So long Santana

About 7 years ago, there was a “Free Johan Santana” movement in Minnesota that wanted the Twins to move the young left-handed phenom into the starting rotation. After Santana spent the majority of four years in the bullpen and another half-season at Triple-A, the Twins finally gave him a permanent spot in the rotation to begin the 2004 season. He immediately became the best pitcher in baseball, winning the AL Cy Young by going 20-6 while leading the league with a 2.61 ERA and 265 strikeouts.

In four seasons as a full-time starter Santana went 70-32, winning two ERA titles and three strikeout crowns while capturing a pair of Cy Young awards and deserving a third. It was an amazing metamorphosis. At 21 years old Santana was a little-known Rule 5 pick who showed some promise, at 23 years old he was an ace-in-waiting who dominated from the bullpen or rotation, and at 25 years old he was the best pitcher in baseball. Three years later he’d be the best pitcher in baseball and all of us in MN were pretty damn happy.

This week Johan was traded to the Mets for 4 prospects. While getting 4 unknowns for the best pitcher in baseball seems like a travesty, you can’t really think about it like that. Johan was going to be lost to free agency next year, so the Twins really were trading one season of the best pitcher in baseball for 4 prospects, which really isn’t that bad. The Twins have had great success in getting prospects and turning them into great players – in fact, that’s how we got Johan – so i’m not going to say all is lost

In a perfect world, we’d sign Johan and he’d be the best pitcher in baseball for another 10 years and he’d enter the Hall of Fame witha Twins cap on his head. The world just doesn’t work that way unfortunately, especially when you’re a small market team. So, all i can do is thank Johan for brightening my day every 5 games and wish him well.

I’m just happy he didn’t go to a Boston team, with Moss, Ortiz, and Garnett they’ve done enough.

Patriots Perfect? Don't Talk to Me About iIT.

I am pretty sick of hearing about the Patriots, their quest to perfection and all that.  I am forever destined to curse the entire Boston area for stealing all of the good Minnesotans.  First is was David Ortiz and Doug Mientkiewicz going to the Red Sox, then it was Moroney going to the Pats and Kevin Garnett going to the Celtics.  The final straw was seeing Randy Moss catching passes as a Patriot. It just drives me nuts.  It’s as if Minnesota is the JV team to New Englands Varsity squad.  It just hurts so much

I did like Klosterman’s recent article about the meaning of perfection and how Brady and the Pats relate.  Check it out here.

Go Giants

Changes Coming for Timberwolves

As many of you know, i’m a huge Minnesota sports fan.  I love the T-Wolves and it’s been frustrating for me to watch their season fall apart this year.  Also, there are a lot of rumors about what’s going to happen with Garnett after the season ends.  We have a great group of young players – Foye, McCants, Craig Smith – and we could get a lottery pick in the upcoming draft.  So, we could have a group of great youngsters or some good young player + KG coming back next year.

This ESPN interview with KG i just read echoed those thoughts (interview here). Here’s the final word from KG.  There will be some major changes coming and frankly, i’m looking forward to them.

Marc Stein. So if you or the Wolves choose not to pursue a trade this summer, do you think we’ll still see some major changes with this franchise?

Kevin Garnett: There’s got to be. F— yeah. I think [head coach] Randy Wittman would echo that, so it’s not just me.

Dylan's Themed Radio Hour

I recently found a little gem on XM radio. Every week, for an hour, Bob Dylan hosts an themed radio show. In this hour, he chooses some of his favorite songs relating to the theme. Each song is usually at least 30-50 years old and pretty obscure. The themes are subjects like weddings, baseball, drinking, fathers, jail and divorce. In between songs Dylan gives little tidbits and trivia about the artists and what they did in the careers.

What’s amazing is how knowledgeable Bob is about the older artists and songs and he usually knows the lyrics of every tune. You really get a feel for how much he appreciates and loves lyrics and the classic artists. The show is a great listen if you like older stuff and if you like Dylan. I know i’m checking out each one. I don’t have XM but you can download them. (also, if you have AOL, you can get XM radio through AOL radio)

I’ve put up a sample hour – his drinking hour – and here’s a link to download all of them. They’re great.

Modern Times are Here. Dylan's Back!

Modern TimesI’ve been a Bob Dylan fan for years. I love his old folksy tunes (Blonde on Blonde) and his mid career epic tracks (Hurricane, Tangled Up in Blue) and have overplayed most of the 3 disc Biograph for years. I’ve always been skeptical when legends come out with new albums way past their prime. Too many times i’ve gotten excited and been burned. For example, last year’s Rolling Stone’s album Bigger Bang was a huge disappointment. So when i heard there was a new Dylan album out, i was excited by skeptical. But, let me tell you – it’s great. I think it’s as good as his old stuff and possibly even better. Three tracks in particular stand out. “Workingman Blues #2” is an old school Dylan folk song with captivating lyrics a thumping backbone, “Thunder on the Mountain” is both bluesy and rockin’, and the beautiful meandering stroll of a song “Spirit on the Water” is just outstanding. I’ve attached the three here for a listen. Check ’em out.

