never would have heard of this band if it weren't for an article in the sports section of the Strib last fall. You see, The Hold Steady are huge Minnesota Twins fans. They even wrote a Twintastic version of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" that you might hear at the dome this summer. A rock band that loves the Twins? Hell YEAH!

Check these out: Interview with Craig Finn about the Twins, 'Chips Ahoy!', myspace

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

References to purple in rock music

by M.L. Haas

1. Purple Haze - Jimi Hendrix (1967)

2. Deep Purple (Band created in 1968)

3. Purple Rain - Prince (1984)

4. Purple (album) - Stone Temple Pilots (1994)

Am I missing anything?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

I'm liking the youth, and then some...again

by Mark Waters

Kevin Slowey is younger than me, and is completely dominating AAA. I cannot wait until the clause in his contract will expire (this will push back arbitration an extra year) so he can take over for Ortiz...Or Silva if he continues to show his true colors. I'm sure most of you are aware of his 50 strikeouts to 5 walks, .195 opponent batting average, and his almost equal splits between left and right hand batters.

Everyone also knows about Garza and Baker's potential, but I'm wondering about our non-pitchers over in Rochester.

I really don't know anything about these guys, other than reading their stats, but Shortstop/2nd baseman Matt Tolbert is currently hitting .356. He is only hitting .250 against lefties, but about 2 weeks ago he was hitting 60 points lower than that. He has limited power (as if punto/bartlett have more) but he is hitting roughly 100 points higher, and he just turned 25. Talk about long term potential at short, or 2nd, depending on how big of a bust Alexi Casilla is or isn't.

What about Jose Morales at Catcher? In 36 games at Rochester, he is batting .353 - .286 against lefties. He is also very young at 24. He too has limited power, but so does Mike Redmond and Morales is a decade younger. Morales would be perfect for the Twins' future, allowing Mauer to transition to 3rd base or LF without losing too much production behind the plate.

Trent Oeltjen is another 24 year old prospect who is hitting .318 in AAA. Although he's had limited ABs against lefties, he is hitting .294 against them. Due to the absolute lack of production out of Tyner/Kubel, he could make a great subsitution come September.

Here's the part where I start dreaming. I can dream can't I?

This trade proposal makes sense, and is plausable. Trade Perkins, Hunter, Baker/Boof and possibly a draft pick to Texas for Mark Teixeira and Hank Blalock. Tex hits for power and average, and could clear up the DH problem. Being only 27 is also a big plus. Blalock is basically out for the next 3 months recovering from a bizarre rib operation. Because of his significant stint on the DL, his trade value should be relatively cheap.

Texas is in last place, and they realize two things. 1. They need to rebuild. 2. They desperately need young pitching.

I would like to see Santana be resigned, but I do not see Johan AND Hunter being signed. Torii is having an MVP type year, and the Twins need to take advantage of his value while they still can. Now this is fantasy land, but hear me out.

The next 2-3 years:

Starting Rotation:
Santana LHP
Slowey RHP
Liriano LHP
Garza RHP
or BakerRHP

Position Players:
Morales C
Morneau 1B
Casilla 2B
Tolbert SS
Blalock 3B
Teixeira DH
Mauer LF
Span CF (not so good hitter, but can play D)
Cuddy RF

Hopefully Kubel will figure it out by then, because I still believe that he can be a somewhat productive bat.

That roster gives an excellent balance of hitting for power, hitting for average, and speed on the base paths
Rincon (he's only 28)
Guerrier check out his stats so far, very nice.

Does anybody else have an erection after imagining this roster? I do.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club @ First Ave. . . . . . . . . I Was There!

By Andy Bresnahan

I went to a concert at the legendary First Avenue Night Club in downtown Minneapolis on Tuesday night with my roommates and I thought I would share my experience/thoughts with y’all. The band on the ticket was Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Perhaps you have heard of them, but I have been familiar with the band only in the past few months. I am unaware of what inspired the unorthodox mouthful that is their band name, but I don’t let it bother me when people ask who the eff is that?
BRMC comes to us from somewhere on the west coast even though they’ve found most of their commercial success in the UK. They were co-founded by their two front-men shortly after high school. The current drummer didn’t join until later on. They have released four full length albums including the new one, “Baby 81”. They kick out a brand of bluesy, guitar driven rock n roll that doesn’t sound like the main stream garbage we all are forced to ignore these days. “Baby 81” has received mixed reviews, most claiming their previous release “Howl” captures their true appeal. I would agree with that so far, “Baby 81” does have a higher dose of the slow stuff, but I will give it a couple more listens. I came to the show with a good sample of their stuff on my itunes and thought it was all about average. Nothing to get really excited about but good enough to see at First Ave.
Opening act was some struggling cookie-cutter modern rock band that lasted just long enough for me to drink two very large coronas and find a nice spot on the main floor. Three songs into BRMC set I found myself very impressed with the energy and stage presence they present. The studio recordings did most of the songs little justice. They really put on a good show.
It is a shame Newton’s 3rd law of motion did not apply however. The crowd did not respond with nearly as much intensity. In fact when one guitar/singer requested house lights for a song (dumb idea) I looked around and felt like everyone was watching a car crash.
One could argue this had an effect on the chosen set list. This is the first concert I’ve been to that I didn’t hear my favorite song. In fact, when I got home I realized there were several rockin’ tunes they should have played. It frustrated me they wasted time with 3 acoustic solo songs in a row but what do expect with a Tuesday night in Minnesota… Don’t get me wrong, I like it when a band can be dynamic and hit you in the face with a powerful psychedelic finale then come back and do an acoustic ballad. It’s like someone who gets you stinking shitfaced but then sticks around to help you puke later. It’s good stuff, but please keep the limit at 2 in row, otherwise you leave people wondering what happened to their rock show.
All in all I’d say I became a bigger fan of BRMC after seeing them live. I can’t say my opinion really means anything but I encourage you to check them out. I guess this blog entry wont really spark any hot debates but I figure all of you are into rockin’ out just like me so here ya go. Anyone else see a show lately?
for more info and to hear BRMC, visit their myspace page or their official website

