Friday, February 29, 2008

Well...at least I got cake today. [Twins 3-BoSox 8]

I was torn tonight as to whether I was going to listen to the game as announced by the good guys...or watch the game on mlb.tv but have to endure the Boston broadcasters. In the end, my desire to SEE baseball players won out over the satisfying sense of accomplishment I feel when I decipher Dan Gladden's play-by-play. After hearing the Boston announcers say "it sure is a different looking Twins team this year" for the 8th time, I considered switching, but didn't. I kept wishing that Casey Affleck was calling the game instead.

Let's just skip the bad news and jump right to the Bullet Point Happy List.

(I get the distinct impression that I'm going to be relying on bullet points to make me happy a LOT this season. Just a heads up.)

  • Boof did GREAT and was not in any way responsible for any of the 8 runs scored against us. I KNOW...weird, right?! He was super cute, and in his uniform he does not resemble my big brother Jason as much. He clearly takes his responsibilities as my primary baseball boyfriend seriously, and did his best to make me happy on my birthday. Thank you Boof. You done good.
  • Brian Buscher. I KNEW I loved him for a reason. The first homerun of the year. I will continue to cheer loudly for him at every given opportunity.
  • Yesterday I said that I'd feel better about losing if we had scored more than one run. So today we scored more than one run. And I do feel a little better. I would feel even better than that if we could win. It would be so awesome.
  • You could just tell that Coco Crisp's game was a big F.U. to Ellsbury for stealing his thunder. I imagined him saying "trade THIS, bitches!" a lot. It made the game more fun for me.
  • I had really good birthday cake while I watched the game. Cake makes everything better.

Happy Boof-Day to Me!

It's officially my birthday. Birthdays kind of suck, in my experience, so maybe it's a good thing I only have to really deal with mine every four years.

But, in honor of my birthday no doubt, my favorite baseball boyfriend Boof Bonser gets to pitch the Hammond Stadium home opener today. A really impressive outing from the new and improved Skinny Boof would be a fantastic birthday present, I think. A win would be nice too, so the other boys are going to have to pitch in with some runs.

I'll prematurely call the score 4-2 Twins.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Don't cry for me, Cincinnati. [Twins 1-Reds 6]

It's just the first game.

It's just the first game.

It doesn't even count for anything.

This is what I keep telling myself so that I don't feel so bad.

But who am I kidding, I still feel bad. Mostly because all we could muster was one lousy run, even with the Reds making approximately 38 errors. It just felt so much like.....last season. One run. If we had lost 6-3 even, I wouldn't feel quite as bad.

Still....it's just the first game. I'll try to focus on the positives, and use bullet points to cheer myself up (I LOVE bullet points):
  • All the veteran-ish batters got a hit...Mauer, Cuddyer, Monroe, Kubel and Lamb. Good job boys! Show those youngsters how to be Good At Baseball!
  • Julio DePaula pitched, and there were no major catastrophes.
  • The hardware store commercial with Ron and Carol Gardenhire ran a bazillion times. Which makes the Bullet Point Happy List because Gardy says "Bathroom Caulk" and that is pretty much just the funniest thing ever and I laughed harder each and every time I heard it.
  • Matt Guerrier was perfection. Duh.
  • It was hard to tell just from the Twins Radio Network audio broadcast...but something about the play-by-play made me assume that Matt Macri looked especially hot today. Just a hunch, but it goes in the list anyway.
  • I love LOVE Ryan Freel. Which has nothing at all to do with the Twins. But he makes me happy anyway. He makes Punto-like amazing plays a lot, when he isn't broken. He has an imaginary friend. He's completely crazy, and I love that. I kind of wish he was a Twin.
OK. There. I feel a little better now. Whew.

The Night Before Baseball

It’s the night before baseball, and here at my house,

My drink I was stirring, while getting real soused.


It’s only pre-season, but what do I care,

Baseball is baseball, up here or down there.


My puppies were nestled in their cute doggy beds,

As I logged on to the internet to google the Reds.

I got tired and started to doze by the screen,

I hadn't had my necessary amount of caffeine.

When out on my lawn there arose so much noise,

I ran to the window, and I spied all our boys!

I walked out in the cold, and saw Papa Gardy,

And asked him the purpose of this loud late night party.

“Well, we knew you were nervous, so we all want to say

That we’ve practiced and practiced, and we’re ready to play!

Scott Baker’s pitching, plus position players,

And we have that new center fielder who’s faster than Reyes!*”

“Yes, I’m glad we might have some new players to keep,

But Gardy, these boys! They all need their sleep!”

I made them some cocoa and told them to leave soon,

Reminding them all that their game starts at NOON**.

Gardy whistled and shouted and called them by name

“Now Casilla, Cuddyer, Monroe and Gomez!

On Mauer! On Lamb! On Jones and Harris!***

Swing for the fences, and over the wall,

Hit home runs, hit home runs, hit home runs all!”


Then laying his finger aside of his nose,

Smelling those future R.B.I., I suppose,

Gardy called for his team to get back on their plane,

To head back to Florida and continue to train.


And I heard him explain as they flew into the sky,

“Don’t you dare lose tomorrow, and make Those Girls cry!”






*Jose, not Dennys. Although he's probably faster than Dennys too. Just a guess.

**1:05 EST, but that's harder to rhyme.

***And Jason Kubel. I didn't forget you...you just ruined the flow. Sorry, man.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Baseball lite.

