Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Division Series Predictions

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

Reds vs. Phillies

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

Phillies in four

Giants vs. Braves

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

Giants in four

Rangers vs Rays

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

Rangers in three

Twins vs. Yankees

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

Twins in five

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Prodigal Blogger Returns

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

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

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

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

1. Twins Awards

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. The Twins losing streak

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

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

3. Tickets and Wordpress

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

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

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Random Twins Thoughts...

...Dear Joe Mauer,

Please start hitting.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, June 12, 2010


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, June 3, 2010


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

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

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

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


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

Baseball is just different.

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

Sounds like everyday life to me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

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.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Answering the Unanswerable

Lately, I have found myself spending a lot of time thinking, "what do I want?" You know, in a general "what-do-I-want-from-life" sort of way. For the most part, the answer to this ultra-ambiguous and pretentiously philosophical question has been, "shit, I have no idea."

Sometimes, the question is something simple, which leads to an actual answer. "Do I want a sandwich?" Why, yes, yes I do.

Sometimes the question is something complex like, "What are you going to do after you are done with your internship?" Which leads to the, "shit, I have no idea" answer.

Then, there is the third category of questions. The ones where I know the answer, and know what I want, but can't have what I want. This is, of course, one of the more troublesome conundrums of life. And one that everyone faces. Fairly often actually.

Take, for example, a friend of mine. (No this isn't one of those "friend" situations where I am actually talking about myself. This will become obvious in a moment because this example is so simplistic that I would have no reason to divert the attention from myself with that "I have a friend" crap. Point being, ignore this digression.) Anyway, my friend tells me that she has had an overwhelming urge to eat chocolate, ice cream, and possibly chocolate and ice cream simultaneously lately. The problem is, she is unable to eat chocolate and ice cream because she is on a strict no chocolate and ice cream (among other things) diet for health reasons.

The ironic thing is that, as she explained it, "I never really ate much ice cream before, but now that I can't have it, I really want some."

So what gives?

Is she just a crazy person? Well, possibly. But in this instance she is perfectly illustrating the point that human desires seem to be driven by things that we can't have.

Sometimes it is something small, like an ice cream cone. Sometimes it is something big, like a house. Sometimes it is a person (which, of course, is the first step to stalking. So just don't go overboard). Whatever the case may be, we become even more infatuated with our desires when they seem out of reach.

But why is this? Is it just some weird, "fuck you, you can't tell me what to do" mentality that all humans possess? That is certainly one explanation. I know that people trying to tell me what I can or cannot do is one of my pet peeves.

Realistically, there is no answer to why we want things that we can't have. I mean, if you ask Google, you get about a million different "answers" (most of them having to do with wanting to have sex with someone). Basically, everyone knows they want things they can't have, and everyone has an opinion on why they think they want things they can't have, but nobody can legitimately tell you why they want what they can't have.

The best explanation I can come up with, isn't really an explanation at all. See, the thing about humans is we are driven, at our core, by emotions. Not logic, but pure emotions. At the core of every decision is an emotional drive that may or may not be present beyond the subconscious. As much as we may want to think we can legitimize every decision or action with an explanation, there really is no way of doing so.

We become driven by wanting to answer the unanswerable.

The funny thing about that drive, is that in and of itself it is a desire for something we can't have.

People become so entranced by their desires that when they begin chasing after that person place or thing, and realize what they want is out of reach, they just want to know why. They were driven so wholly by their emotional desires, and the knowledge that what they want seemed to fit so perfectly, that when they can't have it, they just want to know why.

And that is an unanswerable question. Because even if they receive an answer that is logical, simple, and reasonable, it won't seem that way. It won't calm their emotions. Really, it won't seem like an answer at all.

They will still be left with their desires.

So, yes, maybe you can claim to have the answers. And, hell, you might even have a few. But in the end, you'll always be left wanting something. Because in the end, you will be left with unanswerable questions. Questions that will make you want the answer even more.

And like everyone, I have no answers. I can't really explain your desires to you. I can't tell you why you can't have what you want, and why that makes you want it even more. But I can, at the very least, tell you that I got through this entire post without saying "you can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need."

Oh, damnit...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Week Six Random Thoughts...

...I know I skipped week five. (Not just random thoughts-wise, but pretty much disappear-off-the-face-of-the-earth-wise. I'd make up an excuse, but that seems pointless. And I'm back now. So there.) Anyway, I would just like to point out that I went to the Twins vs. Orioles game last Thursday, you know, when they lost 2-0 and it was cold, rainy, and that damned kestrel made was inaugurated as the this-might-get-old random shtick of the season, and I still had fun. Baseball is meant to be played outside, even if it is 48.3 degrees out and raining.

...Two game series are ridiculous. I know they are rare, and caused by some anomaly in the scheduling, but there has to be a way to avoid them right? Give me some good old fashioned 3 or 4 game series, please. I'd make a point about the travel being a pain for the road team, but in this case the road team was the White Sox, so causing them pain is a good thing.

...Then again, the Twins have back-to-back two game series with Toronto and Boston coming up, so I'm going back to my original point: two game series blow.

...I'm going to go ahead and say it: I don't think Kevin Slowey is completely healthy. At the very least, based on the way he completely collapses after a few innings basically every start, it would appear he has some sort of fatigue issue. If I had to guess, his arm isn't completely back to full strength. I am basing this on complete armchair analysis, of course, but it seems to me that would be the most logical explanation for his struggles. Or maybe he just sucks, I don't know.

...I'm kidding, I don't think Slowey sucks.

...Between J.J. Hardy's triple-that-should've-been-a-walkoff and Morneau's-flyout-that-should've-been-a-homer, I'm beginning to get slightly frustrated with the way Target Field plays. I know it goes both ways, and it takes homers away from opponents as well, but a few bombs would be nice. I mean, the Hardy and Morneau shots were CRUSHED and didn't make it out. Plus, if this keeps up, Dick is going to freak out and start killing people once he gets fed up with overreacting to so many flyouts.

...Ugh. Matt Tolbert.

...How bout that Carl Pavano? Eh? I mean if he keeps pitching like this I might start feeling bad for making fun of his giant nose and squinty face.

...The Twins are the Yankees bitch.

...The Twins are the Yankees bitch.


...Alright, sorry.

...I will say, while I have no idea if the Twins actually had some weird Yankee Stadium retardation, that caused them to completely clench up, it is nice to see them actually win a game. Especially with Jason Kubel breaking out for one of his patented grand slams. I'd say this was a turning point for the season, but the Twins were already in first place with one of the best records in the league so...

...I would also like to note that, sadly, I missed Kubel's grand slam. I was frolicking around outside in the nice weather. That is my only beef with day games, by the way, I just don't like sitting inside when it is nice out. Now had I known klutch Kubel was going to show up...

...While losing 2 of 3 in any series is not good, things in New York could have been a lot worse. Especially after the A-rodian defeat on Friday. Chalk Saturday up to being just a bad game for the Twins (which will happen from time-to-time) and with the amazing win on Sunday, the Twins actually did pretty well for themselves. The Twins went punch-for-punch in exciting, inning-wins, and threw up one clunker. Certainly not an apocalyptic New York vacation.

...Lastly, I miss J.J. Hardy. Not because he is pretty (okay, partially because he is pretty) but because I am sick of Gardenhire playing Harris at shortstop instead of Punto. Ugh.

