Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tomorrow, the NHL goes crazysauce

So, tomorrow is the open of NHL Free Agency. There will probably be 100 roster moves tomorrow alone. That's crazysauce, right?
I'm wondering why it's not like this in other sports? Why does it take an entire offseason for players to sign and move teams? I bet within an hour, there will be 20 players signed to ostentatious new contracts. Too bad the NBA Lockout has to start on the same day, otherwise you would hear all about where Brad Richards  will end up.
Wait. Brad Richards is the top of the class this year? Psh, Lame. And on the "All free agent team" by TSN has Anttie Miettinen on the 2nd line? Holy awful.
As you were...

Labels: ,

Links of the Day 6/30/11

The end of June, and we're into the heat. Awesome. I love it.

Pitchers seem to want to throw at Carlos Quentin.

Yes, this certainly has a place in jurisprudence

This is perhaps the lamest man vs lion thing ever.

Minnesota 1, Los Angeles 0 - Scott Baker is good. One of my season's predictions is working out!
Chicago 3, Colorado 2 - Two 3-2 games in a row in Colorado. What's going on?


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Trying to think of an American equivalent

So, tomorrow begins something called the "Europa League" That's easy to compare to something American. It's sort of like what the NIT in college basketball is to the Big Dance. It's not the Champions League, but it's still a post season tournament, and almost certainly a bigger deal for the smaller teams, because they actually get to be involved in a major international competition.
The tournament is much, much larger than the Champions League in terms of teams involved. It usually adds teams that finish second in a league, as well as the champions of domestic cups (or the runners up, or the third place team in the league. It depends on the association). As I said, there are a LOT of teams involved, coming from all walks of soccer.The more well moneyed leagues enter their teams later in the tournament so as not to provide huge mismatches and make it difficult for the lesser teams to win, just as it is in every tournament everywhere.
There is one exception. In the initial, preliminary round, which begins tomorrow, three "fair play" entrants, which are taken from the associations who have the fewest yellow and red cards in international competition in the previous year. Then, the teams that don't qualify for international competition with the best league fair play ratings are plugged into the opening round of the Europa League. (I think. There may be a few details I have mucked up). Anyways, the three recipients were Norway, Sweden and England.
England, the greatest, most well moneyed league in the world. Sure, Spain has Real Madrid and Barcelona, but nobody is as deep as England. So, they put their Fair Play winner, Fulham in the Europa League's preliminary round. This meant they were drawn, again, for a home and away match with all the lowest level entrants. Tomorrow, they have a home match, but next week, they are going to the Faroe Islands to play a squad called NSI Runavik.
Here is a fun comparison: Clint Dempsey, a member of the US Men's National Team is a player for Fulham, and he makes 2 million Euro a year. Fulham paid New England 4 million Dollars for his transfer fee in 2007. Runavik is a semi-pro team, and members of the squad have to work other jobs in order to survive. Here is another fun comparison. Capacity at Fulham's Craven Cottage is 25,700. The population of the Faroe Islands is short of 50,000. The population of Runavik is 3797.
So what is the best comparison? I think maybe if your local Major League Baseball team played your local town ball team. This match between Fulham and Runavik is the Twins vs. the Victoria Vics. And next week, the Twins are coming to Victoria. (the above stadium is where Fulham will play Runavik in the Faroe Islands. Thats the Faroese national stadium, because Runavik's doesn't meet international standards)

Labels: , , ,

Links of the Day 6/29/11

The sun is coming out, it's waring up. Good times.

Hey, you CAN angrily quit your job and find work again.

Dick Bremer finally got a call!

Dudelange and Valetta won the first legs of their Champions League qualifiers, both on the road. But, come on. You knoew that.

Minnesota 6, Los Angeles 4 - The Twins, on aggregate, would be losing 19-6 in this series.
Colorado 3, Chicago 2 - It took extra frames, but the Rockies won at home. Wait, 5 runs in a game at Coors Field?


Cooking with Ryan: Mongolian Beef

I have to say, during the cooking process, I have never been as organized as I was this go 'round. I had my vegetables all chopped, I had my pertinent sauces all mixed and made. Everything was coming together perfectly. I think there was only one minor error in my prep.
The sauce was supposed to take water that I had soaked carrots in, mixed with some soy sauce, sugar and red pepper, as well as bit of corn starch to thicken things up. It sounds like it should be a bit salty, sweet and hot with the red pepper. I don't know what it was, perhaps too much water, perhaps too much corn starch, but it was just... bland.
The meat itself was good (I covered it a soy/garlic mix before searing). The carrots took on some oil and the beef fat and they were good. The sauce was just meh. But look at the steam coming off it in the picture!


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Links of the Day 6/28/11

I'm going to be quick, I know most of you are looking to track the Santa Coloma-Dudelange Champions League qualifying match (first of the year!)

I say we put this kid in the Twins outfield. He has a stronger arm than Ben Revere and about the same range as Jason Kubel.

Terrell Owens' career may be over. The former Bills great is second all time (tied with Randy Moss) in receiving touchdowns.

The Dodgers are bankrupt. This makes the pending scoreboard all the more painful.

Los Angeles 15, Minnesota 0 - /vomits


Monday, June 27, 2011

Do we really have to cheer for this haircut?

This is Wild first round draft pick Jonas Brodin. He is from Sweden, so tht whole Europe thing might forgive some of the issues with this bizarre head of hair. Some immediate thoughts:
- Given how deep the part on his right side is, you almost have to think there is some comb over action going on
- But then, it's all slicked... over. The amount of product (or sweat, or water) in his hair make it look like the hair should be slicked back. But no. It's swept to his left.
- None of the previous issues would BE issues, of course, were his hair not so long. IT would just look nerdy if it was cropped short and parted severely on one side. But no. He has the hockey mullet thing going on, if the hockey mullet wrapped around his head .

Jonas better hope he is better at hockey than hair cuts, is all I'm saying.

Labels: , ,

Links of the Day 6/27/11

Oh wow, another summer day where the sun isn't out.

I still can't get over what a disaster the whole Tanguy Ngombo fiasco is. I mean, a little research?

Oh, hey, it's the offseason in the EPL too. Blackburn is looking for a striker.

Michigan basketball recruit has now been involved in two deadly plane crashes that have wiped out his family, but he survived both.. Horrible.

