"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, October 26, 2008

Autumnal Knitting: Lotus Hat

This is an autumn hat I made based on the Crosshatch Lace stitch. I call it "Lotus Hat" because the decrease at the crown forms a lotus-like pattern, while the lace on the body looks rather like stems and leaves. I made it beanie-style, designed to only cover the tips of the ears, but have included instructions for lengthening it.

TBL's Lotus Hat

Original pattern

5 st/in in stockinette

I used:
Pakucho color-grown organic cotton, worsted weight
Size 6 needles

CO 96 st. Join into a round, being careful not to twist.

Work in K1, P1 ribbing for 6 rounds.

Work Chart A (Crosshatch Lace) around 3 times, ending on row 8--24 rounds total. (For a longer, earlobe-covering hat, work one extra time--32 rounds total.)

Work Chart B once. Break yarn and thread through live stitches. Pull tight, secure, and weave in ends.

Gaugeless pattern (extrapolated from the original and NOT TESTED):

CO a multiple of 12 stitches. Join into a round, being careful not to twist.

Work in K1, P1 ribbing for 6 rounds or until desired band height is achieved.

Work Chart A (Crosshatch Lace) until hat is approximately 2 pattern repeats shy of total desired length (as measured from crown to edge), ending on row 8

Work Chart B once. If there are more than 16 stitches left on the needles, work row 20 again. Break yarn and thread through live stitches. Pull tight, secure, and weave in ends.

Apologies for the blurry charts--Blogger doesn't like the very tall image size. Click here to see the original image.

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Today's Reason

...to duck behind the couch, curl up into a ball, and whimper.
NEW YORK - In a sign of the times, the National Debt Clock in New York City has run out of digits to record the growing figure.
As a short-term fix, the digital dollar sign on the billboard-style clock near Times Square has been switched to a figure — the "1" in $10 trillion. It's marking the federal government's current debt at about $10.2 trillion.
The Durst Organization says it plans to update the sign next year by adding two digits. That will make it capable of tracking debt up to a quadrillion dollars.
The late Manhattan real estate developer Seymour Durst put the sign up in 1989 to call attention to what was then a $2.7 trillion debt.
TBL's yarn stash is starting to look like a better investment than her 401(k), because we may just revert to an agrarian society by the time she's 65.

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Monday, September 29, 2008


There may be a Blackberry in TBL's future, as this summer she has found the vast majority of her "free time" on the bus. But she has valiantly carved some few moments out today because she simply could not resist remarking on this comment by Whine Sox pitcher Mark "World's Smallest Violin" Buehrle on the necessity of making up a previously rained out game with the Tigers:

"You play 161 games and today is supposed to be the last day of the year," Buehrle said. "Everybody is going home, a lot of people are going to the playoffs and here we got to play another game that matters for us and not for the other team."

See, Markie, the point is that you only played 161 games. The Twins played 162, and so must you. There are many words to describe this phenomenon, like "justice" and "fairness" and "schadenfreude". Perhaps you can meditate upon them as you ride the bench today.

Meanwhile, dearest readers, let us all cast our minds back to the Sucking Years and use the empathy we acquired then to whole-heartedly embrace those stalwart Detroit Tigers as they strive to end the season tied for last place, rather than in sole possession of it.

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Did Anyone Get the Plate Number?

Twins @ Boston
Twins 0, Boston 1
Twins 5, Boston 6
Twins 5, Boston 18

Baseball's a funny ol' game.  You're cruising along, winning seven series in a row, sweeping four of them, and all of a sudden, BAM!  Run over by a big red truck.  But as long as that doesn't turn you into cat food, it's all okay.  Really.


 Next up, Twins @ Tigers for four games. 

12:05 Thursday, 6:05 Friday, 2:55 Saturday, 12:05 Sunday

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Monday, June 30, 2008

When Hitting Isn't Desirable

Ugh.  Yet another incident in which a player physically abuses a team employee.  After the Astros' Shawn Chacon hit his GM in an argument over his removal (demotion) to the bullpen, we have Manny Ramirez shoving the BoSox traveling secretary to the ground when the man told him he might not be able to secure Manny 16 tickets for that day's game. (Aside:  way to plan ahead, Manny...)

C'mon, guys.  You're giving the game a bad name.  This isn't football, y'know.

