Minnesota Timberwolves Hit Another Marketing Home Run

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The Minnesota Timberwolves might be heading for a disappointment of a season if they don’t string together some wins really soon, but the PR department is on fire.

The Wolves marketing and PR gurus basically strong-armed Kevin Love into the starting lineup for the Western Conference and now they are making the push for center Nikola Pekovic to be an All-Star reserve. How? With only the greatest promotional material of all-time.

The Bruise Brothers… on vinyl!

I typically love it when my favorite things are combined. Like say, Jimmy Fallon being a hockey goalie.

If you combine sports, comedy or music in any sort of combination, I’m a huge sucker for it. It’s neat, it’s different and simply awesome.

Well done, Minnesota Timberwolves. Now if only I could get one for myself!

Read more about the vinyl from the man, Jon Krawczynski.

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The Perfect Illustration of My Hometown: Bakery or the Bar

As strong winds make the loose snow fly around throughout the flatlands of Minnesota, causing schools all over the state to close and driving conditions to be less than ideal, I came across the perfect illustration of my hometown.

Buffalo Lake, Minnesota, population 773, is the small town that city dwellers read about in the magazines. My friends and I have created a requirement system to be an actual town and BL meets those requirements: a bar, a softball field and a church. That’s all you need to be a small town.

Buffalo Lake is a place where you can leave your car run outside while you go into the grocery store, where the owner is also the cashier. The grocery store is where the perfect illustration occurred.

I was pulling out of my parking spot in front of the grocery store, my car being the only one in front of the store, and I noticed something about the other ten or so cars parked on Main Street: all of the cars were either parked in front of the bakery or the bar.

Maybe everyone was practicing their inventory management with the blizzard upon us by stocking up on the essential alcohol and doughnuts or maybe not, but it says a lot about my hometown, a place that I love.

A lot of rumors and, to put it an inelegant way, crap go around in our little town, but that happens anywhere. This a place where people work and work hard, a place where you know everybody’s name, a place that you care about everyone and they care about you, a place that everyone should want to call home.

If you look, you’ll find pluses and you’ll find minuses. And If you’re looking for someone, look for them at the bakery or the bar.

Nice Guys Finish Last: The Leslie Frazier Story

The saying is that nice guys finish last and that proved to be true on Monday morning when the Minnesota Vikings gave head coach Leslie Frazier the axe after his team finished, well, in last place.

The Vikings finished last in the NFC North one year after clinching a Wild Card spot and finishing in second behind the Green Bay Packers. The Vikings finished 5-10-1 in this just completed season which is a steep five win drop-off from the season previous.

Was this five game downturn solely on the shoulders of Leslie Frazier? No, but it’s always easier to fire one guy than to cut 53.

A combination of the NFL’s unequal scheduling (which does lift the bottom up and a big reason why the Vikings made the playoffs in 2012), a horrid secondary, the decision not to put Cordarrelle Patterson on the field earlier plus the regression and insistence of Christian Ponder being the team’s quarterback all equals up to a losing team and someone needing to pay.

Sadly, that someone is Leslie Frazier.

From every reporter to every single player who talks to the reporters, it sounds like Leslie Frazier is an amazing human being. He’s a nice guy and goes above and beyond the duties of a football coach, especially one at the NFL level, when it comes to his relationship with his players.

I won’t try to pretend that I extensively know the ins and outs of how football works and comment on that part of the equation. People smarter than me say that Frzsier’s defensive scheme, the Tampa-Two, is outdated. The obvious rebuttal to that is that everything looks outdated when your defense is one of the worst in the league.

Frazier is the man that gets to fall on the sword. Frazier is the man that loses his job because another man’s job depended upon trying to prove that Christian Ponder was an NFL quarterback.

Rick Speilman owes Leslie Frazier fruit baskets for life after taking the fall for Speilman’s own failed draft pick.

Les Frazier now gets to sit at home and get a paycheck to do nothing for a football season if he so chooses. Speilman gets to choose (or at least help choose) a shiny new coach and a redo on another quarterback, despite the fact that if he would have allowed Frazier to play backup Matt Cassell for the majority of the season we’d probably be talking about the Vikings’ opponent in the Wild Card Round.

I don’t know if Rick Speilman is a nice guy or not, but I’m 99.9 percent sure that Leslie Frazier is.

It’s not a guarantee that if Frazier would have had sole control over his lineups that he would have made the playoffs, but I’m 100 percent sure that a nice guy can finish first somewhere. Now if only there was a place or maybe even a whole state that was known for their niceness.

My Metrodome Memories

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The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome will close its revolving, blow-you-out-the-building doors and soon be blown to smithereens after the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings faceoff on Sunday. The stadium hosted many events and was the backdrop for many great sporting events, despite being fairly outdated as soon as it was open.

The great sporting events held in the Dome (World Series, Super Bowl, NCAA Final Four, MLB All-Star Game, State Football, numerous memorable playoff games), I never was in attendance for. Frankly, most of those great events were before my time, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have some fond memories of the Metrodome.

–          The first ever professional sporting event I attended was at the Metrodome with my grandpa. I believe it was 2001, the Twins were taking on Jim Thome and the Indians. The give-away that day was a Doug Mientkiewicz shirsey and I adored that thing as a child. That shirsey is the main reason Dougy was my favorite player.

I also copped out a souvenir baseball from Grandpa.  It features a Twins logo and a holographic American flag flying throughout a whole section of the baseball. It still is in a case in my room.

