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67 posts categorized "Twins"

February 01, 2011

Welcome to the Phersy and Feldy show

PHERSY AND FELDY: OK Folks, so we're kicking off a new feature here at Faceoff. We're doing a podcast (OK, not really for your ipod, but it's an audio show featuring two of the ugliest guys you know). So, take a listen. This the very first episode of the Phersy and Feldy Show. For the most part, it's just going to be Feldy and Phersy kicking it freestyle on sports topics of the day/week.

Let us know what you think, what we can do better, what you want us to talk about for the next show ... whatever. This one is a little long (25 minutes) and we'll shorten it up for the next one. Just check it out. Let's do this:




May 26, 2010

Wow ... where have we been?

FELDY: I have no idea where Phersy and I have been. I have no idea where Phersy is. I'm not sure if he knows this blog still exists. Shhhhhhhh .... don't tell him. OK, please tell him.

It's been fairly quiet around here in terms of sports news that gets us stirred up. A few things to catch up on, though:

* NAHL Entry Draft going on today. We (I'll) keep an eye out for local kids. Draft begins in 31 minutes (1 p.m. Central). We (I'll) keep a close eye on the Austin Bruins to see how that new franchise drafts.

* The Pat and Kevin Williams issue with the NFL has officially bored me. I wish the judge would just take the two Vikings and the NFL bigwigs in a backroom, make them all say they're sorry to each other, give them balloons and lollipops and send them on their way with two-game suspensions for the Williamses and two-week suspensions for the NFL bigwigs involved in this case.

* Brett Favre apparently received the ankle I cut off, packed in dry ice and sent to Hattiesburg. His surgery last Friday was a success and he'll back on the field in time for training camp at Mank ... OK, in time for training camp at Witner Pa ... OK, in time for preseason game No. 3. Does this surprise anyone? It does make Mrs. Feldy happy because she now feels like she didn't waste money on that Favre jersey she bought me for Christmas. The only real question now: After Favre leads the Vikes to the Super Bowl, does he go into the Hall of Fame as a Packer or a Viking?

* The Twins still can't hit with runners in scoring position. Their pitchers still give up way too many home runs. They're still in first place. Not much has changed with the move to Target Field. Which we all still love.

* Your 5-time Northwoods League champion Rochester Honkers open their home season on June 3. That's all I got on them, because they're all you'll read about in our print edition this summer. Oh, and it's Slider bobblehead night on June 14. Love bobbleheads, especially a bobblehead of a guy whose head is as big as Slider's.

* Blackhawks over the Flyers in five games. T-O-E-W-S!!

* Maybe this will get Phersy's attention and he'll come back to the blog once in a while: ONLY 51 DAYS TIL ICE HAWKS OPEN TRYOUT CAMP AT THE REC CENTER!!! (July 17-18)

May 04, 2010

Today's Topic | Can we calm down on Wilson Ramos now?

FELDY: At the risk of offending Phersy and his man-crush on Twins catcher Wilson Ramos, can we all take a deep breath after tonight's 4-3 win against Detroit and gain some perspective.

I'm making my second trip to Target Field on Wednesday. And judging by the way some Twins fans were talking after Monday's game, I pretty much expected to see Ramos' jersey No. 44 hanging next to Carew, Hrbek, Killebrew, Oliva and Puckett (Plus the Twins would have to add a new entrance to Target Field -- Gate 44).

We know Ramos, 22, is a nice player. He hits the ball hard when he makes contact. He has good power. He has the look of a great power hitter. Yes, he was 7-for-9 in his first two MLB games before an 0-for-3 night Tuesday DROPPED HIS AVERAGE TO .583. But he's not going to go 3-for-4 every night. Let's give him a couple of weeks at the big league level before we start talking about how to keep him in the Twins lineup every day.

And stop the panic. Please. The Twins don't need to rush out and trade Ramos. They 100 percent don't need to trade Joe Mauer to make room for Ramos. That suggestion is ludicrous at this stage.

Take a step back and look at the big picture.

