April 3, 2006
When going to the game was an event
Take a look at this picture. This is a picture of fans at Memorial Stadium circa 1930s-1940s. This has probably been discussed before in other publications or blogs even, but I am always amazed at what an "event" a football game was back then. Almost everyone is dressed up in a suit and tie, almost all the men are wearing hats. How relatively quickly things change. We would never see this kind of dress at the Metrodome today, at least not where it is the norm.
Click image for larger
Greet Machine on Sports Huddle?
Hey, I just heard that the Greet Machine was mentioned on Sid Hartman's Sunday morning show, "The Sports Huddle" with Sid and Dave. Did anyone out there hear what was said? Can anyone give me any details? Being a good, God-fearing Christian I seem to have missed it. Thanks if you have any info!
January 3, 2006
Coaches and other random thoughts
First of all let me say that I was happy that Zygi gave Tice the pink slip. It is time to put the Red McCombs years behind us and the best way to do that was to fire the Tice. McCombs only hired Tice, who had questionable head coaching credentials to begin with, because he could save some money. With the Wilfs now in charge, I think we are finally going to see some changes at Winter Park that make sense if the organization is really interested in winning a championship. And this may sound callous, but I hope all the assistant coaches under Tice get the pink slip too. Here is my list of who will probably be considered:
- Gregg Williams, defensive coordinator for the Redskins. It sounds like he is the top pick amongst the players.
- Ron Rivera, defensive coordinator for the Bears. I've heard a lot of talk about this guy being given a chance somewhere in the NFL to be a head coach. We'll see if it is the Vikings.
- Ted Cotrell, defensive coordinator for the Vikes. Say it ain't so. I want to fully clean house.
- Scott Linehan, offensive coordinator for the Dolphins. Again, his credentials aren't quite there yet, but Daunte sure would be happy. I expect the Vikings will give Linehan a shot.
- For the rest of the possible choices, check out this post from Mr. Cheer or Die, plus the comments.
And concerning Tice, let me just say that I think he is a top notch guy. One of his best qualities is how gracious he is in defeat, and he showed this quality off again by praising the Wilf family after he was fired. I will remember Tice, the person, fondly.
I was also happy that the Gophers retained the services of Glen Mason. Letting Mason go would have meant rebuilding, again, for the Gophers. The Gophers cannot afford a "big name" coach to replace Mason, which would have meant hiring some kind of "no name." Retaining Mason means recruiting will continue (and Mason has done pretty well with this considering he has to recruit with the Metrodome), and it means continued respectability for Gopher football. I've said this before and I'll say it again, the Gophers will not win a Rose Bowl until they are playing on campus again. Mason is the right coach to bring them to this point.
In case you missed it, Sid reports that this week will include a big meeting between T-Paw, the Twins, and Hennepin County concerning the shape of the latest (and greatest!) new stadium plan:
A meeting next week to include Twins officials, Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat and maybe other commissioners will no doubt decide if the Hennepin County plan to build a new baseball park will be extended into next year or dropped.
At this point, it is apparent that nobody involved in the negotiations for the baseball stadium are convinced Pawlenty will stick his neck out in favor of building the stadium that not only will assure the Twins remain in the state, but result in million of dollars in labor contracts and building materials.
There is no assurance that the site in back of Target Center will be continue to be available if something constructive isn't done soon.
Count me in the group that doesn't believe Pawlenty will push to get this baseball stadium built.
Amen to that. There is no way that T-Paw sticks his neck out for this, not in a year when the Republicans will undoubtedly be fighting for their political lives. I'd like to think that Pawlenty will want to solve this problem, but right now he is in extreme politician mode as he tries to make everyone as happy as possible while really getting nothing accomplished. Meanwhile, stadiums get more and more expensive ...
Just finished my first book of the year, Empire Falls by Richard Russo. This was a fantastic and very well written book, but I couldn't help but think that I've read it before. It was very similar in feel to Minnesota author Jon Hassler's Staggerford and Grand Opening. In fact, another Russo book I've read, Straight Man, was eerily similar to Rookery Blues by Jon Hassler. So, I dug around a bit to find out if anyone else has these same feelings, and I find that Russo is a big fan of Hassler. What does this mean for you? Probably nothing. But if you've read any Russo and you enjoyed it, I encourage you to pick up Hassler's books, especially Grand Opening.
Now I'm reading Planets by Dava Sobel. Pretty good so far, but nothing can top her writing in Longitude, the story of a clockmaker's attempts to solve the biggest maritime problem in the age of discovery.
That's about it. See you soon!
December 14, 2005
It's not Christmas until ...
It's not Christmas until Larry goes on the tree.
December 8, 2005
My favorite free thrower
Jack Sikma's free throw ritual puts all others to shame (except maybe Adrian Dantley's).
Say it with me: Zamboni
â€œThere are three things in life that people like to stare at: a flowing stream, a crackling fire, and a Zamboni clearing the ice.â€?
Charles Schulz (through the voice of Charlie Brown)
The Pride of North Dakota
Les Jepsen, we mourn your departure. Since your retirement, bounce passes have decreased league-wide by 90%.
Where have you gone?
Where have you gone Paul Mokeski? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you ...
December 6, 2005
Modicum of sports knowledge
So I was watching the Gopher - Sun Devil game last night and it was a good one. The Gophers pulled out a victory in overtime, but that isn't the reason I enjoyed watching it. I enjoyed this college basketball game so much because the student section at Wells Fargo Arena in Arizona was so loud. I couldn't see them, but I could hear them chanting and that just put this game over the top for me. That and the ASU band. Wow! I could have just closed my eyes and enjoyed this game if just for the sounds coming out of my TV. Adam Boone's senior leadership and clutch play, the Gopher's excellent patience and ball movement down the stretch, the three pointers raining down from both teams ... all of that had nothing to do with why I enjoyed this college basketball game so much. It was all about the "atmosphere." That makes a lot of sense.
So here is a typical argument between me and Cheesehead Craig:
Me: I like college basketball more than the NBA. Here are some ways I would improve the NBA.
CC: College basketball is all about atmosphere. That's it. And here is why all your new ways to make the NBA better are all retarded.
Me: I will concede that atomosphere does make a difference, but that isn't why I prefer to watch the college game over the NBA in the comfort of my own living room. Plus, I still think some of my rule changes would make a difference.
CC: You are a moron! Atmosphere, atmosphere, atmosphere! And did I mention atmosphere? Plus here are some more reasons why your NBA changes stink. In addition, I will not offer any of my own suggestions. I will just offer feeble attempts at disputing your changes and I will call them "garbage."
Me: You have angered me, CC. However, I will again attempt to discuss my reasoning in an adult and dignified manner.
CC: Ha! I will now unleash a cheap shot on Shane's reading choices, and I will suggest that he doesn't even have a "modicum of sports knowlege." Plus, I will again harp on about "atmosphere" even though I know it is only part of the story.
So, there you have it. Name calling, cheap shots, and nothing new added to the discussion. That is today's lesson on cheesehead debate tactics. Now you'll know how to spot it when it rears its ugly head again.
That's all I got time for right now. I think it was time well spent though.
Category "Boring vs. Interesting"
November 17, 2005
Boring vs. Interesting Day 23 -- plus other randomness
Well, my "boring vs. interesting" series is winding down. I said I would do this for a month, so I've got a bout 7 days. Then I will make a decision on whether or not I think my life is boring or interesting. Right now the stats look like this:
Interesting days: 14
Boring days: 8
So, things are looking good so far. You know, I've kind of enjoyed breaking this down, but I'm not sure at all any of you have enjoyed this. So, if you find these little snippets in the life of snackeru to be worth while let me know. If not, the tiny minutiae of my life will torment you no longer. Anyway ...
Last night my son and I made a poster for his paper towel absorbency experiment.
The whole experiment turned out pretty good, and as you can see our poster is colorful and (hopefully) interesting.
After we made the poster, I made a batch of cookies for the Cub Scout Pack meeting tonight. Every Pack meeting we give away cookies to the Scouts that are having a birthday in the month of the Pack meeting. So, I had to make 6 big cookies last night:
Hopefully they turned out OK.
Overall, it was kind of a boring night:
Interesting days: 14
Boring days: 9
In reading Jim in St. Paul's material concerning the first 10 years in Minnesota for the Twins and Vikings I came across a startling discovery: The Vikings were not the first NFL team for Minnesota. The document above mentions the "Duluth Eskimos" so I decided to do a little research into the history of the NFL in Minnesota.
In 1921, the same year the Green Bay Packers joined the AFPA, the Minneapolis Marines also joined the league.
In 1922 the APFA revises its name to the National Football League.
In 1923, the Duluth Kelleys joined the league.
In 1924-25, the Minneapolis Marines folded.
In 1926 the Duluth Kelleys were renamed to the Duluth Eskimos.
In 1927-28 the Duluth Eskimos folded.
In 1929 the Minneapolis Red Jackets joined the league.
In 1930-31 the Minneapolis Red Jackets folded and we wouldn't get another team for another 30 years.
Interesting stuff, no? Speaking of the Duluth Eskimos, in 1927 they had a record of 1-8, with a 0-20 drubbing from the Packers in Green Bay. Also note that they played every game "away." Methinks they were begging for a new stadium and when they didn't get one they were probably contracted! See?!?!? There is precedent!
Let us all lament and weep for the Eskimos! What could have been if only Duluth would have just built them a stadium! It is a shame ...
UPDATE: Here is the real story of the Eskimos. Their lack of a decent stadium had something to do with it, but it had more to do with money.
Spycake wrote an interesting comment yesterday which discusses, among other things, the phenomenon of fantasy sports. Spycake writes:
Pro sports are less of a requirement now to make a city "great", or even truly "major league." They're just businesses themselves, national businesses, and their direct effects are rather lost among the myriad of suburban and summertime diversions we have access to today. Especially football, the reigning king of pro sports. Most of the "Vikings fans" I grew up with now care more about their fantasy football teams and DirecTV Sunday Ticket subscriptions than the real local team.
That is an interesting thought. I can't say I agree, but then again I'm not really a part of the whole "fantasy football" scence. But his comment got me to thinking, if I was really big into fantasy football, would I care more about my team than the Vikings? Unlikely, but I'm sure there are people like that out there.
Then it dawned on me: that is exactly why I can't get into fantasy sports. I can't stand the thought of cheering for anyone other than the Twins, Vikings, or T-Wolves. I had a fantasy football team in college and I had absolutely zero interest in it. I only cared about Sunday afternoon with the Vikings. I can't imagine having Ahman Green on my team, or Kyle Orton, and having to follow those players every week and maybe even having to cheer for them. Quite frankly it makes me sick.
It reminds me of a quote (for some reason) from Larry Bird who was asked what he thought of Magic Johnson and Isaiah Thomas kissing at mid-court before games. Of course, Bird said he thought it was "disgusting" and that it also made him sick. Bird then went on to describe how when he was a rookie he was really good friends with another player on the Celtics who was then traded the next year. Bird said that player is now an enemy and that he has never talked to him since.
I thought this exchange was hilarious, but it also demonstrated that Bird was loyal to the Celtics (almost to a fault). Most likely he also expected that same loyalty from the fans. I can't imagine that Bird ever played fantasy sports for the same reason I don't: I can't imagine cheering for anyone other than the players on my favorite teams.
Now, I'm not saying that I'm against fantasy sports. I'm sure they are a lot of fun for a lot of people. I just found Spycake's comment interesting and it made me think of the reasons why I don't play. Too much loyalty is one reason, but not enough time is definitely another. But I think he has a point, for some fantasy sports may be more important than the teams they grew up cheering for.
Category "Boring vs. Interesting"
November 9, 2005
This will be completely off the cuff, and rapid fire. Everything I can think of that I want to get down right now:
I really want to see the movie Serenity but I can't find the time or willpower to do it. It is playing at the Hopkins theater for $2 right now. Is it worth it? Has anyone else seen it?
Speaking of movies, I have recently seen Sin City and Secret Window. Sin City was decent. Truthfully, I liked it probably for one reason and one reason only: Carla Gugino. I'll just leave it at that.
Secret Window was not very good. Predictable and not very suspenseful. I would not recommend it.
Thanks to a past recommendation from Andy at Twins Killings I am really enjoying the music of Air right now, specifically the album Talkie Walkie. Very pleasant and different.
It has taken me 32 years of life, but I am finally going to read Watership Down. I'll let you know how it goes.
