Banquet packs 'em in; winner drives 'em out

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 22, 2006 - 10:00 PM

The bountiful list of contenders for Turkey of the Year ensures a crowded table, but this year's Grand Turkey knows how to empty the seats.

The internal debate on the Turkey Committee between the old guard and the young turks reached a new level of hostility during this week's final consultations.

The belligerent youngsters restated their contention that the Turkey Awards should be dedicated to ridicule. They argued vociferously that the Grand Turkey, a k a the Herschel, should be reserved for idiotic behavior of athletes.

The turks said the big award should go to a gentleman such as former Viking Koren Robinson, who was pinched for driving over the legal limit at more than 100 miles per hour and in the process blew the millions he had coming on a new contract.

The committee's chairman tried to explain again that the Turkey Awards are about catharsis -- about pointing out flaws on which an honoree can work to become a better athlete, coach, owner or administrator, and perhaps a better person.

"Take the example of the most recent Grand Turkey, Bob Naegele, the owner of Minnesota's NHL team," the chairman said. "A year ago, he was so cheap that he was ripping off his loyal customers with an inferior product.

"This flaw was pointed out on Thanksgiving morning 2005, and the man changed his ways. Naegele funded an overhaul of the roster last summer and now lively entertainment has returned for the sellout crowds in St. Paul.

"So you see what these prestigious awards can do when based on constructive criticism, rather than mere chastisement."

The turks hooted and hurled insults at the chairman until he couldn't take it anymore. The old boy pounded the lectern and shouted:

"The Turkeys are what we thought they were! Now, if you want to crown Koren's keister, then crown it. But the Turkeys ARE what we thought they were!"

The debate was over. The Turkey Committee finally embarked on the serious business of issuing these invitations for the 29th annual Turkey Banquet:

Ron Gardenhire: The Twins manager was a late addition after the MVP votes were announced. MVP, Cy Young, batting champ, Exec of the Year as the talent provider -- and 0-3 in the playoffs. We want more, Gardy.

Phil Mickelson: He wasn't satisfied to ruin his own season by pouting over his 72nd-hole collapse in the U.S. Open. He also decided to ruin any chance for the U.S. team in the Ryder Cup.

Ricky Davis: Can't shoot but won't stop trying. Doesn't pass or play defense. The Woofies wuz robbed.

Jason Kubel: He goes in the tank after the All-Star break, sits around and shows no ambition the final six weeks of the season, then refuses the Twins' request to go to Venezuela for the second half of the winter schedule to get at-bats. Starting in left field for the Twins on Opening Day 2007: Jason ... Tyner.

Fay Vincent: He wasn't satisfied to be a disastrous baseball commissioner. He also was the chairman of the Hall of Fame's Negro Leagues special committee that failed to include the great (and now late) Buck O'Neil among last summer's 17 inductees.

Landon Donovan: The United States soccer team went to the World Cup in Germany with a huge buildup. The Yanks failed miserably -- with Donovan as the top flop.

Ben Smith: There are two countries in the world with more than a few dozen women playing hockey: the United States and Canada. Against all odds, Smith managed to avoid coaching the U.S. team into the gold medal game at this winter's Olympics.

Michelle Wie: Look up snot .n in any unabridged dictionary and you will find her picture.

Linda Koblick and Penny Steele: What's more juvenile for a Hennepin County commissioner: Koblick still refusing to talk to a colleague who voted for the tax to finance a Twins stadium, or Weepin' Penny weeping every time there was a debate on the issue?

Jay Mariotti: The Chicago Sun-Times sports columnist shows up every afternoon on ESPN making a fool of himself, then we find out this summer -- during the brouhaha with Ozzie Guillen -- that he hasn't had time to visit the White Sox clubhouse in a decade.

M & M & M boys: Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer? Of course not. These are the permanent seats of honor for the U's Joel Maturi, Glen Mason and Dan Monson.

Phyllis Kahn: This legislator was so concerned about the youth of America in years back that she wanted 12-year-olds to have the right to vote. And then DeLaSalle, the oldest tenant on Nicollet Island, sought a permit to build a small football field next to the high school. Phyllis lives down there and turned into a raving hypocrite -- a wild-eyed foe of a facility to benefit the diverse student body of her city's only Catholic high school.

And now move aside for the head table:

Second runner-up: Zygi Wilf. Look out down there on Nicollet Island, Phyllis. That might be the next place the Vikings owner and crazed New Jersey developer wants to take his stadium dream.

