Wednesday

6-24-09: Notes

Hello again everybody...

You know the usual routine... Midweek time... All downhill from here... I'm not feeling the cliches today. Maybe it's the dreary weather. Maybe it's the fact that the Baby Jesus' average has finally slipped below .400. Whatever. I'm just not feeling the witty banter.

To whit, today's column is another quick-hits Notes column. I've got several things to rant about. So let's get to it!

"It pays to be obvious, especially if you have a reputation for subtlety."
- Isaac Asimov (1920 - 1992), American author and professor of biochemistry


I think this one pretty much speaks for itself. Be straight with people. It'll pay off for you.

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Fortunately for you, my dear readers, I'm always straight about what I'm thinking. And that's why today, I'm bringing you some...

Notes

The Twins own the Brewers... I know, I know, several of you just sputtered something about the Sports Take Whammy, but I waited until the Twins had guaranteed themselves a season series win over the Crew before I said it.

The Twins are now 4-0 vs. the Brewers this year, with 2 games yet to be played. Nick Blackburn (6-2, 3.09) squares off against Braden Looper (5-4, 4.31) tonight. And Scott Baker (4-6, 5.22) takes on somebody named Mike Burns (0-0, 0.00) on Thursday afternoon to finish off the series. Both match-ups favor the Twins.

(Aside: Regular ST reader David in Milwaukee says he's going to be in attendance on Thursday afternoon - bummer he couldn't get a better pitching match-up. I'm hoping to get some kind of brief report on what he saw. Not a full-on RGC mind you, but I'm hoping for something to pass along to you.)

So is the Twins' ownership of Milwaukee just a fluke? Probably. The teams have been so evenly matched over the years, and the Twins have been so mediocre this year, that it's hard to believe that they cause any kind of fear or psychological discomfort to the Brewers.

Whatever it is, it's a bright spot for those of us on the Western side of the border. Oh, and by the way Wisconsinites? We're stealing your quarterback too. And before you get too uppity about it taking a former Packer to get the Vikings over the top, consider what it says about your franchise if you gave up on a guy who end up getting Minnesota to the promised land!

Baby Jesus earns an SI cover, and promptly drops below .400... The SI jinx strikes again!

Joe Mauer is on this week's Sports Illustrated cover (on news stands today, in homes tomorrow). When that news reached Twins fans, there was a collective intake of breath. It's been claimed over the years that there exists a "SI Jinx". Meaning that when a player appears on the cover, he/she is either subsequently injured or falls off in performance. So when it was announced that Mauer was going to be on the cover, naturally Twins fans started crossing their fingers.

So I decided to do a little background research. The "Jinx" goes all the way back to the first SI cover in in 1954 which featured Milwaukee Braves star Eddie Matthews. Prior to Matthews' appearance on the SI Cover, the Braves were in first place. After his appearance, he hurt his hand, missed seven games. That caused the Braves to slide out of first place and eventually lose out to the Giants for the NL Pennant.

According to a 2002 interview, SI had published 2400 covers to that point, and 37.2 percent of the time, something negative happened to said subject. So more often than not, nothing happens. But if you take a sociological view of things, 37.2 percent is more than enough to take notice of a "trend".

SI folks will point to Michael Jordan as the anti-example of the "Jinx". He appeared on the cover 51 times prior to that interview I referenced. What they won't tell you is that one of those covers came as a result of his divorce. And I'm also willing to bet there was one surrounding his father's death, as well as his departure from the NBA to try and play baseball. Maybe the covers didn't "Jinx" him per se. But not all 51 covers were positive things.

Look, when it comes to sports, and pretty much life in general, I believe in these sorts of things. I think there are jinxes. I think there are whammies. I believe in magambo. I believe in superstitions. I don't use the phrase "no hitter" while a pitcher's making a run at one. I admire anyone who grows a playoff beard while their hockey team's in the playoffs (if mine wasn't so pathetic, and my team made the playoffs once in a while, I'd try it myself). If a team I'm rooting for is in a slump, I'll either wear a jersey, or not wear their jersey to try and change up the luck.

