4-30-10: DFTU

Hello again everybody...

Welcome to the weekend!

What's that you say? It's not your weekend yet? Woops. My bad.

(insert evil laugh here)

Okay, okay, so I shouldn't rub it in. Lord knows there'll be a massive karmic backlash if I keep this up. Trust me, been there, been B-slapped like that!

As you may be able to tell, I'm feeling a bit silly today. Three-day weekends with fun on the way will do that to a guy. I mentioned it on Wednesday, I know, but I feel like repeating it. I'm going to see the Late Late Show's Craig Ferguson at the State Theater tonight.

(For some reason, they spell it Theatre on the tickets, but I'm pretty sure that's some nasty Canadian influence, so I'll choose to ignore it.)

I've been looking forward to this for a while, so I'm rather giddy with anticipation now that I'm a few, scant hours away.

But before I can hang with the rest of the Robot Skeleton Army (trust me, watch the show, it'll all make sense), I've got some Updating to do for you, my dear readers, who wait so patiently throughout the week for it.

Never think I'll let you down!

Of we go!

”The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.”
- Thomas Szasz (1920 - ), psychiatrist and academic

Ummm... yeah. I've got to work on that.

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4-28-10: Kentucky Derby 136

Hello again everybody...

Welcome to your Wednesday. Or as I like to call it this week, “my Thursday”. Yes, once again I've managed to finagle a four-day work week. But this time, it's not because I'm attending a baseball game. This Friday night, Craig Ferguson from CBS's “Late Late Show” is doing a stand-up show at the State Theater in Minneapolis, and I, along with a couple of friends, will be in attendance.

If you haven't waited up to watch the “Late Late Show”, do yourself a favor and set the DVR for at least the first half-hour. It's some of the funniest stuff on late night television.

No worries though, there'll still be the usual DFTU column on Friday. I wouldn't leave you in the lurch just to join the Robot Skeleton Army for an evening! (Inside joke... I'm telling you, watch the show.)

But before we get to Friday's column, we've got to get to today's. And before I get to the main point of today's column (I'm sure you've read the title and figured it out), one quick baseball note:

Thank you, Joe Mauer.

If you missed Monday's news, Philadelphia 1B Ryan Howard signed a 5-year $125 million extension. That's an average of $25 million per year, $2 million more per year than Joe signed for. All due respect to Philly fans, but Mauer's a better all-around player than Howard is. Which means Minnesota got a heck of a deal.

It also means that St. Louis Cardinal fans should be cringing, because Albert Pujols' agent is grinning ear to ear, dreaming of the $30 millon per year contract his client just got put in line for.

Wow. Am I in the wrong line of business or what? Oof.

Enough about baseball. Today's about the ponies!


”When ideas fail, words come in very handy.”
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832), German writer and polymath

Wondering what a “polymath” is? So was I. A “polymath” is defined as a person, with superior intelligence, whose expertise spans a number of different subject areas. So there's that.

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4-26-10: Surprises, Disappointments & Confusion

Hello again everybody...

Welcome back. How was your weekend? We had some pretty dreary weather here in the upper Midwest. But it was perfect for getting lots of sleep and doing a little laundry. Yep, that's pretty much all I did. And I loved every minute of it.

Oh, and I watched plenty of baseball too. But that goes without saying right?

It struck me this weekend - though I suppose it happens every year - just how many surprising, disappointing and confusing teams there are in the big leagues this season. And if you were wagering that my next thought was, “hey, there's a column”, you'd be 100% correct.

Did your club make the list? Which column did I put them in? Read on and find out!


”The Constitution gives every American the inalienable right to make a damn fool of himself.”
- John Ciardi (1916 - 1986), American poet, translator and etymologist

Writing for the Cycle Corollary: Baseball rules allow for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals.

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4-23-10: DFTU

Hello again everybody...

It's that time again! Another work week winds to a close and the glory of the weekend approaches. The weather doesn't sound like it's going to cooperate, but the Twins are on the road, so I'd rather it rain now than when they're home.

Hopefully you all have fun things planned, or nothing whatsoever to do. Either way, a weekend ought to be enjoyable.

Lots of good baseball this week. Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez gave us our first no-hitter of the season. Jimenez has been on the brink of making “the leap” for a couple of seasons, and he's been flat-out dominant so far this year. The Rockies haven't jumped out front in the NL West like I expected, but they're in the mix, and if Jimenez keeps rolling, they'll be in it all season.

