Ready for the (Alternate Universe) Season

Frequent readers of this space no doubt recall the attempts of the Alternate Universe Twins to compile the greatest collection of total badasses ever to put on a Twins uniform. That collection of talent was completed today with the addition of Center Fielder Kirby Puckett, and the official taking of the team photo capturing their souls.
(From Left to Right: LF: Ty Cobb, 3B: Pepper Martin, 1B: Jackie Robinson, CF: Kirby Puckett, 2B: Frankie Frisch, RF: Frank Robinson, SS: Honus Wagner, Manager: Earl Weaver, C: Yogi Berra)

During the taking of the team portrait the following conversation was overheard.
KIRBY: Thanks for letting me join the team guys, this is totally cool.
PEPPER: Cool? I'm boiling up. Why are we dressed like this?
HONUS: Because this officially sanctioned "Badass Gear"
TY: More like..."Sadass Gear"
JACKIE: Dude, what have we said about kicking your ass?
EARL: Guys, calm down!
FRANK: Yeah, come on guys, we can kick ass as a team, and if we kick ass dressed like this, it'll be totally surprising!
FRANKIE: And our clothing will be totally distracting.
FRANK: We'll be utterly unbeatable....If only there were a word for what we would do...
YOGI: Is it just me or am I taller than I used to be?
JACKIE: Way to change the topic Yogi.
PEPPER: So I guess there's nothing left to do but beat all manner of alternate universe teams
KIRBY: Uh...guys...
HONUS: And be utterly badass
KIRBY: Uh...guys...
FRANK: Yup, should be real easy with this massive collection of talent.
KIRBY: Uh...guys...
FRANKIE: Yeah, I mean...is there anything we can't do?
YOGI: I can't dance.
JACKIE: I can't perform liposuctions.
TY: I can't be a decent human being for more than five minutes at a time.
KIRBY: Uh...guys...can any of us pitch?
TY: I knew the M#%(*@#$%^&(@#ers who compiled this roster forgot something.
EARL: Ty...
TY: @$#^#$%&!@#$%!@%$&!#$%!@$!#^!#%!@#$!@#$!!!!
FRANK: Dude, was part of that in German?
HONUS: Romansche actually...but Ty's profanity hasn't solved our problem
TY: No but it did make me feel %)!(%*^!*@&%)*%^!(!*@&%)!#^ better!
EARL: Anyway, who should pitch for us?
HONUS: I vote for Christy Mathewson, he's a decent human being, and an incredibly talented pitcher.
TY: What about Walter Johnson, he used to play for the franchise in Washington, and he actually avoided hitting me in the head, despite the fact that I clubbed his puppy over the head with a shovel...
JACKIE: You don't get to talk any more.
PEPPER: As long as we're trying to be surprising and distracting, how about Dazzy Vance, he used to bleach his shirts to match the ball, and blind the crap out of hitters.
FRANK: And Bert Blyleven's farting was so surprising and distracting I still wake up nights sweating.
EARL: Well this is great, we've got four great pitchers, but since the modern game specializes in five man rotations, I think we could use one more. Anyone know someone who totally transcends the game, pitches like a genius, can dance, perform the odd liposuction and stop Ty being totally reprehensible?
[Johan Santana walks by]
JOHAN: Hey guys...cool uniforms.
YOGI: He's perfect...

And so it was that the Alternate Universe Twins completed their roster and began a path towards world domination.



Yaaay Japan! I'm sorry, I know I should be judging this victory based on our arbitrary frenemies/enemies point system, but I've always been a big fan of Japan and I can't help feeling awfully happy :)

If I hadn't mentioned it before, my roommate is a Japanese culture enthusiast. We watch anime, eat a lot of sushi and drink a LOT of tea (actually I drink a lot of tea regardless...). Recently she's also been refreshing her Japanese with Rosetta Stone to prepare for her upcoming study/work in Japan, so we've been looking up how to say things like "you stink." It's quite entertaining.

Also one of our largest accounts at work is a Japanese hearing aid firm. I went out drinking with them near Tokyo one time and they are totally awesome. They made me sing Karaoke and would not allow my beer glass to be empty at any point. So when I think of Japanese victory, I think of these guys:

and I smile... :)


March Madness

While Stinky revels in the sun of Florida, those of us who cannot wing our way southward are left to imagine what our favorite baseball analysis round table would make of the continued competitions of March.

