Clash of the Talking Heads Rd. 6

This is my preferred blog to post after a loss in the final game of a road series sours my satisfaction a little bit. (2 out of 3 seems to break the Seattle mojo...but...ah well)

Tonight's Contestants: Dave Sims, Mike Blowers and [occasionally] Dan Wilson of Fox Sports Northwest.

Credentials: Sims is a sports lifer, bouncing from job to job (mostly on the radio) and doing play-by-play* all the big three (football, basketball and baseball). Blowers (the regular play-by-play guy) was a utility infielder who bounced around the majors for a decade and is the every day wing man on air. Meanwhile Wilson, an occasional guest color-man, spent 14 years as a catcher (and did all but two of those years in Seattle).

*It's worth noting that the Mariners do have a hall-of-famer on staff (Dave Niehaus) but between technical malfunctions and Fox's monopoly on Saturdays I only saw one game of this series and Sims called it.

Analysis: It was a tale of two ball games yesterday. The pitchers duel and the sudden outburst at the end. Throughout the pitchers duel the cadre of hitters seemed kind of dumbstruck as to what to say. Pavano and French worked so quickly that Sims barely had time to welcome the audience back, say the names of the hitters, rattle off a promo and mutter "Valencia to Cuddyer and another out". Any other down time was spent on little gimmicks including allowing a kid into the press box (he wasn't talkative), singing the Patty Duke theme song, and offering a hot plate of Rally Fries to two lucky fans. (The Seatttle equivalent of getting circled)

Once there was finally something to talk about (from Cuddy's homer on) the booth sprang to life. Sims was especially excited by any hit (after two long hitless spells, I would be too) and Blowers made a few guesses as to what pitches weren't working for Pavano any more. Once the scoring was done and the game settled down again, both Sims and Blowers seemed peppier, but didn't really know what to say now that the ball was in the bullpen's hands.

Rating: Incomplete. I would like to be definitive about this, and I think there are too many strange variables to consider here. With a spastic game, a recalcitrant child, and the absence of the consensus best broadcaster on the team, the Mariners probably deserve a second chance to define themselves. So, as I've told my students in the past: "Think about my notes, and make sure this the best you can do."

(In case you're wondering why I blogged this when I was going to give them an incomplete: hey, you would too if the alternative was writing a thesis....which I should probably go do...sigh...)


Dr. Cakeburn Rises Again! (A silly short story)

Last week, when Kevin Slowey left the rotation a cry rose up from the panicked citizens of Twinnesota: "WHO SHALL SAVE OUR ROTATION FROM IT'S DARKEST HOUR!?!?" The situation was dire. We could hear our rivals in the Kingdom of the Pale Hosers cackling with glee as our resurgent Slo-Slo suffered a painful set back. We needed a hero, someone to step up and rescue us before a bad situation got worse.

The General Magistrate of Twinnesota (Bill Smith) conferred with the wise little Garden Gnome. "Shall we trade our livestock?" mused Smith "Perhaps the bear cubs might give us a hero if we send them a dozen cows, seven pigs and a sheep to be named later."

"Nay," said the Gnome, "it shall not be"

"Can anyone in our pen of bulls help, just as Sir Duensing has done?"

"Nay," said the Gnome, "it shall not be"

"Swarzak?" quacked a hopeful duck in the corner. (No one listened to him)

"We shall call on the Doctor," said the Gnome with a smile. "Yes," grinned the Magistrate, "the nefarious doctor!"

And so it was announced to the people: The Nefarious Dr. Cakeburn, he who had been cursed and vilified and banished for crimes against the ERA, would return to Twinnesota.

And there was much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments and tearing of hair and burning of effigies and eating of cheese curds. "HE STINKS!" cried the citizens. "HE SUCKS!!! DRESS HIM UP AS A SHEEP AND SEND HIM TO THE BEAR CUBS!!!" (This had been their cry for many months before, and it was their cry again.)

