Posted at 9:57 PM on March 24, 2009
by Chris Dall
I know Spring Training statistics are rarely an indication of the type of season a player is going to have, but that being said, what the heck's going on with Scott Baker? After signing a 4-year, $15.25 million contract, Baker has given up 8 home runs in 17 innings, and is sporting a hefty 8.15 ERA. Maybe he's just working on things. But Baker has a tendency to leave his fastball up, and when a pitcher consistently does that, the line between being very good and being brutal can be thin. If he has a setback this year, let's hope Kevin Slowey and Glen Perkins can pick up the slack.
This has been a truly wretched year for the Timberwolves, one that has tested the patience of even the optimists like me. The future was looking brighter in late December and January, thanks to improved play under Kevin McHale and a favorable schedule, but since losing Al Jefferson, the Wolves have ranged from bad to embarrassing. And the future seems cloudier than ever. Jefferson might not be the same after tearing his ACL, Randy Foye is maddeningly inconsistent, and it's hard to have faith that management will make wise choices with its multiple draft picks. And if attendance continues to decline as it has over the past few years, there's a city in the Pacific Northwest that would love to have an NBA team.
Given the condition of the economy and the state's massive budget deficit, don't expect to see any movement on a new Vikings stadium for at least a few years. Those crickets you've been hearing at the State capitol in response to the Vikings is a pretty clear indication of how the legislature views the issue. So where does that leave the Vikings? Maybe it's time for them to approach the University of Minnesota about sharing brand-spanking-new TCF Bank Stadium, or at least playing there for a few games a year. The stadium currently has a 50,000 seat capacity, but could be expanded to seat 80,000. I know there are a variety of reasons why this will never happen, but it would be nice to see a professional sports franchise recognize economic reality and put the interests of the state first.
Were you aware of the effort to have Minneapolis host the 2020 Summer Olympics? I wasn't. Nor was I aware that Minneapolis had bid on the games in 1932, 1948, 1952, 1956, and 1996 (they finished second in '52 and '96). Here's hoping that the sixth time is the charm. I'm pretty certain we wouldn't have the same air-quality issues that plagued Beijing. And, if we do get the games, that should solve the problem of a new Vikings stadium.