Episode 101: A Fan’s View, with Howard Sinker

This week Eric and Jay are joined by long time podcast friend Chuck Ruether and new podcast friend Howard Sinker, from the Star Tribune.

travel
You can download the new Talk to Contact (@TalkToContact) episode via iTunes or by clicking here, and if you want to add the show to your non-iTunes podcast player, this is the RSS Feed.

Lots of chatter about the end of the season, what to look forward to in 2015, and how the Twins might go about finding a new manager, if they ever get around to getting rid of their current one.

Then plenty of the regular beer, baseball, and the news.

Thanks for listening, folks!

Enjoy the show.

If you enjoy our podcast, please tell your friends about us and take a couple extra minutes and rate and review us on iTunes. Ratings and reviews are how we pay for beer when we’re between paychecks.

Episode 100: Remembering the First 100 Episodes (and Derek Jeter)

Welp, we made it to 100 episodes. Thank you to everyone that has listened to us ramble over the past two years. We’ve come a long way from Episode 1 and we’re happy to have you along for the ride. Along the way we picked up a couple of hitch hikers in Cody Christie and Jay Corn, and we have fun every week talking Twins baseball.

100

You can download the new Talk to Contact (@TalkToContact) episode via iTunes or by clicking here, and if you want to add the show to your non-iTunes podcast player, this is the RSS Feed.

This week we talk about Trevor May, Phil Hughes and Ricky Nolasco, who all turned in strong performances, and we talk about the trio of Danny Santana, Oswaldo Arcia, and Kennys Vargas forming a young core of talent for future Twins teams.

We spend some time Down on the Pond talking about the most productive Minor League seasons in the Twins system.

Before we sign off we gave Jay time to wax poetic about Derek Jeter as he comes upon the end of his career (sparked by this new ad) and we wrap up Episode 100 talking about beer.

Thank you again for listening to us ramble, and be sure to check out Egon’s Unicat, who have been providing us music for the podcast the entire time we’ve been around!

You are all awesome!

If you enjoy our podcast, please tell your friends about us and take a couple extra minutes and rate and review us on iTunes. Ratings and reviews are how we pay for beer when we’re between paychecks.

Episode 92: Reviewing the First Half

You can download the new Talk to Contact (@TalkToContact) episode via iTunes or by clicking here, and if you want to add the show to your non-iTunes podcast player, this is the RSS Feed.

"Peace to my All Star homies in West Fargo." - Cody Christie, probably

“Peace to my All Star homies in West Fargo.” – Cody Christie, probably

This week we talk all about the first half, the Twins best players and worst players before the All Star break, and what we think might happen in the second half. Jay Corn rags on Joe Mauer, Cody Christie praises Brian Dozier, and Eric Pleiss raves about his boyfriend Phil Hughes.

Join us for the Twins talk, stay for the beers and baseball chatter.

 

I hope you enjoy this special episode.You can follow Cody on Twitter (@NoDakTwinsFan) or read his writing at NoDakTwinsFan, you can find Paul on Twitter (@BaseballPirate) you can find Eric on Twitter (@ERolfPleiss) and read his writing at Knuckleballs, and you can find Mr. Jay Corn on Twitter (@Jay__Corn)!
If you enjoy our podcast, please take a couple extra minutes and rate and review our show on iTunes.  iTunes ratings and reviews is how to government funds unemployment.

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

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JIM CRIKKET!!

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

Episode 86: Josh Willingham is Not Dead Yet

Jason Kubel strikes out when he says it, but “This is Talk to Contact.” You can download the new Talk to Contact (@TalkToContact) episode via iTunes or click here you can download the new episode, and if you want to add the show to your podcast player, this is the RSS Feed.

This week on the podcast we talk about the resurgence of Josh Willingham since his return from the Disabled List (being healthy is pretty important, I guess), we ramble on a bit about Aaron Hicks and the failure of the front office to have any sort of reasonable back up plan (has this rant been beaten to death yet? Yes?  Good, we’ll keep bringing it up), and we talk about all of the students Down on the Pond pitching for the Rochester Red Wings (Alex Meyer, Trevor May, Logan Darnell, Kris Johnson, Yohan Pino and the still terrible Scott Diamond).

We all drank excellent beers, answered a question from the internet, gave a shout out to our listener of the week, and talked all things baseball news going Around the League.
96 minutes of baseball joy.
Thanks for playing along!

Enjoy the show.

You can follow Cody on Twitter (@NoDakTwinsFan) or read his writing at NoDakTwinsFan, you can find Paul on Twitter (@BaseballPirate) and you can find Mr. Jay Corn on Twitter (@Jay__Corn)!
If you enjoy our podcast, please take a couple extra minutes and rate and review our show on iTunes.   iTunes ratings and reviews are the sole reason that Josh Willingham is hitting home runs.

