Wednesday, June 25, 2008

NBA draft--mini roundtable

Look who's back, back again. Yeah, that's right--Fuzz and Dogg make their summer appearance on TK. Q had to sit out this one, but we brought in the crafty lefty out of the pen, NBA guru Marx to fill in for his spot. Tomorrow's NBA draft is such a biggie for the local franchise that we had to call for a summer roundtable. Like usual, cigars, whiskey, and hookers were all present. Here is what transpired from the brothel...I mean...the roundtable...

Dogg: Now, I read that Wade might be available come draft night. This draft might be off the charts for trades. Suns are looking to move Diaw and Barbosa as well. I say we take Mayo or trade with Bucks/Bobcats for Yi or Morrison. Grizzlies might trade us Mike Miller or Kyle Lowry for our #3 and then we would draft #5 in their spot and take Joe Alexander or Kevin Love.

Fuzz: I don't mind that Grizzlies trade, especially if it's Mike Miller. Mike Miller can flat out shoot and that is something the Wolves are missing. I've been slowly convinced on Kevin Love. He's like one of those fantasy football players you talk yourself into after months of speculation. Like when I drafted Willis McGahee 4th overall two years ago and he ended up sucking ass. Love's slowly growing on me and I'm leaning toward him. He does everything pretty well and he wants to be great. I think that's a key factor with judging these guys. Most of these guys get the money and they mail it in. For all accounts I've read, Love is different than that. He has a lot of motivation to be good in the league. Plus, he'd help out our wings a lot with his passing ability (Paging Mr. Corey Brewer). Is a Kevin Love/Mike Miller package better than O.J. Mayo?

Dogg: I just don’t know if the Wolves are ready to be that good even if we get Mike Miller but they would take an expiring contract or two from us in the exchange as well so maybe it is worth it. Miller probably only has a few good years left in him but I do think Kevin Love will be dang good in the league. He seems like somebody that wouldn’t mind staying in MN either where Mayo might be 3 years and done. I’m starting to think Love is the pick for us after trading down and getting a player from that team.

Fuzz: We pretty much worked out everyone in the top 10, so we must think that a trade is a legit possibility. They looked at Bayless and Gordon this week. I don't think they go either of those guys, but who knows? It's McHale. He might shock us all again. Watch, we take that foreign guy with the stinky armpits no one knows anything about...

Danilo Gallinari

Dogg: Yeah, I can see him take that Dano guy but I sure hope not. I say we take Mayo or trade down to get Love. Gordon and Bayless are just scorers so I sure hope we don’t take either of those guys.

Marx: I’ve got five things to say:

1. I don't think there was ever talk of us receiving Mike Miller. We should never take him right now as he is a one dimensional player with a big salary who would not make that much difference to us. The Wolves still owe alot of money to Juwan Howard and T-Hud. We are also going to buy out Antoine Walker this summer so we will not be looking to increase our payroll. The rumors involving the Grizz have Miller, Kyle Lowry, and the #5 pick going to Miami for the #2 pick and Mark Blount. The Heat are reportedly trying to hold out for Mike Conley instead of Lowry, which makes sense on their part.

2. I don't want to drop down in the draft if all we receive from the Bucks is Yi. He might be a solid player, but he has no star potential and he also plays the 4, which is where we want to play Al Jeff. I would, however, strongly consider it if they offered us Andrew Bogut and the #7 pick for the # 3 pick.

3. An interesting rumor I heard that is totally not true but is intriguing is Randy Foye and Marco Jaric for Kirk Heinrich and his big salary. I would take a backcourt of Hinrich and OJ Mayo for the next 10 years. It would also allow the Bulls to re-sign Ben Gordon and Luol Deng to play alongside of Derrick Rose.

4. Right now, if the #2 pick is available I would do whatever I could to get into that spot. I think that the #3 pick this year, the return of the 1st round pick the Heat owe us, and possible Rashad McCants would potentially be enough.

5. Lastly, I have no problem standing still and taking Mayo with our pick. We can plug into our lineup at 2 guard next year and start Foye, Mayo, Brewer, Al Jeff, and a mystery player. That would get us moving in the right direction.

Dogg: Paul Allen from KFAN talked about Mike Miller this morning but the Grizzlies were hesitant of getting rid of him to us for the #3 pick. They were willing to give us Kyle Lowry who I believe is and will be better than Mike Conley in the league. I don’t think much of Conley at all. He has no jump shot and doesn’t do the little things as good as a guy like Rajon Rondo who also doesn’t have a jump shot but plays tremendous defense and can finish near the rim with the best of them. I would take a Rondo over Conley in a second.

