June 5, 2008

Duck, Blackburn, duck!

Man, it has been a while. May was a crazy ass month, that's for sure. Ain't been around to comment on much, but this definitely warrants it. I mean, dude got aced in the face! Scary, but also kind of hilarious (I know, I'm a terrible person). I've never taken a baseball to the face, but I'm sure it hurts like hell. Closest I've come is a softball that took a funny hop and left a big red mark just under my throat.... Really can't even imagine how someone tries to recover from the psychological trauma (and the physical part is probably bad too, I guess....) If Blackburn gets out there and still pitches well, he gets big points in my book.

May 7, 2008

Musings....

Aspergillus Pneumonia. Mystery solved?

Well, anyways.... 10th blog. I really wanted to do a player by player breakdown on how I feel about each Twin, but that would both a.) take lots of time during an already busy week and b.) require at least 2 tro 3 separate blogs. So, even though it won't be for any credit, those might come along later - because believe me, I've always got a lot to say when it comes to baseball.

So, for the topic of this time, I have decided to make it collection of random points - from things that have intrigued me this season, to maybe even some of my favorite moments of all time (well, my lifetime) but we'll start with the former and see where we end up. First, let's start with this: The Twins have just started a stretch where they'll play 40 games in 41 days. Good lord, that is unbelievably demanding schedule. Why would the makers of the MLB season schedule do that? Is that even legal according to labor laws?

Next up on the line, Barry Zito. Man, I've got to say, when he got demoted to the bullpen I couldn't help but laugh at the San Francisco Giants, while at the same time feel incredibly sorry for their fans. Signed to a seven year, 126 million dollar contract in 2007, he didn't come close to earning that last year. Losing more games than you win? That should get you somewhere in the neighborhood of jack and shit in terms of salary, yet the Giants took a big risk on him and they are literally paying the price. When he got demoted from starting to pitching in relief, it became absolutely mind boggling to think about how much money he was making to not do much for his team. That would be like paying new Viking Jared Allen all that money, only to move him to be the holder on field goal attempts. It's funny though to watch teams fall on their face, when they aren't yours.

Comparing the then record contract for a pitcher Barry Zito received to the one that Johan got this past off season and Zito's performance so far, you could probably extrapolate that to mean that Santana will be in the bullpen by August. Of course, that isn't accounting for the fact that Johan doesn't suck like Zito, but hey.... If you really believe in numbers....

Well, just to quick rattle off some of my moments quickly - I might come back and actually explain them at a later date - Torii Hunter's All-Star game catch against Barry Bonds, Santana making Ichiro fall down trying to hit a nasty change-up, Torii Hunter throwing the ball BACK AT A PITCHER after he got hit at the plate, Lloyd McClendon getting into an argument with an umpire, and then walking off the field with a base after getting ejected, LaTroy Hawkins vs. Miguel Tejada in the playoffs (EPIC at bat), and the Twins winning the division title on the very last day of the season in near miracle fashion two years ago. All those things are at least an entire blog in themselves right there, so be on the lookout for that sometime after my roster breakdown.... Otherwise, adios!

The State of the Franchise

Speaking of people who could replace Johan in my eyes though, the guy that can't go without mentioning is Francisco "The Franchise" Liriano. Back when he stormed into the Major Leagues in 2006, when he was baffling hitters with his wicked slider and electric heater, I actually created a Facebook group for him titled "Francisco Liriano: Johan version 2.0?" fully expecting the two of them to be a formidable pitching duo for years. Alas, Santana is long gone (if you hadn't noticed) and Franchise messed up his arm pretty badly that year. He had his UCL reconstructed, a process more commonly known as Tommy John surgery (well, common in the baseball world at least, if not the medical world). Franchise spent 19 months rehabbing his arm, and when he came back this year the results were disastrous. It was about as painful to watch as I'm sure the injury was to recover from. Really, I don't think I'm even exaggerating.... Liriano couldn't throw strikes, and when he did they got hit. Hit hard. He looked nothing like the dominating rookie he was in 2006, and didn't look like he belonged on a Major League roster - unless "batting practice thrower" were to suddenly develop into an important position.

