12.30.2011

Stocking Stuffers

This year, the Twins seem to have forgone any big splashy signings (the baseball equivalent of cars with big red bows on them) and supplemented the line-up with smaller signings...stocking stuffers if you will. So lets take a look at what Terry Claus has brought us and analyze it both in terms of the baseball and in terms of our sophomoric mockery!

(Understand that we're not really this materialistic, it's just that we needed a metaphor to start out this post and I figured that the whole "Christmas Present" theme would work best.)

Jamey Carroll: life-long scrappy infielder with a mediocre bat seems like...well...almost every infielder we've signed in the last decade or so, making this signing the equivalent of Santa delivering his annual pair of wool socks. Some might mock the fact that "Jamey" and "Carol" are two common names for girls, leading to all sorts of "The Twins' shortstop throws like a girl!" jokes, but we'll take the high road and assume that Carroll overcompensates for his names by being an inveterate badass.


Ryan Doumit: since the Pittsburgh Pirates are our official National League team, we're delighted to have a former Bucco in the dugout--especially when he can be a catcher, first baseman or right fielder who hits well. We hope that he's willing to become our new Dread Pirate--since Dread Pirate Joe Nathan has shuffled off to Arlington, after a decade in Pittsburgh, seafaring treachery should be natural for him, right?


Josh Willingham: we totally understand that Willingham is the low budget version of Michael Cuddyer, same age, equivalent defense, more consistent offense, less cost and for that reason he makes sense for baseball. However, we don't always root for teams based on logical, rational reasons--and logic and rationality melt away anytime we see Cuddy's dimples. So, until he rockets to fame and excellence in our hearts he will be known simply as "Not Michael Cuddyer".


Jason Marquis: Hey look, it's a strong, veteran pitcher who will eat up innings and maybe notch a few wins before the year is up. Valuable as that is, I'm mostly pumped for the fact that his last name makes me think of the antiquated nobility title: "Marquis" (Marquis de Sade, Marquis of Queensbury, etc.) This allows for the stupid easy photoshop of: the Marquis de Marquis.


Minor-Leaguer Grab Bag: This year, like many other years, the Twins helped themselves to the big ol' bin of cheap minor-league talent to keep the Rochester Red Wings competitive and hopefully protect us in the event we have to make twenty some DL moves again next year (please, sweet lord, no). With that in mind we know have infielder Pedro Florimon, pitchers Terry Doyle, PJ Walters and Daniel Turpen, near-miss prospects JR Towles and Steve Pearce, and come-back kid Sean Burroughs. Hopefully this list turns out more like the Magnificent 7 and less like the 7 Dwarves, but one way or another we'll probably see someone here at Target Field before the summer is up...whether we call them "Dopey" or "Steve McQueen-esque" is up to them.

12.24.2011

Wish you were here

It's a holiday special post here at Peanuts From Heaven. While this time of the year is normally associated with large shiny objects with big bows on them, we've always more inclined to spend these days  appreciating our loved ones. With both our families in spitting distance from our condo, we have plenty of family to spend the day with: parents can help us reminisce, siblings will goof off with us, and pets will allow us to dress them up in adorable elfin costumes.

As much as we love the family, we peanuts can't help but think about those who aren't around any more.- And after this year as Twins fans there are lots of old favorites who are not around the land of 10,000 lakes. We love our baseball family, and while we know there's little point in reminiscing, we can't help but feel like the right thing to do is share our gratitude for the years of entertainment and amusement that some of our (now former) twins gave us. So, today we'd like to send out our year end thank you cards to those erstwhile members of the Minnesota 9 who now find themselves playing elsewhere.

Dear Jim Thome,
Our thoughts exactly, Delmon
Thank you for being our very own Paul Bunyan slugger. We know you were hoping that we could win the World Series for you  and that didn't come close to happening. But knowing that you'd turn up every day, behave like a pro, and occasionally try out a Minnesota accent makes you awesome. We hope you enjoy Philadelphia (kiss the Liberty Bell for us).


Dear Delmon Young,
Thank you for being the inspiration of one of our earliest gimmicks here at PFH: Supraction. If anyone encapsulated the fine Twins art of accidentally doing something good in a way that left the opponents surprised, distracted and utterly incapable of withstanding our offensive assault, it was you (probably because nobody expected you to do anything impressive...ever). Sure you could be prickily and you ordered your Johnny Walker Blue with 7-Up, but you were ours and for that we're grateful.


Blagheragh
Dear Joe Nathan,
Thank you for the horse flutters, and the arm pumping and the stand up and shout and giving us the feeling that if we could just have the lead after the 8th inning then we should be victorious. It's hard to believe that you're turning in your Lake Calhoun piracy for the chance to eat brisket in Dallas, but we'll wish you well (unless you forget to bring us some brisket when the Rangers come to town)

Dear Kevin Slowey,
Slowey and Mijares at left, after their capture by
a villainous pirate umpire
Thank you for asking out my old co-worker. I'm sorry she turned you down. Thank you for appearing on the Onion. I'm sorry the show was cancelled shortly after your appearance. Best of luck in Colorado, we hope they have more willing single ladies and a greater appreciation of your grisly sense of humor.



Dear Jose Mijares,
Thank you for never suing us for defamation of character despite repeated reference to the whole "Pretty Princess Mijares" character. You're truly an understanding gentleman. Enjoy Kansas City, we have a hunch you'll like the barbecue down there.


Dear Jason Kubel,
Thank you for all your tireless work raising awareness about the "Running is Stupid" campaign. Your power-hitting/slow-trotting around the basepaths was a valuable combination and we hope more of the ground-ball prone rookies in the organization take your lead and swing for the fences. We hope that they savor your smirk in Arizona.


Dear Jim Hoey,
Thank you for...ummm...uhh....thank you for not minding that we can't think of anything to thank you for.


Dear Michael Cuddyer,
Thank you. For the great throws from right field. For the consistent clubhouse leadership. For the powerful bat. For the dimples, and the startling catches, and the clutch hitting, and the willingness to play 2nd base, and 1st, and center, and pitcher. Thank you for magic tricks. Thank you for charity work. Thank you for grit and pluck and pre-game line-up cards. Thank you for being the guy we wanted to see in the batter's box; because you looked so calm, hit so well, and took the team's success so much to heart. Thank you for seeming like the player who would most likely smile bemusedly at our shenanigans. Thank you.
This photoshop is officially retired...*tear*
We've said our thank you's and we meant them all. If you want to thank any of these guys a little more please vote in the poll at the right for the next class of Peanuts from Heaven Hall of Famers (a hall of fame for those who weren't necessarily the best, but were the most entertaining part of a Twins game). You can vote for as many players as you want as many times as you want.

Next week we'll come back with that other part of the holiday season: comparing all the cool stuff/free agents we now have. But for now we hope you savor the holiday whereever you are...and oh yeah, thank you for reading, whomever you are.

12.09.2011

A Fistful of Transactions: The 2011 Winter Meeting Recap Post

Time for one of our many December traditions here at PFH: a recap* of all that went down in the Twins-o-verse during the recent Winter Meetings.

*Note: for our purposes "recap" means wild dramatization of events based on hearsay, conjecture and good ol' fashioned irresponsible journalism (see previous years examples here, here and here)

Here's our report.

MONDAY
10:03 AM Terry Ryan arrives at his first Winter Meetings in almost five years to discover that all the other GMs have gotten super cliquey, moved into separate cabins and won't let Ryan eat lunch or join bracelet weaving anymore.

1:21 PM After a few hours of aimlessly wandering the corridors of the Hilton Anatole, wondering if he's made a huge mistake coming back to GM land, Ryan grabs infielder Pedro Florimon and a $16 box of jellybeans from Batimore's minibar. He feels much better about himself.

