Saturday, April 18, 2015

Saturday's Games -- NY/NY (Mets and Yankees)

We were slated to play 2 games today -- and the forecast had a high of 89 and an heat index of 102 -- so games of 7 innings -- no problem.....

We were matched up against the NY Mets (they brought two teams) this morning and we found out they were 0 for the tournament.  We went with our "big" lefty Will for the first the game.  Will is one of my favorite players from camp, first he is an amazing baseball player, 2nd he is a good guy, and 3rd (and not last) he is lefthanded.  We lefties have to stick together.  The start of the game it was sunny, hot, humid, sticky.  A Florida weather special for the summertime. Will had his A game on and he went 6 strong innings - I am going to guess they had 2 hits (maybe 3) off of him and only one time did they have a runner on third base (and he struck out 2 guys to end the inning) - our bats started going in the first - leadoff guy got on, moved to 2nd on an error and I was up to bat, I grounded out to 2nd allowing him to gain third and then a base hit to score him - 1-0.  We scored three runs in the fourth to extend the lead to 4-0, scratched another in the 5th and added another 3 in the sixth - Roiger came in and finished the game as it ended on a game ending double play -- 8-0.  Very well played game - great job by the entire team - a wonderful pitching performance by big Will.

We ended up getting the 2 seed in our division and we matched up against the Yankees team for our final game (this was not the same team we played earlier in the week) - the game was definately low key and for some other teams it was survival of the fittest -- a couple teams bailed out due to lack of healthy players - we were lucky that we had most of our team in tact, just having one player not playing but we still had 12 strong.  I surprisingly got the nod for pitching so got into the bullpen to get as loose as I could - my legs were pretty much jello and didn't know how much my arm/legs could pitch.  The weather was another factor - but the big upside with this game -- no more games after it so I could basically throw it all out there and not have to worry about tomorrow ("Would if there is no tomorrow? There wasn't one today" --name that movie quote).  We were the home team so I went out to try to execute the plan of pitching - control, throw offspeed stuff, and try to figure out my curveball -- well two of out three worked really well -- throwing to my more than capable catchers, I pitched a very nice game - I always try to get my inner Jamie Moyer going and figured out how to keep those darn Yankees off the base paths -- I did a very good job through the first 3 innings not allowing any hits -- the first hit was in the 4th and he came around to score on a long double by a "Phillies" defector, but by then our offense provided some runs to give us a 4-1 lead by then.  We tacked on another 2 runs as we move to the top of the 6th inning.  I was thinking of going 4 innings, but pitch count was low, so went out for a fifth inning -- 6 pitches later we were in the dugout.  So I went out for the 6th inning looking for another quick one -- well I did well and got the first two batters out, striking out one of them on a masterful changeup (he was way out in front).  I had the next batter with a 1-2 count and couldn't finish him off and he gained first via a walk.  The next batter I had 0-2 -- the next pitch was slightly inside and it grazed his elbow and he gets on first -- a couple scratch hits and they score another.  The bases are loaded with 2 outs and I am kicking myself for not taking care of business with those batters I had with 2 strikes - I was able to induce a line drive to shortstop to get out of the jam.  We decided that 6 innings was certainly a good enough outing and LA came in to close it out - pop up to short, strikeout, and a final out of another strikeout to end the game.  Twins win 6-2.

A good week (not a great week) by the squad - we end up taking 3rd place (out of 8 teams) and finishing with a 4-2 record, It was somewhat disappointing but we certainly showed the other teams we are a team to be reckoned with and future teams with Twins jerseys will represent well in the future.

Thanks again for following along -- as always check out for info about the Twins Fantasy Camp (every year we play in January) and if you have questions about how much fun it is to play baseball -- feel free to email me at

To see cool pictures from the tournament -

Answer to name that movie quote - "Groundhog Day" -- one of my all time favorites......

~~ "You can observe a lot just by watching." - Yogi Berra ~~

Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday Double header

Going to make this post in more or less quick fashion - going to head over and see the Rays play at the Trop.

Twins played two games today -- Red Sox and the Phillies -- we were obviously hoping for a sweep so we can be in contention for the championship game to be played at the "big" field on Saturday night (under the lights) -- the Red Sox team we found out has some very good hitting and they started the day 2-0 - a loss would guarantee us not making it to the championship game - it was important.

