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December 31, 2007

The First Annual CHNMOTY

Buddy: Hey, Ming Ming. Umm ... I'm gonna be a little bit short on today's quota.

Ming Ming: It's all right, Buddy. Just how many Etch-a-Sketches did you get finished? Come on, Buddy. How many?

Buddy: I made, uh... 85.

Ming Ming: Eighty-five? That puts you... 915 off the pace.

Female elf: Ooh... that's bad.

Buddy: Why don't you just say it? I'm the worst toy maker in the world.

I'm a Cotton Headed Ninny Muggins.

Sorry for the silence everyone! The Greet Machine KMOTW award committee (me and Cheesehead Craig) has been in deep deliberations over over the status of the KMOTW award and its appropriateness in being an end of the year award. It has been decided that a Knucklehead McSpazatron of the Week is a fine award for someone who screws up during the week, but what about someone that screws up for an entire year? Or someone that screws up so bad that it permeates their very existence and creates an aura of sucktitude around them that lasts an entire year? What then?

For these cases, it has been decided that at the end of the year the Greet Machine will award the illustrious:

Cotton Headed Ninny Muggins of the Year Award!

Let's take a look at the nominees. The obvious choices are Barry Bonds and Michael Vick, the cheater/liar and the idiot/liar. Good choices both of them, but who isn't picking these two yahoos? And truth be told, they didn't tick me off as much as the actual CHNMOTY so they don't get the honor.

Secondly we have Brad Childress. The Chiller showed a real lack of coaching ability towards the end, didn't he? Man, I thought he was actually redeeming himself and then Joe Gibbs and Mike Shanahan demonstrated how an actual NFL coach prepares and executes against an opponent. Sheesh! What were the four most important games the Vikings played this year? Green Bay, Green Bay, Washington, and Denver. Losses all of them. And except for the final quarter of the Denver game the Vikings got crushed. How do you not adequately prepare your team for your two rivalry games and the two games that dictated whether or not your team makes the playoffs? It blows my mind.

Next we have Bruce Lambrecht and Rich Pogin of Land Partners II. Here I was, all happy and content last January dreaming of open sky, green grass, and sunburns at the new Twins ballpark when I get a note from one of my contacts saying that the deal is in jeopardy of totally blowing up. What gives? Well, we find out that LPII wants upwards of $65 million for the land the new Twins ballpark will sit on. Blink. Blink. So, for making my heart skip a beat for 8 fricken months, the two main dudes of LPII get nominated for the CHNMOTY award. I'm glad they got a reasonable settlement in the end but I wasn't happy for most of 2007 and I blame them!

The next nominee is Kevin McHale for trading away one of the greatest NBA basketball players of all time and giving us a team that may not even win 10 games this year. If given a choice between Isiah Thomas and Kevin McHale to manage my basketball team I seriously would not know who to pick. On the one hand, Isiah would get my team some press coverage so he's got that going for him, but on the other hand Kevin McHale ... well he has no redeeming qualities as an NBA GM. I could manage an NBA team better than him and as Freealonzo will attest that is a scary proposition.

The sixth nominee is the entire city of Boston, including all of its inhabitants past and present. I hate being a farm club for all of your teams and I hate all of you. Have a happy New Year.

Pretty good nominations, heh? It is hard to believe that of all of these great nominations there is still someone that deserves the honor more. With that, the envelope please:

envelope.jpg
Click the envelope or the link below!
nickelf.jpg

That's right! The Cotton Headed Ninny Muggins of the Year is Nick Coleman! (Woot! Great Fanfare! Cheering and Celebration!) I swear, this guy ticked me off more than anyone else this year. He was already unreadable when he had just the Twins ballpark to rail against, but when you put the combination of the Twins ballpark, the LPII fiasco, and the 35W bridge collapse together ... oh boy. I'm surprised Nick could write about anything else. He whined. He cried. He wrote the exact same stuff he's been writing against the ballpark for the last 10 years. Crying over spilled milk? He cried like he was a two year old being whipped with a cane in Singapore.

The sad thing is, in 2010 Nick Coleman will have a front row seat and probably write a great column about his wonderful experience watching outdoor baseball again. When that happens I may just explode with disgust.

Yes, Gollum earned it this year crying over his precious pennies.

