"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

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Hit Parade

Seems like the only hits for the Twins lately are the kind you take, not the kind you make.

Castillo injured
...leadoff hitter Luis Castillo [left] the game in the sixth inning because of a sprained right ankle.

Manager Ron Gardenhire said it was a mild sprain that might keep the second baseman out for only one or two games.

"He's a pretty tough guy, so he'll want to get back out there as soon as possible," Gardenhire said. "But you never know with an ankle. That's a tough thing to have in the infield when you're stopping and going and all those things."

Cortisone shot ineffective for Radke

Twins veteran Brad Radke had another setback with his right shoulder Wednesday, and the team made plans to promote Scott Baker from Class AAA Rochester to take his next turn in the rotation.

That will come Saturday at Yankee Stadium.

After Johan Santana pitches today against the Kansas City Royals, the Twins will head to New York with these three pitchers lined up to face the Yankees: righthanders Carlos Silva, Baker and Matt Garza.

The bigger concern Wednesday was Radke, who left Friday's game in Chicago after two innings because of shoulder pain.

Radke, who has been pitching despite having a torn labrum in that shoulder, returned to the Twin Cities the next day to have another cortisone shot. Before trying to play catch Wednesday, he was still hoping to take the mound at Yankee Stadium.

"It's tolerable, I guess," Radke said. "We'll see."

After the short throwing session and a meeting with General Manager Terry Ryan, manager Ron Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson, Radke said he would withhold comment until a later time.

"He doesn't have any arm strength, and he's still got a little bite in there," Gardenhire said. "We're going to skip a start and see if a little rest here will do him good."

Radke will try to play catch again early next week, Gardenhire said, and depending how he feels, the team will determine when and if he can return to the mound.

Read More

Well, That Sucked

"O, that way madness lies; let me shun that!"

8/29: Royals 2, Twins 0
8/30: Royals 4, Twins 3

Strange days, my friends. Strange days. And what's a blogger to do?

The normally mild-mannered Batgirl has taken to swearing the air blue, Twins Junkie prefers not to dwell on it, Twins Geek reminds us how much the Royals suck (which only makes it seem worse, really), Aaron Gleeman bemoans the sudden lack of hitting, and TBL? Well, to be honest, TBL's been keeping company with the whiskey rather often of late.

Our boys have gotten 11 hits, 3 runs, 1 error and 0 wins in two games against the Royals. The Bleepin' Kansas City "There's a Postseason In This Game?" Royals. They got shut out behind Matt Garza, who finally went out there and showed us why he's out there by pitching 7 2/3 and striking out 7 while giving up two measly runs, and then blew a lead behind Boof Bonser, who struck out 8 in 5 1/3 innings while allowing 3 runs (the last of which was surrendered by Jesse Crain in relief).

So, to sum it up, the two big question marks filling our #4 and #5 rotation spots got their acts together, went out there and pitched fairly well against the worst team in baseball, and lost because their teammates couldn't seem to score runs against the worst team in baseball.

"Hey, guys, welcome to the big leagues! Here's your jersey, your glove, and your lube. What's the lube for? Oh...you'll find out..."

This afternoon Johan Santana takes the hill. One hopes that before the game he will treat his teammates to a nice lunch and one serious ass-whoopin' for dessert.

Now, where's my whiskey?

Read More

Thursday, August 24, 2006

An Open Letter to Matt Garza

Dear Matt (may I call you Matt?),

After your first start, I thought to myself, "It's okay, he's just nervous. No worries."

But after your second start, I must admit that I thought to myself, and may have actually said aloud, "He is SO not ready for the big leagues."

I was wrong. Sorry. My bad.

Last night, you not only located your fastball--which had been, um...something of an issue for you, previously--but you also threw pitches that were not fastballs. Color me stunned! And behind that innovative combination of fastballs and not-fastballs, you pitched five innings without giving up an earned run. And then, of course, you got to hand the ball to the rootin'est, tootin'est bullpen in the major leagues.

