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September 24, 2004

Random thoughts

• What a difference a few months make. At the start of the season who didn't look at this part of the Twins' schedule and just cringe:

Sept 14-16 -- White Sox
Sept 20-22 -- White Sox
Sept 23-26 -- Indians
Sept 28-30 -- Yankees

At the start of the season, deep down I thought to myself we are going to be battling for the division title at the end of Sept. and we've got to travel to Chicago, Cleveland, and New York. Now these games aren't nearly as meaningful, except concerning home field advantage for the playoffs. Luckily the West is slugging it out right now giving the Twins a chance to take a little breather.

• Time to jump on the bandwagon folks. The Gophers play Northwestern this week for their Big Ten opener, and it looks like the Rose Bowl is truly within their sites. Michigan isn't nearly as strong this year as is evidenced by their losing to a weakend Notre Dame team and barely beating San Diego State at home. Wisconsin looks beatable after losing their star running back and narrowly defeating Arizona on the road. Given that the Gophers don't play Ohio State and Purdue this year, and the fact that in the case of a tie the Rose Bowl berth is always given to the team that hasn't been there in a while, the Gophers are looking pretty good. Is "pretty good" good enough? We shall see. Sid Hartman makes a good point today concerning the Gophers schedule:

The Gophers football team plays four of its first five games at home, then four of its last six on the road. That not only is bad balance for the team, but from a ticket-selling standpoint, there isn't an opportunity to draw crowds by winning early in the season and having a number of home games late in the season.
Yes, the Gophers are going to have to prove it on the road. Keep your calendars clear for Oct. 9 when they play Michigan at the Big House, and Oct. 16 when they travel to Michigan State. Man, I want that stupid Brown Jug.

• More news about the Last Starfighter musical that I linked to yesterday. Can you believe that The Last Starfighter was released in 1984? What a great movie. Although, my memory of it is probably much better than the movie actually was. But who hasn't dreamed about stumbling upon a video game that says, "Greetings Starfighter!" or saving the universe by pushing the big "Death Blossom" button? Speaking of the Death Blossom, as a child I remember that scene being absolutely spectacular. I'd like to see it again to judge it by today's SFX standards. If I saw it again today it would probably look like a spaceship built with legos and a 4th of July sparkler behind it. Maybe I should just keep my memories untarnished.

• Did anyone see this article about Gopher fans in the Minnesota Daily? It is really sad and upsetting, not because the author missed the boat but because he is right on the mark. In it he tries to teach students how to cheer at Gopher football games: (1) Most important: YELL! (2) Know when to leave early! (3) Know when to criticize a bad call by the referee, and (4) Energize the geriatrics. Truly, the fact that this article had to be written is really, really pathetic. Is the U of M becoming Northwestern? The Gophers have won five national championships and people used to pack into Memorial Stadium! So many traditions were lost because of the Metrodome. It is really a tragedy.

• Looks like Jayson Stark of ESPN is picking Johan Santana to win the Cy Young award. (click on Expert's Pick) Check out this quote:

This has to be Johan Santana's award. He has had the most dominating second half of a lot of people's lifetime: 12-0, 1.16. That's Bob Gibson stuff -- except it isn't 1968 anymore. You can't get any more dominating than leading the league in ERA, strikeouts and opponent average.

High praise for the best pitcher in the AL.

That's all I've got time for right now.

*UPDATE*

The new U2 single Vertigo is out. If you haven't heard it yet, here is a link and you might also want to try: cml00.engr.ucdavis.edu/~malvick/vertigo.mp3

Oh yes, it rocks.

Posted by snackeru at September 24, 2004 9:01 AM | Sports

Comments

Shane,
What the U of M needs to do is to go to Camp Randall for the WI-MN game this year and tape the Badger student section. It has been hailed as one of the best in the nation. The U should then show this to all incoming freshmen as to how to cheer for their team.