One big problem Zygmunt's maneuvering has created: The only way to fund a Vikings stadium would be with a referendum for a seven-county tax, and he has managed to alienate Anoka County to the tune of about 95 percent against in such a vote.

First runner-up: Don Lucia. When his underage hockey players were caught on tape drinking, Lucia said they were "violated." When his big-budget Gophers were eliminated in a first-round upset by non-entity Holy Cross, he didn't have the good taste to be embarrassed. And then Lucia's lackeys whispered negatives about the departing Phil Kessel, who had been ballyhooed a few months earlier as the best recruit in program history.

Lucia would have been worthy of the Herschel, except there was a coaching colleague at Minnesota who had a more impressive end-of-season collapse.

As most Turkey followers must have anticipated, the 29th Grand Turkey is Pam Borton, the basketball coach of the U of M women.

Borton's 2006 seniors went backward in their play, then the underclassmen bailed faster than an audience at a Michael Richards standup routine. In four years, Borton has taken the team she inherited from 14,000 people screaming inside Williams Arena to a following that would fit comfortably next door in the Sports Pavilion.

Borton's Herschel also has huge gender-equity implications. She's only the second woman -- along with gymnast Kerri Strug in 1996 -- to be a Grand Turkey.

The chairman is so emotional over this he's about to weep like Penny Steele.

