Moving on to face the most hated team in baseball

So...we lost our first series of the season, reminding us all that few things last forever (Twinkies and cockroaches at last count), and that every day and every game is a new opportunity to start something great. Six series wins in a row was nice, how about we try for seven starting tonight in Cleveland?

And speaking of the comeback kids of the Cuyahoga, we found this news article that was...well...disturbing. It seems that throughout the internet when you tally up all the statements made on message boards and blogs and what not that the villainous, vile and otherwise detestable pin-stripers have not been exposed to the same amount of bile and disdain as four other teams. The Astros, the Reds, the Red Sox and yes...the Cleveland Indians have garnered more disparaging comments this season than the Yankees have. In fact, the Indians have the lowest rating of any team this season suggesting that they are the least liked team in all of baseball.

(To be fair, the group that did the study--The Nielsen Company--claims that these are only reactions to the first 3.5 weeks of the season. The Yankees positive start combined with the fact that most teams haven't played them yet, means that most fan blogs haven't had a reason to disparage them yet. Menawhile the Indians poor start, the local basketball team's title aspirations and a disenchanted fan base mean that even the people who should care about the Tribe don't, at least, not right now.)

So as the Twins head into Cleveland tonight we can think of it like this...we can keep beating up on the little guy and help them to wallow in their crapulence. Or we can beat them but give them a little clap and an encouraging word.

So let me be the first to say: Good on ya Cleveland. You've got really...nice...hair...and it's nice that you aren't you know, bloodsucking vampires who destroy goodness and light the way Yankpires do.


Slide into the Danger Zone

The less said about last night the bet--

So let's focus instead on something stupid that we can control, namely avoiding becoming the Yankees and Red Sox. See...the Yankees have 27 World Championships, the Red Sox have fewer but just as much prestige. Both are perennial contenders. Both have budgets that make Vanatu go: "sigh". Both are consistently in games they play rarely suffering for long because there's always another prospect to call up another trade to make and so the "lean" times are the kinds of things that the have nots like the Orioles and Blue Jays can only dream of.

In short, there's no need to whine if you're a Yankees or a Red Sox fan. Theoretically, you've got the best teams, with the best payrolls with the best management in baseball. Why on earth would you waste ink, newspaper pages or bytes of space on the interweb with incessant complaining about how your bed of roses is slightly wilted.

We Twins are lucky, we've been plucky and scrappy underdogs for a while now, but as Tigers fans Dr. Stats and CPH pointed out last night, we've got a new stadium we've got a big payroll, and we've won more division titles than anyone else this last decade...we're a power. (For the record though, we still spend $30 Million less than the Tigers). Still, they're right, we've got a good team, great management and we're always a threat, we really don't have anything to complain about.

And then I read this. Now...I'm willing to believe that many people may disagree with me about many things, politics, art, Cake V.s. Pie. But to react to your team going 14-7 over its first 21 games, to react to your team spending more money than it ever has before, to react to excellence in the early days of spring with whining and moaning over how "pitchers are coddled sissies" is absurd! We're winning! Life is good! Sure we'll eventually lose a couple games in a row, but for right now, let's just enjoy life. For a nominal fee each year (a fee we ourselves decide on) a group of men will play a game that will provide us with 486 hours of entertainment, if not more! And if you're a member of the press who is PAID to be entertained for 486+ hours each season then complaining over how you are entertained, is like being a movie theatre usher yelling at Denzel Washington mid-fight scene.

It's a slippery slope from plucky underdog to ungrateful schmucks, a slippery slope I hope we never slide down. If you want to go sledding into the Red (sox) Zone of annoyance Peter Reusse, go ahead, but don't expect me to join you for the ride.


Baseball in BG (f. Doctor Stats!)

Here in Northwest Ohio I'm a mere 90 minutes away from Detroit, and only 20 minutes away from their triple A affiliate in Toledo, which means that Tigers fans are more common than other kinds of fans--although both the Indians and the Reds are at least marginally represented. But in my program, as I've said before there are two big time Tigers fans and last night, one of them and I took a break from paper writing and sat down with a couple beers to watch the Twins V. Tigers.

This meant watching a small screen in the corner turned away from 98% of the rest of the bar who were all fixedly watching the Cleveland Cavaliers and a basketball player named...I don't know if I'm pronouncing this right...Les Browns Jammies? Is that it? Li'l help?

Still and all we enjoyed ourselves sipping our epic steins of Linenkugels and, being the well trained ex-Africa living boys we are, gnawing on chicken bones and sucking all the marrow out of each wing. Over this time period my colleague, whom we will call Doctor Stats for his knowledge of the facts and figures of the game pointed out the following crucial factoids.