Nothing new


Sunday, June 26, 2011

More Amazing Delmon Young facts and figures

First, a quote from the man in question after last night's ankle wrecking collision with the wall.
"I don't know what it is this year, but it happens. None of us want to get hurt," Young said. "It's boring on the DL. It's boring rehabbing."
I have to say, that is the longest ever quote I have ever heard from him. Opening up to the media at long last! Anywho. Back to the stats that blew even me away. Me the ardent and unhealthy Delmon Young supporter. To wit:

April/March 103 98 406 377 46 93 16 1 6 45 12 5 23 71 .247 .288 .342 .630 129 16 1 0 5 0 7 .285 70

May 111 103 442 404 49 103 18 3 7 49 4 2 30 90 .255 .308 .366 .674 148 11 3 0 5 3 5 .308 82

June 117 114 464 451 55 141 28 0 10 71 5 3 9 78 .313 .325 .441 .767 199 18 1 0 3 1 3 .358 105

July 88 85 364 340 42 124 28 2 9 60 5 2 12 52 .365 .393 .538 .931 183 5 7 0 5 2 3 .405 149

August 108 103 445 417 56 112 21 0 13 62 2 1 16 75 .269 .300 .412 .712 172 17 5 1 6 4 4 .296 90

Sept/Oct 133 131 560 529 61 155 34 2 16 77 6 6 20 102 .293 .323 .456 .779 241 15 6 0 5 5 4 .334 108

Holy Mackerel!If those numbers are a bit tough to decipher, they can be found at Baseball-Reference. They are his career splits from month to month. Through his career, he has always been awful in the first two months of his season. He improves dramatically later. Like, he becomes transcendent. A .365 CAREER batting average in July?! Kept down are his total games played because he was benched frequently his first two years here because he was given up on after those first two abysmal months.
Most of his home runs and RBI come late in the year too. His power stroke comes around in August and really takes off in September.
What am I trying to say? A little patience with Young goes a long way. I have always said that this team needs to get more right handed, and I hope he can stick around, and the team and fans can be patient with him. I will always cheer for him, and any team that has the patience to wait for his bat to come around, even if his days with the Twins are over.

(As for his fielding, no matter how it looks, he is INFINITELY better than Kubel and Cuddyer. Sure, he doesn't look that fast, but he IS much faster than both, especially Kubel. Let me ask you this. If a player gets to 10 more balls but drops 5 of them, doesn't he STILL make 5 more outs? Young is a better outfielder, plain and simple. Parenthesees over)


Links of the Day 6/26/11

Ah the weekend. It never lasts long enough, does it?

All that realignment talk makes it seem as though we are going back to the old days. (In the NHL, I mean)

Delmon Young's leg exploded yesterday. More on this later.

Joe Mauer loves his milk. I disagree with his rankings though. Skim is thin enough to be refreshing.

Chicago 3, Washington 0 and Washington 2, Chicago 1 - What is this, the Twins in April?
Milwaukee 11, Minnesota 1 and Milwaukee 6, Minnesota 2 - Well, the Twins outscored the Nationals this weekend
Rosenborg 0, Viking 0 - Wow, Viking 0. Used to that, Tarvaris Jackson fans?


Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Minnesota team makes logical trades

Let's review.. in the past year, the Minnesota sports teams have made the following trades (in every case, the listed trade is their most recent notable trade)

Minnesota Vikings - Added Randy Moss for a third round pick. Moss was quickly dumped, the coach fired, the team moved to Los Angeles.

Minnesota Twins - JJ Hardy sent to Baltimore exchange for Jim Hoey and someone other pitcher. JJ Hardy is the best pitcher involved in this deal.

Minnesota Timberwolves - As someone on Twitter put it, the Wolves traded Jonny Flynn and the 20th pick for Brad Miller and nothing. Or as I put it... Here!

Well, fortunately, the state has 4 chances to make good trades. Last night at the NHL draft, the Wild did just that it appears. They had one solidly tradable asset in Brent Burns, the good two way defenseman who was the Wild's all star representative last year. He was in a contract year, and thanks to some large contracts, he may not have fit in the team's plans going forward.
Additionally, the Wild were egregiously overmatched on the offensive end last year. The team simply didn't score any goals, and don't have any young scorers coming any time soon.Taking these factors into account, Brent Burns was traded to San Jose in exchange for the guy pictured above, Devin Setoguchi, a college player from Boston College and another 1st round pick. They also gave up a second rounder in next years draft. That is a solid use of resources, frankly.
Later in the draft (today) they traded up to take Mario Lucia, son of Gophers' Coach Don and the best Minnesotan in the draft. The next pick they had was used on Eden Prarie's Nick Seeler. They have added talent and in the deeper portion of the draft are setting out to ad local players, which is good for PR. The Wild patched a glaring hole and added prospects in the process. It's nice to see a front offense do something that can be universally applauded for a change.

Labels: , , , , ,

Links of the Day 6/25/11

I believe that the sun will make an appearance today. I have to, otherwise insanity might set in.

I had always hoped that at some point someone might say "hey, you're 6'2! Come play for our baseball team! Alas...

My parents were also going to name me Diesel. They had to be talked out of Ethanol at the last minute.

I have never been so proud to be a scientist

Washington 9, Chicago 5 - The White Sox came back in the bottom of the 9th with three, but the Nats scored four in the top of the 14th. Whose bullpen sucks now?!
Milwaukee 4, Minnesota 3 - Oh right, the Twins. Jose Mijares lets Prince Fielder get the go ahead double. That is a combined weight of 946lbs between the two, by the way.


Friday, June 24, 2011

The NBA draft, and what I know of it

- The Timberwolves draft was hilarious, in that, for a two round draft, they made 5 trades. They also walked away with Derrick Williams, an exciting player who is the best fit for the position that Kevin Love plays. Then they traded their 20th pick and Jonny Flynn for the 23rd pick and Brad Miller. Then they traded the 23rd pick for the 28th pick. Then they traded the 28th pick for the 31st pick. Then they sold the 31st pick. Then they sold the 38th pick (to Houston, whom they had acquired it from previously). They DID eventually make a couple picks, Malcolm Lee from UCLA and some guy from Qatar who may not have been eligible to be drafted.
- The cash they got was to buy out coach Kurt Rambis, who is getting canned next week.
- Brad Miller, acquired in the first trade, is hurt... he is not going to play probably at all.
- Oh wait, going back to all those trades... there is this from SB Nation Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle has an update on the Flynn trade, saying the Wolves actually sent a future second round pick to the Rockets rather than receiving one. The Rockets also didn't include the No. 38 pick, as had been previously reported, meaning Houston never had to buy that pick back which results in less cash in the pockets of Glen Taylor.

- Oh, on another, more positive note, JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore were both drafted, and they both ended up with the Celtics. I would cheer for the Celts, but I don't think I could ever see myself wearing a Celts jersey. I mean, who am I, Michael Rapaport? (aaaaand that is the reason for the picture on top)


Links of the Day 6/24/11

I almost put dashes instead of slashes in the date on the title. Wouldn't that have been INSANE?!

The next Winter Classic will go to New York. When is it coming to Minnesota?

BREAKING: The Winnipeg Jets are officially (allegedly) going to be the Winnipeg Jets.

Next, this should happen to Chad Ochocinco.

San Francisco 2, Minnesota 1 - Tim Lincecum, man. What are you going to do?


Thursday, June 23, 2011

What happened to the Left on Base stat?

