Do You Know Your Baseball Mustaches?

I’m still constantly amazed at how much attention Carl Pavano’s mustache gets. I mean, the guy is tied for the lead in wins in the American League after notching his 15th on Friday night but if you ask 10 people what they know about him, 9 will mention the mustache before anything else. (OK, if any of the 10 people you ask are Yankee fans, they might not mention the mustache first… but I’d be too busy snickering at their answer to care).

You think I’m wrong? Then let me ask you this: We started posting on this blog in March. Which post do you suppose has been the most-read? Was it one of our early pictorial posts from our first visits to Target Field? No. Was it the rant about Why the Yankees $uck? No. (But that was quite popular.. I wonder why.) It was the post where we sought to assign “blame” for Pavano’s mustache. And it’s not even close. That post was published weeks ago and it still gets a number of new hits every week.

So just to make the point that it’s not completely unheard of for a Major League ballplayer to have some hair above his lip, we’ve come up with the following “mustache quiz”.

Below are pictures of 12 Major League ballplayers, all of whom anyone claiming to be a serious baseball fan should have at least some casual knowledge of. Some of these are tougher to identify than others but there are no obscure one-year wonders here. They all had more than just 15 minutes of fame. In fact, among the choices, there are Hall of Famers and some guys who either arguably should be Hall of Famers or likely will be some day. We’re also showing you more than just the mustache… in fact you’ve pretty much got the lower half of each player’s face to go on. Let’s see how many you can name.

(The answers will be posted in the Comments section, but no peeking until you’re finished with the quiz!)

1

2

3

4

………………………….

5

6

7

8

………………………….

9

10

11

12

………………………….

How well do you know your mustaches?

0-1 players identified = Just what part of the players’ bodies are you focused on all game anyway?

2-3 players identified = Amateur. Apparently, you’ve only been watching baseball since 2008

4-6 players identified = Minor Leaguer. Not great, but at least you know your Hall of Fame mustaches.

7-9 players identified = Major Leaguer. Not perfect, but you know a Major League mustache when you see it!

10 players identified = Show off! Nobody likes the smartest kid in the class, yanno.

Boyfriend of the Month for July is No Surprise. DY!

Yeah, big shock huh? Delmon Young kicked some major butt in July (no doubt motivated by having to share the Knuckleballs Boyfriend of the Month award with Carl Pavano in June) and ran away with the BOM race last month. DY racked up six Boyfriend of the Day awards in July alone.

We Knuckleballers weren’t the only ones impressed with Delmon’s performance in July, however. According to The Sports Network, Delmon and Toronto’s Jose Bautista are sharing the July American League Player of the Month award.

Pavano, meanwhile, apparently believed duplicating the three BOD awards that earned him a share of the BOM prize for June would be enough to do the same in July. Silly starting pitcher.

Young is now in double figures for BOD awards on the year, tallying 11 awards with two months of games still to play. Pavano’s six BODs are good for second place, thus far, in the Boyfriend of the Year race. His grip on the runner-up spot is tenuous however, as Francisco Liriano finished July just one BOD award behind Pavano and has already made up the distance with an early August BOD.

Denard Span, Jason Kubel, Kevin Slowey and Denard Span round out the top 5 (and ties) with four BODs each through the end of July. (Slowey got the jump on that group with his 5th BOD Thursday.)

Will DY continue running away with the BOY race? Will The ‘Stache fend off the challengers for runner-up? Let’s just hope August brings a lot of wins and a lot of BODs! – JC

Twins History Lesson: August 2-8

It’s not yet nearing the end of the season, but we can certainly see the end from here. The Twins are only half a game out of first place in the AL Central Division and there’s still a lot of baseball to be played. It won’t be long, however, before we won’t be able to say that.

I debated with myself about whether to post another Twins History Lesson this week, but then I realized the Twins didn’t lose a single game last week after I posted the Lesson for July 26 – August 1. I wouldn’t dare do anything to risk bringing this winning streak to a premature end! So let’s start the month of August with another trip down memory lane with the Twins.*

August 2:

1965: Twins slugger Harmon Killebrew was leading the AL in two of the three Triple Crown categories entering this date with 22 home runs and 70 RBI. After suffering a dislocated left elbow in a collision with Oriole Russ Snyder on August 2, Killebrew missed the following 48 games. As we all know, the Twins managed to win the American League pennant even without Killer in the line up for most of the last 2 months of the season.