But the Dr. Cakeburn was a changed man, a man with a new cupcake at home that needed to be cared for, and so he reapplied his mastery of pitching and baking to the needs of his friends in
Twinnesota. He tried to implement psychology to his advantage. To know what his rivals feared and exploit it. Tasked with besting the Seatilians, he remembered that Mariners (especially
Ancient ones) would run in terror from an albatross cake (or so said his literature teacher). So first went the cake, next came the fear, and finally came the pitches like so many divebombing albatrii...albatrosses...something.

And thus did Dr. Cakeburn regain his former glory to much cheering and hooting from the Twinnesotans who had only moments ago called him many dirty things, and who will likely do it again when next he struggles...but Dr. Cakeburn does not care, he will fight for Twinnesota all the same. He may not be the hero we want, but he is the hero we need.
P.s. Seriously, congrats to Nick Blackburn on starting a new family (and the win too...but I'm guessing the family's a little more important)


Viva Espana!

To be sure winning last night was awesome (particularly given Seattle's inexplicable mojo against us when we're up in that soggy Washington air) but rather than focus on Joe's 3 hits, or Baker's continued resurgence, or the fact that Orlando Hudson asked to be circled by Bert (though, for the record, I'd prefer it if he had taken a sign with him on to the field).

No, lets focus on the inherent musicality of the spanish language and how merrily it rolls of our tongues when singing the Twins praises.

There's Little Danny Valencia, our freshest face on the infield, who got his first honest-to-goodness big league triple last night, our little boy is growing up right in front of our eyes. And, since I love making allusions to the futbol team which shares Danny's last name: I feel obliged to point out that while Danny Valencia prepares for a run at the playoffs, Valencia CF will try to run at their title through Manchester United (the Yankees of futbol), the scottish club Rangers (right after we played the Texas Rangers) and Buraspor (from Turkey...there's no amusing connection to baseball there...but hey, those first to a weird aren't they?). Go Danny! Go Bats! (Viva Los Che!)

Secondly, we should note that all of the sudden GM Billy Smith is picking up relievers like impulse buy bags of peanut M & Ms from the check out line shelves. In the space of a week we've grabbed two pretty solid relievers in Randy Flores and Brian Fuentes. Since Flores means "Flowers" and Fuentes means "Fountains" it naturally made me wonder if our old buddy Pablo Neruda had any poems featuring that kind of imagery. He doesn't, but Ms. Rosalia de Castro does! And sure enough it's chocked full of portent:
Along the long path
Now a pine grove, now a fountain appears
Which, bursting forth on the mossy rock
Descends noisily to the valley
And shining in the rays of sun
Between a sea of greenery are lost
Split in limpid streams
Give life to the wild flowers
And joining together in the Sar, the river
Which like a child who sleeps peacefully,
Reflecting the blue of skies
Flows slowly to be hidden in the foliage.
(From the google books form of The Cambridge Introduction to Spanish Poetry by, D. Gareth Walters, p. 36)
Now, CLEARLY, de Castro was writing about these waiver wire transactions, because our bull pen is near a row of pines, and the "Fountain" (Fuentes) will descend noisily on the valley of the midwest (by complaining about Angels fans), and the whole shining/lost thing probably refers to how hitters will have a hard time seeing his pitches in day games (and from his funky side throwing angle. Moreover he'll give life to flowers (reuniting with Flores from Colorado) and the two will join together to allow all children to sleep peacefully because the bullpen is now stronger than ever. Or not...you can write an essay about and send it to me if you want. (Sidenote: I'd really like a teaching job.)

So, well done Danny, Randy and Brian...excuse me...bueno trabajo Valencia, Flores y Fuentes! Viva Espana, y Viva Los Gemelos!!!


Clash of the Talking Heads Rd. 5

HUZZAH! A Win!!! (Though Vladmir Gurrero did his best to impale our hopes, we survived and we survived the onslaught of all things Texan, now we're off to the drizzly, coffee soaked, poetic nirvana that is: Seattle...cue ominous music).

But before we say goodbye to Arlington, it's time to review how the rest of the world lives with our ongoing series covering announcers throughout baseball.