I think that when the Twins call on their bullpen, it would be courteous to offer the opposing team some Kleenex, don't you? And maybe a nice hug.

Oh, and congratulations on your first ML win.



Author's note: Um, well, it seems BatGirl and I both decided to catch up on our correspondence today. Though imitation may well be the sincerest form of flattery, this was just an amusing coincidence. :)

Read More

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Going in Circles

Ever had your feelings hurt, and though you know you have the right to feel that way, you aren't really sure if you have the right to feel quite as deeply hurt as you do?

And so you keep worrying at it like a dog at a bone, and you turn it over and over in your mind, and you wish you could just decide that

no, it wasn't actually that bad and you're being a ninny about it
, or

yes, it was that awful and you're perfectly justified

because either way, you could shelve it in among your life experiences and start moving past it. But you just can't figure it out and you stand there hugging it to you, not knowing whether to file it under "Really Shitty Things That Have Happened to Me" or "Mildly Shitty Things That I Took Too Hard". And really, you'd be more than happy to set it aside, unresolved questions and all, but something as simple and everyday as checking email serves as a reminder, so the next thing you know a couple of weeks have gone by and you realize that you've spent most of your free time staring at the TV and brooding instead of doing something productive like writing or exercising or wrangling the herd of dust bison under the bed.

And after all that, you still feel kind of broken inside. What then?

Ah, hell, I don't know.

Back to baseball next post.

Read More

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Thing About Justin

So, Justin Morneau hit his 30th home run the other night, ending a 19-year drought for the Twins, during which every other major league team has had at least three 30-HR hitters. And that is fantastic. But the next time he came up to bat, they flashed his stats down at the bottom of the screen and I said (out loud, despite being home alone at the time) "Whoa, he's hitting .322!"

Somewhere along the way I got so used to Justin's average being right around .260, and I stopped paying attention. I focused, as so many of us have, on his sheer awesome power. The thing about Justin is that those homers are so impressive, and frequent, they kind of steal the scene. But is the longball really all there is to Justin Morneau?

I browsed the leader boards to find out.
(minimum ABs to qualify was, at the time of this writing, 353)


Well, clearly there's room for debate as to which is actually the best hitter on the team--Justin or Joe? And Justin (like Joe) is obviously one of the elite hitters in the league. And, hello? 3rd in the majors in RBI while on a relatively light-hitting team (cumulatively speaking, though the last two months have been just delightful).

Anyway, there you have it. Justin Morneau: Well-Rounded Hitter. He's not just for homers anymore.

Ain't it grand?

Read More

Infield's Dubious Adventure

Still sharing guest-posting duties, with RD while BatGirl is out of town. RD got Justin's 30th. I got the Twins being stymied by the Jays. Sometimes life just ain't fair.

(TBL posts on BatGirl as "Infield". Just so you know.)

Twins 0, Jays 5. Darnit.

By the time Infield slipped out of work today (a little early, truth be told) she was tired and cranky on account of not getting much sleep last night after having some tattoo touchups that evening (word to the wise: save it for the weekend. What was Infield thinking?), and she was all hopped up on Advil Cold & Sinus 'cause something is going around the cubicle farm and it's got her in its crosshairs.

Infield got home promptly at 5:00, dashed inside, donned her "Nathan Saves" shirt, grabbed her trusty scorebook and was back outside in plenty of time to catch the 5:15 northbound, which should get her to the Dome in plenty of time to get some Joe Mauer sideburns which would not be worn (oh, no!) but instead sent to BG, because Joe is BG's boyfriend, not hers.

Infield has chosen not to own a car because of the global warming and the price of oil and the fact that she learned to drive in south Texas and they don't have snow there, plus she has all the depth perception of a drunken moose. Also, ever tried to park in Uptown? Not good. Usually busing works out nicely, especially with the traffic anywhere near downtown being completely psycho early of an evening, but today? The Metro Transit let Infield down.

