Good morning, everyone. It sounds like Justin Verlander has his own cereal now, but I can forgive you for buying it as money will be donated to support Michigan hospitals. NotGraphs, the funnier, more immature brother of FanGraphs, managed to find some rejected names for other cereals that were considered before settling on Verlander’s Fastball Flakes. After reading the post, you should also read through the comments, as the readers have offered up their own suggestions. My personal favorite is "Honey Nut Theriots," though I'm glad no one thought of "Honey Nut Fontenots" because that just sounds absurd.
Now, it’s time to take care of Bryz-ness… er, business.
- Let’s start with a terrible joke that I made up on Thursday. It’s a couple weeks into this offseason, and Jim Pohlad was trying to think of a way to tell then-GM Bill Smith that he was going to be asked to step down in favor of Terry Ryan. Pohlad eventually settled on telling Smith via email. Not the classiest of moves, he would admit, but it had to be done. While disappointed, Smith rescinded his duties in favor of Ryan that day. A couple days later, the media was interviewing Ron Gardenhire about his thoughts on the matter. When asked about the degrading way Pohlad notified Smith of his decision, Gardy sighed, leaned back in his chair and said, "What can I say? Billy was fired through the Internet.
- In case you missed it, our own Jesse Lund had a chat with Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony. In my opinion, this quote overjoyed me more than it probably should have, as it showed that the Twins know what they have in Josh Willingham and don’t appear to have plans to make him change his approach.
J: Going back to Willingham, what was it that first put him on your radar, and at what point did you seriously believe that he was going to be your guy?
RA: Right-handed power and production, basically. He’s pretty much a pull hitter, and right-handed hitters who have hit for power at Target Field have pulled the ball. You get into left-center and center field, it can be tough to get it out of there. Sometimes it depends on the weather and a lot of other things, but Willingham has pull power.
- Jesse’s not the only person that gets to chat with Twins personnel, as I met with president Dave St. Peter on Thursday morning. We talked abo – uh, what was that flash by the window? Anyway, as I was saying, we discussed the Twins and – do I hear someone outside? Huh. Well, I learned some very interesting things during our meeting, most of all that the Twins are hgnytjhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
- Uh, where am I? And why do I have a shock collar around my - OH THE HUMANITY!!! WHY, GOD, WHY???
- Ryan Braun had his suspension overturned for having an elevated testosterone level during the 2011 playoffs. Or was the suspension upheld? Oh, it appears as though it was indeed overturned. If you’re a Brewers fan, you’ve got to be overjoyed right now that Braun won his appeal by a 2-1 margin, even if it’s because of a "technicality." The three votes were from MLB, the players union, and an arbitrator. You should be able to assume how the first two voted, so it was really only up to the arbitrator, whose name is Shyam Das. As much as that name looks like it was concocted from a kid’s alphabet soup (just like my last name), you should remember it, as it appears as though MLB is livid at his decision. Don’t be surprised if he’s offed by next week.
- By the way, supposedly the "technicality" is that the collector of Braun’s urine sample thought that a FedEx/Kinkos was closed on a Saturday night, so he took the sample home and stored it in his fridge, which breaches an MLB rule that states that the sample needs to be delivered as soon as possible. I’d sooner believe that the opened sample was handled by unwashed hands than this reason. I mean, I can see how this is an issue when it comes to chain of custody, but upon hearing that Braun was cleared, I wouldn’t have imagined that this would be the reason. By the way, if you want my opinion, I think Braun is guilty, but he got lucky because the sample collector made a mistake. Overall though, I really don’t care if Braun was guilty. If you want to read the MLB rulebook on drug prevention and treatment yourself, the chain of custody section starts on page 37.
- Another "if you haven’t already…" comes tied to the newest Twins website, Twins Daily. Here is a one-stop place for everything Twins similar to Twinkie Town. Instead of having to check multiple websites for your TwinsCentric fix, you can come here and instantly see the some of the very best from the Twins blogging community. I’m working on getting myself on to that front page, but I suppose I need something more substantial than this for it to happen. There are also plenty of discussion threads where you can guess how many home runs Joe Mauer will hit, to giving Carl Pavano a caption while he appears to levitate a baseball (note: the contest is over, but you can still check out the comments). Just don’t forget about Twinkie Town while you’re there.
- The Star Tribune’s La Velle E. Neal III has a story introducing us to Twins Rule 5 pick Terry Doyle. I don’t know about you, but my highlight from this story is that Doyle graduated from college with the same degrees as myself (math and secondary education). The main difference between Doyle and myself, however, is that he can throw baseballs into the 90s, whereas I need a juiced gun just to hit 60 MPH.
- Justin Morneau addressed the media on Thursday on his fight against post-concussion symptoms and recovering from 4 separate surgeries, and it doesn’t exactly sound promising. Morneau admitted that if he continues to have post-concussion symptoms, "I don’t think there will be a career if it's something I'm dealing with." Translation: He might retire if his symptoms don’t go away. Just like with Corey Koskie, it would be a disappointing way to see another baseball player retire from the game, especially coming from a seemingly innocuous knee to the helmet-covered head from John McDonald back in 2010. Some Twins fans still seem to think that the Twins can trade Morneau, but that’s not going to happen. He’s too much of a risk making too much money, and as sad as it sounds, if he doesn’t return to form this season, retirement might be the best thing for the Twins organization. I say this because it will free up a prorated $14 million this season and $14 million next season if he does retire. Regardless, Justin, I hope you do get better.
- I know it’s not baseball, but I have a way to make it connect. Remember how terrible Joe Mauer sang in the Explore Minnesota commercial? Well, the Timberwolves’ Kevin Love is now the state’s leader for professional athlete that absolutely, positively should never sing again, which he demonstrated in this promo video of several Timberwolves players singing along to 'N Sync's "Tearing Up My Heart." I’m not a fan of singing in front of other people, but at least now I know that there’s no way I can be any worse than Love.
- Finally, for some stupid reason MLB didn’t do this with a lot of fanfare (or perhaps Ryan Braun’s tainted pee cup distracted me), but our own Lindsay Guentzel has successfully made it from the top 50 to the top 30 of MLB’s Fan Cave. She now is going to face off in some sort of Big Brother / Hunger Games competition in Arizona, or perhaps I’m just making this fact up for page views. Linds, I’m going to give you the same advice I gave Craig Nordquist, my college friend, fellow Twins usher, and the Twins representative for MLB Network’s Baseball IQ game show: Don’t forget that Brady Anderson once hit 50 home runs in a season. Oh, and if you get into a fight, don’t be afraid to kick.
Enjoy your Saturday, everyone. I'm going to figure out a way to accuse the MN Department of Education of mishandling my education license. Oh, and I'll attempt to get this shock collar off that I somehow received when I saw Dave St. Pe - *bzzt* ASLDKFJDF STOP THAT!