Tonight's Contestants: Josh Lewin & Tom Grieve of Fox Sports Southwest
Credentials: Lewin, the play-by-play man (on the left in the picture above) has a history throughout the middle markets of baseball including stops in Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago and finally Texas (where he's been for 8 years). He turns up on Fox baseball from time to time, and spends weekends in September doing San Diego Chargers radio broadcasts. Grieve was an outfielder (invovled in a trade for Bert Blyleven!) then became a general manager in Texas, and then seems to have wandered into the announcer's booth, and there he stays.

Analysis: One of the first notes I made about these guys was when Lewin said on Monday: "I have a short attention span." No, kidding. To say that Rangers broadcasts are scattershot would be an understatement. Ranger's broadcasts are the Yosemite Sam of the broadcasting world, hitting a lot of things...but not many of them baseball related.

BUT! That's not always a bad thing...after all, Yosemite Sam is a pretty funny guy, and so is Josh Lewin. At various points during this series he went on extended riffs about Kleenex boxes, Mary Tyler Moore, Entourage, puppy chow, funny band names (Mouthful of Turf-face, any takers?) and hair braiding. At times, it almost seems like he's working out material for the next local open mic night, but most of the time it seems like you're just hanging out with one of your funniest friends and watching a ball game. Meanwhile, Grieve plays the straightman pretty well, and thanks everyone who sends the announcers food and gifts (there's a lot of them). Actual analysis isn't too common, both announcers rely on technological innovations (Fox-X-Mo and a Pitch Tracker doo-dad) and point out what the audience can already see, rather than offering additional depth to the game. These guys love their Rangers, love their community and love talking about whatever amuses them most.

Best Quote: Grieve: [Pointing out a Kleenex box sent to them by a fan] "T, is for Tissue."
Lewin: "And C, is for Cookie!"
*** Bonus Quote from Mark McLemore (who offers both depth of analysis and silly rejoinders to Lewin) "Jim Thome can turn the world on with his smile!"

Rating: 4 Blylevens. (Like I said, funny is funny--but I do like a little analysis, and therefore hope McLemore gets a chance at the big chair someday)

Photo credits for first photo: Photo attributed to Ben White


Dear CJ Wilson,

You know, I should be mad at you. I mean, we haven't lost a series since July. We haven't lost three in a row since before the All-Star Break. You seemed determined to make Joe Mauer your own, personal, statistical anomaly, thereby breaking the hearts of Twinnesotans everywhere. But rather than be angry, I am more convinced than ever that you are pretty cool dude.

Why, CJ Wilson, must you be so AWESOMELY NERDY!?!?

It's not just that you appeared in a video with the Lost creators (cool enough) or that you explain Lost on a blog which is simultaneously funny and smart (something I could certainly benefit from taking lessons on) or that you dig on chicks who hang out at Barnes and Noble, BUT YOU ALSO PLAY BASEBALL?!?!? (The sport of nerds from Stephen J. Gould to George Will)

Seriously, I don't like complications. It's far easier just to dislike anyone who doesn't have Minnesota on their shirts...but what with the sci-fi and the writing and the baseball and the nerdery...well I have to face the complication that no matter how confused I am by the strange and foriegn land known as "Texas" I think you are helping to bring the Nerdy back.

For this, we here at Peanuts from Heaven bestow upon you an august honor: you shall be a Lost doppleganger of the Baseball world. Normally we reserve this honor for the Twins (and of course, Jim Thome as the smoke monster) but clearly, anyone who takes time out of his pitching schedule to explain string theory deserves this plaudit.

So for making it cool to be a nerd, and serving as a bastion of dweebery in the the harsh Texas climate, you CJ Wilson are the Daniel Faraday of baseball (appearing out of seemingly-nowhere, a penchant for widebrimmed hats, sciency talk that few other people understand and appreciation for the fine art of facial hair).
So what would Faraday do in this series finale? Well, I would like to see you/Faraday try and convince your teammates that the only way to make it to the postseson is by travelling back in time to 1977 to detonate a hydrogen bomb...but that might have some negative side-effects (i.e. nuclear fallout in the present)...so why don't you get all the other Rangers to time travel and then join our team...we have beautifully knit Norweigan sweaters and other fine state fair products!

