Welcome to another installment of the wildly popular "Clearance Clarence," which offers the undistilled thoughts of commenter Clarence Swamptown to a wider audience. As usual, Clarence's thoughts on music, leftovers and third base don't necessarily reflect those of the Star Tribune or the greater RandBall community. Clarence?


Today is December 22nd, the day we start to gain daylight.  There are only 111 days left until the opening of Target Field, and I cannot wait.  We traveled to Milwaukee last year to watch an outdoor baseball game and it was glorious.  I will include some pictures I took of my three favorite things in Milwaukee: Beer, Miller Park, and cigarette machines in public. (below)


*Please take a few minutes to watch this video celebrating the moustaches worn by the Minnesota Wild in November.  Usually "Separated at Birth" connections are tenuous at best, but I challenge you to top FSN North hockey analyst Mike Greenlay (at the 1:26 mark) and Seth Rogen in Superbad.


*We have not seen Wild equipment burned this badly since Martin Skoula left for Pittsburgh (any remaining Skoula defenders, please click on that link.  I am begging you).


*Country and Western Song of the Week:  We spent Thanksgiving with my hippie relatives, so thankfully we will be hosting Christmas with my wife’s perfectly normal hog-farming relatives that do not drink or smoke or do drugs.  We will eat supper and then peacefully open gifts around the Christmas tree.  I do love my side of the family, and I will miss them, so in their honor here is John Prine’s Christmas in Prison. (BTW - the two best Country and Western albums of 2009 were Miranda Lambert’s Revolution and Jamey Johnson’s High Cost of Living.)


*When cooking with leftovers, sprinkle garlic salt and dill weed on the outside of any grilled sandwich to give it a delicious boost of flavor that will keep your guests guessing and raving.


*Other than Jessica Biel’s pool scene, the best part of the otherwise horrible Summer Catch movie was Brittany Murphy’s role as a baseball groupie with questionable morals. I tried very hard, but I could not find any girls like that when I played baseball.  RIP Brittany Murphy.


*The Twins’ biggest remaining weak spot is third base.  I am okay with opening the season with Nick Punto at second.  Last week Garrett Atkins signed with the Orioles, which is great news for the Twins. That is one less team looking for a 3B and one more mediocre 3B option off the market.  The remaining teams looking for a 3B, as far as I can tell, are Boston, San Francisco, and St. Louis.  You can potentially add Anaheim and Oakland to that list (and I suppose the Yankees could overpay for a third baseman and have him sell hot dogs or something, just to block the Red Sox).  The remaining 3B options on the market who would be upgrades are: Mark DeRosa, Joe Crede, and Adrian Beltre (and maybe the Twins can still trade for Kevin Kouzmanoff).   I suspect they will eventually re-sign Joe Crede to another incentive-laden one-year deal instead of signing DeRosa or Beltre to multi-year deals that could potentially block prospect Danny Valencia.  Which remaining 3B target do you prefer?  Or should they just hand the job to Valencia?


*RandBaller Tweet of the Week:  The RandBaller Tweet of the Week comes to us from Randballsstu:  "Lunch included trip to Fleet Farm AND Burger Time. OUTSTATE REPRESENT."  That is definitely an outstate afternoon well spent.   To clarify, outstate shopping experiences usually rank somewhere between "tolerable" and "dead chickens hanging from the rafters like an Eastern European farmer's market."  My order of preference is: 1) Phil's Meat Farm 2) Ben Franklin 3) Pamida.


*Jon Marthaler recently wrote about RandBall’s 3-year anniversary, so I scrolled through some of the first RanBball posts from December 2006 and took some notes.  RandBall used to write a metric {redacted}-ton of posts each day, but each post was only about 150 words. In its infancy RandBall was basically a hilarious internet chatroom between RandBall, Super Rookie, Rocket, Local Quipster and Sassbottom.  The arrival of Paul Peter Paulos (P3) on December 13, 2006 signaled the beginning of Randball’s gangly, acne-ridden pubescence.

Even P3’s first comments were long (and strangely hypnotic) dissertations at no one in particular.  Then Jon Marthaler and Toonces started commenting and RandBall’s voice got deeper and it started growing body hair.  Super Rookie was elected the first ever Commenter of the Week (COW) and he wrote about bike racing.  The first “FIRE CHILDRESS” comment was posted on December 28, 2006.  Rocket won the second COW and presciently used the word "schism" while writing about the Vikings.   That same day, December 29, 2006, was also the birth of Randballsstu's very first comment.  Randballsstu used his second comment to playfully tease P3, and P3 immediately fired back in anger.  It's good to know that some things always were.   Stu won the COW in his first week of commenting, and the rest is RandBall history.  If you have time, I recommend scrolling through some old RandBall posts.  Jon Marthaler once admitted to calling CBS to complain about Bill Maas.  There is still gold left to be mined in some of those old posts.  I assume the rest of you discovered RandBall just like I did: it is the first website listed when googling “Roy Smalley” and “testicle injury.”


Thank you for your time.  Skol Vikings?



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