Monday, July 12, 2004

The Weekend in Review

This column was compiled from notes made in that infamous notebook... that I still owe Mike 69 cents for.

The Quotes

(I apologize in advance for the number of people I get in trouble here.)

  • "I told my dad, "Hey Dad, I bet you never thought there'd be a Dr. Cronk.' He accused me of cheating." - Cronk

  • "Are you decent? Are you boofing?" - Kanka, upon entering someone else's hotel room

  • "I drive a Dodge Stratus! Big time stuff!" - Mike

  • "It's friends like us who ruin weddings." - Byrer

  • "It's got to be Miller Time pretty quick." - Mr. Brintnall, after taking wedding pictures

  • "Lisa's ready for tonight." - Kanka (who said that?)

  • "Is that Cronk's Sister? I've been hearing stories about her for years, but boy is she hot!" - Vnak

  • "The 'Backer lives!" - a rather unsober Ellen, during a Bon Jovi song

  • "My drinks match my tie!" - Kanka

  • "There's a cow! MOOOOO!" - Ellen

Other Trip Happenings

  • The trip there: On the flight there, I sat next to a guy who noticed I was reading The Mental Game of Baseball. After learning I was a baseball player, he informed me that his son was, too. "Are you a parhtr?" he asked. "Pardon?" "Are you a parhtr?" I was wondering why he would be asking me if I played for the Pirates, but after the third time he repeated himself, I realized he was asking if I was a power hitter. No, I'm not, sorry.

  • My favorite Minnesota road signs: "Normandale" - named before or after Hoosiers came out? "Mtka" (Minnetonka) - "Who would win between Mtka and a hurricane? ... Wait, the hurricane's name is Hurrican Mtka."

  • Leinenkugel's Brewery: Klondike, you should have gone. It was on your way home. You got FREE BEER, and you could have bought a hat. Plus, on the tour, they gave a free keychain to the person who travelled the farthest. Of course, we could have been jerks and asked you to pull out your driver's license.

  • The Mall of America: Yeah, so Saturday night I was bored (I don't have a cell phone, so I couldn't get a hold of Pete), so I drove down to the Mall of America. There is a lot of space in that mall. So much so, that there are three of almost every store in there. Great, why not just have bigger stores with more stuff? I mean, in some of those stores, the selection was downright disappointing. And then, they have a gift shop (or three)? Great. I did, however, come dangerously close to picking up a Lindsay Whalen college jersey on sale for $40. Dangerously close. I did also see a shirt that Mike and Yonto would enjoy - "Joliet Criminals Baseball Club."

  • The top 25 movies of the last 25 years: I've officially given up on trying to argue with list shows. They're just too stupid when it comes to ranking things. However, I did note two things: 1. If I wanted to be mean, I could point out the resemblance between Ellen and Rosie Perez. 2. Dave, you're right - the Sports Guy does have a weak, nasaly voice. One might say it's "a perfect voice for writing."

  • Between the Mall of America and MSP Airport, I think Minnesota's official nickname should be changed to "The Land of Uneccessarily Large Buildings." Can Jesse Ventura make this happen?

  • Speaking of the airport, while waiting for my flight home, I spotted a rather large young man in a USC hat (in other words, there was a great chance he was a football player). Now, I wanted to kick him squar in the nyuts. But, since Kirk Herbstreit is a football genius, I've learned that USC has great "team speed." I never would have been able to outrun him with my backpack on.

  • The flight home: The plane I was supposed to be on came in 45 minutes late, and had a mechnical problem. Not a big deal; our flight was just moved to another gate nearby. We got on the plane only 10 minutes late, but... not realizing where we were, the refreshment truck passed us by. We waited 40 minutes just so the truck could come back and give us our supply of pop and pretzels. Now, the flight's only 90 minutes long - I really wouldn't have minded spending $1.25 on a pop when I got home. And, as we now know, I could have just gotten the pretzels online.

Stuff Actually Related to Sports

  • My sources on the East Coast (ok, it's Ellen) tell me that Tom Timmermans has joined the Nets' summer league team. The Nets like to run there offense through the high post, so who's better than "The Hub."

  • Speaking of former ND basketballers, it's great to see Charles Thomas doing well in sports.

  • And speaking of "speaking of"s... Speaking of former athletes in unusual new jobs, I was fired up to see Keith Lockhart conducting the Boston Pops on the Fourth of July.

  • You know, I blame Carlos Boozer's agent for this whole mess he's having. "Yeah, we want to stay with the Cavs. But let's sign an offer sheet so they have to match it." Good, good.

  • Joe Torre has Jeter 7th and Soriano 8th in the AL lineup? OK, let's put one of the most undeserving starters 7th, and the guy who strikes out too much in front of the pitcher. Torre's a genius.

