Special Christmas Post: The Division of Misfit Toys!

Few people know this, but there is a secret society within the American League Central which meets to discuss the difficulties and dangers which Central Division players must confront. Like all secret societies they are cloaked in mystery and draped in ritual. Peanuts from Heaven is proud to lift the veil on this secret society known as: “The Division of Misfit Toys”.

Carlos Quentin: I hereby call this holiday meeting of the Division of Misfit Toys to order!
Tony Sipp (Relief Pitcher, Cleveland Indians): Wow! Thanks so much for inviting me you guys, it means a lot.
Justin Verlander: No sweat uhhh...uhhh...
Sipp: Tony
Verlander: Yeah! Whatever, I mean, you play in Cleveland right, so we had to have someone here from your team...
Sipp: And you guys thought I was good enough to join?
Zach Grienke: Actually, we just thought you could fit this dress we used to give to Cliff Lee.
Sipp: Oh...uh...why do I--?
Quentin: I bet Fausto Carmona would--
Sipp: Gimme a second!
[Jason Kubel enters as the spotted Kubelphant]
Kubel: Hey guys!
All: Hey Kubelphant!
Kubel: Guess what?
All: What?
Kubel: I wrote a song for our secret society.
Quentin, Verlander & Grienke: Oh BOY! Let’s sing it!!
Sipp: Wait a second, this is a secret society where everyone dresses up like a toy from the Rudolph the Reindeer Christmas Special and then sings a satirical song written by one of the members?
Kubel, Quentin, Verlander & Grienke: Well...yeah...
Sipp: This is the best secret society EVER!
Kubel: Key of G?
ALL: Is there any other?

All: We're in the Division of Misfit “Toys”
Here we don't want to stay
We want to earn the faith of fans
By playing the right way!

A pack full of “toys”
Means a sack full of joys
For millions of girls
And for millions of boys
When Opening Day is here
The most wonderful day of the year.

A Zach-in-the-box waits for children to shout
Grienke: "Please! Can you teach others to get an out!"
All: When Opening Day is here
The most wonderful day of the year.

“Toys” galore, scattered on the floor
There's no room for more
In the hearts of fans!

A Yankee for Jimmy
A Dodger for Sue
Multiple players who hit .332
When Opening Day is here
The most wonderful day of the year.

Kubel: But it seems like nobody wants to watch the American League Central, nobody envies us or wants to join our teams.
I mean, how would you like to be a Spotted Kubelphant?
Quentin: Or a White Sock with square wheels instead of legs?
Sipp: Or anyone who plays--in Cleveland?
All: We're all misfits!
Verlander: How would you like to be a pitcher trapped in a plane?
Greinke: Or a Cy Young winner trapped in a box called Kansas City?
Sipp: Or anyone who plays in Cleveland? I mean seriously, it’s bad enough I have to play in Cleveland, but you put me in a dress too? I mean c’mon!!
All: We're all misfits.

--(back to singing)--
If we're in the Division of Unwanted Toys
We'll miss all the fun with the girls and the boys
When Opening Day is here
The most wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful day of the year!
{Except here!}


You say "celebration", I say "celebARTion"

With much of the baseball world fixated on insane gobs of money beginning to plop down in front of the utterly irrelevant (I don't know if John Lackey ever heard about the "Law of Supply and Demand" before...but it is clear that it's better to be looking for a job in a group of below average pitchers, than a group of above average ones), epic trade deals (Halladay for Lee for top prospects for more top prospects for the Gasden Purchase is almost done now) and on recapping the last decade in baseball (hey look it's our old buddy Sidney Fatso!(n)).

But in all that hubbub, some people might have missed the announcement that the Florida Marlins have found a new niche for their ballpark. Today, its' not enough to have your team hit a homerun, you must celebrate it in the most outlandish ways possible. In Milwaukee kids join a mascot for a skid down a slide, in Kansas City, Detroit and LA, geysers or fireworks erupt, in Philadelphia a red white and blue liberty bell gets a-clangin' and coming soon to our very own Twin Cities two neon behemoths will shake hands.

But none of those things, NONE compare to what the Florida Marlins want to do for their new stadium. No limitations to fireworks or fountains, no gaudy bells or old-time dudes being all friendly like. No, the Marlins need ART. Said Marlin's President David Samson about his team's new celebration: "It's very important to Jeffery [Loria, owner of the Marlins] that our ballpark be a museum of baseball....No one will be able to look at [this] and say, 'is that art or is that baseball?' It's both, it's art in a baseball park."

Click here to see the aforementioned "art". I will wait until you do so...............................

Do you see that art? Do you understand the deep metaphysical meaning? The soul rending suffering that went in to creating three smiley fishes jumping over manic pelicans in a set of devices that closely resembles a high-budget pop-up book? That is the fusion of baseball AND art my friends. Once their stadium is built, attending a ball game in Miami won't just be a "fun, family experience" it will be a culturally edifying adventure into the inner reaches of man's soul so that he can comprehend the intricate dance of life, baseball and cruelty to marine life.

Not to be out done, we here at Peanuts from Heaven will do our best to create our own artistic rendering of the joy that emanates from our soul when we receive comments on our blog. Therefore, whenever we receive comments from five separate individuals on a post we will create an epic testament to the resiliency of the human spirit, the intestinal fortitude of the upper midwest and the awesome power of the peanut, and then share that with the wider blogosphere in honor of your honoring us.

Our artistic genius is churning out new ideas as we speak...bring on the commentary, we beg of you!


Spinning the Wheels

Just like last year, we had high hopes coming into the winter meetings and a harsh reality as we left them. And, just like last year, I'm going to use that inaction as a means to poke a little fun at Bill Smith. Not because he's ineffective, but just because he seems like a helluva nice guy, who might even find this funny. Once again, Merlin the dog files our in-depth report:
10:30 AM--Smith and his team begin their Winter Meetings by seeing the many impressive sites in Indianapolis, Indiana.

10:31 AM--Sightseeing ends.

1:18 PM--Tom Kelly does not get elected to the hall of fame, punkass Whitey Herzog who got beaten by Tom Kelly in the 1987 World Series does. TK shrugs his shoulders, lights a cigar and mutters "who gives a biffle?"

4:49 PM--After realizing that all the other managers in major league baseball are giving press conferences on piddling matters, Smith realizes he accidently brought his garden gnome to Indianapolis, and left Ron Gardenhire frozen on his front lawn pushing a wheelbarrow.

11:59 PM--Smith is woken from a sound sleep by Carl Pavano. Though his speech slurred Pavano is quoted as saying: "ummmawaumma Arbitration...mummawabumma coming back...bawuah PANCAKES MAN! PANCAKES!!"

7:03 AM--Smith and Pavano finish their 7 hour marathon pancake eat-a-thon, swear to be bestest buds forever, and man hug.

12:22 PM--After going back to get some shut eye, Smith wakes up to the news that Curtis Granderson is about to be traded to the New York Yankees. Is excited that he won't have to see Curtis Granderson so much any more

12:25 PM--Smith realizes that with Granderson about to join the evil empire one of the last few truly cool guys in baseball is about to become an unholy abomination of Yankpire evil

12:39 PM--Smith jams all radio transmissions out of the Tigers hotel room in a vain attempt to stop Granderson from joining the evil minions of George Steinbrenner

7:30 PM--Exhausted from an afternoon of jamming radio transmissions, Smith puts Greta and Bonnie in charge of continuing to thwart the destruction of his idyllic society while he goes to get a bite to eat. Unfortunately an eye-patch wearing Russian operative of the Diamondbacks swings by to shoot Greta and Bonnie thereby letting the trade go through

8:41 PM--Smith realizes that in future he should never put rejects of the Dharma Initiative in charge of anything

6:21 AM--Smith finally goes to sleep after an all-nighter of watching Lost Season 5 on DVD. (It's a winter meeting tradition)

12:49 PM--Smith is still sleeping when a teary Pedro Feliz calls begging for Smith to rescue him from his only other offered contract, from the Houston Astros.

3:08 PM--Smith wakes up, receives Feliz's phone message but knows that the motto of Houston is "Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here," and wisely decides not to send out a rescue party.

7:12 PM--Running out of things to do in Indianapolis, Bill Smith visits our very own website and looks for ideas. Remembers that last year he had potential deals for Adrian Beltre, Mark DeRosa, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Garrett Atkins, wonders if these players are still obtainable.

8:31 PM--Many phone calls later, Smith's staff learns that they are, and the staff agrees to discuss the subject over a meal.

8:42 PM--Staff begins a heated debate on the pros and cons of each potential scenario.
7:15 AM--After an intense night of debate, Smith and his staff come to a conclusion: they will order 20 chocolate chip waffles with 24 sides of bacon, 13 hashbrowns, 7 carafes of coffee, 2 carafes of English Breakfast Tea, and a fruit bowl

9:18 AM--No one eats the fruit bowl

11:40 AM--Staff remembers arise from their food coma they were supposed to pick a third baseman, but now most teams and agents have left Indianapolis.

