Posted at 7:03 AM on July 3, 2008
by David Zingler
Note: We've been contemplating making "Bleacher Bums" an all-sports blog; just to test the waters I've decided to place an occasional random non-baseball related entry. Any feedback you have on this idea would be greatly appreciated.
If you've been to Lynx game this season, you've probably seen and heard Jamie Tarr loudly cheering on his wife - Lynx forward Kristen Rasmussen - from behind the home team's bench.
If Rasmussen, a stoic 9-year WNBA veteran and Michigan native and Tarr, a fiery, outgoing Australian strike you as an unlikely couple, wait until you hear about their storybook meeting...
DZ: How did you two meet?
RASMUSSEN: Jamie was going to work one day in Australia (in 2005) and heard about a contest on the radio. He had to name three things and he ended up winning a MP3 player and had his name entered into a large drawing for a $10,000 trip to Europe. Meanwhile, I am over in Zaragoza (Spain) - which is between Madrid and Barcelona - playing basketball.
(A few) days after (Jamie) wins the MP3 player, he gets a phone call and they're like "You won the $10,000 trip to Europe" and he never wins anything...So he goes over to Europe and is traveling between Barcelona and Madrid and is in Zaragoza on Sunday and goes to church...
TARR: And out of a sea of short, tiny Spanish people - there's (6-4) Kristen standing 10 feet above 'em...We just started talking.
RASMUSSEN: It's kind of tough not to notice the blonde hair and blue eyes amongst a bunch of Spanish people that don't speak English.
TARR: So we hit it off and I waived my trip and stayed with her for 3 weeks...At the end of the trip I went back to Australia and we kept in touch with the phone and Internet for about a month and then she came and visited at the end of the season in Europe. On a road trip up the coast, I took her to a lighthouse at the eastern tip of Australia at sunset and asked her to marry me.
So then we spent the '05 season together in Houston, (she was with) the Comets and got married in Hawaii after the season.
DZ: Talk a little bit about your career; you were drafted low (51st overall in 2000), played on some teams that are defunct now (Utah, Miami and Charlotte), been through some tough trades - what's kept you going all of these years?
RASMUSSEN: I just think it's the passion and love that I have for the game. It's so much fun, I am able to go out on the court and (give) everything I have - play with all of my heart....the other part of it is, I like to meet new people. In every situation I've been in - there's a lot of great basketball memories - but, getting to know the people is what most of my memories are about.
DZ: What do you admire about her?
TARR: Oh my gosh! One thing that stands out is her professionalism - she leaves everything on the court, what's on the court stays on the court. She just keeps on going. She doesn't have an attitude about anything, she's nice to everyone - it's two hours after the game and she's still signing (autographs).
DZ: I've been to a few games now and I hear this guy (Tarr) cheering behind the bench. I think everyone pretty much hears him; you must hear him too.
RASMUSSEN: I have kind of learned to tune that side out. I had an incident in Phoenix where - Jamie doesn't quite understand the game; he was yelling out the wrong thing at the wrong time - I was in the paint and Jamie's yelling out "3 seconds!" and I was on offense.
(Top photo by David Zingler/Bottom photo courtesy of Jamie Tarr)
Posted at 3:54 PM on July 3, 2008
by Steve Rudolph
There are no hanging chads and the Supreme Court is unlikely to weigh in on the results after they are announced on Sunday. However, the current balloting process for Major League Baseball's All-Star Game appears to have been formulated by Robert Mugabe and need to be changed.
This year, fans are able to vote online up to 25 times per e-mail address and more than 41 million votes we cast in the final 24 hours of balloting!!! If history is any indicator, a large percentage of those votes came from the Far East where fans are unlikely to have ever seen Joe Mauer or Justin Morneau play a game on TV let alone in person.
Don't get me wrong. The old punch ballot system wasn't the most democratic system ever invented. I remember spending several innings as a kid at Met Stadium and later the Metrodome completing dozens of ballots that I managed to acquire from ushers who just wanted to get rid of them.
But at least that system required being at the ballpark and a fair amount of effort. My fingers still hurt from using a family member's key to punch the hole next to my favorite Twins and A.L. players and then try to stick the N.L. with a bunch of stiffs.
Now that the All-Star Game means something, it seems silly to have such an easily manipulated system determine the starting lineups. Plus a whole generation of new baseball fans is missing out on the fun that we had punching those stupid ballots.