I am really enjoying the T-Wolves right now. Maybe it is the mystery of a new team (how will they play together? how good is the Jaric guy?), maybe it is Rashad McCants (did you see that alley-oop from THUD? Yikes.), or maybe it is because this is the start of a new season and I'm supposed to be excited. Whatever the case, I am watching a lot of basketball and I am loving it.
Did you see the City Pages article about the T-Wolves last week? Good stuff. Well written. The author, Britt Robson, does not care for THUD at all. Among his more salient points he had this to say:
Every minute Hudson steals from McCants at the shooting guard position will penalize this franchise down the road.
True. McCants is the future, not the defensive nightmare that is Troy Hudson. Give him some PT Casey!
Now for a Boring vs. Interesting update ... unfortunately I've had three boring days in a row. On Sunday I watched the Vikings game. That was the highlight. On Monday I watched Sin City. Again, a pretty lame highlight. And last night I went to the library. Nothing too exciting there.
At the library I picked up a book for myself (Watership Down), and a bunch of books for my kids. Specifically I got Fantastic Mr. Fox for my middle son. We read half of it last night and really enjoyed it. Roald Dahl was a very gifted childrens' author.
Interesting days: 10
Boring days: 5
Have I really been tracking this for 15 days?
I've got a question for everyone: how many years have you been working and how many times have you switched jobs? I've worked at the U for 7 year now, and while I still enjoy it, perhaps I should look around. Let me clarify, I'm not looking around right now, I'm just starting to think, "How long can I work in the same job?"
Anyone out there interested in a 32 year old webmaster and adjunct professor at St. Kate's, with a Master's degree in Library Science and a sad obsession for stadium related issues? Let me know. I got mad skills.
I like Cheer or Die's prediciton that the Vikings will win this Sunday. I think the team has finally turned the corner.
I gotta say I liked how the Minneapolis mayor race turned out. Keep Rybak in office so McLaughlin stays on the Hennepin County board. Of course, it probably doesn't matter since the Twins deal with Hennepin County expires at the end of December, but I still have a little hope.
St. Paul's race is another story. I think St. Paul's chances to land the Twins just took a serious hit with Coleman taking over. We'll see though. What do you think Jim in St. Paul?
That's it. Talk to you later.
October 14, 2005
Of logos and such ...
Logos are a big deal. They take years to make, years to market, and years to brand a particular product. Some logos are very good, and some leave me scratching my head. Some logos convey strength and quality, while others say, "Go ahead and walk all over me. I'm weak!" Let's take a look at a couple that I don't mind too much:
The U of M logo is strong and timeless. This is a logo that will probably never be changed. It isn't trying to be cute, and it isn't trying to be overbearing. It just "is."
And just so you know I'm not trying to pick on all things Wisconsin, I also like the Green Bay Packers logo. It is another example of a timeless logo. However, what I would like to know is what came first, the Packers "G" or the Georgia Bulldogs "G"?? Hmmmm ... it is a mystery...
And here we have the point of this whole post. The crappy "Motion W" of the University of Wisconsin. Not timeless. In fact, the only word that comes to mind for it is "effeminate." It says, "Hey look at me! I'm moving! Do you want to come to my tea party?" Really, how does the University of Wisconsin justify such a pansy looking thing? The only thing I can think of that would top off the "Motion W" is this:
My Little Pony says, "Hello Motion W! You are so pretty and curvy! Can you stop for a while and braid my hair?"
That's what I think anyway. The University of Wisconsin needs a stronger logo. Until then I can't help but think they are all just a bunch of pansies.
August 22, 2005
Hey everyone. The weekend is over and all is good. Before we get into the main crux of this entry there are a few things I'd like to weigh in on. First of all, I love it that Terry Ryan is making a play for Soriano. Most likely it is so no other team can claim him, but the possibility is still there. The main question for me is, what would it take? And I'm just throwing this out there, but SBG got me to thinking. What if we gave up Hunter for Soriano? Think about it: Lew Ford can play center field. Heck, Jacque Jones can play center field. Soriano and Hunter have very similar salaries: $7.5 million for Soriano and $8 million for Hunter. And just to show that I'm a good guy, I would even throw in Joe Mays. How could the Rangers turn that down? Mays and Hunter for Soriano? Of course, I have no idea what Soriano will make next year, and I'm pretty sure the Rangers already have a decent center fielder, but Hunter is expendable as is demonstrated by the recent play of the Twins in his absence. Plus, he lives in Texas in the off-season. Ameriquest Field is practically in his backyard. Well, if it happens you heard it here first. And this ends yet another example of why I'll never be Twins general manager...
I just invented a new word today: "swampled." It is a combination of "swamped" and "trampled" and suggests that a person is being both swamped and trampled at work at the same time. Feel free to use this new word at your own discretion. No need to thank me.
The Vikings game on Friday was mighty boring. I must admit I watched the Twins more that night. However, it did demonstrate a couple of things to me: 1) the defense is getting better. I know they gave up some yards to the wonder that is Pennington's arm, but I saw some things I liked and 2) Bennett sucks. He is not the answer at running back. Let's get MeMo some reps and let's start trying to convince him he isn't as brittle as he thinks he is. Bummer about Ciatrix, too. He has shown some brilliant running ability if you ask me. Anyway, that is my two cents about the Vikes. Oh, and by the way, they are still Super Bowl bound. Just thought I would clear that up.
Ah, but the main focus of this entry is not about sports. No, if you are only interested about sports stop reading now. I am about to delve into a topic that usually causes me to lose readers, but truth be told I can't hold it in any longer. I am about to write about religion, specifically Christianity. I am a Christian. I go to church every Sunday (especially since my wife got a job at our church which means no more church holidays for me ... sigh) and honestly I could probably write an entry every Sunday based on the pastor's sermon or something that strikes me as I sit in the church pew. And just for the record, I am what you would call a liberal Christian. I did not vote for Bush. I believe strongly in the separation of church and state, and I strongly favor a national health care system. Not exactly what most people think of as Christian agenda items, and that, for me, is a big problem.
Recently I read a very thought provoking essay called the Christian Paradox by Bill McKibben. Quite frankly it blew me away. It was the most eloquent discussion of my own faith pattern I have ever read. The article focuses on one of the most powerful passages in the Bible, when Jesus was asked by a religious leader of his time what the most important commandment is. Jesus answered:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
McKibben writes in excrutiating detail how our country, a country that overwhelmingly considers itself "Christian" consistently ranks in the bottom concerning measureable ways we help the lesser among us. McKibben writes:
In 2004, as a share of our economy, we ranked second to last, after Italy, among developed countries in government foreign aid. Per capita we each provide fifteen cents a day in official development assistance to poor countries. And it's not because we were giving to private charities for relief work instead. Such funding increases our average daily donation by just six pennies, to twenty-one cents. It's also not because Americans were too busy taking care of their own; nearly 18 percent of American children lived in poverty (compared with, say, 8 percent in Sweden). In fact, by pretty much any measure of caring for the least among us you want to propose - childhood nutrition, infant mortality, access to preschool - we come in nearly last among the rich nations, and often by a wide margin. The point is not just that (as everyone already knows) the American nation trails badly in all these categories; it's that the overwhelmingly Christian American nation trails badly in all these categories, categories to which Jesus paid particular attention.
This is stunning to me. Its not like I didn't have any idea this was going on, but to see it written in such a coherent and unmistakably clear way is a little humbling to say the least.
I've written about this commandment of Jesus before in regards to gay marriage arguing that the distraction of fighting against such a small segment of our society is keeping us away from our core mission of love your neighbor as yourself. McKibben focuses on other distractions that have kept us from this commandment including getting ready for the "rapture" (Jesus's triumphant return), and our society's troubling focus on ourselves rather than others. I would also add distractions like Intelligent Design and the 10 Commandments in front of courthouses as other distractions that really just aren't worth the fight. What has a better chance of demonstrating the love of Christ, displaying the 10 commandments in front of a courthouse where no one will read it, or focusing our energy on issues that Jesus actually cared about, namely feeding the hungry or clothing the naked? To me the answer is clear.
Of course, McKibben has some choice words for the so called Christian Right, an organization supposedly founded on Christian principles. McKibben writes:
A rich man came to Jesus one day and asked what he should do to get into heaven. Jesus did not say he should invest, spend, and let the benefits trickle down; he said sell what you have, give the money to the poor, and follow me. Few plainer words have been spoken. And yet, for some reason, the Christian Coalition of America - founded in 1989 in order to "preserve, protect and defend the Judeo-Christian values that made this the greatest country in history" - proclaimed last year that its top legislative priority would be "making permanent President Bush's 2001 federal tax cuts."
This is sickening. That was the Christian Coalition's main focus last year, making sure Bush's tax cuts remain permanent. I could understand if their main focus was Bush's tax cuts and making sure that Bush's "faith based" initiatives programs were successful, but apparently there is just a focus on tax cuts. This year's focus has changed to "Stopping filibusters on President Bush's judicial nominations including U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judicial nominees." This is the Christian Coalition. Where is the focus on the actual words of Jesus, the actual commandments? Or is that too simplistic?
And before anyone becomes too offended at my words let me make one thing clear. I understand if you think tax cuts and trickle down economics are better for society as a whole. We can't just keep on spending and spending. Gotcha. But don't tie your issues to Jesus. Don't tie these issues to Christianity. They are counter-intuitive to Christianity. Smaller government, lower taxes, health care for only those that can afford it may all be great ideas, but they are not Christian ideas as much as their opposites are not Christian ideas.
That's right. As much as I may want a national health care system, I would be hard pressed to find a Biblical passage that mandates this as the method Jesus would like us to employ to take care of the sick. Personally I think it is a great idea and more in line with Christian principles of taking care of those less fortunate, but can I say for sure that this is what Jesus had in mind? No. So why the "Christian" Coalition can make the bold claims they do, that they are somehow carrying out a mission that Jesus would approve of, is beyond me. McKibben writes:
The power of the Christian right rests largely in the fact that they boldly claim religious authority, and by their very boldness convince the rest of us that they must know what they're talking about. They're like the guy who gives you directions with such loud confidence that you drive on even though the road appears to be turning into a faint, rutted track. But their theology is appealing for another reason too: it coincides with what we want to believe. How nice it would be if Jesus had declared that our income was ours to keep, instead of insisting that we had to share. How satisfying it would be if we were supposed to hate our enemies. Religious conservatives will always have a comparatively easy sell.
I would argue that this selling job is actually hurting the Christian faith in the long run. I work at the University of Minnesota, a bastion of liberal views, so the shaping of my own philosophies concerning these matters shouldn't surprise anyone. However, the angry and condescending sentiments I hear at the U towards Christians because of the agenda of the Christian Coalition is disheartening to say the least. The viewpoint that all Christians follow to the drum beat of the Coalition is overwhelming and simply untrue. How can we take back the centrality of Jesus's message? For me it all focuses on the words of Jesus, the actual words taken at their bare bones: love your neighbor, turn the other cheek, love the Lord God with all your heart. McKibben writes:
Even the first time around, judging by the reaction, the Gospels were pretty unwelcome news to an awful lot of people. There is not going to be a modern-day return to the church of the early believers, holding all things in common - that's not what I'm talking about. Taking seriously the actual message of Jesus, though, should serve at least to moderate the greed and violence that mark this culture. It's hard to imagine a con much more audacious than making Christ the front man for a program of tax cuts for the rich or war in Iraq. If some modest part of the 85 percent of us who are Christians woke up to that fact, then the world might change.
How can we, as Christians, have the biggest impact on this world? "Love your neighbor" baby. That is where it is at for me.
August 12, 2005
I'm reading a great book right now called Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis which discusses America's Founding Fathers and the impact they had on our fledgling republic. It is only 288 pages and it features short, illustrative chapters, vignettes really, concerning Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, etc. etc. Right now I'm reading an early chapter on "The Duel" between Burr and Hamilton and how, remarkably it represents the only example of political violence during the early days of our experiment in democracy. Anyway, an interesting portion of this chapter describes the rules for a duel (the code duello):
"Burr and Hamilton then met in the middle to receive their final instructions. Hamilton, again because he was the challenged party, had the choice of position. He selected upstream, or north, side, a poor choice because the morning sun and its reflection off the river would be in his face. The required ten paces between contestants put them at the extreme ends of the ledge. It was agreed that when both principals were ready, Pendleton would say, "Present"; then each man would be free to raise and fire his weapon. If one man fired before the other, the nonfirer's second would say, "One, two, three, fire." If he had not fired by the end of the count, he lost his turn. At that point, or if both parties had fired and missed, there would be a conference to decide if another round was required or if both sides agreed that the obligations of honor had been met."
