Monday, August 27, 2007

Placing Johan Santana into History

Man its a hot one.

Like seven inches from the midday sun

I hear you whisper and the words melt everyone

But you stay so cool

My mu equita my spanish harlem mona lisa

Your my reason for reason

The step in my groove...

-Smooth (Santana featuring Rob Thomas)

Every superhero has their theme music...Every professional wrestler has their entrance song…and Every baseball player has their song when they bat, pitch or come in from the bullpen.

So why does a collaboration by Rob Thomas and super guitarist Santana have a special meaning to me?

Two reasons…a left arm and charisma that could bring peace to the Middle-East.

Johan Santana.

The Metrodome is a teflon covered toilet. Since 1982, it has brought nightmares to players as well as fans. Balls get lost in the off-white ceiling, hit speakers and ricochet 20 feet away from where it was going to land. None of the seats really face home plate (watch or go to a game sometime and notice how the section by the left field foul pole is ALWAYS empty).

All is forgotten on the special days when Santana pitches…

There is a different feeling when you walk into the dome. A confidence, because Johan won’t let the other team sniff home plate. The song “Smooth” is played during Santana’s warm up pitches before the game starts. It’s like associating a pro-wrestler or superhero with their theme music. You hear it and automatically think of that person before you think of who actually wrote the song.

Now, I may be biased on my thoughts on Johan Santana (being from Minnesota myself) but I feel that he may be one of the most dominant left-handed pitchers in Major League history. This is a big statement when considering other lefties that have graced the dirt mounds across America. These players range from Sandy Koufax to Steve Carlton to Tom Glavine to Randy Johnson and to the man who has the award for “Best Left-Handed pitcher”, Warren Spahn. There is no doubt that Santana is the best lefty pitcher currently but why not go a little further and compare him as one of the best lefties ever to play the game.

Let’s look at three categories : Strikeouts, Wins and ERA as well as comparing where each pitcher was with each category at Santana’s age (28) and years in the league (8). Future projections are based on whether Santana stays healthy and pitches at the same rate continually.

Strikeouts :

Spahn – 2,583 strikeouts

Koufax – 2,936 strikeouts

Carlton – 4,136 strikeouts

Glavine – 2,556 strikeouts (and counting)

Johnson – 4,616 strikeouts (and counting?)

Santana – 1,344 strikeouts (and counting)

Johnson has the most strikeouts for lefty pitchers in MLB history. If we base greatness on strikeouts alone, then Randy Johnson wins. He’s been pitching since 1988 and is getting close to the end of his career. His size alone puts fear into opposing batters, plus his 96 MPH fastball helps as well. Right now, Johnson could arguably be the best lefty pitcher in MLB history. Johnson needs 16 more wins to reach 300 and 484 strikeouts to reach 5,000. Neither of which are within much reach for Johnson unfortunately because of injuries. But let’s compare where Santana is at this point in his career.

By the age of 28, Randy Johnson had 948 career strikeouts after 5 years in the league. If you use age as a comparison, Santana leads Johnson by 396 strike outs. On the other hand, if you use the years in the league as a comparison, Johnson leads by 285 strike outs. If Santana keeps on pace with his strike outs and plays the same length as Johnson (assuming this is his last year) he will accumulate 3,360 strike outs. This, of course, is hypothetical. Injuries, among many other things, can change these numbers. Assuming that Santana stays healthy, he could make a run at Johnson’s numbers, especially with Johnson’s career coming to an end soon.


To many, wins probably make the most difference between pitchers. A pitcher could strike out 2,500 batters in his career but what does it say if he only had 96 wins? The true sign of a dominating pitcher comes with how many wins he had in his career.

Spahn – 363 wins, 65 by age 28, 122 by 8 years in the league (gaps in years played due to World War 2)

Koufax – 165 wins, 112 by age 28 and 68 by 8 years. (began at age 19 in the league and didn’t put up big numbers until after age 28)

Carlton – 326 wins, 117 by age 28 and 104 by 8 years in the league

Glavine – 301 wins (and counting), 108 by age 28 and 108 by 8th year in the league (most correlative to Santana by age and numbers at this point)

Johnson – 284 wins (and counting?), 56 by age 28, 106 by 8th year in the league.

Santana – 92 wins (and counting), 92 by age 28 and 92 by 8th year in the league.

Even with World War 2, Spahn destroys the win record for lefties. He won games at such amazing rates that it will be hard for any lefty to ever catch him. Glavine is the closest for active players with his 301 wins but he is also 41 years old. He still is behind Carlton who finished with 326 wins. Who knows how many wins Sandy Koufax would have accumulated had Tommy John surgery been around when he was a player. Johnson is close but his degenerative back problems will most likely keep him from ever reaching that goal. Assuming that Santana pitches at the same rate of wins for the next 12 years, Santana would finish with 273 wins. This would put him in good standing in terms of career wins.


A pitcher’s Earned Run Average is something that many look at when comparing stats. Typically, a career ERA under 3.50 is considered pretty special. There are few players in MLB history that have been in the league for more than ten minutes that have a career ERA under maybe 3.05. Let’s look at our lefties again :

Spahn : 3.09 for a 21 year career

Koufax : 2.76 for a 12 year career

Carlton : 3.22 for a 24 year career

Glavine : 3.49 (active statistic)

Johnson : 3.22 (active statistic)

Santana : 3.15 (active statistic)

Koufax’s ERA stands out in this group of pitchers. He only pitched for 12 years, but had he not had elbow problems he may have had many more years of low ERA’s. Over the last 5 years of his career, his ERA averaged 2.38. For a pitcher in any era, those numbers are staggering. Santana at this rate would finish 3rd and possibly 2nd in this list of lefties for career ERA. Santana’s ERA has fluctuated the last 4 years but has been under 2.88 each year.

