Thanking the little people

June is over, with the Twins playing really well for about half of it, and sort of mediocre for the other half. This past month we've started to get a few players back [Nishioka, Mauer, Thome], and we've lost a few others [Kubel, Span, Delmondo]; we've discovered the joys of having Ben Revere scoop up almost everything within a square mile of Target Field and come to re-appreciate the pitching brilliance of Messers Baker, Blackburn and Pavano (plus Liriano when the stars align)

But it seems that the blogosphere and twitterverse and pretty much every armchair manager who calls into talk radio fixates on the big names (as my "To Mock or Not to Mock Mauer" posts attest). So today we decided to turn our attention away from the sideburned center of attention, and consider a couple other guys who trot out there, give it their all, and head home without drawing accolades or much discussion. So, let's give them their moment in the blogging spotlight now...before we forget all about them over the rest of July.
  1. Luke Hughes: despite failing to land a middle infield spot out of spring training, or in April...or May...Hughes has finally stuck as the team's first baseman with Justin Morneau recovering from surgery (at least until Michael Cuddyer finishes playing both right field and the Pirate King in the Guthrie's Pirates of Penzance...then he can relearn 1st and get back to illustrating his series of children's books). Hughes has delivered a few clutch hits and done a fine job digging out the throws from our League of Nations infield. While we were tempted to simply cry "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie (oi, oi, oi)" whenever he came to the plate, we've lately decided to hold on to the theory that he's a distant descendent of Luke Skywalker. [Think about it: Tatooine is basically the Australian outback; and he does train at the Dagobah Gym/Jedi Academy.] So thank you Luke Hughes, for playing first base and giving us a chance to let our geek flag fly.
  2. Glen Perkins: I have often assumed that Glen Perkins joined the team after welostDennys Reyes, simply because Perkins was the new official family friendly restaurant of the Minnesota Twins (if Perkins leaves the team we better sign somebody named Applebee, or Chuck E. Cheese). But truth be told, Perkins might be the most comforting face you can see come out of the bullpen, regardless of whether he comes with free refills or not. Watching him deliver clutch strike outs in the 8th inning makes each game seem winnable...no matter how Matt Capps toys with our emotions in the 9th.
  3. Danny Valencia: I know he's got a cult following, but his middling play early left us all looking elsewhere. So it's been nice to see Danny Boy knocking a few over the fence in the month of June, and while we all might like those hits to come a skosh more consistently, there's nothing wrong with using the good ol Valen-SEE-YA shout out when they fly into the stands. Stinky's dad suggested that Danny might be in Gardenhire's doghouse for some poor base running decisions, but as long as he catches a snipe now and then, we'll give him the benefit of the doubt.
Any other small fishies who you think don't get the respect they deserve? (Casilla, Burnett, Rene Rivera?) Leave your comments below and we'll give them their due Peanuts style (which is to say with a little sass and a lot of encouragement. That's how we roll...like weird (but loving) relatives.


Know Thy Enemy: Los Angeles Dodgers

Confession time: I should, be all rights and rationale be a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Living in Minnesota makes cheering for the Twins a little more natural but my family, my hometown and my first experiences as a fan are all tied to the Dodger blue.

My father was born in Brooklyn, and growing up I always liked the thought of his stroller rolling by Ebbets Field. A few years ago, before she passed, my grandmother confessed that she had always loved the Dodgers, listened to Vin Scully every day and repeatedly pleaded with my grandfather to let her set aside a little money for tickets to a game together. (He stubbornly refused, but that didn't stop her from debating the fate of Dem Bums with every neighbor and local shopkeeper she met.)

When I was a kid, growing up in Great Falls, Montana, there weren't many chances to watch baseball so I read about it instead: the sports pages all summer long, and in the winter I'd pour over biographies of legends always gravitating towards Dodger greats like Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese and Roy Campanella. There was a Rookie League Dodgers affiliate that played a half-mile from my house. On summer night I could hear batters announced and fans cheer even if I wasn't at the game. This was a pretty great time to watch young Dodger talent, with young guns who would Rookies-of-the-year season after season for the big club, it felt like we were part of something bigger than ourselves. Hence, our dogged loyalty to Eric Karros, Raul Mondesi, John Wettland, Jose Offerman and a stringy pitcher with a whip like arm named Pedro Martinez. (That list also includes current Dodgers James Loney and Johnathan Broxton and everybody's favorite Twin Cities soul patch: Jason Repko.)

