Star Trekkin’

After yesterday’s celebratory Star Wars post, how about we look at the other half of nerdom and check the Twins record when Star Trek movies/TV series released/aired? Since it started as a TV show first, we’ll begin there.

TV

  • Star Trek: The Original Series aired September 8th, 1966 on NBC. The Twins didn’t play this day, but did win the next day 6-1 against the Baltimore Orioles.
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series first aired September 8th, 1973 on NBC. The Twins defeated the Chicago White Sox 6-2.
    Top performers: Larry Hisle(3-4, 2B, 3 RBI), Bobby Darwin(2-4, 2B, 2 RBI).
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation aired September 28th, 1987(the day after my birth…). My first full day on Earth, the Twins won 5-3. clinching the AL West. You can watch the final play here.
    Top performers: Steve Lombardozzi(2-4, HR, 4 RBI), Greg Gagne(2-5), Kent Hrbek(2-3, 2B, 2 walks), Ron Washington(1-3, 2B).
  • Star Trek: Enterprise debuted September 26th, 2001. On the fourth day back after the September 11th tragedy, the Twins lost to the Chicago White Sox 6-3. Starter Rick Reed fell apart in the 5th and 6th innings after previously holding the White Sox scoreless.
    Top performers: David Ortiz(2-4) A.J. Pierzynski(2-4, 2 RBI). Everyone in the starting lineup, *and* pinch hitter Bobby Kielty had at least one hit except Brian Buchanan(0-4, 1K).

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine(January 3rd, 1993), Star Trek Voyager(January 16th, 1995) premiered during the off-season.

Movies

  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan premiered June 4th, 1982. The Twins beat the Orioles 6-0 improving to a 13-41 record….
    Top performers: Ron Washington(3-4, HR, 1 RBI), Jesus Vega(1-3, 2B, 2 RBI), Gary Ward(1-4, HR, 2 RBI), Terry Felton(3.1 IP, 1 H, 3 Walks, 6K) – struck out Cal Ripken to enter the game with the bases loaded, with the O’s down 0-4 at the time after starter Brad Havens allowed single to Ex-Twin Disco Dan Ford, Benny Ayala singled, and walked Ken Singleton.
  • Star Trek III: The Search for Spock came to theaters June 1st, 1984. The Twins faced the Royals, and lost 7-1 falling to 24-26. We’d get the better of Royals starter Charlie Leibrandt in 1991. :D.
    Top performers: Kirby Puckett(2-4), Tim Teufel(1-4, 1 RBI), Tom Brunansky(1-2, 2BB), Ron Washington(1-3, 2B).
  • Star Trek V: The Final Frontier opened in theaters June 9th, 1989. The Twins faced the Angels(California at the time…), and lost 9-3. Starting pitcher Allan Anderson, relievers Mike Dyer, Gary Wayne, and closer Jeff Reardon all got slammed, with Wayne allowing the least ER(1), everyone else allowed 2 or more earned runs…
    Top performers: Brian Harper(3-4, 2B), Kent Hrbek(1-4, HR, 1 RBI), Gary Gaetti(1-4, HR, 1 RBI).

Star Trek: The Motion Picture(December 7th, 1979), Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home(November 26th, 1986), and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country(December 6th, 1991) all premiered in the off-season.

Much worse record than during Star Wars release nights. Interestingly, the Twins two losses follow the “…only watch even numbered Star Trek film” mythos – winning ST: II, losing ST: III, ST: V. The Twins fared much better for TV releases, winning two of three – including clinching the 1987 AL West. However, the Twins record in Star Wars release nights(5-1) vs. Star Trek(2-3) is just another reason why I’m a bigger fan of Star Wars. :D.

#1987-world-series, #a-j-pierzynski, #allan-anderson, #bobby-darwin, #bobby-kielty, #brad-havens, #brian-buchanan, #brian-harper, #cal-ripken-jr, #dan-ford, #david-ortiz, #gary-gaetti, #gary-ward, #gary-wayne, #greg-gagne, #jeff-reardon, #jesus-vega, #kent-hrbek, #kirby-puckett, #larry-hisle, #mike-dyer, #rick-reed, #ron-washington, #star-trek, #steve-lombardozzi, #terry-felton, #tim-teufel, #tom-brunansky

That Snow Moon.

