- Hockey fans in this state have gotten used to the reaction of the Canadian press every time the Wild manage to beat a team from Up North – it runs something along the lines of “that’s not hockey, the trap should be banned, Lemaire has ruined the sport, they’re so boring that our team was lulled to sleep, waaaaaaahhh.” Standard stuff at this point, and it’s no coincidence that the whining always comes loudest from Vancouver, where the Canucks seem to have frequent trouble with The Cult Of Jacques.
So why bring up that particular bunch of sour grapes on a baseball site, on a weekend in which the Twins finally earned a measure of respect from the mighty Yankee empire? Well, because of this. And this. Annnnnnd this. That, kids, is what you call a New York hat trick – all three tabloids whining in unison about not getting the calls. And lest you think this was a one-night bitch session, here’s how the NYC papers covered Friday’s Twin win.
Yup, you read it here first – Ed Montague is a one-man Yankee-wrecking crew, and he’s clearly either blind, retarded, or on the Minnesota payroll. Returning to reality: were some of Montague’s calls questionable this weekend? Sure, particularly the Castillo no-swing in the 9th inning on Saturday. But if the New York beat writers were actually interested in umpire quality (rather than in endlessly whacking beehives with sticks, which tends to be what passes for sports journalism in Gotham) they would also have noted that Jerry Layne’s bizarrely shaped and wildly inconsistent strike zone almost cost the Twins their ninth-inning comeback, that Posada’s tag of Morneau on Saturday was as phantom-like as Mauer’s tag of Posada on Friday, and that there is no team that benefits more from “superstar” calls than the Bombers.
- Having grown up in small-town Pennsylvania (well within range of radio signals from both Philly and New York,) Intern Sam is all too familiar with the demented ravings of Yankees radio voice John Sterling. You know Sterling – he’s the bleating cementhead behind “Annnnd the Yankees win! THUH-UH-UH-UH-UH-UH-UH-UH Yankees winnnn!” He does this every time they win. And they win a lot.
Intern Sam spent his childhood assuming that New Yorkers must like this sort of foolishness, but this was before he moved to Minnesota and was informed that John Gordon had somehow managed to hold down a play-by-play job here for the better part of two decades despite the fact that nobody likes him and he can’t pronounce the word “Ibanez.” Anyway, it turns out that Sterling is regarded with some disdain in the Big Apple, and one of the Post’s veteran snipers laid into him this weekend for a couple of blown calls in the Twins series.
- The PiPress’s baseball writers had an interesting conversation about MLB’s George Mitchell-led investigation into steroid use by Barry Bon… um, we mean, by any number of major leaguers who may or may not be threatening to break a beloved home run record. Jason Williams and Gordon Wittenmeyer agree that there isn’t much of a chance that the players are about to start ratting each other out to Mitchell, but GW believes that “anything that keeps the hammer down on this issue is important right now.” He may be right, but with Friday’s revelation that a second grand jury is now hearing evidence that Bonds perjured himself during the BALCO investigation, we tend to agree with Will Leitch over at Deadspin, who fears that “we’re really starting to veer dangerously toward ‘We Will Take Him Down At Any Cost’ territory.”
- Lost in the tumult surrounding Saturday’s dramatic comeback win was the increasingly damaging presence of Rondell White in the cleanup spot. In case you missed the game, Joe Mauer had the bat taken out of his hands twice in key situations, because Joe Torre (who is a fairly observant guy) knew he had the equivalent of the pitcher’s spot in the order due up next. White obliged Torre with a routine fly-out to center, and an awful-looking strikeout. (He also looked helpless with men on second and third and nobody out in the bottom of the ninth, when merely putting the ball in play would likely have tied the game.)
Despite White’s total ineptitude at the plate, Gardenhire has trotted him out in the cleanup spot for all twelve games the Twins have played, and in Sunday’s blowout loss (in which White went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts,) the crowd began to turn on him early. The booing reached a cascade by White's final at-bat, which is probably a good thing, simply because it puts pressure on Gardenhire to do something, anything, to alleviate the problem. There’s plenty of statistical evidence saying that batting orders don’t matter, but the simple fact is that White is now so bad that he’s costing Joe Mauer at-bats, and that cannot be allowed to continue if the Twins’ want their newfound offensive prowess to last. There might not be a need to bench him completely, but there is no longer any justification for putting his termite-infested bat anywhere but the bottom of the order. (Nope, there wasn’t a link anywhere in that rant. We’re just sayin’...)
- Seth Stohs has the latest on the status of the Twins’ ballpark proposal – the next hurdle is the House Tax Committee, chaired by the Shoreview Republican known around the Capitol as “Dr. No,” and as you might expect, the good doctor has a crafty plan rather transparently designed to highlight public opposition to the Hennepin County sales tax. The Twins are pleading for fan support to counter the Krinkie offensive.
- Finally, continuing our series of links to local sports columnists who dazzle us with the blindingly obvious before pounding us over the head with brazen leaps of logic, ol’ Sid has been doing some thinking, and has come to the considered conclusion that Joe Torre is a pretty good baseball manager, and that most of his success is due to the endless patience and unwavering support of Sid’s close personal friend, George Steinbrenner. We’d like to share our favorite sentence of the column, but we just can’t decide between the simply preposterous (“I don't know of anybody more loyal than one Mr. Steinbrenner”) and the grammatically impenetrable (“To nobody's knowledge, [Torre] hasn't received a brain implant since he joined the Yankees, and he was just as smart a baseball manager then as he is now,”) so we’ll just leave y’all to sort through the swamp of Hartman’s prose on your own time. Have a good week…
Sunday, April 16, 2006
powered by Intern Sam
Posted by John at 7:37 PM