Thursday, November 7, 2013

What's up with Collin?

Where have I been? Where did I go? I will tell you.

About a month ago, I got an offer to write for Puckett's Pond, the Minnesota Twins website of the FanSided network, and I accepted that position. Along with the writer position, the job of editor was also open, I took that and I am immensely happy with that decision.

Over at the Pond I will be producing 30 articles a month based mainly on the Twins, with a little of general baseball as well. So check that out along with a great group of writers, it's a whole lot of fun and great Twins content.

For stuff that isn't Twins related, you can find me in the Fanposts of the SB Nation sites. Which probably won't arise as much as I hope, but you never know. Canis Hoopus mainly because I do love my Wolves.

So thanks for finding this site and thanks for caring about my writing. It means a lot which is about as emotional I'm going to get over the internet.

Thanks, love you and good luck,

Collin

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Average Fan: What is their Perception of the Twins?

I like Patrick Reusse and I’m not ashamed of that. Every night before I go to bed I listen to SportsTalk starring him and Joe Soucheray because they do and don’t talk about sports. It’s like me in a nutshell, but a couple decades down the road. I understand that there’s a good portion of the public that don’t always agree with Reusse, but I beg you to stay with me here.

On 1500ESPN’s website, Reusse writes a P.J.R. column with those letters standing for Patrick James Reusse. These columns usually result in a ‘no punches pulled’ take on something which I absolutely adore. The latest edition came out on Tuesday morning with the title “There’s strong perception that the Twins aren’t trying”.

That’s a strong take, which I can’t help but finding myself somewhat agreeing upon. Reusse compares the Pohlads to ever other owner in this state and by comparing them it looks obviously that the Twins, at the very least, are trying the least.

It’s hard to point a finger at a whole organization and say, “Hey, you’re not giving an effort. You’re not trying at all.”

That’s what has happened to the Twins. People have stopped caring. It’s gone from agony to empathy and as much as the former stings, the latter is something that is so very hard to get out of.

I never thought I’d not give a flying leap about the Twins, but it happened. By the end of this past season, I didn’t watch a single game. I’d get alerts on my phone saying the Twins were losing by a remarkable margin and then flip over just to catch a glimpse of the glorious dumpster fire.

I do care about the Twins, though. It was kind of like the Twins and I were taking a break.  I flirted with some other teams, but when the feelings started to get strong I couldn’t get the Twins off of my mind. That’s me though.

What about the fans who aren’t as tied to the Twins as I am? I know they are lost for a while, but what gets those fans back… A winning record? A playoff run? A playoff series win?

We have a good glimpse at what this team could be. A lot of people are excited about Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton, as they should be, but to the general public this team may not appear to be trying. The one’s reading this are the ones who will stick with the Twins through hell and high water.

The Twins have a tough job building this team back up to contention, but will also have to build up a fan base again.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Wanted: Innovation, Desperately Needed

Math stinks. It’s probably a good thing all in all, but I stink at it, so it therefore stinks. The Minnesota Twins and I might just have that sentiment in common.

1500ESPN’s Phil Mackey wrote a column earlier this week about how the Twins lack innovation, which resulted in Twins’ General Manager Terry Ryan saying he thinks Mackey just wants a job with the Twins, but that’s a different story. The thing is that Mackey is so on it’s sad.

The Twins, as it seems on the surface, do not have a big analytics department. The payroll-wise lowly Tampa Bay Rays have nine people in that category. A team that won’t be able to maintain one of the best pitchers in baseball (David Price) has nine guys that crunch baseball numbers. You have to use numbers and, in a broader sense, every single piece of information you can get your hands on.

It’s like Facebook stalking that the younger generation partakes in. The first moment you have any romantic interest or any interest at all in a person: you go to Facebook, look up their profile and study everything they like/dislike. You use every single piece of information you can get your hands on before you put your neck out on the line with that person. You have to do that in baseball, too.

That doesn’t just go for advanced statistics either. If you keep failing, something has to change. If you stub your toe every night, you move the furniture.

