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Okay, so we started the season by losing to Baltimore! Let’s comfort ourselves by viewing arguably the best Twins commercial ever! Big Lebowski + Kent Hrbek= Awesome.

And to remind you of the glory that is the Big Lebowski, behold this wonderful clip (WARNING: There is a brief topless woman at the very end of the video, I tried to post my own version without the boobs but youtube blocked it so blame it on Youtube)

On another note, one of the bright spots of today’s game was definitely Willingham’s home run. In commemoration of his dinger, I present today’s Urban Dictionary word of the day: Ham (http://ham.urbanup.com/2979447) As in, sweet molasses- Josh just hammed that ball to Duluth!

Let us hope some other players come out ready to ham tomorrow!


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Opening Day Prophecies

I know it’s been a while since we posted here at Hrbekistan but you won’t believe what I discovered. The World is going to end THIS YEAR! WTF?

For those of you who don’t keep up on these current events here is some excellent starting material:

I don’t know if it was the rousing rendition of John Lennon’s Imagine, or the frightening imagery, but let me just say I felt something.

Wow! That my friends, is quite intense! (On a personal note, guy who played Nostradamus if you are reading this, that was truly a masterful depiction.)

Inspired by these videos, I spent most of the last seven to eight months engrossed in the prophecies of Nostradamus. While searching for further direction on how I can avoid imminent doom and destruction, I happened upon some prophecies that I found could be useful in predicting the performance of the Twins in this, their final season. I have included my interpretation of such.

This one appears to have already been fulfilled:

“And lo the diminished man of weak stick

that hath found favor with his king

shalt be seen for what he is

and exiled from the kingdom.”

Only the will of God could have wrested Drew Butera from the delicate grasp of his loyal advocate in Gardy.

“Succeeding the silencing of the woman with an angels tongue

a man with a golden club whose name rings of power

shalt exalt his nation of identical siblings in victory

through the consummate battle of the uniform-clad nations”


Second, Mauer and his golden club lead our Twins to the World Series? Could it be true? It must be- for our homeboy Nostrils (as he is affectionately known) prophesied it.

“Behold the man of broken head shalt recover

from hither leading his nation to victory

and demonstrateth inimitable strength

surpriseth the nations with his far-fled spheres”

How wonderful! Morneau will be happy to know his concussed brain will work well enough for him to fling some spheres over the fence.

Rejoice brethren of Hrbekistan for Nostradamus has foretold our success!


May we all enjoy this season and be grateful for the opportunity to behold one last year of Twins glory!


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Today, the Twins completed a four-game sweep of the Royals, and I’m not even going to let myself be cynical about it.

So what if it was against a pretty bad team? So what if the Twins are still in last place? So what if they’re still 12.5 GAMES out in the division? So what if they’d still have to sweep the next SIX SERIES just to get above .500? So what if it was THE F**KING ROYALS and a year ago I would have never thought of it as ANY SORT OF REASONABLY NOTEWORTHY ACCOMPLISHMENT? SO WHAT IF EVEN A SLIGHT IMPROVEMENT MIGHT GIVE TWINS MANAGEMENT A FALSE SENSE OF HOPE, FOLLOWED BY THEIR TRADING KYLE GIBSON FOR A PROVEN CLOSER LIKE KYLE FARNSWORTH FOLLOWED BY THEIR SIGNING ALEXI CASILLA AND DREW BUTERA TO LIFETIME CONTRACT EXTENSIONS FOLLOWED BY THE TWINS BEING AWFUL FOREVER AND EVER?

No sir, no cynicism here. Just good ol’ fashioned motherf**king hope.

If you want to bear witness to his eventual Twins-related suicide, follow Chip Kincaid on Twitter

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Killer Memories


When we were kids, we would spend hours wheeling and dealing, trading baseball cards with each other. The values listed in our tattered issues of Beckett were mostly taken as gospel truth, except when it came to Harmon Killebrew cards. Those were worth more than any other card, because we knew our dad, Chief Hrbeki himself, would grossly overpay for cards featuring his childhood hero. When Killer died Tuesday morning, I asked Dad if he’d write something up for the blog. This is what he sent me this morning.

I was saddened to hear that my boyhood hero, Harmon Killebrew, died Tuesday, May 17, at the young age of 74, succumbing to the effects of esophageal cancer.  My immediate sadness, however, was tempered by the many memories that helped shape my boyhood years, and even affected my later adult life.

I was first a Harmon Killebrew fan, and then much later, a Minnesota Twins fan.  That Killebrew played for the Senators, Twins, and later the Royals, was, to me, an irrelevant fact.

