Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sports Dilemma

So I just finished reading the book, True Believers probably for the fifth time. I truly enjoy the sense of humor and the way in which the book is written. In fact, amongst my friends, this book has come into our sports conversations on countless occasions. I have actually been quite interested in what others opinions would be on this specific issue that I am having regarding my fan loyalty. I would love to get a clear response from you in the comment section.

Here is my problem. I was born in Montreal, but grew up for most of my life in Minneapolis. I was there when both World Series took place for the Twins as well as the recent playoff games that occurred. So you could say as a kid growing up I was a Twins fan. But, I was also a New York Yankee fan as well. For the following reason, my mom's father grew up in the Bronx (he really did, not like your example in the book of the guy who just says he had family in New York or the South Bronx) and he actually grew up with the team. He was a die hard fan of the Yankees until he passed away a few years back. My grandpa and I did not have the best relationship only because I did not know him or my grandma very well, but whenever we did see them he would talk NY Yankee baseball with me. Which was really at the time crucial to me becoming a huge MLB baseball fan. I should also mention that both of my parent's were born in the New York area, but again my dad was not a sports fan, and neither was my mom except when my grandfather took her to Yankee games.

My friends at the time when I was growing up were mostly Twins fans, but I seemed to be going back and forth through my growing up years all the way through college with the Twins and Yankees. The problem is, you can't really be a true fan of both teams. They are rivals, and meet in the playoffs. Then what are you going to do, my friends would always ask. I wouldn't have a response, I was torn.

Now I am actually living in Manhattan. Just had a baby, she is 8 months old. With the job that I am working towards in my master's degree here in NYC, I will probably never end up in Minneapolis again. The job market there would have no use for what I am pursuing. So, I will probably continue living in New York or the tri-state area. Which also means that my daughter will have never lived in Minnesota. So why should she be a loyalist to Minnesota sports?

My question is simple, which team should I root for from now on, and why?

I feel like I have emotional attachments to both the Twins and Yankees, and now living in New York City, the Yankees are easy to watch and follow, but I do have this attachment growing up with the hometown Twins.

Post your comments and when I finally resolve this problem, I will write a new post.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spitzer is out
I am still kind of getting over the shock that Spitzer was involved with this. Now many news outlets such as the New York Times, NY Post, CNN and FOX News are reporting that he had an addiction to this sort of thing, and had bills totalling over $80,000 dollars! I wonder what more will come out of this, will he face legality issues and possibly go to jail?

Again, you have to wonder why his wife would stand by his side in these news conferences. I know for a fact that if I had a public position, which someday if I finish school, I will, and I did something like this, Alissa, my wife would definitely not stand by me. You have to ask yourself, why should she? It was the governors massive mistake and problem. He is the one that is not only killing his political career forever, and probably any chances of working in the law industry, but he is completely tearing apart his entire family as well. Which unfortunately, the news outlets don't seem to care much about. It's kind of sad when you think about it. This guy has three teenage daughters who are all well known I'm sure where they go to school. They have to go face the other teenagers who can be rough in school. His wife has to go to the grocery store, or to the mall to buy a shirt, it's going to be difficult for these people to move on from this kind of anguish and pain.

I am glad though that Spitzer resigned. I was always a supporter of his like I mentioned in a previous article. I not only like the fact that he was this tough hard nosed Democrat, but it seemed like he was different. It seemed like he was not this slimy politician that we have all seen on television or in the news. He seemed more down to earth, a family man who just wanted to clean up New York and Wall Street for families rights.

Well, looks like I and many other people were totally wrong about him. It also seems like the new Lt. Gov. David Paterson might be a better fit for this position. From what I have read and heard, many people who worked for New York state hated Spitzer for so many differing reasons. The Republican party especially did not like what he was doing in the Government, and honestly, neither did the Democrats. So, hopefully the state can move on quickly from this mess, and Gov. Paterson will start over.

My 1st crack at being an NBA expert

I am writing this post with my opinions about the NBA and more specifically the Phoenix Suns for a friend of mine who for some reason has the Suns closest to his heart. Normally, if I were to write a blog about the NBA, it would be about the Timberwolves, or related material to what is going on in the NBA that particular week or day. But, I want to appease my friend, and share my opinions with you all on this subject. However, I do not claim to be a NBA expert, I am a fan and enjoy watching these games. I use to play quite a bit as well, so I have some sense of how the game is supposed to be played.