The 5:15 deigned to appear at 5:35, and proceeded to meander from Uptown to Downtown in twenty-five freakin' minutes. This is a ten-minute trip, people! And what with the walk to the Dome from Hennepin, Infield got there well over an hour after she left home, and there were no more sideburns, leaving Infield to hope that someone else had the same idea and was not riding the Bus of the Damned.

In a case of small-world-meets-big-BatCommunity, Infield's season seats are located directly behind Wonder Woman's season seats, and it turned out that WW had had the same idea about getting some of those sideburns to BG, but had gotten there even later than Infield.

Then the game started, and Silva looked good and it seemed that perhaps the worst of Infield's day was behind her. But then four innings passed without anyone scoring, and Infield started to get a little nervous because she knows Carlos likes some run support, and can get kind of antsy without it. And sure 'nuff, in the 5th Carlos loses the no-hitter to Lyle Overbay and the shutout to Bengie Molina, who solved the Torii Hunter problem by sending his homer both over Torii's head and off to one side.

But he stopped the bleeding after that, and Infield thinks pretty much every Twins fan there figured, "Eh, two runs. This is a good-hitting Twins team. Two runs is nothing to fret about." And perhaps the Blue Jays thought the same, because in the seventh they went for the insurance. Loading the bases with one out, they then scored when Carlos and Joe got their signs crossed up a little. Carlos seemed just a tad upset when Joe, who was set up low and in, couldn't get his glove on that wild pitch up and away. Oops?

Carlos seemed even more upset two runs later, when Gardy gave him the hook. The Jackal stalked back to the dugout, filled a paper cup from the Gatorade bucket, and threw that cup against the wall in the mildest-mannered bout of pitcher rage Infield has ever witnessed. But that's Carlos for ya.

Pat Neshek came on then, did his little sidearmer bouncy dance and struck out Frank Catalon-howtheheckdoyouspellthat. And Frank took a couple of steps toward the dugout and then looked back over his shoulder at Neshek with this expression like "Is this guy for real?", and Infield and Wonder Woman got a nice (and only slightly hysterical) giggle out of that.

Neshek got out of the inning with a second strikeout, and the Twins did, um, nothing in the next half-inning. Then Jesse Crain started warming up and Infield asked Wonder Woman if maybe Luis Rodriguez could pitch instead? And WW pointed out that was maybe a touch harsh, and in all fairness Infield had to agree, but with Lohse and Romero both gone someone in that bullpen has to make Infield all twitchy, and Crain is the lucky winner these days 'cause she has a huge, squishy soft spot for Willie Eyre, who wears his socks the right way and was very charming to her at the last TwinsFest.

But Crain did fine, and then Guerrier did fine, and in between the Twins did nothing again, and finally one more round of nothing in the bottom of the ninth and there's yer ballgame.

So Infield closed her trusty scorebook, turned to Wonder Woman and said, "Well, crap. Now I have to go home and write something funny about this game."

And WW winced a little and said, "Ooh, there wasn't really anything funny about this one."

Preaching to the choir, Wonder Woman. Preaching to the choir.

Read More

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Reasons We As a Society Are Doomed, #579

Now, you folks know that I'm usually all about the baseball. And when I'm not about the baseball I'm about the cats and the knitting and the piracy and the Levellers.

But sometimes I run across news items that make my head pound and crushes whatever sense of optimism I may have blindly acquired lately. And when that happens, I choose to share that news with all of you. Because misery may love company, but despair relies upon it.

Found through CNN.com (full article available through title link):

Convicted Child Molester Receives Probation

HOUSTON -- Jose Bernabe Flores, 30, was convicted of molesting a 7-year-old girl. The conviction carries a sentence from two to 20 years in prison. But, since Flores has never been convicted in the past, he was eligible for probation, which is what a jury gave him.

He lives down the street from Dunbar Middle School. The sentence has families in the neighborhood furious that a child molester will be living near their children.

A judge placed conditions on Flores' four years probation. He cannot be within 1,000 feet of places where children gather, such as schools and parks. He cannot be alone with any child, including his son. Flores must also register as a sex offender, undergo counseling with a sex therapist and submit to random lie detector tests.

