TwinsCentric Viewing Party #4


Saturday, June 19, 2010
2:00pm – 7:00pm
Park Tavern
3401 Louisiana Avenue
Saint Louis Park, MN


The TwinsCentric group is proud to present the fourth TwinsCentric Viewing Party of the 2010 season!

As the Minnesota Twins tangle with the Phightin’ Phils on Saturday, June 19th, come join other Twins fans at the Park Tavern in St Louis Park and enjoy discounts on drinks and food in addition to the chance to win many great Twins prizes!

Those that come out donning Twins gear will receive $2.25 domestic/rail drinks and full-size appetizers for $5.95. In addition to the great specials, come get the chance to win:

– A $100 worth of gift cards
– Free drink tickets
– A free Thome Is My Homey t-shirt
– A 10-person bowling party with two complimentary pizzas
– Tickets to Target Field

See you then Twins fans!

GameChat – Atlanta @ Minnesota #2, 6:10 pm

I would really love to see Blackburn return to form tonight.  I would really love to see the rain end for awhile – moving a friend from one apartment into another kind of sucked here today.  I would really love to avoid soccer talk for awhile so I’m glad for a baseball game!

Atlanta @ Minnesota
Prado, 2B   Span, CF
Heyward, RF   Plouffe, SS
Jones, C, 3B   Mauer, C
McCann, C   Morneau, 1B
Glaus, DH   Cuddyer, RF
Hinske, 1B   Kubel, DH
Escobar, Y, SS   Young, D, LF
Cabrera, Me, LF   Harris, B, 3B
Blanco, G, CF   Punto, 2B
  Lowe, D, P     Blackburn, P


  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Atlanta 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 3 9 0
Minnesota 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 7 1


This is actually a really interesting series against the Braves – I seem to be one of the few who really likes interleague play.  But there has been some INCREDIBLE pitching from both teams and that just makes my day!  Too bad that Blackburn didn’t get a win for a good recovery outting tonight but regardless, it was good to see him back to working the sinker.

GameChat – Atlanta @ Minnesota, 7:10

So, JJ Hardy was put on the DL last night after the game and Trevor Plouffe has come up again.  And of course, more DL means more lineup juggling.  Anyone miss the days when we had a great lineup of starters and knew who was going to be where most games???? 

And do NOT get me started on Kubel and Thome being in the lineup with Delmon sitting.

Just to make myself feel better, here’s a link to that incredible Mauer catch from last night.

Atlanta @ Minnesota
Prado, 2B   Span, CF
Heyward, RF   Plouffe, SS
Jones, C, 3B   Mauer, C
Glaus, 1B   Morneau, 1B
McCann, DH   Cuddyer, RF
Escobar, Y, SS   Thome, DH
Infante, LF   Kubel, LF
Ross, D, C   Valencia, 3B
Cabrera, Me, CF   Punto, 2B
  Hudson, T, P     Liriano, P


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


So it only took the Twins 2 hours and 6 minutes to beat the Braves because Franky was FANTASTIC!  wow…  7 k’s in a row to tie a club record at one point.  He was simply on fire to celebrate the birth of his second son, Francis Javier, who arrived earlier today.  For outstanding awesomeness, Franky gets the BOD and our heartiest congratulations on his growing family!  Kudos to the rest of the team for stepping up!

GameChat – Royals @ Twins #3, 7:10

Yeah, I told you so – don’t even hate to say it!  All people are talking about today is the  ‘Stache.  Let’s hope any rain keeps itself to a minimum tonight.

Kansas City @ Minnesota
Podsednik, LF   Span, CF
Kendall, C   Tolbert, 2B
DeJesus, D, RF   Mauer, C
Guillen, J, DH   Morneau, 1B
Callaspo, 3B   Cuddyer, RF
Maier, CF   Kubel, DH
Betemit, 1B   Young, D, LF
Getz, 2B   Valencia, 3B
Betancourt, Y, SS   Punto, SS
  Chen, B, P     Baker, S, P


  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Kansas City 0 3 0 1 1 3 0 0 1 9 12 0
Minnesota 0 0 0 1 0 0 5 0 2 8 15 3


*pout*  That was a FANTASTIC rally to come back from 8-1 and end with a 1 run game.  Too bad we were on the wrong side of the 1 run.  Highlights?  Oh yeah, you’re going to see that Joe Mauer ‘reach around the net’ catch later!

