Friday, June 25, 2010

I don't even have a title for this.

I have been MIA this week due to one technological catastrophe after another. But honestly, it was kind of nice. It was surprisingly nice to watch these games and not see reactions online that force me to double check if we only lost a baseball game or if I actually needed to stock up on bottled water, batteries and canned goods for the immediately impending apocalypse.

My technological collapse actually came at a very good time, because I was starting to really hate the internet anyway. Considering I own this blog, saying that feels a little like hypocritical self-loathing, but it's true. I really dislike the direction that the internet drives social interaction. The anonymity seems to make people think that there's no consequences attached to their words, and they write and behave in ways I sincerely hope they would not in face-to-face situations.

If you haven't read last week's Sports Illustrated piece A Light in the Darkness, about mental health issues and baseball, you should. I worked in the mental health field for what felt like forever, and it's an area of particular interest.

Anyway, in the article Ian Snell spoke really candidly about the fact that he seriously considered suicide a couple years ago. And I think the following excerpt should serve as an interesting reminder when we're tempted to make cruel personal attacks because of ultimately meaningless play on the field:

"...Worst of all, Snell could not forget what he kept hearing and reading in Pittsburgh: the boos from the stands and the cruel insults online going back to the previous season, when he went 7--12 with a 5.42 ERA. Once the Pirates' minor league pitcher of the year, Snell was now a figure of ridicule. You can find out where these guys live, he would think in a fury, even if they just have some secret name on the Internet.

The loss to the Brewers was a match flickering near all this tinder. Snell felt unbearably alone. Should I just do it? he thought again.

"It was a juggling back and forth, like the angel versus the demon," Snell says. "I felt like I was going to have a heart attack." So he turned the shower dial from hot to cold, trying to cool off, trying to douse a million burning questions: If a player messes up, why does everyone automatically think he's a bad person? Do parents even want me to say hi to their kids and give them high fives? Why am I always being singled out?..."


Now, I'm sure Snell would be the first one to say that the people insulting him were NOT the root cause of his issues, but I think it's worth keeping in mind that we have no idea what's going on in a player's life, what they're feeling and how random words on the internet might affect them at any given time.

I know I'm guilty of it sometimes, but I like to think that this blog is not really like that. I try not to be, anyway. But at the same time, I really have no interest in participating in a community, online or otherwise, where those sorts of negative, fatalistic and personally hurtful words and behaviors are the norm. And I get that feeling more and more about the Twins online world.

I guess I just don't understand the reasoning for it. When we lose, I do feel bad. But I feel bad because I (for the most part) love the team and the players and I want them to win. But we could lose all 162 games, and it would not affect my life one tiny bit. Same thing with winning...I would love to see this team win the World Series. They're a great team and they deserve that success and all the things that come with it. But I don't personally gain anything from it.

I have no personal stake in the team, aside from the fact that they provide me with a certain entertainment value, whether they win or lose.

Neither do you.

I really wish everyone would lighten up a little, I guess.

Now, the players and their families, the managers and coaches and the front office staff and the owners...they're a different story. Their jobs and livelihoods and professional futures are all affected by play on the field. So if they want to take a more live-and-die-with-every-pitch attitude about the game, that's up to them. But there's another line in that SI story that hits home: "Baseball is just a job."

I know I'm glad no one has a blog or Twitter account that's so reactionary about my job performance. I bet you are too.

So, that was a little soap-boxy. I'm sorry. I'm just feeling kind of ambiguous right now.

Monday, June 21, 2010

ASG

All-Star Ballot. Who are you voting for?

Sometimes I vary my votes a little bit, but for the most part this is what my ballots look like:

AL
1B Justin Morneau
2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
3B Evan Longoria
C Joe Mauer
DH Vlad Guerrero
OF Vernon Wells
OF Carl Crawford
OF Jose Bautista

NL
1B Joey Votto
2B Martin Prado
SS Troy Tulowitzki
3B David Wright
C Miguel Montero
OF Garrett Jones
OF Andrew McCutchen
OF Josh Willingham

How 'bout yours? Do you have a strategy when you vote? Do you vote for your favorites or who is most deserving? Do you vote by theme?

Metsgrrl has a modest proposal. If we all vote for David Wright on our ballots, the Mets crew with throw some love to the Twins player of our choice. I vote Morneau, because Mauer is a shoe-in. I don't trust the Yankees fans not to have a last minute surge for stupid Teixeira. I think we should play along.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Really?

