Friday, January 30, 2009

Potential 8th Inning Relief

After Pat Neshek went down with an injury, the Twins were without an effective eighth inning pitcher for much of the season. Reyes, Breslow, Crain and Guerrier couldn't do the job consistently. Addressing this problem was one of the top priorities of the offseason for Smith & Co, but no sure-thing reliever has yet been acquired.

Let's take a deeper look at some of the options. First, the new aquisitions.

Something called Sean Henn

Sean Henn was signed to a minor-league deal in December. And you thought the Twins hadn't made moves this offseason! Now you're excited. But one glance at his career stats, and the expectations are quickly tempered. In his four year career, he's struck out 47 while walking 52. One positive: he's due.

Fun Fact: Henn came up in the Yankees organization, and has recently been in the news because of Joe Torre's book. In it, Torre talks about Henn's odd penchant for Civil War-era guns and artillery. But the skipper adored Sean Henn, once asking A-Rod, "why can't you be more like Sean?" Steinbrenner thought he was drafting Sean Penn.

R.A. Dickey has considerably more major league experience, but he's a weirdo knuckleballer. He'll have a shot to make the club out of spring training if his pitches are flatteringly fluttering like they should. I'm not sure what his role would be, but it probably wouldn't be an 8th inning, hold onto the lead situation.

Fun fact: He is really actually missing his Tommy John ligament in his pitching elbow.

After being drafted by the Rangers, Dickey was initially offered a signing bonus of $810,000, before a Rangers team physician saw Dickey's arm hanging oddly in a picture. The Rangers subsequently did further evaluation of Dickey, leading to the discovery of the missing ligament, and reduced their offer to $75,000.
The bad news didn't get to Dickey though, as a combination of prescription drugs and alcohol, helped him through the tough times. Also, he robbed several banks in the florida pan handle to make up the difference in the signing bonus. If he makes the team, he'll have to fight Brad Radke in a fire-ringed death match to win the nickname RAD.

Possible acquisitions:

Speaking of drug users, Eric Gagne has been on the Twins radar. They watched him work out, but have broken off contract talks for the time being. Scott Boras probably scared them off. The consensus seems to be that Gagne had a decent second half of '08, so he'd be worth the risk of signing to a one-year deal with incentives. But he's Canadian and he once had HGH sent to Dodger Stadium.

Fun Fact: He puts dryer sheets in the washing machine.

Luis Ayala is another possibility. The 31 year-old righty had a 5.71 ERA between the Mets and Nationals last season.

Fun Fact: Although Ayala has virtually no upside, he is a genuinely nice guy. Whenever he sees a "how's my driving?" bumper sticker, he calls the number to report a "flawless and gracious driving style." He says it's his way of giving back to the community.

Jose Mijares has been very good in the past six months, coming up in September and helping the Twins embarrass themselves a little less down the stretch. He had been shutting people down in Winter League before he got in a spat with the manager and left the team. It's probably better for it to happen down there than up here. Hopefully he's a bigger man because of it.

Fun Fact: Mijares is studying social psychology in his free time. He has no time to attend formal classes, but he's already written his thesis for when that time comes. It's about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and their underlying, but distinct hierarchy. He has also conducted interviews to study the correlation between ones favorite Turtle and their personality type. He believes Leonardo's are dominant and Michelangelo's are goofs.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Microsoft Songsmith Making Music and Making it Better

While I am probably the worst person to be writing a post about music, I thought all of you actual musicians would get a kick out of this. I am sure many of you know about Apple's music program Garage Band, and some of you might know about Microsoft's attempt to enter into consumer music producing business. It's called Songsmith (tm). And to give you an idea of what it's supposed to be used for I present you their (unintentionally) hilarious commercial.

So now that you know what it's supposed to be used for, I will present you with what it really has been used for.

Basically, people have taken the vocal tracks from famous songs and imported them in to Songsmith. Now in theory Songsmith should take these vocals and match them with awesome music. Let's see if that works out.

"Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor

"Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osbourne

"Creep" by Radiohead

"White Wedding" by Billy Idol

And my favorite: "Wonderwall" by Oasis

Sorry I know this post is a little video-heavy, but I thought you might enjoy it. The techno Oasis song is already on my iPod.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

John Updike: RIP

From his "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu" first published in the New Yorker magazine Oct. 22, 1960

Understand that we were a crowd of rational people. We knew that a
home run cannot be produced at will; the right pitch must be perfectly met and
luck must ride with the ball. Three innings before, we had seen a brave effort
fail. The air was soggy, the season was exhausted. Nevertheless, there will
always lurk, around the corner in a pocket of our knowledge of the odds, an
indefensible hope, and this was one of the times, which you now and then find in
sports, when a density of expectation hangs in the air and plucks an event out
of the future.

