Twin Citians, take note: I took the boys to Holidazzle at Loring Park yesterday, and we had a wonderful time. There's plenty to do for kids and adults (free skating w/free skate rental, a play area, interactive sculptures) as well as a nice selection of food and drink (including both alcoholic and non-alcoholic cider from Sociable Cider Werks and a heated Fulton beer tent) and craft vendors. We were there during the afternoon and it wasn't too crowded. I'm pretty sure we'll be making another visit before the season's end.

Happy Birthday–December 10

Jimmy Johnston (1889)
Rudy Hernandez (1931)
Jaime Jarrin (1935)
Doc Edwards (1936)
Bob Priddy (1939)
Dalton Jones (1943)
Steve Renko (1944)
Paul Assenmacher (1960)
Doug Henry (1963)
Luis Polonia (1963)
Mel Rojas (1966)
Joe Mays (1975)
Dan Wheeler (1977)
Gregorio Petit (1984)
Pedro Florimon (1986)

Pitcher Rudy Hernandez was a member of the old Washington franchise in 1960, but was chosen by the new Washington franchise in the expansion draft in December of 1960.

Jaime Jarrin has been the Dodgers' Spanish-language broadcaster since 1959.  For all the accolades Vin Scully has gotten (and they're deserved), it would be nice if Jarrin got a little more attention.

We would also like to wish a happy birthday to Moss' son.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–December 10

2002 Rewind: Game Sixty-six


Date:  Wednesday, June 12.

Batting stars:  Cristian Guzman was 2-for-4 with a double.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 1-for-4 with a triple.  Denny Hocking was 0-for-1 with two walks.

Pitching stars:  Johan Santana struck out eight in 4.2 innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and three walks.  J. C. Romero retired all four men he faced.  Mike Jackson and Eddie Guardado each pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Damian Moss struck out eight in seven shutout innings, giving up two hits and two walks.  Rafael Furcal was 3-for-5 with two doubles and a stolen base, his fifteenth.  Gary Sheffield was 2-for-3 with a home run (his tenth) and a walk.

The game:  Furcal led off the game with a double and scored on Sheffield's single to give the Braves a 1-0 lead.  It stayed 1-0 until the fifth, when Furcal again doubled and scored on a pair of wild pitches.  Sheffield hit a home run in the seventh to make it 3-0. Meanwhile, the Twins had only three hits through eight innings and only once advanced a man as far as second base.  In the ninth, however, Guzman doubled and scored on a Mientkiewicz triple.  Mientkiewicz came home on a ground out to cut the lead to 3-2, but there were now two out and no one on base.  Torii Hunter grounded out to end the game.

WP:  Moss (3-2).  LP:  Santana (1-1).  S:  John Smoltz (19).

Notes:  Jacque Jones was given the day off, with Dustan Mohr in left.  Luis Rivas was moved up to the leadoff spot, going 0-for-3...Matthew LeCroy was again the DH in place of David Ortiz, going 1-for-3...Hocking was at third base, replacing Corey Koskie...LeCroy's average was now .338...Hunter went 0-for-4 and was batting .300...Kielty was 0-for-2 to make his average .333...Mohr was 0-for-3 and was batting .310...A. J. Pierzynski was 1-for-3 and was batting .332...Santana threw 107 pitches in his 4.2 innings...Romero's ERA went down to 0.70...Jackson's ERA was 0.95...To be honest, I don't remember anything about Damian Moss.  He had a good year in 2002, though, going 12-6, 3.42, 1.28 WHIP, and finishing fifth in Rookie of the Year voting.  He had a FIP of 4.77, however, which would've been a warning sign if anyone had known what FIP was in 2002.  He's a native of Australia and signed with the Braves as a free agent.  He did well in the low minors, didn't do much in AAA, then missed all of 1998, presumably due to injury.  He struggled when he came back in 1999, did better in 2000, and had a fine season in AAA in 2001, although he made only sixteen starts.  He made five appearances for the Braves that season and was with them all of 2002, his first full season in the majors.  He tended to walk too many batters, walking 4.5 per nine innings that season (he had a seven-inning no hitter against St. Louis, but was pulled because he had given up seven walks), which was another warning sign.  The Braves may have picked up on some of these warning signs, because after the season they traded him to San Francisco for Russ Ortiz.  He struggled with the Giants in 2003 and was sent to Baltimore at the July trade deadline in a deal that involved Sir Sidney Ponson.  He became a free agent after the season, signed with Tampa Bay, and spent most of the year in the minors, making only five appearances with the big club.  Those would be his last five appearances in the majors.  He kept trying, however, and teams kept giving him chances, hoping he could repeat that 2002 season.  The Devil Rays released him in August of 20034and he signed with Cincinnati.  He was in the minors with Seattle in 2005, was back in the minors with Atlanta briefly in 2006, was in independent ball for most of 2006 and all of 2007, was back in the minors with Atlanta in 2008, and was in AAA with Colorado for 2009 and 2010.  He never really accomplished much in any of those places, but I guess you have to give him credit for persistence.  It appears that he has become an agent, working for Integrity Sports Agency in Dublin, Georgia.

