76 thoughts on “July 31, 2015: Back in Session”

  1. Random observations from Target Field last night:

    1. When he made the leaping catch in the eighth inning, Brad Miller got the very rare Al Hrabosky Special: the standing boo on the road.
    2. As I mentioned in the gamelog, the second base umpire was really teasing Miller the rest of the inning.
    3. I'll always be able to tell the Valet that I was at a game where a team intentionally walked Aaron Hicks to pitch to Joe Mauer.
    4. Eddie Rosario with me in attendance: 6 G, 500/500/875 slash line in 24 PAs. Highest OPS of all players I've seen in person* more than 5 times (next three: Gary Gaetti, Roberto Kelly(!), and ARod).
    5. Dozier is now one of eight players I've seen homer in person* 4 times. Only Michael Cuddyer (8) and Torii Hunter (6) have more.
    6. Were Mauer's called third strikes legit? He seemed very displeased, but I had no angle to make any sort of guess. The boobirds definitely were coming out for him by the 5th inning.
    7. Jersey/shirsey count in sections near where I was sitting:
    Mauer 26
    Morneau 7
    Hunter 5
    Dozier 5
    Sano 4
    Killebrew 3
    Cuddyer 3
    Johan 2
    Carew 2
    Plouffe 2
    King Felix 1
    Span 1
    Puckett 1
    Blyleven 1
    Buxton 1
    Stewart 1
    Hrbek 1
    Cano 1
    Seager 1
    Perkins 1
    Gibson 1
    Fernando Torres 1

    *Stats tracked using Hardball Passport. Also, only counts games I can absolutely confirm I attended which means about 200 or so from the 80s and early 90s are unrecorded because I don't have documentary proof or a specific recollection of being at that game.

    1. I used to have a bag with all my ticket stubs from age 14 up. Lost them in the last move. So annoyed.

      1. I have my scorebooks dating back to 1996, so I have documentary proof of about 95% of the games I've attended since then. There is usually one game every couple of years where I don't keep score for whatever reason.

        1. While I love the aesthetics of scorekeeping, I pretty much stopped doing it once I found retrosheet. I found I had my head down in my book too much and wasn't enjoying the game

    2. My opinion on the Mauer strikeouts is that they were close pitches that could have gone either way, but I didn't think they were necessarily bad calls.

    3. Dozier is now one of eight players I've seen homer in person* 4 times.

      Man, I think I saw Thome with Cleveland like three times and he probably hit 4 homeruns. In one season. Off Rick Reed.

        1. Yes, I've seen Glen Perkins and Phil Hughes both allow four homeruns just this year.

          I saw Radke allow 19 homeruns.

          Also, Hughes is now 4-0 in the four games I've seen him pitch. The only other pitcher I saw win four games: Radke.

            1. 2-0 with 2.41 ERA when I was there. For almost his entire heyday, I was living in DC so didn't see him much in person.

              He didn't allow a run in the final two starts I saw (one was Game 1 of 2004 ALDS).

  2. New windows being installed on the house this week. A full report on this project later. Let me tell you that it's never nothing.

  3. Spooky, what's with AZ's early school start dates?
    I have (oddly enough) among my FB friends more than a couple teachers in AZ. By those feeds, I was under the impression they hated education there.

      1. I think that spoilered clip might be my favorite line from the whole series. My wife and I both laughed so hard it hurt at that one.

      1. Jepsen's line this year: 7.3 K/9, 4.3 BB/9, and 4.13 FIP in 41.2 innings. Projections at FanGraphs have him at a FIP of 3.70 or a bit below so some improvement may happen. Nothing special but probably the #2 reliever now.

        1. A 4.13 FIP puts Jepsen at Boyer's line right now while the 3.70 FIP would be second best, barely ahead of Pressly's 3.72 and Tonkin's 3.75.

        1. I remember sitting in Cleveland a few years back on the trade deadline, when they were in contention for the first time in a while, and they traded for Ubaldo Jimenez. Tons of their knowledgable fans hated the trade, because it gave away part of the future they'd been building. I remember being struck by how their hate for it was so largely based on the fact that these minor league players who they'd heard of could maybe be someone great someday.

          I think as fans of a rebuilding franchise, we maybe tend to put too much stock in the future. I know I do it a lot, watching the minor league teams just as, and sometimes more, closely as the major league. So it's tough to balance belief in the future with hope in the now.

            1. Yeah, but so it Drew Pomeranz and Alex White then versus Chin-Wei Hu & Alexis Tapia now.

              1. Sure, if Pomeranz and White were my guys in 2011 that would've stung a little bit. But trading great prospects for a good starting pitcher is much more defensible than trading anything at all decent for another mediocre middle reliever that they could've found in their own system already.

          1. I'm not outraged by the trade, but it is the kind of trade that can come back to bite you. Jepsen looks like he's okay but nothing special. If one of the guys we traded turns out to be good, then this will look like a really bad deal.

            1. It will.

              But if we have an extra bullpen arm that can get us into the wild card game...

