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The Bleacher Bums: May 21, 2007 Archive

On to Texas....

Posted at 1:19 PM on May 21, 2007 by Chris Dall

I didn't get to watch too much of the Twins-Brewers series this weekend, as I was intensely focused on round 1 of the 2007 Subway Series. Although I should be happy that the Mets took 2 of 3 from the Yankees, I was really hoping for the sweep. I'm a fairly even-keeled person, but when it comes to the Mets and Yankees, all rationality goes out the window. Seeing the Yankees beat the Mets 6-1 last night just about ruined my weekend. That and the fact that I also had to listen to Jon Miller and Joe Morgan blather on for three hours about how the Yankees can still turn it around.

(If you don't care for Joe Morgan either, check out this site.)

But as the saying goes, 2 out of 3 ain't bad, and I'm sure that's the way the Twins are feeling despite yesterday's loss to the Brew Crew. It was the first series win for the Twins since they took 2 of three from Detroit at the end of April. The bats finally woke up a bit, and the pitching performances by Bonser and Baker were encouraging. Unfortunately, Ramon Ortiz continues his backslide after a strong April, and now Dennys Reyes appears to be hurt. By the time the hitting comes around, the pitching may be in shambles.

But now it's on to the hitter-friendly confines of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, and the 17-27 Texas Rangers. Ranger's fans aren't too happy with their team so far.

Carlos Silva goes against Vicente Padilla tonight.

It's Not All Bleak for Minnesota Baseball Fans

Posted at 9:21 PM on May 21, 2007 by Steve Rudolph

Once again a Minnesota baseball team that calls the Metrodome home will experience postseason play. But I’m not talking about the Twins.

In each of his 26 seasons, John Anderson has coached the University of Minnesota to a winning season. A second-place finish in conference play this season now has his team is headed to Ann Arbor, Mich. for the Big Ten tournament and in prime position for another NCAA bid.

If you’re not familiar with the Big Ten Tournament, you’re missing out on one of the goofiest formats in all of sports. Six of the conference’s ten teams play in a double-elimination tournament. The top two seeds (Michigan and Minnesota) receive a bye in the first round.

It’s a format that requires the conference’s NCAA-bound team(s) to play too many innings late in the season, often requires them to throw their ace pitchers a second time on little rest, and doesn’t prepare them for the play they’ll experience the following weekend. Despite those reasons I wouldn’t expect them to change the format anytime soon.

That’s because some of the schools feel limiting the field to only four teams, and mimicking the system used in the NCAA tournament, means two schools won’t experience postseason play and won’t have a shot (albeit a long one) to earn the conference’s automatic bid and the right to be quickly eliminated in the tournament.

With 38 victories (including wins over powerhouses Arkansas, Ole Miss and Pepperdine), Minnesota should be a lock to make the tournament. The experts think so.

But I’ve followed college baseball long enough to know the selection committee doesn’t listen to me and it doesn’t think highly of northern baseball. There is no way it will ever place more than two Big Ten teams in the field. So should Penn State, Iowa, Ohio State or Illinois receive the conference’s automatic bid, the Gophers season might come to a premature end in Ann Arbor this weekend.

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