Monday, September 29, 2014

Saturday-Monday Review

It's been a big, big 3 days to be a Minnesota sports fan, so here I am to recap.

Saturday--The Little Brown Jug returns

I have a confession to make: I was sound asleep for the whole first half of Minnesota's romp at the Big House.  Absolutely out cold.  See, it was Tommie-Johnnie here in St. Paul and as a result, I woke up and drank alcohol violently for about 6 hours that morning and went home to sleep rather than go to the UST game.  Watching the Gophers was a priority as well, but that didn't go according to plan as a nap was in order.

Anyways, when I did wake up, it was nothing but pure joy for me for 2 quarters.  Gophers defense flying all over the field and Mitch Leidner finally looking like a quarterback made for enjoyable viewing.  As did shot after shot of Michigan fans in the stands looking like I've looked watching the Gophers roughly 1000 times.  I mean, this is pure gold right here.

As Kevin Malone once said, "it's just nice to win one."

Sunday--Teddy Time

Teddy Bridgewater's first start went according to plan better than almost anything in Vikings history (citation needed).  He was very solid and a few times spectacular in a well-planned game by Norv Turner and company.  NORV!!!!!!!!!!!  In true Vikings fashion however, he was injured late in the game and everyone had some nice Vietnam-like flashbacks as old friend Christian Ponder made his first appearance of the season.  That wasn't fun.

As a disclaimer, I think Bridgewater expectations should be tempered a bit.  After all, the Falcons defense is not exactly the Steel Curtain and Teddy made a lot of plays in an offense that was designed to ease him into action--lots of short and intermediate passes and a surprising performance by the running game made the degree of difficulty a tad lower.  On Thursday, the Vikes have to go and face an actual competent professional defense in a tough place to play.  That, coupled with Teddy's bum wheel to me spells a shellacking, but finally having a competent QB has Viking fans going ballistic (and well deserved).  

Monday--Ron Gardenhire is fired

After 4 years of completely inept Twins teams, our guy Gardy was let go.  I do think that his firing is a step in the right direction, but by no means was he the biggest problem with the team in this streak of 90+ losses.  I think that there are a lot deeper problems in the organization and they start right at the top with the Pohlad family and Terry Ryan.  That being said, almost no one in the history of baseball has kept a managerial job after a run of such ineptitude.

There were good times and bad times with Gardy.  Early on, moderate amounts of success were achieved, but to me the Gardy Era always left me with more to be desired.  6 division titles but only 1 playoff series was won.  The 2006 team was the best of my lifetime and it got swept out of the playoffs.  Etc, etc, etc.  

To me, the big problem still lies with the team's reluctance (or downright refusal) to embrace analytics.  Terry Ryan is too old school to do so and the ownership group is too out of touch to know how to run a good, modern baseball team.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Tommies vs Johnnies

Tomorrow is one of my favorite days of the year, and no I don't mean the day Wendy's is giving away free Baconators at a Gopher Hockey game.  It's Tommie-Johnnie, the one day a year that St. Thomas dresses up and plays pretend that it's an SEC school.  It's pretty cool.  In honor of drinking outside all day long tomorrow, I have prepared a list of Tommies and Johnnies for your pleasure.

Tommies (the good guys)

Tommie Brady--the handsomest and best QB of all time.  Hot wife.
Tommie Hanks--Castaway is a great movie
Tommie Selleck--great moustache
Tommie Collins--great drink (closed-circuit Plum's, make a drink called this and sell it on Thursdays for like $3.  That one's for free)
Tommie Watson--great golfer (Ryder Cup is this weekend, go US)
Tommie Petty--Last Dance with Mary Jane makes me tear up it's so good
Tommie Kelly--he won some World Series for the Twins or something

Johnnies (the bad guys)

Johnnie Wilkes Booth--guy shot Lincoln, what an asshole
Johnnie Hinckley--he shot a president too, and he didn't even die.  Not only is he a dick but he's an incompetent dick.  Fuck him.
Johnnie Starks--Reggie Miller and Michael Jordan owned him.  Guy sucked and was thin skinned
Johnnie Wayne Gracie--never heard of him, but google says he was a murderer.  Guy sucked.
Johnnie Cougar Mellencamp--couldn't decide what name he wanted and is a poor man's Springsteen

Johnnie Harbaugh--related Jim Harbaugh, so automatically an asshole.  Also: said Ray Rice is a good guy after he beat his wife.