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Garnett Needs to be Traded

by Tom Daymont
I really feel bad for Kevin Garnett. It has gotten to the point where my loyalty to KG outweighs my loyalty to the T-wolves. If McHale decides to do the decent thing and trade Garnett, my loyalties will then lie with his new team, any team. (besides the Lakers)
Glen Taylor and Kevin McHale have messed up Garnett’s career more than Coach Reilly messed up Gordon Bombay’s in The Mighty Ducks.
Riley: You got something to say to me, Bombay?
Bombay: (shakes head) To think, I wasted all those years worrying about what you thought. You're going down, Riley.
I digress, my point is this: please, oh please Basketball Gods let the T-wolves get the first pick. I just did ESPN’s Mock NBA Lottery Draft and it took me 62 simulations before the T-Wolves won the first pick. This is far worse than the 5.3% chance we are supposed to have. According to ESPN, Minnesota’s odds are about the same as getting two pairs in five-card draw poker. Could be worse.
I would love to see Greg Oden be schooled in the ways of the NBA by KG. Think Robinson and Duncan in ’99. (this was written on the day of the lottery; wolves maintained their 7th place. maybe oden will fall?)

If this doesn’t happen, and we inevitably waste our pick on Brandan Wright (he has is own stupid-ass website) or heaven forbid, Joakim Noah, and the Wolves have another pathetic year with another group of pathetic players (sans KG of course). The Wolves have no other choice than to trade him, they owe him that much..
KG has too much pride, it’s become a fault. If he can’t recognize this, the Wolves need to do it for him. McHale needs to push him out of the nest (the Target Center) like a mother bird to her baby chick and let him fly free. But when he inevitably returns to Minneapolis (probably with a ring on his finger) I for one, will give him a hero’s welcome.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Knights Baseball

by Josh Holm

The smell of Honey Nut Toasty O's accompanied by the scent of freshly cut grass wafting through my open windows brings me to only one place in the world, Sechler Park. On this hollowed ground lies the home of the Northfield Knights, where all summer you can take in great baseball played by regular local guys, that can't get enough of our national past time. These men-in-teal charge the field day after day, most of them fresh off a hard days work. Some sacrifice their home lives to get out and show what they can do with their leather and lumber. Although the team members range from 18 year old Luke Rasmussen (Future Gopher) to 40 yr old Jay Lucas (Former College World Series Pitcher), they are held together by a bi-managerial crew of Scott Paulson and Chris Graupmann. These two provide the leadership needed while creating the line-ups to deciding to wave 'em home or hold 'em up. Their two styles of managing compliment each other in a way that allows the guys to have a good time, and still play the game right.

Let's be serious...
The Knights are the most laid back bunch of dudes I've ever seen take the field together. They play baseball hard, and after the game adult beverages and baseball talk can last for hours.

Contrary to their lackadaisical look in the dugout, they show an unusual amount of talent and aggresiveness on the diamond. Some of the gloves found around the Knight's diamond are the finest you'll find in five counties. Their pitching staff is full of both veteran wit and youthful spunk. T.J. Sigstad, with his devistating heater, makes up the top of the rotation. He is flanked by two newcomers that are anything but rookies; Jay Lucas, and Aaron Rushing have shown their journeymen's knowledge of the game, and brought greatly appriciated help to the pitching staff that looked to be running thin after a few guys hung it up at the conclusion of last season.


If you find yourself chattering at your inanimate television while watching a Twins game, you might as well make your way down to the friendly confines of Sechler Park. There you will be welcomed with some die hards grillin' up brats and kickin' back beers. You can join them in their shouting some chatter that is worth their while. You may even want to bring your glove, you never know if a foul is coming your way!

This weekend there will be three games to watch. Two of them will be at lovely Sechler Park (Friday 7pm, and Monday 2pm), and the other will be played on Sunday versus the Rail Cats in Randolph (not too far of a drive). Monday's game is one that you will not want to miss, as they play their cross-town rival, the Dundas Dukes. This match-up is always hyped by both towns, and should draw one of the Knights' largest crowds of the season.

For more information go to:

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I sure do feel like I'm being taken advantage of when I go to the bars

by Michael Haas

Listen, I don't carry any cash most of the time

Have you ever been to a bar or some place and seen a sign that read "minumum purchase of $10" or else they won't swipe your card? Well it turns out that the establisment is violating their agreement with my credit card company when they do that. It's kind've a long story, but I'll try to bullet point it.