But, when Flores' defense attorney asked him in court if he would comply with the conditions of his probation, Flores said, "I'll think about it."

It's been said that profanity is the refuge of a limited mind, or words to that effect, but frankly I don't have much to say right now that's suitable for public consumption.

You mark my words, though--ten to one he kills the next one. That shuts 'em up real good, as many a convicted pedophile has discovered.

Read More


Until last night, the Twins had not had a 30-home-run hitter since 1987, when some guys called Hrbek, Brunansky and Gaetti all did it. That, for the mathematically challenged, is nineteen freakin' years.

The 1991 World Series Champion team rose to greatness without one. All the long Sucking Seasons between that team and the resurgent 2001 Twins had none. The 2002-2004 Playoff Perennial Twins had none.

But we've been taunted a few times.

1988: Gaetti hit 28
1991: Chili Davis launched 29
2002: Torii Hunter delivered 29

On the other hand...

1992, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000: no one even reached 20. Man, did we suck.

But now, thanks to Justin Morneau (who could have cracked a smile just this once, really, we wouldn't have held it against him), that long dry streak has ended.

Now. There are 49 games left, and we haven't had a 40-HR hitter since Harmon Killebrew smacked 41 in 1970. TBL wasn't even born then.

Take a hint, Justin.

Read More

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Liriano Update

It's official.

Liriano to Land on Disabled List

The Twins have long taken precautions to protect the health of All-Star rookie Francisco Liriano, knowing the type of talent the phenom possesses.

On Tuesday they took another precaution, as the club decided to place the left-hander on the 15-day disabled list due to the pain he has been experiencing near his left elbow.

An official move had not yet been made as of early Tuesday evening, but manager Ron Gardenhire confirmed the club will place Liriano on the disabled list and recall another pitcher to fill his spot in the rotation.

It likely will be either Scott Baker or Boof Bonser that will get the call up from Triple-A Rochester to take Liriano's place on Saturday against the Blue Jays.

Liriano will undergo an enhanced MRI by team orthopedic physician Dr. Dan Buss on Thursday afternoon upon the team's return to Minnesota. This type of MRI will call for dye to be injected into the elbow to try to determine what may be causing the pain.

Though the cause of the pain is unknown, the decision to place Liriano on the DL came mostly due to the fact that the pain has persisted after it had appeared Liriano had gotten back to full strength over the past 10 days.

Since his start was skipped on Aug. 2, Liriano had maintained that through taking anti-inflammatory medication and getting a bit of extra rest that the soreness had gone away. But after his start Monday, Liriano admitted the pain hadn't really disappeared but he pushed through it so that he could keep pitching.

The Twins coaching staff was upset by the fact Liriano kept the pain hidden from them. With a young arm, the Twins don't want to take any unnecessary risks of injury, and they tried to explain that to the 22-year-old on Tuesday afternoon in a meeting during which they discussed the importance of being honest about injuries.

Read More

Twins Win!

Yes, that's right, our boys finally won a game at Comerica Park. My profound reflections on the game have been posted on BatGirl.

I had some fun with an inning-by-inning commentary the last time I subbed for BG, so I'm dusting off the idea again tonight as the Twins tried for their first win of the year in Detroit.

1st inning
Nothing but ground ball outs. Huh. Weird.

(MIN 0, DET 0)

2nd inning
Since when does Dimitri Young hit triples??? Detroit takes an early lead. Surprise, surprise, surprise...

(MIN 0, DET 2)

3rd inning
Little Nicky Punto, tiny superhero, puts the Twins on the board with a one-out double, and Chairman Mauer sacrifices himself for the good of the people to plate the tying run.

