Entries by: Bryce Richardson

The Sweep Taste of Defeat: The 0-7 Minnesota Twins

Written by :
Published on : April 12, 2016

 

 

Author’s Note: I wrote this after we got swept by the Orioles, but it mostly holds true, added commentary after getting swept by the Royals and a loss yesterday to the White Sox in italics.

 

 

The Twins are again staring down the barrel of having the worst opening record in baseball for the second year in a row (only the Braves losing today will keep us neck and neck in a fight for last place), but being a Minnesota sports fan requires being a perennial optimist even in the face of heartbreaking defeat (see: 2015-16 NFC WildCard Game) and I’m, strangely, more hopeful about this year than I was last year.

 

 

So let’s start with the bad so far:

 

If we can’t beat the Orioles, we’re gonna have a bad time

 

Baltimore does have a lineup that hits homeruns, and that was the difference-maker in every one of the three opening games that we lost to them. However, as the saying goes, it takes two to tango. Would we have won Monday’s game if they hadn’t completely botched the rain delay and given both starters only two innings apiece? Maybe, I’m still hopeful that Ervin Santana can be as close to an ace as we have on the Twins, but we have to own up to the fact that Kyle Gibson looked flat out bad during his start and even though Phil Hughes was lights out through 40 pitches, the wheels started coming off the rails after that. In addition, our next two starters, Tommy Milone and Ricky Nolasco don’t show much promise either.

 

Milone showed signs of being a guy who can paint corners last year but his velocity has never been great and when his control is off guys jump all over him. Nolasco who has never had an ERA under 5 since he’s been with the Twins, and his 4 year/$49Million contract just make me want to curl up in the corner and cry. Our bullpen doesn’t look much better. Glen Perkins has yet to return to All Star closer form. Jepsen, who looked damn good last year as a setup man gave up a game-losing homer last night and Casey Fien is a bum and no one will ever convince me otherwise.

 

Yeah, we also got swept by the Royals, but they won the World Series last year so…

 

Where’s the beef?

Miguel Sano

 

On the offensive side, we’re looking anemic. We’ve scored two runs per game in every game so far this year. We’re basically the Leroy Hoard of baseball right now. (For those out of the loop, Hoard was the backup to Vikings’ legendary running back Robert Smith who famously said, “Coach, if you need one yard, I’ll get you three yards, if you need five yards, I’ll get you three yards.”) Our sluggers who we have counted on to produce have been pretty lackluster so far. Guys like Miguel Sano and Brian Dozier have looked pretty stymied at the plate, Dozier, who lead the team in HRs last year, went totally hitless in the first series. If we want to start winning, we’re going to need solid at bats from everyone in our lineup, especially guys like Dozier and Sano.

 

Yep. This just got worse after the first series. Beyond not having good hitting, we are striking out WAY too much. Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton and Byung-Ho Park all have 11 Ks in 19 ABs. That, combined with no power when we DO get hits is a game killer.

 

But, dear readers, it’s not all gloom and doom, there are some bright spots!

 

Taking the D-Train

 

Twins defense has a ton of potential. The oldest player in our starting outfield is Eddie Rosario who is 24 and he hit the most triples IN THE MLB last year despite the fact that he didn’t get called up until May, plus he has a serious cannon. Then you have Byron Buxton, still technically a rookie this year although he played a significant amount of time last year. Buxton has already made several highlight-reel plays so far this year and is one of the fastest center fielders I’ve ever seen. Miguel Sano, who hit 18 homers and racked up 52 RBIs in just 80 games last year while mostly DHing, has been moved out to right field to keep him in the everyday lineup. There were concerns about his ability to play outfield at all as Sano came up as a third baseman, and there have been a few hiccups along the way so far, but Sano worked with former Twins outfield great Torii Hunter this offseason to get his ducks in a row and he’s made some pretty killer grabs already.

 

Add to that Danny Santana who can literally play any position on the field other than catcher or pitcher, and solid starters at every infield position including All-Star second baseman Brian Dozier and Eduardo Escobar who may actually be the Twins solution at Short which has been a nagging issue for us over the last decade. I’m not sure what this feeling is but I think it’s the absence of terror when you look at the field and no-one on the field is a stopgap player who wouldn’t make most teams’ AAA roster. Feels good man.

 

Danny Santana pulled his hamstring in KC. Eduardo Escobar has committed 3 of the team’s 4 errors since I wrote this. So. You know…

 

Hits Not Unusual to be Loved by Anyone

 

While some of the guys we were relying on to get hits have yet to put good wood on the ball so far this season (yeah I said it) some of the guys we weren’t expecting to hit well have been getting it figured out. The jury’s still out on Byron Buxton who was atrocious at the plate in 2015 and spring training but banged two doubles in a row on Wednesday night. Danny Santana who actually got sent down to AAA because he looked like he was going to poop his pants and cry during every one of his at bats in 2015 is not only hitting the ball well but also nailed maybe one of the most perfect bunts I’ve seen in a long time.