1982: The Twins took the worst record in MLB in to a game with the Western Division leading Angels and predictably were getting shut out 6-0 through six innings (the 5th and 6th runs coming on the strength of a 2-RBI single by former Twin Rob Wilfong). Tom Brunansky’s double and singles by Kent Hrbek and Gary Ward (combined with a bit of an Angel circus act) put three runs on the board for the Twins in the 7th. Another former Twin, Doug Corbett, was on the mound for the Angels in the 8th when Gary Ward’s 3-run HR brought the Twins to within 7-6. Ron Washington and Brunansky (who had been traded by the Angels to the Twins for Corbett and Wilfong) came through with runners on base in the 9th inning to give the Twins a 9-7 lead with the Angels coming to bat against Twins closer Ron Davis. I know what you’re thinking, but just to demonstrate that not everything he touched as a Twin turned to stone, RD sat down Don Baylor, Fred Lynn and Doug DeCinces in order to close out the win. Perhaps not the most important win in Twins history, but with the benefit of hindsight, it provided a glimpse of what Twins fans had to look forward to five years later.

August 3:

1969: Oriole pitcher Dave McNally was on a roll when he took the mound at Met Stadium to face the Twins. He had a 15-game winning streak during the 1969 season (and since he had won his last two games in 1968, his personal streak was actually 17 tames). The streak came to an end in Bloomington when Rich Reese powered the Twins to a 5-2 win on the strength of his pinch hit grand slam home run.

Joe Niekro and umpire Tim Tschida

1987: We could make a good case for the 11-3 win over the Angels on this date warranting inclusion in this post on the basis of Gary Gaetti’s night. He went 3 for 5, scored twice, homered once and drove in 5 RBI. But nobody remembers any of that (except, most likely, Gaetti). What we remember is umpire Tim Tschida approaching the mound and asking to see pitcher Joe Niekro ‘s glove and for him to empty his pockets… at which time an emery board flew to the ground and a piece of sandpaper was also discovered in his pocket. It would be Niekro’s only ejection in his 702 career game appearances.

2008: The Twins entered the day a half game behind the White Sox and sent Francisco Liriano to the mound to face Cleveland in his first start after being recalled from Rochester. Liriano had pitched poorly in accumulating an 0-3 record before being sent down to AAA in April. All he did upon his return this night was shut down the Tribe for six innings, enabling the Twins to win 6-2 and take over first place from the Sox, who lost on the same day.

August 4:

1985: Rod Carew blooped a single to left field for his 3,000th career hit, becoming the first foreign born player to reach that plateau. Unfortunately, rather than reaching the milestone as a Twin, he did so as an Angel, and got the hit off of Frank Viola in the third inning of a 6-5 Angel win over the Twins.

1993: Kent Hrbek became just the second player to reach 1,000 career hits in a Twins uniform.

1994: Exactly one year after his milestone hit, Kent Hrbek announced his retirement from baseball, effective at the end of the season.

1997: Twin pitcher Brad Radke went 7 innings to earn the W over the Blue Jays and, in doing so, recorded a win in his 12th straight start… a feat only Bob Gibson (1968) and Pat Dobson (1971) had accomplished before.

Kirby Puckett

August 5, 2001 was a bad day for Twins fans to be at the Metrodome (where the AC went out and the Twins lost to the Royals while the temperature in the ‘Dome reached 91 degrees), but a good day to be in Cooperstown, NY.

Dave Winfield

That’s where former Twins Kirby Puckett and Dave Winfield  were being inducted in to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

August 6:

1967: Twins pitcher Dean Chance threw a perfect game that will not be found on any list of MLB perfect games or no-hitters because he “only” retired all 15 hitters he faced in a rain-shortened 5 inning, 2-0 win over the Red Sox.

1969: The Twins’ Dave Boswell ended the night with a trip to the hospital to get 20 stitches after being punched by Twins manager Billy Martin. Martin stepped in after Boswell and team mate Bob Allison had a bit of a scuffle.

August 7:

2005: Yes, we all had a good laugh at the Cubs’ Milton Bradley a while back when he lost track of the number of outs and tossed a ball in to the stands after catching it, thinking there were 3 outs when there were only 2. But I don’t recall anyone mentioning at the time that on August 7, 2005, the Twins’ Shannon Stewart did pretty much exactly the same thing. The Red Sox went on to score 5 runs in the first inning and beat the Twins 11-7.

