10-27-10: 2010 College Football Picks, Week 9

Hello again everybody...

The World Series kicks off tonight. Lincecum versus Lee. The Fall Classic. Am I excited? Yeah, just a little bit.

If you missed Monday's column, I broke down what the two clubs need to do to win it all there, so go check it out before first pitch tonight.

People keep saying that the ratings are going to be down due to smaller markets being involved, and initially, they'll probably be right. But if these two clubs go six or seven games, and the drama builds as the Series goes along, it could be something really special.

First pitch is at 6:57pm central time, on Fox network. Check your local listings.

Today, however, the focus here is on college football. We have picks to review from last week and picks to make for the weekend to come.

And we'll get to those...

Right after the quote.

“It is a great ability to be able to conceal one's ability.”
- Francois de La Rochefoucauld (1613 - 1680), French author

Think I suck at making college football picks? Perhaps I'm just skilled at concealing my ability!


2010 College Football Picks, Week 9


10-25-10: 2010 MLB Post-Season Mayhem, Part the 3rd

Hello again everybody...

Welcome back to another week. Hope your weekend was as good as mine.

Did I do anything particularly memorable? Not really. But it was relaxing and pretty low-key, and I can't get enough of that.

Oh, and my favorite college football team beat a highly-ranked opponent for the second week in a row, this time on the road!

Be honest, you didn't think you were getting through this column without a Badger Football mention did you?!

I'll save the detailed breakdown for Wednesday or Friday, but suffice to say, the Badgers are now tenth in the latest BCS rankings. I don't think their schedule will allow them to climb up into the top two, even if they win out, but a BCS bowl is now a definite possibility.

Two weeks ago, I'd never have been able to imagine it. Oh, how I love college football!

But as I indicated, college football talk is for later in the week. Today is about baseball.

The World Series participants have been set, and if I had made picks before the LCS's, I'd have been 100% wrong. That's why it's fun to watch, right?

So let's get to the previewing...

Right after the quote.

“The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none.”
- Thomas Carlyle (1795 - 1881), Scottish satirical writer, essayist, historian and teacher

Personally, I prefer to be unconscious as a general rule (I likes me some sleep).

MLB Post-Season Mayhem, Part the 3rd


10-22-10 DFTU

Hello again everybody...

We've made it through another week!

Okay, okay, it was a short one for me. Actually it was back-to-back short weeks now that I think about it. You have to love four-day weekends, no?

Anyway, the weekend is nigh, and that means it's time to catch up on the current states of my favorite teams.

And we'll get to that... right after the quote.

“An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows.”
- Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890 - 1969), Supreme Allied Commander and 34th President of the United States

Ummm... no comment?

It's time... once again... for everybody's favorite segment...

Dan's Favorite Teams Update


10-20-10: 2010 College Football Picks, Week 8

Hello again everybody...

I know the apologies are getting old, but I have an honest to goodness explanation as to why this column is getting up late.

When I wrote on Monday that I'd have this column up as usual on Wednesday, I failed to take into account my plans to attend the Wild/Canucks game on Tuesday night at the same time I'd usually be writing for Wednesday.

So instead of cranking out today's column, I was putting together this game story and these cuts from the post-game coach's press conference. Feel free to check them out.

So that's that. Sorry for the lateness, but trust me, it was for a good cause. I promise!

My picks may have been delayed, but they'll never be denied! Let's get to them, then...

Right after the quote.

“It takes too much energy to be against something unless it's really important.”
- Madeleine L'Engle (1918 - 2007), American writer

What could be more important than college football? Um... well... I'll get back to you on that!

2010 College Football Picks: Week 8


10-18-10: RGC XIII - Nebraska vs. Texas

Hello again everybody...

First off, sorry for getting this up so late in the day. It was a whale of a trip to Nebraska this weekend and that included a couple of long car trips and a couple of restless nights (I never sleep well in a hotel), so I was pretty zonked by the time we got back to Minneapolis on Sunday.

Instead, then, of cranking this column out on Sunday afternoon/evening like I usually do, I waited til today to write it and the whole process took longer than I planned.

Mea Culpa.

In any case, it was a memorable weekend and I can't wait for you to get to read about it, so let's get on with it already!

Right after the quote...

“Seek simplicity, and distrust it.”
- Alfred North Whitehead (1861 - 1947), English mathematician and philosopher

Everything was set up for a big win by the Huskers over their hated rival Texas, but I knew better than to trust it!

Running Game Commentary XIII: Nebraska vs. Texas


10-15-10: MLB Post-Season Mayhem, Part the Second

Hello again everybody...

By the time you read this, I'll be on the road headed southwestward on my trip to go see Nebraska/Texas, the final chapter!

I can't wait to experience the promised nirvana of college football that exists in Lincoln, Nebraska!

So you'll have to forgive me if I keep today's column a touch short. I still have to pack, then double-check to pack the stuff I forgot the first time, then triple-check just to make sure I didn't miss anything (Thanks, Mom).

So instead of the usual Friday DFTU column, I decided to do a quick preview of the LCS's which start tonight.

Let's get to the previewing then!

Right after the quote...

“Given a choice between two theories, take the one which is funnier.”
- Blore's Razor

If you can't be right, at least be entertaining!

MLB Post-Season Mayhem, Part the Second


10-13-10: 2010 College Football Picks, Week 7

Hello again everybody...

Welcome to another Wednesday. My pick-up for the Big Red Road-trip is scheduled for shortly after 9am on Friday morning, so in an effort not to get my sleep-cycle too out of whack, allow me to quickly get to the getting with this column.

The college football picks columns tend to run longer than average, so I don't want to waste my time being all witty and clever in the opening few graphs!

Let's get to the picking!

Right after the quote...

“Everything you can imagine is real.”
*- Pablo Picasso (1881 - 1973), Spanish painter, draughtsman and sculptor

Admirable sentiment. Maybe if I imagine a Big Red blowout hard enough, it might happen? We'll see!

2010 College Football Picks: Week 7


10-11-10: Notes

Hello again everybody...

We're back from another weekend, and while that usually means the standard Monday mumblings and grumblings, this Monday is anything but standard for yours truly.

There are two reasons for that: one, I'm still trying to wrap my head around the latest Twins post-season debacle; and two, I'm working a short week.

Friday, my favorite group of Nebraska Cornhusker fans are tossing me into a vehicle and driving me southwest to Lincoln, NE, for a huge Big 12 contest on Saturday. The Huskers are welcoming the rival Texas Longhorns to Lincoln for their final Big 12 - and likely final of any kind - match-up.

Ever since the Big 8 became the Big 12 these two schools have been at odds with each other. Their most recent controversial finish came in last year's Big 12 Championship game when a last-second clock correction allowed Texas to kick a game-winning field goal which sent them on to the BCS Championship Game where they lost to Alabama, and Nebraska to the Holiday Bowl where they routed Arizona.

The hype for this year's regular season match-up has been building for some time. Nebraska called for a “red-out” at this game weeks ago, and I anticipate the atmosphere at Memorial Stadium to be none too friendly for the visiting Longhorns.

Needless to say, I couldn't be more psyched to go see a Huskers home game for the first time, and a RGC is a definite probability.

But that's not til Saturday.

Today, we've got to deal with some lingering issues from the weekend. And as usual, that means it's Notes time...

Right after the quote!

“I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.”
- Ian Fleming (1908 - 1964), British author and journalist

Shocking that the guy who invented James Bond would think that obsessing over health was a waste of life, isn't it?



10-8-10: DFTU

Hello again everybody...

I have to start today with a disclaimer: I begin this column as thoroughly bummed out as I've ever been when I've started out to write. So this is either going to be one of the great catharsis columns of all time, or it's going to be the blogging equivalent of wallowing in self-pity.

At this point I honestly can't say which.

Whichever it is, I'm not going to waste your time dithering around with a flighty, nonsensical opening.

Instead, we're getting right to the bloodletting...

Right after the quote...

“Why is there life on this planet?”
- George Chappel (? - ), late night radio host, recreational gaming expert and longtime baseball fan

It's time... once again... for...

Aw, the hell with it.

Dan's Favorite Teams Update


10-7-10: 2010 College Football Picks, Week 6

Hello again everybody...

Hopefully a day late isn't a dollar short in this context.

Yesterday was dedicated to the opening of the 2010 MLB post-season, and what a day it was. The Rangers got Cliff Lee to win games in the post-season, and he delivered. The Phillies got Roy Halladay to win games in the post-season and all he did was throw a no-hitter in his first ever post-season appearance.

And then came Twins/Yankees. What can I say? That was a game the Yankees had to have, and they went and got it. Liriano was good, but not great. The line-up produced four runs, but failed to get hits in a few clutch situations. The Twins weren't bad, the Yankees were just better.

The pressure is squarely on Minnesota now. They have to have Game 2, plain and simple. If they go to New York down 2-0, they're not coming back.

I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to make it through today in one piece. I was a wreck yesterday, and that was just Game 1! At this rate I'm going to start aging in dog years, I swear.

That's all the baseball you're getting today. If I go on too much longer, I'll start having palpitations.

The rest of this column is dedicated to the college gridiron. I'll run down last weeks results and pick four more games for you this week...

Right after the quote...

