It was Sunday morning but Twins GM Bill Smith was busy in his office working the phones to try to improve his team with the addition of a pitcher and/or a righthanded hitting second baseman.
"We are working away, there is a lot of conversation going on," Smith said. "I think, all teams are out there working the phones, and we've got a lot of people out, seeing major league games and we're going to see if we can pull something together in the next few days.
"We're going to have to right the ship. We've got to play better to start with. It's our job to try and help this club and bring in some reinforcements. There are a lot of buyers and not many sellers, because teams are in contention."
Smith talked about the fact "that it's been a terrible week for us."
Fortunately, the Twins won their finale of the 10-game road trip, beating the Angels after losing the first three. The Twins finished the road trip 4-6.
Nothing is easy and now the Twins come home to face the White Sox and Angels, two of the top teams in the American League.
''We've got a big series coming up with the White Sox," Smith said. ''So, there's not much rest. We're going to have to do it on the field
"Unfortunately, we've had to tap into the Rochester market a few times this year. Certainly, with [Pat] Neshek and [Boof] Bonser and now [Kevin] Slowey, on the DL, we've tapped that market. I think we probably have to look further outside now. Jesse Crain is back and threw the ball well the other day. And hopefully he can come back and help us here over the next two months.''
Smith said he believes the A.L. Central is a winnable division, with 10 games left with the Tigers and nine with the White Sox.
"And they've got games left against each other," he said. "They also both have to go play more games in the AL East, which is a tough division."
Fortunately for the Twins, who are 6-19 against the East, they have only seven games left against the division -- three at home with Baltimore in the last week of August and four at Toronto in the second week in September.
"We've got our work cut out for us, but we're not looking to be sellers, we're looking to be contenders," Smith said of this week's trading deadline.
Smith is naturally concerned about Slowey, who has the wrist problem and it's possible that they will have to shut him down. That decision will be made when Slowey sees doctors, likely today.
Like former Twins manager Tom Kelly always said, you win with pitching. Well the other starters -- Nick Blackburn, Scott Baker, Glen Perkins and Francisco Liriano had a rough road trip, and then you have the Slowey situation. So unless they regain their early season form, there will be little chance of winning the division.Kleinsasser on Favre
Jim Kleinsasser, the Vikings tight end, was asked what he thought about some his teammates contacting Brett Favre and encouraging him to join the team.
"At a professional level, I'm always in the thought of, you know what? Take care of my own business," he said. "I don't worry about all that other stuff that goes on. That's fine. Guys talking amongst each other. And, making calls to him. It's every guy's right. The No. 1 thing that we as football players want to do is put the best football team out there. We want to win a championship. You know, I guess, it's whatever it takes.
"I think, definitely, with his background, what he's done, I mean, just from that aspect, he brings a lot to the table. He's a proven winner. I guess you can't take anything away from that."
But Kleinsasser does have a lot of confidence in present Vikings quarterbacks Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson.
''We've got two great quarterbacks sitting here,'' Kleinsasser said. ''I think, either way we go, we're going to get the job done."Jottings
Twins executive director of public affairs Kevin Smith, who is very much involved in the new ballpark, said that nobody will know the exact capacity of Target Stadium until all of the seats are installed and counted by hand. The seats are being installed throughout the summer. Smith added that the grass on the field is scheduled to be installed the last week of August. The sand to build the playing field is being furnished by Plaisted Companies Inc., an Elk River firm.
The University of Minnesota honorarium income from being the host for the first two rounds of the NCAA basketball tournament last spring was $194,000, plus $38,000 from the sale of suites for a total of $232,000. The Minnesota Daily reported that Associate Athletic Director Liz Eull said the school had originally budgeted for $450,000 from the NCAA tournament ... but that other sources made up the difference.
It's interesting that the Gophers football team will open its 2009 and 2010 conference seasons with Northwestern. The Gophers play at Northwestern this year and then in 2010 they open with Northwestern at home.
Apparently what is holding up the Target Corporation's signing an extension to keep its name on the Target Center is that officials want the arena to have some work done on the outside of the arena and overall improvements made on the inside.
Jim Nill, the new assistant general manager of the Wild who was vice president of AHL hockey operations, was honored with the Thomas Ebright Memorial Award in recognition of career contributions to the AHL.
Trevor Mbakwe, the former Henry Sibley and St. Bernard's star and now Gophers recruit who played for the Miami Dade junior college team last season, has qualified academically but is taking some summer school courses that he must pass.
Another example of the class of Gophers basketball coach Tubby Smith: Lou Dawkins played for Smith at Kentucky and then coached basketball at a Saginaw, Mich., high school. When Dawkins' 14-year-old son died of a heart attack while playing basketball, Smith was there to do what could to comfort his former player.