Friday, October 30, 2009


Main Entry: su·per·sti·tion from Merriam-Webster's online dictionary

Pronunciation: \ˌsü-pər-ˈsti-shən\

Function: noun

Etymology: Middle English supersticion, from Anglo-French, from Latin superstition-, superstitio, from superstit-, superstes standing over (as witness or survivor), from super- + stare to stand — more at stand

Date: 13th century

1 a : a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation b : an irrational abject attitude of mind toward the supernatural, nature, or God resulting from superstition

2 : a notion maintained despite evidence to the contrary

A couple weeks ago I was driving through central Minnesota. I was listening to the radio and one of the few options I could find to listen to was a Christian AM station. Anyone who has driven through central Minnesota knows there are not alot of radio station options and I did not have my car with its XM radio. Anyway, this station was speaking of superstition vs. belief in god and the hosts pretty much agreed with the definition #1 of superstition given above.

As sports fans I don't think it is that simple or transparent. Most fans are normal thought provoking individuals in their day-to-day lives. When it comes to sports however, people get a little crazy, a little creative, and generally have alot of fun with superstitions. Superstitions are as much a part of sports as the ball itself.

Justin Morneau wore the same Todd Bertuzzi T-shirt under his uniform in 2006 and he won an MVP. He continued to wear it until it fell apart? I often make sure to wear a certain jersey or hat or wear a hat a certain way when one of my teams is playing. I generally beat a dead horse when it works or move on to the next thing if it does not work.

2009 has been a transition year for my life. I found out in May I would be losing my job in August (September). I generally sport a goatee, but shaved it off for an interview with the company buying my then current employer. I didn't get the job. I kept the clean look for a bit until my mind started to wander. The Twins had been playing terrible recently, and obviously, my facial hair was to blame. I decided to grow the goatee again. A few weeks later, I was now unemployed and I had another job interview, I waited until after the Twins game the night before to decide on shaving. They lost that night and decided to shave. I didn't get that job either. On September 12th a beard was starting to fill my face as I had no employment reason to shave. The Twins record was 58-51 when I carried the goatee & 12-21 when I had been clean shaven up to this point. Obviously it was my facial hair? If a goatee is good a beard must be better, no? I decided not to shave at all. The following is some of my beard related twitter posts:

Beard is 5-0

11:58 PM Sep 18th from Echofon

The beard is 6-0 wish I could of watched, probably looked like an idiot fist pumping while riding a bike

7:24 PM Sep 19th from Echofon

Beard is 7-1

10:55 PM Sep 21st from Echofon

The beard is 8-1

10:51 PM Sep 22nd from Echofon

Beard is 9-1!

11:23 PM Sep 23rd from Echofon

The beard is 10-1

11:22 PM Sep 25th from Echofon

The beard is 11-1

10:14 PM Sep 26th from Echofon

The beard was magic!
Other Twins fans got on board as well; here are some of their responses:

kbrobaseball @ShawninBing Keep that beard!

12:51 PM Sep 18th from web in reply to ShawninBing
plunking_gomez @ShawninBing Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, shave.

11:21 AM Sep 19th from web in reply to ShawninBing
fran_the_man @ShawninBing Want to see that beard keep growing for several more weeks ... replace your Rick Nielsen/Cheap Trick look with the ZZ Top boys!

8:57 PM Sep 19th from TweetDeck

thrylos98 @ShawninBing keep that beard!!!

11:26 PM Sep 23rd from web in reply to ShawninBing

plunking_gomez @ShawninBing That's it, you can't shave. Ever.

11:27 PM Sep 25th from web

There were some comments via facebook as well but I will enclose a picture instead:

Here's what I hope you look like at the end of next Twins season.

Clearly, the end of the season was magical for the Twins. I had a blast with the beard thing and I know friends and Twins fans did as well.
So, what say you about superstition in sports?
Do you think it is a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation or an irrational abject attitude of mind toward the supernatural, nature, or God resulting from superstition?
Do you think it's another enjoyable way to be involved with your team?
As an aside: Recently I had a job interview, I'd gone 0-3 over the last year in job interviews. I'd shaved every time. This interview I decided to keep my goatee..... I start my new position November 16th.
Leave comments please on what you do for superstitions. Binghamton

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Sorry i haven't written lately? You haven't noticed? I guess when you only have 10s of readers a day, a new blogger can exist incognito. I buried a long time friend in Minnesota a couple of weeks ago, then I flew from Minnesota to Texas for a job interview, a job I ultimately received and accepted, and now I'm planning the move and the next steps for my step son, my family and his family. I've been busy!!!!