When Mauer is able to return to the lineup on a daily basis, the prudent move is to send Ramos back to Class AAA Rochester. It might not be the popular move, particularly if he's batting, say, .350. By sending him to Rochester, it's a guarantee that he'll play every day, getting about 20 -- likely more -- plate appearances every week. (And let's keep in mind that Ramos was hitting all of .179 with the Red Wings when he was called up). And guess what? If the Twins run into more injury trouble, Ramos is a heck of an option to call up.

If the Twins were to keep Ramos up with the big-league club when Mauer returns, he'd get maybe 8-10 plate appearances a week. Maybe not even that many. He'd fill Drew Butera's role as the backup catcher (and Butera would go to Rochester), meaning he'd play basically in day games and give the Twins a great right-handed pinch-hitting option off the bench. There's no place for him to DH, with Jason Kubel and Jim Thome in line ahead of him.

That leads us to the next point. Ramos is still young, 22 (though, who knows, he may be older than that). The Twins don't have to be in a rush to make this guy a big-leaguer. He will get his shot in a matter of a couple years, or maybe in a matter of a couple months. Thome isn't going to be with this team forever. Maybe not at all after this season. Maybe Michael Cuddyer moves on after this season, moving Kubel into a more regular outfield spot and opening the DH role for Ramos.

Could the Twins make him into a third baseman? Possibly, but that's likely a two-year project and it doesn't appear imminent. Could the Twins move Mauer? Possibly, but why would you want to move arguably the best catcher in Major League Baseball?

At some point Ramos is going to be a full-time major leaguer. But how about we give him more than 20 at bats before declaring him the next Joe Mauer?

April 13, 2010

Today's discussion topic: Initial impressions of Target Field

(A quick note, first. We're going to try to pick a discussion topic each day and actually offer some opinion on here, instead of just little news tidbits all the time. We'll also try to tell you what our next-day's topic will be, and hopefully we'll get this noted daily in our print edition.)

FELDY: Mrs. Feldy and I took in the Twins home opener yesterday and, not surprisingly, Target Field gets a massive thumbs-up. 

Here's my quick review if you don't want to read my wordiness. I'll do it in Andrew Bernard form: This ballpark is good.

If you want to read more, here you go ...

Before I get too deep into the greatness that is Target Field, I have a question for those of you who have also been to a game there: Is the enthusiasm over the new park due to just how great it is, or due to just how crappy the Metrodome was? Or is it a combination? I tend to think that, not only is Target Field a first-class park on its own, but its greatness is enhanced by the fact that we had to watch ball at the Dome for three decades.

I've been to a handful of new parks in the past five years or so and Target Field ranks among the best.

I'd better be careful how I state this, because I don't want my Minnesota citizenship revoked by the You-can't-ever-say-anything-bad-about-Minnesota police: Target Field is awesome. I love it. I can't wait to watch the Twins play home games there for most of the rest of my life. But .... Target Field is #2 on my list of new parks that I've been to. I put it behind Camden Yards/Oriole Park in Baltimore (which isn't all that new anymore, built in 1992) because the complete experience at Camden is tough to top, with the warehouse out in right field, the intimacy of the park, and the one-block walk to the Inner Harbor's entertainment district.

Now, back to the Target Field lovefest.

Honestly, I was worried after hearing so much hype about the place that I might get there and go 'this is it, really? It's just OK.'

My feelings changed from the time the new park came into view as we walked up on 5th Street, the north side of the park. Twins history is everywhere you go, both outside and inside, starting with the numbering of the gates. There are five gates to enter, numbered for the five Twins players whose numbers are retired — 3 (Killebrew), 6 (Oliva), 14 (Hrbek), 29 (Carew) and 34 (Puckett).

The next thing we noticed — it's hard to miss, basically screaming 'look at me!' — is the limestone exterior, which gives the park a unique touch that you don't see at other new parks such as Seattle and Philadelphia.