12:29 PM--Staff checks out of the hotel, but forgets Boof Bonser on the bed.

12:30 PM--Red Sox trick Bonser into following a trail of delicious ham back to Boston, agree to send one ham back to Minnesota in gratitude.


Why the Winter Meetings Will be like the Indianapolis 500

Because, while it takes forever, we'll finish up exactly where we started.

Apologies for not getting this posted yesterday, 'twas in our brains...but so were papers, presentations and a confusingly contradictory note from our landlords. So while this post has been in gestation for a couple days it is only now making it onto the page/screen. I trust you have all endured despite it.

In fact, I'm sure you have because baseball writers salivate over this week, they worship it, they conjecture and prognosticate and imagine all kinds of delightful scenarios where the big free agents sign, all-stars get traded, beautiful women announce their undying love for them, and they get the rest of the winter off to luxuriate on a beach sipping Mai Tai's rather than skulking about the lobbies of an Indianapolis hotel tweeting anonymous chatter about people with names like "Ryan Doumit" and "Jose Valverde".

However, they, like most fans, end up imagining magic and gettin
g little more than frostbite. Yet they still have fun, and they still provide plenty of entertainment in their gossip mongering (why else would I read said tweets when I should be writing final papers?). One thing I've noticed is that writers seem to be contractually obligated to come up with some sort of goofy metaphor to make their preview of the winter meetings, so in that spirit here are 500 things for Twins to look for during this week

1. Carl Pavano gets arbitartion. (HEY LOOK IT ALREADY HAPPENED!)--We realize that we here at Peanuts from Heaven have not really gotten into the whole Carl Pavano thing...I was moving, Stinky started business school, he pitched...we didn't have photoshop which was fine because he didn't seem like he'd be here for
very long...and besides, we already had Or-Land-O' Lakes! We didn't need to be fond of Pavano. Yet...it appears that he will be back, which is fine, I guess...he likes it Minnesota, he pitched well in the postseason, and he inspires raw hatred within the New York Yankees...so that has to be good. Welcome back Carl, we will try to come up with your photoshop identity before next season.

2. We sign a veteran pitcher whose name does not start with a "C" and end with an "arl Pavano"-- Yeaaaaaaahhh...probably not going to happen....Stinky and I wanted to see Pedro Martinez come to town (he would be a veteran, in a place he could win, AND entertain us now that Gogo is gone), but he's 1) a potential hall of famer (read, really expensive) and 2)old, so he would like to stay in the less awesome National League rather than face AL bats. *Side note, I saw Pedro pitch in rookie league baseball in Great Falls Montana...would that I could see him end his career too.

3. We sign a veteran hitter--Since Pavano resigned that suggests that there's not much money out there, which suggests that contracts will drop, which suggests that we've got a chance to sign somebody with some experience, ability and wisdom (like Mark DeRosa or Randy Winn) to help us out. Assuming agents aren't greedy...which is a little like assuming that the Yankees aren't hoping that Joe Mauer fails to sign a contract.

4. The Chairman Resigns--Probably not. They haven't started talking yet. They need to talk in order to agree on anything. But maybe, just maybe, the great and noble chairmen will realize how foolish the quest for wealth is and return to catch in exchange for some magic beans.

5-500. JACK SQUAT!!--Let's be honest, we're the Minnesota Twins. We develop young players, we cease to be able to afford said young players, said young players leave and we fill the hole before the next player emerges by signing Tony Fat-ista, and Sidney Fatso-ne. Also, remember, we have Bill Smith as our GM. A nice guy in a world filled with jerkwads. The jerkwads impress the pretty lady free agents, Bill Smith ends up alone with Nick Punto. This is what our lot in life is. And truth be told, if it costs roughly the gross domestic product of Bermuda to sign a bench warmer, I'm going to guess Bill Smith has his priorities in the right place.

I reached 500, this means I have to go to work, doesn't it?

(Single tear rolls down Scruffy's hairy, hairy face)


Covering up the Sex Bomb

From ESPN: "Major League Baseball officials have asked internet sites to remove racy photographs of Cleveland Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore. Sizemore said the photos--one of them showing him nearly nude--were stolen from his girlfriend's e-mail account and posted online"

Now, we admit that we have not always been Mr. Sizemore's biggest fans. We have, in the past, suggested that he bears a striking resemblance to the nefarious Queen of the Night from Mozart's Die Zoberflote. We know that Mr. Sizemore, as a tenor, would not be able to sing this part, and insinuating that he could is insensitive to the fine women who could play Queen of the Night and might now have to face Mr. Sizemore at auditions for various opera companies. We apologize to all singers in all shapes and sizes, to Mozart and to Mr. Sizemore himself.

But this does not address the sad truth that Grady Sizemore is being ogled on the interweb. That is not cool internet users, not cool! I understand that when you're a public figure you open yourself up to scrutiny, but when you're a dude attempting a little romance, you should be given a little leniency. I mean, all the guys who are posting this don't have their suggestive commentary examined in detail by the public at large, nor can I imagine any situation in which I would want to know what Travis from Topeka says in a noisy bar when he's a little drunk and a lot lonely.

C'mon people, let's have some class, let's have some dignity, let's PHOTOSHOP Grady Sizemore's head onto Tom Jones' body. (Unless this offends Mr. Jones, in which case we'll settle for Donny Osmond.) If you're going to look at Grady Sizemore, at least have the ethical decency to look at him like this--with a silly curly pompadour rather than in his birthday suit. I realize that this moral pontification might not change a cotton-pickin' thing, but I felt obliged to stand up for the poor guy, and to let him know that even if the rest of the world ignores his pleas for privacy, we here at Peanuts from Heaven will stand by him on behalf of the AL Central, responsible, ethical bloggerdom and lovers of "What's New Pussycat?"

Groove on Grady Sizemore, Groove on.


Things we Want and Awards we Got

There has been much discussion of late regarding which positions we should try to fill during the offseason.
Most people think we need a veteran pitcher, to fill the gaping hole in our starting rotation left by Kevin Slowey, Glen Perkins, Francisco Liriano and...pretty much we don't have a starting rotation. So I see their point.


We think that instead of a *veteran* pitcher, we would suggest a *cool* pitcher. A *nerdy* pitcher. Someone who can get us in good with the current political administration. I am speaking of course, about this guy. The loudmouth commenters who write on ESPN may not agree with our logic, but we think he has several things going for him:

1) He plays for the Pirates. We like the Pirates.
2) He's a big nerd, and would rather spend his offseason as a government intern than playing video games and doing keg stands (not that i'm stereotyping or anything).
3) Having lost the Master Librarian to the dark bowels of AAA ball, we need someone to fill the sophistication gap in our roster. Someone with class and dignity. Someone who looks good in black and white and who can lounge seductively across a stack of books. I think we've found our man.

Also, we are proud to once again announce the following awards from the National Organization to Reward Electronic Arts and Literature (this following our impressive haul last year)

192nd most exclamation marks in history of bloggerdom (Spots 1-191 belong to Glen Beck)

27th most gratuitous copyright infringement.

18th best new public service campaign: For the Running is Stupid efforts of Jason Kubel.

3rd best reappropriation of classical literature for totally unrelated purposes.

Best use of Mozart in a Baseball Blog

And WORST BLOG EVER...if you're a Yankpire.

(And as a personal award: Bestest Road Trip EVER!)


A special announcement from our Glorious Leader

Loyal citizens of Twinnesota, noble citizens of Twinnesota, attractive citizens of Twinnesota, it is through you that our Territory of Baseball has been made great, and will continue to be great.

However, it is also due to me, and the fact that I am generally awesome at everything I do. I hit the ball, I hit the ball far, I catch the ball, I throw the ball, and did I mention that part about hitting the ball, I do that too. I have also been known to freestyle rap and date beauty queens. Also, I can hit the ball really, really well.

It is not surprising therefore that we have been recognized as a great and powerful team within the baseball world. Nor is it surprising that I have been named the most valuable, important and brilliantest man in the entire baseball universe. This is because I am so good at so many things, and because I draw my strength from you the greatest of the great peoples. It is for these reasons that we are superior to the evil land of Yankpires to the East and also for these reasons that I have been named as superior to the foolish capitalist dogs known as "Tex" and "Jeets". The foolish assumption that they are my equals makes me laugh. Ha. Ha ha. Ha.

However, we must not rest upon our laurels. We Twinnesotans must always strive towards a glorious future day when Yankpires shall no longer rule the earth and the land of Twinnesota will be lifted up to the glory and honor it deserves and Nerds Blizzards will once again be made in every Dairy Queen across our great land.

Until that day, my fellow Twinnesotans I will lead you, but I must ask for your help. I have noticed a laxness among our people lately. Whyfore have we let the sides of our heads go hairless? A hairless side of head is synonymous with collusion with capitalist forces in the shaving cream industry and must be discouraged.

Therefore, let us all grow our sideburns in accordance with the commands of me, your glorious leader. Also, please give me several more millions of dollars each year, that is not the request of capitalist dog, but rather your glorious leader who has earned this reward. But mostly, remember the sideburns, these are very important.

