All posts by Twayn

Bats: Right Throws: Right

Super Crispy Chicken Wings

With the Super Bowl* right around the corner, I've got finger foods on my mind. As far as I'm concerned, there's no better snack for watching a football game than chicken wings. There's a whole national restaurant chain built around this idea, so I've got some company. A couple of weeks ago I came across a recipe for crispy wings that turned out to be pretty awesome. You start with the wings, of course, about 8 or 10 of them unless you expect company, then multiply the recipe as you see fit. I can easily eat half a dozen of these babies myself, so keep gluttony in mind when planning. I like to start by looking over my wings and making sure all the little feathers are gone. Take some kitchen shears and cut off the wingtips. You can throw them away, or if you were raised during the Great Depression you can boil them up with some onion and celery to make a small batch of stock. If you like, you can cut the remaining wings in half at the joint, but I don't bother, they pull apart nice and easy after cooking and cutting them can be a chore. Once prepped, you dredge your wings in a mixture of baking powder and salt. For a basic recipe, use 1 tablespoon of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. You can get creative at this point and use seasoned salt or add some spices of your choosing. I used Cajun seasoned salt in mine, but let your taste buds be your guide. One important note. Some baking powder is made with sodium aluminum sulfate, and you want to avoid that at all costs as it give the wings a bitter flavor. We use the Rumford brand which is free of aluminum salts, so no worries. Mix your baking powder and seasonings in a bowl, then dredge your wings to give them a thin coating of the powder. Place the wings on a baking rack on a cookie sheet (cover your sheet with foil for easy clean-up) so the hot air will circulate around the meat and pop them into a 250 degree oven for about 30 minutes, then crank the heat up to 425 and cook for another 40 to 50 minutes. In phase one, the low temps combined with the baking powder dry out the skin and start the fat rendering. In phase two, the high temps crisp up the skin, seal in the juices and cook the meat to tender perfection. You will want to have a vent fan running during the high heat stage as the fat dripping onto the cookie sheet can generate a surprising amount of smoke, enough to set off a smoke alarm if you aren't venting (trust me on this). Once the wings come out and cool a bit, you can eat them as they are (that's my preference) or toss them in some barbecue or hot sauce of your choosing. I've tried several different ways of cooking wings over the years (grilled, deep fried, pan fried, pan baked, etc.) but this is now my favorite method and I'm going to stick with it until something better comes along. Enjoy.

*Yeah, that's right, NFL, I said Super Bowl, not the Big Game or some other such nonsense. You don't own language, you insufferable pricks.

2019 MLB Playoffs – Division Series

Now that the pinstriped pleasure vampires known as the New York Yankees have managed to suck all of the fun out of baseball in just 48 hours (which is still 24 hours shy of their previous record of 24 hours, set back in 2017), you might want to watch a game where the Twins don't disappoint us all with their ill-timed ass-bats and ass-arms and ass-gloves. Because the Twins, true to form, picked the exact worst two days of the year to completely forget how to be good at baseball. While there's still a mathematical chance for the Twins to win this series, let's face it, it would take a miracle, and for the Twins at least, Yankee Stadium is a slaughterhouse for miracles and dreams. Play ball!

NLDS Game 3 (series tied 1-1)
Atlanta at St. Louis
4:10 PM EDT - TBS

NLDS Game 3 (series tied 1-1)
Los Angeles at Washington
7:45 PM EDT - TBS

2019 Game 162: Fountains vs Lakes

Sorry for the half-baked game log, I’m doing it from my phone in Duluth. I’ve been a bit distraught about the injury to Arraez, but it sounds like maybe the ankle can be ready by Friday. One of the perks of winning the division, extra time to recover and prepare. I don’t know who is pitching today, it’s a meaningless game, and my team has done way more than I expected of them back in March. Now, if they can just do that in the playoffs. Play ball!

2019 Game 156: Strip Steaks vs. Hot Dish

I had a game log all ready to go, but instead of scheduling it I just left it open in a browser last night and when I tried to save it this morning the laptop seized and I lost it. And the dog ate my homework. And the check's in the mail.

One week of baseball to go. Seven games with a four game lead. Magic number of 4 (thanks, Phillies). I'm still all hunched over from that ninth inning nut punch the Royals delivered last night. I'm hoping for better today. We are off to celebrate my mother-in-law's 80th birthday with brunch, so it will be Gameday on the phone and radio for me today. Play ball!

2019 Game 154: Royals at Twins

What, you think I'm going to step up to the plate to pinch hit and knock one over the fence? Maybe a grand salami? Maybe a walk-off bomba? You've been watching too much Twins baseball. In these situations, I'm generally happy to work a walk and keep the inning alive. Rocco Baldelli is serving up a pitching surprise tonight. We know that Randy Dobnak will get the ball for the first inning, but after that it's an enigma wrapped in a mystery. I'd look for Rocco to ask Dobnak to go as deep as he can, four or five innings, and then see what the bullpen can do to finish it off. Rocco might as well take advantage of all the extra arms in the bullpen, it's worked out well so far this month and it'll be a different story rosters-wise next September. Kansas City is starting rookie Eric Skoglund to take the place of Jakob Junis. Skoglund has only pitched 14 major league innings to date, in part because of an 80 day PED suspension. Enjoy the last weekend of summer, folks. Play ball!

