Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ozzie Guillen Has a Blog

Oh my goodness. Ozzie Guillen has a blog:

I really like the flag of Venezuela in the right corner.

I can't believe anyone endorsed this.

Check out a snippet of a recent Ozzie post, "Well you never know, or “never say never,” like that Bieber kid says (haha)." 

Wow. This is going to be too much fun. I can't believe I just discovered the blog today when it appears the blog has been around for a while. I'm disappointed in both my investigative skills for not finding the blog sooner and the mainstream media for not highlighting this cyber gem in a more apparent way.

My only complaint is that the blog obviously has some sort of spell check / grammar check or editor in place because readers are exposed to error-free writing by Ozzie Guillen. Which... is contradictory in and of itself.

Hope Solo on Dancing with the Stars

Hope Solo was recently in the news for the women's soccer World Cup in Germany. Even more recently, the USA goal keeper was in the media limelight for a picture of her nearly naked in a fountain as part of a clothes-less spread in ESPN's 2011 "Body Issue".

In the name of women's soccer, here it is.

The picture features Solo cavorting around in a robe with an unidentified female. Her twitter account (which I follow, embarrassingly) had this to say of the photo, "Being naked outside is very least I hope it will be @ESPN and @ESPNMAG!!! GAMETIME BABY! Ball up!".

Ugh whatever.

Now, Hope Solo is a contestant on the upcoming season of Dancing with the Stars. I believe fans of the show simply refer to it as 'DWTS' which makes sense because not only is it easier to say, it is easier to type. And that's a good thing because everyone I know is either speaking about or writing about DWTS. Wow, look at how easy that was.

Back to the story at hand. Hope Solo DWTS. After I heard the news that the greatest goal keeper in the world was closeting the cleats and slipping on stilettos, I logged on the ol' Twitter and found out why.

Solo's spin on it? She is participating in naked photo shoots and dancing on a stupid show all in the name of women's soccer.

Stupid me. I should have known. Hope Solo is doing everything she can in the name of women's soccer and has discovered that the best way to promote women's soccer isn't by being the best keeper in the world. It's by being super hot. Duh.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Dash of Distress

I am so tired of seeing headlines regarding the Kardashian wedding.

Not only are the news sites (even sites like  featuring Kim Kardashian in a white dress in an attempt to fool people in to thinking they have snatched up the exclusive photos, but the wedding is actually going to be televised. The mind numbing special is going to be aired over the course of 2 nights. Sit down for this: Lucky fans will get to enjoy a 4 hour pre-wedding special, plus! get to "Follow the bride, groom and entire Kardashian clan every step of the way..." when it airs on October 9 and 10.

If only the American public had access to a show that allowed us to keep up with the Kardashians... What an idea.

Top Ten Signs Twins are Having a Bad Season

I'm feeling a bit negative today; tomorrow might (but probably won't) be a better day.

Top Ten signs the Twins are having a bad season...

10. Watching the game on 'mute' is the only way to get through it.

9. The team is well on its way to 90 losses.

8. We are battling with Kansas City to stay out of the cellar.

7. The Minnesota Lynx look good.

6. Luke Hughes missing his flight isn't funny, it's a disaster. (Love his accent though)

5. The team has endured more than 24 trips to the disabled list.

4. We can't win enough games to even be a playoff spoiler.

3. Fans are excited when Mauer and Morneau share the lineup for the eighth time of the year... in late July.

2. We have the worst run differential, second only to the Houston Astros.

1. Jim Thome left.

I feel ya, Charlie.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Yankees Hit 3 Grand Slams.

The Yankees hit a record-3 grand slams in one game last night.

Is this karma? What am I doing wrong? I am not one to enjoy and lap up the success of others, especially the torturous success of the Yanks.

Neither is Derek Jeter's girlfriend, I guess. The two reportedly called it quits recently. She used to date John Mayer or someone... At least Jeter has over 3,000 hits to keep him company. Even I know Jeter is an upgrade from the cooing baboon Mayer. Waiting on the World to Change? You bet I am...

I am waiting for a world where the Yankees don't hit three grand slams in a night and where the Twins actually have enough base runners on to make a grand slam feasible.

Bitter, I know.

I think this is Jeter's ex, but I didn't care enough to research so I can't be sure.

Jim Thome Full Circle

Jim Thome has come full circle as he returns to Cleveland to finish out the season with a team he hit over 300 home runs for. Thome will wear an Indians cap, as he once used to, before it appears on his Hall of Fame plaque.

I only hope the Indians, 6 1/2 games behind the Detroit Tigers, aren't too far out of the AL Central race. Thome deserves one last shot at a shiny World Series ring and it appears that the Indians are the team trying to give it to him.

Personally, he had a better shot with the Phillies, but I also estimated the Twins would win the AL Central instead of holding a personal race for last with the Kansas City Royals... so what do I know?

Good luck to Jim Thome and the Cleveland Indians. If the Twins aren't going to win the division, the Indians better (and not because I hate every other team besides the Royals). Now, back to shopping for an old-school Thome No. 25 Indians jersey... I'm looking for the cutoff version; so far the cheapest I've found on ebay is $22.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Twins Lineup to Feature 8, Not 9 Players?

