Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Nightly Notes

It may be the off-season, but that doesn't mean I can't post a Nightly Notes column. Some of this is Twins related -- some decidedly isn't.

1.) I'm glad to hear that Gardy is getting another extension (barring a major foul-up in the negotiations, which seems exceedingly unlikely). I know there's a lot of second-guessing of him, and to be certain he does things that drive me crazy sometimes. Still, I think he's been a great manager since taking over for Tom Kelly. No manager is perfect, but I'll take a fiery, player-friendly manager like Gardy any day -- especially when he delivers wins at a rate that usually exceeds expectations. Now, if he continues to abuse his bullpen as he did for much of this summer, I might rethink things -- but for now I couldn't be happier that the Twins are committing to bringing him and his coaching staff back into the fold.

2.) That sound you hear is Bud Selig hyperventilating over the prospect of a Rays-Phillies World Series. Halfway there! Hopefully the Rays can take care of business tomorrow night and make this thing a reality. Maybe only five people outside of Pennsylvania and Florida will watch -- but we'll sure have fun!

3.) How much you want to bet the Yankees are going to look more than ever like an All-Star team next year? Look at the list of folks the team is going after through free agency -- Sabathia, Burnett, Sheets, Teixeira. In a perverse way, I hope they do get all those guys; if they did and won, I could write it off as the Yanks buying a Series. If they did and LOST, however, it would just add to the joy of watching the Bronx Bombers fail.

4.) Staying in the AL East for a second, is it possible that the Red Sox are about to enter an awfully rough phase? The Yankees look set to go hog-wild in free agency. The Rays seem to be built to be good for a number of years. The Red Sox, while they have a number of very exciting young players, also are getting older at some key positions. The Sox could easily find themselves as the third best team in the AL East next year, with the Blue Jays right behind them. I'm not saying it will happen that way, but it certainly doesn't seem far fetched. It's going to be an interesting winter out east.

5.) Tonight's Presidential Debate was much, much more watchable than the first two. There were good moments for both candidates, and there were gaffes from both candidates that will probably be used in campaign commercials over the last three weeks of the race. My personal favorite moment of the night was John McCain looking flabbergasted after Barack Obama answered a question regarding health care. McCain looked like he had swallowed a fly, and I can easily see an SNL spot built out of his reaction shot. Like I said, though, there was plenty there for either side to like (and to be balanced, I think McCain actually got off the best line of the night when he told Obama that if he wanted to run against Bush he should have ran 4 years ago). Good times, but I'm glad that Debate Season has ended. Now we can start looking at the polls for real. I can't wait for the 4th.

6.) Great college football game tomorrow night between BYU and TCU. This game is one of two that should present real challenges to the Cougars as they try to break into the BCS, with the season ender against a very tough Utah squad to end the regular season on November 22 being the other. This will probably divert some of my attention from the Red Sox-Rays Game 5, especially if one team gets a big lead.

7.) I might as well also mention that there's a low key boxing card taking place in Japan tomorrow, with the WBC bantamweight and WBC featherweight titles on the line. So far as I know it's not televised anywhere in the States, but it still serves as a nice little appetizer for this weekend's Bernard Hopkins-Kelly Pavlik fight.

8.) I'm a big fan of Formula 1 racing, so the last couple of weeks have been frustrating for me. This isn't because of what's happening on the track -- the last two races (taking place in Singapore and Japan, respectively) have been filled with intrigue and points jockeying. I really can't complain at all about the product on the track. No, what's bothered me is what's happening with the 2009 schedule. First, the provisional schedule was released -- and inexplicably included no race in North America. There was no US Grand Prix this year, but at least there was a race in Canada. For 2009, however, that race was removed from the schedule. Ironically, the biggest market for many of the auto manufacturers that compete in F1 (names like Mercedes and Ferrari) remains North America. Then, today, I got the even worse news that for financial reasons, the French Grand Prix has been canceled for 2009. This is bad for several reasons. First, it probably means one less race -- unless the FIA changes its mind and begs Canada to host a race, after all. Since I like watching F1, I obviously want as many races as possible. It's also bad, though, because it means that I won't get a chance to properly say goodbye to the French track at Magny-Cours, which would have hosted it's last race next year. Magny-Cours is not a particularly well-loved track, apparently, but I don't think it's all that bad. While the racing isn't always great due to a fairly narrow track that's hard to pass on, it has produced good races in the rain (and frankly that's all I've seen there, really). I'll be sad to see it go. Regardless, it was a bad day to be an F1 fan.



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