- the bar is charged a transaction fee each time I use my credit card

- the bar makes a greater percentage of a 20 dollar purchase than it would a 3 dollar purchase.

- many places apparently don't make ANY money when you put something on your card for three dollars

- many small places feel they are being taken advantage of by the large credit card companies

- some claim that the bars and places are forced to pass on those fees to the consumer, in the form of higher prices

- when the retailer signed an agreement with the credit card company, they agreed to accept credit cards for all valid reasons. not spending enough money is not a valid reason.

So the Contented Cow and the RuebnStein had these signs up. They are now rightfully gone.

I was at the Cow the other night, and this bartender was very unprofessional. I opened a tab thinking that I would have a few beers, but I ended up only putting that first one on there.
I went to close it out at the end of the night and this dude looks at my card and looks at me and this exchange followed. (this guy was sassy and condescending)

dbag: five dollars?
me: Yeah, thats the one. I guess I only had one beer
dbag: you don't have any cash or anything?
me: no, I don't.
D-bag (all sassily): alright, five dollars *swipe*

I was so fucking pissed. Who the hell is this guy to ask me if I have any cash? I should get him fired. And why did I tip him? Why couldn't I think of anything to say at that moment?

Other instances where I feel degraded at the bars

Then theres the whole getting-kicked-out-of-the-bar thing. I believe there is no grey area here. You either deserve to get kicked out or you don't. I have only been kicked out twice; once I deserved it, once I didn't. Just because someone is drunk and wearing a Columbia jacket instead of a leather jacket, doesn't mean I can't go back in after making a phone call. Oh and then they had a change of heart and decided to let me back in - if I paid the five dollar cover AGAIN. fuck those guys. The other time i got kicked out was because I was blacked out and felt like serving myself some drinks. Alright, I'll leave, but you dont have to throw me off the barstool and drag me out by my collar. These bouncers all think they're so much better just because they're sober.
I can't think anymore. Downtown Minneapolis pisses me off. It seems like so many people are way drunk trying to fight people or rape girls. So many people are just wasted. And the few sober people - oh they think they're so sweet; they get to tell drunks what to do.

Yeah, I'm defintitly going to get ripped for this one - for being a cheapass negative nancy. I just had two bad experiences this past weekend, so I had to get this off my chest. I encourage anyone with a story to share that with us.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Architect: Twins New Stadium to be "Absurdly Small"

From the AP:

In a ballpark age where intimacy is everything, the new ballpark in Minneapolis will be taking that idea to the extreme. The Twins plan to break ground in July, but some officials and fans worry about exactly what type of stadium will be there in 2010. The site on which the stadium will be built is by all accounts, very small. The plot of land is now causing all kinds of controversy around the area, and have many speculating on consequences of an imperfect site.

The stadium situation in Minnesota is never calm, even as proposals have passed and tax dollars are accumulated. The Twins organization first went public with stadium proposals over ten years before anything was passed. The original plan had the fabulous new stadium built along the Mississippi River next to the old Ames flour mill, but the Guthrie snatched up that real estate for their new multimillion dollar theater. Speculation swirled that the Twins would be forced to build between a freeway and a trash burner. That speculation came to realization in the spring of 2006, when HOK sport architects revealed renderings of a stadium behind the Target Center.

The site is so small that the Twins, the architects and the City of Minneapolis will have to make some sacrifices to fit the ballpark and infrastructure into the area. The baseball players have quieted their enthusiasm over the dream of a nicer clubhouse. The Metrodome currently has the smallest clubhouses and player facilities of any major league baseball stadium, and the Twins look like they well keep the title - with current architect specifications calling for a six foot ceiling and only one shower.

Local slugger Joe Mauer expressed concern. "I think the new ballpark will be great for fans. Outdoor baseball really is something special, but sometimes I wonder if this move is the best thing for our organization."

Mauer is currently floating an idea to baseball officials which would see the Twins splitting their home games between the Metrodome and the new stadium.

"From what I hear, the dimensions of the stadium might actually change how the game is played. I'm just not sure how I feel about that. I'm used to running 90 ft to first base, ya know?"

A call to HOK Sport confirmed that there could be drastic changes to the field dimensions.

"Making the base paths 80 ft and the foul lines 250 ft with a 32 foot wall, was the only way we could realistically fit a stadium with a 20,000 person capacity into the space available. Major League Baseball, the players and umpires union have given us the go-ahead"

Other rumored ideas to save space include having zero women’s bathrooms, underground concession stands, and specific timed seat assignments, to ease pedestrian congestion in the remarkably narrow hallways.

