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

Monday, November 16, 2009

Turning the Page

I have been avoiding writing about the Twins this offseason.

Ironically enough, I started this site as place to write predominantly about the Twins, with a smattering of other topics along the way; which makes it all that much more amazing that my vision has gone awry so quickly.

I think I have avoided the Twins because, quite frankly, I didn’t really like the 2009 Twins – comparatively speaking, of course. I found myself saying on several occasions during the 2009 season “This is the least fun I have ever had watching a Twins team.” And that included the Ron Coomer years.

The worst about 2009, though? The Twins team I knew had no chance of winning, and had written off in June, sucked me back in come September – even with their 6-9 hitters being Delmon Young, Jose Morales, Matt Tolbert, and Nick Punto.

And while it was fun, let’s face it, that team had no real chance of winning the World Series.

After a month without Twins baseball, however, I think I am finally ready to return to a Twins-centric frame of mind. The hot stove, after all, is in some ways more fun than the season itself. I mean, who doesn’t love drumming up their own crazy Roy Halladay trade proposals?

With that said, I am turning the page on the 2009 Twins, and moving on to 2010. Here’s to hoping 2009 is the last time we have to accept the “little engine that could” mentality and build a team that isn’t content with being just good enough.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Can the Vikings Out Duel the Wolves?

A friend of mine made the following proposition the other day: The Minnesota Vikings will win more games (including playoffs) this year than the Minnesota Timberwolves. My first inclination was to call him a fucking moron. After analyzing the teams’ records (Vikings 8-1, Timberwolves 1-10) and future opponents, I came to three conclusions:

1. The Vikings are good.

2. The Timberwolves are bad.

3. My friend is, in fact, a fucking moron (and he is certainly drinking the Kool-Aid).

Assuming the Vikings win the rest of their regular season games and the Super Bowl, they will end with 18 wins. If you account for more plausible scenarios, the Vikings will likely end in the 13-16 total win range. Personally, I’d set the over/under at 15.

The Timberwolves are currently on pace for about 8 wins (well, technically 7.36, but whose counting?). Now I am aware that the Timberwolves are bad; terrible, in fact, but I’m pretty sure they aren’t the worst team in NBA history.

(Disclaimer: I have watched exactly 0 minutes and 0 seconds of Timberwolves basketball this year – twice as much as last year – so I am basing this on almost nothing other than watching a few of Johnny Flynn’s Syracuse games, knowing Al Jefferson is at least decent, and realizing Kevin Love is hurt right now, but will be back at some point.)

I just find it hard to believe that with so many bad teams in the NBA, the Timberwolves can’t eek out 15-20 wins. When two terrible teams play each other someone has to win, right?

By the way, does anybody actually watch/care about the Timberwolves? If you are going to follow a Minnesota basketball team, wouldn’t you just watch the Gophers? The Gophers actually somewhat good, plus you get to bet on whether Royce White will have more steals on the court, or off. If you’re telling me the Gophers season won’t be more interesting than the Timberwolves, then I’m calling you a liar. But I digress…

The Vikings vs. Timberwolves win total battle boils down to whether you think the Vikings will win the Super Bowl. If they do not, which odds are they won’t, they will amass at most 17 wins, and likely less.

It isn’t that I don’t think the Vikings are good, they certainly are. I just don’t think the Vikings are great. I have three major problems with the Vikings, and coincidentally (or not) all three are directly related to Brad Childress.

1. The Vikings are sloppy.

Now, the Vikings have actually been better this year at not taking stupid penalties than they have in the past, but on field discipline has always been an issue under Childress. Take this week’s Lions game for example: The Vikings had 13 penalties. 13 Penalties! Against the Lions! Coming off a bye! Exclamation point!

Do you think the Belichick led Patriots would have 13 penalties coming off a bye? Or the Dungy led Colts? Or the Cowher led Steelers? I’ll even add the Tomlin led Steelers to this list because it still pisses me off the Vikings let Tomlin leave in favor of Chilly.

Giving up 13 penalties shows a lack of discipline and focus, especially coming off a bye week. When a team has extra rest and is playing arguably the worst team in football, it is the coach’s job to keep the players focused. Childress failed to do so.

2. The Vikings can't put teams away.

Combined record of Vikings opponents: 22-39.

Number of one win teams the Vikings have played: 4 (Lions twice).

