T.G.I.F.

I realized this morning that I haven’t posted anything here in almost a week and a half. If not for Babs’ great Farewell Photo Montage, we might very well have had our first full week without a Knuckleballs post since we started this blog 11ish months ago. I realize that there has been at least a little bit of news coming out of Twinsville that I certainly could have commented about. But there’s a good reason why I haven’t.

This week has sucked and I’ve been in a really… really… bad mood.

My family and those who report to me at my place of employment apparently realized quite early in the week that this was going to be one of those weeks where they’re better off just leaving the man alone. My boss, who works in an office about 1500 miles away from where my office is, had no way of knowing it was a bad week to talk to me… especially about things he knew (or should have known) were going to piss me off even more. I believe, after a couple of mid-week conversations, he now would agree with everyone else that avoiding me was probably in everyone’s best interests.

In the middle of all this, I’m not really sure what I could have or would have written about the Twins… but there’s a good chance it wouldn’t have been very nice.

But today is, after all, Friday. The workweek is all but over. I’m still employed (for the moment, anyway). I’m not sure my family’s continued silence isn’t indicative that they’ve permanently disavowed me, but I’m relatively certain they’ll need money at some point and will break down and talk to me again.

So to honor the end of this dreadful week in the life of Jim Crikket, let’s quickly hit on a few Twins-related items before we tackle the weekend.

Twinsfest, et al.

I think the entire 2-week period leading up to Twinsfest is very cool. I know many teams have some sort of “fanfest” event in the offseason, but I don’t know of any that do it up the way the Twins do.

I’ve never attended any of the Twins Caravan stops (they don’t get within even a couple of hours of my home), but from all reports, these are great public relations events and do a lot to not only get fans thinking about baseball in January, but also to introduce some of the younger players to the Twins community. It seems to be a bit of right of passage for players who are just now beginning to live their dream of being a Big League ballplayer.

I watched some of FSN’s webcast of the Diamond Awards Banquet last night and that looks like another pretty impressive event. Again, I don’t know how many other organizations put together a charity fundraiser out of their team awards, but it’s cool thing. I have to say I was very impressed that Jesse Crain showed up to accept the team’s Community Service Award. I don’t know how many people have faced the gut-wrenching prospect of leaving the only real employer you’ve ever worked for, but as one who has, I can only say that I understand his emotions getting the best of him a bit when he spoke. It’s tough for me to “like” anyone wearing a White Sox uniform, but Crain definitely won me over a bit last night. I appreciate class in a person, regardless of the uniform, and he showed class.

Crain will also be the last Twin to wear #28 as the Twins brass announced at the event that they’ll be retiring that number in honor of Bert Blyleven. The ceremony will take place July 16 before the Twins game with the Royals that day. It’s an appropriate… and probably long overdue… honor for Bert.

As for Twinsfest itself, I’ve only been to the event once and I won’t be attending this weekend. A few years ago, my son and I attended and while I really enjoyed the event, what I remember most about it was lining up to get inside the Dome an hour or so before doors opened and standing that entire time in about 15-below-zero temperatures. I’m not saying I’ll never attend the event again, but I have to admit that when I put together a list of my preferred places to travel to in January, Minneapolis (or even Blaine) is not anywhere near the top of the list. I’ll try to be patient and wait to see the guys in Ft. Myers in March.

Oh… and for anyone still unsure, it was absolutely the right decision to tell Justin Morneau to stay on his program at home and skip Twinsfest. If you can’t see that, I’m  not sure what to say… you’re just wrong. Period. I think we should all also stop parsing every word Bill Smith says about Doc as if he’s speaking in some sort of code that needs to be deciphered. Given the issues Morneau had last season after his injury, the prudent thing to do was make sure he gave his head a lengthy rest period followed by a workout program that gradually built up to having him ready to go full tilt on Opening Day. In case anyone hasn’t noticed, that is exactly what the Twins have done.

Jim Perry, Twins Hall of Fame inductee

I haven’t paid a lot of attention to who is and isn’t in the Twins Hall of Fame. My first reaction, though, when I read that Jim Perry had been elected this year was, “How could he just now be getting elected?”

Then I was reading another blog about Perry’s election and the very first comment under it said something about picking from the “bottom of the barrel” and how they should just stop electing people if they aren’t going to give Chuck Knoblauch his due. Well that pissed me off (then again, it didn’t take much to piss me off this week).

I guess this is where I resort to being an old curmudgeon, but I think pretty much anyone who’s been following the Twins throughout their time in Minnesota, as I have, would tell you that not only should Perry have been elected to the Twins’ HOF long before a lot of the guys who are already there, but there are still a LOT of Twins from the 1960s-70s-80s who deserve that honor. With all due respect to those who have already been so honored, it’s hard for me to take seriously any Twins HOF that doesn’t already include Perry,  Camilo Pascual, Cesar Tovar, and Dave Goltz, among others. Whoever votes for this honor isn’t anywhere near the “bottom of the barrel” yet, believe me.

