I thought this line was super cheesy, but I guess it's always been cheesy.
It is year 7 of putting my pet project on the WGOM site, SBG put it on his old site a few years before this. It was a dissapointing season for the Twins, but even in down times there's always movement on the top300 list. Mauer and Dozier can't repeat the success they had in 2017, so each is stuck in place at spots 4 and 24 respectively (which it appears is where they will stay for a while since more than likely both their Twins careers are over). Sano and Ervin also had stagnant 2018s, both staying in the top100, but actually falling backwards a couple spots being jumped by 2018 Twins with better seasons. Rosario, Escobar, and Gibson all jump into the top100 with good 2018 seaons. Buxton and Hughes drop a couple spots as well with the leapfrogging, but Polanco and Berrios join the top150 with Kepler and Grossman lurking just outside the top150. Pressley jumps up 50 spots to 226 with a decent 4 months before being traded away. Castro has a lost 2018 season and drops a few spots to 250. Newcomers this year are Taylor Rogers, Mitch Carver, and Jake Cave, all 3 finding themselves int he 200s.
Falling out of the top300 this year are Lenny Webster, Randy Johnson (not that Randy Johnson), and George Frazier.
I stole most of the idea from when Aaron Gleeman started his top40 list over a decade ago. The below quote is his, and the rest is an excerpt from a book I put together at the 50 year mark. I’ve updated the list and stats through 2018.
“The rankings only include time spent playing for the Minnesota Twins. In other words, David Ortiz doesn’t get credit for turning into one of the best players in baseball after joining the Red Sox and Paul Molitor doesn’t get credit for being one of the best players in baseball for the Brewers and Blue Jays. The Twins began playing on April 11, 1961, and that’s when these rankings start as well.”
I used a variety of factors, including longevity and peak value. Longevity included how many years the player was a Twin as well as how many plate appearances or innings pitched that player had in those years. For peak value, I looked at their stats, honors, and awards in their best seasons, as well as how they compared to their teammates. Did they lead their team in OPS or home runs or ERA for starters or WPA? If so, that got some bonus points. I factored in postseason heroics, awards (gold gloves, silver sluggers, MVPs, Cy Youngs), statistical achievements (batting titles, home run leaders, ERA champs, etc), and honors (all star appearances), and I looked at team success as well. If you were the #1 starter on a division winning champ, that gave you more points than the #1 starter on a cellar dweller. I looked at some of the advanced stats like WPA, WAR (as calculated by fan graphs and baseball-reference.com), WARP (as calculated by Baseball Prospectus), and Win Shares (as calculated by Bill James). For hitters, I also looked at OPS and the old school triple crown statistics like batting average, home runs, stolen bases, and RBI (and not only where you finished within the AL in any given year, but where you appear on the top25 lists amongst all Twins in the last 50 years). For pitchers I looked at strikeouts, innings pitched, win/loss percentage, ERA as well as ERA+). If there was a metric that was used for all 58 years of Twins history, I tried to incorporate it. I tended to give more credit to guys who were starters instead of part time/platoon players, more credit to position players over pitchers (just slightly, but probably unfairly) and starters over relievers (and closers over middle relievers). There’s no formula to my magic, just looking at a lot of factors and in the end going with the gut in all tie-breakers. Up in the top10 I’m looking at All star appearances, Cy Young and MVP votes, batting average or ERA titles or top10 finishes, etc, and placement in the top25 hitting and pitching lists in Twins history as well. In the middle 100s, it’s more about who started a few more years or had 2 good seasons rather than 1 with possibly an occasional all-star berth or top10 finish in SB or strikeouts. Once you’re in the latter half of the 200s there are none of those on anyone’s resume, so its basically just looking at peak season in OPS+ or ERA+, WAR, Win Shares, and who started the most years, had the most at bats, or pitched the most innings. What the player did as a coach, manager, or broadcaster is not taken into consideration for this list, so Billy Martin, Tom Kelly or Billy Gardner weren’t able to make the top 300 since they were poor players and Frank Quilici and Paul Molitor didn’t improve his status due to his managing career. Feel free to pick it apart and decide in your opinion, who was slighted, and who's overrated.
Now that Gleeman has finished his book of top50 Twins, it is pretty similar to the top of my list once you remove the specific teams/non-players he included in his list (he had 43 players in his top50). He likes Bert a little more than I do (#4 ahead of Mauer), which is pretty much the biggest difference in our top25s. He also likes Scott Baker quite a bit more, putting him in his top40 wheras I have him at 57.
…. and it’s not hers, either. She is acting as a surrogate for someone else.
We initially signed up to do this without knowing who the intended parent would be. We (mostly she, but I had to some of this) signed on with an agency, expecting this would be for someone we had never met before. But, when she started telling some of her friends about this, one said she had been in the process of looking for a surrogate, and asked if my wife would do it for her. So, in the end, the intended parent will be someone we know, and are friends with. That’s been nice, to get to see her excitement and anticipation grow as we get closer. The baby mamma’s parents are also super excited; the mom is an only child, so this will likely be their only grandchild. It’s definitely a nice feeling, knowing that all we are putting into this is going to cause such happiness for someone else.