Fisher, after his unsettling wait, was low with the first pitch. He put
the second one over, and Williams swung mightily and missed. The crowd grunted,
seeing that classic swing, so long and smooth and quick, exposed. Fisher threw
the third time, Williams swung again, and there it was. The ball climbed on a
diagonal line into the vast volume of air over center field. From my angle,
behind third base, the ball seemed less an object in flight than the tip of a
towering, motionless construct, like the Eiffel Tower or the Tappan Zee Bridge.
It was in the books while it was still in the sky. Brandt ran back to the
deepest corner of the outfield grass, the ball descended beyond his reach and
struck in the crotch where the bullpen met the wall, bounced chunkily, and

Like a feather caught in a vortex, Williams ran around the square of
bases at the center of our beseeching screaming. He ran as he always ran out
home runs - hurriedly, unsmiling, head down, as if our praise were a storm of
rain to get out of. He didn't tip his cap. Though we thumped, wept, and chanted
''We want Ted'' for minutes after he hid in the dugout, he did not come back.
Our noise for some seconds passed beyond excitement into a kind of immense open
anguish, a wailing, a cry to be saved. But immortality is nontransferable. The
papers said that the other players, and even the umpires on the field, begged
him to come out and acknowledge us in some way, but he refused. Gods do not
answer letters.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Art Span and Jason Kerbul

Well, haven't had too much to say lately. But I figured I'd share this little bit of not-so-interesting information with you all.

While watching the T-wolves overtime win over the Bulls last night. They cameraman panned the crowd and who did they spot, none other than Jason Kerbul and Art Span. Well, at least that's how the commentators Neil Funk and Stacey King pronounced them.

To be fair the reason they look so angry could be that at this point the Timberwolves were shooting about as bad as the Dallas Academy girls basketball team. Zing!

Kubel and Span (who I never thought would be the ones hanging out together, Morneau and Gomez always seemed like a good duo) put on a clinic for how to look cool and like you just don't care.

Anywho, while the game was pretty fun to watch it got old listening to Funk and King talking about how small the TV monitors are in the Target canter and "why would anyone ever move from Chicago to Minnesota?"

These guys are like the Chicago White Sox of Basketball!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Alright Hamilton Guide to TwinsFest

TwinsFest is here, signaling the beginning of the 2009 baseball season. Everyone who is anyone will be at the dome this weekend, besides Dennys Reyes. All the new players that we signed will be there too. Like RA Dickey and uh........

Anyway, here are the fairly obvious things to do at Twinsfest, that almost every Twins fan knows to do anyway.

Free posters - swing by the Education Minnesota booth out by the tunnel in right field.

Discounted memorabilia and swag from the Twins Pro Shop

Make sure to bring your camera - you can get pictures with Twins greats. Usually fast moving lines.

The huge model of Target Field will be there, along with actual seats that they'll be using. I enjoy screwing with people's minds, spreading false rumors while looking through this area. "I heard they're going to have a waterfall pouring down from that parking ramp, which forms a creek that moves beneath centerfield, then piped up to the canopy where it sprays mist on hot summer days." or, "They're trying to increase taxes to build a roof, but Pawlenty won't raise taxes because he wants to be President, so it's a secret tax, and it won't be built until he's President, so they're calling it the Secret Roof President Pawlenty Tax Plan."

Clubhouse Tours - this is actually pretty neat. You can check out the dugout, locker room, and both press boxes. But it's usually a super long line.

Kent Hrbek. If he's at his Kent Hrbek Outdoors both, you can buy a hat or shirt from him for $2o bucks and he'll autograph it. Nice guy, that Kent Hrbek.