So let’s get a final look at Santana’s career stats as far as Strikeouts, Wins and ERA:

K’s – 3,360 W’s – 273 ERA – 3.10

With stats like that and not being a concrete starter until 2004, Johan Santana has a great shot at not only Cooperstown but a shot at being considered the most dominant lefty to ever play the game.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Fantasy Football 2007-08

It’s that time of year again…

No no no...not the State Fair…Not August & September pennant races…

It’s THAT time of year again…

Fantasy Football is here!

This past weekend, 11 of us got together in the Kinsky basement for the annual Woodbury Fantasy Football league draft.

This is the first year that we are all college students. Previously, only 4 of us were college students but the other guys have graduated and will be attending college. Upon coming home this summer, I found out that about 86% of their graduating class was going to the same university (University of Minnesota-Duluth). Does that even count for college? I mean, when you leave high-school to grow up on your own and meet new people, and then 200 kids from your graduating class join you on that exact same journey?

Anyway, each year that goes by, our draft starts to look more and more like the Academy Awards. On paper, it seems like it should take about 2.5 hours and somehow when 11:30 rolls around you start to think, “When and where did this go wrong?” Maybe we need an orchestra to start playing music when things start getting a little long to hurry things up.

It’s an auction style draft where we go around in a circle and throw out player’s names to bid on. If you are confused, just think of what the Jets have been doing for the past 5 years and that’s what we do.

This year, I believe that we finished somewhere around 3.5 hours. I could be wrong, but when you have 5 guys to pick and only $5 left…it starts to get a little long.

Here is my team and some information about each player. Give some feedback on what you think of my team and anything else interesting pertaining to fantasy football/NFL.

QB’s : Peyton Manning & Philip Rivers. Manning has been Mr. Fantasy for the last couple years. He has endless receivers and a solid running back this year. He sees the field very well and rarely makes mistakes. He was my QB last year and only two weeks did he not do so hot. In a 16 week season, that’s pretty good. Rivers was my back-up last year and did well. He broke out last year by throwing for 3,388 yards, 22 TD’s and 9 INT’s. It killed me some weeks because both Manning and Rivers had good match-ups. But as usual, the smarter side of me went with Manning. Both will have a great year.

RB’s : Steven Jackson, Marshawn Lynch & Lorenzo Booker. Jackson is my bread & butter. This guy is ranked #2 behind LT in just about every fantasy magazine across America. He rushed for 1,528 yards and 13 TD’s and had 806 yards REC with 3 TD’s. In Scott Linehan’s great offensive scheme, Jackson will get a lot of carries again this year. The O-line has improved and with the usual targets of Holt and Bruce, I’m looking for Jackson to have another great year. My prediction is that he will be better than LT this year, maybe even MVP. Yeah…I said it.

Lynch is another great back. He is getting some big praise around the NFL before his rookie season officially starts. He runs hard and fast and can hit the holes hard. He may only be a rookie, but he’ll have solid fantasy value as Buffalo’s feature back. Booker…well…let’s just hope that Ronnie Brown needs a breather here and there because I could really go for Booker coming up big this year.

WR’s: Calvin Johnson, Bernard Berrian, Jerricho Cotchery, Brandon Marshall, Kevin Walter, Michael Jenkins. At this point, if you haven’t figured out the gaping hole in this team….HERE IT IS! Other than Johnson and…well Johnson…I don’t have much confidence in my WR corps. Cotchery and Berrian could have solid seasons but they both have to catch balls from iffy QB’s. Marshall will be catching passes from Jay Cutler and could have a surprise season. He learned from Rod Smith all of last year and Mike Shanahan is looking for big things from him this year. Kevin Walter was a filler pick. I’m going to be frank…I had no idea who he was before I picked him. But you better believe that if he has a good year that I’m going to act like I knew what I was doing.

Fantasy Football Golden Rule # 1 : ALWAYS ACT LIKE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING…even if it was crystal clear that you did not and it was just pure luck.

TE’s: Vernon Davis & Greg Olsen. Davis should have a break out year. He was hurt last year and Alex Smith has grown by leaps and bounds as a QB. Other than Antonio Gates, Davis is my pick for best TE of the year. Olsen still has to prove himself as a rook. But according to my buddy’s brother…”Urlacher says that he’s the best TE he’s EVER seen…”

DEF/K: Matt Stover, Miami & Green Bay. Stover kicks about 5 FG’s a game and his leg has yet to fall off. Accurate kicker with a questionable red-zone offense (this = good for kickers). Miami D was solid last year. Jason Taylor returns and is the cornerstone of this D. The pass D needs to come up big this year in order to take Miami to the top of the D standings. Green Bay added defense in their draft this year and the improvements are there. This is clearly my back-up pick but watch for Nick Barnett and AJ Hawk to get 300 tackles a piece this year.

So that’s my team for the 2007-08 Fantasy Football season. From time to time, I will be giving updates on how the team is performing this year. Again, please leave your comments, musings or “what an idiot” comments about my team.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Bleak Outlook

A quick comparison-

Starter #1
Career stats:
111 wins, 1196 strikeouts, 3.67 ERA, and .234 batting average against (BAA), 1 Cy Young
2007 stats - record 9-11, 100 strikeouts, 4.88 ERA, and a .252 BAA
Current contract - 7 years, $126 million or $18 million per year

Starter #2
Career stats:
78 wins, 1004 strikeouts, 3.37 ERA, and a .225 BAA
2007 stats - record 14-9, 139 strikeouts, 3.86 ERA, and a .231 BAA
Current contract - 5 years, $91.5 million or $18.3 million per year

Starter #3
Career stats:
90 wins, 1320 strikeouts, 3.17 ERA, and .220 BAA, 2 Cy Youngs
2007 season - record 12-9, 174 strikeouts, 3.02 ERA, and .220 BAA

As you may have guessed, that 3rd starter is Johan Santana. He has better career stats than both starter 1 and 2. Way more career strikeouts, and fewer wins that Starter 1 due to less seasons to his record. His ERA is a full half run better than starter 1 over his career, and has a lower BAA and ERA than both starters 1 and 2. All I'm trying to show here is that the Twins are going to have to give out a HUGE amount of money to Johan in order to retain him in the future. Considering his stats will be even better by the time his contract is up after next season, Johan could command easily over 20 million a year, and possibly closer to 25 million dollars a year than 20. Starters 1 and 2, better known as Barry Zito and Carlos Zambrano, are currently the highest paid starting pitchers in the league over the length of their contracts. Each is due over 18 million a year for at least 5 years.

