October 29, 2004
The Apathy of Twins Fans
Ryan of TwinsChatter wrote a great article today about the Twins need for a new stadium. For one thing, he links to the Greet Machine Voter's Guide so I thank him for that, but what I appreciate even more is that he wrote about the Twins stadium issue. In my 10 years of following stadium politics in Minnesota I have always been perplexed by the general apathy of Twins fans when it comes to building a new stadium. Of course, there are some fans, like me, that are rabidly pro-stadium. Some would even call it pure desperation. I would probably agree with them. But I would say the bulk of Twins fans generally don't care about this issue, or they do care but they choose not to do anything about it. I would say the majority of Twins fans all have their heads in the sand thinking, "It will all work out in the end. There is nothing I can do anyway. I'll just sit back and wait." Bah! If even half of the millions of Twins fans just wrote their legislators one letter (or a few, like me) we could make some serious noise. And it is definitely time to start making some noise. It is well past time in fact. This issue needs to be solved!
I hate to say it, but I am beginning to question the quality of fan in Minnesota, or at least the number of quality fans in Minnesota. When you look at Denver, Philadelphia, Detroit, or Seattle you see cities that have built two and sometimes three different stadium venues. And really think about Denver ... when the Broncos said they need a new stadium, there was no question it would be built. The people of Denver and Colorado flipped out and got something done. The biggest controversy wasn't whether or not to build it, but what to call it! Everyone, the team, the people, the legislature, the city, they all got together and solved the problem! I've talked to my aunt and uncle in Denver and they've told me they are stunned by what is happening in Minnesota. They can't believe we would risk losing our teams because we can't figure something out. When I think about Denver, I can't imagine them not figuring something out. Their fans are too rabid and too strong not to figure something out. When I think about the fans of Minnesota ... well, I hate to say it but it looks like we are apathetic at best, and quite possibly "fair weather" at worst.
And concerning Twins fans, Ryan of TwinsChatter even writes:
"We usually stay away from the controversial world of politics here at Twins Chatter, and for good reason. For some reason, while people will tolerate my thoughts and musings on baseball, they are always perturbed when I (or my fellow baseball bloggers) delve into the realm of politics. I canít really explain exactly why this is, but Iím willing to accept it."
Stop getting perturbed, Twins fans, and start making some noise! I am not willing to accept this situation at all. Are you afraid that by supporting state financing of a Twins stadium you will lose some friends? Or perhaps your standing in the community? Maybe your wife or husband will get angry with you? I can promise you that none of this will happen. Please, for the love of all that is holy, show your support for a new Twins stadium! It is actually very liberating.
And don't get me wrong, as Twins fans we should not at all support the state picking up the tab in its entirety, or even the majority of the stadium costs. As I've written before Pohlad definitely needs to do more. But in 99% of these situations the state, team, and city get together and hammer out a deal. As Twins fans we can put pressure on all three of these entities and make something happen.
In closing, I'd like to reprint a letter Ryan of TwinsChatter received from his representative, Ray Cox:
Thanks for your message. I suspect the reason you may hear conflicting things on a Twins stadium is because there are several different plans out....some people support one plan, others all plans.
I can support a Twins stadium as long as it does not use any general tax dollars. I don't want to have people in Winona, Warroad, or Mankato pay tax dollars for a Twins stadium if they never go to the stadium. I have no problem with a variety of funding plans such as ticket taxes, tax on sports items, rental cars, etc. to pay for a stadium. I also don't have problems with using some type of tax increment financing to assist a stadium.
Bottom line, as long as the Twins bring in a plan that doesn't consume general tax dollars I will be happy to support it."
This is the type of legislator we should be supporting. Cox seems to be thoughtful, intelligent, and willing to consider numerous avenues to solve a problem. Please vote on November 2. And if possible, please vote for a legislator that has an open mind like Ray Cox. And then start making some noise.
October 28, 2004
Feeling pretty good
I'm feeling pretty good for some reason. Things are going well, I guess you could say. For example, my Voter's Guide seems to be a big hit. I've gotten a lot of good feedback concerning the Guide. Dave St. Peter, president of the Twins, even wrote me to say THANKS. Yes, he actually capitalized all the letters in THANKS. I asked him for some assistance in putting the list together, but understandably he hasn't provided any. Unlike me, he actually has to work with the legislature, and any legislators that are elected that may be anti-stadium. As always, take a look at the guide if you haven't yet already and let me know if any changes or additions are necessary.
And sorry that there haven't been many updates recently to this blog or Super G. The Guide has taken up a lot of my time.
I'm also surprised at how the Red Sox victory last night has made me feel. Pretty good, truth be told, and that is surprising given how much I can't stand the Red Sox. Really, I think I feel so good because as a result of their victory last night I feel much better about the Vikings chances this year.
The Vikings are a good team. There is no doubt about that. And the good thing is their defense is getting better. I'm sure this has already been beaten to death in other sports based blogs, but they didn't allow a touchdown in a game for the first time since 1998. We all know how good the Vikes were in 1998. Plus, for the first time in like 3 years they actually humiliated a team they were supposed to beat. Now, I'm sure a lot of people are pointing to the fact that McNair was on the bench, but usually this would be the perfect opportunity for the Vikes to either barely beat the team or actually lose (see Arizona Cardinals game last year). Not this time. The Vikings are better, and more importantly they are getting better every week.
You know who I really like out there on the defense? Terrance Shaw. He is playing some very good defense right now. A few passes defenced and an interception is practically Viking Ring of Honor caliber given where the defense has been the last couple of years.
This Sunday should be a pretty good test against the Giants. Warner has lit up the Vikings secondary before. I look forward to seeing if the Vikings can keep it together and become another team of destiny.
Of course, all of this would be in spite of Red McCombs. Is there a bigger bastard in all of Vikings history? He continues to absolutely put his foot in his mouth and dig himself a deeper and deeper hole. At last Sunday's game Red had the audacity to say:
"Let's face it. I would love to be in Los Angeles," McCombs told Sports Illustrated's Michael Silver. "But I can't just pick up and go to L.A.; that is a league issue. I'm a team player, so I am not going to test the courts and run off in the middle of the night.
"At this point, I don't see relocation as a viable alternative because the league has said 'You've got to make it work [in Minnesota].' The league knows I'd be very happy to be in L.A., but I'd also like to be here with a new stadium."
Way to endear yourself to the fans, Red. And he wonders why he keeps getting boos every time he shows his face at the Metrodome. Plus, Red must think we are all as stupid as him if he thought we would believe his threats that he could both get out of his lease and the Rozelle letter. Man! This gets me fired up! It has already been pointed out that Red most likely considers himself a short term owner and will probably sell the team in lieu of trying for another stadium run. The sooner the better as far as I'm concerned. After saying what he said yesterday, there is no chance the legislature will even take him seriously anymore if he did try for a stadium again. What an idiot.
And speaking of stadiums, in my efforts to research stadium friendly legislators I came across this article spoofing an announcement for a new Twins stadium. It is a little vulgar ... well, a lot vulgar, but the real-life stadium situation has gotten so surreal that I had to chuckle at the outlandish claims the article was making. The name of the new stadium is "Mall of America Super Duper MegaField" if that gives you any indication.
Anyway, good feelings today, even with Red McCombs again giving us all reason to hate him even more.
October 27, 2004
OK, I'm happy
Quick note before I go to bed. Curt in Grand Forks has shown me the error of my ways. For many months I have expressed my deep dislike of the Red Sox. If the Yankees are Evil Empire A, then surely the Red Sox are Evil Empire B. Achieving the two highest payrolls in the game, the owners of the Red Sox and the Yankees both deserve a spot somewhere in Dante's Inferno. However, Curt described to me a scenario that truthfully I did not think possible. Curt wrote that a Red Sox victory in the World Series will open the floodgates for all the teams that have never won it all. Curt wrote that a Red Sox victory in the World Series will usher in a new era for all the teams dwelling in the realm of Lost-Hope. The Red Sox victory in the World Series tonight can only mean that a Vikings victory in the Super Bowl is imminent. Oh yes, it is now destiny. The stars and planets are all aligned, the cards are in our favor. This is the year of the Viking! Thank you Red Sox! You have given all of us hope!
October 26, 2004
Greet Machine Voter's Guide
Well, I have completed the first draft of the Greet Machine Voter's Guide. The goal of the voter's guide is to list candidates for the Minnesota House of Representatives that are stadium friendly, especially Twins stadium friendly. Our legislature has sat idly by for too long on this issue. Stadium costs continue to increase while our legislators continue to argue and play partisan politics. This issue needs to be solved and we need energetic, thoughtful, and intelligent legislators that are willing to negotiate and hammer out a deal. Needless to say, the group of legislators in St. Paul last session were none of the above. Hopefully, we can change all that. To access the guide point your browser to:
Please, if you see any errors, or you would like to help finish the list off, please let me know. And please note, this list is only a guide. If you are struggling with your decision on who to vote for in your district based on all the other issues that are important to you, hopefully this list can help push you over the edge in favor of a candidate that supports stadium financing in Minnesota.
Pohlad needs to do more
Well, I was up all last night working on that stupid Voter's Guide and I barely made a dent. There are a lot of races and a lot of people to research! I'll probably post what I have so far around lunch. I think I've taken care of about 30-40 of the races so far, and there are a bunch of races where there is no clear cut stadium supporter.