I will have to take you to the next MN-WI game in 2 years just so you can see this yourself in person. My personal highlight of being at a game is as follows: Opening game of the 1989 season against Miami (yes, the FL one). ABC is there, the Badgers kick a FG on their first drive, Camp Randall is going nuts. (I'm getting goose bumps typing this). Anyway, Miami ends up winning 51-3. In the 4th quarter, the student section starts up a chant after a Miami TD of "We Scored First" that goes on for 5 minutes. It may not seem like long, but try that yourself to see how long you can do it. There were 20,000 students yelling this. Ahhhh, it warms my heart to know that betweeen the Badgers and the Packers, I come from the greatest fans in all of football, college and pro. Now, I am in a great mood. Thanks for bringing this topic up Shane.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at September 24, 2004 12:29 PM

There really isn't anything to argue about regarding Gopher fans vs. Badger fans. It is embarrassing. I have no doubt that this was reversed in the 30's - 60's, but that was a long time ago. There was a time that U of M students hung the coach if effigy if he didn't win the Big Ten, but now we give Mason a pat on the back and a $500,000 raise for getting the Gophers to the Music City Bowl. Pathetic. And could you tell me if Goldy or Bucky started the tradition of doing pushups after every score? I have a funny feeling I know what the answer is.

Packers vs. Vikings fans is a different story. Vikings fans are just as good as Packer fans. I don't want to take anything away from Packer fans, but just because there is a 60 year waiting list for season tickets doesn't mean you have better fans. It means you allow ticket scalping in Wisconsin where bars and restaurants can buy large blocks of tickets and never give them up.

Posted by: Shane at September 24, 2004 1:00 PM

You cannot dismiss the demand for tickets by saying that bars/businesses have purchased some and thus sell them to fans. High demand is high demand, it has to be acknowleded. (1-0, Packer fans). For arguments sake, let's use some other factors. How about the fans willingness to build a awesome field for their team to play on, this would certainly show a great deal of support for the team (2-0 Packer fans). Or we could use, say, which team sells the most merchandise, that would be a good barometer as well. I would think that a fan would be so proud of his/her favorite team, that they would want to display this (3-0 Packer fans). Surely a team would recognize how loyal and great their fans are that they would never consider leaving their home city for another one for sheer money reasons (4-0 Packer fans).

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at September 24, 2004 2:15 PM

I can't believe I forgot one of the best parts of Badger games. What SI has dubbed "perhaps the rowdiest three minutes in college football" the song played between the 3rd and 4th quarters: Jump Around by House of Pain.

Oh yes, it rocks.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at September 24, 2004 3:43 PM

Yes, "Jump Around" at Camp Randall is legendary. No question. However, your Packer fan mentality is skewed yet again. I said it above, and I'll say it again, I don't want to take away anything Packer fans. They are great fans. But if you could all get off your high horse for a while I would appreciate it. You state, "High demand is high demand." I agree. The Vikings have sold out the Dome for years now. How many times do I have to hear, "The Dome didn't sell out during the 1990s so you have bad fans." Using that logic you could say the Tampa Bay Bucaneers don't have good fans because they didn't even have a team in 1977. Let's stick to the present, OK? And in the present, the Vikings sell out regularly and have a season ticket waiting list, without the help of scalpers (unless they are from Wisconsin). Secondly, the renovations to Lambeau were approved with only 56% of the vote in Brown County. I would hardly call that an overwhelming willingness to build their team a new field. Couple that with the fact that Viking fans haven't even been given the chance to vote yet and your argument is moot. How do you know how Vikings fans will vote? And your team merchandise sales argument is just ludicrous. So, people around the country want to wear a Brett Favre jersey more than they want to wear a Randy Moss jersey. Big deal. Does this mean the fans of the Vikings in Minnesota are not as good as the fans of the Packers? I guess that means the fans of the Giants or the Browns aren't very good either. The Atlanta Falcons are in the top 10 and they never sell out their stadium! Weak, Cheesehead, very weak.

Posted by: Shane at September 24, 2004 4:14 PM

Santana has been off the map. He might have an ERA of 0 for the month of September! Schilling is having an average Cy Young type year. Santana is having a supernatural season, registering number no one's put up in the AL since the DH rule went into effect. I'll not only bet he gets the CY, but that it'll be unanimous.

