Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene and advises you to never take his betting advice. He likes old guitars and old music, never eats press box hot dogs, and can be heard on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. weekdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon.
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Two trips to Detroit in a month.
I forget, is that the second or third ring of Hell?
A reader emailed me last night, asking why we don't hammer Bernard Berrian more for being a slacker and one of the worst free-agent signings in franchise history.
He's right. All I can say is that Berrian is blessed to be shielded by low expectations.
Brad Childress made a lot of great personnel decisions, and Berrian helped the Vikings go to the playoffs in 2008 and added an occasional threat last year. This year, he's been worthless. In a normal year, where Brett Favre, Randy Moss, sexting, a stadium implosion, migraines, and a systemic failure (love that phrase) hadn't dominated headlines, we might very well have spent the season castigating Berrian.
He's lucky to be only No. 32 on the list of what's wrong with this year's Vikings.
Remember the good ol' days, when we thought losing Chester Taylor was going to be the worst thing that ever happened to this team?
Right now Berrian is testing his sore (fill in the blank) on the field. I'm sure he'll gut it out and play.
The Winter Classic was great. Take a sport in which you can't see the puck, and play it in a stadium where noone can even pretend to see the puck.
Actually, I think the Winter Classic is a good idea. Anytime the NHL can break up the monotony of its regular season and give the casual viewer a reason to watch, I'm all for it. But hockey is just a weird sport to try to promote. Those who love it will love it no matter what form it takes. Those who don't love it will always be ambivalent because even superstars like Sidney Crosby play only a portion of their games and can't even control when they touch the puck.
I feel for anyone who has gone through the health problems Don Lucia has experienced, but I can't excuse his coaching or the way his team has played.
This was supposed to be a weekend of fattening up on weak opponents. Instead, he loses to Union (is that a brand of jeans or a college) at home, then blows off a shootout so he won't lose to Ferris State (named after Buehller, I hope?).
If only the Gophers athletic department had someone in charge, maybe someone named an ``athletic director'' who could take charge of the program. Someone should look into that.
I fear the Wilfs are going to blow this. I fear they're going to take a good coaching candidate they know and like and let him explore the market, and lose him, and start another coaching search with no guarantee that they'll hire anyone as good as Leslie Frazier.
This is one of those decisions that can be screwed up only by overthinking. Hire Frazier tonight, announce it tomorrow, give Rick Spielman the GM title, and move forward.
Wrote about Brett Favre's last appearance on a Viking sideline in the Sunday paper. Yes, I'm asking you to go buy a stinking paper, which costs less than a foo-foo Starbucks drink, or a gallon of gas.
Here's my newspaper rant: They're the last bargain in America. For a small price you get tons of coupons, funnies, crosswords, Soduku, op-eds, news, and a packed sports section. And if you subscribe to the paper, the premium stuff is all free.
I can't decide whether signing Carl Pavano would be a good thing or a bad thing. He'd flesh out the rotation and provide innings, but is he really worth $10 million a year?
I think the Twins are playing it right. I'd give him two years, but not three.
I still think the biggest issue facing the Twins is whether Justin Morneau and Joe Nathan can be what they once were.
I'll check in after the game. Because what else would I do in Detroit?
Upcoming: I'll be on 1500espn at 2:40 p.m. each weekday. My twitter name is Souhanstrib.
-Brett Favre wouldn't talk about the NFL's investigation into him after the game.
-Think the Vikings made the right decision in letting Matt Birk go? Every time I watch the Ravens, Birk is falling into the end zone on a Ray Rice touchdown run. Every time I watch the Vikings, I see a center screwing up.
-Those criticizing Brad Childress for his game plan are confusing planning with execution. Favre had receivers open in the first half, and either he missed them or the Vikings committed a penalty.
If you want to criticize Childress for anything in this game, it would be his indecisiveness when facing a two-point deficit after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
It's obvious you go for two there. Childress agreed, but only after sending the kicking team onto the field and then calling a timeout to send his offense back out there.
Also, Randy Moss wasn't on the field for the two-point conversion. Then again, Tahi was wide open in the end zone and Favre didn't throw to him. Childress wound up making the right decision, it's just that he cost himself a timeout and then had trouble explaining the decision after the game.
-The Vikings are 1-3, but I think they're in big trouble only if Favre's elbow or the NFL's investigation into him go badly. If Favre is healthy, he and Moss will develop more of a rapport each week, and the Vikings' talent will win out eventually. I think they beat the Cowboys on Sunday, and their game at Green Bay looks winnable considering the Packers' injuries.
Players often say ``It's a long season,'' and often that's a poor excuse. In this case, I think that's the right way to look at this year. If the Vikings can get to week 8 still in contention, their soft second-half schedule and the mediocrity of the division should give them every chance to go to the playoffs, and if they make it to the playoffs healthy, they'll be very dangerous. Of course, that's all predicated on Favre staying healthy and un-suspended.
-Moss spoke after the game, and, for what it's worth, he's saying all the right things and saying them with a smile on his face. He even talked about mentoring Percy Harvin.
