Monday, September 23, 2013

free at last

Tom Kelly, when he says no call Paul Molitor, if he says no call Gary Gaetti, say you somehow get the cheese past the rat call Dougie Baseball, and should he prefer the high life on ice on Fort Myers Beach, and who could blame him, well then drop a dime and ask for A.J. Pierzynski. There you have it, my blurred vision of a Twins future I hope to be a part of as I sign off from my foray into the societal depths of the blog world. Ron Gardenhire's contract is finally up and either resolution - renewal or dismissal - spells the end of this site's purpose. I did what I could for the cause the rest is in God's hands and absent his, some other benevolent entity whom I've fallen out of favor with will settle Gardy's fate so I might as well use this occasion to throw one last dirty forkball at far easier targets. Ron Gardenhire was never an easy target, most Minnesotans love a mindless mascot. In retrospect, after being schooled for 15 years by Tom Kelly, I probably had unrealistic expectations. TK set the bar high, that's what I know about Twins baseball but I digress....To the GM of the Washington Nationals: may you annually come close but never reach the NLDS again. You know what you did. To Chase Headley: you hit .286 with 31 HR's and 115 RBI's last year while getting to play in paradise. I can't imagine that San Diego life cashing for millions yet after the season the unfairness of playing in Petco Park weighed heavily on your mind, telling reporters "...but I feel the overall goal should be for it to play fair for pitchers and hitters and since its been built it hasn't been fair to hitters" (mlb.com 10/22/12). And so the stadium retracted - the Padres retracted the one F'n asset that made them competitive but surely Chase could play the role of bigger asset given smaller dimensions to overcome? As of 9/23/13, 494 at bats, .243 with 13 HR's and 45 RBI's, and don't let those #'s fool you 5 of those HR's came during a meaningless September. My wish for you is to be dealt to Boston where for the rest of your career you wont be able to take your eyes off Pesky's Pole yet never get it up near it again. To Joe Girardi I am eternally grateful, for proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that there are primates on this planet I prefer Gardy to. I would take another decade of Ron Gardenhire over six months with both sides of your mouth, one explaining "that element of human error in the game" after a Joe Mauer extra inning ALDS double nowhere near the chalk is stolen in the Bronx, just another victim of Yankee Stadium mystique, the other drooling onto microphones three Octobers later after a judgment call at 2nd base during game 2 of the 2012 ALCS costs you a potential run during a contest in which the Tigers shut you out 3 - 0,  "Lets have instant replay...I am not saying we win the game, I am not saying that...but in this day and age there is too much at stake and the technology is available. That's what our country has done. We have evolved technology to make things better." (espn.com 10/14/12). I can only imagine how many concussions he's suffered but the severity of the hemorrhage didn't become fully apparent until this August when he publicly chastised fans on the south side of Chicago, where they'll slap a tag-team beat down on opposing first base coaches, for mildly cheering when A-Fraud's elbow was grazed by an inside pitch near the belt, after a 3 - 2 loss to the White Sox "...there's something wrong with that, I often think that it starts from the adults and if it was their child would they want them to be hit? Because the kids will only repeat what the adults do." (espn.com 8/6/13). You know what I take back that primate comment, I was giving you way too much credit. That quote alone qualifies you to run things in New York where they ban 16 ounce sodas but allow the guy who shot John Lennon in the back 4 times conjugal visits. To the Kansas City Royals (14 & 5 vs the 2013 MN Twins) welcome back to the Division. It's been awhile. I'm unable to conjure up any childhood memories of Royals beating up on me other than 4th of July's when I felt most pumped up & patriotic only to be torn apart by the awful spectacle of the alleged rebels of American tennis bowing before the freaks in Wimbledon's royal box an annual degradation lasting a fortnight. As long as I'm east of the pond I might as well attack the people of France. Congratulations, National League hitters could never square up Christy Mathewson (lifetime 2.13 ERA) but you found a way, paving the path to his eventual death at age 45 after he found himself in Paris rather than the ballpark, inhaling not barbeque but mustard gas, because once again you couldn't put up a fight against your comparably sized neighbor. Get me back on American soil, we don't make the same mistake twice, right? Anyone? Well I know at the very least Steve Bartman wouldn't, other than him I give no man the benefit of the doubt. To the fans who continually reach into fair & foul territory for a foreign-made baseball while their hometown team is in the field: may you be forced to compete between innings in those giant-head races, winner can go back to his padded seat, loser is spotlight ushered out of the stadium in costume. I never want to leave the ballpark so I'm not a threat but I do have demands of the executives who run MLB's Xtra Innings package. Dear Sirs, you have a dream job in baseball but I'll bet more than a few of you on Fall weekends exchange some of your casino, liquor and lottery money for great seats to college football games. Now imagine you look forward to one particular game per year and when you arrive Matt Millen is sitting nearby and he doesn't stop explaining the game to you for 3 1/2 hours.That's 210 minutes for you to weigh the pros & cons of either jumping from the stadium's highest point or ending up at Penn State for aggravated assault. Are you telling me the technology doesn't exist to allow the television viewer the option of a purely stadium feed where I get crowd noise & the public address announcer. Just give me freedom of choice, I'm willing to pay for the service, naturally. That reminds me, I'm also in the market for a TV screen saver, you know like waves crashing against a beach, that disappears when the game resumes. Live action - network feed leaves the stadium - screen saver - and we are back. Just think little kids everywhere would never again have to ask a parent about the baby boomer in the commercial with a 4 hour erection and the implications of that cohort sinking us all. I got off track there I was trying to say that we all have Matt Millen's in our own lives (sometimes 3 of them are jammed into a booth at the same time leaving only enough room for 1 box of saltines) so please just add $20 to my monthly cable bill and make it happen. While my wallet's out here's twenty more, sign me up for the VIP Xtra Innings package which provides me with 2, and only 2, operational cameras in the ballpark. The center field camera is obviously trained on the pitcher as he throws through the duration of the crack of the bat. At that point the camera behind home plate takes over and remains in control after the result of the pitch is over. I want to see the infield and what depth they're at - where's the hole to be found - is the outfield shallow, shaded or playing prevent defense back at the track. Finally the pitcher, having just jerked off a rosin bag for a full minute, gets near the rubber at which point the chimp in the control booth switches cameras. Rinse. Repeat. I know what you're thinking, oh come on you're just trying to wish away the fans near the dugouts who wave every time their cell phone tells them to, and you're right wishing them away wont make it happen but the 2 camera option is the next best thing and again I'm willing to pay heavily for it. All this talk of debt drives me in desperation toward California. La-La Land where they pray to a tooth fairy but really anyone's spare change will do, so before my piggy bank slides off the shelf with them the least I could do is tape a few nickels inside a get well soon card and mail it to the GM and the owner in Anaheim who was crippled by him (physically by Albert Pujols, mentally by Josh Hamilton, and spiritually by Joe Blanton). Best wishes for a speedy recovery from your man-made disaster but if I never hear from you again I'll understand. What's beyond comprehension lies just to the west in Chavez Ravine where somehow they've come to terms with a Yankee captain managing the Dodgers. Wasn't it only three months ago that Don Mattingly was the 1 idiot in a sea of 50,000 willing to hand the ball to Brandon League in 9th inning save situations. He did it voluntarily and he did it repeatedly even when he was fully aware that each game could be his last. You could feel the tension in the stadium and not just from the upper deck fan on fan violence. Everyone had moved on from Brandon except the guy being paid for his instincts. At game number 64 while nine games under .500 the Don boldly turned to Kenley Jansen and before the credits could roll he rode off into an October sunset, silver horseshoe squarely up his ass, taking with him the last of my desire to ever write about a big league manager again & countless gold gloves that he stole from Kent Hrbek during the 80's.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

