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.

Love,
Eric

...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 19, 2010

Bus Girl

I ride the same bus to and from work every day. (Quick digression: Yes, this is another completely random story about riding the bus. And yes, this is supposed to be a Twins blog -- more or less. And yes I haven't written about the Twins in a month or so. But I am going to change that. Soon. I swear. I have a plan. Granted, me having a plan is kind of like a drunk person having to take a piss. Sure, it is going to happen at some point, but nobody knows when, where, how long it will take, or how big a mess it will be. Point is, it will happen. More importantly I am going to write about the Twins tomorrow. True story. And yes I just compared my blog to a urinating drunkard.)

As I was saying, I ride the same bus to and from work every day. So it is only natural that I would begin to recognize the people who happen to enjoy the same daily bus routine as myself. And I have.

Now, I had never spoken to any of these people for two reasons: 1.0 because I am far more likely to grunt at or punch anyone who tries to speak to me at 7 in the am than I am to have a conversation. And 2.) I really just don't like people.

Basically, bus conversations? Not my cup of tea.

But, like I said, having a daily routine is going to lead to, if nothing else, recognizing bus faces. And, after the first month or so of riding the bus I began to realize that one of the girls who rides my bus also works in my office. Now seeing as how I am slow, it took me far longer to make this connection than it would the average gent, but eventually I pieced it together.

Again, I had never spoken to this girl before. Until this week.

As I was leaving work on Tuesday I ran into bus girl as I was getting on the elevator. So, being that I am at least semi-capable of pretending to be nice I say hi and introduce myself and she does the same. (Note: For the sake of anonymity -- and by that I mean I forgot her name -- I am going to to call her bus girl.)

So bus girl and I have the basic small-talk conversation you have with anyone you meet for the first time. I call it the "freshman talk." You know, that conversation you have with everyone as a freshman in college? "What's your name? Where are you from? What's your major?" Granted, the questions in the conversation change at different stages of your life, but the same principle applies.

So we continue to talk as we get to our bus stop, and all the while I am thinking, "oh shit, she better get on a different bus because I don't think I can sustain a conversation for another half hour." Yes, I am enough of a neurotic sad-sack that I was actually thinking that.

Well for reasons that are boring and involve a description of my bus route and its sub-bus routes, I lucked out and she did, in fact, get on a different bus. All-in-all our conversation probably lasted about ten minutes.

Now, flash forward to the following morning.

I am sitting in the back of the bus -- the normal morning perch for me. About halfway through the ride, per usual, bus girl hops on. However, per unusual, there are no seats on the bus and she is forced closer to the back, and with me being a notorious back-of-the-bus-sitter, and her being more akin to the front, I assumed there would be no interaction between us.

So as she is making her way down the aisle, I begin to race through the acknowledgment options in my head:

Option 1. Wave. I realized she wasn't going to make it all the way to me because of the number of people on the bus so waving seemed like semi-logical option. I quickly shot this idea down because waving is fucking awkward. Always. There is no such thing as a wave that isn't awkward.

Option 2. Ignore her. I've only talked to this chick once for ten minutes, so who cares? I mean, realistically, I have no reason to care if I associate with here in any way. This option, however, seemed rude.

Option 3. Smile and/or say "hi." A dangerous option, mind you, because a "hi" can quickly turn into a conversation and, quite frankly, grunting or punching her in the face would probably be even more awkward than the wave. However this option seemed most reasonable given the circumstances.

So there I am, mentally preparing myself for operation "hi smile" and I look over at bus girl and realize I am too late. I had already missed the eye contact window. (If you wondering, the eye contact window is that first 10-15 seconds when you see someone you recognize and you lock eyes to acknowledge you see one another. It is a pretty tight window though because if you try too hard you can quickly go from eye contact window to awkwardly staring. And nobody wants that.)

Well, once I realize that I have missed the eye contact window (probably because I was too busy trying to come up with fucking "acknowledgment options") I quickly switch gears and audible to option 4: pretend to play with my iPod (a derivation of option 2: ignore her, and a cousin of "pretend-to-play-with-your-phone when you see someone you don't want to talk to at work, school, or a box social").

This works swimmingly. The bus ride continues with us ignoring one another, and she gets off the bus enough before me that she was a half a block ahead of me walking to work, and reached the office well before I did, and we haven't spoken since.

I don't really have a point, but I would like to know what the etiquette is in this situation. Was there some better way to handle it? Probably. But I don't know what it is. I still say the smile and hi was the way to go. Unfortunately, it just didn't work out that way.

I guess the moral of the story is don't miss your eye contact window.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Miscommunication

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.