GameChat – MInnesota @ San Diego #2, 8:10 pm

Does this game start earlier tonight? It appears so.

Regardless, here are tonight’s lineups.

Minnesota San Diego
Dozier, 2B Cabrera, E, SS
Mauer, 1B Smith, S, LF
Plouffe, 3B Headley, 3B
Parmelee, RF Alonso, 1B
Suzuki, K, C Gyorko, 2B
Kubel, LF Venable, RF
Escobar, E, SS Maybin, CF
Hicks, CF Rivera, R, C
Hughes, P, P Ross, T, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 2 4 0
San Diego 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 1

Hey this winning thing is kind of fun, isn’t it? Sure, 80% of Twins fans don’t really find out about the win until the following day when it all takes place after normal people head to bed, but it’s still a W.

Only 4 hits for the Twins, so it’s tough to find a lot of offensive heroes, but Chris Parmelee’s RBI single in the 6th got the Twins on the board and Trevor Plouffe had half the team’s hits, including a HR for an insurance run in the 8th.

But BOD honors go to Phil Hughes, who contributed another excellent start. 7 innings.of shutout moundwork, 7 hits, no walks and 7 Ks. Nice.

And in honor of this achievement taking place in a National League park where Hughes had to borrow a helmet and bat three times, we have a picture I took proving he actually got some practice using the bat during spring training in March.

HughesBatting1

GameChat – Twins @ Tigers, 6:08pm

*** RAIN DELAY OVER…

A weekend series in Detroit… this could either be a lot of fun or.. not so much.

In case you missed it, Sam Fuld is officially on the Concussion DL and Nunez has been brought up in his place – plus some other roster news:

All in all, it makes for a bit of the same ol’ same ol’ kind of feeling with the injury bug.

Minnesota @ Detroit
Dozier, 2B Kinsler, 2B
Suzuki, K, C Hunter, To, RF
Plouffe, 3B Cabrera, M, 1B
Colabello, 1B Martinez, V, DH
Kubel, LF Jackson, A, CF
Nunez, DH Castellanos, N, 3B
Parmelee, RF Avila, C
Hicks, CF Romine, A, SS
Santana, D, SS Davis, R, LF
  Hughes, P, P   Verlander, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 9 0
Detroit 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 10 0

I didn’t get to even listen to anything but the last two innings tonight, but I was pretty much shocked to see the Twins not only scored twice on Justin Verlander, but that Phil Hughes had kept the Tigers off the board for 7 innings. How cool is that combination?

Yes, Perk gave up a run in the 9th, but with the critical strike outs, we’ll let that pass this time.

Kurt Suzuki obviously had a big 2 out, 2 RBI single, but I don’t think there’s any doubt that Hughes is our BOD. – JC

Phil Hughes (photo: JC/Knuckleballs)

Phil Hughes (photo: JC/Knuckleballs)

GameChat – Tigers @ Twins #2, 1:10pm

GAH!

Of course it when you’re trying to do something really quick right before a deadline that your computer decides to die and need attention before it will work for you… *sigh*  all the more reason to replace it sooner rather than later.. but that is a different issue.

Today it LOOKS quite lovely out but it’s cooler than it appears and the wind isn’t exactly gentle so it could make things interesting for both players and fans – including JC who drove his mom up for her first game since TF officially opened.

Let’s get a win boys!

Detroit @ Minnesota
Kinsler, 2B Dozier, 2B
Hunter, To, RF Mauer, DH
Cabrera, M, 1B Plouffe, 3B
Martinez, V, DH Colabello, 1B
Jackson, A, CF Kubel, LF
Castellanos, N, 3B Pinto, C
Romine, A, SS Fuld, RF
Holaday, C Hicks, CF
Davis, R, LF Escobar, E, SS
  Sanchez, An, P   Hughes, P, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Detroit 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 8 1
Minnesota 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 1 x 5 4 1

Yep, I’m more and more convinced that pitching wins games… Clearly, the Tigers just didn’t have the pitching today and we took advantage of it.

Even without 4 gazillion walks, Hughes pitched FANTASTICALLY! We needed everyone of those innings (although why he uses the first inning for his warm-up, I don’t know) since the bullpen was officially spent. THAT is why he is today’s BOD! Thanks Phil!

Phil Hughes

Phil Hughes (Photo: JC/Knuckleballs)

Episode 62: Rule 5 Drafts and other Non-Sense

Episode 62 of the Twins baseball podcast, Talk To Contact (@TalkToContact), is now available for download via iTunes or by clicking here.

Paul's sad Christmas tree.

Paul’s sad Christmas tree.

