Friday, February 26, 2010
It hit close to home, and I was reminded of the time Those Girls each skipped out on a wedding we were supposed to attend (both weddings were held on the same day), in favor of going to a sports bar together to watch the Twins play the White Sox on TV. It wasn't a particularly important game...not like an end-of-the-season-pennant-chase-nail-biter kind of game. It was just a run of the mill mid-season game against a divisional opponent we play a bazillion times every season. I think that makes it funnier, personally.
It seemed like a good idea at the time. Heck, it still seems like a good idea. I'm not sorry either.
So, now that I've shared one of my baseball-crazy stories, I will open it up to the group. It's time to confess the craziest and/or least socially-acceptable thing you've done for the love of baseball. Don't worry. This is a safe place. Unless you've out and out committed a felony or harmed a puppy, we won't judge.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Anyway. Let's have some more bullet points. I feel like I can never have too many bullet points.
- Hat-tip to Michele for pointing this amazing Craigslist ad out to me on Twitter. I think the author and myself may be kindred on a deeply spiritual level. Reading it definitely made my day. If I had tickets to give, I'd give them to this person for free.
- In other news, Joe Mauer shaved. I'm not kidding. It's really news. It's in headlines and everything. Sadly this means the "Joe Mauer Beard" bump in traffic over at Call to the 'Pen might be over.
- Further north, in Bradenton, Florida, our good friend Garrett Jones had to switch practice fields after breaking a car window with a home run hit into a nearby parking lot. Garrett Jones can break my car windows with home runs anytime he wants. Although, I am making a mental note of where not to park my rental car at the Pirates games I'll be at this spring.
Monday, February 22, 2010
And now for a series of random thoughts.
- With the late reporting date, Pitchers and Catchers Day was a little anti-climactic, since most everyone had gotten to Ft Myers before yesterday anyway. But even the Twins' later-than-average reporting date was not late enough to get Jose Mijares's "visa issues" straightened out. (Just a heads up to Jose: the Twins play in Toronto in July. Be proactive.)
- Curses to Bill Smith for forcing me to pay attention to what goes on in Red Sox spring training. Here's a story about Boof. Boof had nice things to say about his former Twins teammates...but I guess he won't miss TC that much:
“Good bunch of guys in that clubhouse,’’ Bonser said. “It was one big group. I hope I get to pitch against them in spring training. That would be a lot of fun. Maybe I’ll try and hit the mascot.’’
- First Ryan Braun....now Shane Victorino. I feel like there needs to be a support group or something for baseball players who DON'T wear skulls. It's probably pretty lonely for them.
- If you missed out on the awesome get-together bbq-less bbq we had this summer, have no fear. I'm planning a little blogger/blog-reader/twitter/Twins fan meet-up this spring. On Saturday, March 13th, FSN is airing the Twins/Phillies spring training exhibition game at noon. We're calling it Baseball, Beer and Baked Goods as the idea was originally born as an excuse to get together with Twins-lovin' friends and sample cookies and cupcakes.
When: March 13th 11:45am til whenever
Where: Champps in Ritchfield (790 W. 66th Street)
Who: Everyone's invited. If you're interested, send me a quick email, just so I have a rough headcount to give Champps to make sure we have some seating set aside by a TV.
- And as long as you're marking things on your calendar, the 3rd Blogs With Balls sports-blog/new media conference is being held in Chicago this summer. It's going to be June 5th, in the Captain Morgan Club inside Wrigley. I think it'd be pretty sweet to have a Twins blogger delegation (especially a female Twins blogger delegation.) I'm making tentative plans to attend. If anyone else is thinking about it, we should coordinate!
Saturday, February 20, 2010
They're up-to-date enough to have Hardy 27 shirts and Hudson 1 shirts, but behind in the times enough to have Mahay 37 shirts [Am I the only one who keeps forgetting he was on the team? Because I do. And then I feel bad about it] and Keppel 44 shirts....so I guess that evens out.
But then I saw that if I wanted, I could buy a Nate "McClouth" 24 t-shirt. I am not sure WHY I would want to do that....but I guess it's nice to have options.
I was curious, and briefly worried that somehow I had fallen WAY out of the loop. So I checked the mlb.com store, thinking that the extra $7 they charge for the exact same shirts would buy me a little bit more accuracy. Nope. They too are willing to make me a "McClouth 24" Twins shirt if I want one.
It's super weird. And I know it's just a lame computer glitch somewhere, but I don't know what's sadder: that the mlb.com computers think he's a member of the Minnesota Twins, or that the mlb.com computers don't know that his name is actually spelled McLouth.
Friday, February 19, 2010
That was the plan, anyway...
Until I found a picture of Jason Bartlett wearing a t-shirt from Ryan Braun's clothing line.
