Tuesday, July 31, 2007

That didn't take long.

Good luck KG. We will miss you.

From buyers to sellers just like that?

There has to be more wheeling and dealing coming. The Twins must have some sort of plan where they give up Luis Castillo now and then later today they get a power hitting third baseman or DH.

What does it say about me and about the state of Minnesota sports when I get more angry and frustrated about the Twins trading Luis Castillo than I do when the Wolves move Kevin Garnett?

While I understand the Castillo trade, it was still surprising. I didn’t believe they would ship him out of here for two minor leaguers who have no chance at making the big league club for at least two years. If Terry Ryan thinks they can contend this year, he should have kept Castillo and let him leave via free agency in the off-season. Ryan says this deal doesn’t mean the Twins are waving the white fag.

If they don’t make a deal today for another hitter or two, it won’t matter what Ryan says anymore – this thing is over and the Twins are done.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Surprise? Happiness? Finally getting away from McHale probably means a little of both for KG.

Kevin Garnett has played his last game in a Timberwolves uniform. Even if the current rumored deal to the Celtics doesn't happen, you can't expect him to be happy here anymore with all the trade talk centered on him. Kevin McHale proves again that he's an idiot. You just don't float trade speculation around about your star player without paying the consequences. This is the second Boston rumor in the last 45 days. Even if this deal somehow falls apart, KG is gone before the season starts.

If this current deal happens, the Wolves would send KG (and probably another player or two) to Boston in exchange for Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff and a No. 1 pick.

Fine, do it already and start rebuilding. It's going to make everyone much happier, especially The Big Ticket. He won't have to hear trade rumors anymore, he might win a title, and we can stop paying attention to the Wolves for the next 3-4 years. Oh wait, we already stopped paying attention.

Sounds like a good compromise -- go do your thing Kevin McHale.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Okay, let’s play.

Soon-to-be-NFL-Rookie of the Year Adrian Peterson signed his huge deal today. We can officially start Vikings training camp.

Sure, the team still needs to fix the stadium situation and Zygi Wilf has no clue where he is going to get the money to build Zygi Town. But you have to admit, Mr. Wilf looks happy in this picture. The purple tie, the Paulie Walnuts gray wings in his hair – even the little smirk looks less suspect than usual.

Now that we have a franchise running back for at least the next five years, we have to figure out if Tavaris Jackson can run the offense. If he can, where is the defense at and can they stop the run and the pass this season? We know Coach Quiet hates the media, but can he coach enough for us not to care?

It’s time to find out.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Too bad he's not still stuck in Oakland.

This kind of makes me sick. I really don't miss Randy Moss. I am not all that interested in hearing about him anymore. He's not here, we are better off without him, and blah blah blah. But still...when I read things about him having a good day at training camp, I ache a little for the old days. He can't win a ring in New England. He just can't. I would rather see Stephon Marbury do well at this point.

You can read all about Randy's great practice and the fact that he's now a fantastic team guy here:

Jason Tyner can retire now.

Jason Tyner had 1,220 at-bats in the major leagues without a home run. Tonight in Cleveland, he finally hit one out. See, I told you Terry Ryan would find a power hitter. You people have no patience.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

“Two Minute Tommy” will still have one with you.

Back in the good old days of the Minnesota Vikings, we had players who knew how to party.

Tommy Kramer still has it. He was arrested for DWI down in Texas over the weekend. He even called one of the arresting officers “coach” during the stop. Good to know some things never change.

As Sid Hartman would say, if I ever write a book, I will have to put in there the story about Tommy Kramer, the Red Lobster, and a bar stool that couldn’t contain him. I was only 11-years-old at the time, but I remember almost every detail of the situation down to Kramer’s white polo shirt and the blonde lady he was hitting on. Let’s just say people were acting like it was last call and it wasn't even dark out yet.

Even with his flaws, Kramer was one of the best QB’s we ever had here in Minnesota. And, he brought the best out of the fans as well.

To this day, my favorite pro football put-down of all time is this:
Let’s send Tommy Kramer over to Libya, he’s the only one who can overthrow Kadafi.

