Friday, August 31, 2007

Ground is Broken

By AH! Staff

Just after the 2001 baseball season, Bud Selig announced Major League Baseballs planned contraction of two teams. On a cold November afternoon, Twins fans gathered in the Metrodome parking lot for a rally, cursing the names of Bud Selig and Carl Pohlad.

But less than six years later, Twins fans gathered again to hear Bud Selig tell them that the future of the Minnesota Twins is safe for the next two or three generations.

All of this because of a ballpark.


The ceremony included Hennepin County officials, many past and present Twins greats, Twins officials, and Carl and Bud themselves. After speeches were given, Ground was finally broken, as there were seven rounds of shovelers, with fireworks booming after each dig.


This picture, taken from just inside of third base, shows about how Nick Punto will see the skyline when he's playing in. Perhaps between now and 2010, he'll learn to bunt.


Michael Cuddyer and Joe Mauer were interviewed by Dick Bremer. When Dick asked Mauer his thoughts on the new ballpark, Mauer replied, "well, it's huge, you know."

On the other hand, Cuddyer was eloquent, and Gardy was funny. But Kent Hrbek stole the show, as he proclaimed upon walking to the podium, "I didn't bring up a piece a paper or a speech or anything, I just came for the beer!" And then he cracked one open.


After heartily booing that snake in the grass Bud Selig, Mark Waters and Andy Bresnahan pose for a photograph.


Marney Gellner and Michael Haas.
Two hearts beat as one.


There was a large media contingent as well. The ceremony was broadcast on KSTP as well as FSN. Haas reports that, "It's a good thing Gellner had her mic turned off, because some of the things she said to me were too hot for tv"



The next time we step foot on this plot of land, we'll be watching baseball in a brand new major league stadium.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Kinda Obscure Movies I Think You'd Like

By TwinsWin83

Fairly often my wife makes it clear to me that I have way too many DVD’s and that if I don’t clean house a bit she is going get rid of each and every one of them some day when I least expect it. I don’t know if it was out of fear or boredom but I finally sat down and started to assess the situation. It was then that I realized just how many DVD’s I have. I have DVD’s that I haven’t opened out of their original wrappers and at least a dozen that I have yet to even watch.
This sudden discovery in no way meant that I was about to get rid of any of my DVDs but as I examined some of the more ambiguous titles in my collection it did give me a good idea for a post: listing some of the more obscure movies I have that I think those of you out there might not have seen but would enjoy if you checked them out. Now bear with me, I know I’m not the only movie and DVD freak out there so some of these you guys might have already seen.

The Outsiders- This movie from 1983 is the film adaptation of S.E. Hinton’s famous book by the same title. Hinton is one of my favorite authors and wrote this classic novel at the ripe old age of 13. This movie, like most adaptations of famous works, is nowhere near as good as the book version. It did, however, star many future big names in Hollywood such as Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez and even the face of evil himself, Tom Cruise. It might not be as good as the book but the story itself is so good that it doesn’t matter.


Mississippi Burning- Another movie from the 80’s, Burning stars a young William Dafoe (Boondock Saints, SpiderMan) and a younger Gene Hackman as FBI agents investigating the murders of several Civil Rights Workers in the deep South in 1964. The movie is based on true events and tells an amazing story that captures just how difficult life was for African Americans and anyone willing to stand up for what was right in the South during this turbulent time in American history.

Deep Impact- For those that remember as well as I do, the summer of 98’ was all about the movie Armageddon. Few remember that a couple weeks before Armageddon was released another Dooms Day film about asteroids debuted with a smaller budget and much less fan and media-fare. Deep Impact was that movie, and in my opinion was a much better film. The story line was much more solid and structured and it wasn’t as overloaded with big name stars as the blockbuster Armageddon was, making it all together more believable.

Apt Pupil- Of all of the movies on my “obscure” films list this has to be my favorite. Pupil is directed by Bryan Singer (X-Men, Usual Suspects) and based on a story by Stephen King but I’m still guessing most of you have never heard of it. The tale is of a young student (Brad Renfro) who discovers he is living next door to the commander of a former Nazi concentration camp. The commander, named Dussander, is living in hiding but instead of turning the Nazi into the authorities the curious student blackmails him into telling him everything he remembers about his role in the Holocaust. Renfro’s character soon encounters more than he bargained for and things quickly turn dark as he battles wits with the ex-Nazi (played by famous old guy Ian McKellen).

The Majestic- One of Jim Carrey’s more obscure movies but what I feel is his best performance next to The Truman Show. Carrey plays a Hollywood filmmaker in the 1950’s falsely accused of being a Communist who escapes L.A. only too run his car over a bridge during a storm. He washes up down river struck with amnesia from the crash and in a tiny town where everyone believes he is the long-missing-war-veteran-son of the town’s theatre owner. Carrey doesn’t know who he is and believes it when he is told that he has miraculously returned home after nine and half years away. I am one of the few who prefer Carrey in a dramatic role but this movie is one of his best performances and films bar-none.

The Babe- I’m not a Yankee fan but I am a fan of baseball and few things are more interesting then learning about what life and baseball was like during the glory days of the early 20th century. This movie, starring John Goodman as Babe Ruth, tells the story of Major League Baseball’s most famous player from childhood to retirement. For someone like me, who didn’t know a whole lot about The Great Bambino other then what I see on HBO specials or ESPN, this movie was pretty interesting and gives the viewer a better idea of what it was like during the golden age of baseball.

