Adopt a Prospect II.5: Never Give Up, Never Surrender

This is the final installment of our inconsistent series attempting to motivate Luis Perdomo who was today, released by the Rochester Redwings and Minnesota Twins

Good luck, Luis
To most that would sound like a defeat, like the baseball gods are telling you--none too kindly--to get out of the way and not let the door hit you where the good lord split you.

It's sad, but true Luis. You're 29 playing on a team where the average pitcher's age is 26 and a half. You're having one of the two worst seasons in your eight year career. You've only pitched twice in the last two weeks...and not particularly well either time.

It's pretty clear that you have been defeated, Luis. But while that would be the end of the conversation for many people (particularly those in a highly competitive field like professional athletics), that is not the way of those who follow our motivational seminar: De-Restraining the Force Inside You!

So don't give up, Luis. Don't surrender. Keep trying to do what you love. If it's still baseball, by all means keep trying to make your way into a baseball line-up. Keep pitching, or hitting, or take up coaching. Few players who take up baseball ever make it to the Major Leagues, and you did. While it makes sense for someone your age, with your recent track record to give up on baseball, if you want to keep dong it you really should.

If you want to do something else, then by all means, do that, and no matter how many opportunities you have to give up or surrender, please keep working at it until you have the success you desire.

It's not often that a blog writer gets so worked up about the release of a middling middle reliever in AAA. Or that he genuinely hopes said middling middle reliever finds true happiness. But following the career of Luis Perdomo over the last two years taught me precisely this same lesson. Writing about a player who has worked assiduously to do his best, to elevate himself back up to the major leagues reminded me of some of the things I love best about baseball.

It would have been easy to give up writing this blog when the Twins sank into last place. It would have been easy to surrender to the truth that the players I write about and care about aren't terribly exciting, or even all that good, and that my time is better spent elsewhere.

But Luis Perdomo kept pitching, and I kept writing. I'm glad I wrote about him. I'm glad I've continued to write this blog. And I hope that he keeps doing what he loves, just as I'll keep doing what I love.

Never give up, Luis; never surrender.


Dog Days: It's Okay for Puppies to Lose

Hi again humans.

I am Sidney, and I am blogging for my humans. Why you ask? My humans are frustrated with the Twins. They lose and lose, they say. My humans even argue over how much the Twins will lose, which is kind of silly because even if one of my humans win...they will watch the Twins lose.

When my hairy human takes me in the car (which I hate so much it makes me vomit in fury), he presses a button and we hear the voices of other people talking about the Twins...and how much they lose. Every voice seems to sound the same: very sad. Are all you Twins fans very sad about losing? Are all you Twins fans very sad when you need to talk about the Twins?

You shouldn't be. And I know one of you isn't.  Once in the evil car, I heard a human say "We could talk about the Twins," while two humans went "NO" in the sad voice that follows me peeing on the carpet. But one human went "Yay!" I like that human. I think he is a geek. But I like him just the same.
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I didn't even have my teeth
on it...rookie mistake.

It is okay to lose. Take it from me, I used to lose every time I played tug with my humans. For years! I brought them my toy and they pulled it away no matter how hard I held on to it. Then they threw it...like they didn't even want the toy in the first place! Why take my toy if you don't want to keep it?!? (Ugh...my humans are dumb sometimes.) So I go get the toy and bring it back to ask them, then they try to take it again...only to throw it again!!

My humans are surprised that I keep playing this game. But it is because I lost so many times that I started to find ways to win! I learned from my losses. If I wag the toy in front of the hairy human, he misses grabbing it, and I can run away to chew it elsewhere! If I flop in front of the pretty human after she takes the toy, she drops it and starts petting me...WINNER!

Good boy, Pedro!
*Side note: I very much want to play tug and fetch with Pedro Florimon. He throws things like my humans. But he also chases them like me. He would make a very good playing partner. His Total Zone Runs Saved above Average is 4th best in all of baseball! My humans do not even make the list of players in baseball. They are not as good as Pedro. If I could just grow opposable thumbs, Pedro Florimon and I would play together all day long!*

It is sad that the Twins are losing. But because they lose I think that they will soon be able to win! They are basically a team of puppies. Puppies do not immediately win every game of tug, young players do not immediately win championships.

Some people say they are mad that the Twins are not trying to win. They are not playing good players! They are not hiring good players! I understand. You pay money. You want to see good things. But just think of the players as puppies. I think the human gnome man who manages the Twins already thinks of them this way. He calls them by puppy names! If "Gibby" struggles, it's okay, he's just learning. If "Hicksy" can't hit, it's okay, he's just learning. If "Oswaldo-y" drops a ball, it's okay, he's just learning

Now imagine 8 more of me
at Target Field!
Sure, you can go out and buy already trained dogs who will win games of tug and always go fetch and win many blue ribbons for prettiness. But they cost a lot of money and so you can probably only buy one or two. BUT! You could always buy a bunch of little puppies and train them to win games of tug and go fetch and look pretty all the time. Plus, you get to see puppies. And puppies are cute.

