GameChat – Twins @ Red Sox, 6:10

I’m more than happy to go back to the east coast – as long as the Twins bring only the good bats and leave those other ones in Toronto – you know which ones I mean!  It’s also been an interesting foreign roadtrip for the rumor mill.  The Twins optioned Tolbert back down to Rochester and brought up Manship.  There hasn’t been any other discussion on those choices.  So did they bring up a starter to help a struggling bullpen?  Why do we have 13 pitchers?  What’s the next step in the roster machinations going to be????  A fan needs to know!  Of course, being in Fenway, today’s lineup is another “sell our souls for lefties” day.

Minnesota @ Boston
Span, CF   Drew, J, RF
Hudson, O, 2B   Pedroia, 2B
Mauer, C   Martinez, V, C
Morneau, 1B   Youkilis, 1B
Cuddyer, RF   Ortiz, D, DH
Thome, DH   Beltre, 3B
Kubel, LF   Hermida, LF
Harris, B, SS   Hall, SS
Punto, 3B   McDonald, Da, CF
  Baker, S, P     Buchholz, C, P

 

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 6 0
Boston 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 x 3 10 1

 

umm… well…  that game was a drip in many ways.  I could see that the guys were frustrated whether it was by the rain, bad calls – especially by a pitcher who didn’t need any help from bad calls – or just the whole experience.  That being said, I saw a lot of things I liked tonight and I’m hoping that tomorrow we don’t worry as much about the lefty situation – right-handers CAN hit in Fenway, afterall.

GameChat – Twins @ Toronto #2, 11:37 am

Sadly, today’s game won’t be televised.  Due to the radio-only situation and the early day game, I won’t put up a chat for the game.  I hope to be able to catch the majority of the game myself but I will be at funeral for the beginning.

Win Twins!

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 2 6 1
Toronto 2 2 1 1 0 5 0 0 x 11 15 0

 

Well, THAT was pure, anadulterated UGLY.  Blech.

GameChat – Twins @ Toronto, 6:05

Well it certainly feels a LOT better going into Toronto with the win yesterday. I woul dlike to keep that mood going please!

Minnesota @ Toronto
Span, CF   Lewis, F, RF
Hudson, O, 2B   Hill, A, 2B
Mauer, C   Lind, LF
Morneau, 1B   Wells, V, CF
Cuddyer, RF   Overbay, 1B
Kubel, DH   Gonzalez, A, SS
Young, D, LF   Bautista, J, 3B
Harris, B, SS   Buck, J, C
Punto, 3B   Ruiz, R, DH
  Slowey, P     Eveland, P

 

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 1 0 4 0 1 0 2 0 8 12 0
Toronto 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 3 11 2

 

It’s nice to win games on the road again!  And it’s even nicer to be winning at an indoor park knowing that eventually home games will be outside.  There were sure some weird moments tonight though and I feel bad for Overbay who I think got screwed on that second error – totally didn’t deserve it OR the boos from his own fans.  Breaking Commandment #1, they were!

Chat consensus gives the BOD to Justin for not only finally loosening up and hitting in Toronto but hitting WELL.  Two homeruns is nothing to sneeze at!

Behind Closed Doors

Thanks for the heads up to Jon over at TwinkieTown because this is seriously not to be missed!  ESPN’s Jim Rome sends Orlando Hudson on a tour of the Twin Clubhouse to share a little behind-the-scenes activity and by far the funniest thing you’ll see today – Should Slowey marry Hudson’s cousin? DY & Punto the hottub, O’Dawg obsessed with Cuddy’s butt, tons of Bucks, Pavano actually SMILING and so much more…

Twins History Lesson: May 17-23

UPDATE: I didn’t want to create a brand new post this morning, but as I was perusing through a few sites, I came across a couple of items that I thought others might enjoy. So, if you have a few minutes, check out:

This article by the PioneerPress’ Brian Murphy on Twins LOOGY, Ron Mahay. Did you know… Mahay came up through the Red Sox organization as an outfielder and made it to the Bigs in that capacity… and is one of two remaining “Replacement Players” who filled in during the strike of 1994-95… leading to him not being entitled to any licensing royalties from the MLBPA (and thus explaining the mysterious “Ryan Moss” in the Twins bullpen in the MLB 2K10 video game)… which led to him eventually having a closed-door “come-to-Jesus” meeting with Roger Clemens… which came shortly before throwing his first bullpen session (in Australia) and earning $20 bucks on a bet from his manager there (who promptly called the Sox and told them to make Mahay a pitcher)… leading to a nearly 10-year MLB career during which he’s played for 9 different teams, 5 of them (counting the Twins) twice. Yes, I know I’ve irritated some people by communicating my support for Mahay, but beware… after reading this article, I like the guy even more. Talk about persistence!