For all you American Idol fans out there, why not try out your vocal skills in front of people you don't know. Auditions are being held to sing the national anthem before a Twins game. Come join me and some other AH contributors as faux-judges/peanut gallery. We'll be in the stands just beyond the tryout booth. Brex will be wearing the Paula Abdual wig.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Brief Note from Twins Caravan

I drove to Northfield on Monday to catch Nick Blackburn, Scott Baker and Dan Gladden do their thing as part of Twins Caravan 2009: Screams of Passion. TC Bear warmed up the crowd (occasionally literally) by high-fiving kids and doing silly poses. He was a big hit with the young crowd - I think I was the only adult there without any kids with me. Of course, I was there with my parents, so I'm a pretty sorry excuse for an adult. And I gotta say, T.C. Bear was the highlight for me too. We were so lucky that he chose to join our leg of the caravan.

- Blackburn and Baker, or as I like to call them, 'the B and B boys,' were introduced by Dan Gladden. They talked vaguely about their how last seasons pennant race gives the young team valuable experience for the upcoming year. Of course, they both expect the Twins to be division champs.

- Gladden did a good job as the Master of Ceremonies. He was out in the audience, taking questions from kids and relaying them to the pitchers on the stage. One kid sitting behind us asked Gladden how long a game is. Dazzle started telling the kid that there isn't a clock, it's nine innings. The kid didn't understand. So instead of relaying that stupid question, he said, "Yeah this kid wants to know how young you were when you started playing ball."

- This even was much better than the time I saw Torii Hunter and Doug Mientkiewicz at Twins Caravan '02: Take a look at me now. One of my buddies, Bizmarkie507, asked the two sluggers if they could hit a baseball through the window near the top of the gymnasium. They didn't know how to respond. So Bert tried to cover by saying something like, "I think what this gentleman is trying to say is, how often do you try to pull the ball, rather than hitting to the opposite field?" Bizmarkie corrected him, "No, I mean like, right now. Let's get a bat and ball then see if you can hit that window."

- When asked who's their favorite player on the Twins, Blackburn's answer was Joe Mauer. He said he rarely shakes Mauer off, and when he does, Mauer comes out to the mound and tells him he's wrong. The story doesn't sound believable to me. I doubt Mauer has ever told anyone that they're wrong about anything, ever.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Nebraska boy named baseball's bottom prospect

Norfolk, Nebraska eleven year old, Philip Snodgrass, has been named by BaseballUSA as baseball’s bottom prospect. He is currently playing right field for Scott’s Lumber little league team. Snodgrass has been hitless in all of his 18 little league at bats this year, continuing his three year hitless streak dating back to his tee ball debut on May 22nd, 2005.

Snodgrass’s father, and Scott’s Lumber coach, Jack, was surprised by the news. “I mean, he has a lot to work on, but I’ve seen improvement. He’s also been injured a lot.” said the father. Some of Philip’s development may have been stunted by as series of non-baseball related injuries. Most significantly, he missed four games this year with a bloody nose.

Snodgrass was less surprised by his current prospect ranking. “Yeah, that’s about right,” said the right fielder, “Baseball is hard, and it makes my body tired. One time I got dirt in my sock.”

Snodgrass’ teammates share his unsurprised sentiment. Shortstop Taylor Hahn commented, “Oh, he’s bad. I actually invite my friends to our games just to watch how bad he is. But he’s nice, though. He’s got an X Box.”

BaseballUSA’s advanced scout, Rick Prendergast, explains Snodgrass’ ranking saying, “Yeah, there is really no one else in the country less likely to be a Major League ball player. He graded out as a minus, minus...well, everything. Seriously, watching him bat is like watching a quadriplegic thrown into a tornado with a baseball bat duct-taped to his hands.”

Snodgrass, however, has no errors in his 46 games of organized baseball. BaseballUSA analysts have concluded that this is most likely a result of zero fielded balls by Snodgrass. He explains, “No. Gosh no. I don’t field balls. Very dangerous. I played catch one time and it hurt my hand a lot. One time Carson (Shilling) went to catch a ball, and it hit him in the face. No thank you.”

Despite his ranking, Snodgrass will continue to play baseball, stating the season ending pizza party as the primary enticement. He added, “That’s what it’s all about. Pizza parties. If you take part of the straw wrapper off, you can blow on the straw and shoot the wrapper at people. And Pizza is awesome. I only like cheese, though.”

Friday, January 16, 2009

More notes

-University of Minnesota student, Casey Carlson, is a contestant on American Idol and has made it through to Hollywood. Why is this significant? Well, because. I will watch every episode until she is eliminated (and probably the ones after that).

-You ever wonder what Marty Cordova is up to these days? I did. I used to wake up at night in cold sweats yelling, “Cordova!?!?!” In my head, since his retirement, he has been racing motorcycles in volcanoes and hunting foxes with various European dignitaries and their hounds.