Unless 93 year old Carl Pohlad decides to open up his wallet for Johan, to the tune of at least 20 million a year, and most likely much, much more, Johan will be pitching elsewhere when the Twins debut in their new stadium. My guess - the Boston Red Sox, since it seems that every good former Minnesota player is being delegated to the New England area.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Frenzy

Well, I am officially back from California.

It's struggle-fest 2007 right now since I have slept in until about noon every day now. Initially, this wouldn't be a problem at all but seeing as how I need to be at school by Monday and I still have to's a problem.

The flight was pretty good minus the part of it being a red-eye. Interestingly enough, I saw Red-Eye earlier this year and couldn't help but wonder if I would have to go through the same thing.

I am convinced that there aren't many more personally embarassing things than airport security. Led by people who may or may not have graduated high school the first time around, it doesn't give me much hope.

Here is why President Bush should be wary of airport security:

As I got through MSP security, I hear "bag check!" In my mind I was screaming, "Come on! What am I going to have in my bag!?" Then the top flight security guard looks at me and says with waaaay too serious of a tone, "Is this your bag sir?" I sheepishly said yes and he brought me over to THE table. I had already been berated for not taking my laptop out of my computer bag by a lady who rivaled a similarityof a cross between Roseanne and Krusty the Clown. So I took this as an opportunity to not crack any jokes. The security guard asked if I had anything sharp in my bag. I had immediately remembered that I had my toiletries in that carry on. I told him that I had my razor (bad idea) and my shave gel in there. He pulls them both out and hold them in his hand and goes..."Sir....this shave gel is too big to not be checked through security. I can check it back through for you or throw it away." I told him to toss it and was hoping that he wouldn't toss my razor since they are about $15 for a new one. HE PUT THE RAZOR BACK IN THE BAG and told me to have a good day!

Needless to say, due to him throwing out my shave gel, he may have averted a security crisis and someone on my 757 to LAX may have gotten out of me threatening to give someone the closest and smoothest shave of their life. Thank you MSP security...thank you.

Now, it's not something that I ever want to think about or ever want to happen again...but if good ol' Bin Laden decides that planes are not passe, then we know who to blame. Don't blame the President, blame the guy who let me take my razor on the plane.

Normally on Friday's we have "Land O' Links" but tomorrow is our 3rd annual Fantasy Football Draft and I am pretty far behind on not caring who I draft. I've got my ESPN the Mag fantasy football edition and that's all that I need. I will leave you with this one story that I laughed at and then got a little worried that it could have been me...thank God for Northwest.

Look for the Marathon FF Draft 2007 recap on Monday morning.

Have a great weekend and be safe!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Twins finally make a move

Earlier today I read this rumor on Yahoo! Sports. I dismissed it as just that, since, I mean honestly, who wants Ramon Ortiz.

Terry Ryan, that crazy old man, actually pulled off getting another team to take on Ramon Ortiz and his ridiculous contract (one which he didn't deserve in the first place).

The Twins shipped off Ramon Ortiz to Colorado for AAA-infielder Matt Macri. This gives the Twins now 2 open spots on their 40-man roster, with the other one coming from departed infielder Jeff Cirillo. Brian Buscher was added to the 40-man roster when Luis Castillo was traded. With the roster openings and the now available money, one would hope Terry Ryan could pull the trigger on a deal to bring a bat over.

The fact that Terry Ryan was able to unload Ramon Ortiz on some poor team renews my trust in the Twins G.M. While I was disappointed after the trade deadline with no moves other than the Castillo trade, the man shows he knows what he is doing by unloading a terrible pitcher for yet another young bat.

Also, this is yet another sign that P Glen Perkins is almost ready to come off the disabled list, since Ortiz has held his long relief role since he became injured. Getting rid of Ortiz, with no viable long relievers in Rochester indicates Perkins is probably only a week away from returning.

Macri, a 25 year old currently playing 3B, began the season on Colorado's Double-A affiliate, and hit .298 with 11 home runs. He also can play SS and 2B, which makes him quite valuable to the Twins right now, since their current utility infielders should be in Triple-A. While it seems as if Macri won't be major league ready for a little while, seeing as he was only recently promoted to Triple-A, this may free up the Twins to bring up Matt Tolbert from Rochester to replace Ortiz on the major league roster.

Friends with the NFL again?....

NFL football has been ruined for me.

To some, this may be a bold statement. For those of you who live in Minnesota, or are Vikings fans from other parts of the nation, know what I’m talking about.

Since the great playoff choke of 1998, football in Minnesota hasn’t been the same. That year, the NFL saw the most explosive and proficient offense in its history. Randall Cunningham was re-born, Chris Carter found a second life and even Jake Reed got some press time. Randy Moss proved to the 18 teams that passed on him that they were truly missing out on one of the best receivers to play the game.

A tiny Irishman named Gary Anderson refused to miss a field goal and all was good in the frozen tundra.

Until the Falcons came to town.

They were lead by a bruising running-back and a 73 year old quarterback who was thisssclose to having his arm fall off. They won the game in overtime and the Vikings dream was over. Since then, professional football in Minnesota has never been the same.

Randy Moss got more bitter about being there, Denny Green just stopped caring and the curse of the Madden Cover hit Daunte Culpepper pretty hard. Coaches have come and gone and who can forget the infamous boat scandal?

Even with all of this in the past, things are looking up for the Vikings.

We’ve almost made it through an entire training camp without an embarrassing arrest or conviction. Let’s hear it for acting like responsible adults (insert clapping here).