2009: The Twins acquired pitcher Carl Pavano from Cleveland in return for a “player to be named later”.

August 8:

1074: The Twins-Royals game in Kansas City is delayed several minutes while the fans (along with the rest of the country) listen to President Richard Nixon’s resignation speech, as it was broadcast in the stadium. The game resumes after the speech concludes. The Twins go on to win 3-2 in 14 innings with Bill Campbell tossing 7 innings of relief to get the win as Tony Oliva’s sac fly drives in Rod Carew with what would be the winning run.

1987: Steve Carleton records the 329th and final win of his career in a 9-2 Twins win over the A’s. Carleton gave up 2 runs in 8 and two-thirds innings of work.

1988: Twins catcher Brian Harper went 4 for 4 and outfielder Dan Gladden went 3 for 5 to lead the Twins to a 7-2 win over the Tribe. But the real excitement came in the fourth inning with former Twin Ron Washington on 2B for Cleveland and Willie Upshaw on 1B behind him. Joe Carter ripped an Allan Anderson pitch deep to left field. It looked like the Indians would be taking the lead until Gladden managed to run down the line drive, turn, and throw a strike to second baseman Steve Lombardozzi to double off Washington. Lombardozzi then turned and threw to Gene Larkin at 1B to complete the 7-4-3 triple play.

Paul Molitor

1998: Paul Molitor joined an exclusive club as he stoles the 500th base of his career. With 500 SBs and 3,000 hits, Molitor joined Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Eddie Collins and Lou Brock in that club.

With that, let’s look forward to another big week for the Twins. I suppose it would be a bit much to expect another perfect week, but I’ll settle for winning 6 out of 7 games this week (it wouldn’t be so bad to lose ONE game to the Rays, I suppose), seeing Justin Morneau rejoin the team in time to sweep the Tribe in the weekend series at Cleveland, and reclaiming their rightful spot atop the AL Central Division. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

*************************************

*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”.

 

GameChat – Twins @ Orioles, 6:05

Ah…  east coast games.  I forget that they start earlier than I’m expecting.  But that’s ok, it just means that we don’t have to be up late like the west coast  games!  I’m looking forward to seeing if we can’t do a better job against Baltimore on their turf than we did when they were on ours.  Interestingly, the weather isn’t all that dissimilar then when they were in Minnesota.  It is HOT and steamy in Baltimore right now.  The evening game will probably feel better than batting practice did this afternoon – I hope! 

I can’t help it because I’m an eternal optimist but I’m totally looking forward to seeing what Pavano has for us!

Minnesota @ Baltimore
Span, CF   Pie, LF
Hudson, O, 2B   Tejada, 3B
Mauer, DH   Markakis, RF
Kubel, RF   Scott, DH
Cuddyer, 1B   Wigginton, 1B
Young, D, LF   Jones, A, CF
Hardy, SS   Moore, S, 2B
Punto, 3B   Tatum, C
Butera, C   Izturis, C, SS
  Pavano, P     Millwood, P

 

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

 

ANOTHER WIN!! 

Wow, that was a crazy game of drama – and interestingly enough, we didn’t cause ANY of it!  There were MULTIPLE ejections, players & managers in the faces of more than one ump, and then there was the idiot fan on the field.  He really held things up but it was pretty ridiculous given how long it took the security staff to get to him.  He finally gave up and waited for them to tell him where to go after the homeplate ump finally went out to him and told him to stop.  Really?!?!   Doesn’t it seem like there should be some sort of happy medium between Philadelphia and Baltimore?  Yeesh…

But, of course, as Twins fans, the real story of the game was Carl Pavano!  Back to back complete game shutouts will do more to inflame a mustache fad than the Village People.  It’s a thing of beauty how efficient he is out on the mound and Twins fans definitely appreciate the presence of a rock in the turbulent waters of our starting rotation.  For that, the gamechat awarded Pavano today’s BOD and Delmon & Cuddy can celebrate with pastries.. pace yourselves boys, you are getting a lot of baked good lately so you should keep an eye on your diet!

