Sunday, February 10, 2008

I'm Jim Souhan: Go F**k Yourself, Minnesota

You know what really grinds my gears? Those ignorant, ungrateful Minnesotans who read my columns for free online, click on the posted e-mail address at the bottom of the page, and utilize their God-given right to disagree with a newspaper columnist's opinions no matter how ridiculous or contra-dictory they may be. Here are some other reasons that Minnesota can go eat a dick sandwich with horseradish sauce:

Kevin Garnett: Yeah, he's gone now, but if I have to hear one more time about how much Wolves fans miss him, I swear I'm gonna have to make some sort of poultry joke about it. Seriously; the Wolves are doing great without him! He was a bum anyway! Al Jefferson is the second coming of Jesus Christ! I have no idea what I'm fucking talking about!

The Walker Art Center: Seriously, what a fucking eyesore. How queer is that spoon-and-cherry thing anyway?

Little Big League: Another example of Minnesota settling for second-best. And I'm not talking about the Twins losing at the end of the movie: Rookie of the Year blew this one out of the water. Billy Heywood still beats Carl Pohlad, though.

The Guthrie: Pssh. Peer Gynt is just the Norwegian Forrest Gump anyway.

Snow: Fuck snow.

Bloggers: There's a special spot in the deepest, slimiest part of Lake Minnetonka reserved for these guys. Because I believe every stereotype ever, bloggers are all pale, unemployed nerdlingers with nothing better to do than form thoughtful, crafted opinions based on numbers and logic. Hah! They'll never get laid, because that is entirely relevant here!

Trust me, guys: Leave the opinion-forming to someone who knows how to make a well-placed Ally McBeal joke.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Adios Hermanos

Hi guys-

Sorry about the lack of posts as of late, but as I wrote in my Happy Fun-Time Live Blog, I'm headed out of the country for a month to sing and spread the good news of Garza & Co. to foreign lands. Or just spend a lot of time answering the question, "what's a Minnesota? Is that by New York or Disneyland?"

So now I'll sign off, and hope to come back mid-September to a team still in at least the wild-card race. Feel free to leave some love in the comments. And before I leave, one last clip of goodness to keep you entertained until my return:

Thursday, August 9, 2007

A Quick Hypothetical...

What would you look like if you a major league pitcher who, in six starts, held down a 1.70 ERA, but whose offense only gave him enough support for 1 win?

My guess is something like this:

You ever dance with the devil by the pale moonlight?

Let's score some runs, shall we boys? Silva's been doing a lot of coin-flipping in the dugout lately.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Here Comes A Live Blog!

So in a week and a half, the worldly editor of this humble blog will be leaving for a month overseas, and likely will be unable to update much during that time. The time between now and then will also be taken up by a number of other time commitments, so it may be hard to keep up the recent pace of updates then as well. Therefore, today I thought I would do something special for the "official" going-away party: a live blog of today's Twins-Cleveland matchup, since, after all, it's not like anyone else does live blogs around here. The game's not for another couple hours, so sit back, crack open the Sunday paper, listen to this week's excellent installment of A Prairie Home Companion, and tune in here for the first pitch at 1:05pm Central time.


Here I am again, all wistful and teary-eyed because this week's PHC contained a lengthy segment from the broadcast of several years ago from my recent alma mater. The episode was taped before I even went there, but I was there in the audience, and it was the first time I really realized that there wasn't any doubt I'd go there. But, as they say, there's no crying in baseball, so let's focus on today's game with big bad Fausto Carmona. As much as this guy has owned us this year, it's hard to argue that he has the baddest-ass name in baseball. Now that Scott Baker seems to be wearing his man pants, this ought to be a good matchup. Anyone wandering through, please feel free to let me know how it's going in the comments. Here we go...


Dick points out early on that we have "a Buscher, a Baker, but no candlestick maker" on the field. Baker hears this and, not knowing where else to take out his anger, plunks Dreamboat Sizemore in the right thigh.

Mauer guns down Dreamboat, Baker promptly issues another free pass to Lofton, and Casey smacks it to Buscher for the 3-4-5 DP. Baker owes his entire infield a big hug for allowing him to face the minimum despite a walk and a HBP.


Two ground ball outs and frankly, I think we got hosed on that last one. Bartlett was half a step past the bag when Garko caught the throw.

Mauer tells Fausto to stuff his sinkerball, but Cuddyer, who apparently didn't get the memo about trying to work this guy's pitch count, pops up to short on the first pitch.


