Tag Archives: Roger Maris

The Great State Debate

Cold, harsh winters, agricultural summers, and overalls. Lots of overalls.

The midwestern portion of the United States of America is known from sea to sea as a unit, “Middle America” to the coastal extremists. In both good and bad instances, the “Heartland” is seemingly conjoined to much of the populace. It is a singular identity. That ends now.

Goose Radio is sweeping the leg of the communistic idea of “Midwest.” Some states are not worthy of that title; we don’t want to be associated with them. And one is grander than the rest – a champion to be crowned by this forum of divided minds: Goose Nissley, currently residing in South Dakota, Alex Whitworth, making his bones in Minnesota, and David Gregory, holding down the border in North Dakota.

Each will put forth the case for his respective state. Disagreements will abound and friendships will be tested. But, at the end of this dark road, one state will rise.

And everyone will still agree that Iowa sucks…

State Seal of MinnesotaALEX WHITWORTH, MN – Well, let’s see, Minnesota has the ability to take an unfunny comedian and transform him into an unfunny politician. We also have the ability to take a professional wrestler and turn him into a professional civil servant. That is the tranforming power of The Land of 10,000 Lakes. Also, it’s the land of 10,000 lakes (at least according to my license plates).

RYAN ‘GOOSE’ NISSLEY, SD – And I’m glad we’re talking about this. It’s clear that South Dakota is one of the most chronically overlooked places on earth. The beaches of Rio? Some metal, tall thing in Paris? A clock in London? Foo. This state has an entire palace made out of corn. An entire palace!!! Just think about that. You could dwell – palatially – in a structure that was created from something that grew out of the beautiful black sod of God’s country. And if you got hungry, you could chew on the walls.

Even more importantly – Phil Jackson was born in North Dakota unless I’m mistaken? He’s kind of a weirdo. Minnesota is rife with mosquitoes. They will just capture your blood in their little… teeth? Do mosquitoes have teeth?

WHITWORTH – A corn castle, how…quaint.

And congrats on producing Phil Jackson, South Dakota always seemed very zen…

And speaking of sports, all of your teams…oh wait, that’s right, you don’t have pro sports in the great SD.

As for MN…Twins, Vikings, Timberwolves, Wild and I guess I’ll include the Lynx. I know, I didn’t know what the WNBA was either.

State Seal of North DakotaDAVID GREGORY, ND – Three words: largest American cow. Heard of it? It’s in North Dakota. You know what comes from cows? Milk, which produces cheese and ice cream, which produces the strapping American work force. The kind of people who fight for country and faith, the kind of people who hold up all elements of the Constitution in their original form: these are the product flowing from North Dakota’s teet.

And what of our neighbor to the south? They claim the Badlands as a chief geographical factor. I’m sorry, but if “bad” is right in the title (a la Michael Jackson albums), trouble awaits. Also, I refuse to acknowledge Mount Rushmore as anything but an incomplete art project until someone puts Ronald Reagan up there.

Are you against abortion? Well, Planned Parenthood is supported by the state of Minnesota. Think about that for a while.

Are my hypothetical questions done? Um, yes.

WHITWORTH – Oh great, North Dakota produces milk which goes into ice cream. Probably the new gay ice cream being produced by Ben and Jerry’s. Not family friendly.

Then again, they’re based out of Vermont because any business knows they can’t build an empire in the middle of nowhere, and that’s why so many businesses have set up headquarters right here in Minnesota.

Just to name a few: Best Buy, Cub Foods, Target, 3M, Caribou Coffee, General Mills…phew, being awesome is exhausting…your move, South Dakota.

State Seal of South DakotaNISSLEY – Alex, the only thing that Minnesota has in greater supply than large companies is liberal folks. There are hordes of them! Minnesota gave the rest of the nation the gift of Walter Mondale – topical because David mentioned Ronaldus Magnus (Reagan) who, in turn, gave Mondale an 18 point electoral drubbing. Therefore, Ronald Reagan himself didn’t think much of Minnesota. And, I think we can agree, neither should we.

Now to the cow at hand – David. Moo. While the sheer magnitude of your heifer is impressive, that is tragically where the grandeur meets its end. Once one passes said creature heading across the state on interstate 94, he / she is in for one of the dullest, dreariest, coma-inducing treks imaginable. North Dakota bears the great burden of having, as its one redemptive factor, a massive bovine.

Now you can’t tell me that wasn’t convincing?!

WHITWORTH – Indeed, Minnesota has it’s fair share of liberals, this is evidenced by the staggering amount of Obama, Franken and Coexist bumper stickers you see around town. However, Minnesota is also home to Republican nominee in waiting, Tim Pawlenty. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it!

GREGORY – Both of you are missing the point: oil. That’s what powers AMERICA. We drive our cars with it (liberal media editor: and our wars!) and it’s splashing up all over North Dakota. So, to combat your point Goose, there’s no such thing as a boring, rich person. Wealth is inherently interesting, and the Peace Garden State has a new source for it.