Number of teams over .500 the Vikings have played: 3 (Packers twice – but let’s be honest, the Packers aren’t actually good.)

Number of times the Vikings have beat an opponent by over two touchdowns: Twice

Number of stats listed before this listing shtick got annoying: One.

Point being, the Vikings aren’t playing good teams, and, yet, in almost every game their opponent has hung around. In fact, if it wasn’t for the Favre miracle, or the Ravens missed field goal, the Vikings would be 6-3. With two wins against the Packers, they would still be in relatively good shape in the division, but they would be nowhere near the “best team in the league” conversation.

With that said, a wins a win, and the Vikings are 8-1, not 6-3. Every good team needs luck, and I acknowledge that. Come January, however, the Vikings rinky-dink, dick-around-when-leading offense isn’t going to work. If you play field position by running nothing but draws and screens on third and long against playoff teams, instead of trying to put them away, I promise it will come back to bite you; which leads me to my next point…

3. The Vikings have bad play calling, especially with the lead.

There is something to be said for not making mistakes – obviously. But there is also something to be said for playing to win, instead of playing not to lose.

When the Vikings get up by ten or more, they play not to lose. This approach may work against the Lions, Rams, and Browns, but against the Saints or Cardinals – teams with big time offenses – you have to play to win. You have to go for the jugular when you get the lead.

Remember two years ago when the Patriots went 16-0? They didn’t run draws and screens. Hell, I don’t think they even had draws in the playbook. Now, obviously, that offense was special, and the circumstance was a little different than the Vikings, but the theory is the same. Get a lead, put a team away. Bury them. If you let a good team hang around, they will eventually come up with a big play. That’s just how it works.

This brings us back to the proposition: Vikings vs. Timberwolves. Even if you assume the Timberwolves will win less than 20 games (which is a bold claim in and of itself) you are stating “I believe the Brad Childress led Vikings can win the Super Bowl.”

That, my friend, is a bold proclamation. And one, I certainly cannot in good conscience make.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Random Thoughts...

...Why would an 11 year old even want to be on Facebook? They don't understand how to use the damn thing. We all know the only thing Facebook is good for is creeping people's pictures, and I'm pretty sure 11-year-olds are far too busy sexting to worry about Facebook pictures.

...So I was in the bathroom of a bar on Sunday night (yes, I was in a bar on a Sunday night, stay focused) and I had the following exchange with a guy:

Random Guy: Do you wear khaki pants?
Me: Ummm...Yeah sometimes.
Random Guy: I've got some for sale. $10.
Me: I'm good. (Insert me quickly leaving the bathroom).

I guess my point is, if you get anything out of this blog, just remember to never buy khaki pants from some dude in a bathroom. That is the best advice I can give you. That, or maybe just don't go to a bar on a Sunday night. Either or.





...Alright I'm done. But ha! It is still funny almost a week later.

...Vodka is one of the worst inventions ever. How can anybody enjoy drinking it? Disgusting. Are we sure vodka isn't actually just rubbing alcohol? Doesn't this seem like a very real possibility?

...I hate Fantasy Football. It is so damn frustrating. I lost this week by 8 points because Roddy White and LaDainian crapped the bed. I expected White to struggle because he wasn't 100% healthy, but I'm so sick of Tomlinson sucking every week (not to mention being a whiny little bastard). The worst part is, I picked DeAngelo Williams in round one, and was beyond ecstatic when Tomlinson fell to me in round two (which I stand by being absolutley ridiculous, the people in this league are morons) but now Tomlinson sucks and I am 5-4 and currently just outside the playoffs in 5th place. Ugh.

...Oh, and I would have won this week if I had started Julius Jones. But that would also require starting Julius Jones.

...I enjoyed Carlos Gomez's quirkiness as much as anybody. He's odd. The fact, however, that fans loved him so much was a little ridiculous. He isn't good. He just isn't. He is a headcase who is obviously very athletic and full of potential, but he barely even showed glimpses of reaching said potential. I'll sort of miss his shenanigans, but not his play. His interviews though? Those I will definitely miss.

...Quick tip for everyone: Make sure you wash the inside of your windshield every once in awhile. I couldn't see very well out of my windshield for like a year, and couldn't figure out why. Then I Windexed my windshield. Turns out there was so much dust and shit on there that it was like trying to look through a sliding shower door. Not fun. (As a side note, I don't have some odd infatuation with my windshield. It is just a coincidence I commented on windshield related matters two weeks in a row. Odds are, I will never speak of my windshield again on this site.)

