Thursday, July 31, 2008

Not Minnesota Nice

I am watching today's Twins game, they're playing the White Sox, so there's a history of trouble. Denard Span is at bat, in a 4-3 game, with nobody on and no out. Span shows bunt, and gets hit in the leg by a Danks fastball.  Pierzynski argues with home plate umpire Marty Foster that Span squared around to bunt, and thus it should be called a strike. As Span was trying to get out of the way, his bat crossed home plate, as he dived forward to avoid the pitch. Fostercalls the pitch a strike, and Gardenhire comes out to argue. He gets thrown out and at the end of his tirade, kicks his hat a good 30 feet. At that, the crowd, on its feet by now, starts throwing their hats on the field also. It was funny to start with, but gets real old, real fast. The "fun" ends when some knucklehead throws a baseball on the field and Ozzie takes his team off the field. A few minutes later, order is restored-- in the stands at least. The White Sox pitchers have been tossing up beach balls after the incident, and the Twins are just killing them.  As I type this, Span walks, and scores on a Mauer single. It just gets better and better as Kubel hits a three run bomb almost in the upper deck. 7-4 Twins. 

West Coast dreamin'

Well, it's somewhat official: the Red Sox have come to terms on a three team deal with the Pirates and Dodgers. Here's how it looks so far: 

To BOS: Bay (from PIT)
To PIT: LaRoche(from LAD)
       Morris (from LAD)
       Moss (from BOS)
       Hansen (from BOS)
To LAD: Ramirez (from BOS)
My first reaction to this trade was "what the hell is Epstien thinking?" That is still what I'm thinking, but I've come to terms with it a little more. I thought Manny needed to go, but I never thought it would happen mid season, even though it had to for us to get anything of value in return for him. Left field at Fenway is always an adventure, but if Bay can learn to play the monster fairly well, I think he's comparable to Ramirez-- he might even be an upgrade. I say that not only because of Manny's history of on field antics, but the fact that they sometimes came at the expense of the team. When we were in Anahiem, it was ugly, but at least Manny showed up. This current homestand, its like he's phoned it in already, and you can not tolerate that in the midst of a pennant race. So in a way, Epstien's sending a message to his team as well as changing personnel.

We've established the Manny for Bay deal is more or less a wash in my opinion, but that's not the whole trade. We also shipped off reliever Craig Hansen to the Bucks. Hansen- to be honest, sucks, so you'd normally be happy to see him go. This confuses me though because our bullpen is already one of the worst, if not the worst in the league. True, we could still deal for a reliever through waivers, though its not probable that we would get a real quality one. And yes, its true that we have some great young starting pitching in the minors, and bringing the kids up and sticking them in the 'pen would help out, look at Masterson for example. While its always a roll of the dice, I don't think blowing up the 'pen and starting all over is a good idea, especially mid season.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wild Make Another Roster Move; For The Worse, Of Course

Yesterday, the Wild released center Mark Parrish. True, Pear wasn't the best offensive player, and not the best defensive forward ether; If management was looking for numbers, I guess cutting Parrish was an easy decision. Management should know better though, games aren't played on paper, and we saw that in the 03' playoffs. Mark Parrish reminds me of one Wes Walz by the heart and determination he has. Pear has a ton of heart, and he leads by example every shift. On a hockey team you need to have snipers, enforcers, grinders, playmakers, agitators, and role players. Parrish would be one of your role players. Over the course of a long season and the playoffs, you need someone who will stand up in the dressing room and demand accountability from every player on the team; he's a player who doesn't just talk the talk, but also walks the walk. True, Parrish isn't a great player, he might not even be an above average player, but I believe he was the character guy who held the Wild together.  

Oh, and while I was at orientation for St. Thomas, the Wild locked up P-M Bouchard long term, which is a very good thing. I think they should have signed him sooner, but whatever, at least we did. We'd be in deep trouble if he wasn't in a Wild uniform come the start of the season.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

College Orientation

So, I haven't posted about my first college experiences yet, so here we go. My first thought was, it was pretty boring. Yes it was bigger than High School, but the more I get into it, it really won't be that bad. I have three classes Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and one on Tuesday and Thursday. So much for a balanced schedule I guess. Well it won't be all bad. My classes start at 8:30 three days a week, pretty much straight through until noon, which gives me the rest of the day (and night) to work and--- study- yeah, that's it, study. Same thing Tuesday and Thursday, except I only have one class starting at 10:00, so I get to sleep in a little bit. But yeah, all my classes are around the same area, so it really isn't much difference from High School.    

Monday, July 21, 2008

Attn: Chicago White Sox: Don't Look Back!

I'm a Red Sox fan, why am I posting about the Twins? These damn West Coast swings, that's why. I can usually catch the Twins game at 7:00, and it usually ends before the Sox game at 9:00, how convenient. Have you seen how these guys have pitched as of late? (The hitting hasn't been half bad either.) Slowey, Baker, Perkins, Hernandez? Yes, Livan Hernandez, who we got to eat innings has pitched well, and has lived up to the billing of the ace of the Minnesota staff. Anyone who follows baseball seriously knew that these kids would come around, but in the heat of a pennant race? Amazing as it is, I left one guy out of the rotation, Nick Blackburn. He deserves his own praise because he came into the season as an untested rookie, and pitched better than anyone could have expected. He is pitching well enough to be the ace of the staff. Only problem is, we have six  capable pitchers that could be the ace of the staff. A very good problem to have, and I say six pitchers because there is a very good one waiting in the wings in AAA Rochester. That pitcher is Fransisco Liriano, who was out all last year with Tommy John surgery. He's 8-2 down there, and hopping mad, but we just can not find a spot for him. That's a very, very good problem to have this deep into a pennant race.   