Since then, the Twins have decided that he is not ready to be in the big leagues, and have publicly made the point that they believe Liriano and his agent know that as well now. What distresses me is that his results in Triple-A have been just as scary. Now, minor league games aren't televised around here, so I haven't gotten to watch him pitch, but the statistics are usually pretty telling. Franchise can't throw strikes at all, it seems. He walks about a batter per inning, and that's just asking for trouble. Especially when you consider these are minor league hitters he can't get out. As much as I would obviously love to see him get back to form, right now I am unfortunately skeptical he will ever be that good again. At the forefront in my mind is the struggles that another promising player has had since having Tommy John surgery: Kerry Wood. His career with the Cubs really hasn't gotten back on track to fulfill the potential he showed as a youngster, and at this point he is being tried in new roles and not having much success there either. Also working against Liriano is his demeanor, and what I personally - as an outsider, I should note - perceive as a lack of maturity by the young pitcher. He was arrested for a DUI his rookie season, and this year was late to camp because of visa issues. Ron Gardenhire has publicly called him out for not communicating with the team about his injuries, and not being on the same page with the organization. And, all off the field issues aside, when he was on the mound earlier this season he had the look of being completely dumbfounded. It was a far cry from the confident, lights out pitcher of two years past. I'm just not sure that he has the composure to come back and be the pitcher he was before. But the Twins will need him to do just that, if they want to have a shot at any division titles in the near future. The state of the franchise really does depend on the state of The Franchise.

He Who Doth Protest Too Much....

Damn it. That was an ugly game. I don't even want to talk about it. On the bright side at least, props to Joe Mauer for breaking up the no-no. I'm not sure I like this trend of AL Central teams doing poorly and then running into the Twins and turning it around. Very disconcerting.

Well, this blog post comes on a night when Nick Blackburn got the start, and my boy Blackburn is once again a central component of it. I recently realized that of any Twins player, aside from perhaps former Twin Johan Santana, nobody has been mentioned more frequently in my blogs. Well, I am going to nip this one right in the bud before anybody draws unfounded conclusions. I do not have any extreme affinity towards Blackburn, and to even compare him to Johan at this point is utter blasphemy. I can proudly say I had a Johan obsession. We are a long way from that territory with Blackburn.

First and foremost, sadly to say, I don't see the potential in Blackburn that I ever saw in Santana when the latter was emerging as a legitimate Major League pitcher. I just don't see him becoming a superstar in the league. I see him as a reliable starter, nothing flashy, probably best as the 4th starter on a decent pitching staff. I would make the comparison that he reminds me of a right handed version of former Twin Mark Redman. He's not the sort of guy that will ever command 20 million dollars a year.... And to be honest, I think he should be satisfied if he makes 20 million dollars in his career. Sure, Blackburn is young, and he is showing he can be productive. Anybody who can consistently get big league outs is welcomed on a pitching staff, but Blackburn will never be "ace" material. But then again, who knows? The sky could be the limit. Certainly nobody saw it coming that Johan would be a superstar, otherwise the Twins wouldn't have basically picked him up for nothing. All I'm saying is, whatever success Blackburn has, good for him. I just want to point out that his frequent appearance has been purely coincidental, and not a sign that he has won my heart over. Now, I should probably just stop talking about him, lest my entire argument of not being obsessed turn against me....

May 6, 2008

I Got a Bad Feelin' About this Livan....

