Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Judge Crump's Ruling

Just days after the Diamondbacks beat the Yankees to finally win one of the greatest World Series' ever, Major League Baseball announced it's plan to contract two teams. Although the Twins had made money while riding a group of young players to a winning record, they were still on the list of teams to be eliminated before the 2002 season.

Minnesotans revolted, holding a rainy rally and brunch at Gabe's, but they knew this would have to be settled in the courts. The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission was set up to run to publicly financed Metrodome on the public's behalf. Although the MSFC allowed to the Twins to play baseball at the dome for free, they still had still signed a lease agreement. They had signed on to play in the dome through the 2002 season.

When the Twins' landlord brought the issue against baseball's high powered lawyers, Judge Harry S. Crump had probably already made up his mind. With most businesses a standing contract can be bought out. Pohlad and Selig were more than willing to pay monetary damages to the MSFC. However, the MSFC was a representative of the public, and therefore, the lease wasn't necessarily an agreement between a building and its tenants.

Here's Judge Crump's ruling, which kept the Twins in existence.

Baseball is as American as turkey and apple pie. Baseball is a tradition that passes from generation to generation. Baseball crosses social barriers, creates community spirit, and is much more than a private enterprise. Baseball is a national pastime. Locally, the Twins have been part of Minnesota history and tradition for forty years. The Twins have given Minnesota two World Series Championships, one in 1987, and one in 1991. The Twins have also given Minnesota legends such as Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, Harmon Killebrew, Kent Hrbek, and Kirby Puckett; some of which streets are named after. These legends have bettered the community. most memorably, these legends, volunteered their time to encourage and motivate children to succeed in all challenges of life. Clearly, more than money is at stake. The welfare, recreation, prestige, prosperity, trade and commerce of the people of the community are at stake. The Twins brought the community together with Homer Hankies and bobblehead dolls. The Twins are one of the few professional sports teams in town where a family can afford to take their children to enjoy a hot dog and peanuts at a stadium. The vital public interest, or trust, of the Twins substantially outweighs any private interest. Private businesses were condemned to build the Metrodome. In condemnation proceedings, the building of the Metrdodome was deemed to be in the interest of the public. The Commission, the State, citizenry and fans will suffer irreparable harm if the Twins do not play 2002 baseball games at the Metrodome.

For better or for worse, the public and professional baseball are intertwined, even legally. If I were the Twins, I would etch Crump's ruling in stone and place it in front of Target Field.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

What You Should Be Watching

By TwinsWin83

I was recently going through some of the archives here at AH! and like any other self absorbed 20-something I had to check out all the articles that I’ve written. While shuffling through them I found one amazingly well-written piece that I did a year and 1/2 ago about the best shows on TV. Unlike most things that I did or wrote from that time period I was fairly content with the list. Television has obviously changed since then but many of TV’s best programs remain the same, just not particularly in the same order. Let me explain.

Best Shows on TV Today

#1 -Friday Night Lights

I’m one of the biggest advocates of LOST that you will find out there, and have been since the shows inception, but for the first time in five years I have to admit there is a better show then LOST out there. That show is Friday Night Lights.
The funny thing about Lights is that 95% of the general public haven’t seen more than two episodes, but the other 5% love it so much that they worked to get it saved from the cooperate axe a year ago by sending the big-wigs at NBC thousands of mini footballs. A funky deal with DirecTV ensued and after a trial run in 2008 on both the satellite-giants mainstay station and NBC, the show has been miraculously guaranteed for at least another two years. No one could be happier about that than yours truly.

Without trying to give too much away, Friday Night Lights creates more of a connection with its dedicated viewers than any other show on television. Weekly watchers grow not only to care about each main character but also about the success and well-being of the team, its players, family and fans, and eventually become unintentionally connected to the show as a whole. Questions were raised about Lights longevity prior to the end of last season, as most of the main characters approached their senior year in high school. The producers answered any issues about the shows continued storylines in the Season 3 finale as Coach Eric Taylor (portrayed perfectly by Kyle Chandler) was let go by the high school the show is centered around and accepts the head coaching job at the newly formed cross-town rival to Dillon High.

