Tuesday, July 31, 2007


The Minnesota Vikings might be your version of the Bad News Bears this year. An inexperienced QB, WR’s who have combined to do absolutely nothing in this league and an O-line that always underachieves. The one bright spot is that we have two good RB’s but only one of them can touch the ball each offensive play. The defense is solid but they aren’t going to be the Chicago Bears defense who are the only defense in NFL history to single handedly take their team to the Super Bowl.

There are a couple of rookies who might be exciting and may turn into something in the future but it’s tough for a bunch of rookies to have immediate impact. Adrian Peterson (aka A.P.) highlights the rookies and it would really surprise me if he wasn’t our best player on the offensive side of the ball this year. Sydney Rice hails from that outstanding college of WR’s known as South Carolina where the Vikes got an absolute steal a couple of years ago with Troy Williamson. Wait….Williamson is easily the worst position player drafted in the top 10 in the previous 3 years. For Vikings fans sake, lets hope Sydney turns out more like Jerry than he does Troy. We’ve also heard names like Aundrae Allison (WR) (why not Andre?) and Marcus McCauley but I never believe in these type of guys until they prove something to me. Beating Antoine Winfield on a slant or breaking up a pass thrown by Brooks Bollinger in training camp doesn’t mean a thing to me.

The head coach looks like a porn star who’s supposedly a genius from the offensive side of the ball. What do you do when you don’t have a QB who can throw the ball combined with WR’s who can’t catch the ball? You run Chester Taylor 10-15 times a game and A.P. another 15-20 times a game, throw the ball to Mewelde Moore 2 yards downfield on 3rd down and just hope he can break 4 tackles David Palmer style and somehow come up with a 1st down.

I can’t say too much negative about our defense. It might be one of the best defensive units in the league. Pat and Kevin Williams are one of the most feared DT tandems throughout the league. With the addition of Mike Doss and getting Tank Williams back will make for some big plays playing along side Darren Sharper and Antoine Winfield. Getting Chad Greenway back can only improve our LB situation and moving E.J Henderson to the middle will be a huge upgrade. This might be the best defense Minnesota fans have seen in the past 20 years.

All in all, the purple don’t look like they’ll be a factor in the NFC North yet again. There are just way too many holes that won’t be able to be filled this year. The offense might show signs of greatness at times with some of the young talent but will be extremely inconsistent. The coach will continue to look like a guy from “Debbie Does Dallas” and the defense will be a rock for 16 games. It sounds like a formula for a handful of 3-2 losses.

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It's official. The biggest superstar in Minnesota is gone...wow.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Here We Go Again...

Let the rumors start flying again. ESPN.com is reporting that the Wolves and Celtics have revived their trade talks involving Kevin Garnett. Allegedly the talks are "serious" and it sounds like if KG ok's it this time, a deal is going to get done this week. Let's examine this once again.

The report claims that the deal would now look like this: Kevin Garnett (along with possibly another player and/or pick) for Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff (and his huge expiring contract), Gerald Green, Sebastian Telfair, and some future draft picks. Sounds like a huge cluster****, but how does this potential deal affect each team?

For Boston, it immediately makes them one of the top three teams in the East. Cleveland made it to the Finals last year with LeBron and a YMCA league pick up team. This move would give the Celts an amazing trio of star power: Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce. It's almost guaranteed that they would make it to the Eastern Conference Finals. It would also generate a ton of fan interest in one of the league's oldest frahchises that has been missing fan interest and talent since Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and company were "walking through that door". There is a downside to the move. They are pretty much sacrificing the future of the team for a one year run at the title (unless they can convince/afford KG to resign next summer).

For the Wolves, obviously the downside to the move is that you are getting rid of your most popular player. The face of the franchise. The guy who puts the butts in the seats. However, the potential of a team led by Randy Foye, Corey Brewer, Rashad McCants, Craig Smith, Al Jefferson, and Gerald Green is more than intriguing. The team is old and financially strapped. This move would eventually cure both of those problems. Flat out, this is a great move for the Woffies to make. Which of course means we probably won't make the deal.

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It looks like it might happen. KG to Boston in what very well could be a repeat of the '96-'97/'97-'98 Rockets. Three aging veterans with no NBA titles coming together(Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce) to try and form a super team and win it all. (Hakeem Olajuwon teaming with Clyde Drexler and Charles Barkley to try and make a run at it. Only Hakeem won titles, which he did during the 2 years when Michael Jordan originally retired). That would leave our Timbies with a starting lineup of Randy Foye, Ricky Davis, Corey Brewer, Al Jefferson, and probably Mark Blount. We would have Rashard McCants, Marco Jaric, Craig Smith, and Gerald Green coming off of the bench. Hello lottery hell for several years.

Here's my proposal for the Timbies after the Garnett trade goes through. Trade Ricky Davis(expiring contract) and Rashard McCants to the Atlanta Hawks for Marvin Williams. ( I would take Josh Childress also, but for arguments sake we will take Williams here.) That will give the Hawks 2 more decent backcourt players and rid them of their glut of 3/4's.(Josh Smith, Childress, Sheldon Williams, and Al Horford are still in ATL.) They also wouldn't have to pay Williams the big extension he is going to want in a year, which would be tough to give him with their shaky ownership right now.

The Wolves could then flip Trenton Hassell, Gerald Green, and a Future #1 to the G-State Warriors for Monta Ellis.(Who Don Nelson hates.) The first round pick could be the one we are acquiring from the Celtics. This pick will probably be in the 20's anyway because the Celtics should be very good for the next couple of years. The Timbies could then run out a squad of Foye, Ellis, Williams, Jefferson, and Juwan Howard with a bench of Brewer, Smith, Blount, and Jaric. The young guys could develop while the older/crappier players contracts expire.(Howard, Jaric, Troy Hudson, Blount, and Mark Madsen). We wouldn't be good, but at least we would be young and fun to watch with a possibility of some hope for the future.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

He's Here!

We here at TKOT have already professed our man-crush on Brian Buscher (otherwise known as Double B's on this site). Well, we got our wish. After being called up from AAA Rochester, reports have B's starting at third base tonight. If he does anything positive, you better believe you're going to be hearing about it on here. We might even dedicate the entire site to him. If he struggles all weekend, we never had this conversation....

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Positivity: 2008 Vikes Preview

As my cohort has already mentioned, late July-early August is a time of hope and optimism for just about every NFL team. Of course, there are different levels of optimism. It ranges from “there’s no way we could be worse than last year” (Oakland) to “hey, we could be .500 this year” (Houston) to “there isn’t any possible scenario where we don’t win the Super Bowl” (New England). Everyone has some level of excitement. Everyone, that is, except the Minnesota Vikings, apparently. Most fans and experts seem to be predicting an offensively challenged, fourth-place in the NFC North, top 5 draft pick in ’08 type of season for my beloved Purple. Well that’s why I’m here; to bring everyone in Vikingland a little bit of positivity.

Let’s start with the offense (please keep your groans to a dull roar). “A team…that still possesses a talented core of skill players is in the hands of an untested second-year man. ‘This is why we drafted him when we did…’” (cnnsi.com). Sound familiar? It should, except that it isn’t Tavaris Jackson’s scouting report from any recent prognostication, but rather a preview of the 2000 version of the Minnesota Vikings in Daunte Culpepper’s first year as the starter (when the Vikes went to the NFC title game). Jackson, the second year quarterback out of Alabama State, admittedly looked overmatched in his limited playing time at the end of last season. But he has the tools to become a quality signal caller. You could compare him to a young (more animal-friendly) version of Michael Vick: he has amazing speed and agility, an absolute cannon of an arm, and he wears the number 7. Plus he has that reckless abandon of a kid who doesn’t know any better (a formula that worked nicely for Culpepper in his first couple years). Now, believe it or not, there actually was some optimism surrounding the Vikes at this time last year. Part of the reason for it was the addition of All-Pro Steve Hutchinson to an already solid offensive line. While Hutch played admirably, the line in general was a major disappointment. However, given a year to gel and learn how to play with one another, that very same line should be one of the two or three best in the entire league (especially that left side with the aforementioned Hutch, Bryant McKinnie, and Matt Birk). And what happens when you have a top tier offensive line? You have a monster running game. This formula should hold true for the Purple as they will now employ the two-headed monster of Chester Taylor (over 1200 yards last year) and Adrian Peterson (7th overall pick) in the backfield. Peterson’s presence is especially important as he will provide that homerun threat that was missing last year, as well as prevent Taylor from breaking down at the end of the year again. Continuing the domino effect, this big time running game will cause opposing defenses to stack eight in the box and leave some wide open passing lanes for T Jack and the receiving corps. Much has been made of the lack of recognizable names/talent in the current group of Viking receivers. What people fail to either realize or mention is that in Childress’ West Coast style offense, the passing game relies on precise, short route running and gaining yards after the catch. You don’t need the likes of Torry Holt and Terrell Owens at receiver for it to be effective (though obviously it wouldn’t hurt). The play-action pass (which should be a staple of the 2008 Vikings) will set up wide open spaces for burners like Bobby Wade and the Nike-corrected Troy Williamson to run wild. I just hope the cameras can keep up with them.

