Friday, February 29, 2008

Land O' Links & our 100th post

In the last two weeks, we here at Court's Sports have seen some milestones come and go.

- We hit our 1,000th visitor to the site

- Today is our 100th post

- We managed to make it through Johan, Torii AND KG all leaving Minnesota.

We would like to thank you all for supporting our site and coming back week after week. I have finally finished my teaching courses for the year so we will be posting on here much more frequently.

The NBA season is a month from wrapping up and baseball is a month from starting up again. With relatively new teams in Minnesota, we will have a lot to talk about in the next several weeks.

Since today is our 100th post, lets take a look at the number 100 and it's relevance in our society:

- United States has 100 Senators

- Largest denomination of US money is the $100 dollar bill, or "Benjamin"

- The number of tiles in a scrabble set

- 100 episodes, when a tv show is then available to be put into syndication

- WB show "Unhappily Ever After" was only 100 episodes long

- Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points on March 2, 1962

- 2004 World Series...Red Sox defeat the St. Louis Cardinals in the 100th World Series

- LaDanian Tomlinson is the fastest to reach 100 touchdowns in his career

- Ryan Howard, fastest to reach 100 home runs in MLB history

- 100 yards is the minimum yardage on a par 3

So there you go...and here are your links for the day!

- This is potentially the greatest thing that I have ever come across on the internet. It's unfortunate that it was in front of the entire family...but part of me beleives that if I had been part of that family...I would tell that story like it was going out of style.

- You always hate to see the greats pass away. He was the creator of the Terrible Towel and was a great voice for the Steelers.

- We all in Minnesota rememeber the great 2004 season the Timberwolves had. Sam Cassell is a great basketball player and maybe he will help the Celtics. But then again, it could be really devastating for the Celtics' Rajon Rondo. He's played well this year and hopefully Doc Rivers doesn't screw this up.


- Someone Will!

We'll be back to our regular schedule starting next week. Monday's and Fridays with a middle day thrown in.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Where's Waldo?

There is one question that I know both Courtland and I discussed last season, and perhaps even the season before. Nearly every time we went to a Twins game together, we sat in the outfield seats, aka Homerun Porch. Anyone who has ever sat in these seats, particularly those closest to centerfield, has no doubt seen Helmet Guy. Our ingenious name for the guy came from his ever present white helmet, which has the Twins logo on the front and Torii Hunter's number on the back. Up until today, I had completely forgotten about the question that Court and I had posed to eachother during a game last spring - What will Helmet Guy do if Torii leaves this offseason?

Well, Torii is gone, and Helmet Guy now needs to figure out his next move.

First a bit of background.

Court and I nearly always discussed Helmet Guy at some point during a game. He was always there when we got to the game, no matter HOW early we arrived at the Dome. This led us to postulate whether he lives at the stadium or not (we decided he lives behind the CF fence). We were delighted one day, when Helmet Guy was in his usual seat wearing a customized jersey. On the back was the number 13 and the name Waldo. While we now knew his name, he still remained Helmet Guy to us. Another game, obviously playing off of his Waldo moniker, he wore a t-shirt to the game that asked "Where's Waldo?" It subsequently had his section, row, and seat number. While I don't remember exactly, I'm pretty sure it was about Section 102, Row 2, Seat 2. This obviously led us to despise Waldo's obvious narcissism.

However, it is one game in particular that stands out for me in my mind as to Helmet Guy's true character. True fans in the outfield bleachers realize that a beach ball in the stands is part of the experience. Court and I always laugh when a security guard can't get the ball, or a dumb fan punches the ball onto the field (ok, that part is annoying), or when a new ball starts right after another one is popped (which also should draw numerous boo's). However, in this game, Helmet Guy felt it was his personal duty to grab the ball and hand it to the security guard. He made an effort to go and get the ball to help the security guards. Helmet Guy has a FRONT ROW SEAT! He has no reason to be upset by what is going on behind him. His view isn't getting blocked! The ball is affecting him in no way at all. Yet, he still decided that he must track down the ball to give it to the security guard. Helmet Guy lost some of his cool the day he did that.