...So I receive promotional emails from Amazon every couple of days trying to sell me crap (yes, I realize I can cancel this feature, but I like getting book suggestions - even though I never end up reading them). A couple of days ago I received an email telling me, "As someone who has shown an interest in horses, you might like to know that you can now subscribe to Horse Illustrated magazine for just $5.00 after an instant $5.00 rebate."

I don't even like horses. I don't think I've ever shown interest in the creatures. I bought Seabiscuit, but that was just because it is supposed to be a really good book, not because I want to read about a horse. Quite frankly, I'm surprised that Horse Illustrated even exists. Then again, $5 for a a magazine subscription is a pretty sweet deal. Maybe I should consider it...

...Ha, suck it rest of the United States. Minnesota is the fifth happieset state in the country. And how can you argue with something as technical as a "well being score"? Exactly. You can't. Maybe being fake nice really is the best way to go.

...Daytime television is awful. Like really awful. It pretty much just consists of soap operas, crappy talk shows, infomercials, and debt management commercials. I suppose this makes sense because if you are unemployed and buying 40 sets of steak knives off infomercials, you are probably going to need someone to manage your debt. Or you could just go on Let's Make a Deal hosted by the one and only Wayne Brady. I know, who knew, right? Ah the joys of

...Could Carrie Prejean be more stuck up? I mean, wow, that's Larry King you're talking to. LARRY KING! Also she has some of the craziest crazy eyes this side of Kelly Anne on the Real World Road Rules Challenge: The Ruins.

...I went to college at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Now, if you have ever been to Duluth, you know that it is a very nice city with very shitty roads, and fairly poor restaurant selection. Since I graduated in May, apparently Duluth has decided to start fixing all the roads and building restaurants like Buffalo Wild Wings and Five Guys. Thanks, Duluth. I appreciate it.

...I got a Ken Griffey Jr. shirzee (t shirt + jersey = shirzee) for a gift when i was 12ish. The shirzee did not fit me at the time so I stuck it in a drawer and never wore it. While writing my piece about Griffey, I remembered that I owned the shirzee and dug it out of my drawer. I popped it on and realized it now fits (a little snug in the sleeves, but all the better to show off my rippling muscles). I think I am more excited to wear the shirzee now, then I would have been back then. It's like getting a free t shirt - one that you would actually want to wear.

...You know what is disgusting? When people slurp their food. I don't care if you're eating soup, cereal, or a delicious, juicy fruit. Stop slurping. It is disgusting. I had a college roommate who slurped pretty much everything he ate. He slurped hamburger helper. How the fuck do you slurp hamburger helper? Drives me insane. So for the love of god; people, please stop slurping your food. It is disgusting and rude.

...You know what else is disgusting? Wallpaper. Obviously not in the same sense as food slurping, but wallpaper almost always looks tacky and lame. If you are thinking of putting up wallpaper in your house, just paint instead. It looks better. Bet you didn't expect to get interior decorating advice on this site did you?

...I'm an English major so I enjoyed this...Of course I'm also a nerd.

...Really? 2012 will rock my world? A cliched, John Cusack led, apocolyptic thriller is going to rock my world? Color me skeptical...

...I'm going to end with my link of the week. Whether I ever do this again remains to be seen, but, hey, I'm going to roll with it for today. Check out Sporcle if you have time to kill. Just know, if you have an addictive personality you will be there for hours. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Forgotten Superstar

Remember 1997? Spice Girls. Titanic. The Simpsons (back when it was still good). And Ken Griffey Jr.
Ok, so maybe Griffey wasn’t a pop culture icon like Baby Spice, Leo, or Homer J(ay), but he was the unquestioned king of baseball.

He hit home runs. He made great plays. He smiled. He had fun playing. We had fun watching.

Griffey was the type of superstar professional sports yearn for. Yes, he was a little cocky with his home run strut, but what star athlete isn’t?

Griffey had a presence.

Fast forward 12 years and Griffey is no longer the player was. He is a shell of his former self, hitting .214 in partial duty, carrying a little extra weight on his once perfectly trim, athletic frame, and no longer making those Griffey signature plays.

One can justifiably argue that the Mariners made a poor choice bringing Griffey back, now in the Mays-like twilight of his career, but you can’t really blame them either. How do you say no to Ken Griffey Jr.? How do you turn him away? And more importantly, why would you want to?

