July 12, 2005
I like that the Twins have acquired Bret Boone. Some interesting facts that I've been reading about Boone:
- He is a career .271 hitter at the Dome with 4 homers and 16 RBI.
- Concerning the Dome, Boone has said: "And the Dome ... I love playing there, I really do." I am always stunned to read something like this.
- He has 25 extra base hits this year which would put him in second place concerning this statistic on the Twins.
- When the Twins acquired Shannon Stewart in 2003 they were 7.5 games back. They went on to win the division. The Twins are 9 games back now.
- Boone has won 4 Gold Gloves at second base. That is 8 more Gold Gloves than Luis Rivas has (since Rivas actually has negative Gold Gloves).
Will this be the spark the Twins need? I think the chances are good. This is an upgrade at second base no matter how you slice it.
OK, now let's talk about stadiums. Of course, you've probably heard by now that the legislature will most likely adjourn without dealing with this sticky problem. It has already been suggested that Pawlenty may call another special session to deal with the Twins' and Gopher's stadia, but even if that happens it may be as much as four months away. With this reality, Bell has already stated:
"We're going to find out if the numbers still work," Bell said. "We calculated this on beginning work in June, foolishly believing that the Legislature would end on time."
Bell hinted that the delay caused by waiting for a special session this fall may collapse the proposed deal entirely.
You know, at this point I wish Bell would just shut up. That is a stupid thing to even hint. Here we have Hennepin County raising over $1 billion dollars over 30 years for the ballpark, and Bell "hints" that a delay of 4 months may kill the deal entirely. Of course, he may be saying this to try to convince the legislature to deal with the issue now, but you know and I know that that Twins will take whatever they get whenever they can get it. 4 months shouldn't make a lick of difference and if Pohlad has to pay an extra $10 million then so be it.
The best shot the Twins have at even being heard in a special session is the fact that the Gophers stadium bill will also need to be dealt with. The Gophers stadium lobbyists are working hard right now to try to convince the legislature to deal with their bill now. If they are successful, if the legislature decides to take up the Gophers stadium bill in the waning moments of this special session, then the Twins stadium bill is dead.
In other words, I can see the governor calling a special session to talk about stadiums if the Gophers are part of the mix, but if it is just the Twins (and Vikings)? Forget about it.
What are the chances then of a special session being called for stadium discussion? I would say they are pretty good. The Gophers deal with TCF hinges on a financing plan being in place by this December to build their stadium. Since the next legisaltive regular session doesn't begin until after that another special session will need to be called this fall to pass the Gophers stadium bill.
In addition, I was listening to Mike Max last night on WCCO and he had former Senate Minority Leader Duane Benson as his guest. Benson said the chances for a special session to deal with stadiums is very good. He would not give the same chances to a Twins stadium bill actually passing in a special session, but the bill will be heard. He also said that part of a Vikings stadium plan could also be dealt with. The Twins, the Vikings, and the Gophers ... the legislature would indeed have a lot to discuss.
Here is hoping that Pawlenty does the right thing and calls another special session to deal with the stadia issue in Minnesota once and for all. It is all in his hands now. I know, this is a scary thought.
Boone? Bah! Do they want Aaron Boone and his .211 batting average, too? Daniel Boone could hit better with his flintlock rifle.
The Twins season is over. Time to start talking Purple...the only true P-R-O-F-E-S-S-I-O-N-A-L team in town.
Posted by: Brian Maas at July 12, 2005 10:43 AM
God, I can't stand Vikings fans sometimes. It isn't enough that I have to listen to the superstar dribble about every possible development even though we are months away from the regular season. "The vikes are interviewing for a new assistant to the equipment manager, the organization prefers someone with more starching experience than the last assistant." "Tice decided to wear his pencil in the right ear today in support of gay pride month, he also is considering making it the ear of choice for in-game use since he thinks going across his body to reach it is quicker and because it doesn't bump into his mic and earpiece as much."
12 months of Vikings Hype a year when there are other games going on in town makes me care less and less about mounting losses to the Packers and Bears each season. Unlike the other teams in town the Vikes are proven under achievers and have brought more bad apples to the Twin Cities than the Twins, T-Wolves, Wild, North Stars, and the Federal Court house combined.
Posted by: Vince at July 12, 2005 11:00 AM
Vince: Take a chill pill and look up sarcasm in the dictionary.
Posted by: Brian Maas at July 12, 2005 2:20 PM
You know, the more I think about it, I do take exception to this bashing of the most popular sports and entertainment franchise in town, bar none. Let the debate begin!
If the Twins are such a friggin' model organization Vince, please explain this season?
First order of business is to make sure your coach and players air their issues behind closed doors and not through the media. The Twins have been failing in this all season and I think it has lead to some clubhouse problems.
After the Twins lost to the S.F. Giants on July 15, skipper Ron Gardenhire had this to say: "I thought we really chased a lot of pitches out of the zone today and really didn't have a good night offensively," he said. "It looked like if we were a little more patient tonight, we probably could have drawn a few more walks."
To which Torii Hunter responded with: "Don't say we weren't patient. I hate to hear that. It's easy to say that when you're sitting down, trust me. Very easy."