The best way to define this show and its appeal to anyone who hasn’t seen it is that it is the “anti-Varsity Blues.” Friday Night Lights deals with teenagers, parents, coaches and fans of high school football in a close-minded small Texas town, and its validity extends far beyond the average sports fan. If you haven’t yet check out season 1 on DVD or at NBC.com and you’ll understand why this show tops my list of best TV shows currently airing.

#2- LOST

Any other year, from 2004 up until 2008, and LOST would be #1 on this list. LOST is typicaly either feast of famine for its fans. Most either love or hate the series, and as someone who’s been there from the start I understand why that is. People who haven’t watched this show in its entirety could never watch an episode in season 2 or 3 and pick it up from there with any kind of understanding as to what is going on.

The show has only delved farther from reality over the past two seasons, which has either been a joyous or loyalty-testing endeavor for its fans. I, personally, loved the direction the show’s producers went in this year and have the calendar marked for the onset of the shows final season next January.

However, the reason that LOST has dropped from the previous and seemingly unmovable #1 position on my list is the fact that I know the show has become unwatchable for anyone who isn’t a diehard fan. I will wait on the edge of my seat for every episode in next year’s final season, but I now understand that most other casual fans of LOST will not.

#3- Entourage

Entourage has been a favorite of mine since its inception to the HBO line-up several years back, but it has moved up my list over the past two years as its really found its stride. I said in my first favorites list that the storylines for Vinnie Chase and his tag-alongs were seemingly endless, and two years later that is absolutely the case.

Not only have the writers broken into more interesting and challenging situations for the would-be Hollywood superstar, but they’ve also dealt with intriguing issues involving his closest friends and confidants (Kevin Connolly is spot-on as Vinnie’s best friend and manager E). Hollywood never seemed like such a real place. Vinnie and his buddies aren’t just your average run-of-the-mill Tinsel Town assholes, they are average dudes who ended up there and are forced to deal with the troubles associated with surviving in LA.

#4- The Office

This pick seems so basic and typical and I know that. I don’t care. I might be one of the few who feel that the American version of The Office has only gotten stronger over the past 2-3 seasons. This is really one of the few shows where I get excited to see a new episode pop up on my Tivo.

The relationship with Jim and Pam might be tired to some, but I will give the writers credit for not taking the typical break-up, get back together formula followed by most other shows. I said it in my previous article and will repeat it here: Aside from Friday Night Lights, there is no other show on TV that draws its viewers into caring so much about its main characters then The Office does.

#5-It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

I don’t know what the future of this show is to be honest with you. When I taped the season finale last fall the DirecTV summary said it was the series finale. Yet I see no indication of that when I look up the shows future online. Either way I can only hope there will be more opportunities to see the group at Paddy’s Pub live it up on basic cable’s version of HBO, FX.

Aside from South Park, Sunny is and has been the most original show over the past five years, pushing the restrictions of seemingly off-limit subjects. Sunny hasn’t just breached many of those taboo issues but blown too pieces any possibility of dealing with them in a politically correct manner. If you don’t yet know who Green Man is you haven’t lived. Sunny is a show that you can watch and laugh along without having to get emotionally involved. If you don’t feel like dropping any $ to nab the DVDs don’t worry because you can catch every episode on Hulu.com.

Honorable Mention

Dexter -
The only reason Dexter isn’t in my top five is because I have not yet gotten a chance to watch the already-aired season 3 of the miraculous Showtime series about a serial killer with a conscious. Dexter was one of those rare series’ where Season 2 was even better then the impressive freshmen effort. The problem for most viewers is that if you don’t buy the DVD’s or pay $14 a month for Showtime you don’t have a chance to see Michael C. Hall as the dark and twisted Dexter. And that is a travesty because this is a great show.

30 Rock-
Season 3 was great by most standards but not by the standard set by the first two seasons of 30 Rock. Tina Fey is still great as the lead character but as the show has become more mainstream (thank you Emmy’s) so too have the jokes and storylines of this once-hidden gem.

