Tuesday, June 10, 2003
Reality Check and FINALLY, THE CALLUP!!!
With the Twins having the day off last night, I decided to get caught up on some reality TV. If youíre only interested in my Twins thoughts, youíll have to scroll down, because there are a few there. AND, the Twins made some BIG news last night, so itís worth checking out!! Donít worry, thereíll be a nice feature again tomorrow!
OK, I live in far northern Minnesota and Iím a sports fanatic. So, youíd have to assume that last night, I would have watched the Stanley Cup Finals Game 7 between the Ducks and the Devils. Heck, I live in Hockeytown U.S.A. But, I didnít really watched NHL hockey until the Wild won a couple of playoff games, and I quit watching about midway through the Wild/Ducks series. I just canít watch hockey. (note: I guess the New Jersey Devils won!)
But, one advantage of living just 6 miles from the Canadian border is that I get CTV, a national television network much like ABC, NBC or CBS. The only difference is that CTV can be a bit more risque. For instance, The Sopranos, uncut, shows up at night sometimes, language and all. However, tonight it was pouring outside (again) , so I flipped through the channels and on CTV was the first episode of Canadian Idol. Yes, the Canadian version of the ever-popular American Idol. So, I hit ďrecordĒ on the VCR, and taped that.
I had to see if I was, in fact, a genius. Fox aired a show called ďTest the Nation: Whatís Your IQ?Ē. OK, I didnít really think I was a genius, but I love taking tests like that, always have. Thereís no pressure. If Iím an idiot, so what? Basically, for an hour and a half, the nation was able to take the test Live. There were 60 total questions covering the different disciplines that apply to evaluating a personís IQ. It was a timed test, so I took it along with the country. At 8:30 then, they explained how to figure out your IQ. Basically, it was to take the number you got correct and then they showed a chart. It showed the number correct and gave your IQ depending on which age group you are in. Being 27, I figured my IQ in the 17-34 age category. OK, how did I do? Well, I got 54 out of 60 questions correct, giving me an IQ ofÖ 126. They say that 130 is genius and 90-110 is average, so I guess Iím above average, yet not quite a genius. Iím OK with that!
For the record, Men throughout the country averaged 113, and women averaged 111. HmmmÖ I wonít dive into that any further than just to point out the numbers.
OK, back to Canadian IdolÖ
Like American Idol, they have try outs throughout the country. They went to eight cities across Canada. In last nightís first episode, they showed these tryouts from Vancouver, Calgary and Winnipeg. A slight difference is that Canadian Idol has four judges. They are Sass Jordan (a singer who has 10 albums), Zack Werner (A former singer, now an entertainment lawyer and manager), Jake Gold (a music executive as well), and Farley Flex (a hip-hop executive). I think the 2 executives are trying to be somewhat like Simon. More direct, honest and confrontational. Jordan is the musician, like Paula Abdul, just not quite as sweet. Flex is more the nice guy (At this point), but is honest too.
Iím just noticing that there is a huge difference between who the American Idol judges took to LA and who the Canadian Idol judges are taking to Toronto. The Canadians seem to be taking many contestants that really canít sing well. Iím finding myself completely disagreeing with the judges on their selections. There were a few contestants that stood out as pretty good musically that didnít make the cut. So, I think this will be quite different.
So, I donít know how I feel about the show yet, but donít worry, Iíll keep watching and let you know what I think!
Survivor: Amazon Update - Jenna Morasca poses for Playboy - Million dollar winner Jenna Morasca will ďearnĒ another million dollars by appearing nude in the August issue of Playboy. And yes, Heidi Strobel will also be in the pictorial.
Twins Jottings -
The Twins signed RHP James Baldwin!!! The Twins signed RHP James Baldwin!!! Heíll be in the AAA Rotation! Woo hoo!!! He had been with the Royals AAA Affiliate and pitched OK, but had it in his contract that if he wasnít called up to the Royals by June 1, he could become a free agent. OK, OK, that wasnít the big transaction the Twins made today becauseÖ.
Well, the big topic on the Dickie Thon Twins Fan Forum yesterday was definitely who to call up to replace Chris Gomez. Ron Gardenhire had mentioned that there is a chance that player could be top prospect Justin Morneau. There were great arguments on both sides of that fence. Some want to see what Morneau can do right now. Some thought that heíd only be up for a couple weeks, and if he struggled, it could work against him.
All that said, Justin Morneau is now a major leaguer. The announcement was made last night. And, now, he joins Corey Koskie and the Twins have 2 Canadians on their 25 man roster! Scary! (With the Rockies in town, with Larry Walker, will those 3 be the most Canadian players to play in a major league game?) Anyway, with that move complete, there are some more very interesting questions to ask:
∑ Morneau will play. They wouldnít bring him up just to keep him on the bench, so where does he play?