I remember old box scores in the info section, in the midst of the 2bs and HRs and SBs and what have you would also list LOB, or rather, how many men a batter left on base with two outs. It was a simple, easily countable statistic, though flawed like many others. High Heat Baseball 2003 used it, I remember. A mediocre online scorebook I use from time to time uses it. I was curious about it and was going to incorporate it into a made up statistic I was going to use here, and I didn't think digging up those numbers would be an issue.
I looked first at baseball reference. No luck. I looked at Fangraphs. Still no luck. It's one of those stats that isn't really all that instructional for telling you about a player's worth, so I thought those two stat driven sites may have eschewed it. Certainly MLB, ESPN or CBS would carry it. Nope, nope, nope. One site, Team Rankings only had the top 100 by LOB/Game, which is just strange.
I thought I would re-explore the online box scores. Again, nothing. The player LOB stats no longer appear in box scores. What happened? How long has this been going on? Am I going insane?
Obviously, as I said, LOB isn't REALLY a good estimate of any value for a player, but I do think it is unusual that what was once a statistic is no longer tracked by anyone.

Labels: ,

Links of the Day 6/23/11

Today is the NBA Draft. Something weird is going to happen with the Timberwolves, and then I will stop caring about them until this time next year.

This from Darren Rovell is reassuring.

 Rory McIlroy has always been better than you at golf.

Eduardo Nunez took a bullet instead of fielding a grounder. Or something.

Norwegian Cup
Rosenborg 2, Lillestrom 2 (RBK wins 4-1 on PKs) - Rosenborg is scuffling in league play, but they are through to the Semifinals for their domestic Cup.
White Sox 4, Cubs 3 - The Sox end up winning the series. My glee at their losing the first game of the series is unfounded.
San Francisco 5, Minnesota 1 - Winning streak is snapped. A game today against Tim Lincecum makes me think it might turn to a losing streak.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Doing my Minnesota dilligence

Apparently, as a Minnesotan, I am supposed to be super excited about Ricky Rubio coming to America. Everyone is saying it. Because of my internet reading, I can say that A) this is good, because people might go to Timberwolves game now and B) this is bad because he didn't develop much after getting drafted and probably won't be very good. Anyways, Woohoo, some Spanish guy!

(This is Portrait of a Spanish Gentleman by Velazquez. I assume this is what Ricky Rubio looks like)

Labels: , ,

Links of the Day 6/22/11

Summer has been postponed. Sorry.

The intended phrase was "shift a bit". Which word do you think was misspoke?

Now that the Twins aren't sellers.... who is?

There was probably some profanity involved here.

White Sox 3, Cubs 2 - Good thing this wasn't at Wrigley, as there were 70mph winds on the northside mid-game. Oh... sorry.... /baseball joke
Minnesota 9, San Francisco 2 - The first player retired by the Giants was Carl Pavano. Should have pinch hit for him.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Trade High!

One thing my dad and I noted about the Twins when we were at the game on Sunday is how the Twins turned it around when they lost the hero of the first couple of months, Jason Kubel. In fact, Kubel went down on May 30th. Since the beginning of June, the team has gone 14 and 3, the best record in baseball.
The offense got better because it almost had to. Players that were struggling are starting to hit, and that's no doubt a major component to the team's success. More to do with the success, however, is the improved pitching staff. There have been two 1-0 wins in the past week. That says pitching a lot more than it says offense.
One thing that dramatically improved for the rotation was the walk rate, which is entirely the doing of the pitching staff. Something that also drastically improved is the batting average for balls in play. After having a BABIP of .291 (which is still around league average) through the first 2 months of the season. With Ben Revere or Jason Repko or Michael Cuddyer having to play the outfield, it is down to .271. Fewer hits and fewer walks lead to better pitching and more wins. More specifically, Scott Baker, one of the biggest fly ball pitchers the team has has seen his BABIP drop from .329 in May to .268 in June.
So what am I saying? The Twins offense, if playing well, doesn't need Kubel. The Twins defense (and by extension, the pitching staff) is much, much better without Kubel.
I don't have anything against Kubel, I really don't. He is having his best season in his career, it's a walk year, and frankly, he just doesn't fit. Target Field is doom for left handed bats, and the team has nothing but. He isn't good in the field, and there are players in the system who are. He can definitely be a great addition for someone out there, and I hope he is. And I hope he brings back a little depth.

Labels: ,

Links of the Day 6/21/11

It's summer! Go outside and enjoy the.... rain.

Joe Buck is a better announcer when he is not caring about football than when he is not caring about baseball.

It horrifies me that the 90s are now retro.

Here is something that I didn't expect out of riots.

Cubs 6, White Sox 3 - I always knew I liked the Cubs.


What happened in Switzerland today

Per Ciljan Skjelbred - Rosenborg BK

Today was the Champions League Qualifying draw. I know most people in Minnesota only know the Champions League as the Ian Leonard weather update. There are some people across the world that only think of it as the competition that is played like the World Cup, starting in group stages with 32 teams before playing towards the finals match.
Alas! There is a qualifying trio of rounds. Every association in Europe has a chance to qualify for the main competition, which is great news for Macedonia, Estonia and Andorra in theory, but usually they get smote early. Still, even with the second round, there is guaranteed to be at least 2 teams that will reach the group stages. Last year, those teams where Zilina (from Slovakia) Partizan (from Serbia) and Hapoel Tel Aviv (from Israel). A couple years ago, Rosenborg, my team from Norway made it all the way to the Group Stage. Last year, they were bumped off in the Play-off Round by FC Copenhagen.
Last year, RBK was able to knock off Linfield from Northern Ireland and AIK from Sweden before losing to Copenhagen. They involved a two legged, home-home match up, with goal differential the deciding factor, with away goals the primary tiebreaker.
Well, early, early this morning (6AM, Minnesota time), the 2011-12 draw for the first two rounds was held. The first round only consists of 4 teams, sort of a play-in game to the real qualifying rounds. The second round draw included Rosenborg, who won their league championship in 2010. They were drawn with Icelandic Club Breidablik, and will play their matches in the middle of July. Probably the best time to be playing matches in Iceland.

Labels: ,

Monday, June 20, 2011

Links of the Day 6/20/11

Hello. Welcome to the work week.

Yesterday, Rory McIlroy destroyed all comers in the US Open.

The lockout is hitting players harder than I thought.

There is something unusual about this but I can't quite put my finger on it. Does 8 year old girls cage fighting seem bizarre to you?

Nothing since last we met


Thoughts on today's Twins game

Like I said, I went to Sunday's big Father's day Twins game. It was the first time I had been to a Twins game since April, and I had a few thoughts on the action. Do you want to hear them? Yes? Then read on.

- Holy crap, Alexi Casilla! He has really turned a switch lately and his beating the snot out of the ball. He's hitting .352 in the past 4 weeks. That's more than a streak.

- Also, Delmon Young looks like a right handed, African American Joe Mauer. He is hitting a lot of line drives, though nothing over the fence. His average is up to .250 after hitting .350 in the past week.

- Third Base Coach Steve Liddle's greatest asset is that he is not Scott Ullger. That's not a ringing endorsement.

- The Twins bunted WAY too much. It worked out... this time. It can't possibly be sustainable. (hint, if you bunt, why wouldn't someone just walk the next better setting up the DP again?)

- For as much crap as Delmon Young gets for his fielding, we need to address the fact that Matt Tolbert is an atrocious third baseman. Absolutely no instincts whatsoever.