Well, now I know what he’s up to, and I’m not sure I’ll be sleeping better at night. I guess he is doing old man feats of strength with UFC president Dana White. It's not all that entertaining, but here's the video evidence. In another video of Cordova talking about the UFC, he says that Sidney Ponson was the only crazy guy that he played with, and that his Twins teammates were well-behaved because, "Tom Kelly made sure we stayed in line or he wouldn't play you." The 1995 rookie of the year also started a jewelry company. Seriously.

-The Yankees signed three type A free agents this year. I don't usually pay attention to Major League Baseball's rules for signing and trading. They make my brain hurt. But, I do know that you have to give up draft picks when you sign type A or B free agents. So, what picks did the Yankees have to give to the teams that they signed free agents from?

As a Twins fan, I have no idea. My team has never experienced this. The Twins haven't signed a type A free agent...well, ever, I don't think.

A google search told me that the Angels get the Yankee's first round pick for Teixeira. The Brewers get the Yankee's second round pick for Sabathia. And the Blue Jays get the Yankee's third round pick for Burnett. There are also "sandwich picks," or something. And apparently there is an equation involved to rank free agents, but I don't have my TI 83 with Bottom line, it sucks to be the Blue Jays.

Sorry, if you already knew this, and you wasted your life reading the last paragraph. But, stay tuned next week when I investigate a rumor about pitchers being required to hit in the National League.

-Final Jeopardy of the day without searching the internet: This player hit his first Major League grand slam as a pinch hitter for the go ahead run against the Toronto Blue Jays in 2004.

Kinda Obscure Friday Notes I Think You'd Like

- I had planned on going to Twinsfest next weekend for two reasons: Opening Day tickets, 2. buy last game at the dome tickets. But Twins single game tickets won't go on sale until February, 7th. There are two reasons for this, I was told: They are still looking to sell season-ticket packages, and a later date gives them more time and more seats. The Twins are one of the first teams in the majors to sell single game tix. The second reason is the new ticketing system. Images of ticketmaster overcharges danced in my head. But this fellow down at 34 Kirby Puckett Place assured me that it was just an MLB-wide ticketing system. Whatever. Now I have no reason to go to Twinsfest.

I received an email from a friend the other day, asking why AH shows no love for the T-wolves. They've been playin better ball lately, but I'll acknowledge the Tubby Smiths before the Wolves.

However, I dug up this Lost Post, filed under 'Ya know what grinds my gears'

Terrible rap music while the home team has the ball during NBA games.

Music while the home team has the ball during NBA games.

Music at NBA games.

NBA games.

- Often with new technology, prices are inconsistent. This HDTV is selling for $7,488.99
I'm fine with my rabbit ears, thank you very much.

- The Saints picked a cold week to announce their plans for an outdoor baseball game in February. Link.

- How cold is it? It's so cold that the Twins Caravan won't start. It's so cold that Pohlad won't be buried until pitchers and catchers report. It's so cold that Billy Smith is hibernating with TC Bear.

- The Twins announced today that U.S. Bank will be their second corporate partner. Ready for this? U.S. Bank Home Run Porch. I can't wait to hear that roll off Gordo's tongue. "Here's a drive from Morneau, deep to right field, and there it goes! he just cashed in at U.S. Bank Home Run Porch. Touch 'em all!"

- Since no one died, I think it's okay that we have a caption contest:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Pedro Gomez is a silly goose

Isn't ESPN's Pedro Gomez a silly goose? Big League Stew brought to my attention that he voted for Jay Bell to go to Cooperstown and not Bert Blyleven.
Now, I can't rip Bell too much. He was one of us. The Twins drafted him in 1984. Then, ironically, the Twins traded him to the Indians in a deal that brought us Bert from the Pirates. Then Bell...I don't know...played for some teams and stuff? Apparently he had a nice career. Good for him.
But more deserving than the Farting Dutchman? Bert has struck out more batters than Tom Seaver, Hank Aaron, and Willy Mays combined. How many other players have done that? Not many. Like four, maybe.

Every year there are some dumb ballots cast by members of the BBWAA. Every year there are also two "B's" in their acronym for no reason. Baseball is one word. One "B" should be sufficient. Oh, and be sure to check out their website. It was created by eighth grader Tyler Kirkvold as his final project in his personal computing class.

