"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, April 30, 2006

Auction! (for the AIDS Walk)

First things first:
This auction is to benefit the Minnesota AIDS Project. All funds raised will go to MAP. The item and the time, effort and materials that went into creating it, as well as any shipping and handling necessary to deliver it to the winner are a donation on my part. Before you bid, please read the small list o' rules and details following the good bit.

The good bit:
This handbag was hand-knit by yours truly. It was worked in two yarns simultaneously. The more visible of the two is a recycled sari silk yarn from Nepal. You see, when those gorgeous saris are woven in India, a leftover off the process are "mill ends"--excess, uneven lengths of silk thread cut from each end of the sari. An enterprising group of women in Nepal have gathered these mill-ends and spin them into yarn, which they then sell online through several distributors. Due to the random nature of the mill-ends, each skein is completely unique and displays within itself a wide range of brilliant, jewel-like colors. And it's SILK.

The base yarn, which is less visible and gives the fabric a uniform density the sari silk cannot achieve on its own is a variegated chenille in a print that was discontinued several years ago. The combination of the naturally unique silk yarn and the rare chenille make this handbag one of a kind.

Here we have a frontal view of the bag. Despite taking about a hundred photos in preparation for this post, I didn't have a single one that really did justice to the richness of the colors in the silk.

The bag with a couple of common items to give a nice idea of its size.

Side view, with a standard paperback inside. There was still plenty of room left in there for a wallet, cell phone and keys, too.

The details:
I'm not eBay. I thought about trying to keep track of "maximum bids"...for about half a second. So, think of this like a live auction, where one person shouts out a bid and the next one goes a little higher, and so on until time's up or there's only one bidder left standing.

We'll start at five dollars. If you have a bid or a question, email it to me. Use the words "blog" and/or "auction" in the subject line to speed it to my notice. I will be putting up an auction tracker on my sidebar, and I will update it as often as I can. Bidding will close at 6:00 p.m. CDT Sunday May 7. I will be watching my email like a hawk from 4:00 that day and updating the auction tracker immediately upon receiving any bids.

If some satisfactory means of making a personal (read: free) delivery to the winner can't be arranged, I will ship to anywhere in the US or Canada at no extra charge. The winner will pay for the item by making a donation in the amount of the final bid on my AIDS Walk page. That way we both know the right amount has gone to the right place. :)

And remember--Mother's Day is coming up! Wouldn't Mom love a silk purse? Of course she would.

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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Saturday Catblogging

For those of you rendered abject by this afternoon's humiliating loss to Detroit, I present this Moment of Cuteness.

Jonah? Who's that?

P.S. If you haven't already, please check out the "Dread Pirates Walking" post!

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Friday, April 28, 2006


So I started a new job on the 10th, and I've been busy with things other than baseball lately. Things like the latest novel in the Dresden Files and the planting of the garden and the playing with the newly-healthy Pooie and the enjoying of the warm weather and the making of the pretty things. For more on the pretty things, please see the post "Dread Pirates Walking".

On the Twins front, they took two of three from the Royals after getting their asses kicked to Kansas City from and by Chicago. At least they saved on airfare, right?

The team average is sitting at a modest .262 (9th in the league), OPS at .710 (11th), home runs at 20 (12th), runs at 96 (also 12th), extra-base hits at 48 (dead last) and...oh, hell. Let's just cut to the chase. The only thing the Twins batters are good at is stealing bases (15, 4th; steal rate 83.3%, 2nd).

On the pitching side, the team ERA has climbed all the way up to 5.57 (11th in the league). Ooo, look, we're under 6.00. O frabjuous day! (Sigh.) Shall I just skip to the good bit again? I shall. The Twins staff has given up fewer walks than any other and is third in the AL in fewest batters hit by pitches. (Hey, I'm trying. It would help if they gave me something to work with.)

But wait...what's this?