...Oh, and lastly, the TwinsCentric viewing party was a great, per usual. If you haven't made it out to one I highly recommend it, and it was great seeing everyone who was there. Oh, and if you need any more incentive, there were poop-jokes-a-plenty courtesy of Josh of Josh's Thoughts and Emily of Chatter From The Cheap Seats. Intrigued? Yes, yes you are.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Delmon Young Day

To Delmon?

When Delmon Young makes solid contact. And I mean really solid contact. When he lines the sweet spot of his bat as perfectly as possible with the middle of the baseball, nobody on the Twins hits the ball harder. Nobody.

Not Joe Mauer. Not Justin Morneau. Not even former great Jason Tyner.


We saw glimpses of what Young is capable of in the second half of last season, especially down the stretch. Young's line in September/October? .340/.364/.544 with 4 home runs and 14 RBI.

Is this a big enough sample size when compared to the rest of his disappointing career? Of course not.

The odds are, Young hasn't turned some corner, and put up the same type of season he has every year of his career (he has actually been surprisingly consistent. Or at list consistently inconsistent.)

Are the stories about Young dropping 29 pounds in the offseason overblown? Of course they are, it is part of the whole "spring training stories game." Someone comes to camp in the best shape of his life, and suddenly it is all aboard the one-way train to career-yearsville.

With two years in a Twins uniform under his (now looser) belt, and one similar year with the Rays, the easiest thing to do is assume Young is what he is. We've seen enough, and we can peg Young as the guy who has a lot of talent, but will never live up to it because he can't grasp the "grip it and rip it" concept of hitting. That is to say, he thinks he is a scrappy singles hitter.

Somewhat ironically, the other easy thing to do is take all the good things we have seen in Young and say "this is the year he puts it together." People have said that every year since the Twins acquired him after all.

When the Twins first acquired Young, I was in the camp that loved the deal and felt -- having never really seen him play -- that he would, in fact, "put it together" and at least partially replace Torii Hunter's bat in the lineup. He was a highly touted prospect coming of a decent rookie season, after all.

When it quickly became apparent that someone had taught Young that taking a full hack at a baseball was inappropriate, and inside outing squirters to the right side of the infield was the best possible hitting approach, I gave up on Mr. Young. His stubborn refusal to adjust and realize that he is a power hitter whose batting average is irrelevant, didn't help matters.

So basically, since about May of 2008 I have been out on Young. I thought he would never get it together. When he showed signs of his talent, I scoffed at the apparent aberration.

Well, I am here to announce that I have changed my mind on Young. I'm going to be the one touting his potential this season. Not because he lost weight, or because he hit well for awhile last year, but because I actually believe he is finally ready to be a Major League Baseball player.

People forget that Young is, well, young. The dude is only 24. Have you ever met someone under 24? I mean, I know a fair number of people under the age of 24, and, quite frankly, I would be more shocked if any of them DIDN'T throw a baseball bat at someone than if they did. My point is, people under 25 are stupid. They just are.

I know what you are thinking, "someone plays the maturity card every year you sniveling jackass." And you're right, they do. And, yes, I am fairly snively.

The fact is, however, Young has proven time and time again that he has not made that jump in maturity. And, personally, I believe that everybody makes that leap at some point in their life. To varying degrees, yes, but at some point everybody's brain clicks and they start to actually figure shit out.

So why do I think it will be this year for Young? Well, OK, the weight loss does help. It shows a certain level of focus. But also, it just seems like it is time for him. He finally has an unquestioned starting job in left field, and little to no pressure on him. In fact, he and J.J. Hardy get to battle for "least amount of pressure on the roster" this year because nobody has high expectations for either, and they get to hit 7th and 8th in a lineup that includes Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Jason Kubel, and Michael Cuddyer.

Do I have some hard statistical evidence for why I think now is Young's time? Not really.

Call it a gut feeling, I suppose. (Or maybe a lack of gut feeling in Young's case.) All I know as I am sitting here on March 1st, I believe in Delmon Young.

I guess that is what the optimism of spring training does for you.

Or Not to Delmon?

Remember playing organized baseball as a little kid? You know, the days when everyone had to play in a game out of "fairness." It was annoying enough to be pitching on a team as a 12-year-old and you lose a game because the little bastards behind you can't make an f-ing play...um...sorry I digress.

My point is, sometimes it seems like Ron Gardenhire manages like he coaches a Little League team.

Yes, Major League players need to get playing time in order to get into a groove, but there is also such thing as "over-juggling." Not everybody gets a chance to play in every game. When there are 25 guys on the roster, some guys are going to play less. They just are.

It is hard to really complain when the Twins are 7-3, but the way Gardenhire has shuffled playing time between Delmon Young, Jim Thome, and Jason Kubel has been unnecessary.

Instead of having a set lineup, everyone is left to wonder which of the three will be playing on a given day. And for a lineup this good, that is not a question mark they need. These guys should have defined roles.

Take for example yesterday. Thome was in the lineup in favor of Young. On Jackie Robinson Day. I mean, come on now, that's just...well...um...actually I should probably stop before I piss Orlando Hudson off.

In all seriousness though, the Twins need to find a set lineup. Especially when you consider the fact that Young has been one of the Twins hottest hitters to start the year, and he is still trying to prove that he can live up to his talent. Until he begins to stumble, he should be in the lineup every day.

Like Young, Kubel, the Twins third best hitter, should be in the lineup every day. Pitching matchups be damned, Jason Kubel should not sit.

So what does this mean for Thome?

I'm not saying that Thome should NEVER play. But playing Thome for the sake of playing Thome is not why Jim Thome is around. He is a bat off the bench, and that is how he should be used.

Need a pinch-hit-for-Punto? Call big Jim.

Someone need a day off? Call big Jim.

The fact is, Thome can get plenty of at-bats without being detrimental to Kubel, Young, or anyone else. Between guys needing days off and pinch-hitting, Thome will get his at-bats. You don't need to find Thome at-bats, the at-bats will find him.

Having Thome on the team is a good thing, assuming he is utilized correctly. The fact is, however, that when you start inserting Thome in the lineup because he "needs at-bats" you are doing so at the detriment of other players, and often the team.

Only nine games into the season, it is hard to say the Twins have found their lineup routine yet, but at the rate they are going the lack of continuity could get out of hand.

The Twins need to set a day-to-day lineup, and allow Thome to slide into his rightful role: a slugger of the bench.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Week Four Random Thoughts...

...Francisco Liriano is absolutely cruising. Obviously. The best thing we saw all week from Liriano wasn't his 8 shutout innings against the Tigers on Tuesday, but rather the way he didn't unravel after giving up 2 runs in the first inning against the Indians on Sunday. Last year, Liriano wouldn't have made it past the third inning in that game. So yes, shutouts are good, but confident Liriano who can overcome a little early game adversity is even better.

...Also, Liriano is underrated in the svelteness department. Yes, svelte Delmon (or Sveltemon, as I am now calling him) has rightfully gotten the svelte press, but Liriano's svelteness is far more important because svelte Liriano apparently = best pitcher in the league.

...And yes I just set a record for the use of the word "svelte."

...I'm not worried about Kubel...yet. As long as he keeps on smirking, he'll start hitting.

...Soo...Brad Thomas is still alive? Good for him.

...Scott Baker is a wiener. He just is. I feel like someone needs to get a switch (people still use those, right?) and give him a beating. Or at least threaten to give him a beating, I mean I'm not hear to advocate a switch beatin'. All I'm saying is the dude has no hootspa, testicular fortitude, etc. He's a good pitcher for the most part, but he's just a wiener and that is why nobody really trusts Scott in a big spot (see what I did there?).

