Wednesday, April 29, 2009

If I were not a Twins fan, I would have longer fingernails.

I'm in a weird mood today, so here are just some random thoughts.

If I were not a Twins fan, life would be so dull and meaningless.  I would have much longer fingernails.  But I would have longer fingernails in a world that was dull and meaningless, and what fun is that?

Do you think baseball non-fans have any idea about how much fun they are missing out on?  

Corollary: Do you think they also have any idea about how much we mock them behind their backs?

Real baseball fans are so much more hardcore than football fans.  I mean, I love football too...but more as an accessory.  Football fans only really have to be on their toes once a week during a much shorter season.  Baseball fans have to have their game faces on almost every single day for 6-9 months depending on how much you like Spring Training and whether your team makes the playoffs.  

Last night, I was obviously nervous during the top of the 9th, when it came down to Justin in the bottom half, I was cool as a cucumber.  "I'm not worried, Justin's got this."  A big thank you to Justin Morneau for rewarding my faithfulness with some winning.  I thank you, Team Awesome thanks you.  Keep up the good work.

My friend and co-worker Erin is baby-stepping onto the Twins bandwagon.  She has even tentatively chosen Carlos Gomez to be her first Baseball Boyfriend.  Welcome, Erin :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dear Jason Bartlett,

First off, let me just say Jason Bartlett, that I think I speak for everyone when I say that we still love you and we miss you.

Last night you once again demonstrated that you continue to be both adorable and good at baseball in equal proportions.  Those are our favorite attributes.

But, see....here's the thing.  When you play against us for another team....we don't actually want you to be that good at baseball.  It's nothing personal.  I just worry that maybe if you're too good at baseball when you play against the Twins, we will be forced to stop loving you.  And I don't think any of us wants that.

After you hit your home run I thought "Oh no....I got irritated with people for cheering Torii Hunter when he hit a home run. Now what!?" But, then I realized that there are different rules. You were traded away against your will.  You did not abandon us.  There are distictions made for such matters in my Those Girls Rules of Fan Conduct.  

So, I won't tell people not to cheer for you (in fact, I kind of still encourage it).  But please know that you are thin ice, mister.  

So, here's the deal.  No more home runs until you play someone else.  When you play someone else you may hit as many home runs as your little heart desires.  You can get singles and steal bases if you must, because:
a) it is still really fun to watch you steal bases 
b) because my fantasy opponent this week does not have you on his team
as long as the aforementioned hitting and base-stealing does not result in any earned runs for our pitchers. No touching home!

I think that's fair.  You're more than adorable enough to make up for two games of being slightly less good at baseball than usual.  Cut us a break, OK?

Love, 
Me

Monday, April 27, 2009

You know what we need? The Perfect Cheer.

Two out of three ain't bad.  Our team was very Meatloaf-y this weekend.  I'll take it.  

I was pretty proud of myself, actually.  I was working some major good-luck mojo on Friday and Saturday.  We are talking lucky clothes, lucky food, lucky chants and cheers.  I especially like my Kevin Slowey cheer:

Slowey, Slowey, He's my choice!
He talks more than all the boys! 

In an effort to do my part to break that Boston funk.  So I tried everything

But Sunday...I didn't have as much.  I did try to come up with a good luck cheer for Glen Perkins:

Glen Glen Perkins, his pitches are all workin'
He'll throw the ball and smoke 'em all
And keep us Twins fans smirkin' 
Whoooooooooo!

But it was really last minute, and I think the baseball gods could probably tell I was phoning it in.

And then we lost.  Coincidence?  Hopefully.  

I'm sorry Glen Perkins.  I will try harder next time. I promise.

And now the Rays are in town.  I'm bummed I can't make any of the games.  So everyone needs to cheer twice as loud for Jason Bartlett for me.  Deal?

And speaking of Jason Bartlett....

Awhile ago a commenter requested a top ten list of major league players, as ranked solely by Adorableness Quotient.  I decided to go one step better and have picked All-Stars of Adorableness rosters for the NL and AL.  The results are detailed in the latest Baseball Happy Hour.  I inadvertently left the Orioles out of the line-up.  An oversight, not intentional.  So, Adorable Orioles suggestions are welcome.  I hope they're the only team I left out.  I tried really hard to include everyone.  Even Oakland.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

TSWIB

This Stupid Week in Baseball

Monday: No baseball
Tuesday: No baseball
Wednesday: Probably more baseball than we really wanted, and we're not going to talk about it.
Thursday: No baseball
Friday: Cleveland
Saturday: Cleveland
Sunday: Cleveland

At 4:3, our Baseball:No Baseball weekly ratio is dangerously approaching the Red Zone.  Has anyone checked the weather forecast for Cleveland?

In other news, the Brewers gave Jason Tyner to Detroit for free.  I choose to believe that this is Milwaukee's version of a stimulus package, because they feel sad for Detroit in this crappy economy, and NOT because they don't like Jason Tyner.  Good luck in AAA Toledo, Jason Tyner. Don't be sad, WE like you.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Brrr.

Here's a random thought:

If today were next year, and it was a home gome, this girl would not be there.  Because, oddly enough, it is still cold in the midwest in late April.  Not a big fan of cold wind.

Of course, it might be raining in Boston tonight.  I'm not sure I can take 2 off-days plus a rain-out in one week.  The baseball gods need to be merciful.




Monday, April 20, 2009

3 wins and a bag of random treasures = Good weekend

The best way I can think of to describe the weekend is this:I know, I know....my pictoral summary of the weekend bears a striking resemblance to Randy Ruiz.  Purely coincidental, I assure you.

First series win of the season, first sweep of the season.  Good times.  It's too bad it had to come at the expense of the Angels, because I normally don't like kicking folks when they're down. [I find it's usually most effective to kick people when they're least expecting it.]  But, honestly....I'll take a good streak of winning wherever we can get it.  