GameChat – Royals @ Twins #2, 7:10

I wish I could think positively about our starting pitching tonight – and I’m trying really hard! – but I keep dreading that horrible ‘stache.  Even if Pav kicks a bit of tail, you KNOW that is going to be a major portion of the discussion.  Does that officially count as a team distraction?  Does Carl Pavano/’stache = Kris Benson/Anna Benson as far as non-baseball controversy goes?

I don’t know.. I just don’t like it.

Kansas City @ Minnesota
Podsednik, LF   Span, CF
Kendall, C   Tolbert, 2B
DeJesus, D, DH   Mauer, C
Butler, 1B   Morneau, 1B
Guillen, J, RF   Cuddyer, RF
Callaspo, 3B   Kubel, DH
Aviles, M, 2B   Young, D, LF
Maier, CF   Valencia, 3B
Betancourt, Y, SS   Punto, SS
  Davies, P     Pavano, P


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


Yay!!  Pavano DID kick serious tail!!  (and yes, the convo was still about the darn ‘stache) And while there was lots of great hitting and fielding (Delmon, Punto, y’all should treat yourself to caribou or something), the very stellar performance of the mustachioed one has earned him today’s BOD.

Talkin’ Baseball – Terry Cashman Twins redux 2010

There are innumberable Twins fans out there who were/are just not as impressed with the GB Leighton Twins Territory theme as perhpas they would hope to be.  In fact, there are a good number who mute/channel-flip/leave-the-room/puncture-their-eardrums every time the piece comes on during games.  There was even some hope during the roadtrip that the song had been dropped since it wasn’t played during either the Seattle series or in Oakland.  I hated to be the voice of pessimism when I pointed out that perhaps the “Twins Territory” theme was better reserved for home games and they were using something else for roadtrips.  Sure enough, GB’s theme made an appearance during the game last night.

However, several of us in the Knuckleballs game chat noticed that we were also treated to something a little different.  Ok, a LOT different and vaguely familiar.  Turns out the Twins have a NEW musical commercial segment.  Due to it’s odd listenability and catchiness, we set out to see what the song was and where it came from.  Was it new?  Were the bringing back something old?  Does it mean they are getting rid of the GB bit?  I was assigned to be “investigative reporter” and find the answers to these monumental life questions.

Here’s the breakdown:  the Twins have a new commercial.  It a remake of the 2007 remake of the 1981 “original” Twins version of Talkin’ Baseball by Terry Cashman.  You can find the Lyrics of the two original versions by doing a simple internet search – which I found straight off.  Who knew that if I had just bothered to go to the Twins website, I would have gotten the CURRENT version straight off.  Check out the link and judge for yourself.

MN Twins Talkin’ Baseball Commercial

So, no, GB isn’t gone – at least not yet – this is a legitimate new commercial.  And I like it!  But maybe it will fill a little more broadcast time and we’ll have a little less of the musical angst.

But I believe this ends my very brief career as an investigative reporter.

GameChat – Royals @ Twins, 7:10

I’m all out of kilter – I’ve tried somewhat weakly to follow the draft during the offday but.. I don’t know these kids. Someday, one of them will be the next big furor the fans are bashing Gardy (or whoever) for not bringing up because he’s clearly read… I will be able to say “I remember when…” but I’m not sure I really will remember.

Injury updates: Orlando went on the DL today (however belatedly) and he’ll be eligible to return to the lineup on the 15th. Hardy got a cortizone shot in that troublesome wrist and he should be able to return much sooner. But he’s still out tonight so the lineup still looks a little wonky – glad to see Cuddy back out there though!

