Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Twins Decade in Review

Twins fans last memory of the 2000s is a panicked Nick Punto scrambling hopelessly back to third base.

A microcosm of Twins baseball in the aughts.

Twins fans last happy memory of 2000s is Carlos Gomez leaping triumphantly in the air as Bobby Keppel, Mike Redmond, Matt Guerrier, and Matt Tolbert rush to meet him.

A microcosm of Twins baseball in the aughts.

Whether the moment is a should-be utility player sucking the life out of 55,000 screaming fans, or five mediocre players celebrating an improbable victory, the Twins decade featured its ups and downs.

Like any team (other than the Pirates) the Twins of the aughts had their good moments, and their bad moments. They appeared in half of the American League Division Series, but only 1/10 of the American Championship Series, and, of course, zero World Series.

They created a persona of scrappiness: the Minnesota Fightin’ Fundies – a perception that plagues them, albeit incorrectly, into the 2000-teens.

They created a small market blueprint.

They created a franchise mantra of pitching, speed and defense.

They created memories both good and bad.

Starting next Monday, I am going to write a year-by-year review of Twins baseball in the 2000s. Ten years in ten days. Suspiciously convenient, I know.

Until then, here is some shameless self promotion:

Follow me on Twitter.

Check out my Get to Know Em Twins Blogger interview at Topper Anton’s Curve for a Strike. While there, make sure to read the other Twins blogger interviews, and Topper’s Twins analysis as well. Always a fun site to read.

Also, thanks to Seth Stohs for the shout out on his site. Seth Speaks, as I am sure you are all aware, is a must read for Twins fans.

If you are here for the first time, peruse some of my archives, and by all means feel free to come back again. I will try to keep you entertained.

Thank you to everyone who followed my foray into Twins blogging in 2009, and hopefully you look forward to reading Undomed in 2010 as much as I look forward to writing it.

And with that, happy New Year to all.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Top 20 Twins Prospects

I am not a Major League scout – obviously. This, technically, makes me very much under-qualified to rank Twins prospects.

In many ways, there are few armchair analyses more arbitrary than creating a list of top baseball prospects. Unlike, for example, Seth Stohs of, I have neither the connections, nor the acumen for research, to put together a credible list of top Twins prospects.

The list I have created here is based almost completely on statistical analysis, and the limited scouting reports I found online without subscribing to any websites.

Doing research with limited online resources puts me on the same level with most baseball fans, so I suppose from that standpoint I am neither more or less qualified than most. And, because I am far more knowledgeable about baseball than the average person, I suppose on some level I actually am qualified to rank prospects.

What is my point? I don’t really know.

I think I am just manifesting my personal feelings of inadequacy on the prospect matter through this rambling introduction.

My feelings stem mostly from my not really feeling comfortable analyzing a player until I have actually seen the man play. Statistics, after all, can only tell you so much.

Regardless, prospects are always a hot topic (especially for the Twins) so I decided to create a list for my readers. Plus, Seth was nice enough to offer my inclusion in his excellent prospect handbook, so this gave me more motivation to create a list.

As I stated, most of my analysis comes from statistics and limited scouting reports. But also, from the intangible standpoint, I am a big believer in a person’s name being important to their success; which is one of the reasons Shooter Hunt didn’t get cut from the list (I am 30% serious about this).

In ranking players such as Miguel Sano and Max Kepler-Rozycki, for whom no stats were available, I had an issue because neither has played a second of baseball in the U.S. Basically, all I know about Kepler-Rozycki is that he was the top European prospect. This means (a) he accidentally signed up for baseball instead of soccer as a kid, and (b) he is the luckiest bastard alive because he wasn’t subjected to soccer. Also, going back to the name theory, Kepler-Rozycki needs to drop the Rozycki if he ever wants to play Major League Baseball.

Similarly, all I know about Sano is that he can’t decide on a last name.

However, both were so highly touted in their home country, and are still so young, that their ceilings are quite high. I’m sure their rankings will change – for better or for worse – in the next year or two.

Now that I have given you all a glimpse into my thought process, and completely undermined my already limited credibility, let’s move on to the list. I didn’t include any information on the players, but if you are looking for a good site for Minor League statistics, I recommend the Baseball Cube.


20. Shooter Hunt, RP
19. Max Kepler-Rozycki, OF
18. Steve Singelton, IF
17. Joe Benson, OF
16. Carlos Guietterez, SP
15. Rene Tosoni, OF
14. Tyler Robertson, SP
13. Alex Burnett, RP
12. Danny Valencia, 3B
11. Rob Delaney, RP
10. Chris Parmelee, OF
9. Anthony Slama, RP
8. David Bromberg, SP
7. Adrian Salcedo, SP
6. Angel Morales, OF
5. Kyle Gibson, SP
4. Wilson Ramos, C
3. Miguel Sano, SS
2. Ben Revere, OF
1. Aaron Hicks, OF

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Break

Being that I celebrate Christmas, and don't care about being politcally correct, I thought I would just let everyone know I am on Christmas break. Or, at least, I think I am.

I may post something tomorrow or Wednesday, but don't count on it. If a post pops up consider it a Christmas bonus of sorts.

I am working on a decade retrospective about the Twins that I will post sometime between Christmas and New Years, until then, however, I am most likely on hiatus.

Unless I'm not. We'll see.

So with that, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. Oh, and follow me on Twitter.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Random Thoughts...

...Pet peeve #3176974: When people use song lyrics as their Facebook status. I understand that you are trying to prove how "deep" you are by posting some incredibly moving and meaningful lyrics, but throwing up stereotypical words from a crappy pop or punk rock song isn't the way to express your deepest feelings. All this does is prove that you aren't creative enough to properly express yourself. Most importantly, though, if you think a poorly written pop song is the best way to express your teenage angst (especially if you are older than 16 and/or not a girl) you probably have bigger problems.

...I am squarely in the camp that believes it is time for The Simpsons to end. I honestly can't remember the last time I caught a new episode of The Simpsons. Occasionally, I'll check the syndicated airings to see if they are showing an older episode, but if they are showing anything in this decade, I'm definitely going to skip it. The Simpsons is one of the greatest television shows of all time, and once it ends it will live on in syndication regardless, a la Seinfeld and Friends. In a perfect world, the show would have ended several years ago, but so often shows hang on far, far too long. So please Matt Groening and co., put an end to the show and let us enjoy the ingenuity of the older episodes that made The Simpsons one of the greatest television shows of our lifetime.

...Doesn't this happen every year? At some point can't we all just agree that climbing a mountain in the middle of winter is a bad idea? I mean, does it make me a bad person that all I can think is "man, these people are morons?" Well fine, then, color me a bad person.

...Not to be a cynical Grinch, but why not give money to a charity instead of some random people who can obviously afford to eat out? This isn't a "magical" story, it is a story of generosity being used poorly.

...Colin Cowherd is the most annoying person at ESPN. And that's saying something.

...The man may not be immortal, but the fellatio jokes about his name certainly are.

...All dictionaries should be required to replace their definition of irony, with this story about Bill Plaschke. Irony is a hard concept to completely explain, but luckily we have Plaschke to give us the most perfect real life example in the history of real life examples.

...I am not okay with this. I am a superstitious loony-bin, and while I don't know of any specific "cover of MLB: The Show jinx," why risk it? I don't approve. I don't approve at all.

...The Cubs are making one of the most epically moronic trades I have ever seen. I understand that they hate Milton Bradley, and probably for good reason. Swapping him, however, for Carlos Silva who has been somewhere between awful and terrible the last couple of years -- not to mention injured -- doesn't make any sense. I understand it is bad contract swap, but Silva has almost no upside. He is a bad pitcher. Even at his peak, he was mediocre. If the Cubs want to get rid of Bradley that bad, just eat the money and trade him for prospects. Taking on Silva makes no sense whatsoever.

...Speaking of which, how great has Jack Zduriencik been from both a GM standpoint and a ridiculosuly-impossible-to-pronounce-name standpoint? The Twins should trade Bill Smith and prospects to the Mariners for Zduriencik. How great would that be? Both for the Twins as a franchise, and for the reaction to GMs being traded for each other. Everyone at ESPN's head would explode as they try and breakdown who got a better deal based on negotiation skills and whatnot.

...Honestly, I can't say enough about Jersey Shore. The show is so mindlessly, low-browingly entertaining it blows my mind. The fact that The Situation, J-Woww, Shnookie, and the rest, take themselves so seriously, and don't realize how off-the-charts ridiculous their behavior is makes for an excellent hour of television. If you aren't watching, you should be; if for no other reason that to feel better about yourself.

...I also can't say enough about The Wire, but for very difference reasons than Jersey Shore, obviously.

...That's all I've got this week, I am going to end with what is quickly becoming my routine shameless promotion ending: If you are on Twitter, and want to enjoy my semi-coherent 140 character ramblings on a daily basis, follow me here. Also, if you are new around these parts, check out the archive in the side bar for some of my older posts. You may or may not find them interesting or entertaining. I guarantee nothing.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Top Ten Television Shows of the Decade

I am rolling out a top ten list today for three reasons (that’s right, you’re getting a list inside the list – a little list-on-list action if you will):

1. Sports are boring and depressing right now.

As if not having any baseball to watch isn’t bad enough, we also have the story about Tiger, which is the odd combination of sad and fascinating; but not exactly the feel good story of the year. Then comes the tragic passing of Chris Henry, which is obviously just 100% sad. I’d say we’re going through a little rough patch in sports right now…

2. I like lists.

Honestly, I think everyone likes lists. If for no other reason than to call the list maker out: “Is this guy/gal an idiot?” Or “How much fucking coke was this guy/gal doing when making this list?” Good times for all.

