Tuesday, May 31, 2005

An Unceremonious End...

As you have probably figured out by now, the whole misguided "Red Sox Chatter" hoax was just that: a hoax. As I hinted a few weeks ago, I had planned a trip up to Boston and New York for late May (right after school got out) to attend a few ballgames and such. My roomie and I thought it would be sorta funny to play a little trick on the readers, so we concocted the new logo and alternate persona. You may not have thought it was super funny (and I didn't do my part by only posting twice as my alter ego, "Hacker T. Daniels") but we still got a few chuckles out of it :). Plus, the new logo did look pretty sweet.

So I was in attendance at Saturday's 17-1 romp of the BoSox over the hated Yanks, which many of you probably saw on national TV. It was a fun game to be at for sure, as all the Yankee fans got disgusted and left by the sixth inning. It allowed us to move down for some great seats!

Also, tonight we went to the Red Sox-Orioles game, which the Sox won 5-1. I've posted a couple pictures from that game below for your viewing pleasure. One of them happens to be of a dastardly handsome fellow (i.e. me), albeit one who is in dire need of a haircut...

Anyway, today marks the end of "Red Sox Chatter". Twins Chatter returns in all its Lew Ford-inspired glory tomorrow, and since school is now out, I'll have plenty of time to provide some much-needed commentary on the Hometown Nine.

Until then, I have just one piece of advice for you: enjoy the season!

-Ryan M.

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And just who is this fellow with the historic (and beautiful) ballpark in the background?

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The view from our seats at Fenway (they put ANY Dome seat to shame).

Thursday, May 26, 2005

The First Day of the Rest of Your Life...

Well, it seems that my masterful hacking job has not gone completely unnoticed in the Twins online community (some misguided fool, this so-called "Stick and Ball Guy" has discovered my handiwork... although we all know who the real "stick and ball guy" is, don't we?*) but the best is yet to come. My goal is to convert all of you heathen Twins fans to the one true way: the way of the bloody sock. Last year's victory has inspired me to spread my gospel to all 30 major league teams, and this blog is merely my first stop en route to world (i.e. American League) domination.

As last night's contests prove, the Sox are indeed vastly superior to your puny Twins. Sure, Wade Miller and the Sox may have gotten crushed 8-1 by the Jays, and sure, the Twins may have defeated the Indians 5-4 in 11 innings on a clutch two-out, game-winning homerun, but what does that really prove? The Indians are a mediorcre club that has vastly underachieved this season, while the hard-charging Jays are a force to be reckoned with in the East. That is until the Sox crush them in the 16 meetings they have left this season, as well as every subsequent time the two teams will ever meet. Yeah, I'm confident.

Sure, last night's loss may have dropped the Sox two places in the standings (from second to fourth) and they now sit behind those MFYankees and the inevitably-doomed Blue Jays, and sure, the Twins may be alone in second place (by a large margin) and 5.5 games behind the ChiSox in the Central, but the Sox are just five games out of first! Take that, Twins fans! I am not at all bitter that my defending world champions are underachieving so far this year, despite the fact that they spent millions in free agency on such names as the .246-hitting Edgar Renteria while your Twins are hanging in there despite a flukishly hot start by the White Sox! No, that is indeed not the case!

Again, bloggers, Twins fans, and everyone else: lend me your ears! I am Hacker T. Daniels, and I proclaim that from this day forward, no Twins blog is safe from my wrath! Where will I strike next? Probably nowhere, but you never know, do you? That's what I thought! You'd better run! Ha!

-Hacker T. Daniels
Rouge hacker/Red Sox fanatic

p.s. How is the weather back in Minnesota? I have been having a glorious time here, in Boston, in the cold and rain, while you all smugly sit on your porches listening to Gordon and Gladden. You will get your comeuppance... I guarentee it!

*= Actually, for all I know, SBG really is the real Stick and Ball Guy. I don't really know why I said that last part... I'm just talking out of my ass here people (as you can probably already tell). Anywho, have a nice day.

p.p.s. I know you're all mesmerized by the SWEET hacking job I did on the Twins Chatter logo... Doesn't it look great? Doesn't it? Anyone? Bueller?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


For those of you precious few that still check this long-forgotten blog, you are in for a big surprise: it has been HACKED!! You heard me correctly - the ill-fated and completely inadequate blog formerly known as "Twins Chatter" has been replaced by my newer, better and totally spectacular weblog, which will heretofore be known as "Red Sox Chatter". The BoSox are, after all, baseball's defending world champions, which automatically makes them the best team in the world.

So don't mourn the loss of Twins Chatter; instead, rejoice! Sox Chatter will be a much more interesting source for information and opinions about your soon-to-be favorite major league franchise.

Plus, that stupid Ryan guy hadn't updated this site in like two weeks, so its not like you're missing anything. Check back tomorrow for my first Red Sox-oriented post and get ready to bleed some red!*

-Hacker T. Daniels
Red Sox fanatic

*= In hindsight, I realize this analogy was poorly thought-out, because, as everyone knows, people actually do "bleed red". I was going for this Tommy LaSorda-esque "bleed Dodger blue" sorta thing, but it didn't come out how I expected. Please accept my heartfelt apologies if I offended/freaked you out in any way.

Go Sox!

Friday, May 06, 2005

Looking Forward, Not Back

It's been a busy week here at St. Olaf, as you may have surmised from the lack of posts here at Twins Chatter. Just to let you all know, it will probably remain that way until finals are over in a couple of weeks. I'll still post stuff when I have time (like I did on Wednesday with the stadium article) but it probably won't be more than about 2 or possibly 3 times a week. Once John gets done with school he may contribute a little more, but obviously no promises can be made.