Mad Men-
The tale of advertisement agents in 1960’s New York bombarded the Emmy scene last year and the show was thrust from anonymity into cult-classic status, and rightfully so. Season 1 of Mad Men is a true classic and the second half of season 2 was equal to the standard set by the first. If I wouldn’t have been so bored with the first half of season 2 I would have put this up the list and given it more time, but I can definitely see the possibilities for a bright future and advise you to check it out if you haven’t already.

Jon Hamm as Don Draper is one of the most intriguing main characters on all of television and makes it worth checking out the show if for nothing else then to see him wheeling and dealing as a stoic yet-troubled New York businessman.

I wanted to put it higher but Weeds has lost its way over the past season and ½. Hopefully Mary Louise Parker and her neglected family will find their way apart from the creepy Mexican drug cartel because there are few shows that are funnier and more clever then Weeds when it’s on its game.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Garenhire's Banal Tweets

Wish we got to see Lohse. Cuddy said he'd pay to see me walk out to the mound and try to take him out of the game.
9:28pm, Thursday Jun 25th from web
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Headed to StL with the team. scheduled to play cardinals, a local baseball team. (omg MJ! rip!)
5:34pm, Thursday Jun 25th from mobile
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@realPUNTO8: Can't stay mad at u. Sux not havin' middle infield depth, but can't fault U for battlin'
4:19am, Thursday Jun 25th from mobile
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I wish Todd Coffey would have been creamed.
10:08pm, Wednesday Jun 24th from web
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@realPUNTO8: remember when I said you'd be my starting shortstop if we re-signed you?
9:51am, Wednesday Jun 24th from web
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Brendan Harris's tweets suck. First user to ever be kicked off Twitter for unoriginality.
11:45pm, Tuesday Jun 23rd from web

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I was going to write some Twins news stories, but I just wrote the headlines for news stories instead. It's a lot easier. Feel free to add on your own headlines.

Blackburn loses it in the 8th, eats Blizzard

Kubel shuns spotlight, request national media respect his privacy.

Harris calls Gardenhire's Tweets 'banal', gets benched

Austin girl optimistic about Mauer's Facebook friend acceptance.

Punto relieved burglars left slip-n-slide, no leads on cars or furniture

Gomez claims he knew all along that "Chase for 400" was not the sequel to "300," Redmond disputes.

Gomez and Tolbert chess matched delayed indefinitely for trampoline jumping

Gardenhire to be keynote speaker at the 2009 SABR convention

Casilla's instructional camp produces back-to-back-to-back NAIA champions

A couple of other actual headlines from this week

Monkey urinates on Zambian president

Money quote: "You have urinated on my jacket," a startled Banda told the monkey, one of many that makes their home in the trees outside his offices.

Oh, Zambia

Oklahoma City woman trades sex for case of chips

We've all been there. Don't judge.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The story of the Worst Twins Jersey Ever

Ugliest Uniforms ever.

The White Sox have the shorts. The Astros have the orange rainbows. The Twins have the Dairy Queen tops.

In spring 1997, the bright red jerseys were ceremoniously introduced, along with the blue version, as the Twins installment of the money-making scheme that is alternate uniforms.

The Red Jersey was doomed from the start. If it had been Paul Molitor sporting the classy red top, perhaps its fate would have been different. But alas, it was Knoblauch - - which makes you wonder: who doomed whom?

Bad omen aside, the Twins first donned the uniform on April 6th against Kansas City. After finishing 78-84 the previous season, the team was primed for a playoff run in '97. So when they were clobbered 12-2 by the inferior Royals, they blamed it on the red alt jersey.

As the players decided to ditch the red tops altogether, the Twins marketing department insisted that they carry on the long standing tradition of wearing something different during Sunday home games. The team complied.

Despite a decent performance from Brad Radke and an amazing pinch-hit intentional walk by Ron Coomer, the Twins fell to the Rangers 7-3.

After just two games, it was all over. Not only were the Red Things now nicknamed "the Dairy Queen Jersey," but the Twins played slightly more horrible while wearing them. That was enough for Tom Kelly's Twins, and with their pennant hopes dashed, they banished the jerseys forever.