“Man is the only creature that laughs and weeps, for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are and what they ought to be.”
- William Hazlitt (1778 - 1830), English writer

What things are? Yankees lead 1-0. What they ought to be? The Twins should be leading 1-0. Thus? I weep.

2010 College Football Picks, Week 6


10-6-10: MLB Post-Season Mayhem

Hello again everybody...

Let the mayhem begin!

The 2010 MLB post-season begins today, and that's a big enough deal to me to hold off my weekly college football picks until tomorrow.

Today it's all baseball. There are four division series to look at. Three start today and the fourth begins tomorrow.

Who wins, who loses? That's anybody's guess. (Although I did call Phillies/Yankees back in March.)

Today, I'll tell you what each of the eight teams needs to do to win their series. From there, you all can take your best guesses as to who will win.

Sounds good? Let's get to it...

Right after the quote...

“Think twice before you speak, and then you may be able to say something more insulting than if you spoke right out at once.”
- Evan Esar (1899 - 1995), American humorist

Good advice is always clever in it's delivery, no?

MLB Post-Season Mayhem


10-4-10: Peek at the Picks, Vol. 5

Hello again everybody...

Here we go!

The regular season is over, and the post-season is set to begin!

For Twins fans, we all knew this was coming, right? Once again Minnesota's in the playoffs and once again their opponent will be the New York Yankees.

When people asked me who I wanted the Twins to face in the first round, naturally I said the Rays. That's not any disrespect to them. It's just that New York has owned a distinct psychological advantage over the Twins for the last few years.

But now that it's been decided, and once again the Yankees will be the Twins first-round opponent, I'm starting to think that perhaps it's strangely appropriate.

I'm put in mind of the 2004 Red Sox (I want to write it, but they won four and I promised I wouldn't anymore). The Yankees were in their heads too. New York had dominated that “rivalry” - for lack of a better term - for ages on end.

It's almost as though Boston (grrrrr) had to slay that particular dragon before they could go on to win their pair of World Championships. I'm starting to believe that perhaps the Twins are in a similar position.

Maybe they're catching New York at the right time. Maybe there's some magic in Target Field that will cause the breaks to go Minnesota's way instead of New York's. Maybe this is Minnesota's year to steal second off Posada and make a dramatic comeback against Rivera.

Maybe, just maybe, this will be the year.

We'll find out starting Wednesday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:37pm on TBS. Check your local listings.

With another season finished, it's time for a look back at my preseason picks, and how they turned out. And we'll get to that...

Right after the quote.

“Foolish writers and readers are made for each other.”
- Horace Walpole (1717 - 1797), English art historian, man of letters, antiquarian and politician

Who you callin' “foolish” Walpole?!


10-1-10: DFTU

Hello again everybody...

We've done it once again! The weekend is nigh, and it's a special one since it sees the end of yet another baseball regular season.

For some teams (the Diamondbacks) it's a merciful finish to a terrible season. For others (the Twins) it marks the accomplishment of one goal - a division title - and the beginning of a quest for more hardware - an American League pennant and a World Series trophy.

That means there's a lot of Updating to do, so let's get right to it...

Right after the quote.

“The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder.”
- Alfred Hitchcock (1899 - 1980), English filmmaker and producer

That's why I stick to the written word folks... bladder endurance!

It's Friday, and that means it's time... once again... for everybody's favorite segment...


9-29-10: 2010 College Football Picks, Week 5

Hello again everybody...

Welcome to a Wednesday.

Usually this is the spot where I say something clever and entertaining about something that doesn't have much to do with the rest of the column.

But after watching the Twins lose five in a row, and look gawd-awful doing it, I really don't feel all that chipper frankly.

I know I shouldn't panic. I know that the club is resting guys and trying to get things in order for the Division Series. But I can't help but be a little unsettled.

What did I just see on Twitter?


I love life.

Let's get to the football picks while life is still good, shall we? We shall...

Right after the quote.

“Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.”
- Niels Bohr (1885 - 1962), Danish physicist

I may have used this one before, but trust me, it's apropos for today!


9-27-10: Monday Notes

Hello again everybody...

Welcome to another work week. I hope your weekend was a good one, and that those of you here in the upper Midwest got a chance to enjoy some of the perfect Fall weather we had on Sunday!

Me? I stayed pretty sedentary, minus a trip to the Xcel Energy Center for a Wild preseason game on Saturday night. Other than that, there was copious amounts of sleep and couch time whilst I tried to kick “Cold Virus 2.0”.

You'll recall that I told you I usually catch a sniffle when the seasons turn from Summer to Fall and Winter to Spring. So I was surprised when I got a cold a few weeks ago while it was still fairly Summer-ish out there. This cold, while far less virulent (insert Dan knocking furiously on wood here), is still fairly annoying, so forgive me my weekend sloth.

There was plenty of eventful sports news to talk about from the weekend, and as is usually the case when that happens... it's Notes time!

Right after the quote...

“Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.”
- Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), Irish writer, poet and prominent aesthete

Jeff in Des Moines couldn't believe I was willing to give up my (whom I hate) tag in reference to the Red Sox. There's a method to my madness, Jeff!


9-24-10: DFTU

Hello again everybody...

We've done it again! Another week in the books and another weekend looms before us... presuming those of us in the upper Midwest own an ark.

Yeah, there's been a little bit of rain the past couple of days, but never let it be said that a little moisture deterred a column, right?!

Nope. There's a long list of stuff that has deterred them, but rain isn't on it!

Since it's a Friday, I'll keep the pre-column rambling to a minimum, okay?

After all, what you've really come here for is to get Updated, right?

And Updated you shall be...

Right after the quote!

“The public will believe anything, so long as it is not founded on the truth.”
- Edith Sitwell (1887 - 1964), British poet and critic

Not that I feel the need to embellish on occasion just to be believed. Nope, no, not at all...

It's Friday, and that means it's time... once again... for everybody's favorite segment...


9-22-10: 2010 College Football Picks, Week 4

Hello again everybody...

First off, apologies for getting this up so late.

As fate would have it, I ended up at Target Field last night as the Twins clinched their 6th division championship in the last nine years, and the festivities ran a little late. On the plus side, I got to see the press box and the clubhouse for the first time, and as with everything else at Target Field, the Twins did things absolutely right.

It was a great experience and I can't wait to do more of it next season.

But don't think I forgot about you, my dear readers. No, no, no.

Instead of scrapping the column all together, I'm writing a special Wednesday night edition for you!

And this time of year, Wednesdays mean college football predictions here at Writing for the Cycle! So let's get to the pickin'...

Right after the quote!

“Critics search for ages for the wrong word, which, to give them credit, they eventually find.”
- Peter Ustinov (1921 - 2004), English actor, writer and dramatist

Personally, I search ages for my college football picks... (insert punchline here).


9-20-10: 2010 Peek at the Picks, Vol. 4

Hello again everybody...

Welcome back. I hope your weekend was as restful and relaxing as mine was.

Fortunately/unfortunately (depending on how you want to look at it), I was in attendance for the only win of the Twins three-game set against the A's. It was a brilliant fall Saturday and a great time was had by all.

The news wasn't all great this weekend, however. We here at Writing for the Cycle would like to pass along our best wishes to a couple of sports figures who've had better weekends.

First of all, Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio, who just Saturday night directed his club to a dramatic overtime win over Notre Dame, had a heart attack after the game which required surgery. As you can see in the article, the heart attack was described as “mild” (if there is such a thing as a “mild” heart attack), the surgery was successful and he's expected to make a full recovery. All the best to coach Dantonio and his family.

Secondly, Chicago Cubs outfielder Tyler Colvin was pierced in the chest by a shard from a broken bat. Colvin has also been stabilized and is expected to recover soon. Maybe this will be the incident that finally motivates Major League Baseball to do something about their broken bat issue. I hesitate to call it a “maple bat” issue, because I think it goes a little deeper than that. I've heard some experts say that the emphasis needs to be on the quality of the wood being used, not the type.

Whatever it is, some of you may recall a little over two years ago when I wrote this column in which I talked about umpire Brian O'Nora getting gashed on the neck by a shard from a broken bat. At the time I was all for a methodical study of the issue with reasonable guidelines as a result. But, like many, I'd since forgotten about that study. Either it's taking entirely too long, or it wasn't done correctly. Either way, this is a problem baseball needs to address now. We've had a guy nearly collapse a lung due to a bat shard. If that's not enough to bring about some change, then I fear for the player who's going to have to be killed before this gets fixed.

Get better soon, Tyler.

So ends the depressing part of a Monday column... I hope. Today we're taking a penultimate look at my pre-season baseball picks. The final look will be coming in a couple of weeks after the regular season has ended. The playoff teams have all but been decided in the American League. The National League is another matter entirely.

We'll check out how I'm doing...

Right after the quote.

“Everyone is born with genius, but most people only keep it a few minutes.”
- Edgard Varese (1883 - 1965), French-born composer

I'd like to think I kept mine for far longer than that! Now, if I can just remember where I put it...


9-17-10: DFTU

Hello again everybody...

We've made it to the end of another week! And hey, I actually get two straight weekend days off! Will wonders never cease?!