Defensively, the team looks very good (when’s the last time a Viking team had a rock solid D and a questionable O?). Last year the Purple D gave up only 61 rushing yards per game. They were also outstanding in creating the big play with 21 interceptions and 5 defensive touchdowns. With the Williams brothers (Pat and Kevin—not actually related) manning the middle of the line again this year, you can expect the opposition to have very little success running the ball. One of the more pleasant surprises last year was how well the linebackers played. This was thought to be a major question mark/weakness heading into last season. And while Napoleon Harris is gone, the team basically gets to add another top 15 draft pick in Chad Greenway (injured virtually all of last season). Adding his speed and talent to the outside and moving EJ Henderson to his natural position of middle linebacker should give the team another year of quality LB play. Another strength on this side of the ball is our suddenly deep defensive backfield. Most fans know about the vastly underrated Antoine Winfield and veteran safeties Darren Sharper and Dwight Smith. Add to that group up and coming second year corner Cedric Griffin, newly acquired safety Mike Doss, the return of injured corners Tank Williams and Dovonte Edwards, and rookie Marcus McCauley, and you have loads of talent back there. Since teams will not be able to run the ball effectively, they will see a lot of work, and should be up to the challenge. The major question mark defensively is the defensive ends. Last year they were pretty much inept when it came to pressuring the QB (Darrion Scott led the team with a measly 5 ½ sacks). Obviously, there’s room for improvement here. However, they still have Kenechi Udeze, who has talent, but has underperformed thus far, and they added the sleeper of the draft in Brian Robison out of Texas to bring some energy to this group. Plus, with new D coordinator Leslie Frazier’s plan for creative and continuous blitz packages, they may only need to be average to be successful.

Finally, there always seems to be one team that comes out of nowhere and pushes for/makes the playoffs. With our schedule, why not us? We open the season at home with the chaos that is the Atlanta Falcons (and their likely opening day starter, Joey Harrington). We get to play the much-hyped, but overrated Detroit Lions twice (whom, as Fuzz already mentioned, we are 16-4 against in the last 10 years). We also get the aging Chiefs and tumultuous Giants on the road, plus the talent-challenged Raiders and Redskins at home, and we usually at least split with Green Bay (and their interception-prone, decrepit quarterback Brett Favre). Add in a game against a Chicago team mailing it in at Metrodome near the end of the year, a much hyped, but possibly overrated and beatable San Francisco team, and one upset along the way from someone underestimating us (looking at that Dallas-Philly-SD stretch) and you could have a 10 win team (copyright Jon Kitna).

So come late November when network pregame shows are doing puff pieces on us, you’re in line to purchase your playoff tickets, and everyone is jumping on the Vikings bandwagon, just remember who’s driving it and please, tip generously.

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Hope: to cherish a desire with anticipation

That’s the official definition of the word hope. In NFL football terms this time of year, it translates to…this is our year! With the unbelievable parity in the NFL, where only five teams haven’t made the playoffs in the last five years (Arizona, Buffalo, Miami, Houston and Detroit), every fan of every team has uncontrollable optimism right now. It’s flying through the roof. Every time you pick up the paper or listen to a sports talk radio show, you hear stuff like; “He’s gained 30 pounds of solid muscle this summer, he’s going to rip running backs heads off this year” or “Since spending all year in town in the off-season, I haven’t seen better chemistry between a QB & a WR then these guys have going right now.” July is always a good news month for NFL teams. We love July! Everything you're hearing seems to be positive, unless of course you’re the Atlanta Falcons. That’s a completely different monster. Anyways, after awhile the constant positive feedback you’re hearing masks the actual reality of your favorite NFL team.

Look no further then the Detroit Lions. I bet that city is going nuts right now. On a scale of 1-100, where do you think their optimism level is at? I’d put it at about 823. Jon Kitna is predicting a 50 touchdown and a 10+ win season for the Lions. I guarantee fans in Detroit are talking themselves into this right now. I’d put money on it. In all fairness, I’d probably be right with them. You already have a perennial receiver stud in Roy Williams and you supposedly just added the best potential receiver in the last 25 years in Calvin “Hobbs” Johnson. Throw a healthy Kevin Jones and Mike Martz’s circus style offense, you could debate this is going to happen until you’re blue in the face. The reality is, the Lions were 3-13 last year and Kitna threw 21 passes. If you need the math, it’s seven more wins and 29 more touchdowns for Mr. Kitna. The jury is still out on this prediction, but it makes you think doesn’t it? With the history of teams bouncing back after a crummy year, who says the Lions can’t be the New Orleans Saints of this year? The Saints had seven more wins last year then the previous year. As a Viking fan, I’m terrified. We’re not getting those predictions in Minnesooootaaaa.

Look, we (as in the Vikings) never lose to the Lions. Not never, but recently it’s pretty darn close. We are 16-4 against the Lions the last 10 years and we’ve never finished below them in the standings the last 10 years. That’s a pretty nice run. Now, some journeyman QB who looks like a BMX all- star has me all messed up. More then likely, we aren’t going to pass the NFC Champion Chicago Bears, but I thought 2nd place and a chance at a wild card spot was attainable. Now, who knows? What if BMX boy is right?

Detroit might be high on optimism, but here in Minneapolis it’s a little lower I’m afraid. Just recently as last year this franchise got a new owner, a new head coach and now we have a brand new quarterback. In life, new usually equals good. New car, new house, new girlfriend, new (lower) weight, etc... The list goes on. Well, our owner has never been involved in any sort of sports franchise before, our head coach is a proven coordinator with one (bad) year of head coaching experience and our brand new shiny young quarterback is a who’s that guy. Like, when we traded to draft this coyote in the 2nd round in 2006, you said: “Who’s that?” Not good my friends. Not good...

So, as camp starts this week, that’s where this Minnesota Viking fan optimism falls. I’m trying to talk myself into another year of an owner that sounds like a piece of candy (Zygi), a coach that looks more like a big buck hunter then a head coach (Childress) and a quarterback, which is by far the most important position in football, that is still wetting his pants (Tarvaris Jackson or T-Jack). I’m in the wait and see mode right now with the Vikings. My confidence level isn’t as high as 823, but it’s about 347. What? Is that too high after that rant? Come on baby, we got Adrian “All Day” Peterson. I’m not moving to Detroit quite yet...

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Twins Bandwagon

This is what an 11 run inning looks like to those in Twins Territory.

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F-ing Rat

I have always wondered and questioned why the NBA officials can't just call a normal basketball game. There is a certain rule for this type of defense, a certain rule for different areas on the floor, just a whole bunch of shit that doesn't make sense to any basketball mind. Well, we've now got at least one answer....we had one big pile of shit official deciding the outcomes of these games.

This league is so corrupted that it makes the scenes from the movie "Seven" look like Christmas Day. There are all sorts of problems with the refs in this league from some being women, others that are great great grandparents, some that look like their using steroids and worst of all, one if not more than one fixing games to get their gambling fix in even when they are making $300,000. Sorry to all women reading but a women should not be refereeing a mans sport especially with the intimidating players in this league.

I believe the NBA had this coming though with all the stupid, made up rules they've come up with over the years. It allows an NBA official to have complete control of the game. The hand-checking rules allow for the refs to make judgement calls which can rarely be seen as a mistake. Defensive 3 seconds allows for the lane to be wide open for the majority of the game which players take advantage of by taking the ball to the rim. Any time that happens, a referee usually has the option of calling a foul every single time if he/she wants to. Fouls are judgement calls and nobody is going to criticize you too much unless the FBI is investigating every single call you've made over the past 2 seasons.

