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Full Tilt Failure!: My Baseball Story.

Whiffle ball led off my failed experiment at playing baseball. We owned two thin yellow whiffle ball bats and two big fat red bats. We hacked away with the yellow bats and eventually, after spinning around on strikeout after strikeout, someone would stomp into the garage and grab Big Red. It was the only way we could get a hit.   This was country ball. There were never many of us, so pitcher's hand rules went into effect. Bases were usually leaves, sticks, or scratched out portions of dust. Game

Axel Kohagen

Axel Kohagen

Opening Day Mindset

Baseball returns, and the internet trembles.   The devout among us spend our days filling our brains with bucketfuls of thoughts. When presented with a keyboard, we pour these thoughts into various molds and send them out into the world.   We find others who agree with our world views and we build ideas about why the ball moves the way it does. We create grids. We build structure. We invent games to prove we understand baseball better than baseball does.   We think we own this game that has li

Axel Kohagen

Axel Kohagen

Red-Seamed, Rose-Colored, Heart-Shaped Glasses.

Bummed Darin Mastroianni got sent to minor league camp. My unpleasant mood has nothing to do with strategy or intellect. I am bummed because my friends who got autographs from him said he was a great guy. Mostly, I am bummed because I liked to pretend he was secretly a stubbly private investigator in a lesser known horror film directed by Dario Argento.   Baseball, appreciated from the keen and reasoned eye of a scientific scholar, moves like a beautiful piece of clockwork machinery. I admire t

Axel Kohagen

Axel Kohagen

Spirit of a Ballplayer, Flesh Like Anyone Else.

"Then the boy saw all— Since he was old enough to know, big boy Doing a man’s work, though a child at heart—" - Robert Frost   Got the Sano news via phone notification as I got out of bed, and the grayness hung in the air like it saw this one coming.   Flesh fails us all, but it is not supposed to crap out on a young physical wonder standing in the wings, moments away from his MLB debut. In January, Sano drew long lines of fans at Twinsfest. Now he begins a long road toward rebuilding his body

Axel Kohagen

Axel Kohagen

The Hoosecows - The Midwest's Top Prospect?

Just bought my 2014 Twins Daily Offseason Handbook, and I started thinking my baseball thriller The Hoosecows, written with Roy C. Booth, is a prospect to watch in its own right.   If you're a Twins fan, the joy of watching prospects mature is going to be a big part of your 2014 experience. Sano, Buxton, Meyer . . . What could be more exciting than supporting a future superstar before they slip into a big league uniform?   Now, I'd like to offer you a chance to dial into another prospect. The H

Axel Kohagen

Axel Kohagen

People Forget Casey Struck Out (Twins versus Indians - Games 159-162)

Headaches, Old and New (Twins 5 Indians 6 - Game 159)   A busy day ended with a headache and an early trip to bed, like I was a starting pitcher getting the hook.   It occurred to me, annoyed by pain as I was, that I might be lucking out. After all, I had a reason not to pay attention to baseball.   Grinding out the last few months of recaps has reminded me baseball really only has a few stories. The dominating conquerors. The wily Cinderellas. The damned losers.   I feel like the Twins haven't

Axel Kohagen

Axel Kohagen

A Season Blank and Pitiless as the Sun (Twins versus Tigers - Games 156-158)

Look Upon Mauer and Tremble (Twins 4 Tigers 3-- Game 156)   Mauer's out for the season, like we all knew he would be. Concussion City gains a new resident. And this Pinto kid seems like he's ready to play some catcher. People wonder if Mauer can come back to put on the tools of ignorance. People wonder if Mauer can come back at all.   The M and M boys are gone, leaving Target Field empty like a Halloween candy bowl. Mauer seems likely to be back in some way, shape, or form. Morneau's probably go

Axel Kohagen

Axel Kohagen

Mean Routine (Twins at As - Games 152-155)

Memory Lane Trips (Twins 6 As 8 -- Game 152)   In 2006, I watched Boof Bonser take the mound against the Oakland As. I was close to Torii Hunter when he tripped up and misplayed a ball. I watched a good season end.   Now the As are looking pretty good and the Twins are collapsing their way to 90+ losses. Again. Third time in a row.   Nighttime is getting dark, and these games are just little tombstones in a season so forgettable you couldn't describe it by mentioning proud moments from actual ga