However, Helmet Guy still retained his mystique in my eyes. Seeing as both Court and I are college students, and are both out of the Metro area, neither of us can get to games on a regular basis until the summer. This results in a lot of FSN North for me, and a lot of Yahoo! box score checking for Courtland since he doesn't get the Twins games. While the games were almost always entertaining in themselves, with Bert and Dick ready to spout out some dumb new quote, or Johan mowing down the opposition, it was always an added bonus when a ground rule double was hit towards centerfield. EVERY SINGLE TIME this happened, there was Helmet Guy, reaching into the empty space behind the wall trying to catch the ball. I always cheered when this happened, regardless of who hit the double. Most times, I found myself calling Courtland to tell him that I had just seen our friend Helmet Guy on TV. One time I even recall Bert discussing Waldo by name, and FSN had a shot of him for about 5 seconds. So, as you can see, I have some unusual obsession with the guy (or so my girlfriend jokes with me about). I just think its cool that the Twins have a fan that can be immediately pointed out when a game is on TV, but I guess that something is wrong with me.

Anyway, back to my original point. I wondered what Helmet Guy would be doing this season. I stumbled upon this article following a google search of "metrodome minnesota twins waldo." I found out that Waldo is actually a guy named Greg Dryden and he hasn't missed a game in 3 years. In the article, Torii says that he personally recognizes Waldo as his biggest fan, and that Torii will also miss having Waldo behind him in the stands. It also turns out that "Waldo" is a name that Bert's wife came up with for Dryden. In addition, in 2005 Dryden caught 352 batting practice and game balls from his seat.

As one can deduce from article, Waldo missing Torii won't be a one way street. However, the biggest sentence out of the article for answering my question was this:
He said he will continue coming to every game, even if Hunter leaves, but it won't be the same.
Well, part of the question is answered, in that Helmet Guy will still be a presence in his seat every single game. However, I am still curious as to what happens to his helmet now. Does he remove Torii's number and not replace it? Does he put the new CF's number? Does he put Delmon Young's 21 onto his helmet? All are options, but I think the most likely choice for Helmet Guy is to keep Torii's 48 on the back of the helmet as a memento to Hunter and his years with the team.

While I won't be able to make it to a game until May, I am hoping for a ground rule double to centerfield Opening Day. Helmet Guy will be there, cheering on Torii Hunter, in a much different way than last season. And maybe, just maybe, I'll catch whats on the back of his helmet.

look at 1:06, and Helmet Guy is getting out of his seat at the bottom left of the video

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Twins Ink Hernandez

The Minnesota Twins have added a veteran pitcher to the team with their signing of Free Agent righty Livan Hernandez.

The native Cuban pitched well last year for the NL runner-up Arizona Diamondbacks and is well known for being an innings-eater.

"If we could find the right guy, we were going to add that," general manager Bill Smith said. "We certainly weren't afraid to go in without veteran starters, but it's going to be give those young players someone to look to."

Twins ace closer Joe Nathan, teammate of Hernandez formerly when they both played for the San Francisco Giants, thinks very highly of him.

"It's not so important to get a veteran guy just to have him there, if he's not going to be at the same level that the younger guy would be," Nathan said. "But you get a guy like this that has proven he throws a ton of innings and knows how to pitch, I think if you can pick up a guy like that, it's a great fit."

Many Twins fans will remember the recent free agent pitcher signings : Ramon Ortiz, Sidney Ponson and the media favorite Kenny Rogers. Those, with the exception of Rogers, did not pan out very well. So we will have to be cautious to accept this with joy just yet. But with a young staff, we'll gladly take an innings eater who seems to be quite personable.

The deal is worth 1 year and $5 million dollars. A safe contract that the Twins could get a lot of production out of.

New Banner Logo

So, I was relatively bored tonight and decided the site needed a facelift, so I designed a new banner logo for the site. Let me know what you guys think of it, and if there is anything you would change about it!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Friday Land O' Links

Not much going on in Minnesota sports after the Santana trade of last week. The Vikings season is done, the Timberwolves are still swimming in mediocrity, pitchers and catchers haven't reported quite yet, and the Wild are still atop their division. Since their isn't really anything to discuss with Minnesota sports, what is better than some random links?

-FireJoeMorgan, one of my favorite blogs, which just TEARS into terrible sports journalism by reputed professionals, just had its main writer reveal who he was. While its not a huge name, he does write and occasionally act in my favorite show on television: The Office. Turns out main contributor, who writes under the name Ken Tremendous, is none other than Dwight's cousin Mose (His real name is Michael Shur). Anyway, their blog leads me into my next link...

