Showing posts with label Reusse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reusse. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

1500 ESPN Represents All Types of Viewpoints

There's a really old grumpy white guy. There's a younger white guy whose facial hair and frown connotes a certain confused toughness. There's a couple of other white guys in the middle.* There's an old white guy with a leather jacket, which means his reactionary conservatism is somehow a cool, rebellious stance**. And photoshopped in, Mike and Mike! When Mike Greenberg (a pretty fantastic douche in his own right), is the one whisper of a minority voice on your banner photo, and you are discussing sports full time, you may wish to think about how you are going about business. Just sayin'.

*I feel a bit bad about that one, as Judd Zulgad, the 3rd white guy from the left, is one of my favorite radio hosts in the Twin Cities. He deserves his job, which necessitates waking up early in the morning, driving to an AM sports station, and having to engage with, for hours at end, Jeff Dubay. I take it back - Zulgad doesn't deserve that at all. He deserves something a bit better.

**To be clear, that isn't supposition. That's Joe Soucheray, host of Garage Logic, and he's tough as fucking nails! He's an angry, leathery Ward Cleaver, complaining, for example, about how single moms are ruining society. Seriously. A couple of months ago, he made that argument. A couple of months ago!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sid Hartman, Making Sense (Not Really!)

It has been awhile since I've written a blog post specifically targeting one of our local Star Tribune columnists. The only excuse I can offer is that the Star Trib experimented with a Pay to Read structure for some of their most "in-demand" columnists, which of course meant that no one read them (aside from the tech-averse who thought getting a paper stuffed to the gills with AP articles was worth having delivered to their doorstep). But that experiment has died, and we can all read all of the Star Tribbers in all of the glory.

And today, I'd like to focus on Sid Hartman, the hardliest-working columnist in the Twin Cities. Believe me, it was a tough choice. After all, Patrick Reusse wrote this defense of urban teachers in the Twin Cities:

 "We have received an enormous influx of poor and tired and tempest-tossed people from cities that have decayed, and from other lands...And as Minneapolis and St. Paul teachers and administrators have done their darndest to educate these often disadvantaged pupils, they have seen their efforts bad-mouthed by legislators from school districts with newer buildings and better equipment and with one-10th of the problems in a week that a Twin Cities teacher can face on a daily basis."

It's a wonderful sentiment, except that Reusse is using that as a jumping off point to argue that anyone against $700,000,000 of public money on a new Vikings stadium is an idiot. Seriously. Just guessing, here, Pat, but if you polled those teachers, they would say, "Hey, if you are going to raise $700 million dollars, how about you spend it on the education system you are lauding? (you fucking dummy)." Just to be clear, I'm not calling Patrick Reusse a fucking dummy--that was just my imagining of what 95% of all teachers in the Twin Cities would say. Those teachers would also probably point out that an investment in education has been proven, by serious economists, to be an actual investment--every dollar put into improving education leads to about ten dollars in revenue for the state. Stadiums? Not so much. Just sayin'.  Not that Reusse couldn't dig up a Gym Teacher or two who support the new stadium. He didn't bother to, of course (that would require "work", something the sports columnists of the Twin Cities papers have heard rumors of, and this "work", you speak of? It gives them the willies.)

And that's as good as any segue into Sid Hartman's latest inanity. Let's do it!

I won't bother with Sid's opening paragraph, in which he argues that a new Vikings stadium would host exactly the same number of Vikings games that the Metrodome hosts (though it does take some special chutzpah to make that a selling point.)

There's a metric ton of idiocy in Hartman's column, so let's just take the prospect of the Super Bowl argument for now. Sid says, "[One] showcase event that could come here with a new covered stadium would be the Super Bowl, which was at Indianapolis this year, at Cowboys Stadium last year, at Arizona's University of Phoenix Stadium at 2008 and at Detroit's Ford Field in 2006. The Giants and Jets' new MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., is getting the Super Bowl in 2014, even though it is an open-air stadium."

All true. And if the Vikings got a brand new, Billion Dollar Stadium, the Super Bowl would undoubtedly come here. Once. Exactly Once. That's how the NFL backs up its owners, by essentially guaranteeing that if  an ownership can get one over on their populace, the NFL will reward it with a Super Bowl. But let's be clear, the Vikings could spend $10 Billion on the new stadium, and have it outfitted with tiny cameras that flew across the field on solar powered wings and rendered every image in perfect, hi-definition 3D graphics, and the new Vikings Stadium would still get exactly One (1) Super Bowl. You know why? The Super Bowl is in February, and that brand new Vikings Stadium would still be located in Minnesota. So Sid's inventory of future and recent Super Bowl's is that perfect kind of fact--it is true, but it isn't illuminating. Dallas and Arizona will host again, to be sure. Indianapolis' current stadium will not host another Super Bowl. I guarantee it. Neither will Detroit. I'll be shocked if Metlife Stadium gets another one after what I assume will be a debacle (by NFL Super Bowl Standards) in 2014--wind! Maybe snow!