Still on the outside of the park, on the west side, are big division, AL and World Series championship banners. Near those banners are a series of bike racks — the Twins say there are about 400 bike parking spots for people who want to ride to the game. Across the concourse from the banners and bike racks is a chain-link fence covered in a brown material that includes giant blown-up baseball cards from Twins greats of the past and present.

Walking around to the south side, you find Gate 14, where, of course, the entrance to Hrbek's restaurant is. We didn't go in to try the Rex Burger, but the place was packed. Knowing Herbie's eating habits, the food in there can't possibly be bad.

From there, walking along the north side of the ballpark, you pass the back side of the massive Twins pro shop, which contains pretty much every piece of overpriced Twins merchandise you could possibly want. Just around the corner, on the east side, is Gate 34. That's at the center of a great plaza area, which was jam-packed with picture-takers, lunch-eaters and beer drinkers.

Inside the park, the concourses are indeed wider than the Metrodome's (how could they not be?) and the sightlines from every seat are terrific. We sat in Section 302, row 6, a little less than halfway up. Check out the Target Field seating chart, and you'll see we were about as far away from home plate as you can get, yet even with my 20-8000 vision I was able to follow the play. Sitting in the second-to-last section of the upper deck down the right field line at Target Field is vastly different than a similar section at Metrodome. You're seats in those section are also angled toward the field, so that when you sit straight, you're not staring into center field.

There are plenty of restrooms, novelty stands and concessions nearby (my first meal: a beer and a hot dog; what else could it be at a baseball game?). The food options are plentiful. I'm not sure how I failed to try a burrito from Senor Smoke's, but it's on the to-do list for the next trip to Target Field.

Oh yeah, the best part of the new park: The team on the field. Twins fans have waited a long time for a fitting place to play; now they have it and a winning team. Corny as it may sound, that combination was the best part of the day on Monday. A new park makes fans giddy, a good team makes them even happier. Not having to play in the Dome is the best.

To top it off, the post-game atmosphere was so far and away better than leaving a Twins game at the Dome. People hung around the park for a good hour afterward, as well as collecting on the plaza. A few blocks away, on the east side of Target Center, the street near Block E was blocked off, allowing fans to gather at places such as Smalley's 87 Club (formerly Champp's) and the new Hubert's bar.

What do you think, Twins fans? Am I overselling Target Field or do you feel the same way? Let us know.

TOMORROW'S TOPIC: A postmortem on the Wild's season and a look ahead at the NHL playoffs.


PHERSY: Feldy, how dare you!!! How dare you not rank the Twins' new park as No. 1 on your list. Spoken like a true North Dakota rube. You're probably still just worked up about the Sioux nickname, and the fact that UND will now be known as the FIghting Ground Squirrels.


OK Feldy, I had to chide you at least a little bit on this one. I haven't been to the new field yet, though I'm hoping to go early next week. So it would be tough for me to give any kind of true review of the park.

But, through the love-fest, I think most people realize that they didn't exactly go crazy on this new park. There aren't a whole lot of bells and whistles or expensive features. But what they did do is make it a tribute to the past, present and future, and I love that.

And I think you're exactly right ... part of this state's obsession with the new park is definitely owing to the Dome and its inadequacies. Years of indoor ball in the worst MLB park will make you get a little excited to head outdoors, even if we just built a stadium with no roof in the frozen tundra that is Minnesota.

But, let's enjoy it while it lasts. The critics will come out soon enough. Let's roll with the positivity!

Speaking of positivity, how about that team currently playing at Target Field? The Twins are hot, and that makes this whole thing that much more enjoyable.

Feldy and I are talking about this for tomorrow's print-edition version of Faceoff ... but let's just say, I really love what I'm seeing from this team early in the season, against some of the best teams in the American League.

December 03, 2009

A good tour of Target Field

FELDY: MPR put out a tour of the Twins' new ballpark, Target Field. It's one of the better "tours" I've seen done so far. It's not a video; it's a slideshow of pictures, but it's well done.

Here's the link.

Ready for some baseball now?