So there you have it.  Tommies>Johnnies

Enjoy tomorrow, every one.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

1/3 of a Post About Some Awkward Fake Endorsements

These athlete endorsements aren't real but it would be really funny if they were!

JR Smith for Bentley—own the car he will have repossessed in 2020.
Jim Harbaugh for Values—Sportsmanship, don’t leave home without it
Antoine Walker for Pawn America—They give me a good price for all my memorabilia
Pete Carroll for Jesse Ventura’s show about conspiracies
Chris Paul for Microsoft—I’m exclusively a Surface guy now just as a thank you to Ballmer for bailing me out from Donald Sterling.
Curt Schilling for the Tea Party—After squandering millions from the state of Rhode Island he is totally against government spending, from experience!
Jonathon Papelbon’s appearance on NPR—I bet they wouldn’t like each other!
John Rocker for Rosetta Stone—learn to speak the languages of all the ethnicities this man hates
Marvin Harrison for his car wash—come get a fresh wash and wax, and hopefully not shot!
Antonio Cromartie for Trojan—I’m disappointed I actually took the time to type that joke.  My dad has made that joke.
Vince Wilfork for Slim Fast—he’s fat!
Floyd Mayweather, Jr. for Hooked on Phonics—he is bad at reading

Joe Mauer for Land O’ Lakes—he already has this endorsement, yet I came up with it independently

Monday, September 15, 2014

What to do about Adrian Peterson's mess?

This Adrian Peterson situation is an absolute disaster.  After being charged with essentially child abuse (whatever the official legal jargon actually is escapes me right now) on Friday, it's been a whirlwind of sadness, confusion, and people on twitter advertising their idiocy in broad daylight.  It's a situation I would classify as "icky," and I can't wait for it to be over.  

I'm not happy with how I've been able to compartmentalize and separate the generational talent Adrian Peterson and the alleged, now serial (after today's report of another child "disciplining") child abuser Adrian Peterson.  I think I land somewhere in the middle of all the different viewpoints I've heard in the past few days.  I'm unhappy with that.  There are the people that are loudly voicing their disgust with our fallen star (these are the ones that are correct) and there are people who are essentially saying that Adrian Peterson shouldn't be in trouble for giving his child a glorified spanking (these are the ones that are incorrect).  

When I sit down and think and read reports about what he allegedly did, I'm sad and disgusted.  I'm alarmed with the cavalier manner in which he seems to think this type of punishment for his children is ok, how he got them and how it's a cultural thing.  However, when I get away from actually thinking about the brutality, I start drifting towards thinking about how this is all going to blow over, and he's going to be back out there 8 yards deep before we know it.  I was justifying my desires for the Vikings to be good and how Peterson helps make that happen by saying that Peterson isn't necessarily vicious, but ignorant.  I'm wrong to do that.

It's not going to blow over.  I imagine this situation is similar to someone getting a DUI; you don't get pulled over the first time you do it.  He's *probably* been doing things like this for a while.  One report stated that his child said his old man has a "whooping room" and "likes belts and switches."  Good God.  Another report came out today in which he gave a different child a black eye.  The whole thing is cringeworthy, especially considering he lost a child a year ago to child abuse at the hands of another man.  Despite the Vikings tone-deaf reinstatement of Peterson this afternoon (a move that came from an ownership that wasn't present at the press conference, no less), I would be surprised if he suited up in purple ever again.

This leads me back to the dark place as a fan that allows me to hope he plays again and we all forget about this and he rushes for a lot of yards and we win the Super Bowl and all is well in paradise again.  What a dehumanizing way to look at sports.  It's pretty gross to think that I would probably be a pretty happy guy if this all went away and we started winning.  People's views on things like this are warped, and that's troubling.  It wouldn't be the first time people looked the other way when a legend showed that he isn't deserving of such a (for lack of a better term) God-like status.  Kirby Puckett did some pretty disturbing things to women in his day, yet he's regarded with the likes of Paul Bunyan around here.  He has a statue and there's a street named after him.  I wish we as a society could quit lionizing these sports heroes of ours.  There's no reason we should do this.  I support the Vikings because of where I grew up, not because of Adrian Peterson.  We root for laundry as Jerry Seinfeld once said.  We shouldn't look the other way (like I was starting to do) because the person in question wears our color laundry.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Paul George, Not a Smart Guy

