CSN airing special documentary taking Sports World to the Third World

from sports world to third world

Comcast SportsNet will provide viewers with a two-part documentary entitled From the Sports World to the Third World: A Journey to Cambodia, detailing the amazing story of how two Chicago sports industry veterans — Bulls/Blackhawks/Bears team photographer Bill Smith and Bulls senior director of ticket operations Joe O’Neil — are changing the lives of hundreds of helpless children and their families each and every day in poverty-stricken Cambodia.

Part I premieres Tuesday, November 13 at 7:00 PM, with Part II debuting the following evening on Wednesday, November 14 at 7:00 PM, exclusively on Comcast SportsNet.

Minnesota Twins Shakeup at GM Makes No Sense

This past week Minnesota Twins owner Carl Pohlad dismissed general manager Bill Smith from his role despite giving him the dreaded vote of confidence after the team’s ninety-nine loss season. It was mentioned that the change was due to philosophical differences and that Smith was offered another role within the organization in baseball operations.

I can understand that there would be turmoil on a club that was expected to compete for the division once again and tanked the season, but the manner in which this maneuver took place is nonsensical. The top assistants to Bill Smith are remaining intact in their posts. Ron Gardenhire undoubtedly will be in the dugout on opening day and Terry Ryan was brought in to be the interim general manager with no timetable on filling the position permanently.

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Twins Should Trade Michael Cuddyer

The trade deadline is fast approaching in Major League Baseball. It is a unique season, so the date is largely ignored due to the NFL free agent comings and goings. Twins General Manager Bill Smith has some tough decisions to make. The team is on the borderline of heading into contention for the stretch run or on the cusp of faltering into the depths of the cellar in the division.

This is the type of decision that he can make from watching the club on a daily basis and getting a feel for which direction they are headed. I think that he should choose to sell at this juncture. Michael Cuddyer is a solid and versatile player. He has been the rock of the club this season with a myriad of injuries affecting almost every aspect of the roster. This is why he is valuable to all the other squads looking to add a complete player for the late summer push.

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Minnesota Twins are a Complete Disaster

Twins fans have recently heard some very sad news concerning the deteriorating health of the prodigious slugger Harmon Killebrew. He has checked into a hospice to start the final phase of his life. This obviously is more important than what is currently taking place on the field, but that action is not going to put a smile on anyone’s face either. “Whatever can go wrong will,” is a fatalistic view, but it is certainly the case with the Twins thus far this season.

[Read more…]

Ron Gardenhire: Award And Extension Are Much Deserved

Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire recently was presented the honor of American League Manager Of The Year. He edged out Ron Washington of the Texas Rangers, despite falling to the Yankees in the divisional series of the playoffs. It is obviously a commendation for his performance during the regular season, when he transitioned from the biggest home field advantage in all of Major League Baseball to unfamiliar surroundings in Target Field.

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty declared November 22nd to be Ron Gardenhire Day in the state.

By Patrick Herbert

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Minnesota Twins Start Offseason With the Right Choices


The Minnesota Twins are faced with loads of tough decisions this offseason. [Read more…]

In Their Own Words: A Twins-Brewers Conversation


By: Peter Christian & Melissa S. Wollering

When the Twins and Brewers aren’t playing each other, their fans are incestually cheering for each other’s teams. So instead of complaining or bragging about their team’s woes or strengths, Pete and Melissa have created conversations between members of the two organizations as they come together for their last interleague matchup of the season in Milwaukee.  You may recall, Milwaukee is Algonquin for “The Good Land” in the words of Alice Cooper.  Now to the words of General Managers Bill Smith and Doug Melvin.  Let’s listen in like a fly on the wall…

 melvinTwins Ryan Baseball

Bill Smith: Doug, I haven’t told you enough how impressed I was with you pulling off the CC Sabathia trade last year. That took some real cojones. I know for a fact I would never have the gumption to make a trade like that, especially now. Have you noticed how bad the two major trades I made have turned out for the team? Santana for a pile of poop from the Mets and then the Garza trade. That was dumb. Have you ever made a pair of boneheaded decisions like that in succession? How can I bounce back from that? Are the other GM’s around the league referring to me as the Chris Wallace of the MLB? Do you think this sport coat makes me look fat?


Doug Melvin: That sports coat does make you look fat, Bill. [Chuckles.] But Bill, my mustache makes me look I’m carrying a fuzzy caterpillar on my upper lip.  Thank you for the compliment but CC is the one who took the mound day after day, carrying us to the postseason. Without his dedication, I could have looked like Wendy Selig Prieb wearing clown makeup after a mid-week bender.