I went to the game on Saturday with my friend and co-worker Dawn.  It was her first Twins game, so I tried to make sure she got the full experience.  Needless to say, another Nick Punto fan is born, and it didn't take long.  

I think Nick Punto should consider becoming  a Twins Baseball missionary in the off-season.  We could send him to remote regions of the world, to spread the word.  We'd quadruple the Twins' fan-base in no time.

Besides the winning, I also really enjoyed the Metrodome-specific merchandise clearance tent sale.  I came home with a bag full of random treasures for under $20.  That's my measure of a good day.  I even bought a Pittsburgh Pirates cap for $2.  Just because I could.  

Random thoughts:
  • I continue to hate The Wave.  Not as much as I hate beachballs, but it's a close 2nd.
  • "If you're still a fan, write him a letter!" --my friend re: people continuing to cheer Torii's at-bats, post-HR.
  • The Joe Mauer bronze statue doesn't look much like Joe Mauer at all.  If you look closely at its eyes, it kind of looks like a demon with a baseball bat.  [Reminds me of this.]
  • Fans should not lean over the railing and spit on the field.  That is gross.  Players can do it because they're players and that's OK because it's their field.  If spectators want to spit on carpet, they should do so in their own residences.
  • Jason Kubel got a nice standing-O on Saturday for his awesomeness on Friday.  He looked appropriately humbled and appreciateive, like a good Minnesota Twin should.  Nicely done, Jason Kubel.
I've decided that for each game I go to, I'm going to start compiling a list of things I won't miss about the Metrodome, so that I don't feel so sad when it's gone...

Here's #1, from Opening Day:
P.A. announcements that are virtually indeciperable.  I think it'd be funny if we get to Target Field only to discover that the P.A. guy went crazy like 7 years ago, and has just been reciting obscene poetry over the system ever since, and no one noticed because no one can understand what he's saying.  [But everyone pretends that they do, which only makes it funnier.]

And #2 from Saturday:
The inevitable morning-after stiff neck and headache that accompanies sitting along the third-base line.  I am referring to this feeling as Baseball Hangover.

Friday, April 17, 2009

And the faithful were rewarded.

See? I asked the team to try to be more like Ian Kinsler, and look what happens!?
Jason Kubel, you have done an excellent job of following directions. Gold star for you!
Guess who gets his very own kazoo parade of awesomeness now?

How nice was it to see Joe Nathan again, right? Wow, I've missed him.

Boy, I bet it sucked to be one of the people who left in the 7th inning.

It's like boot-camp for baseball fans.

[OK.  So my carefully crafted stern talking-to didn't really help.  Time to try a different approach.  Let's try some unconditional loving support, with a sprinkle of "que sera, sera" attitude thrown in for good measure.]

Maybe this is a good thing.  Maybe this is a blessing in disguise.

Maybe all the losing is necessary to wash out all the lame fair-weather fans.  And then they will all sell their tickets super cheap on ebay and craigslist, so all the real fun will eventually be had by the true believers.

Like boot-camp for baseball fans.  We're currently in the unpleasant "do a lot of push-ups and get yelled at frequently" phase.  But once all the weak links have washed out, those of us who are left will get to do the cool stuff....like firing the metaphorical rocket launchers.

I know.  It's kind of a stretch, as far as metaphors go.  Work with me.

Whatever the reason for the bad, bad losing, I say "bring it on." 

Those of us who weathered the Great Suck of the Mid to Late Nineties (And those who survived the Even Greater Suck of the Early Eighties) can take whatever the baseball gods throw at us, throw it back, and scoff "Eh. We've seen worse."

It's really early.  
I am not panicking.  
But the reason I am not panicking is not simply because it is early.  I am not panicking, because I realize that in the end, it won't really matter.  I will go to just as many games, regardless of win-loss record.  I will have just as much fun, regardless of final score.  It's what I do.  Clearly, I prefer [and encourage] the winning because it makes me happier.  But, you know...whatever.  

I think it's time for everyone, fans and team alike to get a little zen and relax.  

Repeat the mantra after me: It'll be better tomorrow.  

Even if it's not, at least Twins fans can sleep well at night knowing that our team is quantifiably the most adorable team in major league baseball.  The fans of the other struggling teams can't even say that much.  We need to count our blessings.

And hey, Liriano was really good tonight.  So....that's a baby step toward brighter days ahead.  One thing at a time, I guess.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Why can't you be more like Ian Kinsler?!

Minnesota Twins.

Have a seat.  

We need to chat.

I was really hoping it would not come to this.  But I'm afraid that after last night, you leave me no choice.

So....here goes.

I am very disappointed in your behavior.

I'm sorry to be so harsh.  But trust me, this hurts me more than it hurts you.  Remember that I only say it because I love you very much and I want you to be your best and to have all the respect I know you deserve.

But that won't happen when you play like that

According to the experts, when you're engaging in this sort of tough love dialogue, it is apparently very important to use "I Feel" statements.  They go like this:

When you ___________, I feel __________.  Instead, I wish you would __________.

So, here's mine:

When you don't score any runs for 8 innings, and lose the game 12 to2, I feel like pulling my hair out, dousing all of my furniture in rum, and setting it on fire.  Instead, I wish you would NOT lose games by double-digits and win them instead.

Whew.  OK.  I'm glad I got that off my chest.  It's good to clear the air and share our feelings, isn't it?

You know, it's just too bad you can't be more like Ian Kinsler.

Because Ian Kinsler hits for the cycle, steals bases, eats his vegetables AND makes his bed.

Seriously, though...Ian Kinsler was AMAZING.  

In fact, he was SO good, that he actually flew right off the Chart of Baseball Acceptability.



The key issue is that the AQ+GABF=TAR model, and accompanying Line of Baseball Acceptability, are NOT built for perfection.  I never demand perfection of my baseball players.  So, the problem arises in the fact that it is possible for an imperfect player to achieve  a perfect 10.00 AQ and/or GABF score.  