You know how I know all of these things? I've looked at the damn history of the Super Bowl--Miami and New Orleans, between them have hosted 19 Super Bowls. (That does not include the four held in Tampa Bay, by the by. Or the seven in Los Angeles...between Miami, New Orleans, Tampa and LA, we are talking about 31 of the 47 Super Bowls played). Everything about Super Bowl distribution screams "Nice Place To Go In Winter, Unless We've Got a Debt to Pay". Which is fine, but Minnesota Vikings fans should know, without a doubt, that it doesn't matter how awesome their new stadium is...they are getting one Super Bowl. And given the state of their team, it won't be the Vikings playing there come February of whatever year. Because the Vikings are terrible, you see.

There's some dirty pool going on in the NFL with this--yes, if you build a new stadium, you will get a Super Bowl, almost certainly (especially if it has a roof, regardless of how temperate it is). But let's not kid ourselves, the Super Bowl sells itself on tourist destinations, for the most part. If the NFL doesn't have a new stadium to reward, it will always go with tourist-friendly, warm in February locales. But you could have one Super Bowl, at least, as opposed to zero, whispers Roger Goodell in your ear. And if you happen to be in a Southern City, with a stadium younger than Lindsey Lohan, like Atlanta, you'll be told, "Yes, you are a perfect city, in a southern locale, that can generate some idle tourist dollars, but Gosh, with all of these new stadiums popping up, suddenly, your venue looks old and busted, like Lindsey Lohan." I explained all of this in my excellent post, "The Super Bowl as Economic Weapon", which apparently Sid Hartman never read. Someone should teach him how to operate a computing machine.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Reusse On New Stadium: Blame Mass Transit!

Yesterday, with enough fanfare to suggest the stadium deal was not only completed, but the stadium was already finished, the Vikings and Ramsey County officials announced a partnership to build a stadium, whilst overlooking some pretty massive issues with that plan.

If you are a casual follower of this issue (and most people are) you'd think something had been accomplished.  Nothing really has as of yet, though.  Everyone talking about this big new deal has totally ignored that they do not have, as yet, a ton of support in the State Legislature, and have a governor in Mark Dayton who has pretty carefully delineated how much he'd be willing to spend (not enough for the plan as it stands).  Governor Dayton even suggested that most of $300 million the state is willing to spend (and that number just seems to have come out of thin air--it's not like a state in a deficit of $5 billion has any money to spend on stadiums) would go to infrastructure if that is needed, and a long abandoned Ammunition Plant well off of the interstates flowing into the Twin Cities would need a lot of infrastructure, presumably.

But never mind all of that!  I'm here to talk and giggle at the insanity of Patrick Reusse's column on the subject.  Keep in mind, this man gets paid well to deliver his opinion on all things sports-related (and also all things Park Near Where Pat Reusse Lives-Related).

You know that super-conservative, kinda racist uncle you have, who because he succeeded in his little narrow niche, thinks he knows better than you in every facet of everything?  That's what reading Reusse is like.  You probably just shake your head at your uncle every Thanksgiving and move on with your life.  Would that I could do that with Reusse.  Let's get to the old crank uncle version of the sort-of/not-really new Stadium deal!

The first four paragraphs of Reusse's column deal with a deal in Minneapolis that never, ever had a chance--both Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis weren't really interested in dealing with the Viking's demands; Hennepin County bowed out; the City of Minneapolis put out a tough deal that demanded the Vikings actually sacrifice a little.  Reusse gives Hennepin County a pass, but roughs up the City of Minneapolis for not being active enough--by which he means, give up their Farmer's Market site with a whimper.

Then, Reusse gets to the meat of the matter:  "On Tuesday, the Vikings came with the deal that politicians and pundits have been ordering them to deliver for years: They came with a large financial commitment from ownership and with a fully engaged local partner."

That's one way of putting it.  The other way of putting it could be that the Vikings have put up the exact minimum demanded of them by politicians (if that).  And they've put that money into an location that needs massive work,which they aren't helping to clean up/fix/make suitable for a stadium.  That cost is nowhere in any projections, though Governor Dayton's studies (who goes unmentioned in Reusse's piece) suggest it could be more than $200 million dollars).

Here's what it get's weird and super-tangential.  For those of you who don't know--the new location is kind of out of the way.  It's north of I-694, the northern part of the interstate Beltway of the Twin Cities.  Public transportation (in general, pretty bad in the Twin Cities) is practically nonexistent that far north of the metro.  But I should mention (because it is important to the craziness that is about to follow) that the Twin Cities are working to improve their mass transit with additions to an urban light rail line that will connect downtown St. Paul with downtown Minneapolis.  Remember that I said that part, OK?  Because it's about to get all Old and Cranky and Weird up in here.

Reusse: "We know Arden Hills does not fit the dream of the transit crowd. Currently, those dreamers are busy spending scores of millions to turn University Avenue into a modern version of post-war East Berlin, all in the name of a choo-choo from downtown St. Paul hooking up with the Hiawatha Line in downtown Minneapolis."

Arden Hills doesn't fit with the dream of anyone who likes to attend Viking games, but doesn't want to drive for 45 minutes, or pay a monopoly to park their car.  Say what you will about the Metrodome, but it being in a central location allowed people to walk there, bus there, train there, or choose from a wide variety of urban, independent parking lots.  There are no parking lots in Arden Hills, and the only ones that will be there will be owned by the Vikings.  Yeah, only crazy Transit Fans (?) hate the Arden Hills site.  And I'm not sure why post-war East Berlin is the reference of choice, except that it sounds horrible.  I live and work near University Avenue--am I avoiding it right now?  Sure--because it is under construction, not because it reminds me of a grim Communist dystopia.  It's called hyperbole, and Patrick Reusse is just like Joseph Stalin, in that he uses hyperbole well.  (see what I did there?)