The Twins lead the league in fielding percentage! Hot damn! We can't pitch or hit that ball, but we sure can catch it! Yippee. That'll get us through the season.

They start a series against the Detroit Tigers (who are, you may recall, rather more formidable than KC) tonight in just a little while. If Radke can keep the ball in the park and the boys can remember that the big stick is supposed to make contact with the ball and not wave fruitlessly in its general direction, we've got a shot.

But I've laid in some extra whiskey, just in case.

Postscript, 3rd inning:
I did not lay in enough whiskey.

Postscript, 8th inning:
There isn't enough whiskey in all of Hennepin County.

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Dread Pirates Walking

It's that time of year again! The time when pirates drag their sorry, scurvy asses up off the galley floor and march around Minnehaha Falls.

Yes, that's right, the Pirates of the Bloodwake are doing the Minnesota AIDSWalk again, on May 21. TBL will be missing a game against Milwaukee, which means her beloved Corey Koskie may very well be playing, to participate.

And we need money. Your money, actually.

The AIDSWalk benefits the Minnesota AIDS Project, which provides HIV prevention education along with services and advocacy for HIV-positive Minnesotans. More than 5,000 Minnesotans are known to be living with HIV and an estimated 2,500 more are unaware they are infected with the virus, so that's pretty darn important stuff. And it costs money, which is (appropriately enough) what the Walk raises.

If you can spare a little money for this worthy cause, please do. You can donate online at my AIDSWalk page or sponsor the pirate of your choice at the Bloodwake Pirates AIDSWalk page. All contributions are tax-deductible.

Also, please consider attending these
Exciting, Swashbuckling Events
(all proceeds will benefit the Minnesota AIDS Walk)

Bake Sale Fundraiser

Buy goodies baked by the Ladies of Tortuga! Drink coffee! Get a lasting souvenir by getting Your Picture With Pirates ($2 minimum donation if you bring your own camera, $5 if you require the services of the Piratical Polaroid)! Remember that charitable goodies have no calories! It's true!

Sunday, May 7th
10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
outside the establishment of our generous allies
Magers and Quinn Booksellers
3038 Hennepin Ave S
(and grab yourself some good reads while you're there)

Jewelry Sale Fundraiser

Buy accessories handmade by the Ladies of Tortuga! Necklaces! Earrings! Bracelets! Anklets! Hair Sparklies! And a very limited supply of summer handbags knit by TBL herself.

Location, date and time TBD. Check this blog for updates.

First-Ever Third Base Line Auction

Bid on a one-of-a-kind, hand-knit TBL creation! Feel good about supporting the AIDSWalk and the enterprising women in Nepal who spun the mill ends of silk saris into a unique and beautiful yarn! Thwart those you outbid!

The auction will commence this weekend and end next weekend. If it goes well, other items may be offered up. Possibly including Twins tickets! Ooo!

Yardarm Yard Sale

Buy stuff we don't want anymore! Mock our fashion sense! Get Your Picture With Pirates (same deal as at the bake sale)!

Tentatively scheduled for Saturday, May 20th. Check this blog for updates.

Okay, now, here's the kicker. Our team goal is $250 per person. If we, as a group, raise twice that, we will walk the Walk in full pirate garb. Jolly Roger and all, folks. I expect we'd be on the news.

Want that to happen? Donate!

Thank you.

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Monday, April 17, 2006

With Fans Like These...

...who needs opponents?

You may recall that before the series against NY I mentioned how hordes of rude Bankee fans are usually good for a rant or three. Well, I was partially right. Seems that losing a series has a way of taming the Bankee rabble (but seriously, folks--that many people did not move to Minnesota from New York. What are these people thinking?!), so they were remarkably well-behaved. The hordes of rude fans were, alas...ours.

So, TBL presents a quick refresher course in fan etiquette:

Fan Etiquette 101: The "Big Three"

1. Sit in the seat for which you have a ticket. They are numbered for several reasons. Those reasons will be covered in Fan Etiquette 201: Acting Like A Civilized Human Being.