Red Sox jumped on us early, striking for 3 runs in the first inning - I was feeling kind of bad as my defense was not very good - I didn't get a good read on a sky high pop up behind 2nd base - I was playing RF and if I would have been on my horse, that was my ball, the CF was shading toward left - then a play later I missed a cutoff man allowing the runner to advance to 2nd -- so I feeling a little bummed out about not making those routine plays -- I would soon not feel so bad about those "misplays" -- Red Sox tack on a few more runs and take a 6-0 lead into the bottom of the third, the Twins finally got their rally on as we loaded the bases with no outs - I went up to the plate and laced a nice line drive to RF - unfortunately it was right at the fielder - it ended up going as a Sac Fly and we plate our first run, but boy if that is left or right 10-12 feet, it would have rolled a long way.  We score two more to make 6-3 and seemingly things are looking good - a scoreless fourth inning both ways leads to a 5th inning -- well long story short a hit parade broke out and the Sox strike for 11 runs in all -- we didn't get any and the game is over by virtue of the 10 run rule -- 17-3.  They hit well - tip your cap.

Our 2nd game in the afternoon was against the Phillies - in talking with the first baseman, the Phillies won the Championship Series in 2013 (they beat the Red Sox) so it was fun to get that update - all the teams & players are really decent guys (except the Yankees, Red Sox, Mets..........).  We were the visiting team and scored a run to begin the game, I walked and came around on a base hit to make 1-0.  The Phillies got 2 in the bottom of the inning - a few base hits but nothing hit hard so the game was off and running - we scored a couple more runs in the third to make it 3-2 and they tied it up in the fourth to make it 3-3.  We head to the top of the sixth inning and the bats finally broke out - some timely walks to jam the bases up - but a couple of sharp hit balls and the Twins put up a nice crooked number -- in fact we scored 8.  We closed them down in the 6th and 7th and walked away with a 11-3 victory and a 2-2 record going into the last day -- our Division looks like this:

Red Sox 4-0
Twins 2-2
Mets (1)  2-2
Yankees (1)  1-3

A win tomorrow (we play at 11am) we secure a #2 seed and play the other division 2nd place team at 3pm -- a loss -- well we could be the 4 seed -- so let's win our 11am game (which will be played at Steinbrenner field) and leave town above .500!

Unofficial Hitting stats -- 4 for 7, 4 Runs, 2 BB, HBP, SF, 2 RBI
Unofficial Pitching - 4 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 3 K

~~ "You can observe a lot just by watching." - Yogi Berra ~~

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Bad Sources, Bad Baseball, and a Bad Comeback

Day 1 is in the books here at the fantasy camp championship series at the Yankee Complex in Tampa, FL.  This blogger needs to fix (update) his previous blog posting of leading off the game.  Sources had told me (and this source was rock solid.....) on Weds I would be my leadoff hitter -- so I tweeted and blogged about it -- didn't happen.  The good part is the first 4 pitches of the game were not even close, so I would have walked and more importantly taken the first pitch (like I thought I would).  The better part is I was hitting 2nd -- so to clear up the previous post.....