Read that last part again--"All in the name of a choo-choo".  People who like mass transit in central urban corridors are babies!  That's called infantilizing your opponents.  Also it was a favorite technique of Stalin.  Also, Pat Reusse is a big goddamn baby.  (I may be using it a little too bluntly, but you get my demo, yeah?)

Next paragraph (complete with hinted conspiracy theory):  "One vestige of previous construction is a large train station in front of the Metrodome. Another is the hub serving Target Field. Thus, the transit crowd could live with either a new Metrodome or the Farmers Market site, to offer impressive ridership numbers on Sundays in the fall and early winter...Come 2015, not long after the St. Paul-Minneapolis hookup is complete, the transit crowd will have to admit that it previously was delivering several thousand Vikings fans by train, and now, after spending those scores of millions tearing up University Avenue, it is delivering zero Vikings fans by train."

The "transit crowd".  Sounds ominous.  Perhaps Reusse should have capitalized it--"The Transit Crowd" would have been much scarier.  But it is a crazy argument.  No one wants a new stadium, if they have to pay for it.  It makes economic sense to use existing resources.  The train will have function beyond the Vikings (the thousands it delivers to Vikings Games, it does exactly 8 times a year (barring that occasional year they have/lose a home playoff game)--and yet, for some reason, it operates the other 357 days that the Vikings don't play, and still finds a purpose and a ridership.

The Transit Crowd (who?) wants a new stadium built near an existing Train Stop, so they can boost their ridership numbers.  Not far from that argument is, "Let's build a train system who serves no one and see how many people ride that!"  By the way, there's this thing you can do, called research--let me show you what it can do.  Reusse argues that the Public Transit Cabal of the Twin Cities (who?) wants the Metrodome station to remain busy for those 8 Sundays a year to inflate their statistics.  In the 3rd Quarter (July, August, September) of 2010, the light rail of Minnesota averaged 35,000 riders a day.  We can recognize that this is the busiest time of the year for sports, yes?  In the first quarter of 2010 (featuring January, February and March--little Vikings, no Twins), the light rail averaged 27,000 riders a day.  That might seem like a dip, until you remember that the Transit Authority weren't expecting numbers like that until at least 2020.  Still successful!  Still a horribly stupid argument from Reusse!  (and I didn't mention that the numbers actually dip on Sunday--the train is being used by commuters, as it was to meant to be.  Duh.)

The simple answer, that Reusse refuses to acknowledge, is that no one likes the deal the Vikings are putting out there.  A couple of Ramsey County commissioners smell a chance to clean a deserted SuperFund* site, see the lack of interest from actual sites, and put something together--a deal that the Vikings love, Ramsey County voters will hate for good reason, and the State isn't going to back any time soon.

Oh Yeah--Bike Riders who love Minnesota--Pat Reusse thinks you guys aren't worth it either:  "[Instead of working on a Vikings Stadium] The political leaders in Minneapolis were occupied with other matters, such as moving up in the ratings for "Most Bicycle Friendly City in America."

Everyone who doesn't love what Pat Reusse does is stupid and kind of faggy! So says Pat Reusse!

*That's something that goes unmentioned a lot--the new Vikings stadium site needs massive clean-up:  from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency:  "Contamination resulting from past ammunition manufacturing operations at the facility has been identified in groundwater, soil, sediment and surface water. Contaminants of concern include chlorinated solvents, explosives, metals, VOCs, SVOCs, PCBs, PAHs and lead. The primary contaminants of concern in the groundwater both on and off-site are VOCs. The contaminants in the soil on TCAAP primarily consist of VOCs and lead. The contaminated sites that are being addressed by the Army consist of ground and surface water, surface disposal areas, sediments, disposal pit/dry well, landfills, chemical disposal areas, firing ranges, small arms ranges, unexploded munitions/ordnance and burn areas. The Army, U.S. EPA, and MPCA have worked jointly to determine the contaminants involved, the extent of the contamination, and the remediation that is required."

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Grumpy Troll Targets OPS

Patrick Reusse must have paid extra to live under a bridge that had internet access. Most bridges don't, you see. And he's a troll. Get it? I've just made a joke more clever than any of the dozen or so Reusse attempts in his Turkeys of the Year column.

It starts with some inexplicable shots on the federal stimulus package (as best as I can determine, Reusse is mocking the stimulus), which makes about as much sense as Paul Krugman ragging on Denard Span. Less, actually, because if Krugman went that route, he'd have numbers to back his insults up. Seriously, read this fucking thing, and see if the first four or five paragraphs make any sort of sense to you (keeping in mind that Reusse is going with the Not At All Hackneyed premise that there is a Turkey Committee, and he's just reporting the results).

Reusse doesn't care for your "numbers" or "statistics", though. He makes that painfully clear, with his first Turkey of the year--pretty good baseball writer (for the Star Trib, no less) Joe Christensen. What about Christensen has drawn Reusse's ire? I quote directly, "[Christensen is] the Twin Cities' leading advocate for OPS, a make-believe number that Bill James acolytes have embraced. How often must we say this, Joe? Runs scored and RBI mean something; OPS doesn't."

