Friday, July 29, 2011

I've Become a True Blood Truebie

Sookie and Bill

If you have no interest or knowledge of True Blood, watch it and then read this post.

My family is one of those where we hear about a great movie, TV season or book, proceed to buy said entertainment, watch/read it, then pass it along to another family member. I recently was handed True Blood seasons one and two. With only 12 episodes per season, they are pretty easy to fly through if you watch a couple before bed, which I did.

Before I knew it, I became emotionally attached to True Blood. This is no extreme case like me and Grey's Anatomy or me and Bones, but I do find myself urging Sookie on towards Eric. That is emotionally attached.

I'm on the third season (the latest season) and can't wait to see what happens now that Bill has moved across state lines to be a sheriff of a Mississippi county. With Bill out of the picture, Eric has his chance to move in on Sookie. Rumor has it that season 4 is finally playing on the desires of fans like me and have Sookie and Eric doing the horizontal mamba. Finally. The apprehension is killing me!

I wonder how Stephen Moyer (Bill), Anna Paquin's (Sookie) real life husband thinks about the potential hook up between Sookie and Eric and how the fans are pleading True Blood creators to make it happen. Yikes. Moyer better be secure in his marriage!

The fourth season of True Blood is underway on HBO. So happy I don't have HBO. Great.

Sookie and Eric

Jim Thome Commercial Flannel Shirt

I love the Twins commercial featuring Jim Thome as Paul Bunyan. When the commercial first aired, I even made it my duty to make the video viral amongst my family, showing everyone as many times as they would let me show it. I think I may have an addictive personality.

The Twins auction must know there are those of us out there... the ones who are both obsessive and Jim Thome fans. That's why, when the first annual Twins Auction came around they set the Jim Thome commercial flannel shirt at a starting bid of $600. The XXXL (the size listed here is complete speculation), black and red plaid flannel accentuated by 'Thome 25' on the back is extremely cool and an ultimate keepsake. Knowing this... I logged in to my online bank account and tried to attempt some creative accounting.

I really wanted to make this work. I would eat off ramen, donate plasma and maybe even sell a kidney to get a piece of Thome's legacy hung on the wall in my house. Creative accounting is a lot harder than it sounds - no wonder Goldman Sachs got away with it. SOBs. As the game went on, it appeared that the Twins score and the Thome shirt bid had an inverse correlation. As the autographed "Paul Bunyan" flannel bid skyrocketed toward $5,000 the Twins deficit increased to 3.

Nothing was going my way. Nothing went my way.

The Twins lost and the Jim Thome flannel went to someone else with more than $300 in their checking account.

Congratulations to the new owner of the Jim Thome commercial. Not only are you wealthy enough to spend $5,000 on a shirt, but now you have a little piece of Jim Thome history. You are one lucky fan.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Twins-Angels Collaboration

With a win over Texas last night and a Santana no-hitter Angel win over the Indians, it seems as though the Angels and Twins have a sort of 'I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine' collaboration in place. And I like it.

Both teams are trailing the division leaders Texas and Detroit and Cleveland, yet have managed to reduce that deficit due to the losing of their counterparts. Los Angeles downed the Indians when Erwin Santana hurled a no-hitter, giving up only one run. Likewise, the Twins beat the Rangers last night in a nail-biter.

I would like to see this collaboration go further throughout the month of August where the Angels play the White Sox... and the Yankees (even though they are AL East), but since the Twins play at LA in the first week of August, we might need to take a break.

Until then, Angels. If you can't knock down the Tigers, might as well go after the next best thing. Thanks for the relative boost!

As of 07/27 here are the standings:

Its weird how the Yankees are blacked out.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Minnesota Twins Bounce Back to Beat Texas Rangers

Well thank God the Twins came back to beat the Rangers last night. I was watching when the Twins got off to a 3-0 start over C.J. Wilson and when the Rangers, despite my TV-directed profanity, came back to trail the Twins 3-2. Then I took a mini coma and woke up when it was 6-8 heading in to the 6th. I was a little POed.

For the remainder of the game, I was attentive. Especially after we scored in the 6th and were only one run down! Delmon Young began the unlikely rally with a one-out single before the 'Ox in the Batter's Box,' my main man Jim Thome, took over on a pinch-hit double to left field moving Young to third. If you know anything about Thome, you know that is probably only his fourth double all season because, let's face it, he fails to 'pick up the plow' as my old softball coach, Frank Currier would say; Jim Thome is pretty slow. Nishi then reached on an infield error by Elvis Andrus, allowing Young to score and tie the game up.