We await your decision,



Bahhh Texas...

This was our joint reaction last night at seeing the final score. In the spirit of that frustration we offer the following enumeration of a few things from Texas that make us go "Bahhh":

1) The Rangers: Hey, I was magnanimous yesterday, what's the deal guys? You guys lost to the Orioles...we beat the Orioles...ergo...[sigh] some people have no respect for logic.

2) Belt Buckles in the Shape of Your State: C'mon. Really? Maybe it's that I'm from Montana, a state as folksy and rugged as Texas only without all the ego, but honestly do you really need to prove your citizenship by wearing this? We get it your proud, if you wear feather boas with little Texas's on them, then I'll be impressed by your patriotic accessorizing.

3) Texas Toast: It's thick slices of bread. I can bake some and cut it thick. Look! it's Scruffy Toast! Please give me credit for culinary ingenuity.

4) Texas Hold 'Em: The "cool" poker game. Pssh! Just cause George Costanza plays your brand of cards doesn't make you better than the rest of us!

Sorry, I know that Texas is probably a nice place, filled with kind-hearted, down-to-earth folk, but Bahhh! Texas*. (If you have any BAHHH Texas moments, feel free to share them in the comments below.)

Now, despite our frequent antipathy towards the Lone Star State, we do have to give credit to tonight's starting pitcher C.J. Wilson. Southpaw. Ace. LOST nerd. Hard to root against him...but we'll try.

*Ed note: Thinking about this a little more, I want to make it clear that I don't dislike or disdain Texas, it's just that I can't fathom our cultural differences: like New Yorker artistic superiority, Californian weather smugness (I know it's hard to believe, but some peoplelike snow), Montanan isolationism or Minnesotan love of hot dish. Texas just does everything bigger.


Snatching defeat from the jaws of humiliation

First things first, congratulations to the Rangers on pitching a heckuva ball game (see, we're magnanimous even in defeat, will you please lose to us now?)

Secondly, I thought I would share with you all the general thought processes of Stinky and myself throughout last night's game. See if you can tell which style of fandom is more conducive to happiness and sanity.

Scruffy: Ooh boy, baseball!
Stinky: YAY! (Also yay for Bon Appetit)

1st Inning:
Scruffy: That ain't good.
Stinky: No. No it is not.

3rd Inning:
Stinky: Okay, I've got to go to Yoga, hope the Twins have better luck without me than with me.
Scruffy: I will tell them [whether or not they'll hear me, I don't know]

5th Inning:
Scruffy: Oh dear.
Stinky: Ommmmmmmm

6th Inning:
Scruffy: Con sarn it JJ! That's not helpful!!
Stinky: Ommmmmmmm

7th Inning:
Stinky: Ommmmmmmm

8th Inning:
Stinky: Back! That was fun, but I need to shower.
Scruffy: I hope you brought good vibes back from yoga...we need them...

9th Inning:
Stinky: Wha? We lost why are you so happy?
Scruffy: I--because--uhh--[pants from emotional exhaustion]--the--thing--and--no-hit, bad--[falls asleep from overexertion]

So, don't just sit and stew over the game, get up, exercise, meditate, write haikus it helps!

No winter, not yet:
Painful burns from Texas Sun
a small price for glory

There, I feel better already


Clash of the Talking Heads Rd. 4

With the Twins about to hit the road I thought it was time to dust off the old chestnut of "Clash of the Talking Heads" wherein I review other broadcast teams around baseball (it's one of my mom's favorites). It was convenient because, while I normally don't get to watch any network tv (part of MLB.tv's blackout program) I could watch this one with my friend Leslie who both roots for the Angels and has cable tv!

