Thursday, July 31, 2008

Our Blog-Cabin: part parable, part manifesto.

If this blog were a house, I like to think that it'd be an off-beat little cabin somewhere quiet, designed by Frank Gehry to evoke the essence of the Metrodome (the GOOD essence, not the bad essence). There are lots of comfy chairs, and big fluffy pillows that look like baseballs. If you look out the windows, you'll find ponies, and bunnies, and maybe some fainting goats, grazing peacefully together. When you get tired of looking at ponies, you can flip on the giant magical LCD television that shows baseball 24 hours a day, even in December! The fridge is always well-stocked, and friends are welcome any time. You don't even need to call first! It's a nice, happy, place.

But yesterday, a visitor from a different bloghouse came over.....and I guess they must raise cows at that bloghouse, instead of ponies, because he tracked a lot of bull-poo all over our freshly steamed carpets.

Now, normally, this wouldn't bother me. I'd clean it up and be done with it. Sh*t happens, you know?

But a line was crossed. And forgive me, this is where the parable ends and the manifesto begins, because I'm running out of analogies.

Apparently my disagreement with the Bad-Will Ambassador for the Alright Hamilton bloggers, served as inspiration for a blog post attacking not only myself, but other female Twins bloggers who had NOTHING to do with this at all.

For THAT, I am truly sorry.

Because, if someone has a problem with me, my opinions, or anything I write, that's fine. Take it up with me. You want to call me out on your blog, that's fine too. Although, really you're probably better off just emailing me, because if you're the kind of person who will write a blog post just to brag about being a D-bag in the first place, there's a pretty good chance that I don't actually read your blog.

But DON'T mess with other people because you have a problem with ME. That's cowardly and pathetic.

I have nothing but the utmost respect for my fellow girl bloggers. I'd put their knowledge of the game and their devotion to the team against anyone else's. Every one of them has their own unique voice and perspective that is both valuable and entertaining. If you're not already reading them, you should be.

And if you don't like girl bloggers, well...your loss. But the last time I checked the statutes, reading a particular blog was NOT legally compulsory, so go read something you do enjoy and leave us to it.

And to my guy readers and fellow bloggers, please don't think that I don't absolutely love you too. I do. This blog is not girls-only, and I truly value your insights and contributions. It's just that I apparently triggered a gender-war here, and I needed to stand up for my girls. You understand.

People are free to disagree with me and anything I say at any time. But if you think I'm not going to defend my position and opinion, well.....that's a pretty silly thing to think. I freaking ROCKED at debate in high school and college.

I'm disabling comments on this post because it's just something I wanted to say, and I'll stand alone on it. If you have something to add, complain about, etc., feel free to email me. We'll chat.

I will get back to regularly scheduled ridiculousness as soon as possible. I promise. I hate having to go all street-fighter on y'all.

Here's a random picture of Lew Ford to lighten the mood.

[EDIT: Michael Haas of Alright Hamilton sent me an email to make sure I knew that Daymonster's post was not representative of his, or the other AH contributors', thoughts or opinions.]

Scattered thoughts

So, tonight was a little bit sucky. My dad and I went to the game together . Which is admirable, for him, because he's really not that into baseball. Jim Thome started signing autographs for people right by us, and my dad was positively horrified when a couple grown men pushed a teeny tiny little boy out of the way, and got autographs while the kid went back to his seat empty handed. Moral outrage runs in the family.

Pre-game I got into a truly enlightening conversation with a guy who works for MLB. I got some major dirt, man. It was great, aside from learning a few things I really wished I hadn't.

Nick Swisher skipped pre-game warm-ups with the team, and was noticeably late running onto the field in the bottom of the 1st. I suspect he was performing some sort of mystical ritual sacrifice, which could explain why he was mostly impervious to my thoughts of good-will tonight. I tried to see if any of the bat boys had gone missing, but I couldn't tell.

Using my keen powers of observation, it really seems like there is some sort of bad mojo going on in the bullpen. I can't quite put my finger on it, but something seems amiss. It looks like certain boys are currently not on speaking terms. This is strange, because it's usually a pretty jovial crew down there. If anybody is heading to a game this weekend, you should go the full 2 hours early and watch how the pitchers are acting towards each other in the outfield during batting practice, and let us know. I'd do it myself, but I'm tired of driving to Minneapolis. Team chemistry is so important. If we can find out a) if there is a problem, and b) what the problem is, you can be assured, Those Girls will not rest until we help solve it.

I miss Alexi. Who'd have guessed I'd ever say that?

Hey! Here are some pictures of Nick Punto:

Did you know that Nick Punto's current batting average is higher than that of 2/3 of the White Sox starting line-up? True story.

Here is A.J.:

Yes, I still love him. I remain unapologetic. In fact, today I composed a little poem for him:

A Poem for AJ
If I even like you
on the Sox side,
I'll still like you
on Peroxide.

However, I think I did stare directly at the hair for a little bit too long.

I've had a headache I just can't shake for hours now. I may have had a seizure...I can't know for sure, but it would help account for the scattered nature of my thoughts tonight. I tried to organize them, but I gave up when it made my head hurt worse.

Here's a picture of Boof, just because I love him too and don't want him to feel left out:

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cutting bait on a concept that has gone belly-up.

