I got the opportunity to spend a little time on the Christopher Gabriel Program this morning. It was my radio debut, so I was little nervous. Said the word "wonderful" on the air, which is not part of my regular vocabulary (I prefer "spectacular"), but it was a great time.
After discussing some various sports topics with him, I felt like spending a little time here elaborating on them further.
- Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings: Tonight’s game should give Vikings fans a chance to see much more of Favre. After throwing just four passes in his preseason debut, Favre will play the entire first half tonight against Houston. While preseason games don’t matter much, I think in Favre’s case, the reps are needed. I think a lot of people – thanks to his jeans endorsements – have this image of Favre being a good ol’ boy playing pick-up football in the backwoods of Mississippi running around in his Wranglers. But the NFL isn’t that easy, and it’s important for him to familiarize himself with the wrinkles of this offense and these receivers.
- The Minnesota Twins: Well, the deadline passed and the Twins aren’t getting Rich Harden. So, as Coach Norman Dale said in Hoosiers, "This is your team." The Twins are 4.5 games back in the AL Central race behind Detroit, with seven games left against the Tigers. One thing to keep in mind is that 4.5 games may not sound like much, but when you’re talking about teams that are playing .500 ball, that’s tough to make up. Let’s say (and this is purely a fictional example) the Colorado Rockies are 4.5 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Dodgers are playing a little better than .600 ball. With teams having that kind of success, the Rockies could make it up if the Dodgers hit a rough patch. But for the Twins to make up 4.5 games, they’re going to have to be a different team than the one that’s played .500 ball all season. That means consistent starting pitching and production from the WHOLE lineup, not just the heart of it (Mauer, Morneau, Kubel and Cuddyer). The Twins and Tigers are like two tortoises that haven’t moved much in the standings, and it’s hard to imagine that’s going to change.
- NDSU football: One other point that I thought of after getting off the radio was that when the Bison beat the University of Minnesota, that was a midseason game. NDSU had built up momentum by playing great football, while the Gophers were in freefall after a very rough start (Was that the year the Gophers lost to Florida Atlantic? Yikes!). With all of the new faces on the Bison, I’d give them a better chance of beating Iowa State if it was a midseason game than I would in the opener. Because by the middle of the year, the Cyclones could be licking their wounds from a rough start to the Big 12 season, and the Bison might have patched any holes they found to start the year.
Crowley, who was the hitting coach for the Twins during the 1991 World Series, says Puckett called his shot prior to his 11th-inning walkoff homer to win Game 6 and send the Twins to Game 7 and eventually a World Series title.
Crowley told the Pioneer Press that Puckett said if the Atlanta Braves left Charlie Liebrandt in the game, he was going to hit a game-winning homer.
"On some replays of the tape, if the crowd noise is diminished," Crowley told the Pioneer Press, "you can hear Puckett tell me, ‘I told you so, Crow.’ "
We’ve all heard the "Get up on my back" stories about Puckett in the World Series, but this account by Crowley is of a much more specific nature. Here’s a link to the video.
I’ve always felt – from a national perspective – Puckett’s blast is underrated. Carlton Fisk’s walkoff homer in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series gets a lot of attention (partially because it was Boston and partially because of the way he tried to "wave" the ball fair), but the Red Sox lost that series. And Joe Carter’s blast in Game 6 of the 1993 World Series was thrilling, but if the Blue Jays had lost that game, they still would have been alive for Game 7.
In my opinion, when ranking the biggest homers in postseason history, it’s Bill Mazeroski’s walkoff homer for Pittsburgh in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series first, and then it’s Puckett’s blast. Maybe Crowley’s story will give Puckett’s a little more attention.
MAZEROSKI’s WALKOFF IN GAME 7 OF 1960 WORLD SERIES
PUCKETT’S WALKOFF HOMER IN GAME 6 OF 1991 WORLD SERIES
(Fast forward to 6:45 mark of video)
I got to add this too. I found it while looking for Puckett’s Game 6 homer.
1991 TWINS MUSIC VIDEO (Chili, Morris, Erickson, Knoblauch, Newman)