Friday, April 28, 2006

Caption Me

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(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

I hope to start blogging again this weekend, but right now, this about says it all.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Secret of Frisco's Success

Brace yourself. For what I'm about to show you may shock you to the core and shake your faith in our American institutions, the foundations of our democracy, and the integrity of our greatest game. As a Twins fan, it may lead to long nights of soul-searching and hard looks into the mirror.

Parents, you may need to hold a family meeting to talk about this. Your children may have a lot of questions, like, Is it okay to cheer for the Twins even if they're cheaters? I don't envy you; I don't know the answer to that. For some innocent young cherubs, professional counseling may be needed to handle that kind of existential crisis.

Okay, you've been warned. Now...

While watching Francisco Liriano pitch in Saturday's game in Cleveland, during the 7th inning I noticed him blowing on the ball several times while standing on the mound. I wish it were not so, but, look, I collected photographic proof....


Now, I realize that the pitchers had permission to blow on their hands last Saturday because of the nippy weather, and I'd hate to get young Frisco into any hot water, but I still gotta wonder: even when it's cold, isn't blowing directly onto the ball still illegal? You can't throw spitters just because there's a chill in the air, can you?

Yet here he is, blowing on the baseball:

And here he is, doing it again!

These are just four instances I photographed while Liriano was pitching to Jhonny Peralta and Travis Hafner. Who knows how much cheating might be uncovered if George Mitchell took an interest. Hey, Patrick Fitzgerald: you got five minutes? This could be serious!

Really, what do we tell the children?!? I wish I had the answers.

Godspeed, and no breathalyzer jokes, please.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Bartlett Assigned to Oubliette

ST. PAUL, MN -- The Minnesota Twins today designated Jason Bartlett, unrepentant since his demotion to AAA Rochester, for assignment inside an oubliette at an undisclosed location where team officials vow he will stay for at least 15 days "to think about what he's done."

"Last year we asked him to work on his defense, and we recognize he made some progress there," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "I keep hearing about how he hit .382 in camp too, after knocking the ball around pretty good in Rochester last season, and people want to know what the kid has to do to beat out Juan Castro for a job. To them I want to say, performance isn't everything."

Gardenhoggle continued, "Like, there is a right way and a wrong way to put on the Twins uniform. There's a certain way the Shortstop has to signal '2 outs' to the other fielders--you wiggle the pointer finger and the pinkie so there's a clear distinction between 1 and 2 outs. The kid tends to slip into the habit of signaling like he's putting up bunny ears or flashing the peace sign.

"We also have our own way we like to throw the ball Around the Horn. There are shower protocols. Things to remember, like what kind of music gets played in the clubhouse on Tuesdays, and where guys have their seats on the plane," Gardenhoser added.

"You know, who plays poker in the afternoon and who'd rather be left alone to review scouting reports or play GameBoy? It's hard for a youngster to keep it all straight and not step on any toes. Some kids don't seem to appreciate our sense of humor, like the hotfoot or the old peanut-butter-in-the-pants bit. They don't get into the spirit of the joke. The kid will learn, maybe, but he's not there yet."

Bartlett responded before beginning his new assignment, "They said something about learning leadership in Rochester, and wiggling my fingers the Twins Way? I don't know. I tell you what, I think I'm paying for the sins of some guys who came along before me. I know for a fact, I saw Rivas and Guzman get away with [shenanigans] you wouldn't believe--and did they ever get jerked around like this? Did they ever get banished to an oubliette?"

Twins GM Terry Ryan insists the assignment is for the youngster's own good. "We'll give him some time to think, some riddles to solve. Then all he has to do to get out is find his way to the center of the labyrinth, and remember that when we play Around the Horn the Shortstop throws the ball to 1st base, not 2nd base. Trust me, this will make him a better player in the long run.

"Meanwhile, we should consider ourselves blessed to have an experienced veteran like Juan Castro to fill the position again this season. It's guys like that who will make the difference in a pennant race, I'm sure you know. Best couple mil of Carl's money I ever spent, don't you think?"

Monday, April 03, 2006

Opening Day

I have some thoughts on the Twins' final roster selections, but today I'm too happily preoccupied watching the all-day baseball broadcasts to bother pulling together a real entry.

The ice rink boards at the local park have been packed away, it's 48 degrees and sunny outside, I gots the door to the porch open, a cool drink in my hand, and I'm halfway to watching a half-dozen baseball games on the teevee before the night is through. Now ain't this cause for a National Holiday? Yee-haw.

The plight of Jason Bartlett can keep 'til tomorrow.

Meanwhile, you might skip on over to the Third Base Line blog, where I'm participating in the latest edition of Around the Horn. Check us out. We got this game of Shadowball down to both a science and an art form.