GameChat – Mariners @ Twins #2, 6:10

How is this for funny?  I’m sitting in the lobby of the church where I just played for a wedding ceremony.  Figured I would quick get the post up before I run into the reception.  Gotta love a church with public wifi!!

Anyway, I’m going to keep my pregame comments pretty minimal as a result – I’m already hearing giggling for sitting on a laptop in my wedding gear.  Since I have a 2 year old and a 6 month old in my care while at the wedding, I’m sure I won’t stay too long and I’ll be able to come join you during the game.

The one random bit of fun to get you going about the team is that Gardy has already been heard referring to our new closer as “Capper”.  Guess he’s officially one of the guys now!

Seattle @ Minnesota
Suzuki, I, RF Span, CF
Figgins, 2B Casilla, A, 2B
Kotchman, 1B Mauer, C
Branyan, DH Young, D, LF
Gutierrez, F, CF Thome, DH
Saunders, LF Cuddyer, 1B
Bard, J, C Kubel, RF
Tuiasosopo, M, 3B Valencia, 3B
Wilson, Ja, SS Hardy, SS
Hernandez, F, P Slowey, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Seattle 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 2
Minnesota 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 x 4 9 0

ANOTHER WIN!!!  After those months of dark times when it felt like we needed 3 new starting pitchers, it sure is nice to have a FANTASTIC outing from our starter, great offense from our lineup and flashy defense out in the field.  It really does a lot to repair the mood of us Twins fans.

Thank you, Kevin for 8 shutout innings.  There was a time when many wondered if you would ever be able to do that again and tonight was a thing of beauty.  For that, the chat unanimously voted you BOD!  We give pastries to Lexi and the rest of the heavy hitters.  Great outing boys!

GameChat – Mariners @ Twins, 7:10

Wow…  SOOOOOOO much news since the last game.  It’s kind of silly how much stuff can happen over an off-day in the baseball season!

A)  The biggest news is, of course, that the Twins have acquired a new closer from the Washington Nationals, Matt Capps, and some cash in trade for Wilson Ramos and Joe Testa.  We’ve covered that in a previous post today and just about everyone else has too.

B)  Today, the Twins announced that Nick Punto is going on the DL afterall and they’ve brought up Trevor Plouffe.  Does anyone else think that we have kind of a revolving door with Rochester right now?  I think if Rochester actually had a better record this year, I would feel really bad for the instability – and then I wonder if the instability might contribute to their record.  Poor Rochester.  Blackburn has also been sent down to AAA to get more regular starts to work on his pitching.

C)  Justin Morneau has begun doing light baseball activities – and it still feeling symptoms within a couple hours.  He is recovering, he says, but it’s obviously a lot slower than he wants it to be.  But that slowness means that he’s most definitely not going to play against Seattle.  Any thoughts of the next roadtrip are most definitely premature.

D)  in former Twins news, Guzman has been traded to the Rangers – sounds like he was really sad to be leaving.

I have to run out the door so I can’t wait for MLB to post the linkable lineups tonight so you’ll have to deal with the newspaper ones.  Hopefully I’ll be back before too much of the game has gone! 

MARINERS (39-64)

1. Ichiro Suzuki, RF
2. Chone Figgins, 2B
3. Casey Kotchman, 1B
4. Russell Branyan, DH
5. Franklin Gutierrez, CF
6. Michael Saunders, LF
7. Josh Bard, C
8. Josh Wilson, 3B
9. Jack Wilson, SS

Starting pitcher: RH Doug Fister (3-6, 3.56 ERA)

TWINS (56-46)

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Alexi Casilla, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Delmon Young, LF
5. Jason Kubel, RF
6. Michael Cuddyer, 1B
7. Jim Thome, DH
8. Danny Valencia, 3B
9. J.J. Hardy, SS

Starting pitcher: RH Scott Baker (8-9, 5.00 ERA)

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


Welcome to Minnesota, Mr. Capps!!  Nothing like really showing up to work on your first day on the job!   It was fun to see the fan reaction and then to hear the newest Twin’s reaction to his welcome in the postgame.  He seems legitimately impressed with the park and the environment he’s now in.  I hope things continue to settle in for him but it was a great start.