When literal perfection DOES occur, it makes things all wonky, mathematically speaking.

For example...tonight Ian Kinsler was PERFECT.  And his baseball perfection is much, MUCH better than other players who would normally score a perfect 10.00 GABF.

And this superiority at baseball actually causes Kinsler to appear more adorable than even his previous normal perfect 10.00 AQ score would suggest.  

The resulting effect is that the numbers keep pushing each other upward, and before you know it, Ian Kinsler is completely off the chart, and his Total Awesomeness Rating has become in irrational number, rocketing towards infinity.

The whole thing sent my orderly (if a bit nutty) universe into a complete tizzy.  

So, I concluded that there needs to be a way to quantify and account for this sort of mathematical deviation, should it ever [hopefully] happen again.

Thus, the KAP is born.

KAP, obviously, stands for The "Kinslerian Anomaly of Perfection."

May Ian Kinsler and his KAP serve as a role model and inspiration for the Twins.  

You know...the Rangers have an off day today.  Do you think it's too late to charter a plane for Ian Kinsler to come to Minneapolis to give our boys a pep talk?

Then he could also attend the parade I have planned in his honor tomorrow afternoon!  I'm having it to celebrate universal Ian Kinsler-ness and the amazing boost he gave to Team Awesome last night.  It's sure to consist almost entirely of me stomping around my living room, wearing socks up to my knees, playing "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" on kazoo.  Should be fun.

Don't worry, Twins.  When YOU do something that awesome, perhaps I will play celebratory kazoo tunes for you too. 





[And a little tough love for game-attendees:  For love of all that is Holy, QUIT THROWING THINGS ON THE FIELD!  I wasn't even there and I am irritated.  When people disrupt the sacred game of baseball, it gives us all bad fan-karma, and makes the Baseball gods think that we are not worthy of watching winning games.  So KNOCK IT OFF, or I will poke you with sharp things.  Capiche?]

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"Yeah, I'm pretty awesome."

I'd hate for blog posts to devolve into a series of "Hey, listen to this crazy dream I had..." stories.  Because I am fully aware that dream stories are only interesting to the person telling them.

But...um...Hey, listen to this crazy dream I had!

Seriously. I think my subconscious mind predicted Joe Crede's awesomeness last night.  [It might have had something to do with the fact that I had watched Heroes right before bed, and it was about Angela Petrelli and her ability to dream the future.]

I had a dream about Joe Crede on Monday night.  The details are sketchy and ridiculous, it involves the assumption that every day all the baseball players have a pre-baseball meeting with Bud Selig that is suspiciously similar to the beginning of the day meetings we have at my place of employment, although I imagine that due to geographical logistics issues, this dream baseball meeting was done by teleconference.  Anyway, my dream occurred immediately after said baseball meeting.  I ran into Joe Crede when we were both sitting on my old high school's bleachers.  Joe Crede was laughing about funny text messages he got from other baseball players who were making fun of Bud Selig.  Joe Crede showed me the texts, to prove that they were funny.  And they were.  I laughed.  I wish I could remember some of them, actually, because they would come in handy when *I* need to make fun of Bud Selig.  

But the overwhelming theme of the dream seemed to be that Joe Crede was funnier/cooler than I thought he was.  I, naturally, pointed this out to him by telling him "You are much funnier and cooler than I though you were," [because I am always very direct and to the point in my dreamworld.] To which Joe Crede replied, "Yeah, I'm pretty awesome." But not in a cocky jerk way, more in an ironic funny way.  And that was the whole dream.

Yesterday morning I was telling someone about said dream, and they played along and asked "What do you think it means?" (I love my non-baseball friends.  I have no idea how they stand me 9 months out of the year.)

I explained that since the likelihood that I would literally bump into Joe Crede and he would show me funny text messages on his iPhone seemed pretty slim, that "I think it means that Joe Crede is going to be awesome at baseball tonight."

And lo, so it came to pass, just as the prophet had predicted.  Crede with the game-winner!  My subconscious is smart.

I thought maybe I could harness this new super-power to predict more baseball outcomes, or perhaps lottery numbers.  But alas, all I dreamt about last night was war crimes.  It was unpleasant and I hope that a) it has nothing to do with baseball and b) it doesn't come true in anyway.

In other news, since Saturdays are retro '82 uni days at the Dome, I suggest that everyone going to those games also wear something retro '80s  style.  We can make our own '80s day!  For this Saturday, I'm thinking about maybe my Go-Go's "Vacation" t-shirt under a Twins jersey, and depending on temperature and how bold I feel, maybe some leg warmers.  Haven't decided yet.  But I'm definitely doing something '80s.  Don't make me look weird all by my lonesome.  Join in the fun!  Let's make it a movement.  It'd be nice if the music guy would spin a lot of '80s tunes, but if Nick Punto is in the line-up we're pretty much guaranteed at least one bit of retro-appropriate music.  That's all we need.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Apocalypse, now?

I refuse to think/talk about Monday's Twins game.  I'm going to pretend it didn't happen, actually.

Instead, I have a much more pressing issue to discuss.

I'm terrified to report that I am having warm fuzzy feelings about Nick Swisher.

That's right.  

My own personal nemesis, Nick Swisher.

And these aren't my run of the mill "I will jinx you with my love, Nick Swisher!" warm fuzzy feelings.  These are genuine.

There are few things in life that I find more entertaining than when position players pitch.  And the fact that he pitched a scoreless inning in that trainwreck of a game is even better.  (A little sidenote to Gabe Kapler: I have one word for you, and that word is FAIL. Being struck out by Nick Swisher should haunt you with shame and regret, btw).

But honestly, even before Nick Swisher pitched, I was secretly and quietly starting to despise him a little less.  It's weird.  I think I actually like him MORE as Yankee.  That seems counterintuitive, I know.  

