Tag Archives: Twins

Baseball fans this time of year have a sunny disposition

It’s the time of year when the forecast is sunny and the air is full of potential: Spring training.

The Minnesota Twins began playing baseball games today for spring training (they won, not that it matters). If you’re a Twins fan, you are still allowed to be hopeful at this point. The players are uninjured and ready to play! New players want to prove themselves! The record remains untarnished!

I love spring training baseball for some of the same reasons I like baseball in general, especially as a Twins fan. There’s not a lot of pressure. The game moves at a leisurely pace. The fans aren’t too intense. The sun is always shining.

OK, well, the sun isn’t always shining during the regular season, but honestly, in Florida, it’s shining most of the time.

Star Tribune columnist Jim Souhan predicts the Twins might actually accomplish a .500 season, which certainly isn’t a championship forecast, but compared to last season, it would be amazing. At this point in winter and in the baseball season, I don’t need “amazing” to be optimistic. All I need is sunshine.

If you can wade through the rant against the White Sox, you’ll be rewarded with news you can use. Promise.

The mailbox will have to be fumigated after this unwelcome intrusion.

Look what I got in the mail today.

Ahem.

Part of my profile for this blog clearly states I root for the Minnesota Twins and any team playing against the White Sox. “The Ultimate White Sox Experience” for me would include a thorough butt-kicking of the Sox by the Twins, followed by a fireworks show celebrating the Twins division championship.

Alas, that’s not going to happen this year. But the last thing I need is the White Sox rubbing salt into the wound. Ouch. (I managed to catch the end of the Twins game on Tuesday when they beat the Indians in extra innings. In front of an almost empty stadium. It was that or Oprah Radio at that time of night. That’s the high point of Twins games lately.)

But I have recourse!

It’s a cool app called MailStop.

Pick up your cell phone and look for it now.

I’ll wait. It’s that cool. Go ahead.

It’s free. You really have no excuse.

Got it?

With this app, all you have to do is take a picture of the mailing portion of your junk mail, and MailStop — via Catalog Choice — will automatically notify the sender that you don’t want to receive their junk anymore!

Amazing, huh?

I downloaded it and set up an account a couple weeks ago in order to stop the increasing influx of baby-related mail addressed to my Beloved (he loves his adult children, but he doesn’t want any more of them!). Somehow last summer, Someone Who Knows got tipped off that my husband was [looking side to side for eavesdroppers] expecting. We started getting fliers from Best Baby Registry and magazine from Baby Talk. I wrote about this surprising and somewhat disturbing development here.

Let me emphasize: My husband is not pregnant.

And neither am I.

And we have no intention of taking that step.

Ever.

So when I heard about MailStop, I seized on the opportunity to end the flow of car seat- and lactation-related mailings to my house.

And I got my first email today from Catalog Choice, a forwarded message from Carter’s, “the makers of clothing essentials for children”:

Thank you for contacting us about your mailing list information.  We’ve updated your record as you requested, but you may receive a few more emails/mailings from us until the change goes into effect.  If we can be of any further assistance, please let us know.  Thank you!

Is that a clever app or what? Less annoying junk mail. And all it takes is a few seconds to take a picture before you pitch it away.

I can hardly wait for the White Sox to send me a deferential email about removing me from their mailing list. Keep your smug winning record to yourself, thank you.

I hope the White Sox like what they got, whoever he is

Watching Francisco Liriano pitch is like living in a dysfunctional family.

As a fan of the Minnesota Twins, I never knew which Frankie was going to show up on the mound. The stellar strike-out pitcher I respected and appreciated? The hit-and-miss thrower who would get himself into a bases-loaded nightmare and then clean up everything with pinpoint accuracy and a shrug? Or the flaying mess that melted down in the first (or third or fifth) inning, making me wince and want to sneak quietly out the exit?

I was at the Metrodome watching him pitch when he got injured in 2006; eventually, he had Tommie John surgery. When he finally returned to the mound, he was never the same.

I always hoped for the young phenom but in recent years (and especially weeks), I didn’t know what to expect and I just prayed he performed well enough to be picked up by another team.

I couldn’t be happier for the despised Chicago White Sox, which now lay claim to the craziness and take on the Twins again this week. Liriano may actually pitch against his old team. That’ll be entertaining — either Liriano will hurl a perfect game against the Twins or he’ll walk in the winning run.

How White Sox general manager Kenny Williams thinks Liriano will be able to withstand the withering scrutiny of rabid Chicago fans, I don’t know. I suspect this trade will turn out more like Chuck Knoblauch, the impressive rookie second baseman with the Twins who couldn’t hack it with the Yankees and ended up in left field, than David Ortiz, the designated hitter who was mediocre with the Twins but turned into “Big Papi” with the Boston Red Sox.

Whatever happens, I’m glad the Twins dumped Liriano. I couldn’t take the unpredictability, and there’s no Al-Anon for fans of dysfunctional pitchers.

Clash of the Titans

The Minnesota Twins and Chicago Cubs battle for the bottom this weekend at Target Field in their first interleague tangle since 2009.

Longtime readers will recall the sorry tale of my lost visit to Wrigley Field when the Twins played the Cubs in Chicago. A thunderstorm in Dallas foiled my plans. I still hate you, American Airlines, for that. Having lived in Illinois five years now, I still haven’t seen a game at Wrigley Field.

This is the first time the Cubs play at Target Field, and that’s the extent of the news about the series. Both teams are so bad this year, there’s nothing else to look forward to.