But Capps getting the Save means the Twins got the WIN and that’s ALWAYS good news.  We pulled out the offense again, including Thome getting a 2 run HR.  Interestingly enough, there was another 2 run HR and from probably the last person on the roster that you would expect it from – Alexi Casilla!!  That was definitely an entertaining moment for tonight.  Good for you Lexi!  For that unexpected bomb, you were chosen BOD.  Pastries (or ice cream cake) go to Thome and Capps for rounding out the fun experience!

Let’s Not Rush to Judge “the Trade”

Matt Capps

As I went to bed last night, I still wasn’t sure how I felt about the Twins trade of premier catching prospect Wilson Ramos along with minor league pitcher Joe Testa to the Nationals for closer Matt Capps and half a million dollars cash. This morning, I’m still not sure how I feel about it.

I admit I haven’t had time yet to read many of the reactions from the rest of the Twins blogosphere, but I do feel most of this community tends to overvalue the Twins’ prospects, so I’m guessing the reaction in the blogs will be largely negative. TwinsGeek John Bonnes found eight things he didn’t like about the trade, while over in Section 219, Howard Sinker seemed to offer a conditional thumbs up to the deal.

I’m not a terribly patient person, by nature, but I’m going to suggest we all try to exercise some patience here. There’s no doubt in my mind that this trade makes this year’s Twins better. How much better? That’s certainly a fair topic for debate. Capps is probably a moderately better closer than Jon Rauch, but that’s only part of the story. Adding a reliever at the top of the bullpen food chain has a ripple effect which means (or should mean, anyway) that the Twins would actually be replacing their LAST arm in the pen with Capps.

Who you feel that person is depends on how you personally feel about Ron Mahay, Jose Mijares and Nick Blackburn. Mahay and Mijares are lefties and with Brian Duensing in the rotation, it seems unlikely they’ll be sent packing. There’s also an argument to be made that Blackie, if he’s ever going to regain his effectiveness, needs to pitch regularly in Rochester rather than waiting around for a long relief spot in Minnesota. But if he leaves, who exactly IS the Twins long reliever who can go 3+ innings if the starting pitcher struggles early? [EDIT: I realized I should have also included Anthony Slama on the list of guys that could be bumped to make room for Capps. Sitting here thinking about it, unless they decide Blackburn needs regular starts, he’s probably the guy on his way out for now.-JC]

Then there’s that $500,000 that the Twins are getting back from the Nationals. What’s that all about? We can certainly all speculate about just how close the Twins are to being maxed out on their payroll for the year, but it just seems odd that half a mil would have a major bearing on that issue. I mean, that’s a good chunk of change for you and me, but for a Major League Baseball team?

Weighing all of this brings me to only one logical conclusion. Bill Smith isn’t done yet.

I realize MLB Trade Rumors is reporting that the Cubs and Dodgers are talking about a deal to send Ted Lilly to LA and they mention that the Twins (and other teams) have “cooled” on Lilly. But whether it’s Lilly or someone else, I’m betting (or at least hoping) Smith is fairly certain he’s going to land a lefty starting pitcher. It may or may not be before Saturday’s non-waiver deadline, but that’s really a pretty soft deadline these days because of the size of contracts the players involved have. They pass through waivers pretty freely.

If the Twins do pick up a LH starter, it frees them to push Duensing back in to his role as the team’s long reliever AND top lefty out of the pen. That sends either Mahay or Mijares packing (I’m guessing Mijares to Rochester). Of course, the Twins don’t have Ramos around to deal for a top lefty SP any more, but I have to figure the teams they’re talking to about such players weren’t after Ramos (if they were and Smith dealt him for a reliever, then I’m completely baffled at the logic). And maybe that $500K gives the Twins some flexibility in terms of taking on more of the next trade target’s salary and thus not having to part with as much talent in the deal? I dunno. Just spitballing here.

