Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Best of AH! in 08

Here are the 9 best items on Alright Hamilton of 2008. Click here and reminisce with us. Browse around and give your opinion on other great posts of '08 so we can round out the top ten.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Yankees Just Bought the Rights to Jesus Christ

Just Minutes ago, Jesus Christ signed a 6 year 185 million dollar contract in hopes that he will produce a few miracles and help a few bounces go the Yankees way.

The lack of a Salary Cap in Major League Baseball is a complete joke. I know this is your favorite sport Haas (Twins are my favorite team of any sport) but this spending whatever you feel like is ruining the game, and has been ruining it for a long time.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday's Fun Foptical Filluision (FFFF)

Well, as you know it's a tradition here at AH! that every Friday we have an optical illusion. What's that you say? We have never had an optical illusion on Friday before? Well, we have. Maybe you just didn't realize it when you were reading the seemingly normal posts on Fridays, but I bet if you go back and search you will see that this has been a tradition for some time now. Go ahead and check the last few posts on Fridays, I'll wait.

You checked? Damn. Okay, well maybe it's not a tradition, but it should be.

Anyway, here is one that baffled me for a good portion of the morning. Let's see how you do.
(My answer is below in white so you need to highlight the text with your mouse. Feel free to disagree with me or explain it in your own way in the comments)

After looking at this for longer than I care to share... I figured out that the red and dark green triangles have different slopes. The red has a slope of 3/8 or .375 and the dark green has a slope of 2/5 or .4. So when they combine them to make a "triangle" it's not really a triangle at all. It's really a 4 sided polygon.

In the top drawing, the more gradual triangle is on top, and the steeper triangle at the bottom actually makes a convex shape. Where as in the second figure on the bottom the steeper triangle is on top and the more gradual near the bottom makes the the shape concave. And believe it or not the difference in area between these shapes equals one of the squares.

Visually you can see this by matching up the points along the "triangles" or by printing it out and putting a second piece of paper connecting the two points of the hypotenuse.

Does that make sense? Do you agree or disagree?

Headline of the Day

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Building a Better Ballplayer - Literally

Apparently, Twins players are undergoing laser eye surgery to help their performance on the diamond. How else can they improve through the miracle of modern medicine?

Eyes: Forget painful eye surgery, just replace them. State of the art electronic eyes can pick up the spin on a pitched baseball better than conventional peepers. Available in azure, hazel and pinstripe.

AI: Artificial Intelligence is one of the biggest goals of computer science. When it's invented, Alexi Casilla could benefit from a couple of chips worth of IQ. Does patience come with that? Okay, send some over to Carlos Gomez too.

Botox: One of the simpler cosmetic surgeries, this could be great for the oft-nude backup catcher. When Redmond retires, he plans to pitch his Baywatch: The Movie idea to the studio. Naturally, he wants the star role. Male model Joe Mauer would also benefit from some botox, as it's never too early to look out for those crows feet.

Some sort of smell enhancer: The team did amazingly well at smelling RBI's in '08. This nasal improvement would be specifically for Morneau, specifially in September.

Tommy John surgery: Making the arm super strong by replacing an elbow ligament with a better ligament from somewhere else. Genius. Neshek and Liriano should have had this done a long time ago. Might as well do Guerrier now.

Henry Rowengartner Surgery: By deliberately tightening all tendons and ligaments, a pitcher should be able to throw about 100mph. Just don't slip on a baseball!

Prosthetic Legs: Some marathoners, who've lost their originals, now sport state of the art, space age legs. After this surgery, Delmon could switch the 'run' setting from grape stomp to gazelle.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Gardy and Andy

Nick Punto vs. O.J. Mayo

An interesting comment was left by Brex yesterday. It said, simply, "Nick Punto > O.J. Mayo."
I'm not a math genius, but I remember that the alligator always eats the larger. So, Brex must mean, Nick Punto is greater than O.J. Mayo. Let's quickly break down the argument.

Ovinton J'Anthony Mayo

Professional basketball player, Memphis Grizzlies
21 years old
skills: averaging 20 points per game as a rookie.

Nicholas Punto

Professional baseball player, Minnesota Twins
31 years old
skills: lifetime .252 batting average in eight seasons

The nod goes to Mayo in relative skill level, height and weight. Punto wins profession and age.

But what does 'great' mean?

- Very large in size
- Larger in size than others of the same kind
- Large in quantity or number
- Remarkable or outstanding in magnitude, degree, or extent
- Of outstanding significance or importance
- Superior in quality or character; noble
- Powerful; influential
- Eminent; distinguished
- Grand; aristocratic

Mayo wins: large
Punto wins: distinguished, influential, noble.

Nick Punto is great

Friday, December 12, 2008

Status Quo Fo Sho

I'm OK with the status quo.
Yes, our shortstop is Nick Punto,
but I still say this team won't be bad.
All those players we could have had?
Not worth the hefty price
(says Mr. Smith on Mr. Ryan's advice)
We don't need Atkins or Blake
and a year of Beltre would be a mistake.
We won 88 games in last year's campaign
And I say we will contend again.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Rock n' Roll Music

It's been a while since we dished about music. I'm getting tired of refreshing mlbtraderumors.

Does anyone ever have a definite answer when asked, "What is your favorite band?" It depends on who you're talking to, how you're feeling that day, what time of the year it is, etcetera.

There are still times I answer, "Guns n' Roses."
Of course, now I have to specify which Gn'R I prefer and why.

There have been times when I answered with Metallica and AC/DC, too.

All three of the aforementioned musical outfits released new records in 2008. But I didn't buy the music. Of course, I haven't purchased an album for a few years now; but the point it is: I had no interest in new AC/DC, Guns n' Roses or Metallica music. I'm not sure what that says about me, but I'm sure it's something.

So without listening to any of these albums completely, I will now review them for you.

Metallica - Death Magnetic

I didn't even know they were releasing new material. After their last album, St. Anger, I was very skeptical of the legendary thrashers direction. Then I got excited for two reasons. The album cover looks badass. They quit screwing around and returned to their classic 80's logo, good decision! Secondly, I was pulling onto my street while flicking past 93x on the radio. I heard something...something I had not heard for a long, long time. Within five seconds of the blistering guitar riff and viceral drum stomp, I decided I would like this new band, because they sounded like vintage Metallica. Then I heard Hetfield sing. Weathered? You bet. But it was Metallica.

Likelihood that I explore more of this album: 90%

AC/DC - Black Ice

I was in high school when their album, Stiff Upper Lip was released. that was the peak of my AC/DC fandom, as I bought the album the day it came out and attended both concerts on that tour. AC/DC is great for their time and place, but I'm over them. It's not artistic, deep or very bluesy - it's the same, straight-forward rock n' roll. I don't know. I guess I miss Bon Scott. I heard the single on the radio, and I heard 'War Machine' somewhere online. I listened to it because KISS has an 80's tune of the same name. The KISS song is better.

Likelihood I explore more of this album: 0%

Guns n' Roses - Chinese Democracy

No. Overthought. Overproduced. Guitar playing is trying to be progressive rather than bluesy. The orginal Gn'R was a unit, they each wrote and contributed to songs, gave input and helped produce the music. Axl can't do it by himself, even given 14 years. I put on Appetite for Destruction after listening to the first half of this record.