Between my grandmother, my deep appreciation of Dodger lore and spending summers cheering the blue and white, it sure seems like I should be a Dodger fan...and yet?
  • The move from Brooklyn broke my grandmother's heart.
  • The ownership's total dismissal of classic players (see Koufax, Sandy) makes it hard to connect current Dodgers to old Dodgers
  • Squandering all the young talent we helped nurture made cheering for the major league club difficult.
  • When the Dodgers left Great Falls for Ogden, Utah the staff made a point of saying: "This is where we should have always been" (the sense being...that place we sent our young players for two decades? Yeah, they suck. Screw 'em.)
  • And watching last night...well the less said about that the better.
Long story short, I know the Dodgers are supposed to be an elite franchise, and with all my history with them, maybe I should cut them some slack. But the truth is the Dodgers always seem not to care if you like them or not...in fact I think they'd just as soon run over opponents, fans, support staff and team legends for the sake of an owner's whim.

All in all, the Dodgers are a thoroughly unlikable franchise (at least in my personal opinion), the Yankees of the West Coast/National League. So c'mon Twins...for your sake, for my sake, for the sake of all that is good and pure and just in the world...whup dem Bums!


Whose side are you on?

Sorry about the delay in posting this week. A variety of factors have kept us a little preoccupied this week, not the least of which is the fact that, much as I love blogging, I will probably need to find a source of income sooner or later (preferably sooner) so as to buy the foodstuffs that will keep me alive and help me continue writing this blog!

While I've been focusing on that whole employment thing, I've still made time for the Twins (Note the Twitter feed) and in the process seen something that makes me wonder. As my last post indicates, Twins fans have been watching the return of Joe Mauer with rapt attention. But while we're all watching closely, the motivation for and reaction to watching the Chairman hit differs depending on whose side you're on.

One group, which I will refer to as Team Mauer, gets anxious, downright antsy watching the return of the home town hero, hoping that this swing, this swing right here, will be the one to start a torrid hit streak, boost his average, justify his contract, shut up the haters, save every kitty cat stuck in a tree and lead the Twins to a superlative second half. (And when he swings and chops one to second the sigh, or groan and think...okay...next time FOR SURE!)

The other group, which I will refer to as Team Dour, seems to seek the exact opposite. They hear the T.I. music play, see him step into the box and want to see that he is the overrated, overpaid, over-pampered punk that web commenters and radio pundits have slammed for weeks. He isn't the golden god that others have seen, he's barely more deserving of a roster spot than his fellow Minnesotans who would kill to put on the Navy & Red and would do it all without once taking a break for a national shampoo commercial. And with each swing and meager three-hopper, they explode with a "DAMMIT! BUTERA HITS BETTER THAN THAT!!"

Maybe I'm over simplifying by making it Team Mauer V.s. Team Dour. (Hey, I can rhyme!!) Those who explode might be just as hopeful that he snaps out of it, and those who hope may some day become as disaffected as those who scorn our side-burned catcher. I suppose that nobody is so cynical as to actively want Mauer to fail (especially when his play can so easily affect the rest of the team--both postively and negatively). But it's clear to me that these are new emotions to associate with Mauer at-bats. Where once there was unadulterated enthusiasm and a smidge of civic pride now there is fear, blind hope and critical disdain...Really?

I don't fully fathom it all...but that's what the social side of this blog is for! So leave a comment below to swear your allegiance to Team Mauer, Team Dour or just to explain what you think the problem is (with Mauer, the Twins, or society in general). I share my ideas, what are yours?


Welcome Back Joe Mauer

Now that Tsuyoshi Nishioka is back and bouncing over photographers for his own amusement (or so we assume), we can turn our attention to the even more exciting fact that Joseph Stanislas* Mauer is back in a Twins uniform. *Note, his real middle name is Patrick...but come on...he's old school enough it just feels like we should use an old-timey baseball legend's name as his middle name...so I'll try a few out during this blog.