And over here in Curve for a Strike, we get to go along on a weekend’s worth of Twins games at the new Death Star, culminating in Kubel’s “cleansing breath” of a grand slam HR. Good stuff, along with accompanying pictures!

***********************************************

This week sees the anniversaries of a few more Twins “firsts” as well as  several more noteworthy games in Twins history*.

May 17 has seen a couple of terrific performances over the years.

1963: Bob Allison became the first Twin to hit 3 home runs in one game. Hit hit a HR to LF, CF and RF in his final 3 ABs against the Tribe in an eventual 11-4 Twins win. Only 3 Twins have accomplished the same feat that Allison did. You may recognize their names: Killebrew, Oliva and Morneau.

1998: The Twins were on the wrong end when David Wells of the Yankees threw the 13th perfect game in MLB history against the twins in a 4-0 win for the Evil Empire.

Likewise, May 18 has witnessed a couple of impressive games:

1969: You couldn’t blame Tiger AllStar battery Mickey Lolich and Bill Freehan if they said the 3rd inning of their game vs. the Twins on this date was the worst inning in their respective careers. In that one inning, Rod Carew stole 2B, 3B and home… and Cesar Tovar stole 3B and home the same inning, tying a MLB record.

1983: The Twins defeated the A’s 16-5 as they rolled off 18 hits (including 6 doubles and a HR) off of A’s pitching in the first 6 innings of the game, behind Frank Viola (who hadn’t won a game since August of the prior season). A’s third baseman Wayne Gross pitched the final 2 1/3 innings for the A’s… holding the Twins scoreless.

May 19, 1961 saw the first grand slam home run hit by a Minnesota Twin when Dan Dobbek went yard with bases loaded off of Kansas City A’s pitcher Ed Rakow.

We could write an entire post just listing the interesting events that have taken place on May 20 over the years. With some difficulty, I’ve culled them down to the following:

1962: Relief pitcher Ray Moore became the first Twins pitcher to both win and lose a game on the same day as he took the loss in the first game of a double header at Yankee Stadium and got the W in the second game.

1970: Rod Carew became the first Twin to hit for the cycle in a 10-5 victory over the Royals.

1984: The Twins lost 5-4 to Boston. Roger Clemens K’d 7 Twins in 7 innings for his first MLB win. He would go on to win a few more.

1989: Two Twins entered the record books during a 19-3 win over the Rangers in Arlington. Dan Gladden had 7 plate appearances in a 9 inning game, tying a record, and Randy Bush tied a Twins record with 8 RBI.

1994: Scott Erickson’s hot start to the season hit a road bump when he was scratched from his start after developing a stiff back warming up. Rookie Carlos Pulido, who hadn’t pitched in 10 days, got the start and retired 9 of the first 10 RedSox he faced. Meanwhile, the Twins forged a 10-0 lead through 3 innings and added 11 more runs in the 5th inning, on the way to a 21-2 win. The Twins offense was led by Kirby Puckett, who knocked in a career high 7 RBI in just 3 ABs. The next night, the Twins beat the RedSox again, on a 1-0 score.

1995: Rookie Marty Cordova tied a record for rookies by hitting a home run in his fifth consecutive game.

2005: Carlos Silva used only 74 pitches in a complete game win over the Brewers.

Besides being the day when (in 1999) the Twins acquired Kyle Lohse from the Cubs for Rick Aguilera (there were a couple of other players included as well), May 21 is perhaps best remembered as the date the Twins took the field in 2009 at US Cellular Field for the final game of road trip that had seen them drop four straight (2 in Extra Innings) to the Evil Empire and two more to the BitchSox. The Twins released a week’s worth of frustration on the Tidy Whities in a 20-1 win that was the worst defeat for Chicago in the franchise’s history.

May 22 has been just marginally more eventful:

1981: After 8 straight losses, John Goryl was fired as manager of the Twins and replaced by Billy Gardner. The Twins celebrated with a 7-0 shutout of KC.

2002: In what could have been an eventful day in Twins history, Governor Jesse Ventura signed a bill in to law approving financing of a new open-air stadium for the Twins. The Twins were eventually unable to meet the terms laid out in the deal and it expired. Almost 8 years later, the Twins are finally playing in their new ballpark.

2009: Michael Cuddyer became the second Twin to hit for the cycle in the 2009 season as he went 4-5 in an 11-3 win over the Brewers.

The week winds down with a bit of a slow date in Twins history, with May 23:

1991: The Twins wasted a 6-hit game by Kirby Puckett in a 10-6 Extra Inning loss to the Texas Rangers.

2009: Anthony Swarzak became the first Twins starting pitcher to record 7 scoreless innings in his MLB debut.

So that’s this upc0ming week in Twins history! Let’s see if the 2010 team can generate a few highlights this week that we can look back on in future years!