Things that rhyme with “itching”

Again, it may be at least partially reflective of my overall sour mood this week, but I’ve grown REAL tired of all the bitching about the pitching.

Look, I know we need to have something to talk about and I understand that the bullpen is nothing but question marks and we didn’t get the top-of-the-rotation guy many of us (including me) hoped for. But we’ve all been spending way too much effort analyzing, cross-analyzing, re-analyzing, and most of all criticizing every move the Twins make with regard to their pitching staff.

We can all pontificate for weeks about what we think the Twins’ pitching staff should be, will be or might have been… but there’s only one thing I can say on the subject with any confidence and that’s that we would ALL end up being wrong. If there’s one thing history tells us, it’s that a team’s pitching never goes exactly the way anyone expects it to. Remember… with just a week or so before the Twins wrapped up Spring Training last year, all the chatter was about whether Francisco Liriano would be the Twins’ FIFTH starter or work out of the bullpen. People who think Brian Duensing or Kevin Slowey are destined to be sent to the pen or traded mid-year to make room for Kyle Gibson might want to keep that in mind.

And I won’t even go in to how desperate we must be for something to debate about when the best we can come up with is whether or not the Twins should have risked losing Rob Delaney to pick up Dusty Hughes from the Royals’ scrapheap.

Hammond Stadium is waiting

OK, I can tell my mood is starting to affect my writing at this point, so it’s best that I stop here.

The weekend is almost here, Twinsfest is hopping over in Blaine, and we’ll have pitchers and catchers reporting to Ft. Myers in three weeks! Thank Goodness it won’t be long before we’ll have real baseball stuff to talk about!

- JC

11 thoughts on “T.G.I.F.

  1. You seriously can’t still be crabby after placing that first picture, can you?

    If so, I hope things improve soon. I think all of us suffer from general malaise in January.

  2. Gotta admit… when I found that picture, I smiled. Hasn’t happened much this week. I think my face may have cracked.

  3. ok, I can’t help but giggle at that picture and yeah, I’m really looking forward to the weekend – just about done with the necessary stuff for today and about ready to go play. Hope your weekend improves your mood!

    And for the record, you had posted like 5-6 times in a row before your blog vacation so I don’t think anyone – including you – should/will fault you the break. I’m looking forward to the return of the season so that I get my baseball muscles back in shape…

  4. I can commiserate, JC. I’ve had one of those “*that* kind of a week” weeks myself. Thank Gwynn that the first and most important sign of spring is just weeks away!

  5. Well I don’t know about anyone else but the interview with Dimitri Young saying Delmon is looking like an underwear model perked my spirits right up. :)

  6. Oh my… I dunno, jamar… but I just prefer not to imagine Delmon in a thong and bra on the pages of Victoria’s Secret’s spring catalog.

  7. does anyone have any Jim Perry stories? He was out of the league before my parents met each other LOL. Was he a jokster? a ‘pro’s pro’? etc… I just know him because he is on a lot of Top 10 lists in Twins history

  8. Bert Blyleven credits Perry and Jim Kaat as being his mentors when he was called up to the Twins as a teenager, but I’m not sure either of them taught Bert the “hotfoot”. My recollection of Perry back then is simply that he was perceived to be one of the nicest guys you’d want to meet. He had a reputation as being very fan-friendly. I know I was always happy to find out he was pitching for the Twins if I was attending a game in person. I knew the Twins had a good chance to win.

    He was a pretty good hitting pitcher. In fact, how many pitchers can you name who were switch-hitters like Perry was? In fact, in 1968, Perry doubled up the number of home runs that his HoF team mate, Rod Carew hit that season. Carew managed only 1 while Perry hit 2.

    There’s a pretty good argument to be made that, without Perry, the Twins would have struggled to win the AL pennant in 1965. He wasn’t used much out of the pen the first half of the season and, from some sources I’ve read, he came close to being traded or released before the season started. But by July, Camilo Pascual was hurting and manager Sam Mele needed someone to start the first game of a double header. Perry got the call and pitched a 7-hit shut out.

    Of course, his best Twins years came after that pennant season, including his Cy Young Award season in 1970. I wouldn’t swear to it, but I seem to recall that Jim is one-half of the only brother combination to both win Cy Young awards in MLB history… his younger brother is famous spitballer, Gaylord Perry.

  9. Not gonna lie, my eyes might explode if I saw Delmon Young wearing very few clothes, but to each their own.

    Some of us have favorites that other people are not as enamored of, and like I told my dude friends, I don’t care what you think about it, I WILL be upset if my boy gets traded. Unless he gets traded to a place I plan on working this summer.

    Apparently I have my own level of grouchy to contend with just now. Must be the surgery.