Been a busy week here, we’re taking care of a stray German Shepard until we can find it a home. :/. That said, it’s May 4th, Star Wars day(as in… “May the Fourth be with you”), and I thought it would be cool to check how the Twins fared on Star Wars release days.

Original Trilogy

  • Star Wars(VI) was released May 25th, 1977 – on that day the Twins played a double-header against the Boston Red Sox. The Twins won both 13-5, and 9-4 respectively.
    Top performers: Game One(13-5) – Rod Carew had four singles and a double, Lyman Bostock(2 doubles), Larry Hisle(5 RBIs, all with 2 outs), Larry Hisle, Dan Ford mashed home runs. Game Two(9-4) – Rod Carew(1 RBI), Lyman Bostock(2 walks, 1 RBI), Glenn Adams(3 RBI) with two hits each.
  • The Empire Strikes Back(V) was released May 21st, 1980 – on that day the Twins took the field against the Chicago White Sox, and won 3-2. Despite giving the Sox a run in the 9th, the Twins prevailed.
    Top performers: John Castino had 4 hits, and Jose Morales had two of his own, including a HR. Geoff Zahn pitched 9IP/7H/2R/2ER/4BB/2K finishing the game in 2 hours and 33 minutes – 30 minutes longer than Empire.
  • Return of the Jedi(VI) was released on May 25th, 1983 – the Twins played the Baltimore Orioles that night, winning 7-4 with the 4 run second inning being the difference.
    Top performers: Kent Hrbek(2-5, 4 RBI), Bobby Mitchell(2-5, 1 RBI), Gary Gaetti(3-4, 1 RBI).

Pre-quel Trilogy

  • The Phantom Menace(I) was released May 19th, 1999 – the Twins played the Seattle Mariners and were 5-hit shutout in a 7-0 loss.
    Top performers: Chad Allen(2-3, SB).
  • Attack of the Clones(II) was released May 16th, 2002 – the Twins destroyed the Kansas City Royals 14-5 with 18 hits! Another double filled Twins/Star Wars night, as Jay Canizaro, Denny Hocking, David Ortiz, Bobby Kielty, and Brian Buchanan tallying two baggers. Ex-Twin Chuck Knoblauch went 0-3, with a walk and two stolen bases.
    Top performers: Torii Hunter(4-6, 2 HR, 4 RBI), Jacque Jones(2-6, HR, 2 RBI), Cristian Guzman(HR, 1 RBI), Tom Prince(2-4, HR, 3 RBI). Kyle Lohse(4), Jack Cressend(1), Bob Wells, and Mike Trombley(4) only gave up nine hits through 9 innings.
  • Revenge of the Sith was released May 19th, 2005 – the Twins matched up against the Toronto Blue Jays that day(first non-night game), winning 4-0 on a 7 hitter by starter Joe Mays.
    Top performers: Michael Cuddyer(1-4, 2B, 2 RBI), Mike Redmond(2-4, 2 RBI), Joe Mays(9 IP/7H/0R/0ER/0BB/2K).

We all lost the night Phantom Menace was released(the jokes write themselves…), but all in all, the Twins play really well on Star Wars release nights(5-1). The Force Awakens opened December 18th, 2015, Rogue One December 16th, 2016, and The Last Jedi is set to open December 15th, 2017 – but Episode IX returns to a May release – the 24th in 2019. I predict a win! May the 4th be with you. :).

