Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Junk #3

Originally posted on "Is It Sports?" by Ryan. You can again see Ryan's frustration with me for not posting stuff quickly in this post, which led to the creation of this site. Ryan talks about baseball and hockey suspensions, Star Wars, Drew Rosenhaus, and washed up 90s comedians.

Back once again for another edition of The Junk for August (even though it may not get posted until September).

- First, let’s talk about hockey. And baseball. Together. There is an uproar in both sports right now about relegated suspensions of a player. For hockey, Vancouver Canuck Todd Bertuzzi was allowed to return to the game after being suspended for what was effectively 20 games after his sucker punch to Colorado Av Steve Moore. Baseball is dealing with its own relegated suspension, that of Texas Ranger Kenny Rogers and his attack on not one, not two, but three cameramen. I am likewise outraged. But only by one of the two.

Now, Todd Bertuzzi’s attack was vicious, to be sure, but the truth is, enforcers do that type of thing, though not typically with the tragic results they had. Perhaps if I likened that to baseball the point would be made better. If Kenny Rogers had done the equivalent in a baseball game, i.e. protect his players, he would have thrown at a batter. Now, let’s say the throw was retaliatory and had caused massive injuries, as was the case with Bertuzzi. Kenny Rogers has just nailed someone in the face, and he is suspended for about 5 games. His intent was just the same, and a baseball to the face can end a career just as easily as what Bertuzzi did to Moore can end a hockey career. Therefore, a 20 game suspension was justified, almost a little overkill. But with the reputation hockey has, a lengthy suspension was absolutely necessary.

Now reverse that. Think of what would happen if you did what Kenny Rogers did. Let’s say that the delivery man who annoyed you was bringing some General Tso’s chicken to one of your coworkers. You walk past him, tell him to leave, but he can’t. He has to deliver Chinese food like the cameraman had to deliver the sports report. He doesn’t leave, so you knock the food out of his hands. He tries to pick it up, so you shove it in his face. You would get arrested, right? So then, on your way to the police station, you see a hot dog vendor, and you verbally abuse him where everyone can see you. Now tell me. Would you get fired? I think you would. Kenny Rogers, for doing what was essentially the same thing, was suspended for less than two weeks. Not only that, he missed only two starts. If there was anyone who should have had the lifetime suspension, it was Kenny Rogers.

The hardest part of this is that the commissioner could mandate Bertuzzi’s fair suspension. Shiam Das, an independent arbiter mandated the Rogers reduced suspension. Bud Selig, as much as I can’t stand him, shouldn’t have his power usurped like that.

- Stay with me here. This is for all you people who have seen the original Star Wars movie and at the same time, have listened to the Ying Yang Twins. Ok. There is a sound associated with both that is the exact same. When Luke Skywalker got attacked by the Sandpeople and Obi Wan Kenobi scares them off he makes a noise like some sort of dragon or something. Now, think of every single Ying Yang Twins song, for reference, how about The Whisper Song? Now, right before the chorus, they do that “WHOOOOO” thing that they do in every song they have ever made. It’s the SAME sound that Obi Wan made.

Ok, now I feel ridiculous.

- Why is Drew Rosenhaus famous? Well, clearly, he should be in the news what with his association with professional athletes, but seriously. Does he need to be on Letterman? Does he need to be interviewed repeatedly by ESPN? No. And for the record, Pat Riley wore the exact same haircut much better.

- I’m thrilled that the talentless comedians of the early nineties are beginning to fall either flat on their face or into roles that suit them better. David Spade has fallen into the roll of an annoying telemarketer, which is the perfect fit. Rob Schneider has another movie out. Nobody will think it’s funny, but it will be replayed on Spike or TBS at least three times a week. Then there is Pauley Shore. I guess he has some show on some obscure network. Nobody is going to watch it.

Actually, I just saw Shore on Letterman the other night (wow two mentions in one post) and he clearly realizes that in his previous life, he was annoying as hell. Kudos to him on self awareness and personal growth.

Still no sightings of Carrot Top, however.

- With the Twins season falling apart as rapidly as a West African democracy, I need to find other ways to spend my time. Madden ’06 is now in my possession. While there are thousands of other reviews out there for you to look into, let me tell you something. It’s the greatest 50 dollars I’ve ever spent. Ever. So I need to go now. - Ryan

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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Baseball Brawls and Home Field Advantage

Originally posted on "Is It Sports?" I think the intro to the conversation says it all...