However, with this post I'd like to respond to a great set of comments by "oldstuffer" in which he laments Pohlad's cheap ways and suggests that if Pohald would be willing to make a more substantial contribution not to player payroll but to his own stadium then we could finally put this mess behind us. I would have to agree. One thing I have not done a good job on is putting pressure on the Twins themselves to help solve this problem. Of course, we all know it takes two to tango, and what we have seen so far is that the Twins want the state to shake their money maker while the team just sits back and complains that they don't want to dance (or at the very least limit their dancing to the white-man over bite).
We all know the story. In 1997 Pohlad goes before the legislature and promises approx. $100 of his own hard earned money to build a new stadium. The legislature quickly discovers that this contribution is nothing but a loan that Pohlad expects to be paid back for and the deal goes nowhere (to say the least). What kills me about this is that if Pohlad had been sincere, we probably would be enjoying outdoor baseball right now. I'm sure he would agree. However, Pohald has repeatedly said that he doesn't think he should have to pay for any of the new stadium. Much like the state legislature, in Pohald we truly have a person that is unwilling to negotiate. And when the two parties involved both are unwilling to negotiate ... well you have the situation we are in now.
Contrast this with how stadiums were build in Cleveland and Detroit. Especially Detroit. Mike Ilitch was sincere with his contribution of nearly 70% of his own money and the Michigan legislature quickly came up with the rest. The Cleveland Indians had to cough up approx. 52% of their own money to build Jacob's field. Heck, look at the financing of Ford Field for the Detroit Lions from the Vikings' own web site. The Ford family coughed up 70% of the stadium costs. The public only had to come up with $125 million. Oldstuffer lists the example of the SF Giants as his ideal model, but that may be out of reach. I believe the Giants payed for about 99% of PacBell Park. That is a little unrealistic for the Twins.
However, the point of all of this is that in today's climate of budget cuts, health care increases, homeland security, and all the rest the Twins and the Vikings are both going to have to make a substantial contribution to get stadiums built in Minnesota. How much would it take? I don't know. But I agree with Oldstuffer that a big contribution would go a long ways towards getting this mess solved and getting people to come back to Twins games. The $120 million that Pohlad keeps sticking with is weak and paltry compared to the overall costs of a stadium.
Having said that, I think it is obvious what needs to happen for a Twins stadium to finally be built. First of all, we need a sizable and sincere contribution from Pohald to get things started. Jesse Ventura wanted $165 million. That may be a good place to start. Secondly, we also need legislators willing to negotiate and recognize that the Twins are an important part of this community. Hopefully we can elect some Twins-friendly people November 2nd. With those two pieces in place we would have a new Twins stadium in 5 years. What are the chances for all of this? Probably zilch.
October 25, 2004
Stadiums: a plea for help and news
I got an interesting comment this weekend that makes me upset with myself for not thinking of this before. Unfortunately now I think it is too late. "Grant" asked me who he should vote for in the upcoming Minnesota House elections. Grant lives in St. Paul and thought I might know which candidates are pro-stadium in his district. Unfortunately I don't know, but what kills me is that I should. In fact, I should know who to vote for in all the races, but I must admit that I haven't collected any of this data at all. What an idiot! All I have done is worried about my own district. So, here is what I am going to try to do this week. I am going to try to put together a voter's guide listing out the candidates and the Greet Machine pick of the pro-stadium candidate. I may or may not be able to accomplish this given the short amount of time before the election, but I'll give it my best shot.
I need your help. If you know for sure who people should be voting for in your district please let me know. Leave an anonymous comment, send me an email, do whatever it takes but please get this information to me. I'm going to put together a web page that hopefully lists all the districts out. I will also take a look at the last stadium vote in the House and determine which legislators voted against it. Although this method isn't exactly perfect, it should give everyone a good idea who is pro-stadium or not. Again, please help out if you can. Do you know where to get a list of the anti-stadium legislators already? Do you know who you are going to vote for based on stadium stance? Let me know!
If you don't know where to start, check out this tool from the Star Tribune. Put in your zip code and your street and it will tell you who is running in your district and their views on various issues. Of course, none of these issues include anything about stadiums. It appears stadiums are not that big of a deal to Minnesotans this year.
Speaking of which, just today, the StarTrib also came out with an article about the stadium malaise that has come over Minnesotans. It seems that stadium proponents and opponents are both finding that other issues, such as national security and the presedential elections, are what Minnesotans are choosing to focus on this year. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this. In fact, the lack of anti-stadium grandstanding has been refreshing. However, one quote in the article actually put a little (just a little) pep in my step this morning:
Sviggum said he expects a University of Minnesota football stadium and a Twins ballpark to find a way onto the Legislature's agenda next year, but only after budget, health care and education issues are tackled.Of course, only after everything else has been solved, which will be never, will stadiums get the attention they deserve, but Sviggum actually saying this is a good start. In addition, it looks like Jerry Bell will give lobbying for a Twins stadium one more try:
Twins Sports Inc. president Jerry Bell has been campaigning for owner Carl Pohlad for a new ballpark since 1996 at a total cost of nearly $10 million.
Next month, Bell said, he will begin seeking bipartisan support from legislative leaders for "buy-in" to a ballpark plan that won't face repeated amendments once it arrives at contentious legislative committees.
"If I don't see that, I don't think I'll waste Carl's money again," Bell said of lobbying efforts.
I can't decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing for Bell to lead the charge once again. On the one hand Bell has been the Twins front man on this issue for 10 years. He knows more about this issue than anyone and has forged some very good connections at the capitol, and in Hennepin County and St. Paul. However, are people even listening to him anymore? The legislature has seen him for so long now they may not even take him seriously anymore. Maybe it is time for him to let someone else give it a try? Then again, I honestly don't think it will matter.
As for what Bell said above, all I can say is good luck. There is no way a bill gets out of committee in either chamber without being hammered by amendments. In other words, I don't think we'll be seeing much action on a Twins stadium bill this session. I think Bell will quickly give up, and yet again nothing will be done as stadium costs continue to rise. I'm beginning to feel like Minnesota and Montreal will have a lot more in common in the next couple of years than just being really cold in the winter.
October 22, 2004
Donald Watkins Part II and some links
Did anyone catch the news about Denny Hecker and Reggie Fowler today? No? That's because there isn't any. If you've forgotten, about two months ago it became well known that Reggie Fowler, an Arizona businessman, was interested in purchasing the Vikings. In order to assuage the fears of Minnesota Viking fans he partnered with Denny Hecker, a local car salesman, and said that the two of them would have a proposal for purchasing the team "soon." Well, today the Star Tribune reported:
Two months after publicly revealing his interest in joining an ownership group to purchase the Vikings, local businessman Denny Hecker continues to mull his options.
He acknowledged Wednesday that there has been no significant movement in broaching the issue with owner Red McCombs, but Hecker added, "We're still working on it behind the scenes."
McCombs is seeking in excess of $600 million for the team, a price Hecker and Arizona entrepreneur Reggie Fowler do not appear ready to meet.
Does this mean that they don't have the money, or that they have the money but are unwilling to pay $600 million? I'm beginning to think they don't have the money. Forbes recently valued the Vikings franchise at $600 million. Red McCombs will not lower his price. Unfortunately it seems that in Reggie Fowler and Denny Hecker we have another Donald Watkins on our hands. They are all talk, and it looks like they may never make an offer to buy the team. Without some Minnesota ownership, the Vikings have absolutely zero chance of securing stadium funding from the legislature. Even with a Minnesota owner it will be difficult. I'm not saying Fowler and Hecker are the answer, but I definitely know Red McCombs is not.
I'll be visiting my best buddy Curt this weekend. I'll "talk" with all of you next week. In the meantime, here are some links for you to enjoy:
- This is a great article. This guy has created a device, called TV-B-Gone, that will turn off any TV in the area. Interesting social implications and reactions.
- Here is the TV-B-Gone website.
- This "who should you vote for quiz" takes quotes from Bush and Kerry and asks you which ones you prefer. The catch is you don't know who said the quote. Revealing? Perhaps.
- Need a site to help you convince your mom not to vote for Bush? Try ConvinceYourMom.com.
- There are a lot of plans to give America energy independence. Personally, I feel along with health care issues, alternative sources of fuel and retooling the car should be two of our government's highest priorities.
- A detailed review by someone who has seen "The Last Starfighter: the Musical." This is so cool! I wish I could go! Check out this quote:
It is difficult to describe the feelings as one sits through this production. For vital minutes at the beginning of the show, your mind reels, over and over: "I am watching a musical production of The Last Starfighter. I am watching a musical production of The Last Starfighter". This said, however, I found my half-smirk and wide eyes quickly overcome with the poignant, powerful song sung by Zur to his estranged parent, "Father to Son". It speaks of his rightful place, his hereditary throne denied him, his pain at being left in the cold and lost without meaning, which is why he now intends to destroy the very world he was rejected from. It is strong. It is touching. It is, at the end, a very real song delivered by a very real performer.Awesome! You can't make that kind of stuff up! As many of you probably know, I recently purchased The Last Starfighter on DVD. My kids and I watched it last weekend and I must say it hasn't lost any of its magic. Greetings Starfighter! You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the frontier against Zur and the Kodan Armada...