I don't get it either.  

I suppose I kind of respect and appreciate how he seems to be single-handedly attempting to right the ship for his team.  

He does offense, he does pitching, he's a multi-purpose tool!  

Anyway, I will be monitoring this development closely.  Because I'm a tiny bit afraid that me not hating Nick Swisher to the core of my being is actually the first sign of the apocalypse.  We'll see I guess.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Weekend Recap: "Oh, you know....strikes and gutters, ups and downs."

The post title is, obviously, from my favorite movie--The Big Lebowski.  If you're old enough to watch it and you haven't, I'm not sure we can be friends anymore.

Anyway.

It pretty much sums up the average Twins fan's weekend.  Strikes and gutters.  Ups and downs.  
Of course, to make it more baseball-centric, I should probably say "Strikes and balls.  Ups and downs."  

And I suppose, in the case of Saturday, I should ammend it further and say "Strikes and balls.  And balls.  And balls.  And balls.  And balls...."

Yeah, Saturday got a little brutal there.  

But Friday was fun.  So, let's go to our collective happy-place and think about Friday instead.  

Joe Crede, with that home run you have officially (at least for now) bought my love.  Welcome to the Twins family, Joe Crede.  Don't screw it up.

I should also probably point out that I am personally taking credit for a good chunk of that win.  I was feeling a little nervous about R.A. Dickey's first start.  I didn't know what to expect, which left me feeling a little powerless.  I had to do something to help.  I had to do my part.  So, around 6:30 I had had this brilliant idea that maybe all frozen Cotton Candy flavored concoctions hold similar magical properties to the now M.I.A Metrodome Plaza Cotton Candy Milkshake...and perhaps if I was able to down a Cotton Candy milkshake from Cold Stone Creamery before first pitch, everything would good and magical and victorious.  So I did.  I drank it too fast and got brain-freeze, but that seemed like a small price to pay.  

And look what happened!  MAGIC.  

I'm telling you.  The mystical win-making abilities of frozen Cotton Candy flavored treats are no joke.  

I do remember briefly thinking "I wonder if I should have saved 1/2 a lucky milkshake in the freezer for tomorrow?"  But I think that maybe the magic doesn't work if you don't finish it.  And I decided that due to the particularly high caloric nature of Cold Stone milkshakes, I really need to just save the magic for dire situations when we really need it.

Of course, mid-5th inning on Saturday started to feel pretty dang dire to me, and I cursed myself for not getting another stupid milkshake.  

The weekend kind of went downhill after that.  Here's a brief summary of my thoughts about Chicago: 
  • Alexei Ramirez seriously needs to eat something--Might I recommend a jumbo size milkshake from Cold Stone?  If he doesn't want a milkshake, I would hope that Bartolo Colon would give him some solid snacking advice.
  • I hate Jim Thome.  I hate him so much.  
  • Brent Lillibridge has got to be lying about his age.  There is no way he is 25.  Every time I saw him I wondered if he shouldn't maybe be studying for his 7th period Pre-Algebra exam instead of playing major league baseball.
Speaking of homework, I have some Required Reading for everyone:

  • Mike Redmond has his own little blurb in the current issue of ESPN The Magazine.  That's pretty sweet, at a time when it feels like the only Twins reference anyone in the sports universe is able to talk about is Joe Mauer and how the playoff hopes of Twins fans everywhere hang solely upon how quickly he recovers from his mystery injury. [Whatever. We know we're better than that.]  Cuddy and Nick Punto say nice things.  The article mentions naked batting practice.  Besides maybe 2 or 3 more column inches, what more could we ask for?  
  • Here's a nice piece which gives detailed directions for how to correctly use the magical restorative properties of the Malt Cup, in the event you did not eat preemptive lucky milkshakes.  (I'm starting to think that being a committed Twins fan requires having a strong stomach and a great cardio plan) --However, it must be noted that due to Blue Bunny taking over ice cream operations, it has yet to be determined if the new brand of Malt Cup will retain this power.
  • MLB Tweets: As Twitter continues to explode, you are seriously missing out on quality entertainment if you're not following the MLBers on Twitter.  
  • --For humorous pop-culture references and random thoughts (and frequent complaints about the existence of day games) you have the Rangers' C.J. Wilson (str8edgeracer): "I had this weird dream last night that a "nessie" type creature was grubbin on californians- so F'd. Had to scuba + jack bauer its ass
    --If you're feeling thoughtful and philosophical, Barry Zito (BarryZito) has the tweets for you: "As far as staying single, where does one draw the line between living with a closed heart vs working things out with yourself for awhile?"
    --Zito's teammate Brian Wilson (BrianWilson38) posts lots of random things, often pretty funny: "Happy Easter Twittertopians-something tells me we aren't doing an egg hunt on the bus."  Wilson also kept worried fans updated on the status of Joe Martinez via Twitter.
    --And of course if you need your Yankee transplant fix, you have Nick Swisher (NickSwisher) and CC Sabathia (CC_Sabathia).  They don't post very often, but I begrudgingly give them credit for being on there at all.  Nick posts things like "morning. I'm packing, having my coffee and heading to the park. Cant wait to get there."  And CC posts personal insights such as "feeling real good."
    It's a good time.  More and more players are showing up, but I haven't had a chance to read through all their stuff yet.  

    And, in optimistic happy news: 7 games at the Dome this week.  That is pretty sweet.  Grab a milkshake and go cheer wildly.


    Friday, April 10, 2009

    No funny stuff.

    I can't think of anything remotely funny to say about today.  

    When tragedy strikes our extended baseball family, I think it hits us all pretty hard.  And when it strikes someone so young, who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, it's even worse.  The whole situation is heartbreaking.

    My thoughts and prayers are with Nick Adenhart's family, teammates, friends and fans.  