It is in the best interest of the game of baseball to have Griffey around.

Not because Griffey sells tickets. He no longer does.

Not because Griffey will be breaking Hank Aaron’s home run record; a record, that Griffey once seemed destined for. He no longer will.

Not even because Griffey is a particularly productive player. He no longer is.

But because Ken Griffey Jr. is a symbol of what is right in baseball, when almost everything else seems to be going wrong.

Griffey, the once proud king of a baseball era soaked under a storm cloud of steroid suspicion, has remained dry. While Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens and countless others have faced acquisitions, congressional hearings, and perjury trials, Griffey has continued his career, devoid of suspicion.

While the sizes of McGwire, Sosa, and Bonds biceps, heads, and home run numbers grew, Griffey’s legs gave out. While the stats of McGwire, Sosa, and Bonds got better with age, Griffey’s began declining.

As sad as it is to see a superstar fade, there are few sights more comforting this day in age.

When Griffey first began his Major League career in 1989 he was already anointed “the chosen one.” He was a number one draft choice and the son of Major League player. He was a five tool player with a star attitude and star play. He was destined for greatness.

Griffey’s good-but-not-great rookie campaign was followed by a steady rise to the top. His batting average climbed. His power numbers climbed. His on base percentage climbed. He was on his way to being the best and most beloved player in the game.

Griffey’s breakout year came in 1993 at the age of 23. Where most 23 year old players – even top prospects – are either toiling away in the minors or just getting their break, Griffey was already in his fifth major league season, and ready to take over the league. His breakout year of 1993 featured 40 home runs, a .309 batting average, and an OPS of 1.025.

Over the next six years Griffey took over the baseball world. He became the most popular, and arguably best, player in the game. He did it all (including capture the adoration of a boy in Minnesota, who turned his bedroom into a Ken Griffey Jr. shrine).

Griffey was the best.

Following the 1999 season, however, everything changed. Griffey wanted out of Seattle. He demanded a trade, with a short list of acceptable destinations; number one being his hometown of Cincinnati.

Griffey made the move to a seemingly perfect situation: a smaller ballpark, in his hometown, on team that seemed ready to compete.

Griffey, however, faltered slightly in 2000 (although not as much as history may lead you to believe). He still hit 40 homers and drove in 100 runs, but it didn’t seem the same. Griffey was 30 years old, and with 12 big league season already behind him, seemed on the decline.

The next seven years in Cincinnati were disastrous. Griffey suffered through injury after injury; playing in more than 130 games only once – at the age of 37. The once great Griffey was reduced to an afterthought.

While Barry Bonds, the player Griffey was most compared to, was breaking records and performing at what seemed an impossible level for a man near 40, Griffey was nursing injuries, slowing down, and losing bat speed. Griffey was playing like an aging Major Leaguer.

He plodded along, never again reaching 40 home runs. Never making the playoffs (until a late season trade to the White Sox in 2008). Never playing like the superstar we all loved to watch in the nineties. The old Griffey was gone, and as sad as it was, it seemed oddly right.

So here we are in 2009. In a time when steroid scandals are commonplace and everyone tries to find the bad in baseball, Griffey represents the good.

We seem to forget he is fifth on the all time home run list with 630. We forget, because unlike the abusers before him, he isn’t getting better with age. He is taking the career path a superstar should. He is now the past-his-prime veteran, showing nothing but glimpses of his old self.

Griffey is lost in the steroid shuffle.


I was at a Twins game this past season when Griffey hit a home run right into the center of a “hit it here to win $25,000 from Subway” sign – the first, and only, time a player hit said sign in the Metrodome. (Nobody won the $25,000 because apparently it didn’t count if an opposing player hit the sign, which is completely ridiculous. How cheap can Subway be? I mean come on. We weren’t eating fresh enough, or what?)

The home run was a special moment, because you could still see a glimpse of that sweet Griffey swing. So still and perfect, smooth like a perfectly mixed cocktail – the smooth crisp cola, with just enough whiskey kick.

Those moments are few and far between now, and I, like any good baseball fan should, will treasure them, because once Griffey is gone, it will close the book on an era.

Maybe it is fitting that Griffey is the last to go, since he is the one we should celebrate the most.