Actually, I've got no reason to complain. Things with the job are going fairly well at the moment. For those of you who've caught me on the air and passed along your praise and support, I couldn't be more appreciative, really.

For those of you who haven't had the chance to hear me, what the devil are you waiting for?!

I'm kidding of course... mostly... kind of... in a way...

Anyway. Things are going well so far, and hopefully they stay that way.

It's the weekend after all, what's not to feel positive about?!

Speaking of it being Friday, you all know what that means! So let's get to the Updating...

Right after the quote.

“The most dangerous strategy is to jump a chasm in two leaps.”
- Benjamin Disraeli (1804 - 1881), British Prime Minister, parliamentarian, Conservative statesman and literary figure

If you're going to do something, just do the damned thing... right?

So let's get to it!

It's time... once again... for everybody's favorite segment...


9-15-10: 2010 College Football Picks, Week 3

Hello again everybody...

Welcome to another Wednesday...

One down and two to go.

The Twins beat the White Sox last night to all but wrap things up in the Central. Worst case scenario, the Whities win tonight and tomorrow and the Twins still have a five game lead.

It was a close one for a while last night, with the teams trading leads several times. That was, until the Chicago bullpen imploded in the 8th. That five-run inning sent the south-side masses heading for the exits, which may turn out to be a metaphor for the end of Chicago's season.

I'm not putting the fork in them yet - though I'll wager you'll hear a lot of that in the media today - but the fork is poised, and I won't have much trouble sticking it in if the Twins can get even one more win out of this series.

But more of that on Friday in the DFTU.

Today's dedicated to college football. More specifically, my picks. And we'll get to those...

Right after the quote.

“A little nonsense now and then, is relished by the wisest men.”
- Anonymous

See? You regular readers are some of the wisest folks around!


9-13-10: Notes

Hello again everybody...

Have a good weekend? Mine's not quite over yet actually.

Yep, that's right, I'm writing you from the Writing for the Cycle home offices today on the home-stretch of a three-day weekend.

I don't have anything particularly special planned. Just burning a vacation day so I don't wrap up the year giving any back. I'm sure most of you can sympathize.

In any case, it was a beautiful weekend and there was plenty going on in the world of sports.

How to recap? Yep, that's right, it's a Notes column.

So let's get to it...

Right after the quote.

”When someone tells you something defies description, you can be pretty sure he's going to have a go at it anyway.”
- Clyde B. Aster

Did you see the call at the end of the Bears/Lions game? That play defied desc... wait...


9-10-10: DFTU

Hello again everybody...

We've made it to the end of another week. If just barely...

Speaking of “barely”... this column is going to be “barely” adequate...

I say that because I got caught up watching the Vikings game last night, and ended up spacing writing for today. I'm working an early shift today, so I'm scrambling to throw something together for your weekend perusal.

Forgive me then if I cut the usual pre-column nonsense short.

Let's do some Updating...

Right after the quote.

”The price one pays for pursuing any profession or calling is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side.”
- James Baldwin (1924 - 1987), American novelist, writer, playwright, poet, essayist and civil rights activist

I chuckled when I read this one. It hit home with the recent change in my job. So far I haven't found a truly “ugly side” of being on air. But I don't doubt I'll stumble across it eventually!

It's Friday... and that means it's time... once again... for everybody's favorite segment...


9-8-10: 2010 College Football Picks, Week 2

Hello again everybody...

Welcome to another Wednesday. The best thing I can say about today? The State Fair is finally over.

I know many of you thoroughly enjoy the Fair, and I understand why. But due to my job, I'm just not one of you. Being out there Saturday and getting barked at by some old codger because I wasn't aware of the “husband and wife team” he was sure used to be on WCCO radio (to the best of my knowledge there hasn't been one in at least the last 20 years), wasn't a lot of fun.

Yes, that's only one incident, but it's an example of the kind of nonsense we have to go through for twelve straight days every year.

So yeah, the best day of the Fair for us? The day after it's over.

One other quick note before we get going today. I mentioned a little over a week ago that I'd soon be appearing in an on-air capacity for WCCO radio, I just wasn't sure when. Well it sounds like that day is imminent. I got word last night that it could be as early as today as a matter of fact. I wish I could be more specific, but I can only tell you what I'm being told.

So again, if you're curious to hear my nonsensical ramblings as part of Chad Hartman's, Michele Tafoya's and/or Mike Max's shows, tune in to WCCO radio between noon and 8pm Monday through Friday, or you can listen to the webstream here. When I get a more specific “go time” I'll let you know...

But enough of the shameless self-promotion!

You came here to find out how my college football picks turned out and who I'm picking this week, right? Okay, maybe you came here despite that. Either way, that's today's subject, so strap in, because here we go!

Right after the quote...

“It matters not whether you win or lose; what matters is whether I win or lose.”
- Darrin Weinberg

No idea who he is, but it seemed appropriate given today's subject!


9-6-10: Labor Day Notes

Hello again everybody...

I know most of you are enjoying a well-earned respite today thanks to the federal holiday, but seeing as the State Fair is still technically in progress, I have to be at work, and that means I might as well bang out a column, right?

Especially since I left you hanging on Friday!

Sorry about that and all, but I got some last-minute access to Twins tickets Thursday night, and 13 innings later, I left Target Field around 12:15am, hence, no time to write for Friday.

I know you all understand.

But I'm back today and there's plenty to get caught up on. That means it's Notes time...

Right after the quote.

”The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.”
- Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955), theoretical physicist, philosopher and author

Perhaps this is a bit lofty when I'm about to discuss sports, but if anybody else can figure out the mystery of baseball, I'd love to hear their explanation. Actually, I sort of hope they can't. Like Einstein said, the mystery is part of the beauty!


9-1-10: 2010 College Football Picks, Week 1

Hello again everybody...

I'm baaaaaaaaaaack...

Many apologies for the unplanned break in my writing, but I ran into an odd case of a late-Summer cold virus that had me coming home from work, grabbing a bowl of soup, two shots of NyQuil and heading straight to bed for about a week.

Usually I get a cold around the first cold-snap of Fall and the first warm-snap of Spring, so where this late-August nonsense is coming from, I have no idea!

Fortunately, I'm nearly back to 100 percent, so I'm able to be back and at it today. I had to be back with you today because the 2010 College Football season kicks off tomorrow!

I know, it's crazy that it's that time already isn't it? But the pigskin season is upon us, and that means I need to start making picks again! I can't do any worse than last year... or can I?

I'll discuss and give you the first week's slate of games...

Right after the quote.

”The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.”
- William James (1842 - 1910), American psychologist and philosopher

There are a lot of ways to look at this one. Yes the spot on the Twins Tradition Wall cost a few pennies, but odds are, that inscription will outlast me. And yes, this blog isn't ever likely to make me any money, but the impressions it makes on one or two of you fine folks might just outlast me as well. If that's not reason enough to do something... I don't know what is.


8-23-10: Mock Mailbag

Hello again everybody...

Welcome back from your weekend. Hope it was a good one.

Me? I got to introduce my dad to Target Field. I wasn't able to score seats that were quite as nice as those I had when I got to bring my mom to the park for the first time. But I think he enjoyed the experience (minus the dog of a game) as much as she did!

Thanks for coming dad... it was fun!

Plenty happened around the world of sports over the weekend too. And what better way to recap all that happened than with a Mock Mailbag?

I can't think of a better one either. So let's break out the bag...

Right after the quote.

”Rage is the only quality which has kept me, or anybody I have ever studied, writing columns for newspapers.”
- Jimmy Breslin (1930 - ), American journalist and author

I might substitute “passion” for “rage” in the sense of my blogging. And since rage is really just a form of passion, I might be splitting hairs. But I'll stick with “passion”, thanks!


8-20-10: DFTU

Hello again everybody...

We've done it again! It's the end of another work week. Well... for you. Me? I'm already done and enjoying a well-earned day off.

Which is why I don't feel the least bit guilty for not posting on Wednesday. Stuff happens folks. We'll all be okay, right?

Speaking of work, I wanted to wait until I had a specific date, but since that doesn't seem likely any time real soon, I'm going to go ahead and let the cat out of the bag.

I've been promising a work-related announcement for a while, and since the fine folks at the local American Federation of Radio and Television Artists have finally ratified a new three-year contract with CBS Radio, I can finally deliver.

My job isn't changing drastically, but it is changing. Recently my shift moved up an hour (12p-8p instead of 1p-9p) and that was done for a specific reason. It now lines up the Studio Coordinators so that their shifts don't overlap on a single show. The reason that's important is because in the very near future, the Coordinators are going to finally be allowed to open their microphones, talk on the air and unleash their talent on the world.

Or something like that.

Like I said, I wish I had a specific date for you, but I don't yet. The contract's been ratified, but still needs to be signed by AFTRA national and CBS corporate. Once that's done, the bosses will give us the official okey-doke and away we'll go.

Trust me, as soon as I know when, I'll let you know the date.

For me, it means that Chad Hartman, Michele Tafoya and Mike Max will all have the opportunity to bring me on-air as they see fit for a “limited” dose of the rambling nonsense you all have enjoyed reading here.

I'm trying very hard to not get over-excited about the whole thing, but I'm certainly anxious since I haven't done any regular air-work in over nine years.