Welcome to my tangent:
For pictures of more baseball players wearing the shirts, you can go here and scroll through the pictures. Grady Sizemore actually IS wearing a shirt this time, so that's refreshing. (He is also presumably wearing pants, but I can't say for sure.)
Now, on one side, I have to hand it to Braun for thinking like an entrepreneur and skipping the middle man. I have to imagine the brainstorming process went a little something like "Why are we, as professional athletes and C-list celebrities, giving all of our money to Christian Audigier for gaudy over-priced Ed Hardy t-shirts?! We can make loud clothing with skulls and too much foil all by ourselves, dammit!"
On the OTHER hand, seeing the pics really makes me want to get Tim Gunn and Ryan Braun in a room together for a quick lecture about "using an editing eye." And maybe Tim could toss in a friendly "frankly, this worries me," for good measure.
J.J. Hardy is sporting the look too. But I'm choosing to believe it was more of a "I'm a good friend and teammate" thing than a "I genuinely love this shirt and wear it around the house all the time" thing. (Like how I always buy things I don't want at Pampered Chef parties. Sometimes you have to buy/wear stuff you don't like to keep your friends happy. It's part of the social contract.) Because in my reality, J.J. Hardy dresses like Dean Winchester on Supernatural, and I refuse to believe any differently now.
In fairness to Ryan Braun, the clothes aren't AWFUL, they're just sort of derivative. And really, really LOUD. And shiny. Dear lord are they shiny....
So...to sum up: Happy Pitchers and Catchers Report day to the Rays fans, and I think loud shiny menswear is kind of silly. The End.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
And while he is neither a pitcher nor a catcher, this seems like an almost-appropriate occasion for some random unsolicited Ian Kinsler hero worship.
Things I like about Ian Kinsler:
I like that Ian Kinsler gets along so well with his teammates.
(Especially because it means more dancing.)
I like that Ian Kinsler has cool hair.
And I like that Ian Kinsler is sort of just all-around adorable all the time. I appreciate that.
The fact that he is also so very good at baseball is just kind of overkill at this point.
Tune in tomorrow, when I celebrate pitchers and catchers reporting as a Rays fan. If you guessed that there might be some unapologetic Jason Bartlett fangirling on the horizon, you wouldn't be wrong.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
So, I am declaring my self an Official Pittsburgh Pirates Fan today and celebrating Pitchers and Catchers reporting anyway. I think I can blend. No one will notice.
Then tomorrow, I'm going to be a Texas Rangers fan and celebrate all over again. Then the next day, I'll be a Rays fan. You get the picture. (The 2oth is tough though, because only the Dodgers, White Sox and A's report. I'll probably just hibernate that day.)
I really don't think it's an exaggeration to say the next 3 and a half days before Twins pitchers and catchers report might be the longest 3 days of my life.
And in my haze of baseball-lessness fueled madness, I've found this...which I also covet. I'm not sure I can realistically justify buying myself a nearly $200 baseball bonsai just because it's snowy out and I miss baseball...but I haven't ruled it out.
Friday, February 12, 2010
I must admit that I fudged on the iambic pentameter just a smidge. (My sincere apologies to my old English prof Dr. Neuhaus.) But I DID write this sucker in approximately 4 minutes, which should count for something, I think.
So, Happy Nick Punto Day everyone! I'm going to dig out the unicorn barrettes in celebration.
In style I celebrate Nick Punto Day
Pen difficult verses for the fellow
Who smells like dreams and looks fab in yellow,
The best piranha who is not a Ray.
Lots of guys hate him, but just let me say:
Adorable, fan-friendly and mellow
Turns many a lady’s knees to Jell-O,
To us, “More Punto” is always okay.
His taste in Eighties music makes me swoon.
Mentally block ALDS Game Three;
And he makes me happy as Fox’s “Glee.”
I’d watch a Li’l Nicky Punto cartoon.
Off-season crazy has set in for me.
Thank the Baseball Gods spring training starts soon.
And if you're looking for a suitable way to celebrate Nick Punto Day with your family, I suggest a read-aloud of How Nick Punto Came To Be. Very festive.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
[Note, that I did briefly flirt with the idea of changing the name of the awards to "The Twinsfest Awards of Acceptability" this year, but stuck with tradition at the last minute.]
I should also say in advance that I feel bad about letting down a commenter who specifically asked for pictures to be posted...because I realized at the end of the day that I didn't end up taking very many photos at all. This was the first Twinsfest where I didn't kill at least one camera battery. Astonishing. And a little sad.
But....onto the hotly anticipated awards portion of the evening.