Welcome back Minnesota Capps
4:42 PM Negotiations to bring closer Matt Capps back to the Twin Cities nearly break down when, in a sweltering hotel room, Ryan asks an aide to "turn on the fans" and the aide turns on a twitter feed of bloggers and ticket holders berating Capps. Leading to an awkward silence

7:35 PM The awkward silence ends when Capps says, "meh, they'd probably say that anywhere. You've got a deal!"

7:36 PM The Capps news hits the internet and the entire state of Minnesota hits its collective head on its computer screens



TUESDAY
8:18 AM After reading the various hyperbolic reactions of those in the Twins bloggery/fan community, Ryan faces reporters. Instead of answering questions, he simply stares sternly and with a measure of disappointment until everyone hangs their head in shame and promises to try being nicer to Matt Capps.

Ham AND Tomatoes?!?
10:47-11:35 AM Ryan intiates a long brunch bartering session with executives from Denver, nearly getting a trade of Kevin Slowey in exchange for exclusive rights to the Denver Omelette. Sadly, Rockies staff members realize that the Denver Omelette is worth far more than Kevin Slowey but do agree to the trade in exchange for a player to be named later and an extra serving of cantaloupe.

3:19 PM Feeling like he's on a roll, Ryan decides to take a run at signing Michael Cuddyer, offering him a three-year deal of for $24 million dollars per year and full amnesty from diaper duty for his new twin daughters.

8:02 PM With most of the major goals of the winter meetings accomplished, Twins front office people begin suggesting TV shows to replace Lost in their annual all-night DVD marathons (a tradition instituted by Bill Smith). Though Terry Ryan is initially hesitant, the vast repository of options on Netflix Instant Queue leaves him staring goggly-eyed through three seasons of Friday Night Lights.

WEDNESDAY
9:51 AM Believing Friday Night Lights to be based on a true story (like the movie and book of the same name) Ryan begins driving to College Station to recruit Brian "Smash" Williams to consider signing with the Twins minor league system as an athletic reserve outfielder in the Ben Revere mold (only with a better arm).

2:36 PM Ryan sadly realizes that Williams is a fictional character...but that Blue Baker sandwiches, pizza and cookies are AMAZING.

6:19 PM In a last ditch attempt to sway Mark Buehrle away from signing with the Miami Marlins, the Twins front office sends a glossy recruitment package to Buerhle advertising the tonnage of fried food available at the state fair, the prominent bike paths, lack of serial killers and nearly 85 days of livable weather.

11:22 PM Buehrle informs the Twins that he is passing.


THURSDAY
Stupid Economist...
7:50 AM Stinging from Buehrle's rejection, Ryan puts together an incredibly complex offer to get Albert Pujols & CJ Wilson involving default credit swaps, bundled home mortgages, averaging out to 22 Million Euros per year.

9:29 AM Before signing this deal, Pujols and Wilson see a recent cover of The Economist (pictured Right) and instead go to Los Angeles, because nobody's dreams of stardom and success ever fail in Los Angeles.

10:18 AM Having learned a valuable lesson from the foolishness of pursuing overpriced free agents with silly promises, Terry Ryan goes back to what he knows best: drafts Terry Doyle from the White Sox in the Rule V draft, agrees to take Daniel Turpen as the player to be named later from Colorado, and grabs a new batting helmet to hold all his cantaloupe.

12:22 PM With his mouth full of cantaloupe, Ryan describes the winter meetings as "productive."

12.04.2011

Everything's Bigger in Texas

Especially the bargains!!

Yes, it's time for our annual Winter Meeting's preview post, in which we highlight what we expect to see happen during the annual three day rumor-a-thon in one of the nation's finest Hilton Hotels. For this first time we're going to see blog about the way business is done under Terry Ryan rather than would-be-Rico--Suave Pick-Up Artist/GM Bill Smith.

Thus far, the current offseason has confirmed my old sense that Terry Ryan shops for major league talent in much the same way that my grandmother shops for furniture at IKEA. See, our peanuty grandma has two golden rules when it comes to shopping: first, it has to be practical, and second it has to be "terribly on sale" to justify the expense (no matter how small). So, naturally grandma loves IKEA, get in, go directly to the section you need, pick the best option at the best price and get out; no dithering over the upholstery, no hemming and hawing over which would fit best: get the one you need, get it cheap, get out.

C'mon Target Field, make this happen
Terry Ryan operates the same way. Sure you really need that short stop to tie the middle infield together, but don't go ogling the ruby-encrusted ottoman that is Jose Reyes, Jamey Carroll will do just fine, thank you very much! The Yankees might dither over whether to get a mahogany or Brazilian teak back-up backstop; the Twins get a Doumit and have enough change left over to treat the whole family to Swedish meatballs.


Terry's very disappointed
that you've been so mean to
Matt Capps
So expect much the same this week as the front office heads to Dallas for the Winter Meetings. Other teams will be debating just how fancy to get in their wheelings and dealings, and Terry Ryan will keep on doing what he does best: staying practical and finding deals. So with that in mind, and in the spirit of the Lone Star State's lone star, here's our 5 point prediction for Uncle Terry's Bargain Hunting in Big D.

#1---Sign Matt Capps to be closer for 1 year for $1.5 million and 2 body guards
Bill Smith fell victim to last year's big fad in bullpen decorating: hard-throwing, somewhat-erratic, right handers. Terry Ryan does not like fads and without the time to snooker the San Francisco Giants into giving us another Joe Nathan, so Uncle Terry says: "we'll make do with the budget option and public opinion be damned; you fans were raised better than that...shape up or ship out."

#2--Have Tony Oliva bring Yoenis Cespedes a sandwich
Cespedes is the real deal, a five-tool outfield star who figures to command major dollars just as soon as baseball finds a way to make him legally employable. There hasn't been a Hall of Fame calibre Cuban  since Tony O and there hasn't been a Cuban MVP since Zoilo Versailles, we've got some history here. Sure Cespedes could rely on his natural talent and a big budget team around him to make him great...but if he comes to Minnesota there will be sandwiches, and of course...Tony O. (Sure it won't work, but it's a low cost, high reward way of trying to make something happen.)

#3--Try to Trade Kevin Slowey
We like Kevin Slowey, he's a gentleman and a scholar, he's funny enough to appear on the Onion, we were even trying to popularize nicknames like "SloSlo" or "Killthrow" or "KZone". But the writing's been on the wall for months now. He's also not going to be rejoining the rotation any time soon and doesn't want to go to the bullpen, so unless he starts playing third base like a champion, his days in the blue and red are numbered. The sad part is, he doesn't have much trade value, so at best he could be the "Brendan Harris" of this year's "what-the-hell-give-us-some-prospects-and-we're happy" trade. Fortunately Terry Ryan's track record with tose kinds of trades is pretty good, so fingers crossed!

Bob Dylan's all over this thing Cuddy 
#4--Send Michael Cuddyer a Mix-Tape
All our favorite jams can be on it! Like Green Day's "Time of Your Life" and one of Joe Mauer's rap tracks. We could include personal appeals from local-inspired artists like Doomtree and the Hold Steady. Then he'll realize that he's always really loved us and stop listening to the Red Sox nattering about "Sweet Caroline", and sign a three-year deal for a local discount and the promise that he can replace Bert Blyleven after he retires.


#5--Twiddle your thumbs
Every year we get riled up about the big moves coming during the winter meetings, and every year very little actually happens. This year will likely be no different. Sure some big name free agents might sign with other teams, but the Twins news will likely be confined to one of those four story lines. But rest assured, Uncle Terry's still looking for a deal, patience is a virtue friends...trust the man, just like I trust my grandma.

11.23.2011

MV-Peanut

Now that Major League Baseball has finished handing out all its bronzed and emblazoned knicknacks to players who helped their teams win divisions and games and what not, we can turn our attention to honoring the best player on our favorite team.