They'll go down in history as the worst thing a Twins player has ever worn on a diamond. Unless you want to count the Turn Ahead the Clock experiment from 1999. And I do.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Anxiety is a medical disorder

Friends, there is something very important we should talk about. Anxiety. This is a medical disorder that effects millions of people. This year we are coming to realize that Major League baseball players are not immune.

Too often we forget these players are people. Human beings like you and me. Yet we make jokes when they go on the disabled list. We chuckle at Dontrelle Willis' failures. We call Zak Greinke "Prozac Greinke." We smu...

Whoa, wait. Have you seen this?

WHAAAAAAAT?!?! That's so cool. This video should have a "Do not try this at home" warning. Because I want to try it and I'll probably get hurt. Then I'll sue Josh Womack.

Sorry, what were we talking about again? Who cares.

I got another picture of a really big cat fish. You wanna see it?
I'd thought you say that.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Twins stuff on craigslist

Matt Guerrier, Joe Nathan and Mike Redmond autographed baseballs.

"The balls themself retail 15.00. These are signed and are $20.00 each." This marks the first time Matt Guerrier has increased the value of anything.

Really cool set of seats from the DOME

For $150 bucks you can own three chairs from the Metrodome. They must have been removed when they built the two monster suites. For removing Viking fan puke, rinse in warm soapy water, air dry.

1991 World Champs Ornament

What better way to commemorate a championship than to hang something from your Christmas tree?

1987 World Champion Beer Stein

Apparently folks once drank their beer from something called a stein, but they've fallen out of favor, replaced by the wildly popular, "drinking straight from the can."

Bidding war of the century: 1987 Homer Hanky. Best offer gets it.

In your home, how many times do you need to commemorate 1987 World Series? What's the point of commemoration anyway? If you're snuggled in bed, don't just lay there doing nothing. The least you could do is commemorate the '87 champs with a $1,000 homer hanky quilt and matching pillow. Do you have an empty spot anywhere in in your house large enough to fit a baseball? Why waste that space when you could be commemorating the hell out of the '87 champs with an $800 autographed baseball? At that point it might be cheaper to just pay Les Straker to live on your couch.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Calculating Mauer's Batting Average

Joe Mauer is an excellent hitter - - everyone knows that. But how would you know that he's an excellent hitter without watching every game he plays? The answer is simple: the use of statistics. Statistics are a very important part of baseball, and the use of numbers can really help understand the game. The tricky part is calculating those stats and using them correctly. What does a batting average of .400 even mean? Is this a good batting average?

Batting average can be calculated by using a simple mathematical formula. I know what you're thinking, "Professor Haas, I've heard others say "simple" while taking about math, and it's never simple!"

Grab a sheet of loose leaf paper and I'll illustrate just how simple it is.

According to my calculations, Joe Mauer would be the first player to hit 2remainder2 since Royce Clayton in 1995. There's still more than three months of the season left, and his body will surely feel those aches and pains in November, but he's sure set himself up to have an historic year.


A colleague of mine has passed along a note correcting my previous calculations. It seems that I failed to follow my own equation and divided At-Bats by Hits rather than Hits by At-Bats. Revision:

Something doesn't seem to be correct here either. I've done the long division by hand, and after three hours, my answer had eleven decimal points, a money symbol ($) and featured variables. I've plugged the numbers into a calculator, but here it says the answer is less than one.

While I'm working this out on a large, green chalkboard, check out this headline I made up

Monday, June 15, 2009

Flag Day, name pronunciation, and other weekend notes

As you probably know, Sunday was Flag Day. I can't think of a better way to honor flag day than to watch a video of Rick Monday stopping a flag burning at center field of Dodger Stadium with Tommy Lasorda yelling expletives and with Vin Scully doing the play-by-play of the events.

I bet Tommy Lasorda knows a lot of expletives. Go America.

A .500 road trip is certainly an improvement. Mike Redmond was optimistic. But I'm going to guess that he was riding home commando either way.

Our bullpen has actually been pitching a little better lately. Every pitcher in our pen has a sub 4.00 ERA. Wait. Except Jesse Crain. His ERA? 8.15. If you were to make a Western movie about him it would be called "8.15 to Yusuck." I'm not saying we cut the guy, but he has no business pitching in a close game right now. Mijares should have been pitching yesterday.