...Scott Baker is what he is, by the way. He isn't an ace, he's just a good Major League pitcher.

...I'd say something about Jesse Crain, but why?

...The pat Neshek is disconcerting. Not the injury, but because I'm a little worried he is gonna go all Glen Perkins on us after the whole "please put me on the DL" thing. He doesn't seem as goobery as Perkins though so it doesn't seem like he would do that.

...Did it annoy anyone else when Gardenhire went with Crain in the 12th inning instead of Jon Rauch? Even when the Twins have a pretend closer, they still do a poor job of knowing when to use him.

...Mauer who?

...I feel kind of silly for saying the Twins are using Jim Thome too much considering, you know, he's been the best hitter out of the Sveltemon, Kubel, Thome group. I am now off the Sveltemon bandwagon and on the play Kubel and Thome as much as possible.

...I'm a sucker for seeing guys first Major Leauge hit. Especially when I jokingly say "Luke Hughes" is going deep, and then Luke Hughes does, in fact, go deep.

...I reference this every week, but, well, it continues to be an issue so I feel obligate to bring it up. The Twins little hitting with the bases loaded problem, while frustrating, isn't really a problem. They are hitting well as a team for the most part, and the fact that they can't hit with the basis loaded right now is just a weird flukey thing. For now at least.

...Did the Indians complete over-celebration blow anybody else's mind on Saturday? I realize you are the Indians, so winning is confusing, but still. You just beat the Twins by getting a hit off Jesse Crain with the bases loaded and nobody out. I know you waited until there were two outs to actually get the hit, but you were SUPPOSED to win there. Just sayin.

...It's kind of nice that the Twins finally lost a series since, you know, it was inevitable and now everyone can stop pretending that it wasn't.

...I would just like to say that the Twins ended April on pace to win about 104 games. I know there are some issues, but this is overall a good baseball team. Deal with it people.

...Lastly, J.J. Hardy? No longer pretty.

...No, just kidding, dude's still pretty.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Baseball isn't football.

Yes, football is perfect for the mainstream, no-attention-span, ignorant masses, who are driven by pre-packaged, commercialized instant-gratification. And, yes, there is nothing wrong with football, per se, it's a nice little diversion during the months there is no baseball, but it's just not the same.

There is no ebb and flow in a football season. There are only 16 games. You lose the first four, and you are probably fucked. It's simplistic.

Baseball, however, is not. It's a 162 game emotional decathlon: Anger, joy, frustration, confusion, shock, dismay, euphoria, hope, hopelessness and...I dunno...let's say whimsy.

If you allow yourself to be overcome with every little feeling you will never be able to make it through. You have to be able to rationalize, and put each little moment in perspective. Pragmatic passion.

And that's the thing about a baseball season, you can't judge everything (or almost anything, really) on one game. One inning. One pitch. One at-bat. You can't do it, because a team with 100 wins loses 62 times. A hitter with a .300 batting average, gets out 70% of the time. And a guy as pretty as J.J. Hardy gets shot down at the bar...okay bad example. But you get my point.

Baseball is about choosing your team and sticking by them through the thick (Jose Mijares) and thin (Drew Butera's batting average) of an entire season. You can't bail out at the first sign of trouble, and you can't condemn them after a two-game losing streak.

Baseball is about patience and the ability to apply yourself to something without needing that instant, fleeting gratification. There is no clock to tell you when the game is over. There is no countdown to the conclusion. It goes on until somebody wins, and until somebody loses.

And somebody will lose.

And the team that loses, regardless of who they are, will lose, and lose a lot.

Maybe pragmatism has little place in the life a sports fan. Maybe it's silly to advocate for pragmatic passion, because, really, how can passion ever be pragmatic? How you feel at a given moment is how you feel, and trying to put everything in perspective one minute, one hour, or even one day after that moment can be next to impossible.

But it's when you allow yourself to be overcome those little moments that you lose sight of the big picture. Everything becomes jaded and you become sucked into negative spiral. You live and die with each little moment and become jaded by the insecurities that one failed step bring, and lose sight of the bigger, grand scheme of the entire season.

It's only one at bat, one pitch, one game after all.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Week Three Random Thoughts...

...Delmon Young may be svelte these days, but the dude still looks awkward as hell trying to catch a fly ball. Also, I think he needs a nickname and I am leaning towards calling him Sveltemon. Who is with me?

...Everyone who is complaining about the Twins issues with RISP needs to calm down. Yeah, the Twins are struggling at times right now, but they are also winning. Take the Tuesday game against Cleveland, for example. The Twins won 5-1 and all their runs basically came on walks, errors, and wild pitches. The offense on this team is far too good to struggle like this all year. If the Twins are winning when they aren't hitting well, just imagine what they can do when they are hitting well.

...Having said that, it does get frustrating when Twins continually load the bases and fail to come through. Of course, the Twins are also one of the best teams in baseball right now so...

...Mike Redmond? Still slow.

...Working sixish blocks away from Target Field may be the greatest thing ever. I ate lunch on Target Plaza everyday this week. I defy you to find a better place to take your lunch break. (Or a better place to have Bill Smith randomly walk by you.)

...I thoroughly enjoy the quirky right field fence at Target Field. I enjoy when the ball hits things. What can I say? Color me simple.

...Drew Butera is not the spawn of Satan. Just thought everyone should know that. (Unless, of course, Sal is Satan but I doubt that for some reason.)

...I wake up everyday at like 5 am. This wouldn't be a problem if my alarm wasn't set for 6 am. Of course, when I wake up at five I always think to myself "well now at least I get to lay here for an hour and I enjoy laying in bed in the morning." Except then I fall asleep and walk up again at like 5:40. At which point I think "well at least I get to lay here for half an hour and I enjoy laying in bed in the morning." Then my alarm goes off at 6:04 and I hit snooze because I set my snooze for the exact reason of giving myself nine minutes to lay in bed in the morning because, well, you know. Except then when my alarm goes off for the last time I think to myself, "well shit, now I actually have to get up." I'm not sure what my point is, and this obviously has nothing to do with baseball, it just kind of annoys me.

...If Franciscso Liriano can continue to pitch the way he does, the Twins are a legitimate World Series contender. Yeah the team has issues, but every team does, and few teams can throw out a Liriano. You know, assuming Liriano is Liriano and not Liriano. Think about that one.

...This was both shorter (and later) than I ever intended, but it was my Birthday on Sunday. So there.

...Oh, and J.J. hardy is still pretty.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Week Two Random Thoughts...

This is my new Sunday feature. A roundup of random thoughts from the week that was in Twins baseball. And if you are thinking "wait, isn't this is just a cop out so you have one less day to worry about trying to come up with a blog post?" Well, to that, I have no comment.

...I must say the constant overreaction in the Twitterverse is getting kind of annoying. Can't I just enjoy some post game Tweets in peace? Look, I get annoyed when the Twins don't play well too, but one loss to the Royals isn't the end of the world. This isn't the NBA. The best team doesn't always win. If the 1927 Yankees played the 2010 Royals 100 times, the Royals would probably win 25 of those games. That's what makes baseball so great. Anything can happen. One loss doesn't mean the wheels are coming off, it just means the Twins lost.