To be sure, after a season where bright spots were often as rare as talent on the set of The Jersey Shore, picking a player who made watching the games a pleasure was tough. Sure Liriano's no-hitter was a treat to see, and Jim Thome's jaw dropping taters were amazing (both for us fans and the guys on deck--see Young, Delmon). But if you were to ask us who made watching the games and tuning in on a daily basis worthwhile there really is only one answer.


So congratulations to our 2011 Peanuts from Heaven Most Valuable Peanut:
MICHAEL CUDDYER.

Yup...this happened.
Now, some might say that this is the easy way out. After all, Cuddyer was the Twins' All-Star representative and yeah he lead the team in Slugging, OPS and WAR and yeah...he's freakin' Michael "Magic Man" Cuddyer. But there's more than that. When Cuddy came to bat we had sudden, inexplicable surges of optimism. No matter where he played--Right field, First Base, Second or Third--we couldn't help but appreciate the all out effort on every play. We actually kept hoping he'd suddenly end up pitching....then he did.

So there's Cuddy, hitting, fielding, pitching, helping with team broadcasts, blogging on the side, raking the infield dirt and doing everything short of playing Baby Elephant Walk on the organ. How do you not love a guy who does all that? Heck, what else could Cuddyer do at that point?

Well...he could do it all...in a foreign country, during a mid-season excursion with we bloggers to Thailand. And sure enough, he did it all again.

Cuddy makes the catch to
support Cabbages & Condoms
Cuddy makes a catch in honor
of the Queens birthday




Cuddy makes the diving catch, despite
the shallow depths of the pool.
Cuddy fights through jungle undergrowth
to make the catch
Cuddy celebrates a delicious green curry
by making a big catch











That's how good Michael Cuddyer was this year. He was the best Twins player on two continents. So, on today of all days we have to be sure to be thankful to have seen Michael Cuddyer at his very best this year. Bravo Cuddy, let us know where to send the hardware.

11.18.2011

Where have we been?

Clearly our priorities are all messed up. There's been much baseball news and major Twins stuff and what have we peanuts been doing?


Well for starters we've been grooming our newest intrepid reporters: they'll be with us all off season and into 2012, and what they lack in opposable thumbs they more than make up for with adorableness.

IMG_4425
Minnie (L) and Sid (R) resting up for a busy offseason
Secondly, we're still coming down off the shocking revelation that Nick Punto is a World Champion. Yes, last year's Peanuts from Heaven Hall of Fame inductee is now one of the few proud people who can call themselves "the best in the world". Granted, Nicky P wasn't exactly the most dominant hitter in October (or any other month for that matter) but after helping his team win one of the best Game 6s in baseball history and celebrating on the Busch Stadium infield dirt, he deserves his moment in the sun and we're all too happy to give the man his due. So raise your glasses Twins fans to Little Nicky Punto: the quintessence of "scrapitude".

He's all yours ladies!
Thirdly, we had about a two week period where we were literally dumbstruck at the news that Bill Smith was no longer GM and Terry Ryan is back in charge of the Twins on-field personnel. Bill Smith's been in charge ever since we started this blog, and while we've had our share of fun at his expense, we want to make sure that we give credit where credit is due. Bill Smith ran an actual, honest-to-goodness, real-life, major league baseball team that won many games, made many people happy and ensured that the sideburn-ed one would remain in Twins colors for the forseeable future. We always felt as though he wasn't quite as confident in the job as others were, but hey--he allowed us to keep making references to VH1's "The Pick-up Artist" so thanks for that Bill Smith! Meanwhile, we're happy to welcome back Terry Ryan, who may not be as easily photoshopped into compromising situations--but may just have the genius to get us out of the mess we seem to have fallen into.

Finally, we've been trying to find a good joke to make about Jamey Carroll, the Twin's latest free agent signing and (apparently) probable starting shortstop. There's the fact that both his first and last names are somewhat feminine, but we'll leave that pithy observation for those on their eighth Grain Belt in the fifth inning of a mid-June game. There's the fact that he's as Opie-looking as Adam Everett and older than Mike Lamb, but that's a little fatalistic and dour as we try to be peppy this off-season. Sure, Carroll could crater and leave us 7 million in the hole or he could be merely average as we mark time until something better comes along. But let's be optimistic: welcome to the Twins Jamey Carroll! May your on-base percentage be consistent, may your defense be a marked improvement over last year and may you grudgingly accept our goofy well wishes.

We'll be back again soon with an off-season blueprint, a ballot for the Peanuts' Hall of Fame and a new award to hand out.

***

Ps. Right after we posted this Ryan Doumit was announced as a new Twins' signee...theoretically the ex-Pirate will be able to combine with the Dread Pirate Joe Nathan to form a fearsome, swashbuckling battery.

10.08.2011

Fly Over Country Baseball Pride





Even though we've been unable to watch all of the thrilling game 5 madness the last few days, Stinky and I have been reveling in the Midwest's October Glory.

For once, we don't just mean the fall foliage that dots the landscape of the upper midwest, though--certainly--writing this blog from a coffee shop in a quaint Wisconsin lakeside village, with elms and maples turning orange and golden and faded green in early afternoon light is pretty awesome. No, we mean the fact that our preferred play-off teams all managed to do pretty well. Sure the Rays got bumped off by the Rangers, but everybody else we were rooting for: the Cardinals, the Brewers and the Tigers, pulled out big series wins.

It's nice to know that our cheering for a team does not doom them to suckitude, and nicer still to know that we are blissfully free from three more weeks of "pinstripe mystique" and "four aces of the apocalypse" talk. Sure, some people will talk about low ratings and the fact that very few people beyond the Milwaukee city limits cares about the Brewers, but that misses the point.

The point is that, right now, the best baseball is being played in our neck of the woods. And it's being played by a bunch of guys who used to wear the Twins Blue and Red. So even though Delmon Young will be nursing an oblique through the ALCS, we'll keep chearing for the Tigers and our supractalicious ex-left fielder whose tattoos and glower seem to suit the hardened blue collar edge of the Motor City.

And even though the Cardinals have won more World Series' than any team whose name does not start with a "Y" and end with an "ankees", we'll cheer because there's little Nicky Punto scooping up grounders and flipping them to a glacier sized first baseman between the beer signs and the red brick facades of a classic old stadium in a classic baseball town.

And even though they're our border war neighbors, we'll keep cheering for the Brew Crew and the home run slide and Bob Ueker calling a World Series game, because last night there was our hyperactive ex-centerfielder careening across home plate with a giddy slide and popping up in a fit of glee to "BEAST MODE" it up with the vegetarian first baseman and goofily bearded closer.


Forget the big markets and the big budgets and the big names. Let's keep this ride going on to November! Let's relish the chance to see champagne corks get popped alongside bottles of Bud and buckets of cheese curds and gallons of axel grease. Let's root, root, root for fly over country and the parts of America where fandom isn't written off as a business expense and stars are nurtured over years rather than bought up during the offseason.

It's a great time to love baseball, and a great time to love the midwest. (Luckily for us, we love both!)

10.03.2011

Root, Root Root for...? (Our Extremely Biased Guide to the Postseason)

Well, we're a few days into the playoffs but better late than never! We know you've been waiting with bated breath for us to instruct you as to who you should cheer for in the post season...but we're not going to. Instead, we are going to make logical (hah) pro and con lists for each matchup, tell you where our hearts lie, and let you pick from there.


ALDS: TEXAS V. TAMPA


Rangers - PROS
- Everything's bigger in Texas...so...make of that what you will.
- I dare you to find a cooler name than Yorvit Torrealba.
- Josh Hamilton
Rangers - Cons
- I really have nothing against the Rangers, but I traveled to Dallas once for work and wasn't a huge fan.
- ...it's Texas.


