1987 Rewind: Game Eighty-nine


Date:  Sunday, July 12.

Batting stars:  Greg Gagne was 1-for-2.  Al Newman was 1-for-3.  Those were the only two hits the Twins had.

Pitching star:  Keith Atherton struck out two in two perfect innings.

Opposition stars:  Dave Schmidt pitched a complete game shutout, giving up two hits and no walks with seven strikeouts.  Mike Young was 2-for-3 with two home runs (his eighth and ninth), driving in four.  Eddie Murray was 1-for-3 with a home run (his twentieth) and a walk, scoring twice.

The game:  Young hit a two-run homer in the second, Murray homered leading off the fourth, and Young hit another two-run homer later in the fourth.  The Twins did not have a baserunner until the sixth, when Gagne got a two-out single.  Newman singled leading off the seventh, but was erased on a double play, so the Twins batted only one over the minimum.

Of note:  Kirby Puckett was 0-for-3, dropping his average to .337...Roy Smalley was 0-for-3, dropping his average to .310...Joe Niekro pitched six innings, giving up five runs on six hits and three walks with four strikeouts.

Record:  The Twins were 49-40, in first place, two games ahead of Kansas City and Oakland.

Notes:  This was the Twins' last game before the all-star break...Newman played second and batted second, replacing Steve Lombardozzi.  I know Lombardozzi was a weak bat, but he was no worse than Newman, and given that Lombardozzi was an excellent defensive player (at least in my recollection) it's hard to understand why Newman played so much.

Player profile:  This is one of three career shutouts for Dave Schmidt, which isn't bad considering that he spent most of his career in the bullpen.  He had 63 career starts and only started more than 14 games once, in 1989, while making 313 appearances in relief.  He was drafted by Texas in the 26th round in 1979 and made his major league debut in 1981.  He was with the Rangers through 1985 and pitched very well for them, going 20-22, 3.14, 1.26 WHIP with 26 saves in 343.2 innings.  After the 1985 season, he was traded to the White Sox with Wayne Tolleson for Ed Correa, Scott Fletcher, and a player to be named later (Jose Mota).  After a year there, he signed as a free agent with Baltimore.  He started the year in the bullpen, went into the rotation in early June, and stayed there until late August, when his season ended due to injury.  He started 1988 in the bullpen, but again was put into the rotation, this time in August.  He pitched well in both roles, so one assumes teams generally found him to be more valuable in the bullpen.  In 1989, however, he started the year in the rotation and had a bad year, going 8-11, 5.34 before being sent back to the pen in late July.  A free agent after the season, he signed with Montreal and went back to relief, but was not the same pitcher he'd been.  He pitched for two more years, mostly in AAA, then was done.  A Google search reveals very little about his career other than his stats--one could speculate that his arm could not hold up to the rigors of starting regularly, but it would only be speculation.  He has stayed in baseball, in the Orioles organization, and at last report was the Florida and Latin America pitching coordinator for Baltimore.

Prince – Auld Lang Syne

(screw you, 2015 joe.)

Welp, what can you say? What a [tfb]ing year.

I won't go much further than that, as many others either will or already have for me. Anyway, grab a beverage, raise your glass, and let's all sing along with this old song that we only know a few of the words to, including Prince.

31 Dec 1987

I said it before, and I'll say it again: good luck, you guys.

I'll see you on the other side.

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Happy Birthday–December 31

King Kelly (1857)
Tom Connolly (1870)
Bobby Byrne (1884)
Syl Johnson (1900)
Tommy Byrne (1919)
Guy LaValliere (1931)
Alfredo Meli (1944)
Joe Simpson (1951)
Jim Tracy (1955)
Rick Aguilera (1961)
Esteban Loaiza (1971)
Brian Moehler (1971)
Julio DePaula (1982)

Tom Connolly was a major league umpire for many years.  He umpired the first World Series game in 1903.  He once went ten years without ejecting a player.

It does not appear that Bobby Byrne and Tommy Byrne are related.

Minor league catcher Guy LaValliere is the father of major league catcher Mike LaValliere.

Alfredo Meli is a member of the Italian Baseball Hall of Fame.  He was the first man to win Italian championships as a player, a manager, and a general manager.  He also founded the Italian Baseball Federation for the Blind.

Nobody ever makes a fuss about the last baby of the old year.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–December 31

Venezuelan Views: Twins in the Venezuelan League

The Venezuelan League season is over, so here's how Twins players there did.

The star was Luis Arraez.  In 182 at-bats he hit .335/.382/.445 with 22 RBIs.  Small sample size, but he had similar numbers in Cedar Rapids last year:  .347/.386/.444.  He probably should've been moved up to Fort Myers, but he wasn't.  He'll be twenty on April 9.

