Moss Wouldn’t Change Lambeau Incident
Enjoy a Tuesday notes column:
Randy Moss, speaking on a conference call with reporters yesterday in advance of his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame next month, said he “wouldn’t change” his January 9, 2005 infamous incident at Lambeau Field.
In that wildcard playoff game Moss helped the Vikings to a 31-17 win by making big plays, but he infuriated Packers fans and amused some Vikings faithful when he feigned pulling down his pants as if to moon Green Bay fans in their home stadium after catching a touchdown pass. Moss was mocking the tradition of Packer fans who mooned the buses of Green Bay rivals when they came to Lambeau. He said yesterday his actions weren’t a celebration but “more for the fans.”
Fox play-by-play announcer Joe Buck called the incident a “disgusting act,” and fans regionally and nationally were divided in their views. “I didn’t know it was going to really get that kind of negative attention,” Moss said. “Of course, I wouldn’t have done nothing like that. I’ve never done nothing like that in my career. But it’s not like I pulled my pants down or anything like that.”
Among the greatest touchdown makers who ever played wide receiver, Moss’s career was characterized as much by controversy as big plays. He grew up poor in West Virginia and carried a chip on his shoulder, convinced that attitude would help him succeed. “Football is a brutal sport,” he said yesterday reflecting on his football days that included 14 seasons in the NFL.
The Vikings drafted Moss in the first round in 1998 and he was an immediate star who played in Minnesota until the 2005 offseason when owner Red McCombs sent him to the Raiders in a trade that still irks many local fans. Moss will be one of eight inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton on August 4.
Buck, who calls his 20th MLB All-Star Game tonight on TV, is married to Michelle Beisner, the niece of longtime Gopher public address announcer Dick Jonckowski of Shakopee.
Best player in tonight’s game? Sports Illustrated and a lot of sources claim that distinction belongs to Mike Trout of the Angels. In the magazine’s current issue S.I. lists “the highest WAR (wins above replacement) by a position player in his first eight seasons.” Trout, at 61.1, trails only Ted Williams, 72.6; Albert Pujols, 64.1; and Mickey Mantle, 61.4.
Any passionate baseball fan has favorite All-Star Game memories. Mine is the 1999 game in Boston when the immortal Williams, nearing the end of his life, was brought out on the field in a wheelchair to thunderous applause and tears of appreciation across the country.
A favorite of Twins president Dave St. Peter is the 1993 All-Star Game in Baltimore when the late Kirby Puckett was named MVP. “He loved the All-Star Game,” St. Peter said.
The Twins have hosted three All-Star Games in their history, 1965, 1985 and 2014. St. Peter said that because MLB likes to move the game around to various cities, it probably will be 20 years or more before Twins decision makers will even consider bringing another game to Minneapolis.
The Twins are 7.5 games behind the first place Indians in the Central Division. Twins catcher Bobby Wilson said on WCCO Radio’s “Sports Huddle” Sunday that the situation reminds him of his 2015 Rangers who were 8.5 games out of first place in the AL West on August 1 and won the division.
The Twins, 44-50, start a 10-game road trip after the All-Star break with a series against the struggling Royals that Minnesota needs to win. The Indians come to Target Field for a series starting July 30.
Minnesota probably needs to be about four games behind the Indians by mid-August to have a realistic chance of winning the division.
The Twins have named Double-A Chattanooga outfielder/first baseman Zander Wiel and Single-A Cedar Rapids right-handed pitcher Bailey Ober Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Week. Wiel played in seven games for the Lookouts last week, hitting .333 with one home run, three RBI, five walks and a .448 OBP. Ober, honored for the second consecutive week with the award, made one start for the Kernels, pitching 6.2 shutout innings while giving up five hits, with 10 strikeouts and allowing one walk.
Niko Guardado, the 21-year-old son of Twins bullpen coach Eddie Guardado, is an actor whose career includes TV appearances on “The Goldbergs” and “The Fosters.”
There is speculation about what’s wrong with the defending WNBA champion Lynx including that core players are declining because of age. These same players, though, have so much experience in knowing how to win they could be a surprise team later in the season and in the playoffs. The Lynx are 12-10, after losing only a total of seven games last season.
Elgin Baylor’s new book, “Hang Time,” includes his early NBA years in Minneapolis when he was almost a one-man team.