This weekend has been baseball lite, sorry! It was Oscar weekend though. And the Oscars are, perhaps, the one thing that I obsess about as much as I obsess about Minnesota Twins baseball. Except the Oscars only happen once a year, so I've been more into them the past couple days. Actually, they just ended an hour ago, and I miss them already.

Way to go Coens and Diablo Cody. Oscar loves Minnesota.

Side Note: Those Girls held an Oscar once (actually twice, but who's counting?). It was really heavy.

But NONE of this has anything to do with baseball. Except that Michael Cuddyer did say that he planned to go see whatever won Best Picture tomorrow.

If anyone is not yet completely hooked on the Pioneer Press spring training blog Phil Miller is writing...shame on you. He gives me the sort of weird details I crave (like the new lightweight jersey fabric, Cuddy's Oscar thoughts, Nick Punto's spanish language skills, etc), but apparently no one else thinks are important enough to share. God bless you, Phil Miller.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Anyone want in?

Anyone reading this want to form a fantasy baseball league with me? I usually field a couple teams casually. (Translation: I kind of suck due to emotional attachments to certain players, but by gosh I have fun doing it). I thought it might be fun to have a league (I'm thinking Yahoo) with some of you guys. Call me biased, but I think that folks in this particular corner of the blogosphere just happen to be the awesomest. Let's obsess about baseball together, shall we?

If you're interested, comment here or send me an email to flamingo.jones [at] gmail [dot] com. (Fill in the blanks with the appropriate symbols, of course.) Don't be shy...it'll be fun.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

It could only be funnier if they were Twins...

In case anybody hasn't already seen this....I thought I'd post the video of Phillies pitcher Kyle Kendrick getting punk'd by his teammate. The look on Kyle's face is priceless. As a team, we need to have more (televised) fun like that.




In other non-Twins entertainment news, how funny are the pictures of Jose Guillen in a wig at the Royals spring training?



Actually, how funny is it that Jose Guillen plays for the Royals now, in general? He is such a crazy S.O.B. And we're going to see him all the time now. I am more than a little excited about that prospect.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

An incredibly mathematical analysis: Part Five

This is the fifth and final installment in my in-depth player analysis.

The Catchers

Joe Mauer

Adorableness Quotient (AQ): This is probably going to be my most controversial judgment call. Because, in my opinion, Joe Mauer's AQ stock has been drastically decreasing. Sure, he used to be totally adorable...back when the sideburns were still novel, and he had to borrow his mom's car to drive to the games. But now....eh. I'm kind of over it. It's not that I dislike Joe, per se. It's just that everybody else seems to love him SO much, I feel like my militant disinterest is necessary in order to keep the universe in balance. Still, he's an attractive, and freakishly tall, young man, and he sells bazillions of dollars of Mauer merchandise to shrieking fan girls...so I'll give a little credit for that.

Final AQ Score: 7.20

The Good At Baseball Factor (GABF): Those Girls first coined the phrase "constantly broken" to describe Joe Mauer. Sunday night, I had a very vivid dream where I was reading a news article about how Mauer had injured himself on the first day of Spring Training. When I woke up, it took me a minute to decide if I had only dreamt it, or if it had actually happened. It seemed likely enough, and I wasn't satisfied until I checked every major baseball news source to make sure he was still functional. Still, when he is NOT busy being a weenie, he can be very VERY good at baseball. How much fun was that batting title?! I give Joe serious bonus points for kicking not one, but TWO Yankee asses for that '06 title.

Final GABF Score: 8.85

Total Awesomeness Rating: 16.05
Like it matters.....he's Joe Mauer.

Mike Redmond

AQ: He's got arguably the best sense of humor on the team. His fondness for good-natured nudity is well documented. He's all about personality, and team chemistry and getting every all fired up one way or another. He loves movies as much as I do. I just love Mike Redmond so much. I'm always happier when he's in the line-up.

Final AQ Score: 10.00

GABF: Mike is pretty dependable on offense. He's not fast, but he's dependable. But I think the biggest strength he brings to the team is his ability to work so well with young pitchers. And god help us, that's going to be a pretty important asset to have this season. Invaluable, I'd say.

Final GABF Score: 8.00

TAR: 18.00
Mike Redmond is so awesome, it's hard to contain it with mere numbers.


Summary

Our Most Adorable Players

Joe Nathan, Mike Redmond, Michael Cuddyer and Nick Punto all get gold stars for earning perfect tens in adorableness. Matt Guerrier, Carmen Cali and Boof Bonser are right on their heels with near perfect 9.75 scores.

Highest Ranking Newbie
Brendan Harris clocked in with an impressive 16.00 TAR. Delmon Young is a close runner-up with 15.75.


The Top Five Twins Players in terms of Total Awesomenss Ratings
5. Mike Redmond 18.00
3. Justin Morneau 18.75 (tie)
3. Matt Guerrier 18.75 (tie)
2. Michael Cuddyer 18.95
1. Joe Nathan 19.45

Congratulations guys, you meet, and exceed even, Those Girls' standards for excellence...namely being both adorable AND good at baseball!

The Hall of Shame...the five LEAST totally awesome players.
5. Dennys Reyes 11.65
4. Alexi Casilla 10.75
3. Denard Span 9.30
2. Julio DePaula 8.45
1. Juan Rincon 7.85

Boys...for those of you in the bottom tier....you've got a lot of work to do. You either need attitude adjustments, life coaches, hobbies or just plain old extra practice in the batting cages or bullpens.

