All posts by The Dread Pirate

Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears – Sugarfoot

Caught them last Spring opening for Sharon Jones.  Rather than pay Ticketmaster fees, Sheenie offered to go to the State Theater box office forty-five minutes before tickets went on sale.  The staff made a big ordeal about how they didn't have time to sort through the system to get people tickets where they wanted (because the State had assigned seating), so to please just take whatever tickets you get (and they all cost the same).  Sheenie was handed two tickets in the orchestra pit.  We ended up being about three feet from the bari sax.  Great stuff.


8 votes, average: 8.50 out of 108 votes, average: 8.50 out of 108 votes, average: 8.50 out of 108 votes, average: 8.50 out of 108 votes, average: 8.50 out of 108 votes, average: 8.50 out of 108 votes, average: 8.50 out of 108 votes, average: 8.50 out of 108 votes, average: 8.50 out of 108 votes, average: 8.50 out of 10 (8 votes, average: 8.50 out of 10)
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Cake – The Distance

Apologies for the delay.  I did love the sword fight and watched it twice.

Anyway, I rode yesterday with this song in my head.  I also was wearing my old Fashion Nugget shirt and had someone approach me at one of the rest stops and ask if Satan was my motor.


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May 9, 1972: Random Day in Twins History

I used a random number generator to pick a season from the past with the idea that I would quickly highlight the Twins history that occurred today in that year.  The generator sent me to the year 1972.

Twins 4, Yankees 2 - BR Boxscore

The Twins improved to 13-4 on the young season (only seventeen games played at this point because it was the first year ever with games missed due to a work stoppage).  Jim Kaat kept the Yankees at bay for more than eight innings relying primarily on his fastball (he did not have the feel for a screwball he had developed during the offseason) while Phil Roof scored and drove in a run during a spot start (and was replaced by a pinch-runner who scored an additional run).  Those two, combined with some Yankee frustration, pushed the Twins to victory.
Besides Roof, Bobby Darwin was the other offensive star for the Twins with both a double and a triple hit to the opposite field.  Darwin had entered the game in a 1-for-15 slump after hitting 432/500/864 through the team's first twelve games.  Darwin told Sid Hartman, "In the past I've hit a lot of balls to right field but this spring I only hit one before tonight.  I came out early, took some extra batting practice, and I got myself straightened out."  It is unclear whether sixteen year-old Dick Bremer, sitting somewhere in Central Minnesota, took note of Darwin's approach and determined that it was the solution to every hitting slump a Twin would ever face.
Thurman Munson had a rough day for the Yankees.  In the second inning, he was picked off by Kaat while Felipe Alou was at bat.  After Munson's blunder, Alou homered.  The bottom of the seventh proved to be even more frustrating for the future Yankee captain.  With a runner on third, Munson was crossed-up on a pitch out as the Yankees thought Cesar ovar might be asked to squeeze.  Munson was able to block the pitch.  Tovar ultimately drew a walk.  On ball four, the pitch eluded Munson allowing Nettles to score and Tovar ran all the way to third base.  After the game, manager Ralph Houk attempted to cover for Munson by explaining that the catcher simply had lost track of the count and did not realize the pitch was ball four.
Veteran Yankee Horace Clarke provided a scouting report on Kaat: "His fastball velocity probably hasn't the velocity it had [in 1966], but he moves it so well that makes up for it."  Kaat, rather than crediting his fastball or screwball for the win, said, "My best pitch was the at-'em ball."  Kaat ended up pitching very effectively for the 1972 Twins with a 10-2 record and 2.06 ERA, but he broke his hand sliding into second base on July 2 and missed the remainder of the season.
On example of his at-'em ball working well occurred during the top of the eighth inning when Rusty Torres hit a ball sharply up the middle until it ricocheted off Kaat's leg to first baseman Rich Reese for the out.  The following inning, Kaat walked Munson with one out promptly manager Bill Rigney to call on Wayne Granger.  After the game, Houk was second-guessed for not pinch-hitting for Alou with Ron Blomberg, but he defended himself by explaining, "If I sent in Blomberg, Rigney would have brought in [left-handed reliever Dave] LaRoche."  Of course, Rigney could not have removed Granger until after he pitched to at least one batter, so Houk's explanation made no sense.  Granger ended up retiring both batters he faced for his fourth save (LaRoche already had five saves as Rigney mixed and matched the end of games).
Something I never knew: Granger got off to a ridiculously strong start that season.  Through June 25, Granger pitched 36.2 innings with a 0.49 ERA and a opposing slash line of 168/216/184.

