2-24-10: Wednesday Notes

Hello again everybody...

It's the middle of the week... and honestly, I'm not sure how much I've got for you today. I'm 17 days away from the blissful weather of Phoenix and Cactus League baseball.

Would I rather be watching the Twins? Sure. This year more than most. But my folks are in Phoenix and blood is thicker than ash or maple (depending on your bat of choice). So it's off to the Southwest I go. In a couple of weeks anyway - good lord, that can't come fast enough.

But that's then, and today I've got to come up with something for you. When one subject doesn't seem enough? Time for some Notes!

Let's get to it...

”Take everything you like seriously, except yourselves.”
- Rudyard Kipling (1865 - 1936), British author and poet

I have an ego like anybody else, but if I ever start taking myself that seriously, feel free to slap me. No, not you Mary.

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With that, it's time for some...

Wednesday Notes

Why haven't I addressed Tiger's “press conference”?

Good question. First of all, USA/Canada was infinitely more interesting, so I decided to go with that on Monday, rather than discuss Tiger's farce.

But as long as you brought it up...

First of all, using the term “press conference” was ridiculous. It wasn't a press conference. A press conference involves invited/credentialed media having a question and answer period with an coach/athlete. Media were invited to Tiger's little get-together, but were expressly told that he wouldn't be taking any questions.

Am I surprised? No. Tiger's mismanaged this situation from Day 1, so why should that bit have been any different.

Did I watch? No. I knew I'd get the highlights all day Friday at work, and knew the event itself would be about as compelling as watching C-Span. So I felt no urge to watch it live.

Here's the problem. Tiger still thinks he can “control” his way out of this. The guy built a billion-dollar empire based upon the rigid control of his image. He controlled who got to talk to him, what they got to ask and how he was presented almost at an unprecedented level. And now that he's been caught up in a scandal, he thinks the same rules apply.

The truth is that the only way he can truly resuscitate his image is to give up that rigid control. He needs to sit down at a table with as many microphones, cameras and media as they can fit in the room. And the only opening statement he should make is, “Any questions?”

I'm not saying he has to answer everything. Obviously, someone would ask what the actual number of women he slept with - other than his wife - was. And to that he should just say, “I'm not going to answer that. The only value to that answer would be to further embarrass my wife, and I've already embarrassed her more than she could ever deserve. One was too many. Anything more than that is between me and my wife.”

I think people will accept answers like that. But it can't be read from note cards. It can't be as monotone and robotic as Friday's event was. And most of all, it has to appear open and free of the kinds of control that he's tried to exert so far. Nobody will trust that his remorse is genuine so long as it's written out on IMG stationary.

Running backs are dropping like flies...

Former fantasy studs (yes, I still recall my fantasy football days, even if I've moved on) LaDainian Tomlinson and Bryan Westbrook have both been released by their respective clubs.

I only feel compelled to mention it because it's remarkable how quickly the careers of running backs can decline in the NFL. In 2006, Tomlinson was setting scoring records and winning the MVP. Now he's out of a job. In 2007, Westbrook topped 2000 yards rushing and earned All-Pro status. Now he's out of a job.

Both guys will likely find work - though it won't surprise me if Westbrook hangs it up given his recent injury history. But it won't be for the kinds of money they're used to making, and their roles will likely drastically change.

The line between being a superstar running back, and an afterthought in the NFL is so thin, it's amazing that guys are able to sustain any kind of long-term career.

That's why as important as Adrian Peterson is to the Vikings' success, they should think long and hard before letting Chester Taylor walk in free agency.

Still no word on Mauer...

Call it a non-story story if you like. But the fact that pitchers and catchers have officially reported to Spring Training at the Twins' facility in Fort Meyers without any announcement of a long-term agreement with Joe Mauer is worth noting.

I'm not pushing the panic button. I've said all along that the announcement was most likely to occur at some point in Spring Training, and not before.

But the situation bears watching. If the weeks start to slip away, and there still hasn't been any word, then I'll start getting twitchy.

If the bags get packed, and the trucks start heading north and there hasn't been any word, I'll be downright apoplectic.

The Twins have to get this done before the season starts. Spring Training will be tough enough with media swarming camp trying to find out if a deal's going to get done or not. Trying to play with that distraction when the games actually count? I shudder at the prospect.

The Twins have made enough moves to make them the favorite in the AL Central, and a contender to make the World Series. Goofing it up by not securing Mauer with a long-term contract would be a critical mistake.

So far, WCCO-TV's Mark Rosen hasn't been proven correct in his reporting of a framework agreement. Then again, Monday night he said, “let's just say this is a 'big week' for negotiations”. Perhaps inferring that an announcement is imminent?

Twins fans can only hope.

That's going to wrap things up for today. Short and sweet I know, but I'll have more for you on Friday. After all, there's a Conference Champion to discuss!

Until then, thanks for reading!