Overall, I'd say that our team ranks significantly above average in adorableness. Our goodness at baseball can continue to use some work...but I think our numbers are steadily going to increase as we inch closer to 2010 and our new ballpark.

Monday, February 18, 2008

An incredibly mathematical analysis: Part Four

Parts One (starting pitchers), Two (Infielders) and Three (Outfielders)

Part Four: The Bullpen

This is a long list, so get ready.

RHP Juan Rincon

Adorableness Quotient (AQ): Juan played a cute part in Cuddyer's magician ad last year. I liked it. And that's sort of where my list of AQ positives end. It could be that I never warmed back up to him after the doping violation, or maybe my impression of his recent GABF performance bleeds over into my impression of his adorableness...but I just am not a huge fan.

Final AQ Score: 4.35


Good At Baseball Factor (GABF): Remember when I said that a consideration when determining a player's GABF score could be the number of ulcers we think they caused? Well, I don't know about full-on ulcers, but I lost count of the number of nauseating tummy aches Rincon caused me last season. I recall one game where I got up to go to the bathroom when they sent Rincon to the mound during a potentially winnable game, and by the time I got back to my seat, the bases were loaded and he was sending in a run. Or three. It was painful, nauseating, and unpleasant....but not at all surprising. That 5.13 ERA from last season tells a pretty accurate tale. Blech.

Final GABF Score: 3.50

Total Awesomeness Rating (TAR): 7.85
Ouch. I won't say anything more, because "if you can't say something nice...."

RHP Jesse Crain

AQ: Jesse suffers from the same "looks like somebody we might have gone to high school with" affliction as Jason Kubel. Except, Jesse is Canadian. So, that helps. Those Girls have a pro-Canada bias. It's weird. Plus, he is just super nice. He kind of reminds me of Charlie Brown. Also weird. And in another Kubel parallel, after Twinsfest this year, I also vowed not to say anything mean about Jesse either.

Final AQ Score: 6.95

GABF: Remember how freaking awesome Jesse was in '05? Jesse and Silva were like, the awesomest that year. How bizarre is that? But then things went a little downhill, and Jesse caused more than his fair share of ulcerific tummy aches as well. He spent almost all of last season broken. I'm anxious to see how he throws this spring. I'm kind of hoping for some sort of Rookie of the Year ligament tightening weirdness to have happened.

Final GABF Score: 6.00

TAR: 12.95
Keep your fingers crossed to see some '05 Jesse again this season.

RHP Matt Guerrier

AQ: Those Girls love Matt "Shaggy" Guerrier. He's funny, friendly, and (we suspect) brilliantly diabolical in entertaining ways. He likes cribbage. We like cribbage. He's kind of just overall awesome, and he has really pretty eyes. His name is fun to say, or growl. And in his case, the shaggier the better...so minus a quarter point for those times when he insists upon going the clean-cut way.

Final AQ Score: 9.75


GABF: Matt just seems to get better and better. He's a stablizing force for our team. I never even feel slightly throw-uppy when Matt gets the ball in tough situations. I trust him. He does good work. He can throw long-relief if we need him to. He can set-up. He can start in a pinch. Whatever we need him to do, he does. He's worth a heckuvalot more than we pay him.

Final GABF Score: 9.00

TAR: 18.75
Total Awesomeness, indeed.

RHP Pat Neshek

AQ: During a radio interview at Twinsfest, Jesse Crain and Kevin Slowey fielded the question "so, just how crazy IS Neshek, anyway?" They both plead the fifth. Pat Neshek can only be described as a little bit "wacky." In a good way. Pat loves baseball the same way we all love baseball...he's just lucky enough to also get to do it as a job every day. He signs autographs for everybody. He blogs. He is, perhaps, the most constantly cheerful person I have ever encountered. Although that, as adorable as it is, can also be a little irritating if I'm being entirely honest.

Final AQ Score: 9.25

GABF: Pat was slightly less GAB this past season than the year before (although not ulcer-inducing yet). I don't know if that was due to fatigue, or if the novelty of his crazy-ass delivery is wearing off and batters are starting to figure it out. This season should help us figure that out. He should be rested up and stronger than ever.

Final GABF Score: 8.25

TAR: 17.50
Keep up the awesomeness Pat, and we'll try to get you in that All-Star game eventually.

LHP Dennys Reyes

AQ: I don't know what to say here, except to say that sometimes I think Dennys Reyes is a little bit adorable in spite of himself. He is the most unlikely looking pitcher ever. It amuses me. I'll just leave it at that.

Final AQ Score: 5.65

GABF: The '07 season made Reyes's phenomenal '06 numbers look even more fluke-y, unfortunately. That, and he was frequently broken. It does not inspire great confidence. The fact that he's late to Spring Training because he forgot to renew his passport inspires even less. Sloppy. Still, he can be a pretty useful lefty specialist, so I'll give him credit for that.

Final GABF Score: 6.00

TAR: 11.65
Meh.

LHP Carmen Cali

AQ: I know he's new. And I know we don't know all that much about his personality yet. But Carmen Cali is so damn adorable, it's unreal. He's really pretty. He has a disarming smile. And it is super fun to yell his name like "Marco Polo" at the games. But minus a quarter point for pretending not to hear it. An interesting side note: Carmen and Matt Guerrier were both born in Cleveland just 3 months apart. Apparently Cleveland wasn't totally evil yet back in '78. Weird.

Final AQ Score: 9.75

GABF: His numbers weren't great last season. But (and I hope I'm not letting his extreme adorableness cloud my judgment on this) he also has never had a real opportunity to get used to the major leagues and settle down. Maybe if he can start the season with the team and go from there he'll warm things up a little and we can get a more accurate read on his true GAB potential.

