It's late, and I didn't get to see the game because I spent the night at the Mill City Museum, which is absolutely wonderful, especially for kids. Oh my gawd, is it worth the time (and the rather expensive ticket). Fortunately, some readers are doing the heavy lifting.
One of the unfortunate side-effects of writing every night is that I'm not spending time reading every night, which means I miss some awfully good stuff on the 'net. That's one reason why, a couple days ago, I asked for some volunteer interns to help with the site, and some very kind people responded. The first challenge I gave them was to give me 2-3 links that Twins Geek readers would like, and their original commentary about them. I got four very good entries, and it occurs to me that surfing around on these might make for a nice Friday afternoon. Here they are:
Counting Pennies: That's what it must feel like to George Steinbrenner, who once again won the prize for most exorbitant payroll in MLB with $194.6M, actually down $13.7M from last year's excesses. The Twins clocked in with a modest $63.4M, good for 19th highest and an increase of $7.2M from last year. Note the quick arc into the payroll stratosphere for Carl Pohlad and Terry Ryan, a stark difference from 5 years ago. Ah, what winning will do.
Three Twins cracked the list of the top 88 player salaries: Torii Hunter ($10.75M), Brad Radke ($9.0M) and Johan Santana ($8.75M). It's a good sign that defense and pitching still earn their keep, unlike the Evil Empire Yankees who throw dough around like a Bronx pizza pie maker. A whopping 9 Yanks, most old enough to run for President, make more than Hunter, including the top 3 salaries in baseball. Here's another cool link regarding payrolls, contracts and the mugshots of those who broker them.
Razzing the Opposition: It's anyone's guess how long the "honeymoon" lasts for the Blue Jays' double-play duo, so get your ribbing while the ribbing is good. In retaliation to a prank executed by SS Russ Adams and 2B Aaron Hill, ace pitchers Roy Halladay and A.J. Burnett exacted revenge on their teammates. I guess "turning deux" assumes a whole new level of meaning in Toronto, not that there's anything wrong with that.
Looking ahead to the Cleveland series, the Indians trot their new acquiree Paul Byrd to the mound to duel the Twins spring sensation, Kyle Lohse. In an odd twist of fate, this becomes Byrd's first start for the team that originally drafted him in 1991. Fret not Twins fans as this Byrd is a rare breed, rivaling the dodo in ugliness and adept at flying the coop once his feathery arm begins to molt. Case in point, after shocking the world with 17 wins for the Royals in 2002, he was ushered out for introducing this unconventional release. All kidding aside, it's never a good thing when you're joining your 7th team in 12 big league seasons.
1. Jim Souhan jumps in the wayback machine to tell us that Santana's problem Tuesday night was that the Blue Jays believe he tips his pitches. In other breaking news, Souhan has revealed that Bill Clinton is rumored to have a bit of a fidelity problem, and that Mark McGwire was once spotted in the parking lot of a GNC.
2. MLB.com reports (second item in the article) that Ruben Sierra isn't going to be coming north until the front office is convinced that his strained quad is healed enough for him to play the outfield as well as hit. No one seems to know how long that will take, and in the meantime, the Twins have to figure out how they're going to clear a spot for Sierra on both the 25-man and 40-man rosters, a problem that will likely need to be solved before the right field, third base, and shortstop situations have sorted themselves out. This, of course, is #624 on the list of reasons you should be glad you're not Terry Ryan.
3. Down in the bush leagues, the identical twins who have made New Britain, Connecticut a favored stop for Twins farmhands in recent years were promoted in the offseason. Stan and Stu Cliburn (please don't ask us which is which) are in Triple-A Rochester to continue their work as manager and pitching coach of the Twins' top farm club, after seven years with the Double-A Rock Cats. The Cliburn boys have a terrific reputation as developers of young talent, so it'll be interesting to see what they can do to keep players who've already made significant strides toward major league readiness (like Jason Bartlett and J.D. Durbin) from developing why-me syndrome as they look to get back to Minneapolis.
4. A lot of Minnesota mouths were left gaping last Sunday when New York Times baseball writer Murray Chass declared the White Sox to be "last year's news" and made the Twins his favorite to win the AL Central. At the time, we thought ol' Murray was just being a good guy, and doing his part to root for the underdog. But now we know he's nuts...
- Interested in finding out more about Pat Neshek, the man Patrick Reusse thinks is the leading candidate for the Twins’ setup role if the bullpen needs a shakeup? Well, who better to ask then Pat Neshek himself ? And even if you could care less about what Reusse thinks, you should still check out his site for his explanation of the best side arm motion to come out of Brooklyn Park.
- The season may have already started, but Third Base Line has assembled a veritable League of Nations of Twins’ bloggers (Batgirl, Seth of Seth Speaks, Twins Junkie, Hannah and Frightwig) to toss it around the horn with her to help preview the season. While Frightwig’s (Blogging at 1st Base) name isn’t long enough to need a School House Rock song in order to “Get to Know ‘Em”, Seth (Blogging at Short) does actually make the same nanananana sound while typing that Guzman used to make legging out a triple.
- Andrew Berg at Minnesota Baseball Central has an in depth look at the ramifications of the Twins decision to demote Jason “Actually has an OBP” Bartlett to the minors. And no, I’m not angry about that decision at all. Not…at…all…
Bloggers bask in the nauseating high of the Twin's first victory
- No resting on laurels for Will Young, he dissects the game using themagic of an excel spreadsheet. His analysis results in a stunningconclusion- Tony Batistas was NOT the game's MVP.
- Bat-Girl reveals the source of Radke's first inning woes, turns out it's Lew's fault.
- Aaron Gleeman gives his professional analysis of the game. One of the moreprofound observations is below:
"Late in the game Blyleven made a joke about his pubic hair, which Ibelieve is a first in Twins broadcasting history. The potential for thatsort of thing is why you should never turn the game off, even in a blowout."
In order verify this claim, I googled "twins" and "pubic hair" and cameup with 1,232,458 hits. I will spend the next months deep in research.
- Over in Canadia, battersbox laments the loss of the "good guys" to the"loveable twinkies." Those Canadians, even after humilation they arestill so darned friendly. Kind of makes you want to move there, if itwasn't for the whole sucky baseball team thing. Oh, and that Queen ofEngland thing.
Thanks to the new Twins Geek interns and to everyone for stopping by today. Have a great weekend, and we'll see you on Monday for the big announcement.