2. Booing is for umpires and visiting players who happen to be huge jerks. Exceptions may be made, on a case-by-case basis, for hometown team players who have publicly insulted the organization.

3. Drink and swear only in moderation. There are sober people and children near you. The former do not think you are as funny as you do, and the latter see enough bad behavior on TV, thanks.

I'd like to draw everyone's attention to rule #2, and remind them that having a 12-game hitting slump while trying to adjust to a change of role from outfielder to DH does not constitute "insulting the organization". It constitutes having a slump, which happens to everyone and which no one would particularly remark upon if it had occurred after a month or two of normal hitting performance. Yes, the timing sucks, but the poor man isn't doing it deliberately.

And being booed by his own team's "fans" is not helping.

[censored], you'd think we were Bankee fans. How 'bout a little Minnesota Nice ova' hea'?

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Sunday, April 16, 2006

Clean Bill of Health

Well, we got the results of Pooie's post-treatment tests, and it's all good news. She's gained two and a half pounds since she came home from the hospital. Her hyperthyroidism and her heart murmur are both gone. She's off all her medications and her heart, liver and kidney readings are all smack in the middle of the normal range. As her doctor said: as far as her body is concerned, none of this ever happened. The recurrence rate after this treatment is less than one percent, and there is no impact on the patient's expected lifespan.

Look upon my perfection, mortals.

Once more, thanks to everyone out there for your good wishes and support, and to the staff at the VCA Animal Care Hospital in Richfield. Also a big, huge thanks to Dr. Ralph Weichselbaum, DVM, a veterinary radiation therapy specialist who has successfully treated hundreds, perhaps thousands, of cats with this condition via non-invasive radioiodine therapy.

And to all you who are owned by cats (you know it's not the other way around!), just a reminder of some of the symptoms of feline hyperthyroidism, which usually strikes cats over 7: weight loss, hyperactivity, rough or thin coat, accelerated pulse, nervousness, hyperventilating or panting under stress. A thyroid level test is under $50. If you suspect your cat might, just might, have this condition, take them to the vet. It is curable. Not just treatable, but curable.

And isn't that a miracle?

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Friday, April 14, 2006

Twins v. A's Series Wrapup

Who are these people and what have they done with my Twins? And, more importantly, can they be persuaded to stay?

In this three-game series against the A's, the Twins hit .350/.400/1.010, scored 21 runs, hit six homers and six doubles, took 8 walks and got 35 hits. The pitching staff, meanwhile, picked up the pace a bit. Though a cumulative 4.33 ERA doesn't look so hot on this group of arms, it's a lot better than the 6.38 they posted against Cleveland. They gave up 13 earned runs including five homers while striking out 20.

I was at the opening night game, and if you missed it, please feel free to take a moment to whack yourself over the head with a nice thesaurus or a brick or something. What a game! What a rally! What a surprise!

TBL is a wee bit busy with her shiny new job at the moment, so you'll have to pardon the erratic posting. The goal at the moment is two posts a week. Three or more when things calm down a bit.

The Bankees are in town to start a three-game series tonight. I'll be attending tonight and Sunday. Those of you who have been with this blog (and its previous incarnation on Earthlink) for a while know that the Bankee series is always good for at least one rant about obnoxious NY fans, so stay tuned.

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Wherefore Art Thou, Bartlett?

The Star Tribune's Jim Souhan and I don't often agree on the Twins, but one of his recent articles (partially reproduced here) hits the nail on the head.

The remodeled Twins worked out at spruced-up Rogers Centre on Monday in preparation for Opening Day, the most optimistic occasion in sport. This is a time befitting helium balloons and helium expectations, as long as the Twins, like Fox News, avoid looking left.

Reasonable observers can anticipate improvements all over the diamond, from Justin Morneau's health to Joe Mauer's maturation to Castillo's arrival.

