Friday, August 29, 2008

Hey This Is Jesse's Phone

Beeeep. Hey this is Jesse Crain's phone. Jesse can't answer because I get, like, no bars on this road trip. So he didn't get that voicemail reminding him not to stink.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Soup's Guest-Writer Series Part 3

In the third part of this series we are happy to have the Fox baseball crew of Eric Byrnes (EB), Kevin Kennedy (KK) and Jeane Zelasko (JZ) report on our Minnesota Twins.

KK: Okay, and now we have the always zany and entertaining, Eric Byrnes

JZ: Ha, the Energizer Byrnsie.

Guitar Solo Intro Music: beeeeeemedowdummedowdumwowowoweeeenow

EB: Alright! Wuz up! Beyrnsie here, and I'm stoked to talk about the Minnesota Twins. Their young pitching staff is soooooooo sicknasty. They are literally control freaks. Literally. Dude. They like giving up walks about as much as I like corporations and business suits!!!!!!

"Slide Whistle" Sound Effect: Beeeeeeeeeeeeyyyyyooooooop

EB: And they can actually hit this year. The Minnesota Twins scoring runs? I know. It sounds like some serious craziness-action. But, like, they can totally strait up mash from the left side of the plate. Hey, right-handed-pitcher-dude, good luck pitching to the top of this order: Span, Casilla, Mauer, Morneau, Kubel. Oh, and lefty pitchers you're not off the hook either. These dudes can hit lefties too. For real. Mauer is leading the league in hitting against lefties. They may be able to hit, but of course, none of their hitters are as fun and crazy as me!!!!!!

"Spring" Sound Effect: Boingoingoingoingoing

EB: The Twins, though, have some serious issues with their bullpen. It was, like, always good, but not this year. They got Eddy Guardado. He nice. He should help. They also gots to watch out for the White Sox. Dude, they hit home runs like crazy people. Seriously. The South-siders hit home runs as often as I wear flip flops to weddings! (which is all the time)!!!!!!

Harmon muted trumpet: bwah wah wah waaaaaaah

JZ: Hahahahah

KK: Hahahahahaha

JZ: That Bernsie...haha...he's...

KK: Haha...Oh Bernsie...haha

JZ He's crazy...haha...I mean, that guy...


JZ: never know...haha

KK: Haha...yeah, you...

JZ: You never know what he's going to do next!!!

KK: You never know!!!!

JZ: You never know!!!

KK: Crazy man

JZ: Hahaha...he is crazy...haha

KK: Can you....hehehehe...believe that Bernsie?!?!

JZ: ha and that hair!!!! haha he has siiiiiiiiillllllly hair!!!!

KK: My God!!! That hair is crazy!!!

JZ: CAH. RAY. Z!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Random Eddie Thoughts

By Michael Haas

I was glad to see Eddie Guardado back in a Twins uniform this week. In his first appearance, he took care of business by shutting down the Mariners in the (ghoulish voice) 8th inning. Everday Eddie is a seemingly quick and easy solution to a big problem. Kudos, Bill Smith.

However, I'm not looking forward to Bert and the others who call Eddie, "Ger-Dard-oh"
It's pronounced, "Gore-Dodd-oh"

How far can we run with the Guardado for Hamburger thing?

Smith to Rangers: Would You Like Fries With That?

We could go all day. But the whole Hamburger thing is bit over-done at this point.

But seriously folks, Mark Hamburger does have a very interesting story. He's a Minnesota kid who competed in an open tryout with over one hundred other dreamers and got a contract. Check out the SethSpeaks interview with him, it's a good read.

What was you favorite Mike Lamb moment? I probably won't remember him for anything but his salt n pepper beard. But it's a bit shitty how Gardenhire kicked him on his way out the door by saying, "The energy level was not what we expected"

Monday, August 25, 2008

Another Reason I Hate Pierzynski, Eddings

Imagine my delight when I turn on Comcast Sports Net to see the White Sox trailing the Rays in the bottom of ninth inning. That warm feeling quickly faded away as after a few minutes I see Brian Anderson rounding third as the ball is easily on it's way to Rays catcher Riggans. The ball beat Anderson by about 40 feet but Riggans couldn't hold on to the ball, and Anderson touches home plate looking at third base coach Cox and asking him why he sent him.

Still feeling confident that the Rays could pull it off, I sat down on the couch with some Twizzler's to watch the end of the game.

Not exactly sure why BJ Upton let the not-so-fleet footed Pierzinski reach second on Carlos Quentin's deep fly to center. But what was even more confusing was the next play.

With AJ at second and one out. Dye hit a grounder to former Twin short stop Jason Bartlett. Usually when a ball is hit right at the short stop the runner at second will retreat back to his base. But not AJ, he was off on contact and gets caught in a rundown between second and third on Jermaine Dye's fielder's choice. After a bit of running he looked to be tagged out by Bartlett.

