Thursday, February 22, 2007

Jeff: I'm In a Glass Case of Emotion!

Wait, wait let me say something...WAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

Yeah it's been an emotional week so excuse me if I get a little weepy during this post. Dan, a good friend of the site (as well as most of our tens of readers), is a proud new papa! Dan, I'm so happy for you and Megan for the entry of Elijah Daniel Porta into the world. We'll be praying for the three of you that things go welll, and that one day he'll be able to grow an epic beard like his dad. Actually judging by the hair on his head he could have one by kindergarten.

Tonight the emotions continued as I watched the series finale of the OC, capping the best 3 year run of any cheesy teen drama ever! EVER I say! What will I do without Sandy Cohen in my life? What about Seth Cohen? Or Taylor...ok I don't even know Taylor's last name, but she will be missed! I blame Jer, Dan, and Sam for starting me on this a few years ago when I lived in the Dakotas and had nothing else to do. Wait I still don't have anything to do...ok getting emotional again.

What else? Busy but not busy time in sports right now with only hoops going (or if you live in Canada only hockey going. Seriously it's insane here. Just insane. It's hockey everyday all day.). NBA trade deadline flatlined with no big deals, which reminds me for like the 15th year in a row not to get excited next year when it rolls around because again nothing big will happen. I have a feeling I'll be having this chat with myself for a 16th time next year.

I'm excited for March Madness but I can't even begin to comment on it because I've seriously seen about 4 games this year. Florida should win the whole thing but probably won't, and of course I'll anxiously fill out a bracket only to watch it go down in flames by the end of the first weekend.

Still a lot of NFL and baseball talk going on too. (By the way it's an unofficial mwsr rule to only refer to the NFL as the NFL instead of calling it "The National Football League" like everybody else does. We like to be different here. But then again you already knew that) Has it REALLY come to this as a Vikings fan? I'm getting excited that David Carr could possibly be our QB for 2007? Or Byron Leftwich? Jeff Garcia? Why not Doug Flutie? Ok so probably not Doug Flutie, but I wouldn't rule anybody out as the Vikes QB for 2007, especially with Chilly's potential to continue recycling old Eagles quarterbacks. If he tries to bring Rodney Pete, Ron Jaworski or one of the Detmer brothers to training camp, seriously, I will LOSE IT! (I was about to make a "The Champ" joke until I realized Jer is the only one who would get it. Nevermind then)

Oh, and we're all in agreement that the Vikes DO NOT want Brady Quinn in the draft right? Right? Not only is he overrated (I was compiling a Troy Smith vs Brady Quinn comparison, which I thankfully didn't get around to completing. Still Quinn's numbers vs good competition were not pretty. I'll dig those up as we get closer to the draft) but when the Purple and the Pack play Fox announcers would blab about Quinn's sister being married to Packer AJ Hawk and then they would show her not-so-hotness wearing a half Vikes-half Pack jersey and then the earth would explode because I'm pretty certain that the melding of those 2 jerseys would cause an end to the world. Especially with her wearing it. So in summation let's not draft Brady Quinn ok? Good.

Have I mentioned I'm really excited for baseball? Good article in the Strib today (or maybe it was yesterday? Is there a worse constructed site than the Strib's?) about Jason Kubel's rehab from yet another injury. It's probably easier to list what body parts the guy hasn't hurt than what he has, but once again the Little Engine That Could is counting on him to hit. And really how he and every other batter not named Mauer or Morneau hits thie year is an important story. As unsettled as the rotation is behind Johan, with baseball's best bullpen, I'm confident they'll piece together 5-6 good innings most night from their starters. What's going to the real key for this team in a division with a LOT of firepower (good gracious have you SEEN the lineups the Tribe, Sox and Tiggers are rolling out there this year?) is getting offense from their whole lineup. What did Ozzie Guillen call them? The Piranhas? If you know anything about statistics (I somehow passed a college-level stats class but don't pretend to know much) you've heard of regression to the mean. I believe Mauer and Morneau are capable of repeating their 2006 stats, but what about the other guys? You hope Cuddyer, Barlett and Hunter will be close to their career years of last season, especially with Torii Hunter playing for his last big contract (altho if he hits .278 with 31 HR's again, I'd, well, Jer make something up. I'd be willing to do just about anything if Hunter hits those marks again because I'm positive it won't happen. Somebody make a bet and I'll take it). But Nick Punto, a career .260 hitter hits .290 and was way above his career SLG and OBP numbers, and Luis Castillo is entering his 30's and his greatest asset, his legs, are starting to go, so you'll be lucky to get a .296/.358/.370 out of him again. And you're looking to fill the rest of the lineup with some combo of Kubel, Rondell White, Jeff Cirillo, and Lew "taking-the-beloved-overrated-Minnesota-athlete-torch from-Wally-Szczerbiak" Ford. I'm not saying it can't be done because this IS the LLTC after all, but it's something to keep an eye on.

