Eddie B.

“Your dreams shouldn’t let you sleep.”

That was the phrase that I started this story with. It struck me that those words didn’t really apply to me. I’ve never been one to lose sleep over much of anything, so it seemed this story would involve someone who was quite different from me.

That’s it! I’ll write this about my polar opposite. So I set down to write a descriptive entry about a person who differed from me in as many ways as I could fit in. Of course, the story ends up saying an awful lot about me when its constructed that way. Let me know what you think.

Eddie B. (@ Scrawlers)

Of the group of us who started together, Eddie had proven the most suited for corporate life. He was above me, but not directly, on the company’s org. chart. Clearly, he felt his standing, in this situation, obligated him to deliver a motivational speech.

He leaned in, so uncomfortably close I couldn’t make eye contact. I focused on his collar. While he spouted empty slogans (If I’m relaxing, I’m not achieving. Your dreams shouldn’t let you sleep.), I noticed, under his perfect Windsor knot, the top button of his shirt had worked its way undone.

Why I’m Afraid of the Dark

This one was inspired by fear. I’ve had this idea in my head for a while, so it felt pretty good to set it down and work on it a bit. I initially had it set up as a juxtaposition of the woods in the day and at night, but I pared it down to its current form.

Why I’m Afraid of the Dark (@ Scrawlers)

I went there at night only once.

I needed an escape and my clearing in the woods promised some respite. I lay on my back with the black sky above me and found the night unexpectedly thick with silence. My mind raced to find something to fill the emptiness. When I was younger, I would imagine creatures or madmen in the darkness. Now I couldn’t even summon those childish frights. Without the familiar stimuli of the daytime, I was lost in an overwhelming darkness.

I’m not sure I will ever find my way back.

Spring Training in Blog: The Envelope, Please

The Academy Awards are tonight, so here’s an Oscar themed Preview in Blog.

Best Editing – Sometimes, as an editor, less is more. And sometimes, less is all you have. In a long off-season, there are times when you’re bound to have nothing to say.

Best Sound Mixing – Best means loudest, right? Then this one goes to Tony Phillips in Seattle. Even though baseball has officially started again, the amount of news is still somewhat scarce. That leads to notes like this one about how Phillips has “the loudest laugh in all of baseball“.

Visual Effects – Mark Buerhle’s truck. The way they make it seem so ridiculously large is truly a stunning application of perspective and… wait, it’s really that big? Holy crap!

Costume Design – The Tampa Bay Rays. Not the first team you would think of when you think throwback night, the Rays are nonetheless finding a way to participate. It’s not by revisiting their “Devil” days, but rather by honoring an old senior league team, the St. Petersburg Pelicans.

Best Adapted Song – Aerosmith and Athletics Nation – Duke Looks Like a Maybe. Perfectly expresses the angst caused by filing the back end of your rotation with the likes of longtime reliever Justin Duchscherer.

Best Screenplay – Fransisco Rodriguez, for the script wherein he loses his arbitration hearing, but still gets $10 million. Yes, it’s a happy ending, but it has that twist that you just don’t always expect.

Documentary – Jacob’s Field, when it opened, enjoyed some fantastic baseball teams in a venue that pleased the fans, a combination that lead to a record 455 straight sellouts. A record that probably doesn’t cross your consciousness very often, it’s probably going to fall this year to the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Best Director – Kevin Youkilis, for setting up the Red Sox spring training Ping-Pong tournament. This award most certainly does not go to whoever decided to try to get the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim into the Suns-Lakers game last week.

Best Actors – Comedy – The Baltimore Orioles run away with this category. There’s your standard funny, which goes to Kevin Millar or there is your “laughing to keep from crying” award which goes to Troy Patton, who came over in the Tejada trade from Houston.

Best Actors – Drama – That goes to our own Delmon Young and Carl Crawford. It’s always interesting to read both sides of a non-story, I guess.

Best PictureDenial by NoMaas It’s the February 21 entry, but it doesn’t have an individual permalink, so I’ll just quote it here.

Derek Jeter arrived at his 16th Yankees spring training yesterday labeled the worst shortstop in the majors by some statistical braniacs over at Penn.

“Maybe it was a computer glitch,” the three-time Gold Glove winner said of the report. But Jeter just didn’t laugh this one off. He defended himself, saying, “Every (shortstop) doesn’t stay in the same spot, everyone doesn’t have the same pitching. Everyone doesn’t have the same hitters running, it’s impossible to do that.”