The Ray Durham pickup wasn’t bad either in ‘08.  But don’t forget I acquired Eric Gagne for $10 million.  There wasn’t even a market for Gagne when I coughed up that chunk of dough.  He blew so badly that Derrick Turnbow could have pitched better in a wind tunnel. I also paid $3.4M for Kevin Mench two days prior to signing Chris Capuano for about the same price. Not one of my finer moments.


Bouncing back isn’t always about new acquisitions.  Sometimes it’s about resigning those players who are working. I’ve steered clear of arbitration and it sounds as though you’ll have the option of playing chess with nearly 30 members of your 40-man roster who are under one-year contracts right now. Think about resigning guys like Slowey, Span and Young if they’re worth it at the end and don’t count out your injured, like Boof Bonser. Look at how Mauer recovered.


Ryan Braun: Joe, you pulled something I would last time we visited the Dome, going 5 for 8 with 2 homers, 5 RBI’s and 7 runs. We’ll probably spend some time together at the All-Star game this year, won’t we? Well, you don’t have as much competition at your position, but… You know we have some things in common. They call you Baby Jesus. I don’t believe in Jesus but you may have heard them call me the Hebrew Hammer once or twice. 


Sounds like you had the flu this week, huh? Yeah, I’ve been feeling a little under the weather since me and my girlfriend split this week. You know ladies, I’ve been real heartbroken and what not.  Just trying to take it day-to-day. Andreena just wasn’t supporting all the PR gigs and parties I had to attend for my Remetee line. Speaking of a remedy, I’m sure there’s one for heartache now that I made my rounds on KISS FM in Milwaukee the other day….[We edited it at this point, because he just keeps talking about himself.]


Joe Mauer: Wow! You sure do like to talk… where do I start? Yeah, last time we played you guys I was feeling good. I really seemed to see your pitchers well, but I’m sure they were just having off days, the game of baseball is pretty cyclical and I know that I’ll have to endure some slumps in the future. It sure is nice talking to someone without them bringing up the whole hitting .400 thing. That gets kind of old. In fact, I just want to be left alone… wait, Ryan are you still talking? I’m outta here, I’m gonna go watch some tape and hit the cages.


Justin Morneau:  I’m telling you Prince… I think you and I are the best hitting left-handed first basement that play in Minnesota or Wisconsin, eh? I’m just kidding. You know what always makes me laugh? When they show the highlights of you hauling ass around the bases in the dome a couple of years back when you got that inside the parker… I know you get a lot of crap for your size, but man, you can move for a big guy. When was the last time you ran a 40 yard dash? I bet you could be a great guard in the NFL with that speed and size you could be devastating. I bet the CFL would sign you, I mean they signed Ricky Williams and Onterrio Smith. But seriously, why don’t you get more pub man? You have a better OBP, OPS, slugging percentage and more RBI than me and you are only hitting 20 points lower than me. You are on pace for a monster season, yet I’ve barely heard your name over the last month or so… What gives?


Prince Fielder:   I’ve put up consistently good numbers, so maybe that’s why? Publicity comes to guys who slump and then find their hot streaks, but for guys like me, the only story would be consistency. I don’t talk about my numbers, it’s all about how I can contribute to overall wins for the team. My size? A lot of people thought because I started going more veggie that I’d drop a lot of weight.  But I just eat more pasta with tofu and sprouts, some sweet potato chards ‘en glace’, it’s gourmet and it’s buck. I just eat more of it, man. And speed, I got speed. Everytime I try to steal a base, they all roll their eyes in the dugout, but hey.  Big guys gotta get in scoring position, too. Hey, you know, if y’all could send a few Midsummer Classic votes my way, I’d like to overtake Pujols, you know what I’m sayin? Holla at my boy Cameron, too.

bill-castro1Twins Mariners Baseball

Rick Anderson: It may look like I have a calm demeanor with my slow walks to the mound, my comforting Tom Selleck mustache and my jacket collar flipped up, but let me tell you Bill, I’m mad as hell. I work my ass off with these pitchers to get them prepared each and every day. Yet, somehow my guys continue to ruin a perfectly good start with one bad inning where they lose their mechanics and revert back to all of their bad habits. Tell me Bill, what am I supposed to do when Francisco Liriano can’t throw a slider within a foot of the plate when he is behind in the count? Or when Scott Baker inexplicably starts floating pitches waist high after 4-5 innings of painting corners low in the zone? I’m fed up Bill, I think I have an ulcer forming. Do you have a bottle of Jim Beam handy? How is your staff holding up?