Well I'm spent. Have a good weekend everybody.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Jeff: KG Staying Put

Ok so that's not exactly earth-shattering. Although Jer and I remain proponents of dealing KG now, I'm going to say it's 100% certain he'll be a Timberwolf at least through the end of the season. Restating my opinion on trading him for probably the 9432nd time, Chicago can and would offer the right amount of young talent, expiring contracts, and possibly a draft pick to make the deal worth it. You HAVE to get at least 2 of those 3 things, and after this season's over, I'm not sure such a deal exists. But he's staying so I'm trying to see how the Wolves are going to build around Garnett with no real assets to deal. Short of winning the lottery in May and ending up with Greg Oden or Kevin Durant (and that's assuming both come out, which I don't believe is a lock, especially for Oden), can this team be more than a borderline playoff team? It means Randy Foye will have to continue to blossom, Rashad McCants needs to bounce back strong, and Mark Blount needs to continue to play like he never has before. A starting 5 of KG, Blount, Craig Smith, McCants, and Foye shows promise, but in a conference with Dallas, Phoenix, San Antonio, Houston AND the Lakers (not to mention the Jazz and Nuggets in your own division), that still doesn't guarantee you contention. It's going to mean hitting a homerun in the draft regardless of where they draft, and making a few shrewd moves in free agency to shore up the bench and add contributors.

I'm skeptical, but with the The Mayor Freddy Hoiberg running the show next year instead of McHale, there;s at least hope of some competency. Outside of the guys mentioned in their starting 5, another key will be trying to deal the rest of the guys with bad contracts for either cap relief or contributors. With Isaiah Thomas no longer allowed to make deals in New York, the chances of that happening are slim, but you just never know. Rumors of floating of a possible 3 way trade between the Wolves, Cavs, and Kings. The Kings would get Mike James, Cleveland would get Bibby, and they didn't say what the Wolves would get, but hopefully some cap relief would be taking the place of the disappointing James. It's not a blockbuster for Minnesota, but it's certainly a start. Would I love to see them get involved in some of the big name trades being thrown out there like Jason Kidd, Vince Carter, and Pau Gasol? Of course, but because of McHale's blunders, we're back to the same problem they had during the Iverson sweepstakes: they have no talent, expiring contracts, or draft picks to deal.

