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Game 75: Cleveland at Twins

Hey, you wanted an “opener”? You got one!

Kansas City Royals v Minnesota Twins
No photo credit was given with this embarrassing snapshot of TC auditioning for a Charmin ad at an inappropriate time/place.

Time: 7:10 Central. Vegas Line: -125 MIN / CLE +115

Weather: Partly cloudy and 82° at first pitch, no rain, humid as heck

Opponent’s anti-subject-header SB site: Covering The Corner

TV: BS North. Radio: Cleveland DJ Alan Freed introduced white America to rock-and-roll

Tonight’s scheduled starter, the eminently lovable (if kinda scuffling) Randall Z. Dobbersnaky, was placed on the IL yesterday because of a painfully effed-up fingernail; hopefully fixing that will help reset what’s been a tough season for him so far.

The announced opener, 31-year-old lefty Danny Coulombe, is currently an MLB drifter despite a perfectly respectable 4.10 ERA over six seasons and 146 innings. His most consistent job was with Oakland, for three-and-a-half years; he’s been one of the Saints’ best relievers in 2021. Expect Dobnak’s roster replacement, Air Force Academy grad Griffin Jax, to take some of the workload tonight.

Per Wiki, Coulombe’s granddad (who shared his nickname, “Frenchy”), was a bomber turret gunner in WWII. During a 1943 bombing raid, Coulombe’s plane (nicknamed “Ye Olde Pub”) was shot up all to heck by German fighters, killing one crewmember and injuring the other nine. Going in to finish them off, a German pilot could see how badly the crew were doing from massive holes in the bomber’s fuselage. He decided not to shoot them down, instead providing an escort of sorts away from German airspace. The US pilot, one Charlie Brown (!) was told upon landing “not to repeat this to the rest of the unit so as not to build any positive sentiment about enemy pilots.” Brown looked up who the German pilot was in 1990, and the two became good friends. No doubt, Jax enjoyed hearing this story.

How is Cal Quantrill not one of the Blue Jays? He was born in Ontario, and his dad is former major-leaguer Paul, just like seemingly half Toronto’s roster (in terms of having MLB dads, not that they are all named Paul). PLUS his first MLB win was in Toronto! A Padres draftee, he came to Cleveland as part of the Mike Clevinger trade haul, one of several “rebuilding” deals that team made without becoming, well, as bad as the current Twins. A sinker/slider guy, he’s currently getting a lot more grounders than flies, which is what you want from sinker/slider guys.

This week in Baseball Stuff TwinkieTowners Own comes courtesy of M.Grasso, who has this odd motor-oil can:

(All photos courtesy of M. Grasso’s severed hand)

They’re described on this e-auction site as “part of a promotional offer you received when you had you car worked on at an Amoco Certicare shop, in the late 1960’s-early 1970’s.” M.Grasso explains:

Not an easy item to photograph. It is round and high gloss. It is an old school oil can that was produced empty as a bit of memorabilia. Age? Well Harmon was traded after the 1974 season so that’s an end point. And the font style screams 70’s so I doubt it was before ‘72.

It is not likely to have been a ball park give away. All too well do I recall what happened when thousands of School Patrol kids got free tickets and were packed in the outfield bleachers with Frosty Malts. These came with a small white paper lid that could be, and was, frisbee’d out onto the playing field in great zany squadrons.

The cans appear to be common, so it may be that they were a promo that was not actually released. Were they ready for the ‘75 season but Calvin Griffith had other plans? The Certicare logo and wrench are the only identifying data. This was the auto maintenance operation of Amoco gas stations at the time. Amoco was acquired by BP in 1999 and no longer exists.

An artifact from a day when people, well let’s be honest here, mostly men, took Hamm’s Beer openers and poked triangular holes in the tops of cans like these to change oil in their gas guzzling vehicles.

In a time when what passes for Twins stars might be on the brink of being released or traded it might be instructive to recall the Killebrew release. While it was distressing then, and remains so now, it must be said that Harmon was offered options after his sub par ‘74 season. He could remain on as a coach, or become their AAA manager. He chose to be released instead.

In his final season he had 44 RBIs and 14 home runs, but also a sub Mendoza batting average of .199. He was released by the Royals at the end of the season.

Thanks, M. Grasso! As always, anyone who’s GOT ENOUGH GUTS AND FORTITUDE to share their photos/stories about baseball souvenirs items (or whatever) they enjoy having can email me at Put “I love your dead sexy shoelaces” or something equivalent in the subject header so I know it’s one of you fine folks!

Lineups posted when I get home, or when available, or both, or never, in which case just assume that Joe Mauer is out of retirement for some reason and playing shortstop now!

Today's Lineups

Cesar Hernandez - 2B Luis Arraez - LF
Amed Rosario - SS Josh Donaldson - 3B
Jose Ramirez - 3B Alex Kirilloff - 1B
Eddie Rosario - DH Nelson Cruz - DH
Bobby Bradley - 1B Jorge Polanco - 2B
Harold Ramirez - LF Max Kepler - RF
Josh Naylor - RF Ryan Jeffers - C
Bradley Zimmer - CF Nick Gordon - CF
Austin Hedges - C Andrelton Simmons - SS
Cal Quantrill - RHP Griffin Jax - RHP