GameChat – Twins @ Mariners #2, 9:10pm

ah, West Coast baseball… the bane of the working mid-westerner’s existence. Oh well. I guess there is still something to look forward to…

birthday cake


Maybe the Twins can figure out how to win a game for you since they seem to be lacking in other motivation.

Congrats to Brian Dozier on getting into the Homerun Derby… I’m sure I’m not the only one giggling but I’m sure he’ll have a fantastic time regardless and have a whole heck of lot less pressure on him due to lower expectations. Have FUN Bull Dozer!

Minnesota @ Seattle
Dozier, 2B Saunders, M, RF
Nunez, 3B Jones, J, CF
Suzuki, K, C Cano, 2B
Morales, K, DH Seager, 3B
Willingham, LF Morrison, 1B
Arcia, O, RF Hart, DH
Colabello, 1B Ackley, LF
Escobar, E, SS Zunino, C
Fuld, CF Miller, B, SS
  Hughes, P, P   Young, Cr, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 2 8 0
Seattle 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 0

Well the Twins did, indeed, come through with one heck of a performance for my birthday!

Sam Fuld was 3 for 3, including his first home run in a Twins uniform, and Casey Fien & Glen Perkins combined for 1.2 innings of shutout relief work.

But 7.1 innings of 8-hit, 8-K work from a starting pitcher is something to really celebrate and that earns Phil Hughes our BOD award.

Hopefully, our guys won’t wait all the way until my next birthday before doing this kind of thing again. – JC

Phil Hughes

Phil Hughes

GameChat – Twins # Mariners, 9:10

Another late night series, as the Twins visit the Mariners.

Twins have had almost no luck vs Iwakuma in the past, but hey, you never know, right?

A bit late getting the chat up. Sorry about that.

Minnesota Seattle
Dozier, 2B Saunders, M, RF
Escobar, E, SS Jones, J, CF
Plouffe, 3B Cano, 2B
Morales, K, 1B Hart, DH
Willingham, LF Seager, 3B
Arcia, O, RF Morrison, 1B
Colabello, DH Zunino, C
Fuld, CF Ackley, LF
Fryer, C Miller, B, SS
  Correia, P   Iwakuma, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
Seattle 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 x 2 5 1

When Kevin Correia gives you a start like that, you really need to take advantage of it and the Twins did not do that. Not sure what it is about Iwakuma that makes him totally unhittable by anyone in a Twins uniform.

GameChat – Yankees @ Twins #4, 1:10pm

Today isn’t quite hot yet but it’s soooo humid and the heat is coming. Going to be tropical at Target Field today so let’s hope Nolasco can get his butt in gear today and keep things held down.. too much running around that field is going to add up for everyone.

NY Yankees @ Minnesota
Gardner, B, LF Dozier, 2B
Jeter, SS Nunez, SS
Ellsbury, CF Parmelee, 1B
Teixeira, 1B Willingham, LF
McCann, C Arcia, O, RF
Beltran, DH Suzuki, K, C
Roberts, B, 2B Plouffe, 3B
Suzuki, I, RF Colabello, DH
Johnson, K, 3B Fuld, CF
  Kuroda, P   Nolasco, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
NY Yankees 2 4 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 9 14 2
Minnesota 0 0 0 4 0 0 1 1 1 7 13 0

I really hate losing to the Yankees.

Not the kind of performance we’ve hoped for and needed out of Nolasco. Good to see the hitters not giving up, though, I suppose. – JC

GameChat – Twins @ Yankees #3, 1:10pm

Today is a bit warmer.. if you’re one of the folk sitting in the sunshine, be prepared for frequent trips to restore your hydration – and be glad you’re there today rather than tomorrow. But the sun and summer is hard to argue with and is obviously a moment to enjoy to the fullest.

Let’s hope that the new kid is able to improve on his previous outing. (I always think that)

NY Yankees @ Minnesota
Jeter, SS Dozier, 2B
Roberts, B, 2B Suzuki, K, C
Ellsbury, CF Parmelee, 1B
Teixeira, 1B Morales, K, DH
Beltran, DH Willingham, LF
Suzuki, I, RF Arcia, O, RF
Soriano, A, LF Plouffe, 3B
Cervelli, C Escobar, E, SS
Wheeler, 3B Fuld, CF
  Phelps, D, P   Pino, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 R H E
NY Yankees 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 7 1
Minnesota 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 2 7 1

woohoo!!!  Ladies & Gentlemen, we have a WIN! That sure feels good. Pino did an EXCELLENT job in his 6 innings and while he does not yet have his first official MLB win, he deserved it. As it was we ended up with a LOT of extra baseball and he only pitched about half the game but I can’t imagine having to go the extended innings we did today if he had only gone the two innings that Gibson did yesterday. Still a good performance out of the bullpen again today. Especially since the strike zone was RIDICULOUS and resulted in Gardy getting booted early in the game.

Chris Colabello is also making a good show in his return to the big league lineup. He ALMOST got one out in the exact same place that he sent one long yesterday. If he had gotten that extra foot, he would have won the game in the 11th with a walkoff home run. As it was, that inning put a lot of people on base for the eventual win.