GameChat – White Sox @ Twins #3, 6:10 pm

It was a hot day – full of humidity and sunshine.  It probably would have been a good afternoon for baseball – lots of LONG hits would have been had I’m sure.  Of course, all that humidity in the air in July in Minnesota is a pretty good hint at something else too – STORMS.  The weather is now getting a little dicey.  There is almost certainly going to be a delay – if not more.  We’ll have to see what happens and I’ll keep you updated as well as I can!

Chi White Sox @ Minnesota
Pierre, LF   Span, CF
Vizquel, 3B   Hudson, O, 2B
Rios, CF   Mauer, DH
Konerko, 1B   Cuddyer, 1B
Quentin, RF   Young, D, LF
Kotsay, DH   Kubel, RF
Pierzynski, C   Valencia, 3B
Ramirez, A, SS   Hardy, SS
Beckham, 2B   Butera, C
  Buehrle, P     Pavano, P

 

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Chi White Sox 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 7 0
Minnesota 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 x 3 9 0

 

It seemed as though both pitchers tonight were VERY aware that they had only a small window of dry weather to get this game in before another round of ugly looking storms hit.  They were both incredibly successful and got us a complete 9 inning game in 1 hour and 52 minutes.  Wow.  And I have no words to describe the absolute domination of Carl Pavano as a Twin.  I love it despite my inability to define it.  He’s just amazing.

Yet another complete game for the mighty mustachio’d one – that makes 4 for the season.  Without doubt or debate that earns him yet another BOD.  But we would like to pass on pastries to Kubel and Delmon and Cuddy.. and JJ Hardy.. and.. ah forget it.  The whole team gets pastry for finally getting that old energy back and playing with the oomph that we remember from early this season!  Great Job, Boys!!  And there go the sirens again so I’m out!

And Your June Boyfriend of the Month is…

OK so it’s not quite that easy. We have a tie. Sort of.

Once again, we spread the love around in June. Or perhaps it’s just that the Twins spread around the responsibility for stepping up to bring home the Ws.

While it’s true there weren’t as many BOD awards in June as there were in May (and July certainly isn’t off to a banner BOD month kind of start either), we did have two Twins manage to accumulate three BOD awards during the month. So congratulations to Carl “the Stache” Pavano and Delmon Young for officially sharing Boyfriend of the Month honors for June!

Yes, we COULD split hairs and mention that one of DY’s BOD awards was a shared award, but a BOD is a BOD, so they all count equally. Besides, it really wasn’t even a close race as no other Twin recorded more than one BOD award during June. In fact, May’s BOM, Jason Kubel, didn’t even get on the board in June so he’s stuck at three BOD awards for the season, tying him with Pavano, Morneau, Span, Liriano and Slowey for second place in the Boyfriend of the Year competition. DY has the jump on all of them with five BOD awards on the year through June! Of course, those of you who’ve been paying attention so far in July know that DY has racked up a couple more BOD awards, while Pavano and Span have each added one to his total on the year.

This might be the time to give a little nudge to the consensus preseason favorite for BOY, Joe Mauer… Joe, you’ve only got two BOD awards so far, it’s time to step it up a bit! And if he needs a nudge, then Michael Cuddyer needs a pretty good shove! Michael… ONE lousy BOD on the year? For crying out loud, Wilson Ramos and Matt Tolbert have that many! Sideburns and dimples only get you so far in the world, guys.

In the end, of course, it really doesn’t matter how many BOD awards each individual player receives… what matters is that, since they are handed out only for Twins wins, we need to have cause to bestow a lot more of those awards the second half of the year! – JC

GameChat – Twins @ Tigers #3, WFTC29 & am1500, 12:05 pm

This has been an oddly productive and early morning for me – especially for a Sunday – but it also means I have had time to pay attention to some of the roster discussions taking place.  That’s pretty much all anyone – media, fans, staff alike – is talking about this morning.  Gardy admitted to the am1500 radio audience that, yes, it’s pretty likely that there will be some roster adjustments taking place before Thursday.  No decisions regarding the struggling Nick Blackburn yet but Gardy plans to speak to him today.  I expect something forthcoming there. I still don’t know what Blackburn’s status is regarding options and whether or not AAA or bullpen is being considered but I don’t think we’ll have to wait very long for that answer.