I watch games on MLB.TV, so I always get the broadcast of the home team. Whenever we play a National League team I am always curious how many names of little known Twins will they mispronounce. But the Cubs crew did a pretty good job. There were no Punt Os, KuBELLS, or Booshers playing for the Twins this weekend.

And I know it's a bit hypocritical to rag on other announcers when they mispronounce Twins names when we have Bert Blyleven in our booth. While I understand how others find Bert's mispronunciation of names annoying, I find it wildly amusing.

Endy Chavez? Bert knows not of this name, "Endy." Bert knows the name "Eddie." Eddie Chavez it is.

And while I think it's funny when Bert pronounces names wrong, it's very irritating when Jon Miller pronounces names "correctly." That's fine if you want to enunciate a different syllable to make a Latin name more Latin, but you don't have to shout the "tran" in Carlos BeTRAN to make your point. It's a little pretentious and a lot annoying.

Speaking of pretentious name pronunciation, look who it is?

It's Dr. H.P. Whitt, my Intro to Sociologist professor! He too took great pride in pronouncing names in their native tongue. His pronunciation of Johan Peter Süssmilch was a class favorite.

Is President Obama's SCOTUS pick pronounced SOtomayor or SotomaYOR? Either way, with four long vowels in the name, it is going to take Northern Minnesotans about 20 seconds to say her name.

NPR is also really good at making me feel like an idiot by pronouncing names more properly than I. Sometimes it's just normal English words. Like the word "robots." They were doing a story on robots, which immediately got my attention, and the guy kept saying "robuts." Seriously, "robuts"? What a prick.

Anyway, back to some less grouchy stuff. It seems like Twins fans really traveled well to Wrigley. I pretty sure there were some Hammies that went to the game. Oh, by the way, "Hammies" is a name that I invented to describe those people that read and contribute to Alright Hamilton. Cool, huh? Wait, you think it's lame? Yeah, you're right. Nevermind. Anyway, any good Wrigley stories?

I've been kind of fearing that Joe Mauer might cool down a bit. Well, he hasn't. And it's awesome. The Korean pop sensation, The Wonder Girls, even wrote a song about Joe's torrid May and June. I don't have the full translation but it's something like: "I'm Joe Mauer and I'm so hot. At baseball and face looking sexy. Sideburns very much. Too easy with making hits."

Friday, June 12, 2009

Twins - 7 Cubs - 4... UPDATE

One down, two to go. I know there are a few AH! contributors going to be in Chicago this weekend, anybody else?

UPDATE: 2 down, 1 to go...

UPDATE 2: Okay, it was close, but 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

Uniforms and everything: Stallions Baseball

"Yup, we've got uniforms and everything. It's really great!"
- Jake Taylor, Major League

With no formal baseball training, and a severe hangover handicap, the Stallions still manage to trot out a determined, joyful team every Sunday afternoon. They're participating in something purely American: playing baseball on green grass under a blue sky - not for money or personal accolades, but for the love of the game. The members of this team are part of a growing number of twenty-something athletes who are rediscovering their love of baseball, while rejecting the idea of softball all together. "It seems like most guys our age just drink beer and play softball. I think if you're able to play hardball, you should," explains pitcher Mark Waters. The Stallions evolved from very informal sandlot games to a raggedy gang of rejects playing in the only organization that would accept them - the Northfield Latino Baseball League.

While the participants insist this is a far better option than beer-league softball, this form of baseball is not without it's faults. When the Stallions recently lost a game on a dropped (very) foul pop, it illustrated two problems that plague the NLBL - umpiring and facilities. First, the green diamonds on which the teams compete are often less than adequate. Two hours before the game, manager Michael Anderson can be found at the local grocery store buying chalk for the baselines: a bag of flour, which apparently is also a great alternative to diamond-dry. On his way to meet the rest of the team, he'll stop, begrudgingly, at a softball field. Throwing the softball bases into his truck, Anderson quips, "I had two stolen bases before the game even started."