Fascinating, huh? As you probably know, the rest of the story can be summarized with Burr mortally wounding Hamilton and Burr being ostracized from American life in general. Obviously, there is much more to this story than that. If you are interested I would recommend checking out Founding Brothers. Let me just close this little snippet by saying I am glad this method of resolving a dispute is now a thing of the past. Cheesehead Craig, sadly, would have alreay been killed by my deadly aim.
Little known fact about me: I never use an alarm clock. Every morning I wake up whenever I decide I need to wake up. This is how it has always been for me. If I need to wake up at 6:00, I'll wake up at 6:00. If I need to wake up at 5:00, I'll wake up at 5:00. I don't know why, or how I developed this skill, but there you have it.
I am absolutely fascinated by the ongoing saga of the Eagles vs. Terrell Owens. What a nightmare. On the one hand I love to see a possible stumbling block for the Vikings Super Bowl aspirations having these kinds of difficulties, but on the other hand a classy individual like Donovan McNabb does not deserve this. I agree with most other Eagles fans: T.O. must G.O. And did you catch what T.O. said about McNabb?
When Owens was asked if he could have success with McNabb, he was even more blunt, saying, "I don't think so and I'm just being honest."
Wow. Not only is T.O. a bad teammate, but he is just an idiot. Highly entertaining though.
After reading stuff like this article about a Christian museum displaying dinosaurs and an intelligent design (ID) viewpoint and this hilarious open letter to the Kansas School Board I am this close to writing my own piece on this blog concerning ID and the theory of evolution. Of course it will deal with issues of religion, science, and history, but so far I have held back. I don't know why. Anyway, stay tuned for that (if you care).
Well, I'll be going to the Vikings game tonight and I'll be sitting in the seats of Mr. Cheer or Die. Here is what the view from my old seats looked like. COD's seats, being on the first row, should provide me with a very interesting new perspective. I am looking forward to it. Thanks COD!
August 3, 2005
Twins vs. Vikings
Who has the loyalty of the majority of Minnesotans? The Twins or the Vikings? As you've probably already read, Mr. COD has written a great post on a surprising trend we have recently seen concerning Twins fans' antipathy for all things purple. Mr. COD himself has been on the receiving end of some Twins fans' rebukes towards both the Vikings and their fans. It all makes me wonder, why? Why do we see this kind of dislike from Twins fans towards the Vikings and why does it seem to be a one way street? I commented to Mr. COD:
"For some reason hardcore Vikings fans have no problem cheering for the Twins when appropriate, but I've noticed hardcore Twins fans do not reciprocate when it comes to the Vikings. I have never understood it."
I was a Viking season ticket holder for the past few years and I was at a game where it was announced that the Twins had captured the Central Division crown. As you might expect, the whole crowd cheered heartily for the Twins. It was great. However, I am of the opinion that if it was ever announced at a Twins game that the Vikings had won something (keep your jokes to yourselves!) I doubt this news would get the same reception. Why is that? Don't get me wrong, I think there would be some cheering, but not a whole lot, I would wager.
Mr. COD addresses some of the possible reasons in his post above. He includes the "Big Brother complex," "The Dome," and "Emotions," namely current emotions that have Twins fans feeling disgusted toward our baseball team and perhaps uncharacteristically vindictive. To expound on the Dome reason a little bit I do think a lot of Twins fans' dislike of the Vikings comes from the fact that the Twins share a facility with the Vikings, and the fact that the facility is a football field. No doubt about it. It is a tragedy and one which I have discussed ad naseum on these pages. There may be another reason, though, that COD doesn't discuss.
I honestly think a lot of Twins fans have a feeling of superiority. Baseball is not a contact sport. It may even be considered a gentleman's game. It is a game of overwhelming statistics, complex strategy, and thrilling luck. Baseball is also "America's pastime." Or at least it used to be. Football is blue collar. It is hard hitting, painful, and may even speak to our baser instincts. Kill. Blood. Hit.
Football is also much more popular. To be a baseball fan is truly something unique, and sadly it is becoming more and more unique nowadays. So, I can somewhat understand the hardcore baseball fan's dilemma. Football is encroaching on their turf, and they don't like it.
Speaking of which, as I'm sure you know, ESPN is doing a 50 states in 50 days promotion which highlights sports trends in all 50 states. And of course, Minnesota is a part of this analysis.
Concerning Minnesota's favorite sport, and based on over 25,000 votes, the breakdown is currently thus:
46.8% - Hockey
32.3% - Football
10.9% - Baseball
5.3% - Basketball
1.4% - Fishing
1.2% - Golf
1.0% - Auto racing
1.0% - Soccer
Nothing too surprising there. Hockey is pretty big here. Concerning Minnesota's favorite pro-team, though:
64.7% - Minnesota Vikings
16.2% - Minnesota Twins
6.5% - Green Bay Paclers
5.1% - Minnesota Wild
4.6% - Minnesota Timberwolves
1.8% - Chicago Cubs
0.6% - Chicago White Sox
0.5% - Dallas Stars
That is a huge margin. That is an "out-behind-the-woodshed" margin. The Vikings reign supreme in Minnesota to the point of almost making the Twins percentage look statistically insignificant (well, not quite). This is especially shocking when you look at the statistics for Wisconsin where you would expect the Packers to have a similar lead:
33.4% - Green Bay Packers
32.7% - Milwaukee Brewers
22.9% - Chicago Cubs
11.0% - Milwaukee Bucks
It appears that according to these statistics Minnesota has bigger football fans than the people in Wisconsin, and that Wisconsin has bigger baseball fans than Minnesota. I would have expected this to be the exact opposite.
So, in conclusion, given the Vikings dominance on the sports scene in Minnesota it may be more understandable why Twins fans feel a bit overwhelmed. Having said all of this, let me say that I am huge fans of both the Vikings and the Twins. I will always cheer for both (unless the Twins move to Vegas). And while I still don't quite fully understand why Twins fans are so anti-Vikings sometimes, I do believe the dominance of the Vikings over the local sports scene does help answer that question. Until next time ...
March 29, 2005
Can you believe this weather we are having? This is why I stay in Minnesota, for days like yesterday and today. Most of the time we've either got months and months of dreary winter, or months and months of mosquitos feasting on our blood. But Springtime in Minnesota makes it all worth while. I would wager that you really can't appreciate Spring unless you go through the crap we usually go through. Anyway, I am loving it. It almost makes me forget about stadiums ... almost.
Speaking of stadiums and the business of sports, Mr. Cheer or Die and the Vikes Geek have written some highly frightening posts concerning the Vikings chances of moving to LA. I read these two posts and I just about started weeping. However, as much as I love a good conspiracy, and as much as I'm beginning to think it is obvious we can't trust a thing Reggie Fowler says, one thing remains painfully clear. Unless the Vikings get a new stadium they will move out of our state. It is the same as the Twins situation: the Vikings will not play in the Metrodome (as it is right now) forever. Something has to be done. I think that is a given.
However, what can be argued is the timing. How long have we got before the sky falls and Minnesota is annexed by North Dakota (becoming Super Dakota!)? I still feel very strongly that the Vikings are here until 2011. No matter what. Tagliabue does not want to mess with the Rozelle letter. And I also feel strongly that the NFL wants a team in Minnesota. We will receive every chance to keep the Vikings here, but after 2011 all bets are off. It is as simple as that.
And speaking of the NFL wanting Minnesota to have an NFL team, I also think that the NFL is rapidly losing patience with Minnesota. Why? Of course, we've already got our legislature's refusal to consider stadium financing for Minnesota's favorite team, and now we've got that idiot Dick Day and his exit tax for Red McCombs. The more I think about this the more moronic I think this idea is. Don't get me wrong, I can't stand Red and I wouldn't mind it if we got a chance to stick it to him for once, but this move by Day is just plain wrong. For one thing it demonstrates, at least to me, how much Minnesota hates rich people. God forbid that you are rich and successful in Minnesota because we will not like you. In fact, we will hate you, we will be jealous of you, and we will try to make your life more miserable. Of course, you'll have lots of money so we will be like a mosquito buzzing in your ear, but mosquitos can become annoying.
And Minnesota has become an annoyance. Don't think the NFL isn't paying attention to all of this and thinking twice about giving our fair state the benefit of the doubt. If this exit tax actually gets passed, which is doubtful, it will be yet another nail in the Vikings coffin. This new tax singles out Red McCombs and the NFL for special treatment and it sends a clear message that we are at best difficult to work with and at worst obstinate little children.
If you get a chance stop over at Stick and Ball Guy's web site today to see all the Twins bloggers picks for the upcoming MLB season. SBG is having a contest based around the picks, and the winner will be feted on SBG's website and receive a drink purchased by SBG himself! Be still my beating heart! And just for my own documentation purposes, here are all of my picks:
AL East: Red Sox
AL Central: Twins
AL West: Angels
AL Wild Card: Yankees
NL East: Marlins
NL Central: Cardinals
NL West: Dodgers
NL Wild Card: Cubs
AL Pennant: Twins
NL Pennant: Cards
WS Champ: Twins
AL MVP: Vlad
NL MVP: Pujols
AL Cy Young: Santana
NL Cy Young: Schmidt
If you haven't noticed, I figure if I'm going to lose, I mine as well lose cheering for the Twins. And looking at the other blogger picks, it looks like I'm not alone.
Finally, I chanced upon a very interesting LiveJournal post yesterday regarding a new format for music. This new format displays song lyrics in list format. At first I thought, how stupid! But then I found it to be quite addictive. Anyway, I thought I would give it a try by using this new format on "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by U2:
- Things I have done
- Climbed the highest mountain
- Run through the fields
- Just run
- Scaled city walls
- To be with you
- Outcome of these efforts
- I still haven't found what I'm looking for
- Other things I have done
- Kissed honey lips
- Felt healing in fingertips
- What my burning desire felt like
- Spoke with the toungue of angels
- Held the hand of the devil
- Relative temperature of hand
- How did I feel?
- As what?
- A stone
- Outcome of these efforts
- I still haven't found what I'm looking for
- Something I believe in
- Kingdom come
- Outcome of kingdom come
- All the colors will bleed into one
- Even though I believe
- I have decided to still run
- Broke the bonds
- Loosed the chains
- Carried the cross of my shame
- I believe it
- Unfortunately, even after all of this
- I still haven't found what I'm looking for
It is not as easy as it looks! Give it a try!
March 28, 2005
Hello everyone. My ride won't be picking me up today to get into work in a timely fashion, so this will have to be somewhat brief.
As you all probably already know, Bob Casey passed away this weekend. This is a sad time for Twins fans. I don't think I ever heard anyone ever say they didn't like Bob Casey. Most people are talking about his introduction of Kirby Pucket, and his "No Smoking" calls as their favorite moments. But I always loved what he usually said after his "No Smoking" call. For example, if the Twins were playing Detroit, Casey would say, "There is noooooooo smoking in the Metrodome! No smoking! If you must smoke, go back to Detroit!" I loved that.
Whoever will replace Casey has some HUGE shoes to fill. He probably knows that though. Anyway, my prayers go out to the Casey family.
The Gopher's men hockey team is back in the Frozen Four. In fact, the Frozen Four is made up entirely of WCHA teams. This is the first time that has ever happened. Yesterday's game against Cornell was fantastic, as I'm sure you'll agree if you watched it, but I was struck by some of the music the Cornell band was playing. For example, at one point they played the Wisconsin fight song, "On Wisconsin" which made me think Wisconsin must have stolen the tune from the older Cornell. Wrong! Cornell was just trying to irk the pro-Minnesota crowd at Mariucci. That, I thought, was pretty funny.
There will have to more later. I've got to go.
March 19, 2005
I don't know why, but I could handle Barry Bonds taking steroids. It didn't surprise me. But Mark McGwire? I gotta admit this has really bothered me. How can he vehemently deny using steroids literally for years, but then when he is under oath say, "I'm not going to talk about the past"? Although he didn't plead the 5th, he might as well have done so. And I'm sorry, his refusal to answer the questions yesterday was as good as admitting he used illegal substances. Babe Ruth, Roger Maris, and Hank Aaron. McGwire has been removed from this list (if he ever should have been on it).
The Golden Gopher's basketball team lost yesterday, but they will always hold a special place in my memory banks. They made it fun to cheer on the Gophers again. Hagen, Lawson, Robinson, Grier, Coleman, Stamper, Tollackson, Tucker ... this team will be remembered as the beginning of something special for the program. Hard working, fun loving, scrappy, and yes, even inspiring; I am upset I won't be able to watch them anymore, but I look forward to next year.