The Pianist- I am a history major so I’m a softy for period pieces, especially ones containing tales about World War II, but The Pianist is one of the most amazing true stories about the Holocaust. Adrien Brody (in his career-making, academy award winning role) plays the part of a Jewish-Polish musician who finds himself in the middle of the Nazi’s attempt to exterminate Europe’s Jewish population in the late 30’s and early 1940’s. Brody’s characters tale of struggle and survival has to be one of the most amazing true accounts of the past century. It may be hard to watch at some points but the story contained within is an important one.

Made-Everyone loves Vince Vaughn now, and I am no exception, but I think that Made was one of his better movies. The film was directed by his good buddy Jon Favreau and stars the two as wanna-be-mobsters struggling to make a living. Vaughn is so clueless and annoying that he messes up any chance that Favreau has at success, and even though it’s painful to watch Vaughn’s obnoxiousness at points, their downfall is hilarious.

Finding Forrester- One of my favorite movies ever, this is the story of a young black basketball player from New York named Jamal. He is from a rough neighborhood but gets the chance to attend a prestigious high school because of his basketball skills. More importantly, Jamal is a brilliant writer who by chance meets a former author in recluse. It turns out the writer he has befriended is one of the most famous authors of the 20th century (played by Sean Connery) who penned only one great novel and then disappeared (ala real life J.D Salinger, author of The Catcher In the Rye). As Jamal and his new tutor work on building his writing skills issues arise as he attempts to become a successful author as well as maintain his promising future in basketball at a school that only cares about his prospects as a prominent athlete.

Identity- The only movie that could possibly be considered a “horror” film on my list. Identity is a psychological thriller in the mold of The Usual Suspects meets Seven. I won’t say much more because it’s the kind of flick where even the smallest hint could ruin its dramatic conclusion. Just take my word for it when I say that if you’re into thrillers that not only make you think but are also full of drama and suspense then this is a movie for you. Plus John Cusack is the main character and ever since I saw High Fidelity I’ve dug most of his movies.




Honorable Mention: Adaptation, Frequency, From Hell, Man on the Moon, The Cooler









Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Today I Consider Myself...

...the Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth

By Michael Haas

Editors note: This may be the most absurd thing ever written. If you don't feel like reading it, I completely understand. Check out yesterdays post for less stupidity.


I had a dream last night that I had a Powerball ticket. It was strange because I never ever participate in Powerball. (ouch I just burned my tongue on my coffee) anyway, the reason that I don't buy Powerball tickets is because I feel that I could never win. I've never been lucky in my whole life. Rain and gloom all of my days. Until today, for today I am a winner, conquered life and mounted it from behind. Because today, I got free food from McDonalds.

It seemed a fairly normal day at the time, but when I think back, I can see that everything was adding up to that moment. I managed to sleep in a bit, by skipping showering and wearing the undershirt that I wore yesterday. Lately, it's been rainy most of the time. But this morning was different. The sun was out and the birds chirped in the cool morning.

As I headed out the door, bound for work, I thought to myself about the day before. Yesterday, I had eaten nothing until around 6pm. It was a gloomy day, and I just didn't feel like eating. But that decision had me feeling as though I were garbage by about 2pm. And I was downright delirious by the time I went to the Wendy's drive-thru.

tangent - This motherfucker at wendys sucks. I once ordered a Buffalo Chicken Sandwhich and he says, "what? how many?" and i said, uhhh just one. he goes oh ok. so i pull up to the pay thinger and this dude goes, what were you talking about back there? I've never heard anyone say 'Multiple Chicken Sandwhiches' usually they just tell me how many they want. and i said wtf. sure enough, i got a normal chicken sandwhich. i was so mad. and yesterday when i went in there i say, gimme a Big Water. and he writes on the screen, Three Waters. I say no dude, just one water when i get up to him. he looks all shocked and mad and says into his mic to the kid up front that i only want one. but sure enough, i get a fucking DRINK TRAY with three small waters in it. i'm the only one in the car. these people are idiots.
tangent done. now back to our regularly scheduled ridiculousness

Not wishing to make a repeat of yesterday, I decided that it might be a good idea to get some breakfast. I don't usually eat breakfast at home - cold cereal in the morning doesn't do much for me. So I figured I would head to Faribault to get a Bacon, egg and cheese biscuit and a coffee. And that's exactly what I did. There's no way I could have possibly known what would come next.

I pulled into the drive-thru. There was no one else there, I pulled straight up to the ______ whatever that things called. I thought, hmmm no one in line, must be my lucky day. A gross understatement.

But when i pulled up, nothing happened. Generally, a McDonalds employee will use their sixth sense to feel your presence at the _______ whatever that things called. But today was different. I could hear the thing was on, but no one said anything. I figured they must be busy and might not know I’m there. I began doing a 'gods must be crazy' series of clicks with my mouth to alert them to my existence. Finally a woman came on, and with the voice of an angel, she said, "just one moment" sure, I can wait a moment. it's a nice day and i have no need or desire to hurry into the office. I heard voices, as if it were a heavenly party of girls in the McDonalds drive thru pay booth. and then

She came back on.

What would you like?

I’ll have a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit and a small coffee.

A small coffee and what?

A bacon, egg and cheese biscuit.

ok that will be 2.98 please pull around.

Sure, I’ll pull around. It’s a lovely day; I’d love to pull around.

I pulled around.

To my surprise, there are about three women crammed around the cash register. I flashed my credit card, and the woman said, 'sorry, it will be just a moment, we’re trying to get our credit card machines online'

No problem I say. While I waited, I checked to see if I had any cash. nope. I fiddled with my baseball glove thinking about our game tonight as the women discussed how to fix their machine. I could sense that the cars behind me were getting anxious. I wasn't worried, this wasn't my fault, and I'm in no hurry.