Even though many worry about the new home of the Twins, fans generally express optimism and excitement for outdoor Major League Baseball in Minnesota. The new place will seat less than one third of the Metrodome, so fans are clamoring for ticket priority. Season ticket sales are up 23 percent - apparently an indication that fans are willing to spend money to get in line for the tough ticket that will be Twins Baseball in 2010. Strangely though, zero women have shown interest in season tickets or the new stadium in general.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday Baseball Notes

By Michael Haas

I'm going to try to give you a September perspective in May. The Twins are out. I said it. Yeah, I remember what they did last year. But this is different. If we can't win games when these guys named Ramon and Carlos are pitching way over their heads, how are we going to win when they come back to earth? There are three solid teams ahead of us this year, rather than just two. I doubt that all three will play sub-.500 ball after the all-star break, as they did last year. We don't have an MVP waiting to bust out or a Cy Young candidate jumping from the bullpen to the rotation. We have Nick Punto. We have Mauer on the DL. We have Lew Ford. We have Ramon Ortiz. I'm not negative, I keep it real. Of course, if we somehow climb out of this, I will pretend I never said any of this. Anyway, I encourage you all to view every at-bat as one step closer to that magical year....

A year that will be called 2010

You see, in the year 2010, all will be cool. We may even win the whole thing. I don't know if you heard about this, but there is a new ballpark opening in Minneapolis. It is being built especially for you and I and the Twins. And it's an outdoor ballpark. That's twenty million dollars of revenue toward payroll, which we'll begin to see by the beginning of '09. It's guaranteed good times.

Our rotation will be solid. Six to choose from. Baker, Liriano, Perkins, Garza, Slowey and Boof. If we trade Johan or some of our other non-m&m boys before we lose them to free agency, we should have some good young hitters. Mauer and Morneau will move back in with each other and mash baseballs, Liriano's left elbow will be an indestructible slider-throwing machine and Mauer will be a gold glove third basemen. November 3rd, 2010 I will be on Nicollet Mall at a parade. I am telling the truth.

So don't worry, just enjoy the season. Watch Justin and Joe and Johan do their thing. Don't worry about the standings. Be patient, for our time is near.

Am I bad luck? A statistical analysis

I have been to five Twins games this year. The Twins have won just one of those games, while losing four. That is a .200 winning percentage. But how bad is my bad luck? On which do I have a greater affect, hitting or pitching? Let's look at some numbers.

Twins: 15 runs

Opponents: 18 runs. Close!

Twins batting average when I’m there: .228

Overall 2007 batting average through 5/17: .273

Twins ERA when I’m there: 3.60

Overall Twins ERA through 5/17: 4.07

It appears that I am good for pitching and bad for hitting. At future games, I’ll try to note where I sit and what I wear to see how it correlates to batting average, ERA, and most importantly, wins.

I also attended the Rockies square off with the Diamondbacks on opening day. Obviously, I wasn’t cheering for either team, but there are a few things to note in this one. I wanted ’06 NL Cy Young winning Brandon Webb to do well for the D-Backs, since he is on my fantasy team. I also wanted former Twin LaTroy Hawkins to do well for the Rockies, since I am still in his official fan club. Almost everyone in that stadium that day was rooting for the Rockies. It would take some luck for none of those three things to happen.

Webb pitched badly and gave the Rockies the early lead. Looked like the Rockies were on their way to victory number one - until the top of the 8th, when LaTroy takes the mound and gives up three runs. Ballgame. And the hot dogs were terrible.

Can the Milwaukee Brewers win 100 games?

With the upcoming inter-league series against this hot hitting "brew crew", much has been made around the Twin Cities about the Brewers fast start. I have discussed this with two of my friends, and found two different opinions. One dude thinks they won't win the division. One dude thinks they'll win 100 games. I think both these ideas are ludicrous. AH! contributor Tom Daymont reports that the last time a sub-.500 team won 100 games the next season was the AZDBACKS in '98 and '99. Those mother fuckers. It would be quite an accomplishment if the Brewers pulled that off. What do YOU think?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Lonely Twins fan in the Windy City

By Tom Daymont

I never thought it would be this hard. When I first moved to Chicago, the Twins were in the exciting time of the year known as the post-season. Every game of the (albeit short) series with the Oakland A's was televised nationally. I got just enough exposure to the Twins to make me feel like the recent 400 mile move was closer than Subway is to Taco Bell.

Shortly after the Twins' amazing comeback story had ended, my life went back to normal. The excitement and controversy around Rex Grossman, Tank Johnson and the rest of the Bears Motley Crew, kept my mind off of most of the less exciting Minnesota sports. Also, due to the setup of the NFL schedule and the television practices of Fox, CBS and the like, many of the Vikings games were televised in Chicago. I felt content getting most of Minnesota fix from the internet and cable sports shows.

That was until April rolled around.

The spring is the most exciting times in sports. March Madness is underway and Spring Training is almost over. It's a time when every team has the potential to make the playoffs (except the nationals andthe royals) and before half of the starting pitchers go on the DL. The anticipation was palatable.

Looking forward to watching the twins, I checked the TV schedule. Oh good, opening day vs. Baltimore is on ESPN.

"It's not so bad here," I naively think to myself. "I can be a Twins fan in Chicago."

As I watch Santana mow down the pathetic Orioles. I check the TV schedule, "Great! The next series is against the White Sox, I can watch all three (little did I know, that number would be cut down to two. Thank you cold weather.)

With the help of another ESPN televised Monday night game against the Yankees, I watched four out of the first six Twins games. Things are looking up.

Then came the drought.

The next month or so came without a televised game to the windy city. I cannot afford Extra Innings, and do not have southern exposure. GameDay Audio can only do so much for a homesick fan. So, I began scouting out places where I could catch a game.