    I'll return to my regularly scheduled nonsense tomorrow, I suppose.

    Thursday, April 9, 2009

    I hate Endy Chavez, and other stuff.

    I feel like the Twins really rallied around Team Awesome tonight.  

    Justin Morneau made up for his Oh-fors the last 2 games with a homerun right away.  That was nice. And Kevin Slowey added a few K's.  And even the bullpen helped the cause by making sure that Kevin hung on to that W.  Much appreciated everyone.  Good job, Team Awesome.  Good job, Twins. Let's keep it up.

    With all the homers tonight, did anyone else feel like they'd wandered into a parallel universe, where everything looks the same but you can tell that something is off-balance?  I don't know what it was, but I definitely felt a little Twilight Zone/Outer Limits-ish about the whole thing. Which isn't necessarily bad.  I like the Twilight Zone.

    Other notes:
    • I hate Endy Chavez.
    That's pretty much it, really.  I think there were other things I was going to mention (Joe Nathan being awesome was probably in there somewhere), but it's been kind of blurred out by my new-found blinding irrational hatred of Endy Chavez.  

    Weird.

    Wednesday, April 8, 2009

    Aardsma and Boston: Creepy Coincidences

    So, I had another dream about David Aardsma last night.  I say another, because long-time blog readers might remember that last season I had a dream that David Aardsma was just hanging out in my living room, wearing a White Sox uni.  I asked him if he "knew his name was a lot like 'aardvark," and he said "no," and I informed him that that is probably something he should pay more attention to.  

    Anyway, during the game last night, I thought "Wow, I hope I don't dream about David Aardsma again."  Which was like a dare to my subconscious, I guess.  Because there he was.  David Aardsma.  In a completely unrelated dream.  He just stood there said "I don't know why I'm here."

    Yeah, David Aardsma.  Me neither.  

    Any psych majors out there wanna have a go at interpretting what my weird sleepy-time obsession with David Aardsma is?  Other than the obvious....that his name is an awful lot like "Aardvark," and that's fascinating to me.

    Also weird and creepy, today  marks the 4th time in 5 days that I have had a specific moment of majorly bummed out disappointment.  Then I get in my car.  And "More than a Feeling" by Boston is playing, on the radio--not cd or iPod.  The first time it happened, I was all "Awww....this song makes me happy again! yay!" The second time it happened, I thought it was sort of a weird coincidence.  The third time it happened, it seemed even odder.  And today, the 4th time, I'm honestly a little creeped out.  I assume the universe doesn't want to see me sad or bummed out, so it is trying to help.  

    But FYI Universe, "More than a Feeling" isn't the ONLY thing that cheers me up.  I also like bunnies, ice cream, cute boys and cash.  Just sayin'.  In case you ever want to shake things up a little.  I'm starting to worry that there's going to be some kind of Pavlovian response now, and every time I hear "More than a Feeling," I'm going to feel bummed out for no reason.  That would suck.

    Alexi Casilla, For The Win!

    I tweeted this earlier tonight, but I think it's worth repeating for the non-Twitterers:

    The Baseball Gods made games like tonight's to smite all the unbelievers who leave during the 7th inning.

    Seriously, folks who left...I hope "beating the traffic" was worth it.  (Boy, it's difficult to get the right amount of sarcasm and sneering inflection by just putting that sentence in print.  I'd be much more mocking in person.)

    I wasn't at this game, but I feel like I can afford to be a little smug about this, because Those Girls NEVER leave a game early.  Baseball miracles can happen at any time.  You have to be ready.

    And I'm not sure the end of today's game can be classified as anything short of miraculous.  

    I'm starting to think that Alexi Casilla might be just a little bit magic.

    Or maybe it was the magical power of the blue jerseys.  I really love the blue jerseys.

    Or maybe The Suck just finally caught back up with the Mariners.

    Whatever happened, I liked it.  If Those Girls HAD been at this game, and if we had brought our "Me Gusta/No Me Gusta" Spanish sign, we would have been wildly waving the "Me Gusta" side around and jumping up and down.  

    Tonight was so amazing that it almost takes the sting out of the fact that Those Girls will NOT be attending the lovely Twins Welcome Home Luncheon tomorrow.  

    Sometimes I get cranky when I don't get what I want, but in this case I'm trying really hard to be all zen and cool about it.  When the Baseball Gods close a door, they open a window, right?  Of course, since my alternative is just going to work and being lame, I'm not sure what good an open window will do, unless I can jump out of it.  If anyone else is going, take notes and report back!  




    [Oh...and special side-note to Mrs. Nick Blackburn, we will figure out a way to pester your hubby for a picture some other time.  Don't worry, we're nothing if not persistent and resourceful. We won't let you down! P.S...Nick looked a little down earlier tonight.  We were thinking maybe you could tell him that he "looks really pretty today," because that always cheers us up when we're sad.]

    Tuesday, April 7, 2009

    Yes, Sensei!

    I didn't get any really good pictures yesterday.  It was a bummer.  Before the game was so cold and windy I wasn't quick and nimble enough with the camera to take any.  And our seats at the Dome where crap.  And while my camera is super zoomy, it is NOT a miracle worker.  But I always like the pre-game announcement of the whole roster, so I did the best I could.







    Also, can anyone explain what's going on in the following picture?  With the group of identical dudes climbing down the stairs? 

    They all matched, and they went everywhere as a group.  

    Though I was too far away to listen for any shouts of "Yes, Sensei!" my best guess is "Evil Dojo."  

    Like the Johnny and the Cobra Kai from Karate Kid.  

    FEAR does not exist in this dojo.

    Oh my gosh, I am totally going to watch Karate Kid for the 397th time later.  

    Well....at least it wasn't SNOWING....

    At times like these, it's important to remember to count your blessings.  