So I’m holding off on passing judgment… for now. If it turns out this is it… and the Twins spent arguably their top trade chip for a relief pitcher, then that’s going to be tough for me to swallow. I was all for trading Ramos, but it just seems like that’s not a fair return, given Capps’ contract situation (he’s going to start getting very expensive the next year or two… probably too expensive for the Twins to keep). But after the series of deals Bill Smith made in August last year that, despite not all being widely popular at the time, turned out very well for the Twins, I’m going to sit back and hope this is all part of a larger plan to strengthen more than one area of the roster and prepare the Twins for a playoff run. – JC

Off Day Reading and Writing

I know the players need a day off now and then (like the rest of us), but I get bored on off days.

So tonight you get a “JC is bored” post.

I’d like to be able to add something insightful to CapitalBabs’ post along the literary lines… maybe tell you all about the great books I’ve read lately. Or better yet, actually go somewhere and find The 10 Commandments of Baseball and read it for myself. But that would require effort.

However, I’ve honestly written more words for this blog than I’ve read in books over the past month or more. That’s probably not good. If it’s true that you learn more by listening than speaking (and I believe it certainly is), then you almost certainly also learn more by reading than writing. I would like to think people who read what I write either learn something or are at least somewhat entertained, but I can’t really even be sure of that.

I do read other blogs though. I particularly read those that are included in our blogrolls off to the right. Not many days go by that I don’t pretty much click down our entire list of Twins blogs to see what others are writing about. I also read the Jim Mandelaro and Joe Posnanski blogs pretty religiously. Their links, along with MLB Trade Rumors (which is mandatory reading at this time of the season, of course) are located in our “Other Sports Blogs” section over on the right.

Mandelaro recently had some interesting comments about the Twins, as a parent organization for the Red Wings. The Wings have had a very disappointing year, to say the least. Those of you who have never lived in a community where the local Minor League team is an important part of the area’s summer entertainment may not understand what the big deal is. After all, the primary purpose of an organization’s farm system is to prepare players for the Big Leagues and winning isn’t really a big deal. But trust me, it’s a very big deal to the community and to the people who rely on gate receipts and concessions at the local ballpark for a living. The Red Wings signed a two year extension with the Twins recently. That’s pretty much the shortest extension that local clubs sign with Major League teams. To me, it signals that Rochester is willing to give the Twins a pass on this year, but if they don’t do something about fielding a competitive team in Rochester next season, the Twins will be looking for a new AAA home in two years.

Posnanski has had a lot of interesting posts lately, but one of them in particular sort of caught my eye a few days ago. He brought the “I Write Like” site to his readers’ attention. The premise of the site is that you can paste a sample of your writing (or someone else’s for that matter) and they perform an analysis of the sample. Then they tell you which famous writer/author’s style the sample matches up with. Posnanski had some fun with it by plugging in a bunch of famous quotations, etc.

Naturally, I had to try it out.

Cory Doctorow

OK I need to be honest. I didn’t submit my own stuff first. I plugged in a post of Babs’ to see if she got someone cool. The result: Cory Doctorow. Again, being honest, I had no idea who that was but I looked it up. Cory’s Canadian (that’s cool… as Twins fans, we kinda dig Canadians). He’s also a blogger, journalist and science fiction writer… and a big proponent of liberalizing copyright laws. Now that’s very cool. Immediately, I wished I had submitted my own sample first so I might have turned out to be compared to a cool Canadian blogger/sci-fi writer.

But instead of submitting my own sample next, I decided I wanted another test. So I submitted one of KL’s posts. They matched her up with David Foster Wallace, another writer I had no knowledge of whatsoever. (I wasn’t learning

David Foster Wallace

much, but I was getting the idea that I need to read more!) Wallace, it turns out, wrote Infinite Jest in 1996, which ended up on TIME magazine’s “All Time 100 Greatest Novels” list (for the period 1923-3006) and the LA Times called him called him one of the most influential and innovative writers of the past 20 years. Very cool, right? His bio says he was a rare combination of sporting and academic prowess but was shy and uncomfortable around strangers. Wait a minute…. “was”? Uh oh. Yeah… seems he suffered from depression for 20 years and committed suicide about two years ago.