- 50 great Halloween songs for you to download and enjoy. Amazing collection.
- This is incredible, but Iran has endorsed Bush. Very odd.
- The biggest sunfish I have ever seen.
Have a good weekend everyone!
October 21, 2004
Red Sox, Chimneys, and Gopher Basketball
Well, I would be lying if I said I wasn't impressed. For the Red Sox to come back from 0-3 to take the AL pennant against the hated Yankees is something truly spectacular. David Oritz and Dougie deserve it and I am happy for them. However, spare me this underdog/curse/anti-Yankee mumbo jumbo. The Red Sox payroll is almost $130 million. That is still $60 million less than the Yankees, but it is also an obscene amount of money. In my mind the Red Sox are just as much to blame for the economic problems in baseball as the Yankees and for this reason they don't deserve, and they will never get, my support. I know, I'm sure they are crying and gnashing their teeth over my lack of support, but I gotta take a stand somewhere. Are they the lesser of two evils? Barely and it pains me to even feel a little spot of goodness in my heart for their victory last night. All I've got to say is go Houston. If it is a Red Sox - Astros World Series only then will it have a modicum of respectability. But that is just me. All of you go ahead and slobber all over yourselves proclaiming that the Evil Empire has been defeated when in truth the evil regime's little brother has merely taken over.
The Gopher's basketball team is in trouble. How do I know this? Advertisements in the student newspaper to help sell student ticket packages feature Jeff Hagen. In fact, he is the only player featured in the advertisements. Now don't get me wrong. I like Jeff Hagen. He is a good player and a hard worker. He is not someone, though, that you build your team around and I think he would agree. If that is the best player on the Gophers, the only player worthy of featuring in an advertisement to build excitement for the team, then they are in a load of trouble this year. He wasn't even awarded a scholarship until his sophomore year. Again, I like Hagen, but I am feeling a little queasy about the Gopher's chances this year.
I had my chimney cleaned yesterday. Nick of Nick's Chimney Service came out a did a great job. However, he was the second person to come out and take a look at my chimney and wood burning stove. The first company to come out, and I can't remember their name now, told me that my chimney was so bad that they would have to pretty much rebuild the chimney for me. They said the tiles were all cracked and falling apart, that it wasn't up to code, and that it would need a stainless steel pipe running the entire length of the chimney to make it safe for use. They quoted me $3,000 to repair it. Now, either they thought they could give me a royal porking, or they were just plain stupid. Nick and his people came in and cleaned the chimney, showed me everything they had done and described it all in detail, assured me that the chimney looked very safe, and then charged me less than the first company would have just for the cleaning. Moral of the story is in the world of chimney cleaning, get a second opinion.
You know what pains me the most about the Yankees-Red Sox series? It should have been the Twins vs. the Red Sox. Maybe that is why I am so bitter. The Twins should have won game 2 of the ALDS, and they had game 4 wrapped up too. I like what the Twins Geek had to say about the Yankees victory over the Twins, "this series was won when one team had (and continues to have) more mojo - not because they bought it." Were the Twins the better team? I would argue they had better pitching, but I will agree that the Yankees definitely had more of that confidence, that cocky attitude, that winners usually have. Will next year be different for the Twins? I sure hope so.
That is all for now. Maybe more later.
October 20, 2004
Songs for a Desert Island V
Boy, it has been a while since I've picked a song in my Songs for a Desert Island series. The last song, All This Time by Sting, I wrote about way back in June. Well, the wait is over. The next song is by the Beatles. While it is probably a bit cliched to pick a Beatles song for this honor, how could you not pick a Beatles song to go with you to a desert island? Really, the trouble is picking just that one Beatles song to bring along. Consider that they only recorded for 7 years, and yet they were able to come out with 16 studio albums and record 186 songs. 186 potential songs is a lot to choose from. Could it be "Hey Jude" or "Here Comes the Sun"? How about "A Day in the Life" or "We Can Work it Out"? Not to mention "Eleanor Rigby" or perhaps "Revolution". All of these, and many more, are certainly worthy of selection, but for me no song captures the essence of the Beatles better than "Strawberry Fields Forever."
No other song in the Beatles catalog captures the essence of the Beatles than "Strawberry Fields Forever." Written by John Lennon, recorded in 1966, and released as a double A-sided single (along with McCartney's Penny Lane) in 1967, "Strawberry Fields" is full of Beatles' nostalgia, heavy musical and substance experimentation, anguish, and happiness all at the same time. The actual Strawberry Fields was a former orphanage near Lennon's childhood home. As a child Lennon attended summer fesitvals there and in his spare time he played in the surrounding field. One could argue that for him it represented a happy time in his life, or perhaps it even represented the overall peace and tranquility of childhood in general. There is little doubt that the events preceding the recording of "Strawberry Fields Forever" caused Lennon a lot of strife and maybe made him long for the simplicity of childhood. The lyrics begin:
Let me take you down, 'cause I'm going to Strawberry Fields.
Nothing is real and nothing to get hungabout.
Strawberry Fields forever.
Only months before the recording of "Strawberry Fields" Lennon was villified and even sent death threats for his statement that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus. It is easy to see why he would long to return to Strawberry Fields, where everything was make believe, and there was nothing to worry about. Why not "Strawberry Fields forever"? Lennon continues:
Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.
It's getting hard to be someone but it all works out, it doesn't matter much to me.
Let me take you down, 'cause I'm going to Strawberry Fields.
Nothing is real and nothing to get hungabout.
Strawberry Fields forever.
Here we have one of the first examples of Lennon challenging society as a whole, by accusing people of taking the easy way out rather than actually trying to understand another point of view. Lennon next seems to claim that it is difficult to be someone of integrity living around so much hypocrisy and fakeness. It seems fame has taken its toll on Lennon as he realizes that everything he says will be scrutinized and misconstrued. But he also seems to be saying that either it "doesn't matter" and that he has decided he will just be himself, or that he is just genuinely tired and that none of it really matters at all. Lennon continues:
No one I think is in my tree, I mean it must be high or low.
That is you can't you know tune in but it's all right, that is I think it's not too bad.
Let me take you down, 'cause I'm going to Strawberry Fields.
Nothing is real and nothing to get hungabout.
Strawberry Fields forever
If you've ever listend to the second Beatles Anthology you will hear on the "Strawberry Fields" demos that this stanza is actually the first stanza Lennon wrote for the song. Lennon always knew he was different, but as this song gives away, he couldn't figure out if that was good or bad. Later in life Lennon would admit that this stanza refers to the fact that no one seems to be on the same wavelength as him. He would say, "therefore I must be crazy or a genius." No doubt he wishes people could "tune in" to his way of thinking, but he half heartedly admits that "its not too bad." If you've read any Beatles biographies you will probably remember that Lennon was a jerk as a young adult. Cocky, self assured, and sometimes downright nasty he would probably be considered a bully in schools today. This stanza may sound like arrogance to some, but there is also a tinge of anguish that gives away the crumbling of his self assurance that he hinted at in the song "Help!"
Always, no sometimes, think it's me, but you know I know when it's a dream.
I think I know I mean a 'Yes' but it's all wrong, that is I think I disagree.
Let me take you down, 'cause I'm going to Strawberry Fields.
Nothing is real and nothing to get hungabout.
Strawberry Fields forever.
How much of his problems are his own fault? Always? Sometimes? He is almost Hamlet-like in his indecision. At least he knows the difference between reality and a dream (a hawk from a handsaw?), but even then he only thinks he knows before finally deciding that he disagrees. Are we listening to Lennon mature or actually go a little crazy? Whatever the case, Lennon longs for a return to Strawberry Fields where perhaps none of this matters, where his uncertainty and confusion are gone, and he can just be himself again.
Usually I would stop there, but more needs to be said about the actual music of this song. "Strawberry Fields Forever" carried on the psychedelic experimentation Lennon started with "Tomorrow Never Knows" but it does it so successfully the listener can't help but feel the effects of LSD coursing through the speakers. More than any other Beatles song, "Strawberry Fields" epitomizes their musical experimentation as they used every instrument and effect at their disposal to create a psychedelic dream through which everyone could visit Strawberry Fields.
What makes the song even more remarkable, however, is that it is actually two songs (or versions of the song) spliced together. The first 60 seconds of "Strawberry Fields" is actually one of the first versions featuring only the group's electronic and acousitc instrumentation, with a healthy dose of overdubs and effects. However, Lennon became dissatisfied with this and asked George Martin to create an orchestral score for the song which would feature cellos and trumpets. After recording this version Lennon would later decide that he liked the first part of the first version, and the second part of the second version and that he wanted them both on the final version. Martin tried to explain to Lennon that it was impossible given that the two versions weren't even recorded at the same speed or tone. Lennon was adamant and after a lot of work Martin was able to do the impossible. If you listen closely to the version they finally released, at the one minute mark you should be able to hear the switch to the second version of the song. Overall the song becomes much heavier and dense as the extra instruments flow into the song.
