Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Why we can't have nice things

While perusing Twitter Tuesday evening, I came across this tweet by political reporter Michael Brodkorb.

Jake Duesenberg is co-chair (I believe) of the MN Tea Party Alliance, which is (allegedly) one of the more influential TP groups in this state. As as ardent tea partier, Mr. Duesenberg has never hidden his disdain for those Republicans he considers "too moderate" or "non-champions of liberty." That's his prerogative I suppose, but I'm not certain who he believes put him in charge of doling out the ideological purity cards.

The fact is Christie has never been charged with any crimes (he was cleared in "Bridgegate") nor has he ever been cited for any sort of ethical violations. As such, I'm befuddled at how he can be labeled a "dirty politician." I guess if one is a Republican who can somehow get elected to statewide office in (of all places) New Jersey, it stands to reason that one isn't exactly a  hardcore conservative. So is Mr. Duesenberg simply labeling Christie "dirty" merely because the NJ governor doesn't pass some sort of asinine litmus test? That seems pretty petulant if that's the case.

What seems to elude Duesenberg (as well as others who are incapable seeing the forest for the trees) is that Christie is coming to Minnesota in his role as chair of the Republican Governors Association. You know, that little outfit that helps REPUBLICAN gubernatorial candidates get elected? Jeff Johnson long ago laid out his position on critical issues as well as his agenda for when he's elected governor of Minnesota. As a result, Johnson was endorsed by MN GOP delegates as well as winning the Republican primary in August. This idea that Christie is coming to Minnesota in an attempt to "define" Johnson's campaign seems to be little more than a figment of Duesenberg's paranoid delusions. Get a grip, will ya?


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Monday, September 29, 2014

Gardy gone

Having lost 90+ games for the fourth consecutive season, there's no way the local nine could maintain the status quo. The first step in the overhaul process began Monday.

The Minnesota Twins fired manager Ron Gardenhire on Monday, saying it was time for a new voice after his 13-season tenure concluded with at least 92 losses in each of the last four years.

The move was made with one season left on Gardenhire's contract, ending the second-longest active tenure in the major leagues behind Mike Scioscia of the Angels.

"The reason for this change, I think it's safe to say, the last couple years we have not won enough games," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. "That's what it comes down to. It's nothing more, nothing less than that."

Gardenhire played an integral role in the franchise's renaissance, guiding the Twins to their first of six American League Central division titles in 2002 in his first year on the job. But Gardenhire's teams only got out of the first round once, and his postseason record was 6-21 with the last win coming in 2004.

I do not believe the franchise's woes over the past four years are solely at Gardy's feet. Given the pitiful starting pitching the Twins have trotted out to the mound the past few years, I can't think of one manager who could have come close to a .500 record with the assortment of starters they cobbled together. However, it's hard to convince a quickly diminishing season ticket base that keeping a field manager who has presided over four straight lousy seasons is the best way to right the ship.

The next obvious question is who will the Twins consider for only their third manager in the past 28 years? The natural inclination is to go with St. Paul native Paul Molitor. Not only is he a Hall of Fame player but Molitor has quickly earned the respect of Twins players and prospects with his high baseball IQ. In fact, he was being strongly considered to manage the Twins in 2002 before the job went to Gardenhire.

Another possibility is Terry Steinbach (also a Minnesota native), who just completed his second season as Twins bench coach. Steinbach too has a reputation of having earned a high baseball acumen during his 14-year career as catcher for both the Oakland Athletics and Twins. But if the Twins are considering Steinbach as their manager, they might want to get together with him posthaste. Steinbach's manager in Oakland, Tony LaRussa, was hired as Chief Baseball Officer by the Arizona Diamondbacks a few months ago. In addition, former A's pitcher Dave Stewart (who was teammates with Steinbach in Oakland for seven seasons) was recently hired as GM of the Diamondbacks. One of Stewart's first official actions was to fire manager Kirk Gibson and bench coach Alan Trammell. Don't think for one second Steinbach isn't on the D-Backs' short list of replacements for Gibson.

The Twins also kept open the possibility of hiring outside the organization. One name that cropped up via baseball insiders was that of Dave Martinez, who played 16 seasons (1986-2001) in the big leagues with nine different franchises. Martinez has been the Tampa Bay Rays bench coach since their AL pennant winning season of 2008. This would be intriguing from the standpoint that Martinez has been under the tutelage of highly respected manager Joe Maddon, who managed the Rays to five 90-win seasons in six years. Quite an accomplishment for a franchise with scant financial resources.

I imagine there will be other names bandied about in the coming days and Ryan will likely weigh all options carefully. Given it's been almost three years since he's been back on the job as Twins GM, Ryan may well be the next guy on the hot seat if this next move doesn't work out and the team continues to struggle on the field,

This will definitely be one of the more intriguing offseasons the Twins have had in over a decade.


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Box Score of the Week

Henderson Alvarez of the Miami Marlins tossed a no-hitter in last year's regular season finale vs the Detroit Tigers.