Ramirez won't be released like Chacon was, because he's performing on the field.  Indeed, manager Terry Francona stated that Manny has apologized and that the incident has been resolved.  Keep in mind that Ramirez took a swing at teammate Kevin Youkillis in the dugout just a couple of weeks ago, and wasn't punished for THAT, either.  I guess hitting .289 with 16 homers and 52 RBI constitutes a Get Out of Trouble Free card with unlimited refills.


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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Here's a Wacky Idea

Let's play interleague all the time!

Twins vs. AL: 31-33 (.484)
Twins vs. NL: 14-4 (.778)

Zounds. More interleague excitement:

Twins pitching vs. AL: 4.73 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 2.57 BB/9, 5.52 K/9, 2.15 K/BB
Twins pitching vs. NL: 2.44 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 1.89 BB/9, 6.61 K/9, 3.50 K/BB

Twins hitting vs. AL: .270 BA, .324 OBP, .389 SLG, .713 OPS, 4.63 R/Gm, 0.64 HR/Gm
Twins hitting vs. NL: .281 BA, .340 OBP, .433 SLG, .772 OPS, 5.44 R/Gm, 0.83 HR/Gm

So...did the Twins just happen to get hot as interleague play was starting, or will they return to the wildly inconsistent stylings of April and May as we resume AL-only play?

Time will tell. First up, the Tiggers.

Perkins v Gallaraga on Monday; that should be interesting. Gallaraga's got good overall numbers on the season, but hasn't fared well against the Twins and got knocked around in his last start. Perkins has been inconsistent, but did well against the Tigers the last time he faced him and is coming off of a game he won mostly out of sheer pigheaded stubbornness.

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Friday, June 27, 2008


 People Who Really Piss TBL Off, list entry #34:

People who think it's funny to set off &%*#! firecrackers on a residential street at midnight on a weeknight.

And again at 1:40 a.m.

Also at 3:15.

And finally at 4:30.


There are times, darling readers, when TBL finds it very difficult to remember that she is a pacifist.  A solid majority of those occur between bedtime and dawn.  (Most of the rest involve the Yankees or the Whine Sox.)

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Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin, R.I.P.

 George Carlin, 1937-2008

This was a guy who turned brutal honesty into an art form.  He said what he thought, like it or not.  Nothing was taboo because he didn't believe in taboos.  He believed in putting it out there, and if it shocked people, then he figured they needed some shocking.  When we stuck our heads in the sand and said, "If I don't like it, it's not happening", he took the opportunity to sneak up and shoot us in the butt with a SuperSoaker full of ice water.

"Some national parks have long waiting lists for camping reservations. When you have to wait a year to sleep next to a tree, something is wrong."

"I'm completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. My idea is that these two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death."

"There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls."

"The very existence of flamethrowers proves that some time, somewhere, someone said to themselves, 'You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job done'." 
"May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house."

"When someone is impatient and says, 'I haven't got all day,' I always wonder, How can that be? How can you not have all day?"

"When you're born, you get a ticket to the freak show. When you're born in America, you get a front-row seat."

Carlin on the 1991 Persian Gulf War

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

That's It Exactly

 TBL has been looking for a good analogy for the season to date, and today she found one.  (No points for guessing why this particular analogy came to her...)

Watching the Twins so far has been like leaving the office for the lunch hour on a nice sunny day and taking a long, invigorating walk through a picturesque area, in shoes that haven't properly broken in yet.

The comments are open.  Post  your analogy! 

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Is There a Doctor in the Stadium?

Darling readers, does it seem to you as though the Twins have been unusually injury-prone this season?  Because that is how it has seemed to TBL.  So many trips to the DL!  Not to mention those unofficial "out for a few days" situations that reduce bench options and frustrate the heck out of everyone.

So TBL decided to poke through the archives and see if this really is shaping up to be an injury-prone season.  She compiled the official injury list (trips to the DL) from April 1 through June 9th.  Weeding out 15-day designations that turned into 60-day--turned by June 9th, that is--this is what she found:

15-day - position players: 3
15-day - pitchers: 2
60-day - position players: 1
60-day - pitchers: 0
total injuries: 6

15-day - position players: 4
15-day - pitchers: 3
60-day - position players: 0
60-day - pitchers: 1
total injuries: 8

15-day - position players: 1
15-day - pitchers: 2
60-day - position players: 0
60-day - pitchers: 1
total injuries: 4

2004 (first season on Field Turf)
15-day - position players: 7
15-day - pitchers: 1
60-day - position players: 0
60-day - pitchers: 0
total injuries: 8

15-day - position players: 3
15-day - pitchers: 1
60-day - position players: 0
60-day - pitchers: 0
total injuries: 4

15-day - position players: 2
15-day - pitchers: 1
60-day - position players: 0
60-day - pitchers: 0
total injuries:  3

15-day - position players: 4
15-day - pitchers: 2
60-day - position players: 0
60-day - pitchers: 1
total injuries: 7

15-day - position players: 6
15-day - pitchers: 2
60-day - position players: 0
60-day - pitchers: 1
total injuries: 9
Well.  It's certainly high, but not vastly so.  One injury more than our worst starts previously, and TBL is mindful that those seasons (2002 and 2004) ended up being pretty darn special. 

