Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Favre to stay retired.

So quarterback Brett Favre is staying retired, eh? Regardless whether or not Favre decided to play this season, I'm just glad all the speculation of "will or won't he" has finally ceased.

From a business standpoint, this would have been a great signing! Every home game (regular season and playoffs) would have been sold out. And sales of #4 jerseys (assuming third string QB John David Booty would have surrendered the number) would have rivaled that of Adrian Peterson's #28.

From a football standpoint, it would have been an iffy move. Favre (who will turn 40 on October 10) got off to a nice start with the New York Jets last season, throwing 20 touchdowns passes in the first eleven games. However, the Jets limped to a 1-4 finish with Favre throwing only two TDs and nine interceptions. While I am confident that his arm is healthy now, in what kind of shape would it have been come December? In fact, the Favre mystique in the final month may have faded. In his past two Decembers (covering eight games), Favre had thrown thirteen interceptions.

We all know that Favre would have been brought in for one reason and one reason only: To help the Vikings win a Super Bowl. Once again, that was no guarantee. While he led the Green Bay Packers to two Super Bowl berths (including one championship) in his first six seasons, Favre's postseason performances since then have been rather unremarkable.

In the nine postseason games after the Green Bay Packers' last Super Bowl appearance, Favre guided his team to a mere 3-6 record with more interceptions (18) than touchdown passes (16).

And some of those picks were downright hideous.

Who can forget the 2003 divisional playoff game at Philadelphia? In overtime, Favre threw an interception so ugly that it looked as though Eagles defender Brian Dawkins was making a fair catch on a punt. The Eagles would drive into field goal range and win 20-17.

And many recall Favre's Packer finale in an overtime loss to the New York Giants in the 2007 NFC title game. On the first possession of overtime, Favre totally misfired on an out pass to Donald Driver, resulting in an interception by the Giants' Corey Webster. Shortly thereafter, the Giants earned a berth in the Super Bowl with a 23-20 victory.

A couple of months after the '07 championship game, Favre tearfully said goodbye to his Hall of Fame football career....for about 4 months until he scratched the proverbial itch to play football again. With the Packers already committed to Aaron Rodgers for the 2008 season, Favre was traded to the New York Jets.

Favre being dealt not only marked the end of an era in Green Bay, it also liberated Packer Nation from the continuous alibis. Despite all of the playoff failures and the annual charade of keeping the organization guessing about his future, Favre seemed immune to criticism. Because he lifted the Packers out of the 20-year doldrums upon his 1992 arrival in Green Bay, fans were all too willing to forgive and forget the playoff failures of Favre's final ten seasons. But because Favre had the gall to continue his football career outside Green Bay, WI, it was only then that Packers fans discovered what many outside of Wisconsin have known for the past several seasons -- Favre had not been nearly as clutch in big games as he used to be and had also been a pain in the rear for management. Sure Favre was rightfully open to criticism for "un-retiring" last year. But it seemed many Packers fans started piling on about the diva like behavior Favre exhibited in Green Bay only after he left the Packers.

But I digress.

As I said at the outset, signing Favre would have guaranteed nothing in terms of the Vikings' chances of reaching the Super Bowl, much less improving upon their first round playoff exit of last season. But I believe Favre would have been a significant upgrade over what the Vikings currently have in place at the QB position. And that is the one reason why I'm disappointed the Favre signing didn't happen.

So now the focus shifts to Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels in an open competition for the starting quarterback position. And I have no concern whatsoever if the two QB's felt disrespected over all of the Favre talk. The fact is neither Rosenfels (a career backup his entire 8-year career) nor Jackson have accomplished anything to make the Vikings organization not feel the need to look for an upgrade at the position.

Best thing now is to put the whole saga behind and look to capturing another NFC North championship.

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Deadline deal could help short term and long term

With the July 31st trade deadline looming for Major League Baseball, I will be keeping a sharp eye on the local nine, who haven’t made a significant move since 2003. With the Minnesota Twins only four games out of first place in the AL Central division, an upgrade to their roster could propel them to their first division title since 2006.