It was then that a thought crossed my mind. What if the machine doesn't come back on? Would they turn me away? I remembered a time at the very same McDonalds when I gave them my credit card. They swiped it. Then they swiped it again. It wasn't working. I was getting nervous. They told me that my credit card wasn't working. I told them that it had just worked that morning, but here’s another one anyway. They swiped that one. They swiped it again. They told me that one was broken too. I told them they should go try their machines up front. They said no can do, do you have any cash. Of course I don’t have any fucking cash.
I then drove straight to the McDonalds in Northfield, ordered the exact same thing, gave them the exact same credit card, got my food and scarfed.

Would the angelic manager lady really fuck me over again? What does a guy have to do to get a decent breakfast in this town? Horrible thoughts and strange vibes raced through me as I waited...

finally the lady turns to me, just one second from grabbing the credit card from my outstretched hand. But then she exclaimed with a sad sigh that only a woman in power could produce, "we can't get this to work. "

Well I figured as much. Time to think of a new place for breakf--

But then, "We'll just give you your food for free"

I was in shock. I didn't know what to say. I felt bad because she clearly was frustrated about the machine, but I was overjoyed to be getting such a wonderful meal for free. I wanted to comfort her, as I stole a glance at her empty ring finger, but I couldn’t find the words to comfort her nor thank her. Instead, I attempted to show her how happy this made me. I blurted a "really!?!" and then drove ahead to the next window.

When they handed me my food, I was overjoyed. I had given a lot to McDonalds over the years, and they were finally giving back. Whether it was Fast Food Karma or angels from heaven who can't run a credit card machine, it was truly something special.



Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Today is Tuesday

By Michael Haas

I don't think we can really post a blog in a fun and productive way until we acknowledge what happened last night in Cleveland. Carlos Silva pitched poorly, and then exploded on Jerry White for not positioning the infield correctly. See ya later Silva, it wasn't a bad run.

- Some column written by Andy Rooney is generating a lot of buzz for it's perceived racism against Latino baseball players. But what is lost here, is that the column is horribly written and just plain stupid. Read it as if you were 90 year old Gilbert Gottfried. It's funny.

- The summer is almost over. Here are the only three end of summer songs I could think of:
The Doors - Summers Almost Gone
Don Henley - The Boys of Summer
Prince - Take Me With U (not so much a summers end song, but it's pretty good)

- The most expensive baseball card? That's easy. The 1909 Honus Wagner Piedmont Cigarette card. It's rare because Honus demanded that they take his card out of circulation because he didn't want to promote cigarettes to kids. What a guy. Earlier this year, one of the cards was sold for $2.35 million. You could get your own Rondell White for that much.

- AH! Dish of the Week: Fried Rice.

- The Twins Stadium Groundbreaking Celebration has been rescheduled for August 30th - that's this Thursday. Alright Hamilton! and friends will be well represented.
I'd like to take this opportunity to praise the work being done by Rick over at Twins Ballpark 2010. I check his site all the time, and it's great fun to follow the construction and the speculation regarding the stadium.

- AH! contributor Andy Bresnahan reports that working out before work sucks.

- This weekend, something special is happening at the Metrodome. The Twins play a doubleheader with the Kansas City Royals on Friday. Then they play again on Saturday at 11a.m. to make room for the Golden Gophers football game that evening. That is FOUR games in two days. A 48-hour Metrodome Marathon. It would be so much fun to go to them all.

- Stupid shirts are really stupid, but they can be pretty damn funny. A fun game to play if you're at Target, is to go to the Crappy Tshirt section and ask your friend or yourself, 'if you HAD to wear one of these crappy tshirts, which one would it be?'
We can do the same for www.bustedtees.com
I would wear the Union Jack with GREECE under it. But that's about it. There are some hilarious ones, but I doubt if I could actually wear one.

- If you're at a Twins game sometime soon, be sure to stop by the Authentic Collectibles booth near section 140. Theres this sassy redhead who is IMPOSSIBLE to talk to. Just try it. The empty gazes she gives when asked a question are hilarious.

- Picture of the Day:



Monday, August 27, 2007

Dream World

By Tom Daymont

I have recently decided to re-read Moneyball and thus, have a growing interest in Bill James and other baseball statistical geniuses.

So in my spare time today I wanted to see what the AL Central Standings would be if we used Pythagorean winning percentage vs. the regular actual win-loss record.

Basically, the Pythagorean winning percentage is an estimate of a team's winning percentage given their runs scored and runs allowed. Developed by Bill James, it can tell you when teams were a bit lucky or unlucky.

It is calculated by
(Runs Scored)^1.83
---------------------------------------------------------
(Runs Scored)^1.83 + (Runs Allowed)^1.83

Here is where the AL Central is Today

Indians_72 57 .558 -
Tigers__70 60 .528 2.5
Twins___67 63 .515 5.5
Royals__57 74 .442 15
Chi Sox_57 74 .435 16

Here is where the AL Central would be just using runs allowed and runs scored

Indians_70 59 .542 -
Tigers__69 61 .531 1.5
Twins___68 62 .523 2.5
Royals__61 68 .472 9
Chi Sox_51 79 .382 19.5


Wouldn't that be nice. We would be within striking distance in this 3 game series and the Sox would be on there way to 99 losses.

I am in the middle of getting a buttload of statistics from some websites and hopefully in the upcoming days I can have some interesting findings for you all. But, probably not.

Also, please feel free to tell me if I did any of the math wrong.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Are the Twins Small Market?