When catcher Joe Mauer had to take some time off in early June due to a groin injury, bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek spoke not so glowingly of Mauer by uttering: "The kid has been pretty well pampered the majority of his career. At that position, if you're going to play 125, 135, 140 games, if you think you're going to be 100 percent every single day, you're crazy. I think we'll have to see how he responds to these nagging injuries, and if they keep up, then he doesn't help us out as a catcher."
Added Gardy: "If his knee were blowing up, then I would say, yeah, we need to move him. But a groin muscle, it has nothing to do with catching. So if his knee is fine, then he should be our catcher. The thing here, you're going to have to start deciding what your body can and can't do. It's a pretty hard game at this level. You're going to be beat up. You're going to have to play through something. And he's going to have to learn that."
To which Mauer responded, again through the press: "I want to be out there, any chance I get. If the trainers and doctors say I can go, I'm going to go. If you're telling me that I can't, then I might want to listen. But I want to be out there."
Justin Morneau missed four starts because of a sore left elbow that required a cortisone shot in early June. One would have thought he would have gotten a little moral support from teammates and coaches. In fact, Morneau was ready to return to the lineup for a June 7 game but didn't see his name in the starting lineup.
Instead, he got this from Gardy: "We've had guys here before who were actually happy to be on the bench -- I won't name names. Guys have to understand that. I want most of my players to play every day. I don't want them to be content sitting on the bench."
Morneau also got a indirect verbal assault from Hunter who a day earlier had suggested that younger players need to step up and play through injuries. Morneau didn't care for how it was delivered.
"I don't think the paper is the place to do it," he said.
Hunter, responded: "I never mentioned any players' name."
Uh-huh. Team unity in the Twins clubhouse has to be a question mark as they charge to try and overtake the front running White Sox. And they better start looking in the rear view mirror as the Tribe is surging as well.
Me thinks this airing of issue through the local press is bad for the team. These internal issues should be handled behind closed doors like men. The Vikes have not pubically aired dirty laundry this season. Current contract issues with Chavous and B. Williams have remained behind closed doors. Jacque has used the media all last season and this preseason to play out his contract concerns. Hunter has used the press to get Ryan to make (or not make) personal moves. Again, shouldn't the Twins be big enough boys to discuss in house? So, who's franchise is more professional in that regard?
There has been no finger pointing this off-season with the Vikes. Even Moss and Pepper made up after the trade.
There are black sheep in every organizations closet. And I can't help it if the Vikings are more popular than the Twins, T-Wolves, Wild, North Stars, and the Federal Court house combined.
Note: This comment has been 100% sarcasm free.
Posted by: Brian Maas at July 12, 2005 3:06 PM
Unfortunately, work prohibits from getting too deep into this, and I fear that your knowledge of Viking Lore is greater than mine, however, I will give it the old college try. Granted these are professional athletes, all of whom as a group generally are not great people, but for whatever reason the Vikings players have always left a bad taste in my mouth.
Keith Millard - assault, multiple DUIs, and even headbutted someone in a hotel, nice
Joey Browner - rapist
Carl Eller- accused twice of sexual assault, re-covering coke fiend
Broderick Thomas - carried a .40 into airport
Jim Marshall - coke user and never paid taxes
Tommy Kramer - 3 DUIs
Wade Wilson - someone who threw a spiral like that had to be showing up at the stadium under the influence
Terry Allen - Tried to evade cops in a ferarri while drunk
Randy Moss - making cop a hood ornament, all around slacker
Onterrio Smith -
That Druggy Kicker (was it Iguay Biguay or was I wrong on that one) - drug smuggling I think from Nigeria or some Botswana or something
Warren Moon - choked wife
Jeff George - elitist
Dennis Green - frisky fingers and sexual harasser
Pencil Head (Aka Mike Tice) - an intellect capable of matching the President's and a scalper.
Walker Ashley Lee - forged checks from a youth development league
James Harris - Broke his wife's nose
Keith Henderson - raped a MOA waitress
Orlando Thomas - battered wife
on the other side of the equation, I'm sure there is more, but this is who I could come up with.
Chuck Knoblach - roughed a kid up in seattle
Kirby Puckett - although was acquitted
J.R. Rider - kicked a pregnant lady in the back
Eddie Griffin - due to his plea bargaining, no one really is sure what he has done.
Cassell - numerous minor altercations with law enforcement
Shaq of the MAC - I'm blanking on his name, power forward off the bench the last few years, hit his wife.
Latrell Sprewell - just simply put, one of life's bad human beings
Besides the players the Vikes bring to town, who come and go, the Vikings on field attitude has always been extremely disappointing for me. They consistently show up either over confident or lacidaisical. If things don't go there way they are quite willing to bend over and take it from the Giants, the Falcons, or even the (cough, Cardinals).
The Twins, T-Wolves (until last season), and our hockey teams have never been blessed with the same degree of talent as the Vikes. However, the attitude they bring to the field is much more admirable than the Vikings over the years. They are scrappers and not without their faults at times, but when things get rough, they put their shoulders to the grindstone and dig deeper. Although they may not be successful each season, they try hard.