Second-base umpire Doug Eddings ruled that Rays third baseman Willy Aybar interfered with Pierzynski as he was turning for second base. If you didn't see the play, I think it's up on But, I'll save you a couple minutes. AJ knowing he was dead in the water looked over his shoulder to a veering off Aybar, he sticks his elbow out, grazes Aybars jersey and does his best Italian soccer player imitation and falls to his ass.

Quote from Bartlett:

"As soon as A.J. tripped, he yelled 'Obstruction!,' I looked at the umpire, thinking he was going to say something like, 'Are you kidding me?' And [Eddings] was like, 'Yep, yep, yep.' Right there, I lost it. I was like, 'What?'"
Now, if the name Doug Eddings sounds familiar you're not crazy. Strange Terrible calls have followed Eddings around for some time now and they seem to always work out to the White Sox advantage.

Eddings was the Ump behind the dish during game two of the 2005 ALCS when, you guessed it, Pierzynski took advantage of the White Sox loving Eddings no-call dropped third strike.

Eddings was even involved in another controversial play not only involving the White Sox but also the Twins this year. On May 8 at US Cellular field the Twins were playing the rubber match game of a three game series. Remember when Guerrier ran around the bases trying to tag out Thome and Quentin as they both stole second and third on another no call strike out on Konerko? Guess who the Ump was? Yep, Doug Mother Effing Eddings. Also, in that same game Neshek had his season ending injury, it was probably Eddings' fault too.

Three very controversial calls in less than 3 years, all involving the same team, and all helping the same team? Sounds awfully suspicious. I am glad instant replay is moving forward, but I think it shouldn't just be for home runs. Home runs, and Doug Eddings' calls.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Thing About Cable Television

By Michael Haas

The thing about cable television is this: it stinks. I know what you're thinking - Haas dude, this is very unlike you, bitching about something completely random and taking up all my time. But just hear me out, my rants are generally truthful and largely unoffensive.

I grew up without cable Tv. I missed out on such quality programming as Beavis and Butt-head and Yo! MTV Raps, MacGuyver, Highlander, Pop-up Video, Salute Your Shorts, Wild n' Crazy Kids, and Quantum Leap. I didn't even have MSC. I felt cheated and disappointed that I had only 7 channels, as opposed to 70.

But since moving from my parents house some seven years ago, and having cable on and off, I've realized I don't need 70 channels - and I certainly don't need to pay for them. There isn't much worth watching on TV these days.

I write this because my room mates and I have been debating whether or not to get cable. I remembered a story from a few years back. For some reason, John Kerry cares about television. He thought it was bullshit that the consumer had to pay for channels that he/she did not want. I agree. He wanted to create a Cable TV Ala Carte. Wouldn't that be wonderful? What stations would you pay for?

Further reading:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Stadiums, stadiums, stadiums

By Michael Haas

The new Twins stadium is really coming a long. The yet-to-be named ballpark grows larger everyday. They have started to put up the limestone facade, adding color and originality to the blob of construction mess. I snapped some pictures a couple of weeks ago:


As always, you can follow the progress by checking the webcam and

I checked out Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati last weekend. Opened in 2003, the stadium is clean, new and pretty, but it's nothing spectacular. For a much more entertaining review than I could give, read Jim Caple's take from a few years ago.

They did have a couple neat features that I hope the Twins include in their new home. Sometimes when a player came to bat, they would flash other players in their history who had worn that jersey number. It was a great way to bring the past to the present. Baseball names of years gone by. Like when Mauer comes up, they would also say that J.T. Bruett wore number 7 in 1993. And I would say, "J.T. Bruett!?!?! holy shit!"

I hope they have bathrooms like this:

Look at all those urinals. You should have seen the guys face who walked in just as I took this.

I also went to the open house of the brand new home of the Indianapolis Colts, Lucas Oil Stadium.

I thought this visit would renew my faith in the NFL, but sure enough, it just made me hate it worse. The stadium was big, cold and corporate - just like the league itself. And the open house was anything but open; they had only the hallways and two seating areas available for public viewing. Almost everything was closed off. I walked out. It'll be a cold day in hell when I stand in a huge crowd in a football stadium in which there is no actual event.

The Twins should take note of this clusterfuck and make sure they do their open house correctly. And they better do an free public viewing, seeing as the public payed for much of it.

When I left the football stadium, I headed over to Victory Field, home of the minor-league Indianapolis Indians. This place was a breath of fresh air after the Colts monstrosity.

I'd never been to a minor-league game. It was great. I recognized many names on the Indians and the visiting Durham Bulls, most notably the Indianapolis lefty. He hadn't given up a hit through 6 innings. It was Tom Gorzelanny. I drafted him on my fantasy team. Yes, I cut him long before the Pirates shipped him to triple-a.

You know what really makes my gears run smoothly?

A bullpen that can hold on to games. Like this one.

Getting out of bed to that breakfast smell.

A traffic free, wind in my hair drive home from work.

Fernando Tatis

In car garage door opener.