  • related content

  • Previous turkey winners

    Wednesday November 22, 2006

    • 1978: Woody Hayes• 1979: Pete Rozelle and Bowie Kuhn• 1980: Bobby Knight• 1981: George Steinbrenner• 1982: Billy Martin• 1983:...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Minnesota 35 FINAL
Miami 37
Baltimore 13 FINAL
Houston 25
Detroit 20 FINAL
Chicago 14
Cleveland 13 FINAL
Carolina 17
Atlanta 30 FINAL
New Orleans 14
Green Bay 20 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Kansas City 12 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
New England 17 FINAL
NY Jets 16
NY Giants 37 FINAL
St. Louis 27
Buffalo 24 FINAL
Oakland 26
Indianapolis 7 FINAL
Dallas 42
Seattle 28 4th Qtr 10:14
Arizona 6
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 108 FINAL
Toronto 118
Memphis 91 FINAL
Cleveland 105
Boston 84 FINAL
Miami 100
Detroit 105 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
LA Lakers 101 FINAL
Sacramento 108
Philadelphia 96 FINAL
Orlando 88
Phoenix 104 FINAL
Washington 92
Indiana 100 FINAL
Minnesota 96
New Orleans 101 FINAL
Oklahoma City 99
Colorado 2 FINAL(SO)
Detroit 1
Dallas 6 FINAL(SO)
Edmonton 5
Buffalo 3 FINAL(OT)
Boston 4
Carolina 0 FINAL
NY Rangers 1
Toronto 0 FINAL
Chicago 4
Philadelphia 2 3rd Prd 8:26
Winnipeg 3
Harvard 27 FINAL
Virginia 76
Maine 69 FINAL
Army 72
Ferris State 82 FINAL
Bowling Green 68
San Francisco 65 FINAL
Cleveland State 69
Oregon State 52 FINAL
Quinnipiac 60
Coastal Carolina 72 FINAL
Central Arkansas 55
Holy Cross 48 FINAL
Canisius 67
Southern Miss 55 FINAL
Georgia State 68
Western Carolina 66 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 62
Creighton 58 FINAL
North Texas 62
Maryland 73 FINAL
Oklahoma State 64
Cornell 61 FINAL
Radford 74
Vermont 55 FINAL
Saint Louis 58
Loyola-Maryland 52 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Reinhardt 72 FINAL
Winthrop 100
Ark-Little Rock 46 FINAL
Green Bay 66
TX-Pan American 72 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 77
Alabama State 63 FINAL
Evansville 81
FIU 69 FINAL
Hartford 82
Goshen 55 FINAL
Valparaiso 82
Bryant 48 FINAL
Denver 46
Austin Peay 63 FINAL
Lipscomb 69
Tennessee St 47 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 65
South Dakota 67 FINAL
Montana 62
ULM 50 FINAL
Samford 64
Coker 52 FINAL
South Carolina 78
USC 75 FINAL
Boston College 71
Northern Ariz 66 FINAL
Hampton 75
SD Christian 61 FINAL
San Diego 71
UC Irvine 55 FINAL
Bradley 47
Troy 65 FINAL
Nicholls 64
Seton Hall 47 FINAL
Georgia 65
Appalachian St 59 FINAL
Alabama 60
North Dakota St 52 FINAL
Kent State 53
San Jose St 53 FINAL
Washington St 82
Alcorn State 45 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 78
Sacramento St 39 2nd Half 7:15
Seattle 54
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Cal-Irvine 55 FINAL
Denver 63
St Marys-CA 52 FINAL
George Washington 70
TX-San Antonio 49 FINAL
Nicholls 57
Portland State 71 FINAL
Columbia 66
Tenn Tech 62 FINAL
Morgan State 56
SMU 43 FINAL
Auburn 56
Quinnipiac 70 FINAL
Hartford 58
Hofstra 75 FINAL
Boston College 61
Eastern Washington 55 FINAL
Georgia Southern 42
Liberty 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 84
Fairleigh Dickinson 74 FINAL
Brown 79
Buffalo 73 FINAL
Long Island 79
Bucknell 74 FINAL
Mount St Marys 49
Stony Brook 70 FINAL
Wagner 76
FIU 83 FINAL
Wofford 75
Duquesne 56 FINAL
Providence 67
Maine 54 FINAL
William & Mary 51
Alabama State 43 FINAL
Samford 56
TX-Pan American 43 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 64
South Dakota St 64 FINAL
Marist 82
Saint Josephs 50 FINAL
(5) Notre Dame 64
Radford 60 FINAL
Virginia Tech 73
(3) Texas 67 FINAL
(4) Texas A&M 65
Rhode Island 60 FINAL
Bryant 56
South Florida 90 FINAL
Penn State 87
Sam Houston St 55 FINAL
TCU 79
Evansville 50 FINAL
IUPUI 62
(14) Maryland 110 FINAL
Coppin State 51
Mercer 59 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 72
NC A&T 43 FINAL
Chattanooga 58
Princeton 84 FINAL
Monmouth 53
Eastern Illinois 69 FINAL
Lehigh 72
Rider 67 FINAL
Binghamton 72
SC State 57 FINAL
Clemson 66
Fairfield 63 FINAL
Iowa State 76
Richmond 70 FINAL
Eastern Kentucky 56
Cleveland State 80 FINAL
Morehead St 72
Kent State 62 FINAL
Colgate 61
South Alabama 43 FINAL
UAB 73
Saint Peters 35 FINAL
Navy 71
Youngstown St 52 FINAL
Pittsburgh 78
NJIT 50 FINAL
Lafayette 66
Davidson 51 FINAL
Charlotte 86
Indiana State 73 FINAL
St Johns 67
Southern U 49 FINAL
Florida 78
Wright State 46 FINAL
Purdue 70
(19) Oklahoma St 66 FINAL
USC 62
Houston 54 FINAL
Texas Tech 60
Ark-Little Rock 66 FINAL
Tulsa 59
Dayton 71 FINAL
Vanderbilt 67
Northern Ariz 37 FINAL
New Mexico 56
UNC-Asheville 60 FINAL
USC Upstate 67
North Dakota 81 FINAL
South Dakota 86
Western Ill 57 FINAL
Marquette 65
Elon 67 FINAL
(6) North Carolina 85
Ball State 59 FINAL
Western Ky 84
(8) Kentucky 68 FINAL
(13) Duke 89
New Orleans 58 FINAL
Alabama 87
Chicago State 47 FINAL
Milwaukee 69
Bowling Green 61 FINAL
Bradley 47
Ill-Springfield 56 FINAL
SE Missouri St 73
Northern Ill 42 FINAL
Northern Iowa 51
(23) Iowa 100 FINAL
Drake 98
Central Michigan 64 FINAL
Minnesota 67
Western Carolina 45 FINAL
North Florida 62
Wyoming 71 FINAL
Colorado 76
Portland 58 FINAL
Boise State 94
Cal Poly 63 FINAL
Colorado State 65
No Dakota State 54 FINAL
Grand Canyon 69
Albany 71 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 49
Oklahoma 64 FINAL
Arkansas 71
Idaho State 63 FINAL
Seattle 55
(18) Michigan State 89 FINAL
(19) Syracuse 76
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Arizona State 88
TX-Arlington 46 FINAL
North Texas 38
Fresno State 68 FINAL
Oregon 59
St Francis-PA 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 72
UNLV 71 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 74
UCLA 50 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 86
(10) Louisville 70 FINAL
(24) California 57
Howard 53 FINAL
Virginia 74
Miami-Ohio 42 FINAL
(21) Miss State 68
Illinois-Chicago 55 FINAL
Old Dominion 61

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close