*** answer:  Blackburn will stay in the rotation for now – sure there will be a lot of discussion of this during the game. “The only reason I would take him out of this rotation is if he’s lost confidence in his own ability,” Gardenhire said. “We have confidence in him getting people out. We’ve seen him get people out. … He understands. He wants the ball; that’s what we want to hear from him…***

Also under discussion is the proposal (originally from Souhan) that Delmon Young is perhaps the Twins best trade option to get some REALLY stellar longterm pitching – ie, Harren or Oswalt.  To me it seems like a very high price to pay but at least we would be talking about players with longterm options, not rentals.  Could make for some interesting discussion.

Gardy also announced that Joe Mauer is out of today’s lineup because he’s dealing with some shoulder soreness from foul tips.  That has caused a bit of backlash since some would rather see him play today and skip the AS Game if he needs rest.  I can see the position but that’s pretty much like asking the bruises to wait two days and they can hurt on his off-day.  If he’s sore now, he’s sore now.  YES, this is an important division game but so were the last two.  I’m pretty much of the opinion that no team rests on the shoulders of a single individual for every game, nor should it.  If we can’t win one game without Joe Mauer behind the plate, we have problems too big to solve by getting an ace pitcher.  But that’s just me…

More from Joe C. regarding Mauer and Blackburn.

Now would be a really great time for Pavano to have one of his amazing, ironman starts. Just saying…

Minnesota @ Detroit
Span, CF   Jackson, A, CF
Hudson, O, 2B   Damon, DH
Young, D, LF   Ordonez, RF
Thome, DH   Cabrera, M, 1B
Cuddyer, 1B   Boesch, LF
Kubel, RF   Guillen, C, 2B
Valencia, 3B   Inge, 3B
Punto, SS   Avila, C
Butera, C   Santiago, SS
  Pavano, P     Oliver, P

 

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

 

FINALLY!!!!!  It really feels GREAT to get a win in this last game before the break.  I wish we could have gotten more here in Detroit but this one keeps us in the mix – we are only 3 games back in the division right now.  And more importantly, it was an immense outting from a Twins starting pitcher which has been few and far between lately.  But it’s not so unusual for Mr. Carl Pavano.  He’s been a MONSTER for us and came out with a solid start for us again – going to the 8th inning and protesting his replacement even then.  The players morale really needed this outting and the other starters really needed the example of the passion and fire they need to find.  Who knows what our starting rotation will look like when it gets back but the individual level of passion needs to look like today.  For that, he has earned today’s BOD.  Despite the odd horseshoe mustache he was sporting today, Cuddyer was really quality effort today too – 2/3 with 2 BB’s, 1 R, 2 RBI.  For that, he can take a few pastries with him on his all-star vacation.

To address earlier conversation regarding trading Delmon, Al Newman has gone on record in the postgame show saying that there is no way he thinks anyone should trade DY for any pitcher, including Cliff Lee.  It’s interesting to see how many people are addressing that issue.

But for all the angst the first half of the season, this win has at least gotten me back to looking forward to the 2nd half.  I think the break couldn’t have come at a better time (except maybe one series earlier) and we’ll have a fresher bunch of guys.

So, What’s Next?

UPDATE: OK so maybe I was premature in handing Lee to the Yankees, since NY Post reporter Joel Sherman is now (at 2:44 pm) tweeting that the Ms are going in “another direction.” the Rangers have acquired Lee from the Mariners in a deal that is somewhat puzzling, but sure looks to me they paid a VERY high price. Nevertheless, while my comments about the Yankees below are now virtually irrelevant, my views about the Twins needing to just get busy and move on to other targets remain as strong as ever. – JC

UPDATE #2: Interesting stuff. Seems the Yankees are pissed off. This is interesting, in that the Yankees were frustrated with the Ms just a year ago when they were trying to trade for Jarrod Washburn. The Ms did get two of the Rangers top 20 prospects in addition to two lesser minor leaguers, one of which (2B Josh Lueke) has some past “character issues” (to say the least). -JC

I’ve always been a big fan of TV’s “West Wing” series. Throughout the seven seasons that Martin Sheen portrayed the fictional President Bartlet in that series, I’m pretty sure he uttered the question, “What’s next?” more than any other phrase. It virtually became a catch phrase. In one episode, he expounded on the phrase in a terse admonition to his staff. “When I ask, ‘What’s next?’, it means that I’m ready to move on to other things. So, what’s next?”