However, the Wolves won't be alone in not making a big splash between now and Thursday's deadline. Despite a ton of rumors about Kidd, Carter, Gasol, Bibby and others, according to's Marty Burns it looks like none of the big guys will probably go anywhere.
Of course it's easier as a fan to sit here and criticize GM's for making moves that I feel should be made, but I still have to wonder why Rod Thorn wouldn't deal Kidd to the Lakers. Kidd' value will never be higher, and his contract goes sky high starting next year as he gets older and worse. Burns says that the big hang-up in the Kidd deal is 2nd year Lakers center Andrew Bynum. I understand why the Lakers wouldn't want to include him, but with Kobe, Kidd, and Odom it's not like you're playing for the future. That lineup wouldn't make LA automatic frontrunners in the ridiculously loaded West, but they'd definitely be contenders, and have a great shot at it. Bynum COULD end up being a great center, but you've got to risk that to get a guy like Kidd. As for New Jersey, if it's coming down to the deadline and the Lakers still refuse to budge, you've got to shallow hard and do it without Bynum. Kidd's going to more difficult to trade after this year, and nye impossible in the coming seasons. The available package without Bynum wouldn't be ideal, but it'd be better than nothing. And Vince Carter? I'm guessing the hold-up here is that Carter WILL opt-out of his deal at the end of the year, and teams like the Clippers or others don't want to give up some valuable pieces for a rental. And as I've been wondering why the Magic, a destination considered by some to be #1 on Carter's list as a free agent, wouldn't go ahead and get him NOW for the stretch run in a very winnable Leastern Conference, well I think I just answered my own questions. Why give up players or draft picks when you'll probably get him as a free agent anyways? To me that has to be the thinking. Finally on Gasol, I don't blame Jerry West one bit for holding onto Gasol. They've got the 2nd worst record in the league, and a great chance of landing one of those top 2 picks. With Oden or Durant plus Gasol, Rudy Gay, and some cap room to add some guards, they're right back in the playoff hunt next year. So unless the Bulls meet Jerry's request for the moon, stars, and everything under it (which they won't), he's right to hang onto him.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Happy Valentine's Day to all, even though I think it's one of those contrived Hallmark Holidays that force people to show affection and not be spontaneous or romantic. And yes I'm single and will spend my evening watching the Canucks/Wild game and a probably-disappointing-Lost episode. So in the contrived and forced spirit of love, let me talk about what I truly and openly love (and not in a John Amaechi kind of love)most in the world of sports today:
Thats right, as you sit there in sub-zero temperatures (or for me rainy and 50 degrees again), know that in sunny Arizona and Florida the boys of summer are checking in! It's times like this when I realize how much I LOVE baseball. It's that time of year when everyone's an optimist (well unless you live in Kansas City, Tampa, or DC) because if things break right this year maybe, just maybe, your team can be a contender. My Mariners? A long shot in a weak division but anything's possible. If nothing else I've got King Felix Hernandez, who actually came into camp in shape this year. Last year he was getting Young Doc Gooden comparisons before showing up to spring training with a body that looked like David Wells- if he had eaten Bartolo Colon and John Kruk. This year? He looks like ripped! He's muscular! It's like he actually cares about his conditioning and work habits and might even try to live up to all of his hype! (I'm going to pretend that even though he's from Venezuela and spent all winter down there, and even though the highest percentage of baseball players that have been caught using steroids have been latin, that he's doing all of this naturally). So bring on the Young Doc comparisons, and restart the Felix vs Liriano debates, because the King has returned!
For you Twins fans there's a lot to love here, other than the Liriano injury and your fine elected officials approving a Twins stadium WITHOUT A FINALIZED DEAL ON THE LAND!!! And you wonder why fewer and fewer people vote these days? But on the bright side Mauer's resigned, Morneausy's got at least one more year and hopefully longer (unless, you know, he wanted to sign as a free agent with the "hometown" M's next year), and the pitcher and bullpen on the planet returns intact. Seems to me like they've got enough cheap options in the rotation behind Santana to make a run. Being in baseball's toughest division? Well we'll save that for another day. For now, rejoice because spring training is almost upon us!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Jeremy: Adding Glen Taylor to the List

It's possible that the readers our there see me as a bit of a doom and gloom kind of fellow.
That's fine.
Is there some way that we can fire Glen Taylor? I realize that he's the owner of the Wolves, so he doesn't exactly have a boss, but is there some way that we can get rid of him? Vote him off the island? Something?
This from Sid's column today:
"Regardless of whether or not the Wolves make the playoffs, Randy Wittman will definitely be back as head coach next season, according to team owner Glen Taylor.
Taylor said he is not in the mood to change coaches for a while.
'Randy had a three-year contract as an assistant coach to assist [fired coach Dwane] Casey when he came back from Orlando,' Taylor said. 'I redid his contract, paying him a bonus now that he is a head coach.'"
I sincerely hope that "Taylor said he is not in the mood to change coaches for a while," is Sid adding his own scotch-laden spin on things, and not what Taylor actually said, because if this was a literal quote from Taylor, then go ahead and board up the franchise.
Please do not take this to mean that I don't like Randy Whitman. Based on the length of time that he's been at the helm, how could he possibly be judged as a head coach, especially considering what he has inherited?
But for Taylor to just give Whit the keys to the castle and not even be considering or evaluating what the coach is doing or what other options there are for this club... well that's just foolish.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Jeff: Fitzgerald to the Vikes? We Wish!

Reports from the Pioneer Press, which have been picked up by, ponder whether the Vikes could or should package the #7 pick in the upcoming draft with other goodies to Arizona for Minnesota native Larry Fitzgerald Jr. The move would be to not only to upgrade the team, but to also appease season ticket holders and give them a reason to renew. Is there any substance to this move? I really doubt it. Tell me why Arizona's going to part with one of the league's best receivers who's just entering his prime, has a reasonable contract, and is a great kid off the field to do it. Arizona's not, I repeat, NOT that far away from contention. As they've needed for seemingly years, the team needs help on the O-line, and I don't see how getting the Vikes #7 pick would help that, unless they used it to take Penn State tackle Levi Brown. The best tackle in the draft, and the guy the Cards would really want, is Scony's Joe Thomas, but he should be gone in the first 3 picks. Already holding the 5th pick, perhaps they'd package both to move up to get Thomas, but I just can't see how parting with Fitzgerald helps them improve. Like the Vikings they need to encourage people to show up, and getting rid of its best player doesn't seem like a good way to do that.