    That's what we did on the drive home.  It took us 'til Hudson to come up with a decent length list.  But here goes:

    • There wasn't a blizzard this year.  That was a major improvement.
    • We love the throwback uniforms.  Two Thumbs Up.  (Well, 1 and a half thumbs up....the red caps are a little distracting and disconcerting.)
    • Craig Breslow stepped up and had a pretty good first showing as a full-time Baseball Boyfriend.  He even made a brief cameo apprearance on the mound...which made me happy.  It didn't go real great baseball-wise, but I appreciate the effort.  I think he's been studying.
    • Mike Redmond took a lickin' and kept on tickin'.  We have the toughest catcher in the world.  There has to be some bragging rights in that.
    • There wasn't a blizzard.  Wait....no, I already counted that one.  That might be all we came up with.
    I'm ashamed to admit this but there were a couple of times during the game I caught myself thinking "I am missing Morrissey for this."  So, here's the deal.  Anyone who went to Morrissey instead of the game needs to tell me that the show was awful.  Lie to me.  Although, seriously, if anyone went to Morrissey instead of the game, I'm pretty sure they're not reading this particular blog.  But, you get my point.  Someone could lie to me and just say they went to the Morrissey concert and that it was complete crap.  I'd be OK with that.

    It's fair to say that I have some trust issues with Francisco Liriano.  Today didn't really help.  Honestly, he wouldn't have been our pick for Opening Day starter.  But, for some completely inexplicable reason, we don't get to make that call.  So, it is what it is.  Maybe this would have happened no matter what.  

    I think maybe we had to lose today to boost the collective self-esteem of the Greater Seattle Metro Area.  Or maybe we had to lose so that I didn't feel obligated to eat disgusting Strawberry Cheesecake IttiBitz at every game (I was once again trying to find a lucky substitute for the MIA Magical Lucky Cotton Candy Milkshakes....Strawberry Cheesecake IttiBitz are NOT it. Trust me.  Blech).

    But tomorrow....no more losing.  OK?  Tomorrow will be better.  I know it.

    And in preparation for A More Awesome Tomorrow (my campaign slogan, should I ever decide to run for President), Those Girls do feel the necessity to point out that while some most players have earned a certain amount of unconditional love from Those Girls, the same is simply not true for everyone.  Fair or not, that's how it goes.  Joe Crede, we are talking to you.  We don't know you, except as the enemy.  We feel that we are perfectly within our rights to require some sort of proof positive that you are, in fact, worthy of our warm, glowing, and freakishly powerful baseball love. We are officially withholding said baseball love until you prove that you deserve it.  
    Make it work.

    Monday, April 6, 2009

    It's the beginning of the end of the world as we know it.

    My thoughts upon waking up this morning:

    "Baseball!"
    "What time is it? Did my alarm not go off? I'm not tired enough.... Oh my god!"
    "Oh. It's just 6am.  Stupid Gold Ticket has screwed up my sleep pattern."
    "Oh well.  Baseball!"
    "I love Opening Day!"
    "Oh no! Today is my last Opening Day ever that will be both budget-friendly and warm/dry."
    "I'm a little sad now."

    Baseball helps overcome the sadness.  Still, it's a little melancholy.  I know everybody hates the Dome.  They complain loudly about it at pretty much every game I go to.  I don't care.  I love the Metrodome, in spite of it's faults.  I feel the same way about the Dome that a lot of older people felt about Metropolitan Stadium.  I saw my first game at the Dome.  Leaving the Dome behind is going to feel like leaving Kirby Puckett behind.  And the crazy overwhelming decibal level the Dome is capable of producing during playoff games will be no more.  Hubert's will no longer be the one convenient pre-game destination for our whole community of Twins Fans to gather.  

    New is OK.  Cold for several months of the season, but OK I guess.  Assuming the economy doesn't prevent families from buying more expensive tickets, a whole new generation of tiny Twins fans will see their first games at Target Field and will think just as fondly of it.

    But I hope everyone takes the time this season to appreciate the fact that there are a lot of good things about the Dome.  I know that I will be cherishing every last moment of climate-controled comfort this year.

    Also, just a little added incentive to the team to win the World Series this year....this is the last chance for an October series that isn't so cold it makes you want to die.  Just a thought.

    Anyway, Happy Opening Day!  See y'all at the Dome.

    Sunday, April 5, 2009

    Crazy People with Sticks: My weekend hunting the elusive Gold Ticket

    I have never participated in the Twins/Star Tribune Gold Ticket hunt before.  But this year, I decided I should play along.  You can't win if you don't play, right?  I like to win.  Also, I assumed--correctly--that it'd probably give me something to write about.  And it's a good way to support a little revenue boost for the newspaper.

    Since I live a decent drive from the Metro area, and work during the week limits my ability to make treks to the Twin Cities willy-nilly, my plan was to follow along with the clues during the week, then if it hadn't been found yet, I would just swoop in on Saturday and close the deal.  Seemed like a piece of cake.  I'm awesome at trivia and cryptic puzzles.  Although, I did sort of forget about the fact that I am decidedly unawesome at finding things.  I don't want to know what percentage of my life has been spent searching for shoes, hair brushes, car keys, cell phones, etc...because it would be depressing.  When I was little, my mom had to play the "Hot or Cold" game with me to help me find my Easter baskets.  It usually went something like this:  "Warm. Warmer. Warmer. Hot. HOT.  HOTTER! Oh for Pete's sake! If it actually WERE hot, we'd have to take you to the Emergency Room for 2nd degree burns. Use your eyes!"  

    Whatever.  An insignificant detail.  I felt fairly confident in my ability to win.

    So, when nobody had found the ticket ticket by 5am on Saturday...off I headed to the undisclosed location to commence hunting for something tiny and inconspicuous.  As I scraped frost off my windshield at 5:30am, I recall thinking "Anything that makes me scrape frost off of my windshield at 5:30 on a Saturday is probably crazy."  

    It seemed like a good idea at the time.  