Other Twins notes: Just 6,446 fans - the smallest ever to see the Yankees play in Minnesota - attended the game.  Bill Hengen of the Minneapolis Star lamented that there simply was no longer a thrill having the Yankees in town because the team was no longer "menacing or arrogant" like in the 1960s.

Kaat and Roof roomed together on the road (along with Bert Blyleven).  Kaat and Roof were such good bridge players that teammates Eric Soderholm and LaRoche never allowed the two to be partners.

Other history notes: Without venturing too much into the forbidden zone, the news on this day forty years ago was full of interesting stories for a history nerd.  For example, seventeen people were arrested during a protest in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood against both Vietnam and "urban renewal."  Also, the Duluth Board of Education announced it was dropping its plans to desegregate the school district that fall because of public pressure.  Five different schools in Duluth failed to comply with state guidelines for integration, and the abandoned plan would have required busing 900 more children than the status quo.  Sometimes it is hard to believe that school desegregation was an issue a) in Minnesota, and b) eighteen years after Brown v. Board of Education.

Along the same lines, reigning NFL MVP Alan Page was frustrated that he had not received a single endorsement offer during the offseason.  Quarterback Fran Tarkenton, on the other hand, received an offer "just seven minutes after the season" (whatever that means).  The Minneapolis Star worried that Page was being harmed because of his race.

April 11, 2004: Random Day in Twins History

I used a random number generator to pick a season from the past with the idea that I would quickly highlight the Twins history that occurred today in that year.  The generator sent me to the year 2004.

Detroit 6, Twins 5 (10 innings) - BR boxscore

The Tigers won the rubber-match of a three game series to improve to 5-1 on the early season defeating the Twins in 10 innings (after ending the previous season with just 43 wins).  The Twins rallied from an early 3-0 deficit to tie the game 5-5 before losing.  The Twins stranded at least two runners in the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth innings.  Henry Blanco tied the game in the eighth inning with an RBI double, but he was thrown out easily trying to reach third base.  Gleeman wrote, "The throw beat Blanco to the bag by about 10 feet and Blanco went 'sliding' into third with some sort of belly flow/somersault combination." The following batter, Cristian Guzman, doubled but was stranded when Nick Punto struck out to end the inning.

Asked about his aggressive baserunning after the game, Blanco explained, "I was out of gas. . . . I was trying to see what could happen.  Nothing happened."  He added, "Seems like every time you make a mistake on the bases, the next guy gets a hit and you pay for it."  Ron Gardenhire did not criticize Blanco's decision.  "The play's in front of him, and he's trying to play the game," Gardenhire said.  "We don't knock guys for trying to be aggressive."

In perhaps the least surprising quote in the history of quotes, Ron Gardenhire lamented, "We didn't get it done.  We were battling.  We were getting after it.  They were getting after it."  [ed. note: I swear on my life this is a verbatim quote from the Strib.]

The Tigers scored their first run when Craig Monroe scored all the way from first base when Lew Ford misplayed a Carlos Pena single.  Later, they scored the winning run when Joe Roa issued a one-out walk to Rondell White (aka The Insanity).  White was removed for pinch-runner Andres Torres who stole second base and then scored on Monroe's game-winning single.  "A game-winning single like that -- I can't describe how good it felt," Monroe said. "I'd never done anything like that before up here."

Joe Nathan did not pitch in the game, but he had pitched in four of the first five games of the season.  In fact, through the sixth game, Nathan, Roa, J.C. Romero, and Carlos Pulido had each appeared four times and Juan Rincon and Aaron Fultz had made five appearances.

Johan Santana lasted just five innings (and had thrown only nine innings in his first two starts).  He allowed a homerun to Pena in the fourth inning - his first homerun allowed to a left-handed batter in 70.1 innings dating back to the previous season.  Santana struggled to retire hitters once he reached two strikes.  In fact, Gleeman documented that Santana threw 32 pitches in his five innings after already having two strikes on the opposing batter.

Other Twins notes: The Twins signed Joe Beimel to a minor-league contract that day and assigned him to Rochester.  Beimel had a pathetic cup-of-coffee with the Twins in September, but then put together some pretty decent years after leaving the organization.  The loss was the team's third of the season.  In all three games, they had scored at least four runs.

A front-page story focused on the likely inability of the Twins and Vikings to contribute more than 25% to the cost of their new stadiums.  The Twins explained that paying for a large-chunk of the cost "could impair the club's ability to field a competitive team."  A stadium bill working its way through the legislature at the time would require the Twins to contribute one-third of the cost - an estimated $150 million - to the final stadium.