Like me.

So be like the Geeky human in the car. Cheer for the puppies! They will learn! You will be proud!



Dog Days: You Guys are Weird

Hello again.

I am Sidney the Dog. And I am writing the August posts for my humans. They are training to run 10 miles. They are weird.

I have noticed that many humans are weird. If you are a human who is reading this, think about it. (But if you are a cat on a human's lap reading this...HEY! STOP BEING A CAT!! BE A DOG!!! DOGS ARE BETTER!!!)

Anyway, think about it: you humans look at a number of glowy things all day long. You watch them very carefully and the things on them make you laugh and cry and shout things. That seems weird. I don't laugh or cry or shout...well except at cats (HEY CAT READING THIS!! I SAID STOP BEING A CAT!!). My humans say it's wierd I pee on so many things...but what is weirder: getting emotional over things on glowy boxes or using urine to claim ownership of things you care about?

You humans don't show you care about things by peeing on them...you show it by being emotional. You care about eachother. You care about what you see on the glowy things. And you care about fluffy things like me. You are loyal to things you love. Thats why my humans are always together, and why they watch their glowy things even when it makes them mad or makes them cry, and why they pet me even after I pee on their carpets*.

*(I just wanted to make sure any visiting dog knows that I own the carpet. Just to make sure no one takes it away. It's a good carpet. And it is mine.)

Justin Morneau...who is not as cute as me
My humans are loyal to the Twins too. My lady human likes Justin Morneau very much.  She whoops when he hits home runs and says "it's okay" when he strikes out. Sometimes, when my hairy human is not around, she says he is cute. But she says I am the cutest. So that's okay.

But she is very nervous. She says she hopes Justin does not get traded. I don't understand trading. Why would you send something you like away for something new. I would never "trade" my carpet. It is a good carpet, and I have marked it as mine.

But my hairy human says it would be okay if they traded Justin to some place he could win. He wants Justin to do well and says Justin cannot do it with the Twins right now. And trading Justin, he says, will help the Twins later. He likes Justin too, so he wants Justin to be happy.

I suppose if my carpet wanted to go somewhere else I would let it. But c'mon...it's a carpet...it just lies there being soft and easy to sleep on and smelling like me.

You humans care so much about so many things. I only care about the things I pee on. And the things I chew on. And my humans. And the humans my humans care about...I guess I care about a lot of things too. I guess I am weird too.

I know that lots of the humans who write these baseball blog things, write about the good and the bad about trading the Twins. I don't know about that. I'm just a little puppy. I suppose a starting left hander with upside in A Ball (probably between 19 and 21) and/or an upper level corner infielder with an established glove (no less than +5 UZR rating over the last two-three seasons to mentor Sano and others) would be ideal, if a little wishful given the market restraints and the limited time remaining in the season. But what do I know? I'm just a little puppy.

I know that as much as humans who like baseball can dream about trades, none of us will make a trade happen (especially me, because I am a dog). Just because you think about it does not make you not care about players you have always liked, and just because you worry that the trade will happen does not make you not care about the team getting better.

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Will accept trade offers for
the human on the right
You care about things, and you think about giving up the things you care about. You guys are weird. I would never trade my humans. I care about them, and they care about me, and we are all weird together.

Though, I suppose...if any blogger wants my hairy human and is willing to trade me three months worth of steaks and my own personal extra comfy carpet...I may be willing to reconsider that...it better not have another dog's pee on it though.

Bye for now...I'm going to lie on my carpet.

Sidney the Dog


Dog Days: The Ideal Offense

Hello Humans...my name is Sidney. I am a dog. I am going to write some blog posts this month.

My humans normally write this blog thingy about baseball and good stuff. But lately they've been all tired and stuff. They get up and run many miles while I sleep on the porch. They work on things like spreadsheets and lesson plans while I sleep on the couch. They clean up the house and and read lots of books and cook tasty foods while I sleep on...well..anything they aren't cleaning or reading on.

That leaves very little time for baseball watching, and even less time for baseball writing. The hairy human calls these "the dog days of August..." So I guess they are days for me to pick up the slack!

I like baseball. It is a chance to eat food that my humans drop and sit next to them for three hours of uninterrupted petting. I also like watching the humans on the screen. They run and run and run...like me! They chase balls lots and lots...like me! They are capable of amazing feats of strength and power.

I am fluffy.

But I would rather be fluffy than be strong.

I think the Twins would be better if they balanced strongness with fluffiness.

Think about it. If you hit the ball over the fence then you cannot chase it anymore. It's gone. Behind every wall are gnomes and pixies and things that are playing with the ball. I can smell them. They are bad. The Twins should keep the ball on their side of the wall so they can keep playing with it. If it hits off the wall than the Twins get to run and run, and the other teams have to run and run.

I know that the power is a good thing and it helps the Twins to win the games that make so many humans happy. But if all you have is power, then you don't have other good things, like speed and fluffiness!

