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The Bleacher Bums: August 6, 2008 Archive

Will the GOP Cost the Twins the Division Title?

Posted at 6:08 AM on August 6, 2008 by David Zingler


After the Twins two inexplicable, unjustifiable losses in Seattle this week, their road record stands at 23-30. While it's true most teams in baseball have struggled on the road this year, nobody has an upcoming stretch away from home like the Twins do.

From August 21 to September 21 - the most critical time of the season - our local nine plays 24 of its 30 games outside the Minnesota border. The gauntlet begins with 4 against the first place Angels, 3 more at pesky Seattle, 3 in Oakland and 3 north of the border in Toronto. That 13 game stint is followed by 6 home games - 3 vs. Detroit and 3 vs. Kansas City. After that the Twins pack their suitcases for 3 in Baltimore, 3 at Cleveland and end with 4 in Tampa against the surprising Rays. Yikes!

Why would the MLB schedule makers do this to our Twins? Don't blame them, blame the Republicans. The major impetuous behind this insane schedule is the Republican National Convention in St. Paul in early September. While the convention lasts only 4 days, apparently it will take a while to set-up and clean-up after the rowdy convention goers and the powers-that-be do not want the Twins to get in their way.

Minnesota is supposedly a swing state this year, so if the home team tanks during that stretch - say 10-14 or 9-15 on the road - and falls out of contention, does that cost John McCain The Land of 10,000 Lakes and the 10 electoral votes that come with it? Does he have to put Tim Pawlenty on the ticket for insurance?

(Photo by Max Whittaker/Getty Images)

Not-so-sweet relief

Posted at 10:35 AM on August 6, 2008 by Chris Dall

I know everyone is grumbling about the current state of the Twins bullpen, but if it makes you feel any better (probably not), there's an interesting post over at baseball musings describing how other bullpens fared last night. Not good, especially over in Detroit, where new guy Kyle Farnsworth gave up a game-tying home run, and the otherwise-steady Joel Zumaya gave up four runs in the 14th. So at least we're not alone in our misery.

This just seems to be the time of year when the innings start to catch up with bullpens. I guess that's the result of pitch counts and starters who can't go more than 6 innings. Also, relief pitchers are generally a crapshoot. I mean, most of them (except for the handful of top-notch closers and set-up guys) are relievers for one reason: they couldn't get guys out on a regular basis as starters. And when you have to use them every night, you see the type of results we've seen the last two nights in Seattle.

But it does make me happy that Gardy is open to using Nathan in the 8th. It might not have worked out last night, but right now he's the only one I have confidence in.

Grade inflation has finally reached the Olympics

Posted at 1:32 PM on August 6, 2008 by Steve Rudolph

Much like how a 4.0 used to be perfection when it came to grade point average, a 10.0 was the ultimate score for a gymnast to achieve.

Do you remember Nadia Comaneci on the uneven bars in the 1976 Olympics or Mary Lou Retton's vault at the Los Angeles game?

I do. They were perfect routines and they received a 10. It was the drama of sports at its best.

Should an athlete in Beijing achieve similar perfection later this month, we as fans might not know. But from what I hear a score of more than 17 is really good.


Much in the way skating has tried to prevent scoring errors and scandals created by its old system, gymnastics has switched to a new method of scoring involving A-panel and B-panel judges and A to F-level skills, which are then divided by the circumference of the moon and multiplied by the square root of pi.

I know I'm not in the sport's key demographic, but I don't like the changes and now I likely won't watch the competition. I'm sure there will be others like me.

Wasn't there a way to keep the scoring system simple and understandable while ensuring fairness?

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