1) We were awfully lucky to have Liriano on the hill and to have patience at the plate because Justin Verlander is a mighty fine pitcher with the intensity of a Thunderian
However as Doctor Stats pointed out, Verlander's been throwing over 100 pitches by the 5th or 6th inning in all his starts, meaning that while he's good he over throws sometimes and gets tired earlier in the game. To this end, Dr. Stats noted, 23% of our hitters worked the at bats to a full count...that's a job well done by our patient players.

2) Infuriatingly, at least from Dr. Stat's perspective, was the fact that Mauer went 0-5, and Morneau went 0-3 before leaving with a stiff back* and yet the Tigers still lost, mostly because of two big errors that undid an otherwise sterling (if your name is Verlander) or capable performance (if you're in the bullpen). Which led Dr. Stat's to point out another factoid. The Twins have committed 2 errors all season...the Tigers: 18--excuse me, with last night's two it's now 20!

*Note to all of Twins Territory, just because his back is stiff do not seek out your local witch doctor to banish the evil spirits infecting his vertebrae...at least...don't do it yet.

3) One final note from Dr. Stats, in case you were wondering the ratio of waitress concern for cheap baseball fans to waitress concern for increasingly drunk and excitable basketball fans is largely dependent upon the independent variable of how attractive the statistics guru at each table is--VICTORY CHEAP BASEBALL FANS!!

And victory Twins...and with Finals nearing a close...VICTORY LIFE!!


How do you write about a 12 inning game? Caption Action!

While we were able to catch most of this weekends series in Kansas City, the impending doom that is the push to Finals has rendered those creative sectors of our brains to resemble nothing so much as applesauce...see I can't even come up with a good simile for what our brains look like...it's that bad.

So let's let the pictures do the talking, shall we?

Game 1: Friday
You know what Scotty? Just keep your arm up throughout the season...we'll be high-fiving frequently, this year.
Twins 8-Royals 3
Game 2: Saturday
"You may be winning these games...but believe me, you don't mess, with DeJesus."

Justin: "It's so much fun to stay up late, let's NEVER GO TO BED!!"
Joe: "Or let's win the game and then go to bed..."
Justin: "Either way!"
Twins 9-Royals 7
Game 3: Sunday
Slowey: "I don't know what's wrong skip."
Gardy: "Let's take a looksey here...yup...cuticle's too long"
Joe: "I keep a spare clipper taped underneath my helmet"
Gardy: "Nah...it's just Kansas City...what's the worst that could happen?"

Brendan Harris: "AAAAAAAAACK!!!! It's Joakim Soria a man so mean that he mows us down like helpless daisies! AIEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!"

"I can almost taste those delicious daisies! I WILL DESTROY ALL FLOWERS AND BEAUTY IN THE WORLD!!!"
Twins 3-Royals 4

Series in a Nutshell
Kubel: "WOO! Another series win! Let's keep on rockin' in the free world!"
O-Dog: "Agreed...but, the free world's bigger than Kansas City...and cooler...so let's get the hell out of here."


Clash of the Talking Heads Rd. 3: KANSAS CITY ROYALS

With my return to Minnesota fast approaching I will soon be blocked out of mlb.tv due to blackout restrictions, which means I will soon be forced to suspend my wildly popular* "Clash of the Talking Heads Series". However, once I return to Minnesota I will be able to see games in, you know, person--so I think it turns out as a victory for me.
(*by wildly popular I mean my mom has told me she likes it)

But while sputtering internet connections are still my best chance to watch a game let's welcome two more contestants to the PfH Talking Heads Battle Chamber!

Tonight's Contestants: Ryan LeFebvre and Paul Splitorff of FS-Kansas City.

Credentials: Splitorff was 14 year veteran pitcher with the Royals with a reputation for being a "Yankee Killer" helping the Royals beat the half-Vampires in a couple of games over four different playoff series (which means he has done something our own pitchers can only dream about doing--if they don't wake up with nightmares first). Meanwhile LeFebvre is part of a baseball dynasty and has links to Minnesota as a former Gopher and erstwhile contributer to Twins broadcasts...also his name means "The February" So...that's pretty cool. (Note: Frank White occasionally calls games in place of Splitorff...and this statue of White might be one of the best baseball statues I have encountered in ball park travels.)
Analysis: Competent, solid, steady. These guys aren't going to set your toes-to-tapping but if you get used to them I imagine they would be pleasant enough to spend a season with. Their biggest problem is that they occasionally sound like they're reading off stock quotes rather than calling a ballgame. There's little to no enthusiasm, even in a tense extra-inning game like tonight's, which is hardly surprising when you remember that they are, after all, announcing Royals games. After so many losing seasons, it's a little difficult to feign faith. Still, they share the booth well, and remain positive, avoiding hoary cliches, catch phrases or the kind of jingoistic vitriol we encountered in Chicago. All in all, pretty good.