Kansas City @ Minnesota
Podsednik, LF   Span, CF
Kendall, C   Tolbert, 2B
DeJesus, D, RF   Mauer, C
Butler, 1B   Morneau, 1B
Guillen, J, DH   Cuddyer, RF
Callaspo, 3B   Kubel, DH
Aviles, M, 2B   Young, D, LF
Maier, CF   Valencia, 3B
Betancourt, Y, SS   Punto, SS
  Greinke, P     Slowey, P


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


This was not quite the pitchers duel that I had anticipated…  seems like we broke Grienke last year because our guys sure have figured out how to hit him now – at least they could tonight.  But for all that, Kevin Slowey held up his side of the duel and pitched his butt off.. great outting.  For that, the Chat gave him BOD!!  For all that fun hitting, we give pastries to Valencia, Kubel, and Span – he’s so glad to be back home!  We also would like to present a Cuban sandwich and our deepest thanks to Joe Nathan for such great fun in the broadcast booth without forgetting that there was a game on the field!  Joe, you have a future beyond pitching!

Kevin Slowey pitching for BOD

Twins History Lesson: June 7-13

It’s that time of the week again so before the Twins kick off their homestand tonight against the Landed Gentry, let’s take a quick look back at this week in Minnesota Twins history*

There isn’t much all that notable connected to June 7, unless your name is Kent Hrbek. On June 7, 1986, Hrbie singled three times, doubled once and hit a HR as he backed up pitcher Bert Blyleven with the first and only 5-hit game of his career as the Twins beat the Royals 4-1.

June 8 hasn’t been all that much more remarkable:

1965: MLB conducted its first free agent draft for HS and college players. The Twins drafted SS Eddie Leon out of the University of Arizona. Leon did not sign with the Twins, opting to stay in school.

1976: Gene Mauch caleds on his “closer”, Bill Campbell, to relieve Pete Redfern in the 4th inning with 2 Cleveland Indians on base. Campbell faced only 17 hitters (one over the minimum) as he finished out the game to earn the 3-1 win. It was Campbell’s 6th appearance in an eight day period during which he threw 16 innings and it was the fifth game already that season that he had thrown at least four innings. That year, Campbell would go on to pitch in 78 games and record 17 wins as a relief pitcher! He led the Twins in those categories, as well as ERA (3.00). It’s the only time in Twins history that a pitcher has led the team in all three of those categories. My, how times have changed.

1978: The Twins drafted Kent Hrbek in the 17th round of the free agent draft.

June 9 has seen a couple of the more unique events in the organization’s history:

1966: Rich Rollins, Zoilo Versalles, Tony Oliva, Don Mincher and Harmon Killebrew all homered in the 7th inning of their win over the Kansas City A’s. It’s the first time in American League history that a team hit five HRs in one inning.

1975: Twins Manager Frank Quillici turned in a lineup card to the umpires that differed from the one he turned in to the press box and posted in the dugout for his team. The official version, given to the umpire, had Dan Ford hitting 7th and Danny Thompson 8th, but the version posted in the dugout had them reversed… and that’s the way they batted through the 8th inning. Indians manager Frank Robinson never brought the matter to the attention of the umpire. For some reason, Ford decided to hit in his correct spot in the order, ahead of Thompson, in the 9th inning. After a 9th inning HR by Vic Adbury tied the game at 10-10, Ford and Thompson again hit in their correct spots in the 11th inning, when Thompson’s single scored Eric Soderholm with what would eventually be the winning run.

Ah interleague play. On June 10, 2004, the Twins completed a 3-game sweep of the NY Mets with a 15-inning, 3-2 win. Kyle Lohse gave up 2 runs in the first 3 innings but he, along with help from five relievers shut down the Mets on 5 hits through the following 12 innings. Trailing 2-1 in the 9th, Jose Offerman doubled home Matt LeCroy all the way from 1B to tie the score. In the top of the 15th, with a Met runner on 1B, Torii Hunter ran down two potential gappers to maintain the 2-2 tie. In the bottom of the inning, three straight Twins singled to load the bases. Michael Ryan (who entered the game as a pinch runner for Joe Mauer in the 8th inning) slapped a single to RF to win the game.