Likelihood I explore more of this album: 100%
...It's already on my iTunes

And finally: Did Coldplay Copy Satriani?

Note on Trade Targets

By Hichael Maas

The Twins of 2009 will certainly have some new names, but who will they be? Minnesota lost Rennys Deyes, Edem Averett and possibly Pick Nunto. They are looking to upgrade several positions, but it's been tough going. They failed to sign "big name" free agent Basey Clake, after refusing to add a third year to the deal. The free agent market is thinning, so heavy trade rumors are afloat - and you know what that means: Yelmon Doung. The 23 year old outfielder hit .290 for the Twins last year, but with the emergence of Senard Dpan and charector questions, Yelmon could be on the block. Names associated with Twins rumors: Wack Jilson, Aarret Gtkins, Wy Tigginton, Corge Jantu, and..... Kevin Kouzmanoff.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Investigative Journalism: Man, I'm Lame

By Michael Haas

I was sick with the flu most of thanksgiving break, so I had a bunch of time to sit on the computer. Instead of blogging (I've completely lost the ability to write - the headline on Mondays post was 'Tukeys') I emailed people to ask them dumb questions.

A flu shot cannot give you the flu.

But it can give you flu-like symptoms. What's the difference when I'm laying in a cold sweat?

There will still be a baseball field at the Dome when the Twins leave

I had to send an email to the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission to get that info. I was concerned that when 2010 rolled around, the dome would be turned into a Vikings-only facility. Watching the Gophers and small college baseball in March is a great tradition. Nearly every college team in the midwest plays a game here in the spring, and they are playin around the clock. Here's what the Director of Operations said:

As of now, the Metrodome will still have collegiate baseball in 2010, both the U of M and small-college. It is hoped that any new Vikings stadium will also include baseball.
New Vikings stadium will include baseball? Neat! Then they could still have high school and college baseball there, and the Twins could use it when it's too cold in April and October. One problem: The Vikes aren't getting a new stadium.

The Gophers baseball team wants a new stadium, but don't hold your breath.

I knew the current home of the Gophers, Siebert Field, is falling apart. They play less than five games in the aging, leaky stadium, and play mostly at the dome. Hey why not play at Target Field?

Assistant Program Director:

There are no plans to play at Target Field but we will still be in the Metrodome for at least the next couple of years. We are in what is called a “quiet” fundraising period for a new baseball stadium. Coach Anderson and the Golden Gopher Fund are working on securing some “major league” gifts which will kick off the public fundraising.

Okay, so how much does it cost to build a college baseball stadium? The softball stadium was built in '99 for less than $3 million. If Molitor and Winfield kick in a few hundred thousand, this thing could really happen.

Getting a player to defect from Cuba and play for your Major League team isn't as wild of a process as I'd imagined.

Recently, I saw a story about two Cuban baseball stars who were kicked off their team, which means that they can't play in the World Baseball Classic. They were suspected of planning to defect. I imagined a baseball-crazy country, where dusty old scouts and agents approached naive young prospects in back alleys, promising money and women if they leave their country. I couldn't find any info on this process of prospect - defection - tryouts - signing, so I emailed my main man LaVelle.

I don’t know all the ins and outs, but Cuban players have to defect first before signing with a club. There usually is a US-based agent – in the past it has been Joe Cubas, but I haven’t heard his name mentioned in awhile – who meets with defected players, arranges workouts for major league teams and then tries to get players signed. The timing and where they defect to is important, too. Ariel Prieto screwed something up with his defection years ago and was thrown into the draft.

Any team can show up at the workouts and put in a bid on a player. It’s up to how much they want to spend.
So it's not as romantic as I imagined. But someone in Cuba has to convince these players that they are good enough to leave their country behind. I mean, it's not like leaving Venezuela.

Still no word from Midway McDonalds

on the McChicken and Double Cheeseburger controversy. They don't sell either of the items after midnight at their midway location. Why?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

We take Twins blogging seriously

Well, if no one else is going to post anything... Let's see...

Oooh, The movie Bad Company is just starting on Korean TV. Do you want me to live blog it for you so you can feel like you're actually here with me watching Bad Company? You doooooo?

They're in Prague. Chris Rock is playing chess with that Russian guy from Fargo (the movie, not the town). Hopkins walks in. He wants a guarantee Russian guy is good for it.

In 10 days Hopkins and rock get the device. Russian is mad Hopkins was late. Hopkins seems unapologetic for his tardiness. Additionally, Hopkins is wearing a leather coat with a big fur collar.

Hard rock/techno music starts. Hopkins stealthily slips something into the briefcase of that crappy new heart surgeon that replaced that black guy on Greys.

Rock is getting followed by bad guys. Monks are singing. The music is really picking up right now. uh oh. UH OH!

Russians are shooting machine guns! Hopkins saves Rock.

Rock says, "You're jeopardizing the mission!"

Hopkins says, "You are the mission."

Now people are in an office starring at lap tops and talking about nukes(nuclear weapons). And commercial. Channel change.

Okay it looks like a movie is starting on channel 36. Let's see what it is. Booyah! Cruel Intentions 3. Never have I been so happy to see a movie I never knew existed. What time is it? Jesus, that late? Oh, well. Must. find out...who has the cruel intentions and what the exact cruel intentions are...that the title eludes to...

Credits come on to a rock and roll song that is soooo California. We see pictures of beaches. Oh, now a plane lands. A handsome devil gets off. I can't place him, but I feel like he's been killed in a number of horror movies.

He gets into a limo with his suit cases with a babe. Wait, babe gots attitude and rejects him. He follows in a cab. She says, "If we ride together we arrive together." Sounds like Hollywood talk if you ask me.

They are at some kind of school. It may be a college. Babe's name is Cass. She said, "Daddy donated a wing." So, she has a nice dorm room. Hunky-frequently-killed-in-horror movie guy gets a roommate that is sickly.

Horror guy's name is Jason. Despite Cass's evilness, he likes her. Again, dis bitch got 'tude so she likes some other guy that is rich.

More crappy California garage band music. A bunch of new people. A couple seem like hippies. Two seem like go getters. One of the go getters is English. Oh, wait I think English guy is the same one that is rich that Cass likes.

Bombshell, he is a prince and is rich.

Jason bets Cass that she can't sleep with him. He ups the bet to 10Gs and says that she can't also sleep with Patrick this weekend. Who's Patrick? Not sure. The plot thickens.

Cass is golfing in a sports bra. Not that I noticed. She has a Louis Vuitton visor. What's with female golfers and visors? I'm talking to you, Mom.

Okay, Patrick is the sickly roommate. We got that settled. Cass is getting her fake mack on with Patrick. She is wearing a bikini and asks him if she can show him something in her room. It's a short story she wrote. Patrick loves it. She tries to kiss him. He says, " I don't understand." But then they start tongue kissing. She's audio recording it for proof. We don't know what happened between the two, but she presents the tape to Jason. He pays her, but says she only half done. Not sure what that means. I think 20k are available, 10 for Christopher and 10 for Patrick.