    My favorite part of Saturday was watching everybody else.  People were just roaming around glassy eyed.  Most everyone had a stick, and they would just randomly poke at things.  No one would really talk to anyone else...everyone was trying to be sneaky, I think.  Apparently we were suposed to pretend that we all just coincidentally wound up in the same place because we all thought it might be fun to randomly poke at the ground with sticks on a Saturday morning.  

    I bet it was a confusing sight for someone who had no idea what was going on.  I imagine it looked like we were filming some sort of super low-budget zombie flick.  At one point, an older gentleman approached me and whispered "Are you looking for the Twins ticket?"  As loud as I could without yelling, I responded "You're in the right place.  I'm pretty sure everyone here is looking for the Twins ticket."  I think this broke some sort of unwritten rule.  People glared.  It was funny.

    I initially refused to become one of the stick-weilding undead.  My motto: "I don't need a stick.  Sticks are for babies."  Until I found a black garbage bag that had something inside of it.  I wanted to look...but not touch.  So I got myself a stick.  I poked at the bag, and did a little "please-don't-be-body-parts-please-don't-be-body-parts" chant for luck.  It was just dirt.  whew.

    I also used my new stick to poke around in holes that looked like good hiding places for a ticket.  Because, if you think about it, holes that are good hiding places for tickets could also be good hiding places for snakes.  Or rabid badgers.  And badgers are f-ing scary.  

    After 8 hours of hunting (and by "hunting," I mostly mean "wandering in concentric circles, poking at random things with my new found stick") on Saturday, I decided to go home.  I hate quitting.  But I came up with a new plan.  If no one had found the ticket by this morning at 3:30am...I would go back to the undisclosed location with the last clue, and give it another go.  

    So, at 3:30 this morning, I was brushing 3 inches of wet snow off my car.  I once again had the fleeting thought that anything that required me to brush 3 inches of wet snow off my car at 3:30am could not possibly be a sane idea.  And yet.  Off I went, driving on crappy, slippery roads, to search for something that would probably be a bazillion times harder to find in the snow.  

    Unfortunately, by this point, my competitive drive had already been set on cruise-control.  My participation somehow seemed compulsory.

    So, there I was, pre-dawn.  Poking at things with sticks again, but with a renewed sense of determination.  Since I was one of the first people around, I tried to be super stealthy and quiet.  Like a ninja.  In fact, at one point I was so stealthy, that two deer walked up about 3 feet away from me.  Although, I suppose they were actually more stealthy than I was because I didn't notice them right away, and when I did I freaked out a little.  Deer shouldn't just sneak up on you like that.  It's weird.

    My mittens got so wet and cold that they really became counter-productive. My shoes got soaked and my mud-to-human ration was way out of whack.  It was cold and miserable.    I kept imagining little fantasy scenarios wherein a pair of dry socks were hiding in my car somewhere..."maybe when I had luggage in the trunk, it opened and a pair of socks rolled out! Or maybe I had a change of clothes in the back-seat for something, but I didn't need the socks, so they're still there!"  Ah...if only.  But, there were no dry socks, and I was miserable and yucky for the entirety of the day.

    Even so, today was way more fun, because people were actually chatty today.  I think it was because fewer people were around, and the weather sort of limited the crowd to only the truly hardcare.  Whatever the reason, I met a lot of cool folks.  

    I love Twins fans.  Seriously.  At one point in a conversation with another searcher, I suggested the idea that "maybe some A-hole found it yesterday and just isn't calling it in, so he can laugh at the rest of us out here poking around with sticks," which was greeted with a sincere "Twins fans wouldn't do that, would they?"

    No.  Twins fans would not do that.  Twins fans are awesome and fun, and apparently they don't mind rooting around in the mud and snow and muck all day for just the teeniest possibility of finding that elusive Gold Twins Ticket because they love their team.  

    We rock.

    There were lots of families out too, searching together-- littlest Twins fans in tow...learning valuable life lessons about hard work, perserverance, futility, disappointment, inevitable failure and, if they stumbled upon as many gross and disgusting things as I did, a good deal more about sex education than their parents probably had in mind when they strapped them into their booster seats this morning.

    I'm sad to say that I gave up after 5 and half hours today.  I was wet and muddy and gross.  I found something super disgusting and just called it quits.  I believe my exact quote was "OK...that is frickin' gross.  Seacrest OUT!!"  (I was a little loopy from sleep deprivation.)

    As of the time I'm writing this, the Gold Ticket Hotline hasn't indicated that the ticket has been found yet.  Maybe someone from the Strib could go out there and play the "Hot or Cold" game with me?  






    Addendum

    Things I Found (I kept track via Twitter):
    Dead deer, deer skull (different deer), giant butcher knife (CREEPY!....and makes me thankful I had the lucky "please-don't-be-body-parts" chant to ward off dismembered body parts.), lots of shiny gold and yellow garbage, animal poop, blue marble, mud, a really big bone (which looked terrifyingly like a human femur...but I am calling it "deer bone" instead so that I can sleep at night, and a variety of super gross non-family friendly items of an adult nature.

    Things I did NOT find:
    Stupid Gold Ticket, my sanity.

    Friday, April 3, 2009

    A Poem for Scotty Baker and continued Utley vs. Kinsler ridiculousness.

    I wrote a poem for Scott Baker today.

    Dear Scotty Baker, I'm sad you're broken.
    My heart hurts, and I'm not jokin'.
    Rest a lot and drink some fluids.
    That Stone Henge thing was built by Druids.
    Please recover at a quick pace,
    So you can help us claim that First Place.

    The End.

    *snaps*

    OK.  So, the whole Scott Baker thing make me naseous today and I don't want to talk about it anymore.