I swear on my life that before Patrick Reusse ever printed his article in the Star Tribune comparing Livan Hernandez to last year's failed veteran starter, Ramon Ortiz, I brought up the very same comparison to my buddy Scott. Plain and simple, I just really doubt that he can be as good as he has been so far. There are many things that go into that doubt, and what shakes my confidence in him even more is what happened last season with Ramon Ortiz. Praised as a reliable veteran to balance out the rotation, Ortiz pitched amazingly for a month, putting up solid stats and making it look as if he was a fantastic signing. But then, in Achebe-worthy fashion, things fell apart. He gave out hits like every day was Christmas. He lost his job in the starting rotation, and wasn't even a Twin any more by the end of the season. So after successfully getting my hopes way up over the potential prospect of the Twins success, I was left to feel only stinging diasappointment.

Now, what happened to Ortiz wasn't his fault.... I should have known he wasn't going to be that good the entire season, but I let myself believe. Still, after that first month he was just plain awful. For starters, that is something that I really hope doesn't happen with Livan Hernandez. I expect him to be fairly bad, I just really hope he isn't that bad. Even if he does come back to Earth and realize that he's Livan Hernandez, hopefully he doesn't decide to do a Pat Mahomes impersonation (that's right, old school Twins fans, remember that one?). But to be completely honest, in my gut, I just really don't think I'll be able to trust him until the season is over (at which point, his contract with the Twins will be up anyways). The fact of the matter is, I wasn't as convinced his signing was a good choice as I was with the signing of Ortiz. And, since we have seen how that one worked out, you can understand my hesitancy to have faith in Hernandez.

What are all the things that scared me about Livan Hernandez becoming a Twin? Well, I'm not even sure where to start since there are quite a few. How about the fact that his stats have dropped off since he was younger, and that to think he could come in and replace the likes of Johan and Carlos Silva was just ridiculous? I forget who it was, but on an ESPN message board after we signed Johan, some observant fan noted that it was much like trying to replace Jessica Alba with Roseanne Barr. Still, the Twins were never claiming he would replace Johan, only stabilize a young rotation. Where have I heard that before? On top of this, there was the fact that Hernandez has spent his entire career up until now pitching in the National League, widely considered to be the (drastically) weaker of the two leagues in terms of hitting skill. There's a reason that you see the great veteran pitchers going to the NL to extend their careers.... The hitters there just aren't quite as good (on average - Ryan Howard and Prince Fielder would eat me alive if I didn't make that distinction). Now, I realize that some would say that is an entirely false notion, and that Livan might have even more success this year than he has in the past. But logic certainly does not support the fact that his numbers will stay as good as they've been. The majority of baseball experts agree, when a pitcher and a batter are facing each other for the first time, the advantage goes to pitcher, because the batter doesn't know what he will be seeing. When you take that into account, it certainly doesn't bode well for Livan as the hitters he faces see him more often, and have a better idea of what his pitches look like and what he likes to throw and when. At some point, hitters will see that 60 mph pitch coming, and the fact that even I could hit that pitch hard if I were looking for it makes me want to shit myself just thinking what professionals are going to do it.

As much as I do hope and pray that Livan won't fall on his face and that he can actually help the Twins this season, I don't see it happening. I do like our other young pitchers though.... So hopefully "The Franchise" Francisco Liriano can get himself back on track before the ticking time bomb wearing #61 comes crashing back to reality. If Livan can just be a stop-gap until Liriano gets back to form, I'll be happy with that and I'll be happy with the rotation we would have.

May 5, 2008

Especially in Michigan...

Well, again the day after playing I'm fairly sore. Nothing specific this time, so I'm almost certain it had to do with sleeping (or trying to) on a crappy old couch last night. I've slept on a lot worse, but never sober. Ouch. Also, as it turns out, there was an adorable little girl who had fallen asleep right by the computer last night. Rather than be a jackass and wake her up so I could rant about baseball, I figured I would let it wait a while. Anyways....