First of all, I feel like I should apologize for the Nick Swisher home run. I didn't watch the game live tonight, and therefore did not accurately time my psychic beams of love and goodwill to Swish. I take full responsibility for the outcome. Thankfully, the Twins were able to hold on to the lead anyway. Whew, huh?

More from the Good News Department: Commenter Jeremiah pointed out that one of Brendan Harris's songs tonight was "Jump" by Van Halen. Hmm. I feel positively drunk with power right now. Mwah ha ha ha! I love it. I think we all should feel very proud of the good work we've done here.

Between the shout-out to Mike Redmond's tendency for inappropriate nudity in the clubhouse (but obviously sometimes Mike Redmond DOES need to take his clothes off to have fun) and Jump, the resident musical genius at the Metrodome is kind of my very favorite person this week.

And on to the heart of the matter. This is something that I've been stewing about for over 24 hours now. It may make me sound like a little bit of a cranky-pants, but it's super hard for me to have an opinion about something and not share it. Plus, I think most readers know by now that anything I say comes from a place of genuine, all-consuming, (and maybe just a little bit obsessive) love and devotion to the team and its genuine fans. Having said that, I will just spit it out:

I think the Twins PR department needs to cease and desist with any and all Piranha references, immediately.

Trust me, no one appreciated the whole Piranhas thing more than Those Girls. Born of kindly Ozzie Guillen gibberish, it was one of the best parts of the '06 season. And my Little Piranha Finger Puppet is staring at me from my computer desk as I type, so I don't say this lightly. This entire rant of mine started last night at the game, watching the pre-game Fish Race, a shameless and frankly, embarrassing, rip-off of the Milwaukee sausage races. Do they do this at every Monday game? We haven't been to the Dome on a Monday since Opening Day, so I have no idea. There were 2 piranhas in the mix. It irritated me. Here's why (in bullet point format, because I find it calming):
  • Except for Nick Punto, the Piranhas are GONE. The team chose to get rid of them all. I'm not arguing whether this was right or wrong, I'm just stating it as fact.
  • Nick Punto, the ONE remaining Piranha, is bashed repeatedly and tirelessly by so-called "fans."
  • The trademark of Piranha play was getting the job done with small-ball. This year, a lot of people spent the entire first half of the season claiming the team was positively worthless unless they were hitting home runs.
  • I maintain that it is hypocritical, and just sort of stupid, for the PR department, and the Twins Territory community as a whole, to continue to embrace a concept that a) no longer applies, and b) was in the spirit of play that everyone (well, not everyone...) seems to hate and goes out of their way to complain about obnoxiously (mostly in the Star Tribune blog comments).
  • I simply cannot condone "fans" cheering loudly for a stuffed piranha running around the bases, and then almost in the same breath grumbling about Nick Punto being in the line-up.
  • I might be over-thinking this, but probably not.
OK. My rant is over. I've said my piece. I feel a little better.

Sometimes I think that if Those Girls magically turned into Muppets, we'd look like an awful lot like this:

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Day-Glo A.J.

thoughtfully compiled a list of Likes and Dislikes about the game tonight. But before we get to it, I have to jump to my main Dislike, because it was simply too traumatic to ignore.

We sat down in our Freebie TwinsFest Upper Club seats plenty early to relax and watch the Sox batting practice. Without a great view, we initially assumed that the player with his back to us, sporting freakish bleached out hair, was Nick Swisher. Even in retrospect, this seems like a fair assumption to make. The boy has already displayed his penchant for peroxide. But, no. When said player showed us his profile we realized it was, in fact, A.J. Pierzynski.

Disturbing visual aid courtesy of Adam L.

It's hard to fully describe my reaction, but I think it's safe to say a piece of me died inside. A.J. and I have a baseball relationship that has withstood the test of time. Those who have heard the Story of Why I Will Never Boo A.J. realize that I have legitimate sentimental ties. I really thought we had built up a certain amount of trust between the two of us. I thought we had an agreement: I will love him no matter what team he plays for or how big of a jerkwad he is, and he will refrain from making drastic changes to his appearance that may cause dizziness and nausea. Now I feel like that trust has been violated a little.

In order to eventually sleep tonight, I have to believe that A.J. lost a bet. I the sneaking suspicion that Nick Swisher was involved.

I have seats right by the Sox bullpen for Wednesday, and I may be forced to ask A.J. what's up before the game. I have to know. I will for sure take lots of photos for further study. I am a little bit worried about the effects of staring directly at the hair though. I'm considering making a pinhole camera like we made in grade school for watching the solar eclipse. Better safe than sorry.

On to our lists.

