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!


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.
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.
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.
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).
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).
Peanuts from Heaven


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


The new fragrance by Danny Valencia

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


Scott Diamond and the Field of Mugginess

Lawdy, lawdy, lawdy...it is HOT. Minneapolis is in a bout of heat and humidity that literally rivals the Amazonian rainforest. It is not yet hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk, but you could probably poach one in the air if you wanted to. It is so muggy that mosquitos soon may need to start an anti-obesity program. Into these swampy circumstances the Twins trotted out for two games yesterday, and they lost them both. We could throw in the towel...but we need that towel to soak in ice water and keep cool. Also, baseball's more fun if you're positive and optimistic.

Because of that, I just want to give a special shout out to Scott Diamond, whose first major league start last night was neither awe-inspiring nor god awful; but regardless of how the game turned out or how Diamond performed he looked as pleased as punch just to be there, and his having fun left me feeling pretty good about life.

Maybe it was Diamond's boyish enthusiasm, maybe it was spending all-day Saturday watching a certain movie franchise from start to finish, maybe it was both of these plus the aforementioned sweltering heat making me a little loopy, but I suddenly imagined that instead of a call to come to Minneapolis, Mr. Diamond got this letter (which totally isn't real, but totally ought to be):

Mr. S. Diamond
The Bullpen Under the Bleachers
Rochester, NY

Mr. Diamond,

We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted to pitch at Targwarts Field of Switch-Hitting Craft and Wizardry. We have been monitoring your progress as an apprentice pitching Wizard and would like to provide you with appropriate tutelage to master your skills. Please bring your own glove, spikes and dehumidifying bubble charm to protect you from oppressive heat in the area. We will be unable to reimburse you for any travel expenses, but if you could arrange travel to the Minneapolis Airport via broomstick we will provide the blue ox drawn carriage to ferry you to Targwarts.

We shall expect your arrival by 6 o'clock on Monday, July 18th, should you fail to arrive we will assume you have been killed by the Steinbrenner who Shall not be Named.

Yours Sincerely,
Ronald Gardenhire
Keeper of Keys, Grounds and Line-up Cards at Targwarts Field

P.s. This totally isn't rookie hazing...we really are wizards, I promise!


Getting better with age

Despite the, shall we say, "less-than-ideal" outcome of Friday night's game; the Twins battled back this weekend and won their series against the Kansas City Royals. In so doing, they showed pluck, determination, resiliency and a lot of gray hairs.

The Twins have played well lately, thanks largely to the energetic play of rookies rising to the occasion, so now and then its nice to see some of our more grizzled veterans deliver right when we need them.

Exhibit A: After the fury of Twin Cities' fans blew up in the face of one Matthew Capps, Twins Manager/Kindly Grandfather Figure Ron Gardenhire defended Capps from the rampaging horde and then saved him from future furor by giving the closer's job back to the grand ol' man of the bullpen: Dread Pirate Joe Nathan.
Contrary to reports, the Dread Pirate Joe Nathan has not been retired for two years and living like a king in Patagonia, instead he was sailing around the Caribbean looking for the fountain of youth to repair his pitching/swashbuckling arm. Half-way through the trip he picked up a bootleg copy of the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie; saw that Blackbeard & Jack Sparrow had beaten him there and made a terrible movie about it, and returned to Minnesota. TA-DA two saves in two days.

Exhibit B: While the Dread Pirate's return elicited many cheers and many more "YAAAARRRS!" the biggest hit of the weekend belongs to our very own Paul Bunyan Impersonator Jim Thome.

Launching a 464 foot blast to centerfield, Jimbo looked every bit like the smoke monster of old, the one that terrified and destroyed us in his years with the White Sox or the Indians. And while that was cool to see, it was even more amusing to see others react to the blast Delmon Young’s jaw dropped to the on-deck circle, Ben Revere stood at home plate arms raised, looking like a toddler asking his dad for a piggy-back ride.