Here now with their trenchant perceptions: Sergeant Gardy's Lonely Hits Club Band.

Harrison: Welcome, once again to Sergeant Gardy's Lonely Hits Club Band, the only fictional baseball analysis show that combines the magic of the Beatles with the power of the Twins. I am Brendan Harrison and I am joined again by Denard Spannon, Carlos Ringomez, and Justin McNeau.
All: Hi.
Spannon: Nice hat
Harrison: Thank you. Gentlemen, March is particularly mad this year with the combination of both the World Baseball Classic and the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Which of these two sporting events is most worthy of watching
All: Baseball.
McNeau: Seriously, that's a great hat Brendan.
Harrison: Well...uh...I guess this is going to be a short post unless any of you feel like expanding on that point.
Spannon: The Men's Basketball Tournament encourages class warfare. State schools and larger institutions are given free license to believe that their school is infinitely superior to smaller more intelletual centers of academia, merely because they have managed to put a round ball in a round hole more often than others.
McNeau: I don't know about that. But I do know that it's far more fun to watch the Netherlands fight for survival against Venezuela than it is to watch Cal State Northridge lose by 40 to Connecticut. And though, yes, there are some upsets, there are far more often situations where unsavory teams knock out the plucky and the scrappy. I mean...look at Memphis. Their coach begs guys to spend one year on campus beating the snot out of feeble opponents like UAB and Houston, then lets them leave without a degree and goes back to begging more guys to come to campus for one year to beat the snot out of feeble opponents. It's like watching the Yankees hiring and re-hiring A-Rod to beat St. Alousius' School for Bedraggled Orphans.
Ringomez: Give me that hat!! [Ringomez dives for Harrison's ultra cool pirate hat, but is restrained by a team of Navy Seals and Nuns]
Harrison: I'm impressed by this attitude, particularly since Justin and Canada got beaten by Italy.
McNeau: That just proves my point, never doubt that a group of dedicated individuals can change the world, because it's the only thing that ever has.
Spannon: Even if that group of individuals is comprised mostly of guys who know more about Inter-Milan than Inter-League Play.
McNeau: ...Yes...even if that is true. This is the beauty of baseball, the improbable remains possible and anyone can win.
Ringomez: Heehee...Italy sucks! But you sucked more!!
McNeau: At least my country didn't get beaten by a bunch of Gouda-Munching, Clog-Dancers!
Ringomez: It's on Canucky-Wucky!! [Again Navy Seals and Nuns are required to restrain Ringomez]
Harrison: Gentlemen, gentlemen please. It's not Carlos fault that the Dutch beat the Dominican, and it's actually kind of cool that our friend Bert Blyleven helped the afore mentioned Gouda-Munching Clog Dancers win. Nor is it Justin's fault that Canada lost to Italy, he played very well, and Ze Ubermensch struck out many batters, they just couldn't beat Nick Punto. And besides I think we can all agree that the coolest thing is that Cuban guy who hit a homerun through a passing van in Mexico City.
All: Yeah.
Harrison: So in summation gentlemen, do you have any predictions for the rest of the WBC?
Spannon: Only two can survive between Cuba, Korea and Japan, and I'll put my money on Cuba and Japan again.
McNeau: The Dutch won't last more than two games in Miami, but the US will make the semi-finals.
Ringomez: GO-GO says GO-GO-GO-GOPHERS!!!!
Harrison: And I'll predict that Carlos will try and steal my hat again before the day is out. Until next time, I'm Brendan Harrison, and for all of us in Sergeant Gardy's Lonely Hits Club Band...AHHH CARLOS GET OFF OF ME!!! 
[The lights dim as the struggle for the hat continues]


The Good, the Bad and the (potentially) Ugly

So the good news is this - Peanuts from Heaven is able to send half of their staff to spring training! This half is...me. And I'm also accompanied by my parents. But still, I will be able to blog live from spring training. I promise you exclusive (and possible imaginary) interviews and detailed reports from the scene.

Here's the bad news - weather.com is forecasting scattered thunderstorms.

