Clearance Clarence: Wearing his Gophers jersey at the WCHA Final Five will not end well.

  • Blog Post by: Michael Rand
  • March 15, 2011 - 12:36 PM


Commenter Clarence Swamptown does his thing pretty much every Tuesday. As always, the opinions expressed by Clarence do not necessarily reflect those of RandBall or the Star Tribune. Clarence?


If you are a baseball documentary rube like myself, the video below was the best thing on the internet last week.  The infamous Batting Stance Guy branches out and executes a perfect takedown of baseball historians and journalists:

*Outstate Diner of the Week:  Stockmen’s Cafe, Zumbrota, Minnesota. 
What are they famous for?  The Stockmen’s Cafe  is attached to the Zumbrota Livestock Market, one of the few remaining livestock auctions in Minnesota (apparently there are not as many ranchers, or deviants from Wisconsin, as there used to be).  Anyway, the cafe is located underneath auction ring bleachers and across the hall from the ticket office. It has a long, narrow counter and a few small wooden booths that seem incapable of holding the girth of your average cattleman.  The old linoleum floor is as scoured and weathered as the manure-caked cowboy boots that clomp across it every day. For those with strong noses but weak stomachs, avoid eating here during the Friday afternoon hog auction.
Manure Smell Power Rankings: 1) Dairy 2) Horse 3) Beef 4) Sheep 5) Chicken 6) Turkey 7) Hog.
What are the waitresses like?  There’s only one, and she’s also the cook and cashier so don’t make her mad.
How’s the food?  Terrific.  It’s not a concession booth, it’s a full-service cafe. And their prices are cheaper than anyplace in the state.  Might also be the only restaurant in Minnesota where you can literally rescue next week’s lunch special by purchasing it and bringing it home.
Do they have a website?  No, funny guy.
Are they on Twitter?  I will permanently blind you with this cattle prod.
Anything else I should know?  Next Thursday is their special feeder cattle auction, but you already knew that. I’ll just meet you there.
* Possibly Inappropriate But Probably Just Mistranslated Tsuyoshi Nishioka Quote Of The Week As Reported By The Japanese Media And Filtered Through An Online Translator: Regarding Joe Mauer:
“Huge! Endowed with a teammate and the anxiety will come. Surprised by the size, because he is amazing. Shark fishing.”
* Country & Western Song of the Week: Galway Girl by Steve Earle.  Winter is nearly over and it’s almost St. Patrick’s Day, so let’s celebrate. Please clink on the link, turn the volume to 11, and join me in an Irish dance. Don’t worry about making a scene. The secretary can go {redacted} herself, she never liked you anyway.  Hands on your hips, torso rigid, toes fast and pointed.  LET’S GO ALL FLATLEY UP IN HERE.
* St. Patrick’s Day in St. Paul + WCHA Final Five Tournament = Awesome: Minnesota is currently the most depressing sports market in the country, and my own personal local sports bitterness couldn’t be any stronger. The Twins were swept by the Yankees in the playoffs, again.  The Vikings raised our hopes and then roundhouse ninja kicked us in our collective groin, again. The Timberwolves are the Timberwolves, again.  The Wild are struggling for a playoff spot, again (in a league that hands out playoff spots like youth association participation trophies). Gophers football is rebuilding with a new coach, again.  The Gophers basketball team underachieved, again. Gophers hockey failed to make the national tournament, again.  On top of all this, my two least favorite teams in universe – the Green Bay Packers and University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux – have developed championship programs that show no sign of weakening in the near future.  Their success only compounds my misery. 
That said, this is the week of my annual rebirth. The weather is turning. Baseball is just around the corner. And one of the most underrated local sports events: the WCHA Final Five, starts in conjunction with one of the most underrated local celebrations: St. Patrick’s Day in St. Paul1.  This will be awesome.
If you have never experienced St. Patrick’s Day in St. Paul, Jake Nyberg has a comprehensive summary available here. With its strong blue collar history and proud cultural heritage, celebrations like St. Patrick’s Day are what St. Paul does best.  And if you’re lucky enough to celebrate with a handful of off-duty St. Paul’s Finest (like I will), well, it’s even better. This year St. Patrick’s Day happens to fall on opening day of the WCHA Final Five tournament, featuring Bemidji State vs. Minnesota-Duluth and Alaska-Anchorage vs. Colorado College.  While these matchups may not capture the imagination of America, most bars in St. Paul will open at 8:00 a.m. so you’ll have plenty of time to MAKE these games interesting, or at least have fun trying.
For my money, the WCHA Final Five championship game is one of the most underrated annual sporting events (Gophers vs. Iowa wrestling at the Barn, and the State High School wrestling tournament are the others) that we have. Regardless of who’s playing, the atmosphere is always electric. The ragtag Michigan Tech pep band will storm through the concourse playing a barely recognizable Smoke On The Water. UND fans will periodically glance toward the parking lot  to see if their ox carts have been towed. Despite school allegiances, everyone will share in their communal hatred of WCHA referees. It’s magical. The WCHA Final Five tournament always serves as a solid cure for our annual Minnesota winter sports doldrums.  You should go.
1Author’s Note: You’re looking at me kind of funny. You’ve heard of St. Paul, right? The capital city of Minnesota? No? Okay so let’s say you’re in Minneapolis, and then you drive east on Interstate 94. Now you’re in St. Paul. The state prison? No, that’s in St. Cloud. You’re thinking of St. Cloud. KISS?  Wha.....f…, that’s Paul Stanley. Paul Stanley is a person. St. Paul is a city. They have streets and buildings and people and everything. Como Zoo? Cosetta’s? Alary’s? Really? Just forget it.   
Your thoughts on manure smell power rankings, Michael Flatley, and the most underrated annual local sporting events are welcome in the comments below. Also, FREE WALLY.

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