Thursday, March 23, 2006
Roger's Spring Training Thoughts
Chris Coste Update
American Idol Thoughts
Good morning everyone!
I have to start out with a couple bits of negative news today. First, it had been awhile since I had looked at the site that ranks the Top 100 Sports Blogs. This time, this site appears at #55. I can't remember what I was at last time, but I know I was as high as #39 at one time. So, I have to ask everyone who is reading this to please send the link to my site to any and all baseball fans and sports fans that you know! Let's see if we can't move back up the list. Currently, the Top 5 are pretty easy to pick. NFL.com, NBA.com, NASCAR.com, NHL.com and ESPN.com fill those spots. AaronGleeman.com ranks 16th. The Hardball Times is #37. Batgirl is #63.
But hey, you can now buy shares of SethSpeaks.net by going to Alexadex.com! See how much a share is worth! This is kind of cool!
The other bit of bad news has to do with my Poker performance last night. A week ago, I finished first out of 32 in the league. Last night, I was out early, probably finishing about 26th or so. I didn't even make it to the 75/150 blinds! It just started out bad. On the first hand, I got Q-8 offsuit. A couple of players went in, so I did not call the blind. On the flop, two queens and an eight showed up. At that point, I know it was going to be a short night. The previous week, the cards I got where either good enough to play or obviously so poor that it was easy to decide not to play. This week, every hand was Q-8, or J-7 or K-4. Those are more difficult to decide to play. Finally, I was down to just 400 in chips left. I had Pocket Kings. I was feeling pretty good. After the flop, there were three small cards on the table. I bet 100, trying to lure a few others to play. One guy called. Then it came. On the turn, there was an Ace. Figuring it was just the two of us, I decided to raise 200 right away, not even hesitating. He immediately went All In with 300. I really knew I was had, but since I only had 100 left, I decided to go for it, and yes, he had an Ace in his pocket. The river brought me nothing, and my evening was over. It was disappointing and yet not all that surprising. The brand of poker played at that table last night was far different than it had been the previous week. There were some big spenders, very aggressive players, and again, with my middle-of-the-road cards, it became quite difficult. Oh well, it is still enjoyable.
And, because of it, I was home in time to watch most of American Idol. I don't have many thoughts on the elimination show, but at the same time, I am happy with it. I was also able to watch Fox's new show Unam1mous which was really good! Today, I will just cover several Twins Thoughts. Roger was kind enough to send us another update from Ft. Myers. I have a few more Chris Coste articles to share with you. And again, my American Idol Thoughts round things out.
I hope you enjoy today's article, and please feel free to e-mail me or leave Comments. Thanks!
Roger's report of last night's game is really excellent, so I won't discuss that here. I do want to post a few links for you to check out when you have time.
Second, the Twins game today against the Red Sox will air on ESPN2 at noon. Tomorrow, the Twins/Yankees game will be on ESPN2 at noon!
Kelly Thesier writes a great article on some of the Twins positional questions that are still just that, questions. The shortstop position and right field are still up for grabs. Cuddyer had definitely taken the lead in the RF battle, but an oblique injury has caused him to miss a little time. Jason Bartlett is doing fine, but Gardy seems to always be looking for something more at SS.
Scott Baker went 4.1 innings and gave up two runs on two hits. He uncharacteristically walked three, hit one, and struck out five. That doesn't sound like a great outing. However, he did not allow a hit through the first four innings. Is a rookie (essentially) pitcher going to experience some ups and downs? Of course. I think what Baker has done to impress me is that even when he isn't pitching great, he has been able to minimize damage. Some days that is all you can hope for!
Is it just me, or is Francisco Liriano good?
Twin Killings has a very interesting look at the Twins lack of a 30 home run hitter.
David Dorsey is in another interesting baseball challenge, this one to see who will hit home runs. It is an interesting twist on the fantasy baseball thing.
It was just a matter of time. Joe Christenson writes about the possibility of Francisco Liriano being that lefty in the bullpen for the Twins when the season starts. As I have said all along, in terms of talent and dominance for that role, Liriano is the easy choice. But I do agree with Terry Ryan that Liriano needs to continue starting. he is just 22 years old, he should keep starting.
Any other thoughts on the Twins at this stage?
ROGER'S SPRING TRAINING THOUGHTS
Roger is back today. I got his report a little later last night as he was in attendance at the Twins/Reds game last night. Here is his day in Ft. Myers. And Roger, I don't know what the temp was here in Warroad, but I was very comfortable outside without a jacket. I bet it was almost 35!