This is where my roommates cast doubt over my sanity as I shout and clap while my bedroom door is closed. I am emotionally invested in the Twins, probably a little too much.

The stage was set for Joe Mauer, who seems to finally be back in stride with his former MVP self, and Mauer didn't disappoint. Mauer drilled an opposite-field double, which scored pinch-runner Jason Repko and gave the Twins the lead!

Heading in to the bottom 9th, I was slightly nervous when I saw Nathan take the mound. I know, I'm cynical, but the announcers assured me that Nathan is back to throwing his best stuff. My doubts were both justified and unjustified. Nathan gave up a single on the second pitch of the half-inning before Nelson Cruz reached with one out after a fastball grazed his jersey. Nathan rebounded, however, with a strike out to Mitch Moreland on a 3-2 slider and then pinch-hitter David Murphy on a sinker.

The win keeps the Twins within seven games of the first-place Tigers in the AL Central. Keep it up Twins. I will take a nail-biting save over a 14-run loss any day. So would everyone else north of the Mason-Dixon line.

Mason Dixon line for those of you less geographically-inclined.

Monday, July 25, 2011

China's Yellow Sea

Ok. Gross. CNN reported that there is a massive bloom of green algae off the coast of China in the Yellow Sea.

Yellow sea? Doubt it. Is this a Iceland/Greenland situation? What are those tourists doing? If I had paid a bunch of Yuan to go on vacation... I sure would not be happy to sit under a Coca-Cola tent with a gorgeous green sea lapping at my lounge chair. Chinese officials haven't a clue as to why the green monster has departed Boston and ventured eastward around the tip of Africa (If not even the Somali pirates wanted it, you know the algae it bad) and posted up on the eastern coast of China.

Well... as long as we don't know what caused it, we might as well just swim in it. Everyone just try to avoid the dead fish that are resulting from the suffocating environment produced by the algae.

I wonder if their grandparents say, "When I was your age, I swam to school up hill both ways... and the water was blue" ?

Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte Swimming Rivalry

Michael Phelps being awesome.

In case you are wondering 'what's new in the world of swimming?' I have your answer (though I understand you likely aren't wondering)- an American rivalry featuring the internationally dominant Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.

Michael Phelps is famous for his swimming, body and, frankly his incident where he was photographed with a water pipe. Michael 'burn cruise' Phelps has a real challenger on his hands. Ryan Lochte posted the fastest qualifying time in the 200-meter freestyle at the world championships with a 1 minute, 46.34 seconds to win over Phelps and Paul Biedermann. Phelps had a time of 1:68.98.

Talk about coming in HOT.

The two appear to be embracing the challenge and each other as they are both on a first-name basis. In all the movies I've watched and all the books I've read, normally opponents don't refer to each other by their first name, unless you are the Batman or the Joker. See: Darth Vader / Luke Skywalker, Lord Voldemort and Harry Potter, William Wallace / England, Wild Thing (Rick Vaughn) / The Duke (Willie Mueller). I could go on forever. Either Phelps and Lochte are highly evolved, or the media is making something out of nothing.

Is the time of Michael Phelps over? Is Ryan Lochte the new, but sober Phelps? Will the two team up to form Team USA for the Summer Olympics next year? I hope so. Both these boys are easy on the eyes and what is more exciting than the 4x100 freestyle? The answer: the US kicking every other country's Speedo at the 4x100 freestyle. Especially when those countries wear the now-banned high-tech bodysuit - I'm looking at your Paul Biedermann of Germany.

Ryan Lochte being attractive.

Can't wait for the London Games!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Steve Williams Let the Cat Out of the Bag

All over major and minor sports broadcasters has been the news that Tiger Woods relieved Steve Williams of his caddie duties after a 12-year long relationship.

Not as published have been the interviews Williams has conducted since. Williams, a native of New Zealand, has delivered his thoughts on the dismissal. Apparently Williams has lost "a tremendous amount of respect" for Woods despite being "prepared to hang in there through thick and thin." Williams went on to discuss how loyal he was throughout the Tiger Woods cheating scandal and how he thought that loyalty had been anything but repaid, "I'm a very big stickler for loyalty and I stuck with Tiger through his difficult period..."

