Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Division Series Predictions

I love predictions. I love making them I love reading other people's. I just love them. It's weird, if you think about it, because what's the point? Odds are you'll just end up looking stupid, because it's the future, dummy. You can't REALLY predict it. But whatever. I can't get enough, and if you can't either here are my ALDS and NLDS predictions:

Reds vs. Phillies

If the Reds don't win game one, I don't think they have any chance in this series. This may seem strange, because winning game one on the road against Roy "Doc" Halladay (one of my favorite nicknames in sports) seems like an impossible feat. However, Edinson Volquez is capable of shutting the Phillies down and if he can pull that off and give the Reds some momentum, the rest of the pitching could follow suit and carry the Reds into the NLCS. However, I think the Phillies starting pitching will prove to be too much. I just can't see Johnny Cueto and co. kicking their way out of this one. And luckily, if anyone tries, there will be a "Doc" on hand...

Phillies in four

Giants vs. Braves

The Braves are the sentimental choice because Bobby Cox is old and oddly shaped. (More sentimental for the old part.) This is understandable because who doesn't want to root for Bobby Cox? As annoying as seeing the Braves in the playoffs literally every year in the 90s and early 2000s was, the fact is they haven't been there for several years. Plus they have those awkward red uniforms so they seem like a completely different team. The problem? They are a completely different team, and they just aren't all that good. They can't stack up against a rotation like San Francisco. A rotation that is, ironically enough, reminiscent of (Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz).

Giants in four

Rangers vs Rays

This is a terrible matchup for the Rays. Sure they have homefield advantage, but where does that advantage come in if nobody shows up? Plus, the Rays best hitter has a bum quad, and I don't trust their starting pitching. If Lee shuts the Rays down in game one, I see a sweep. In a related story, I think Lee will shut the Rays down in game one.

Rangers in three

Twins vs. Yankees

I always get nervous making predictions for my team. I'm superstitious. I just feel like I'll jinx them or reverse jinx the Yankees or jinx a jinx that unjinxes a jinx...or something. At this point, nothing that happens in a Twins vs. Yankees series would surprise me, and I actually think this is a fairly even matchup. So with one gigantic knock on wood...

Twins in five

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Prodigal Blogger Returns

First of all, clearly I have been gone for a very long time. Hell, most of my posts before I left weren't even about the Twins. Well, I've come to make another one of my inane claims that all that is about to change. Back to Twins only here. Consistency and readability of said posts TBD.

And if you want to read my other nonsensical ramblings of lunacy, you can find them here every Thursday at 8 pm eastern, 7 pm central. (I'm kidding, there's no specific time, jackass. You can read it all day. Or even a different day. Crazy, I know.)

Also, if you want to see me say things I will probably regret almost immediately, follow me on Twitter. Due to this whole multiple blogs thing, I changed my Twitter name, but I'm still obnoxiously and pointlessly tweeting.

Anyway, enough about me, on to some Twins thoughts.

1. Twins Awards

A couple of weeks ago, Seth Stohs of www.sethspeaks.net invited some bloggers to take place in a vote for some Twins awards. For reasons unbeknownst to me, he selected me as one of said bloggers. So I took part. If you haven't seen the results yet, you can check them out here. Or here.

I'm not going to run through everything, because I trust in your ability to use a mouse on the links above, but I would like to offer a few of my thoughts.

While I have no problem with Joe Mauer being chosen as MVP, and fluctuated between him and Delmon Young as my 1-2, I eventually settled on Svelte Delmon as my team MVP. For me, the vote came down to whose inconsistency was ultimately more beneficial to the Twins. And, while Young has been off-and-on all year, he literally carried the team during a time when nobody else was hitting. Plus I was hoping if he won, it would motivate him to "svelte up" again.

As for Mauer, he was terrible in the first half. And, yes, for Joe Mauer he was terrible. Obviously he has been hitting since, and you can very easily argue he has the best overall numbers on the team, but I can't get over that first half. Color me petty. Plus, when he started picking it up offensively, Young was still raking and Thome was hitting home runs in seemingly every at bat. Svelte Delmon literally carried the team at a point in the summer when nobody else was hitting. I believe he deserves recognition for that.

When it came to choosing a best pitcher, there were really only two choices: Francisco Liriano and Carl Pavano. And as much as I love Pavano's mustache, and as great as he's been, Liriano hasn't gotten nearly enough credit for being a legit ace. Which is exactly what he has been.

As for top rookie? There was no debate, and I actually considered voting for Danny Valencia three times. Kind of have to eat my words from this off-season on that one...

2. The Twins losing streak

There seems to be two schools of thought here: 1. Overreacting and 2. Overreacting to the overreacting.

The games are meaningless right now, and the Twins know that. Whether they want to admit it or not they're in cruise control. If Mauer, Thome, and Hardy don't return this weekend, and the Twins lose the first game of the playoffs 12-2, then I'm all for panicking. In fact, I'll be driving the panic train at that point, but until then, meh.