So this Tim Donaghy character might've single handily caused the outcome of one of the best playoffs we've seen in years? Who will ever know exactly which calls were mistakenly blown and which calls were 100% dog shit because he wanted to make some fucking coin. He probably cheated away millions of dollars from betters nationwide who probably want to go Hannibal Lecter on him right now and I don't blame them one bit.

Just when I got serious with the NBA this postseason and decided to watch almost every game from start to finish, this shady looking rat decides he wants to fix the games. Has the guy ever watched a mobster/sports betting movie? Did he see Worm cheating at every card game he sat down at? You never come out on top because once you win while cheating, it's virtually impossible to stop. The percentages are not in your favor. You'll get ratted out by somebody or the mobsters will just end you because they want to. For the sake of all NBA fans, lets hope Tim Donaghy catches a hanger.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tuesday Ramblings

*So much for the savior. RonDL made his triumphant return last night after being out since the beginning of April with various muscle pulls and strains. Led by his 0-4 performance, the Twinks drop game one of a three game set with Toronto.

*Of course, everyone’s favorite pansy wasn’t entirely to blame. Johan Santana apparently got some pitching advice from Bert Blyleven before the game and proceeded to surrender 4 bombs to the Blue Jays. Two of these were served up to Frank Thomas, who now has 52 career moon shots against the Twins. Memo to Rick Anderson: maybe walking this guy wouldn’t be a bad idea.

*Late British Open rant: like most people, I thoroughly enjoyed watching Serg give away the Championship. However, listening to him blame everything and everyone but himself for his problems was outrageous. The one that absolutely blew me away was when he complained that he had to wait 15 minutes before his second shot on 18. Really? This from a guy who, a couple of years ago had to be warned by the PGA for standing over his shots for too long? It’s comments like these that make him the most hated man in golf (well, at least I hate him).

*Ok, so I know that the dog fighting ring that Michael Vick is allegedly involved in is a terrible thing. I in no way condone the treatment of any animal the way he and his cohorts allegedly did. But did we really need the tree-hugging, hippie, PETA people picketing at Falcons training camp? Trust the NFL and the Falcons to do the right thing. They need time to make sure that they aren’t suspending an innocent man. Put down your placards and go take care of your family or do something meaningful with your life. Losers. If Vick worked at some deli down the street and had these same allegations brought against him, would these people picket there to make sure he wouldn’t come into work? Of course not. They’re just looking for TV time. What a bunch of glory-seeking hypocrites.

*Am I the only one who wishes they would have known about Tim Donahy (aka Tony from Blue Chips) shaving points and fixing games sooner? I mean if you are going to single-handedly ruin the reputation of an entire professional league for years to come, at least let some more of us make some money off of it before we never watch it again.

*I bet a couple of months ago Selig never thought that the steroid problem in baseball would be the THIRD biggest scandal in sports. Hey Bud, maybe it would be a good idea to attend Bonds’ games just to take the spotlight further away from your sport.

*As long as we’re (sort of) on the subject of homeruns, is there any doubt that Alex Rodriguez is going to be the all time homerun king when he retires? I know 500 homers isn’t what it used to be, but to already be at that milestone, at his age, and still playing at the highest level, it’s simply amazing. As much as I hate the extra amount of coverage that the Yankees get compared to the rest of baseball, I think that more should be made of this. What all of these people bitching and moaning about Bonds breaking the record need to realize is that his record will only stand for a few years. By 2015, Bonds’ alleged steroid use will be a moo point (you know, like a cow’s opinion) because A-Rod will have toppled everyone.

*Movie recommendation: Freedom Writers. I thoroughly enjoyed this film, which is based on a true story and stars Hillary Swank. Granted, as an English teacher I may be biased in liking a movie about kids becoming writers, but it seems a bit more realistic than most of the typical “ghetto/stupid kids make something out of their lives” type of flick. Just watch it. You have nothing better to do.

*Note to Glen Taylor and Kevin McHale: so, about those trades/moves you promised us were coming…

*Because you care: as you read this, the Valley Lounge softball team will be wrapping up it’s third consecutive Eagan C League Championship. Next summer we will be starting the second leg of the “repeat three-peat”.

*Two links to end this rambling:
1. http://www.tuckermax.com/
I just recently read this guy’s book (I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell) and thought it was hilarious. On his website he has a bunch stories about his drunken escapades and adventures with the ladies. Very funny and very R rated, so be warned that this isn’t proper reading at work.
2. http://draftkevindurant.blogspot.com/
Some guy, a Trailblazer fan, who very much wanted Durant on his favorite team. Despite his dream not coming true, he kept the website name and writes some funny, sports-related stuff. Give it a look.

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TV recommendation

I just finished season three of the HBO show, “The Wire.” I don’t have HBO, so I’ve been watching them on the season DVD’s they put out. I’m also a little late in the game, since the fourth season finished last winter and the fifth season is coming out this January. It’s a police/detective drama based in the city of Baltimore, based mainly on the drug life of the streets. I’ll quickly say this to set the tone for the rest of this blog entry, if “LOST” wasn’t on TV, this would be the best show on TV. Period.

I’m actually probably in the minority on this view that have watched “The Wire” and have it ranked below the number one slot. The number two position is too low the diehards will tell you. Here’s the funny thing, not a lot of people have even heard of the show. I found out about it randomly when reading something similar to this plug in a Bill Simmons article about a year ago.

Fortunately for you, I’m not the only one with these sentiments. The magazine Entertainment Weekly (maybe you’ve heard of it) puts out an issue every December, that reads: “The Best of the Year.” It ranks the best entertainment of the year. In a way of getting an unbiased opinion, the magazine had two head TV writers list their top 10 shows on TV right now. Three shows were on both lists. The other two shows were positioned differently in each list. Guess where “The Wire” finished? You probably already get the drift, but it finished #1 on both lists. Have I got your attention yet?

If you haven’t even heard of the show, you’re probably in a little bit of shock right now. Maybe you fell a little cheated. You should, but that’s alright, I understand. Feel cheated no more, go out and see it. Here is a sample of the 100 reasons why I love the show:

Reason #1- The cast-
It’s an ensemble cast with about 150 different people. Ok, maybe not that much, but it’s a lot. It does focus on a few characters more then others, so you can get attached to certain characters. The large cast provides multiple story lines that always keep you on your feet. There is never a wasted scene in “The Wire,” every scene means something.

The best part of the ensemble cast is the unrecognizable factor. I’m pretty good on knowing actors and where they’ve acted before, but I think I recognized six out of the 150. I’m shooting 4% in this category. I feel like Troy Hudson. To me, this makes the show authentic. You obviously know it’s fake, but you’ll get lost in the story sometimes thinking that it is real. Don’t you love shows like that? “Saved by the Bell” had the same affect on me… Anyways, I think a cast with known faces would have ruined this priceless aspect of the show.

Reason #7- HBO-
This one might be obvious, but it’s so true. Trying to soften up the harshness of drugs, gangs, & street violence for network TV wouldn’t have the same affect if you could show them in their true light. Thank God for HBO! This is like NYPD Blue on red bull and steroids. So, instead of drug dealers talking like kindergarten teachers, drug dealers are talking like drug dealers.

Reason # 36: Cars-
This one always gets me. People doing noble work like detectives barely getting by are driving around in sedans while the gangsters selling illegal drugs are driving around in beautiful Escalades. TV perception or reality? Probably the latter…

Reason #61: Hangouts-
Drinking by railroad tracks. Love it.

Reason # 82: Respect-
The rapport the detectives have with the criminals. It’s like one big game to both of them. It’s not a complete hatred. Both sides have semi respect for each other. Both sides are tying to out fox each other. The detectives want to lock these guys up and the dealers want to keep slinging. Both sides have clever ways to succeed in their missions and it also leads to some comical exchanges between the two parties.

Reason #100: Character names-
This pertains pretty much to the gangster/drug side. The names flow so well and seem to fit right with the lifestyle they lead. Like Avon Barksdale, Stringer Bell (my favorite), Prop Joe, Bubbles, Omar, Slim Charles, etc…

Bottom line: I can’t guarantee that you’ll think this is the best TV show out there, but I can guarantee that it’s not going to be a waste of time and that you’ll love that got into it. So on those slow late summer nights or cold winter days, watch “The Wire.” You’ll like it, I promise.

Side note on the Season breakdown: Season one is off the charts; you’ll definitely be hooked. Season two is a little off, but don’t give up on it, because Season three is another grand slam. I’ve heard Season four is the same, can’t wait to see it…

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Friday, July 20, 2007

"Hook" Us Up!