You're kidding. Did you REALLY just accuse Tiger Woods of not being loyal? You're blowing my mind here, Williams. Ground breaking. I'm sure your declaration is news to Elin Nordegren as well because Woods always seemed faithful to her.

"You could say I've wasted two years of my life." Looks like Elin has got you beat again. Tiger wasted 6 years of her life.

Listen, until you have something new to say, stay out of the news Williams. We all saw this coming in one form or another.

Welcome Back, Jason Kubel


I can hear the roaring Minnesota Twins crowd now. Many non-regular viewers may mistake the low rumble of the crowd as Kubel approaches the batter box for an infuriated 'boo', but Twins fans know that rumble to be one-of-a-kind support sound for Jason Kubel.

The Minnesota Twins are about to take another stride toward full power by returning Jason Kubel to the Active Roster. If, like me, you were watching the Twins game last night, you heard the announcers state that Kubel was in mid-flight at the time, returning to Minnesota after his seven weeks of rehabilitation.

Kubel was hitting .310 with five homers and 30 RBIs in 200 at-bats when he was hurt.

Welcome back, Kubel. We could sure use your veteran experience now more than ever as we take on the first-place Detroit Tigers.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

California and California 2.0: 51 States are a Possibility

That last post really took it out of me... whew... For more ridiculousness, read on.

Proposed California State SplitYou can split stocks and you can split the bill (for the record, the guy should always pick up the first tab), but can you split a state?

Some California officials would like to split California in to a more politically-manageable California and California 2.0. Unlike me, they came up with a more judicious name for the sister state: Southern California.

There are thirteen counties in California that are mostly conservative that want to break away from the rest of the yahoos. Apparently it is too hard for the politicians to govern California given its size. That's what she said.

Take it from 'the Terminator' two for the price of one doesn't work.

I'm going to follow this story closely because I find it both interesting and innovative. It actually makes me wonder if we can force the secession of the Bronx.

ESPN's David Shoenfield is Wrong.

David Shoenfield ESPNThere was recently a post on ESPN titled, "Sticking with the White Sox to win AL Central". Now you can imagine why this caught my eye as a long time believer that the only thing worse than a Yankee fan is a White Sox fan. I read the post. NOTHING fancy.

Not only does the post boast more points as to why the White Sox won't win the division than actually propositioning reasons supporting the original assertion ("They have the best rotation in the division. The Twins actually have a slightly better rotation ERA...") , but the entire passage basically makes a laughing stock of the AL Central and hints at the division as being less-than-competitive. Apparently David Shoenfield, the writer of the article, has forgotten that the rest of baseball's finest are pointing a finger out west at the LA Dodgers because they are the ones REALLY struggling. Get off our AL Central backs, Shoenfield. I've had enough out of you.

After reading the post with a cynical eye with the Twins-Indians game playing in the background, I proceeded to the comments:

Crusader721 said: "White Sox fans keep saying "oh Adam Dunn is going to start hitting" and "oh this person is going to start doing well "but at the end of every night we look at the stat sheet and nothing has changed... Go Tigers... please don't collapse this year..."

-- I like what you have to say here, Crusader. It's like the old saying goes, "Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today." Sorry, Adam Dunn. May I suggest a music career with your, more likely than not, distant cousin Ronnie Dunn?

-- You have a strong argument here... especially relating to the part about the Tigers collapsing. The Tigers have always collapsed around this time of year.

Benkatie4 said: "Once again, just like every year, the Twins get NO RESPECT, they OWN the White Sox and will win the Central Division again. With Mauer back and on fire hitting and Nathan strong again as their closer, The Twins will win it once again. You are in major DENIAL!

-- I'm going to go out on a limb and say Benkatie4 is slightly irked. As I write this, Mauer just drove in a run against the Indians making it 2-0 Twins. Good call, BenKatie4.

ChicagoEnoughSaid said: "I been saying it all year... To me it will come down to who is playing the best baseball in September. I believe out of Minnesota, Chicago, Detroit, or Cleveland whomever gets hot will win..."

-- ChicagoEnoughSaid is either Captain Obvious or a politician. Whoever gets hot will win? Whomever is playing the best baseball in September will win? This guy should play the stock market because he has obviously cornered something here that no one else has thought of.