(MIN 2, DET 2)

4th inning
Leadoff hits are good. Leaving runners stranded on third is bad. Especially when you're playing the Tigers, who see something like that and then decide to taunt you by loading the bases with no outs. And if you're Jason Bartlett and you're not wearing your socks the right way tonight, which explains a lot, you stand out there in the field and you watch Radke's bum shoulder start to smoke and you really, REALLY wish you'd hiked up your pants and knocked that runner in, because maybe that would have taken a little wind out of their sails before they came up to bat.

And then Craig Monroe smokes one to left, but there's Jason Tyner snatching it out of thin air and going all Liriano on their asses, grooving a beauty of a fastball from the outfield straight down the center of the plate to Mauer for the out and the funky double play. And lo and behold, Radke teases Sean Casey into a popup and somehow they don't score.

(MIN 2, DET 2)

5th inning
You know what's as good as a leadoff hit? A one-out double and an error. And you know what's even better? A Chairman Mauer RBI double after that.

Now, here's an interesting question. If you're a pitcher, and you and your catcher get your signs crossed up and he's sitting low and in and you pitch up and away to Doctor Morneau and (oops!) tag the umpire in the arm, do you pretty much figure your strike zone will be the size of a pea for the rest of the game?

(MIN 3, DET 2)

6th inning
The home plate umpire is cursed. How else do you explain getting hit twice in as many innings?

(MIN 3, DET 2)

7th inning
Radke goes seven. This is exactly what the bullpen needed. And look, we have a lead! A lead nowhere near big enough to make me feel at all comfortable, but hey.

(MIN 3, DET 2)

8th inning
The home plate umpire is most decidedly cursed. Who's ever seen an ump get hit thrice in a game before? I certainly haven't.

(MIN 3, DET 2)

9th inning
Hey! No throwing at Bartlett's head! That's my #2 boyfriend right there!

Loading the bases in the top of the ninth with a one-run lead is good. Driving insurance runs in with a groundout is even better! Watching them walk Doctor Morneau to reload the bases is simultaneously disappointing and kind of funny. Watching Sweetcheeks ground out to the pitcher, however, was not funny at all.

As the bottom of the inning opens, Dick Bremer starts talking about all of Detroit's exciting walk-off wins this season. Shut up!!

Twitchy resists the Bremer jinx through two outs, then coughs up a walk and a single. Uh...Joe? Stop that! But by inducing a popout to Cuddyer in right, Joe says, "the nail-biting may cease".

And then he thought a little, and he added, "Until tomorrow."

(MIN 4, DET 2)

Read More

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Oh, Bloody Hell...

From the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

Francisco Liriano likely is headed to the disabled list after the rookie pitching phenom continued to experience pain near his left elbow during the Twins' 9-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Monday night at Comerica Park.

Liriano, forced to leave after four innings, was near tears as he spoke to reporters after the shortest start of his young career. He said he experienced pain in a different muscle near his elbow than he did last week, adding that he is more concerned about his latest setback.

"I couldn't throw my fastball, changeup or slider — everything was bothering me," said Liriano, starting for the first time in 10 days after being skipped in the rotation last week. "I don't know what to say. It's getting worse."

The entire Twins organization could be on the verge of tears as the 22-year-old Liriano's Cy Young-worthy season is in limbo. In the worst-case scenario, injuries such as this have led to Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery. But the medical staff is optimistic the injury is not that serious.

Perhaps an encouraging sign for the Twins is that Liriano's velocity was up Monday. His fastball was clocked on the stadium radar between 94-97 mph. Liriano, who gave up four runs on 10 hits, is scheduled to be evaluated by team physician Dr. Dan Buss after the Twins return from the road trip later this week.

"We're not going to take any chances with him," manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Veteran pitcher Carlos Silva spent a few minutes after the game talking quietly with Liriano as he dressed at his locker stall. Silva said he told Liriano not to risk his promising future by trying to pitch through pain.

"He needs to be a hero for a long time — not a hero for just one year," Silva said.

Sigh. Take care of yourself, 'Cisco. Silva's right. One season isn't worth risking a career, especially when that season's chances are on the slim side anyway.