Despite Mr. Wallace’s unfortunate lost battle with his inner demons, both of their writing styles matched up with some pretty impressive writers. So, I decided it was safe for me to plug in one of my posts and find out which award winning writer (who I’d likely never heard of) my style compares favorably with.

Apparently, the longer the sample, the more accurate the analysis. As I’ve been the first to admit, I tend to write long posts sometimes (ok, most of the time), so I figured I should get a REALLY accurate analysis from submitting one of my Knuckleballs posts for analysis.

Guess what… I write like a GIRL!!!

BG's close personal friend

And it wasn’t even a cool girl author that I was familiar with… like that Anne Ursu chick. I could live with that! (Yes, Batgirl’s “Close Personal Friend” has a Wikipedia page… how cool is that? I want one!)

No… it’s a girl who writes Vampire-Romance books! Yes, my “comparable” author is Stephenie Meyer, of Twilight fame.

Stephenie Meyer

Then, of course, I realized that I could do a lot worse than sharing a writing style with a woman… especially a woman who’s sold a bajillion books around the world and made a gazillion dollars doing it. She’s on pretty much every “most influential” sort of list you can find that includes authors and is only 36 years old.

So, in retrospect, I think I got the coolest “I Write Like” match of the Knuckleballs group. In fact, since my writing is obviously so darn good, it really only leaves me with one question.

What the heck am I doing writing for FREE for you people? Where’s my assistant? Get my agent on the phone! – JC

Book Review – The 10 Commandments of Baseball

The guys over at Sporting Chance Press were kind enough to send me a copy of a book by J.D. Thorne called The 10 Commandments of Baseball.  Given the similarity in concept to my own recent endeavors, I was excited to give it a read and share it with you.  Thorne is a life-long baseball fan and amateur player in Milwaukee, WI in addition to his professional “real life” as a lawyer and author.  The book’s concepts were actually born here in MN where he was giving a motivational speech to inmates in Duluth.  It was received so warmly, that it was repeated to various groups and finally culminated in the literary presentation.

But to be clear, these 10 Commandments go far beyond my simple entreaties to fans to behave themselves.  This is a lovely remembrance of Joe McCarthy and his life and contributions to the game of baseball that goes way beyond his 10 Commandments.  The book delves into a much wider sphere than purely the expectations of the players he managed.  It draws a picture of the history and characters that surrounded the game in those early years that developed McCarthy’s concept of the right way to play the game and then continued to follow his life and experiences to show how those concepts are applied with a LOT of familiar names along the way starting with the forward by Bud Selig.  You get stories of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb, more recent players like Vlad Guerrero and Curt Schilling and so many more than I can list.

If you have ever heard a TV or radio broadcast where they invited a long-time retired player in to chat about baseball in his day, you will understand the feel of this book.  It’s very conversational and easy to read and all you Twins fans will understand that I swear I can hear John Gordon in the background as I read asking another rambling question that elicits yet another story – or even Blyleven kvetching about pitch counts and complete games.

It’s full of stories and tangents and asides that resemble a family dinner and the storytelling that takes place after everyone has over-indulged and wants nothing more than a comfortable place to sit and chat.  The parade of players and stories that come through has the feel of yet another uncle that offers another story to top the one told by the previous relative.  In other words, it’s a great way to learn some fun things about the history of the game while you exclaim to yourself, “wow, I didn’t know that!”

That’s just the first half!

The second half really gets into the intended focus of the book.  You are still sitting in the family room and hearing stories of ‘in the day’ but they have begun to coalesce into a purpose and direction – what it takes to be successful in your endeavors with baseball as the ever flexible metaphor for life.  We baseball fans – and especially Twins fans – seem to have an instinctive understanding of “playing the game the right way” and whether we are seeing it or not.  But have we ever stopped to decide if the principles of the “right way” go beyond the diamond? 