Sadly, I have a feeling he will be in the running next year too.

Anyway, that is it for the First Annual Cotton Headed Ninny Muggins of the Year Award! If you think someone else deserved it, let me know!

Posted by snackeru at 5:58 PM | Comments (7)

December 20, 2007

Slow week for the KMOTW

OK, I'll let you in on my selection process. My goal every week is to pick a KMOTW that has some sort of tie to Minnesota. Clemens last week was a stretch, I'll admit, but due to his now tainted dominance of Minnesota batters over the years I felt comfortable making the selection.

This week I had trouble coming up with nominations. Believe it or not, there wasn't a whole lot of stupidity this week in the world of Minnesota sports.

Oh, I was very excited when I saw Nick Coleman wrote an article this week called "Heroic Maris honored a game now debased by drug scandal." Aha! Now we are talking! I thought it was a guarantee that he would take a swipe at the stadium and somehow tie it to steroids. Then he goes and writes a column that I mostly agree with. The nerve! Nick Coleman, it is only a matter of time ...

And that was about it for the nominations. The Vikings won, so Brad Childress was out of the question. And the T-Wolves are just to pathetic to pick on right now. I was really stumped about who would win the award and then I got this nomination through email from Mr. COD:

My suggestion for Spaz of the week would be whoever decided to go with the purple pants purple jersey Easter egg look this past Monday. Awful!

What an excellent suggestion!

Behold! I present to you the Knucklehead McSpazatron of the Week!

spongepat.jpg

It took a little digging, but I dug until I found out who was to blame for the fashion debacle we saw on Monday night. It was Pat Williams! According to the Strib Vikings blog:

Yes, the Vikings wore purple jereys and purple pants for one of the few times in team history and not since the early 1960’s. No surprise, but it appears NT Pat Williams had a big role in arranging the wardrobe change. And as of last night, he decided it was a one-and-done affair. “It was a lot of purple,? Williams said. “Maybe too much purple. I’ve already told coach [Brad] Childress that we’re not wearing them next week. No way. We’re going back to purple jerseys and white pants.?

Well, at least he recognizes his mistake. Now I know what some of you are thinking, that the KMOTW criteria should be a little more stringent and not be associated with fashion based decisions. Bah! Personally I take the Vikings uniforms very seriously. Actually, I have written about them before and my extreme dislike for the new helmets. They are an affront to the rich history and tradition of the proud Vikings franchise!

So, for the unacceptable decision to further mess with the already messed up uniforms, Pat Williams is my Knucklehead McSpazatron of the Week.

Sigh. Maybe next week will give us some more substantial nominations ...

Posted by snackeru at 9:38 PM | Comments (17)

December 16, 2007

Books of 2007

I like to read. In fact, most of my spare time is spent reading. These are the books I read in 2007. Some of them were published in 2007, but most of them are just books that I have been interested in reading for whatever reason.

Also, I don't buy books. All of these books were checked out from a library. I continually have a large hold list at the library, so books trickle in all the time. That is the way I roll.

These books are in order of which ones I enjoyed the most this year. On with the list!

  1. Old Man's War by John Scalzi
    Wow I enjoyed this book. It is about a future where we have colonized other planets, but we must protect ourselves from a lot of other sentient species who would rather that we were wiped from the universe. How do we do it? We build an army full of retired, old people with a lifetime of experience and nothing to lose. Of course, I am leaving some important details out, but that is basically it.

    I had a smile on my face the entire time I read this book. It is rare that I enjoy a book as much as I enjoyed this one. If you are at all into science fiction, especially science fiction that includes aliens and wars, then this book is hard to beat. Funny, thought provoking, and highly entertaining. Definitely my best book of the year.

  2. Peace Like A River by Leif Enger
    This one is a close second. Written by a Minnesotan and set in both Minnesota and North Dakota, this book tells the story of the Land family. Reuben Land, the 11 year narrator, tells the story of how the family is changed forever after his brother Davy shoots down two town bullies. While that provides the main backdrop for the story, it is Reuben's father, Jeremiah, that is the most compelling character. Jeremiah has literally been touched by God. He can perform miracles, and the last miracle he performs truly illustrates sacrifice, faith, and family love. The second to last chapter is so beautiful I had to read it twice. Oh be quick, my soul to answer Him; be jubilant, my feet!