For today's 12:10 game, Ron Gardenhire is scrambling to fill the lineup card.

Joe Mauer, surprise surprise, is injured with a sore neck from chasing a foul ball at a position that isn't even what we signed him for. Nishioka has a sore back, but can be on the bench, just not the field. Danny Valencia, who has been pretty rude on Twitter lately, isn't at Target Field because he had a wisdom tooth removed. Michael Cuddyer, who was surrounded by speculation of a wrist-break, is the only one who might be able to play.

That's confusing. A player with a potential break might play, but those ones who are sore can't. Ok. When I say it like that I guess it makes sense.

Looks like Gardy will be scrambling up 'till game time for a lineup. This is what it looks like right now:

1. Ben Revere, CF
2. Trevor Plouffe, SS
3. Justin Morneau, 1B
4. Michael Cuddyer, RF
5. Jason Kubel, LF
6. Jim Thome, DH
7. Luke Hughes, 3B
8. Matt Tolbert, 2B
9. Drew Butera, C

At least our lineup can still host Jason Kubel and Jim Thome. And Hughes didn't have to fly here by himself.

If Cuddy's wrist is broke, let's just play with eight or ask the Orioles to contribute a player... My elementary teams used to do that sometimes. You can draw your own parallels between the Twins and my elementary teams, I don't feel the need to expressly write them.

Miguel Cabrera Has a Kid... Which is Unbelievable

Miguel Cabrera just went on paternity leave. One question: why is the domestic-abuser, booze-cruiser allowed to have children?

Oh, America... all about second chances and reformation.

Cabrera was on his way to Lakeland the night he was to report to camp for the Tigers when his vehicle broke down. Reports have him drinking DIRECTLY from a bottle of scotch while speaking to the traffic officers. Mind you, I don't trust people that don't drink - its always seemed a bit fishy to me, but this is just outrageous.

I seriously typed 'Miguel Cabrera drunk' in a popular search engine and this was on the first page. I'll accept that.

That wasn't the first time drinking has gotten Cabrera in to trouble. Back in February, police were called to the home of Miguel and Reseangel (wife) after Miguel came home from a night (and morning) of heavy drinking at 6:05am. Apparently Miguel woke up his daughter then started an argument with his wife that resulted in both having injuries. Happy Valentines day to you, too. At the time, reports asserted Miguel's blood alcohol content level at .26, more than three times the legal intoxication limit.

Now, what about those two incidents screams 'this guy would be the perfect father'... Exactly.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Alfredo Simon Beats Twins, Glad to be Out of Jail

Alfredo Simon kicked the Twins' ass last night and it was not fun to watch, but was a newsworthy performance for him.

Not so newsworthy would be his implication in the death of his cousin. I don't know how this escaped my attention, is one of my top 10 most-visited sites, but apparently Mr. Alfredo was arrested in his native Dominican Republic after his cousin was fatally shot on New Year's Eve. He spent two months in jail.

Alfredo bruschetta-ed it off, like any good pasta would: "Sometimes baseball players have problems and you know how the justice system is over there. They want to take advantage of you being a baseball player and they want that money." Mmmk.

No. No, I don't know how the Dominican justice system works, though I'm sure you now have some idea. However, apparently the American system has a few commonalities, such as no murder allowed, so maybe I'll be able to keep up. Weird.

And the Dominican Republic is 'down there' not 'over there'. Get a map.

Also, get a clue. The only reason Alfredo was charged was because he and other locals fired shots in the air to ring (or shoot) in the New Year. His cousin was struck by gunfire and later died. This sounds just about as safe as Russian roulette, only in a warmer climate.

Bah. I don't know if Alfredo is guilty or not obviously, but situations like this always make me wonder about the stardom of athletes and the corruption of foreign governments, not to mention lose faith in the human race. Sometimes we suck.

Jim Thome Waivers

I know I'm selfish when I say I don't want Jim Thome to be scooped up by a playoff contender and that I want him to stay in Minnesota for the rest of his career (however long that may be). I know I'm being selfish, I get it. I realize he deserves the chance to get his ever-elusive World Series ring; he deserves it, he does. Thome has earned a place in the baseball world and that place should be higher than a team that is 55-73 and almost bottoming out the division.

I still want him.

Now, I just have to decide if my selfishness can be out-weighed by my respect for Thome.

There are rumors circulating about interests in Thome from the Phillies, Indians, White Sox and Yankees. Because teams out of contention in the American League have little freason to put in a claim, it seems likely if Thome leaves, one of the aforementioned teams will be the lucky team to pick up a great guy and player.

The Phillies? To be honest, I'm a little tired of hearing about the Phillies, but they would give Thome a good shot at the World Series. If Thome continues to play, it would be nice to have his damage-inducing bat out of the American league, but at the same time, Twins fans would see less of Thome.