I am grateful for this very nice, very shiny award, and will be equally pleased when the millions of dollars enter my bank account and I can see fields of sideburns growing across our fair land. But most of all, my fellow Twinnesotans, I will beam with pride when we conquer the baseball world, which we will do, for we are Twinnesotans, we are noble, we are proud, and we are deserving of the greatness to come.


Your Guide to Surviving the New Yankpire Order #2

As I said in my last post, schedules are hectic, and while much has happened in the Twins universe (new lights for the stadium, new attitude for Bill Smith, new shortstop) we here at Peanuts from Heaven remain inundated with non-Twins related things. So while we could blog regularly about topics like revising operation perspectives for Twin Cities health clinics, or ethical issues raised by AIDS education in New Delhi, we have spared you the crazy making world that both Stinky and I live in.

HOWEVER, oh best beloved, this does not mean that we are deaf to the cries of the baseball world. So when Scott Boras (pictured below) said: "I don't know what a mid-market franchise is. That's like a midsized aircraft carrier. [Mid-market teams] all have the potential to have an economic bomb", it reminded us of another key tool to use in surviving this strange new world where the Yankees are once again the most powerful team on the planet.
PIECE OF ADVICE NUMBER 2: Start looking for quarters in the sofa cushions.

After three years of (relatively) lower contracts that owners called "fiscal sanity" and the players union really wants to call "collusion", the sense that "money wins" is back in baseball, and that means that those of us with prudent owners (see Jim Pohlad, I'm being nice!) are in deep dog-doo if Boras gets his way.

At the heart of this is the idea that baseball teams make a S*** ton of money*. Which, they do. I'm currently (slowly) reading "National Pastime" by economists Stefan Szymanski and Andrew Zimbalist. In Chapter 5 (available for a peek at Google Books) the authors contend that baseball owners might cry penury, but they all line their coffers with sacks of gold. They run their teams to make a profit, hence the exorbitant ticket prices, concessions prices, etc. And while teams might appear to lose money, the corporate entities that own them seem to be always in the black (a little bit of monetary misdirection goes a long way, they contend). So, Boras is right in thinking that teams have money to spend.

However, just because teams have money doesn't mean they necessarily ought to spend it on player salaries. For instance, which would you rather have? Boras client Matt Holliday in left field, or Delmon Young, (slightly) cheaper seats, and lower beverage prices? Should we go after Jarod Washburn (another Boras client) this winter, or make do with Swarzak, Duensing, and a once a month dollar-dog night? Sure Scott Boras, mid-market teams have the potential to drop an economic bomb on the baseball landscape but we won't because dropping that economic bomb would level the city that supports them, diminish ticket prices and turn a profitable business into an unprofitable one.

(SIDE NOTE: Joe Mauer knows this, but still wants big money. Which we will give to him because he is represented by the Mickey Mouse of agents Ronald Shapiro (author of this book). So again thinking economically we could have a guy who could not hit in the AL West last year (Holliday) and a guy who couldn't pitch for the last two months last year (Washburn) or a once in a generation catcher like Mauer--tough choice.)

So what's the point of spending all the profits you make, especially when the team with the highest payroll hasn't won a championship since the year 2000? What's the point of ...I'm sorry...they won the what now? Oh, I'm sorry, I've been drinking heavily to forget that. Never mind.

Turn over those sofa cushions Jim! It's a new Yankpire order...time to spend accordingly

*S*** ton = 28 boat loads.


Your Guide to Surviving the New Yankpire Order #1

The day we have long dreaded has arrived: The New York Yankees are champions of the baseball world yet again. For 8 long years we were free from their tyranny, their smug aggrandizement, their infuriating sense of entitlement, but now, after a brief respite of peace and prosperity throughout the baseball land, all must genuflect and obey the commands of our new Yankpire overlords.
Sure, we probably should have seen this coming (whenever popular culture tells us that "Vampires are soooooooooooo hot right now" the Yankpires seem to make a comeback/with Obama in office the Republican voodoo against Yankpires was broken [last Republican president to witness a Yankees victory--Eisenhower]) but we all had hopes, we had dreams, and now we just have Tex, CC, A-Rod and Jeets (shudder).

So how do we, the humble NON-Yankpires survive? How can we avoid arousing the ire of Yankpires, their devoted legions of fans, and the media apparatus of Fox who hopes that this is the beginning of new dynasty, a rating resurgence and something slightly more onerous than Joe Buck himself?

In the coming weeks and months we here at Peanuts from Heaven will do our best to prepare you for the onslaught of Yankpires and Yankpire related hype which may make life difficult for A's, O's, Pirates, Cardinals, Sox of various colors and of course--the greatest people on earth--Twins fans.

Our first piece of advice comes from my little cousin, who will be known here as Home Run Nelson. Quoth the wise, wise 8 year old: "I just root for 'em. A lot of kids in school are talking about it. It's mostly Yankees..."

Though Home Run claims he's a Yankees fan, he confessed under the duress of his intensely pressurized elementary school environment. He just "roots for 'em" like a lot of people around him. So perhaps the best way to survive the Yankpire Empire (or Yankpirepire, if you will), is to pretend that you are hip to our new overlords, say "All hail Joe Girardi!" (but do so with your fingers crossed behind your back). Feel free to notice the tonnage of ESPN articles on "Yankees sign _______ in quest to repeat" but don't acknowledge, worry, or care about. To put it simply: swim down stream!

Possible side effects may include: accidental desire to become a Yankpire--if you exhibit any signs of Yankpiredom (including, but not limited to: a desire to wear thin undershirts with backwards baseball caps, repeated use of the phrase: "YO, PEDRO! WHO'S YER DADDY?!?", empathy for Scott Boras, or an insatiable desire for the blood of Blue Jays and Mariners) consult your local physican/exorcist.

We will attempt to post more advice when we are able, but as the semesters wind up (or down, or something) posts may be harder to squeeze in to rather frantic schedules. Nevertheless, stay strong loyal Peanuts, we will return to guide you.


OH BOY!! Oh....crud...

ESPN got my hopes up this morning, with its headline: "it all happened so fast." Since I went to bed in the bottom of the 7th (my love of baseball finally lost out to my circadian clock), my head filled with marvelous fantasies: "They must have come back," I thought, "They probably scraped one off of Sabathia, and tacked three more on the relievers and then they tied up the series and it's just three games left, and they could still do it!!!"

Then I glanced at the score banner on top of the page: Yankees 7 Phillies 4. Yankees lead the series 3 games to 1

So...that hope I was feeling? Yeah, gone.

So, apparently, Johnny Damon, he of the "I-love-the-Red-Sox-Nation-so-much-I'll-write-a-book-about-it, but-I-love-money-so-much-I'll-leave-those-fans-in-a-heartbeat," yup he stole two bases on one pitch and made the previously frightening Phils look as lost as we were, and the Angels were, and pretty much everyone who has played the Yankees has been this season.

I am becoming Gloomy McDrearyson, prognosticating Doom and Woe and an entire year worth of "Can the Yankees Repeat and Start a New Dynasty" stories. I will watch tonight, but my body may once again force me to bed before the worst comes to pass.

Here's my thing, (and I'll let Stinky expand on this in another post), this feels unfair because it feels like we're playing on an unequal playing field.

It feels like we were on our own playground, playing kickball with the kids in our 3 grade class and playing pretty well. Curtis made some catches and Mark threw some good balls, but we (particularly our bestest buddies Joe M. and Michael and Nick B. and Joe N.) were playing best, hitting and throwing and what not. Then the big dumb bullies from the middle school stopped by and threw bouncy pitches and used their more developed muscles to kick the ball and shoved us around the bases and we couldn't win and when we complain that it's not fair the big bullies (led by Alex, the one with the cold dead eyes) said: "you could do this if wanted to..."
"But, but...but, but!"

"You could, you could through bouncy pitches and try to shove us off bases and do extra workout stuff to make your muscles bigger!"


Then they punched us for calling them stupid faces, laughed and went off to torment the slightly bigger kids, including Torii (who was so smart he got moved up a grade) and Jimmy and Ryan.

Could we spend the money the Yankees do? Well, the Pohlad's are richer than the Steinbrenner's so theoretically, yes. Practically....I think not. Why, I can't put it clearly (I needed a playground analogy to explain my thinking so far). My brain for business is no where near as good as Stinky's so, if the wonderful world of Grad school ever gives her a break, I hope she'll explain to all of us (me included).

In the mean time just remember: sticks and stones may break my bones but a 260 million dollar payroll can't hurt me...except in my soul.


I keeeeen't sten 'em!!!

The "'em" I refer to is one Joe Buck.