Final GABF Score: 6.65

TAR: 16.40
"CARRRR-MENNN!" "CAAALL-EEEEE!" Soooo fun. Try it.

RHP Julio DePaula

AQ: I can't think of anything for Julio. Aside from the fact that I dig the name "Julio." If anyone knows anything about this kid that could affect an AQ score....fill me in.

Final AQ Score: 5.25

GABF: Julio had a rough, ROUGH season in the bigs. It was, quite frankly, painful to watch. Although, to be fair, he also did not have all that much of a chance to get used to things. He pitched just 30 innings, and some might argue that it was 30 innings too many. Maybe he just needs a chance to adjust to the majors, and he'll settle down and be all right. Or maybe not.

Final GABF Score: 3.20

TAR: 8.45
We need to see a huge jump in these numbers, and quickly.

LHP Glen Perkins

AQ: Glen Perkins is a lot more of an "Aww Shucks Minnesota Boy" than Mr. Sideburns, in my opinion. Which is a definite plus in the AQ department. He's way cute, and is a textbook example of Minnesota Nice. Bonus points for being BFF with Kevin Slowey.

Final AQ Score: 8.75

GABF: It sucked when Glen broke himself last season, because I was really looking forward to seeing exactly what he could do once he settled into the majors. I guess we'll see that in '08 instead. I know he'd like to be a starter, but he's been really classy about accepting his role in the 'pen and doing whatever he needs to do to make the team stronger. I expect greatness from Glen.

Final GABF Score: 8.75

TAR: 17.50
It's hard not to love Glen Perkins.

Closer Joe Nathan

AQ: It's hard to even explain in words the appeal of Joe Nathan. He's got some sort of serious mojo working for him.

Final AQ Score: 10.00

GABF: When they play the Stand Up and Shout song from Rockstar, and Joe Nathan takes his place on the mound, all is right with the world. If I was a batter on the opposing team, and I saw Joe Nathan looming over me, all twitchy and angry-like, I'd probably just pack it in and go home. But Nathan did have some shaky moments this last season...some of which were a more than a little ulcer-inducing. Still, he's one of the best closers in the game, hands down.

Final GABF Score: 9.45

TAR: 19.45
Please, PLEASE, just pay him! Whatever it takes. Don't take Joe Nathan away from us!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

An incredibly mathematical analysis: Part Three

Parts One (Starting Pitchers) and Two (Infielders)

Part Three: Outfielders

Once again, let's begin with our probable starters.

RF Michael Cuddyer

Adorableness Quotient (AQ): I think it's becoming obvious that without Torii, Cuddy is going to be the new unofficial voice of the team. That's a good fit. He's friendly, well spoken and enthusiastic, and gosh darn it, he just seems so happy to play baseball. Bless you Cuddy. Those dimples don't hurt either. And being a magician...he's an AQ goldmine. Last year's "Sawing Johan in Half" ad pretty much sealed his adorable fate. I'm not really seeing any minuses in this guy's Adorableness department.

Final AQ Score: 10.00

The Good At Baseball Factor (GABF): Cuddy's pretty good at baseball too. Though 2007 was a little bit short of his '06 awesomeness...it was impressive. I recall Cuddyer's performances being the high points of a lot of last year's games. I predict that Cuddy is going to step up his game again this year and show the newbies how it's done. His defensive play is strong enough that I have no doubt he could step into center field and do well, if that's how things shake down.

Final GABF Score: 8.95

Total Awesomeness Rating (TAR): 18.95
I am so glad we finally locked him into a decent contract.

CF Carlos Gomez

AQ: I don't have much insight into this kid's adorableness at all. He's so new, and so young, even Wikipedia can't help me out. At the time of his debut in the bigs, he was the youngest NL player, and he held his own. I'll give him credit for that. It's not easy being 12. Mets fans swear we'll like him (of course, I say the same thing to M's fans about a different Carlos, just for giggles....so I don't know how much I trust that.)

Final AQ Score: 5.50

GABF: When Gomez got added to our roster, he officially became our #1 ranked prospect. Which is awesome...but I'm not so sure he's ready to be our starting CF. There was a lot of criticism of the Mets organization for rushing him to The Show too quickly, and he lacks a lot of discipline at the plate that could be learned better playing every day in AAA. He's super fast, and his claim to fame is that he can beat Jose Reyes in a footrace....which is impressive. I certainly agree that he is the crowning jewel in the eventual package we got for the best pitcher in baseball. And I believe he has the potential to be a truly amazing player. But I don't think that's going to happen in '08.

Final GABF Score: 6.85

TAR: 12.35
Given time and seasoning, I'm sure this number will improve. Probably in time for the new ballpark.

LF Delmon Young

AQ: Delmon started out in bad shape, AQ-wise. He was the reason we lost Jason Bartlett. He threw a bat at a guy. I was pretty determined not to like him. But then he came to town for Twinsfest. And he was very vocal about how happy he is to be a part of the team, which seemed genuine. He volunteered to pick up an extra autograph session when Reyes couldn't make it. Call me a sucker, but in my book enthusiasm for this team, the fans, and a respect and appreciation of the team's history goes a long way, and makes a person much MUCH more adorable. I think I might like this kid.