They won’t give us Bogut. Yi is probably the best we can do from the Bucks. Q mentioned Villanueva but I don’t know if I would want him either…..Foye and Jaric for Hinrich? If that was offered and we didn’t take it, kill me now. That would be a killer trade….I also believe we trade our two 2nd round draft picks to hop into the first round because there are several teams who don’t want to pay that luxury tax with a player in the 1st round. I wish we could select Love early and then Augustin in the teens but DJ is rising quickly.

Marx: The only conceivable way that we would get Augustine is if we made trade with the Bucks and then picked him at #7.

Fuzz: Brewer has to get better this year or will be looking for another wing player. He can't shoot 35% like he did last year. I wish you could mess McCants' offensive skills with Brewer's defensive abilities. That would be a good player. They both need to improve on their weaknesses to have a good career in this league. That's why I wouldn't mind the Mayo pick. Seems like a guy that has it all.

Dogg: Augustin is rising up the charts so we would have to trade down with somebody in the top 10 for sure. Bilas has him as the 6th best player in the draft but he also has Brook Lopez 3rd. I can still see us taking him even though we haven’t said much about him. That will be McHale’s big play, not talk about the guy he likes and then draft him like it was some huge secret. Take Mayo then trade your 2nd round picks to get in the 14-20 area and take Hibbert is what I like.

Fuzz: All I know is that this draft is going to be off the charts for the Timberpuppies. Three picks and a ton of trade potential. Last year it seemed like Brewer was a lock for us, but this year it’s hard to pin them down. They aren’t given us much. I’m really excited but scared at the same time. Somehow, we’re going to fuck this up…

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Have Some

“I ask him, ‘Who own the Chiefs?’
‘What did he say?’
‘Owns, owns...’”

That classic exchange comes from the movie Slap Shot and with a slight alteration, could aptly summarize the Twins during interleague play. The reason? We absolutely own the National League. Every year at this time, we come into series’ against the Senior Circuit playing below average to terrible baseball. And every year we dominate whoever the NL throws at us and we get right back in the hunt for a division title. In fact, the Twins have the third most wins all time in interleague play, with 116 (the Yankees and A’s both have 119). So it should be no surprise that the Twins have won 8 of their past 9 games, including 6 in a row against NL teams.

Who's the sucker that's going to trade for this guy?

Everything always starts with pitching, and the Twins have been getting some quality outings from their starters and the bullpen. Prior to this winning streak, both groups of pitchers had been having their struggles. The starters were inconsistent at best and the pen was allowing the opposition to come back and/or extend leads—very odd since that is usually such a strong part of our team. All of that has changed over the last couple weeks as the Twins have gotten very strong outings from all of their starters, including two quality starts from Livan Hernandez during this run. This could lead to some team actually believing that Livan could help them down the stretch and we would be able to unload him before he completely blows up (which will inevitably happen). Another guy who has been surprisingly good of late is Jesse Crain. Personally, I have always disliked Crain, mostly because he has only one pitch: 93 mph down the middle of the plate. But he’s been spotting his fastball more, getting some movement on his pitches, and even throwing something other than a fastball occasionally. All of which has led to him and Matt Guerrier being our most consistent late inning pitchers who have been getting the ball to Joe Nathan in the 9th with the lead.

Proving the doubters (like me) very wrong so far...

The team has also been scoring runs in bunches. Big innings have been a critical part of the roll the Twins are on, and it’s usually starting with the top of the lineup. As much as I rip Gardy, it’s only fair to give him credit on using Alexi Casilla in the 2 hole. I thought this was a terrible idea at first, given Casilla’s track record of not hitting in the majors, but he’s been thriving. With leadoff hitter Carlos Gomez only hitting about .270 (still good for a 22 year old), Alexi has stepped up big time and has consistently been on base for Joe Mauer (now leading the AL in average) and Justin Morneau (currently boasting an 11 game hitting streak) to drive him in. But it’s not just the top getting things done. Currently, the Twins have the highest batting average in baseball with runners in scoring position. If we can continue to get guys on, the team will surely continue to succeed.

That's our boy...