Christopher, the British guy (I don't think he's an actual prince, but he says he knows Prince William) is having a date with Cass. Patrick comes in with flowers. Cass acts like he doesn't know her. Patrick tells Christopher that they slept together. Patrick gets the tape out of her purse and plays it for them. Christopher storms off. Patrick is not sickly any more. IT WAS ALL AN ACT! We were all played, but not as bad as Cass was played. So Cass gives the 10K back to Patrick because he was the one that sponsored Jason's bet.

Okay, going to bed. Thanks for visiting our blog today, people.

You're welcome.

Monday, December 1, 2008


After sifting through hundreds of entries, here are the three finalists for the Oh, That's a Turkey Alright contest.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Notes of no particular relevance

Hopefully your Thanksgivings were wonderfully gluttonous. Now, random stuff the internet told me.

I am currently out of the country and have not been able to check out the new 35W bridge. But I hear it's pretty bad ass...as far as bridges can be "bad ass."

Indian pitchers Rinku Singh and Dinesh Kumar Patel have signed professional baseball contracts with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. I feel like I should make a joke correlating the pirates of the Indian Ocean and these Indians that signed with the Pirates, but I got nothing. More importantly, they have a very entertaining blog.

Speaking of nontraditional pitchers....BOOM! Eri Yoshida in your face! She's the first female to sign a professional baseball contract in Japan. This 16 year old throws a side-arm knuckle ball. You think Randy Johnson is intimidating on the mound? Wait til this five foot, 114 pound Japanese teenager stares you down.


During this season of giving thanks, lets give thanks for the nectar of life that has allowed those of us with European ancestry to exist on this planet: beer. Thank you beer! No beer, no civilization.

If for whatever reason you want to predict what the economy is going to do, I have found new privately own housing starts to be a really accurate leading indicator. It comes out monthly and is measured in the thousands.

The White Sox signed Dayan Viciedo from Cuba for $11 million. He's a 19 year old right handed third baseman with a lot of power, which sounds a lot like what the Twins are looking for. Why weren't the Twins going after him? I know the White Sox have Cubans on their team and we don't, but come on. The Twins should be more aggressive in pursuing high level talent from Latin America, or just hire all Cuban bull pen catchers or something. Is it just because its a risky use of money? There are probably a lot of easy explanations for this, but can somebody explain this to me?

What do you want for Christmas?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Turkey Coloring Contest

Sorry for the lack of activity around here lately. There's just not much to talk about in November. But there is one good thing about this month. Thanksgiving!

It's our second annual Oh, that's a Turkey, Alright. coloring contest. Click here to see last year's winner. Submit it by....whenever you get around to it. send it to haasertime@yahoo.com

Monday, November 24, 2008

Alright Hamilton! Great Summary

I like the internet. I like to read as much about random stuff as possible on the internet. And I am always looking for ways to stream line that process. I found a website called GreatSummary.com.

Basically you can enter in a website and it will tell you the most important pieces of information using their "patented algorithm." You can say how many sentences you want GreatSummary to summarize your page in, anywhere from 1 sentence to 100.

Let's see how well it works. Here is the most important sentence from the following websites.

Alright Hamilton!:
Ron Gardenhire was fired today as manager of the Minnesota Twins, just one day after finishing 2nd in the AL Manager of the Year voting.

Minnesota Twins Official Website:
The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibition

Tools & Widgets

Pontiac wants you to decide which school wins the weekly Pontiac Game Changing Performance

Saved by the Bell: (wikipedia)
The Good Morning, Miss Bliss episodes were edited to include openings to match the Saved by the Bell episodes, as well as introductions by Zack explaining that the episodes occurred in junior high (these episodes are sometimes billed as Saved by the Bell: The Junior High Years

See? Now you know everything there is to know about the News, Sports, and Saved By the Bell.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Random items and stuff

By Michael Haas
Note: All of these items are taken from Alright Hamilton's new sister site, MNbaseballforum. Consider this an advertisement for the forum, of sorts.

- The Twins are apparently close to offering Casey Blake a contract. Experts agree that he'll expect a two, probably three year deal at around $7 mil per year. He hit .274 with 21 bombs last year, but he's 35 years old. Or we could deal some young arms for someone like Garrett Atkins, who's 29 years old and obviously doesn't hit as well away from Coors field. The Buscher/Tolbert platoon wouldn't put up terrible numbers either. There's no easy answer here folks, but one thing is for sure - the Twins have a bunch of money to throw around (relatively).

- The When Will Dougie Come Back? questioning has begun. When he left in 2004, Mientkiewicz stated that he'd like to play for the Twins again, perhaps finishing out his career. He's a free agent now, but the Pirates are hoping to re-sign him. Maybe next year.

- Pedroia won the MVP. Morneau finished 2nd, Mauer 4th. So what? I think it's a testament to the class of Twins fans that we are not clamoring for either of our two guys to have won. Or perhaps it's a testament to how crappily Morneau played in September.

On the other side of the coin, some Rays fans are apparently up in arms about the Manager of the Year vote. How could they be mad about a Manager of the Year vote? Besides that, their guy Joe Maddon won. But they're upset because it wasn't unanimous. So they hunted down the only writer who didn't vote for Maddon. The guy had to defend himself, and actually came away looking like a child molester. Here's what he said:

"The voting is done in the final week of the season, so I did not have the playoffs to consider," Pluto said. "If they did the voting after, certainly Joe would have got it. I had great respect for both men, and gave the edge to Gardenhire for keeping his team in contention after losing Santana, etc. I had no idea how anyone else was voting. I certainly didn't set out to stiff Joe by being the lone voice not to have him No. 1."

- It sounds like we're finally going to get the ball rolling on our faux dating site, mnvikingsingles.com. If you have any pictures of disgusting Viking fans, or ideas for profiles, let us know. Also, take a picture a photo of you inside your local dive bar wearing Purple attire, submit it, and you could be featured on the premier website for purple love!

The greatest music video ever.

And finally, NERDS!

Visit mnbaseballforum.com for more nonstop, interactive excitement!

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Hot Stove and a statistically inspired meandering

Can you hear that Hot Stove sizzle!?!? It's hot! What's cooking? Baseball off-season excitement. That's what's cooking. Careful. It will burn the roof of your mouth. Hot trades with a side of steamed free-agents will be the dish that gets us through this cold winter. Some players will be on different teams next year than they were on this year! Players on different teams! But which players? Which teams? I don't know! Must refresh mlbtraderumors!

All mockery aside, it'll be interesting to see what the Twins will do this off-season. Bill Smith showed us last year that he is willing to trade away young pitching for hitting, something that was against Terry Ryan's religion. The Twins seem to be the best trading partners for other MLB teams looking for young starting pitching. And we need right-handed power hitters on the left side of our infield, desperately. In 2896 right-handed at bats last year the Twins had 46 home runs. Yeah, that's terrible. So a trade makes sense.

We're not going to go through the various scenarios, but one comment on Adrian Beltre. As you probably heard, he will be in a contract year this year. This is significant because he destroyed baseballs in his last contract year with the Dodgers in 2004. Perhaps this was due to new contract motivation. Or possibly it was steroids. But maybe it was just baseball. It's a weird game full of statistical anomalies.