Sigh.

The Twins have the worst record in the American League, and the Cubs, a perennial loser, are especially bad this year with the second worst record in the National League and three fewer wins this season than even the Twins. The preview on the series in Chicago papers focuses on who will be designated hitter (it’s Alfonso Soriano).

It’s hard to be a baseball fan in this atmosphere. Or at least it’s hard for me. I’m a Twins fan always and everywhere, but living outside Chicago I root for the Cubs (because I simply cannot stomach rooting for the White Sox). So who do I cheer in this mess? Well, the Twins, of course. But a shining victory like the Twins winning their fourth series in a row would be tarnished because I would just jfeel bad for the Cubs.

Coincidentally, I’m in Minnesota for the matchup, but there’s no way I’m spending any cash on tickets. With my luck, a thunderstorm would rain out the game.

Not jumping off the bandwagon yet

Here’s the difference between Minnesota sports fans and Chicago sports fans:

On Monday, Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano ripped his team, calling them “embarrassing” and a “Triple-A team.” Zambrano, a hot-head who broke a bat over his thigh recently when he had a bad at-bat (yes, he’s a National league pitcher who actually takes his batting seriously), proceeded to criticize his fellow teammate, pitcher Carlos Marmol, for poor pitch selection.

Ouch.

That was Monday.

Columnists all over the place were calling for Zambrano’s head, but he somehow managed to smooth things over.

Tuesday, the Chicago Tribune put the Cubs dead-last in the Major League Team power rankings. That spot had been occupied by the Twins for a couple of weeks; the Twins rose one spot to No. 29 this week.

Ooooh.

The Twins have won seven of their last eight games while the Cubs have lost eight of their last 10. The Twins still have the worst record in baseball.

So today, the front page of the Chicago Tribune sports section shows a huge picture of the owner of the Cubs and the general manager with a big earthquake-like split going between them with this headline:”A $278M payroll the last two years combined, 4th most in baseball; a 99-123 record since opening day 2010, 7th-worst in baseball — it’s enough to give the Cubs …

A SPLITTING HEADACHE

I cannot imagine a similar story appearing in the Star Tribune (Twins fans, you’ll have to catch me up on the carping that’s been going on as the Twins have struggled). Yet, that kind of thing appears regularly in Chicago. Players are constantly being called out for being cry-babies or whiners or lazy or some other derogatory term, and I don’t know how many times White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has been “this close” to being fired.

The manufactured drama just makes this stoic little Minnesota Twins fan a little incredulous.

But on the other hand, the Twins have been amazing this week. Ain’t it grand?!

R.I.P. ’09 Chicago White Sox

Nothing better than laying on the couch with a sleeping dog on your lap while you watch the Minnesota Twins score with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and win another game over the Chicago White Sox!

The Twins have won nine of 11 and are 3.5 games behind the Detroit Tigers. The Sox have lost five games in a row, and after late-Monday night trades, they look like they’re in “next year” mode.

Te, he.

The rivals play another game today, but no matter what happens, the Twins won this series.

Since six of the Sox’ last nine games are with Detroit, I’m now rooting for the Sox to win. If the Sox win, and the Twins continue to win, the Twins will overtake the Tigers (and still be ahead of the Sox).

Plus, I have to see the Twins’ fire in this last month of the season in order to have any hope that they could advance past the first round of the playoffs. Last night’s fire was fun to watch.

Go Twins!

Perfectly polite Minnesota fans

“Buehrle received a standing ovation as he walked to the dugout following his departure, and he tipped his cap to the usually hostile crowd.”

That was the last paragraph in the suburban Chicago newspaper story this morning about  White Sox Mark Buehrle’s amazing pitching performance in last night’s game against the Minnesota Twins.

“Usually hostile crowd”? In the Minnesota Metrodome? C’mon!

Chicago fans don’t like the Metrodome because the Sox have lost 10 of the last 12 played there, but it’s not because it’s hostile! Loud, maybe. Raucous, maybe, but one of the meanings of “raucous” is “rowdy,” and honestly, those Minnesota fans with all their Scandinavian/German heritage are more stoic than rowdy, if you ask me. If anything, the Sox woes at the Metrodome have more to do with the turf than the fans.

At the Sox game I attended at U.S. Cellular field last year, I was practically afraid for my life (and I wasn’t even wearing my Twins hat!). Those fans are rabid! Hostile? Definitely!

Knowing Minnesota fans as I do, I would have expected nothing less than a standing ovation from Minnesota fans for Mark Buehrle after he achieved a Major League record of retiring 45 batters in a row over the past three games. That’s how Minnesota fans are: Impressed with excellent work and good workers. After the bottom of the fifth inning when the score was still tied at 0-0, I ran downstairs and told Tyler (who insisted on watching “Big Brother” on the basement TV, the goof) that Mark Buehrle had retired 15 batters so far and “he could have two perfect games in a row! That’s amazing!” Even though I hate to see the Sox win, I was in awe.

Of course, I was happy to see the Twins pull out a win in the end and tie with Chicago for second place in the division, but still, Buehrle’s performance was impressive. The cover of Sports Illustrated this week features Buehrle and is headlined, “Perfect: Why Mark Buehrle’s Masterpiece is the Season’s Coolest Moment.” Even though I cheer for two teams (the Minnesota Twins and any team playing against the Chicago White Sox), I still agree! Very cool.

Hostile? Harrumph.