-During Favre's post-game presser, he kept waving his left hand around, and running his left hand through his hair. His wedding ring was shown prominently on national TV. I'm sure that was a coincidence.
-The Vikings' safeties continue to be the weakness of the team (along with the center position and third receiver.) They never make plays.
-Childress took the blame for the team looking sluggish at the start while coming off a bye. I, like all good Minnesotans, blame Ron Gardenhire.
-The Vikings need to get Greg Camarillo involved. If they're not going to use Bernard Berrian - and it certainly looks like they're not going to use Bernard Berrian - then they need a third receiver who can make a play. Camarillo, a catch-and-run guy with good hands, should be able to handle that.
-I'll be on 1500espn at 2:40 tomorrow (and every weekday afternoon.) Yesterday, we had Childress on Sunday Sports Talk and he admitted the timing of the deadspin report - just before the Vikings play in New York - was ``curious.''
-Moss has lost a step, but he picked up a trick, probably from former teammate Cris Carter. He pushed off slightly on Antonio Cromartie on his touchdown catch, but did so in a way that would be difficult to call.
-While we've all assumed this four-game stretch would be brutal, the Vikings had a chance to beat the Jets on the road, the Cowboys are 1-3, the Packers are beat up and the Patriots...won't have Randy Moss.
-Moss also thanked Tom Brady for sending him an encouraging text before the game.
Spent much of the day watching Tiger Woods' first round at Augusta.
Now, he was helped by easy scoring conditions, and he hit a couple of terrible shots that banked off trees and back into play. Still, how cold-blooded do you have to be to play excellent golf after a five-month layoff while every sports fan in the gallery - and in the nation - is whispering about your personal life?
My theory all along has been there is no way he contends for a championship this week, but he's in good position at the moment, near the top of the leaderboard at a tournament where he rarely starts quickly.
Cold. Cold-blooded. Cold-hearted. All of them apply to Mr. Woods.
-Another perfect day in Anaheim. I have a cousin who used to live in San Diego - La Jolla, specifically. She grew up in Detroit, and she found the weather to be boring. Southern Californians just don't build character the way we do.
-I guess I should say I'll be intrigued by Kevin Slowey's start tonight, since he's coming off a wrist injury that ended his 2009 season, but I'm really not. I think he'll pitch well. I don't know if he'll ever be great, but I think he'll be good for a long time.
-Anyone else notice that the only Twins' reliever who hasn't done his job so far is the one who showed up at camp overweight - Jose Mijares?
-You can follow me on Twitter at Souhanstrib.
-Upcoming: I'll be on WJON at 7:15 a.m. Friday, then on am-1500 at 7:45 a.m. Looks like I'll be filling in for Pat and Joe on Saturday Morning Sports Talk on am-1500 at 10 a.m., then on Sunday we have the Ron Gardenhire Show at 9:30 a.m., followed by Sunday Sports Talk at 10 a.m. Twins owner Jim Pohlad and FSN basketball analyst and Lynx assistant coach Jim Petersen will be among our guests, and Timberwolves forward Corey Brewer should be joining us on either Saturday or Sunday.
Last week we had Brad Childress and Twins president Dave St. Peter on.
I'll check in here after tonight's game.
What a day.
-I thought Tiger Woods handled himself well, and further proved one of my long-held theories: If you have a public relations problem, you will not begin to move past it until you face real questions and display human emotions. Woods did both on Monday.
-While I don't care much about Woods' personal problems, I'm fascinated by seeing the world's greatest golfer trying to come back from such personal problems. I'm even more interested in his association with Dr. Anthony Galea.
In one breath, Woods admits he lied to everybody in his life. In the next he says he didn't take performance enhancing drugs. Can we believe any athlete when he talks about performance-enhancing drugs? Can we believe Tiger?
-All that being said, I'm thrilled Woods is back. Golf was as boring as curling without him.
-I love Opening Day. I love Day 2 even more, when the pomp and circumstance is stripped away and it's just baseball.
-I'll be very interested to see how Scott Baker handles an opening-day start against a good team in a year his team is facing immense expectations. We shouldn't overreact to anything we see early in any season, but Baker could give us a hint as to whether he's up to being a de facto ace of a contender.
-Watching old NCAA championship games on ESPN Classic, you notice just how skinny those players were. More evidence that today's athletes are stronger and better trained than ever before.
-Great moment on ESPN: Brent Musberger, broadcasting the Cards-Reds game, ripping those reporters who started the Albert Pujols-for-Ryan-Howard trade.
Of course, that rumor was started by Buster Olney...of ESPN.
-My sure-to-be-wrong pick: Duke 65, Butler 55.
-You can follow me on Twitter at Souhanstrib. I'll be using twitter and blogging from the Twins game tonight in Anaheim. Joe Christensen and I are covering the game for startribune.com.
-I'll be on with Joe Anderson of am-1500 in the 6 p.m. hour, my ballpark schedule allowing.
I'll also be on the morning show at 7:45 a.m. the rest of the week before the station format changes. And I'm on WJON at 7:14 a.m.