- Tsuyoshi Nishioka also lacks instincts in the field. That's very bothersome. But he does back up well,, so he is sort of technically sound.

- Ben Revere is all smoke and mirrors. I think I wouldn't be opposed to him spending more time in Rochester.

- That said, I don't know if anyone has noticed, but the Twins pitching is doing a lot better without Kubel playing the field. I'm just sayin'

- I think I witnessed the first ever Rene for Rene pinch hitting substitution in history.

- It also might be the first time someone hitting .181 pinch hit for someone hitting .190.

- Also, it worked.

- Pretty much every stupid maneuver in the game today worked out. I was incredulous. It's games like this that encourage bad managing.

- I really miss Orlando Hudson. What a delightful guy.

- The Padres are the Twins, if the Twins were in the National League. Light hitting, pitchers ball park, all that. They even have Jason Bartlett and the aforementioned Hudson.

- I saw Jim Hoey begin to warm up in the Twins pen. The momentary panic I had sweep over me was unpleasant. I would rather have JJ Hardy. Hell, I would rather have Carlos Gomez.

The team needs to make some changes so their success is sustainable. They are on the right track now, I think. Let's hope.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Links of the Day 6/19/11

Happy Father's Day everyone! I went ot the Twins game with my daddy.

Tomorrow morning is the draw for the first two rounds of Champions League Qualifying. I predict Rosenborg draws Iceland's Breidablik.

I think John Wall picked the right sport


Minnesota 1, San Diego 0 - Another wonderful pitching performance from the Twins
Chicago 6, Arizona 2 - This is the D-backs first loss in interleague play
Minnesota 5, San Diego 4 - I was there! More thoughts later...
Chicago 8, Arizona 2 - This is the D-backs second loss in interleague play.
Rosenborg 3, Tromso 1 - RBK knocks Tromso from the top of the table and moves to 9th themselves


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sort of Sports Related Breaking News: Fire at D-Backs Parking Garage

So tonight I went to the Diamondbacks game, because my White Sox are in town to play them in the regular season for the first time in 8 years. As you may have seen, my White Sox lost the game, but hey, at least I'd be treated to a firework show after the game! The firework show lasted about 30 seconds, until the lights abruptly turned on and they said that the rest of the show would be cancelled due to "safety concerns" in downtown Phoenix. When we reached the parking garage where we parked across the street from the center field side of Chase Field, everyone was just standing around and the fire alarm was going off. Yep, apparently the firework show caused a fire on top of the garage. In the end, the fire was put our quickly and we were allowed to enter the garage and come home. I'm not even sure if it will be newsworthy, but it's a little ironic considering the wildfires that are devastating the eastern part of Arizona.
[UPDATE: Apparently Steve was the first on the scene, however AZ Central has a little bit more on the story.)

Labels: , ,

Links of the Day 6/18/11

Happy weekend, everyone.It's only baseball from here on out.

A Pittsburgh Pirate was attacked in his car. Well, his wife was attacked, then was rescued by bystanders.

Michael Cuddyer may be willing to wave his no trade clause.

This is a pretty cool thing from the aftermath of the riots in Vancouver.

Minnesota 6, San Diego 5 - The Twins and Padres hit two home runs and scored 11 runs. Incredible!
Arizona 4, Chicago 1 - Apparently the Twins aren't the only ones who can't beat the Diamondbacks.


Friday, June 17, 2011

OK, I get it

Nobody likes Delmon Young. Every where you turn, there is someone lobbying to have him benched or traded or something. So, until the deadline passes, or I get bored, I am going to present you with a reason that Young should stick around. Today's reason? He is right handed.
Next season, Michael Cuddyer is off the roster (probably) which leave the Twins with a stable of righties that includes Danny Valencia and Delmon Young (if he is retained). The Twins aren't really big on signing free agents and certainly wouldn't sign one for the outfield, not with Ben Revere (another lefty) slotted to take over.
Target Field has pretty much shown that it is much easier for a right handed bat to be successful than a lefty. Why would we continue to stock up on lefties in power spots, where their power is squandered? It makes no sense to me.


Links of the Day 6/17/11

Any riots today? No? Good.

There has been some blowback on the Vancouver riot already. Oops. Dumbass.

Steve and I often reference Pedro Cerrano... who most resembles him in the modern game?

So it wasn't McTavish. The Wild hired Mike Yeo.

Rosenborg 3, Aalesund 1 - RBK finally back on the pitch, knocking off a top-table team on the road. Good mark.
Minnesota 1, Chicago 0 - I'll have you note that the soccer game scored 3 more goals than the teams scored run in the baseball game.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

My favorite image of the year

No matter what the season, I always love it when you get to watch the Stanley Cup champions hoist their prize, the Stanley Cup. Something about those iconic trophies, from the Stanley Cup to the World Cup that are just amazing, touching, to see a team celebrate with.

So, how about for Vancouver's sake, we hink about what happened only on the ice, and not outside of the arena.

Labels: , ,

Links of the Day 6/16/11

Good morning. Only one pro sport until maybe October.

Vancouver watched their team lose the Stanley Cup.... then LIT THE CITY ON FIRE

The qualifying for the 2014 World Cup began.... yesterday. Belize topped Montserrat. Neither will make the Finals.

Presented without comment, except "Yippee"

Minnesota 4, Chicago 1 - The Twins are playing well at home. Also, Delmon Young is hitting about .280 and has all the peripherals of a normal Delmon Young in the past month.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Winter Sports Season is almost over

Can it really be summer if there is still hockey going on? I say no. As much as I hate winter, I will sorely miss hockey, football and basketball seasons.
The Vancouver Canucks are playing at home against the Boston Bruins tonight in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Other than that, it's baseball all the way to October. That's not such a bad thing, because the weather will be nice, but it will sure be nice when there is some option on what to watch when the Twins bullpen blows another game.
As for the game tonight, I am taking Vancouver. The Canucks have been an entirely different team in Canada, and there has to be at least one game that the Creepy Sedins are able to break out. Why not game 7? Also, I don't know if I can handle every team in Boston getting a championship in the past 10 years. Wouldn't that be awful? Grantland would be insufferable.


Links of the Day 6/15/11

Look outside. Thatg is what Wednesday is supposed to look like.

A cool chat with pitchers from the 80s, comparing the way it was for them with the way it is now. (by the way, this is an interesting approach to WHY there are problems with pitchers these days.)

It certainly sounds like Craig MacTavish will be the next Wild coach.

Hey, the roof at the Dome is almost done! The Vikings can go back and play there when the season starts! Wait.. what's that?

NOTHING (on account of rain)


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Why are baseball players so superstitious?