-Personally, I love the fact that the Giants won the Super Bowl. On another personal note, I also hate Eli Manning. That's why this article pissed me off, and Shur's subsequent analysis of it made me laugh out loud. While I do think Philip Rivers should shut up and play, I do feel he is a better player than Eli, and when you consider that he nearly beat the Patriots with a torn ACL and missing the top tight end and RB in the league, I think it shows that this trade was, on the surface, a virtual swap. Considering that NY also gave San Diego draft picks which turned into Shawne Merriman and Nate Kaeding, I completely disagree with his analysis that the Giants came out on top in the trade, and that its "not even close."

-Speaking of the Super Bowl, these people are psychotic. Seriously, you have nothing better to do? Really?

-Jeff Frazee, struggling U of M goalie, should maybe try out this new tactic in saving goals.

-For a different take on the Twins 2008 lineup than from Sunday's post, Seth Stohs not only projects the Twins lineup, but also their AAA-Rochester lineup, and their AA-New Britain lineup
over at

-Turns out maybe the Red Sox should have traded for Johan, because now they could need him.

-Timberwolves play the Celtics at home in their only primetime game of the season, and KG won't be in uniform, and won't be on the bench for the game. He will, however, be introduced before the game.

-This kid is going to be the butt of a lot of jokes for the rest of high school. I mean, all he did was lie about getting recruited, stage a fake press conference in his high school gym with his entire school and 2 news stations watching, and make his dad cry. And then he didn't think he'd get caught. Now he's hoping not to go to jail. Hey, at least he didn't wait until national signing day to announce where he is (not) going.

I'll leave you guys with this video, comments are always appreciated!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Minnesota Twins: Post Santana Era

While the Mets are now lavishing their talented new pitcher, Twins fans are left wondering "what now?" Well, many of the Twins vacancies have been filled at this point and now it is just time to put the puzzle pieces together. As a result of the Mets trade, the Twins now have a young outfielder in Carlos Gomez capable of stepping into both their leadoff hitting role and centerfield position. In addition, while the Twins don't have a distinguishable number one pitcher, the Twins added pitchers Kevin Mulvey and Philip Humber in the Santana trade who are both capable of being in the rotation this year, as well as around five Twins that could be part of the rotation also.

Gomez becomes for the Twins the kind of player at the top of the lineup that they hoped former first round pick Denard Span would develop into. However, Span hasn't yet shown he can handle Triple-A, let alone the majors. Gomez is younger and has better overall tools than Span, in addition to a solid minor league career behind him. Gomez has been rumored to have better overall speed than former teammate Jose Reyes, and he is also still developing his power. All of this indicates that the Twins will be opening the season with Gomez at CF, barring a terrible showing in Spring Training.

The biggest question for the Twins lays in the five pitchers who will end up in the starting rotation to begin the season. The Twins have numerous options: Scott Baker, Boof Bonser, Kevin Slowey, and Glen Perkins all pitched for the Twins last season; Francisco Liriano was an All-Star in 2006 but injured for the 2007 season; Brian Duensing, Nick Blackburn, Humber and Mulvey, all of whom spent the majority of the season in the minors last season; and Zach Day and Randy Keisler, two players with major-league experience who are spring training invites. At this point, it seems as those with the most experience with the Twins are guaranteed spots. This means that Baker, Bonser, and Slowey will undoubtedly be in the rotation. In addition, the Twins will evaluate who most deserves a spot and who will benefit most from a spot in the rotation. Obviously Liriano factors into the Twins long term plans in terms of a rotation spot; however, the Twins would be fools to rush Liriano along and risk further injury. Granted, Liriano is a future ace for the team and could be ready by Opening Day, but knowing how conservative the Twins generally are, Liriano will be in the bullpen to start the season. This leaves two rotation spots for the rest to battle over. At this point, without spring training to gauge progress, it is difficult to predict which players will occupy those final two spots. Based upon previous performance, it makes the most sense for the Twins to begin the season with Blackburn as their fourth starter, and Humber as the fifth starter. Humber started one game for the Mets last season, but at 25 years old needs to be given an opportunity in the bigs.