Rays - Pros
- I know they're this big power hitting team now, but in my mind the Rays will always be the ultimate underdogs, which makes them cool in my book.
- Their late-season run to eliminate the Red Sox was quite glorious, and very Twins-Circa-2006. Reminds me of when times were good.
- They play in an incredibly ugly dome, which also reminds us of good times.
Rays - Cons
- Johnny Damon


Verdict:
This one's kind of a toss-up. I think I'd feel good either way - but for some reason my heart seems to lie with Tampa.


ALDS: NYY Vs. Detroit


Yankees - Pros
- I'm super excited for the Verlander/Sabbathia matchup tonight after being cruelly robbed of it on Friday.
- Derek Jeter
- Mariano Rivera
Yankees - Cons
- Nick Swisher
- A-Rod
- Smug and obnoxious Yankees fans
- Emperor Palpatine
- Lord Voldemort


Tigers - Pros
- AL Central Solidarity
- Delmon Young... that trade made no sense to me, and I miss my Delmon. I hope he gets a better shot with Detroit than he did with us.
- Justin Verlander
Tigers - Cons
- I make fun of Tigers fans all year (except this year)... it's hard to go from cheering against them to cheering for them
- Detroit


Verdict:
As my dad would say, "Go Delmont!!" I wish to see him prance to a World Series Victory. Go forth and prosper, Detroit Tigers.





NLDS: St. Louis Vs. Philly


Cardinals - Pros
- Albert Pujols
- Nick Punto
- We visited St. Louis on our baseball road trip two years ago: it's a nice city and the fans seem like cool people.
Cardinals - Cons
-.... I honestly can't think of any




Phillies - Pros


- Delicious Cheese Steak


- My friend Lewis lives there


- Amazing pitching rotation of awesomeness


Phillies - Cons
- I once got lost in Philly trying to get back on the highway after stopping for a cheese steak. It was miserable - we were lost for probably an hour and got stuck in ridiculous traffic. You fail, city of Philedalphia.
- High payroll. Pinstriped jerseys. Eastern division domination. Remind you of anyone else we know?


Verdict:
I'm gonna go with St. Louis, more because of how much I like the Cardinals than because of any bad feelings towards the Phillies.




NLDS: Milwaukee vs. Arizona

Brewers - Pros
- Prince Fielder
- Ryan Braun
- If you haven't heard Bob Uecker call a game, you're missing out
- Neighborly love
- New Glaurus
- Cheese
Brewers - Cons
- Neighborly hate
- Constant drunkenness: we also went there on our baseball road trip and saw people passed out on the concourse.
- Strange phallic hot dog races

D-Backs - Pros
- Scrappy young underdog of the NL
- I dunno...I'm generally a positive person
- ...that's about it really.
D-Backs - Cons
- D-Backs sounds suspiciously like D-Bags?
- Douchey Fans: D-Backs hit a home run over Ben Revere's head and a fan yelled "YOU SUCK REVERE!!" When interviewed after the game and asked what he had yelled the fan proudly repeated the sentiment. So apparently Ben Revere sucks for not owning a jet pack? Bad form, D-Backs fans.

Verdict:
We'll give our support to the cheeseheads next door!

Well, that's all we have for now. If you'll excuse me I have to try to stop the cat from eating Ben's tie and shirt buttons.

9.28.2011

Our Love Don't Cost a Thing

The long baseball season is finally over, and this year it felt especially long. The Twins stunk...clearly and badly...like moldy limburger, like fermented clouds of Axe Bodyspray, like Scott Boras' soul....they stank, stunk, stinked.

And yet we watched as much as we could. We cheered when they did well, and shook our heads disappointedly after loss 99 just like we did after loss number 1. We found reasons to cheer: a few solid whacks by Mauer and Thome, slick fielding by Denard and Ben Revere, amazing pitching from Liriano and Nathan and of course the innumerable contributions of Plouffe, Hughes, Perkins, Tosoni, Oliveros, Rivera and a bunch of other names we never thought we'd say when the season began.

So, no matter what else happens, we love the Twins, loved cheering them this season and will love them on and on. So when we've heard other people saying that the organization "owes" them, we can't help but cock our head to the side and ask: "Really?"

I tried to do the math, figure out how much one might really spend on being a baseball fan, and then how much of that ends up in the pockets of the biggest scapegoats for this year. If you spend $500 on being a Twins fan, you contribute about $0.10 to Joe Mauer, want him to give it back? You want the penny you contribute to Gardy and Bill Smith...really? Can't you just chalk it up to the incidental costs of loving a team, loving a game and getting 162 days of entertainment a year?

My better half (Stinky) raised a better point. If you buy a ticket to a Twins game, you have to acknowledge that you're taking a risk. Being a fan is like being a stock holder--you buy the stock and you hope it goes up...but you acknowledge it might go down. Buy a ticket to the game and you hope the Twins win, but you acknowledge that they might lose. They could win 162, they could lose 162. If you agree to go, or watch or support the team you have to accept the good and the bad as a risky (but entertaining) investment.

Sure there were times when we wondered if we should just turn the tv off and leave it off the rest of the year, there were times we didn't want to turn on the radio or open a newspaper, or surf to the team site for fear of hearing or seeing another loss in black and white. But tonight, as we drove back from church choir, and heard Cuddy get stranded at third we sighed and groaned, when we heard John Gordon call the "Parmalee flips to Dinkle-Hughes" we laughed and decided that "Dinkleface" is bound to be a nickname for our future utility man. And when Plouffe delivered the walk off hit we cheered, and we'll cheer this winter, and we'll root, root root for the home team.

No questions asked.

9.13.2011

Ominous...and yet...

I feel like I'm beginning a lot of posts this way lately but: "Apologies for the delay in posting...we peanuts have been awfully busy". Work, school, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Yup...pretty dark...
So why break radio silence as the Twins are about to fall even farther behind the Royals for fourth place (yes, fourth place) in the AL Central? Because, for as ominous as the end of this year is becoming there's something else, out there in the distance that we haven't thought about yet.

See, in baseball it's easy to get transfixed by the little things, the moments, the day to day minutiae of the game. They say it again and again for players--"he's overthinking", "he needs to put his bad at-bats behind him", "they've just got to take it one day at a time." Some players just can't help but worry about every single at bat that turned into an easy ground ball, every fielding chance they fumbled, every pitch they failed to execute.

See! No signs of hits or throws!
One bad play begets another, which begets another, which begets another and so and so forth. If you don't believe me ask Trevor Plouffe and his mid-June spurt of throws that missed the broad side of every barn between here and Brainerd. Or ask Tsuyoshi Nishioka who so plainly wants to succeed and seems so utterly shamed every time he walks back to the dugout after failing to beat the throw to first. Or ask Brian Duensing as he sits on the bench, chewing his nails, mentally replaying pitch sequences that turned an inning with two quick outs into a sudden three-run, chase-him-from-the-game, question-his-spot-in-the-rotation-and-career-path nightmare.

One player struggles, then another, and another and the panic grips the team. Even the indomitable Pav-stache and robotic Joe Mauer seem to be waiting for the inevitable defeat at this point. Sure they'll try, but they just accept that when it's a borderline pitch, the call is going to go against them. They haven't given up--but the looming doom is right there over the Twins collective shoulders.

While that makes watching the games (and rehashing them in blog form) a little rough at times, there's something we have to remember.

There. Is. Hope.

Start with the fact that a lousy record now means a solid draft pick next year (and at a fairer price if MLB and the Union agree on a better draft system). Sure the Twins farm system isn't great now...but bear in mind that we've been drafting at the ends of rounds for the last decade--our best players were picked up during our decade of slump-tacular mid-90's horror. A true top-flight prospect who can contribute in a year or two rather than 5 will be much appreciated.

