Friday, September 29, 2006

Just a li'l more baseball

The magical season in 3 minutes.

Yet another homoerotic tribute

I know there have been 50,000,000 (roughly) posts about how miraculous the Twins season has turned out to be, and that I personally have already written several. Sorry, it's just been a damn amazing season. After we lost Puck this past spring, it was a huge blow to Minnesota. He was everything we value here in the Midwest: happy, content, loyal, and hard-working. Hell, he even had the short stature and imposing gut so common amongst the simple folks out here.

The only other guy who comes close to that is Brad Radke. He may not get the acolades of Puck, but he's been an amazing man over his career. You'll never see him in the Hall of Fame, and his jersey wont get retired. Hell, in 5 years, no one outside of Minnesota will remember him. But that doesn't mean he hasn't been great. He won 20 games way back in 1997 when the Twins won only 68 games all year long. Only if you're a devoted baseball fan can you understand how fucking impossible that is. It means that he won just under 30% of the Twins games that season. I'm no baseball historian, but I think you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone else who's ever accomplished that kind of feat.

But he, possibly even more than Kirby, is emblamatic of everything that is the Minnesota Twins. He's not a name most people recognize. He's not over powering. He just gets the job done. But most of all, he's the grittiest player in any sport alive today. The man has been throwing on a torn ligament in his pitching arm and a stress-frature in his piching shoulder all season long. Has he complained once? No. Like a true Midwesterner, he simply goes out every fifth day in the rotation and pitches a damn good game, and then spends the rest of the week unable to lift his kids or even shampoo his hair because his arm won't raise, no matter what he does.

But on game day, he does it again.

He's gone after this season. He possibly may not even pitch in the postseason. But again, it's in true Midwestern fashion: to pitch again he would have to have extensive surgery, and it just isn't worth it to him. He's said that he's on his way out, and if his arm falls off, than it falls off, but he's got a job to do on the field. Not to name names, but can you see Randy Johnson, Curt Shilling, Roger Clemens, Mariano Rivera, or any of the much, much more celebrated pitchers even comtemplating saying something like that? No, no you couldn't.

Possibly one of the most important games of this entire season was the third game of a 3-game sweep of the Tigers in Detroit with Brad on the mound. A day after we heard that Franchise was out for the season (and as such, would not get Rookie of the Year, even though he still deserves it. Quick: name a better rookie. You can't. Case closed.), Brad went out and pitched a gem of 7 innings against the best team in all of baseball. I think the most telling was after he walked off the mound in the 7th, Mauer came out and gave him a huge hug. Not the manly, half-handshake-half-hug kind of thing, but a genuine thank you to the cagey old man who's literally giving his arm to the Twins.

It was hard not to get misty-eyed watching Brad pitch last night. Sure, it was the Royals. But it was a huge game we absolutely could not lose, and Radke made sure we didn't.

So he may never get the awards or the accolades that he would have gotten if he pitched like this for New York or Boston, but his worth will be measured by the fact that for generations to come, everyone who pitches or even plays in Minnesota will have their toughness and dedication measured against Bradke.

And if you ask me, I'm pretty sure he'd be just fine with that.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Good, but not good enough

Torii finally breaks number 30 (firt time ever for him, first time we've had two of 'em there since '87), Justincredible/the Good Doctor knocks in another monster one, and the Chairman gets his average back up to .349.

And we're officially in.

For the 4th time in 5 years (I suppose it's time to begin contraction talks again).

Now, let's make the best stretch of baseball ever played even better by just going ahead and winning the division as well.

If you're in Detroit, that sound you hear is the footstpes of the Twins coming up behind you

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Though I be sure that ye already know, today be International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

So...uh...don't ye forget to talk like a pirate today, me hearties!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Sports, sports, sports, sports

So I've been blogging a good deal about sports lately (even thought I know they detract badly needed funding from the arts and sciences), but I suppose it's just a function of the time of year. The playoff race is heating up (poor Liriano looks like he's back to the DL), football has started, and more importantly, school has started, meaning nothing interesting happens to me, so I'm struggling to find things to write about.

But I found this little gem online today. Apparently the back-up punter (who knew such people existed) for Northern Colorado stabbed the starting punter in the leg in an attempt to win the starting spot.

Now that's the kind of Can-Do! attitude that I think we should be encouraging more of in our collegiate athletes these days. It prepares them not just for the game of football, but for their future career in the world of corporate leg-stabbing.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Why you've gotta love independent leagues

I was really not a big fan of sports outside of the pros. College is ok, high school recalls too many beatings, and amateur leagues are just that. You always have to kind of figure that if these people were really good at the game, they'd be getting paid for it.

But my opinion has been gradually changing over the past summer as I've been exposed to more minor league and independent league sports than I could shake a stick at. There's something quaint and homey about the indy leagues, and it is refreshing in a way to watch guys play for peanuts just because they love the game. Of course, this isn't to say that they wouldn't jump at a chance to play in the bigs, but unlike so many professional players, they continue to play despite making rather humble money for professional athletes.

And, again unlike the bigs, minor leagues and indy leagues really cater to fans. Tickets are reasonable prices, and understanding that the game (especially the game of baseball) can get rather boring without the story arcs of overexposed professional athletes, they do much more to keep the games exciting. While some people decry the Donut Burger and promos such as vasectomy night as cheap gimmicks that hurt the game, I'm sure the average fan appreciates the inherent humor of them.

But for me, it really comes back to the players. The guys are pretty universally just people who weren't good enough to make/last in the bigs and bring a kind of blue-collar ethic to the game. Case in point: last night, players from both the Saint Paul Saints and the Fort Worth Cats were arrested for brawling at a bar in St. Paul after the Cats beat the hometown Saints for the American Association League championship.

Can you even imagine pro players all going to a bar together after the game, let alone both teams going out together? And then, can you imagine them doing that after the world series? And then can you even begin to imagine them being so into the game that they get into a fist fight after the game?

Nah, me neither. Guess those guys who can't play quite as well may be the more entertaining players after all.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Just in case you've forgotten

Donald Rumsfeld discussing the possibility of invading Iraq in November, 2002:

"I can't say if the use of force would last five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that."

Some congressional reps are moving to a vote of no confidence in Rumsfeld. If you want to sign a petition to encourage them to do so, you can go here.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Found quote in an old theory notebook

"After all these years of letting it roam free and unfettered in the wild, we can all rest easy knowing that we've finally domestictaed violence"