Thursday September 11, 2003
DISCUSSION QUESTION OF THE WEEK
LOOKING BACK, DONíT FORGET
Big Series ŗ Game 3 (White Sox 1, Twins 4 )
After losing games one and two of their big series against the White Sox, the Twins really needed to win last night. What did they need to do to accomplish that? Going in, I thought they needed two things. First, they needed to get a strong starting pitching performance! With Johan Santana, the Twins best pitcher all season, the Twins had their best shot to achieve that. Also, I thought the Twins needed to get off to a good start, to get a lead and play from ahead, rather than playing catch up the whole game again.
Johan Santana did his part. With as much pressure as was on him, Santana came through with a clutch pitching performance. He matched the 0ís that Chicagoís Jon Garland put up through the first 4 innings. Then in the top of the 5th inning, the Twins got sacrifice flies from both Cristian Guzman and Shannon Stewart to give them a 2-0 lead. Santana put another 0 on the board in the 5th inning. Then in the 6th, Magglio Ordonez hit a sacrifice fly, making the score 2-1. In a close game, whenever the other team scores, it is important to get that run back as soon as possible to take away any momentum the opponent may feel. With 2 outs in the top of the 7th, Shannon Stewart came through for the Twins again, singling in Corey Koskie.
Santana came out to start the bottom of the 7th, but Carl Everett singled and Joe Crede walked before Jose Valentin sacrificed them to 2nd and 3rd. That was it for Santana, he had done his job and the Twins bullpen ďaceĒ came in and did his. LaTroy Hawkins was able to get pinch-hitter Brian Daubach to ground out to the catcher on a controversial call. I donít know why it was controversial. It amazes me when major league players donít understand the rules of the game. Daubach checked a swing and the ball bounced off his bat to the ground in foul territory behind home plate. On the hop, it landed on home plate. Obviously the plate is in fair territory. AJ Pierzynski pounced from his crouch, picked up the ball and tagged out Daubach. With 2 outs now, Roberto Alomar was brought in as a pinch hitter. LaTroy Hawkins threw 97 mph fastball after 97 mph fastball right on the outside corner, and finally on a full count, Hawkins blew a 98 mph fastball right by Alomar for the 3rd out! That was the ball game!
The Twins added an insurance run in the 8th when Matthew Lecroy doubled in Doug Mientkiewicz. Hawkins pitched the 8th inning. Then Eddie Guardado came in to close the game in the 9th.
Thatís a great recipe for winning baseball. Get great starting pitching from your real ďaceĒ. Get a lead and maintain it. Get help from the bullpen. Add some insurance runs, and close the show in the 9th! If only it were always that simple, right?
Wow!! I know the players and coaching staff probably didnít want to make too big a deal out of the importance of last nightís game. BUT, it truly was a huge game! The Twins now have a chance to split the series. It will be tough, as Brad Radke faces 19-game winner Esteban Loaiza. Itís a noon game, so by 3 or 4 today, weíll know whether the Twins are 2 games back in the division, or tied for first-place again!
On a negative note, Joe Mays met with Dr. James Andrews yesterday and found out that there is a tear of a ligament in his elbow, so he will be undergoing Tommy John surgery. The procedure will likely cost Joe Mays his 2004 season. It also helps to explain just how poorly heís pitched. It does make you wonder why this wasnít detected sooner. Jesse Foppert hurt himself on Saturday and he had Tommy John surgery yesterday. Joe Mays has been hurt for a year and a half, and this is the first visit to Dr. Andrews. Itís just another sign of how poor the Twins medical and training staffs are. Dick Martin is certainly missed!
On a comical note, the White Sox release reliever Jose Paniagua right after the game on Tuesday night for his rant on the home plate umpire and flipping him off as he was walking off the field after being removed from the game AND ejected from the game. White Sox GM Kenny Williams did the right thing!
DISCUSSION QUESTION OF THE WEEK
Last chance!! Get in on tomorrowís SethSpeaks posting! Send me an e-mail and answer the below question. Have your voice heard! If youíd like to enter, send me an e-mail today, and it could be used tomorrow! Hereís the question:
This is a question that I think comes into question at this time every yearÖ The MVP award. What does the term ďMost VALUABLE PlayerĒ mean? Does it mean just the best player in the league statistically for the year? Does it mean the most clutch player? Does it mean the best player on the best team? Last year, Miguel Tejada of the Oakland Aís won the AL MVP award even though his overall numbers werenít as good as Texas Rangers SS Alex Rodriguez. But, the Aís went to the playoffs, and the Rangers didnít play a Ďmeaningful game after Memorial Day. So, what do you think? I know that everyone has different opinions on this, and I would love to hear from you on your thoughts.