    This book won numerous awards, and for good reason. It is lyrical, comforting, and thought provoking. I can't recommend it enough (although your potential appreciation of the book probably centers around your own open-mindedness to matters of faith).

  3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
    This one lived up to the hype. I read it very quickly. I was afraid that Rowling wouldn't be able to give a satisfactory ending, but I'm happy to say that the ending was very, very exciting. My only knock on this book is that it kind of drags in the beginning as Harry, Ron, and Hermione deal with being in hiding. Other than that, I thought it was great.
  4. The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig
    I wish I could write like this. This book was so well written I had to put it down sometimes just to marvel at the turn-of-phrase or sing-song quality of the prose. This book is about a family out in Montana that decides to hire a housekeeper from Minneapolis. Unbeknownst to them, though, is that she will also bring her brother, who quickly proves himself capable enough to become the teacher in the one-room schoolhouse in town. Sounds simple right? Ah, but the brother and sister have a secret.

    I really enjoyed the simple life described in this book. If you like books about Montana in 1910, you'll probably like this one.

  5. Jesus by Marcus Borg
  6. The Real Jesus by Luke Timothy Johnson
    I read both of these books back to back. It was based on my reading of these books that I wrote my Easter sermon.
  7. The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi
    Sequel to Old Man's War above. Not as good as that, but still really satisfying. John Scalzi is a great scifi writer.
  8. The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt
    I wrote a big piece about this book already. It was a pretty compelling book about what makes us happy, and how we can become happier.
  9. The Language of God by Francis Collins
    This is a wonderful book about the compatibility of religion and science written by the director of the Human Genome Project. Collins also makes a strong case for the compatibility of spirituality and evolution. He states that the study of biology is impossible without a firm understanding of the principles of Darwin's theory, and that God certainly isn't challenged by this given that He created the whole system. Collins is also a strong Christian and a large part of the book describes his transformation from atheism to faith. Collins makes it clear that being spiritual and recognizing the validity of science is not an either/or proposition. You can have both.
  10. Lost Fleet: Dauntless by Jack Campbell
    Black Jack Geary is a dead, larger than life hero whose legend the Alliance Fleet follows religiously. During a horrible defeat at the hands of the Syndics, the Alliance miraculously finds an old escape pod with the still alive body of Black Jack. They revive him and he eventually is asked to lead the fleet's retreat. This is a great book. It is a quick read, and Black Jack is flat out a stud of a leader.
  11. What is the What by Dave Eggers
    This book tells the story of Valentino Achak Deng, a Sudanese refugee living in Atlanta. Deng tells his whole story through the powerful writing of Eggers, and while this story is fictionalized in some parts, the trials and tribulations of the "Lost Boys" are believable and hard to stomach. Two things struck me when reading this book. The first is that African refugees in America don't want to be here. They would much rather be in their homes, the homes they grew up in, in Africa. They are sick of the complexities of our system, and they are sick of asking for help. They are thankful, but they wish they were back home.

    The second thing that struck me when reading this book is the death and destruction these people had to put up with, and the fervent prayers they offered to God to make it stop. It made me think about my own feeble prayers. I almost want to say to God, "Don't listen to me! There is a little boy in Africa being shot at that needs your help much, much more than me." Needless to say, it was a very powerful book.

