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September 30, 2008

What I would do ...

.. if I was ...

Zygi Wilf

I would fire Brad Childress so fast it would make your head spin. I would name Leslie Frazier as head coach and myself as defensive coordinator. You heard me. I would gather the defense together and play this video:

Then I would proceed to blitz on every play at every game. I would even blitz when when the Vikings are on offense. And I would scream at the top of my lungs:

"I don't want them to gain another YARD, you blitz all night! They cross the line of scrimmage I swear to God I'm going to take every one of you out. You make sure they remember FOREVER, the night they played the Vikings!!!"

That's what I would do.

... and if I was ...

Tim Brewster

I would say all the right things to the fans and media. "One game at a time," I would say, "We're getting ready for Indiana this week. We aren't thinking about any game in the future." I would say this before the Illinois game, and the Purdue game, and the Northwestern game. "One game at a time."

But secretly, in the depths of my very soul, I would be preparing for the Michigan game. I would watch film of Michigan football 24 hours a day. I would join Michigan football message boards and talk smack. I would think about winning the Little Brown Jug until I couldn't think about anything else.

In fact, I would think about the Jug so much I would replace the word "tremendous" with the word "Jug" in daily conversation and I wouldn't even know I was doing it! For example:

"Indiana has a Jug defense. We are going to have to do a Jug amount of preparation if we are going to score any touchdowns against them."

and

"Wow honey, that is some Jug beef brisket you've just made here. Jug jugilicious!"

Because winning the Little Brown Jug should be the number one, numero uno, numéro un priority of Gopher football this year. First of all, Michigan sucks this year so it is very, very possible to win this game, but more importantly ...

On every recruiting visit until the year 2011 I would walk into a recruit's house, put the Little Brown Jug on the kitchen table and say, "Son, I need you to help me keep this."

It would be a done deal every time.

That's what I would do.

... and if I was ...

Ron Gardenhire

I would start Scott Baker tonight on TWO DAYS REST! That's right! You heard me. TWO DAYS REST. This is it folks! This is where the boys become men. Win or go home. And who would you rather have out there right now, Nick Blackburn on 5 days rest or Scott Baker on TWO?

I think we all know the answer.

Scott Baker is the ace of this staff and we need an epic performance. Nick Blackburn has a chance, but more than likely he is going to get shelled.

That's what I would do.

Who is with me?

Posted by snackeru at 10:18 PM | Comments (12)

September 27, 2008

See you in Section 307

fieldview.jpg

Summer of 2010. My two sons and I hop on our bikes and head down the Cedar Lake Trail from St. Louis Park into downtown Minneapolis. Our destination is Target Field.

We arrive at the ballpark after a 20 minute ride and lock up our bikes at one of the many, many bike racks (please?). I approach the ticket counter ...

"Three tickets in section 307, row 1 please," I say to the ticket agent confidently.

"We only have tickets in row 3 of section 307," she replies.

I sigh audibly. "Fine," I say, "I'll take those." I hand her $30 and my boys and I enter the ballpark.

Passing all the concession stands and souvenir booths ("No, I will not buy you a Twins t-shirt for $40"), we climb up to our seats.

"Tickets please," the usher says as we try to slip buy.

"Seriously?" I answer, "Do you really think someone is going to try to sneak into the cheapest section in the ballpark?"

I disgustedly show him our tickets. The nerve of some people! The usher nods and we finally get to our seats.

This is our view:

307.jpg

"$10 bucks!" I say to my boys as we take our seats, "Not too shabby! Not too shabby at all."

My younger son says, "Dad, I'm hungry!" So, I reach into my pocket and pull out one of three ham sandwiches I made before the game.

"Ha ha!" I exclaim. "Pohlad isn't going to get a $7 hot dog out of me!" My son unenthusiastically consumes the sandwich.

Ah, it is a beautiful day. 75 degrees with a slight breeze. Glen Perkins is on the mound against the Cleveland Indians. Through 5 innings the Twins and the Indians play a close game, but then in the bottom of the 6th Justin Morneau hits a grand slam to bust the game wide open. The crowd roars its approval.

After the cheering stops, I hear once again a familiar chant off into the distance:

"No stadium tax! Target Field is corporate welfare for billionaires!""

I smile, I look at the open sky and the green grass, and I think, "Those morons will never stop."

Joe Nathan comes in at the top of the 9th and closes the door. The final score is 6-2 Twins. My two sons and I go back to our bikes and ride home into the sunset.

It has been a wonderful day.

Posted by snackeru at 4:26 PM | Comments (25)

September 24, 2008

The Merkle Boner and its aftermath

The New York Times has written a great article about the "Merkle Boner" which long before Steve Bartman or Bill Buckner provided baseball with its most memorable "bonehead" moment.

