Monday, June 27, 2011

Week in Review 6-27-2011

I know I had mentioned that I was going to try to do a retro live blog of the NBA draft since I couldn't watch it myself, but I just couldn't do it.  I already knew what happened.  It's kind of like tivoing a Gopher basketball game, finding out the lost by 10, and then watching it anyway.  You just wouldn't do that, because the fun of watching sports is watching an event with an uncertain outcome in which you are emotionally invested in the result.  Knowing what happens and then watching is stupid.  I know there are people who would tivo a game and then watch it even if they know the end result already.  Those people are psychopaths.


1.  Minnesota Timberwolves.  I think they'd have been better off using #20 by either keeping Motiejunas or grabbing Marshon Brooks (or trading it for a veteran SG or C - Brad Miller is retiring) but I can be talked into Kahn's madness because #1 - it's fun and #2 - they did get a future 1st.  The real reason I'm going to praise the mad man here is because, despite himself, he did the right thing and picked Derrick Williams - and kept him (at least thus far).  In my opinion Irving is the surest thing - his downside is probably a long-time starter - but I think Williams has the most upside in the draft.  I suppose this belongs in the back-handed insult department, but kudos to Kahn for not outsmarting himself even though it became abundantly clear he wanted to.  So hurray for competence, accidental or otherwise.

2.  JaJuan Johnson.  The awesome thing for him is that he managed to get himself drafted in the first round, so like, congrats.  What I'm really fascinated about, however, is that the player Snake and I have been calling "College KG" for four years because his skill set was so similar to KG (and Hakim Warrick, FYI) will now be playing with the real KG.  I'd say he couldn't find himself in a better situation with the perfect player to pattern himself after on the same team, but the word "mentor" doesn't exactly come to mind when you think about Garnett.  How is he going to react to a young, new player showing up who has the same game KG himself had 15 years ago?  Fights?  Verbal assaults?  Undermining his confidence?  Or maybe he'll actually see an opportunity to sort of live on after he retires by doing everything he can do help Johnson.  I doubt it, and I'm thinking more of the pushing and yelling is likely, but I'm totally fascinated here.  I've never watched Hard Knocks or whatever, but if they did a show like that on the Celtics this year I would totally watch.  And just fast forward to the KG/JJ parts.

3.  Evan Longoria.  Big sexy is back, in case you missed him.  Longoria struggled so far this year after returning from injury, but he finally broke out this week.  Well, maybe not a total breakout, but in his last four games he has two 2-HR games, including Sunday's game against the Astros where he went 4-6 and missed he cycle by a triple.  Interestingly enough, this little hot streak has started ever since Longo dropped the batting gloves which reminds me of this dude I played amateur baseball with.  See, I hit with no batting gloves because I like to feel the wood (insert your own joke here).  Snacks played on the team too, and he liked to wear eye black because it was the most effective way for him to keep the sun out of his eyes in the outfield.  We had another guy who used a ton of pine tar, another guy who wore two big wristbands around his forearms, and another guy who wore his hat slightly cocked to the left.  All these things were done because they worked for people.  But then we had this one little weiner dork on on our team who did all of them - no batting gloves, eye black, pine tar, wrist bands, and hat cocked.  God he was such a little idiot, and he sucked too.  This really has nothing to do with Evan Longoria any more.  

4.  J.J. Hardy.  Well the Twins didn't need him now did they?  While the revolving door of Tolbert/Casilla/Nishioka/Plouffe has put up a combined .225 batting average and a whopping .339 slugging, Hardy hit as many home runs this past week (3) as Twins' shortstop have all year.  He also has multiple hits in 6 of his last 7 games, and for the season has the 4th highest average of all MLB shortstops (.304), the second-highest OBP (.369), the highest slugging (.538), the highest OPS (.907), and the fourth most homers despite only playing in slightly more than half the team's games.  Basically he'd be the best hitter on the Twins:  only Kubel has a a higher average and he'd lead the team in both on-base and slugging and be tied with Cuddy for the HR lead at 10.  Meanwhile Jim Hoey's averaged more than 2 base-runners allowed per inning in his 17 shitty innings.  I hate you, Bill Smith.

5.  Justin Verlander.  I think he's a cyborg of some kind, sent from the future to rescue major league baseball from crappy, wussy pitchers who both suck and are marshmallow soft.  Him and Roy Halladay (and maybe a couple of others) are just a completely different species.  I've always wondered what would happen if Gardy was managing Verlander.  Say it's the bottom of the 7th and the Twins were up 2-0, Verlander is at 98 pitches and just gave up back-to-back singles with Mijares warm in the bullpen.  When Gardy goes out there to try to get the ball from him do you think they would actually get in a fist fight?  Is there any way we can make this happen?


