Thursday, November 4, 2004
A HALF HOUR EXPERIMENT
Today, my thoughts will be brief and random. I am giving myself a half hour and seeing how much I can write. I will post what I have typed up at the end of that time frame, and that will be it. There are a few topics I would like to cover, but I am just kind of curious how much I can write in 1/2 hour. So, let's start the clock and see where this takes us! E-mail me if you have any questions or comments.
The Wolves picked up their first win of the season in their first game of the season. The topped the Knicks 99-93. The first half was all about offense. KG was incredible, hitting his last ten shots of the half for 20 points. For the game, he ended with 28 points and 20 rebounds! An incredible start to what could be an incredible season.
But what I was so impressed with was all of the other players. We pretty much know what we're going to get from Sam Cassell (good mid-range shooting and strong decision-making) and Latrell Sprewell (hard-nosed defense, slashing to the basket and streaky shooting). Wally Szczerbiak started the game on a tear, hitting shot after shot from around the court. Michael Olowokandi played some defense and grabbed some rebounds. Troy Hudson came off the bench and looked healthy again. He knocked down a few shots and led the team when he was out there. I am so excited to see T-Hud and Spree running the court together! Trenton Hassell continues to play incredible defense. Unlike everyone who is saying he does actually have a scoring game too, I disagree. He can knock down a few open shots and he can offensive rebound well, but I don't think taht his offense is what got him paid! Fred Hoiberg's minutes will likely be down some this year, but he knocked down three three pointers last night, providing a Steve Kerr like presence to the team. Mark Madsen continues to play harder than everyone and that makes him a strong asset to the team! Ervin Johnson probably won't play a lot early in the season, like last year, to keep him strong come playoff time. And the depth will be even stronger when Eddie Griffin is finished serving his three game suspension.
I see the Wolves depth as the thing that will help them win now and especially in the playoffs. Having that quality depth will allow the starters to rest more. I thought that KG was drained by the Lakers series last year. Cassell and Spree aren't young and keeping their minutes down could be a very good thing. But it isn't depth just for depth. The Wolves second team has a lot of talent and plays well together. I have to believe that their second team can match or outplay any other team's depth. That is important in the fourth quarter. It will be more important in the playoffs.
Tonight, the Wolves are in Denver for Game #2. I hope that Trenton Hassell shuts down Carmelo Anthony!
The infamous baseball mind, Will Carroll, is rather upset at the results of the election. There is quite an interesting debate over at Will's website that I have added my two cents to as well. As I have stated on numerous occasions, I am not a political guru. I will not claim to know any more than anyone else. But I do find things curious and very interesting when election time comes along.
Yesterday, after finding out the George Bush would likely reclaim the office of the Presidency, I wrote a couple of my thoughts on the process and some issues that I happen to find interesting. Again, I am not claiming to know anything, but they are just issues that I happen to see and was curious if others ever saw the same thing.
The response was great. It was nice to get some response from a few people who agreed with some of my thoughts. It was also great to get some really good e-mails from people who disagreed with me. I love hearing that. I am big on knowing both sides of an argument or topic before determining which side you agree with. So, for me, it is very interesting and fun and, not to sound too dorky, very educational for me when people write me and "educate" me on the other side of an issue.
Just to quickly respond to a couple of topics that were mentioned by the readers. On the Metro versus outstate, I got a better understanding of why this might be the case. Someone, OK my sister, sent me a link showing me that 1.) it was not the entire Metro area that voted for Kerry, it was just two Metro area counties (the big counties), and 2.) every county listed in Northeast Minnesota voted for Kerry as well (Duluth, but also the communities and counties on the Iron Range). The reasons are because these areas are strong union areas. Also there is a high unemployment numbers in these areas, and they feel that the Democrats programs will better help them.
Another question that I asked was whether other people who voted Bush were mocked and put down by those who didn't. It was my opinion simply based on things I've seen and heard, that Democrats are very condescending and speak down to people in rural areas, or people who dare vote for the Republican. I got a bunch of response to this question. I acknowledge that this is an issue that goes both ways. Let's be honest, Republicans get all over people who are against the war, going as far sometimes as calling the person unpatriotic when in actuality, it is their right to disagree with the President.
I was almost getting to the point where I was almost feeling bad about even asking this question. But then late yesterday afternoon, I was listening to Patrick Reusse on KFAN. He definitely leans to the liberal side of things and admitted to voting for John Kerry. The first twenty minutes of his radio program discusses why the Democrats lost, and lost so bad. One of the key topics he mentioned was that the Democrats need to quit speaking down to and being condescending, to the point of questioning the intelligence, or even the importance of the Midwest states and rural communities. Many want to call them 'uneducated.' It is such a degrading attitude that I can see why people get so fed up with it that they vote Republican. People do not want to have their intelligence questioned.
Is the Democratic party more intelligent than the Republican Party? Well, I don't want to answer that question because I don't think it is at all applicable. I will just mention that the Republican won the Presidential election. The Republicans have control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. There are more Republican governors than Democrats.
The Twins have apparently offered Brad Radke a two year contract for somewhere between $14 and $19 million. Radke says that it is closer to $14 million. Radke is saying he just wants a two year deal. Hopefully the two sides can come to a agreement before next week when other teams can start talking to Radke. I don't believe that he wants to play anywhere else, but if the money is so crazy, he'd be a fool not to consider it! It is completely his right to do so.
