June 01, 2007
Despite the lack of a blazing fastball, Kevin Slowey has waltzed through the minor leagues and will make his major league debut for the Twins tonight in Oakland.
Slowey's statistics have been turning heads, but what really got my attention was when he was asked his reaction to being called up to the majors. "I am absolutely elated!" Elated?
How many major league rookies even know the word?
Turns out Slowey is a bookish sort and is known for his intelligence both on and off the mound. I think he will be fun to watch. He is being compared to Brad Radke, but there is a difference. Slowey has four pitches, Radke had two. The more pitches the merrier when you don't throw that hard.
May 31, 2007
May 30, 2007
This rosebreasted grosbeak hit my front window and spent the next half hour dazed on the lawn, which allowed me to get some close-up shots, although it is a little like shooting fish in a barrel to take advantage of a dazed bird.
Just over the swamp at the same time was a nice rainbow formed against a storm which was passing to the east.
Meet Renato, right, the Brazilian student who has worked at the nursery this spring and is staying at the Swamp Castle. On the left is lovely Celina, his girlfriend. She stopped by on her way from a job in Sioux Falls (a brutal job where the students were worked seven days per week, from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. at near minimum wage with no overtime pay--and were housed 9 to a small trailer house--but that is a different story) to a job on the east coast (in a state which starts with an M but which I am too tired to try spelling) which will be much nicer.
Celina and Renato are both tireless workers, and after working a day at the nursery, they put on a Brazilian BBQ for some of the guys on the porch at the Swamp Castle.
A Brazilian BBQ is different than an American BBQ in one crucial way: The meat is grilled one or two steaks at a time, and then each steak is cut up into small bits and the cutting board is passed around and each person takes a bit or two.
Celina, Renato and Lance went to Fertile and bought something like 18 steaks. I couldn't imagine that we would have ever eaten them all, but by the time the four hour affair was over, 10 more people had arrived and all the steaks were gone. And they were delicious.
Celina prepared a Brazilian salad with rice which was also delicious.
Renato brought his laptop out on the porch and played Brazilian music. Eventually, he and Celina danced the forro
, a traditional northeastern Brazilian dance. They danced beautifully together, shuffling around on the porch like two old folks who had been together sixty years
The long weekend is over. The weather was up and down, but business at the nursery was steady all the way through. It was nice to visit with several weblog readers. My apologies for the lack of posts for you regulars, but my mind is mush.
As the season progresses, things get more stressful because we are running out of stuff and constantly have to tell people that we are out of something they drove sixty miles to get.
The customer service story of the weekend came when somebody had us map out a flower bed in detail only to go someplace else for the flowers because we are too expensive.
Sunday morning, I ran around to the local graveyards with planters. It is always an adventure finding the graves, even though I have done most of these graves for twenty-five years. And visiting cemeteries always spawns nostalgic thoughts for the people buried there, about half of whom I remember.
TWINS: They are showing signs of life. Last night they gave Chicago a much-deserved pounding. The funny thing about baseball is that if you are going bad, you lose to the bad teams, and if you are going good, even the best of teams can't stop you.
If anybody could figure out the group psychology which governs baseball streaks, you could make millions. How is it that a team can go into a collective hitting slump for months, then pop out of it and go on a tear? How can a great batter have a bad three month stretch and then more than compensate for it by ripping the cover off the ball for six weeks? How come so few teams or individuals can sustain a hot streak for an entire season?
Grandpa always mumbled, "the law of averages!" whenever somebody was real hot. To him, the more hits a batter has gotten in the past week, the less likely he is to get one in the next at bat. The more consecutive scoreless innings a pitcher pitches, the more likely he'll get pounded in the next outing. Baseball is ruled by the law of averages.