Thursday, March 27, 2008


It's staying light longer, the Leafs are all-but-eliminated ... that can mean only one thing: We'll soon see the first halter top of the season. OK, two things: It's almost baseball season, that mystical, wonderful time of year where you commit to a team for six months, knowing full well they won't win. Here's a starting nine for the Minnesota Twins.

  1. And the beer vendor even looks like Lou Bega: Yeah ... looks like.

    The 2008 Twins produce the kind of deja vu that normally only comes with hiaving been around the bar scene long enough that the terrible pop songs from a decade ago are now considered retro.

    The Twins without Johan Santana are basically where the franchise was in the late '90s, a midding 75-win team with not much to look at, Joe Mauer notwithstanding (he will still be man-pretty when the inevitable move to a corner spot comes, although it will hurt his fantasy baseball appeal). At least owner Carl Pohlad's economic circumstances are improved from a decade ago.
  2. Best fake slogan:'s Jerry Crasnick became the personal hero to many when he suggested the Twins slogan should be, "Ask not what Carl Pohlad can do for you, but what you can do for Carl Pohlad." The 92-year-old Twins owner is getting a $522-million ballpark funded mostly by the state, but the team is rebuilding.

    Oh, and the new park doesn't have a roof, but as far as that's concerned, Minnesotans should cram it. If it's between frosty nipples in April along with having a frosty brew under an open sky in July instead of sitting indoors all season, the first option is better. .
  3. Your medium is dying: Far be it to suggest people are less inclined to pick up a paper when stuff like Twins closer Joe Nathan's quote after he signed a four-year, $47-million US extension is reported with a straight face, "We've shown that we’re committed to winning. A lot of people are counting us out, but we're going to be good this year and for years to come, because we're young and a lot of our guys are hungry."

    Hungry doesn't make up for trading the best left-hander in baseball to the New York Mets for four minor leaguers.
  4. Something for upstate N.Y.: Who says New York City doesn't care about the rest of the state? Two of the four players the Mets gave up to get Santana, righties Philip Humber and Kevin Mulvey, are bound for Triple-A Rochester, thank you very much.
  5. Justin time was two years ago: Baseball Prospectus 2008 pegs Justin Morneau to to have Triple Crown stats of .271, 24 homers and 99 RBI; not exactly MVP material.
  6. You've wasted your life, sir: In high school, Twins farmhand Matt Macri was apparently the first freshman to start for the baseball team in 30 years and was Iowa's Mr. Football. Now let's figure out who bothered to put that on Wikipedia and have his hands cut off. He/s he has lost the privilege of having hands.
  7. Shallow, fairly accurate observation from '07: "What other 96-win team would put any hope in Ramon Ortiz or Sidney Ponson?" Neither lasted the whole season.
  8. The first team missed the bus: The Opening Day starter is Livan Hernandez, the human stopgap. He's an innings-eater, if not much more. The Twins might be good again in a few years, but for the time being, with Adam Everett at shortstop and someone named Carlos Gomez in centrefield, they are what they are.
  9. Need-to-know: Losing Santana and keeping Nathan, who is a lights-out closer, is the classic Chara/Redden calamity. A team can't keep both, so they opt to keep the less talented one and assure everybody it's all gonna be OK. In the long run, it's bad juju.

    Twenty-oh-six, when Santana won the Cy Young and Joe Mauer was the MVP (although history, for some reason, says it went to Justin Morneau) was the high-water mark.

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