∑ Well, Doug Mientkiewicz shouldnít be taken out of the lineup right now. Heís hitting the ball very well. So, I donít see Morneau playing much 1B (although, he may spell Mientkiewicz - not literally - a few times).
∑ My guess is that he will be the primary Designated Hitter while he is in The Show.
∑ But, Bobby Kielty and Matthew LeCroy do most of the DHíing, what will happen with them?
∑ If Kielty is able to throw and play RF, we may be back to the old Dusty Kielmohr platoon out there. Kielty will continue to pinch hit as well.
∑ LeCroy was the catcher that played on the NL roadtrip, maybe heíll get more At Bats as the backup catcher.
∑ Both can still DH when Morneau plays at 1B.
∑ Why do they need Tom Prince as a catcher if LeCroy is getting the chance to play when AJ gets a rare day off?
∑ Well, for Tom Prince, this may not be good news. If Morneau proves to be ready to stay in the big leagues, I see the Twins just cutting ties and releasing Tom Prince. Heís had just 24 at bats the Twins 61 games so far. If the Twins really feel that Matthew LeCroy being their backup catcher is a viable option (And I think they do), the move just makes sense.
∑ So, what will the Twins lineup look like tonight against RH Jason Jennings and the Rockies? (Note - guess only!)
∑ Jacque Jones LF
∑ Cristian Guzman SS
∑ Corey Koskie 3B
∑ Torii Hunter CF
∑ Doug Mientkiewicz 1B
∑ Bobby Kielty RF
∑ Justin Morneau DH
∑ AJ Pierzynski C
∑ Luis Rivas SS
∑ That is, of course, assuming Koskieís back allows him to be able to play 3B. The bench will have Dustan Mohr, Tom Prince, Matthew LeCroy, Denny Hocking and Lew Ford. Still no real lefty off the bench. (If Koskie is unable to play, Hocking will play 3B and bat 2nd, with Guzman leading off and Jones in the 3-spot.)
∑ What does this mean for Todd Sears? To me, thatís a big question. Morneau has now Ďpassedí him in the organization. Heís more than proven heís better than a AAA player and deserves a chance in the big leagues.
Here are the preseason Twins Top 10 Prospects according to Baseball America:
1.) Joe Mauer - C - hitting (.338/.403/.417) in Ft. Myers.
2.) Justin Morneau - 1B/DH - Started in AA (.329/.384/.620, with 6 homers, 13 RBI in 79 ABís), called up to AAA when Todd Sears was brought up and hit there (.297/.377/.623, with 13 homers and 29 RBI in 138 ABís). Continued to kill the ball, and today, he is in the major leagues.
3.) Michael Cuddyer - OF - started as Twins RF. After struggling in sparce playing time, he was sent down to AAA, where heís played numerous positions and hit well (.397/.500/.534). On DL with pulled hamstring.
4.) Michael Restovich - OF - If not for Morneau, heíd be leading Rochester in home runs (.262/.324/.445, 8 homers, 36 RBI, but 61 SOís in 221 ABís).
5.) Denard Span - OF - Last yearís #1 pick has been in extended spring training and will start rookie league ball in the next couple weeks.
6.) Scott Tyler - RHP (1-7, 5.10 E.R.A. in Quad Cities)
7.) J.D. Durbin - RHP - named Twins minor league pitcher of the month in May for Fort Myers (8-2, 3.32 E.R.A. ).
8.) Jason Kubel - OF - (.295/.361/.414) in Fort Myers.
9.) Lew Ford - OF - started well at AAA (.318/.270/.486), currently the Twins #4 or #5 OF.
10.) Adam Johnson - RHP - struggling again at AAA (2-7, 8.56 E.R.A.).
Hopefully, Iíll have plenty more to write about Justin Morneau and the Twins for tomorrow.
Ah, sleep is a beautiful thing!!! This West Coast-Games start at 9-Games finish after midnight thing makes getting to work AND BEING ALERT a lot more difficult. Itíll be nice seeing those 7:05 game times again.
Friday Night - Twins 7, Padres 5 -
Saturday Night - Twins 6, Padres 2 -
Sunday Afternoon - Twins 4, Padres 9 -
Friday night, Kenny Rogers was great and looking for his 150th career win. He went 7 innings, 1 run. LaTroy Hawkins pitched a scoreless inning. Then, in the 9th, ďUneasyĒ Eddie came in and finally actually blew a save. As I mentioned last week, Iím never comfortable with Eddie in the game because he always puts a runner or 2 on. Friday night was the first time in 24 save opportunities that the discomfort was actually warranted. Eddie gave up 3 runs and the game was tied at 4. Jacque Jones hit a bad-hop single to score a run in the 9th. JC Romero was brought in to finish the game. If Eddie makes me uneasy, I donít know what Romero makes me! He got the bases loaded, and ended up throwing a 50 foot pitch that bounced off AJís mask, allowing the tying run to score. The next pitch, he struck out the batter (Matthewís Jr.). With runners on 2nd and 3rd and 2 outs, Chris Gomez lined a double down the left field line to score 2 runs, giving the Twins the 7-5 lead. JC made it interesting again in the 11th, but got the win!