Hmmm let’s see… June 11…

1964: The Twins traded 1B Vic Power and OF Lenny Green to the Angels for OF Frank Kastro. Ouch. And fans today think Bartlett and Garza for Young and Harris was a bad trade?

1972: Twins pitcher Jim Kaat homered off of the Tribe’s Vince Colbert during the Twins 5-2 win. It’s the last HR, to date, hit by a Twins pitcher.

2005: Forty seasons after the Twins lose 3 World Series games to the Dodgers in the 1965 Classic, Justin Morneau’s single, HR and 4 RBI helped the Twins win for the first time in Dodger Stadium, 5-3.

June 12 has been eventful in a couple of recent years:

2006: Joe Mauer earned Player of the Week honors by going 15 for 24 (a .625 clip) and reaching base four times in five consecutive games.

2009: It was just a year ago that the Cubs’ Milton Bradley provided comic relief in the 8th inning of their contest with the Twins by catching Joe Mauer’s 1-out sacrifice fly ball to RF… and promptly tossing the ball in to the bleachers. Bradley had lost track of the number of outs and was charged with an error, allowing Brendan Harris to advance to 3rd base.

On June 13, 1997, the Twins played their first regular season interleague game at the Astrodome in Houston. Manager Tom Kelly got his first lesson in NL customs as he had to borrow a lineup card from the Houston manager (seems in the AL, the home team provided cards to both teams and in the NL, each team provided their own). Behind Chuck Knoblauch’s 4 for 4 night, Paul Molitor’s 2 run HR… on a night when he made his second non-DH appearance (at first base) of the year… and Brad Radke’s 8 innings of 1-run, 6-hit pitching, the Twins mob the Astros 8-1. It’s the first of what becomes an annual Twins tradition of feasting on NL teams in interleague play.

That’s it for this week’s history lesson. Let’s hope the Twins get healthy and kick the Royals around a bit before commencing to whup some NL butt as interleague play resumes this weekend. Personally, I’m just glad the games are returning to a more reasonable starting time this week. – 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”.

Can you feel a Draft?

You may or may not be aware, but the MLB First-Year Player Draft is being held Monday – Wednesday this week.

I know, it’s hard to get too fired up over the draft. It’s not like the NFL, where fans have watched most of the top draft picks play several years of College football on Saturdays and can legitimately envision at least the players taken in the top few rounds wearing the uniform of their favorite team during the following season.

Sure, there are exceptional talents that find their way on to MLB rosters in their first full year after being drafted, but it is extremely rare and even rarer if your favorite team manages to avoid being so pitiful that they get awarded one of the top 2-3 spots in the draft. The Twins draft in the 21st position this year and it’s almost impossible to project who (a) might still be available and (b) who the Twins might have their eyes on for that pick. What you CAN bank on is that, whoever they pick, he won’t make his Target Field debut until at least 2012… and more likely closer to 2014 or 2015… if ever.

BJ Hermsen, Twins 6th round draft choice in 2008 (photo JimCrikket)

So why do we bother paying attention? Well, for me, the answer is, “Usually, I don’t. But this year is different.” Why? There are a couple of local kids down here in the Cedar Rapids area that are likely to be drafted in the first few rounds and it would be great to see either or both of them join Iowan BJ Hermsen (now pitching for the Twins Class A affiliate, Beloit) in the Twins organization.

I’m sure it’s no big deal to Minnesotans when a local kid gets drafted, even by the Twins. But the Iowa High School Athletic Union seems to do whatever it possibly can to assure that the best HS athletes in Iowa (a) don’t play baseball, and (b) if they do, they get no attention from professional scouts. You see, unlike schools in the other 49 states, Iowa schools play a summer baseball season, rather than in the spring. This means that Iowa schools are just now getting their seasons in to gear, while HS players all over the country have finished giving scouts a full season to look them over.