...I always enjoy the fake DL stints. Much like Glen Perkins last year, Jose Mijares has been placed on the DL because, well, because he sucks. Although, personally I think if you're going to make up a fake injury for Mijares can't you say he pulled a muscle eating a sandwich or something? Or hell, just put him DL under "fat."

...J.J. Hardy? Still pretty.

...This pretty much goes without saying, but Target Field is amazing. Stunning. The only place I have been that even kind of compares is Petco Park. Although, I will say, the Twins need to do something about the scoreboard situation. I want to know what the hell is going on even when I am sitting under the scoreboard. There are screens in the right field wall for a reason. I guess I'm still just bitter that I missed kiss cam.

...My favorite part about Target Field? Other teams fans can no longer make fun of us for our team playing in a shit hole.

Quick story: When I went to Milwaukee with some friends (four? five?) years ago, I rolled down the window the first time we were pulling up to Miller Park and yelled at the Brewers fans, and I quote, "Your stadium is more worser than ours!" Why did I yell this? Beacuse I loathe Miller Park. And also because I am retarded apparently. I'm not even sure what I was actually trying to yell, but for whatever reason it came out as "more worser than." Yes, I was completely sober. I still can't explain it. Of course, this is the same trip where we passed a billboard for some amusement park called "A-Merick-A-Land" which I read phonetically instead of as "Americaland." I still get made fun of for this. Although, I stand by the fact that technically I read the sign correctly.

...Having everyone wear number 42 on Jackie Robinson Day is a cool, fun idea. Having the Royals wear number 42 the following day is not.

...After 13 games I think it is safe to say this Twins lineup could be one of the most exciting the Twins have ever had. They take walks, and rarely get themselves out. Yeah they have struggled with RISP at times, but for a lineup this good that is just an aberration.

...I like that the Twins and the city of Minneapolis are erecting (giggle) statues around the city, but that Joe Mauer statue is ridiculously ugly.

...I am still trying to come to grips with the fact that I am confident anyone in the lineup not named Punto can get a hit at any time. I mean as hard as it is to top Jose Morales at DH and all...

...I'm curious what the defensive metrics for J.J. Hardy and Orlando Hudson show so far this year. I know the preseason perception was that both guys were slipping, but both have been sure-handed and shown very good range so far this season.

...Okay, yes, Jesse Crain had an absolutely awful week, but I, for one, still believe he can have a decent season. I refuse to give up hope that it will become completely rational for me to arbitrarily yell, "THE CRAIN TRAIN IS BACK ON TRACK!"

...Can we all pause for a moment and revel in fact that the Twins have won every series they have played so far? And, aside from the Royals, they dispatched the four teams who many people would argue were the front runners in their division. This Twins team is good.

...Billy Butler has to be the slowest guy in baseball. And, yes, I am taking Mike Redmond into account.

...Target Field is playing big. There have been some balls that look like they have been crushed, that are caught fairly easily by the outfielders. It is still early, and balls tend to carry better mid-summer as the weather gets warmer, but so far Target Field seems like a pitcher park. (Well for everyone but Crain at least.)

...And with that, I will leave you with Francisco Liriano's first pitch at Target Field. Just cuz:

Friday, April 16, 2010

Juggling the Lineup

Remember playing organized baseball as a little kid? You know, the days when everyone had to play in a game out of "fairness." It was annoying enough to be pitching on a team as a 12-year-old and you lose a game because the little bastards behind you can't make an f-ing play...um...sorry I digress.

My point is, sometimes it seems like Ron Gardenhire manages like he coaches a Little League team.

Yes, Major League players need to get playing time in order to get into a groove, but there is also such thing as "over-juggling." Not everybody gets a chance to play in every game. When there are 25 guys on the roster, some guys are going to play less. They just are.

It is hard to really complain when the Twins are 7-3, but the way Gardenhire has shuffled playing time between Delmon Young, Jim Thome, and Jason Kubel has been unnecessary.

Instead of having a set lineup, everyone is left to wonder which of the three will be playing on a given day. And for a lineup this good, that is not a question mark they need. These guys should have defined roles.

Take for example yesterday. Thome was in the lineup in favor of Young. On Jackie Robinson Day. I mean, come on now, that's just...well...um...actually I should probably stop before I piss Orlando Hudson off.

In all seriousness though, the Twins need to find a set lineup. Especially when you consider the fact that Young has been one of the Twins hottest hitters to start the year, and he is still trying to prove that he can live up to his talent. Until he begins to stumble, he should be in the lineup every day.

Like Young, Kubel, the Twins third best hitter, should be in the lineup every day. Pitching matchups be damned, Jason Kubel should not sit.

So what does this mean for Thome?

I'm not saying that Thome should NEVER play. But playing Thome for the sake of playing Thome is not why Jim Thome is around. He is a bat off the bench, and that is how he should be used.

Need a pinch-hit-for-Punto? Call big Jim.

Someone need a day off? Call big Jim.

The fact is, Thome can get plenty of at-bats without being detrimental to Kubel, Young, or anyone else. Between guys needing days off and pinch-hitting, Thome will get his at-bats. You don't need to find Thome at-bats, the at-bats will find him.

Having Thome on the team is a good thing, assuming he is utilized correctly. The fact is, however, that when you start inserting Thome in the lineup because he "needs at-bats" you are doing so at the detriment of other players, and often the team.

Only nine games into the season, it is hard to say the Twins have found their lineup routine yet, but at the rate they are going the lack of continuity could get out of hand.

The Twins need to set a day-to-day lineup, and allow Thome to slide into his rightful role: a slugger of the bench.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Stranger On A Bus

I was waiting for the bus yesterday and there was a man leaning against the wall of a building smoking a cigar. I inhaled several deep breaths of the obnoxiously crisp spring air, and noticed that this man's cigar smelled oddly like pot. I looked over again and, yes, he was in fact smoking a cigar (a nasty Swisher Sweets to be more specific). So why the hell did it smell so much like pot?

After several moments of probably-not-as-discreet-as-I'd-like people watching, I caught on to this guys gimmick: he had a very small blunt in one hand, and a cigar in the other. He was smoking pot and attempting to mask the scent with his cigar.

For someone who has never smoked, nor had any interest in smoking, pot this fascinated me to no end. I was awestruck. And I began to realize that my fascination had nothing to do with each hit he took, but rather that this man was the epitome of everything that enthralls me about riding public transportation.

Yes, the bus. The place where the greatest people watching of all takes place. A cornucopia of bobbing heads on a conveyor-belt of daily monotony.

There is nothing that puts people on an even playing field quite like public transportation. In one seat you have the young-"proffesional" making minimum wage as an intern, and the next you have the middle-aged man making minimum wage as a burger flipper.

In one seat you have the college sophomore who spends too much time worrying about inevitable trivialities, and in the next you have the 55-year-old woman who has gone back to school fully aware that trivialities aren't worth a second thought.

The bus is a social experiment -- like the Real World, just with slightly less booze and sex. Well, less sex at least.

When you look around at all these people on the bus, you realize each one has a story to tell. Each one started some place. Each one has a past, a present, and a future. In the most simplistic sense, everyone on the bus is exactly the same, but completely different.

Take the dual-wielding smoker, for example. Where did he come from?

I spent an inordinate amount of time studying this man, for the both the obviously fascinating is that man blatantly smoking pot in downtown Minneapolis? reason, and because he highlighted the unique characterization of a bus rider.

Here is a guy leaning against a wall, probably somewhere in his 30s, openly representing something most people would never want to be: a dual smoking bus rider. Not exactly the epitome of the American Dream.