Tonight's contestants: Jon Miller and Joe Morgan (ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball Team)
Credentials: As of this year both of them are hall of famers (Miller for decades covering the Orioles and Giants, Morgan for...you know...playing the game). Which means whether they are your cup of tea or not, they will be broadcasting together until they decide to stop. [Though it should be noted that rumors of animosity between the two may make a split over "creative differences" more likely than with other announcing teams]

Analysis: Unquestionably the best pairing of network tv announcers working today. Even if you can't stand one or both of them, I'd be shocked to hear the average fan say that Joe Buck and Tim McCarver (Fox's team) are better. It's a shame that ESPN/ABC don't have playoff rights any more because it means that Miller and Morgan play golf while less talented talking heads prattle on and on throughout October. Whatever else you say about them you have to admit that Miller has almost every angle of the game covered, with a finger on the crucial stat, a germane anecdote about players or fans and no clear bias to any one team. Meanwhile, Morgan clearly knows his stuff, and delights in telestrating proper alignment during swings and particular intricacies of defenses (if Bert's telestrating skills got that much air time I think we might start seeing doodles of funny hats and mustaches on players). After decades on air together, they have a rapport--and if it's soured over the years, it's hard to tell. The one critique (made by Barry, a new student in my program and a Twins fan) is that Morgan tends to repeat a piece of analysis until he has something else to say. This was the case when Baker nearly picked off Angels Center Fielder Peter Bourjous, thorughout the rest of the at bat (and it was a long one) Morgan kept explaining again and again how Bourjous beat it.* The other minor flaw I can point out is that Miller, for all his years in the booth, doesn't quite employ the humor the way other announcers do--it's not as though he were reading the news, but he's so consumed with the game that a little ribbing and joshing with Morgan appears out of the question.

*Note: Even this wouldn't be too bad, except it meant we got a lot of close-ups of Peter Bourjous, who--while undoubtedly a nice guy--looked like a mannequin come to life, and not in the "what-an-hilarious-premise-like-that-movie-Mannequin" kind of way but in the "oh-my-god-that-mannequin-can-steal-bases-and probably-my-soul" kind of way.

Best quote: Honestly, I was having so much fun chatting with Leslie, Barry and Jen (a Yankees fan, but please don't hold that against her) that I didn't really hear a great quote from the announcers. However I did manage to call Bourjous: "Johnny Q. Mascara" and Leslie reacted to my plethora of "Minnesotans love Torii Hunter" stories by saying: "Yeah...but you guys have snow...so...you lose"--oh Californians.

Rating: 4.5 Blylevens. (Undoubtedly they are talented, but they aren't your hometown crew. Still, better than most everyone else)


Friends forever!

As we have long maintained: Torii Hunter is our home boy. Sure he plays for another team now, but he was ours first and no matter what he says to the contrary we know that deep down he'll always want to come back for the deliciousness of Swedish Pancakes and a well harmonized Lutheran Choir.

After all, he is the Obi Wan/Sensei to Denard's Luke Skywalker/Centerfield Ninja. And if you don't believe me I have the photoshops to prove it!
(I know that wasn't really neccessary, but I like photoshops...and I'm always a fan of spicing up the site with pretty pictures)

Anyway now that we have a new stadium we seem to have captured Torii's heart again. I therefore suggest that we invite Torii to hang out until the end of the season, offering to pay for his hitting/fielding services with Swedish pancakes, then everything comes full circle.

Speaking of full circle: I, being a huge mega nerd, started listening to baseball podcasts recently including this, baseball today podcast from ESPN. I'm not a huge fan of sports talk, but I think these guys are pretty good and apparently one of them thinks highly enough of our dear friend Cuddy to have invited him on to talk about the Twins last Thursday (interview starts around 7:50 and explains just how awesome the Twins are). After the interview though the host relates a story that again shows just how unbelievably adorable Michael Cuddyer is (that starts at 15:08)
So enjoy Saturday and marvel at the cuteness that is Michael Cuddyer.


Careful what you wish for...

I asked Gardy Clause for the chance to go to bed early, and that's where I'm headed as I write this (down 9-0 in the 8th...I'm clearly not helping the cause any, hopefully they'll do better without me watching).

Two things that help me stay calm during this debacle for the Twins and Senor Stache:
1--It was bound to happen: We win 58% of our games, so over 7 games, we should win 4...instead over 7 we've won 6! So...we're just obeying the law of averages tonight...can't blame us for obeying the law, right?
2--Yoga: Unsurprisingly when you focus in on breathing and standing on your head, you don't notice the stinkiness of the game quite as much...convenient eh?