GM Terry Ryan expressed some concern that Joe Mays, after undergoing Tommy John surgery in September, was trying to rush his rehab.  "We've got to slow him down some," Ryan said.

Blanco was playing because Mauer had been attacked by the warning track behind the plate in the Metrodome and Matthew LeCroy strained his oblique.  Through his first fifteen plate appearances, Blanco somehow had hit 267/467/733.

February 21, 1993: Random Day in Twins History

I used a random number generator to pick a season from the past with the idea that I would quickly highlight the Twins history that occurred today in that year.  The generator sent me to the year 1993.

On this date in 1993, pitchers and catchers had reported to Ft. Myers but position players were not expected for another four days. However, forty-one year old Dave Winfield, the big off-season acquisition for the Twins, reported to camp.  The only two regulars who were not in Ft. Myers by this point were Pedro Munoz (expected tomorrow) and Scott Erickson who was attending a wedding.

Winfield brought a first-basemen's mitt with him to camp despite having only played ten innings in his entire career - all in 1978 - at the position.  Tom Kelly told the media that he anticipated that Kent Hrbek would play 120 games at first base in 1993 with his other appearances being at DH while Winfield would play about 120 games at DH with his other games at either first base or right field.*  Winfield told reporters that he had not picked up a bat the entire offseason, but worked out often to remain in shape.

*Winfield would play just thirty-two innings at first base during the regular season.  Hrbek started 110 games at first base that year with David McCarty, Gene Larkin and Terry Jorgensen each making more appearances at first base than Winfield.

Winfield had driven in the game-winning run in Game 7 of the previous World Series for Toronto, and Kelly expected another strong offensive season from Winfield.  When asked if Winfield's performance would decrease because of his age, Kelly said, "If he had a decline last year from the previous year, then you might be able to say that. But he was in a good lineup and we feel we have pretty much the same kind of lineup, where he should be just as productive. Even if he does tail off a little bit, those would still be pretty good numbers."*

*While Winfield would record his 3,000th hit that season, his OPS dropped 100 points, his OPS+ dropped from 137 to 105, and his WAR dropped almost four wins to replacement level.

Besides the addition of Winfield, another hot topic was Tom Kelly's discussion about Kirby Puckett's future.  Kelly suggested that he might transition Puckett to right field over the course of the season.  In typical Kelly double-speak, he rambled, "I'd always consider it.  I'm going to talk to him about it.  If he wants to move I might move him.  But then I might not.  It wouldn't seem right.  It just doesn't seem like the Twins if you move him from there.  It's like a peanut butter sandwich - you're supposed to have jelly."*

*Kelly did eventually move Puckett to right field over the course of the season, and Puckett would start just three games in center field after 1993.  The move occurred over the All-Star Break as Puckett started just three games in centerfield over the next two months.  Curiously, he then shifted back to centerfield for his final sixteen starts in September.

The organization prided itself on its focus on simplicity and working hard.  Having won at least ninety games in each of the previous two seasons, and a World Series title, the Twins expected to compete in the AL West again.  Still, the front office conceded that its success hinged on young pitching.

"The top three [of Scott Erickson, Kevin Tapani, and Jim Deshaies] I think will be fine," VP of Player Personnel Terry Ryan said. "Whether or not the other three guys [Pat Mahomes, Willie Banks, and Mike Trombley] will provide us with solid fourth and fifth starters is the big question. If they give us consistency at that four spot then we're certainly going to be competitive. Any time you throw our offense out there, then we're going to be OK."

The team also planned to realign the left side of its infield as Scott Leius attempted to shift from third base to shortstop while Terry Jorgensen would start at third base.*  The Twins also suggested that they were attempted to acquire Dave Hansen from the Dodgers to work into the third base logjam.  Discussing the rotation and lineup, Ryan explained, "We have some question marks on the left side of our infield, and we are awfully righthanded, both on the mound and with our bats.  But I think we'll show that if you can hit, it doesn't matter whether you bat right or left."

*Leius only played in eight games that season and Pat Meares took over at SS during the year.  Jorgensen struggled at third while splitting time with Mike Pagliarulo and Jeff Reboulet.

June 27, 1988: Random Day in Twins History

I used a random number generator to pick a season from the past with the idea that I would quickly highlight the Twins history that occurred today in that year.  The generator sent me to the year 1988.

