I asked recently for some reader questions because, let’s face it, we all have some time on our hands to try new things.
Here are five of them that particularly intrigued me. The rest of you did a good job, too. Just, you know, not as good as these five. Here we go, with the tweets and answers:
A: That’s a tough one because there are plenty of candidates. Bud Grant had a very long run of excellence with the Vikings. Unfortunately, his teams tended to come up short in the biggest moments. (Not-so-fun-fact: The Vikings have never scored a point in the first half of the Super Bowl, which really helps explain the 0-4 mark).
Tom Kelly has two World Series titles to his credit, and former Twins players swear by his tactics. But the Twins had eight consecutive losing seasons from 1993-2000. Even if Kelly didn’t have much to work with in many of those seasons, those losses go down on his record.
The best combination of sustained excellence and championships gives us the answer: Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve. Minnesota won four titles and went to two more finals series from 2011-17. The Lynx’s playoff record during that time: 40-15. She had great players, but maximizing that talent was Reeve’s greatest achievement.
A: Have to say, I did not see that question coming. Perhaps I would have if was ALSO CLAIRVOYANT like Christopher Walken’s character in the movie.
I’ll deviate from the horror script to answer this question. If we’re talking purely about a Minnesota sports figure for whom I’d like to know how this all turns out in the future … I’d say Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck. Was last season as good as it gets, or in five years are we going to be talking about Minnesota as a perennial Big Ten (and therefore national) contender? I’d love to know.
Runner-up: Byron Buxton.
A: The short answer, I think, is that under the proposed schedule there wouldn’t really be a National League and American League was we know them in 2020. Instead, teams would be aligned geographically in groups of 10 — Central, West and East, based on the AL and NL divisions in each case.
If you’re going to play by one rule, it’s probably best to use the AL rule (even if I dislike the DH). Otherwise guys like Nelson Cruz are going to have awfully short seasons if a quarter of them (games in NL parks) don’t have a DH.
A: I think you might have answered your own question. The Bucks seem like the biggest candidates. They had the NBA’s best record (53-12) when play was halted, and even if the season resumes and Milwaukee finds a way to win a championship I think any titles won in the Covid-19 era are going to come with an asterisk attached.
Oh, you won in front of no fans and with players going at 80% emotion, tops? Good for you.
A: That’s actually not me (shirt pictured above), but my good friend “John Sharkman” wearing that shirt. The image is from 2016, when he bought the shirt and wore it out a couple times — including a Timberwolves game. A reader notes that you can still buy it for 16 bucks American. Even in this economy, that feels like something you can’t afford not to buy!