Best Quote (the most excited they got): LeFebvre: "Hey look, that guy caught a foul ball but gave the souvenir to the kid behind him, if we had a fan of the game, it'd be that fella there"
Splitorff: "Don't know what his date thought of that though, I think she wanted it for herself."
LeFebvre: "Doesn't she have the same pink hoodie you have, Split?"
Splitorff: "I prefer the baby blue, that's more my style, I think."
LeFebre: "That little boy's smile is the biggest one we've seen tonight"

Rating: 3 Blylevens (competency alone makes them the best team I've heard this year, the intangibles of a Yankee Killing pitcher, a Fountain man statue and Mr. The Feburary bump them up another .5 point...if the Royals ever give them something to get excited about they could actually be fun)


Quick, like a ninja

The game will be on shortly, and the good news is that Stinky and I are coming to the home stretch of our homework loads this year--so in short order we can devote ourselves to the truly important things in this world: truth, justice, disgusting odors and the Minnesota Twins.

But with our various other duties we are only now getting to tonight's post, so, apologies for the abbreviated nature of this one, but we're seeking expediency here at all costs.

1) Little Nicky Punto has an owie (but not a dragon inflicted owie like Jose Mijares so, that's a plus). This means that Luke Hughes is coming up, which means we have an Australian on our team which means I may need to be nice to Australians, which is not something I'm good at. Don't get me wrong, I know and have worked with several Australians and they are largely wonderful people. They are also perpetually sarcastic (something to do with being stranded on a god forsaken rock with a bunch of convicts probably), and as a constantly peppy person I don't do well with sarcasm--it hurts my tender American feelings (sniff).

But in an effort to help Luke Hughes feel comfortable we'd like to show him that our love and affection in the culturally appropriate Australian way. By mocking him (and by him we mean Australia in general) mercilessly. (Ahem): "Hey Luke Hughes! Stop putting that Vegemite on your hotdog and listen up! I know that you're going to be tempted during the course of the game to hug Jason Kubel because his beard reminds you of a koala but please remember that the only way that Kubel would ever want to hug you is if you behave hop around the bases like a kangaroo after your first major league hit! Also, Baz Luhrman's films are self-indulgent! THERE I SAID IT!!! Now go out there and make us proud! (oops that's too nice) Go out there and try not to kill Nemo!"

2) We rocked that home stand, and are in fact pretty much rocking everything in sight these days (5 straight series wins? Hells to the yes!). But while this is very good the best thing that came out of this home stand was the following revelation from Denard Span (courtesy of the Star Trib): "I was nervous as could be about how cold it was going to be here in April. I had my ninja outfit ready to go." As Stinky pointed out to me last weekend, this means that Denard is, as she has long suspected...A NINJA! "Think about it," she said, "you pretty much have to be a ninja to play centerfield, fast, agile, capable of sudden strikes when its least expected."

When I claimed that Carlos Gomez was too noisy to be a Ninja stinky pointed out that he was "the dysfunctional ninja, the diet coke of ninjas." However, as she pointed out to me "Denard is also silent and stealthy, he just stands at the plate and waits and waits and then--BOOM he's on first base with a walk!"

I can picture Denard now, on his days off from the Twins, skulking around Minneapolis in his ninja gear, using throwing stars to pin White Sox fans to walls, using his cat like reflexes to scale the elevator shafts in the Wells Fargo building until he reaches the super computers and adjusts the interest rates on savings bonds. Sigh...oh Denard, why must you be so awesome?

As always we hope that the awesomeness can continue but understand if it doesn't. And as the boys head back on the road we send them off with the full support of Twins Territory, and as an homage to our Ninja Centerfielder, we send them off with a haiku

Take your home with you
Flashing streaks of number two
Victory is ours


2 days of Supraction


For those of you uninitiated fans of our blog you may want to know the definition of one of our favorite words: "SUPRACTION (n): An act combining the arts of surprise and distraction which results in an unexpected benefit for the individual who performs said act."