If only it were this easy
Also remember that the Twins did not flip a switch and go from a good ball club to a lousy one. They didn't forget to pack the talent with them as they left Fort Meyers, they simply could never dig themselves out of a considerable hole made in April and May (and dug again through injuries and poor pitching in August). Make good moves for 10 years and you're a model organization--make bad moves for 1 year and you aren't utterly hopeless...you've just run up against a law of averages.

Finally, never forget that through it all Twins fans keep plopping down cash to go to Target Field, keep buying jerseys and bobbleheads and all kinds of gear. That's money we could use to get another good pitcher, or infielder, or whatever. (It's also likely those prices won't rise next year, given the shoddy product on the field this year.)

Ahh, there it is!
I see this all the time when I teach. Kids look up and see the gloomy cloud of an impending test, or project, or class. They struggle once, they expect to struggle again and again, and nothing will ever be good or fun and life is horrible.

But once they see a little gleam of hope: a word they know from their notes, a thumbs up from a truculent teacher, a smile from their crush, then the world is marvelous and beautiful and completely peachy keen!

The Twins (and their fans) have seen the dark clouds all year long. Don't forget--there's always a silver lining.

9.03.2011

Missing Something

It's been a long week.

Losing two games to the White Sox made things a little grim in Twins Territory--so grim we couldn't bear to watch the pain (something about those pale hosers always brings out the doom and gloom in us). And even though the Twins have won back-to-back games we weren't able to catch them given that one took place during the workday and the other happened on the West Coast last night...ending well after our Peanut bedtimes.

Missing four games this week made feel funny. Not "ha-ha" funny, but odd, awkward, and out of sync. Even though the Twins are way out of the race, and the team hasn't played well, and the face of the franchise (a three-time batting champ) seems to be backing up a guy who's hitting .165, I can't help but feel like something's missing if I don't get a daily Twins fix.

Maybe that's weird, maybe it's strange that I'm still wanting to watch relatively meaningless games for three hours a day, maybe it's irrational that I want to know about call ups and Lester Oliveros' strike zone control and Luke Hughes' new batting stance and Tsuyoshi Nishioka's (very very gradual) improvement. But that's the thing about baseball, if you connect with a team and stay with them for more than half a year they're a part of your life and it's not the same without them. I don't want to watch to complain, or bellyache or whine about the front office--I want to watch because it's what I love.

The games don't have to be great. The team doesn't have to play well. It just needs to be there. The Twins have been part of my life for years, and will be tomorrow, so they better be today. Call me strange, call me stubborn, but be sure to call me when the game is on.

After all I don't want to miss something.

8.30.2011

Ron Gardenhire's Dirty Secret

Last night's game started at 7 and was over shortly after 9, and that was largely because Matt Capps came in to throw a few pitches, give up a run and make sure that Dick and Bert got to do all their in game plugs.

Even though the Twins lost, and team manager/life-sized garden gnome/prototype for crusty managers everywhere Ron Gardenhire looked like he was having a furious internal debate about whether to take a couple

tylenol or a couple shots of tequila, he also looked pretty darned pleased to be leaving the park so quickly. Maybe it was because he got to go for drinks with rival manager/polar opposite/walking twitter feed Ozzie Guillen, maybe it was because he really wanted to watch Real Housewives of Orange County in his hotel room, or maybe it was because Mark Buehrle was pitching.

Mark Buehrle does the things that make Ron Gardenhire happy. He throws strikes (65% of all pitches). He pitches to contact (84% of all pitches, with batters stuck with a .293 average on balls in play). And he makes quality starts (65% of all his starts). This season the Twins staff was a little worse than Buehrle in all those categories (63% Strike Rate, 82% Contact rate, .304 BABIP, just 51% of all games are Quality Starts). Now...Gardy doesn't know or care about any of those stats...he focuses solely on the GSQ: Gardy Scrappiness Quotient. And whereas Buehrle (by virtue of his defense, endurance and beard) rates 94.8/100, current Twins pitchers earn a meagre 51.6/100.

At the end of the day, I can help but imagine Gardy sitting back watching the game, dreaming of the offseason when Mark Buehrle is a free agent, and Gardy can confess his deep and abiding admiration for him. And Buehrle admits that, deep down, he has always wanted to be a Twin. And he signs a fiscally sensible contract, and dons the red, blue and white, and anchors the Twins rotation and leads us to glory and through it all Gardy never has to drink away the sadness and the world is a bright and happy place again. But of course Buehrle wears the black and white, and all Gardy can do is fantasize. Fantasize about Buehrle.

8.29.2011

Home Sour Home

So the Twins, our loyal boys in blue, are spending the next few days in Chicago, which must come as a relief after having to spend 11 whole days at home.

I'm not quite sure why, but the Twins sure didn't seem to enjoy their respite from the road. In the 9 games the Twins lost this past home stand they averaged 1.5 runs & 6.5 hits per game, that's clearly down from the season overall, where they've averaged 3.8 runs & 8.4 hits per game. But it's not all declines against the season average! In those same 9 games the pitchers went from averaging 9.5 hits & 4.4 runs per game to 11.8 hits & 6.1 runs per game. (Note: I tried to find a more Sabremetric-y stat as per my older brother's suggestion but I'm still a novice at that...suffice to say: "something, something, something, you'd be better off putting Larry, Curly and Moe at the bottom of the order than Tosoni, Tolbert and Butera")

But enough of this silly math stuff. Clearly the Twins have lost track of what makes playing in Minnesota so special. It's not the number of pretty girls who profess their undying love for Joe Mauer in sign and shirt form. Nor is it the giddy kids, seniors and drunk guys who always find something to cheer for even in the darkest days.

Perhaps it's because they're working, instead of watching tv during the games but perhaps they simply have missed this catchy jingle espousing the greatness of the Land of 10,000 Lakes:


So next time you're in town we encourage you guys to do the things advertised in this ad and more. Perhaps Brian Duensing needs to go camping, maybe Jason Kubel could take a kayak out on Lake of the Isles, maybe Ben Revere and Alex Burnett could start an emo/hip-hop fusion band (hemo?) or maybe our local renaissance man, Michael Cuddyer, should make time for a trip to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival.

Whatever the case guys, please come back ready to win some more games...it's a little tough to watch when you play like Joe Mauer sings. For now, just beat the White Sox and we'll all be happy.

(I'm sorry, that was mean and not constructive...but seriously Joe, I thought singing four part harmony was part of Minnesotan citizenship. Maybe you can slip some voice lessons into your offseason routine.)

8.25.2011

It Came From Baltimore!

As if having to endure the Yankees over the weekend wasn't bad enough, the Twins just had to confront the Baltimore Orioles for four games. I don't know what it is about the Orioles, perhaps it's just my imagination, but whenever we face the little black and orange birdies we play a little worse than we normally do. Normally it's not bad enough to lose, or bad enough to get swept...this time it was.

So how did the Twins get swept by the worst team in the American League? How did we manage to drop four straight games to a team whose best pitcher in the series has a mighty 7 wins, and 4.15 ERA? We can't say for certain, but we would bet that it might have something to do with a conversation in the team clubhouse before the first game.