Reynaldo Rodriguez, who the Twins recently re-signed, also had a fine season.  He batted .309/.370/.536 in in 220 at-bats, hitting 12 home runs  with 41 RBIs.  Rodriguez is thirty, so he's not a prospect, but he'll help the Rochester Red Wings again.

Niko Goodrum put up solid numbers, too.  He batted .284/.354/.431 in 116 at-bats.  Those numbers are close to what he did in Chattanooga last season.  He'll be twenty-five at the end of February.

Eduardo Escobar got to Venezuela a week or so ago.  He went 4-for-13 in three games, giving him a batting average of .308.

Victor Tademo appeared in four games, each time as a pinch-runner.  He stole a base and scored once.  He did not get a plate appearance.

Ryan O'Rourke did not do well in Venezuela.  In thirteen games (16.2 innings), he went 1-1, 6.48, 1.80 WHIP.  He did strike out seventeen.  It probably won't have much impact on his future with the Twins, but it certainly didn't help.

Edwar Colina appeared in one game and pitched one inning, giving up two hits but no runs.

Confesor Lara spent most of the winter in the Dominican, but he appeared in one game in Venezuela.  He gave up no hits and a walk with one strikeout.

The Venezuelan League playoffs start next week.  Six teams go.  The first round is a best-of-seven series.  Here are the matchups.

Margarita v. Lara
La Guaira v. Anzoategui
Aragua v. Zulia

Winter Wonderland: Games of December 29



Margarita scored two in the eighth to break a 2-2 tie.  Breyvic Valera hit a home run for Margarita, his seventh.


Two singles, a walk, and another single produced two first-inning runs for Anzoategui and they led all the way.  Daryl Thompson pitched seven shutout innings, giving up seven hits and a walk with three strikeouts.


Lara trailed 5-2, but a two-run fourth and a three-run fifth gave them a 7-5 lead and they were ahead the rest of the way.  Jairo Perez hit a home run for Lara, his fifth.




Zoilo Almonte's two-run double gave the Aguilas a 2-0 lead in the first and Jonathan Villar's two-run single in the sixth made it 7-4.  Danny Santana was 0-for-3 with a walk and a run for the Aguilas.  Jorge Polanco was 3-for-4 with a double for Escogido, scoring once and driving in one.  Almonte was 3-for-5 for the Aguilas.


A single, a walk, and three doubles produced four runs for Licey, turning a 3-1 deficit into a 5-3 lead they kept the rest of the game.  Diory Hernandez was 3-for-4 with two doubles and a walk for Licey, scoring four times and driving in one.  Jason Rogers homered for Licey.


Licey, 2-0
Aguilas, 2-1
Gigantes, 0-1
Escogido, 0-2



Jeff Dominguez' two-run homer capped a three-run fourth that put Carolina up 3-0.  Benji Gonzalez was 1-for-3 for Mayaguez.  Kennys Vargas was 1-for-4 for Mayaguez.  Felix Ortega pitched five innings for Carolina, giving up one run on five hits and no walks with two strikeouts.


Rusney Castillo's RBI single in the sixth broke a 2-2 tie and Caguas added an insurance run in the eighth.  Orlando Roman struck out six in six innings for Caguas, giving up two runs on four hits and two walks.



Joey Meneses' three-run homer in the seventh gave Culiacan a 6-4 lead and they held on.  Maxwell Leon was 3-for-3 with a double and an RBI for Culiacan.  Meneses' homer was his seventh.


Leading 4-3, Navojoa scored three in the fourth, highlighted by a two-run single by Quincy Latimore, to take control of the game.  Alan Sanchez was 5-for-5 with two doubles for Navojoa, scoring four times and driving in two.  Yosmany Guerra was 3-for-5 with two doubles for Navojoa, scoring once and driving in three.


Mazatlan led 1-0 through seven, but Obregon scored five in the eighth and six in the ninth to take control of the game.  Irwin Delgado struck out six in 5.1 innings for Obregon, giving up one run on four hits and a walk.


Hermosillo scored seven in the fourth to take an 8-2 lead.  Jose Amador hit a grand slam in the inning.  Pablo Ortega pitched six innings for Hermosillo, giving up two runs on four hits and two walks with five strikeouts.  Amador's home run was his fifteenth.  O'Koyea Dickson also hit a home run, his second.



Adelaide saw a 9-1 lead shrink to 9-8 before scoring two in the seventh and two in the eighth to take control of the game.  Aaron Whitefield was 2-for-4 with two walks for Brisbane, scoring three times.  Logan Wade was 0-for-6 for Brisbane, dropping his average to .300.  Mitch Dening was 5-for-5 with three home runs (his fourth, fifth, and sixth) for Adelaide, scoring four times and driving in six.  Jordan McArdle was 3-for-5 with two runs for Adelaide.  Marcus Greene, Jr. hit a home run, his sixth.