I'm determined, however to make the most of it. To whit, I want to make sure you all have the opportunity to enjoy the wonder of my craziness.

If you'd like to listen to WCCO Radio online (when I'm in-studio, or even if I'm not), you can do so here. Just follow the instructions to sign up (don't worry, there are no viruses or spyware), and make sure you tune in between noon and 8pm central time if you want the opportunity to check me out.

Also, I've created a new Twitter account. My personal account (@dcook93) will still be very active. But you can also follow my new work account (@DanCookWCCO) to get links to podcasts and breaking news and information from the WCCO website.

I figure if I'm going to be a presence on a 50,000 Watt flame-thrower, then I'm going to get as much out of the opportunity as I can!

Again, I'll let you know when the fun will start, just as soon as I find out.

Preamble rant, fin.

Because you didn't come here on a Friday for all that shameless self-promotion! No, you came here for my shameless sharing of sports inanity in the form of my weekly Update column.

And Updated you shall be!

Right after the quote...

”No matter how rich you become, how famous or powerful, when you die the size of your funeral will still pretty much depend on the weather.”
- Michael Pritchard

… and perhaps on the traffic as well. I'm just sayin'.


8-16-10: To No-No, or Not to No-No...

Hello again everybody...

Welcome back. Hope you have a restful weekend. Mine was as laid-back as I've had in a while and it couldn't have come at a better time.

Don't get me wrong, it was great hanging with the family last weekend. But it'd been a few weeks since I had a full 48 hours of nothingness to occupy me, and I was more than happy to chill on the couch for a couple of days.

What made it even better than usual? Three words... Star Wars Marathon.

Thank you Spike-TV!!!

Oh, and the Twins swept Oakland. That certainly didn't hurt!

Included in that sweep, was a very interesting game yesterday with one particular decision that caused something of a kerfuffle amongst Twins fans.

And if you're thinking that it might be a good topic for a column... you'd be right!

I'll explain...

Right after the quote.

”Accomplishing the impossible only means that the boss will add it to your regular duties.”
- Doug Larson (1926 - ), American newspaper columnist

With all due respect to my fine readers who occupy management positions, Mr. Larson couldn't be more right!


8-13-10: DFTU

Hello again everybody...

Seems like just yesterday I was typing “well, we've fooled them again”...

Wait, that was just two columns ago! No wonder!

But we have fooled them again, and made it through another work week. I promised an announcement about my employment situation a couple of weeks back, and sadly, it's been delayed yet again. I hope to have more information for you in a week or two, but I promise... it's coming!

Let me also say at the outset that if this column ends up being more brief than usual, it's because I got a late start due to being out watching my cousin's band play last night. He's got a CD coming out in the not too distant future, and as soon as I get details on where you can check it out, trust me, I'll be passing that along as well.

Okay. Apologies and details are out of the way. Let's get to the Updating shall we?

Yes we shall...

Right after the quote.

”The forceps of our minds are clumsy forceps, and crush the truth a little in taking hold of it.”
- H.G. Wells (1866 - 1946), English author

I think this one can be understood in several different ways. Me? I'm going to understand it as, “if I concentrate really hard, I can crush stuff with my mind”!


8-11-10: Mock Mailbag

Hello again everybody...

Did you miss me?

Judging by the emails I got, at least some of you did. Though, the tenor of those emails suggested more “annoyance” at my absence on Monday rather than “fond disappointment”.

Still, I'll take that as evidence that some of you out there like my work... you really do!

(Or you just need something to print out for throne-time reading!)

Whatever it is, I'm glad to be back and I'm glad you're back to check it out. Lots of things to get caught up on today, and I thought I'd do it Mock Mailbag-style.

Let's get to it!

Right after the quote...

”I believe professional wrestling is clean and everything else is fixed.”
- Frank Deford (1938 - ), American sports writer and author

Think about it. At least wrestling *admits* it's staged. As for some other things? Well, that leads me right into my first letter in this week's...


8-6-10: DFTU

Hello again everybody...

Don't tell anybody... but we fooled 'em again!

That's right, we've made it to the end of yet another week, and it dawns on me that Summer is winding down in a hurry. What caused this rude awakening? Yesterday, I got got asked by the bosses to work overtime at the Fair again this year.

Yep, that's right, the Minnesota State Fair is right around the corner. Doesn't quite seem possible does it? But yes, eleven of the most annoying days of my work year are not that far away.

In the interest of maintaining whatever level of sanity I've managed to cling to, I'm going to attempt not to dwell on it. Suffice to say that if it's a Saturday, and you're at the State Fair, there's a better than average chance I'll be there too. Feel free to stop by and point and laugh a little if you like. Just try not to think about the fact that I'll be getting paid time-and-a-half to be there, while you'll be spending more money that could possibly seem reasonable!

Ah, the Great Minnesota Wallet Crusher! Er, I mean “Get Together”! Yeah... that's it!

But you didn't come here on a Friday to read about all that!

No! You came here to get yourself Updated, and Updated, my dear readers, you shall be!

Right after the quote.

”Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.”
- Immanuel Kant (1724 - 1804), German philosopher

And sports blogging is organized nonsense!


8-4-10: 2010 Peek at the Picks, Vol. 3

Hello again everybody...

Welcome to a Wednesday!

Let me get this out of the way...

I'm not doing a whole column on Favre. I know I've talked about him in the past, and there's every possibility that I'll discuss him in the future.

But today, I'm just going to say this: we don't know anything more today than we knew 24 hours ago, or 48 hours ago, or 48 days ago for that matter.

Somebody told somebody something that may or may not be true.

The bottom line is that Favre's no closer or further away from returning today than he ever has been. We've seen this movie too many times before to believe anything else. When the Vikings begin the season against the Saints, and Favre is either in or out of a Vikings uniform, then we'll know for sure - and not before.

Until then, whatever happen is merely fodder to fill the 24/7 sports-talk cycle. And frankly, I'm not interested in perpetuating it.

I am however interested in checking in on how my MLB picks are doing!

If you're not, I suggest tuning back in on Friday, because that's all that's left in today's column...

Other than the quote.

”The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.”
- George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950), Irish playwright

Get it? Got it? Good...


8-2-10: AL Central Trade Deadline Recap

Hello again everybody...

Have a good weekend?

You'll get no complaints from me! I got a little cushy overtime at a Little League tournament broadcast on Saturday, and got to see Francisco Liriano pitch a gem on Sunday.

Hard to top a weekend like that! (Not that I won't try...)

In news of a slightly less personal - yet infinitely more relevant - nature, the MLB Non-Waiver Trade Deadline came and went on Saturday, and the three (though it may soon be only two) contenders in the AL Central were all involved in deals leading up to it.

Seems like a good excuse to recap things, no?

Thought you might agree.

And I'll get to that...

Right after the quote.

”Charm is the quality in others that makes us more satisfied with ourselves.”
- Henri-Frederic Amiel (1821 - 1881), Swiss philosopher, poet and critic.

Ah, the pleasant philosophy of the Swiss!

Actually, what really connected with me regarding this quote was the memory of a recent Delmon Young interview. The guy's hitting the snot out of the ball, but man, come on Delmon! Can you show just an ounce of pleasant personality once in a while? I know you have it in you!


«Read More...»


7-30-10: DFTU

Hello again everybody...

Once again, we've reached the end of the week, and unless I've missed something, we've gotten there mostly intact.

Trust me, these things can't be assumed!

As usual, Friday means it's Update time, and for at least one of my Favorite Teams there's plenty to discuss.

And I'll do just that...

Right after the quote!

”I have learned to use the word 'impossible' with the greatest caution.”
- Werner von Braun (1912 - 1977), German-American rocket scientist, astronautics engineer and space architect

Even with the greatest of caution, we can say that the Diamondbacks are out of it this year. The Twins? How about we be “cautiously optimistic” in their case?

«Read More...»


7-28-10: No-Hitter Madness

Hello again everybody...

It's almost uncanny. Nearly every time I end a column with something like:

“You know, unless something breaks that blows my initial idea out of the water...”

My initial idea gets blown right out of said water. Coincidence? Irony? Whatever god you believe in amusing him/herself at my expense... again?

You decide.

Whatever the case, the latest edition of “Peek at the Picks” will keep - and if it improves my Kelley Formula score, mores the better.

Instead, today I have to talk about Matt Garza's no-hitter from Monday night. In and of itself, it was no more or less remarkable than any other no-hitter. But put in the context of what's happened this season, and in baseball history, it merits some discussion.

And discuss I shall!

Right after the quote...

”Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit.”
- W. Somerset Maugham (1874 - 1965), English playwright, novelist and short story writer

I always enjoy it when someone can take a simple phrase like, “Hey, live a little!” and make it sound like a profound bit of philosophy!

«Read More...»


7-26-10: Notes

Hello again everybody...

Hope you had a great weekend.

Mine was too short, as most good weekends tend to be. I got to relax a bunch on Saturday, and work a remote on Sunday.

What's that? Work as part of a good weekend?

Well when it's a red-carpet gala, and you get to meet some interest folks (and thanks to a union contract, you get paid for more hours than you actually work), it's not a bad way to kill a few hours on a Sunday.

I always enjoy a trip to the River Center in St. Paul. I only wish I'd been passing through on my way to a hockey game!