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Open letter to Yankee fans

Grow some balls. Seriously, I know Red Sox fans have a reputation for being bad, but you guys have no class. Your team sucks, so you bitch and moan and piss and vinegar, yet your front office does nothing because its a business after all, and if your team sucks yet you still make money no one cares. I'm sick of hearing how badly done to you are because you haven't won a World Series in who- cares- how- long. Oh, and then there's the media ass kissing. Its ridiculous how much credit FOX and ESPN give the Yankees even though they probably aren't even going to make the playoffs. I guess that's just how it is with big market teams; maybe that's mainstream media's fault. I'm not done yet; I've got one more bone to pick with fair-weather  Yankee fans (that's most all of them.) You can boo Red Sox players, I'm all for that, it makes the game more fun. At the All Star game though? Please. This is our showcase, to show off our league's stars, yet half of them  get booed. Its fine at a normal Yankees- Red Sox games but it just doesn't seem right at the All Star Game; but maybe that's just me. At the Futures Game for example,  Red Sox prospect Che- Hsuan Lin was the MVP, yet he got booed. 

Have fun next year with the new stadium, Yankee fans, because a mediocre team and $10+ beers will drive away the bandwagon fans real fast. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

While you were out

So, I've been lazy the last couple days, give me a break; it's my birthday. The wild haven't taken a break though, they've made a bunch of little signings with not much risk-- except that Owan Nolan character. The Wild have a list of priorities on their "Hockey Ops" blog and have supposedly addressed all of their needs. Lets take a look, shall we?

Hockey Ops- Priority: Assemble one of the top defensive corps in the Western Conference. The last two Conference champions had great defensive units that were very strong offensively and defensively

Retained pending free agent Nick Schultz.

... Added an accomplished top-4 defenseman in Marek Zidlicky.

Me- Not exactly, Schultz is a solid defenseman, and so is Zidlicky, but we've still got Johnsson and Hill, who are serviceable, but not top in the Western conference b any stretch of the imagination. We also signed Marc-Andre Bergeron, which is a plus. We're getting better, but not quite there yet.

Hockey Ops- Priority: Increase offense and puck possession without sacrificing the solid defensive identity of our team.

Changed from older, defensive veterans on defense to more mobile, puck-moving players in Zidlicky and Marc-Andre Bergeron.

... Brought back Andrew Brunette to help offensive zone puck possession and create more goals.

... Added Antti Miettinen to show more offense from the team’s two-way players.

Me- Okay, mission accomplished I guess. I hate that we have a “defensive identity” though; why can't we have an “offensive identity?” Sure Bruno's going to create goals, but who's going to score 'em?

Hockey Ops- Priority: Focus on retaining and growing the young core of players on our team who will continue to get better and take us to the next level.

Did not trade young players on the team such as Mikko Koivu, Brent Burns and James Sheppard at the trade deadline or the Draft.

... Retained young prospects Colton Gillies and Benoit Pouliot at the same time and moved up in the Draft to ensure the obtaining of Tyler Cuma.

Me: Nor did we trade players like Marian Gaborik or Niklas Backstrom. I think management gets the big “so what?” on this one. And oh, look, another defensive defenseman!  

I think management forgot that you have to score goals to win hockey games.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Blake Wheeler saga

What are we to make of rookie sensation to be Blake Wheeler? The Phoenix Coyotes’ first round pick, 5th overall, in 2004 has already jumped- ship on Phoenix. What made the blue chip prospect Wheeler not sign with the young upstart Coyotes? Upon further research, money wasn’t the problem. He was offered the maximum rookie contract, which I believe is around $900,000. Why he left for greener pastures, then, remains a mystery. There was talk of Wheeler playing for his hometown Minnesota Wild, which would make a lot of sense since he played his High School hockey at Breck, an Episcopal school near Minneapolis. He also played his College Hockey at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Or maybe Wheeler was looking to play with former teammate Phil Kessel in Boston. With Wheeler putting up a respectable 15 goals and 35 points in 44 games in the challenging WCHA, I think he could make an immediate impact on Boston’s third or fourth line.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Wild Update- July 1

The Wild have made their presence known in the 2008 NHL offseason. Coming off a rough season in which they got blown out of the water by the Colorado Avalanche in the second round of the playoffs, some moves are on the horizon. The Wild acquired defenseman Marek Zidlicky from Nashville in exchange for a second round pick in the 2009 NHL entry draft, and forward Ryan Jones. Zidlicky's a really solid offensive defenceman; a second round pick next year is a pretty steep price, and I've never heard of Ryan Jones, so I think we won that deal.
We also re- acquired Andrew Brunette as a free agent from Colorado. Brunette was the hero of the '03 playoffs, scoring the OT winner against those same Avalanche in the first round. I don't think we acquired many goals with Brunette, but who knows, he had a breakout year last year in Colorado.


You can fill in the blanks if you want, but my life pretty much sucks right now. I went to the dentist yesterday, and they were like "how's your diet, do you drink a lot of pop?" I said yes, I drink pop, because that's true, I drink about two pops a day. My dentist said you might want to cut down to one, and switch from Mountain Dew to Coke because Mountain Dew is so acidic and it's eating away at my teeth a little. My mom took that as "your teeth are gonna fall out of your head if you don't stop drinking pop right now." So, now I have to stop drinking pop for a while, and struggle through my mom's lectures all the time. Not my idea of a fun summer.