meaningless sports post
between blogging and kidsports, i'm spectating much less these days. i honestly enjoy little league games as much as major league games and i actually get frenzied (well, frenzied for a phlegmatic norwegian-american such as myself) at my kids' wrestling matches and basketball games. still, i couldn't help but notice some good pro sports stories with local angles. first, the bad news:
1. love the player, hate his game. i've boycotted nba basketball ever since paying cash money to watch the no-longer-minneapolis lakers sleepwalk through a midseason tilt several years ago. but mr. dwayne wade, a fine midwestern lad with formidable skills and work ethic, actually induced me to root for shaq's team. i know that mr. o' neal is a great humanitarian and quite generous off the court, but i cannot watch him steamroll opponents in the lane (let's not even talk about the free throws). i just scream at the tv: "li'l dude was SET! he had POSITION! you can't just RUN HIM OVER! awww, this game SUCKS. what would BILL RUSSELL think?" nevertheless, now that he's old and infirm, shaq has grown on me a little -- sort of like bill walton during his eighties go-round with the celtics. of course, i'd have loved shaq, had the wolves been able to draft him in 1992. they had the worst record in the league by far, yet the lottery gods (or, more cynically, david stern) smiled on orlando (we got shaq!) and charlotte (hey, this alonzo mourning guy looks pretty good!). my woofies fell to third and got christian laettner. yeesh.
2. the second worst trade in nfl history? on october 12, 1989, my vikings traded five players, six conditional draft choices, and a 1992 first-round draft pick to the dallas cowboys for herschel walker. mr. walker lasted two decidedly unspectacular years in minnesota, whereas dallas used the picks to draft the nfl's all-time leading rusher and a cavalcade of stars on their way to three super bowls. last year, my vikes traded their 29-year-old franchise quarterback -- who passed for 4,700 yards and 39 touchdowns just 2 years ago -- for a no-name center from new mexico, projected to go in the fourth round. unfortunately, center is the only position where they already have an all-pro. yeesh.
enough negativity. now, the good:
3. future's so bright. my pre-season prediction of 87 wins for the twins looked flat ridiculous a couple weeks ago, but now it just looks, well, slightly absurd. still, i'm way optimistic about the future. i've hyped justin morneau for years and he's starting to put up numbers to match the rifle-shot sound of the ball leaving his bat. santana and liriano, now 7-1, are a formidable set of young starters and nathan and rincon remain strong in the bullpen. as predicted, jason kubel is raking already. hunter and stewart may not be around much longer, but they might bring some good young talent. as of this morning, catcher joe mauer is hitting .375, a neat 100 points above morneau. even if morneau's average is half as high as mauer's, however, he'll drive in close to 100 runs. given their many remaining holes (li'l nicky punto at third base? c'mon.), they probably won't catch the chicagos or detroits (not to mention the clevelands, who are due for a run), but they'll be fun to watch for years. and they might reach 87 ...