Seeing as the Phillies have the best record in baseball, they would have the last shot at picking up the Big Guy anyway, but the Indians? That could happen. Travis Hafner, the DH for the Indians went on the disabled list earlier this week, opening up a spot in the Tribe's lineup. Honestly, that would be a well-versed story with a sweet ending. Thome played most of his years in Cleveland and will most likely go in to the HOF as an Indian, so I guess if he should have a shot at contention it should be with Cleveland. Not to mention, perhaps with some Thome-power, the Indians could hold off the White Sox. If the Twins can't win the AL Central, the White Sox can't either... which essentially is saying the White Sox should never win the division.

Speaking of the White Sox, their only redeeming factor is Ozzie Guillen (and the fact I happen to like their team colors). Guillen has apparently expressed interest in Thome, "I have said day in and day out that Jimmy is one of my guys in baseball." I would hate to see Thome in a White Sox uniform again (especially since I plan on wearing my 'White Sox Suck' tee to the game on September 6th, in which case if the Sox lineup has Thome in it, I'll have to tape 'Except Thome' on the back or something crafty like that). Adam Dunn has provided less-than thrilling numbers for the Sox, who are in a virtual tie with the Indians, both trailing the Tigers, and Thome could fill that position for them. Besides, I don't see the White Sox making the playoffs anyway. I would hate to see Thome in a White Sox uniform, but I can't decide if I would hate that more or less than a Yankee uni... 

With the whole Jorge Posada / Derek Jeter drama that has surged around the Yankees this year, they could be interested in upgrading at the DH spot. Thome boasts an .868 OPS with 12 home runs this season in only 230 plate appearances. Those numbers would be an upgrade at the DH position for the Bronx Bombers. While Thome's personality would fit in with the classy guys like Jeter and CC Sabathia, I don't like the idea of Thome going to New York only to be overshadowed by a fellow 600-clubber, Alex Rodriguez, and I definitely think that would happen.

I respect Jim Thome enough to let him go, but it appears that in my mind, no one is good enough to pick him up.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Top 10 back to School Items

It is that time of year again. Back to school. I am NOT excited.

Its always harder to return to the classroom when you've taken a summer class. Just imagine how hard it is to return after taking two. Well... hello my life. I am not ready to return to school.

However, to try to get in to mood, I've assembled a little back to school list. I have no money to be able to buy these things, but I thought you may enjoy them:

1. Frye 'Quincy' Boat Shoe, Yellow - $127.95

This shoe is the perfect pop of color for someone, like me, that generally wears neutrals. Not to mention, Frye shoes are extremely comfortable and long-lasting. Back to school must-have.

2. Alexis Bittar 'Sepia Dust' Dome Ring - $245

I know, I can't afford it either. However, this is my favorite ring on that meets the 'chocolate metals' trend for back to school. Chocolate metals. That is my point; they are gorgeous and will compliment that summer tan (if you have one, which I don't).

3. Daily Planner - $20

Duh. You can't run your life if you don't have a planner. Get one. Get organized.

4. Travel Mug - $10

This is the year you finally signed up for morning class. I know, it seems weird we did it every day of our high school careers, but once you get to college it's impossible to get up before ten. Don't fall in to that. Get a travel mug and fill it with...

5. Keurig Coffee Maker - $150

... your Keurig coffee favorite. Help out your budget, its already miniscule from purchasing that outrageous ring. Skip the Starbucks.

6. Zella 'Live In' Leggings -$44 - 52

I owe my boss a huge favor after she recommended these to me. They are THE most comfortable leggings I have ever worn. They are perfect for lounging, working out and/or throwing on because you just can't handle jeans today. Worth every penny.

7. Aveda Rosemary Mint Body Lotion - $21

This invigorating lotion will, not only make sure you are awake enough to go to class, but keep you from falling asleep during class. It smells amazing, buy it.

8. Umbrella - $5

Do not kid yourself. Umbrellas are not dorky. They are smart, especially when you have to walk to class outside.

9. Bare Escentuals Matte SPF 15 Foundation - $28

This foundation is amazing and doesn't take any time at all to apply. Many times I don't wear makeup to class because I am too rushed or too lazy, but if I do, this is what I wear. It is natural looking, which helps you distinguish yourself from the high school style.

10. Pentel Twist Erase Pencils - $5

When I came to college, it seemed everyone started writing in pen. I don't know why when, if you make a mistake you can't erase it and it leaks through your notes in your notebook. Buy pencils. They are just more practical.

Ron Gardenhire is Upset With the Twins... So is Everyone Else that Matters

Ah... it feels good to wake up and know the Twins are 13 games back.

The wrong side of the bed is appearing more and more to be the right side of the bed and I do not like it... especially since I sleep in the middle. I'm sure Joe Mauer, right-fielder, feels the same.

I know Ron Gardenhire does. He spoke with reporters during the Twins pregame talk on Saturday and expressed his frustration with what he describes as a general misunderstanding of baseball fundamentals. We know what he's talking about. Ben Revere swinging at a 2-0 pitch when the Twins are down 6-1, Danny Valencia not charging bunts hit by faster players, Trevor Plouffe sailing throw after throw over the 1st-baseman-of-the-day's head. Seriously. It has been very tough to watch, especially for someone so emotionally invested in the Twins.

