Posted at 1:16 AM on August 24, 2005
by Josh Lee
I was out of town over the weekend, and missed out on Lew Ford's stretch of homeruneriffic brilliance against the Mariners. That doesn't mean he was far from my mind, though. One of the activities I engaged in was an impromptu tournament of MLB 2K5, which I only halfheartedly participated in, since I'm not really into baseball video games. At one point, my opponent pulled off some ridiculous move to swing for what seemed to be a free home run to left-center. I had my Virtual Lew follow the play anyway though (because I could imagine Virtual Gardy chewing him out if he didn't), and wonder of wonders, he climbed the wall and snatched that free homer away from the other player. Clearly, the stars were aligned: even Fake Computerized Virtual Lew could do no wrong last weekend.
And the best thing about MLB 2K5? When Ford is at bat, they actually play a sound clip of the crowd chanting "Lewwwwwwww." How great is that?
Posted at 7:52 AM on August 24, 2005
by Bob Collins
Alright, I'll say it: Jacque Jones should stay and play.
Jones, as you may know, won last night's game with another typical clutch shot.
It kept the Twins in the wild card race, against a guy who was pitching a no-hitter, for a team that leads the division but has suddenly been the subject of an increased use of the "c" word ("choke." What? You had to ask?)
In other words, the entire season was on the line.
And now Jones is taking two games off. His uncle died over the weekend and he's going to attend a funeral.
Jones should stay.
Sure, I'm heartless. Sure, I've lost perspective but -- if truth be told -- Jones' uncle never mattered to me the way a pennant race does anyway so it's pretty easy for me.
A few years ago a guy in football missed a game to be with his wife when she gave birth. His teammates soured on the guy and I wondered what the big deal was. So I'm not without sensitivity to family matters.
But Jones means more to the future of his employer and the people who follow it and, like it or not, this is one of the concessions you make when you cash the big check.
Is it right? Is it in perspective? Does it matter?
Torii Hunter is out. Shannon Stewart is out. And operating under the theory that in a pennant race, the most important game in the season is the next one you play, Jones needs to stay... and play.
Hey, I missed an anniversary dinner to cover Paul Wellstone's death. I missed my son's 4th birthday to move to Minnesota for this gig. This is part of working for a living. Sometimes you have to choose and sometimes -- and ideally you want it to be only a few times -- the family loses.
Let me offer this solution: The Twins have a day game on Thursday against Chicago and a night game on Friday against Texas. Schedule the funeral for early Friday morning, fly out after the game on Thursday. You're back by the game on Friday.
The funeral is in San Diego. And it doesn't take that long to fly from San Diego to Dallas. Unless you're flying Northwest, of course.
But two games? In a pennant race? Jacque, if your attendance at the funeral is important, you can get there and get back to your team without missing two games. And if it's the hand-holding thing that's important, you can do that in October.
But now's the time to play.
Oh, yeah, one other thing: sorry about your uncle.
Posted at 10:16 AM on August 24, 2005
by David Zingler
Remember Adam Johnson? Back in 2000, the Twins made the right-handed starter the second overall pick in the amateur draft. Regarded as the teamís top prospect, Johnson made his debut in 2001 and looked promising. At spring training in 2002 however, he threw a tantrum after he learned he wouldnít be heading north with the team and things snowballed from there. By 2004, he had fallen so far that he cleared waivers when the Twins removed him from the 40 man roster. Last winter, he was released.
After a two inning stint with Arizona this past spring, the former Cal State-Fullerton start was again released and pitched in Mexico briefly before latching on with the San Diego Surf Dawgs of the independent Golden Baseball League where he was a teammate of Rickey Henderson. The 26-year-old went 8-1 with a 2.58 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 76 2/3 innings in San Diego. The strong showing caught the eye of the Oakland organization, who inked Johnson and to a minor league deal on August 17 and assigned him to their Triple A affiliate in Sacramento.
While itís always easy, and even a little a fun, to laugh at cocky athletes who seemingly waste their potential, hereís to hoping that Johnson is able to get back to the big leagues and carve out a solid career.