October 3, 2004
What a great weekend. It was the type of weekend that you get a whole lot accomplished and still feel oddly relaxed and rejuvinated. And to top it off, I didn't make a fool of myself today running the sound system at my church (like I did last time) so that was nice. Overall, life is good.
I am really, really looking forward to the playoffs starting on Tuesday. I don't remember who said it, but if you can get past the Yankees, half the battle is won. And the Twins can definitely get past the Yankees. Did you see that Mike Mussina will be pitching in the first game against Santana? While it is true he has dominated the Twins in the past, he is still coming off an injury plagued year, and this isn't really the same Twins team he has faced in the past. Mussina finished the season 12-9 with a 4.59 ERA. And if you'll recall, the last time Santana and Mussina met was August 18 when the Twins beat the Yankees 7-2.
The second game pits Brad Radke against Jon Lieber. Lieber has put together a very nice season at 14-8 with a 4.33 ERA, and he has a great deal of success pitching at Yankee stadium. The last time the Twins faced Lieber was just last week (Sept. 29) when the Twins knocked out 10 hits against him for 4 runs. You've got to like the Twins chances given Lieber's opponent will be Radke and his 3.48 ERA, and considering Radke usually turns it up a notch in the playoffs.
Who else is pumped about the playoffs starting on Tuesday?!?!? Man, I can't wait. The fact that Aaron Gleeman said he would rather face the Yankess is really all I need to hear to know the Twins will be triumphant. Besides, I couldn't afford playoff tickets this year (unlike the last two years), so because I didn't buy any this pretty much gurantees they are going to the World Series. You can thank me later.
Reusse chastised me over the weekend and I deserved it. I'd like to apologize to Gardy and all the Twins for all my whining.
I've heard a rumor that Michael Cuddyer may be starting at second base in the playoffs. What a gift that would be. Last weekend I was listening to the Ron Gardenhire show on WCCO Sunday morning, and Gardy said they would much rather start Rivas at second because of his defense, specifically his ability to turn the double play. I was shocked. I was always under the impression that Rivas is a horrible defensive second basemen, regardless of how well he turns the double play. That's why I'm not the manager I guess. However, I would love to get Cuddyer's bat in the lineup and I'm not so sure the Twins would be giving up a whole lot in terms of defense. So, if it is Cuddyer at second come Tuesday you won't see me shedding any tears.
What a great week this will be for the Minnesota sports fan. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday we have the Twins vs. the Yankees (and if the Yankees can manage to win at least one game there could be another game on Saturday), on Saturday we have the 13th ranked (yes, 13!!!) Golden Gophers taking on Michigan at the Big House for that stupid Brown Jug, and on Sunday we have the Vikings taking on the Texans at noon (and the possibility of an unlikely 5th game in the ALDS). I am in sports heaven.
Unfortunately, I will have to miss watching the Michigan/Minnesota game on Saturday. I will be at a Webelos camp out with my son until Sunday morning. While I am ticked off beyond all reason that the Gopher game of the century is on the day of this camp out, I am also looking forward to spending some quality time with my son (and with my yet to be purchased mini-radio). Michigan, if you must know, is ranked 14th, and again the Gophers are ranked 13th. As hard as it is to believe, that is not a misprint.
People, Ohio State lost to Northwestern this weekend! Michigan lost to Notre Dame a few of weeks ago and barely beat San Diego State at home! And the Gophers don't play Purdue ... oh man, I've got to calm down. Things are looking good for the Maroon and Gold. Time to jump on the bandwagon.
And if you haven't had a chance to check this out yet, you should definitely read Ivan Maisel's profile of Barber and Maroney on ESPN.com. It is a good read, although I always heard that Mason took Maroney to Murray's, not Manny's, for his infamous cheeseburger meal. Does anyone have the definitive answer?
Stay tuned for my take on the Vikes Geek's recent article on the Vikings stadium situation. I am really tired of articles like this, especially the line "slap a tax on the tickets to pay for construction." Ummmm ... yeah, that will pay for about 7% of the annual debt service. Again, more on that later. So many things to comment on.
I'm ready for the postseason also! Maybe I can come on over for game 1 Tuesday night. I'll bring some soda, as I know you are out.
Both the Gophers and the Badgers got some serious props in the rankings this weekend. The Gophers went up 6 spots and the Badgers moved 5. The Badgers are winning with a phenominal defense, and the Gophers with a sick running game. Both teams are going to have a say in who wins the Big Ten.
Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at October 4, 2004 10:27 AM
Actually, I am again stocked with Pepsi Edge, so you won't need to bring any over. Unless you want some from your own personal stash.
It looks like the Wisconsin and Minnesota will indeed have a say in who goes to the Rose Bowl. Note that I am not talking any trash yet. If the Gophers can beat Michigan, then and only then will the trash talking commence.
Posted by: Shane at October 4, 2004 2:41 PM
Nice column - sort of a Brunswick stew of sports and thoughts about them, but an interesting read.
I'll take exception to your comment about Rivas's defense, though - you link to the ESPN defensive stats table sorted by Zone Rating, but fail to point out that Rivas's Zone Rating is the *only* defensive measure that shows him to be below average. In fact, most of Rivas's numbers show him to be above average, and some (such as Defensive Win Shares on the Hardball Times site) show him to be significantly above average - which is why Gardenhire says he'll use him as a defensive sub. (If this sounds familiar, perhaps you read the comments I posted at Twins Geek on the same subject, complete with more detailed statistical support.)
Posted by: David Wintheiser at October 4, 2004 4:53 PM
Thanks for the comment. I had a feeling someone would catch me trying to sneak that zone rating by without discussing other measurements of defensive ability. Rivas is second in fielding percentage for AL second basemen. However, would you say that Cuddyer is that much of a defensive liability that you would rather put Rivas in over his bat? Personally, I would put Cuddyer in at this point in the season. He has more consistent power and he probably isn't all that much worse than Rivas at second base. Rivas's injury may make that decision easy.
Posted by: Shane at October 4, 2004 6:59 PM