As I sit thinking about this random man I will most likely will never see again (and wouldn't recognize if I did) I can't help but wonder about his life. I mean, he really can't be that much different than you or I. He has most likely spent his whole life doing many of the same things as everyone else:

Chasing a job. Chasing a girl. Chasing something that seems out of reach (likely a job or a girl).

Or maybe just chasing the bus.

Whatever the case may be, it is undeniable that this man, like all bus riders, has an interesting story to tell. And the most interesting thing may be that this bus riding pot smoker's story, is actually completely ordinary.

And that is exactly what the bus does. It brings together the most eclectic group of people possible and shows them how similar they really are.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Random Opening Week Thoughts...

...Jose Mijares is doneski. Look, I'm not one to advocate overreacting after one or two games, but we're talking about a guy who has done nothing but suck since about August of last year. I swear every time he pitches I just assume the chunker is going to give up a home run. Plus, I swear I saw him devouring a small child the other day. My predictions look pretty good right about now.

...J.J. Hardy is pretty. Just sayin.

...Scott Baker is a good pitcher, but not a great pitcher. This really has nothing to with his opening start, but rather his track record as a guy who throws a lot of pitches and struggles to pitch deep into games against quality lineups. Sure he'll pitch some excellent games, and overall he is a good pitcher. He just isn't great. And he will never appear on the ace list.

...I can't decide if I thoroughly enjoy the Twins road uniforms, or thoroughly hate them. I couldn't possibly be more torn.

...Brendan Harris may very well be the most worthless player on the Twins roster. The Twins don't need a slightly less bad hitter batting ninth with the lineup they have. Punto should play everyday because his glove certainly makes up for his nine-hole bat.

...Jon Rauch is an enjoyable closer because, you know, he has a neck tattoo, but I still think Jesse Crain could be solid in the role. Then again, maybe I just want to be able to indiscriminately yell, "THE CRAIN TRAIN IS BACK ON TRACK!" without sounding like a crazy person.

...Maybe letting Garrett Jones leave wasn't the best idea...

...It's going to be a long, frustrating season if Jason Kubel sits every time Jim Thome plays. I know Del-Money is svelte now, but come on Gardy.

...I defy you to name a team with a more adorabley bromantic group of hitters than the Twins and the J's: Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, and J.J. Hardy. Oh, and I suppose you can throw Jason Kubel and his smirk in there. And Jim Thome. Basically any "J" other than Jose Mijares.

...I want to see a game in cold weather, because I get the feeling that Orlando Hudson would wear an inordinate amount of clothing.

...Speaking of O-Dawg, my friend informed me that there are shirzees (T-shirt jerseys) that say O-Dawg on the back instead of Hudson. If you buy one of these, kindly wander into oncoming traffic immediately.

...Color me spiteful, but I have tickets to the Thursday game at Target Field so I am kind of hoping the first two games get rained out turning that game into the Home Opener. Also, I think it would be funny to see all the people who paid $200 for tickets get screwed over. Really, I am just bitter that I'm ticketless.

...Lastly, and most importantly, baseball is back!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

2010 Predictions

Twins-Specific Predictions

Twins MVP: Jason Kubel
Twins Top Pitcher: Kevin Slowey
Twins Best Rookie: Anthony Slama
Twins Most Improved Player: Francisco Liriano

Bold Predictions:

1. Jesse Crain leads the team in saves.
2. Jason Kubel has a better season offensively than Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer.
3. Jose Mijares isn't on the roster at the end of the year (oh, and he eats a small child).

A.L. Central Prediction (Standings):

1. Minnesota Twins
2. Chicago White Sox
3. Detroit Tigers
4. Kansas City Royals
5. Cleveland Indians

Three Keys to Success for the Twins:

1. Liriano rebounds from awful 2009
2. Someone steps up at closer.
3. Ron Gardenhire doesn't manage the bullpen like a guy who just did 6 consecutive 30 second keg stands.

Rest of the League Predictions
1. New York Yankees
2. Boston Red Sox

3. Tampa Bay Rays
4. Baltimore Orioles
5. Toronto Blue Jays

1. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
2. Texas Rangers
3. Seattle Mariners
4. Oakland Athletics

1. St. Louis Cardinals
2. Cincinnati Reds
3. Milwaukee Brewers
4. Chicago Cubs
5. Houston Astros
6. Pittsburgh Pirates

1. Florida Marlins
2. Philadelphia Phillies

3. Atlanta Braves
4. Washington Nationals
5. New York Mets

1. Colorado Rockies
2. Arizona Diamondbacks
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
4. San Francisco Giants
5. San Diego Padres

A.L. MVP: Josh Hamilton
N.L. MVP: Hanley Ramirez
A.L. Cy Young: Jon Lester
N.L. Cy Young: Josh Johnson
A.L. Rookie of the Year: Desmond Jennings
N.L. Rookie of the Year: Jason Heyward
A.L. Comeback Player of the Year: Francisco Liriano
N.L. Comeback Player of the Year: Troy Glaus
World Series Prediction: Twins over Rockies

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Backup Catcher

Who should be the Twins backup catcher?

Ah, glad you asked, since this seems to be a surprisingly hot button issue for something that is so, you know, irrelevant. I mean, the Twins still have the best catcher in baseball. So let's be honest, the Twins could put one of those screens that bounces the ball back to you (you know, the ones that everyone had as a kid) behind the plate and it probably wouldn't cost them any games.

Is that legal?


Soooo...the Twins backup catcher should be a pitch back?

Well, no. My point is, the Twins could bring back Derek Parks as their backup catcher and it wouldn't really cost them any wins. Having said that, Wilson Ramos is clearly the most talented option.

Ok, so Ramos should be the backup?

Again, no.


Well, see, now you are just overreacting. Everyone seems to be overreacting. We're talking about the backup catcher here. It's not like the season is going to hinge on who gets 24 at bats before Jose Morales and his strangely off-kilter teeth come back to flail around while trying to catch popups behind home plate. I guess my point is, if the Twins season comes down to who their backup catcher is, they are going to have bigger things to worry about. And while Ramos is clearly the "best" player the Twins could have backing up Mauer, there is absolutely no reason to have him sit on the bench and play once every 10 days. It doesn't make sense. I mean, there are really only two options for Ramos: 1. Change positions. 2. Traded. That's it. He is stuck behind the BEST CATCHER IN BASEBALL. Oh, and they also just signed that very same strapping gent to an 8 year contract. So basically, if the Twins are going to trade Ramos they are far better off sending him to AAA so he can sock a few dingers and show other teams what he is made of. And if they decide to move him to another position, well then he needs to do so in the minors. In a nutshell, having Drew "don't call me Sal" Butera on the roster is better for everyone. Especially Butera, because he can, you know, pretend he is talented.

What? Sorry I stopped listening.

Oh never mind, it's not important.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Baseball Dreams

My random Friday post comes on Saturday this week. I know, my bad. At least I didn't skip it like last week. Anyway,I wrote this about a year ago. Technically it is a speech I gave for a public speaking class, so while you are reading it picture me standing uncomfortably at the front of classroom of people if you want the true effect.

I grew up on a baseball field. A dusty diamond of endless dreams. In the confines of those two white lines, on bases ninety feet apart, I was lost in my own little world. Anything was possible on the baseball field; where time stands still and hopes and dreams are limitless.