That may sound silly, but you can't prove that it doesn't have an effect. And until you can, I'm going to stay in "better safe than sorry" mode, thank you.

So I'm not going to panic over Mauer's SI cover just yet. I didn't think he had a chance to stay over .400 anyway. But if his fall-off becomes precipitous, or if there's some sort of injury that befalls him, I'll be trying to reverse-curse SI in a big way!

Don't look now, but the Timberwolves are threatening to become interesting... What?! The NBA?! But I hate the NBA!

That's true, but the one time a year where it starts to intrigue me is around the Draft, which comes your way Thursday night.

Yesterday, we learned that the T-Wolves had traded Randy Foye (otherwise known as: Not Brandon Roy) and Mike Miller to the Washington Wizards for the #5 pick in tomorrow night's Draft and 3 players I've never heard of. That gives the Wolves 4 first-round picks tomorrow night, including the 5th and 6th picks overall.

If that sounds like a lot, it is. Seems to me that they're setting themselves up to try and move up into one of the top 3 picks in the first round. Whether that's to get UConn's 7-3 prodigy Hasheem Thabeet, or Spain's Ricky Rubio is tough to say. But either way, I doubt we've heard the last of the Wolves' movement.

So why do I care? In terms of what happens after, I don't. But I do like a good sports puzzle. Trying to observe the moves that teams make and decipher what their big-picture game plan is. This is a tough thing to do, even under the best of circumstances, because it assumes that the folks ultimately making the decisions know what the hell they're doing. We've received no such assurances from the new regime with the Wolves, so making such assumptions is dangerous.

But for the same reason folks enjoy fantasy sports, it's fun to mentally place yourself in the war room and try to figure out what's coming. So in that sense I'm looking forward to tomorrow night. After that, I'll go right back to hating the NBA.

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford takes a love trip to Argentina... Yeah, this one has nothing to do with sports, but it's hitting the wire hard at the moment, and it's just ridiculous enough for me to comment on it.

Argentina? Really? You couldn't find a gal a little closer to run around on your wife with?

Maybe he figured that if it was off-continent, it didn't count.

And how the hell does he figure he's not going to get caught? I know he told the staff he was going "hiking in the Appalachians" (which sounds like a good euphemism to me... hey Bob, what are you doing Friday night? I'm going "hiking in the Appalachians"... if ya know what I mean!) - and I'm amazed that clever bit of obfuscation didn't work - but he doesn't think people are going to check in on him at some point?

Speaking of oddities, what's the connection between potential 2012 Republican Presidential candidates, and cheating on their wives? First the Senator from Nevada, and now this guy. But I wonder if the Nevada Senator really counts. If your state's most populous city is Las Vegas, isn't a little dalliance sort of expected? Seriously, I can see that guy getting re-elected, no problem.

By the way if I was Minnesota First Lady, Mary Pawlenty, I might keep my eyes peeled. I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Okay, that's a good spot to wrap this up. Hope you enjoyed the ride.

Make sure to check back on Friday for your weekly fill of DFTU!

Until then, thanks for reading!

4 comments:

  1. Didn't Pawlenty make some slightly offcolor comment about his wife's likeness in butter once?

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  2. He's made a couple such comments as I recall. Though both of them would seem to indicate that he actually *likes* his wife.

    Not so much with the SC Governor.

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  3. Well, that's what I meant. I mean, you can't joke with your wife about a head of butter without genuine affection.

    I rather respect Pawlenty...even if I don't agree with his methods, he seems to try to do what he thinks is the right thing. And if he likes his wife, then we have something in common.

    I mean, that I like my wife, too. Not that I don't like his wife...but...aw, forget it.

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  4. I don't agree with the guy's politics most of the time either... but anyone who engages in a mock hockey fight with the Hammer on the day of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals is a solid dude!

    And his wife's definitely not hard on the eyes.

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