New York's Phil Hughes almost gave us our second no-hitter. He carried his no-no into the 8th, and only lost it on a come-backer that he lost track of. Nobody's feeling sorry for a Yankee, but if their 5th starter is sniffing around a no-hitter, that's gotta scare the bejeezus out of the rest of the league.

Did you see the gem Doc Halladay threw the other night? The Phillie righty out-dueled Atlanta's Tim Hudson in a whale of a game. Great pitching, great defense, timely hitting. It was my kind of name. And about 20,000 people saw it in person. Well done Atlanta! A blind man could have predicted that would be a helluva game, and you no-showed the hell out of it. Oof.

My friends across the river might want to save some of that offense. I know it's the Pirates, and me and eight friends would have a shot at them, but 20 runs on 25 hits?! Come on Milwaukee, take it easy! Spread the wealth a little bit. You're going to need some of those runs later on!

But none of those notes are why you come here on a Friday, right? Nope, you come here for one thing and one thing only... the DFTU!

Let's get to the Updating!

”An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows.”
- Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890 - 1969), 5-star General and 34th President of the United States

It's quality, not quantity people!

With that, it's time... once again... for everybody's favorite segment...

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4-21-10: Mock Mailbag

Hello again everybody...

Happy Humpday to you all. Let's hope the next few days sail by quickly and the weekend shows up sooner than later.

Yes, yes, I understand that 72 hours is 72 hours and it can't “technically” get here quicker, but you know what I mean! It's all about perspective people. And from my perspective, the weekend can't get here soon enough. At least the weather's been nice!

Thanks to all of you who sent me feedback on Monday's RGC. I always enjoy hearing people's thoughts on the column - positive, or constructively critical - and it seems the RGC's tend to inspire more than any other column. Emails, blog comments, twitter messages, whatever. Keep 'em coming folks, I love to hear from you!

The baseball season's now over two weeks old, and there's plenty to discuss. But instead of the standard Notes column, I decided to break out the Mock Mailbag. Enjoy!

Let's get to it!

”Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.”
- Andre Gide (1869 - 1951), French author and Nobel laureate

I constantly seek truth in the wonderful world of baseball. But as loyal readers will tell you, I rarely find it!

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4-19-19: Running Game Commentary XI - Twins vs. Royals

Hello again everybody...

… and we're back from another weekend. Hope yours was good. I have no complaints about mine. At least none worth listing here.

As I told you last week, my first regular season trip to Target Field was on Saturday and at the risk of looking like a complete dope to the folks sitting around me, I took copious notes. All the better to entertain you, my dear readers, with another RGC. That's right, I'll take you along for the ride as we re-live Twins vs. Royals from Saturday, April 17th.

But before we do that, I want to provide you with one quick note. After taking two of three from the Royals this weekend, that now makes four straight series the Twins have won to open the season. Why is that significant? Because the franchise has never done that before. Despite all the doom and gloom spouted by naysayers after the loss of Joe Nathan for the season, the Twins haven't missed a beat and are off to one of the best starts in club history. There's plenty of room on the bandwagon folks. Hop on board and enjoy the ride!

Off we go!

”We are bits of stellar matter that got cold by accident, bits of a star gone wrong.”
- Sir Arthur Eddington (1882 - 1944), British astrophysicist

Okay, on the surface, this quote looks rather pessimistic. But the way I see it, if we're here by accident then we might as well kick back and enjoy ourselves, right?

And oh, how I do enjoy taking in a ball game. Which leads me to...

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4-16-10: DFTU

Hello again everybody...

It's Friday once again. One more day to get through and then it's 48 lovely, employment-free hours! For yours truly, it's approximately three of those hours that I'm most focused on. From noon to about 3pm on Saturday, the Twins will be hosting the Kansas City Royals at the palatial Target Field, and I'll be fortunate enough to be in attendance.

Not so fortunately, the game's going to cause me to miss an annual event, as one of my dearest friends will be hosting a belated birthday gathering at the MONDO Juggling and Unicycle Arts Festival. I know, I know, it's eyebrow-raising when you first consider the concept, but trust me, it's a good time and I'm sorry to miss it. On the plus-side, I'll get to see everybody afterward back at my friend's house, so it's not a total loss.