I think I’ve found my professional calling over the past couple of weeks and I didn’t realize it until about 20 minutes ago.  Believe it or not, I haven’t been getting any formal education on this topic from my current institution (shocker I know), and I don’t even know where I’d look to get it.  That being said, I think a really good job fit for me would be to run twitter accounts for professional athletes.  Just twitter, none of my athletes would have facebook accounts, those are for the birds.  And in running those twitter accounts, my first order of business would be to tell my clients this: don’t tweet.  Ever.  Under any circumstances.  Seriously, if you’re in a burning building and twitter is your only modicum of communication, just go down with the ship.  My second order of business would be to ensure this by breaking their phone and throwing the pieces in a nearby body of water.  If I am not subsequently fired, I could have a prosperous professional relationship with these idiots that are good at sports.

In all seriousness, why do we care what athletes think?  The thing that set me off on this rant is a tweet that I saw this morning while I was eating breakfast penned by the ever-eloquent Paul George, who believe it or not, doesn’t exactly have an enlightened take on Ray Rice spitting on and beating his wife: 


We all know what happened there, so I refuse to discuss it further because it honestly makes me sick, but I want to discuss the question at hand.  Why do we care?  Obviously, Paul George, Anthony Smith, and 9/11 truther Jesse Ventura before them are celebrities, or at least quasi-celebrities, and they have our attention when they want it.  That coupled with a twitter account gives them a platform. 

Should it?  I’m going to go ahead and say that it shouldn’t.  Why would I care what Paul George thinks about not just this issue, but literally anything?  The only people whose opinions I value are my parents and my close personal friends.  Here’s another shocker, Paul George does not fall into either of those categories!  If he weren’t good at putting a basketball through a hoop, his opinion would mean just as much as mine to the general public.  It’s unfair to him and to us that what he says and does off the court is in any way newsworthy.  Nothing he's ever done has ever signaled that I should care what his opinion is on anything.  If instead of being a world-class athlete, he was a St. Thomas student that I was mildly acquainted with, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't give a shit about anything he has to say.  He'd be just another idiot with an opinion, and I don't give a shit.  People should think of athletes like this more often.  I feel like Us Weekly right now, because ATHLETES, THEY’RE JUST LIKE US (read: they have shitty opinions just as often as any other member of society).  As Charles Barkley once said, “I am not a role model.”  He was ahead of his time.  

Sunday, September 7, 2014

What Job Would He Have?

So it’s pretty obvious to anyone that knows me that I love baseball more than a fat kid loves cake (s/o 50 Cent).  I mean, I’ll watch a Padres-Diamondbacks August game where neither team has been relevant since before Memorial Day.  I get truly excited to spend my own money to go to Target Field in late September for a Cole DeVries start.  That being said, while watching all my baseball, my mind wanders.  I wonder which players like or dislike each other.  I wonder what kind of snide comments all Matt Garza’s teammates make about him.  I wonder what Brian Wilson orders at McDonalds (2 cheeseburger meal, drinks Mello Yello, wild card).  I wonder about the last time Yonder Alonso bought an Affliction tee.  I wonder if Caleb Thielbar has ever had a serious girlfriend.  Maybe I have ADD, I don’t know, but it’s funny (to me at least).  My favorite thing to brainstorm is what job each player looks like he would have if he wasn’t a baseball player.  Here are some of my thoughts (side note—if I ever offer you “some of my thoughts” on something, run the other way as fast you can, fair warning):

Joe Mauer—youth pastor
Mauer’s Uncle Abe honesty and all-around unwavering integrity scream youth pastor at your local Catholic Church.  The Mauer drinks Land O Lakes instead of beer jokes work with my view of him.  I remember someone at a confirmation thing I had to do once getting up in front of 100+ kids rolling their eyes and explaining that even though we really wanted to bang the girl we brought to dinner (Applebees) and a movie (something with Will Ferrell) in 10th grade, we shouldn’t, because she will be someone’s wife someday.  Also I can definitely picture him wearing a long sleeve American Eagle polo at age 27 and saying something like, “thanks to the cafeteria staff for that wonderful meal of sloppy joes, potato cakes, and jello.  Now let’s bow our heads in prayer.” 