Anyway, can you imagine if we didn't use the stuffy BBWAA rules and the public voted players into the HOF, like we do for all-star games? I can.

Here would be your 2009 HOF class:

Shigetoshi Hasegawa
Hideki Irabu
Masao Kida
Kazuhiro Sasaki
Masato Yoshii

Lost post: Live-blogging the Knickerbockers 1859 season opener

Friend of AH!, Fitzwilliam Bingley, wrote this a while ago, but we're just getting around to posting it.

A fine crowd has gathered to watch the New York Knickerbockers play the detestable swine that are the Brooklyn Excelsiors. This is the first game of the season in this eighteen hundred and fifty ninth year of our lord.

The glimmering shadows, that lay half-asleep between the field of base and ball and the adjacent oaks, were a kind of spiritual medium, seen through which, this magnificent game had not quite the aspect of belonging to the material world. Truly, it’s a divine field of grass surrounding a charming inner field of mud and dirt. But, we will not, then, malign the infield as gross and impure, while it can glorify itself with so adequate a picture of the heaven that broods above it; or, if we remember its tawny hue and its muddiness. Let it be a symbol that the earthliest human soul has an infinite spiritual capacity, and may contain the better world within it depths. In a world where few things are certain, I assure you this game, this chess of the flesh, is at home on this irregular field. Oh, and also, they are serving beer. Which is nice.

First Inning:

The Knickerbockers, looking dapper in their customary white flannel tops and blue pantaloons, take the field with a chorus of cheers. The excitement of the crowd has led to some peculiar behavior. Nearly all have removed their handkerchiefs from their pockets and are twirling them in the air around their heads in hopes that this act will bring a hit that allows a Knickerbacker batsman to return all the way to home.

The Knickerbockers slipshod play has given the Excelsiors runs hardly earned. Paulding was typically tardy to relay the ball back to the infield. The torpor of his movements makes a pregnant heifer seems swift. Whata bum.

6-3 Excelsiors

Second Inning:

E.B. Tucker has given the Knickerbocker offense a most needed spark. He is a giant of a man, standing at a stature of six feet and one inch, with a frame supporting the weight of one hundred and ninety some pounds. The hearts of many women have been torn asunder by his recent engagement to be married. I too opine for he and I to meet in a desolate field, the moonlight, opiating our senses as he ravishes his charms into my supple flesh under the watchful eye of silent stars. O’ how I wish he might join me, if only to nuzzle my visage into the intricacies of his gaping maw…but totally just as friends, of course.

9-7 Knickerbockers

Third Inning:

I see Doc Havensworth and his blood letting instruments are on hand in case of injury. The safety of the players is of the utmost importance.

The Excelsiors have regained the momentum. I am becoming more irritable with each run those bastard men score. Adding to the irritation, some hooplehead has blown up a pig bladder and has begun passing it about. If it comes near me, as God is my witness, I will pop that maddening sphere with this very ink-pen I hold clenched in my hand.

16-10 Excelsiors

Fourth Inning:

Birney has made a most commendable play for two outs. He dived on the infield dirt after the ball like a feral dog after an infant field mouse deformed at birth. Then, in the prone position mind you, flipped the ball to Adams at second base. Adams then relayed the ball to the elder Anthony brother covering first. Birney has covered his uniform with dirt, as he is wont to do from time to time; for he is well know for pantaloons covered in mud and a crotch covered in syphilis.

23-18 Excelsiors

Fifth Inning:

I just popped the pig bladder. A man yelled at me for ruining his fun. I threw a rock at his face.

32-27 Excelsiors

Sixth Inning

Mrs. Shivelgrass is in attendance. She has taken the demeanor of a widow and is mucking about with the shuffle of one suffering from consumption. Now she has run onto the field of play with her dress held high! My face has turned an embarrassing hue of crimson as I report to you that I, and all of God’s creation, caught a sinfully long glimpse of the skin of her legs below the knee. The three Patterson brothers, obese as they are dim, have finally restrained Mrs. Shivelgrass, after waddling humorously about the field in pursuit. Thankfully Father Matthews is in attendance to properly diagnose her as a witch. Doc Havensworth concurs. Yes, I know it's the mid 19th century, but our town still loves a good witch diagnoses. So back the ef off, history majors.

38-30 Excelsiors

Seventh Inning:

Avery appears to have injured his leg. He is helped off the field toward Doc Havensworth for a much needed rest and blood letting.