By Michael Haas

Lately, there has been a lot of talk about Terry Ryan's decision making. Naturally, this discussion includes past failures like Sidney Ponson and the inability to get the ever elusive One More Bat. The discussion usually turns to future decisions, such as re-signing Torii Hunter and Johan Santana. The underlying issue at every topics heart is money.

It's well documented that the Twins do things on the cheap. They don't sign big name free agents, or even very many middle-of-the-road free agents. They draft kids whom they know will sign for cheap. They are even rumored to strategically handle their minor leaguers jump to the bigs so their arbitration season will start one year later.

It's become an excuse when things are going badly, and it's become a reason to love The Twins Way of Doing Things when they're having a good season.

But some people around town are questioning this very fact that we've become so used to. Dan Barriero has been ripping TR for his unwillingness to trade any prospect for a rental player. Aaron Gleeman has been claiming that the Twins aren't a small market team at all, and that we have plenty of prospects and money to throw around to, at least, get a bat who's better than Nick Punto.

The Twins have a payroll this season of about 71.5 million dollars. This is good for 19th in all of baseball, 10th in the American League and 3rd in the Central.



Looking at the numbers, it's certainly true that the Twins aren't the classic cutesy small-market club that some claim they are (remember '02?) They could have probably signed someone to replace way below average left field, DH and third base positions - Gleeman lists slightly below average bats such as Bobby Kielty, Wily Mo Pena, and Mark Sweeney. But they certainly don't have the payroll to sign big name free agents.

And their payroll will remain about the same until some of that new stadium revenue starts to kick in, but probably not until after the fall of '09.

Which means kiss Johan Santana goodbye.

It's pretty well agreed upon that Santana would command about $200 million dollars over about eight years. If the Twins payroll is 75 million dollars in '08 and '09, Santana's yearly salary would eat one third of it. ONE THIRD.

So..

I feel the biggest difference between a small market team and a large market team is the ability to sign free agents (their own pending free agents or from outside their team)

The reason the Twins are still a small market team, despite not being in the bottom ten of payrolls, is that they have been forking out money in arbitration to some of their pretty decent players. (Cuddyer, Mauer, Morneau, Santana, Silva, Nathan)


I propose making a third tier of Payroll distinction: No Market.

No Market teams are clubs that are so young that the bulk of their players aren't even arbitration eligible. Click on the Devil Rays or some of those teams.

Small Market teams have a couple of free agents, with a bunch of 5 million dollar a year arbitration players.

Large Market teams have a bunch of free agents, with a bunch of arbitration players.


The Twins were a no market team from about 1994 to 2003. But just because they've moved out of that tier, does not mean they are suddenly Big Fish.





Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thursday Notes

  • Stephon Marbury just threw away all his nice-guy cred he received for his Steve & Barry's stuff. sounds kinda like another good thing he had going, and then ruined.
  • Rangers scored 30 runs last night. Most in 110 years. Ian Kinsler and Michael Young combine for 2 rbi.
  • The White Sox are now tied for last place. yay.
  • I listened to the Brewers broadcast of their game against Brandon Webb and the Dbacks last night. Bob Ueker is hilarious.
  • Concert Calendar:

August 23rd: Loose Cannon

September 1st: Counting Crows/Collective Soul

September 22nd: Gordon Lightfoot

October 24th - Van Halen

November 1st - The Hold Steady

  • Random Complaints:
Coon Rapids was eliminated from the Little League World Series yesterday. They were beat by (surprise surprise) Arizona. Those snot-nosed kids probably play baseball all year around. As much as I love baseball, I'm glad the Coon Rapids kids are able to play other sports.

Mcdonalds: Your Ice cream machines should work more often. it's damn near impossible to get a mcflurry even 12 hours a day. thats bullshit

Nike: Hastings is Twins territory, not Cubs territory.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Support our Troop - Chicago Trip

By AH! Staff

AH! contributor Tony F. Rezac comes home from Iraq on September 5th. But instead of staying home, we're throwing a party in Chicago! Everyone is invited.

This is a great moment, as our tireless efforts of protesting Tony's involvement in Iraq have finally been rewarded.

Finally!

The Plan


The Twins play the White Sox on the south side the second weekend of September

Friday, September 7th, 7:11pm
Saturday, September 8th, 2:55pm (Fox game of the week)
Sunday, September 9th, 1:05pm

While in Chicago, the delegation will swim in Lake Michigan, look at things at the Art Institute, watch baseball outside and celebrate Tonys homecoming by sharing drinks and laughs with friends.

We also hope to meet up with some Illinoisans (Tom, Tim, Mike, Phil, Krystal, Robin, Megan, Brandon)




There will be three camps of people heading down from Minneapolis.


Workin' It Camp

will be made up of individuals who have to work on both Friday, the 7th and Monday, the 10th. This camp cannot leave until around 6pm on Friday, as they have to work until around 5pm. This group will also need to leave Chicago sometime Sunday afternoon, to assure rest for Monday morning at work. (about 7 hours Minneapolis to Chicago)

Freedom Tastes of Reality Camp

This group may or may not leave for Illinois in time for the Friday night game. Additionally, they may not have responsiblities for Monday, so they may stay in Chicago as long as they want or join..

Road Warrior Camp

The Twins play the Royals in Kansas City on

Monday, September 10th, 7:05pm
Tuesday, September 11th, 7:05pm
Wednesday, September 12th, 1:05pm

The Road Warriors (this includes Tony) plan to drive from Chicago to St. Louis (4.5 hours) on Sunday evening or Monday morning. While there, we will go to the Budweiser Brewery and visit friends. Then we'll drive across the state to Kansas City (3.5 hours) to watch the Twins play ball, and hopefully return to Minnesota (6 hours) by Thursday.