Every summer day was exactly the same. Baseball. Soaked in sunshine or drenched in rain, it didn’t matter. There was a game to play.

The players were made up of eight neighborhood kids: me, my two brothers, and five of our friends - the core group that played everyday. And don’t get me wrong, it was every day. Eight players though, was just the minimum. Each day would see a constant merry-go-round of kids that would come in out of our game. Strangers, friends of friends, anyone could play. That cast of characters changed, but the eight never did.

The field itself wasn’t much to look at. The weeds nearly overtook the infield dirt, and the outfield grass was borderline grass at best. It was really nothing more than a diamond shaped dirt patch sprouting a sky high chain link backstop. The field was snuggled into a quaint little park in our middle class neighborhood, but was the type of the place the city was too busy to properly upkeep.

Although to us, it was Yankee stadium, and it was all ours. Our sanctuary of endless possibility.

The games would last for hours. Time never mattered. When you are a kid you have all the time in the world. The score? Who cares? The inning? Doesn’t matter. Ball four? No way, I’m not taking a walk. Time to come home for dinner? Alright, alright I’m coming.

It really was The Sandlot – well, minus the beast. We were a throwback to the days of old, when kids went outside and played. While other kids were inside with Mario and Luigi, we were outside laughing, running, cussing, spitting – playing. We were having fun and dreaming big. Nothing else in the world mattered.

People say nothing is perfect, and yet, everything back then was. We had no cares.

And yes, there was conflict, but it always got resolved. That was part of the process; learning to deal with one another. Only once did that conflict escalate.

My friend Joel was on the mound and I was at the plate. Joel was kind of the trouble maker of the group. Although, I was a cocky prick in my own right, so we tended to butt heads. During this particular game, for reasons that were not clear then, and are even less clear years later, we were having a spat. Joel took offense to something I said (although it couldn’t have been that bad, after all I was seven). He then planted what, to a seven year old, seemed a blazing fastball in my ribs. I charged at him with blind rage, my eyes burning with hate, ready to destroy. At a dead sprint I wound up and swung a mighty right hook. Everyone else rushed to the mound trying to decide if they should encourage, or stop, the fight. It didn’t take long before the question was answered for them.


Never before had our games seen blood. But I had done it. Ended the fight with one mighty swing. That’s right, all it took was one punch and the fight was over. The loser lay dejectedly on the ground.

That loser was me.

I had slipped on the dirt and cut up my arm. Yep, in my rage I both started, and ended, the fight. I had beaten myself up. The worst part was I had to go home to bandage up my arm so the game was over, at least for me.

But I was back out as soon as my wound (and ego) healed. Come the next day none of us even remembered, or cared, what the fight was about in the first place. Petty squabbles never mattered. There was baseball to be played.

That’s how it is as a kid, you don’t waste time worrying. Nothing really matters but having fun and dreaming big.

As we get older we tend to lose our childlike perspective on the world. I guess it’s inevitable. Now, we spend our days worrying about grades, finding a job, and trying to avoid homelessness in a floundering economy. Life seems to change from a childhood of hopes and dreams, to an adulthood of cynicism and concern.

But, as I think back to myself as a little boy in the confines of those two white lines, on bases ninety feet apart, I remind myself that life can be simple, and worrying gets you nowhere. I remember how important it is to be carefree. How important it is to dream.

What is life, after all, without a dream?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Final Roster Spot

Remember opening day 2002 in Kansas City? On the surface, it was just any other beginning to a season. It brought the same luster and promise that the beginning of any new season brings.

Another year of baseball had arrived, and win or lose, there is nothing better than those 162 days of summer.

2002 brought extra promise because 2001 had featured the first winning Twins team since John Smiley toed the rubber and Chili Davis was still cool. (Back when we thought he was just a guy with a cool name instead of, you know, a wife beater.)

So while we thought there might be something special about 2002 before a batter had even stepped to the plate, we knew there was something special about 2002 as soon as the first batter crossed home plated and slapped hands with Cristian Guzman.

The batter was Jacque Jones and he had just finished yanking the second pitch of the season over the right field fence for a patented leadoff home run.

That’s one of those random home runs, and one of those random moments in general, that I will never forget, because it was at that exact moment that I was 100% certain 2002 would be a special year for the Twins. They weren’t just a silly aberration, but a legitimate baseball team.

2002 is, of course, a long time ago, and Jones isn’t nearly the player he was back then. And as he continues to suit up in Spring Training for his Minnesota homecoming, looking back on the nostalgia of years past does nobody any good in evaluating Jones’s current value to the Twins.

I mean we’re talking about a guy who played with the Newark Bears last year (with immortal teammates such as Shawn Chacon and Jay Gibbons).

I will be the first person to admit that I am a sentimental son of a bitch, and I am a sucker for random veteran signings, so bringing Jones in intrigued me from the beginning. I never thought he was a legitimate candidate for, well, almost anything, but I still thought, “hey, that’s fun” when the Twins signed him.

Sure, the question at the time was, “wait, why did the Twins just sign Jacque Jones?”
But it was still fun to consider the thought of him making the team.

Well, with one week of Spring Training left, the question has shifted from, “wait, why did the Twins just sign Jacque Jones?” to “wait, why aren’t the Twins playing Jacque Jones in centerfield?”

It has been well documented that the Twins don’t have anyone to back up Denard Span. And while I love getting denarded as much as the next guy, we all know that having guys play 162 games a year isn’t how the Twins roll.

Call me crazy, but I don’t really want to see Michael Cuddyer prowling center field, well, ever.

So far this spring, the only names that have been considered for the backup centerfield role are Matt Tolbert and Alexi Casilla. And, of course the aforementioned Cuddyer, who would shift over from right to patrol the center of Target Field on Span's off days.

The most frustrating part is that Jones has been playing well this spring. Yes, he is getting older, but at one point the Twins were debating whether Jones or Torii Hunter would be their centerfielder. I just find it hard to believe Jones doesn't have better range than Cuddyer. (Although he certainly doesn't have a better arm. If I had a nickel for every time Jones made a throw from rightfield that basically went straight into the ground...)

Look, I know that Casilla is out of options, and he still has some value (supposedly) so losing him to waivers isn't preferable, but isn't the goal fielding the best team? is having Alexi Casilla on the bench hitting .205 while trying to play a position he's never played before really the best option? The dude looks lost playing infield, and he's always played there.

Color me skeptical about Casilla mastering a new position.

And Tolbert? Really? Do I even need to say anything or can we all just simultaneously laugh and move on?

The fact is, Jones is the only hitter who has earned the last spot on the bench. The Twins need someone who can play centerfield occasionally, and, surprise, Jones is an outfielder. It seems so simple.

I know you can say, "but Jones can go down to AAA and Casilla can stay with the club. Jones will always be there to fall back." But I say, what has Casilla done to earn a spot on this roster?

He seems lazy and disinterested, and hit well for a couple of months two years ago. He plays terrible defense and does things that makes us all scream, "wait, what the fuck is he doing?" At this point, any talent he showed in the past has been overshadowed by his consistent inconsistencies.

I, for one, am ready to cut ties with Casilla. The first step to that process is giving Jones a chance to slide into centefielder and answer the question of who fills the final roster spot?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Quick Thoughts on Joe Mauer

I really have only one thing that I want to address, and that is the nay-sayers. The people who are claiming that the Joe Mauer contract is going to lead cellar-dwelling-A-Rod-with-the-Rangers situation.

It won't.