So for now, just bask in the glory of Bradke's improbable (and timely) three-hitter yesterday, and have yourselves a good weekend.

-Ryan M.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

2005: A Stadium Odyessy

Yesterday was a dark one in Twins Territory, and as some of you may have noticed, Twins Chatter was eerily silent. That trend will continue today, but not because I don't have something to say about Rincon's suspension. If you're looking for a well-written article addressing the issue, I highly recommend this one by Jim Souhan in the Strib. In the meantime, I encourage you to peruse my mass audience-oriented stadium post below. It's a pretty good summation of the present situation, and if you know anyone who's looking to become educated on this issue in a short period of time, I think you could do worse than have them read what I've written below.

Postscript: I'd also like to direct your attention to this article, which Shane over at Greet Machine brought to my attention. It is an excellent primer for those of you looking for easy-to-follow stadium information.

Ninety-nine percent of the time, I’m proud to be a Minnesotan. Our state boasts a wealth of natural beauty, an excellent education system, a relatively low crime rate and robust social welfare programs. Plus, as most of your out-of-state friends have probably learned by now, the people here are just so darn nice it’ll make your face hurt.

Yet there is at least one area where I am utterly ashamed of my fellow Gopher State residents: Our backwards views when it comes to building stadiums for professional sports teams. This state has a long and forgettable history when it comes to stadium policy, and recent events have led me to believe we've learned painfully little from our previous mistakes.

Last week, it was announced that Hennepin County and the Minnesota Twins had come to an agreement on a brand new, 42,000-seat open air ballpark for the team, to be built in downtown Minneapolis' Warehouse District near the Target Center. Funding for the $478 million project would come from a couple of different sources, none of them directly involving state government. Twins owner Carl Pohlad would chip in $125 million and Hennepin County would enact a 0.15% sales tax (which would be in place for 25-30 years) to raise the additional funds. For those of you scoring at home, a 0.15% sales tax increase amounts to three cents on every $20, or less than a penny on your morning latte and $30 on a new car.

“Great!” those of you unfamiliar with stadium politics in the Northland may be saying about now. “The agreement is beneficial for both sides, the logistics are all worked out, and the funding plan sounds relatively painless. What seems to be problem?”

In short, just about everything.

When it comes to stadium policy in Minnesota, there is only universal truth – the Twins cannot survive in the Metrodome in the long run. That 24 year-old concrete bowl in downtown Minneapolis is currently the worst overall stadium in major league baseball, and it’s not even close. The poor atmosphere, the ill-positioned baseball seats, the artificial playing surface, and the aesthetics are just depressing. Yet the Dome's most damning characteristic stems from its very outdatedness. Simply put, the Twins can not remain a financially viable major league franchise in their current stadium. The reasons are myriad, but the truth is undeniable.

The stadium saga began nine long years ago, when, taking their cue from other teams in the league, the Twins went to the Minnesota state legislature and made their plea for a new home. The team was shot down that year…and the next, and the next, and every single year since then. We've seen referendums defeated, legislative bills killed in committee, bills trounced in both the House and Senate, an ill-advised relocation threat by the team, the contraction scare of 2002, and numerous plans never make it out of the newspapers. In that time, the state's budget has gone from deficit to surplus and back to deficit, but this singular issue has always loomed overhead, like a rain delay that just won't go away.

Since this debate began back in 1996, almost half of the league's 30 teams have opened or procured new venues. In addition, the new venues have occurred in such unlikely places as Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Cincinnati and Detroit. But in a state that consistently ranks among America's most sports-centric, we have been unable, despite nearly a decade of trying, to decide on a workable plan that will allow the state's most successful sports franchise to depart the football stadium in which they currently reside.

“Tired” is the word that best describes the stadium movement in Minnesota today. Twins officials are tired of courting public approval on such an unpopular issue. Twins fans are tired of hearing both sides reiterate the same old arguments. Public officials are tired of encountering the same roadblocks that have stalled this issue for much of the past decade. Everyone involved would like to see this issue resolved, one way or another. The choice is clear – either approve the new stadium or the state loses baseball. Rarely do such complicated issues boil down so simply, but that is indeed the case in this instance.

When last week's plan was first announced, the prevailing mood was one of cautious optimism. It seemed almost too good to be true: no state money involved, (a key sticking point in previous negotiations) a specific site with infrastructure and easy public access already in place, an infinitesimal tax hit spread out over many years, and a generous up-front contribution from the team.

Yet in the true spirit of Minnesotan political indecisiveness, even this seemingly win-win situation has little chance of actually becoming a reality. Although the Hennepin County Board approved the ballpark plan yesterday, the issue must still be voted on in the Minnesota State legislature, arguably the most maddeningly egalitarian political body in the country. In the off chance that this issue even comes to a vote before the session ends in a few weeks, (naturally, the legislature still has many other key bills to pass this year) it is unlikely that the a majority of the state's top politicians will suddenly come to a consensus on an issue they have successful skirted for years.

However, what many lawmakers probably do not realize is that this may very well be the last gasp of the stadium movement. Both Pohlad and Twins president Jerry Bell have been unusually reserved when talking about the latest plan, an indication that they may be on the verge of giving up if it doesn’t go through. Contraction, thwarted in 2002, may once again rear its ugly head in 2007 and the Twins are once again prime candidates for the chopping block. If no new stadium deal can be reached sooner rather than later, the Minnesota Twins could very well cease to exist.

When that day comes, we’ll all be ashamed to call ourselves Minnesotans.