Costs:

Travel - shouldn't be too much if we have more than two people per vehicle, tolls equal about 5 bucks per car each way.

Lodging - some may stay with friends in the Chicago area. There are many cheap hotels around though too.

Food & drink - pretty much up to the individual on how much to eat and drink

Entertainment - Tickets to art museums and ballgames, shopping on Michigan Ave. Budweiser brewery in STL is free.



Facebook event











Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Confessions of a Desperate Twins Fan: August Edition


By TwinsWin83



As I sit here and glance over at the Twins calendar hanging on the wall next to my trusty desktop computer one thing becomes glaringly clear to me, time is waning in the Major League regular season. This of course means one thing to me; the clock is ticking for the very squad that graces the 12 months on my calendar that looks like it could have been thrown together by a couple students in Mr. Wegner’s graphics class.


The hour glass is about to drain on a season that has been marked by an amazing amount of mediocrity produced and maintained by the Twinkies. Mediocre is something that most Twins fans have not been accustomed to since the turn of the century. Unless something drastic changes, and in a hurry, 2007 will go down as the year the team’s offense kept the wheels spinning in place for what could have been a promising ride. I for one would like to see the Twins settle on one direction or the other, either bail on the pennant race and work some young and promising players into the everyday lineup, or step up and make some changes in the offense and rotation that show they are going to attempt to make a major push the final six weeks of the season.



At this point I feel drained from being given hope by little spurts of good play (after the Tiger series at home two weeks ago when the Twins pulled within 4.5 of first) followed quickly by games that make the team appear as a middle-of-the-road ball club (days later being shut out in Kansas City). We as fans are being jerked around with false glances of optimism every couple weeks only to be let down again a day later when a group better resembling the mid to late 90’s squads than the teams of the past six years shows up. The Twins seem to forever be condemned to a 5-8 game deficit.


What’s worse is that the two teams ahead of the Twins are playing like they are scared of the division crown. All it would have taken for the Twins to pull even would have been a six or seven game winning streak conveniently placed within the last month. That’s it. A couple runs here or there in a couple key games and the Twins are either in first or a game or two back. The team has suffered so many shut out and one-run losses that it has become common place. In what has been a frustrating year, that fact might remain the most exasperating of all, especially if the present course of events continues into late September.


With that being said, a six and half game deficit on August 21st is not insurmountable by any stretch of the imagination, particularly when you consider how the two teams ahead of the Twins have played since the All-Star break. Detroit’s 06’ late-season collapse was of historic proportions and Cleveland is playing with a squad full of players who have either never been to the post-season or have never been in the thick of a late season pennant race, or both. If the Twins offense can rekindle some of the magic they conjured up late last year, (getting bunts down, moving runners over, hits with 2 outs and runners in scoring position and even a big home run here and there) they might be able to sneak back into this thing. If they do, I guarantee neither Detroit nor Cleveland will be breathing easily when the Twins creep near the top of the standings.


Either way, time is running out as August grows fainter and the chance for the Twins to make their move is fading along with summer. If the Twins didn’t have the players to compete for a division title I wouldn’t feel half of the angst that I do now, but they do have the talent, which makes this bitter pill all the harder to swallow. I implore them to pick the direction they are going to attempt to head in soon, and save me and the rest of their fans from seeing them drown in their own mediocrity.




Monday, August 20, 2007

Adventures in Score Keeping - 17 K's

By Michael Haas

That game was super fun. It was clear that Johan Santana had his best stuff working in the first inning. Random thoughts on the game and the weekend:

- I wish Sammy Sosa would have stayed retired or somehow not have played in this game.

- It's too bad that this performance by Santana is just being used by many (especially the national media) to discuss Santana's future - a future probably without the Twins. It's like having the best girlfriend in the world but you have this feeling that everyone wants her, and she'll probably end up with some d-bag. Except worse.

- Santana not coming out for the 9th isn't really worth talking about. It would have been amazing and I'm sure he would have picked up at least one more K, but it was Joe Nathans spot. If you want to blame it on anything, blame it on the offense. If he would have had a larger cushion, he probably could have pitched the 9th.

- Speaking of offense, the Twins scored only THREE runs in this weekend series. Twins bats were 0-19 with runners in scoring position in the three games. Yet they still won two games.

- AH! contributors mentioned that Bert had said during yesterday's broadcast, "haven't you seen youtube? I have my own section on there." And he does. And it's hilarious.


Friday, August 17, 2007

What'd you do this summer? (Part 2)

By Tom Daymont

So, here is a short synopsis of some of the memorable moments of Summer 2k7.

Here I am with Sarah, a friend from St. Olaf at the White Sox/Twins series (the one where the Twins won 12-0) We got Neshek to laugh at the sign, and got Nathans and Rincon's Autograph.

This is me and Marta (Anna's friend) at the Tim McGraw/Faith Hill Concert. This is my pretending like I am having fun face.

This is me and my brother-in-law (The bald one) racing at Wisconsin Dells. The little fucker between us had a faster cart and kept ramming us. So we boxed him in and slowed down. He got so mad he broke his shoe.

Here is another picture from our Wisconsin Dells trip. Apparently the computers went down so they over-booked the hotel by like 12 rooms. So essentially, to make a very long story short, we ended up sleeping in the hotel bar, but were compensated for our troubles with free drinks all night at the bar and priority karaoke placement (we could sing whenever we wanted).

