6-21-10: Notes

Hello again everybody...

Welcome to another week. Though I'll warn you right now, for me, it's a short one.

If you missed Friday's column, then you missed the news that I'm heading to Milwaukee on Thursday for the Twins vs. the Brewers. And while I fully intend to bring you a RGC from that game, it's quite probable that it won't be in time for Friday.

But that's then, and this is now. So for now? You get some Notes!

Right after the quote...

”Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.”
- Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970), British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, socialist, pacifist, and social critic

You see?! I'm not crazy. I'm just ahead of my time! And a little bit eccentric.

«Read More...»

Time for some...


The Twins took two of three from the Phillies... and it was in the most unlikely way possible.

Here are the starting lines from the Twins' three starters this past weekend:

Friday - Nick Blackburn: 1.2 IP, 6 H, 8 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 2 HR

Saturday - Kevin Slowey: 1.2 IP, 7 H, 7 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 HR

Sunday - Carl Pavano: 9 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR

Now, if you didn't already know the outcomes of those three games, it'd be perfectly reasonable for you to assume that the Twins dropped two of three games. I mean, it's bad enough for one starter to go “gas can” on you and stress out the bullpen. But two back-to-back? That's pushing it.

Still, the Twins found a way to hang in there on Saturday and bludgeon their way to a 13-10, 11-inning victory. And they followed that up with a 4-1 win based on Pavano's Sunday gem.

So what in the heck happened?

First off, the Twins got saved by a crucial roster move. After the decimation of their bullpen on Friday, and with Jose Mijares being on Emergency Family Leave, the Twins sent SS Trevor Plouffe back to Rochester and recalled RP Jeff Manship. Because they were on the East Coast, Manship was able to arrive in time for the Saturday game, and ended up playing a crucial role.

When Slowey wasn't able to make it out of the second inning, Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire summoned Manship to take over. And take over he did. Manship tossed four and a third innings of two-hit baseball, allowing only one run off of a Raul Ibanez home run.

Those four innings kept Minnesota in the game, giving them the chance at an improbable comeback in the ninth and victory in the eleventh. It also - when combined with Pavano's gem on Sunday - helped spare the bullpen from being completely decimated over the course of that series.

Secondly, the Twins got that aforementioned gem from Pavano. The 'Stache was flat-out brilliant on Sunday out-dueling the Cy Young Award-winning Roy Halladay on the way to his eighth victory of the year. Just as important as the win was the fact that he went the distance for the Twins' second complete game of the year. Nobody's going to confuse Pavs with a Cy Young candidate, but the guy's been clutch in big situations for the Twins this year. None more so than on Sunday.

You want a Twins MVP from this weekend? Sure Delmon Young had nine hits and four RBI over the three games. Sure, Joe Mauer had four RBI as well, including the critical game-tying home run on Saturday. But for my money, Jeff Manship and Carl Pavano can split that award.

Clutch hitting was absolutely part of the two wins. But as I keep telling you folks, everything comes back to pitching.

Some dude from Northern Ireland won the U.S. Open... and we'll likely never hear from him again.

Which is fine. I'm not one of those folks who need the big-name players to win all the time. But I have to admit, I wasn't exactly compelled by the golf being played.

The U.S. Open has long been billed as the “toughest test in golf”. It's a tournament that rewards patience and skill over bravado and theatrics. The drawback there is that it opens the door for champions who aren't terribly well known. If that happens while those guys are playing great golf, fine. But if it's Graeme McDowell winning by shooting 3-over-par and “not sucking as much as everyone else”, then I lose interest pretty quickly.

I'll say this for the 2010 U.S. Open though... at least Tiger didn't win it. Twitter went ballistic on Saturday evening after Tiger shot 66 in the third round to pull within four shots of the lead. Another similar round on Sunday would've easily given him the win. Alas, Tiger shot 75 and finished tied - ironically with Phil Mickelson - for fourth.

At this point, I'm finding myself more and more openly rooting against Tiger. Maybe it's a flaw on my part, but the manner in which he's conducted himself over the last five-plus months has made it awfully easy to root for anyone other than him.

And behavior aside, his golf hasn't exactly lived up to his previous reputation either. Who knows? Maybe he'll win some more majors. Maybe he'll win most of the fans back. Hell, maybe I'll get over it and start rooting for him again. But that “mortal lock” he was to beat Jack Nicklaus' record for most majors? Suddenly it's very much in doubt.

The World Cup doesn't suck... No, that's not sarcasm, I actually mean it.

Okay, so the timing isn't perfect for me. There's simply no way I'm getting up at 6am to watch... well anything. But given the 7-hour difference between where I live and South Africa, it's something that has to be lived with.

Fortunately, the fine folks at FIFA have seen fit not to schedule any 6am contests for Team USA, which is who I primarily want to watch. But surprisingly, much like my experience with this year's Winter Olympics, I find more than just Team USA's games rather watchable. Granted, I'm not going out of my way to watch any other match-ups. But if I'm around and they're on, I'll watch, which isn't something I thought was going to happen.

I grew up playing soccer for several years. It was fun, I got to run around a lot, and it was legal to slide tackle opponents so long as you got the ball first. I loved that part.

But like many Americans I've never really gotten into watching it played professionally. I'm not a “scoring Nazi”. I don't need a lot of scoring to be interested. Maybe it's the lack of a local team to root for. Or perhaps I just haven't watched enough English Premier League soccer to truly appreciate the sport at it's highest level. Whatever it is, it's just not a sport that I've been able to get into full-time.

Now that the World Cup's here, however, I'm finding myself more than willing to watch. Like the Olympics, it's nations competing for international pride. That seems to suck me in. And call me crazy if you like, but I seem to be one of the six people on the planet who aren't annoyed by the vuvuzela's (the South African horns that make it sound like a mega-swarm of bees surrounds every match). Don't ask me why, but I guess I can just tune them out.

So I got up to watch the 9am USA/Slovenia match on Friday, and I fully intend to get up to watch the 9am USA/Algeria match on Wednesday. When something causes me to alter my routine to that extent? Yeah, you could say I enjoy it.

And finally...

As far as I know, there were no major injuries at the annual Trench Party... but that could be because there really wasn't all that much Trench played.

Don't get me wrong, we gave it our best shot, but with only seven players total, we got worn out pretty quick. Personally, I still had a dynamite time, with only a small amount of muscle soreness and sunburn as drawbacks.

That's mostly because I managed to luck my way into an epic comeback victory in one of the final games. Somehow, my team managed to strand me in a one-on-three situation, from which I wouldn't normally be expected to emerge victorious.

Ah, but sometimes the recreation gods smile down on you. Through a great deal of luck - and I assure you, nearly no athletic ability whatsoever - I managed to eliminate the final three foes and win the game for my team.

Okay, okay, I feel eyeballs rolling even as I write this. Especially from a few of the folks who were there and know just how ridiculous it was.

The only reason I bring it up is to show you this image of victory...

Followed by my homage to the World Cup...

Yep, I'm hooked all right!

That's going to wrap things up for today. I'll be back on Wednesday. The plan is to give you an early version of the DFTU since I'm likely to be out of action on Friday. Naturally, if something major happens in the next 48 hours, that plan probably goes out the window.

All part of the fun, right?!

Until then, thanks for reading!


  1. Camera. CAMERA!

  2. You're right... I should've mentioned that I asked for parts of the action to be specifically documented.

    I live to entertain the people!

  3. Yeah, 4 vs 3 Trench is not nearly as much fun as, say, 5 vs 5 or even 6s. It's just too much moving around, and too much space to move in.