(This is the part on Twitter where you'd insert “#isitOctoberyet”.)

But you didn't come here to listen to me ramble about rubbing elbows with C-list celebrities (did I mention Verne Troyer of Mini-Me fame was there?!). No, you came here to get my unique - and sometimes even interesting - takes on what happened over the weekend.

Which I'll give you...

Right after the quote.

”A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.”
- Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862), American author, poet, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, philosopher, and leading transcendentalist.

Admirable sentiment... now where did I leave the remote again?

«Read More...»


7-23-10: DFTU

Hello again everybody...

We've done it! We've fooled the employment gods and made it to the end of another week!

And it's not just any week-ending, oh no. It seems that the fine folks at the local office of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the corporate folks that run my shop are close to agreeing on a new contract.

Why would that be significant, you ask? Well, one, it guarantees me continued employment, which is always a good thing. But two, there's a clause contained within that contract that will change the nature of my job slightly.

I hate to be a tease, but I don't want to jinx anything either. (I'm a baseball fan, I believe in these things.) My hope is that in the next couple of weeks I'll be able to talk about some mildly exciting work-related news.

I know, I know, I probably shouldn't even have brought it up, but it's been on my mind today, so there you go!

I promise, as soon as it's official, I'll tell you all about it.

Until then, however, we've got some Updating to do...

Right after the quote!

”Knowledge is power, if you know it about the right person.”
- Ethel Mumford (1878 - 1940), American author

I'm not suggesting anything nefarious by selecting this quote... honest!

It's Friday. That means it's time... once again... for everybody's favorite segment...

«Read More...»


7-21-10: Say it Ain't So, Joe

Hello again everybody...

Welcome to a Wednesday.

Sorry this is getting up so late, but I was at the Twins game last night and didn't have enough time to really write anything afterward.

So I'm scrambling to throw something together at work. This probably won't be lengthy. This may not be all that deep. But it will be one heck of a rant!

And I'll get to it...

Right after the quote.

”College isn't the place to go for ideas.”
- Hellen Keller (1880 - 1968), American author, political activist and lecturer

Seems a little harsh, but okay. If college isn't the place to go for ideas, then the 3-hole isn't the spot in the line-up to be bunting!

«Read More...»


7-19-10: Notes

Hello again everybody...

I'm back. And even on schedule! Will wonders never cease?

Apologies for leaving you in the lurch on Friday, but as I warned you might happen last Wednesday, the combination of certain events conspired against me and I wasn't able to get anything together (at least nothing worth reading anyway) in time to be posted.

Hopefully you managed without me.

As it was, I had a brilliant weekend that included attending a couple of winning ballgames as well as some quality time with my nephew. Hard to complain about that.

So as we begin another week, what's the best way to get caught up?

A “Notes” column, of course!

Let's get to the notating then...

Right after the quote.

”The only obligation to which in advance we can hold a novel, without incurring the accusation of being arbitrary, is that it be interesting.”
- Henry James (1843 - 1916), American-born writer

Though Mr. James was speaking mostly of long-form fiction writing, I think it's a fair statement to make even of amateurish blog writing. As long as it's able to hold your interest, any other errors are rather excusable... I hope.

«Read More...»


7-14-10: A Tale of Two Owners

Hello again everybody...

I'm back! Sorry I didn't have anything for you Monday, but sometimes you go to the well and there's just nothing there.

Not the case today, I assure you.

I thought last week that I was finished with the LeBron nonsense, but unfortunately, the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers fired off a letter that was so astounding, I had to comment on it.

As I was considering the various ways I could go about commenting on it, news came yesterday of the passing of a legendary baseball owner, George Steinbrenner. And that's when the muse kicked in. What better way to comment on one... I don't know, is “boisterous” the right word?... owner than by comparing and contrasting him to another?

That's how column ideas get born, boys and girls!

So let's get to the commenting...

Right after the quote.

”Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch.”
- Orson Welles (1915 - 1985), American film director, writer, actor, and producer

Look, I'm all for grand pronouncements, lofty goals and national pride. But sometimes it's a bit much and you just want to know what's on the lunch cart, you know?!

«Read More...»


7-9-10: DFTU

Hello again everybody...

So I wasn't really watching TV last night, did I miss any news?


Anything at all?

Okay, of course I was aware of the hullabaloo that was going on last night. Yet I debated for a good chunk of time about whether I'd even mention it or not today. A big part of me wanted to ignore it completely since I really couldn't care less about the NBA. I wanted to let my silence be my statement.

But that would be slightly disingenuous since I did discuss it with several people last night. So denying you, my dear readers, of at least a brief discussion of LeBron-mania wouldn't be fair, would it?

Here goes then...

All of this nonsense only reinforces my distaste for the NBA. The way I see it, LeBron manufactured an hour of national television to rip out the collective hearts of his home town. Well played, James!

Look, he was a free agent, and could sign wherever he wanted. I don't think he owed it to Cleveland to re-sign there. He gave it seven years, and wanted to try something else. Fine. I don't deny his right to do that.

What I object to is the manner in which he chose to do it. There is a reason that we haven't seen this type of event before, and it's not because there hasn't been this high a profile free agent. Kobe was a free agent. Michael was technically a free agent when he returned from the world of baseball. And those guys had both actually won a championship before they made their choice... what a concept?!

The reason we haven't seen it before is because it's a classless move towards the organization a player would be leaving, and the fans who'd supported that player throughout his tenure.

To create the hype and nonsensical drama of “The Decision” was an intellectually dishonest attempt at marketing the LeBron “brand” and furthering his efforts to become a “global icon”. (I know, I know... that's a lot of quotes... bear with me.)

The only scintilla of credit I can give him is that the profits from the commercials were donated to the Boys and Girls Club of America. That display of charity is laudable, yet insufficient to outweigh the disgust I feel over the whole affair.

This is the guy the NBA wants us to celebrate? This treatment of his former franchise is supposed to be acceptable?

No. This is the reason I continue to detest the NBA. This is the reason that despite Gary Bettman's continued attempts to ruin the sport, my winter sports attention and passion resides squarely with the NHL.

I don't expect the NBA to care. I don't expect them to miss my money or attention much. But they're the only “votes” I have, and they're not in any danger of going in the NBA's favor anytime soon.

Rant, fin.

Now let's get to why you really come here on a Friday. It's time to get Updated!

Right after the quote...

”Honesty may be the best policy, but it's important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy.”
- George Carlin (1937 - 2008), American stand-up comedian, social critic, actor and author

So at least LeBron has that going for him! (Okay, honestly, I'm done with it... really.)

«Read More...»


7-7-10: Big Ten (Plus) Alignment

Hello again everybody...

I hope you had a fantastic and safe holiday weekend. I'm back, feeling pretty well rested and refreshed. I also hope you still have all ten fingers and at least most of your eyebrows. I'm not a huge fireworks person myself, so I'm all good.

The All-Star rosters came out over the weekend, and it was my initial intention to compare and contrast them to my ballot today, but I got into an email exchange with Lon in Forest Lake that got me a little sidetracked. So instead, I'll kick the All-Star roster debate til Monday. That'll work out just dandy since by then we'll know the result of the “Final Vote” (go to and Vote Delmon!) and we should have the vast majority of roster-tweaks due to injury and “that pitcher pitched on Sunday, so by rule he can't pitch in the All-Star Game”-type stuff ironed out.

(Hey, I didn't make the rule, but don't think that teams aren't making sure certain guys pitch on Sunday because they don't want them risking injury in an exhibition game.)

Today? We're talking college football. I know, I know. It's early July. Why on earth am I bringing it up now?

One word... fear.

I've been kicking around some Big Ten (Plus) divisional alignment ideas for some time now, and I want to get them down in column-form before the league goes and announces their official alignments and screws me out of a topic of discussion!

So let's get to the aligning...

Right after the quote.

”If I had my life to live again, I'd make the same mistakes, only sooner.”
- Tallulah Bankhead (1903 - 1968), American actress, talk-show host, and bon vivant

Right? Get them out of the way? Gain your wisdom more quickly? Ah, but Ms. Bankhead didn't take into account the likelihood that making the same mistakes more quickly only frees you up to make more mistakes! Think about it...

«Read More...»


7-2-10: DFTU

Hello again everybody...

Happy Fourth of July weekend to you all. That's right, Independence Day is on Sunday, which makes Monday a federal holiday, and I'm fortunate to have that day off. That also means, no column on Monday.

I know, I know. I've been taking a lot of time off lately, both from work and the blog, but it's Summer and these things happen. I'm sure you all understand.

But before we can light up some fireworks, we've got to get ourselves Updated. Oh, and this week? You get a little extra! That's why you come here on a Friday, right?!

Let's get to it...

Right after the quote.

”A sense of duty is useful in work, but offensive in personal relations. People wish to be liked, not endured with patient resignation.”
- Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970), British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, socialist, pacifist and social critic

Mr. Russell and I would not have gotten along very well...

«Read More...»


6-30-10: 2010 Peek at the Picks, Vol. 2

Hello again everybody...

Welcome to the final day of June, 2010. What's so special about that? It means it's been a month since I've last checked in on my baseball picks!