On the final day of the 2014 MLB regular season, Washington's Jordan Zimmerman threw a no-hitter in a 1-0 win over the Miami Marlins. The last time a no-hitter was thrown in a team's regular season finale? It was just last year when, ironically, the Miami Marlins pulled off that feat. 



Sunday, September 28, 2014

It was a cool and lovely breezy afternoon (How does it feel when you've got no food?)....

A beautiful fall day today but, alas, I'll be in the Patriot bunker for today's broadcast of The Closer. I will be on the air from 1:00 until 3:00 PM Central Time.

At 1:15, Republican Congressional candidate Doug Daggett will join me in studio. Doug is running for US House in Congressional District 5, currently represented by the far left Keith Ellison.

In non-guest segments, I will discuss myriad political news which took place on both the local and national levels (e.g. MNGOP guv candidate Jeff Johnson releasing his first TV ad, the latest on the US Senate races, Eric Holder out as AG, etc.).

So please give me call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to discuss any of the topics I plan on addressing. You can also text comments/questions to (651) 243-0390.

You can listen live in the Twin Cities at AM 1280 on your radio dial. In and out of the Minneapolis-St Paul area, you can listen to the program on the Internet by clicking this link, or check us out via iheart radio

Even though I have a face for radio, there is a UStream channel where you can watch the broadcast, if you so desire. Check it out here.  

And if you're so inclined, follow along on Twitter at #narn or "Like" our Facebook page.

Until then.....



Saturday, September 27, 2014

Well the names have all changed since you hung around....

As a 45-year old fan of University of Minnesota Gophers football, I have seen the Gophs defeat the University of Michigan on merely three occasions in my lifetime (1977, 1986 and 2005). As such, the Little Brown Jug, which is the traveling trophy in this rivalry, has spent an inordinate amount of time at the Michigan campus in Ann Arbor.

But for only the 25th time in 101 games vs Michigan, the Gophers squad was able to march around the football field Saturday hoisting said trophy!!

A 30-14 win over Michigan in the place they call "The Big House" was an incredibly sweet moment on multiple levels. Not only does the Little Brown Jug make a rare trip to the Minnesota campus but it also provided a satisfying moment for Gophers' head coach Jerry Kill. Next week will mark the 1-year anniversary of when Kill suffered a seizure just prior to Minnesota's game with Michigan in Ann Arbor. Kill was unable to coach in the game and his team was routed 42-13. The immediate aftermath saw many fans/media members questioning whether Kill should even be coaching.

Granted, this is a lousy Michigan team the Gophers thumped this weekend. But that fact did little to dampen the enthusiasm and excitement of players, coaches and fans.


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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Football Trivia: I drift back in time and I find my feet down on Mainstreet....

Thursday Night Football Trivia took place at Mainstreet Bar & Grill in Hopkins this evening. After having won it all two weeks ago and then finishing 2nd last week, I was geared up for another championship.

As usual, the written portion determined how players were seeded for the bracketed tournament. I scored 9 of 13 in the written Q&A, which was good for a #2 seed and a first round bye.

In the quarterfinals, I faced a guy who called himself the "Argonaut." This round is Family Feud style where the first person to buzz in obviously gets first crack at answering. It was best 2 out of 3. 

Question one: Who was the last person to hit a home run and score a touchdown in the same week. 

Brad (buzzing in first): Deion Sanders. Correct. 

1-0, Brad. 

Question two: Which NFL team holds the record for longest losing streak. 

Argonaut (buzzing in first): Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Correct. 

1-1 tie. 

Question three: Name one of the seven NFL teams which do not employ cheerleaders. 

Brad (buzzing in first; totally guessing): Atlanta Falcons? Incorrect. 
Argonaut: Cleveland Browns. Correct!

Argonaut wins, 2-1. He would go on to lose his semifinal matchup however. Regardless, I left Mainstreet feeling incredibly unfulfilled. 

On a side note, 17-time champion Brendan Byrne lost his semifinal match, so there have been three different winners the first three weeks. 

On to Liquor Lyle's next week where I will seek the distinction of being the first repeat winner in 2014.


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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

In case you're wondering,....

.....the White House's current occupant is still participating in Amateur Hour.

My friend (and filmmaker) Michael Wilson had perhaps the best reaction to this, via his Facebook page.

In boot camp once, I was mopping a shower at the back of the squad bay. A captain comes in the door and I'm the first one to see him. You're supposed to come to attention and yell "attention on deck!" But I panicked, came to attention with the mop in my right hand and saluted with my left. The captain looks at me and says with disgust, "you gotta be f***ing kidding me." Aside from being a metaphor for my career in the Marine Corps, I know how Obama feels. After an hour with a drill instructor standing over him making him do push-ups and thrust-kicks until he vomits, the President will probably never do that again.

That's a Pay-Per-View event if I've ever heard of one!



Monday, September 22, 2014

Box Score of the Week

The Philadelphia Phillies took on the Oakland A's in a game that took place this past Saturday.


Phillies' pitcher Jerome Williams got the victory in this game. It was the third time this season he has defeated the A's. His other two victories over Oakland occurred when he was a member of two other teams. Williams is the first pitcher since at least 1900 to have at least one win against the same opponent with three different teams in the same season.