The Knickerbockers fail to overcome the deficit.

Final: Excelsiors 41 Knickerbockers 34


The current depression this loss has put upon me shall be lifted by the post game entertainment. For the trial of Mrs. Shivelgrass and her witchcraft is too be held post haste, and it almost assuredly will be followed by a rousing witch drowning. There are no losers this day! Well, sans Mrs. Shivelgrass. That witch gunna get drowned.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Let's Get Michael Young

Michael Young is reportedly demanding a trade from the Texas Rangers. The shortstop has hit over .300, played over 150 games and played good defense consistently for the past six seasons. The Rangers are asking him to switch to third base, to make way for something called Elvis Andrus. Young refuses, and gave the Rangers a list of teams to whom he'd accept a trade.

I've consulted Alright Hamilton MLB Hot Stove Correspondent, Tony F. Rezac.

AH: The Twins should trade for Michael Young.

TFR: he's pissed about having to switch positions.... again

AH: yes, he came up as a second baseman. Do you think the Twins have interest?

TFR: Well, he would fit right in, except he's kinda overrated. And we wouldn't want to shift around the staples we have in the infield.

AH: Oh yes, I forgot our big offseason move: signing Nick Punto to play shortstop.

TFR: ha, and we have a 'can't miss' second basemen in Casilla, and you can't argue with Buschers .306 average.

AH: Riiight. But it wouldn't take a lot to get him, relatively.

TFR: How do you mean?

AH: It's so late in the offseason, and he's forcing them to trade him, and there's only a few teams he would go to and only a few teams that would go for him. And we've got money.

TFR: True, but Bill Smith has been asleep at the wheel. Not a single move other than singing Punto to be an everyday player.

AH: Well yeah, there's no way it'll happen. But it should be considered more than it is. Or something.

AH: 1.21 gigawatts!

TFR: ha, I love that movie.

AH: Check this shirt out.

TFR: That's great

TFR: They are making a movie about the end of the world in 2012.

AH: Who are?

TFR: One of the major movie studios. I just watched the trailer on imdb

AH: Looks good?

TFR: No, no it does not..... but it has to be better than "The Day After Tomorrow" doesn't it? that movie was awful.

AH: Why is the world going to end in 2012?

TFR: the Mayan calendar ends December 21st, 2012.

AH: Oh my god, does anyone else know about this?

TFR: But for them the world ended in about 1500, so they were way off.

AH: It's just when they ran outta paper, or realized, "hey wtf am I doing writing an infinite calendar?"

TFR: my calenders always end on December 31st, but I wake up every January 1st.

AH: Booya.

TFR: Listen to Phil Collins - Easy Lover

AH: Priceless.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Random Notes: Prince Edition

- Prince hates record labels. Remember when he changed his name to that unspeakable symbol? He claimed the record label essentially owned the name 'prince' and used it to make money. He hates record labels. So to release the three albums worth of new material this year without a record label, Prince devised a plan. Start a website. It's an odd choice considering that Prince seems to hate the internet, too. He's one of the only artists who has essentially no music on youtube. He once tried to sue one of his fansites for illegal use images and junk.

But I guess his hatred of record labels trumps his hatred of the internet. He launched a few months ago, featuring four new songs, but it was quickly pulled down. His new site,, launched this week. For now, it features three new songs, including a rockin' version of the classic 'Crimson and Clover'

I wrote last month about my lack of interest in my old favorites new music. But Prince has a few things going for him. 1. His inadvertent viral marketing has the web buzzing. 2. The music is good. It seems that he's fine tuned his sound, with more guitar. 3. He's from Minneapolis, and is proud of it. The website features our skyline, and he has a song called MPLSound. Represent.

- Speaking of represent, how cool are these tee-shirts?

- Question: Is there any better movie-album-song trifecta than Purple Rain? Great movie, great album, great song.

- We've posted Prince doing While My Guitar Gently Weeps, his 1985 Purple Rain performance at the AMA's, and his awesome side project, The Family, whose song we used as the 'o8 Twins rally soundtrack.

But make sure you check out his SNL performance before they find it and remove it.

- I can imagine Prince as a mime. What shade of red would you describe his beret?

I can also imagine Prince as a television weatherman.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A solution to College Football without needing a playoff

The Florida Gators and Oklahoma Sooners will play for the National Championship tonight, and yet again, multiple teams are screaming injustice. The Argument is that there are too many qualified teams to fill two slots, so they want a playoff. Let's take a look at the teams that were left angry on the sidelines and think about what should they should have done/should do to better their situation.