I was checking my Twitter feed on break at work before the game yesterday. The channel 9 sports account posted something about being surprised more fans weren't outraged that Mauer wasn't in the line-up against Ubaldo. To which I thought "Really?" Because I wasn't surprised at all at a lack of outrage. Why on earth would there be outrage?

But then sure enough, as soon as they posted that, I started to see the posts of outrage that they were hoping for. People complaining that fans were being robbed by not getting to see Mauer in the line-up. And we shouldn't be sitting our best hitter against the best pitcher in baseball.

Again I say, "Really?"

Because I highly doubt Joe didn't start because he's scared of Ubaldo Jimenez. I'm pretty sure Joe didn't start because it was a day game after a night game...Which is totally 100% not abnormal. In fact, it was a day game after a couple of particularly brutal nights behind the plate. I'm confused as to why anyone would be surprised that he wasn't originally slotted in the line-up.

For the people complaining, let me point out a couple things:

A) It is JUNE.
B) We are in 1st place in the division, by precisely 1.5 games that FEELS like 5 games.
C) We already had the series win against the Rockies.
D) IT WAS A DAY GAME AFTER A NIGHT GAME.

If you don't want Joe Mauer to sit a game NOW, when the heck would you like him to sit out?

I for one would rather see him sitting out some games and resting up while we have a nice bubble of security rather than see him fatigued or injured down the stretch. But that's just me.

Yes, it sucks for fans who only want to see Mauer when they go to a game where he is not in the line-up. But again, I point out....IT WAS A DAY GAME AFTER A NIGHT GAME. If you only care about seeing Mauer, you should probably not purchase tickets to a day game after a night game, because the percentage chance you will see him play goes down significantly in that circumstance. Sure, you might get lucky....Joe's freakish bout of hardiness after he came off the DL last year kind of spoiled us. But if Joe is your only priority, why take a chance? Purchase tickets to a Friday or Saturday night game. Your odds are better.

And, he pinch-hit so the whole argument was moot anyway. It just annoyed the bejeezus out of me, so I felt like ranting about it for a bit.

Friday Random Ten

1. Young Pilgrims--The Shins
2. The Very Thing--Stars
3. Le Monde--Thievery Corporation
4. Strawberry Fields Forever--The Beatles
5. Lloyd, I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken--Camera Obscura
6. Everyone's A Hero--Nathan Fillion (from the Dr. Horrible soundtrack)
7. Little of Your Time--Maroon 5
8. I Miss You--Blink-182
9. No Matter What--The Clarks
10. 99 Red Balloons--Nena

What's playing for you today? First 10 songs on random/shuffle mode. I'm always curious.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Impromptu Celebrations

First off, I would like to wish my Pittsburgh friends a very Happy Pedro Alvarez Day! For Pirates fans, today is every bit as exciting as Strasburg day, or Strasmas if you're into that, was...except I suspect that MLB Network cameras will NOT be following Pedro's every move an hour before the game.

I would like to wish Matt Tolbert a very Happy Matt Tolbert day. Yesterday was his very first career homerun that was NOT hit off of the Chicago White Sox pitching staff. A celebratory parade in his honor will be held in my living room at 5:15pm sharp.

Speaking of [former] Chicago White Sox pitchers...Boone Logan also got called up. By the Yankees. I feel happy, sad and dirty all at the same time. A begrudging Happy Boone Logan Day to New York. Although I know that they will not appreciate him and his adorableness. [Note that the adorableness comment only applies when he is NOT growing a ferret on his chin.]

I've also heard speculation that Boof might get himself a rotation spot in Boston, with a possible start this Friday. I think the mere rumor of this warrants a Happy Boof Bonser day to myself. Although, really, isn't every day Boof Bonser Day here?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Who are we missing?

On a gloomy Tuesday morning, I don't have much to say myself, so I'm curious as to which former Twins you are missing most this year? Either for personality, adorableness and/or usefulness. Let's keep it to currently active players, shall we? Who do you miss most right now, and why. Go!

[This is also an appropriate time for your best theories as to what the hell happened to Carlos Silva this year. I am guessing that he started back in with his spinning classes, but that's purely speculation.]

Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday morning glossover.

With interleague play well underway (please note that I am just glossing over this weekend's series loss for the Twins completely), I thought it'd be fun to look through the schedule for the interleague match-ups I am most looking forward to.