-- P.S. while you were being so political, you forgot Kansas City.

rylesg74 said: "The White Sox!?!? HAHAHAHHA good one. The Twins will take the division, again."

-- Marry me?

The comments keep on filtering in, people are clearly heated. I see some petty fights breaking out between, who I assume to be, adults and it only makes me love baseball more. I get it though. Even between friends and teams, I find myself more likely to side with my team - its reasonable to assume the team will be around longer... Unless you are a Dodgers fan.

I would like to thank all the Twins fans out there that went berserk reading David Shoenfield's post - I've never been more proud. I would also like to thank the Detroit and Chicago fans who, without hesitation, threw their teams under the bus.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Jim Thome, a Hall of Famer in the Making

Jim ThomeJim Thome honoring Harmon Killebrew by marking his 520-ft home run that occured at Met Stadium.

There once was an ox in the batter's box...

Jim Thome hit his 596th career home run on Sunday at Target Field against the Kansas City Royals. Thome is only four runs away from 600 and, when he reaches that milestone that only 7 others have reached, talks will really heat up about Jim Thome as a future Hall of Famer.

Honestly, I don't know what there is to talk about. Hands down Thome deserves to be in the Hall of Fame and he deserves that recognition the first year his name is on the ballot. Take a look at some of Thome's numbers and facts:

Thome is eighth on the all-time home run list and he did that all without ever being associated with steroids, unlike three of the players who have hit more than 600 HRs. The players ahead of Thome are: Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714), Willie Mays (660), Ken Griffey (630), Alex Rodriguez (626) and Sammy Sosa (609). You can guess who may or may not have taken performance enhancing drugs. I'll give you a hint in the form of an intricate, albeit silly, verbiage: if you are jailed behind A ROD, more commonly known as behind bars, you may need to pay a bail BONDs, or SOsa I have heard, in order to secure your release. Clearly Thome is much more appealing considering he didn't cheat his way to talent.

Thome has also hit had power house seasons when it comes to home runs. His career best season came in 2002, when he hit 52 home runs. Thome has hit 40 or more home runs six times and hit 30 or more home runs 12 times in his career. Those are stellar numbers. When compared to Ken Griffey, Thome has similar batting stats though Griffey takes over when it comes to defense. Being a DH makes it just that much harder to reach the Hall of Fame.

Thome is 28th all-time with 1,646 RBI and 9th all-time with 1,701 walks. Nice, Thome, nice.

No doubt all of Thome's numbers will increase throughout this season and hopefully one or two more should he wish to remain in the MLB. He is still searching for a World Series ring after all. This year Thome is sure to eclipse his 600 HR stat, let's hope after he retires he is as sure to earn a spot in the Hall of Fame.

U2 Concert Tickets and Parking Passes!

Ticket King is lucky enough to have U2 concert tickets and U2 parking passes available for purchase. The U2 concert is at TCF Bank on Saturday, 23rd!

You all know what a parking nightmare the University of Minnesota campus is... make it easy on yourself and, when buying U2 concert tickets, throw in that parking pass!

I'll be doing ticket pick-ups in Minneapolis on Saturday for the Twins game and the U2 concert! I'll see you there!

U2 Concert Tickets U2 Parking Passes

Discovery: Organic Products Co!

Organic Products
As someone with readily available access to the internet, not to mention a great taste, I find it to be my responsibility to share cool things I find online. In the past, I've shared news articles, shoes, clothing sales and information on natural disasters. The time has come for me to share another great discovery!

I recently found a great site that prides itself on the creation of eco friendly notebooks, hand crafted photo albums, eco friendly photo frames, and eco friendly journals. Organic Products Co introduces a beautiful line of handcrafted items.

You'll be amazed at the distinctive and unique designs.

Just to illustrate some of the items on the site, there are over 15 different notebooks that come in three sizes: Small (6 x 4.75), Medium (6.75 x 6), and Large (8.75 x 6.75) -- all of which are eco friendly. The wide array of photo albums and photo frames also come in a variety of sizes.

Organic Products
Take a look at the site! These products are perfect for those of us trying to achieve an atmosphere similar to that of Restoration Hardware or Pottery Barn.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Miller-Coors Back on the Weekend Shopping List

Whew... that was a close one. One more day and the state of Minnesota would have been scrambling to come up with a substitute beer for the weekend. That would have been a disaster.