How could I have forgotten that on Monday when I was babbling about what to do for Wednesday?!

Okay, it's probably not that difficult, and perhaps three of you actually care. But I enjoy writing the column and putting together some thoughts about where the six divisions stand currently and where they're headed.

My blog, my call, right? There you go!

Let's get to the picks...

Right after the quote.

”Reason has always existed, but not always in a reasonable form.”
- Karl Marx (1818 - 1883), German philosopher, political economist, historian, political theorist, sociologist, communist and revolutionary

There's a rumor that Marx regularly left baseball games early too. I've been unable to confirm this, but I thought I'd pass it along anyway.

More importantly, back late March and early April, I gave you plenty of good reasons for my baseball picks... but that doesn't mean that the current standings have to take a reasonable form.

«Read More...»


6-28-10: Running Game Commentary XII - The Milwaukee Trip

Hello again everybody...

I'm back! Well... sort of. Technically I don't head back to the real world until tomorrow. But I'm back in town and ready to do some writing!

As I told you - probably more times than you cared to hear - I went to Milwaukee this past Thursday for a Twins/Brewers matinee. The game didn't turn out exactly how I hoped, but it was still well worth the trip.

I also told you that I'd have a RGC column headed your way today, and never let it be said that I don't deliver... most of the time... usually... on occasion...

Right after the quote...

”Adventure is just bad planning.”
- Roald Amundsen (1872 - 1928), Norwegian explorer

I couldn't exactly have planned how the game would go, so I can't necessarily call it “bad planning”, but the trip was quite an adventure!

«Read More...»


6-23-10: The Curious Case of Cliff Lee

Hello again everybody...

Welcome to the middle of your week and the end of mine. Yep, not to beat you over the head with it, but I'm headed over to Milwaukee tomorrow to check out Twins/Brewers at Miller Park, so this is my last day of work this week, and likely the last column you'll get til Monday.

I considered throwing together a DFTU for today since I probably won't be able to do one on Friday, but I wasn't married to the idea since I just did one five days ago. So when, as I lay abed last night, another idea for a column popped into my head, it didn't take me long to put the DFTU back on the shelf til next week.

Hopefully you won't miss it too badly.

Instead, today I'm going to talk about all the speculation swirling around the Twins' possible interest in Seattle ace, Cliff Lee. Where's the speculation coming from? Is it real, or just filler? Should the Twins be interested? Do I think they'll ultimately take a shot like that? All that and more is headed your way...

Right after the quote.

”Never try to tell everything you know. It may take too short a time.”
- Norman Ford

Yet another quote from a guy who's background I was unable to hunt down. But I felt the quote was appropriate since what we “know” about the Twins interest in Cliff Lee is very little. Meanwhile, the speculation is plentiful.

«Read More...»


6-21-10: Notes

Hello again everybody...

Welcome to another week. Though I'll warn you right now, for me, it's a short one.

If you missed Friday's column, then you missed the news that I'm heading to Milwaukee on Thursday for the Twins vs. the Brewers. And while I fully intend to bring you a RGC from that game, it's quite probable that it won't be in time for Friday.

But that's then, and this is now. So for now? You get some Notes!

Right after the quote...

”Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.”
- Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970), British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, socialist, pacifist, and social critic

You see?! I'm not crazy. I'm just ahead of my time! And a little bit eccentric.

«Read More...»


6-18-10: DFTU

Hello again everybody...

We've made it to the end of yet another week. A week in which I learned a very important lesson which I'll now pass on to you, my dear readers.

If someone's kind enough to spiff you some pretty good ball-tickets, do yourself a favor. Make sure you double-, heck even triple-check the date on the tickets to make sure its the same date you think it's supposed to be. You'll avoid all kinds of embarrassment and self-loathing.

Don't ask... I really don't want to get into it. Just take my advice and go forward in your life a little wiser than you were before you started reading.

It's a big weekend in the offing. First, though not foremost, it's time again for Lon in Forest Lake's annual Trench party. Yes, once again a group of middle-aged men will travel back in time to a period of their lives where it seemed perfectly reasonable to pelt each other with rubber balls. Sadly, said time-travel will occur only in their minds. Physically, they'll still be the same sad-sack, out-of-shape chuckleheads they are the rest of the time, so I'm sure copious amounts of ibuprofen will be consumed by all! Regardless, it's always a lot of fun, and so far (insert Dan furiously knocking on wood) we've avoided any serious injuries. So there's that...

Secondly, of course, Sunday is Father's Day. The one day every year set aside for us to honor and cherish our dads (not that we shouldn't be doing that most other days as well). So allow me to take this opportunity to thank my own father for all he's done and continues to do for me. Thanks, pop! You're the best and I owe you more than I'll ever be able to repay!

With that, let's get to some Updating, shall we?

Right after the quote...

”You don't stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.”
- Michael Pritchard

A cursory Google search wasn't able to tell me who this guy actually is... but I'm sensing a motto for the Trench Party here... anyone? Anyone?

«Read More...»


6-16-10: 2010 MLB All-Star Ballot

Hello again everybody...

I'm baaaaaack...

Sorry about leaving you all hanging on Monday. I wish I had a fantastic excuse for you. You know, like I contracted a short-lived version of Ebola. Or, I live a secret double-life as a masked crime-fighter and my presence was required at the time I'm usually writing. Or even that I was mixed up with a South American drug cartel and had to spend a brief stint in the witness protection program after returning to the side of right and virtue and turning on the drug lords.

Alas, the truth is nowhere near that entertaining.

The fact is that I found myself thoroughly drained at the end of the weekend, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't force myself to focus long enough to write anything worth reading. What can I say? These things happen.

Hopefully, you'll all forgive me and we can move on.

Ah, but what we'll we be moving on to, you ask? Excellent question! And I'll be happy to answer it!

Right after the quote...

”The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”
- F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896 - 1940), American author
(quote courtesy of Renee in Minnetonka)

Two opposed ideas?! Half the time I'm lucky to be able to hold a single coherent idea in my mind!

«Read More...»


6-11-10: DFTU

Hello again everybody...

It's Friday, and that means another weekend is nigh.

It also means that it's time for the DFTU. Yes, yes, I know you missed out on it last week, but perfect games nullified by blown calls don't happen every week!

As I'm so fond of saying, the DFTU may be delayed, but it shall never be denied!

And as a bonus, I'm bringing back a member of the DFTU stable that you don't traditionally see in the Summer months! Which one is it? Let's get to the Updating and find out shall we?

Right after the quote...

”The greatest mystery is not that we have been flung at random between the profusion of matter and of the stars, but that within this prison we can draw from ourselves images powerful enough to deny our nothingness.”
- Andre Malraux (1901 - 1976), French author, adventurer and statesman

Okay, so that's kind of a bummer of a quote to lead you in to your weekend, I know. But I included it for two reasons. One, because it took me five times reading it before I had a clue what he was talking about. And two, because when I looked up his bio, and saw his picture... well you tell me:

Is that straight out of “near-suicidal French philosopher D-bag” central casting, or what?!

But enough of making fun of the French. There'll be plenty of time for that coming up in the World Cup!

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6-9-10: Hype, Embraced

Hello again everybody...

Welcome to a Wednesday. Like the new pictures? (Look up under the title... there you go.)

While my mom was in town, we had a chance to go down to Target Field while the club was out of town and get a good look at - as well as a few snapshots of - the various items located on Target Plaza. Thanks to a little photo-editing I was able to put together that collage of the Harmon Killebrew, Kirby Puckett and Rod Carew statues. It's nice to change things up a bit, no?

I'm not sure about anybody else, but it seems like this week is going by a bit slower than usual. Maybe it was the holiday-shortened week last week? Maybe it's because there's been so much going on lately? I don't know. I just can't wait for the weekend to get here!

Speaking of “so much going on”, last night was a huge night in baseball. Two rookie phenoms made their MLB debuts, and as seems to be the pattern in 2010, both did pretty darned well.

Marlins rookie OF Mike Stanton made his debut against the Phillies last night and went 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Not shabby at all.

Unfortunately, for Stanton, his debut was blown out of the water by the arrival of Washington Nationals phenom pitcher Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg might be the most hyped pitching prospect since Mark Prior debuted for the Cubs in 2002.

Did his performance last night live up to said hype? I'll discuss...

Right after the quote!

”Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
- Thomas A. Edison (1847 - 1931), American inventor, scientist, and businessman

Some gifted athletes try to get by on their God-given talent alone. Others take that talent and bust their tails to refine it, and end up being legendary...

Sounds a bit melodramatic? Perhaps. But after Stephen Strasburg's major league debut last night, it might just be apropos.

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6-7-10: College Baseball Thoughts

Hello again everybody...

Welcome back from the weekend. I hope you found time to rest up and relax, or at least have a whole lot of fun. No? Well you at least accomplished something, right? There, I thought so.

Me? I guess you could say I hit two out of three, and that's not too shabby!

One of the things I got to do this weekend was catch some of the opening round of the College World series. In doing so, I noticed some stuff. And if you're guessing that somewhere in all that noticing came the thought, “hey, there's a column”, then you'd be spot on!

That's why I value you dear readers so much!

So let's get to my observations... right after the quote...