I’m not sure I can describe my feelings about the impending Cliff Lee to the Yankees trade much better than that.

Yes, I was all in favor of making a deal to bring Lee to the Twins, even if it meant overpaying in prospects a bit. But Cliff Lee is going to be a Yankee. OK, fine. I’m ready to move on to other things. So, what’s next?

There are a couple of things you can do when you don’t get what you want. You can whine and cast blame on those who made the decision to deprive you of getting what you want (we’ll call this the Dan Gilbert approach, named for the Cleveland Cavaliers owner who pretty much provided a prime example of it with his reaction to being jilted by his prize free agent player last night). You can also throw a tantrum and set things on fire.

I’m just not sure those approaches are altogether productive and, fortunately, I can’t quite envision Twins GM Bill Smith going with those options either.

I prefer the “What’s next?” approach because, let’s be honest, the Twins need some help and the sooner, the better. So if Lee is not coming to town to help former team mate Carl Pavano deliver us all to the Promised Land (which, in this case, would be the World Series), then let’s focus on other options to get us there.

I know we’ve said a few times that it would be nice to have another option at 3B, but like it or not, I think Michael Cuddyer has become that “other option”. I’m not thrilled, but if it means we get more 420 foot HRs out of Jim Thome’s bat in the lineup, I’ll try to live with it. Frankly, the available 3B options on the market right now don’t exactly excite me anyway. So do your best out there, Cuddy, and try not to hurt yourself.

But for goodness sake, someone please find us some pitching. A top of the rotation starting pitcher like Dan Haren or Roy Oswalt? Terrific! The Cubs are supposedly about ready to start selling off spare parts, so let’s give them a call about Ted Lilly. He’s a rung below these other guys, but on this team, he’d be a marked improvement (but then, the list of pitchers that would constitute marked improvement over what we’ve seen on the mound lately wouldn’t be a short one).

Maybe we shouldn’t be content to settle for just getting one of those guys because, as long as we’re being honest, I think we have to admit we have more than one starting pitcher who isn’t exactly giving his team a great chance to win very often lately. And while we’re in a shopping mood, maybe we should think about a little bullpen help, too.

Is that asking for too much? I don’t think so! A year ago, there was a great deal of debate (and considerable skepticism) concerning whether Smith would make any deals significant enough to really be difference makers. In the end, he brought in Jon Rauch, Ron Mahay, Orlando Cabrera and Carl Pavano. While we could quibble about each player’s ultimate contribution to the Twins winning the Central Division title, there can be no questioning that the Twins were uncharacteristically active in their effort to strengthen their roster for the late season push.

I fully expect Bill Smith to be even more aggressive this month. The Twins can still contend for their Championship rings this season and if you take the time to really look at what their payroll and roster could look like next year and beyond, you recognize that this opportunity could be the best it’s going to get for a couple of years.

“But what about the F’ing Yankees?”, you ask, “Haven’t they wrapped up the World Series by trading for Cliff Lee?”

No. In my mind, they’ve not increased their chances of advancing in the playoffs much at all. What they HAVE done is increase their chances of reaching the playoffs. But wasn’t that pretty darn good anyway? Adding Lee to a rotation that already includes Sabbathia, Pettitte, and Hughes will make them tougher competition for the Rays and Red Sox over the second half of the season, but really what they did was save themselves a first round draft pick which they would have lost to Seattle (or whatever other team Lee ended this season with) by signing Lee in the offseason instead of trading for him now. Bully for them.

But once in the playoffs, they were going to have a tough starting pitcher every game, with or without Lee. It’s not like they were going to be trotting Javier Vasquez out there to start any games, anyway.

So frankly, if the Twins weren’t going to get Lee, I can’t think of many places (at least in the AL) where he would have a less problematic effect on the Twins than with the Yankees. The Twins are done playing the Yankees during the regular season and he’s not going to result in nearly the kind of upgrade to their rotation that he would have to the Rays, Rangers or, God forbid, the White Sox or Tigers.

So the proper response to this turn of events is not to wail about how the Yankees always get what they want (though they do) or to cast aspersions toward the Mariners for getting the Yankees to overpay in prospects even more than the Twins would have (though they did).

Instead, let’s fix our gaze toward Bill Smith and simply ask, “So, what’s next?”  -JC


GameChat – Twins @ Mets #2, 12:10 PM

This team needs a break out game to shake this slump. It won’t be easy against old friend Johan Santana, but let’s get it done anyway!

