Watching the shadow of Griffey

He might not be what he once was, but it sure is nice to see Ken Griffey Jr. back on a baseball field wearing a Seattle Mariners uniform.

Matt Klaassen over at FanGraphs had a good post titled, "The Dead Who Walk Among Us." He points out certain well-past-their-prime star players who are not even close to playing at the talent level they used to be at.

Griffey is one of the players that Klaassen points out. Not sure why Griffey keeps playing. You can say everyone plays for the money, but Griffey has made plenty of money. An extra million or two this year is merely a drop in the bucket for Junior.

It’s possible a guy like that simply keeps playing because he loves playing. I’m sure he knows his legacy isn’t enhanced by sticking around. Maybe he just really likes the camaraderie of a major league clubhouse. Maybe the feeling of still playing in the big leagues makes him feel young. Or maybe it’s nice to just be wanted.

Whatever the case, I’m glad to see Griffey’s back for another season.

Speaking of Griffey, I recently purchased his iconic 1989 Upper Deck rookie card. I’m not much of a baseball card collector anymore, but considering he’s one of my favorite players, I’m surprised I didn’t already have it. I wish I would have picked it up 20 or so years ago. Would have been a tad cheaper.

Some afternoon links

A few of the interesting reads I came across today:

  • Dave Cameron of FanGraphs disputes the poor Vegas odds the Twins are opening with. I have to agree with him. How can the Twins be projected to do worse than last year? Not saying it couldn’t happen. Obviously, Joe Mauer and Michael Cuddyer could regress, but what about the awful pitching and infield play from Alexi Casilla and Nick Punto last year? There’s just as good of chance the Twins get production from those spots.
  • Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes that Twins manager Ron Gardenhire isn’t going anywhere. Not a big surprise.
  • KARE 11 TV in the Twin Cities has a story on Twins mega-prospect Miguel Angel Sano and his life in the Dominican Republic. Pretty interesting piece.

Canada squad takes party to the ice

Finally, fans of the Olympics got a women’s hockey game worth watching.

Unfortunately, the behavior afterwards was jaw-dropping.

Canada defeated the USA in the gold-medal game of women’s hockey Thursday 2-0. Canada’s goalie played a great game, just a tad better than the USA netminder.

About an hour after the game was when things really got interesting.

Canada players returned to the ice drinking beer and champagne and smoking cigars. One report said a Canada player tried to drive the Zamboni around the ice while her teammates were getting their pictures taken with bottles of champagne and beer in their hands.

Steve Keough, a spokesman for the Canadian Olympic Committee, told the Associated Press that the COC didn’t provide the booze. He said of the party: "In terms of the actual celebration, it’s not exactly something uncommon in Canada."

Maybe it’s not. I guess it’s just not something I’m used to seeing. You don’t see Kim Yu-Na pounding beers after winning a figure skating competition. I’m not naive enough to think college-aged hockey players don’t get together and drink after games, but to do it at center ice on an Olympic rink is quite another matter.

And apparently it wasn’t just players that were taking pictures of each other. The Associated Press had a photographer there as well. Take a look at these shots.

The IOC is investigating.

Canada Haley Irwin, left, and Tessa Bonhomme, right, celebrate after Canada beat USA 2-0 to win the women’s gold medal ice hockey game at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia on Thursday. Associated Press

Canada’s Meghan Agosta smokes a cigar after Canada beat USA 2-0 to win the women’s gold medal ice hockey game at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Thursday. Associated Press

Thabeet being sent to Bismarck

Hasheem Thabeet – the No. 2 overall pick in this past year’s NBA draft – is being sent to Bismarck’s Dakota Wizards of the NBA’s Developmental League.

Thabeet has played 50 games with the Memphis Grizzlies this season, averaging 2.5 points and 2.9 rebounds per game.

The 7-foot-3 center from UConn is quite an interesting addition to the Wizards roster. Too bad the Wizards aren’t still playing against the Fargo-Moorhead Beez.

Twins link-o-rama

Here’s some links to Minnesota Twins stories I found interesting:

Finally, take a look at the main story on Yahoo below. See the second link to know what it’s about.

Twins say bye-bye to Dome Dogs

It’s official. The Dome Dog is dead.

The Minnesota Twins and Hormel – makers of the Dome Dog – have parted ways, it was announced Wednesday.

The Twins are ditching the enclosed Metrodome in favor of Target Field this year, and now the food that carried the old building’s namesake won’t be following the team to its outdoor venue.

Kind of sad. I know I blogged about it before and many people argued Dome Dogs were terrible. Are they good as Comiskey Dogs? Definitely not. But eating a Dome Dog was just one of those things I did every time I went to the Dome.

On the radio today

I’m making my weekly Wednesday appearance on "Sports Talk" from 1-2 p.m. on WDAY 970-AM.

Today we’ll be talking about The Summit League and UND remaining apart for another year, and we’ll also discuss the upcoming USA men’s and women’s hockey games.

Call in to the show at 293-9000 or (800) 279-9329 or e-mail

Breaking down the kids

Aaron Hicks remains the creme de la creme of Minnesota Twins prospects.

That’s according to Minnesota Twins blogger Aaron Gleeman and Baseball America.

BA published its list of baseball’s top 100 prospects. You’ll find a number of Twins players listed.

Gleeman polished off his list of the Twins top 40 prospects in the above link. Gleeman goes with the OF Hicks, RHP Kyle Gibson, C Wilson Ramos, SS Miguel Angel Sano and OF Ben Revere in the top five in that order.

The next five are OF Angel Morales, RHP David Bromberg, 3B Danny Valencia, LHP Matthew Bashore, and RHP Billy Bullock.

As you can see, the Twins have quite a few good young outfielders. Morales is an intriguing prospect that kind of gets lost in the shuffle with Hicks and Revere getting most of the publicity. But Morales will be just 20 years old this year, and he’s shown a nice blend of power and speed in the lower levels.

The Twins have done a nice job over the last couple of years of replenishing their farm system with good prospects. Even if these guys don’t develop, they still provide valuable assets for the team should it want to make a trade.

Gardenhire in midseason form

There can’t be too many managers in baseball who loves busting their players’ chops more than Minnesota Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire.

Found a pretty funny story on Yahoo’s baseball blog about Gardenhire and first baseman Justin Morneau exchanging text messages after the U.S. upset Canada in men’s hockey on Sunday night.

Morneau really sounds like he’s taking it hard. Some of the text message was not printable, apparently.

If you scroll down toward the end of this story, you’ll find Gardenhire and outfielder Delmon Young sharing a laugh, which is always good to see.

This is the kind of news that comes out spring training.

Young reported to camp about 30 pounds lighter than he was last year. After Gardy chided him about it, he said he lost the weight because starting pitcher Carl Pavano was back on the team, so he’d need to be able to chase down those warning-track fly balls.

Gardy approved of the joke. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind seeing Young come out of his shell this year, both in the clubhouse and on the field.

Finally,if you scroll toward the bottom of this story, there’s a short write-up on new Twins shortstop J.J. Hardy.

I was kind of confused about the line that said fans should expect Gardy to eventually bench Hardy, but if you look at the comments, the writer explains he was just making a joke because unlike Nick Punto and Jason Bartlett (the Twins version of Bartlett), Hardy’s value isn’t 90 percent dependent on his defense.

I guess it’s too early in the morning for jokes like that for me today.