I made another bet with Cheesehead Craig, this time concerning the NCAA tournament. Whoever gets more points in the Offical Greet Machine tournament challenge will get a cheeseburger AND fries from Fuddruckers. So far, CC has 200 points and I have 190. Still a lot of games to go, but I gotta say I'm not feeling very confident anymore. I picked OK State all the way, but they barely escaped SE Louisiana. I'm beginning to think I'm cursed in the betting department.
My Final Four teams are OK State, Wake Forest, Duke, and UNC. I had no idea I had such an affinity for ACC teams. Blech...
As a big Clive Cussler and Dirk Pitt fan, I'm looking forward to the movie Sahara coming out this Spring. However, Matthew McConaughey as Dirk Pitt? And Steve Zahn as Al? Good actors to be sure, but these would not have been my first choices. I read that Hugh Jackman was signed on to be Dirk. That would have been a little more appropriate in my mind.
It looks like I have a new arch-rival in the stadium writing game over on TwinsTerritory.com. You all remember David Wintheiser who, although we have patched things up, I doubt will be gracing my blog's pages with his unique brand of wit and wisdom much anymore (he has his own site on TwinsTerritory now). However, it seems a blogger named "dbogen" has decided to unknowingly take his place. Twice in the last week I have posted a pro-stadium article and almost immediately he has put up a rebuttal. It makes me think he is watching for me, but I know that is just me being paranoid. Ha! Oh well, debate makes the world go around. I hope it stays civil. I am personally trying to keep it light-hearted.
Here's the thing about the anti-stadium crowd: they are not willing to compromise at all. Pohlad pays for everything or they are against the plan. This kind of inflexibility is just not conducive to finding a solution. If Pohlad has refused to pay for everything for 10 years I don't think he is going to suddenly decide to change his mind. And I certainly don't think the public should pay for everything, but I do think there are funding sources that may satisfy the average taxpayer: TIF, gambling proceeds, ticket tax, sports facilities tax, etc. However, the anti-stadium crowd would find fault with all of these. Can't we just find a solution?
You know what? It is a lot more fun to let it all hang out and be pro-stadium. It is actually very liberating. Anti-stadium people are just way too angry and intractable. Sure I've been angry before, but most of the time I am just trying to find a solution.
So, the Vikings have traded their 7th round draft pick to the Jets for Sam Cowart. This is a very interesting development. Does this mean that they aren't considering Derrick Johnson? Or would they still select him and use Cowart as a mentor? I still think Mike Williams is our man. Regardless, though, Sam Cowart will do even more to improve our defense (if he can stay healthy). I gotta admit I am just stunned with all this activity on the Vikings part towards improving the team, especially with this Fowler business hanging out there. Stunned and very happy, though. With even a 15th ranked defense I think the Vikings will make a lot of noise in the NFL this next season. And I don't think the Vikings will have a 15th ranked defense.
Speaking of the NFL draft, CNNSI.com has the Vikings picking Mike Williams with the 7th pick in their mock draft, even though they think Derrick Johnson will be available. We shall see. With the 18th pick CNNSI.com has the Vikings picking Erasmus James. Whooo boy. I would love that. Kenechi on one end, Williams and Williams manning the middle, and Erasmus on the other end? Yikes. And then Smoot and Winfield at the corners? And Cowart, Harris, and Driver to top it off? Why, oh why, did I give up my Viking season tickets?
Oh yeah, it was so I can save up to go to Disney World next year.
Curt in Grand Forks is going to attempt to buy our U2 concert tickets today at 10:00 at a grocery store in Grand Forks. I gotta tell you, this plan is usually fool proof. Curt and I bought Page/Plant tickets in Fargo and got 8th row seats. We bought Pink Floyd tickets in Sioux Falls and we got 12th row tickets. The concert is September 23 and I expect we'll be on the floor level shaking Bono's hand. I'll let you know if Curt is successful.
That's it for now. See you later.
March 12, 2005
Official Greet Machine NCAA Tournament Pool
Allow me to invite you to join the official NCAA Tournament pool bracket of the Greet Machine. Once again it is completely free, with only bragging rights at stake. I hope you all will join. In fact, feel free to tell others about the pool: friends, spouses, kids, family members, co-workers, etc. The more the merrier, after all. Don't let the lack of an encyclopedic knowledge of college basketball stop you from entering. Curt in Grand Forks's two daughters will have entries, and will base their picks solely on the "cooler" mascot! I think I might give that a try! It is a lot of fun, and I hope you'll join.
To do so, go to http://games.espn.go.com/tcmen/frontpage and enter the group name "Minn/NoDak Border Battle". You will need the password "nodak" to join. You will need an ESPN username, which is also free. You can register for this at the same website. So, please join and let's have some fun!
Special thanks to Curt in Grand Forks for putting this together!
Keep in mind that Mr. Cheer or Die is also running a tournament pool through Yahoo! Sports. Details for his pool can be found on the link above.
February 22, 2005
Not much today...
... but I'll give you what I got. Jim in St. Paul wrote an interesting comment yesterday concerning a two picture spread in the Pioneer Press touting the site across from the Xcel Energy Center as opposed to the Warehouse district site in Minneapolis for a new Twins stadium. Unfortunately, although I saw the article yesterday in the online version of the PiPress, they failed to show any pictures! So, being in a library, I retrieved the print version this morning to have a look see myself. I must say, I agree with Jim that the two views, one of the the X and the St. Paul skyline, and the other of the Covanta-Hennepin Energy Resource Co. incinerator, definitely demonstrate how much more aesthetically pleasing the St. Paul site would be. However, and I'm sure Jim would agree, I am also concerned with any site's ability to get a deal done.
There were also some interesting captions around the pictures. Around the St. Paul picture the PiPress said:
"Something else for state officials to keep in mind as they consider sites for a proposed Twins ballpark: Baseball fans at a St. Paul Twins stadium would be treated to visions of the Xcel Energy Center and the St. Paul skyline ...
This was followed by an ugly picture of the Minneapolis incinerator and this caption:
... while baseball fans at a new Minneapolis ballpark would look out on -- shudder -- the Covanta-Hennepin Energy Resoure Co. incinerator, which burns garbage to make electricity. Fans will be reassured to know that emissions from the garbage burner are well within state limits, so we suppose there's no need really to cover your beer with your game program to keep the particulates out."
Ouch! Touche, St. Paul, touche. I tell you what, I like, no love, the idea of a ballpark in St. Paul. St. Paul has a lot going on downtown including the X, RiverCentre, the Science Museum, the Childrens museum, the History Center, etc. And while I agree with Jim that it would be nice to get the capitol and Cathedral domes into the view, anything St. Paul has to offer is better than what Minneapolis is offering right now. Jim also writes:
"I hope the editorial board is running those pictures in preparation for a legistlative debate. Maybe they have heard that the issue might be taken up soon. At least they are being proactive."
Yes, I wonder what is going on. Could a new stadium bill be approaching? I say let the games/battle begin. Hopefully Sviggum is still guaranteeing that a Twins stadium bill can be passed this session.
On the way into work today the radio station we were listening to proclaimed that a deal between the Nets and the T-Wolves for Jason Kidd was practically a done deal if not already a done deal. According to the station (and I can't remember which one we were listening to), the T-Wolves are offering Spree, Wally, and I didn't catch the last guy but I wouldn't be surprised if it was Cassell. Has anyone else heard anything about this? I checked ESPN when I got into work and all they are reporting are rumors, including this deal:
The Wolves could send Wally Szczerbiak and the expiring contracts of Latrell Sprewell and Ervin Johnson to the Blazers. The Blazers would send Darius Miles and Ruben Patterson to the Wolves and Shareef Abdur-Rahim (also an expiring contract) to the Nets. New Jersey then would move Kidd on to Minnesota. Despite the fact Miles is a base-year player, that deal works, with the addition of a minimum-salaried player or two, under trade rules.
Wow. We would lose Wally and Spree to get Kidd. Is Kidd too old? Too selfish? Truthfully, I like the deal. Wally is a good guy, but he has just not panned out. And Spree is a shell of his former self. Getting Kidd would definitely shake things up, and help define the roles of the remaining T-Wolves players a little better. I am in favor of the deal, but I would be surprised to see something happen.
That's all for now.
January 13, 2005
Memo to Dan Monson: keep doing what you are doing. Never, ever again try to recruit any Minnesota players that want to use the Gopher's program as a stepping stone to the NBA. You have finally built a great team by doing what you do best: finding the diamonds in the rough and molding them into a team. Hustle, determination, tenacity, teamwork, and yes, finally some skill are all characteristics of this Gopher's team. They are a joy to watch. Ski-U-Mah, my friends, Ski-U-Mah.
Today I'll be listening to the Who's Tommy. If The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's created the genre of rock music as art, Tommy perfected it in the form of the "rock opera." What a beautiful album. Do you know the story? Tommy's father supposedly dies in the war and his mother re-marries. When Tommy's father comes home, he his killed by Tommy's new step-father. All of this is witnessed by Tommy who then goes into a near comatose state, as the Who says, "deaf, dumb, and blind." However, there is something going on in Tommy's head, anguish and pain. Eventually people discover that Tommy has a very unique skill for a blind person, he is a pinball wizard. He becomes famous and he is sent to a doctor that may finally be able to cure him. At the doctor's office he is told to go to the mirror and he finally sees himself, and by seeing himself something inside him snaps. For a short time afterward he simply stares at himself in the mirror until his mother can't take it anymore and she smashes the mirror. This breaks him out of his dumbfounded state and he develops a messianic complex. Due to his success at pinball he already has a large following who now practically worship him. His evil parents and family try to capitalize on his fame by creating "Tommy's Holiday Camp." However, his followers soon figure out that Tommy is really a nobody and they destroy the camp and leave Tommy all alone.
That's it in a nutshell, but, of course, there is obviously a whole lot more. A commentary on fame, religion, psychosis, and familial relationship, Tommy ranks up there as one of the greatest rock albums of all time.
Speaking of basketball, how about those Timberwolves? Stick and Ball Guy already writes a lot about the Wolves so I'll try to keep this short, but they are really painful to watch. I went to the Lakers game on Monday, and like I said, seeing Daunte at the game was the best part of the whole night. Well, actually, the bongo guy was pretty good too. Compared with the Gophers, the T-Wolves are not a very harmonious "team," they are a bunch of individuals trying to score points. The played inconsistently (absolutely tanking in the 4th) and they were crushed on the boards. Having said all that, I actually think they will figure all of this out. I seem to recall the Lakers being a 5th seed a couple of years back and going to the NBA Finals after a strong finish to the regular season. I predict a full turnaround for this team. They'll be all right.
We all know how Mr. Cheer or Die feels about Fox Sports and the hypocrisy surrounding Moss's moonshot, but it appears UThink has another Vikings' fan in the midst: Winter in the Cities. Laurene writes a good post suggesting that there [I need a grammar checker] is a tinge of racism in Joe Buck's comments about Moss and that she agrees with Red's demand to have him removed from the booth. I hadn't thought about it that way, but sadly I think she is right. For example, if Favre had done the same thing, Buck and Berman would have been praising his "competitive spirit." You know it is true. Sid writes a good column today highlighting a letter from St. Joe's praising Moss's charitable activity. I'm sure there is a lot about Moss we don't know.
Well, you won't be hearing from me again for a couple of days, unless I write something again today, as I'll be headed to the American Library Association midwinter conference in Boston tomorrow. I'll be giving another presentation on UThink. It seems that people all over the place are interested in this beast, and I couldn't be more thrilled with that. So, again, you probably won't hear from me again until after the Vikings game.
And speaking of the Vikings game this Sunday, hope has now completely taken over. I predict a Vikings victory! NFC Championship here we come!
November 9, 2004
Off the Cuff
Hello everyone! I am feeling unusually chipper this morning, especially considering the Vikings lost last night. This is probably mainly due to the fact that 1) life is good. When you think about it, life is good, isn't it? And 2) a co-woker of mine has given me a pirated copy of U2's new album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. This was an unexpected surprise. So, as I type this I am listening to new U2 music. Some of you may not think this is a big deal, but to me it is absolutely wonderful.
Let's talk about the Vikings. As I'm sure you are reading on other sites, it was really a tale of two halves. In the first half the Vikings play calling, defense, and clock management were all atrocious. What was Tice doing in the last seconds of the first half waiting until there was only 2-3 seconds left before calling a time out? Maybe I was being over optimistic, but I thought he could have taken another shot at the end zone before settling on a field goal. That may have won the Vikings the game.