Bill Castro: Creo que somos mierda fuera de suerte, los amigos. El Sr. Dave Bush tiene un brazo cansado y él puede perder su comienzo. Manny Parra todavía trabaja algunas cosas fuera en los menores. Nosotros no estamos seguros lo que haremos. Los tipos trajeron algunas cervezas sobre la otra noche y nosotros hablamos de ello. El Sr. Doug Melvin dice que podemos buscar otro principio pero necesitamos para figurar algo fuera mientras tanto.

(Translation): I believe we are shit out-of-luck, friends. Mr. Dave Bush has a tiny muscle tear and will miss his first start ever.  We brought up Mike Burns to pitch against you on Thursday. Manny Parra is still working some things out in the minors, although he struck out and forced a ground out with Manny Ramirez in AAA Tuesday.  Firecrotch is a possible option Saturday for Manny. ¿Ah? ¿En Engles? No, I mean Seth McClung. That’s what we call him. I was not speaking en Espanol this time. His ERA is 3.32 and he’s pitched the more innings than others. 

nick-punto bil-hall

Nick Punto: Billy Hall, do you ever wake up and think, “Holy crap! I’m a Major League Baseball player!” I do. All the time. In fact I still have to pinch myself that I get paid more than the league minimum. Do you wanna know a secret Billy? The contract I signed this past off-season, 2 years, $8.5 million, it was more than double of what anyone else offered me. Double! Did you know that I’m known as a defensive player but I’m getting outperformed at shortstop by Brendan Harris all while hitting .220 with an OPS less than .575? Now do you understand why I’m so excited to be a major league player? I knew that video of Gardy acting like Jame Gumb in Silence of the Lambs was going to get me places… I’m tellin’ you Bill, a strategically placed surveillance camera could be a great career move for you.


Bill Hall:  Last time a camera was strategically placed near me I told ’em I was pissed for getting benched despite what’s turned into a 2-year-long slump. I told ’em “play me or trade me” last season and Brewers fans booed me for 3 months solid. This year I’m ‘platooning’ with Mat Gamel, some punk-ass prospect with beginners’ luck who gets the start everytime Macha anticipates my failure against righties. So what if I have the lowest batting average since 2002, when I first started in Milwaukee? I’m changing my batting stance. Plus, Gamel can’t field like I can. He can’t strut up to the plate to some bad ass Paul Wall rap like I can. He doesn’t even know who Paul Wall is. Do I pinch myself, Punto?  Hell no. I’m making $6.8 Mil this year and sittin’ on my duff while I earn half of it. All I’m trying to do is get better. Every Mother’s Day I use pink bats and I work hard to promote awareness of breast cancer. Meantime, the city of Milwaukee treats me like I’m the disease.

 Twins Gardenhire  Baseballmacha

Ron Gardenhire: Ken, I’m not gonna lie to you, I’m barely going to prepare for this series. Between all of the flood issues at your stadium, your pitching staff falling apart like a perfectly smoked babyback rib and the fact that we own you; I don’t think I’m going to have much to worry about… well, other than Andy (Rick Anderson), he’s been pretty jumpy lately. I think we may need to look into getting him some anxiety pills or something… he makes me uncomfortable when he starts twitching. I find it hard to talk to him about the pitchers because of it, so I’m always guessing as to whether I should leave my starter out there to get out of the jam or if I should go to the bullpen. It seems I’ve been getting burned a lot no matter what I choose. Either way, I should be able to relax in your city… hey, the visitors clubhouse and dugout weren’t affected by the flooding were they?


Ken Macha: Well, we told our players to stay away from the ballpark Monday on their day off because Miller Park flooded late Wednesday and it took a long time to fix. Hundreds of employees have working around the clock. The guys had to go to each substation and get the electricity back on section-by-section. The training room and batting cages were pretty heavily damaged. The field is main priority.  It’ll be pretty barebones, but it’ll be allright.  We replaced the carpet and had to do some work on the visitors clubhouse, just a little. You’ll be allright in the dugout.


As for the matchup, we’re glad our guys won’t have to face Kevin Slowey again. Thanks for moving him to the back of your rotation, works for us. Don’t worry about Andy. At least he doesn’t speak to you in broken English while mariachis get piped into through your soundsystem. We thought of smuggling in one of Castro’s brother’s uncle’s farmhands from Tijuana and putting him in Manny’s uniform for the next start, but we found some logistical problems along the way.