October 07, 2009

Time for one deep breath

FELDY: There's been no time to relax and take a deep breath for Minnesota sports fans for more than a week now. We've had to hang on every pitch of every Twins game. And on the one day the Twins have had off in the past week, we were enthralled with the highest-rated Monday Night Football game ever. Then back with more Twins yesterday.

* Now there are about two hours to pause and reflect before we get right back on the Twins bandwagon. I was off the bandwagon for quite a while. I wrote 'em off a month ago, as did many Twins fans, but here we are, ready for the David v. Goliath American League Division Series against the Evil Empire. Phersy and I will provide our thoughts on the Twins in tomorrow's Faceoff column in our print edition. We both agree, which is rare. Unfortunately, we both agree there's not much of a shot that the Twins win. Of course, three weeks ago I thought there was 100 percent no chance the Twins make the postseason. Heck, when they were 3 games out with 4 to play I thought there was no chance. It doesn't mean we won't be rooting for the Twins, it just means things are going to have to continue to go exactly right for them and they'll need all 25 guys to contribute.

* So how many of you Faceoff rubes were at the Vikings-Packers game on Monday? This is my 12th year of holding season tickets. I thought back to some of the playoff games we saw in the late 90s and other games against the Packers. I don't remember ever hearing the Dome that loud. My ears hurt on the drive home Monday night/Tuesday morning. That has never happened before.

And what an entertaining game. Of course, Packers fans didn't see it that way, but we all should have known that a Vikes-Pack game would come down to the final minute. Yes, Brett Favre played quite well, but it was nice to see his offensive line finally provide him some time to sit in the pocket and go through his progressions. On the same note, the line didn't do a great job of run-blocking. There were times the Packers had just six guys near the line of scrimmage, yet the Vikes were unable to run. That needs to get fixed in a hurry.

As for the Packers, if they can get some offensive linemen nursed back to health and give their young QB some time to sit and survey the field, that offense could be quite potent. In fact, if Rodgers is consistently given time, he'll be the best QB in the division, hands down.

When the Vikes go to Lambeau in a few weeks, I'm sure the crowd will be equally rowdy for the other team's favor. If the Packers can regroup over the next couple of weeks, that game at Lambeau on Nov. 1 could cause a big swing in the NFC North standings and go a long way toward deciding the playoff team (or teams) that come out of the division.

* Anyone notice the Wild played its home opener last night? Bad timing for the club to mount a Twins-like comeback, one of the best comebacks in team history. Down 3-0 to Anaheim entering the third, the Wild were playing terribly. I texted Phersy and told him I thought his MSU, Mankato Mavs could beat the Wild at that point. But after big bruiser John Scott knocked down Anaheim tough guy George Parros, the Wild flipped a switch. They scored three times in the final 14 minutes and Andrew Brunette scored a power-play goal in OT for a 4-3 win.

Phersy and I still differ on our opinion of the Wild. I think they have enough talent to make the postseason if they can get a good grasp on the new systems implemented by new coach Todd Richards. Phersy thinks they'll be bottom-feeders in the Western Conference. I guess either of our theories could be reality, or it could be somewhere in between. Thankfully, we have 80 games left to determine the team's fate. I know this: Martin Havlat was a great addition. He's not going to be what Marian Gaborik was; they're different styles of players. But he will put up points. And we know Wild fans are itching to see this team score some goals.

September 30, 2009

Anything going on in Minnesota sports?

FELDY: My voice is just coming back after the Brett Favre-to-Greg Lewis play on Sunday afternoon and Faceoff rube Brew is probably just getting over his back pain after I jumped on his back during the celebration at Metrodome. We did have a good chuckle at all the fans who left at the two-minute warning. You know, beat the traffic, blah, blah, blah.

I'll be the first to admit Favre did not have a good game on Sunday, but he did throw for 300 yards and he Favred another team in the final seconds. It felt nice to be on the other side of a Favre-ing for once. So, go ahead, criticize his play on Sunday all you want. But there is no way Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels makes that play. In fact, there is no way the Vikings are even in position to win that game with T-Jack or Rosenfels calling signals.