This leaves me with several options:

1) Bring an umbrella
2) Beg Gardy to let me hang out with him in the dugout.
3) if begging does not work, bestow more photoshops upon Gardy.
4) If Gardy cannot be swayed, turn to Carlos Gomez. He'd probably let anyone into the dugout.
5) wear a poncho.

Some of these ideas are obvioulsy more practical than others.
Mostly, I'm just looking forward to the florida sun, since getting into your car in the middle of March and realizing it is 3 below is never a fun situation.



In a press release today, the Twins Territory aides and assistants to Grand High Omnipowerful Ultra-Awesome Chariman Mauer denied villainous reports of his failing health
"Let us closely follow Chairman Mauer through all storms and tribulations that ever trouble, for he is the son of our hearts and the glorious leader of our nation!

Yankee imperialist swine shall never conquer the loyal citizens of Twins Territory for our illustrious premier shall not all out. Through him all things are possible and without him no things are possible.

It is contemptible and damnable vilification that assumes our triumphant lord could ever feel pain, or be felled by something as infinitesimal as a sacroiliac joint. The sacroiliac joint is in fact a ploy of the vile and evil Yankee propaganda machine to instill doubt. But the Twins Territory will never doubt the magnificent truth and redoubtable power of our noble sovereign. All glory to Chairman Mauer! Ever onward with the Revolution!!"

See, everything's going to be okay.


Know Thine Enemy: World Baseball Classic Edition

This week sees the start of the World Baseball Classic, the triennial celebration of baseball's growing international appeal. Exhilarating as competitive baseball in March is, we here at Peanuts from Heaven know that it can also be a little confusing.

We are American, but our beloved team includes Australians, Canadians, Dominicans, Mexicans and Venezuelans. So who do we root for? As always, we at Peanuts From Heaven are happy to assist you as you determine who you ought to root for over the next three weeks. As with all our enemies posts, we're happy to break down each team with both a reason to root for and a reason to root against them:

Throw a shrimp on a barbi: The Twins scout heavily in Australia, and contribute four players to their squad. So an Aussie win would be bloody rippa! +44 Frenemy Points
Shoot that dingo before it eats your baby: On the other hand, having worked with and taught Australians, I know that they are a sarcastic, vindictive people who actually don't care at all about baseball, preferring cricket and kangaroo shooting (I'm serious, my boss loved to go kangaroo shooting). -38 Enemy Points

Pass the maple syrup, eh?: The Aussies have our farm boys, but the Canucks have our starters, including Mr. Morneau, Ze Ubermensch and good ol Corey "Show us what you Gots-ki" Koskie. +98 Frenemy Points
Shove that hockey puck, you hoser!: While our Canadians are great, the Blue Jays tend to be a near permanent thorn in our side. And there's that whole Quebequois, separatist, cheer for the Expos thing...-32 Enemy Points

The Great Wall is the new Green Monster: Delicious food, compelling culture, what's not to like? +19 Frenemy Points
Get out of the way of that tank, dummy!: Well, a repressive totalitarian regime for starters. And, to be honest, cheering for China, an ominous empire with slowly emerging aspirations for global domination would be a little like cheering for the Yankees to keep getting better. -67 Enemy Points

Chinese Taipei
Excellence (Made in Taiwan): Believe it or not, they actually have some pretty talented prospects and could be a really good team...eventually. +9 Frenemy Points
Choking Hazards (Also, Made in Taiwan): Eventually. Right now, they've got nothing. Except for one Yankee pitcher. -6 Enemy Points

Hasta La Victoria Siempre: Cuba's great, really great, really totally very great. And for all the problems with the country, there's something nice about the fact that in the central park everyone argues about baseball, not politcs, not America, baseball. +71 Frenemy Points
Hasta La Vista, socialist punks: Yet again, there's that whole pesky socialist dictatorship thing. And the capitalistic exploitation of Che, which is pretty lame. I mean, do we really want to root for a nation whose best players will strap themselves to drift wood for a chance to get away? -57 Enemy Points

Dominican Republic
It's not a game, it's a religion: A democratic country with all the same passion as Cuba and none of the disgusting exploitation, and it's home to our boys Carlos and Alexi +77 Frenemy Points
Hisssssssss-panola: Of course, unlike Cuba, the Dominican has made corruption in signing bonuses a staple of their game, and has a roster including noted Yankee/Vampire: Alex Rodriguez -66 Enemy Points