Where am I going? To Temple, TX! Shawn in Binghamton will have to come up with a new handle shortly. I will be working for a company owned by Drayton McLane. Drayton owns the Houston Astros.  Let me introduce you to my new favorite team!

Ok.... I'm not that shallow. Maybe the Astros will be my favorite National League team. In the coming months I may do a look over of the Astros team from a Twins fan perspective. I will do a kind of get to know them piece on a team Twins fans do not see to much. How the team's are similar and how they differ.

I do have a philosophical if not all together important question. If I move to central Texas, can I become a Dallas Stars fan again? I left MN before the Wild dropped the puck their first season. I have admired the Wild but have not really become a diehard. Anyway.....

The World Series starts tonight. Once the Phillies finish off the Yankees in 6 games, the off season can truly begin. I hope to post a blog about superstition shortly(I know I said I would last post.... which was like 2 weeks ago). I am also collecting information for a story on Dutch baseball(a good post). I will also look at the Twins offseason and their prospects. I did a rough top ten here. Seth Stohs over at has already done a top 50 list. Recently he did a posting that encompassed all of his end of season top 50 lists from 2004 to the present. Be sure to also check out Here you can purchase a 2009-2010 offseason handbook from four great Twins bloggers for only 9.95. Heck, you probably won't even need to come back to this blog for Twins info again.... but do so anyway! :)

Anyway sorry for the ramble. Sorry I have not been around lately.

I'll leave you with this tune in honor of my move to TX.

Go Twins!!!!!

Shawn.... still in Binghamton

Monday, October 12, 2009

....When sports aren't important

The Twins lost to the Yankees last night. They had a great year and provided their fans with alot of good moments. This is not a post about the Twins however.

This post is for my friend Paul Allen Hemmingsen. Paul passed away October 10th in a tragic car crash near my hometown.

The Obituary below supplied(copied and pasted) by the Carlin-Hoialmen Funeral Home:
Paul Hemmingsen
(August 13, 1972 - October 10, 2009)

Paul Hemmingsen, age 37, of Fosston, MN, passed away on Saturday (October 10th) as a result of injuries he sustained in an automobile accident near Fosston. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday (October 16th) at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Fosston with Father Dave Super presiding. Interment will be in Kingo Lutheran Cemetery, Fosston. Visitation will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with a 7:00 p.m. prayer service on Thursday (October 15th) and for one hour prior to the service on Friday, all at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Fosston. Arrangements are with the Carlin-Hoialmen Funeral Home of Fosston and messages of condolence may be sent at
Paul Allen Hemmingsen was born on August 13, 1972 in Bagley, Minnesota to parents Allen and Linda (Schofield) Hemmingsen. He was baptized at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Fosston. Paul grew up in Fosston and graduated from Fosston High School with the class of 1991. He then attended Moorhead Technical College, graduating with a degree in architectural drafting. Following his graduation, he moved to the Twin Cities and worked for HGA in Plymouth, Minnesota. He returned to Fosston in 1998 and began work with Widseth, Smith & Nolting in their offices located in Crookston, Grand Forks and Bemidji.

Paul was united in marriage to Leah Ann Palubicki on August 16, 2003 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. In 2008, Paul returned to his family’s business, Hemmingsen Masonry, and worked with his uncle and brother.

He was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church. He was an avid hunter and fisherman. A favorite annual event for Paul was the fishing opener, spent with his good friends and he loved spending time training and hunting with dog, Duke. Paul was also an avid reader and was always interested in furthering his knowledge in a variety of areas.