The Phoenix Suns are a great team, they put people in the stands when they play at home in Phoenix, and whenever they are on the road as well. They should. They have a two time MVP in Steve Nash, who will probably go down in the record books as one of the top point guards in the games history. He will be named with guys like Cousy, Magic, Kidd, Isiah Thomas (despite all of his mishaps with the Canadian basketball league and the D league New York Knicks, the man is still a hall of famer, and a great player) as well as many other great names in NBA history. They also have a young energetic and charismatic Forward who came directly out of high school named Amare Stoudemire. Amare, although has had major injury concerns about his knees, is turning out to be one of the great starts of the NBA. This is also one of the fastest teams in the NBA. They try and come into the game with the idea to out run all of their opponents out the door. They have had this mentality for many years, as long as I can remember. Even back in the days when they had Kevin Johnson running the point position, this was what they were known for. They were and are successful at playing this kind of game, but in my opinion which I already mentioned is not an expert one, this style of play gives up on other truly important main concepts of the game of basketball.

The first concept is that of playing defense. The Phoenix Suns are currently in the top 5 of teams that give up the most points in the NBA. They are giving up over 105 points a night. This kind of play just will not win championships. As much as my friend would love the Suns to win it all this year and every year, it will not happen until great defense is being played every single night.

This team like I wrote before earlier is a great team to watch. They are a lot of fun. But when you give up over 105 points a night, you stand little chance of winning in the playoffs. This team the past several years has really been built for the regular season, and not the playoffs. They always seem to get into the playoffs, and then burn out. The teams that get into the playoffs are usually the best of the best. Now maybe in some years one could say certain teams got in with below .500 records, see the Eastern Division of the NBA, but for the most part, we are seeing the best teams face each other. These teams that are in the playoffs are playing the best basketball in the world. If you give up over 105 points a night in these short playoff series, you are not going to win anything.

Then in the middle of the season, the Suns made what I believe to be a move of desperation. Signing Shaq was the wrong decision. Although Shaq is obviously a first ballot Hall of famer, he is really way past his prime, doesn't play good defense (which is what the Suns need most from a center), and cannot play the type of basketball that the coach, D'Antoni wants to continue playing. Shaq cannot be expected at his age, with his injuries to be running back and forth with guys like Amare, Barbosa, Nash and Diaw.

In my opinion, the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls were the epitome of what a great all around team was all about. This team not only won the NBA finals in an amazing fashion, but also rounded up the most regular season wins at 72. Many people will say, with ignorance that it was all because of Jordan. This is really a sign that most people are completely unaware of the small details within the game. Jordan in my opinion, was and is to this day the greatest basketball player in history, but he had a lot of help gaining those incredible feats as well. You can't forget about Phil Jackson won coach of the year in 95-96, Kukoc won 6th man of the year, and Rodman was getting an absurd amount of offensive and defensive rebounds every night, and this is not even referring to Scottie Pippen, who is just a guy in the 50 greatest NBA players of all time. This team played like a team. They played defense every single game, and it helped them become a dynasty.

The Suns have also had some pretty painful defeats this year that cannot go unnoticed by Suns fans. The fact of the matter is they have been beaten up by some of the real trash of the NBA. Namely, my beloved Timberwolves who got the best of the Suns on two occasions this year. The Suns have also been defeated by the Clippers, Hawks, The Rockets before this recent trend of them being amazing, the Heat, who may actually be worse than the Wolves, and the lowly 76ers. Some of these defeats have come more than once this season as well. This Suns team has also not fared well against the best of the West either. They have lost to the Lakers more than once by a fair margin of victory too, they have lost to the Mavs, Hornets, Spurs, Warriors and unfortunately many other good teams in the East. So, this does not forecast well for a team that is headed for the playoffs against all the power of the NBA.