#bob-wells, #bobby-kielty, #bobby-mitchell, #brian-buchanan, #chad-allen, #cristian-guzman, #dan-ford, #david-ortiz, #denny-hocking, #gary-gaetti, #geoff-zahn, #glenn-adams, #jack-cressend, #jay-canizaro, #joe-mays, #john-castino, #jose-morales, #kent-hrbek, #kyle-lohse, #larry-hisle, #lymon-bostock, #michael-cuddyer, #mike-trombley, #rod-carew, #star-wars, #tom-prince, #torii-hunter

#MinnesotaSports

If you had told me a month into the season the Twins would be flirting with .500, I’d take the under on that bet. I’d also probably call you either Nostradamus or a really bad liar. With a disappointing end to the Wild season, I turned my sports tuner to the Twins – it helps they’re in town playing the Rangers. I keep waiting for them to turn in their costumes and reveal the real Twins – it’s become a joke how each Minnesota sports team finds new and even more embarrassing ways to disappoint us fans. With full apologizes to the ladies of our WNBA Lynx, the men’s teams in the Twin Cities just haven’t put it all together since I was four. Thank you Kirby Puckett, Jack Morris, et. al. Let’s look a little further:

Vikings
Yes Ash, the Vikings do hail mostly from Minnesota. The kings and queens of roller coaster seasons – high enthusiasm in the regular season, downswing in the playoffs. Despite losing four Super Bowls, the Vikings have one of the best winning records in NFL history. Overall, they’ve had 457 wins and 387 regular season losses(10 ties) from their first season in 1961 – ranking as tied for 7th best winning percentage in NFL history. Despite this seasonal success – making 28 playoffs over the 54 seasons since joining the league – the Vikings have yet to win a Super Bowl(1969,1973,1974,1976), and have lost the championship game even more often(1977,1987,1998,2000,2009), however we are the reigning Ed Thorp Memorial Trophy!

North Stars/Wild
While Minnesota is a power house in producing NHL talent(among the top outside of Canada), the play of NHL teams would indicate otherwise. When the league decided to expand on the “Original Six”, Minnesota was gifted a new team to begin play in 1967-1968. Having been named after the states motto – “L’Etoile du Nord” French for “The Star Of The North” – the North Stars shared similar miserable luck. After scoring the first goal in franchise history, tragedy would strike budding star and former US National Team Center Bill Masterton(4 goals, 8 assists) 38 games into the first season. During a game in early January, Masterton was knocked unconscious by two California Seals players during a check near the boards. Masterton like the majority of the league at the time wasn’t wearing a helmet and knocked his head hard against the ice, and cause bleeding from his ears, nose, and mouth. He’d never regain consciousness, and would pass from his injuries days later. The NHL annually gives out the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy to the player “who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey”. The North Stars would retire his number, a tradition carried in Dallas.

Fearing dwindling attendance, and the threat of the World Hockey Association, the NHL would merge the Cleveland Barons and the Minnesota North Stars for the 1978-1979 season with Cleveland’s George Gund III retaining ownership. Minnesota had much to celebrate in 1980 with most of the members of the Miracle on Ice team having been born in state, but moreso, the pros would reach the Stanley Cup Final for the 1980-1981 season before losing to the New York Islanders. Several close playoff runs and a heated rivalry with the Chicago Blackhawks would continue throughout the 1980s leading to another Stanley Cup Final appearance in the 1990-1991 season losing to the Super Mario Lemieux led Pittsburgh Penguins. Prior to that season Gund would sell the team to an ownership group led by Norm Green, with Gund assuming ownership of the NHL’s newly awarded San Jose Sharks. Shortly after gaining majority ownership, Norm Green began plans to move the team to Los Angeles however he was thwarted by the future Walt Disney ownership of the Mighty Ducks(Minnesota ties, eh…). In January of 1993, Norm decided on moving the team to Dallas ultimately blaming fans for not attending(during losing seasons), the failure to reach a deal on a new arena(the team refusing to move into the Timberwolves new Target Arena), and pending sexual assault litigation. Just a few short seasons after the 1992-1993 off-season, the now named Stars(what is it with teams refusing to rebrand??) would hoist the Stanley Cup in the 1998-1999 season. Fuck Norm Green.