Southern California Trojans: They are an annual powerhouse, and looked like a much better team than the Big Ten's finest (tries not to laugh) Penn State in the Rose Bowl. Like Oklahoma and Florida, they only have one loss, to go with a few high profile wins. The Trojans get snubbed because of their strength of schedule. The Pac-10 has been dubbed the Pac-1, because the level of teams significantly drop off compared to USC. A large disadvantage they have is that unlike the ACC, Big 12, and SEC, they do not have a Conference Championship game. A way to kill three birds with one stone is to invite Boise State to the conference. Boise State dominates their conference every year, usually goes undefeated, yet do not get taken seriously for a National Championship because of their weak conference. Adding Boise State to the Pac-10 would strengthen both USC and BSU's schedule, and 11 teams would help justify a 1 vs 2 Pac-10 title game.

Boise State Broncos: See above.

Utah Utes: Many are making the case that they deserve the National Championship because of their win over Alabama and their undefeated record. What kills them is their 72nd ranked Strength of Schedule. For some reason, nobody is talking about how Utah and Texas had a 2-1 contract, meaning these teams would play each other 3 consecutive years, 2007 at Texas, 2008 at Utah, and 2009 back at Texas. This didn't happen because Utah pulled out of this season's game at the last minute, so Texas scheduled Arkansas State instead. If Utah wants to be taken seriously as a possible National Champion, then they need to play Texas, period. If that Texas/Utah game occurred, whichever team lost would be clearly out of the NCG picture, and which ever team won most likely would be playing Florida tonight.

University of Texas Longhorns: They do have the biggest argument out of anybody to play in the National Championship Game, due to the fact that they beat Oklahoma earlier this year. People say the BCS screwed them because Oklahoma, by a few percentage points, inched out Texas in the Rankings, thus the highest BCS ranked team got to play in the conference championship and so on and so forth. But the fact is, the Big 12 all around got this one wrong.

The SEC's rule about a 3 way tie is they take the two highest ranked BCS teams out of the three, and go with head to head. This makes perfect sense. The Big 12 just simply goes with the highest ranked BCS team, disregarding head to head completely. You also have to acknowledge the fact that Every Big 12 coach unanimously agreed to said rules, so ultimately Texas has nobody to blame but themselves. But I also blame the Big 12 as a whole for agreeing to these tiebreaker rules.

So there you have it. As much as I'd like a playoff, it just simply isn't going to happen anytime in the near future. If these teams make these adjustments, then we wouldn't be hearing the massive arguments.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Rewind: omg, Twins to be contracted

Here's what would have been written if Alright Hamilton were in existence in November, 2001.

First McDonald's burns down, then terrorists attack, and now this. The Twins are one of two teams that are rumored to be part of Bud Selig's contraction plan. What does that mean? It means the Twins would cease to exist. Major League Baseball would buy the organization, and then dissolve it. From Walter Johnson to Kirby Puckett to Cristian Guzman, all that history....poof.

And this comes after our most successful season since the early 90's. The Twins almost took the division this season, and we have the same team coming back. It's sickening.

How did it come to this?

Carl Pohlad. He volunteered the Twins for this outrageous plan. Most Twins fans agree that he's a stingy old miser, but we never thought it could come to this. Some people considered him at least a fan, and thanked him for buying the team and keeping them in Minnesota, and for opening his checkbook to keep Kirby here. But if Pohlad and Selig get their wish, Pohlad's legacy will be worse than Norm Green's. Much worse. To willfully dissolve a beloved team is a slap in the face to the citizens of Minnesota. He cares about money - he has no respect for us.

Here's a quote from the Star Tribune:

"[Pohlad's] family will be forever a pariah in Minnesota ... the Pohlad name will be remembered with contempt. ... For 41 years, the Twins have added greatly this state's social fabric and identity. Letting them die when we need them most is foolish indeed"

Other thoughts:

- Being a senior in high school rocks. Our band kicks ass.

- We should totally invade Iraq before the blow us up with all their WMD's.