Things we liked:
  • Kevin Slowey. We had yet to see him pitch in person this season, due to the universe only wanting us to see Livan Hernandez pitch.
  • Justin's home run.
  • Nick Swisher losing his glove and looking like a jackass.
  • The amusingly civil arguments both Gardy and Ozzie had with the umps.
  • Carlos Gomez's triumphant return.
  • Winning.
  • Ehren Wasserman's pants. They seem to shrink every time we see him, and this kept us entertained for three full innings. They have gone well beyond the Nick Punto Fit now , and are bordering on the Derek Jeter Fit.
Things we disliked:
  • Day-Glo A.J.
  • Josh Fields at 3B instead of Joe Crede. Both because we remember the hurt Josh Fields put to us last season, and because we kind of like Joe Crede and his socks.
Other news of note:
  • My Love Nick Swisher 'Til He Stinks strategy worked like a charm! Once again, I was able to render him completely useless. If I keep it up, he'll be batting 9th in no time.
  • Those Girls had the first fight we've ever had in the history of our friendship. It lasted approximately 2.3 minutes. It all started when I noted that Nick Swisher looked "too normal" with a normal haircut and normal facial hair. I explained that there must be some law of physics that prevented such an occurrence, and surmised that "there must be something seriously freaky going on with his pubic hair." Casey felt, probably justly, that this crossed a line into TMI, whereas I felt that I was perfectly within my rights under the Friendship Code which states that "any gross disturbing thought/imagery that is in one friend's mind, can immediately be shared with other so no one has to suffer alone." Thankfully, we were done fighting before I even finished my soft pretzel and exorbitantly over-priced cheese cup. That's how we roll.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Wardrobe decision: Charming optimism or vehicle of destruction?

I only watched bits and pieces of the Cleveland series this weekend. I think I went to too many Cleveland games last season and burned out....I just have no interest in watching that team.

To quote Meatloaf, two outta three ain't bad. I knew before the first pitch on Friday that it wasn't going to be a good night. I know that the off-day on Thursday didn't give a lot of rotational wiggle room, and Livan was already claiming he was "too rested," but I wish we could use a little strategy to play to pitching match-ups more. Putting Livan, who gives up a lot of runs, against Cliff Lee, who doesn't, kind of makes the game a foregone conclusion. The offense did an admirable job trying to rally. I give them credit for that. It's too bad they didn't stick Juan Rincon out there in relief. We might have had a fighting chance. But the winning on Saturday and Sunday was better. I enjoyed what I saw of it; especially Brian Buscher's awesome home run.

Congratulations to Casey Blake for being traded to a less evil team. Good job. I always knew you had it in you.

I was digging through my closet the other day, and I stumbled upon my Got Postseason? t-shirt from '06. It lost its spot in the starting t-shirt rotation right after the Luis Castillo trade last year and has been in the proverbial mothballs ever since. But I look at it now and realize that at 2.5 games back, it just might be able to pull a Brett Favre and come out of retirement. However, I can't decide if this would simply be charmingly optimistic, or a surefire jinx for the Twins and their chances at a playoff spot . It's too weighty of a decision to make all by myself, so I will put it to a binding vote here on the blog. You decide.

[Edit: Thanks to your input, the shirt stays on ice unless we actually DO got postseason.]

Friday, July 25, 2008

We should get to do that!

I saw yesterday that the White Sox have a promotion on their website to get fans to vote on songs for A.J. Pierzynski's at-bat music. When I saw it I could only think.......nothing, actually. I couldn't think because my thoughts were completely blocked by blinding jealousy.

should totally get to do that!

Some of our boys, *cough*Brendan Harris*cough*, simply cannot be trusted to make those sorts of decisions on their own.

The fans should help Brendan pick his music. After much deliberation, and knowing only that Brendan's personal musical taste could probably most likely be filed under "tacky"-- so I had to start from scratch, I made the following selections to choose from:

A. Mr. Roboto--Styx. I love this song. It should be someone's at-bat music. And the positive association with robots would probably make me like him more.
B. Under Pressure--Queen. Yes, there's the danger than uninformed listeners will think that it's Ice Ice Baby. It's a risk I'm willing to take.
C. Jump--Van Halen. No reason, I just like it. Who doesn't get a little bit pumped up when you hear this song?
D. Fortunate Son--CCR. I threw it in there, because maybe if he only listened to the beginning, we could trick him into liking it. A girl can dream.

I'm not going to say exactly how much time I spent thinking about this because frankly, it's kind of embarrassing. But, I think any one of these songs would be a huge step up from Cherry Pie. (Although maybe the game wouldn't be the same without the excessive sighing and eye-rolling Those Girls do whenever we hear that god-awful song.)

[EDIT: Poll results showed Jump by Van Halen to be the victor by a small margin over Mr. Roboto]

A couple other at-bat music wishlist items:

I'd love Joe Mauer's music to be the refrain from Champion by Brother Ali. It would be awesome. Trust me. It would make Joe seem a little more badass, and there's the whole local-boy connection there.

I also wish Redmond would give us a blast from his past and go with his old Florida Marlins at-bat music: Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-a-Lot. C'mon Mike....please....just one game....

And on a completely different subject, which has nothing to do with baseball or Twins, but was funny enough to me that I needed to write it down...I had the following conversation with my mother yesterday and this seems like as good a place as any to share it:

Mom: I found the perfect hobby for you!
Me: Oh yeah?
Mom: Roller Derby.
Me: Mom, I cannot think of many things I'd want to do less than go watch Roller Derby.
Mom: Not watch! You should be in it!
Mom: No, I've been reading about it in Reader's Digest, and you'd be perfect for it. You could be all sweet, quiet and mild-mannered during the day, and then ruthlessly beat down your opponents at night! You'd love that!
Me: Well....yeah. But, Mom....I don't rollerskate.
Mom: A minor detail!
Me: Not that minor....
Mom: You'd get to come up with your own cleverly suggestive nickname!
Me: Oh, in that case....
Mom: It'd be a great way for you to use your competitive aggression.