  • Indians catcher Vic Martinez declined this year's All Star invitation, after two straight years in the Futures Game. In his place, surprise Indians starter Jake Westbrook was selected to replace the injured Curt Schilling. That's five All Stars for the Tribe. I believe the word we're looking for is "upside." Or, maybe we're looking for a phrase - "worst bullpen ever!"

Seen on the Internet

  • If you write a 100 word essay, you could become a part of U93's ND Football Pre-Game Show.

  • Jayson Stark is reporting that the Mets are putting Ty Wigginton on the block to make way for Futures Game starter David Wright. Speaking of the Futures Game, it's time for me to start some New Player Auctions....

  • OK, we probably know where this list is going.

Your 2004 KankaNation All Stars

Composed of players from our seven favorite teams - Yankees, Cubs, Mets, Mariners, Blue Jays, Rangers, and Indians (not of players from our KankaMatic teams)

Catcher: Victor Martinez, Indians. .290 with 63 RBI. He took off after being moved to cleanup.
Honorable Mention: Michael Barrett, Cubs. You can make the argument for Barrett to win this, but hey, it's my site.

First Base: Derrek Lee, Cubs. Quietly having a great year at .304/12/49.
Honorable Mention: Mike Piazza, Mets. The Mets site lists him as a 1B, so that's where I put him. .290/16/40 isn't bad, but I'm giving the edge to Lee's superior glovework.

Second Base: Alfonso Soriano, Rangers. He's a bit shaky at second, and I wouldn't bat him leadoff, but he's still a good player.
Honorable Mention: Ronnie Belliard, Indians. He fell off after flirting with .400 at the beginning of the year, but he's still hitting .304. He knows he isn't the greatest on defense, but he does know how to position himself to make up for it. A great "contagious hustle" guy. Todd Walker, Cubs. Let him play!

Third Base: Hank Blalock, Rangers. 2nd in the league in homers (23), 5th in RBI. I'd take him over the guy who skipped town.
Honorable Mention: Aramis Ramirez, Cubs; Alex Rodriguez, Yankees. Ramirez is hitting .326; A-Rod is totally awesome! (maybe)

Shortstop: Michael Young, Rangers. Is there a Breakout Player of the Year Award? This guy's always been a very good hitter, but .332 with 12 homers will get you noticed even by non-Gammonsesque people. Also is handling a position change very well.
Honorable Mention: None. A defensive slump by Omar Vizquel has overshadowed a decent offensive year, but he's not quite All Star worthy.

Outfield: Gary Sheffield, Yankees; Ichiro, Mariners; None. I actually could find three outfielders having "great" years between these three teams. Many are having good years, but only these two (Sheffield with 16 HR; Ichiro hitting .321) are doing very well.
Honorable Mention: Moises Alou and Sammy Sosa, Cubs. Alou has 19 HR and has been very clutch this year, but he's only hitting .276... and he pees on his hands. Sammy's been hurt again and has missed quite a few games. Matt Lawton, Indians. Lawton's hitting .355 as a leadoff man, leads the Indians with 15 HR, and is 3rd on the team with 49 RBI. But, he's turning in to Manny Ramirez with his laxidazical, sometimes boneheaded play in left field. That keeps him off the club.

Designated Hitter: Travis Hafner, Indians. "Pronk" is hitting .313 and is second on the team with 61 RBI. Many here in Cleveland were wondering if he'd ever break out - he has. And all it cost the Indians was Einar Diaz. This is another "contagious hustle" guy - teammates see the big guy rumble around the bases, and they want to do it too. My favorite moment was last year, when he hit it into the right-center gap at the Metrodome, and he rumbled out a triple for the cycle. Who knew?
Honorable Mention: None. Well, only 5 teams qualified, anyways.

Starting Pitcher: Kenny Rogers, Rangers (12-3); Cliff Lee, Indians (9-1, 3.77); Carlos Zambrano, Cubs (9-4, 2.61); Javy Vazquez, Yankees (10-5).
Honorable Mention: Kevin Brown, Yankees (7-1); Kerry Wood, Cubs (2.71 ERA); Al Leiter, Mets (5-3, 2.40); Tom Glavine, Mets (5th in NL in ERA); Jake Westbrook and CC Sabathia, Indians (3rd and 5th in the AL in ERA)

Relief Pitcher: Mariano Rivera, Yankees (#1 in AL in saves - 32, ERA 0.99); Francisco Cordero (#2 in AL in saves - 27).
Honorable Mention: LaTroy Hawkins, Cubs (2.47 ERA); Braden Looper, Mets (18/20 saves, 1.88 ERA); Jason Frasor, Blue Jays (2.17 ERA).

Let the arguments begin.

So, I'm a little behind on the KankaMatic happenings. A softball bye tomorrow should give me time to catch up. Pete, I'm still working on that trade, too...