10 AM Game - So our game was against one of the Yankees teams (they have 2 of them here) and we were ready to play them tough, we had our ace on the mound, LA, and a bunch of "all-stars" ready to play.  It was probably close to 90 degrees at first pitch and 80% humidity (at least) so it was a hot and sticky one.  We were the home team so we went out in the field first -- my stomach was in knots -- it took me until the 3rd or 4th inning to 'feel better'.  Nerves sometimes get the best of you and in reality -- sometimes nerves are good - so go with it!  LA gets through the first inning without any problems and we go up looking to plate some runs and get a lead -- well the plan worked, a leadoff walk started off our inning and I worked a 2-1 count to lace a line drive to right center - DH (a very good runner) was able to trot around the bases and I checked up at 2B to put us up 1-0 - bam, very exciting - fist pumps ensued at 2nd base.  I later scored and we tacked on another 2 runs to make it 4-0.  LA is cruising along but in the 3rd and 4th innings - the heat and humidity started taking its toll.  LA was laboring out there - I was worried early because the umpire was calling a very small strike zone, so I felt bad for both pitchers having to make a lot more pitches than necessary -- but the small strike zone should be a whole another blog post!  We get to the top of the 6th and the game is still 4-0 - the Yankees pitcher settled in after the 3rd inning and was pitching well - I had two other AB's - ground out to third and pop up to 2nd as he did a nice job of making pitchers' pitches.  LA was more or less gassed at this point and walked a batter, a slow roller base hit, and a HBP got the bases loaded up - a single brought home two runs and that was it for LA -- 4-2, big Will came in to shut the door down on the inning but the Yankees got 2 more runs to tie the game at 4.  In the bottom of 6 we had a 1 out walk and he was doubled off on a very strange call - the umpire said our runner did not "re tag" at 2nd base (he was stealing 2nd, then realized the CF caught it, touched 2nd and turned around and went back to first) -- the Yankees successfully lobbied he rounded 2nd -- he didn't, I was watching him the whole way, but the ump bought the story and we are out of the inning as the Yankees threw the ball to 1st for the 3rd out of the inning.   The 7th inning for the Twins was worse than the 6th, the dust settled and the Yankees got 7 runs -- we went quietly in the bottom half and it was over -- a well pitched game by LA (Yankees ended up only having 4 hits off of him, nothing hard hit) but the heat took its toll (and the small strike zone) and he couldn't get through the 6th inning - we had the game but our hitters couldn't muster anything after the 1st inning either.

Game 2 was against the Mets - we were really disappointed with our game 1 loss, so the idea of going 0-2 was not going to hit our radar.  I was awarded the honor of starting game 2 - we were playing in the "Big Stadium" - George Steinbrenner Field so this was a treat, we were supposed to get our faces on the jumbotron and 'walk up' music for our AB's -- so looking forward to that.
A clean first inning was followed up by both teams scoring 2 runs in the 2nd - so end of 2 we were all tied up at 2-2.  I felt ok on the mound, my legs were a little like jello, but the clouds rolled in and we had a big fan in our dugout to keep me from overheating -- so that was nice.  We couldn't muster any runs in the top of the 3 and we moved to the bottom of the 3 - if I remember I walked the first guy (and maybe the 2nd guy) -- I really struggled with my control in this game, a smallish strike zone (both ways) didn't help - these umpires were calling a "non" fantasy camp type zones -- so that didn't help either -- but the inning was extended a number of times by some very poor defense (which was a big surprise -- one thing I thought this team would excel at was the defense) but runners advanced bases - sprinkle a hit in there - the Mets scored 4 runs after it was all said and done, making the game 6-2.  We scratched a run in the 4th, I started with a hit, and the Mets helped me get to 2nd, 3rd and home via throwing the ball away and finally a wild pitch and I scored to make it 6-3 - I was really 'gassed' after that running and luckily the guys kept the inning going but eventually leaving the bases loaded without any other runs scoring.  We chipped away scoring another run in the 5th inning to make it 6-4 - we decided on a pitching change so Roiger came in (Boomer as we call him, he can wear a Yankee jersey representing David Wells and it works....) - he had warmed up as I ran into a jam in the bottom of the 4th - but I struck out 2 guys to get out of it without giving up any runs so it was time to make a change - Roiger pitched well in the 5th and gave up a scratch run in the 6th -- of course we could not manufacture any runs, so we head to the top of 7th down by three -- 7-4.  McMacken led off the inning by skying a high pop up, but it was in the 'bermuda triangle' right behind the mound, the pitcher called for it but it was just out of his reach and found some green, so we had the leadoff guy on base.  We got a hit and a walk (along with an out) but the bases were loaded and LA came to the plate - LA might be our best overall hitter on the team, he hit a triple earlier in the game - unfortunately he popped out to 2nd and we had 2 outs.  A base hit by Andy scored 2 runs and the Twins are in business - 7-6 now.  A passed ball advanced runners to 2nd and 3rd and Eric ripped a line drive single into RF to score those runners -- BOOM - Twins have the lead 8-7.  We go to the bottom of the 7th and Roiger shut them down -- 1, 2, 3 and the Twins got the win - going 1-1 was not in the plan, but much better than 2-0.

Here are some pictures from Day 1:

Field by George

Jumbotron Johnny - long hair and muscle shirt

I slid into home and dragged my elbow

We play the Red Sox at 10:00am and the Phillies at 1:00 pm -- winning 2 games would get us back on track to be playing under the lights at George Steinbrenner Field on Saturday evening.