Then again, it's my season ticket package that's forcing me to miss the Festival, so to use the word “loss” at all is somewhat incorrect... at least in my opinion.

But before I can get to that game, I've got to do some Updating! The Twins are rolling, the Diamondbacks are exceeding some expectations. Yup, it's a shiny, happy DFTU this week!

Let's do this!

”Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.”
- Will Durant (1885 - 1991), American writer, historian and philosopher

I love this one. The more I learn, the dumber I feel. Or more specifically, the dumber I realize I was 5/10/15 years ago. On a related note, did you know there was such a thing as an American Philosopher? I hear “philosopher” and I think Greece, or France, or even Germany, but I didn't think the good ol' US of A had been around long enough to produce any philosophers.

The more I learn, the dumber I feel...

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4-14-10: Hammer's Stanley Cup Playoff Manifesto

Hello again everybody...

It's Wednesday and it's all downhill from here. Thank heavens. As I've been saying (repeatedly, I know), my first regular-season trip to Target Field comes on Saturday, and you could say I'm getting a little antsy. My guess is the next few days are going to go by a lot slower than I'd prefer.

For those of you wondering, yes, I'm planning on putting together an RGC for that game. I'm going with an old high school buddy who is a “wizard of the one-liners” himself. I can remember several trips to a local recreational gaming establishment where we annoyed more than our fair share of blackjack dealers with our contests to “out-one-liner” each other. So if he'll permit me to quote him liberally, it should be a fun column.

But that's not til Monday. Today we talk... hockey?! Sure I've included the Wild in the DFTU for ages, and several RGC's have come courtesy of the local club. But I don't usually talk about the NHL on a general level. Not because I don't have any interest - though admittedly, it's nowhere near my baseball/college football obsessions - but rather because I don't consider myself educated enough on most of the rest of the teams in the league to speak intelligently on them.

That's why when it comes time to talk hockey, I bring in a ringer. That's right, you know him, you love him... he's the Hammer, and we're not.

For those of you who need a Hammer refresher, I'd refer you back to this column where I did my best to get him to explain the vast and varying sports allegiances he possesses. Though I may not agree with all of his conclusions, he's my go-to guy when it comes to the NHL. And now he's started his own blog (I feel like a proud parent)! That's right, if you check out his blog, Quest for the Cup, during the length and breadth of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, you'll get to see all of the Hammer's thoughts and reactions to what happens.

For the last couple of years, I've published what has turned into his first column, and thankfully, he's allowed me to do so again. If you go check him out, you'll see his first draft of the 2010 Playoff Manifesto. With his permission, I'll be re-publishing that column today, along with some notes and thoughts of my own.

The NHL Playoffs begin tonight, so there's no more appropriate time to bring this to you.

Off we go!

”A conference is a gathering of important people who singly can do nothing, but together can decide that nothing can be done.”
- Fred Allen (1894 - 1956), American comedian

To those of my friends whose employment involves attending conferences... sorry about that.

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4-12-10: Monday Notes - Masters, Modano & More...

Hello again everybody...

Welcome back to another work week. I hope your weekend was enjoyable, because mine sure was.

The Twins took two of three from the White Sox. The Diamondbacks took two of three from the Pirates. I got to attend the final Wild game of the season. And there was a little golf tournament going on.

Oh, and I should mention: HAPPY TWINS HOME OPENER DAY EVERYBODY! I've been waiting for this day for years, and words fail to describe how excited I am. Tune in locally to FSN North, or nationally on ESPN at 3pm central time.

Lots to talk about and opine on, so let's not dawdle...

”A man may be so much of everything that he is nothing of anything.”
- Samuel Johnson (1709 - 1784), English author

Or as Don Shelby often puts it, “my knowledge base is a mile wide and an inch deep”.

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4-9-10: DFTU

Hello again everybody...

We've done it. We've fooled the employment gods yet again, and a spectacular weather-weekend is on tap here in the upper-Midwest. Well at least here in Minnesota. I saw that my friends in eastern Wisconsin got visited by some snow yesterday.

Gee, that's a shame.

So the weekend is nigh, and my first regular-season sojourn to Target Field is one week from tomorrow. Life definitely does not suck.

Fridays at Writing for the Cycle have a tradition that's been missing for a few weeks. Don't blame me, the 2010 MLB Preview takes precedence. But we're about to complete our first week of the regular season, so it's time for said segment's triumphant return.