The more I think about this I know this is just pure speculation, because what the Cards need- O-line help and anything on defense- the Vikes certainly don't have extra assets in those areas to deal. So there's no way this happens. However it brings up the larger issue of Minnesota not only being in desparate need of a playmaker, but an identity. Jer's brought this up before, and I totally agree that we need something as fans to get excited about and there's nothing there right now. Say what you want about Randy Moss or Daunte Culpepper while they were in purple, but at least they were exciting to watch and gave us a chance to win every Sunday.

I'll be the first to stand up and say it: I MISS RANDY MOSS!! He was crazy and could act like a jerk and although he "played when he wanted to play" I always felt like we had a chance with him out there. For all the headaches he caused, I'd take him back. I really would. I'm not sure what that says about me as a Vikings fan, but that's the way I feel. Look at the current team now. Is there ANYBODY on that roster that excites you? Anybody that makes you say "yes we've got a chance this year!!" The conference will be mediocre again, and it's really truly anyone's for the taking. But we need a playmaker, whether at quarterback or receiver, to make it happen. We've got like 3 solid months to discuss what the Vikes should or shouldn't do in the draft, but we need somebody to hang our collective hats on, and there's only one player I want: CALVIN JOHNSON! They'd have to go up to 3 to get him, which Chilly would never do because, well, that's another story entirely. But still, some draft folks call him a bigger, faster version of Fitzgerald, with a similar demeanor and work ethic. How can you not want that guy? Although it's fun I know better than to start taking these mock drafts too seriously right now, but just seeing the Vikings taking a Ted Ginn Jr scares me. CJ's the man to solve all of our problems. Do you think if we send an email barrage to Winter Park telling them to trade up for CJ that they'd do it? Didn't think so either, but just thought I'd throw it out there. Speaking of which, if you've got better ideas on how to improve this team and make them watchable next year, PLEASE, feel free to share. We'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Jeremy: Thoughts on Mediocrity

So Jeff likes to make fun of me for not finding enough time to post anything on this site. That's funny, Jeffrick, real funny. Especially coming from a guy that doesn't have a job.
Okay, that was a low blow. I admit it. I'm sorry Jeffrick, and I'll say it, I miss you.

*The Wolves are horrible. It's just sad how bad they are considering how good Kevin Garnett is. In my opinion (which is quite obviously and admittedly incredibly biased) KG is still, quietly because his team is horrible, one of the 5 best players in the NBA. Can you even begin to imagine how bad these guys would be without KG? It would be epic!!! The Celtics and Grizzlies are tied for the worst record in the league today with 12 wins each, making them the leaders in the Greg Oden sweepstakes at this point. Without KG, you can rest assured that Oden would be wearing a Wolves jersey next year.

*In an earlier post I said that it was time to let KG go so that he could play for a contender and try for a championship. I have softened my stance on this a bit because I still love KG. But the biggest reason that I don't think that we should trade KG. Here's why: if we trade KG, guess who has to do it? That's right, Kevin McHale. My new position is that as long as Kevin McHale is the GM of the Timberwolves, we should not trade Kevin Garnett. McHale has proven time and time again that he cannot accurately evaluate talent in the NBA, so what makes us think that we could get equal value for KG. It seems like a no-brainer to be able to get some good young talent in exchange for KG, but McHale would no doubt find a way to package a first round pick into the deal along with KG.

*As a Vikings fan things feel pretty hopeless right now. The only hope we had, Mike Tomlin's defense, is now gone. The good news is that the talent is mostly there, and it's mostly young. The bad news, of course, is that Brad Childress is the man who is choosing who will wrangle that talent into a defense. Considering that Brad Childress couldn't game-plan his way out of a paper bag, I don't have a lot of confidence in whoever our next D-Coordinator will be. The fact that Tomlin turned out to be such a solid coordinator was a gift to Big Brad. As I am often fond of saying on this page, even a blind squirrel finds a nut.

*Three weeks into the Tim Brewster era at the U of M football facilities and everything seems to be coming up roses. Whoa! Maybe that wasn't the best use of language, might be a little mature on that one. Well, at least everyone seems to be happy. Players, administration, new coaches, the media, even most of the recruits that had previously committed to the Mason regime have decided to stick around. And, of course, Brewster's son Clint has decided to join his dad with the Maroon & Gold. Clint will likely red-shirt, but even without him in the mix there is considerable question as to who will lead the Gophs on offense next season. Personally I think I'd like to see Adam Weber get the nod. He's a little bigger than Cupito and is said to have a cannon for an arm and to have the ability to scramble as well. Mortenson of course is bigger than Weber, but he does not have the footwork of Weber, and the jury is still out on his arm strength.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Jeff: Brave New World

