Well, I could spend a good amount of time talking about Orlando Hudson here, but I'll save that for tonight's special podcast with Fanatic Jack and Seth Stohs. Be sure to listen in and share your POV on Hudson and the Twins' offseason thus far. It's amazing, but with Thome, Hudson, and the optimistic outlook on a Mauer legacy contract, this offseason is quickly becoming one of the best I've ever seen. Kudos to Bill Smith. Sorry I ever doubted you.
Speaking of Seth Stohs, be sure to buy a copy of his 2010 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. I might be biased because I plan on going to Spring Training and having this book glued to my hand over at the minor league complex, but there is no doubt that this is one of the most thorough and complete reports on one of our team's major strengths: our farm system. Speaking with Seth he told me about scouting reports, organization insight, and special Prospect-Handbook-tailored photos that will be gracing this year's addition. Even if you're not a minor league afficionado, now's your time to become one. And if nothing else, it's ponying up $13 to thank someone who's provided us with so much material over the years is nothing.
Check out Wednesday's podcast as well, by the way. Jack and I had a great discussion and had lots of comments in the chat room. We spent a good chunk of time talking about Twins Fest, and since I haven't done a detailed account of that I'll just say that I had an amazing time meeting Jack, Seth Stohs, John Bonnes, K-Bro, Katie, Betsy, and Howard Sinker, as well as beefing up my Twins' shrine with more autographed balls than I can shake a stick at and a number of bobbleheads...
....I need a new mantle. Joe Mauer's the ball on the top. Audrey Hepburn was not on the Twins but I am allowed other wall decorations.
Anyway, I know you don't come here on Friday's to hear me ramble. So instead, I'm going to give the floor to Phil Mackey, this week's Get to Know 'Em. Phil holds a special place in my esteem, because besides being a fellow Twins blogger, he also happens to be passionate about my other favorite sport: poker. In fact, he's done more for poker in Minnesota than anyone else (you can't argue that). Recently he's been a pressbox staple for the Vikings in their amazing -- but ultimately disappointing -- season, and in a couple months he'll be turning his attention back primarily to poker and the Twins. But without further ado...
NAME: Phil Mackey
BIRTHDAY: May 20, 1985
HOMETOWN: Born in Champlin, MN. Went to high school in Buffalo, MN.
WHAT KEEPS YOU EMPLOYED OTHER THAN BLOGGING: KFAN Radio since 2005, but the poker industry pays most of my bills these days. I co-own Minnesota Poker Magazine and the Minnesota State Poker Tour. I also play poker semi-professionally.
FAVORITE COLOR: Black
FAVORITE FOOD: I eat everything. And I rarely discriminate.
FAVORITE MOVIE: Rocky IV
FAVORITE BOOK: "A New Earth" - Eckhart Tolle
FAVORITE TYPE OF MUSIC: Journey and pre-2000 Bon Jovi
FAVORITE SPORT TO WATCH OTHER THAN BASEBALL: NFL football
FAVORITE SPORT TO PLAY: In my early days, baseball. Now, golf.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE VIKINGS/TIMBERWOLVES/WILD: I'm pretty indifferent when it comes to the Wild. I love the Wolves, and I can't wait until they're relevant again. You can find me at the majority of Wolves home games. I cover the Vikings for KFAN, so sometimes they burn me out.
WHAT MAKES BASEBALL SO GREAT TO YOU: I love how we can measure and quantify a million different things, and in many cases, accurately predict future performance. But I also love how the things we can't measure usually wind up making the sport so exciting.
IF YOU HAD TO FOLLOW ANOTHER TEAM, WHICH AND WHY: I've grown up a die-hard Cubs fan as well. My grandma lived in Kankakee, Illinois, so I made a couple trips to Wrigley Field as a kid. Still love the Cubs, despite their intense cluelessness.
BEST EXPERIENCE AT A BALLPARK OTHER THAN THE DOME: Watching Kerry Wood pitch against the Giants at Pac Bell Park in San Francisco (circa 2001?) was pretty awesome. Doogie's bachelor party at Wrigley Field in summer, 2009 was epic. For different reasons.
OPINION ON INTERLEAGUE PLAY: Love it.
OPINION ON THE UNBALANCED SCHEDULE: I like how it creates more rivalries (Twins/White Sox, Twins/Indians, Red Sox/Rays), but ultimately it probably hinders the process of deciding who the best teams are after 162 games.