When last we saw Joseph Tyrus Mauer, he was hobbled by "bilateral leg weakness" which is to say...both of his legs felt weak. That turned into an infection which pointed out a sore shoulder and heel which led to many many weeks of rehab and many many vitriolic posts by Twins fans complaining about the millions of dollars invested in the next eight years of Joseph Honus Mauer's career.

Apparently, some Twins fans love the hometown kid turned big league hero when he's playing the game rather than trying to prepare his body to play the game. Others believe he's "soft" or "weak" because, after all, if you can sit in a cubicle and leave chat room posts in between filling out TPS reports you're definitely know how difficult it is to catch 9 innings of baseball 130 times per year while maintaining a .300 batting average and leading your team to the playoffs. But most people were probably just frustrated that the team was doing so poorly and vented their frustration on Joseph Denton Mauer because he wasn't there and he could probably use $100 bills as kleenexes. (We assume he's frugal enough to just use $20s...he is midwestern after all)

At yesterday's press conference Mauer admitted that he too was frustrated, and even claimed that "nobody's been more frustrated than me". Wouldn't you be frustrated too if you missed out on all the fun the team's been having lately? Ben Revere's wild energy? Michael Cuddyer's nightly one-man magic/performance art shows? Carl Pavano & Scott Baker's ugly facial hair contests? Delmon Young's book club (seriously he cited the "remora" as the new piranha... Delmon's an inspiration to nerds everywhere)? Miss out on all that and the recent team resurgence and I'm sure you'd be frustrated too.

But now that Joseph Matthewson Mauer has rejoined the Twins there should be happier days ahead. Still we should all take a deep breath and remember: no matter how Mauer performs in an individual game, no matter how many aches and pains he suffers, there will be moments of frustration: for him, for Gardy, for us as fans. He won't always play like a legend in the making, and while I understand that some people might want to proclaim that observation and their frustration about it throughout the blogoverse or on top of a mountain or in a factory full of megaphones.

I don't.

I say this not to belittle those who do want to proclaim their feelings about Mauer or to denounce them as poopy-heads, but simply because in a life time of watching baseball sometimes you get lucky enough to watch a truly special player ply their craft in front of your very eyes. As Twins fans: right here, right now, Joeseph Mauer is that player.

I just want to appreciate that, however long it lasts.


A dream come true...maybe

It's been a long time coming, but Tsuyoshi Nishioka is about to make his home debut in a Twins uniform. Athletes dream of playing at the highest level of competition, and while Nishioka did that for a whole 6 games earlier this season, he has yet to do it in front of a stadium filled with people rooting for him to succeed. It was a treat to watch him smile and laugh around the ballpark last night, signing autographs, watching from the dugout railing, harassing Delmon Young. (Sidenote: I want those two to star in a tv show about mismatched cop partners with Delmon as the taciturn, embittered veteran and Nishioka as the rookie trying to find his way on the tough Minneapolis streets). Congratulations are due to you Tsuyoshi, I hope that today and all the days to come exceed your wildest dreams.

I also hope that because last night I had a dream that things didn't exactly work out that way. There were groundballs slipping through every infield spot, and Carl Pavano was stalking around foul territory threatening to beat up everybody because they all looked like gatorade tanks. Then Alexi Ramirez slid into second and blew up Valencia, Nishioka, Casilla, Tolbert and Hughes. Gardenhire's attempts to clone 4 Michael Cuddyers to man all the infield positions went awry and suddenly we were back to the disaster zone we had in April. I woke up convinced that this had really happened and had to seriously think to remember that we had won last night and nobody had gotten blowed up.

So bottom line, if someone's dream has to come true today let's hope its just Nishioka's and not mine. Both for the good of the Twins and to avoid both explosions and disastrous experiments in cloning.