The Twins needed every run of the three-run shot to stave off another Royals comeback, but they did it, and they did it thanks to the grand old men of the game. So we tip our caps to our grizzled vets, Joe Nathan and Jim Thome.

Stay hydrated today guys, we’re not letting you ride off into the sunset just yet.


Gains from Trade

As we learned in Economics 101, both parties in a trade should feel as if they are gaining something. This has almost nothing to do with what I'm about to write but I figured I should at least try to establish some credibility before writing something totally ridiculous, so I threw some economics terms around to make myself sound smart.

After tonight's game, we can't help but wonder - when will Dread Pirate Nathan finally get sick of this, yell "ARRRR!" and swashbuckle Capps down into the briny sea with the Kraken?

After one tweeter posted something along the lines of "The Twins should trade Matt Capps for a handful of those Subway 50-cents off a 6 inch sub coupons," we wondered what else would be a fair trade for our ninth-inning-disaster-maker.


1) A rock - rocks are useful as doorstops and paperweights, and they don't generally blow saves.

2) One Peanut M&M - Peanut M&M's are amazing - one might actually be too much.

3) Michelle Bachman - it would get her out of politics, and she probably has a secret 95mph fastball.

4) A Minty Toothpick from Rudolph's BBQ - those are some good toothpicks

5) Shah-Ruk Kahn - A trade for the gloried Bollywood star would definitely be weighted heavily in our favor, but Shah-Ruk could really help the team with his impeccable hair, sexy dance moves and boyish vulnerability. Win!

6) Some pocket lint

7) The chance to punch the Klondike Bar ad executive in the face

8) A Backstreet Boys CD - I've been having a hankering to listen to "I Want it That Way" but my copy is missing.

9) Magic Beans - hopefully the previous owners would not recognize their magic properties, and we would get the chance to climb a beanstalk and steal some golden shin guards from Joe Mauer.

10) Pavano's Moustache - we want it back

... in all seriousness though, I have to give props to Gardy for sticking up for his players. Even though I don't always agree with him, I do always respect him.


Lessons from the All-Star Game

First and foremost we learned that Arizonians like to boo things, anything really: Ben Revere, Divisional Rivals, Non-Divisional Rivals, Yankees, Non-Yankees, adorable puppies, you name it and people in Arizona will boo it.

Second, Moneyball starring Brad Pitt comes out September 23rd.

Third, I learned that my father takes his prepositions very seriously. After LaVelle E Neal tweeted "Cliff Lee in for the Phillies", my father, looking over my shoulder said..."Actually, it should be Cliff Lee, of the Phillies coming in for the national league" and went on..."puts his toes on the rubber and serves up a gopher ball to Adrian Gonzalez of the Boston Red Sox for a solo home run, to put the American League on top 1 to 0." (Clearly I've inherited some nerdiness from the old man.

We also discovered that Justin Timberlake, was able to give voice to America's common rage and tossed a little smack talk at Joe Buck. "You're calling a great game Joe...just GREAT!" may replace "Heckuva Job Brownie!" as America's favorite sarcastic compliment. OH, also...Justin Timberlake has a movie coming out soon, but it will come out before Moneyball debuts in theatres September 23rd.

My mother learned of the existence of the MLB Fan Cave, but was thoroughly disappointed by the fact that it seems to be an all boys club. C'mon baseball, ladies like the sport too! So, Major League executives, please consider giving my mom a job in the Fan Cave next year. This would both make her happy and give all of America access to the excellent television of my mother knitting David Ortiz a hat, scolding Brian Wilson to shave his beard mid-interview, and wagging a finger at any player who disputes an ump.

Sixth, no one told Heath Bell that the All-Star Game was a serious business, so he slid into the mound while coming in to pitch. What do you think this is Heath Bell? Some kind of game?!?? What in the name "All-Star Game" would make you think that it was a "Game" to be "played" as though you were child-like and carefree?!?!? Seriously! Some people...