-JC

*We pull this information from a few different sources, including (but not necessarily limited to) Dave Wright’s excellent book, “162-0, The Greatest Wins!”, as well as some  internet sites like “Twins Trivia” and “National Pastime”.

GameChat Twins @ Yankees

Can we PLEASE stop acting like “OMG we don’t belong on the same field as these guys”?

Twins @ Evil Empire
Span, CF   Jeter, DH
Hudson, O, 2B   Gardner, CF
Mauer, C   Teixeira, 1B
Morneau, 1B   Rodriguez, A, 3B
Cuddyer, RF   Cano, 2B
Thome, DH   Posada, C
Kubel, LF   Thames, RF
Casilla, A, SS   Winn, LF
Tolbert, 3B   Pena, R, SS
Blackburn, P   Mitre, P

 

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 6 9 0
NY Yankees 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 3 11 0

 

OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG!!!!!

FINALLY!!

Ok, really it’s hard to contain the excitement!  Both the people on the radio or in the chat room… just so many things you could say but I think everyone feels the same about finally beating the Yankees in Yankee Stadium.  The very idea that it happened in such a dramatic fashion against Rivera – first blown save at home since 2007 and he hasn’t given up a Grand Slam since 2002.  But you knew this was going to be an odd day when he WALKED Thome with the bases loaded.  But without doubt, kudos of the day go to Jason Kubel who comes in with the bases loaded to break two jinxes – Yankee Stadium and Bases-Loaded HR!  So thank you to our BOD!!

And the Chat bestows piles of baked goods on Blackburn and the Bullpen for the FANTASTIC pitching of the day.  And we’ll even let Gardy have one as long as he doesn’t share with Ullger.

GameChat Twins @ Evil Empire, Game #2, 12:10 pm

Let’s see if the boys can try this again.

Babs and KL are at the TwinsCentric gathering in Bloomington so I’m not sure if they’ll be able to get online and I’m going to my son’s place to watch the game with him, but I wanted to at least get a post up for those who wish to hang out here during the game. Sorry I didn’t have time to grab the lineups before I had to head out the door. Enjoy the game!

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 7 0
NY Yankees 1 1 0 0 0 1 4 0 x 7 12 0

GameChat – Twins @ Yankees, 6:05 CDT

oy, I feel like I’ve been away forever!  Haven’t been able to catch any baseball in ages!  I can’t believe I missed the whole (all two games) White Sox series.. *sniff*  My schedule is just not cooperating this week. 

I hesitate to make any further comments about this series.  I’m just going to bite my tongue and see what happens.  I hope that there isn’t too much bleeding.

Minnesota @ NY Yankees
Span, CF   Jeter, SS
Hudson, O, 2B   Gardner, CF
Mauer, C   Teixeira, 1B
Morneau, 1B   Rodriguez, A, 3B
Cuddyer, RF   Cano, 2B
Kubel, DH   Swisher, RF
Young, D, LF   Thames, LF
Casilla, A, SS   Miranda, DH
Punto, 3B   Cervelli, C
  Baker, S, P     Burnett, A, P

 

ok, that was ugly in so many ways.  The game and the fan reactions.. sheesh.  Ugliness all the way around.

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 1 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 4 9 0
NY Yankees 0 0 0 2 1 0 4 1 x 8 14 1

Scouting the Evil Empire

There’s no shortage of reading material among Twins blogdom if you want to read/discuss this weekend’s series against the F’ing Yankees from a Twins fan’s perspective (things like “do the Twins have anything to gain?” or “how do the pitching matchups look?” are covered nicely up and down the blogroll).

Once I perused a good number of the local bloggers’ views on the subject, I decided it was time to “scout the opposition”. I went looking to find out what, if anything, the writers (traditional and blogger) that follow the F’ing Yankees were saying about the upcoming series. Here’s a taste of what I found:

The New York Times, as one might expect, focused on the same old crap about how the Twins, under Gardy, have struggled to win at both the old and new Death Stars. While that shows little originality, at least the Gray Lady has noticed the Twins are coming in for the series, while the NY Daily News  and Newsday (as of this writing) have nary a single article previewing the upcoming series.

The  NY Post provides a couple of interesting bits. First, columnist Kevin Kernan calls out the Bombers for their recent failings and states, “With all the injuries, it’s time for the Yankees’ two big offensive stars to start carrying them: Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira.” At first, I thought I had missed the memo where Derek Jeter was no longer a F’ing Yankee star. Then I did see where Kernan mentions, almost as an aside, that yes, Mr. Perfect, is in fact 3 for his last 29 ABs, but apparently it’s not as important for Jeter to start pulling his weight because… well… you know… he does all those intangible things so well.

The Post also has a bit of a sidebar article where the writer interviews former Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi about the challenges of building a contender without the unlimited financial resources the F’ing Yankees have, using the Twins and Rays as examples. It’s complimentary, I guess, in a backhanded sort of way.