I just...I just can't...and I'm seeing news reports of how he's becoming appreciated...NO! NO NO NO NO!!!!! And so I present 13 reasons why Joe Buck makes puppies cry.
  1. This is a man who admits to NOT LIKING BASEBALL! Yet he gets the job of telecasting it every, single, year.
  2. He sounds so abysmally depressed in everything. ["Deep to right and...we're tied....I guess I have to keep announcing this thing until it ends....sigh...", "Game over! Series tied at a game a piece...god no, not more than 4 games?!?].
  3. There's no excitement with anything. No pleasure, no delight, no child-like enthusiasm that other people have with the game.
  4. He doesn't ask questions to further fan knowledge [which makes Tim McCarver seem like an irritating gnat chiming in with things that Buck couldn't care less about, and by association, neither should the fans]
  5. He doesn't attempt to set the scene
  6. He blathers during otherwise tense moments
  7. and is stone silent during the lulls.
  8. He obsesses over ridiculous details well past their relevancy
  9. He seeks to blame people rather than praise them (Charlie Manuel's a fool for not sending the runners...maybe, just maybe, it was a damned good pitch to get the double play...)
  10. He has a holier-than-thou attitude which makes errors seem like the behavior of an "untouchable" caste [unless your name starts with a "D" and ends with an "erek Jeter"]
  11. And he can't get over the super-slo-mo method of replay. ["oh my goodness! an umpire got a very close play wrong, the world will come to an end!!!"--blown calls are tough (witness Mauer's double/foul ball) but on things as close as the double off double play...move on and hope it doesn't affect the game (which it didn't)]
  12. He manages to plug everything in hyper-convoluted ways. Can't it be enough to say: "the Fox Business in Game Box Score shows" rather than "the Fox Business in Game Box Score, if you want to know more about business, or study market trends and tactics, turn to channel 354 in your digital cable package, shows..."? [I know other announcers do that, and am sure that's a Fox mandate, but you know, the only thing worse than commercials, is dour depressingly voiced commercials]
  13. He manages to be ridiculously melodramatic over inconsequential things (as anyone who lived through the "Randy Moss pretending to pull down his pants is the worst thing in the history of the world" fiasco can attest)
  14. He constantly seems to be dreaming about football--which would be fine--if he wasn't calling the most important series of baseball games of the entire year...BUT HE IS.
I understand that he's announcing royalty. I understand that now he's so familiar that he would be difficult to eject from that announcer seat. BUT PLEASE!!! Somebody! ANYBODY!

C'mon, Joe Buck, maybe you should do it yourself--spend more time with your kids, spend more time watching reality tv, spend more time anywhere, ANYWHERE! but in the booth of a baseball game. I'm sure that you are a kind, gentle and agreeable human being--go do that and leave baseball for the people who want to be there rather than those who are contractually obligated to do so. Move to England, claim Swine Flu as a defense, whatever you want! I will vouch for you!! PLEASE!!!!!!


P.s. The Yankees won, but it was a tight game with some interesting moments that were bludgeoned to death by the--I'm not going to get mad...peace mantra, peace mantra, peace mantra--anyway. Series tied...hope we can get seven games...if only for the remote possibility that the reanimated corpses of Harry Kalas and Red Barber storm the booth on Halloween and send Joe Buck home.

P.p.s. Stinky and I have had a discussion: Pedro Martinez. Minnesota Twin? Thoughts?

P.p.p.s. Derek Jeter made a mistake...and admitted it!! I have new found respect for him...still fear him, his lack of a reflection and (probable) thirst for human blood, but I respect him too.

How do you like 'dem apples?

So game one of the world series...wow...

Not exactly what I expected.

I have to say, that after the high hopes and dashed dreams of the division and league championship series, I was only mildly convinced by baseball pundits that in this series, at long last, we had a battle worthy of "The Fall Classic".

The Yankees, I reasoned, were too big, too bad, too good to be denied. We made silly mistakes that we don't normally make, and because of those mistakes we turned three close games into three lost games. The Angels looked fantastic almost all season, and fought back, but just seemed petrified by the "cold" weather of New York City (40 degrees? Spare me!). The Phillies were from a league that both we and the Angels whooped this year, the Phillies could probably be rusty, and I could hear Joe Buck mentally crafting his panegyrics in honor of Derek Jeter's chin, Alex Rodriguez's eyes, and CC Sabathia's waist. (In my mind Joe Buck has Tiger Beat posters of all the Yankees inside his locker at Fox Studios.) What chance could the Phillies have against the Yankees AND Rupert Murdoch's golden boy?

Turns out a pretty damn good one.

And why? They field well, they hit well, they run well. We do those things too, we just don't do them against the Yankees...and why is that? Because we play scared, and they play confident. There is no better example of that than Cliff Lee's basket catch, a play which might live on in infamy (or might be seen as total overconfidence depending on the next few games). We tried to do everything so incredibly perfect that everyone would suddenly fall in love with us. The Phillies just went out and did it.

At least...they did last night...the rest of the series can be another issue entirely, and as a baseball fan I hope that it is. I hope the Yankees make a contest of it...and then lose. But, in case there is a Yankees fan on our site, I want to make one thing clear.

The reason I have a problem with the Yankees is the ideology of the team, the corp
orate philosophy, if you will. That's a phrase that makes no sense in the midwest where the game is meant to be played, enjoyed, suffered and savored: not to be used as a business to be won. What's more, when you win you should be proud, but not cruel to your opponents. As my mother said: "it's not that we lose...it's that they don't seem to acknowledge that we had a right to be on the same field. No one talks about how we 'gave 'em a good game', they just act like winning was something they were entitled to."

To that end, I am happy to point out a kind, decent, thoughtful set of Yankees fans over at "It's About the Money (stupid)"--which looks like a decent bunch of fans rather than blowhards, faithful devotees rather than furious militants, defenders of an economic philosophy rather than a imperialistic ideal. To wit: this post from Jason Rosenberg which critiques the kind of behavior that drives non-Yankee fans crazy.

Of course, if the Phillies stay the course, than this image from the New York Post may begin what is already formulating in my mind as possibly the best Baseball/horror schlock movie of all time.

Tonight, Pedro Martinez goes to the hill, which is awesome because when I was 7 years old, I saw Pedro Martinez play for the Great Falls Dodgers, my home town team. Weirdest of all...Pedro apparently still has a soft spot for Great Falls...Let's go PEDRO!


My dream...

I had this dream last night. It was bizarre and wonderful. Forces of darkness and evil were converging on the horizon. There was Benedict Arnold, and the Wicked Witch of the West, about a zillion orcs, and my 7th grade English teacher. It was awfully frightening.

But all around me were heroes and superheroes. Hercules, the Green Lantern, G.O.B Bluth, Hermione Granger and John Locke (both the bald hunter from Lost, and the eminent philosopher).

When my alarm finally went off, I thought that the final battle had been joined. But no, my brain was just sleepy, and an epic week of serious work lay ahead of me. And to make matters worse...the Yankees are back in the World Series...

Then again, maybe my dream is an allegory for the World Series to come...Maybe it was a sign that I should cheer nonstop for the Phillies and their Hercules (Ryan Howard), Green Lantern (Jimmy Rollins), GOB Bluth (Chase Utley), Hermione Granger (Pedro Martinez) and John Locke (Raul Ibanez--who is not as cool as our John Locke (Ron Gardenhire) but still, pretty awesome). Maybe the forces of Goodness and Light might yet triumph and the Yankpires will be vanquished and I'll get through my homework and actually manage to squeeze in 8 hours of sleep at some point this week!

(Probably not...but sometimes you have to be wildly irrational...just because it's more fun that way)



So THAT'S why postseason baseball is fun!

I knew that there was something great about playoff baseball, I just couldn't quite remember what it was.

Was it the awesomeness of Fox's coverage? No...that's not it, there certainly isn't much to be enjoyed in hearing Joe Buck and Tim McCarver gush and goo over every move that Derek Jeter makes. Seriously, guys, if you catch a relay, and see a baserunner caught between bags but leaning to second...YOU THROW THE BALL TO SECOND!!!! Jeter does it because he is intelligent, so is Erik Aybar, Jimmy Rollins, Orlando Cabrera, Nick Punto and just about EVERY OTHER MIDDLE INFIELDER IN THE PLAYOFFS!!! Just because they don't wear a Yankees uniform doesn't mean they wouldn't make the same intelligent plays when pressed. Stop kissing ass and call the game.

Was it A-Rod's cold, soulless eyes? No, they make for sadness in my soul. Them and Nick Swisher's rock signs, Joba Chamberlian's rope necklace, Mark Texiera's bolster cushion neck and every single word that Joe Buck and Tim McCarver say. STOP SPLITTING THE SCREEN IN HALF AND JUST ANNOUNCE WHAT'S HAPPENING!!!!!

I KNOW!! It's stranding runners in scoring position!! I love it when that happens, guy on third, no outs, that's great...oh, wait, no...no that's not it, that made me want to gouge out my own eyes with sporks.

Wait a second, something's coming back to me. I was watching with people! There was an Angels fan and a Yankees fan...but they were both polite, and insightful and intelligent. They were willing to let me swear and spout vitriol at the tv screen, and not take it personally. They loved their teams and knew them as intimately as I know the Twins.