Final AQ Score: 7.85

GABF: There's no arguing....Young is good at baseball. Really good. Without Torii in the line-up we were pretty desperate for another heavy hitter, and he should do the trick. He's young (young Young, heh heh) and he's still got some growing up to do, but I think he'll post some pretty good numbers this year, especially if he can get improve his judgment at the plate, and take a pitch once in a while.

Final GABF Score: 7.90

TAR: 15.75
If he can keep the attitude in check, and continue to work on some plate discipline, this could be a great fit for him.


The Back-up

Craig Monroe

AQ: I spent a large portion of the '06 season hating the Detroit Tigers more than I have ever hated any other entity, excluding the Yankees obviously, ever. Old habits die hard...so it's difficult to put that behind me. But I honestly never really had too much against Craig Monroe. I don't know that I would call him "adorable." Handsome, certainly. He was friendly at Twinsfest, and seemed excited to be a Twin. Once again, that goes a long way. His mom's name is Marilyn Monroe, which is pretty cool.

Final AQ Score: 7.75

GABF: He had a rocky '07 after an amazing '06, but it's hard to hold that against him too much since....well....I AM a Twins fan, and that's kind of a familiar story. His recent numbers may not be the stuff of legends, but I gotta respect his ability to make big hits in clutch situations. It was infuriating when he was a Tiger, but I'm pretty excited about it with him in a Twins uniform. With him on the bench, it's entirely possible that we might have a pinch hit situation that works out in our favor occasionally. Tell me you're not excited about that possibility.

Final GABF Score: 7.25

TAR: 15.00
I'm happy you play for the good guys now, Craig.

Jason Pridie

AQ: I'm sensing a theme here. When I talked to Jason Pridie at Twinsfest, he seemed VERY excited to be wearing a Twins uniform again. And this made him instantly more likable and, dare I say it....adorable. And his middle name is Orville, which is pretty much the cutest thing ever. I think he has a Tyner-esque appeal.

Final AQ Score: 7.75



GABF: Pridie's minor league stats are kind of a mixed bag. He's had some good times, he's had some craptastic times. Recently, he's been leaning more towards the good, which is encouraging. His '07 stats are kind of impressive, actually. Granted, AA and AAA are a completely different universe from the majors, but I'm hoping he'll make a good impression this spring. He shows some promise.

Final GABF Score: 6.25

TAR: 14.00

Denard Span

AQ: Whenever I think about Denard Span (which honestly is pretty rarely) I cannot help but think about something Those Girls cooked up called The Denard Equation. The Denard Equation was born pre-'07 Twinsfest when I nonchalantly mentioned one day that "Denard Span looks like Rondell White and Francisco Liriano had a baby."
That's not really a huge positive. He didn't leave a great impression on us at the '07 Twinsfest. We didn't go through his line this year, although Jen from Lipgloss & Baseball assured us that he was personable this time around. Maybe he got a little humble after a crappy year in Rochester. But I still don't feel the love.

Final AQ Score: 4.15

GABF: A difficult season in '07 seemed to turn Span from the Golden Child he appeared to be in '05 and '06, to an also-ran. I am underwhelmed, in general. It's possible he'll have a good spring for us again, but if last year is any indication...that may not mean that much once the regular season rolls around.

Final GABF: 5.15

TAR: 9.30
On a positive note, he makes me a lot more excited about Gomez than I otherwise would have been.

Jason Kubel

AQ: I once promised that if Jason Kubel got a hit in the 9th of a tight game that I would never ever say anything mean about him again. And he got a hit. We still lost the game, as I recall....but he did his part. I'll give him credit. I will say that Those Girls' main impression of Jason's AQ is that "he looks like someone we could have gone to high school with." Please know that this is not a compliment. That being said, I have developed a fondness for Mr. Kubel lately. Last season I authored his GameDay Magazine insert haiku. I think mine was chosen chiefly because no one else bothered to write haiku about Jason Kubel. Still, I think we have a certain bond now.

Final AQ Score: 6.25

GABF: Kubel had a decent '07. Blame the soft bigotry of low expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised by his offensive performance. I think he may be getting back to his old form, from when he was one of our top prospects. I can only hope that we keep seeing that improvement.

Final GABF Score: 7.00

TAR: 13.25
Not fabulous, but not awful. I think this perfectly defines things.



It's so weird that Cuddyer and Kubel are our veteran players in the outfield now. It's going to be a strange year. I don't adjust to change well. Cuddyer is clearly the anchor for this crew. And what an adorable anchor he is...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Newest New Guy

I thought that the Twins' signing of Livan Hernandez was the least surprising news ever.

Why?

Because everything that was said about him early in the free agent frenzy was that he had no business in the American League.

Of course we signed him.

And now the most frequent comment people seem to be making is that "He's like Carlos Silva...but cheaper!"

Um......good?

I think it's funny that that is the nicest thing people can say. To save a couple more bucks, they should just make him wear Silva's old uniforms....maybe cross out the "Silva" with a Sharpie if one's handy.


Welcome to the team, buddy.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

An incredibly mathematical analysis: Part Two

Part One: Starting Rotation

Part Two: Infielders

Let's start with the probable starters:

1B Justin Morneau

Adorableness Quotient (AQ): Justin has a mop of curly hair. He loves hockey. HUGE bonus points for being Canadian. There is definite adorableness here. I cannot however award him a perfect score because, reportedly, he made nasty comments to Doug Mientkiewicz during the game after he was traded to the Red Sox. I'm holding a grudge. Just a little one. A half-point grudge.

