Having two weeks off work in the middle of the summer is a wonderful thing. It’s a time to recharge, to experience new things, and, yes, to tackle some household projects (it’s not all fun and games).
Professionally, though, it’s also a strange and acute reminder of how many things happen in the sports world. When you are accustomed to writing about things pretty much every day, two weeks can feel like a year — particularly in our existing up-to-the-second news cycle.
Events would happen, news would break, and I would form thoughts about them … only to snap back to reality a minute later and remember: Wait, you’re on vacation. Let it go. But a few things lingered, so let’s empty them out here — to illustrate again how fast we move on, even from very big news.
• When I started vacation, Brian Dozier was still on the Twins. It didn’t figure to be for long given his contract status, the swirling rumors and the departures of so many teammates, but there is still a difference between conjecture and the reality of action.
Dozier’s fate was really sealed in the winter and spring when time passed and a contract extension never arrived. And the handling of Dozier’s situation represented one of the truest departures from the Terry Ryan era to the new regime.
Emotion, loyalty and stability probably would have resulted in at least a three-year deal under Ryan based on Dozier’s past production and influence. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine saw cheaper options waiting in the wings and presumably didn’t want to pay for what traditionally would be the 31-year-old Dozier’s decline years.
Dozier has a 1.073 OPS with the Dodgers (that would rank in the top five in MLB if it were over a full season). He might win a ring with Los Angeles. The Twins? The whole year has been a recalibration that kicked the can of true contention down the road at least another two years.
• The Vikings are seldom dull, regardless of the time of year, and these last two weeks were prime examples. Among other things, I missed the Stefon Diggs extension, Nick Easton going on injured reserve and the brief saga of Richie Incognito.
They’re all tangentially related since this is a team sport. The Vikings have invested heavily in a number of areas this offseason — including paying Diggs — but if there’s one thing that can still derail a mostly great roster it’s the lack of attention (again) to the offensive line.
Every dollar and draft pick committed to something other than the line only serves to reinforce that. It should take far more than one nice preseason game to make you stop worrying about that fact.
• And finally, it passed without a ton of fanfare the other day, but the Lynx clinched a playoff spot for the eighth consecutive season. This season has been bumpier than any during this run of excellence, but Minnesota still has a shot at a bye. And regardless of that, the Lynx are in the postseason with a chance to make a run at a fifth title in eight years.
They might be showing some age and cracks this year, but I would still never count them out.