I remembered Wade Boggs having a year with an abnormally high amount of homers, and I went to baseball-reference.com to check it out. He had 16 seasons where he hit eight or fewer HRs, but in 1987 he hit 24. To me this is about as unusual as Beltre's '04 jump in production. In '87, Boggs also hit .363 with 105 walks and 48 strikeouts, and an OPS of 1.049. A sick season, right? Well he was ninth in MVP voting that year. Ninth!

The cynic in me assumed that there were a number of players ahead of him with big names, big HR totals and little else. But that wasn't exactly the case.

Sans maybe Tony Fernandez, you could make the MVP argument for anyone of the top nine vote-getters. There are some really impressive numbers on that list. The production after the top nine drops significantly. Sorry, Rat, but it's true. Jeff Reardon followed his teammate at eleventh in voting. He was the highest voted pitcher that year, which seems odd since he went 8-8 with a 4.43 ERA and 31 saves. Roger Clemens that year was 19th in voting with a much more impressive 20-9 and a 2.97 ERA. Kent Hrbek also cracked the list at 16. Mount Crushmore, represent. Did you know that the Twins also won the World Series that year? Yeah, seriously. Look it up.

Wait, what were we talking about again? Oh yeah, the Hot Stove. Trade Cuddyer to the Rockies for Huston Street. Trade Nick Blackburn to Mariners for Beltre. Trade the Philip Humber and the New Britain Rock Cats to Philadelphia for Chase Utley and Cole Hamels. Move Alexi Casilla to short. Then trade Utley, Boof Bonsor, and Nick Punto to the Marlins for Hanley Ramirez. Move Casilla back to second. Hot Stove.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Opposite Day: Gardenhire Fired!

With today being opposite day and all, we may as well take a look at what it would be like if Ron Gardenhire weren't given a 2 year extension, and was no longer managing the Twins.

AP - Ron Gardenhire was fired today as manager of the Minnesota Twins, just one day after finishing 2nd in the AL Manager of the Year voting. Gardenhire's Twins finished above expectations in 2008, nearly winning the division despite key departures in Johan Santana and Torii Hunter last offseason. It was the first time a Twins manager has been fired since Ray Miller in 1986.

Gardenhire is known as a players manager, while still preaching the baseball philosophies of his predecessor, Tom Kelly. He was named manager of the Twins on Jan. 4, 2002. He has led the Twins to the American League Central Division title in four of his seven seasons as manager, and has posted a winning record in six of his seven years as manager.

He has a career record of 622-512 (.549) as a Major League manager, and trails only Tom Kelly on the Twins All-Time win list (1,140). Since the beginning of 2002, Gardenhire has the fifth most wins among all managers (Joe Torre - 675, Mike Scioscia - 646, Tony LaRussa - 634 and Bobby Cox - 623).

But Gardenhire clashed with owners and management, calling first year GM Billy Smith's style, "Tyrant-like."

In other news:

- Pat Neshek was cleared by doctors to begin his regular off-season throwing program today. It's a good sign for the Twins, whose bullpen let them down several times down the stretch last season. Neshek attributed his vegan diet to his great health and durability.

- The Twins have been in contact with the Padres about Jake Peavy. San Diego has shown a strong interest in super utility guy Nick Punto, who would be the centerpiece of any package for Peavy.

- Michael Cuddyer, when asked about his opinion on moving back to third base, "I'd be open to it. It's something [we've] discussed, and it's definitely an option."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Important Yankee / Baseball News

By Soup

The baseball world is dull. Let's ridicule something. How about the national baseball press and their love for the Yankees? It's a bit unoriginal, but it will do. Oh good, the AP wrote just the story for it.

Yanks move plate, pitching rubber to new stadium

By Verena Dobnik, Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK -- During the Yankees' last game at their old stadium in September, players dug their hands into the ballpark dirt to take some home along with the memories.

Wait. Old stadium? The Yankees are taking down Yankee Stadium? Why is this the first I'm hearing about this?

"On a hushed, rainy field Saturday..."

Oh, God.

"...a group of Bronx youths and a few former stars used shovels to dig into the soil around home plate and the pitcher's mound, filling dozens of blue and white buckets."

This is news.

"Workers then removed the plate and pitcher's rubber, and the group walked across the street to the Yankees' shining new stadium to mix the old dirt with the new."

No, this is news. No it is. Despite constant grounds crew work and the 1970s remodeling that lowered the playing field about seven feet and moved the entire field forward...the home plate, pitching mound, and dirt are the exact same. The exact same. Nothing has ever changed since Yankee Stadium invented dirt. Every fiber of this dirt has been enriched with the blood, sweat, tears, and spilled beers of so many Yankee greats. History. Tradition. Coliseum. Black and white pictures. Americana.

"Gabriel Nieves shoveled about 5 pounds of dirt from the home plate into his pail."

That's it? Just the five pounds, Gabriel? I thought you were a fan.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s something you remember forever,” the 15-year-old said as he moved dirt with about 60 other youths, joining former Yankees David Cone, Paul O’Neill, Scott Brosius and Jeff Nelson.

Oh, these were the few former "stars" mentioned early. I'm glad that the Yankees rolled out their pinstripe royalty for such an historic dirt moving occasion.

"Nieves’ mother, Audrey, watched the ceremony with tears streaming down her face."

Tears, rain, same thing.

"Cone, a member of the Yankees’ 1998 World Series championship team who pitched a perfect game at the Stadium a year later, stared Saturday at the hole in the ground after a worker pulled up the rubber."

He just stared at a hole in the ground. A hole, people. And staring at it...the hole. That's emotion. If the "stared at a hole" doesn't pull on your heart strings...well you're probably that jackass in the theater that didn't cry with the rest of us at Mr Holland's Opus. For this twas not just a hole. It was a black hole. A void. A place where the heroes of our youth, our parents youth, and our grandparents youth came to pitch. Now gone. History. Important dirt.

"Glancing up at the bleachers, the 45-year-old added with a smile, “That’s where the ‘Bleacher Creatures’ would yell our names, and the bleachers shook during games.”

Wait, the "Bleacher Creatures" were up there...in the...bleachers? Quite appropriately named they were...and sarcastically ironic.

"Take the memories from this stadium, add it to the new memories that come with the new Yankee Stadium and continue to pass them on from generation to generation,” team captain Derek Jeter said at the time.

I was worried there for a second. I was almost to the end of the article and I didn't have one Derek Jeter quote. What? It was a quote he said from a while ago? No matter, I'm sure he had a legitimate excuse for why he couldn't attend the dirt moving ceremony and given a live quote. A busy man, that Jeter.

"In the new field, part of a $1.3 billion stadium set to open in April, Nieves helped set down the home plate, dreaming about his future as an engineer: “Maybe I’ll help build the next Yankee Stadium."

What? You said earlier that moving this dirt was a once in a lifetime experience, but now you're hoping to build the new stadium? I thought new stadiums only happen once a lifetime? Liar.

"Later on Saturday, 17-year-old Omar Liriano stood proudly in the subway with his shovel and bucket. Inside, wrapped in plastic, was something special he was taking home—a mound of dirt from the old Yankee Stadium.