2019 Game 149: Minnesota at Cleveland

Starting Lineups

Win Probability: 37.7%

Enjoy the view today, citizens. This is what the world looks like when you're sitting, albeit precariously, in the catbird's seat. After one of the more eventful doubleheaders I've had the pleasure to see (especially the Sano salami that had everyone at Buffalo Wild Wings cheering), the Twins find themselves with a not-all-that-comfortable 5.5 game lead on Cleveland with just 14 games left to play. Even assuming a loss today, and Fangraphs makes it pretty clear who the underdog is, the Twins would still lead the division by 4.5 games with just two weeks to go. Over that span the Twins have a steady diet of Chicago, Detroit and Kansas City while the Cleveland squad still has to tangle with the Nationals and the Phillies. I like to think of the Twins as an old-time army that marched out of the city almost six months ago. Over the course of the summer campaign they battled with many other armies, collecting wins as their booty and hoisting home runs as their trophies. There were many triumphs and some difficult defeats. Now, with their spoils in tow, the weary army is marching home. The healthy do their best to carry the injured, and the walking wounded do what they can to stay on the march and in the fight. Up ahead, the city gates have come into view. All General Baldelli has to do is fight a rearguard action of daily skirmishes and get his men inside the walls before the army that's been in hot pursuit for weeks and weeks can overtake them. Do that and you get to keep the spoils and bear the title division champions. But if you fail, then all of the triumphs turn to dust and ash, your army is decimated, and your city is sacked and burned by the barbarian horde.

The Twins enter play today with their magic number at nine and an improbable chance to sweep Cleveland and pound a few nails into the coffin set aside for their playoff hopes. Baldelli is relying once again on the bullpen and call-ups to pitch the entire game, opening with Randy Dobnak who will give way to Kohl Stewart. The Indians delve into their embarrassment of starting pitching riches and trot out Not Justin Bieber, who has not given up more than three earned runs in any of his last 11 starts. The days are getting shorter, there's a chill in the air of a morning, and football is trying to infringe on pennant races. It's time to get this done. Play ball!

2019 Game 143: Cleveland at Minnesota

Starting Lineups

Win Probability: 48.9%

When this baseball season started, I was in a world of pain. Recovery from coronary bypass surgery is not a pleasant experience. Having the Twins play the winning kind of baseball they did back in April was a huge comfort to me. Sure, I couldn't get out of bed without help and I could barely lift a gallon of milk to pour on my cereal, but the Twins were winning almost every day so dammit, all was right with the world. Today, six months on from the surgery, I feel pretty darn good. And when you feel pretty darn good and your favorite baseball team is locking horns with a strong division rival in a September pennant race, what else is there to do but jump on the train to Target Field for a Sunday matinee?

With the series on the line, the Twins appear to be using Randy Dobnak as an opening pitcher, followed by Devin Smeltzer. The Lakesiders are sending Mike Clevinger (insert crazy good stats here) to try to seal the series and steal a game in the standings from the Twins. Take me out to the ballgame...

2019 Game 136: Twins at Tiggers

Starting Lineups

Win Probability: 58.5%

Welcome to September baseball. Here's to the Twins playing through October as well. Yesterday the Twins passed the team single season home run record. I missed it live since the wife and I were at the fair, but everywhere we went people were talking about the Twins and checking their phones to see if they broke the record. I got into several nice baseball conversations while standing in lines waiting for food, beverages, bathrooms, etc. Of course, if the Twins don't hold on and outpace the Yankees to maintain their lead in dingers then the record could belong to the Bronx Bombers, not the Minnesota Bomba Squad, by the end of the year. And that would be a crying shame. I don't have to tell anyone that the days are getting shorter and we're flat out of summer, or that games are becoming a dwindling resource.

Big Mike on the mound for the Twins today. He's been our best starter over the past several weeks and after yesterday's hurling debacle the team needs him to step up and deliver once again. The Fighting Tigers counter with Spencer Turnbull (3-13, 4.18 ERA, 112 K). Enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend, and thank a union member for your day off tomorrow. Play ball!

2019 Game 130 or so: Tigers at Twins

Starting Lineups

Win Probability: 61.7%

There's been a decided turn in the weather the past week - cooler and drier, almost autumnal. It's the kind of weather that prompts one's mind to pivot towards fall. The leaves changing colors. A touch of frost on the grass of a morning. And my favorite team battling a worthy rival in a close-fought pennant race. Never mind that the Twins followed up their most recent butt-kicking road trip by coming home and screwing the pooch against the Pale Hose. Today is ripe for a little redemption. Here's hoping they win this game and series and salvage a split on the home stand.

Martin Perez starts for the Twins today. He's had some ups and downs this season, but a cursory glance at this page will show that for the most part, we got what we paid for. In most major stat categories, Perez's performance metrics for the year are all closely aligned with his career averages. Taking the ball for the Motor City today is lefty Matthew Boyd (6-9, 4.24 ERA, 201 K) in his first start since coming off paternity leave. He was oh-fer in his three starts at Target Field last year. Play ball!