We have many fans of supraction on the Twins, but perhaps no one is a bigger fan of it than Delmon Young, left fielder, scotch connoisseur, lover. Delmon uses Supraction and uses it well, in fact, at times it seems like he only ever succeeds because of it, the weight loss, the sudden bursts of athleticism the down right flukiness of some great plays, last night was no exception as Delmon's supraction skillz were on display, as is evidenced by his dugout conversation with fellow Supraction stud/amateur magician: Michael Cuddyer.
Delmon: [Sigh]
Michael: [while confounding reserve catcher Drew Butera by vanishing Butera's lunch money] What's wrong Delmon?
Delmon: You know Michael, I keep hitting the ball hard, but it doesn't make a difference, do you ever wonder if hitting the ball with force is a gigantic, horrible, life threatening mistake?
Michael: ....No Delmon...No I don't...
Delmon: Sure, you don't...hitting the ball hard is what puts the dimples in your cheeks [Michael smiles and a soft but discernible PING! is heard] It just doesn't seem to make a difference for me.
Michael: I know Delmon, but just think...now that you can hit the ball hard, if you suddenly don't hit the ball hard it would be surprising...
Delmon: ...yeah?
Michael: ...AND distracting...
Delmon: ...yeah?
Michael: It would be SUPRACTING!!!!
Delmon: Oh, Cuddy you can always cheer me up
[And so it was that Delmon hit a meek little nubber to the short stop...who missed it, loading the bases, now on the base paths Delmon and Michael conduct their next conversation via telepathy]
Delmon: That was fun...
Michael: Yeah...
Delmon: You know what would be even more fun?
Michael: Mentally inserting a Javanese Jumping Bean into the balls that the Indians are pitching?
Delmon: How did you know?
Michael: We're conducting this conversation via telepathy, Delmon, there's literally nothing I don't know.
Delmon: Even the fact that I cry every time I watch and/or read: Bridge to Teribithia?
Michael: ...Yes, Delmon, even that.
[Through their combined mental powers Delmon and Michael cause Javanese Jumping Bean laced baseballs to cause a walk of JJ Hardy, and then a wild pitch which results in both Michael and Delmon coming into score on one errant throw. Back in the dugout they discuss their results]
Delmon: God, I'd forgotten how fun Supraction was! Let's do it every inning!!!
Michael: Wait a second Delmon, if we always supract people it won't be surpising...
Delmon: ...or distracting...
Michael: Maybe we ought to not hit at all for like...the next 10 innings...then I'll suddenly hit a home run! And a few innings later...A TRIPLE!!!
Delmon: But what if the Indians hit the ball well? Wouldn't we be running the risk of losing...to Cleveland?
Michael: Hmmmm...good point...
Delmon: [Snaps fingers] I've got it! I'll suddenly field my position effectively! No one will expect that to happen!
Michael: No Delmon, I don't suppose they will [Hearty laughter...and...SCENE!]


So apparently things are going pretty well. Twins are winning a lot. I've been trapped in a dark basement with flourescent lighting tearing my hair out and cursing at excel spreadsheets and stats equations for most of the last 4 weeks.

I went to Target Field, it was cool. I'll post pics soon.

My brain is mushy like oatmeal. I cannot write anything coherent so I'll spare all of you by not even trying.

I promise this will get better after finals are done. PROMISE.


A Dragon named St. Rain Edelbow

With Stinky taking an accounting mid-term, I'm back again, but sadly I did not watch much of the baseball this weekend and so will rely on the reports of the Knitting Queen to tell you how things happened.

Friday: "That was real good there!"
Saturday: "They were hitting early, but then Hudson played the hero with a homer"
Sunday: "It was better that you weren't watching."

So we won another series (4 in a row) and all seems to be right with the world as we celebrate our off day, but all is not right, oh no my friends it is not. You see, one of our favorite pitchers, a man of substantial importance, a man of great substance generally (even if much of that substance appears to be jell-o pudding cups): Jose "Pretty Princess" Mijares.

Once upon a time, Pretty Princess Mijares was the fairest and most lovely lass in all of Twins Territory. With long lovely hair, a sharp dangerous slider and a badass attitude befitting a take charge modern day princess, Mijares was the kind of relief pitcher everyone would love to have as their local nobility/left handed bullpen specialist.

But this season has not been kind to Pretty Princess Mijares. First, the royal hair gel led to a delay in leaving the far off kingdom of Venice(zeula), next the princess had a hard time reacclimatizing to life in the bull pen (after all, the dread pirate seemed to have retired to Patagonia, there was a strangely familiar man named "Sir Pat Neshek" and a very scary man with a very scary neck tattoo). And yet, Pretty Princess Mijares was eagerly anticipating the return to Twins territory and the loyal subjects who loved their Pretty Princes, the sharp dangerous slider and the badass attitude.

Unfortunately Pretty Princess Mijares had a hard time concentrating with a looming presence above the bullpen. A scary beast with great scaly wings, and fiery breath of pain, and spiky tail of owies. 'Twas Gardy the friendly/occasionally profane gnome who spotted it and announced: "Uh-oh, its the local dragon".

"Who?" asked the Pretty Princess

"The local dragon of Twin Territory, he hovers above pitchers/princesses in danger and inflicts great owies upon them."