However, for making the extended game even possible and crossing the plate with the winning Run, Josh Willingham is today’s BOD! Thanks Hammer!


GameChat – Yankees @ Twins #2, 2:10pm

Happy Independence Day!!


I hope everyone is safely enjoying a wonderful holiday weekend. You really couldn’t ask for nicer weather for baseball or anything else you might be doing today – and I really mean that. It is going to be a beautiful afternoon so let’s hope that the team can do better today than they did last night.

NY Yankees Minnesota
Gardner, B, LF Dozier, 2B
Roberts, B, 2B Suzuki, K, C
Ellsbury, CF Parmelee, LF
Teixeira, 1B Morales, K, 1B
Beltran, DH Arcia, O, RF
Suzuki, I, RF Plouffe, 3B
Cervelli, C Colabello, DH
Johnson, K, 3B Escobar, E, SS
Ryan, SS Fuld, CF
  Whitley, P   Gibson, P
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
NY Yankees 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 10 0
Minnesota 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 5 11 0

I was only able to catch glimpses of this game but the ultimate disappointment in the boxscore hits all the same.

GameChat – Yankees @ Twins, 7:10pm

And the Yankees are in town…

Somehow is this a pre-req for the 4th of July?? I swear that when my bro and I hit the July 4th game last year, it was against the Yankees but I’m too lazy/busy/otherwise occupied to double-check that. And I don’t think last year was the first time either..

My memory could be playing games with me of course. And it’s going to be a beautiful night for baseball and likely a great pitching match-up with former Yankee, Hughes up against Japanese phenom, Tanaka.

Anyone have a guess of the over/under on how many times Bert brings up complete games since Mr. Tanaka seems to have quite an affinity for finishing what he starts?

Anyway, let’s play ball!

NY Yankees @ Minnesota
Gardner, B, LF Dozier, 2B
Jeter, SS Suzuki, K, C
Ellsbury, CF Parmelee, 1B
Teixeira, 1B Morales, K, DH
McCann, C Willingham, LF
Beltran, DH Arcia, O, RF
Suzuki, I, RF Plouffe, 3B
Wheeler, 3B Escobar, E, SS
Ryan, 2B Fuld, CF
  Tanaka, M, P   Hughes, P, P
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
NY Yankees 0 0 0 0 4 0 3 0 0 7 10 0
Minnesota 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 4 9 0

well that most certainly didn’t go the way I expected although the result was not all that surprising…  the good news is that they can’t put Tanaka out there again tomorrow.

GameChat – Royals @ Twins #3

Except for the fact that there was a fairly commanding win last night, today is such a much better day to watch baseball! Blue sky and cooler temps – perfect to skip out of work and hit the ballpark… sadly, I’m not doing that.

I’m stuck at work bemoaning the beautiful temptation outside AND missing baseball. Jealousy is a difficult mistress.

Kansas City @ Minnesota
Escobar, A, SS Nunez, SS
Hosmer, 1B Dozier, 2B
Butler, B, DH Parmelee, 1B
Perez, S, C Willingham, LF
Ibanez, RF Arcia, O, RF
Infante, 2B Plouffe, 3B
Moustakas, 3B Fryer, C
Dyson, J, CF Fuld, CF
  Vargas, P   Correia, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Kansas City 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 4 9 0
Minnesota 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0

*sigh* ..

From Kernel to Twin: Jorge Polanco

A little over a year ago, I sat in the Cedar Rapids Kernels dugout before a Sunday game and did an interview with then-Kernels infielder Jorge Polanco – the same Jorge Polanco that just spent the past weekend wearing number 11 for the Minnesota Twins.

I’d been told that, of the Kernels’ Latin American players, Polanco was one of those most familiar with the English language. Since the only familiarization I have with a foreign language comes from the two years of high school French class that I nearly flunked out of over 40 years ago, it seemed like a good idea to interview a player who knew my language better than I knew his.

Jorge Polanco as a Cedar Rapids Kernel

Jorge Polanco as a Cedar Rapids Kernel

Polanco was very accommodating. I approached him after the team worked out that day and asked if he had some time to talk. He said he did, but asked if we could do it after the brief chapel service players have on Sundays. After chapel, we met and sat in the dugout for the interview.

The interview didn’t go particularly well and, unfortunately, I didn’t feel I had enough material to turn it in to something I could post at the time.

I had only been covering the Kernels for a couple of months at that time and, frankly, my interviewing skills weren’t very strong. I’m not sure I’d say they’re particularly strong now, either, but I’m better at it than I was that Sunday afternoon with Polanco.

I asked him what he felt the biggest difference was between his experience at Elizabethton (TN) with the Twins’ short-season rookie level team the year before and his season in Cedar Rapids.

“More fans,” Polanco responded. “A lot of fans.”

Neither of us knew then, of course, that just over a year later, he’d be playing ball in front of a crowd ten times larger than what he was seeing in the Cedar Rapids stands.

