Thursday, April 02, 2009

GameDay Chatter: Grating Expectations

During the 2009 season, the Twins Radio Network is going extend their broadcasting after each Sunday game to include a couple of hours or Twins sports talk with Jack Morris and Chris Atteberry. And yes, this means your Sunday's are completely shot to hell.

This show is going to include a weekly 'rant' by a GameDay writer/blogger called 'GameDay Chatter'.
Since we were a little pressed for time this week, I wrote up this one, and you'll find a draft of it below. If you're interested in hearing the audio, or talking with Morris or Atteberry about it, be sure to tune in on Sunday.

Grating Expectations

At the risk of offending the baseball gods, is anyone else smirking when they hear that the real AL Central favorite this year is the Cleveland Indians? Admirers will point out that the Indians record after the all-star break. And their run differential. And that they were devastated by injuries and had a productive offseason.

It sounds good until you realize we’ve heard all this before. This will be the Indians fifth straight year as at least a co-favorite in the division, and they’ve made it to the playoffs just once. Last year they were so dismal that they folded at the beginning of July, trading away CC Sabathia. Who they didn’t replace during that “productive” offseason.

Which, by the way, looks a lot less productive than it did in January. Acquiring Mark DeRosa from the Cubs was supposed to initiate a shift in player positions that would tighten the Indians infield defense and provide a little extra offense. Except that manager Eric Wedge hasn’t shifted the players, so they essentially have three infielders now playing out of position.

And their new closer, Kerry Wood, is universally considered one of the top closers in the American League, provided his arm holds up. Now that is aweso……hold it. What was that last part? You see, Wood hasn’t had a perfectly healthy year since 2002. His first spring training appearance was mid-March because – wanna guess - he was hurt.

And I haven’t even mentioned the injury-ridden back of the rotation. Or the fact that last year’s ace, Cliff Lee, is posting a 12+ ERA while begging for a long term extension. Uh, how’s the arm feeling, Cliff?

The Indians are a good baseball club in a division full of good baseball clubs. I’m not saying they can’t compete. But they have plenty to sort out. And maybe we should let them meet modest expectations before we crown them king.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Late Night Thoughts...

and most of 'em aren't necessarily about the Twins. But they are almost all somewhat related to baseball.

Cliff Lee
Anyone else following what is going on in Cleveland's spring training? Cliff Lee showed up at camp seemingly begging for a long-term deal. Unfortunately, he chose the exact same time to really suck. His ERA this spring is 12.42. He's given up 26 runs and 37 hits in 16.2 innings. Add that performance to the sudden desperation for a long-term deal, and I can't help but wonder if someone might not be completely healthy.

I suspect some crabby-pants might point out to me the eerily similarities between Lee and Scott Baker. But before you do, you should not one important difference. Which is that I'm perfectly capable of living in denial concerning my own team.

The Best a Man Can Get
Gawd, I loved these commercials. Honestly, take 60 seconds and watch it. Was there ever a better montage of the ideal 80s male than this commercial? He gets the girl, hugs his dad, cradles his infant son and strides with the astronauts. I remember getting pumped up every time we would see these, and we saw them a lot because they were a Sunday afternoon staple. It STILL makes me want to shave.

To Morrow is a Week Too Late
The announcement yesterday that Seattle will move Brandon Morrow back from the rotation to the bullpen to be the closer was probably the right move for that franchise, but criminy did it screw me up.

We'll start with the fact that I drafted David Aardsma in my roto draft yesterday afternoon for just $1, because it looked like he would be closer. We'll add that I did not draft Morrow, who will now be a devastating closer for something like $11 for another team. And we can further add that until Friday I owned Morrow for just $8 in the same league. I threw him back because he looked like he was going to be a injured and somewhat iffy starter for Seattle.

And finally, I had a section in this week's Dugout Splinters surrounding Aardsma and those were due to the Twins last night. I heard the news minutes before I was going to send it and had to rewrite the section.

The kicker is that Morrow and the Mariners had decided this a week ago. They just hadn't told anyone.

That's Why I Love this Girl
Last night The Voice of Reason is watching TV and asks "I thought the Twins opener that we were going to was on the 6th."
"It is," I replied.
"I thought that was Monday - the first day of the season?" she queried.
"It is."
"But I just saw something saying my Phils were playing on the 5th," she stated, still baffled.
"Well, that's because the Phils play the season opening game that's on Sunday ni....."
I didn't need to finish. I wasn't two words into that sentence before I saw the light go on, her eyes grow wide, a smile start to grow and a feeling of civic pride practically burst right out of her seams. And then I watched as last October visited yet again.
And finally, the smile opened and spoke in the smallest, happiest voice - one usually only heard from children.

I'll go into this with a litte more detail soon, but I've just set up a baseball only twitter that I plan to update way too much during the regular season. If you want to witness the uneven and unseemly beginning of it, you can sign up at