"Oh! I heard of him," said the Pretty Princess, "they say his name is St. Rain Edelbow and all pitchers fear him...but I'm not your stereotypical princess, I'm also a badass princess who carries hair gel onto planes without the federally mandated clear plastic bag, I will fight it and regain my mojo."

"I don't think that's a great idea Princess, I mean, it's a dragon and its name is actually..."

"It's name is St. Rain Edelbow, and that is a silly name for dragons are not saints! Have at ye, poopyhead Dragon Face!"

And so Pretty Princess Mijares sought to fight off the dragon with scaly wings, fiery breath of pain and spiky tail of owies. Pretty Princess Mijares failed. And now Pretty Princess Mijares is on the disabled list.

The moral of the story is this kids: Just because you are cool enough to fight a dragon doesn't mean you actually HAVE to fight a dragon!


More Apologizing/Caption Action

You see, Stinky and I did not realize that graduate school had these things called: "ho-mwu-rk" I think I'm pronouncing that correctly, but there may be an umlaut in there somewhere. Anyway, when it all builds up, you have to spend many many hours dealing with it, which cuts into one's Twins watching time, which makes for sad bloggers, mad bloggers and quiet bloggers. That is why we are not posting much these days...hopefully all will be well eventually, and until then, I'm sorry.

HOWEVER! This should not distract from the glory that was the opening of Target Field! Nor from the fact that both Scruffy's Mother (The Knitting Queen), Stinky and Stinky's Father managed to attend games during the opening set. It was also against the Boston Red Sox which gave us the opportunity to razz our California friend (and one of our most frequent readers) Sparky! But rather than detail stat after stat after stat let's just go to the picture-by-picture replay in a potentially new feature called: Caption Action.

Game 1:
New Park, Same Universal Truths: Running = Stupid
Twins 5-Red Sox 2
Game 2:
Pedroia [to Mauer while crossing home plate]: Call me the Destroyah!
Mauer: No, I don't think I will
Pedroia: C'mon it rhymes with Pedroia when you say it with a Boston accent
Mauer: So does "Bok Choy-ya", You're 5'9", I could literally floss with you...you are not a Destroyer, if we're playing Battleship, you're a submarine, a submarine nicknamed "Bok-Choy-ya"
Drizzle Shmizzle...besides we get to see Delmon and Justin in a batting stance duel "Vwwwing Vwwwing Vwwwing!!!"
Red Sox 6-Twins 3
Game 3:
"But I don't wanna be struck out!!! I start on the all-star team (because Red Sox fans without lives stay up all night voting for me)!!! I was referenced in Moneyball! I HAVE A GOATEE!!!! Slider's aren't fair!!! You're not fair you poop...poop...poopy!!!"
Twins 8-Red Sox 0

Series in a nutshell:
O-Dog: Hey look...I can do a sun salutation to the actual sun! Minnesota really IS awesome!



Again, apologies for not posting a comprehensive recap of the White Sox series yet (3 guesses what the cause is, and if you guessed grad school, grad school and grad school you would be right, right and the opposite of wrong). Stinky and I are working on it, and feel that it may go down as one of our most epically awesome posts ever--but it will be germane whenever it is published...so patience li'l Peanuts....patience.

In the mean time, I have to write about Target Field, which opened yesterday and is very very very very very very very very very VERY pretty.
See how pretty...let's all bask in it's glory just a little while longer.........................................sigh...

I've reached the age in my life where the vast majority of my peers have begun settling down and begining their families. They post pictures on facebook and earn the giddy adulation of their old friends (myself included). So is it sad, that instead of a baby I fawn over a $545 million dollar pile of lime stone, concrete and grass? Is it bad that I rearranged my writing of term papers to complement the commercial breaks of the game against the Red Sox? Is it weird that I want to pinch the side of the outfield wall and say: "Who's an architectural-testament-to-the-natural-beauty-of-Minnesota-who-also-provides-technological-innovations-and-environmentally-conscious-energy-efficientcy? YOU ARE!!! Yes...YOU ARE!!!!"?

In time, I imagine that Target Field will be simply another feature of our shared cultural landscape. We'll have fond memories and foul memories too...someone will get served a less than superb hot dog, drunken fans will make a parent cover their child's ears and we will--unfortunately--probably lose a game at some point. But for right now, it's all new and all fresh and marvelous. While I'm sad that I don't get to be there myself, I'm happy that my partner in crime will attend tomorrow's game and my mother (the Knitting Queen) will be there as well, so first hand reports are on the way, and I suppose, in time, I'll remember my first time at the stadium, even if it wasn't the first game ever played there.