Ryan and I still do talk online a lot, but we've been very bad about posting the actual entertaining conversations we had, which was the original premise on our site to be begin with, and now we're almost too much like Page 2. But here's an entertaining one we had back on July 21 about brawls we've seen and ideas for extreme home field advantage. Enjoy! - Steve

Ryan: also, its like the Tigers vs. the world now... have they brawled with the Sox yet?
Steve: no which is weird
Steve: I need to go to a few more games
Steve: maybe they'll play like an interleague makeup against the Phillies and brawl with them after a "message" pitch
Ryan: didn't they couple years ago?
Steve: the Sox and Tigers did
Steve: 2000
Steve: Keith Foulke got a black eye
Ryan: I'm trying to think of when the Indians and Tigers would have went at it... I know this is the first the Twins and Tigers have had a problem
Steve: I'm sure they've fought before
Ryan: well yeah, but recently I mean
Ryan: and why fight the Royals? half the team wasn't in the majors at the beginning of the year
Steve: I think half the team wasn't born yet
Ryan: The Twins always have problems with the Indians
Ryan: but for as heated as the division has been b/w the Twins and Sox, there really have never been any major brawls
Steve: not really
Ryan: Just the Indians in my favorite on field incident ever
Steve: what was that?
Ryan: Hunter gets drilled, I think by Baez when he was still with them so he picks up the ball and fires his own 90 mph fastball right back at the pitcher
Steve: haha I remember that now
Ryan: "I was just giving him the ball back"
Steve: haha
Steve: those excuses are great
Steve: I saw an actual brawl once at a White Sox game
Ryan: against?
Steve: Blue Jays
Steve: Jack McDowell hit Mark Whitten with a pitch and he charged the mound
Ryan: you don't see as many charges of the mound anymore
Steve: he got one good shot in on Black Jack, but then got thrown to the ground and pummeled by Carlton Fisk
Ryan: nice
Steve: that was the first time I ever saw the Sox win
Ryan: my brother was at the game where Chad Moeller went into the stands at Wrigley... he had to leave early though (class trip)
Ryan: The Twins have a 5 game series against Detroit this week
Steve: oh that sucks
Ryan: nobody wants that much time in Detroit
Steve: at least they aren't staying in a hotel there
Ryan: where would they be staying?
Steve: suburbs
Ryan: oh.. ok
Steve: at least I'd think so
Steve: there really aren't' hotels downtown
Ryan: You could go to work, and their is Juan Rincon with a duffel bag sleeping in the elevator
Ryan: ok... so Jason Johnson was pissed because Nick Punto bunted in a run
Steve: that would be awesome
Steve: because our elevators are the big industrial ones that can carry a car or 2
Ryan: Shannon Stewart is in the break room, sleep in his eyes getting a cup of coffee
Steve: that would be an awesome home field advantage
Steve: make the visitors sleep in random places in the Pontiac Assembly Center
Ryan: Or at random office complexes
Steve: I'm surprised no one has tried to crash here
Ryan: Haha... Notre Dame is at Purdue... put the offense up at Alcoa and the Defense in the Caterpillar plant
Steve: that would be so cool
Steve: I'd love to see a season of that
Steve: see what the home win % would be
Ryan: they might have to do that in the NHL
Steve: like the Sox, housing projects across the street
Ryan: "Thank you for calling TCF... Yes! I think we can fit a couple Montreal Canadiens in the Foshay Tower"
Ryan: That's an old building in Minneapolis, by the way
Steve: haha yeah I can see it
Steve: saves money
Ryan: There are widespread rumors that the Foshay is haunted too... which would add another element of suspense
Steve: nice
Steve: It can be the MLB's, "Get a feel for the city" promotion
Ryan: Or, for the hockey, an outreach thing, get to know the players
Steve: reaching out to the kids in the projects
Ryan: "Daddy, who is the Russian guy sleeping on the couch?" "Oh, that's Slava Kozlov, honey"

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Monday, August 01, 2005

The Catholic Minnesota Twins and Ryan, a Brief History

Originally posted on "Is It Sports?" by Ryan. Ryan discusses how the Twins are a symbol of his personal being to the non-Catholic, non-Minnesotan world. Pretty deep.