Although the team is very young and is surrounded by question marks, I am excited to say that my enjoyment of NFL football is slowly coming back. Since 1998, I have been a Fantasy Football owner and not a NFL fan. I’ve watched the Super Bowl for the commercials and like 98% of other NFL fans, I never watched the Pro-Bowl. But in celebration of my near NFL recovery, I want to look at some of the questions that surround the 2007 Minnesota Vikings.

Offense :

This is the Vikings biggest question mark. Starting with the most important part of the Offense, which is the Quarterback…Tarvaris Jackson. He is a very raw talent who has great potential to be a star in the NFL. His two problems are his lack of experience and lack of help. Although he has two of the better running backs in the league, Chester Taylor and Adrian Peterson, he has un-proven wide receivers. The veteran is Bobby Wade and after that is the slippery fingers of Troy Williamson and rookie Sidney Rice. The young group has some promise to impress but will have a lot of work to do.

The Vikings potentially have the best offensive line in the NFL. Behind mammoth men Bryant McKinnie, Steve Hutchinson and Harvard grad Matt Birk, Taylor and Peterson are waiting to run through pretty large holes. This has been the Vikings strong point over the last couple years.

This is obviously the Vikings biggest question. If this can be answered, they should have a strong showing in the NFL.

Coaching :

This is a question surrounding this team for two reasons. One, can Brad Childress help instill his west coast offense into the young quarterbacks on his team? Two, will the loss of Mike Timlin to the Steelers hurt the Defense?

As anyone may have seen last year against the Packers, Tarvaris Jackson has a cannon for a right arm. He can throw the ball. Can he do it without making mistakes? That will be the key to Childress’ west coast offense. He helped bring along another quarterback by the name of Donovan McNabb in Philadelphia and has shown that he knows his quarterbacks. If Childress can get Jackson, or any of his other quarterbacks, to understand this incredibly complicated system then the Vikings may surprise some people in the NFL.

Losing Mike Timlin was a huge loss to this team. In reading some stories in ESPN Magazine as well as stories from last year in the newspapers, Tomlin was a very motivating coach and was definitely the brains behind the Vikings defense that ranked 7th overall last year.

My favorite story came from ESPN Magazine. It chronicled some stories of how Tomlin motivated his players. During the week, he would recognize players who worked hard and did things the right way but he would also call out those players who didn’t do things the right way. In Minnesota, the biggest “fan” of this was Fred Smoot. Vikings fans may know him as “that guy who used to be good and who was paid a lot of money to have fun on a boat and be replaced by a rookie last year.” Smoot openly complained about Tomlin’s coaching style, which may tell you why Smoot didn’t have a good year last year. Any 8 year old is taught to listen to his coach no matter what and apparently Fred Smoot forgot that somewhere between Starkville and Minneapolis.

Losing Tomlin could hurt the Vikings defense immensely. Let’s hope that the guys can still tackle without their coach.


There are many question marks that surround this team. They have the 23rd hardest schedule in the NFL, so with this, I feel that the Vikings will finish 9-7. I want to say 12-4 (4 losses coming at Chicago, at Dallas, at San Fran and at Denver) but I think that 9-7 will have less people thinking that I’m crazy. Notice that none of those losses were at home. I am speaking to you Vikings fans. That dome is a mud hole but it is OUR mud hole. Dome-field advantage needs to play a big part this year if we ever want to see the Vikings do well at home.

So there you have it. For those of you who read this, you are a part of history. For the first time in 9 years, I am actually starting to care about NFL football. Will I go out and pay $75 for a Tarvaris Jackson jersey? Nah, not yet. But I will maybe tone down the “Love Boat” jokes and cheer more for the team from the land of 10,000 lakes.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Is there a word that is beyond struggling? Dying maybe? I'm not sure.

Whatever that word is....the Twins are it right now.

With the amount of talent this team has, I'm going to go ahead and say that they might be the worst of the best teams. In "might" I mean "they are".

They have the best pitcher in the majors, last year's MVP, last years batting champ, the best center fielder in the game and a bullpen that has been an absolutely shut down operation. Not to mention being in a division that has struggled mightily lately. If the Twins had scored at least 5 runs in their last 10 games, we'd actually be very close to first right now. But instead, we're scoring runs like it's a 7 year old girls softball game at 8 am (that translates into not scoring many runs, tired 7 year olds are not very productive that one is actually).

It's frustrating to see a team that is better than most other teams in the league struggle this bad. Baseball is a very mental sport and none of these guys seem like they are mentally tough right now. Part of this is falling on Gardy's shoulders. It's hard to motivate grown men to play but if they want to stop embarassing themselves then they need to suck it up.

After the game last night, Justin Morneau admitted that he is the most exhausted that he's been as a professional. Really? Exhausted? I mean, I can understand the grind of playing 162 games, but let's talk with the single parents who work 3 jobs just to provide for their kids. Or the McDonalds workers who have to work minimum wage just to stay above the poverty line. Not to say that Morneau is complaining, but come on're playing the sport you love, get over the tiredness and start hitting the ball.

Also, when the Twins hold clinics...are they open for players to participate? Because if they ever hold a bunting clinic, Nick Punto better be the first one to sign up. I haven't seen worse angles when bunting since my freshman year of baseball. At what age and pay range do you learn how to bunt consistently. This guy, for the amount of AB's (351) and his batting average, is actually the worst hitter in the majors right now. Worse than any of the Kansas City Royals or Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Congratulations Gardy, you've given 351 at bats to the definition of "career minor leaguer". This gives me hope that someday I can get 351 at-bats that I don't deserve. By the way, if you haven't figured out who's in the's actually Nick Punto at Twins Fest 2027. By then he'll be batting clean-up with a .214 average and 3 home-runs. (It's actually Fidel Castro)

Anyway, that's it for my daily Twins rant. Maybe one of these days the Twins can score more runs than Nick Punto has hits in the last 2 months.

