Monday, June 28, 2010

Line drive hitter and a big vote getter.

Joe Mauer hit 28 home runs last year. That was a career high for him. He has three dingers this year. He might not hit 28 home runs during the next four years combined. But still, he somehow leads the voting to participate in the home run hitting contest at the all-star game.

The MLB site says Ichiro could also end up in the derby. It might be more appropriate to have a "break the glass" competition between the two of them - just set up some windows or something between third and short and let them hit line drives at it...neither of them should be in any home run hitting contest.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Breaking up isn't that hard to do.

Those three guys right there are Al Jefferson, Kurt Rambis, and Kevin Love. They have played and coached in their final game together as part of the Timberwolves franchise.

The NBA draft is tonight and speculation is running rampant that Jefferson is gone for sure and Love might just be on the way out with him. Honestly, I haven't watched an entire Wolves game in more than four years, so I really don't have any vested interested in any of this either way. It would be nice to have a good basketball team in this town. It would be nice to have some players who can play.

If Derrick Favors, Wes Johnson, or Evan Turner can somehow end up on this team, I will be pleased. Regardless, there isn't really a nucleus of good/great players on this team and there won't be by adding just one all-star level guy.

Maybe the Wolves will somehow turn all of their draft-day bad luck into something positive. But I figure it will just be another break it all up, tear it all down, and start over kind of thing no matter what. It is the Wolves, what do you expect?

Friday, June 18, 2010

The ump was right, a storm was coming!

Denard Span got picked off at 2nd base yesterday and he was angry because he thought he was safe and the ump can't make a call like that, at least according to Span, unless the ump is 1,000 percent sure the runner is out. According to MSNBC, he went on to say...

"I had told the second-base umpire, I let him know how I felt the inning after I ran to my position. I just felt like there was no point in arguing, because he's already called me out. We had an early game, so I know everybody's trying to get out of here. We've got a storm coming in, that's what I heard," said Span.

The ump was right, storms were coming. And...Span was out. So, it was the right call for all the right reasons. Don't get picked at 2nd base in a close game. And, sometimes blaming the weather for a call is the right thing to do, especially if you know you were right and it will piss off the player. Everybody wins! The Twins weren't beating Ubaldo yesterday and Span getting dumped on the base paths was one of the highlights of the game.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

T-Jack using more of his brain.

I love Minnesota sports. I subscribe and/or read just about anything and everything related to the Twins, Vikings, Gophers, and yes...even the Wolves or sometimes the Wild if I am desperate. So, during a recent "lull" at work...or "Tuesday" as I like to call it...I saw a headline in my email inbox that said "T-Jack says he is using more of his brain now" and - well - I was intrigued.

I read the story -- it was in the Pioneer Press if you want to find it...I won't link to it because I am kinda lazy today -- and it went on to say that Jackson learned a lot from Brett Favre last year and he improved more over the last 12 months than he has during any other 1 year period of his career. Sure, that's probably not saying much, but it is saying something. I think.

All things considered, I want Brett Favre as my quarterback next year and maybe even in 2011. But Jackson isn't a terrible option as a back-up right now. I don't want to wish the summer away by any means, but I am interested to see how much Jackson has improved. That said, it is only June and the Vikings don't play any real games for almost three months. So...yeah.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Worst Twins blog in the country.

It is kind of official. We are the worst Twins blog in the country and we have been for the last five years. If you take a look at the Newsbobber rankings, we couldn't be less popular:

We have said it for a long time and we will continue to say it...we aren't great writers and we don't have insider information. But, that is what makes us good!

Just a few thoughts...

1) We would love for the Twins to make a move sometime soon to add a starting pitcher and probably somebody for the bullpen. The idea of adding a Cliff Lee or Roy Oswalt is nice, but giving up 2-3 top-level prospects for a rental pitcher isn't something that we would be willing to do. There was a rumor yesterday floating around about the Twins having interest in Jonathon Papelbon and/or 3rd baseman Mike Lowell. I would take Papelbon, but I would rather have Danny Valencia hit 9th and play 3rd this year and several years into the future than take on Mike Lowell and his aching back. The guy I would really like to see in a Twins uniform is Dan Haren. He's probably available and the price would be right. Hopefully the Twins take a long look and can swing a deal with Arizona.