This is team "Loras Sucks" at Loras College Fundraiser Flippy Cup Tournament. We were the number one seed going into the actual tournament after the round-robin play. But we lost in the first round to the team that hadn't won all night.

Here is Anna and I (and a creepy cotton candy guy) at Wrigley.

This is me and Anna's Parents (and dog) camping at Indiana Dunes State Park.
Welp, that's about it. I felt like I did more this summer, but I guess not.

What'd you do this summer?

By Michael Haas

I'm having bloggers block. I can't think of anything fresh to say about the Twins or society or life, so I'm going to share some pictures of this summer with all of you.

For the first few weekends of the summer, we would bike around, watch the Knights games and play baseball. Also, we'd drink.

In early June, I traveled to bumfuck North Dakota to attend a wedding. It was the wedding of one of our very own AH! contributors. It was a beautiful ceremony, and afterward, I got leied by Teri.

My friend Jenn Rainbow has a boat at a marina down in Prescott. We go down there many warm nights and float around. The St. Croix is a fantastic river.

This is my friend Troy. And that's the bottle of Sailor Jerry. That's mean stuff, especially at 2 in the afternoon. A few guys went to our friend Matt's cabin over the 4th of July.


This is at the third cabin in Wisconsin of the summer. We went for a morning bike ride around the area. Great fun - - I didn't even get thrown off of a boat this year.

This is me and a co-worker at this end of the year celebration thing in St. Paul. It was Hawaiian themed, as you can tell from my Hawaiian attire. I was in kind've a crabby mood because the Twins had lost the night before, a bridge collapsed, the Twins game for that day was cancelled, as was the ground breaking ceremony that I was to attend.

So there you have it. I think I did some other stuff, but I can't remember because there are no pictures of those events on facebook.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ortiz Dealt to Colorado

By Tom Daymont

In what can only be described as a blockbuster move, the Colorado Rockies have acquired right-handed pitcher Ramon Ortiz from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for infielder Matt Macri (and the Rockies are picking up the salary of the over-paid Ortiz).


Marci, who coincidently enough was selected by the Minnesota Twins in 17th round (497th overall) of 2001 amateur entry draft, but decided to stay at Notre Dame has played most of his career at shortstop but has also been seen in the third base position. He has split the 2007 season between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Colorado Springs and has combined to hit .310 with 12 home runs and 37 RBI in 82 games between the two clubs.


The most interesting part of this trade is Terry Ryan’s comment on the deal.


"They had a couple of injuries over there and they needed some pitching," Ryan said. "He might get an opportunity to start, which I'm sure is his preference. We weren't using him much and he's going over there in a pennant race. So it just made sense."


I repeat, “he's going over there in a pennant race.” Is this Terry saying that the Twins are not in a pennant race? Maybe (I probably am) reading more into this than I should. Maybe Ryan means both teams are contending. The Rockies are 5 games out in the NL west and third behind the Padres and Dbacks. Not much different than where the Twins are in the AL Central standings.

Either way, I am much less sad to see Ortiz go than I was when Castillo left town. Who has since been hit a solid .314/.375/.353 in his 14 games with the Mets.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Crocs

By Tom Daymont

I own a pair of Crocs®.

And I wear them regularly.

I bought my Crocs® at the Boston Marathon Fitness Expo in April of 2003. I’d like to say I was the first person to buy them, but I did know of one avid sailor who owned a black pair well before me.



Much to my party’s disgust I purchased a pair of tan Crocs® (at this point they only had the Cayman model) at a price of $25.00. I walked around for the rest of the trip in my comfortable yet fashionably inept footwear.

People would often ask me about my strange looking shoes, and I enjoyed the attention. As the months and years wore on I slowly began to see more and more elderly females, toddlers and nurses sporting the very same footwear.

Not too many items of clothing have spurned a debate quite like Crocs®. These foam resin clogs/sandals are both hated and loved. I, for one think they are some of the best sandals you can buy. They are as light as flip-flops (5-6oz.) without the trouble and pain that follows the dangerous beach sandals. They do not absorb water as is the trouble with popular leather sandals (other clogs, Birkenstocks®, etc.) And they float, which in my opinion is a necessity for any beach footwear.

The problem with these Crocs® is that in today’s society it is so easy (and often popular) to call things stupid or “retarded” before even trying the product. Much like my experience with mopeds, people are so quick to think they are “gay”, but as soon as you get that 50ccs of power between your legs, you’ll never want to ride anything else again (unless it’s raining).

The moral of the story is, Crocs®, much like the Zubaz®, will make a triumphant return someday, and I, will gladly wait it out.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Why can't Nick Punto bunt?

by m. haas

From the Strib:

In a mostly silent clubhouse, Manager Ron Gardenhire wasn't thinking about Sexson's home run as much as a failed sacrifice bunt attempt by Nick Punto in the ninth.

It was 3-3 when Jason Tyner led off the inning with a single against Mariners closer J.J. Putz.

Punto flailed at one bunt attempt, took a called strike and then popped a third attempt foul for a glaring strikeout.

"Sometimes the mind is a dangerous thing in this game," Gardenhire said. "Guys just try to do funny things at different times. With Nicky there, it's a sacrifice bunt, and it looks like he's trying to drag bunt. Square around, get the ball on the ground, and make them make a play. That's just your mind getting in the way there."



"Brian Buscher, Matt Tolbert, Matt Moses, Jack Hannahan,
Tommy Watkins, Scott Leius - - just get me someone."



