My favorite idea Bill Simmons has had comes from a story from when he was a bartender in Boston after college. He and his bartender buddy used to name each stool at the bar after an athlete who wore that number so they could talk about the customers in front of them without them knowing. His example was something like referring to a fetching young lady at bar stool by saying, “So Nomah’s having a hell of a year, eh.” I’ve always wanted to do this, especially after getting a job bartending for a summer back home after my sophomore year. Unfortunately, the kid I worked with the most didn’t give a shit about real sports and instead was rock hard for dirt biking and snowmobiling and all that other X Games bullshit. Since the only “athletes” he can name off the top his head are probably Travis Pastrana and Tony Hawk and the stools at our bar didn’t go up to 199, this wasn’t really a possibility. Instead, I’m just gonna steal Simmons’ idea (this will be a running theme—until I figure out my writing voice or quit, these posts are gonna be a blend between a Simmons impression and a Barstool Sports impression—hey they say imitation is the sincerest form of laziness or something like that), and write it myself about Minnesota athletes. In other words, I’ll probably curse or cry or both multiple times considering all the teams I root for do is fucking lose when it matters most (another running theme).
1—Let’s just move on :(
Gary Anderson Tsuyoshi
Nishioka Fucking hell of a way
to start this list off, with the guy who made me cry over a sporting event that
I had no tangible connection to for the only time (I was 6) and the fucking
chain-smoking, light hitting infielder who left the country quickly before he
was charged with Grand Larceny for absolutely robbing the Twins of 6 million
2—Malik Sealy—important role player on one of the first Wolves teams to show any sort of “respectability” (quite the concept), the Wolves’ only retired number, and Kevin Garnett’s best friend who died on the way home from KG’s birthday party when he was hit by a drunk driver. RIP.
3—Absolutely a no brainer, it’s gotta be Harmon Killebrew, even though he played his last game for the Twins 19 (!!!!!!!!!!) years before I was born. This goes to him because he mashed for the Twins for almost 2 decades, and despite the fact that his $6 Target Field root beer sucks.
4—The fact that Brett Favre gets his own stool in my hypothetical Minnesota bar (closed circuit Gleeman, Bonnes, and Hageman—I still want to be your first bartender when you guys buy one) is absolutely fucking astounding but my hands are tied. 2009 was so much fun that he erased a whole lifetime of hatred I had built up for him in about 3 weeks.
5—As much as I wanted to make this one Michael Cuddyer to piss off my buddy Schafer, I have to give it to Herb Brooks who coached the Gophers to 3 National Championships after wearing #5 for the Gophs in 1957-59 as well as the 1980 US Gold Medalists in Lake Placid. Now, his legacy lives on as the namesake for the National
Center in St. Cloud, as well as in the movie Miracle where Kurt Russell wore a 70s used car salesman suit about
as well as any can wear a 70s used car salesman suit.
6—This stool goes to another guy who I never even saw play in Tony Oliva, which kind of speaks for itself. His very own stool at my fake bar is probably one of his best hypothetical honors, along with his plaque in the Hall of Very Good.
7—Mortal lock that it goes to Joe Mauer. The ladies love him, he’s a future Hall of Famer (even though he doesn’t enough #dingers or get enough #ribbies), and he’s the best quarterback (!!!!) in Minnesota despite not having played the position since the Bill Clinton was still getting blowies in the Oval Office (That’s 2000 for those of you scoring at home). What more is there to say? Sideburns City.
8—The only Gopher with his number hanging from the rafters in Mariucci and arguably the greatest one of all time is John Mayasich, so I gotta give him the nod even though he’s old enough to be my dad’s grandfather. Honorable mention: Nick Punto because it’s fun to think about Schafer arsoning the fuck out of my hypothetical bar if he ever found out Nick fucking Punto had a bar stool retired.