Wade Boggs was one of the best hitting players in the game. He hit for a career average of .328 and is widely regarded as one of the top third baseman ever. His departure from Boston to the Yankees is still a sore spot in the history of those two teams. This doesn't happen with less important players. Wade Boggs was a talented, important player.
Wade Boggs ate chicken before every game. He had his standard routine that mandated that chicken dinner before he stepped on the field. One of the best players to don a uniform still was superstitious to the point he had to follow his routine. He wasn't and isn't the only one.
In football, basketball, hockey and soccer, a sheer force of effort, strength and will can get you to the promised land. In baseball, there is only so much you can control. A ball getting hurtled at 90mph in which you are striking with a bat only a few inches across? It's really hard to dictate exact trajectories or directions at this point, for either the pitcher or the batter. The pitcher may induce a ground ball (favorable for the pitcher) and have it roll just a couple feat right of the second baseman (favorable for the batter) Or, if a fraction of a second is off on the bat speed, it might go right at the second baseman. You can't tell me that there is anything the hitter or pitcher can do.
Well, there is a little bit. The pitcher could keep the ball down, and the likelihood of that ball being hit on the ground is controllable. Baseball statistics have come a long way lately to explain how much of the game is luck. Strikeouts, walks, homeruns, those are all results that are completely controlled by the pitcher or batter. Every other element of the game, even though the statistics are still attributed to them, have at least some element of luck.
Sure, hitting more line drives helps, (as it did Boggs and does Joe Mauer) but look at Boggs 1992 season. He had a career batting average for balls in play of .344. In 1992, it was .261. What changed, but luck? Hard to say, since I was 9 and don't remember. As a result, his batting average was down about .70 points from the season before, and .60 from the season following.
When so much of the game depends on luck. Why not be at least a little superstitious.


Links of the Day 6/14/11

It's flag day! I hope you have a flag! I do not.

Deshawn Stevenson, I think, doesn't know what "Classless" means.

I tend to drive a little swiftly (if you don't recall) but this is a little ridiculous.

I was a little hard on the NBA yesterday. Sorry, here's Dirk Nowitzki dancing.



Monday, June 13, 2011

What I don't like about the NBA

The problem with the NBA is this: There is too much focus on an individual. Think about the Finals. IT was Dirk. It was Lebron. There was some mention of Jason Terry. There was a lot about Dwyane Wade. The teams are so small the focus has to be on certain individuals.
That said, when a star is playing for a winning team, it becomes entirely about that one player. The Lakers are Kobe. The Mavs are Dirk. It was a big deal when Lebron went to Miami because one player bears so much influence on a team.
So, that said, since all these teams are about the one player, a team's successes then become tied exclusively to the careers of the individual. The Bulls were good when Michael Jordan was there. The Spurs with Tim Duncan. For the most part, the players don't want to be identified with the team, but rather as their own brand. It's more profitable. This is, in large part, why players gravitate towards Los Angeles, New York or Chicago... It's easier to become Air Jordan if you can coexist with the marketers of the world.
So, there you have it. The NBA is technically a team game, but one player can tip the balance. Even if pay is equitable, those big name players are ALWAYS going to go to the big markets, because they are going to make real money there, away from the game.
And that's why the NBA sucks.


Links of the Day 6/13/11

Hey! Weare as far from the NBA season as we will be all calendar year! Here's hoping for a lockout there too!

Oh right, about the actual game. The Mavericks won.

Francisco Liriano pitched very well yesterday. Probably his best outing of the year. I say that unironically.

Who is the most underrated player in baseball? It's someone you all know and love.

Chicago 5, Oakland 4 - A big series win for the White Sox. The three real teams in the division are coming around
Minnesota 6, Texas 1 - It's nice to see Michael Cuddyer improving his trade value playing so well lately.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

This is what happens when you spend life using your feet.

Just over the crossbar. (Gary Neville is a soccer player, if you didn't catch that)

Labels: ,

Links of the Day 6/12/11

Happy Weekend, all.

Colin Cowherd is an imbecile.

This is very good news.

NFL Players in uniform! Aww, it's not what you think.

Twins 8, Rangers 1 - Hey, the Twins are playing small ball again! That's probably not a good thing, but I take wins when I can get them.
Chicago 3, Oakland 2 - It certainly seems like the Sox are better than 6-4 in their last 10, doesn't it?


Saturday, June 11, 2011

On Delmon Young's nascent beard

The Twins left fielder Delmon Young appears to be trying to grow a goatee of some sort. I am having issues with the internet and uploading images all day today, so I can't show you, bu it is looking a little ragged.
But it's still early in the season for Delmon's beard. Beards of this nature never start out well, and I hope that doesn't give everyone a biased opinion on the beard. I say be patient, and eventually the beard will look great. Of course, there will be some people that will only remember the beard in it's early stages and demand that the beard be let go or be demoted to a soul patch, but you just have to look at what the beard will be, not what the beard is. The beard is still young

Labels: ,

Links of the Day 6/11/11

Afternoon baseball in June... and it's almost 70! Perfect.

The Canucks are very near the Stanley Cup.

Realignment? I actually rather enjoy this idea.

Hey... Vikings fans... the Vikings are totally trying to fleece you. Just sayin'

Oakland 7, Chicago 5 - I hear Frank Thomas is proud to be a former Oakland A today.
Texas 10, Minnesota 3 - Brian Duensing... overrated.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Cooking with Ryan: Peach Clafoutis

Peach Clafoutis may or may not be an Italian actress. OK, so it's not. But it is a French desert that is typically made with cherries. The Food Network recipe I found had the fruit as peach and cranberries, so I went with that. What is clafoutis? It's a fruit mixture baked into a "flan like" batter. I happened to make it in ramekins rather than a pie tin or anything like that, so there were 6 different clafoutis. I have no idea how to pluralize that.
The fruit filling was, as I said, peach and cranberries, but I threw in a little mint as well as sugar and pepper. The batter was flour, eggs, milk and vanilla. Oh, and the vanilla was fresh, not vanilla extract. That was pretty cool. You extract vanilla, if you were wondering, by splitting the pod open and scraping out the seeds.
As they were cooking and eventually cooling, my entire house smelled like vanilla. My hands still smell like vanilla. The clafouti smelled like vanilla. I was expecting a peach smell, obviously, but this was not the case. After smelling the vanilla, I was expecting it to taste overwhelmingly of vanilla. This was also not the case. With big chunks of fruit, you tasted the fruit (the cranberries were really good) and the batter now baked, tasted like pound cake, which I wasn't expecting, but I didn't really know what to expect. The most surprising result was the aftertaste. The pepper clung to big chunks of fruit through the baking process, and ended up being really assertive. I've never had a savory flavor so strong in a desert before, but I found that I didn't mind it. Here they are.... I dusted confectioners sugar on them before serving.


Lnks of the Day 6/10/11

Friday! I hope you have some fun weekend plans. That would make one of us.

This lady is one of sports' winners.

Hey, my high school won the state lacrosse tournament. What the hell is lacrosse?

The Stanley Cup Final sees game 5 tonight. Here are some words about it.

Chicago 9, Oakland 4 - There were as any runs scored in this game as there were fans watching from Oakland.
Minnesota 5, Texas 4 - Cuddyer and Young homer, Casilla with a walk off hit... Wow.


Thursday, June 09, 2011

Should Winnipeg be a rival?