Ben Revere: Oh man!! We have to play Baltimore...Those guys give me the willies!!
Jason Kubel: I know man! Have you ever seen any David Simon tv shows?
Revere: Sure!
Kubel: Man, I just had a Homicide: Life on the Streets marathon, and I'm just getting into The Wire...That city is Crime Central! I bet the whole Orioles team and all their fans are a bunch of criminals and murderers and bad guys!!
Gardy: Jason...those shows are fictional, that's very specious logic and I'm pretty sure Baltimorians can now sue you for libel and slander.
Kubel: You might be right Gardy...but just to make sure that they don't get mad I think we should let them win!
Everybody: YEAH!!!
Gardy: Wait...no! That's a bad idea! Guys, we should try to win!
Francisco Liriano: I don't know Gardy...I'm not sure I can stand to see the big-bird-head logo...it's eyes follow you where ever you go in a room. It gives me the heebie jeebies!
Brian Duensing: Yeah, and I have a totally irrational fear of every bird ever since I accidentally stayed up to watch The Birds when I was 6!
Gardy: Why did you watch The Birds at 6?
Duensing: I thought Big Bird & Snuffy might be in it....
Jim Thome: Yeah, that movie's freaky, and let's not even talk about the ominous thrill of terror that reverberates in the hearts of men when you read one of noted Baltimore resident Edgar Allan Poe's ominous tales of horror!!
Kevin Slowey: Or the fact that their version of cake....is made out of CRAB!?!?
Drew Butera: Let's face it coach. Baltimore is terrifying. So if we all just play really really badly, maybe they'll all take mercy on us and not destroy the Twin Cities.
Everyone: [Random murmurs of agreement] Great idea! YEAH! Let's do what the guy back up catcher batting .163 says!!
Gardy: [Rubbing bridge of his nose] It's gonna be a looooooooooong series...

And it was. Kubel's terror of David Simon tv shows left him 1-13; Thome's panic over Poe left him 0-11; and Drew Butera went 1-12. The pitchers didn't fare much better: Liriano was so spooked he left after 2 innings with an injury, Duensing was so traumatized he left after 2 innings and 7 runs, and Slowey held his Crab Cake anxiety in check to get a lead...and then give it all back in a 5 run 5th inning.

Good news though, no more Baltimore! And since the Twins appear to be trading Jim Thome to the Indians, we can now officially focus on helping him win his first World Series ring by doing what we do best: breaking the hearts of Tigers fans.

8.24.2011

Minnesota Joe and the Pitching Mound of Doom

With six weeks left in a--shall we say--craptastic season, we can't help but notice that the Twins are looking a little tired, a little worn-down, a little day-dreamy. So we wonder, what exactly are they thinking about as the season wraps up?

Sure they're thinking: "C'mon Baltimore! Cut us some freakin' slack!", but if you look at Joe Mauer lately he seems his naturally calm appearance seems to have risen to a zen-like state of
serenity. Maybe he's just cooly calculating the statistical potential of next season (can't bat .290 again...right?) or maybe he's thinking back on his childhood dreams again.
I'd bet Mauer dreamed of playing baseball for the Twins. I'd also bet that, like most boys who had backyard adventures in the 1980s, he also dreamed of being Indiana Jones. And now that playing baseball is a reality, I bet he has even more time to day dream about being a Harrison Ford-esque hero...even if that hero also plays baseball.

Picture him walking to the plate as "dum-Da-DUM-DUM-dum-da-dum" echoes throughout the stadium. Leaping over the on-deck circle thingy like a pit of snakes. Smacking a ball to the gap and racing around first like there was a gigantic boulder hurtling behind him threatening to crush him and cause even more bilateral leg weakness! Then slides into second, reaches behind him to pick up his helmet, and laughs softly as the opposing short stop is flattened by said boulder.

Unfortunately, life as Minnesota Joe isn't all double smacking adventures and cute girls in the first row with "Love You" written on their eyelids. No, there are some artifacts better left untouched...but just try to tell that to the buddies who accompany him on his adventures and can't help but get in their own way. Minnesota Joe always starts his adventures with a pitching buddy...and more often than not, that pitching buddy just has to touch the Ark of the Covenant, and before Joe can go out to the mound to swap the pitcher out for a bag of sand (just as effective and far less expensive)...this happens:


Looks just like our starting pitchers lately, eh?

Okay, that might be an overstatement...but I really felt that the Melting Nazi encapsulated my soul while watching the last couple games, and anyway...if you're Minnesota Joe, no matter how many pitchers utterly dissolve into a thin mass of bloody goop under a black trench coat, you're going to stay alive, get the girl and have another adventure tomorrow.

So c'mon Joe, live out another childhood dream: stitch a TC on a fedora, stuff a whip inside your shin guard and change that batting music. Be our very own Minnesota Joe.

(Unless you can find a wookie costume for Morneau in which case you should go for the Han Solo thing instead)

8.22.2011

Smells Like Lutefisk, Ya Know?


It was Lutheran Night at Target Field.

This caused several problems. First of all, the EMTs were in over their heads before the game even started when fans began passing out left and right due to wearing Norwegian Sweaters in the 90 degree heat. Secondly, in a sudden reversal of the principles of economics, prices of back row seats shot up 300% because nobody wanted to sit in the front. There was also great confusion when fans tried to sing grace before eating their hot dogs and were unsure whether to "strengthened for thy service be" or "feast in paradise with thee" -a brawl actually broke out in section 214. There was also the 4 part harmony dramz during the national anthem (there were too many sopranos), and the fact that many people were so reluctant to rudely walk in front of one another that they simply refused to go to the restroom at all, which resulted in an unfortunate stinkyness throughout many sections of the stadium.

Down in the dugout, Drew Butera was trying to figure out what to do. He had just gotten in touch with his Norwegian self, and he realized that ordering Pavano to throw certain pitches was not very Lutheran. He decided instead to make "suggestions" to Carl, and then if he didn't like what Carl threw he would call Ben Revere later to complain and maybe also to gossip about Luke Hughes.

Danny Valencia, meanwhile, was having a conniption. "But GUYS," he said. "It's LUTHERAN NIGHT. We can't just score runs against these guys, they get beat up by the Yankees and the Red Sox all the time and it just...it wouldn't be very nice."

"Well," said Cuddy, as he smiled extra-bright and his dimples shone like an exploding supernova. "What should we do then? I mean chances are we're going to hit the ball occasionally and probably get on base sometimes."

Joe Mauer chimed in then - he'd been thinking a lot about this Lutheran niceness and such. "How about I'll wait until there are 2 outs before I get a hit? And then probably no one will score, so we won't make the Orioles feel too bad."

"Gee," said Danny. "That's a great idea! And then maybe we can guilt them into letting us win!!" It was too brilliant (and too convoluted) to fail.

Or not.

And that is how the Twins got smacked down by the Baltimore Orioles, 4-1 on August 22, 2011. There was also some serious fan interference, and some extremely un-Norwegian behavior exhibited by Gardy (awesome) but the important thing you must remember - we lost tonight because of passive-aggressiveness. And also lutefisk.

The Most Constant Presence in Twins Territory

You might not recognize the fellow at the top of this post, but he's been around all season long. So long in fact that he might have been asked to pinch hit when our bench was particularly thin last week. His name is Dissotiera Injuria, or in layman terms, "the Injury Bug".

How much of an effect has the injury bug had on the Twins season? Put it this way: in 126 games the Twins have had 107 line-ups. By comparison the Yankees have fielded 53 squads in 123 games. We're on a pace to have 137 different sets of 9 take the field, that's 137 combinations of players wearing the Twins' red, white and blue. If the entire population of Dassel, Minnesota put on Twins jerseys, they could make that exact same number of rosters.

And hey, who's to say that Dissotiera Injuria is done yet? We must be about due for Danny Valencia to twist an ankle rounding first, or Alex Burnett to dislocate a shoulder in an innocuous warm up session, or Carl Pavano to snap a tendon while packing his suitcase for the next roadtrip, or Drew Butera to spontaneously combust.

Honestly your guess is as good as ours. In this wild season, where few things are certain, the only thing we would bank on is that Gardy will lead the league in Tylenol consumed and the Dissotiera Injuria is going to be around until the last out is recorded.