When Morneau tilts his head and stares while watching a ball sail over the baggie, (as if he's thinking, "Wow, I should do that more often").

Sliced bread.

The way my napkin is folded at PHU KING Buffet.

Going on frequent cabin get-aways.

Running in to old friends.

When Haas LOLs. Ah hahaha.

When Larry Johnson thought it would be a good idea to morph into "Grandmama".

Larry Bird highlight videos.

and... as much as I don't like to talk about it yet/ever, when Adrian Peterson busts through three to four guys and dashes off for a sixty to eighty yard highlight reel worthy TD.

Friday, August 15, 2008

medal count

After my rant yesterday I'll get back to my job. Keeping you all up to date on what country is best on earth. And, after a scary couple of days where the Chinese held the lead America, after 10 medals yesterday, is back on top.

USA 14 gold 13 silver 19 bronze 46 total
China 26 gold 9 silver 6 bronze 41 total
Australia 5 gold 7 silver 8 bronze 20 total

Notables: Germany 14, Great Britain 8, The Marshall Islands 0

Thursday, August 14, 2008

sportmanship/politics (revised)

I realize that this was hard to read the first time I posted is, so I've edited it. It should be a bit easier to get through now.

Instead of giving a rundown of the past couple days of the games, which btw have been very exciting to watch, but I realize most people just skim over the review and get right to the medal count. Today I am going to talk a little bit about what the Olympic games mean. I realize most people are jaded when it comes to sports, with todays professional athletes seemingly only after their next big pay day. But the Olympics are supposed to be pure, I realize in todays games, most of the major players for medal contention are professionals and some make a very good living, ie "The redeam team" (you will never again see me mention them). But thats not what these games are all about, if they were only about money they would be held a couple times a year. The Olympics are intended to be pure competition, Athens vs. Sparta, USA vs. USSR, whos best is the best?

In the early days of the modern olympics it was unethical to train, it was who was the most naturally gifted person in the world. Laborers who frequently would lift heavy objects were barred from competitions for being "professionals." I am certainly not saying we should ever go back to those days, I think these athletes should be paid, and should be paid well if their country expects them to go and represent the homeland in a positive manner. Is it unfair for the have and the have not nations? Yes, but isn't the Olympics the worlds biggest stage to show what country truely is best?

Throughout history it has sure been used to do just that. If you look through the 29 summer and the 20 winter games you will find the Olympics has become, sometimes for for the better and sometimes for the worse, a political arena unmatched even by the U.N. In the 1958 Melbourne games, 7 countries, including China boycotted the games in response to the USSR's invasion of Hungary. Ironically enough, Hungary was not one of them. When they arrived at the games they found that their revolt had been brutaly dealt with, but they braught their war to Australia with them. The defending Gold medalists taunted and tortured the Russians,. Punches and kicks, while commonplace in a well played water polo match were blatent and vicious. When the Hungarian captain was caught with a wicked right hook to the eye (image above), the Hungarian crowd had had enough, the charged the floor and ran into riot police who had expected such a charge. The game was called in favor of the Hungarians because they had been leading in the match at the time. Team captain Zador said after the match "We felt we were playing not just for ourselves but for our whole country." They went on to win the Gold with a 2-1 victory over Yugoslavia. Since Hungary was now a Soviet state, 50% of the Olympic delegation defected and stayed in Australia. You may be asking yourself, "But what is your point Tony?" I dont have one really, I just really like that story.

The games have also put a name and a face to evil nameless, faceless nations. Luz Long was the darling boy of Nazi Germany at the '36 games in Berlin. He was touted by Hitler as the worlds greatest athlete, the definition of Aryan. But when he saw a black American struggling to qualify his concionse not his politics took over, he gave Jesse Owens the advice that helped him win 4 gold medals, one event in which Long earned the silver. Owens became an instant celebrity in Berlin, 11,000 Nazis cheering on a black champion begging for his autograph outside of the stadium, think about that. Long was killed by allied forces in 1943 during the invasion of Sicily still proud to be a German despite the fact Hitler puplicly beraded him for befreinding Owens. Again, whats the point of this story you may ask? I don't really have one, but its a damn good story don't ya think?

In '80 and '84 the worlds greatest athlets didn't even get a chance to compete against each other, before the Moscow games in 1980, the US led a group of more that 60 countries to protest the USSR's invasion of Afghanistan, and in 1984 the iron curtain refused to come to L.A. What did that prove? It proved nothing except that politicians don't understand true competition. What better way to prove you're worth your salt than to go and kick some Commi ass? In ancient times wars would be stopped and a truce would be signed so the games could be held. It meant that much to a nation to have its heros.

Again, I am searching for a point to this rant, and I can't find one. I was just made so upset today by the Swedish bronze medalist in greco-roman wrestler Ara Abrahamian, who after being upset in the semi-finals walked off the podium during the awards ceramony and dropped his medal in the center of the mat. He claims to have lost the match because of "politics." I watched his match, while I agree he did get screwed, there is no indication if it would have went the other way he would have won the match. You got upset man, thats what these games are all about. You can't call a bronze medal a "Failure, I came here for gold. I didn't get it, these games are a failure."