And right there, with that piece of blithely announced arrogance, Reusse demonstrates his worthlessness. OPS isn't complicated or tricky to understand, and is hardly a made up stat. To quickly explain--lots of writers, throughout the years, have noted that baseball is fundamentally an individual contest in the midst of a team sport--it comes down to pitcher vs hitter. There is team defense, to be sure, and yes, even team offense, but at the end of the day, when you are evaluating a hitter, you should try to remove elements the hitter doesn't have in his control. What stats does Reusse invoke? Stats that are fundamentally tied to things outside a hitter's control! I could, in theory, hit 100 triples, but because I'm followed up by Nick Punto and and Patrick Reusse, I score exactly 0 runs. And Reusse's "stats that mean something" wouldn't give a shit about my 0 runs scored off of those 100 triples.

OPS is simple as can be--it combines two stats that show a player's ability to get on base, and to hit. OPS actually stands for On-base Plus Slugging. It's couldn't be simpler. And it is hardly "made-up". It combines two stats that have been around forever, and just says, "OK, you are good at getting walks, and you are good at getting doubles, and because we are evaluating you, and not the guys who hit ahead or behind you, we're not going to worry about your RBI or Runs Scored".

It is hardly a stat that leads to completely alternative models of great offensive players. Top 3 players in OPS of all time? Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, and Lou Gehrig. This crazy system threatens all of baseball, with such topsy-turvy selections!

Reusse also targets the following: A University of Minnesota RB for not finishing a TD run, a Woman's Volleyball player for quitting, the President of a small technical college in the Twin Cities, Francisco Liriano*, and assorted others (at the end, he finally got to some folks who deserve it, but I'm going to make you read the column to see who those folks were.).

Patrick Reusse, you are a stupid fat fuck. You are not quite yet at Tom Powers Levels, but you are awfully close.

*brilliant piece of self-editing in the Liriano discussion. Reusse "paraphrases" Dean Wormer from Animal House--"thick, disorganized and stubborn is no way to go through life, son." Of course, the actual quote is, "fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son." Even someone as unself-aware as Reusse knew that his success, which is basically predicated on being fat, drunk, and stupid blew that line out of the water from the get-go. Kudos to Reusse for not using it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

David Kahn Defender: Patrick Reusse?

It feels a little weird to be nodding in agreement with Patrick Reusse--my brain keeps communicating to news to my neck muscles, but they raise an eyebrow before going along (yeah, my neck muscles have eyebrows. Shut up.)

Regardless, here we are, with a fine Pat Reusse column that eviscerates Souhan's from the previous week (without explicitly mentioning Souhan's column) about David Kahn and Kurt Rambis? (Remember? Souhan called Rambis a pussy for not coaching high school ball?)

These two paragraphs, I found particularly depressing, from a historical standpoint. Discussing the Rambis hire, Reusse has a point here:

When it comes to curb appeal, this is the most impressive coaching hire in the team's two decades of existence. That's because he is the first with enough leaguewide appeal to have other options.

Bill Musselman. Jimmy Rodgers. Sidney Lowe. Bill Blair. Flip Saunders. Dwane Casey. Randy Wittman. Kevin McHale (twice). They had this in common: When hired here, no other NBA team had an interest in them as a head coach.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Oh, Star Tribune Columnists--You So Stupid Part 2

As I mentioned previously, Jim Souhan was in full-on bitch mode today.

And why? Because the Wolves are maybe signing Kurt Rambis as their coach. Full disclosure: when commenting on Gawker properties, I have, for years, gone by the handle The Kurt Rambii, mainly because I thought it was hilarious. I do not think I am biased in any sort of way. Of course, neither does Glenn Beck, and he calls our President racist on a pretty regular basis. So, you know, one can never be too sure of one's lack of bias.

I have a pretty severe bias, for example, against Jimmy Souhan acting like a 13 year old. And he does it in this column, in which he urinates all over a General Manager who hasn't been at the job for three months, a coaching hire that hasn't even happened yet, and a couple of coaching hires that, by definition, aren't going to happen. It's extraordinary.

Let's break this down, shall we?

Opening lede from Souhan, which really sets the tone: "To damn him with faint praise, Kurt Rambis is certainly the best of the candidates interviewed by Big-Brained Basketball Boss David Kahn."

Souhan goes on to rip Mark Jackson and Elston Turner, and thinks he's hit upon a clever enough nickname for Kahn when he refers to him as "BBBB". Where this animosity for Kahn is coming from, I'm unsure. I've gone from curious about Kahn to pretty impressed with his vision and planning--he's got a sureness about him that is comforting, and he clearly doesn't think that last year's Timberwolves squad wasn't a veteran free agent away from respectability. He's blowing up the franchise, and restarting, and I'm all for that. And a foundation of Jefferson-Love-Flynn-Ellington sounds pretty good to me. If we end up with Rubio, awesome. If we trade him away for draft picks in the future, also awesome. I've stated my love for Flynn, and have ably given reasons for my love. Kahn has drafted or brought in new guards, new centers and kept the best players from the horrible team that he inherited. Why is Souhan such a dick about it? I don't know.