Angels 16, Twins 7 - BR boxscore

In a game with an odd 5:10pm start time, the Angels hitters teed off against Minnesota pitchers.  The Twins pitchers combined to allow 24 baserunners in 7 innings.  A performance made all the more shameful when Dan Gladden pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning.  In fact, the Twins ended the game with the following defensive lineup:

P-Gladden; C-Brian Harper; 1B-Kelvin Torve; 2B-Steve Lombardozzi; 3B-Al Newman; SS-Greg Gagne; LF-Mark Davidson; CF-John Moses; RF-Randy Bush

Tony Armas managed to go 0-for-5 for the Angels even though the other eight players in their starting lineup all had scored at least one run and had at least one hit by the fourth inning.  Bob Boone had four hits while batting ninth for the Angels.  It was his first four-hit game in more than four years.  He may have been exacting revenge against the Twins for not signing his son, Bret, after they had drafted him in the 27th round the previous year.  Bret would ultimately get the last laugh with his comically inept cameo in a Twins uniform at the end of his career.

Kirk McCaskill "earned" the win by throwing 102 pitches while staggering through 5 innings and allowing 10 hits and 4 runs.  When asked after the game, McCaskill told reporters, "[T]oday I was pretty sorry."

The Angels 5-run third inning featured two walks and three different hits that made contact with Twins in the infield (Johnnie Ray singled off Torve's glove, Jack Howell singled off Lombardozzi's glove and Devon White singled off starter Fred Toliver's leg).

Torve hit his only Major League homerun in the seventh inning off future-Twins minor league coach Stew Cliburn.  Randy Bush reached base four times (including getting hit by his fifth pitch of the season) and the most important man in America had three hits, including a double.

Finally, reliever Jim Winn made his Twins debut allowing six hits in one inning of relief work after entering after Devon White's abovementioned third inning single with the game tied 3-3 and runners on the corner.  Winn had been a first round pick for the Pirates in 1981 (four spots after the Twins drafted Mike Sodders) and had been signed as AAA filler after getting cut at the end of Spring Training by the White Sox.  He stuck around with the Twins for a month, and then got another cup of coffee in September to end his Major League career.  Tom Kelly managed to use Winn nine times that season in relief and never brought him into another game UNLESS the Twins were already losing.  TK knew how to use a groundskeeper.

Randon Thing I Noticed While Researching This Date: In 1988, Tom Nieto had four singles and a walk in 62 plate appearances as a backup catcher.  If only the Twins could have someone of Brian Harper's ability to come up and replace Butters...

April 20, 1998: Random Day in Twins History

I used a random number generator to pick a season from the past with the idea that I would quickly highlight the Twins history that occurred today in that year.  The generator sent me to the year 1998.

Oakland 3, Twins 2 - BR boxscore

In front of just 5,000 people (many entering complements of Eddie Guardado), the Twins lost 3-2 to the Oakland A’s in Oakland.  Brad Radke pitched seven strong innings (and threw 122 pitches – more than Gardy will likely let any Twin throw this entire season).  The loan run scored against Radke occurred on a delayed double-steal (although Kurt Abbott was not credited with a steal of home for some reason, he scored after Sandfrog got himself caught in a rundown after starting to second base on a pitch).

LEN3, perhaps listening to someone else in the press box reported that “Radke was entertaining as well as an enigma.  His pitches were good, but he left many of them up in the zone” (emphasis added).

After Radke departed, Greg Swindell entered and allowed a two-out, two-run homerun to rookie Ben Grieve in the bottom of the eighth to blow the game.

Offensively, the Twins managed just two runs despite fourteen baserunners because a Pat Meares double (already his eighth of the season) was the team's only extra base hit.  “We had a couple of chances to add on some runs [Monday], but we didn't and it came back to haunt us,” explained Tom Kelly in a statement exactly the same as one that a Tom Kelly Random Quote Generator would have created.

The loss dropped the team’s record to 7-11 despite the Twins having outscored their opponents 109-85 to that point.

Other Twins notes: Minnesota Attorney General Skip Humphrey was granted permission to proceed with an investigation of possible antitrust violations by Major League Baseball.  Humphrey’s ultimate motive was to force the Twins to open their books in order to determine whether the team’s threat to relocate to North Carolina was plausible.  He clarified that he had not yet discovered any violation of the law, but he was simply requesting documents to determine if teams (businesses) were acting in concert in order to pressure cities to fund stadiums.  Ramsey County Judge Margaret Marrinan explained in her ruling that the United States Supreme Court had drastically narrowed Major League Baseball’s antitrust exemption in the 1972 Curt Flood case.

Oh, and WASTE Ron Coomer missed the game because he broke his right, big toe the previous day after fouling a pitch off his foot.  He was back in the lineup the following day.

What did you think?  Should I try to work this into an occasional feature?