Archive - Jul 2013


July 7th

Time to pull the plug

Or stir the pot. Pick your metaphor.

The Twins are going nowhere fast. Time to make changes, namely: 

•Fire manager Ron Gardenhire and hire Ozzie Guillen. The players don't fear Gardenhire and right now, with these young players, fear might be a useful motivator. Guillen is a wild card, but he wouldn't treat the players with such ridiculous gentleness and he would put fans in the seats with his effervescent personality. Fans in the seats means excitement. For a young team, sometimes excitement means wins. 

•Trade Justin Morneau for one lower minor league strong pitching arm.

•Trade Josh Willingham (once he gets healthy) to anybody for anything (or nothing) if another team is willing to take his salary. 

•Bring up Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano and let the two phenomenal near-teenagers learn on the job. Both have so very much raw talent that the mystery of what they might do on any give night would add excitement. 

•Trade Plouffe for one lower level minor league starting pitcher with great potential. 

•Examine why so many batters (David Ortiz, J. J. Hardy, Carlos Gomez) burst into prominence only after they leave the Twins, and why all three loathed what the Twins coaching staff tried to make them do with the bat. 

•Do not trade anybody in the bullpen. You always need a bullpen. And the Twins have a good one. It is starting pitching they utterly lack.

•Do not spend money on a free agent starting pitcher. Very, very few work out. For every Jack Morris, there are ten Sidney Ponsons. Or Ramon Ortiz'. Or Livan Hernandez'. Or Shane Rawleys. 

•As much fun as he is to watch, Samuel Deduno will never be on a winning team, for a winning team can't afford his inconsistency. 

•Keep Florimon and Dozier together in the middle infield with the understanding that they must get their collective batting average up from .225 to .260 by next year at this time or the experiment is over. 

•Hope that the new manager doesn't waste the #2 spot in the batting order with mediocrity every night just because the guy happens to play second base. You do not have to bat your second baseman second. There is no rule that says that. 

•I am not a big believer in stable, long-term managers. A stable organization is one thing. However, a manager is a moving part. Bringing in a fresh approach allows a team to benefit from both approaches, that of the sacked skipper and that of the new skipper. Gardenhire got results when he was new. So did Kelly. Then both they and the organization went into a long, slow stupor of Stahoviaks and Parmelees and Plouffes.

Baseball is alchemy. The most surprising set of ballplayers can go on a tear and win a division, sometimes a World Series. But to achieve that alchemy, you have to keep stirring the pot until it gels, to mix at least two metaphors. 


Sunday Sermon

 Take 15 minutes for this lovely homily on faith. I am particularly struck by the point that utter conviction is utterly faithless

July 4th

July 4

No fireworks here. Too many mosquitoes!

What a beautiful, quiet day on the farm. The nursery was tranquil. The flower beds are getting beautiful. This is why we live here, for these next dozen weeks. The sun will be up plenty long, even though the days are getting shorter. All the noise of spring has calmed down. There is lots to do and time to do it. 

Now that our road is tarred again after two miserable years of gravel, I love to ride bike on the tar and just cruise around slowly, watching the birds, the wildlife, and hearing the crickets and frogs. It is a lovely time of year, this short time before wheat harvest begins. 

A few nights ago, a fawn left its mother's side and charged me as I sat stopped on my bike. It went right under the right handlebar and stopped four feet later, before trotting off, its mission apparently accomplished.

The corn is waist high by the Fourth of July. For some reason, the field corn is vigorousand dark green, but many people are complaining, including Dad, that the sweet corn is wimpy and slow. 

The Garden Hills berry farm just down the highway is selling strawberries like mad. They are luscious. 

And the grass needs mowing twice per week, which is about right. I have been doing a little mowing, which has always been a favorite chore. Dad still has a monopoly on the cultivating, however, which is just fine. 



July 3rd

How Doctors Die

A pet issue of mine: end of life medicine. Please read this article. I have known several people who have opted out of treatments they knew would make them miserable and simply used their final days to the best of their ability. I admire their decision. This desperate need to stay alive at all costs shows a complete lack of faith, and I don't mean religious faith necessarily, but mere faith that death is natural and it will be okay.