Regardless, when Souhan's done passive-aggressively ripping on Kahn, for not doing enough in his three months on the job, he's actively ripping on both Kurt Rambis (Sizzle, no steak? Kurt Rambis is SIZZLE?), he also taking time to remind you, Minnesotan reader, that you are a casual fan, that you are white, and probably racist:

"Rambis also fills one of the Minnesota criteria for endearing himself to casual fans -- he was a white guy of moderate talent who came off the bench. This ensures his popularity in a state that grew fond of Scotty Brooks, Mark Madsen, Derek Boogaard, Randy Bush, Gene Larkin and Bob Lurtsema."

Yes, I agree--Minnesota (like every other pro-franchise fan base in America) has a soft-spot for hard-working white guys. But Jimmy: let's not include Mark Madsen in there, just to make your point more contemporary--Mark Madsen was not beloved by anyone I know. Maybe in your circle of friends of shitty, lazy journalists, he was extolled for his hard work and his leadership in the clubhouse--all I saw was a guy who would literally airball free-throws on a regular basis. I'm glad he's gone, and I can't believe Kahn found another team who would take him. That's a miracle in and of itself.

But, on the other hand, fuck you, Jim Souhan, for kind of randomly throwing up this "Minnesota fans are quietly racist and that's why casual fans are excited about Kurt Rambis" bullshit. Your disdain for your own audience needn't be that obvious. And hey, it's a fun game, I'm sure, implicitly calling the Minnesota sports audience racist to serve your own purposes, but let's not forget that some of the most beloved figures in Minnesota Sports history are in fact African-American: Rod Carew, Jim Marshall, Alan Page, Kirby Puckett, Torii Hunter, Bobby Jackson, Kevin FUCKING Garnett. Here's an idea--leave the social/political commentary to people who know what they are talking about.

Meanwhile, I'm thinking back--I don't remember you calling out the printed racism of your peers--maybe the Stupid Fat Fuck of the Pioneer Press, Tom Powers was too far away? Did you criticize him when he suggested that all soccer fans were illegal immigrants? Where were you when fellow Star Tribuner Pat Reusse referred to Dwayne Casey as "an energetic black fellow"? Do us a favor, Souhan, and fix the racism in your own field before you try to fix the racism in the "Casual Fan" World.

Next up, Souhan has decided that being an important cog in a perennial playoff team and an assistant coach for a very, very successful coach isn't enough of a resume for uncasual fans:

"If you are made of the stuff of outstanding head coaches, you don't sit in the cushy chair next to [Phil] Jackson. You find an uncomfortable head coach's seat in the CBA, or at a high school, or a small college. You learn the craft of running a team, which is far different than the craft of running one or two aspects of a team."

So fuck you, Kurt Rambis for not coaching when you were playing in the NBA. Amazingly, in the exact same column, not more than a few paragraphs later, Souhan says that either Sam Mitchell or Avery Johnson would have been better hires--both of whom jumped from retired player to Assistant Coach to Head Coach without any of the struggles he describes above. Honestly, what the fuck, Jim Souhan? I know it is a lot to ask for consistency from column to column, but paragraph to paragraph doesn't seem too much to ask.

Souhan closes his tantrum with: "Maybe Kahn is a genius and Rambis will overachieve as much on the sideline as he did on the court. 'Maybe' is such a kind word."

Is it? So I'm being kind when I say, "Maybe Jim Souhan is a 13 year old girl with Asperger's?" I don't know what else could explain such a ridiculous hack job. Maybe Jim Souhan is getting it regular from Kevin McHale? Maybe Jim Souhan doesn't know shit about basketball. "Maybe" is such a kind word.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Statistics Don't Lie; Idiots Use Them to Lie

Baseball loves statistics. We know that. We've seen the explosion of new stats, like VORP, and MORK, and GORP. Even old standbys like AVG and ERA can be illuminating. Statistics are not inherently good, of course. In the hands of a hack, they can be twisted to deliver fake good news, often by using too small of a sample to be a true stat. Let's take a quick look at an example of each, delivered by sportswriters for the Star Tribune.

First, some context. yes, the Twins are riding a four game winning streak, including a 3 game sweep of their nearest rivals in AL Central, the Chicago White Sox. Leaving tonight's game, the Twins moved from being 2 games back of Chicago, to one game up; they also gained ground on Detroit, who lost 2 of 3 to Texas during the same span. But even the most casual fan can see some trouble in the line-up. The bottom of the line-up is hitting like a bottom of a line-up from the dead-ball era. Nick Punto has ridden a hot bat the past 10 days or so to get his average up to just over .210. Breakout second baseman of 2008, Alexi Casilla is hitting .171 and has jumped up and down between the Twin Cities and AAA Rochester.

More worrying for people who follow this team closely is the starting rotation. Yes, of late, the rotation has performed well--in their last four straight wins, the Twins have gotten good outings from Anthony Swarzak, Scott Baker, Glen Perkins, and most surprisingly, mediocre reliever Brian Duensing started on short notice and a shorter leash, yet put together five very good innings in his first MLB start against Chicago tonight. But counting on young guns like Swarzak and Duensing while the Twins deal with the inconsistency and/or injuries of Perkins, Francisco Liriano and Kevin Slowey (done for the year) is a risky strategy, at best. This starting rotation could really use a solid, veteran arm. Same goes for the bullpen, which has been a juggler's nightmare all year, after the pre-season injuries to Boof Bonser and Pat "The Sub-Mariner!" Neshek.

