Monday, May 10, 2004
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE NOTES
Bad Weekend for Twins
First, I want to thank those of you who took the time to e-mail me regarding the Demographics Test. I will keep that here for a couple more days for those who haven't responded yet. The results so far have been pretty interesting, and I will try to post something on it later this week. So, thank you.
Friends Finale Trivia – baseball people love small, minute details. So, here is just a bit of Friends trivia for you. What was the last word uttered on the final Friends, and who said it?
ANSWER - Some of you sent me a guess to this question over the weekend. The answer is... After Rachel says, "Do we have time for a cup of coffee?" As the six were walking out of the apartment and into the hall, Chandler (Matthew Perry) replied, "Where?" It was funny and very appropriate ending to the show.
Friday night, I actually watched a movie. When it was done, I decided to hop online and listen to the end of the Twins game. Because I was unable to watch it, I was getting to the point where I was just going to go to bed and not even listen to the Twins game. I was so frustrated by the Twins/Victory/Cable/Satellite companies. Well, above all else, I'm a Twins fan, so I was going to listen.
So, I opened up two Internet Explorer screens. The first, I turned on the Twins game online. The second, I checked my hotmail e-mail. I had three new e-mails, so I read through the first two and they were from people responding to the Demographics Survey. The third was an e-mail from the president of my cable provider. It told me that the Victory situation was worked out, and that the Twins had signed an 8 year deal with Fox Sports Net and their first game would be on Saturday. He was writing to thank me for my small part in this whole situation.
My first reaction was that I was thrilled that the situation was over and I would be able to watch the Twins on TV. I had been contemplating sleeping before going online, but now I was wide awake! I was just anxious for 3:00 Saturday afternoon to be able to watch the Twins in my own home!
Since I was now wide awake, I went online to try to figure out what happened. Well, we don't really know. We do know that the deal is 8 years. We do know that the first year of that deal is about $12 million. We know that as of noon on Saturday, Victory Sports was no more. The plug had been pulled. We have heard the Victory Sports had cost about $10 million to launch, and that supposedly there was nothing in the Fox deal to give any of that back to Carl Pohlad. That is my lone reason to believe that Victory was not just an attempt to increase their offer from Fox Sports North.
So, what are my thoughts on this situation after a couple of days?
First, and obviously, I am very happy to be able to watch Twins games on TV! That has not dissipated at all! I love being able to see the players that I've really mainly read about. I will be able to make judgments and state opinions based on more than the radio call or a box score or statistics. I am happy they are on TV. I know a LOT of people who are very happy to finally be able to watch them.
That said, I am also somewhat disappointed in a few things.
I really was looking forward to Victory Sports. I love the concept of regional sports. I want to see the Twins. I want to see the Gophers. I would rather watch local Division II or III football than watch the Pac-10. I can see those games other places. I like watching Gophers hockey on Fox Sports, but it would be fun to see Minnesota-Mankato, St. Cloud St. and UND hockey as well. I like the concept of seeing a couple of regional high school football, hockey and basketball games each week.
Secondly, I really wanted the network to succeed for monetary reasons. Yes, the Twins (at least) doubled their revenue from Fox Sports. But think of it like this - The Twins will receive $12-$15 million a year from Fox Sports. Had the cable and satellite providers signed with Victory Sports, those would look like miniscule numbers. Let's put some numbers to it. Let's just say that there are 1,500,000 total subscribers with Victory Sports. Let's say that Victory had dropped its asking price to $1.50 per subscriber. Each month, that would mean $2,250,000. Over the course of a year, that's $27 million. That is already more than double what they will receive from Fox. However, maybe the network is successful in its first year, and then Victory is able to get $2 per subscriber. Well, then there is an average annual revenue of $36 million. I may even be low on the # of subscribers, You can see my point. Getting this network going would have meant very good things to the Twins.