If baseball has taught me anything, it's that memories and history are always around you. You can't watch players play without watching the refinement of skills that have been developing for decades. You can't watch a game without remembering the game before. You wil always have your memories, swimming around in your mind, suggesting relevant stats, evoking communal lore. And yet...the other major thing I've learned in baseball is that it doesn't do to dwell on the past and forget the present. So what if you haven't had good luck beating the Red Sox or Yankees before--it's a new day! So what if your left fielder is a permanent subject of mockery in the blogsophere? He can figure it out! So what if your last hot dog was bad and the guy three rows back was irritating...you go back to the stadium convinced that this time, it'll be a good one!

Baseball is my precious, Target Field is the latest object of my affection, but come rain or snow or final exams, I'll be root root rooting for my favoritest things in the world. Truth, Justice, Disgusting Odors and the Minnesota Twins (though not necessarily in that order).

We look forward to more information from the fans who go tomorrow. And will be back and better than ever sooner than you think. Until then I remain your loyal bloggering friend,

The Scruffy Rube


Clash of the Talking Heads Rd. 2: CHICAGO WHITE SOX

We'll have a weekend wrap-up post on the blog soon, but while this afternoon's game (and a conversation with renowned Twins fan, "The Knitting Queen") is still fresh in our memory, it's time for Round Two of Clash of the Talking Heads.

Tonight's contestants: Those Windy City blowhards Ken "Hawk" Harrelson & Steve Stone

Credentials: The White Sox have one of those rare broadcast combinations--two former players, more than that two all-stars, and Stone even has a Cy Young. So clearly they understand the game rather well.

Analysis: The most politic thing to say here is that we'll have to agree to disagree. Having spoken to loyal legume (reader and collaborator) Chris Clark, we've been given to understand that Hawk Harrelson is a Chicago institution. As well he should be, he's often funny and honestly a throwback to an earlier era of announcers, guys who called the whole game by themselves, invented their own patter, became intimately associated with one team and ruled the stadium from on high. The only downside to this is that Hawk Harrelson is not Vin Scully or Ernie Harwell or even Jon Gordon; Hawk Harrelson is more of an unabashed fan than announcer, between his unswerving devotion to his team, his repetitive mockery of all opponents and total inability to restrain himself from employing favored catch-phrases, he's more like a drunken guy three rows back than a professional broadcaster. (Also: Steve Stone exists...that's all I can really say in terms of analysis...Harrelson dominates it)

Best quote(s): "We're in deep doodoo"/"We've got Trouble........right here in River City"--Harrelson

Rating: .5 Blylevens (I admittedly laughed at some comments, just like I do at drunks at the ballgame, but 3.5 hours of that...painful)


Clash of the Talking Heads Rd. 1: LA ANGELS

After much gnashing of teeth I have finally accessed the MLB.tv streaming of the Twins game from Anahiem. Unfortunately, feeling sickly means I'm going to bed sooner rather than later and will hope that my colleague Stinky covers the game in all its glory tomorrow.

But before I go to bed I thought I would introduce a new feature here on Peanuts from Heaven: The Clash of the Talking Heads. Since I will be forced to watch announcers from other cities on every road trip, I thought I might as well give you (the fans) a taste of how the other half lives. I'll let you know their credentials, analyze their chatter, provide a sample quotation, and rank them on a scale of 0-5 Blylevens (each Blyleven is equal to approximately 28 watts of awesomeness) If anyone can max out the scale, they will earn our grudging respect, and a bag of Raisinettes.

Tonight's Contestants: Victor Rojas and Mark Gubicza of the Angels "FSN-West" team.

Credentials: Gubicza was a 14 year veteran pitcher of moderate success, (and with an infinitely amusing name--just like Blyleven) Rojas is a broadcast rookie from a baseball family in his first big job. And he sounds very very hopeful that he might just become the next legendary announcer of our life times.

Analysis: Not good. They have very forced banter but very little in the way of in depth analysis. They seem to trade off every fifteen seconds: Rojas announces the event, Gubicza explains it, Rojas announces the event Gubicza explains it. There's very little give and take or comfortable questioning, like you might find with Dick and Bert or more rehearsed teams. All of which makes their "playful banter" slightly awkward, like when apparently talked about "rocking the snuggie"
Best quote: "Can I get an extra plate of nachos free with my bling?"--Rojas

Rating: 1 Blyleven (may improve as Rojas settles in...but right now...not so good)



Better than Steroids...and only half as dangerous!