Forever in the shadow of softball, the Stallions once had to play on an old softball field. With a sandy mound, an all skin infield and questionable dimensions, the Albert Lea field is far and away provides the worst facilities in the league. The infield was forced to play in all afternoon, because there was a lip where the dirt turned to grass, about 95 feet from home plate. The dandelions flew that day, but alas, the Stallions lost.

Then there are the umpires. The umpires in the NLBL aren't umpires until someone yells at them, "hey, wanna ump?" It is a rare occasion when the ump knows all the rules of the game. Of course, there is always a language barrier, as illustrated by right-fielder Kyle Fredrickson's mistaken belief that 'tiempo' meant 'strike'. Manager Anderson, who is particularly disgusted with the performance of the umpires, issued the following statement: "Hey look it's big foot. Or wait, it's the Loch Ness monster. Oh wait, it's a good ump in the Mexican League."

From the Majors to the NLBL, there are a set of unwritten rules and codes of conduct. They are enforced only by saying this magical phrase: "That's Bush League." This code of conduct is somewhat more flexible for the Stallions, for when a teammate does something deemed "bush" and is called out, he simply retorts, "This is the Bush League!"

Indeed, it is the Bush League, but it's better than softball.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Oakland A's not so sure this steroid testing is such a good idea

They were having so much fun before the MLB went all party-pooper and changed the steroid testing policy in 2005. :( From 1999-2005 the club had a .581 winning percentage, four playoff appearances and three division championships. Sure beats the previous six years in which they posted a .445 winning percentage with four last place finishes.

Of course, we have all heard the story on why this transformation took place. Billy Beane out-smarted everyone by using geeky statistics! Take that, Baseball Establishment!!!!

And Beane does deserve a lot of the credit. Whenever you make decisions with better information than other people, you are going to have an advantage...but also, steroids.

You see, Jason Giambi and Miguel Tejada were Oakland's best players during the boom years. Also, they loved themselves some steroids.

From 1999-2001 Giambi averaged 127 RBI a year. He had an OPS+ of 153 in '99 and led the league the next two years in that category with 187 in '00 and 198 in '01. He won the MVP in 2000 and placed second in 2001

From 1999 to 2003 Tejada averaged 110 RBI a season. That's higher than every shortstop in baseball not named Alex Rodriguez. He won the 2002 MVP.

So yeah, (A x B)/ C

...Then steroids.

And the A's have been good at steroids years before Beane ascended to GM. Remember the Bash Brothers?

No, not those Bash Brothers. These Bash Brothers

How cool were they? Mullets. Cool sun glasses. Home Runs. That's the awesome trifecta right there. They probably dated a bunch of bikini babes too. Bastards.
And those bats are their actual game bats. They didn't have photoshop back then so they have to be the real thing.

So, the A's are probably the best team ever at steroids. The Twins, however? Yeah, we suck at it. Juan Rincon? That's it?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Totally Random Pictures Found On My Computer

At the time, we all thought Albert Pujols had ruined Brad Lidge's career and launched the Cards to the World Series. Not quite.

Graphic that I made for local legends, Tail Chaser.

Gladden. One day, this will be on a shirt.

Is this advice or humor?

Dollar Dog night at the Dome? Keen!

5 blog points: name that stadium
Nip it.

One of the easiest ways to tell if the baseball crowd is worth it's salt: clapping when there's two strikes.

The iconic image of the Zombie Turtle Liker

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sometimes people bring beach balls to the Metrodome

Isn't that fun?!?! I know my two year old nephew loves hitting beach balls up in the air.

...Then he bangs a fork on the table and poops his pants...because he is a small child. Apparently those that bring beach balls to baseball games are like-minded.

I really do not get these people. I mean, the wave and throwing program paper airplanes are similarly infantile. But these acts of baseball malfeasance are acts of passion. Kids get bored and make paper airplanes. Teenage boys crave attention and try to start the wave. But bringing a beach ball to a baseball game with the intent to inflate? Well, that shit is premeditated.

Let me tell you a story of a time when Iwitnessed the complete life of a beach ball at the Metrodome. There was a beach ball in play. I don't remember if I audibly expressed annoyance, but I tried to ignore the oohs, awes, and drools, of those fascinated by a colorful sphere that moved clunkily about the crowd. Of course, a usher confiscated the ball, dumb people booed, and I was thankful. Then something inexplicable happened.