Reading the article you certainly have some sympathy for Fred Merkle, who actually had a relatively long and productive major league baseball career. However, what I find most fascinating is the aftermath of the base-running error. As a result, the Cubs and the Giants had to meet again a couple of weeks later to decide the National League pennant. The NYT article describes the rabid fans that tried to catch a glimpse of the game at the fabled Polo Grounds:

On the afternoon of Oct. 8 [1908], an enormous crowd engulfed the Polo Grounds, willing to do anything to see a game that would decide the pennant. They teetered along Coogan’s Bluff above the ballpark; climbed up on the grandstand roof; perched on the elevated train viaduct out past left field. One man fell to his death from the el; another fell from a telegraph pole and broke his neck. A wedge of fans broke through a wooden fence into the outfield and had to be pushed back by mounted police. Later, they tried setting the fence on fire.

Today, if anything even close to this kind of fan craziness happened at a game, the game would be cancelled. Everyone go home. In 1908, however, this seems to have been somewhat normal or at least tolerated. The article also describes the extreme abuse Giants fans hurled at the Cubs, as well as dangerous items thrown from the stands:

Foul names might have been the least of their worries. The New York Journal reported that Cubs catcher Johnny Kling, chasing a pop foul, had to dodge “two beer bottles, a drinking glass and a derby hat.?

But what really fascinates me is the reaction of the Giants fans after the Cubs won the game 4-2. Could people really get away with this stuff back then?

The moment Brown got the last out in the Cubs’ 4-2 victory, he and his teammates ran as fast as they could to the center-field clubhouse.

They were not fast enough. Pitcher Jack Pfiester was knifed in the shoulder, and Chance was punched so hard in the throat that he sustained broken cartilage. At least three other Cubs were struck, and the police had to hold shut the clubhouse doors with guns drawn.

"Pitcher Jack Pfiester was knifed" ... that is stunning. While it is entirely possible that something like that could happen today I think it is safe to say that today's fans are not nearly as rabid as they were at the turn of the century.

If you are a superstitious type of person, you may note that 1908 is the last year the Cubs won a World Series. It can certainly be argued that the Cubs got into the World Series based on a very dubious call that was made hours after the game ended. Perhaps the baseball gods are still punishing them for this injustice.

Posted by snackeru at 9:55 PM | Comments (1)

September 18, 2008

The Mahatma

rickey.jpg

"Things worthwhile generally don't just happen. Luck is a fact, but should not be a factor. Good luck is what is left over after intelligence and effort have combined at their best. Negligence or indifference or inattention are usually reviewed from an unlucky seat. The law of cause and effect and causality both work the same with inexorable exactitudes. Luck is the residue of design."

Branch Rickey, 1950


Posted by snackeru at 12:07 PM

Driving across the bridge

35w.jpg

We drove across the 35W bridge this morning. The last time I drove across it was the night before it collapsed.

Having this open is a bit of good news in an otherwise bleak world. Even the simple act of driving across it made me a bit happier.

Posted by snackeru at 8:34 AM | Comments (1)

September 15, 2008

Save Target Field!

savetargetfield.jpg

Just starting to prepare materials for the inevitable ...

Posted by snackeru at 1:10 PM | Comments (3)

September 14, 2008

The only good thing about the Vikings loss today

Only ...

until the end of the Brad Childress era.

I've often wondered what would have happened if Les Steckel had stuck around for three years. Well, now I know.

Posted by snackeru at 4:21 PM | Comments (2)

September 13, 2008

What are you talking about, State Fair Board?

On September 10, Charley Walters dropped this nugget into his "Don't Print That" section. It is, quite frankly, something I've often wondered myself:

It's still puzzling why the State Fairgrounds isn't the best place for a new Vikings stadium.

Historically, the State Fair Board has been notoriously against building a multi-purpose Vikings stadium on the Fairgrounds, one that would both be able to host a Vikings game and the typical events/displays housed now in the Grandstand. On September 11, Charley Walters printed their rebuttal to his simple statement:

From the Minnesota State Fair, regarding why the site isn't viable for a new Vikings stadium: Insufficient access to a freeway system; insufficient parking; strong neighborhood opposition; not a large enough stadium footprint; lack of infrastructure; incompatibility with Fair events; and the would-be loss of non-Fair events.

I have a problem with these seemingly "final" thoughts on the subject. In fact, a few of them make absolutely no sense to me at all.

First, though, let's take a look at a couple of Google maps of the Fairgrounds Grandstand and the Metrodome. First the Metrodome:

metrodome.jpg

Now the Fairgrounds Grandstand:

fairgrounds.jpg

OK. Ready? Let's dissect.

Insufficient access to a freeway system and insufficient parking

This year the State Fair had 141,127 people come through the turnstiles per day. A typical Vikings game at a new stadium would have ~70,000 fans on 10 Sundays/Mondays/Fridays during the season.

So, the State Fair and St. Paul/Falcon Heights/Roseville can figure out how to get 141,127 people into the Fairgrounds everyday for 12 days, but they can't figure out how to get 70,000 fans to the State Fair grounds 10 days during the football season? The same parking lots, freeways, bus lines, and planning won't work for Vikings games? Huh.

Also, just eyeballing the pictures shows quite a lot of parking opportunities around the existing Grandstand. And I would be very surprised if the homeowners that sell parking space on their lawns during the State Fair wouldn't also want to do so for Vikings games.

Am I off my rocker here?