Which is all a very long way of saying that fans (and Twins players) are hoping against hope for some help via trades--particularly in the bullpen, rotation, and bottom of the batting order/middle of the infield.

One of those targets that was in the Collective Mindset of the Fan was Pittsburgh Pirate Freddy Sanchez, who can hit a ball at a .300 clip and play decent 2nd base. The Pirates apparently wanted either the Twins best 3rd base prospect, Danny Valencia, who the Twins will need next year at the hot corner, or outfield prospect Aaron Hicks. So Freddy Sanchez was moved elsewhere, and fat lazy-ass Patrick Reusse delighted in the counterplay (he calls fans who disagree with his assessment "frothers")--the day Sanchez was traded for a Top 50 prospect, homegrown and targeted Twins second baseman Alexi Casilla went 2 for 3:

"That put Casilla at .667 with two RBI, a stolen base and two double plays turned since Freddy Sanchez landed elsewhere and [Twins Manager Ron] Gardenhire offered Alexi a new start."

That's true, of course. And "funny". Reusse could have even mentioned that for the series against Chicago, Casilla went a combined 2-6 with 3 walks. A very respectable .333--though, it would point out that his only hits were in that last game. Still, the 3 walks suggest a developing eye at the plate. Maybe someone would take a look at the previous series, to see if this was a burgeoning trend? Well, that's where the lie of taking a one game snapshot as a statistic comes out. Look, I hope Casilla is about to turn things around. I hope he hits .280 the rest of the way, and becomes a bothersome pest on the bases. But in the four games with The Los Angeles Angels in the Outfield of Disneyland, he went 1-13, with four K's, and 2 BB's. So, in two series, and 7 games, he went hitless in 5 of them. Over that same span, he went 3-19, or about .157. And Reusse makes it sound like Casilla is a guy proving himself! Bullshit, Fatty Patty!

Now, quite quickly, we'll mention a real sportswriter for the Star Tribune, La Velle Neal III, who reports that the Twins are pursuing second baseman Marco Scutaro, but are held up by the Jays waiting to see if they get takers for Halladay. But he proves that stats, through a decent filter, can be illuminating. Twins fans have no doubt noticed or simply felt that Carlos Gomez was playing more, and hitting better of late. Neal gives us the straight dope:

Gomez is going to make mistakes, but he's one of the best center fielders around.

"The defense," Gardenhire said. "He's all over the field. And when he's not out there, you see a difference. You want to try to use everybody and we're going to have to. But the way he's running the ball down and his energy, we just have to have it right now.''

Gomez entered Wednesday's game batting .313 this month with a .500 slugging percentage.

Friends, that's a stat we can believe in, because unlike Reusse's, it takes in a full range of games, and shows a growing confidence at the plate. Two different writers, two different takes. One lazy, dismissive and arrogant; the other delivering straight dope. If the Star Tribune had more writers like La Velle Neal, and fewer like Patrick Reusse, I'd be willing to support that last gasp of print journalism.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Patrick Reusse, in a Spot on Satire of Himself

Apparently, during a week which saw countless Favre rumors, some Timberwolf GM rumors, and the Fishing Opener (you may have to live in the Minnesota/Wisconsin are to truly appreciate the importance of that), Patrick Reusse passed over all of those topics for his Sunday column. 

Indeed, truly important things were afoot--plans for a 9 hole Frisbee Golf Course in Patrick's local park. Or, put another way--almost literally, "Hey kids, stay off of my [extended, publicly owned] lawn."

This is a hard column to believe, even for someone like me, who is all too familiar with Reusse's "work".  

The subhead of the column explains for us what kind of jerks these disc-golfers are:  "Walter J. Sochacki Community Park, a beautiful spot in the Twin Cities, is getting cleared out so that 20-somethings with Frisbees can move in."  Except that I, and many many many people who commented on the article can attest--lots of over 25 years old play that particular game.  And even if they didn't, so what?  Do public parks have to cater only to old fat men who write for newspapers?  Is that their stated goal?  I'm not a huge proponent of Disc Golf, by the way.  I play it maybe 4 or 5 times a year, and this is the first time I've ever written about it on this blog.  But something about Reusse makes me want to defend it to the bloody end.

Consider this thoughtful, fair-minded and totally based-on-facts presentation of the what led the city of Robbinsdale to create a new course at Walter J. Sochaki Park (emphasis mine):

Most of the 37 acres sit west of the railroad track that runs north-south through Robbinsdale. Sochacki connects with Mary Hills Nature Area at its southern border with Golden Valley, and that adds another 14 acres of ponds, trees, brush and gulleys to serve wildlife and people searching for a sanctuary...Soon, the young ones will be warned to remain attentive so as not to get hit in the face with a Frisbee...The city of Robbinsdale is about to defile an urban treasure in order to claim the kingly sum of $1,900. That's what was handed over when School District 281 (Robbinsdale, et al.) couldn't figure out what to do with the chump change for "lifelong outdoor recreation activities" that remained from a large grant.

Star-Tribune commenters are a crazy bunch, but the group that responded to this article seem for the most part, pretty reasonable, even as they poke hole after hole in Reusse's account.  Quite a few report that the park is overgrown with buckthorn and other invasive species.  Part of the whole goal of the course is to get rid of some of the overly aggressive underbrush.