    In other news, and this is quite, quite exciting....A mini-debate over who is the more adorable 2nd base option (Ian Kinsler vs. Chase Utley) errupted on the message board for our Battle of the Sexes fantasy league.  One of our Guys--Single Man Dan--posted some pretty convincing evidence in favor of Utley.  When I saw it, I almost died laughing.  If you've been reading the blog for at least a couple of weeks, you'll guess why:


    Yes, my friends.  That IS a picture of Chase Utley holding a puppy.  Do you know what this means?  That's right.  Chase Utley is one mint chocolate chip ice cream cone away from stealing Matt Tolbert's potentially lucrative Adorable Humidifier sponsorship deal.

    This is solid gold, baby.  

    And, quite honestly I'm a little torn.    

    I tend to think that in order to make a truly valid assessment, we'd need to level the playing field and see what Ian Kinsler looks like holding a puppy for comparison.  

    What do you think?  Does this sway the "Who has a bigger Adorableness Quotient" balance further in Utley's favor?  Does Ian Kinsler get AQ-points-by-association for being teammates with C.J. Wilson?  I want to know your thoughts.
    Who has the higher Adorableness Quotient?

    Kinsler?
    Or puppy-lovin' Utley?  

    Debates like these make me happy to be alive.

    Guys, I want your opinion too.  There's nothing wrong with that.  To quote a lyric from Flight of the Conchords:  "Why can't a heterosexual guy tell a heterosexual guy that he thinks his booty is fly?"

    I think perhaps the most important point to this whole thing is that Single Man Dan, though he is my enemy and must be destroyed, deserves a HUGE amount of credit for having such a keen eye for all things adorable.  

    Thursday, April 2, 2009

    See? It's not just ME.

    Thanks to the ESPN: Play Ball with Amanda and Melissa podcast, the Adorableness Quotient statistic has gone global! [Next step: World Domination] 

    Yes, in today's episode they credit my patented AQ stat with the reason Ian Kinsler was drafted ahead of Chase Utley in one of their women-only fantasy leagues.  

    For the record, Ian Kinsler (a proud member of Team Awesome) does edge out Chase Utley in the AQ department.  Although Chase gets some AQ bonus points for swearing on TV at the Home Run Derby.  Entertaining me, in whatever way I see fit=Adorable  (my stats, my rules.)  

    However...if you factor in the GABF (Good at Baseball Factor) to get the Total Awesomeness Rating (TAR), Chase Utley should probably be drafted ahead of Kinsler in pretty much any scenario.  

    I say this as a Public Service Announcement to women fantasy players everywhere.  But, you know...do what feels right to you.  I am a firm believer that fantasy baseball is more fun if you love your team with all your heart.  It also keeps you from abandoning them if things go south.  Let's face it.  Win or lose, it's just fun to say you own Ian Kinsler.  

    Please note that I do rank Ian Kinsler ahead of Dustin Pedroia in each Those Girls statistical category.  Now, if only we could get Ian Kinsler a national tv ad for a video game.... 

    Anyway, I just wanted to point out that apparently I am not the only person who is abnormally fond of Ian Kinsler and his high socks.  I feel validated. 

    Unrelated Side Note:  This is another real conversation I had with my mother....

    Mom: The Royals signed Sidney Ponson?!
    Me: Yes.  
    Mom: Why do teams keep giving him contracts?
    Me: I have no idea.  I think hypnosis is involved.  

    Wait...that wasn't actually totally unrelated.  Remember when the Rangers released Ponson because he said mean things to Ian Kinsler?  NO one puts Baby in the corner...
    All roads lead to Ian Kinsler.  

    And Dirty Dancing, apparently.

    I have a feeling it's going to be a weird day.

    FACTS: Scattered baseball thoughts Schrute-style.

    FACT: It is  hard to be sad when we lose to Jason Bartlett and the Rays.  There are no losers there.  Just hugs and rainbows and kitties.

    FACT: I think "Boom Boom Pow" would be great walk-up music for someone, even though I have a musical allergy to Fergie.  I will actually be a little disappointed if no one picks it.  [Bonus points for Punto.]

    FACT: Typing "Fact" Dwight Schrute-style before everything I write is almost as much fun as using bullet points.  
    [BTW, my official apologies to all the people who continually stumble their way to this blog because they are desperately trying to Google how to correctly use bullet-point formatting for a paper they're writing.  Try checking out a copy of "The Elements of Style" by Strunk and White from your library. Best advice I can give ya.]

    FACT: I am SO happy for Jordan Zimmerman...being named a starting pitcher for the Nationals and all.  Jordan pitched for my local Northwoods League team, the Eau Claire Express.  He's the first Express player to make it to the Bigs. Around here we're pretty excited for him.  He's going to do great.  Seriously, he's kind of awesome.  I think you will like him.

    FACT: Torii Hunter wrote a great blog about the Gary Matthews Jr. situation.  Definitely worth a read.

    FACT: My personal nemesis Nick Swisher is on Twitter, but apparently he doesn't do it himself. He texts his agent, who "cleans it up" and tweets for him.  I would pay a significant amount of money to know what these tweets are like before they're "cleaned up."  I wish Twitter had been this big a year ago, because I would have been all over it with "@NickSwisher Dude, what is on your face?!" messages to him.  

    FACT: I have this constant nagging feeling that I don't hate Miley Cyrus nearly as much as I probably should.

    FACT: I have decided to give Alyssa Milano's new book the "5 page" test.  I will go to the bookstore and flip to 5 separate and random pages.  If it seems consistently well-written and entertaining, I might buy it.  If not....well....honestly, I will probably wander over to the Twilight section and just look at the Edward Cullen dolls instead.

    FACT: As of the time I'm writing this, it is preciscely 4 days, 17 hours, and 52 minutes until First Pitch on Opening Day.  This seems like an eternity.  Incidentally, it is also approximately 4 days, 13 hours and 26 minutes until First Sip at Hubert's (or Champp's, depending on Hubert's crowdedness).  This also seems like an eternity.