But, for every story like this there are 10 that make you feel better about humanity, like the mens gymnastics team celebrating their bronze medal, or the elation of the mens 4x100 team when they came from behind to win the gold against the cheese eating surrender monkeys. Or everytime I see a medalist crying tears of joy, because their entire country is proud of them. Except for the communists, they are happy because they wont be taken out behind the tool shed and shot in the head.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Beijing: day 4

The last few days have sure been exciting for fans of the Americans, just two days ago the US team trailed the Chinese in the medal count. Today/tonight has seen the Americans rocket ahead of the host nation. China continues its dominance in the Gold category, but that should change next week when the track and field events start.

Day 4 was a banner day for the US gents gymnastics squad, half way through the night they held the lead on a very strong Chinese team, and with neither of the Hamm brothers no less. on the 4th rotation though, the home team was paired with one of their most dominant events, the Vault. By no fault of their own the American boys had lost their grip on the lead. When it was all said and done Japan also bypassed the local boys, but a bronze medal is a huge accomplishment for a team that only 2 years ago had such a bad season that they were in danger of not fielding a team in these Olympics.
In the pool Micheal Phelps continued his quest for immortality, tying the record with his 9th career Gold medal. In the same race fellow American Peter Vanderkaay earned a bronze medal. On the womens side, Rebeccah Soni, earned a silver medal in an event she wasn't even supposed to swim. The winner of the event in the trials, tested positive for a banned substance so Soni earned the spot by default. In the 100 backstroke the US team earned more two medals with Natalie Coughlin edging Australian rival Kristy Coventry, and Margeret Holzer finishing just behind them. Aperently Gina Miles can ride horses, the Creston, CA rode McKinlaugh all the way to a silver medal in the indivual jumping section of the equestrian. The men didn't fare as well as the women in individual sabre fencing, Americas best hope, Keeth Smart fell in the quarterfinals to a cheese eating surrender monkey frenchman. Walton Eller destroyed the field in mens doublt trap shooting, winning by a score of 1759 to 1368. I have no idea what that means because the guy who finished in 4th had 1764, but bully for him. And guy in 4th, better luck in London. The first day of wrestling only feilded one American and he was promptly eliminated, but it doesn't mean there wasn't great matched to watch. The finals pitted the dirty Russians vs used to be dirty Russians with both golds going to Russia and both silvers going to Azerbajian. And for some reason they award 2 bronze medals at each weight. Why not have those cats wrestle to see who wins?

I planned on reviewing day 5 as well, but only a few results are in right now. The women get silver in gymnastics. Micheal Phelps became the ultimate Olympic champion winning 2 Golds tonight, bringing his total to 10 the most in history. In his second final in less than an hour he and the rest of the 4x200 meter butterfly relay put on the most impressive start to finish athletic performance I have ever had the privelage to witness.

Medal count as of right now
USA 10 gold 8 silver 9 bronze 27 total
China 14 gold 3 silver 5 bronze 22 total
S. Korea 5 gold 6 silver 1 bronze 12 total
Australia 4 gold 2 silver 6 bronze 12 total
Notables Russia: 10 medals, Azerbajian 3 medals.

Medal count update

Everyone can breath a sigh of relief, the United States overcame the host Chinese to take a lead in the overall medal count. The Chinese, still hold almost a 2 to 1 edge in Gold medals, but it was an impressive day for the Americans winning 10 medals to pull ahead.

As it stands now
USA 7 gold 7 silver 8 bronze 22 total
China 13 gold 3 silver 4 bronze 20 total
S. Korea 5 gold 6 silver 1 bronze 12 total
Australia 3 gold 2 silver 5 bronze 10 total

I haven't had time today to write up a full review, wrestling started this morning so I have done nothing but watch that. I'll write one up tonight and give you the rundown of last nights action with the mens gymnastics squad shocking the world and hopefully the women putting together a better performance tonight than in the qualifying round.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Beijing: day 2 and 3 in review.

Sorry to drop the ball on the Sunday update, hopefully it wont happen again.

The last couple days have sure been exciting on the other side of the world. Day 2 saw the first day of competition for mens and womens gymnastics, the number 1 ladies team in the world in the sand and the oldest American to travel to China earn a Silver with the help of some youngsters in the pool. Day 3 saw Micheal Phelps' dream of 8 golds continue, along with the Koreans win their 4th straigh archery gold.