Perhaps this season wouldn't have been so bad if we had older, more experienced players frequent the dugout more, but no. Instead, we were blessed with a DL list as long as Marino Rivera's career. We have all these young guys that made it to the majors and want to stay there. Understandable. However, fundamentals are key. That's why they are called fundamentals. Any athlete worth his jersey knows you won't improve, you won't win if you can't get the basics right. That's what the Twins are learning now.

Gardenhire called it perfectly, "mistakes happen every once in awhile, but they shouldn't happen all the time."

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Twins Win!

Thatta baby, Twins!

I was listening to Twins Radio last night on the way home after a long day of work, some shopping and minor car repairs (that I watched someone else do). The back and forth turbulence of the game that classified last night is really my favorite type of game, whether I'm listening to the radio, watching TV or watching live.

Basically I love Twins baseball, but the excitement of games like the last game of the Twins-Tigers series really just caps it off. For those of you native to St. Paul, its like the Izzy on top.

Now tonight the Twins take on the Yankees at home and, before the game, the Twins organization will be honoring Jim Thome's achievement of 600 home runs. Tomorrow night, the Twins will be honoring Joe Nathan on topping the Twins' all-time save list. It's a big weekend for Twins baseball.

Not only are the celebrations important, but arguably more important are the games we play this weekend. Tonight we open a four-game series against the Bronx Bombers, who have won 5 out of the last 6 at Target Field. We need to split if not win the series. Something about the Yankees has always spooked the Twins, but like Gardy said last night, when you start talking about how perfect a player or an organization is, that is when they faulter; it's the curse of the 'no-hitter'.

I think there is something to that. Gardy's thinking kind of goes along with the Law of Averages or Murphy's Law. The Law of Averages tells us that the outcomes of random events will even out within a sample, while Murphy's Law leads us to believe that anything that can go wrong generally will go wrong. I think Gardy said it better, but you get the point. I would be willing to bet that the Laws are in our favor this series. Go get 'em!

I won't be at the game tonight, though after I found out about the Thome ceremony and proceeded to find NO ONE that would go to the game with me, I thought about attending solo. However, I will be at the Twins game tomorrow night, sporting with pride my 'Even Jesus Hates the Yankees' shirt and drinking a beer. My guess is that Yankee fans order things like Champagne and such. Get a life.

Anyway, see you tomorrow at Target Field! Good luck boys.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Jim Thome 600 Home Runs!

Jim Thome. Congratulations on becoming the eighth member of the 600 home run club!

Here comes the truth. I didn't know about Jim Thome before he came to Minnesota. I had never heard his name, or if I had, it didn't register. I know, I know... and I call myself a baseball fan. Jim Thome deserves better.

I was watching on Monday night when the Twins caged the Tigers and Thome hit his 599th and 600th. It was great, so awesome to watch. I got to thinking about Thome and the legacy he is living and the era during which he is living it. Last year Rodriguez hit his 600th home run while Jeter hit his 3,000th hit this year. From the media craze, you would think neither one of those great accomplishments (yes, they are great) had ever happened before. The attention granted to these two players was overwhelming and held spots on ESPN for days if not weeks.

I had heard of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez and not because of their accomplishments alone, but because of the media. From what I understand, Jeter is a great guy both on and off the field; I am not trying to take away from that. No, I am attempting to draw, what should be a parallel between all great players.

What Thome does, he does so well and because of that, deserves more of a 'congratualtions'; Thome deserves the respect of baseball fans across the nation. As a baseball fan myself, I will try to do the same for the greats of other teams. After all... that's what Jim Thome would do.

Please, celebrate Derek Jeter, but don't forget to celebrate the accomplishments of Thome and players like Thome. Jeter said this of Thome and his 600th, "I was happy for him. That's quite an accomplishment; 600 home runs. Jim is one of the nicest guys you'll meet in baseball. I've played against him for what seems like forever. It's something he should be extremely proud of. You can't say enough good things about his as a person. He's a great player and a good guy." Though Jeter himself sent 'congratulations' Thome's way,  it appears that too often the boy next door is overshadowed. This is a clear indication of that.

Every interview conducted and every article written about Thome and his 600th home run talks of his outstanding demeanor, his overall kindness and competitiveness. Thome is the all-around package and deserves every bit of fame and support for the rest of his career and beyond.

ARod also sent a 'congratulations' to Thome, but that mostly just makes me mad so I'll only mention it.

The only disappointing aspect of this story is that you can now place Thome in the same breath as Bonds, Rodriguez and Sosa. Despite everything, Thome is seen as guilty by association because the aforementioned three had to go and blow it for the rest of the MLB's greatest home run hitters.

Despite that association, I believe Thome will go down as one of the greatest players both on and off the field that has played the game of baseball.

Hey Rodriguez, you wanna bet on it?

Let's continue the discussion of media bias later. Right now, let's just wish Thome the best while making it clear that no other player deserves the attention more than Jim Thome of the Minnesota Twins. Congratulations, Thome.

Well Played Bachmann, Well Played

In the words of Michele Bachmann, "I will not vote yes"... to Michele Bachmann. Yes, I am from Minnesota and would like to see the midwest better represented in the White House, but not this way. NOT THIS WAY.