I encourage you to go online to order a copy  and give it a read.  It’s a light-hearted way to think a little bit more about our daily activities and whether we expect more from the boys of summer than we do of ourselves.

Since I can’t leave you hanging, here’s Joe McCarthy’s 10 Commandments of Baseball!

  1. Nobody ever became a ballplayer by walking after a ball.
  2. You will never become a .300 hitter unless you take the bat off your shoulder.
  3. An outfielder who throws in back of a runner is locking the barn after the horse is stolen.
  4. Keep your head up and you may not have to keep it down.
  5. When you start to slide, S-L-I-D-E.  He who changes his mind may have to change a good leg for a bad one.
  6. Do not alibi on bad hops.  Anybody can field the good ones.
  7. Always run them out.  You can never tell.
  8. Do Not Quit.
  9. Do not find too much fault with the umpires.  You cannot expect them to be as perfect as you are.
  10. A pitcher how hasn’t control, hasn’t anything.

Hope you get a chance to give it a read and share with others!

GameChat – Twins @ Royals #3, 1:10

Considering how absolutely GORGEOUS it is in Minnesota today, it’s kind of too bad the Twins can’t play at home but they’ll be up here on Friday and the nice weather is supposed to continue for a bit.  And half of Minnesota seems to have trekked down to KC to fill the stands down there anyway.

There are some questions about how the pitch limit will apply to Duensing’s start today given that it’s his second start and the extreme heat in KC.  He’s targeted for 80-85 pitches but I don’t think they’ll let him go past 5-6 innings no matter how efficient he is.  They just don’t want to overdo yet but I’ll be intrigued to see how it goes. 

Ok, boys, lets see about giving young Brian the same kind of run support you have been giving the rest of the starters lately, huh?

Minnesota @ Kansas City
Span, CF   Podsednik, LF
Casilla, A, 2B   Bloomquist, RF
Mauer, C   Butler, 1B
Young, D, LF   Guillen, J, DH
Kubel, DH   Betemit, 3B
Cuddyer, 1B   Aviles, M, 2B
Valencia, 3B   Ankiel, CF
Repko, RF   Pena, B, C
Punto, SS   Betancourt, Y, SS
  Duensing, P     Bannister, B, P


  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 3 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 6 14 1
Kansas City 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 0 4 11 0




Despite the heat and the getaway day game circumstance, the boys still pulled out the offense in a big way to give Brian Duensing his first Win.  But no one did more offensively than Delmon Young.. again.  Yes, the same Delmon that has been on FIRE for the month of July.  So, he got the BOD without hardly any debate.  But for coming out there and hitting his target pitches and completing 6 strong innings, Mr. Duensing is awarded the adult beverage of his choice and Spanky and Ripcord get pastries for their work.


Keep an eye out for word about Nick Punto who pulled up after running through 1B in the 8th inning.  It could be a cramp or a hamstring pull but we’ll see what the team says and I think everyone is glad for the off-day tomorrow!

Poll: Trade Deadline – What Should Bill Do?

With time running out before the non-waiver trade deadline Saturday, we’re still looking for the white smoke to flow from Bill Smith’s Target Field office indicating he’s made a deal that will assure the Twins a championship. Yet, strangely, virtually nobody outside of Twins Territory seems to be mentioning the Twins as a buyer at the deadline. Not Tom Corcoran at SI. Even his peer at SI, Jon Heyman, barely mentions the Twins in his trade deadline article.

Click on the Twins summary at and outside of old posts about Dan Haren, it’s slim pickings. A casual mention of interest in the Jays’ reliever Scott Downs, the Nats’ closer Matt Capps and the Cubs’ starter Ted Lilly. (Of course, this could all change at any moment!)

Of course, some folks locally are still riding Smith and the Twins pretty hard about making a move to improve the team.