The shivered and shook with the highs and the lows, the leads and the deficits, the comebacks and the fallbehinds. With each pitch and swing and catch and throw they twisted and turned and lived and died. And while I tried to remain objective, while I tried to be impartial and just appreciate the game I wanted the Angels to win. I wanted it for Adenhart. I wanted it for Torii. I wanted it because I didn't want it for the Yankees.

The camaraderie is what I miss so far from Minnesota, but I won't lie, the winning, the dramatic victory was great. And as Leslie declared her undying love for Jeff Mathis, and Jen sank back into the couch in despair, I realized that this is what matters. The camraderie, the unpredictability, and the excellence of the competition. That's what makes it a pleasure to watch, a pleasure to share. That's what makes it fun.


Calling in a Favor

Dear Torii Hunter,

We are very very very sorry for your losses. We know that the Yankees are A-holes, D-Bags and Q-berts. We experienced it first hand, and we know you are experiencing that now, and we know that there are few things worse than watching a bunch of multimillionare's smugly celebrate their "triumph" over those of us who make do with less.

Don't cry Torii, so what if A-Rod is suddenly really really good in the postseason? So what if the last time a big-name player who had struggled intensely in the postseason "suddenly" figured out how to hit was Barry Bonds in 2002? So what if I made a totally unsubstantiated allusion to steroid use? You are Torii freakin' Hunter. You smile and distant planets feel the warm glow.

Torii, I don't ask for much, just, please don't let them walk over our entire league, please don't let them continue them do to the American League what the tank did to that poor guy in Tinamen Square. DO NOT LET THE YANKEES REDUCE ALL BASEBALL FANS TO IRRATIONAL HATRED AND HYPERBOLIC EQUIVALENCES!! (I mean...who would liken the defeat of a few millionares at the hands of a few other millionaires to peaceful protests in China...whoever that person is, they are suffering from acute craziness. SAVE THEIR BRAINS TORII!!)

Why am I writing to you Torii, because, let's face it, the National League kinda stinks a little bit, and doesn't have quite the same chance to derail the Yankpires as you do. Also because Minnesota is still secretly in love with you. But sshhh, don't tell yourself.

Perhaps I'm getting delirious, perhaps I'm totally incoherent, all I know is this. Torii, you're a great guy, and the Yankees, the Yankees are not...ergo, Torii you should win, and they should lose.

Please Torii-won Kenobi, You are our only hope.

Peanuts from Heven


Don't look back in anger

Our season has been over, and after a two-day quarantine on all baseball related news (no ESPN lest they show clips again and again and again of poor Nicky P), it's time to refocus on good things.

Like the Los Angeles Angels of Anahiem. Our buddy Torii (whose favorite pancake house in Edina is the bomb-diggity, ps). And pretty much nothing else.

Seriously, if we end up with some Yankee type World Series I may boycott. If we end up with Yankees/Dodgers I will definitely boycott. C'mon, you've got to root for the Angels here, no steroid users, no jackass fans, Torii the wonderful, Bobby Abreu (who proved himself to be a non-Yankpire when he went out to check on poor Dr. Cakeburn last year--oh and further proved himself a non-Yankpire when he got the hell out of NYC), Vladmir Gurrero, and the quest for justice for former pitcher Nick Adenhart.

They also have the Rally Monkey, but with four teams left we'll let that slide.

While we are hoping for some sort of decency to win the day in baseball we're also confronted with one major problem: jackass sportswriters positing theories that are given the weight of papal edicts.

I'm looking at you Patrick Ruesse, and I'm looking at your suggestion that we trade away Dread Pirate Joe Nathan.
Could it give us some monies? Yes. Could it get us somebody to play second base effectively? Possibly. Could we survive with John Rauch, Jose Mijares, Pat Neshak, or Boof Bonser as our closer? Probably.

BUT! I beg of you Bill Smith, consider this carefully. Remember that Joe is part of us all, and though he had some pretty nuclear-sized meltdowns this year, he is our pirate, and we love him. Think of what the rest of the team will say: remember when Joe Mauer said that we need to add not subtract? Yeah, trading away his beloved closer--not so much the way to do that...

Let's be frank here: Would it be the end of the world if we traded Joe Nathan? No. Then why am I opposed to it? Because it's being presented by someone who's being a Captain Cranky-Pants after a lousy playoff series. If Ron Mayhay had given up the homerun to A-Rod in the ninth, everyone would be fine with Joe; if our starters had gotten completely smoked we wouldn't even discuss our bullpen. This is reactionary jackassery of the first order and should not be discussed as a brilliant solution to our problems, so much as it should be discussed as over-emotional panicking by a sports-world wannabe.

But perhaps Joe Nathan said it best himself. When reached for comment he told Peanuts from Heaven: "GARRRERRRARRRRERRRRR--GRRRRRAAAWWWWWRRRR!!!"
[Translation: Avast, Patrick Ruesse you billowing blowhard, unsheath your sw-ord and have at ye! Ya scurrrrvy swine!!!]


Silver Linings

So Delmon Young just got a double after getting nailed in the balls. There is a silver lining to every cloud.

OK, I know this is a family-friendly blog, but there's just been a lot of balls and balls-related discussion tonight, mainly propagated by the excessive repetition of awkward Viagra commercials.

Ridiculousness from the TBS announcers:
"Wow! A-Rod! Look at how strong his arm is! But between this and his home run it's just amazing how strong he is"
Our interpretation: "Amazing! He threw the ball across the field, like a professional baseball player is meant to do! He took the ball from his glove, with the other hand and threw it - incredible! You know, this is a team that's really been excellent at using both hands this season. Also, it's remarkable how unbelievably, practically inhuman his strength is. It's as if it isn't natural at all. I mean, you can practically feel the chemical reaction when he connects."

"Andy Pettite is so tough in every at bat, he's an incredible competitor."
Our interpretation: "With Andy Pettite, it's not an at bat, it's a seduction."

"What an incredible play by Jeter!"
Our interpretation: "Jeter just softly lobbed the ball to first base with plenty of time to make the out. If Brendan Harris did this it would be merely mediocre but when Derek Jeter does it it's AMAZING!!!"

Also notable was their palatable lack of enthusiasm when Denard stole second base. Not to mention the fact that when we took the lead they were quietly awed, when A-Rod tied it, and Posada took the lead it seemed like it was all they could do not to run down on to the field and plant a big sloppy kiss all over the Yankees' collective rumps.

I was going to write about how inexorably sad this all makes me (particularly after Nicky just tried a little too hard), but why fixate on the toolish announcers, the damnable Yankees and our "gaffes"? We all know this is what it is, we can't change it, the Yankees are what they are, network tv is what it is, but best of all we are what we are

WE ARE AWESOME! And we don't need to win no stinkin' playoff series to know it! This has been an incredible season, we have a team full of guys who play it the right way and play it clean and will come back next year ready to go another step (last year we just missed it, this year we made it, next year...?). Bottom line, we are awesome, what else do you need to know?

Kristina again:
Yes, we are awesome. But as much as I know that, and as much as I tried not to care that we were probably going to get swept in this series... it still totally sucks. Honestly, I'd rather we just plain lost - it'd be better to walk away from this series saying "Well, we played our best, but we just got outplayed," instead of "Well, we f***ed it up so many times, it's no wonder we lost."

OK thinking positively.

Even though this series has been really painful (especially for Delmon's pistachios), I'm sitting here tonight, watching through the pain with some of my best friends - grilling brats, laughing together, yelling at A-Rod together, groaning in pain together, trying to solve a problem like the Yankees together (throwing star to A-Rod's larynx perhaps?), and making inappropriate comments about Viagra commercials together. Even the worst loss doesn't seem quite as bad when you're among the ones you love.

We love the Twins, we love our friends, and as long as we're all together, we're happy--and will be happy through the long cold winter.


I want to vomit in fury!

I am so mad right now that the only recourse I can think of is to vomit all over the City of New York. Vomit on Mark Texeira, vomit on Alex Rodriguez, vomit on Kate Hudson, Ray’s Famous Pizza, the Metropolitan Opera, Central Park, 5th Avenue, Broadway, Time Square, the statue of liberty VOMIT! AND NEVER SAY SORRY!!!

That was awful, just awful and it’s not our fault, we did everything we could, its’ these Yankees, and its the city, and its the medias ceaseless love affair with everything they say and do and think. The announcers sound like they have Derek Jeter “Tiger Beat” posters up in their lockers. The sportswriters sound like they just go all gooey every time Mariano Rivera looks their way. They treat us like an unwanted interloper, not even a third wheel, we’re a 19th wheel on the 18-wheel all-powerful force that is Yankee Nation.

I wouldn’t mind so much if we really sucked. I mean, if we were like Orioles bad, or even Royals bad. Because then there’s absolutely no expectation, none at all. But we’re good, and we can compete, we lose by scant margins, we’re undone by one bad pitch, or one bas running gaffe, or in tonight’s case one god-awful idiotic utterly totally horribly blown umpire’s call.

