"Let us go forth a while, and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our closed rooms...
The game of ball is glorious."

--Walt Whitman

Sunday, January 29, 2006

More from Twinsfest

The crowds parted long enough for me to get some more photos of our boys of summer Sunday.

My dear, darling Juan gives an interview at the UPN 29 stage. He says his elbow feels fine after the surgery last month.

Juan also said he thinks the pitching staff is going to be even better this year, they just need some run support.

(L-R) Rob Bowen, Francisco Liriano, Jason Bartlett
This table was a huge hit with females age 13-20.

Joe Nathan has changed his look. Shannon Stewart has not.

(L-R) Matt Guerrier, Darrell May.
You're not in New York any more, Mr. May. See how the fans smile at you? Welcome to Minnesota!

(L-R) Scott Baker, Dave Gassner
They both want the same job, and they have to sit next to each other for an hour and a half. That must be comfortable.

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Twinsfest Saturday in Pictures

Getting clear shots of players at TwinsFest requires more patience than this blogger possesses. So I hope you like Silva and Punto.

Mental note: next year, make sure the first guy to sign the scorebook uses a ballpoint, because everyone who follows him will use the same writing implement.

My TwinsFest Holy Grail. The jersey is signed!!!

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Friday, January 27, 2006


It's TwinsFest time again! The bright ray of light in the midst of a dreary offseason is (finally, oh, finally) upon us. I'm going to be there Saturday and Sunday, with/in my little blue Bartlett jersey that's desperately in need of some signing. I'm usually off in my own little world, so be sure to wave something in front of my eyes before you say hello. But please do say hello!

I love TwinsFest. I really do. I mean, the Autograph Party in June is great and all, what with the sunshine and fresh air, but there's nothing like TwinsFest for getting TBL's trusty scorebook simply plastered with the signatures of all her favorite Twins and Twins-to-be. (Except Torii and the Joes, because their lines are just impossible.)

Another thing I love about TwinsFest is the baseball card dealers. I have a teensy, tiny baseball card collection (to go with my teensy, tiny baseball addiction), and am in dire need of more Rincón and Bartlett cards. And, though one hesitates even to mention such an awkward matter, one must admit that one's collection is entirely without Scott Baker cards. The shame! If any of you dear people happen to stumble across some nice examples of any of the three, do point me in the right direction.

(Come to think of it, I'd be willing to trade non-Twins cards for Twins cards. Drop me a line if you're looking for someone in particular.)

Oh, and if you happen to be passing by the Future Twins table (it's the only free one!) when Pat Neshek is there, go on up. That guy is a real hoot. Best signature ever, too--you can see it on his website.

And, if you haven't heard, Johan Santana has had to cancel his TwinsFest appearances. Alas! But Joe Nathan and Carlos Silva will be there, and that's nearly as cool.

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Reasons We As a Society Are Doomed, #467

It's not the criminal this time...it's the "justice system."

Judge Sentences Man To 60 Days For Sexual Assault On Girl

BURLINGTON, Vt. -- A Williston man who admitted to repeatedly raping a young girl will spend two months behind bars.

Mark Hulett, 34, will spend 60 days in prison for sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl for the last four years. [TBL sez: Shoot him. Shoot him NOW.]

When he pleaded guilty in August to two counts of aggravated sexual assault and one charge of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child, Hulett faced up to life in prison on the charges. But the state Corrections Department determined that Hulett was a low risk for committing a similar crime, and determined it would not offer sex-offender treatment while he was in prison.

Judge Edward Cashman defended his sentence, saying it was the only way to provide counseling for the Hulett. Cashman's sentence could incarcerate Hulett for the rest of his life if he fails to obtain counseling once he is freed in 60 days.

The victim's family said the sentence is just a slap on the wrist.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006


We all have pet peeves--things we objectively acknowledge as trivial but which, in practice, drive us absolutely barmy.

Here's one of mine: I work in a modern office building, less than ten years old and fully ADA compliant. This means that every door is equipped with a pressure plate embossed with the standard disability icon. Press the plate and--ta-da!--the door opens.

And every single day I see multiple people who appear to be perfectly healthy and whose hands are not, in fact, entirely occupied, using said pressure plates.

Now, I recognize that some small percentage of these people could conceivably suffer from a wrist, elbow or shoulder condition which renders them incapable of either pushing or pulling a 5-pound door. But in general I think it highly unlikely.

And whenever I see this, I just want to run up, grab them by the shoulders, give them a good shake and say "How lazy are you?! Just open the damn door yourself! Would it kill you to expend that one-twentieth of a calorie?!?!"