Oh, and it should be noted that Reusse has a problem with the very term "disc golf".  It's Frisbee Golf, dammit.  Except (as Reusse implicitly acknowledges later in his column when he mentions Innova discs) Frisbee is a brand name.  Discs are not all made by Frisbee, especially the ones used for disc golf.  

And it wouldn't be Fatty Patty if he didn't use the occasion to knock soccer, for no fucking reason at all.   Calling it "disc golf" you see, isn't about having an accurate name--it is to separate the elitist players from the riff-raff, Blue-Collar, all American Joes that Reusse represents:  "That's the name the aficionados have given to Frisbee golf -- much like American soccer weenies refer to futbol."

Oh, fuck you, Patrick.  Soccer is called Futbol or football everywhere in the world--because it is played with the feet.  How could that be any simpler?  Do you not like it because it sounds too much like America Football, a game so poorly named that the only people who use their feet in contact with the ball are the punter and place kicker?  How fucked tired is that supposed riposte?  People playing with discs aren't going to hurt anyone.  People calling them discs aren't going to hurt anyone.  People who call soccer "futbol" aren't going to hurt anyone.  Responding to imaginary threats against his lifestyle--that's what Patrick Reusse does best.  Because that is all he ever does.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Controversy, Minnesota Style

Did the Head Coach of the Minnesota Footballin' Gophers use Twitter to mock a super fat Star Tribune columnist for being fat?  Did some higher up at the U of M tell that coach to delete his "tweet"?

OH MY GOD.  Thank God for C.J. and her reporting skills, which have yet to confirm or deny the story.  This much we know--Pat Reusse is a fat, stupid son of a bitch.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Vikings Express Happiness Over Obama, Commenters React

Pat Reusse interviews some Vikings about Obama's win.  He gets some get good quotes--thoughtful quotes from some not particularly well-known Vikings.

Reusse quoted Artis Hicks as saying, "Every parent and grandparent can now look the youngster who gives that answer square in the eye and say, "Yes, you can be president."

"When you're dealing with money, people always are going to try to protect what they have,'' [Receiver Bobby] Wade said. "But on the grand scale of things, what this election means in the history of this country -- and, I believe, for the future of this country -- outweighs being asked to sacrifice a little more out of what's still a very nice paycheck.''

That didn't stop the Star Tribune commenters from assuming that these black players didn't know what they were talking about.  Minnesota loves their black men, as long as they don't, you know, have opinions.  Some favorites below:

Gildersleeve:  Here we go again, with the African American. What constitutes being African American? Is it being born in Africa and Immigrating to the USA? Is it cause he looks more Black then White? Why can't he be European American or How About AMERICAN, if he was born in Hawaii like he says, instead of Kenya, like his Grand Mother says. COURSE if he was born in Kenya, he can't be President can he?? GET OFF THE AFRICAN AMERICAN @#$##@##$$$#$%&^^%

mnhusker4:  Shows that even most football players are un-educated when it comes to politics.

chadvs:  The real question is can either one of these two name one thing Obama plans to change? Like everyone else that blindly follows this guy based on nice speeches. Train wreck is coming.

mkleddy:  Stick to sports, Pat...evidently these two werent the only ones who were should fit in well at the red star

dzemke:  I don't think they realize that they make more than $250K and that soon the will be having their wealth "redistributed" to their posse.

And that's just page 1 of the comments!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Twins Win in the Ninth--Two Views

Mike Lamb came off the bench to drive in the RBI against Sox closer Papelbon. Those are the barest of facts. With those facts, one could read the game a lot of different ways.

There's Twins Beat Writer, La Velle Neal's take on it:

A lot of things have gone the wrong way for Twins third baseman Mike Lamb lately, such as his batting average and, consequently, his playing time.

Yet he stood in the clubhouse after Friday's 7-6 comeback victory over Boston, his ears ringing from teammates slapping him on the head, hoping his walk-off two-run single in the ninth against one of the best closers in baseball has relit his pilot.

And then there is fatty Patty Reusse:

That ugly fifth gave Boston a 6-5 lead and the Red Sox failed to add on, even with chances against relievers Juan Rincon in the sixth, Dennys Reyes in the eighth and Jesse Crain in the ninth.

Would it matter?

The Twins' last shot appeared to come in the sixth, when third base coach Scott Ullger got Young thrown out at the plate by a hefty margin on Adam Everett's second double.

Yes, the Twins were prepared to achieve the improbable -- losing when Everett, the lightest of hitters, had his annual game with more than one extra-base hit.

They had given away a handful of runs in the field, and they had killed a rally with Ullger's faulty arm-waving, and now Jonathan Papelbon was entering to preserve the victory for the defending champions of North American hardball.

Boy, hard to count all the cheap shots in those few paragraphs. Scotty Ullger made a huge mistake for waving home a speedster on a double in the late innings? Adam Everett had a good game, and he's slagged for it; the bullpen isn't given any credit for it's bend but not break innings, which they probably actually deserve credit for, seeing as they are one of the toughest bullpens in the Majors.

