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The Twins, the playoffs, and you

I decided to call my friend, March ElGringoLoco, to discuss this year’s baseball playoffs.

Me: How’s it going. You know, the Twins won 88 games this year.
MEGL: 88, huh? Probably good for 3rd in the AL Central.

Me: Not really, actually, the Twins went 88-75
MEGL: 75? That means they played a one-game playoff? Lemme guess, they lost to the Mariners in the one-game shot for the Wild Card?

Me: No. The Mariners actually lost 100 games
MEGL: OK, Cleveland. Sabathia has pwn3d us the last few years.

Me: Well, Sabathia could win the Cy Young, but no, it wasn’t Cleveland, and it wasn’t for the Wild Card
MEGL: Again? Damn, I thought he would fall back to earth…and if it wasn’t for the Wild Card, it had to be for the Central. I guess the Tigers’ offense was just a little too much.

Me: No, actually, the Tigers finished in last.
MEGL: So we lost to the freaking Royals?

Me: Well, 2 of the last 3 at the Dome, but it was actually the White Sox. They ended up losing in the first round of the playoffs.
MEGL: Ha. Who’d they lose to? The Red Sox? The Yanks?

Me: Actually, the Rays.
MEGL: HAHAHAHAHA, no seriously.

Me: Yes, the Rayz. They won the East by 2 games over Boston.
MEGL: You mean the Yanks, right?

Me: No, Tampa Bay.
MEGL: So, you’re telling me that the Tigers finished in last, and the Rays finished in first? Whatcha gonna tell me next, Cliff Lee is the front-runner for the Cy Young?

Me: Well, actually—
MEGL: You’re kidding, right. I thought Sabathia was the Cleveland lefty that would win it.

Me: Sabathia may win the Cy Young. The NL Cy Young.
MEGL: Ah, he got traded. Probably to the Cubs, they needed some more pitching. Ryan Dempster as a starter? I bet that didn’t work out so well.

Me: Dempster was actually very good. Actually, Sabathia went to the Brewers.
AEGL: Sonofa—-

Me: Easy, easy, this is a G-rated blog.
AEGL: Fine, fine. How did Johan do?

Me: Very well. Led the league in ERA, even pitched a complete-game shutout on the next-to-last-day of the season.
AEGL: Guess it makes sense, the Mets probably wouldn’t start the playoffs until Thurs—

Me: Actually, the Mets didn’t make the playoffs. They blew another lead down the stretch.
AEGL: Willie Randolph should be fired.

Me. He was. In June. He was replaced by Jerry Manuel.
AEGL: HAHAHAHAHA. No wonder, his Zen bullcrap never did work with the White Sox.

Me: Actually, Manuel led the Mets to the 3rd best record in the majors down the stretch. He even referred to Johan as “gangsta.”
AEGL: Well, I’ll be damned. So, I’m guessing the Cubs are fixing to win the World Series now. It’s been 100 years.

Me: Actually, they were swept by the Dodgers. James Loney hit a grand slam in Game 1 that really turned momentum, and Manny hit 2 absolute bombs in the first two games at Wrigley.
AEGL: Manny? Is that your nickname for Andre Ethier or something?

Me: Actually, Manny Ramirez got traded to the Dodgers in a 3-way deal that sent Jason Bay to Boston.
AEGL: So…the Red Sox traded Manny for Jason Bay? I bet that cost them.

Me: Actually, Boston had a better winning percentage with Bay than Ramirez. Heck, Bay even hit 2 homers against the Angels in the first round of the playoffs and scored the Series clinching run.
AEGL: Wait…you’re telling me the Cubs got eliminated and the Red Sox beat the Angels in the playoffs? I guess some things never do change.

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It’s over

My beloved Twins have played MUCH better than I thought they would. 82 wins is 4 more than last year, with the Left Arm of God and 2nd Coming of Willie Mays playing for los Twinks. The fact the Twins are within a game of the White Sox at this point is a bonus for me.

However, the depletion of the bullpen, the sudden struggles of one Joe Nathan (I blame myself), and the real lack of offense outside of the Canadian Pujols is really going to kill us. Viva los White Sox.

(This is my last resort)

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Our long national nightmare is over

Finally, thank God, Francisco Liriano is back. Liriano, whose agent was worried would never get back to the majors this year, will Start for the Twins Sunday afternoon when hopefully, they will be going for a 3-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians.  This move comes on the heels of the AL Central leading Whtie Sox picking up Ken Griffey, Jr. This move, along with the acquisition of Rochester first baseman Randy Ruiz, will hopefully be the type of trade deadline move within the organization that will lead the Twins to their 5th AL Central title in 7 years.