My guess is Mark Dayton is pretty good at drinking beer... alongside Billy Currington.

The word on the streets is that the Minnesota government has reached an agreement as to how to close our $5 billion budget shortfall. Not only is that good news for the workers laid off, but its also good news for those of us who like to enjoy a Coors six pack on the weekends to wind down. "Miller Time" was in serious jeopardy in the Land of 10,000 Lakes because state officials claimed Miller-Coors failed to properly renew its licensing before the government shut down on July 1st.

Now, what has been reported is that Miller-Coors actually did send their paperwork in on time, but that they 'overpaid' their licensing fees. Being the 'Minnesota-Nice' that we are, we rejected their paperwork... Gee. You would think we were in a budget surplus the way we turned our noses up at the extra fee payment. Next time, Minnesota, take the money and run so we can avoid any budget shortfalls and beer-distribution snafus.

Miller CoorsAfter all, Minnesota is one of the top five markets in the US for Miller-Coors.


My Letter to the Taliban

President ObamaThere has been the recent release to the press about the discovery of documents that speak of attacking President Barack Obama and General David Petraeus. These documents, among others of great importance, were collected during the raid on Osama Bin Laden's compound that resulted the death of that SOB Bin Laden.

Now, as I was reading on, some of the documents discovered detail a plan to kill the President along with the General, who was the top US military commander in the region at the time the documents were written.

I just want to give a shout out to the Taliban: The US has enough issues on its plate right now with the debt ceiling, a foreseeable 'double-dip' in the recession as well as the very important US-Japan World Cup soccer championship on Sunday -- We really just have our hands full at the moment, so if you could just hold off or (better yet) drop your plan all together, we would appreciate it. Really, it won't work anyway. You are dealing with the best country in the world in case you haven't noticed by the death of your head honcho.

And no, we won't stop our drone attacks.

Peace out and thanks.

These are my own opinions and do not reflect the opinions of my employer: Ticket King!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

United States and the Debt Ceiling

If Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling by the August 2nd, it is estimated the the Treasury Department of the United States won't be able to pay at least 40% of its bills.

Ben Bernanke, the head economist of the Federal Reserve, said that if Congress blows it on debt ceiling talks and fails to raise the ceiling, the economic fallout would be catastrophic. He said it before and he has said it again.

Now, I'm young. I don't know if I'm a democrat or a republican. I think of myself as fiscally conservative, but find the 'no-tax' policy of Republicans to be ineffectual. However, I am old enough and educated enough to know that no matter what party you are from, it is imperative that Congress vote to increase the debt ceiling before August 2nd. The United States Treasury security is seen as the most liquid and the safest in the world. When investors compare the interest rates of bonds, they compare to the 'risk-free rate'. That risk free rate is the rate of US Treasury Bonds. That means the failure to raise the debt ceiling would raise interest rates and send shockwaves through the entire world economy.

There have been arguments by the Right saying that if the Government uses whatever incoming cash flows they receive after the Aug 2nd deadline to pay off the interest (totalling in at around $1 bil/day) then the US would keep their pristine credit rating. Not true. Bernanke has said that defaulting on the obligations to even just citizens could potentially cause a rating-downgrade... afterall, try paying only 60% of your bills. The US has never in its history been downgraded.

Like I said... I'm just a young student. Like Bernanke said... raise the debt ceiling. I think in this situation we are both right.

United State Debt Ceiling

ABBY WAMBACH! United States and the World Cup

Abby WambachAll day, baby.

I love watching the U.S. knock out team after team as they make their way to the World Cup final for the first time since 1999. I watched today at the office, which was slightly difficult with the TV to my back -- I've mastered the reflective surface on my computer screen.

Abby Wambach. Once again she was the hero to cut the intense tie between the U.S. and France in the semifinal match. And once again, she did it with a monstrous header. I couldn't have been more mammoth! With the Wambach goal being her third of the tournament, she is now tied for third on the all-time World Cup scoring list with fellow American Miichelle Akers.

Shortly after Wambach's shot, teammate Alex Morgan added an insurance goal in the 82nd minute. The goal was especially impressive because Morgan is a rookie and the ball actually bounced off of the goalkeeper's hands. Later, Morgan almost came up with another in extra time.