No one on the Twins slogs down the first baseline and I don't think I've seen anyone do it since David Ortiz once when he thought he'd hit a homer. This thrifty team does its best ever year to battle teams with more talent and more often than not is successful.
Pre- Spre and Cassell the Wolves would fight and scratch to extend opening round playoff games they were over matched in. Luc Longley, Tyrone Corbin, Tony Cambell, Sam Mitchell, and Tom Gugliotta weren't exactly legends, but they did their best every night to put the Wolves in a winning situation
And how can you forget John Casey and the '91 Stars; a team of blue collar players and yet to be developed talent that went to the Stanley Cup or the Wild's last push and their playoff victory against Colorado.
In short, the other teams in this town are at times inspirational, and show us that although we may not always be ultimately successful, that we should show up every night striving and trying to be successful.
The Vikings on the other hand consistently throughout the decades that when things get tough it is simply best to either find a scapegoat or just roll-over and hope that your opponent will mercifully put an end to the trouncing.
I am sorry that this has not been more thoughtfully written and I'm sorry but each time the Vikes take the field they always seem to be just going through the motions or expecting victory to be handed to them.
Posted by: Vince at July 13, 2005 9:23 AM
91 Stars was a fun series to watch. Just as was the 87 and 91 Twins, the 69, 74-75-76-87-98-00 Vikes. All tremendous runs that have the Twins Cities something to grab onto and say "they are ours!"
I just think you have soured on the Vikes prematurely. And I submit for your approval that the team is under more of a microscope by the media because of 1) its overt popularity, 2) it has a larger roster than all the other sports thereby has more chance for bad apples, and 3) is a much more violent sport in which players are more apt to go postal due to steroid induced rage.
Now then, if you go beyind the Twin Cities sports teams...please explain the actions of hockey players crushing skulls with malice intent....please explain basketball players charging into the stands to go all Mike Tyson over fans heads....please explain Bonds-Giambi-Sosa shaming their sports and the numerous wife-beating, alimony-cheating, tax aversion MLB players that I can find in the news in any given week.
And I'll put up the work ethic of Cris Carter, Matt Birk, and John Randle against the best you can come up with from the other local franchises.
I'll win every time with that trio.
Posted by: Brian Maas at July 13, 2005 1:34 PM
You can now vote for your choice for the "Most Respected Franchise" over at my blog.
Posted by: Brian Maas at July 13, 2005 2:08 PM
I would agree that I have soured on the Vikes and concede that they do carry many more players on their roster than the other teams. Don't get me wrong, I agree that your average professional athlete is out of touch and lacking class across the board. And I concede that the Vikes are in sole charge of center ring of the Twin Cities sports circus and do grab everyone's attention when they are on. But for me its the attitude of the players. When I flip on any other game on town, I've got my fingers crossed and I'm thinking "maybe they can pull this one out." When I watch the vikes, I'm thinking how are they going to blow it this time or did they decide to show up for the game today?
So when you say most repsected team in the TC, I would wager the Vikes are likely the most winningest if you compare win percentage over the regular season. And they should be the most respected because of their following.
However, when we talk about how the teams play the game, I respect the way any of the other three teams go about their business and approach the game over the Vikes.
P.S. - 2 side notes. Cris Carter did have an outstanding work ethic and we are all well aware that he is an ordained minister, but I would've taken Jerry Rice any day over him. When I look back on Carter's career I remember the one handed grabs, but I also remeber him berating Cunningham, George, and Dante on the sidelines sometimes when they went four and out or he didn't get the ball enough. I suppose you could chalk it up to wanting to win, or being a firey competitor, but grabbing a teammate's facemask and screaming at him is no way to become a hall of famer in my book. At least with Randy Moss, everyone understood what they were getting: a very talented, but selfish ass so it was easier to deal with. But the way the media tried to play Carter up as a phoenix resurrecting his life and career from Philly to become an all around good guy; I didn't buy it. He was a hard worker, a talented football player, and that's about where I'd leave it. I doubt he practiced very little of what he preached at his sermons.
And as a side note, I think I've pretty much exercised all of my Viking angst that had been building up over the years. This blogging thing is quite therapeutic. Who knows, maybe this year will be the year I will be able to finally open up to the Vikes again and be able to relish in their successes as opposed to their failures.
Posted by: Vince at July 13, 2005 5:42 PM
Oh, Vince! Vince! Vince! You actually had me saying, "This guy is alright...I could have a brewski with him" and then you threw in the Rice comment.
Jerry Rice is the most egotisical, self-centered, "it's alll about me" player in the NFL today. His teammates cannot stand him. The coaches barely tolerate him. He pales, PALES!, in comparision to the complete package that CC was.
But I'll still have that brewski with you sometime!
And....who the hell voted T-Wolves on my poll!?!?!
Posted by: Brian Maas at July 13, 2005 9:58 PM
honestly, I've never heard anything bad about Rice. For real, he's a bum? Never would have guessed it.
Posted by: vince at July 14, 2005 8:02 AM