Recently, Steve and I were talking about baseball in Chicago. I didn’t understand how anyone from a certain town could hate a team from their own town with as much venom as Steve hates the Cubs. I mean, He’s from Chicago. The Cubs are from Chicago. Why can’t you like both the White Sox and the Cubs?

He tried to explain the whole history of there being two leagues and what not. But why would that matter? There were two pennants to shoot for, why couldn’t you root for each team to gain there individual prizes? With two teams, I would have thought, you have two chances to achieve a world series title. Turns out, the baseball really wasn’t the issue. By Steve’s own admission, the difference was in the fan bases. The North Siders fell into a certain stereotype while the South Siders did likewise and both were at odds with each other. Basically, they relied on their teams to represent them and took their resentment of the other stereotypical fan base out on the team.

Now that I had that explanation, it made me think. You know, that isn’t unlike why I love the Twins. I don’t have the bitter animosity towards any group of people that Steve does, but I do expect my teams to represent me. That was my biggest problem with Randy Moss. He gave up on us. He was disrespectful, not only to opponents, but to his own teammates. That’s just not the Minnesota Way. And none of my friends, neighbors or family have EVER run over an officer of the law.

The Twins, on the other hand, were the first team that really caught my eye. I was 4 when they beat the Cardinals to win their first World Series in 1987, and I was just coming into the years where I had conscious memory. This was how baseball was. The Twins were the best. They won World Series.

Then, there were a few years where the Twins audaciously didn’t get to the World Series. The nerve! That’s when the World Series was built up as a crowning achievement and a spectacle. I saw Chris Sabo and his ridiculous glasses. There was the earthquake game between the A’s and Giants. Not to mention, I had just started little league, so I was beginning to actually understand the game and its complexities.

Meanwhile, I was getting into football too. The Vikings weren’t nearly the local connection that the Twins were. It was national television, so I didn’t get the familiarity with the announcers, and there were too many people on the team to identify. But football was cool. Cool uniforms, guys hitting each other. I loved it, but I loved a lot of different football teams.

Then 1991 rolled around and that changed everything. First, the Vikings traded for Herschel Walker, and Darrin Nelson, my favorite Viking at the time, was sent to Dallas. In the summer, people were noticing the Twins, who were making another strong push at a title. The Twins were winners again.

Now, I had gone to Catholic grade school all my life, a Catholic church every Sunday. Everyone I knew was Catholic, and that’s just the way it was to me. It helped that every time he came to bat, Kirby Puckett would execute the Sign of the Cross. My hero was Catholic too! I was Catholic. My friends were Catholic. My TEAM was Catholic. (Turns out my mother is Lutheran). The fact remained, this was a Minnesota team, playing
baseball, which I played, showing outward Catholicism. Definitely the good guys.

Well, the Twins won the 1991 World Series against the Braves in the Series where I learned that baseball is exciting and that when the Twins go to the playoffs, they win the World Series. 1991 solidified the fact that the Twins were my team, through thick and thin.

That’s when things became very, very thin. The Twins started stumbling downhill up until the strike year in 1994. Kent Hrbek retired that year. Then Puckett got glaucoma and retired, then Chuck Knoblauch turned Jim Rice on us and got traded to the Yankees. Life was tough in Minnesota and Twins town. The Vikings flailed in the ’98 playoffs, cementing the fact that the Twins were the top game in town.

Bud Selig and Carl Pohlad, the owner of the team, conspired to shut the team down at the turn of the millennium, however. Sneaky and swift-witted lawmakers made sure that didn’t happen, though, as they pointed out that the Twins had another 5 years left on a lease at the state owned Metrodome. So the government made sure the team didn’t die. Clearly, this was Minnesota’s team, my team.

Then I went off to school and had to deal with people that were A) not Catholic and B) not Minnesotan. They didn’t see the Twins as the good guys anymore. I didn’t see it as an affront to my personal being, but it was new. I did see the Twins in a new light, however. They were my representatives to the world. Wherever I go, baseball fans will associate me with the Twins. They are letting me down this season, and that hurts, deeply and personally.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way. - Ryan

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