Glance left, though, and you find Tony Batista's soft hands and midsection at third base next to Juan Castro's soft hands and bat at shortstop.

In Castro, the Twins are handing the starting shortstop job on a supposed contender to a 33-year-old career utility player with a .230 career average and .271 on-base percentage who has never produced more than 33 RBI or two steals in a big-league season.

A team desperate to dramatically upgrade its hitting chose the weakest-hitting applicant in its camp.

Jason Bartlett, the heir apparent, hit .382 with a .500 on-base percentage this spring. He hit .332 at Class AAA Rochester last year. Though he struggled in the majors last season, he will, given the opportunity, be a superior offensive player to Castro, and he has better range in the field.

Nick Punto, who hardly seized the job when given a chance last year, at least looked like an improved player this spring.

So why did Castro win the starting job? Because he's the shortstop who promises to cause manager Ron Gardenhire the fewest ulcers.

Gardenhire didn't think Bartlett took charge of the infield, so maybe Bartlett should learn to speak Spanish and Canadian.

Seriously, why Castro? "He just looks right out there next to Castillo," Gardenhire said. "He makes the plays. I really like the way they turn the double play."

Can Castro hit enough to keep the job?

"We think so, because he can handle the bat," Gardenhire said. "We're going to have to put plays on. We're going to have to start runners, let him put the ball in play."

In other words, nobody expects Castro to produce runs, which puts the Twins at a competitive disadvantage with the White Sox and Indians, not to mention the Yankees, A's, Tigers, Devil Rays, Orioles and ... you get the idea.

The Twins would be in better shape today if they had stuck with Bartlett last year, coaxing him through his growing pains instead of sending him down.

Now they're compounding that mistake.

This was, obviously, written for opening day. And yes, Castro has been on one of his periodic hitting streaks. But the fact remains that Bartlett is not only much younger and much cheaper than Castro, he also has greater range in the field (there's a big hole in that "defense" argument...) and a much higher offensive ceiling.

They sent him down last year because they were playing for the now at the expense and exclusion of the future. Now the future has arrived, and we're once again relying on a utility player to fill one of the central roles on the starting lineup, and sacrificing the development of a promising player to do so.

Bartlett may or may not be a better option than Castro right now, today. But give him half a season, uninterrupted, in the majors as a starting shortstop and odds are ten to one he'll be the better option then. This team is going to need a good shortstop down the stretch if it wants to contend. The Twins can develop that shortstop now or wake up in August wondering why they don't have one.

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Friday, April 07, 2006

Our Hero

My friends, we live in a world of change. People sign big contracts with the Cubs and they leave us. Other people fly in from Japan and stay a while. Infields are transformed, bullpens are filled out, and guys who look like they might turn twelve soon become fifth starters.

But in the midst of chaos, there is one thing that we, as Twins fans can always count on. One pillar of certainty, fixed and constant as the north star. And it is this:

Whenever Hope rears its ugly head, Kyle Lohse will be there.

You see, every pitcher opens Fandora's Box sometimes. We, as fans, never actually get to see the Box, mind you, but if you listen to your radio or tv very carefully, it sounds an awful lot like facing seven batters in the first inning. And when Fandora's Box opens, it unleashes upon the team every evil known to fankind--homers, errors, wild pitches, balks, bad umpires, premature swinging, you name it. And then the team not only has to worry about coming back from a deficit, they also have to worry about heroically defeating every evil known to fankind. It's like they're doing two things at once, and, baseball players? Not known for multitasking.

But Kyle Lohse is wily, and has a passing familiarity with canonical myth. He knows that the Box isn't empty. Not quite. So he lets his teammates worry about slaying every evil known to fankind, and he waits. He pitches a few more innings, biding his time. And when the Twins pull to within a run, the Box creaks open once more and out springs a sparkly-winged pixie and it says:

"Hello! I am Hope, and I am here to tell you that things are not so bad! You have pulled to within a run, do you see? And it is only the fifth inning! You can still win!"