Travis Hafner looks like he should be a garbage man or construction worker or something. I wouldn't be surprised to see him show up for one of these games in a Day-Glo green and orange vest. Two on, none out, might be another long day for the bullpen.

I swear this lineup has been constructed specifically to frustrate Twins pitching. All they need is to bring in Coco Crisp and Nick Swisher to complete the all-time roster of funny-named light hitters who absolutely demolish us.

Tyner does his best impression of that dude who almost broke both his ankles making a foul catch on a bullpen mound the other night. That thing needs its own warning track.

And Baker pitches pretty admirably out of the inning. Well done, and the Sox are even beating the Tigers again. Smell this one.


An inexplicably funny shot of Jerry White and Scott Ullger standing five feet outside of their respective coaches' boxes. Shouldn't they have gotten an electric shock or something?

Morneau down swinging. What the hell has happened to this guy the last few weeks? He looks at too many pitches, takes some really awful swings, and basically exudes zero confidence or intimidation. Could he maybe use the dreaded "day off to clear his head"?

Hunter strikeout, Kubel single, Buscher popout. Twins haven't had a man beyond first base, or on base earlier than two outs. Guh.


A moment of silence for my departed bro Lew Ford.

OK, yeah, he sucked. Hopefully he'll be back in September with a fire under his ass.

Is there a reason that historic home runs always seem to be uncharacteristic and disappointing? I remember Big Mac's being a line drive that barely eked over the wall, A-Rod's 500th yesterday was a glorified, wind-aided popup, and I don't remember ever seeing Bonds go opposite field before yesterday. I think it shows that you're incapable of hitting normally when you're under that kind of pressure, and when it does happen it's a bit of an accident.

Oh, and three popups to get Baker out of a 1-2-3 inning.


Does anyone else remember when the Twins didn't have a single damn lefthanded hitter, and all everybody wanted was one, just one? Well, be careful what you wish for; now we have Mauer, Morneau (all right), Kubel, Buscher (eh), Casilla and Tyner (ugh), just in today's lineup.

Man on first second with two outs, and Mr. Dugout Doll coaxes a walk out of an 0-2 count. Cuddyer once again decides to go after the first pitch and bounces to third. Calm down dude, you'll survive taking a pitch or two.


I think I'd need a new set of dishes if I were a Cleveland fan this weekend, between yesterday's 800 men left on base and today's 50 popups in foul territory with a double play thrown in for good measure. Seriously, the Indians have hit six popups in a row. Is this like a bizarro sinkerball that Baker is throwing?


Whew, leave it to me to choose a pitchers' duel for my first live blog. Get some men on base, boys, for my sake.

Carmona appears to be intimidating Twins batters with the dreaded "Peek-a-boo" setup. How are you supposed to hit off of a pitcher who ceases to exist until he's already into his windup?

Thank you, My 29, for that shot of Fausto sticking his hands down his pants.

Who writes those Simpsons episode synopses that Dick reads on every Sunday broadcast? It always sounds like someone watched about 30 seconds of the first scene and tried to guess the rest of the plot based on that clip.

Another two-out single for Kubel. That and 50 cents will get you a cup of coffee and a benching from Gardy the next time a lefty appears in the bullpen.

Casilla rears back and squeaks, "I'm not Castillo!", and dumps the ball over Kenny Lofton's head for a double. Too bad they put extra Flubber in the FieldTurf for this game and it bounced into the seats, or else it would've scored two.

Tyner, meanwhile, decides that he in fact is Castillo, and grounds out to second.


On the other hand, scratch what I said about the Flubber, because it probably saved an inside-the-parker after another ill-advised dive by Torii.

Nice play by Baker fielding the grounder and holding Garko, and Bert can hardly contain his glee. Yes, we all know they're the best athletes on the field, even Dennys Reyes.

Peralta chases the high cheddar. and Scotty's one out away from pitching around that pesky double.

Nicely done, Scott. I was there for last year's infamous Nutty game, and I never thought he'd recover. Way to show that jock strap who's boss!


Poor Cuddyer, can't seem to ever get it right. After getting outs by swinging at the first pitch in his first two at-bats, he chooses to watch two juicy fastballs go by and hack at an inside slider. Keep chasing that rainbow, Dimples.


Lofton listening to his own personal Harvey Keitel, but maybe it just turned out to be Colonel Klink. Either way, he's gunned down at 2nd, and Mauer gets another hug in the dugout, along with possibly the 3nd base umpire.

A Jesse Crain sighting! I've actually never been happier to see the guy. With Roids 'n Homers Rincon still at large, we could probably use Jesse's well-sculpted facial hair in the bullpen.