Jorge Polanco

Jorge Polanco

We talked some about his home town, San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic. A “good town to live there,” according to Polanco, and about his favorite Major League player.

“Robinson Cano,” Polanco replied immediately. “I like the way he plays. I would like to be like him. He’s a good person.”

I also found out during the conversation that the then-19 year old spent his time away from the ballpark in much the same way other 19 year olds spend their idle time.

“I like to watch TV and play Playstation3 video games,” he said.

Then he added, “I like to play pool.”

Asked if he was any good at it, he smiled and simply said, “Yes.”

Unfortunately, he added that he had not yet found a place to play pool in Cedar Rapids. I imagine that probably didn’t change much during the summer, since it might be difficult for a 19 year old to get in to most public establishments with pool tables around here.

Toward the end of our conversation, we talked about the adjustments that he and other Latino players have to make to play ball in a place like Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The food, he said, was probably one of the most difficult adjustments, but we also talked about the language barrier.

Polanco clearly was working hard on learning English and wanted to get better.

“I like it because all the people here – most all the people – speak English, so I try to do it.”

That’s when I made one of those off the cuff comments that I may come to regret.

I went back to the audio recording of the interview this weekend, with the hope that perhaps my memory of what I said next was not quite accurate.

I told Polanco I was starting to try to learn some Spanish. I should have left it at that.

But no, I continued with, “When you’re in Target Field with the Twins in a couple of years, I’m going to come to a Twins game and we’ll talk in your language. Is that a deal?”

He smiled and said, “Yes, alright.”

Last week, just about 13 months after my conversation with Polanco, he was called up to the Twins, who found themselves in need of a versatile infielder after a series of injuries to their infield corps. Fortunately, those games were all in Anaheim, California, and Arlington, Texas, and not in Target Field.

I’m using that technicality as an excuse to conclude I still have some time before making good on my poorly thought out promise to Polanco.

(I’ve learned my lesson, by the way. I’m NOT going to promise any of this year’s crop of Kernels players from “down under” that I’ll learn to speak Australian before they wear a Twins uniform.)

It turned out to be just four games in The Show for Polanco, including one start on Sunday against the Rangers, before infielders Eduardo Nunez and Trevor Plouffe came off the Disabled List on Monday and Polanco was sent back to the Fort Myers Miracle.

I don’t think anyone would have been surprised if Polanco had shown some jitters during his time with the Twins, but from all accounts, he looked like he belonged there.

He had two hits (a double and a triple) in five at-bats, he scored two runs and drove in three more. He turned three double plays and, yes, he had a mental lapse on defense in a rundown situation. He’s not the first Twins player to have a mental lapse in the field this season.

He also handled himself well with the media, as is clear from a video clip the St. Paul Pioneer-Press’ Mike Berardino posted over the weekend (click here to view) after Polanco recorded his first Major League hit.

Over the first season and a half of the affiliation between the Twins and Kernels, we’ve seen several players that have legitimate Major League potential and Polanco was no doubt one of those guys.

Fans in Cedar Rapids couldn’t be happier for Polanco, as the first Kernels player since the new affiliation agreement to reach the Big Leagues. Still, it’s unlikely that anyone thought he’d get even this kind of “cup of coffee” with the Twins this soon.

But as one of this year’s Kernels told me recently, “Baseball is a goofy game.”

Indeed it is.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think it’s time for my next Spanish lesson. It seems I may need to accelerate my learning curve a bit. – JC


GameChat – Royals @ Twins, 7:10pm

It’s a pretty stunning night for baseball out there. After way too much rain and a weekend that only started to clear up yesterday and now it’s really nice to be out there again.

Let’s see if the Twins can actually get a win STREAK going against what appears to actually be one of the toughest teams in our division.

Kansas City @ Minnesota
Cain, L, RF Dozier, 2B
Hosmer, 1B Suzuki, K, C
Butler, B, DH Mauer, 1B
Gordon, A, LF Willingham, LF
Perez, S, C Morales, K, DH
Infante, 2B Plouffe, 3B
Moustakas, 3B Parmelee, RF
Escobar, A, SS Nunez, SS
Dyson, J, CF Fuld, CF
  Duffy, P   Pino, P


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

GameChat – Royals @ Twins, 7:10

Eduardo Nunez and Trevor Plouffe are back from the DL and in the Twins line up. Pedro Florimon is back with Rochester and Jorge Polanco is back in Ft. Myers.

And there’s a pretty fair chance this will be Yohan Pino’s final start for the Twins before he’s sent back to Rochester, as well.

If so, make it a good one, Yohan. – JC

Kansas City
Cain, L, RF Dozier, 2B
Hosmer, 1B Suzuki, K, C
Butler, B, DH Mauer, 1B
Gordon, A, LF Willingham, LF
Perez, S, C Morales, K, DH
Infante, 2B Plouffe, 3B
Moustakas, 3B Parmelee, RF
Escobar, A, SS Nunez, SS
Dyson, J, CF Fuld, CF
  Duffy, P    Pino, P