Bachmann, who only days ago was dubbed "the Queen of Rage" by some magazine or another (I think Newsweek?) is now trying to show the American public the softer side of Michele. Mary Canfield, a centenarian (a person who is 100 years or older) was in the presence of Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann at the Black hawk County Republicans Lincold Day Dinner on Sunday.

Bachmann gave Canfield two things to show the greatest respect to Canfield: one, the title of "oldest Republican mother" and, two, "the biggest, fattest, deepest" apple pie money could buy.

What... generous gifts.

That is just what I want when I am 100 years old. A title pointing out that, not only am I 100 years old, but I am the oldest around implying I'll probably drop dead soon. Heck, give me a sash too and let's make it really obvious. Love it. Additionally, you better buy me a pie. Nothing says "I appreciate your vote" like a good old fashioned store bought pie. You know what they say... its the thought that counts. Quick thinking, Bachmann, on stopping at Cub Foods. Its thinking like that that'll land you square in the oval office you critical thinker, you.

I guess I can understand. The older generation hates sitting down and actually having a conversation. Trust me, my Grandpa hates when I come home just to see him and just to talk to him about my life and watch the Twins game. He would much more prefer I walked in the door with a pie or a playstation or something. Its always better to buy relationships with gifts than to construct them.

Oh you politicians. No wonder we have the debt that we have. Instead of sitting down and actually LISTENING to people, we are off scooping up the best that money can buy and hoping we can purchase our way out of this thing and in to office. Yes, let us continue down the path of buying off Americans so we keep our mouths shut... never mind it being bribery.

Be ashamed of yourselves. I know I am.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Just a group of friends that have known each other for years...

Mara, Jim, Carl, Me, Scott

May I Speak to Jim Thome, Please?

A big shout out to Jim Thome:

My best friend Mara and I will be attending Friday's game against the New York Yankees. I know you dislike them as much as I do, though you are a better person and don't blog about it. Because of this common bond we share, I figure I am within reason when I ask you to please hit your 600th home run while we are in attendance on Friday. I wouldn't mind if it was a grand slam, but I realize that is not exactly within your control. If you should happen to hit your milestone home run to me, I promise to give it back - you deserve it. Again, I hope I'm not crossing any lines here. I'm a big fan and continually write about your talents and the resulting respect you've earned. Good luck this week and I'll see you Friday Big Guy.

Twins Mathematically Still in the Running, Offseason Moves Needed

We may be 11.5 games back, but at least we aren't mathematically eliminated.

You all know how emotionally invested I am in the Twins. If they lose, I generally am in a bad mood until they win again - imagine what my summer has been like. Like I said though, at least the Twins have yet to be mathematically eliminated.

I'm still surprised the Twins made no moves regarding the trade deadline (on a side note, I am also surprised Tim Pawlenty withdrew from the Presidential race after losing to a native Iowegian - what did he expect?), but the lack of moves made by the Twins are referred to, in finance terms, as sunk costs. We have to look from this point forward and see how the Twins can construct a better squad.

We have four outfielders. Denard Span, Delmon Young, Ben Revere and Jason Kubel/Michael Cuddyer (those two count as one since they never outfield together). Trade one. Maybe we should be using the money from a Delmon Young trade to boost sub-par areas of our pitching staff. Young's name has been tossed around a lot after picking up some clutch hits. He is a great outfielder and the Twins should get some money out of him before he is Demlon Old.

Either dump Nishioka or work him HARD in the off season. Nishioka seems like a nice guy and has some similarities to Ichiro, but is barely batting out of the double digits from the right-side and botches almost every other fielding play (both of those were exaggerations, but you get my point.). After the first loss to Cleveland in the most recent Twins-Indians series, I thought the Twins may not have to worry about Nishi's offseason; I thought Carl Pavano was going to go Godzilla on Nishioka and end his season right then and there. Instead he spiked the baseball while walking off the mound and proceeded to throw a water cooler across the dugout. Might I add, rightfully so? If we don't get out of the $6 million deal with Nishioka, we need to get him in to a little league program and work him hard enough so he can handle the MLB.

Another rumor spiraling around is the dealing of Michael Cuddyer. I myself have said it might be financially smart to get money for him while he is playing so hot and coming off an All-Star season. At this point, it might be just as smart to keep him, despite the likeliness of being a hot commodity this offseason. Sure, Cuddy will need a bigger contract, but he has been one of the most consistent players for the Twins in the last five seasons. Not to mention, he can play ANYWHERE... even pitcher. The Twins really need to consider resigning Cuddyer.

Tonight I will be monitoring the Twins-Tigers game from my phone as I have agreed to help a friend move. I really hope the Twins can get it together. I don't want to write the post 'Twins post-season mathematically out of reach'. I really don't.

WOW: As of 2:01, the Twins traded OF Delmon Young to the Detroit Tigers for a minor league pitcher and a player TBA.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Justin Morneau Returns to the Twins Lineup

I would like to extend a big "welcome back" to Justin Morneau in regards to his return to the field in tonight's Twins-Indians matchup at Cleveland. Despite the 2-8 record in the last 10 games (which really is the only thing that does matter), the Twins have had a decent week...

