Was that so hard?
It doesn't take much to make me happy. Really, it doesn't.
Yesterday, Joe Christensen did. The STrib's Twins beat writer gave casual fans a little insight into why Brad Radke wasn't as dominant last year - he was hit very hard by left-handed batters. And I mean that literally. They slugged .517 off of him (including 22 of the 33 home runs he gave up), which means that Radke turned your average left-handed hitter into the Royals slugger Mike Sweeney. The same Mike Sweeney we openly lusted at the trade deadline last year.
It's nice to see that factoid in print, and even nicer to see that the Twins coaching staff and Radke are trying to change that. What would be really nice is to see it mentioned in a game recap, when Radke faces a very good left-handed hitter in a key situation, whether or not he succeeds.
The Beauty of Small Sports - Part I
I'm watching The Boy(TM) at his indoor soccer practice for kindergarteners and first graders. The practice includes playing Cops 'n Robbers, which is kind of like freeze tag. So after designating the kids who will be "it", one coach carefully explains that only half of the gym is in bounds. If they go to the other half of the gym, they'll be out and have to freeze. And then he lines up cones to show them the line they can't go across. And then he and three other coaches stand at that line with their arms outspread so kids can't cross it. And then he says "Go"!
And thirteen of the sixteen kids go charging over the line out of bounds.
Don't look. What do you thinkRadke's ERA was at the end of last year? Off the top of my head, I would've sworn it was in the mid 3's because
1. The Twins whole pitching staff was very good and
2. Radke was robbed of a bunch of Ws.
Right? Those were the two stories of last season, right?
The answer is 4.04.
That's good, no question. 200 plus innings with an ERA of around 4 in the American League should be in the 12 to 15 games won range. That's a decent year for a #2 pitcher, which is what Radke is right now. But it's also not a #1 pitcher, and it's not even an outstanding #2 pitcher.
The Beauty of Small Sports - Part II
Finally, the kids get to play soccer, which means they form a mob around the ball for 30 seconds until it somehow squirts out to the other side of the gym. They lather, rinse, and repeat. It's not dissimilar to watching a swarm of gnats terrorize one small animal no matter where it darts to.
Midway through the "game", a janitor briefly left open the door to the equipment closet, and the ball squirted in like it was seeking refuge. None was found. A dozen frenzied children charged into the closet to kick the snot out of the poor cornered thing. It took at least a minute for a coach to wade through them and provide the hapless leather sphere a moment's respite.