And if those pieces of news weren't enough, just remember: Torii's coming to town tomorrow! WOO! Welcome home Tor-double i! :)

Dear Gardy Clause

Remember when you were a kid and you used to write Santa about all the things you wanted? This post is a little like that: only instead of writing to Santa I'm writing to his cousin in Twin's Territory "Gardy Clause" the gnome, who is like Santa--only better because he answers requests all summer long rather than on one night in the middle of winter AND because he entertains us all with tirades against umpires.
Dear Gardy Clause,

I've been a very good fan this season. I have done my best to keep up with this blog and even watched a game on my computer in India AND I racked up a hefty cell phone bill in Africa getting play by play from my parents.

Because I've been such a good fan, I want to ask you for something a couple things early this year:

1st: Could you maybe have one of these games against the White Sox end before 10:30--it means I stay up until 11:30 out east and then get up at 6 for work...I love the Twins but I also love sleep.

2nd: As nice as all the extra media coverage about the Twins is (ESPN suddenly remembered that we exist!) it does come with the side effect that Yankees fans snootily pronounce our imminent demise come October. Please help Yankees fans learn the meaning of humility...or at least the right way to spell it.

3rd: Like I said, I've been a good fan, I have tried not to say anything mean or bad about anybody...but John Rauch and Matt Capps give me heart palpitations. I have many funny names that I could tease them with (well...okay Johnny the Grauch is funny...Matt Capps is just an allusion to his weight) but I'm trying not to because calling people names is wrong. Then again, so is blowing saves. Please ask them not to blow any more saves and I will in turn avoid name calling.

Those are the things I want right now, but I hereby reserve the right to change requests at a later date. (Especially if these requests are answered and rendered moot)* If I can't have these things, then please send me a firetruck...or Ken Burn's Baseball on DVD.


*Note: I actually did include that kind of legalistic language in my letters to Santa...why? Because I'm awesome, obviously.


A Country for Old Men

Since I'm back in Ohio and Stinky is vacationing in Montana, we must turn to our embedded reporter/columnist: Merlin the Wonder Dog for this post:

--August 18, 2010
Who says we don't respect our elders anymore?

Let's be honest here, I'm a dog, so a lot of this seems silly to me as an outside observer. Why are all you humans having a hullabaloo over a 40-something grown man playing a children's game. The cheers, the screams, the wall-to-wall media coverage, what gives? And why haven't you given me some food yet? But every once in a while, when an old dog rises to the occasion, we can't help but smile and cheer and become illogical puppies again.

"I mean, it's great, just so so great. He just...GOD...he makes me feel like I could do it myself" says Ron, his head shaking and his white hair shining in the light. "He deserves all the praise he gets and more!"

"I wanna be like him when I grow up!" said little Danny, a wide-smiling kid taking a break from Bieber fever to notice the brilliance of days gone by. "Only...maybe not so wrinkly!"

"Of course I'm happy, but don't you boys hit him too hard! He has a bad back!" said one of our local knitting champions.

Even out of towners know they're seeing something special

"Awesome. That's all there is to say about him, he's just awesome" says an unnamed grizzled southern farmer who had come to Minneapolis on business. "I don't follow sports much, but I mean, how can you not know about this guy! Pretty amazing stuff"

Ozzie from Chicago simply said: "Oh my jebus! You're a talking dog! What the *@#%&#^$!"

Despite the fact that yes, I am a talking, writing, dog, I think we can all agree (except Ozzie) that Jim Thome is the most important figure on the Minnesota sports scene. That his dedication and honesty can serve as a humble beacon after years of scandal and disrepute. That he is all that is good about sports.

Sports can inspire us (even the animals who force you to stop watching the game so we can go to the bathroom...though if you potty train us we can all stay inside...just saying). Sports can lift us up. It can show us what was old is new again, that perseverance pays off, and that even old dogs can learn new tricks.

*In other news, some guy...Farvruh...Favor...Favoray? Whatever, he's so inspired by Jim Thome that he will come and play for the local futbol team. So...I guess that's exciting.