It's the laziness that gets me. I'm not the most active person in the world, as the deepening layer of dust on my elliptcal machine will attest, but I open my own friggin' doors. And I really don't think that anything with the disability icon on it should be used mostly for the convenience of the able-bodied. Call me old-fashioned, I don't know.

Anyway, that's my peeve. One of them.

So, what's yours?

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Monday, January 02, 2006

2006 Preview - Overview

Believe it or not, I finally got all my holiday knitting done. (More on that another day.) The upshot is, there is now time to blog again. Oh, and guess what? The entire world is closed today, except for my company. That's right--you're probably still in your PJs, but I'm blogging on my lunch break. %$&#!

For anyone who might have been expecting a new year's resolutions post, I looked back and discovered that, of all the resolutions I made for 2005, I kept none. At least I'm consistent. It also saves me valuable thinking time--why come up with new resolutions when I have a list of perfectly good ones still waiting to be completed?

The Twins last 2005 game was October 2nd. Their first 2006 game will be April 4th. That makes tomorrow, to all intents and purposes, the midpoint of the offseason. The No-Star Break, if you will. (Those of you making cracks about that phrase describing last season can just zip it, thanks.)

So, what's new for the Twins in 2006?

1. The New Steroid Policy
TBL is more or less content with the new steroid policy, which adds amphetamines to the list of banned substances and increases penalties from 10 days to 50, 30 to half a season, and 60 days to "life", by which they mean two years.

How does this affect the Twins? Well, one hopes it doesn't. But if, for example, my beloved Juan were to get busted again, half a season should just barely be enough time for him to extricate my foot from his ass, providing Batgirl doesn't get to him first.

2. Whole New Infield
Well, partly. Let's jog around the diamond and see who we find.

Making his second full-season appearance at catcher will be the baby Jesus Joe Mauer. Verily, the catcher can do no wrong.

Justin Morneau is still our first baseman. Rumor has it he's drinking a gallon of orange juice a day to avoid a repeat of last offseason--apparently he didn't like being called Typhoid Mary all year. Moving on...

We, my friends, have gotten ourselves an honest-to-gosh second baseman in the person of Luis Castillo. Look upon his stats, ye mighty, and weep...with joy.

At short we find Jason Bartlett. No, wait, it's Juan Castro. Or maybe it's Nick Punto. So, same shortstop as last year. Glad that's been cleared up.

At third base, we have someone who not only likes to hit the ball over the fence a lot, but also might actually know what that leather thing on the end of his arm is for. Indeed, Terry Ryan went all the way to Japan to get us Tony Batista.

Now you may ask: TBL, doesn't it make you just a smidge nervous that his Japanese team, for which he had only played one year of a two-year, $15 million contract, released him outright shortly before this signing? My answer is: No. No, not in the slightest. I have complete faith in both Mr. Ryan and the excellent Irish whiskey I hide in my desk have at home, far, far away from work.

(TBL does, however, wish to remind Mr. Ryan that Toronto is making noises about unloading Corey Koskie. He's a lefty, Batista's a righty, and a platoon situation could keep him healthier. Whadda ya say?)

3. Right Field Vacancy
Hey, remember before we got Shannon Stewart, how we always had like five outfielders arm-wrestling for the day's start in right? Well, Jacque Jones bolted for the more lucrative confines of Wrigley Field, and no one's quite sure who's replacing him. Could be Kubel. Could be Cuddyer. Could be Ford. Could be a surprise spring-training demigod. Hell, it could be the batboy.

4. Mommy, Look! Santa Brought Us A DH!
I liked Matt LeCroy, don't get me wrong. But I like a healthy Rondell White even better. He's battled injuries the last few seasons, but staying out of the field should cut those down nicely. Some guys bitch and moan about being taken off the field in the twilight years of their career, but I've heard a few interviews with White and he seems to have the very sane attitude that DH is a really good spot for a guy with an injury history, and if that's going to extend his career by a few seasons then it's just fine.

5. Enter Liriano
The Twins bought out the option on the contract of starter Joe Mays, opening a spot in the Twins rotation. This spot is Francisco "Santana Junior" Liriano's to lose. The Twins will be providing excess 2002-2004 homer hankies at the gate before his starts for those with a tendency to drool over nascent greatness.

I'll be picking some of these topics apart in greater detail as the latter half of the offseason progresses, but that's all for now.

Happy new year, and remember--the offseason does end. Eventually.

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