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From the Notebook

Official photograph portrait of former U.S. Pr...

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El Dos de Mayo is coming up, I’ll be there (though I do have jury duty). Any regular readers who want to meet me at one of my few public appearances (it’s hard to keep a straight face even writing that) can catch me at Sally’s on Monday, May 2nd, sometime after 4pm. Or, I’ll be at Stub and Herbs sometime after 8pm. I won’t have a book to premier this year though. However, over the next year, I might have up to three books coming out. The novel is set for midsummer, and the two other projects I can’t talk about (yet). Other stuff in the notebook:

-Looking at my visitor stats, I saw a Google search asking “is ‘you done good’ grammatically correct?” No, no it’s not. Idiot.

-There are two bits of information I’ve seen showing the employment market’s recent resurgence will be short-lived. First, Teen unemployment levels went up last month (teens are always the first out, last in) and rising gas prices are correlated to a rise in unemployment (albeit two years after the rise; research I found gives a solid .58 correlation). It will be interesting to see if the economy presses through the higher fuel costs and the coming consumer price inflation.

– Interesting tidbit from Federalist 23:

The authorities essential to the common defense are these: to raise armies; to build and equip fleets; to prescribe rules for the government of both; to direct their operations; to provide for their support. These powers ought to exist without limitation, BECAUSE IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO FORESEE OR DEFINE THE EXTENT AND VARIETY OF NATIONAL EXIGENCIES, OR THE CORRESPONDENT EXTENT AND VARIETY OF THE MEANS WHICH MAY BE NECESSARY TO SATISFY THEM. The circumstances that endanger the safety of nations are infinite, and for this reason no constitutional shackles can wisely be imposed on the power to which the care of it is committed. This power ought to be coextensive with all the possible combinations of such circumstances; and ought to be under the direction of the same councils which are appointed to preside over the common defense.

-The end of April marks the completion of the fifth year of my exercise plan. Five years ago I committed to exercising at least 5 days a week (or more). Previous to this I averaged 3-4 days with a workout. I boosted that number to 5-6 and continued it for a very long time. I get at least 30 minutes of cardio every workout, with flexibility and strength training sprinkled throughout. I also try to get some walking done in addition to everything else. Now, if only I could keep to a diet…

Books Read:

-Decision Points by President George W. Bush. At the end of Bush’s presidency, I was among the millions of Americans who were frustrated with him, despite being a solid supporter. Reading this book was great because Bush provided what he never did while president: reasonable arguments. His justifications of his policies were quite thoughtful. He had his own doubts about many of the actions he took. The book, unlike other presidential memoirs, appeared completely sincere. Regardless of what you think of Bush, you should at the very least get his side of the story before criticizing him.

-Your Marketing Sucks by Mark Stevens. I picked it out of a bargain bin for a couple of reasons, 1) I try to read something business related every couple of months, and 2) I don’t know a lot about marketing. It turned into a great read. The author has done large marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 companies and had a common sense perspective on the topic. What was frustrating is that, despite the title, the author still wrote like an MBA. The technical-businesspeak was unnecessary and took away from the book. And some stuff got repetitive. However, as an introduction to “ROI-Marketing” it can’t be beat. Stevens promotes the idea of stopping all marketing expenses until you can prove every dollar spent is making more than a dollar in revenues. Common sense, but rarely found in large companies.

Twins Thoughts:

-The Twins offense will come back. It’s called regression to the mean. No team is this bad at the plate. Seriously. I would definitely be looking for upgrades at SS. I think Trevor Plouffe is an option. I think Luke Hughes should stay on with the team (the Twins can go to an 11 man pitching staff). For some more offensive pop, I think Rene Tosoni, Chris Parmelee or Joe Benson should get called up to take over Repko’s spot. That won’t happen, and it wouldn’t make a huge difference anyway. More worrisome is the team’s pitching. The Twins need to upgrade their bullpen by removing some dead arms (Dusty Hughes) and sending Joe Nathan to AAA for some low-leverage innings and calling up Anthony Swarzak to take Nathan’s spot. Kyle Gibson is looking like he’s ready for a rotation spot as well (when June comes around, if one of our starters is struggling, I would give Gibson that rotation spot).