TWINS @ METS
Span, CF   Reyes, Jo, SS
Hudson, O, 2B   Feliciano, J, CF
Mauer, C   Wright, D, 3B
Morneau, 1B   Davis, I, 1B
Cuddyer, 3B   Bay, LF
Kubel, RF   Barajas, C
Young, D, LF   Francoeur, RF
Punto, SS   Cora, 2B (late change)
Pavano, P   Santana, J, P

 

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 4 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 6 10 0
NY Mets 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0

 

There hasn’t been a whole lot to get excited about during this interleague road trip, but you have to give credit to Carl Pavano for matching up with Roy Halladay and Johan Santana and coming away with a couple of wins. Baked goods to the four guys who each doubled in the first inning, to stake Pavano to a 4-0 lead (Hudson, Mauer, Kubel and Young), but there can be no Boyfriend of the Day but Carl “the Stache” Pavano.

Carl Pavano’s mustache – Who’s to blame?

It’s not often that being old is good. Sure, it’s nice not to worry about getting ‘carded’ when I buy a beer at the ballpark, but other than that, I’d have to say getting old sucks.

So when the opportunity arises to make use of one’s advanced age by educating the younger baseball fans, I try to take advantage. Best to do that now, while I’m striking that precarious balance of being old enough to know stuff, yet not too old to remember it. Since I’m exactly at that point in my life, I can tell you all who is to blame for Carl Pavano’s mustache.

Reggie

It’s the man pictured at the right.

Yes, Twins fans, Reggie Jackson is the person responsible for those of you with a strong aversion to Pavano’s mustache having to try to simultaneously watch every minute of the games he pitches while not actually watching Pavano, himself.

You see, dating back to a time before any of you were born (think 1910-ish) and up to the early 1970s, historians record that only two players, Allen Benson (who wore a beard for two games in 1934) of the Senators and Satchel Paige (who wore a mustache when he was signed out of the Negro Leagues in 1948) of the Indians sported facial hair during regular season MLB games… and historians aren’t so sure Paige didn’t shave his before appearing for the Tribe.

It’s not that there was a rule against facial hair. Not an official rule, anyway. It was more like one of those unofficial baseball rules. Kind of like not running across the pitchers mound. By the early 1970s, a few players were showing up for Spring Training sporting various forms of facial hair, but by Opening Day, they all were shaved clean… until 1972. That’s when Reggie Jackson not only showed up for the A’s Spring Training with a fully grown ‘stache, but announced to anyone who would listen (including his manager, Dick Williams, who had been told by owner Charley Finley to make Reggie shave) that he intended to keep it… and would be adding a beard to go with it.

Rollie Fingers

Jim "Catfish" Hunter

Finley and Williams decided Jackson was just trying to assert his individuality and thought they could counter that… and get Reggie to shave… by having a few other players ALSO grow mustaches. Thus were born what became trademark mustaches for A’s pitchers Rollie Fingers and Catfish Hunter. Needless to say, the strategy backfired. Soon a lot of the A’s were growing mustaches of varying styles.

Finley, a bit of a renegade himself among MLB owners, saw an opportunity for a promotion. He not only backed off on his anti-facial hair position, but in May, Finley even announced a Fathers Day promotion… “Mustache Day”. Fans wearing a mustache would be admitted free of charge and he’d pay a $300 bonus to any player sporting a mustache by that Fathers Day game.

Every player collected the bonus. Many players, like 1B Mike Hegan, shaved immediately after collecting their Fathers Day bonus. Hegan claimed he shaved because his wife didn’t like it (can you say ___ whipped?). But by later in the season, most of the players had grown them back. Even Manager Dick Williams was wearing a ‘stache. Why? As 3B Sal Bando explained, “Well, we had success as a team, so everyone stayed with it.”

That fall, the A’s won the first of their back-to-back-to back World Series Championships.

In other words, Babs (and the rest of you who want to see Pavano get rid of his mustache), if I may be allowed to re-phrase a quote from the great baseball philosopher, Crash Davis, “… a player on a streak has to respect the streak.  If you believe you’re playing well because you’re (wearing a mustache), then you ARE! And you should know that! ”

Who knows… maybe Carl will be a trendsetter, just like Reggie. – JC