The NHL has moved back to Canada, notably to Winnipeg in Manitoba. It's the closest Canadian team to the Wild by a long shot. But should the be Minnesota sports' GREATEST GEOGRAPHIC RIVAL?!
Ooh, sorry, caps lock. All I am asking is, are the New Jets the closest rival that Minnesota sports has?
Well, if you look at it from where the Wild are headquartered, then... no. Of course not. The Wild are 400 miles from Chicago, and 460 miles from Winnipeg.
But wait... It's the MINNESOTA Wild, not the St. Paul Wild. If you measure from Hallock, Minnesota, it's only 87 miles to the 'Peg. Houston, Minnesota, in the southeastern corner is still 300 miles from Chicago.
By this measure, Winnipeg might be the nearest geographic rival in any sport. Houston is 225 miles from Milwaukee, home of the Brewers and Bucks, and Green Bay is 270 miles from Minnesota. Iowa and the Dakotas don't have pro teams.
So there you go. Winnipeg: Greatest sports rival to Minnesota as there is. Or at least the closest.

Labels: ,

Links of the Day 6/9/11

All the news outlets are on the East Coast, talking about how hot it is. The East Coast makes me jealous.

Rugby causes a parliamentary kerfuffle in New Zealand.

I am clearly the only fan left who preaches patience with Delmon Young. The breakout is coming. Just wait....

Ohio State sounds better and better. Wait, are they supposed to be a Legend or a Leader?

Seattle 7, Chicago 4  - Seattle is not so good on offense, so consider this a devastating loss for the Sox.


Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Pitching wins are stupid

Today's Twins game is a perfect example of why the pitching win is stupid. Matt Capps got lucky today. He blew a save, but was fortunate enough to have the team score a run the inning following his mediocre outing, and he picked up the W.
Recently, Steve Berthiaume of ESPN wrote a piece about Kevin Correia of the Pirates who is currently 8-4. He touts Correia as some sort of genius because of the 8 wins. He lists all of his stats and ends by saying at the end that he is good because he wins games. Well, no. He pitches in games the team wins.
There is a lot of commentary about how the win is the most important stat in the game of baseball, and it's impossible to argue against that. The problem is that the win is attributed to one person on the team, when it is really a team statistic. In order to win the game, the team needs to score more runs than the opposition. The pitcher doesn't score those runs. Even if he holds an opposing offense scoreless, it is still on his offense to score the runs. This is the problem with pitching wins. It is not reflective on the pitcher, because there is now causality on his part, it is simply a thing that happens while he is on the mound.
This is to take nothing away from Correia. He has limited his home runs and is limiting his walks, and is in fact having a solid season, especially for a team that has needed a stabilizing fixture on their rotation for years. I just wonder if this is a reluctance Berthiaume's part to give credit to the Pirate's organization. They have done an excellent job adding young talent, which has improved both the offense and defense of the team. Where is the praise for Andrew McCutchen or Neil Walker?
Berthiaume said several times in his article that Kevin Correia wins games. I say the Pirates win games. Correia just gives them the chance.

Labels: ,

Links of the Day 6/8/11

Went golfing today... struggled. But the sun was out, at least.

The NHL finals are getting a little snippy, and that has ended the season for two different players for the same hit but very different results.

Bill Simmons' Grantland was finally launched today.

The dream of soccer playing robot cats is still not quite realized.

Cleveland 1, Minnesota 0 - Liriano is back pitching well, it seems.
Minnesota 3, Cleveland 2 - A whopping three runs over two days.
Chicago 5, Detroit 1 - The two best teams in the AL Central squaring off.


If relegation worked..... Major League Baseball

Continuing this brief little series on what would happen if relegation was introduced to American sports. Today, I thought we might turn our attention to baseball.

Teams that have struggled for many years would continue to have something to play for year in and year out.
Baseball would be able to experiment with new markets, like Mexico City, Portland or San Juan.
An additional trophy could be added to the regular season so mid level teams could win something, with a little bit of luck.
Preventing off days
Having even divisions to allow for fairer relegation.
The Idea
The best thing to do in Major League baseball is to dump the lowest two EARNING teams. Parity in baseball is less than it is in other sports, and it has a lot to do with team revenues. To start the league, we would immediately relegate the two lowest revenue teams to the second tier, and from that point forward, relegate and promote at a 4 team clip (two from the AL, two from the NL every season).
The most recent records I can find from Forbes show that the Marlins and Pirates had the lowest revenue in 2009, which makes life easier on me, because now the AL and NL are each at 14 teams.
The second division would consist of the Pirates and Marlins as well as the top 10 teams in attendance in the minor leagues last season, namely Lehigh Valley, Sacramento, Columbus, Louisville, Dayton, Round Rock, Pawtucket, Buffalo, Albuquerque and Indianapolis, as well as the top Independent league teams in each division, which are Winnipeg (good month for Winnipeg), Long Island, Quebec and Southern Illinois, for the sake of being inclusive. That puts us at 16. The remaining teams would be filled by an application process, as would the other teams in lower divisions.
Prospects for major league teams could still be stashed in lower division teams, which isn't too terribly different than the way it works today. Additionally, the potential depth of baseball divisions would allow for those teams to have major league prospects as well as their own contractually obligated players.
At this point, I feel like there could be 10 levels of baseball, and not all of them would have to be professional, and the 10th could simply be town ball teams or something like that, playing in a season ending tournament for promotion to a league with the minor league teams. Lower divisions would be divided into geographic divisions for monetary purposes.
The major leagues would not be, of course, because that isn't the way it has ever worked. Since even AAA is divided geographically, it would have to be in our relegation system as well. Newly promoted teams would be drawn into the American and National league, while the second divisions (and all other divisions) would be restructured based on geography every year.
Lastly, with all levels of baseball playing together, I can also for see a second trophy, involving many levels of baseball, played concurrently with the regular season, similar to the Carling or FA cup in English soccer. The top 7 or 8 levels play in a tournament that adds higher levels every round until MLB teams are included. It would be a chance for lower divisions to see their gate rise and would also be a substitute for interleague play, which would be rendered obsolete.
This is a much more complicated plan, of course, and I would love to flesh out some of the details if you have any questions. I was probably confusing.


Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Links of the Day 6/7/11

It is very warm outside, but I am still not sweating. I don't understand.

The Twins drafted a shortstop with the first round of the MLB draft. He will be in the Majors about 5 years too late.

NBC was the big Olympics winner when looking to retain TV rights. That makes all of us losers.

Bryce Harper will one day be a Major League Dickbag.