Axel Kohagen

Axel Kohagen

(Twins at White Sox -- Games 149-151

Cool Breeze, Eyes Closed (Twins 1 White Sox 12 - Game 149)   After getting our house Halloween ready the night before, I came home to a perfectly decorated house. The smell of fall blew through the windows and hung in the air.   It covered the stench of what Liam Hendriks was doing on the mound in Chicago. The Great Dane agreed with me.   If anyone's excited to see the Twins lose, it's Stella the Great Dane. She was traumatized when I jumped up and stomped around the living room after Kubel wo

Axel Kohagen

Axel Kohagen

Fall Guys (Twins versus Rays -- Games 146-148)

Voorhees: A True Dynasty (Twins 0 Rays 3-- Game 146)   On this Friday the 13th, I regret choosing Friday the 13th Part VIII - Jason Takes Manhattan as the film I watched. Jason Voorhees may be unkillable, but this lame hodge-podge of maritime hijinks and flimsy backstories sure signaled a sign this franchise had seen better days.   The Twins, another franchise that's seen better days, got blanked. If I had cable, I'd have been just as bored watching them as I was watching a guy in a hockey mask

Axel Kohagen

Axel Kohagen

This Fan Ain't No Good (Twins vs As -- Games 143-145)

Swarzak Attack (Twins 4 As 3 - Game 143)   You'd have a tough time coming up with a cooler success story for the Twins than the tale of Anthony Swarzak. Dude got injured rough-housing at Twins Fest and put himself out of commission for while. It seemed like one more reason to end up in Gardy's dog house, and an embarrassing way to escort yourself off of a major league roster.   Now it's September, and he's a success story. Maybe we should all start believing in the existence of the Sasquatch, hu

Axel Kohagen

Axel Kohagen

Angels with the Scabbed Wings (Twins versus Angels - Game 142)

A Pop-In (Twins 6 Angels 3 - Game 142)   Make-up games fit perfectly into Minnesotan living. If we're not winterizing something we're complaining about the electric bill from running the AC. We're always paying down the interest on past due weather expenses, so our baseball team might as well, too.   Amidst summer's last hissy fit, the Twins came to play. They won 6-3 and kept Glen Perkins' status as The Last Twin With Something To Smile About intact.   Pinto seems kinda nifty, and Presley has m

Axel Kohagen

Axel Kohagen

The Great Blogsby (Twins versus Blue Jays - Games 139-141)

The Mob Has Tweeted (Twins 5 Blue Jays 6 - Game 139) This game paired up two pitchers I knew, in my gut, were going to become amazing. R.A. Dickey rose to the challenge. Mike Pelfrey must not have gotten that memo.   When your favorite team will only win prizes for participation, the only excitement left comes in sifting through the wreckage to find future stars.   We all know how this game works, even if we pretty it up with BS from time to time. You pick a player you believe is going to turn

Axel Kohagen

Axel Kohagen

Baseball in the Backseat (Twins at Astros -- Games 136-138)

Chuckles (Twins 10 Astros 6 Game 136)   Other places it was Labor Day and the last day of the fair, but in our house it was preparation day. The next day my wife was due at the hospital for a thyroidectomy. She's fine, and she's going to be fine. It's just another annoying grown-up thing that reminds a person real life always wins.   We stayed busy preparing for our trip to the hospital, and the game itself didn't get much attention.   Still, when I heard about Colabello's grand slam in the nin

Axel Kohagen

Axel Kohagen

The Death of a Disco Mustache (Twins at Rangers -- Games 133-135)

We're Still Doing This? (Twins 3 Rangers 2 -- Game 133)   Forgot this was a solid win until a Rangers fan reminded me of it on Twitter. Close game against a great pitcher and a good team. Twins win.   I was more excited about another Morneau homer. Morneau may be Canadian, but his backstory makes him a real American hero. Brash but charming slugger finds early success, suffers a career- (and life-) threatening injury, and is just now getting to the part where the audience stands back on their fe

Axel Kohagen

Axel Kohagen

No Flames to Fan for Fans (Royals at Twins - Games 130-132)

Slam the Door (Twins 1 Royals 6 - Game 130)   I won't pretend any interest in following this game. A certain combination of real life emergencies left my family shell-shocked and living in a bunker mentality. This delayed my game recaps, and as you can imagine that delay was the least of our concerns.   I woke up from a nap that felt like a flatline to the Twins taking the fall on a heavy-hitting eighth inning. A score like that tells me I didn't miss anything by skipping out on the cleats and s

Axel Kohagen

Axel Kohagen

Gut Rot (Twins at Indians - Games 127-129)