I don't think it is an overstatment to say that "Strawberry Fields Forever" ushered in the era of the rock or pop song as an art form. As Ian MacDonald writes in Revolution in the Head:
"'Strawberry Fields Forever' extended the range of studio techniques developed on Revolver, opening up possibilities for pop which, given sufficient invention, could result in unprecedented sound images. Such moods and textures had formerly been the province of classical music, and when George Martin described the recording as 'a complete tone poem -- like a modern Debussy', he did so with a certain justification ... While there are countless contemporary composers capable of music vastly more sophisticated in form and technique, few if any are capable of displaying feeling and fantasy so direct, spontaneous, and original."
So, that is why I have selected "Strawberry Fields Forever" as my fifth Song for a Desert Island. I truly feel it captures the essence of the Beatles from the lyrics, to the music, to the experimentation, both in terms of sound and drugs. I hope you agree with my selection.
October 19, 2004
Links of the day
- Fun Facts that will provide you minutes and minutes of reading!
- Coke vs. Pepsi. It seems some of our preference is in our head, and most of the time it is overwhelmingly in Coke's favor.
- This is just cool. Comparing Star Wars action figures yesterday and today.
- Cascading Stylesheet Cheatsheet. This one is for me.
- Another predictor of the outcome of the presidential election. This one if from the U of M though!
- Top four things you need to know about America, from a student at the U of M from New Zealand.
- Check out this picture of a Maine Coon cat. That is one big kitty.
October 18, 2004
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Daunte Culpepper ... wow. I love to watch this guy play. Another game, another 5 touchdown pass performance. He is making it look so easy that we might be taking it for granted what inspired football he is playing right now. And for all the people that think Gus Frerotte should be starting ... I can't believe I even had to type that sentence out. Reusse had a great beginning to his column today dealing with the Daunte haters out there:
Daunte Culpepper's most determined critics were not able to view his entire performance on Sunday night. These people were otherwise occupied from 8 to 9 p.m., since they make up the I.Q. demographic for "Desperate Housewives."
Zing! Here is hoping that a 425 yard, 5 TD pass performance will shut these people up. Daunte is the NFL MVP so far this season. No question about it.
Randy Moss will be back next week. I think we can bank on that. But in his absence Nate Burleson had a really nice game. Actually, 6 receptions for 134 yards is really, really nice. But if Daunte didn't get the game ball last night it would have to go to Mewelde Moore: 109 yards rushing, 78 yards receiving, and 51 yards returning kicks. What impressed me more, though, about this kid is how hard he is to bring down. Cheesehead Craig and I both agreed he reminds us of Ahman Green, except he holds on to the ball too. Now the question is, what happens when Bennett comes back? What happens when Smith comes back? I honestly would rather see Moore in there. He is tough, he is determined, he rushes, he catches, he does it all, and he does it impressively. Steal of the Draft? I think we have finally seen the SOD and it ain't Onterrio "Pass the Dutchie" Smith.
If anything can temper my enthusiasm for the Vikings this year, it is the pathetic defense. Yet again the game came down to the last quarter, and the last minutes, even though the Vikings offense was able to rack up 38 points. Corey Chavous is saying this is a "team game" but if one part of this team will keep them out of the Super Bowl it is the defense. What if the Vikings traded Bennett for another decent corner, or a healthy linebacker? Unfortunately I doubt any other team would take the injury prone Bennett at this point. Switching defensive coordinators for the past 3-4 years (I honestly can't remember how many the Vikings have had) cannot help, but Cotrell's schemes are not impressing me at all. Tice even had to challenge the defense this week to be more agressive. Here is hoping they can improve because they will not go to the Super Bowl with this defense.
My family carved pumpkins this weekend. I'll be showing the three pumpkin designs in the next couple of days, but I think the best design goes to my oldest son. Every year he comes up with a new design, and every year I say to myself, "That is going to look stupid." And every year he proves me wrong. I don't know what inspired this year's design, but I think it looks kind of cool.
My kids and I have started to play my old Stratego game. Do you remember Stratego? It is an easy game to learn and it is fun to play for adults and kids. Anyway, take a look at the box cover for my old version of Stratego. What the heck does it mean to be a "two-handed" strategy game? I certainly don't have to use two hands to play. Do they mean to say it is a "two-player" strategy game? Very odd.
I pray the Gophers don't have to play Michigan and Michigan State back-to-back next year again because that just isn't working out for them. What an ugly game. Not only did they prove they aren't yet a Rose Bowl contending team, but they also proved they are not a tough team either. It was cold, it was rainy, and it was obvious they prefer to play inside. The U could have renovated Memorial Stadium for $10 million. Instead they chose to move into the Metrodome. Some decisions come back to haunt you, but that decision is a fricken nightmare that won't stop.
Finally, I am upset the Red Sox won last night. It just prolongs the inevitable. I love David Ortiz, but the rest of the Red Sox can take a flying leap.
October 15, 2004
Let's talk about sports
OK, I've got some things to say concerning some stuff I've been reading about our favorite teams. Let's get to the important stuff first:
I love Charley Walter's column. If you don't read it you should really check it out. I don't know where he digs up all the crap he reports, and I'd be really interested to know if even half the rumors he reports on turn out to be true, but he almost always has something to discuss in his column. Here is what Charley Walter's reported Tuesday that piqued my interest:
"More than the possibility of contraction for the Twins if they go two more years without a new ballpark is the possibility of relocation, as has happened with the Montreal Expos, who are moving to Washington, D.C. The site that will be mentioned most for the Twins is Las Vegas."
What does everyone think about that statement? Even CNNSI.com picked it up and put it in its "Truth and Rumors" column so it is getting some national press. I'll tell you what I think. Contraction was for real. If not for Judge Harry Crump, God bless his everlasting soul, baseball would have contracted the Twins. So we know that MLB and Pohlad were prepared to carry through with their threat. We also know that recently Jerry Bell has both said he personally will not lead another stadium effort, and he has also said that the Twins are right now evaluating whether or not they will even attempt to lobby the legislature this session. We also know through the example of the Expos that baseball is completely capable of buying out an owner and attempting to move a team. We also know that the Twins will not stay in the Metrodome forever. They can't and they won't. Two years may be a little soon, but if the Twins don't have a stadium solution in place by that time it wouldn't surprise me at all to see the ball start rolling towards an Expos like scenario. What other choice will they have? The Metrodome sucks as a baseball stadium. And not only that, the Vikings want out, and the Gophers want out. Do you think the Twins are going to stick around as the only Metrodome tenant? One day the Twins will move out of the Metrodome. That is inevitable. We can choose to have them move down the street or across the country.
According to reports coming out of Green Bay, Favre's 5 year old daughter wants him to retire. Couple this with the dismal season the Packer's are having and that means trouble for cheeseheads everywhere. Personally I would be shocked to see Favre retire on such a sour note, but it is obvious his playing football is taking a toll on his family. I was shocked to read that his 15 year old daughter doesn't even live with the family during the season. That would be really difficult on me. Regardless, as a Viking fan I think it would be a very sad day to see Favre retire. Very sad. He has provided me with some world class entertainment and he has single handedly brought the Packer-Viking rivalry to another level. I can't see the Packers being competitive for a few years after his retirement, unless they bring in another stud QB. Anyway, while I would love the inevitable Viking dominance on the division after his retirement, I would miss Favre. No doubt about it.
Has anyone seen the Fox commercials for the baseball playoffs this year? The tagline is "October isn't scripted" or some such nonsense. How many years in a row have the Yankess been to the playoffs? 10? How many World Series have they been to in the last 10 years? 6? It is ridiculous. Until there is more parity in MLB, until someone other than the Yankees wins the AL East, baseball is scripted. What other conclusion is there?
Here is one person's view. Mark Yost of the Pioneer Press wrote a great article chastising Pohlad for his cheap ways and practically canonizing Steinbrenner for his committment to winning:
As a longtime Yankee fan from Brooklyn, let me say that Steinbrenner has given even the most faithful fans plenty of heartburn over the years. But the one thing we have never been able to criticize him on is his commitment ó both economically and emotionally ó to the team. Too bad the Twins fans can't say the same thing about their owner. For if Pohlad could pry his wallet open an inch, the Twins could probably win another World Series ó and beat the Yankees on their way to doing it.
He's got a point. How close were the Twins to beating the Yankees? Pretty close if not for game 2 of the ALDS. How many more decent players would it have taken to finally get over this hump they've been trying to get over in the past three years? 1? 2? In addtion, Yost had this to say:
How has Steinbrenner built such a successful franchise? He's been willing to pay top dollar for top-notch talent. Of course, that's the primary knock on the Yankees; they buy titles because they're willing to pay more for players than any other team. That makes for nice rhetoric, but doesn't stand up to economic analysis. The Yankees formula has been a success because it has consistently filled the trophy case as well as the seats at Yankee Stadium.The Twins lack of attendance has been discussed quite a bit lately, but one thing I think people have failed to mention as a possible reason is the lack of any big name players on the Twins roster. The last time the Twins drew 2 million fans was the year the Twins had Kirby Pucket and Dave Winfield. These are two big, recognizable names that filled the seats. Who do the Twins have right now that can fill the seats? Santana? Yes, but he only pitches once every five days. Torii Hunter? He isn't nearly consistent enough. Morneau, yes in a couple of years he will fill the seats but he is to raw right now and by the time he is hitting 40-50 home runs the Twins will lose him to free agency. I don't know, but it seems that the Twins are in a real catch-22. They are reaping what they are sowing in terms of poor attendance, but claim they can't raise their player budget because they aren't filling enough seats. Anyway, it was definitely an interesting and thought provoking article.
