Patrick+ Logo

Blog

Patrick+

Patrick Reusse has been covering sports in the Twin Cities since 1968.

Reusse: That Wisconsin-targeting-Pitino tweet? Here's the deal, people

Satire and sarcasm are weapons not to be ignored in a sports writer’s quest to produce commentary. The worst way to use these gimmicks, in my opinion, is to actually state that it is satire or sarcasm.

You throw out something preposterous, and expect readers to say, “That can’t be true,’’ and then everyone has a chuckle.

A new and wonderful element in the communication of satire and sarcasm arrived a few years back with Twitter. It can rapidly pass along snippets of actual information, but a case could be made that it was created as a vehicle for satire and sarcasm.

That’s the way I see it, anyway. I use Twitter regularly – 35,500 Tweets is the current count – and apply the same standard for satire and sarcasm in those 140 characters as in a sports column:

Offer up something preposterous and let the readers say, “That can’t be true,’’ and then everyone has a chuckle.

There’s another factor in Twitter: followers.

Basically, when I send out a Tweet, it’s intended for those followers … and with the assumption that the regulars know the bit.

Back on Jan. 6, 2013, Tubby’s Gophers were playing Northwestern at Williams Arena. The Gophers were highly rated, but the teams plowed through a first half of frightening ineptitude.

My commentary on that was to send out this Tweet: “Tyus Jones & Rashad Vaughn both announced at halftime that University of Minnesota is off their lists.’’

This fit my personal requirement as to be so preposterous to be not true. I assumed 90% of those followers who saw it would take it as a rip at the Gophers’ first half and have a chuckle.

As it turned out, this was passed around to non-followers who might not have been aware of what had taken place at Williams Arena in the first half, and they took it at a face value.

People who could read this and actually believe Tyus and Rashad had coordinated a joint announcement at halftime of not attending the big hometown school … they have my sympathy.

The sarcastic Tweet did get passed around enough that Tyus felt obliged to send me this on Twitter: “You have incorrect information, sir …’’

My response was, “Thank, god. You weren’t watching.’’

Tubby was fired after that season. Richard Pitino was hired. Jones went to Duke, Vaughn went to UNLV, and now both are one-and-done first-rounders headed for the NBA.

I’ve used Twitter to poke considerable fun at the idea young Pitino was a hot item for schools looking for a new coach. The satirical Tweets on this started in the spring of 2014.

Those Tweets have been merciless ever since the Pitino camp (led by his father) passed along the phony-baloney information this spring that Richard was a leading contender for the Alabama job.

So, I’ve had him going everywhere on Twitter. And if a job opens and I don’t immediately send out a Tweet linking young Richard to that position, I have followers who remind me to do so.

Louisiana Tech. Murray State. Georgia State. And, of course, Iowa State. A couple of NBA jobs. A couple of NFL jobs. Richard was at the top of the list at all those places, at least in my Twitter feed.

It’s Twitter. It’s preposterous. It’s worth a chuckle.

A big story on Monday was that Wisconsin’s coaching legend, Bo Ryan, would lead the Badgers for one more season and then retire.

We were in the production room for the daily radio show when my colleague, Cory Roufs, reminded me that I had not yet linked Pitino to the Wisconsin opening.

I slapped myself upside the head for such an oversight and then sent out a Tweet, “SOURCE: Alvarez targeting Richard Pitino as replacement for Bo Ryan in 2016.’’

Anyone who has been involved in Twitter byplay with me for the past year would have chuckled over this. Everyone else should have said, “Why in Hades would Barry Alvarez be interested in a coach coming off a lousy season?’’ They should have said, “That can’t be true,’’ and joined in the chuckle.

Pitino to Wisconsin. Sorry. This reached my threshold for obvious satire and/or sarcasm. I can’t be responsible for non-followers who took it seriously.

Reusse: Darwin's 'Doghouse Home Run' to be celebrated

The bride and I have traveled west for some distance on Hwy. 12 on several occasions during our decades of wedded bliss. When approaching the tiny burg of Darwin, I will announce, “We have to see the Twine Ball,’’ then take a left, drive into town, make a U-turn and gaze admiringly at Francis Johnson’s world largest ball of twine.