The second half I was very impressed with the Vikings. Tolerable defense coupled with great special teams play kept the Vikings in the game. And the offense actually put together some decent drives. In fact, the offense ended up with 307 yards of total offense keeping their streak of 300 or more yards alive. I'm sure other people are talking all gloom and doom about the Vikes performance last night, but I saw some things to keep my hopes up, especially considering Randy Moss was back in Minnesota.
I think it is obvious who the MVP of the Vikings is: Randy Moss. Without Moss the Vikings offense is adequate at best. Defenses must constantly double team Moss which opens up the field for the rest of the offense. Culpepper looked lost out there without his buddy. Now, I'm not saying the Vikings' offense couldn't adjust to not having Moss around, or that Culpepper is not a good QB without Moss. What I'm saying is that right now the Vikings offense relies so much on how defenses play Moss that they are going to struggle without him. Here's hoping Moss will play at Lambeau this Sunday. Word is he won't, but I think he will.
I don't know how many of you check the Twins web site on a regular basis, but yesterday they linked to a "mailbag" article by Mark Sheldon that discussed Joe Mauer's progress:
The most recent word I received from Twins general manager Terry Ryan is that Mauer was making progress with the rehabilitation of his surgically repaired left knee and should be on track to be 100 percent behind the plate again at Spring Training. He felt some pain in the crouch last month during Instructional League games, but after seeing his doctor, learned another surgery wasn't needed. Right now, the 21-year-old is continuing his offseason workouts in the Twin Cities area.
This isn't anything new, really, but in the case of Joe's knee, no news is good news as far as I'm concerned. I personally have faith that Joe will be the everyday catcher for the Twins next year.
Just a heads up, but I'll be at a conference most of next week so I don't think I'll be able to update this blog as regularly as I would like. So, there is talk right now that Cheesehead Craig may take over my duties. Honestly, he'll probably get more readers than me, given all his friends over at the StarTrib forums, and that is fine with me.
Did all of you catch this article about the NIT suing the NCAA over anti-trust violations? This is crazy, to be sure, but also very interesting. The NIT used to be a very prestigiuos tournament before the NCAA expaned its field to 64 (and now 65) teams. What the NIT hopes for is that some lower seeded teams will opt for the NIT given that they may have a better chance of winning. This may sound good in theory, but even if the NIT prevails in this lawsuit, I can't imagine anyone turning down a chance to go to the Big Dance no matter how low they are seeded.
Stay tuned for a new "Links of the Day" today. I've got some very thought provoking articles to pass along. At least I was forced to ponder over them for a while.
November 7, 2004
The Gophers: A once proud football powerhouse
Click on this image of the 1961 Minnesota Golden Gophers:
Depressing, isn't it? I listened to Glen Mason on the Sports Huddle with Sid and Dave this morning. Truthfully I was impressed with the fact that he even lived up to his obligation to call Sid this morning, especially considering how bad the Gophers played yesterday. Mason was not upbeat at all, and he shouldered much of the blame himself. He also admitted to just not knowing at all what is happening to his team. Should Mason be fired? I honestly don't know, and I honestly don't think it would matter if he was.
Consider this: given the choice between playing for the Gophers or another Big Ten team who in their right mind would play for the Gophers (unless they are from Minnesota)? The Gophers play in the heartless Metrodome in front of pathetic crowds with absolutely no tradition. Only between 8,000 - 10,000 students attend the games and they almost always leave early. Contrast this with Wisconsin. Over 83,000 people attended the game yesterday and the crowd was rabidly cheering for the Badgers. It was outdoors, and it was a beautiful atmosphere. Wisconsin puts our program to shame. Why would anyone want to play for the Gophers?
Obviously Wisconsin's superiority wasn't always the case. In fact, it wasn't until UW hired Barry Alvarez that they won their first Rose Bowl. In fact, before Barry Alvarez was hired, Wisconsin had only won one bowl game in their entire history. I think it is apparent that the right coach can make all the difference. However, before we start thinking about coaches there are a couple of other things that need to happen.
Minnesota will not rise to national prominence again until 1) they move back on campus to an outdoor stadium, and 2) the U of M administration makes it a priority to rise back to national prominence. This has happened at Wisconsin, it has happened at Purdue, and the relatively recent success of the University of Miami is a direct result of their administration taking a huge interest in the success of their football program. The U of M's current efforts to build a new, on campus stadium are a step in the right direction towards both of these criteria.
UPDATE: Jim Souhan, the new StarTrib columnist, wrote a great article about the atmosphere at the University of Wisconsin at Saturday's game. Painful. Absolutely painful. The Gophers used to have this atmosphere too. There used to be a parade every fall gameday Saturday that led fans into the Brickhouse. Cheerleading was invented at the U. Ski-U-Mah, the Minnesota Rouser, all 4 of the trophey games. All of this because the U of M used to be the envy of the college football world. I've got to stop before I get too depressed...
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 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 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 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 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.
September 24, 2004
What a difference a few months make. At the start of the season who didn't look at this part of the Twins' schedule and just cringe:
Sept 14-16 -- White Sox
Sept 20-22 -- White Sox
Sept 23-26 -- Indians
Sept 28-30 -- Yankees
At the start of the season, deep down I thought to myself we are going to be battling for the division title at the end of Sept. and we've got to travel to Chicago, Cleveland, and New York. Now these games aren't nearly as meaningful, except concerning home field advantage for the playoffs. Luckily the West is slugging it out right now giving the Twins a chance to take a little breather.
Time to jump on the bandwagon folks. The Gophers play Northwestern this week for their Big Ten opener, and it looks like the Rose Bowl is truly within their sites. Michigan isn't nearly as strong this year as is evidenced by their losing to a weakend Notre Dame team and barely beating San Diego State at home. Wisconsin looks beatable after losing their star running back and narrowly defeating Arizona on the road. Given that the Gophers don't play Ohio State and Purdue this year, and the fact that in the case of a tie the Rose Bowl berth is always given to the team that hasn't been there in a while, the Gophers are looking pretty good. Is "pretty good" good enough? We shall see. Sid Hartman makes a good point today concerning the Gophers schedule:
The Gophers football team plays four of its first five games at home, then four of its last six on the road. That not only is bad balance for the team, but from a ticket-selling standpoint, there isn't an opportunity to draw crowds by winning early in the season and having a number of home games late in the season.Yes, the Gophers are going to have to prove it on the road. Keep your calendars clear for Oct. 9 when they play Michigan at the Big House, and Oct. 16 when they travel to Michigan State. Man, I want that stupid Brown Jug.
More news about the Last Starfighter musical that I linked to yesterday. Can you believe that The Last Starfighter was released in 1984? What a great movie. Although, my memory of it is probably much better than the movie actually was. But who hasn't dreamed about stumbling upon a video game that says, "Greetings Starfighter!" or saving the universe by pushing the big "Death Blossom" button? Speaking of the Death Blossom, as a child I remember that scene being absolutely spectacular. I'd like to see it again to judge it by today's SFX standards. If I saw it again today it would probably look like a spaceship built with legos and a 4th of July sparkler behind it. Maybe I should just keep my memories untarnished.
Did anyone see this article about Gopher fans in the Minnesota Daily? It is really sad and upsetting, not because the author missed the boat but because he is right on the mark. In it he tries to teach students how to cheer at Gopher football games: (1) Most important: YELL! (2) Know when to leave early! (3) Know when to criticize a bad call by the referee, and (4) Energize the geriatrics. Truly, the fact that this article had to be written is really, really pathetic. Is the U of M becoming Northwestern? The Gophers have won five national championships and people used to pack into Memorial Stadium! So many traditions were lost because of the Metrodome. It is really a tragedy.
Looks like Jayson Stark of ESPN is picking Johan Santana to win the Cy Young award. (click on Expert's Pick) Check out this quote:
This has to be Johan Santana's award. He has had the most dominating second half of a lot of people's lifetime: 12-0, 1.16. That's Bob Gibson stuff -- except it isn't 1968 anymore. You can't get any more dominating than leading the league in ERA, strikeouts and opponent average.
High praise for the best pitcher in the AL.
That's all I've got time for right now.
The new U2 single Vertigo is out. If you haven't heard it yet, here is a link and you might also want to try: cml00.engr.ucdavis.edu/~malvick/vertigo.mp3
Oh yes, it rocks.
September 20, 2004
Tonight is the night!
Oh boy, who isn't excited about tonight? First we have the Twins game with the possibility of them clinching on the hated White Sox's own turf ... Sheesh! It brings a smile to my face just thinking about it. Then we have the Vikings making their return to Monday Night Football ... Man! Owens vs. Moss and Culpepper vs. McNabb. My family had better know that the big TV is mine tonight! I may have to get home early and camp out in front of it with a clicker in each hand. Of course the dilemma is if the Twins clinch tonight, when will it exactly happen? I'm hoping for half time, but that probably isn't likely. So, I may have to make use of my picture in picture capabilities, or tape the Twins celebration with my DVR. Is there anything better than watching the celebration of your favorite team after they have won something? I swear it just doesn't get any better.
Did anyone see the FSN-Sporting News breakdown of the Vikings-Eagles game tonight? According to Viking Update:
The Sporting News on-line preview for the Vikings-Eagles game gives check marks for everything from positions to coaching and, of the 11 categories listed, gave the Eagles the edge in nine of the 11 -- only giving the Vikes the edge at QB and wide receiver. Eight of their "experts" all picked the Eagles to win the game. Why they give the Eagles the edge at offensive line remains a mystery, but that's irrelevant. With such domination one would expect a blowout. Their official score prediction? Eagles win 38-35. With such a disparity, one would think 38-7 would be more accurate.
Interesting. I'm under the impression that the Vikings offense line is much bigger than the Eagles. Perhaps they give the edge to the Eagles O-line because of how pathetic our D-line played last week? Who knows. Nonetheless, I can only hope that the score will be this close. The Vikings are already ranked last in pass defense in the NFL which must have McNabb and Owens licking their chops. However, if Onterrio Smith can rush for 100-150 yards, and the O-line can protect Culpepper, it should open things wide open for Moss/Burleson/Campbell/Robinson. This is just a great early test of the Vikings as a Super Bowl contender. A close loss wouldn't worry me too much, but a blow out would have me rethinking the Vikings place amongst the NFL elite.
Time for my bold prediction for tonight. Everyone is talking about how the Vikings should be able to run against the Eagles. With the focus on Onterrio Smith and our running game I expect the Eagles secondary will be very active in trying to help shut Smith down. So, I'm predicting it will be the right time for a little flea-flicker action. That would be sweet.
Make sure you fill out ESPN's Sports Nation poll on the game tonight. Interesting results so far. It seems people think the Eagles and Vikings are neck and neck right now in terms of who they think will win.
Category "Sports business"
September 12, 2004
What a weekend
What a weekend for Twin Cities sports enthusiasts. We had the Twins, we had the Gophers, and we had the Vikings and they all won their respective contests. Let's get to my "thoughtful" observations (yeah right):
The Gophers took a step back, in my opinion, this weekend. They say a win is a win, but I say a win is a win unless you are playing a Division I-AA opponent. Then you had better Win with a captial "W" and win convincingly. The Gophers struggled against a team picked to finish in the middle of the pack of the D I-AA Gateway conference. On the bright side the mistakes they made can be corrected. For example, Justin Valentine being stuffed at the goal line and then stripped was rather embarrassing. That touchdown would have blown the game wide open. I tell you, it looked like the Gophers were trying to pump themselves up the entire game but just couldn't do it due to the caliber of opponent they were playing. Note to Mason: never schedule a D I-AA opponent again. It just ain't worth it. A win against a D I-AA opponent doesn't count towards bowl standings, but a loss sure would.
Three things I've noticed watching Gopher football: 1) the Gophers' offensinve line will wear down opponents. A close game doesn't matter in the first couple of quarters. Sooner or later the O-line is going to wear down the defense and Barber-Maroney is going to go wild. It is inevitable. 2) the Gophers' defense needs to defend the short pass better. Teams are starting to figure out that if you want to beat the Gophers just nickel and dime them down the field. That has got to stop. And 3) Cupito is a much more accurate passer that Abdul-Kaliq, especially on the run. That pass to Ernie Wheelwright was a thing of beauty.
