Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A Meeting of the Minnesota Sports Minds

Good morning/afternoon/evening. We are gathered here today to rip off yet another one of Bill Simmons’ ideas and turn it into our own. We have collected some of the great minds associated with Minnesota sports. They come from all walks of life: columnists (Sid Hartman, Charley Walters), general managers (Kevin McHale and Cronies), coaches (Brad Childress, Jacque Lemaire), former coaches (Dennis Green, Dan Monson, Mike Tice), and a blogger (Aaron Gleeman). The group has assembled here today to share insights, strategies, thought processes, and any other ideas that rattle around in their heads. I will moderate so as to make sure that we don’t stray too far off the path.

CUE: Gentlemen…
TICE: And ladies
CUE: Um, Mike, there are no women present at this meeting.
TICE: What about Frenchie over there?
LEMAIRE: Your attempt at le humor is lost on me.
TICE: Say, you’re the coach of the hockey team, right?
LEMAIRE: If you’re referring to the Minnesota Wild, then you are correct, sir.
TICE: Um, so I was right then…?
(Raucous laughter from the group)
CUE: Alright, enough already. I want to thank you all for coming here and…yes, what is it Charley?
WALTERS: A little birdie told me that the Twins have interest in trading for Ken Griffey Jr., if the price is right.
GLEEMAN: Well considering Junior’s age, OPS, and VORP over the last 2 seasons, I would say that this would be a very bad decision, much like the Bautista, Ortiz, and Ponson signings.
CHILDRESS: I agree; you never want to bring in proven veterans when there are unproven, unheralded, untalented players available.
MCHALE: Or mediocre players that you can over pay with ridiculous multi year contracts.
MONSON: It’s just like my recruiting philosophy: if you bring in a bunch of high school bench players, one of them is bound to blossom into a star. Then you’ll look like a genius for finding that “diamond in the rough”.
CHILDRESS: Right on! All of these so called football experts claim that you need a proven quarterback or “talented” wide receivers. Well I’ll show them…
MCHALE: Here, here! All you need is to get lucky drafting one stud player, then you can just sit back on auto pilot.
LEMAIRE: You Americans have no idea how to put together a sentence, albeit a professional sports team. Why am I here with these imbeciles?
CUE: Sorry about that Jacque, you were only needed for that first joke. You don’t belong with these guys and are free to leave whenever you want.
HARTMAN: I don’t mean to interrupt…
CUE: Yes you do.
HARTMAN: …but my close, personal friend Bobby Knight said that, if asked, he would have accepted the Gopher basketball job.
CUE: Shut up old man! That has absolutely nothing to do with anything and is a flat out lie. I can’t believe the Strib continues to let you write that blather and then has the gall to actually print it too.
MCHALE: Yeah, you can’t just lie to people.
GLEEMAN: Really? This from the organizer of the Joe Smith debacle?
CUE: Aaron, when we want to know Johan’s day vs. night strikeout/walk ratio, you can talk. Otherwise you just sit there and stare at pictures of Elisha Cuthbert.
GREEN: Sorry I’m late fellas. I got lost on the high road.
ALL: Denny!!!
CUE: Thanks for joining us Sheriff. Ok, now the topic is…
CHALTERS: You know Denny, it is believed that many NFL teams are ready to make the call to you if they fire their current head coach.
TICE: Sheriff, you know you’ll always have a job with me in Minnesota.
CUE: Tike, you’re not the Vikings coach anymore.
TICE: Yuh huh. Jack told me I was. He said I wasn’t in charge of the tight ends in Jacksonville anymore because they needed me at Winter Park.
CUE: You are not the Vikings coach. Childress has that job now.
CHILDRESS: Excuse me, but I am not merely a “coach”. I call the plays, I make personnel decisions, I make the draft picks…and I do it all with this sweet mustache.
CUE: (cough) that makes you look like a pedophile (cough)
CHILDRESS: Yes, I am in charge of player development as well, thanks for pointing that out.
TICE: Oh yeah, well Red let me steer the Viking ship once…during practice!
WALTERS: Sam Jacobson of Park Cottage Grove is averaging 13 points and 6 rebounds a game on the top team in Bulgaria.
HARTMAN: Hey! Why does he get to spout off about mundane facts?
CUE: First, while they may be irrelevant, they also have at least the possibility of being true. And second, I think Steinbrenner is on the phone for you.
HARTMAN: George? You know he’s a close, personal friend of mine.
CUE: I’m sure he is. The phone is on the 7th floor of the building across the street. You should head over there.