I found a bar that boasted MLB Extra Innings on its copious supply of flat screens. The sign said that any MLB game would be available to any fan that wanted to watch, given that they make a purchase. I thought for sure this would be my second, well maybe third home.

I made the two minute walk to the establishment on a Thursday night, ordered five $1 tacos and a Bud Light. I then politely asked the server if the barkeep could turn one of the TVs to the Twins vs. Seattle game. As I dug into my reasonably priced tacos, I was visited by the manager. I was informed that because the White Sox were playing and the Cubs Post Game was on (THE POSTGAME?!?), they could not afford to have one TV out of dozens dedicated to a team that does not suck. I was disgusted. I quickly consumed my tacos and walked out the door.

The problem isn't just the lack of televised games, it's the unbelievable amount of White Sox A-holes walking about. The other day I was trying to find a hotel downtown to meet up with some people. I asked a group of bellhops at another hotel. They told me to go a few blocks east, towards the lake. As I was walked farther and farther away, I began to suspect I was lead askew. I asked a woman the same question and she pointed me the exact way I came from. As I walked by the three uniformed bellhops a second time, I sarcastically said, "Thanks for the directions", to which the shortest one replied, "Well, maybe if you weren't wearing that hat", I took the cap off my head and realized I was wearing my 59Fifty Twins hat, a apparently I had committed a faux pas in the direction asking community.

While this sort of treatment sucks, it does not compare to the lack of Twins our good friend Tony Francis Rezac is experiencing over seas. I just want to remind all Minnesotans, do not take for granted the fact that you live in, and are, surrounded by all things Minnesota Twins. Be Thankful for that.

A Blog About Nothing

Live and alive from Iraq, here is Tony F. Rezac!

Many have asked me the past couple weeks to make a blog post. So I decided that today I would finally do it. I have many topics I wanted to "blog" about, but found it hard to both decide on one and to form it into a coherent thought. So instead of try to form a coherent thought, I am going to spend the next few paragraphs spitting out ideas and thoughts and I will let you, the reader sort them out. There are no doubt some topics that will start debate and some that at some point down the road I may wish to further elaborate on, but for now I'm just going to spew them out to you like a bird feeding its young.

Iraq is a shit hole
A word of advice to any one who ever comes to Iraq, don't eat, drink or touch ANYTHING. I've seen these people slaughter goats in the middle of the streets everyday since I got here. These are the same streets that their raw sewage flows through. And forget about refrigerating the meat once they kill the goat. They just let it hang from a pole until someone buys it. How long to you think meat lasts in the sun on a 112 degree day?
I miss watching baseball
I subscribed to MLB radio and have caught a few of the Twins games now and then, but with a 9 hour time difference and a slow internet connection, it's not easy to listen to a game before I see the box score on
Also - ESPN insider, whatever the cost was, was the best money I've spent, dare I say, in my whole life. I have spent countless hours reading the archived articles of my favorite columnists.

The lack of quality cartoons for younger kids
While our generation has grown up on some of the greatest cartoons ever, G.I. Joe, Masters of the Universe, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Biker Mice From Mars just to name a few. Children today are forced to watch "Meet the Press" on Saturday mornings when they wake up. Cable offers little in the way of programming that isn't aimed at either the very small/toddler or the adult. What are the 8-12 year olds supposed to watching? Cartoons have grown with people our age and I can not remember a time when there were less than 2 cartoons in my top 5 list of favorite shows. With the exception of Sponge Bob I don't foresee a future like that for today’s young people.

* If anyone reading this considers them selves a Star Wars fan and hasn't read any of the "New Jedi Order" series, you are truly missing out.

* I am planning on going to Germany for second week in September, who wants to come with?

* If you are bored with you standard solitaire on your computer, try Vegas style. It is much more difficult and at times seems impossible, but when you win, you feel like your on top of the world.

* Best movie I've seen since I've been gone: "Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny" If you haven't seen it, you should.

This whole Iraq thing, we can't win plain and simple. It is a complete utter waste of time, money and thousands and thousands of lives - both Iraqi and Coalition. My first thought when I heard I'd be training the police forces was, "sweet, I might really make some difference!" In the 7 months I’ve been here I have done nothing for the good of these people. I keep reading about all these people saying whats best for the Iraqi people, all written by people who have never been here, or have only been to the rich neighborhoods in Baghdad. The poor people where I am are just that. Dirt poor and it doesn't matter how ruthless Saddam was or who is in charge now, all they know is when Saddam was in power; they had electricity and running water - both of which are in very short supply now. They also didn't have to deal with being intimidated or shot just because they live here....
Before I get too deep into this one I'm going to stop. This is a blog for fun, not for politics. If you want to know more about what I think, I'll be home in a few months, buy me a beer and I'll tell you exactly what I think.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Everything I learned about life, I learned by watching TGIF

by Twinswin83

Most young children acquire the knowledge and experiences that they use to shape the type of person they become from their parents, grandparents, close aunts or uncles, teachers, coaches or peers. Not me. Not even a little bit. Which isn’t to say I didn’t have people around me that could have taught me the appropriate life lessons, it’s just that I had a more qualified and enjoyable tutor: ABC’s 2 hour Friday night line-up of lovable sitcoms known by it’s now oft-copied moniker of T.G.I.F (not to be confused with that restaurant overloaded with waitresses weighed down by flair where you and your buddies stop when Buffalo Wild Wings is closed). Each show taught me something new, something different and something that would help me along the rocky road of adolescence. Here is a tidbit of what each of those half-hour long life sessions taught me:

Full House:

An original entry into the T.G.I.F line-up, but found it’s more recognizable place on Tuesday evenings. A lot of hip 20-somethings today like to claim that this show was, “like totally my favorite when I was a kid.” The truth is, if you go back and watch the re-runs the show is not only poorly assembled but many of the scenes are downright uncomfortable to watch. Now that I’ve said my piece I’ll go ahead and admit that I watched the damn show every week until an age that I’d rather not admit to. Here is what I learned from Uncle Joey, Danny, Kimmy Gibbler and the whole gang:

*You don’t have to have a mother to have a blast; three corny, middle-aged white men can do the job just fine
*If you grow up in San Francisco you will inevitably have a run-in with the Beach Boys, and that run-in will be glorious
*Play an adorable, somewhat sassy little girl on a family sitcom and use the phrase, “You got it dude,” at least once an episode and you will one day grow up to rule the world
*Old guys who like cartoons who can make funny voices and live in the basement are cool
*Everyone has an annoying teenage girl living next door. The best way to deal with that girl is to berate her with insults about how strange her home life is and how badly her feet smell
*Tough guys have pink bunny stencils on their bedroom walls

Boy Meets World:

Personally my favorite addition to the historic T.G.I.F. ensemble, and one that I wished was as replayed on basic cable as much as some of the other shows are. Although the early seasons are more solidly constructed with better story lines, I still enjoyed the later years when the show got a little goofy and seemingly “jumped the shark.” Either way, this program was jammed packed with life lessons, and I thus got my fill of them:

*Every high school has one dominant bully, and that bully will most certainly be dressed in a black leather jacket, tight jeans and speak as though he came directly from an audition to play a ‘Greaser” in an Outsiders remake.
*Little sisters are expendable. In some cases they can go missing for an extended period of time, returning as a different person all together and no one will have missed them or be all the wiser to her extensive absence
*If you have an elderly, loveable teacher who sounds like Kit from Knight Rider don’t worry, he will always remain your teacher no matter what your age or grade
*A Topanga is not a kind of tofu platter
*Living in a trailer park and without a mother doesn’t make you white trash. It means that you are dangerous and can have any girl you want, no matter how much flannel you wear
*When you go to college, it’s just like high school. There's all the same people and teachers, only with a couple colorful new friends added in
*Cool people wait until marriage to have sex with their girlfriend of 10 years

That’s all for now folks, next time I’ll enlighten you on how Step by Step, Family Matters and Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper provided me with enough knowledge about life to make it through Junior High…..

Ahhhh I Still Believe!

Waters Sez....

Now that Sidney Ponson is gone - I'm still convinced he used to be the greased up Sax player from the Lost Boys Movie (but since then has hit the Dark Beers and Burgers section more than the gym)

- I can rejoice. Goodbye. And as far as the Twins chances of success? I Still Believe!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Pat and Tyson's Fédération Française de Football Américian Elite Playoff Preview

It's that other time of year again, when French dudes playing American football try to make the playoffs. Pat McCarthy and Tyson Swaggert are player-coaches in this league. Their team is based in Amiens, and I'm sure they are the worst two players on the field. Baseball allegiances aside, Pat does a nice job of analyzing.....French football.

In the spirit of previews, Tyson and I decided to fill you in on the Federation of French Football American Elite playoff race because, well, we're bored and the clip of Christopher Walken interviewing a centaur did not do enough to stave off said boredom.

So without further ado, the teams that are definitely in the playoffs:

Le Flash: Defending champions, undefeated this year, first seed from the Poule A, Douchebags from Paris. Which presents a problem because douche over here means shower. So they're showerbags, but that's an existential problem that we can solve another day. Our team has lost twice to them by a combined total of 7 points. Basically they suck, but somehow finish the game with more points than the team their playing.

Les Black Panthers: Don't ask me to describe why the teams have a French article and then an English name, that's another discussion for another day. We lost to them 6-0, in perhaps the worst offensive display since the first football game was played in the late 1800's. They also are undefeated and the first seed in Poule B, but play against the Flash, so one of them will have one loss.

Both of the aforementioned teams are in for sure. Our team Les Spartiates, had clinched second place in our Poule, but due to one of the refs our team was supposed to bring (yes, each team needs to bring two refs) did not show the day of the game. The Federation has now said that we forfeit the last game against Les Cougars, which puts us into a tie with two games remaining. Apparently Les Cougars control their own destiny, but we could win an appeal and keep our win against Les Cougars - so basically we have no idea what is going on. Their next two games are against Les Black Panthers and Les Servals (who are also playing for a playoff spot in Poule B).

Les Servals and the Les Argonauts (who we play the last game of the regular season) are both sub-500, but to qualify for the playoffs a team needs to be in the top two (out of 4) in their Poule. So hypothetically, we could win out, making our (official) record 6-4 and not make the playoffs, while a team that is 3-7 qualifies for the playoffs.