-There has been plenty of discussion about moving Mauer away from catcher. It’s something I’ve promoted for a long time. While I understand Mauer’s relative value is greatest as a catcher, the Twins have him signed longterm (until he’s 36). I would prefer we raise his absolute value, get his bat into the lineup more often, and extend his quality years as a player (by up to five years!). I know Mauer is against this, as he knows his ticket to the HOF carries a catcher’s stamp. It might be void if he moves (ask Joe Torre). Still, Mauer is a very expensive team asset who needs to be protected.

-Regardless of everything else, this year’s Twins team has a lot of problems that will require more than patchwork. We have a terrible fielding outfield. A hole at shortstop. Durability problems at catcher and first base. Mediocrity problems in the bullpen (and a lack of power arms). And a terrible bench. Maybe the great run is over for a bit.


From the Notebook

Minneapolis, Minn. (July 17, 2006) - Minnesota...

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-I’ve been in a funk for the past month or so. I finished the novel, which had taken up a lot of my time over the last year or so. You’d think I’d find some time to blog, but the truth is, I’m having a hard time writing about anything. So I’m not really writing anything at all. I’m burned out. But ignoring that…

-At Twins Fest, I made the major faux pau of asking a player about an injury he didn’t have. I asked Chris Parmelee (Twins Prospect) about his shoulder. It was actually Rene Tosoni* who had suffered an injury last year. Oops. Parmelee was obviously distressed. Athletes generally being superstitious. So: Dear Chris Parmelee, if you do hurt your shoulder this coming season, you can punch me in the face, sincerely, Marty Andrade. // *I did not get to ask Rene Tosoni about his injury, as he decided to interrogate me about how I got one of his game used bats (which was not cracked and in pretty good condition). It was an awkward Twins Fest.

-But I’d rather have awkward than ever go through Ron Gardenhire‘s line again. This year, he ruined a very nice Gardenhire-model fungo (not only was it a model, it used to be one of the fungos he actually used). Instead of signing by his name, he signed on the blank side of the bat. Tom Kelly, who signs with Gardy every year at Twins Fest, ruined a Dome ball by signing on the wrong panel. Last year, Kelly ruined another Dome ball. They are the worst, least considerate signers at Twins Fest (worse than Kent Hrbek). Never again. (My apologies to everyone who has no clue what I’m complaining about, i.e. everyone.)

-Seth Stohs latest Twins Prospect Handbook is now available. I recommend it to all Twins fans as a ready reference to the entire farm system of the Twins. You must buy a copy. I demand it.

Barack Obama will win re-election. That’s my call right now.

-Anybody else not watch the Super Bowl?

-If I were to write a book about how to be a successful dictator, chapter one would be titled “Avoiding Youthful Unemployment”

Target Field

Try as I might, I just can’t get excited about the new Twins stadium. To me, it’s just a place to play. I see the lemmings losing themselves over this new structure and think, ‘goodness we’re foolish people.’

I just want to grab some of them, slap them and say “You know you’re being manipulated into buying the same goods and services at a higher price, right?” Not to mention the higher taxes.

Do I want to see a Twins game a Target Field? Sure. But then again, I wanted to see the Twins play at the Metrodome too. I regularly go to games.

This is because I like the Twins. Not because of some new structure they play in. This romanticism with meaningless things is a frustrating attitude to endure.

Joe Mauer’s HR Derby Appearance

After four strikeouts the day before, I was hoping for little more from Joe.

Twins Weekly Whatnot

It was just Mr. Kneeland and myself discussing the Twins (in the written sense) this week on the Bleacher Report.