The other reason I remember this game so well is that it’s my first memories of downtown Minneapolis. I remember leaving the game early and Grandpa driving us around downtown, showing me where he used to haul mail for the U.S. Postal Service.

–          Every summer (for the most part), my parents and I have gone to a Twins game ever since my first appearance with my grandpa. We’ve caught one foul ball in our 13-yearish span. From the hand of Brad Radke off of the bat of Detroit Tigers catcher Ivan Rodriguez to the single-handed bare-handed grasp of my dad.

I remember a couple things from that moment. One, the drunk guy behind us proclaiming that my dad had saved his life by catching that screaming liner off of Pudge’s bat. Two, we were apparently on the jumbo-tron, because my dad got a phone-call right after the catch from a kid just a couple years older than me who was also in attendance at the game.

–          The Twins used to annually have an ‘Autograph Party’ out on the Metrodome Plaza. For two or three years of the event a vanload would go to this event. The vanload consisting of my mother, one of my best friends Josh, his mother Jodi, his brother Kyle, his brother’s friend Sam and myself (at least that was the crew for one of the Autograph Party outings). We stood in line for hours getting autographs from current Twins and Twins alumni, all while being only a folding table across from them, which was probably the best part.

–          Twins games at the Metrodome were often a school field trip or incentive for us. I can’t remember if being on the school patrol was required or strongly encouraged, but everyone in third and fourth grade was enrolled in the program. The reward for school patrol was one Twins game a year and I remember that these were always the worse seats that I had ever sat in. One year, we sat in straight away centerfield. The last row of school patrol kids could touch the curtain where the murals of the retired numbers where hanging.  I was in the front rows of that deck and I remember that I could not see Torii Hunter. He was back far enough, that the overhang of the deck would not let me see Spiderman.

That game also featured a group of girls sitting behind me who did not know the first thing about baseball. I remember vividly the girls saying the score was triple-digits to triple-digits (320-120). The girls read the Runs/Hits/Errors column like it was a basketball scoreboard. I remember shaking my head then and I love laughing at it now. I can’t for the life of me remember who those girls were from my school and that is probably a good thing.

–          I attended two Minnesota Vikings games in the Metrodome, because why would you attend anymore now that we have HD-TV? I went to the first one with my dad, and the Vikings were taking on the Detroit Lions. All I remember is that the Lions were down to their third string QB to start the game, that QB (Shaun Hill??? Possibly) not knowing where he was and running out of the back of the end-zone for a safety and hearing Zac Brown Band’s ‘Chicken Fried’ for the first time ever on the ride back home.

The other game I went to was through school, I think the FFA, but I could be wrong. The game featured my two favorite teams, the Vikings and the Denver Broncos. We met in the school’s shop waiting for the bus to arrive, only to find out that we weren’t going to have a bus coming. So the group of us, hoped into various vehicles and drove to Minneapolis ourselves. The vehicle I was in included some of my best buds: Isaac, Austin, and Tipper and we jammed out to Eric Church on the ride to and fro (been hooked on him ever since) and had my first ever Chipotle experience on the way home (also been hooked ever since).

The game looked really good for the Vikings for the first three quarters and then something remarkable happened… Tebow Time. Yes, I was a witness to one of the remarkable comebacks Tim Tebow made with Denver Broncos down the stretch in the 2011 season. #Blessed

I can’t really pick which one of these is my favorite memory from the Metrodome. They all have a little something special in my heart. Somewhere in the boxes and boxes of pictures my mother has, I’m fairly certain there is a picture of the Twins game I brought my grandma to. It might not be a great picture, but it’s a picture of a memory. Memories last a lifetime even when lifetimes end.

Submerged Model T Should Kick-Start Our Imaginations

Paranoia runs high throughout society these days. Many worry about who knows what about them, not acknowledging the information they are scared others may know probably comes from their own postings on their selected social media profiles. There’s a more fun paranoia to embrace, though.

It has been reported across the Twin Cities media landscape that below the Mississippi River near Winona, an antique Model T is submerged underneath the waters. The classic Ford was first located on October 9 via sonar. Three weeks later a dive team was set in and discovered the Model T is located anywhere from 150-200 feet off the shore. It appears the car is about half covered by the sand and muck of the Mississippi River bottom.

The car is at least 86 years old and it won’t be known how long the Model T has been in the river until it’s eventual recovery. Which begs the question: what else is in our backyard  that we don’t know it’s there?

Let’s not be so straight-lined that we instantly think about the pollutants and the toxins and the bad things that could be in the air and our water supply. Leave those dreary topics for a dreary day. No, let’s let our minds wander and imagine what wonderful things possibly could be in the bottom of our own favorite rivers.

The possibilities are virtually endless, right? A Model T, a huge motor vehicle, has been at the bottom of the Mississippi River in close proximity to a pretty populated area and nobody ever came across it. Treasure chests filled with Honus Wagner baseball cards, million dollar bills and rare Playboys could all be at the bottom of the river or deep in the wooded forests.

Wander with me. Let you imagination go. Go to a world of make believe. Anything that you could dream of could be right under our feet and we just don’t know it.

Our imaginations tend to start to leave us behind as we, as humans, get older and allegedly mature. Maybe, just maybe, if we let ourselves believe there are buried treasures in the bottom of the river, we can find childhood happiness in our adult world.