Basically, there is no point to this article, it a fustercluck, just like the playoff picture, so don't waste your time reading it. But if you've gotten this far it is likely too late, so sorry about wasting your time. It was a horse, deal with it. (If that sentence does not make sense, watch aforementioned Christopher Walken sketch)

Our predictions:

First for our team, Les Spartiates... we win the next two games while not allowing any points (we've given up 58 points all year, with at least 21 of them being on special teams TD's)

Cougars get stomped twice and pooped on their face (from Tyson being nonsensical about the football gods extracting vengeance for their taking the forfeit).

Le Flash beats Les Black Panthers somehow even though there is no way they should win, but somehow they pull it out. It seems to be the recurring theme of their season. Douchebags.

And no one really cares who qualifies in the second spot from Poule B, because all teams are terrible.

We, or at least, I will be back with my playoff picks when the field is set, because Tyson will likely be back on a plane to the homeland to watch the Twins (hopefully get their ass stomped by the raging BrewCrew).

The forfeiting the game thing actually happened, so now the team that we've beaten twice and have the same record as controls their own destiny. We would have been better off losing our last game rather than winning and having to forfeit. Fucking laughable man.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Deden's 2007 MIAC Tournament Preview

It's that time of year again, when the best teams in the state converge on Northfield to play for a chance to compete in the NCAA tournament. Drunk college kids, a beautiful host city, draft hopefuls and great baseball set this tournament apart. Heres a preview so you're not clueless when you're drunk at the games.
College baseball wonk Troy Deden provides this exclusive analysis
Who won last year
St. Olaf returns as the defending champions, after winning last years rain shortened tourney. Due to hostile weather last years tourney was cut to a single elimination format, unlike its normal double elimination style.
In the first round of last years tourney, 4th seeded Hamline upset the number 1 seeded Tommie’s 4-1, moving Hamline into the title game, where they would have a date with the 2 seeded Ole’s From Gods Country, who beat the number 3 seed Gustavus 6-4.
St. Olaf went on to win the title edging Hamline 3-2.
MIAC Player of the Year:
The Max Molock MIAC player of the year award goes to Gustavus senior Tony Konicek. He led the MIAC in almost every offensive category, (Avg:.466, Slug: .914, RBI: 53, 2B: 15, Total Bases: 106) He was also tied for 2nd in 3B: 5 and HR: 9. This is the second year in a row that Konicek has been selected as the top player in the league. This is the first time that someone has one the award in back-to-back years since Brian Sprout in ’99-’00.
National Rankings:
#1 seed: St. Thomas (14)
#2 seed: St. Olaf (28)
#3 seed: St. Johns (NR)
#4 seed: Gustavus (NR)
The Field of Four
As usual, Olaf is in. They have qualified for the tourney each year since it’s inception in ’00. They come in this year as the number two seed, and regular season co-champs. The Tommie’s, purple socks and all, will be there again, and I’m sure everyone is real excited about that. The Tom’s come in as the 1 seed, and regular season co-champs. The 3 seed are the Johnnies from Collegeville, they’re alright, but an it's all guy school for fucks sake. The 4 seed, GAC, no one really likes them - they are okay, but still pricks.
Who will win?
The Tom’s are not as good as they have been in the past, and I hope they go 0-2 barbeque but that might just be a dream and never be reality. They’re good - they are regular season co-champs, but that’s only because of Olaf’s huge blunder at the end of the season.
The Johnnies will be the first team out of the tourney, they are not good at anything - can't pitch, can’t hit, and those two things are kind of important in this game.
GAC is the team that I’m not sure about, they’re pitching is ok and they can hit, but I don’t know if they really have what it takes to get to the final game. The Gusties have maybe one decent pitcher. I’m just not sure about these clowns - they’ll score some runs, but I’m not sure they can keep anyone from scoring.
Olaf, after starting the season as one of the hotter teams in the country, took a turn for the worse, as their sophomore All-American pitcher Todd Mathison went down with an elbow injury and has not pitched in a couple weeks, and they get swept by the Tom’s, split with Augsburg, (probably should have been swept by them too), and lost another pitcher due to injury. But the Oles From Gods Country somehow managed to come back and sweep GAC to earn a share of the regular season title. It will be very interesting to see if the two injured pitchers will be throwing this weekend, or will they have to go with their power and draft hopeful right fielder.
I have two scenarios for the final day, championship day. There is one constant, and that is St. Thomas playing in the championship game. , Who they will be playing is something that is a little blurry to me. If the Oles can get their injured pitchers back and throwing well, they will be playing St. Thomas for the title and the Tom’s will have to beat them twice. If the Ole pitchers are unable to throw, watch out for GAC. They could make it a little tougher on the Ole’s, and could pull off the upset.
The championship game will consist of St. Thomas being 2-0 so far in the tourney, putting what they have left up against the defending tourney champs and hometown favorite, Ole’s from St. Olaf, who will be 2-1 coming into the affair. Neither team has great pitching, but I think that St. Thomas will be in better shape due to the one less game that they had to play, and will have their big guns rested for the championship game. It will be close, and as much as I hate to say this, St. Thomas will win, in a nail biter.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

write a poem...

