Thursday, February 23, 2006
AMERICAN IDOL THOUGHTS
Twins AND Idol Thoughts (Again!)
UPDATE: Twins Unveil their new Twins Territory Advertisements.
Click here to see the Torii Hunter/Birthday Party commercial.
Click here to watch the much-ballyhooed Joe Mauer/sideburns commercial. ___________________________________________________________
Good morning everyone! The format of today's blog will be identical to yesterday's. I will post a few Twins Thoughts, and they will be followed by my thoughts on American Idol from last night. It was the boys turn to sing. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts and/or comments on either topic, so I will have a couple of areas for Comments so as not to combine topics, but also you are all welcome to e-mail me and I will try to respond in a somewhat timely manner.
Last night was Wednesday night, or Texas Hold 'Em night for me. I played by far my best game of poker. There were 35 playing and I finished 19th. Now, that may not sound so great, and I know, it's not, but for me, it was the best by quite a bit. I was playing smart. I didn't get much for cards while the blinds were low, so I folded most of the time so as not to lose unnecessary chips. As the blinds grew, my cards actually got better. I also think that I played smart. I think that I bet when I should have, called appropriately and most importantly probably, folded when I needed to. Until we got past the first break. I went into the fifth blind increase with over 3,500 chips. I came to a hand where I had 3-6 diamonds, and I was the big blind, so of course, I stayed in for the flop. It contained three diamonds, including the Ace. I was feeling good, and raised about 300. The guy to my immediate left went all in with 2,800 chips. I thought long and hard. He had just moved to our table, so I had no basis to know how he played. I decided to call it and hope that he was bluffing. He wasn't. He had pocket diamonds and that included the king. I was down to about 500 chips, and about two hands later, I was done. Lesson learned though. I was sitting good. I could have just played it conservatively, folded by flush wisely and lived to play more rounds. Who knows though, maybe I could have played into the Top 10? Maybe the card would have been right and I could have done even better. I don't know. I guess that is the risk you take, and in this case, I got burned. But it was fun!
Twins Thoughts & Articles
Here are some links to some great Twins, and baseball, related articles from yesterday and today. Again, feel free to leave some comments, or e-mail me if anything strikes your attention or causes an opinion.
The Strib's Lavelle E. Neal and Joe Christenson collaborated on a very good article on a number of Twins topics. They include Justin Morneau being able to get started on time this spring, the Lohse/Gardy struggles last year, Denard Span is in Ft. Myers and eager to learn from Torii Hunter, and much more. Also, it is important to know that Jose Mijares did report to training camp yesterday!
Aaron Gleeman got a mention and a link on ESPN.com's Jayson Stark's blog. It is very interesting information. Almost as interesting as the second part of his post. Please check it out today to hear the very strange story that happened to Aaron last night.
The Strib also has a very interesting article today, a Q&A with Pepper Hastings about the baseball card market. There are now just two card manufacturers. It's an interesting article.
Jason Williams writes in the Pioneer Press that Carlos Silva is still deciding whether or not to participate in the WBC. Obviously the deterrent would be the knee surgery that he had in September. As a Twins fan, I don't want him playing!
Williams also penned an article saying that Brad Radke will wait until after the season to decide if he will retire or not.
Another day of camp, Pat Neshek discusses asking veterans for autographs, getting in a batting cage, and a pretty humorous story about Jesse Crain and Joe Nathan.
mlb.com's Kelly Thesier has some very interesting Notes today. I am now a bigger fan of JD Durbin and hope he can get his control figured out and be able to help the Twins, even if it eventually in a relief role. I'm also glad to hear that his confidence is still there. Like it or not, that was part of the game and the makeup that got him so far, he needs that! Also, she is the first that I have read report that Dave Gassner may be vying for the lefty-reliever role as well with the three veteran non-roster invitees! And again, she explains the confusion about why Jose Mijares did not report to camp until yesterday.
Baseball America released the list of its Top 50 Prospects on their website last night. To no one's surprise, they rank Francisco Liriano #6. I am thrilled to see that that is the highest ranking for any pitcher.
Do you have any thoughts on the Twins, spring training or anything else? If so, send me an e-mail, or post some Comments below.
American Idol Thoughts
We're back to it, and it is going to be a busy week of American Idol action. After the girls sang on Tuesday night, it was the guys turn to perform last night and for the most part, they did well. Yesterday I wrote a big lead-in on my American Idol thoughts and opinions before commenting on the girls' performance. Today, I am going to get to my thoughts on the guys' performances right away. But first, how about this interesting picture of Becky O'Donohue, taken two years ago with her twin sister for Maxim Online. At the time, Maxim was looking for models for their fantasy baseball story, and Becky and her sister were chosen. Apparently this picture is now going to start making its comeback. Enjoy!
Patrick Hall - Come to My Window
He is one of the first in American Idol history that took a song and (cliche alert) made it his own, and I actually liked it. He was close enough to the original and yet the parts that were different just worked. He didn't get all crazy. He was in control, and overall, I thought he was very good.