8/1/2013

Like a foul bird summoned to hover around my neck, my first ultimatum to serve as a juror arrived in the junk mail threatening me, not with spiritual retribution, but criminal sanctions should I fail to respond to their questionnaire and then appear at the appointed hour. Can't you see I'm smack dab in the middle of prosecuting the case against the Minnesota manager? Summon me in the winter, you have 8 months to choose from, my time in the ballpark is fast fading. Now, as I was telling my jury please direct your attention to Exhibit F the starting lineup of the team from New York which swept us on July the 4th. Wait, not just any sweep, a 4 game sweep at home, also known as an albatross. 8 Ichiro, 7 Almonte, 4 Cano, DH Hafner, 9 Wells, 3 Overbay, 6 Cruz, 5 Gonzalez, 2 Romine, Starting Pitcher - David Phelps. Oh, and off the record simply as a bonus question to waste additional time in an American courtroom, which of those 9 hitters do you intentionally walk with 1st base open and runners on 2nd & 3rd? If you answered Robinson Cano congratulations you're smarter than Ron Gardenhire, select company indeed. The pain of that horribly scripted independence day (a farce starring unknown Yankees who seize our beloved Twinkies flirting with .500 & drag them toward a fate ten under) stayed with me well into the all-star break where I burned further in Flushing's inner circle, a regrettable venue which only became memorable during the post-game MVP presentation when interim commissioner Bud Selig slid head first into an unsolicited grope of Mariano Rivera, a steamy breach of office etiquette leaving what remains of Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis' crumbling body to slowly turn over and over then over again.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