Seventh, Oh yeah...the NL won, their second all-star win in a row. After winning 2 of the last 3 World Series AND increasing their win total in interleague play for three straight years, it might be time to stop thinking of the National League as the inferior league.

And finally, even though he flew out on the first (and only) pitch he saw, Michael Cuddyer gave me a great idea for a new tv show. Cuddy would play a straight laced, All-American do-gooder doctors (with an adorable magic hobby) and Brian Wilson would play his wacky, goofball, nonsequitur-spouting, anti-establishment partner (who still gets results). I can see it now: THURSDAYS on TNT after Rizzoli & Isles and Franklin & Bash it's Cuddyer & Wilson...two men who play by their OWN RULES...and the rules of Major League Baseball! {It could even debut before the September 23rd release of Moneyball on September 23rd!)

The second half of the season starts tonight with the Twins taking on the Royals. And if you want to mull over the Twins chances to make the playoffs look no further than the next two weeks as the Twins will play 16 games against 4 teams, including 12 against Central Division rivals (all at home). And if you just want to sit back and watch baseball...well, you can do that too.


How Far We've Come in Four Years

(Seemingly Random Sidenote that will be Relevant Later: sorry that we posted neither tweets nor blogs this last weekend, normally taking 3 out of 4 from the White Sox in Chicago would get our trash-talking going full bore...but we had other things to do the last four days)

It's hard to believe but tonight is the fourth All-Star game that we Peanuts from Heaven will be watching/blogging/making fun of since starting this account of the Twins and our love of baseball.

We've seen Justin Morneau slide home safely in old Yankee Stadium, watched Carl Crawford save the day in St. Louis, seen the NL finally win one in Anaheim and now we get to watch Michael Cuddyer play his first all-star game in the arid air of Arizona. So seeing another midsummer classic come around is a sign that we're ready for another great year of bloggery. So, even though the mothership of sports media [*CouESPNgh!*] will poutingly proclaim that it's not a real All-Star Game because it doesn't really have all the best players, we're pretty pumped.

We're pumped because, it feels like this little blog really led to something. See, we started this blog because we were two friends, with a shared passion for the same baseball team and the same brand of nerdery. We've never aimed to be the Kingpins of the Twins blogosphere, just tried to carve out a little niche for our brand of silliness and fandom, and it seems that we've done that. But we've done other things too.

We've delved into baseball lore and history through Ken Burns' documentary and discovered a deep-rooted connection to the Pirates of Pittsburgh and Honus Wagner. We've gone to games in domes and the open air, in Milwaukee, St. Louis and Kansas City, and we're excited to go to more. We've found a whole society of people just as passionate and weird and fanatical as us (and some of them even agree with our whole Yankees = Vampires theory).

Through it all we'vebeen friends, and, as often happens with close friends who share common interests, passions and senses of humor we started to see one another as more than just friends. We had quasi-dates to ballgames and Twins Fest. Our first kiss happened near the end of the Baseball documentary. We've held hands during rallies and shared scotches after losses. So, after a courtship, dating, and an engagement, last weekend we got married in front of our friends and family. (Hence the absence of posts during the weekend...see told you that seemingly random sidenote would make sense eventually)

All in all it was a pretty great weekend. Sure, we were a little bummed that the one loss occurred on the day of our wedding (during our ceremony), but we assume this was because Joe Mauer suddenly realized he might end up being the old spinster of 2001 high school graduates, and Joe Nathan was bummed he couldn't have a slice of cake. And since they went right back to winning the next day, we trust our marriage will not impede the Twins play.

It's been wonderful to share our love of baseball with all of you readers for the last four years; almost as nice as it has been to discover our love for each other. Don't worry, we'll keep the quirky posts and quips coming...marriage might make us seem more adult, but baseball will always keep us young.
Peanuts pre-dating (9/2008) Peanuts 5 Days pre-wedding (7/2011)


What are we doing with the other 54?