Before tonight's big tilt against the White Sox, I have to say you know that baseball is news when the paper of record (The New York Times) has two baseball stories on it's main page.
The first is sad news: Bobby Thompson (Bobby "Shot-Heard-Round-the-World-Giants-win-the-pennant!-Don-DeLillo-will-make-me-immortal-in-fiction" Thompson) died today at the age of 86. With Thompson's passing one of baseball's most legendary moments just became a whole lot more legendary. As the grainy film, scratchy radio and fading memories attest, what was once beautiful in the grand old game is sadly hard to hold on to. But Thompson's gentility, class and humility allowed the story to be told and handed down and loved by generations of dorks like me. Corny as all this might sound, I grew up reading old baseball stories, and Thompson's passing reminds me that all that I love about today's game will someday be as technologically inaccessible as the old radio broadcasts of the 40's and 50's. And it will fall to me, and Stinky and all of you to keep telling stories to grandkids and great-grandkids who will never know see the awesomeness that is Kirby and Mauer.

Okay, morose moment over. Serious moment at hand: the Times also reports that brain trauma's can have effects similar to ALS (commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease). Why does this matter? Well, consider that (according to the article) Gehrig--though Columbia educated--received great credit for "toughing it out" and "playing through the pain" of not only dings and dents, but a number of concussions. Which brings us to our first baseman: Justin Morneau and the troubling, baffling, anger at Morneau for being cautious with his return from concussion.

To be sure it would be great to have Justin in the line-up, but if, as this study suggests there's a heap of deleterious health considerations connected to doing anything but resting following a concussion, then I think all baseball talk needs to be put on hold and the man needs to rest up. So, why so many fans have taken intense umbrage at Morneau and the Twins for keeping him off the field leaves me dumbstruck. (To be fair there are many people defending this decision, and many more--smarter people--who don't read message board comments at all, but I digress.) If your passion for baseball is so intense that you cannot understand the need for a player to consider their health and well being--then you need to stop watching baseball and seriously reconsider your values.

Okay: Rant mode disengage. Enjoy the game tonight!


So much baseball! A return to Caption Action

I'm hoping that Stinky will be able to blog about the awesomeness that was our one and only night at the ballpark together this summer, which occured on Saturday, but as we went to a movie Friday and since I was on the road all-day Sunday (and therefore didn't see much of either other game) I can only think of one way to justly capture our series with the A's--taking AP images and offering snarky captions to summarize the events that occured.

Game 1: Friday
Danny Valencia scores on a suicide squeeze. Random dude in the stands does the YMCA all by himself!
Twins 4--A's 3

Game 2: Saturday
3rd Base Umpire Adrian Johnson: "I don't care what ESPN says, I'm right and you're wrong"
A's Manager Bob Geren: "Nu-uh!"
Adrian Johnson: "Yeah-huh"
Bob Geren: "Nu-uh"
Adrian Johnson: "Yeah-huh!"
Denard Span [thinking]: "Wow that is a fascinating 3rd baseman's glove"
Stinky and Scruffy: "Pssh! Gardy would have gotten ejected by now! SHOW THIS AMATEUR HOW IT'S DONE GARDY!!!"
Twins 2--A's 0

Game 3: Sunday
Slowey: "It would be cool to throw a no-hitter, but if I did there would be all kinds of dumb headlines like: "Slo-Slo's No-No" or "sNOwey" or "Slno-lno". For the good of grammatical logic everywhere, I will not complete this game."
Twins 4--A's 2


A week in retrospective

Okay--so this last week has been a little busy here on the ol' home front. So let's try to do this as best we can:

Here's the last week in Minnesota Twins action

Wednesday the 4th--Delmon Young continued a ground balls hit just hard enough to avoid rally killing double plays and adding to his RBI total and our win total

Thursday the 5th--While Stinky worked at a--what do you call it: Job?--Scruffy felt a terrifying sense of impending doom. (Ron Mahay's alien arm will do that to you) Then Scruffy's mom (the Knitting Queen) made two predictions:
1) "The baseball gods, in their infinite wisdom, will not allow the Twins to lose this game when they so clearly should have won it. Sure, we may have gotten deprived of other games, but this one we clearly deserved to win and so...win it we will."
2) "We will score two runs in the 9th. I don't know how, but we will."
And low and behold we did score two runs, thanks to a suprising/distratcing double off the catwalk, The Knitting Queen was proved prescient, Scruffy no longer felt doomed and Stinky got a welcome distraction from work

Friday the 6th--Bad waitress, bad game. No more to say about that.

