Episode 5: A King in a Can, a Cook in the Capitol, Lemonade, Jiu Jitsu and Sours

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This week, I spoke with Indeed Brewing Company brewer Tina Spurr about how her parents became everyone’s parents, her ascent into Indeed Brewing Company’s Wooden Soul sour program, and the newly-bottled, highly-anticipated (trust me) Rum King in a can. (1:00).

I shot the shit with Eddie Wu at his East St. Paul restaurant, Cook St. Paul, about everything from his lemonade concoction — the Eddie Wu — to his rise up the restaurant world to teaching his daughter Jiu Jitsu. He looked back on his decision to set up shop in East St. Paul, and the hours he put in to become a part of the community. (16:00)

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A Quick Word about the Minnesota Twins’ Empty Stadium

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This is not a picture of today’s game between the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers, played at Target Field. I don’t have one because I didn’t go. I did not see Brian Dozier’s record-setting home run, and I did not see the Twins lose (checks score) woof, 9-2. Instead, here’s me sitting on a Midway Stadium billboard making America great again.

Below is a picture of people who may have taken pictures, may have seen the home run, and may have stuck around for that David Twohy flick of a score.

Are you surprised? Shocked? Awed? Why?

No, really: why?

There was quite the hullabaloo on social media surrounding today’s attendance (if that’s what you want to call it) and I briefly argued that nobody should be surprised in the least. Let’s discuss why. Just for funsies, I’ll even leave out the whole “Twins are going to lose 100 games” tidbit.

From now on, I mean.

I forgot baseball was even happening. I just checked the standings. Do you realize some teams still have 11 games yet to play, then we have the single-elimination wild-card games, then we have that first round, then we’ve got the League Championship Series, then we’ve got the World Series. When is that happening, by the way?

(Checks calendar)

It begins at the end of October; and, if the World Series goes more than five games, will stretch into November. By this time, the NHL and NBA seasons will have begun and the NFL season will be about halfway through.

When football overtook baseball as “America’s game,” and then soccer overtook baseball as “America’s game as it pertains to competition with the rest of the world,” MLB’s late-season games have become at best an afterthought. I say “at best” because the sport is lucky to be a thought at all right now.

Didn’t they used to call them “the boys of summer”? Today was the first day of fall. When the NFL regular season starts, it needs to be playoff time in Major League Baseball. One way or another, that’s how it has to be.

We’re back to hating the Pohlads. It was going to happen eventually, wasn’t it?

The weather stunk, but that could be glued onto the end of the first reason. Let’s talk about a Thursday mid-day game, though.

A Thursday mid-day game. Okay. You’ve seen “Moneyball,” right, or at least are even acutely aware of what “Moneyball” meant, or who the main character was inspired by, or who — YES I KNOW HE’S GETTING DIVORCED. Sheesh.

Baseball is now a game driven, and I mean driven, by analytics. In a simpler time, we browsed the backs of our baseball cards for home run totals, RBIs, runs scored, batting average, steals, and strikeouts. Now, baseball is a nerd stew filled with noodles like “BAPIP,” “uZR,” and a bunch of dorked-up tallies based on theoreticals that mean NOTHING in the scope of an actual baseball game.

Look at baseball-reference.com quick. You don’t want to? Fine. Here’s what I wanted to show you:

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What the deuce does that even mean? And “assumes an average fielder”? I thought statistics weren’t supposed to assume. If I wanted to make an assumption, I can do that with no information at all. My no-fact assumption would be infinitely simpler to drum up and just as valuable as a theoretical stat that’s nine word long.

There’s one more, hold on.

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They call this “simple rating system.” Notice how the Twins are rated higher than a team with 14 more wins than them. I don’t know what this is even supposed to mean. Actually, I do: nothing.

There is already a simple rating system in place and it’s their win-loss record. Do you honestly think anyone in Twins upper management sees this and says, “Huh, we’re actually simple-rated 25th. That’s not so bad“?

With all the resources this community is putting into calculating how many more wins Mike Trout is worth to the Angels over a replacement-level player (the answer: about 40 less than they need), you’d think someone could devise a better system for scheduling games.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to bake in space for double-headers based on a team’s history of being rained/snowed/hurricane-d out, and spit up flexible schedules that strengthen the odds of double-headers being played on weekends?