“I’m, like—wow,” he said with a grin. “I’ll keep it at home in a jar.”

Yes you'll naively keep it in a jar until you have to move out of your room in your parents house and realize that it's worth nothing.

We should be the better people, but come on. It's the Yankees and we're bored

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lost Posts: Rally Caps

Editors note: There's a bunch of stuff going on with the Twins, such as trade rumors and Neshek news, but that stuff isn't terribly interesting. So here's an unfinished post about rally caps, written by Daymonster. Unlike our last Lost Post, this really was written a long time ago.

5/29/08 -
So last night I was at the Cubs game, watching them come from behind in the ninth while simultaneously watching the box score of the Twins vs. Royals game do the same thing, but in even more dramatic fashion. So it got me thinking of late inning rallies and the use of the classic baseball superstition, the rally cap.

I thought we had talked about the use of rally caps before but I couldn't find anything about it. Anywhoo, last night with the Cubs down by one run in the bottom of the ninth fans around me started putting on their rally cap, most tend to put it on inside out, while I and others utilize the "mohawk" approach.

The history of the rally cap is generally accepted as beggining during the 1942 baseball season, when fans of the Detroit Tigers, while in attendance at Tiger Stadium, occasionally would wear their baseball caps inside-out as a makeshift talisman to generate a come-from-behind victory in the late innings of a baseball game.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Skol Vikings: A Google Image Search

by Soup

At times, AH! has been accused of being a bit condescending. This may, in part, be due to our preference for the "sophisticated" game of baseball over those "neanderthalic unwashed" that prefer the NFL. To dispel any of these false assumptions, we are happy to provide a tribute to the wonderful Vikings fans found via google image search.

"This blog smells like updog." Yeah, this guy invented that joke. Oh, and he did it wearing a Gary Anderson jersey. What have you done with your life, big shot?

Hi!!!! Hello!!!! Hi!!!!! This Vikes fan is friennnnnnnnndly. You may know him better by his screen name DrDragonTickler69. He loves the Vikings. More than you. Oh, you think you like the Vikes more than him? How many Vikings players have restraining orders against you? Well, this fan has nine. Nine players on the Vikings roster have restraining orders against this him. Yeah, they'll never understand. He also owns an awesome telescope that can see further than any restraining order. His favorite food is DQ ice cream cake with Skol Vikings frosting.

This guy is a Vikings fan and has the tattoo to prove it. Before this tattoo, his chiseled bicep was just a chiseled bicep. Similarly,the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel was just a ceiling until Michelangelo Buonarroti was given a chance to paint his masterpiece. It is my hope that many tank-tops and wifebeaters come this fans way. For his gorgeously tattooed bicep aught to be displayed proudly for all to enjoy.

Additionally, he likes sailing. You can clearly see that from his T-shirt. He also likes his nipples, They are appropriately emphasized by pictures of life-saving flotation rings in the pattern of his shirt.

This man clearly has a lot of purple pride. He wants a new stadium. He also hates the new-stadiumless Dakotas. This fan is proud to be pictured here with all of his friends. He is the president of the Vikings Windsock/Hat Wearing Chemotherapy Patient Fan Club. In this picture we see his ability to call his mom for a ride home despite the inclement weather conditions. A brave soul, this one.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama Wins Election, Twins Fans Worry

President Elect Barack Obama is a Sox fan. Rumors have been swirling that one of his first executive orders is for the immediate contraction of the Indians, Tigers and Twins. Royals can stay.

But seriously... I forgot he was a south paw. Form looks good, possible free agent pick up in the off season?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Gopher Football Closer

By Michael Haas

The Gopher bandwagon hit a huge bump on Saturday. The 24-17 loss to Northwestern ended any Rose Bowl hopes for the U, and in turn, ended the season for all but die-hard Gopher fans. But even hopping on the bandwagon was a hard thing to do for most.

The team finished with just one win in coach Tim Brewster's first season. Even with a nice recruiting class, expectations were not high for '08. But just two games into the schedule, they had won twice as many games as last year. They even won their first conference game, setting up the 5-0 team against the class of the Big Ten, Ohio State. They got beat, just as everyone predicted. But then they turned heads by beating Illinois.

So I looked at the schedule. No Penn State, no Michigan State. Only Northwestern, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa; The latter three having down years. So I allowed myself to be hopeful. I knew they probably couldn't beat all four teams, but the reward clouded my judgment. If Penn State were to go to the National Championship, and the Gophers remained at one loss, they could play in the Rose Bowl. My imagination ran wild with the possibility of a less-than-stellar team essentially sneaking into the Rose Bowl.

But it was not to be. With the score tied at 17 and the U driving, Eric Decker let a pass slip through his hands, and the Wildcats somehow returned it 50 yards for the touchdown. Three seconds left. Gophers lose. The first thing I thought was, "they are still the Gophers." But they're not exactly like the Mason-era Gophers: losses to Michigan in '03, Wisconsin in '05 and Texas Tech in '06. In those games, they had a nice lead and blew it. In Saturday's loss to Northwestern, the Gophs didn't blow a big lead, but pissed away a frustrating game with penalties and missed field goals.

So we've gone from screwing up big leads to screwing up tie games...

Tim Brewster for President.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween from AH!

Okay, so I know what you are thinking... Why does AH! not have a new post for like 3 days and then all of a sudden there are 3 posts in the same day. I know! WTF? Well I apologize for putting this up, but I carved this friggin' pumpkin 2 weeks ago so I could post this. And this morning I see two great posts but I decided to post it anyway. Sorry.

Make sure you read Soup's incredible investigative reporting, and check out Wuter's... well I am not sure what his point was.

Target Field Notes: Scoreboard, Address

By Soup

Target Field is going to have a huge scoreboard. I'm talking big. To give you a sense of how big it is, if you cut it into thin strips you could wrap it around the earth's equator more than eleven times. If it were dropped off the Empire State building onto your head, it would kill you instantly. If you covered every inch of it with solar panels it would be able to power Las Vegas for nine years. If you melted it down it would be Minnesota's sixth largest lake. In summary, the scoreboard is like a really big TV only way bigger.

But who is responsible for such a technological marvel? Silicon Valley, Japan,, NASA, cyborgs sent back from the future to build scoreboards? Nope. Brookings, South Dakota. Sorry if it smells like meth and manure.

A few times I have taken a cab to Twins games, and nothing pleases me more than telling the driver, "34 Kirby Puckett Place and step on it." Okay, I don't say the "step on it" part. But I do like it that the dome has a special address. I wondered if Target Field will have such a ceremonial address. I decided to get to the bottom of it. That's right. Investigative journalism, people. We here at AH! take pride in leaving no stone unturned. My inside source at the Minnesota Ballpark Authority, Carol Dean, sent me this email.

Hi Tim,

We currently have three addresses for the ballpark construction area as designated by the City of Minneapolis. At some point in the future the Minnesota Twins may chose a ceremonial address and obtain approval for that name from the City.