Seth Stohs mentioned a number of the Twins’ minor league arms who are stepping up their games perhaps just at the right time in his Twins Centric post. However, the much-maligned back end of the Twins current rotation (Baker, Slowey, Duensing) have picked things up a bit if you’re willing to discount the fact that they did so against the lowly Orioles.

So I thought it would be a good time to take the pulse of the Knuckleballs community (we aren’t quite big enough to be Knuckleballs Nation yet, are we?). What do you think the Twins should do with regard to the impending trade deadline? As always, feel free to expand on your votes in the comments section. – JC

GameChat – Twins @ Royals #2, 7:10

Honestly, I’m still giggling after last night.  Not at the expense of the Royals, mind you, but it was such a relief to have moments of joy that couldn’t be questioned or threatened to be taken away.  I really feel bad for Royals fans though – I will never forget those days in the Twins dynasty.

One of our fun side discussions in chat is who owes who a beer for a particular play – and as in last night, Sizzler – so I was amused to find out that our boys actually have similar discussions in the lockerroom after games!  This story from the StarTribune is really a fun read so you should check out Nineteen reasons to smile just for the entertainment value.

Looking forward to seeing Pavano out there tonight and I sure hope it’s not as hot in KC as it is here in MN because they have dealt with that kind of tropical baseball enough recently.  The B squad really shined last night so lets see what the A squad has to offer!

Minnesota @ Kansas City
Span, CF   Podsednik, LF
Repko, RF   Kendall, C
Mauer, DH   Butler, 1B
Young, D, LF   Guillen, J, DH
Cuddyer, 1B   Ankiel, CF
Valencia, 3B   Betemit, 3B
Hardy, SS   Gordon, A, RF
Punto, 2B   Betancourt, Y, SS
Butera, C   Getz, 2B
  Pavano, P     Chen, B, P


  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 2 0 2 0 0 2 1 4 0 11 19 0
Kansas City 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 2 10 0


They ALMOST matched the hit total from last night again tonight.  It’s really great to see the lineup from top to bottom all having fun and hitting.  Mauer had another great night, Hardy hit his first HR since April, Repko was great with the glove again, and in general, they make Royals fans feel bad for their team.  But I think the real stand out is Danny Valencia who is doing his best to make sure they think twice about sending him back down to AAA.  For that reason, the chat voted him today’s BOD!  Viva la Valencia! (stolen from @bennyc50)


GameChat – Twins @ Royals, 7:10

Well, it seems like all the news lately is only talking about what the latest trade rumors.  I have to say that my interest level is waining quickly.  Other than the fact that I really don’t like Lilly and would hate to see his name in a trade announcement, the rest are .. meh..  most of the blogging community is throwing out a few names from the Toronto Blue Jays – pretty much all bullpen.  I think all the names that have been thrown out by the major bylines would be ok with me.. but I’m tiring quickly of the whole deal and can’t wait until the trade deadline passes so we can quit agonizing over the possibilities for awhile.

As for tonight, I would really like to see Liriano go out there and continue was I can happily call a string of great starting pitching performances!

Minnesota @ Kansas City
Repko, CF   Podsednik, DH
Casilla, A, 2B   Kendall, C
Mauer, C   Butler, 1B
Young, D, LF   Guillen, J, RF
Thome, DH   Betemit, 3B
Cuddyer, 1B   Aviles, M, 2B
Kubel, RF   Gordon, A, LF
Valencia, 3B   Bloomquist, CF
Hardy, SS   Betancourt, Y, SS
  Liriano, P     Greinke, P


  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 6 0 0 2 0 6 3 2 0 19 20 0
Kansas City 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 5 0


That was certainly unexpected.  I’m not going to complain, mind you!  What a display and against a pitcher who usually has MUCH better stuff than he did tonight – although I will admit he seems to struggle against the Twins.