Keep up the good work Tommy. We miss you up here. With all of the dog fighting, rain making, and drug busts in the NFL – it’s nice to know we can go home again.

You don't know the first thing about first base.

I am bored with Michael Vick and his fighting dogs. I don't want to hear anything about David Beckham ever again. The Twins won't make the playoffs and the Vikings haven't even started yet and I can't imagine them winning more than four games this year. Even the betting NBA referee story doesn't have much legs for me right now.

So...how here's a nice story from the LA Times about Keith Hernandez and his moment in the sun on Seinfeld:


Friday, July 20, 2007

Get to know ‘em… again.

Well…it’s time to panic. Michael Cuddyer is going on the DL today because he has a busted up thumb. Torii Hunter is still hurting. Jason Kubel can’t seem to find any kind of consistency. Garret Jones is playing significant innings in the outfield. And, the MVP is acting like the 2005 version of himself. Not good times.

Now the Twins called up something called Darnell McDonald and I don’t know how to say this other than to just say it – I’ve never heard of him.

Had the Twins won a game during their series against the Tigers, there wouldn’t be as much negativity wafting from my keyboard. But, if we don’t sweep or at least take two of three from the Angels this weekend, this season is all but over.

The gal and I will be at the game on Sunday and we will either be cheering our tails off or leaving by the fifth inning. Let’s hope we are cheering.

Circle me Bert.

VH1 is running out of people who really need the money.

Nothing has been officially announced yet, but the folks you see to the left are going to be involved in the new Surreal Life show on VH1 sometime this summer or early fall.

I am a fan of the show, but I don't have a lot of interest in seeing Miss Cleo, Dabney Coleman, Nikki McKibbin (American Idol?), poker player Phil Hellmuth, Carrot Top, or Randy Macho Man Savage.

Okay, I have a lot of interest in seeing what Miss Cleo and Carrot Top are going to discuss, but other than that...I hope they have a couple of other people with some name recognition involved. After seeing the first couple of episodes of his new show, I nominate Scott Baio, who just happens to be 45 and single and he HATES it when you call him Chachi.

By the way, not sure what the ratings are like for Big Brother 8 and I am guessing there aren't very many people watching -- but I am seriously hooked. Evil Dick getting head of household last night assures him of making it into the top 6 house guests -- nobody likes him all that much but he is the man who runs the house.

Ah...don't you love reality TV?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Are the Twins ready to step up? Wig out and make the move already.

Yes, dog fighting is in the national sports news spotlight, the British Open is underway, and the Gopher football program is having some awful things happen over in Dinkytown, but I can’t seem to get the Twins off my brain.

If you haven’t noticed, they could use some offense. I know… its breaking news as it happens. But, why is it that all of us know we could use more hitting, but the Twins brass isn’t willing to do anything about it? In the words of Don Shelby: Good Question.

So, what will the Twins do as we near “do or die” time with this team? The smart money is on the Twins doing absolutely nothing and fading off into Bolivia with Mike Tyson. But, there is an outside shot at adding some talent.

How outside? Here are five guys the Twins could add and the odds of that actually happening.

Adam Dunn (OF/1B Reds) – Odds of landing him – 10,000 to 1
There is no chance the Twins get Dunn. He’s probably the best fit for the team, he hits for a lot of power, and he’s actually younger than he seems (he’s 27.) He makes too much money and the Reds are all of a sudden playing some good baseball so they probably won’t be sellers. Even if they were, this isn’t the kind of guy the Twins would go after. And, it’s too bad.

Mark Teixeira (1B Rangers – Odds of landing him – 7,000 to 1
Did you know that Teixeira was drafted 5th overall in the 2001 MLB Draft? That was the same year that Joe Mauer went number one overall to the Twins and Mark Prior went second to the Cubs. The Rangers want to move Teixeira, but the Twins don’t have a place for him. He plays the field well and we already have the MVP at first base. Plus, he makes a lot of money and he’s too good for us to consider adding him.

Sammy Sosa (OF/DH Rangers) – Odds of landing him – 1,000 to 1
Don’t laugh, Sammy can still hit. Sort of. He’s batting just .243, but he has 14 home runs and 64 RBI. You can’t tell me he wouldn’t look pretty good hitting after Hunter and before Kubel or Tyner.