That's all for now.
October 14, 2004
Links of the day
- Who are novelists voting for? The results shouldn't surprise you.
- Great picture of two Afghan men who just voted. Why didn't we hear more about this?
- The Electoral Vote predictor is again predicting Bush. I wonder how the third debate will affect it...
- A Mall for America's Geeks. Good article on our little MOA.
- Famous retro TV show themes. Seems to be hosted on a different server now. Let me know if you are successful or not downloading some of these.
- The Shifted Librarian can't wait to hear me speak at Internet Librarian 2004. Cool!
- The books people are talking about on the blogosphere right now. Always interesting and always changing.
- Anti-Bush flash movie from the National Jewish Democratic Council. Humorous and creative.
- U of M ranks second in enrollment, after Ohio State, with 50,954 students. OSU has 50,995.
- SixDegreesofVoting.com is overwhelmingly picking Kerry to win. This map is based on people who have registered and cast a vote on the site.
October 13, 2004
Off the cuff
If you are wondering why my entries lately are so sporadic it is because I am playing Mr. Mom at home this week. My wife is on jury duty so I had to take a week off of work and take care of the kids and house. It has actually been kind of fun, but I haven't had much time to sit at the computer. My younger son and daughter like attention so I've been playing with them, reading to them, cleaning the house, etc. Truthfully, I haven't really wanted to sit at the computer and write out this tripe. What follows is really not that interesting, so if you stop reading I will understand.
I'm cheering for the Yankees. That's right, you heard me, the Yankees! It has gotten to the point where I think their dominance is actually comical. Just watching them tear up the Red Sox last night put a smile on my face for some reason. It's like all is right with the world. Why does the rest of the American League even try? Baseball is just ridiculous and the Yankees epitomize how ridiculous it is. I enjoyed Tim Keown's article on ESPN's Page 2 yesterday where he says, "What starts tonight is Evil Empire (A) vs. Evil Empire (B). It should be great theater." The Red Sox want us all to feel sad for them and their playoff futility. Ha! They spend just as much money as the Yankees and have nothing to show for it. They are just as evil as the Yankees only stupider! Why should I cheer for them? Regardless, I think we all know how this series will turn out anyway. Needless to say baseball has left a bad taste in my mouth. I'm sure Spring Training will cure me of that.
I'm listening to the Smashing Pumpkins "Cherub Rock" right now. Talk about a phenomonal rock song. It just consumes the auditory space around the listener. The lyrics have a sort of Holden Caulfield vibe to them, "But beware all those angels with their wings glued on." Fakeness, "coolness," teenage angst. It rocks and is the sort of song I have to stop and listen to. Thought you might like to know.
I love working on a college campus. Freedom of speech runs rampant! I've got two examples of freedom of speech that has had the campus talking for the past couple of weeks. It is a rare day that there isn't someone on the mall handing out a pamphlet, giving a survey, or just plain preaching. Just a few weeks ago Brother Jed was back on campus preaching his brand of Christianity. I usually take a walk around the mall at lunch, so I got the opportunity to hear for myself how successfully he was leading people to the Lord. This is how he started his sermon, "Did you know that Paul Wellstone is in Hell?" Of course, this sent the crowd into a tizzy. What is Brother Jed trying to accomplish with a statement like that? First of all, how does he know where Paul Wellstone currently resides? Is he God? Is he the final judge? Secondly, with that statement I truly feel he did more to hurt his cause than anything else he could have said. About 200 kids decided right then and there not to take seriously anything he had to say. His approach is mind boggling to me. The next day I saw him I heard him saying "Woody Allen is going to Hell!" Again, I doubt any of the kids know who Woody Allen is anymore so strike one, and strike two, how does he know what will happen with Woody Allen? Contrast this with the Gideon's style of prostelytizing. They were just on campus a couple of weeks ago, too. They just hand out a Bible with a smile. No words, no fire and brimstone, you can either take a Bible or leave it. Which style is more effective I wonder? Every year I get a new Gideon Bible at the U of M, so I've got a nice collection of them so far. Brother Jed and the Gideons, two contrasting examples of the freedom of speech on campus. I would love to hear a definitive answer on which style is more effective. I think I have a pretty good idea.
I call my wife "pookie" sometimes. I know, that is kind of sad, but after 10 years of marriage and three kids I've got nothing to prove to anyone. Anyway, yesterday I was asking my wife to please pass the spaghetti when I accidentally combined "por favor" with "pookie" and it came out, "Could you please pass the spaghetti, Porky?" My oldest son just about fell of his chair laughing while I quickly bactracked. Truthfully, I couldn't stop laughing either. And no, I don't think she ever passed me the spaghetti. That will have to go down as one of the worst things I have ever said to her, next to the time I called her a beluga whale when she was pregnant. I tried to explain to her that the beluga whale is one of the smallest varieties of whales in the whale family, but that didn't work out so well. Anyway, I say some stupid things sometimes to her. I'm lucky she loves me enough to forgive me.
That's all for now. If you made it down this far, I am impressed.
October 12, 2004
More about stadium impact
Sure enough, I say I won't write about sports and the first thing I do is write about sports. I try to escape the grip of sports and they keep sucking me back in! The thing is, if I see anything about stadiums I have to comment on it. I just have to. Mr. Cheer or Die has written a wonderful piece on his new blog discussing his take on the economic impact of stadiums on a community. He is pro-stadium, specifically pro-Viking stadium, and he writes a very thoughtful piece arguing for a private/public partnership when building new stadium facilities. More than anything, though, his post does a great job of highlighting the massive hole that would be left without an NFL team in our community. I would love to see the sources he used to write the article as he does a wonderful job of just bombarding the reader with all sorts of statistics and areas where the Vikings make a huge impact on our community. So often the anti-stadium crowd focus on the stadium disctrict itself as the only measure of economic impact, but Mr. Cheer or Die points out that the Vikings and other NFL teams have a very positive impact on the whole area, and state for that matter. It has convinced me without a shadow of a doubt that if the Vikings were ever forced to move due to lack of stadium construction, we would be wooing another NFL team to the area within five years due to the massive hole left by the team. Anyway, read his piece if you are interested.
October 11, 2004
What do you want?
OK, I've held off long enough. Man does it suck to be a fan of Minnesota sports. Why do I even put up with it? I blame my mom. I mean, I was born in Wisconsin! That's right, I was born just across the border in River Falls, WI and could have easily become of a fan of all things Wisconsin (perish the thought). But my mom grew up in Minnesota and brain-washed me to cheer for the Twins and the Vikings and the Gophers. She brain-washed me I tell you! That and the fact that River Falls only picked up Twin Cities TV stations sealed the deal for me. And even though we only picked up Twin Cities TV stations I was still in the minority. I was surrounded by enemies ...
I remember the day that Jason Simpson dared to mock the Vikings in my presence. Standing in line after recess in the second grade he said to me, "How are the Vi-QUEENs doing this year?" I answered him by making a fist in my Viking mitten and popping him in the nose. They must have lost the day before because I remember just snapping and going into a second-grader rage on his scrawny Packer-fan butt. Beware of the grumpy Minnesota sports fan! We don't like it when our teams lose. It gives us a very bad attitude. Unfortunately for us, just by virtue of being Minnesota sports fans we have a bad attitude most of the time. I don't know what happened to Jason, but I'm sure if he saw me he would probably run to the other side of the street. Especially after this weekend.
So, this weekend ... You'll be happy know that my radio worked at camp. I was able to listen to both the Twins and the Gophers on Saturday. Lucky me. I actually became somewhat of a celebrity at camp as I was one of only about 3 people (out of 3,000) that thought to bring a radio. Everyone was asking me, "What is the score?" "What is happening?" And that was just in the morning and afternoon during the Gophers game. For most of the second half I had good news for them. "24-20 with 3 minutes to play," I would yell. And everyone would cheer and nod their approval. I felt good. I could see little brown jugs dancing in their eyes. We were all happy. And then, just like that, Michigan scored and it was over. I had to tell them the bad news. After the game, I became the guy that ruined everyone's day! The curse of the Minnesota sports fan strikes again.
Michigan ... if that wasn't the same state that is also home to the hapless Lions and Tigers I would really, really despise them. Even in their off years, even in the year the Wolverines start a true freshman at QB, they are still better than the Gophers ... This is unacceptable! There was a time when beating the Gophers really meant something. Now we are nothing but a speed bump. There was a time when students would burn the coach in effigy if he didn't take the team to the Rose Bowl. Now we give Mason $1 million after taking the team to the Music City Bowl. Year after year it is the same thing. The last time we held the jug was 1986. 18 years. Sigh ...
Later in the evening I was able to give all my camping buddies updates on the Twins game. Again, I was the hero through most of the game. Then Ruben Sierra came to bat. After that nobody even bothered to ask how things were going. They all knew what would inevitably happen. And eventually it did. Since I didn't actually watch the game it is hard for me to second guess the manager. It sounded like Balfour was just dominating, and Rincon has performed exceptionally all year so I can't question bringing him in. I hear Lohse was letting A-Rod get a really good lead off of second, but I'll have to take your word for it. Unfortunately we were playing the Yankees. There is absolutely no room for error. None. I thought this year would be different. Now I'll just have to wait until next year. And lest I sound really grumpy, winning three division titles in a row is awesome and worthy of a great deal of praise. I hope we can make it four in a row.