She’s due on November 1, so about 6 weeks left. That means that it’s really, really obvious she is pregnant, so of course we get lots of comments from random people all the time*. Depending on the question and the situation, my wife will often respond that the baby is not ours, which leads to reactions in two main categories:
- Wow, that’s so amazing! What a gift to give someone! You are so awesome!
- Wow, I could never do that because...
- pregnancy was awful for me, I can’t imagine doing that again for someone else
- it would be too much like giving up my own baby. Won’t it be hard to birth a baby and then give it up right away?
For 2.1, my wife had very easy pregnancies for both of our kids. And so far, everything is going fine this time. She’s getting more and more uncomfortable, but nothing more than the usual third trimester issues (back pain, swollen legs and ankles, exhausted, sore all over, etc.).
And for 2.2, it really hasn’t been a problem for us at all. This has never been our child, so it’s not like we are giving away our own kid. Some of that is having no genetic connection; this was IVF, with the intended mother’s egg and donor sperm. But I think more of it is just the mindset that it isn’t our baby. When we started this, I was a little worried how our kids would respond to this, but they seem to completely understand that this is not our baby. They say momma is growing a baby for someone else. It’s kind of like babysitting, just for a long time (and internally instead of externally, but sort of alike at least).
It’s a new situation for us, but not in a bad way. It does feel a bit weird to be dealing with a pregnancy and preparing for a birth, while not at all preparing for a baby. It’s not like we need to be getting a room ready, or setting up a crib, or getting baby clothes, or anything else. The intended mom is doing all that, of course, but that’s not our job. Once the baby comes, our part of this is done.
I don’t know for sure if we’ll do it again for someone else, but that’s definitely a strong possibility, depending on how this last month and a half goes. I know agencies are always very interested in having women with previous surrogacy experience do it again. That way, the biggest worry the intended parent could have (that you’d run off with their kid to a state with less favorable surrogacy laws [like Michigan; if you birth a baby there, it’s legally yours] before it’s born and keep it for yourself) gets allayed a bit.
Overall, so far so good. We’ve been very happy with it, the new intended family is super excited, and all the pains and problems my wife has had (both during the pregnancy, and the many, many hormone shots at the beginning of all this) have been as expected. I know doing this is not something for everyone, but based on how well this has gone, I think it really is something for us.
*I don’t really understand why seeing a woman that appears to be pregnant makes strangers feel that they have a right to ask invasive, personal questions. I personally don’t mind all that much, and I don’t think my wife does, either, but I’m sure there are others in different circumstances that would.
Emmy's are tonight. Once again, here's the list.
See anything else good?
Book Club! - This month the WGOM book club is doing The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett. Thanks to eschapp for setting that up.
This month I read Flights by Olga Tokarczuk, which won the Man Booker International Award for translated literature. It was really interesting, it made me hold a lot of ideas and themes in my head at the same time. There wasn't much overreaching narrative, but there were lots of vignettes that very clearly fit together with themes of travel, observation and preservation, and the futility of the human desire to keep things familiar and the same. I enjoyed it, although if you're looking for a "great story", this is probably not your book.
I also loved Not Here by Hieu Minh Nguyen. The poems had absence and hurt, but with an enormous amount of tenderness that made them great to read. It reminded me of Slow Lightning by Eduardo Corral (another favorite - Corral just announced he's got a second book coming out, I'll definitely be buying that sight unseen).
Alright if we're going to do this we better pick a book.
Warlock - Oakley Hall (471 pages)
The Maltese Falcon - Dashiell Hammett (213 pages)
The Good War - Studs Terkel (608 pages)
Killing Floor - Lee Child (525 pages)
Old Man's War - John Scalzi (332 pages)
The Plover - Brian Doyle (311 pages)
Watership Down - Richard Adams (478 pages)
"Elizabeth Moon's The Speed of Dark lists at 370, but that's a paperback and it reads pretty fast"
I'm going to throw in:
Peter Geye's Wintering (320 pages)
So let's go with those. If you plan to participate in some fashion (or not, why police that right?) vote in the comments* for your top three in ranked order.
I'll tabulate the results on Thursday. Hopefully, we won't have a tie, but if we do I'll just use random.org to choose from those.
*No polling powers for this guy
September Book Club Choice (pick up to three)
- The Maltese Falcon (213 pages) (24%, 7 Votes)
- Wintering (320 pages) (21%, 6 Votes)
- The Plover (311 pages) (17%, 5 Votes)
- The Speed of Dark (370) (14%, 4 Votes)
- Old Man's War (332 pages) (10%, 3 Votes)
- Warlock (471 pages) (7%, 2 Votes)
- The Good War (608 pages) (3%, 1 Votes)
- Killing Floor (525 pages) (3%, 1 Votes)
- Watership Down (478 pages) (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 12
No announcements (sorry!)