Being born and raised in Idaho, of course I liked potatoes.  I also enjoyed all sports in general, particularly baseball.  I especially felt hometown pride for anything — or anyone — associated with Idaho.  Idaho sports personalities were my favorite.  In football I rooted for St. Louis Cardinal’s safety, Larry Wilson (raised in my hometown of Rigby), and Green Bay Packer’s guard, Jerry Kramer (raised in northern Idaho).  In baseball I followed the careers of Pittsburgh Pirate’s pitcher, Vernon Law (born and raised in Meridian, Idaho), and, of course, Killebrew (born and raised in Payette, Idaho), an all around good guy and killer of baseballs, hence the nickname, “Killer.”  My connection to Killer was made greater by the fact that Harmon’s spiritual faith was the same as mine.

Like me, Harmon was raised in a small Idaho farming community.  I can’t remember a time when I didn’t consider him like a family member.  I religiously followed Killer’s stats daily in the newspaper box scores.  I would check to see if he hit a home run, and how many hits he managed.  I sorrowed when he struck out.  I paid attention in 1962 when he hit 48 home runs and drove in 126 RBIs.  I rejoiced in his 11 all star designations.  I felt vindicated when he achieved MVP status in 1969, and following his retirement, I appreciated his election to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984.   One funny thing, however, I don’t remember ever checking out the Senator’s or the Twin’s scores or ever knowing or even caring about his teams’ records.  As I noted earlier, in the beginning I was a Killebrew fan, not a Twins fan.  The Twins would become a part of me many years later.  When I attended graduate school at the University of Minnesota, I became a natural Twins fan, a passion I would pass on to the next generation of Piepers.   I enjoyed attending the games at the old Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington.  I would drive down Killebrew Drive, with reverence, remembering my childhood hero.  Most importantly, my first meaningful date with my future wife was at a Twins baseball game, huddled under a make-shift tarp during a rain-delay to keep dry.  (Tee. Hee.)  [Ed. – Gross]  And so, in a way only a true fan can, I give Killer credit for helping me choose my wife.  How can you not love the man?

Only once do I remember ever seeing Killebrew in person.  A couple years ago, our family snagged some invites to the Hall of Fame induction festivities at Cooperstown.  While strolling the walkways of the downtown shops, we came upon a table, and I found myself, face to face, with Killer himself.  He was seated, grinning, chatting and signing autographs.  I was awestruck.  I just stood there with my mouth hanging open.  Here he was, in living color, my childhood idol.  My son, urged me to get an autograph.  But the line was too long, the cost was too great, and my 50 plus year old heart was beating far too furiously.  Alas, I didn’t take advantage of that opportunity.  I wish now that I had.

As I look back on my memories of Harmon Killebrew, I recall his own account, recorded in one of my dog-eared books on my shelf, of his decision to play professional baseball.    About these early years, Harmon wrote, “I had been able to do pretty well at slugging the ball, and there were about twelve major league ball club scouts out Idaho way making invitations to me.”

Harmon was leaning towards playing football and baseball at the University of Oregon when he was visited by Ossie Bluege, the Washington Senator’s farm director.  Bluege made the trip to Idaho at the request of Clark Griffith, the owner of the Senators.  Mr. Griffith was a personal friend of Senator Herman Welker, of Idaho, who frequently bragged about one of his constituents, “a boy in Idaho who … could hit the ball pretty well”.  Pretty well, indeed! Harmon was only batting .847, at the time.  Mr. Griffith decided to have Mr. Bluege check this young phenom out.

Of this event, Harmon Killebrew recorded, “The night Mr. Bluege arrived in Idaho the game was being threatened by rain.  He talked to me before the game, and after shaking my hand he told me I had strong hands and he thought I could be a good infielder… Finally the rain stopped, and after the crew had worked over the diamond to make the field as playable as possible, I stepped up to the plate… I tested the bat across home plate and eyed up the pitcher.  When the right ball came spinning towards me, I uncoiled my wrists, swiveled my hips for extra power, and connected with the hickory.  The ball sailed up, was momentarily lost to sight when it went above the range of the lights, then, still soaring, sped over the left field fence.  I had been in that particular park a good deal of my life up to that point, but I had never before seen a ball go over that part of the fence.  Mr. Bluege was a little interested, I suppose, in just where that ball landed, so the next morning he set out to find out.  The ball had landed in a potato field.  Mr. Bluege stepped it off from home plate to spud field at a distance of 435 feet.  He thought that was a pretty good hit for a seventeen-year-old boy, so he left a contract for me…”

After consultation with his family, Harmon decided that schooling could wait, and that same day, he signed a contract into the major leagues.  Harmon later recalled, “It has been a decision I have never regretted.”

And, it was a decision I, and many other baseball fans, have never regretted either.  Good-bye, Killer. You will be missed.

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First Inning

Sumthin' fishy's goin' on...

The Twins strike quickly against Felix Hernandez, with a Michael Cuddyer single plating two. Liriano responds by striking out two and walking none in a surprisingly effective first. Speculation begins that Liriano and Hernandez, being friends, have switched uniforms and are throwing with their opposite hands.