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Weekend Sports Wrap-Up

Happy Monday to all!

Today is my last full day in the sun and sand of LA/Malibu and I must say that I really enjoyed it out here.

The weather, although the same everyday, is awesome. Who can complain to waking up to 70 degrees and sunny every single day? I also really enjoy being able to go to bed and not having to worry about whether I will be awaken by a tornado siren or not. Granted, they still have earthquakes out here...but they come as a surprise and are 3,000 days late sometimes.

I will be attending football practice here at USC either today or tomorrow. From what I hear, they are going to be unreal this year. I'll have a small little recap of how the practice goes as well as hopefully a picture with "Big Balls" Pete Carroll.

We attended the Twins/Angels game yesterday afternoon in Anaheim...and here are my thoughts on the stadium/game :

The Anaheim area is a pretty nice area. Palm trees everywhere and some nice apartment complexes within walking distance of the stadium. I don't know if it holds a candle to Minneapolis though. I didn't see any bums and as any of you know, that always adds to the fun of the night!

The outside of the stadium is quite nice as well. Nothing that I've been to has surpassed the "take your breath away" factor that Miller Park has. The big "A" is pretty cool as well as the huge parking lot that surrounds the stadium.

Inside is gorgeous though. The rock pile was just as cool as I had imagined and fire works in the middle of the day were nice as well. We sat 3rd level along the 3rd base line and had a great view of the Twins getting a mudhole stomped in their behinds.

It was also 345 degrees in the sun there. During the 5th inning, a man started on fire and we cheered thinking that it was part of the game until they hosed him down. It wasn't a big deal, apparently that happens at least twice every day game.

The Twins are in dire need of a miracle right now. The game started out quite well for them actually. Boof came out strong and only had 11 pitches in the first inning. We gave up a run early but got the hitter out on a nice game of pickle. My only argument, other than the fact that we have less offense than the Raiders had last year, was that Gardy really botched his mangerial duties yesterday. He left Bonser in about 10 pitches too late and then gave up a homerun to Chone Figgins. CHONE FIGGINS!? You can blame Boof all you want, but it's the manager's job to know when his pitcher is fried.

Tommy Watkins almost got his first major league hit...twice! His first at bat was a bunt that Jered Weaver bobbled and they gave Weaver the error. Then he connected on a Weaver fastball that Garrett Anderson caught right at the wall. Here was the ensuing conversation...

Me: Holy crap! Get out of here! Go!...Go!...Go!...

(caught by Garrett Anderson)

Guy next to us : Ahh, almost got his first hit.

Me: Cmon...couldn't Garrett have just let it hit the wall? That woulda been the nice thing to do.

Guy: Haha, yeah right! That woulda been a terrible move!

Me: Well it's not like they woulda scored him anyway, so what does it matter?!

Anyway, our day at the park was nice. Anaheim, you have a very nice set up and a great stadium and some pretty nice fans. Although one kid had a rally monkey hat with the monkey sewn into the hat. Needless to say, that kid has moved just behind Roger Clemens as my least favorite people in the world.

Hope that you all have a great day and I look forward to joining you all back in the midwest soon!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Stick a fork in 'em

They're done.

The Twins were swept by the Angels, and are now 1-5 on their roadtrip. The Twins are now back to 7 games behind the division leading Tigers, 6.5 behind the Indians, and 8 games back in the Wild Card race. There are 4 teams currently in front of them. Basically what I'm trying to say is that the Twins are officially cooked.

The Twins have shown not even a semblance of an offense so far on this road trip. In the 5 of the 6 games, not counting their 11 run outburst, the Twins have managed only 7 runs.

And with Kubel hurt, and our only 3 bench players hitting under .225, the Twins will continue to fail on offense.

Football starts in a few weeks! Go Vikings!

Twins/Angels Rubber game

Today is the 3rd and, thankfully, final game of the Angels series. I call it that because they are the only team that has shown up to play this weekend.

The Twins, who lead the league in "wasting their starting pitcher's great starts", did it again last night. Carlos Silva retired 18 of his first 19 batters and still didn't get the win. If any of the Twins pitchers went on a rampage, who could blame them!?

Anyway, today will be Boof Bonser vs. Jered Weaver. We saw Weaver pitch against the Dodgers a couple weeks ago and weren't that impressed. Because I just said that, he'll most likely throw a perfect game coupled with Torii Hunter snapping a hammy or something...that's just the Twins luck right now.

My buddy and I are headed down to Anaheim here in a little bit. Last time I saw Boof, he pitched an 11 K, 3 hit gem against the Brewers. So let's hope I'm good luck!

Game starts at 2:35 pm CST. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Land O' Links

Happy Saturday to all!

I have finally finished all 7 weeks at the Malibu Summer Tennis Camp and am releived that I either did or did not do these 3 things :

1. DID meet celebrities of all walks of life.

2. DID NOT strike any child with a tennis ball voluntarily

3. DID NOT get stuck in an elevator at 12:45 am in Hollywood more than once (a whole article in itself)

I will be headed back to the Central timezone late Tuesday night and we'll be able to all be on the same page again! Although I've been a big fan of the time change out here. I could get used to it.

Because of this time change, I was able to post this while you most surely were sleeping or some of you may just be getting in. In either case, enjoy today's links!


This story is very intriguing. At first, I was sure that the "UW" meant "University of Wisconsin" but apparently other parts of the nation drink this as well. Halfway through this article, the thought that popped into my mind was, "It's so hot out!....Milk was a BAD choice!" Show me some stats and we'll start talking about doing this.

David Beckham + ESPN = nice filler time for ESPN after the Bonds HR chase is over. Does anyone else find it completely and utterly disturbing that the face of American soccer....isn't American? Oh well...either way, America will never accept soccer. It's like replacing a buddy in a group of friends who moved away with a new guy. He could be a great guy, but he'll just never be fully accepted by everyone.