A few things

Oh hey guess what, it's still raining! But that doesn't mean things aren't still happening... like Morneau is on the 15 day DL. That is a thing that happened. Also Nishioka might play today...that's another thing that could happen. But, like I said it's still raining so we might not play today at all.

As of last week, I am a working lady again - done with school and back into the real world. It would appear that the real world consists mainly of making powerpoints and spreadsheets - so just for giggles I made a spreadsheet comparing last year's starting lineup with this year's DL. Not to alarm anyone, or anything but check it out:

So yeah. That's all I really have to say about that. I haven't died - I still write for this blog (yes there are actually two of us... although I've been pretty MIA for the last few months), but now there will be much more stealth posts from work and fewer Twitters...Tweets...things... yes.

OK back to real (non-baseball) spreadsheets.


Kinda sorta pretty awesome

After taking three out of four against the Rangers this weekend, hope is springing in the hearts of Twins fans all over the world. Sure, we're still in last place in the American League. Sure we still have the worst run differential in the American League. Sure our best players have a nasty habit of landing on the DL every 3.8 hours or so. But still....it's been pretty fun to watch Twins baseball lately. We know that it's a long road to climb back to contention or a .500 record or really much of anything, but as long as we keep seeing glimpses of the old Twins way back in the ball park. We're going to be happy.

Among our favorite moments from the past 10 days:
  • Ben Revere doing his best Superman impression in Centerfield
  • Scott Baker and Francisco Liriano making the league's best offense look silly
  • Debating whether or not Michael Cuddyer is physically capable of frowning
  • Gardy's press conferences including more uses of the grumbled phrase: "yeah, real good...real good win"
  • Alexi Casilla slipping base hits underneath every conceivable glove.
  • The bullpen not totally stinking.
  • Hearing Luke Hughes' very VERY Australian accent and wishing he'd mention "shrimp" "barbi" "Fosters" or "Melbourne".
  • The words "Joe Mauer's return" being used in the without the words "no timetable for" directly preceding it.
What are your favorite moments that have reminded you how fun it is to be a fan? Post them below, we'd love to hear them!


Draft "Analysis" in 5 Words or Less

As I said earlier in the week, I enjoy sports drafts but the problem with the baseball draft is that MLB draftees are not like draftees in other major sports. Sure, they're all world class athletes but Baseball draft picks have the ability to turn down the club that picks them and hope for a higher pick, a different team or more money in future years [or they could pick up that bio-engineering degree they've always wanted].

So while we've drafted 50 players we likely won't sign them all. Of those we do sign, it's a safe bet that about 90% of them will see their careers peak in Elizabethton, Beloit, or Ft. Meyers. Careers end with one freak injury or because a younger player swoops past you in the organization, and lest we forget, there's every possibility that we'll trade one or five or seven of them for a proven #2 starter or some of those awesome magic beans everybody's talking about.

But, those are sad realities for another time. Now is a time to celebrate the accomplishment of getting drafted by a major league team and having a career opportunity lots of Americans can only dream of. To honor these young athletes we will analyze their game...but because we aren't very serious about silly things like "stats" or "facts", we'll do it all in 5 words or less of dumb jokes. [For serious coverage you can check out the NoDak Twins Fan; Seth Strohs and many other fine bloggers...for more silliness keep reading]

Seriously though: we want extend a hearty congrats to all those drafted, their friends and families: we hope that you succeed in your careers and enjoy these opportunities, you've worked hard and should be proud--we wish you the best and apologize for the foolishness that follows...but if you play baseball you're bound to hear foolish things from fans sooner rather than later.

Right-Handed Pitchers (19)