Then Kyle Lohse darts forward and seizes Hope, and crumples it into a ball, and serves it straight over the middle of the plate to Casey Blake with the bases loaded. And now the Box is finally empty, and Kyle Lohse smiles to himself and trots off the mound, knowing that he has once again outwitted the sneakiest creature in Fandora's Box.

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Paint By Numbers

Well, that's one series in the books, and it didn't go the Twins' way. My "Lost" and "CSI" addictions caused me to miss large chunks of the last two games (I know, I know...and I actually went and got a DVR last night, ok? Not that the game was televised yesterday...), but it seemed to me the hitting was okay by Twins standards--this isn't saying much--and it was the pitching that really tipped the balance against the Twins. Of course, early in the season you expect the hitters to be a little ahead of the pitchers, so this isn't cause for panic.

Let's eyeball some numbers for reference and maybe a few chuckles.

Over the series, the Twins hit a combined .269/.304/.768. I notice that's the second-lowest OBP in the AL thus far (the Royals have racked up a whole .172 in two games. Yikes!!). So, the boys weren't getting on base well. What else is new? They did, however, manage five homers, five doubles and three stolen bases. They took six walks in 114 plate appearances, and didn't hit a lot either. They scored 19 runs, 13 of which happened in one game. Over the other two games, the Twins hit .190. They also continued the long Minnesota tradition of grounding into double plays whenever humanly possible.

Here's something that I've never looked at before, and I'm not sure why: pitches faced.

The Twins saw, on average, 3.5 pitches per plate appearance. The Detroit Tigers have been ever-so-slightly more impatient, at 3.49, but everyone else has made opposing pitchers work harder. It's far too soon to apply this stat to individual batters (no one on the team has reached even 20 at-bats yet), but I'm going to keep this in mind down the road. It will be interesting to see who's really impatient and who only gives that impression, don't you think?

On to the pitching. The Twins ERA over the series was 5.40. Ouch. Curiously, the Blue Jays staggered away with a 5.67 and won the series. Looks like that 13-run game skewed things on the pitching side, too.

The Twins staff gave up 34 hits, four over the fence, and 15 earned runs. Starters Santana, Radke and Silva were roughed up for a collective 23 hits and 13 earned runs. The bullpen on the other hand did very well, giving up only two runs, both on a homer allowed by Crain. They logged only 14 strikeouts but gave up only four walks--two by Silva, which is frankly astounding. The man gave out nine free passes last year. NINE. It was a major league record. Look it up--it's true!

So. My initial impressions were, um...wrong. Not terribly wrong, for indeed the pitching was not so great. But the hitting kind of sucked, overall. There was the one good game (we had some of those last year, too) bookended by a lot of awkward flailing and some stranded runners for spice.

So, you know...one series. Meh. You win some, you lose some. I'm not worried about the pitching; these guys are going to be just fine. Better than fine. But personally, I'm still waiting for some evidence to back up the organization's claim that the offense has been improved since last season.

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

An Open Letter to Jason Bartlett

Dear Jason,

Hi! How are you? It got up to 60 for the first time here today, so that's nice. And Pooie is doing very well, thanks for asking. She's gained two whole pounds since she came home from the cat hospital--can you believe it? She's like a different cat. You simply won't recognize her. But that's not why I'm writing.

Listen, I've been talking to some of the other bloggers and a bunch of fans and well, we're really really sorry about what happened to you. I mean, the Twins could have at least bought you dinner and a drink before they screwed you like that.

Yeah, okay, Castro can field and all, but you're not exactly chopped liver yourself. And, if I may be just a little catty between you and me, he makes the Mendoza line look like an accomplishment. And what is this bullshit about "leadership"? I mean, really. Christian Guzman isn't going to get rich running leadership seminars after he retires, I'm telling you.