3. Tickets and Wordpress

Anyone else frustrated by the playoff ticket situation? I'm not a season ticket holder but I won the lottery and didn't end up with tickets because I got bounced around on the Twins website. There has to be a better system. At the very least, once you are out of the "virtual waiting room" and onto the actual ticket purchasing screen, you should be able to get tickets. Frustrating.

Lastly, I am considering switching to Wordpress and while I am generally incompetent as a person, I am even more incompetent when it comes to computers. Anyone have any helpful thoughts about this?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Random Twins Thoughts...

...Dear Joe Mauer,

Please start hitting.


...Okay, so Mauer isn't having a bad year per se, but he needs to start doing at least one thing great, instead of just a few things well. He is still getting on base at a decent clip, and hitting over .300, but Joe you were just signed to be the franchise player. An MVP. The best hitter in baseball. You're basically a glorified Denard Span without any speed right now. Sure, Span is good, but you're getting paid $23 million, Joe (or will be soon at least). I'm not saying you need to do what you did last year, because that is impossible to replicate. But you need to start doing something.

...Remember when Drew Butera hit a home run? That was fun.

...Remember when Wilson Valdez hit two home runs? That was less fun.

...I went to the Twins game on Wednesday and bought standing room only seats. It actually wasn't all that bad. It got a little tiring towards the end of the game, and $22 is a bit overpriced, but it is nice to be able to choose exactly where you want to watch the game from. Plus I got a lot of joy out of making "what are all these people doing in our seats" jokes while walking around the concourse. Got A LOT of mileage out of that one.

...I don't find it all that disconcerting that Kevin Slowey and Nick Blackburn have had a couple of bad outings. Yes, it is annoying, but I think we should just come to expect it at this point. They can give you some decent games, and some absolutely awful games, and, on occasion, some very good games. That's why they are 4-5 guys in the rotation (maybe a 3 for Slowey, at best).

...Isn't baseball funny? The Twins looked like they were on the fast track to a horrible series against the Phillies after a game and a half. It had all the makings of one of those everybody-panic-because-our-team-is-about-to-get-crushed-in-a-three-game-June-sweep series. Then they took two out of three. Including one against Roy "Doc" Halladay. How bout that?

...By the way, I love the nickname "Doc." It's just simple and clever enough to work. What happened to the glory day of nicknames? I miss things like the "Big Unit."

...Remember when Jason Kubel sucked and everyone wanted him to die? (Maybe not die, but you get the point.) Yeah, he doesn't suck anymore ass holes.

...Michael Cuddyer isn't a bad player. Deal with it everyone.

...Brendan Harris is the most worthless played in baseball. I honestly believe he is the worst player in the league right now. What value does he bring? He can't hit. He can't field. He's slow. He's a Republican. I mean come on. The dude's got nothing going for him. At least Matt Tolbert is fast and Trevor Plouffe has a name conducive to "oooo-ing."

...Danny Valencia looks pretty awful at the plate. I know he is hitting fairly well right now, but that swing looks like a lumberjack trying to cut down a tree...Actually it looks like a lumberjack who is failing to cut down a tree because he doesn't know what he is doing. Point being, Valencia has a few holes in his swing.

...I know I am late on this, but on a scale from 1-10 how great is Pavano's mustache? Is there a number high enough to express how amazing that thing is? I mean it is breathtaking. Seriously breathtaking.

...Remember in Oakland when the Twins fielded an infield of Harris, Punto, Tolbert, and Valencia? My friend and I were trying to decide if that was the single worse infield the Twins have ever fielded in a given game. I say it was. I know the Twins have had some pretty terrible players in their history, but it is hard to imagine they ever had that many terrible players playing at the same time. I mean, when an infield leaves you longing for Jeff Reboulet, that really isn't a good sign.

...I want to close by saying I am going to start writing more often about the Twins. I will get back into doing these weekly random thoughts, and putting up at least one post during the week. So for the few people who have stuck with me, I say thank you.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


I'm a texter. It's a convenience thing, really. Well, that, and I'm not much of a talker. I don't know what my peers excuse for texting is, but that's mine and I am sticking to it.

We (Generation Y/Millenials/whatever-the-hell-they-are-calling-us-these-days) are built on communication through technology. Texting, emailing, tweeting, facebooking, blogging, skyping, and whatever other made up verbs you can think of. We're basically defined by our lack of verbal communication.

How simplistic. Right? We're just a bunch of bumbling baffoons who lack the ability to socially interact outside social media. Case closed.

As a person who is introverted, quiet, reserved, and quite simply uncomfortable around people I don't know well, I take umbrage to the fact that we are a generation of poor communicators. If someone like me prefers face-to-face interaction -- you know, actual conversation -- to texting, emailng, or tweeting (okay, well, maybe not tweeting because that is just downright enjoyable) then it's hard to imagine a more gregarious person would prefer the disconnect of communication without human interaction.