2 p.m. update:
Matt Garza (a product of the 2005 draft!) has been called up from AAA Rochester and may start for the Twins Friday at Minnesota versus the Blue Jays. Mike Smith has been sent down. Still no further word on Liriano's condition.

6 p.m. update:
Fox Sports Net is reporting that Liriano has been placed on the DL and that either Baker or Bonser will be recalled in his place. No official announcement on the Twins site as of yet.

Read More

Monday, August 07, 2006

Francisco Liriano, Literary Hero

Are you sitting down? You should sit down. You are (probably) not going to believe what I stumbled across at Borders on my lunch break.

There is a book about Francisco Liriano.

Click the picture to go to Amazon's listing for this title.

Throwing Bullets by Roy Rowan apparently chronicles the lives of Liriano and teammate Justin Olson as they pitch for the New Britain Rock Cats in 2005 and compete to be the first promoted to Rochester. I don't know if it's any good or not, as it's only been in my grubby paws for about 10 minutes, but I really thought you all should know about it!

I'll post a quality report when I finish it.

Damn, I can't believe I have to work the rest of the day...

Read More

Weekend Recap

This post first appeared as collaborative guest-posting on Batgirl. TBL is appearing under her nom-de-plume, "infield".

infield: Well, RD, how about that? The Twins sweep the Landed Gentry in four games. Though it would probably be more accurate to say that Kansas City swept themselves. Every one of those gajillion walks they handed out was just another bristle on that broom.

RD: You couldn't be more right, infield. And, quite frankly, while some are saying that sweeping the Royals is a bit like beating your little sister at arm wresling, a sweep is a sweep is a sweep this time of year. If they want to keep sending Ambiorix Burgos to the mound and Reggie Sanders, the Royals' answer to Tony Batista, to the plate, so be it.

infield: Very true, RD. Of course, the Twins were working with some substitute players, too, but with considerably more success. I tell ya, the Twins farm system must have some kind of Miracle Gro for Prospects, because Minnesota gets itself a bumper crop of surprisingly good players every year.

RD: Well, position players, anyway. Two of the Jasons -- Bartlett and Tyner combined Sunday for nine hits and Josh Rabe made a fine catch in left field. If only the auditions for the No. 5 starter would go so well. Bonser, Baker and Smith sounds more like a law firm than a roll call of those recently auditioned. Mike Smith -- 3 innings, 80 pitches, 1 glove throw. I don't suspect we'll be seeing much more of him. But the important numbers are this: 4 games, 4 victories, 630 frequent flyer miles between Kansas City and Detroit, where the Twins begin a BIG 3-game series Monday against the Tigers.

infield: That fifth starter is a conundrum. Lohse traded, Baker and Bonser racking up their own frequent flyer miles, and Smith picking a very bad time to give Crazy Pepe's Chug n' Toss a whirl. I do wonder who we'll see in five days, RD. I'm all for giving Shaggy a shot, but I know a lot of folks out there are salivating over the thought of Matt Garza. And speaking of the phenomenal performance of Jason Bartlett today, I'd just like to point out that his 5-for-5 day came when he decided to wear his socks the right way for the first time this season. Coincidence? I think not.

RD: Amen to that, infield. And as long as we're pointing, I'd like to point out that it feels good to walk away from a game to see an excellent movie,as I did Saturday when Sweet-n-Sassy suggested seeing "Little Miss Sunshine," which by the way is NOT the Jeremy Bonderman story. I suspect that Batlings will be paying undivided attention to the games over the next three nights, although Monday is a travel day for Batgirl and we wish her all the best as she and JEB set forth on their Eastern adventure.

infield: You know what gives me hope, RD? Hope for the upcoming series and for the rest of this season? It's the way this team is sucking it up and soldiering on, despite the no doubt crushing knowledge that Batgirl can't be with them right now. Just look at all they've accomplished since her cable got turned off. It's inspiring, it really is.