Sure Gogo, Delmon and Brendan didn’t hit when the bases were loaded and nobody was out...but if Mauer had been on second base like he should have been...BLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEECCCCCCCCCCCCCCCHHHHHHHHHHHH!

That’s what you get Yankees, and that’s what you deserve.

I love the Twins, and I’ll love them even if we get swept, but I want the world to make sense, I want things to be logical--how is it possible that we can be another team’s equal, that we can play them evenly, we can match them pitch for pitch and run for run and always keep all the games competitive and yet lose EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. OF. THEM? It’s statistically anomalous. It’s utterly absurd. There should be an average, and equilibrium, maybe not that we win as many games but that we win nearly as many games--3 out of 10, 4 out of 10...something...instead we’ve played 9 games against the Yankees this year and lost....all of them...ARE YOU LISTENING MATHEMATICAL FORCES OF NATURE?!?!?!?! MAKE THINGS COME OUT MORE EVENLY!!!!!!!!

Tell you what, I think we should win 30% of our games against the Yankees...but I’ll be nice, I’ll say that we should only win 25% of our games against the Yankees...for that average to be reached, oh Mathematical Forces of Nature (you beautiful, beautiful system you), we will need to win, and win, and win again...then it’ll be 3/12...25%...The Yankees would still win the season series, but some justice would be restored in the universe.

Please mathematical forces of nature...I beg of you, regress to the mean....help the world makes sense again...I’ll give you a cookie? Will that please you? PLEASE?


Let's Give a Cheer for Goodness and Light

I'll be at the Detroit airport during tonight's game, and with each passing second I can feel my will to research the potential positive impact constructivist drama education can have on intercultural competency waning...waning...gone...

Sure it'll be hard, the guys in Detroit will hate me for depriving them of this postseason berth, the announcers will gush and goo over the Yankees like they were their little boo-boo angel pie, and--lest we forget--our boys in blue actually have to, ya know, PLAY the Yankees.

But c'mon, let's not give up yet, let's band together, let's make a pact that no matter how this series goes we will always and forever root for the forces of goodness and light. (A team sorely in need of some support this postseason)

5 Post season games so far, 2 wins for Goodnesss and Light. The Rockies, and my dear pals the Mann Clan, got a game back yesterday against the Phillies (who aren't really bad, but won just last year--so...no more sympathy for you), but the Cardinals dropped a heart breaker and our buddy Albert Panthro Pujols needs some love.

But, there is hope, there is Torii...sweet Torii...lovable Torii...indomitable Minnesota Waffle House Fan Torii--we know that he hearts SoCal now, but Torii, please, remember us and all the fun times we had? We love you Tor-double i, keep up the awesomeness (and send some of it our way)

No more with the mammoth payrolls and the sense of entitlement, no more with the ego-trippin', steroid-poppin', fat-wallet-draggin' teams from Boston, New York and LA (the bad part of LA). Lets go Rocks, Lets go Cards, Let's go Angels, and Let's go Twins!


Forget that ever happened.

I've decided, if the playoffs continue to suck (they probably will), that instead of writing about the actual games I will write about what total D-bags the Yankees are. If you have a problem with this, please read the disclaimer at the bottom of this blog. I keep my promises.

Here's a note from Jayson Stark, to help remind us why we hate the Yankees so much:

"When you're built to win it all, paid to win it all, ordered to win it all, there isn't much worse in life than not winning it all. So it's been a rough nine years in the Bronx.

In those nine seasons, since the last time they won, the Yankees have laid out (you might want to sit down for this) nearly 1.8 billion in negotiable Steinbrenner-family payroll dollars -- that's more than double the Gross National Product of Liberia -- for teams that have won only one more postseason series in that time than the Marlins."

Jim Caple also asserts that "rooting agains the Twins is like rooting against the Rebel Alliance of Habitat for Humanity." I love the Star Wars reference because, of course, the Yankees are the evil empire.

But here is the best, douchest Yankee story of all - and the reason why Yankee fans are just as easy to hate as the Yankpires themselves.

It is a scientific fact that the only two things that will draw the attention and wrath of the total knobs I mean Yankees Fans are 1) Blood of Kevin Youkilis and 2) making fun of their idols.

So it's really no surprise that, as Scruffy sat in his classroom, innocently wearing his "Yankees Suck (because they are vampires)" shirt while waiting to learn about how to enrich the lives of small children, an especially douchey Yankee fan happened to stroll by his classroom window.

Evidence of Asshattery:
1) Pointed through the window and mouthed "YOU'RE GOING DOWN!!!!" while gesturing wildly at the Yankees logos on his hat/t-shirt/underwear (ok i don't actually know that for a fact, but it's not really a stretch).
2) Pounded his chest. I shit you not.
3) After he'd walked away, he actually took the time out of his busy schedule to COME BACK TO THE WINDOW LATER IN THE GAME, holding a sign that said "6-2 Yankees."

Plus, Scruffy's classmates informed him that Douchface was skulking nearby for a good long time. "Dude, I think he wants to fight you."

Here is my response.

Congratulations, sir. You have reminded me exactly why Yankee fans are the most lame-ass excuses for human beings on the planet. (I hope nobody actually reads the disclaimer too carefully, or I'm going to be backing a LOT of cookies tomorrow...)

Two highlights in the gloom - I watched the game with the lovely Betsy of "For the Love of the Game." We waved Homer Hankies....which didn't seem to actually help very much. The second highlight was Nick Punto, being Nicky P. and being awesome.

Another literal highlight was Francisco Liriano's blingin' necklace - the hilarity of which quickly dimmed when he walked into the game and immediately gave up a home run.

God I hope we win on Friday.

In case we don't, I invite everyone to please suggest possible blog topics that are not "Game 2 of the ALDS in which the Twins yet again get spanked"

What do you mean, we have to keep playing?

Wait, so I thought we had won and would get a nice little parade and hugs and kisses and puppy dogs and what not...we have to travel to New York City and face a team that is 50% Vampire? Not cool Major League Baseball...not cool...

I am tempted to ask if we can borrow some Tigers for this series...maybe Verlander, Procello, Rodney, Minor, Granderson, Inge, Polanco--heck, maybe even Laird, Rayburn and Jimmy "Classy-Dude" Leyland. What do you say Tigers? Huh? No...okay...{Side note, seriously, people who led the "Al-co-hol-ic" chant to Cabrera during the game last night--that's a tool-y thing to do, we disavow any association with knobs like that.}

How about you, Johan, since the guy we got in a trade for you made the playoffs before your new team did...how about we call the whole thing null and void and let you start game one or two? You could put on an Armando Gabino costume and pretend to be him. What's that, your arm is hurt...okay...

So...nobody expects us to do well, which is fine because we don't expect us to do well. Somebody called this an "all-time walkover" most of ESPN is saying its done in three or four*, the New York Times is no less confident in our demise. But rather than dwelling on that, or on how awfully awful the Yankees are (Click here, here or here for a refresher) Let's focus on how awesome we are, how great it is to have Joe Mauer's awesomeness shine through his sideburns, how Cuddy can play such good defense for a guy whose supposed to be in right field, how Brian "You Make Me Feel Like" Duensing has been adorably puppyish all season long, how our bullpen is le tired--but still manages to endure.

We have dread pirates, masters of supraction, ubermensches, pretty princesses, Or-Land-O' Lakes, and of course the Nefarious Dr. Cakeburn. We are rainbow of diverse awesom-itude.

The Yankees are just vampires--and though Vampires are hot right now, we can all agree:
P.s. Remember, we're being satirical...no offense is intended. Please contact bloggers if you take umbrage to any statements made, we don't want to make you cry Alex Rodriguez, and we are sorry that the world is so mean to you--maybe if you didn't play for the next week you'd feel better...
[*On further reflection ESPN, or more specifically Jim Caple, does defend us, writing: "How can anyone not root for the Twins? Theyare this year's proof that budget-minded teams can compete.....They rallied from a seven-game deficit in September and a three-game deficit in October....Face it, rooting against the Twins this fall is like rooting against the Rebel Alliance or Habitat for Humanity", and David Shoenfield says that Nicky P. is "like great poetry: You may not realize you're reading iambic pentameter, but there's something in the words that just flow."]


LiveBlog: the Aftermath


I ran a victory lap around my apartment – I can’t even imagine how much my neighbors must hate me.

Wait I’m sorry… was that Gardy doing a Carlos Gomez impression on the radio? Is he drunk already? Or was that Gomez’s real voice? Or… what the heck? I’m so confused.

OK – let’s just talk about this for a second. Who would have thought???? Just a few weeks ago, the Twins were seven games back and below .500. Now they’re division champs and 10 games above .500. What an unbelievable comeback. And they did it without Hot-Pants Justin! And without Mauer for the first month, and with a crappy bullpen and half of a starting rotation. I mean seriously- plagued by injuries, with a pitching staff held together with little more than the sheer power of Gardy’s will, we make the playoffs. What a season.