The hot tub calls tomorrow morning and the cold tub will be calling post game....

~~ "You can observe a lot just by watching." - Yogi Berra ~~

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Games start tomorrow - All Star edition

The Twins will be playing two games tomorrow -- 10am and 1pm -- we will play 7 innings and for the most part it will be full rules baseball (only modification is each team will have 5 stolen base attempts and I believe no reaching home base on a passed ball/wild pitch) but otherwise we will play by all the rules (not any adjusted rules like the normal fantasy camp) -- our first game at 10am will be against the Yankees -- how fitting is that, and I was informed by our manager that I will be the leadoff hitter for this game -- holy sh!t!  Really?  Me leading off the game against the Yankees at the Yankee spring training facility wearing a Twins jersey -- get out of town!  So this guy get the honor of doing a Joe Mauer and taking the first pitch -- now I know @sorney would not agree with my idea of flat out saying I am going to take the first pitch -- but I would say with confidence (at least 90%) that is what will happen -- the only scenario where I envision me swinging would be if the pitcher does not have a dominating fastball in warm ups and he throws this pitch right down broadway and about belt high -- otherwise I will be taking.  I will keep you posted!
Our 2nd game (starting at around 1pm) will be against the Mets -- wow good times.

I will probably be live tweeting updates as I can -- we have a great group of guys and honored to get to play with them -- I will guarantee one thing - I will have a fun time this week!

Play ball!

~~ "You can observe a lot just by watching." - Yogi Berra ~~

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

This week in Baseball - All-Star style live from Tampa, FL

Well this week brings a new baseball adventure - it's going to be sweaty and it's going to be fun. This baseball adventure takes me to Tampa, FL at the Yankees Spring Training facility - the "All-Star Twins Fantasy Camp" team will be playing against other all-star fantasy camp teams. They include the Yankees, Mets, Phillies, Pirates, and the Red Sox a total of 8 teams (Yankees and Mets brought 2 teams) in all in a 5 game "pool play" and a final 6th game championship (and match ups based on divisional seeding - 2 divisions of 4 teams). Our team will be constructed of many guys who I have never played with during the Twins Fantasy Camp in January -- so a different feel indeed. The sweaty part of the adventure comes into play as the forecast shows 90 degrees all week here and it's Florida so call it humid and it will be a chore to stay cool and hydrated. We will play 2 games on Thursday & Friday and another game in the morning on Saturday. The Championship game will be played under the lights on Saturday evening. That is the goal! You can follow along via the Facebook Page - Steinbrenner Field Championship Series The "Championship Series" is interesting as it serves as a fundraiser for the Yankee Foundation - so nice to know that a portion of my player fee will be doled out into the local community. We (the players) will have full clubhouse amenities (laundry, lockers, trainers) and we even brought our favorite "Twins" massage therapist Kelly Quist (she does massage in MN check out her website - and has been catering to 'real' Twins players in the past and present). I have had some conversations with my fellow teammates and we are all very pumped up to join forces and see what we can do against other fantasy camps teams. We will have a practice on Weds at 4pm - I wonder how long we will be out there as the promised 90's and muggy weather will be greeting us with a smile. I am looking forward to playing in another MLB facility and enjoying a few days of baseball and fellowship with a bunch of great guys.
Follow along with the blog and my twitter feed this week -- -- for in game updates (No Kangaroo Court as far as I know -- stick it Bert no fining me this week) and game recaps and of course general ranting.

I would love to rant about my favorite MLB team - but they are showing us that Gardy was indeed a decent manager because his Twins never started 1-6 and Paul Molitor has a tough road ahead of him -- the cool part is this putrid Twins squad will get my #BringUpBuxton hashtag trending on twitter in no time -- so do me a favor and tweet out my newly created hashtag I made up last week (it's not like I copyrighted it or anything).
Here's to a week of having walk up music before my AB's, my pale white mug on the Jumbotron, and toting my MN Twins jersey (Home and Away) for another round of baseball - um, yes, life is pretty good (Thank you wife Tanya for not vetoing this idea of mine)....

"Kramer goes to a fantasy camp. His whole life is a fantasy camp."  -- George Constanza

~~ "You can observe a lot just by watching." - Yogi Berra ~~