Thursday, February 26, 2009

Raising the bar.

Brian Buscher's home run today has made it official....the following are my list of requirements for Joe Crede's performance in his first spring training game:
  • A 1.000 batting average
  • 2 home runs
  • Tap dancing
  • Daring rescue of a tiny fluffy kitten from a burning building in between innings [apparently it's fire hazard weather in Florida right now, so it's not THAT far-fetched]
If Crede and the Twins want to make me feel better about shuffling off Brian Buscher to no man's land in the organization, I don't think that's too much to ask.

The only thing that could have made Buscher's performance better today would be if I actually could have seen it.  Plus, I would have enjoyed seeing the awesome pitching today, mostly Nick Blackburn and my newly sworn-in Baseball Boyfriend Craig Breslow.  It looks like poor Philip Humber got roughed up a little...but when we score 10 runs, giving up 4 isn't the end of the world.  Besides, to borrow one of Joe Crede's inspirational quotes (oh yes, I've commited them all to heart), "a W is a W." Especially in Spring Training when they don't count anyway.  

I tried watching the Rays/Yanks game....but Jason Bartlett played yesterday and not today, and the Rays were losing.  So....I stopped watching after a few innings.  My apologies to Rays fans.

Someone today commented on not being able to watch the games without the MLB Network.  I recommend getting a month's subscription to MLB.tv.  It's working a bazillion times better than it did last season (this year you don't have to use that b.s. Silverlight software), and there are quite a few spring training games broadcast.  You have to email them to cancel the subscription after a month (they do auto-renew), but it's worth the hassle to be able to access video of games you might not see otherwise.


"That reminds me of Brian Buscher..."

I would've liked to blog about yesterday's game last night, but I was at the point where my body subtly informed me that if I did not get one decent night's sleep ASAP, various internal organs would begin to mutiny.

Dang, it is good to have baseball back.  I feel like I go into zombie hibernation mode after October.  I exist...but I'm not really ME.  But as soon as that first pitch is thrown, my On-Switch gets flipped and I come back to life.  Of course, this probably makes all of my non-baseball-loving friends and acquaintances wince a little bit.  Because for a few months of the year I am able to have entire conversations about other things without throwing in sentences like "That reminds me of Brian Buscher," as thinly veiled attempts to steer the conversation to Minnesota Twins baseball.

Oh well.

That reminds me of Brian Buscher, actually.  And how awesome he was last night, offensively.  It made me annoyed with the existence of Joe Crede--a little bit.  If Joe Crede plays on Friday, as expected, his awesomeness is going to have to be greater than, or equal to, Brian Buscher's awesomeness last night, or I am going to be seriously cranky about some things.  

Other thoughts:  I didn't realize just how much I'd missed Matt Tolbert until I saw him last night.  Mike Redmond's hit to his patented spot in right-center field made me do the happy dance in my chair.  Alexi looks like he's going to pick up right where he left off.  Jesse Crain was fantastic....a good omen for this this season and this bullpen, I hope.  

I hate than no one is broadcasting today's game.  With a nasty winter storm in the mix, the least the universe could do would be to give us some baseball to watch or listen to.  Boo.  I'll probably check out the Rays-Yankees game instead and keep my fingers crossed for fisticuffs.  That would be an excellent Winter Storm pick-me-up, provided none of the Rays' pretty faces get messed up in the process.



--Note to last night's Anon. commenter:  

"I have a mission/assignment for Those Girls. This is an urgent emergency. On Phil Miller's blog, Feb 24. "Radio Interference from a Locker Away" he mentions a KSTP radio interview with Glen Perkins, but more importantly background noise from my baseball boyfriend, Kevin Slowey. I have tried desperately to get this audio. Did you hear it? Know where I can find it?"

I thought the Glen Perkins interview in question sounded like 1500's Matt Thomas's handiwork.  I emailed him last night to confirm. It was indeed his interview.  I looks like it aired pre-game yesterday maybe, but I missed it.  Did anyone else hear it?  We can keep our fingers crossed that it shows up in his On Demand Interviews section I guess.  

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

How To Be A Quality Baseball Boyfriend: A Primer

Throughout the storied BatGirl era of Twins baseball fandom, we grew accustomed to choosing and cheering for our Baseball Boyfriends; forging emotional bonds that are difficult to sever.....I still have warm fuzzy feelings for A.J. Pierzynski and Doug Mientkiewicz, years after their time with the Twins ran out (I kept 2 boyfriends because even back then...I was just greedy).  