On day 2, we were treated to a dominant display by the Chinese mens gymnastics team. But don't count out the Japenese to contend for gold in the finals. The fight for bronze may be the most interesting, with 4 teams, being led by the United States, bunched together going into Tuesdays team final.
On the womens side, the United States didn't fair quite as well as the slightly surprising men. The women, lead by 2 world all-around champions, felt the sting of Samantha Peszak injured ankle, with only 4 athletes being able to compete in 3 events. Despite a couple of miscues they advance to the next round where all scores are erased and every team starts with a clean slate. So lets go girls.
In the sand the Womens team of Misty May-Treaner and Keri Walsh continued their dominance of the world by extending their record 101 match winning streak by destroying the over matched Japenese team in straight sets.
The golden boy of the Olympics, Micheal Phelps, continues his quest to become the greatest Olympic champion of all time. He won his first medal in the 4x100 meter individual medley, besting his own world record by over a second in the process. Phelps sure needed some help to get his second gold medal of these games though. Leading off the 4x100 freestyle relay, Phelps kept the U.S. in the hunt, but was not the leader after his split. Garret Weber-Gale and Cullen Johnson kept the U.S. in second, behind the favored French, going into the anchor leg. Thats where history was made, Jason Lezak came back from a full body length in the final 50 meters to cap of the greatest swimming race, quite possibly in history. Their female counterparts also had quite the showing as well. The women posted a time of 3:34.33, good enough for the silver medal. It was the 10th carreer medal for Dara Torres, who at 41 is the oldest U.S. competitor.
On the Court the U.S. mens squad bested China 101-70, while the team consisting of the fairer sex dominated the host nation 108-63.
Tennis saw the Americans bested in all but 2 matches, with the Williams sisters easily winning their opening round matches.
The number one mens beach vollyball team, Rogers and Dalhouser, rebounded from a shocking loss on day one to beat the Swiss handily on day 3.

A couple of side notes to wrap this up: What are the limits of human performance? The top 5 teams in the 4x100 freestyle relay, won by the US, broke the old world record, at one point in the race, all 8 finalists were ahead of WR time.
How, do people get involved in some of these obscure sports? Handball for instance, the US didn't even field a team. Its a combonation of basketball and soccer, two sports our women dominate in international competition. Why can't we get a bunch of ladies together and bring home the gold in 2012?

In the medal count the Chinese continue to blow the field out of the water with 9 gold medals, more than twice the second place country. But only hold a 2 medal advantage to the US in the over all medal count.

China 9 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze 14 total
USA 3 gold, 4 silver, 5 bronze 12 total
S. Korea 4 gold, 4 silver, 0 bronze 8 total
Italy 3 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze 8 total

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A Canadian View Point On the Minnesota Twins

The follwing is a draft of a Canadian viewpoint on the suprisingly succesful Minnesota Twins. Now, as the biggest Twins fan this side of the Mason-Dixon line I do not condone most of what is said in this article but it is interesting to see what outsiders think about our hometown-9. I played on a college baseball team made up of 50%I Canadians so I am used to this, but I think this viewpoint is important for us as die-hard Twins fans to read. The writer is a friend of mine, so any nasty comments can be directed at me. I just thought this would be an interesting change from our normal 'I love the Twins' post.

By AlbertaBound

I understand the plight of Minnesotans who, whether they be die-hard or come-lately, feel that the Twins’ play this year should be a far more important keynote on ESPN. It’s certainly true that their surprising success this year rarely garners more than a footnote following the nightly baseball highlights, and I, for one, would have laughed in the face of anyone who thought the Twins would win the division (come to think of it, I did a number of times). It makes me nauseous to say it, but their overachieving play makes it difficult for even an admitted hater to denigrate what they’ve done. With that said, I will now do my best.

The number one reason, of course, that Minnesota receives little to no national attention is simply geography. Small market teams rarely make a big splash and are generally treated as novelties until they prove otherwise in the postseason, and let’s face it – the most recent Twins’ playoff memory the average baseball fan has in mind is Torii Hunter bellyflopping. I could dedicate an entire article to the euphoria I experienced as the ball landed ten feet away and skittered to the wall, effectively crushing the hopes and dreams of an entire state, but that’s for another time and place.

Simply put, it doesn’t matter to anybody in the American League if the Twins run the table the rest of the year, because they don’t have a team built for playoff success. Outside of Francisco Liriano, who may or may not be proverbially “back,” they have nobody that can square off with the Josh Becketts and the John Lackeys of the American League in a Game 7 situation. Nor do they have the staff that can eat up an established veteran lineup dotted with power hitters for an entire series. Outside of Joe Nathan, their bullpen might as well be a cut right out of “Major League” (“This guy here is dead”), and as if anyone wants Jesse Crain or Matt Guerrier squaring off with guys like Mark Teixeira in the seventh inning of a 3-2 game with two on. When he fits in time to pitch between facial spasms, Nathan’s a lights-out closer, but getting him the ball with the lead will be a huge problem come the postseason. Really, the only thing I’d love to see more than the Twins actually miss the playoffs is to see Brian Bass try to navigate his way through a couple of innings against the Angels.