There has been word that the Twins have scouted Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Freddy Sanchez and shortstop Orlando Cabrera of the Oakland Athletics.

If the Twins somehow obtained both for the stretch drive of this season, the lineup would look a lot more formidable.

1) Span
2) Sanchez
3) Mauer
4) Morneau
5) Cuddyer
6) Kubel
7) Crede
8) Cabrera
9) Gomez

The move that would make the most sense is acquiring Sanchez since he also has a club option for 2010 (Cabrera only has a contract for this season). If the Twins were to pick up that option, they would have one of their major holes filled going into the first season of the brand new ballpark. It may also trigger a contract extension for all-world catcher Joe Mauer. With Mauer due to be a free agent after the ’10 season, it would behoove the Twins to lock him up prior to him hitting the open market. Besides, what kind of damper would that put on the inaugural season of Target Field if Mauer were not signed past ’10? After all, Mauer has indicated that his litmus test for signing a long term contract would depend upon the organization’s commitment to winning. Adding an All Star second baseman to the mix would likely go a long ways.

So if the Twins do indeed obtain Sanchez by this Friday, it will not only help them this season but its ripple effect could help them lock down their franchise player for the long term.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

The latest Favre (non) update

The latest in the Brett Favre news is....well....not really news at all.

With Minnesota Vikings players scheduled to report to training camp in less than a week, Brett Favre remains anguished about whether he should come out of retirement and join the team. That decision, according to sources, has become more difficult in recent days because of the efforts of Vikings players including Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen and Steve Hutchinson, all of whom have now begun calling and texting Favre in an attempt to convince him to become Minnesota's starting quarterback.

"If it weren't for the involvement of the Vikings players directly telling Brett they want him on their team, I think he might have already decided against playing again,'' a source said.


Over the last three months, Favre himself has rarely gone on the record. In fact, most "updates" have merely cited unnamed sources. But the one time Favre spoke publicly was July 16, when he himself imposed a deadline on making a decision.

The quarterback told The Associated Press that he'll give the Vikings an answer on whether he'll play by the July 30 start of training camp. Favre has been working out with the Oak Grove High School football team three days a week all summer, but added a Sunday workout this week.

"There's two weeks left and I'm doing everything I can," Favre said. "I was down here Sunday morning working out. I'm trying to get everything to where I feel 100 percent when I go in. I can't go in any less. When you're 39 years old, it's hard enough. But it's getting there."

Favre said if the arm strength wasn't there, he wouldn't be making a bid to return for his 19th season in the league.

"I don't think Minnesota would even consider it if I didn't have it," Favre said. "Second of all, I wouldn't even think about it if I didn't have it. Now, having it here and having in on the field on Sundays is two different things, I know that for a fact. I know what it takes to play on Sunday and I still believe I have that."

Favre said his hesitation is more about what those watching him practice might not see. He used a golfing analogy to explain his situation. What if, he asked, Tiger Woods came back and found he didn't have the same game?

"He goes out and hits a 2 iron and he thinks it will go the normal distance it has all his life, then all of a sudden it's 13 yards short, and he says, 'I don't know why that is because everything felt perfect,' so that's what I have to get through," Favre said.

"If you're throwing and it's a little off and you have a little pain, it's a little bit understandable. If there's no pain and there's no excuse, that's where you've got a problem. So I want to go out and have one of those days throwing and then have another where all of those throws you make, every warmup throw you make or just in general, feels perfect."


If you read Favre's quotes from last week, didn't you get the indication that he was already wrestling with the decision, maybe even conveying some anguish? I mean, this is it. The only thing Favre has ever known for the past nineteen years is hanging in the balance. And one of his biggest concerns last Thursday was that there was only "two weeks left". So doesn't it stand to reason that he may be even more anxious a week closer to July 30th?