That’s one reason Yankees senior advisor Gene Michael was infuriated by the University of Pennsylvania report.

“Something like that is a disgrace,” the scout said. “It made me ill when I read that article. First of all, what pitching staff was out there? Each team has a different staff. Derek doesn’t really have a sinkerball pitching staff whereas other shortstops, you sit behind certain pitchers, you’re going to get a lot of ground balls.

“You simply can’t do that by those charts, that’s a bunch of baloney,” Michael added. “It’s disgraceful. You have to use a scout’s eye to determine range.”

Denial: A defense mechanism in which a person is faced with a fact that is too painful to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence.

Spring Training in Blog

At this point, we’ve all been without baseball for so long, that even the not-always-highest-quality baseball with the not-always-highest-quality players of spring training seems like the greatest thing that we’ve seen since we got hooked on some kind of anime series.

Talk to the Glove
I know practice makes perfect, but I can’t believe coach is making us talk like this all spring.

I know I’m excited. When I started reading about pitchers and catchers reporting I immediately checked out when the Twins will be in Chicago.

April 7-10, [Monday through Thursday, Damn. I’ll probably be working]
May 6-8, [Tuesday through Thursday, Ditto.]
June 6-8, [Friday-Sunday, Finally, a weekend. You can bet I’ll be there.]

Then I checked out the schedule of the Kane County Cougars (Oakland’s Midwest League A affiliate) whose home stadium is a mere 45 minutes from my front door to see when the Twins’ affiliate (Beloit) will be here:

June 5-8, [Seriously? The same weekend? Unbelievable!]

So, then I realized Beloit was less than two hours from me, so I went and bought a season ticket package of 15 tickets, and I’ve already wasted a somewhat silly amount of time perusing potential Beloit rosters and schedules, figuring out who I want to see and when. I haven’t quite made it to the same level as Talking Chop and their Original Making the Team Meter, but I’ll definitely be keeping a closer eye on those transactions this season. When I do go, I’ll try to get some photos or videos (or both) and report back.

Of course, not everything about spring training is fantastic, there’s always a lot of not-so-hardcore journalism about how everyone is feeling like this is the year that they turn it around, or pick it up, or turn a corner. Half of these clips found by Jeff at Lookout Landing contain the phrase “best shape”, as in “I’m in the best shape of my life”. Then Sox Machine went and took that phrase to a whole new level.

The secret to not getting bogged down in the inanity of some spring training coverage is to have a little fun with it. Dodgerama gives the top 10 most likely fluff stories coming out of Dodger spring training. So what would the Twins’ list look like? My stab at the top 5 is below (in reverse order).

  • Nick Punto? I’ll never be accused of underestimating the media’s love of this scrappy G-d–n f—ing little flea.
  • F-Bomb. Can’t wait to start reading that nickname again.
  • Center Field. Who’s going to step up and win the position? Who’s the nicer guy? Who’s the hardest worker? Most importantly, who’s looking at this as their big break?
  • Delmon Young. New guy, troubled past, even I could write a column a week about this stuff.
  • The guys we got for Johan. They’re young, the expectations are probably higher than they should be, and a few of them will be competing for positions on the big league club. Lots of potential there (for both stories and baseball ability).

I’m not going to lie, this still hurts a bit (pics are safe for work, unless you’re a particularly fragile Twins fan, we wouldn’t want your boss finding you sobbing in a corner or ranting about Phil Humber being a back of the rotation starter at best). It can hurt when you lose a star, but spring training has long been synonymous with optimism. Someone forgot to tell this guy, who’s clearly still broken up about losing Adam Everett and Mike Lamb (even if he doesn’t mention their names specifically, that’s got to be it, right?).

Speaking of trades and new acquisitions, after being away all winter, sometimes players haven’t kept up on all of their team’s winter transactions. Poor Matt Cain, hopefully the grittiness of Aaron Rowand can bring him back around. Other players, like Jonathan Papelbon, are just excited to back hanging out with the guys.

I gotta say, I’m with the Sox hurler on this one. Look at me, it’s not even President’s Day yet, and I already bought baseball tickets and wrote a blog entry for the first time in months. If there wasn’t a foot of snow on the ground here, I’d probably be trying to convince my wife to go out and have a catch. Pitchers and catchers officially report for the Twins today, it’s just another step on the road to some real baseball. You know what, screw it, I’m skipping work on April 7. If you need me, I’ll be reachable at the Cell.

Lest we forget, spring training means it’s time for new mugshots