Meanwhile, the crux of every argument surrounding the Twins this year has been how well they’ve been able to play with what they have (and don’t get me wrong, being in a division with two Triple A teams certainly does wonders), and I’ll give credit where it’s due there. On August 3, they beat the Indians with a lineup that featured Denard Span, Jason Kubel, Mike Lamb, Brian Buscher, Brendan Harris, and Carlos Gomez (with Mike Redmond batting three hole. That’s right. Mike Redmond. No, seriously.). Impressive, no doubt, but having even two of those guys in my playoff lineup would give me nightmares if I was Ron Gardenhire. Even putting aside the almost mind-numbing lack of experience, none of those guys are going to hit the ball out of the park consistently, which I’ve heard is sort of important when it comes to winning in the playoffs. After Justin Morneau, they have no established power (Kubel absolutely does not count), and their third leading home run hitter is a guy who was performing so poorly he was released in Craig Monroe, with eight.

And, as if not having the hitting or pitching to go deep into the playoffs wasn’t enough, here’s the coup de gras: The Minnesota Twins are a combined 14-21 against the Red Sox, White Sox, Angels, Yankees, and Rays this year (you know, the kinds of teams they’ll have to beat if they make the playoffs). They’ve also racked up a whopping 42% of their wins against the Indians, Tigers, and Royals (24-12 overall, and are currently fourteen games over .500 – you do the math), and are above .500 against just those three teams in the American League. Again, that’s kind of a big deal.

And so will begin the predictable counterpoints from Twins fans still clinging on to the delusion that they can win in the playoffs despite all common sense screaming otherwise. “They’ve won all year with this ball club, haven’t they?” they will invariably demand. And yes, they do deserve recognition for being able to keep their heads afloat against the rest of the AL while they beat up on Kansas City, Cleveland, and Detroit enough to be right in the running for the division, but when they start playing real teams, with real playoff experience, real pitching, and real power hitters, the conclusion is a foregone one.

Beijing: Day 1 in review.

Hello folks, its finally here, my favorite time of every 2 years. The Olympics its Tony Rezac here coming to you live from beijing.

No, I'm not actually in China right now, but with all the coverage if kinda feels like it. Despite the fact the opening ceremonies were aired on NBC just last night, the games actually started 2 days ago with the U.S. soccer boys taking care of the Japanese 1-0. The first 1-0 win for the American men since the Paris games way back in the '20s. Way to go fellas. But, back to the matters of the here and now, which actually happened yesterday. Today saw a complete domination of Sabre Fencing by the American women, winning all 3 medals. Those dirty Russkies almost stole the bronze from us. The first to 15 score was tied 14-14 when 18 year old Oregon native Becca Ward slipped her sabre down the back of the European champion Sofia Velikaya.
In the pool, Micheal Phelps coasted to an Olympic record in his first action of the 2008 games. The pride and joy of Baltimore MD easily bested the field in the prelims of the 400 meter individual relay. The finals will be aired live tonight, the first of his record to be 8 golds? As an American all I can say is, yes. World record holder Brandon Hanson on the other hand has had a terrible first day, just barely eeking into the semi finals in the 100 meter breaststroke. Hopefully he'll fair better in the later rounds. On the womens side of the pool the 4x100 meter freestyle relay team won a very tight heat, outlasting those dirty Dutch by a mere .08 of a second. Wow, good job gals.
In the sand the number 1 seed American beach volley ball team was upset by the last seeded Latvians. This was one time I was ok with the U.S. losing to some nobody country. The joy on those crazy Lats face is what the Olympics are all about.
When this article went to press 23 medals had been awarded, one of each color for the U.S.A. 2 of the golds to China, a gold and silver to the South Koreans. Other notables: Spain, Romania and the Czech Republic with one gold a piece.
I'm hoping to write up a summery everyday of these games. I, alas am only one man in many on AH and I also know most of the field here doens't give a rip about the games. I will post the medal count everyday though. In your face Haas.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

soup's guest-writer series: part two

For the second installment on expressing different views on the Twins season, we have Private Fitzwilliam Bingley from the 87th Division of the Union Army. Take it away sir.

Playoffs and the Team

Making the playoffs aught not to seem so outlandish a proposition for the Twins of Minnesota.

All is well amongst the perceived to be rebuilding, yet contending, Twins. Thee rotation of pitching has returned to it's former fearsome repute. A left-handed fish, to rival the fabled Leviathan, has swum back into the Major League waters.One, Mr. Liriano, has been added to our staff. A staff, that had previously been only filled with novice reservations, has proven stoic in the poisonous quagmire of the divisional opponents' battery. To date, our beloved team has handled our divisional rivals aplomb. At a record of 34-20, the Central teams hath been hardly formidable foes.

Offensively speaking, there has been an unexpected surplus of equally unexpected timely hits that thus have proven to be greatly prudent to our winning ways. Mr. Span, in time, was moved to the lead off position. This move, however, was far too delayed for the impatient clamoring of dire fans. Naturally, the skipper Gradenhire was blamed for his stubbornness. In thee Gardenhire stubbornness, however, we do trust. I neglect the notion that a man accustomed to not be hasty in his notion to embrace inevitable changes be called a Luddite. Another choice might be simply to describe him as slow in his processes.