Monday, August 13, 2007

Inspring People, Changing Lives (tooting our own horn)

By Michael Haas


With great pleasure, we here at AH! announce that two of our contributors have started their own blogs. Carburetors have to be really special to get spun off. (ie Gomer Pyle) Our friend Pat McCarthy emailed me to say that he finally began his own blog. He used to send emails to me and other friends and family from Europe when he was over there and it looks like he's begun to use the blog format to chronicle some of those same European experiences. Heres what Pat wrote in his first blog post, entitled "manifesto"

I have likely been in the majority in dismissing blogs. Blogs are overrated, all they are is a place for people to write a bunch of crap saying how superior they or their views are, or how much this or that sucks, seems to be the general consensus among people that I've talked to. I did not know anyone who had a blog or who actively read blogs, until Haas. My thinking started in 1 A.H. (!) (After Haas or Alright Hamilton!-the blog that he created for much the same reason that I am now), I enjoyed going to the site reading rants, thoughtful dissertation, stupid or sarcastic humor, all of which I enjoyed immensely. After a bit of thinking, I was predominantly reading blogs while online: the aforementioned Alright Hamilton! (henceforth AH!), Uniwatchblog, and The Soul of Baseball, along with other blog style columnists. Harboring dreams of someday writing something relevant or wide reaching, and after urging from my girlfriend to start one, I figured what the hell - if I don't like it or I suck, then I can stop.


We look forward to reading Pats blog and hope he can come back to AH!

Additionally, he invites guest posters. So hopefully we can do some cross posting and what not. Should be fun.


I also received this note from Krystal, our friend and one time contributor to AH!


I'm going to be writing a Twins blog! I responded to a craigslist ad. A company in NY is putting together blogs for every team in the country with one superfan for each team. Their website is playerpress.com, but the blogs won't come out til mid-August.


It doesn't look like it's up quite yet, but we look forward to seeing it. Sounds like she might even get paid to do that. What a gig!


Other Notes

- The Rams defeated the Vikings on Friday night, in a very good game. For some reason, the starters were replaced by their backups before halftime, when the score was close. And the game was still tight when most of the backups were replaced by 3rd stringers. very odd indeed. The Rams won, and the AH! MVP of the game was Mark Setterstrom. Setterstrom drank the blood of all the Vikings and crushed the Purple defense as if they were paper dolls, leading the way for the 13-10 Rams victory.

- The Rick Ankiel story is great.

- Want to get depressed but well informed about whats been wrong with the Twins this season? Read Gleeman's Monday post.

- Want to get depressed but well informed about the future of the Twins? Read Jayson Stark's Monday column.








Thursday, August 9, 2007

Rams v Vikes

By Tom Daymont and Michael Haas


The Vikings and Rams square off at the Metrodome on Friday, with a lot riding on the biggest game so far this year. The much anticipated rematch of the 2006 season finale looks to be a tightly contested match up, featuring two of the best teams to not make the playoffs last year. The purple look to avenge the crushing 2006 season ending loss, a game that went down in history as one of the best ever played. The anticipation for Friday's game caught another twist, when a beloved security guard passed away during training camp just days before the big game. Individuals close to the team feel that the players will be playing with a chip on their shoulder because of the tragic death, yet the Rams remain 2-pt favorites in the game.
Vikings Offense vs. Rams Defense
One area where experience shouldn’t be a problem is at the Vikings quarterback position. The two contender’s going into this years season are rocket-armed Tarvaris Jackson and alliteration Brooks Bollinger. Tavaris has a total of four NFL games under his belt with a quarterback rating of 62.5 for his career; while a more seasoned Bollinger has totaled over a full season of starts and seven career touchdowns. Look for Childress to go to Jackson early in the season, as he favors inexperience over slightly less inexperience. Arguably the most exciting new addition to the Purple and Gold this year is Oklahoma standout running back Adrian Peterson. Peterson, a Texas native, will look to make an immediate difference in the Vikings offense this season. An imposing back that has size, speed, quickness, power and a busted collarbone will be a great compliment to Chester Taylor in the backfield.
The Rams defense is anchored by linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa and Canadian safety Oshiomogho Atogwe. Beyond these two fellows, the Rams defense is a bit of a mystery. It’s a bit of a mystery to me at least, since I can’t think of anything else to say about them. They were just OK last year, although they did allow 21 points to the Vikes. (garbage touchdowns? I can’t recall) Look for this unit to shutdown the crappy purple offense on Friday.
Advantage: Rams
Rams Offense vs. Vikings Defense
The Rams offense has been retooled since their vaunted west-coast style offense lead them to two super bowls. Marshall Faulk and other elements of the exciting passing game have been replaced by road graders like guard Mark Setterstrom and true running back Steven Jackson. The veteran wide receiver tandem of Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce recently turned a combined age of 63 years old. The man who will be throwing the ball to them is named Marc Bulger. He recently signed a brand new contract, but he still seems like a cheapskate middle-of-the-road quarterback. The focus of the offense will again be bruising pro bowl running back Steven Jackson. Last season, as the Rams offensive line crushed the Williams boys and the rest of the Purple defense, Jackson ran for 142 yards and 3 touchdowns.

The Vikings, on the defensive end, are a bit of an enigma. Last season, they shut down opponents running games in a dominating fashion, until the met the Rams. It doesn't matter whether you chalk the uncharacteristically poor play to Randy Moss disorder (play when I want to) or their just plain shittyness. I'd imagine their feelings were hurt, the way they were run over with such ease. Look for the purple to try to redeem themselves on Friday. Of course, if the running game doesn't work, most teams find they can complete passes with ease against the swiss-cheese like purple defense.