Second Inning

Matt Tolbert, he of the career 0.0 WAR, does his best to ruin another solid inning from Liriano, by sailing a routine throw into the dugout. I know we don’t have a lot of options, but do we really have to bat this dude second? He’s obviously not more than eleven years old and probably autistic. Thankfully, Liriano gets Brendan Ryan to ground out to end the inning. Twins still lead 2-0.

Third Inning

This isn’t any sort of dominant lineup, but it is making me really happy to watch Liriano do well. He seems comfortable, and he’s missing bats. Daddy like. UNGH. DADDY LIKE. Two more strikeouts and a ground out, and the Twins are still up 2-0.

Fourth Inning

Twins threaten again, but Ben Revere and Rene Rivera can’t get it done. In related news, THEIR NAMES ARE ALMOST ENTIRELY IDENTICAL. In other related news, Rene Rivera is bad at baseball and Steve Holm is bad at baseball and Drew Butera is not good at baseball and Jose Morales is not bad at baseball and Wilson Ramos is good at baseball and Joe Mauer is hurt. In even more related news, ALL OF THE CLAUSES IN THE PREVIOUS SENTENCE ARE SAD.

"If you give me your worst player, I'll give you a catcher. K thx."

Fifth Inning

Liriano gets two quick outs, but then plops Brendan Ryan in the shin and gives up two singles, bringing the Mariners within a run. After a quick mound visit, Liriano strikes out Chone Figgins. I can think of two possibilities. 1) Rick Anderson reminded Liriano that he’s the sickest bastard alive, and Liriano responded with beastly confidence. 2) Chone Figgins isn’t good.

"i'm pretty sure i used to be good"

Sixth Inning

So what’s wrong with Justin Morneau? Well, it appears to be, according to Gleeman and Hageman, some combination of luck and mechanical flaws in his swing. If he’s fully healthy, as all parties are reporting, I suspect he’ll come around and have a big summer. Still 2-1 Twins.

"Concussion? What concussion? Fishhook, Lizard Knuckle. Who said anything about a concussion?"

Seventh Inning

A pop-up and 2 more strikeouts, and Liriano finishes his night with 7 IP, 9 K, 1 BB, 3 H, 1 R, and 1 giant collective sigh of Hrbeki relief. Like I said earlier, this Mariner’s lineup is no Murderers Row, but with what we’ve seen from Liriano this season, we need to take what we can get. Well done, Frankie!

Eighth Inning

Look out, he's on fire!

Thank Kirby for Glen Perkins, one bright spot in an otherwise disgusting dungheap of a bullpen. Twins still up 2-1. But can a shaky Matt Capps get it done?

Ninth Inning

Hellz yeah, proven closer, bitchez.

Matt Capps does exactly what a proven closer is paid to do: Walk Miguel Olivo (a feat in itself) and then rely on a shady call to get out of a jam. I wonder if the Nats will trade us that Ramos kid for Capps straight up…

Sorry for the bitching. LET US REJOICE. BECAUSE…


If you like funny people, you can follow Garry Shandling on Twitter. If you think Chip Kincaid has potential, meh, you can follow him too, I guess.

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1936 - 2011

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So, to give our hiatus some closure, and to make sure we’re all on the same page, let’s review what happened while we were away:

  • Pat Neshek is now a Padre, which sadly does not mean that he adopted a Mexican baby.

  • Tsuyoshi Nishioka was taken out by a particularly douchey slide from Nick Swisher, which has to be the worst thing to happen to a Japanese person in the last three months or so.

  • Joe Mauer is on the disabled list with bilateral leg weakness, which for a while appeared to have been caused by the same mega-flu that attacked Morneau and Delmon. The bug was traced back to fecal particles emanating from a particularly disgusting locker room wastebasket. We managed to reach Jose Mijares for comment:


  • Right when Gardy started talking about moving Liriano out of the rotation, he went and threw the luckiest, least dominant no-hitter in recent memory. I can only assume that he’s been hanging out with Pedro Cerrano and a diminishing flock of chickens.

  • So far this season, the Twins have been outscored by 63 runs. They’ve lost 20 games, and bad luck isn’t really the problem. Sadly, few of the poor performances so far defy explanation. Morneau is coming off a concussion and a lost half-season. Thome is 40.  The Twins shouldn’t have expected any production from Casilla, Tolbert, or Butera. They’ve been unlucky with injuries, but a team has to be prepared for that, and the Twins were not, with only 20-22 legit major leaguers on their 40-man roster. And despite all this, the season can still be declared a partial success, because WE ARE STILL BETTER THAN THE FREAKING WHITE SOX!!!!!! BOOM!!!!!!!!

I'll see you in your nightmares.

We’ll have your regular 9 Innings posts up and running soon. We love you, and we missed you.

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