Of course, what really matters is WHO goes on the DL, right?  Certainly the weeks-long loss of Michael Cuddyer hurt the Twins in April, the projected 2-month loss of Matt Tolbert hurts now, and the projected season-long loss of Pat Neshek is a constant, throbbing pain in the side of a shaky pitching staff.

TBL provides the following roll-call of this season's injured versus previous seasons' and leaves you to draw your own comparisons and conclusions.  Of course, she would just love to hear what those are...

OF Torii Hunter, 15
LHP Mark Redman, 15
2B Jason Maxwell, 15
LHP Eddie Guardado, 15
OF Chad Allen, 15
1B/DH David Ortiz, 60

2B Luis Rivas, 15
OF Brian Buchanan, 15
1B/DH David Ortiz, 15
3B Corey Koskie, 15
RHP Brad Radke, 15
RHP Brad Radke, 15
RHP Jack Cressend, 15
RHP Joe Mays, 60 

RHP Mike Fetters, 15
IF Denny Hocking, 15
RHP Rick Reed, 15
RHP Mike Fetters, 60

RHP Grant Balfour, 15
C Joe Mauer, 15
C Matthew LeCroy, 15
OF Torii Hunter, 15
IF Nick Punto, 15
3B Corey Koskie, 15
OF Shannon Stewart, 15
2B Luis Rivas, 15

RHP Carlos Silva, 15
1B Justin Morneau, 15
2B Luis Rivas, 15
INF Nick Punto, 15

DH Ruben Sierra, 15
OF Shannon Stewart, 15
RHP Matt Guerrier, 15

INF Jeff Cirillo, 15
OF Rondell White, 15
C Joe Mauer, 15
OF Josh Rabe, 15
LHP Glen Perkins, 15
LHP Dennys Reyes, 15
RHP Jesse Crain, 60
OF Michael Cuddyer, 15
RHP Kevin Slowey, 15
SS Adam Everett, 15
RHP Scott Baker, 15
INF Nick Punto, 15
INF Matt Tolbert, 15
INF Adam Everett, 15
INF Nick Punto, 15
LHP Pat Neshek, 60

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Arrr, That Be Hurtful

 From a story on CBS Sports comes what may well be the insult of the year in baseball:

"...the Pirates logo should have patches over both eyes."

(Unsure whether to giggle or wince, TBL managed both simultaneously.)

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Well, That Was Interesting...

Things You Don't See Every Day
(But Did Last Night):

- a two-run sac fly
- a triple by Jason "Fast Like Taffy" Kubel
- a drunk guy running onto the field during a game of no particular importance or notoriety
- an upper-deck Mauer homer
- a fan catching an opponent home run and NOT throwing it back (good for him!)


Busy, busy, busy. Gads, dear readers, but TBL has been busy. She hardly knows where May went. Perhaps she left it on the bus one morning as she made her woozy, sleep-deprived way to the office. If anyone out there finds TBL's May, she will give you her July 4th tickets as a reward for its return.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Avast! Thar Be Critters!

So, TBL has gone a wee bit wacko with the Critter knitting. Here we see Captain Jack Critter, terror of the end table. To make Cap'n Jack a reality, TBL had to figure out how to knit him a tricorn. Uncharacteristically, she wrote it down as she went! So...the pattern.

Critter Tricorn
(probably suitable for any toy with a roundish head)

When making this for a Critter, use the same weight of yarn and needle size as you used for the Critter. When making it for other toys, calculate gauge and act accordingly. TBL used Wool Ease Worsted on size 6 (4.00 mm) needles.

abbreviations: M1p - make one purlwise (check here for a simple tutorial)

CO 6 st, join in round.

