Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Smorgasbord of Sports

Ok, so there’s not much of an introduction needed. Yesterday (the 15th) was the worst day of the year for sports fans. It’s the only day of the year where there isn’t a major sporting event taking place. It’s a day that drives me into depression and drinking. Due to this lack of relevant sporting news, here are a few tidbits that will have to suffice as “news” until we get back into the swing of things this weekend. Be warned: this is the first ever post on TK that includes NASCAR and poker. Told you it was a slow week.

• According to’s Marc Stein (so take it with a grain of salt), the Wolves have narrowed their coaching search to three candidates: ESPN NBA analyst Mark Jackson, Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis, and Rockets assistant Elston Turner (though there are rumors that Dallas assistant Terry Stotts is still in the mix). If this is true, and that’s a big if, I would prefer Rambis. He’s a big name, he’s been a head coach (albeit briefly), and he is/was being considered for the Lakers head gig. That should be enough right there. I guess as long as it isn’t Jackson, I’ll be fine with the choice. Because if Mark Jackson can get an NBA head coaching job, then so can I. Hey, I used to play in high school. I watch NBA games and analyze them (in my head) all the time. Those are basically the qualifications he has and I’ve actually coached basketball for the last 10 years, so I’d say I have a leg up on him. Maybe I’ll send my resume over to Target Center tomorrow…

• One story that has received a ton of national media attention is the contract that the Kansas City Chiefs gave to their newly acquired quarterback, Matt Cassel. After trading for him from New England prior to this spring’s draft, the team now has signed him to a 6 year, $63 million deal, with $28 million guaranteed. For some reason, this has sent many experts and analysts into a tizzy. Sure, it’s roughly the same amount that the Ravens just gave Terrell Suggs, a 6-time Pro Bowl linebacker. But everyone knows that QB’s get paid more than any other position in the league. And I know that he’s only done it one year, with a very good team, blah blah blah. The fact is that he has actually performed well in the NFL—unlike, say, Matt Stafford, who got a 6 year, $78 million ($41.7 million guaranteed) deal and he hasn’t even taken one snap yet. Look, the point is that all sports contracts are ridiculous and it’s high time that we stopped talking about them, because that’s never going to change.

• Yesterday the Twins made a roster move to add a 12th pitcher for their upcoming 10 game road trip to start off the second half of the year. I like the idea of the move a lot. With the overload our bullpen has already endured, and is likely to be burdened with during this stretch, having another arm available is the smart thing to do. As usual, though, the execution of the move is something I disagree with. The team called up Kevin Mulvey (one of the spare parts we got in the Johan deal) who, despite his 3-6 record, is having a decent season and has an ERA under 4. The problem I have is that we sent down Jose Morales…again. What does this kid have to do to stay up with the big club? In his multiple call-ups this year, Morales is hitting .343 with adequate defense behind the plate. Apparently this is not as good as Mike Redmond’s .236 average and inability to throw out even the slowest of runners. It’s widely known that Gardy plays favorites (just one of my many issues with him)—see Punto, Nick and Cuddyer, Mike—and Red Dog is one of them. The fact is that he’s no longer a capable backup and the team needs to move on and keep Morales up. Who knows, if he keeps hitting well, they could possibly deal him and get something valuable in return.

• I saw a note in the paper yesterday that Antoine Walker is wanted in Vegas for over $800,000 in gambling debts. It was over $1 million, but he has paid off roughly $200,000 of it. The debt comes from a series of bad checks that Walker apparently wrote to Caesar's Palace, Planet Hollywood (they still exist?), and the Red Rock Resort. First of all, this is a guy who in his NBA career earned roughly $110 million. Now he's having trouble writing checks that won't bounce? Second, who still writes checks? Hasn't Employee #8 learned from Randy Moss that rich people don't write checks? Get with the times.

• If there’s one thing that the local media is good at, it’s taking small, relatively useless notes and turning them into big stories. Call it the Favre Method of writing. This has been on display for quite some time now with the possibility of seeing #4 in purple, and now it’s permeated itself into the Timberwolves. It seems that any minor bit of news or quote about Ricky Rubio is suddenly front page news over the last few weeks. All it does is lead to confusion. Take yesterday, when it was “reported” that Rubio apparently isn’t opposed to coming to Minnesota and that the only thing keeping him from being here already is his buyout in Spain. This, of course, is not news, because everyone has known this was going to be a major hurdle since well before the draft. Basically, you should treat the Rubio situation the same way as the Favre situation: until something definitively happens one way or another, it’s best to just ignore everything else.