This isn’t a call saying that brining back Ron Gardenhire is the end of the world, but something has to change. Some certain way of doing things, some certain way the Twins’ organization looks at things. It has to be shaken up, even if you don’t want to shake it up.


I hate math, but I still have to deal with it. The Twins have to deal with the changing landscape.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Keys for Vikings to Leave Chicago Victorious

Week One didn’t go exactly how the Vikings wanted it to, but in reality that can be said about literally half of the National Football League. By now, last week’s matchup against the Detroit Lions has been analyzed and overanalyzed by everyone and their brother; it’s time to move on.

The Vikings take on the Chicago Bears at noon (central) on Sunday, you can catch that game on FOX. What do the Vikings need to do to beat the Bears on Sunday?

Soften Forte

That’s a horrible music joke, but it gets the point across. The Vikings got run over last week by the Lions’ new toy, Reggie Bush. If the Vikings want to leave Soldier Field with a victory, they need to make sure that Bears’ running back Matt Forte doesn’t do the same thing.


Ponder Power

Let’s face it; Ponder’s leash is getting short. Christian Ponder has to show something soon for the Vikings or the starting QB job will soon be handed off to backup Matt Cassel. It’s time for Ponder to open it up a little bit.

Everything gets easier if you open up the offense. If Ponder throws deep or at least throws some completions, it doesn’t allow the opposing defense to stack the box so much against league MVP Adrian Peterson.

Open it up, Ponder. There is nothing to lose.

Close in on Cutler; Field Marshal

Jay Cutler is a good quarterback, not great, but better than Christian Ponder. The Vikings need to get into Cutler’s face. Every QB gets a little jittery when they get pressure, Cutler is no different.

While doing that, the Vikings need to cover up Cutler’s favorite target, Brandon Marshall. That’s the QB-WR combo to watch for the Bears, Vikings fans wish they just had one for someone to focus on defending.

Absolutely Adrian

Adrian Peterson had a shot heard round the world with his first touch of the season last week with a 78 yard TD… then he really didn’t do anything else. His stats look good, but it wasn’t that impressive of a game for Adrian Peterson. It wasn’t a MVP-like performance from the MVP.

The Vikings need AD/AP to get going and rolling.


If the Vikings’ season is a car, the quarterback play would be the steering wheel, but Adrian Peterson is the engine of the vehicle. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

U of M's Richard Pitino Buys Big, Spendy House

What would you do with $999,000? Buy a new house in Edina? If you are University of Minnesota head men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino the answer to that question is yes.

According to Twin Cities Starlight, in early August, Pitino bought the house out in the west metro. It being in Edina, we know that it is quite swanky and by looking at the pictures on the website, I can confirm.



The house has 4,920 square feet of spacing featuring 5 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms. Some add on features would be a porch, patio, deck, a hot tub, sprinkler system and a three-car garage.

Not too bad.

The house and the price tag may be big, but what’s bigger is the message. Richard Pitino is going to be around for a long, long time. You don’t put down almost a million dollars on a house if you don’t plan to be living there for a while.


The house is pretty big, so maybe this could be the Gophers practice facility as well… Just a thought.

(picture from Twin Cities Starlight)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Vikings Week One Jottings: Bush is a Beast, Pondering about Ponder and Fun with the Box Score

Well, well, well. Week 1 is in the books for the Vikings and it didn’t quite go the way that Vikings fans wanted it to go. When the game came to a close, the scoreboard read 34-24 in favor of the Detroit Lions. Here are some thoughts about what the heck happened:

Reggie Bush is a beast and an excellent pickup for the Lions

-         Reggie Bush had 191 yards overall. 101 via the air and 90 on the ground. Bush only crossed the goal line once for the Lions, but he was the main spoke in the wheel that ran over the Vikings. What’s more impressive is that Bush did all of this after dislocating his thumb early in the contest and right after that pulling a groin.

It could have been uglier, much uglier
-         
      Detroit had some really bone-headed penalties throughout the contest on Sunday; the Lions racked up 11 penalties for 88 yards. Take out those 88 penalty yards and give Detroit a couple touchdowns for about the four times they missed the goal line by inches, the Vikings could have left that game much more scarred than they did.