Minnesota 6, Cleveland 4 - 5 games! It might be the pitching.
Chicago 3, Seattle 1 - Seattle's offense might be worse than the Twins'


Monday, June 06, 2011

If relegation worked.... The NFL

Obviously, because of the economics of sports in America, relegation is an impossibility. There is too much money at the top levels. That said, there are some advantages to it, and I thought it might interesting to see how it could work across the various leagues here in the states, starting with the NFL. I will do it like this. provide a few advantages, explain my considerations, describe the league set up, then imagine the league as it would have been if it was like this the past 5 seasons.
Advantages: Teams not as compelled to tank at the end of the season in order to get a top pick. Additional meaningful playoff games for teams that might not have any reason to pay attention in the offseason.
Chance for faltering teams to save payroll (since that is apparently a big deal for owners) by playing in a lower division.
The best 12 teams would get in the playoffs, regardless of division.
Considerations: Maintaining a 16 game schedule
At 32 teams, the NFL could split without having to add new teams
Keeping the Super Bowl
The idea
Split the league into 17 and 15, with each team playing the others once, which means 16 games at the top level, 14 at the bottom. The bottom two teams are relegated, while the lower division champion would be promoted outright, and teams 2-5 compete in a 4 team playoff for the other promotion. The top draft pick will go to the lower division champ, then the other promoted team would pick second.
In order to keep the Super Bowl, the twelve team playoff structure would still be maintained at the end of the season. Top 12 teams in the playoffs. I would prefer it concurrently, so the league championship is paramount importance, but that would be tough. So, here's how it would have worked, starting with the 17 in the top league in 2006, followed by the two relegated and promoted teams (assuming the second place team wins the playoff) Again, 2006 would be based on the 2005 records.
Indianapolis, Seattle, Denver, Jacksonville, Chicago, Tampa, New York Giants, Carolina, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Washington, Kansas City, New England, Minnesota, Miami, Dallas, and San Diego, with the other 15 in the lower division. So, who gets promoted and relegated in 2006 and on? The 4 promoted playoff teams in parenthesees, the first the assumed winner.
Relegated - Tampa, Washington
Promoted - Baltimore (Philadelphia, New Orleans, New York Jets, Green Bay)
Relegated - Miami, Kansas City
Promoted - Green Bay (Tennessee, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Washington)
Relegated - Seattle, Cincinnati
Promoted - Atlanta (Miami, Arizona, Tampa Bay, New York Jets)
Relegated - Jacksonville, Chicago
Promoted - New Orleans (Cincinnati, Arizona, New York Jets, Houston)
Relegated - Carolina, Denver
Promoted - Chicago (New York Jets, Kansas City, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville)

Tampa Bay is always in the news in this format, aren't they?
If my math is right, then we have the following in the top division going into the next hypothetical (in more ways than one) season. Teams in bold remained in their respective division through the past 5 years: New England, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Green Bay, New York Giants, Baltimore, Chicago, New Orleans, New York Jets, Philadelphia, San Diego, Miami, Minnesota, Dallas, Tennesssee and Cincinnati are in the top division, The bottom division constitutes the following teams: Kansas City, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Oakland, Seattle, St. Louis, Houston, Detroit, Washington, San Francisco, Cleveland, Arizona, Buffalo, Denver and Carolina.

Questions? Comments? Seems like fun to me.

Labels: ,

Links of the Day 6/6/11

I haven't been arrested today.... yet.

I said that I wish the Twins had got fired up over Nishioka's injury, but I'm glad the fan base didn't go completely insane.

Wayne Rooney openly admits to getting a hair transplant. Delightful.

It appears the citizens of Winnipeg are excited about their new team.

Detroit 7, Chicago 3 -The Tigers are white hot right now.
Minnesota 6, Kansas City 0 - SWEEP


Sunday, June 05, 2011

I am being profiled

Hey everyone, let's talk about me for a second!
So here is my string of luck lately. I have had a clean driving record for 8 years. I might move a little quicker than most Minnesotans, but I am a good driver. That said, driving home from work a couple weeks ago, I was pulled over. It was a Friday night and the officer was clearly looking for people up to no good, rather than people who just wanted to get home and feed their dog, so I was left to my own devices and sent on my way. The next Thursday night, wary of the police presence I was driving to a local eatery to meet a coworker after work. I was certain I was driving the speed limit, and a member of the local PD driving the other direction spun around and nabbed me. I said aloud "WHAT THE F*CK IS GOING ON?!" Turns out, I had a burned out headlight. The officer kindly sent me on my way.
OK, so, the next day I had a wedding, then I had to work the overnight at Real Job Inc. I slept in late, went to the wedding, went to the reception then came home to change. After rapidly turning around to go to work, I was pulled over again... and again for the headlight. This is twice in less than 48 hours. Things are getting ridiculous.
Cut to today and my voyage into work. This time, I was definitely speeding, and I saw two squads about a half mile up. I tried to slow down, to no avail. They both pulled out and lit me up. This time I got a ticket. 5 squads, 4 stops in about 2 weeks. I mean seriously, do I LOOK like a criminal?
You know what the funny thing is? The thing that pissed me off the most today wasn't the ticket or the fact that I seem to get pulled over whenever I get in the car these days or even that the officer did me a "favor" by writing me a ticket that saved me a whopping 10 dollars, it was more the fact that I got pulled over by a guy that looked exactly like Kevin Pollak.
I got a damn ticket from Philip Green.


Links of the Day 6/5/11

Happy Sunday. Just think, only a few more months and there still won't be football then either.


In case you hadn't heard, the Twins had to add someone to Rochester because so many players from Rochester are in Minnesota. Expect him up when Dinkelman gets hurt.

Dear Minnesota Twins: It's OK to get fired up when a potential star gets injured, instead of collapsing into a season of self pity and terrible baseball.  Brian Sabean might have gone a liiiiitle too far.

Detroit 4, Chicago 2 - I think, in the end, one of these teams will win the AL Central
Minnesota 7, Kansas City 2  - I think, in the end, one of these teams will have the first pick in next year's draft.


Saturday, June 04, 2011

Cooking with Ryan: Honey Crisp chicken

This is certainly the easiest, least involved course I have made in some time. It's just some chicken rolled in honey then covered in a flour/Wheatables breading (yes, Wheatables! Delicious and nutritious. Buy Wheatables today!) and threw them into the oven. The weird thing was, even though they were smothered in honey, the chicken didn't seem to want to take on any of the breading. How do you not stick to honey? Where it did stick, it gave a nice crunch. It really wasn't there for flavor, as that was instilled by the honey.
I also put together the salad, which you will see off to the side of the chicken. That was spinach, bean sprouts, peanuts and pineapple. Obviously, I jsut had all that stuff laying around.


Links of the Day 6/4/11

Welcome to the weekend. Apparently, according to Loverboy, this is what we have been working for.

This is certainly a bizarre story, right out of the Gilbert Brule/Bono thread, but quite a bit different.

The French Open was won by Li Na. It was the first time a Chinese player has won a tennis major.

FIFA is corrupt, and as a result, the World Cup may be moved to the States.

Chicago 6, Detroit 4 - Just so everyone realizes... the Sox are now only 7 games out and 3 games under .500
Minnesota 5, Kansas City 2 - !!


Friday, June 03, 2011

Who can go?