If you're a baseball fan you're probably already familiar with two kinds of comments--the hyperbolic, and the cliche. If you want to see the hyperbolic just read a twitter feed with the "Twins" hashtag after yesterday's game and you'll see things like: "Season's over" and "Winning this series means nothing--we will get swept in Chicago", and more insults to Joe Mauer's manhood than there are lakes in this state.

While fans erupt in hyperbolic fury, players and coaches tend to rely on cliches to soothe the savage beasts and make things seem a little rosier. These are things we've all heard like "we gotta take them one day at a time", "they really battled their tails off out there", etc., etc., etc. These simple, familiar phrases that are at least partially true but are also so overused that eventually you ignore them all together lest your eyes start to bleed.

But cliches are part of baseball, and just because they're hackneyed doesn't mean they're wrong. Tom Kelly spouted one of my favorite cliches yesterday: "Every team's going to win 54 games, every team's going to lose 54 games, it's what you do with the other 54 that matters". Like all cliches it's partly true (in the past 50 years only four teams have lost fewer than 54 games, and 7 non-expansion teams have won fewer than 54), and since this year's Twins are neither as awesome as the '69 Baltimore Orioles nor as hapless as the '03 Detroit Tigers we can assume it will hold for our current season too. So I wondered, if I did the math could I see whether we should cling to the hope in that little cliche, or join the torch and pitchfork carriers?

So, let's look at the math in the Twins' record so far. Right now the Twins are 38-47. Of those 47 losses, 19 have been one-run losses; games where a different bounce a different call might have altered the play of the game enough to give us a win. Of course 18 of the wins have been one-run wins that might have gone the other way had an ump made a different decision. So let's say that these one-run games fall into the "What you do with the other 54" category.

Taking away the one run games the Twins are 20-28. Now we could put all those games in the "54 you're going to win/54 you're going to lose" categories, but that might be a little too simple (after all--some one-run games you're totally overwhelmed by a great pitcher, and some two or three run losses all pivot on a blown strike three call). But I think we can definitely put the blowouts (wins/losses of 5 runs or more) in these categories. The Twins have gone 10-16 in blow-outs, giving up 63 more runs than they score. So we've definitely got the "losing the 54 games you're supposed to lose" thing down; hopefully we'll figure out the other thing in the second half.

Take away the blowouts and the toss-ups and we have just 22 games left. The Twins are a nail-biting 10-12 in those games. For the sake of my argument (and considering that we gave up 12 more runs than we scored) let's say 7 of those games we won like we should have, and 8 we lost like we ought (I might be wrong...but how would anyone know?). The 7 games that could have gone either way seem to have broken 3-4 against us.

Tally it all up and we have cheered for 17 of the games we were bound to win; we've fallen in 24 of the games we were doomed to lose; and in the final 54? We've gone 21 and 23--leaving just 10 toss up games left. If we balance everything out from here on in, winning 37 that we're supposed to, losing 30 we're supposed to we'll be at 75-77.

If we can win our 10 remaining toss-up games will get to 85-77, not our best record, not a guaranteed play-off berth, but definitely a positive outcome for a team that floundered for the first two months. Maybe it's foolish to break the wins and losses into a silly cliche. Maybe I'm pulling these numbers out of my butt [okay, not maybe...definitely] but when I break down the numbers in this little corner of the blogosphere, there's no reason to turn off the games or bury the team just yet.

Hyperbole might be more fun to write than cliche; but honestly, Tom Kelly is probably right "you're going to win 54, you're going to lose 54, it's what you do with the 54 that matters".



If you saw our twitter feed yesterday (or on the right hand nav there) you'll see that we went to Target Field yesterday...and not just Target Field...an Event Suite in Target Field.
While this was probably a one time occurrence (unless a lottery ticket pays off or we write the great American novel in our spare time, it was absolutely amazing to sit back and soak up the joys of a day at the ballpark, with friends, family and 40,000 fellow fans. As if it wasn't enough to appreciate all that, we got to do it from an air conditioned box with plenty of hot dogs, complimentary popcorn and more cookies & brownies than even a rampaging horde of teenagers could consume.