Tiger Woods has stormed back and is about 2 days and 3 fairways away from winning his first major of the year. I'm praying that John Daly can make a comeback and challenge Tiger for the win. Any guy who can make this kind of commercial deserves to be paired with a class act like Tiger. My favorite part is at 1:01...I can hear it now, "I am THE man...BULLSEYE!"

A great interview of Kevin McHale by Pioneer Press columnist Bob Sansevere. One of two guys who I would trust to not fluff anything for McHale to come away sounding like a genious. Although a lot of what he says makes sense. I am convinced that we needed to part with KG in order to have any kind of future for the franchise. Give these guys a chance. Look at the Bulls, they never traded for a big veteran and now the guys have gotten experience and they are easily in the top 3 or 4 in the East...which with the Western Conference exchange'd probably be about a 7 seed in the West.

Here at Court's Sports, we like to recognize those who have given us inspiration and the drive to keep on going with our site. Our first, and foremost, guy is Aaron Gleeman. We decided, after at least 8 hours of conferring, that we were going to follow in his footsteps and much like his " girl", we have picked our very own "Court's Sports cutie"

We decided to show some Minnesota love and our "CSC" is....Jessica Biel. Anyone who wants to argue can leave a comment and maybe throw us some other ideas. Cliche choice maybe, but come on...a good cliche at least. Ely knows what their doing!

Finally, I love this. This is the pure difference between big markets and small markets. When I go to the Pioneer Press page, I feel like it's someone tapping on my shoulder saying "Hey, here's today's news...and some coffee...I like your looks nice" But when I read these headlines, it's like "Hey!'s some coffee that was spit in...nice they make those for men?" Maybe that's just how New York comes off.

As always, thanks for stopping by and have a safe and great weekend!

Friday, August 10, 2007


Due to some unforseen events, (11 year olds playing tennis in 1 hour matches), Land O' Links will run tomorrow morning.

Sorry for any inconvenience that this may have caused!

Enjoy your Friday Night!


Happy Friday to all!

Due to some technical difficulties, caused by Microsoft's inability to create something that works for longer than 10 minutes, Land O' Links will be delayed today.

I have to be a line judge for our last tennis tournament here in Malibu until 11 (or 1 central time). So check back here around 2 pm.


Thursday, August 9, 2007

Twins waste yet another good start

Matt Garza came out firing on Thursday afternoon, putting together another good start. Garza went 6-plus innings, had 6 strikeouts, and allowed 1 run on 4 hits. Garza also walked no hitters in the game. This start brought Garza's ERA on the season down to 1.70. What do the Twins do with yet another gem of a pitching performance? They waste it by making Kyle Davies look like a Cy Young winner. They managed only 3 hits off of the 4-8 KC pitcher. Garza was robbed of another win by his own team yet again, since they provided no run support. This is the second game Garza has lost in which he allowed 1 run, however in his other start the run wasn't even earned. Garza is now 1-3 on the season, but is still sporting that 1.77 ERA. The Twins hitting is ridiculously awful, especially when hitters should be in their groove this late in the season, and against a pitcher like Davies who had a 6.07 ERA on the season before this start.

Notes from today's game
  • Punto was on the bench like he should be. Unfortunately, this meant playing time for Luis Rodriguez, who deserves less playing time than even Punto. Predictably, L-Rod didn't get a hit in the game.
  • Casilla did everything he could in his first start as the leadoff hitter. Casilla went 2-3 with a walk and one stolen base. A dropoff from Castillo? So far, trading Castillo to open up @B for Casilla has seemed like a smart move.
  • Speaking of smart moves, obtaining a bat right now seems like a necessity. We can't get shut out by the Kansas City Royals when we are playing for a playoff spot. It just can't happen.
  • Another reason we didn't score today? Michael Cuddyer pulled off his best Adam Dunn impression, and not in the good way (that was last night). Cuddyer struck out 4 times in the game in 4 at bats. Now, I'm in no way saying that the loss is completely on Cuddyer's shoulders, but when you lose a game 1-0, and your cleanup hitter strikes out 4 times and leaves 3 runners on base(two in scoring position), a large portion of the blame can be centered right there.
  • Jason Kubel has shown he can hit right handed pitchers well. For the rest of the season, there is absolutely no reason that Kubel should be out of the lineup with a RHP on the hill. Kubel doubled and had a walk in the game. His split stats show a .244 average against righties this season, but Kubel has been great of late against them.
  • Tommy Watkins, the recent callup from AAA-Rochester didn't get an at-bat in the game, his first game suiting up for the Twins.
  • Brian Buscher, who was placed on the DL, allowing Watkins to come up, had his leg drained of fluid and will be out at least 2 weeks. Great, this means 2 weeks of Punto, L-Rod, and Watkins sharing time at 3rd base.
  • The lineup has a lot of potential. While they didn't score today, I think today's lineup was the best we've seen in a long time. With Casilla leading off and Bartlett hitting second, they are setting up well for our 3-6 hitters. Kubel is a capable 7th hitter, and with a hitter like Rondell White hitting 8th, it really doesn't matter who plays 3B and hits last in the lineup, since I personally feel like that is a solid 1-8 hitting lineup.
The Twins start a critical 6 game West coast trip tomorrow, playing the LA Angels and the Seattle Mariners. Every game at this point is critical, but when you are playing teams ahead of you in the Wild Card standings, the Twins desperately need to win both series.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Goodbye to a hero...

Where do I begin?

As a young boy, I loved playing all the sports. From baseball to soccer, I was there. I didn’t know much about the stats and players but like any little boy, I knew the superstars. I was especially a big fan of basketball back then. I knew the typical players, Michael Jordan, Shaq, Larry “Grand-ma-ma” Johnson, Penny Hardaway and the list could go on for days.

In Minnesota, basketball was Doug West, J.R. Rider and Christian Laettner. As you can see, we were in dire need of a basketball lifeline to turn things around.