You know what I think? I think "defense" (you had above-average fielding percentage and range factor last season, after all!) and "leadership" are just convenient excuses. I think Gardy has an unnatural love for marginal infielders because he was one himself. He looks at Juan Castro and he doesn't see Juan Castro--he sees Young Ron Gardenhire. And he gets a little misty-eyed and next thing you know he's out buying luggage for guys who might actually get a hit now and then.

I suppose it's only natural. The sympathy part, I mean. But there's a not-so-fine line between being sympathetic and being a bonehead, and that line has been crossed, my friend. Heck, that line isn't even visible in the rearview anymore.

But you hang in there, okay? You have friends, and your friends have a metric ton of toilet paper and Gardy's home address. You'll be back in Minnesota in no time, trust us.



P.S. Thanks for sending me Gardy's home address.

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Monday, April 03, 2006

Around the Horn: Preseason Blogger Edition!

Hello, everyone! It's time for another game of Around the Horn, in which my unsuspecting victims helpful compatriots lob questions around the virtual infield.

This edition is an all-blogger preseason edition. We originally intended to get it together a week or so before the season started, but due to the hectic schedules of some of the volunteers we lost a few days. But hey, it's still the preseason for the Twins, so it's all good.

Our starting lineup:

At pitcher, recently clocked at 100 wpm, as always...me.

At catcher, the man with the keyboard on the back of his mitt, Twins Junkie of (strangely enough) Twins Junkie.

At third, leading the league in SPP (Sass Per Paragraph), BatGirl of (surprise!) BatGirl.

At shortstop, smoothly stealing signs, Seth of Seth Speaks.

At second, making a play for Rookie Blogger of the Year, Hannah of The Good Life.

And at first, riding a record error-free posting streak, Frightwig of Sundappled Wood.

Third Base Line (P) asks:
If the 25-man roster had to be set today and it were up to you, who would get the two openings in the bullpen, and why?

Twins Junkie (C) says:
Unfortunately, I was lazy in answering this question and now that I have finally assumed the task, Darryl May and Dennys Reyes have already been cut, it has more or less been solidified that the last two spots will go to Willie Eyre and Francisco Liriano.

Now, the reason this is bad isn't because we already know who it is, because that could certainly be good if I vehemently disagreed, but these were the two guys I wanted. This is actually the second consecutive season in which the Opening Day roster will look almost exactly as I would like it to as far as player we already have (because I'm certainly not ecstatic about having Tony Batista and Reuben Sierra).

Liriano is a given in my mind. Some will say that he should take the ball every 5th day in Rochester, but I say the Major League experience is exponentially more valuably than the everyday grind of Triple-A. All we can do is pray that he gets of to a solid start and then is moved into the rotation sometime around June.

The real question mark was Willie Eyre vs. Dennys Reyes.

Eyre had an outstanding year in Rochester last year, with 82.2 IP, a 10-3 record and a 2.72 ERA. He also had 74 K's (8.06 K/9) and only 28 BB (3.05 BB/9). In fact, Willie was probably the most underrated and under-hyped player in the Twins system last year. He deserved this shot.

Reyes will surely get a chance to prove himself sometime this season, so come September make a look back will be in order, but for now I am confident in the pitching staff.

Twins Junkie (C) asks:
Is the latest Stadium proposal fair? What would you do to revise it?

BatGirl (3B) says:
I'm very conflicted on the stadium proposal. I really do believe the Twins should be footing more of the bill. I believe very strongly that cities should invest in themselves, but I also don't think it's necessary in this case. At the same time, the Twins are never going to foot more of the bill--it's this or nothing and I'll take this. I am, however, appalled that there's not going to be a retractable roof. Have the people who made this plan ever been to this state? I do wish the Twins would pay at least for that--given all the lost revenue they're going to have from blizzard-outs and Lew Ford making snowmen in right when he's supposed to be fielding.

BatGirl (3B) asks:
If your daughter was going to marry a current Twin, which one would you want it to be and why?