7/3/2013

Oh the pain of pissing away the A.L. Central, or is that a kidney stone, nope it's the A.L. Central. I assumed history books have shown it's well within anyone's reach to lay siege to Detroit yet some perverse modern legend exists (Sporting News 2013 Baseball pre-season edition, page 48 "Tigers: the division should be a formality, just as it should have been last season") that they're some kind of untameable beast destined to overwhelm the thought process. I think its the same Tiger team which just one year ago trailed the wretched White Sox by 3 with 15 to go. Where have they improved? Max Scherzer's push forward, impressive though it may be, has clearly been mitigated by Verlander's regression poor Justin unable to lay a solid ace upon the table since Kate Upton. But those in the know insist they remain the team to beat so I rode out to Target Field to pay mid-June homage to little caesar's greasy buffet and all I got for my money was Rick Porcello, Anibal Sanchez (placed on IR after game 2) and Doug Fister. That's what the Tigers, a team with no defense or bullpen, threw at us over a 3 game series.Concede to that? Is anyone under the impression that ragged back-end has a combined career winning percentage over 50? As I write this it stands at .4863013 and more disturbing is the fact that Rick Porcello & his lifetime ERA of 4.63 has the best record of the three (Porcello 52 - 48, Sanchez 54 - 56, Fister 36 - 46). Concession speeches should never be made they demean us all and so does any notion implying any title is automatic especially after I watched them leave Minneapolis and stagger back to what remains of Detroit for a 10 game home stand (6/17 - 6/27) where twice the length of their vaunted rotation gave up 64 runs in a pitcher-friendly ballpark proving once again that like Ron Gardenhire the best thing going for them is the unbalanced schedule. The White Sox have no future, no present and their past is shady. The Royals seem intent upon never growing up. And win or lose it will always stink in the city of Cleveland. It's the black & blue division where we reside and every year that goes by I feel myself sinking a little bit deeper into it, a semi-vegetable state from which I can no longer see an escape.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Allow me to update last month's eulogy for the 14 pine trees no longer buried beyond Target Field's center field wall before I proceed with show & tell the jury details of new evidence in the case against the current Twins manager as it's been brought to my attention that the offending trees "...swayed in the wind along with the shadows they cast caused problems for several hitters on the Twins and other teams" (AP, 1/28/11). Yes, saplings sway, it took the associated press to break that story. If only they had told us sooner we could have carved out all that lush space in the batter's eye to pimp lottery tickets or spiced rum either a bottomless revenue pit  as opposed to the steep price one must pay to water and preserve a tree. But there will be plenty of time to sink into horticulture later, right now I'd rather present Exhibit Z which comes from May of 2013 when the Twins lost ten in a row. Only 3 times in the existence of the Minnesota Twins have they lost more than 10 straight (1982 - 14, 1961 - 13, 2011 - 11). It's not easy to do, check our lineups & rotations from 1994 to 1999, they couldn't do it yet Ron Gardenhire with twice the talent now owns 2 of the 4 longest streaks in history. Mid-May's week & a half derailment almost threatened hope itself for a .500 record and the playoff contention that comes with it (1 out of every 3 teams get in) fortunately the same old brewers from Milwaukee arrived on the scene at exactly the right moment for the 2013 Twins to catch their collective breath then foment resistance to a sub .500 fate. Game 2 in particular of the 4 game sweep may have single-handedly salvaged the season due to the rarest of sightings under Gardenhire's watch, a leadoff double successfully bunted to third scored the winning run on a 1 out sacrifice fly. I got emotional that night. I began to wonder if it was Gardy's first time. I mean it took until the top of the 14th inning two months into his 12th year on the job, but it happened. It brought a tear to my eye, not only because it was like seeing an old friend after a decade apart but I'd forgotten just how beautiful she could be.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