Griffey, the forgotten superstar, is the one we should remember, from an era we want to forget.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

2009 Free Agent Predictions

So my brother and I have an annual game of predicting offseason moves. We pick a list of free agents/trade targets for the offseason and guess where they will sign. I'm going to go ahead and throw my picks up on here, that way when I fail, I don't just do so privately, but publicly. Feel free to play along in the comments section.

Anyhoo, here are my predictions for where certain playres will end up, and what kind of contract they will receive:

Matt Holliday - Mets 8 yrs/$120 million

John Lackey - Mets 6 yrs/$90 million

Jason Bay - Red Sox 7 yrs/$100 million

Randy Wolf - Mets 3 yrs/$30 million

Andy Pettite - Yankees 1 yr/$10 million

Jose Valverde - Phillies 2 yrs/$17 million

Marco Scutaro - Red Sox 3 yrs/$15 million

Adrian Beltre - Twins 1 yr/$7 million

Rich Harden - Mariners 1 yr/$8 million

Mike Cameron - Yankees 2 yrs/$20 million

Orlando Hudson - Mets 3 yrs/$13 million

Miguel Tejada - Pirates 1 yr/$5 million

Vlad Guerrero - Athletics 2 yrs/$10 million

Jon Garland - Brewers 1 yr/$4 million

Carl Pavano - Twins 2 yrs/$12 million

Brad Penney - Giants 2 yrs/$8 million

Erik Bedard - Dodgers 1 yr/$7 million

Hideki Matsui - Yankees 2 yrs/$20 million

Jarrod Washburn - Twins 1 yr/$5 million

Billy Wagner - Red Sox 1 yr/$3.5 million

John Smoltz - Retire

Jermaine Dye - Giants 2 yrs/$13 million

Mark DeRosa - Phillies 2 yrs/$14 million

Orlando Cabrera - Blue Jays 2 yrs/$12 million

Jim Thome - Orioles 1 yr/$4 million

Xavier Nady - Cardinals 1 yr/$1 million

Roy Halladay - Blue Jays 1 yr/$15.75 million

Jason Marquis - Nationals 3 yrs/$30 million

Ben Sheets - Rangers 1 yr/$6 million

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Driving to the Core of Minnesota Nice

I’m a good driver.

I have never been in an accident. I’ve never received a speeding ticket. I’ve never even been pulled over. I’m attentive. I give other drivers distance. Other than taking occasional liberties with the speed limit, I obey the rules of the road.

I, however, am a rare treat on the roads of Minnesota. The drivers are terrible. Awful. Horrible. Painful. And worst of all, ass holes.

The other day I was driving on the freeway during rush hour; which, naturally, required slowing down from time to time. Per usual, the guy behind me was riding my ass, and when forced to hit my breaks because of the slowing cavalcade of cars, he had to slam on his brakes to avoid rear ending me. He then worked his way into the other lane for the sole purpose of swearing at me (which of course I couldn’t hear through our two vehicles) and flicking me off. Typical.

Now I’ve travelled a fair amount, and am well aware there is road rage everywhere. It may not even be worse in Minnesota than anywhere else. Minnesota road rage, though, is sneaky bad because of one little misnomer: Minnesota nice.
Minnesota nice doesn’t exist.

That isn’t to say that people in Minnesota are meaner than anywhere else, they just aren’t necessarily nicer. People seem to be confusing politeness with niceness.
A Minnesotan will answer a question politely, and act nice to a person’s face, but then immediately follow that up by saying something behind that person’s back. A quick judgmental decision.

Conversely, someone from, say, New York or Boston will tell you to fuck off right to your face.

Now, you can argue which one of those things is “nicer,” but neither occurrence is particularly friendly, if you ask me.

This brings me back to Minnesota drivers. Nowhere does a Minnesotan show their true colors like they do in their car.

Minnesotans speed. They tailgate. They ignore traffic laws. They curse. They road rage. They act selfishly. Minnesotans do all this because they are in the cocoon of their car, impervious to the rest of the world. They feel safe to act this way because you aren’t in the car with them, and they don’t have to worry about being judged.

Even as they drive past you cursing and flicking you off, they feel the anonymity between two separate stage coaches, and the comfort of being inside their own. Ironically, should you meet the cursing stranger at a gas station up the road, that very same person would offer you directions without hesitation, “Just head up nort there, then. Ya know?”