  12. The Last Colony by John Scalzi
    Sequel of Old Man's War and Ghost Brigades. Again a great story.
  13. Lost Fleet: Fearless by Jack Campbell
    Sequel to Lost Fleet: Dauntless. Black Jack continues his retreat, but this time he has to deal with some insubordination and mutiny. But as you might imagine, Black Jack doesn't take too kindly to people questioning his authority.
  14. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
    This book is an adult fairy tale. A little dark, but very readable. It reminded me a little of Stardust by Neil Gaiman. Not the story but the flow, the feel, and the characters.
  15. King of the World by David Remnick
    This book is a biography of Muhammad Ali during his early career, 1960-1965. It covers Ali's larger than life persona, his conversion to Islam, and his refusal to go to Vietnam. I was born after Ali really made his mark on America, but I remember distinctly growing up how my dad would always light up when Ali was on TV or being discussed. Ali had a huge impact on America, and this book does a good job of describing why.
  16. Cinderella Man by Jeremy Schaap
    I saw this movie on TBS one night and decided to learn more about James J. Braddock and his improbable rise to become heavyweight champion of the world. It is definitely an interesting story of determinatin and perseverance.
  17. The Bright Spot by Robert Sydney
    This book is difficult to describe so I'm not even going to try, but it is by an author that I like a great deal: Dennis Danvers. I'm not sure why he uses a pen name here, but it kind of fits in with the main character in this book. I must say though, if you want to read any book by Danvers, it should be The Watch. That was a good read.
  18. Manhunt by James L. Swanson
    The story of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the massive manhunt that ensued. In a time before cellphones and surveillance cameras and rapid communication possibilities, it is a miracle we could find anybody. I've heard this book is going to be made into a movie.
  19. The Seeker by Jack McDevitt
    Decent scifi story about a lost colony being found thousands of years after it left Earth. I've read better.
  20. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
    Bryson decided to walk the entirety of the Appalachian trail and document his journey. But he didn't finish! He didn't even get close! He didn't even get 1/4 of the way. It was still entertaining, but a little bit of a letdown.
  21. His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik
    This book has a good premise. What if dragons were a part of the Napoleonic Wars? However, and I'm not sure if it was because this book was written by a woman, but all the characters, even the male dragons, are a bunch of emasculated pansies. Well, I may be overstating that a little bit, but I definitely had a different view of what the overall attitude of a dragon should be.
  22. The Android's Dream by John Scalzi
    I thought Scalzi could do no wrong after the Old Man's War trilogy, but this book was a little boring and difficult to finish. Besides the first chapter, which was probably a stand alone short story at one point, I would say skip this one.
  23. The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue
    Depressing. A book about changelings and stealing children. It looks like this book will serve as the premise of an Eastwood film called The Changeling starring Angelina Jolie coming in 2008, but unless I can be assured that this movie will have a happy ending I won't go see it.
  24. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
    If it hadn't been a sunny set of days when I read this relatively short book I may have hurt myself as I read it. Talk about depressing. Some people thought this book was the greatest thing since Gutenberg and movable type, but I found the book to be compelling in a rather horrible way. The fact that it had a somewhat optimistic ending didn't redeem it for me.
  25. 1776 by David McCoulough
    And the book I enjoyed least. It was an OK book, but I found the movements of both armies difficult to follow. It might have helped if the book was illustrated with maps (I believe there is a version of the book with maps now). Also, the focus on 1776 alone is a little limiting and requires McCoulough to describe everything about this year in excruciating detail. It just wasn't for me.

And that is the year 2007 in books. Music and movies are coming next!

Posted by snackeru at 7:33 PM | Comments (6)

December 14, 2007

Is there any doubt?

I was feeling a little pessimistic at the beginning of the week. Would anyone do anything stupid enough to earn the coveted Knucklehead McSpazatron of the Week award?

Sunday was pretty calm in the waters of sports and stupidity. Darren Sharper continued his string of horrendous tackling, but I can't equate that to actual stupidity. Really, though, have you seen him try to make an open field tackle? His method usually consists of just trying to bang into the player with his shoulder. And usually the player just keeps on running. In fact, I'm not sure I have ever seen him actually wrap someone up. As Cheesehead Craig has pointed out to me many times, if it isn't an interception he isn't that interested.

Monday? Arthur Blank, the owner of the Falcons, made his rather unfortunate comment about Michael Vick and fried chicken, but that still didn't float my boat (hats off to COD for the nomination).

And as another reader has pointed out, Bobby Petrino made a strong showing by throwing loyalty and honesty out the window and resigning as Falcons coach before the season has even ended. That even had Dickie V. upset! But again, that wasn't enough for me.

By Thursday I was a little worried. Who would do something stupid enough to get the KMOTW? Would anyone rise to the challenge?

Holy crapola. At around 1:30 PM Thursday afternoon I found that I didn't really have much to worry about. Unfortunately now I have a problem of having way too many nominations. Of course, I am talking about the Mitchell Report.

Who isn't to blame in this debacle? Bud Selig certainly isn't without blame as he and his cronies raked in the money during the so called "Steroid Era."