This does mean the end of the line for Craig Monroe, who hit a few big homers (including one against KC that may turn out to be a turning point game for the Twins, as well as Livan Hernandez, whose recent shelling at the hands of the White Sox was his last start as a Minnesota Twin. While I think Livan did as well as could be hoped for this season, it was clearly time for him to move on, and a rotation of Liriano, Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, Glen Perkins, and Kevin Slowey, with Boof Bonser hopefully getting better, should be very good for years to come. However, with that, here goes my tribute to Livan Hernandez…

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Stabler gets DUI. Again

Former Alabama and Oakland Raider great Ken “Snake” Stabler was arrested in Robertsdale, AL (a Baldwin County burg not too far from his hometown of Foley) after being pulled over and cited for reckless driving and driving under the influence of alcohol. His first came in 1995, and his 2nd in 2001. Stabler, who has lately been the color commentator (and a damn good one, I must say) for the University of Alabama’s football radio team, starred for the team in the 1960s, famously leading the Tide to an undefeated, untied, and ultimately uncrowned 11-0-0 1966 season. Considering the PR nightmare this could cause, do not be surprised to see Stabler ousted in the fall. My buddy Armchair Talking Head has already made one request: no Jay Barker. Whether he’s still traumatized by the end of the 1993 Alabama-Tennessee game (the last tie in Alabama football history), or he’s insanely jealous of Barker’s fiance, I don’t know. However, having listened to him a few times on WJOX in the morning, I can say I definitely agree with him. Perhaps another former Alabama quarterback can be talked into doing it. Unless, of course, the Jets are struggling and Suzy Kolber is around.

By the way, here is the mug shot of the Snake. It’s kinda…well, sad

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I’m soooo voting for this guy in November

My buddy Collin over at ArmchairTalkingHead has already written about it, but Winston County native Mark “Rodeo Clown No NCAA No War” Townsend is running for senator as a Democrat. Or, at least he was, until Mobile businesswoman Vivian Figures destroyed him (and, to be fair, the other candidate as well) in the primaries on Tuesday. However, that will not deter Mr. Townsend from from running. On his website, entitled sessionsisasissy.com, which also features his campaign manager “Sexy” Rexy Robbins (a former Bear Creek Phillips Bears kicker who could kick the ball further than anyone who ever lived, and former Haleyville Lion popcorn vendor turned Deshler Tiger fanatic), a challenge to Senator Charles Bishop to fight, and a complete hatred of the NCAA (ok, 1 out of 3 ain’t bad), Townsend says he will run as an independent in November. Frankly, this has awesome potential, and considering his strong showing in Winston County (where he is from, and where he won with a whopping 60 votes), he may have a shot at garnering 15% of the vote this time.

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Tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1959

Although my father and uncles are undoubtedly nostalgic for the NBA Finals this year, I can say I’m MORE stoked because two of my least favorite basketball teams, the San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Pistons, are gone. However, for the first time since 1987 (coincidentally, the very first NBA Finals of my lifetime, as the Rockets-Celtics 1986 Finals finished about a month before I was born), the Lakers and Celtics will face off in the NBA Finals. This will be the 11th meeting between the two teams since the first meeting in 1959, when the Celtics demolished the Lakers (who were still the Minneapolis Lakers at that time) in 4 straight to win their second of nine consecutive world titles. My early prediction: Lakers in 6. Kobe Bryant is merely too good right now, and Phil Jackson is a huge upgrade over Doc Rivers on the bench.

Before I leave, however, one more quick thing…the ending of the 1984 Finals, the last time the Celtics beat the Lakers in an NBA Finals…

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The Tigers still suck, and Jim Leyland is tired of it

Ex-Tiger pitcher Jason Grilli recently stated one of the reasons the Tigers were struggling so mightily in 2008 was because he felt the team’s chemistry was stale.

“It seems like they kind of broke up our team chemistry when they got rid of Sean Casey and good people like that. You wanted guys like that around. You wanted a guy like Inge playing behind you, knowing he would go through a brick wall.

“Talent-wise on paper, that is one of the greatest teams assembled, but the atmosphere was stale and stagnant. You kept losing, losing and losing, and everybody became distant. I have good friends over there, and I feel badly for them.”

After hearing of these comments, Tiger manager Jim Leyland responded. And thank God for that…

Sadly, they bleep all the good stuff out, but still you can figure the gist of the conversation.

By the way, now that the canyon of suck that is Jacque Jones is gone, can the Tigers PLEASE bring back Clete Thomas (the official cousin of ElGringoLoco) and put him in left. He can’t suck any more than Curtis Granderson has since the first of May.

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