So, again, I don't understand how it's news that Favre is displaying "anguish" over the biggest decision of his illustrious NFL career. He said he would give the Vikings an answer next Thursday. So unless he shocks us all and gives a definitive answer prior to then, anything that happens between now and the 30th is pretty much non-newsworthy.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Happy Pi Approximation Day




Pi Approximation Day celebrates the mathematical constant π (pi). It is observed on July 22, due to π being roughly equal to 22/7.

Bakers Square would be wise to capitalize on this occasion.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Inexplicable!!

When I turned in last evening, the Twins had a 12-3 lead over the Oakland Athletics in the bottom of the third inning. At that time, I checked the box score and saw that Twins starting pitcher Nick Blackburn had allowed three runs on eight hits in just two-plus innings. I remember thinking that it was no sure thing that the Twins could hang on to the big lead because it appeared the A’s too were wearing their hitting shoes.

Sadly, I was right. Oakland rallied to a 14-13 win.

I’m going to be real curious to see how the Twins bounce back this evening. At this point in his young major league career, tonight’s starting pitcher Anthony Swarzak will be making the biggest start of his life.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

More useless sports trivia

The Minnesota Twins have signed veteran second baseman Mark Grudzielanek, 39, to a minor league contract. In a 14-year career with five different teams, Grudzielanek has a .290 lifetime batting average as well as the third longest last name in Major League Baseball history. Grudzielanek's twelve letter last name is behind only:

Jarrod SALTALAMACCHIA (14 letters in last name)

William VAN LANDINGHAM (13)
Todd HOLLANDSWORTH (13)
Steve WOJCIECHOWSKI (13)

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Appalling

This is about as low budget as it gets.

A Plymouth man hired to care for a vulnerable adult admitted to using the man's debit card to pay his own bills, according to police.

Hennepin County prosecutors charged Varfee Pappe Dauphine, 30, with financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult and financial transaction card fraud. Both counts are felonies.

According to a criminal complaint, Dauphine worked as a personal care assistant to a 38-year-old man identified as MS. MS is confined to a wheelchair because of cerebral palsy and can only speak through a keyboard translator.


“MS” is Michael Stephenson, a gentleman whom I actually know a little bit since he attends the same church as my wife and me. Despite very limited physical abilities, Mike’s unconditional joy and peace in the presence of the Lord is so very apparent. Given Mike’s limitations, he sometimes wondered where he could find a place to serve God’s kingdom. But Mike’s gift to others is simply showing up. While people are sometimes frazzled when walking into the house of the Lord on Sundays (whether it’s due to waking up late or dealing with fussy children) they can quickly regain perspective upon seeing Mike walk on his knees to the altar and joyfully worshipping God. In that, Mike’s gift is obvious: He’s serves God’s kingdom by letting people know how truly blessed their lives are and how the trivial aspects are just that….trivial.

As you can probably surmise, I take this story is a little more personal than others of a similar nature. I concur that it’s pretty appalling on its face when you hear of someone being robbed. But for me, it’s positively heart breaking (and at the same time infuriating) when it happens to a vulnerable human being who focuses so little on what ails him.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Still the best first pitch thrown by a President



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Sunday, July 12, 2009

For all that is decent...

...I beg Sid Hartman to never do TV again. His grasp of names and basic facts has totally eluded him.

The long time Star Tribune columnist, who will be 90 next year, appears every Sunday evening on the local CW program The Sports Show. Anyhow, Sid insists Billy Martin never managed the New York Yankees again after Martin was fired from the Oakland A's after the 1982 season.

As John Adams once said, "Facts are stubborn things."

The fact is, Martin had three different tenures with the Yankees after 1982.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Cuddy's rough homestand

With Friday evening's 6-4 win over the Chicago White Sox, the Twins are still a mediocre 3-4 on this final homestand prior to the All Star Break. I realize that a rough patch of games can't be attributed to one player. But veteran outfielder Michael Cuddyer has stood out these past seven games and not in a good way. His lackluster .241 average tells only part of the story.