Well, it’s buy or sell time for Terry Ryan and the Minnesota Twins, and a decision needs to be made in the next couple of days. The way I see it, we have two (and only two) options: trade for Dmitri Young or trade away Torii Hunter. There are no other options in my mind. Here are the arguments for each possibility:

The case for Da Meat Hook is simple: he’s a .300 hitter with some power that could immediately infuse some life into our lineup. He can be had for a relatively cheap price, and it’s a move that would make Hunter happy (and in turn give us another bargaining chip as we try to resign him this winter). Does Young have some personality issues and a quick temper? By all accounts, yes. But maybe that’s the kind of thing this team is missing. Or maybe coming here would calm him down. The Twins clubhouse could have that team-oriented, New England Patriots-type of effect on him. If he does turn out to be a problem, his contract is up at the end of the season anyway.

The other option is to trade Hunter for prospects (preferably of the hitting variety). He’s likely going to leave via free agency at the end of the year, so why not get something for him while we can? Plus, you take his potentially huge contract out of the equation for the future payroll of this team. Keep in mind that Justin Morneau is up for arbitration again this year and Johan Santana can potentially become a free agent after next year. Signing these two guys is absolutely essential to the future of the franchise, and they aren’t going to be cheap (especially Santana). So if you could save some money to make sure that you pay these two, then that might not be the worst idea.

If you are going to trade for Young, it needs to be done in the next few days before we fall further out of contention for the division and/or wild card. If you wait any longer, it could all be futile, and you may as well become a seller and plan for the future. Either way something has to be done…soon.

My choice? A brand new Meat Hook in the middle of our putrid lineup sounds good to me…

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Make the Move!

My new best friend has surfaced recently and I haven’t even met the coyote. His name is Brian Buscher. I’m going to call him Double B’s. He is the third baseman for the Twins Triple AAA organization. Once Double B’s gets called up to the show (which he will or should) Chris Berman will probably give him a forced nickname like Brian “Buscher Whacker” or something along those lines.

I’m that confident in the young man, actually I’m not, but he’s a glimpse of hope for our third base woes right now. He’s batting .333 with five bombs & 16 RBI’s in the 25 games since he’s been called up from Double AA. With Matt “bust” Moses providing nothing, it’s time for Mr. Potato Head Terry Ryan to make the move! This might seem like a bit of an over reaction, but I have three reasons why: first, that little, pesky, Oompa Loompa-looking Nicky Punto has like eight hits all year. Check the stats; it’s embarrassing. He needs to be replaced. They were relatively quick to pull the trigger with Ponson and Ortiz, so he needs to be moved to our top utility guy. Secondly, in last night's game one of our 12 future Hall of Fame young pitchers Matt “Garza Strip” (sorry, I couldn’t resist, Berman is on my mind) pitches seven innings with no earned runs, but somehow we can’t get even one run against an average pitcher. We need an offensive shot in the arm…like right now! Lastly, as random call-ups like Jack Cust of the Oakland A’s have proved, rolling the dice with a hot bat in the minors can sometimes work out. What do we have to lose? We’re seven back. Sooooooo, welcome to the Twin Cities Double B’s (I hope!).

P.S. This guy named Q is actually supposed to move into my house in a couple weeks, but screw him. I have an empty room available at my pad if you want to bunk up until you get your feet wet. He’ll understand, I promise.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Never Ever

Anybody else wondering why they are making a big deal about David Beckham? Soccer has been the talk of numerous articles about how it's an up and coming sport with today's youth. Isn't every sport up and coming with today's youth? I don't care who the United States brings in to play soccer here but I know that it will never be more than something people watch once every 4 years

I can tell you why soccer is played by so many youth athletes these days. The parents can buy all the equipment needed for $25. Put a piece of plastic on your shins, a pair of the cheapest pair of spikes on your foot that doesn't allow your kid to move either of his feet and the jerseys are t-shirts. Not to mention, it's a great place for parents to go check out other parents when their marriage isn't going great. The mom might even become one of those that shows up on a porn site called "Soccer Moms".

This is also one of few sports that several sports fans don't know the rules. It would be like going to watch a baseball game and not knowing what a ball or strike was. I know there are some people at baseball games that really don't know that concept but that's also why it's one event straight guys like attending with other guys.

You can try to show this sport on TV more to attract more kids but there is one very large problem.....They never stop play! In today's entertainment, there are going to be 3 hours of commercials for every sporting event so what happens when they go to commercial and the one goal that has been scored the entire season doesn't get shown live? Everybody that thought about watching the sport is now so pissed off at the world that they attend a game and start one of those classic soccer brawls where there are lead pipes being heaved from section to section.

I have thought of only one way soccer could make it in this country and that's not to have David Beckham on the field but rather have his wife "Posh Spice" sing "Wannabe" at the 50 fuckin yard line.

If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends,Make it last forever friendship never ends,If you wanna be my lover, you have got to give,Taking is too easy, but that's the way it is.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Who's Now?

Who cares? This is, without a doubt, the most worthless segment ESPN has ever created. There are multiple reasons for my hatred. First, are the matchups themselves. Who decided on the athletes involved? How were they seeded? How is Danica Patrick on the list but Greg Oden or Kevin Durant aren't? With all the hype that the media (especially ESPN) had given these two leading up to the draft, during the draft, and during their summer league games, how are they not in the top 32 of "now" athletes? Why is Shaq on this list? He's been in the league for 15 years. His career will be done sooner than later. Even the definition of "now" (which we have to listen to twice every SportsCenter) is vague: "success on the field/court/pitch plus buzz off of it". What does that even mean?

The second reason why I can't stand this segment is the sheer amount of time it takes up during my hour of sports highlights. Look, I know the summer is a slow time. Baseball is wearing on, the NBA has just finished, NFL training camp doesn't start for a couple weeks; I get it. But can't I get some in depth exposes on current or former players? More time devoted to NBA free agent signings or rumors? Or, god forbid, maybe some extended baseball highlights? Why do I only get 2 highlights from any games not involving the Yankees or Barry Bonds? Instead, twice an hour I have to listen to this worthless blather by people whose opinions I don't care about. Speaking of which...

Reason number three: the "analysts" ESPN chose to debate these fictional matchups. Let's see, there's Keyshawn "Give Me The Damn Pink Slip" Johnson. A man who has been a pillar of selfishness since his days at USC. The same guy who was so impartial during the NFL draft as he lauded over the Panthers choice of Dwayne Jarrett. This is the guy who is going to help me decide Who's Now? He's just as likely to pick himself over everyone else. Then there's Kirk Herbstreit. They guy analyzes college football for a living. Don't get me wrong, he's good at it, but there are, let me count, 0 college football players on this list. Why does what he thinks matter? Lastly, there Michael Wilbon of PTI fame. He's the closest thing to an impartial, insightful judge of "nowness" on this panel. But one out of three isn't a very good percentage.

On the topic of percentages, reason number four is the ridiculousness of the percentages used to determine the winner. The three chuckleheads on SportsCenter account for 30% of the total vote, while fan voting online (or text messaging) accounts for 70%. Think about this for a second. No matter what the panel decides, the fan voting will always determine the winner. So then, what reason do I have for listening to their point of view? The fans are going to screw it up anyways. They always do (see any All Star/Pro Bowl voting). They already have: the other day Tony Parker defeated Roger Federer. Seriously? I know Parker is married to a popular (and ridiculously good looking) actress and was the finals MVP. But isn't that the norm for most NBA players? All of these guys get gorgeous women, and Tony just happened to play well (against inferior talent) for a few weeks. That makes him better than the greatest tennis player around? Federer is nearing the career grand slam record, and he's 25 years old. He'll pass Sampras as the best tennis player alive in just a few years. But he's not "now" enough to beat out Tony Parker?

Oh, and now this bs bracket has caused me to waste hours thinking about why it's on TV, writing about it on this blog, and your reading of it. You can send your thanks to the Sports Leader in Bristol. Maybe they can get you back this chunk of your life (or at least a football phone).

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Eli loves beer...