The Americans haven't made the final since Mia Hamm, Julie Foundy and Bandi Chastain won the whole kitten-kaboodle in 1999. Pressure is on. It seems that Hope Solo, Abby Wambach and Christie Rampone wouldn't have a chance if there weren't that pressure... that's what the commercial tells me anyway.

I'll see you on Sunday for the final match against Sweden (who is currently beating Japan) or Japan. I might be a bit tired after going to HP 7 Saturday night. What a great weekend...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Post All-Star Break Crucial for MN Twins

AL Central Division StandingsYou will be hard pressed to find a more crucial homestand for the Minnesota Twins than the 12 upcoming games.

Think about the magnitude of the Royals 4-game series, Indians 3-game series and the Tigers 4-game series that will happen at Target Field following the All-Star Break.

On June 1st, the Minnesota Twins were a staggering 16.5 games back behind the Cleveland Indians. Fast forward to July 11th and the Twins are in fourth place, 6.5 games back behind the first place Detroit Tigers. Our next 12 games include only AL Central rivals and the Twins are coming off a 3-4 series win over the White Sox. We are heading in to the All-Star Break on a run of 24-11 over the last 35 games.

While there is always the risk of losing momentum over the break, I think for the Twins it will be quite the opposite as the Twins will have time to fully recharge and get healthy. Delmon Young, Jason Kubel and Denard Span can use the time to gear up for another divisional crown.

Not to mention Alex Rodriguez will be out 4-6 weeks with knee surgery, which puts a smile on my face and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

I guess we will know more after July 24th.

FIFA Women's World Cup

Abby WambachI've been really in to the FIFA Women's World Cup lately, thanks to Mara. Its addicting. Everything from the commercial where the U.S. cites pressure as their driving force to the drama-filled history of the No. 1 goal keeper in the world, Hope Solo. Its addicting.

The US-Brazil game on Sunday was beyond any expectations I ever had for soccer. Now I don't know much, but what I do know is the US came back to defeat the Brazilians 5-3 on penalty kicks after finishing extra time 2-2. The Americans had been reduced to 10 players (soccer plays 11 on the field) in the 66th minute of the 123 minute performance. The elimination of Rachel Buehler came off a controversial red card. When Marta, 5-time Women's Player, scored her second goal in the second minute of extra time, it seemed like the US might just have to fold up shop earlier than they ever have in FIFA Women's World Cup History.

Then cam Abby Wambach. She is one confident and resolute chic. Abby Wambach thumped a header in to the goal in the 122nd minute, bringing the US equal with Brazil and surging the two teams into the penalty shootout. This is where Mara and I both leaped out of our seats screaming. It was very cool.

It was Marta and the Brazilians against Solo and the Americans. Marta, who came second in the penalty kicks scored the second of the PKs by Brazil, making it even 2-2 in PKs for both squads. Solo then delivered an awesome one-handed save from Daiane in the third round, with Ali Krieger slotting the game winner.

The winning shots by the US were made even more impressive given the number of terrible breaks the Americans endured. The US team was leading 1-0 midway through the second half and playing an intense defensive game. In the 66th minute, courtesy of referee Jacqui MelkSHAM (like that emphasis?), the US dominance changed. Buehler was judged to have fouled Marta, who was put forth a particularly strong acting pedigree throughout the match, in the penalty box. The contact looked to be shoulder-to-shoulder, which is acceptable.

Even worse to follow was when Solo saved Cristiane's ensuing penalty kick only for MelkSHAM to indicate the kick should be retaken. TV replays showed that yes, there was an American player who ventured into the box before the kick was taken, but that it was hardly enough to issue a re-kick. Additionally, Solo didn't stray off her line before the incredible block.

The US went on the win 5-3 on PKs. Had the game ended 2 minutes earlier, the US would have suffered its earliest loss ever in the World Cup. Now the tournament, with powerhouses Brazil and Germany absent, is there for the taking. I'm liking our chances.

That is a lot of soccer lingo, I get it... I had to look up most of it just to understand it. But maybe that's the point of this post. I've never been a huge soccer fan. I've even thrown the term 'soccer fairy' around a time or two back in the day. I was soo wrong. Those girls could throw a heavy beat down and deserve the recognition they're missing. Take the time to look them up. US soccer is in my sights; I'm a fan of US soccer.

The next game is Wednesday at 11:30 am CST. Watch it.