The Detroit Tigers suck and you should hate them. Does anybody actually disagree on that point? I mean, it seems fairly obvious that it is just fact. It's like trying to argue that LFO (remember them? If not, don't look them up, take my word) had legitimate musical skills and a lasting impact on art. You've almost got to give them credit for trying to emulate success, but the fact is that LFO was a shitty excuse for a boy band (a shitty excuse for human beings to begin with) and the Detroit Tigers are the wannabe New York Yankees. And, as any TRUE baseball fan knows, the Yankees are the devil.

All they've done in recent years is bring in super high priced "superstars" by throwing money at them in a desperate attempt to beat other teams that are actually good at baseball - you know, as in playing the game. This season, their payroll has rocketed up to $138,685,197. That is second only to the $209,081,579 of the Yankees, but it's no surprise that no one keeps up with New York's spending. After all, I would have to imagine the devil has deep pockets. Problem is though, paying tons of money does not equal winning. The Yankees haven't won a World Series since Y2K. What you do get by spending is a bunch of prima donnas who have no heart for the game, no fire to drive them, and no interest in the success of the team. I can’t even begin to explain how fantasmic it was to watch the Tigers fall on their faces to start the season, and more recently to get swept by the Twins in exciting fashion.

Quick notes on individual Tigers: I do respect manager Jim Leyland. He’s an old school, no nonsense sort of guy, a real baseball man. Plus, he called out his entire team and said they sucked earlier this year, which endeared him to me somewhat. Other than that, the only guys I really like are Curtis Granderson and Joel Zumaya - the former because he’s a durrrn good player, and the latter because he hurt himself playing Guitar Hero. Otherwise, Pudge Rodriguez, who has played well and for a long time, and would kick my ass surprisingly easily for a guy named Pudge, just looks like a jackass. Look him up, look at his face and tell me you disagree. Pitcher Kenny Rogers just is a jackass. Even when he was a Twin, that was pretty obvious. Gary Sheffield might actually be certifialby crazy or mentally challenged - or possibly both. Some of the things he says.... You’ve just got to wonder if it’s all there. Edgar Renteria is overrated, and Miggy Cabrera is the worst excuse for an athlete since.... Well, ever. He’s on his way to being the next Cecil Fielder, except even big Cecil could use a glove. Jacque Jones I have to admit I do like, partly because he was a former Twin, and partly because it’s just funny to watch him swing and miss so badly (especially now that he’s not a Twin). Finally, “Maggs? Ordonez is a good player, and has never been a douchebag. But I will forever hold a personal grudge against him. He was my first pick for fantasy baseball one season, just to get hurt and really not do anything. Of course, it didn’t help that most of my team didn’t turn into superstars until a year or two later (*ahem*, fuck you Jose Reyes), but I place a lot of blame on Ordonez. It stings me so to watch him do good.

May 4, 2008

For Love of the Game

Well, I'm writing this from the waiting room of Fairview (FUMC) where I'll probably be spending most of the night. Unless my typing is keeping the poor folks in here up too late, there might be a few to get done while I'm just sitting around. You might be wondering why the hell I'm spending the night at FUMC, and I really wish I could give you a reasonable answer. My dad has been here since Friday of last week and there's still no explanation as to why. He has some mystery infection, which has made this entire process much like an episode of House, except for the fact that it drags on forever and I actually care what happens. Hopefully needless to say, it's been a crazy week. If it were not for baseball (see, I was going back to the topic, you doubters) I would be going crazy. I was able to blow off some steam today by getting out and playing a game, and I gotta say.... I've never been happier to be bloodied and sore.

Today was actually the second time this year that I had a chance to play. We normally play every sunday, but last week the shitty weather kind of ruined that. The week before that, however, was a heck of a fun time and reminded why I love playing. Unfortunately, it also reminded me why it can sometimes hurt like hell to play. I somehow convinced myself that playing in the outfield with legs that were already sore (from what, I'm still not really sure) would work out fine. I think I lasted two innings in center. After that, I got moved to first base and eventually designated hitter (a.k.a. the bench a.k.a. left out). I had done in the course of two hours what some major league outfielders do over fifteen plus years.... Gotten so slow and bad that their team had to move them to a less demanding position. I'm getting too old for this shit....