Hi Seth,Another great day in Southwest Florida. Took a drive over the bridge to Sanibel and Captiva. Didn't see much damage from "Wilma," although there are a lot of palms missing. When leaving Ft. Myers Beach about noon, there was a good mile backup coming over the bridge onto the island. A favorite restaurant, The Mucky Duck, where we used to take the kids on spring break, had zero damage and it is right on the beach on the north end of Captiva. We were told however, that the large resort...South Seas Plantation...was just reopening with about 80 of 400 rooms back online. That resort is literally on the northern point of Captiva where the hurricane hit. Could also see many expensive homes on both sides of the road that were never visible in the past...as much of the larger trees and mature vegetation was gone.Got to the game about two hours early. Ah, outdoor baseball! The highlight may have been what I assume is a South Florida tv crew interviewing Twins players. A cameraman, producer and two absolutely gorgeous Latin gals doing the interviews. They were wearing skimpy tops and tight jeans with long black hair down to their waists. Needless to say, most players were more than happy to chat for some time. It was really interesting watching them pose, move the microphone from hand to hand so they had a free hand to put on a players shoulder, etc. Believe me, you had to see them in action...and I am not talking about the players.But on to the game. The "Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle School band" played the national anthem. The grass is green, the infield perfect and a modest breeze blowing out to right. Don't know what the temperature was today in Warroad, however, before the game they announced that it was 42 in Cincy, 36 in the Twins Cities and 79 in Ft. Myers at game time.Now for the games highlights, and lowlights. Scott Baker threw a great first two innings. Very sharp, kept his pitches down and threw a total of 20 pitches in 2 innings. The leadoff hitter in the third had a 7 pitch at bat prior to flying to center. He started to lose it and walked the next hitter on 4 pitches. Settled down and got out of the inning with an F-9 and strikeout, looking. In the 4th the leadoff hitter (Wise) hit a hard grounder to Morneau's right on which Justin made a very good play, unassisted. Followed with an F-9, another walk, and got out of the inning with another strikeout. Got thru 4 innings with 60 pitches. I was wondering if they would stretch him out further, and he came on in the 5th. He just nicked LaRue with a pitch, then on what I believe was a 3-1 count gave up a homer to Abad...real hard shot to right that never was more than 15' in the air. That at bat was a little disappointing as they called a pitch out on a 1-1 count, one ball later and the hitter had him where he wanted...3-1...there really wasn't any need for that pitchout putting him in a hole. At this point you could tell that Baker had been pushed more than he had. Was a shame cause he looked very good first couple of innings. Stayed in for two more hitters, got a F-8 and then a hard drive into right center that I thought Lew had (would have been phenomenal catch)...must have just missed by inches...So Baker was out after 4.1ip and Reyes came on and got out of the inning...looked very good.The goat of the night was my favorite at shortstop. In the 6th, Reyes got two quick outs, F-9 and 5-3. Then he walked a batter followed by a high popup to short on which Bartlett didn't move more than 5'. Caught the ball and it just flipped right out of his glove. Next batter got a double off Reyes and the Twins were down 4-1. After their pitcher walked a couple and Tyner had a key single in the 9th, Bartlett got his shot to salvage the night...with 2 on, 2 outs and the score 4-3. Result was a strikeout...game over. Wasn't his night...and I will bet he hasn't dropped a ball like that in 5 years. Sure hope he isn't starting to press, cause we need him this year.For all you Tony Batista haters. First, he doesn't look that much overweight although he isn't very fast. Kearns hit a hard bouncer to 3rd in the second on which he took a step back and made a nice throw to first for the out. In the 6th he made a great play...Cruz hit a slow grounder to short on which he went at least 15-20' to his left and made the play in front of Bartlett who was playing deep. Made a solid throw for the out. The ball was hit slow enough that it is unlikely Bartlett (who was playing deep) would have gotten to it even though he was charging. Didn't do anything offensively with 2 K's, a walk, and a 5-3.I would say that the most exciting point of the game for Twins fans was the 7th when Francisco Liriano entered the game. You could just feel the anticipation in the stands and he didn't disappoint. His pitches were electric, with no batter catching up to anything. He was facing three starters, 9-1-2 (Kata, Freel and Wise). Kata struck out swinging after having a foul tip and weak foul pop up to the right. Freel (a right handed hitter) fouled out on a popup to Morneau, on his 4th pitch. Finally, Wise ended the inning watching strike 3. One inning, two K's and a weak foul popup. After