Former Twin Bert Blyleven finally received word today that he has been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame after an undeserving wait. Bert compiled lights-out stats, which many of today's pitchers will never come close to matching — 287 wins, 60 shutouts, 242 complete games, 3,701 strikeouts. He only won 20 games once in a 22-year career, which is what many voters apparently held against him. His election was long overdue.
I wish new Gophers football coach Jerry Kill the best. He has a monumental rebuilding job ahead of him. Under Tim Brewster "Gopher Nation" became "Gopher Township." I'm happy Jerry didn't echo a few phrases that his predecessors did, like "Geezo-beezo" or "My corpuscles are jumping and my heart is pumping" or "We're going to win Big Ten championships sooner rather than later." Kill seems like a down-home, down-to-earth, home-spun country boy and came off genuinely humble. He needs to ditch that mustache but I do admire his haircut!
Anyone who suffered through Monday's 21-3 loss to the New York Giants Monday night had to realize Tarvaris Jackson shouldn't be the Vikings quarterback in 2011 (assuming Brett Favre doesn't come back for his 50th season). T-Jack was horrible, completing 15 of 30 passes for 118 yards and threw an interception directly to Giants linebacker Keith Bulluck. T-Jack couldn't complete a pass in the final 2 minutes when nobody on either team cared. Vikings are in big trouble at quarterback next season. I hope they don't trade for Donovan McNabb. Been there, done that with Favre.
Once in a while, after returning from a sports assignment, I reflect and think, "Boy that was a blast." That's how I felt Sept. 19 when I returned home after interviewing Derek Owen for my Sept. 25 story on Popple Park in his backyard and the Wiffleball tournament that was being played there this weekend. Not only was it a blast to do a story with Derek, who worked for the Dispatch sports department about 10 years ago and is one of the craziest guys I know. It was also a blast to take batting practice with Derek pitching Wiffle Balls to me.
I voted for Cam Newton of Auburn for the Heisman Trophy. I don't recall being as torn as to who to vote for as this year. Newton is the nation's top college football player but comes with baggage. His father was accused of working with the owner of a scouting service to receive up to $180,000 for his son to play for Mississippi State while the quarterback was being recruited out of junior college in 2009. The NCAA cleared Cam, saying neither he nor Auburn knew anything about the alleged payment.
Now that the Vikings have placed backup QB Tarvaris Jackson on IR (out for the year) I hope Brett Favre is also done for the year (and career). With a 5-8 record, three games left, and Favre hopefully done after this year, put Joe Webb at QB and let's see what he can do. Can he be any worse inept than a healthy Tarvaris or an injured Favre, who just might get suspended by the NFL for the last 3 games for allegedly sending inappropriate texts and/or photos in 2008 to a former Jets game host. Let's see what Jumpin' Joe can do and draft or trade for the rights to Cam Newton.
Brainerd's Josh Archibald has verbally committed to play hockey for the University of Nebraska-Omaha next season. Archibald is simply one of the best ever to play for Brainerd. He has a howitzer for a shot, can outskate virtually any opponent and is a physical player. Entering Tuesday's game against St. Cloud Apollo he ranks fourth in Warrior career scoring with 129 points. His 55 points this season are only 11 behind the single-season program record of 66 points by Jerr Johnson.
If Josh isn't playing in the NHL someday I'm going to be shocked.
John Gordon reportedly will broadcast his final season of Twins baseball in 2011. Thank goodness. I've never been a favorite of Gordo, who continuously overstates the obvious (It's 3 and 2, 3 balls and 2 strikes) and his "Touch em all" home run schtick. Just call the game, cut the crap. A couple of my favorite Gordo guffaws: "And he slides into second base with a standup double" ... "It's a high drive to right .. and it's caught at second base by Hudson" AND "There's a long drive to center ... and it's foul" AND lastly "And the first pitch is a ball outside.
On Monday I finished my annual exercise in futility — picking the winners of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. I already have 2 wrong — I picked Alabama-Birmingham and Arkansas-Little Rock to win First Four games and, of course, both lost. My Final Four are Ohio State, Texas, Kansas (which will please my editor) and Wisconsin. I have Ohio State beating Texas in one national semifinal, Kansas beating Wisconsin in the other, and the Buckeyes and Jared Sullinger beating Kansas (much to my editor's chagrin) to win the whole enchilada.