Minnesota Timberwolves' Draft Story

It is largely thought that my Minnesota Timberwolves got one of the best players in this week’s draft, selecting Randy Foye in the seventh pick.
The Sports Guy column recounted the way that Minnesota came across that 7th pick.

It’s April 19, 2006, the final day of the season. The Celts have the sixth-worst record and plays host to Miami; Minnesota is at No. 7 and plays host to Memphis. The C’s do the honorable thing, play hard at12wolf050104l.jpg home and whup Miami’s third-string with their kids. Going against Memphis’ third string, Minnesota does the dishonorable thing and completely tanks the tail end of the game. I mean, COMPLETELY. To the point that Mark Madsen plays 30 minutes, goes 1 for 15 from the field, misses seven 3-pointers (yes, you read that correctly), conveniently “forgets” to guard Brian Cardinal on the game-tying 3 in the final 20 seconds of regulation, then misses three straight 3s to kick off the second OT (check out the play-by-play if you don’t believe me). Mark Madsen basically shaved points in this game.

I’m telling you. I have never seen a professional team throw a game this blatantly, in any sport, at any level. Even the 1919 Black Sox would have been mortified.
So what was the end result? They moved into the No. 6 spot, Boston slid to No. 7.

Look at the box score. Seriously, take a look. Before this game, Madsen shot nine 3s TOTAL during the first six years of his career. Did he get suspended after this tank job? No. Did anyone get suspended or fined? No. Does anyone remember this other than me and my dad? Apparently, no. And then the T-Wolves get rewarded with a better pick? What a joke. I don’t know where the WWE ends and the NBA begins anymore. And yes, I’ve been waiting to rant about that for two months. So there you go.

I’m not sure how i feel about this.  On one hand, it would have been pointless to win the game.  On the other, every game should be a competitive.  Similar to the Hippocratic Oath taken by doctors regarding the ethics of medicine, i believe there should be a similar oath taken by athletes that they will compete at the best of their abilities and attempt to win each game at all times.  What this article doesn’t mention is that KG refuses to lose any game. Because of this, he was basically benched for the last 2 weeks of the season.  Sure, they called it “resting” but there’s no way the coaches were going to let him go out there and win game.  Interesting indeed.

Great Movie Characters & Prarie Home

I'd like to talk about a great movie i saw this weekend. But before i do, i want to look back and mention some of the great movie characters i've seen on the big silver screen…


  • Lloyd Dobler (Say Anything). The ideal man for women is also a pretty cool guy that guys can admire. He's a free spirit who has the balls to take out the hot smart chick in the class. He's wears a trench coat like he doesn't care, is 18 and isn't intimidated by criminal fathers, and spends his free time kickboxing.
  • Officer Bud White (LA Confidential). A man of action with a straight-as-an-arrow moral compass. Oh, and he kicks everyone's ass. He lands the hot chick, solves the most complex crime scandal I've ever seen, and does it all while taking out every abusive character in LA. He's also a great throwback to all the great old-school characters b/c he's a loner and an island all day but is completely vulerable in the precense of a woman, just like Rick in Casablanca. He's programmed to live and protect the female.
  • Ray, the kid (Jerry McGuire). Never before have i loved such a nerdy kid. He's just a stud. However, i found out later that the human head actually weighs 12 pounds (not eight).
  • Marty (Beautiful Girls). I can only say so much because it just feels weird to love Marty. But she's smart, sassy and just seems like a gal who cuts through all the bs to get to the core. And she's only 14 – which would be a great thing if it wasn't so wrong. As Tim Hutton says in teh movie, "It's not a sexual thing…she's smart, she's funny…this girl is going to be amazing." She definitely was.
  • Stanley Goodspeed (The Rock). Stanley is a kickass bio-chemist FBI agent who rocks at disarming bio-chemical weapons but completely sucks at being an in-the-field agent. He's great at trying and failing to be a badass while exchanging great dialogue with Sean Conner (Mason). A quick view of him.

The latest addition to the great list of characters is one that i witnessed this weekend….garrisonkeillor.jpg

Garrison Keillor (Prarie Home Companion). A great movie with a great cast. Meryl is fantastic as is Kevin Kline and they all provide the many layers of a complex story about a very folksy show in a town "that time forgot and decades could not improve." At the center of everything is Garrison. And he's funny. He was once quoted saying, ""God writes a lot of comedy… the trouble is, he's stuck with so many bad actors who don't know how to play funny." Fortunately, this movie has good actors to deliver his script.

What i love about Garrison is that he represents everything that's right about the Midwest – he's smart, genuine, talented, non-pretentious, and sincere – while at the same time he represents everything that East/West coasters disrespect about the Midwest – he's simple, non-ambitious, non-trendy, and completely content. Watching him on screen mades the film feel incredibly comfortable and made me very nostalgic for MN.