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Yeah, these are two months past due but I guess getting them up late is better than not at all.

These pictures are from the June 12th Twins/Cubs game at Wrigley. These were taken from our season ticket seats in the Upper Deck Box along the 3B line. This was before I upgraded my camera so I tried to zoom in as much as I could.

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Ok, doesn’t this just sum up the Milton Bradley experience this year? I mentioned earlier that this was the game where he tossed the ball into the stands with 2 outs.     

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The first picture is Joe Mauer before his first AB against Randy Wells. The second picture is Mauer taking Wells deep for an opposite field homer in said at-bat. The third is him getting congratulated by Morneau.

Here is Lou calling for the next schlub from the bullpen…

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Here is Mauer and Morneau on deck during the pitching change hoping they get inside pitches so they can hit it to Milty since he’s already lost a ball in the sun twice this day…

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And this one here is my favorite Morneau shot that I got from the day.

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I’m pretty confident this was just a fly ball to RF (I think he went 0-4 on the day) but the picture is still cool. I really wish that Morneau would actually sign through the mail since I would love to get this printed and actually have him sign it.

So there you go. The next time I post my own game shots, they should be a lot better. My wife and I splurged on a really nice camera a few weeks back and I’m still learning all about it.

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Not sure how many of the readers of this blog live in or around Minneapolis, but I wanted to give Morneau’s fundraiser event a little extra pub today. Justin Morneau’s Casino Night will be held this Thursday night (August 13th) at International Market Square in Minneapolis.

If you’re not aware, Justin’s niece was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at the age of 2 and Morneau and his wife have organized this fundraiser event to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation North Central chapter. Money will go toward funding research as well as helping to send kids to a camp where they can bond with other children suffering from the same ailment.

The casino night will give fans a chance to play against Twins players like Morneau, Joe Mauer, Michael Cuddyer, and many others. In addition, there will be prizes, autographed memorabilia, and silent auctions. But the thing to remember is that the money will go to help kids dealing with this condition. As someone who runs his own event to raise money for kids, any extra publicity can do nothing but help.

You can check out the event’s website HERE and read an article on the Twins’ site HERE. If any of you happen to go or know someone who is going, I would love to see pictures or hear about how it went.

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This is a soul sucker

I know my wife doesn’t read this blog (mainly because she doesn’t know it exists) so I have no problem making the following confession.

Honey, I sold our Blu-Ray player and used the Best Buy gift card you got me for Father’s Day and I bought a Playstation 3. I know, I know…I already own an XBox 360 so why would I need a PS3? This is why…

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MLB The Show 09 is probably the sole reason that I made this decision and I have to say I have ZERO regrets!

I’ve played a ton of baseball video games in my time and this one is up there in the top 3 of all time. Yeah, it has a pretty steep learning curve and you’re not going to win every game by double digits but that’s how baseball is in real life.  1You’re not supossed to just roll over each team offensively and pitch a near no-hitter each time out.

Right now I’m playing a fantasy season where I picked a random team (Rockies) and then drafted my team and I’m having a blast. My team is hovering around the .500 mark but I am getting better. Hitting on this game is a real challenge and you have to have some concept of how pitchers work batters in real life.

Trust me, if you own a PS3 and you’re a fan of baseball this is a MUST own title.

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Phil Rogers had a great column up this morning where he took a look at some of Jim Hendry’s moves from the winter and gave them a grade and some follow up comments. I thought it was a perfect topic after watching the Cubs bumble their way to a 10-0 loss to the D’Backs yesterday.

The Milton Bradley Signing (F) – This one gets a big fat F because there really is no lower grade to give. 6406At the time of this signing, I was a little aprehensive but Jim Hendry has made good decisions in the past so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Now…it is seriously blowing up in his face. Bradley has been hurt for what seems like the entire month. For some reason he was never put on the DL, which makes zero sense to me. He has also been suspended by the league and has clashed with the Chicago media.

Sadly, we’re stuck with crazy Uncle Milty since Hendry felt the need to throw a 3-year $30M contract his direction when no other teams were really bidding on him. You may remember from some of my past posts, but I was suffering from a serious man-crush on Adam Dunn and wanted him in Chicago. Sure, his defense is crap but these team needs offense and Dunn would have given that at a far lesser salary and fewer distractions.

Hey, Let’s Trade Mark DeRosa (F) – I remember the day this happened and I thought that a trade of DeRosa and his salary would eventually lead to Jake Peavy. Alas, that did not happen so Hendry essentially traded away the best utility man in baseball for some minor leaguers that won’t sniff the majors this year. Why? Was he looking to get Mike Fontenot in the lineup more? Couldn’t that have been done without trading DeRosa? How do you trade away your best backup at positions like 3B and 1B? And….as you can see now, the Cubs could really use a backup 3B that is fit to play there since Ramirez is banged up. DUMB, DUMB, DUMB!

