Baseball Notes: Phase 1 (beta version), MLB reads the ST! & DFTU

Hello again everybody...

TGIF-time has arrived again, and it's extra special because it's a 3-day Holiday weekend. I'm sure you'll all join me in giving thanks to all those who've served and paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom (and the ability to have 3-day weekends)!

Today I'll talk about the rebooting of Phase 1 of "Operation: Release Gags". Then I'll give you further proof that some big-time people are reading The Sports Take. Finally it's the end-of-the-week version of the DFTU.

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"When the umpire says 'Play Ball', let's just go play ball!" - John Kruk (Deep Johnny... very deep)

I feel kind of like Ra's al Ghul from "Batman Begins". Phase 1 of my plan to get Brewers closer Eric Gagne released was unsuccessful, so now it's time to put Phase 1 (beta version) into action!

You'll recall not that long ago when Gagne "removed" himself from the closers role because he needed a "mental break". So I celebrated the success of the first version of Phase 1. Unfortunately, I celebrated too early. Two days later, Gagne was back in the closers role spreading more ulcers amongst Brewers fans.

Today, we find that Phase 1 (beta version) has found a foothold. On Tuesday, Gagne left the game complaining of shoulder tightness. Today, he saw a specialist and was diagnosed with rotator cuff tendinitis.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, the "rotator cuff" is a group of 4 muscles and related tendons that form a stabilizing "cuff" around your shoulder joint. Being as your standard pitching motion isn't a natural motion, the rotator cuff is an oft injured muscle grouping.

So now Gags has this injury. They've given him a cortisone shot to help stimulate healing in that area, but he won't be allowed to throw a baseball until Saturday. If at that point, he's still feeling discomfort, there's every possibility that he'll be placed on the DL allowing the Brewers to add another healthy arm to their bullpen.

If he does go on the DL, then he'll stay around long enough to be given a chance to come back and give it one more try. And then if that fails, we may see the ultimate success for "Operation: Release Gags"!

So the success or failure of Phase 1 (beta version) will be better known over the weekend. If you see Gagne's been placed on the DL, then you know I'll be trumpeting its success next week!

Next up, it's time for a little more instant replay talk. Now first off, I have to thank all of you who are regular readers for entertaining my diverse and frequently odd musings on the world of sports. But you should know, you're not alone!

Recall earlier this year when I wrote an open letter to Twins GM Billy Smith pleading with him to not sign Frank Thomas. And he didn't. Coincidence? You might think so.

But then recall when I wrote a column detailing how slowing down his frantic pace would help Twins OF Carlos Gomez both offensively and defensively. And then that very night he went out and hit for the cycle. Perhaps you see a pattern emerging?

Now recall on Monday when I wrote about how MLB should at least start a testing phase for a limited use of instant replay. I even created a poll for you to express your opinion! Well, yesterday Jason Stark of reported that MLB officials are putting together a plan to test instant replay in the Arizona Fall League. And if that works well, then further testing could come during next year's World Baseball Classic as well as in Spring Training games. You can read Stark's article here.

Clearly this an idea who's time has come. Baseball GM's recognized that last November when they voted 25-5 to explore the use of instant replay in games. And now, with the help of The Sports Take and you, my dear readers, it finally appears that there's enough momentum to get it done.

So kudos to you. Your votes and your readership make a difference! Well done people!

Yeah... I know... I need some time off.

Finally this week it's time for everybody's favorite segment: "Dan's Favorite Teams Update"!

Minnesota Twins: The Twins are 23-24 and in second place in the AL Central, 3.5 games behind the Chicago White Sox.

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times". Dickens most likely wasn't referring to the 4-game set the Twins just completed against the Rangers, but he might as well have been! The two clubs split the series, 2 games a piece. It started fantastically for Twins fans with a comeback, extra-innings win in game 1, followed by an absolute drubbing of Texas in game 2. But as has been the pattern for the Twins all year, they followed those two wins with a blowout loss in game 3 and an extra inning loss in game 4.

It's truly frustrating to watch. One day, things seem to click and the team excites you with their energetic play. The next day, they're walking guys and making sloppy plays on defense, not to mention that they can't hit water falling out of a boat. You just can't quite figure this team out. But one of the beauties of baseball is that, with the length of the season, there's still time for Gardy to get 25 guys on the same page and headed in the same direction. Who those 25 guys will be? That's an entirely different discussion... perhaps for next week!

The Twins are in Detroit this weekend for 3, (and they're off on Memorial Day?! That seems un-American!) before heading to Kansas City next week.

Arizona Diamondbacks: The D'backs are 28-19 and in first place in the NL West, 2.5 games ahead of the L.A. Dodgers.

Not good. Oof. Yeesh. Pick a term, any term. The Arizona offense was downright Padre-like during their series with the Marlins. Florida pulled out the brooms against Arizona while holding them to 3 runs total over the 3 games. The D'backs hit a whopping .179 during the series. "Scuffling" doesn't begin to cover it. For an offense that led the league in most statistical categories throughout much of the first 2 months of the season, that's gigantic step in the wrong direction.

Hopefully this is just a minor correction and the boys will get the bats going again sooner than later. In the mean time, they'll need the pitching staff to continue their outstanding work to keep them in games.

The Snakes are in Atlanta for 4 - including a Memorial Day game, so apparently Arizona is still considered part of America - before returning home to face the Giants (thank you schedule makers) next week.

That's all for today folks. Like many of you, I'll be enjoying more than my fair share of grilled goodness on Monday. I may just sneak in a blog that evening, but it's entirely possible that the next update won't come til Tuesday ("hush hush... keep it down now... voices carry... - good god, I need some time off!).


  1. Didja see this article in the Strib that mentions Gardy and his view on replays?

  2. I hadn't seen that. Sounds like we're pretty much in agreement.

  3. Ok, the til Tuesday thing was very much my style of humor...

    You might be on to something there, maybe my problem is I'm just sleep-deprived...for, oh, the last 25 years of my life.