Posted by: kurtis at September 24, 2004 4:32 PM

It's just such fun to get you riled up, Shane. However:

1- I did not say sqwat about the Dome not selling out in the '90's. You actually brought up the whole season ticket thing, and presently there is an enormous demand for tickets, more so than any NFL team.

2- The will of the people of Green Bay made the stadium come up for vote in the legislature. It can't even get on the board here for a yes or no. One person, who's name I won't mention, has held up the Vikings stadium drive almost single-handedly. How? That speaks volumes on that it would not pass a vote here. BTW, 56% is a major victory, if a President gets elected with that much of the popular vote, it's considered a landslide.

3- This is not about the other teams, Shane. Keep on the subject, this was about the weak MN fans.

There, now I can come down off my high horse.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at September 24, 2004 4:58 PM

Craig--

Glad I can brighten your day. I don't mind a good debate either.

1 - By what other measure do Packer fans judge themselves as the best fans in the NFL? At the top of your list is season ticket sales. I only bring it up because I can't wait for the invevitability of you, or Packer fans in general, bringing it up. My argument is that if not for the scalpers in Wisconsin the demand wouldn't be nearly as high. So, I would appreciate it if Packer fans would stop telling me they have better fans just because of that stupid waiting list. It doesn't mean jack squat to me.

2 - Again, I say we don't know how Minnesotans would vote on the issue of a Vikings stadium because it hasn't been put on the ballot. One day it will be, and then we'll know how Minnesotans truly feel. I'm sorry but just because you think it won't pass isn't a good enough argument for me.

3 - That is not the way a debate works. I will use whatever means necessary to strengthen my argument. If you measure the fans of the Vikings one way you can't suddenly make up different rules for the rest of the NFL. I stand by what I said, if you think the fans of the Vikings are "weak" then you must also think fans of the Browns or the Giants weak. You can't change the measurement.

Ah, the arrogance of Packer fans. Unless you have a 60 year season ticket waiting list and are in the top 10 in jersey sales your team's fans are weak. That about sums it up.

Posted by: Shane at September 24, 2004 5:38 PM

Kurtis--

I agree. The Cy Young vote is now unanimous, especially given that Schilling lost his last start. If Johan can win tonight it is in the bag. Even if he doesn't win, it is still probably going his way. Check out these numbers from the Pioneer Press:

Santana is 17-2 in his past 20 starts with a 1.33 ERA 12-0, 1.13 in his past 13. A victory tonight would give him the club record with 13 straight, and five strikeouts would move him past Bert Blyleven (258 in 1973) for the franchise's post-Washington, single-season strikeout record.

Simply awesome.



Posted by: Shane at September 24, 2004 5:48 PM

Both records were set. I missed it, being at the Gillian Welch concert (whis was marvelous), but I'm going to watch the repeat at MLB.com.

Anyway, just to be fussy, Schilling didn't lose his last start, he got a "no decision." -- he pitched 8 shutout innings, only to have the save blown by Keith Foulke. The RedSox went on to win, and Foulke got the win.

Posted by: Kurtis Scaletta at September 25, 2004 6:59 AM

Just a typical Viking fan, Shane. All I say is how proud I am of my my teams, and immediately I get attacked. I provide evidence to support my point, and you just ignore it. Viking fans have a major inferiority complex as they prove time and time again. The cry of "we're just as good as you" is constant. They know their "beloved" team is on the verge of leaving and they refuse to do enough about it to keep them here.

To go back to your original point, by what measurement do you believe Viking fans are just as good as Packer fans? Whining ability? NFL Conspiracy theories?

Oh and Johan is an absolute stud. Hands down this year's Cy Young winner.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at September 25, 2004 10:21 PM

OK, now that I got all that out of my system we can move on. That argument was both pointless AND fun. I think Shane and I can both agree that each team has passionate fans (as we both have proven) and that each side, regardless of what they may say, has a disdain for the other teams fans to a certain degree. Even with all this between us, I just want to say Shane, that *sniff* I love you!

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at September 26, 2004 11:34 AM

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