1. KFB around -- 12 st
2. (KFB, K1) around -- 18 st
3. (KFB, K2) around -- 24 st
4. K around
5. (KFB, K3) around -- 30 st
6. K around
7. (KFB, K4) around -- 36 st
8. K around
9. (KFB, K5) around -- 42 st
10. K around
12-16: (K1, P1) around
17: K around
18: (P1, M1p, P7) around --54 st
19: (P1, M1p, P8) around --60 st
20: P around
21: (P1, M1p, P7) around --66 st
22: (P1, M1p, P8) around --72 st
23: P around
24: (P1, M1p, P7) around --78 st
25: (P1, M1p, P8) around --84 st
26: P around
27: (P1, M1p, P7) around --90 st
28: (P1, M1p, P8) around --96 st
29: P around
30: K around
31: P around
32: K around

Bind off purlwise. Weave in ends. Using short lengths of same yarn or matching thread, tack brim to crown at three equidistant points. Place on Critter. Terrify nearby Critters.

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sunday Catblogging


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Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Good day, darling readers. TBL apologizes for her inattentiveness, entirely due to her being in the middle of not one but TWO Secret Projects, neither of which (alas) is blog-related. Initially TBL had planned to maintain the blog whilst Secret Project-ing, but you can all see how that worked out. TBL now plans to be back to more regular blogging in 2-3 weeks.

Perhaps, by then, our darling Twins will have done something fabulous for her to chortle over.

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

An Open Letter to Nick Blackburn

Dear Nick,

My, that was a lovely start. Seven innings, five hits, one walk, one wild pitch, one run. TBL could hardly believe it was your first major-league start. Unfortunately, when they came to the plate your teammates resembled nothing so much as drugged emus.

Please allow this longtime Twins fan to offer you a piece of advice which, if followed, will help you to remain sane throughout your career as a Twins starter:

Get used to it.



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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

1 of 162

Twins 3
Los Angeles Angels of Whose Brilliant Idea Was This Name Anyway in Anaheim 2

Ah, dear readers, last night's game deserves better than the little scrap of lunch break TBL has to give it, but such is life in the cubicle. And yea, the cubicle is necessary for the earning of the salary with which the tickets are purchased.

But it was indeed a very good game.

The Bubble was packed, the blizzard-proof roof was welcome, Baby Jesus got his first RBI before the team got its first out, Livan Hernandez was a pleasant surprise, none of the new Twins players lost a ball in the roof/lights (wait for it), Carlos Gomez broke the sound barrier twice, newly vegan Pat Neshek struck out the side, and Joltin' Joe Nathanated the Angels for the save and the win.

The sky did not fall without Johan Santana. The defense did not crumble without Torii Hunter. Though they will both no doubt be sorely missed as the euphoria of Opening Day gives way to the long grind of the season, this game was a lovely way to start.

Did you know...?

The Twins are the only team to open the season without any players on the disabled list.

Last but not least...

Purely on account of his jumbotron photo, TBL has dubbed new shortstop Adam Everett "Jughead".

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Glory Days Revisited: Outfield

Ah, what verdant stretches do our outfielders from the unforgettable years of 2002-2004 patrol now?

Brian "BOOM" Buchanan played for the Padres and Mets after being traded away from the Twins, then spent time with the St. Paul Saints and the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks before recently signing a minor-league deal with the Royals.

Lew Ford refused an assignment to the minors at the end of the 2007 season and signed as a free agent with the Hanshin Tigers in Japan. Here's hoping "Leeeeeeeew!" doesn't mean anything obscene in Japanese.

If the following is news to you, you need to emerge from the cave more often: Torii Hunter signed with the Angels for ninety million dollars in November. Zounds.

Jacque Jones, as you may recall, turned down an offer of arbitration from the Twins in 2005 and soon signed with the Cubs, where he performed fairly well through 2007 but had ongoing conflicts with management. He was traded to the Tigers in the offseason.

Bobby Kielty was traded to the Blue Jays in mid-2003 for Shannon Stewart (more on him anon). In the offseason, the Jays turned around and traded him to the A's for Ted Lilly. He performed poorly for the A's in 2004 but they stuck with him and were rewarded with both a solid 2005 and the presence of biggest Irish afro on earth in their dugout. He saw limited action in '06 and was released while on the disabled list in mid-2007. He signed on with the Red Sox shortly thereafter and went on to hit what turned out to be the game- and series-clinching home run in a pinch-hit appearance during game 4. They signed him to a 2008 contract in the offseason.