Since approximately August of '06, Boof Bonser has been my primary Baseball Boyfriend.  And I must say, he has served nobly in that position.  He has cheered me up when I'm sad, he entertains me, he has cool hair (most of the time), he has an uncanny ability to bend space and time to make sure he pitches when I'm at the Dome (even though I decide what games I'm going to far in advance of any team rotation/pitching decisions being made), and I like his curveball. All in all, and I believe I have said this before, Boof has actually done a far more satisfying job of being my boyfriend than several of my real-life boyfriends have in the past.  

Sure, we've had our ups and downs, just like any other pretend baseball couple.  We've had our rough patches....like the time in '07 he decided to not trim his facial hair until he was credited with a Win.  And that weird looking haircut he got last season.  And the times his pitching made me pull my hair out.  But we've worked though those tough times, and I think our pretend baseball relationship is all the stronger for our struggles.  I don't demand perfection in my baseball boyfriends, just solid effort,  consistent adorableness and a certain entertainment factor.   
Another plus for Mr. Bonser has been that he has remained relativley healthy and unbroken. 

Until now.

For the past 14 hours or so--since learning of Boof's surgery that will keep him off the field for several weeks--I have been adrift in a sea of despair; baseball-boyfriendless and alone.

But then I remembered something important.

I have back-up.

Sometime mid-season (I think it might have been Hard Hat day at the Dome), I declared Craig Breslow to be my Auxillery Emergency Back-up Baseball Boyfriend.  Meaning that, should my Primary Baseball Boyfriend be unable to fulfill his duties for any reason, the Auxillery Emergency Back-up Baseball Boyfriend would be elevated to the role of Temporary Primary Baseball Boyfriend and would then discharge those duties as long as necessary.  

That's right Craig Breslow, you're getting called up to the Bigs.

This is a great chance for you to really show me what you're capable of.  It's time for you to man up and become a shining example of exemplary Baseball Boyfriend-ness.  

Not surprisingly, I have prepared a short list of tips to help you be all that you can be, so you can make the most of this thrilling opportunity.

How To Be A Quality Baseball Boyfriend
A Primer for Craig Breslow 
  • If you get to interact with me, you should be nice to me.  Even if I ask you to sign funny pictures of yourself with my own photoshopped captions.  Yeah...heads up....that could totally happen.
  • Keep working on your cutter.  I like it.  
  • You already have cool hair, which is going to save you a lot of time.  Really, you just have to keep up a good maintanence schedule and not get sucked into any peer pressured uglifying-tactics.  
  • During games, try to "accidentally" get caught on camera/binoculars doing adorable, endearing things.  Like Boof unravelling a baseball.  Or Bobby Korecky chair-dancing to Michael Jackson.  Or Nick Punto back-flipping.  Do you juggle at all?  Because, if you do, that could be a really solid jumping-off point.
  • You're already uber-philanthropic, which is HUGE bonus points.  So keep that up.   And, don't tell Boof...but you're totally edging him out in that category.
  • Do your best not to get hurt.  I don't really like the constantly broken.  A thorough stretching routine should help.
  • And if you heroically win any games I attend and/or you accidentally-on-purpose bean any players that I particularly hate (I can provide you with a detailed list if necessary), I promise to love and cherish you forever.
Good luck, Craig Breslow.  I'm counting on you.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Boof is broken. So is my heart.

Boof Bonser is going to have surgery on his shoulder tomorrow.  

I am bummed.

Thankfully I was able to read the story BEFORE any of the inevitable mean nasty comments showed up [I'm sure they're there by now].  My feelings would have been hurt. 

My conciousness is a Boof-bash Free Zone.

And here I woke up all giddy and happy that baseball games were less than 48 hours away.  And now I'm kind of sad.  Boof is still my favorite.  I don't care what anybody says.

I hope the Rays team doctor takes good care of him.  And maybe they can do a little "Rookie of the Year" tweaking?  That'd be OK.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Looking through TC Goggles

I was looking at the pictures of Joe Crede's first day with the Twins in Ft Myers, and I was immediately struck by the fact that Crede got a lot hotter, seemingly overnight.  At first I was amazed, and wondered "did he have work done? Because he looks great!" But after letting it sink in for a few minutes, I realized what was happening.

It's possible that, to bastardize a How I Met Your Mother quote, Joe Crede just stopped being evil, and started being adorable instead.  However, it is far more likely that I was, for the first time, simply looking at Joe Crede through what I can only call "TC Googles."  




It is a scientific fact that an individual looks approximately 38% more attractive when they're wearing the Twins logo.  Joe Crede is living proof.  He wasn't exactly unfortunate before becoming a full-fledged Twin, but NOW....he is definitely 37-39% hotter.  