Newbish is three now. All through the terrible twos, people told us that three would be worse. Credit where it's due, these people were correct. Newbish is generally a delightful kid - courteous, caring and very, very smart. He's also strong willed as hell, and while I generally find that to be a positive (I'd rather he stand up for what he thinks than to simply follow along and do what he's told), it would be really, really nice if he would occasionally just LISTEN.
Voice raising does nothing, and positive reinforcement hasn't been particularly successful. Right now, the only way we can get him to stop in his tracks and pay attention to what we're saying is to threaten to take away something he cares a great deal about (his favorite toy or his favorite blanket usually do the trick). Otherwise, he's basically a terminator - can't be bargained with, can't be reasoned with, and doesn't know pain or fear. Now, I love threatening my kid as much as the next guy, but I have to wonder if there might be a better way to accomplish this.
Every kid is obviously different, and any advice you give might end up not working, but I'd love to hear any tips or tricks you folks have used in the past to get your little ones to pay attention to the words that are coming out of your mouth for 5 seconds.
(The title is obviously a quote. If we're able to break through for a second, he's usually able to realize that he's not listening......that realization is usually fleeting)
I don't often reread books these days. There are just so many others I want to read, so I tend not to revisit even books I liked very much.
Last week while on vacation, I finished a book during a day trip to lovely Houston, Minnesota, and I was kicking myself for not having my next book along. While watching my boys play with their cousin at a lovely playground, it occurred to me that I'd really enjoyed the book I just finished, and perhaps I could try reading it again while I sat in the shade.
Convenience Store Woman is a fascinating little read by Japanese novelist Sayaka Murata, and I first heard about it from this article in the New York Times. The main character, Keiko, has had a part-time job at a konbini for the past eighteen years and has never had a romantic relationship, and these two things make her decidedly not normal according to her parents, her younger sister, and her peers. She relishes her defined role at the convenience store; within that environment (unlike the rest of the world), she knows exactly what is expected of her.
The prose is simple and easy to follow, and Keiko is an enjoyable enigma. As Katy Waldman wrote in the New Yorker, "For the most part, her manner is that of a friendly alien scientist, but, at times, she swerves toward the psychopathic."
What does it all mean? What exactly is the novel a commentary on? Would a Japanese reader interpret it differently than an American reader? I don't know, but I'm at the halfway point of my second read, and I'm enjoying picking up on little bits I'd overlooked the first time through.
So what have you been reading?
Let’s talk about lunch. Yes, you might just be eating breakfast right now, either at home, or at work, or in your car (I hope not). Bear with me.
I love to eat from the food carts on the pedestrian mall outside my institution's main library. Where else can I get loaded beef & plantain arepas, ayam bakar in a luscious peanut sauce (extra sambal kecap, please) with acar, sticky gua bao, fresh fried falafel, and other decadent morsels within a twenty-yard radius? My wallet doesn't love it quite the same way. Since I apparently have horrible career management skills, that doesn't appear likely to change anytime soon.
So, since I'm likely to get hungry sometime between 0930 and 1630, I bring food from my domicile to my roboticile — almost always supper leftovers from the previous night or two.
For years, I've packed my lunch in a small (approximately 2 cup) Pyrex dish & reusable storage bags, but recently I've felt like trying something new, ideally more compact or space-efficient. Part of my motivation is that the Poissonnier has joined Mrs. Hayes & I as a public transit companion. Part of it is the feeling that I keep rolling the dice with the Pyrex, hoping it won't leak. (I've had the occasional dribbles, but nothing catastrophic.)
I've looked at the various Zojirushi Bento products. They seem pretty nifty, but potentially cumbersome. (I suspect they won’t fit in my Tom Bihn Co-Pilot.) I don’t need the thermal capabilities often, but absolutely require spill-proof storage. The Wirecutter likes insulated lunch bags, which doesn't solve the problem of what to put in that bag; also, I don't want to carry a second bag.
Maybe I missed something, but I don't remember us discussing this before. So, I'm curious — how do you transport your vittles from your coolerator to the place where you spend most of your day reading the WGOM? And, more importantly, what [sniff sniff] do you like to pack?
All right good and gentle folk of of the Nation, it is once again time to toss in your nominations for this year's Summer Mix. The rules remains the same:
1. The theme is "Summer". You're free to interpret that as you'd like.
2. Put your nominations in a Spoiler box.
3. You may nominate up to 3 songs. Any further nominations will be ignored.
4. Unless we get an insane amount of nominations for some reason, everyone's first choice is automatically in. The rest of the mix will be filled out with the other nominations.
After that, we'll throw everything in a pot and let it simmer for a few weeks then release it upon an unsuspecting public.