Final AQ Score: 9.50


The Good at Baseball Factor (GABF): Being the '06 AL MVP speaks for itself. However there was that post-All Star Game slump last season. Still....Justin's awesome at baseball. Everybody knows it. Including Justin.

Final GABF Score: 9.25

Total Awesomeness Rating (TAR): 18.75
Being Canadian and Good at Baseball has its benefits, clearly...like hero worship and millions of dollars.

2B Brendan Harris

AQ: With an infield cluttered with players we don't really know, it makes assigning AQ scores more difficult and imprecise. But I love a challenge. I have little to go on here besides Brendan's Twinsfest appearance. Luckily for him, I captured photographic evidence of him blowing a bubblegum bubble. Which is totally
adorable:

Plus he scores bonus points for having a Political Science degree, just like me.

Final AQ Score: 8.25

GABF: Going strictly by the numbers, he had a decent '07. Better than some of our players....but that's beside the point. We'll see how the Spring goes, but I have faith that he'll be a good addition at 2B.

Final GABF Score: 7.75

TAR: 16.00
Pretty good for an unknown Twins newbie. Let's hope his numbers hold once we get to see more of him.

SS Adam Everett

AQ: It's been hard to form a solid opinion of Adam, even with his Twinsfest appearance. Honestly, my gut instinct says that Adam is this season's Jeff Cirillo...which leaves me with an unequivocal impression of "Meh." He's not unfortunate or unpersonable....but he hasn't really done anything to establish any sort of adorableness either. He is D.J. Qualls's favorite baseball player, apparently because they look alike. No joke. It's on wikipedia, so it must be true. There's just not much to go on here. And Adam is at a distinct disadvantage in the AQ category because he is taking over Jason Bartlett's spot. We love Jason Bartlett. Those are some pretty adorable cleats to fill. Tell me Adam, how do you feel about Chipotle?

Final AQ Score: 5.00

GABF: Stellar defensive play. Acceptable offense. Some problems being constantly broken. I dislike the Astros, in general, so I don't have much to say.

Final GABF: 7.75

TAR: 12.75
To be fair, this might be a low estimate. Maybe Adam juggles or does acrobatics on the field, or spends his free time volunteering with orphans and doing stand-up comedy. Maybe I'll warm up to him when I see him in a Twins uniform. Who knows.

3B Mike Lamb

AQ: Oh boy. I got nuthin'. However, thanks once again to wikipedia, I now know that he named his crazy-ass swing "The Thing," which amuses me. His name is also perfect for cute nicknames and plays on words. In fact, I saved his thumbnail headshot on my computer as "Little Lamb" and it was entertaining to me for almost a solid 45 seconds.

Final AQ Score: 6.15


GABF: Defying my previous assertion that I hate the Astros, I had Lamb on my fantasy team in '06 and he was helpful. I was not dissatisfied. Good job, Mike.

Final GABF Score: 7.85

TAR: 14.00
Clearly the new guys have their work cut out for them.

The Back-up:

Alexi Casilla

AQ: I try really hard to like Alexi. But it's not really working. He did do that backflip once, making an out during the Tampa Bay game, which helped a little. E for Effort, Alexi.

Final AQ Score: 6.00 (It was a really good backflip.)

GABF: When Luis Castillo got traded, everyone tried to say Alexi would be a suitable replacement. I disagreed. Still do. Remember when his alarm didn't go off and he was late to the Dome when he was penciled in to start? I'm going to need to see more discipline, and more success at the plate and on the basepath, before I jump on any Alexi-shaped parade floats.

Final GABF Score: 4.75

TAR: 10.75
Ouch. That seems harsh when I put it down on paper. Oh well.

Nick Punto

AQ: Nick Punto pretty much defines AQ. He does backflips. He flies. He is supernaturally attractive for some reason. Seriously. Anecdotal evidence to back up my claim, one of the kids I work(ed) with was looking through some of my baseball cards one day. She saw one of the Allen & Ginter's Nick Punto cards and said "Oh my god....that Allen guy is HOT!" To which I replied, "His name is Nick, but yes. Yes, he is." He has his own official rabid fanclub and everything. There is a reason you see tons of women wearing Punto shirts, and it sure ain't his batting average.

Final AQ Score: 10.00

GABF: Here is where the batting average comes into play. Not quite as hot. Awesome defensive play though, which I still maintain counts for something. Not on my fantasy team, mind you, but on the real-life field. As the last piranha standing (moment of silence, please) I sincerely hope we see a little more bite from his bat this season.

Final GABF Score: 5.75

TAR: 15.75

Being pretty counts for a lot. There's a life lesson here.

Brian Buscher

AQ: I can't wait til Spring Training Photo Day so we can get this kid a Twins cap. I wonder why they never photoshopped one in? Oh well. Those Girls really like Brian. He's fun to look at. Super polite. Friendly. Nice smile. Charming. We cheer loudly for him even when, literally, no one else does. When he is in the line up, we are Those Girls Who Cheer For Brian Buscher. His nickname is Bushwacker. 'Nuf said.

Final AQ Score: 8.95


GABF: I think Brian was just getting warmed up offensively last fall. I have a good feeling about him. He did have that nasty leg injury that required "drainage," which slowed his progress a little. Being broken sucks. His defense hasn't been awesome since his promotion, but I hope that his time playing winter ball helped a little.

Final GABF Score: 7.25

TAR: 16.20
This is why Those Girls frequently consider founding the Brian Buscher Fan Club.