David Radford - Crazy Little Thing Called Love
He is the Crooner who said that he was going to do something different, but this song was a good mix for him in that it was more upbeat and yet he could use his same voice. So, it wasn't at all a stretch for him. He said he had never performed, but I thought he was fairly relaxed and was having a good time. He hit most of the notes. The judges have hated this song for a couple of years since JPL (Jon Peter Lewis) sang it too years ago. They think it is a joke for some reason. Yes, it is a relatively easy song to sing, but it does get votes, I'm sure!
Bucky Covington - Simple Man
He sounded as if he had a little bit of phlegm caught in the back of his throat, particularly on the louder, should have been stronger parts of the song. It was probably a good song choice for him and his voice, it just didn't work. It was good. He missed notes and sounded flat. It was just not good!
Will Makar - I Want You Back
I thought it was a bad song choice for the 16 year old. But he really actually did well. He had a good presence on stage. I was impressed that he didn't try to do too much with the song. He didn't try to hit the same high notes that Michael Jackson would have in his much younger years. It made it a fairly boring song, but he was good in his range.
Jose "Sway" Penala - Reasons
The man has an excellent falsetto voice, and I really don't think that everyone understands or appreciates just how difficult that is to do, especially through an entire song. I though Sway was great! He worked the stage well, relative to the song choice. His extreme high notes were perfect, and his degree of difficulty earns him extra points in my book!
Chris Daughtry - Wanted Dead of Alive
He has excellent, strong vocals. It is a great song, and he sang it well, and with good energy. My only complaint was that he should not have done that long run at the end of the song. Had he cut that off, I may have moved him up a spot. Maybe not though. He is good.
Kevin Covais - One Last Cry
He looks like he is about four. The kid can sing, no doubt. But he looked absolutely horrified on stage. He stared straight forward into the camera the first three-fourths of the song. He has a very good voice, but it isn't great necessarily. Tough Brian McKnight song, but a great song that was probably well suited for him. His "cuteness" factor may move him further in this contest than he may deserve.
Gedeon McKinney - Shout
The judges think that Crazy Little Thing Called Love is a gimmick-type song. Well, what is Shout then? Yet, the judges raved about his performance. And, he was very good. Excellent deep voice, but he was also very good when the notes went high. Good stage presence and a personality to match. I may have to agree with Simon about his smile though!
Elliott Yamin - If You Really Love Me
I was certainly not as impressed as the three judges were. Again, I'm a fan of Stevie Wonder songs, but I thought that the particular song was a bad choice. I thought that his voice was very average on the slower verses. He was a lot more strong on the more upbeat portions of the song. It was just a subdued performance in my eyes... and ears. However, Simon said, "in five seasons of American Idol, he has potentially the best male vocals." I just sat in awe thinking... Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken, George Huff and others impressed me more.
Bobby Bennett - Copa Cabana
I was just waiting for Simon to say, "in five seasons of American Idol, you have arguably the worst vocals, male or female." My first thought was that maybe he could sing on a Carnival Cruiseline, but as he kept singing, and moving, it just got worse and worse. Maybe the worst I have seen. He worked so hard and put in so much effort, but just not good!
Ace Young - Father Figure
Uggh! The ladies are already all smitten. I kept hearing, "his eyes, his hair, his" whatever. I wanted to not like him, but then he picked a great song, and he was absolutely perfect. Great voice. Worked the stage well. Worked the eyes into the home audience very well. He was just very controlled, with excellent range, and I would say that he may be the overall favorite at this point to win this thing.
Taylor Hicks - Levon
Is it just me, or does Mr. Hicks look like an older Mark Cuban? I don't know. He picked a great song to sing. He is certainly different from everyone else. The hair, the strange movements. He has decent vocals, but I really don't think he is great. But he has a great time and I think that America will absolutely love him.
SethSpeaks Ranking of the Top 12 Performances (from last night)
1.) Ace Young
2.) Jose "Sway" Penala
3.) Patrick Hall
4.) Chris Daughtry
5.) Will Makar
6.) Kevin Covais
7.) Gedeon McKinney
8.) Elliott Yamin
9.) Taylor Hicks
10.) David Radford
11.) Bucky Covington
12.) Bobby Bennett
Who I think will be the two eliminated contestants on tonight?
1.) Bobby Bennett - Horrible, just ghastly. Hey, Simon may not have even said it, but I will!
2.) Bucky Covington - Almost as bad. Just not listen-to-able!
Remember, tonight is the elimination show, two guys and two girls will be eliminated from further competition. Will I be even close to right in my predictions? We'll see. If you've made it this far, be sure to check out the thoughts on last night's episode over at Curlio.com. Also, check out The Baseball Savants site for his thoughts on the show and the performances!
Tell me what you think. Were any of my opinions completely off-base? How would you rank the performances? Send me an e-mail, or let's talk about it in the Comments here. That is it for today!
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