Just a quick reminder of how the Discussion Question of the Week works. The Question is presented above. It has been included on the site all week. If you would like to participate in the discussion, just send me an e-mail with your response by tonight. I will then, on Friday, post the responses that I get. This one should be fun and interesting.
LOOKING BACK, DONíT FORGET
Two years ago today, things changed in this country. 9/11/01, a date that will be remembered forever. That was the day that two airplanes flew into the Twin Towers of New York City before a third plane flew into the Pentagon. A fourth plane was headed for another location when a courageous group of people took on their hijackers and flew it into a field in Pennsylvania, losing their own lives, yet potentially saving many more!
The same can be said of so many more American heroes. When the decision was made to go to war against Afghanistan and later against the tyrannical government of Iraq, other Americans lost their lives and in doing so became heroes fighting for the safety of more Americans. But those arenít the only heroes. All who fought on our behalf should be considered heroes!
Where were you that morning two years ago today? At 8:45, just 45 minutes after arriving at work, someone said that a plane had flown into one of the Towers in New York City. Sadly, I just kind of nodded and said, ďOh, thatís too badĒ. At that time, I had no clue the full scope of what was happening. 15 minutes later, the same person told me that another plane had flown into the other tower. At this point, I started getting a little bit nervous, yet, I live in a small town, so I wasnít too worried. Shortly after, the news came that the Pentagon had been hit by another plane. At this point, the office was a buzz. Everyone was discussing it. Those with internet access and speakers were trying to find a place that was covering the situation. I was in my bossís office with a number of others just listening to what was happening, not having a clue of what it all meant. Then the towers came crashing to the ground. I accomplished nothing at work that morning. At noon, I just said I was taking a Ĺ day off of work and going home. I needed to know everything. I wanted to know what was happening. I wanted to know if I was in any danger.
At the time, a great friend of mine and his wife were living in Washington D. C. At 1 p.m. that afternoon, I tried to call them to see where they were, how they were. But the phones out there were out. I had no way to get a hold of them that day.
There was no baseball for a week, and obviously that was a good thing! Flights were all in question. Safety of players and fans in stadiums were a concern. Baseball was the last thing on peopleís minds, and especially the baseball playerís minds.
Anyway, Iím certainly not an eloquent writer, so I shouldnít be writing about such a deep, important topic, but I felt something should be said. So, Iíll just leave it at this: Donít forget what happened that day. Respect the military and those who have served our country in the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, even if you donít agree that we should have gone there. Respect the President, even if heís not who you voted for. Know that heís there to make decisions that he feels are in the best interest for the country. One thing I learned from watching CNN and Fox and the other news stations is that I donít need to know every detail of whatís going on. We donít need to know every detail of why we went to war. Personally, I donít want to know. I think knowing would scare me. Again, just trust the President and all of his advisors!
Enough political information, huh?
Former Vikings kicker Gary Anderson last night signed a contract to be the Tennessee Titans kicker for the rest of the season. My assumption would be that heíll kick extra points and field goals inside 35 or 40 yards. Punter Craig Hentrich will probably kick longer field goals as well as kickoffs. Of course, the Titans kicking job opened up Sunday night when their kicker Joe Nedney tore up his knee and is out of the season.
Vikings safety Corey Chavous was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his 2 interceptions against Brett Favre and the Packers. Unfortunately, Chavous probably wonít play this weekend against the Bears with a knee injury.
With Donald Driver out for Sundayís game, and Robert Ferguson very questionable with a knee injury, the Packers re-signed WR Antonio Freeman. Freeman could be a very interesting fantasy football pickup. He isnít too far removed from the Packers system. He and Brett Favre always had a strong rapport. Maybe not for this week, but heís worth consideration as a pickup in the next couple of weeks.
And donít forget to check back tomorrow for this weekís NFL ďExperts PicksĒ. The same 9 people will be picking the winners Week 2ís NFL games. They will also each pick a QB, 2 RB, and 2 WR to watch this weekend!
I live in Hockeytown, USA, but hockey ranks well down on my list of favorite sports, behind baseball, basketball and football, if not more. The Minnesota Wild organization is starting training camp. Itís going to be a tough year for them, I think. Last year was supposed to be another developmental year, and they made it to the Western Conference Finals before losing to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. So fan expectations are probably far too high for them. Iím sure Iíll try to get into them to start the season, but after awhile, Iíll get bored with them. But there is one thing I am totally looking forward to. What is that, you ask? I canít wait to keep hearing the name Pascal Dupois!!
Thatís it for today! Everyone have a great Thursday! I guess the Twins/White Sox 4th game is on WGN, so if you can, check it out! If you have any comments on anything youíve read, just send me an e-mail!
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