All in all a pretty difficult group to judge. Gosh we have a lot of new guys. It's......irritating. I'll stop being crabby about it once Spring Training gets here and they start playing together. We need to see some personality from these guys, STAT. Maybe some tap-dancing. Something. Make us love you, new guys!

Monday, February 11, 2008

An incredibly mathematical analysis: Part one

With the official start of Spring Training less than a week away, everyone is making predictions and analyzing the depth chart. And if all the cool kids are doing it, then I obviously have to be a part of the fun too.

So I'm proud to announce that I've completed a highly analytical and ├╝ber-mathematical study of each of the players in our depth chart, all the while wearing my "Science: It works, bitches" t-shirt for dramatic effect.

While I could have spent my time delving into statistical categories like OPS, HRR or GIDP, OBA or WHIP, to critique each players' abilities, I chose instead to utilize a much more comprehensive and valuable statistical formula which I have been perfecting for several years, and which has become a cornerstone of Those Girls' baseball philosophy.

Here's a brief run-down:

Each player has been ranked and graded on two unique categories:

AQ: Adorableness Quotient. This statistic factors in not only physical attractiveness and characteristics, but also how well the uniform is worn, endearing personality quirks and traits, cute accents, fan-friendliness and any number of random traits I won't bore everyone with.

GABF: The Good At Baseball Factor. This measures a player's general skill on the baseball field. This can include a review of pedantic statistics like batting average, or ERA, etc., but not exclusively. This also takes into consideration how well a player performs when Those Girls are physically present at games, as well as how many ulcers we estimate a given player has caused.

Each player is assigned a number 0.00-10.00 for each category. The two are then added up giving a possible total score of 20.00 as a TAR, or Total Awesomeness Rating. It's all very mathematical. I warned you.

Part One
Starting Pitchers

This is my favorite group. So I'll start there.

1. Scott Baker

AQ: Scott Baker, or "Ace" as I now like to call him, has adorableness coming out of his ears. Just look at him. Having lived and worked in Louisiana for a short while, and having awful experiences there, I have a personal bias against southern Louisiana accents...but Baker's northern LA accent is a little bit charming, I'll admit. Bonus points for being genuinely humble. And this one time in '06, Those Girls witnessed Baker maneuver a giant U-Haul in reverse, without waking his sleeping baby. That is an AQ trump card, obviously. (If you were there, you would have been "awwwing" right along with us. Don't judge.) He loses a little for looking like he's 12. But still a good showing.

Final AQ score: 8.50

GABF: Baker had a great '07. Those Girls were there in Milwaukee when he was crazy good in his first game after being called back up. No one was screaming louder for him than we were. He continued to impress throughout the season, and with one exception, seemed to pitch particularly well when Those Girls were in attendance. Pitching a near perfect game seriously increases one's GABF as well. Alas, his final number is just slightly less than perfect. This is due to the fact that if I can still remember the U-Haul incident, I can also remember the games he pitched in '06 as well. One more awesome year this season should erase those memories. No worries.

Final GABF score: 8.15

TAR: 16.65.
Not too shabby. We'll see you on Opening Day, Ace.

2. Boof Bonser

AQ: Friendly, funny, pleasant generic south-eastern drawl, and has the best hair in the major leagues. And his name is Boof. I like it all. It's hard for me to be objective on this one. To be fair though, I do have to deduct a quarter of a point because now that he's lost 20 pounds, the new skinny Boof vaguely reminds me of my big brother Jason. Which is weird. Not that that's Boof's fault....but still.

I don't even want to hear about it from you Boof haters out there. Boof is my favorite, so just keep it to yourselves.

Final AQ Score: 9.75

GABF: 2007 was rough. I'll admit it. I drafted Boof for my fantasy team, naturally, and while he DID really help me in the K department, the long W-less stretch really hurt. He's got quality stuff and a presence on the mound, which is why he became my favorite in the first place, but he had trouble making past the 5th. I think the new physique is a testament to his commitment to change and improve and I think it'll be an exciting spring.

Final GABF: 7.00

TAR: 16.75
(Once again: I don't want to hear it, Boof haters.)

3. Francisco Liriano

AQ: Meh. Maybe it's the fact that we haven't seen him in over a year, but it's hard to think of things to include in Liriano's Adorableness Quotient. He might have leveled out at a bland and average 5.00, but Roy Rowan's account of Liriano rising through the minors in "Throwing Bullets: A Tale of Two Pitchers Chasing the Dream" paints a pretty complimentary picture: humble, shy, professional and super serious about baseball.

Final AQ Score: 6.80

GABF: Now we're talking. Watching this kid pitch was SO exciting in '06. I don't really feel the need to tell anyone how awesome he can be, since judging by his insanely long autograph lines at Twinsfest, everyone already knows. He does lose a solid point for being constantly broken, having no guarantee of a '06-like return, and for ruining my Twinsfest groove with said insanely long lines.

Final GABF: 9.00

TAR: 15.80
Look for this number to improve if we see a solid tommy john rebound performance, or the hint of a personality.

4. Kevin Slowey

AQ: Watching Slowey pitch on TV, my mother once declared "you're right, he is just about the cutest thing ever." Kevin Slowey getting my mother's stamp of approval is no easy task. This coupled with a clearly adorable "In Their Own Words" feature on FSN which showcased his penchant for the art of conversation, and a bizarre and entertaining pre-game stretching ritual, raises Sloweys' AQ game.

Final AQ Score: 9.50

GABF: Slowey had some bumps in the road to baseball awesomeness this season. "The New York game" comes to mind. But that's to be expected....he's still green. I think he'll settle down.