Joe Nathan topped the Twins' all-time Saves leader board. Jim Thome, while still two away from the coveted 600 mark, has remained effective in the lineup knocking in RBI after RBI. Alexi Casilla has been lifted off the DL. And bringing up the rear as last but not least, Morneau will return after more than two months of recovery after neck surgery.

To illustrate how important Morneau's return will be tonight, think about how many games the heavy-hitting duo of Morneau and Mauer have played together... I'll give you a hint: you can count them on one hand... if you have 9 fingers on that one hand. My point being, Mauer and Morneau have only been in the lineup together in nine of the last 198 games this season.

No wonder we are 10 games back.

The word on the field is that Morneau is back to his former self while hitting down in Triple A. While this is encouraging, I will wait to see it to believe it. Triple A, from my experience (which is none) is completely different than the Majors. If Morneau can come in tonight and hit yard, he will have my vote of confidence. I realize that may be asking a lot from a man with many previous health issues, but desperate times call for desperate goals?

Besides, Morneau was one of the main advocates for the removal of the Target Field trees in center field. He needs to make up for the poor call in my mind. The trees made it harder for hitters to hit? Right. Because the hitters hit so much worse last year with the vision-imparing evergreens than they have this year with an open-range view. You won't convince me.

Back to the main point - I am glad to have Morneau back in the lineup because of his leadership skills, but I'll wait until around 10pm tonight to see if I am just as happy about his return to the lineup.

By the way, Cuddyer and Valencia are the only two Twins regulars that have yet to miss a game due to injury. Happy season. (CORRECTION AS OF 3:53 on 08/12: Cuddyer is out of the lineup due to a neck strain incident that arose out of Friday's batting practice.)

Also, did you know that Justin Morneau is the proud owner of The Graves hotel in Minneapolis? I just learned that yesterday and thought it to be interesting.

2012 London Games Graffiti-Inspired Logo... How Appropriate

How fitting that the 2012 London Olympics logo be graffiti-inspired? Someone sure has an odd sense of humor...

The recent London riots, in which almost 2,000 people (the approximate size of my hometown) have been arrested, were sparked from the death of a local man that was shot by police. There has been much speculation that riots such as the current ones may effect the 2012 London games.

There have even been stories released by the media where security specialists are suggesting tourists carry a bag designed to cope with the current situation. This bag should carry, at minimum, the following: a first-aid kit, passport, a torch, bottled water, a RESPIRATOR and enough money to buy a plane ticket home. WHAT? I find it difficult to believe that carrying over $1000 in my side bag would ensure a safer visit to London. Don't get me wrong, I love a good riot, but a graffiti-inspired logo with a burning building in the foreground instills the kind of financial safety known only to Goldman Sachs and Lehman Bros.

In the past, the Olympic Games have been concerned with outside terrorism coming in to the country of the games to commit violence. Looks like the 2012 games will have to worry about the bloody Londoners themselves.

Way to go UK.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Atlas, Primordial Titan that Supported the Heavens

I'll tell you what... It appears to be my civil duty to stay home and avoid travel at all cost. Trust me, it is for everyone's own good.

Here is why:

January 2010: I went to Hawaii for the month. My travel coincided with one of the coldest, harshest winters in Minnesota in decades and the devastating earthquake in Port-au-Prince Haiti.

Spring 2010: I traveled abroad to Scotland for four months. Hellloooo BP oil spill. Not to mention the February earthquake in Chile that killed almost 1,000 people and the Vikings loss to the Super Bowl Champs, the New Orleans Saints.

Summer vacation 2011: I visit my family in Colorado for less than a week and the Twins get swept by the White Sox for the first time in 4 years. Oh, and the United States has its credit downgraded by S&P.

I see a strong correlation. Don't you? Really the only event missing here is the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami that happened on March 11th. I can't recall where I was at this point, but I think that date coincided with my spring break. That spring break I was planning on traveling to Mexico.

WOW. Need I say more?

I have begun to take my role in world balance very seriously and plan to stay home more. Cross your fingers that this works... I don't think investors and the world markets can handle much more.

Just call me 'Atlas': supporter of the heavens

Torii Hunter Turns Down Ten Bucks From a Yankee Fan

There is a video making its way around the sports world of Torii Hunter returning a pair of glasses to a New York Yankee fan after said fan drops his glasses on the field at Yankee Stadium. In a show of gratitude, the Yankee fan hands Hunter a single bill, you can speculate on the denomination.

What a good guy. Really, Torii Hunter is just an all-around stand up man. And the Yankee fan is a cheap SOB.

A right field seat starts out at $159.19 on the Yankee website while the market value of a Yankee ticket at the New Yankee Stadium will set you back much more than that. A front row seat back in 2009 for an individual game had a list price of $2,625. The lowest priced seats at Mets' Citi Field start at $11.
Torii Hunter as I like to remember him

You can't tell me that a Yankee fan sitting in the front row at Yankee stadium could only afford a $10 reward? Not only are you a snob, but you're cheap too (which, might I add goes against the entire Yankee philosophy which boasted a 2011 team payroll of $202,689,028). That hapless fan should do himself a favor and 1) get lasik and 2) get a reality check. You make six figures and you offer Torii Hunter, a millionaire, at most ten bucks? This guy apparently missed out on 'No Child Left Behind'.