Jon Keller hopes to go in the top 5 rounds (photo CR Gazette)

Jon Keller, a pitcher who throws in the low 90s for Cedar Raids Xavier, has committed to play for the University of Nebraska, but if he gets picked in the top five rounds, he’ll be considering going professional.

Kellen Sweeney awaiting draft day call (photo CR Gazette)

Kellen Sweeney, an infielder at Cedar Rapids Jefferson, is projected to be a low second round or high third round pick. He has a spot at the University of San Diego to fall back on if he doesn’t get a contract he likes.

If the name Sweeney sounds familiar to Twins fans, it’s likely because Kellen’s older brother, Ryan, just finished facing the Twins over the weekend as the right fielder and #3 hitter for the Oakland A’s. Ryan was a second round choice of the White Sox in 2003.

Ryan Sweeney long before claiming RF for the A's (photo Perfect Game)

I saw a lot of Ryan Sweeney during his pre-HS days. He’s a couple of years younger than my own son and Ryan’s dad, Gary, was coaching his son’s amateur teams at the same time I was coaching my son’s teams. Gary liked to schedule games against teams made up of kids that were older than his team’s. In fact, Ryan and my son played on the same team in a fall league run by Perfect Game (one of the largest scouting services in the country and operated out of Cedar Rapids). I recall Ryan as being a good, but not great, pitcher and having excellent fundamentals, both at the plate and in the field.

A while after my son graduated from HS, he and I began doing some umpiring together. We’d work adult and youth amateur leagues around the area. I recall the first time we worked a double header involving Gary Sweeney’s club, which by that time was featuring the young Kellen Sweeney. I’m guessing Kellen was probably 12 or 13 years old. I remember thinking that Kellen looked much more advanced both offensively and defensively than what I recalled his brother Ryan being at the same age.

Kellen is coming off of Tommy John surgery this summer, but it doesn’t seem to be having a negative effect on his scouting evaluations. I’m far from an expert at evaluating talent and you never know whether a kid has the mental strength to go with the physical talent 9not to mention the luck) to make it to the Bigs. However, given that Ryan Sweeney is hitting over .300 for the A’s right now, I wouldn’t be at all disappointed to see Kellen in Ft. Myers with the Twins at their minor league facility next March.

These kids are about to experience the excitement of taking the first step toward realizing the dream of playing Major League Baseball. Do yourself a favor on the Twins off day and check out your local sports pages to find out what local diamond heroes in your area are hoping to be drafted and then keep checking on whether they’ve been selected by the Twins or another organization this week. Who knows… even if they get drafted by the BitchSox or Evil Empire, they could find their way to the Twins eventually!  – JC

GameChat – Minnesota @ Oakland #3, 3:05, WFTC29 & am1500

Before we discuss today’s game, there is a matter of SUPREME importance that must be announced.  Many of our readers are big fans of the legendary Batgirl.  It just so happens that today is the anniversary of the birth of her very close personal friend, Anne Ursu!  If any of our readers would like to wish the inimitable Anne a Happy Birthday, feel free to add your comments below!

Now, onto the game today.  Ouch.  It appears that all the situations that caused last night’s desperate need for creativity still exist.  This lineup is going to cause a lot of breath-holding today.  I sure hope that we are able to see unexpected people step up – just like last night!

Minnesota @ Oakland
Span, CF   Davis, R, CF
Tolbert, 2B   Barton, D, 1B
Mauer, DH   Sweeney, R, RF
Kubel, RF   Suzuki, K, C
Young, D, LF   Cust, DH
Valencia, 3B   Kouzmanoff, 3B
Harris, B, 1B   Gross, LF
Punto, SS   Ellis, M, 2B
Butera, C   Pennington, SS
  Blackburn, P     Gonzalez, G, P


  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 4 8 1
Oakland 2 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 x 5 13 1