This lifeline would come in the form of a 6’11 stringbean from Chicago via South Carolina. Straight out of high school (the first since 1975) and a ferocious player. Post moves, a jump shot and big man passing skills that mirrored a young Magic Johnson.

The Timberwolves were taking a chance that this young kid from Mauldin, SC would be able to revitalize Minnesota basketball. They knew the risks in taking a player right out of high school but what they didn’t know was that they were drafting one of the most driven and passionate players in NBA history.

From the start, you could see the hunger in his eyes. He was eager to learn and get to the next level as a player. He could have easily succumbed to having a bad attitude and being lazy (i.e. Rider and Laettner) but he didn’t. McHale, seeing this, got rid of both players. And at the young age of 19, Kevin Garnett was vaulted into the leading role of the new Broadway show called “Who’s going to save Minnesota Basketball?”

If you haven’t been under a rock for the past 12 years, then you know the story of his career. A great player who’s never been surrounded by veteran help. Well it’s true. Glen Taylor and Kevin McHale did everything but break KG’s legs to ruin his career. Now, many may argue that his huge contract handcuffed the Wolves from ever signing that big free agent, but if you look back at those vets who they couldn’t sign (my two favorites, Michael Finley and Gary Payton) they took huge pay cuts to play with the teams they signed with. Money was never an issue to them, so why couldn’t they get it done?

This is like asking, “Why does Paris Hilton do what she does?” You can come up with 800 different answers, but it really boils down to “who the heck even knows?”

Year in and year out, KG kept quiet and let his play do the talking. Year in and year out, the Wolves made the playoffs but lost in the first round. 7 years in a row to be exact. For a guy who is as competitive as KG is, it ate away at him inside every year. One man can only take so much before he starts to fight back. Until the last 4 or 5 years, Minnesota had only seen the man-child first nicknamed “Da ‘Kid” and then later nicknamed “The Big Ticket”. The man who would toss up the rosin into the air and onto the announcers and cause a huge white cloud and mess. The same man who would give fist pounds to the opposing players and then walk over towards section 116 and pound his chest and yell for the fans over there to get up. The same man who would stand at one end of the court after a time out towards the end of a game and raise his hands in the air as to say “We need you…I need you…get up and get loud!” Of course, we would all get up and scream our lungs out and “help” the Wolves to a win.

Often times after big wins, KG would run and jump up on the scorers table and throw his arms up to get the crowd going and show us that he was just as excited about the win as we were. He was and still is a man who can single handedly take over a game and bring his team back to life.

As he got older, you could see a change though. He was much more calm on the court. He said in an interview that he learned to pace himself in games and not exert all of his energy right in the first 5 minutes. Also with age, came urgency.

Each year that passed with a first round defeat, it got harder and harder for KG to take it. Eventually he moved to Pacific Palisades, CA to get away from Minnesota in the offseason. Every year after they were beat in the first round, it was the same question, “Will KG ever get the help that he needs to win a title?”

Finally, in 2004, he got that help. McHale and Taylor took a chance on clutch-master Sam Cassell and headcase Latrell Sprewell to help KG. They immediately meshed together and it carried from their first meeting together to their first game together. The 2004 season was absolute magic. Many may consider it to be the season that Kevin Garnett finally got to the superstar level. He won the All-Star game MVP with a 37 point performance in the double over-time win for the Western Conference, led the league in rebounding, led the Wolves to a 58-24 record and the Midwest Division title as well as the number 1 seed in the playoffs. Oh, and he also won the regular season MVP award. It seemed as if everything was falling into place.

The Wolves swept the Nuggets in the first round for their first ever playoff series win and then came the Kings. The Wolves battled hard with the Kings. Game 7 was on May 19, 2004 which happened to be Kevin Garnett’s birthday and the day before the 3 year anniversary of when Garnett’s friend and amazing man Malik Sealy was killed. My dad and I attended this game. To this day, it has been the most intense and amazing sporting event that I’ve ever been to. When I think about it, I still get goosebumps. From the minute we walked into the arena to the minute I jumped on someone’s back to scream “Beat L.A.” into a TNT camera, it was intense. “De-Fense” chants from the first second the ball hit the hardwood and this was shown on the jumbo-tron right before the Wolves came onto the court.

KG took over in the 3rd and 4th quarter. Sprewell and Cassell had already been to NBA finals games and KG knew that he had to do his part to try and get there. Anyone who watched this game was watching KG evolve into a superstar. I still remember seeing him cross over Chris Webber and drive the baseline for a monster dunk that sent the Target Center into a frenzy. He scored 10 straight points in the 4th quarter and led the Wolves to the NBA Western Finals against the Lakers.

We were all in uncharted territory. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves. The Wild were playing Anaheim for the Western NHL finals and the Wolves were playing the Lakers for the NBA Western Finals. Looking back on it, I knew exactly what to do…cherish it. I had this sneaking feeling in the back of my mind that this wasn’t going to last forever. In sports today, dynasties are hard to come by so I was preparing myself somewhat.

I was right, the Wolves would later lose to the Lakers in 6 and the real Sprewell and Cassell showed up and took the place of the imposter Sprewell and Cassell who led us to the Western Conference finals. Cassell was traded and Sprewell was released and the Wolves dropped quickly back to mediocrity.

The next season was an absolute disaster. Flip Saunders was fired, to be replaced by McHale and for the first time in 8 years, Minnesota did not see playoff basketball. The writing was on the wall…in 48 “Cooper Black” font (look it up, it’s real). Flip was KG’s only coach (other than Bill Blair) and his favorite coach. Taylor and McHale all but refused to ever take a chance again on sketchy veterans and KG was back to square one. The Wolves got worse and younger and KG got older.

They traded away more than they would get back every year and Garnett started to voice his frustrations with the organization. For the first time, we started to hear how frustrated KG was with the organization. If you’ve got 9 minutes free, watch this interview with John Thompson and try and tell me that this man doesn’t care.