Rockies vs. Twins, this week. Naturally. I like the Rockies. I am only sad that it is an away series for them...so no Dinger the Dinosaur :(

Orioles vs. Giants, this week. I mostly want to watch these games to be amused by the overwhelming amount of orange on the field at one time.

Cardinals vs. Blue Jays, next week. Epic battle between colorful songbirds. Not to be missed.

Pirates vs. Rangers, next week. This match-up will decide Interleague A.Q. dominance this year. Believe me when I say that I will be watching very closely.

In other news, I am digging the Twins player's choice signature series of merchandise. Most of it, anyway. I like Slowey & Hardy's jerseys the best, I think.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Well, at least it's Friday.

Last night's game hurt like a punch to the gut. That's all I have to say about that.

Trevor Plouffe helps to ease the pain. Welcome back, Trevor Plouffe. We missed you.

On the trade rumor front (hard to believe it is that time of year again!), I am thrilled that the Twins might have interest in acquiring David Aardsma. As you recall, David Aardsma is my spirit guide, and having him this close would make things more convenient in that respect. I am NOT thrilled that the Twins might have interest in acquiring Chad Qualls. Perhaps no one in the Twins front office owns Qualls in any fantasy leagues. Because I feel like if they did, they would have a different opinion on the matter. I'm sure he's a nice guy and all...but this season has been truly, truly brutal.

Friday Random Ten: as played randomly in iTunes this morning

1. If I Had You--Adam Lambert
2. Inside Out--Eve 6
3. 4 Minutes--Glee Cast
4. Hope--R.E.M.
5. Chocolate, Beer, Chocolate--Mary Mack
6. Man in the Mirror--Michael Jackson
7. Just Like Heaven--The Cure
8. Daydream Believer--The Monkees
9. Flume--Bon Iver
10. Cover Girl--NKOTB

That list is a lot more random that I even expected. Wow. What's on your playlist?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Boof Boof BoofBoofBoof. Boof.

This post mainly exists so that when the daily Boof Bonser Google News Alert that comes to my inbox arrives, it will contain something nice, with no mean and nasty swears.

Because things did not go so well last night.

(I admit, it was ugly...but it's his first game pitching in a major league game since '08. Lay. OFF.)

But that's OK, because I feel like just seeing him in a uniform, on the field, during a real live game was a victory.

After the initial nausea from seeing another team's logo perched atop his lovely hair subsided...



...seeing this again put a twinkle in my eye and a song in my heart.

Yay, Boof yay! I will continue on in my current capacity as one-woman Boof Bonser online cheering section indefinitely. Location problems or no.

My warm and fuzzy baseball feelings for Boof are about the closest thing I can muster to unconditional love for anyone or anything that is not immediate family, good friends, snuggly animals, or Ralph Macchio. I will not apologize for it.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mickey D's

I have gone on record saying that the Justin Morneau McDonald's commercial is the best thing to happen to my television in years.

But he's not the only major league 1st baseman with a super cute McDonald's ad...

Here's a little blast from the past for my your amusement this morning.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Not to beat a dead horse...

OK...apparently EVERY team does adorable puppy/baseball player calendars but us.


I mentioned Houston before (and Detroit by extension, because that's where Houston got the idea). But now I've learned that Oakland does one...(and rumor has it that this year's included Craig Breslow and his doggy), AND the Baltimore Orioles do one, AND the Brewers, AND the Phillies....get the picture?


UNACCEPTABLE.

Pound for pound, we have one of the most adorable teams in major league baseball. (Putting on my Objectivity Cap, I can honestly admit that two teams are, as a whole, more adorable than the Twins right now). There is no excuse for our adorable boys not to pose with adorable fluffy critters to support charity. ...allowing me a socially acceptable excuse to hang such pictures in my cubicle at work.

Most of the other teams' calendars appear to be sponsored by the wives. Is there a petition we can sign or something to make this happen? Because if we could get Pet Calendars, it would more than make up for the demise of our beloved Favorite Things baskets.

Why yes, I AM going to obsess about this now. Thanks for asking.

In other news, I hear Strasburg was pretty good or something. I watched an hour of the pre-game hype that was a little bit disturbing, and I saw the 1st inning. But then I had a prior engagement I couldn't get out of... so it's tivo'd. Along with the Twins game. I only had time to watch one thing tonight...and it was Glee. Sorry, baseball. I will make it up to you later.

Maybe when I get my own freakin' Twins Pet Calendar.

Strasburg Day

The Strasburg debut tonight should be exciting. It's not every day we get a Pirates/Nationals game on the MLB Network.