Two of my favorite photos are above and it happens to be the same guy. I'm sure there are other athlete's that have pictures like this, but maybe not on the internet. I just can't see Peyton ever looking like this. It's like Eli forgot who he was and didn't think he was in the public eye. These need no explaining, so I hope you enjoy these on a slow summer day and give you inspiration for the upcoming weekend.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007


Never was our thing really. I don't think good timing is even in our cards when my buddy Dogg is involved. He's 50/50 to show at his own wedding (whenever that is of course). I wish I was kidding. We should have known. I really can’t think of a worst time of the year to start a blog. Seriously. Especially since most of the material on this site will be Sports & Entertainment related. No NFL, No NBA, All-Star break for MLB, in between Golf majors, No NHL, no College football or hoops, even the TV series’ are in the off-season. Plus everyone is outside enjoying the beautiful summer, so nobody has time to sit in a dark space hunched over a computer. However, stay patient ladies and gentleman, topics will be discussed and groundbreaking material will be featured...We hope...

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A Meeting of the Minnesota Sports Minds

Good morning/afternoon/evening. We are gathered here today to rip off yet another one of Bill Simmons’ ideas and turn it into our own. We have collected some of the great minds associated with Minnesota sports. They come from all walks of life: columnists (Sid Hartman, Charley Walters), general managers (Kevin McHale and Cronies), coaches (Brad Childress, Jacque Lemaire), former coaches (Dennis Green, Dan Monson, Mike Tice), and a blogger (Aaron Gleeman). The group has assembled here today to share insights, strategies, thought processes, and any other ideas that rattle around in their heads. I will moderate so as to make sure that we don’t stray too far off the path.

CUE: Gentlemen…
TICE: And ladies
CUE: Um, Mike, there are no women present at this meeting.
TICE: What about Frenchie over there?
LEMAIRE: Your attempt at le humor is lost on me.
TICE: Say, you’re the coach of the hockey team, right?
LEMAIRE: If you’re referring to the Minnesota Wild, then you are correct, sir.
TICE: Um, so I was right then…?
(Raucous laughter from the group)
CUE: Alright, enough already. I want to thank you all for coming here and…yes, what is it Charley?
WALTERS: A little birdie told me that the Twins have interest in trading for Ken Griffey Jr., if the price is right.
GLEEMAN: Well considering Junior’s age, OPS, and VORP over the last 2 seasons, I would say that this would be a very bad decision, much like the Bautista, Ortiz, and Ponson signings.
CHILDRESS: I agree; you never want to bring in proven veterans when there are unproven, unheralded, untalented players available.
MCHALE: Or mediocre players that you can over pay with ridiculous multi year contracts.
MONSON: It’s just like my recruiting philosophy: if you bring in a bunch of high school bench players, one of them is bound to blossom into a star. Then you’ll look like a genius for finding that “diamond in the rough”.
CHILDRESS: Right on! All of these so called football experts claim that you need a proven quarterback or “talented” wide receivers. Well I’ll show them…
MCHALE: Here, here! All you need is to get lucky drafting one stud player, then you can just sit back on auto pilot.
LEMAIRE: You Americans have no idea how to put together a sentence, albeit a professional sports team. Why am I here with these imbeciles?
CUE: Sorry about that Jacque, you were only needed for that first joke. You don’t belong with these guys and are free to leave whenever you want.
HARTMAN: I don’t mean to interrupt…
CUE: Yes you do.
HARTMAN: …but my close, personal friend Bobby Knight said that, if asked, he would have accepted the Gopher basketball job.
CUE: Shut up old man! That has absolutely nothing to do with anything and is a flat out lie. I can’t believe the Strib continues to let you write that blather and then has the gall to actually print it too.
MCHALE: Yeah, you can’t just lie to people.
GLEEMAN: Really? This from the organizer of the Joe Smith debacle?
CUE: Aaron, when we want to know Johan’s day vs. night strikeout/walk ratio, you can talk. Otherwise you just sit there and stare at pictures of Elisha Cuthbert.
GREEN: Sorry I’m late fellas. I got lost on the high road.
ALL: Denny!!!
CUE: Thanks for joining us Sheriff. Ok, now the topic is…
CHALTERS: You know Denny, it is believed that many NFL teams are ready to make the call to you if they fire their current head coach.
TICE: Sheriff, you know you’ll always have a job with me in Minnesota.
CUE: Tike, you’re not the Vikings coach anymore.
TICE: Yuh huh. Jack told me I was. He said I wasn’t in charge of the tight ends in Jacksonville anymore because they needed me at Winter Park.
CUE: You are not the Vikings coach. Childress has that job now.
CHILDRESS: Excuse me, but I am not merely a “coach”. I call the plays, I make personnel decisions, I make the draft picks…and I do it all with this sweet mustache.
CUE: (cough) that makes you look like a pedophile (cough)
CHILDRESS: Yes, I am in charge of player development as well, thanks for pointing that out.
TICE: Oh yeah, well Red let me steer the Viking ship once…during practice!
WALTERS: Sam Jacobson of Park Cottage Grove is averaging 13 points and 6 rebounds a game on the top team in Bulgaria.
HARTMAN: Hey! Why does he get to spout off about mundane facts?
CUE: First, while they may be irrelevant, they also have at least the possibility of being true. And second, I think Steinbrenner is on the phone for you.
HARTMAN: George? You know he’s a close, personal friend of mine.
CUE: I’m sure he is. The phone is on the 7th floor of the building across the street. You should head over there.
HARTMAN: I’m on my way.
WALTERS: It has been rumored that former Gopher coaches Glen Mason and Dan Monson will be offered the football and basketball coaching jobs at San Diego State University now that a former Gopher is their new athletic director.
MONSON: Oh boy! I sure hope I don’t have to put a system in place, run an offense, or recruit talented basketball players.
CUE: Let’s get back on task. Since baseball is the only sport currently in season…
MCHALE: What about the WNBA?
CUE: Like I said, since it is the only SPORT that is in season, I wanted to get your thoughts on Bonds’ homerun chase and all of the steroid controversy surrounding him and the entire sport.
GLEEMAN: Well, when you combine his OPS at home with his slugging percentage during Sunday afternoon games and compare it to the OBP of all other left fielders since 1961, it’s clear that his VORP is well and beyond that of every other player whose home ball park sits next to a large body of water. Of course if we’re taking first half K/BB ratios into affect and adding to the mix their fielding percentage, which is the most overrated statistic this side of batting average and wins, then, well I think you can see where this is going…
TICE: Mike’s head hurt. Make the chubby kid stop talking.
CHILDRESS: We don’t need to be talking about statistics. It’s not about statistics…or experience…or talent…or athletic ability. If I say that the kid can play then that’s all that matters.
CUE: This is clearly not working. Let’s try something a little more up your alley. What’s the best way to sabotage a team and/or franchise while not being extremely obvious about it?
MCHALE: Oh that’s easy. All it takes is the right sales pitch to the fans. If you used words like “leader” or “crafty”, you can get away with trading for or signing an over the hill veteran. Or you can go the other way and load your team up with a lot of young players and describe them as “a project” or “athletic” and use words like “versatile” and “upside”. That way when they don’t pan out, you can say that this was your line of thinking when you drafted a certain someone named Kevin Garnett. The positive memories of his play will distract them from the countless draft picks you lost/squandered away and the millions of dollars you wasted on untalented players.
CUE: Ok, but what if you don’t have a Kevin Garnett to distract the fans?
MONSON: That’s easy. You say things about your players being “good citizens” or tell them about how great they are doing academically. This makes everyone remember the awful past and causes them to feel guilty about being upset something as minor as winning and losing games. Then for years they will ignore the fact that you are continually at the bottom of the conference.
CUE: Well put. But what if you don’t have academics as a crutch to fall back on?
GREEN: Simple. You use vague words and blame the players. If tell the fans that you have a “system” and that the “system is working”, but the players aren’t executing it properly, you’ve cleared yourself from danger. Everyone will then examine the players more closely and forget about all the mistakes you have made.
CHILDRESS: You could swear a little to get the media talking about something other than your poor coaching. Just tell them your team “kicks ass”. If that doesn’t work, just flat out hide from them, don’t speak to any reporters, and hope they forget about you.
MONSON: Otherwise you could just butter up a prominent member of the media so they will continually promote you and dispute all criticism of you.
CUE: Hid’s still gone and you’re not even the coach anymore, so quit sucking up.
GLEEMAN: Bautista sucks, Castro sucks, Ortiz sucks, Ponson sucks, and I am in love with Johan Santana!
CUE: Well on that extremely random note, I think it’s time to wrap things up. Any words of wisdom you can leave us with gentlemen?
WALTERS: Always trust little birdies to get you the inside scoop and allow you to break the story first.
TICE: A simple little thing like a pencil behind your ear will make people think you are itectual…intelgicant…inlectual…smart.
GREEN: Like I said, vague words: “They are who we thought they were!”
CHILDRESS: Come to the Dome this fall to see our Kick Ass Offense!
MONSON: It’s all about academics.
GLEEMAN: Use a lot of acronyms that no one has ever heard of to make yourself sound like an expert.
MCHALE: Remember this: as long as Glen Taylor owns the Timberwolves, I cannot and will not be fired. And I’m sure as heck not quitting. Good luck sleeping tonight thinking about that…

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Now we're talking...