All that being said, from top to bottom, the Twins lineup went on a hitting spree that was a joy to see.  And there was some fabulous defensive work too – Repko was making me all tingly!  But no one seemed to be having as much fun as Joe Mauer and Danny Valencia!  Both guys were a triple short of the cycle (of course, Casilla and Hardy both had triples).  It was just great to see the home boy smiling again as he went 5/5 a career tie of 7 RBI and Valencia hit his first ML B homerun – as a grand slam no less!!!!!  He’s the ONLY Twin to ever accomplish that feat.  For that they have earned co-BOD’s.  The whole rest of the team gets to go out to Sizzler and celebrate.  I like happy days…

Twins History Lesson: July 26 – August 1

Yes, I know… I skipped the Twins History Lesson* post (again) last week. Did you miss it? You did? Really? Dang… now I feel bad. Tell you what, there wasn’t a LOT of cool stuff that happened during the week of July 19-25 but I’ll briefly mention a couple of items, just for you, then I’ll move on to all the noteworthy items (and a few not so noteworthy) for the upcoming week.

Bruno the speed demon?

If I say “pine tar incident”, chances are you’re mind goes to George Brett’s famous “out” on July 24, 1983, that was later reversed. But how many of you remember July 19, 1975, when the Yankees’ Thurman Munson had his first inning RBI single nullified when his bat was found to have pine tar more than the legally allowed 18 inches up the handle?  Nobody? OK, do you maybe remember Tom Brunansky’s inside-the-park Grand Slam Home Run seven years later, on July 19, 1982?

Let’s also catch up with a couple of pitching performances taking place on July 23 in 2005 and 2006. On 7/23/05, the Twins needed a starting pitcher to face off against Justin Verlander in the second game of a doubleheader with the Tigers so the call went to Rochester for an arm to pitch one game and head back to the Red Wings. Enter Scott Baker, who held the Kitties to 2 runs on 5 hits in 7 innings to earn his first W as a Twin… then headed straight back to Rochester. Gardy’s postgame quote: “I think you’re seeing what we hope to get out of this young man. It’s very exciting.”

Exactly a year later, another young starting pitcher, Francisco Liriano, combined with four Twins relievers (Pat Neshek, Dennys Reyes, Juan Rincon and Joe Nathan) to set a new Twins record for most strikeouts in a nine inning game, with 17 combined Ks, in a 3-1 win over the Indians. Liriano recorded an even 10 of those Ks in his 5 innings of work.

Lyman Bostock

July 24 is also worth catching up on. On that date in 1961, The Twins signed Tony Oliva and 15 years later, in 1976, Twins OF Lyman Bostock hit for the cycle during a 17-2 win over the WhiteSox.

That’s enough for last week… let’s move on to this week in Twins History:

Merritt: No pitch count?

On July 26, 1967, Twins pitcher Jim Merritt set a Twins record when he pitched 13 innings in a 3-2 win over the Yankees. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for Merritt to earn the W as it took 18 innings for the Twins to earn that win. I’m guessing the Twins didn’t have Merritt on a pitch count limit.

There have been a couple of hitting performances of note on July 27. In 1978, Twins 3B Mike Cubbage hit for the cycle in a 6-3 win over the Blue Jays. He was the 5th Twin to accomplish the feat and the first after Bostock’s cycle two years and  three days earlier.

Five years later, on July 27, 1983, the Brewers Ben Ogilvie hit the longest HR in Metrodome history when he took a Brad Havens pitch 481 feet in to the upper deck in RF.

Dean Chance

Those in attendance at Fenway Park for the Twins/RedSox game on July 28, 1967, saw something very few people ever had an opportunity to see, but few of them probably really appreciated it. The Twins beat the Sox 9-2 as pitcher Dean Chance outdueled Boston ace Jim Lonborg (who was allowed to take leave from his National Guard duty to pitch the game). The rarity? That would be Chance’s bunt for a base hit in the Twins’ 7-run 4th inning. It was Chance’s first base hit following a stretch of 78 straight ABs without a hit (setting an AL record). Chance and Lonborg matched up twice more that season in eventful games. Nine days after this game, Chance retired all 15 hitters he faced in a rain shortened five inning “perfect game” win over Lonborg and the RedSox, making Lonborg 0-12 against the Twins in his career. Unfortunately, he broke that string on October 1, leading the Sox to the AL pennant over the Twins on the last day of the season.  Chance was the Twins’ losing pitcher.