In the waning moments of Super Bowl XLI it started to sink in that the Colts were about to be crowned Super Bowl Champions. As Peyton Manning and the Colts celebrated and the monkey was forever thrown from his back, I started to wonder just what kind of world we were living in. Manning, the guy who had never won a game that really mattered (0-4 vs Florida in college- people forget Tennessee won the National Title AFTER he left!- and he'd never won an AFC Championship game, let alone won a Super Bowl), in a span of 3 weeks had knocked off Tom Brady and the Patriots and then beat a good Bears team in sloppy conditions in Miami on the world's biggest stage. 3 weeks ago if he wasn't so nice and people weren't so in love with him (or if he played in a bigger market), we'd have called him a choker. Now? We can put him in the conversation as one of the greatest of all-time. I couldn't have been more wrong about him. The guy who I thought not only wouldn't ever win a Super Bowl but COULDN'T ever win a Super Bowl just did. As Ricky Bobby would say "THAT just happened!" I mean, what's next? World peace? Dave Matthews makes listenable music again? Alex Rodriguez wins a World Series? Thankfully the last one will only happen if hell freezes over, and since I don't think we're quite there yet, I can still safely say A-Rod will never win a World Series.

But the world has definitely been turned upside down. Black is white, up is down, left is right, tall is short, back is front, or as Dr. Peter Venkman said "cats and dogs living together- mass hysteria!" Yes there's so many things that I've just assumed won't happen, but now because of the Colts win I've had to re-evaluate. Besides the Vikings, Mariners, Canucks, UDub Huskies, Gophers (football and hoops), Wolves and Wild winning a championship, could these impossibilites be possible?

* Jer posts on this website more than once every 6 months
* Kevin McHale makes a good trade- and receives a 1st round pick without giving one up!
* The Vikings have a good offense and good defense- in the SAME season
* Gophers fire Glen Mason because he's a mediocre football coach (I know I know but I STILL can't believe that actually happened)
* Blades of Glory somehow DOESN'T win an Oscar for Best Movie Ever Made!
* The Minnesota Twins trade for a cleanup hitter- and pay to keep him
* David Beckham actually makes Americans care about soccer
* Sidney Crosby actually makes Americans care about hockey
* College football installs a playoff system
* We discover that Paris Hilton has talent in something (well besides that)
* Barry Bonds becomes likable
* Red Sox fans realize they've become just like Yankees fans
* The national media in Toronto realizes there actually are people living in Canada west of Ontario. No really, there are
* Americans realize there are actually people living north of them- and south of them, and on other continents too. No really, there are
* NBA refs treat Dwyane Wade the same as everybody else
* Steve Nash wins a 3rd straight MVP award
* Terrell Owens shuts the hell up
* I start watching NASCAR
* Our tens of readers start posting comments

Friday, February 02, 2007

Jeff: Thank You Brett. Thank You

Surprise! Brett Favre is coming back! That he's coming back was not a surprise to us here at MWSR, since we've been saying he'd be coming back for months now. What WAS surprising is that he didn't take 8 months announce it like last year. Favre has been doing the "pondering retirement to draw attention to myself routine" for the last 4 or 5 years, and I've been as sick of that as I have of all the pandering and praising that the media and fans do for the man all year long. So I for one am thankful that Favre is said today's he back for good and we don't have to drag this out again through training camp.

My buddy Ben, who's been a die-hard Packers fan since Reggie White signed there forever ago, was nice enough to call me and rub it in that Fav-ray is back and it's going to be "another long year for the purple." I have to admit that the Pack could indeed be Back next year. They finished 8-8 last year with one of the youngest teams in the league, and with a few more free agent additions and draft choices, especially in the secondary, there's no reason the Pack can't contend in what should once again be a very mediocre NFC.

But then I got to thinking...if you compare The Purple to Green Bay, why can't the Vikes be contenders too? Our big gaping holes are at quarterback, receiver, and play-calling. No question about that and those are three areas that absolutely positively have to be addressed next year for Minnesota to contend. But our O-line, running backs (with a healthy Tony Richardson), and tight ends are better than the Pack. Our D-line and secondary are also better. So they win on QB, WR, LB, and coach. With Chad Greenway back next year and a boatload of money to spend again, the Vikes SHOULD be able to improve their backers, add another corner, find somebody that can complete passes, and a couple of guys to catch them. Really, in today's NFL, it SHOULDN'T be that hard! So yes, the Pack will be Back next year, but the Vikings have no excuse not to be next year too.