Even with hurtin' legs, I was busting ass on the bases. That also probably wasn't too bright. You see, I hadn't remembered to wear high socks.... And of course, in the middle of a play I failed to consider that sliding feet first might not be a kindness for my legs. If I can figure out how to post pictures on this blog (if it's possible) I'll put one up when I get home. I tell you, it was a beauty. I actually had just finished picking off all the scabs a few days ago, and on the one play today where I decided "oh, I don't need to worry about pulling my socks up, what are the odds something will happen on this play?" I tore it up even worse this time around. Real nice and bloody. Fun stuff, huh? If you want, I'm pretty sure you can find enough of my skin on the dirt at Van Cleave to clone me, but I suppose you would have to somehow be inclined to do so to care.

So anyways, in what I think is becoming a trend, a quick notes section. Pick up baseball = blast. No bases at all of which to speak, aside from what you want to scratch into the dirt. It's all "Sandlot" style. === From center field, it is kind of tough to pick up the ball off the bat with the bleachers there. I will admit, I was praying half the time the ball wasn't coming to me, either because I didn't see it or because I didn't want to run after it. === Doubleheaders are fun. Big wooden bats, when you're used to aluminum ones? Not so much. === It's funny to try to swing like Ichiro Suzuki sometimes. Basically, if you've never seen it, it's when you start running when batting left handed and slap at the ball. I used to be pretty good at it, but I failed pretty miserably every time I've tried this year. === Finally, after playing two weeks ago, I'm fairly certain I was sore beyond all reasoning for about a week and a half. The left side of my rib cage and the right side of my back hurt whenever I had to move.... So that means my rind handed swing is probably off, right? In either event, I'm not a fan of feeling like I'm 40. Again, so over the being too old for this shit thing. === Finally, what a Twins game! Great comeback win. Go Twins!

May 3, 2008

To the Dome!

Two weeks ago I got out to my first Twins game this year. What with the whole school, and being dirt poor thing, it just hadn't worked out. Blackburn got the start, and it was a heck of a game. On top of that, it was Joe Mauer's birthday, as well as the birthday of "The Big Sweat" Dennys Reyes (easily the best nickname in sports). It was a very close score, tons of exciting plays, excitement abound and the Twins won. Not a whole lot more one could ask for from a Saturday afternoon at the ballpark.

A few points are worth noting about my first dome experience this season. First off, when the hell did they take the big milk carton out of right field? I LOVED that thing! I never understood why anyone would ever make that thing, or put it in the middle of the stadium, but I loved it nonetheless. That was probably the lowlight of my day, seeing that it was gone.

Well... Actually that might not be entirely true. Another low point in my day came right after my friend and I got to the park and met up with our other buddies. We had cleverly purchased a bag of peanuts en route to avoid paying ridiculous stadium prices. Unfortunately, we had not considered how difficult it would be to get them in. So, with cargo pockets stuffed full of salty peanuts, we went into the Dome. We got to our seats, and our friend is sitting there with a big bag of peanuts that was obviously brought in from outside. As it turns out, with stuff like that, the Metrodome staff actually doesn't prohibit bringing it in. This would have been nice to know before I had to clean out the salty shells from my pockets.

Just a few more random jottings about my trip to the game.... How do they determine who gets on the Kiss Cam? I wonder if they hire specialists to analyze people's body language as they sit through the game, and use that to determine who's a couple or not. I can't imagine they just randomly guess.... Seems too dangerous. === Another thought, why do people always try to throw softly when they do that truck challenge? You know, that game where they have somebody throw a few balls from the upper deck and try to get it to land in the truck, and if they do it they win said truck? Why wouldn't you just rare back and chuck it as hard as you could at the rear window? The odds of having the ball stay in the car increase exponentially, and I'd have to say that the cost to repair any damage would be less than buying a new truck.... You'd for sure come out in the black on that. === It does my heart good to see kids at the ballpark, though not near me. I like yelling borderline inappropriate comments whenever I can. Case in point? When Grady Sizemore came up to bat, I made sure everyone around centerfield was aware of how crazy hot he is. I mean, I'm very much attracted to women, but you've gotta give credit where it's due. He is one good looking man. === Finally, the wind tunnel always is worth mentioning. I don't understand the physics of it, beyond the fact that it's somehow involved with keeping the roof inflated, but I love it. It's always refreshing to walk through wicked wind on your way out of the Dome. I wish more places had stuff like that.