2) Enough with the World Cup already. I am trying my hardest to understand soccer and to not be a complete American idiot when it comes to the event. I obviously haven't been paying all that much attention because I just learned this morning that they are playing in South Africa. I thought they were playing in Europe. Yup. That about sums it up. But I am hoping we do well - Go USA!

3) Best "find" of the last two weeks -- David Sunflower Seeds -- the "Ranch" edition. Best seeds ever.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A retirement text?

How do you step away from a career that lasted more than 40 years in one industry? Well, if you are like my Dad you do it slowly, you think it through…and you make the leap when nobody’s looking.

I got a text message from my Dad last week announcing his retirement. Just like that…it was over. And my first reaction wasn’t surprise or amusement that he told me this way. I was just…happy. I was driving to work, I read the text message…and I had a huge grin on my face and thought “he did it…wow…that’s perfect.” I was happy – just incredibly happy.

From my perspective (and rather selfishly I suppose) I wanted him to retire five years ago, but he wasn’t ready. I didn’t think he would ever be ready. But he is. And it must be a wonderful feeling.

My Dad has seen his share of bad times. Running a bank in a small town means knowing your neighbors well and the lines sometimes get blurred when it comes to business. You work with and provide services to people you call friends and family… and you actually, literally, are friends and family. My Dad was a banker his entire career. He was a banker, but he was something more to everyone who ever stepped foot into his office. In one way, shape, or form he was a financial advisor, mentor, counselor, therapist, friend, and decision maker/planner to thousands of people. He never told me any of this, but I can guess. I can guess that he made a huge difference in the lives of people he doesn't even remember.

Can anyone ask for more out of a career? I think most definitely not. But, taking on those roles also meant added stress. For my Dad, those roles meant that if friends and family had problems, then he had problems. If somebody lost a farm, business, or house…well then my Dad seemed to take on those issues like he was right there with them.

Sure, he got to celebrate big achievements when things went well, both for him and for those around him. But he also had lots of losses. The financial hardship many people felt over the last few years took a toll on the economy, took a toll on some of our small towns, and no doubt took a toll on my Dad. But…you wouldn’t know any of that even if you asked him. You would never know how much he took on or how difficult that career was. He closed the door at the bank, drove down the road and when he got home…he was just Dad. A great Dad.

And that’s the biggest accomplishment, at least in my eyes, that he has ever had. He set aside all that “work stuff” and all that baggage and just came home to his family. He could have been a baker instead of banker for all I knew back then because he never seemed to let that stress interfere with our home. He always came to my ball games, always answered the phone, and always waved us right in when we came for a visit. He was just Dad. Dad the banker. We had no idea how hard his job was. We still probably don't really know. We won't ever know. He never showed anything other than his work ethic and a seemingly effortless approach to his career - an approach which I now know was a culmination of experience, confidence, and pride.

You can call him smart, stubborn, and stoic and you would be correct on all accounts. Part of that stoic nature is what made his text message to me even better. It was surprising, out of the blue…and happy. He is getting out because “the time is right” and if you want more detail on the decision you might want to talk to my Mom, because you won’t get anything from my Dad.

The same things that made him great at his job make this decision and the way he announced this decision perfect. The time is right – that is the answer. That's it.

In a perfect world – in my perfect world - my Dad would have announced his retirement a year ago and he could have had a retirement tour, where his friends and family could come to his office, wish him well, and talk about what the future holds. It would have been fun for all of us but him, because nobody is more uncomfortable with that kind of stuff than my Dad. But that wasn't going to happen. A text message and a quick phone call is all he needed to do. It was perfect.

Congratulations Dad – I am proud of you.