”The one serious conviction that a man should have is that nothing is to be taken too seriously.”
- Nicholas Butler (1862 - 1947), American philosopher, diplomat and educator

… except for baseball, right? Right?! Okay, I'm kidding... mostly. (One other point... you want to know how much of a history geek I am? When I saw this guys birth/death dates, my first thought was, “born in the second year of the Civil War, died two years after the end of WWII. Now that's a lifespan!” Yeah. I'm that much of a dork. Deal.)

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6-4-10: Aiming for Perfection

Hello again everybody...

As so often seems to be the case, I need to start today's column with an apology.

For those of you expecting to see the DFTU, I apologize, but you're going to have to wait another week.

Don't get me wrong, nothing brings me more joy than bringing you the latest news and opinions on my favorite teams, and I'm sure there are one or two of you out there that enjoy it nearly as much as I do. But sometimes events conspire against us. Sometimes momentous things happen, and I feel compelled to delay the DFTU in order to address them.

This time, it's Game 1 of the NBA Finals...




Forgive my little jest, but since 99% of you knew what I was going to get into after the first sentence, I couldn't resist tossing you a change-up.

Yes, today I'm talking about the “perfecto” that wasn't. What happened, how was it handled and what does it mean for baseball? I'll discuss!

Right after the quote...

”Misery no longer loves company. Nowadays it insists on it.”
- Russell Baker (1925 - ), American Pulitzer Prize-winning writer

“Misery” is perhaps too strong a term to describe the emotions following the now-infamous events of Wednesday night, but considering how caught up we all became in the drama of it, the “company” aspect seemed applicable!

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6-2-10: Notes

Hello again everybody...

Welcome back from a long holiday weekend! I had a great time hanging with my family on Monday, so I hope your weekend was restful and relaxing as well.

I don't know about you, but for me, so much happened over the three-day break that it all sort of blurred together. So today my goal is to sit down, try to sort out some of my thoughts, and bring you the best in brief recaps of some of the bigger sports stories.

Sounds like Notes column time, eh?

Right after the quote...

”No human thing is of serious importance.”
- Plato (427 BC - 347 BC), Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician and founder of the Academy in Athens

I liked this one because combined with the Memorial Day holiday we just observed, it serves as a reminder that as much as I enjoy, ponder, and dissect sports, ultimately they're quite low on the scale of what's really important in life.

Not that I'm going to stop blogging about it... I'm just sayin...

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5-28-10: DFTU

Hello again everybody...

Happy Friday to all, and to all a Holiday weekend!

That's right, even in the wacky world of radio, sometimes I can finagle a three-day weekend when there's a holiday, and thanks to our recognition of our country's fallen heroes, this happens to be one of those weekends.

So I'll let you know ahead of time, there won't be a column on Monday. Instead, I'll be spending some quality time with my family and a grill (no, I won't be grilling the family - well maybe my brother if he gets lippy) whilst we tip our hats to those who've given the last full measure of devotion (copyright A. Lincoln) to ensure our freedom.

But before we can get to 72 blissful work-free hours, we've got some Updating to do!

Right after the quote...

”There's no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.”
- Will Rogers (1879 - 1935), comedian, humorist, social commentator, vaudeville performer and actor

Do I really have to point out how this is applicable in the wake of the mess in the Gulf? I didn't think so, and that's why I love you people!

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5-26-10: 2010 Peek at the Picks, Vol. 1

Hello again everybody...

Happy Wednesday to you all. Hope your week's going well so far.

Me? No complaints. Though I might have one were I to have had tickets to last night's Twins game. The Twins and the Yankees were scoreless in the fifth when the skies over Target Field opened up. After the umpires delayed the game for an hour or so, they decided to suspend the game until this afternoon.

So why would I have been annoyed by that? Because the rules are that ticket holders from last night saw all the baseball they're going to see. The Twins are going to open up the gates at 3pm today to holders of tickets for tonight's 6:10pm game, so they can see the conclusion of Game 1 and then the entire Game 2.

I suppose logistically, that's the easiest move, but if I was holding a ticket for last night's game, I'd feel a bit cheated. Especially considering that the rain had stopped by 10pm, and they probably could've kept playing.

But you can't blame the Twins. Once the game starts, the decision to suspend is purely with the umpiring crew. So maybe they had reservations at Murray's, or something, I don't know.

And while I loathe conspiracy theories, I will point out that Phil Cuzzi was part of the crew. Yes, the same Phil Cuzzi who horrifically blew a call in last years Twins/Yankees playoff series which cost Joe Mauer a key double.

I'm not sayin, I'm just sayin...

Ultimately, it's a boon for those lucky folks who have tickets for tonight's game. Free baseball, folks! You can't beat it!

With the Memorial Day weekend looming, it's time to take a look back at my pre-season picks. Memorial Day is the traditional quarter-pole of the season, so it's time to take a look at how I'm doing so far!

Right after the quote...

”The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair.”
- Douglas Adams (1952 - 2001), English writer, dramatist, and musician

*cough* ...BP oil spill... *cough*

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5-24-10: What Makes a Game Great?

Hello again everybody...

Welcome back from what I hope was another wonderful weekend.

Mine was pretty good. I got to see the Twins win on Saturday, and then spend a nice chunk of time with some family on Sunday as we got to wish my Aunt a happy (mumble, grumble)th birthday. Plus my mom came into town for a bit, so I got some quality time with her too.

Baseball and family. Not bad. Not bad at all.

The various descriptions of the Twins game, however, gave me pause. I heard a lot of comments afterward saying, “oh wow, you got to go to a great game”. That struck me as odd. While I'm happy that my favorite team won, I didn't think the game was all that “great”. “Exciting”, sure, but not “great”.

Naturally, that got me thinking. What exactly does make a game great?

And we all know what that means! Column time!

Right after the quote...

”I respect faith, but doubt is what gets you an education.”
- Wilson Mizner (1876 - 1933), American playwright, raconteur and entrepreneur

Faith is great and all, but if you don't say “gee, I wonder why that is?” now and again, you're not going to learn much.

So it's only natural that I wonder what exactly makes a “great game” right?

(I do love it when I can get a quote to connect!)

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5-21-10: DFTU

Hello again everybody...

Let me begin with an apology, because things are going to be brief today. Not for any good reason either. I just plain dropped the ball.

You see, I'm a creature of habit. I like my routines. I value comfort. Mess with my routines and some things in my life are likely to spin out of control.

In this case, I had to work late last night and will again tonight. Unfortunately, that caused me to forget to write this column last night. So I'm scrambling to throw something together today. That's been complicated by our new on-air schedule, which leaves me far less time for “distractions” than I used to have.

(Yes, I know your hearts are all bleeding for me.)

I'm not trying to make excuses. Rather, I'm merely offering a meek explanation for the brevity of today's Update.

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5-19-10: Effort Doesn't Slump

Hello again everybody...

Well that didn't take long!

The current incarnation of my jinx is over after the Twins got thumped 11-2 by the Blue Jays yesterday. I wasn't happy to see them take one on the chin like that, but it did take a rather hefty weight off my mind.

I forgot to mention it on Wednesday, but I have tickets to Saturday's game versus the Brewers. So what would've happened if the Twins had won out going into that game? I couldn't have sold the tickets because a friend of mine is coming from Milwaukee to go see the game. I couldn't go to the game and shield my eyes in an effort not to watch. But wouldn't it be a violation of the “I'm not watching til they lose” bit to go to the game?

A co-worker had already started trying to craft a theory by which we'd separate “watching on TV” from “watching whilst at the ballpark”. I think we could've pulled it off. Fortunately, we won't have to.

So it's on to Boston (the city, so no hate tag), to face the Red Sox (whom I most assuredly hate) for two games before the Twins return home for the Brewers series. Here's to hoping that Boston (the team, whom I hate) spent themselves over the last couple of days against the Yankees and come in to tonight's game lacking energy.

I can now say it again with all my baseball-loving heart... WIN TWINS!!!

I can only hope you appreciate the effort I put into telling you these sorts of stories. Because to be honest, I'm a little down on a star player's effort right now. And it just so happens that I have a forum to tell you about it!

After the quote...

Let's do this!

”None but a coward dares to boast that he has never known fear.”
- Ferdinand Foch (1851 - 1965), French soldier and military theorist

Am I the only one who finds it ironic that this quote came from a Frenchman? Right. Enough said.

Fear is a natural emotion we all feel from time to time. Laziness? Sloth? Lackadaisicalness? That's something entirely within our control.

Unless you're a superstar Marlins player apparently...

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5-17-10: My Baseball Conundrum

Hello again everybody...

So how was your weekend?

Mine was... um... interesting.

Lots of resting and relaxation, which is good. But two-thirds of the time I was watching my favorite team get their brains beat in by the big, bad Yankees.

As for the other third? Well, that's what I'm going to talk about today.

Before we get to that, a quick Preakness review. My Preakness picks streak? Dead.

Lookin at Lucky who got a horrible trip in the Derby, got an ideal trip in the Preakness and spoiled Super Saver's bid for the second leg of the Triple Crown.

I watched the race, and it was obvious as they made the turn, Calvin Borel asked Super Saver to go. It was equally obvious that the horse had no intention whatsoever of actually going. There was more traffic around Super Saver in the Preakness than there was in the Derby, but it's not like he got blocked. He just didn't fire. Lookin at Lucky, on the other hand, stalked the pace smartly and when the time came, fired home for the win.