Sydney had three doubles and a single in the first inning, producing a 3-0 lead which Sydney held the rest of the game.  Craig Anderson pitched five innings for Sydney, giving up an unearned run on four hits and a walk with three strikeouts.  Tucker Neuhaus was 3-for-4 with two doubles for Sydney, scoring twice and driving in one.


Each team scored three in the first.  The only other run came in the seventh on back-to-back doubles by Robbie Perkens and Aaron Sayers.  Louis Cohen pitched seven innings for Canberra, giving up three unearned runs on four hits and three walks with five strikeouts.  Sayers was 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI.

*Games played December 30.  It's timey-wimey.

FMD: Shake It Off

2016, you've been a jerk. So for our last Friday Music Day of the year, we're kicking you out and sending the message that we're better off without you. To that end, I'm looking for the best "Shake It Off" songs: songs that help one cast off the old, the bad, the funk, and create a new, fresh, hopeful outlook.

There's an obvious choice here, as suggested by the title. And I do love me that song, but it just seems trivial once you get to the "my ex-man brought his new girlfriend" bit. So I'm going to make two other suggestions. Though neither is particularly "shake-y" they both work an effective reset.

First, the classic... "Take a sad song and make it better."

Second, a newer pick that might be a bit all-encompassing, but it builds so nicely:

Drop your suggestions and random lists if you're felling it.

1987 Rewind: Game Eighty-eight


Date:  Saturday, July 11.

Batting stars:  Randy Bush was 1-for-3 with a home run (his sixth) and a walk.  Gary Gaetti was 1-for-4 with a home run, his sixteenth.  Al Newman was 1-for-4 with a double.

Pitching star:  Frank Viola pitched a complete game, giving up one run on eight hits and two walks with five strikeouts.

Opposition stars:  Mike Griffin pitched a complete game, giving up two runs on five hits and four walks with three strikeouts.

The game:  It was a sharp contrast to yesterday's game.  Ron Washington singled in a run in the third to put Baltimore up 1-0.  Bush got the run back in the fourth, leading off the inning with a solo homer.  Gaetti put the Twins ahead in the sixth with another solo homer.  Ray Knight singled leading off the bottom of the ninth and got as far as third base with two out, but pinch-hitter Mike Young grounded out to end the game.

Of note:  Roy Smalley was 0-for-3 with a walk, dropping his average to .314...Viola's ERA fell to 2.96...This was Ron Washington's second game with the Orioles.  He was 4-for-9 in the two games.

Record:  The Twins were 49-39, in first place by two games over Kansas City and Oakland.

Notes:  It was somewhat of a B lineup.  Newman was at shortstop in place of Greg Gagne and led off.  Bush was in right field and batted second.  Brunansky shifted to left, with Dan Gladden out of the lineup, although Gladden came into the game for defense in the seventh.  Mark Davidson started in center field in place of Kirby Puckett.

Player profile:  This was the only complete game of Mike Griffin's career, a career that was most notable for the trades that he was involved in.  He was drafted by Texas in the third round in 1976 but was traded to the Yankees before reaching the majors in a deal that sent Greg Jemison, Juan Beniquez, Paul Mirabella, and Dave Righetti to New York for Mike Heath, Sparky Lyle, Larry McCall, Dave Rajsich, Domingo Ramos, and cash (sadly, you don't seem to see big multi-player deals like that any more).  He got a September call-up with New York in 1979, was with them for about half of 1980, and made two appearances for them in 1981 before being traded to the Cubs as a player to be named later in a deal that also sent Doug Bird and $400,000 to the Cubs for Rick Reuschel.  He was with the Cubs that season, then was sent to Montreal as the player to be named later in exchange for Dan Briggs.  Before the year was up, he was once again a player to be named later, sent to San Diego for Jerry Manuel.  That was the last time he was traded, but he bounced around the minors for quite a while after that.  He made it back to the majors twice:  with Baltimore for half of the 1987 season and with Cincinnati for three appearances in 1989.  Through it all, he appears to have been a thoroughly mediocre major league pitcher--not the worst pitcher in the league, but not someone you'd consider good, either.  Over 203.2 major league innings, he was 7-15, 4.60, 1.51 WHIP.  He looks like pretty much a replacement level player, which is perhaps why he was a player to be named later so often--after all, a replacement level player is not without value, and sometimes having or not having one can make the difference between making the playoffs and not making them.  He has stayed in baseball as a minor league pitching coach, and has been the pitching coach of the Norfolk Tides since 2009.

Bon Iver – 33 “GOD”

So I get one more "official" Best of 2016 video. A lot of my favorites have already been hit (other than people like Frank who have no live videos of new stuff yet), but if you know me, you probably know what we haven't played yet that's going to be at the top of my list.

Continue reading Bon Iver – 33 “GOD”

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