  4. So, I read that the Mariners intentionally walked Aaron Hicks last night to get to Baby J. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

    1. Joins former Twins Colabello, Danny Valencia, LaTroy Hawkins, RA Dickey, Liam Hendriks

  5. Last week a vendor buddy of mine asked me what to expect from the Twins at the trade deadline. I told him "a minor incremental improvement on the margins." I guess I was overly optimistic.

  6. I'm considering trying to grill pizza this weekend for the first time ever. I have a whole bunch of pesto, and decided I should use some of it on a pizza, and... well, I know lots of you in the nation have recommended it.

    I've never made pizza dough, and have no special tools. I'll want to be able to grill right on the rack, if that's possible. Recommendations? Recipies? Tips?

    1. That is how I grill pizzas -- right on the rack.

      Don't go too thin or too large, oil your rack, and be prepared to work quickly. I grill one side a bit (be pepared with a sharp knife to pop bubbles), then remove and put the toppings on the grilled side and slide the pie back on.

      I have two peels. I use one for fresh dough, the other for assembly and removal. With a hot fire, these go very quickly. Be sparse with toppings and cover the grill while baking to reflect some heat.

      James McNair's book, Pizza, has good basic dough recipes.

      1 tbsp sugar dissolved in 1 cup lukewarm water. Stir in 1 tbsp yeast to smooth. Let proof about five minutes. If foamy, you are good.

      combine 3 and a quarter cups flour and a teaspoon kosher salt. Pour in the yeast and mix to combine. Kneed for about five minutes, then turn into an oiled bowl. Turn over to coat with oil and cover to let rise. Punch down after an hour or so and either use at this point or let rise again.

      I can usually get between four and six 8-inch (approx) pies out of a recipe.

      I usually add a couple tbsp extra virgin olive oil to the dough at the mixing stage. Variations include substituting a cup of corn meal for a cup of AP, or half whole wheat for AP, or, for NY style, omitting the sugar.

      1. I used to approach pizza on the grill in the same way as described above, but recently I've been striving for that perfect, thin and crisp pizza. I've tried everything short of buying a baking steel, and found that the best pizza is made by heating up my 'stone' on the grill over a smoking hot pile of coals. I let the stone come up to temperature for 30ish minutes, and roll (yeah, I don't have time to toss dough) out the dough super thin. I use very little in terms of toppings, and have shortened bake time to just a couple of minutes. The crust pops, gets a little charred in spots, and is an outstanding vehicle for sauce and cheese (and whatever left over protein happens to be in our fridge).

        I use Mark Bittman's recipe for dough. It's always worked spectacularly, and by making thin crust pizzas we can get four 12 inch pies out of one batch of dough. What dough we do not use freezes well for use later. Don't skimp on the salt in the dough. I recently left the salt out by accident and ended up with the blandest crust you've ever tasted.

        I've also found that garlic lightly simmered in olive oil is an excellent base for almost any combination of toppings. My favorite pairing there is sweet potato, bacon and fresh mozzarella, and topped with fresh arugula after the pie cools just a bit . I've also discovered that full fat greek yogurt (as the sauce) and andouille are a match made in heaven. We almost always saute some onion and diced peppers as a way to add something 'healthy' to the toppings.

        1. Dude. That sounds awesome. But I am worried about breaking my stone from thermal shock by heating it too quickly. Is this not a worry?

          1. I haven't had any problems ... yet. I usually pre-warm the stone, but I let the grill do the heavy lifting. If I do crack it that will be the excuse to buy a steel.

            1. I've had two stones break in the oven over the past 25 years. I guess I'm just skittish.

              Of course, I'm also too fastidious to use my cast iron on/in the grill too. Maybe I need to get a separate set just for grill use, pace Phyllo.

    2. Heh, as a matter of fact I just did this last night. I do pretty much exactly what bS does. I do have trouble getting the toppings nice and browned, though. I think it has to do with my grill, though. I'm doing it on the gas instead of the charcoal. I had to toss both pizzas into the broiler for a minute or two.

      1. Also, google "the pizza lab" at seriouseats.com. they have a nice article from 2011 on grilled pizza.

      2. I'll be using gas. Also, I don't have a peel, so I'm planning on using a cookie sheet. That should work, right?

        1. I assume your cookie sheet has no rim? You might want a metal spatula to use alongside it if you have one to remove the pizza from the grill. That way you can do the initial lift with the spatula and then slide the cookie sheet underneath.

          I've used this recipe and it has always turned out well--both in terms of ease of grilling and flavor. The spicy garlic oil in the recipe sounds very similar to what meat mentioned.

          Whatever you do, be sure not to overload it with toppings--you don't want to risk sogginess.

    1. The Bison have a real shot at a fifth straight FCS title. Their offense will score at least 40 a game. It's only whether they'll have enough defense.

      Also, the Bison are now a member of the Big XII in wrestling. I've heard rumblings about them joining the Big XII in football recently. That would require some facility upgrades, but I think they could compete in that league after a few years.

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