Last Friday vs. Tigers: With the score tied 7-7 in the bottom of the 11th inning, Cuddyer had two strikes on him with the bases loaded and two outs. He ended up striking out on a pitch in the left handed hitter's batters box. Twins would lose 11-9 in sixteen innings.

Wednesday vs. Yankees: Trailing 4-2 with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth inning, Cuddyer struck out on a pitch almost a foot in front of home plate. Twins lose, 4-3.

Friday vs. White Sox: With a 4-0 first inning lead and no outs, Jason Kubel was at third base and Cuddy at first. With a golden opportunity to knock out Sox starting pitcher John Danks, Cuddyer is inexplicably picked off first base, stunting the Twins' opening inning momentum. However, Cuddyer would redeem himself with a great leaping catch against the right field wall with runners at second at third. Even though the Sox tied the game on that fly ball, the go ahead run would be stranded at third base.

Let's hope that catch allows Cuddy's play to take a turn for the good in what has thus far been a moribund homestand.

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What happened to Bob Davis?

A little over three months ago, I posted the announcement that AM 1500 KSTP fired conservative talk show host Bob Davis. Since that time, my blog has received several hits under the search "What happened to Bob Davis?"

Wonder no more!!

I was excited to learn that Bob is now taking advantage of the "new media" via podcasting.

Check 'em out at:

http://web.me.com/davisbob1/Site_2/Podcast/Podcast.html

You can also follow Bob via Twitter at http://twitter.com/bobdavispodcast

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Separated at Birth: Jermaine Jackson & Isiah Thomas


















This was pointed out to me by ESPN's Bill "The Sports Guy" Simmons.

Singer Jermaine Jackson (left) is Michael Jackson's older brother.

Isiah Thomas is an NBA Hall of Famer.

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Happy Anniversary to us!!!!




It was nine years ago today when the gal and I said our "I Dos"!!!

Every year has gotten better. And of course, the best is yet to come!

Happy Anniversary to my one and only!!

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Monday, July 06, 2009

Memo to victim disarmament gun control zealots

Would it be permissible for the Nashville P.D. to complete the homicide investigation in the Steve McNair case before you begin the standard demagogue about gun control? Oh, and if you could also hold off the standard frothing-at-the-mouth reactions until McNair's family has a chance to lay him to rest, that too would be awful big of ya!!

That is all.

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Sunday, July 05, 2009

You can go your own way

While waiting to be seated at a restaurant Friday evening, the gal and I ran into a couple we knew from church. Since we were a few blocks from the Metrodome and I was donning my Twins jersey, the gentleman surmised we were going the baseball game that evening.

Inevitably the conversation turned to Target Field, the Twins' new outdoor stadium slated to open next season. Ted frowned when the subject was broached: "Yeah, I don't know what to think about the new stadium. I mean, it's pretty cold in April. Why didn't they put a roof on it?"

This has become perhaps the most tireless, inane meme I've heard and continue to hear. Let me ask this? In the month of April, does it ever get cold in Chicago? How about Detroit? Cleveland, too? Have the White Sox, Tigers or Indians suffered season-long damage due to playing in cold weather? To me, it will be worth enduring temperatures in the high 30s and/or snow flurries in April to be watching a Sunday afternoon game in June with temps in the 70s, bright sun and a fresh breeze!!

I also get a lot of this: "What about people who come all the way from Iowa or North & South Dakota for a weekend game only to have it rained out?? That's not fair!!!!!"

(Sigh) These same people must vote Democrat.

So you're telling we must live our entire freaking lives without any risk whatsoever? In the event a game is postponed due to rain, there are things called "rain checks". That means you can use that ticket to attend the make up game. If you can't attend the make up game, guess what? YOU GET YOUR FRIGGIN' MONEY BACK!!!

So for those who utter those complaints, have at it. I'll be thinking of you in June 2010 when I'm sitting in my seats in the left field bleachers!!