Kubel draws a 2-out walk just to shake things up a bit, and Buscher has a chance to make something happen. Hopefully wearing Dave Winfield's old number will provide some inspiration.

Almost, but 400 feet to dead center later, it's an out in front of the warning track. Congratulations, Brian, on the hardest-hit ball of the afternoon.


And it's official: Chicago over Detroit. Barring unforseen circumstances or a Rincon appearance, OFT might just be headed to 4 1/2 back in this race.

Cue the Benny Hill music as three fielders chase Hafner's popup behind third, and it's Bartlett who tumbles to the turf with it.

As we head into the 7th inning stretch, has anybody else noticed that last year at this time, Puckett was getting a tribute in every home game for the duration of a whole chorus of "What a Wonderful World", while this year Herb Carneal gets about three seconds before Idiot Cam comes on the Jumbotron? I mean, certainly not to take anything away from my childhood hero, but Herb was calling games here for 50 years, at least give him a little better montage here.


Tyner draws a free pass on four pitches, and Rafael Perez gets loose in the Cleveland bullpen. He's a lefty, so let's look for what wacky lineup changes Gardy will enact. Seriously, it's like a Chinese fire drill whenever a southpaw comes in.

What the hell, the Twins executing a hit-and-run? Next thing you know they'll be laying down bunts in fair territory.

Let's see what Cuddyer can do after the IBB to Mauer...

Well, you can't be too mad at him after putting together a pretty decent at-bat, fouling off a bunch of close pitches. He grounds out on a defensive swing that likely should've wound up as another foul, but the bottom line is no one crossed the plate. Baker coming back in, but Fausto won't be back; he's off to watch game tape with Mephistopheles.


Ugh, good innings never begin with bloop singles. Thankfully the Indians can't put down a bunt either.

Scott Baker with your #1 Web Gem of the day. That's actually gotta be a play of the year candidate for this team.

Wow. It took a hell of a long time, but Minnesota loves Scott Baker again. Couldn't have happened to a better guy.


Defensive replacement Nick Punto does his best to keep the lead close after Kubel draws another walk, and we're headed to the showdown you all wanted to see anyway. Nathan coming in to close out the ninth and save the win for Baker.


Good afternoon, Grady Sizemore.

Good evening, Kenny Lofton.

What the hell, Casey Blake, you're screwing up my clever post...

Oh, goodnight, Victor Martinez.


As recently as July 23, OFT was 9 1/2 games back in the AL Central, but thanks to an earlier-than-expected collapse by Detroit and Cleveland, that deficit is down to 4 1/2. Though the offense still has plenty of its own issues to work through, they've managed to get some big hits when they need to, and of course both ends of the pitching staff have been nothing short of lights-out. Remember what I said last week about Scott Baker being close to in the running for Team MVP of the season? Well, he certainly didn't hurt that campaign today. Right now there's not a guy I would rather have facing the Yankees in the playoffs.

Well, it's been lovely putting together this little game diary, and I must give a hearty tip of my TC hat to the fine folks at Pulling a Blyleven for doing these things for damn near every game for almost a year. Come back quick, boys...but don't hurt yourselves.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Minnesota Twins: America's Team?

As the Twins return to the Metrodome tonight for another critical series that could set the tone for the last two months of the season, I can't help but wonder whether or not we will start seeing increased national media coverage of OFT in the wake of the disaster that took place less than a mile from their home stadium, and how they'll fare if said national media anoints them with the "America's Team" status experienced by the 2001 New York Yankees, the 2005 New Orleans Saints, and already the 2007 VT Hokies. Obviously Wednesday's bridge collapse doesn't have anywhere near the far-reaching magnitude of September 11 or Hurricane Katrina, nor the dramatic societal implications as the VT massacre; it was, after all, a random architectural failure that neither discriminated between its victims nor is likely to become any great symbol or rallying cry for the masses. But it nevertheless may have the same galvanizing effect on the city in that the crisis brought out the best in those it involved, with images of commuters in suits and fans in Mauer jerseys working alongside uniformed rescue workers to search in muddy water and through great chunks of concrete for trapped cars with any signs of life likely to resonate in Minnesota's (if not the nation's) collective conscience for generations.