8.19.2011

Throwing an Elbow Minnesota Style

I really thought this time would be different. I thought that I was past caring about how the Twins fared in individual games. I thought that by serenely ignoring the ominous pinstriped cloud heading for Minneapolis, I could stay zen and ambivalent about this whole series.

I was wrong.

After enjoying a nice walk in the early evening we turned on the game just in time to see Nick Swisher hit a three run homer. In seconds, I was calling Swisher more than a few profane names. When Andruw Jones blasted one out deep to left, I turned off the TV before the ball was over the fence. A half-hour later I turned the game back on, and while the little piranhas built a rally for two runs to cut into the Yankee lead, I was far madder about CC Sabathia's petulant tantrum after giving up those runs, than I was happy about the runs themselves.

I shouldn't let the Yankees get to me, but I can't help myself. They turn up, bludgeon the Twins, and leave me feeling worse than an armadillo after getting run over by a semi-truck. It feels like they expect to win, and worse, it feels like the Twins almost expect to lose. We let the Yankees play their game while we play in a fog, just waiting for an umpire's call or flukey hop to justify another loss.

I try not to say what I think the Twins should do--I couldn't hit in Little League, I've never coached and I don't have the experience or information of front office brass, so I trust that baseball pros know more than I do--but last night, just like last May, and last October I found myself wishing that the Twins would follow my advice and do one thing: Throw an Elbow.

There's an apocryphal story that legendary Center Bill Russell never wanted to play dirty and was getting hammered by opponents in the post. After throwing one elbow, in one game, and he stopped getting hassled by the opposition. I can't help but wish that the Twins would do that tonight, start pitching inside to every Yankee batter, knock Texiera on his butt, and be ready to brawl if need be. But that won't happen, we haven't had a real fight with another team since 2003, and it's actually kind of cool to see that the Minnesota Twins, are Minnesota Nice. But that doesn't need to stop us from from throwing an elbow in our own uniquely Minnesotan way: passive-aggressively.

So let's try this: let's have Kevin Slowey quick pitch the Yankees to death. If they get to first base, Morneau can give them the cold shoulder, no chit chat, no banter, just hockey foe death stares. If they get to second Nishioka and Hughes can talk to eachother and pretend that the Yankee isn't there at all. And if they get to third, we'll have a horde of pretty Minnesotan girls squealing when Danny V smiles and offering to give him their phone numbers while telling Jeter and company to get out of the way so they can see Danny more clearly. Then, win or lose after the game, invite everyone in the stadium for a potluck with the team and "oh...yeah...I guess the Yankees could come...but we might not have enough and...we bet they're probably tired still, so...I'm sure they'll understand".

There's my passive-aggressive plan, if you have any other suggestions please leave them in the comments below. The bottom line is that one way or another, we've got to do something differently. Once we do that, once we get a little swagger back and let the Yankees know that win or lose we're going to make their lives difficult every single game, then maybe we won't play like we expect to lose. And we can always remember that when we're in trouble we can just throw an elbow...Minnesota style.

8.18.2011

Adieu Dear Delmon, Adieu

As we leave Detroit glowing with victory we must now say farewell to the man we traded when we arrived in Michigan: Delmon Damarcus Young.

Several years ago we Peanuts noticed that Delmon had an uncanny ability to reach base in ways that seemed completely implausible. He seemed to lead the team in pop-ups that got lost in the Dome, singles that skidded off of pebbles and following two weak ground outs with a monstrous home run. He seemed to thrive by surprising and distracting the opposition...so we merged the words and claimed that he "supracted" them. Later we realized that the Twins' resident magician should also be a part of this magical art and developed a whole shtick about Cuddyer & Young, Masters of Supraction (TM).
(You can read all about the origin of Supraction here, and see the complete annals of Delmon & Cuddy's supraction-tastic exploits here)

But as Delmon donned a different jersey and Cuddy sat on the bench nursing an injured neck, we wondered how Supraction would survive and thus imagined the following moments.

[In the Tiger dugout before game 1]
Delmon: So yeah, I could totally teach you guys some Supraction-tastic skillz. It'll totally help win the division and maybe even the World Series!
Miguel Cabrera: I don't know, just hitting the ball hard has worked pretty well for me.
Jhonny Peralta: Yeah, and I use the magical powers of my misplaced "h"...I think I'm okay, but maybe the younger guys like Brennan Boesch and Austin Jackson could use it.
Delmon: What do you think coach?
Jim Leyland: [Inaudible mumble, grumble, spit]
Delmon: ...was that a yes or a no?
Jim Leyland: [Grumble, spit, mumble]
Delmon: ...ooookay...here...just watch what it can do...I'm gonna totally supract Liriano in my first at bat because, hey! I'm wearing a different uniform and not in left field...he'll be surprised, he'll be distracted and I'll supract a home run!!
Jim Leyland: [Spit, grumble, mumble, spit]

Of course, Delmon went out and did just that, and Jim Leyland responded by clapping his hands, then mumbling and spitting. The next day, Cuddy, seemed dispirited.

Cuddy: [Sigh]
Jim Thome: Hi there Michael...something troubling you?
Cuddy: Oh, Jim, it's nice of you to ask, but...I don't think you would understand.
Thome: I may not understand, but I'll always listen. C'mon Cuddy...Talk to Thome...
Cuddy: Well, Jim. You know how I like magic and sleight of hand tricks and surprising/distracting the opposition with my myriad skills of awesomeness?
Thome: Boy, I sure do! Your magic is SO COOL!
Cuddy: Well, I used to use those skills to win games with Delmon. And now that he's out there playing for Detroit I just feel...
Thome: Strangely empty in your soul?
Cuddy: Yeah! I mean, I know that Supraction will still be a part of the game, but it will be hard to replicate that old feeling of pure, randomly inspired, Delmon-rific, accidental awesomeness.
Thome: Would you feel better if I tried to Supract people by hitting more homeruns?
Cuddy: Thanks Jim, but your homers are kind of expected...maybe if you suddenly stole third base--
Thome: Yeah.............that ain't gonna happen buddy. But hey, why don't you look for a NEW friend to instruct in the art of Supraction. That way, the spirit of it can live on and on in Twins Territory.
Cuddy: Wow, you really are just, ridiculously awesome aren't you?
Thome: Yeah, pretty much. Wanna hug?
Cuddy: Yes. Yes I do.

And so it was that Cuddy began to search for new masters of Supraction. And in a few short moments he realized that the answer had been standing next to Delmon in the outfield for lo these many months. So yesterday, this happened.

Delmon in the first inning: Doo-de-doo...time to hit the ball really really far, and make all Detroit real happy! [Swings, blasts it to center and starts to trot until Ben Revere snags the ball over his shoulder]...Woah...umm...that was surprising...
Delmon in the fourth inning: Okay...here I go, ready to supract Carl to hell. [Swings and cranks it to right center, begins another double trot only to see Ben Revere run the ball down like a lion running down a gazelle] Woah...did he? What do I...I feel all distracted and...wait a second!
[Delmon turns to the Twins dugout and sees Cuddy grinning at him]
Cuddy: SUPRACTION SUCKA!!!

So Ben Revere, quiet, unassuming, broad-smiling, ball-chasing, catcher-running-over Ben Revere has become the latest student in the art of Supraction. We wish Delmon well teaching Supraction in Detroit, but we're even more excited to see Cuddy take on Revere as his Supraction paduwan.