Final GABF: 7.00

TAR: 16.50
Kevin is Lipgloss & Baseball's newly christened baseball boyfriend. Excellent choice!

5. Nick Blackburn

AQ: I feel like we don't know Nick well enough to give him a truly accurate score in this area. He's really pretty. (REALLY pretty) That's a given. And he seems nice enough. And he was a good sport about carrying the My Little Pony backpack. But we'll have to wait and see how his baseball personality shapes up. I have high hopes.

Final AQ Score: 8.25


GABF: Here too, we didn't really see enough of Nick to have a solid grasp of how Good At Baseball he is. What we saw in person seemed to show a lot of promise. And he did really well in the Arizona Fall League. I think this is going to be an exciting spring for him too...and a chance for him to pad his GABF numbers.

Final GABF: 7.50

TAR: 15.75
There's room for improvement here, and I think both components of his TAR will increase as we see more and more of him.

So that's the starting rotation, as per the official depth chart. Stay tuned for the rest of the series of my highly mathematical analysis. You'd be surprised how much time and energy I can spend on something so ridiculous. Thank god for the internet.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Hey pervs.

I felt like posting something, because another bout of crappy weather has canceled my plans and I'm bored.

But there's not a lot going on baseball-wise.

So, I thought I'd post my favorite amusing (at least to me) and pervy keyword searches that have brought folks to this blog.

  • riding cows with girls
  • twin screws; girls
  • girls baseball sex
Obviously someone out there is WAY more bored than I am.

Someone else was looking for a Joe Mauer Chia Pet, which isn't really perverted (I hope...) but is amusing nonetheless. Let me know if you find one. Sounds neat. I have a Mr. T one.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Makes me wanna drink.


Is it just me, or does it look like he's faking it? Because that's the exact same face I make when the person with the camera says in total exasperation, "Oh for the love of god....just SMILE!"

It's OK Johan. We're sad too.

Also, everyone please note that even if you're worth $137.5 million, jerseys over dress shirts look stupid. This goes for all you guys who go to the games straight from work. It is not cool.

Seriously, just take the time to change in the bathroom. It's worth it.

If Johan Santana, my mother-appointed Cutest Man In The World, cannot pull that look off....no one can.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Developing a Taste for Spam

I, along with at least a few other socially-networked Twins fans, got MySpace spammed by Bobby Kielty today.

Best.

Spam.

Ever.

It included an assurance that this is "for real." Which is good...because if there's anything hypothetically weirder than Bobby Kielty trying to lure me into a pyramid scheme, it would be someone pretending to be Bobby Kielty in order to lure me into a pyramid scheme.

I decided to be brave and look at his page.

Then I changed my password.

Totally worth it for pure entertainment value:

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Shortbus vs. Ken Doll: Superbowl Sunday.

Someone I hate is going to win the Superbowl today. It's pretty unexciting for me. I've been boycotting NFL news for two solid weeks.

I wouldn't even bother to write anything about it, but yesterday's Star Tribune's teaser headline "Eli Manning vs. Tom Brady: The Superbowl of Sex Appeal" was too vomit inducing to ignore.

My reaction, out-loud in the Kwik Trip, was a "Really?!" with a scrunched up face.

Call me crazy, but those boys have zero appeal to me, sex or otherwise.

Ew.

First off, we have Eli, who I affectionately (ok....not so affectionately) call "Shortbus,"


whose entire family is undeniable scientific proof that being a real D-bag is actually a genetic trait. I call his big brother "The Whore" and their dad "The Godfather." I hate them all.

Then we have Tom, who seems like a slightly more legitimate argument for "sex appeal," but not really because I suspect, much like Barbie's perfect boyfriend Ken, there's nothing there but some creepily never-out-of-place hair, and perfectly plastic underpants.


Mostly I just don't find him attractive because everyone else does, including himself. Such a turn-off. I call it the "Joe Mauer Effect."

So, one of these two pukebombs is going to win. Blech.

I'll cheer for Randy Moss though. He helped me win my Fantasy league this season, so he deserves it.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The One That Got Away

This whole Santana thing really just feels like a bad break-up.

Those Girls were drinking last night with Lipgloss & Baseball. It was great fun. And then we saw the ESPN headline that the Mets and Santana had officially reached a record-breaking contract agreement. It was the sports bar equivalent to finding out that an ex has changed their Facebook/MySpace status to "In a Relationship." You KNEW it was coming. It was inevitable. You fully expected it, but actually SEEING it still feels like a sucker punch to the gut.

And you're torn, because you kind of want them to be happy, and you should be happy for them that their new girlfriend is giving them $137.5 million, because you know that he really IS a good guy. But you're still kind of bitter and sad about it.

Then Those Girls went to a Timberwolves basketball game. Which, in this lengthy and ridiculous analogy, is the equivalent of going on a date with a new guy that you KNOW is not your type because your friends say that you need to shake things up and try something new to get your mind off of your recent heartbreak. But it's weird and awkward, and you're uncomfortable, but your date tries really hard to impress you by winning the game by 21 points, even though they usually suck at basketball.


It was a good effort, but you won't be returning their calls for a second date.

So then you're just stuck in a funk. And you know in your heart that you're going to be fine, and you're probably NOT going to die from this. But you still get really irritated when other people say things like "it's not the end of the world," and "things are going to be OK," and "it's only a game."

So for now you're just going to sit in your comfy chair with some Cherry Garcia, and watch Gilmore Girls DVDs all day and wait for spring.