Saturday the 7th--Then Jason Kubel hit a home run to remind us all that running is stupid, and Carl Pavano's (and his mustache) saved the day again.

Sunday the 8th--Instead of watching the game, Stinky and Scruffy went to see Inception. Presumably the Twins beat the Indians by invading Shin Soo-Choo's dreams and convincing him to spin a top...or something...

Monday the 9th--Day-off in Chicago, the Twins snuck into a posh restaurant in enemy territory by posing as "Abe Froman: Sausage King of Chicago"

Tuesday the 10th--To celebrate the birthday of Scruffy's older brother (Chicago resident/Twins Fan) Scruffy arranges for fireworks set off by the Twins line-up. Unfortunately the team assumes that this was a metaphorical request and therefore only hits home runs rather than actually lighting fireworks.

Wednesday the 11th--Despite the haunting quack of "Swarzak" the Twins use Glen Perkins in the middle of a playoff race--the result is a foregone conclusion.

Thursday the 12th--Deprived of television, Stinky and Scruffy listen to the radio and are forced to chew their fingernails throughout Francisco Liriano's Bogus Journey in the 5th and 6th innings...but victory is achieved and all is made well.

And that brings us up to today. The Knitting Queen is off to the game tonight, and Scruffy, Stinky and Scruffy's little brother will be off to the game tomorrow night. Then Scruffy returns to Ohio and Stinky heads to Montana...but we'll be here...maybe not every day, but as often as we can be.

Until then,
The Peanuts from Heaven


Another Definition:

Paradox (n.): 1) a person or thing made of supposedly contradictory elements; 2) the strange circumstances Twins fans encounter when we play the Tampa Bay Rays, because by beating them we are beating a scrappy, underdog squad of misfits led by a witty gnome-esque manager underneath a foreboding gray roof...and yet, if we lose to them we lose...so....Help?!?


Random observations

While listening to last nights game Stinky and I made the following observations in order of coolness:

1) Momentum is a tricky thing...the team with the momentum doesn't necessarily get it from a big strike out, or amazing catch, or two out rally--it just seems like you've either got the magic or not...and last night we were short on magic. So...that blows

2) Euphemisms are amusing: Transcript from our talk/radio broadcast
John Gordon: Here's the new pitcher, a veteran port sider...
Scruffy: Did he say a port sider?
Stinky: Yes, yes he did...and every person listening to him said "Guh, Whaaa?!?"

3) Band Names are AWESOME! (Another extract from our conversation)
Scruffy: I know which arm Ron Mahay throws with...and I can't believe I committed the useless bit of information to memory.
Stinky: Is it his fifth arm? His alien arm?
Scruffy: Yes...and that's a great band name
Stinky: It IS my new Band name!

So look out for "Ron Mahay's Alien Arm" coming to a bar near you soon!


Back on the Rubber Again

In honor of the amazingly resurgent Francisco Liriano we offer this set of alternate lyrics to "Back in the Saddle Again" by Gene Autry. Because who better than the Singin' Cowboy (big baseball fan and former Angels owner) to explain the joys of our beloved 'Cisco Kid?
I'm back on the rubber again
Out where a Twin is a Twin
Where all I really need
Is a measly one run lead
Back on the rubber again

Just like it was before
Rulin' the mound once more
Where I strike out guys all night
And this lefty's always right
Back on the rubber again

Don't mess with Ol' Cisco
Back on the rubber again
That's the way we play
Back on the rubber again

Best of luck to the boys tonight as they try to stop the beams of light in Tampa Bay.