Seriously, you elbow a guy in the throat one time during a 6th grade co-ed basketball tournament and you're labeled as competitively aggressive for the rest of your life. That guy totally had it coming, by the way.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Last straw

Today was the last straw.

The Twins and I are fighting now.

The team's stupendous blunders/melt downs have been pretty well documented already, so I don't feel the need to rehash any of it. Let's just say that I hope they spend their off-day thinking about what they've done, and what adorable/amazing things they can do to try to make it up to me, and earn my love again.

Gardy says they're going to have a little team meeting/chit chat in Cleveland on Friday. I do not suggest anyone even think about another team-building head shaving fiasco.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I KNEW that hardhat would come in handy...

You know, during the All-Star break, I'll admit I kind of took the bait and started to feel all nostalgic-like about Yankee Stadium's last season.

Yeah...I'm over it.

By the end of the game tonight (or my best estimate of when the game ended, because I stopped watching long before then), I was ready to pack up my Commemorative Minnesota Twins Hardhat and go tear that mother$%&#er down myself.

I hate the Yankees. I hate Yankees fans. I hate that our team regresses back to Little League every time they walk on that field. The '08 Twins are a better team than the '08 Yankees. Why on earth can't we play like it?

The following message is for Glen Perkins:

Glen--You are our only hope. You are our one and only hope to avoid complete destruction and humiliation. You are like Luke Skywalker, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Barack Obama all rolled into one. I'm going to need you to put your Big Boy Underoos on tomorrow and show those overpaid nancy boys what you're made of. We're counting on you. Please, I am begging you, don't let us down.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A psycho-analytical approach to winning

Like I said before, I can live with losing one game to an adorable Texas Rangers squad 1-0. I am NOT OK with losing 5 billion-4 to the perpetually vomit-inducing Yankees. That's a bit of an exaggeration I suppose. I know we didn't lose by almost 5 billion runs....but I did stop watching after 10, so who knows. I just felt too dirty and ashamed to go on; like I'd been caught watching a snuff film or something. It was sad, depressing, and deeply disturbing.

I am even MORE not OK with losing [AGAIN!] to Sidney Ponson. This guy is like the pitching equivalent to a cockroach: super gross and disgusting, and he simply refuses to die.

After a great weekend of strong pitching and good offense, it seems possible that this loss could be an indication of the team having a deep-seated fear of success. So, I thought it might be prudent to play Dr. Phil and address some of the root causes of this particular affliction, as it pertains to our boys.

Why might someone be afraid to succeed?
  • A fear of having enemies: you might be afraid that people will resent your success and dislike you for it. And yes, boys, Yankees fans WILL hate you for being successful. But that's a good thing! Embrace it.....or swear back at them. Whichever. Just don't let it hold you back from being the great baseball players we all know you are!
  • A fear of loneliness: some people think that when they succeed they will be different from others and their old friends. But if the Twins all win together, it won't be a problem! Make sure to use the buddy system and stick with your BFF on the team, and you'll never be alone!
  • A fear of being in the spotlight: some people fear the attention success might bring, because of a lack of self-confidence. If this is the case for the team, don't worry about it! You play in the AL Central Division, remember? No matter how many games you win, or how far you make it in the playoffs, there aren't going to be ANY spotlights....ever. So, relax and just play ball!
  • A fear of having to work hard to maintain success: maintaining a certain level of success can require a lot of hard work and effort, and this thought produces anxiety for many people. Yeah, this one is probably legit. Hard work sucks. Still, you make a lot of money, so it's probably worth it. And hero-worship would be a pretty kickass perk too, if you ask me.
I'm glad we have that all straightened out now. I'll expect to see some vast improvements tomorrow.

Good talk.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Good, The Bad, and the Not Quite As Cute

I'd say it was a pretty fantastic weekend.

OK...Sunday....not so much. But I'm not really counting it. Both Sox teams lost too, so we didn't lose any ground in the Division or Wild Card standings. Apparently, we just ran through our weekend allotment of runs too quickly on Friday and Saturday. I'm sure, knowing what they know now, the team would have saved 2 of them to help Scotty out yesterday. Obviously, I'd have preferred a sweep. If I had my way, we'd win every game. But the Rangers are my AL-West team of choice, and with the Angels winning all 3 this weekend, I think it's OK the Rangers won 1 game.