And obviously, the high-socks don't hurt his case.  In fact, that's one of the major benefits of the Twins signing Crede.  With Neshek out for another season, Joe Crede can help us meet that important high-sock quota.  

I do have a pressing question about the addition of Joe Crede.  What the heck are we going to call him?  We can't call him Joe, because we already have Joe Mauer.  We can't even use the Elementary School method of differentiating between two kids with the same name--using their last initial--because there's only enough room in the Twins universe for ONE Joe C.  I even scoured the internet for any cool nicknames he uses, but I came up empty.  I did find one site that said his nickname is "Joe."  Very unhelpful.  I suppose I can just run his first and last names together, like I do for Brian Buscher.  He is never Brian, nor Buscher.  He is refered to as Brian-Buscher, almost exclusively.  Except, when I run Joe-Crede together, it sounds like "Joke Reedy."  And that's not that cool.  I guess I will just have to be on the lookout for potential nickname material.  Right now I'm thinking "Spanky" or "High Socks McGee," but that's really only because it's late and I'm sleep deprived and a little loopy.

In other news, be sure to check out the latest episode of the Baseball Happy Hour Podcast for a great look at the '09 Brewers with MarioKart Tony.  

It's good to keep up with the Brewers so that we can better know how to annihilate them during Interleague.  ....And root for them the rest of the time.  Also, I say inappropriate things about Bernie Brewer.  Which is like my 12th favorite hobby.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Joe Crede: Full-time 3rd baseman, part-time philosopher....and very tender.

Did you know that newest Twin Joe Crede has his own page of inspirational quotes at thinkexist.com?

Yeah.
He totally does.

My personal favorite is “I've never had my hair cut in Chicago before.”

Words to live by, my friends. Words to live by.

As a way of getting to know our new 3rd baseman better, I took the liberty of running an astrological profile for him. (BTW, he's a Taurus.)

Strengths: Cautious, committed, enduring, faithful, patient, persistent, realistic, reliable, responsible, sensual, stable, tender [awww.....Crede is tender. Cute!].
Weaknesses: Conservative, greedy [ie asking for a $2 million raise], indecisive, inflexible, jealous, lazy [Uh Oh], materialistic, naive, overindulgent, possessive, procrastinating.

Your sign is that of earthy Taurus, the second sign of the zodiac, the sign characterized by endurance and sensuality. Taurus is also associated with material goods. Venus, the planet of love and beauty, is your ruler, and makes you a very warm and faithful person. For the most part, Joe, you are even-tempered and show a great capacity for affection, as well as an appreciation for beauty and art. You are loyal and reliable. You keep your promises.
As the first of the three earth signs, you are realistic, patient, and persistent. You are the most grounded sign of the zodiac, preferring to put down roots and aiming for stability.

Comfort, even luxury, is very precious to you, Joe. And indeed, you rule the second house, the sector of the horoscope that encompasses money and possessions. This house describes your value systems, including the value of oneself.

You are a fixed sign, Joe, meaning you enjoy responsibility and taking charge. However, you are not a doer - you are a delegator! Like every genuine Taurus, it may take you longer to get involved with something, but once you do, you don’t want to stop. You are more passive than active, and prefer to have the world move around you while you sit still and direct.

I'm Richer than Damon. Hah!

  • So everyone showed up for work today. I wonder if there were ice-breakers and team-building exercises? Personally, I hate participating in ice-breakers and team-building exercises....but I like to imagine baseball players being forced to do them. It entertains me.
  • I am only tentatively OK with the Joe Crede-rumors-that-will-not-die if Crede takes a sizeable discount off of the $7 mil price tag he was dangling earlier.
  • I LOL'ed a little bit tonight at the fact that Johnny Damon and Xavier Nady had all of their assets frozen. I fully intend to enjoy the fact that for a little while, I actually have more available funds than Johnny Damon.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A-Rod and dumb t-shirts annoy me.

There were 3 quotes that stood out to me from today's Yankee circus.  Well, technically it was yesterday's Yankee circus...damn my post-midnight/pre-sleep blogging habits.  Anyway....

1) A-Rod saying "Baseball is bigger than Alex Rodriguez," sheerly for the massive amount of irony oozing from the statement.....that he was making from his own press conference....as the entire universe revolved around the press-conference tent and time stood still.... 

2) A-Rod saying "This has been a very emotional time for me" in a tone so emotionless, it is generally reserved only for actual robots, and Keanu Reeves.

3) Brian Cashman saying "This is an asset that's currently in crisis, so we will do everything we can to protect that asset." Hmm. How heartfelt.  That just really puts it all in perspective, doesn't it?  For a split second, it made me feel just a little bit sorry for A-Rod.  It's got to be more than a little frightening to be at a point in your life where the only reason people stand by you is because you are financially valuable to them.  Perhaps that's the sort of thing that might breed the insecurity that would lead a naturally talented athlete to take steroids in order to live up to expectations in the first place.  Chicken...egg....