Asporto Azzurri!: The home of great opera, great food, and ancestral home of Nicky Punto. Heck yeah! +39 Frenemy Points
Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?: Nick Punto and the rest of the Italian squad are not the great Italian players of the 30's and 40's, and the actual Azzurri are a boringly dull team, not the kind of guys you like to root for. -23 Enemy Points

Here comes the Rising Sun: As my co-blogger will attest, Japan is cool, totally into baseball, and very good at it. Teaching Japanese students was as close as I came to baseball conversations in India...and come on, who wouldn't want to be a Nippon Ham Fighter? +76 Frenemy Points
Cowboy Be Bop Sumo Wrestler Fun Time Loser Boys: Japan is also the defending champions, and we here at Peanuts from Heaven do not approve of greed or dynastic control, nor of the fact that none of these very good Japanese players seem impressed by our offers of casseroles and small salaries. -68 Enemy Points

We've got Seoul, yes we do, we've got Seoul, how 'bout you?: I also taught more than a few Korean students. And the only thing they liked more than my classes was beating the Japanese at anything and everything. (Especially sports) Good ol' fashion trash talk is well worth +78 Frenemy Points
I'm so embarrassed about that last joke that no one should root for Korea: On a list of favorite Korean sports Baseball probably rates behind Dance Dance Revolution and World of Warcraft. Not so cool dudes. -44 Enemy Points

Speedy Gonzalez rules the basepaths: Our new buddy Luis Ayala, and our old buddy Dennys Reyes are pitching for Mexico where they play baseball on top of mountains. +31 Frenemy Points
Slow Poke Rodriguez...enough said: One of Mexico's premier teams is named Diablos Rojos del Mexico, or the Red Devils of Meixco--satanic imagery in your team...not cool. -26 Enemy Points

The Netherlands
Trade in your cleats for clogs: Bert Blyleven's a coach. +79 Frenemy Points
Don't tilt at windmills: Sidney Fatso-n is a pitcher. -52 Enemy Points

Dude...it's Panama...I've got nothing...+0 Frenemy Points, -0 Enemy Points 

Puerto Rico
My Heart's Devotion: One of the first nations to send great players to the majors, its produced more Hall of Famers than any other foreign nation. +23 Frenemy Points
Let it Sink Back in the Ocean: Dude, make up your mind, are you a state, are you a territory, are you a foriegn country, Taiwan's supposed to live in this nether region of the world...you're not! -20 Enemy Points

South Africa
Cheer for the ol' Bafana Bafana: I'm a fan of Africa, and a fan of emerging markets in baseball, and a big fan of the fact that the Twins are sending 16 year old Hein Robb to play for the South African squad. +56 Frenemy Points
Don't cheer for the last vestige of Apartheid: Baseball is still largely the domain of white South Africans more than the egalitarian pursuit it is around the rest of the globe. Class Warfare--not cool. -39 Enemy Points

United States
Stars and Stripes Forever: We invented this game*, we're home to most of the greatest players of all time**, and it's thanks to us that other countries even know that this game exists***. +100 Frenemy Points 
Jingoism Never: *Kinda, **We didn't let half of them in for half a century, ***Empire, as I've said before, not cool. -24 Enemy Points

We still love Johan: It is thanks to Venezuela that we had arguably the greatest pitcher this century in our uniform. +42 Frenemy Points
We still hate Hugo Chavez: Yet again, oppressive regimes lead to lower scores. -40 Enemy Points

Final Standings
USA +76 Frenemy
Canada +66 Frenemy
Korea +34 Frenemy
Netherlands +27 Frenemy
South Africa +17 Frenemy
Italy +16 Frenemy
Cuba +14 Frenemy
Dominican Republic +11 Frenemy
Japan +8 Frenemy
Australia +6 Frenemy
Mexico +5 Frenemy
Chinese Taipei/Puerto Rico +3 Frenemy
Venezuela +2 Frenemy
China -48 Enemy

So, with all the plusses and minuses sorted out it's best to be loyal to the USA, but not get too upset if Canada holds things up for us.