Umm, Adrian?
-         
      I believe my exact tweet was “Oh my god. Adrian bleepin’ Peterson”, when Peterson busted up the gut for a 78 yard touchdown scamper on the Vikings first touch as an offense this season. It was quite incredible and everyone on Twitter seemed to think the same way. Then he kind of went away. Adrian had three touchdowns on the day, but only rushed for an additional 15 yards after that first touch.

Adrian was getting bunched up behind the line and that could be for various reasons, one could be that every other team in the league knows the Vikings are going to run it and they might as well put a million people in the box. It helps when Christian Ponder is able to stretch the field, but we all know that doesn’t happen too often. Bottom line is if the Vikings want to be successful this season, Adrian needs to get more going.

Pondering about Ponder
-         
      In all honesty, Ponder didn’t look terrible, but he didn’t look good either. I know that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it does if you think about it. You have to look somewhat decent. I’m not a Ponder basher, but I understand why some people are. He has a leash and he’s not quite to the end of it. Other than the three interceptions, which I know isn’t a thing we can just ignore but alas, Ponder’s stats didn’t look all too bad. He went 18-for-28, 236 yards, 8.4 yards a toss and one TD toss to Peterson.
      
      Ponder looks good… okay decent… on paper, but when you watch him live, it’s not pretty. The Vikings have a very early Bye Week this season, scheduled for Week 5 after the Week 4 London trip against the Steelers. This could be a good thing for the Vikings and Vikings fans, but a very bad thing for Christain Ponder’s job security.

Come back, Kevin Williams
-         
      It may have just been that Reggie Bush went beast mode in his Detroit debut, but it may have been a slightly different story with Kevin Williams fronting that defensive line. Football teams are well oiled machines and it really don’t matter how much oil you got if you take out one of the major cogs to the machine.

Jared Allen looked good
-         
      I think we can all admit that Jared Allen never looked real great last season, but today against Detroit he was one of the few bright spots for the Vikings. Allen had four tackles, including a sack, and he lead the team with two pass deflections.

Hello, Jerome Simpson
-         
      Maybe it’s because Tom Pelissero left the Vikings beat, maybe it’s because he wasn’t suspended at the beginning of this season, but Simpson looked good today. Simpson had seven catches for 140 yards on eight targets. Solid, solid day for Mr. Simpson.

Fun with the box score

-         
      Adrian Peterson had more tackles than Ndamukong Suh today. Adrian Peterson registered a solo tackle while Suh only registered a pass deflection and QB hit on the day.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Key for Vikings to Leave Detroit Victorious

There are keys to the season for the Vikings and then there are keys for single games. Usually those go hand-in-hand. The keys to the season are basically this: Adrian runs like a mad man, Christian Ponder/Matt Cassel doesn’t totally screw things up and the secondary needs to step up and not be a collect group of Swiss cheese.

So, what is the main key for the Vikings against Detroit? The Vikings can have no dairy products playing in the secondary on Sunday.

Matthew Stafford has a big arm and can tear up a defense, especially one with a mediocre staff of backs like the Vikings. Throw on top of Stafford’s arm the fact that the best receiver in the game, Calvin Johnson, also plays for the Lions, it’s crucial to lock that portion of the game down.

It’s not just Calvin Johnson to be worried about. Former-Vike Nate Burleson is on the opposite side, the Lions had respectable tight end Brandon Pettigrew and a great receiving threat out of the backfield now with Reggie Bush. Detroit’s offense is pretty dynamic.

Who is dynamic on the Vikings’ DB squad? Harrison Smith? Possibly. It’s an okay group, but not really a lot more than that.

The Vikings need to get a lot of pressure on Stafford right away and try to make him make bad passes or the Vikings could end up leaving Detroit with a one in the right hand column.  You want one in the left hand column.

Obviously, for the Vikings to win Adrian needs to have an Adrian type day with Ponder not throwing the ball to the Detroit defense too often either. It’s a winnable game for the Vikings, but it’s also a losable game.


If you have any lucky charms, send their good charms toward Chris Cook, Jamarca Sanford, Harrison Smith and Josh Robinson, Vikings fans.