They hype about tonight's game reminds me of Matt Garza's first start, times a billion.

Unlike other historical events, I bet more people lie about NOT being at Garza's first start. I, honestly, was not there, though I was supposed to be. I was fighting with the guy who had the tickets and I told him nothing on this earth could make me sit next to him for 3 hours. Not even Matt Garza.

Of course, you know the rest of the story. Things were ugly. Ugly ugly ugly. I felt supremely guilty. Because, at the time I had a streak of epic proportions going. I was going on 4 seasons of not seeing a losing game at the Metrodome. (Full disclosure, this included the 2004 season when I lived in Texas & Louisiana and only made it home for one game....but we won...so it counts, dammit.) My friend had no qualms about pointing this out and stating the obvious: "YOU did this to Garza."

Who knows... maybe if I had manned up and gone, and brought my good baseball luck with me, Garza would have been stunningly good that game, and avoided whatever weird psychological issues that seemed to plague him during his tenure with the Twins. Maybe he'd still be with us now.

Or not.

Either way, I got my karmic comeuppance for my neglect of team. The very next game I went to broke the streak anyway.

Moral of the story: If there are any Nats fans with similar streaks, don't let anything stand in your way and get yourself to the game. You don't want to take any chances.

Similarly, if there are any Pirates fans with a streak going, it's not too late to get yourself to DC. Because, in all honesty, if an Andrew McCutchen/Neil Walker/Garrett Jones combo could pull a Garza on Strasburg, it'd make my night. Not because I wish ill on the kid....I just really like the Pirates, and I think it's mean that the Nats orchestrated his call-up so he could pitch to them. I'd like to see that plan back-fire.

(To see the Pirates take on the game tonight ...as well as the bitchin' mustaches, watch the video here)

In other weird Strasburg news, there was a random quote about him in a recent Sports Illustrated article. The quote was from our very own Glen Perkins. The attribution went something like this "...said Glen Perkins, former major league pitcher." It made me sad. Head shaking, mopey Charlie Brown music playing sad.

Of course, in happy news, Boof Bonser is back in the big leagues and I could not be more thrilled. I feel like yesterday should have been a holiday. I prefer Boof Day to Strasburg Day anyway.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Let's steal ideas.

I watched the first couple innings of last night's game. I saw Mauer score, and I saw Danny Valencia's 1st big league hit. And I stopped watching shortly after that. Can I assume, based on the box score I just looked at, that I didn't really miss anything too extraordinary beyond that point?

So, now that we've dropped 3 games straight, and our odds of making the playoffs dropped from a season high 79.5% on June 1st to 68.7% today, can we justify ripping off the Pirates by also taking Bobby Crosby's rally mustache challenge AND Delwyn Young's high-sock mandate? Pretty please? Carl Pavano has got a huge head-start on the mustache, so everyone else needs to catch up quickly!
[For everyone already complaining about the Pavano 'stache...it will look way cooler/funnier/more awesome once everyone does it. Trust me.]

And speaking of other ideas we need to steal....Amanda Rykoff, The OCD Chick, alerted me to THIS yesterday. That's right. A whole calendar full of baseball players holding puppies [and kittens. I should not forget the kittens...]! Looking at the pictures makes me incredibly happy. And sad at the same time...because this has been going on for FOUR years and I did not know about it.

This is the type of breaking news that I should be informed of IMMEDIATELY. If someone called me and woke me out of a deep sleep at 3:30am to say "Just wanted you to know, there's been another baseball player holding a puppy sighting," I would not even be mad. (OK...I would be mad for approximately 23 seconds, until my brain un-fogged, and then I would be really really happy). Four years of missing out on this amazing information is unacceptable.

As a way for the universe to repay me for this travesty of justice, I think the Twins should steal this idea. If only we had a Twins personality that was passionately committed to a variety of cuddly causes that could benefit from such a wonderful fundraiser....Oh wait!. We do...

In Houston, some players pose with their own pups, and others pose with shelter animals (Awwwww!). I, naturally, think that I would make an excellent casting director for such a venture in Minnesota. "Puppy-lovin' baseball fans" is pretty much my entire niche market. I'm pretty sure I could come up with a Twins calendar that would sell oodles and oodles of copies.

Considering I have now given this about 17 hours of solid thought in the past two days, here are some of my initial ideas for puppy (and kitten!)-player match ups.