Next blog? Either it's going to be about getting out and having a chance to play some ball a few weeks ago (and man, has the weather sucked lately!) or about why the Tigers suck. Probably is going to depend on how today's game vs. Detroit goes.

April 15, 2008

A Royal Pain in the Ass

A devastating loss tonight for the Twins in Detroit. Poor Blackburn looked like he was about to get his first Major League win, but then things got ugly. Real ugly. I'm not even talking like, Sarah Jessica Parker ugly... I mean full blown Kim Jong Il close up in hi-def sort of stuff. I would imagine it was comparable to watching baby seals get clubbed to death, but since I listened to tonight's game on the radio it was probably more like... listening to baby seals getting clubbed to death. If the Wild hadn't pulled out an amazing win in their game, I assure you that upon this page you would be witnessing as pure a form of wrath as can be created in a Romanized language - as well as a series of [expletive deleted] 's. Thank God for Pierre-Marc Bouchard, though.

Anyways, the Detroit Tigers are a very interesting topic in themselves. There are so many reasons why I want them to lose, and why you should want them to lose. Hell, all of baseball and society itself should want them to lose. But I'll approach that when I can be more objective. For the moment, I would rather ride the high of the Wild and not think about tonight's travesty in Comerica Park.

So we're going to go back to the last opponent of the Twins, those silly Kansas City Royals. In summation, my thoughts on their team can best be put as such: Who do they think are?

Now, granted, we are just a little over two weeks into a six month long baseball season. So the fact that with a record of 8-5 they sit atop our division essentially means jack and shit for how the season will turn out. But in the six games they've played this year against the Twins, one thing has become really obvious to me: THESE GUYS DON'T SUCK.

Now, that fact right there just blows my mind. If ever I had to choose one word to associate with the Kansas City Royals, "suck" would win by a landslide (especially on the same ticket as "comically so"). But, for some reason, this team doesn't actually think they're bad! And, perhaps even more shocking to me, some "experts" think that they might even be better than the Twins!

Obviously the blasphemousness of this should go without saying, and you would think the notion could just be dismissed on account of being grossly ludicrous. But, I kid you not, this was the pre-season prediction by Sports Illustrated. The Royals would finish in 4th (out of 5 teams) - bad, but not bad enough to lose as many games as the Twins. I think back on the quality (or lack thereof) of baseball I've seen the Royals play over the span of my life, and I can't help but ask... Them??

I mean, come on. The Twins have won four out of the last six division championships. Though they traded the best pitcher in the 'verse, they still have a former batting champion and a league MVP. What did the Royals do over that time? Lose 100 games almost every season? And who did they have? Hiram Bocachica? How about Benito Santiago, Juan-Gone, and Doug Mientkiewicz (pronounced past-his-PRIME)? With all due respect to Dougey and what he did for the Twins, and completely acknowledging the fact that he is an astonishingly handsome man, baseball will always remember him as "that guy who tried to keep the Red Sox World Series ball." The only legitimate debate I've had about the Royals in past years has been whether they're more like a Triple-A plus team, that's an intermediate step to playing for a real big league team - or whether they're more like a purgatory for washed up players clinging to a few more years of baseball. Honestly, this has been a very heated debate between my friend and I. And now, somebody is trying to tell me that my beloved Twins are somehow worse than that?