Another hitting star during this hot streak is new third baseman, and TKOT’s boy, Brian Buscher. The kid is a straight masher and is coming up with big hits seemingly every night. In his last 10 games, Busch is hitting .353 with 12 RBI and the team is 7-3 in those games. I know it’s a very small sample size, but given the Twins extreme lack of production from the third base position over the last number of years, it’s hard not to get too excited. Granted, the kid is still shaky with the glove, but if he’s going to hit like this, who cares?

Nicky assuming Gardy's favorite position...

Some things never change, and this apparently includes Ron Gardenhire’s love affair with Nick Punto. The cute couple has had a strong bond with each other for many years now and I think it might be getting serious. How else could you possibly explain sending down Matt Macri (hitting .367 while he was up with the big club—or roughly twice what Punto usually hits) to activate Tricky Nicky? And on top of that, Gardy has pretty much handed him the starting shortstop job. Look, I know that shortstop hasn’t been a solid position for us this year. Adam Everett was just plain terrible and Brendan Harris has been unspectacular. Nevertheless, to just give that job to a guy who can’t stay healthy this year and flirted with the Punto Line (it’s time for Mendoza to lose this title, who better to take the crown than Nick?) while playing every day last year is odd, even for Gardy. But then again, you can’t deny true love.

With the Twins only 1 ½ games behind the AL Central leading White Sox, this could be a big week for the team. They have three games coming up in San Diego against a Padres team that has been playing quite poorly of late, and then come back home for a three game set against the Milwaukee Brewers. Given the difficulty of our July schedule (Detroit twice, Cleveland twice, Chicago, Boston and New York), it is absolutely crucial that we dominate the next week. If the Twins keep getting quality outings from their starters and some clutch hitting, there’s no reason why they can’t take at least 4 of 6 and possibly be back in first place come next Monday.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Q's News

As you already know, TK is going to be a bit light on content for the summer. It just had to be like that; we all got burnt out (get it? Burnt Toast) and the writing seemed forced and not up to the high standard we have set here at the House that Toast Built. To get us back in gear, here are some random sports related thoughts that I have.

What a chode

NBA Referee Scandal
I really hate that this is a story that is headlining most sports coverage these days. We all know that Tim Donahey is an admitted cheater and that he altered (or at least attempted to) the outcome of many games. We also know that the NBA is the shadiest organization in sports, so this shouldn’t have come as a complete shock. There have always been rumblings of draft lotteries being fixed for certain teams and/or players. There are almost never sweeps in the playoffs (because the NBA wants more TV money) and no lead is ever safe. Just look at this year’s playoffs: there were at least 4 giant comebacks in the Lakers-Spurs and Lakers-Celtics series’ alone. Is this because the teams don’t try hard all the time? Possibly. Could it be because the refs either choose to or are told to keep it close? Also a possibility. The point is, that nothing that comes out of Donahey’s mouth should be so ground breaking that we stop the presses for it. I know he claims that the refs handed Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals to the Lakers. But this is an admitted cheater, why is his word worth anything? Just like with Matt Walsh and “Spygate” (stupid name and why do we always have to call everything a “gate”?), the timing is a bit curious and you really have to consider the source. Plus, it’s in the past and there’s nothing that can or will be done about it now. So quit updating me every hour as to the on goings of this scandal (I’m talking to you SportsCenter/Around the Horn/PTI/NBA Live/NBA Countdown…) and focus on sports.

Way to step up Kobe...

NBA Finals
I’ll be honest; I did not see this coming. Heading into the series I thought that the Lakers were clearly the favorites, even if Boston won 66 games this year. They had played better in the playoffs, seemed to match up well, and had a deeper bench. It all added up to the Lakers taking the crown in 5 or 6 games—or so I thought. Then I realized four important things: Kobe is not MJ—not even close, Pau Gasol sucks, Paul Pierce is really good, and Ray Allen isn’t finished yet. Add it all up and you get Boston in 6. Oh well, at least KG gets a ring. I think everyone in Minnesota can appreciate that.