Matt Summers, CA--Summers, Wimmers, no fall/spring?
Hudson Boyd, FL--Young arm, great promise...maybe?
Madison Boer, OR [Pictured]--Wisconsin capitol or Afrikaaner dutchman?
Tyler Jones, LA--Bean pole from the bayou
Joshua Burris, LA--From: LSU-Eunice, Fighting Grandmas!!
Timothy Shibuya, CA--Hopefully pronounced: Shi-BOO-YEAH!
Nick Burdi, IL--Annoying catchphrase: "Watch the Burdi"
Trent Higginbotham, AL--Fit that on a jersey
Chris Mazza, CA--Went to Business School = $
William Clinard, TN--Every Vandy's a dandy
Garrett Jewell, NH--Sounds like a Hair Rocker
Alexander Keudell, OR--Second Ducks pitcher we drafted
Edwin McCord, AL--Not enough Edwins these days...
Kyle Barraclough, CA--Huzzah for the Scotsman!
Trevor Oakes, MN--6'5" Local Boy? Hells yes!
Robert O'Neill, CA--What's a Biola?
Cole Johnson, IN--Ex-Fighting Irish, Now Fighting Scandawhovian?
Garret Peterson, PA--Another Garret, really?
Bryan Burgher, WA--Mmmm...Burgher...[drool]

Left-Handed Pitchers (16)
Corey Williams, TN--Vanderbilt pitcher automatically promising
Steven Gruver, TN--Unfortunate last name

Jason Wheeler, CA--6'8" of intimidation
Brett Lee, FL--Never give up on lefties
Steven Evans, VA--Liberty University Grad
Adam McCreery, CA--Went to Pretty High School
Josue Montanez, FL--Should call curve "little friend"
Austin Malinowski, MN [Pictured]--Local Kid living the dream
Corey Kimes, IL--Plays in "Champaign" NOT Champagne
Michael Howard, AZ--Don't give up on lefties!
David Hurlbut, CA--Hehe, Hurl Butt :)
Derek Thompson, IL--From Teutopolis...City of TEUTS!
Dylan Chavez, CA--There's only one "American River"?
Matthew Tomshaw, FL--Congrats, you're free from Jackson-villians
Jared Dettmann, WI--Seriously, Lefties...Give up? NO!
John Hochstatter, CA--Name like a whooping cough

Infielders (11)

Levi Michael, SS, NC--Hey First-rounder, can I borrow $5?
Travis Harrison, 3B, CA--Potential power hitter (fingers crossed)
Tyler Grimes, SS, KS [Pictured]--No relation to Simpson's character
Nicholas Bryant, SS, AL--Only 170 lbs...probably scrappy
Matthew Koch, C, CA--J. Wheeler's teammate & hopefully, friend
Brian Anderson, SS, OK--Wasn't he a Chicago Outfielder?
Adam Pettersen, SS, MN--5'9, 170? Definitely scrappy.
Stephen Wickens, SS, FL--From Whitby, Ontario...Bravo Canada!
Phillip Chapman, C, TN--Memphis boy better bring ribs.

Julio Torres, 2B, PR--High School has "Baseball" in its name
Drake Roberts, 2B, TX--155 lbs & Texan...TOTALLY Scrappy

Outfielders (6)
Ivan (Derek) Rodriguez, CF, FL--Pudge's son, Dad's welcome anytime.
Tyler Koelling, CF, MS--Played at Brett Favre's school
James Ramsey, RF, FL [Pictured]--Played at Joe Mauer's [would-be] school
Ryan Tella, CF, CA--From Unpronounceable "Ohlone" College
Austin Barrois, OF, LA--Le Roi du Barrois!
Andrew Leachman, LF, AL--Sadly, unrelated to Cloris Leachman

Once again best of luck to all those drafted, and please, forgive the bad jokes, (especially David Hurlbut).


The Daylight Ride of Ben Revere

It was great to see the Twins come away with a win today, a series victory and a (miraculously) winning road trip. And while the 9th inning home run off of Matt Capps was a little demoralizing it was great to watch as Ben Revere channeled the ghosts of fleet-footed outfielders past.
Photo Credit: Mark Duncan

A lot of people have likened Revere to Denard Span, what with the slap hitting and excellent range, others have said the smile seems more Kirby Puckett-esque, then again he also has the same number that Jacque Jones used to wear and he's already sparking the offense the way that Torii Hunter seemed to in his early days. But if you ask me I think that he's most like a certain 18th century Boston Silversmith/Rounders Deep-fielder/Patriot: Paul Revere.