- Who would your new favorite team be if the Twins are contracted? Mine may be the Rockies. Mike Hampton had a bad season, but he'll turn it around. Ron Coomer probably won't be back with the Cubs, so maybe I'll root for whichever team he signs with, as long as it's not the Yankees.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Twins Hall of Fame Thresholds

By M. Haas

A new class of players and coaches will be enshrined in the Twins Hall of Fame this month. There are 13 former players in the hall, with 19 on this years ballot. To whom this prestigious accolade is handed is decided by a 57-member committee of local dignitaries. To make their decision a well-informed one, (albeit extraordinarily small sample sizes) we present the cheat sheet.

First base:

In the Hall: Harmon Killebrew, Kent Hrbek.

Hrbek hit .282/293/1086 in 14 seasons with the Twins. Killebrew hit .258/559/1540 in 21 seasons with the organization before leaving for Kansas City.

Threshold for first basemen: .270/426/1313

On the ballot: No first basemen on the ballot. For the record, Morneau is at .281/133/523 in six seasons.

Second Base:

In the Hall: Rod Carew. He hit .334/74/733 in 12 seasons in Minnesota, winning rookie of the year, an MVP, appearing in the All-Star game every year and flirting with .400 in 1977. He's also a real Hall of Famer.

On the ballot: Chuck Knoblauch - .304/43/391 in seven seasons before going to New York. It doesn't look like his numbers reach the THoF plateau for second basemen. Sorry Chuck, the bar was just set too high. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?


In the Hall: Zoilo Versalles hit .252/86/401 in seven Twins seasons while appearing in two all-star games and winning one MVP.

On the ballot: Greg Gagne. .249/69/335 in eight years before his move to Kansas City. He gets bonus points for participation in both championship seasons, but Gagne still falls short.
Roy Smalley
hit .262/110/485 during two tours of duty with the team, totaling about nine seasons. Pretty impressive, and he gets bonus points for his hair. Smalley isn't exactly a classic or romantic name (to my generation,) but his numbers put him in the Twins Hall of Fame. Congrats.

Third Base:

In the Hall: Gary Gaetti. The rat is the lone THoFer at this position as well. He set the bar with his .256/201/758 in nine seasons. Gaetti also inspired the largest and weirdest fansite on the web, the Gary Gaetti Cult.

On the ballot: John Castino .278/41/249 while playing 416 games at third over six seasons. He was the Co-MVP in 1979, but his career was essentially over by 1984.


In the Hall: Earl Battey sets the bar with his .278/76/350 organization numbers.

On the Ballot: Brian Harper with .306/48/346. Battey played seven seasons with the Twins, Harper played six. Each helped the Twins to a pennant. Battey was a crafty vet, Harper played 16 years, but only played regularly in Minnesota. Battey was a three time all-star, Harper had an all-star mustache. These numbers say Harper he has a shot....... but he doesn't.


Alright, now we have three sets of numbers to formulate a much steadier HoF threshold.
In the Hall: Kirby Puckett: .318/207/1085 in 12 seasons. Tony Oliva: .304/220/947 in 15 seasons. Bob Allison: .255/256/796 in 13 seasons.

Twins HoF Threshold: .292/228/943

On the Ballot:

Tommy Brunansky .250/163/469
Marty Cordova .277/79/385
Danny Gladden .268/38/238
Larry Hisle .286/87/409
Cesar Tovar .281/38/319

No, no way, sorry, no and no.

Pitchers: (era/K's/wins)

In the Hall: Bert Blyleven 3.28/2035/149 Jim Kaat 3.28/1824/189 Frank Viola 3.86/1214/112 Rick Aguilera 3.50/86/40 while saving 254 games.

Twins Hall of Fame threshold (minus Aggie the Closer) 3.47/1691/150

On the ballot:

Al Worthington 2.62/399/37 while saving 88 games.
Jeff Reardon
3.70/185/15 while saving 104 games.
Kevin Tapani 4.06/724/75
Brad Radke
Jim Perry 3.15/1025/128
Camilo Pascual 3.31/994/88
Dave Boswell 3.49/865/67
Mudcat Grant
Dave Goltz 3.48/887/96

Radke is awfully close to the magic 150 wins, but his ERA is high (yes, he played in an offensive era) and his strikeouts aren't far off the mark, considering he wasn't a power pitcher. He'll be in eventually.

So congratulations to Roy Smalley and eventually Brad Radke. These two outstanding players are all-time Twins greats, and will eventually be enshrined in the Twins Hall of Fame! Roy Smalley?

Aw, heck. When have voters ever paid attention to the numbers? Hey, what is this Twins Hall of Fame thing, anyway?