Here are my somewhat scattered thoughts on the weekend:

The Good:
  • The winning. Oh, the winning. I really like it.
  • 20 runs in 2 days. Like I said, maybe we could have stretched it out over 3 days, but it's still good to see offensive numbers like that.
  • The bullpen. I hope this weekend was a big confidence booster for our runs scoring on any of them is a pretty big deal. Also, the bullpen kept us entertained on Friday, when we couldn't see most of the actual game due to a constant stream of people up and down the stairs, blocking our view. Apparently everyone was really hungry that night, or we sat in the Small Bladder section or something. Anyway, thank you bullpen, for giving us something to watch:
  • Ian Kinsler and his high socks. I know he's the enemy, but I don't care....ours is a forbidden love. I was actually a little bit sad that his hitting streak ended on Friday. In the 8th, Those Girls were just sure that he'd get a hit off of Crain. I mean, I wasn't super sad....just a little bit. Here's a picture of Ian spitting, which cheers me up:

  • The starters this weekend were phenomenal. Good job boys.
  • The Dirt Shirts we got are going to look awesome with our Twins hardhats....if we ever actually wear them. Probably after a night of hard drinking, when it seems like a really great idea.
The Bad
  • Did I mention Sunday?
  • I first read about Liriano and his agent on my cell phone, passing the time until we could get into the Dark Knight theater late on Thursday. To say I was pissed is putting it lightly. With postseason being a very real possibility, I believe we need Livan in the rotation, for better or worse. Going into October with 5 starters who have never pitched in a playoff game is not a good idea. And I don't think Liriano would be able to give us anything more than any of our other 4 starters already have. They deserve their spots, at least for now. Liriano had plenty of chances to prove himself earlier. He could have come to Spring Training in shape, having actually put the work in. He could have not sucked when we called him up in April. He didn't, and other guys manned up in his place. Tough break, Francisco. Stop whining.
The Ugly (Well, not really ugly. Just Not Quite As Cute):
  • On Friday night, I was stunned, dismayed and distraught to discover during Rangers batting practice, that C.J. Wilson got a haircut. It's heartbreaking. I'm sure he did it because it's friggin' HOT in Texas in July. But hurts.

And just as a little bonus, here's a picture of Michael Young, because Jessica, our resident Rays fanatic and fellow Jason Bartlett fan, likes him:

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I'm highly anticipating the next 36 hours.

In 12 hours, I will be almost halfway through the midnight showing of The Dark Knight. Which has nothing to do with baseball, except in the sense that both baseball and Batman are totally awesome. When I'm baseball-less for more than 24 hours, my mind tends to wander to other Christian Bale in a Batsuit. [Side Note: Those Girls were once dangerously close to Christian Bale's Batsuit from Batman Begins, and our readers should be very very proud of us for not climbing over the velvet rope, touching it, and inevitably getting tackled by burly security guards. We have a tremendous amount of will-power.]

But then, just a few short hours later, Those Girls will begin yet another ridiculously early trek to the Dome to make sure we get Dirt Shirts. (Sleep is highly overrated, or so I've heard.) I'm also pretty excited about watching Josh Hamilton in batting practice, as I'm sure everyone else is. I'm also not-so-secretly looking forward to CJ Wilson and Ian Kinsler sightings. I'm sorry that I won't see CJ pitch though, because obviously, the Twins are going to WIN. (Boys, that not-so-subtle hint was for you.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Pettiness on Parade

I'll admit, I got sick of the All-Star Game in the 11th inning.

In the 13th inning, I wondered aloud "Oh my god. Where is Juan Rincon when you need him?!" Because at that point, I officially stopped caring who won. I just wanted to go to bed.

Sure, I'm glad the A.L. won. Although, player-wise, aside from Joe-Squared and Justin, there were more players I like (or, more accurately, fewer players I despise) on the NL team. And there were a couple moments where I secretly hoped Dan Uggla would put one over the wall, just to redeem himself. That poor kid.

[Side note: Doesn't it seem like maybe the lineups should be flip-flopped and the top vote-getting All-Star position players should enter the game in the 4th or 5th inning to end it? I know it would wreck the opening line-up announcement fanfare, but I think it'd be worth it.]

Justin scoring the winning run was pretty sweet though, and ultimately worth staying awake for.

The one thing that this game put into crystal clear focus is the ridiculousness of the Yankees fans. Rivalry, Schmivalry. The jackass-y booing is one thing when the Red Sox and Yankees are playing each other in a division series, because I don't have to watch it. I avoid those ESPN games like the plague. But the All-Star game? Seriously? Grow up and give it a break. Of course of the introduction of the Rays players was even worse....pettiness on parade. Sheesh.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bromancing the Dome

In my previous post's list of things I liked about the Home Run Derby [A Twin wins, a heroin addict makes good, Chase Utley swears on national television] I completely forgot to mention the Joe Mauer interview, which went something like this:

Annoying ESPN Chick: Joe Mauer, it's Josh Hamilton and Justin Morneau in the final round. Josh Hamilton has hit 32 home runs so far, and is clearly divinely ordained to win this competition. Who do you think is going to win?

Joe Mauer: Oh, BFF Justin?
It's not a literal translation, but that was the gist of it.

It made me realize that the adorable and over-zealous Gomez/Casilla friendship has actually over-shadowed the Original Twins Bromance* this season.

They may not be roomies anymore, but watching Joe lovingly camcord-ing best buddy Justin's Derby at-bats, it's easy to see that the bromance is still going strong.

Matt Damon & Ben Affleck since...forever.

Ben & Ronnie on Make Me a Supermodel.

Christian De La Fuente & Jason Taylor on Dancing With The Stars.

The Bromance is a pop-culture craze. It's very in right now. Why wouldn't baseball players want to be in the loop on this one?

You could tell during the Derby that Milton Brandley wanted everyone to think that he and Josh Hamilton are bromantically involved...even going so far as to give Josh a creepy creepy backrub mid-contest. But you could see that Josh was totally not into it.