 

Joe Mauer, who, admittedly, had his bell rung a few too many times when he was catching for the Twins, looked like he was trying to see the ball through a couple thirteen-fourteen bong rips last year, so far this year he’s looked pretty sharp and even cracked a home run during the last game of the series. The Twins also added Korean superstar Byung-ho Park (please no Cornholio jokes, even if for a while we thought we were going to trade away our third baseman, Trevor Plouffe, aka TP for our Byung-ho) who looks solid at the plate and last year set the Korean League all-time record for home runs in a season.

 

Buxton is terrible, BHP is terrible, Eduardo Nunez went 4 for 4 in our crippling loss to KC on Saturday and then got hit by a pitch right in his god damned wrist in his 5th at bat. So. You know...

 

 

There are few bright spots in our pitching game so far, non-roster invitee Fernando Abad has looked solid, Ryan Pressley has thrown surprisingly well so far, we still have yet to see what Ervin Santana can do in a full game and Kyle Gibson usually has the yips for his first game or so and then remembers that he has a brutal slider and dominates. However, I’m confident that this team is going to gel, we’re going to bring that Paul-Molitor-stubborn-bastard-ness to this season and start frustrating teams and winning games. The Minnesota Piranhas are going to make a comeback this year, and teams aren’t going to know what hit them until they’re underwater and chewed to the bone.

 

This mostly stands, Pressley looks okay but the rest of our bullpen is probably making him look that way as they are all pitching like they’ve never seen a baseball before. That said, this gif while Pressley was on the mound I think perfectly encapsulates how I feel about this season so far, just a lone garbage tumbleweed drifting across the mound as Pressley pounds one into the dirt.

 

 

 

How I feel.

 

 

But until next time, like the song says, “Cheer For The Minnesota Twins To-Day!”

 

 


ScoreBoredSports NFL Staff Picks: Week 7

Written by :
Published on : October 21, 2015

 

 

We’re almost to the halfway point of the season. My Vikes so far have a winning record and I’m hoping we’re going to keep it that way, much to the dismay of most of the rest of the ScoreBored writers who are all dirty, dirty Lions fans.

 

So here are our staff picks for this week. A couple of interesting notes: Bills/Jags is on at 6:30AM Pacific because it is being held in London, so that’s weird, I guess I just get to start day-drinking REALLY early on Sunday. Also my adoptive city’s Raiders are coming off a bye into a game against their Cali rivals the Chargers who came so damn close to beating the Packers, so that’ll probably be an interesting matchup, too.

 

Week 7

 

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

 

 


I named my band after a sports thing.

Written by :
Published on : September 28, 2015

 

A friend of mine recently turned me on to a jangly indie rock outfit from Ohio that goes by the (I’m assuming) fairly tongue-in-cheek moniker of SPORTS. It did get me thinking about a phenomenon I’ve noticed more and more as I’ve grown older. Namely, the topic of conversation has shifted from basement shows, amps and the pains of DIY tours to baseball scores, cursing our starting rotation and whether or not Teddy Bridgewater is the real deal.

 

I think you can chalk up a lot of this to me not staying as punk as 17 year old me would have hoped, but I think there’s something innately similar between watching sports and watching punk shows. There’s a feeling of belonging, of history and a tradition and of constantly believing in the underdog.

 

With that said, it’s also funny to name your band after a sports thing. I personally have named two of my bands in this fashion, one being my highschool folk-punk band “Gramatica!”, named after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Argentinian placekicker, Martin Gramatica. He led them to a 48-21 rout of the Oakland Raiders in the Super Bowl my senior year of highschool. The other being “NHL,” an oft-dormant 80s-hardcore band that I play in from time to time with members of Apocalypse Meow and Tower. We’ve decided that NHL actually stands for “Nine Hundred Lions” or “Nude Harold Lloyd” depending on the day, how much we’ve been drinking and what kind of pizza we ate for dinner.

 

So, in order to not feel so alone in this cold and desolate world, I went out and tracked down some other bands who wear their love of sports on their sleeves:

 

Edhochuli

It sounds like it might be a disease, or maybe one of the weird Latin names that dudes in Norwegian black metal bands give to themselves, is actually the name of everyone’s favorite super-buff football referee, Ed Hochuli. Edhochuli the band is from Pittsburgh and make riffy, screamy hardcore with pretty tight names like, “Pizza Party at the Castle (We Totally Won)” and “Sir, I’ve Been Observing You for Five Minutes and You Have Yet to Say ‘Whoo!’ Once.”