Right before first pitch a certain song is playing throughout Angels Stadium. While most players ignore this, it seems to have a strange effect on Joe Mauer, who suddenly seems to be unable to say anything at all, but rather keeps bopping his head to the sweet bass beat, and repeating the lyrics over and over again "Money money money money....MONEY!! Money money money money...MONEY!!!" Finally...Justin Morneau steps in to try and help

MORNEAU: Hey, umm...Joe, listen man...the game's gonna start...you alright?
MORNEAU: What are you talking about Joe? C'mon man focus, there's a game about to be played.
MAUER: MONEY!!!!!!!!
MORNEAU: Guys? Something's wrong with Joe! [The team gathers around Joe--checking him carefully]
PUNTO: Maybe he ate a bad California roll and is worried about the wasted per diem?
CUDDY: Maybe he's in love with a girl named Money and she cast a spell on him?
DELMON: Maybe I blew his mind with the fact that I can steal bases now?
O-DOG: Ohhhh man!! I know what happened!
ALL: What happened O-dog?
O-DOG: The reality of his contract finally set in, and he realizes that since signed one of the biggest contracts in baseball history from now on any time a reporter talks about expensive contracts they'll show his picture and play this song. The immensity of the situation has set in...unless we act fast he'll end up like A-Rod, Jeter, and Manny Ramirez [Team pauses to imagine Mauer with dreadlocks, painted on top of a centaur's body in a shaving cream commerical. The team shudders, Brendan Harris vomits]
THOME: Winning the world series!!!
CUDDY: The love of a bedimpled right fielder!!
O-DOG: That ain't gonna work guys...we want to fix him we can't just talk about things that AREN'T money...we have to address the situation. Like all the delicate elements of finance he now has to think about in order to protect himself and his family in the future.
MORNEAU: Like what?
O-DOG: Let's toss out some elements from this book! [O-Dog and the team open up "Fundamentals of Corporate Finance" and begin reading out terms from the glossary]
MORNEAU: TERMINAL VALUE OF CONTINUING CASH FLOWS!--a future point in time where we expect stable growth for ever.
PUNTO: COST OF CAPITAL--an investors expected return on a portfolio of all the company's existing security.
HARDY: ADJUSTED PRESENT VALUE METHOD--A business valuation model based upon net value if the project is financed solely by ownership equity plus the present value of all benefits of financing. [Slowly Mauer quotes the song less and less...his eyes regain focus and a look of fear creeps on to his face]
[Joe jumps up and runs screaming to the batters box where he clobbers a two run home run over the centerfield wall...he returns to the dugout happy, but a little woozy muttering only: "no more finance, no more...no more finance terms...just let me play baseball...I'll be good...no more finance terms." A few innings later, Orlando Hudson is leafing through the book]
O-DOG: Hmmm...this is pretty interesting stuff. It seems like most of us ball players prefer the simplicity of hitting a ball with a bat to this kind of stuff. I wonder if it can have the same effect on other people....HEY! MORNEAU!! TAX ABATEMENT!!! [Morneau, at the plate, gets his big scared eyes and takes out his fear by crushing a pitch to right field]
O-DOG: Nice...[a few innings later]...if this works on a middle infielder, then we know it's good...JJ!!! TREASURY INFLATION PROTECTED SECURITIES!!!! [JJ Hardy swings and hits one harder than Mauer] This'll be our little secret "Fundamentals of Corporate Finance" (wink!)

The moral of the game is this friends: Finance is a powerful and beautiful thing, but sometimes you just have to step back and enjoy the simple things in life, like bedimpled right fielders, Red Velvet Cake, Maple Syrup and hitting baseballs really, really, REALLY hard.


Start with a whimper, end with a bang

Before we get started we'd like to replay the analysis of the match up with the Angels conducted between Scruffy and our friend and Angels fan "LP"--conducted during a human developmental psychology course Monday night an hour before game time.

Scruffy: [Point to Delmon Young Jersey he's wearing, big thumbs up, knowing nod.]
LP: [Shakes head, points at jersey and mouths: "you're coming to LA, where it's hot, so you'll be all--" wipes non existent sweat off of forehead "--and--" pretends to pant and move walk very slowly in seat "--we'll win"]

I don't know about the heat...but I do know about the result...our pretty pretty princess melted in the face of Godzilla. Which is ultimately, not that surprising.

While our first game (and first loss) of the 2010 season may cause a good deal of consternation in the world wide interweb, we heavenly peanuts have decided to take a more zen approach to everything. We will yoga it up, take some deep breaths, calm ourselves and remember that, in the fullness of time, all will be well. (Of course, one could argue that being Zen didn't save Tokyo from Godzilla attacks--but Godzilla is to Tokyo what drunken frat-boys are to graduate students--doesn't mean that Tokyo/Graduate students haven't survived.) As always we trust in the power of poetry and therefore offer the following haiku to help all faithful Twins fans survive the initial despair of a shaky start:

First blooms catch the eye
Trampling steps, fire breath, many risks
Heaps of blooms this year


Baseball & Cartoons--The coolest season preview EVER!