That's right, you've been pining for it... you've been yearning for it... and it's almost time to scratch that itch...

Right after the quote...

Let's do this!

”Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain.”
- Friedrich von Schiller (1759 - 1805), German poet, philosopher, historian and playwright

I don't believe Herr von Schiller ever answered phones at a radio station. But his thoughts would've been nothing but confirmed, trust me.

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4-7-10: Eight Thoughts on the Sesason So Far...

Hello again everybody...

We've reached the middle of the week, and... I really don't have much in terms of a preamble. There really hasn't been much going on beyond the things I'm going to talk about in the core of the column.

But I usually like to have something light and personal in this opening section to give those readers who aren't hardcore sports fans a lil something to munch on.

Today, I've got nothing. Really. It's been two fairly uneventful days. Nothing dramatic. Nothing self-deprecatingly amusing. Just nothing.

Of course, now that I've said that, I'll walk out of work and a piano will fall on my head or something.

Let's hope not, but I'm just saying...

In any case, as little as has happened to me personally, there's been plenty already that's happened in the world of baseball. Opening Day on Monday was phenomenal for a whole mess of reasons. I'll discuss.

No more filler... bring on the main course!

”I'm an idealist. I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way.”
- Carl Sandburg (1878 - 1967), American writer and editor

I have no idea where this baseball season's going to go, but we're on our way!

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4-5-10: Target Field - Photo Tour

Hello again everyone...

First of all, permit me to apologize for not sending out the standard email/Facebook/Twitter announcements about Friday's column. As many of you may have guessed, I was so psyched to get headed to Target Field for the first ever Twins exhibition game at the new ballpark, that I just flat forgot to do it.

Sorry about that...

But my preoccupation turned out to be more than justified. I've spent much of the time since I left Target Field Friday night trying to come up with words to appropriately describe it. No matter what superlatives I use, I still don't feel like I can accurately paint you a picture. Mostly because I suck at painting!

So instead, I'm going to give you a brief picture-tour. Mind you, these pictures were taken from my cellphone, so I offer no guarantees about their quality. Think of them as mere teasers of what you can expect to see when you enter in the ballpark. I don't care what anybody tells you, no picture can do it justice. It's something that has to be seen to be believed.

One last thing before I get to that: HAPPY OPENING DAY!!! That's right. Forget about Yankees/Red Sox (whom I hate) from last night. Today's the true lid-lifter for Major League Baseball. In a fortunate turn, the Twins are opening their season in Anaheim, CA this evening. I love West Coast baseball any time of the year. But especially tonight since it means I'll get to watch most of the game at home after I get done with work!

Wherever you are, take a moment to watch some baseball. Opening Day is as good as it gets!

Let's get on with my Target Field pictures, shall we?


”I despise the pleasure of pleasing people that I despise.”
- Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689 - 1762), English aristocrat and writer

I'm not usually a fan of English aristocrats, but have to say, I like the Lady Montagu's style!

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4-2-10: 2010 MLB Preview - The Post-Season

Hello again everybody...

It's going to be brief today. Partially that's due to the nature of the subject matter. The other reason is because I'M GOING TO TARGET FIELD!!!

Whew. Sorry, I just had to get that out.

Needless to say, I've been excited about today for some time. A large majority of the folks I've worked with had tours of the facility before it even opened. I was en route back to town when they held the Season Ticket Holder Open House. And I was stuck at work last Saturday when they had the Gopher game there. Today, I finally get to go. Not only do I get to go, but I get to see the Twins take the field for the very first time ever in their new home. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

Oh sure, it sounds like there might be a sprinkle here or there. I don't care. For 30 years, my only local option for big league baseball has been under that off-white monstrosity on the other end of downtown. So bring it on Mother Nature. Rain, sleet, hail or snow, I honestly don't care. Because all of the picture-perfect days and nights over the Summer will more than make up for it.

I'm sure I'll have more to say about it (likely much, much more) on Monday. But for now, I've got to complete my 2010 MLB Preview columns by naming my two Wild Card picks and telling you who I think is going to win the World Series.

Off we go!

”Those who speak most of progress measure it by quantity and not by quality.”
- George Santayana (1863 - 1952), philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist.

So you're saying that even though I took the time to go through all 30 MLB teams and preview their seasons, the quality of my picks takes precedence?! Damn...

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