It’s kind of like how the NFL could easily schedule a team’s Thursday night game after their bye week so they didn’t have to get their brains bashed in twice in five days, but the NFL doesn’t care about its players and that’s another story.

I mean, hey: the Yankees have 25 million people living in their vicinity. Do they even sell out weekday afternoon games? That’s the best a team could hope for. On the other end of pole, this is far from the first field photo I’ve seen like this; but, if it’s cool with Major League Baseball, I guess it’s cool with me.

STILL GOT TIME? Here’s a timeline of Sunday’s Vikings-Packers game, and a timeline of Minnesota’s playoff loss back in January.

Tweets, Quacks and Diggs: Notes From an Extra-Spicy Vikings Home Opener

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How much was Carrie Underwood paid for this? Was it the NFL or the station who paid her, and what is she going to think when she looks back on this 20 years from now?”

This year’s Sunday Night Football opening montage is like a Spring Break tattoo come to life. Who are they using for a test audience? (Looks at 2016 election polls) You know what, forget I asked.

I’m at Grizzly’s in Plymouth as the Vikings and Packers are set to kick off Sunday Night Football in the Vikings’ new stadium. On Facebook, several friends have posted pictures of the view from their seats, or of themselves in their seats.

Behind them appears to be a half-empty stadium. I’m sure that’s not the case, but it seemed that way. Maybe that’s because season passes for the tailgate lot were $750, an individual parking ramp spot was $45, and God knows how much a ticket is for a game at US Bank Stadium. Am I too far off assuming the cheapest one is $400? I’m not, am I.

Ooh! My first drink arrived.

KICKOFF
First star of the kickoff was former Vikings head coach and Walking State Capitol Bud Grant. Can we start a petition to make Bud Grant the new state flower? I don’t even remember the last time I saw a Lady Slipper.

Second star was Vikings kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson, who made it onto and off of the field without pissing anyone off. Third star was NBC commentator Cris Collinsworth; who, in a stunning display of composure, said “Aaron Rodgers” without reaching orgasm.

FIRST QUARTER
12:03:
The Vikings defense appears to be on their way to a banner night when they force a fumble. Vikings Safety Andrew Sandejo picks up the ball and holds it just long enough to fumble it right back to the Packers.

If you say it right, “Sandejo is so dumb” almost sounds like you’re saying “Sandejo” twice. Just keep doing it until you see what I mean.

9:52: Did I mention this was the debut of Rams future franchise quarterback-turned-bust-turned-Philadelphia savior-turned-pariah-turned-emergency-turned-starting quarterback for the Vikings? Sam Bradford has been a lot of things (including injured, a lot).

At 9:52, he’s sacked by Cee-Lo Green, who stuck around after a DJ stint at The Exchange last weekend.

Meanwhile, at the bar, a man is running his hand through his (very thin) hair incessantly while a glass of red wine sits behind him. He’s slouched over, legs propped up on the seat next to him. This is what drinking alone looks like in Plymouth: same sadness, different glass.

7:42: The announcers kill some time by discussing whether the Packers running back is fat. His name’s Eddie Lacy. Hang onto that.

On the field, Vikings defensive back Terrance Newman commits two straight pass interference penalties. The announcers repeatedly mention how old this man is. He’s 38. No, seriously, 38. Trust me, 38.

5:39: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers finds wide receiver Jordy Nelson for the game’s first score. Packers 7, Vikings 0.

I order my second Bloody Mary. Grizzly’s Bloody Marys are not extravagant or adventurous, but I’ll tell you what they are: extra-spicy and $3 on Sundays. Hit me!

The first quarter ends with the Vikings sacking Aaron Rodgers, and part of the Carrie Underwood jingle is played. What’s worse: that, or Rick Ross’ “Suicide Squad” song? You tell me.

SECOND QUARTER
12:14:
They’re looking at Sam Bradford’s hand. OH MY GOD, HE’S ALREADY INJURED! Wait … wait … okay, false alarm.

11:51: The Vikings have an offensive lineman named “Fusco.” Did you know actual clowns being run out of business now, because scary clowns are freaking people out everywhere? Fusco.

9:23: Bradford’s in the locker room! Bradford’s in the X-ray room! That’s okay because Shaun Hill played pretty well last week. Bradford’s back on the field!