Saturday night was a different story. Johan Santana was on the mound and he was fairly dominant for 6 innings. Jacque Jones led off the game with a home run, and hit a second a couple innings later. Tony Fiore pitched a scoreless 7th before letting a couple guys on and giving up a run-scoring single to former Twin Brian Buchanan. With a Ďsave situationí, Gardy brought in Michael Nakamura for his major league debut. He proceeded to strike out pinch-hitter Dave Hansen on a back-door hook. He also pitched a scoreless 9th inning to complete the save.
Sunday afternoon, the Twins played a close game. Doug Mientkiewicz hit a 2 run homer to give the Twins a 3-2 lead. LaTroy Hawkins again came into a tough situation in the 7th and got the Twins out of it still tied at 3. In the top of the 8th, Torii Hunter hit a line drive that, at its peak, was maybe 15 feet off the ground, yet somehow went over the left field fence, giving the Twins the 4-3 lead. Gardy made the decision to keep Hawkins in the game and well, he had his worst ďinningĒ (actually, he got just 1 out in the 8th), giving up 4 runs, including a 2 run homer to Ryan Klesko. Michael Nakamura gave up 2 more runs, but got the last 2 outs. Hawkins got the loss to drop to 4-1 on the season. It was his first loss since 2001!
Chris Gomez game-winning double on Friday night is even more impressive when we found out Saturday that he has some torn ligaments in his knee. He had an MRI done Saturday, and will be put on the Disabled List. So, the question is, who do they call up? Well, my thought is that the player that would make the most sense in replacing Gomez would be Michael Cuddyer. However, heís now on the AAA Disabled list with a bad hamstring. So, I think they will recall Todd Sears. Denny Hocking will have to back up all three infield positions. Sears can back up Mientkiewicz at 1B, DH, or just be a solid left-handed bat off the bench. Other options:
Justin Morneau (I donít think that would fit the Twins philosophy, although it has to be tough to keep him down)
Michael Restovich (they donít need another outfielder)
Jason Bartlett (a shortstop they acquired from the Padres for Buck Buchanan. Heís doing well at AA, but heís not on the 40 man roster, so theyíd have to drop someone from the 40 man roster)
Luis Rodriguez (2B at AAA, not doing poorly, not considered a prospect so they wouldnít have to play him much, but also not on the 40 man roster)
Carlos Pulido (LHP. Heís been starting at AAA, but would be another LH arm in the bullpen as long as Santana is in the rotation. Not on the 40 man roster.)
Doug Mientkiewicz had a great series. After struggling so much, and his ankle injury, there was much talk about Todd Sears and even about maybe bringing up Justin Morneau sooner, rather than later. But, Mientkiewicz now has his batting average over .300 again (.301/.363/.520). And, the defense is incredible!
Tom Prince caught the last 2 innings today, his first appearance in the 6 game NL road trip. Matthew Lecroy was behind the plate the first 7 innings. I have to admit, I donít understand this at all. First, I donít think Lecroy is very good defensively, at least not compared to Prince. Sure, he hit pretty well for a few weeks about a month ago, so I can see trying to get his bat in the lineup. But, if they actually think he can catch, why is Tom Prince even on the roster?
Minnesota 35-26 -
Kansas City 30-30 4.5
Chicago 28-34 7.5
Cleveland 24-37 11.0
Detroit - I wonít put their record on here! That would be too mean!
Colorado comes to town on Tuesday. Should be a good series! They come in with the power hitters Todd Helton (.325/.430/.558, 18 doubles, 12 HR, 52 RBI), Larry Walker (.275/.431/.484 and Preston Wilson (.305/.368/.576, 22 doubles, 14 HR, 54 RBI). They just finished a series where they lost 2 of 3 to the Royals in Colorado. At 32-32, they are 8 games behind the San Francisco Giants in the NL West.
Tuesday night, itís Brad Radke (5-5, 5.53) vs. 2002 NL Rookie of the Year, Jason Jennings (4-5, 5.38)
The New Jersey Nets took back home court advantage on Friday night by winning game 2 in San Antonio.
The San Antonio Spurs took back home court advantage on Sunday night by winning game 3 in New Jersey.
Game 4 is also in New Jersey, on Wednesday night.
I got my copy of Moneyball back this weekend and now have about 50 pages left in that.
Iíve been reading bits from Rob Neyerís Big Book of Baseball Lineups. Great book! Fun reading!
While I didnít have Moneyball, I started reading Jim Kaatís autobiography, Still Pitching. It looks like itíll be an easy read, and I always loved listening to Jim Kaat on TV, so Iím looking forward to diving into that book more. Iíll write more about these books when I finish them.
Have a great week!
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