The New Utility Guy – Aaron Miles (F)7228This guy does realize the point of an at-bat is to swing the bat like you really intend to hit the ball, right? Seriously, what the hell was this signing? You mean to tell me someone seriously thought we were better off with Aaron Miles than Mark DeRosa? In what freakish dimension does that even make sense? Miles has been a disaster at the plate. I’ve seen 8-9 at-bats where he’s either stood there and not swung the bat or just flails at the ball. Seriously, if that’s what they are paying him for, I’ll do that for half of what they are paying him. Sign me up.

We Don’t Need Another Lefty, We Have Neal Cotts! (F) – I really want to root for Neal since he went to college (Illinois State) in the town where I now live, but this Neal Cotts is not anything like the Cotts who was nails for the White Sox in 2005. He has been a trainwreck in almost every appearance. He is having trouble finding the plate and you can’t be a big league pitcher with a 2.80 WHIP and an opponent’s batting average of .381. Yeah, that’s right…..381! The only reason he has a job is that he’s left-handed. There were plenty of lefty relievers on the market this year but Hendry sat on what he had in Cotts and now we’re paying for it.

Wait….What About Koyie Hill? (A) – Finally!! A decision that actually has paid off! I admit it, I’m becoming a Koyie Hill fan. Hill beat out Paul Bako during Spring Training to snag the backup catcher gig and it has worked perfectly for the Cubs. Geo Soto has struggled this season with his bat and a nagging shoulder injury so Hill has had plenty of chances to show what he can do. The guys handles the pitching staff well and he happens to be hitting .370. So, good job Mr. Hendry…you got one right.

It’s only been one month so there is a chance all of these things right themselves but I’m not going to hold my breath. I think Bradley will remain a distraction the entire year and since Hendry gave him a stupid contract, the Cubs are stuck with him no matter what. The DeRosa thing is the one I think that is going to be the hardest to overcome. Guys like that are valuable for a reason…because they are hard to find. When you have one, you don’t give him away and you certainly don’t replace him with Aaron Miles.

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This post will surely make one reader very happy…

Today I will publicly admit that the majority of Cub fans are douchebags! There…I said it. You happy now Jim?

On Saturday afternoon, the Cubs and Cardinals played the third game of a four game series. Late in the game during a vital at-bat against Carlos Marmol, Albert Pujols laced a screamer foul down the third base line and just tagged the third-base coach, Jose Oquendo. And Wrigley Field went nuts with cheers.

Are you freaking kidding me?!? You actually cheer when a coach gets hurt? And believe me….that really hurt Oquendo. Do these drunken idiots not remember that just recently, a first base coach (Mike Coolbaugh) lost his life when he was struck by a foul ball in the head. Granted, Oquendo was nailed in the leg so he’s obviously going to live but being hit with a line drive hit that hard in the leg can still do major damage.

Maybe someone else has brought this up on a message board or a blog or something over the weekend but I felt the need to write about it today. I generally try to stick up for fellow Cub fans but this is just stupid. If you really wonder why other Major League fans make fun of you after this, you’ve had one too many Old Styles!

P.S. – don’t get me wrong, I am still a die-hard Cub fan and always will be, but after this, I’m done sticking up for the morons.

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Back from Florida and back into my normal routine finally. I have to say that even though I was at a conference for work, it was nice to get away from my desk and the Illinois weather for a few days. A lot has happened though since my last post so let’s try to get caught up…

1. Baseball season is upon us!! I love all sports but I have to say that baseball is my addiction. People find it hard to believe that I am a baseball fan in general, but it’s true. I could watch any game involving any team at any time. There’s just something about baseball.

2. Milton Bradley is hurt….again….big shocker! Who had the over/under at 6 games?? Sheesh!!
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3. Adam Lind is making me look like a Fantasy Baseball genius!! I drafted Lind in our little blog authors fantasy league and he has come out of the gate on fire! I have followed Lind since he was drafted since he was from my home state of Indiana and I had heard quite a bit about him from people back home. So I knew he could swing the bat, but the way he has started this season is fantastic. I really hope he can keep it up. I think tonight I’ll do a “Cards I Used to Own” with the Adam Lind cards that I’ve had and then sold off. Ugh….regret.

And while we’re at it, what a great start by Toronto. Teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays dominated the off season chatter for the AL East but this Blue Jays team could surprise a lot of people. They certainly can slug with any team in the league, the key for them is the starting pitching once you get past Roy Halladay. I’d love to see them make a trade for another starting pitcher and really take a run at this. Baseball is a funny game….you just never know.

4. Nick Adenhart….seriously, how sad was that? When I saw the story on Thursday, I was in shock because I had just watched him pitch the night before and was happy to see him turn in a great performance after a rocky tenure with the team last year. The story also made me stop and think because here were three people who were killed and they did nothing wrong. They were struck down by someone else’s stupid decision. Just makes you realize that you can do everything right in your life and it can all be taken away so quickly by someone else’s stupidity. Sad….and scary.

5. NCAA Championship…..wow, what a let down. I was actually pretty excited about the game on Monday night and we piled into the sports bar in our hotel and camped out a good viewing spot of the big 25 foot screen. Then the game started and I think it was over in 90 seconds. Seriously….why on earth was Michigan State trying to run with UNC? I really thought Izzo was a smarted coach than that.

