Saturday, September 30, 2006
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Reasons why the Twins will win:
1. THE best pitcher in baseball the last 3 years potentially starting 2 of the 5 games. The best the Yanks can do is throw out a good, but untested Chien-Ming Wang and 2 dinosaurs who have been rocked recently and are both battling injuries.
2. Both teams have dominant closers, but the twins bullpen ERA (2.97) is over 1 run better than the Yanks. It's hard to extrapolate what happened over the course of the season into what will happen in a 5 or 7 game series (probably why postseason baseball is so exciting), but bullpens are critical in the playoffs and the Twins have the best.
3. No arguing the the Yanks have a scary lineup, but the Twins lineup is nothing to shake a stick at either (see best team BA in the majors). This is not your 2002-2004 Twins lineup. These Twins have good top of the order guys in Castillo and Punto, an honest to god scary middle-of-the-order in possible batting champ Mauer, best hitter in baseball over the last 4 months in Morneau, 100RBI man Cuddyer, and candidate for player of the month in Sept in Hunter. Bottom of the lineup is not too shabby either. And yes, the Twins have their own middle infielder batting in the 9th spot with a BA north of .300.
Reasons why the Twins won't win:
1. THAT lineup. It may be hard for the Twins to score enough runs, even against a weak Yankee pitching staff, if the Yanks lineup come through and scores runs like they are expected to. Especially, if Santana is not dominant in his starts.
2. No homefield advantage. They will need to win in Yankee Stadium; something that hasn't come that easy to Twins teams in the recent past.
3. Pitching staff is missing 2 of their top 3 starters. This all changes if Radke is somehow able to throw the ball well today and pitch a playoff game. Radke is the epitome of the word 'gamer,' and if he has anything left in the tank, it could be the difference maker. The other arm they will miss sorely (no pun intended), is the left wing of Francisco Liriano. He was downright nasty until he came up lame twice with a somewhat mysterious left elbow injury. I don't want to engage in too many 'what if's,' but I think the Twins would be WS favorites with a healthy F-bomb and Bradke.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
I found myself in
The table was about what I expected from a 2/4 table; A couple of loose talkative guys to my right, a grandmother in seat 9, a few decent young guys about my age, and a couple of middle age rocks. One of the talkative guys 2 to my right was soon replaced by a scrawny grubby looking dude with a beard and longer hair. This guy looked like someone who got the money for his buy-in by hanging out at the casino all day waiting for chips to fall on the floor or by stealing from 78 year-old ‘slot jockeys.’ The grubby guy sits down and the dealer asks him if he wants to post and he starts to point and is grunting like Marlee Matlin. It turns out he was deaf and mute. The first few hours were pretty uneventful, I was hanging around even and drinking Bud Lights like they were free, which they were. Although, someone at out table spots Antonio Esfandiari as he is walking into the poker room.
Some time later I get 9 7 offsuit in the small blind and call a raise from deaf/mute who was 2 to my right at the time, and we get 4 other callers. Flop come 9 A x and I called deaf/mute’s bet on the flop and turn. We are heads up and the river comes a 7 and I call and show my two pair. He angrily flings his cards toward the dealer, slaps the table, and starts mumbling what I assume to be the deaf/mute version of curse words at me. I figure there is no use to try and explain pot odds to the guy, so I just shake my head and shrug my shoulders at him. A few hands after that the guy to my immediate right accuses deaf/mute of taking a bet back. I’m not sure that deaf/mute knew what was going on, but he seemed pretty cheesed-off at this point and left the table for a while.
I’m chugging along basically using what little amount I was up at the table to tip the dealers and waitresses bringing me beer. The deaf/mute guy comes back and moves to seat 9 after granny had left. He stays there for only a few hands and then moves directly to my left. A few hands later I get Q5 sooooted and complete the small blind. Deaf/mute checks and the flop comes A 2 5. I call deaf/mute’s bet on the flop, as does one other player. The turn comes another 5 and I check-raise deaf/mute and he 3 bets. I call and the case 5 comes out and I bet out and he starts going into a mumbling tirade as he calls and shows pocket 2’s. I had laid a nasty-nasty beat on the deaf/mute guy and he started poking me and pointing at the spot on the table where the cards had been. Again, I had no way to respond and could only shrug my shoulders. Fortunately, I had to take a whiz, because I was about to burst out laughing from all the mumbling and grunting. I come back and the next few hands 2’s show up on the board and after the play was done he would start pointing at the cards and grunting at me. The next hand I pick up is 99 in late position and I raise, putting deaf/mute all in. He ends up winning with pocket queens and flings them in front of me after he turned them up. Some time later I am in the bathroom again and deaf/mute is gone when I come back. I go on a decent run for a while and get up a few bets. At this point I see ‘The Grinder’ and his posse walk by. I felt like flinging him a white chip and saying something stupid, like “why don’t you sit down and see what you got, kid.” I didn’t, but what I did do was ogle Jennifer Tilly’s ginormous cleavage as she waltzed in wearing a rather nice black dress with Phil Laak in tow. The four of us decide is about time to leave after playing for 5+ hours. I gotta say the Borgata is easily the nicest room I have seen, and I didn’t even mention the automatic card shufflers, which really sped play up. And, no, deaf/mute was not waiting for me in the parking garage when we left. Although he was most likely still grunting and flashing American sign language gesture for ‘donkey.’