Carol Dean
Minnesota Ballpark Authority
390 Grain Exchange Building
301 4th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55415
She didn't say it explicitly, but it's pretty clear that she subversively suggested/begged that we come up with a ceremonial address for Target Field.
My first thought was that we could use the names of the three players that proudly don Twins hats for their Hall of Fame plaques: Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, and Kirby Puckett. The result: Carpuckill. Huh? Yeah? It's got a certain charm to it, doesn't it? Carpuckill Road. I find "road" to be much more powerful than the alternatives. I'm not sure what the number of Carpuckill Road would be. 32934 Carpuckill Road doesn't really work. The summation of their numbers would be 72 Carpuckill Road. Yeah, I don't know.
These Twins do, however, already have gates in their names at Target Field. So, what about Tom Kelly Road. The man won two World Series Championships. The least we could do is name a road after him, if not our first born children. His uniform number from his year in the bigs was 16. So 16 Tom Kelly Road or maybe 16 TK Way.
What do you think? Scott Leius Lane? Juan Berenguer Blvd?

Sometimes, Sarah Palin Doubts Your Commitment to Sparkle Motion

by M. Waters

For the longest time I knew Sarah Palin reminded me of somebody, but I could never figure it out who until like 10 minutes ago. She's that lady in Donnie Darko.

except hotter.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Why I hate Alan "Bud" Selig

by T.F.R.

"Commissioner Bud Selig is as earnest as a car salesman or a Cubs fan - at one time he was both" The conscience of Baseball by Larry Moffi.

Last night the Phillies won their second World Series in franchise history, and first in almost three decades. With the exception of the Phil's inability to move runners and a few defensive gaffs, it was a well played and entertaining series. But it almost became one of the biggest embarrassments in the long history of the game.

Or so we thought, when in the top of the 6th with the Rays down a run, rain poured and the wind howled, conditions which should have halted the game at least an inning earlier. With the game already official, the umpires kept the teams on the field when conditions were unsafe, giving the Rays the most chances to score and keep their hopes alive.

What no one seemed to know is that Commissioner Bud Selig had decided, that no matter what the weather, the rules would be bent and the game would go to completion. The problem was, he only told the owners this - he neglected to pass the information on to managers, players, umpires, FOX and the fans. This complete breakdown in communication resulted in players on the field risking injury, umpires who knew it wasn't their place to decide the fate of the World Series and fans who looked just miserable. While I applaud Seligs approach to suspend an official game despite the score, I find it despicable that no one was made aware of it before hand. This is just one travesty of the game that Bud has presided over.

In the past, commissioners were elected to expand and improve the game. There have been those on the sides of the players: Happy Chandler, despite a unanimous vote against, upheld the integration of Baseball, Bowie Kent Kuhn who upheld arbitration and free agency, Ford Frick, who took millions of dollars that would have otherwise gone to owners and created the pension fund.

And there have been those on the side of the owners; General William Eckert, a career military man with a business degree, who had never played a day of baseball in his life, *Peter Ueberroth, another business man who lined the owners pockets with millions of dollars from TV deals. Kennesaw Mountain Landis a man who was brought in for the specific purpose to clean up baseball, and our own Alan H. Selig.

Bud is the ninth Commissioner of baseball, the first to be promoted from within the owners fraternity. This is a man who cares nothing for the fans or the players, as an owner he has only one thing on his mind: Rape and pillage to make as much money as you can before you die so you can be buried with it. Much like our friend Mr. Pohlad. Never before had a commissioner been tied financially to a team. He had to step down as president and CEO of the Brewers, and was forced to sell the team when his status was changed from acting commish to just plain commish. But from the time he began tenure to when he finally sold the team, his stock prices rose, making him millions of dollars on top of his ridiculous $14.5 million salary.

The majority of his tenure has been riddled with embarrassment, the '94 players strike, the umpire strike, the tied all-star game, that steroid scandal, and most notably for those who read this blog: contraction. There have also been parts of the game I personally don't like but some seem to enjoy: Interleage play, unbalanced schedule (its good to a point, but why play one team 7 times in April and be done with them for the season?) and the World Baseball Classic. Though, I must admit through gritted teeth that I do enjoy the three division and wild card set-up.

Despite all of this, I believe Selig will be remembered as a great leader of baseball, who guided it through a renaissance of sorts. Teams are making money and people are going to the ballpark like never before, despite the absorbently high ticket costs and the influx of revenue generated by publicly financed stadiums. Which he helped little to build.

*I only put Peter Ueberroth on the owners side because the Twins don't put that money to good use. He was actually a good commissioner and during his tenure every team in the league made money.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Why are they still playing baseball this late in the year?

Its 3 days from Halloween and Tampa/Philadelphia could still play 3 more games.

I've caught wind that the playoffs , pending some seven game series, could go into November next year and years to come. November? Baseball? wasn't this the sport of summer? I love baseball, but having it span over 9 calendar months is just ridiculous. And what happens if teams like the Twins, Indians, Cubs, White Sox, etc make it to the world series and have to play games in November? How are you supposed to pitch in 20 or lower degree weather? imagine being a catcher trying to catch 80-90 mph frozen fastballs. How are you supposed to throw, hit, steal, dive, sprint for looping fly balls when you're wearing inches of body armor? Why should you play 8 months in warm weather, only to have everything be decided in the worst conditions that you could possibly play in?

And at least in football there's constant action so its easier for fans to be loud, jump around and get the blood flowing. imagine sitting through a 2-1 9 inning baseball game when its 18 degrees at Target Field or Park or whatever its called.

This is stupid. Stop having baseball go on this long, this late in the year.

Dr. Mike Marshall or: How I learned to stop worrying and love weird pitching

By Soup

I'm sure some of you have heard of Dr. Mike Marshall and his alternative pitching motion that he claims is injury free. He was a relief pitcher for the Twins from 1978 to 1980 posting a 2.99 ERA in that time. Prior to that Marshall won the NL Cy Young Award with the Dodgers in 1974. That year he set records for the most games pitched in a season (106), relief innings pitched (208 1/3) and consecutive games played as a pitcher (13). And, he had the mustache to back it up.

His motion is certainly interesting, and it's not difficult to see that it's much more natural than the twisting and coiling of a traditional pitching motion. I've never pitched, but a couple of problems with his motion caught my untrained eye. It looks like the ball breaks very early on breaking pitches. Also, the stride is a lot smaller. So the ball is being released further from home plate giving the batter more time to react. But what do I know. Marshall's won more Cy Youngs than I have...barely (1,0 respectively).

His research and teaching on the art of pitching are all well and good, but there is something about Marshall that I don't like. Every time I hear about him he always comes across as an oppressed victim of the baseball establishment. The media is probably more to blame for painting him as this shiny beacon of truth in the dark world of stubborn baseball executives, but he doesn't seem to shy away from this characterization. Now, it's true that baseball executives and baseball in general are very resistant to change, but nobody really cares about the wackiness of a pitching motion, especially if it is wacky in a less violent sort of way. If you can get guys out you can get guys out.

So, all Marshall needs to do is develop some major league talent, and the Marshall revolution might take seed. But in the 10 years of his pitching school's existence he hasn't had much success in this regard. He, of course, did have Jeff Sparks. Yeah, you remember Jeff. Tall, blond hair, pitched 30 1/3 innings with the 1999 and 2000 Devil Rays. Yeah, That Jeff Sparks.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Note on Jealousy

By M. Haas

Last night, the national media feel in love with the Rays all over again. Tampa won the game by pitching well, and scratching out just enough runs by playing small ball. The Phillies lineup, while technically more dangerous, failed to move runners over and couldn't come up with a clutch hit.