So Delmon pulled off the first supraction of the year ("I'm Gonna Run home! JUST KIDDING! Oh wait, I was just kidding about the "just kidding!"). I am now so geeked up for baseball that I can't wait and must now publish a season preview I have been thinking about since Stinky and I took a road trip last summer. (Note: since it is legally required for all baseball writers to use a painfully awkward metaphor to frame their season preview, this is my contribution to that)

Lots of experts have been diminishing the value of the Central division over the past year or two. They claim we're not that tough, they claim we're not that impressive, they claim that we don't have any chance of contending.

These people are snobs and stupid heads. These are the kinds of people who just want to point out the failings of something that thousands of people enjoy just because it's not "the best". You know what else wasn't neccessarily "the best" tv show of all time: Thundercats. You know what that means? The Central divisions of baseball are just like the Thundercats.

Want proof?
A guy with leadership skills who's also hairy and pale?: Jason Kubel = Lion-o
Crazy smart, crazy strong, crazy cool: Albert Pujols = Panthro
Often underrated, great teammate, might even make Lion-o worry about being the leader sometimes?: Justin Verlander = Tygra (Hey look!!! I fixed it so a Tiger could be Tygra)
FASTFASTFASTFAST: Andrew McCutchen = Cheetara (No insult intended Pirates fans, remember, you're our friends we wanted to give you props and keep you as an original Thundercat)
Popular with the kids, but really annoying given how much they complain: The Chicago Teams (as represented by Jeff Smardzjia {Cubs} and Gordon Beckham{White Sox}) = Wiley Kit and Wiley Kat.
Old, and long dead (just like their last world series team): Satchel Paige (representing the Indians) = Jaga (the spiritual advisor to the whole crew)
Mystical, mysterious and little known: Aroldis Chapman (Reds) = Lynx-o (one of the lesser known, late season Thundercats)
Kind of badass enough to make you wish you could see him more (just not as an enemy): Zack Greinke = Ben-Gali
Source of salvation for those who are sick (perhaps from too much drinking): Ryan Braun = Pumyra
And finally, someone totally extraneous that we could all get along without them: Lance Berkman = Snarf.
Of course, there are other characters in Thundercats (just like there are other teams in major league baseball) but these are all irrelevant people. So lets just put their logos on some robot bears and continue:
But no story would be complete with out an antagonist--someone so sinister that they can appear at once frail and feeble and yet wield awesome almost frightening power: George Steinbrenner = Mum-Ra.
You may be saying: this is the silliest thing I've ever seen--where are the stats? What is the point of all this photoshopped weirdness? Why does this person talk about his love for baseball and Thundercats and assume we're all going to listen?

Because--WE'RE AWESOME THAT'S WHY!!! Now, if you don't mind: Thunder, Thunder, THUNDER, THUNDERCATS!!!! HOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Moms are great...and so is Derek Jeter?

Sure I could talk about my first thoughts on turning on the exhibition game today (though it would pretty much be nothing more than: "ohmigodohmigodohmigod!!") but instead I'd like to focus on two lesser known great things in the world.

By now we've all heard about Denard Span, every Peanut's favorite emulator of Abraham-Lincoln-like-facial-hair, and the unfortunate accident that came yesterday when Denard hit a foul ball that improbably hit his own mother.

Two things came out of this story that we feel are worth noting

1st--Denard's mom, Wanda Wilson, was reportedly more mad about Denard's leaving the game than his hitting her with a foul ball. Way to prioritize Momma Wilson! Supportive, kind, encouraging to your son. "Don't worry about me, it's just a flesh wound! Go play your game with your friends! Make your family proud!" Clearly, Wanda Wilson, like all kinds of other Mom's kick butt. (And as Denard and all sons know--you don't mess with your mother.)

2nd--We here at Peanuts from Heaven must admit to a mistake. We have in the past, been adamant in our assertion that Yankees Shortstop Derek Jeter is, like all Yankees, a secret vampire hell bent on destroying our team, our way of life and the world as we know it. However, as the article from ESPN cites: "After the top of the third, Span said Yankees star Derek Jeter stopped him on the field and told him it was OK to leave the game to check on his mother".

Yes, you read that correctly. Derek Jeter. Was Kind. To a Twin.

This naturally surprised your friendly bloggers, who naturally assumed that being "The Captain" of the Yankees, Derek Jeter would be the new king Yankpire. But, perhaps, like the modern "Sensitive" Vampire...Derek Jeter prefers to spend his time lying in fields, thinking cliched thoughts about love, and of course: sparkling.

In case you wonder what we mean...notice the image in the video below (you don't have to watch it)...some might call that sweat...we're going to call it SPARKLES!

To learn more about Sparkles and his fellow Yankpires take a look at the new page devoted entirely to the sketchitude that IS New York Yankee Baseball.