(As a side note: we really do sound like William H. Macy in Fargo. Seriously. If you are from Minnesota, listen closely to a fellow Minnesotan speak. Just stop and listen for the little Minnesota-isms from an as-objective-as-possible point of view. I guarantee you notice it.)

Now, one can argue the meaning of the word “nice,” obviously. It is a mostly subjective term. But, really, Minnesotans are no friendlier than any other group of people.

If you disagree, just take to the Minnesota roads and see how the people act in the comfort of their own car.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Bring on the Doc

The Twins need an ace. They unequivocally need a pitcher who can go out every fifth day and shut a team down. They need a pitcher with a Jack Morris mentality. A guy who says, “Give me the ball and I will win this game.”

The Twins need Roy Halladay.

Obviously, every team wants a pitcher of Halladay’s caliber, but the Twins actually have the pieces to make a deal. Odds are they won’t do it, because Bill Smith and company won’t want to give up young talent. The fact is, however, dealing for Halladay is the one thing they absolutely should do.

Think for a minute how many potential starting pitchers the Twins have on their roster: Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey, Nick Blackburn, Brian Duensing, Jeff Manship, Francisco Liriano, Glenn Perkins, Boof Bonser, and Anthony Swarzak.

Some of those pitching options are better than others, but they are still options. Couple that with the seemingly mutual interest between the Twins and Carl Pavano, and you have ten starting pitchers to choose from.

Even if you assume Perkins will be gone because of his prima donna AWOL routine, and assume Bonser will be in the bullpen, that still leaves nine potential starting pitchers (eight excluding Pavano); each one being young, full of potential and, no matter how minimally, Major League experienced. Most teams would kill for that kind
of pitching depth.

And what do you do with depth? Trade it.

Not all of it, obviously, but if it takes two or three pitchers to get Hallday, so be it.

Instead of throwing out the spare parts trades most baseball fans love to dream up, let’s look at a realistic trade scenario for both the Twins and the Blue Jays.

The Twins should start by offering one out of their three most established Major League pitchers (Baker, Blackburn, Slowey). Obviously these guys have each proven they can pitch in the Majors, and while hard to part with, they would become expendable if Halladay joined the mix – especially if Pavano is re-signed. Couple the aforementioned established pitcher with a few young arms, and you have a nearly unmatchable package.

Here is my hypothetical trade:

Twins get: Halladay

Blue Jays get: Baker, Duensing, Swarzak, and Danny Valencia

From the Twins point of view, they get the ace they need to be a legitimate World Series contender.

From the Blue jays point of view, they get an established 15 win pitcher in Baker, two young pitchers who have had at least some Major League success, and a future third baseman. (Really, though, I just want the Twins to get rid of Valencia now, while he has some value. Because if Danny Valencia is the answer at third, I can’t imagine what the question is. Who is the next Scott Leius, possibly?)

If Baker, Duensing, Swarzak, and Valencia aren’t enough, I would even be willing to trade either Aaron Hicks or Ben Revere (in lieu of one of the other four). Either way, the Blue Jays have to be able to find an acceptable deal somewhere in the slew of prospects listed above.

The Blue Jays are pretty much in the identical situation the Twins were in with Johan Santana two years ago: Trade him now or let him walk later.

Somewhat ironically, the Twins are theoretically in position to make a sort of reverse Santana trade, and by trading Gomez they have basically admitted the Santana deal was a bust. So why not pull the complete 180 (or I guess kind of a 360 in this case…) and pull the trigger for Roy Halladay?

The fact is, Halladay is exactly what the Twins need, and the Twins have the pieces to do it.

Plus, what could be better than cheering for a guy named “Doc” 35 games a year?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Random Thoughts...


...I love Kenny Williams. Mostly because he isn't very good at his job. It's like he just makes trades for the sake of making trades. It is fantastic. He is building hismelf a giant Alex Rios and Mark Teahan covered pile of crap and calling it the Chicago White Sox.

...On the flip side, Bill Smith is apparently making up for being terrible at his job by trading Carlos Gomez for J.J. Hardy. This is one of the five greatest trades in Twins history. Seriously. I'm not kidding. He traded a worthless player for a top ten shortstop. And, yes, I realize Hardy struggled last year but I stand by that. Enjoy Carlos Gomez Brewers fans. He really is as bad as his stat line shows.

...How dumb does everyone who bought a Carlos Gomez jersey feel, by the way? It was insanely stupid at the time people bought it, but now it is 3109470381274 times dumber. Suckers.