Seth (SS) says:
Well, the easy answer is to say Joe Mauer. I mean, he's marketable. He signed a huge bonus and is about to make a lot more money in the coming years. He is a model, and he is smart (I know, how unusual is that?!) He is tall and a well-rounded athlete, meaning that my grandchildren would have a good shot at a pro career in anything. Also, from all we hear, the Mauer family is excellent and would be excellent in-laws.

Seth (SS) asks:
Outside of Scott Baker, Jason Kubel and Francisco Liriano, which other rookie will have the biggest impact on the Twins 2006 success?

Hannah (2B) says:
I am not one to follow Spring Training very closely, but alas, I'll go with Neshek because he has a wicked awesome web page.

Hannah (2B) asks:
Do you think that Morneau is going to excel offensively this season? Why or why not?

Frightwig (1B) says:
I believe Justin Morneau will improve to becoming a more consistent hitter and reliable source of power this season.


He's switched to #33 this year. He shed the #27 jersey, which also weighed like a millstone on David Ortiz while he was a Twin, and has donned the number of superstars: Kareem, Bird, Tony Dorsett... OK, it was also Jose Canseco's number. But, most importantly to any lad from the Great White North, it was the number of the sainted Patrick Roy.

Justin Morneau literally will be backed by a hallowed symbol of The True North, Strong and Free, every time he steps to the plate this year. I hear it also matches the number he has tattooed on his arm, which he got while he wore #33 in high school. So now he has
balance, he has reconnected with his roots. How can he fail? I ask you.

Oh, also: He's healthy. He seems relaxed in camp. He has lighter expectations to carry, minus so much of the "M&M Boys" hype and the responsibility of batting cleanup this spring. It looks like he had a good experience playing for Team Canada in the WBC, and I don't think it could hurt that he's already played some competitive games before the season opens.

Finally, he's not on my fantasy team anymore, so that jinx is off.

Frightwig (1B) asks:
How would you rate Terry Ryan's offseason, and what about the Twins has you most intrigued about the upcoming season?

Third Base Line (P) says:
I'm going to give Terry Ryan an A- overall.

The Tony Batista signing rates a C. He's a proven power hitter, and since the contract wasn't guaranteed (the buyout option was a bit pricey, but still an option), it was definitely worth a shot to bring him to camp and try him out. Since I don't know how much influence TR had on the decision to keep him as our starting third baseman--a decision about which I have grave misgivings--I'm not letting that count against his grade. I did think there were better options out there, though, and he could/should have made a move for one of them.

The Bucket o' Lefties was a good, solid B move. Darrell May, Gabe White, and Dennys Reyes all got minor-league offers and spring training invites, a very low-risk proposition, and gave the team a lot of options. I expected May to do better than he did (I'm sure TR felt the same), and Reyes was a strong candidate and remains a viable option in case of injuries, since he agreed to the minor-league assignment.

But the coup de grace,the move which not only gets him an A+ but some extra credit as well, is the signing of Luis Castillo. 'Bout damn time we got ourselves a real honest-to-gosh second baseman.

What has me most intrigued about the upcoming season is a combination of Justin Morneau, Willie Eyre and Pat Neshek. Morneau is coming into the season healthy, which means we might FINALLY get to see him playing at his peak. I've been rooting for Eyre all spring, and am stunned and pleased that he made the club despite the coaching staff's habitual over-fondness for veterans. Neshek is at the cusp, I think--so very close to being ready for the majors. I expect we'll see him in Minnesota before the season's out and I'm very much looking forward to it.

Thanks to everyone who played, and that concludes this round of Around the Horn.

Or does it?

I'm going to take a page from Carlos Silva and lob this "ball" into the stands. Pick a question, and let's hear YOUR answer.

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Sunday, April 02, 2006

Just a Thought

When you end spring training with a 15-3 stomping at the hands of your own AAA affiliate, it may, just may, be time to rethink a few of those recent roster moves.

I'm just sayin', is all.

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