By Josh Holm(the Dutchie)
What's written here does not have to be clear.
No one will tell you which way to steer.
Take a quick right, but hold on tight,
try to avoid all the fear and the fright.
No drugs, please no thugs,
this isnt a poem about all those slugs.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Blogging: An Insiders Perspective

This Entry by Haas

Alright, I'm not an insider. I couldn't even defend blogging in a rational way after my friend said "I hate blogs" when i told him of my hot new idea. So I say to my friend I say, "Alright I'm going to write a blog post about this." Oh he thought that was hilarious.

So what is blogging? Where did it begin? Well, it turns out that the ancient Egyptians began popular blogging (back then it was called a web log) by hyroglyphing about the construction of their new sphinx. Not unlike Dave St. Peters blog about the new Twins ballpark. (sphinxblog was updated more often)

As religious and intellectual freedom began to flourish, individuals began blogs about their feelings, upcoming marriages, and lots of other stupid shit.

Today there are around 200 blogs worldwide. I have viewed many of them, and found that they can be broken into two main groups: Shit Ass Blogs and Agenda Blogs.

Agenda Blogs are those with a point/topic/agenda who wish to share that with others. These include any blogs that market an idea, a writer, a product; and any blogger who believes they have something to add to society.
Shit Ass Blogs have no apparent point, and are simply a more personal thing documenting every day life and thoughts. People (me) made this because i'm bored at work.

These two types of (true) blogs have one thing in common: the bloggers enjoy writing and knowing that anyone in the world can see it.

I really think that to hate blogging is stupid. Blogs are like people - theres lots of em and they're all talking shit. But you dont have to listen to em; and if you pick the right ones, they can be cool and interesting.

This blog is made for my friends and family. My friends and family will post things on here. If you aren't in said group and you enjoy reading this blog, we're happy to have you. If you aren't in said group and you hate this blog, well guess what it's not written for you anyway so go fuck yourself.

Getting out there...

written by The Dutchie

At this point, I would like to do a number of things. One of which is travel. I would like to travel to see the things that I've only read about. Travel to see something that is only in that place at that time. Travel to discover the differences from here to there. I would like to see, mountains, rivers, oceans, valleys, grass, animals, sand, stadiums, buildings, natural art, man made art, and all sorts of people. I would like to travel to be alone. Travel to spend unique time with others. Travel to expand my mind, and its boundaries.

If you have any suggestions of where it is that I might find what I am looking for, you should add a comment.

Why Living With Ones Parents Sucks

written by Haas

Living with my parents sucks for one main reason: my bedroom is always warm.
I know what you're thinking; "open a window or turn on the AC"
Well, I've tried that. My roomates don't like when i turn on the AC cuz my room is the only hot room. and opening windows works for a bit, but then when i wake up in the morning, the goddamn birds are chirping, and it's so cold that I don't want to get out of bed.

stay tuned for more Why living at home with ones parents sucks

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Confessions of a desperate Twins fan

written by Mark Waters

Today is May 8th. This early part of the season is extremely similar to the start of last season. We had pitchers in the rotation who clearly weren't getting the job done, and almost nothing but singles hitters throughout our line up. Our bullpen (including Liriano) was one of the only bright spots.

Something clearly needs to be done if the Twins want to finish within 30 games of the Central lead. Obviously, Ponson is doing nothing but sweating more than Rick Reed (which is alarming), and tallying up losses. Although I am a Boof fan, and believe he has a bright future in the Majors, he might need to get sent back down for a couple months, to collect himself - like what happened last season.

It's clearly time for Slowey to come up, or Perkins to take over in the rotation. Although I don't believe either of the above are nearly as dominating as Liriano, I do believe at least one of the two would provide a shot in the arm, and get some much needed consistency to our rotation.

Last year at about this time, Twins were terrible at scoring runs. No different now. beyond only a couple of real home run hitters, it seems like the only chance they have of scoring is to bunch 3 singles together, or a walk, a bunt/ steal, and another single. There's simply been too many instances of 2 outs and a runner on first, and having a complete absence of faith that the runner will score.

Well, in 2006, Batista and Juan Castro were taken out of the lineup, due to an obvious void at the plate, and were replaced by Nick Punto, and Jason Bartlett. Who would've though Nick Punto and Jason Bartlett would've been a huge factor in the complete 180 degree turn the offense took? Granted Morneau had alot to do with it, but hopefully he'll make a tradition out of starting out ice cold and finishing on a tear.

Most of the time, it only takes one batter to get hot, in order to start a chain reaction of others to heat up as well. Hitting is contagious isn't it? Maybe Mauer and Torii are being quarantined. But I truly believe that if Morneau can get hot again (which isn't that unrealistic), Cuddy will look like another 100 rbi man, Mauer (once he gets back) will still be Mauer, and some pressure will be taken off of Torii. It's very draining to carry an entire lineup on your back.

The changes of 2006, Removing dead skin such as Lohse, Batista, and Castro, and replacing them with a top prospect, and a couple ordinary, average guys, was a big enough stir to wake the team up. I don't believe blockbuster deals are necessary at this point in the season. Just make a few tweaks to the rotation, and lineup, and see where it takes you. Believe me, right now there is nowhere to go but up.