 

 

Ten Yard Fight

These Bostonian knuckleheads are partly responsible for one of the weirdest subgenres in hardcore. Tuff guy straightedge is equally known for shout-along breakdowns and horrible guitar tone as it is for guys wearing workout gear and pumping iron before they go on. What does it have to do with sports? Ten Yard Fight was also the name of an early NES football game and they would rock football gear on stage.

 

 

American Football
Complex and vaguely mopey emo from Champaign-Urbana, I’ve always thought it was fitting that the guys called their band “American Football” and not just “Football.” “Oh, you mean American Football?” They were one of my favorite bands in highschool and I still dust off their self-titled record when I’m feeling gloomy on a sunny autumn day. The venn diagram of fans of American Football and fans of the NFL has got to be pretty small.

 

 

Modern Baseball

Another emo group, this one more recent. I gotta admit, this band has some serious hooks. Open-chord, girlfriend-going-off-to-college pop punk, plus the drummer sings sometimes, which I’ve always enjoyed. I think this band would’ve been right up there for me if they had existed when I was 17 years old.

 

 

Dikembe

What’s with emo bands and sports names? I had admittedly never heard of this band until I started writing this piece. Kinda noisy emo with noodly guitars and half yelled/half sung lyrics. From the punk hotspot of Gainesville, Florida they took on the moniker of Congolese NBA great, Dikembe Mutombo (fun fact, Dikembe Mutombo’s full name is: Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo, thanks Wikipedia!) and they also have a record called “Chicago Bowls” on which all of the song titles are the names of 90s Bulls players made into weed puns like, “Scottie Spliffen” “Luc Bongley” and “Tony Kukush” which is pretty damn tight if you ask me. I think they just missed, “Dankness Rodman.”

 

 

Overmars

I actually toured with this French doom and gloom outfit on their US run in 2009. They are all a bunch of sweethearts and really loved drinking Southern Comfort, smoking cigarettes and getting into trouble. Their name comes from the Dutch soccer player, Marc Overmars who played for Arsenal and Barcelona in the late 90s/early 2000s. Speaking of Dutch soccer players who would make great band names, how come nobody has named a band “Eden Hazard” yet?

 

There are a whole host of other sports band names, most of which are more obvious, like Nickelback, Yellowcard, Fastball and The Outfield but I figure you’ve probably already heard of them and don’t need me to tell you anymore.

I also was thinking about how good a name “Diamond Dust” (the substance used to keep baseball diamonds dry so they don’t get muddy during games) would be for some kind of space-y disco punk band, and then I found out that there is a band from Vancouver of all places who has already nailed down that moniker. Their guitar player’s name is Craig “Riffer” Hare which is about the coolest Dude-In-A-Canadian-Rock-Band name I can think of, so I guess we’d better lay off.

 

 


Terrible Baseball Walk Up Songs

Written by :
Published on : August 11, 2015

 

My favorite human equivalent to a slice of white bread, Joe Mauer, has been walking up to the plate to, “What You Know” by T.I. since I can remember. He may or may not have been carted into the hospital nursery on the day he was born, sideburns and all, to the song. I’ve always suspected he never changed his song because he legitimately doesn’t ever listen to music, setting his mind to loftier goals like figuring out, “What is milk made out of?” and “Which pair of sunglasses should I wear today?”

 

But it could also be an “ain’t broke/don’t fix it” situation. After all, the guy has gone to the All Star Game six times, won three AL batting titles and an AL MVP award all to the dulcet tones of a tune penned by a guy who is probably most well-known for his terminal inability to stay out of jail.

In any case, many players are still trying to find a walk up song that reaches the rarified heights of Mariano Rivera walking out to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”, Carlos Ruiz stepping up to the plate to the atmospheric drum solo that kicks off, “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins or Prince Fielder just straight up walking up to an air raid siren. If you’re in the market for a new song, here are a few tunes you may want to avoid:

 

Needle in the Hay – Elliott Smith

I can’t think of a worse song to walk up to than the tune that soundtracked Richie’s morose attempted suicide scene in The Royal Tenenbaums.

 

 

The entirety of Dopesmoker – Sleep

Baseball games have always caught flak for being too long. Walking up to Sleep’s one hour and three minute stoner epic about aliens who live on a desert planet and can only breathe weed smoke might just be a hair too long for most audiences.

 

 

Screaming Infidelities – Dashboard Confessional

“Your Hair Is Everywhere” yowls Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba on this overwrought emo sob-fest. I guess the only time this would be acceptable is if Coco Crisp grew out his wacky fro and got some nautical star tattoos. Come to think of it, Coco Crisp and Chris Carrabba share the same initials and I’ve never seen them in the same place, at the same time…coincidence?

 

 

Pretty Fly for a White Guy – Offspring

Perhaps the only song on this list that MIGHT have really been used as a walk up song at some point. Not only is this song about a guy who is the worst, but it is also sung by a guy who is actually the worst.