1.  Minnesota Twins.  Well it's over.  I hope you didn't get sucked into believing this team actually had the ability to turn around that 13-29 start or whatever it was.  I know the weak division and sliding Indians and everything made things look possible, but all you had to do was keep looking at that lineup.  50% of that lineup every game should be hitting ninth, which, based on the rules of baseball as set down by the great Abner Doubleday, is illegal.  I know injuries have played a huge part of it - the team only has four guys who have enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title for christ's sake - but there were some pretty bad decisions made this offseason.   Specifically not looking for a viable back-up catcher when you know your starter is a china doll who only plays 2 out of every 3 games when he is healthy, deciding, "yeah, we'll go to war with Alexi Casilla as an everyday regular even though he's failed year after year after year" and not getting someone, anyone, to be insurance in case Morneau wasn't ready.  The season was set-up to be a  high-wire toward success, and the team tipped over and has gone splat on the city street below.  When you dig yourself a hole you can't weather a 5-game losing streak.  2 or 3, yeah.  Five?  It's over. 

2.  Sacramento Kings.  Let me get this straight.  First, the Kings trade the only guy on their roster who ever considers passing for John Salmons, a gunning ballsink with an absolutely enormous contract and the right to move down in the draft.  Then they usually their newly acquired 10th pick to draft Jimmer Fredette so they can team him up with Tyreke Evans in their back court.   This means their two starting guards both need the ball in their hands at all times and are both shoot first kind of guys, and their first man of the bench shoots the ball every time he touches it.  I think the two second round picks they made in Tyler Honeycutt and Captain Circus Ball himself were solid, but that can't over shadow this insane roster.  Fredette, Evans, Salmons, and DeMarcus Cousins?  Is anybody ever going to pass the ball?  And how quickly do you think Jimmer asks for a trade, before or after he's threatened with bodily harm by Cousins and/or Evans?

3.  Adam Dunn.  I'm going to admit that I was terrified when the White Sox signed Dunn.  Since he basically only hits homers, walks, or strikes out and the Twins' pitchers don't walk or strike out anyone I figured he basically just stand at home plate and hit tape measure home runs all day.  Turns out, however, the he's decided to completely suck instead.  This entire week he managed all of 2 hits (which both came in a game where he got 7 at-bats) and struck out 14 times.  14 times in one week!  I'm not a guy who looks at strikeouts as a huge negative, especially when balanced out with power, but holy crap that's ridiculous, especially when he's now struck out in his last seven consecutive at-bats and is now hitting .179 on the year with an OPS nearly identical to Luke Hughes.  Of course, it's still higher than Justin Morneau's so there's that. Plus Morneau is a huge girl.

4.   Madison Bumgarner.  It already feels like it happened 100 years ago, but you remember Captain Stripper Name's game against the Twins, don't you?  Let me refresh you:  single, double, single, double, single, double, single, double, strikeout, double, gone.  1/3 ip, 9 hits, 8 runs allowed.  Now  he did bounce back with a good game last night against Cleveland, but I feel like when you get shredded in such an epic way these things need to be mentioned whenever possible.  Especially when the team that shredded you ranks in the bottom 7 of all of MLB in runs scored, batting average, OBP, slugging, and OPS.  God what a fun year this has been.  I'm going to become a Lynx fan.

Just kidding.

5.   All the idiots who shouldn't have entered the NBA Draft.  There are always plenty of idiots who get bad advice and/or have an overinflated ego who go into the NBA Draft despite everyone knowing they have no chance of getting drafted or maybe a slight prayer at getting snagged in the second round except for them.  Some of those geniuses this year include Terrence Jennings of Louisville, who could have been a major player in the Big East next year, Jereme Richmond of Illinois who had a ton of potential but didn't bother to let it develop, Willie Reed of St. Louis who never had a prayer, Josh Selby of Kansas, who did get picked in the late second but probably could have been a lotto pick in a year or two, and Jordan Williams of Maryland, who was also picked in the late second but, like Selby, could have ended up a lottery pick in another year or two.  Well done, gentlemen.  Well done.  All of you will be awarded an Anderson Hunt Memorial Award for terrible draft decisions.

I finally started watching Game of Thrones.  Best show on TV, and it's not even close.  If you don't have HBO do yourself a favor and order it, download all the Game of Thrones episodes on HBO on Demand, watch them, realize how good this show is and how you've been wasting your time, and then cancel HBO after a month.  Brilliant.

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