Meanwhile, in my world where I only really care about Twins stuff....I went to my local Scheels store today.   The Twins merchandise section was totally depressing.  Now, I fully recognize that I live in Wisconsin, and therefore the Brewers stuff is going to take precedence.  I can live with that.  But the Twins section just keeps dwindling down to nothingness.  The Cubs section dwarfs it, and there's an equal (if not greater) amount of Detroit Tigers stuff now.  WTF.  It makes me sad.  But there was a new shirt there that caught my eye.  It said "Minnesota Chicks Dig the Longball."  Which struck me as odd for 2 reasons....firstly, it's being sold in Wisconsin, and secondly....the Twins are not specifically known for excessive home-run hitting.  So...if Minnesota Chicks really only dig the longball, they should maybe look elsewhere for entertainment.

I think a far more approriate shirt would say "Minnesota [and Surrounding Area] Chicks Dig the Longball, but Honestly, They Prefer Consistent Defensive Prowess and A Healthy On-Base Percentage.  Also, Attractive Facial Features Do Not Hurt."  

But I suppose that's a lot of words to fit on a shirt, so they probably just shortened it or something.  They should have kept the facial features part instead.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

No more Arby's for me.

Why don't I ever just take the time to opt out of receiving the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue?

Oh yeah...I remember. I'm lazy. And I generally forget about it until the issue shows up in my mailbox. Like yesterday.

Oh well. Wasting a tree on pictures of half-naked women (or, more accurately, 7/8-naked women) is a small price to pay for me not having to remember to write the opt out notice, find an envelope, take it all the way to the post office and pay for the stamp. And the ads are kind of funny....because it seems like all of the ad agencies say "what are the sleaziest, trashiest ideas we have that we could never get away with printing anywhere else? Let's use those." The creepiest was an Arby's ad with two burgers that are strategically placed to look like boobs. Ew. I understand that sex sells...I'd just prefer it not to sell me food. Because, honestly, fast food workers and nudity are two ideas that I'd like to keep completely separate in my brain. Please.

Really though, aside from my new urge to never, EVER eat anything at Arby's ever again, it's cool. Boys need their fun too.

And, purely in the interest of bringing balance and harmony to the universe, here's a lovely picture of Gabe Kapler with his shirt off :

(which isn't really that exciting, because it's actually harder to find pictures of Gabe Kapler with his shirt ON.)

And today I got my REAL Sports Illustrated in the mail, which is all about A-Rod being a dirty lying juicer. So I'm set. I just like it for the articles.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Odds and Ends.....but mostly odds.

Bullet point time. Yes!

  • Boo hoo, A-Rod. Boo hoo. I probably would buy his uber public apology more if it wasn't for all the crap he spewed in that Katie Couric interview. "I've never felt overmatched" turns into "I just felt so much pressure to perform!" To quote the venerable J.T....Cry me a river.
  • I'm going to the Twins spring training WBC exhibition game vs. the Netherlands. Do you know who might be a starting pitcher for the Netherlands? Sidney Ponson. I'm currently taking bets as to the likelihood that I will drive from Wisconsin to Minneapolis, fly from Minneapolis to Tampa, drive from Tampa to Sarasota and then drive from Sarasota to Ft. Myers only to wind up watching Sidney Ponson pitch again. Given my luck, the odds are pretty good. (Of course, in a fit of vacation-excitement insanity, I've reserved a convertible rental car....so the odds are also fairly good that it will rain a lot, which could make it all a moot point anyway.) I was explaining it all to my mother, who decided that I might have some sort of psychic link to Sir Sidney, since I tend to see him more often than I care to think about. I hope she's wrong, but it would help explain the fact that Ponson grabbed his junk about 3 feet away from Those Girls once...scarring us both for life. My mother also suggested "maybe you can pick Nick Swisher up in Tampa and make it a real party." Ha. Thanks Mom.
  • Words cannot express my disappointment at the fact that Morrissey's Twin Cities concert falls on Opening Day. I felt like I was being tested by the Universe. I LOVE Morrissey. However, I have never seen Morrissey live. I have TWICE had tickets to Morrissey concerts, both of which were cancelled. The most painful was the time a friend and I had tickets to the opening date of Lollapalooza in SEATTLE with pit tickets so we could "be close enough for Morrissey to sweat on us", and the tour was cancelled completely....but not before I had purchased a pricey multi-stop plane ticket so I could do both Lollapalooza in Seattle and the sold-out Jet concert with different friends in New Orleans. (*sigh* remember when Jet was cool for, like, that 15 minutes?) And now I'm forced to choose between Morrissey and Opening Day. Twisting the knife in my proverbial gut is the knowledge that the Courteeners are the opening act for Moz. I've had a weird Courteeners obsession for about 2 months now. But obviously, I choose baseball. It's my last chance for a pleasantly climate controled Opening Day. It still hurts though. Who'd have guessed that an aging, self-loathing, androgenous European rock idol could so thoroughly break my heart on a regular basis? Yeah...you're right. I probably should have seen it coming.
  • A sincere "Get Well Soon" goes out to Tony Oliva.