This week on the podcast we have a full slate of beers and a full tray of Twins news. Christmas comes early this season for Twins fans as Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes are Minnesota Twins; what does it all mean? Seth Stohs joins us to break down Rule-5 Draft possibilities and to talk minor league ball. The Hot Stove is on fire this seasons, listen in for analysis of Twins moves, roster transactions and more.

It’s another long episode this week, but with so much news, and so many beers, it was impossible to keep it any shorter.

Enjoy the podcast!

 

You can follow Cody on Twitter (@NoDakTwinsFan) or read his writing at NoDakTwinsFan, and you can find Paul on Twitter (@BaseballPirate) and read his writing at PuckettsPond.com!

If you enjoy our podcast, please take a couple extra minutes and rate and review us on iTunes. Ratings and reviews have magical iTunes powers, which helps the the Vikings draft another terrible quarterback.

Santa Came Early for Twins Fans

Yes, Santa Clause showed up early for Twins fans this year – and he brought presents.

Terry Ryan’s reputation among Twins fans has historically been more Ebeneezer Scrooge than Santa Clause over the years. Whether he’s been visited by apparitions who have shown him the errors of his ways or merely by an owner who has grown weary of being blamed by fans for being miserly, Ryan has been doing his holiday shopping early this year and he’s delivered a couple of early gifts to Twins fans.

Terry Ryan (Photo Jim Crikket/Knuckleballs)

Terry Ryan (Photo Jim Crikket/Knuckleballs)

More than a week before the traditional baseball flea market that is the sport’s Winter Meetings, Ryan has signed two of the more in-demand starting pitchers on the market in Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes.

Nolasco and Hughes are not “aces,” so of course there’s a certain faction of Twins fans that are not happy with the additions. Some of those fans remind me of kids who, despite finding some cool presents under the tree on Christmas morning, simply pout because they didn’t get the pony they asked Santa for.

There’s absolutely no downside to these additions and plenty to like about them.

First, the obvious: Nothing short of an injury should keep both of these two pitchers from outperforming the 2013 levels of every starting pitcher who toed the rubber in a Twins uniform this past season.

Neither pitcher will cost the Twins a draft choice next June. Nolasco’s mid-season trade to the Dodgers was a blessing for the pitcher and the Twins.

Some have questioned the Twins for giving arguably generous multi-year deals to the two arms. That thinking simply doesn’t take in to account the Twins’ situation. There are teams who rightfully are interested only in signing free agent pitchers to one or two year deals. The Twins are not one of those teams.

Whether or not it was by design, the Twins have an enormous amount of “payroll flexability.” That’s shorthand for, “they have cut payroll to an obscenely low level, so there is literally nobody on the market they can’t afford.”

Almost everyone believes the Twins have no shot at being competitive for the postseason in 2014. (I don’t necessarily agree, but that’s a discussion for another day.) The consensus thinking is that the Twins have hitters either on the roster now or likely to arrive by 2015 or 2016 that will be good enough to score runs. There’s much less confidence concerning the pitching situation.

So, the Twins need veteran starting pitchers that have a likelihood of being at least legitimate middle-of-the-rotation pitchers, not just in 2014, but for a number of seasons beyond that. That is exactly what Nolasco and Hughes are.

Are they sure-things? No. Are they potential aces? Nope, not likely at all. A week ago, the pitcher most likely to become a true ace in a Twins uniform was prospect Alex Meyer. That remains true today.

But here’s something that wasn’t true a week ago: Before the Nolasco and Hughes signings, the agents for next off-season’s top-tier free agents did not see the Twins as players in the free agent market for their clients’ services. Now, as long as the Twins show some notable improvement this season, you can bet they’ll take a call from Terry Ryan next November and they’ll listen closely to what Ryan has to say.

In that way, the Twins demonstrating a willingness to pay what some might argue is above market value for good free agent talent could work in their favor down the road.

In fact, the Twins may not have to wait until next year for this benefit to kick in. Media reports are that the team is still actively looking to add another starting pitcher, as well as a veteran starting catcher. I’d be willing to bet there are players on the market (and their agents) much more interested in talking to the Twins today than they were a week ago.

Terry Ryan has made a statement. The Twins are intent on improving right now, not at some indefinite time in the future. And it’s a statement being made with actions – and money- not words.

I’m certain that current members of the Twins are excited to see indications the club is committed to winning more games in 2014. I am, too.

You could say these are the sorts of moves Ryan should have been making last year or even the year before that. You’d be absolutely right. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t appreciate that it’s happening now.

Christmas came early for Twins fans this year. Enjoy it. You’re not going to get the pony – this year. But what you’re getting is a lot better than the chunks of coal Santa left in your stockings last year!

– JC