No wonder Apple has more money than the U.S. government.

This is a word of advice for all you schmucks out there wearing Yankee paraphernalia: Chances are you can't afford to be a Yankee fan - so fuhgetaboutit.

I guess that Yankee fan is kind of lucky in the end - If he had been sitting front row on the third base side, either ARod would have stomped out the guy's glasses and he would be stuck with his less than 20/20 vision or he would take the guy's ten dolalrs (most likely he would have done both). After all, ARod has the poker prodigy lifestyle to maintain.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Gopher Football Parking Pass is a must for TCF Bank Stadium

Recommendation of the day: Buy a Parking Pass for TCF Bank Stadium Gopher football games.

If you haven't been to a Gopher football game at TCF Bank Stadium yet, you may not understand what I am talking about, but if you have and you tried to drive your car to the stadium, you realize that parking is extremely limited UNLESS you have a pre-purchased parking pass.

Warning: You can NOT park near the Gopher football stadium without a pre-approved TCF Bank Stadium parking pass and the lots near the stadium do NOT accept cash on game days, only the passes.

The easiest way to get a TCF Bank Stadium parking pass is to become a Gopher Football season ticket holder. If that's not an option, your next best bet is to buy one BEFORE leaving for the game from ticket brokers like Ticket King. I am not just recommending this because I work for Ticket King, I am recommending this because you will THANK ME for making your game day experience a stress-free fun filled event.

Ticket King recommends you purchase your parking pass early because they often run out on game days. You can purchase online or on the phone at 612-341-4131. I would personally recommend picking the pass up in their office before the game to save yourself the shipping charges.

Below is a map from Ticket King to the Gopher football stadium, it is about a 5 minute drive.

Here is a map of the parking lots around the stadium (graphic from gophers official site). See all those blue, green and red lots, they all REQUIRE pre-purchased parking passes. The purple is for RV parking only and also requires a pre-purchased season parking pass.

TCF Bank Stadium Gopher Football Parking

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Using Baseball Bats to Brew Beer

With the Mariners bats getting little use at the plate, Seattle pitcher Chris Ray has decided to put the bats to a different use.

I especially like this story because it focuses on my and America's two favorite pastimes: beer and baseball. You can't go to Target Field without purchasing a couple draft beers... at a time. And in small towns like mine, it is even common to play baseball and drink beer at the same time. Beer and baseball just go together.

Ray has recently joined up with Fremont Brewing to create a bat-infused beer. Apparently Ray has been home-brewing beer for years, which makes me like this guy a whole bunch, and has finally found the brewery to put the talents that Homer Simpson gave him to good use. Ray will be opening COTU (Center of the Universe) brewery with his brother Phil.

The beer he created using 'bat' as an ingredient, Homefront, will be sold by Fremont Brewing until COTU can fully get on its feet. Homefront calls for the bats to be soaked in the beer for three weeks, which must make Justin Morneau cringe as he breaks more bats than anyone and probably doesn't have a bat to spare for a month.

Not only am I calling for the Twins to sign Chris Ray, but I want Target Field to start serving the game day specialty. If beer and baseball are a better couple than Romeo and Juliet, then why not bring bat-brewed beer to the ballpark? That's what I thought.


No Kidding, A-Rod Participates in Illegal Activites? Shocker.

Apparently the MLB is taking some allegations against the Yankee Alex Rodriguez very seriously. ARod has been accused of taking part in illegal, underground poker games of which some allegedly turned violent. Luckily, steroids have never been linked to hormonal outbursts known as roid rage. Wait, no... What?

Even more outrageous is the concern by the MLB that ARod's name might sneak in on the current ongoing investigation of Dr. Anthony Galea. Galea has been charged with smuggling human growth hormone and other illegal substances in to this great country of ours from the less-great country of Canada. Galea has treated ARod and Tiger Woods, who might I say is another very classy and respectable gentleman.

Looks like Mr. Rodriguez has gotten himself in to a bit of trouble. Not only are the Yankees trailing their rivals of Boston, but ARod is out recovering on a knee surgery and participating in shady activities. And then there are the illegal substances connections.

To me, this adds up like Enron's financial statements.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Robert Kraft and the US Debt Negotiations

Hard to top my last post... nothing can beat shark diving. However, I am going to try.
Recently, Patriots owner Robert Kraft was quoted after helping end the NFL lockout: "I hope we gave a little lesson to the people in Washington, because the debt crisis is a lot easier to fix than this deal was."

Pause for a small dose of blinding rage. Its safe to say I feel the same way about Robert Kraft and his comment as I do about Apple holding more money than the US government.

I understand that Kraft was instrumental in getting the NFL and the NFLPA back to work on negotiations and, in turn, was instrumental in the resolve of discrepancies. However, to compare the negotiations of the NFL/NFLPA to the debt negotiations of Washington is like comparing the United States to Russia. Russia is so big that as the sun sets on one part, the sun is already rising on another part; the US only has 4 time zones. Not comparable. They are two birds of two different feathers that don't flock together.