Atta Human, Brian!
So they should hit some home runs but not only home runs. They should be like the strongest, fluffiest person I know: Brian Dozier. He is an inspiration to us all. Sometimes strong, but always fluffy. Of course, a .726 OPS is not that impressive, but it is marginally above the second base average for the league and shows signs of improvement that may continue in coming years. Also his hair is fluffy. He is my favorite.

Okay, my human is looking for someone to play tug-of-war with. I am going to beat him this time. For I am strong and fluffy. I am the Brian Dozier of the Dog World.

Bye for now humans. Enjoy the dog days

Sidney the Dog


Alex Rodriguez: Baseball's A-Hole Boyfriend

Is that a match or a cup of tea?
I've always been a bit of a softie when it comes to athletes in trouble. I rooted for Nick Blackburn and Tsuyoshi Nishioka to make a comeback when they were as unpopular as they could possibly be, I defended Joe Mauer through the public vitriol that surrounded his last two underwhelming seasons (I even still like Johan Santana despite his recent troubles). It took me a long time to even acknowledge that favorite players from my youth (like Mark McGwire) could be cheating, and once they were I found ways to appreciate their performances despite it all.

So I may seem an unlikely person to say this, but: I want Alex Rodriguez to lose every-damn-thing he has.

Ideally this would be Pete Rose territory. Done for life, reduced to lurking on the fringes of the game, a cautionary tale for all the players who follow.

The 300 Million? I want it given back to the Rangers and Yankees for gross misappropriation--after all somebody who breaks rules has fundamentally stolen from their employer. (Holy cow, I can't believe I want the Yankees to get money back...)

The 3 MVPs? Take them back, mark them void, send him on an apology tour to the homes or clubhouses of every player he cheated his way past in the record books, every player he pushed to join him in using, every player he blocked from a major league debut and the pride of that achievement.

The pull he had over the media (from self-aggrandizing interviews to popcorn-feeding-gate) for the better part of a decade? Ask the media to announce his ban and then refuse him any chance to explain himself. Shut his ass out and give him a national cold shoulder. (Should be particularly painful for a man so insecure and self-obsessed as Rodriguez).
I feel gross even posting this
Why am I picking on A-Rod? Why berate him, while acknowledging that I can see a case for Bonds, Sosa, McGwire and Clemens in the hall of fame? Why dream up punishments that are totally unfeasible particularly when there's no chance to enact them? Why vent some spleen all over his head while ignoring the frustrations of players on the team I actually care about?

To be honest, I'm not totally sure. Anger doesn't help anything: what's done is done and shouting about it doesn't change what happened.

The depths of his cheating are no worse and no better than those of Bonds et. al. Bud Selig's not about to satisfy my personal whims. And what befalls a delusional multi-millionaire has little effect on other things I worry about (my family, my friends and Oswaldo Arcia's maturation at the plate).

I think ultimately the reason I'm so mad about A-Rod is because I feel personally defrauded.

Like I said, I'm a softie. So when he admitted to using before, I was let down but encouraged by the thought that he would admit a mistake and let us all start fresh. I didn't really want him to break any records, but if he could just move on with some dignity and class, I would appreciate the chance to beat him fairly and squarely.

I wasn't driving the "Forgive and Forget" bandwagon, but I was all for sweeping the ugly incident under the rug and moving on with life. I wasn't going to attend games with chants or sneers or crude signage, I was just going to shake my head and applaud when a Twins pitcher made him look silly.

A-Rod with his one true love
But I was lied to. We were all lied to. Asked to believe that he was more than he is, that he means more than he does, to give him a measure of courtesy that he certainly doesn't feel that average people are entitled to ("I'm going to keep lying to you, you just pretend like you don't mind it")

Alex Rodriguez is baseball's A-hole boyfriend. He cheated on us...twice. He stole our money and spent it on his own obscene comfort.

This isn't Nick Blackburn and Tsuyoshi Nishioka hurting a team by playing poorly; this isn't Joe Mauer or Johan Santana cashing a large paycheck while hurt; this isn't a player who tried and failed despite their best efforts to play well or stay healthy.

This is a player who knowingly and willfully misled a large group of fans, executives and teammates for his own gain....twice. This is a player who knew what he was doing was against the rules and proceeded to do it anyway...twice. This is a person who hurt those who watch, those who play, those who earn their living from a game he supposedly "loves", and who expects us all to let him do it.

Alex Rodriguez is baseball's a-hole boyfriend. Using us, abusing us, insisting that he'll change and that he should be trusted in spite of a god awful track record. I can forgive those who make an effort. I can forgive those who have bad luck. I can forgive those who make a mistake...even if it takes them way too long to admit it.

But I refuse to tolerate, defend or ignore reprehensible behavior. Anger doesn't change that behavior...but it is an honest reaction to it.

Hmmm...honesty....something our a-hole boyfriend might want to try.