Vikings quarterback Brad Johnson when asked facetiously who would win in a foot race between him and wide receiver Troy Williamson: “Depends on how much of a head start I have.”
Injured Viking defensive lineman Erasmus James, a former Badger, will be in Madison for the Minnesota-Wisconsin game on October 14. Until he injured his left knee he had been planning to sit in the student section.
Twins’ catcher Joe Mauer talking about the team’s home field advantage in the Metrodome: “Teams don’t like coming in here a whole lot.”
Twins’ first baseman Phil Nevin, who this year has played in the National League for the Cubs and in the American League for Texas and Minnesota, talking about the two leagues: “I think the pitching in the American League is a touch better. Where I see it most is in the bullpens…. you got better arms coming out of the pens over here.”
The Twins- White Sox series, Friday through Sunday at the Metrodome, is Fan Appreciation Weekend. All fans will receive a 2007 wall calendar on Friday and Saturday and kids will receive a team poster on Sunday. Fans in attendance have the opportunity to win prizes from the Twins and corporate partners throughout the weekend.
Among the freshmen football players the Gopher coaches like are defensive linemen Garrett Brown and Willie Dyson and linebacker Lee Campbell. All are true freshmen.
On the go media man Mike Max is reporting and sometimes studio anchoring for Ch. 4 sports, hosting The Sports Show on Ch. 23 Sunday nights, hosting his Sports to the Max talk show on WCCO Radio weekday nights, plus being on the radio station for Twins pre-game shows and the Monday night Glen Mason show. He said his work week can last 65 hours.
Compliments are often few and far between for the Metrodome but even the critics can’t deny the facility has provided an extraordinary home field advantage for the Minnesota Twins. The Twins have the best home record in baseball with 50 wins, 24 losses. That home record has helped Minnesota to the best overall record in baseball since June 8– 65 and 29. During that period the home record is 34 and 15.
The Twins have won two World Series, in 1987 and 1991. In each series the Twins never won a game on the road and never lost at home. During the regular season of 1987 the Twins won almost 70 percent of their home games.
The dome’s lighting, ceiling, speakers, artificial turf and crowd noise can be real or imagined demons to opposing teams. And don’t forget the visual distraction of all those beloved Homer Hankies waived by fans from every part of the dome.
The Twins plan to make Homer Hankies available for the 2006 playoffs. Those little “devils” and the other distractions opposing players will face probably provide the best home field advantage in major league baseball.
“The game (of baseball) is so much mental,” Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson said. “I think the other team comes in here and thinks, ‘Oh, boy, the dome.’ Once you get a few people in here it gets so loud, and that’s a big edge for us.”
Twins outfielder Michael Cuddyer said he understands if some players are intimidated by the dome. “You take all the elements with artificial turf, the roof, the fans, the loudness (and) it’s a pretty intimidating place for a visiting team to come in and play,” Cuddyer said. “It’s exciting to play here. The fans get into it. With the style of baseball we have played over the last couple months it’s hard not to get into it.”
Anderson remembers walking on the field a couple of years ago with Johan Santana prior to the start of a playoff game and the huge crowd gave the Twins’ star pitcher a standing ovation. “That sent a chill down my spine,” he said.
Affection for his home town of St. Paul provided incentive to Vikings center Matt Birk to open Matty B’s Supper Club earlier this year. “I love St. Paul and I want to see St. Paul thrive,” Birk said.
Matty B’s is located at 353 Wabasha Street in downtown St. Paul. The restaurant was a popular hangout for years when it was Gallivan’s. The place has been given cosmetic changes, plus “elbow grease,” Birk said.
Birk has three partners who prefer to remain anonymous. “They have made me the face of the restaurant, even though I am not very good looking,” he joked.
Birk has no previous restaurant experience but was drawn to the business by the challenge. He talked about wanting something to challenge him during the months he isn’t playing football. He sees similarities to the restaurant business and football including preparation, hard work and producing a product people enjoy. “In the end it’s all about your customers,” he said. “It’s flattering when people walk through the doors to your establishment and want to spend their hard earned money. That’s an obligation on us that we have to make them leave happy.”
During the off-season Birk is at the restaurant “all the time.” This fall you will probably see him there on Monday, Tuesday and Friday nights.
What does Birk enjoy eating at his place? “I am a big fan of the meat loaf,” he answered. “I also like the pot roast and if I am really hungry I order the pork chops. They have a pork chop plate with two man sized pork chops (that) seems to fit well in my belly.”
Does he pay for his meals? “I don’t pay,” he said. “I just tip.”