Patrick Reusse's 2013 Turkey of the Year

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 28, 2013 - 8:54 AM

The chairman of the Turkey Committee made grandiose promises when he pushed through his agenda to increase access to the annual Thanksgiving Day banquet.

The Turkey Chairman stated numerous times that this new program would make the banquet available to countless people of modest means and without a company plan to help cover the cost of tickets.

Simultaneously, the chairman vowed there would be no impact on those with pre-existing seats at a table.

The 36th Thanksgiving feast arrives this afternoon and, frankly, we have no idea what in the wide, wide world of sports is going to happen. The chairman only can apologize again for the glitches that have taken place at affordableturkeytix.org.

Our website contractors haven’t been able to ascertain how people trying to confirm reservations or register for newly available banquet tickets are being diverted to a guy named Uygulamalavi requesting money in a foreign language.

I’m sure we’ll have it figured out by next Thanksgiving. Meantime, there’s one more piece of business before the roll call of Turkeys:

Committee members deliberated for several hours before declaring that Aaron Hernandez was ineligible to capture the 2013 Turkey of the Year. We decided that being indicted on a murder charge — and the possibility it wasn’t his first — gave the former Patriots tight end an unfair advantage.

Plus, how bad would people feel if they wound up in a higher position on the 2013 Turkey list than Aaron Hernandez?

Let’s proceed with the list of honored guests:

Vodka Samm,” student, University of Iowa: This 22-year-old Hawkeye blew a blood alcohol level of .341 after a public intoxication arrest at an Iowa football game and lived to tell about it. The Committee actually has asked her to attend the banquet as a celebrity bartender.

Michael Hemesath, president, St. John’s University: Hemesath marked the departure of John Gagliardi after 60 seasons in Collegeville by saying: “Obviously, I understand winning is much more fun than losing for our athletes. But I’m not obsessed with building a winning program.” A beautiful sentiment from the St. John’s boss as the search was underway to replace the winningest coach in the history of college football.

David Arsenault, men’s basketball coach, Grinnell College: This is the sportsman who thinks it’s quite a giggle to have his star, Jack Taylor, score over 100 points against hapless, tiny Christian schools with the manpower of so-so high school teams.

Cliff Alexander, 6-8 basketball star, Chicago Curie High School: He was rated the nation’s No. 5 recruit. That mandated (by ego) that he hold a media event to announce his college choice. He faked putting on a hat for home-state Illinois, then went to a Kansas hat. And his papa, bedecked in shades, clearly loved the taunt. Classy kid, Jayhawks.

John and Nicole Grant, football fans from Tinley Park, Ill.: John is a Bears fan and Nicole is a Packers fan. They were in a bar in Mayville, Wis., watching those teams play on Nov. 4. The Bears won and John shocked his wife a couple of times with a stun gun. Police were called. They found evidence on Nicole’s cellphone with her saying she would allow herself to be zapped if the Packers lost. Alcohol was said to be involved.

Sweet Pea,” hostess/entertainer, King of Diamonds in Miami: Bryant McKinnie was celebrating his birthday on a party bus. Nothing new in that. Sweet Pea came along. When one of McKinnie’s teammates with the Baltimore Ravens, Jacoby Jones, got a little fresh, Sweet Pea hit him over the head with a giant Ace of Spades bottle of champagne. An ambulance was required. Way to spoil McKinnie’s 34th birthday, Sweet Pea.

Tiger Woods, golfer: It was possible to stretch the imagination and give Woods the benefit of the doubt on his illegal drop at the Masters. When he dropped a ball 100 yards forward from the point it crossed the waterline a few weeks later at the Players Championship (which he won), there was a different conclusion: Being the most talented golfer in the history of mankind isn’t enough for Tiger. He’s willing to fudge the rules.

John and Andy Arlotta, owners, Minnesota Swarm: They sent out an e-mail begging fans for support, saying the financial model for their indoor lacrosse team “is not sustainable.” Listen, fellas, all make-believe sports that involve playing games in arenas that are intended to be played on fields — football, soccer, lacrosse, BASEketball — are ridiculous and deserve to be “not sustainable.”

Dirk Hayhurst, studio analyst, TBS baseball playoffs: It’s tough enough to remember these games are on TBS. And when you finally find one and encounter this dork in a bow tie pontificating … aaargh!

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