When you rely solely on texting or emailng as a form of communication, so much of what you say gets lost in translation. You obviously can't see or hear the other person, so all you are left with is words. And as much as I love the little guys, words alone aren't enough for a full slate of expression.

Without that full expression, there becomes a disconnect between you and the person receiving your message. Almost as if some of the words in the message dropout in the transmission process from inbox to inbox.

And because we are a generation defined by social media interaction, we are essentially a generation defined by disconnect. Ironic, because social media is basically defined as a way to stay conveniently connected. And it does, but on a completely cursory level.

When I think of the stereotype created from this disconnect, I think of a group of people who lacks creativity. A simplistic group of people that lacks ideas or original thoughts. Maybe that isn't how we are seen by other generations, but that is at least how it feels.

And, granted, sometimes we do over-utilized texting or emailing. I know I do at least. There have certainly been times where I have used texting or emailing too much as a way of communicating with someone. And it has resulted in disconnect.

At the same time, I don't feel like those quick texts or occasional over-reliance on technology should define me as a person. I do have thoughts, ideas, and emotions (yes, even ones that can't be expressed in emoticons.) I know that technology has both its strengths and its weaknesses. I know these things, and I try to utilize the technologies accordingly.

Sometimes I succeed at doing so, and sometimes I fail. But either way, the technology doesn't define who I am as a person. And it certainly doesn't define how I think.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Think of the biggest mistake you have ever made. Ready...go...

...Okay, stop. Regardless of what you came up with, I know some mistake you have made(big or small) popped into your head. The fact is, we all make mistakes. Everyday. Several times a day.

Baseball, like life, is full of mistakes. Blown calls, missed ground balls, Matt Tolbert. There are mistakes everywhere you look on a baseball field.

Baseball, unlike any other sport, is built on uncertainties and ambiguities. Take, for example the place that a baseball game takes place. Sit back and run through as many random stadiums as you can in your head, and tell me how many of them look exactly alike.


Wrigely Field. Fenway Park. Yankee Stadium. Target Field. Each stadium has its own dimensions, its own quirks, its own nuance. There are basic similarities, of course, but no two playing fields are identical. Now, take a football field, basketball court, or hockey rink. Not only are there no differences (besides color, or type of turf) these playing surfaces are almost completely identical to one another. You know exactly what you are getting if you go to one of these facilities, even if you have never been there before.

Baseball is just different.

Yes, it may sound old-fashioned and hokey, but the thing that makes baseball so great, so much different than any other sport are the mistakes. The imperfections. Baseball, like life, is imperfect. Out or safe. Fair or foul. The weird fucking hop from the ball hitting some strange object along the fence (a fence that is completely different than every other fence, might I add). Every second something happens in a baseball game, there is a chance for a mistake. Every split second decision could go right or wrong.

Sounds like everyday life to me.

There are almost no absolutes or certainties anywhere in life. Baseball is no different. One pitch, one inning, one game, things seem to be moving along perfectly, most of the plays going your way. Mistakes are made, but they are small. Then, out of nowhere, things begin to fall apart. An umpire calls a guy safe when he was clearly out, and suddenly things begin to unravel one pitch, one inning, one game at a time. All because of one mistake.

It is neither fair nor just, but it is life. It is having what you want taken away by one little fuck up.

There are things in life that we can control, but there are so many more things that are completely out of our hands. We can influence these things, yes, but it is rare that we can truly grasp them. Everyday brings uncertainty just like every pitch brings uncertainty.

But wait, you say, the uncertainties in baseball can become certainties. The mistakes can be fixed. The human element need not apply anymore. Instant reply can solve all the ills. Just look at football.

But football is not the same. It is never more than a game on a clock with a definitive conclusion. The mistakes are righted with the blow of a whistle and a quick video timeout. Take a break for a moment, the game will still be here when you get back. You'll fix the mistake, and the clock will start up and continue to run to it's conclusion. You know exactly when this game will end, because the clock tells you when it will end.

That's not life. That's a construct of certainties. It's a countdown to a conclusion. It's a safe little box that you cannot venture from. You know exactly what you are getting.

Life is living outside a box. There is no time limit. Sure, you will not live forever, but you don't know when it all will end. And there sure as hell is no video reply to right your wrongs. Good things happen. Bad things happen. But it is up to you to cherish the good, and attempt to find redemption for the bad.

That's life. And that's baseball. Nine innings may not be enough. A few mistakes will likely be made. But you cannot define what will go on between the first pitch, and the yet-to-be-determined last pitch. There will be good, and there will be bad but there will be no re-dos.

So call me a purist, an old-fashioned hack, or overzealous about a metaphor, but I would like to keep baseball the way it is. Just like I would like to keep life the way it is. The ups-and-downs are what define us, and I promise you there is no instant replay in creating that definition.

Think back to your mistakes one more time. Would your life really be better without? Different, yes. But better?

Sorry, but mistakes and imperfections make baseball beautiful and life worth living. Without them, you would be left with one, and only one, absolute: baseball and life would be pretty bland.