Friday, July 8, 2011

NASA and Atlantis Shuttle Launch

Atlantis Space LaunchToday, I saw the final launch of the space shuttle Atlantis... from my office chair. Yes - I was able to watch the living viewing, which is probably more than most blue-collar workers can say, but it still brought me sadness to watch and think, 'this may be the last U.S. launch I ever see.'

Every news broadcaster under the sun has talked about the United States' love affair with space and how that love affair is over.

For as long dating has been around, the stereotypical attraction occurs between the sweetheart girl and the nothing-but-trouble boy. We've all had a crush on, or affair with the dangerous and mysterious boy. Its exhilarating. Not to mention, the affair I speak of is timeless as it passes down from generation to generation.

Now, tell me what is more dangerous or mysterious than space? We will forever have a love affair with space. I know I'm still completely enthralled in the idea of what hides beyond our atmosphere.

I realize space exploration is a luxury that perhaps the American economy can not currently support, but to end the affair completely? I just can't buy that.

The more I thought... in real life, the sweetheart girl doesn't marry the nothing-but-trouble boy. We marry the sweet and loving guy. Boring, but true. Maybe, just maybe the United States has just broken up with the boy most likely to break our hearts. Perhaps we've truly ended this affair to go on and marry Healthcare, Marriage Debate and Budget Balance -- the more reliable and dependable boys down the street.

More likely, we've momentarily ended it. We are 'taking a break' like any good high school couple does. I don't believe the U.S. is officially finished with Space Exploration. People will grow tired of the boring down-to-Earth events and that's when the cheating will happen. Soon enough, the U.S. will be back in bed with Space Exploration and our affair will begin again.

After all, have you seen the divorce rate lately? Its somewhere near 'to infinity and beyond!'

Stay sexy, Space. Peace.

Twins Power Over White Sox With Mauer at 1B

Joe Mauer at first baseIf any of you read my post from Wednesday, or watched the Twins beat the White Sox 6-2 last night, you know Joe Mauer played my favorite position: 1st base. Mauer had never played the 3-spot in his major league career, but if I do say so myself, he played the position well.

From one first baseman to another, keep up the good work Mauer.

Not only was the loss undoubtedly frustrating for the White Sox because of their strong pitching from Hector Santiago, but it was equally as frustrating because of the scrappy team the Twins have beat them with time after time. Mauer at first. Revere in Center. At one point we brought in Jason Repko to DH. Repko.

And yet, the Twins have won 27 of the last 33 against Chicago. Further, the Twins have pulled within 2 1/2 games of the third-place White Sox in the AL Central.

So far I haven't found Guillen's post-game transcript... I'll let you know when I do.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Joe Mauer, 1B

Imagine the standard double play featuring a 6-4-3 series. That is, a field and throw by the shortstop to the second baseman, who then throws over to first base. Common at best to even the most uneducated fan... Now imagine that first base is manned by Joe Mauer. If you find it difficult to picture the 6'5" Mauer in the place where his buddy Justin Morneau usually plays, you better tune in to Thursday's game against the Chicago White Sox.

Joe Mauer 1BRon Gardenhire told the press that Joe Mauer will "definitely play first base Thursday night, pretty sure about that." Now, I understand there are conflicting statements in that synopsis of Gardy's press conference when he states 'definitely' and 'pretty sure', but I still think the time has come where we see No. 7 at 1B.

The timing couldn't be better and I'm not talking about how perfect it is that Pavano will be able to throw to his personal catcher, Drew Butera while Jim Thome can DH. No, I'm talking about how perfectly synchronized Mauer's return is with the opening game of the Twins-White Sox series.

From the 'Piranhas' to the 'Sardines', Ozzie Guillen has coined a phrase for every slightly odd, but effective lineup Gardenhire has brought to the ballpark. This has to be the epitome of odd seeing as Mauer has only played 14 games at first base, with all of those coming during his minor-league career.

I can't wait to see what Ozzie Guillen has to say...

It may sound like I'm second-guessing Gardy. Not true. I support his decision to try out Mauer at first base. Mauer, during his few words with the press, has appeared to be less-than-excited about the move that will happen sporadically at best, but in Gardy we trust. The Minnesota Twins are notorious for players who give nothing but their best for the team. See Michael Cuddyer and his ability to play almost anywhere. It may be about time for hometown hero Joe Mauer to try his abilities elsewhere if his body can't handle the behind-the-plate beating.