From Pioneer Press, written by Shooter: http://http://www.twincities.com/dailydose/ci_6345269

-Look for the Gophers men's basketball team to offer a tender to 6-foot-10, 240-pound forward Colt Iverson, who will be a senior at Yankton (S.D.) High and was MVP of the recent Hoosiers Shootout in Indiana. Iverson, whose father, Chuck, was an NBA draft pick by Seattle in 1973, had 28 points and 16 rebounds in the Hoosiers Shootout title game.

I've thought for years that the Gophers should start recruiting kids like this, but Monson had zero clue. He decided role players in various Minnesota High Schools was the route to take to win a Big Ten title. I know both the Dakota's are in process in building up D-1 teams, but the Gophers and Minneapolis should be a better draw. Better conference, better opportunity & better recognition . Why not go through states like North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and even Wyoming and pluck the best kid or kids out of that state? All four states are relatively close to Minnesota and you'd think you could land these kids. Maybe they won't be the stars of your team, but they would fill those 3rd or 4th players adequately. Anyways, this is a good sign for times to come if Tubby keeps this up...

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007


To all of my regular readers: the postings below are stuff that you have already seen. I just wanted to put them on here just in case I get some random new readers. Hopefully I'll get some new stuff up by the end of the week.

Closed captioned to Fuzz, Dogg, and Nic: I named the blog after myself since I'm currently doing all the writing (and I thought it was clever). As soon as you want to post, let me know and I'll give you the info and consider changing the name.

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One Man's Vision: A 4 Step Plan For A Great 08...And Beyond

The Minnesota Twins are not going to make the playoffs this year. I know, I know, this comes off like a knee-jerk reaction in light of the events over the last few days. Realistically though, this is the stance that the organization needs to adopt sooner rather than later. We made an amazing run last year to our fourth division title in five years. It was probably the greatest regular season I have ever personally witnessed. But that type of run is not happening this year. This team needs to begin building for next few years. There is a very good chance that the Twins could be a top tier team next year; with some minor adjustments. This team is not that far off right now, despite what most local, pessimistic columnists will tell you. Are there some flaws in the pitching staff? Sure. Do they need more consistent run production? Absolutely. Can all of this be solved with a couple of minor moves and some experience? In my opinion, yes. We don’t need to pursue too much in extra payroll or take a major risk in a high profile trade or free agent signing either. I have devised a four step process that will set us up to be a very good team for a number of years to come.

Let’s start with the pitching staff. Going into next season, you will have the following players either in the starting rotation or vying to be in it: Santana, Bonser, Silva, Baker, Garza, Slowey, Perkins, and Liriano (with an outside chance of a guy like Blackburn making a late charge this fall and putting together an impressive spring). That’s at least seven candidates for four spots (Santana’s spot is obviously locked up). If there’s one thing every major league team is looking for, it’s young starting pitching. I’m not suggesting that you sell the farm either. An organization needs to have options in case a prospect doesn’t pan out or there are injuries. But when you are going to have upwards of nine guys that could be starting pitchers in this league, you can afford to take a risk with one or two of them. So you take one of those pitchers and move him for a young, potential-laden third baseman; someone such as Ty Wigginton in Tampa Bay or Edwin Encarnacion in Cincinnati (and we all know that Terry Ryan could very easily fleece Wayne Krivisky—who loves former Twins).

That would be step one. It is an important one because it affects both sides of the ball. Not only does it clear up the pitching situation a little bit, but it also gives you a real major league player at third base (hopefully). As an added bonus, it gives you a chance to rid your roster of one of the six utility players that currently occupy a spot on the team (Punto, Cirillo, Tyner, Rodriguez, Ford, and White, though some will debate that last guy). This is a fact that gets overlooked by too many Twins fans. You can’t fill your roster, especially your bench, with light hitting, speed guys. Do you players with these skills? Of course. Do you need five or six of them? No way. The career years that many of these guys had last year—which fueled their run to a division title—allowed many fans (and possibly management) to overlook this roster flaw. This move alone will likely bolster an extremely streaky (at best) lineup.

Step two also involves the pitching staff. The Twins need to continue to give as many starts as possible to guys like Baker, Garza, and Slowey (possibly Perkins as well once he returns from his shoulder injury) so that we can deduce, as accurately as possible, their value and potential to be in the rotation for the future. If that means rotating them between AAA Rochester and the big league club (something that I think could work), then so be it. Just make sure that you sit these guys down together right now and tell them that this is your plan. That way no one gets their feelings hurt, and it could potentially bring out the competitor in them with the sense that they are auditioning for their future. If it also means that a guy like Silva has to occasionally miss a start because of “back problems”, I think most fans could live with it.

Step three goes back to addressing the offense. The Twins need to acquire a veteran bat to come off the bench (with the possibility of spot starts at the DH and/or other positions) and at least have the potential of providing a little pop. As it stands now, there are no options to pinch hit late in the game and drive in a run or possibly put one out. Guys like Kubel and White could be that guy (though Jason is far from a veteran, hasn’t proven himself, and the organization still believes that he’s going to be their everyday left fielder), but injuries and streaky hitting have prevented it from coming true. Many fans believe that the team should have taken a chance on either Piazza or Thomas two years ago. Some of the more unrealistic ones think we should go after guys like Adam Dunn, Mark Texeria, or even Junior Griffey to be our everyday DH. But we don’t have the money to do that, nor do we need to go after such high profile players. There are guys such as Kevin Mench or Mike Sweeney who could be had at a much cheaper price and fill this void nicely. The Twins could also look at a guy like former Gopher Rob Quinlan, an ideal candidate who could not only DH/pinch hit, but also spell Morneau at first occasionally and possibly play third base as well.

The final and trickiest step involves money, something that has been an issue with this team for a couple of decades. It is well known that the team has to do something with high profile/high salary players Johan Santana, Torii Hunter, and Justin Morneau. Hunter is a free agent at the end of this season, Morneau is up on arbitration once again, and Santana’s deal is up after next season. While admittedly not having much knowledge about the long term monetary ramifications, it is my belief that all three of these guys need to be on your opening day roster in 2010. After years and years of trying, the Twins were finally successful in getting a new stadium. It is crucial that, especially in the early years of this new building, that you put out a quality team with recognizable names; show your dedication to the future of the organization. Otherwise, once the novelty of a new ballpark wears out, the fans will refuse to show up. Take a look at Milwaukee. They have a beautiful, relatively new stadium. The first couple of years saw nothing but sell outs and a lot of fan interest. When they failed to produce a quality product on the field, everyone left. Only recently (with a very good, young team I might add) have people returned to Miller Park. Santana is the best pitcher in baseball, so I don’t need to sing his praises or give a long list of reasons why he needs to be here. And while his MVP award may have been controversial, Morneau is the big bat in the middle of the lineup that the Twins have been missing for years. The biggest question mark is going to be Hunter. He is putting up excellent numbers in a contract year. This is surely going to garner him a very large contract this winter. So why pony up for him? Because the other options void all other improvements that were mentioned earlier. The Twins have no backup plan; no prospect waiting in the wings (as opposed having Alexi Casilla ready and waiting to be our everyday second baseman). Bringing up someone such as Denard Span just adds another slap hitting, utility type of player to your roster. The exact thing you’re trying to pare down. Plus, compared to the average major league centerfielder, even Torii’s yearly averages without this extraordinarily start to 07 have him on par with their numbers offensively. And even though he’s clearly lost a step, his defensive prowess places him a step above most of his compatriots. So reward him for his years of entertaining baseball fans in Minnesota and pay the man (even if it is too much).