Cheating On My Mind (Twins 5 Indians 1 - Game 127) I missed cheering for Deduno, who held the Indians to 3 hits in 6 innings. I was excited after the game ended, but I forgot Close Encounter of the Wild Kind took the mound.   Truth is, Twins gang, I’ve been sending all my hopes and dreams down Pittsburgh’s way. If the Pirates have a winning season I’ll screech in joy. If they make the playoffs I’ll hit a sports bar to watch.   The Pirates have made for a nice baseball mistress over the years. Ch

Axel Kohagen

Axel Kohagen

Detroit, Out of Focus (Twins at Tigers -- Games 124-126)

Focal Point (Twins 6 Tigers 3 -- Games 124)   The Twins win, but do so with an albatross hanging around their neck. An albatross with a catcher's mask and sideburns.   Joe Mauer sat out this game and ended up on the 7 day concussion DL. This has the potential to be beyond bad. Mauer is the reference point that holds the Twins in position. If his efficacy is limited or destroyed by the lingering side effects of a concussion, down goes up and up goes down.   In these trying times, I watch the sco

Axel Kohagen

Axel Kohagen

Then We Dotted the "i" - (Twins versus Mets -- Game 123)

(Twins 1 Mets 6 -- Game 123)   Today, two teams who won't get near the playoffs came together to play one final game that didn't mean much of anything. Except the Twins still lost.   Pitcher Kyle Gibson lost his job, too. I decided years ago he was going to be the future of the organization, so I made plans to stick with him throughout his ups and downs so I could say I always knew he'd be an ace.   I willed it, but it didn't happen. I can't say I'm sure anymore, which means I have tumbled off

Axel Kohagen

Axel Kohagen

Even the Dogs are Cringing (Twins versus White Sox -- Games 119-122)

(Twins 4 White Sox 3 -- Game 119)   Twins win on a walk-off hit from Chris Herrmann. That's a memory he'll keep in his back pocket forever.   Pelfrey made a game of it on the mound. Maybe there's something to him, but I don't know if I can take another season of wondering what's going to end up on the Target Field mound, and what pitch its arm will fall off while throwing.   What are the chances it's going to get better, though? I'm as optimistic about the future of Twins pitching as I was abo

Axel Kohagen

Axel Kohagen

Glitches in the Order of Things (Twins versus Indians 116-118)

We’re So Happy, Andrew Albers (Twins 3 Indians 0 – Game 116)   Andrew Albers must’ve felt relieved when he finally hit the sack last night. He picked the Twins up with his right arm, the Twins fans up with his left, and still pitched a complete game shutout. That’s a lot of weight to haul around.   I miss watching the games on cable more as the season stumbles toward a finish. Carroll’s gone to the Royals, who are eyeing life beyond the season finish. Even if the players don’t get cut or traded,

Axel Kohagen

Axel Kohagen

Broad Shoulders Hit Long Homers (Twins at White Sox (112-115)

A Grand Slam is Always Something (Twins 7 White Sox 5 -- Game 112)   Even in a losing a season, a grand slam is something special. The Twins won the game, but even if they hadn’t, Morneau’s grand slam would have been something special. On the second to last pitch of a formerly 20-0 game, a grand slam is still special.   Morneau hit two home runs in this game. I guess when you have to strain to see where you’ll be next year, you’re focused well past the skyline. And then you send the baseballs ou

Axel Kohagen

Axel Kohagen

Slidin' to the Sea (Twins versus Royals 109-111)

Crumb-Faced (Twins 0 Royals 13 – Game 109)   I abandoned this game at 6-0, and all I missed was Jamey Carroll pitching a clean ninth inning. And a whole bunch of suffering.   Checking the box score to see who stunk on the mound is like lining up elementary kids to see who has chocolate on their face after the cookie jar was emptied. This time, Correia and Pressly are crumb-bearded and cookie-handed.   I’ve never been a pitcher at any level. Is there a point in a brutal shelling where you lose yo

Axel Kohagen

Axel Kohagen

The Astros Playin' (Twins versus Astros - Games 105-107)

Road Goes On Forever (Twins 4 Astros 3– Game 105)   Left a great time at Diversicon, a science fiction and fantasy convention, to find the Twins were still playing. The game was tug of war, and the rag tied onto the rope was still in the middle of the mudpit in the center.   I’d spent the day with my mind wrapped around the business of writing the unreal and then bringing it to life (for more on my life out from under the baseball cap, click here). Listening to good old fashioned baseball soothe

Axel Kohagen

Axel Kohagen

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