FAVORITE NON-TWINS PLAYER IN BASEBALL HISTORY: It used to be Sammy Sosa before I found out he corked his bats and did steroids. I also grew up on Mark Grace, who might be one of the most under-appreciated hitters in recent baseball history.
MOST HATED NON-TWINS PLAYER IN BASEBALL HISTORY: Funny, I might have said Orlando Cabrera before he hit that home run against Detroit in game 163...
DID YOU EVER PLAY BASEBALL/SOFTBALL, WHAT POSITION: Played outfield through high school, but "retired" in 2003 after an unsuccessful tryout with the University of Minnesota.
WHEN DID YOU BECOME A TWINS FAN AND WHY: As early as I can remember (1990?). I don't know if I ever had a choice, being born in Minnesota and all.
BEST EXPERIENCE AT THE DOME: Game 163, hands down. I attended as a media member and left with champagne-soaked clothes. I was also at Eric Milton's no hitter in 1999. And Cal Ripken's 3,000 hit game. Good times.
EVER BEEN TO TWINS FEST, HOW WAS IT: Yeah, I collected autographs until about age 17. TwinsFest was always a great way to add to that collection. I remember Al Newman once asking me a bunch of questions about my little league team, and I thought that was awesome.
EVER BEEN TO SPRING TRAINING, HOW WAS IT: Spent a week watching the Twins, Rays and Red Sox in Florida last year. It was amazing, especially hanging with buddies Doogie and La Velle E. Neal III at the bars every night.
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN CIRCLED BY BERT: lol, thankfully, no. He tried to in the press box bathroom once, but I called security.
HAVE YOU EVER CAUGHT A FOUL BALL OR HOME RUN AT THE DOME: No. In fact, I've probably been to 300 baseball games in my life and have NEVER caught a ball.
Twins Player Specific-
FAVORITE TWINS PLAYER IN HISTORY: Shane Mack. Wasn't here long, but that dude could rake.
FAVORITE CURRENT TWINS PLAYER: Denard Span. One of the nicest professional athletes I've ever encountered.
FAVORITE OBSCURE TWINS PLAYER: Dan Van Dehey. Technically he wasn't actually a Twin, because he never made it above A-ball in the Twins' minor league system. But he was my boss at Play It Again Sports when I was 16 years old. And he was a town ball hero.
ARE THERE (WERE THERE) ANY TWINS PLAYERS YOU DISLIKE: For fear of getting bludgeoned with a bat in the clubhouse, I'll keep this one to myself for now...
FAVORITE EXPERIENCE MEETING A PLAYER, PLEASE DESCRIBE: About three weeks after his call-up in 2008, I walked up to Denard Span in the clubhouse after a game and asked him what the key was to his massive success early on (hinting that he underachieved greatly in the minors). He didn't hesitate at all when he said, "Lasik, man."
CURRENT PLAYER YOU'D MOST LIKE TO WATCH A GAME WITH: Kevin Slowey. He offers a ton of insight.
YOU'D MOST LIKE TO GO TO A BAR WITH: Now that Boof Bonser is gone, probably Brendan Harris.
YOU'D MOST LIKE TO BE STRANDED ON AN ISLAND WITH: Do player wives count?
YOU'D MOST LIKE TO HAVE DINNER WITH: Do player wives count?
YOU'D WANT TO BE THE FRONT MAN OF YOUR NEW BAND: Alexi Casilla. And it would be a Mariachi band.
YOU THINK SHOULD BE A MOVIE STAR: Carl Pavano
YOU'D ASK FOR HELP ON A SCIENCE LAB: Slowey
YOU'D LIKE TO START A BUSINESS WITH: Joe Mauer. Does the Quick Swing still exist?
EXPECTATIONS OF TARGET FIELD: Glory times.
EXPECTATIONS FOR THE TEAM NEXT YEAR: They should be on pace for 90ish wins. Even if things go terribly wrong, I don't see the Twins winning fewer than 82 or 83.
A huge thanks again to Phil Mackey. It goes without saying, but you need to add his blog to your daily reading, he's a great voice in our blogosphere and has plenty of stuff to read even when the Twins aren't in season. And listen to him on KFAN too!
The offseason as winding down as pitcher's and catchers are about to report. I still have a few excellent Twins bloggers to profile, but we're coming to a close on this series so savor these last few surveys! There's still many bloggers I haven't gotten to, and if you're one of them and are interested in participating shoot me an e-mail or leave me a comment and I'll make sure to get you up here, even if it's a special in-season post!