  • Matt Tolbert and one (or two...or possibly five) itty bitty fluffy Golden Retriever puppies. Duh.
  • Delmon Young in a red fireman's hat pulling a medium size litter of Dalmatians in a red Radio Flyer wagon. I would title the picture "Delmations."
  • Jason Kubel playing a game of yarn ball with a little tabby kitten.
  • Nick Punto playing catch with my neighbor's Jack Russell named Riley. They are both really scrappy.
  • Justin Morneau with a Samoyed puppy. Any Samoyed will do. They are adorable, and I'm pretty sure they like Canada.

I have more ideas for everyone...but I have to go to work now, and I want to hear everyone else's ideas too. Who should pose how and with which tiny adorable fluffy critter?

Friday Random Ten

1. You're Gonna Lose That Girl--The Beatles
2. Bang Bang--K'naan (featuring Adam Levine)
3. Meet Me Halfway--Black Eyed Peas
4. In the Night--Basia Bulat
5. Separate Ways--Journey
6. Cheeseburger in Paradise--Jimmy Buffett
7. Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse--Of Montreal
8. Feel Like Myself--Brendan Benson
9. If You Say Jump, I Will Say No--Irving (This is possibly my personality's theme song...)
10. I Am In Love With You--Imogen Heap

What are you randomly listening to today?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

That was a crazy game of poker baseball.

The baseball night started with Ken Griffey Jr's retirement. Which is just one of those sad inevitable things. And it would have been nice to have a whole evening where the baseball world reflected on his amazing untainted career accomplishments.

Turns out he probably should have retired a day earlier. Or sometime next week. Because it wasn't very long we had to think about Junior before all hell broke loose.

Based on the events of last night, I have come up with yet another cockamamie idea. Ahoy conspiracy theorists! Come on board.

I am calling today's whackadoodle theory: The Umpire Strikes Back.

I have decided that the umpires secretly WANT expanded usage of instant replay. They want it so baaaad. But they can't just say they want it. It makes them look wimpy. So, their secret diabolical plan was to make 2010 umpiring so bad that MLB would have no choice but to institute it. They've certainly done a great job of it even before last night. This season has seen some truly awful officiating, and it's only the beginning of June. But what better time to further their cause than at the peak moment of a historical game, when every single baseball aficionado near a TV, computer or appropriately enabled mobile device was certain to be watching....26 outs into the unprecedented 3rd perfect game in a single season. It was the ideal time to make the mother of all blown calls.

And then just a few hours later, I guess in case some folks in the Pacific Time Zone were still at work and missed seeing Jim Joyce screw the pooch, a 2nd horribly bad call cost the Twins the game in Seattle.

My mom has always claimed that whenever my dad is sick of her asking him to do the dishes, he will develop a serious case of butterfingers and will just start breaking a lot of things.

I think yesterday was the Umpire version of busting up all the good china. Or a certain 6-year old's favorite collectible Care Bear glasses from Pizza Hut. (Not that I am bitter, mind you. I just have a really, really good memory.)

Anyway....the whole situation just sucks.

At least the Tigers got the win. And an apology. Twins just get screwed.

If, god forbid, we wind up in another Game 163 situation because of the butterfly effect of yesterday, somebody's gonna need to hold me back.

In other serious news, Those Girls would like to extend our sympathies to Claudia Cuddyer (and hubby by extension). Very sad news. We'll be keeping their family in our thoughts.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

West Coast sucks.

I hate west coast games. I force myself to go to bed and Tivo the end of the game, promising myself that I will watch it the next day. But then I rarely do. I am weak and look at the score and read eleventy billion things about the game in various blog posts, news articles, whathaveyou, and then I don't feel the need to watch the rest anymore. It's sad.

Pacific time zone rocks when you're actually out there. It blows for the rest of the country.

Tell me what I missed the last couple games. Amusing details, people. I want all the amusing details.

In news of players I love as much as Twins, Ian Kinsler shook off the beat down the Twins gave the Rangers last weekend, and took out his frustration on the White Sox. Which is always nice, I guess. It almost makes me feel less guilty about us knocking them out of 1st place in their division.

The entire Pittsburgh Pirates team has taken to wearing high socks lately. Team unity + high socks = win. Also, the fact that the Pirates:Cubs::Yankess:Twins amuses me greatly. And Neil Walker, adorable Pittsburgh native (AND entertaining mocker of d-bags) won the Pirates game last night with his first big league home run. Fun. The sequence of shaving cream to the face pictures are a good way to start my day this morning.