Very Well Then

Contradicting myself, always contradicting myself

Archive for April, 2009

Road Traveled Remorse

Posted by verywellthen on April 17, 2009

200px-slackerposter2Road Traveled Remorse

Posnanski revisits a poem I know mostly for being on the back of every graduation program that was ever handed to me.   Given the graduation context, perhaps it’s telling that I wrongly remember the poem to be titled “The Road Less Traveled”.

Inevitably we only have the path we we are on to compare to a hypothetical.  You can do that as Frost indicates he will — rationalizing the choice.   Equally, you can regret the choice (Road Traveled Remorse).

Compare Frost with the opening scene of Slacker, when a young man* laments to a cabbie about not taking the other road only minutes after the choice.

I mean, it’s like…uh, you know, in the Wizard of Oz…when Dorothy meets the Scarecrow and they do that little dance at that crossroads…and they think about going all those directions…then they end up going in that one direction. I mean, all those other directions, just because they thought about it…became separate realities. They just went on from there and lived the rest of their life. I mean, entirely different movies, but we’ll never see it…because, you know, we’re kind of trapped in this one reality restriction type of thing.

Another example would be like back there at the bus station. As I got off the bus, the thought crossed my mind…you know, just for a second, about not taking a cab at all. But, you know, like maybe walking, or bummin’ a ride or something like that. I’m kind of broke right now. I should’ve done that probably. But, uh, just ’cause that thought crossed my mind…there now exists at this very second…a whole ‘nother reality where I’m at the bus station…and you’re probably giving someone else a ride, you know?

I mean, and that reality thinks of itself as this – it thinks of itself as the only reality, you know. I mean, at this very second, I’m in that – I’m back at the bus station just hangin’ out, you know…probably thumbin’ through a paper. You know, probably goin’ up to a pay phone. Say this beautiful woman just comes up to me, just starts talking to me, you know? Uh, she ends up offering me a ride, you know. We’re hitting it off. Go play a little pinball. And we go back to her apartment, I mean, she has this great apartment. I move in with her, you know.

Say I have a dream some night…that I’m with some strange woman I’ve never met…or I’m living at some place I’ve never seen before.See, that’s just a momentary glimpse into this other reality…that was all created back there at the bus station. You know, shoot. And then, you know…I could have a dream from that reality into this one…that, like, this is my dream from that reality. Of course, that’s kind of like that dream I just had on the bus, you know. The whole cycle type of thing.

Man, shit. I should’ve stayed at the bus station.

* Richard Linklater in the kickoff leg of his relay ramble of a movie

I found the full scene here.


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The Other Rotation — The Twins Outfielders

Posted by verywellthen on April 3, 2009

The Twins are going with a five man rotation.  Hardly news in modern baseball, huh?  Well, not just for the starting pitching, but also the outfielders.

The plan is to use five outfielders*, in somewhat equal proportions between the LF, CF, RF and DH slots on the scorecard (minus the DH slot for 9 NL hosted games).

From day to day, the factors on who plays and who stays might depend on the matchups, injuries, who needs a rest and Gardy’s whims.  Maybe one player will get hot or fall behind and the lineup decisions will fall easily into place.  But until then, here are some proposed guidelines on how to ration the at bats.


The North/South Divide

Like any rotation, it’s good to have a mix of lefties and righties.   Young, Gomez and Cuddyer bat right.  Kubel and Span, left.  More right handed pitchers means more split opportunities for Kubel and Span.  Span actually hit lefties better than righties last year (874 OPS vs. L to 795 OPS vs. R).  That is not consistent with his minor league career, but nothing about last year was consistent with Span’s minor league career.  

On the Turf

Defensively, only  Span and Gomez stand out.  Only Span can easily rotate through the outfield.   Delmon is a fixture (almost in the real estate law sense) in left.  Cuddyer plays only in right, where his strong arm is a plus if he doesn’t have too much ground to cover.  If Gomez belongs on a major league roster, he belongs in centerfield.    Kubel can flip between right and left, but if he’s not a liability in the field, he’s at least a toxic asset.    I’d trend toward Span,when used, in the big field (e.g. right field in Fenway, left field in the Metrodome), and toward Span and Gomez when the Fly Ballers are pitching (namely, Baker and Slowey).

Designating the Designated Hitter 

Span and Gomez don’t add value when there not contributing defense, so only Kubel/Young/Cuddyer should rotate through the DH slot.    Also, keep in mind, the DH spot would be a nice place to rest the Bad-Back Joes (Mauer and Crede) and Morneau on occassion.    Mauer’s back injury inhibits his running, so the DH isn’t a place to use his bat while convalescing.  Nonetheless, I’d get even a healthy Mauer more DH time than last year (only 19 PAs at DH in 08, down from an average of 75 the previous two years).  Kubel’s the default against righties, and the righties mix it up against the southpaws.



Any of the five could be thought of as a major league starter.  Yet none of the five come with a high degree of certainty.  Kubel is hopefully continuing to rehab past the ACL in the AFL incident.  Cuddyer is as defined by his injuries as he is by his one stellar season.    Delmon hasn’t approached the lofty expectations that surround him.   Something clicked for Span last year, but a track record would be a nice thing to have.   Gomez is ADHD manifest in a center fielder.  (Do you prescribe Ritalin to focus more or Xanax to mellow out?) It’s a big year for each of them to prove themselves.  And each will get 4/5 ths of a chance to do so, so the plan goes.  



* The full names for those who don’t obsess about all things Twins:  Delmon Young, Carlos Gomez, Denard Span, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel.

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