* * *

I wrote about in last week's Faceoff column, but the crow I'm eating is well worth it in exchange for the excitement the Twins are providing in the waning weeks of the MLB season. I, like many Twins fans, wrote this team off three weeks ago. Now they're in position to leapfrog Detroit and make the postseason. If the Twins don't beat the Tigers tonight and tomorrow, we can throw away those playoff hopes for another year, but it's been an entertaining ride.

That said, if this club doesn't make the playoffs, GM Bill Smith had better make some moves to upgrade the lineup, the starting rotation and the bullpen in the offseason. All we've heard for the past four years is that when the new Target Field opens next spring, the Twins will be spending more money on players in an effort to put a championship-caliber team on the field. Of course, the Twins have slashed their payroll by $20 million over the past two years and all they'll do to "add payroll" is add that $20 million to get back to where they were two years ago. They can spin it however they want. If they don't win next year, the new ballpark won't really matter to some fans.

* * *

It's hockey season! The Wild open their season Thursday night at Columbus. Of course, we can't watch that game on TV here. Nor can we watch next Tuesday's home opener. So if you can't get up to The X on Tuesday, you'll have to wait until next Thursday to see a game on TV in Rochester (the Oct. 8 game at L.A. is a 9:30 start). There are still tickets available for the home opener, though, if you still want to go.

Phersy and I will talk all things Wild in our print edition Faceoff column tomorrow.

And we'll get our NHL picks and predictions up on the blog tomorrow night.

September 15, 2009

Twins release 2010 schedule

FELDY: Time to start making your plans to visit Target Field. The Twins have released their 2010 schedule, which starts off with a weeklong road trip, followed by a quirky first homestand.

Opening Day for Target Field will be Monday, April 12, with a matinee against the Boston Red Sox at 3:10 p.m. It's an interesting choice for a starting time and day. Odd to open a new park on a Monday afternoon, but I'm sure there won't be a seat to be had.

The Twins open their season April 5-7 with a three-game set at Anaheim, followed by a three-game trip to Chicago against the White Sox. They come home to open Target Field against the Red Sox on April 12, followed by a day off on Tuesday, April 13, then two more games against Boston. Kansas City comes to town April 16-18, followed by a day off on Monday, April 19, then another three-game home series against Cleveland.

The Yankees come to Target Field for the first time May 25-27, a Tuesday-Thursday. The first interleague series at Target Field, against rival Milwaukee on May 21-23, directly precedes the Yankees series.

Atlanta (June 11-13) and Colorado (June 15-17) also come to Minnesota for interleague play, while the Twins also travel to Philadelphia (June 18-20), Milwaukee (June 22-24) and the N.Y. Mets (June 25-27) for interleague series.

The Twins close the regular season at home, with a four-game series against Toronto from Sept. 30-Oct. 3.

The full 2010 Minnesota Twins schedule may be found here.

Daily 3: 'Time to breathe again' edition

FELDY: Thanks to Phersy for holding down our little slice of the blogosphere for the past couple weeks. As he said last week, my notebooks were full with previews for high school football, volleyball, cross country, as well as keeping tabs on the local auto racing scene, which is winding down in a hurry. I'm trying to get back in the loop with Minnesota sports after a long weekend in Rapid City, where Mrs. Feldy's brother got married. I didn't get to see any of the Gophers-Air Force game (who would've guessed that there's not a big audience in western South Dakota for a game like that?), but it sounds like the maroon-and-gold will have a difficult time this weekend against Cal.