Traded to the Giants before the 2004 season, Dustan Mohr has proven hard to keep track of. He played well for the Giants that year but was not retained. He spent 2005 with the Rockies, where he saw limited action and hit poorly. He struggled as a fill-in player with the Red Sox in 2006 and was demoted to the minors and ended the season in AAA for the Tigers. In 2007 he played in a handful of games for the Devil Rays around midseason and was released. He has yet to sign with another team.

Minnesota-born Michael Restovich, claimed off waivers after spring training 2005 by the Devil Rays, was back on waivers within a week and claimed by the Rockies, who traded him to the Pirates that May. He was released at the end of the season, signed to a minor league contract by the Cubs, where he spent the 2006 season. He then signed on with the Nationals in the minor leagues, failed to make the club out of spring training, was called up in mid-April and hit himself back into AAA within weeks. He is currently playing for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. Presumably he made it to Japan by using some small fraction of his frequent-flier miles.

Michael Ryan has not played in the major leagues since the end of his 2005 season with the Twins. He spent 2006 in AAA with the Braves and 2007 in AAA with the Phillies. He is now an unsigned free agent and does not appear to be in spring training with any organization.

Shannon Stewart played for the A's in 2006 and is currently in spring training with his old team, the Blue Jays.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Glory Days Revisited: Infield

Today we discover whatever happened to those closest to the diamond in the Twins' glorious run of 2002-2004.

Catcher Henry Blanco (aka "Mango Face") moved on to the Cubs after his 2004 stint with the Twins, and is still there. He is such an excellent defensive catcher and game-caller that even the dubious distinction of having the lowest career batting average among active players with 1000+ at-bats cannot dent his career prospects or the affections of Cubs fans.

After a brief stint in the Brewers' minor league system, Pat Borders became the injury-riddled Mariners' main catcher for the first half of 2005. Seattle displayed its gratitude by designating him for assignment at the All-Star break. He signed a minor-league contract with the Dodgers in 2006 but failed to catch on with the big league club. He announced his retirement in May of that year.

Second baseman Jay Canizaro never returned to the majors after his 2002 stint with the Twins. He played one season in the Devil Rays minor leagues before leaving baseball.

Chris Gomez worked his utility-infielder magic with the Blue Jays in 2004, the Orioles from 2005 to mid-2007, and the Indians in the latter half of 2007. He is now with the Pirates. Arr!

After six seasons alternating brilliance and boneheadedness for the Twins, shortstop Christian Guzmán signed a huge four-year contract with the Nationals in 2005, where he has become a byword for disappointment. His 2005 season was nothing short of a disaster, 2006 was entirely lost to a shoulder injury and surgery, and 2007 consisted of brief periods of greatness bracketed by months of disabling injury. He is currently on the last year of his contract

Utility infielder Denny Hocking left the Twins after ten seasons and signed with the Rockies, whom he played for in 2004. In 2005 he played for the Royals. He is now retired and has been doing radio work with Fox Sports.

Ah, Corey Koskie. TBL's all-time favorite player. Brooks Robinson reincarnate in the field. How TBL misses thee. Corey signed with the Blue Jays for the 2005 season but was plagued by injury and did not play much. He was traded to the Brewers and was doing fairly well until suffering a concussion in early July, 2006. Post-concussion syndrome kept him off the field through 2007 and the expiration of his contract. He has not signed with another team.

When the Twins declined to offer a contract after the 2005 season, Matt LeCroy caught on with the Washington Nationals. A less-likely candidate to play in the National League TBL has never seen; the man was born to DH. Catching a game in 2006 due to injuries to both of the team's catchers and despite known bone spurs in his throwing-side knee, he allowed six stolen bases and was lifted in the seventh in favor of a first baseman. The Nationals manager was literally reduced to tears when speaking of it later, defending his decision and LeCroy's abilities. He would spend the second half of the season in the minors and refuse an offer to manage one of their minor-league teams to continue his playing career through a minor-league contract with the Twins. He saw major league action as a September callup, and signed a minor league deal with Oakland in the offseason. He was assigned to minor-league camp early in spring training and requested his release, which was granted. He is currently a free agent.

Doug Mientkiewicz (aka "Dougie Baseball", "Dougie Defense", "Eye Chart") was traded to the Red Sox in mid-2004 for Justin Jones (who promptly amounted to nothing), where he caught the final out in Boston's World Series win and was the subject of controversy for keeping the ball, which has since been given to the Hall of Fame. He then played for the Mets, Royals and Bankees in quick succession. He is in spring training with the Pirates under a minor league contract.