Getting home I honestly thought about not watching the Vikings game. I mean, why would I want to triple my torture? Let me put it another way: we had to count on the Vikings to salvage the weekend. To quote Morpheus, "Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony." Well, they didn't disappoint even though the stars were all aligned to continue our weeked of misery. The offense hummed, and the defense collapsed.
I will stop there. I could go on with some sort of lame analysis, but I am sick of thinking about sports. And thank goodness I went on a Cub Scout camp out this weekend! If I had actually watched the Gophers and the Twins lose, if I had actually wasted 6-7 hours in front of the TV on Saturday watching another banner day of Minnesota sports, I would probably be in a straight jacket bouncing off the walls in a rubber room. Instead, I was with my son under the stars, eating deep fried cinammon rolls, and drinking hot chocolate. Now that is something to write home about. And that is what I'll be writing about in the days ahead. I won't say there won't be any sports commentary, but I need to recharge and write about something else for a change.
October 8, 2004
Pain and hope
Pain, pain, pain. Santana, you are our only hope.
See you on Monday.
Links of the day
I can't think about the Twins anymore. It is driving me crazy and I am getting too stressed out! I need something to get my mind off of them. So, I present you a non-baseball links of the day:
- What Yahoo! looked like in 1994
- The effects of country music on suicide.
- Spaceballs sequel in the works. May the schwarz be with you!
- The 25 most difficult questions you'll be asked on a job interview. Helpful list.
- You Forgot Poland.com. Don't take this to mean I am against (or for) Bush. I just think it is humorous.
- Track by track guide to U2's new album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
- Looks like Kerry has taken the lead in the electoral vote predictor. Just two weeks ago it was solidly Bush.
- New JibJab.com video. Not as good as "This Land." In fact, it was a little disturbing seeing Edwards and Kerry in bed together. Blech.
I'm going camping this weekend. I don't know what I did to anger the baseball gods so, but instead of watching Johan wrap up the ALDS on Saturday night I will be sitting around a campfire singing "Kumbaya" and eating smores. Usually this wouldn't be a bad thing. I've got a new tent, and I love camping, especially camping with my son and the rest of the Cub Scouts. But why, oh why, did it have to be on this weekend? Not only will I be missing the Twins game, I will also miss the Gopher game of the century against Michigan. Apparently, SI.com has already picked the Gophers to win 24-20 (although I can't find the page). That game starts at 11:00, at which time I'll probably be learning the difference between a double half-hitch and just a plain old half-hitch. Argh! It is very frustrating. But I've got a plan.
I bought a little radio last night that I hope to smuggle into the camp. The camp is in Stearns County, close to St. Cloud. You're not supposed to bring any electronic devices, but I'm sure I won't be alone. My question, though, is will I be able to pick up WCCO at the camp with this little radio? Does anyone know for sure, or if I should be tuning into a different station? I would greatly appreciate any advice anyone has. I plan on stringing the headphones up through my clothes, out my neck hole, and into my ear. Or I could string it through my sleeve and out my arm hole and pretend to scratch my ear a lot. Even if I can only listen like every 5 minutes it will still be worth it.
Stick and Ball Guy has a good post today that you'll want to check out, but one part of his post in particular struck a chord with me. After he picked the Yankees to win game 3 he said:
You know what? I am not writing for a newspaper and I never will be. I don't have to be objective. Who really cares if I'm right or wrong? When it comes to the Twins, I am first and foremost a supporter...So forget that earlier prediction. The Twins are gonna rough up Brown and Silva's gonna give 'em enough. Twins win game 3. Good. I feel better.
Amen brother. What is the point of picking the Yankees to win? First of all the Yankees won't win, and secondly, there are many good reasons why they won't win and why the Twins will win the whole series for that matter:
- Kevin Brown is an idiot. Any pitcher who punches a wall, even if it is his non-pitching hand, is an idiot.
- The Yankees are evil. And I don't know if anyone ever told them, but good always beats evil in the end.
- A-Rod is bad luck. A-Rod leaves the Mariners and they still go to the playoffs and they win 116 games. A-Rod leaves the Rangers and they have their most successful season in years. The only way the Yankees are ever going to win another World Series is if A-Rod leaves the team. That is the way it works.
- I think the Homer Hankies this year look like the 1987 design. The Twins won the World Series in 1987. Enough said.
- The Twins have Dome field advantage. If you are reading this and going to the game please, for the love of all that is holy, scream like you've never screamed before. Scream so much that Derek Jeter wets himself. If he hasn't wet himself yet, you aren't screaming loud enough.
- I pet my lucky cat this morning and I smoothed the lucky Homer Hanky in a counter-clockwise direction. I will also wear my lucky Twins shirt tonight and I will probably put on my favorite Twins hat. Oh yes, I will do my part. Now it will be up to the Twins to do the rest.
- Because, because, because! The magic is back people! Who else feels it? Who doesn't believe in their heart of hearts that the Twins can pull this out? Two games! That is all it will take. If Silva can pitch his usual ground ball inducing stuff and the Twins can knock Brown around early, the Twins will be victorious. I personally feel it is inevitable.
Man, I am pumped up! Everybody sing along: We're gonna win Twins! We're gonna score! We're gonna win Twins watch that baseball soar! ...
October 7, 2004
Before I begin let me say that I am not, nor will I ever be, a manager in baseball. Not little leagues, and certainly not in the major leagues. The game was painful last night, as I'm sure you'll agree, and I can't decide if I would rather lose in a blowout, or a close game in extra innings. I am leaning towards a blowout.
Having said that, I would have left Nathan in, too. I cringed when I saw Jesse Crain warming up. Granted, he might be the closer of the future, but this was going to be too much for him. His first postseason appearance at Yankee stadium in an extra innings game? Come on. No way. When Nathan walked back out I was relieved. In hindsight, should Gardy have put Crain in? I have no idea. Should he have put Romero in to face Matsui? Possibly, but Romero has really struggled as of late. I would have liked to have seen Nathan finish it off. My question now, though, is will he be able to pitch Friday? Probably with a day off. And yes, I would still put him in. No question.
And speaking of managerial decisions, I would have pinch hit for Kubel in the 8th. Here is another situation where a rookie was expected to produce, but it wasn't even a normal situation in regards to a playoff game. He was facing possibly the greatest reliever of this generation: Mariano Rivera. I know Gardy probably liked the fact that Kubel was a lefty, but the rookie looked so outmatched out there, it wasn't even funny. If only Koskie's ground rule double would have stayed in the park! We wouldn't even be having this conversation.
Have no fear, though, Twins fans. We only need to go back 2 years to see somewhat of a repeat of this situation. In the 2002 ALDS vs. Oakland the Twins won the first game and then lost game 2 in Oakland 9-1, and then lost game 3 at the Dome 6-3! Man that was painful. However, you all know the rest of the story, the Twins take the last two games and go on to the ALCS. Here is hoping the Twins won't even need game 5. Come on Silva!
Non Twins news, I don't know how many of you saw this, but Charley Walters reported on Tuesday that Reggie Fowler and Denny Hecker are getting closer to making an offer for the Vikings. I predict next week. It is funny how my mind can change so quickly. When we first heard about this maybe happening, I was freaking out. Who is this Reggie Fowler character? Now I think it is exactly what the Vikings need. It will be a happy day when I don't have to think about Red McCombs and his veiled threats ever again.
Mr. Cheer or Die of Vikings fan fame has created a blog on my humble U of M blog system, UThink, called Mr. Cheer Or Die's Viking Underground. I am thrilled to have him aboard! Anyway, he has already posted a hilarious account called "The Switch" which describes his efforts to display a Vikings lamp in his house. I encourage you to check it out and the rest of his site as he gets more content up.
October 6, 2004
Links of the day, Twins edition
- Yanks baffled by Santana
Posada on Hunter's throw to nail him at the plate:
"That's why he's got a Gold Glove," Posada said. "We tried to get on a little run there, make him be accurate. There's not much you can do."
A-Rod on Hunter's defense:
"Torii saved two runs for them," Rodriguez said. "The throw home and the leadoff double -- or whatever that would have been -- in the eighth. Pitching and defense usually wins, so you just tip your cap. We played a good, sound game. We didn't beat ourselves."
That is true, the Twins just plain beat you.
- Closer Look from CNNSI.com
On El Duque making a start:
"The news on Orlando Hernandez wasn't good for the Yankees. Joe Torre said El Duque didn't have a bullpen session Tuesday and is a 'fingers-crossed proposition' to make a start in the Division Series."
People, we just saw the only "ace" the Yankees will throw at us in Mussina.
On the Twins chances:
"Truth be told, Minnesota toed the line between victory and disaster all night. If any of those double-play ground balls had found a hole, if Sierra's fly ball had not been ruled foul, if Torii Hunter hadn't made two sensational plays in center field -- throwing out Jorge Posada on a sac fly and robbing Alex Rodriguez of a home run -- the Yankees easily could have erupted for one of their trademark big innings. Brad Radke and Carlos Silva, the Twins' starters for the next two games, might not prove nearly as evasive."
