6-26-09: DFTU

Hello again everybody...

So how was your day yesterday?

Mine was just a touch hectic. The first couple of shows I work were all set to talk a little bit about the the passing of Farrah Fawcett, and then move on to other things. Well, we managed that in the first show. Not so much in the second.

The thing about my job is that you're always in the present. There isn't really any time to set things up ahead of time, because if you take time out to do that, then whatever is on the air right now gets mucked up. So when big-time breaking news happens, whatever plan there was goes right out the window and you end up doing what I like to call “radio by the seat of your pants”.

So when the news about Michael Jackson hit yesterday, we immediately had to toss the manual out the window and start figuring out what we were doing one segment at a time. It's not something I want to do on a regular basis, but there is a certain adrenaline rush to it.

Yesterday's news was different than other breaking news stories though. On the one hand, you had the pop culture icon to end all pop culture icons meeting an untimely demise. So the first instinct is to go into “solemn, respectful retrospective” mode. But on the other hand, you can't just flat ignore the oddness and potential criminality that marred the later years of his life. Finding the appropriate path between those two courses isn't easy. I think our new afternoon host, Michele Tafoya, did a heck of a job navigating those waters. I'm just glad I didn't have to do it!

So to say the least, yesterday wasn't boring.

But that was yesterday, and this is today. And today's Friday, thank God. So it's time for our weekly ritual. It's time for all the loyal Sports Take readers to gather around the camp fire and settle in to listen to your own personal sports shaman to tell you a little story he likes to call... the DFTU.

I'm here for you like that!

"Most men are within a finger's breadth of being mad."
- Diogenes the Cynic (412 BC - 323 BC), Greek philosopher

Especially when your two favorite baseball teams can't seem to get out of their own way!

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Which brings us to everybody's favorite segment...

Dan's Favorite Teams Update

Minnesota Twins:
The Twins are 37-37, in second place in the AL Central and 5 games behind the Detroit Tigers.

I was optimistic coming into this last week. The Tigers were struggling and the Twins seemed on the verge of going on a significant roll.

Fast-forward to today, and the exact opposite has happened. The Tigers are the team on a roll, winners of 7 in a row. Meanwhile, the Twins have resumed their "treading water" ways. They're 5-5 in their last 10. Mixed in there are series wins against Pittsburgh and Milwaukee, as well as a series loss to Houston.

This would be the spot where I'd include a note from Thursday's game from a certain loyal reader in Milwaukee, but I think the Twins domination of the Crew has him a little bummed. I can't blame him. If I was friends with someone writing a Yankee update, I'd be down in the dauber over the Twins' performance against them too.

(Enough with the back-handed consolation? Okay... moving on.)

It's been a frustrating week, because the Twins are good enough that they shouldn't be losing a series to the Astros, and they should've actually swept the Brewers. Nick Blackburn threw his second straight complete game in the only loss to Milwaukee. And it was a couple of unusual defensive miscues that cost the Twins the game.

So how can I be grumbling about a series win? Because if you want to be a contender, then sooner or later you've got to rip off 8 wins in 10 games, or 10 in 12. Something like that. You've got to put some distance between yourself and your competitors. Much like what Detroit's done.

Now, 5 games is far from insurmountable. And with all the games left to be played between the Twins and the Tigers, the Twins are far from out of it.

But as a Twins fan, I keep sitting here waiting for them to hit a hot streak. Yet, even with the better starting pitching and Baby Jesus doing his best Ted Williams impersonation, they've yet to have that kind of streak.

.500's not awful, especially when compared to the team I'm about to talk about. But it's not going to get you in the playoffs either. And that has to be the Twins' goal this year.

Next up for Minnesota is a 3-game series in St. Louis. If you haven't seen the new Busch Stadium, make sure you take a peek at one of these games if you can. It's a beautiful ball park in a quintessential baseball town. After that series, the Twins take a short jaunt over to Kansas City for three with the Royals before returning home to take on the Tigers.

Arizona Diamondbacks: The D'backs are 30-43, in last place in the NL West and 17 games behind the L.A. Dodgers.

If you want to know what the Snakes' season's been like in microcosm, all you have to do is look at last night's game. Texas jumped out to a 6-2 lead, but Arizona didn't give up. A run in the sixth, another one in the seventh, and two more in the eighth pulled them even.

After Arizona wasted a couple of chances in extras, Texas threw up a 3-spot in the 12th. There are a lot of teams that would roll over and lay down in the bottom half after that happened. But the D'backs still had enough fight in them to put up 2 in the bottom half before running out of outs.

That's been the D'backs' season. Close, but no cigar. For the most part, they're not getting blown out. But they have so little margin for error, that even the smallest hiccup often costs them a game.

It's hard to talk about them sometimes, because there are only so many ways I can come up with to say: they're bad.

So instead, I'm going to flesh out today's column with a rant about a team in their division. Actually a specific player on that team.

Manny Ramirez.

Can someone tell me how the hell a guy who's been suspended for 50 games by MLB brass is allowed to play in a minor league game? I mean seriously, a rehab stint while you're still technically under suspension? What kind of message does that send?

Okay, I get that it's a "major league" suspension, and that it doesn't necessarily extend to minor league games. But if you're really trying to send a message about the use of performance enhancing drugs, then having Manny getting a ton of press with the Albuquerque Isotopes undermines your effort.

"Sure, he can't play with the Dodgers, but look, it's Manny in a minor league game! Look at all the kids getting his autograph! Isn't it great that this minor league owner is going to make a ton of money off of Manny's presence?"

No, it's not great. If you're suspended, then you should be suspended. Major league, minor league, Mexican league, beer league, I don't care. If you can't play, then you can't play. If the Dodgers want him to play some minor league games to get ready to come back, then when his 50-game banishment is done, let him go play in Albuquerque. But to have him playing while technically under suspension creates the perception that the suspension is rather meaningless.

He's not getting paid for these games, so there's no question that the suspension is still hitting him in the wallet. But Manny's never been terribly concerned about money as anything other than a status symbol. There are many stories of reporters seeing un-cashed paychecks sitting in Manny's locker for weeks at a time. Clearly, the guy isn't hurting for cash.

But now he gets to be back in the limelight, appearing on Sportscenter, and reveling in the adoration of fans in New Mexico who don't usually get to see a star of his stature.

Nice job MLB. You really showed him who's boss!

What a joke.

Rant, fin.

Back to Arizona. The D'backs are home to take on LAAAGOCRCUSPE over the weekend, then it's time to hit the road again as they travel to Cincinnati and Colorado.

That's all for this week folks. Hope you have a fantastic weekend. I'll be back on Monday with more Sports Take goodness for you all.

Until then, thanks for reading!

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