Lucky for us, the debt deal seems to have had a band-aid slapped over it so we won't be hearing anymore words of wisdom out of Kraft. I am waiting though for some sort of 'I told you so' or a press conference by Kraft pointing out his key role in the debt talks too.

I'm sorry, but while Capitoll Hill does need to take advice from the American people, they certainly don't need to take advice from a bunch of NFL owners and NFL players. That would be like the Bush tax cuts all over again. I'm saying "no thanks, Kraft".

Shark Week and My Cage Diving Experience

Like any normal human, I am thoroughly enjoying Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. I have been fortunate enough to actually experience cage diving.

While I was studying in Hawaii for the month of January, I made it my priority to go cage diving off the coast of Oahu. Cage diving is something I have wanted to do for a long time and I wasn't going to miss this chance. I had trouble finding classmates to enjoy the diving with me... in fact most people were too scared or didn't want to spend the money. Don't get me wrong, I am a dirt poor college kid, but I was willing to pay almost anything to grab my snorkel gear, hope in a cage and watch the sharks emerge from the depths of the Pacific.

I was NOT disappointed. Here are some photos... I also plan on uploading some of these to because I think they are just that awesome. Enjoy! I did.

#AdrenalineJunkie. Reviewing the pictures I took makes me long for the excitement again. I would love to dive off the coast of Cape Town, where great whites are popular. After that, I want to dive WITHOUT a cage in Nassau, Bahamas. There, diving without a cage is all the rage because the sharks are lured by the dive master dressed in chain-mail that feed them while the other divers play spectators. Yes. I want to do that. No hesitation. I love being in the water and love seeing these creators in person.

Another place I'd like to cage dive is off the coast of Rocas Atoll, Brazil. Here the waters are extremely clear and rich with marine and coral life. The tropical fish are bright and share their home with the lemon shark. Now the lemon shark is no predator like the great white, but the allure of cage diving here is that the lemon shark often swims in a school of 30 or so sharks. Imagine that photo.

Until then, sharks.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Randy Moss Retires

Randy Moss, ex-Minnesota Viking and current bad ass, retires. More to come.

Delta Airplanes Collide as I Book a Trip to Colorado. Great.

Never been a huge fan of Chicago. The pizza is great and everything, but when the White Sox call you 'home', I'd rather you didn't exist. Judging by my "Yankees or White Sox" poll, most of you would agree. And now Chicago has another claim to infamy.

I will concede that this post says more about Delta than it does Chicago, but I never said I wasn't biased.

A pair of Delta planes played chicken at Chicago O'Hare Airport this past Friday and neither backed down. What concerns me here is that this is the second plane crash (if you can call it a crash? which I will) in more or less as many weeks. It used to mean something that you were more likely to get struck by lightning than in a plane crash. Not so much anymore. Now I am just waiting to get struck by lightning.

With my upcoming travel plans, I have some apprehension. I will be flying to Colorado on Thursday to spend some time with the family while going to a Rockies-Nationals (I know, I wish I were there in time for the Rockies-Phillies series too) game at Coors field among other things. I've never heard of Frontier airlines, but when I booked my trip, Delta was all full. Suckers. It now appears that I am fortunate to be flying Frontier airlines because so far this summer, Delta has failed to impress me. Funny how things work out, isn't it?

I love flying and would appreciate it if airlines would up their game. If you are going to charge us an arm and a leg to check a bag, please at least make sure my bag and I make it home safe. I don't really think that's too much to ask.

Minnesota Twins Face a Rough Month of August

That was a hyper-disappointing series for the Twins. When I say 'hyper' you know its bad. Think hyper-inflation, hyper child and hypertension. With Blackburn's pitch count skyrocketing faster than space shuttle Atlantis, we knew that the stock market wasn't the only thing in trouble this weekend. Heading in to the Twins-Oakland series, I thought the Twins would have a nice 'break' in playing a team that was 3rd in their AL West Division with an even greater deficit than the Twins. Wrong.

Nick Blackburn, known as a sinkballer, could make his sinker sink and without his go-to pitch, the Twins floundered.

My other main man, Carl Pavano didn't do much better. After the Twins jumped off to a 3-0 lead, Pavano continued his winless post-break streak by losing his fourth in as many starts by giving up 9 hits and striking out only one. No good, boys. I expect better of my hottie-patotties.

We win some, we lose some. What concerns me are the Twins' upcoming opponents (all except for the White Sox). We have the Angels who have been closing the slim gap that exists between them and the Rangers, Boston who has overcoming their disappointing start, the Indians and Tigers who are both leading the Twins and have slowed very little topped off by the Yankees who are the Twins' post-season nightmare. Not only does that schedule look terrible on paper, its even worse that the Twins travel from away to home every two series. That's a lot of traveling.

Today is the first of August and the Twins need to pull it together. Today. Because tomorrow we start a series against Tori Hunter and the recently-hot Angels in Anaheim. In a month that starts and ends with the White Sox, the perpetual door mat of the Twins, we have to believe the Twins can turn this around and climb in to the AL Central lead. Right?

Like Congress, its do or die time for the Twins. Crunch time, baby.