Record:  The Twins were 37-29, in first place by four games over Chicago.

Happy Birthday–December 9

Joe Kelley (1871)
Cy Seymour (1872)
Adam Comorosky (1905)
Billy Klaus (1928)
Joe DeMaestri (1928)
Darold Knowles (1941)
Jim Merritt (1943)
Del Unser (1944)
Jerry Cram (1947)
Doc Medich (1948)
Steve Christmas (1957)
Ed Romero (1957)
Juan Samuel (1960)
Tony Tarasco (1970)
Todd Van Poppel (1971)
Tony Batista (1973)
Adam Wilk (1987)

Outfielder Del Unser was drafted by Minnesota in the second round in 1965, but did not sign. Catcher Steve Christmas was drafted by Minnesota in the thirty-third round in 1975, but did not sign.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–December 9

2002 Rewind: Game Sixty-five


Date:  Tuesday, June 11.

Batting stars:  Bobby Kielty was 1-for-2 with a walk.  Matthew LeCroy was 1-for-3 with a double.  Those were the only two Twins hits.

Pitching stars:  LaTroy Hawkins struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up one hit.  Matt Kinney pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one walk and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Tom Glavine pitched seven shutout innings, giving up two hits and one walk and striking out two.  Rafael Furcal was 3-for-5 with a walk.  Vinny Castilla was 2-for-4 with a home run, his ninth.

The game:  The Braves scored once in the third on a Chipper Jones sacrifice fly and once in the fourth on a home run by Keith Lockhart.  They blew the game open in the fifth, scoring seven times.  Andruw Jones hit a two-run homer and Castilla and Matt Franco also homered.  Javy Lopez added a two-run homer in the sixth.  The biggest Twins threat came in the second, when LeCroy led off with a double and Kielty followed with a walk.  A fly out and a double play ended the threat.

WP:  Glavine (11-2).  LP:  Kyle Lohse (6-4).  S:  None.

NotesLeCroy played first base in place of Doug Mientkiewicz...Kielty played center field in place of Torii Hunter...Brian Buchanan was the DH in place of David Ortiz...Tom Prince caught in place of A. J. Pierzynski...Jacque Jones was 0-for-4 to make his average .313...LeCroy's average was now .338.  He couldn't be expected to keep that up, and he sure didn't.  Over the last three months of the season he batted .163...Kielty's average was now .339...Dustan Mohr was 0-for-3 and was batting .315...Luis Rivas was 0-for-3 and was batting .306...Hawkins now had an ERA of 1.37...Tom Glavine was nearly as consistent as Greg Maddux.  He had double-digit wins in every season from 1989-2002, had nine in 2003, and then was back in double digits from 2004-2007.  He won twenty or more games five times and fourteen or more games thirteen times.  His ERA was under four (often well under) every season from 1991-1998, and after posting a 4.12 mark in 1999 he was back under four from 2000-2002.  He made twenty-nine or more starts in every year from 1998-2007 except for the strike year of 1994, when he made twenty-five.  He pitched 180 or more innings a season over that same span, with the strike year of 1994 again being the lone exception (165.1).  He won the Cy Young Award twice and was in the top three four other times.  It has to be a wonderful feeling for a manager to know he has two top-notch starters in his rotation who never get hurt and almost always give you six or seven innings.

Record:  The Twins were 37-28, in first place by five games over Chicago.

Remodeled basement. Same half-baked taste.