2004 Twins DH/pinch-hitter and very occasional right-side-of-the-infielder Jose Offerman saw limited action with the Mets and Phillies in 2005 before embarking on a second career in the independent leagues.

AJ Pierzynski, after spending only one year with the team that traded Joe Nathan, Boof Bonser and Franciso Liriano to get him (pardon TBL while she chortles...), settled in as the White Sox's everyday catcher and continues to piss people off across the league. He has also made occasional offseason appearances since 2005 with a fringe wrestling outfit called Total NonStop Action.

Catcher Tom Prince retired in 2003 after a brief stint with the Royals. He is currently the manager of the rookie-league GCL Pirates in Bradenton, FL.

The Twins let free-swinging second baseman Luis Rivas drive them crazy for six seasons. The Cleveland Indians put up with it for four games. He spent 2006 in the minor leagues with Tampa Bay, caught on with the Indians, played his four games, got busted back to AAA and is now with the Pirates on a minor-league contract. (Is it just TBL, or are the Pirates grabbing up an awful lot of the Twins' former infielders for this year's spring training roster?)

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Monday, March 24, 2008

+3 Nathanator of Closing

The Twins just announced that they have signed Joe Nathan to a contract extension through 2011, with a club option for 2012. No word yet on how much that cost.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Glory Days Revisited: Pitching

For some reason, who can say why, TBL has been feeling nostalgic for that incredible run of winning seasons and (less-winning) postseasons from 2002 - 2004. And she started to wonder, whatever happened to those boys?

So TBL decided to hit the Google and find out!

Today we will hunt high and low for long-lost, newly-lost and gladly-lost pitchers from those magical seasons.

Grant Balfour missed 2005 recovering from surgery (and being paid by the Twins). He signed a minor-league contract with the Brewers and rehabbed there until mid-2007, when he returned to major league play and posted a 20.25 ERA in three appearances over 10 days. He was then traded to the Devil Rays and finished out the season with them. He is currently on their spring training roster.

Jack Cressend pitched for the Cleveland Indians in 2003 and actively sabotaged them in 2004. That about did it for his career.

Tony "Palmball" Fiore was last spotted in 2006, playing for an independent league. He has not played in the MLB since his stint with the Twins ended in 2003.

Aaron Fultz pitched for the Phillies from 2005-2006, then was picked up by the Cleveland Indians on a one-year contract with a 2008 option. He is in spring training with the Indians but is struggling.

"Everyday" Eddie Guardado went from Twins closer to Mariners closer, playing there from 2004 to mid-2006, when he was traded to the Reds in July. In August, he blew out his pitching elbow and did not return to major league action until August 2007. His return did not go well. He is now in spring training with the Rangers.

Seth Greisinger played briefly for the Braves in 2005. He then moved on to a career in the Japanese leagues; he will be pitching for the Yomiuri Giants this season.

Following a disastrous stint as closer for the Cubs, LaTroy Hawkins has pitched in a setup role for the Giants, Orioles and Rockies. He is currently pitching for the Evil Empire.

Mike Jackson dropped off the radar in 2003 and pitched poorly for the White Sox in 2004. He is now retired.

Matt Kinney pitched for the Brewers for almost two seasons after his last with the Twins (2002). Designated for assignment in August 2004, he was claimed off waivers by the Royals and finished out the season with them, whereupon he signed with the Giants. He played briefly in San Francisco in early 2005 and then in the minors through 2007. He is currently pitching in Japan.

After the Twins traded Kyle Lohse and his bad attitude to the Reds in mid-2006, he continued to earn less than half his money and was traded to the Phillies in mid-2007. He did well enough there but they did not extend him a contract, and he sat home well into spring training before signing with the Cardinals for (a faintly ludicrous) 4.25 million on March 14th.

Joe Mays signed with the Royals when the Twins declined to offer him a 2006 contract; he was released by the Royals six weeks into the season. Most pitchers would have changed their names and left the country after that, but not Joe. He caught on with the Reds and lasted a whole seven weeks with them. The next season he signed a minor-league contract with the Dodgers but, failing to turn his spring training invite into a major-league job, requested and was granted his release. He has not pitched since but is generally listed as an unsigned free agent rather than a retired player.