3. I want to.

It’s my blog, and I want to make a list. So there. Plus we’re nearing the end of the decade when everyone is releasing their “decade in review” lists, and I enjoy pop culture almost as much as sports, so I’m jumping on that bandwagon.

10. Scrubs

Sometimes Scrubs is genius. There are certain episodes that are able to blend drama and quirky humor in a way no other show can. Plus, Dr. Cox is one of my favorite television characters of all time. I’m putting it at ten on this list because I think J.D. gets annoying, and I don’t really like Zach Braff in general. Ever since he was on Punk’d, and acted like the biggest ass hole in the history of ass holes, he has held a special place in “douche bag land” for me. I think you can tell a lot about a person by how they react to being punk’d.

9. Curb Your Enthusiasm

If you don’t like Larry David, I don’t like you. ‘Nuff said.

8. The Office

I feel like The Office has gotten progressively worse ever since Jim and Pam got together. The show was certainly better the first few seasons when they had the whole “will they, won’t they” thing going on. I think the writers have done a decent job of keeping storylines fresh ever since the Jim-Pam arc played out, but they haven’t done a great job. The show is still usually good for a few laughs though.

7. It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

I am not a big fan of cults. I find them creepy and weird. (Prime example: fraternities and sororities. I don’t get it. All these groups are is glorified cults. You are basically paying to join a group of people that meets on certain days to take part in various activities. How is that not a cult? Creepy and weird.) Anyway, having said that, the one cult I am more than proud to be a part of is “Always Sunny in Philadelphia fans.” The FX show started more-or-less as a grass roots program has steadily grown in popularity, and has reached full blown cult status for college aged males. I am proud to say I was on the bandwagon even before Danny DeVito took the show to the next level.

6. Rescue Me

I find Denis Leary annoying. Mostly because Denis Leary is annoying. Denis Leary playing Denis Leary as a firefighter, however, is entertaining. I know, it doesn’t make sense. Leary plays Tommy Gavin, who is basically just Denis Leary, and even though I find Denis Leary annoying, I like Tommy Gavin. Again, it doesn’t make sense. Maybe I actually like Denis Leary and just don’t want to admit it. I know, I’m confused too. Regardless, Rescue Me is a fantastic show, and somehow manages to be both dramatically heart-wrenching and outrageously funny. How’s that for a stereotypical one line review?

5. 30 Rock

30 Rock is better than The Office, and it really isn’t close. 30 Rock is, without a doubt, the most consistently funny sitcom of this decade. By far. If I were making a list of just the best comedies of the aughts, 30 Rock would take up the 1-5 spots because no other show even belongs in the conversation. So there.

This is coming from a guy, by the way, who hated Tracy Morgan on Saturday Night Live, was completely ambivalent towards Alec Baldwin, and was 100% certain that funny females didn’t actually exist. I still have yet to meet a funny woman, but at least Tina Fey managed to break that stereotype for me.

(Call me sexist if you must, but it’s true. I don’t know any funny females. Alright, whatever, I’m sexist. Let’s move on.)

4. Friday Night Lights

Most. Underrated. Show. In. The. History. Of. Television. Everyone who watches Friday Night Lights loves it, yet there aren’t nearly enough people watching. This begs the question, what the hell is wrong with you people? I’d say more, but at this point you should be far too busy Netflixing the DVDs to still be reading this.

3. The Wire

One could make the argument I am cheating here, because so far I have only watched one full season of The Wire, however, season one may have been the best season of television I have ever seen, so I have no problem placing this baby at number three. In fact, if I were to venture a guess, assuming the other seasons stack up, The Wire will end up number two on this list, and very possibly number one. How do you like them apples?

2. 24

There have certainly been some clunky seasons of 24 along the way, but when 24 is going good, I defy anyone to walk away from the show. You can’t do it. Watch a couple of episodes (even of the bad seasons) and you will be hooked. There is a zero percent chance that you can start a season of 24 and not finish. And regardless of how you feel about the occasionally suspect acting, the show-in-real-time concept is brilliant and keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Personally, I feel connected to the show because I started watching it from the very beginning. I saw commercials during football games and whatnot on Fox, and thought it looked interesting so I gave it a try. I have been hooked ever since. This is the only show on this list that I have watched every season as it was on TV. Every other show I have watched on DVD/online/on demand. 24 is my show, but it still can’t top number 1…

1. Jersey Shore

Ha. Just kidding.

1. The Sopranos

Tony Soprano is the most compelling character in television history. You can’t argue otherwise. You can try, but you are wrong. This isn’t an opinion, it is a fact. Plus, it is fun to watch him get exponentially fatter as the seasons progress. I’d say more about the show, but if you’ve watched The Sopranos it speaks for itself, and if you haven’t I don’t want to ruin for you. To summarize: watch The Sopranos.

Honorable Mention: House, The Daily Show, How I Met Your Mother, The Aquaman storyline on Entourage

Obviously, the point of these lists is to get people to either nod in agreement, or shake their heads in frustration. If one of your favorite shows isn’t on the list, it either means I’ve never seen it, or I think it is a big pile of crap. Either way, I would love to see people’s arguments about my list (either for or against) in the comments section.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fantasy Football Etiquette

As most fantasy footballers are aware, there is a certain level of etiquette assumed when taking apart in a league. Like anything, there is a set of unwritten rules league members should follow.

The most important of these rules is that you don't mess with the standings. You don't throw games because you and a buddy are colluding, you don't try and make ridiculous trades to help someone else out. Basically you try and win your games, and if you don't make the playoffs, that is part of the game. Better luck next year.

Well, someone in my league decided to not play by the rules.

For a little background, the league I'm in is fairly standard: 10 team league, no weird scoring, 4 teams make the playoffs, etc.

Going into last week (final week of the regular season) I was in second place, holding a very tenuous lead. I was almost certainly in the playoffs, but seeding had yet to be decided.

Well, I lost my game, which didn't seem to be a big deal since I would end up in third place instead of second -- which is basically irrelevant.

Everything from there played out as I expected, until the first place team, who was a sure bet to win, benched Larry Fitzgerald and Vernon Davis to lose on purpose. He did this so his buddy would beat him, and move ahead of me in the standings.

Turns out, these two idiots have banded together and decided to split the money if one of them wins the league. The number one team lost on purpose so he wouldn't have to play his buddy in round one of the playoffs, thus insuring at least one of them would make the championship.

Bush league. Beyond bush league.

Seeing as how I know neither of these guys (they are in the league because a friend of mine is the commissioner, and he got a few guys from his gym to join) I took to the message boards. Naturally.

The following messages are taken verbatum from the message boards, starting right afterthe first place team (Ruff Ryders) and his buddy (SHOWTIME -- the should be fourth place team, but now third place team because of their colluding bull shit) try to explain their theory of why Ruff Ryders lost. They claimed Ruff Ryders wanted a better matchup.

Here is what transpired from there:

Me: So to clarify, Ruff Ryders threw his game to play a team that already beat him instead of playing a team he would have beaten twice if he wasn't too busy failing at being strategic. Makes sense.

Here I thought SHOWTIME was the biggest tool in the league for changing his name to something so retarded. But apparently stupidty is an STD.


(Interjection: How clever, eh?)

SHOWTIME: Look man. Man up and call it like it is.

Nate is #1 regardless of if he wins/lost last week and the week before. So he has the right to bench whom ever he wants.

So, instead of focusing on the team not being as good as you think, why dont you just be a man, realize that its a fantacy team, and deal with STUPID SHIT like me calling my team SHOWTIME! Deal with IT

Me: So in your pea brained, roided out world, where fantasy is spelled with a "c" and whomever is two words, being a man involves what exactly?

Playing scared of a team that you would've beaten twice during the regular season if you weren't strategically challenged?

Or possibly just generally being a weasel?

Ruff Ryders made the choice to play the game like an ass hole, and I am calling him out on it.

As for mocking your team name, I am just saying what everyone else is thinking. I'm sure, though, "SHOWTIME" serves you well when hanging out with the rest of the cast of Jersey Shore.

(Interjection: Normally, I find it obnoxious when people correct correct grammar and spelling on message boards, but this was so blatant I couldn't resist. Plus that was a top-notch burn and you all know it.)

SHOWTIME: Never once did I make it personal with anyone. So way to go man. I will deal with it. It is what it is. I just dont know what I did wrong. Look at my lineups, I am not even trying. Once I start to win people get upset. There is NO cheating going on here. Look at my teams record, who I start, who I bench. If I cared I would have only lost 2 maybe 3 games.

But if you do want to make it personal come say it to my face

Me: First of all, if you are going to try and take the high road, don't end your post with a vague threat of violence. It undermines your poor attempt at civility.

Second of all, while I certainly agree I am being petty, I don't understand why you got involved in the argument if you weren't ready to be ripped on. We weren't having a spirited debate about whether the Colts or Saints are a better team, we were arguing about general douche baggery. I'm pretty sure civility was out the window from the start.