not pitching much in the WBC, I don't know what is going to happen...but this kid has to be pitching in a Twins uniform as soon as possible.There were two other very nice defensive plays by the Twins. Ford made a nice catch as he crashed into the right field wall. Mauer blocked a Reyes wild pitch, hustled about 15' up the third base line about 5' foul and flipped underhanded to Reyes who hustled home and made the tag to end that disastrous 5th inning.Offensively, we didn't do much getting only 2 hits and 1 run off Milton. In the 3rd, Lew hit a hard shot that the third baseman dove for, went off his glove to the shortstop in the hole...Lew was hustling and beat it out for another infield single. After Bartlett flew out to center, Shannon Stewart hit a hard shot over the left fielder's head with Lew scoring from first. Stewart tried to stretch it to a triple. All the Twins fans were complaining that the ump blew it...well, I can tell you he was out by well over a foot (we were on the 3B side about 20 rows up and had a perfect view and "blue" made the right call). Another really great at bat was Luis Castillo in the 6th. With a 2-2 count, he literally made a swinging bunt swing placing the bat slowly over the plate...connecting for a soft liner a little over the shortstop's head. I will tell you, we haven't seen a lot of professional at bats like that on this team in a long time.Hunter K'd, hit into an inning ending FC, and grounded into a double play. Was kinda like he wasn't on the field other than making a nice catch in the third...then he may have been still thinking about the earlier interview which I am estimating lasted at least 10 minutes and there were a lot of smiles and body language...as I said, you had to see it!That's it from Ft. Myers...tomorrow is another game against those nasty Red Sox.Roger
Any thoughts on the Twins minor leagues, or do you have any specific things that you would like Roger to look for at the minor or major league camp, let him know by leaving some Comments below, or Send me an e-mail.
CHRIS COSTE UPDATE
Yesterday on ESPN, the Phillies played the Atlanta Braves. Chris Coste came in to catch, replacing backup Sal Fasano behind the plate. He got two at bats and was 0-2 with a strikeout. One guy competing for that 25th roster spot is OF Chris Roberson. Yesterday, Roberson went 3-5, all singles. He also stole his fourth base, but he was also caught stealing once. Here are a few more articles or sites that mention Coste:
First, remember on Saturday when Coste hit two home runs late in a game to send it to an extra inning? Well, I went to a Phillies blog called Balls, Sticks & Stuff and found a picture of one of Coste's home run swings. You can see it here.
Remember that I have commented on how good Chris Coste was in college? Well, we were teammates at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. If you go to the Concordia Baseball webpage, they are also keeping their students and alumni updates on Coste's progress as much as possible. Be sure to check out what they have found, and also check out the college! I would recommend it!
The Philling Station is reporting that despite a nice spring, the Phillies likely would not take Chris Roberson north with the team to start the season. In part, this is because Alex Gonzalez has been playing some in the OF. This would help Chris Coste, who he says has become a "Phan-Phavorite" has a better chance. That said, there are a lot of reports saying that the Phillies are looking to deal for a veteran bat for that 25th spot.
Phillies Baseball News has a nice article on Coste and Roberson surviving the last round of cuts.
Any Thoughts on Coste, please e-mail me. If anyone out there has known Chris, played with or against him, please e-mail me. Thanks!
AMERICAN IDOL THOUGHTS
Who do I think will be eliminated tonight?
Bucky Covington - I actually thought that Bucky picked a good song for his voice. That said, I thought it was boring. I think that after last week's vote, there will be a correction and I think that Bucky will be the one gone. The other to likely appear in the bottom would be Lisa Tucker.
I was sure that Lisa Tucker would be gone. She was in the Bottom three, along with Bucky and Kevin Covais. I was very surprised when Lisa was sent back to her seat first. Happily surprised, of course. However, I was in shock when it was Chicken Little, Kevin Covais that was sent home. I was sure his legions of followers were going to vote to keep him in. Could Bucky have gone? Sure. But I am thrilled that it is Kevin that is gone. What did you think?
Again, for further American Idol thoughts, be sure to check out The Baseball Savant and the fine folks of curlio.com because I know we don't always see or hear things the same way. Any thoughts on my American Idol Thoughts? This is where it gets fun, so if you would like, be sure to debate the merits of your favorite contestants below. Or, if you're shy, send me an e-mail.
And on those notes, thank you again very much for stopping by my site. I hope you enjoy what you read, but if you have any questions or comments on anything, please feel free to e-mail me.
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