The obvious, however, merits utterance. The Twins are mighty green to the playoffs and yet have manifested themselves unexpectedly relevant to the playoff colloquial. Despite the perceived increase in offense, power hitting remains pertinent to efficacious aspects of victory. A thousand times I wish for Delmon Young and a healthy Michael Cuddyer to reach their potential for power from the plate side for thee of right handedness. Despite our most relevant efforts, the hardball enemies remain nigh defeated..

But I've done rambled too much.

Hello, then is goodbye, in this sliver of time. If only I could force my quill to refrain from such profligate descriptors, I could find time to dispense much more baseball relevant information.

Yours now and always,

Private Fitzwillaim Bingley, Company F,
87th Minnesota Division

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Ya Know What Really Grinds My Gears?

By Michael Haas

Shoe shopping. I can't stand shoe shopping. Before last night, I hadn't purchased a new pair of shoes in about five years. Because I'm the worst shoe shopper ever. And I think I realized why I hate shoe shopping: New shoes suck.

New shoes are the biggest racket on earth. When you walk into a shoe store, there are probably 500 different pairs from which to choose. Which is a lot, until you realize that all those shoes are ugly. And all those 500 pairs of shoes fall into just three categories:

1. Tennis shoes

Tennis shoes are cool. I'm talking about all those run-of-the-mill Nike, Adidas, New Balance, L.A. Lights, and so on. These shoes are comfortable and everything, but they aren't good casual work shoes. They are often too gaudy and athletic looking. I'm looking for something a bit more professional...

2. Hipster shoes

Wouldn't it be great if someone designed comfortable, fashionable, respectable looking shoes? Amazing! They succeeded by coming up with "sport casual" Oh, except just one thing: they're all ugly. I guess they are OK for hipster doofuses. But I'm just not that cool. They all look like track shoes these days. And half of them don't have laces. Ha! Most of them look like golf shoes.

"If we're ever going to get out of here alive, we're going to need some golf shoes"

3. Skater shoes

I've never really skateboarded in my whole life.

It's hard to believe, but it's true: we don't have many options when it comes to shoes. We're held at the mercy of designers who tell us what's fashionable. Well I'm not buying it. Literally.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what grinds my gears.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Soup's Guest-Writing Series Part 1

To get a different perspective on the Twins this season, I have asked a few different people to write their thoughts on our club. First up is my 7 year old nephew, Aaron.

The Twins are good, but sometimes I like the Red Sox, though.

The Twins have Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer. They are friends. Justin is better because he hits Homers all the time. I can hit homers too, but not as far. One time I did, though. You can ask Tyler. He saw it. It went waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay over the fence, my homer.

Livan is gone. That's good cuz he is sucky. Dad says, "He was the biggest waste of money since your mom's gym membership." But I'm not supposed to tell Mom that.

Liriano is back and he is awesome. He throws so fast! Dad likes it when he "breaks sliders off in their butts." When mom's not around, sometimes he doesn't say "butts," though.

I think we can catch the White Sox. They are sooooooo dumb and stupid. Their whole team is like old. They're all probably going to get hurt or get arthritis like grandpa, but they might not, though. They suck at batting average. And their pitchers have been super lucky cuz really they are all crappy.

Our pitching is freaking awesome. They never ever do walks. We have good batters too. Cuddyer will come back. He's good. We should have four outfielders like my softball team, Scott's Lumber. We were really good. We almost won the championship, but the ump wrecked it. He was so fat and stupid. We still got a huge trophy and a pizza party at Godfathers, though.

Besides Justin, our infield isn't very good, but they try really hard. Sometimes they're good, though. Nick Punto is my favorite player, but Dad told me he wasn't my favorite player.

Most of our team is really fast like my friend Ryan. They can run the bases fast and play good defense, like Gomez. I called him Go-Go, but Dad said to stop cuz it's "unoriginal and overdone, it's like the Soja Boy of nicknames." Ryan won the Presidential Fitness award in Gym. His parents are divorced, though.

We didn't make any trades, Dad said we made, "addition by subtraction." So that's good.

In conclusion, The Twins will win it because Justin and Joe are friends, we are fast, play defense, can do batting average, and try really hard. The White Sox will lose because they're sucky and like 100 years old and will all get hurt, but they might not though.

Monday, August 4, 2008

View From The Top

By Michael Haas

I'm trying not to over-react to the Twins place in the standings. After all, it's just a half game, and they could be in second place once again on Tuesday. But I feel very very happy that our squad is on top. It's August and the Twins are in first.

It was a great afternoon at the dome yesterday. It seemed almost scripted: Francisco Liriano delivered the team to the top of the division. Amazing. Which got me to thinking: Everything is gravy for us Twins fans right now. We've spent most of our time bitching about Livan, Boof, Punto, Rincon, Carlos Gomez and Delmon Young.