My wife stews and offers descriptive commentary on my idiocy. In other words, making a four-minute detour to see the Twine Ball gets her every time.

I wrote a column in July 2008 on Darwin’s baseball history and the great pitcher, Fred “Lefty’’ Miller, from early in the 20th Century. Dave Kelly, a Darwin native, provided the research, and now Kelly has sent along information of more Darwin baseball history to be celebrated.

Darwin hasn’t fielded a townball team since1957, but the memories remain, and Darwin Night will be celebrated on July 8 at the Dassel ballpark. This is a special occasion because it will mark the 75th anniversary of the “famous 1940 Darwin doghouse home run,’’ as the flier states.

Lake Jennie, a stop on the road near Dassel, and Litchfield were involved in a playoff game at the neutral site of Darwin on Aug. 18, 1940. It was a 1-1 tie in the seventh, when Lake Jennie’s Bud Chastek hit a pitch from Litchfield’s Johnny Anderson down the left-field line.

The ball reached the outfield and then took a strange hop to the left, and rolled into an adjacent doghouse belonging to the Fitzgerald family. There were varying reports as to whether the Fitzgerald dog was home, but all agreed Litchfield left fielder Pete Donnay approached cautiously, and Chastek circled the bases.

Chastek’s home run was decisive in Lake Jennie’s 2-1 victory. Litchfield protested. The protest was upheld, the game was replayed that week, and justice prevailed with a 5-4 victory for Lake Jennie.

The tale of the “doghouse home run’’ was repeated occasionally by Halsey Hall on Twins’ broadcasts in the 1960s, with embellishments as to the orneriness of the Fitzgerald dog.

It was the dog from “The Sandlot’’ in Halsey’s retelling.

PLUS THREE FROM PATRICK

More features of the “Doghouse Home Run’’ celebration on July 8:

*Sticking with the theme, the game will feature the Buffalo Bulldogs and the Dassel-Cokato Saints (St. Bernards for one nght only).

*There will be twine ball races, with area youth pushing substantial twine balls around the bases.

*Family members of the pitcher (Anderson), the hitter (Chastek) and the dog owners (the Fitzgeralds) will be in attendance.

TV Listings

Local Schedule

< >
  • Live racing

    4pm

  • Seattle at Lynx

    7pm on 106.1-FM

  • Fargo-Moorhead at Saints

    7:05pm on 1220-AM

  • Twins at Kansas City

    7:10pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Live racing

    12:45pm

  • Minnesota United FC at Carolina

    4pm

  • Twins at Kansas City

    6:15pm on Ch. 9, 96.3-FM

  • Fargo-Moorhead at Saints

    7:05pm on 105.1-FM

  • Live racing

    12:45pm

  • Twins at Kansas City

    1:10pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Fargo-Moorhead at Saints

    5:05pm on 1220-AM

  • Ottawa at Saints

    7:05pm on 1220-AM

  • Baltimore at Twins

    7:10pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Ottawa at Saints

    7:05pm on 1220-AM

  • Baltimore at Twins

    7:10pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Baltimore at Twins

    12:10pm on 96.3-FM

  • Ottawa at Saints

    7:05pm on 1220-AM

  • Live racing

    6:30pm

  • Ottawa at Saints

    7:05pm on 1220-AM

  • Detroit at Twins

    7:10pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

Today's Scoreboard

  • Miami

    Chicago Cubs

    1:20 PM

  • San Francisco

    Washington

    5:05 PM

  • Tampa Bay

    NY Yankees

    6:05 PM

  • Cleveland

    Pittsburgh

    6:05 PM

  • Toronto

    Detroit

    6:08 PM

  • Houston

    Boston

    6:10 PM

  • Milwaukee

    Cincinnati

    6:10 PM

  • Philadelphia

    Atlanta

    6:35 PM

  • LA Angels

    Texas

    7:05 PM

  • Baltimore

    Chicago White Sox

    7:10 PM

  • Minnesota

    Kansas City

    7:10 PM

    FSN

  • San Diego

    St. Louis

    7:15 PM

  • Seattle

    Oakland

    8:05 PM

  • Colorado

    Arizona

    8:40 PM

  • NY Mets

    LA Dodgers

    9:10 PM