• There is a disturbing trend popping up in sports over the last few weeks: athlete/woman relationship issues. While this is by no means a new phenomenon, it seems to have increased in volume recently. It started with Steve McNair, who was shot and killed by his 20 year old mistress. While it is an incredibly sad story, it does show the dangers that can befall athletes who partake in extra marital affairs. Then, a couple weeks later, came the story of the boxer Arturo Gatti, who was stabbed and strangled to death by his wife. On a bit lighter side, NBA star Richard Jefferson abruptly canceled his $2 million wedding just days before it was to take place—only he forgot to tell most of the guests about his decision. Now today, there’s a note in the paper that former Viking Hassan Jones was arrested on domestic assault charges. To quote Vince Lombardi, “What the hell is going on out there?!”

• I don’t play, follow, or especially like the game (not sport) of poker. That said, there’s a lot of buzz being generated by the fact that Phil Ivey, arguably the best player in the world, has made it to the Final 9 of the World Series of Poker. You’ll have to excuse me if I don’t get too fired up over this. It says a lot about your “sport” when the best player actually makes it to the final of your biggest event and everyone goes nuts. Shouldn’t he be doing this all the time? Can you imagine if everyone told you that Tiger Woods was the best golfer in the world, but he only got into the final group of the Master’s once in his career? Ridiculous. Besides, the final table doesn’t start until November, so there’s absolutely no reason to care right now.

• In case you care, the All-Star Game on Tuesday was predictably boring. The AL won 4-3. Some guys pitched for one inning, some guys hit once, and some guys didn’t play. It was enthralling.

• Let’s get one thing straight—I hate NASCAR. I know that there’s skill required and that I could never do what they do, but it’s not a sport and it’s one of the most boring events on the planet. Despite all of that, I can’t help but to be fascinated by the Jeremy Mayfield story. The guy was suspended from racing for testing positive for methamphetamines, had the decision reversed by a judge, only test positive once again this week. What an idiot. Not only is he jeopardizing his life by being a meth head that drives a car 200 mph, but he’s endangering the lives of every other racer as well. He claims that NASCAR’s testing policy is terrible, but he doesn’t give details as to why. Then his step mother comes out and says that she’s seen him doing meth over 30 times in the past 10 years (and didn’t think it was a good idea to stop him). Mayfield fires back by saying that she killed his father in 2007 (which has already been ruled a suicide). Highly entertaining.

• Just when it seemed like Kevin and Pat Williams were going to get off the hook for testing positive for a banned substance and not be suspended by the NFL, there was a new and intriguing twist to the story this week. The other three major sports leagues (NBA, MLB, NHL) have come to the NFL’s defense and tried to help them win their case, presumably because they don’t want this to set a precedent that will be followed in all leagues and hurt their drug testing policies. Personally, I’m with Shawn Bradley Guy of Deep Thoughts on MN Sports ( these guys just need to take their punishment at the beginning of the season and get it over with. We can win at least three of those first four games without them. If they end up getting suspended during a more crucial stretch of the season or the post season, the reaction locally will not be good.

• The Philadelphia Phillies signed Pedro Martinez to a one year deal yesterday. The baseball world is acting like this is some sort of huge, pennant race altering move. I politely disagree. We’re talking about a guy who hasn’t had an ERA under 4.5 in three years, hasn’t pitched in a meaningful game other than the WBC all season, and was immediately placed on the 15 day DL upon his signing. Just because he used to be good doesn’t mean that this is an important signing (do you understand Vikings fans?).

• The British Open teed off this morning, and the early leaders include Miguel Angel Jiminez and Tom Watson, with guys such as Tom Lehman and John Daly just a few shots back. You gotta love this tournament; it's so completely wide open that I'm pretty sure I'd at least have an outside chance at making the cut (ok...maybe not me, but some friends of mine...naw, but you can imagine what it'd be like).

• Lastly, the Minnesota Wild released their 09-10 schedule and there are two important dates that immediately jump out. The first is October 30th, when Marian Gaborik returns to Minnesota. Though he’ll likely be on the DL, I hope he can at least make an appearance at the X for all of those fans he allegedly cares about. The second big game is January 2nd, when former Wild/current Devils coach Jacque Lemaire returns. I’m sure all of the puck heads who read this site are glad to know this information.


Jeff said...

Holy Crap Q - All of this in one post? Nice work!

So World Series of Poker is actually really cool, but the fact that it happened and then the show premieres several months later is annoying. But one thing about it is that the field is much larger than in Golf (10k participants). One bad hand and your game is over, and the main event only happens once a year. The fact that he made it to the final table once is a pretty solid accomplishment.

Shawn Bradley Guy said...

This was Bill Simmons-esque in length. It helped me burn some much needed time at work.

I want you to do a it possible? I want to be the last obscure one where you admit "Yup, this is my reader"

Mr. Cue said...

The one reader mailbag has never been done before to the best of my knowledge, so here you go:

Yup, you are my reader