 

 

Amber– 311

Actually, any song by 311. Let’s just leave it at that.

 

 

Summer Breeze – Seals and Crofts

The center of the Venn Diagram that includes “baseball” and “Seals and Crofts” is limited to “fans who wear pleated shorts”, “summertime” and “lukewarm wieners” for some reason… That’s about where the similarities end between our national pastime and this milquetoast anthem to the middle of the road.

 

 

My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion

Hunter Pence walks up to “Circle of Life” by Elton John, Josh Reddick walks up to “Careless Whisper” by Wham!, I guess this would work, but only if you play on a team in the Bay Area. I heard Danny Valencia needs new walk up music.

 

 

Big Sean – Dance (A$$)

While this would absolutely be the tightest walk up music, especially when it goes, “Stop. Now make that motherfucker hammertime.” However, I don’t think that the powers-that-be in the Commissioner’s Office would be on board.

 

 

Dillinger Escape Plan – Calculating Infinity

Fans generally want something that is either a) recognizable or b) has a good riff/backbeat. Dillinger Escape Plan’s brutal math-metal antics don’t really fit either of those criteria, however I would have mad respect for a dude who used this song as his walk up tune.

 

 

Are You Ready for Some Football? – Hank Williams, Jr.

Come to think of it. This would actually be kind of amazing. I’m for it.

 

 

Obviously, this is by no means a comprehensive list of terrible walk up music. What did I miss? Let me know in the comments.

 


Six Ways to Deal with Being Let Down by your Baseball Team

Written by :
Published on : August 7, 2015

Well, here we are. Early August and the Minnesota Twins are set to break my heart again. This is a team that lost 6 out of their first 7 games, including losing 12-3 at the home opener, then bounced back for a sweet, fleeting moment to have the best record in the AL in July. Now, in the back-end of the season, they’re chipping away one loss at a time toward the .500 mark and the depths that await beyond.

 

As a Minnesota sports fan, I’ve gotten used to crushing disappointment. The Vikings’ last-moment loss to the Falcons in 1998 in the playoffs after winning 15 games in the regular season, the second-highest post-season losing streak in MLB history (which is currently active and, assuming we get to the post-season this year, could launch us into the number one spot as we are only one game away from first place etc. etc. boo hoo yadda yadda.)

 

 

To misquote Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s rumination on the nature of being Irish after the death of JFK, “I don’t think there’s any point in being a Minnesota sports fan if you don’t know that the world is going to break your heart eventually.” What’s my point? Over the last 30 years of triumph and tragedy (mostly tragedy), I’ve developed some coping mechanisms for when it all comes crashing back to earth. So here are six ways to deal with being let down by your baseball team.

 

1) Think about how stupid the other team is.

Josh Donaldson is a big, fat crybaby. Every time he strikes out he whines to the umpire, even if he struck out swinging. Alejandro Rodriguez looks like Mickey Rourke from The Wrestler had a baby with John Leguizamo. How much of the Yankees’ bullpen could fit into one pair of CC Sabathia’s pants? There’s no end to the stupidity of whatever team your team is playing against, even and perhaps especially if they’re winning. Give it a shot. It’s fun.

 

 

2) Remember that this is a building year.

Basically any year when you don’t get deep into the playoffs can always be written off as a building year. The only time when this doesn’t apply is when your team sells the farm for some big names only to fizzle-out mere months later (I know this to be the case because I live in Oakland where A’s fans are bitching pretty hard about this right now). There’s always next year, keep your head up.

 

 

3) Drink.

This one may seem obvious. That doesn’t make it any less effective. Drinking and kibitzing about baseball (or sports in general) is a time-honored tradition. Legend has it that beer was actually invented so some Mesopotamian dudes could hang out in a (literal) Man Cave and complain about the astronomical ERA of a Sumerian southpaw named Grong.

 

4) Watch YouTube videos of times when your team was good.

The Internet has revolutionized the art of wallowing in your own misery. From Facebook stalking ex-girlfriends to saying mean things to celebrities on Twitter, the Internet has a veritable cornucopia of tools you can use to grovel in the basement of despair. Watch some Randy Moss highlights, maybe relive Game 163 (which happened on my 25th birthday).

 

 

5) Drink some more.

Once you’re getting deep into the season and it’s starting to look bleak, it might be time to bust out ol’ grandpappy’s cough medicine and take a few slugs. Ahhh the soothing comfort of whiskey.

 

6) Remember that football season is right around the corner.

When every new day dawns, we’re one step closer to football season; another four months of opportunities for disappointment! Huzzah! I heard that Teddy Bridgewater guy is looking pretty good though, and this is going to be the year that Cordarrelle Patterson learns how to run a route, I just know it!

 

 

I hope this has been useful (specifically looking at my Tigers and A’s boys right now) and don’t forget, tomorrow’s another day, keep ya head up.

 

 


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