The Phoenix Suns are not a team like the great one's before them. They will continue playing this fast paced entertaining style of play, putting people in the seats wherever they go, but never get the jewelery to go with it. I am sorry to my friend, who devotes most of his free time to the Suns and their plight for an NBA championship ring. This has been and most likely will continue to be his primary interest within sports, which is unfortunate. The Phoenix Suns are doomed to be the team that is always left at the door waiting for his date that never actually shows up.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Al Franken gaining steam

In the Minnesota senate race, Al Franken, Democrat just got a nice boost with Mike Ciresi dropping out of the race today. I am a supporter of Franken, but it is interesting that Ciresi had so little donations. Al Franken was beating him at the time 4 to 1. The new race of Franken v. Coleman should be an interesting one. I hoping that the state of Minnesota elects a Democrat. Not only because I am a Franken supporter, but because I feel like Minnesota needs to change. I believe that with a Democratic senator things can begin to change in the state.

On another note, I think you can compare this also to the presidential race that is going on as well. Senator Obama right now is beating Senator Clinton not only in delegates and in number of states won, but He also has a huge advantage in the amount of money His campaign is pulling in.

He's still wild
I learned today on that former Phillie's closer, Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams was banned from his 10 year old daughters basketball game. This guy really is nuts. I wonder if the World Series game against Toronto where he gave up that home run to Joe Carter made him this way? Either way, this guy is a very strange person, and I feel worse for the little girl who probably was embarrassed beyond recognition about her infamous father using the F-bomb to a ref in a meaningless basketball game.

Not happening...
There goes my dream of having one of the best wide outs in the game playing for Purple & Gold. I had some thought that Fitzgerald would have interest in playing for the hometown Vikings because he grew up in Minneapolis and played his high school ball there as well. But, he is obviously happy in Arizona not winning with Leinart. That's fine, let him be happy in the nice warm weather there. It would have been really great having him and this new guy they signed from the Bears. I still think the Vike's need another play maker besides AP.

Billy Crystal to sign with Yankees for one day
Comedian Billy Crystal is getting a once in a life time opportunity to sign a one day contract with a Major League Baseball team. I am not sure this is the best use of time though for the Yankees considering there outfield is played by a bunch of guys that are way, WAY past their primes, and they have a pitching staff that is completely unproven, i.e. Joba & Hughes, plus Mussina (who should have retired 3 years ago, who throws about as hard as I do) and Andy Pettite, who is not good unless he is taking HGH.

The Yanks should be focused on other things, not these crazy stupid promotional things to get fans in the seats. This is professional baseball, not the St. Paul Saints.

But back to Crystal. Crystal claims that he is a life long Yankee fan, but I am not completely sure I can buy that since he was seen in the film and on the DVD case, "City Slickers" in a New York Mets blue and orange cap. Everyone knows, especially if you are from New York that you cannot like both the Yanks and Mets. It's just wrong.

So Billy has some explaining to do, although I am sure that won't happen here on my blog. But back to Billy for a minute. I have always liked his comedy, and most of his films, including the movie 61* the store of the Mantle and Maris home run race in 1961. In the documentary on the DVD, Crystal is speaking about the Yankees and how his first interaction with the team and the stadium, and what is was like. It's interesting to note that his father was somewhat famous and worked with amazing musicians like Louie Armstrong, and had amazing box seats at Yankee Stadium. Anyways, he speaks in this documentary how amazing it was to go to his first baseball game, and how incredible Yankee Stadium was, and how it was his dream to play baseball for the Yankees someday. But for those who have seen this DVD, it makes it sound like it was a huge challenge, and nobody else on earth was a Yankee fan like Crystal.

It's just funny that in life you don't find die hard Kansas City Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates or Houston Astros fans around. Nobody in Hollywood cares much for those teams. Just the Yankees. I don't know, this could be my Yankee Bashing hat, since after all, I am a Twins fan, but I just find it funny how these guys think it is such a huge feat to be a die hard Yankee fan. To quote Joe Queenan, "The return on investment is pretty high." The Yankees have won more championships than any other professional sports franchise, so it does not take a huge level of dedication to be a die hard Yankee fan.

I am very jealous of Billy, and I am sure he paid a pretty penny to get this done for himself. I guess it's his 60th birthday present. I hope my wife would let me do that with the Twins when I am 60. Probably not...

