I take back all the bad things I have said about Boof Bonser. He has been doing the job in good fashion. Tonight he has pitched very well, well enough to make one overlook his mid-eighties blow-dried hair-do.

And now, this blog's other punching bag, Torii Hunter, has hit another home run. He has come on like gangbusters this fall. After going almost a-year-and-a-half without a hot streak, Hunter is back in the saddle, carrying the team on his back. I think that's a mixed metaphor, sitting in the saddle with people on your back, but so be it.

The Twins are six outs from the playoffs. What a season it has been! And now it could get really fun.

Unlike their previous three playoff appearances this century, the Twins go into this round of playoffs without a definite starting rotation. Bonser? Radke? Silva? Garza? It is difficult to know who to use behind Santana. In any case, the starting pitching problem is going to make the Twins the underdog against any of the three other playoff teams.

But the so-called problem doesn't bother me much. I think this team is on a roll. They have any number of pitchers who could rise to the occasion. If things fall apart against the Yanks, it could get messy, but I think it all will take on a life of its own and we'll have new heroes in October to replace Liriano and Radke.

TODAY, I give my first pure "motivational" speech. It was part of a seminar for teachers and education paraprofessionals in Bemidji. They had a piano there, so I played and sang as well. I enjoyed it.

I tried out an entirely new speech, so I prepared a little more than usual, even writing up a detailed outline. Which I promptly forgot at home. I also forgot my cell phone. So, I had to stop at a gas station in Bagley to call the nursery and ask Cindy to go out to my house and look for it and fax it to Bemidji. It was a good thing, because I would have been lost without it.

I don't usually work with an outline, so when I got what I needed off it, I would play with it and fold it and then lose it and not know what I did with it. So, when I stopped and asked where I put it, a woman in the third row said, "it is in your back left pocket." Without thinking, I had put it in that pocket and bottoned it.

So, that became the running gag. Whenever I lost my outline, I'd ask Claudia, the woman in the third row, and she usually knew.

It was very reassuring that this speech went pretty well because I am signed up to give it twice more, once next week in Mankato, and then again at the end of the month in St. Cloud. If it was a flop, I really wouldn't have known what to do to repair it. It can be improved, but the basics seemed to fly.