We’ve lost five straight games to you over this season and last, so we need a win here. I think the scoring is the key. You outscored us 23-8 in that last series and we’ve got stop some of those runs defensively and score some of our own.  Gardy, you want to get some Red Stripes and nachos after Thursday’s game? I know this great little place on your way to the airport….


MW: That about wraps it up, doesn’t it Shirts? Twins took one so far…are you going for the SEASON sweep? Here’s to salvaging one, Crew! By the way, Pete (Shirts) and I would like to wish our fellow colleague David Kay a very Happy Birthday this week.


PC: That does wrap it up… quite the characters on these upper midwest teams. Thanks for spying with me Melissa, Happy Birthday to David K. and Go Twins!

Twins Pitchers, Catchers and Grounds Crew Reporting

By David Palmer

With pitchers and catcher officially reporting to spring training in the next couple of days, the Twins go to war with basically the same roster they had to finish last year.  The biggest acquisition we made was hiring a groundskeeper for Target Field.

Before Twins General Manager Bill Smith came around, Terry Ryan was widely known as one of the league’s best and smartest.  I have raked on the Twins front office quite a bit this off-season, but for good reason.  Trades and free agents continue to slip through our fingers for no particular reason.  We are like the Troy Williamson of professional franchises.  As Peter Christian has mentioned before, Bill Smith might possibly be the worst negotiator of all time.  I would love to hear the phone conversation between Bill Smith and Scott Boras in negotiations for Joe Crede.  It probably goes something like this:

Smith: Hey Satan, it’s Bill Smith.

Boras: Umm, Who?

Smith: You know, GM for the Minnesota Twins.  Any chance of coming down on the Crede price?

Boras: Minnesota has a baseball team?

Smith: How is his back doing?

Boras: He’ll be fine, and we’re only asking for $7 million for 1 year.

Smith: Whoa, Whoa, Whoa there Scotty, who do you think we are, the Yankees?

Boras: Sorry Bill, that’s the best we can do.  I’ve got to go, there are some orphanages that I have to burn down.

Smith: Okie dokie, before you go, do you have any free agent pitchers over the age of 40 that we could sign?

Boras: No, but I hear Scott Erickson wants to come out of retirement.

Smith: NICE! Do you have his number?

It might be the biggest negotiating mismatch since the US purchased Alaska from Russia for 2 cents an acre in 1867. 

You will be hearing a lot about the Twins bullpen over the next six weeks, and rightfully so- they sucked ass last year.  If Guerrier can’t regain his 2007 form and Mijares doesn’t pan out, we are in serious trouble.  No fear though, Luis Ayala brings his 5.71 ERA from the Mets to our ‘pen.  That should straighten things out.  Hopefully he can bring some of that great Met karma with him too.

On a lighter note, as I mentioned before, we just picked up our second groundskeeper in franchise history; the great Larry DiVito was hired to head the crew at Target Field in 2010.  For those who haven’t followed Larry’s career in depth, he was head groundskeeper for the Nationals the past three seasons.  He cut his teeth as a groundskeeper in Rhode Island for the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox.

This is where he first learned his craft under the tutelage of the legendary Dino Caparelli. Things didn’t come easy at first for Larry.  He struggled with the fortune and fame of groundskeeper apprentice.  Fast women, a faster buzz (from mixing Vicodin and laundry detergent), and high-stakes games of cribbage consumed his nights.  But, it all caught up to him on August 2nd 1999.  During a day game between Pawtucket and Scranton, DiVito ran naked onto the field with some sort of spray screaming, “the dung beetles are everywhere, we’ve got to get rid of the dung beetles!”   He was checked into rehab the next day.

This is where he became a born-again Christian and vowed to never touch laundry detergent again.   Ok, I obviously made that whole behind-the-music type of story up, but if Larry can keep the infield grass a little longer, Gomez might have 150 bunt hits in 2010.  Brett Butler, who had 41 bunt hits in 1992, holds the MLB record.  That is well within reach for Gomez.  He led the majors with 30 last year, on turf I might add.  The left side of the infield at Target Field should be a marshland.

This is one of the best times of year because this is when hope springs eternal for all major league squads; everyone thinks they have a chance, even the Brewers.  The weather is thawing a little bit, and baseball can seriously be discussed for the next 8 months.   I couldn’t be happier, World Series here we come.