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Saturday, July 04, 2009

Let Freedom Ring!!!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Mike Jungbauer to run for MN Governor!!!

My State Senator, Mike Jungbauer (R-East Bethel), announced he is running for Governor of Minnesota....via Facebook!!!

I said all my FB friends would know first! I am officially announcing my run for governor of the great state of Minnesota!


I've heard rumors of the likes of Laura Brod, Marty Seifert and Pat Anderson vying for the GOP nomination. However, I had been hesitant to throw my weight behind any particular candidate.

Until now!!!!

Mike's official statement:

Thank you, my friends, for your support. Today I am announcing my official candidacy for Governor of the great state of Minnesota.

I think Minnesotans are ready for an “outside the box” leader with fresh ideas and approaches, and no longer are looking for “old school” legacy politicians. I believe I am that man!

The Republican field is crowded, I know that; but all I have seen so far is a popularity contest. I may not be the prettiest or the most recognizable, but I am the most knowledgeable on the issues facing the citizens of this state.

Let’s face it, in Minnesota we like divided government. Minnesota also has a rich tradition of bi-partisanship and as all of us have seen in the past few years, that is non-existent.

There are many important issues facing our state and country, most notably, high unemployment, declining state revenues and an increased burden on government services. Minnesota is not an exception to the rule – nearly every state in the union is facing similar challenges – some more dire and some more favorable.

My voting record shows that I am a conservative Republican, but I also have a track record of bi-partisanship.The type of bi-partisanship I speak of is not giving in or giving up but rather in finding a way to bring both sides together in a win-win conclusion. When the 35W bridge collapsed – I was the only Republican in the legislature willing to participate in an independent, publicly funded, investigation into why the bridge fell. I encouraged my fellow Republicans to participate, but they were unwilling – labeling it a witch hunt. I was at nearly every event in the city of Minneapolis dealing with the collapse and public input on the new bridge. Most times I was the lone Republican. As I attend many events around the state that concern us all, I find myself as the lone Republican. It is said “The world is run by those who show up”, and I show up!

The issues – when speaking with constituents one thing is repeated time and time again; jobs, jobs, jobs. While the unemployment rate nears 10% the question we have to ask ourselves is what role should government play in job creation? Free market proponents would argue that the government should just get out of the way and let business do what it does best. I agree the free market is the sure avenue for economic growth and recover, but government must provide a business and tax friendly climate in order for that to occur……I have a tax plan that will accomplish that!

Energy – I would argue that energy and environmental policy are the great issues of our time. As we witness congress proceed with the Markey/Waxman cap-and-trade bill, arguably the largest tax increase ever imposed on the citizens of this country, Minnesotans need someone who has a very clear understanding of energy and environmental policy and I am the most studied legislator on these important issues.

Everyone is aware that we are nearing an energy transformation; however, this must be achieved through a strong working relationship between the legislature, business community and higher education institutions. Having served on a variety of committees dealing with energy issues, I have concluded that we are taking the wrong approach; trying to achieve a renewable energy transformation through government mandates and costly subsidization programs is not the answer. Once again, government does have a role in this transformation, but it should be done primarily through the free market with aid from the government via tax incentives and a friendly business climate…..I have a plan that accomplishes just that!

Priorities – The Minnesota State constitution states that the legislature’s duty is to fully fund education, transportation and public safety. Once we have met those requirements then we can look at all other areas of government. Misplaced priorities is a chronic problem in the legislature and as governor, I will make those priorities a staple of my administration.

I take this step extremely seriously! I have a team of advisors that fill in the knowledge gaps I do not myself possess. I believe we need to elevate the conversation now to real issues of the day.

Minnesota: Let’s get to know each other!



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Like Wellstone indeed

When checking the Star Tribune online today, I couldn't help but be struck by the following headline:

Franken picks Wellstone as his model


Say, wasn't it revealed that Paul Wellstone also eschewed paying workers' compensation insurance for his employees, a la Franken?

Wellstone as Senator Franken's model? It all makes sense now!
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