Drew Butera—Apple Store employee
Drew Butera is not particularly good at baseball.  If baseball personnel would have realized this before he hit the major leagues (I wish baseball personnel would have made the same mistake with me just fyi), he would have gone to whatever his state’s version of St. Cloud State is, gotten a degree in business, not finance, not accounting, not marketing, just business, and then been unemployed for 18 months before swallowing his pride and getting a job at his local mall’s Apple Store.  His combination of good looks and yuppieness make him the perfect Apple Store employee.  He really, really thinks you should buy $30 of extra Cloud space.

Heath Bell—used car salesman
Heath Bell wears bad suits.  He knows everything about the changes in production that happened on Oldsmobiles between 1994 and 1995.  He agrees with you, middle aged father looking for a reliable car for your daughter to drive to school and marching band practice, that, yes, this Cutlass Supreme always was an underrated model, and since this particular number was only owned for 11 years by an elderly woman that, yes, it was indeed kept in great condition until her unfortunate move to Guardian Angels Nursing Home.  It’s fuel efficient.  It’s safe.  It’s economical.  He can even wiggle on the price tag of $3200.  Heath Bell is a used car salesman.

Eric Sogard—cool high school English teacher
It’s the glasses.  You know this guy was the high school athlete, like the guy in American Pie that blew off his last lacrosse game in order to sing in the choir and chase down the girl he liked.  He’s got a real sensitive side to him.  In college, he fell in love with smoking weed and American Classics was the only class he would show up for.  5 and a half years later, he had a degree.  Guy fell in love with Southern Gothic style writing, and Hunter S. Thompson just speaks to him, you know.  Now, he hands out copies of The Great Gatsby and wants everyone to cherish the first time they read this marvel.  He rides a bike to work.  Also, every good looking girl in your class has the biggest crush on him, even though he dates the hot economics teacher.

Nick Swisher—Bartender in Panama City who loves his job
Nick Swisher is a bigger bro than the president of your friendly neighborhood frat.  I mean, if you’re early twenties, that’s fine.  I mean, it’s annoying, but generally socially acceptable.  But Nick Swisher is on the downhill side of his career.  He’s mid-30s though.  But he still wants to be 22.  So he did what anyone faced with a third life crisis does (well, not really), he moved to Panama City and got a job bartending for college kids during spring break.  You didn’t really ask him, but he just fell in love with it here, bro, and this is the only life he can imagine.  He still dresses like he’s 22 and every year on the first night, he can’t wait to get to work and check out the talent, bro.

That’s enough for now, except as an aside, I’d like to say that I really wanted to write one about Josh Hamilton working at a Circuit City while smoking a bunch of weed and hooking up with girls who are generally wild cards well into his mid-30’s.  Like he’s essentially Seth Rogan’s character in 40 Year Old Virgin, but I thought it would be bad taste given his history essentially doing that for 4 years, save for the job selling RCAs.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Vikings Season Preview (DEPRESSION)

Guess what you guys, there’s football tonight!  I mean, it is two of the teams I can’t stand the most, but the Seahawks are good, so the Packers might lose, and the misery of Packer fans is good for morale as a whole.  Anyways, I’m not going to write about how much I hate Aaron Rodgers’ stupid smug face or that big fatso Andy Reid-impersonator Mike McCarthy (not much anyways), I’m going to instead write about my beloved (reviled?) Vikings, who are as a general rule going to be bad again (unless they’re good, that would be fun).  Before my preview though, I’d like to unveil my idea of regional Monday Night Football theme songs. 

That means every market gets its own version of the song.  Hank Williams, Jr. wouldn’t be able to sing them all though because he is too busy hating gay people and Democrats (more on this later (not really)).  In Minnesota, there are some good artists that could play the song.  Bob Dylan is from Hibbing.  Prince wrote a crappy song about the Vikings once.  Atmosphere is a thing.  But since the theme of the Minnesota MNF song is depressing, I’m going to have to say that GB Leighton is the artist of this particular version because when I hear his/their music, I get depressed.  Remember that Twins Territory song?  That sucked.  Anyways, it would go like this.