The Rays have a great young pitching staff. They play great defense. They play with heart and emotion. They have a goofy, media friendly manager. What a great story.

Although we have been critical of the national media's take on the cute, 'doing the little things right' Twins, the fact remains.

I'm jealous.

The Twins have been winning, despite a small payroll, a bad stadium and no power hitters. The Twins win because of shrewd trades, an excellent farm system and pitching and defense. The Twins move guys around, steal and bunt and do the little things right.

Even if those things are completely generalized and simplified, I still like reading them. The Rays do all that stuff better than the Twins. They stole our thunder, and I'm jealous because of that.

Or it could be that they're in the World Series and the Twins aren't.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Generic Notes

By Michael Haas

- Fox is playing the Eye of the Tiger while they show Phillies highlights and fade to commercials. Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only person in the whole world who doesn't like Fox Sports. I really do.

- These playoff games are taking forever. For. Ev. Er. I mean, Game 1 was exciting, and it had what most baseball fans like to see, but damn all these games take so long to play. Reusse blamed the walk in a column last week, but I'm going to go out on a limb and blame.... Fox and TBS and their endless commercials, and the fact that they have to squeeze in so many Rocky references.

- Chris Coste, the former Northern Leaguer and Concordia - Moorhead alum, was the starting DH for the Phillies last night. He's a lot like Rocky Balboa.

- Ever wonder how much black market World Series go for? Me too. I looked at craigslist, and found that the cheapest tickets for Tampa games were about $150. Naturally, tickets in Philly were a lot more spendy, the cheapest I found was $250. Not even Rocky Balboa could afford that.

- Stadium update: The supports for the canopy are going up, so the stadium is about as tall as it's going to get. The scoreboard construction is starting soon, which will be nine times, (9 times) as big as the Metrodome's.

Nine Times

Other stuff, non-baseball related.

This video has made it's rounds on the internets lately, but it's worth seeing again.

Unbelievable. I'm surprised South Carolina didn't walk off the field and demand a new ref after that.

- The only guy on Kfan who sorta knows baseball just got arrested. This is the same guy who got suspended by FSN north after he yelled at a ref during an intermission at a Gopher hockey game, while on the job. I guess crack would be the logical next step.

- Gaborik wants out of Minnesota. And he has a mysterious injury. And he wants a huge contract. Those ingredients don't exactly add up to a good trade for the Wild. But what do I know, it's hockey.

- The funniest Video you'll see this week:

Best Man Faints and Falls Backward -

That guy falls harder than Apollo Creed.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Outfield

By Soup

A couple of the local journalists have suspected/assumed/expected/guessed that Delmon Young will be available for the right trade this off-season. We must trust them. They are credible. They work for newspapers, people.
But we know that these unsubstantiated assumptions for why the Twins would trade Young and not Michael Cuddyer are rooted in something real. Young has "character issues" and Michael Cuddyer volunteers at orphanages when he's not nursing unicorns back to health.
Seriously Twins front office, knock it off. We want baseball players. We don't want you looking for gentlemen to marry your daughters. Yeah, I get the whole locker room chemistry thing. I, too, think it's important. But Young was hardly a locker room cancer. The only real issue with Young off the field this year was his lack of zeal for advice on his swing. A part of me says, "good." Anyone wish this conversation would have taken place?
Twins hitting instructor: Uh, David. I was...uh...wondering if I could, uh, have a word with you about yo...
David Ortiz: Go away. Papi busy.
I like Cuddyer, but I agree with the opinion of many that he's overrated. He is now 29 and has only one above average season, 2006. Let's talk about 2006. We all remember that he batted fourth behind the AL batting champion, Joe Mauer, and the MVP, Justin Morneau. Mauer had 602 plate appearances batting third, Cuddyer had 449 batting fourth, and Morneau had 433 batting fifth. The benefits to Cuddyer of this lineup positioning are obvious and often discussed. But it should be pointed out that on top of this tremendous benefit is the fact that Mauer and Morneau are both left-handed while he is right-handed.
Cuddyer's right handedness bookended between two formidable lefties would have only a small impact on the approach of a starting picture or a closer. They have to pitch to everybody. His lineup position has been especially beneficial thanks to the increasingly specialized bullpen creation of the left-handed specialist, or LOOGY (Lefty One Out GuY). It's difficult to quantify Cuddyer's added production from facing more LOOGys as a result of his batting betwixt lefties Mauer and Morneau, but I gave it a shot.
First, without looking at the numbers, we can understand why this would be an added benefit. Bullpens rarely have more than two left-handed set up men. Some only have one. Left-handed bullpen specialists are typically terrible at getting right-handed batters out. So due to scarcity of bullpen lefties, managers could not afford to pitch a lefty to Mauer, a righty to Cuddyer, and a new lefty to Morneau every time. So, in theory, Cuddyer would have more opportunities to mash lefties that don't know how to get righties out.
The numbers support the theory. In 2006 35 percent of Cuddyer's PAs were against lefties. That is up from 31 percent in 2005 and 29 percent in 2007. So, southpaws were forced to pitch to him about 5 percent more in 2006 than in typical years.
In 2006 Cuddyer also was a much more effective hitter in the later innings where a LOOGY is more likely to be used. He had a slugging percentage of .547 in the sixth through ninth innings compared to .474 in the first 5 innings. This is almost the opposite of what he did in 2007 where his slugging percentage was .352 in the sixth inning and later and .533 in the first five.
To get more specific in identifying the LOOGY factor I took all the lefties where Cuddyer had 3 or fewer PAs. Then the starters, closers, and long relievers were removed. I didn't go through every game of 2006, so this number is not completely scientific, but it's pretty close. I was left with 27 PAs. I know. It's a very small sample size. Just think of this data as au jus for your French dip Cuddyer is overrated sandwich. In those 27 PAs (21 ABs) he hit .380 with 2 HRs and 8 RBI. So if all his at bats in 2006 were against LOOGYs he would have hit .380 with 47 HRs and 188 RBI. I'm just sayin'.
Then again, he does do magic tricks.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Slow Times in Twins Territory

This is a write-up of the fact that there is nothing to write about. There's not much to read about here, so you don't have to read it. Of course, that's not terribly different from any other day here at Alright Hamilton...

This may be the only place on the web where you can read this: October is the most boring month in sports. For most fans, it's great. College and NFL football is just getting interesting, hockey and basketball seasons are beginning, and it's playoffs in baseball. But I'm a Twins fan. There isn't much going on for me right now. Well sure, I watched Matt Garza earn his LCS MVP award last night, which was great. But I'd just wish the playoffs would end so we could start the goddam offseason, if you want to know the truth.

So here are some Tuesday questions.

What is there to say about the World Series? Can we find any angles for this match-up, besides alluding to Rocky or the Rays young/cute/pathetic history?

Should the Twins have traded Garza for Delmon? Tis a popular question in Twins Territory right now, especially with unsubstantiated rumors about Delmon heading for the trading block.