-We had Brad Childress and Dave St. Peter on Sunday Sports Talk yesterday, and hope to get Jim Pohlad and Jim Petersen and a Twins player on this week. The show airs 10-noon, following the Ron Gardenhire Show at 9:30 a.m.
Catching up after taking a break. I'm on my way to Vancouver, and will post updates and observations here. You can follow me on Twitter at souhanstrib.
-Reason No. 20,291 I don't bet on sports: Who could have predicted that the key moments in the Super Bowl would be Pierre Garcon dropping a third-down pass in the second quarter, an onside kick to start the second half, or a former Big Ten cornerback (Tracy Porter, from Indiana of all places) picking off Peyton Manning and returning it for a touchdown.
Everybody in my business spends a lot of time researching and making predictions. If sports were predictable, though, we wouldn't care so much about them.
The Vikings' blowout over Dallas? A surprise, even if, like me, you thought the Vikings would win.
The way in which the Vikings lost to the Saints, playing superbly for much of the game but fumbling six times and throwing two interceptions? Utterly unpredictable, unless you believe the Vikings are cursed, in which case you may continue to wallow in self-pity. Just don't expect me to join you.
The Saints beating the Colts after failing on a fourth-and-goal from the one, getting lucky on an onside kickoff and beating Manning with a key interception? I didn't see it coming. If you did, congratulations.
This postseason demonstrated why the NFL is the No. 1 sport in America. It's such a spectacle. I've never been more impressed by a game atmosphere than I was in the Superdome for the NFC championship game. And the ratings were immense throughout the playoffs, even when so-called lesser markets were involved. New Orleans, Indianapolis and Minneapolis aren't exactly New York and LA, yet the ratings were huge.
The plays, the momentum swings, the coaching decisions, the personalities are so dramatic, and let's be honest, the specter of violence and injury makes the action that much more compelling. You wouldn't watch an action movie in which nobody got hurt.
-My prediction: Brett Favre returns. Eventually.
Last summer, all of the variables entering into his decision were negative. He didn't know how he'd adapt to a new set of teammates. He couldn't be sure he still had ``it.'' He was required to undergo surgery, and he hates surgery.
This summer, all of the variables will be positive. Once his ankle heals, and his ankle will heal, he'll be healthy. His teammates love him and will begin texting him soon to beg him to return. He and Darrell Bevell worked extremely well together. Despite the ``schism'' and ``spat'' talk, he gets along fine with head coach Brad Childress. He is coming off one of the best seasons of his career. And please don't assume he doesn't need or crave the money. He will never again have the chance to earn $12 million for six months of work. The team he plays for could give him a chance to end his career with a Super Bowl appearance or victory.
I don't think there's any doubt he'll come back. Eventually.
-I'm starting to revisit my thoughts about the Wolves eventually trading Al Jefferson. I thought it might be a necessity. Now I think they should trade him only if they get back excellent value in return.
Here's why: The Wolves have spent the last five years desperately seeking NBA-quality players. To trade their best player just to clear a spot for another good player would not represent progress. I'd rather see Kevin Love and Al Jefferson continuing to play together, continuing to learn how to play together, than see the Wolves trade Jefferson to bring in an average wing or center.
We've seen all kinds of different combinations of players win big. We've seen three-guard sets and point forwards and hybrid guards. I'd rather see the Wolves try to make this work than trade Jefferson just to trade him.
-I don't know if I've been as impressed by a Twins winter since the Twins brought in Chili Davis and Jack Morris. They didn't just add good players who should fit well; they did so without compromising their future, trading away valuable assets (since I consider the Gomez-for-Hardy deal to be the best move of the winter), or committing money that will hur them in the future.
Fans always want the Twins to spend big right now, but they will always operate under some sort of payroll limit, and landing good players on one-year deals is still the smartest way for them to operate. I'd love to see them sign an everyday third baseman, but leaving that position in flux does give them the opportunity to see a player - Harris, Tolbert, Casilla, Hughes, Punto or Valencia - surprise them. And the Twins always have at least one pleasant surprise. (My pick this year is Casilla. There's too much talent there for him to continue to flounder, and he'd be the perfect No. 9 hitter for a manager who still wants to play small-ball on occasion.)
-I may write about this more later, but I think the idea of being offended by a female athlete's bikini photos is ridiculous. so Lindsey Vonn posed for some provocative shots.
Female athletes wear provocative clothing when they compete, if you want to look at them that way. Would you let your daughter leave the house wearing one of those figure skating costumes? Or a skin-tight ski suit? Or a body-hugging speedskating outfit?
I'll say the same thing to the women's groups decrying Vonn's photos as I would say to the mouth-breathers who spell out their sophomoric pantings in the comment section of stories referring to Vonn's photos: Grow up, and get a life. The human instinct to be attracted to and by well-toned muscles isn't exactly what's wrong with the world.
-I land in Vancouver tonight and will start writing for the paper in Friday's editions.
This week, I"ll continue to appear at my usual radio times - at 6:40 a.m. on KSTP-AM with Reusse and Co. Next week, we'll move that time back.
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