Turning to blogs (and as you would expect, there are more than a few of them out there), it appears that, like the newspapers, many of the bloggers either haven’t noticed the Twins are coming to town or simply don’t care. Some whining about being shut out by the Tigers twice (chuckle), some chest thumping about the impending move of some famous basketball player from Cleveland to the Knicks (who cares?), and a casual mention of the Twins when they talk about how tough (awwwwwwwwww) the F’ing Yankee schedule is going to be over the next couple of weeks (Twins, RedSox, Rays, @Twins).

River Ave Blues did mention that the F’ing Yankees are returning home after a road trip and that they hit better at home (wow…really? Gotta love the insight), but no mention of who they might be playing tonight when they return to the new Death Star.

Lady Loves Pinstripes at least mentions that the Twins are arriving before going through the things the F’ingYankees have to do to start winning again. But, other than misspelling (or misusing) the word “too” rather than “to” in the heading, there’s not much to hold my attention there.

The folks at Subway Squawkers do give a mention concerning Carl Pavano’s performance with the Twins (and lack thereof with the Yankees) and his Hoosiers-like pep talk to his current team mates.

There’s nothing about the upcoming Twins series at Sliding Into Home, but there are some pictures that made me smile… of the demolition of the old Death Star.

After glancing at a few more blogs, without finding anything substantial, I got bored. Perhaps it’s just that nobody really cares about who the F’ingYankees’ opponent is (except for their obsession with the RedSox).

So it sounds to me like the Twins should be able to sneak in, win three games, and sneak out of town again without anyone but the F’ing Yankees themselves even noticing! :)

On a completely unrelated topic, I just want to pass along a link to k-bro’s recent post about the “grey beards” still playing Major League Baseball. Being of advanced greyness, myself, I found it a great read. I suppose it may be less interesting to you “kids” out there! ;)

All good natured kidding aside, I really am looking forward to this series (as well as the F’ing Yankees return trip to Target Field later this month) just to get a measure of how much improved the Twins of 2010 really are. Let’s face it, while they’ve been beating up on most of their competition, those opponents haven’t exactly been among the best in the AL, so far. That fact changes starting tonight.

Now, let the beatings of the F’ing Yankees commence! – JC

Crikket in the Club! (A Day in Target Field’s Legends Club)

Armed with tickets in Section C of the Legends Club at Target field, I took in my first regular season game of the year on Saturday. Sure, the game kind of sucked, with the Twins losing to the Orioles in game 1 of the split doubleheader, and the weather was on the chilly side (it has to be chilly for it to sleet, right?), but it was still a great time. I thought this off-day would be a good day to share a few pictures.

Walking up to the ballpark, we were greeted by the new Rod Carew statue (I’d seen the Killebrew and Puckett statues, but this was my first look at Carew’s).

The Rod Carew bronze statue outside Target Field

There are three lounges in the Legends Club.

The Killebrew Lounge is directly behind home plate…

The Killebrew mural inside the Killebrew Lounge

… the Carew lounge is on one side…

The wooden Carew mural above the bar

… and the Puckett Lounge is down the other side.

The wood mural behind the bar in the Puckett Lounge

A few pictures from inside the Legends Club:

Inside the Legends Club looking out toward the field

One of the Legends Club hallways

Inside the Legends Club

The Tony Oliva mural along one wall of the Legends Club

The Hot Chocolate line (mmmm with a little something added) and Hrbek mural

Nice pic above the condiments. (How many can you name?)

In the Puckett, Carew and Killebrew Lounges, there are several display cases filled with each player’s memorabilia (jerseys, shoes, bats and a number of more personal items, including various awards such as gold gloves, silver sluggers and even Puckett’s MVP and World Series rings). The picture of one of the Killebrew display cases below is just one example.

One of the display cases in the Killebrew Lounge (includes his contract below)

Yes, I did actually go sit outside and watch the game. To prove it, I’ll include a couple of pictures from Section C.

The view from row 6 of Section C

Cuddyer thought it was cold, too. Note the earflaps.

Morneau's HR was just about the only Twins highlight of the day.

Finally… can you identify all of these Twins Legends from their lifesize pictures adorning the Legends Club walls?

This Twins Legend served two tours with the club and is still hanging around

This lefty was a cornerstone of the Twins rotation in the 60s

This Twins Legend won an AL MVP award.

The Twins player who "exemplifies determination, hustle, tenacity, competitive spirit and leadership both on and off the field" wins an award named for this Twins Legend

I hope this helped feed your baseball addiction on the second off-day of the week. Tomorrow, the Twins take on the Evil Empire (aka the F’ing Yankees) on the road at the Death Star (aka F’ing Yankee Stadium). Let’s kick some F’ing Yankee butt! – JC