Hmmm ... very interesting. No comment. We'll see what happens in game 2.
- Twins all about team from ESPN.com
"Perhaps best of the all, Santana only threw 93 pitches, leaving Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire with the option of bringing him back Saturday in Game 4 at the Metrodome.
'I think he's going to pitch the fourth game,' Twins catcher Henry Blanco said. 'That's why they got him out after seven -- to give him a little breather. I think he's going to be fine.' "
I don't think there is any question he will pitch game 4 if necessary. Wow. I like the sound of that.
- Cudd-iary: ALDS Game 1
"Compared to last year being up, 1-0, just remembering what happened last year will help us out a lot. Knowing we were feeling good about ourselves last year and they came and took it to us the next three games. We've got that feeling. We'll go out Wednesday with the same intensity level and try to take [it] to them."
Good to hear, Cuddyer.
- Nothing Is Easy for Yanks, and This Series Won't Be Either
"'This game is over with,'' Jeter said. 'You have to have the approach that every game you play is the last game of the season. If you have that, it doesn't matter if you're up or down.''
Jeter might want to be careful about mentioning the potential last game of the season because that could arrive much faster than the Yankees expected."
On the Yankees hopes to score early:
"Jeter said the Yankees had hoped to score early off Santana, but that fizzled in dramatic fashion in the first two innings. Rodriguez was nabbed by about 20 feet breaking for third as Bernie Williams struck out on a hit-and-run play to end the first inning, and center fielder Torii Hunter nailed Jorge Posada at the plate as he tagged up on a fly ball to end the second."
Sheffield on the Yankees performance:
"'We don't have anything to hang our heads about,'' Sheffield said. 'We hit the ball hard. They made the plays behind him. That's baseball.'
The Yankees kept reiterating how they hit the ball hard, as if the mere recounting of the grounders that turned into double plays and the shots to the warning track that became outs would suddenly change them into hits. But nothing was changing about how the Yankees looked on a lost night."
Yep, that just isn't going to cut it against the Twins, Sheffield.
- Series Page: Minnesota vs. New York. Everyone at CBS Sportsline is picking the Yankees for game two. Here is hoping Radke proves them wrong.
- Escaping From New York. If you haven't read Will Young's experience at Yankee stadium last night, you are missing out. It is a very enjoyable read. I'm hoping he gets the chance to elaborate more when he gets home.
October 5, 2004
Home field advantage
I am spent. I am a sweaty mess. When A-Rod hit that towering blast to center my heart stopped and I just about collapsed. But the Twins have come out on top and they have gained the home field advantage they lost in the last weeks of the regular season. Not only that, they did it with what is quite possibly the most perfect playoff game we have seen out of them in this string of three consecutive division titles. Let's look at what I'm sure you already know about:
- 5 double plays. This ties a record that goes back to 1914 for the most double plays in a playoff game. Even Cuddyer got in on the action. I don't want to brag, but this is what I was referring to 3 days ago when I said Cuddyer isn't that much of a defensive liability and getting his bat into the lineup would be huge. That brings me to ...
- Timely hitting and manufacturing runs. Cuddyer's single in the third, Blanco's perfect bunt, and Stewart's hit-and-run single was Twins baseball at its finest. Remarkably this one run would be all the Twins would need. Amazing! However ...
- Jacque Jones. The game wouldn't have been complete without some heroics by Jacque Jones. I mean, are you kidding me? His father just died, he catches the red-eye to New York, and he proceeds to muscle an opposite field home run against a pitcher who has dominated him in the past. Torii Hunter said he would do something special, which brings me to ...
- Torii Hunter. Wow. Wow, wow, wow. The playoffs are only one game old, and I don't know how he can defensively come up with anything better. Most people will focus on his robbing A-Rod of a triple in the 8th, but his throw in the 2nd nabbing Posada at home was as spectacular as it gets. It took the perfect throw! Olerud flies out to center, and even before Hunter caught it Cheesehead Craig, who watched the game with me, is yelling "You don't run on Hunter! You don't run on Hunter!" We both got up out of our seats and sure enough, Cheesehead Craig was right: you don't run on Hunter. Wild celebration ensued. Santana must have been pumped. Speaking of Santana ...
- Pitching. Santana labored tonight, no doubt about it. Was it the cold? Was it the pressure? An atypical Santana performance, and yet he still got the shut out. Even when he is off, he still dominates. As Gardenhire said in the post game interviews, "He didn't have his best stuff, but he had very good stuff." The Yankees had 8 hits, but 7 of them were singles. What I find remarkable about his performance, though, is that he only threw 93 pitches. He is going to be ready and rested if he is needed on Saturday.
Rincon did his job in the 8th (with some heroics by Hunter thrown in for good measure), and then Joe Nathan came in with a 2 run lead. Who else was nervous? I was a basket case, I'll admit it. Things were going the Twins way, but this is the bottom of the ninth against the Yankees at Yankee stadium for goodness sake! Having said that, Nathan proceeded to blow everything past the Yankess and make it look easy. His performance was dominating. It is obvious the Twins are a team that is very confident right now.
This was a great game. An absolute joy to watch. Great baseball from a great team. People, the Twins just shut out the Yankees at Yankee stadium in the playoffs!
This picture would be perfect if it included Jones and Nathan. The heroes of the game. Bring on game 2.
October 4, 2004
Repeat after me
If you have come here to read a little about the Twins and their upcoming series with the Yankees, I am sorry to disappoint. I'm sure the other Twins bloggers will handle that topic quite nicely and to your satisfaction. As for me, I'm going to write about another topic that plagues me and should also plague Twins fans everywhere: stadiums in Minnesota. When I look at the Twins vs. the Yankees, or even just the fact that the Twins are in the playoffs, I can't help but wonder how this will help their never ending stadium drive. What if they make it to the ALCS? Or what if they win the World Series? Will we finally be able to get over the hump and dig that first shovel full of dirt? Who knows, but I am never going to give up hope.
I created the Greet Machine out of frustration; frustration with the lack of news about stadiums and the lack of commentary on the news. And of course, frustration with the lack of progress on the issue of stadiums in Minnesota. I think I even badgered the Twins Geek to write about stadiums more before I decided I would just have to do it myself. I am desperate for a new Twins stadium and I track the issue religiously. If you want to keep up with stadium news, then you have come to the right place.
For some of my long time readers, these next few paragraphs are going to sound like somewhat of a broken record, but I gotta let it all out. Repeat after me: the Twins will not play in the Metrodome forever. Again: the Twins will not play in the Metrodome forever! We can either build a stadium, or we can accept the fate of the Expos and their fans as our own. It is as simple as that.
I know what you are thinking, why should we build a stadium for billionaire owners and millionaire players? To that I would say: change your focus. Rich people are rich. Now, get over it. I couldn't care less how much money Carl Pohlad has. What I care about is bringing my kids to a Twins game on a sunny day. I care about maintaining a Minnesota tradition that goes back to 1961. I care about keeping fresh the memories of '87 and '91 and the memories of how those two years brought more excitement to the Twin Cities than I have ever seen. More importantly, I care about creating new memories for me, my kids, my grandkids, heck the entire Upper Midwest for that matter. The Twins are a big part of Minnesota history. Why don't we want to assure that they are a big part of Minnesota's future?
Here is the way I see it. If we don't build a stadium the Twins will leave, they will be contracted, somehow they will be no more, at least in Minnesota. MLB will decide that the Twin Cities market is no longer viable (10 years of stadium battles and consistently ranking in the bottom 1/4 regarding attendance will have that effect), and the Pohald family will cash out. Finally the stadium battle will be over and we will really stick it to the Pohalds! They won't get a dime out of us! However, the net effect of this inevitability is that the Pohlads will be richer, and millions of fans throughout the upper Midwest will be without the Twins. Pohlad will be millions of dollars richer, and poor schlobs like me will have jack squat. How is this a good deal?
Here is an even greater inevitability, though. How many years will it be before we try to lure another MLB team to the Twin Cities? 5? 10? 20? You know eventually it will happen and it will cost us 5, 10, 20 times as much as it would right now to just keep the team we already have! Don't believe me? How many years was it before we lured NHL hockey back to the Twin Cities after the North Stars left? 7 years. And it cost us a whole lot more than it would have to just keep the North Stars. If the Twins leave, let the countdown begin. And to the legislators who fought against a Twins stadium I will say thanks for literally costing Minnesotans tens-of-millions of dollars extra. Great job. And speaking of great jobs, building a stadium 5 years ago would have saved us at least $200 million. The longer we wait, the more it will cost.
OK, what about money for education, or the police, or the myriad of other needs Minnesota has? In the 10 years we have been fighting against building a new Twins stadium how much extra money have any of these needs received as a result of us not building a new stadium? That's right: nothing, nada, zip. In other words, given the choice between inadequately funding education and building a new stadium, or just inadequately funding education, I will take the former every time. For 10 years we have decided that we would rather make excuses than actually solve problems. I've heard them all before: not with a deficit, not in an election year, not with Pohlad as the owner, not with the economic disparity in baseball ... Bah! We talk and make excuses, and yet the problem is still here! I pray this year will be different. Over 30 other cities have figured out how to make this work. Over 30!!!! Repeat after me: the Twins will not play in the Metrodome forever!