I'm disappointed because had the Twins Saturday afternoon game been on TV, Jodi Mientkiewicz (and Lisa Pierzynski) would have made an appearance in the broadcast. However, with this change over, that was cancelled. I hear that Victory was planning a TV show hosted by Jodi, but that was now off.
Again, big picture, I am excited to be able to watch most of the games on TV. I wish that Victory would have worked, but with an 8 year deal, there will be some stability for Twins fans. Well, until 2008, when the team is still playing in the terrible Metrodome, and then they will be contracted because the union can't do anything about it then.
Any thoughts on this? E-mail me.
Not a pretty weekend for the Twins. Yeah, they were on TV, but the games were not pretty.
Friday night, the Twins played another LONG game, losing in the 13th to the A's, when Eric Byrnes hit a two-run homer to give them an 11-9 win. Twins pitchers issued 11 walks. From the radio broadcast, it sounds like the Twins were being squeezed a little. Johan Santana lasted just 4 innings and gave up 5 runs. Cristian Guzman led the Twins offense with 5 hits (in 6 at bats)! Corey Koskie went 3-6. Doug Mientkiewicz finally got his first homer of the season. Bobby Kielty homered for the A's.
Saturday was the first game seen by the masses, on Fox Sports Net. I tell you what, I understand Billy Beane's philosophy of on-base percentage and taking a lot of pitches, but is it ever boring to watch!!! I may be frustrated at times with one-pitch at bats of Twins like Torii Hunter and Jacque Jones, but it is far more exciting and interesting! Anyway, this was a good game. Although he went just 5 innings, Seth Griesinger did well, giving up two runs. The the bullpen came through. Joe Roa went 1 1/3. JC Romero went 2 2/3. Joe Nathan pitched the 10th inning for his 8th Save of the season. Tim Hudson pitched 2 great innings for the A's, but it wasn't enough. In the 10th, with Jim Mecir pitching and Shannon Stewart on 1B with 2 outs, Doug Mientkiewicz hit a pop up down the 3B line. Rookie SS Bobby Crosby went back, but dropped the ball. On the play, Stewart was able to score, giving the Twins the 3-2 win. Torii Hunter and Doug Mientkiewicz each had two hits. Jacque Jones hit his 6th homer of the season.
Yesterday was another bad start for the Twins. Kyle Lohse just could not find the strike zone. Here is what I posted over on the Dickie Thon Twins Fan Forum:
He probably reads baseball blogs and felt that his K rate was too low. So, now he overthrows everything. He has no control of his fastball, and he's throwing the curveball way too hard. He needs to remember that a 94 mph fastball can be hard to hit well, so let 'em hit it and see what happens.
Kyle Lohse threw over 60 pitches in the first two innings. He was awful. He was nowhere near the strike zone, so when he was close, the umpire wasn't going to give him any breaks. In 4 1/3 innings, he threw 102 pitches and walked six because just 53 were strikes. His 102nd pitch was a first-pitch fastball to Bobby Kielty and he deposited it well into the right field bleachers to give the A's a 5-4 lead. Juan Rincon and Aaron Fultz finished the game, and didn't exactly pitch lights out. Mark Mulder threw 9 innings for the A's. Shannon Stewart had two of the Twins six hits, including a 2 run homer that gave them a 4-3 lead. Michael Cuddyer hit a first pitch fastball well into the left field bleachers for a solo homer.
After the game, Rob Bowen was sent back down to AA. Matthew Lecroy will be removed from the Disabled List in time for Tuesday's game.
A couple of quick notes from the Twins minor league affiliates:
Saturday was a day of ups and downs for the Rochester Redwings in a win. Michael Restovich hit for the cycle with GM Terry Ryan in attendance.
However the "down" was a way down! SS Jason Bartlett was hit by a pitch in his first plate appearance. He continued to play and batted three times. Later, it was found out that he fractured a bone in his wrist and will be out four to six weeks. It is really unfortunate for Bartlett for one reason (ok, lots of reasons, including this one), he could have been called up to the Twins. With Nick Punto's oblique injury, there were thoughts that Punto would be put on the DL, with Bartlett being called up.