None of this matters, of course, since your juggernaut of mediocrity is destined to win the league, anyway. So I suppose we can consider this entire argument moot, and all hand our money over to you now.

The messages pretty much end there, aside from SHOWTIME threatening to kick everyone's ass.

I guess I just wanted to share my frustration with my four readers (plus I think it is an entertaining exchange). I think it is fair to say I got hosed in the situation. Hopefully, karma will make things right.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wilf the Weasel?

When Zygi Wilf purchased the Minnesota Vikings from Red McCombs in 2005, he quickly became the mustachioed savior of the most beloved franchise in Minnesota. Four years later, with Wilf demanding a new stadium, and the threat of relocation looming, the love has faded. And fast.

The outrage has been palpable the last few weeks, with angry fans lighting up the internet and airwaves with angry tweets, blog posts, and radio call-ins. The public has spoken: Wilf’s a weasel.

While it is easy to sit back and lament the potential relocation of the Vikings, a black cloud over an otherwise successful season, the more realistic fan would look at the issue from both sides.

Is it fair to argue that Wilf shouldn’t be making such outrages demands in such a, let’s call it, “economically questionable” time? Of course. But shouldn’t fans be ostracizing public officials, as well, for refusing to even broach the subject?

The fact of the matter is, the Metrodome is aging, and aging quickly. The Vikings need a new facility to compete with the revenues of other NFL franchises. (Even the Lions have a state-of-the-art facility, after all.)

I assume most lawmakers would acknowledge losing the Vikings would be a giant blow to the state of Minnesota, not only from the sports fan’s perspective, but an economic perspective as well.

So why is it that they refuse to even answer questions regarding a new stadium?

Maybe the timing is bad, but there are two sides to the stadium construction coin. Yes, approving a stadium would obviously require approving funds in a downtrodden Minnesota market, but just the mere process of building the stadium would create jobs. Between the designing, construction, and everything else that goes into planning and building a professional sports stadium, and coupled with the revenues a professional sports franchise brings to local bars, restaurants, hotels, etc., the Twin Cities would certainly see a return on its investment.

From Wilf’s perspective, threatening to relocate a franchise that, for better or worse, is an important part of Minnesota’s identity is good business. He holds the trump card because he knows Minnesota can’t afford to lose the Vikings, but if the state wants to keep the team, they have to build Wilf’s stadium.

Wilf's stubbornness is what has created the public outcry. People want to believe in a sense of loyalty from their sports team, and Wilf is showing next-to-none towards Minnesotans. But the fact is, Wilf isn’t in the business of loyalty. He is in the business of business. Wilf’s job is to run the Vikings to the best of his ability, and turn the most profit at the end the year. Maximum profit is the goal for any business owner, and Wilf is no different.

While the Vikings franchise has obviously proven it can be a moneymaker in Minnesota, the Metrodome has proven it is no longer a viable NFL stadium. The seats are cramped, the concourse is cramped, the food selection is poor at best, and the bathrooms are urine troughed nightmares. There is almost nothing good about the Metrodome.

To argue the Vikings should continue to play in a second rate stadium simply because the team “belongs” in Minnesota, is asinine. It is time for a new facility, and that is what Wilf is trying to procure.

We all obviously want the Vikings to stay in Minnesota. But while we all believe the Vikings truly do “belong” in Minnesota, that isn’t enough to keep the around. Something tangible needs to be done.

Many people ask, “Why now?” With the state facing a large deficit and massive budget cuts, why ask for a publicly funded facility now?

The answer, from Wilf, would be, “If not now, when?”

The Vikings lease in the Metrodome is up after 2011, coupled with the very real threat of a lockout after the 2010 season. The Vikings obviously want some resolution with so much upcoming uncertainty.

No matter how much public outcry persists, Wilf isn’t going to back down. And he shouldn’t. With so much leverage on his side, Wilf is going to get what he wants.

Whether he gets it here, or in Los Angeles, remains to be seen.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Random Thoughts...

...The Random Thoughts are back after an obnoxiously (and arguably unnecessarily) long hiatus. Luckily, the only story anyone has been talking about lately is Tiger Woods and his ever-expanding list of whores, so I suppose I haven't missed much in terms of random thinking. Having said that, I am going to spare you all from any more Tiger musings here at Undomed. At least until a sex tape surfaces.

...Is there any other major media market in the country that would allow Sid Hartman, Patrick Reusse, and Dark Star to be some of the most "influential" voices in the local sports scene? I understand that Sid is an "institution" of sorts; and, admittedly, his crazy old man ranting can be somewhat entertaining, but coupling him with a blowhard like Reusse is ridiculous. Most of us have seen Reusse's quote about Joe Christensen and OPS in his "Turkey of the Year" column. Reusse simply epitomizes everything that is wrong with sports writing. We get it, you're old, you're angry, and you are completely out of touch with the general public perspective. Please, stop blathering.

Throw in Dark Star who I want to punch in the head every time he speaks, and you have the trifecta-de-trash. Just awful sports journalism all around. How does nobody at the Star Tribune and WCCO understand this?

...You know what is an underrated invention? The water sprayer thingy for dishes on kitchen sinks. Very handy. I feel spoiled going from a shitty college apartment that barely had a sink, to an apartment with both a sprayer thingy and a dishwasher. And, if you are wondering, yes, "sprayer thingy" is a technical term.

...In a battle between PETA and the Catholic church everyone's a loser.

...Does it bother anyone else when people ask someone if the person they are dating/used to date is cute? What answer can you reasonably expect other than, "yes?" Obviously if the person dated/dates someone they are at least reasonably attracted to said person. Do you really expect someone to say, "No, I was just really desperate"? As enjoyable as that response would be, I find it highly unlikely.

...Why on earth would the most entertaining member of the "Jew crew" go and do something like this?

...I enjoy the first snowfall of the year, if, for no other reason than to watch Minnesota drivers try and readjust to winter driving. Highly entertaining.

...Of course, the six months of snow after the first snowfall are far, far less entertaining.


...Ever see those women who dress like they are young and hip, but look like they are about 40? I always have an internal debate about whether they are actually 40 and going through a mid-life crisis, or 22 and so beaten down by life they look like a disheveled 40 year old. If you are wonder, the latter is called "Lindsay Lohan Syndrome." And, yes, I know that joke is too easy, but it never gets old.

...For the record, I have reached my Lindsay Lohan quota for the day (and likely far exceeded it).

...If you are behind on the times like me because you weren't old enough to fully appreciate television shows when they were actually on TV, I highly recommend The Wire. I am most of the way through season one, and it is excellent. Sopranos-esque, if you will.

...At the same time, if you still watch Entourage, stop. Just stop now. The last three seasons have been unwatchable. And, for anyone thinking they should pick up the Entourage DVD's because they have heard good things, get the first three seasons and stop there. Once the Aquaman story-arc plays out, the show becomes terrible. I still don't understand why I watched last season, but I am definitely not coming back next season.

...For the love of god, MTV, do not give into pressure and take Jersey Shore off the air. One slutty girl getting punched in the face is grounds cancelling one of the best television shows ever off the air? That is ludicrous! Ludicrous I say!

...For the last five years or so I have been buzzing my. Recently, however, I decided to let it grow out for awhile. I am thoroughly enjoying this process. Everyday is a new hair adventure...yeah I don't have a whole lot going on right now...

...Alright, but if Hannah Montana takes a break, that's where I draw the line.

...I feel like malls should hire a common sense expert before designing their parking lots. I was at a mall today (Rosedale Center for those of you familiar with the area) and spent like ten minutes driving around the parking lot because the entire thing is constructed as a giant one-way road with intermittently sprinkled turnoffs. How is this the most efficient method for building a parking lot? It is a huge pain in the ass. If I am driving around a parking lot and want to go the opposite direction, I should be able to do so without having to drive around the entire fucking building. Is that too much to ask? Ugh.

...If I had to make a list of annoying people (actually "had" would be a bit of a misnomer here, I would thoroughly enjoy creating this list), "weight room guy" would be somewhere in the top ten.

Now, there are two forms of "weight room guy," and both are equally obnoxious.

First, you have the guy who almost definitely does steroids and struts around the gym with that, "I-don't-have-a-life-outside-the-gym-but-its-ok-because-I-can kick-your-ass" look. Always a class act, by the way, this guy is.

Second, you have the "strut-around-the-gym-wearing-too-little-clothing-even-though-I-am-actually-super-skinny-or-fat" guy. This guy is great because he doesn't actually do any workouts, he just stands around pretending to exercise. This is fine in a large gym, I suppose, if it helps your self esteem, but when you live in an apartment with a moderately sized workout room, and there is a gaggle of three pretend work outers, it becomes infinitely more annoying.

...What a weird NFL season, eh? After the Steelers loss to the Browns, I have come to the conclusion that everybody just sucks. There are no good teams anymore, just a few teams with a couple of good players.

...I think it is fairly obvious, based on all the evidence, that Lane Kiffin is a dirtball. Having said that, I am going to defend his Volunteers in the whole "recruiting hostesses" ordeal. I say, if you can find a few hot coeds that didn't make the cheerleader squad but still want to help out the team, go ahead and sign them up as hostesses. As long as their job description is "recruiter," you can't control what else they do to entice players to become Volunteers. Besides, as Tennessee recruit Marcus Lattimore said, "you don't want to go to a college where they ain't pretty." Truer words have never been spoken. Absolutely nobody wants to go to a college where "they ain't pretty." This, coming from a guy who went to the University of Minnesota Duluth...