Dimitri Young (OF/1B Nationals) -- Odds of landing him – 500 to 1
He’s hitting .342 and he has 9 dingers and 52 RBI. He’s going to breakdown sometime soon if he’s forced to play in the field, but if all he has to do is DH and waddle around the bases two or three times per week, I don’t see why the Twins wouldn’t trade for him.

Ty Wigginton (IF/OF Devil Rays) – Odds of landing him – 100 to 1
Sure, more baseball fans are going to recognize that RGX body spray chick more often than they will Wigginton, but Ty’s a professional hitter who can help the Twins immediately. You can plug him in at third base and you can get Nick Punto back into the utility role that he so richly deserves. Adding Wigginton doesn’t necessarily fix all of the Twins problems, but it gives them one less thing to worry about by having a reliable bat in the lineup. If any deal gets done, it will be Wigginton. It makes too much sense for this not to happen. So why not just get it done already?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Summer is over, training camp is almost here.

Did you get enough sun? Play enough golf? Soak it all in while you can, because summer is pretty much over.

Training camps starts next Friday. Yikes.

Monday, July 16, 2007

How sweep it is.

It's time to make some hay, it's nut-cutting time, it's do or die right now. Pick your cliche, all of them fit -- the Twins needed to come out of the all-star break hot and they did it by going 4-0 against the A's.

Now just 6 games back in the central and 5.5 back in the wild card, the Twins have a legitimate shot at making a playoff push. They need to find a hitter soon -- Ty Wigginton is still available -- but even without another bat, they can still make a run. The Tigers and the Angels are up next. Taking 2 of 3 from each of those teams would make a 8-2 home stand, not too shabby.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Happy 45th Wedding Anniversary!

My parents will celebrate 45 years of marriage tomorrow, July 14. They were married in 1962.

Think about that for a minute.

Forty-five years. For those of us who are married, have been married, or plan to be married sometime soon, that kind of relationship is something we all want. When you make the commitment to be together, you are together for the rest of your days. They have seen their share of heartache and disappointment. They’ve been through the better and the worse and they have always had one constant during the good times and the bad; they’ve had each other.

For the last 45 years those two young kids in the picture above had four kids of their own. They built a strong family, a wonderful home-life, and taught those four kids the meaning of the words strength and love. They had (and still have) great careers, incredible commitment to their community, and an uncanny ability to make each other laugh like newlyweds who share an inside joke that the rest of us just wouldn’t understand.

They make it look easy; I don’t think there is any other way to say it.

I am the youngest of those four kids and I was born right around the time my parents were in their early 30’s. I am just starting a family now at 33 and I am terrified. I am scared of screwing up, of not being a good dad, of not being a good husband – basically of not knowing what to do when I don’t know what to do.

But now I realize I just need to follow the example they set and I won’t have any problems. They did all the hard work for me, now I just need to put the wheels in motion and teach my kids like they taught us.

My parents probably don’t hear it enough (what parents do) but I want them to know that I am proud of them. I am proud of their marriage, proud of the milestone and all of the love and work that went into it -- but mostly I am just proud to call them my mom and dad. I couldn’t have asked for anything more than what they gave me.

Not one of those four kids could.

Happy Anniversary.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Rondell is still hurt, can't playa. Here comes Garret Jones again.

At some point Rondell White is going to play baseball again. He is going to be the key to a playoff run for the Twins.

But, before that happens, we are in for another look at Garret Jones:


Answer the phone Rickey, it’s me…you.

You can’t keep Rickey Henderson out of Major League Baseball because Rickey wants back in and now Rickey is in. He’s the new hitting coach for the soon-to-be National League Champion New York Mets.

The league is better for it, the media is better for it, but who really knows if the Mets will be better for it. Go get’em Rickey.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Making the most of back hair.

You know what a true fan does? He gets the number “3” shaved into his back hair for the big NASCAR race. You know what a true love does? She takes the time to actually shave the number “3” into her man’s back hair. Not sure what, if anything, the woman(?) on the left has shaved into her back hair.

Ain’t love grand?