HARTMAN: I’m on my way.
WALTERS: It has been rumored that former Gopher coaches Glen Mason and Dan Monson will be offered the football and basketball coaching jobs at San Diego State University now that a former Gopher is their new athletic director.
MONSON: Oh boy! I sure hope I don’t have to put a system in place, run an offense, or recruit talented basketball players.
CUE: Let’s get back on task. Since baseball is the only sport currently in season…
MCHALE: What about the WNBA?
CUE: Like I said, since it is the only SPORT that is in season, I wanted to get your thoughts on Bonds’ homerun chase and all of the steroid controversy surrounding him and the entire sport.
GLEEMAN: Well, when you combine his OPS at home with his slugging percentage during Sunday afternoon games and compare it to the OBP of all other left fielders since 1961, it’s clear that his VORP is well and beyond that of every other player whose home ball park sits next to a large body of water. Of course if we’re taking first half K/BB ratios into affect and adding to the mix their fielding percentage, which is the most overrated statistic this side of batting average and wins, then, well I think you can see where this is going…
TICE: Mike’s head hurt. Make the chubby kid stop talking.
CHILDRESS: We don’t need to be talking about statistics. It’s not about statistics…or experience…or talent…or athletic ability. If I say that the kid can play then that’s all that matters.
CUE: This is clearly not working. Let’s try something a little more up your alley. What’s the best way to sabotage a team and/or franchise while not being extremely obvious about it?
MCHALE: Oh that’s easy. All it takes is the right sales pitch to the fans. If you used words like “leader” or “crafty”, you can get away with trading for or signing an over the hill veteran. Or you can go the other way and load your team up with a lot of young players and describe them as “a project” or “athletic” and use words like “versatile” and “upside”. That way when they don’t pan out, you can say that this was your line of thinking when you drafted a certain someone named Kevin Garnett. The positive memories of his play will distract them from the countless draft picks you lost/squandered away and the millions of dollars you wasted on untalented players.
CUE: Ok, but what if you don’t have a Kevin Garnett to distract the fans?
MONSON: That’s easy. You say things about your players being “good citizens” or tell them about how great they are doing academically. This makes everyone remember the awful past and causes them to feel guilty about being upset something as minor as winning and losing games. Then for years they will ignore the fact that you are continually at the bottom of the conference.
CUE: Well put. But what if you don’t have academics as a crutch to fall back on?
GREEN: Simple. You use vague words and blame the players. If tell the fans that you have a “system” and that the “system is working”, but the players aren’t executing it properly, you’ve cleared yourself from danger. Everyone will then examine the players more closely and forget about all the mistakes you have made.
CHILDRESS: You could swear a little to get the media talking about something other than your poor coaching. Just tell them your team “kicks ass”. If that doesn’t work, just flat out hide from them, don’t speak to any reporters, and hope they forget about you.
MONSON: Otherwise you could just butter up a prominent member of the media so they will continually promote you and dispute all criticism of you.
CUE: Hid’s still gone and you’re not even the coach anymore, so quit sucking up.
GLEEMAN: Bautista sucks, Castro sucks, Ortiz sucks, Ponson sucks, and I am in love with Johan Santana!
CUE: Well on that extremely random note, I think it’s time to wrap things up. Any words of wisdom you can leave us with gentlemen?
WALTERS: Always trust little birdies to get you the inside scoop and allow you to break the story first.
TICE: A simple little thing like a pencil behind your ear will make people think you are itectual…intelgicant…inlectual…smart.
GREEN: Like I said, vague words: “They are who we thought they were!”
CHILDRESS: Come to the Dome this fall to see our Kick Ass Offense!
MONSON: It’s all about academics.
GLEEMAN: Use a lot of acronyms that no one has ever heard of to make yourself sound like an expert.
MCHALE: Remember this: as long as Glen Taylor owns the Timberwolves, I cannot and will not be fired. And I’m sure as heck not quitting. Good luck sleeping tonight thinking about that…

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