The club has made the proper adjustments. Livan and Rincon were shipped out. Punto is hitting. Boof has been vanquished to middle relief purgatory. Carlos Gomez was dropped to the nine spot after much hand-wringing. And Delmon Young is....well, the hype has worn off and he's hitting a little bit.

Mike Lamb now resides on the bench, salt and pepper beard and all. When he came to bat on Sunday afternoon, I began to wonder why he wasn't thrown out with the Livan/Monroe trash. But wouldn't ya know it, he connects for an RBI triple. A guy with gray whiskers hits a triple. Imagine that.

But that's just how well things are going for the Twins these days.

The trade deadline worked out alright too. They didn't have to give up any of our young pitchers for any lazy, overpaid hacks. And the White Sox traded away some players for an aging centerfielder, spurring one Sox blog to opine: The Day The White Sox Lost The Central

But there's a long road ahead. Literally. The experts say our club has a tough schedule, what with a bunch of road games. For some reason, the Republican National Convention - to be held in St. Paul in early September - is forcing the Twins on the road.

I just have two questions:
Why do the Twins have to leave Minneapolis for a bunch of politicians in St. Paul?
And, Why is everyone making such a big deal of all these road games?

I have no clue about the answer to the first question. If I asked someone who knew, they would probably mumble something about transportation and security and hotels and no child left behind.

The question about the road games is answerable: The Twins record is much better at home. They're 23 and 28 away from the dome. Thank god for the dome, right?

A lot of season left. But right now, it's all gravy.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The End of an Era

Title might be a little over dramatic. But on this hungover Saturday morning it's how I feel.

I first want to apologize to the people that associate themselves with Alright Hamilton! From the frequent to the occasional writers, none of you had anything to do with my mini-rant the other day. Even Haas felt he needed to do damage control (scroll to the bottom). That let me know I have become a burden on the good people at AH! I needed to move on.

The worst part about it? I was somewhat wrong, well mostly wrong. Not for putting different blogs in different categories. You are kidding yourself if you don't see a pretty distinct difference between the two. Not guys vs girls women. But just the two different kinds of blogs. Granted there is some overlap but don't think it's that outrageous to see the difference, not disparity, but a diference (And to those of you that are not paying attention, AH! is in the second group).

Where I was wrong, was that I took out my frustration with one blog out on a lot of really good ones. (Sincere and deep apologies to Lipgloss, OMG and Twin Sisters.) Clearly I have an issue with the Those Girls. If you don't get the link, read this (an actual link, I swear).

Here are a couple things I learned from Those Girls.

She is an excellent debater. I know this for two reasons. A) she said it herself B) she disabled comments section on her post.

She links to Bat-Girl even though the blog was defunct about 7 months before they started theirs. This increases their reputation or "rep" as the kids say, with the twins blogosphere.

Call me bitter if you want. It's true. I just got pissed when I tried to make (what I thought to be) some poignant comment(s) on another Twins blogs to then be met with some (again, what I thought to be) snotty responses from "Those Girls."

And with that I will take my ball and go home.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Series Review, Preview and other notes

By Michael Haas

My room mate refused to attend the game on Wednesday because Livan Hernandez was the Twins starting pitcher. But the 42,000 fans who found a seat that night may have witnessed the start of Something Beautiful. What went down in the record books as a Loss, the game could result in many wins, as Livan's bad start probably convinced the Twins to finally replace him in the rotation. With Francisco Liriano.

Even though the Twins failed to make a deadline move, they are sitting pretty at just a half game out of first place. The only problem now is that we have too many outfielders and not enough infielders.

Souhan thought that Smith should have traded Liriano for an infielder like Adrian Beltre. I thought that was funny.

"What? Trade Liriano? In our moment of triumph?"

So if Livan has truly made his last start as a Twin, we'll have a very forward-looking starting 5:

Nick Blackburn -26 years old
Scott Baker - 26 years old
Kevin Slowey - 24 years old
Glen Perkins - 25 years old
Francisco Liriano - 24 years old

I challenge anyone to find a younger, more stable rotation than that. For years to come? cross your fingers.

So what's next? The Indians? Yes.

Friday: Blackburn v. Sowers - The Twins just faced Jeremy Sowers last weekend in Cleveland. The lefty shut em down before they finally got to him in, like, the 6th or something. The Twins can hit lefties OK now, eventually. Twins Win.

Saturday: Slowey v. Byrd - What is there to say about Paul Byrd? He's a soft tossing righty with a 5 ERA, but he usually has some whiskers on his face. Twins should be able to get to him.

Sunday: Perkins v. something called Ginter - This will be just his fourth start of the year, but he pitched alright against the Rays last week. Twins win this game too.

Daymonster correctly predicted the outcome of the White Sox series last week, which was very cool, and hopefully my picks are spot-on as well. Daymonster also managed to piss off 95% of the Twins blogosphere with his post the other day, which was not so cool. But I think (I think) what he was trying to say is that we're all Twins fans. We're all Twins fans. And that's all I have to say about that.

And finally:

So long, Livan.