Ok. So he kinda looks into it in this picture. But he really wasn't. I swear.

That's OK, Milton. Hitch your wagon to whatever star you can find, you crazy bastard. Everybody knows your heart still belongs to Nick Swisher...putting a certain unique Oakland A's Prison-love spin on the Bromance phenomenon.**

The Twins team as a whole has really jumped on this particular bandwagon. We probably have more per capita team bromances than any other team.

There are currently 4 main ones I can think of:

Joe Mauer/Justin Morneau: The M&M Boys. BFF and odd-couple-esqe former housemates. They've been inseparable since the dawn of time, apparently.

Alexi Casilla/Carlos Gomez: Carlexi. Gosilla. Whatever you want to call them, these countrymen are adorable, with the secret handshakes, the dancing and their top of the order tag-team approach.

Glen Perkins/Kevin Slowey: They're tight enough that Glen let Kevin live in his house while Glen was rehabbing in Florida last season. Where most starting pitchers generally sit alone on the bench, when one of these guys is pitching, the other one frequently comes and sits next to him so they can chat. Very cute.

Brian Bass/Boof Bonser: This one might surprise people, as their bromance is not as flashy or publicized. But if you ever watch them together, you'll see that they're practically joined at the hip. In fact, they're so close they share everything now...including initials and ERAs.

Did I miss anybody?

Here's a little musical tribute slideshow I put together for this occasion. Enjoy!


*Actually, A.J. Pierzynski/Doug Mientkiewicz were, in my opinion, the definitive C/1B BFF Combo, but since their relationship predated the actual phrase "bromance," I'll say that Joe and Justin can be the Originals.

**Whenever I commit something like this to print, I become increasingly convinced that I have a sub-conscious death wish to be slaughtered in my sleep by an angry, mentally imbalanced, Ex-Oakland A.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Persona Non Grata in the Big Apple Again.

Here's an excerpt of a phone call I had this afternoon with one of my Brewers fan friends:

Him: You wanna wager on the Home Run Derby? Braun vs. Morneau?
Me: No.
Him: Why not?
Me: I've barely recovered from my Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from last year's Derby when we bet Fielder vs. Morneau.
Him: It wasn't that bad.
Me: Justin kind of sucked and then carried that suck into the entire rest of the season. It WAS that bad.
Him: C'mon....just bet.
Me: No way. Besides, if I did bet, I'd bet on Hamilton anyway.

I watched the Derby, mostly because Justin was in it--for better or worse, and because there weren't any other baseball games on. I had NO expectations of Justin doing anything, really. I was thrilled when he hit the 5 HR mark in the first round. And then Josh Hamilton put on his amazing show, and I thought "wow...this was worth watching after-all." When Justin made it in the finals with Hamilton, I thought "at least Justin made it this far, and there's no shame in losing to a home-run hitting robot."

And then, just as New York fans were starting to forget that Justin, rightfully, edged out Jeter as '06 MVP, he beat out their newly adopted favorite Josh Hamilton in the finals....Thus making him the Most Hated Man in NYC once again. And you gotta love that.

Aside from Justin winning, and Josh Hamilton hitting 28 home runs in a round, my favorite Derby moment was Chase Utley dropping the F-bomb during the introductions as [presumably] Mets fans booed him. "'Boo'?! F*#& You!" And with that, Chase Utley became my new favorite NL player. Dan Uggla saying "shit" during his at-bat was a close second.

I love live TV.

And swearing.

I'll take it.

All in all, this was a pretty good baseball weekend, huh?

3 good wins, and 1 not-completely-embarrassing loss.

I'll take it.

I think Saturday's game was my favorite. Mostly because the Matt Guerrier/Big Fella presentation of the line-up was so strange and awesome. Winning the game was just an extra bonus. Not that the win wasn't fantastic....Brendan Harris actually made me forget about his political inclinations for two hours, which is hard to do.

I did discover something important on Saturday. Apparently my "Love him til he stinks" strategy only applies to Nick Swisher and is not to be used as a universal tool against just anybody. Because no sooner had the words "Matt Joyce is pretty cute, I like him..." left my mouth than he belted one out of the park. Sorry everybody.

Losing Sunday's game kind of sucked, but then I built a little shrine to Ian Kinsler, and the White Sox lost too. No harm, no foul. I'm kind of sad that I'll have to tear down the Kinsler shrine before Friday. I've come to love him like a Twin.

Good reading if you haven't read it already: Jayson Stark's midseason awards. Pay close attention to the AL Cy Yuk award. I laughed. A lot. An evil sort of laughter.

I'm going to get some sleep, because I feel like I'm going to need all my strength to try and muster up some excitement about the All-Star festivities.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Post-Nick Swisher Experiment Findings

Yesterday concluded my little Nick Swisher LoveFest experiment.

Thank goodness.