Monday, July 9, 2007

Slump Buster

We are very busy at Cold Omaha headquarters and since we haven't had time to post in a couple of days, we thought we would break out a little something from the old website. It's the MLB all-star break, so why not bring back a little slump talk from thesplog.com. This was originally posted in May of 2005

Baseball players are funny people. And, while I am not technically a baseball player by definition, that is – I am not spending every day of my life playing the game – I do, however, still play on weekends in a somewhat competitive league made up of former college players.

Yes, go ahead and push play on "Glory Days" here.

While I can’t really call myself a baseball player, I do play and I do still love the game. Well, I like it. Sometimes. And, that’s where things are starting to get a little uncomfortable. I used to LOVE baseball. There was nothing I liked more than playing the game. In my time, I was a decent player. Not great, but not terrible either.

And now? Well, let’s just say I am bordering on terrible, at least over the last couple of weeks. And it’s having an impact on how much I like the game.

You aren’t supposed to talk about a slump and you really shouldn’t write about it. Just bringing up the fact that you aren’t doing well can only make the slump worse, not better. However, I think at this point (my stats through 4 games look like this: 3 singles in 15 at-bats (.200) with 3 strikeouts, 0 RBI, and 1 run scored) it isn’t going to get much worse. I did walk once and I got hit by a pitch, so my OBP is .300. Yeah, that’s pretty crappy too.

Since the stats don’t lie, I thought we could take a look at why hitters get themselves into slumps. If I knew how to get out of them, I wouldn’t be writing thesplog.com, I would be playing baseball. Some of these reasons are personal – I’ll let you guess which ones.
Thesplog.com’s Top Five reasons (excuses) why baseball players slump at the plate.

5. Too much golf.
The beauty of this reason is that it works on the baseball field and on the golf course. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the term "baseball swing" on the links. But, it transfers over to the diamond too and it is a legitimate excuse, er reason. Golfers have a long swing. In baseball -- a short, compact swing is best. Bat speed slows down when you play golf, the muscle memory changes and the two swings, even though they look similar, are quite different. So far, this has been my most often cited "reason" for my steady decline over the last month.

4. The Bull Durham Theory.
I won’t get too far into this reason so we can stay a PG13 site – just go see the movie again and it will be self-explanatory. Crash Davis tells Nuke LaLoosh that he needs to stop "visiting" with "Baseball Betty" Annie Savoy because it is taking away his energy to compete on the baseball diamond. This is a great movie for so many reasons. First, Tim Robbins was still like-able back then, Susan Sarandon still had her fastball, and Kevin Costner moved into the pantheon of guys who can’t really act but can still carry a movie. To this day, I am not sure how he does it. Anyway, the Bull Durham Theory goes both ways – if you are getting too much or not enough, it can have an effect on your game. It is science people -- and you can’t argue with science. You also can’t argue with the body, because it’s an argument you can’t win.

3. Guessing instead of reacting.
I think there are two types of hitters, those who react and those who guess when they are hitting. I react. I hate knowing what pitch is coming because I am always thinking fastball and then can adjust and hit the curve, slider, or change-up as needed. Lately I have been guessing way too often and am looking for the fastball only when I am ahead in the count. Not the best way for me to hit and obviously not very effective. Plus, I hate standing in the batter’s box and I hate long at-bats. I am a first pitch hitter and things just get worse for me the longer I have to stand in there. Its always been that way. First pitch fastball, first pitch breaking ball – it doesn’t matter as long as I can get my hacks in right away and get on base. Yeah, not really a money ball type player – I know.

2. Not getting dressed the right way.
Baseball players tend to be superstitious. Sometimes people have the same pre-game meal, leave for the ballpark at the same time, or even get dressed in the same way before every game. If these things get disrupted, chaos ensues. I have some of these superstitions. Let’s just leave it at that.

1. Diminishing skills, combined with infrequent playing time = not good times.
When I was playing in high school and college I played a game every 4-5 days. Now, I play once a week. And, I am about ten years older than I was when I stopped playing in college, I am in a lot worse shape now than I was in college and my timing and bat speed are both considerably slower now than in college. Kind of makes sense that I am in a slump. However, I am only 31 and am supposed to be in the middle of my baseball prime.