Teams can operate with a large contract if they build their team in a wise and largely internal way; which, coincidentally is the epitome of how the Twins do business. Yes, Mauer will take up a sizable portion of the payroll, but we are talking about the single most important athlete in Minnesota history. Bar none.

Considering the fact that Mauer will be making about $11 million per year more than he is this year, his contract doesn't actually change the Twins payroll that dramatically. When you account for inevitable rise in payroll from the inevitable rise in revenue, that $11 million gap shrinks pretty damn fast. The fact is, the Twins are going to continue to have more money to put into the team.

In a nutshell, the payroll was going to rise into the $100 million range regardless, people.

As long as the Twins can continue to surround Mauer with quality, young affordable talent (something they have been doing for ten years) the payroll won't be an issue. The only difference is, the Twins actually have a legitimate superstar to go with the talented, affordable group of young scrappers they cultivate.

I guess the point is, everyone who is complaining about the Twins locking up one of the best players in baseball, needs to stop living in the past. And as long as the Twins continue to spend smart, spending will hardly be an issue.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The 12 Man Pitching Staff

I wrote this about a year ago for another site, but it summarizes something I have been pondering lately. I wanted to write something better on the subject, but, well, sometimes you just have to re-run things (aka, I'm lazy).

There has been a disturbing trend in Major League Baseball the last few years: The structure of teams pitching staffs.

We are long removed from the days of four man pitching rotations, and guys pitching up to 300 innings. This isn't automatically a bad thing; however, it is disturbing how many teams are shying away from an 11 man pitching staff and moving towards 12 or 13 man staffs.

And they are doing it in the name of “protection.”

Not to go all Bert-tastic on you, but this is absurd. Pitches aren't becoming bigger pansys, they are just being brought up in a culture that breeds lower pitch counts, with plenty of bullpen help to fallback on.

The problem with this situation is that there just aren't enough quality arms for every team to have seven or eight solid options out of the bullpen. Instead of having five starting pitchers who are trained to pitch seven innings on a given night, there are five starting pitchers who are trained to pitch 5-7 innings – assuming they can get that far on in 100 pitches. That can leave up to four innings to get through with relief pitchers. Couple this with the fact that most relievers are trained to only go one inning, sometimes even less (see Reyes, Denys) and your pitching deep pitching staff turns shallow very quickly.

The fundamental flaw with this thinking is that it's a lot harder for a relief pitcher to warm up, throw 25 pitches, sit down, and try and do that again the next day then an already warm starter to throw 125 pitchces. And this is where the change needs to take place.

The pitching staff needs to be set up as follows:

Five starters: Trained not by pitch counts, but to make it through seven innings. This won't always work, but I'm not advocating demolishing the bullpen, just tweaking it.

Closer: Trained to pitch 1 – 3 innings. If you need this guy for a two inning, or even three inning save, he should be able to do that. Why leave the best reliever on the bench during the most important time in the game? And sometimes that comes in the 8th inning.

Setup: This could be a lefty or righty, but is essentially your "number two closer." He's the guy you are most confident in getting some outs in the seventh or eighth inning on days when you don't want to overwork your closer. Guys would still need some rest.

Middle relievers: One lefty, and one righty. These are the guys would come in on days when your starter struggles; or, if they pitched a stressful five or six innings (a lot of baserunners, tough situations, etc.) you can go to one of these guys in the sixth or seventh. These guys would also be available for specific righty-righty, or lefty-lefty matchups.

Long reliever: The one "mop-up" guy. There will be days when your starting pitcher just doesn't have it. That happens. If your starter gets lit up like Glen Perkins, you need another option. Now, this doesn't mean you necessarily pull a guy after two innings and five runs, but sometimes even Tim Lincecum pitches like crap. Pitchers need to have some resiliency, but if your starter is having one of those days where he can’t get anyone out, you need someone to come in and pitch.

That would equate to five starters and five relievers and, if a team chooses, you could add in an extra lefty just in case you want both a lefty and right setup guy. The key, of course, to all this working is rethinking how starting staffs operate.

It would not take that long to change the mentality of a starting pitcher. Once an arm is warmed up, there isn't a big difference between throwing 100 pitches and 125 pitches. Often times, that is the difference between going five or six innings, or going seven innings. If teams rethink how they train pitchers in the minor leagues, it would add depth to the roster at the Major League leve.

The way it is now, teams complain about the lack of pitching. The fact is, however, that the problem isn't too little pitching, it is too much pitching. If you train your quality pitchers to pitch more innings, it will alleviate the concerns of an untrustworthy, and overworked, bullpen.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Leave Liriano Be

The only thing more ridiculous than moving Francisco Liriano to closer is thinking that Carlos Silva's four shutout innings today for the Cubs isn't an aberration. And, let's be honest, that is pretty damn ridiculous.

Liriano is most valuable to the Twins as a starter. He proved his maximum worth in 2006, and while that level of success will be nearly impossible to replicate, if Liriano can pitch anywhere near that level, he will be a legitimate number one starter.

And number one starters? Slightly more valuable than closers.

While it is true that Liriano has the skill set that could translate into being a very good closer, that skill set is much more valuable to the Twins pitching six or seven innings instead of one. Closers can be found, but a potential ace doesn't come around very often.

The biggest problem with making Liriano the closer, is that doing so must be done on the basis that he is back to pitching up (or at least close) to his full potential, because if he isn't, Liriano as a closer would be a disaster. And who, in their right mind, can justifiably say that Liriano at full form is more valuable as a closer than a starter?

Other than maybe the crack head who was arrested on my bus this morning (true story) nobody would possibly make that argument.

I don't want to say closers are a dime a dozen, but consider for a second where Joe Nathan came from. He had never closed a game in his life, and while he was coming off a solid season with the Giants, there was very little to suggest that he would become one of the most dominant closers in the league.

Yes, it is impossible to expect the Twins to catch Nathan-lightening in a bottle with whoever they decide to put in the role, but they can find someone to do the job without screwing with Liriano. Hell, even Latroy Hawkins had 11 saves last year.

The fact is, closers can be made. Number one starters cannot.

While it is impossible to claim Liriano will become an ace again, it is far more beneficial to the Twins to let him try.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Contract Binge

The Twins have been dishing out so many contracts lately that I am half expecting Bill Smith to call me up to say that I just received a 4 year $13 million deal wrapping me up through my arbitration years; assuring me financial and job security most people only dream of.

I can just imagine the internet lighting up: "Wait, what? The Twins signed that douchey guy with a made up word as the title for his blog to a long term contract? And I thought the Blackburn deal was ridiculous..."

Point being, the Twins are pretty much giving everybody a contract these days.

With the signing of Denard Span to a 5 yr/$16.5 million deal, the Twins added to a list of core players with modest contracts that also includes Jason Kubel, Scott Baker, and Nick Blackburn. When coupled with the larger contracts of Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer, and the pitcher formerly known as closer, the Twins get a pretty good idea of where they stand financially the next few seasons.

Aside from Nathan, who may never again pitch for the Twins, that list of players makes for a fairly substantial chunk of a fairly successful team.

While it is easy to look at Span and Blackburn deals and think to yourself, "WTF dawg? Dude's are still arbed and under control for the next few years regardless, so why you gettin so frisky?" I look at it and think, "Your financial foresight is impeccable."

The Twins are in a situation now where they can pull out their ledger (I like to think Bill Smith has keeps track of contracts in a big leather ledger scribbled via ink and quill, but maybe that's just me) and feel fairly comfortable with their financial forecast.