1. Thoughts on the Purple. It was certainly nice to see the Vikings put the dagger to an opponent late in the third quarter rather than in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, but still, it was against Cleveland. Browns QB Brady Quinn looked overmatched and pumped up his numbers in garbage time. As for No. 4, he did what the Vikes needed him to do -- didn't turn the ball over and made some good decisions. It's a good thing, though, that the soft spot in the Vikings schedule is Weeks 1-3 because it's clear that Brett Favre needs more time to get comfortable with his receivers. At some point this season -- sooner than later, most likely -- the Purple will need Favre to win a game for them, or do more than throw for 110 yards and handoff to A.P. He didn't have to do it against the Browns. I'll hold back my enthusiasm for my favorite club until we see if Bretty still has what it takes to win a game in crunch time. ... As for the A.P. touchdown run, I can't write much more than what's been said about it, except for: Adrian Peterson: Turning NFL defensive backs into posters since 2007. ... One more thing: Was anyone else ready to fire Brad Childress after the opening kickoff on Sunday? The only thing that made me feel at all better about that stupid decision was the Bears' decision to fake a punt deep in their own end, that didn't work and resulted in points for the Packers.

2. Hockey season is upon us. I know the Ice Hawks have been at it for almost a month, but this still doesn't feel quite right: The Wild open their preseason schedule tonight at St. Louis (and Rochester native Bryce Lampman, a d-man for the Blues). And if it's not exciting enough that the NHL season is here, the Wild may roll into this season with Petr Sykora on board. Sykora, one of the most consistent scorers in the league, is supposed to arrive in St. Paul today and have a physical tomorrow. To get a veteran like Sykora for, reportedly, $1.5 million or so, is a great addition to the roster. Even better news for the Wild: Star defenseman Brent Burns is back and appears to have fully recovered from a bad concussion he suffered in the second half of last season. Adding key free-agent signee Martin Havlat, Sykora, and the return of Burns is like adding three stars to a team that was badly lacking star-power late last season, while Burns and Marian Gaborik were both out. Oh yeah, Mikko Koivu is still here, too. Not a bad core of veterans.

3. Morneau no more. Twins fans, we want your thoughts. How concerned should the Twins be about their former MVP, Justin Morneau? He's a 30-home run, 100-RBI guy who has struggled at the end of the past two seasons. Now he's done for the season because of a back injury. Does he need more rest during the regular season? Is it a mental thing? Whatever the case, the Twins need to figure out a way to help Morneau stay healthy and hitting well during August and September, or there will be many more seasons like last year and this year -- the Twins will hang in the race in a weak division down the stretch, but won't have enough left in the tank to make the postseason. And is it time for the Joe Crede experiment to end? He's solid when healthy, but it doesn't do the team much good if Crede breaks down during the final weeks of the season.

May 22, 2009

Twins stink, stink, stink ... then put up 20

PHERSY: Go ahead, try to figure out this year's version of the Minnesota Twins.

I've said it before and I'll say it again ... this is the most inconsistent team in baseball.

After getting swept by the Yankees in a four-game set at Yankee Stadium and dropping the first two games of a three-game series against the White Sox, the Twins put up 20 runs in a blowout win over Chicago yesterday afternoon. Makes sense. Lose six straight games, then beat a team 20-1.

Honestly, I can't figure this team out. They sweep the Tigers on the road, and they're looking good. Then they hit the skids in New York and it continues into Chicago. Then there are 20 runs on the board.

Wanna bet the Twins don't score many runs tonight? Hmmmm.

The inconsistent hitting has been frustrating, mainly because you see flashes of greatness. The bullpen has been downright awful. But I think Pat Reusse said it best in his column the other day ... when it comes to the bullpen, the Twins are getting exactly what they paid for. They failed to make any key additions to that unit, and they're paying the price.

Think Juan Cruz wouldn't look good in a Twins uniform right now? Until last night's game (he gave up four runs last night) he was on fire. Cruz hadn't given up a run in six straight outings. Even with last night's four-run blowup, Cruz still has an ERA of 3.32.

With Breslow gone, now the Twins just need to give up on Crain and hopefully that will help stabilize the bullpen. Guerrier, as much as I don't like him, hasn't been terrible. He's got a 3.80 ERA in 20 appearances. Guys like Mijares, Dickey and Ayala need to step up and fill roles.

All that said, I have no idea what to think about this team. From the sounds of things, Feldy has given up on this team. I'm not there yet. I probably won't be there until they're eliminated ... because with this team, you know there's a winning streak on the way. Followed by a losing streak. Then another winning streak.

You get the picture.