Here are my findings:
  • On the days when I remembered to seriously send major love vibes out to Nick during his games, he did really crappy.
  • On the days when I forgot and ignored/was indifferent about Nick Swisher, he did all right. The first night I forgot, he hit a home run. Then I worked the positive mojo angle and he did nothing the rest of the game.
  • Nick's batting average was lower during this past week than his season average.
  • It is freaking exhausting trying to love Nick Swisher. It takes a lot of mental stamina and a very strong stomach. I'm pretty proud of myself for lasting a week, actually. But there's no way I can carry this burden by myself for the whole rest of the season.
  • I will, however, utilize this psychic super power at times of greatest need. Like when we're playing the Sox at the end of the month.
  • In the event we're in a pennant race with Chicago at the end of the season, I will pull out my big gun secret weapon, and I will write an email to telling Nick how much I love him. I swear to Joe Mauer, I will do it if the team needs me to.
  • If that happens, I'm pretty sure we'll either win or the universe will implode. Either way, problem solved.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

They should've washed their hands more.

I think it's fairly obvious what's happened here. Our pitchers caught a bad case of Bullpenitis from the Red Sox. This is a particularly nasty bug derived from the virus Suckeipitchtudae. Once you've caught the thing, you just have to let nature take its course and wait it out. Antibiotics don't help. Prevention is key, so in the future when the boys are facing a team that has had a recent bout of Bullpenitis, I recommend a thorough and aggressive hand-washing regimine.

But, what's done is done. While there is no cure, you can treat the symptoms, much like a common cold. And, what makes this bug unique is that the symptoms actually begin to lessen as soon as the virus has been transmitted to someone else. So, as a non-licensed medical unprofessional, I suggest that the best course of treatment is to pass it on to Detroit. The boys should arrive a little bit early to the ballpark tomorrow and make sure they touch everything. Invite some of the key Tigers players to a pre-game brunch, and be certain that all of them get a hug, high-five or fist-pound before they leave. Share water bottles and drinking cups with them whenever possible.

I'm pretty sure that will work.

As for me, I'm going to go cry now.

NOW I Remember...

Things had been going so well for us lately, I'd forgotten what it's like to lose two games in a row. I'm sure the boys had too. But, since the Red Sox are all too familiar with that feeling recently, they've certainly been more than happy to jog our memories.

So, now we all remember the feeling.

It's unpleasant.

We can stop now.

I do take some of the blame tonight though. I was watching, and we were winning. I stopped watching to actually do something constructive, and then when I checked the score again we had somehow managed to lose. This is a mistake I won't make twice. I hereby solemnly swear never to do anything constructive ever again.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Our Journey to the Parallel Universe Called Cheap Seats

We started our Sunday by getting in line outside the Dome at 8:30a.m. to make sure we got hardhats. It was hot. Super hot. The radio told us it was around 80, but I'm pretty sure it was more like 518 degrees Fahrenheit. And the air around our gate smelled more than faintly like raw sewage. We discovered a new least favorite way to spend a Sunday morning. We were able to distract ourselves with Buffy the Vampire Slayer trivia, though.

At one point I went searching for bottled water, but the only vendors open were the Kettle Corn people and the Sweet Corn people. Apparently corn-based foods are big early sellers. Disappointed by my fruitless trip, I took a little side excursion to the player's entrance, just in time to see Joe Nathan (and Delmon Young, but I was more excited about Joe Nathan). It gave me a little extra boost.

Here's a phenomena that I just cannot wrap my mind around: people who are willing to wait in line for hours to get the promotion, and then go home. While we love free stuff, we love baseball more. The free stuff is just a happy bonus. I can't imagine anyone having a ticket to a game, going to the Dome, waiting in line, and then going home. Can anyone explain this to me? Thinking about it makes my heart hurt.

We sat in the cheap seats for this game, which made a lot of sense at the time we planned it...."since we have to get there insanely early to get a hardhat, we'll be early enough to also get decent cheap seats." Those Girls spend a great deal of time trying to definitively decide which level of seating best fits our personalities and preferences. We long ago decided we were not Home Run Porch people, because we find beach balls distracting, and I hate when people scream at me to help them start the wave. Depending on the day and what our priorities are, Upper Club and Lower Reserved (mostly just 3rd base line Lower Reserved) come the closest to being the perfect match. Unfortunately, I think we're actually Private Suite People, but our incomes have not quite caught up to us yet. But one thing I can now say for certain...we are not Cheap Seats Girls. It's too much like anarchy up there for my taste. It's a good deal for families, especially on Sundays, but it's just not for us. It's kind of like a parallel universe. All of the vendors are different....instead of our familiar and beloved Embarrassed Looking Cookie Kid, Cute Beer Guy, etc., we got Scary Hot Dog Guy and Overly Aggressive Cotton Candy Man. Thankfully Malt Cut Kid was a constant, keeping us tied to our own plane of reality.

After sleep deprivation & 2.5 hours of heat stroke-worthy conditions, I'll admit, it was hard to focus on the game for the first 6 and a half innings. Losing was kind of boring, so I used my binoculars to study Baseball Sociology...mostly just watching the players interact in the dugout and bullpen. The oddest baseball behavior came during the Kiss Cam feature of the game, when Boof Bonser appeared to be mesmerized by the action on the screen. I don't know if he expected to see someone he knew, has weird voyeuristic tendencies, or what, but even Joe Nathan waving a hand in front of his face didn't break his stare. It was bizarre.