Like any forecast, there are no certainties with any player or any contract. And the concerns voiced over some of Blackburn's inconsistencies in particular are understandable, but there is also something to be said for having a financial plan.

In locking up Blackburn, the Twins now have two starting pitchers who have proven at one point or another they can be quality starters (at the Major League Level) signed to long-term deals. The other being Scott Baker.

Basically what this means for the Twins, is they know that Baker and Blackburn will be penciled in as their two and four starters for the next few seasons. And when you consider the relatively modest amount the team is paying for their services, it is pretty comforting to know you have 40% of the rotation under control, and exactly exactly how much that control costs.

Similarly, Span's contract takes him through the rest of his arbitration years (with an option for his first year of free agency). And, like Blackburn and Baker, the Twins are paying for the comfort of knowing Span will be penciled in as their leadoff hitter for the next five years, and the exact amount those years will cost the team.

There is something to be said for that level of comfort.

And that comfort comes from both the known commodity on the field, as well as the financial stability off it. Signing guys through their arbitration years allows the Twins to control the player's contracts, rather than allowing their contracts to control the Twins.

Building an complete baseball team is about putting pieces together, and doing it in a way that allows flexibility to add more pieces to the puzzle. And that is exactly what the Twins are doing.

The foresight allows the Twins to look a few years ahead and know how much money they have to play with. A concept that is even more important as we all wait patiently (or not) for the contract that shall not be named.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Ever wanted to hear the sweet, sultry tones of my undeniably sexy voice?

I know what you are thinking, "Of course, who doesn't?"

Well I am here to tell you you are in luck. I will be joining Fanatic Jack and Topper Anton on their weekly "Twins Talk" podcast tonight (show starts at 9 pm).

There is about a 4% chance that I will be interesting, but I am sure the other two will be so you should check it out.

And if you can't check it out live, you can always download the podcast and/or listen to it later. So, really, you have no excuse not to tune it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Spring Training Rundown

1. Nick Blackburn

The Twins have been getting slaughtered in the blogosphere for giving Blackburn a longterm contract. While I can agree with the argument that in many ways it makes more sense to go year-by-year with Blackburn, why exactly is this deal such a bad thing?

Is Blackburn a great pitcher? Ok, no.

Is Blackburn a good pitcher? Well, I'll go with goodish.

The fact is, consistent starting pitching is hard to find, even if that pitcher is consistently a 3-4 starter. I know Blackburn's peripheral numbers point to some inevitable epic falloff, but the dude has been unfailingly consistent the last two seasons. Hell, he basically had the exact same stat line in 2008 and 2009. And, color me old school, but I like the "big game pitcher" niche he has carved out. Is it technically irrelevant to his stat line? Well yes. But there is still something comforting about the title.

I understand and accept the fact that Blackburn doesn't strike anyone out, but at some point you have to just accept a player for who they are. Blackburn is a solid starter, and penciling him in somewhere in the middle of the Twins rotation for the next four (or five) years at an average salary of $3.5 million per year, is fine with me.

2. Joe Nathan

First of all, Nathan is a 35-year-old pitcher coming off elbow surgery, so the fact that he has some discomfort in that elbow shouldn't be all that surprising. It's probably nothing. (UPDATE: By "probably nothing" I meant "definitely something." Amazing how fast things become dated, eh?)

Having said that, closers are kind of like running backs. At some point, they just hit the wall. Sometimes their decline can be attributed to injuries, sometimes it can be attributed to age, and sometimes, well, they just show up one day and suck (see Tomlinson, Ladainian).

Point being, regardless of injury, I think this is the year that Nathan hits the wall. I am basing this not on deep-rooted statistical analysis, but simply a random gut feeling. Irrelevant? Completely.

Oh sure, I could make an argument about how Nathan started tailing off at the end of last season, but he tailed off at the end of 2008 too. And that didn't seem to matter for most of 2009.

So, while it would have been more impressive if I had made this call a week ago, I'm saying that, regardless of injury, Joe Nathan won't be the Twins closer at the end of 2010.

3. Joe Mauer

I was going to write something reassuring here about how Mauer will sign, but fuck it. I'm not going to acknowledge the situation until he actually signs (and he will). And even then, I'll probably just post a giant picture of a smiley face or something, because really, what else is there left to say?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

State of Flux

A friend of mine texted me the other day to inform me he had just found a job. Exciting news, obviously. Like me, he is a recent college graduate (even moreso since he graduated in December and I graduated in May) who had been meddling through the post-graduation "now what?" phase.

While leaving the ranks of the jobless, parental basement dweller is clearly a cause for celebration, my friend said something interesting in referring to his employmental-conquest. While explaining the perks of his new job, he informed me that once you have worked for a few years and have established yourself in the company, you can set your own hours, which, in his words, "will be nice when I have kids."

Excuse me?



Did I pass out halfway through this conversation and wake up ten years later?

Here is a 23-year-old guy who just wiggled into his first "real" job, and is pretty much resigned to the fact that, "hey, this is the beginning of the rest of my life." Anyone else see a problem with that? How is that the mentality that our society has cultivated?

Granted, maybe it is unfair to assume that isn't what some people want. Maybe people want to get through college, grab a job, grab a wife, bang out some kids (no pun intended), and creep up the job ranks. And I suppose I shouldn't question that. If that is what someone really wants at age 23, then rock on.

For me, however, the idea of even committing to a "real" job seems unfathomable. Yes, I am out of college, so apparently that means "real life" has begun, but I guess I just don't have any interest in the lifestyle model I outlined above. At least not at age 22.

Oh, sure, I am employed at the moment, but I like where I am at because there isn't a sense of permanence for a minimum wage making intern (which is essentially just code for "I have no responsibilities here whatsoever").

And, sure, my internship is great experience for the future, but that doesn't mean the future has to arrive tomorrow. I in no way feel like I am "grown up." In fact, I feel like I am stuck in some sort of weird post-college flux period where I am not really a functioning adult member of society, but I am not really a college kid either -- which only bothers me because I am pretty sure I just compared my life to "I'm Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman" by Britney Spears.

Regardless, there seems to be an unjust societal pressure to convince college grads to fear any sense of flux. To basically say, "graduate and and get your shit together."

Or, more specifically, "Go to grad school or get a job, otherwise you're fucked."

Hmm...decisions, decisions: Grad school, job, or fucked...huh. Well...um...I guess I'll get a job.

Maybe I am delusional, but to me this ideology is detrimental. How can anybody reasonably justify that someone at age 22 or 23 NEEDS to immediately reconcile the rest of their life if they want to have any shot at being remotely successful? Where is the logic in that?

You're going to tell me that we get 22 years (the latter of which -- when we are supposed to be really making decisions -- are spent in a drunken stupor) to plan the rest of our life? 22 years to decide the next 50? What? Come again? In what possible way does that way of thinking even remotely resemble logic?

I don't know, maybe I am naive. Maybe I am, in fact, fucking myself by not having a plan, but I just don't believe that is the case.

Do I have goals and aspirations? Yes I do. But what I don't have, is a blueprint for the rest of my days. And I don't want one. I take comfort in the unknown. As I sit here, and consider the concept of having my entire life planned out, and knowing my daily routine, I become increasingly uncomfortable.

I don't want to want to fall into black hole of complacency, wake up 30 years later, and realize my entire life just passed me by. And that is precisely why I am, for now, completely comfortable in my state of flux.