I couldn’t find a darn thing of note that has ever occurred on July 29 in the history of the Twins. That probably won’t change this season as the team has the 29th off this year.

Not much going on for the Twins on July 30, either, for that matter, unless you consider the Twins trading Matt Lawton to the Mets for Rick Reed in 2001 or the trade of Luis Castillo to the same Mets for Drew Butera and Dustin Martin in 2007 to be big deals. Hmmmm… I do sense a pattern here. Should we look forward to Bill Smith completing another trade with the Mets on Friday?

We’ll make up for the lack of activity over July29-30 with a pretty long list of stuff for July 31, much of it trade related as it’s the last day for non-waiver trades:

1965: No trades of note on this date, but Tony Oliva’s heads up baserunning brought home a 2-1 win in 11 innings over the Orioles. (See if this sounds familiar, you fans of the movie Major League.) With one out in the 11th and Oliva on 2B and Harmon Killebrew having been intentionally walked to set up the double play, Joe Nossek hit a roller to Brooks Robinson at 3B. Robinson threw to second to force Killer but the relay to first was too late to complete the double play. That’s when O’s firstbaseman Boog Powell was surprised to realize Oliva never stopped at 3B but had rounded it and headed for home. Powell’s throw was late and Oliva slid home for the Twins win. His quote after the game, “… if I’m out at home, it’s a bad play. Today it was a good play because I made it.”

1972: No trade involved here either, but if you ever get a chance to talk to Bert Blyleven ask him about the day he gave up two inside-the-park HRs to the WhiteSox’ Dick Allen (then duck).

Now let’s get to some of those trades, shall we?

1987: The Twins picked up future HoF pitcher Steve Carleton from the Indians for a player to be named (who turned out to be pitcher Jeff Perry).

Frankie 'Sweet Music" Viola
Rick Aguilera

1989: The Twins became the first team in MLB history to trade a reigning Cy Young Award winner by trading Frank Viola to the Mets for Rick Aguilera, David West, Kevin Tapani, Jack Savage and Tim Drummond.

1995: Tapani was traded to the Dodgers along with Mark Guthrie in return for Jose Parra, Greg Hansell, Chris Latham and future FSN field reporter Ron Coomer.

2004: The Twins sent 1B Doug Mientkiewicz to the Cubs for pitcher Justin Jones.

2006: The Twins sent P Kyle Lohse (and his evil twin, Lyle) to the Reds for P Zach Ward.

2009: The Twins acquired SS Orlando Cabrera and cash from the A’s for minor leaguer Tyler Ladendorf.

Finally, let’s check in on what the first day of August has meant to the Twins:

1985: Pitcher Bert Blyleven returned to the Twins in a trade with Cleveland. The Twins sent outfielder Jim Weaver, pitchers Curt Wardle and Rich Yett, and shortstop Jay Bell to the Indians.

Bert Blyleven

1986: Exactly a year after returning to the Twins, Blyleven threw a 2 hitter against the A’s and struck out 15 hitters (then a club record). In the process, he became the 10th pitcher with 3,000 career Ks. In the same 10-1 win, Kirby Puckett became the first Twin to hit for the cycle in a game at the Metrodome.

1994: Oriole Cal Ripken played in his 2,000th consecutive game in a 1-0 win over the Twins at the ‘Dome.

2007: Perhaps a memory many of us would prefer not be reminded about as the Twins decided to go forward with their game against the Royals in order to keep from sending almost 25,000 fans on to already congested roads following the collapse of the I-35W bridge about an hour before game time. A moment of silence to remember the victims of the bridge collapse was held prior to the game.

With that, let’s all look forward to cheering on the Twins in their series this week at Kansas City and at home, next weekend, against the Mariners! – 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”.