Do you know how cool it is to work for the University of Minnesota? Let me explain it to you. My place of work, my employer, has a football team. Not only that, but the place I work also has a basketball team, a baseball team, and a hockey team that all play on a national level. Does your place of work have any teams to that you can cheer for? Does, say, General Mills have a nationally ranked football team? I bet they wish they did so they could take on those jerks at Kelloggs. I tell you, working at the U really has its perks. You just have to know where to look.
Illinois State is located in the cities of Bloomington-Normal. These two cities are known as the "Twin Cities" in Illinois. So, in a way, last Saturday's game was a battle between the two "Twin Cities"!! So, needless to say, Minneapolis-St. Paul crushed that pansy town of Bloomington-Normal to claim the title of the real Twin Cities. I'm sorry, these are the things I think about. It cannot be helped.
Let's talk about the Twins. What is really on my mind right now is who finishes out the three man rotation in the playoffs? Mulholland, Silva, or Lohse? I think we can knock out Lohse right now. He has just been way too erratic this year to be considered. So that leaves Mulholland and Silva. If you would have asked me on Friday I would have said Mulholland for sure. He's got the experience and has been somewhat consistent this year. However, Silva's performance on Saturday was very good. I think the coaching staff is taking a liking to his approach his last couple of outings. Plus, he can probably last a little longer out there than Mulholland at this point in the season. He might just be the third starter in the playoffs.
I'll be going to the game this Tuesday to see Santana pitch. I swear every time he takes the mound I think he is going to get a no-hitter. And now that I have just jinxed him it probably won't happen, but I'm not really the superstitious type. I think the bats of the White Sox may have more to do with the difficulty Santana will have pitching a no-hitter on Tuesday. Anyway, this Tuesday the Twins will be handing out a Santana/Cy Young button at the game and that has me pumped! I already have the "Get to Know 'Em" and "Gotta See 'Em" buttons, not to mention the complete set of Twins fishing lures, so a new button will be nice to add to my collection of atypical Twins memorabilia.
Finally, we have the Vikings game. Much like the Gopher's game. I was not impressed with the defense. First of all, the Vikings could not get to the quarterback. We had one sack in the fourth, but up until that point Testaverde had all the time he needed. Was Hovan even out there? They showed a replay on the JumboTron that featured Hovan just getting stuffed. Anyway, also much like the Gophers, Dallas picked our secondary apart with short passes. Vinny passed for 355 yards for goodness sake, and they converted 8/15 3rd downs. To make it worse, Dallas is an average offense at best! Am I being too critical? They did only score 17 points.
No wait, I have even worse news: our starting cornerback, Ken Irvin, injured his Achilles tendon before the game in warmups and is probably lost for the season. He's not really our starting CB, but Brian Williams has been hurt most of the preseason. Brian Williams, you had better get to 100% really quick. And everyone, please say a little prayer for the health of Winfield this season. Our secondary is looking very, very thin right now.
Now for the bright side. Our offense is humming. Daunte looked spectacular out there today. I mean, five touchdown passes! Five! He is on pace for 80 TD passes this year! OK, deep breath. Daunte's audible to Onterrio Smith in the 2nd quarter demonstrates, at least to me, what a mature QB Daunte is turning into. And Moss, although he officially had only 27 yards, really marched the Vikings down the field. I saw in his press conference that he too was shocked with the 2 interference penalties called against the Dallas defense. I think we'll see a lot more of that throughout the season. And did you see Randy Moss lay down the guantlet when a reporter asked him to compare himself to Terrell Owens? Moss said, "There is no comparison." Ohhh ... I love that kind of stuff. Let the trash talking begin.
The Vikings win was great, don't get me wrong, and I think the defense will improve as the season progresses. I mean, they are already better than last year. However, the best news to come out of the day was Reggie Fowler's interview with the press. In his interview he said he anticipates making a formal offer "in the next few weeks." And concerning his relationship with Denny Hecker he said:
"I think it's very important, as an outsider, to give a level of comfort to the people here," Fowler said. "And with people like Denny Hecker involved, I think that goes a long ways towards establishing credibility that we would keep the team here. It takes enough work just getting involved in buying the team. Can you imagine the work it would take to buy a team and then move it?"
This is very , very, very good news. I am so pumped about this. To have a local owner again (Fowler would move to the TC and Denny already lives here, duh!) will be huge. Fowler also hinted if he bought the team his company's real estate arm could get involved in the development of a new stadium. I don't know what that means exactly, but I would suggest Fowler tries to go it without the aid of the state legislature. It just isn't going to happen with the state's assistance, I'm afraid. Maybe (hopefully!) he has already considered that.
Good weekend. See you soon.
September 8, 2004
Too many meetings and not enough time today. Morten Andersen ... just thinking about him makes my blood boil. And now I will be expected to cheer for him. I tell you, if his leg can finally get the Vikings in the Super Bowl all will be forgiven. He is definitely an upgrade over Elling or Conway so we should all be happy about that.
Johan is on the mound tonight so I think it is obvious what I'll be doing around 6 PM. And we are lucky that ESPN picked up the game or we would be out of luck. FSN is showing a Lynx game rather than Twins baseball. Talk about an unfortunate scheduling snafu. I know they probably scheduled the Lynx game when the Twins were still on Victory, but they must be kicking themselves that this game comes on the day Santana is pitching. ESPN should see some good ratings in the Minnesota area tonight.
And I don't know if any of you read the Pohald article in the Star Tribune yesterday, but I thought it was pretty humorous. I mean, Pohald sure is a cantankerous old fellow. Of course, there was a question regarding the stadium issue, and whether or not the Twins would go back to the legislature next year. Jerry Bell answered the question:
"We're evaluating that now. We've had some preliminary discussion with two communities that are interested [St. Paul and Hennepin County]. The question now, is it realistic to think the legislature will play a role. We don't know the answer to that, so we're evaluating it."
Very, very interesting. I wonder what happens if they decide that it isn't realistic to expect the legislature to play a role. Do they just go it alone? Do they more vigorously look for private money, or partner with a development group to get it done? Do they just pack it in and stay in the Metrodome forever? They have got to know that if they went it alone and built the stadium with their own money back in 1995 they would already be close to paying it off. It would have cost them half of what it costs now. Obviously it could be a very interesting winter.
September 2, 2004
What a day
Sorry for the lack of posts this morning. Tim and I ran into a little unexpected traffic this morning in the HOV lane. In fact the traffic in that lane was at an absolute stand-still. This, of course, is very odd. Usually we are flying down 394 waving to all the saps in the regular lanes as we zoom by, but today it was the exact opposite. It was like I was trapped in Bizarro world! It seems the police set up the mother of all HOV single driver traps and it brought all the traffic in that lane to a screecing halt. I say "it seems" because I never actually saw the police pulling single drivers over. We heard about it on the radio. When we got to the end of the lane the police were gone and traffic started to move at a normal pace. Tim and I were kind of upset since we wanted to see some police brutality inflicted on those lawless single drivers.
When I got to work I got a call from a librarian in another library on campus who told me the dean of a certain school was deeply troubled by UThink. Apparently he is upset that students could use UThink to negatively comment on classes or professors at the U, particularly in his school. I love this kind of stuff, especially considering where the complaint is coming from. I'm sorry I can't be more specific. Free speech! You gotta love it. What I'm most excited about is that the University Libraries can use this opportunity to invoke our campus role as defenders of intellectual freedom and free speech. I don't think the complaint will really go anywhere, but if it does I think the Libraries are well positioned to defend our stance.
I would be remiss if I didn't write about stadiums every chance I got so I offer this little tidbit today. According to a Pioneer Press article yesterday, the upcoming hockey strike or lockout could have a dramatic effect on business in downtown St. Paul. That is really obvious. However, what I found interesting in the article was this little factoid about the Xcel Energy Center:
" Last year alone, hockey and other events at the arena added $104 million to St. Paul's economy, according to a study by St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce."
Again, is anyone upset they built the Xcel Energy Center? The same naysayers that we have now fighting against a new Twins stadium also fought against the construction of the X. The X has done wonders for the economy of St. Paul, not to mention the intangibles of civic pride and the new and improved impression most Minnesotans have concerning the capitol city. Goodness, let's not make that mistake again and actually give people a reason to come to St. Paul all year round.
Could Denny Hecker and Glen Taylor be working on a partnership to buy the Vikings? According to Sid Hartman, Denny and Glen were seen talking with each other on a boat cruise last week. And Charley Walters is reporting that:
"When all the talk of selling and buying the Vikings is complete, people in the know expect that Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor also will own the Vikings. That could be sooner rather than later."
It should be an interesting next couple of weeks. I expect if something doesn't happen by the end of next week, nothing will happen until the end of the season. We'll see, though, we shall see.
That's all I got today. See you tomorrow.
September 1, 2004
Stuff on my mind
My mom tells me that I am a distant relative of Knute Rockne. According to her, he is like me "800th cousin" or something like that. I know Cheesehead Craig won't be impressed, but it appears my awesome knowledge of football isn't just a fluke, it is in my blood.
Good Twins game last night. I must admit that I'm never too excited when the game goes to extra innings, but Torii Hunter's walk-off home run made it all worth while. I also read that Lohse's position in the rotation is in jeopardy based on last night's performance. I don't know what to think about that. Who else do the Twins have? Joe Roa? J.D. Durbin? Matt Guerrier? You know, I didn't think Seth Greisinger did too bad of a job when he pitched early this season. It looks like we've got options, I'm just not too sure they are much better than Lohse.
This is probably obvious or well-known to most of you already, but SI.com has a great daily wrap up of the world of sports called "The 10 Spot" which I have started to read everyday. Yesterday's edition has a very good discussion on the Paul Hamm gold medal controversy and presents it from an angle that I didn't consider. It is actually pretty convincing. Anyway, some may consider The 10 Spot a rip-off of the Daily Quickie from ESPN, but I actually think The 10 Spot is a little better.
If you haven't had a chance to look at Anoka County's bid to build a new Vikings stadium in Blaine, now is your chance. They have a great FAQ about the stadium proposal that really does a nice job of arguing for the merits of stadium development in general. Among the highlights:
- Preliminary estimates indicate that the total economic and fiscal impact of the development will be nearly $100 million per year in the form of growth in the property tax base from the increased value of the new development, sales taxes generated within the development, and the benefit to the state from enhanced economic activity. This doesn't even include the money they will get for hosting one time events like the Super Bowl or the Final Four.
- It is more than just a stadium proposal, it is a proposal for an entire entertainment complex. Many stadium detractors claim that development around stadiums never happens. Well, it seems Anoka already has that figured out by having a plan for everything at once.
- Anoka County would need to generate approximately $13 – $18 million per year over the life of the bonds for its 1/3 share of the cost. They also make a convincing argument that they are only asking for county taxes that many counties in Minnesota already impose on their residents.
- Property taxes won't go up. In fact it seems the entire complex will do a lot to strengthen the property tax base in the county:
The Preserve at Rice Creek will create nearly a three-fold increase in the market value of the development site, strengthening the property tax base by approximately $10.8 million for the city, $10.8 million for the county, and $5.4 million for each the Spring Lake Park and Centennial school districts. This represents a 20% increase in the property tax base for the two school districts alone, and will allow the schools, county and city to hold down property taxes on homeowners.Wow! A stadium proposal that will actually raise money for schools! Sounds good so far.
- Aren’t stadiums a waste of public money? Good discussion here again highlighted by the conservative estimates of $100 million per year rasied for the community per year. Also this little tidbit, "The 2001 NCAA Final Four basketball tournament held at the Metrodome brought as much money into the state in one weekend as the $60 million the Metrodome cost to build. Since 1982, the Metrodome has contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to the state’s economy." Again, one weekend paid for the Metrodome. Is anyone upset we built the Metrodome? The Xcel Energy Center?
- Unfortunately their plan calls for a domed stadium, again. I'm not too keen on this, but I'll do anything to keep the team in Minnesota.
Anyway, it was a great FAQ. Check it out if you are interested.
August 26, 2004
Anyway, in case you missed it, Sid wrote another article on the Vikings stadium mess today. In it he makes various points:
- Red McCombs will not spend a dime on stadium lobbying this year.
- Red, Pawlenty, and Tagliabue all feel that a new owner would have a better chance of getting a new Vikings stadium in Minnesota.
- A unnamed NFL owner has told Sid that the Vikings will not be able to compete in the NFL in three to four years without a new stadium.
- Reggie Fowler does not have enough money to buy 51% of the Vikings. Principal owners of NFL franchises must own 51% of the team.
- Glen Taylor is the only "logical" owner for the Vikings.