The NHL not wanting to lose key U.S. viewership promised a return of hockey to Minnesota, and on June 25th, 1997 they announced that hockey would return to the “State Of Hockey” with a new team beginning play in the 2000-2001 season. A surprising run of playoff success up to the Conference Finals in 2002-2003 against the Mighty Ducks surprised many, but the new Wild would get swept in four games. After the 2004-2005 NHL lockout, the Wild would twice lose in the Quarterfinals in 2006-2007/2007-2008 before a string of losing seasons. In the strike shortened 2012-2013 season, and the Wild’s final season in the ‘Northwest’ division, the Wild finished 26-19-3 to earn the rights to play the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs starting the current string of successful seasons(43-27-12, 46-28-8, 38-33-11, 49-25-8). Despite regular season success the Wild have yet to capitalize, only twice reaching the second round(both times losing to the Chicago Blackhawks). 2016-2017’s season that just ended saw the Wild set franchise win records(49), and most points(106) of any Minnesota NHL team. There’s at least hope here…

Timberwolves
Besides the Twins titles in 1987 and 1991, the original Lakers are the only Twin Cities team to bring titles home of the four major men’s sports leagues doing so in 1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, and 1954! One BAA(Basketball Association of America) title, then four of the first five NBA titles(including the original NBA Finals!). Inspired perhaps by the successful moves in MLB bringing the Dodgers, and Giants west, the Twin Cities would lose the team in 1960(and I’m still not sure why they’re still called the Lakers…) to Los Angeles. Screw Bob Short.

The Timberwolves would begin play as an NBA team in 1989. A perpetual loser, the Timberwolves are the Browns of the NBA – we own the worst winning percentage of the 30 active teams. Despite the current talent, and Kevin Love, the Timberwolves have only made the playoffs during the eight seasons between 1996-1997 and 2003-2004. Seven quick exits guaranteed only moving beyond the first round in that final run(Kevin Garnett’s MVP season) when Garnett, Latrell Sprewell, Wally Szczerbiak, Sam Cassell, and the rest of the team would lose against who else, the Lakers. R.I.P. Flip.

Twins
Which brings us to the Twins, who began play in 1961 after having moved from Washington. While the Senators were defined by poor play against the Yankees(with a well known play/movie, and phrase – “First in war, first in peace, last in the American League” dedicated to the lowly Senators), the Twins would have to wait a few decades before this would hold true. Minnesota inherited a few legendary players in their prime(Harmon Killebrew, Earl Battey, Bob Allison), and would develop several others(Tony Oliva, Rod Carew) that would lead the charge for the majority of the 1960s and early 1970s. 1965 being the pinnacle(arguably 1969’s franchise best 102 wins in the conversation), with a World Series appearance against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The duo of Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax would prove too much however, with the Twins losing in seven games. With the advent of divisional playoffs in 1969, the Twins would fail to take advantage in 1969 or 1970 – each season failing to best the eventual pennant winning Baltimore Orioles. Hampered by injuries, the decade would see long-time fan favorites Tony Oliva, and Harmon Killebrew retire, with Rod Carew, Bert Blyleven, and Jim Kaat being traded away in penny pinching efforts by owner Calvin Griffith.

After a change of venue to the Metrodome, and an ownership change in 1983, the Twins’ successful drafting in the early 1980s begin to lead the Twins back to their winning ways in the middle of the decade. First with Kent Hrbek, and continuing with Frank Viola, Gary Gaetti, Tim Laudner, Kirby Puckett, the Twins farm made the playoffs in 1987. Beating the Tigers 4 games to 1, the Twins would clinch their first AL pennant since 1965, and this time the team would finally bring home a championship to the Twin Cities. A first since the 1954 Lakers. They would repeat as winners of perhaps the best World Series ever played in 1991 against the Atlanta Braves. Injuries caused both Kent Hrbek and Kirby Puckett into early retirement, and the late 1990s were a dark period in Twins history. WIth the threat of contraction in 2002, the Twins surprised everyone by winning the division and beating the Moneyball Oakland A’s, before losing to the eventual World Series winning Anaheim Angels(of Los Angeles, California, United States, North America, Earth…). Several playoff appearances would follow, but the home town Twinkies could never beat the New York Yankees(2003/2004/2009/2010) nor the Oakland A’s(2006). Since 2010 the Twins have been miserable, but the future is bright in the Twin Cities. :).

April showers.