Donald Fehr is also to blame, maybe even more so than Selig. Remember how much he fought against drug testing in the first place? In 1991 MLB banned steroids, but they didn't begin testing until 2003. And then it was only once a year with no penalty for the first offense. Who is to thank for that? Donald Fehr and the MLBPA. Fehr got what he wanted though: skyrocketing salaries. Too bad all the players he was trying to help and protect are now under a ginormous microscope of distrust and derision. Good call there, Donald.

Fans are also to blame. Were we really that ignorant? Could we really look at Mark McGwire, or even Marty Cordova, and think, "Yeah, someone can definitely get that big just by lifting weights for just six months." Maybe we were just indifferent. Whatever the case, we were happy ... happily naive.

But I am a big believer in personal accountability. At the center of this mess are the players, and ultimately they alone made the decision to make themselves into walking pharmacies.

Like most people I was surprised by the inclusion of one player in particular. In the 2000 World Series this player made the bizarre move of throwing a broken bat back at a stunned Mike Piazza. We all wondered what the heck got into him to do something so stupid and random. We joked, "Boy, does that ever look like 'Roid Rage'!! Ha Ha!" Well, it isn't a joke anymore.

Behold, the Knucklehead McSpazatron of the Week:

spongeroger.jpg

I've been reading a lot about the inclusion of Clemens in the report. Some people are saying the report is flawed and wouldn't hold up in any civil court. Some people have even justified Clemens possible use of steroids by saying that he was only trying to keep up since he was pitching to players that also used the juice. Some people are upset that Clemens has no chance of redeeming himself in the court of public opinion. Let's just take a look at what we know so far:

  1. Clemens is mentioned more than 80 times in the report. Some will claim the testimony of McNamee is all hearsay and while that may be true ...
  2. Jose Conseco corroborates these accusations in his book Juiced. Say what you will about how crazy Canseco is, there are now two people claiming Clemens took steroids.
  3. His statistics also miraculously improved when he supposedly started juicing up. According to the Gothamist:
    In the report, Brian McNamee details helping Clemens use steroids sometime in the summer of 1998. Coincidentally, from June 30, 1998 until the end of the year, Clemens went 12-0 throwing 132 innings and striking out 169 batters with an ERA of 1.77. Before that Clemens had thrown 102.2 innings, striking out 102 with an ERA of 3.77.

    Clemens is accused of using steroids again in the "latter part of the 2000 season". Here it is harder to divine the results, but it is worth noting that Clemens had an ERA of 4.33 before the All-Star Break and an ERA of 3.15 after it.

    Again, it was the 2000 World Series that Clemens made his infamous bat toss at Piazza.

  4. Finally, is there any doubt that the Yankees, as an organization, had a problem with steroid usage? 22 players from the Yankees, the most of any team, are featured in the report. Not only are the Yankees despicable when it comes to their player payroll, they are a bunch of steroid using cheaters. The Yankees are a blight on baseball, pure and simple.

Two witnesses, remarkable statistical improvements, a culture of steroid usage both within baseball and especially on your own team. I don't know ... if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck.

Congratulations Roger. Not only are you the dominant pitcher of the Steroid Era, you are also my Knucklehead McSpazatron of the Week.

Posted by snackeru at 5:56 AM | Comments (6)

December 13, 2007

Bootleg recordings

In the days of my youth as a young lad in Virginia Beach, Virginia, I was a big afficianodo of bootlegs. Especially Led Zeppelin bootlegs. I must have had 20 or so bootleg recordings of Led Zeppelin in concert. By far, my favorite bootleg was Led Zeppelin's BBC recordings, now officially released for all to legally enjoy. This tape stayed in my car tape player probably for two years straight. "I Can't Quit You Baby," "You Shook Me," "Communication Breakdown," and the unreleased "Travellin' Riverside Blues" made me quite a fan of the early Zep of albums I and II.

I would get these bootlegs from a friend named Andrew Kennedy. He would tell me he got a new recording, and I would scrape up the $10 to $20 he would demand for a copy. Then he would literally give me the tape in a paper bag, sometimes in a parking lot. It was all very secretive and film noir. I would keep them in my red tape holder and wait until Andrew got another one. It is hard to convey what a thrill this was, having recordings that very few other people did. Especially Led Zeppelin.