Bum bu-bu bummmmm da na da na
Da da da da dada, duuuuu nuuuuu nuuuuu nuuuuuuu
Are you ready
Are you ready
Are you ready, ready
Are you ready for some DEPRESSION?
Some Monday night misery
Hey, this is "Rocking" Randall Hank
Ready to get the mild distractions from the cold weather started
We got the teams on the field
And we turned down the lights
All my rowdy friends are back for Monday night

So yeah that’s pretty much all I have come up with so far, except for this: remember when at the end of the song when we were kids the helmets of the two teams would collide into a big explosion?  I was thinking for the beginning of Vikings games, there could just be a big Vikings helmet spontaneously combust inside the Metrodome, causing the roof to collapse and snow cover the field.  What's that, the sound of TV executives lighting cigars and green lighting it?  That's what I just heard.

Offense Preview
Quarterback: Matt Cassel is the starter, Teddy Bridgewater is the backup and he’s pretty cool, but it’s important to note that Christian Ponder is still on the roster, and if he sees any time on the field, you can find me in my bedroom crying.  Hey Ponder, has anyone ever told you that you might be a lefty?  Just a thought.  Best case scenario—Cassel plays really well with good weapons all around him and the Vikings are good!  Worst case scenario—Ponder does Ponder throw punt things while my roommate says things like, “you know, he throws a pretty good ball, he just can’t throw it very far.”  Or this:
Sorry, everyone.

Running Back: 

etc, etc, etc

Receiver: Cordy Patterson is really, really fun (#analysis).  Also, Greg Jennings has a pulse and proved as such once a professional quarterback started playing last year (not to beat a dead horse, but thx alot PONDER).  Also, Kyle Rudolph is good and he just got a raise, which is nice for him, I'm sure.  I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that John Carlson is gone, which means all that came from his tenure in purple is one epic freakout I had last year in game 2 when he fielded a squib kick at the end of the game against the Bears and rather than just go down and give the offense a chance for a hail mary, he proceeded to try and run it back, and fumble the fucking ball in the process.  In my rant after the game, I compared me being mad at the Vikings to a dog owner being mad at his dog taking a shit on the floor every day.  You can be mad at the dog, but after a while whose fault is it, really?

Offensive line: I can't break much down on the offensive line, because I don't actually know a lot about the intricacies of football (I'm what they call a rube), but I do know that I saw Matt Khalil at Canterbury Park for the Kentucky Derby one year, and he is indeed a large human (confirmed).  Also, I have to mention one of my favorite athletes of all time, Bryant McKinnie, who used to be an offensive lineman for the Vikings (topical).  I loved him because he made millions and millions of dollars, yet had the money saving strategy of a homeless person.  The guy literally blew like $50 million buying champagne and hookers.  He produced my favorite line in my favorite wikipedia article of all time too. "McKinnie allegedly picked up a naked woman, placed her on the bar and performed cunnilingus on her in front of the crew and other guests."  Awesome, just awesome.  Also, unpopular Minnesota opinion alert--Matt Birk is kind of a cock.

Defensive line: I have no idea if these guys are supposed to be any good, but Sharrif Floyd kind of sucked last year.  Also, Brian Robison and Everson Griffen were locked up to big contract extensions, which seems like a questionable idea at best.  Anytime you can give a guy with less than 20 career sacks in 4 years $42 million and $20 million guaranteed, you have to do it.  

Linebackers: They kind of suck.  Chad Greenway used to be good (not great), but most middle aged Vikings fans hold him in higher regard than Joe Mauer (read: they're idiots).  The linebackers are supposed to be the heart of the defense (I just made that up I think) but last year, they allowed a lot of plays like this to happen.
I will use literally any excuse to post this video.
Defensive backs: Xavier Rhodes was a huge disappointment.  Marcus Sherels kind of sucks.  I'm not even sure AJ Jefferson knows the difference between a post pattern and a math textbook.  At least they cut Chris Cook, who was as bad at football as he was at not beating his girlfriend.  Among their other notable cuts is Mistral Raymond, who I will personally miss because I will no longer be able to make the joke about his name actually being Missedtackle Raymond.  So long, sweet prince.

Special teams: Blair Walsh is really good, actually a nice job by Spielman for getting him in the 5th round.  A good kicker is really valuable if you have a good team (I'm just saying things now, I have no idea how much it actually matters), and Cordy Patterson will run back no fewer than 3 kicks for touchdowns, which save for Adrian rumbling for an 80 yard TD is the most exciting play in football to me.  However, their coach sounds like he's a real dick, and that sucks.

Week 1 prediction: fuck it, maybe we will win, I don't know.