What is the biggest difference between the Twins this year and the Twins last year? In my mind, it's depth. Last year when Justin Morneau got hurt, Jim Thome played every day. When Joe Mauer got hurt, the Twins brought in Wilson Ramos or Jose Morales. When Nick Punto was nicked up, Danny Valencia was brought in. Now? The Twins have no depth. I will go so far as to apply this to the bullpen as well, because what is relief pitching, if not pitching depth? So I will say this. Any moves that the Twins make should be to bolster the depth of the team so they can weather storms next season.
Now, who can we part with? Well, let's create a plan.
OUTFIELD: It is imperative, given the dimensions of Target Field and the composition of the pitching staff, that the Twins put together a good defensive outfield. The only person, in my opinion, that should be safe in the outfield is Denard Span. Jason Kubel is certainly the most tradable asset the Twins have, as he is doing well at the plate and he is a contract year. I think the Twins should move him as soon as he comes off the disabled list, given his luck statistics are very high right now, so his worth goes down as the season wears on. Jim Thome and Michael Cuddyer are also in their walk years, and frankly don't have a role going forward. I don't know where either player could be moved to, however. Cuddyer may even have a little sentimental value going forward, making that even tougher, but he would hae to take a deal to return. I would subsequently like to see Span stay in center and have Delmon Young move to the DH role next year. Ben Revere is ready, in my mind, for a full season at the Majors and would certainly help the outfield defense. The final outfield spot would have to be filled by other means, say Aaron Hicks if he comes along far enough, or perhaps one of the components received in a trade.
INFIELD: This is a stickier situation. There is nobody in a contract year, and the infield was dealt a major set back when Tsuyoshi Nishioka was injured, but then when Alexi Casilla, Justin Morneau and Danny Valencia have been sensationally underwhelming, it doesn't make you feel better about things. I don't think anyone here is irreplaceable, but I can't imagine anyone getting traded. This goes to the catchers too.
PITCHERS: Matt Capps, Joe Nathan, Kevin Slowey, Scott Baker and Carl Pavano are all candidates to be dealth, and I can really object to any of those players being moved, especially if major league ready prospects come back. The issue is trading too many of those starters. Kyle Gibson may be ready to slip into the rotation, but is there someone else that could be added? PRobably not yet out of the farm system.

I think the team could definitely be active. Don't be disappointed if the "better" players are traded soon, because that is the best way to maximize the return. Hopefully this is good for the long term.


Links of the Day 6/3/11

Wow, it's going to be hot today. Hope you have access to ice cream.

Carlos Zambrano is probably a little insane.

The Boston area is serious about their Bruins.

Another, deeper look at the Thrashers and hockey in Winnipeg.

Minnesota 8, Kansas City 2 - Whew, at least the Twins can finally beat the Royals


Thursday, June 02, 2011

It could be worse!

I have decided we need to be optimistic about the Twins. No, not that they will do anything this season, it looks a little late for that. But for next season! There is hope for next season! First though, I want to make everyone realize how much worse things could be if we had some former players that used to be on the roster.
First, I thought we would look at Tony Batista, the awful third baseman of 2006. He was cut only a few months into the season. Here are a few choice stats:
Through 54 games, he hit .232 with 5 homers, 29 strikeouts with 18 walks. That's not very good! Oh wait.. .crap, I was looking at Danny Valencia's stats. Tony Batista had the following with the Twins:
50G, .236 Avg, 5HR, 27K and 15BB.

Oh my God, Tony Batista and Danny Valencia are exactly the same. This is a stupid game, I'm not comparing anyone else.

Labels: , ,

Links of the Day 6/2/11

So since the Twins are broken, what do we look at for the rest of the summer? Are we actually expected to go outside?

I think the most unbelievable part of this story is that Canada has paved roads.

Here are some awesome goals from the past European soccer season.

Ricky Rubio will, at long last, be coming to the Timberwolves. This will not make them more relevant to me.

Norwegian Cup
It hasn't showed up in my Google Calendar, but RBK is three rounds in, after winning 7-0 against Alvdal, 5-0 against Verdal and 6-3 against Byasen, all three being lower level clubs.
Chicago 7, Boston 4 - The White Sox sweep the Red Sox in Boston. Perhaps they are figuring out how to play baseball?
Detroit 4, Minnesota 2 - I tried to he optimistic, but it's hard to be so any more.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The case for Delmon Young

I've long been a Delmon Young apologist, and I still think his acquisition was a good move, given the circumstances ( a glut of pitching prospects with a need for a right handed bat, especially one whose star was bright) even if, perhaps, some of the results haven't been so good. This year, just like every year, people are on his case, and would like to see him traded. Frankly, some of his failings are wearing on me too, and I can't help but be disappointed that someone I have vouched for so ardentlyhaving such a dreadful year.
Anyways, I wanted to dig a little deeper and see what Young's problem's are this year, and see if there is hope. Some of the most typically addressed problems with Young are A) his strikeouts and B) his play in the field. I looked first at those issues, using the objective Fangraphs.
First, the strikeouts. He is currently striking out at 22%, which is certainly higher than his breakout season last year, when it was at 14%, but really, it's only a shade higher than his career mark, just short of 19% of his at bats.  And really, it's only 131 at bats into the season, so the strikeout rate could fluctuate. What IS unusual is that his swing rate is down 6%. For those who are concerned with his aggression at the plate, it's actually lower this year. So he is striking out, yes, but I don't think that's the issue.
Second, the fielding. He has looked terrible and indifferent. I won't argue with that. The surprising thing, to me anyway, is that according to Fangraphs' UZR rating, is that, by far, this is his best fielding year in his career. He is an above average left fielder this year. Strictly speaking, the only problem with his glove is that he doesn't demonstrate any enthusiasm, which is not a statistically quantifiable measure. I think, then, that neither his strikeouts or his glove are problems. Or at least, they aren't bigger issues this year than any other year.
That said, I have come across a couple of problems. First, his infield fly rate is astronomical, at nearly 19% of his at bats, whereas 5% is typical. Furthermore, after a few seasons in which his home run rate per fly ball was 10%, it is way down at 2% this season. What does this mean? It means that when he does make contact, it is very poor contact. This cuts into his BABIP rate, his batting average for balls in play. If you have a more typical mix of line drives, fly balls and ground balls, it works out to .290ish for the league. Young usually hits a lot of line drives, and his career BABIP is .329. This year, it is .260. If he starts making better contact, just slightly better contract, his numbers are going to skyrocket.
The other issue is that Young almost always starts slowly. If you look at his career averages, he has never hit better than .247 in April, and last season was the first time he hit better than .264 in May. Keep in mind that Young missed a stretch of the season with an oblique injury, his first time on the DL in his entire career. Just like 2009 when his mother's untimely passing delayed his season start, it's probably taking a while for him to get going.
So, while everyone can be rightfully dismayed by his season to this point, I think it's important to realize that there are plenty of components available that can make the Twins a successful team next year, and Delmon Young is one of them. Part of being a good fan is optimism.

Labels: ,

Links of the Day, 6/1/11

Welcome to June.Couldn't ask for a better day.

Ron Gardenhire says Joe Mauer will not be moved from catcher. Ron Gardenhire is rarely wrong.

I would like to have seen one of their walk off wins on the road.

In case you hadn't heard, I am blogging from my trunk,

Detroit 8, Minnesota 7 - You know, with all the 1 run games, it's not like the Twins are that far off, right?
Chicago 10, Boston 7 - Winning in Boston is a good sign for the White Sox


Well, maybe it won't be the Winnipeg Jets

This is a screen cap from It's not quite hockey related yet...