Sorry Joe, I'm with Gardy on this one.

Jon Rauch Loses it Against Phillies

Check out the video:

Jon Rauch lost his cool... and his shirt... on umpire Alfonso Marquez after a series of close calls in a game against the Phillies.

Many of you may remember the reliever, Jon Rauch, from his time with the Twins. I've always thought of Rauch as 6'11" the mobster-friend I never had. Clearly I wasn't too far off base.

Rauch later told reports that: "The first thing I told the umpire is that it's a shame that he can't have an ERA because those runs are his. I think he directly affected the outcome of the game. I voiced my opinion. Maybe a little bit too vocally, but it happens."

I miss him.

Not only was his explosion so heated it put the Independence Day fireworks to shame, but in his post-ejection interviews he was calm while still maintaining that mobster you-can't-touch me vibe. Plus, he was slightly clever with the ERA comment and you all know I can't resist a mobster with a mind.

I watched the ESPN highlights on the ejection of Rauch and Toronto Manager John Farrell and I side with Rauch. His 'borderline' pitches were the identical twin-pitches of Roy Halladay's strikeout pitches in yet another complete game.

Stay classy Rauch -- I like what you do both on and off the mound. I look for more of your intimidating no-nonsense attitude.

Casey Anthony better hope Jon Rauch doesn't have a negative opinion regarding the results of her trial.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Charlie Sheen Does Drugs... #Winning

Well the word is out... Charlie Sheen does drugs. Shocker, I know. Apparently this isn't a new thing, even to those of you living under a rock (think of the Geico commercial).

Recently, Sheen drug habits before and during his filming of Major League (P.S. great movie) came to light as he revealed juicing up for the movie. I'm not here to write breaking news, but it turns out that Wild Thing [Sheen] took steroids while filming the movie and that said performance-enhancing drugs improved his fastball from 79 mph to 85 mph.

Sheen had commented that he took the performance-enhancing drugs in hopes of "enhancing his performance." What a revelation; Sheen really misses nothing.

This guy.

Sheen told sports illustrated that he used the drugs for 6-8 weeks. I'm no medical expert, but I hear steroids have the effect of shrinking a guy's... package. I wonder how the "Goddesses" feel about that.

Before, it could be argued that Charlie Sheen was less than a serious actor. Now that we know he is willing to go the distance and juice up just for a role, we can dismiss that case. In fact, maybe all the drugs he has done can be attributed to his role on Two and a Half Men. Or maybe... that's just what he wants us to think. Once again, Charlie, you've got us right where you want us.

At least Sheen is staying in the headlines. Wait, no... opposite of that. #winning.

Rick Vaughn

ESPN Points-at-Issue: Joe Mauer

There was recently a post on ESPN regarding the Minnesota Twins and, in detail, Joe Mauer:

Joe MauerRead the post, or read this summary: Minnesota Twins fans are tired of seeing 'St. Joe/Baby Jesus' sidelined for the $23 million a year he gets paid. Further, they are tired of seeing his barely-over .200 batting average for the same $23 million a year. The post talks about this frustration and how the long term value of Mauer is in question by fans, teammates and Joe himself.

The ESPN post brought to the attention a recent posting on Wikipedia that a possibly best summarizes the thoughts of MN Twins fans: "Joe Mauer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Joseph Patrick Mauer (born April 19, 1983) is a semi-committed, lazy Major League Baseball catcher for the Minnesota Twins. Mauer is regarded as one of the … "

What do you guys think?

I've written a few post about Mauer and his large contract-small performance 2011 season. I've also noticed, with many other writers and fans, the absence of Joe when the cameras come 'round. He is a franchise player while not being the face of the franchise. There is a contradiction there and Joe is living it. Should we care? We didn't so much when he was playing (or should I say batting) like a champ, but now that he isn't batting over .300 (which was the reason we signed him in the first place) fans, myself included, are disgruntled.

I liked the part in the ESPN post where the writer, Johnette Howard wrote: "Part of the Twins' proud franchise identity is a whatever-it-takes ethic." It is not uncommon for this to go unnoticed, but I am proud of the Minnesota work ethic and results that normally stem from such ethic. Clearly this season isn't 'normal'.

Rarely are the Twins featured in an ESPN article. We are a small market team that tends to go unnoticed. That being said, this post is completely accurate -- I only hope we don't have to read the same thing for the next 8 years...