- Denny Hecker is also rumored to be interested in buying the team.
- $600 million is asking too much for the Vikings, especially without a stadium.
That is what I took away from the article. My summary: Red will not own the Vikings past this year. A local owner, or group of owners, will step forward. We may not hear much about a Vikings stadium at the legislature this year, but I think Pawlenty favors passing a bill that solves this stadium problem once and for all, for the Twins and the Vikings. Oh yes, it should be an interesting session this year. Will something finally be passed? He he, this is still Minnesota ... I put the chances at 10%.
Look, wins are important. But this season there have been two starting pitchers who have simply been better than all the rest. One is Jason Schmidt, and the other is Santana. At this moment, Santana and Mulder are separated by three wins. I don't mean to belittle the importance of three wins, but consider ... On July 10, Mulder got hit hard in Cleveland: six and two-thirds innings, nine hits, three walks, six runs. The Athletics scored 16 runs, though, and Mulder got his 12th win (and please, no e-mail about Mulder "pitching to the score"; after five innings the A's trailed 5-3). The very next day, Santana pitched eight innings against the Tigers and allowed two hits, two walks, and two runs. He lost, 2-0.
Reverse those two results, and only one win separates Mulder and Santana, and your Cy Young choice is easy because of course Santana's pitched better. Yes, I know we can play that reverse-the-results game all day long ... but that's sort of the point. The difference between 17 wins and 14 wins is, in many cases, the result of luck. Just ask Tim Hudson. And if you ask me, Johan Santana is the best pitcher in the American League.
August 20, 2004
Keep it short
Too much to do today:
- You picked a fine time to choke, Mr. Nathan. Especially considering the heroics of Shannon Stewart last night. Oh well, at least he got it out of his system. I expect Joe Nathan will pitch like an animal during this weekend's series with Cleveland. So, as with everything, there is probably a silver lining in this. It sure would have been nice to sweep the Yankees, though.
- An interesting conundrum tonight for all Minnesota sports fans. What to watch? The Twins or the Vikings? I'm sure most fans will do like I do, watch the first half of the Vikings game and switch over to the Twins during commercial breaks and after half time. Or put two TVs side by side ... or watch picture in picture! The options boggle the mind.
- Speaking of the Vikings, I've been thinking more about this Reggie Fowler business. We all know that Reggie is stuck in Minnesota until 2011, and he must know it too. Why else would Red be selling if he 1) doesn't think he can build a stadium and 2) he knows the Vikings are stuck here until 2011? So, the sale to Fowler could actually be a good thing especially considering how quiet he is being. Let's say Red sells to Fowler. I would think this would greatly interest the Minnesota legislature, and maybe even scare our fine public servants into action. Fowler is being so quiet that he has got to be making the legislature a little nervous. And I think the sentiment is true that any owner is better as long as that owner is committed to keeping the Vikings in Minnesota. If that is true of Fowler, then great. I think Fowler is being wise right now, though, by just keeping his mouth shut. The last thing we need is another Donald Watkins.
- Today I'll be writing a speech for the upcoming Internet Librarian 2004 conference in beautiful Moneterey CA this November. They've asked me to speak on UThink, but they require the presentation to be completed by August 25 so it an be included in the conference proceedings. August 25! So, I've got a few days to put something together. Wish me luck.
- One more thing, we should have traded Onterrio Smith when we had the chance. We could have gotten a decent corner out of him I should think. What a waste. I hope this is the wake up call he needs.
August 17, 2004
Randoms and Leave our Vikings alone!
There were also Canadian lynx (lynxes? what is the plural of "lynx"?) at the center, 4 black bears, some owls and falcons, and some foxes. Did you know that there are over 30,000 black bears in Minnesota roaming around? 30,000!!! The coolest thing that happened at the camp was that around 2:00 in the morning the wolves started to howl. And when one of them starts, they all start howling. It was like 30 ambulances going through our tent. It was a complete cacophony of sound and quite amazing. Truly I could go on and on about camping with the wolves, but I'll leave it at that for now. Did you know there are about 3,000 wolves in Minnesota? OK, I'll stop now.
That's all for now. See you soon.
August 13, 2004
Since joining the Boston Red Sox two weeks ago, ex-Twins first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz has nine hits in 32 at-bats (.281) with two doubles and one run batted in. For the season, Mientkiewicz has 79 hits in 316 at-bats (.250) with five homers, 20 doubles and 26 RBIs.
For the Twins, first baseman Justin Morneau has 37 hits in 133 at-bats (.278) with 10 homers, six doubles and 28 RBIs.
Morneau, who is being paid $300,000 this season, has two more RBIs than Mientkiewicz, who is being paid $2.8 million and has 183 more at-bats.
Umm ... yeah. Morneau is a stud. Nice to finally see him get some regular playing time.
That's it for now. Maybe more later.
August 10, 2004
Every once in a while I like to walk around the beautiful U of M campus and just soak up the history. There are so many buildings on campus that I've worked here for 6 years and I don't think I've visited even 1/4 of them. So, every once in a while I like to walk around and visit some of them. Last Friday's walk around campus was spurred on by a unique event which prompted me to visit the Golden Gopher's football practice facilities. What was the event? I saw Glen Mason jogging across campus. In fact, I didn't just see him jogging, I practically ran right into him. A couple of weeks ago I had a meeting at Walter Library so after the meeting I decided to take the long way back to Wilson. In doing so I noticed a someone jogging towards me as I walked to Coffman Union. At first I didn't recognize him, but then it dawned on me, "Hey, that is Glen Mason! The Mase himself!" Quickly I tried to think of something to say, like "Go get 'em coach!" or "All the way to the Rose Bowl this year, coach!" But as he approached his overwhelming star power came over me and all I was able to get out was "uhhhhhh" as he jogged past. Curses! Why must I be plagued with this Norwegian shyness? I could have given him a high five or something, but now I am only left with the what ifs of our failed encounter.
Then it dawned on me. I thought to myself how strange that I have been all over the campus, but I have never been to the Gibson/Nagurski Football Practice Facility. Here is what I knew about the place. I had heard that it features a life size statue of Bronko Nagurski that rotates 360 degrees, and that it has a nice Gopher football hall of fame so that students can relive the glory years. So, I vowed to visit this place as soon as possible.
Well, I went last Friday and I was a little disappointed. It seems that during the summer they are doing some maintenance on the place so much of the hall of fame was out of order or in disarray. Most upsetting was that the statue of Bronko was gone. For repairs? Forever? I can only guess. But it looks like I just missed it. Bummer. And due to the construction and repairs the rest of the hall of fame was a little underwhelming, too. And a little despressing. Let me explain.The hall of fame features many of the trophies the Gopher football program has won over the years, including their five national championship trophies. That's right, five! More than Ohio State, more than Penn State, certainly more than Wisconsin. It also features the trophies for the four "Trophy Games" that Minnesota plays, or at least where the trophies should be sitting if they were actually in the possession of the Minnesota football team (click on the pictures for larger versions):
|The Victory Bell Trophy. Sorry for the glare. This trophy game started in 1993 and Penn State holds a slight edge over the Gophers in the series 4-3. It is, as you will see, the only trophy that is actually present in the hall of fame at this time.|
|Paul Bunyan's Axe. Given to the winner of the Minnesota-Wisconsin game and currently held by Minnesota. Although as you can see it is not in its case. That was also disappointing. Wisconsing leads the battle for the axe 28 - 24 games (see the comments for results from the overall series and why the axe is not in the case). This is due in large part to the dominance Wisconsin held over the Gophers in the 90s.|
|Floyd of Rosedale is given to the winner of the Minnesota-Iowa game every year. Minnesota holds a commanding lead in this series 38 - 28 although the trophy currently sits in Iowa City.|
|The Little Brown Jug, annually given to Michigan, er ... I mean the winner of the Minnesota-Michigan football game. Michigan currently holds a 61-21 edge in this epic rivalry. The last time the Gophers held the jug was in 1986. Glen Mason often jokes that he doesn't even know what the jug looks like. This trophy is the most depressing of all, especially given how close the Gophers were to holding it last year. The Gophers led Michigan 28-7 in the 4th quarter only to lose 38-35. I watched the game and I tell you I haven't felt so bad since the Vikings lost the 1998 NFC Championship game. It was brutal.|
So, as you can probably guess, I was a little depressed walking out of this place. There is so much history and tradition with Gophers football, but in recent times there has been a whole lot of pain and suffering. I tell you, this is the year to gain some hope back. The Gophers are ranked 24 in the coaches poll even before they play a game, and they've got a real shot at the Rose Bowl, I feel. The game I really want, though, is the Michigan game. I want that stupid Brown Jug more than anything. That alone would make the season all worth while.
August 4, 2004
Things I'm thinking about
Oh, and remember all the people complaining that the Twins traded away Eric Milton for Silva this offseason? Well, Milton has a nice record because of extremely good run support in Philadelphia, but his ERA is 4.64 in 130 innings, while Silva's is 4.23 in 140.1 innings. Milton makes $9 million, Silva makes $340,000. Milton is a free agent after the season, Silva is under the Twins' control for several more years. Great trade.
I hadn't thought about it that way, but he is absolutely right. I also have to give props to Cheesehead Craig for already telling me that Milton is winning so much because of his great run support. It doesn't happen much, but the Cheesehead is right.
[Morneau] continues to crank out the big hits. If one were to extrapolate [sic] this year's 24 games he's played to a full season his numbers would be .263 avg, 41HR, 122RBI. Not too shabby.
Not too shabby at all. Three cheers for the coming of the Morneau era! Hip hip hooray! Hip hip hooray! Hip hip hooray!
August 2, 2004
Land of Fasciitis
OK, this is just getting ridiculous. You probably all remember how it started, when Jimmy "The Pride of North Dakota" Kleinsasser was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis a couple of years ago? We all said, "What the heck is that? Is it contagious?" Of course we heard that its not contagious, but I'm beginning to wonder. I think every Minnesota team but the Wild have had to deal with this mysterious ailment. First, we all know Wally Sczerbiak missed a good chunk of last season due to plantar fasciitis. Shannon Stewart missed a good part of this season because of plantar fasciitis. Randy Moss still has plantar faciitis and expects to play through the pain. Now, Mike Tice himself has come down with the ailment. What the heck is going on? We don't hear about plantar faciitis for years and now there isn't a week that goes by without someone coming down with it. Is it just me or does Minnesota have an inordinate amount of our sports personalities out with plantar fasciitis?
July 7, 2004
That's about it.
July 2, 2004
Thoughts rattling around
"[L]et me tell you why I suck as a [hitter]. Lets say I go into [batter's box] and lets say [there is a man on base and I have a chance at getting an RBI]. Well then I get all excited, I'm like JoJo, the idiot circus boy with a pretty new pet. The pet is my possible [RBI]. Oh, my pretty little pet, I love you. So, I stroke it, and I pet it, and I massage it. Hehe, I love it, I love my little naughty pet, you're naughty! And then I take my naughty pet and I go ([hits into a double play]) chhhhhhhh, chhhhhhhhh, OOOOHHHHHHH. I KILLED IT! I KILLED MY [RBI]! That's when I blow it."
That's all I got for now. See you soon!
June 30, 2004
"Brew-haha in the Backyard"
|The shame ... the overwhelming shame!
Click for larger image
So, as you probably know, two weeks ago the Twins played the Brewers at Miller Park. Craig and I decided to actually travel to Milwaukee to see the games. Feeling a little cocky, and looking back at the Twins usual dominance of the Brewers at Miller Park, I made some bold predictions concerning what I felt would be the scores of the games we would see. Such is my blind love for Minnesota sports teams! Surely with me there at the games they would win! So, we made a wager. If the Twins won 2 out of 3 at Miller Park Craig would mow my yard, and if the Brewers won the series I would mow his. The post above documents this ill-fated bet.
The Brewers won the first game on Friday, but my faith in the Twins didn't waver. Coming off a three game sweep of the Expos, the Twins were due for a let down. Winning the next two games would be easy. The game on Saturday started out with a lot of promise. The Twins jumped out to a 6-0 lead which was capped off by a Joe Mauer home run. Then I made a fateful mistake which surely angered the baseball gods, I told Craig that I like my grass cut about "yay high" and I showed him about 2 1/2 inches between my index finger and my thumb. Yes, I counted my chickens before they hatched. Then the hammer dropped. The Brewers stormed back and took the lead on a monstrous Geoff Jenkins home run off of the 80 year old Terry Mullholland. Yikes! What made it even worse is that Geoff Jenkins is the spitting image of Brett Favre. I swear I can't escape from that guy!
|Oh, my aching back!
