We were hoping to attend last night's Joe Mauer/ESPN event with Fasolamatt, but worked duties prevented us from doing so. That said, Matt's report from the taping of "Homecoming with Rick Reilly" almost made us feel like we were there, watching at a really bad angle. Matt?
While many folks were watching President Obama talk about root canals, and others were watching the Wild crown the toothless Red Wings or the Cavaliers bridge the gap in their lineup against the Timbercanines with an amalgam of substitutes, I walked over to Cretin-Derham Hall and joined 3,400 other folks filling the gym to watch Rick Reilly interview Joe Mauer and associates for the ESPN “Homecoming” program. Joe C covered for the Red Star Trombone, and it’ll be on your TV sometime in April. I kept a running diary of the other stuff:
6:00 p.m. I’m in a long line of folks filing into the gym. Buses are disgorging hundreds of folks. We go through a wanding with a metal detector and into the gym.
6:10 p.m. I’m sitting off to the left as you see the two protagonists, behind one of the monitors, and next to the back door… which is open. It’s chilly. But given the anticipated crowd, it’s a good move to keep the door open.
6:25 p.m. The audience coordinator announces that we have 600 more people to cram in. We cram.
6:40 p.m. The C-DH band, high on the opposite side of the gym, plays “Jump” and “Shake, Rattle and Roll”
6:50 p.m. The highlights loop on the monitor in front of me is showing 2007 Oklahoma vs Boise State… AP does not drop the ball.
7:12 p.m. The executive producer tells us the taping will take roughly 90 minutes.
7:17 p.m. Reilly is introduced. He says he’ll make lots of mistakes. He messes up the open a couple of times because he’s giggling. Then we mess up the open by not applauding in time.
7:20 p.m. Here’s Joe! It takes him a couple of minutes to say hi to everyone who he hasn’t seen since they left the green room twenty minutes ago.
7:30 p.m. Segment one is interrupted by a crying baby; Joe’s niece. Meet mom and dad.
7:35 p.m. Grandpa Jake completely takes over the show; after he brags about his grandsons for a while, Rick gently asks him to stand where he’s supposed to stand and asks him a couple of questions. It’s difficult for Grandpa Jake not to turn and face the audience.
7:40 p.m. A picture of young Joe with his first trophy (and he’s wearing Zubaz). Rick says “some things shouldn’t come back, including diphtheria and Zubaz”.
7:45 p.m. First commercial break. Joe is making funny faces at his little niece.
7:50 p.m. High school highlights. Coach O’Neill describes Joe’s only strikeout. Joe says, “I strike out a lot, now.”
7:55 p.m. Joe was on the cover of SI, and on an ESPN magazine next month… Rick asks “do you know who the back page columnist was for both?” Joe says, “you, Rick”. Audience goes “meh”.
8:15 p.m. Everyone gets more makeup, Joe gets lip balm.
8:20 p.m. After highlights of Mauer boys playing baseball in the back yard (Joe breaks a window) Rick is completely flustered as he has the wrong note cards. Joe suggests that he “freestyle." Rick keeps asking for cards.
9:00 p.m. We’ve reviewed the minor leagues and the first game of Joe’s career. And we still have three segments to go, despite being 90 minutes in. Rick dons fake sideburns, then gives them to the baseball hall of fame guy who’s sitting in the second row.
9:15 p.m. Rick allows Joe’s mom to ask a question: Joe, is there anyone special we should know about? Joe: the only female in my life is my dog, Li’l Kim.
9:20 p.m. During a break, Rick stages a photo of he and Joe choking each other for his collection of pictures of people choking him.
9:30 p.m. During rapid fire interview questions, Joe is asked “what do you suck at?” Joe: this interview.
9:40 p.m. Joe’s dad breaks out the original Mauer Quickswing from the garage, and Joe swings at strike one and strike two before hitting a soft liner up the middle. And we’re done.
I put on my cap walked home in a biting wind, as most of the crowd headed for one of forty buses back to the State Fairgrounds or perhaps to discover they’d received a parking ticket.