Now, the pessimist or devil’s advocate will say that there is no guarantee that a Wigginton or Encarnacion will pan out. That the prospects we trade will flourish while the ones we keep will not live up to the hype. They say that Hunter’s numbers will diminish greatly once he gets paid and that his, along with Johan and Justin’s contracts will cripple the team financially. All are viable question/concerns that I am well aware of. This is just one man’s plan. My only hope is that someone in the higher ranks of the organization has a plan that is somewhat similar to mine so that we don’t waste the prime years of high quality baseball players like Santana, Mauer, and Morneau. So that we don’t end up with an aesthetically beautiful, albeit empty new stadium by 2012. In hopes that this state can celebrate, once again, the only professional sports team that has given us a world title.

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NBA Draft Diary 2007

The day is finally here. After months of hype, lead-up, and more rumors than ever, the night of the 2007 NBA draft is upon us. The anticipation for this draft is bigger than I can ever recall—at least in Minnesota because of the prospect of a blockbuster trade involving KG and potentially garnering the Wolves multiple first round picks. Yes, we’re all aware that the Forbes Magic Man is still the GM, but that only makes it more worthwhile to watch. Who knows what the brain trust at the Northwest Health Club will do? The possibilities are endless. Back to my point, there were three different draft parties for me to go to tonight. There is a lot of false hope in the air…

I’ll start off by saying that I’m watching the draft in Golden Valley with my buddies Larz and Casey (along with his bride to be and their twins). I’ve watched more than my fair share of sporting events with these two and know that they are the perfect company for a running diary. So here we go.

6:22—Casey’s kid cries when Joke Kim shows up on TV with that hideous hair/bow tie/Goodwill suit combination. Great start to the night.

6:24—Larz brings up the new WNBA slogan “Have You Seen Her?” in reference to Casey’s daughter. We all hope they use the actual song in their commercials featuring…um, I can’t name a WNBA player.

6:27—Highlights of Yi Jianlian against “LeBron and company” in the world championships. Casey wonders if we won that game. No one can answer. Leads to the following exchange:
Casey—Have you ever seen a bald Asian?
Me—Besides Mr. Miyagi?
Casey—I think Asians age more gracefully than everyone else. (To his son) You better eat a lot of rice…

6:32—Cute purple tie for Stern who starts off the draft with “Welcome to Madison Square Garden, home of the Knicks and the Liberty…” That draws a raucous reaction from the crowd here in Golden Valley.

6:34—Portland’s war room looks like a board meeting at Merrill Lynch. Fifteen seconds into the draft and we get what could be the most hilarious reaction ever. The entire group is cheering and high fiving like they just found out they had the first pick. Is this the norm? Does the clusterf*** of power in Minny even know they have a first round pick?

6:36—Oden is the #1 pick. Shocking. However, it never fails to be hilarious to watch Stern stand next to and shake hands with these monsters because…Yes! Another shot of the Blazer conference room, this time putting on their draft hats at the same time as Oden. Do theirs say “Oden” instead of “Portland”? What is the point of this? Who came up with this idea? We need to keep the camera on them at all times.

6:39—Casey wonders who was the number 1 pick last year. It takes all of us a minute to remember. Great year for the NBA there. Also, we get an interview between Oden and Stuart Scott who are somehow the same height. Is Oden sitting on the floor?

6:41—Proposed (or completed according to Andy Katz) deal between Seattle and Boston: Ray Allen for the #5, Wally World, and Delonte West. So to make Pierce happy you bring in another perimeter jump shooter? As much as I hate McFail, at least there are guys like Ainge and Knight for Wolves fans to make fun of.

6:46—We find out that Kevin Durant lives by the following words: “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.” This from a guy who can’t bench press a Chipotle burrito.

6:48—Hawks select Al Horford from the Dominican Republic…what? Was I the only one unaware that he was from the DR? When did this happen? At least dad has the flag… Horford gives the Gator chomp to the crowd/his boys after shaking Stern’s hand—he’s high for sure.
Atlanta couldn’t pick another Williams, so they go with another player from the East Coast in what Casey describes as a territorial move.

With no announcement of a trade and the third pick made, it looks like another year of the same crap, different pile for the Wolves.

6:52—Mike Conley Jr. to the Grizzlies. We’re happy for ya. I’m still depressed about the lack of a KG deal.

6:57—Jeff Green to the Sonics via Boston. Apparently he was the key to that deal. Weird. We also find out that you had to have a trade submitted to the league by yesterday, otherwise you draft in your spot, submit your trade to the league office, and they make sure that salaries match up. The bottom line is that this information gives me hope that the Wolves might still do something big here.

7:02—A commercial featuring Tim Duncan highlights: hook shots, banks, and midrange jumpers; just like a WNBA commercial without the fast break lay ups.

The NBDL is hosting a tryout challenge. I’d make a joke, but at this point it’s just sad.

7:04—A quick exchange before the Bucks pick:
Larz—What if Yi refuses to go onstage when Milwaukee drafts him?
Casey—What if he signs his contract in sweet and sour sauce?

Uh oh. We have an international incident brewing. Watch the skies for nukes. Yi to the Bucks whom he explicitly said he didn’t want to play for. Very Eli Manning/Steve Francis/Stephon Marbury-like moment on stage right now.

The Wolves are on the clock. With all the Spencer Hawes talk over the last month or so, this seems like a good time to remind everyone of some of the “big guys” we have drafted over the years: Randy Brewer, Luc Longley, Fell Down Spencer, Paul Grant, and many more. We are on high alert for the let down of all let downs. Probably the biggest since the Vikes got throttled in NY during the 2000 NFC title game…or at least since Stern stepped to the podium and said the words “Doodie Ebie” in ‘03.

7:07—To steal a line from Simmons, there’s comedy, there’s high comedy, and then there’s Stu Scott interviewing Yi. Casey calls him the Chinese Rocky because of the way he mumbles. Leads us to this exchange:
Stu (to Jianlian): “Favorite thing about America?”
Casey: “Milwaukee”

7:09—We’re still on the clock, Casey jokes we’re going to lose the pick the way the Vikes did three years ago…and four years ago. Time is up and no Stern. Good lord this is killing me! Oh, no! What is going on? Is this an announcement of a KG deal?

7:10—Our pick is long overdue. Empty stage…here comes Stern, please god say the words “Corey Brewer”. If I have any power to control people’s words…YES!!! Corey Brewer!!!!!!! No project center. No transvestite power forward. Now, time to deal KG…

There is a comforting silence in the room. Everyone eating pizza and regaining their breath…

7:18—Charlotte takes Brandan Wright. Weird, Jordan takes a Carolina kid. Jay Bilas says, “Jordan should have worn a mask because this is a steal right here.” Jay does not have “tremendous upside” when it comes to comedy.

Is everyone in this draft “a project” and not of legal drinking age? Well other than 30 year old Al Thornton and the 46 year old Oden, of course.

7:25—Joke Kim to Chicago. He steps up to the stage and thanks his personal stylists Craig Sager and Farnsworth Bentley (Diddy’s assistant). How nice.

Random stuff we notice after the Bulls waste of a draft choice: Joke Kim’s mom is hot. ESPN has him listed at 7’0” (no way). Noah’s grandfather looks like he is 35 years old; maybe he played high school ball with Thornton and Oden. The trannie thanks Taurean Green’s father because his own father was absent for most of his childhood, high school, and college—unless he was on national TV and could get some face time. Or at least that’s my guess as to why.

Fact of the night that I didn’t need to know: Noah uses Bumble and Bumble shampoo. Apparently it’s specially formulated for ugly people.

What would a commercial break be without “This is ourrrrrrrr country………”?

7:38—My favorite college player last year, Acie Law IV, is taken by Atlanta. Now I’m really praying that at some point tonight the Phoenix-Atlanta-Minny trade goes through so we get the rights to him and Horford.

Bilas describes Law by saying “He’s not a great shooter but he can make shots.” What is the point of having him on this broadcast?

Mike Tirico shows us the new Hawks jerseys (this has to be their 5th new jersey in the last 7 years). They look like a cross between NBDL and WNBA jerseys. Not good times.

Things ESPN thinks that we need to know: Acie’s great uncle is Ernie Banks and he used to practice putting on hats and shaking hands with the commissioner in front of a mirror when he was younger. Thanks. I’ll sleep better tonight.

7:42—Sal Palantonio’s only job is to report live “a hundred yards away” from Philly’s camp. Why? Who cares? Philly fans don’t even care.

A look at Philly’s lineup at Mike Tirico reminds us how many draft picks Joe Smith cost Minnesota as he chuckles. Go eff yourself, Mike.