So, none of those reasons are legitimate excuses. Its time to hunker down – I just need to get to the cage and work through this thing. You can’t hit enough and you can’t work hard enough to break out of a slump. Baseball is still fun – it’s a kids game but I will play it for as long as I feel like I can be good at it. That might be one year, it could be ten. Honestly, the next couple of months will be the real test and it will give me the answers.

We shall see how it goes…

Friday, July 6, 2007

Slowey sent packing.

The Matt Garza era starts again today against the White Sox. Last night the Twins sent Kevin Slowey back to Rochester and Carmen Cali is coming back up to help the bullpen.

We can’t talk rationally about Matt Garza, we like his upside and believe in him almost as much as we like and believe in Jason Kubel. We expect big things from Garza today. Seven innings, 5-6 hits and 2-3 runs kind of big things.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

This is news, pay attention.

Maybe the body isn't a temple?

Joey Chestnut ate 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes yesterday and set a new world record in the hot dog category. It's kind of uncool how a hot dog eating contest has literally been crammed down our throats as if we all care about professional eating. But I will admit, it is fascinating to watch someone jam food in his mouth, throw some of it up, eat more, and then throw up again, all in the name of winning a mustard belt. USA! USA!

I am guessing you have already heard about this and you've probably seen the highlights about as often as you have seen the ads for "The Bronx is Burning" on ESPN, but still....read about it here if you have an interest.


Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Chicks dig the long ball.

In the words of Dirk Digler, Justin Morneau is a star. He’s a big, bright shining star.

It was announced yesterday that young Justin will be participating in the home run hitting contest at the all-star game this year. I don’t think any Twins player has ever participated in the contest before, something about which Justin should be proud.

Don’t believe the baloney you hear about the home run hitting contest ruining a player’s swing and turning him into an upper-cut hitter who strikes out more than he makes contact once he is in one of these events. Its muscle memory and the 200 or so pitches the player sees during the event and batting practice aren’t nearly enough to burn up years and years of muscle memory.


Oh – and don’t forget to vote early and often for all-star candidate Pat Neshek. Yes, seriously.


Monday, July 2, 2007

Some people can't handle the Boof.

If you believe everything you read, Boof Bonser is in a slump. Speculation is running rampant that Bonser could be sent down to Rochester if he has another bad start tonight against Roger Clemens and the Yankees.

We say that's crap.

Sure, Bonser has been cold lately, but he's still 5-4 with 85 K's in 91 innings. Boof is the clear-cut number two starter on the Twins squad and will be until Kevin Slowey can stop giving up 6 runs a game or Matt Garza finally starts listening to his coaches and throws down in the strike zone.

Scott Baker and Carlos Silva are back-end of the rotation guys and they will never be anything other than that. Boof is the man -- he just needs to be more consistent and stay away from the walks, which eventually always lead to 3-run-homers against him.

A good outing tonight will shut up the critics for awhile.

It’s like living in a trailer home, but different.

Cold Omaha Copy Editor "The Dicker" (page 8) demands excellence and this post is a direct result of his hard-work while Cold Omaha was on break.

It seems that Major League Baseball player Reggie Willits and his family live in a batting cage.

Willits bats lead-off and is hitting .337 for the Anaheim Los Angeles California Angels and he credits his wife and his batting cage for his success.

Meet the Twins DH of the near future.

Are you tired of Twins DH Jason Tyner going 0-4 with a sacrifice bunt and never getting the ball out of the infield? Of course you are – he sucks.

But, some time very soon, probably within the next month or so, Ken Harvey is going to be the designated hitter for the hometown nine. He doesn’t bunt, he has a tough time running and he looks like he is going to pass out whenever he runs from 1st to 3rd, but he hits some home runs, can hit for average sometimes, and he usually has decent at-bats. Well, at least compared to some of the other options for the Twins.

Sure, he’s a project, he couldn’t stick with the Royals and he’s prone to injury and he just came back from a torn up knee.

But still…he’s not Jason Tyner. That’s enough for me.

Man at work

I love being away on vacation, but coming back to the grind is a real pain. Let's get through the next couple of days together and then it's July 4.