8.16.2011

HUGE News Day in Twins Territory

We were all set to ease back in to the blogging scene with short posts on topics that interest us. One today, one tomorrow, nice and easy. Then the Twins went and flipped the script and had one of the team's biggest news days in recent memory.
The biggest thing to talk about is of course, Jim Thome's 600th Career Home Run. The big blast which put Thome into the rare company of one-name power-hitting legends (Ruth, Mays, Griffey, et. al), also put the Twins on top for good en route to a win (another rare feat, at least in recent weeks). While Jimbo's milestone was not nearly as hyped as Derek Jeter's 3,000th
hit, the coverage of his accomplishment has been great to see and hear. ESPN made it a front page story last night, the New York Times gave it a nice write up, and a host of pundits, commentators and personalities have given kind-hearted credit to the humble country boy who reached this level of achievement.

Watching the event itself live was great, and watching Thome attempt to verbalize the experience shortly afterwards was great in a different way. First an interview with his dad might have been the most adorable thing on Twins TV all year; particularly when Poppa Thome teared up and said "[Jim] has always been special even before he hit baseballs" [Suck on that Field of Dreams!]. Then in his press conference hearing Thome call everything about the experience "cool" almost prompted us to get snarky, but honestly, the whole experience was cool, and if I was in that situation at the culmination of my whole career I'm pretty sure "cool" would be more eloquent than anything I could come up with.

And while Jimbo's big day was down right historic, we would be remiss if we didn't mention that a personal favorite of mine, Delmon Young, got traded to the Tigers. Admittedly, Delmon has not been everyone's favorite Twin, but since I purchased his jersey I felt that I ought to give him my irrational devotion and stubbornly believe that he would suddenly learn to lay off sliders low-and-away and practice more direct routes to flies to left. So, while others pointed out his struggles and failings, I kept cheering, and so I have cheered for the last three-and-a-half years.

Naturally, now that he's out of a Twins uniform I won't watch him as much, or cheer for him as fiercely, but I certainly do wish him the very best as his career continues (as long as it happens against teams other the Twins). And, since he's gone I can now invest all of my irrational fandom into believing that Tsuyoshi Nishioka is about to hit a homerun.

At the end of the day the Twins got the Win, Thome got his milestone, Delmon got a fresh start and we fans got a wildly entertaining day of baseball...it wasn't how we planned to get back into the blogging habit...but it was a lot of fun and it prompts just one question:

Can we do that again?

8.15.2011

Wha' Happened?

Hey everybody!! We're back from our honeymoon in Thailand! While we liked Muy Thai boxing just fine, we definitely missed the baseball. So, how have things been going since the Texas series?

....oh, really? we've lost 9 of the last 12?

........and we've gone from 6 back to 11.5 back?

............and we didn't add anybody or ditch any underperformers at the trade deadline?

...................and people are posting unconfirmed reports of Gardy's job being in jeopardy?

............................and Cuddy just got hurt?

Well.

Uh....

How 'bout them Minnesota Lynx, eh?!? Go SIMONE "CEASAR" AUGUSTUS!!!!

Seriously though, while we're happy to cheer the lovely ladies of the Lynx (and write alliterative phrases/historical nicknames about them), we'll keep watching the Twins and cheering for them with all that we've got until the season ends, no matter how bad it gets.

So best of luck to the Twins as the head into Detroit and best of luck to our fellow fans as we try to keep the faith and love going through the season.

7.28.2011

4 Games, 200 Words

Everything is bigger in Texas, but since we don't need to compensate for anything, we're going to summarize the Twins 4 game set in just 200 words. (Time is short; ergo brevity wins the day)

Monday: Rangers 20-Twins 6

This game looked so bad early on we were almost tempted to watch Sex & the City 2. On the plus side, Cuddy did this.


Tuesday: Twins 9-Rangers 8
Tempted though we were to avoid another night of heartbreak, sticking around for all nine innings paid off with a stirring comeback win and Joe Nathan tying a team record for saves.

Wednesday: Twins 7-Rangers 2

Joe Mauer hit a home run! (Cue the Hallelujah chorus), and though Joe Nathan didn't get a record setting save, we scored a lot of runs and won! WOOT

Thursday: Rangers 4-Twins 1

We actually spent the night celebrating my grandfather's 83rd birthday. And since he's a Twin fan, we won't even bring up the game.

DONE! With 35 to spare. And now we must say that we're hitting the road for two weeks in Thailand. If we can we'll post...but dude, if you were in Thailand, would you?

See you in August!

7.25.2011

Quick Thank Yous

We spent most of the weekend writing Thank You notes to people who had given us many wondrous things for our recent wedding. But, we have neglected until now to write Thank You notes to the people who have given us the most wondrous gift of all: TWINS BASEBALL!

So here are a few notes we thought about during the weekend series against the Tigers.

Dear Jim Thome,
Thank you for the 596 Home Runs you have hit in your career thus far. It's true that some of them (like the one you hit for Chicago back in 2008) were not our favorites; but it is very nice to see you hit them out through sheer man muscle. We know you don't have to hit a home run every time up, but it's nice that you try to entertain us that way.
Sincerely,
Peanuts from Heaven
Dear Scott Baker,
Thank you for pitching 5 innings of not ugly baseball. We know that when you're not feeling well it can be difficult to go to work, especially when 40,000 people are judging your work, but your commitment was inspiring to see and was a truly unexpected delight this weekend--after Friday we were pretty sure Detroit was going to win them all. We look forward to your feeling better and pitching more in weeks to come.
Sincerely,
Peanuts from Heaven

Dear Delmon Young,
You might not know what this is...this is called a "Thank you" note, it's given to people who have done something good by people who appreciate it. We figure that given the general antipathy toward you, you might not have received one of these before. We would like to thank you for wagging your tongue mid at-bat, it allows us to imagine that you are secretly Michael Jordan and will one day shock us by slam dunking a home run over center field. Also, when you lay off sliders low and away, it's like there's a 200 piece orchestra in my heart.
Sincerely,
Peanuts from Heaven

Dear Joe Nathan,
We have missed you terribly, and it is so wonderful to see you fist pump and to hear "Stand Up and Shout" and to count the horse flutters before you throw a knockout pitch. So yeah, just thanks for showing up. We're excited to see you more in the weeks, months and maybe years to come (if you're up for it).
Sincerely,
Peanuts from Heaven

Dear Bill Smith,
Thank you for doing your job and keeping your cool despite the near ceaseless jabbering of the masses who have asked for umpteen zillion trades. We know the trade deadline is less than a week away so you're awfully busy but we thought we would thank you (before we rejoin the rest of the jabbering masses who demand you make a zillion trades).
Sincerely,
Peanuts from Heaven

7.21.2011

Mr. Clutch

For the first time in 6 years the Twins won two games based on game-winning RBI's by the same player delivered after the 7th inning. The last player to do this was Jacque Jones, today it is Danny Valencia. While I'm well aware that statisticians and serious baseball writers insist that there is no such thing as "Clutch" hitting. Good and bad hitters will hit at the same rate with runners on base, with bases empty, with no outs, with two outs, with a two run lead, trailing by four, in the second inning or the twenty-second. This, is probably true.

But things that are true belong on other blogs, we prefer the impractical, illogical, imagined dream of the game--if only because that's the kind of game that we find most enjoyable. So while others will tell you not to get too excited about Danny V's sudden surge of timely hitting, we want you to buy in...and hopefully buy this product that Danny himself would like to introduce...Danny?


Thank you Peanuts--I'm proud to use this setting to announce my new, and utterly chimerical business venture. And to do so, I'm going to ask you readers to hear my words swoon off the screen as I whisper them gruffly and look broodingly into the camera.

Twins fans, they say that clutch doesn't exist; they say it is a foolish dream; they say it's a figment of your imagination.

They are wrong.

Sure, there's no mathematical equation for clutch...but there is a chemical one...and it can be yours as it has always been mine.
Peanuts from Heaven is proud to introduce

CLUTCH

The new fragrance by Danny Valencia

Available next to Dumbledore's Powdered Unicorn Horn at all Peanut From Heaven Superstores