Strong neighborhood opposition

Do you mean the same neighborhood that deals with 141,127 people per day during the State Fair? The same neighborhood that sells water, lemonade, parking spaces, etc. to people driving to the State Fair? The same neighborhood that would see about 700,000 more people come to their bars, restaurants, malls, and local businesses during the football season? That neighborhood?

I would really, really, really like to see some proof of this neighborhood opposition. And it better not be like five octogenarians that don't like the "hooligans" that attend Viking games.

Not a large enough stadium footprint

What the ... seriously? A five year old can see that the current footprint of the Grandstand combined with the old racetrack and surrounding parking lots is actually larger than the Metrodome footprint.

Not a large enough footprint?!?!? Has the State Fair board ever heard of Google Maps? Do they think we can't figure this stuff out without hiring our own aerial photographers?

Lack of infrastructure

Is this the same "lack of infrastructure" that can handle 141,127 people per day? OK, just checking.

I will concede that a new stadium would need more infrastructure in terms of plumbing, electricity, duct work, etc. etc. But I can't believe that whatever replacement the State Fair board is planning for the Grandstand won't also need improvements and additions to "infrastructure." Maybe not as much as a new Vikings stadium, but I am confident someone would be able to figure that out.

Incompatibility with Fair events and the would-be loss of non-Fair events

First of all, the Viking season typically starts after the State Fair is done. So, I don't know what it means to be "incompatible" with Fair events. Are they talking about the type of event? So, a music concert is a compatible State Fair event, but a football game isn't? Having booths/tents/exhibits run by the Twins, Gophers, Vikings, and T-Wolves are compatible with the State Fair, but a football game isn't? Having 141,127 people come to the Fairgrounds per day is compatible with the State Fair, but 70,000 for a football game isn't?

And is the State Fair really worried about the "would-be loss of non-Fair events" for 10 days out of the year, during the winter season? Really? The State Fair sits dormant and empty during most, if not all, of the winter. What non-Fair events are they worried about losing? Can someone help me out here?

Now, having said all of this I still like the Metrodome site better and I don't think Zygi is even interested in the State Fair grounds for a new stadium. And speaking of "incompatibility" I'm pretty sure the State Fair board would not be interested in any development opportunities Zygi might want to build around the stadium.

However, I think the State Fair Board is being a little disingenuous here ... maybe even downright dishonest. Let me know if you agree or disagree, but seriously:

What are you talking about, State Fair Board?

Posted by snackeru at 7:55 PM | Comments (11)

September 8, 2008

The lakes of Minnesota are filled with the tears of Vikings fans

Different year, same story. Let's take a look at some of the obvious things we learned tonight:

I must say that most of my derision, however, is reserved for Brad Childress. Pathetic play calling, poor preparation, and an unexplainable faith in Tarvaris Jackson.

But what probably upsets me the most is the fact that he just doesn't care enough. This is the Packers! Childress doesn't care nearly as much about beating the Packers as he should. Watching him on the sideline I can't tell if he is watching a church softball league game or coaching an NFL football game against his team's biggest rival. Childress is 0-5 against the Packers. How is this acceptable? Speaking for all Viking fans, I can assure you it is not.

This year the Vikings need to get far into the playoffs. This is important not just to make the fans happy, but the very survival of the team in Minnesota may depend on it. I know it is early, but I can't see a team led by someone as unimaginative and apathetic as Brad Childress getting very far.

And that is very depressing. Maybe I'll feel better tomorrow.

UPDATE (Tuesday morning): Nope. I don't feel better.

Posted by snackeru at 10:05 PM | Comments (6)

September 4, 2008

Gopher Football has been around a long time

From GopherSports.com:

125 YEARS OF GOPHER FOOTBALL

There’s little doubt that the University of Minnesota is one of the most historically significant programs in all of college football. The Golden Gophers are celebrating their 125th season of college football in 2008. The Golden Gophers enter the 2008 campaign with an all-time record of 627-450-44 (.579 winning percentage).

Minnesota has played the fourth-most seasons in the history of college football. Only Rutgers (138), Michigan (128) and Navy (127) have played more. In fact, by the end of 2008, only nine schools in the nation will have completed at least 120 seasons of college football. Only four schools -- including Minnesota -- will have played 125 years of intercollegiate football by the end of this season.

That is pretty cool, no?

Posted by snackeru at 8:09 PM | Comments (7)

September 3, 2008

Awesomeness

Legend tells of a legendary warrior whose kung fu skills were the stuff of legend. He traveled the land in search of worthy foes.

Cow: I see you like to chew. Maybe you should chew ON MY FIST!

The warrior said nothing as his mouth was full. Then he swallowed, and then he spoke.

Panda: Enough talk. Let’s fight.

He was so deadly in fact that his enemies would go blind from overexposure to pure awesomeness.

Croc: My eyes!

Cow: He’s too awesome!

Rabbit: And attractive.

Rabbit 2: How can we ever repay you?

Panda: There is no charge for awesomeness…or attractiveness.

Rabbit: *gasp*

It mattered not how many foes he faced they were no match for his bodacity. Never before had a panda been so feared… and loved.

Posted by snackeru at 7:03 PM | Comments (2)

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