Yesterday, Rick Helling made his second start for AA New Britain. His first was impressive. His second... not so much. In 5 innings, Helling gave up 10 hits, six runs (5 earned). He walked three and struck out two.
At A Quad Cities, Billy Mauer is yet to give up an earned run in 8 innings. For the Swing (which, by the way, play in Davenport, IA, not Dubuque as I have said a couple of times), Matt Moses' batting average is down to .240, while Denard Span's is up to .235.
Any thoughts? E-mail me.
WOLVES WIN WACKY ONE
Saturday night, the Minnesota Timberwolves built a big lead in the 2nd quarter over the Sacramento Kings. At halftime, they led by 10 points. But by the end of the third quarter, that lead was cut to just three, and the Kings took the lead early in the 4th quarter. With under 4 minutes remaining, the Kings had increased their lead to 10 points. They were playing with a confidence that was incredible. Not like the Denver Nuggets arrogance, but they were just playing incredible. The Wolves took a time out at that point, and when they broke their huddle, things had changed. Instead of settling for outside shots, the Wolves were extremely aggressive. Latrell Sprewell and Sam Cassell both decided to drive. Next think you know, the Wolves are only down by one. They played a great defense, not allowing the Kings to score. Cassell hit big shots, eventually giving the Wolves the lead. It came down to free throws and defense though. Good thing the defense was so strong because the Wolves missed free throws. Sam Cassell who came into the game shooting 96% from the line missed two (he was 2-6 on the night). Latrell Sprewell got a rebound on the other end and he missed two free throws (he was 2-4). However, Fred Hoiberg grabbed the second miss and was fouled. He was truly clutch, making both free throws to give the Wolves the 5 point win.
Fred Hoiberg again came off the bench and was invaluable. At the half, he had 11 points including three 3-pointers. He played great defense throughout, and that rebound and the free throws down the stretch were huge! Kevin Garnett was MVP-like. He scored 28 points and was 12-14 from the line. He added 11 rebounds and 6 blocked shots. Sam Cassell scored 19 points, many of them were big shots down the stretch. He had 5 rebounds and 7 assists. Trenton Hassell and Latrell Sprewell each played their usual tough-nosed defense. Sprewell scored 15 while Hassell added 12.
Peja Stojacovik scored 26 points, and Chris Webber added 21. Mike Bibby shot just 4 of 17 from the field.
So, the Wolves had an improbable win Saturday night. With the series now headed to Sacramento tonight, an 0-2 deficit would have been nearly impossible to overcome for the Wolves. Now, the story is different. Yes, the Kings still stole home court advantage by taking a game, but they have to be incredibly disappointed in not winning Game 2. It was theirs to have! The Wolves were one of the best road teams in the NBA this year, and they won in Arco Arena twice already this season, so they should not feel like they are out of this. If they can win one of these two games, they will have reclaimed home court advantage. What a difference 4 minutes of game time can make. The Wolves went from out of it, to right back in this series because of that comeback.
Tonight, the two teams play in Sacramento (yes, late... 9:30 Minnesota time!). The Wolves will have to play their absolute best to win on the road in the playoffs. Have you watched any of the other series? The Pistons looked ready to sweep the Nets, but in Game 3, the home team, the Nets won easily. Yesterday, the Lakers, who everybody had given up on, went home and completely dominated Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and the Spurs.
One thing that you'll notice if you watch any of these games is the officiating. The refs are not calling a thing. Either way, so it's not like there is any favoritism. I'm not making any accusations like that. However, players are driving and getting just crushed in the lane, and no calls. It is actually very ridiculous!!!
So, what do you expect from tonight's game? Can the Wolves win this series?? E-mail me.
This is the time of year for finales. Last Thursday, 51 million people watched the Friends finale. Last night, it was Survivor's turn. As they have done in season's past, CBS moves this finale to Sunday night.