This, my brother Simon would tell you is America at it's best. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Watching TC bounce around the field in his Uncle Sam gear, and cheering Brian Duensing's surprising shut-out (not to mention Danny & Cuddy's long-ball-a-palooza), left me to wonder...what would the founding fathers say [WWFFS] if they could see how we celebrate independence today?

Then I imagined this conversation in the seats around me:

George Washington: I cannot tell a lie! This is totally awesome!!
James Madison: True General! Who would have thought that our humble nation would expand thus westward, stretch yea skyward, and develop diversions so rapturous as to ensorscle the mind and senses?
Thomas Jefferson: I would have...I bought this place.
James Madison: Thomas, just because you bought Lousiana doesn't mean you bought...
Thomas Jefferson: Excuse me? I knew that our ever expanding populace would need more land to exercise their freedom and liberty. Therefore I purchased this land from Napoleon, therefore people explored and settled on it, therefore I am responsible for all of this awesomeness that you see...me...myself...I.
James Madison: But...
Thomas Jefferson: T-JEFF IN THE HOUSE!!!
George Washington: Who is that grandfatherly chap who keeps drinking milk on yon jumbotron? He exudes the fortitude of character and strong bones of natural leader.
Thomas Paine: That is Ronald Gardenhire, General. I should know...he is also a man of Common Sense! Ha HaHA! Ha.......Dost thou get my jest?!?
George Washington: Of course Thomas, but pray, don't be that dude, the Adamses are bad enough.
John Adams & Sam Adams: [Drunkenly staggering around] Red SAAWWWWXXXXX!!!! $*%& YOU DAMON!!! $*%&ING TRAITOR!!! BIG PAPI'D KICK YER AAAASSSSSSS!!!!!!!
John Adams: Get anudder beeeear Sammy.
Sam Adams: You get it...I made it...
John Adams: I was President...
Sam Adams: Yeah...fer just FOUR YEARS!! [John and Sam Adams start fighting]
George Washington: My but it's fun to watch that Revere lad run, wouldn't you say?
James Madison: Indeed sir, I wonder if he's any relation the Boston silversmith?
Thomas Paine: Unlikely James, Mr. Revere had an altogether different complexion
Thomas Jefferson: Yeah...they couldn't possibly be distantly related through forbidden love...
John & Sam Adams: Paul Revere's a #*%&!#_%&%!#%*^!@*&$^!@*%&
James Madison: OH MY! Did you see that play by Master Cuddyer! He leapt like an antelope and snared it with inestimable grace!
Thomas Jefferson: Indeed, it was rather impressive...though not quite as impressive as my invention of the dumbwaiter, which inspired the elevator which brought our fine catered meal to us this evening!
Thomas Paine: Thomas...
Thomas Jefferson: Do you doubt me? Have you forgotten that my quill coined the phrases that we honor this day? Have you forgotten that I begat the public university system from whence our youths have continuously developed their wisdom and the architectural schema of this very coliseum? What have you done to led our nation to this moment, T-Paine, other than write a dull pamphlet and invent auto-tuning?
Thomas Paine: Actually...that was the other T-Pain.
Thomas Jefferson: I thought so...now if you'll excuse me...[walks towards next box] Hello ladies, you can call me T-Jeff, what digits might I use to call you?
James Madison: It's okay, Thomas, you know T-Jeff...he's...well...
Ben Franklin: He certainly is. Now come men, you should eat more of these fine Hessian sausages. I had expected more Francophile cuisine to survive through the ages. But apparently the French, like my aphorisms, stink after 200 hundred years or so. What say you General Washington?
George Washington: I swear this Thome fellow used to deliver my morning news when he was a lad!

In case it's not clear from this rather silly set of dialogue, I'm a big nerd who not only loves baseball but also American history, and gently ribbing the founding fathers (they didn't want to be kings or nobles, I think they'd allow it).