Having missed most of 2003 due to injury, Eric Milton was traded to the Phillies for Carlos Silva and Nick Punto in the offseason. The Twins got the best of that deal, as his best post-Twins ERA is 4.75, and that was from 2004. He spent 2004 with the Phillies, then got himself a huge 3-year contract with the Reds which drove fans crazy until his tenure with the team came to an end last May with a season-ending injury. At the time of this writing he is an unsigned free agent and is not, so far as TBL can determine, even in spring training with anyone.

After two seasons with the Twins, Terry Mulholland pitched briefly with the Diamondbacks in 2006 and then retired.

Mike Nakamura pitched for Toronto in 2004 and is currently the closer for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters. (Hee!)

Brad Radke pitched through 2006 and then retired with a career record of 148-139, 4.22, which is more impressive than it sounds--consider that he pitched for the Twins during the abysmal years of 1995-2000.

Rick Reed retired after going 6-12, 5.07 for the Twins in 2003. Probably a wise move. Still, he was a great help in 2001 and 2002, and for that we thank him.

Joe Roa played in the minors for the Pirates for a year following his 2004 season with the Twins and is now retired.

Kenny Rogers (aka "The Human Rain Delay") has done quite a bit since bidding Minnesota goodbye after the 2003 season. He spent 2004-2005 with the Rangers, pitching in 65 games and beating up two cameramen before moving on to Detroit, where he got himself a World Series ring and made the Twins hitters look foolish at every available opportunity.

JC Romero spent a season with the Angels, half a season with the Red Sox and half a season with the Phillies after the Twins traded him for Alexi Casilla after the 2005 season. He is still with the Phillies after a posting excellent numbers in the second half of 2007. No word yet on whether he continues to devote his spare time to teaching toddlers how to throw a proper tantrum.

You all know where Johan Santana is. Dammit.

Carlos Silva signed a staggeringly large 4-year contract with the Mariners in the offseason.

TBL can find no trace of Bob Wells after his nigh-apocalyptic 2002 season with the Twins.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Holy Grapefruit League, Batboy!

" 'O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
he chortled in his joy."
--Lewis Carroll, Jabberwocky

At last. Oh, at last! Baseball is back, friends and neighbors. Then end of winter is in sight and there is once again reason to get out of bed in the morning.

TBL has discovered that there is no AM reception in downtown buildings, all of which apparently are made of pure lead, so she has finally succumbed to the XM revolution. For the next month or so, she will be spending her mornings with Air America, while her afternoons will be all spring training, all the time.

Politics, baseball and a view of the Foshay Tower. If one simply must work, it doesn't get much better.

Fortunately for her excellent mood, TBL was unable to receive a broadcast of today's 6-1 spring training opener loss to the Reds. She hears Glen Perkins had a bad day (no surprise after coming off an injury-shortened season) and that hits were few and far between (no surprise when the batters are Twins).

But tomorrow's another game, and today's didn't count.

Play ball!

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Early to Rise

“All shall be well, and all shall be well,
and all manner of things shall be well.”

--Dame Julian of Norwich

Downtown Minneapolis in the 6 o'clock (a.m.) hour is an odd place. A hush has fallen over its bustling precincts; there are people around, but they hurry on their way with heads bent. Even the hiss of espresso machines in skyway coffeehouses sounds strangely muted.

Perhaps it seems weird to me partly because anywhere I find myself before dawn feels a bit surreal. And yet, there's a certain charm in walking the wide corridor of an empty skyway while headlights burn a transient path through the shadowed street below.

In those sleepy moments as I make my way through the maze with my coffee mug in hand and my office shoes not yet ready to remind me that they haven't quite broken in, I am so very glad that all the struggle of the last two years has led me to this life I have today, to my new job and my little apartment-kingdom with its fine patina of cat hair, to old friends and new, to that still and quiet place inside myself, and to the endless possibilities strung out before me like the glowing spheres of the streetlights along Nicollet Mall.

I am remade. I am new. I am filled with wonder.

I am happy.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Heights of Dumbassery

Recently, several people have asked TBL why she has not blogged on the Santana trade. The answer is simple: TBL tries to keep a 97% profanity-free blog, and until now she has been unable to uphold that standard on this subject. In fact, she has already backspaced over two f-bombs and one h-e-double-hockey-sticks, and this post has barely begun!

By now you, the uniformly astute readers of these pages, have no doubt formed a fairly good idea of the author's opinion on the subject.

TBL is not amused.

We all, of course, recognized--while maintaining irrational hope to the contrary--that a shining star like Johan Santana would not spend his entire career here in Flyover Country, where men are men, sheep are nervous, and pennies are compressed into copper wire inside the white-knuckled grasp of baseball owners.