The night started with four survivors remaining, Jenna, Rupert, Rob and Amber. Amber won immunity, and it all came down to Jenna's vote. Rob and Amber were obviously voting for Rupert, and Rupert was obviously voting for Rob. Jenna could vote for Rob making the vote 2-2. Had that happened, it would have come down to Jenna, Rupert and Rob each reaching into a bag and the one who pulled out the purple rock would have been eliminated. Jenna didn't want to go out that way. She knew that if she voted for Rob, she would get into the Final 3. Maybe she would be able to win the most important immunity challenge, assured herself some money and take whoever she wanted to the Final 2.
So, although I liked Rupert, I really do think that Jenna made the right decision.
However, the final immunity, as it has been every season, was a challenge of outlasting each other in a tough situation. Jenna was the first out, which meant that either Rob or Amber would advance to the final 2. Things became interesting when neither would give in and trust the other to take them to the final with them. In the end, Rob won that challenge and did bring Amber with him.
I thought that was his best move. I don't know that he could have beaten Jenna. I know that if I had a vote, I would have voted for Rob. Yeah, he lied. He deceived. He broke promises. But, to me, he played the game the best. He outlasted everyone. He orchestrated everything! Amber rode his coattails, but in the end, the jury members decided that Amber would win the $1 million (Rob gets $100,000) by a margin of just one vote.
In the end, did it really matter. Back in New York, before the votes were announced, Rob shocked everyone by proposing to Amber. Of course, she said yes. Then, she won the $1 million and told Rob to take a hike, that she had been playing him the whole time. OK, I made up that last part. I hope they last!
They also asked Jenna Morasca, who left the show to be with her mom just 8 days before she passed away, about her relationship with Ethan. I had heard about that relationship last week. I heard an interview with him last week where he said, "I keep a lot of peanut butter and chocolate around my place." (in reference to her getting naked for chocolate and peanut butter the season she won)
Jenna Lewis announced she got married since coming back. Sue Hawk had undergone an extreme makeover. Richard Hatch found love.
In a twist, Amber was able to give a vehicle away to whoever she wanted. She decided to give it to Shii-Ann because she was the deciding vote. I also thought it was appropriate because of the "don't throw stones in a glass house" comment. Every one in the jury wanted to be in the Final 2. And yeah, Rob lied to many of them. However, each of them would have done similar things to get to the end. Rob and Amber just got there.
Then, Jeff announced that America was going to be given a vote, and could vote to give $1 million to the Survivor: All Star of their choice. Vote Rupert!!! That show will air live on Thursday night.
This All Star version of Survivor was very interesting. To see how people who had already played the game responded to competing with others who knew each other. And, as I said, Rob Mariano played the game the best. Amber got the million dollars, but she's hot, so Rob won too!
What are your thoughts? E-mail me.
I actually rented a movie this weekend. I have not done that for quite some time! Love Don't Cost a Thing is a movie about a non-popular guy who, by chance, is able to help a popular, attractive girl, a girl who's boyfriend is a straight-from-high school-to-the-NBA guy. Basically, he helps her out of a predicament, and she does him a favor. She pretends to be dating him for two weeks. He becomes popular, and completely changes. But as you would expect, there is a moral to the story and all works out in the end.
Nick Cannon stars as the guy. He starred in Drumline and other movies and also has quite the musical career. I'm sure you've heard his song (with R. Kelly) called Gigolo.
Christina Milian stars as the popular cheerleader who makes him cool. Yeah, I now heart Christina Milian!!! The 22 year old has had a very successful music career and has done some acting.
Have you seen it? What were your thoughts? Any movies I should be watching? E-mail me.
QUICK DEMOGRAPHICS TEST - I am very much interested in finding out about who reads this website. I would appreciate it if you took just 1 minute out of your day to click here and e-mail me where you are from and your age and how often you read this website. I appreciate your help!
That is it for today! Happy Mother's Day, a day late!! Have yourself a great week! If you have any questions or comments on anything you see above, or anything at all, please feel free to e-mail me.
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