"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, September 20, 2007

Dustpans for Garza

Being on the winning end of a sweep is a glorious thing, made even more so by the preceding weeks of The Minnesota Twins Present: A Keystone Cops Revival.

It sure didn't look like Young Master Garza was going to get his first (ever) win at the Dome last night when the first batter of the game tagged pitch #5 waaaaaay into the right field seats. But he pulled himself together and pitched 6 1/3 innings without giving up any more earned runs (there was an unearned run in the seventh). He also got four whole runs of support from his teammates, the most he's gotten all season long. TBL is belatedly realizing that the Curse of Radke has not landed solely on poor Johan...

Also, Morneau got hits in this series. Yes--multiple hits! Okay...two. But still, the hitting!

And last but not least, and also serendipitously on National Talk Like A Pirate Day, TBL finally got to meet up Jen of Lipgloss & Baseball for a game and a long chat. Turns out, we were separated at birth. (Something you've been meaning to tell me, FPC?) Be very afraid, Minnesota--there are two of us. Muahahahahaha.

And now, Twins haikus:

Firmly entrenched in
Third place, watching the hated
White Sox rot in fifth

I don't really mind
No October ball; just send
The Yankees home too

Next up: Friday night, Johan "Will This Season Never End?" Santana vs. Mark "Twin Killer" Buehrle and the despicable Chicago Whine Sox. TBL's laying in the good whiskey for this one.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Minnesota Math

On Friday evening, whilst watching the fiasco unfolding on the field before her, TBL sent a text message to FPC who, as a long-suffering Cubs fan, would surely understand.

It's one thing when your team sucks. But when your team sucks AND the umpires suck, there forms a great swirling vortex of suck from which nothing can escape.
And after the next two games (Baseball 2.0--now without egregious umpire interference!) it occurred to TBL that "great swirling vortex of suck" was a pretty apt description of the season as a whole. (And should any of you think TBL is being too harsh, bear in mind that the highlights of the season thus far have been a five-game winning streak in late August and a doubleheader stomping of the dreadfully bad White Sox in July.)

It also turns out that TBL's decision not to reserve a bundle of bucks for playoff tickets was the right one.

The Twins have been eliminated from the Central Division race, and the only way they could win the wild card would be to win every game for the rest of the season, while Detroit, New York, Seattle, Toronto and Oakland all lost every game remaining to them. Which, considering that Oakland and Seattle are playing a series against each other starting today, is utterly impossible.

Okay. No playoffs. How about a winning season, TBL? What would that take, you wonder?

Allow TBL to break that down for you.

The Twins have 13 games remaining on the schedule. They are currently 5 games below .500. If they go on a 5-game winning streak starting tonight (and wouldn't that be delightful?), they would hit .500 on Saturday, with 8 games left to play. Winning four of the eight, naturally, would give them a season record of .500, while even one more win would allow them to squeak into the "winning season" category.

In other words, they have to win 9 of 13 (play at a .693 clip) to break even, or 10 of 13 (.769) to climb past .500.

In those 13 games the Twins (72-77, .483) face the Rangers (70-79, .470), the White Sox (64-85, .430), Detroit (83-67, .553) and Boston (90-60, .600). And while there is a slim chance the Twins could sweep both Texas and Chicago, TBL is pretty well convinced that Detroit and Boston are going to kick their butts so thoroughly there won't be much left of the team but a faint smear on the Green Monster when all's said and done.

But perhaps they will surprise us. Goodness knows they've been a surprise to TBL most of the season.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Changing of the Guard (Or, Holy ****!)

from WCCO.com:

Terry Ryan, executive vice president and general manager of the Minnesota Twins, will announce Thursday afternoon that he is stepping down at the end of this season.

Ryan, 52, will stay with the organization, WCCO's Mike Max has learned. The Twins won the American League Central last season, but they're two games under .500 this season and out of the playoff chase.

Ryan has long been highly regarded throughout baseball for his work in crafting a contender with a limited payroll. The Twins have received several awards for Organization of the Year this decade, but Ryan began to take some heat this year for the signings of some unproductive veterans and failures to lock up some of the team's stars to long-term contracts.


This is unexpected.

Perhaps not entirely unwelcome, given recent events, but definitely unexpected. Although the finaly paragraph in this segment of article may offer a hint as to why recent events have occurred...
But the last two years haven't been as kind to Ryan. The Twins stumbled out of the gate last season when Ryan gambled on veterans Tony Batista and Rondell White to supplement a shaky lineup. It wasn't until he relented and put in younger players that the Twins made their stunning run to another division title.

And this year, Ryan took a chance on rickety veterans Sidney Ponson and Ramon Ortiz to bolster a rotation that lost Brad Radke to retirement and Liriano to injury. But both Ponson and Ortiz flamed out early in the season.

Ryan also has failed to get long-term extensions done for ace Johan Santana, Hunter and reigning MVP Morneau, putting the future success of the Twins in question as they get ready to move into a new stadium a few years down the road.

Assistant general manager Wayne Krivsky, who was long lauded for his behind-the-scenes work as Ryan's right-hand man, left before last season to take over as Cincinnati's general manager.
Was Krivsky the brain behind the throne? The man has made some good, and some other very interesting trades for the Reds in the last two years.

The big question, though--who's the new GM?

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And Now, A "Duh" Moment

According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Johan Santana wants himself a six-year contract:

Whether the Twins trade two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana this winter could depend on whether they are willing to give him six years or more on a contract extension rather than the five they're expected to offer.
Here's a wild-n-crazy idea.


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