He started to distance himself further away from the organization and Minnesota in the off-season. It was tough enough to see him in Minnesota during the season let alone in the off-season where he spent much of his time in California. He was always around for charity events and other team/NBA sanctioned things but if he didn’t have to be there…he wasn’t there. One must look at this in the regular Joe-schmo sense. I used to work for Target and if I didn’t have to be there…I wasn’t there. When your job makes you want to be anywhere else but at your job, it’s time for a change.

Finally, McHale and Taylor have allowed for KG to make that change.

After two dismal seasons of “re-building”, KG now has a chance to win that ever elusive NBA title and finally solidify himself as one of the NBA’s elite players. He will be playing with Ray “Jesus Shuttlesworth” and Paul Pierce in the “easy” Eastern Conference and will be surrounded by the most amount of help that anyone can receive (save, Lindsay Lohan at one of the 48 rehab facilities in Malibu, CA).

While KG will be playing for a possible NBA title, the new look Minnesota Timberwolves will hopefully NOT be facing Cretin-Derham Hall in the second round of the High School basketball tournament this coming March. In all honesty, I am actually quite high on the new group of Wolves. Seven of them have actually played together before, which is better than most NBA teams currently. I’ll have an article on the new look Wolves here in a couple weeks.

I want to end with this…

Anytime a superstar leaves their team, it’s always sad. Anyone will tell you that KG was different though. He came to the Wolves at the age of 18. He grew up along with all of the kids in Minnesota and was like family to all of us. He stayed with us and fought to put Minnesota back on the map for basketball.

KG…good luck in Boston and on behalf of all of us in your Minnesota Family…Thank you.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


After much anticipation, Barry Bonds has done it. In the bottom of the 5th, Bonds teed off on a Mike Bacsik fastball, driving it to dead center field to break the all time home run record.

Monday, August 6, 2007

A good weekend

I am in California for another two weeks, so I don't know first hand about the traffic jams around the cities because of the bridge. But I do know that a good amount of people made it out to the dome this weekend to watch the Twins take 2 out of three from the Cleveland Indians to move within 4.5 games of second place in the AL Central.

"We smell blood right now," says Twins center fielder Torii Hunter , "we're ready to go."

I love to hear this right now because the pitching, i.e. Scott Baker, is really stepping up right now even if the offense isn't. Morneau is in a 0-14 slump right now and Nick Punto couldn't hit the side of a barn. The bright spot of the weekend hitting was Alexi Casilla. His ground rule double scored Jason Kubel and the only run that the Twins would need.

Gardy seems to like Casilla much more than Castillo. Even going as far to say that Casilla is better because he can run and play everyday since he doesn't have the legs of a 65 year old.

I like when Gardy has confidence in a young player, because it will rub off on that player and I think it will put Casilla in a good position.

The Twins finish up their series tonight at 7:10 at the dome with Carlos Silva going against Paul Byrd. For those of you who paid for your tickets tonight, I'm sorry.

Here's a quick article that I'm sure will make some of you happy. I know that here at Court's Sports, it's a big deal.

Notice other stories : Timberwolves as a very viable buy and the NBA season must represent a full moon to Trenton Hassell's offensive game...

Have a great Monday.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Land O' Links

I would like to first say that our prayers go out to the families and victims of the I-35 W bridge collapse this past Wednesday. Many of us have driven that bridge and know how terrifying that must have been for the people on the bridge.

We have been lucky enough, in this world of constant fear and terrorism, in Minnesota to not have experienced such things as 9/11 or bombings or just general fear as other parts of the country do every day. On a day like this, although we may live in separate parts of the state, we all became family in a few swift minutes.

We at Court's Sports, as well as around the world, know that sports are a mere microcosm compared to the rest of the world's happenings. It is also something that can bring us a distraction and joy from the world around us.

Continue to love and live life to the fullest.

Here is Friday's Land O' Links :

For those of you who haven't seen already...

Who remembers seeing Brett Favre's daughter during that Sunday Night football game against the Bears last night? Well, apparently she's tried her hardest to make him "hip" but the only "hip" thing about him is those two things on his body that are thisssclose to falling apart.

I enjoy soccer as much as the next person...but there is something about this box score/game recap that just lacks any excitement or care at all...

Obviously the Twins players were very angry and confused as to why Terry Ryan would trade Luis Castillo. The Mets are now a very put together team in the NL East and the Twins got...well...really nothing.

I, just like every Minnesotan, knows how special Kevin Garnett really is. But my question is, does ANY city or team give this kind of press and coverage of one player?! It's like the Pope just came to town and gave everyone$250,000 and promised to fold the Yankees. Also, am I the only one that is kind of mad that they are using Kevin Harlan and Trent Tucker's KG given nickname to sell tickets?

Is there anyone on this team that is happy right now? Well...with the exception of Lew Ford...since he clearly knows that he does NOT deserve to be in the majors and still is with this team. We might as well put a glove and a hat out in left field and hope that it can read balls better than Lew "the screw" Ford.

We'll end with this youtube clip from Stick and Ball Guy's blog yesterday. A great tribute to KG and if you can get through it without goosebumps/tears...then you have no soul.

Have a great weekend and stay safe.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

35-W bridge collapses

Roughly a mile away from the Metrodome, the 35-W bridge over the Mississippi River collapsed at 6:05 p.m. The decision was made to let the Twins game continue, in order to avoid unnecessary traffic of thousands of cars added to the highways. Detours have been set up to allow for safe traffic out of the Dome, to allow for emergency responders to do their jobs easily. The Twins game tomorrow has been postponed, along with tomorrow's groundbreaking ceremony.

From Yahoo! News -
"There were two lanes of traffic, bumper to bumper, at the point of the collapse. Those cars did go into the river," Minneapolis Police Lt. Amelia Huffman. "At this point there is nothing to suggest that this was anything other than a structural collapse."

At this time, CNN has reported 6 fatalities, with at least 3 dozen reported injured. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those involved in this tragedy, and also those rescue workers who will be working into the night to assist those injured.