No More Kings

Categories: Timberwolves

So the Timberwolves' season got going last night and, as usual, I was unprepared for the surreal, multi-sensory assault that is live professional basketball. There were "dancers" in "sexy" Halloween costumes. There were sudden, terrifying bursts of ear-splitting pyro. There was a digitally simulated American flag waving in the pixelated breeze. There was an almost vaudevillian little sketch which ended with a putative Kings fan being chased around the floor by a by a hairy fat guy in skimpy drag (I was pulling for a pie in the face). So, lets see, we've got crass, powerfully un-arousing hyper-sexuality; spectacular simulated violence, plus enforced patriotism; and the always hilarious implied homophobia. Ah, sports.

Finally, the lucky spectator was treated the purple-clad, sparingly talented Sacramento Kings and their coach, the handsome Reggie Theus: former player, major beefcake and Saturday morning sitcom star (those exist). There was also a reasonably entertaining basketball game, which the Wolves won, 98-96. Despite the nice final result, the game had its ups and downs. Here are some of them.

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There Are Wolves After Me

Categories: Timberwolves

If you’re like me, this fall’s been a little rough. The last two weeks of the Twins’ season affected me more deeply than anything so ultimately unimportant ever should. Oh, but don’t worry, there’s also the election season, which is just as emotionally wrenching but, because it actually matters, so very much less fun. I don’t care what party you belong to, the site of adult humans engaging in such extraordinarily undignified moral contortions is cosmically depressing. These minor and major daily rituals of desperate hope and heartbreak combined with the lingering specter of the spectacularly crass NFL (again, this is just if you’re like me) and…I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m ready for the NBA.

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2008 MLB Awards

Categories: MLB

Tampa took down the Chi Sox in short order, wrapping up their ALDS series in yesterday's 6-2 win. Perhaps you, like me, were somewhat disappointed at the outcome, subscribing to the axiom that "may the team who beat us perform well and play onward," therefore making our boys look better. Alas, Tampa looks plucky. But they're not alone, and I suspect that their series with Boston will be a fine throwdown. In the N.L., I took the Cubs a few months back, so I suppose I'll now lean toward Joe Torre and the Dodgers. For my money: It's the Red Sox over L.A. in the Series, doing it in 6 games.

Before I present my selections for the 2008 MLB Awards, may I again thank you readers for all your Commentary in this baseball season. This will be my final baseball entry of the year. Again, I warmly appreciate all your collective opinion and participation -- whether said feedback came in the form of either concurring or dissenting Commentary.

"Buy the ticket, take the ride."
- Hunter S. Thompson


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Twins' Endgame Player Rater

Categories: MLB

For those of you that haven’t seen the Orlando Cabrera vs. (former Twin) Grant Balfour at-bat in yesterday’s Tampa 6-4 victory, please click here. To preface, it made me again realize just how much I loathe the Sox, how much those pangs for the heat of postseason ball still linger, and how classy the Twins are.

It’s good to be reminded that we are rostered with good cats and not a bunch of lunatics. As per my Mid-Season Player Rater from July, here’s my impressions on the entire body of work, sentiment, stats, and all:

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Danks, a lot

Categories: MLB

Last night was a good ballgame, well-played. That’s actually my favorite type of game: pitcher’s duel, cleanly fielded with no errors, and only one long ball. The blast, sadly, just didn’t come from our dugout.

Tuesday night’s 1-0 Central Division tiebreaker to Chicago loss was the Twins’ 52nd one-run ballgame of the 2008 season. It proved just the second time the club was shutout since July 21st. Their record in one-run games? 26-26. So flip a coin. And speaking of currency, it won’t surprise me in the slightest if there is some serious backlash about the way in which MLB suits determine where games like last night’s are played. A coin flip? After 6 months of toil? It’s just so sophomoric. Let the club with the better record host the deal. Who can argue with that?

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Code Duello: Twins and White Sox

Categories: MLB

Code Duello: covering the practice of dueling and points of honor, drafted and settled at Clonmel Summer Assizes, 1777

Rule 1. The first offense requires the first apology, though the retort may have been more offensive than the insult. Example: A tells B he is impertinent, etc. B retorts that he lies; yet A must make the first apology because he gave the first offense, and then (after one fire) B may explain away the retort by a subsequent apology.

"American Duels and Hostile Encounters"

Rule 2. But if the parties would rather fight on, then after two shots each (but in no case before), B may explain first, and A apologize afterward.

"American Duels and Hostile Encounters"


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Bring me the arm of Freddy Garcia

Categories: MLB

Chicago’s Sunday win over Cleveland, combined with the Twins’ steady 6-0 victory over Kansas City, set up a Monday afternoon (1:05 pm Central) White Sox/Tigers game that will determine if Minnesota and Chicago require a Tuesday, one-game sudden-death playoff to settle the Central Division. Should Chicago lose, then the Twins would be your 2008 Central champs, and travel to Tampa to begin the ALDS on Thursday.

But before Tuesday or Thursday, according to my Gregorian calendar, comes Monday, a day and a ballgame in which Chicago needs a win over Detroit -- in a makeup game from mid-September -- to ascend their ½ game deficit and play another day.

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Of Royals & Jesters

Categories: MLB

Wow. I don’t think my head has spun like this since I drank three-fourths a bottle of Blue Curacao in my sophomore year of college. Friday’s 8-1, hangover loss to the Royals was understandable given the emotional toil of the White Sox series. But yesterday, too? That was more sad than anything else, hitting into four double plays and gathering a mere 8 hits in the 4-2 defeat.

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Electric Broom: Twins sweep Sox

Categories: MLB

"I might take a sleeping pill tonight. And a glass of vodka. Twenty-seven innings and we only had one good one. We wasted 26 innings in this town."

-Ozzie Guillen, Chi Sox manager, to ESPN.com, late in the evening of Sept. 25th, 2008

“Buy the ticket, take the ride.”

-Hunter S. Thompson


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The Unlikely Story of Gus Frerotte

Categories: NFL

By Jonah Keri

The Minnesota Vikings’ season hung in the balance. Another loss and the team would drop to 0-3, a deficit that few teams have overcome to claim a playoff berth. Rolling into town were the 2-0 Carolina Panthers, with star wide receiver Steve Smith back in the lineup. The Vikes’ starting quarterback, Tarvaris Jackson, was so abysmal in his first two games this year that the team called in a journeyman backup to fill the void.

And so it was that Gus Frerotte became the embodiment of Minnesota’s hopes and dreams.

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