Click for larger image
In all seriousness, though, I am thankful to have a neighbor like Craig. We have a great time together. And while I might wish he were a fan of Minnesota sports, his blathering about Wisconsin sports teams has added a little bit of spice to my life and created a unique relationship for both of us. The fact that he is a Packer fan, coupled with the disgrace he put me through mowing his lawn, will make the Vikings NFC North crown this year that much better. Ah, victory will be sweet. Oh yes, another wager is in the works.
June 25, 2004
I don't anything really of substance to say today, so I'll just say a little about a few things:
That's it. Stay in touch.
June 22, 2004
This is getting weird
Did all of you catch this today? Moe Hargrow may want to rejoin the Gophers next year. This shouldn't surprise us anymore, and yet I am still baffled at what kind of voodoo magic Monson has over players from Minnesota. I mean, it's almost like he has no problem seeing them go because he knows eventually they will become Gophers. And in Moe's case, he will again become a Gopher. Check out all the players that this has happened with:
- Rick Rickert committed to Arizona, but later decided to become a Gopher
- Kris Humphris committed to Duke, but later decided to become a Gopher
- Ben Johnson played for Northwestern, but later decided to transfer to Minnesota
- Aaron Boone played for North Carolina, but later decided to transfer to Minnesota
- Dan Coleman attended summer classes at Boston College before deciding to transfer to Minnesota
This is amazing. I'm sure Monson wishes he could just get them to committ to the Gophers first and stay, but the pull of Minnesota basketball is remarkable (especially for local players that have decided to play elsewhere). I can't decide what this says for Gopher basketball. On the one hand it's nice to see local players have some loyalty to their home state. On the other hand, it's almost like some of these players are finding out that they just aren't that good and that Minnesota may be the only place they'll start on the D1 level. Hopefully it is more of the former. Is it too late for Alan Anderson to transfer?
June 17, 2004
Did they deserve it?
I had an interesting conversation with my boss yesterday. This in itself is not a rare occurence, but yesterday we talked about the NBA Finals and how the Lakers got absolutely embarrassed by the Pistons. I mean, wow! I don't think anyone saw that one coming excpet for Ralph Wiley and my neighbor Cheesehead Craig (first time for everything). Anyway, I was saying to my boss that the only negative I could see of the Pistons beating the Lakers is that Gary Payton and Karl Malone still don't have their rings. But my boss didn't agree with that sentiment at all. According to him Gary and Karl leaving their respective teams only to win a championship shows a lack of loyalty to the fans of Seattle and Salt Lake and is disengenuous at best. He was thrilled that the Lakers got the whoopin' they got. It certainly got me to thinking, do Karl and Gary actually deserve to get their rings, or are they adding to the general disgust and apathy fans are feeling towards major sports like basketball thanks to their "mercenary for hire" attitudes? We've certainly seen this in baseball with the Yankees. I gotta admit I get a thrill every time I see the team A-Rod is on do poorly. Anyway, how does everyone feel about superstars leaving their original teams only to win a championship? Is it right or wrong?
The example that immediately comes to mind is Paul Molitor. Here is a guy that gave his best to the city of Milwaukee for years. Towards the end of his career he decided to leave the Brewers to play for a championship caliber team in Toronto. It worked out for him and he got his World Series ring. Was he wrong to leave Milwaukee, or did he deserve a little glory on the championship level? Personally, I can't think of a player that deserved it more than Paul Molitor, and I can't fault him wanting to leave Milwaukee. But I can imagine he ticked a few people off by doing so.
Looking at players closer to home, though, my tune changes ever so slightly. What if Kirby had left for greener pastures somewhere else? I would have been really ticked. And if Garnett ever left the T-Wolves I would be downright apoplectic. Players expect loyalty from fans, but it seems some don't expect the same from themselves. Luckily for us Puckett and Garnett don't fit into this category and we love them even more for it. So, anyway, Gary and Karl still don't have their rings and I can't decide if that is good or bad.
May 18, 2004
Couple of good articles
ESPN has a couple of good articles today focusing on two of my favorite sports franchises, the Twins and the Vikings. First we have an article about the Twins from Peter Gammons. Usually I find Gammons's articles to be highly unreadable, full of inappropriate quotes and song lyrics that just make his articles confusing and painful to read. I don't really mind him as a TV commentator, but as a writer he stinks (look who's talking). Anyway, his article today was more about the genius that is Terry Ryan and it hinted that he may be willing to trade away some of our young minor league talent to make a run for the World Series this year. That is great news, although who could he be talking about? Surely not Justin Morneau, but what about Restovich or even Michael Ryan? And I know Adam Johnson is finally considered expendable. I'd like to think that going to the World Series would do wonders for the Twins' stadium chances, but going to the ALCS two years ago didn't help any.
The second article comes from another baseball writer, Rob Neyer, who amazingly enough seems to be quite the fan of the Vikings. His article focuses on the most painful moments in Vikings history, and certainly brought back some not-so-good memories for me. You see, my birthday is on January 17, so almost every year around that time I get to watch the Vikings crumble. Last year was no expception. Hey Denard! The Cardinals are going to throw it in the end zone! Play some freaking defense! Anyway, Rob's list of painful moments included these fun b-days:
- January 17, 1988: NFC Championship -- I don't care what Neyer says, I don't think Darrin Nelson ever had "great hands." Don't get me wrong, I love Darrin, but I wasn't surprised when he dropped that pass. What was most painful about this is that the Vikings dominated the 49ers the game before. No one was a better WR than AC on top of his game.
- January 17, 1999: NFC Championship -- The most painful memory of all, the year that could have been. Probably the only moment in all my sports watching past when I almost cried. I was so stunned after the game I must have sat there for a good 30 minutes totally immobile. But it was my birthday so I had to open some presents ... stupid birthday presents. Why can't they just let me wallow in my own depression?
- January 14, 2001: NFC Championship -- Not on my birthday, but close enough. This game was so stunning it became laughable. What really ticked me off, though, was the postgame interview with Randy Moss when he said the Vikings would never win the Super Bowl. Moss has never been one to hold back, but much like his I-play-when-I-want quote, this one really set me off.
Neyer's article begins with a great put-down of Red Sox fans which I totally agree with. Boston fans, especially Red Sox fans, are the biggest bunch of whining prima-donnas on the planet. It's like they feel entitled to everything from a World Series to a Stanley Cup to a Super Bowl because they are "the greatest fans on Earth." Please. They give new meaning to the term "fair weather" and their accent makes my ears bleed. Learn how to speak coherently you bunch of Cro-Magnons! Next to Packer fans, I despise Red Sox fans the most. They whine and complain about Steinbrenner and the Evil Empire yet they spend almost as much and have nothing to show for it. I can't wait until baseball's divisional series this October when yet again the Red Sox are at home playing Mario Golf or whatever lame game they must play and the Twins are battling for a berth to the World Series!
And on that note, I will leave you. If I want any team to win the AL East it is the Orioles.
April 15, 2004
One thing that I should be blogging about and haven't done much of is the spectacular season by the Timberwolves. I have been thouroughly impressed. You know, it is funny (to me at least) that I played basketball in high school and college (intramurals) but I don't follow b-ball nearly as closely as baseball and football. Anyway, Kevin Garnett is my hero. His statistics are impressive, that is for sure, but that is not why I love him as much as I do. The traits I admire the most in him are his honesty (he always tells it like it is), his respect for people (whether you are 8 or 80 he will give you his time and focus), his work ethic (have you ever seen him give up?), and his loyalty (he considers himself a Minnesotan and lives here in the off season!). I am constantly sitting my oldest son down during Timberwolves games and telling him to watch Kevin Garnett. There is nothing of his personality that I wouldn't want my kids to emulate. Well, except for all the f-bombs he drops during games. Anyway, I don't think there is any question that KG and the T-Wolves will advance past the 1st round this year. Denver may be tough, but the T-Wolves will finally prevail.
What is up with the Vikings schedule next year? Yikes! Viking Update wrote a great article about it already, but what it comes down to is the league doesn't give the Vikes much time to prepare for some big divisional games coming off of nationally televised games. Check out this quote:
"[N]owhere have the Vikings been screwed more than their matchups with the Packers. In November, the Vikings have to travel to Indianapolis for another Monday night game. As with the Eagles, the game plan for the Packers won’t be unveiled to the players until the Wednesday before the game. The problem? The Packers will be coming off their bye week – rested and refreshed – while the Vikings will coming into the game with three days of preparation. By league rule, the visiting team must be in the other city the day before the game, so the Packers will have two weeks of rest and practice, while the Vikings will have three days to prepare and then go on the road."
You know, it is going to be even sweeter when the Vikings still go out and crush the Pack even though they have so little time to prepare. And what is the deal with the game on Christmas Eve? I love the Vikings as much as the next rabid fan, but a typical Norwegian celebrates Christmas on Christmas Eve. They will really be cramping my style with this scheduling move. Again, though, what a present it will be to have Favre humbled at the Dome and the Pack defeated by the mighty Vikings on national TV! I am pumped for football! Skol Vikings!
Finally, the Twins took the series 2-1 against Cleveland this week, and Radke pitched a heckuva game tonight. 4 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts, and 8 innings of shut out ball. That is fantastic and not what I'd expect out of Radke so early in the season. However, the injury bug struck again and I wouldn't be surprised to see Mientkiewicz on the DL tomorrow. Does Ryan bring up Morneau then to cover first? Consider that last Monday Morneau had 2 homers and 7 RBI in a victory against Pawtucket. Morneau has torn it up at every level he has been in and I think it is safe to say Dougie is merely warming first up for Morneau in the long run.
April 12, 2004
Who isn't happy about this?
Doesn't this photograph just make you happy? It does me. My wife and I went over to her parents' house for Easter and of course my father in law was watching the Masters. I didn't think Phil had a very good front nine, so when I got to their house I was shocked that he was only back one. Phil was tied with Els going onto the 18th teebox, and I can honestly say I was nervous. Never have I wanted someone to win a golf match more. And then when Phil hit the match winning putt for birdie my in-law's living room exploded with happiness. That is what makes sports fun to watch, when someone like Phil Mickelson wins the ultimate event after years of heartache, hard work, and endurance. I hope to be showing a picture of Kevin Garnett like this in the months ahead.
March 29, 2004
So, did any of you catch the Gopher's hockey games on Victory Sports this weekend? I sure did. I switched Victory on as soon as they began broadcasting on Friday night just so I could say I saw it on the air. While I hope that Victory and the big cable companies end their squabble, I'm not going to hold my breath. One suggestion I have for Victory, however, when they finally get on the air for real, is to get some new commercials. Victory must have showed the Debt-Free consolidation commerical 100 times, along with the inventor commercial, and the coffee/tea pouch commercial. It was like I was watching Sally Jesse Raphael instead of a hockey game.
Speaking of the Gophers, their run in the NCAA tournament finally came to an end. Over these past few years I have really come to enjoy Gopher hockey so I was a little disappointed. Both living in Minnesota and working at the U have given me a new understanding about how important hockey is to this state. One thing I've learned is that the U of M can handle a mediocre football team. We can stomach a less than stellar season from the basketball team. But one thing the U and its fans will not tolerate is a poor hockey season. The U of M will always have a strong hockey team. It is almost a guarantee. I've already heard that some people are upset with this year, and the Gophers won the WCHA Final Five! High expectations are good though.
Not too much on the stadium front. Today, the bill will be heard by the Governmental Operations and Veterans Affairs Committee. And from what I understand, it will be after 5:00 today and the meeting will go long into the night. There was also a nice profile of Doug Stang in the StarTrib today. I've written Doug before and I got a nice response from him. He is one of the "good guys" in the legislature. Thoughtful, hard working, and always trying to do the right thing, no matter how controversial it is. I can't see his backing of this stadium bill hurting his chances of re-election. At least I hope it won't. Of course, I will be commenting on the committee's response to the stadium bill tomorrow.
Lastly, people in the Twin Cities actually got a chance to watch the Twins yesterday! Channel 45 showed a spring training game, so I of course watched as much of it as I could. Lohse looks good. And the StarTrib has a hilarious article about Doug Mientkiewicz and how Matt LeCroy was sent in as a pinch runner for him during the game. Other than that, the bullpen is shaping up, Santana is looking good (finally!), and the Twins are actually hitting for power this spring. I am really looking forward to this season! Should be fun. Hopefully we'll all be able to watch the games on TV!