7:47—Sixers take Thaddeus Young. There’s a joke involving a Richfield/Roosevelt basketball game and the quote “That’s my baby Thaddeus”, but only two or three people would get it, so let’s move on.

Commercials I’ve already seen too many times:
“You were fooled. Because you think it’s about me. But I believe, it takes five” and “I am the shoot button…” (not that I’m complaining about the latter—the more Hibachi, the better).

7:50—“The Bronx is Burning”. An ESPN mini series about the Yankees during one of the Billy Martin eras. Um, why?

Billy Knight just compared Acie to Mark Jackson. An obvious ESPN plug and a bold faced lie. Jackson was the ultimate distributor and Acie is a crunch time scorer…other than that they’re the same though.

7:58—NO/OK takes Julian Wright. Are they still “slash Oklahoma City”?

Why is Dick Vitale at every draft? How does his utter lack of knowledge of the college game translate into valuable information at the NBA draft?

We are shown highlights of Julian bowling with Andy Katz. Apparently JW is a big bowling fan. Great. Now Stu is talking to him about it. How about asking him why he plays hard roughly once a month despite being one of the five most talented athletes in college ball last year? Or is that too relevant?

8:00—The Clippers take 24 year old Al Thornton, and we get a side note on the TV that his dad is 6’6” and he has two sisters who are both nearly 6 feet tall. Quality, pertinent information right there. He’s a year older than LeBron and has four years less NBA experience. He might have to retire by 2011 (three years after Oden does).

8:07—Casey with the worst joke of the night: “Detroit is going to be Stuckey with Rodney’s guaranteed contract” (he made me put this in).

8:10—Nick Young to the Wizards. Could be talented, but Arenas and Butler will take all of his shots. Also, he had a documentary made about him. No word on whether or not it will be titled Hoop Dreams 2.

8:14—Knicks make a splash: they trade Channing Frye and Stevie Franchise for Zach Randolph and a couple of scrubs. This, of course, leads to Stephen A. Smith yelling at everyone. Glad he could show up finally. No word on if he likes the trade or not as no one could understand what he said…

The Lee’s, Spike and David, are big fans of this trade. Standing ovations from both of them. I wonder what they thought about New York’s choice at the 9 pick…oh wait, they traded it for Fat Eddy Curry. How’s that working out again?

8:16—Nets take pothead Sean Williams. Reminds me of Samuel Dalembert on weed. ESPN’s profile tells us that the area he needs to improve most on is maturity. Ya think?

Random thought: Oden seems to be cut out of the Shaq mode when it comes to dry humor, so why does Durant have multiple commercials whereas Greg has none? It’s been known for months that these two were the top picks in the draft. Can’t they get a McDonalds commercial together or at least some Click-Clack action?

8:29—The Lakers takes Javaris Crittenton, which prompts Casey to start the “Play Hosea…” chant.

Transcript of a conversation/argument between Screamin A and Dickie V:
SAS—AHHHHHHHH! You can not be serious!
SAS—YAAAAAHHHH! Black people!

8:35—Jason Smith from Colorado St. is taken by Miami. He’s white, so he’ll suck. At least Jason Kapono has another pretty boy to hang out with on South Beach.

Editor’s note: Smith was then traded to Philly, while Kapono recently signed with Toronto. The joke, therefore, no longer works, but it’s still funny so it stays.

8:38—Jim Gray proves once again that he’s an idiot while interviewing Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak:
JG—“Mitch, where are you at as far as acquiring KG, Jermaine O’Neal or any other superstar?”
MK—“Jim, you know I can’t comment on other team’s players. That’s clearly tampering and you know that and I’m not going to say anything more on that.”
(I hate Jim Gray)

8:43—Casey points out the gigantic ring on Tirico’s hand and asks “Is he showing off his high school class ring?” We decide that he felt intimidated by all the athletes surrounding him and wanted to try and fit in.

8:44—Rod Thorn describes Sean Williams as “a guy who obviously has a brain”. That’s what every fan wants to hear from their GM about their team’s first round pick.

8:50—We just finished an interview with Spike Lee that was immensely funny on so many levels: Tirico described him as “the face of the Knicks franchise”, Spike spouted off about everyone booing the Balkman pick last year (even though it was completely warranted at the time), and he boasts about how great Isaiah is because he drafted “Shannon Frye” (Spike, do you mean Channing, they guy they just traded? You know, in the trade you were just giving a standing ovation?).

8:56—Portland just bought the 24 pick from Phoenix. I can’t believe ESPN didn’t cut to the board room hugging it out. Very disappointing. Phoenix then takes Rudy Fernandez for Portland. Casey is happy that “we finally traded Manny”. It’s a Wild joke. Guess you had to be there…

The first round ends without much for news/comedy. I have mixed feelings as we close out the night. On one hand, we didn’t draft some big stiff like Yi, Joke Kim, or Spencer. Plus we got one of the guys I liked best in the draft in Brewer. On the other hand, we made no other significant moves, didn’t trade KG, and for now will start next season with the same horrific team except we’ll get rid of Justin Reed and Mike James and add Juwan Howard and Corey Brewer. An upgrade? Of course. Does this make us anywhere closer to a playoff team? Absolutely not. I guess I can still dream that something will go down over the weekend. Otherwise I have to wait until February for us to get 12 cents on the dollar for KG in a midseason trade. Well I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m psyched…

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This is a Joke Right?

A deep fly ball to right center field heads into the stands and becomes a souvenir for some lucky fan. The home crowd is pumped up and for good reason; their guy has just given their team the lead. But this is more than just a typical midseason homerun. This is Sammy Sosa’s 600th career homerun. With one swing of the bat he has joined baseball immortality. Aaron, Bonds, Ruth, Mays, and now Sosa. All names are recognizable to even the most casual baseball fan. Three are not only already Hall of Famers, but arguably three of the top five or so hitters of all time. Another is going to be the career leader in homeruns sometime later this summer.

And then there’s Sosa. That one aforementioned swing did something more amazing than put him on a list of the most prolific power hitters in the history of baseball. By doing something he had done 599 times before in the majors (and at least dozens of times in the minors when he weighed about as much as an 8th grade girl), he managed to deceive and confuse even the most ardent baseball fan. He caused memory loss in thousands of men and women nation, nay, world wide. In short, he created mass chaos in less than 10 seconds. For the past 24 hours (or more by the time you read this) we have been inundated with talk of Slammin Sammy being included in baseball’s Hall of Fame. This is an inevitable topic when you invoke the names Ruth, Mays, and Aaron, so I wasn’t surprised that it came up. The crazy part? The amount of people (writers, former players, analysts, fans, etc.) who believe that he SHOULD be in the Hall. Are you kidding? Is this the most elaborate Candid Camera show of all time? Where’s Ashton to tell me I’m being Punk’d?

Surely these people remember mini Sosa weighing in at 130 pounds and rocking a fantastic jerry curl back in late 80’s/early 90’s in his first stint with the Rangers, right? Then 5 years later, his arms were bursting out of his Cubs pinstripes. What about the overreactions whenever he was asked about steroids or illegal supplements? The famous shattered bat loaded with cork? The mysterious loss of the English language in front of congress? The .220’s batting average with Baltimore two years ago? The year away from baseball? A noticeably thinner Sammy at spring training this year? No? Everyone forgot about all of that?

Even if people are willing to look past all of that (which is ridiculous), there is one other major problem I have with the bronze plaque of Sosa that is being built: if you were to ask any self proclaimed baseball fan four months ago if Sammy was a Hall of Famer, would even 2% of those people have said yes? Mark McGwire was just sent a resounding message this past summer when he only received about 20% of the vote in his first year of eligibility (75% needed for induction). For better or worse, Sosa and McGwire will forever be linked: both for saving baseball and for starting the social commentary about steroids. If Big Mac, who has a lot fewer question marks, was nowhere near being voted in, why is Sammy a lock all of a sudden? Do 12 homeruns make that big of a difference? Really?

Of course this could lead into a much bigger discussion about the importance society puts on milestones and round numbers, but we’re not getting into that. The real issue here is the double standard we put on our athletes in this country and the message it is sending. Barry Bonds, a self centered and often unfriendly character, is vilified on a daily basis because of his alleged steroid use. But Sammy Sosa, with all of his question marks mentioned earlier, but who happens to be a jolly, media-friendly player, gets an automatic pass from the country? What message does that send? “Hey, it’s ok to take steroids, lie, cheat, and do anything to get ahead, as long as you’re nice about it.” I have lost all faith in the baseball community…

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