...I am going to end this week with some shameless self-promotion. If you are on Twitter, and want to enjoy my semi-coherent 140 character ramblings on a daily basis, follow me here. Also, if you are new around these parts, check out the archive in the side bar for some of my older posts. You may or may not find them interesting or entertaining. I guarantee nothing.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Winter Meetings Roundup (of Sorts)

The winter meetings are, for all intents and purposes, over. I’m sure there are some loitering front office personnel and sportswriters, because, hey, who doesn’t want to spend extra time in Indianapolis? But, essentially the winter meetings have come to a close.

As expected, there was some maneuvering by other teams, but aside from Carl Pavano accepting arbitration, the Boofing, and some Kouz-arosa rumors (see what I did there? I am quite the wordsman), not much happened in Twins land.

(By the way, doesn’t Kouz-arosa kind of sound like the name of a Chinese restaurant? I bet they would have some bitchin’ wontons…but I digress.)

Be that as it may, there are a few names implicit in the Twins actions during the Winter Meetings that I would like to explore in a little more detail.

Boof Bonser

As I stated above by turning Boof’s name into a verb, the Twins cut ties with the burly (ok, hefty) right-hander to make room on the 40 man roster for Pavano and his nose. I met the Boofing with a “meh” and a shrug, but the response from other Twins fans seemed to be much more cryptic.

If had a dollar for every Twins fan Tweet that said some variation of, “shouldn’t have let Bonser leave,” I would have like four dollars.

I am more than willing to acknowledge that Bobby Keppel would have been a better designate-for-assignment candidate, but Boof certainly would have been second on the list. Moreover, with Boof rejecting the Twins contract offer, you can certainly see why the Twins cut ties with Mr. Bonser.

When you consider that the Twins have five bullpen spots essentially locked up (assuming Jesse Crain is tendered a contract, which he should be) there wasn’t really room for Bonser anway.

The following pitchers are essentially locked in for next year (again under the Crain assumption):

Joe Nathan
Matt Guerrier
Jose Mijares
Jesse Crain
Jon Rauch

Add a hopefully healthy Pat Neshek into the mix, and you only have room for at most one more arm. And, that is dependent on if the Twins stick with the misguided twelve-man-staff theory.

Even with seven guys in the bullpen, however, the Twins would probably want a lefty or long man, or better yet, a lefty long man. Bonser, would fit neither of those positions. Boof is obviously not left-handed, and struggled in the long role when he last pitched in 2008.

At this point, the best case scenario for Bonser is a righty setup role, and the Twins have plenty of candidates for that spot already.

Instead of creating a logjam in the bullpen, the Twins got rid of a coming-off-injury pitcher and received a player to be named later or cash in the process. Plus, think how much money the team will save on the postgame spread? (Sorry, I had to.)

Danny Valencia

Valencia’s name has come up a lot lately during the Twins third base search. And, even though every between-the-lines message the Twins organization sends screams “we don’t think Valencia is that special!” some Twins fans are fixated on the young third baseman.

Valencia has shown moderate offensive success in the minors while playing, by all accounts, absolutely awful defense. After putting up a very good .336/.402/.518 line in high A ball, Valencia has been somewhere between decent and deceptively bad in AA and AAA.

Between Valencia’s modest Minor League numbers, and the Twins obvious lack of Valencia commitment, I just don’t understand why Twins fans are so worked up. Honestly, I want someone to explain the allure.

If the Twins truly believed Valencia was an option next year, they would have called him up last September. Oh, but wait,“he isn’t ready.”

Even more telling is the Twins interest in the relatively young Kevin Kouzmanoff, and apparent willingness to give Mark DeRosa a two, or more, year contract. An obvious sign that the organization has no interest in waiting around for a mediocre prospect.

Simply put, the Twins don't seem too keen on waiting for Valencia's phantom potential, so why are all the fans?

Chip Hale

Yes, I am aware Chip Hale almost certainly wasn’t mentioned as target for the Twins this offseason. (His name may have come up at some point during the week, though, he is the Diamondbacks third base coach after all.)

My point here, however, is that one of the Twins most pressing needs lies outside the starting lineup. Also, I wanted to add a third player to this list because two seemed awkward.

So, as you can see, I am using Hale as symbol for what the Twins need. (I chose Hale because I defy you to name me a more randomly awesome bench player in Twins history. I dare you –- Al Newman, Gene Larkin, and Randy Bush are too easy.)

So far the Twins have been linked, albeit tenuously, to Robb Quinlan. For now, being tenuously linked to anyone is fine, especially if that anyone is the exceptionally mediocre Quinlan. As the offseason progresses, however, and more players begin finding homes, the Twins should sniff around for low-cost, proven, veterans for their bench.

There are always plenty of Chip Hale’s available late in the offseason, and the Twins would be wise to wrap one or two up. If, for no other reason, than to keep Danny Valencia off the roster.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Rumor of the Day: Mark DeRosa

Yesterday it was Kevin Kouzmanoff, today it is Mark DeRosa.

If we are learning anything from the Winter Meetings, it is that the Twins are focusing on the third base market, while shirking second base. A development, that hardly comes as a surprise.

The question all along seemed to be whether the Twins would focus on acquiring a third baseman or a second baseman, with Punto handling one of the two positions. And seeing how the Twins seem prefer Punto at second (although optimally, they would prefer him on the bench) it makes sense they are looking to acquire a third baseman.

Assuming the Twins have made the (albeit poor) decision to pursue only a third baseman, Mark DeRosa is a far superior choice to Kouzmanoff.

As I mentioned yesterday, the Twins need a two hitter. Essentially, the Twins need someone who will get on base in front of Mauer, Morneau, Kubel, and Cuddyer.

Unlike Kouzmanoff, DeRosa would give the Twins solid OBP production batting second. And, while DeRosa may or may not "handle the bat" (aka bunt and slap ground balls) up to the Gardy two-hole (note: not a poop joke) standard, he strikes me as at least being a gamer and/or battler.

Regardless of the Gardy standard, all the Twins really need in a two hitter is someone who will get on base. Enter DeRosa and the following OBPs:

2006: .357
2007: .371
2008: .376
2009: .319

Yes, DeRosa's OBP in 2009 was obviously way down, but it was also misleading. Before being traded, DeRosa put up a .342 OBP with Cleveland, a number almost equivalent to his career OBP of .343 (only one percent off!). A few days after the trade, DeRosa suffered a wrist injury, and posted a dismal .291 OBP the rest of the way with St. Louis.

Assuming DeRosa is completely healthy – which becomes even dicier when dealing with a hitter’s wrist – it would be reasonable to expect DeRosa to put up numbers closer to his career line. Assuming he can post an OBP in the .335-.350 range, DeRosa would be a vastly superior option to the allergic-to-the-base-paths Kouzmanoff.

The biggest issue with DeRosa would be money. He is currently seeking 3 yrs/$27 million, an absolutely absurd number, especially considering the most coveted infielder on the market (Chone Figgins) received 4 yrs/$36 million. If that number comes down, which it almost inevitably will, DeRosa becomes a much more attractive option in the 2-3 yrs/$6-7 million per year range.

Since it appears the Twins are content with acquiring just one infielder, DeRosa is one of the better fits at third base. The best case scenario, however, is still signing both a third baseman and a second baseman.

In that sense, Kouzmanoff and a second baseman would be a much better move than signing only DeRosa.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Rumor of the Day: Kevin Kouzmanoff

Like many MLB rumor-mongers, I have been staring almost non-stop at my Twitter feed today (much to the chagrin of my retinas) to soak in the up-to-the-minute Twins updates.

The most recent of those updates comes courtesy of Bob Nightengale : "The Minnesota Twins are offering pitcher Glenn Perkins for Padres 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff, but the Padres are seeking more." (Of course, by the time I finished typing that sentence some overweight sports writer in a Hawaiin shirt from the Podunk times probably tweeted a new rumor.)

As far as third base options go, Kouzmanoff isn't the best, but he also isn't the worst. Similar offensively to Joe Crede, and inferior with the glove, he would offer the Twins some power at the bottom of the lineup, but very little OBP. What makes more intriguing than some 3B options, however, are his home/road splits:

Home: .220/.280/.382
Road: .287/.322/.493

Playing at home in the notoriously hitter unfriendly Petco Park, Kouzmanoff was a terrible offensive player. Playing on the road, however, he put up solid production.

Of course, citing Kouzmanoff’s solid road production, and thus claiming he will post an overall line close to his road stats is far too simplistic. There are a lot of factors for home/road splits, and you can't simply assume an overall line of .287/.322/.493.

With that said, it isn't unreasonable to expect slightly better production overall by removing Kouzmanoff from Petco.

Does this mean trading for Kouzmanoff would be a good idea?

It depends. (I know, I never just give straight answers do I?)

Much like in re-signing Pavano, the Kouzmanoff deal comes down to whether this is an "or" situation or an "and" situation.

Kouzmanoff is a solid option at third if his acquistion is coupled with, for example, Orlando Hudson at second. However, if Kouzmanoff is the only infield acquistion the Twins make, the deal is much more ho-hum.