Survivors include his wife, Leah of Fosston; his mother, Linda Hemmingsen of Fosston; sister, Barb (Mark) Hagen and their children, Camille and Shelby, of Fosston; brother, Bradley (Emily) of Fosston; paternal grandmother, Irma Hemmingsen of Fosston; paternal grandfather, Delmont Hemmingsen of Erskine; sisters-in-law, Tara (Andy) Ordonez and their children, Natasha and Ian of Buffalo, MN; Alison (Derek) Broadley and their children, Lochlan and Karsten of Bermuda; Meghan Palubicki and her son, Thatcher of Fosston; father and mother-in-law, Jim and Nina Palubicki of Fosston. Numerous aunts, uncles and cousins also survive.

He was preceded in death by his father, Allen; and maternal grandparents, Donald and Helen Schofield.

Honorary Pallbearers will be the Fosston High School Class of 1991. Active Pallbearers will be Joel Olson, Jimmy Lomen, Jerry Thom, Pat Slough, Craig Hemmingsen and Chad Hemmingsen. 

I have known Paul since I was 5 years old. Most of my memories center around listening to Kiss and Motley Crue tunes in High School and driving around in his 1977 Trans Am. As we grew up we shifted focus to Rolling Stones tunes. I can't listen to a Stones tune without thinking about him or emulating his Keith Richards guitar motion. He enjoyed fishing, sports, and listening to good tunes in his garage.

I regret not seeing him more often the last couple years. The jerk should have come to Chicago this summer to go to those Twins and Cubs games. It's tough to make time with family and holidays and living so far away. I didn't get a last chance to get him in trouble with his wife Leah one last time. :).

This blog will continue with business as usual in a few days. I have a story on dutch baseball I am working on and am also working on a superstition story. For now though, I am going to appreciate my family and friends. I will go home this week and pay my respects to my friend and then have drinks and tell stories with many more friends.

Since this is a Twins blog I will relay one story. In the mid 90s..... 94-95ish, Paul and I went to a Twins game. The atmosphere was so bad and the team was so bad that we got bored and fell asleep, right in the Metrodome(we were probably up late the night before). It's the only time I have ever fell asleep at a ballgame.

So, to honor my friend Paul, I will forever dedicate this blog to him. The blog is still new and as the content gets better, i hope it will indeed be an honor. Here is a great song for a great guy. I tried to post it directly, but had technical difficulties. It was one of his favorites and it fits the moment. Raise a glass for a great guy.

Rest in Peace My Friend,


Saturday, October 10, 2009

....Jason Kubel's bat, Joe Nathan's strike throwing abilities, & Phil Cuzzi's eyes ask you to Shock Me

I know it should go against my best interests to post a second Kiss song in honor of the Twins. Kiss is afterall from NYC. The first time it didn't work and I am very superstitious.... But the team needs a Shock!!!

I hope Ron Gardenhire provided some sort of shock last night behind closed doors, if not I will shock them from here! A blog that reaches ten+ people every day is the perfect spot to shock the hell out of this team.

Enjoy, Go Twins!!!!

....Shawn in Binghamton with a KISS of cherry

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The 2009 Central Division Champions and the moves they made

The Twins have won their 5th division title since 2002!!!!

2009 was a great season. The Twins came back from 7 games out of first in September. There are many reasons why the Twins won the division. Mauer had an MVP year. Morneau had 30 HRs 100 RBIs before going down with injury. Jason Kubel and Micheal Cuddyer had good years. May players stepped up over the course of the season. The Twins also made three trades and a free agent signing in July and August. A quote from JoeC's blog by David St. Peter: “I don’t know what’ll happen [against the Yankees], but we’ve been on a roll. These guys are confident. You’ve gotta give credit to the manager and the coaching staff. I think about Bill Smith, and the moves we made. I know people were critical at times, but we’re not here without Cabrera, Rauch, Mahay and Pavano. So you’ve gotta give credit where credit’s due, and ownership stepped up on that.”

So lets look at the players:

On July 31 the team traded low A SS prospect Tyler Ladendorf for Orlando Cabrera. Ladendorf is only 21, is a SS, and has some upside but, has yet to master low A ball pitching. Cabrera is on the decline but, has been a solid contributor with a good glove in the past. Since the trade he is batting .292/.316/.424 with 2 SB. His fielding has been bad all season with a -9.9 UZR/150. He does however seem to provide leadership to the young players, especially the Latin players.

The team was 52-50 before the trade and 35-26 after the trade.