Not to mention…what a game! And what an amazingly well-managed game. Leyland made some seriously sharp moves, putting Gardy in a tough position when he subbed Gomez for Kubel, thinking Gurrier would pitch into the 8th and Nathan would take the 9th. Suddenly Gardy is stuck with his hottest hitter on the bench and no closer. AND WE STILL WON. If Gardy doesn’t win Manager of the Year, something is seriously amiss in the land of baseball karma.

We’ll probably lose tomorrow….OK let’s be honest with ourselves, we’ll probably get swept by the Yankees. Duensing vs. Sabathia? That’s like a death match between a puppy and a T. Rex. I won’t elaborate on that metaphor because it would be sad and kind of gross, but you get the idea.

What a way to leave the dome – as Division Champs. Whatever happens next, we had a great year of Twins baseball.

"It is good to have an end to journey towards, but it's the journey that matters, in the end." - Ursula K. LeGuin

LiveBlog: the Attempt

I’m going to attempt to do three things:
1) Watch the game
2) Liveblog the game
3) Write a paper for my strategy class.

I’m not at the dome – being in class all day made it pretty tough to get tickets. But, I am sitting in front of a big screen TV with a cup of tea and a roaring fireplace. Not quite the same as being there, but not an altogether bad situation.
Kubel just made the catch for the last out in the top of the 1st. One down, eight to go.

The ball is apparently the instrument of Justice in the October Holy Wars. I enjoy dramatic commercials.

4:24 – Cabrera gets a hit with no outs. Craptastical. Guillen just did a push-up. Not entirely sure why? Someone want to enlighten me?
4:28 – Dammit Rayburn.
4:30 I love Cabrera.
4:31 – I really, REALLY love Cabrera. Keeping him around should be made a priority. Just saying. If I was in charge of the universe, I would offer Orlando Cabrera lots of money and my firstborn child. Or if I really liked my firstborn child, maybe I’d just offer him my most annoying child. Or my most annoying dog.
4:37 – It’d be nice if we could get another hit. I’d like that please.

4:44 – Dear Scott Baker, please don’t give up any more hits. I know I’m asking a lot but I only make these demands out of love.
4:47 – Dammit. 1-0 Tigers.
4:49 – arrgh.
5:17 – sorry! I forgot I was writing. It’s not so bad – we scored a run because of an error. Not ideal, but still a run.

5:44 – sorry again! I keep forgetting I’m supposed to be blogging. You know… I don’t want to say our doom is sealed, because I hate being a pessimist like that but seriously? We load the bases and can’t get a run in?

6:08 - JOHN RAUCH! Ohh baby. He is a big dude. I’m hoping he will terrify opposing players with his freaky neck tattoo.
6:09 – plan = successful! So far.
6:20 – now on our 3rd bullpen pitcher. C’mon, Matty.
6:21 – made it out of another one safely!

6:28 – Nicky P! Come on Orlando… like I said… we want to keep you. Please reciprocate my love by getting a hit, preferably a very large one, such as a home run.

…. Ok, Orlando Cabrera probably wasn’t listening to me. More than likely he had noooo idea what I was typing but I’d like to give myself credit.

Let’s try this again.

We’ll try it without Caps, just in case it changes the lucky factor.
I love you Jason Kubel. You are my most favoritest. Security runs, please? You know you want to.

6:37 – OK that didn’t work so well. Well you can’t blame a girl for trying.
6:38 – Maggie fell asleep on the couch. She looks fuzzy and adorable.
6:44 – FOR THE LOVE OF PETE, YOU GUYS. CAN YOU NOT HANG ON TO A LEAD??? JUST DON’T GIVE UP ANY MORE RUNS. This is all I ask. I don’t think it’s too unreasonable, really.

7:22 – Lost track of the blogging again. Joe Nathan just pitched two innings. I mean, I get it. Our bullpen sucks and we have no choice. Still it makes me a little nervous. Who do we bring in for extra innings. Who do we use tomorrow if we have to play? What is the meaning of life? The answer to all these questions is equally simple. I would like a short essay by tomorrow complete with citations. You can post your essays as comments in the blog or just e-mail them directly to me.
Just kidding. I won’t make you write a paper. I can’t afford to give out prizes. I’m just jealous because I have to write a paper, and highly wish that I did not.

7:25 – Speaking of this paper, I may be up kind of late writing it.

OK I was so busy freaking out I forgot to blog the rest...


We won...I can't believe we won...we trailed by 7 games at the start of the month...we trailed by 3 games less than a week ago...we trailed by three runs when I went to class tonight...and we won...

In slightly awkward news, I had on my "Peanuts from Heaven" shirt and was rubbing the logo for good luck at opportune moments, and then pretty much constantly...so much so that a classmate said: "does he have an itch or something?"--Nope, just a skosh of an obsessive compulsive tic.

Here's the important thing to note: the Tigers are awesome. Officially. They are an excellent team with a passionate fan base, a great group of players, an excellent manager and a complete understanding of how the game ought to be played. They work real hard and they deserve praise and adulation for being the class of the division for most of this season. Hats of to Leyland, Granderson, Ordonez, Rayburn, the whole pitching staff (whom I've met and was greatly impressed by), and especially Jim "Classy-Dude" Leyland.

Now we will try to make the Central proud, make it more than a punch-line and will also endeavor to do what we have not done at all this year, or ever in the postseason: we're going to try to beat the Yankees...but realistically, who cares? We have had a great season, accomplished a lot and should be very proud of ourselves no matter what god awful things befall us in the Bronx. Fingers crossed for tomorrow night--but let's not worry about that too much, let's remember what we did today, the triumph of Gogo, and Delmon, and Alexi...and let's remember that haiku:

However it goes,
Awesomeness needs no reward;
The journey is all.

GAAAH! The Sequel

Big game today, big, big, bigbig, BIG game. Twins/Tigers...the (possibly) last game in the dome...Baker V. Porcello..."Gardy the Gnome" V. "Leyland the Craggy Faced"...the division title on the line, a trip to the playoffs on the line, one of the most stunning comebacks of all time on the line.

And where will I be?

A library and class--reading sociology of education, medieval drama criticism, multicultural education research, and then discussing Marxist theory prior to giving a presentation on traditional African educational systems--all this, without MLB.Tv, or cable, or a cellphone that does things other than make phone calls.

That's literally where I will be. Figuratively, I'll be in jittery, anxious torment, waiting to call my co-blogger in Arms for an update.

I could chest thump, denounce the Tigers and all they stand for, but I'd rather shake hands and come out fighting--I also would like to practice low expectations one last time:

Elated over their victory the drunken Minnesota Vikings fans will camp out on the metrodome turf until game time then growl angrily at the Twins that "this is our home now! Our sweet sweet Mall of America Metrodome!" Then we will have to forfeit the game, while Carlos Gomez cries fiercely announces he hates us and is running away from home, and all the other players quietly shuffle out the dome for the last time.

--That was depressing, but that's low expectations for you--just don't depress me Twins and I'll be a happy guy.....and that might be the most obvious thing I've ever said in my life.


Deja Vu

I feel like tihs weird "the season is over but really it isn't" sort of limbo is much less obnoxious/stressful the second time around. Last year I was super-frustrated... I think mainly because I felt like we could have actually done something in the playoffs. This year, the playoffs would be a nice morale-boost, but a) my baseball-related hope has been built up and crushed at least twelve billion times this year already, and really, a girl's nerves can only take so much, and b) we will be destroyed by the Yankees. Squashed like sad little bugs. I am fully convinced of this.

That being said, today's game was everything I could have hoped for. Kubel was awesome. Cuddy and Delmon were awesome. There was just enough of a scare from the bullpen to make the game interesting (seriousy? Did the bullpen just make it their goal to help the Royals raise their batting averages?? Thank god for Duensing...). There were homer hankies. There were lots, and lots of cheering, yelling, excited Twins fans. And, to top it all off, an actual fight broke out behind me - honest to goodness fisticuffs that resulted in a bloody nose and a shower of beer (of course my dad gets indignant and is all WHO DO THESE PEOPLE THINK THEY ARE THINKING THEY CAN COME INTO A PUBLIC PLACE AND BLAH BLAH BLAH...." I thought he was about ready to give them the Mark G. Staredown).

The metrodome wasn't perfect. Much like the team that played there for more than twenty years, it wasn't shiny or impressive. It was a little scrappy. But, also like the players sheltered within its (kind of gross-looking) cement walls, it kept us warm on cold nights. It filled us with hope when the opposing defense lost a ball or two in its white ceiling or oddly placed speakers. It gave us a home, and a place to cheer our boys on. It gave us dome dogs, two world championships, and scoreboard animation in only yellow and black.

I'm looking forward to Target Field, but I also know I'll miss the dome. I'll miss pretending what the announcers are saying even though all I can hear is "Garblegarble echo garblegarble echo!" (Fans: "YAAAAYYYY!!!"). I'll miss hearing stories about players' buttons melting when they slide across the astroturf (Torii). I'll miss being warm in April and October. I'll miss buying roasted almonds outside with my dad on chilly days. I'll miss being "whoooshed" out the door after the game, laughing as I half-run, half-walk into the crisp night air. The sound of the impromptou plastic-barrel drums as I walk back to my car.