Not only is NoDak moving forward, it also has a strong link to the greatness of America’s past. Roger Maris, the non-steroid home run king, was born in Fargo. You can still see an exhibit of his memorabilia in the West Acres Mall; Sammy Sosa’s is currently on display in a Dominican drug store. North Dakota is Middle America in the midst of its glory, and a hint of its return as well.

As for South Dakota, it’s their fault we flooded last spring. The north-flowing Red River collected all of its crap and then sent it our way. Much like a Tom Daschle tax return, the state is devoid.

Minnesota was the first state to put liberalism on a stick. People ate it up at the fair, and now Al Franken is a senator. Alex, for any positive point you can put forth, the fact that your state elected one of the worst writers in the history of Saturday Night Live drowns you out.

NISSLEY – It is clear to me after repeatedly offering unassailable points only to have them met with silly No-Dak & Minnesotan rhetoric. Both of you, like Pharaoh in the days of Moses – have hardened your hearts and filled your ears with sweet nothingness. But I’m not mad. I’m sad – for you two. You still have to dwell in your states. I, meanwhile, will continue residing in the luxury and brilliance of the greatest state in the union. The indomitable, the fair, the fertile and verdant paradise that is South Dakota! Amen.

And so it ends, with the proprietor of this website declaring South Dakota the victor, and the fallen two interrupting his victory speech with chants of “You lie.” And “Iowa sucks.”

Strike Out – 15 Years Later

The Montreal Expos never did win the World Series.

The ‘Spos had the best record in Major League Baseball on August 12, 1994 and were primed to take their talented, small-market approach deep into the playoffs. In 2009, the Expos are now named the Nationals, residing in Washington D.C. and occupying the dregs of the National League East.

Standings aren’t the only thing that has changed in the 15 years since the MLB Players Association staged a strike that cancelled the ’94 postseason. Steroid use became the story of the new millennium, and big-budget clubs dominated the postseason. With such a dynamic shift in the fabric of the game since the strike, it begs the question, was 1994 the baseball tipping point from national pasttime to third-tier American sport?

————————–

Baseball Strike KidThe strike of ’94 was hardly the first time the MLB had ground to a halt: eight stoppages had occurred since 1972. Long-standing distrust between the players and the owners led to a widening gap between expectations, with Commissioner Bud Selig wanting a salary cap and MLBPA executive director Donald Fehr hearing nothing of the sort.

Given the sides’ various tiffs in the late 20th century, a strike was hardly new news. The cataclysmic difference was that this strike cost baseball its postseason.

Hundreds of millions of dollars were left on the table for both the players and the owners. Television revenue couldn’t be collected. For owners who already saw their bottom lines shrinking, it was bad news bears.

More than the financial aspect, MLB lost its emotional connection to the fans, who felt hurt and disenchanted with millionaire owners and players squabbling over dollars and cents. The boys of summer and Mr. October were replaced by lawyers and union representatives. Some fans watched the ugliness unfold and walked away from the game for good.

————————–

After 234 days, the strike ended; the MLB played a nearly complete ’95 season. A federal judge (recent newsmaker Sonia Sotomayor) ruled against the owners – there was to be no salary cap.

Though protests and negative messages littered stadiums, the season was not without its brights spots: Cal Ripken Jr. broke the consecutive games played streak to much fan fare.

Time Magazine 94 Baseball Strike CoverBut baseball harmed itself to the point that even the efforts to boost its image were damaging. The 1998 season-long home run duel between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa – hailed at the time as the game’s rebirth – turned out to be a steroid-fueled barrage on Roger Maris’ 40-year-old, single-season home run record.

In recent years, players have justified steroid use as not-quite illegal (technically true) and a necessary feature to keep up with competitors in the age of high line drives and higher salaries. Though steroid use is morally questionable, America frowned on the besmirching of records like Maris’. Fans have taken more offense at baseball’s steroid use than other sports, precisely because baseball’s historical records have more to do with the current presentation than those other sports.

And those other sports have taken the ground once held by baseball. Boosted by quicker pace and more spectacular highlights, the NFL and NBA appeal to a faster-moving America. Those sports feature parody, while the Yankees and Red Sox of the world dominate year after year in the MLB. The Expos never seriously contended after the strike.

Baseball has been passed in the last 15 years by a culture that never really forgave it for leaving. Steroids gave critics all the ammunition they need, and the giant payrolls of a select few ensured that, unlike its competitors in the sports world, baseball’s winners would be determined by who spent the most.

Baseball is still a very enjoyable sport to watch. It’s still not in danger of being passed by hockey or soccer (yet). But, in some critical ways, it’s still reeling 15 years later.

The Expos didn’t even make it that long.

David Gregory - GooseRadio