RD: Speaking of inspiration, RD feels inspired to end our report with some haiku, if that's OK. So here goes:

Batgirl has gone East
Where she'll resume writing soon
Twins kick a$$ for her

Read More

Friday, August 04, 2006

Clutching at Straws

This post first appeared as a guest-posting on BatGirl. (Her nickname guide is here.)

Author's note: BG is off for a few days bravely claiming a portion of Red Sox Nation in the name of Twins Territory. Substitute bloggers will attempt to keep you rabble amused in the meantime.

Twins @ Landed Gentry, W 8-2

Half an hour before the game Thursday night, a knot of Twins huddled in the visitors clubhouse in Kansas City.

"Well, who's it going to be tonight?" asked Radke. "I can't, I'm starting. I have to go warm up!"

"I could do it," offered Luis Rodriguez.

"Hah. You did it yesterday, and look where that got us!" snorted Little Nicky Punto.

"Well, you did it Tuesday, and that was just as bad!" Lil' Rod retorted huffily.

Radke rolled his eyes and grabbed his glove. "I gotta go. You guys work this out." And he left.

"That was NOT just as bad!" yelled LNP. "Yesterday we had THREE errors!"

"One of them was yours, stupid!"

"And one of them was yours, clutz!"

"Hey, now, everybody settle down," said Torii, stepping between LNP and Lil' Rod. "I did it on Monday, and we kicked ass, so I'll do it again."

"Ummm..." interrupted Lew Ford, adjusting his reading glasses. He was peering at a small leaflet. "It says here each team must send, at minimum, seven different players in succession."

The others looked at each other uneasily.

"And, ah, what exactly does that mean?" wondered Sweetcheeks.

"It means," said the voice of Pat Neshek, emanating from a pile of fan mail twice the size of CC Sabathia, "that you can't do it again until six other people have. Four now, since there have been two since you."

"Crap," said Sweetcheeks. "Why do we have to do this, anyway?"

Lew flipped through the leaflet. "It says here the Commissioner thinks it will add interest to the game."

LNP suggested an alternate use of the Commissioner's time which caused Lil' Rod to blush a fiery red.

"Can you breathe in there?" Dr. Morneau asked the pile.

"Yep, it's all good." Neshek affirmed.

"Hey, guys, what's up?" wondered Josh Rabe, coming upon them on his way back from extra BP.

"We're trying to figure out who's going to do it tonight," the good Doctor explained.

"I'll do it," Rabe shrugged. "I feel lucky." And off he went, bat on his shoulder, whistling a merry tune.

"Think he'll be okay?" Lil' Rod fretted.

"He said he felt lucky," Morneau said philosophically. "We'll find out soon enough."

Rabe made his way through the corridors until he reached a special room hidden beneath home plate. The umpire crew chief and Kansas City shortstop Andres Blanco were already there.

"You're representing the Twins?" the umpire asked.

"Yes, sir!" Rabe said brightly. "And I feel lucky! Shall we?"

"All right," said the umpire. "Turn around, both of you. And no peeking!"

Rabe and Blanco turned around and stared at the wall. Rabe resumed his cheerful whistling.

"Stop that!" hissed Blanco, who was very nervous.

"You may turn around," the umpire announced. They did, and he was holding two straws in his clenched fist, carefully arranged to appear the exact same length.

Rabe and Blanco looked at each other, then at the straws. Two hands shot out, both straws were plucked. They held their straws up next to each other, and saw that Rabe's was clearly longer.

"Woo-hoo!" cried Rabe, jumping up and down. "We get to play baseball!" He ran off to share the good news with his teammates.

Blanco threw down his inadequate reed. "Crap," he said glumly. "Ass-ball."

Read More

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Eternal Quest for the 5th Starter

Hey, Scott Baker! Good to see ya! How's the fam--

Oh. You have to go? So soon? Well, take care.

Boof! Ol' buddy, ol' pal! How the hell are you?

What? Already? Okay...best of luck. Say hi to Baker for me.

Mike Smith? Good to meet you! What's that you're doing? Unpacking? Ah, say, not to rain on your parade or anything, but you might want to hold off on that...

Read More