Ryan Maus at Twins Chatter wrote about possible destinations for Brad Radke, again stating that we all believe that he will be back with the Twins.
Two days ago, the Seattle Mariners declined their $6 million option for 2005 for Eddie Guardado. I had a couple of people ask me if I thought that the Twins should consider picking him up. My thought was Absolutely they should consider it if he'll sign with them for cheap. However, I knew that there was no way that the injured Eddie was going to turn down his $4 million player option with Seattle. And a day after the Mariners declined their option, Eddie accepted his option. So, it really wasn't worth getting our hopes up.
When I talk about the Twins in 2005, specifically the pitching staff, many of you have noticed that I don't talk about Joe Mays. I need to explain this. I think that Terry Ryan and the Twins decision-makers need to plan for 2005 as if Joe Mays will not be playing. Sure, he very well could come back and be a good pitcher. I certainly hope that he comes back and is at his best, like he was in his 17-win season. But pitchers who come back from Tommy John surgery generally struggle in their first year back. I don't expect Mays to be any more than a 4th or 5th starter, or a bullpen guy who pitches some innings here and there, especially early in the season. That is why I think they need to plan as if he won't play, and consider anything he gives them in 2005 nothing but a bonus. I, and Twins fans around the country, hope that we get a big bonus.
The Twins Geek crosses into some basketball with his thoughts on the Latrell Sprewell situation.
Aaron Gleeman continues his look at the free agent market. Today, he discusses the available 2B. He does a great job of analyzing these players.
Stick and Ball Guy analyzes Justin Morneau very well!
In a very sad story, former Minnesota Wild center Sergei Zholtok died in teammate Darby Hendrickson's arms during a game in Minsk. It was believed to have been heart failure.
The Greet Machine provides a number a good links to election stories and blogs.
The Baseball Savant wrote a great article on VORP (Value Over Replacement Player) and Age as it relates to hitting in the AL. It is generally believed that a player provides his greatest value in his seasons until the age of 32, when there is a general decrease in production. Teams like Seattle, with players like Bret Boone and Edgar Martinez, defied the 32 number for a couple of years, but last year, their production dropped dramatically. What I found most interesting was that David looked at the percentage of hitting (VORP) that each AL team had by players over the age of 32. The Orioles (53.7%), Blue Jays (50.2%), Red Sox (48%) and Yankees (47.7%) were the teams in which players over 32 gave them most of their production. That isn't surprising as they spend money on top talent, and generally these players are older. Also to no surprise, the Minnesota Twins were at the bottom of this list with just 3.4% of their offensive production coming from players 32 years of age or older. Henry Blanco and Jose Offerman were it, by my count, and neither of them produced a whole lot. It is especially exciting when you consider the youth of Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer and their incredibly young age. It would have been even more incredible had Jason Kubel been healthy next year. So anyway, I found his analysis very interesting and would encourage you to check it out.
The Orlando Magic may be a team for me to follow. Steve Francis hit a fairly uncontested layup at the buzzer last night to beat the Milwaukee Bucks 93-92. Francis had 26 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists. Top pick Dwight Howard had a double-double in his first post-high school game (12 points, 10 boards). And, as exciting as anything, Grant Hill started, played 33 minutes and scored 20 points. Man, I hope he can stay healthy!
Lebron James scored 28 points with 8 assists in the Cavs double-overtime loss to Indiana. He will be great. But is it possible that Zydrunas Ilgauskus is the most underrated, overlooked player in the NBA? Last night, he had 35 points and 18 rebounds for the Cavs.
Wolves fans, do you remember Keith McLeod? He was the team's backup point guard early in last season. Last night, he started for the Utah Jazz and had six points and 8 assists in 29 minutes as the Jazz beat the Lakers by 26 points. Kris Humphreys played 2 minutes and was 0-3 from the floor.
Sam Mitchell won his first game as the Raptors head coach. Very impressive since he had to start Loren Woods at center (he had 9 points and 7 rebounds). You have to like Rafer Alston (aka Skip to my Lou of And1 fame). He finally is getting a starting gig in the NBA after six years as a reserve who people said was too much flash and not enough substance. Last night, he had 15 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists for the Raptors.
Yuta Tabuse scored 7 points in 10 minutes for the Phoenix Suns last night. He becomes the first Japanese player in NBA history. The media is following him around much like Ichiro!
OK, my half-hour is up. Just two more comments. As I was happy for Wally Backman getting a shot with the Diamondbacks, I am even more happy that Willie Randolph was named the new manager of the New York Mets. I fully believe that he was going to be the next Yankees manager, but Joe Torre just keeps signing extensions. Randolph should have had a managerial job a long time ago, so it's really about time!
On the opposite side of the spectrum, the Phillies have decided to go with another retread as they have chosen Charlie Manuel as their new manager. You may say that the Phillies are a veteran team that needs a more veteran manager, but the Mets are a very veteran team too.
That's it for today. I hope the half-hour format was ok. Please feel free to let me know what you think. If you have any questions, comments or ideas for future topics, please e-mail me.
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