After watching these Royals play this season, it's clear that they are improved... They can actually play baseball at an adequate enough level where it might be deemed professional. Their manager seems to know what he's doing, and they have some talented young players. But there is no way in God's green hell that I will accept the notion that they are better than the Twins. Really, that would be like betting on the Harry Potter kid to win in a wrestling match against Duane "The Rock" Johnson. Sure, little Harry is all grown up now, and The Rock isn't nearly as big and intimidating as he was in his WWE days... But where is the respect for what he's done? Until Potter makes The Rock tap out, he doesn't deserve any recognition. And until the Royals can show me that they are a real baseball team, there is no way I can stomach such an insult to my Twins. So here's to laying the smack down on si.com's candy ass!

April 2, 2008

Wild!

Have you ever seen the movie Black Hawk Down? Can you recall that scene where the soldier falls out of the helicopter?

"Go, Blackburn, go!"

.... A rocket propelled grenade is shot at the helicopter, and as it evades, Blackburn is thrown off and is unable to grab the rope. He's hurt, and you can't help but feel bad for him. He was prepared to go and face enemy bullets for the first time, but then he doesn't even get there. Events certainly did not unfold in a manner acquiescent to his interests, you could say. You can't help but feel bad. It wasn't his fault. He just got a crappy deal this time around.

That was the first Blackburn that was ever ingrained in my mind. So last year, when I discovered that the Twins had a pitcher in Triple-A Rochester named Blackburn, that was the image that popped up. The guy that fell. Well, the Twins' Blackburn is named Nick, and tonight he made his first start in the Major Leagues. And man, did he do good. Kept some pretty good hitters off balance, got himself out of trouble whenever he got himself into it. All around, it was impressive. Except for one thing that didn't go his way. One wild pitch. Of the 86 pitches that Nick Blackburn threw tonight, 63 were for strikes. By baseball's definition, that means there were 63 balls that could potentially have been hit by the other team in an effort to score a run. That didn't happen. What did happen was one pitch that missed and skipped away let a run score. And that was the only run of the game. Man, that stings as a fan. I feel for ya, Blackburn.... You did a good job tonight. At least you didn't fall out of a helicopter. Maybe next time the Twins can score some runs and help you out so that you won't forever be synaptically attached to a depressing image in my mind.

Continue reading "Wild!" »

March 31, 2008

Le Morte D'Baseball....??

"I've been sittin' here,
Can't get you off my mind....
I've tried my best to be a man and be strong...
I've drove myself insane,
Wishing I could touch your face....
But the truth remains....
You're gone...."

Johan....

I still remember the day it happened. The trade of Santana. The idea of Johan Santana not being a Minnesota Twin makes me want to not believe in baseball. The game simply shouldn't exist without him in a #57 Twins jersey. It was a devastating blow, not only because I love the Twins, but because I love Johan. Beyond the obvious points, like the fact that he is the best left handed starter in the universe, he was also a vital Twin. I loved the guy all the way back to when he was in the bullpen. Before the Cy Young Awards. Before the parades with the President of Venezuela. Before the monstroulsy rich contract, he was just a small part of an upstart team that was (and is) the Twins. But then things changed, and now he's.... Gone.

Dark were the days that followed the trade. I couldn't get out of bed. I listened to sad, sappy love songs as I wallowed in my fear of the Twins decline. My heart was broken. I cursed baseball and it's existence, and vowed never to pay heed to its foul business again. I wanted nothing to do with it. I was convinced I could live my life without it. But alas... That thinking did not last. Oh, what a fool I am. To throw my whole heart again into the fray, so that in some spiritual sense the Twins can win... Spring is underway, and the boys of summer have come to play. My momma warned me about all sorts of girls. But she never told me not to fall in love with baseball. And Johan or no, I'm still as loyal a Twins fan as can be. I think this relationship might be off to a good start. An exciting 3-2 win is certainly one of the better first dates I've had in a while...