...The only downside to the Hardy trade is now Joe Mauer has some competition for resident team hottie. Hardy's a good looking dude.

...I am officially endorsing liquid de-icer for windshields. I don't know what brand this product is, or what the product is actually called, but it is one of the greatest inventions ever. It melts the ice on my windshield in like five seconds. I wrangled myself some unnamed de-icer for free this summer thinking, "hey, you know who might need some de-icer this winter? This guy (insert me pointing at myself)." Excellent decision. So if anyone reading this is from a company that makes liquid de-icer, I would be more than happy to endorse your product.

...Avatar looks like poop covered poop with a side of poop. This is the masterpiece you've been working on for like 2304783 years James Cameron? Really? You should have made Aquaman instead...

...I feel like I haven't slept in over a week. I suppose that tends to happen when you sleep about 8 hours total from Friday-Sunday and supplement that with the drinking of (arguably) too much beer. Follow that up with waking up at 6 am on Wednesday, and I have yet to catch up on sleep, which has directly affected the frequency of my blogging. In a related story, I'm kind of a pansy.

...I promise I am going to write more starting next week, though. I just need like two days of sleep to catch up. And by that I don't mean two days of like 8-10 hours of sleep, I mean literally 48 hours of sleep. After that I'll be ready to go. I'm kind of lazy that way. Not lazy in the sense that I don't do things but more know...uh...let's just move on.

...I am currently watching Real World Road Rules Challenge: The Ruins on demand. I'm not sure if that is as sad as it sounds, but it is amazingly entertaining regardless.

...People need to stop paying with check. In fact, it is time to completely do away with personal checks period. Name 36 things more annoying then standing in line at a store while the person ahead of you hands the 15 year old cashier a check while the cashier stares at it confusedly trying to figure out what the hell it is. You can't do it can you?

...This is ridiculous. More importantly though, that jersey is one of the dumbest things I have ever seen. Not because she inexplicably left out the "E" in live (well maybe partially), but because somebody actually paid to have "I live for this" put on the back of a jersey. By the way, while I am well aware that the 27 on the jersey stands for World Series championships, I like to think it is for former Yankee Mel Hall becuase I'm pretty sure he did a lot of coke, and that makes the jersey infinitely more hilarious.

...I can't decide if it makes me happy that the Sports Guy Bill Simmons has gotten unbeleivably popular and I have read him since his beginning at ESPN, or sad that he has gotten unbelieveably popular because I don't feel as special for being part of his cult following. Either way it definitley makes me sad that I like him so much I bought his 700 page book about basketball. And it will make me even sadder when I enjoy it.

...Simmons theory, however, on the popularity of basketball is asinign.

...As much as I enjoy arguing politics and pretending to know what I am talking about, I am going to try and avoid getting political on this site, because talking politics usually just makes people mad. With that said, I am embarrassed to be from the same state as Michele Bachmann. We've all seen her antics and she just makes Minnesota look like a bunch of ignorant jackasses.

...I feel old. I went out to have a beer with my co-worker today because it was my last day of work. I had one beer and just felt sleepy. I'm not ready for the point in my life where one beer makes me want a nap. I'm only twenty-freakin-two. Then again, I'm pretty much just always sleepy (see above). Have a good weekend everyone.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Defending A.J. Pierzynski

After toiling in obscurity for a decade, a young team of nobodies returns their franchise to the playoffs. Led by a well-balanced lineup with just enough punch and a pitching staff with enough solid arms to hold a team down, the nobodies prove talented enough to compete, but underappreciated enough to surprise.

After earning a split through the first four games of the ALDS, the nobodies head to Oakland for a decisive game five – an all but certain on paper loss.

The game moves into the top of the ninth inning, with the nobodies holding a surprising 2-1 lead. With both starting pitchers out, and the nobodies’ bendable and breakable closer waiting, an insurance run or two seems nothing short of necessary.
After a walk to start off the ninth, the nobodies’ catcher comes to the plate.

A player with an ever-growing reputation as an on field agitator, the catcher brings a fire to the team – a necessity for the starless nobodies. The catcher is a good hitter, posting a .300 batting average with modest power, but his swagger, while striking an accord with hometown fans, seems more Marbury than Jordan.