Monday, February 9, 2009

My new nickname for the newest new guy

So....Luis Ayala. Huh.

Not exactly the big move a lot of people were hoping for. But, as always, I suppose we'll make do with what we've got.

Naturally, I jumped right into researching our new relief pitcher. I read the article detailing his trade from the Nationals to the Mets, and I got to this part:

Ayala requested the trade weeks ago because he wanted a change of scenery. He said that he lost focus because of personal problems off the field, which included having a divorce and getting shot in his left arm this past offseason. He said that those were the reasons why he was testy toward the local media during the first half of the season.
And I read the second sentence at least 3 times. And I kept looking for the missing "a." As in, "...included having a divorce and getting a shot in his left arm this past offseason." Because that seems much more reasonable to me.

I get a little testy after my flu shots too. Granted, it rarely results in me having to transfer to a different job. But hey, no one likes needles. I wouldn't judge.

But no....there is no "a" in "got shot" after all. Then, I briefly worried that the divorce and the getting shot were related incidents. But that wasn't it either. (I was suprised I didn't know about this story, but it turns out that I don't really pay much attention to Nationals news. Sorry Nationals.)

He got shot by an "unidentified bird hunter" while fishing in Mexico. [I name the two most likely suspects in the latest podcast. I bet you can guess at least one of them....]

The pellet is still lodged in his arm. Instant badass.

Enter my new nickname for the newest new guy: Cincuenta Centavo.

Those of you who took French in high school can Babelfish it.

I do hope he leaves the drama on the East Coast. Terrifying Kevin Slowey and Glen Perkins with "This one time I got shot" stories=OK, and kind of funny. Being douchey to reporters and generally just causing trouble=Not OK, or funny. We'll see how it goes.

Signing Ayala does help us make our "Luis" quota this season, though. We were noticably lacking last year, without Castillo and L-Rod. It should bring back a balance to the team we were missing while we existed Luis-less.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The fine line between fiscal responsibility and being a dirty dirty cheapskate

I cannot believe the Twins are holding out on Matt Guerrier for a half a million dollars. Just for comparison's sake, this amount is 1/7 of the $3.5 million the Twins owed Mike Lamb for NOT playing in '09 (not to mention that it's 1/6 of the $3 million we paid Mike Lamb to ride the pine in '08).

It's fair to say that I am annoyed. And I'm not even Matt Guerrier.

I know it's tough economic times, what with the crippling recession and all. And fiscal responsibility is generally good. But there is a fine line between being fiscally responsible and being a dirty dirty cheapskate. Here are some Do's and Don'ts for dealing with the economic crisis:

Do consider switching your pets to a generic dog food (unless it's tainted, obviously).
Don't eat your pets as a way to save money on groceries AND pet food.

Do save money on expensive salon visits by using a DIY hair color kit.
Don't save money on expensive dentist visits by using a DIY root canal kit.

If your kids complain about generic cereal, Do put the generic in a name-brand box. They’ll never know the difference!
If your husband complains about generic alcohol, Don't put 99 cent Walmart rubbing alcohol in his vodka bottle. You'll probably kill him.

Do think twice before throwing good money after bad and spending millions and millions of dollars on aging free-agents who may or may not actually contribute to your baseball team.
Don't be petty and squabble with a quality, generally reliable, reliever over half a million dollars.

In related news, podcast episode 2 is up at baseballhappyhour.com and on iTunes. Check it out. I was annoyed about the Matt Guerrier thing when I recorded it, but that was even before I knew all the details. Had I known the hang up was over such a relatively small amount of money, there would have been much, MUCH, more raging against the machine.

Much like one of my all-time favorite children's books, "There's a Monster at the End of This Book," there is a Contest at the End of This Podcast. You can win a Twins Fest grab bag. So, if you weren't able to make it to Twins Fest, or you didn't get yourself a grab bag, all is not lost. Check out the podcast, solve the puzzle, and a grab bag could be yours!