Sweetheart, Get Me Rewrite

Twins/Angels Game 1, Cards/Giants Game 1

This summer when I was out traveling around I had occasion to watch the TV broadcasts of a half dozen different teams, and every one of them was pretty much as insufferable as the rest. I think it's mainly a TV problem, and maybe it's just a difficult thing to do well. What the hell do I know? I have to imagine that there are still some terrific folks working in radio, but I don't have much evidence to corroborate that. Is Dave Niehaus still working out in Seattle, for instance?

I hung around the ballpark until far too late and got drenched walking back downtown to my car and it's now almost 3 o'clock in the morning. Tonight was just the latest installment of the Good News, Bad News Bears. There was a banner hanging down the left field line that said, "Ravishing Rick Reed," and I hope like hell somebody was making fun of the guy and not actually trying to adopt him as a hero. Ravishing? Rick Reed?

I was happy Reed didn't get the nod to start game one of the divisional series, and I'll be glad when he's gone. The guy makes $7 million a year and he's about as gutless as they come. I honestly don't know what happens with pitchers like Reed, how they can go from dominating to essentially pitching batting practice from one start to the next. Face it, people: Reed spent the last half of the season padding his record against the dregs of the Central Division. Good teams just kick his fat ass all over the park.

He wasn't just bad tonight, he was unconscionably bad. Scott Klingenbeck bad. It was even more terrible than his last start against Oakland. In Reed's two playoff starts he's lasted just over ten innings and given up six home runs, a triple, a couple doubles, five singles, and two walks. Clearly the cagey old veteran has been a godsend to the young Twins.

Jacque Jones would look mighty good in another uniform right now too. The way he's been swinging, he couldn't hit Rick Reed. And Ron Gardenhire? The guy couldn't manage a Happy Chef. Screw 'em all. They're gonna tear out my heart and spit on it, and then they're all going to go fishing for three months. Screw the Cardinals and Tony LaRussa while you're at it. Woody Williams is a bulldog? Since when are bulldogs such pussies? When's the last time he pitched, a month ago? And LaRussa's going to start him in game two against San Francisco? As Tom Kelly would say, *oh my.*

As for the argument about Radke, Forsch, and Maddux--well, it's too damn late and I'm not about to run down stairs again to muck around in the Total Baseball, but a few things: Radke was in the majors and pitching 200 innings a year at an earlier age that Forsch; I'm virtually certain he not only had better control, but *much* better control; and I'm also virtually certain that for most of his career Forsch played for much, much better teams. And in the National League. I always liked Forsch, by the way.

I mentioned that early in his career I thought Radke had a chance to be Greg Maddux--I did. I honestly did. Compare the trajectory of his numbers his first three years with Maddux's. Radke drastically improved his strikeout totals, without inflating his walk totals, in each of his first three years. That third year, when he was 24, he had a K to BB ratio of something like 4-1; he also won 20 games for a horseshit team and had an ERA well beneath the league average. His strikeouts then preceded to fall off drastically the next couple years, which is never a good sign from a young pitcher. Still, I've seen him pitch probably at least 50 games, and his performance in the decisive game of the Oakland series was pretty typical of what I've seen him do over the years. Now *there* is a bulldog.

I don't think there's anything unlikely at all about how this team has played in the postseason, except for the times when they've been shittier than they have any right to be. I was frustrated all season by the fact that the Twins never seemed to be able to get it all going at once. There were all those injuries, and slumps, and the lousy division and the huge, early lead. There was never any pressure on these guys. They didn't have any big games. If anything I think that has cost them in the postseason. They've choked a lot in defense and fundamentals, aspects of the game that should be automatic by now. In their bad games they've been pressing consistently.

And Jesus, they keep running into that Anaheim bullpen, which is just making them look sick. Last night I figured the Twins had the series in the bag. They rocked Ortiz earlier this year and he looked terrible against the Yankees. Now, I don't know. I'm badly shaken, Steve, very badly shaken.

And badly in need of sleep. And thirsty as the devil himself for a can of Coca-Cola. I have no idea what's going to happen, but I do know--and I can assure you--that that is not the world's funniest joke. Why should I trust an English social scientist on something so important? These people think Benny Hill is funny. I'll have to think about it and get back to you... the world's funniest joke, I mean.

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