The men who should be playing in the House that Ruth Built in early July

MLB All Stars
The All Star game is coming up in just a few weeks. The one thing I’ve always hated about MLB’s version of this gathering (other than the whole “It Counts Now!” angle) is the mandatory representative for each team. Do baseball officials really believe that a ton of people in Pittsburgh, who wouldn’t have watched otherwise, are going to tune in just to see Jason Bay come in as a defensive replacement in the 6th inning, only to be pinch hit for right awa? C’mon. It’s absurd and it takes at least 3-4 spots away from deserving players every year. That said, here are the guys I think should make the All Star teams (position players only) without the mandatory representative rule:
Note: A bunch of these guys won’t make it because of fan voting. “Oh, Ichiro? I’ve heard of him.” It's just another reason why the Mid Summer Classic is a joke.
American League: C—Joe Mauer, AJ Pierzynski 1B—Kevin Youklis, Justin Morneau 2B—Brian Roberts, Ian Kinsler 3B—Alex Rodriguez, Joe Crede SS—Orlando Cabrera, Edgar Renteria OF—Josh Hamilton, Milton Bradley, Carlos Quentin, Manny Ramirez, Magglio Ordonez
Thoughts: A lot of Rangers considering they're not a very good team. By the way, what happened to the shortstop position in the American League? Was it that long ago that it was the glory position in all of baseball? Back when A Rod, Nomar, and Jeter were at the top of their game and a guy like Tejada couldn't even crack the lineup even with his ridiculous numbers. Now? Christ, I could make the league and hit .260 and probably be a reserve.

National League: C—Geovany Soto, Benji Molina, Russell Martin 1B—Adrian Gonzalez, Ryan Howard 2B—Chase Utley, Dan Uggla 3B—Chipper Jones, David Wright SS—Christian Guzman, Hanley Ramirez OF—Nate McClouth, Lance Berkman Ryan Braun, Ryan Ludwick, Alfonzo Soriano
Thoughts: NL catchers are very good this year. I could have put Brian McCaan on this team too and he would have deserved it. Nice to see McClouth having a good year for Pittsburgh. Xavier Nady is a strong candidate for the Pirates too. I put Soriano on even though he's been injured because he's been absolutely dominant when he's been in the lineup.

Bristol is about to be empty during Week 1 of the NFL season

I just read the other day that ESPN is pulling out all the stops for the first Monday Night Football game of the year. The game features the Purple playing in Green Bay against the Packers, and I guess that Brett Favre’s jersey is going to be retired (cute). Apparently this is a big enough deal that the MNF crew will be live in GB, along with the 7 man NFL Countdown crew, PTI, SportsCenter, and at least 4 sideline reporters, not to mention all of the camera and technical crews. Seriously? This isn’t going to be some sort of significant or historical moment in the annals of football. It’s the first Monday game of the year and they’re retiring a guy’s jersey. I honestly cannot believe how much the media D rides Favre. Do you think he gets chaffed from ESPN sucking him off so much? I know that the World Wide Leader is known for overdoing things at times, but this takes the cake. I guess I’ll just have to be ok with the world watching as we kick the sh*t out of the Packers on the first stop on our Ass Kicking Tour 2008. Per Jarred Allen’s warning, I really hope Aaron Rogers took out some extra life insurance.

Easy there Tiger...

Chad Johnson, Adam Jones, etc.
Speaking of things that I don’t understand, can someone please explain to me why A) NFL Live is on every single day, but Baseball Tonight isn’t and B) I have to hear about guys like Chad Johnson and Adam Jones (I’m not going to call a grown man “Pacman”) every day? Our country is obsessed with the negative, and nowhere is it more prevalent than in professional sports. We constantly focus on the negative (Michael Vick, Spygate, Steroids, etc.) and give it way too much coverage to the point where it is glorified. As a professional athlete, you get more time on TV and in the papers if you do something bad than if you’re staying clean and having outstanding personal or team success. Then we wonder why high school and college athletes consistently get busted for using performance enhancing drugs, partying all night, and doing all sorts of other dumb things. Just because Chad says he’s not coming to camp and then shows up doesn’t mean that I need round the clock coverage of his OTA’s. Stop giving these guys so much attention.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008


It's been a while since we've posted and the sign above says it all. To be honest, the TK house got busy and weren't that motivated to write. After some discussing and an idea from a friend, we'll be taking a hiatus until the late summer/fall. And by "we," I mean myself. Truthfully, I'm not motivated to write at all and I don't want to do a POD everyday with no stories. That's lame. I've spoken to Q, and he'll be writing about twice a week coming up here. He's our Twins expert, so expect a lot of baseball talk. A lot. Come fall, we'll have football (college and NFL), a new TV season, baseball playoff races heating up and college basketball season in close proximity to write about. Plus, the start of the OJ Mayo era in close range.

So, keep coming back this summer to see what Q has. He'll be holding down the fort. Just found out Dogg we'll be jumping in when he can also. And, I'm sure I'll jump in a roundtable now & again with those two and maybe a cougar city article will pop up. We'll be in full force come mid Augustish. Sorry for the lack of material and have a good summer!


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