December 03, 2002


MINNESOTA, HATS OFF TO THEE: I just returned from five days in my home state, during which I ate lots of food, hung out with some friends, went to about 65 different family Hannukah parties, saw virtually every single living relative on either side of the family, and listened to all 18 minutes of "Alice's Restaurant" on Thanksgiving afternoon. It was my first time home since the death of Paul Wellstone and the fall from grace of Kirby Puckett, and my final time in the State of 10,000 Lakes during the Jesse Ventura Era. To mark the occasion KQRS has released a compilation CD of their best Ventura material called "Send Out the Clown."
I also attended two sporting events, the first of which was the Minnesota Wild's 2-2 tie against the Colorado Avalanche on Friday. XCel Energy Center is an INCREDIBLE facility, and I almost feel bad about having to cover the woes of its namesake at my job. And the Wild, in only their third year of existence, are in first place and clearly not following the Timberwolves' Minnesota Expansion Model of sucking for their first half-decade. One of the highlights of the game was the first-intermission entertainment- a "Mascot All-Star Game" in which various mascots of local teams and businesses squared off in a five-minute mini-game. The twist was that since all of the mascot costumes included feet, none of the players were able to wear skates, so each time the puck was cleared to the other end all ten skaters were forced to jog the length of the ice, a process which usually took about 30 seconds. Unlike the previous time I saw this the game was not a non-stop brawl, but near the end U of M mascot Goldie Gopher got into a scuffle with Charlie the Tuna and ended up body-slamming him (though ironically, there was not a single fight in all three periods plus overtime of the Wild-Avalanche game). I later heard from a friend that the Wild employee in charge of procuring pre-Zamboni entertainment is a guy I went to high school with.

DOME SWEET DOME: On Sunday I attended my first regular-season NFL game in almost a decade, as I watched my Minnesota Vikings fall to the Atlanta Falcons in overtime. Sure, watching the Vikings lose to the Falcons in overtime at the Metrodome was an unpleasant flashback to my worst moment ever as a sports fan (the 1998 NFC Championship Game), but the sight of a Minnesota team playing an Atlanta team at the Metrodome did take me back to my best moment (the '91 World Series). I had divided loyalties going in: the Vikings are my team and I naturally wanted them to win, yet Michael Vick is the quarterback of my fantasy football team, the Sack Kings, so I was rooting for a big day for him- well, one out of two ain't bad...
Vick is absolutely incredible- in case you had any doubt, go see him in person some time. 173 yards passing, 173 yards rushing, 17.3 yards per carry- it's not just the symmetry that makes him great. The Vikings may be out of the playoff picture (in fact, they clinched a losing season with Sunday's loss), but if my team were headed for the playoffs this year I'd be very VERY afraid of the Atlanta Falcons.
A few complaints about the game: I'm not as violently opposed to the Metrodome for football as I am for baseball, but I did have a big problem with owner Red McCombs distributing we-need-a-new-stadium propaganda on every seat as part of the game-day program (I used to produce those things for a living, and they never asked us to do anything like that). And also, three days after terrorists used shoulder-held missile launchers to try to blow up an Israeli plane in Kenya, it may not have been the best idea for the Vikings crew to use the exact same contraptions to fire confetti at the crowd throughout the game.
And one more Vikings observation: I'm not sure if Tuesday Morning Quarterback has recognized the Vikings cheerleaders yet, but he really, really should. Though watching the squad, I couldn't help but ponder the natural question: how many of them have been nailed by Norm Coleman?

Posted by Stephen Silver at December 3, 2002 06:00 AM
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