In only his second full year in the league, the catcher is quickly gaining the reputation as the player hometown fans love, and everybody else loves to hate.
He steps to the plate with a runner on first and nobody out. Never one to take a pitch, the catcher swings at a first pitch fastball. The ball scrapes the top of the right field fence as the catcher stands for a moment to admire his work.

The nobodies have their insurance runs.

After adding another run, the nobodies go on to a 5-4 victory (after the bendable and breakable closer gives up three runs in the bottom of the ninth) and a trip to the ALCS.

The catcher’s destiny is set: cult hero.

Who are the nobodies? The 2002 Minnesota Twins.

And the catcher? A.J. Pierzynski.

Seven years have passed since Pierzynski hit that home run. In those seven years, Pierzynski has not only seen his cult crumble, he has become public enemy number one in Minnesota.

Minnesotans hate him. And if the mild mannered Minnesotans are riled up, you must have done something wrong. Defending A.J. Pierzynski in Minnesota is nothing short of blasphemy.

Well, color me a blasphemer.

I remember the first time Pierzynski returned to Minnesota after he was traded for Joe Nathan, Boof Bonser, and Francisco Liriano. It was opening day 2005, and the Twins were playing the hated White Sox. When Pierzynski made his first Metrodome at-bat as a non-Twin, fans began booing. And it wasn’t just a few fans grumbling, it was a stadium full of people loudly voicing their disdain. The fans had made their decision: Pierzynski must be punished.

I remember sitting in the stands feeling bewildered by the reaction to A.J. (although these are the same fans who embraced Lew Ford, so maybe nothing they do should come as a shock.)





Last time I checked, Twins fans loved A.J. Not only that, but trading him made room for Joe Mauer, and even a Twins fan base that handles the loss of a player about as well as Levi Johnston handles his life, seemed to understand this.

Yet, Pierzynski got booed.

What explanation did the fans give?

He signed with the White Sox.

Let me make one thing abundantly clear right now. I hate the White Sox. I hate everything about the White Sox. They are the enemy.

But how is signing with a team reason enough to hate a player? What’s the difference between an ex-Twin signing with the Angels, and signing with the White Sox? Isn’t it almost completely arbitrary?

And don’t even talk to me about loyalty.

Your team traded A.J. because they had a better option, and you get mad because he signs with your least favorite team a year later? Minnesota hasn’t seen this much misplaced anger since the Chuck Knoblauch hot dog debacle.

Pierzynski signed with the White Sox because they gave him the best offer, the best chance to win, and the most job security. What other factors should he consider when signing a contract?

He made the same choice anyone would.

But Eric, you say, A.J. is such an ass hole.

Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know, I’ve never met the man. He is certainly a scrappy, hard nosed, win-at-all costs player, but does that really make him an ass hole? Not to go all after school special on you, but if you haven’t met the guy who are you to say what kind of person he is? He may be the nicest guy on the planet.

Yes, I realize he allegedly tried to spike Justin Morneau – twice – while running out ground balls. I was at that game. I believe my direct quote after the second time was, “hit him in the f-ing head.” I was as thirsty for blood as anyone. I wanted A.J.’s head. I even decided in that moment, I would never defend Pierzynski again. He was dead to me.

Well, ever the flip-flopper, I’ve changed my tune again.

A.J. isn’t evil. He is a hard nosed competitor who gets caught up in the moment on the field. He embraces his role as an agitator. He gets punched in the face by opposing catchers, to the delight of fans everywhere. He smirks. He annoys. He drives everyone crazy.

He makes you hate him for the same reason you loved him.

If you were going to hate on him for his antics when he left, however, you never should have rooted for him in the first place. A.J. has always played the way A.J. plays. He is the same player he was with the Twins; he is just doing it for someone else. Worst of all, he is doing it for the White Sox.

You hate on A.J. because he got away. He was interesting, fun, and possessed a compelling sass. But he has moved on to something better, and you can’t get over it. You lash out because you miss him. You lash out because he brought something extra to the table.

You are the jilted lover who still holds a grudge.

A.J. has moved on, so why can’t you?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Just a quick note to everyone:

I'm working on something I will post Wednesday evening (it's about A.J. Pierzynski and I know how much everybody loves him), but nothing will be up until then as I've got a few other things going on that will take up most of my attention until Wednesday.

Until then, peruse the rest of the site if you have not done so yet - or even if you have, who knows, you might have missed a word or two. Oh, and watch the World Series, because Chase Utley is apparently the greatest player of all time