Jan 29, 2008

Farewell, Johan-- A New Era Begins

When I think of Johan Santana, I don’t think only of a two time Cy Young pitcher, or our ace in the hole. I think of the smiling man who shaved Bert Blyleven’s head after a bet. I think of the man who’d wear his cap backwards and dance around in the dugout. I think of the man who always went out and gave his all for the team, no matter what the circumstances. I think of the pitcher who told his 3rd baseman not to worry about ground balls by the mound. I think of the man who was ‘en fuego’ both on and off the field. I think of the man who loved to take at bats, and who was forever telling his manager to put him in the line-up. I think of the Johan Santana that was the face of the Minnesota Twins.

This trade doesn’t come as a shock to any of us, but that doesn’t make it any easier. Losing Torii Hunter earlier this off-season hurt—and losing Johan hurts even more. It seems our team is falling apart before our eyes, with our key players—the faces of our franchise—disappearing before we are really ready to say good-bye to them.

It’s hard to admit that we need to rebuild, and I personally wish we could just do all the rebuilding with the same old pieces. But this is baseball, and it’s a business as much as it is a passion inducing sport. This year was rough for us, made rougher by a lot of the unexpected trades that took place. But trades happen whether we want them to or not, something we’ve all learned the hard way this year with Luis Castillo, and then Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett. And just like trades, the periods of reformation and rebuilding come when we don't always expect them.

On opening day, we won’t see the same familiar faces on the field; there’ll be Delmon Young (who will hopefully refrain from throwing any bats), Adam Everett and Mike Lamb, Carlos Gomez…

The beginning of a new, hopefully successful era, is soon to begin in the Twins organization.

I know a lot of fans out there, even those who aren’t Twins fans, who think this trade was not the best of choices. People think the Twins management left the offers sit on the table too long, with teams who were not willing to be backed into the corner. I personally think we could have gotten more for the best pitcher in baseball, but as I’m not the general manager of the Twins, I guess what I say or would have done doesn’t really count. As fans, there's nothing we can do, and if we sit and dwell on all the trades that could have been made, should have been made, should never have been made...well, we just won't get anywhere. It's part of being a fan; hopefully we'll all come out of this with our undying loyalty to the Twins still intact.

I keep telling myself that we’re rebuilding, that it’s going to be okay, but…it’s hard to believe.

I wish Johan the best of luck with the Mets, I really do—I think he’ll look good in their snazzy black uniforms, and we all know he’s going to have a blast hitting out there. He grew frustrated with the organization when they traded Luis, a feeling of unhappiness that I think grew as the season progressed. He will probably be very happy out there with the Metropolitans, which is what I hope for. The fact that we won’t have to face him often is going to help avoid some hurt, as well (unlike with Torii, who will be on our field on opening day at center, wearing the number '48'…only in an Angels uniform).

Here’s to 2008, I guess: the first year of the Post Santana-Hunter Era.

Let’s hope we can rebuild this team right.

The Trade We've All Been Waiting For

...is apparently in the works. I'm not going to say much about it till it's official, but I think it's safe to say that next season, Johan will be wearing a Mets uniform. I feel like he'll look very good in their black ones.

The Littlest Piranha

As the days till Spring Training wind down, (18 days, if you're not counting...) something sad has come to my attention…

Nick Punto is now the only remaining piranha (or ‘pirantha’ if you’d like to stay true to Ozzie Guillen’s original wording) in a once four-man school of flesh-devouring fish...or baseball players. With the loss of Luis Castillo to the Mets last season, our school numbered three. And now, with Jason Bartlett down in Tampa and Jason Tyner released to Limbo, Little Nicky swims alone.

It’s got to be tough, being the littlest fish in the sea, but being the only fish has got to be even tougher.

I mean, now that Jason Barlett is gone, who’s going to go swim in the shark tank at Underwater World with LNP? Who’s going not going to hit more than one home run in a season with him? Who’s going to be scrappy in the hot corner? I feel that these are pressing questions…

That, and who do you think would win in a fight—a stingray or a piranha?

Jan 24, 2008

Guerrier To Pitch Another Year

Thank God.

Today Matt Guerrier (from here on out he will be referred to as 'Shaggy') signed a one-year, $950,000, deal to avoid arbitration. Now we have at least two solid relievers: him, and Side-Show Pat Neshek.

...I think this season will be one of those 'rebuilding seasons'.

In other official news, Cuddy is now the only Twin still in arbitration. They really need to check out that top 10 list...it's all critical, I mean it.

Trades are made on... a Hot Stove?

The 'Hot Stove' has long been on of the baseball terms I just don't get. It seems awfully redundant-- of course if the stove is on, it's going to be hot. And WTF does a stove have to do with trades in baseball?

A lot, apparently.

The so called 'Hot Stove' has been relatively luke-warm for us Twins fans of late. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm definitely tired of hearing how the Yanks-Sox-Mets are going to score Johan. We've got less than 30 days until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, lets wrap this up fast.

Ideally, of course, we keep Johan. Which, since I don't see us getting exactly what we want for him, I think might happen. Really, it's a win-win for us-- if it's played right. To put it simply, we have what every one wants in Johan. It's annoying though, living literally in the center of Red Sox Nation and having to deal with the 'ZOMG, WE'RE GONNA GET JOHAN!!!!!11one'.

Hell no you're not, not unless you give me Tacoby Bellsbury AND Jon Lester AND whoever the hell else we want.

...and they don't even need him, anyway!

With the loss of Matt Garza-- who was so studly-- and Carlos Silva, we need pitching as much as we need a center fielder. Which is badly. Right now, all we have for starting pitching for sure is Scotty and Kevin Slowey.

I refuse to even think of Boof as anything but last-choice-relief right now.

Needless to say, this situation pains me.

Jan 23, 2008

The Top 10 Reasons We Need To Lock Up Michael Cuddyer

10: He’s ‘Cuddy Bear’.
Once at a game, I was screaming ‘GO CUDDY!’ and the little boy next to me thought I was referring to TC…so he started screaming ‘GO CUDDY-BEAR!’, and his disgruntled father spent the rest of the game trying to tell the kid Cuddy was not the bear.

9: He has the best dimples on the team
Really, they're amazing.

8: He sings and dances while driving in his car
This is true, I've seen it.

7: Culvers Cuddy Buddy
Think how sad all those custard-eating kids would be?

6: He magics balls right outta’ the field
And he doesn't even need a magic word.

5: He waved at us while singing and dancing in his car
This is also true. His hat was on backwards, too.

4: He’s so very articulate
Makes you want one of those little white discs, huh? That, or David Wright.

3: He's Cuddy.
'Nough said.

2: He throws people out at home from right field.

And finally,

1: He takes Mike Redmond's kids to Chuck E. Cheese's.