8:07: Al Michaels touches briefly on the injury to Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, and makes an off-hand remark about how Sam Bradford could be a long-term solution here, too. I say “off-hand” because I bet a lot of Vikings fans briefly debated slitting their wrists in that moment.

4:41:

GEEZ and Bradford hits receiver Stefon Diggs for a 44 yard gain!

The Vikings tied the game at some point. Vikings 7, Packers 7.

It’s the two-minute warning already? Where the hell have I been?

Oh. Right.

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00:31: Vikings kicker Blair Walsh is brought onto the field. Cris Collinsworth: “He needs to make this kick.”

I’ll take this moment to defend Cris and Al. When you’re live in front of a camera or microphone, no matter how long you’ve been doing it, you can’t fill a broadcast (no matter how short) with next-level wit. It’s impossible. Sometimes, all you’ve got is “He needs to make this kick.”

I mean, he wasn’t wrong.

Walsh makes the kick. Vikings 10, Packers 7 at the half. Let’s pay tribute to Prince.

THIRD QUARTER
10:34: Blake Shelton speaks for “The Voice” in a commercial. It’s the first time I’d ever heard him talk and people really pay to hear this guy sing? Woof.

9:18: Vikings second-year defensive back Trae Waynes takes Terrance Newman’s cirriculum a little too seriously, causing penalties like it’s his job (which, technically, he was getting paid).

Eddie Lacy runs for a big gain. Two fun facts about Eddie Lacy:
1. His Twitter handle is @Lil_Eazy_Ana_42
2. 

6:55: The Vikings force another fumble! It’s loose, and Vikings defender back Captain Munnerlyn has the ball right between his hands! How delightful! Watch as Munnerlyn’s hands slowly close around the football and secure it in his sweaty, rock-hard bosom.

(Still watching)

No, Captain, you have to … no, quicker please … Captain, PLEASE CLOSE YOUR HANDS ON THE FOOTBALL!

The Packers recover.

4:57: In a Geico commercial, kids play Marco Polo with Marco Polo. I know I could Google this and save myself some embarrassment, but how do you even play Marco Polo? Like, what’s the object?

2:27 Adrian Peterson gets injured. He can’t leave the field on his own, and two guys help him bunny-hop into the locker room. Despite this, it takes about 20 minutes to officially announce he’s out for the game.

2:11: Diggs gets free for a touchdown! Beautiful catch, nice throw from Bradford. Collinsworth calls Bradford’s performance thus far “borderline unbelievable.” It’s only borderline, you see, because it’s happening and therefore believable. Vikings 17, Packers 7.

On the ensuing Packers possession, Trae Waynes gets flagged for pass interference again. I swear, that kid is —

Hold on.

What was I saying?

FOURTH QUARTER
With Minny up 17-7, the quarter starts with a big pass from Rodgers to Nelson. In the booth, Collinsworth nearly injures himself trying to say “betwixt and between.”

I bet Bud Grant nails that phrase every time.

12:41: The Vikings leave the entire field open for Rodgers to run down and into the end zone. I’m honestly baffled. It’s like Pinky and the Brain lured Vikings defenders back into the locker room with free T-shirts.

Vikings 17-Packers 14, and I just found a clip of “Pinky and the Brain” in German. It’s … emotional.

6:53: It happens again! Vikings D-lineman Brian Robison knocks the ball out of Aaron Rodgers’ hands … and, this time, the Vikings recover!

6:09: Sam Bradford always looks cross-eyed when he’s got his helmet on. Ever notice that?

5:11: Matt Kalil gave up a sack. Twitter, come at me! Better yet:

3:19: The Packers continue marching. An eerie light is cast upon the butt-face of Rodgers. This is exactly the type of heartbreak that would open this new stadium, isn’t it? Shit.

1:50: Where was I on that Trae Waynes tangent earlier? Ah, that’s right.

HE JUST MADE A GAME-WINNING INTERCEPTION WHICH PROVES HE IS THE CHOSEN OF THOR AND HIS MISTAKES ARE MERELY PAWNS BEING MOVED TOWARD MANKIND’S ASCENT INTO FOOTBALL VALHALLA.

Do you realize the Vikings only need to win four Super Bowls to match the Packers’ total? Let that sink in.

The clock expires and I go home.