The best case scenario for the Twins infield is acquiring both a third baseman and second baseman, thus moving Nick Punto to the bench -- an obviously weak position in and of itself. By adding Kouzmanoff and Hudson, the Twins would strengthen three positions (third, second, bench) and acquire what the lineup needs most: a number two hitter.

(By the way, to convice Gardenhire that Punto should be on the bench Bill Smith could just tell him that by making Punto a utility guy, Gardy could sit next to him every inning of every game. They could sit there talking, giggling, and doing whatever the hell it is that makes Gardy love Punto so fucking much every single day. I'm pretty sure this could work, right?)

Depending on what the Twins have to give up in addition to Perkins, and what Smith and company do the rest of the offseason, Kouzmanoff could be a decent fit at 3B. If the asking price is a lot more than Perkins, however, or Kouzmanoff is going to be the only infield acquisition, the Twins should stay away, and continue searching for capable two-hitter.

So my answer to whether the Twins should deal for Kouzmanoff?

The most appropriate hot stove answer of them all: It depends.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Ace List

Roger Clemens. Randy Johnson/Curt Schilling. Jarrod Washburn. Josh Beckett. Schilling again. Mark Buehrle. Chris Carpenter. Beckett again. Cole Hamels. C.C. Sabathia.

The ace list.

The ace list of number one starters from each World Series champion of the ‘oughts.’

Aside from Washburn, who pitched very well for the Angles but is a guy few would consider an “ace,” the list is impressive.

Yes. The ace list.

Who will be added to that list next year? It is sure to be a top notch starter; the type of pitcher who can lead a staff, and stop a losing streak.

Tim Lincecum, perhaps?

Sabathia again?

Maybe King Felix?

The answer, of course, is unknown. What can be said with relative certainty, however, is that Carl Pavano, Nick Blackburn, Scott Baker, and Kevin Slowey are not the type of pitcher you associate with the ace list.

Sure, they are somewhere between solid and good candidates when filling out the two-thru-five spots in the rotation, but there is nary an ace among them.

And therein lies the problem with re-signing Carl Pavano.

While Pavano could certainly ace the large nose, squinty eyed all stars; he certainly cannot ace a major league starting rotation. I think all Twins fans can agree on this, and would assume the Twins front office would as well.

I’m not claiming the Twins are signing Carl Pavano to be their ace. However, I think at this point we all fully expect them to enter the whatever-we-decide-to-call-next-decades with a rotation (in no particular order) of Baker, Slowey, Blackburn, Pavano, and the revolvo-de-garbage.

This is a fact with which I take umbrage. In fact, all our umbs should be fully raged. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

Most statistical analyses I have seen show Pavano’s peripheral numbers were much better than his 5.10 ERA would suggest, a fact made obvious from watching his 12 starts for the Twins. He was a solid middle-of-the-rotation guy. Better than a 5.10 ERA, but certainly not a top-tier pitcher.

Pavano’s overall stats were skewed greatly by his atrocious April – featuring a one inning, 9 ER shit show, and an ERA of 9.50 for the month. It’s hard to deflate your numbers after getting blown up like that. (Just ask John Smoltz who, aside from one epically bad game in early April, was a dominant closer in 2002. Smoltz got rocked for 8 runs in 2/3 innings on April 6th, and it took until mid-July just to get his ERA below 4.00.)

I fully accept Pavano for what he is, as long as the Twins don’t ask him to be what he is not.

Assuming the Twins will not make another starting pitching move, signing Pavano was a poor decision. If the choices come down to Pavano or a Harden/Sheets/Bedard-type instead of Pavano and Harden/Sheets/Bedard-type – as seems the case – Pavano was the wrong choice.

Signing Pavano is just another deal that epitomizes the Twins franchise-wide creed of “good enough to contend,” and, by likely no fault of Pavano, the move will prove to be a bust.

Before re-signing Pavano the Twins rotation needed an ace. After re-signing Pavano, the rotation needs more of the same.

Would Sheets, Harden or Bedard be the missing ace? Maybe.

There are no guarantees they would stay healthy, but they certainly have ace ability. Sometimes, that potential ability is worth taking a chance on a player’s health.

The difference between just making the playoffs, and contending for a World Series title, is taking a flier on high risk/high reward players. Sometimes, you have to unhook the training wheels, close your eyes, and let your bike fly. Sometimes you crash. And sometimes, you make it all the way to the finish, flying past all obstacles.

Taking that leap of faith is the difference between being good, or merely being good enough.

The Twins still have time to prove whether the Pavano signing is more than just good enough. If signing Pavano is the first step to solidifying a rotation that also needs an ace, the move was good. If re-signing Pavano leads to nothing but Pavano, the move was merely good enough.

The final grade of the Pavano deal stands at incomplete. What Bill Smith does between now and the regular season, will decide the deal’s final marks.

If Pavano leads to acquiring Bedard, Sheets, Harden, or someone else with ace ability, the grade will certainly increase. If not, it will look more like my college calculus grade.

Hopefully, the Twins will understand this fact, and move on someone with the ability to become the 2011 inductee of the ace list. Because, while I cannot guarantee another pitcher would find his way onto the ace list, I can certainly guarantee you Pavano, Baker, Blackburn, or Slowey will not.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Bonus Post: Thoughts on Infield Market

With potential free agent infielders being snatched up faster than the testimonies of Tiger Woods’s mistresses by tabloids, I figured I had better relate some thoughts about the Twins infield situation before the market is completely dry (which at this pace could be any day now).

With the Marco Scutaro and Placido Polanco signings, and the apparently impending Chone Figgins signing, the, arguably, three biggest names are off the infield table.

These signings are actually a good thing for the Twins.

Once Figgins officially signs, his deal will essentially set the high end for the infield market. Couple Figgins's deal with Polanco and Scutaro getting fairly reasonable dollars-per-year (for the market at least -- in reality, Scutaro is nothing more than a glorified utility guy. I can already hear Red Sox fans complaining, "Theo is really stahtin to lose it, that Scutahro signing was retahded") and you have the middle-to-upper class of the infield free agent pool making $5-$6 million per year.

What does this mean for the Twins?

Hopefully, it means they will swoop in on someone in the Adrian Beltre/Miguel Tejada/Felipe Lopez/Orland Hudson group; or, better yet, a smorgasbord thereof that includes both a 2B and a 3B.

The most realistic scenario, however, is that the Twins will sign/trade for one infielder (be it 3B or 2B) and we will have to put up with another year of daily Punto.

Having said that, why wait to make a deal? The middle infield market has basically been set, and if the Twins can get Felipe Lopez or Orlando Hudson in the $4-$6 million range, why not make the move now? Locking up a second baseman at a reasonable price would allow the Twins to let the third base market fully play out, and see what options are available later in the offseason.

When it comes to second base, the Twins should move quickly. The price is right, and the middle infield would be set for next year.

Sure, a better deal might come up later, but there are no guarantees. There are plenty of affordable options now, so why wait for the absolutely perfect opportunity that may never arise?

Why wait for the potential bargain basement Wal-Mart prices, when there is reasonably priced, higher quality merchandise available right now?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Misadventures of Moving

I am aware that blogging has been a little (okay, a lot) light since last week, but I promise that will change next week. I'm finally getting settled from the whole moving thing and will be able to get into a better blogging routine. I will also have a desk, which is helpful for writing.

Because things have been so hectic, I haven’t been able to put together my weekly Random Thoughts (I haven’t had time to think) so instead I am offering you two stories from my moving day experience, which actually went fairly smoothly all things consider.

Again, I promise I will write more next week, and will return you to your regularly scheduled Random Thoughts next Friday.

Story 1

I moved on Monday, and that morning my dad and I went to get some furniture out of a storage unit to bring down to the new apartment. We brought the furniture back to my parent’s house in one of those big, unmarked, white child-molester vans my dad rented for the move. Back home, me, my mom, and my dad began loading stuff from my parents house into the aforementioned molester van, so we had to keep making trips back and forth from inside the house back outside to the driveway where the molester van was parked.

During one point we were all outside in the garage -- nobody else was around, so there was nobody in the house -- and my mom went open the was locked. Except it wasn't, because that would be impossible. The door just wouldn't open. We tried three different keys to the house, and none of them worked. The door wasn't going to budge.

I, being quite the sleuth, went around back to look through the patio door, and, sure as shit, the door was, in fact, not locked. It just wouldn't open.
So now we are stuck outside, unable to get in the house because some ghoul put a spell on our door, and neither the back patio, or front screen door can be unlocked by keys, making us literally trapped outside. Being locked out of your house is annoying no matter what, but 10000 times more annoying when you are trying to load a molester van, and make an hour and fifteen minute drive to your new apartment.

After exhausting all options to enter the suddenly impenetrable fortress that was my parents’ house, my mom and dad left to get a locksmith, leaving me to guard everything sitting outside. This wouldn't have been bad, except it was 30 degrees out and I was wearing only a fairly thin sweatshirt -- well and pants, don't too excited. Of course, being that I'm a moron, I didn't think to sit in my car until five minutes before my parents returned with the locksmith. I am quite the thinker.

Anyway, after numerous perplexed facial expressions, and mumbling quote "well this definitely isn't common," (translation: what the fuck did you people do?), the locksmith finally got the door open.

In the end, the ordeal lasted about an hour, gave me a funny story, and caused no real harm. Well, other than the fact that my parents’ house is haunted. But I just moved out so whatever.