The first big play, a solid single up the middle to knock in the game's first run was great. You could almost see him using that hit to tell young Cord Phelps and All-star-to-be Asdrubal Cabrera the same thing that Paul Revere told the British: "don't even try to catch me, because you can't take away our arms! [or in this case our arms or our bats]"

And then in the sixth inning, as he doubled, stole second, and came home on a Morneau double you could easily imagine him ringing those bells and riding his horse and firing warning shots just like Paul Revere. (Only of course his horse was invisible and he wasn't allowed to fire a gun or ring bells...if only Paul Revere had used some kind of light based technology I could liken say two lanterns to his smile....)

And in the 10th, his single to left said with certainty that Drew Butera would be secure/safe at home and that we would be free of our losing ways and be armed...like a private militia...maybe...

Okay, so maybe it's not a perfectly symmetrical connection, (after all I'm basing my knowledge of Paul Revere on the diatribe that was bandied about in the news all week). But I mean, c'mon do you think the recent surge in news about Revere's both past and present is really just a coincidence and not an obvious sign that Ben Revere is some sort of distant relative/reincarnation of the legendary horse rider? [Cast your vote in the poll at the right!]

No matter how you slice it, Ben Revere played great today, the Twins came away with a series win in Cleveland, and the tyranny of negativity surrounding the local 9 seems to be fading (at least for the moment).


Chicks love the small ball

First, how 'bout that draft? Nothing like the pulse pounding excitement of executives sitting in chairs and talking about things to get the blood pumping! Seriously though, I liked watching the draft, and got genuinely excited about the Twins' picks [though you might prefer to check the opinions of serious bloggers/analysts Seth Strohs and Nick Nelson rather than take my word]. The Twins picks (a shortstop who might be a major league starter sooner rather than later; a 3rd baseman with pop and a strong armed reliever type) sound like the kinds of guys who could help the team, and most of this year we sure could use some help.

Of course, during this last little winning streak it's felt a little bit better thanks largely to the fact that the bottom of the order and the plucky, scrappy, pirannah-esque role players are living up to their potential. Messrs Revere, Hughes, Tolbert, Casilla, Repko, Rivera and even Drew Butera have helped lead the charge first in Kansas City, and then again last night. Why the sudden turn of affairs? Maybe they took a Gardy speech to heart; maybe they got inspired by Field of Dreams or The Rookie, or those new pepsi commercials where Jim Thome spells his name for Babe Ruth; but I'm guessing they got punked by a vet and turned it to their advantage.

Seriously, can't you just picture a veteran player [for some reason I keep seeing Delmon Young], with a slight glint of mischief and a cackle of self-amusement looking at the young players on the bench and thinks: "It's June, I'm bored, let's have some fun." So said veteran approaches the young guys and says: "Hey dudes! What's up?"

The kids, awed at this personal contact with a big-time professional athlete get a little flummoxed and finally Revere says: "we were just talking about how cool it would be if we all started hitting home runs like ALL THE TIME!"

"Yeah!" says Hughes, "I've hit a couple, but if I just suddenly, you know, hit 3 in a week, or ten in a month, or 35 in a season...that'd be so awesome!"

"Golly!" shouts Tolbert, "if I hit home runs all the time I bet kids would fight for my baseball card..."

"And we'd get compliments on talk radio" says Repko

"And maybe girls would talk to us" says Rivera.

And the vet, chuckling says, "oh you guys! That's silly. Home runs aren't cool anymore. They're as out of date as Zach Braff and soul patches." (Then because Alexi Casilla looks hurt the vet has to say) "sorry Lexi. But seriously guys, it's not about the home runs, if you really want to impress people, hit the ball on the ground and run like hell. You should try to put down a great sac bunt or an effective grounder to second to advance a base runner, that's what the best players do!"

"Really?!?" They all ask in unison.

"Of course, haven't you seen how frequently the everyday players hit soft ground balls? It's an art form guys!! Do it well, and who knows, maybe the people will cheer for you"

"Even me?" Asks Butera.

"Even you, Drew!" says the vet, barely keeping the laughter in check.