If you were to tell me two months ago the Twins would start the season as a threat to lead the AL Central by mid-April, I’d be shocked. Sure we’ve slid to 7-6 on the year, but with the Wild season all but over(down 3-0 against the Blues) the Twins have started to draw more of my attention. Unlike last year where we started the season 0-9 last year(finishing April with a 7-17 record…) the Twins are on a hot pace to surprise a lot of people. Let’s compare 2016 and 2017:

Time Frame W L RS RA W-L%
2016 April 7 17 80 110 0.292
2016 Finish 59 103 722 889 0.364
2017 April 7 6 54 33 0.538

Pitching

Pitching W L ERA G SV IP ER BB K WHIP K/9
2016 April 7 17 3.97 24 2 215.1 95 75 192 1.365 8
2017 April 7 6 2.46 13 4 106 29 30 81 0.972 6.9

Batting

Batting G R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BA OBP SLG
2016 April 24 80 198 44 4 21 77 14 0.239 0.309 0.378
2017 April 12 53 92 22 2 10 52 7 0.233 0.334 0.375

So what changed? Here’s my biggest surprises so far:

  • Pitching staff – Ervin Santana has been lights out(3-0 W/L, .041 ERA, 5 hits allowed(!) in 22 innings) and is leading as the ‘ace’ of the rotation. Phil Hughes returns to form with two wins of his own, and I think the biggest surprise has been the bullpen – 1.93 ERA in 42 innings, 9 earned runs, a 1.000 WHIP and a high 8.6 K/9.
  • Robbie Grossman – Robbie’s batting .310/.487/.517 through ten games! Dude is consistently getting on base with 9 hits, and 10 walks through 29 plate appearances. Thank you Cleveland.
  • Jorge Polanco – Another hitter who is consistently getting on base(13 hits, 3 walks), Polanco has come into his own as the Twins SS this year.
  • Miguel Sano – One of the hardest hitting batters in the league, lil’ Miggy is crushing the ball. Four doubles, a triple(!), and the team leading three home runs through 40 at-bats. He’s striking out plenty(16), but I feel he’s also been a bit more patient at the plate this year(11 walks!). There was an at-bat the other day where he quickly fell down 0-2, fouled off one pitch, and laid off four others and took the walk. Batting .250/.412/.625 on the year – OBP(.027 higher) and SLG(.095 higher) are currently career highs though they will surely fall come seasons end – a 1.037 OPS would definitely help improve last year’s record, but cold streaks happen.
  • Byron Buxton – Yeesh. Can a guy catch a break? He’s been a plus defender with shades of Torii Hunter-like fielding, but I wish his batting would reach the Major League level. Through 12 games, Byron is batting .093/.152/.140 with 23(!) strikeouts in 43 at-bats. Since being drafted in 2012, Byron’s been a much better MiLB hitter than a MLB hitter – .209/.263/.374 vs. .304/.380/.501 – which would you rather have? It’s a bit early to start floating the ‘bust’ label, but he needs to turn it around quickly.

Now if the wheel falls off the wagon next month and we finish with 93 losses, at least we had a few April ‘showers’ not ‘growers’. :D.

2017 Bowman Twins checklist

Base
None.

Paper Prospects

BP15 Nick Burdi
BP44 Stephen Gonsalves
BP52 Kohl Stewart
BP102 Alex Kirilloff
BP114 Tyler Jay
BP134 Fernando Romero

Bowman Chrome Prospects
BCP15 Nick Burdi
BCP44 Stephen Gonsalves
BCP52 Kohl Stewart
BCP102 Alex Kirilloff
BCP114 Tyler Jay
BCP134 Fernando Romero

Bowman Scouts Top 100

BTP-48 Nick Gordon
BTP-98 Alex Kirilloff

Talent Pipeline

TP-MIN Nick Gordon
TP-MIN Tyler Jay
TP-MIN Jake Reed

Chrome Prospect Autographs

CPA-FRO Fernando Romero

This might be the easiest Bowman set to collect for Twins fans. One autograph, a prospect set, a chrome prospect parallel set, two Top 100 prospects inserts, and whatever the hell the single Talent pipeline card winds up being – an insert, auto, relic, etc. Absolutely no base cards of the 100 in the set. The only team without any whatsoever! Sure, 100 Joe Mauer base cards get stale, but how about Brian Dozier? Eduardo Escobar? Ervin Santana? #ValenTwins Jason Castro? Very disappointed. For the first time since 1948, the Twins and/or Senators will have 0 Bowman base. #ThanksTopps

