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Soup of This Day #173: Turned Around Maybe One Day

April 27, 2012

Snowmobiles racing
Snowmobiles racing towards the nearest ice fishing spot. The walleye are biting – Photo: Arthur Mouratidis, 2007. Arthur Mouratidis is not affiliated with Longworth72. Image cropped by Longworth72.

I like the Minnesota Twins.

Don’t be thinking that such a declaration indicates that I’m wavering in my support for the Red Sox. The Bostonians are the team I follow.

The only team.

If they are playing the Twins then I’m looking for a sweep. Actually I’m looking for a broom against any of the other 28 teams in the Majors as well. There are however teams that I won’t enjoy beating up on quite as much.

Give me a 20 run demolition of the Yankees, the Rays or the Marlins and I’ll have a grin from ear to ear and maybe even a jig. Give me the same with the Blue Jays and while I’ll be happy for the win I’ll feel a little sad for my brother’s chosen outfit. Also they’re Canadian. They’re pretty likeable when they’re not rioting those Canadians. It feels wrong beating up on them so I won’t smile and there will be no jig.

The jig will be up for the jig, so to speak.

For the Twins I feel a little sad for different reasons again. For 1 I quite like the idea of Minnesota. I’ve never been there but when I was little I read a National Geograhic article about the Twin Cities and they struck a chord with me. Maybe because Minneapolis has a Perth kind of look to it. Maybe because the concept of these 2 vaguely equitable but still very unique cities having to co-exist is 1 that is kind of intriguing.

I’m also just a bit jealous of the whole ice fishing thing. Minnesota is known for it’s plethora of lakes, in fact it is sometimes called ‘The Land with 10,000 Lakes’. Technically it has 11,842 lakes of over 10 acres in size but that kind of exactitude doesn’t have the same ring to it – It’s not as zippy a bumper sticker.

In winter, which I hear can get a bit cold in Minnesota, a fair number of those lakes freeze over – All you then have to do is drive out on your snowmobile, drill a hole in the ice and put down a line – Before you know it, walleye will be jumping out at you. It’s like a jetty wherever you want 1. And it involves ice – I’ve never been skating but that looks cool.

So do those snowmobile things.

My wife will read this and point out that it will be cold. I’m cool with that – There’s being cold on a windy, rainy Perth morning and then there’s being cold with snow. I’d like to try the snow thing.

With a snowmobile.

There’s another reason why I have some fondness for the Twins – They started the 2012 season with a couple of players on the roster who are from my home town. Which probably sounds a little more impressive if I clarify that my home town is Perth, Western Australia and we’re roughly 17,118km (10637 miles) away from Target Field, downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.

There’s no ice fishing down here.

In spite of this, 2 Perth boys have found their way to Minnesota and the Majors in recent history. 1 of them is Luke Hughes, a sometimes 1st baseman, sometimes 3rd baseman, utility kind of guy. Luke has won an Australian Baseball League title with the Perth Heat and has the distinction of knocking 1 over the fence at his 1st Major League at bat, in 2010 with the Twins. Going into the 2012 season he flitted in and out of the Twins game-day lineup, before being claimed on waivers by the A’s on the 22nd of April.

Liam Hendriks is in the Twins starting rotation. The 23 year old hurler also spent some time with the Heat but skipped out on a championship due to a recall to Minnesota, where he’d signed as an amateur free agent in 2007. He was 1 out of left-field when it came time to name a starting rotation at the close of Spring Training but Liam hasn’t disgraced himself, even if he’s searching for a win after 3 starts. His ERA is an ok-ish 6.89 after 15.2 innings and he’s learning his craft.

Sometimes the learning might be of the tough kind – The ball he sent over the plate to the Red Sox shortstop Mike Aviles yesterday was a hard lesson. It wasn’t just over the plate. It had printed directions on how to hit it over the fence writ large across it. And Aviles had plenty of time to take note of them too before he laced it deep to left for 3 runs.

Still Liam and Luke are Sandgropers (Western Australians) and so I’m wishing big things for them and the Twins.

Just not as big as for the Boston Red Sox.

It’s early days but that might be a decent bet – That the Twins won’t be as successful this year as the Red Sox. After sweeping the hapless Minnesota outfit the Boston team matched up to those other Sox in Chicago this morning. Up against Phil Humber, who threw a perfect game last time out, the Red Sox got off to a strong start, taking 2 in the 1st and 5 in the 3rd for a 7-2 lead through 3 completed. The highlight of that was a grand slam from the under fire Kevin Youkilis with Jason Saltalamacchia bashing a solo long shot to go back-to-back. Salty added another blast in the 5th, giving Boston a 9-3 lead and Feliz Doubront was able to hand the ball to the bullpen with a 6 run lead.

That might not have seemed like enough, given recent Red Sox form, but Junichi Tazawa pulled out a nice little 3 inning, 51 pitch shutout cameo so the Red Sox made it out with a 10-3 win.

That improves Boston to a 8 and 10 season so they’re still a-ways from achieving those ‘big things’ I’m wishing for. Minnesota had the night off and sit at 5 and 14, even further from ‘big things’. They’re back in action at Target Field tomorrow with a a series against fellow stragglers Kansas City (5 and 14).

Back to Western Australia and Liam Hendriks has unfortunately been part of a trend for Sandgropers this week. The Perth Glory and Perth Wildcats both lost Grand Finals, in the A-League (football or soccer if you like) and the Australian Basketball League respectively. Tonight and the Fremantle Dockers are not really helping to break the run of outs.

The Dockers are matching up with Carlton in a Round 5 AFL date at Subiaco Oval. When I say matching up I mean that they have the same number of players on the oval. They’re not matching up in terms of footballing quality.

It’s approaching 3 quarter time and the Freo lads are down 4.9 (33) to 9.4 (58). The Dockers were intense early but inaccuracy has hurt them, which is pretty obvious I guess from the equality in scoring shots (13) somehow resulting in the Blues leading by 25 points. The Fremantle team will need to almost double it’s score in the last quarter while keeping Carlton quiet at the other end to have a shot at this and that might be beyond them.

Given that the Blues are amongst the Premiership favourites while the Dockers will struggle to make the finals I reckon there is probably more chance of the Freo boys practising some successful ice fishing in the middle of Subiaco Oval post-game.

With snowmobiles.

Turned Around Maybe One Day

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