Remembering an idol

I didn't have an opportunity to post this on March 6th, but I thought it was important to write that it was the two year anniversary of our beloved Twin, Kirby Puckett's death. I still cannot believe that He is gone. I can remember on three different occasions having personal interactions with the man that I would like to share here.

First was a very long time ago. My dad and I were at a Twins game very early. The team was still in the outfield doing some light throwing and stretching. About an hour later, the guys started to run back into the infield as the game was getting closer to the first pitch. My dad and I were standing right above the Twins dugout in the Dome, and as Kirby was running in, my dad yelled, "Yo Kirby, pass it here" and Kirby looked up and passed the authentic baseball to him. To this day, this baseball sits in my living room and is one of my prized possessions that I own.

The second time was at Twins Fest, (don't ask me the year) but I brought my 'M' fitted Twins cap that my dad purchased for me at the 1987 World Series. It was my very first fitted cap, and I kept it all those years. It was and is to this day, not fitting and very tired, but it was still something that had sentimental value for me. So my mission was to get Kirby, my all time favorite player to sign the brim of the cap. I waited in line at Twins Fest for 2.5 hours, as I was finally getting up to my idol he had this big smile on his face, even after signing autographs for the past 2.5 hours. Trust me, I was not even towards the end of the line, so the man had a lot more work ahead of him, but to me, as a young boy, idolizing this great hall of famer, to see him willing to sign all these autograph's with a smile on his face, proved to me that this man was not just an ordinary ball player, he was an amazing man too. I got the cap signed in a silver sharpie fat tip pen, and it is sitting in my daughters room right next to an 8x10 photograph of Kirby after he hit the game winning home run in game 6 of the 1991 World Series.

The third and final occasion was totally random. I was at a grocery store in Minnetonka, Minnesota and I was walking out the door. Then suddenly right in front of me walking towards the entrance was Puckett. I could tell it was him from almost 20 feet away. The guy just had this radiance from his face. He just looked like a great guy. As I was walking toward him, my jaw wide open, I'm sure, Kirby looked me in the eye and said, "good morning, how are you?" I said stumbling through my words, "Uh, I'm great sir, how are you?" And that was it.

Kirby was my idol growing up, and is still to this day my all time favorite baseball player. I still miss him two years later.

Santana keeps coming up in the Star Trib
I have always enjoyed Joe Christensen's articles and his blog on, but I really must say that this article bothered and irked me quite a bit this morning. I don't understand why Minnesota sports authors and fans need to play this "Minnesota Nice" card all the time. Johan Santana left the Twins on bad terms, in my humble opinion. The guy turned down what was the richest contract in Minnesota Twins history, what was reported as 5 years at 100 million dollars. This was an incredible offer from Pohlad (the Twins 96 year old owner) and he should be commended for making the serious attempt at keeping Johan in a Twins uniform. But Johan was incredibly greedy and wanted 7 years and over 150 million dollars. This never truly bodes well for any MLB team in sports history. See Kevin Brown with the L.A. Dodgers, or Mike Hampton. These guys were given huge contracts and never came close to the contract that they received. This was just a smart baseball decision not to sign Johan to a 7 year deal. I am sure Johan will be a great if not the best pitcher in the National League, probably winning many Cy Young awards, but he will not be great for 7 years, and was just not worth that kind of commitment from the Twins.

But back to the thing that irked me this morning as I was reading the Star Trib online as I always do. Joe does not need to point out on a regular basis how great Johan is, and how much he is going to help the New York Mets, and how they are now the team to beat in the NL. Come on, most real Twins fans are distraught and upset even now talking about Johan. I know, I am one, especially the day after he pitched a great game against the Red Sox. But we need to move on as Twins fans, and continuing to publish stories about him in the Trib is not a way to move on.

I guess Spitzer is not going to be the first Jewish president
I have always liked Gov. Spitzer, the guy went after the true scum of New York City. He went after countless Wall Street suits and funny enough, prostitution in New York. He was seemingly a trustworthy politician. Then this comes out. Anyways, all of the New York daily newspapers and syndicates are reporting that he is going to resign today or by the end of the week. He will be replaced immediately by Lt. Gov. David Paterson, who will be the very first African American to hold the position of Governor of the state of New York, he is also legally blind.

I am quite sure the New York Post, and the Daily News are going to have some pretty humorous headlines the next few days.