Is there a better term for the Twins fanbase, besides Twins Territory?

What does it say about us that we're a Territory, and not a Nation? A Territory is usally means it belongs to someone else, but they don't particularly care that it exists. The word nation implies sovereignity, but upon further investigation, in fact means "is a human cultural and social community. In as much as most members never meet each other, yet feel a common bond"

So while Red Sox Nation and Gopher Nation get a cool term meaning community, we get stuck with one that means a piece of property no one cares about that's owned by someone outside it. Alliteration is over-rated.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Kinda Obscure 2008 Twins

By Michael Haas

Everyone knows the star players. Everyone knows good 'ol Joe Mauer grew up in St. Paul and loves club anthem hip-hop. Everyone knows Carlos Gomez speaks poor english and wears the number 22 to honor his childhood hero, Brad Radke. But we want details about these other guys. In fact, we barely even know these others names, yet they played baseball for our Twins this season.

Howie Clark

Clark is the 34 year old utility man who played eight games for the Twins in late May, going two-for-eight. Thanks buddy! He accepted his assignment back to Rochester at the end of May, and did not get called up in September. He will probably never appear in the majors again. So it goes. Fact: Clark's favorite guitarist is Jake E. Lee. Not Zakk Wylde, not Randy Rhoads, but Jake E. Lee. His argument for Lee's guitar mastery is this youtube video, entitled, "Jake E. Lee Shreds"

Matt Macri

Macri is the infielder the Twins received from Colorado for Ramon Ortiz. Traded for Ramon Ortiz? Yes, he is that good. Fact: He has sent an angry letter to CBS every day since Drew Carey took over as host on The Price is Right. He cannot stand Drew Carey.

The veteran Howie Clark took Macri under his wing while in Rochester, and they became good buddies. They talked about many things, as buddies do as a way to pass the time.

Here's a snippet of a conversation between the two:

Clark: I never understood why people clean up their house so thoroughly before a party.

Macri: Uhm, probably so it looks nice for their guests

Clark: Yeah, but it's going to get messy during the party anyway. And you'll definitely have to clean afterward...It's like taking a shower before going jogging.

Macri: I take a shower before I come to the ballpark.

Clark: Really? How many showers do you take in one day? And besides, that's different because you have people looking at you.

Macri: Yup, just like a house has people looking at it during a party.

Clark: .................... Damn............. Read any good books lately?

Ryan Jorgensen

Jorgensen (no relation to Terry) was a September call-up this season, but only got one at-bat. The 29 year old catcher was, along with Howie Clark, named in the Mitchell Report the past offseason. One of his favorite ways to waste time, is to watch America's Funniest Home Videos with the sound off. He then makes up his own one-liners to the bloopers. He thinks he's hilarious.

Jorgensens commentary on the above video, pretending to sound like Bob Saget:

"You've got it all wrong lady, you're supposed to fall over when you drink the wine, not while you make it! "

Julio DePaula

DePaula didn't get a chance to pitch for the Twins this season, but he's on the active roster and threw 20 innings last year. The 25 year old righty has a chance to help out the bullpen in '09?

Julio carries a map, carefully folded into his wallet, with him at all times. The map shows the regional differences of terms for Carbonated Beverages. Being on the road a lot, he needs to know how to order a pop. The weird thing is that he deliberately calls it Soda in Pop regions, and Coke in Soda regions, and Pop in Soda regions. Just to piss people off.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Soup's Guest Writer Series 4

In my fourth, and final, installment of the guest-writer series we have Hal Rocklage. Hal is a successful "power businessman"(his term) and part time motivational speaker. Oh, and he also requested that you play this song on "full blast" as you read his piece.

Putting the Win Back in Twins

Close your eyes. Go 'head. Close 'em. I want you to imagine a Major League Baseball team. This team only had a payroll of $57 million. It's the youngest team in the league. They lost two of their best players in the off season. Imagine this team was in a division with three other more talented teams.

Now, write down on a piece of paper how many wins you think this team won this season. Then slowly slide that piece of paper across the table to me, like we do in the business world.

65 wins? 70? 75? 80? 85? You're all wrong!

The answer is 88, and that team is your Minnesota Twins!

Hi, I'm Hal Rocklage. I want to talk to you today about winning. I am a winner. The Minnesota Twins, however, not so much. Sure they won more games than expected, but still, they failed to win the division. Let's look into our own hearts and minds and discover what makes me a winner and the 2008 Minnesota Twins losers. Because I'm a successful power businessman, we will use cutting edge business-world analytical devices to reach our conclusions. We will also use my patented 8 "P's" that makes a winner.

Positivity: Naysayers are losers. But remember, A pat on the back is not far from a kick in the pants. Write that down.

Personnel: Mahatma Gandhi, who's always been an inspiration of mine, once said, "You are only as good as the people that work for you." The Twins made some poor decisions last preseason in trying to find the best people to work for them. They signed Craig Monroe, Mike Lamb, Adam Everett, and Livan Hernandez. Let's look at this scientific Venn Diagram to find out exactly how helpful these veteran signing were.
I don't think I can state it any more clearly that that. These were "seasoned" vets, but unfortunately they were seasoned with freshly ground terrible.

Please and thank-yous are for sissies: Winners say "now" and "you're welcome."

Persistently want more: I am never satisfied. I know what you're thinking, "Hal, what more could you possibly want? You have great hair, great body, a great job, rich friends, a personalized license plate, a ton of money, a Boflex." Yes true, but I want more. I'll give you an example. I want a better office. Don't get me wrong. My office is awesome. You've probably only seen offices like mine in the movies. It's worth more than your life. No, I mean that literally. If I was to murder you, harvest your organs, and sell them on the black market...my office would still be worth more. But I want an office where I can have liquor out in the open. You know, like in those crystal containers. Right now I don't think I can have alcohol out in the open in my office. And that folks, is what drives me everyday.

Protein shakes: drink nine daily.

Permanently on edge: Never get comfortable or satisfied. That's when you're at your weakest. I, for example, listen to a recording of pitbulls viciously barking as I go to sleep. Helps me keep that edge.

Posters: It important to hang motivational posters around the workplace.

Protect your fingers and thumbs: In the business world we take protecting our fingers and thumbs very seriously. Fact: 80% of all business-world injuries are thumb and finger related. Winning companies protect their employees fingers and thumbs. The twins did not do that this season. Matt Tolbert, Alexi Casilla, Nick Punto, and Michael "Cuddy get hurt anymore?" Cuddyer all missed time from finger and thumb injuries from sliding into bases. Luckily for the Twins, my company is highly diversified and highly lucrative. We have a product that will solve these problems. I give you Baserunner Glovz 1.0

The 'Z' in gloves was my idea. Keeps things fresh. The Baserunn Glovz 1.0 offers a rugged exterior yet with an interior that is as comfortably protective as the nape of Falkor the luckdraon.

I know what you're thinking right now. You're optimistic about the Twins future. We have a lot of talented young players. You're thinking championship teams are coming. Well, I have a news flash for you Twins fans. Championship teams are NOT COMING...


Thank you. Thank you. Buy my book. Thank you.