9—Probably a little presumptuous here, and it’s tough to leave off Neil Broten, Johnny Pohl, and Mike Modano, but I’m gonna give it to Ricky Rubio as an act of good faith and because I’m as happy watching him make no-look passes as Delmon Young is berating Jews and/or swinging at a first pitch curve out of the strike zone. Change your face, Minnesota!
10—Number 10 goes to Tom Kelly because he was the skipper of the last pro team in town to win a championship (sorry Lynx, you gals don’t count) and because hearing his scowl on Twins broadcasts means Bert Blyleven and his media guide are on vacation and that he’s gonna call Dick Bremer “Richard” every chance he gets.
11—Getting my roll on with Daunte Culpepper and his tiny hands. Even though his tenure in MN ended with a Lake Minnetonka boat party with hookers (who can blame him, my ultimate goal in life is to party on Minnetonka with hookers someday) and a torn ACL, him and Moss were fun as shit to watch, especially beating the Packers at their place in the playoffs in 2004.
12—Giving it to Adrian Peterson because bars don’t have 28 seats and I know for a goddamn fact he needs to be mentioned. 12 is for 2012, aka the year he was the Barry Bonds of the NFL and was an absolute fucking superstar and brought the Vikes to the playoffs on his
13—I literally can’t think of or find anyone worthy of this, so I’m gonna give it to Mike “Tell me what I do bad” James because I like bringing up how much he sucked. Let’s just fuckin move on.
14—One of the easiest decisions, this one goes to
Webb Kent Hrbek who’s got pretty much everyone in Minnesota covered—he
was one of the best guys on 2 World Series teams for those of you who I’d be
friends with, and has his own hunting show for those of you hicks who I probably
wouldn’t be friends with (yep, a shot at hunting which is about as overrated as
Wisconsin Badger Basketball).
15—I really wanna go Cristian Guzman because I thought he was sweet as fuck when I was like 10/11/12 on the Twins, but in reality he wasn’t actually all that good and I probably would have hated him if I knew anything about baseball back then. Instead, it’s gotta go to Andrew Brunette who scored the series winner against the Avs in the playoffs in ‘03 and knocked that fucking hot head Patrick Roy out of the NHL.
16—This seat will honor the guy whose name my grandpa still can’t pronounce and who made defense cool to Minnesota Little Leaguers in the early 2000s, Doug Mientkiewicz. His high socks and pine tar were sweet as fuck, he got in a fight while managing the Fort Myers Miracle last year, and I didn’t even have to google how to spell his last name.
17—One of the coolest guys to ever play in Minnesota, this goes to Pat Neshek, who had a super awesome sidearm delivery and was as enthusiastic about interacting with fans as Antonio Cromartie is about unprotected sex.
18—Randy Moss wore this number in his first preseason in purple and even though it’s a stretch, I can’t not mention him. Guy was fucking super good the whole time he was here, he played when he wanted to play, and he torched the Packers about as often as many of their fans brush their teeth (usually around twice a season). His only downfall was that he fucking HATED Tinucci’s buffet—he wouldn’t feed that shit to his dog.
19—This one goes to the guy who made the “big balls” dance famous, which I do every time I score a goal in boot hockey—the one and only Sam Cassell. He was the PG on the WCF Wolves team and he looked like a goddamn alien out there. Good times.
20—Can’t I just give this one to Moe Williams? I’m already almost 1500 words in. I can? Ok sweet. I mean, number 20 is pretty fucking weak, Ryan Suter was a Badger, and Moe caught that rig overhead lateral from Moss vs. the Broncos a while back. This is my thing; I can do whatever I want.
21—I was only gonna do 20, because 20 seats at a bar is pushing it a bit as is, but I absolutely needed to include my favorite athlete of all time Kevin Garnett. In addition to playing his ass off in Target Center for 12 years and bringing this franchise the only “success” and “winning seasons” it’s ever had, he gave me one of my favorite memories when I heard him scream “LET’S FUCKING GO MOTHERFUCKERS!!!!” before a Wolves game when I was like 9.