Catbird Seat: The Grab BagWith the onset of summer, it's time to take a dip into this week's Catbird Seat Grab Bag.
By: Jeff Papas, Pine Journal
With the onset of summer, it's time to take a dip into this week's Catbird
Seat Grab Bag.
The Brett Favre story is like a bad check. It never seems to go away.
The revelation that he has indeed undergone surgery on his ailing throwing
arm hit the Twin Cities papers over the weekend and became front-page news.
The story simply will not go away.
Time was when a Viking fan would get upset due to the never ending rumors
about whether Favre was retired or not. Now more and more Viking fans are
getting upset because of the persistence of rumors that Green Bay's best
quarterback since Bart Starr is coming 'here.'
I have been of the opinion that if Favre feels he can still play, he's going
to try to do it. He'll turn 40 years of age on Oct. 10 and if there is
anything we've learned about him over the last few years it's that the one
thing that hasn't aged much about the quarterback is his ego.
That comes as nothing new to fans. Now, it comes as nothing new to fans on
both sides of the border. Some Viking fans tried to turn a blind eye to the
situation, but now they can't avoid it. Until a decision is made, Favre
will dominate the summer.
Whether he does or doesn't come out of retirement, I think the vast majority
of Viking fans just want a decision made that is going to stick. The
existing quarterbacks don't need to play the waiting game and the offense to
be used for the coming season ought to depend, at least in part, on who the
quarterback will be.
I feel especially bad for new guy Sage Rosenfels. He's the one who was
supposed to be the answer at the quarterback position. Admittedly in recent
years the quarterback position has been trouble, but he does deserve his
shot. We'll see how long it takes for him to get it.
# # #
Watching the Twins these days has been a blink-or-you'll-miss-it experience
whenever Joe Mauer has been at the plate.
The catcher's recent spectacular emergence into arguably the best all-around
player in baseball merely underscores his value. His fantastic month of May
was simply compelling to watch. Twins fans didn't want to miss an at-bat
because we didn't know what we might miss.
Already Mauer has hit more home runs than he did all last season, with the
obvious benefit to the Twins. However, their ongoing sluggish play is
starting to become a cause for concern.
When Joe Crede and Michael Cuddyer are able to play, the Twins are a much
more dangerous team with four legitimate power threats - Crede, Mauer,
Cuddyer, Justin Morneau and Jason Kubel. When the Twins can score with one
hit instead of three, they're a more dangerous team.
Yet there's a piece missing. What was once the team's strength - starting
pitching - has faltered. The missing link is there to be fixed, and when it
is, the weakness of the American League Central as a whole means it's still
a very winnable division.
Mauer is playing about as well as a baseball player can over an extended
period of time. It would be a shame if all that excellence were to go to
# # #
I want to make a comment this week about one of the region's best high
The Duluth News Tribune story over the weekend on Hermantown softball coach
Tom Bang is remarkable. For those who didn't see the story, he has held off
on having open-heart surgery while guiding the Hawks to a state softball
I've always known Bang to be a no-nonsense coach who cares deeply for the
growth of his players and has a tremendous inner drive to see them succeed
on and off the field. In that sense he is similar to a lot of high school
coaches in the region - great, committed people who teach their players to
play the game for the right reasons.
Yet Bang's quiet competence has resulted in ongoing success on a scale
rarely seen in regional, or even state, competition. He's got it right. And
now it's time for Tom to take care of himself.
Waiting for heart surgery is perhaps the greatest personal sacrifice I've
come across in 20 years of watching Northland high school sports. Here's
wishing Tom Bang a speedy recovery and a quick return to our fields of play.