On the topic of pack searchers…

Newer friend of the blog Dub wrote a great post on the topic of pack searchers, and why it’s a bad thing that hurts consumers, companies, and #TheHobby. No really, if you haven’t read that go do it. I’ll wait.

Back? Cool. I couldn’t agree more with his opinions – going above and beyond to try to find a 4$ relic that could otherwise impress a younger collector is just trashy. Let’s be honest, for the most part base card sets don’t yield anything worth while. Sure, Heritage seems to be a little hit heavy this year, and you might have had good odds if you bought out discount boxes of 2011 Topps Update in 2012, but those odds are not in your favor.

Sure, I’m guilty of the occasional picking out of three packs and leaving with the two heavier ones, and besides usually I’ve struck out and pulled the blank spacer cards. Even more often, I end up buying all three packs anyway as it’s more fun the more packs get opened. However I’m not going to stoop so low as to using a weight scale killing odds for other collectors, or opening them in store and thus committing theft, nor will I encourage it by buying a “hot pack” off ebay or in a card store. Even worse than those are the horror stories I hear of people receiving repackaged junk wax in newer released product. I would never think to return an opened box, and I sure as hell wouldn’t keep the new cards and replace with dime a dozen fodder. The hell is wrong with some people?!?

What I consider an even bigger offense to the hobby though are card stores who weigh out individual boxes from a case to sell to preferred buyers. Or searching their newly un-boxed packs when they’re opening a box for the display case. Or when case-breakers who have “issues” with their internet conveniently before they pull a huge hit and then replace it with another card – their internet now restored. These are still cardboard pictures of athletes right? The card producers distribute the cards with printed odds – and those I’m fine with, but case/box/pack sellers don’t need to further tip the odds against the “lowly” hobby collector.

Why all the greed? Sure, I suppose it’s not an issue only restricted to #TheHobby, but it’s still disheartening for a community I thought that we were supposed to be a #CollectFam.  Respect for the fellow collector seems to go right out the door for some people when there’s a new shiny top prospect/PSA 10 vintage. It’s a shame really. Sure, I’m sure most would rather have the best available card from the card companies, the top one of one of one. But I’d rather pull it myself and be surprised than have to screw someone else out of enjoying that rush. I’d rather not have those actions weigh on my moral consciousness. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

If I could influence the readers of the blog to do one thing this year – it’s to benefit another collector the next chance you’ve got – maybe donate your base cards to a kid in the hobby shop, or trade in the favor of your partner. Besides, the hobby is more fun when we’re all having fun. Finishing off sets, collecting our player/team collections, and sharing our nice hits online. Isn’t that the point of social media? 🙂

Speaking of, I’ve got a continuation of the previous Donruss post, maybe another Zelda pack, and an older Stadium Club blaster to post this week. Keep an eye out for those and more. :).

One year anniversary with the Babe.

It’s been exactly one year since I pulled the Babe Ruth dual relic from 2015 Diamond Kings. To celebrate I opened the same amount of boxes(2) as I did that day, and I’ll eventually post those when I get around to it. No, I didn’t get that lucky this year. Just a quick post to celebrate the anniversary. :).

The Babe? Hardly knew her.

Here’s some photos from last year’s National. The Babe met some old-timey friends.

Honus Wagner and Ty Cobb.
Two signed Babe Ruth balls.
Game used Ruth bat.

Finally, here’s my card next to a game-used bat! We got a nice picture with the full sized game-used bat from I think 1929. Six home runs of Ruth’s 714 home runs were hit with it. Naturally, FBI agents were posted around all the corners at the booth = but I got to hold the bat myself as well! Wonder what I’ll pull this year. 🙂