Butterflies With Hiccups – Friday Edition

Given the length of most of my posts on this blog, it may be difficult to believe, but I haven’t come up with a single topic I could muster enough interest in to write about this week. As a result, I’m wrapping up the week with another “Butterflies With Hiccups” segment where I say just a little bit about a small number of unrelated topics.

Postseason Baseball

Those of you who tune out baseball after the Twins stop playing are missing some great ballgames!

The Giants and Tigers have advanced to their respective leagues’ Championship Series after full-blown five game series. Can it get any better than that? Interestingly, the answer is, “Yes, it can.” Tonight, we’ll be treated to another fifth game as the Nationals try to keep their magical season alive in Game 5 of their series with the Cardinals, who are once again trying to turn a season in which they lucked in to a Wild Card spot in to another World Series appearance.

But before we find out how that series turns out, there’s an even better drama playing out in New York. The Yankees appearing in the postseason is hardly dramatic, but heading to a Game 5 with the Orioles after Games 3 and 4 were decided in 12 and 13 innings, respectively, sure ratchets up the drama. The Orioles will have to find a way to beat CC Sabathia this afternoon/evening in order to keep their own fairy tale season alive.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi is showing some balls, I give him that. First of all, he’s managing the Yankees with a heavy heart, having lost his father just a few days ago. On top of that, now… in the deciding game of their ALDS… he’s sitting Alex Rodriguez on the bench. That’s gutsy. A-Rod has performed poorly and Yankee fans all over the place are no doubt rejoicing at Girardi’s decision. If the Yankees lose, though, you can count on those same fans calling for Girardi’s head.

Anyway, I’ll be wearing orange and black at the sports bar later today in support of former Twins Jim Thome, JJ Hardy, Lew Ford, Luis Ayala and their teammates (including former CR Kernel Joe Saunders).

Twins Stuff

The Twins have several players participating in the Arizona Fall League, which is where MLB teams tend to send several of their most promising prospects for a few extra games against high-level competition after the regular season is over. Of particular note, pitcher Kyle Gibson is off to a pretty impressive start. It’s stating the obvious, but it sure would be a huge help if Gibson turned out to be a useful member of the 2013 Twins rotation.

Over the next week, the Twins will hold their annual “organization meetings” in Fort Myers. These meetings are obviously private and in an organization as uber-secretive as the Twins, it’s rare for any information to escape those meeting rooms. That being the case, we shouldn’t expect anything particularly newsworthy coming out of the meetings this season. Nevertheless, this week is likely to be the most critical week of the Twins offseason.

This week, the Twins brass are likely to discuss every player in their organization and examine their relative depth at every position on the field, not to mention in the coaching ranks. The strategy they come away with will plot Terry Ryan’s offseason course and determine the fate of the Twins in 2013 and beyond. I can’t recall a season in which those meetings were more important than this year.

Politics

Shortly after MLB’s World Series wraps up this fall, voters in our country will be heading to the polls to elect a President, not to mention any number of other national, state and local officeholders. As a person with a political-science degree and having run (alas, unsuccessfully) for political office myself, I have more than a passing interest in this stuff.

I did watch the first Presidential debate, but simply could not pull myself from Thursday night’s O’s/Yankees game to check in on the Vice Presidential debate… not even during commercial breaks (those were used to check in on the Tigers/A’s game). It sounds like I didn’t miss much.

I’m an undecided voter in a state that has been identified as a “battleground” state. I would love to have some reasonably strong convictions about one candidate or the other… or even about one party or the other. But I have no such convictions at this time.

I honestly feel neither candidate is likely to make things better for my country at a time when we desperately need real leadership and that makes me more than a little sad. I’m faced with choosing to vote for the leader of a party I’ve never had much affinity for or the leader of a party I’ve belonged to all my life, but which party has been hijacked by zealots, one of which, if elected, would find himself a heartbeat away from the West Wing.

It’s frustrating enough that there’s a temptation not to vote at all. I imagine I’m not alone in that department. But whenever I feel that way, I can’t help but think of all the people in our country’s history who gave so much, in some cases their very lives, to assure that we all have the right to vote. It would just feel like dishonoring those people not to vote. So, while I don’t yet know for whom I’ll vote, I will definitely vote.

Every four years, we get the opportunity to either retain or overthrow our government. I think sometimes we lose track of just how remarkable that is. God Bless America.

- JC

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