Inventing new awards is sort of the schtick here, so let's start with two new categories this year:
Most Missed--Absent Player
Only current Twins players are eligible, mostly because Those Girls would have a very hard time choosing between Boof, Mike Redmond, Brian Buscher and Carlos Gomez. So, we have declared Nick Punto the Most Missed absent player. I personally had to break the news to a half a dozen groups of fans I overheard excitedly talking about what time they needed to get in Nick Punto's line. Seeing the disappointment in their faces as they learned he had gone back to AZ for some minor surgery was heartbreaking. The poor volunteer manning Corner #2 had it worse. I heard her turn away sooo many fans looking to get in line for Punto. Upon hearing that he was not in attendance this year, one particularly entertaining woman snapped back "Well, I guess I can just go home NOW then!" In spite of what a lot of folks on the internet would like you to believe, people really LIKE Nick Punto. They like him a LOT. We like him too. We like him so much, we are giving him a Twinsfest Award of Excellence when he wasn't even there.
Most Missed--Returning Player
This seems fairly obvious. Because, for as disappointed as people were without Nick Punto, they were equally and oppositely elated to see Pat Neshek again. He's been away from the game for 2 years, but it's like he never left. People are just as crazy about him now as they were during the height of the ultimately unsuccessful "Pitch In for Pat" all-star campaign. Of course, he did get some major bonus points for telling nice stories about Boof Bonser during his radio interview...and he gets further bonus points for tweeting pictures of his adorable little doggies on Twitter last night...but that's beside the point.
The Twin Who Makes Liriano's '08 Lines Look Short Award goes to Francisco Liriano again, oddly enough. Please please please, people who decide these things: Move Liriano to the Mauer/Morneau/Cuddyer/Nathan areas next time. His line clogs up the whole floor this way. I didn't even bother to snap a picture of him this year because it was too crowded and annoying.
The Best New Nickname Award is going to Trevor Plouffe, because it was at Twinsfest where I decided that I will be exclusively referring to him as "The Plouffe" from now on. Like "The Donald" but less irritating, and with much better hair. This is a development that I'm particularly excited about.
An important note as we approach the coveted "Best Dressed" award: We were only able to attend on Saturday this year. And, ON Saturday, what we mostly saw was plaid. Lots and lots of plaid. It makes me wonder if it was some sort of intentional thing. (Like how when I was young, my friends and I pinky-promised to all wear Hypercolor t-shirts on Fridays.)
It had to be coordinated. I refuse to believe that that many grown men coincidentally all woke up Saturday morning and thought "...Hmm....plaid. THAT's the ticket!" I choose to believe that someone unofficially declared it "Dress Like a Cowboy Day" at the Metrodome. Here's a quick photographic Ode to Plaid and Checks:
Not that plaid is necessarily BAD...no one really looked BAD...but when everyone dresses alike, it's hard to find someone who stands out from the crowd.
So, thank the baseball gods for JJ Hardy. Because JJ Hardy decided to skip Dress Like a Cowboy Day and chose Dress Like Your Favorite Fictional CW Network Character Day instead. Yup, Those Girls were positively delighted to find out that JJ Hardy dresses like Dean Winchester.
This is probably because he just instinctively knows how much we love Dean Winchester.
And for his thoughtful effort, he is rewarded with the prestigious Best Dressed Twin award on his very first try. All this without even putting the Twins uniform on once. Very impressive.
Of course, more impressive is the fact that he is not just taking home ONE award.
Taking a page straight out of the Nick Punto Guide to Fan-Friendliness handbook, JJ Hardy has completed an amazing feat.
He is actually taking home a trio of great awards. (And not just three funny new made-up awards we thought of at the last minute...)
No, he is taking home the Big Three.
That's right. We hereby award JJ Hardy with the Best Dressed Twin award, the award for Best Hair, AND (drumroll, please) the Golden Nose Award for the Best Smelling Twin. This former Brewer clearly brought his A-Game across the St. Croix to make a good first impression, and it worked. He is really out-Twins-ing the other Twins right now. The world is a funny place.
[Although, to be fair, he is only getting the Golden Nose on a technicality. We WERE going to award it to ourselves, actually. But the lawyers wouldn't let us, because the award is supposed to go to the Best Smelling Twin, and for some weird reason I don't understand, we are still not technically considered part of the team. But I have a new perfume that makes you smell kind of like cotton candy. So trust me when I say we were the best smelling people there.]
Although JJ was also incredibly nice, the Mr. Congeniality category was dominated by a different duo. It is a dead-heat tie this year, between Brendan Harris and Kevin Slowey. I went to Twinsfest this year with basically one goal: Get 2 very particular pictures of Kevin and Brendan for my Texas friends who love them. Both guys were very good sports about playing along, and they could not have been sweeter about it. It was very much appreciated!
AND the photos turned out perfect:
(And yes, for those of you keeping score at home, that is Kevin Slowey also sporting plaid. *sigh*)