Monday, May 26, 2008

Something Good Out of Injuries for the Twins?

Could something good come out of the Twins recent rash of injuries?

Brendan Harris proved incapable of handling second base. Manager Ron Gardenhire wanted to move Harris to third, but then Harris’ replacement Matt Tolbert broke his hand needlessly sliding into FIRST base.

Harris seemed stuck at second then starting shortstop Adam Everett developed a bad shoulder and had to be placed on the disabled list. With Everett’s backup Nick Punto also on the disabled list, the Twins called up Alexi Casilla to play short. Casilla though can also play second. So Gardenhire moved Harris to short and Casilla to second.

Casilla started hitting and now seems destined to stay. Harris proved more comfortable at short and he is playing better.

Batting behind lead off hitter Carlos Gomez, Casilla could give the Twins two base stealing threats at the top of the lineup. For a team having trouble hitting home runs, have a good running game is essential.

I looked for examples of center fielders and second baseman that batted one – two and were base-stealing threat. What I found offers hope for Twins fans.

In 1980 Montreal had Ron Leflore and Rodney Scott batting one – two. Leflore stole a league leading 97 bases while Scott stole 63. Montreal went 90-72 to finish second in their division.

In 1978 Mickey Rivers and Willie Randolph hit one –two. Rivers stole 25 bases while Randolph stole 36. The Yankees went 100-63 and won the World Series.

Finally the 1992 Toronto batted Devon White and Roberto Alomar one – two. White stole 37 bases while Alomar stole 49. Toronto won 96 games and the World Series.

Now I am not saying Gomez and Casilla are going to lead us to the World Series. However, I think Gomez is a potential super-star, and Casilla seems to be ready to start living to his billing as a good middle infielder. On a team looking for hope, that is is good news, and news they never would have gotten had there not been injuries.

Monday, May 19, 2008

ACM Awards

The 2008 Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards show was held Sunday night. Like most award shows there were good and bad performances; deserved and not deserved award winners.

The best news of the night was Miranda Lambert winning album of the year for “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” In the past the ACM’s have favored commercial success instead of artistic quality in their album of the year winners. However, this year “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” beat out albums which have sold twice even three times as much as it did.

Here’s hoping the win boasts Miranda Lambert career. She has never had a top ten single which is a travesty, because she makes some of the best country music out there. That of course is her problem; country radio wants its female acts making poppy country instead of real country.

Of the performances I liked Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley’s rendition of “Make the World Go Away” which they did in tribute to the late Eddy Arnold. I also enjoyed Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert’s performances.

I did not feel Brooks & Dunn should have won duo of the year. Sugarland clearly had a better year. It looks really bad when you give Sugarland the single and song of year awards and then do not give them duo of the year.

Sugarland outsold Brooks & Dunn the last couple years and charted more hit songs.
The ACM’s have made some “interesting” award choices in the past. Brooks & Dunn over Sugarland for duo of the year is now one of them.

But you can’t stew over who won and who lost. I enjoyed the show despite some sound problems and look forward to the CMA Awards which come up in the fall. Hopefully, Alan Jackson will win some awards there for his great, new album “Good Time”.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Carlos Gomez Hits for the Cycle

Wednesday night Carlos Gomez became the 8th person in Minnesota Twins history to hit for the cycle (a cycle is hitting a home run, triple, double, and single in the same game). Gomez continues show super-star potential. He also continues to hack away at pitches outside the strike zone making for some ugly at bats.

Gomez’s fielding has been first rate. He has better range and a better arm than Torii Hunter did. However, Gomez lacks Hunter “feel” for playing defense. Hopefully with time and experience Gomez will pick up this “feel”.

Gomez is the best base stealer the Twins have had in long time, and is on pace to lead the American League in stolen bases.

A lot of people complained when the Twins traded Johan Santana for Gomez, Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey, and Derlios Guerra. Now with Gomez off to good start not as many people are complaining.

People are starting to call Gomez the Latin Kirby Puckett. They point out that early in his career Puckett hacked away at pitches, bunted a lot, stole bases, and played with the same kind of enthusiasm as Gomez does.

I am not ready to call Gomez the Latin Kirby Puckett. Gomez has some similar traits to Puckett, but it is unfair to hold Gomez to such lofty expectations. I will say I always look forward to Gomez’s at bats just like I did Puckett’s, because Gomez like did Puckett has the potential to be a game changer.

Congratulation Carlos on hitting for the cycle; I hope this is just the beginning of brilliant career with the Twins. We need you.

Alan Jackson's single "Good Time"

Alan Jackson’s new single “Good Time” is not receiving “the love” from reviewers at some blogs. Their basic contention is that it just another formalistic song from Nashville and they expected better from Alan Jackson.

I like “Good Time”. Yes it is a bit simplistic, but so was Alan’s songs “Tall, Tall, Trees” (written by George Jones & Roger Miller) and “Little Bitty” (written by Tom T. Hall).I find “Good Time” to be a great song to listen to while riding in your car, or spending a day on the lake.

When I listen to songs, I first listen to melody. If I like the songs rhythm, beat, and tempo, then I like to focus in on the singer’s voice. If those two elements are appealing, I listen in to the songs’ words. If I don’t like those first two elements of a song, I don’t really care to listen to the words, as the song already has lost its appeal to me.

If fact, I love a lot of bluegrass songs that are just instrumentals, because I enjoy the melodies.

That may not be how other people judge songs, but it is how I judge them. I love “Good Time” rhythm, beat, and tempo. Alan Jackson vocals are great. The words? Like Brooks & Dunn’s “Boot Scootin Boogie” and numerous others party songs, they words to “Good Time” will not entered in a creative writing contest anytime soon.

Still, I like this song. Enjoy playing it. And I am not alone, as “Good Time” is rolling up the country single chart. In the end reviewers will get their say in, but the masses ended up deciding what a success is and what is not. After all history only remembers good artists if they were popular as well.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Graduate School Ends, Computer Crashes

I graduated with a Masters Degree in Technical Communication last week. I am the first person in my family to rise to this level of education. I have to say that the accomplishment of it all has yet to sink in.

I was lucky I like to work ahead on my school work. My computer crashed just days before the last paper was due in my last class. My computer was not fixed for two weeks. Luckily, I had e-mailed myself a copy of my almost finished last paper, so I was able to retrieve that copy with a computer at school and finish it up.

I would have hated to have to start all over with just a few days left to get it done. I was lucky and very happy.