Many Twins fans remember Bonser, Baker, and Slowey from their starts for the Twins last season. Bonser and Baker performed relatively well, but Twins fans will remember Slowey for struggling at the major-league level. It is true that Slowey performed rather terribly in the majors, yet Slowey performed so well at Triple-A last season that he was named International League Pitcher of the Year. In addition, Slowey had a 2.89 ERA with 19 K's and no walks in his last three starts of the season last year, indicating that Slowey is ready to start for the Twins in '08. Blackburn, who earned a September callup with the Twins last season, is rated as the Twins top prospect for 2008 by Baseball America. Blackburn's story is similar to Slowey's, in that Blackburn had a spectacular Triple-A season last year (7-3, 2.11 ERA, 57 K's), but struggled in his limited time with the team. In addition, Blackburn simply dominated the Arizona Fall League this past October, going 4-0 with a 1.64 ERA and 20 K's. Blackburn has certainly earned a spot in the rotation, and more than likely the Twins will give him that spot. Humber, on the other hand, most likely gets his spot in the rotation by default. Humber has the right combination of potential and experience that none of the other players have, which grants him the final spot in the rotation. However, when Liriano is ready to enter the rotation, Humber will be the odd man out, and most likely will spend a bulk of the season making spot starts and being a long reliever.

From this analysis, the Twins starting lineup to start the season should be:
#1 - Scott Baker RHP
#2 - Boof Bonser RHP
#3 - Kevin Slowey RHP
#4 - Nick Blackburn RHP
#5 - Phil Humber RHP

If there is one glaringly obvious problem in this rotation, it is that every pitcher is a righty. While this is the best rotation that the Twins can put on the field (until lefty Liriano is better), they may actually throw lefty Glen Perkins into the rotation to start the season in order to throw a different look at teams. This is the only way in which I can envision Perkins making the Twins rotation. If the Twins are determined to start Liriano to begin the season, then Liriano moves to the top spot in the rotation, and everyone else moves down, with Humber dropping out.

Despite the fact that the Twins are a rebuilding team on the pitching side, the Twins are set to put their best hitting lineup on the field in years. After offseason acquisitions of a slugging left fielder, power hitting 3B, a slick fielding shortstop, strong hitting second baseman and the aforementioned Gomez, the Twins have an extremely strong lineup to begin the season, with no unknowns unlike previous years. The Twins lineup projects as-

Carlos Gomez, CF, R
Joe Mauer, C, L
Delmon Young, LF, R
Justin Morneau, 1B, L
Michael Cuddyer, RF, R
Mike Lamb, 3B, L
Jason Kubel, DH, L
Brendan Harris, 2B, R
Adam Everett, SS, R

While Gomez is still unpolished at the top of the lineup, he has pure speed, and has shown flashes of the top hitter he could be. From Gomez, though, the rest of the lineup is extremely solid until you get to the nine spot, where Adam Everett hits. Mauer moves into the 2-slot, where he can move Gomez over in addition to get on base for Young or Morneau to hit in. This lineup allows Young to hit in Mauer's 2007 spot, where he will generate more power, in addition to having Mauer on base in front of him most of the time. In addition, Morneau slides up into a more apt role for him, the cleanup spot. The past two seasons, Morneau has had the bulk of his at-bats in the 5-spot, robbing him of RBI opportunities. This small change in the lineup could help in Morneau deliver the best season of his career (Yes, even better than his 2006 MVP season).

The lineup follows with Cuddyer, Lamb, Kubel, and Harris, all of whom have power potential, something the Twins lacked in the back half of the lineup last season. Kubel showed what he could do over the last two months of the season last year, finally fully recovered from his horrific knee injury of 2004. Kubel hit .364 in August, and .325 in September, while at the same time not earning all the at-bats he should. This season he enters as the full time DH, and is poised to break out in his second full season. The Twins have also added Lamb and Harris, former part-time players who the Twins feel have earned a starting role, and hopefully will take full advantage of their opportunity. The lineup rounds out with Everett in the nine hole, who has always been a no-hit, all field player. The Twins expect more of the same this season, but hope the rest of the lineup can make up for what he lacks at the plate.

While most of this can change during Spring Training, this is the best idea of what is in store for the Twins this upcoming season. It will most likely be a difficult one for the Twins, but hey, at least we have that new stadium on the way!