Hey, maybe Reusse is just a dick. Fat and lazy and a dick. Wow. That's some sort of trifecta that is to be proud of, I guess.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

What an Odd Twins Game

Last night, the Twins almost got no-hit; tonight they exploded for 13 runs on 16 hits. Getting that many hits isn't actually a shock. As the totally awesome announcing crew of Bremer and Blyleven pointed out, the Twins tend to get at least 10 hits after getting one-hit.

Things that don't normally happen after getting one-hit include winning the next game (they looked to my bare eyeball to be roughly .500, even with at least 10 hits), or getting 5 RBI's from Nick Punto (which simply never happens) or a rookie hitting for the cycle, as Carlos Gomez did.

How rare is it for a Twin to hit for the Cycle? You have to go back to Kirby Puckett, before he had even one World Series ring--1986, for fuck's sake. Gomez went 4-6, with 2 strikeouts, though to be fair, his last strikeout came after he had hit for the cycle, and had come up to bat for the second time in the 9th, with the Twins leading 13-0. Can one blame him for flailing a bit? I can't.

Carlos Gomez, of course, part of the Santana trade. The idiots who comment on The Star Tribune are already saying, "oops, I guess this was a good trade. This guy hit for the cycle."

It was a good trade, but not because Gomez hit for the cycle on one night. It was a good trade because Santana was asking for money that only 3 franchises were willing to pay, and the Twins got good value in return, Carlos Gomez being one of those guys, who'd still rather bunt than swing, regardless of tonight. It was a good trade, but not on the basis of an admittedly historic night.

Of course, it would be easy, on the night that Carlos Gomez hit for the cycle (something that Torii Hunter, never, ever did) to pull some random quote from Patrick Reusse decrying the trade that sent Santana to the Mets, that gave the Twins Gomez, and room to sign veteran pitcher Livan Hernandez. Because it is easy, I will do so:

He's 22, he's played in the big leagues, he's the key to the trade, the Twins don't have another center fielder worth mentioning, and Gomez isn't a cinch to be the regular?

If he's not in center on March 31, and on merit, then the Twins waited seven weeks to make the worst deal possible.

Of course, Reusse positively draped is predictions in "ifs", but his argument is clear, yeah? If it isn't, I'll direct you here, where we discussed his freak-out in some detail. To be fair, though, the headline says it all--it was, "Waiting Game Works Perfectly...For the Mets."

Tell it to the Mets, fatty.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

I've Come To Praise Star Tribune Columnists, Not Pee On Them

Generally speaking, I really dislike the sports columnists of the Twin Cities newspapers. Back before I was a super powerful blogger in my own right, I was a super powerful reader of Deadspin, which used to have a regular feature called Why Your Hometown Columnist Sucks. They have discontinued it, it seems (what's up with that, Will?). But one of my first actions as a sportswebs interactor was to nominate Bob Sansevere of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. I'm pretty sure every time you see the words, "a deadspin reader says", those words are mine.

My antipathy towards Tom Powers has been well documented on this site right here. And I stand by my assessment that Tom Powers is a Stupid Fat Fuck.

All of this is my way of saying kudos to the Star Tribune columnists of late.

I'm not a big fan of Patrick Reusse in general. He reminds me of me, when I was a junior in college and it was clear I was not going to be on the varsity soccer team, but I would be a damn good player on the JV. I could have fought hard, really pushed it, and tried against all odds to make Varsity, like Rudy, or Pre, or Terry Fox would have. I said, "fuck it" and coasted and had fun. Patrick Reusse gives off that same vibe. He knows he'll never be fired, but he's not destined for National Glory anytime soon. He's not ESPN Page 2 quality, and he knows it. But this piece on Randall McDaniel was a nice antidote to all of the New Mexico, Sex Boat, Tank Williams stories out there.

Key Passage:

McDaniel works both with students who have fallen behind and with students who are ahead of the curve and need to be challenged. He also serves as a substitute
teacher at the elementary schools.

A couple of years ago, the administrators at Sandburg Middle School asked McDaniel and his wife, Marianne, if they could get involved with students in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades.

Randall and Marianne started "Team McDaniel" for the 2005-06 school year. They asked students to join them in community service: volunteering at an assisted-living
facility, a food shelf and other outlets.

There were 36 students in the Sandburg group last year, and now the number is in the 80s.

I just flat out enjoy the writing of relative neophyte Twin Cities Sports Columnist Jim Souhan. Every time I read him, I'm impressed with his lack of bullshit, his lack of homerism, his unwillingness to write apologia for the owners (You hear me, Sid Hartman? Of course you don't, you are old and don't hear well).

He wrote the piece about a possible Iverson to Minnesota trade, and he put it out there, man. He said what needed to be said. And he said it well:
Perhaps never again in Garnett's tenure will the Wolves face an chance to trade so little for such a great, great player.

General Mismanager Kevin McHale needs to recognize where he and his "organization" reside: Nowheresville, U.S.A.

The Wolves aren't good enough to win a title. They aren't bad enough to ensure the high draft choices (they've still got their picks for 2023 and 2024) required to rebuild.

Garnett's versatile and relentless play will keep the Wolves in the middle of the pack, and the Wolves' lack of draft choices and cornucopia of bad contracts will keep them from ascending.

Which is why The Answer is the answer to the question: What have the Wolves got to lose?

I would like to salute the Star Tribune for having the courage to publish two sports editorials that weren't completely bullshit! Well done!
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