And so the young scuffling hitters went out and chipped and chopped and bunted and ran and won game after game after game. Now we all cheer for them...even Drew Butera. [Great safety squeeze last night bro.] Best of luck tonight you new born piranahs (see if you can get those vets to follow your lead).


A Modest Proposal & Feeling a draft

After our sudden, unprecedented four game winning streak (that led to an actual series victory for the first time all year!) I would like to make the following proposal. Let's all quiet down on the whole "gloom-and-doom" palaver on the Twins.

I know that I've been as guilty as anybody about admitting that I would believe a comeback when I saw it, and while four days in June do not make a season better. Wins are great, but c'mon, if you've only been watching for theTwins for the wins I would like to show you the way to the nearest exit (keeping in mind that the closest exit may be behind you on the bandwagon).

A buddy of mine from college (whom I will call Coop-Dogg...because I always protect the identities of people who don't give express written consent to be included in this blog), raised an interesting point today. "Scrizzle Rube-izzle," said Coop-Dogg, "The media's gotta stop the bleeding! They keep cutting the legs out from underneath the boys." I was intrigued and Coop continued, "Positivity always triumphs. [For example] If they stop harping on Mauer and start building a buzz like "we want Joe! we want Joe!" instead of complaining about his salary....shizzle!"

We here at Peanuts from Heaven endorse Coop-Dogg's plan of positivity, and promise to be a little more optimistic and do a little less disbelieving despair in the coming weeks and months. Up first in our quest to do just that, this evening's Major League Baseball Draft!

Personally, I'm a big fan of drafts...both the breezy air on a sweltering Minnesota summer night, and the professional athletic competition variety. The air thing goes without saying, but when it comes to pro-sports drafts, I'm always trying to strategize and analyze and think ahead. My brothers and I have dreamt up drafts with baseball cards and action figures and computer game characters [yes...I was/am a huge nerd], and we've had plenty of fun gawking at the NFL and NBA drafts (even though I only watch those sports when they are on a muted tv at a bar). But I've never seen a Major League Baseball draft, so I'm excited to do just that this evening.

Now, if I were gloomy I might bemoan the fact that GM Bill Smith hasn't exactly done a great job assessing players [see Hoey, Jim; Hughes, Dusty; Harris, Brendan]. But these are the Twins, and they have a pretty solid track record in the draft [see Mauer, Morneau, Kubel, Cuddyer, Span, etc.], and with Coop-Dogg's admonition for more positivity in Twins-related print here goes:

The Minnesota Twins front office staff is full of talented, intelligent individuals who strive to put the best product on the field at all times. They are smart and handsome/pretty and we're very very proud of them. I'm sure they will draft some very talented young athletes, and when those players led us to future victories I will repay them with more kind words or cookies [whichever they prefer].

You know, positivity feels pretty good! So here's to the Twins as they head into Cleveland, and the front office as they head into New York. [Raises imaginary glass.] Godspeed boys, godspeed!


The truly faithful

I could feign ebullience at last night's win (but one good inning does not a resurgence make). I could rail about Kubel & Thome going on the DL. I could fret about Joe Mauer going 0-5 in his return to live baseball. But I'd rather focus on someone who still has absolute, unadulterated faith in the Minnesota Twins.
The man in question is my old Grad-school chum and die-hard Tigers fan Conor Patrick Harmon. [That's him in the cap, next to the happy Indian's fan Jared Hatch.] What's that you say? How can a Tigers fan believe that the Twins are bound to win this year? Well, quite simply Conor believes that the Twins are simply lying low waiting around for the comeback to end all comebacks.

As he said to me when the Twins/Tiger series came to a close on Wednesday night: "Pssh, whatever man...this is just the end of a two month trick. Just wait, they'll come up with some obscene "Twins" run of 27 wins in 28 games, and everybody in the media will say: 'worst first two-months to the best four months in baseball history', they'll say 'oh, we should have known not to sleep on the Twins, and Gardenhire and Morneau.' And of course they'll come back to beat the Tigers in the end of the season, you'll throttle us in September and take the title. You can't fool me man!"

So there it is...Conor has proclaimed it, and I make it a habit never to doubt a man with a beard that is greater than my own. Here comes the comeback!