Advantage: Rams

Special Teams
The difference in this game could come down to the play of the special teams. If you really think about it, special teams account for like a bunch of plays during a football game. You see, special teams are special because technically, they are neither offense nor defense. These units take the field for a very specialized purpose. Punting, kicking off, receiving a punt or kickoff, kicking a field goal, or dumping Gatorade on the coach are all Special Teams.
Advantage: Minnesota


Intangibles and prediction: your comments...

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Barry Bonds: It's Not You - It's Me

By Michael Haas

Remember when you were a kid? Everything was roses. Growing up in middle class white America, there was nothing to be afraid of, and everything to be happy about. But as one gets older, reality sets in. There are bad things that happen for no reason. There are bad people who will rip your heart out, and almost nothing is as simple or straightforward as it may seem.

The same is true for a baseball fan. When I was a kid, I collected baseball cards. Junior and Frank were the exciting young mashers at the time, and we would ogle their rookie cards listing in Beckett magazines. Then we would dig back in time, to the cards of the 50's and 60's. These cards were worth a lot more. We took note of names like Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron. We learned numbers like 56, 61 and 755. Looking at the pictures of these greats, we couldn't imagine them as anything less than great.

But most of all, we bought into the history, romanticism, purity and heroism of the game and it's players. We didn't hear about the 1919 World Series. We didn't hear about Ty Cobb's misdeeds or Pete Roses last years in baseball. Racism, gambling and cheating weren't really in our baseball vocabulary.

We knew there was an adult world out there. One of politics, of controversy and questionable ethics. But this was baseball.

We knew that the men we admired - from Mickey Mantle to Junior Griffey - were heroes for all the country. It seemed everyone rooted for the great players in baseball. And when they hit a home run, it was good for baseball.

Coming of Age is tough.


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

An Open Letter to Mike Piazza

By Michael Haas


Dear Mike Piazza

I am a Minnesota Twins fan. The Twins are barely hanging onto hope of making the playoffs, and they are in search of a spark, in the form of a veteran bat. The Oakland A's are a terrible ballclub, with no chance of making the post-season. I recently read that you were placed on waivers and every ballclub passed on you. That means that no club wants to pay you $2.5 million to play on their team. You aren't that good. This all adds up perfectly, yes? Until I read this:

Piazza has a gentleman's agreement with GM Billy Beane that will keep Oakland from trading him against his will, and Twins insiders keep hearing Piazza doesn't want to play in Minnesota.



I don't understand how anyone wouldn't want to play in Minnesota. Sure, we don't have oceans or sea shells or media members questioning athletes sexual preference, but we have other good stuff that more than makes up for the lack of those things. We have lakes. In fact, Minneapolis (where the Twins play) is nicknamed the City of Lakes!

Have you ever heard of Prince? He's from Minneapolis, and he's damn proud of it. You probably think you'll be at some dinner party sometime, and a guy will ask you what team you played for in the last six weeks of the 2007 season. You think that if you reply, 'Minnesota' He'll laugh and snicker. Just say 'Shhhh' and then tell him Prince is from Minnesota. He'll immediately realize that Minnesota is indeed hip.

The Twins are a pretty neat bunch of guys. Justin Morneau is kinda shy, but he's pretty good. Joe Mauer is a catcher, just like you used to be. Perhaps you could give him some pointers? But you don't have to. It's not like he's going to bug you or anything - he's not exactly a big talker. If you have any computer problems, just call Rochester and ask for Lewis Ford. We also have a Cy Young winner who likes to call out our GM in the press, and a former 3rd baseman who can't hit. He can't even bunt.

As silly as this sounds, we need you. I think you'd enjoy it here, and it's not like you have to stay for the winter.


Like I said, we're just hangin' in there.

We need your help!

Byrd shuts Down Twins

Game recap: Indians 4, Twins 1

Paul Byrd pitched all nine innings, holding the Twins to just four hits. Jason Kubel hit a double once. I'd imagine that was pretty exciting. This Twins lineup makes the Paul Byrds of the world look like combination Walter Johnson-Cy Young-Satchel Paige-Sandy Koufax-Bob Gibson.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Sarcasm Suffering in Modern World

By Michael Haas

Oh, no. Sarcasm isn't a dying art or anything.

"Man is the only animal who laughs," noted the French philosopher Henri Bergson. But Henri wasn't around to see the day when much of our communication is filtered though machines. As a result, a main pillar of humor - sarcasm - suffers.

Simple text captures the phrasing or the tone of voice of a sarcastic comment really well. Imagine a conversation between Kent Hrbek and Dan Gladden:

Gladden: Did you pull Gant off the bag?

Hrbek: Yeah, he should have been safe.

Is Herbie being sarcastic? One cannot tell by just reading the text. Luckily, back in 1991, they did not have text messaging or email, so that exchange could only happen verbally. (btw, Hrbek was being sarcastic)

Fyodor Dostoyevsky said, "Sarcasm is the last refuge of modest and chaste-souled people when the privacy of their soul is coarsely and intrusively invaded." And he's right. How often have you seen a James Bond or some other duder being interrogated, beaten up in a chair, asked if they want more beating, and they come back with a sarcastic way of saying, "No, but I'm still not telling where the microchip is, and it doesn't look like I have much of a choice anyway."

The spy (or the dude - 'it's down there somewhere, i'd better take another look') would have no 'last refuge' if they were forced to filter their sass through a computer:

evil mastermind: are you ready to tell me now or do you want another?
hero: lol. 4 sure. jk! :(

By the time the average American is 20, they will have used a text message, email, or instant message a whopping 40% of communique. With heavier use of electronic forms of communication by our young people, that figure isn't growing or anything. Soon we will have teenagers who won't be sarcastic. That'll be terrible.