Story 2

Whenever you move into a new place, you have to assume something isn't going to work. That is just the way it goes. In my apartment, the kitchen sink was leaking. Which is annoying, but could have been worse, right?

Enter clogged toilet.

A toilet so clogged, mind you, that no amount of my plunging could dislodge whatever was down the poop chute. (The clogging had nothing to do with my fecal matter, by the way, so this is far less disgusting than you think. More on that in a second.)

By the time the whole toilet clogged incident occurred, it was too late to get maintenance in, and since they were coming in the next day for the sink anyway, I figured I'd just leave it until they came in the morning. Luckily, we (I share an apartment with my brother) have two bathrooms so the situation wasn't as problematic as it could have been.

The next day, a maintenance worker came in and fixed the sink in about fifteen minutes before moving on to the toilet.

After plunging the bastard to no avail, he goes and gets "the snake" to really get down in there and unclog the SOB. He goes at it with his snake (hmmm...nope I'm going to stick with that word choice) for fifteenish minutes before giving up and calling in reinforcements.

A second maintenance worker arrives to begin a two man assault on the toilet. After more dinking around, the workers decide to take the entire unit out and give me a brand new toilet. Which, hey, sweet, new toilet.

After getting through the whole rig-a-ma-roll of taking out the old toilet, and installing the new one, the maintenance guys inform me the clogging culprit was a tube of toothpaste. Yes, whoever lived in the apartment before us flushed a tube of toothpaste down the toilet.

There are ass hole moves. There are huge ass hole moves. There is tricking someone into watching two girls, one cup. And then there is flushing toothpaste down the toilet in your apartment so a future resident has to deal with it.

So congratulations previous tenant, you just raised the bar for ass holery.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Winter Meetings

Is it sad that one of my five or six favorite times of the year is the MLB winter meetings?

I say no. You say yes. We both say, huh, no wonder this guy's not getting laid. Regardless, my list of favorite times of the year (in no particular order) looks something like this:

Twins home opener
4th of July
First days of fall
MLB postseason
First warm days of spring
First days of the year when it seems warm because it is 30 below all winter, but isn’t actually warm, but girls decide to bust out the skirts and tank tops anyway. (Also known as the end of cleavage hibernation. If the groundhog sees his shadow, we have 1 less month of cleavage. That’s how it goes, right? I always get these things messed up…)
Winter Meetings

I love the winter meetings because they are the apex of the hot stove league. There are rumors leading up to the winter meetings, and there are rumors after the winter meetings, but for those four beautiful days in December, there are more rumors than coffee mugs Grady Sizemore has stuck his penis in (of which I can only assume there are a lot).

Personally, I find the offseason almost as entertaining as the season itself – unless, of course, the Twins are trying to trade their best pitcher. Then the offseason is just long, painful, and destined to end in heartache. I spent hours refreshing my computer during the Santana saga of 2007 winter meetings. Literally hours.

There was nothing entertaining about that. Nothing.

This year, however, will be much more relaxed, because while the current Mauer contract situation is mildly disconcerting, it is not nearly as stressful as the Santana saga of 2007.

Of course, for Twins fans, the winter meetings rarely amount to anything – even the Santana saga of 2007 lasted well into January –- so we are left twiddling our thumbs. Regardless, we scrounge for rumors, and gorge on the few scraps tossed our way.

Would it be nice if the Twins actually made a few moves? Of course. But there is also a sense of letdown when a move actually happens -- kind of like opening that Christmas present you wanted more than anything. Yeah, it is nice, but the anticipation was still more exciting. The end result is one of those, “now what?” letdowns.

(For me, this was the Destro –- the G.I. Joe character who wore a silver mask all the time –- action figure I wanted more than anything for Christmas when I was sixish. The big draw was that his face mask was removable, and I was beyond pumped to see what his face actually looked like. I’m talking on the mound with an 0-2 count and three run lead in game 7 of the World Series level pumped here. Needless to say, the letdown was gigantic. All that was behind the mask was a normal looking face. Although, in hindsight, I’m not really sure exactly what I expected.)

So, whether or not rumored moves get made, I will enjoy every second of the winter meetings, because few times of the year are more exciting than the four warmest days of the MLB hot stove.

And, if we’re lucky, maybe, unlike the Santana Saga of 2007, Mauer Mania of 2009 will give us an early and pleasant end.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Still Alive

Greetings all, I am coming at you live from my new apartment in St. Paul, Minnesota. I just wanted to post something quick to let everyone know I will be back from my Thanksgiving/moving hiatus tomorrow with a full post, but for now I am spent from a day of packing and moving. Although, apparently I moved out of my parents house just in time, because I learned today it is haunted. More on that later this week.

In the meantime, check out some previous posts.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Random Thoughts...

...Seeing as how Thursday is Turkey Day, I am treating today as Friday and running the Random Thoughts. This also means I won't be posting anything new between now and Friday. I'm going to try and throw something up Sunday, but I am moving into a new apartment on Monday, so I may not have any new content up until Tuesday. (Was that as confusing to follow as it seemed when I was typing it?) I just thought I would pass that information on to my four readers. In the mean time, check out anything you may have missed. Like my column about the Twins bench that I inexplicably posted amidst the Mauer MVP frenzy. That, my friends, is called bad timing.

...By the way, I didn't write anything about Joe Mauer winning MVP because there has already been enough written. Also, there really isn't much to say. He was the obvious choice, and had anyone else won it would have been a travesty. Now, if Mauer doesn't re-sign this offseason, THAT I will write about. In the form of me bitching every few days.

...I was having a conversation with a friend of mine about the Saints and Vikings the other day. During this conversation he sent me a text that said, "I think the Saints are good but they haven't beat anyone and could lose a couple of their upcoming games." Interestingly enough, a Saints fan somewhere is saying the exact same thing about the Vikings.

...Apparently their is a high school in Minnesota called the Blooming Prairie Awesome Blossoms. I'd make a joke, but that would just seem like overkill.

...Here is a link to a picture of the Twins ridiculous red jerseys from 1997. Why? Because why not? That's why. Well, actually, I occasionally get the urge to go on a Google hunt for pictures of those jerseys -- I'm weird like that -- and now I have a link in one spot. Basically this is for my personal enjoyment. Feel free to enjoy it along with me.

...Being unemployed has caused me to lose all sense of time. I have no idea what day of the week it is anymore. Honestly, I have no idea what the hell is going on around me at any given time. I pretty much just sleep all day though anyway, so it probably doesn't matter all that much.

...Hot, Crazy Girlfriend Smashes XBOX. I like the simple things in life. Like when a video delivers exactly what it promises. Although, using the dude's driver seemed like overkill if you ask me. More importantly, though, did anyone else thing the girl was disproportionately attractive for the guy?

...If you watched that last video and thought it was boring, I would like you to know that I agree with you. I only posted it because I wanted to get the whole disproportionately hot thing out there. Few things are more annoying than seeing a cute girl with a guy that looks like a huge tool. Of course, in most cases -- like the one above -- the girl is probably bitch, so it kind of makes sense. Regardless, you can't tell me seeing a cute girl with a guy that looks either kind of dumpy or kind of douchey doesn't annoy you. I'm glad I got that off my chest.

...Is a bacon mug (scroll down) the worst, or greatest invention ever? I suppose it depends solely on what you put in said mug, but either way I am intrigued.

...So Jimmy Claussen got clocked in the face, eh? Shouldn't this be like a carnival game or something? Pay $1 to punch an obnoxious athlete/celebrity in the face. Who wouldn't want to do that? At the very least, they should have a game where you beat the shit out of a blowup doll or cardboard cutout of an obnoxious celebrity/athlete. I would gladly pay $1 to beat up Nick Swisher, and I don't even have any money. Those two things may or may not be related...

...I like to think my life hasn't peaked at age 22, but then I find out this site is the third most popular result when Googling "testicle groping." It is hard to imagine a scenario in life that will top this achievement. Other than moving to number one, obviously.

...If you don't watch Curb Your Enthusiasm, you should. Season 7 was one of the best seasons of a sitcom I have ever seen. Yeah, I said it.

...Is Kenny Williams actively trying to build one of the worst offences in Major League Baseball? I'm not complaining by any means, I'm just asking.

...Only 91 days until we can all stop pretending to care about football!

...Too be fair, nobody wants to look at a fat baby.

...I would gladly welcome the addition of Rich Harden to the Twins, but at some point you have to wonder about a guys durability. I'm not big on the whole "injury prone" idea, most of the time it just seems like bad luck. At some point, however, you do have to wonder if the guy doesn't condition himself very well, or if he is just a huge pansy. Neither option seems all the comforting.

...If you ask me, Thanksgiving is kind of overrated. I enjoy eating as much as the next guy, but an entire holiday dedicated to driving an hour and a halfish (for me at least) to meet up with your extended family just to have a giant meal, seems like more trouble than its worth. Plus, there hasn't been a decent Thanksgiving Day football game in like ten years. Can we stop showing the Lions every year? Please?

...With that said, I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy stuffing your face and don't forget to set your fantasy lineup.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Looking Down the Twins Bench

What do Brendan Harris and Gene Larkin have in common?

In a perfect world, the answer would be simple: nothing (aside from having last names that sort of seem like they could be first names, but don’t completely seem like they could be first names).