Truly, I could go on and on. Again, if you are a stadium nutjob like me, then you have come to the right place. If not, hopefully I can convince you otherwise. And if you are here to tell me why I am wrong, save your breath. It is time to work something out. We have studied, we have dissected, we have beat this issue to death. Let's save ourselves a lot of money in the long run and finally solve this problem!
If you have made it down this far, congratulations. If you are a glutton for punishement and actually want more of this drivel, I have written about stadiums before:
- Impact and Impact II
My attempts to write about the economic impact of stadiums on a community.
- Twins Stadium in St. Paul in Jeopardy
The tribes may be our only hope...
More on the Native American tribes recent offer to fund stadiums in Minnesota.
- I need my fix
One of my favorites.
My trip to Miller Park.
- Restaurants to Avoid
One of the most hit pages on this site. It seems that whenever someone searches on Google for one of these restaurants this page comes up. Leave a comment if you agree (or disagree) with my stance.
Stay tuned for more stadium news as I find it. And don't think that I only write about stadiums or the Twins, or the Vikings. So, forgive me if I write about something different once in a while.
October 3, 2004
What a great weekend. It was the type of weekend that you get a whole lot accomplished and still feel oddly relaxed and rejuvinated. And to top it off, I didn't make a fool of myself today running the sound system at my church (like I did last time) so that was nice. Overall, life is good.
I am really, really looking forward to the playoffs starting on Tuesday. I don't remember who said it, but if you can get past the Yankees, half the battle is won. And the Twins can definitely get past the Yankees. Did you see that Mike Mussina will be pitching in the first game against Santana? While it is true he has dominated the Twins in the past, he is still coming off an injury plagued year, and this isn't really the same Twins team he has faced in the past. Mussina finished the season 12-9 with a 4.59 ERA. And if you'll recall, the last time Santana and Mussina met was August 18 when the Twins beat the Yankees 7-2.
The second game pits Brad Radke against Jon Lieber. Lieber has put together a very nice season at 14-8 with a 4.33 ERA, and he has a great deal of success pitching at Yankee stadium. The last time the Twins faced Lieber was just last week (Sept. 29) when the Twins knocked out 10 hits against him for 4 runs. You've got to like the Twins chances given Lieber's opponent will be Radke and his 3.48 ERA, and considering Radke usually turns it up a notch in the playoffs.
Who else is pumped about the playoffs starting on Tuesday?!?!? Man, I can't wait. The fact that Aaron Gleeman said he would rather face the Yankess is really all I need to hear to know the Twins will be triumphant. Besides, I couldn't afford playoff tickets this year (unlike the last two years), so because I didn't buy any this pretty much gurantees they are going to the World Series. You can thank me later.
Reusse chastised me over the weekend and I deserved it. I'd like to apologize to Gardy and all the Twins for all my whining.
I've heard a rumor that Michael Cuddyer may be starting at second base in the playoffs. What a gift that would be. Last weekend I was listening to the Ron Gardenhire show on WCCO Sunday morning, and Gardy said they would much rather start Rivas at second because of his defense, specifically his ability to turn the double play. I was shocked. I was always under the impression that Rivas is a horrible defensive second basemen, regardless of how well he turns the double play. That's why I'm not the manager I guess. However, I would love to get Cuddyer's bat in the lineup and I'm not so sure the Twins would be giving up a whole lot in terms of defense. So, if it is Cuddyer at second come Tuesday you won't see me shedding any tears.
What a great week this will be for the Minnesota sports fan. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday we have the Twins vs. the Yankees (and if the Yankees can manage to win at least one game there could be another game on Saturday), on Saturday we have the 13th ranked (yes, 13!!!) Golden Gophers taking on Michigan at the Big House for that stupid Brown Jug, and on Sunday we have the Vikings taking on the Texans at noon (and the possibility of an unlikely 5th game in the ALDS). I am in sports heaven.
Unfortunately, I will have to miss watching the Michigan/Minnesota game on Saturday. I will be at a Webelos camp out with my son until Sunday morning. While I am ticked off beyond all reason that the Gopher game of the century is on the day of this camp out, I am also looking forward to spending some quality time with my son (and with my yet to be purchased mini-radio). Michigan, if you must know, is ranked 14th, and again the Gophers are ranked 13th. As hard as it is to believe, that is not a misprint.
People, Ohio State lost to Northwestern this weekend! Michigan lost to Notre Dame a few of weeks ago and barely beat San Diego State at home! And the Gophers don't play Purdue ... oh man, I've got to calm down. Things are looking good for the Maroon and Gold. Time to jump on the bandwagon.
And if you haven't had a chance to check this out yet, you should definitely read Ivan Maisel's profile of Barber and Maroney on ESPN.com. It is a good read, although I always heard that Mason took Maroney to Murray's, not Manny's, for his infamous cheeseburger meal. Does anyone have the definitive answer?
Stay tuned for my take on the Vikes Geek's recent article on the Vikings stadium situation. I am really tired of articles like this, especially the line "slap a tax on the tickets to pay for construction." Ummmm ... yeah, that will pay for about 7% of the annual debt service. Again, more on that later. So many things to comment on.
October 2, 2004
Reason #324 to build a new Twins stadium: The Twins game is suspended today after 11 innings so the Metrodome can get ready for the Gophers game tonight. The Twins are fighting for home field advantage, and they have to stop playing!!! Argh!!! This is ridiculous! The only good thing that can come out of this fiasco is that we had 32,000 fans leaving the Metrodome this afternoon grumbling about the stadium situation. That is 32,000 fans that paid for a game that hasn't finished yet. If you were at the game, let me know, was there booing? What was the crowd like after they announced the game would be suspended? Regardless, how long are we as Minnesotans going to put up with this?
October 1, 2004
More about stadiums
I found another interesting article in the Washington Post regarding the new stadium to be built in DC. According to the article, I was only $1 million off in my projection of $25 million in debt service per year (rock on!):
The financing would cover significant cost overruns, Green [special assistant to the mayor for economic development] said. Revenue for the project should total at least $37 million a year, more than the $26 million debt service, he said. That means the debt could be paid off early, or that there would be enough money to make the payments even if ticket sales were slow.
Again, I'm begging ... does anyone out there have any information regarding how the financial numbers break down? Just how much money do they expect to get by taxing businesses that make over $3 million? How much do they expect to get by taxing concessions and tickets? Anybody?
In addition, the article also mentioned that some people are very upset with this money being spent on stadiums:
The stadium plan has caused an outcry from community groups, who say any additional tax revenue should go to schools and libraries. But business leaders have been supportive, saying their tax burden would be bearable and worthwhile.
Williams said he would work to convince residents that spending goals for schools and libraries were not in conflict with a stadium, saying he has steadily increased spending on schools and plans a major effort to overhaul libraries.
Of course, you mention "libraries" and you peak my interest. As a librarian myself, I understand the need to keep libraries up to date and well funded. The free flow of information is vital for the well being of a democratic society. However, just because a stadium is being built does not mean libraries won't get adequate or even extra money. And the opposite is true also: how much money would libraries, or schools for that matter, get if a stadium wasn't built? Not a dime more. These are all separate issues and as such they should be treated separately with different solutions. And as I've already tried to point out (here and here) believe it or not stadiums can have a very positive effect on a community both monetarily and in regards to those nebulous "intangibles" you keep hearing about. And regarding Washington DC, if all their financial projections work out what will they do with the extra $11 million they'll make per year by building the stadium? Who knows, but they certainly could funnel it back to schools and libraries I should think.
Well, even though Red isn't going to lobby the state legislature for a new stadium anymore, that doesn't mean he's going to stop whining or stop making outlandish claims. The latest comes from Sid Hartman:
At the Bears game, Vikings owner Red McCombs said he had given up on getting a stadium built here. A person close to the Vikings situation said McCombs might be able to persuade officials in a city such as Portland, Ore., to build an NFL stadium that would be ready for the Vikings after their lease at the Metrodome runs out in 2011. The source said the NFL doesn't want to lose this good television market, but if there isn't any progress on the stadium situation here in a couple of years, the NFL would give McCombs its blessing to move if a stadium was built elsewhere.
No way, no how is the NFL going to let Red move the Vikings. No way. Tagliabue will do everything in his power to try to get a local buyer before anything like this happens. And I would like to think Glen Taylor or Denny Hecker would do anything in their power to stop something like this from happening. Red, and Sid's mysterious source, are full of nothing but hot air. Portland? Sheesh ... is that the best they could come up with? Portland can't support a Triple-A baseball team let alone an NFL football team.
So, who else out there is ticked off with the Twins? I just don't understand why you don't pitch Santana and Radke further into their games against the Yankees. I mean, Santana had only thrown 71 pitches when Gardy pulled him! Now we have to pray that the Twins sweep the Indians and the Angels or A's only win 2 out of three against their opponent. I can understand giving our two big pitchers a rest, I can also understand that we should be able to rely on our bullpen, but come on! I don't know, the Twins have been playing with a real lack of fire lately, and the manager has not been focusing on what is most important right now, and that is getting home field advantage. Here is hoping the Twins can sweep Cleveland. And they can do it too if only they play like they want to win rather than playing like they want to rest their starters.
Did you know the Timberwolves are going to open training camp on October 5? It is amazing how time flies.