So TBL cannot claim any real surprise or even dismay over the fact that he was traded. No, all the swearing and rending of garments and flinging of crockery stem from the specifics of the transaction, to wit:

They traded Señor En Fuego, two-time Cy Young Award winner, slayer of dragons, vanquisher of tyrants, savior of distressed maidens, heir of Elendil, Johan "Sit Down, Bitch" Santana for...



Prospects plus an experienced center fielder or starting pitcher, TBL could have lived with. Even prospects plus a mighty fine relief pitcher. But it just ain't right to trade such a dazzling known quantity for nothing but a handful of question marks, however highly rated.

Imagine, if you will, that fellow Cy Young winner CC Sabathia lost the excess weight and the lousy 'tude, and we went out and got him in exchange for Joe Benson, Wilson Ramos, Tyler Robertson and Anthony Swarzak (currently listed by Baseball America as our #2, 3, 4 and 5 prospects, respectively). How would you feel about that? TBL would, while sincerely acknowledging the potential of said prospects, spend about a month chortling over the dumbassery of the other GM.

Which is, of course, precisely what Mets fans are doing.

So, unless and until one or more of our latest acquisitions becomes a new Twins superstar, TBL must christen GM Bill Smith as "Brian Sabean, the Second".

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Monday, January 28, 2008

TwinsFest '08

Saturday marked TBL's annual pilgrimage to TwinsFest. Since attendance is usually right in line with the prior season's team performance, it was possible to wander about more or less freely for the first time in several years. (There are benefits to stinking up the joint, however small and fleeting.)

The main goals of the day were:
1) Introduce a certain dedicated Twins fan to TwinsFest
2) Meet up with the blogger behind Lipgloss and Baseball
3) Go through the free minor-league autograph line every session
4) See the exhibits
5) Sign up to win free stuff

TBL is happy to report that all goals were satisfactorily accomplished. And now, bits and bobs of the day, in photos.

Boof Bonser, newly trim and ready to pitch.

Mike Redmond helps the Twins Wives' Club sell sparkly shirts.

Mystery player and Nick Punto

What with the new ballpark finally going up, one exhibit showed some of the old ones. TBL suspects that taking photos of photos qualifies as geeky.

And, what we're all eagerly waiting for...the new ballpark! Only teensy!

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Back in the Yarn Stash Again

Greetings, dear readers! TBL is back!

The novel is done, the severance package has not run out, and there will be an interesting announcement regarding cubicle-type stuff just as soon as the paperwork is done and it's all official.

TBL is working on her annual Twinsfest report, which will appear here soon, but for tonight, a knitting pattern.

Over the weekend, TBL learned that one of her friends (who has gone over and above the call of duty in the emotional-and-practical-support-for-the-unemployed-friend game these last two months) recently lost his only winter hat. Well, what's a knitter to do? TBL cracked open the stash, unearthed her very best skein of alpaca, and cast on.

But this couldn't be just any hat, oh, no. This occasion deserved a brand new pattern, made up on the spot. TBL based it on the super-stretchy, extra-insulating "waffle stitch", and here, without further ado, presents:

Aaron's Hat

This is a "gaugeless" pattern. Take your own gauge with whatever needles and yarn you like and figure out how many stitches you'll need for the circumference you desire. Waffle stitch is VERY stretchy; no need to do a gauge swatch in pattern. Taking your gauge from stockinette stitch will work perfectly.

Go down a size or two from the needle recommended for your yarn to make this hat nice and toasty warm.

Mine was worked over 80 stitches with Misti Alpaca Chunky on size 8 (US) needles.


Cast on a multiple of 8 stitches, join into a round.

Work in waffle stitch until piece measures about 3 pattern repeats short of the total desired length.

Waffle Stitch in the round:
1 & 2: (K2, P2) around
3: K around
4: P around

(closeup of waffle stitch pattern)

1: (K2, P2tog, K2, P2) around
2: (K2, P1, K2, P2) around
3: (K5, K2tog) around
4: P around
5: (K2tog, P1, K2, P1) around
6: (K1, P1, K2, P1) around
7: (K2, K2tog, K1) around
8: P around
9: (K2tog, K1, P1) around
10: (K2, P1) around
11: (K1, K2tog) around
12: P around
13: K2tog around

If more than 10 stitches remain, repeat round 13.

Cut yarn and thread tail through live stitches. Pull tight. Weave in ends. Stay warm!

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