The correct answer, however, is that both players were the best option off the bench for their respective Twins teams. For the 1991 Twins, this was a good thing. For the 2009 Twins, this was…well…less good.

Considering the 1991 Twins also had Randy Bush and Scott Leius/Mike Pagliarulo as potential pinch hitters, Pedro Munoz as the young-guy-who-gets-called-up-when-someone-gets-injured-because-he’s-in-our-future-plans-so-we-don’t-want-him-toiling-on-the-bench, and Al Newman as Al Newman, the bench was solid overall.

(By the way, when googling Randy Bush, I found out there is a moderately attractive French female singer of the same name. I don’t know what my point is; I just thought you should know.)

Unlike the 1991 version, the 2009 Twins bench was the furthest thing from solid. In fact, it was awful. Led by Harris – a bad hitter and even worse fielder – the 2009 Twins featured exactly zero players anyone was happy to see step in as a pinch hitter. I defy you to argue otherwise.

(If you are wondering, Nick Punto sported a better OBP than Harris, .337 to .310, while Harris sported a better SLG%, .364 to .284, for respective OPS’s (OPSi?) of .672 and .612. Translation? They both suck.)

Really, other than Carlos Gomez defensively replacing Delmon Young, there wasn’t a single guy who was an upgrade in any facet of the game over a starter. While backups are obviously on the bench for a reason, they should still have at least some value to their team. Brendan Harris, et al. did not.

Currently, the outlook for the 2010 Twins bench is equally bleak. The team looks something like this:

Span CF
Mauer C
Morneau 1B
Cuddyer RF
Kubel DH
Hardy SS
Young LF
Valencia/Harris 3B
Punto 2B


Tolbert/Casilla IF
Harris/Valencia/Whoever IF
Pridie OF
Morales C

Other than a mix-and-match of potential infielders, there really aren’t many other options for the 2010 roster.

Anyone else longing for Roberto Kelly, Darrin Jackson, and Chip Hale right about now?

I’m going to make a bold claim, and feel fairly comfortable doing so: As it stands, the 2010 Twins will have the worst bench in franchise history.

Depressing. I know.

So how can the bench be fixed? Well, fairly simply, actually.

For starters, the Twins should non-tender Harris. Someone, please, give me one compelling reason why the Twins should retain Harris for $1ish million in arbitration. Is there one?

I mean, I guess he kind of has nice hair.

As I stated earlier, Harris is a bad hitter and an even worse fielder. Honestly, he is one of the worst infielders I have ever seen. I am not exaggerating when I say I was at game when Harris missed a ground ball he literally could have fielded by taking one step. His reaction time is that bad. If the ball isn’t hit right at him, Harris will not field it. (I don’t know if the defensive statistics back this up, because UZR and its fellow fielding statistic friends are pointless and arbitrary – although feel free to convince me otherwise if you disagree.)

$1 million couldn’t be spent on something better than Brendan Harris? Color me skeptical. Actually, color me beyond skeptical.

For example, how about Eric Hinske and Rocco Baldelli for a combined $2 million? (Based on 2009 salaries.)

Hinske and Baldelli are exact type of players the Twins are lacking (and have been for several years, for that matter).

Look out how much better a bench with Hinske and Baldelli would be:

Hinkse 1B/RF
Baldelli OF
Tolbert/Casilla/Other IF
Morales C

Signing Hinske and Baldelli would give the Twins decent left-handed and right-handed hitting options off the bench (Hinkse and Baldelli), a speed guy (mystery infielder), someone who can allow Morneau to DH occasionally without moving Cuddyer to 1B (Hinske again), and a defensive replacement for Young (Baldelli again).

Any legitimate contender needs depth, and adding Hinske and Baldellig would give the Twins just that. And, while de-starting Punto would be preferable, adding a third baseman and a pair of hitters off the bench would be enough offense to make Punto’s lack of hitting irrelevant.

So, while creating crazy fantasies about obtaining big names like Roy Halladay is fun, adding depth this offseason is just as important. And far more realistic.

Gene Larkin won the 1991 World Series, after all.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Random Thoughts...

...I'm not a hockey fan. If you are one of the six people in the United States who gives a crap about the NHL, more power to you. I'm just not one of them. With that said, check out this video. Hilarious. Although, only an NHL team would resort to cheap gimmicks for higher TV ratings, but I digress.

...Part 2? Don't mind if I do.

...This is ridiculous. Retiring numbers is about a tribute to someone who did something meaningful, a la Jackie Robinson. It isn't about honoring a self-centered, egotistical, ungracious, jackass, who has no appreciation or respect for the game or his teammates. You don't retire a number across the league every time a great player comes along, because, as Jordan has proved, most great players don't earn the honor.

...How is it that Coors Light can make some of the greatest commercials ever, and every other beer company fails spectacularily? Whoever came up with the NFL coaches Coors Light commercial idea, should never have to work for the rest of his or her life. That guy/gal is a genius.

...Have you noticed there are no bands that people legitimately follow anymore? Big time groups that define a generation no longer exist. The used to be bands like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, U2, Bruce Springsteen, etc. Bands that were unequivocally beloved, and culturally important. Now, if you look at the chart toppers, you don't see powerhouse bands anymore, just catchy song after catchy song (some of which, I'm ashamed to admit, I enjoy). Are you going to tell me people will remember Laday Gaga and the Black Eyed Peas fifty years from now? I highly doubt it. The only act with potential staying power is Taylor Swift, and as adorable as she is, she's not exactly a generation defining rock band.

...Ever since I quit my job two weeks week ago (because I'm moving to St. Paul, just wanted to mention that so I don't sound like a complete goober) I've been unemployed, living with my parents, blogging, and playing Star Wars Battlefront II on PS2. Ah, the joys of being a stereotype.

...Out of context quote of the week: "Ever since Torii [Hunter] left, I always wanted to be the one that came behind him." - Denard Span.

...Is there any mundane experience more momentarily frightening than a blown light bulb? For one split second you think,"Holy shit, what's going on? Is that an explosion? I'm going to die." Then you realize a very small light bulb just blew out and you look around to make sure nobody saw you react like Aaron Carter (Note: this is a reference to the video of Aaron Carter screaming like a girl, which is frequently shown on The Soup. I couldn't find a clip online, but if you watch The Soup you know what I am talking about. And if you don't watch The Soup, you should. So there.)

...Are there any workers in the world more surly than receptionists at a Doctor's office? They make you wait behind that stupid "for privacy reason wait here until called sign," then spend several minutes complaining to the other middle aged receptionists about menopause stories. And, when the finally call you to the window, they treat you like an ass hole for interrupting their conversation.

...In a related story, I was having a final physical for my job the other day (I worked with chemicals so my employer needed to make sure I didn't get some weird disease from drinking paint thinner and what not). As much as I hate getting a physical, I think would be even worse to be the doctor at an occupational medicine clinc. All day he just goes through blue collar worker after blue collar worker as he fondles their testicles and makes them cough. It is like an assembly line of non stop testicle groping.

...Ugh. This is going to be annoying.


...Britney Spears fans are mad that she lip synced during her concert? That would be like going to a Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus concert and being mad that they are the same person. There are three things you need to know about a Britney Spears concert: 1. She is going to lip sync. 2. She isn't going to lip sync well. 3. There is a decent chance you're getting a nipple slip during the show. That's all you need to know.

...Well, luckily it tastes like shit anyway.

...Hopefully "for now" are the operative words.

...Ah, the cries of the baseball ignorant:

"In baseball, statistics permeate every aspect of the game. And they should. It's an individual sport. You are on your own. If a major league team hired a computer programmer to build a GM program over hiring an actual human being, the GM program probably wouldn't embarrass itself. It would be like the auto-pilot option in a fantasy draft. The computer believes we need a higher OBP guy who takes a ton of pitches, and it believes we can sacrifice above-average defense in an outfield spot. It recommends that we pursue Bobby Abreu. Do you even need to watch baseball anymore to have an educated opinion? It's unclear." - Bill Simmons

I'm a big Simmons fan, but it is time for him to stop trying to analyze baseball. I enjoy it when he tackles baseball from an average fans perspective, because it is entertaining, but he obviously doesn't actually understand the game. Please, Bill, go back to making jokes about the Yankees, and leave the baseball analysis to people who understand the NBA isn't actually popular. Thank You.

And with that, I bid you all adieu. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

24: Smith's Redemption

For beleaguered Minnesota Twins General Manager, Bill Smith, life has been rough in his short tenure at the Twins helm. After two years of questionable moves, and a disgruntled fan base, Smith knows the time has come to prove himself. The time is now for the Twins to become more than just an early exit playoff team. With the imminent move to Target Field, it is time to build a World Series champion.

December 17, 2009

The following events occur in real time…

9:07 AM

Bill Smith arrives at his office, stumbles past the boxes of bittersweet American League Central Division Champion T-shirts, and move towards the telephone. He scoops up the receiver with all the grace of Brendan Harris fielding a ground ball. His eyes furrow in a Jeter-like determination.

Smith: Michael Hill please.


Smith: Hi Michael it’s Bill Smith…Bill Smith…No. Bill. You know, GM of the Minnesota Twins…What? Yes I’m serious. I know I’ve only been on the job for two years now but come on…Yes I have made moves. Remember I traded Johan Santana?...Well anyway, I’m calling about Josh Johnson…Ok, I get it. Although, I think a simple no would have sufficed. What about Uggla?...Yes…I see…Interesting. Well, let me run through these proposals, and I’ll get back to you…Alright, bye.

