Thursday, November 29, 2007

Welcome, Delmon, to the Upper Midwest

The Twins acquired Delmon Young from the Tampa Bay base ball club in a trade, giving up Matt Garza and some other dudes.

<--- As Photoshop hats go, that's not a bad one.

Delmon was born in Alabama and played some college ball in Arizona. In honor of Mr. Young's joining the Twins, I was all prepared to write something about the food in Alabama or Arizona (to continue uninterrupted the "Food and Place" series). Then I realized that I don't know anything about the food in Alabama or Arizona. Never been to Arizona. Been to Alabama just once but don't remember anything about eating there.

Dothan, Alabama, is the county seat of Houston County, which is in the southeasternmost corner of the state. (Hey, Houston County, Minnesota, is also in the southeasternmost corner of the state! Strange.) I visited the Houston County, Alabama, jail one day on a consulting job. I recall the red clay of the countryside, the extreme quiet of Dothan, and little else. The small group I was with was supposed to help Houston County decide whether to build a new jail (they'd asked for some federal money for a new jail) and, if so, how big it shoud be. I have no idea what, if anything, Houston County did with our report or your federal tax dollars.

Anyway, I hope Delmon enjoys being a Twin and I hope he can contribute lots of extra-base hits to what is a pretty anemic offense. And remember, Delmon, umpires are people, too.

Matty Garza was fun to watch and gave us Twins fans an excuse to drink Sierra Nevada ale (brewed in Matty's home town of Chico, CA). Jason Bartlett was also included in the trade. I never got excited about Mr. Bartlett. In fact, his nickname in our house was Yawn.

Torii Hunter goofed around with a Rally Monkey at his news conference in LA yesterday. Take the money, Torii, and enjoy life with the Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Area Angels, but please do not adopt a Rally Monkey. They're creepy.


Rob Hardy said...

Our 16-year old son was devastated by Torii leaving the Twins. Will can't remember the days when he used to chug around the yard in his diaper, babbling, "I'm Kirby Puckett!" For him, Torii was the Twins. Oh, well, there's always... What is there besides the Twins?

Jim H. said...

Grizzled old geezer says to the naive kid: "Son, I recollect when we heard that the great Harmon Killebrew was leaving the Twins for Kansas City. People went out to Met Stadium in the middle of a cold night. Some marched with an effigy of Calvin Griffith on a stick; others huddled together, sharing stories about Killer; a few just stood off by themselves, brooding. We all thought that was the end, that we couldn't ever go to ball game again and surely couldn't abide seeing Harmon in a Royals uniform. I mean, good God -- the Royals!" Geezer looks off into the middle distance, spits his tobacco juice, and concludes, "But, son, the game will go on and you'll find another favorite. Just takes a little time, is all."

Kid thinks for a moment, then looks up and says, "Shut up, Grampaw!"

Bleeet said...

I was perusing old Twins rosters last night, searching for the last time a Twin hit 40 HRs in a season... yeah, you guessed it, Killebrew, 41, in 1970, the stinkin' year I was born ... anyway, what happened was odd:

I think you have the teams that you identify with, because of their accomplishments (most Twins fans over 30 can tell you the key players from the 1987 and 1991 championship teams, for instance), or because of your age (our minds being more impressionable as kids and teens, so we 'lock on' to players from our youth), or because of particularities of certain players... but I'll be damned if it's just become harder and harder to follow the team as anything other than a collection of guys who happen to be wearing the same uniform.

Maybe that's just what happens with age, but I have a sneaking suspicion it is much more related to player mobility.

I think Seinfeld had a joke about this where he had a hard time understanding how to be loyal to any team (in any pro sport) because you were essentially saying "Yay!! Our uniforms beat your uniforms!"

I also had the experience of looking at the rosters at thinking "who the hell was that?" an awful lot.

I remember a couple players here and there, but then there are all these guys that, I guess, played for the Twins, but I wouldn't have been able to tell you that.

My brain ran through thoughts like these: Some of these guys I think run an accounting firm... no wait, he was a second baseman... ohhh. And he was a catcher? Sure, whatever you say, old rosters.

Now, I'm certainly not a Twins nut, but I've always been a fan, and I'm guessing for all but the most ardent of supporters, the experience would be similar.

Also, as poor as Twins' homerun production has been over time the past two decades, it's nothing compared to some of those Twins teams from the 70s and early 80s. The 1981 109-game strike-shortened season saw the team hit 47 homeruns. Total. Roy Smalley lead the team with 7. Dismal. The 1978 team hit 82 over a full 162-game season.

Not that the game is all about homeruns, but geesh...

Actually, their homerun production has increased, but so has the average number of homers hit by all other teams, so the present-day Twins, though hitting more homeruns than those 70s and early 80s teams, are still typically in the lower echelon of the American League.

Pacifist Viking said...

I crap you not, I think I saw Delmon Young play in a minor league game. Durham Bulls. Is that the right Delmon Young? Is he a shortstop? Perhaps I could look all these things up before writing a comment.

Jim H. said...


Your observations are correct. Most teams are now just a collection of guys in the same uniform, with some exceptions like Hrbek and Mauer, who have a connection to the home town. That's why I'm not all bent out of shape about Torii signing with the California, er, Los Anegles, er, Anaheim Angels.

Mr. or Ms. Viking:

Delmon Young did play for the Durham Bulls in parts of the 05 and 06 seasons, but I don't think he was a SS. At least, since being in the Bigs, he has only played in the outfield (with a couple of games at DH).

Thanks for the comments!