I also should note that I'm completely in baseball-love with Craig Breslow now, but I'm keeping the specific reasons quiet for now, because I like having the bandwagon all to myself :)

But obviously, the most notable part of the game was the winning. I almost feel bad for the people who left at the 7th-inning stretch. Almost, but not really, because that's what you get for leaving a game early. These are NOT the '07 Twins. Of our 50 wins this season, 24 have come from when we've fallen behind. If you leave early when we're losing, you're taking a chance on missing an awesome rally. And this one was particularly good.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Oppotunity-Cost Analysis for Twins Hardhat Day

Things I missed today in order to get a Twins hardhat:
  • The Wimbledon Men's finals. I'm super happy that Nadal beat Federer though. I want Pete Sampras's records to last as long as possible.
  • Holding the Stanley Cup. It was in our area today for a charity event. I love the Stanley Cup.
  • Sleep. Blessed, blessed sleep. Since it takes us two hours to drive to the Dome, getting there early enough meant an alarm going off at 4:30am. That's too early for anything.
Still, we did get our hardhats. They're awesome. I have various amusing tidbits of information about the game to share, but it will have to wait until morning because if I stay awake for one more minute, I'm going to die. And that would be bad.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Let the Great Experiment Begin!

Yesterday was Day 1 of the Nick Swisher Experiment.
I kept track of his at-bats on my mobile phone, and every time he came to the plate, I thought shiny happy thoughts about Nick Swisher, radiating beams of pure love and affection towards him through the ether of the Universe. Kind of like the Carebears used the Carebear Stare on Dr. Coldheart.

The results: Swisher went 0-4, with three strike-outs, and the Sox lost.

This was sufficiently encouraging.

I am convinced that as distasteful as this is:

It is for the greater good of the whole of Twins Territory.

You're welcome.

Ghosts of Christmas Past
This morning I went to the grocery store, and when I got back in the car "Party Like a Rock Star" was playing, and then the truck next to me had a decal that said "Torii Beach."

Happy 4th of July, everybody!

Kudos to anyone who appreciates the pop-cultural significance of this post's title.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Using my powers for good, and evil.

First of all, I would like to thank Nick Blackburn for succumbing to peer pressure, and choosing the blue jerseys today. Three out of five starting pitchers choose blue. I like it.

You know what else I like?

Winning. I find it vastly superior to losing in most, if not all, respects.

But winning won't do us much good in the rankings, if the White Sox don't start losing. So naturally I have to wonder what I, as a dedicated fan and sometimes Controller-of-the-Universe-with-my-mind, can do to make this happen.

It was recently suggested to me that Nick Swisher might be "feeding off my hatred and it is making him stronger." Obviously the corollary to that assertion is that I might have the power to destroy Nick Swisher with love.

As distasteful as that seems to me, I'm (wo)man enough to give it a try, in the interest of science. At least for a week. Starting tomorrow, I will spend one week thinking happy fluffy bunny thoughts about Mr. Swisher. We'll see what, if any, impact this has on his game. Obviously, all pertinent details of this experiment will be noted here on the blog.

I reserve all rights to abort this experiment at any time if it seems to exponentially improve his level of play, or if it causes nausea, vomiting, internal bleeding and/or sexual side-effects.

Damn...the nausea is starting already.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Mid-Season Awards

To commemorate the half-way point of this season, I thought it would be nice to recognize some of our boys' achievements so far this season. I made up some lovely trophies for a few of them.

Let's start with a nice, straight-forward one:

Congratulations to Brian Buscher for winning our Most Likely to Succeed award. No big surprise here, Brian has been stellar since his call-up, plus we love him. Brian's success this season makes the time we accosted the little punks sitting next to us for calling Brian "a stupid no-name player" a little more justified. I look for Brian to continue his Good At Baseball ways.

The Most Painful and Devastating Injury award is not necessarily given to the player who suffers the most pain themselves, but rather the player whose injury has caused us the most pain due to their absence. Pat Neshek takes home this '08 award. Pat's absence has not only been felt in the bullpen, but also in our hearts. Sometimes I'll be driving, or sitting at home, and I'll randomly think "I miss Pat Neshek so much." It's sad.

Matt Tolbert is Mr. I love my job. No seriously, I really LOVE it 2008. Pat Neshek had previously held this honor in '06 and '07. Matt wins the award because every time we watch batting practice, there he is, shagging balls or otherwise making himself useful, even when he still had a cast on. And he always looks positively thrilled to be doing it. That kid really loves his job.

The Amnesia Award is given to the player who has been the most successful at making us forget how much we loved the player they replaced. This year's award goes to Carlos Gomez who, good or bad, has been entertaining, exciting and intriguing enough to make us ask "Torii who?" Well, except the little girl sitting next to me on Saturday who kept asking her mom why Torii Hunter wasn't on the field.

Obviously, Alexi Casilla (if in fact that is his real name) wins the Most Likely to Have Been Abducted by Aliens and Replaced with a Clone award. There is no way that's the same kid on the field now. Every time I have a happy thought about Alexi and his newly found baseball prowess, another icicle forms on the gutters of Hell. I suppose I should be more concerned about where the real, original Alexi is right now. He might be tied up naked in the middle of a crop circle somewhere for all we know. But I like the new & improved Alexi so much, I don't really worry about it.