Here's how it works when you cover a game on the West Coast with ridiculously early newspaper deadlines:

Joe Christensen, our Twins beat writer, writes a running game story and hopes the game ends early enough that he can slam a couple of quotes in for the last editions. I write an early opinion or feature column and hope the game doesn't destroy my topic.

Monday, I wrote about the Twins' lack of an ace or a closer, and Scott Baker momentarily proved my point. (Although Jon Rauch temporarily rebutted my point about the closer on Tuesday, pitching well in the ninth and earning the save.)

Tuesday, I spoke with Justin Morneau in the afternoon and wrote a column about his intensity and how he's trying to temper it this season, at least in workouts. Then Justin singled and homered in his first two at-bats, allowing my column to stand up, with a few tweaks, the entire night.

One mistake a lot of readers make is assuming that sportswriters are fans. Well, some of us are, but those are the worst people in our business. Most of the people who cover teams for reputable publications are not fans and wouldn't allow themselves to be fans.

We don't cheer for the teams we cover. We are, though, allowed to cheer for good storylines. So, Tuesday night, I was allowed to pull for Morneau to make my column better. Also, because Morneau is one of the most likeable and accountable players I've covered in 20 years in the Twin Cities, I do like to see him succeed.

I've been saying all spring that I forsee a huge season from him. He's relaxed, he's cut back on his grueling workouts, he's more cognizant of taking care of his back, and he has Jim Thome to talk to about all of those things.

Other thoughts after Game 2:

-Jon Rauch looked efficient in a three-batter ninth. His best fastballs registered at 90 mph. I'm on record saying I don't see him holding the job for long, but he's 1-for-1.

-Nick Blackburn showed why he's my pick to have the best season of any of the starters. He has some bulldog in him, and I think he's the kind of guy who will respond well to having the security of a long-term contract.

-Brian Duensing got the biggest out of the night, breaking Hideki Matsui's bat with one on and two out in the seventh. He and Jose Mijares talked about Duensing's approach after the game. Mijares allowed a homer to Matsui on Monday.

-The bullpen went 7 up, 7 down. Matt Guerrier is still the reliever I feel most comfortable seeing on the mound.

-Quite a sight in the fifth, when the Angels tried to set a Guinness Book of World Records mark by having everyone in the stadium put on a Snuggie-style fleece. The entire place turned red, and the record was set. Then the fans did a Snuggie wave.

I think the purist in me should be offended, but it's SoCal. Everything seems ok in SoCal.

-The Rally Monkey remains my favorite mascot/promotion of all time. The Angels' game-production people like to play famous scenes from movies and then insert the Rally Monkey at the end as one of the characters, and it always works. Tonight, The RM became a member of Ben Stiller's entourage in Dodgeball, and a character in the old classic MTV video ``Take On Me.''

It always works.

-Former St. Paul beat writer Scott Miller, trying to ask Rauch how many baseballs he has saved after earning a save or a victory, marred the postgame interview session by asking Rauch how many balls he has.

Anyone want to guess the answer?

-You can follow me on Twitter at Souhanstrib. I'll be on at 7:15 am on WJON in St. Cloud and on am-1500 at 7:45 a.m. (That's 5:15 and 5:45 West Coast time. Good thing I don't have a life.)



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Game 2 from Anaheim

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