There was a couple two rows in front of me. They seemed like a very normal late-twenties or early-thirties Minnesota couple. They were both wearing ordinary jeans and Twins jersey T-shirts. I don't remember which players they were wearing, but because this is my story and you won't know the difference if I lie -- let's say she was wearing a Punto and he was wearing a Radke. They seemed like those kind of people. Oh, and he was probably wearing one of those Dairy Queen give-away hats with the Velcro strap in the back.

Then, before my very eyes, The guy suddenly pulls a deflated beach ball out of his pocket, blows it up, and hits it into the upper general crowd. She smiles him on approvingly.

The most troubling thing about this is that it had to be planned out. Maybe one of them had a beach ball readily available in his or her residence, but or more plausibly, he or she had to go to a store that sells beach balls and actually pay money for one. I imagine their conversation for a beach-ball-at-a-baseball-game went something like this.

Brian: Hey honey. I got to take a little detour. Daddy's got to make a stop.
Nikki: why?
Brian: You'll see
(Brian comes out of the dollar store.)
Niki: what did you get?
Brian: A little something I like to call a "beach ball" BOOYAH!
Niki: You so crazy, Brian
Brian: Hey baby, I just like to have fun.
(Brian and Niki tongue kiss for a few minutes)
Niki: This is gunna be a hoot...beach ball...at a baseball game...I tell, ya.

So, here's hoping Target Field will be a place where people go to ball park to watch baseball. We don't need slides or swimming pools or picnic areas or human waves or beach balls. We just need baseball.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Twins Inbox: Decent Questions, Dumb Answers

The Twins Mailbag, a longtime staple of the official Twins website, was recently renamed The Twins Inbox.

Now that the questions are emailed, it's filtered out some of the nutball cabin dweller shut-ins from up north who pace around muttering, "why don't they sign Barry Bonds."

Let's take a look at some Very Important Questions that were recently fielded by MLB writer Kelly Thesier.

I was wondering what the progress is on Boof Bonser and Pat Neshek? Any hopes that they'll be ready to pitch in the 2010 season?
-- Conni C., Ramsey, Minn

Let me answer your question with another question: Any hopes that they'll be ready to play shortstop in the 2009 season?

With the difficulties the bullpen has seen and with our young staff, would a six-man starting rotation help the Twins to give everyone rest rather than moving Anthony Swarzak to the 'pen? I think it would allow our starters to throw more pitches and possibly take a bit of load off the 'pen. What do you think?
-- David C., Minneapolis

Wow. Revolutionary. Better forward this one straight to Gardy. Apply the same idea to beer and start making 7-packs. Actually, that's not a bad idea. You should email Budweiser.

Why has Joe Mauer been hitting so many more home runs this year?
-- Tyler T., Minneapolis

Robby Incmikoski.

Will the Twins ever use Joe Nathan in a more extensive pitching role? There have been games when it is tied in the eighth inning, and the bullpen comes in and loses the game for us. I'm curious as to the logic behind saving Nathan only for save situations.
-- Shannon S., Minneapolis

Maybe he should start some games. The Twins could go to a 7-man pitching rotation, which would really take some stress off of our 'pen and young rotation.

Each starter could pitch on their favorite day of the week, adding comfort and stability. Like a mattress.

Do you think the Twins will re-sign Mauer, and if they do, will it be a long-term contract or a short-term contract?
-- Danny V., Lake City, Minn

Mauer's contract is up after the 2010 season. The Twins will have to weigh their options carefully. If the Twins explore the trade market, it's possible they could receive a nice package from another team. Remember, they've had great success trading talent to larger markets, acquiring impact players like Delmon Young and Carlos Gomez. If they were in a position to trade Mauer, they could scoff at some decent offers, get lowballed, then forced to make a trade for some bad prospects and one major leaguer who isn't even their top prospect and will under acheive, well, they'd certainly take a look.

When is Gardy going to abandon the 100-pitch count?
-- Bill M., Bismarck, N.D.

When he adopts the six-man pitching rotation.