Then after a bunch of transactions I guess he felt I had earned enough trust. He told me where his source was.

His source was a mom and pop CD store in Norfolk, Virginia. So, one day I decided to cut out the middle man and venture out to this store to see if there was anything new. When I got there I looked around and couldn't find the bootleg section. Confused, I decided to ask the store manager at the counter, "Do you have any Led Zeppelin bootlegs?"

Angrily he replied, "No! We don't carry any bootlegs! This is a reputable CD store and we only sell legal CDs!" or something to that effect. I can't remember exactly what he said to me. But I replied, "Oh, I'm sorry. Andrew Kennedy told me that you had some bootlegs."

"Andrew Kennedy?" he said to me with a smile, "Why didn't you say so? Come to the back with me."

He took me to a back room and opened up a box full of bootlegs. Oh, I was in heaven! And not just Zep bootlegs, but Aerosmith and Van Halen. I took out a CD (I think it was the Zeppelin "Destroyer" concert in Cleveland) and asked if I could buy it. The sale was made, and I felt ... well I felt a little devious. I was now a part of the bootlegging culture, with my own source and everything! Needless to say, it wasn't the last purchase I made.

Now? Now we have the internet. Take a look at this site:

The Ultimate Bootleg Experience

Where is the fun in that? No more back alley deals, no more back room transactions. Just click and the bootleg is yours.

I miss the good old days.

Posted by snackeru at 6:09 AM | Comments (10)

December 12, 2007

Mindless drivel

Ralph Engelstad Arena

• So, I went to the Sioux-Gopher hockey game last Saturday night in Grand Forks. It was a good game. The Gophers won, and the atmosphere was exciting ... maybe even electric. They absolutely hate the Gophers up there so the crowd was really into it. Fortunately I sat in a section filled with Gopher fans, so I could do the old "Yeaaaaaahhhhh Gophers!" without fear of getting pummeled.

I have a like/dislike relationship with hockey. Hockey is something that I enjoy when there is really nothing else I would rather be doing. It is a good sport, especially live, but it is one that I've never gotten into much. So, I consider it kind of a curse that Minnesota is so hockey crazy. I would much rather Minnesota to be football or basketball crazy. It is certainly nice that the U of M dominates in at least one major sport, but I sure wish it was football.

Having said that, I had a great time at the game this Saturday. A great time. That was probably the best live hockey game I have ever seen. And considering that it was the sixth live hockey game I've ever seen, that probably isn't saying much.

• I have put my Larry Bird ornament on the tree:

Larry

Anyone else got any strange ornaments that they love to put up?

• Finally, you probably haven't noticed, but Mr. Cheer Or Die is back and he is posting up a storm over at the Viking Underground. I encourage you to check it out before he decides not to blog again!

Posted by snackeru at 7:46 AM | Comments (6)

December 6, 2007

The Second KMOTW

Wow! What a busy week in the world of dumb people in sports. I'm sure there will never really be a problem picking a Knucklehead McSpazatron of the Week, but this week offered a lot of good (or is it bad?) options.

The first nomination is Hank Steinbrenner and his stupid little ultimatum. Hey Hank, I think you found out what happens when you try to play hardball with Bill Smith and the Twins! That's right: nothing! So keep your players and money and 26 World Championships and stick it!

My second nomination is Theo Epstein. Smug jerkwad. He is only nominated because if Johan would have been traded to Boston I think I would have had a stroke. I'm sick of Minnesota being a farm club for all things Boston. If a trade to Boston would have happened Theo would have been given a Knucklehead McSpazatron Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ray Edwards made a strong push for the honor. Did he do something stupid? Check. Has he hurt the Vikings defense? Check. Is he the biggest knucklehead in the Vikings organization? Nope.

And I really considered Patrick Reusse because of his annoying habit of referring to himself in the third person. Check out this lame quote from his column on Monday:

A tubby sportswriter sitting directly in front of Childress was grateful that the coach didn't put overeating on Sunday's list. A couple of weeks ago, during a Monday media session, Chilly was on one of his rambles and included "gaining 60 pounds" as a reason not to feel good about yourself.

Ugh. "Tubby sportswriter"? He then referred to himself as "TS" the rest of the column. That is just plain weird. Not clever. Weird.

