Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Random Notes

The blog has been pretty light recently, partially because of a lack of Twins-related news and partially because of a lack of interest. I can't speak for #1, but personally I hope to get back to more regular posting once spring break arrives (3/6). I've got a busy 10 days or so before then, though, with an essay, a few midterms, and other assorted homework. By then, it'll be only a month until the start of the season, so there should be more to talk about and more time for me to do it.

The big news over the weekend for the Twins was the signing of 3B Joe Crede. Despite Boras's talk of $7 million guaranteed, it was obvious that Crede would not get that much, and in the end it's clear that Bill Smith got the former White Sock at his price: only $2.5 million guaranteed, with another $4.5 million in playing time incentives. To me, the price was right and there is not much downside to this deal. Crede, if healthy, should provide a significant, though not huge, upgrade over the Brian Buscher-Brendan Harris platoon. If he's not healthy, the Twins are still only down $2.5 million and have the serviceable Buscher-Harris fallback option.

In other news, Boof Bonser announced today that he's going to need to undergo exploratory shoulder surgery that will sideline him for a few weeks, with the potential for a much longer absence if there is found to be a serious problem. I still think Bonser has a chance to turn into a productive major league reliever, but at this point the Twins have a few different guys capable of putting up numbers similar to his so it shouldn't be too big a blow if they lose him.

Assuming Bonser is not ready for opening day, I'd predict the Twins 25-man roster to look like this:
SP: Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey, Francisco Liriano, Glen Perkins, Nick Blackburn.
RP: Joe Nathan, Matt Guerrier, Luis Ayala, Jesse Crain, Craig Breslow, Jose Mijares, Phil Humber.
C: Joe Mauer, Mike Redmond.
IF: Justin Morneau, Nick Punto, Joe Crede, Alexi Casilla, Brendan Harris, Brian Buscher.
OF: Carlos Gomez, Denard Span, Delmon Young, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel.

Finally, in non-Twins news, the Georgetown ultimate team had a great tournament this past weekend in Harrisonburg, VA, home of James Madison University. The team won its first six games en route to the championship game where they were defeated by Ohio State 14-7. We drove down Saturday morning and it was about as good weather as you could ask for in the middle of February: 50 degrees, no precipitation, and only a light wind. In our first game of the day, we used the modified hard cap rules to our advantage in a stirring comeback against Bucknell. Down 12-8 with the cap on, we scored five straight to win the opener 13-12. The next game was against Michigan State. We stuck with the 1-3-3 zone that sparked our comeback against Bucknell and managed to hold off MSU 11-8. Afterwards, we got a nice break from playing as RPI did not show up for the tournament, so instead we played the JMU alumni team in what was counting as a win by forfeit regardless. This meant that we got to try playing different positions and using throws that weren't necessarily game-ready (i.e., I got to throw a hammer, a couple hucks, and even pull). As we started our next game against Elon, it seemed that this time off to goof around might come back to hurt us as they jumped out to a 6-2 lead against our 1-3-3 zone defense. However, a change to agressive man-to-man defense led to a quick turnaround, and we scored the next 8 points to take control of the game and end day 1 of the tournament undefeated.

After a relaxing night at the overcrowded EconoLodge spent watching Hitch, we opened Sunday with a chance for the championship after winning our pool on Saturday. The first game was against Wake Forest, though it was not much of one. We jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead and never looked back, as we cruised to a 15-3 victory. This left us plenty of time to watch the Dickinson-NYU game, the winner of which we would play next. Unlike our game, theirs went well into the hard cap, while we rested comfortably on the sidelines. After we jumped out to another early lead, it became obvious that Dickinson had nothing left after their hard-fought victory over NYU. Their man defense turned into nothing more than a non-moving zone, as defenders simply stood in the lane and made little attempt to cover anyone. Of course, this strategy did not work too well, and we cruised to the finals with another 15-3 victory. In the finals, we played against a strong Ohio State team, and they picked up a break on the very first point. After that we hung around and tried to get back in it, going to half down 7-5, but the game was never really in doubt as OSU took the championship game 14-7. All in all, though, it was a great tournament for Georgetown ultimate, and hopefully one that can be built on as we work our way through the spring schedule.

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