So for the 32nd straight year, we're without a Triple Crown winner. I said it back in 2008 when Big Brown failed to complete the trifecta, that if a horse that was so clearly superior to his competition couldn't get it done, I'm not sure it'll ever be done again. Obviously, we didn't have a horse with anywhere near that kind of talent in this year's crop of three-year-olds.

The money in horse racing is clearly in breeding, not racing. And since thoroughbreds are bred more for speed than stamina these days, it doesn't seem likely we'll see a horse capable of winning three races in six weeks any time soon

It's too bad really.

What's also too bad? The return of “Dan's Baseball Jinx”. I'll explain...

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5-14-10: DFTU

Hello again everybody...

Congratulations to you all! Once again, we've cheated the employment gods and made it to another weekend!

And it's not just any weekend, it's Preakness weekend. Of course, I completely spaced that on Wednesday when I was whining about not having things to write about. Lovely.

Today's DFTU day of course, so I won't spend a lot of time on it. Fortunately, there's not a lot to spend time on.

Unlike the Derby's bursting 20-horse field, only 12 horses will run in the Preakness. Of those 12, only five ran in the Derby, and only two factored in the finish. Derby winner Super Saver will try to set up a Triple Crown threat, while Paddy O'Prado - who finished third - will try to play spoiler. Also hoping to spoil Super Saver's bid will be Lookin at Lucky, the Morning Line favorite in the Derby.

Not running in the Preakness is my Derby pick, Ice Box. His owners and trainers decided to rest him and point him towards a run at the Belmont. I can hardly blame them, the Belmont certainly suits his style better than the Preakness. But it would've been fun to see what Ice Box could've done with this smaller field.

The drama in this race is going to completely surround Super Saver. Can Calvin Borel guide him to a Preakness win and set him up for a Triple Crown attempt? Or will another horse spoil his efforts, and render the Belmont anti-climactic?

Last year, I correctly picked Rachel Alexandra as the Preakness winner. Can I make it two-for-two this year?

The only serious threats to Super Saver in my mind are Paddy O'Prado and Lookin at Lucky. None of the newcomers impress me a whit. Paddy wasn't able to catch Super Saver in the Derby and the Preakness is run at a shorter distance, so I don't see him doing it here. Lucky got an unlucky trip at the Derby and never recovered. Trainer Bob Baffert was so unhappy with the jockey Garret Gomez, that he switched to Martin Garcia for the Preakness. That kind of drama doesn't bode well for Lucky in my mind.

The bottom line is that there isn't another horse in the field with Super Saver's speed. And with the shorter distance at Pimlico, speed will be worth even more than it was in the Derby. Super Saver got an ideal draw at post position 8, and Calvin Borel is as good as it gets in the saddle.

Your 2010 Preakness winner? Super Saver. Book it!

Post time is 5:12pm central. Coverage is on NBC. Check your local listings.

That's it for the ponies... time to get Updated!

”If you put tomfoolery into a computer, nothing comes out of it but tomfoolery. But this tomfoolery, having passed through a very expensive machine, is somehow ennobled and no-one dares criticize it.”
- Pierre Gallois (1911 - ), French air force brigade general and geopolitician

Let me assure you Monsieur Gallois, I've put plenty of tomfoolery into a computer, and it's been thoroughly criticized... as it should be... mostly.

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5-12-10: Notes

Hello again everybody...

Happy Wednesday to you all. I know I say this often, but this week the weekend REALLY can't get here soon enough. Only this time my motivation is mostly meteorological. For the past couple of weeks we've been having “March in May” here in Minnesota. While I don't want to complain too loudly since we had “May in April” just last month, it looks like things will finally be getting back to normal come the weekend. Thank you weather gods.

I'll be honest, I'm scraping the bottom of the ol' barrel for subjects today. Every now and then there's a lull in the sports news. It's not that there's nothing going on. But there isn't much that's got me fired up to write about.

But I stick to my schedule as best I can because that's what you, my dear readers, expect and it's what you, my dear readers, deserve!

No single subject irking me? No problem! We'll just do some Notes!

Off we go...

”When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”
- Hunter S. Thompson (1939 - 2005), American journalist and author

Honestly? I have no idea. I just liked the sound of it.

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5-10-10: Mock Mailbag

Hello again everybody...

Welcome back from the weekend. Sure the weather wasn't the greatest here in Minnesota - although it was hard to argue with yesterday's climatological conditions - but I had a pretty damned good weekend regardless.

First off, I got to see “Iron Man 2” on Saturday. Pretty darned good flick. I'm not sure if it's as good as the first flick - I'll need to see it again before I can make that assessment - but it's absolutely worth seeing. Robert Downey, Jr., is his usual brilliant self. Don Cheadle brings a more believable military bearing to the Col. Rhodes character than Terrance Howard did. Mickey Rourke does the “bad-ass villain” bit quite well. Sam Rockwell does a surprisingly good turn as the “funny/disarming/inferiority-complex-possessing/might-be-a-little-bit-psycho” bad guy. My brother felt he stole the show. Personally, I think that's near to impossible when RDJ is on the screen, but I can see where he's coming from. The only disappointing performance was Scarlett Johansson's. It wasn't totally her fault since there was very little time given to developing her character. Still, the development that existed was wasted by her drab, wooden performance.

Bottom line, if you liked the first one, you'll like this one. Go see it. Enjoy. Thank me later.

Secondly, a belated “Happy Mothers Day” to all the Moms out there! Yes, I made sure my mom got a card and a phone call from me yesterday, so that's not the belated part. But I wanted to take the opportunity to send well wishes to the rest of the Moms who read my blog. If you take care of your kids anywhere near like my mom has taken (and in many ways continues to take) care of my brother and me, then you're more than deserving of hearty kudos from all of us!

Thanks for everything, Mom! I love you!

On to today's column! Lots of interesting stories from the weekend. And what better way to mock them, than Mailbag style!


”Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more.”
- Mark Twain (1835 - 1910), American author and humorist

This was a lesson I've only truly-learned in the last decade or so. I've found that if you accept responsibility for a screw-up without excuses, people are so taken aback, they forget to be pissed at you. Yes, even when I'm clearly at fault, I can still be devious!

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5-7-10: DFTU

Hello again everybody...


Yes, I'm sure I didn't have to tell you that, but for some reason, I really need it to be the weekend already. I couldn't even really say why. An annoying week at the shop I guess. Who knows? All I know is that in a few scant hours, I'll be blissfully thinking of anything other than work for a solid 48, and enjoying every second of it.

But before we get to today's sports silliness, a couple of quick entertainment notes.

One, yes, I'll be seeing Iron Man 2 this weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed the first film, and even though Scarlett Johansson was an epic failure of an interview on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson this week, I'm confident I'll like the second film too. Come on. It's Robert Downey, Jr. carrying a film. This guy's been stealing scenes since “Back to School”! It'll be a good flick. I'll have a brief review for you on Monday... probably.

(Hey, I don't like to make promises which I may or may not be able to keep, okay?!)

Two, Rick Riordan is out with a new book and the beginning of a new series. (Sorry to steal your “book club” bit, Cat, but I figure you'll forgive me.) If you haven't read his “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series, I recommend you do. They're not the deepest books in the world, but they're fun, light, and entertaining reads. And what he did with Greek mythology in those books, he seeks to do with Egyptian mythology in “The Kane Chronicles: Red Pyramid”. The tone of the new book is very similar to “Percy”, but he employs a new narrative device in this one (I won't give it away here) which is kind of an interesting way to tackle the project. I'm only a few chapters in, but I like it so far. If you're in need of something fun to peruse, trust me, you could do far worse.

Okay. Enough with the preambling! Time to get really, really serious... about Updating you on my favorite squads!

Off we go!

”Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”
- Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 - 1821), French military and political leader

Think Lil Nap (that'd be his rapper name right?) wishes someone would've reminded him of this lil chestnut before he had that lil hiccup in Belgium? I'm just sayin...

Right, now that you're over that pseudo-philosophical excursion, it's time to give you what you came here for. That's right. It's time... once again... for everybody's favorite segment...

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5-5-10: Tased and Confused

Hello again everybody...

Happy Wednesday to you! It's all downhill from here, right? I sure hope so. Three days into this week and I'm still trying to get used to the changes that have happened already at work, and also trying to mentally gird myself for the changes that are right around the corner.

My bosses would be more than a touch annoyed if I went into detail about things, but suffice to say that the staff roster has changed considerably over the last month, and is going to continue to change as this month goes along.

So far, everything's been happening on the periphery of my position, and hopefully it stays that way.

(But if anybody has need of a sharp, quick-learning, tech-literate, highly mobile employee? I'm certainly willing to listen!)

How do I escape from the wackiness of the working world?

By providing you, my dear readers, with all the sports-related inanity I can muster!

Today's topic? How should we be handling unruly fans?

Let's get to it!

”It's a lot like nature. You can only have as many animals as the ecosystem can support and you can only have as many friends as you can tolerate the bitching of.”
- R. K. Millholland, webcomic author

WftC Translation: I don't like people that much...

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