Change is always hard - not because we don't look forward to what is coming, but because we know we are shutting the door on something else forever. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said: "For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else."

We'll focus on the gain. Because outdoor baseball is awesome.

And besides, we have a game to play on Tuesday. Let's kick some ass.

Relieving the tension...

Whilst waiting for today's game to start I watched some of the other offerings of MLB.tv (just because, you know, I paid for it, I might as well see how the other 97% live. And I noticed something about what guys talk about when they know they don't have to come into work the next day.

Mets announcers, with their team eliminated and their season nearly over, thought it was funny to joke about Delerium Tremens...because nothing's funnier than alcoholism.

Twins announcers, with their team in a make or break game and all the emotional sturm und drang of the last game in the metrodome, alluded to their farts--but did not say the word fart....because its funnier if you're classy about it.

I love our team. And I love this game. I never want baseball to end...why isn't there a 365 game season?



Poor Zack Greinke. I mean, really. He's (probably) the 2009 Cy Young winner, stuck on the worst team in the league. It would have been nice for him to get a win today.

On the other hand, that would have required the Twins losing... so.... sorry Greinke. Too bad. Any other time of year I'd be generous and have a soul, but right now I'm a little more concerned with making it to the post-season than with the greater good.

The following is a graph of my anxiety throughout the game:

Of course, we just had to make it interesting.

Notable Quotes of the Game:

Delmon: I got a hit again!!!!!!

Blackburn: I rule.

Mauer: Me too.

Cuddy: I HEART HITTING!!!! *blinding smile*

Denard: Dammit guys, do I have to save the day AGAIN?? (contorts entire body to make physically impossible catch)

Mijares: (to Denard) Yep. You do. Sorry man.

So that, in a very abstract way, is what happened. In other news, I posted this on my FB status following Cuddy's homer:


To which a friend of mine from high school replied:

"I misread that as 'Cuddly Jesus'

To which Clayton replied:


Cuddly Jesus. Sacreligious, yet adorable. I like it. Cuddy, thou shalt be Cuddly Jesus.

I now return to multiplie regression analysis. I hope you all have a more interesting night than I do. :)

More deep breaths

Went to sports bar last night, watched White Sox dismantle Tigers, watched Twins put up a 10 run lead...

Came home from sports bar, found that Royals had scored two, then three, then two more...MLB.tv refused to let me watch it happen--much fear and trembling anxiety.

Yet we won, Tigers lost and now we are in the same place we have been thrice in three weeks (a game back)--Haven't been any closer than this....pressure is on, and we'll see the result in a few hours (whether or not my heart can stand much more tension...that's debatable)

Cy Grienke v. Nick Blackburn--If ever the Twins have needed the nefarious Dr. Cakeburn--they need him now.

P.s. Delmon hit a grand slam and won us the game....Delmon....Delmon Young....yes, THAT Delmon Young...Let us all send him rainbows and puppy dogs and casserole kisses for his new found talent--GO DELMON, GO!


To break the Tension...

Here's a special fairy tale, concocted by we loyal Peanuts from Heaven to explain the strange but true happenings at Comerica Park yesterday.

Once upon a time, the noble kingdom of Twinnesota was locked in an epic struggle with the equally noble kingdom of Detriger.

The Twinnesotans and the Detrigers fought one another tooth and nail and hair follicle to an epic stand still, and though it seemed at times that one land would surely triumph over the other, it never seemed to go as planned.

On the day of the final battle, the King of the Twinnesotans--Gardy the Gnome, called upon his troops to rally, resolve and prevail over the Detrigers. He sent into the fray Scottius the Baby-Faced, who, confronted with such an imposing enemy force began to hurl his arsenal of weapons wildly, confusedly, bouncing far away from the enemy just as often as it whizzed by their ears.

Finally, Scottius the Baby-Faced did hit Sir Marcus the Surly. Which neither Marcus the Surly, nor King Lelyand the Craggy-faced appreciated. "Grrrr," said Marcus the Surly. "[inaudible mumble/spitting of tobacco]" said King Leyland the Craggy-Faced.

For this reason did Sir Marcus the Surly charge towards the Twinnesotan roguish hero Orlando Calrissian the CDLXVIIth (his progenitor comes from a galaxy far away and a long, looooong time ago, remember?)
Sayeth Orlando Calrissian CDLXVII: "Dude, WTF?"

Sayeth Sir Marcus the Surly: "grrr..."

Sayeth Scottius the Baby-Faced: "My previous pain might have been inflicted by accident, but rest assured Sir Marcus, my next near miss will be intentional!"

Sayeth Sir Marcus the Surly: "double grr..."

Then did all calm down upon the battle field, for surely two such awesome teams filled with neither Yankees nor Dodgers nor be-hosed teams of either Snowy or Crimison-shade should be such enemies. It would be stupid to continue such mewlish, cranky-pants-esque behavior...so the battle was joined again, politely.

Until the Prettiest Princess in all of Twinnesota emerged from the pen of bulls to enter the fray. King Gardy the Gnome was an open minded man and did not consider Princess Jose Mijares to be any less able a warrior than Scottius the Baby-Faced or Orlando Calrissian CDLXVII. But unbeknownst to King Gardy, Scottius or even Orlando, the Pretty Pretty Princess was highly enamored of Orlando Calrissian. The pain nearly inflicted upon him, caused great rage to burn with in her pretty pretty princess heart, and so she decided to try and punish the former Twinnesotan now Detriger warrior: Sir Opie the Goofy Lookin'.

This did not make the Detrigers happy. "octuple grrr" Said Sir Marcus the Surly. "Golly gee, that sure wasn't nice!" said Sir Opie the Goofy Lookin'. "[Inaudible profanity/tobacco spitting]" said King Leyland the Craggy-Faced.

"Oh, F* Bomb" Said Delmondo the Magical. For you see, Delmondo knew of Pretty Princess Mijares' love of Orlando Calrissian, and Delmondo also knew of the debt of honor that all decent people owe other decent people when somebody goes totally insane. Delmondo the Magical would have to sacrifice himself to the Detrigers because of Pretty Princess Mijares mad affections.

Sure enough Sir Jeremy the-guy-I-can't-come-up-with-an-adjective-for-because-he-just-looks-too-bland, did indeed inflict great pain upon Delmondo the Magical. Which made Delmondo the Magical burn with the desire to inflict great pain upon the Pretty Princess Jose Mijares, which led to confusion amongst the Detrigers, and noble King Gardy the Gnome's response of: "sigh....heavy sigh...."

So, to all you Tigers fans who read our blog, know this--we are sorry, that was stupid. We still kind of hope you lose--but if you win, 'sokay, you deserve it.


Ours is not to reason why...

...ours is but to do or die.

Today. 12:05 for me/11:05 for all you cool people in Minnesota--Little Scotty Baker V.s. Glasses McGee, Nate Robertson.

P.s. For the record, I firmly believe in the power of statistics here and a regression to the mean over time...hence Pavano had to struggle just to make sure that everything evened out last night (can't have total dominance over someone else)...also, since no one has ever come back from three games back with four games to play--there's another statistical anomaly that will have to change at some point...why not now?


Well...now it's a two game series

Thank merciful Jebus that I don't have to writhe in agony much longer.

Let me drop this visual metaphor on you:

The dude on the left represents me trying to watch the game and write Research methods notes in a library, while simultaneously watching the Twins fall behind, come back, screw up some great opportunities, come back, nearly blow it, and then win. Quoth the dude on the left: "it gets me every time."

The guy on the right represents all the peoples of Bowling Green, Ohio who couldn't care two shakes of a lamb's whiskers what happens.

The night was equally tense yet tantalizing, getting updates from a fellow student who had never flown her Twins flag till last night, but is going to the game tonight and is therefore one of my new favorite people ever. Then walking home with my parents and then Stinky giving me play-by-play as we kept it close (no matter what SportsCenter says about Justin Verlander's dominance--a one run win, is keeping it close).

Double headers are a pain, I'm impressed we kept them both close, and ecstatic that we won one, but that leaves two games to pretty much decide whether a) we are tied going into the last weekend, b) we are still two games back going into the last weekend, c) we are eliminated from contention and begin a mental preparation for four more months of Brett Favre saturation...le sigh.

I can dream, I can imagine great things, and a level playing field, but this is a good team we're playing, and we're playing in their house. I'm not giving up on the Twins, and even if we lose, I'll proudly watch the close of the dome, but if the worst case scenario happens, I'll be glad to shake the hands of Tigers fans and say: "In the name of all that is good and decent and midwestern, please beat the Yankees."

(And now that I've mentally adjusted myself, just watch as I go all spazzy again tonight)

P.s. ESPN is giving us and our Bedimpled Badass some love win or lose and apparently the Pohlads and Bill Smith managed to woo someone fairly awesome*.

*Note: Awesomeness of this guy is contingent on him actually being sixteen and not 30 years old with scurvy.