Smith: Hey Rob, I just spoke to Michael Hill with the Marlins about Uggla.

Minnesota Twins Assistant General Manager, Rob Antony, enters the room.

Antony: I thought we decided Uggla wasn’t the best fit?

Smith: I know, but I just thought I’d cover all the bases. I’d still like to move Punto to the bench. I only gave him that $8 million contract because, well, you remember what Gardy did.

Antony: Yeah…

Smith: Speaking of Gardy, what time is it? I’m supposed to meet with him at eleven.

Antony: It’s almost ten.

Smith exits his office to meet Twins manager Ron Gardenhire at Murray’s. Everybody fucking loves Murray’s.

10:54 AM

Smith arrives at Murray’s -- the restaurant neither packed nor empty, but with just enough patrons for the buzzing of conversation to drown out all other sounds. Gardenhire is waiting.

Smith: Hey Ron.

Bill, how you doing? Traffic was a pain in the ass huh? I really battled my tail off to get here.

Smith: Yeah, there is a surprising amount of traffic this morning…Well, shall we get a table? I’ve got a couple things I want to discuss with you.

Ah, making progress on re-signing Cabrera? You know I’m excited as heck to get him back. We’d have some real gamers in that infield with Cabby and Nicky.

Smith: Well actually, that is what I wanted to discuss with you. I’m glad you didn’t bring Nick with you actually, because this would’ve been a little awkward. I --

Gardenhire: (Interrupting) Yeah I let Nicky sleep in this morning. Although, frankly, I’m a little surprised my alarm didn’t wake him up.

Smith: Right…well Ron, I know this is difficult for you to hear, but I’ve got some leads on a few guys, and I would like to pursue options other than Punto. I feel like he is better suited in a utility role, and I have some leads on Beltre, Polanco, Uggla, DeRosa, and Crede. I just wanted to get your thoughts on those guys.

Gardenhire: (furrowing brow) I don’t get it Bill. I just don’t get it. Nicky’s a gamer. He’s a real gamer. How are you going to deny a guy like that? He battles his tail off. I don’t like it Bill. And what about Cabrera? He can play second. You can’t tell me he can’t play second.

That just isn’t a realistic option. It doesn’t make sense financially. I don’t really see a fit there.

Gardenhire: (noticeably upset) But Nicky? Why bench Nicky? He is a ballplayer. A real ballplayer.

Smith: I know Ron, and I don’t want to get rid of Punto, I think he is a great utility man. Obviously it is still up to you how he is utilized on the field, but if I can make some moves to improve the team, I’m going to do it. I just wanted you to know I’m exploring other options.

Gardenhire: Well I ju—

Gardenhire is iterrupted by Smith's ringing cell phone.

Smith: Excuse me Ron, hold that thought.

Smith: Hello?...What? Now?...I don’t know if I can get there that fast…Jesus Rob…Well this is a huge lead, obviously…Shit, well send the coordinates to my phone and I’ll get there as soon as I can. We can’t let him get away, this could be our only chance at getting him…Well, keep me posted.

Smith: I’ve got to run Ron. Sorry.

Gardenhire: What? What’s going on?

Smith: There’s no time Ron. We’ll be in touch.

Smith lumbers out of the restaurant and jumps into his SUV. A light snow fall has begun falling, dusting the black roadways with bright white coating.

Smith races across town, the snow swirling around, as if shot from cannon. Traffic is relatively sparse, but he is hitting almost every red light. He curses to himself as he arrives at his destination – Taco Bell.

12:47 PM

Smith enters the restaurant and briefly considers ordering a cheesey gordita crunch, but decides against it when he sees Alex Anthopoulos, General Manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, across the room. The cheesey gordita crunch will have to wait.

Smith: (shaking hands with Anthopoulos) Good to see you Alex, how are you?

Anthopoulos: Doing well Bill. And yourself?

Smith: I’m good. Just hoping this snow doesn’t turn into a good old fashioned Minnesota blizzard (chuckling). Anyway, shall we get down to business? You wanted to make an offer for Halladay?

Anthopoulos: Well the Blue Jays feel your organization has the young talent necessary to make a deal. I think we can work something out here. We have a proposal for you, and I feel it is realistic starting point.

Anthopoulos slides a sheet of paper across the table. Smith takes a moment to read it over, and glances up at Anthpolous.

Smith: Well, you certainly didn’t hold back on your first offer. But Baker, Slowey, Swarzak, Valencia, and Hicks? We’re obviously not prepared to meet those kind of demands. I understand you want quality prospects in return, so I would counter with Swarzak, Duensing, Valencia, and Tyler Robertson.

Anthopolous: We’re going to need at least one out of the Blackburn, Slowey, Baker group. You’re getting the best pitcher in baseball here.

Smith: I would say that is highly debatable, Alex.

Smith pauses for a moment to size up Anthopolous. Anthopolous is carrying himself with an unearned sense of self worth. He exudes an aura of cockiness – he is holding what everyone wants and knows it. Anthopolous has the goods, and Smith needs to keep them from falling into the wrong hands.

Smith: Parting with an established starter will drastically reduce the prospects we are willing to give up. Bear in mind, we’re only guaranteed one year out of Halladay. Baker, Blackburn and Slowey have had success, and would still be under team control for several years.

Anthopolous: Well, we’re really looking for quality over quantity.

Smith: (slightly annoyed) Well, yes, that is always the goal, but I feel our package has plenty of quality. Those are some very good, young players there.

Abthopolous: (briskly) I want one of the three; you’re getting an ace here.

Smith: Well, it is hard f—

Smith is interrupted by his ringing cell phone.

Smith: Excuse me one second.

Smith takes several steps to move out of earshot. He doesn't want to compromise the negotiation by tipping his hand in any way.

Smith: What’s up Rob?...Well that’s good news, locking up Pavano makes me more willing to part with an established starter in this Halladay deal…Alright, well let me know if anything else comes up. I think I can get this deal done...alright, bye.

Smith steps back over to his seat. He stares Anthopolous down. Neither a small nor large man, Anthopolous seems almost exceptionally average. Young and determined, he has a cocky confidence about him. When he speaks, it is almost as if he is trying to prove he belongs with every word.

Smith: Alright, Alex. I will give you Baker, but if that is the case, I’m only willing to go with a three player package. That is a very good pitcher you’re getting.

Anthopolous: (smirking) Well, frankly, you’re getting the best pitcher in baseball, so I think that justifies a fairly big return. You should know how this works after the Santana deal.

Anthopolous oozes a sickening smugness.

Smith: (voice rising slightly) I still thi –

Smith is once again interrupted by his ringing cell phone

Smith: What is it Rob?...Both of them? Damnit! Our infield options are dwindling...Alright, keep me posted.

Anthopolous: Problem?

Smith: Let’s just make this deal.

Anthopolous: (sensing Smith’s slight desperation) Well, I’m going to go back to our original offer.

Smith: (curtly) That is no longer an option.

Anthopolous: (smirking) You can’t stop this from happening.

Smith: (standing and yelling) Damnit! I’m running out of patience, and you’re running out of time! I need an answer! You have no choice here! There is only one way out of this!

Anthopolous sizes Smith up with a glance and begins to show his first signs of doubt. Smith seems like a man possessed, unwilling to concede.

Smith: (continuing to yell) Baker, Swarzak, Valencia, and Robertson. That is my final offer, and I suggest you take it!

Anthopolous stares back at Smith with a cold, empty look.

Smith: (pounding the table) I need an answer!

Anthopoulos: (quietly) Fine, deal.

Smith storms out of the Taco Bell without saying another word.

Arriving back at his office, where Antony is waiting for him, Smith takes a seat at his desk. Still reeling from his encounter with Anthopoulos, Smith maintains a level of intensity, but has cooled off since the Taco Bell incident. Smith smiles, almost devishliy, as if he had stolen Anthopoulos's smugness, and kept it for himself. The Twins have control of Halladay, avoiding potential disaster.

3:09 PM

Smith: Well Rob, we got Halladay. Things are really starting to come together.

Antony: That is great news! We really lucked out on the timing of finishing that Pavano deal; made it easier to deal Baker. How do you want to proceed from here?

Smith: Well, I think knowing now that Polanco and DeRosa have signed elsewhere, we’re getting low on options. After bringing Halladay into the mix, I think retaining Punto is the most realistic option at second. We can absorb his offense hitting ninth.

Antony: Well Gardy will certainly be happy about that. What are you thinking at third?

Smith: Where are we at on Beltre? We can absorb a one, maybe two, year contract if he is willing to go that route.

Anotony: I spoke to Boras earlier today, and he wants the two year deal at $7 million per year.
Smith: We can handle that, let’s just get it done. Call him back and accept the deal.

Smith pauses for a moment and rubs his weary eyes.

Smith: I’ll tell you what, though, Rob; if we hadn’t signed Mauer to that big contract last week, I don’t think we could have done any of this.

Antony: We really pulled something off here today, Bill. Things are looking good.

Smith: And look at the time. Not even four o’clock yet. W saved the Twins, and it took 1/3 the time it takes that Jack Bauer to save the world.

Both men chuckle heartily.

3:49 PM