But all of these potential knuckleheads pale in comparison to this week's winner.

Behold! I present to you the second winner of the Knucklehead McSpazatron of the Week!

spongezygi.jpg

Zygi and his clueless drive for a new Vikings stadium has left me confused, perplexed, and mystified. As you all know, this week Pawlenty and legislative leaders basically told Zygi no way, not this year. And for good reason. There is no plan! Nothing but a huge public contribution.

What really has me stumped though is how far Zygi has come from what was actually a good plan in Anoka County. When Zygi first bought the team, he proposed this plan to build a Vikings stadium in Anoka County:

Vikings contribution: at least $280 million
Anoka county contribution: at least $280 million
State contribution: at least $115 million

So, $675 million and a local partner with about 40% of the cost coming from the Vikings (and probably the NFL). A good beginning. A plan everyone could work with. A real "plan."

Today's "plan" is now:

Vikings contribution: $250 million
Public contribution: $700 million

So, $950 million with no local partner and only about 25% coming from the team. Huh? Does Zygi not think we are not paying attention? How can the cost of a new stadium go up by almost $300 million, but his contribution go down $30 million?

It makes me think about what Zygi is really up to. He has got to know this new "plan" of his looks horrible. It is a sucky plan. It makes Carl Pohlad look generous for goodness sakes!

What is Zygi up to? Does he want to alienate us? Does he want to show the NFL he is in a no win situation and should be allowed to move? Is he just setting the organization up to be sold?

Whatever the case, in the past two years Zygi has taken a huge step backwards in his effort to get a new Vikings stadium built. Maybe 2 huge steps back. And for that, he is my Knucklehead McSpazatron of the Week.

Posted by snackeru at 8:07 PM | Comments (8)

December 3, 2007

News Flash!

vikingstadium.jpg Everyone! I have some amazing and unexpected news! The state legislature has told the Vikings they probably won't consider funding a new Vikings stadium in the 2008 legislative session. Can you believe it?!?!?

Now be honest, how many of you could see this coming? I sure didn't. After Zygi Wilf said this summer that a new Vikings stadium would cost almost $1 billion I thought this was a done deal! And Zygi promised to put up $250 million of his (and the NFL's) own money! How can the legislature turn down forking over $700 million, especially when there is no financing plan? That is a heckuva a deal Zygi!

Then, if you'll recall, Zygi made the bold move of finally telling the truth about building new stadiums: it won't actually give the team any more profit! Check out this quote from the Strib in October:

For the first time, however, Wilf said the Vikings will derive almost no profit from a new facility. He cited additional debt service and a projected decrease in NFL revenue sharing ...

"There has been a bad rap that all you're doing is further enriching an owner if you give public funds for a new stadium," he said during a speech at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management. "But that is not the case. It's a fallacy."

That was pure genius! Because what the public really wants to hear is that 1) they will be expected to finance 75% of the stadium and 2) the new stadium, and the public's contribution for it, really won't have any financial impact on the team! I don't know about you, but that makes a lot of sense to me!

Sigh ... I don't want to be too hard on Zygi, but I really don't think he has a clue how to get this done. No financing plan, an outrageous public contribution, no local partner, and a claim that a new stadium won't actually financially benefit the team. Huh?

I got an idea! How about we just stay in the Metrodome then? Zygi better start planning for that because that is his reality for the future. According to the Strib today:

Construction of a stadium generally takes four years from its approval to its opening, but the Vikings' Metrodome lease is scheduled to expire after the 2011 season. Because a new stadium will not be approved before 2009 at the earliest, it wouldn't open before 2013.

No new stadium until 2013? Try 2015 or 2016, and that might even be too soon. Here is reality: The NFL may threaten to move the team, but there is nowhere for the Vikings to move. Nowhere at all. LA doesn't want a team, and even if they did there are a few other owners in line before Zygi that would claim that prize. There is no way the NFL would give a newby like Zygi the LA market. No way. So, someone please tell me where else they can move?

So, that is my two cents. Start enjoying the Metrodome folks, because it will be many years before it is replaced. Many, many years. Unless Zygi starts putting up some real money, this deal isn't going to happen.

Posted by snackeru at 6:17 PM | Comments (25)

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