A Game of Cold Weather and Hot Stoves Part III

Lately I've enjoyed toying with the idea of Game of Thrones mastermind George RR Martin would write about key events in the baseball offseason. With the Twins more or less moribund this time of year, it's the best way I can think of to be writing and giggling to myself. (More of the same are available at the sporting outpost Simon and I have set up [http://mackenzielowbudgetsports.tumblr.com/] including the Robinson Cano/Jay-Z Fanfic you've all be waiting for)

This week, George RR Martin writes the Masahiro Tanaka signing

The flickering of the fire off the pin-stripe cloaks armor was inspiring. It glittered and danced most dangerously, reminding all assembled for the royal audience that the king was both wealthy and powerful...and surrounded by a bunch of guys who could kill you just as soon as look at you.

But something made Ser Ivyn uneasy. He had been raised for this, a younger son of an average house he had no claim to property or title, and knew that his only way to survive in this world was to become handy with a sword and set of daggers, learning to hurl and spin them with deadly accuracy, leaving all those under his charge well guarded from the unwashed masses of humanity that hurl insults and feces with equal relish. 

His focus and dedication led him to the highest court in the land, at Yank's Landing, and earned him the noble title of Ser like many of his boyhood heroes: Ser Myke the Wise, Ser Andrew the Unaging, and Ser Rouger the One with Bacne and an Attitude Problem. Ser Ivyn was proud of all he had done, but, still uneasy.

After all, the recent unrest around Yank's Landing had made the King unpredictable, seeking far and wide for sellswords to add to the King's Guard. Some had made themselves invaluable, like Ser SeeSea, but all too often the king ignored the long nurtured, doubtlessly loyal knights (Ser Filip or Ser Jabba), leaving Ser Ivyn forever uncertain about his own future. 

Now there was a special welcome for Ser Teneka, who had been specially sailed across the wide and roaring seas to Yank's Landing. So great was the threat of the insurgents around him that the King sought out the greatest knights in all the world to protect him. And yet, thought Ser Ivyn, how long could you trust a sellsword to remain true? What was to prevent him from turning against you, as Roby had done just months before, vowing that he would be the King in his own way and galloping away with Ser Hova at his side.

There was danger afoot, and Ser Ivyn was uneasy. 

Let me talk about that some more for about 40 more pages without any other events actually happening...


A-Rod's Latest Venture

Last Week, NPRs Comedy/News/Quiz show "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" offered this final question: "Now that he's banned from baseball for a year, what will Alex Rodriguez do next?" While I am by no means a PJ O'Rourke, Luke Burbank or Faith Sailey, this is my answer:

Volume 1 of "The Magical Game Saga" by Alex Rodriguez 

The following galley excerpt reflects the tone of Alex's authorial voice as he goes where pretty much every celebrity goes during their down time these days--into the highly lucrative world of fantasy/paranomal romance/adventure

Jessica's chest heaved as she beheld the gleaming, muscular chestnut bodies of the mighty stallions standing before her. Because, chicks dig horses...d'uh.

But these were no normal horses, they were stronger, more powerful and more exquisite than any horse breed Jessica had seen before. And atop each beautiful equine frame was the rippling muscles of a finely defined torso, with human arms and a human face. Because, chicks dig dudes more than horses...double d'uh.

Anyway, Jessica Cameron's eyes beheld these centaurs as they played the greatest, sexiest game ever: Baseball. And they played it, majestically, marvelously, with a grace and flair that had never been seen by human eyes before. And her eyes landed on one centaur in particular, that incredibly handsome boy next door, Alex. The one whose very presence in the hallways made the girls swoon, and Cameron Kate in particular go all weak in the knees.

He turned and saw her. Kate's heart skipped a beat. She turned to run back through the forest, terrified that they would charge her, threaten her, banish her from their beautiful presence forever. But as she ran through the stand of trees she heard the swift clatter of hooves behind her. Without daring to look back, she plunged ahead, until a scattering of leaves on the forest floor made her stop short to see that Alex had out run her...because he had the legs and strength of a horse...so he was like, super fast and stuff.

"You shouldn't have come," Alex said.

"I'm sorry," Kate Torrie muttered, "I just wanted--"

"It's okay, I'm glad you did," Alex told her, "we need your help."

"What?" She asked, her eyes glowing up at him, revering his muscles and beauty like the man-horse-god he truly was.

"Our way of life is threatened, Torrie Fill-in-blank-with-Current-Girlfriends-Name-Here. We Centaurs are a noble race. All we want to do is show humanity the full limits of their potential. We survive and thrive on a special delicacy of the forests, known as the Gummi Bears."

"Gummi Bears?"

"Bouncing here and there, and everywhere. Yes. They are the Gummi Bears. But the wicked troll king of our forest, named Se-lug, has banned all mystical creatures from eating Gummies, even though we totally didn't eat them, but if we did they only helped us reach our best, and who is he to judge anyway, he made millions of dollars off us before, but I don't care, I'm totally above it all, so, whatever you know."

"Totally," she said.

They were in love.

***Twi-Night will--God willing-never be available ever***


Best. Present. Ever.

5 years ago, I got a special birthday present from my fellow Twins blogger and long time friend: tickets to Twins Fest at the Metrodome. I was pretty darned pumped to go, both because it was Twins fest and because I had a serious crush on her.

The Twins had just completed a surprisingly effective 2008 campaign and we had every reason for optimism going into 2009, and all kinds of excitement for the impending move to Target Field in just one year. We went. We met Gardy. We found out the Jesse Crain is a heckuva nice guy and we perused all kinds of various kiosks hocking a wide array of baseball paraphernalia.

At one of those stalls a vendor implied that my friend out to get me something. Not because we said it was my birthday celebration, but because he thought we were a couple.

We both laughed a little awkwardly and randomly changed the subject. I laughed awkwardly because, like I said, I was sweet on her. I didn't realize that her having the same reaction could well mean that she had the same feelings for me.

Fortunately, she was able to piece those two thoughts together. A few weeks later, thanks to her, we had "the talk". A few days after that we actually went on some honest to goodness "dates", and before long we realized there was no need to worry about scheduling the next date.

5 years later, we still care for each other, we still care about the Twins, and while we haven't been back to Twins Fest, it is where I got the best present ever.

Enjoy Twins fest, you never know what kind of great things you'll find there.


The Ken Burns Test

In one week, the Hall of Fame will announce who (if anyone) was elected to Cooperstown. There are a privileged few who get to vote for those hallowed halls, but just because most bloggers don't have a say, doesn't mean we can't use our blogs to have a say about literally everything else, including silly little exercises in analyzing Hall of Fame voting.

Last year I offered an economist's sense of how to vote in order to maximize your ballot. This year, as I continue to avoid numbers at all costs, I offer a simpler eye test, or rather a simpler eye and ear test. Theoretically, a Hall of Famer should be a player so exceptional or transcendent that we want to remember them for years to come. Film director Ken Burns has shown many such exceptional/transcendent players in his epic 11 part, 22 hour saga of the game's history. So, theoretically, if a player and their accomplishments sound impressive in Ken Burns black and white tones with tinkling patriotic music and a rich baritone voice over, the player is worthy of consideration.

And so I present: The Ken Burns Test.

Based on that little exercise I feel like I'd be voting for Bonds, Clemens (grudgingly), Maddux, Piazza, Bagwell, Biggio, Mussina, Schilling and Morris (irrationally), which leaves one spot open for the underrepresented--even by me--Tim Raines.

Who would get your vote? Leave a note in the comments below