6. And now we finally get to Justin Morneau. jmMy man Morneau has gotten off to a so-so start this season, as the Twins have stumbled out of the block to a 3-5 record. Justin has a respectable 7 RBIs after the first week but all 7 of them came in two games (3 and 4). The worrisome thing for me is that Justin is sporting a 6:1 strikeout to walk ratio after the first 8 games. He has always struck out more than he’s walked, but the ratio has never been this wide. It’s still early but I think not having Joe Mauer in the lineup is going to have some pretty telling effects on Justin’s numbers. I still expect him to put up 30+ homers and 120+ RBIs but I think the average may be down this year and the strikeouts up since teams will go right after him since he doesn’t have the protection he once had.

I am pretty confident that that Twins will bounce back and take the AL Central division but they better not continue to suck for very long. I don’t see the winner of this division being a 90+ win team, but it’s best to not fall too far behind early and then spend your entire season trying to catch up. The starting pitching, especially Liriano, has been atrocious this first week. When you don’t have an overly potent lineup, you can’t afford to be giving the other team a bunch of runs. This team just isn’t going to outscore teams each night.

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Baseball season is right around the corner and that means it is time for fantasy baseball drafts to be held all across the country (and the world for that matter). Last night we had the online draft for a fantasy league made up of some of us geeky blog authors. Dave over at Fielder’s Choice had the idea and he’s running the league and you can see from his post who is in the league.

So we had our draft last night and here is who I ended up with…

7569Catcher – Brian McCann – This was someone that I was actually hoping to get when the draft started. Soto may have won the NL ROY last year but I consider McCann to be the premier hitting catcher in the majors right now and I think he’ll continue to get better with another solid year this year. Catcher is a position where there are a few really good players and then there is a big dropoff so I always like to greab one of the good ones while they are still there.

First Base – Prince Fielder – I’m really counting on him to be the guy from the second half of last season and not the guy from the first half. I hope he’s over his vegetarian struggles.

Second Base – Brian Roberts – This may be a choice I come back to regret. When I made this selection, I had my choice between Roberts and Brandon Phillips and went with Roberts. I liked his 40 steal potential so let’s hope I made the right choice.

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Shortstop – Hanley Ramirez – Yes, I had the #1 overall pick and went with Ramirez. It wasn’t an easy choice though since I really debated on whether to take him or Pujols. Both will fill up the stats so they are both immensely valuable. Ultimately it came down to the position for me. I felt like there were a lot more good 1B than there were SS so I went with Ramirez even though he hasn’t had all that great of a spring.

Thid Base – Alex Gordon – Eventually he’s going to be the big star everyone expected, right? Might as well be now.

Middle Infielder – Kelly Johnson – This was a late round pick so I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to go with Johnson.

Corner Infielder – Chris Davis – I honestly think Davis has a chance to be a star this year. He hits in a great hitter’s park down in Texas and hits in a very potent lineup so he’ll have a ton of RBI chances. Check out his numbers in the last two months of last year and if he can carry that forward, he’s a 30 HR and 100 RBI guy. I hope so.

Outfield – Jermaine Dye, Adam Dunn, Cameron Maybin, Adam Lind, Andre Ethier – My outfield could be a lot better. I focused a little too much on infield and pitching early and let a lot of good outfielders pass by. You know what you’re getting with Dye and Dunn and Etheir established himself pretty well after the addition of Manny last year. The wildcards here are Maybin and Lind. Both can swing the bat but I’ll need them to be consistent from the start.

Bench – Carlos Guillen and Jeff Francouer

Starting Pitchers – C.C. Sabathia, Francisco Liriano, Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, Clayton 750457711Kershaw, Gavin Floyd – Sabathia in the 3rd round was a no-brainer pick for me. I like Liriano to have a nice bounceback season this year for the Twins so pairing him up with Sabathia was nice. Wainwright should be solid so I’m not real worried there. After those three, it could get dicey. Kershaw has looked good this spring and I’m counting on him to give me a lot of K’s. The word on Carpenter is that he’s also looked good this spring and should be good to go this year so I’m really counting on that. With Floyd, I’m not real concerned with his ERA, I just need him to win 12+ games for me, which I think he’s easily capable of doing.

Relief Pitchers – Joakim Soria, Brad Lidge, Jonathan Broxton – I’m actually REALLY happy with my closers. I tend to always wait too long to grab a closer and then get burnt but last night it seemed like I lucked out since other guys waited even longer than me. Soria and Lidge are very solid so I’m not worried at all there. I think Broxton is going to surprise a lot of people. The guy throws ridiculously hard and is very tough to hit. The Dodgers should win their fair share of games, which means that Brox should have plenty of save chances.

Bench Pitcher – Jesse Litch – starting pitching at the end was pretty bare

So that is the starting roster for Morneau’s Mashers. I like my chances since I feel like I have a pretty balanced team. Yeah, the outfield situation could be better but there are a couple teams with a glut of outfielders so maybe I can work out a trade to better my team. Season starts next week…good luck to everyone else in the league!!

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