On August 8th the team traded AAA pitcher Yohan Pino for Carl Pavano. Pino is a decent pitcher that has done well at every level of the minor leagues. He is only 24 next season and has good numbers, but does not have high end stuff. Pino has a chance to be a decent major league pitcher, provided his stuff can get major leaguers out. In a system that has a glut of borderline major league starter prospects and the fact that Pavano will probably be a Type B free agent, which means a Supplemental 1st round pick, means the trade is a success even if Pavano did not perform. In 12 starts since the trade, Pavano is 5-4 4.64 ERA 73.2 IP 85 hits 59 K/16 BB.766 OPS. The team is 8-4 in his starts. He has been a very solid pitcher for the team.

The team was 53-56 before the trade and 34-20 after the trade.

On August 28th the team traded AAA RHP Kevin Mulvey for reliever John Rauch. Mulvey, like Pino, is a decent pitcher however. Mulvey will only be 25 and was a key prospect in the Johan Santana trade, but he projects to be a mediocre at best major league starter and can probably be replaced. With Rauch signed for another year at $3 million, this trade seems reasonable. In 15 innings Rauch is 5-1 with a 1.80 ERA, 13 hits allowed, 14K/6 BB, & .676 OPS. He has been outstanding. I hope the league doesn't catch up with him too much next year.

The team was 63-64 before the trade 24-12 after the trade.

The next day the team signed lefty reliever Ron Mahay. He had been designated for assignment by the Royals. In 8.2 innings, mostly vs lefties, he is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA, 7 hits allowed, 7K/3 BB, & .649 OPS. He has been very good at his role.

The team was 64-64 before the trade 23-12 after the trade.

The team didn't lose much in the way of talent. The team's record has improved since each player was brought on board but really jumped up once all 4 were in the fold.

What do you think about the four players? Were these moves the reason for the strong finish? All four players have better numbers with the Twins than they had with their previous team, so some regression to the mean should be expected next season. I'd rate Pavano and Rauch as the best grabs. Cabrera improved the team slightly with his presence mainly because Ron Gardenhire chooses to play him at SS. Brendan Harris similar numbersto Cabrera both offensively and defensively but Gardy chooses not to play him at the position. Mahay has been good in limited appearances.

Should the team keep these guys? Rauch is signed for next year. Pavano can bring a high draft pick if offered arbitration. I say offer arbitration. If he wants to take $5-7 million on a one year deal that is great, if not, the team can take the draft pick. I'd resign Mahay for 1 year at $750,000, if he wants more, let him go. The team may choose to put Liriano or Perkins in the bullpen as a 2nd lefty as well. Cabrera is the toughest decision. He will be 35 years old next season. His defense is poor at this point in his career. His offense is not great either even thought it went up slightly with MN. Can he be expected to have a plus .700 OPS next season? If the team does not sign him, who plays shortstop? Does the team make a trade? Do they move Nick Punto back to SS? Do they give Trevor Plouffe or Steven Tolleson a shot? I would try to pry JJ Hardy away from Milwaukee(Perhaps with Liriano) or sign Orlando Hudson to play 2b and move Nick Punto back to SS. As a 3rd option I'd offer Cabrera a 1 year deal at 4 million. If he doesn't take it, I'd let him walk and at the other options, as thin as they are.

What do you think the team should do?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Twins are Back! Back in the New York Groove......

It's been awhile.... but you better believe....

Just because they haven't won here lately, doesn't mean they won't.

....Shawn..... 3 hours from Yankees Stadium

Sunday, October 4, 2009

....And We'll See Ya.... Tuesday Afternoon

5 pm Tuesday Afternoon to be exact! Well, 162 games wasn't enough to complete the Twins season. Many have given up on the Twins this season, but not me :). The Metrodome also wasn't able to go forth with a true last game. And that's ok. The ceremony was great and brought back some great memories. Maybe the Twins will be able to change my top 10 over the next few weeks.

Anyway, the season continues. It's the 86-76 Twins vs. 86-76 Tigers. It's Baker vs. Porcello? It's Tuesday Afternoon. Winner gets to face the 103 win Yankees. Let's continue to enjoy the ride and maybe the Metrodome will have to host the Yankees in a few days. I'd love to see several more games in the Dome before they close the place.

Shawn..... From Binghamton wishing I was in Minnesota.