I haven't been this disturbed by an omen at the beginning of a baseball season since 2011 when 14 young pine trees planted just beyond the center field wall were dug up & summarily disposed upon the sacrificial altar of the almighty hitter - in case you missed that day in Marketing class allow me to paraphrase what I was taught which is that altar of offense must be fed in order to prod the ticket-buying masses toward pacification lest they become frightened away by pitching duels - but just yesterday I heard about the For Sale sign on the lawn in front of manager Ron Gardenhire's house in Little Canada. Where are you going Gardy? Concerned with your job status? Why? Don't you know the bar has now been set so low after the worst back to back seasons in franchise history that a mere 77 wins could easily earn you a contract extension. Win 82 & they'll throw you a ticker tape parade along the streets of the L.C. as you depart in your moving van in search of 6 month leases elsewhere in the metro area. Why sell now when there's no place to go but up? How could fortunes not improve in Twins Territory after Gardenhire was finally forced to lobotomize his Ullger, Vavra & Liddle brain trust so that his senses might be buffered by coaches who not only played major league baseball but experienced post-season success. Good Lord for the first time since 2001, I can look into the Twins dugout and breathe again....Terry Steinbach is our bench coach....Tom Brunansky is our hitting coach....this must be a very confusing time for Gardy who I suspect relied upon the premise that by surrounding himself with a crew full of Gilligans, his status as skipper would be less likely to come into question. Actually, it was more like Gilligan, the Professor from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, and Lovey the Stop Sign. But enough about the boat that sank, I was trying to convey that I'm in a positive state of mind after said lobotomy. It also doesn't hurt that power pitching-arms can be seen on the horizon (assuming Gardenhire doesn't get frustrated by the temperamental fire-ballers and lobby the GM to ship 'em off to Tampa Bay in exchange for Delmon Young). The storm appears to be over. The skipper did not go down with the ship, so where would he be going now? Gardy, I suggest you reconsider home ownership in Minnesota, and this coming from the one guy sworn to assist in your removal from Target Field. Maybe it's time for me to finally acknowledge that you do possess managing skills - 12 straight playoff losses - 195 losses over the last two seasons - a career managerial record of 9 & 35 at Yankee Stadium - and yet there you are still scurrying down the anchor chain and finding dry land on which to cash massive checks, while I remain eternally bitter that my stagnant disposable income slowly flows in the opposite direction toward the Pohlad estate. Faced with this reality how could I not admit you're a better manager than I. You win Gardy. I'm now convinced you could skim along the unbalanced waves floating upon nothing more than a liquor-store pocket schedule and should you ever capsize how cold could the water possibly be when that schedule is stocked 76 games deep with horribly flawed pool pee'ers from Chicago, Kansas City, Cleveland & Detroit.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Digging through the archives comes naturally to any amateur historian killing time in an urban wasteland, thus I stumbled upon a news story dated August 16, 2012 in which the St. Paul Pioneer Press (yes, still afloat. yes, still spotted in broad daylight selling itself on street corners for not much more than two-bits) reported on page 2B under the headline - Twins switch radio home to FM - that "On KTWN, the Twins should have a clearer signal and, Dave St. Peter (team president) hopes, a chance to reach younger listeners." I made up no part of that quote. Attract younger listeners by switching the format from hip-hop to Fleetwood Mac's greatest hits, yes I get that part of the equation. But clearer signal?  Know, sickly KTWN, that the Ides of March are upon us and I find myself disconnected from my team for the very first time as I stab up & down then down again the FM dial in pursuit of this alleged new home of the Minnesota Twins. Also know, advertisers of alcohol & cremation services, that if I'm forced to listen to Cardinal or Cub affiliates, both of which can be found on a clear night, I will. Why not Brewer games you ask? Tragically, because Bob Uecker - who I could always hear on 106.3 - has now been drowned out by 107.1, a new Twin Cities celebrity gossip station for those too illiterate to read the National Enquirer. I'm told by friends West of the Mississippi, who have no problem with KTWN's reception, that I'm overreacting. Just seek out 96.3 they say. It's the station formerly known as B-96. Yes I know. I'm more than familiar with that particular signal but only because it has managed to elude me for over a decade as I drive, work, attempt sleep, then die a little each day on the East side of Saint Paul.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Unable to pull the plug in time the 10:00 local news began - no Joy - no Rena - no reason to go on watching, yet I paused long enough to learn the doomsday clock as established by atomic scientists at the University of Chicago in 1947 is indeed ticking and it's now 5 minutes to midnight. Of course the reporter reading the press release had no photographic proof of any such clock, it was more of a state of mind to be projected upon the viewer in the never-ending quest to get free individuals to stay tuned. And affixed I remained to the warm blue glow until about 4 a.m. when the smell of expired white milk drove me to the market where instilled with fear I spent money like there's no tomorrow frantically gobbling up Twins single-game tickets which went on sale to the general public February 16th in the hope that their face value depreciates slower than the treasury's note.