In the midst of a particularly dull All-Star Break – I’ve cried myself to sleep three straight nights, which is slightly more than usual – I thought it might help pass the time if we reviewed a few noteworthy first halves of the year from the Twins (and others) to guess what are the least sustainable. I’ll be using ESPN.com’s projection creator for numbers, and my own warped brain for the rest.
I should warn you this arbitrary exercise is an absolute waste of time; read on at your own risk.
Justin Morneau – home runs
Projected home runs: 38
Prediction: 38 feels like waaaaaay too many home runs for a Minnesota Twin, and I shall continue doubting any and all sluggers who approach such a national-attention-garnering number until it actually happens. Minnesotans would rather underachieve than spend time in the spotlight – we burn quite easily, you know – and wouldn’t dare ask for more than 34 homers from our all-stars. Anything beyond that would be braggadocios.
Kevin Slowey – wins
Projected wins: 18. Slowey was the grateful recipient of hella run support in the first half – 7.44 runs/9 innings, to be exact – which is typically a better indicator of wins than the quality of pitching. This is the case with Slowey, who hasn’t been particularly great despite the fact that I predicted he’d get some Cy Young votes this season. Sometimes I get the feeling he doesn’t even read this site anymore.
Prediction: Slowey’s been dealing with a bum wrist for months now, so all second-half conjecture hinges on a full recovery. While I expect him to return fairly soon (late July?), that run support won’t last forever. Feels like a 14-7 year to me.
Grim Reaper – celebrity deaths
Projected celebrity deaths: 11
Prediction: After an inspired, unprecedented first half that saw Mr. Reaper snatch from our grasp Jacko, Farrah, Billy Mays, McNair, Ed McMahon and Karl Malden, one would expect him to come back to earth (hopefully not literally though – stay away, asshole!) during the year’s second half. I predict one more decently tragic celebrity death to round out what will still be a memorable 2009 campaign.
Joe Mauer – home runs
Projected home runs: 32
Prediction: Bahahahahaha! I’m going to type the number 25 through tears of laughter. 32…man, that is rich.
Delmon Young – home runs
Projected home runs: 7
Prediction: Sadly, that sounds about right. Seven it is. What a long, painful fall from grace. I would at this point trade Delmon for a twelver of Gatorades and a bag of knuckleballs.
Amy Winehouse – relapses
Projected relapses: 4
Prediction: Relapsing takes quite a bit of effort, mainly because the first step is a particularly exhausting detox phase. Coming clean isn’t just something you do every day; at least not in Amy Winehouse’s world. I can’t see her maintaining an interest in not being fucked up all day into the fall and winter, so I predict she relapses just the one more time this year (bringing the total to two) and stays high as a kite well into 2010, when she will, quite tragically, be atop nearly every person’s Celebrity Death Pool draft chart.
Scott Baker – record
Projected record: 13-13
Prediction: Baker has been better than you think – and better than that idiot Blyleven claims – this season, and I expect him to continue to turn it around in the second half. I’m getting a distinct 15-10 vibe.
Brett Favre – interviews
Projected number of interviews: 688
Prediction: As high as that number seems, my gut feeling is (cue The Carpenters) we’ve only just begun. There have to be a dozen or so interviews every time he works out, talks to the Vikings, visits his arm doctor, gets on a plane, answers his phone, yawns, scratches his ass, trims his ear hair and dusts lint off his custom-fit Wranglers. And that’s before he inevitably signs with the Vikes and ruins my team’s season, sparking hundreds more interviews about how he tried his butt off out there and thought they really had something going for a while. Bet the over on this one, kids. I’m saying the final tally will be 944 interviews.
Nick Blackburn – ERA
Projected ERA: 3.06
Prediction: You’d have to squint real hard to envision an entire season wherein Blacky sustains a near league-leading ERA despite not striking many guys out and yielding a less-than-great 1.28 WHIP. He’s been incredibly valuable thus far, but my guess is he tails off a bit near the end when those two-out grounders find holes and the broken-bat bleeders begin dropping in front of an ever-prancing Delmon for a hit. That’s baseball for you. Mark me down for a 3.89, please.
Adam Lambert – exploded eardrums
Current projection: 60,000,000
Prediction: Lambert’s screeching vocals have popped the ear canals of an astounding 30 million people thus far in 2009 – nearly 25% of American Idol viewers. However, he has almost zero chance to reach his projection since he is now on the inevitable post-Idol downslide of popularity, which is cruel and unending and won’t quit until he is a mere blip on the culture radar. He will at most be able to pop 100 more eardrums throughout the rest of the year (mostly friends and neighbors), since photoshoots and interview requests will prove to be merely grating rather than health-afflicting due to them not allowing him to wail to his bedazzled heart’s content. Watch for a comeback in 2010, though, which will be the last year anyone ever hears about him.
Nick Punto – at-bats
Projected at-bats: 386
Prediction: No way Gardy lets this flailing idiot get 386 plate appearances, right? Knock the manager all you want – lord knows I do – but he does seem to get it right in most second halves (see the dishonorable discharges of Batista, Castro, Livan, etc for other examples). Now, those other fellas were free-agent pickups rather than Gardy’s beloved mentee and World Class Gamer (note: it doesn’t qualify as ‘stupid’ if your avoidable injury was caused by pure hustle), but I still have to assume he’ll be riding the pine more often through August and September no matter where the team stands. I’m going with 301 at-bats. Most of which will be embarrassing for everyone involved.