The remaining question is, then, do we want the attention? Should Twins games be featured on ESPN three times a week and lead each BBTN broadcast? Should we hear Joe Buck every Saturday from now through September (or October) telling us how patriotic these Minnesotans are for going out and doing the job they get paid (very handsomely) to do every day? Should we have to endear the dreaded celebrity influx, capped off with PR-rehabbing"Prairie Home Companion" movie alum Lindsay Lohan wearing the TC hat in her next drunken nightclub sighting? Most of all, do we really want our Twins consistently on the same national stage where they can seemingly do nothing but embarrass themselves? The though of this last one alone is enough to dread the notion of the whole country turning into Twins Territory, and to make me think that just maybe this time we would be better of shunning the bright camera lights of Bristol. If this tragedy is the thing that finally gives the team a sense of purpose and push them through the playoff race, then great. If it becomes just another burden and the final impetus to set their sights on next season instead of salvaging this one, I wouldn't blame them.. If either of these scenarios came about by way of being "America's Team", we would never know if it really should have been that way, or if the spotlight lent an invisible hand to make or break the season. I would be much more comfortable, and would feel that much more lucky, to be instead rooting for simply Minnesota's team.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Great Merciful Crap

Listening to the game tonight, I couldn't imagine how Gordon and Gladden found it within themselves to call a baseball game. I tuned in after the fourth inning, but the only mention I ever heard of what was going on a mile from the Metrodome was a brief reminder that tomorrow's game and groundbreaking ceremony have been postponed. Everything else was laughing and reminiscing about last year's playoff run and about 1987; even the game going on hardly seemed to matter.

I realized then that it was probably the only way they could make it through the broadcast. In The Barber of Seville, Figaro says something along the lines of, "I make a point at laughing at life, otherwise I'm afraid it will make me weep." In that spirit, since I am incapable of giving a sincere-sounding or appropiate elegy to the victims of a massive, indiscriminate failure of concrete and steel, I instead give you: Dan "The Dazzle Man" Gladden.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Trade Deadline Passes

Look familiar to you? Perhaps this will jog your memory. Notice the date on there? That's right, it's 2005. AKA the last year that the Twins didn't make the playoffs.

I was all set for (and indeed headlong into writing) a vitriolic rant about how dumb a move this was by TR, what a hopeless message it sends to Twins players and fans about this season and beyond, and how he must be either crazy or out-and-out lying through his teeth to do a thing like trade a consistent veteran bat in a still-manageable playoff hunt and subsequently try and assure everyone that he's not giving up on them. But it's already been done. If you want piss and vinegar and name calling, go read the comments in Joe's blog. The only bit of that you'll find here is that Terry Ryan shall henceforth be known as Teri Ryan, until he grows a pair of balls. Trading Castillo was a sensible, businesslike move that probably won't in itself cost us any wins and will in essence stick a newer, younger, cheaper version of Castillo in his spot a few months earlier than planned. But as a wise man said, Teri, don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining. You deserve to do business as you see fit, but we, the fans who have invested in this team's near and distant future, deserve at least a little credit not to be taken for suckers.

Instead, I'd like to take a look for the future's sake at the player OFT acquired in last year's deadline trade, Zach Ward. You may remember this trade better as the one in which the Twins finally scuttled the derelict S.S. Kyle Lohse, but Ward, considered at the time a very solid young pitching prospect but remaining currently in A-ball, nevertheless has in interesting story to tell from his stats (courtesy of Baseball America):


2 14 3.03 23 15 0 1 101.0 94 43 3

84 7 .242 1.17 .250

The W-L numbers are not a typo; he really is 2-12. Neither is the ERA; it really is 3.03. And of 43 total runs, 9 are unearned. This guy's team must have some sort of wicked vendetta against him; either that or he makes his starts against teams solely comprised of major leaguers on rehab assignments. Prior to a July 12 Fort Myers Miracle Ramblings, post, Ward's teammates scored a whopping 12 runs in 12 starts (8 runs in the previous 11), getting shut out 5 times. Since then he has two more losses and his ERA is 0.11 lower, so I assume the story has gotten no better. The rest of his numbers are fine if not overly impressive for an A-ball pitcher. The most promising stat at this point has to be HR allowed at just 3 in 101 innings; it's at least encouraging to think of a prospect who won't let the ball fly out of the ballpark at a Slowey-esque rate. Hell, at this point we could probably bring him up to the big league club just to give Garza, Baker, Silva and Santana someone to talk to about getting hosed by your offense.

So what happens now? The players will just have to keep playing; hopefully every Twin can bring out his inner Jason Tyner this week, put this front-office unpleasantness behind him and hit the baseball where a fielder can't catch it. The fans will still be rooting for the home team; we don't need some guy at a press conference to tell us we're in a playoff run, do we? And Teri Ryan and the front office had damn well better have a plan in case another one of our players go down. Grow, thumb, grow!