Following are opinions from Mille Lacs County Times editor-sports editor Gary Larson, reporter Luther Dorr and former Times intern Logan Marxhausen, who has taken this week off. Note: This feature is written on Monday each week.
•Question: Which Minnesota Twins team are we going to be seeing more of: the one that started its current road trip with four victories or the one that got shelled 16-4 Sunday in Milwaukee?
-Dorr: Probably somewhere in between. Free agent pick-up Jason Marquis has been a disaster so far for the Twins and his early departure led to the one-sided game Sunday. I wonder if he will be around much longer. The Twins played pretty well in their four-game winning streak, although it should be noted that Detroit and Milwaukee made 12 errors in those four wins. But the hitting, including some power, was better and that may or may not have been because of the pitching the Twins were facing. At 14-27 there is virtually no hope to get back in the division race. The Twins would have to go 76-45 (.628) the rest of the way to get to 90 victories. So I guess all fans can hope for is improved play. If the team could go .500 the rest of the way, last season’s total of 63 wins would be surpassed. What are the chances of that? One more thing that shows how messed up the organization is at this time: Scott Diamond, at 3-0, leads the Twins in victories. He also leads their AAA club, the Rochester Red Wings, in victories (4-1).
-Larson: We’re going to see a few winning streaks of three, maybe even four games and losing streaks of four, five our six games the rest of the way. Take that 76-45 record Luther calculated and reverse it, which would leave the Twins with a final record of 59-103. That’s slightly better than I pegged the team to finish.
When Drew Butera takes the mound, like he did Sunday, you know the pitching staff is getting burned out. And, it’s still May. If watching young minor leaguers bounce on and then off a team’s roster interests you, then the rest of the 2012 season will be very interesting for you.
•Question: The Indianapolis 500 takes place this coming Sunday. How much attention will you be paying to the historic sports event?
-Dorr: I have been to the track in Indianapolis and taken a trip around it in a promotional van. I used to pay a lot of attention to the race, even listening once on a transistor radio while sitting in the third deck at Metropolitan Stadium while watching the Twins play on Memorial Day. But, although the TV coverage is much better now (more cameras, interviews with crew members during the race, etc.), I don’t follow it nearly as closely as I did 25 or 30 years ago. Depending upon the start time of this year’s race, I may see a little of it on television.
-Larson: The 500 is one of those events where the stories prior to the race can be as or even more interesting than the race itself. Last Saturday, Ryan Briscoe, a member of legendary Roger Penske’s team, won pole position for the big race by edging James Hinchcliffe, a member of Mario Andretti’s team, by .0023 seconds, the closest pole race in Indy history. That time calculated to a distance of under 10 inches. The previous record was .01 seconds in 1970 when Al Unser edged Johnny Rutherford. Penske, Andretti, Unser, Rutherford….what great racing names. Penske will be bidding for one of his cars to win Sunday on the 40th anniversary of his first Indy win in 1972.
From the Princeton Speedway to the Indy 500, there’s something magical about the roar of high-powered engines and the buzz of those Indy cars is the sweetest sound of all, even vibrating through your TV.
The 500 isn’t quite the national attraction it once was. More fans now follow NASCAR events. But, the Indy 500 still intrigues me every year.
•Question: It’s uncertain whether the new Minnesota Vikings stadium will have a roof. What do you think? Should it have one?
-Dorr: I dislike domed stadiums. Neither football nor baseball were meant to be played inside. But the Metrodome is used for lots of other events and has become very valuable for those other events. Lots of college baseball is played there in February, March and April and it’s a good place for high school football and soccer playoffs in the fall. If there is a retractable roof, OK. If there isn’t, then it won’t be a place I will frequent.
-Larson: The Wilfs need to step up and cough up more millions to put a retractable roof on the new stadium. As Luther points out, the stadium needs to be a facility where a wide variety of events can take place. And, where Gary can stay warm.
Forget the NFL bringing the Super Bowl here without a roof on the stadium.
Do you have an opinion on any of this week’s questions? Do you agree or disagree with the sportswriters? Let us know by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or a note to Mille Lacs County Times, 225 S.W. 2nd St. Milaca, MN 56353. Or comment online.